5 Steps for Better Privacy on Your Smartphone

Your smartphone is your best friend, but it can also be your worst enemy. If it falls into the wrong hands (or even if it doesn’t), it can expose you as well as your contacts. Think about all the location and banking history along with the photos you store there, and it’s enough to make anyone sweat.

The good news is that smartphones continue to evolve with the times, including not just new apps but added security features. The number of business people not using all the security features available to them, however, is surprising.

Keep reading to learn what essential security steps you can take for better privacy on your smartphone.
1. Set lockscreen security

The number-one security setting for basic privacy on your phone is to set your lockscreen with a password or fingerprint reader. Otherwise, leaving your phone unattended for just a couple minutes could result in someone seeing something they shouldn’t.

2. Turn off Bluetooth and location services when not in use

Whenever you’re not using location services or Bluetooth, keep these settings turned off. Hackers can use these networks to get access to your device and all its contents. As an added benefit, keeping these switched off also saves battery.

3. Don’t download questionable apps

Not all apps are trustworthy. When downloading any new app, check the developer information to be sure it comes from the company you think it does. This is true for simple app updates, too.

4. Update your operating system

Don’t let that last OS update go forgotten! Most of these updates come with valuable privacy and security improvements, so update and update often.

5. Don’t lose your phone

This one might be obvious, but not losing your smartphone is the central tenet to protecting your privacy. Do update the settings on your phone for the case where it were lost, such as “find my phone” or the configuration to wipe data clean.
Concerns of privacy can plague someone’s life, especially when using a smartphone in business. Staying ahead of device security is the best way to protect your privacy and ensure your smartphone stays your best friend forever, without any falling outs to speak of.

5 Steps to a Business Continuity Plan

5 Steps to a Business Continuity Plan
Disasters don’t often give us an advanced notice of arrival. Even in cases where we do have some lead time, moving quickly enough to ensure business continuity can be anywhere from tough to impossible. In today’s age (where just about all business practices are tied to essential software and technologies), if the power so much as goes out, whole businesses screech to a halt.
Business practices—and, later, whole businesses—can be undone by utility outages, natural disasters, cybersecurity compromises, and even pandemics. This is where a business continuity plan comes in.
To give your business the best shot at rowing together through each storm, dive into the five steps to create your own business continuity plan.
First: What Is a Business Continuity Plan?
A business continuity plan is the official outline of how your business will continue to operate during unplanned disruptions or disasters. It contains information about processes as well as assets and human resources, plus any other aspect of the business that could be affected.
Some of the best business continuity plans use checklists of supplies and processes. They also identify plan administrators and contact information for key personnel and backup sites.
Steps to Create a Business Continuity Plan
We break down business continuity planning into five steps:
1. Outline the scope

A business continuity plan is like a disaster recovery plan with operations stacked on top of it. If you already have a disaster recovery plan, use that as the base for your business continuity planning and add the following areas of scope.

2. Identify key business areas

Identify the key business areas—client facing and internal operations—that have to keep running to keep your organization’s head above water in the case of a major disruption.

3. Plan for critical functions

Now answer the question: how will you deliver on those key business areas? Critical functions are outlined in your plan, spelling out how each will be managed without your regular business processes in place.

4. Determine acceptable downtime

Business continuity plans help stopper gushing losses at the onset of a disaster, but they should do more than that. They also need to identify how much downtime for each critical function is sustainable, and then establish priorities if your organization is forced to pick and choose.

5. Get staff feedback and buy-in

Few will see opportunities to keep your operations running as clearly as the staff responsible for critical functions, so share your plan early and get feedback. This will also create greater buy-in for the solutions the plan spells out.
Every business continuity plan must be supported by the whole staff. For complete buy-in, regular review and testing is recommended.
Have questions about your own business continuity plan? Contact us and we’ll be happy to help!

TimbukTech IT Managed Services

Top 5 Benefits of Managed Services

Top 5 Benefits of Managed Services

If you’re relying on an in-house IT team to take care of your systems, how do you know if it’s time for a change? Are managed IT services worth it? Are there things you need that your IT team isn’t equipped for?
Technology has changed radically since the days of IT teams making small hardware fixes and onboarding staff with software. In reality, few in-house IT teams today are equipped to keep up with the pace of new tech demands.
You want to be proactive rather than reactive, but you also don’t want to take on unnecessary IT costs. So, how do you choose between in-house IT and managed services?
Let’s start by defining managed services and then diving into what the key benefits are, giving you what you need to take the right route of action for your business.
What Are Managed Services?
The term “managed services” in general refers to outsourcing any kind of business administration or management to a third-party. In most contexts today, it refers to managed IT services. This is the most specialized and in-demand of all managed services given the tech-heavy nature of work today. In fact, the global managed services market is predicted to reach $356.24 billion by 2025 (up 92% from $185.98 billion in 2019).
Managed IT services include (among other things):
• Infrastructure management
• Cloud storage management
• Networking monitoring
• Systems administration
• Server maintenance
• Data backup and disaster recovery

Top 5 Measurable Benefits of Managed Services

Now let’s get into which organizations should consider managed IT services. It comes down to the top benefits and whether those benefits line up with the priorities in your organization.
If any of these benefits get your attention, that’s an indicator that you will benefit from managed IT services.
1. Control IT costs

Convert your fixed in-house IT costs into a variable cost so you can budget effectively. Because managed services are provided by specialists who provide the same services to many organizations, they also have the experience and practices in place to do everything faster, smarter, and more economically.

2. Get more experienced, qualified, and certified help

If you’re not IT-trained, how do you really know how knowledgeable your internal IT team really is? Certifications are common among IT professionals, and you can vet managed services providers by a long list of credentials.

3. Increase competitiveness

Organizations that try to “do it all” devote more in-house IT resources to researching, developing, and implementing solutions. These all trickle down to steep opportunity costs with slow-moving IT management, too. A managed services provider speeds all of it up to make your organization more competitive.

4. Reduce risk exposure

Every investment carries a risk. Outsourcing your IT management to a devoted provider means the vendor assumes and manages most IT risk for you.

5. You can stay focused on YOUR business

Everyone has limited resources, and limited time usually tops the list. You can devote more attention to your business by handing off all the IT decisions to experts you can trust.
Contact us now and tell us which of these benefits ring truest for you.

TimbukTech Multiple Monitors

3 Reasons You Need 3 Monitors

3 Reasons You Need 3 Monitors
Boosting your productivity isn’t easy. You come in with all the right intentions, but faced with the volume of calls, emails, Slack messages and the rest, it seems like it only gets harder to keep up.
The idea of multiple monitors isn’t new. In fact, at many workplaces, it’s now standard to have two. Anyone traveling for work feels the drop in productivity once they’re reduced to traveling with their laptop—back to one screen, and it’s back to minimizing and maximizing everything countless times a day. The chat icon blinks so many times in the day that it could make just about anyone scream.
While the relatively new standard of two monitors has become more common, could you use a third monitor? Could it make just as big a difference to add a third as it did when you switched to two?
We say “yes.” Keep reading to learn the three reasons why you need three monitors.
1. Chat isn’t going anywhere

Especially in the “new normal” this year and the huge surge of remote work we’ve seen, chat apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams have done wonders for team efficiency. Instead of getting lost in email chains, quick communications are easier to handle on these apps.

These same solutions have helped teams take two great steps forward, but also one step backward in terms of productivity. With the chat window requiring more screen real estate, a third screen could be the perfect home for your chat app so you can always keep it open and look at messages when you have time.

2. You’ll work faster

A study published a while back on Research Gate looked at the performance of employees on one monitor versus two, and workers with two monitors were 6% faster and had 33% fewer errors. Over time, the trend for speed became more pronounced because errors take time to correct—and now there were fewer errors.

The same is true when adding a third monitor. In fact, in recent preliminary studies, a third monitor has been shown to boost total productivity by as much as 35.5%.

3. You’ll feel better

Users in these same studies also stated that they preferred multiple monitors. A notable 28% said it was “easier to focus” with more monitors, and 24% said they also felt “more comfortable.” Many users even groaned when asked to use a single-monitor configuration.

Partitioning tasks and windows across three monitors will help you save brainpower, too, because you’ll minimize “window churn” (where you cycle through apps you’re using.) And if a fresh brain doesn’t feel good, we don’t know what does.
If you have loads of papers to work through, would you rather spread out on a big conference table or on an airline tray?
Yeah. No one likes airline trays.
The same logic is true for multiple monitors, and we’re advocates for three or four. Contact us if you want to learn more about how to make this the status quo at your organization.

Top 3 New Updates to Microsoft 365

Top 3 New Updates to Microsoft 365

1. Name change. Office 365 has changed its overall naming conventions to Microsoft 365 to make the product and service offerings less confusing. Office will remain a core offering yet it has expanded in the last few years to include applications that relate to the cloud environment that go beyond the original Office definition, so in a nutshell, removing Office from the digital offerings name creates less havoc when picking the package that is best for your individual needs. Microsoft Office Business Premium packages continue to offer information security with data transfers, adaptability with personal devices in the business environment, and the same great tools to customize your dashboards and preferences.
2. Microsoft Teams. Check out the latest updates to Microsoft Teams that includes the ability to access applications within the Teams platform, allowing for streamlining of information into a single user interface and less back and forth toggling between various software applications. Teams has also introduced different backgrounds like the Parthenon, a classroom, a conference room, etc. to create a distraction from online meeting fatigue.
3. Throughout 2021, Microsoft will be revamping their suite subscription services of open licensing and moving toward a perpetual, pay once and done platform. Some changes will depend on the number of seats you require and TimbukTech will assist you in deciding what plan works best for you.
2020 was definitely a novel year with many opportunities to try working in a new way. TimbukTech saw many clients reaching out to fulfill business that could adapt with the pandemic and allow users to work from home and increase mobility. 2021 is headed in the same direction toward fresh new ways of looking at business models and being prepared to adapt. We are ready to help you and your business exceed expectations – Call the TimbukTech Sales Team today!


Top 3 Malware Facts to Get Your 2021 Game Plan of Action

Top 3 Malware Facts to Get Your 2021 Game Plan of Action

1. Even with more training than ever before, business-disrupting ransomware attacks nearly doubled in 2020. Hackers are getting savvy to the remediation techniques and barraging ransomware artillery at every turn.
2. The number of malware sites is at its lowest point since 2007. So, you’re fine right? WRONG! At the same time, we’re now dealing with an alarming increase in phishing sites. These sites are attempting to trick you into entering your passwords, credit card numbers, etc. The attempts are never thwarted, they just morph into a new form and appearance to mislead and present a false sense of awareness that the threats have been mitigated.
3. SonicWall identified 439,854 “never-seen-before” malware variants. Although less malware was detected in 2019 versus 2018, a larger portion of the malware detected, presented itself in a new form and strain. There were 12.3% more new variants detected in 2019.

These statistics present a world in which the culprits of criminal cyber hacking show their true colors. When poked, they may appear to back off, however they just morph into a new predicament that can exhaust a novice opponent. At TimbukTech, we are not scared of these attempts, they are in our line of fire daily and we have tools and experience to fight them. Your business will benefit from our engineers and technicians who have the experience, education, and wherewithal to keep your business safe.

So how do avoid ransomware and attacks? Call TimbukTech today, we can arm you with training, firewalls, anti-malware software and systems, and a proactive, managed approach to your security.

Source: https://www.comparitech.com/antivirus/malware-statistics-facts/

Windows 10 – Boost Your User Experience

Everyone likes to have their own unique spin on the layout and navigation of their workspace. Being able to customize what used to be a wrote, stagnant user interface is definitely a thing of the past. Recent updates to Windows 10 make utilizing specific enhancements to make your digital experience more efficient and tailored to your subjective imagination, a pleasure to peruse.

You can pin frequently visited sites to your task bar to visit quickly instead of having to remember the URL by name. Also utilizing the ALT + TAB functions enables you to switch between the windows you have open for quick access. Most of these features are located under the Settings option and can truly individualize your features for ease of use and time enhancements.

If you take some time to review the options available, you can pinpoint the most important highlights such as activating the Windows Hello feature to add layered security to sign-ons or utilize the Windows Magnifier to read text aloud, allowing you to multi-task. Utilizing various functions within the Display module can help adjust for our eyesight, while the Snip & Sketch tool can be a great asset for communicating with co-workers and clients in a new way, see the example below:

As you can see, we’ve snapped a picture from our website and highlighted the service we wanted to share with the end user. This can quickly give a person the information they need instead of wasting time trying to explain things over the phone and can be especially helpful for guiding your clients to specific information points on your website, document or screen.

Take some time to review the various Settings options on Windows 10 and see how it can begin to help make your life a little easier. In today’s information overload, it could help increase the most valuable asset to our workday – the gift of time. TimbukTech is your resource for efficient, secure tools and information, your partner for business success.

Endpoint Protection for the Deep/Dark Web

In our last newsletter, we introduced you to the dark web and provided a definition for the purposes and activities flourishing there. In this issue, we’d like to address the important of antivirus and keeping updates active from the server/cloud to all endpoints. If you’re not already utilizing an automated tool, chances are there could be potential problems lurking in your network.

Creating a safe browsing environment depends on several different factors including education on the do’s and don’ts of internet/email protocols, cyclical login/password modification to commonly visited sites and most importantly – great layered and segmented security for your networking environment. Implementing a rigorous antivirus solution means more than just warning you of a potential website that is missing an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) that encrypts traffic from one device to another.

Sophisticated antivirus protection has become a multi-faceted resource for users who have information stored on the deep web, which includes everyone. Whether you are accessing financial information, legal documents, or any private online information, you are already entrenched in the deep web. With this in mind, you need security tools that can address all the potential pitfalls they present.

Security features like the following can identify surreptitious predators:

• immediate notifications that a potential threat exists, prompting immediate diagnostics
• deep machine learning that can sense a bot attack and where its locus might exist
• rapid remediation techniques that alert our response team to a threat
• automated reporting for future learning and trend comparisons

If you are not set-up with one or more of these heightened security features, TimbukTech can be your resource for navigating the world of deep/dark web environments. We work with you to provide a full-scale, turnkey solution for the best possible outcomes in your fight for private information protection for your business and your clients.

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What is the Dark Web?

The dark web is source for users who want to be able to communicate without having their identity known. There are a variety of activities that occur on the dark web that range from illicit and illegal to protected sites that serve as safe spaces for whistleblowers to remain anonymous. The dark web, as indicated by the name, can serve as a place where users can buy information, contraband, and carry out other nefarious activities.

Criminals can buy usernames and passwords, credit card information, bank accounts, social security numbers, etc. – all leading to a network of what should be private and protected information that could belong to you, your family, your co-worker, your company or anyone that has been an unknowing victim of cyber activity. This underground network can destroy and damage lives and wreak havoc for your company and cause weeks of business interruption if a ransomware attack is engaged.

The users move their connecting information through various encrypted servers and networks, undetectable by most policing agencies. Authorities are gaining momentum and catching some felonious groups and individuals, yet that prompts others to close-up shop and start another illegitimate organization elsewhere – they just keep moving and changing information to avoid capture.

TimbukTech offers a deep web scan that can identify if your network has been or is vulnerable to attacks by cyber criminals who will sell your private information to the highest bidder. Part of staying proactive in your network is taking the time to understand who might be lingering silently in the background, just waiting for a susceptible moment. After our scan is initiated, we can then diagram a healing strategy, utilizing various platforms that offer network security and evergreen techniques that set your security risk as low as possible in this ever-changing environment.

Email Spoofing

Email security – COVID 19 Spoofing Attempts

Of particular interest regarding email security, is the ever-increasing amount of spoofing attacks dressed in sheep’s clothing, posing as informational emails regarding COVID 19 news and updates. However, lurking beneath the surface is a criminal’s attempt to lead a user away from their usual skepticism and lure them by playing on their fear and vulnerability in this unusual time in history.

Now is the time to be on high alert in training your staff to be aware of the soft and subtle tactics used by hackers to mentally sway a user to let down their guard. Are you training your staff on a continual basis on what to look for in a possible phishing email? Are they aware of the common elements used to make an email look like it came from a trusted source? Utilizing a phishing simulator can be an excellent tool to continually test your users to ensure they are on alert and being mindful of possible threats that occur in email.

Increasingly important is identifying users in your network that receive a large amount of email. When having to wade through lots of email, it can become easy to blindly open a spoofed email when in a hurry and on the go. Being busy is part of life these days, yet this is where criminals know how to take advantage of weakened sensitivity to the exposure. Don’t let you team fall victim to this tactic!

Other mitigating factors to ensure you have proper protection include ensuring you have proper security measures in place for your servers, segmentation of user profiles and their ability to access only the necessary information for their role, and deep learning security platforms that heal your vulnerabilities as you go, while learning for the next threat that is lurking – all effectuating a zero-trust workplace security master plan. TimbukTech is your resource for game plan action!