Archive for March, 2016

Microsoft Office 365 Small Business Benefits and Tips

Posted on: March 30th, 2016 by webadmin No Comments

50,000 customers have signed up for Office 365 over the past consecutive 16 months.  There are a plethora of reasons to move to consider moving to Office 365 for small and midsized businesses.

Microsoft likes to tout O365 as your complete office in the cloud.  For this post, we’d like to focus on one of the most pervasive tools we all use everyday: Email.

Moving to Office 365 will help your employees be more productive with their email.  Here are just a few examples:

App Bar

Apps are everywhere these days.  Microsoft has found a great way to integrate them into Exchange with the App bar.  The bar shows up in an email if keywords in the email trigger it.  For example, if there is an address listed, Bing maps will pop up in the app bar.

Now, instead of having to jump from the email to the web or a mapping app if you are on mobile, you can get the location, and even directions right in the email.

The app bar will also display action items, keying off phrases like “RSVP by Tuesday,” or other phrases.

Microsoft Exchange

Attachments

One of TNT’s favorite improvements has been recently used files in attachments.  Whenever you click to attach a file to an email, you automatically get a list of the files you were most recently working on. No more pouring through dozens of files to find that Excel Spreadsheet you just finished.

Another great feature is cloud attachments.  regular attachments take up space in your inbox.  Also, as colleagues tweak versions and email them back and forth, it can be a nightmare trying to figure out which version is correct.  With cloud attachments, the recipient is emailed a link to the document stored somewhere like OneDrive for Business or SharePoint.  The sender can set permissions for the document.

Data Layer Protection

This is a great feature that can help keep emails from potentially causing harm to your data or network.  Policies can be set up to prevent sensitive information from leaving the corporate network.

If an employee tries to send an email that contains  credit card information, Exchange can recognize that, and alert the sender or even prevent them from sending that information.

Office 365 small business benefits reach beyond these three features.  See for your self with an immersive, hands on educational experience of Office 365 for you and your team.  TNT can come to your workplace, and tailor the lab to your specific needs.  Contact us today to schedule your free Microsoft Office 365 Hands on Lab.

Ransomware Decryptor Now Available

Posted on: March 17th, 2016 by webadmin No Comments

Think of any typical action movie. Most have a scene early on where the bad guys win a battle. Then, the good guys organize, and they engage the bad guys until they are defeated.

Looks like that has happened with ransomware! Authorities in The Netherlands have been investigating the CoinVault and Bitcryptor campaigns.  They were able to arrest the bad guys, and the ransomware decryptor keys are now available as part of a free downloadable application.

A couple of clicks now, and this specific beast that encrypts your data and mandates you pay to get an unlock key goes away.

Alas, like all bad moves, there is always a sequel. There are many other villains out there, and the number of ransomware attacks is only climbing.  Considering that this is a James Bond sort of event, there will be a sequel.

SQL?

The Network Team has tools that can help keep your data safe from attackers, and give you the best shot at recovery in the event of an attack.  It has allowed one of our clients to refuse to pay the ransom, and minimize lost data.  Contact us today to find out how we can help our organization.

Post by: Jeff Gaura, President

Data Breaches in North Carolina More than Triple in 2016 with New Twists

Posted on: March 8th, 2016 by webadmin No Comments

Reports of data breaches in North Carolina have more than tripled from 2015-2016. And remember, it’s only March!

  • The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division says 26 phishing breaches have been reported so far this year.
  • 16 of those data breaches in North Carolina came in the past two weeks.
  • There were only eight phishing breaches reported in all of 2015 in NC.

Under North Carolina law, businesses must notify the Attorney General’s Office, along with those affected, when records containing personal information are lost, stolen or accessed improperly.  That personal information can be Social Security numbers or credit card or bank numbers.

According to the AG, the ever resilient hackers are putting new twists on their phishing attempts.  They are now using technology to spoof an email address, making it look as if it came from a boss, or higher up in the company.  Criminals are also adding what may seem to be unlikely targets to their attacks.  Just as Ransomware criminals are targeting small and midsized organizations, phishing attackers are going after churches and non-profits.

An employee at a church in North Carolina received an email that appeared to be from the pastor asking her to transfer thousands of dollars from one bank to another.  A TNT customer received similar emails.  However, management had already educated employees about the scam, and therefore they didn’t fall victim like the church did.  we’ve also heard of employees at a business in Union County that received an email apparently from the boss with an invoice attached.  Thankfully, in that case, the employee did not click on the attachment.

Another twist in these breaches is that the hackers are targeting employee payroll information along with all the traditional pieces of information stolen.

This uptick in phishing attacks is the precise reason companies need to ensure they have the most secure network possible.

  • You also need to educate employees about these attacks, and the new tactics.
  • Encourage end users the message is real by calling the alleged sender.
  • Ensure that you don’t have holes in your network that will allow criminals to slip in.

Contact The Network Team to find out how you can be more proactive vs. reactive to the treats to your network security.

Network Security Threats from Ransomware are Growing

Posted on: March 2nd, 2016 by webadmin No Comments

Imagine if your neighbor came to you with the following story.

“Someone broke into my house, and took all of the valuable items and money. They even got into my hidden safe, and took some valuables I was storing for my parents. Then, they called me and told me they would bring it all back, if I pay a ransom.  When I called the police, they told me to just go ahead and pay because officers can’t help catch them.  My dad suggested I get new locks and a better security system, but that’s costly, and it may just be easier to pay the criminals, even if they attack again.  What do you think I should do?”

Chances are, you would not endorse their plan.

But, this is happening across the world.  The thieves are international hackers creating new network security threats.  They are not stealing into vaults and taking anything.  What they ARE doing is encrypting electronic data so that you can no longer have access it.

They are demanding ransoms in the form of bitcoins, a currency currently untraceable and largely ungoverned.

Perhaps you have heard of the local school, or the hospital in California who had their data encrypted.  All were told by the FBI to pay the ransom.

Here is the strangest part.  It is happening again, and again, to those same people.  We have had public sector customers as well as local sports teams hit by this “Cryptowall.”  We’ve had a manufacturing plant hit by it three times.

The fix involves putting in measures that prevent network security threats like the Cryptowall from doing its “thing.”  For most IT folks, the solution to being attacked is to give each combatant a sword…more client side security software, etc.  It also means taking more and more rights away from them, such that the attacker can’t wreak havoc.

The “fix” TNT recommends is put in a new gatekeeper…one capable of scanning for the malicious little booger and killing it before it ever gets to the innocent little people on the inside.  The new gatekeeper is relatively cheap, certainly cheaper than an attack.

It has a name.  It is called Firepower.  It lives in the next generation of Cisco Adaptive Security Appliances (ASA).  It is software that runs on the ASA, and you can configure it with a web browser.  No fancy, dancy Cisco command line interface to make it attack.

We are selling them like hot cakes to fight against network security threats.

As the folks from ADT say, it is always better to stop the criminal before he gets in than to respond to him once he breaks down the house.

Protect your company, employee and customer data.  Stop the hackers from adding to the more than $300 million they’ve already collected.  Secure your network now. Contact TNT to learn more.

Post by Jeff Gaura, TNT President