Microsoft 365 data loss protection: A quick and easy guide

Businesses of all sizes and across all sectors are turning to Microsoft 365 for the productivity-boosting benefits it offers. Many also choose the subscription service for its robust security features designed to safeguard against cyberthreats of all kinds. To make the most out of these functionalities and ensure your business data’s security, follow these tips.

Take advantage of policy alerts

Establish policy notifications in Microsoft 365’s Compliance Center to help you meet your company’s data security obligations. With these in place, your employees will receive policy tips about sending confidential information anytime they’re about to send messages to contacts outside of the company network. These preemptive warnings can prevent data leaks and also educate users on safer data sharing practices.

Secure mobile devices

Since employees often use personal smartphones or computers to access their work email, calendar, contacts, and documents — especially if they’re working remotely — securing employee-owned devices should be a critical part of protecting your organization’s data. Installing mobile device management features for Microsoft 365 enables you to manage security policies and access permissions/restrictions, and remotely wipe sensitive data from mobile devices if they’re lost or stolen.

Use multifactor authentication

Relying on a single password to protect your Microsoft 365 accounts could lead to account hijacking, which could put your data at risk of being compromised. Instead, enable multifactor authentication (MFA). MFA requires users to supply additional credentials on top of a password before they can access their accounts. This makes it difficult for hackers to access your accounts since they not only have to guess user passwords, but they also need to provide a second authentication factor like a one-time SMS code or a fingerprint scan.

Apply session timeouts

Many employees usually forget to log out of their Microsoft 365 accounts and keep their computers or mobile devices unlocked. This could give unauthorized users unfettered access to company accounts, allowing them to steal sensitive data. By applying session timeouts to Microsoft 365 accounts, email accounts, and internal networks, users will be automatically logged out after a period of inactivity, preventing hackers from taking over users’ devices and accessing private information.

Avoid public calendar sharing

Microsoft 365’s calendar sharing feature allows employees to share and sync their schedules with their colleagues. However, publicly sharing this information is a bad idea because it helps attackers understand how your company works, determine who’s away, and identify vulnerable users. For instance, if security administrators are publicly listed as “Away on vacation,” an attacker may see this as an opportunity to unleash malware on unattended computers.

Employ role-based access controls

Access management is another Microsoft 365 feature that will limit the flow of sensitive data across your organization. It lets you determine which users have access to specific files in your company. For example, rank-and-file employees won’t be able to read or edit executive-level documents, minimizing the risk of data leaks.

Encrypt emails

Encrypting classified information is your last line of defense against data breaches. If hackers intercept your emails, encryption tools will make files unreadable to unauthorized recipients. This is a must-have for Microsoft 365, where files and emails are shared on a regular basis.

Partner with us to ensure your organization’s Microsoft 365 accounts are always secure and compliant with changing data security requirements. Give us a call today — our team of experts are here to help.

This post was originally published on this site

Microsoft 365 data loss protection: A quick and easy guide

Businesses of all sizes and across all sectors are turning to Microsoft 365 for the productivity-boosting benefits it offers. Many also choose the subscription service for its robust security features designed to safeguard against cyberthreats of all kinds. To make the most out of these functionalities and ensure your business data’s security, follow these tips.

Take advantage of policy alerts

Establish policy notifications in Microsoft 365’s Compliance Center to help you meet your company’s data security obligations. With these in place, your employees will receive policy tips about sending confidential information anytime they’re about to send messages to contacts outside of the company network. These preemptive warnings can prevent data leaks and also educate users on safer data sharing practices.

Secure mobile devices

Since employees often use personal smartphones or computers to access their work email, calendar, contacts, and documents — especially if they’re working remotely — securing employee-owned devices should be a critical part of protecting your organization’s data. Installing mobile device management features for Microsoft 365 enables you to manage security policies and access permissions/restrictions, and remotely wipe sensitive data from mobile devices if they’re lost or stolen.

Use multifactor authentication

Relying on a single password to protect your Microsoft 365 accounts could lead to account hijacking, which could put your data at risk of being compromised. Instead, enable multifactor authentication (MFA). MFA requires users to supply additional credentials on top of a password before they can access their accounts. This makes it difficult for hackers to access your accounts since they not only have to guess user passwords, but they also need to provide a second authentication factor like a one-time SMS code or a fingerprint scan.

Apply session timeouts

Many employees usually forget to log out of their Microsoft 365 accounts and keep their computers or mobile devices unlocked. This could give unauthorized users unfettered access to company accounts, allowing them to steal sensitive data. By applying session timeouts to Microsoft 365 accounts, email accounts, and internal networks, users will be automatically logged out after a period of inactivity, preventing hackers from taking over users’ devices and accessing private information.

Avoid public calendar sharing

Microsoft 365’s calendar sharing feature allows employees to share and sync their schedules with their colleagues. However, publicly sharing this information is a bad idea because it helps attackers understand how your company works, determine who’s away, and identify vulnerable users. For instance, if security administrators are publicly listed as “Away on vacation,” an attacker may see this as an opportunity to unleash malware on unattended computers.

Employ role-based access controls

Access management is another Microsoft 365 feature that will limit the flow of sensitive data across your organization. It lets you determine which users have access to specific files in your company. For example, rank-and-file employees won’t be able to read or edit executive-level documents, minimizing the risk of data leaks.

Encrypt emails

Encrypting classified information is your last line of defense against data breaches. If hackers intercept your emails, encryption tools will make files unreadable to unauthorized recipients. This is a must-have for Microsoft 365, where files and emails are shared on a regular basis.

Partner with us to ensure your organization’s Microsoft 365 accounts are always secure and compliant with changing data security requirements. Give us a call today — our team of experts are here to help.

This post was originally published on this site

Tips to avoid common browser security dangers

Being tricked into visiting malicious websites and getting your computer infected with malware is not the only way your business data can get compromised. By browsing the net without using security measures, your computers and data could get into trouble. FYI: your web browser knows a lot about the sites you visit, including the credentials you use to access financial and business accounts. Secure your browsers and your data by following these steps.

Install ad blocking software

Online ads may seem harmless, but they can contain scripts and widgets that send your data to a third party. A decent ad blocking program will stop banner, rollover, and pop-up ads, and prevent you from inadvertently visiting a site that may contain malware.

Many blockers also come with additional features such as the ability to disable cookies and scripts used by third parties on sites, the option to block specific items, and options to “clean up” Facebook and hide YouTube comments.

Prevent browser tracking

If you don’t like the idea of a third party (reputable or otherwise) tracking your browsing habits, enable private browsing using built-in tools in your internet browser such as Chrome’s Incognito mode or Safari’s Private Browsing windows. This offers protection against tracking by blocking third-party cookies as well as malware. Some browser extensions also boast secure Wi-Fi and bandwidth optimization, and can guard against tracking and data collection from social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Set up a virtual private network (VPN)

Unfortunately, browser tracking and adware are not the only internet nasties that you need to be concerned about. Hackers can intercept sensitive data between two parties, allowing them to steal and exploit valuable information such as bank details, login credentials, and other personal information. Installing a VPN can help solve this problem. VPNs encrypt your internet traffic, effectively shutting out anyone who may be trying to see what you’re browsing.

Install antivirus and anti-malware software

Finally, it goes without saying that having antivirus and anti-malware software installed on your PC, tablet, and smartphone is crucial if you want to ensure your online safety. These software programs are your first defense against malicious parties intent on stealing your data.

Is browsing at your workplace secure? Would you like a more comprehensive security system for your business? We can tell you all about it and help protect your business from online threats. Get in touch with us today.

This post was originally published on this site

Tips to avoid common browser security dangers

Being tricked into visiting malicious websites and getting your computer infected with malware is not the only way your business data can get compromised. By browsing the net without using security measures, your computers and data could get into trouble. FYI: your web browser knows a lot about the sites you visit, including the credentials you use to access financial and business accounts. Secure your browsers and your data by following these steps.

Install ad blocking software

Online ads may seem harmless, but they can contain scripts and widgets that send your data to a third party. A decent ad blocking program will stop banner, rollover, and pop-up ads, and prevent you from inadvertently visiting a site that may contain malware.

Many blockers also come with additional features such as the ability to disable cookies and scripts used by third parties on sites, the option to block specific items, and options to “clean up” Facebook and hide YouTube comments.

Prevent browser tracking

If you don’t like the idea of a third party (reputable or otherwise) tracking your browsing habits, enable private browsing using built-in tools in your internet browser such as Chrome’s Incognito mode or Safari’s Private Browsing windows. This offers protection against tracking by blocking third-party cookies as well as malware. Some browser extensions also boast secure Wi-Fi and bandwidth optimization, and can guard against tracking and data collection from social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Set up a virtual private network (VPN)

Unfortunately, browser tracking and adware are not the only internet nasties that you need to be concerned about. Hackers can intercept sensitive data between two parties, allowing them to steal and exploit valuable information such as bank details, login credentials, and other personal information. Installing a VPN can help solve this problem. VPNs encrypt your internet traffic, effectively shutting out anyone who may be trying to see what you’re browsing.

Install antivirus and anti-malware software

Finally, it goes without saying that having antivirus and anti-malware software installed on your PC, tablet, and smartphone is crucial if you want to ensure your online safety. These software programs are your first defense against malicious parties intent on stealing your data.

Is browsing at your workplace secure? Would you like a more comprehensive security system for your business? We can tell you all about it and help protect your business from online threats. Get in touch with us today.

This post was originally published on this site

Here are 5 mistakes to avoid when investing in IT

Investing in new IT solutions can make your team more productive, ensure compliance with industry regulations, and improve the outputs you deliver to your customers, among other outcomes. But if you really want to maximize the returns you gain from any new tech investments, make sure to avoid these common mistakes.

Spending without finding the perfect fit

Advertisers would have you believe that the newest technology will solve all your problems. While the latest cloud or virtualization offering will likely improve things for many companies, they may not work for everyone.

Don’t let the flash and hype of new products impress you. Carefully think about the results you want to achieve with technology. Make a list of your goals and see if they can be fulfilled through a new IT investment. A good IT provider should guide and not confuse you and should see to it that you make the best choice.

Believing everything will magically work together

As technology evolves, it tends to become more user-friendly, helping people work better and faster. However, some solutions do not follow that route and many business owners mistakenly assume that their new tech investments will work well with their existing IT systems.

Incompatible technologies can result in massive and costly downtimes that can cripple your business. Therefore, you need to be smart and do your research, or consult an IT professional before making tech purchases.

Not training your team

Just because you’ve found and purchased powerful new technology that integrates well with your existing infrastructure doesn’t mean you can set them and forget them. New systems won’t magically boost your company’s outputs and increase its bottom line. To achieve your desired results, your team will have to know how to use your tech investments first.

Keep in mind that not all of your employees may be able to quickly get a handle on new tools. Some may simply prefer the technologies they’ve become accustomed to. If you can, have IT experts who have considerable experience in your new tools train your staff. Because of their knowledge, these specialists will know how to simplify complicated steps and can offer tips on how to get the most out of your tech investments. Your IT provider is a good place to start when looking for an expert who will handle training.

Forgetting your budget

More and more IT solutions are packaged with pay-as-you-go monthly pricing. While this is a great way to help you avoid a large upfront capital investment, implementing too many different technologies quickly without thinking about recurring costs can exhaust your finances.

Think carefully before opening your wallet. Do a little research, draft a budget, or get help from a consultant. These steps will spare you from a lot of frustrations in the future.
Not getting feedback

Before you purchase new tech, consult the employees who will be using the new technology on a daily basis. Remember that not everyone may feel at home with fresh tools. They might even discover some downsides you aren’t aware of.

Need an IT professional to create a complete technology solution for your business? We’re happy to serve you.

This post was originally published on this site

Here are 5 mistakes to avoid when investing in IT

Investing in new IT solutions can make your team more productive, ensure compliance with industry regulations, and improve the outputs you deliver to your customers, among other outcomes. But if you really want to maximize the returns you gain from any new tech investments, make sure to avoid these common mistakes.

Spending without finding the perfect fit

Advertisers would have you believe that the newest technology will solve all your problems. While the latest cloud or virtualization offering will likely improve things for many companies, they may not work for everyone.

Don’t let the flash and hype of new products impress you. Carefully think about the results you want to achieve with technology. Make a list of your goals and see if they can be fulfilled through a new IT investment. A good IT provider should guide and not confuse you and should see to it that you make the best choice.

Believing everything will magically work together

As technology evolves, it tends to become more user-friendly, helping people work better and faster. However, some solutions do not follow that route and many business owners mistakenly assume that their new tech investments will work well with their existing IT systems.

Incompatible technologies can result in massive and costly downtimes that can cripple your business. Therefore, you need to be smart and do your research, or consult an IT professional before making tech purchases.

Not training your team

Just because you’ve found and purchased powerful new technology that integrates well with your existing infrastructure doesn’t mean you can set them and forget them. New systems won’t magically boost your company’s outputs and increase its bottom line. To achieve your desired results, your team will have to know how to use your tech investments first.

Keep in mind that not all of your employees may be able to quickly get a handle on new tools. Some may simply prefer the technologies they’ve become accustomed to. If you can, have IT experts who have considerable experience in your new tools train your staff. Because of their knowledge, these specialists will know how to simplify complicated steps and can offer tips on how to get the most out of your tech investments. Your IT provider is a good place to start when looking for an expert who will handle training.

Forgetting your budget

More and more IT solutions are packaged with pay-as-you-go monthly pricing. While this is a great way to help you avoid a large upfront capital investment, implementing too many different technologies quickly without thinking about recurring costs can exhaust your finances.

Think carefully before opening your wallet. Do a little research, draft a budget, or get help from a consultant. These steps will spare you from a lot of frustrations in the future.
Not getting feedback

Before you purchase new tech, consult the employees who will be using the new technology on a daily basis. Remember that not everyone may feel at home with fresh tools. They might even discover some downsides you aren’t aware of.

Need an IT professional to create a complete technology solution for your business? We’re happy to serve you.

This post was originally published on this site

Easy steps to remove bloatware from your Windows 10 computer

Laptop buyers are always seeking the most efficient and most user-friendly devices. So it came as a bit of a shock when the highly acclaimed Windows 10 operating system was found to be riddled with bloatware — unwanted pre-installed software that takes up space and computer memory.

New PCs and laptops are always fun to unpack, especially since Microsoft continuously optimizes its software’s user experience to make it engaging right from the start. But so many users are dismayed to find out that after the great time they had setting up their computers, they’ll tend to have a not-so-fun experience of dealing with bloatware.

The term “bloatware” refers to software and apps that are preloaded into computers even if the user doesn’t want them. These apps tend to take up storage space, consume processing power, and be quite a headache to remove.

Bloatware has long been a scourge of mobile devices, particularly those that run on Android operating systems. But these days, even laptops are no longer exempt from such nuisances — software giant Microsoft has packaged its Windows 10 operating system to come with preinstalled apps that most users won’t even give a second glance to. Some of the worst offenders are as follows:

  • 3D Viewer (previously called Mixed Reality Viewer)
  • Candy Crush
  • Cooking Fever
  • Disney Magic Kingdoms
  • Groove Music
  • Movies & TV
  • Paint 3D
  • Snip & Sketch
  • Sticky Notes
  • Voice Recorder

While many of these programs are pleasant add-ons for those who find value in them, many users prefer to start with a leaner operating system due to storage space and processing power concerns. If they want a particular software program, they prefer to download it themselves. This gives them greater control over their machines and their hardware and software experience.

What’s worse is that bloatware can also cause critical vulnerabilities. The most ironic example of this was a pre-installed version of Keeper Password Manager. Instead of keeping passwords safe, it allowed malicious people behind any website to steal passwords. While Windows 10 users needed to enable Keeper to store their passwords for them to become vulnerable, it makes you wonder why such a flawed password manager app is there in the first place.

How to rid your device of bloatware

Removing inclusions you did not ask for is a hassle in and of itself, but thankfully, the process is not too tedious.

  1. Click the Start menu, then the gear icon.
  2. In the Settings window, select Update & Security.
  3. On the left-hand side, click Recovery.
  4. Select Reset this PC.
  5. Click Get Started.
  6. Select Keep my files and then choose where you wish to store them.
  7. Lastly, set “Restore preinstalled apps?” to “No.”

Bloatware not only clutters your laptops and PCs, but it can render your business vulnerable to cybersecurity breaches as well. Save yourself from tons of headaches down the line; learn more about protecting your computers from bloatware. Call our team of IT experts today!

This post was originally published on this site

Easy steps to remove bloatware from your Windows 10 computer

Laptop buyers are always seeking the most efficient and most user-friendly devices. So it came as a bit of a shock when the highly acclaimed Windows 10 operating system was found to be riddled with bloatware — unwanted pre-installed software that takes up space and computer memory.

New PCs and laptops are always fun to unpack, especially since Microsoft continuously optimizes its software’s user experience to make it engaging right from the start. But so many users are dismayed to find out that after the great time they had setting up their computers, they’ll tend to have a not-so-fun experience of dealing with bloatware.

The term “bloatware” refers to software and apps that are preloaded into computers even if the user doesn’t want them. These apps tend to take up storage space, consume processing power, and be quite a headache to remove.

Bloatware has long been a scourge of mobile devices, particularly those that run on Android operating systems. But these days, even laptops are no longer exempt from such nuisances — software giant Microsoft has packaged its Windows 10 operating system to come with preinstalled apps that most users won’t even give a second glance to. Some of the worst offenders are as follows:

  • 3D Viewer (previously called Mixed Reality Viewer)
  • Candy Crush
  • Cooking Fever
  • Disney Magic Kingdoms
  • Groove Music
  • Movies & TV
  • Paint 3D
  • Snip & Sketch
  • Sticky Notes
  • Voice Recorder

While many of these programs are pleasant add-ons for those who find value in them, many users prefer to start with a leaner operating system due to storage space and processing power concerns. If they want a particular software program, they prefer to download it themselves. This gives them greater control over their machines and their hardware and software experience.

What’s worse is that bloatware can also cause critical vulnerabilities. The most ironic example of this was a pre-installed version of Keeper Password Manager. Instead of keeping passwords safe, it allowed malicious people behind any website to steal passwords. While Windows 10 users needed to enable Keeper to store their passwords for them to become vulnerable, it makes you wonder why such a flawed password manager app is there in the first place.

How to rid your device of bloatware

Removing inclusions you did not ask for is a hassle in and of itself, but thankfully, the process is not too tedious.

  1. Click the Start menu, then the gear icon.
  2. In the Settings window, select Update & Security.
  3. On the left-hand side, click Recovery.
  4. Select Reset this PC.
  5. Click Get Started.
  6. Select Keep my files and then choose where you wish to store them.
  7. Lastly, set “Restore preinstalled apps?” to “No.”

Bloatware not only clutters your laptops and PCs, but it can render your business vulnerable to cybersecurity breaches as well. Save yourself from tons of headaches down the line; learn more about protecting your computers from bloatware. Call our team of IT experts today!

This post was originally published on this site

Don’t be a victim of watering hole attacks

With cybercriminals continuously developing new ways to infiltrate networks and steal user data, it is more crucial than ever to stay one step ahead of these perpetrators. Protect yourself from one of the most common methods that cybercriminals use to inject malware into computers: watering hole attacks.

The term “watering hole” colloquially refers to a social gathering place where a particular group of people often go to. As internet users, we all have unique “watering holes” or websites that we visit frequently. A financial analyst, for example, is likely to visit websites related to financial investments and market trends.

In a watering hole attack, cybercriminals observe the watering holes of a specific demographic and infect their most visited websites with malware. Any user who has the misfortune of visiting any of these compromised sites will then have their computers automatically loaded with malware.

The malware used in these attacks usually collects the victim’s personal information and sends it back to the hacker’s server. In extreme cases, the hacker will actively take control of the infected computer.

But how does a cybercriminal choose which websites to hack? With internet tracking tools, hackers find out which websites companies and individual users visit the most. They then attempt to find vulnerabilities in those websites and embed them with malicious software.

Hackers these days are so highly skilled that they can exploit any website using a watering hole attack. In fact, even high-profile organizations like Facebook, Forbes, and the US Department of Labor have fallen prey to this scheme in recent years.

Protect yourself from watering hole attacks by doing the following:

Update your software

Watering hole attacks often exploit security gaps and vulnerabilities to infiltrate computers and networks. By updating all your software and browsers regularly, you can significantly reduce the risk of an attack. Make it a habit to check the software developer’s website for any security patches. Or better yet, hire a managed IT services provider to keep your system up to date.

Watch your network closely

Regularly conduct security checks using your network security tools to detect watering hole attacks. Use tools like intrusion prevention systems that allow you to detect and contain suspicious or malicious network activities before they can cause problems. Meanwhile, bandwidth management software will enable you to observe user behavior and detect abnormalities that could indicate an attack, such as large transfers of information or a high number of downloads.

Hide your online activities

Cybercriminals can create more effective watering hole attacks if they compromise websites only you and your employees frequent. As such, you should hide your online activities with a VPN and your browser’s private browsing feature. Also, block social media sites from your office network, as these are often used as share points of links to infected sites.

Staying informed is one of the best ways to stay protected. As cyberthreats continue to evolve, it pays to be vigilant and aware of the newest threats. Tune in to our blog to find out about the latest developments in security and to get more tips on how to keep your business safe.

This post was originally published on this site

Don’t be a victim of watering hole attacks

With cybercriminals continuously developing new ways to infiltrate networks and steal user data, it is more crucial than ever to stay one step ahead of these perpetrators. Protect yourself from one of the most common methods that cybercriminals use to inject malware into computers: watering hole attacks.

The term “watering hole” colloquially refers to a social gathering place where a particular group of people often go to. As internet users, we all have unique “watering holes” or websites that we visit frequently. A financial analyst, for example, is likely to visit websites related to financial investments and market trends.

In a watering hole attack, cybercriminals observe the watering holes of a specific demographic and infect their most visited websites with malware. Any user who has the misfortune of visiting any of these compromised sites will then have their computers automatically loaded with malware.

The malware used in these attacks usually collects the victim’s personal information and sends it back to the hacker’s server. In extreme cases, the hacker will actively take control of the infected computer.

But how does a cybercriminal choose which websites to hack? With internet tracking tools, hackers find out which websites companies and individual users visit the most. They then attempt to find vulnerabilities in those websites and embed them with malicious software.

Hackers these days are so highly skilled that they can exploit any website using a watering hole attack. In fact, even high-profile organizations like Facebook, Forbes, and the US Department of Labor have fallen prey to this scheme in recent years.

Protect yourself from watering hole attacks by doing the following:

Update your software

Watering hole attacks often exploit security gaps and vulnerabilities to infiltrate computers and networks. By updating all your software and browsers regularly, you can significantly reduce the risk of an attack. Make it a habit to check the software developer’s website for any security patches. Or better yet, hire a managed IT services provider to keep your system up to date.

Watch your network closely

Regularly conduct security checks using your network security tools to detect watering hole attacks. Use tools like intrusion prevention systems that allow you to detect and contain suspicious or malicious network activities before they can cause problems. Meanwhile, bandwidth management software will enable you to observe user behavior and detect abnormalities that could indicate an attack, such as large transfers of information or a high number of downloads.

Hide your online activities

Cybercriminals can create more effective watering hole attacks if they compromise websites only you and your employees frequent. As such, you should hide your online activities with a VPN and your browser’s private browsing feature. Also, block social media sites from your office network, as these are often used as share points of links to infected sites.

Staying informed is one of the best ways to stay protected. As cyberthreats continue to evolve, it pays to be vigilant and aware of the newest threats. Tune in to our blog to find out about the latest developments in security and to get more tips on how to keep your business safe.

This post was originally published on this site