Improve your business’ communication, time management, and how your staff shares and stores files AND access your files from anywhere… Here are our top 5 reasons we choose to store in the cloud:

Benefit #1 –Better version control…

Benefit #2 – Facilitated collaboration…

Benefit #3 – Improved timeliness…

Benefit #4 – More reliable backups…

Benefit #5 – Increased document security and control…

Speaking of security… if your company operates on a Content Management System, are your files safe? Documents are one of our primary assets and protecting these should be at the top of your list.  Regulated content can be extremely sensitive and having adequate security and control is imperative and can be extremely challenging, if trying to do it on your own. How can we help give you peace of mind?

My wife sent me the link late Saturday night. I was exhausted from driving non-stop through fog and rain for 13 hours and then hitting the gym for a run to loosen up. The product was perfect, all the parts for a swing set my kids would love. It was almost too good to be true but the online store was set up on a major site that I assumed would back me up if it wasn’t real, plus my mother-in-law had found it and she’s pretty thorough. So I charged my AMEX and went to sleep.

Three days later I went to check on my order and the site was cleared out.

Ghost town.

No swing set parts for Christmas.

And I was out $173.

I contacted support for the major site who told me — in essence — they were not going to do anything and that I should contact my card company if I wanted resolution.

I popped open my American Express app on my phone — from a Starbucks between meetings — and told support what happened. Five minutes later a new AMEX was being overnighted and I was refunded my $173.

This was personal but there are lessons for leaders at any level of any organization.

Takeaways

  • None of us are too smart to fall for a scam. Not you, not me, no one. I catch a lot of this stuff for a living, but at the right moment I was still susceptible
  • Long-term risk mitigation matters. I use American Express because of their reputation for extraordinary customer service. When I chose the card I chose one that would back me up when it mattered. One great decision made years ago continues to protect me.
  • Vendors matter. I’ve had to work with American Express on fraud issues before. They’ve never let me down, that’s why I stay with them. Who is there for you when it matters?

Apple doesn’t put their products on sale.

Not ever. It’s a point of pride.

However, Friday through Monday they’ll do the closet thing you’ll find them doing to a sale, and that’s giving you an Apple Store Gift Card worth up to $200. Their website is short on details but you can find what they’ve posted at https://www.apple.com/us/shop/gifts/shopping-event

Now that we’ve gotten our obligatory “Black Friday sales aren’t for businesses,” post out of the way we’re happy to bring you a deal from Costco that is worth every penny.

From now into December Costco is selling the latest Micorosft Surface 7 with 8GB RAM and i5 processor with the keyboard and pen for $999. This typically retails for close to $1,500.

The caveat: You won’t get Microsoft’s extended warranty, which we highly recommend on these and it includes Windows 7 Home instead of Windows 7 Pro. This is great the power-user at home, your IT department is going to frown on it if you bring it to work with you.

It’s our annual write of passage to remind the other small businesses out there: Black Friday deals on business-grade electronics are few and far between, you always get what you pay for.

Honestly, nearly all the deals are to drive consumer foot traffic online and in the door. The computers/monitors/other electronics are almost never rated for use in businesses, and typically come with a “Gotcha,” or lowered specs, shorter, warranty, etc. Save yourself a headache and either forgo the sale for your business, or ask us if it’s really a “deal.”

However, if you are looking for a new phone for the teenager, a bigger TV for home or that running wtach you’ve been eyeing for months then Friday is a great time to buy!

We’ve previewed Dell’s Black Friday sale for 2019 and there are a handful of awesome options, but they’re almost all for home.

The four business deals that we like are:

These three are all out of their highest performance line for business and exceed our minimum specifications. Remember to add at least three 3 years of ProSupport! The rest of their business “deals” all fail to meet our minimum specs here at JM Addington.

On the home front, however, things look better. Their XPS Desktop line all have some holiday savings. These are usually aimed at gamers or creatives. Stay away from the Inspiron desktops on sale, this week, however. There is an entire slew of good looking laptops, the catch, as always with these, is that you can’t get the business class warranty and the hinges can end up over-worked on the laptops the fold into tablets.

If you aren’t sure if something is a steal for you or from you drop us a line, we’d be glad to answer! BUT, we’ll be off Thanksgiving and Black Friday!

Every year massive fraud is committed around taxes. A lot of the fraud involves stealing your identity, filing a fake return on your behalf that shows a refund and then collecting that refund on your behalf.

This year Ars Technica is reporting that other phishing emails are on the rise right now.

  1. Remember that IRS uses snail mail, not email to get ahold of you
  2. Educate your employees on phishing, all the time
  3. You can protect your business from these types of scams using artificial intelligence phishing filters that are capable of catching these emails.

You can expect that these types of attacks will grow more common and more sophisticated as criminals continue to learn how to make more money off of… sending emails.

This week one of our employees had to call out because they had a sick kid at home. “Call out,” just meant, “join the conference call.”

From one end of our business to the other we have our tools and resources in reach — and secured — so that our employees can work from anywhere, from everywhere.

This winter, will snow and flu hold your workforce back?

One of the world’s biggest security vendors had hidden backdoors in their products that would allow virtually anyone to take over the firewall.

Your firewall is the security appliance that is supposed to separate your internal, secure, network from the outside world. This bug/backdoor essentially lets anybody into your network that would like to be there.

This hits East Tennessee hard for 3 major reasons

  • One of the biggest IT firms in the area standardized on this vendor’s firewalls years ago, smaller IT shops followed
  • The security required by firms that do business with DOE and ORNL mean a lot of these firewalls are in place in and around Oak Ridge and Knoxville
  • One of the areas biggest retailers also standardized on these, with 100s believed to be in production

What you need to do — today!

If you’ve seen the images below in your office, server room or computer call your IT firm — TODAY — and ask them if they’ve updated it to a version that no longer contains these bugs. Most IT firms are notorious for patching firewalls slowly, so things don’t break. But being behind on these patches means you are already broken.

This is a really big deal

It allows anyone, anywhere to reset any user’s password on the firewall.

One of the world’s biggest video game companies has had two incredibly major bugs this month and it can kill your organization’s security if you don’t have the right policies in place.

Most organizations we bring on initially have a fuzzy line around what’s “work” equipment and what’s “personal,” and what can be used for what, the result is an insecure environment. On business machines, there is typically a security standard that is in place, a set of policies and procedures set by management and rules (set by IT) to keep the bad guys out and your confidential information inside. Personal machines typically have virtually none of this. security

If your organization allows business information on personal machines or personal use of business machines you’ve opened up the door to attackers. To use the video game example, this company doesn’t seem to count an entire category of bugs important enough to fix. If they sold to businesses, they would never get away with it. If you let your employees install this video game software on your computers, however, you just did. If you allow your employees to access your company information from their personal machines, you also just did.

It’s an easy fix: put in place a written policy that only allows access to confidential information from secured, company-owned machines.

BIG WARNING: Execs usually want to be exempted from these rules. They also typically have the MOST access to the most CONFIDENTIAL information. Then THEY become your biggest risk, and TARGET.

Policies are abstract and don’t often change. They are defined by specific procedures that change as your business changes (“our external IT partner will provide you with a work laptop from which you can access company information”) and enforced by technical rules (i.e., your MSP provider blocks access to company information from machines without your security policy in place).

Even if you can’t get all of your rules and procedures in place today, define and communicate your policies. The security of your organization depends on it, and your security is no less than your future.

Need help? Call us today: 865-240-2716.