Software can reduce the stress of small business.

Specialized business software like an ERP or CRM can reduce the stress of small business.  Small businesses, like boutique soap manufactures or candy makers have dreams and goals like any other business, but often those dreams are challenged daily unpredictability. Like how do I grow my revenues? Or how do I justify new capital equipment on those revenues? Not to mention how do you deal with product seasonality and even worse rising material costs?
Well unfortunately these challenges won’t go away, but your business can mitigate the impact by having a greater visibility on the key fundamentals of your business. This visibility can be the ultimate stress reducer, by letting you adjust to higher supplier costs or help you determine if it’s time to hire workers. With this extra level of visibility you can predict the upswing in business making you more nimble. Giving you the tools and ability to see trends and identify threats and opportunities before they happen is the best way to keep your business dream on track.

The bottom line?

Actually it’s the bottom line and the top line — with business software you have better control over both. Yes, it has taken years for ERP to evolve to the point where it could be relevant to small manufacturers, but now that it is, there’s no reason to delay. Thanks to the cloud and software that’s designed to work expressly for small and medium sized businesses, fears of cost and complexity are no longer justified and it’s finally time to let business software help your business dream become a reality.
Slick Cyber Systems can help you determine what software will help reduce your business stress call us today at 570-371-5800.

TSA Announces That Uncharged Devices Banned from Some Flights

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration has recently announced a change of a rule regarding electronic devices. The TSA will NO Longer allow uncharged devices such as mobile phones or other electronic devices on U.S. bound airplanes at many overseas airports.

This change in policy is part of the TSA’s effort to strengthen security at airports following credible intelligence that Islamic terror groups are planning on blowing up airliners.

These certain international airports will require passengers during security screening to turn on electronic devices such as tablets, mobile phones or laptops. If the devices you’re traveling with do not have power or cannot turn on the device will not be allowed on the plane.

In a written statement, the TSA said: “As the travelling public knows all electronic devices are screened by security officers. During the security examination, officers may also ask that owners power up some devices, including cell phones.

“Powerless devices will not be permitted onboard the aircraft. The traveler may also undergo additional screening.”
It appears that U.S. officials are concerned that these extremist groups have devised a method of turning mobile devices such as tablets or mobile phones into explosives.

Little is known about the intelligence concerning this threat, so the TSA has not specified which airports will be subject to the extra security regarding your mobile electronics.

I guess the moral of this story is to be sure to top off your mobile device to ensure its fully charged before heading off to the airport for your vacations adventures this summer.

Windows 8 Free + Windows Phones set to drop below $200.00

In a recent report by Reuters it appears that Microsoft is going to drive down prices of Windows devices and offer Windows 8 free this year. Do you have a windows phone yet? Will this make you consider windows for your mobile phones or tablets?
Consumers can expect prices of tablets and smartphones running Microsoft software to dip below $200 this year, says the company’s vice president of OEM partners Nick Parker. “We’ll reach price points that are very industry competitive for 7, 8, 10-inch devices,” Parker said, speaking to reporters after his keynote at Computex, Asia’s largest computing show. “They will really surprise you. Last year, we were in the 3s, 4s, 500 dollars. This year, we’ll be 1s, 2s, 3s.”  He also said some Windows Phone smartphones will sell for under $200 in certain markets this year.
The fast fall in prices for Windows 8 devices is the result of Microsoft’s aggressive efforts this year to gain market share in the mobile sector. The market is dominated by Google, which offers its Android operating system for free to handset and tablet developers. While Microsoft has traditionally charged for its software, it made Windows free this year for devices smaller than 9 inches, in an effort to bring the prices of Windows mobile devices closer in line to those running Android. The company also relaxed certification requirements for mobile devices, reached out to new manufacturing partners and made other efforts to encourage development of Windows tablets and smartphones.
Microsoft’s share of the tablet market was less than 4% last year, according to research firm IDC. Parker declined to say if the free offering of Windows is a permanent strategy for the company, or if it will return to charging next year.
But he emphasized that Microsoft had other ways to make money besides Windows licensing fees, such as the “freemium” model of its Skype video chat service and the launch of Office 365, which allows users to rent the software for a year instead of buying it.

Oleg Pliss stole my iPhone. Who’s Oleg Pliss?

A large number of iPhone users have been reporting recently that their beloved iPhones and iPads have come under attack. The attacks are taking the devices hostage and locking the owners out of them and going so far as to demand that they pay a ransom to get their devices unlocked.

It seems that the attack works by first compromising the iCloud account which are associated with these disabled devices. The Apple support form discussion first appeared Early Sunday Morning, but seemed to gather some steam and currently has several hundred posts of users experiencing the same issue.

The devices that have been commandeered seem to emit a loud tone, which is associated with a feature used to help find lost or misplaced devices. The devices even display a message “Device hacked by Oleg Pliss. For unlock device, you need send voucher code by 100 usd/eur (Moneypack/Ukash/PaySafeCard) to email:lock404@hotmail.com for unlock.”

There have even been some reports that if a user hasn’t assigned a strong passcode locking the device against hackers or other prying eyes, then the phone can only be unlocked by performing a factory reset. If you not familiar what this does it completely erases all stored data, contacts, apps, pictures, from the phone and returns the phone to factory default.

PC users have seen similar variations of this scam before which is referred to as a ransonware scam. In fact Google’s Android OS also was targeted by similar scams just a few weeks ago, but now iPhone, iPad users are getting familiar with the frustration caused by this most recent scam.

The forum that reported the issue seem to provide some solid proof that victims of this scam have had their Apple ID’s and passwords compromised. This allowed the attackers to remotely lock the connected iPhones or iPads with Apple’s own “Find My iPhone service”.

No one is certain how the iCloud accounts were compromised by these attackers. It is certainly possible that these accounts were compromised by hijackers who may have performed standard phishing attacks, or maybe even hacked password databases getting ahold of user credentials allowing them to hold these devices for ransom.

So what can I do to stop my iPhone or iPad from being stolen by Oleg or any other hacker?
Well first users are advised by Slick Cyber Systems to randomly generate long passwords that are unique to their iCloud account. It is also recommended to enable the two factor authentication and always use unique passwords for each device, never reuse passwords.

Users with a locked device are recommended to immediately try changing their Apple ID credentials and we highly recommend that the two-factor authentication is set up. In the event their locked device did not have a passcode associated with it, you can perform a factory reset by using a cable to plug the device into their computer while iTunes is open.

For additional help reclaiming your devices or help understanding how to make your technology as secure as possible please contact Slick Cyber Systems to have a full evaluation of your network by calling (570) 371-5800, or visiting us online at www.slickcybersystems.com.

Is Hacking a Website To Steal My Information Easy?

Is Hacking a Website To Steal My Company Information Easy?

Gone are the days of believing that hackers were geeky pale little nerds that spent their days in basements eating pizza (and Hot Pockets) well into the night while playing World of Warcraft while hacking into secure sites for the bragging rights.
There has been huge growth and a resurgence of hackers (and other tech savvy groups), like Anonymous, who routinely perform well coordinated attacks against all sorts of targets from local and state governments to corporations and even everyday citizens.

So to the question we are all thinking. How hard is it to hack into a website and steal information? Well the shocking truth is that it’s getting much easier to steal information. Recently Rob Rachwald, claimed that he taught his 11 year old daughter how to perform an SQL injection attack in 15 minutes. Rob, who works for Imperva which is a cyber-security firm, said that “the tools are getting smarter”, “SQL injection attacks used to be done manually, but now due to smarter tools they can be automated”.
Once thought only a problem of big business the truth is that the most popular targets are small and medium-sized businesses that allow online transactions: think local gyms, pet-sitting services and charities, doctors’ offices.

There is a growing army of arm chair cyber criminals utilizing next generation tools looking to steal information about you and your customers.
Are you ready for them? Is your business protected? Is your customer’s information protected?
If you’re not certain, call Slick Cyber Systems at 570-371-5800, or visit us on line at www.slickcybersystems.com

Managed Services, Why Do I Want Them?

Managed Service, Why Do I Want Them?

This is an important question to rise if you have a business filled with servers, computers and staff. “What do I get with managed services that I couldn’t get with a break fix solution?”

What is a Managed Service Provider?
A managed service provider (MSP) is a third-party contractor that delivers network-based services, applications and equipment management services to business and enterprises of all sizes. The MSP is the one who is responsible for monitoring, and managing the problems your I.T. infrastructure.
Utilizing an MSP to manage and automate functions on behalf of its clients that may be overlooked by internal staff. These services often include virus updates, as well as security software updates, systems patches, backups, monitoring, auditing and overall increased control.

Often MSPs act as an extension of your own staff, taking care of routine IT infrastructure like monitoring and management of your network around the clock which frees up your staff to focus on more important business critical projects. MSP’s proactively monitor and maintain your systems in order to help you avoid problems and downtime and drive productivity and uptime while lowering costs.
MSPs have become an attractive option for many organizations regardless of your company’s size and should be an integral part of your overall business strategy, involving senior executives and key staff.

Outsourcing IT services is NOT like other outsourced services.  You maintain full control.
You decide what your staff can handle and what you want to outsource to your provider. In addition, utilizing the managed service provider model gives you more control over costs and a more predictable budget.

If you are interested in how you can benefit strategically, financially, and technologically by working with an MSP, please contact Slick Cyber Systems at sales@slickcybersystems.com , 570-371-5800, or visit us on the web at www.slickcybersystems.com

Open Source Stinks (for business)

Open Source, Open Source, Open Source it’s all the rage. But is it the right choice for your business or does it really stink?

Before getting everyone crazy and tons of emails and complaints, let me start by saying open source has its purpose. Not to mention that we, in fact, do support it … to a degree. We believe Open Source can drive innovation, and it is this innovation that makes it better for us all.

The issue actually comes from the fact that everyone believes that everything should be free, especially software. This drives us all crazy because free is not always better, in fact, it stinks when it comes to business or enterprise.

Let’s take SSL, which is an essential component of the global e-commerce system. The most common implementation of SSL is an open-source version called OpenSSL.
It turns out that within OpenSSL there is something called the heartbeat protocol. This is needed to ensure that communications between user and site are kept alive even when the line goes quiet. What seems to have happened is that when one of the programmers who worked on OpenSSL was doing a software update all the way back in 2011, he made a coding error that went undetected for several years.
So why does this matter? Well because this heartbeat protocol is at the heart (no pun intended) of the biggest security flaw in computer history called Heartbleed. On a scale of 1 to 10 this would be an 11.

As vulnerability like this could happen in any software open source or paid. The reality is that paid software support would have identified this issue far before it left such a long term security hole in place.

The biggest point of concern with open source is the quality of the product, lack of real support, and trend toward accepting this (often substandard) software over fully supported licensed versions of software that are typically far better (did we mention supported!) than open source products.

Open Source is a fantastic playground for developers, but, running your business isn’t a playground.  No business can afford to be without the tools they need to conduct business and make a profit.  Don’t ‘play’ with Open Source in your business, purchase reliable, supported, industry standard products to guarantee that you are getting the best return on your investment.  After all, the cost of ‘real’ software is miniscule compared to the loss of productivity of one or more employees for a period of time or the loss of business because your business was unable to capture an order.

In a world of commodity pricing, service stands above all.  Get real support and service with paid applications.  We at Slick Cyber Systems can help you do just that.

AAAAHHHHH PASSWORDS!!!

Long Ones, Short Ones, Special Characters Should I add numbers? Passwords they are like opinions. Everyone has at least one, and no surprise, most of them stink.

With the complexity and frequency of account take overs and account hacking you cannot take a chance these days with simple passwords like “password” or “1234”. Believe it or not we still see these grossly inadequate passwords all too often.
Short passwords, names, or words in the dictionary are easily cracked by computer software or anyone that might know you and want to order something online. And adding the @ symbol instead of the letter a, well that’s old news too. The bad guys know this trick too.

Jim Slick, President and CEO of Slick Cyber Systems offers up some the following suggestions to help you manage and create a more secure password:

1. We recommend that you use a phrase, or “passphrase”, which is a sentence you can remember. From this sentence you replace each of the words of the phrase with its initials, or even random characters to represent it.

For Example:

Fluffy My Cat Likes To Play With Red String.
f m c @ l 2 p w R $
The new password is fmc@l2pwR$ (We don’t recommend using this.)

2. As we recommend that you NEVER write down the password, should you have too reference your password. Jim recommends that you write down the phrase, NEVER the password.

3. We do not recommend that you use the same password for multiple accounts.

4. We do recommend that you change your passwords at least 4 times a year.

4. If you have trouble remembering passwords or need to manage a bunch of passwords we recommend that you use an encrypted password protection program like eWallet to safely and securely protect your passwords. Never store them on post it notes stuck to your computer or in a spreadsheet on your computer as this would be very unsecure.

Need more help call Slick Cyber Systems at 570-371-5800
or visit us at www.slickcybersystems.com

Related posts:
WTF is my password? (Don’t worry we’ve been there too.)
8 Security Habits Putting Businesses at Risk.
STAY OUT OF MY COMPUTER!

HEARTBLEED BUG (Real or Hype?)

Over the past few days you may have heard of a problem that maybe affecting as few as 17% or much as 67% of the internet. A much talked about problem, but still confusing issue called Heartbleed.

So what is Heartbleed you may ask?  Well it’s a security flaw or vulnerability in OpenSSL, which is used for security on many webservers.  OpenSSL is designed to allow the encrypted and secure transfer of information like usernames and passwords from your computer to the website.  This flaw allows an attacker to ‘steal’ a server’s digital keys that are used to encrypt communications and get access to a company’s secret internal documents.

Are all sites affected?

As OpenSSL is a popular, SSL/TLS option, many others security SSL/TLS options do exist, so not everyone is affected.

It is possible to have OpenSSL, and not be affected. (How?) Well if you are running older versions, which were not affected because they did not have the function or feature called “heartbeat” which is at the core of the issue.  This does not solve the problem but minimize the possible impact of the flaw.

Should I Worry?

Slick Cyber Systems believes that you should be concerned, but we do not believe that you should panic.  What we recommend you to do is to change the passwords for any account that may have been affected by the Heartbleed vulnerability.

We also believe that you should change the password for any account that may have fixed the issue.  As we acknowledge that changing the password is a precautionary action, anything you can do to help protect yourself is always the right choice.  This includes changing passwords on a regular basis to ensure the best security of your personal information.

Contact Slick Cyber Systems if you have any specific questions or concerns and our staff can help.  1-888-850-8882 or got to www.slickcybersystems.com

Come on, Outsource your I.T. It’s a ‘NO BRAINER’.

You may have heard that outsourcing might be a way to help your business cut costs by focusing on those things you do best and “outsourcing” non-core functions … you’re probably right.

Businesses that are outsourcing have learned that by sticking to those core functions that make them experts in there industry they are able to maximize profits and make best use of internal resources.

Even though outsourcing IT is nothing new; some companies still resist the trend to outsource their information technology services. If you have not yet looked into outsourcing, and the value of utilizing theses services, we’ve compiled a list of reasons why you should consider outsourcing your IT services to Slick Cyber Systems:

  1. By outsourcing IT you get a competitive edge by accessing the latest enterprise level technology and expert IT ‘know-how’.
  2. Increase your productivity by allowing your staff to concentrate on core business activities, rather than wasting time dealing with IT ‘glitches’.
  3. Enjoy a responsive IT support service delivered by experienced engineers. This will reduce downtime and inefficiencies due to technical problems.
  4. No need to hire, train and retain an in-house IT support team, so you can reduce your labor costs.
  5. You can choose to replace variable IT costs with a somewhat fixed monthly fee that can be budgeted more effectively.
  6. Take advantage of relationships and knowledge that an IT company like Slick Cyber Systems can give you.  You can also leverage purchasing power and save money on procurement.

Would you like help choosing an IT support partner?  Contact us at 1-888-850-8882 or send us an email at info@slickcybersystems.com.

 

Other Recommended Articles:

STAY OUT  OF MY COMPUTER!!!!

Save Money on Ink?  Please tell me more you say…

I Always Feel like Somebody’s Watching Me.  (Well Maybe They Are!)