Best Practices, Technology

A Year in Review: Proactive

Rocket IT

The year is drawing to a close, and the period for reflection is beginning before we look to the next. It’s been a record-breaking year in security with barrage of ransomware and phishing attacks on the global level threatening organizations. While breaches hit the news networks, the phishing failures and the proactive heroes keeping organizations safe often go unnoticed.

(Want to learn more about ransomware and how to keep your organization safe? Get our free Security in the Age of Ransomware webinar on demand here.)

Proactive is the name of the game in cybersecurity. Hindsight won’t recover your data, but making sure you have active backups running off-site and separate from your general network can save you thousands of dollars and many hours of downtime.

So what does a successful year in proactive IT support and strategy look like? Here’s what our team did in 2017 to help our clients thrive.

Keeping up to date every day with multiple patching/security/malware security lists and blogs, and investigating any credible threat that could compromise client security or cause interruption of business processes.

Staying ahead means staying aware, and our team works diligently to be sure they’re always up to date with the latest known vulnerabilities, fixes, and threats to our clients so they can save the day before anyone even knows it’s at risk.

Developing mitigation or remediation plans for each threat, as well as pushing patches and scripts with the right solutions to all affected computers.

Some issues, like unexpected hardware failures on a large scale, can’t always be predicted. But before these challenges or threats affect our clients, our proactive team has a plan and solution ready to push out, many times before ever experiencing a problem.

Sending regular reminders to keep your devices up to date.

You may not always remember to reboot your computer or phone occasionally… But then it gets glitchy. Our team knows you’re focused on increasing revenue and efficiency, so we’re on hand to drop you a reminder and help decrease your risk. And we’re keeping an eye out for upgrades for all of your security and network devices to run them without disrupting your business.

Providing ongoing evaluation of tools to increase efficiency and further security education.

You don’t want to the low-hanging fruit on the threat landscape, and we can help. Our proactive team stays up to date with the latest tools and education to find better ways to increase security awareness. In addition to new tools, our team actively investigates Active Directory configurations and users to limit exposure and access, as well as suggests changes to make client networks more secure and more efficient.

Managing backups and performing regular backup verifications.

Many ransomware and other virus victims who believe they were protected did not have active backups running – And then had to face the difficult decision of paying out to hackers or losing a significant amount of their data due to old, incomplete, or nonexistent backups. Our proactive team knows that backups are not a “set it and forget it” step and require regular verification and management.

Not sure if your backups are running? Try this quick test – take a nonessential file, and delete it. Wait a few weeks, and then ask the person managing your backups to restore it. If they can, great! If they can’t, then you may be at risk of major data loss in the case of a disaster.

In this age of ransomware, a good proactive approach can make all the difference. Are you doing these things yet? If not, make plans to in 2018. And we’d be glad to help.

 


 

About the Author – 

Janel Brooks is Rocket IT’s Account Manager. She is an avid triathlete. Janel has finished 3 half-Ironman races and dreams of completing a full one someday. 

 

 

 

 

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Technology

Security in the Age of Ransomware 2.0 Webinar

Rocket IT

Nearly 77% of small businesses think they’re safe from cyber attacks, yet more than 40% have already been victims. Where is this disconnect, and how can you protect your organization?

2017 has seen a significant increase in ransomware and other attacks. Join Rocket IT’s vCIO Eric Henderson on Wednesday, December 13th, at 3:00 PM EST for a new, more in-depth Security in the Age of Ransomware 2.0 webinar, and learn what threats are emerging and what you can do to decrease the risk of costly downtime and data loss due to a security breach.

 

Fill out my online form.

 

Eric Henderson is the virtual CIO for Rocket IT, a technology company based out of Duluth, GA.  He received his B.S. in Management from Georgia Tech in 2003, and has worked in a variety of industries.  Eric serves on the National Board for 48in48, a nonprofit dedicated to creating websites for other nonprofit organizations, and on the Endowment Board for the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology. He is passionate about technology, leadership, and seeing people and their businesses thrive. 

Eric lives in Atlanta with his wife Heather, and their two sons, Thomas and Jonas. 

 

 

 

 

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Case Studies

Proactive (Case Story)

Rocket IT

Your organization is focused on doing what you do best

Being able to get work done efficiently and effectively is mission critical, and fulfilling your mission is what matters most. Each person on your team has a role to play that will help you accomplish that mission, and a distraction in any area has a ripple effect throughout your organization.

And your technology needs to keep up with you

When your team is focused on meeting business goals, you want your technology to work for you, not against you. To keep your technology (and your team) focused strategically, you need to be proactive rather than reactive. And now you have a new foe coming after your profitability and productivity; in an age of ransomware, staying ahead of that foe can save you from major data loss or theft. But if you’re not careful, security can seriously hamper efficiency. When your team is busy being the hero for your clients, your technology can’t hold you back.

Rocket IT’s Proactive team is there for you when you don’t even know it

With daily patching and ongoing monitoring, our Proactive team is there to take care of your organization before there’s even an issue. Our team keeps up to date with the latest security alerts and bugs to create and deploy solutions to your users with little or no disruption. They’ll keep your backups running securely and monitor your systems for any threats so you can always have peace of mind. Rocket IT clients have security solutions in hand before threats like NotPetya and Bad Rabbit even have a chance.

So your organization can stay on track with what’s mission critical

Your focus is on planning and working for a bright future, not on reacting to what’s already happened. So why shouldn’t your technology investment do the same?

 

 

 

 

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Leadership

How to Capture Dead Time

Rocket IT

 

The average cost of unplanned downtime per minute in 2016 was nearly $9,000 per incident.

Your organization doesn’t have to eat the cost of dead time. Download our free whitepaper now to learn five easy steps you can take to capture dead time.

From more efficient integration to beating your inbox addiction, this paper gives you the tools to increase your company’s productivity by 2.5% at no additional payroll cost.

 

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Press Releases

Rocket IT Named Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Club Business of the Month

Rocket IT

DULUTH, GA – The Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce named Rocket IT the Chairman’s Club Business of the Month for November 2017. The Metro Atlanta-based company was recognized on October 25th at the Gwinnett Chamber’s premiere On Topic luncheon series.

“Rocket IT is named November 2017 Chairman’s Club Business of the month due to its Chamber involvement, superior customer service, and outstanding community involvement,” said Vince DeSilva, Gwinnett Chamber Senior Vice President of Membership Services.

This prestigious recognition is based on monthly nominations from other Chairman’s Club members and the company’s qualifications in those three areas. The staff of the Gwinnett Chamber then selects from the nominations.

“We are proud of the team we have and thankful to receive this honor from the Gwinnett Chamber,” said Ryan Bonilla, Rocket IT’s Business Development Manager. “We’ve been active members for many years now, and the value we get from this community is immeasurable.”

This acknowledgement is the eighth recognition in 2017 Rocket IT has received for their growth, innovation, status, and community involvement.

Rocket IT is the IT partner of choice for Gwinnett County organizations, providing both the strategy and support they need to thrive. By providing a client’s leadership team with the strategic foresight necessary for them to align technology investment with business goals, they can work from a shared vision, which increases efficiency, decreases risk, and increases revenue. Rocket IT is the recipient of multiple awards, such as Partnership Gwinnett’s Innovation Award and a spot on the Inc 5000.

For a list of Rocket IT’s additional awards, visit Rocket IT’s Newsroom.

 

 

 

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Technology

Advanced Office 365 Webinar

Rocket IT

How well do you know Office 365? If you’re looking to use your current subscription to the fullest or just trying to see what all the hype is about, join Rocket IT vCIO Eric Henderson (official Office 365 aficionado) for an Advanced Office 365 webinar.

Learn about the best intermediate and advanced features for your organization that you aren’t using yet.

Register now to join us on November 29th at 11:00 AM EST for the Advanced Office 365 webinar. If you are unable to join us live, a link to the recording will be sent out to everyone who registers.

Fill out my online form.

Eric Henderson is the virtual CIO for Rocket IT, a technology company based out of Duluth, GA.  He received his B.S. in Management from Georgia Tech in 2003, and has worked in a variety of industries.  Eric serves on the National Board for 48in48, a nonprofit dedicated to creating websites for other nonprofit organizations, and on the Endowment Board for the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology. He is passionate about technology, leadership, and seeing people and their businesses thrive. 

Eric lives in Atlanta with his wife Heather, and their two sons, Thomas and Jonas. 

 

 

 

 

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Technology

Bad Rabbit Ransomware Outbreak Targets Users

Rocket IT

A new ransomware known as “Bad Rabbit” is hitting users in the US and several European countries. This malware is a “new and improved” version of the NotPetya ransomware that uses social engineering to trick people into installing it by posing as an Adobe Flash installer.

Once downloaded, users have 40 hours to pay up to decrypt their data, though it is currently unclear whether ponying up the bitcoin will actually unlock your files.

(Want to learn more about ransomware and how to keep your organization safe? Get our free Security in the Age of Ransomware webinar on demand here.)

Like Petya, Bad Rabbit is a “disk-coder” which means it first encrypts the files on the infected user’s computer before replacing the MBR (Master Boot Record). Once this is encrypted, it makes it virtually impossible for your computer to locate a specific file. In fact, this new ransomware shares some of the same code as the Petya virus that caused the big ransomware crisis that hit global corporations earlier this year.

After the ransomware is done with these processes, the ransom message appears. Unfortunately, Bad Rabbit disables your ability to access the internet through this computer since at this point it has effectively placed itself between you and your OS. To pay the bitcoin ransom, you must use another computer to do so in order to get the decryption key and save your files.

Phishing attacks like Bad Rabbit, Petya, and WannaCry have been so successful because of the social engineering aspect of the hackers’ strategy. Users are used to being prompted to download or update their Adobe Flash… And many don’t even think twice before clicking.

To avoid effectively bricking your workstation, be cautious about the source when downloading any software. If you need to update a program like Adobe Flash, it’s best to go directly to the official Adobe website yourself and download it from there. Not paying attention to where you’re downloading things from or which permissions you’re allowing can land you in some hot water.

To learn more about the role of social engineering in cyberattacks, check out our other article here.

 


 

About the Author-

Jason Hand loves making music, serving his church and getting people excited about technology tools. He currently lives in Georgia with wife and two adopted sons.  Jason is the Systems Administrator at Rocket IT.

 

 

 

 

 

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Technology

Keyboard Shortcuts for Your Inbox

Rocket IT

 

We’re always trying to find a better way to do things here at Rocket IT. A lot of your time as a professional is spent in your email inbox, and your email applications should work with you, not against you.

Want to be more efficient and cut down your time in Outlook and Gmail? Check out these shortcuts for actions you use all the time.

Outlook (for Macs, replace Ctrl with Command or ⌘)

Action Shortcut
New mail message Ctrl + N
Send Alt + S
Insert file in a message Alt + H, then AF
Insert link in a message Ctrl + K
Reply Ctrl + R
Reply All Ctrl + Shift + R
Forward Ctrl + F
Create appointment Alt + H, then N1
Create a meeting request Ctrl + Shift + Q
Go to the Search box F3 or Ctrl + E
Expand the search to include all items Ctrl + Alt + A
Switch to Mail Ctrl + 1
Switch to Calendar Ctrl + 2
Switch to Contacts Ctrl + 3
Switch to Tasks Ctrl + 4
Add bullets Ctrl + Shift + L

Gmail (for Macs, replace Ctrl with Command or ⌘)

To utilize Gmail keyboard shortcuts, you need to enable this feature by going into your Gmail Inbox settings using the gear symbol in the upper right corner.

Action Shortcut
New mail message C
Send Ctrl + Enter
Insert a link Ctrl + K
Reply R
Reply All A
Forward F
Archive conversation ] or [
Go to search bar /
Add conversation to tasks Shift + T
Switch to Mail G + I
Switch to Contacts G + C
Switch to Tasks G + K
Switch to Sent Messages G + T
Switch to Drafts G + D
Decrease text size in a message Ctrl + Shift and –
Increase text size in a message Ctrl + Shift and +
Add bullets Ctrl + Shift + 8
Add numbered list Ctrl + Shift + 7
Add quote Ctrl + Shift + 9
Remove formatting Ctrl + \

 

Interested in becoming an email aficionado? Check out our other articles below.

Scheduling Smarter Using Outlook

Search Smarter in Outlook

 


 

About the Author – 

Emily Connolly is the Project Coordinator at Rocket IT. She graduated from Auburn University and has extensive project management. Emily works directly with our vCIO and the Projects team to provide key strategic insight to our clients. 

 

The average cost of unplanned downtime per minute in 2016 was nearly $9,000 per incident.

Your organization doesn’t have to eat the cost of dead time. Download our free whitepaper now to learn five easy steps you can take to capture dead time.

 

 

 

 

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Technology

The Role of Social Engineering in Cyberattacks

Rocket IT

A quarter of all security breaches are inadvertently caused by employees, according to IBM’s 2016 Cyber Security Intelligence Index.[i] With phishing continuing to rise and more industries at risk of cyber-attacks, how does social engineering factor in?

There are four primary types of cyberattacks: ransomware, phishing, spearphishing, and spoofing. Three of these rely entirely on social engineering in order to be successful.

Phishing emails throwback to the messages from foreign nobility with too-good-to-be-true offers, but now contain risks from the traditional attempts to get personal information from its recipients to malicious links in disguise.

Spearphishing, as the name implies, are phishing attempts that are curated to their audience. These cybercriminals research their intended target, be it company, vendor, or individual, and use that knowledge to convince their victim to click a link, enter login information, or otherwise compromise their security. They use a number of methods to do this, sometimes including spoofing.

Spoofing is a malicious campaign that mimics the sending information of a trusted source, i.e. makes it look like their spearphishing email is a legitimate one because it’s coming from a real person’s email address (including people you may know personally whose accounts have been compromised). People are significantly more likely to open emails or click links from individuals or companies with whom they’re familiar, even if they shouldn’t.

All of these methods rely heavily on social engineering which means it depends on making the end users believe something – that they need to click a link to track a package or open an attachment to view an invoice – that will then cause a security breach. And these hackers can be very convincing!

So how can you protect your end users from this psychological manipulation?

By training them.

Unfortunately, spammers are constantly finding new ways to make it past even the best filters, so the odds that one will eventually make it through to your end users are pretty high. That’s not to say you shouldn’t bother with a strong firewall and spam filter, but you need to be sure those aren’t your only lines of defense. Prepare your employees so they can be security stewards for themselves and your organization.

Teach your end users what to look for in suspicious emails. Find out who your habitual clickers are by sending your own phishing campaigns to see who may need additional security training.

And if you need any help with your organization’s security or employee training, we’d be happy to provide you the peace of mind to sleep well at night.


[i] http://ibm.biz/2016CyberIndex

 

About the Author-

Jason Hand loves making music, serving his church and getting people excited about technology tools. He currently lives in Georgia with wife and two adopted sons.  Jason is the Systems Administrator at Rocket IT.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Technology

Top Eight Collaboration Tools

Rocket IT

Collaboration is key here at Rocket IT, like it is at many organizations. But when you have team members out at client sites, working from home, and glued to the office, effective collaboration is a little harder than it is when you have everyone in the same room.

To help your team thrive when collaborating in the office or remotely, here are the top eight tools we’ve found help us increase efficiency.

1. Microsoft Teams

Since Microsoft is gearing up to discontinue their Skype for Business tool, a lot of organizations are making the switch to their other Office 365 tool – Microsoft Teams. While we’re still huge fans of Skype in the office, we’ve worked with Teams as well, and it does have some good collaboration functions. Not only does it function as an office chat service, but you can also create and add people to specific Teams within the tool and work together on files all in that specific Team tab.

This is very similar to another collaboration tool below called Slack. Both are a way to organize small groups of employees and give them a private collaboration area to chat, share files, and have a shared email address.

2. Slack

Slack shares a lot of similar features to Microsoft Teams. In fact, Slack was successfully operating as a collaboration standalone service before Microsoft Teams in its current iteration came out, and Slack does collaboration really well. If you’re not ready for the commitment to Office 365 just for the advanced collaboration alone, then Slack’s free offering may be a good alternative. But keep in mind that you’re not just receiving Microsoft Teams when you subscribe to Office 365. Getting the full benefit of the full Office 365 suite can be more cost-effective if you need additional programs.

3. Trello

If you’re big on checklists and want to be able to share them with others as well as assign tasks, Trello is a great free software. Don’t expect the full functionality of other, more expensive programs, but it is a great program for what it does.

4. dapulse

A personal favorite of our Projects team, dapulse is an incredible project management tool. Everything is managed within boards, and you can customize the content of each board to add projects, tasks, team members, timelines, and more. Need to add an email between your team and your clients to the board to have everything in one place? Just include the custom email address for that particular board in your emails to add the entire thread to the rest of your notes and documents.

The dapulse support team is very responsive. Our Project Coordinator Emily Connolly swears this tool is the ultimate project management helper.

And if you’re willing to pay for the Business version, you can share specific boards and projects directly with your client so they can collaborate with you.

5. Basecamp

If you’re looking for a project management tool, Basecamp’s solution has worked for a lot of organizations. It isn’t as intuitive as other tools, but it’s a decent software once you find your way around. It’s good for working on less sensitive and less formal projects. With more tools than Trello, Basecamp is a better alternative if you want something cheaper where you can organize tasks amongst your team. They even have a “Campfire” chat room for your team to stay in touch. And Basecamp is a base price for every team, no matter the size, unlike Slack, Dropbox, and Asana who charge per user.

6. Asana

Similar to dapulse, Asana’s capabilities are highly customizable and well beyond the basic project management tools like Trello and Slack. It also comes with a free version with fewer features for those who don’t need the whole gamut and who have a team smaller than 15 members.

7. A social media management tool like Buffer or Hootsuite

Pretty comparable to each other, both Hootsuite and Buffer are great collaboration tools for teams focused on social media. You can customize your feeds and schedule out social media posts, as well as communicate amongst your team by sending tweets and messages back and forth. For anyone who would just like to use the scheduling capability, both companies offer a free service for you to try.

8. Zoom

If you’re looking for a video conferencing system that allows you to share video and your screen at the same time with multiple team members, Zoom is a great solution. Not only does it not lag as much as Skype, you can also use it for conferencing in with clients. Considering hosting webinars for internal and external training? They have an add-on for that as well.

 


 

About the Author –

Janel Brooks is Rocket IT’s Service Coordinator. She is an avid triathlete. Janel has finished 3 half-Ironman races and dreams of completing a full one someday. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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