As a small business owner, you’ve probably heard that phishing is a risk, but you may not be fully aware of what risks it presents. As we’ve discussed before, small businesses are tempting targets for cyber criminals including phishers. Cybersecurity is a necessity for all sizes of businesses and not only for enterprises.
How does phishing work?
When you boil phishing down, it’s simply a virtual version of a con game. Phishers try to convince someone to do something by tricking them into trusting the phisher. They want you to click a link to install malicious software or ransomware with the goal of stealing sensitive financial information, ransoming locked files and data, or any other number of nefarious purposes. They do this by making you think they’re someone who can be trusted.
What tricks do phishers use?
Phishers no longer pretend to be Nigerian princes and have become a lot more sophisticated.
When they target employees of a business, phishers may pretend to be the business’s HR department talking about changes to PTO or benefits. They may also pretend to be a vendor sending an overdue invoice or act like a client asking a question.
Some of the top phishing subject lines from 2019 seem like everyday business emails. You could easily imagine how one of your employees may think one of these emails is real.
What can your small business do?
As a small business owner, you should take the threat of phishing seriously. You need to view investment in cybersecurity like insurance. You’re paying money (or time) to protect your small business against catastrophic risk. Your business may never catch fire, but you still have building insurance. In the same way, your business may never be hacked, but you should still protect it from hackers.
At the end of the day, you’ll never be 100% protected from phishing (or any cybersecurity threat), but you can increase your small business’s odds of preventing an attack.
We’d love to talk more about phishing especially if you’re in the Fishers, Carmel, Indianapolis, or Westfield, Indiana area. Just contact us, and we’ll setup a time to meet.
Credit: Tim Ludden
IT and computer support is often viewed as a utility by small business owners and the IT providers themselves. But as IT has evolved over the past decade, it's evolved into more of a service.
However, the word service is thrown around a lot today, and most IT professionals really use it as another way of saying "utility." But a service is more than providing the nuts and bolts of networking, security, break/fix, data migration, disaster recovery, etc. It requires working with a small business to understand its short and long-term goals, and then designing a whole suite of technology solutions that empower the small business to meet their short and long-term goals.
IT providers often skip this step and jump right into problem solving or offering solutions for the cheapest dollar figure. But it's critical for the IT provider to act as a partner and understanding their client's business objectives. If they don't, their clients technology will always be one or two steps behind where it should be heading. Small business owners need to see their IT providers as partners, and IT providers need to work with their clients to understand how technology can boost their business strategies.
If you'd like to read more about this, we highly recommend Doug Tedder's insightful piece here.
And feel free to contact us if you'd like to discuss your small business's objectives and how NextPoint IT can design your technology to achieve them!
Credit: Tim Ludden
As a small business owner, you always watch your bottom line, and you don’t want to buy things that you don’t necessarily need. You have limited resources but a million business needs, so you often wonder if technology investments are worth it.
At NextPoint IT, we’re small business owners ourselves, which gives us a unique understanding of the IT needs of other small businesses. We’ve been in the exact same spot as a lot of other small business owners and understand the limitations caused by cash flow. Every day small business owners prioritize their various business needs and how to meet them with limited resources.
We’re sure that you’ve considered switching your business over to Microsoft Office 365 or GSuite. Many of you probably already made the switch, so you can stop reading at this point. But some of you may still be relying on email servers, backup solutions for older files, and local Microsoft Office programs. Let us give you a brief pitch for why you should switch your small business over to Office 365 or GSuite…
GSuite and Office 365 may not be right for your small business yet. But if your interested in looking at a migration, the NextPoint IT team would love to assist. We’ve helped numerous clients with successful migrations, and we personally utilize Office 365 in our own business.
Comment below if you’re in the Fishers, Carmel, Westfield, or Indianapolis, Indiana area and interested in a free consultation.
Credit: Tim Ludden
Does your small business use Microsoft Office 365? Well, Microsoft Teams automatically installs with it, and your business may or may not need Teams. There are some useful features within Teams that allow for strong collaboration such as 3rd party software connectors, private and public chat channels, and bots.
If your business doesn't have a suite of collaboration software, you may want to give Teams a go. But your small business may already have strong practices around other collaboration tools, and you don't see the value in switching to Microsoft Teams. (NextPoint IT is personally in the same boat. We have a strong suite of tools and don't really see much value in the cost of change to Teams.)
If you're like us, you might find the link below handy. It'll walk you through how to stop Microsoft Teams from automatically booting with Windows. This saves you the annoyance of closing it every time and can help slightly improve boot time.
I think literally everyone in the world hates switching operating systems. Everything had its place, and then Microsoft, Google, or Apple decide to change it all. You either spend a half-hour poking around to find where they moved “the thing,” or Google it.
It’s especially annoying for small business owners when OS upgrades occur because you need to update multiple computers and devices. And who knows if the new OS plays nice with all your various industry software and tools. Will you be able to transfer your small business’s workflows into the OS? What thing will break because Microsoft decided it wasn’t worth supporting?
Well, the sad fact of the matter is that, you need to upgrade to Windows 10…like today, right now, as-of-this-moment…because Microsoft will no longer support Windows 7 come the end of January 2020.
Why does Windows 7 end-of-life matter to small businesses?
As a small business owner, you may be thinking, “What’s the big deal? All my computers will still work.”
That is 100% true. You can definitely opt to take the route of keeping things as-is, but let me give you a quick analogy of the risks…
Windows 7 is like a home that millions of criminals want to break into because there are millions of homes out there exactly like it. Once they know how to break into one, they know how to break into them all. These criminals are constantly poking and prodding Windows 7 for weaknesses, and they frequently find them. BUT Microsoft does the same thing, and once it finds a weakness, it fixes it. (This is why Windows is always updating.)
Windows 7 end-of-life means that Microsoft is going to stop fixing these weaknesses. Once some criminals find a way into the house, all the criminals will know the way in, and Microsoft won’t do anything to fix it.
If you don’t upgrade to Windows 10, you’re basically leaving a door wide open for criminals to get into your small business’s network and possible access to critical files and data.
At the end of the day, we highly recommend that all small businesses upgrade to Windows 10. Small businesses make tempting targets for cybercriminals because a lot of owners think they’re too small for criminals to notice. But that's simply not true. As we’ve noted before, 43% of cyberattacks are against small businesses.
If you need to upgrade your small business’s computers from Windows 7, NextPoint IT would love to help you out. We’re local to the Indianapolis, Carmel, Fishers, and Westfield, Indiana region, but we run projects throughout Indiana. And we have staff with decades of enterprise and SMB IT experience.
Credit: Tim Ludden
Does your small business only use cloud-based software? Does this protect you against cyberattacks? Well, you want to believe that your small business doesn’t need to worry about security. You don’t have any local servers storing sensitive or critical information that’s susceptible to ransomware.
But there continues to be a need for some basic security practices for your local network because your employees remain the biggest weakness to an attack. Cloud-software doesn’t protect you against phishing campaigns to steal credentials, or malware and viruses that can do the same thing. And think of how frequently your employees access public Wifi networks that have almost no security who then connect to your small business’s network.
Even if your small business only uses OneDrive, Office 365, Salesforce, or other cloud-based tools, it doesn’t mean that you can ignore local security. You need to run continuous security training for your employees to help them avoid increasingly sophisticated phishing attacks. You also want to make sure that your small business’s network has some basic antivirus and firewall protection. And it’s a good idea to establish a company-wide security policy, so everyone knows best practices to keep the company’s data secure.
The cloud and SaaS has revolutionized the world for small businesses, but security remains a critical need. You can’t solely rely on your cloud providers for all security…especially since one of the primary attack vectors of cybercriminals is people, including you and your employees. At NextPoint IT, we take security seriously because we know how vulnerable everyone is. Confidence is your biggest weakness, and if you think your 100% protected against cyberattacks, it means you aren’t.
Let us know if you’d like a free consultation on your small business’s security! We’d love to grab coffee with you anywhere around Indianapolis, Fishers, Carmel, or Westfield.
It’s a major challenge to run a small business. It requires creative thinking, quick and adaptive ideas, and vision, but every small business must execute on their ideas. Execution requires planning, details, monitoring, verifying follow-through, time, and much more. A lot of small business owners and their employees wear multiple hats which quickly becomes a challenge for everyone to juggle all the business’s projects and tasks.
If you’ve been running your business for a while, you probably know the importance of checklists and possibly read Atul Gawande’s Checklist Manifesto. Checklists for projects and day-to-day business operations are critical for teams to know what needs to be done and when, if it’s been done, who did it, how to do it, etc. But sometimes you don’t know how to track all this information.
At NextPoint IT, our motto is that technology amplifies people (Technology X People = Productivity), which means it’s key to pick the right tools. We’d recommend the following 2 tools to help assist your small business’s teams with their organization:
Let us know if you’re in the Indianapolis, Fishers, Westfield, or Carmel area and would be interested in grabbing coffee to chat about how NextPoint IT can help your small business meet its goals!