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2020 Trends in Technology and Cybersecurity

In 2010, consumers were introduced to the iPad. Facebook was rising in popular culture with Twitter hot on its heels. The BlackBerry withered on the vine while more smartphones stormed the market. Americans were just beginning to consider online privacy concerns.

A decade later, tablets and smartphones have revolutionized business. Social media is a must-have platform for businesses to connect with consumers. Cybersecurity and privacy concerns reached a fever pitch in 2019.

There’s no doubt that the rapidly changing digital world will bring new opportunities and challenges in the next year. We predict 2020’s technology trends and how they’ll shape workplaces.

IoT

The Internet of Things — interconnected devices able to transfer data over a network — will grow in 2020. The IoT is already represented in the workplace through smart locks, thermostats, cameras, printers, tablets, smartphones and wearable devices to track travel or employee activity. As automation grows and companies add or upgrade equipment, it will be increasingly important for professionals to understand their devices’ interconnectivity and how to secure them from cyberattacks.

Automation and AI

Automation programs and artificial intelligence will have an even greater impact on the workforce in the coming years.

AI — machines mimicking human behavior by basing actions on past data — is already a fixture of Americans’ personal lives. Streaming services offer algorithmically generated suggestions based on past views, and social media sites use AI facial recognition software to suggest people users can tag in photos. In business, AI is already used to filter spam emails, detect fraudulent financial transactions and for a variety of other tasks.

Simply put, AI technology can accurately perform these tasks much faster than people can, leading decision-makers to favor labor-saving tools. AI is part of a larger automation trend that which could obliterate as many as 73 million jobs in America by 2030, according to a McKinsey Global Institute report. However, experts such as Kevin Kelly, co-founder of Wired magazine, believe the growth in AI technology will also create jobs as employees are needed to create and manage the technology. Throughout the next decade, the tech industry will see a rapid expansion in the need for workers trained in automation programs.

Outside of the job market, workers can find comfort in the fact that automation will eliminate pesky daily tasks that distract them from larger projects. Automation can help generate sales leads, maintain office equipment, analyze reports, organize data, process transactions and answer questions among other tasks.

Accessibility

American workers are constantly on the go, and many workplaces have employees who work remotely. More and more workplaces will require virtual private networks — VPNs — for employees who access the company network remotely.

Hosted communications systems are another way for employees to easily work on the go and connect with customers. The system allows a group of employees to collaboratively edit a document in real time and facilitate a video or phone chat for employees working in different areas. Cell phones connected to the office communications systems allow workers to answer calls outside of the office. If the call is sent to a voicemail, the message is transferred from the individual’s cell phone to the voicemail connected to the hosted communications system.

Cybersecurity

As the IoT expands and hackers become more adept at deploying cyberattacks across devices, cybersecurity threats will be more prevalent than ever. More small and medium businesses are facing the same cyberthreats as large corporations, according to Ponemon Institute’s 2018 State of Cybersecurity in Small and Medium Size Businesses report.

For the report, researchers surveyed more than 1,000 small and medium businesses in the United States and the United Kingdom. The survey found that 67 percent of respondents — eight percent higher than in fiscal 2017 — reported facing a cyberattack in fiscal 2018. Additionally, 58 percent reported facing a data breach in fiscal 2018, an increase of four percent from 2017.

More businesses will recognize the dire need for advanced cybersecurity plans. Throughout 2020, leaders will devote more resources to security efforts. For comparison, Cyber Security Hub found that companies’ cybersecurity budgets increased 59 percent in the first half of 2019.

In 2019, 91.3 percent of the Cyber Security Hub respondents said the lack of trained talent was turning into a crisis.  As the workforce hurries to find employees skilled in cybersecurity, more organizations will turn to managed IT service providers, such as Infomax, to work with a ready-made team of cybersecurity experts.

To learn more about Infomax’s team of providers, message us or call 1-800-727-4629. We can help guide your workplace through the next decade.

How to Spot a Phishing Attack Through Email

It’s hard to imagine doing business in the 21st Century without email. It’s provided us with an instant tool for communication and an easy system for archiving information. Email also has given hackers a portal through which they can employ a phishing attack and infect an organization’s servers with malware and gain sensitive information, virtually effortlessly.

A phishing attack is when cyber criminals make a targeted attempt through email to trick individuals into opening links, providing sensitive information or downloading attachments with malicious software.

Phishing attempts are becoming more sophisticated and ever more frequent. For instance, more than 70 percent of targeted cyberattacks in 2017 involved the use of phishing emails, according to the Symantec Internet Security Threat Report 2018. That same report found that 7,710 businesses were hit by a scam each month in 2017.

Infomax recommends employees undergo regular training on how to recognize a phishing attack and stay aware of the latest scams. We offer regular cybersecurity training through our Complete Cloud and iGuard Managed IT services. Here are our tips on how to spot an email phishing attack.

Sender asks for personal information

Hackers have become very sophisticated, and an email can arrive in your inbox that looks authentic, mirroring the email interface of yours or another company. However authentic the email looks, a mental red flag should be raised if the individual is asking you to provide or confirm personal information. Whether it’s from an alleged human resources representative asking for your personal identification or an internal or external sender asking for financial information, you can’t be sure who may see your data once you hit the send button.

Trusted sources will never require you to email sensitive personal or business information because they know how easily accessible that information is to hackers. A trusted organization will encourage you to call a number, send mail or visit a separate, secured online platform. 

Email contains unfamiliar links

Similar to mirroring an email, hackers create false webpages that mimic real sites. When you’re prompted to enter information, such as a password, into the fake site, cyber criminals gain access to your and your organization’s information. They can also create malicious links that resemble real web addresses you or other employees frequent, hoping those who open an email don’t look too closely at a URL before they click.

Instead of clicking links train yourself and your colleagues to read a link in an email, checking it against the frequented URL in a web browser. Additionally, hover over and read the web address of links concealed within the text of the email.

Email is poorly written

An easy way to spot a phishing attack is if it contains awkward phrasing, rampant misspellings and grammatical errors. Emails from legitimate companies reflect the professionalism of those who work there. Before proceeding, those on the receiving end also should check that the email address from the sender is legitimate, not containing additional words or characters that readers may not notice on first glance.

Suspicious attachments are included

Never click on or download email attachments that look suspicious or that you are not expecting. The attachment could be a malicious URL or virus that can corrupt the user’s computer and lead hackers into the company’s network. Your business should invest in antivirus software that will scan for suspicious attachments. Employees should also verify attachments with senders by emailing them on a separate thread, calling them or messaging them in another way.

Remember not to give in to pressure from an unknown sender and always take time to consider the information received in an email before reacting. To secure training for your organization, contact us today.

What is A Cloud Server?

In the past decade, cloud computing transformed from an information technology buzzword to a part of our everyday language. However, most associate the cloud as the omniscient and vast virtual space that holds old pictures and long-deleted phone applications. Using cloud servers in the professional world offers businesses security and stability, especially for small and medium-sized businesses who don’t have the space or knowledge to implement a cloud server for their company.

Cloud servers are servers that run in a cloud, defined as multiple secure data centers that run via internet access. They can’t be reached physically. Cloud servers operate independently as software units. This system differs from the traditional server, which is a computer with the hardware to manage connections to other devices and store data.

Managed IT providers — or third-party IT organizations such as Infomax— can help secure a cloud server for your business. Let’s look at some of the benefits of using a cloud server.

Security: Consider all the sensitive data your business must have on file: company financial information, client records, data from past or current projects, confidential employee files and much more. It’s important to keep this data safe and secure from cyberattacks, natural disasters and accidental program or user corruption. 

Cloud servers provide more security than traditional servers because your data is represented in multiple secure data centers that are heavily protected to prevent breaches. If a natural disaster or cyberattack hits one data center, your data can still be recovered. Additionally, all data is encrypted.

Scalability: Because cloud servers are virtual, device connections can be added or removed from the server to fit the needs of your business. Most IT service providers charge your business for the amount of server traffic you use instead of paying in advance for the amount you think you might use, allowing you to scale costs based on your needs.

Efficiency: This model is more cost effective than traditional servers with hardware because you’re likely not paying for the cost of physical equipment and the energy needed to power it. Additionally, connection to cloud servers is typically faster because you use the virtual services of many servers.

Compatibility: Cloud servers can be used with nearly every operating system, allowing your business flexibility and peace of mind.

Think your business could benefit from a cloud server? Contact Infomax today at 1-800-727-4629.

IT Solutions for Remote Workers

More workers than ever — about 50 percent of Americans— are working remotely. Employers and employees see the benefits of the arrangement. Among other perks, the arrangement allows employees more schedule flexibility, less time commuting and the ability to connect with a team even while travelling for work. Employers have access to a larger pool of candidates and fewer hard costs in providing a work space.

However, remote working arrangements can create a whole host of cybersecurity vulnerabilities and technological snafus. Working with a third-party business that provides fully managed information technology services can keep your business secure no matter where your team is working.

Here are some IT issues employers and remote workers may encounter.

Problem: Unsecured hardware

As hackers become more advanced and cyberattacks more frequent, securing only the computers in your office building does not suffice. Ensuring your business’ networks are secure should be one of your highest priorities. Even if your company has just one fulltime remote worker, employees likely have business data through their email apps on cell phones, on laptop or desktop computers, tablets, smart watches and other devices.

Solution: Virtual private networks — VPNs — provide security by requiring employees to sign in when accessing the network remotely.

Problem: Data destruction, ransomware

A remote working arrangement means an employee’s office can be among coworkers in the employer’s workspace one day and a home office the next day. Productivity can continue at the airport, across the country, at a conference or in the neighborhood coffee shop. But spotty Wi-Fi connections can mess with a work schedule, prevent files from being saved on a server and wreak havoc on your company’s data security efforts. Hackers can steal data and use ransomware to block access to data until a debt is paid.

Solution: Managed IT services allow employees to connect to the business’ server through the cloud, data centers in multiple locations throughout the country. Through the cloud, connections to the servers remain constant and data is backed up consistently. If a natural disaster or hacker strikes, businesses have the upper hand by having recent data stored in the cloud. Managed IT service providers can implement the data recovery process.

Problem: Lack of training

The majority of cyberattacks occur through human error. Employees could fall prey to a phishing attack by clicking a suspicious link in an email or website, downloading files containing malware or not securing hardware. Remote workers may not get proper training on how to recognize phishing attacks or follow the most recent cybersecurity protocols.

Solution: Managed IT service providers, such as Infomax, deliver periodic training and send out information on the latest scams, alerting employees before attacks can occur.

Contact Infomax at 1-800-727-4629 to learn more about how to keep your business’ data safe in any environment.

Business Yearbook: IT Support Superlatives

How is your business addressing information technology services and security? Will your colleagues and employees remember your company as a cybersecurity success or a burnout that thought they had their information technology services figured out only to have the business endure a quarter-life crisis.   

Call Infomax for an evaluation, and let’s work to get iGuard Evolved IT in your business, bringing you a competitive advantage rather than just an irritating expense! First, let’s take a look at how the service models stack up to a complete managed services model, or working with a third party that offers comprehensive IT services.

The Tech Savvy Guy/Gal — Most Likely to be Overwhelmed

This IT support environment is most often seen in small businesses. Management has likely been focused on growth and finding employees with diverse skills. The IT support is likely one outsourced IT professional or an internal employee with a fulltime set of tasks and limited IT know-how who is able to spare a few occasional moments to help reset a password or assemble equipment.

Because errant IT questions, necessary software renewals and security issues occur regularly in most businesses, this staffer has an overwhelming amount of work to do in addition to their primary responsibilities. Not only is your employee overwhelmed, but the person’s productivity also plummets, and your IT support environment is left vulnerable. Your business’ network has no proactive monitoring or updating of firewalls. Data is not secured or stored for backup. No disaster recovery policy exists in the event of a fire, damage from a natural disaster or ransomware attack.

What happens to your business if that employee becomes so overwhelmed they need a long vacation — or worse — they leave the company?

No Managed Services — Most Likely to Have Uncoordinated Services

This service model really has no model at all. Some businesses have different vendors for many of their IT services: one vendor to work on their firewall, another to secure the network, one for wireless internet and phone systems, and yet another for their data backup and disaster recovery plans. While your business is outsourcing services to seemingly save time and money, the lack of management services could be more of a drain on resources. An internal worker has to coordinate services and payment between various vendors. Your IT support is also at the mercy of multiple companies’ operating procedures, leaving your business without a strategic, proactive plan.

Hybrid Break and Fix Services — Most Likely to Be Reactive

A hybrid managed IT services model may seem like a good option for smaller businesses that are still leery of a fully managed services model. However, this support environment is no better than having just the one tech savvy guy or gal taking care of IT. Companies with this model pay a base monthly fee for server updates and small security patches to a third party. However, all other necessary services are billable.

Typically, firewall updates and monitoring are done on request and not covered in your base costs. Similarly, help desk calls longer than 15 minutes also accrue additional costs. While a business may be paying a base monthly fee, services are often not covered and IT professionals are working only to fix problems when they should stop problems before they occur.

Managed IT Services — Likely to Be Proactive

Managed IT services offer more comprehensive and proactive support than other models in which your services kick in only after a problem occurs. Typically, the company providing your support offers a help desk for employees to call. Having one vendor allows your business to consolidate billing, and it allows the managed IT provider to take a look at all of the IT services that will best meet your needs.

But the biggest wild card could be narrowing down which IT services are covered in your monthly payment. Hardware, onsite work, security updates and security awareness training for employees may not be covered in base payments. Small businesses must be assured that your IT provider won’t give precedence to a larger company’s IT support. Your business must also consider future growth. Will the quality and quantity of technical talent keep pace with your business’ expansion?

Complete Managed Services with Co-Located Data Centers — Best Proactive, Comprehensive Services

This model is the cream of the crop, the class valedictorian. It allows you to get out of the IT business and back into your business! The cost is similar to that of managed services, but complete managed services offer a serious upgrade in security and unlimited data storage. The price is about cost of an IT professional, but the services are delivered by 30 or more IT experts instead of one or two IT workers who lack specific expertise.

The cost-per-service guesswork also disappears. All hardware costs — managed firewall, network servers, data backup and storage, monitors and more — are covered under one monthly payment. There’s no guesswork. Most importantly, services are proactive and managed by one vendor who is an expert on your business’ needs. That vendor provides a help desk for your employees’ small or significant IT issues.

In a technological world with rising cybercrime, this model provides the level of security all businesses require. Disaster and ransomware recovery are included in your monthly payments. Recovery is a breeze because your company’s sensitive data is continuously backed up in multiple data centers in various locations. Employees are able to work remotely through multiple devices — all through the secured cloud.

Contact Infomax today at 515-244-5203 to learn how we can set your business up with our iGuard Evolved IT, proactively securing and managing your company’s IT needs.

How Managed IT Could Affect Iowa’s IT Skills Gap

Iowa’s unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the country, hovering at about 2.4 percent since July 2018. For employees, the low unemployment rate is a reprieve from the 7.3 percent high nearly a decade ago, according to the Iowa Workforce Development. The low rate also means employees have more job choices. Employers are not only must secure skilled employees to fill open positions, they’re tasked with retaining their employees and finding employees with the proper skillset to fill open positions.

Iowa’s information technology employers not only need highly trained employees, but they also need specialists in the various fields within the IT industry. Iowa has one of the lowest rates in the nation of people graduating from post-secondary computer and information technology-related programs, according to an Iowa State University Iowa Community Indicators Program report.

So what are employers to do if they can’t find employees with the proper IT background? If they do find skilled employees, how do employers keep them happy? Managed IT services could be the answer. Managed IT services allow companies to use third-party experts to handle or supplement their IT needs.

Small businesses who don’t have a full-time IT professional may rely on a tech savvy team member for their technology dilemmas. That solution — or lack thereof — takes an employee away from their daily work while also leaving the company’s preventive and responsive IT services severely lacking.

“With managed IT services, Infomax can address many different business sizes,” said Doug Postel, Infomax’s IT director. “On the smaller end, we can bring in expertise for a single monthly fee that would be less than employing a full-time IT professional.”

Medium-sized businesses may likely have one or two IT professionals for more employees than they can manage. Additionally, IT professionals may not have experience with certain types of software, hardware or other industry intricacies. Employers could spend years training IT professionals, only to have the employee overwhelmed with knowing a little bit about a lot of facets of IT.

 “You could exhaust that employee,” Doug said. “When you hire a person, they have a certain set of skills. With managed IT, we bring a whole team of experts who have individual knowledge on security, firewalls, antivirus programs, software and hardware.”

With Infomax’s iGuard Managed IT, companies gain access to Infomax’s IT help desk. The help desk frees up the business’ existing IT staff to focus on specific projects instead of pesky password updates and software license renewals. Infomax’s IT team also maintains a company’s software licensing, security and data backup and recovery so IT needs are preventive, not reactive.

Overall, managed IT services can provide a business with a full team of IT experts for one consolidated monthly fee. Managed IT could also give time back to existing IT employees, allowing them to develop in their career while taking away stress.

“IT can be overwhelming for one person,” Doug said. “We can provide that net around an employee, and it allows business owners to know they don’t have their all their eggs in one basket.”

To learn more about our iGuard Managed IT Services, contact us today.

Why you should back up your data today

No one wants to have a Plan B. Most people spend so much time and energy on the original plan that they don’t consider a backup. However, your business’ sensitive information is too important not to back up in advance. Most businesses have years’ worth of sensitive data, including business, employee, client, financial and tax information, that they can’t afford to have compromised.

The good news is that if you spend a bit of time safeguarding and archiving your company’s data, you’ll spend much less time scrambling for a plan and trying recover your information if the unthinkable does occur. The solution is to schedule regular backups for your company’s important data and documents.

Organizations that still store many of their important files on paper — without a digital archive — clearly face the most risk if natural disaster strikes. However, storm damage can still wipe out digital files, especially if they are stored in the same facility. Findings from FEMA and the United States Small Business Administration indicate that the vast majority of businesses that suffer from a natural disaster fail within the first year or two following the damage. A survey of more than 500 IT professionals by cloud-based backup company Carbonite found that 40 percent of respondents believed their small business would go under permanently if they lost all its files. Worse yet, 58 percent of IT professionals believed they couldn’t handle the loss of any of important data. 

While Mother Nature is unpredictable, cyberattacks can be just as difficult to guard against. About 43 percent of cyberattacks are targeted at small businesses, according to Small Business Trends. The networks that house your company’s information could be compromised through malware. Worse yet, your business could fall prey to ransomware malware, which locks users out of a network until they pay a ransom to hackers. Ransomware attack frequency is growing at about 350 percent annually, according to Cisco. Safeguard your data before an attack occurs.

Even if businesses are lucky enough to escape natural disaster damage and cyberattacks, data files can become corrupted through user or program error. Regularly backing up data ensures that data can easily be restored in the event of data corruption, much the same way as edit history on a document can restore the file.

How often should data be backed up? A proper backup solution program should archive your information multiple times a day. Luckily, Infomax’s iGuard solutions automatically backup your data every 15 minutes, ensuring that your business can recover from almost any emergency situation. Our automatic solution works for your IT professionals. It secures your data to guard against cyberattacks. Additionally, we help your company stay compliant with legal requirements, such as HIPAA, SOX and GLBA. If your data is not breached or lost, you don’t lose yours or clients’ valuable and sensitive information.

To learn more about our backup solutions, contact us at 1-800-727-4629. 

Regular cybersecurity training for employees keeps your business safe

Despite businesses’ best efforts to use encrypted networks, firewalls and other cybersecurity measures, cybercriminals hack millions of networks each year, and cyberattacks are still on the rise. The majority of successful cyberattacks on companies originate through emails. Infomax knows that training employees to recognize cybersecurity threats is a necessity.

Not only is it imperative to protect a business’ confidential data and documents, but protecting against cyberthreats also saves a company’s finances. For instance, ransomware — a type of malicious software or malware that denies user access until a ransom is paid — is forecast to cost U.S. companies and organizations about $11.5 billion in 2019, according to Cybersecurity Ventures.

“We can put out lots of safeguards to make the company secure, but it doesn’t matter if employees don’t know what to do,” said Doug Postel, Infomax’s IT director. “In about 80 percent of ransomware cases, it’s not the technology that gets hacked — it’s the person.”

Doug walks us through how to train employees to recognize cyberthreats.

Regular training

Periodic training is key to keeping companies safe from the latest cyberthreats. Cybercriminals are extremely tech savvy, organized and always advancing their tactics. At Infomax, we keep track of trends so our clients don’t have to. We send regular training tips and tests to our iGuard Managed IT services clients so they can keep up to date. Training often includes a video or a timely examination of a recent security breach in the news.

“We look at a breach that’s happened, how to prevent it and what to look out for,” Doug said.  “There are new threats every day. If you’re not in a subscription mode where you’re getting updates to threats constantly, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable.”

Careful downloading

Approximately 92 percent of malware is delivered through email phishing, according to  Verizon’s 2018 Breach Investigations Report. It’s imperative to teach employees about safely receiving and downloading email files. Many companies use filtering systems for emails, but they aren’t 100 percent foolproof, Doug said.

Cisco’s 2018 Annual Cybersecurity Report found that in 2017 hackers most often used Microsoft Office formats — such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel — to hide malware. Other files hackers often used included .zip and .jar files, as well as PDFs. As a general rule, employees shouldn’t download any files from an email that they weren’t expecting to receive.

Caution clicking

About 91 percent of cyberattacks originate through phishing emails, according to research by PhishMe. To test employees, Infomax often sends test emails similar to phishing attempts employees could receive. Phishing emails are often sent from email domains that have one or two letters off from a company’s actual email, or the email address will include “.org” or “.net” instead of instead of the accurate domain.

Emails prompt employees to click a link that will take them to an unsecured website or download malware. Some links will mirror accurate website employees frequently visit. The imposter sites prompt employees to sign into their accounts, allowing hackers to gain secure passwords.

Similar to downloading documents, employees should only click on links they were expecting to receive and that they thoroughly inspect, checking email domains and links against past emails they have received. A telltale sign of phishing attempts is that they often try to send recipients into a panic by including an urgent warning. Additionally, it’s always safer to navigate to a website you have previously visited rather than to click on a potentially phony link through an email.

Administrator support

It’s important to have a company culture that reinforces cybersecurity efforts. Business administrators can ask Infomax to train and test employees on cybersecurity efforts. Managers will receive a countback of who has participated in that training.

“If an employee fails a test, it’s a chance for us to reinforce that the error could have cost the company tens of thousands of dollars,” Doug said. “It’s a great chance to provide further training.”

To tighten up your workplace’s security, contact us today.

“We take the headaches off of the business owner,” Doug said.

The Future of Printing in 2019

The last decade has brought numerous changes in technology and how it affects an office workspace, and the last year of 2010s will be no different. Though consumers often think of how technological advancements affect their computers, many overlook a process they complete daily: printing. We asked Greg Bailey, Infomax’s director of sales, to discuss printing trends in 2019. Here are some of those trends.

Security

Cyberthreats keep pace with the growing number of devices connecting to the internet. All businesses print confidential information, such as employees’ or customers’ personal information, sensitive company data or financial documents. It’s possible for hackers to tap into networks and see documents that are sent to presses. For these reasons, security is going to be one of the biggest demands in the printing industry for years to come, Greg said. Infomax’s printer and document management services provide multiple layers of protection.

Pay-as-you-go models are going to be more popular in coming years so clients have more flexibility in printing and know budgeting costs before they complete a print job. The perk is that businesses and administrators can monitor who is printing and which types of documents are printed. For some of these models, users will sign in before printing or use an ID badge to collect classified documents. Infomax’s print services also track and allow usage-based billing for individual clients, departments or projects so companies know where much of their printing costs originate. Additionally, more printers have document capture services that are adding more security by storing sensitive documents when they are printed. Print-to-voidance — which prevents sensitive documents from being stored on a system after they’re printed — could also gain in popularity. 

Artificial intelligence

Technology continues to advance, no matter the medium or method. Printers are no exception as artificial intelligence enters the industry. AI is generally defined as the ability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior. Though it might sound fanciful, AI technologies are already helping to make printing processes more effective and efficient.

Printers already use AI to automate more routine tasks, freeing up time for employees to work on more strategic work. Some of those routine tasks include direct mail and catalogs, according to Xerox. As more data about mail recipients becomes available, AI can use data to create more relevant content in mailings to specific recipients. Additionally, software allows a printer to optimize document layouts to minimize waste. Data about a printer also can be sent back to manufacturers to compare data to expected performance, determining if software updates or adjustments need to be made. However, the use of AI in the industry is not yet widespread.

“Manufacturers are beginning to use artificial intelligence, but they’re still in the infancy of that,” Greg said. “There are peaks and valleys.”

Flexible format

Though it used to be a luxury, color printing has taken over. Businesses and their clients want the eye-catching visuals that come with color-printed products. And inkjet printers reign supreme in their abilities to create crisp visuals as well as text-based documents. The next few years will also bring a growth in large-format printing that allows marketers to reach a bigger audience through printed banners, stickers and posters. Clients will have easier accessibility to large format printers, such as the Canon Oce Colorado, one of the large-format printers Infomax currently has in the showroom.

Changing technology

Here’s one thing we can always count on: technology will advance. Many businesses want to stay on top of current trends and outfit their offices with updated systems that save money, perform better than previous models and provide more security. That’s why Infomax provides printer leasing options for their clients, and Greg said he only expects that program to gain in popularity. Most clients take advantage of that program and upgrade their presses after a few years.

Call us today to learn more about our printing services at 1-800-727-4629.

Spring cleaning for your networks

Spring cleaning is often associated with cleaning out the sand, salt and other built-up winter soot. However, spring cleaning shouldn’t just be for your home. Most people spend 40 hours a week at work, and even the less physical aspects of an office could use some tender loving care. Consider cleaning up your networks. It’s essential to keeping them secure and running smoothly.

Your networks are the basis on which your business runs. If they aren’t secured, you can lose valuable data to cybercriminals. Our managed IT staff can help you through this process and monitor your security in the future.

Here are a few tips to get started.

Encrypt and secure your wireless network

If you set up your Wi-Fi network years ago, you may be using easily hackable, outdated encryption. The current standard for Wi-Fi protection is Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 — or WPA2. Second, make sure your wireless network has as random of a name as possible, avoiding dictionary words. Seasoned hackers have a list of the top 1000 most common network names with a list of passwords that could likely crack your wireless network. A unique name makes that network more difficult to find. Lastly, create a lengthy password with a mix of letters, symbols and numbers. You’ve likely already been warned about passwords time and again — to much frustration. There’s a reason for that. Get creative and create a password of more than 16 characters for the most protection. Remember, most Wi-Fi devices will store this password, so the aggravation of entering a long, complicated password should be minimized.

File away your old data

Don’t let clutter clog your network and slow it down. File away anything on your network you haven’t touched in the last few months. This is also a great time to organize files into one spot and back them up on a data recovery service. Emails should also be deleted or properly archived. Few things are more overwhelming than a cluttered inbox. While deleting unnecessary correspondence, organize other emails into labeled folders.

Determine space in your bandwidth

As you clean out your network, monitor the space in your bandwidth, which is the amount of data that can be transferred from one point to the next during a given time. As a business grows, it’s possible that its bandwidth may need to as well.

Talk with employees

No matter how secure your network and password are, daily use can still compromise it to cybercriminals. Teach employees about best practices with password creation and teach them how to recognize spam emails and hyperlinks. Additionally, limit access to your company’s critical data to as few people as possible.

Filter network traffic

Give your employees a leg up by filtering the traffic that enters your network. Use pop-up blockers and email filtering services to monitor any suspicious content that could be coming into your network.

Get rid of old devices

Old, unused devices can not only slow down your network, but they can also be a vulnerable access point for cyberthreats. Unplug and properly store or dispose of those unused fax machines, printers, copiers, computers and phones.