The TDSIT Blog

Printer Vulnerabilities and Security Techniques to Keep You Safe

Posted by Tim Stanley on Mon, Feb 12, 2018 @ 02:46 PM

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Cybercrimes are no joke – they cost businesses over $7.7 million last year. As more companies are victimized, businesses are looking for ways to secure their computers to shield against an attack, but many overlook another major point of entry for hackers: the printer.

Printer Vulnerabilities

Printers deal with a large amount of sensitive data every day, but are often not properly secured. This is why up to 60% of cyberattacks involve printers. Printers are vulnerable from a variety of angles, including:

  • Firmware hacks
  • Hard drive data
  • Mobile printing
  • Lack of encryption
  • Unclaimed print jobs on the output tray
  • Unauthorized printer usage

Because there are so many ways someone could gain access to your data via a printer, you must use a multi-pronged approach to printer security.

Security Techniques

Good security starts at the printer. Your printer should have embedded security features to help prevent attack. Security updates should be installed regularly as they are released. No settings should be able to be changed on the printer without authentication.

Printers should also automatically encrypt all data that is sent to or from the printer, as well as what is stored on its hard drive. This will prevent the data from being useful if intercepted. The printer’s hard drive should be erased periodically and destroyed prior to recycling the device.

User authentication via passcode or other means is another way to secure your printer. Combined with pull-printing to reduce unclaimed jobs on the print tray, this can help reduce your risk of a data breach. It’s important to remember if you activate mobile printing that you use encryption and authentication techniques for that as well.

A Comprehensive Strategy

Protecting your network must involve your printers, and protecting your printers must involve your network. Because it is a complex and changing field, it can be beneficial to consult with a provider that specializes in security solutions. These experts can conduct an analysis on your network and print environment to help you develop and update a comprehensive security strategy. By filling the gaps in your security, you can reduce your risk of becoming the next victim of attack.

Printers are a major vulnerability for businesses today and must be secured. With a variety of security techniques and expert help, you can have a secure print environment to protect your sensitive data. 

How secure are your printers? If you are thinking of purchasing or leasing a new printer, be sure to download our free Ultimate MFP Buyers Guide - it will help you to understand the key questions to ask potential vendors, ensuring you get the best printer for your needs.

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Tags: security, TDSIT, Managed IT Services

Revolutionize your Business with Electronic Document Management

Posted by Tim Stanley on Wed, Jan 31, 2018 @ 11:01 AM

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How much paperwork does your business handle each day? For many companies, the amount is overwhelming - leading to errors, missed deadlines and lost documents. With electronic data management and automated processes, you can get your paperwork under control, and reap the benefits of a more organized document environment.

Document Routing and Reminders

Many delays in business come when documents aren't handled appropriately and in a timely manner. Electronic document management helps alleviate this problem by automatically performing prescribed tasks and routing the document to the appropriate people. Notifications, alerts and reminders can all be sent to keep everyone on task so the project keeps flowing steadily along.

Tracking and Audits

As the document is routed to the people who need to take action on it, your document management software is tracking its every move. This means that as a manager, you can see where it is in its workflow, and makes employees more accountable for their work. When the time comes for an audit, this tracking and management makes it easy to produce the necessary data.

Error Reduction

Lost or misfiled documents can cost your business significantly. Automatic workflows and electronic management help reduce these occurrences by reducing the need for manual data entry, indexing files for keyword searching and automated data backups.

Improved Collaboration

When your documents are available 24/7, employees can get more done. Electronic document management improves the flow of your documents, while automatic notifications let everyone know what they need to be doing on the job at a given time. All this adds up to better collaboration and faster turnaround times.

Your Bottom Line

Electronic document management ultimately improves your bottom line, helping you to grow your business. By reducing the time it takes to produce reports, improving collaboration, and minimizing errors, you can enjoy greater productivity and cost reductions.

If you have a paperwork problem, electronic document management may be your solution. By restructuring the way you deal with your documents, you can realize many benefits for your business. Companies of all sizes and across industries are finding that electronic document management is revolutionizing the way they do business, and it can do the same for you.

Contact a TDS IT respresentive today and we'd be happy to discuss the benefits electronic document management can bring to your business.

green printing

 

 

Tags: document management

Xerox ConnectKey Can Stop Hackers in Their Tracks

Posted by Tim Stanley on Thu, Dec 28, 2017 @ 10:37 AM

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It seems like every day we're hearing about a new security breach or cyberattack. It seems to be the new normal. Right behind digital document sharing on internal and external networks, your office multifunction device can be a source of increased risk and vulnerability if it's not protected. Here are three ways ConnectKey from Xerox is addressing print device vulnerability.

  1. Intrusion Prevention – A disgruntled employee breaching your network, or an external hacker are considered “intrusive attacks.” Authenticating users prevents unauthorized access to the network. Authentication can be through mobile devices, password, or card readers. ConnectKey authentication intercepts and prevents external attacks from malicious software and prevents attempts to install infected files.
  2. Device Detection – Built-in McAfee solutions constantly monitors and prevents unknown software from operating on your network and will alert you if something suspicious is detected. These warnings can alert you that someone is trying to compromise your network so you can deploy counter-measures.
  3. Document and Data Protection - The Internet is far from secure. Every piece of data passing through your network is at risk, unless it is encrypted. Xerox ConnectKey-enabled devices encrypt data before it is moved anywhere on and off your network. However, even the best encryption can’t protect documents left on the printer tray. With a ConnectKey-enabled device users can use print-on-demand features that delay printing until an authentication code is input at the device.

Data security is critical for every business. Simple practices along with technology like Xerox ConnectKey can keep your documents, data and network safe and secure.

Are you concerned about network security? Eighty-percent of security experts believe that multifunction devices should be included in your businesses security coverage. Let us show you how ConnectKey from Xerox can help you to keep your data secure!

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: xerox connectkey

4 Reasons Why Your Business Should Move to the Cloud

Posted by Tim Stanley on Thu, Nov 30, 2017 @ 02:18 PM

cloud_computing.jpgA simple definition for cloud computing is using the Internet to store and access data and software versus relying on your computer's hard drive to access this information. As you can imagine, the benefits that the cloud provides can allow you to enhance the way that your business operates. 

Here are several key ways that cloud computing will allow you to take your business to the next level:

Provides Cost Savings

Prudent business owners are always looking for ways to trim costs. Since you'll no longer need servers when moving to the cloud, you can eliminate the maintenance costs, staffing costs, replacement costs, and infrastructure costs associated with having servers. Further, cost savings can be realized by taking advantage of a "pay as you go" cloud services model, which will ensure that you never pay for more than you need.

Evolves with Your Business

A common concern for SMB owners is if they'll have enough computing power and capacity to support the needs of their business. The cloud alleviates this concern as it's designed to expand as your company's needs evolve, allowing you to focus on growing your business. 

Improves Accessibility 

By definition, files and software stored on the cloud are accessed via the Internet, making this critical information accessible from any location which is key to improving productivity and collaboration, especially if your organization has employees that work remotely.  

Strengthens Security

Security is hot topic among business owners, and the cloud can help to strengthen security for your organization in two ways. First, since the cloud serves as the ultimate backup system with multiple backups and redundancies built into its data system, moving to the cloud will minimize your risk of hardware failure and file loss. Second, cloud users benefit from having a team of security professionals that stay up-to-date on the latest threat environment to keep data safe from hackers and malicious cyber criminals. 

The way you store your data matters more now than ever before, and cloud computing can provide you with a secure solution while also reducing costs and improving productivity. 

green printing

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: the cloud

Beware of These Seven Types of Cyberattacks

Posted by Tim Stanley on Thu, Nov 16, 2017 @ 03:03 PM

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Today, every business regardless of size, needs to include cybersecurity in their business toolkit. The fact is, 43% of cyberattacks target small businesses and the threats and tactics they use are changing as fast as online technology.

These seven types of cyberattacks are a threat to every small business today:

  1. Denial of Service (DOS) – This attack is carried out by highjacked computers which are used to overload a network with requests and shut it down. Prevent attacks by monitoring analytics to identify unusual traffic patterns and keeping security software updated.
  2. Insider Attack – Sometimes the threat is more local. When employees leave their jobs don't just take their keys, be sure to terminate network access as well.
  3. Malware – Malicious software called malware lurks online looking to gain access to your system. Malware includes viruses, trojan horses worms and ransomware. Antivirus software and being cautious with email, like not opening unsolicited emails can significantly lower your risk.
  4. Password Attacks – Birthdays and “1234” are not good passwords. Password attacks are common - all it takes is one weak password and your network may be compromised. In fact, password related attacks are so common they make up the last three types of cyberattacks!
  5. The Brute Force Attack – Cybercriminals can use software that cycles through common passwords until one clicks. If they can access an employee list they'll start there with common names or birthdays and work down the list until they gain access.
  6. The Dictionary Attack – People tend to choose passwords that are comprised of words only. In a dictionary attack, hackers use software that will automatically enter every word in a dictionary to unlock passwords. Be careful where you login, unsecured WiFi connections are public and can be hacked.
  7. Key Login Attack – Hackers also embed software onto systems that track keystrokes, If you've ever logged into a portal using a username and password you're at risk. Multi-factor authentication can slow hackers and access codes can add protection.

Security is important. Take precautions to thwart attacks and lower the risk to your network. Being aware of the risks is the first step to protecting your network from attack. Many businesses are turning to Managed IT Services to help them protect their data. Want to learn more? Contact TDS IT for a no-obligation technology assessment today.

Tags: Managed IT Services

8 Steps to Increased Productivity Away From the Office

Posted by Tim Stanley on Tue, Oct 31, 2017 @ 09:13 AM

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There's no place like home—or your own office. Long hours spent sitting in airports or on board flights, or nights spent in a strange bed can take their toll on even the most seasoned traveler. Increase productivity and make the most of time spent on the road with a little preparation and by utilizing the latest innovative technology. 

1. Get packing. Make a checklist of all the items you'll need for a successful trip, including  mobile devices such as a laptop, smartphone or tablet. Be sure to include any accessories or peripherals such as batteries, power and charging cords, and consider investing in a spare set to keep in your luggage if you travel often. 

2. Recharge your batteries. Plug in all devices the night before you leave to guarantee a full charge whenever you need it, and avoid the hassle of searching for an available outlet at the airport. 

3. Clear your mind. In the event any of your devices becomes lost or stolen, your sensitive data is at risk. Before you leave, upload information to a secure cloud storage and collaboration service such as Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, or Office365, before deleting those files from your laptop, tablet or smartphone.  

4. Be accommodating. Choose your hotel wisely, looking for a chain that is accommodating to business travelers with amenities such as free Wi-Fi, business centers, and ample work space in your room. Consider joining their loyalty program to enjoy perks and accumulate points, and book with them when possible. 

5. Timing is everything. Make every second count by using the time spent at the airport and on board your flight to complete any number of tasks from checking emails, to finalizing your proposal. 

6. End on a good note. Wrap up your paperwork before you leave with the scan, fax, and storage capabilities of Xerox Mobile Link App

7. Get on track. Xerox Mobile Print Solution uses GPS technology to locate a compatible printer, securely prints your information to it, and will only print and release your documents once you've input a unique pass code. 

8. Relax. Get plenty of rest, eat healthy, and take time for yourself each day to stay focused and increase productivity. 

To learn more about how to stay connected and productive while you're on the road, contact TDS IT today.

Tags: mobile print solution

How to Choose a Managed IT Services Partner for Your Healthcare Organization

Posted by Tim Stanley on Tue, Oct 10, 2017 @ 09:11 AM

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Managed IT Services offers healthcare organizations a wealth of benefits, from reducing costs to maximizing productivity. Choosing the right Managed IT Services provider for your healthcare organization is critical.

It's important to note that not all Managed IT Service providers are created equally as there can be some vast differences in the level of support they offer and the services available. 

In general, a Managed IT Service provider is able to offer the following services:

  • Application hosting
  • Application services
  • Infrastructure services
  • Strategic outsourcing
  • Computing solutions

Healthcare organizations need to do their research to select a Managed IT Service provider that is able to meet specific requirements to satisfy their industry needs. Here are several qualities that healthcare organizations should look for in a Managed IT Service provider:

  1. Offer guaranteed response times. Most healthcare providers operate 24/7, so their Managed IT Services partner needs to be available around the clock as well. 
  1. Support your organization's continuity plan. Healthcare providers need a Managed IT Services partner that is able to maintain redundant systems and provide the necessary recovery support in the event of a power outage or natural disaster. 
  1. Manage and maintain application performance. A Managed IT Services provider should proactively manage and maintain your network, databases, and ability to compute. 
  1. Provide proactive governance. The right Managed IT Services partner should offer a single view of all of IT resources under management. Being able to use a single interface to place policies around specific services and make changes as needed will give healthcare organizations greater control over their technology environment. 
  1. Provide proactive security. In the world of healthcare, security is especially important as there are a number of laws that require specific levels of security. Core security services should be offered by Managed IT Services providers for the healthcare industry. 
  1. Manage audits. Healthcare providers need a Managed IT Services partner that can deal with compliance audits as required. A Managed IT Services partner that understands the ins and outs of these audits will prevent healthcare providers from having to pay thousands of dollars in fines. 

Contact us to learn more about what to look for when choosing a Managed IT Services partner for the healthcare industry. 

 

 

Tags: Managed IT Services

Helpful Tips To Improve Your Meetings

Posted by Tim Stanley on Fri, Sep 29, 2017 @ 12:06 PM

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The purpose of a meeting is to increase awareness, introduce new ideas, discuss business, and brainstorm ways to increase revenues and growth, yet most people will agree that meetings are often a waste of time.

Here are some tips to help improve your meetings: 

  1. Stick with the agenda. Ask for input from key players to formulate a short agenda and forward it to attendees ahead of time so they can become familiar with the topics for discussion. Use this tool to help keep the meeting moving, and participants focused.
  2. Stay on track. Shortly after the meeting send out an email to sum up key tasks and due dates so everyone is clear about their responsibilities.
  3. Limit attendance. It may not be necessary for every employee to attend every meeting. Limit the number of participants based on need and availability rather than inclusiveness.
  4. Wrap it up. Incorporate five or ten minutes at the end of the agenda to recap key points of discussion, review action items, and identify employee assignments and due dates.
  5. Leave early. Focusing on your agenda and limiting off-topic discussions helps to periodically end meetings early. The extra time can be used to ask questions not covered in the meeting.
  6. Take a day off. Daily meetings can wreak havoc on productivity and disrupt workflow. By designating a minimum of one day a week as "meeting free" employees can focus on key tasks more readily without fear of interruption. 
  7. Timing is everything. Strategic timing can result in greater outcomes; avoid Monday morning meetings, as people are often tired and still thinking about weekend activities, while meeting just before lunch will keep everyone motivated to finish on time.
Use these tips for more efficient meetings - youll have happier employees and more time to concetrate on core tasks. 

Tags: Small Medium business

6 Warning Signs of an Inefficient Print Environment

Posted by Tim Stanley on Fri, Sep 15, 2017 @ 09:58 AM

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Do you know how much print and document management costs your business each year? If the answer is no, chances are you're paying too much. While considered a necessary part of doing business, printing costs can be significantly reduced once inefficiencies have been addressed—but the key to your success lies in identifying the warning signs that something is amiss, including the following. 

  • You own several inexpensive printers. Cheap print equipment bought from office supply stores may seem like a bargain with their low initial purchase price, but savings are quickly negated through the inability to track usage or print costs, and expensive print supplies. 
  • Print jobs are left in output trays. Unclaimed or forgotten print jobs, or original copies left on the glass can be lost, damaged, or stolen posing a serious threat to data security. A Managed Print Services provider can help by implementing a user authentication system. In addition to eliminating the risk of your information falling in to the wrong hands, it will save you money on wasted paper and toner. 
  • IT personnel are fielding printer repair calls. Small to medium-sized businesses often rely on their IT team to maintain their print fleet when these valuable resources could be put to better use. In addition to outsourcing this task, a streamlined print environment with equipment from a trusted manufacturer can help alleviate the stress placed upon IT personnel. 
  • Several people are purchasing printer supplies. In an environment where there is no central purchasing system in place and printers and supplies are bought by individuals as needed, costs can quickly escalate beyond your control. Savings can be had with consolidated purchasing of toner, paper, and other consumables helping to regain control over usage and inventory.  
  • Everything is being printed in color. Color printing is more expensive than black and white, and should be reserved for departments where color will make the biggest impact such as sales or marketing. 

The Managed Print Services Solution 

A Managed Print Services provider can help you make the most of your print infrastructure, while helping you save as much as 30 percent on document management and print costs through increased efficiency. Contact us today and find out if Managed Print Services is right for your business.

 

Tags: managed print services

How to Keep Your Copier Operating at Peak Efficiency

Posted by Tim Stanley on Tue, Aug 29, 2017 @ 09:03 AM

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The copier is a staple in the workplace and helps employees to carry out critical everyday tasks such as copying, printing, scanning and faxing. With frequent use, these complex pieces of machinery will wear down over time. However, here are several best practices to keep your copier operating at its peak efficiency:

1. Offer training. Train your employees on how to properly use the copier. Educating your employees about the copier's various functionalities will go a long way.

2. Choose the right copier for your needs. The best way to choose the right copier for your company's needs is to have a proven Managed Print Services provider conduct a print assessment. This fact-based report will reveal your actual printing volumes and behaviors and will serve as a useful guide for selecting the optimal copier for your needs. 

3. Clean your copier. Dust is your copier's worst enemy as it can scratch the glass, cause the rollers to slip and affect output quality. Clean glass weekly and vacuum out paper drawers monthly. Don't allow employees to eat or drink near the copier.

4. Keep sharp objects away from the copier. If the glass on the copier is scratched, it will have negative repercussions on output quality. 

5. Turn off the copier when it's not being used. Make a habit of turning off the copier outside of business hours to conserve power and prolong the useful life of your copier.

6. Wipe the copier's hard drive clean at the end of its useful life. Your copier has a hard drive that contains confidential information that is transmitted to and from your network. When it comes time to replace your copier, be sure to either wipe its hard drive clean or destroy it. Otherwise you risk having sensitive information fall into the hands of the wrong person. 

7. Choose the right Managed Print Services provider. Partnering with the right Managed Print Services provider can help to ensure that you have the best copier for your company's needs and that your machine is routinely serviced. Your Managed Print Services provider will help to keep your copier operating at its peak efficiency so that there are no interruptions in workflows. 

The copier plays a critical role in the workplace and embracing these best practices will help to keep your office productivity rolling. 

Print Assessment

Tags: copier