The TDSIT Blog

Six Hacking Terms Every Business Owner Should Know

Posted by Tim Stanley on Fri, Aug 31, 2018 @ 09:10 AM


It seems like every day we're being told of yet another data breach. As a business owner in today's connected world, it's important to be educated about the risks involved. There are plenty of trade websites, blogs and newsletters where you can learn about today's threats. Like any industry IT professionals have a language they use when discussing these very real issues.

If you're new to IT, or just looking for information, here are six common hacking terms you should know when conversing with your IT security team.

  • Denial Of Service Attack (DoS): DoS attacks are used to lock resources by flooding a network or website with rapid requests that can't be serviced. This effectively shuts down the resource by crashing the network or website.
  • Dictionary Attack: A sophisticated version of the brute force password attack. Hackers try literally thousands, or even millions of randomly generated passwords in order to break through password security.
  • Logic Bomb: A logic bomb is “set off” or triggered by a specific event or sequence of events. Hacked systems are loaded with software that is awaiting a specific event, date, or series of actions to begin the attack. 
  • Malware: Malicious software or malware, is a program that is designed to disrupt a computer or network with malicious intent. 
  • Phishing: This is the most common type of attack. Often sent from a friend's email address which was attacked by a virus that hijacked their address book.
  • Zero-day Attack: A common term, a zero-day attack uses a flaw in an app or OS to gain access or control a system's resources. Zero-day is the day the first attack was identified.

There are new IT threats coming online every day. Regardless of your industry, it's important to stay on top of IT trends, risks and vulnerabilities to reduce your risk of attack.  Want to learn more? Contact us today to learn how to keep your data protected.




Tags: TDSIT, Small Medium business, Managed IT Services, security

Should You Outsource Your IT or Hire In-House?

Posted by Tim Stanley on Mon, Apr 30, 2018 @ 03:11 PM


No matter how big or small your business, chances are you rely on technology to do your work. Unfortunately, supporting that technology is never easy. Most small and medium-sized businesses recognize the importance of IT support, but are unsure whether to hire, or outsource. Let's take a look at each option to help you decide which is right for you.

In-House IT

Hiring a dedicated IT person can be pretty appealing. When you have an in-house person you get:

  • Availability – An on staff IT person is dedicated to keeping your business running. They're always available to address issues when they arise.
  • Immediate Response – They can respond quickly. That means less downtime and increased productivity.
  • Specialization – Over time, your team will learn the specific needs of your business. This knowledge will maximize their efficiency, and allow them to focus on tasks that are aligned with your company objectives.

On the downside, it takes time to find the right people and for them to become familiar with your operation. Along with paying salary and benefits, you'll need to equip them with the tools they need to do the job. While you will own the assets, there may be a significant upfront capital investment.

Managed IT Services

Outsourcing IT is an alternative that works well for many businesses. Managed IT professionals provide a number of benefits including:

  • Expertise – One of the major benefits is leveraging their knowledge and experience. Unlike an in-house IT person, a Managed IT Services provider has worked with a variety of different businesses giving them broad knowledge that can help them customize a plan to meet your needs.
  • Cost Savings – Often a Managed IT provider is less expensive than hiring and building a team. Most work on a fixed monthly rate, making budgeting easier.
  • Tools – A Managed IT provider has the tools to do the job. This can include hardware, software and more. Plus it's all been evaluated so you know it works!

A Managed IT Services provider offers knowledge and support at an affordable rate. If you'd like to learn more about Managed IT Services, give us a call and we'd be happy to answer any questions you may have.



Tags: TDSIT, Managed IT Services

Printer Vulnerabilities and Security Techniques to Keep You Safe

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


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.







Tags: security, TDSIT, Managed IT Services

Beware of These Seven Types of Cyberattacks

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


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

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

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


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

Think About These Things When Choosing a Managed IT Services Provider

Posted by Tim Stanley on Wed, May 10, 2017 @ 02:07 PM


Today, business is driven by technology. That's why Managed IT Services is one of the fastest growing trends. Between the cloud, personal devices, smartphones, mobile printing and more, making it all run seamlessly and securely is a full time job. 

A Managed IT Services provider can help businesses like yours manage everything technology-related such as security, 24/7 network monitoring, help desk support, data management, infrastructure management, on-site technical support and more! Their job is to keep your business secure, safe from downtime, your technology updated, and your workflows efficient.

If you're considering outsourcing your IT to a Managed IT Services provider, here are a few tips to help you hire the right team:

  • They should ask you the right questions – They should want to know everything about your business and your needs, from your cloud provider to specific technology and workflows. They will ask about security and data management protocols. The right provider will ask YOU the right questions.
  • Make sure they never sleep! - They should be available 24/7/365 and provide remote monitoring. A good provider can remotely fix problems before they become critical. Choose a provider that offers complete monitoring including workstations, servers, your network, routers, switches and firewalls.
  • They should offer 24-hour support, remote repair and onsite support when necessary – This is a deal breaker. Your business needs to be ready to function safely and securely 24 hours a day. You should have 24-hour access to a live tech at any time to correct any problems. The right provider will offer immediate service and onsite support when needed. 
  • They should understand your industry – A knowledgeable provider will understand the specific technological needs of businesses in your industry. They will go beyond simply offering hardware recommendations to improving workflows, training and software. Make sure they understand the specific needs for businesses in your industry.

Want to know more? Give our team a call. We can show you how Managed IT Services can free your time to focus on your core business by making your technology more secure.


Tags: Managed IT Services