Resolutions for 2015: Security & Communications

2015 orangeTwenty-fourteen had businesses on the edge of their seats. Cyber attacks and data breaches have made the headlines on too many occasions this year. Then there was the Heartbleed Bug that left so many “secure” websites vulnerable (see our blog post, “Plugging the Heartbleed Bug).

The Internet resembles a modern Wild West. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to protect your online identity before getting taken at the ole saloon. Remind yourself and your coworkers about these five simple tips—and make a new year’s resolution to follow them:

Tip #1: Make stronger passwords. “Password,” your name and any other password that wasn’t difficult for you to make will probably be easy to crack. Try using a phrase, or adding numbers and symbols.

Tip #2: Change your passwords. A lot of businesses require that you change your passwords every six months or so. It seems pesky, but it’s actually a great way to ensure that your password is YOUR password only.

Tip #3: Careful where you login. Mobile and cellular networks are notoriously unsecure. As this opinion piece from Computerworld demonstrates: “Are your calls being intercepted? 17 fake cell towers discovered in one month.”

Tip #4: Don’t open files and emails from unknown individuals. This is something we’ve known since dial-up Internet, but people still do it.

Tip #5: Update software and hardware whenever possible. Anti-virus software quickly gets outdated and critical systems frequently need patches. As software gets better, new hardware needs to be installed to keep up with the software’s requirements.

Speaking of software updates… did you know that Windows XP retired in April? Microsoft stopped supporting the operating system. No more updates or patches. Windows XP was so prevalent that Microsoft got the word out far ahead of time so businesses and consumers could quickly upgrade to a newer operating system.

If you haven’t migrated from Windows XP to another operating system, it’s still not too late. Better late than never (see our blog post, “D-Day for Windows XP is April 8th”).

End of support for Windows Vista is expected on April 11, 2017, for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020, and for Windows 8 on January 10, 2023. Windows 10’s release is on the horizon (Why is it called Windows 10 not Windows 9?).

Looking Forward to 2015

The trends are saying that video conferencing technology and other ways of uniting dispersed workforces will become more dominant. A couple of recent products that we’ve seen do this very effectively, and in their own way, is the SMART kapp capture board and Cisco Meraki network hardware.

smart-kapp-mobileSMART kapp is a dry erase board with digital capture technology. Through a mobile device with the SMART kapp mobile app, a user in the room can share captures from the board with remote users. Remote users on a laptop or computer can watch ideas develop as if they were in the same room. Cloud services are also compatible with the mobile app.

meraki-topologyCisco Meraki is a line of switches, wireless access points and other devices that are manageable from the cloud. An entire network can be mapped out and controlled from anywhere. Updates and new features are regularly released by Cisco and downloaded from the cloud. Meraki is not entirely new, but Cisco updates the platform so frequently that it remains fresh and innovative for a long time.

If you’re making a resolution to update your office technology, we recommend taking a look at these products and other ways of unifying your workforce. The boost in productivity is well worth the investment.

Closing Out 2014

Thank you for a fantastic 2014 and we hope your holidays were wonderful! We’ll see you again in 2015—just a couple of days away.