Archive Monthly Archives: June 2018

Cybersecurity Risks (Problems/Fixes)

Cybersecurity Risks (Problems/Fixes)

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The Top 5 Cybersecurity Risks Your Company Hasn’t Considered 

Exploring the leading cybersecurity threats facing business professionals today

There’s no getting around the prevalence of cybercrime today; it’s happening more and more, all across the globe. Even worse? The identity thieves and malicious attackers lurking behind the scenes are getting better at exploiting weaknesses to get their hands on confidential business data.

Understandably, business owners are often scrambling to ensure they’re doing enough to keep security tight. Maybe they invest in some “total solution” software or perhaps they overload a tech savvy employee with IT security work. Some business owners simply decide to roll the dice and hope for the best. Whether it’s doing too much or too little, business professionals often get caught up in a less-than-ideal approach to cybersecurity.

So, with all the horror stories in the headlines about companies and government agencies getting breached, what’s a business owner to do? The key is to remain focused and strategic so you can put together a level-headed plan. This involves taking a closer look at some of those gargantuan cyber threats we often forget about.

Narrowing Down the Doom: 5 Concrete Risks You Can Focus on Fixing Today 

In order to develop a realistic and strategic approach to cybersecurity, you have to cut out all the noise. Put the headlines and your own fears to the side and try to stay focused on the things you and your staff can control. Think long and hard about the various ways cyberattacks could occur in your organization and then consider how you can work to close the gaps in each section. 

Check out these Top 5 Security Risks that your organization must be carefully managing:

1. Your own team 

No one likes to admit that internal risks exist, but the reality is that employees are the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain. Sometimes these internal threats are malicious, but most often it’s a matter of ignorance and carelessness. In fact, human error is the catalyst for the vast majority of cyber-attacks on businesses. 

The reality is, an uninformed and unprepared team can have drastic consequences for your organization’s cybersecurity. You may have employees who are more likely to click a malicious link or download a bad file from a phishing scam. Perhaps your team receives fraudulent business email compromise (BEC) scams that seem legitimate. No matter the error, your workforce – when uninformed – can put your organization at serious risk. 

How to tackle an uneducated team: 

The best way to counteract employees who aren’t in the know is to teach them! Yes, this will require some investment of time and resources but in the long run, your organization will be stronger and more secure.

Find ways to get your team on board and help empower them to be cybersecurity superheroes. Help them determine how to identify threats and create an environment for open and honest communication about suspicious activity of any kind. With an informed and vigilant team, your cybersecurity woes will be reduced significantly.

Password malpractice 

Passwords are supposed to keep your organizational and employee data safe and secure. But when’s the last time your team changed their passwords? Is there a culture of password-sharing or posting in your office that threatens security? For that matter, have you and your team ever had an open conversation about choosing strong passwords? These are questions you must ask yourself in order to get on top of password malpractice.

How to manage password malpractice: 

Like with any other part of your business, best practice for password management is to have standard operating procedures in place to ensure your team knows what is expected.

Make it a rule that passwords must be kept private and changed on a 30 or 60-day basis. Mark calendars with password change dates and makes it a group activity. Make it a rule that passwords must be unique and not repeats of old passwords or other accounts. Ensure there is a chain of command for access and control – superiors should never be sharing login credentials with employees – no matter how convenient. Finally, consider setting up two-factor authentication at all endpoints to add an extra layer of verification security. 

2. Patch procrastination 

In an increasingly digital workforce, hardware and software updates seem to pop-up daily. However, it is becoming blatantly clear that updated software and hardware are a critical part of maintaining strong cyber security. Why? Because updates very often include patches designed specifically to fix security holes or glitches. Who can forget the massive WannaCry scam from 2017? Even though a patch had been released in March, it had not been installed on countless machines who were then infected by the virus in May. 

Even with the high profile WannaCry case, it is still common practice for many business professionals to avoid or put off software updates. Sometimes there is fear of change or increased technical issues once an update is installed – and this can happen. However, for the most part, updates are designed correctly and will work wonders by patching unseen security flaws. This can make a huge difference in keeping your network secure.

How to stop patch procrastination: 

Again, schedule your updates and mark them on calendars as much as possible. Taking the time to make a physical note will help emphasize the importance of staying on top of patchwork.

Most importantly, when your machine gives you a reminder to install an update – install it! Get out of the habit of clicking “Remind Me Later” – your network will thank you. It’s not just about security either. Staying on top of updates and patches will help your systems run at optimal capacity at all times. Make updates to your new habit and explain this priority to other administrators. 

3. Other organizations 

This is perhaps the biggest risk that business professionals often forget. It’s not just your own cybersecurity practices you should be worried about – it’s the other companies you work with. Vendors, business partners, consultants – basically any organization that your company deals with can impact the safety of your business data.

Even if you have the strongest internal cybersecurity plan in place, if a third-party vendor has less than perfect cyber security practices, attacks could find a way to access your network. The recent Petya attack is a good example of this. The bottom line is that any company that you transmit data to and from is a potential vulnerability for your own network. The last thing you want is to invest time and money to keep your network secure, only to have it breached thanks to another organization’s lax policies.

How to counteract the poor cybersecurity practices of others: 

First, its critical to make your own standards clear to the partners you’re working with. While you can’t force them to get smarter about their own security, letting them know that you take cybersecurity seriously right off the bat is a great way to be transparent and encourage their vigilance.

Second, there are technical tools available to help mitigate the risks involved with external vendors. Network segmentation or divided servers can help ensure vendors only access the necessary parts of your network and nothing else. This can be a great safeguard that will help mitigate the risk of vendor weak spots. 

4. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) chaos 

Alright, it’s no secret that pretty much everyone has a computer in their pocket or purse these days. Between smartphones, tablets and laptops, taking your favorite machine on-the-go is now easier than ever. Understandably, this has translated to the workplace with the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) craze. BYOD can be a convenient, cost-effective, and morale-boosting practice for small businesses. 

However, there is a downside to letting endless personal devices through the doors and onto your business network. In fact, the security risks involved can be pretty serious. Simply put, personal devices likely do not have the same security standards and protocols that corporate devices do. This can leave your organization wide open and much more susceptible to hacks and data breaches.

How to balance BYOD benefits and risks: 

Said it once and we’ll say it again: get policies and procedures on paper if your organization allows staff to bring in their own devices. Make sure your employees know the risks involved and come up with some detailed policies that will keep your network as secure as possible. 

Make sure personal devices are only able to access the corporate networks through a virtual private network (VPN). Additionally, ensure that all employees have two-factor authentication set up on their accounts to maintain adequate verification. Just like all the other areas, proactive education is crucial. An informed team will make all the difference. 

5. Putting Your Plan in Action: Consult the Pros if Necessary 

Now that some of the basic groundwork has been laid, it’s time to ditch the hopelessness and procrastination and get your plan in action. There’s no denying that business professionals are constantly on-the-go, but making cybersecurity a top priority is a critical way to ensure your IT infrastructure is protected. 

But hey, it can be a tough process to start. If you’re feeling lost or unsure, don’t hesitate to reach out to a local IT partner. A team of experts can help you begin thinking technically and strategically. It’s not just about calling someone in to fix the problem. The right IT partner will help empower you and your team so you’re thinking more like an IT expert.

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4 Tips for Working Securely On Wi-Fi

4 Tips for Working Securely On Wi-Fi

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Have you ever used public Wi-Fi in a coffee shop? – In a hotel? – While sitting at an airport waiting for your flight?

We’ve yet to meet a remote worker who can say “no” to all of these questions. Running a business means being a road warrior and using public Wi-Fi from time to time.

However, there are precautions you should take when using public Wi-Fi. Just a single visit online in a coffee shop or airport terminal can put your confidential data at risk. “Free” doesn’t always mean safe. With viruses, malware, and hackers just waiting to infect your laptop, working remotely can be like navigating a minefield.

The following are four tips to help you work securely when using public Wi-Fi.

Tip 1 – Avoid Crowded Cafés

We’re in the midst of a workforce revolution. People no longer want to be tied to their desks. And if you need help finding a space that offers fast Wi-Fi, plentiful workspace, and outlets, there are a number of new sites and applications that rate businesses on these things and more.

Try Google’s Popular Times Feature – Plug in the name and location of your café, and the hours you’d like to visit, and Google will let you know how busy it is. Since introducing the Popular Times feature in Google Search and Maps in 2015, we can now determine how busy a particular site is during different times of the day, and days of the week.

Even better – Google updated this “popular” app to add a real-time look at how crowded a café is. This is a great tool if you want to lessen the chance that someone sitting at a table too close to you will eavesdrop on your email messages and browsing.

Tip 2 – Find New Places To Work Online 

If your local café is too crowded, you may want to find another place to work. However, you need one with adequate space, power outlets, and Wi-Fi bandwidth. There are a number of new sites and apps you can use to help you find just the right place for you. 

WorkFrom.com 

WorkFrom’s mission is for work/life betterment in an office-optional economy. They want to help people everywhere find and share trusted spaces to work remotely. It’s the world’s largest recommendation website for trusted spaces to work remotely. Its database spans more than 300 cities and towns. You can download it from the Apple App Store or from Google Play.

WHA by Work Hard Anywhere 

This is an iOS app that you can download to your iPhone from the Apple App Store. It uses your iPhone to give you nearby, work-friendly spots where you can use your laptop. You can apply filters to rate Wi-Fi speeds, the number of outlets, workspace size, parking, bathrooms and more.

Tip 3 – Stay Secure 

Hackers take advantage of your thirst for Wi-Fi by creating networks that have legitimate-sounding names so you’ll be fooled into logging on. These are called rogue hotspots. They are typically located in airports and other busy locations. Always double check with a manager to determine if the Wi-Fi you choose is a safe hotspot. T

ake note: Even official public Wi-Fi’s can be compromised. So, it’s always best not to do any banking, bill paying or shopping over public Wi-Fi.

Always look for websites that have “https” before sending any personal information. Also look for a small lock icon in your web browser that indicates the website is safe. You can use a virtual private network (VPN) to add an encrypted layer of protection for your data to pass through. You can try free ones like CyberGhost VPN, or paid ones which tend to be faster like HotSpot Shield Elite or proXPN.

CyberGhost VPN is mostly free and totally safe. Some of the aspects are free; others aren’t. It’s also very easy to use. With it, you can surf anonymously, unblock streaming and other websites, and protect your Internet connection from being tampered with while using public Wi-Fi. Although a VPN isn’t appropriate for time-sensitive gaming, it can figure out if and where it can direct you to stream services such as news or movies. Many other VPNs can’t do this.

HotSpot Shield Elite is a subscription-based service that allows you not only to secure your connection while surfing on public Wi-Fi, but it also lets you access sites not normally available when you’re outside of the U.S. (such as Pandora and Hulu). It’s the paid version of Hotspot Shield with faster and more stable streaming.

proXPN VPN lets you surf the web securely via public Wi-Fi or when you’re at work or home. They offer a lifetime premium subscription that provides unlimited bandwidth via their ultra-private global server network. You can surf with complete anonymity. proXPN will even unblock geo-locked content so you can browse freely from anywhere in the world with an Internet Wi-Fi connection. And they say it never logs your online movements so others can’t track or steal your confidential data. proXPN VPN got a 4-Star Rating from PC Magazine.

Tip 4 – Stay Private 

It can be difficult to remember that when working online in public, your screen and everything you do can be seen within eyeshot of strangers. There’s a term for this – it’s called “Shoulder Surfing.” Always pay attention to where you sit and who’s nearby.

One way to protect yourself is by using a laptop privacy filter. You simply slide it over your screen. It limits the viewing angle to only straight on. Also, be sure to dim your screen’s brightness setting. The lower the brightness, the more effective the privacy filter will be at narrowing the viewing angle.

Do you feel like you can’t win when security risks are coming at you from all directions? We understand, and we can help. We’ll do all we can to protect your confidential data and your business. Partner with our cybersecurity experts for the safeguards you need.

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What’s New in Microsoft Teams for 2018?

What’s New in Microsoft Teams for 2018?

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Celebrating its one-year anniversary, Microsoft reports that over 200,000 organizations have downloaded the Teams App. This chat-based workspace is part of Office 365 and developers consistently add new features to make the Teams App even more useful to businesses of every size across all industries.

Microsoft Teams is a great solution for meetings of any complexity and it’s available for all mobile devices, PCs and Mac computers.

Over the years, Microsoft has been successful by listening to their users. That means they stay up to date on the corporate culture all over the world. One of their strengths is to incorporate numerous useful tools into one app while integrating all their programs into an easy-to-access platform.

The painless way to hold a meeting 

One of the big changes to the way companies do business these days includes the manner in which their employees meet each week. Whether you run a small business or an enterprise organization, you’ve no doubt got lots of people in different departments with a strong need to get together on a regular basis. In fact, companies in every industry can’t function anymore without the ability to meet up and discuss their work. This has become crucial to a project’s success. 

You may be building a new robot that can perform delicate medical procedures or you may be building an incredible concept car. But often, businesses are just involved in ordinary day-to-day activities like selling products and providing good customer service. No matter what your job, your teams will be more productive and more efficient when they can collaborate. And that’s one of the strong points of the Teams App.

New changes in the MS Teams App for 2018 

One of the more popular features, Chat Message, has been improved to make communicating simpler. Any team member, including guests, can use the instant message feature. This is a great way to say hello to a new team member or ask someone a quick question. It works much the same as other popular instant messaging apps. 

Now teams can have guests, as well as external members. These participants will have access to any features that the team leader permits them to have. And, they only have access to teams that they’ve received an invitation from. Microsoft makes it easy for team leaders to control the guest experience.

SaaS integration 

There are a number of SaaS services that can be integrated for use into the Teams App. Go to the “Add a Tab” page and there you’ll find a list of useful apps that can be added at the top of the channel so that all team members can access them. 

For instance, click on “Survey Monkey” to add this app and then instruct team members to complete a survey about a current project or other relevant topics. There are dozens of helpful apps that most users are already familiar with including Hootsuite, Jira, Quizlet, and Zendesk.

Another fun feature just added to MS Teams is the Bot. There are all types of bots available in Teams. Growbot lets the team leader give kudos to a team member who has done an exceptional job. This is a unique way to build camaraderie in any team.

Microsoft has made it easier for users to locate the many helpful features in Teams by adding a link called “Store.” Click on Store to view all the available apps. You can also search for an app by name or category. You may want to find an app that deals with analytics, Adobe, or your calendar. Type a word in the search bar and all the apps related to this topic will show up.

The Teams app allows users to view a personalized version of the app so they can see exactly what tasks have been assigned directly to them. Completed tasks are shown as well.

The instant chat space now has the ability for users to include information from other apps. You may be chatting with a colleague and want to open a project from Visual Studio. Do this by clicking on the “More” dots located on the far right side of the icons at the bottom of the chat box. Once you click on More, this will open up all the apps, tasks, documents, and other items in your customized Teams app. Now you can attach these to your message. This feature is available for the channel or chat space.

Exciting Features 

The developers at Microsoft understand the importance of creating a space where team members from all over the world can collaborate. Though they originally designed Teams for business, this helpful app has found its way into classrooms and colleges, as well as casual get-togethers. Even individuals have discovered how easy it is to plan a birthday party or anniversary celebration using the Teams app. There’s really no limit to its usefulness. 

Are virtual meetings the way of the future? 

With so many companies now utilizing the power of remote workers, the Teams App can streamline meetings so it feels like everyone is “in the room.” Whether employees are just down the street or on the other side of the world, they can participate. Virtual meetings have become the preferred way for teams and organizations to get together. 

In the past, an organization’s employees would often go to great lengths to attend important meetings. But this is no longer necessary. Most companies have accepted the fact that it’s quicker and less expensive to host virtual meetings. Much research[1] has been completed to learn whether virtual meetings are just as effective as real meetings and the findings show that a virtual meeting can be even more effective than a real one.

Pros and cons of virtual meetings 

In real meetings, people often feel uncomfortable. Maybe their chair isn’t set right or they should have dropped by a bathroom on the way to the meeting. When people can meet from their own location, they feel more energized and creative. This results in better meetings where important tasks are accomplished. 

Virtual meetings save time and money and they reduce our overall carbon footprint, making them a big plus for the environment. It’s very simple to record a meeting so the contents are saved for later reference. And of course, you don’t have to worry about catching a cold from the guy sitting next to you. If you need help with any of the new updates for MS Teams 2018, you can find that by searching online or navigating to the Microsoft website.

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Why Your Company Should Switch to Office 365

Why Your Company Should Switch to Office 365

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Undoubtedly, Office 365 has taken the business world as we know it by storm. With each update that Microsoft makes to Office 365, more and more companies are jumping on the Office 365 bandwagon, and for good reason. This enterprise software has something to offer for just about every business. Some business owners have even identified Office 365 as a major factor behind the success they’ve experienced.

If you’re thinking about making the switch to Office 365, here is some information about the features of this enterprise software that should help you make a concrete decision.

Available on the Cloud

As a business owner, your primary concern should be perfecting your products and services. Unless your business operates within the IT industry, you and your employees shouldn’t have to worry about servers and maintenance. Fortunately, if you decide to switch to Office 365, you and your employees won’t have to.

Office 365 is a cloud-based software. Therefore, you and your employees can use this software primarily on the cloud. However, if needed, you also have the option of integrating Office 365 with the on-premises solutions of your company. Not only will you save money on maintenance costs by using Office 365 on the cloud, but you will also enjoy peace of mind knowing that your data is safe and secure.

Scalability

If you foresee your business growing significantly in the near future, it is in your best interest to consider switching to Office 365. Scalability is one of the most lauded features of Office 365. With Office 365, you only need to pay for the features that you get.

Therefore, in the early stages of your business, you don’t need to worry about wasting money on features that you won’t use. As your business grows, you won’t be forced to switch to another enterprise software to ensure your growing needs are met. Instead, all you will need to do is pay for more services and data storage. By choosing Office 365 from the beginning, you will save yourself a lot of time and trouble.

Access Anywhere and Anytime 

In many organizations, the productivity of employees is limited significantly by the lack of access to documents and data anytime and anywhere. If you want your employees to be able to access anything required for work from home, coffee shops, and elsewhere, you should consider getting Office 365. Since Office 365 is available on the cloud, this software will make it possible for your employees to be productive hundreds of miles away from their desk in the workplace. Also, your employees won’t be forced to work from a laptop or desktop computer. Office 365 makes it possible to be productive working from a tablet or even an iPhone. 

Simplified Migration 

One concern that many business owners have when it comes to switching to Office 365 is the migration process. If you also have this concern, you will be happy to know that Microsoft has made migrating to Office 365 incredibly easy. This is true no matter what storage tools your business is using currently. Also, once you make the switch to Office 365, you will never need to worry about migrating your data once more in the future because Microsoft is constantly making updates to Office 365. Microsoft strives to make timely updates to Office 365 to ensure this enterprise software continues to meet the needs of businesses across the world. 

Unification of Your UI 

Another issue that many businesses have is needing to use a plethora of software and apps to accomplish various tasks. If you want your employees to be able to enjoy a more unified UI, you should consider switching to Office 365. Office 365 has a business app for just about everything your employees need to do. Microsoft regularly releases new business apps on the Windows Store and quite a few of these apps are free. If you don’t want your employees to have to deal with a crowded home screen, you can pick and choose the apps you know your employees will need to use and add them to the Office 365 home screen. That way, your employees will be able to access these apps easily. 

Another advantage of having your employees use Office 365 for all their needs is that they don’t need to worry about compatibility between apps. Since all of these apps are developed and/or managed by Microsoft, these apps will be compatible with each other. Not having to deal with compatibility issues on a regular basis will boost the productivity of your employees.

New Bug Updates and Features 

If you’ve used other enterprise software in the past, chances are you’ve been frustrated with the lack of bug updates or new features. In some cases, you may have had to wait a few years for the release of a new product or update. Fortunately, if you switch to Office 365, you won’t have to deal with this frustrations anymore. As stated above, Microsoft releases updates and bug fixes regularly and you will have access to these updates as soon as they’re released. 

Data Loss Prevention 

As you probably know, data is the lifeline of most businesses. Accordingly, most businesses do everything in their power to secure their data and prevent data loss. One reason many businesses are switching to Office 365 is that this enterprise software makes data loss prevention so easy. Office 365 comes with a multitude of backup and data protection features that will allow you to enjoy peace of mind. 

With each passing day, more and more companies make the switch to Office 365, an enterprise software that is frequently lauded as an all-in-one package. Switching to Microsoft’s Office 365 can put your business on the path to success and prosperity in the near future. For more information about why your company should switch to Office 365, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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Insights From a Law Firm Technology Support Specialist

Insights From a Law Firm Technology Support Specialist

Over the years, Parkway Tech has delivered IT Support, Cybersecurity, and Help Desk Services to many law firms in the Carolinas. The focus on law firm technology support comes from the top of Parkway Tech. Our company leaders, including our founder, Chris Michalec, have insisted that the company invest time, manpower, and resources in learning and staying current with the intricacies of legal technology support.

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Over the years, Parkway Tech has delivered IT Support, Cybersecurity, and Help Desk Services to many law firms in the Carolinas. The focus on law firm technology support comes from the top of Parkway Tech. Our company leaders, including our founder, Chris Michalec, have insisted that the company invest time, manpower, and resources in learning and staying current with the intricacies of legal technology support.

What Advice Does Our Founder, Chris Michalec, Have For Law Firms Looking For An IT Support Company?

 In a recent interview by SmarterMSP.com surrounding IT Services for the legal profession, Chris participated in a discussion that laid out some principles that are critical for you to consider when evaluating an IT support company for a potential partnership with your law firm.

  • Realize that it’s not just the giant firms that experience cybercrime.

Because we don’t hear about the firms with twenty to fifty lawyers getting hacked doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen. Unfortunately, the American Bar Association tells us in their 2017 Legal Technology Survey that 20% of law offices faced a cyber attack in one form or another in 2017.

  • Find a technology support company that understands how to navigate and respect attorney-client privilege.

IT support is all about protecting the data of an organization and helping them use that data more effectively. But seeing the contents of those data packets could have significant legal ramifications. Most business owners aren’t too worried if their IT guy happens to open the wrong file accidentally, but in a law firm, that single act could be a breach of attorney-client privilege. To avoid this issue, it’s important that your IT service provider be comfortable with working in tandem with an attorney in your office that can direct the work and protect the clients. In this role, the IT service provider must not be seen as assisting the attorney but rather be considered to be under the direction of the attorney. Most times, IT support can manage data without actually accessing the documents, spreadsheets, and databases that data contains, but it’s important that your potential IT partner be aware and set up precautions.

  • Know what the cloud can do for you and what it cannot.

An IT support professional that understands the workflow of law firms will help you collaborate and access information “on the go.” However, security of internal and client data must always be the priority. Cloud hosting, applications, and storage are useful for a law firm if they are implemented and maintained to meet the high expectations of security, confidentiality, and compliance expected of the legal profession.

  • Experience and diversity of skillset matters when it comes to supporting your firm’s IT systems.

Look for an IT support team with a wide array of IT support expertise and experience. in-house IT guy or maybe a department made up of two or three techs that try to keep everything running. While that may be a suitable solution for some smaller operations, it doesn’t offer what a growing firm needs in terms of IT consulting and strategy.

  • Be certain to set up service agreements that outline responsibility.

When a law firm experiences a cybersecurity breach, there can be serious legal ramifications. So, if an IT support company is caring for your systems, are they liable? Are you? Having agreements and contracts in place that define who is responsible for events such as these will save much trouble down the road.

  • Look for a firm that is serious about educating your partners, associates, and paralegals in their role in cybersecurity.

A law firm is a treasure trove of valuable information. Cybercriminals are eager to get their hands on your data and will use phishing, scams, adware, malware, and spyware to get their hands on it. Social engineering is just one of the other ways that the bad guy’s leverage to exploit the natural inclinations of your staff and gain a foothold in your IT systems. An IT expert that understands the value of law firm data will insist on doing regular training with your staff.

  • What does your prospective IT support guy know about HIPAA compliance?

While not all information contained on a law firm’s system falls under HIPAA mandates, anything that is related to the health of an individual is and must be protected as such.

Why Are We So Passionate About Supporting Law Firm IT? 

We believe that supporting law firms here in the Carolinas is a challenge to which the Parkway Tech team is especially suited. We’ve seen all the unfortunate situations where law firms haven’t had adequate IT support for their field and the pain that ensued. Our goal is to give law firms the efficient, secure, stable, and mobile IT systems they need to serve their clients well.

The other reasons that we thrive in the legal technology support niche is that we understand the dollar figures involved when your firm faces even one hour of downtime. For a company in another industry sector, an hour of downtime may not carry a huge price tag, but once you begin to add up the billable hours of all your partners, associates, and paralegals, downtime gets expensive quickly. This near-zero tolerance for downtime poses unique IT support challenges, and our technicians have developed avenues to ensure optimal performance of your IT systems.

How Does Parkway Tech’s Company Culture Fit With The Law Firms We Support? 

We have five core values at Parkway Tech that guide everything we do.

  • Honesty & Integrity – We are honest in all our interactions with each other, with our clients, with our vendors, and with our future clients. This means admitting when we make mistakes and giving clients the best advice – even if that means we don’t make a sale.
  • Continuous Self Improvement – Each day we ask, “What can we improve on?” Improvement is not a destination; it’s a process.
  • Simplicity – Unneeded complexity creates frustration and confusion. It ultimately saps an organization of the strength and motivation it needs to achieve great things. We value simplicity wherever possible, and we strive to remove barriers to productivity.
  • Give Back – Making an impact in our community through our time and money is one of the best things about being in business.
  • Service First – Every interaction is an opportunity to serve. By serving our clients well, we help them achieve spectacular things.

Would you like to read more helpful articles from Parkway Tech? We’ve got them for you HERE.

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The FCC Reveals Weaknesses In Small Business

The FCC Reveals Weaknesses In Small Business

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Is Cybercrime Keeping You Up At Night? Check Out These 20 Key Cybersecurity Tips To Help You Stop Stressing Out 

Small businesses are often unprepared for the latest cybercrime tactics used by hackers today. The FCC recently published a helpful Cybersecurity Tip Sheet to help small business owners strengthen their defenses.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reports that “theft of digital information has become the most commonly reported fraud, surpassing physical theft”. Hackers are constantly working to break through cyber defenses. Even worse, your small business is attractive to them because you’re an easier target than larger organizations.

Here are some shocking statistics:

  • 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses.
  • 60% go out of business within six months of a successful cyber attack.
  • 48% of data breaches are caused by malicious acts. Human error or system failure are the cause of the remaining 52%.

While small business owners worry about cyber attacks, many aren’t allocating money in their budgets towards risk mitigation. Unless you take precautions to block hackers and computer viruses, you’re opening the doors of your business to cyber theft.

The FCC produced a one-page Cybersecurity Tip Sheet with the following advice for securing your small business: 

Train employees in security principles. 

Establish basic security practices and policies for employees, such as requiring strong passwords, and establish appropriate Internet use guidelines that detail penalties for violating company cybersecurity policies. Establish rules of behavior describing how to handle and protect customer information and other vital data. 

Protect information, computers, and networks from cyber attacks. 

Keep clean machines: having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Set antivirus software to run a scan after each update. Install other key software updates as soon as they are available. 

Provide firewall security for your Internet connection. 

A firewall is a set of related programs that prevent outsiders from accessing data on a private network. Make sure the operating system’s firewall is enabled or install free firewall software that’s available online. If employees work from home, ensure that their home system(s) are protected by a firewall. 

Create a mobile device action plan. 

Mobile devices can create significant security and management challenges, especially if they hold confidential information or can access the corporate network. Require users to password-protect their devices, encrypt their data, and install security apps to prevent criminals from stealing information while the phone is on a public network. Be sure to set reporting procedures for lost or stolen equipment. 

Make backup copies of important business data and information. 

Regularly backup the data on all computers. Critical data includes word processing documents, electronic spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resources files, and accounts receivable/payable files. Backup data automatically if possible, or at least weekly and store the copies either offsite or in the cloud. 

Control physical access to your computers and create user accounts for each employee. 

Prevent access or use of business computers by unauthorized individuals. Laptops can be particularly easy targets for theft, and can also easily be lost, so lock them up when unattended. Make sure a separate user account is created for each employee and require strong passwords. Administrative privileges should only be given to trusted IT staff and key personnel. 

Secure your Wi-Fi networks. 

If you have a Wi-Fi network for your workplace, make sure it is secure, encrypted, and hidden. To hide your Wi-Fi network, set up your wireless access point or router so it does not broadcast the network name (known as the Service Set Identifier, or SSID). Password protect access to the router as well. 

Employ best practices on payment cards. 

Work with banks or processors to ensure the most trusted and validated tools and anti-fraud services are being used. You may also have additional security obligations pursuant to agreements with your bank or processor. Isolate payment systems from other, less secure programs and don’t use the same computer to process payments and surf the Internet. 

Limit employee access to data and information, and limit authority to install software. 

Do not provide any one employee with access to all data systems. Employees should only be given access to the specific data systems that they need for their jobs and should not be able to install any software without permission. 

Strengthen passwords and authentication. 

Require employees to use unique passwords and change passwords every three months. Consider implementing multi-factor authentication that requires additional information beyond a password to gain entry. Check with your vendors that handle sensitive data, especially financial institutions, to see if they offer multi-factor authentication for your account. 

In addition to the FCC’s Tips above, be sure to do the following:

POS and Payroll 

Any devices that handle sensitive information like payroll or point of sales (POS) devices should be on a separate network from computers that access web pages or check email. 

Strictly enforce your cybersecurity policies and practices.

Regularly review your cybersecurity practices and policies as to how your employees should protect your sensitive data and personal information. Be sure to include the consequences of violating your cybersecurity policies and practices and enforce them. Your employees must be held accountable for any infractions.

Administrative rights. 

Admin rights should only be provided to the most trusted of your IT staff or contracted out to a professional IT Managed Services Provider (MSP). 

Web pages 

Protect all the pages on your public-facing websites – not just the sign-in and check out ones. 

Never leave your business phones, laptops, tablets or other computer devices unattended. Don’t leave them out in public or even in a locked car.

These devices contain your sensitive business information and could fall into the hands of a thief.

Password protect and encrypt all of your devices. Encrypt the data on all of your computer devices.

Consider using full-disk encryption as well. This will lessen the risk to your sensitive business information.

Use encrypted websites when providing sensitive information. 

Only trust websites that use encryption to protect your information being sent from your computer to their server. An encrypted website will use https at the beginning of the web address – look for this indicator on every page of the website, not just the page where you log in. 

Routers 

Make sure your router is set up securely. If you don’t, cybercriminals can gain access to your sensitive business information on your computer devices. Always change the name of the router to something else rather than the default it came with. Furthermore, change the router’s pre-set password to your own long and complex one. Ensure your router software is up to date by visiting the manufacturer’s website for new versions. Don’t use any remote management features – if enabled, disable them, and always log out as an administrator. (When it comes to setting up your network you should consider using an expert IT Managed Services Provider.)

WIFI Hotspots 

When accessing WIFI Hotspots in airports, hotels or other public places only send information that’s encrypted. Be sure to avoid access mobile apps that require your personal, business or financial information. 

If your business is compromised, make sure you take the necessary steps to inform the authorities. The Federal Trade Commission advises that you contact them as well. You can access their Data Breach Response Guide by visiting: 

https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/data-breach-response-guide-business 

For more information about cybersecurity for your business, or a complimentary assessment of your overall IT security, contact our cyber security experts.

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3 Quick Tips Guaranteed To Protect You From Phishing Attempts

3 Quick Tips Guaranteed To Protect You From Phishing Attempts

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Phishing is one of the most dangerous forms of identity theft. It’s usually presented in the form of pop-ups or spam emails. The majority of account takeovers come from simple phishing attacks where someone in an organization gets tricked into releasing private credentials and information.

Never give your contact details over the phone. This includes user IDs, passwords, Social Security numbers or other personal information. The IRS, a bank, Microsoft or other legitimate organizations will never call and ask you for this information.

Be suspicious of every email. Never click on a link or open an

attachment in an email without verifying the sender’s identity and intent. Always be suspicious of any email asking you to verify information, send money or pay an overdue invoice.

Don’t respond to a CEO request for urgent payments. There have been numerous cases where a CEO’s contact information was spoofed and used to convince employees to send money to scammers. Contact the CEO directly to determine if this is a fraudulent request.

It doesn’t take long for a hacker to steal your company secrets. 

More Tips To Share With Your Staff 

Be cautious about opening attachments. They may contain malware that can infect your computer. 

Type in URLs and email addresses, don’t click the link email.

Use Two-Factor Authentication. It requires both your password and an additional piece of information to log in to your account.

Always update your applications and operating system. Don’t delay, as they will protect your computer and network from the latest threats.

Back up your files to an external hard drive or cloud storage to ensure you have a duplicate of all your files and applications if your network is compromised.

What Else You Can Do 

Ask our IT Security Experts to provide a layered and managed security protection for your technology. A layered security approach combines best-in-class firewalls, web-filtering, and software-update services to protect your network from viruses, malware, and hackers. 

Tell your employees to let you know if they experience the following:

Trying to resolve and keep up with inevitable technology failures is no longer a simple matter. And as your business has grown, you’re probably using computers and network equipment from a variety of dealers. So, getting the support you need is more difficult.

Plus, you have to manage warranties, support contracts, and deal with finger-pointing between vendors when problems occur. Doing this on your own can be like a volcano waiting to explode. Below the surface are IT issues and vulnerabilities that can cause big problems down the road.

Do you rely on your non-IT employees to deal with technology problems? If so, it’s best to let them stay focused on their duties, and enlist the aid of expert IT support. The time and resources dedicated to managing technology problems can negatively impact employees, their stress levels, and ultimately, your customers.

The smart thing to do is to outsource your IT support to a company that makes sure all your technology stays up and running. They should be experienced in maintaining and troubleshooting desktops, laptops, servers, and network hardware. And they should have the knowledge and skills to keep things running smoothly and securely.

Large enterprises address this problem by hiring the right people for the job. They rely on experts for what they need: marketing, accounting, legal services and more. They know to leave the technical responsibilities to the experts.

  • They can’t open their files, or they get error messages saying a file is corrupted or contains the wrong extension.
  • A window pops up with a ransomware program they can’t close. This window may contain a message about paying a ransom to unlock files.
  • A message says that a countdown has started for a ransom to decrypt files and that it will increase over time.
  • They see files in their directories with names like “How to decrypt files.txt or decrypt_instructions.html.”

Have questions?

Our team can conduct Security Awareness Training for your employees. This way they’ll know what to do if they get a phishing email.

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Parkway Tech’s Chris Michalec To Be Chairperson Of The NC Bar Association Small-Firm Technology Committee

Parkway Tech’s Chris Michalec To Be Chairperson Of The NC Bar Association Small-Firm Technology Committee 

We’re proud to announce that starting July 1st, Our Founder and CEO Chris Michalec will be Chairperson for the North Carolina Bar Associations’ Small-Firm Technology Committee. Chris will be a great addition to the Committee with his expertise in Legal IT Technology.

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We’re proud to announce that starting July 1st, Our Founder and CEO Chris Michalec will be Chairperson for the North Carolina Bar Associations’ Small-Firm Technology Committee. Chris will be a great addition to the Committee with his expertise in Legal IT Technology.

And now with the NC Association proposing mandatory technology CLE credit, Chris and the team at Parkway Technology Solutions will be a great resource for attorneys who need help brushing up on their tech expertise.

For years, Chris has worked with law firms to help them develop a technology strategy that supports their growth. Chris and our experienced team not only manage computer systems and networks, but we deliver guidance and implementation support. We understand that every law firm is unique and we know that they not only rely on their computers but on their case management systems. From Clio to Time Matters, Chris and our team help law offices throughout North Carolina reach their growth targets to better serve their clients.

With the new CLE requirements, Chris can help small law firms ensure they get the information they need to understand and use today’s most current and innovative legal IT solutions. Solutions like:

  • Up-to-Date Software for law firms that facilitates document management, financial management, and case management systems.
  • Secure Data Storage & Backup that protects intellectual information and property by storing them on enterprise-based onsite and private cloud systems. Documents are easily recoverable no matter the situation.
  • Email and Data Encryption that protects data at rest (such as on laptops, desktops, portable media, and servers), as well as data in motion (such as over wireless networks, emails, and the Internet).
  • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) solutions so employees can securely use their own personal electronic devices for the purpose of doing business. This greatly reduces the cost of providing electronic equipment and increases productivity and employee satisfaction by allowing for flexible work environments. Attorneys who use their own devices have access to the data they need when they’re not in the office, which greatly improves their productivity.
  • Cloud Computing. As new as cloud computing is, it has greatly enhanced capabilities for legal organizations. With a virtual storage system, your attorneys and paralegals can store docs in a secure IT cloud environment from any location or device, and at any time. They can view, edit, and modify documents securely without using a corporate network or device. And, with the right software, they can collaborate on documents in real time.
  • Language-Based Data Solutions. The processing of “big data” requires purpose-built platforms to handle massive volumes of digital information quickly and effectively. Plus, the data must be enriched so that you and your staff can extract needed insights. Fortunately, software companies have developed language-based solutions that can scan, interpret, and synthesize these written documents. And, with the help of advanced data-parsing technology and document meta-data enrichment, data is readily searchable and can be mined for specific insights that are relevant to your case.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning. If you’ve attended legal technology conferences lately, you’re familiar with the term Artificial Intelligence. AI in its broadest sense is where computers handle the “smart” tasks we associate with human decision making. Machine learning, a form of AI, is a technology where we provide computers with the data required for them to learn on their own and become “smarter” over time.

This doesn’t mean that legal professionals will be replaced by AI. While computers may one day be able to perform mundane, repetitive tasks, we’re a long way from this, if ever. What we can use AI for is to help us interact in a conversational way with computer systems, much like you do today with the virtual assistant in your smartphone. Software companies are mapping legal terminology into applications to help us mine data more efficiently and effectively–essentially, allowing us to get the results we need more quickly.

  • Data Analytics. Data analytics is the process of examining raw data to help you draw conclusions and support decision making. It is used by many law firms to make better decisions, predict future outcomes, and manage risks. Data analytics empowers us to make better decisions when it comes to legal cases and help us mine massive amounts of data to draw conclusions and insights that weren’t previously obvious.
  • Server Virtualization. Server virtualization is becoming commonplace for law firms in North Carolina. It partitions your physical server into smaller virtual machines (VMs) to maximize server resources. Virtualization allows you to virtualize your entire IT infrastructure or just specific aspects of it. The following are some of the benefits it provides:
  • Lower Costs: When your law practice migrates physical servers to VMs, monthly power expenses and cooling costs are greatly decreased. In addition, with server consolidation, you’ll reduce the size of your data center footprint. You’ll need fewer servers, networking gear, and racks, lowering both your hardware and maintenance costs. In addition, purchasing new hardware to support additional business applications won’t be necessary. Instead, you can just add a new virtual server.
  • Business Continuity: Virtualized servers offer live migration, so contents can be migrated to another server when you need to perform specific tasks without shutting them down. With live migration, downtime is no longer an issue. You can ensure your data is always available even if a server shuts down, so business continuity is greatly enhanced.
  • Simplified Transition To The Cloud: If you’re considering moving your data permanently to the Cloud, the process is a lot less complex when virtualizing your servers. The data stored on virtualized servers is already free from hardware, so making the transition to a hybrid or private cloud is simple.

Chris will be a great addition to the NC Bar Associations’ Technology Committee. And along with the team at Parkway Tech, he’s looking forward to helping law offices in North Carolina grow and prosper with the right technology.

call us at 336-310-9888 or email us at: sales@parkwaytech.com

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Parkway Tech Is Now Your North Carolina Clio Partner

Parkway Tech Is Now Your North Carolina Clio Partner

We are proud to partner with Clio and Themis Solutions to provide our legal clients with innovative solutions to enhance their productivity. Clio software products can transform how you run your law firm. You can now spend less time on administrative tasks and more time with your clients. Clio provides the most powerful, easy-to-use, cloud-based legal practice management software out there today.

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We are proud to partner with Clio and Themis Solutions to provide our legal clients with innovative solutions to enhance their productivity. Clio software products can transform how you run your law firm. You can now spend less time on administrative tasks and more time with your clients. Clio provides the most powerful, easy-to-use, cloud-based legal practice management software out there today.

Get everything you need to run your law practice, from intake to invoicing. You’ll benefit from powerful tools to manage cases, clients, documents, bills, calendars, time tracking, reporting, and accounting. Think of Clio as the background database of your practice. All of the information for every single case you work on can be stored and accessed easily in Clio’s system.

Clio is especially attractive for firms that want to build a system out of multiple tools that work together. It provides an array of options for adding functionalities through its extensive App Directory and open API. If you are shopping for law practice management software for your firm, Clio should be at the top of your list.

Here’s a Top-Level Description Of Clio’s Features

User-Friendly & Time-Saving

Clio embraces user-centered design. When you log in every day, you’re presented with The Practice Dashboard. This provides at-a-glance metrics to help you evaluate your performance. The Agenda section offers a glance at the number of Tasks and Events on your calendar for the day.

Clio was built using a single-page architecture. This means that, when you click on links to move around, the left and top navigation bars stay in place. Only the center of the page reloads, making pages load more quickly.

Another time-saving feature is global create. No matter where you are in Clio, the Create New button is visible at the top of the screen. Simply click it to add a new matter, contact, task, time entry, expense entry, or anything else.

Easy-To-Use With Simple Case Management & Unlimited Document Storage

A user-friendly layout ensures that your case information is easy to access. You no longer need to manually track and organize it. You can manage every detail of your cases from a single dashboard. Link every contact, event, task, communication, and time entry to the appropriate matter. Add notes for you and your staff. You can organize all your text, audio, and visual files for each case. Clio allows you to create, share, and store an unlimited number of documents.

Track Your Time With Ease

Clio’s Timekeeper lets you easily track time spent on a case. You can start a timer from any screen you’re working on and capture your work in real-time, ensuring it’s logged accurately for easy billing. You can also pause the timer if needed and restart it at a later time.

Streamlined Billing & Faster Payments 

Whether you bill clients based on hourly rates, flat fees, or on a contingency basis, you can set unique billing rates for individual users, practice areas, case types, tasks, or clients. With Clio, you can quickly create customized invoices and approve bills. Then, send them electronically via email or to Clio’s secure client portal (Clio Connect). 

You can quickly track the status of any unpaid bills, apply discounts to early payments, or add automatic interest calculations to late payments. The Accounts Receivable Aging Report allows you to view unpaid customer invoices by date ranges to help you keep on top of your cash flow and collections.

When it comes to collecting on outstanding balances or replenishing client trust accounts, you can set up automated online credit card payment plans to reduce your collection times and increase your cash flow. Clio Payments (powered by LawPay) makes it simple for clients to pay you any way they want (which is usually online, via a credit card). This helps you get paid faster with less need for follow-up.

Data Protection 

Data security is paramount for law firms, and Clio goes above and beyond to protect your firm’s digital information. It stores all data on high-security servers with 256-bit SSL encryption and storage redundancies to prevent data loss due to catastrophic events. It provides advanced permissions and password features to ensure only your authorized staff will have access. 

With your digital information being stored in a secure cloud, it will never go missing. This also means that you can access your data from any computer or mobile device. Even if you lose your laptop or it’s stolen, your data will be protected and there for you.

Clio Integrates With The Apps 

You Use Probably one of the best things about Clio is that they’ve developed their program so our techs can build additional tools for you that sync with it (like accounting and time tracking software). Clio offers an open application programming interface (API). This means you can plug in any other applications you want to use. Easy and convenient. 

Clio also has plugins for Gmail and Outlook, so you can associate emails with contacts and cases. With its App Directory, you can quickly find and connect your firm to over 90 leading applications that integrate directly with Clio. Integrations include Microsoft Office 365, Box, Zapier, Fastcase, QuickBooks Online, and many more. With Clio as your firm’s central platform, your practice can go deeper and further than with any other tool. And, whatever your practice specializes in, there are apps available to re-tool Clio for your specific needs.

Clio is more than law practice management software; it’s a technology platform on which you can build your law practice system. It’s that powerful. 

There are many more features about Clio that we’d like to share. Contact our Clio Experts at Parkway Technology Solutions in Winston Salem. They’ll provide a free demonstration of all of Clio’s capabilities. You can reach them at (336) 310-9888 or at service@parkwaytech.com.

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