Boston, MA – September, 2019
We take pride in our clients and services. Our mission at StratusPointIT, formerly ComputerSupport.com, is to help business executives get the most out of their technology investment. Our customers understand the value of IT and the impact great technology makes on their business operations.
Clutch has recently released rankings of the top B2B service providers in each of the 50 states, segmented by location and services provided. We are proud that StratusPointIT has been named as one of the top IT & Business Service Providers in Massachusetts!
Clutch, a B2B marketplace, is headquartered in our nation’s capital—Washington D.C. Their mission is to connect businesses to the solution providers that they need when facing a business challenge. The team ranks companies based on important credentials such as market presence, minimum project size, and client experience. Clutch performs interviews with verified clients in order to produce the most unbiased ranking possible. These in-depth interviews with clients concern the quality of their interaction with the company and are incredibly important to the entirety of the review and ratings process.
Currently, our profile has 5.0 stars out of a possible 5.0 stars in one of Clutch’s most competitive categories.
All of us at StratusPointIT are grateful to our customers who have provided their feedback to Clutch and contributed to this recognition. Their input has further solidified our guiding mission and has given us reassurance that this mission shall continue to guide our business. Ready to update your technology? Contact us!
There are many benefits that can be gained by partnering with a third party for your business’ IT support needs. Here are some of them.
Senior management doesn’t want to deal with staff turnover, the cost of training and the impact the turnover has on ensuring consistent IT support to their internal customers. They rather focus on larger more impactful projects that drive business results. In addition, most businesses, large or small, have a complex IT infrastructure to support the growing need for a robust technology stack.
To be able to support such a large and complex IT infrastructure, many times it takes more than one person, or even a team of people with IT knowledge spanning workstations, networks, servers (on-premise or in the cloud), and security. Many small businesses can’t afford to hire that many resources. By partnering with a third party you can leverage their resource depth and knowledge at a affordable price that scales with your business.
If you are not IT trained, how do you assure an employee is qualified and experienced? Certifications like Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE), Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) are crucial, but so is experience. No matter how much he/she trains, an in-house employee is limited to the environment he works on, the tools and apps he/she uses on daily basis. On the other hand, an outsourced team has more combined experience and sometimes can provide better solutions to your business’ IT problems, saving time and money.
Partnering with the right IT support organization will have the necessary resources to start new projects right away. Handling the project in-house might involve weeks or months to hire the right people, train them, to provide the needed IT services.
Businesses have limited resources (budget, employees etc.) and every c-level employee has limited time and attention. Partnering could help your business by keeping its managers focused on growing the business basically removing the burden of analyzing and reporting to make informed IT decisions.
Partnering basically allows you to convert fixed IT costs into variable costs because other than the contract that covers a set of recurring IT services, you basically pay for on-demand services.
Organizations that try to do all IT support services internally can have much higher research, development, and implementation time, all these increase costs and are eventually passed on to customers.
There is risk in any business – markets, competition, security, regulations, financial conditions, technologies etc., all change very quickly. IT outsourcing providers can manage much of this risk for you, with specific industry knowledge. Generally, they are much better at deciding how to minimize risk in their areas of expertise.
From the business it support perspective, most small companies don’t have the internal resources to compete with larger companies. Partnering can help small businesses act “big” by giving them access to high-end technologies, and expertise that large organizations benefit from. Getting “it support as a service” (third-party IT support) can ensure the competitive advantage your company needs.
Is your business software up to date? Do you monitor and audit your workstations and servers? Do you run simulated phishing attacks? Do you need help migrating from your Exchange server to Office 365?Do you have a cyber security plan? Do you provide cyber security awareness training for your employees?
Instead of wasting valuable time and money trying to learn all the technical details that a skilled IT support team already knows or trying to figure out what went wrong, it is much more cost-effective to outsource these services. Doing so allows business executives to focus on what they do best: business management.
Getting spam emails is quite usual these days, and this is because there are many ways for spammers to exploit emails online. If you have at least one email address, you are more than likely to have received emails that contain irrelevant and unwanted advertising of a product/service or emails trying to sell you something that you never thought of buying.
How do these organizations find out your email address and what can you do to stop these messages from consuming your email storage space? Not to mention that you need to waste some of your time to remove those unsolicited emails.
When you have a business, getting rid of spam is crucial because these can eat up a lot of your inbox storage space, but most importantly because they can carry malware and viruses that can compromise company security along with other sensitive information.
NOTE: There are companies that buy email addresses from obscure organizations that sell stolen lists, while others use software that scan web pages for email addresses.
Q: What can you do to stop these from overwhelming your work email, and compromising your company’s security?
A: You could use spam filters.
Spam filtering is an extremely important tool that your business should use to keep these unsolicited messages from entering your inboxes, but also to keep employees from clicking on potentially harmful links or downloading suspicious attachments within emails.
There are studies revealing that almost half of the emails that you get are classified as junk or spam. Unfortunately, there is a large potential for security issues due to these messages, not to mention the productivity drops because of the time people will spend on removing such emails from their inbox.
If you believe spam filtering to be a business necessity, you should know that there are several types of spam filters that can be applied. Some of them analyze the content of emails to determine if these are relevant to your business or not, while there are some that filter emails out by checking the headers of the messages that are sent your way.
Some filters can be set to ignore all emails from specific addresses, while others allow you to enumerate relevant parameters to define what kinds of emails are irrelevant to their recipients.
From the business perspective, what you use to help keep spam out of your organization’s emails is related to what you want it to do. So, if you are looking for some extra protection and a higher security for your business, you should consider getting a permissions-based spam filter. If you just want to restrict the inrush of newsletters, sales emails, and irrelevant ads that employees receive through their email service, you can opt for something elementary like content-based filters or header filters.
ComputerSupport LLC provides a complex email protection and continuity product that helps defend against the latest threats like spear-phishing, ransomware, impersonation and other targeted attacks.
It will be the end for Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 / R2 and Small Business Server (SBS 2011) in January 2020. This means that Microsoft will put an end to security updates, bug fixes, and support for all these operating systems.
Microsoft made a commitment to provide 10 years of product support for Windows 7 when it was launched on October 22, 2009. When this 10-year period ends, Microsoft will discontinue Windows 7 support so that they can focus their investment on supporting newer technologies. This is standard practice for each product/service they launch.
Microsoft introduced Windows 7 in July 2009. Several enterprise customers deployed Windows 7 months before Windows 10 was launched in July 2015. Microsoft officials said as of last October that more than half of all Windows devices in the enterprise area were running on Windows 10, with the rest running Windows 7 and other older versions of Windows. Yet the support clock has ticked on.
Microsoft officials have announced that Windows 7 users can continue to get security updates beyond the January 14, 2020 date.
NOTE: There are two ways, and both are designed for business customers, not consumers.
Microsoft has announced that will sell paid Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESUs) on a per-device basis with the price increasing each year until January 2023. These updates will be available to all Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Enterprise users with volume-licensing programs. On top of that, all customers who use Windows Software Assurance and/or Windows 10 Enterprise or Education subscriptions will get discounts.
Microsoft has agreed to provide ESUs for no additional costs to customers who utilize Windows Virtual Desktop service (WVD) which allows users to virtualize Windows 7 and 10, Office 365 ProPlus apps and third-party apps, running them remotely from Azure virtual machines.
Customers who want to virtualize Windows 7 after Microsoft support ends in January 2020 will be able to do so for three years with WVD.
Microsoft will stop providing support and updates for Office 365 ProPlus on Windows 7 starting with January 15, 2020. Nevertheless, all customers paying for Extended Security Updates will continue to get support for three more years. In addition to Office 365 ProPlus, there are several more products that Microsoft will end support on January 2020, for example Exchange Server 2010, Windows Server 2008 / R2, and Windows 7 for Embedded Systems (except for Windows Embedded Standard 7).
NOTE: Windows 8.1 customers will continue to get security updates from Microsoft for free until January 10, 2023. Windows 10 users will get free support based on the date when their version of Windows 10 was released. Check Windows lifecycle support page from Microsoft for more details.
Although there’s nothing to keep your business from utilizing these retired operating systems even after their End of Life (EOL) in January 2020, it would be best to keep them up to date to reduce the risk of a successful cyber-attack. We expect Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 / R2 and Small Business Server (SBS 2011) will be specifically targeted by hackers due to the known vulnerabilities post January 2020.
With Windows 10 most recent update (May 2019), Microsoft has worked hard to enhance the security of its operating system. Windows 10 now has more built-in security features than ever before to help its users safeguard against viruses, phishing, and malware attacks.
Unfortunately, if you are just relying on an antivirus app to protect you from all possible threats, you are putting yourself and your business in danger. Your business should not only have antivirus, but advanced spam filtering, back-up and training solutions implemented as well. However, we have put together a list with several tips to improve Windows 10 security and protect your data.
UAC is a native feature of Windows that helps prevent viruses or malicious programs from changing your system without your permission. So, you can choose to allow a program to run or not.
NOTE: Microsoft firstly integrated User Account Control in Windows Vista, but an improved version was implemented on Windows 10.
You can manage UAC from Control Panel > User Accounts > User Accounts > Change user account control settings.
Many users wonder what data is being gathered about them as they browse the Internet. That information usually creates a profile of a person’s interests that is used by a variety of organizations for advertising. Windows 10 does this with the use of an advertising ID. It doesn’t just gather information about the user’s web sessions, but also about the Windows 10 apps he/she uses. You can turn the advertising ID off if you want to keep your web sessions private.
To turn off Ad tracking go to Privacy > General. Right under the title “Change privacy options” is the slider that controls the advertising ID. Click and turn it off. You’ll still receive ads, but they will be generic rather than targeted, and your interests won’t be tracked anymore.
With location tracking feature activated, Windows 10 will know where you are. Some users will keep location tracking on because it helps the operating system give them accurate information about nearby restaurants and hotels, local weather etc. But this feature can be exploited by certain applications once they get access to your location which can be dangerous because it makes you vulnerable. Location tracking is turned on by default on Windows 10 computers.
To turn it off, open Settings and go to Privacy > Location. Click “Change” and then move the slider from On to Off. By doing that you will turn off location tracking for all users.
You can also turn it off on a user-by-user basis. If there are several people with different accounts using the same computer, each of them can turn location tracking on and off. To do that for any single account, sign into the account, go to Location Privacy Settings and instead of clicking Change, go to the slider below the word “Location service” and adjust it as you want.
Even if you set a password to your Windows account, hackers can still get access to your private documents. They can easily do it by booting into their own operating system Linux. For example, from a special disc or USB flash drive. To prevent a data breach, you can either use the Windows 10 Bit Locker feature or a dedicated, more complex solution to protect your data.
Microsoft allows users to choose between Privacy options. Keeping all settings enabled can become an issue when you are connected to the Internet because certain information about you and your computer will be shared with Microsoft. So, it’s best to review and disable those options in case you don’t feel like sharing information with Microsoft. To do this type Settings on the Search bar, click Privacy and turn off Windows 10 privacy settings.
Finally, be careful when downloading suspicious programs because a lot of viruses and malicious applications are integrated into free software.
Nowadays, 1 in 3 companies using SaaS applications have lost confidential business information, and according to Datto accidental deletion is the most basic cause of cloud data loss, but it is also the most common.
Organizations face a significant liability if users delete or overwrite files, emails, or a record unintentionally, or if some employees leave the company and take sensitive files with them.
As businesses increasingly move data into cloud-based applications, many think that Microsoft or Google’s native security options are enough to keep their sensitive data secure.
Well, not really.
While a SaaS application is always available and accessible from anywhere, it doesn’t offer advanced protection against unexpected data loss and have limited capabilities for recovery. SaaS providers protect you from hardware and software failures, natural disasters, and power outages. They don’t protect you from human error or malicious acts. Unfortunately, that could escalate into something serious.
Therefore, you need…
Our SaaS Protection backup and recovery solution for Office 365 and GSuite separates your critical data from the environment and the user who created it, allowing you to take control of your business once again.
Our data protection solution delivers reliable and easy backups, speedy recovery, and secured data for your compliance and regulatory needs.
Organizations that don’t enforce data encryption will be more exposed to data-confidentiality issues. For instance, cyber attackers might steal data from compromised accounts or gain unauthorized access to data if it is saved in Clear Format.
If an employee deletes a very important document from OneDrive or an entire folder of important emails by accident, and the retention period in the Recycle Bin has expired, Microsoft or Google will not be able to recover that data. Even if those files are within your retention period, locating and restoring certain data can cost you a lot of time.
ComputerSupport will keep your data regardless of your retention plan and allows you to easily recover your files. Our reliable backups and efficient restore/export features will keep your data safe, so you never have to worry about losing your SaaS data anymore.
NOTE: In 2017, ransomware attacks were unprecedented – WannaCry in May, ExPetr in June, and BadRabbit in late October. Mobile ransomware has risen by over 250% in 2017 and maintained the trend in 2018.
Statistically, ransomware attacks, especially in the cloud, are on the rise. Unfortunately, the question is no longer if an attack will happen, but when. However, businesses can prevent such attacks from causing massive damage relatively easily.
By backing up data, in a granular way, at regular time intervals, you can roll back your data to a point in time before the infection occurred to recover un-encrypted emails and files.
NOTE: We back up your data in compliance with Service Organization Control (SOC1/ SSAE 16 and SOC2).
As you probably know, organizations must prove that they are diligent and using correct security controls to improve data security in order to comply with industry regulations.
We enable a plain transition for employees as they cycle in and out of your organization and keep the data they created. Our solution allows admins to get access and replace departed employee data to a new account, download files directly, or simply archive a user’s dataset until the company hires a replacement.
We always go the extra mile to make sure your SaaS data is secure, easily recoverable, and protected. Therefore, we provide a wide range of security services that focus on people, process, and technology. These services include security awareness training, advanced phishing and spam protection, Office 365 back-up and recovery, and network security services.
Boston, MA – April, 2019
Founded in 2006, ComputerSupport’s mission is to help business executives get the most out of their technology investment. Our customers are in various geographies and verticals but have one thing in common – they understand the value of IT and the impact great technology makes on their business operations. That is why they choose our specialized team to make things happen.
ComputerSupport.com is proud to be recognized by Clutch as the premier managed IT services provider in Boston. We are ranked number one on the Leader’s Matrix – a matrix compiling the top seven companies specializing in managed services in Boston.
For those who do not know, Clutch is a B2B rating and reviews firm that strives to connect businesses with the best-fit agencies or consultants they need to tackle their next big business challenge. Clutch covers a vast variety of services from IT to advertising and marketing and ranks service providers based on important factors such as past clients and experience, verified client reviews, and market presence.
In addition to our recognition by Clutch, our high scores also allowed us to be featured on The Manifest as one of the leading BPO companies in Boston. The Manifest is a B2B ratings and reviews platform that compiles and analyzes practical business wisdom for entrepreneurs and small and mid-market businesses.
Special thanks to Clutch for recognition, and to our valuable customers for working and growing with our team.
In the digital landscape spear phishing has been around for over 20 years, but for about 5 years it has attracted massive attention.
Primarily using email to deliver its malicious payload, spear phishing is a very real and current threat to any business of any size basically because we all use at least one business email address. The golden key to prevent any similar threat is to make sure your staff is fully aware of the signs of such an attack.
Let’s take a deeper look.
There are certain techniques hackers use to launch a phishing scam. Here are some of them.
A lot of people know what phishing is and many businesses are aware of this threat. However, spear phishing is a bit different.
Hand phishing emails tend to target large numbers of individuals with generic content, but spear phishing is a much more personalized attack. For example, rather than starting an email with “Dear Sir/Madam”, a spear phishing email will use the recipient’s exact name to inspire trust to get him/her closer to taking the malicious bait.
Generally, phishing attacks are executed by experienced hackers, but there are still a bunch of signs which characterize spear phishing such as:
There are several notorious examples of spear phishing attacks that happened within the last few years. Let’s remember few of them.
In 2016, a Snapchat employee fell victim to a spear phishing scam caused by an email allegedly sent by the Snapchat CEO. Unfortunately, the victim carefully followed the request within the email and forwarded financial information to a spoof email address.
However, probably the most popular example of spear phishing is the attack launched against the US Democratic Party in 2016. You probably remember how Fancy Bear used spear phishing tactics to target email accounts linked to the 2016 presidential campaign. They attacked more than a thousand Google accounts and used a fake domain “accounts-google.com” to mislead the victims. What hackers did was to send emails claiming to be from Google representatives suggesting recipients to update their email passwords to enhance security. Bad luck, because the links within these emails simply led the victims to malicious websites which enabled the hackers to take control of their email accounts.
It is crucial to understand how such an attack is likely to be launched against your business. Don’t forget! Knowledge is the golden key of cyber security, so make sure that you educate yourself and your employees to protect sensitive data.
We take cybersecurity very seriously. With Secure.Email we provide complex email protection to defend your business against the latest threats: ransomware, spear-fishing, impersonation and other targeted attacks.
Nearly a decade after Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) entered the enterprise environment, cybersecurity leaders still strive to manage the risks.
Employee‑owned devices were responsible for nearly 51% of corporate data breaches in 2017, according to AT&T.
Like desktop and laptop computers, mobile devices (smartphones, tablets) must be secured appropriately to prevent leakage of user/business sensitive information.
Mobile payment services are very common these days. Some mobile apps or web services recommend users to activate features like “remember username” or “remember password”, so that you don’t have to re-enter the password each time you login. In this case, you shouldn’t choose to remember, especially the password, to reduce the risk of unauthorized access and payments in case the device is lost or stolen.
Attackers always target sensitive data because by selling it they could generate easy money. Cybercriminals tend to make use of social engineering such as emails, links to attract people to provide personal/business information. Hence, when browsing the Internet, be extra careful not to expose yourself or your organization to potential harmful schemes.
A good VPN extension will encrypt your browser traffic so that hackers cannot use sensitive data to get unauthorized access to your accounts. In addition to securing your connection, a VPN browser extension will hide your IP location and allow you to view geoblocked content and bypass censorship from anywhere in the world.
NOTE: Activating a VPN extension may slow down your browser.
As you probably know, Public Wi-Fi / Wireless Access Points are insecure. So, you should avoid as much as possible to perform payment transactions or transmit sensitive data through public Wi-Fi / Wireless Access Points. Also, consider using encryption, such as SSL or VPN when is mandatory to do so.
Leaving your device unattended is dangerous firstly because it can be stolen. Secondly, it would also increase the risk of unauthorized use of the device, or even a data breach.
Last generation mobile devices let you enable private mode / secure mode when browsing the Web. From security and privacy perspective, you should keep this mode enabled, so that your browsing behavior will not be easily traced.
To reduce security risks, you should stick with the Apps, options and services that are absolutely necessary. So, a small number of installed applications means fewer software updates and fewer vulnerabilities. Also, if it is not required to use Bluetooth or Infra-Red (IR), it is also recommended to keep them off to mitigate the risk of unauthorized network access.
It is required to perform security updates for the Apps and OS of your mobile devices by enabling automatic updates, accept security updates when prompted by trusted providers, such as OS / Apps manufacturers that attempt to fix known security loopholes or vulnerabilities.
If you set a weak password and a long screen timeout period, your mobile device may be easily hacked. Cyber security professionals recommend you to use a password that cannot be easily guessed while setting a short screen timeout interval (a minute or less).
Some iOS users like to jailbreak their device after purchasing it, because that allows them to perform certain actions on their Apple devices that cannot normally do. Basically, jailbreaking is the process of removing software restrictions put into place by iOS developers allowing users to install software that Apple doesn’t authorize.
On the other hand, Android rooting allows you to gain privileged control over your device, it also enables you to remove or replace the entire operating system of the device. This is achievable because Android itself was built on a Linux kernel, and permits users to access administrative permissions on their smart devices.
Jailbreaking or rooting to break factory security settings would make you mobile devices vulnerable to cyberattacks. Mobile apps that run on rooted or jailbroken devices may also be vulnerable to attacks, especially mobile banking applications.
Nowadays, there is no excuse of not backing up your most important data. Make sure you do it regularly to be able to restore the most recent version of your files and software. When adopting a cloud-based backup solution, consider using data encryption, integrity checks etc. to protect your backups.
Obscure mobile apps may include malware designated to collect sensitive information. To protect your mobile devices from being hacked, it is recommended to download mobile apps from trusted stores only.
Last-gen smart devices become increasingly popular. It is quite often for consumers to change their mobile devices with new ones, disposing of the old ones. In addition to data migration, before decommissioning the old devices, don’t forget to reset to factory settings to clear all configurations and data containing sensitive information to prevent data leakage.
As we all know, it is vital to protect our data. When it comes to business information such as emails and files, extra caution is required.
Google Chrome is the most popular desktop internet browser in the world with a global market share of more than 70% in December 2018 according to Statista.
Unlike other browsers, Chrome is a minimalist one, but its resizing performance and web page loading speed are usually superior. But, like any expandable browser that allows users to enable plugins or to install extensions, Chrome can generate load speed issues due to high system resource usage (CPU and memory).
If you’re experiencing low Chrome performance, you should apply these suggestions to speed up your browser.
As you probably know, Chrome stores a cached copy of any web page you visit, so it can load the page faster next time you visit it. It also keeps a database of your browsing history and cookies for the same purpose. As you visit more and more websites, your browser’s database will grow slowing Chrome down.
Fortunately, there is an easy and viable solution: clear your cache. To do this, you just need to access your browsing history by entering chrome://history on your address bar. From the left panel click Clear browsing data. Then, choose what to clear by clicking the checkboxes next to the items you want to delete, like cached images, browsing history, cookies etc. Once you’ve selected the files you want to delete and the time range, click Clear data. Restarting Chrome is recommended.
Sometimes your browser appears to load a web page slowly, but when the problem is the website itself, there is nothing you can do rather than wait or abort.
This is where Gauge (Chrome extension) comes in. This free extension, developed by Dyn, measures the performance of the internet, recording page loading times, geographic latency, and other relevant variables. Gauge is very useful to find out if your browser is slow due to your Wi-Fi connection, internet service provider or web page you visit.
Chrome can also be affected by malware or adware which is a type of malware that hides on your computer and monitors your behavior online for serving you promotional content. So, if you are displayed recurring pop-up ads, toolbars, alerts about a virus or web pages redirecting to other URLs, be aware because those are clear indications of a form of malware.
Google made malware scanning even easier in 2018. You just need to go to chrome://settings/cleanup on your browser and click on Find and remove harmful software on your computer. It’s a pretty efficient scan that you should run from time to time.
Extensions are programs that can be downloaded from the Chrome Web Store that you can install to your browser to add more features and functionalities. For instance, you can add an extension that shortens URLs, blocks ads or one that shows you what are your most important tasks every day. While some extensions are useful, they can slow Chrome down especially when there are too many installed and activated.
You can check your browser’s extensions by entering chrome://extensions on your address bar. There you’ll find the list with all the extensions you have (even the ones that are turned off). You just need to scroll through the list and click Remove to delete the extension/s you don’t need anymore.
One of the most efficient extensions for speeding up the browser is Google’s own Data Saver extension.
Nowadays, more and more websites move to HTTPS and pages accessed through HTTPS or in incognito tabs will not be optimized or seen by Google. Therefore, Data Saver extension has become less useful, but for regular HTTP connections this means faster browsing and smaller downloads making it ideal in case you are using a slow Wi-Fi connection or if you are charged for downloads.
Eventually, a top-performing web browser can increase employees’ productivity therefore is critical to keep it secure and optimized.