Category Archive: Telecommuting

  1. New Microsoft Office 365 Names

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    New Microsoft Office 365 Names

    Microsoft recently announced the re-branding of its Office 365 business plans. Office 365 is now Microsoft 365. While the name change may cause some confusion, the subscription packages will remain the same. Here is the breakdown:

    • Office 365 Business Essentials is now Microsoft 365 Business Basic.
    • Office 365 Business Premium is now Microsoft 365 Business Standard.
    • Microsoft 365 Business is now Microsoft 365 Business Premium.
    • Office 365 Business and Office 365 ProPlus are now both Microsoft 365 Apps. 

    The new naming convention reflects Microsoft’s strategy of providing one single complete productivity platform for their customers. Microsoft states, “We want our products to reflect the range of features and benefits in the subscription.” This re-branding was designed to help customers quickly find the plan they need. However, the new naming convention can be confusing when you try to connect prior names to their respective new names. It may be more efficient to just focus on whether your current subscription for office applications meets you and your company’s needs, regardless of the subscription’s name.

    For more information and FAQs, please visit the Microsoft website.

    Please reach out to us at 520-877-3033 or email us at solutions@iatechgroup.com with any further questions.

  2. COVID-19 and Working Remotely

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    The coronavirus presents unique challenges for businesses and employees. Social distancing has become the new normal, to better protect our healthcare system and fellow citizens. For many companies, this has meant creating new solutions to maintain productivity through this trying time.

    Many companies have used remote work solutions in the past. But this new situation has forced a much higher number of companies to adapt to a work from home model quickly. Because it was a quick emergency solution, companies and employees are finding some pain points to their new work environments. The number one concern for many companies is cybersecurity.

    At IA Tech Group, we’re trying to educate our clients and the public to the heightened risks of hacking and phishing. Malicious actors have wasted no time in using the current crisis to gain access to personal data and infiltrate company systems. Integrated Axis is here to help you navigate the challenges of working remotely during COVID-19.

    Cybersecurity and Working Remotely

    When companies conscientiously plan for work from home solutions, they put protocols in place to protect their networks and data. The fact is, the quickly escalating situation with the coronavirus made that more difficult. But it’s not too late to implement solutions now. Here are some key security issues to tackle right away:

    • Develop a device protocol. It’s important that all of the devices that your employees use to access company information is protected. Many companies mandate that employees only use company devices while working. If you’re allowing employees to use personal devices, you should make sure they have the same level of security software.
    • Educate employees on standard practices. Many people use lax security at home and don’t understand the security measures used in the office. After all, we’re not all IT experts. Update employees on the best practices for security, so they’re less likely to make mistakes that impact your data.
    • Assess their network security. Most home networks are not as secure as the ones used in the office. Open a line of communication and make recommendations for employees to strengthen their network at home to offer better support.
    • Give employees information on current threats. There are a number of new hacking and phishing techniques that have come out in the last few weeks. Understanding how these threats work will give employees better information so that they don’t fall prey to the scams.
    • Make sure they know the signs of infiltration. There are signs, such as a slower computer and pop up ads, that indicates your device has been compromised. Make sure that your employees know the signs to mitigate damages as soon as possible.
    • Initiate good practices in upkeep. Give your employees the tools they need to run regular checks on the devices that they use at home.

    woman working at home, thinking

    Can Integrated Axis Technology Group Help?

    If your business has quickly moved to remote working solutions and you’re concerned about the security risks, contact Integrated Axis today. Our team of dedicated professionals can assess your current protocols, help you implement a robust cybersecurity plan for remote work, and make sure that your IT Department has the support you need.

  3. Cloud Backup 101

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    People are increasingly relying on cloud storage for both personal and professional information because of the various benefits it provides. However, using the cloud for data storage does not negate the necessity to back up your most important information in other locations. Cloud storage has its benefits: flexibility, high security, and the ability to access it anytime from multiple different devices. In many ways, the cloud is comparatively safer than other types of data storage.

    cartoon cloud image against a blue background

    Should I Back Up My Cloud?

    Although there are many advantages to the cloud as a data storage solution, you also face certain risks, some of which can be mitigated by backing up your most vital data. Here are a few reasons why having local copies of important information is a wise idea:

    1. Human Error and Syncing Issues

    Although your data is generally safe when it’s in the cloud, a technical issue with a service could cause your data to be erased. You also can accidentally overwrite or erase critical data, which would be a big misfortune if you didn’t have the information backed up locally. When you’re switching service providers, there also is a risk of data getting lost in the transition.

    2. Cybersecurity Breaches

    Cyber threats are an evolving yet always present problem in the digital age. If you are the victim of a data breach or malware attack, you could lose your data or have to pay a steep price to recover it. According to a study by the Ponemon Institute, the average cost incurred by a business for each stolen or lost record is $158. With local backups, your company is more resilient and can return to business as usual quickly and efficiently after a cyberattack.

    3. Service Crashes

    Although highly unlikely, a service may experience a problem and erase your data, which is what happened in 2009 with Microsoft’s Sidekick servers when roughly 800,000 users lost access to their personal data. If the services you use crash or are temporarily interrupted, your access to mission-critical data becomes restricted, which can disrupt the flow of your business, negatively impact your clients and cost you time and money.

    man's hand holding cartoon cloud security images

    How to Back Up Your Cloud

    If there is data you’ve been compiling over the years or that is critical for personal or business reasons, you shouldn’t rely solely on the cloud to keep your data safe. It’s equally important to have local backups of this data.

    The Google Takeout page allows you to download your data from numerous Google services, such as Drive, Contacts, Google+, and YouTube. You can also export and download your calendars from the Google Calendar website on the Settings screen. LastPass is a smart solution for exporting your passwords and notes as an encrypted file.

    Certain cloud platforms, like Azure, have internal backup and data recovery systems, and they provide complete user control when it comes to how and where backed-up data is stored.

    These are a couple of examples of services that can help businesses in the southwest locate and create a local copy of your most important data. You can also get recommendations and assistance from a company that provides IT and business tech solutions, such as Integrated Axis Technology Group (IA).

    IA is the go-to firm in Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona, for boosting the cybersecurity protocol of your business and ensuring your data is preserved in case of human error, malicious attacks by hackers, and technical failure.

  4. Business Tech: Combating Cybersecurity Risks Associated with Mobile Devices

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    Cybersecurity is a top priority for most businesses. We recognize that owning a small or medium-sized business doesn’t protect you from hackers. In fact, they increasingly target smaller businesses because the security efforts are often much easier to get past than the larger enterprises. You have to be concerned about the rising instances of ransomware and other cybersecurity attacks. Companies today are finding that securing their own network is only part of the strategy. Unfortunately, their employee’s mobile devices also increase their risk of exposure.

    The Rise of Bring Your Own Device Culture

    Not long ago, companies were widely using a strategy that advised that none of their employees could access the network from private devices. Employees had to be on-site in order to work with documents or access the database. Today, that’s largely impractical. Employees are increasingly mobile. They access their email and log into cloud platforms from their mobile devices regularly. Disallowing this practice might severely hamper your ability to stay competitive. Not allowing personal devices is a mistake. Instead, develop a Mobile Device Policy that your employees need to follow.

    Developing a policy for your employees where cybersecurity and mobile devices are concerned is the best line of defense. This allows your employees to use the latest technology to increase productivity and improve customer service. At the same time, you’re mitigating the risks caused by devices that are not overseen by your IT team.

    Things to Consider in Your Strategy

    When developing a strategy for devices, here are a few things to consider:

    • Mobile Apps. One of the key ways that mobile devices pose a security risk is through apps that are not safe or unvetted. There are a million mobile apps available for every type of task. The best way to make sure that your employees aren’t using apps that pose is risk is by developing a list of acceptable apps.
    • Educate Your Employees. Risks through mobile devices are only getting higher. More attacks are focused on the mobile user because hackers know that people are less vigilant when they use their phone, and they use their phones far more often than other devices.
    • Don’t Use Links in Email. Users are far more likely to fall for phishing scams through mobile devices. It’s easier to detect a scam email on a larger screen.
    • Mandate Authorization. Password or facial recognition authorization should be used on all mobile devices where employees access business documentation. This is a good practice in general.

    Integrated Axis Can Help Your Team with Cyber Threats in 2020

    If you’re looking for additional help with your cybersecurity strategy, contact Integrated Axis today. Our experienced staff can assess your business and help you build the best cybersecurity process to mitigate risks.

  5. 5G and Cybersecurity Implications

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    Cellular service has always been about speed, even from the very beginning. The lower the call drop rate, and the more dependable the connection, the better a carrier fares. As mobile phones have moved away from calling functions to become mobile computers, speed definitely matters. 5G, the common shorthand for “Fifth Generation Cellular Wireless” is the latest breakthrough in cell phone speed, but it’s more complicated than you might think.

    What is 5G?

    Strictly speaking, 5G doesn’t have a clear-cut definition – other than the fact it’s currently the fastest wireless data transmission speed. It refers to a generation of cellular speed, but within that generation, there are various definitions – low, mid, and high-band – for starters. While cellphone companies use “5G” as a sort of catch-all in terms of phone features, this isn’t entirely accurate. Just because a phone is 5G compatible doesn’t necessarily mean that it will operate at 5G speeds – only that it is capable of doing so when they’re available. The practical uses of each wireless generation tend to lag, which means we likely won’t see the apps, programs, and more that use 5G until well into 2021.

    How Can 5G Help My Business?

    One of the most exciting potential uses for 5G is an expansion of the IoT, or Internet of Things. This is the network that allows a business owner to monitor realtime stock movement in their warehouse, or determine things like foot traffic via sensors in their stores. Think of it as Bluetooth-on-steroids: it’s a vast, observable, and controllable network of “smart” devices that help by producing data and, in some cases, controlling automation. 5G connects all of these components and puts a business owner in control of it all via cellular transmission.

    Is 5G Safe?

    Because 5G is so new, serious online threats haven’t made it into the 2020 headlines quite yet. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s safe, however. 5G relies mainly on software where its predecessors relied on hardware, this makes it agile but a prime target for hackers. As users rely on 5G to control smart home functions, serve as a biometric or location-based key, or even start up a connected car, cybercriminals are taking notice. When hackers can access your connected lights and cameras, your car’s engine and locks, and your phone itself, “breaking into” your life is as easy as building the right malware.

    This is an exceptionally troubling security risk for businesses, as they keep not only their own data secured but often their customers’ as well. Though each 5G-connected device or module adds flexibility and control to the mix, it’s also a potential “open door” for a breach if a determined hacker wants to get in. For example, in 2017, hackers were able to access a casino’s database through an unlikely weakness: the wi-fi connected thermometer in a large ornamental fish tank.

    Cybersecurity Protections for 5G

    If the business tech your Tucson or Phoenix-area company uses will potentially connect with or use 5G, protect yourself with an assessment from Integrated Axis. Cybercriminals won’t wait for a new year of innovations to start trying to force their way into your data, so don’t wait to protect it. With more than 20 years of experience protecting our customers, our cybersecurity team is ready for the 5G revolution, and we’re looking forward to helping your company navigate it. Contact us today!

  6. Windows 7 Is Ending

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    Windows 7 has been one of the most popular operating systems Microsoft has ever produced. It’s so popular that many people still use it to this day. Sadly, The Microsoft company announced earlier this year that it is ending Windows 7 support next year in January 2020. This has important implications for those who may or may not intend to keep using it in the new year.

    Everything You Need to Know About the Windows 10 Changeover:

    Windows 7 is Still Popular

    What Microsoft calls “end of life” doesn’t mean that laptops and desktops running Windows 7 will suddenly die. It only means that the company will no longer be providing active support and updates for the OS. If you are one of the many people who want to hold on to your copy of Windows 7, there are a few potential IT issues you should keep in mind. First and foremost is the fact that you won’t get important patches that protect your system from the latest viruses and malware. That means your cybersecurity could be compromised.

    Cybersecurity Issues

    Black hat hackers always focus their efforts on creating malware and attacks that exploit the most commonly used systems. Because Windows 7 has been so popular- it has always been a common target. Once the security patches stop coming, you’ll no longer be protected. Those who want to keep the OS should consider using it on machines that are no longer connected to the Internet. Keeping it quarantined from the Internet can protect you from security threats and allow you to use it for certain business tech applications or other special projects.

    Are All Versions Affected?

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter whether you’re using Windows 7 Pro or Home version- the end of life will still affect you. However, Microsoft has not yet announced “end of life” for Windows 7 Ultimate for Embedded Systems. If you’re using that one, you will be able to continue using it for the time being.

    How to Make the Changeover

    Eventually, you will have to transition no matter what. The next generations of Windows PCs are going to come with Windows 10 pre-loaded. There won’t be an option to return to Windows 7. If you’re not bothered by the change, you’ll be glad to know that Microsoft intends to make the process of switching to 10 easy. As long as your machine meets the minimum requirements, you’ll have the option to upgrade from 7 to 10.

    About Windows 10

    Windows 10 will come with a host of features not available on 7. Many of these are intended to make the perceived barriers between online and offline use less apparent. You’ll be presented with services and options through the main menu that will take you directly to online resources without having to open your browser directly.

    To run Windows 10, you’ll need:

    • A 1GHz or better processor
    • 1GB of RAM for 32-bit ver.
    • 2GB of RAM for 64-bit ver.
    • Up to 20GB of hard disk space
    • Screen and graphics card supporting 800 by 600 or higher, and a DirectX 9 graphics chip
    • Access to the Internet

    To learn more, get in touch today with Integrated Axis Technology Group. We can help make the transition easy.

  7. 4 Advantages of Wifi Networking for Businesses

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    Wi-Fi, also known as wifi, is a form of technology based on the IEEE 802.11 standards that uses radio waves to create local area networks (LANs). These devices use a wireless access point, commonly known as a hotspot, to connect to a wifi LAN (WLAN) that provides access to the internet. Hotspots have a range of about 20 meters indoors and a much greater range outdoors, typically by using multiple overlapping hotspots.

    Internet access is an increasingly important requirement for most businesses today, so the method of obtaining that access is critically important since virtually everyone is in need of the internet. Many businesses are turning to wifi technology as their preferred form of networking for both their customers and employees. Wifi for business offers the following distinct advantages:

    Wifi in the Office

    Internal wifi provides workers in the office with benefits that improve their productivity and save money in the long run. Going wireless reduces the restrictions on an office’s layout since cables no longer dictate desk locations. It also eliminates the expense of IT services such as purchasing, installing and maintaining those cables. Internal wifi also means that office workers are no longer tethered to their desks, allowing them to work at other locations such as conference rooms. An additional benefit of office wifi is a greater collaboration since the ability to access data from any location allows employees to work in groups more easily.

    Mobile Access

    Mobile Access

    Mobile devices have become the standard way of accessing the internet for many employees because they allow them to access work even when they’re not in the office. Some service plans allow users to configure their mobile devices as wifi hotspots, which can be highly useful for implementing a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy. Wifi is especially helpful when allowing employees to continue working while traveling. A dedicated hot spot also provides traveling workers with greater security and allows them to avoid the wifi access fees common at many conferences and hotels.

    Home Wi-Fi

    High-speed wifi access can also benefit home-based workers. It allows work schedules to be more flexible since some workers can telecommute at least part of the time. This benefit helps retain top talent staff members who have come to expect telecommuting, which reduces the expense of working office space. Wifi technology also allows entrepreneurs to start and operate their business from home more easily.

    Public Networks

    Public Networks

    Wifi can be especially useful for customers, many of whom can’t go without internet connectivity for an extended period. A wifi public network at a business’s location can aid in marketing by providing a splash page that showcases its products, services, and expertise. Including the company name in the wifi network’s name can also help build a business’s brand. Advertising free wifi access draws in foot traffic for customer-facing businesses such as retail outlets and restaurants. Once in a store, wifi also encourages customers to spend more time at a business, thereby increasing sales.

    When searching for wifi and superior IT support for your Tucson business, look no further than Integrated Axis technology Group. We’re here to help you get started or improve the security you’ve already built. Give us a call at (520) 877-3033 to learn more.