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IT News
January/February 2017  
In This Issue

All 2017 eRecycling proceeds are donated to Kate's Club.  Kate's Club empowers children facing life after the death of a parent or sibling. Read more about their mission here!
 
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Wishing you and yours a safe, happy and prosperous 2017!

 

All of us at LAN Systems

Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia Grants
The Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia has opened its 2017 Grant Cycle.


If you are a nonprofit organization or board member or know of an organization that would benefit from a grant, please consider submitting a Letter of Intent to the foundation.  Click here for more information on the grant process. Letters of Intent are due by January 31st.

The foundation has selected several primary areas of focus for 2017.  They are: Basic Needs (Housing and Food Insufficiency), Education, Healthcare and the Arts. If your grant doesn't fall into one of those categories, don't despair because up to one third of the funding may be allocated for programs and projects which fall outside those focus areas.

For more information on the foundation, please visit their website.
Top IT Trends for 2017
For many years, we have been bringing you our Top IT Trend predictions for the technology that will change our business and personal lives. This year, our Top IT Trends have an emphasis on how human beings will interact with technology for efficiency and safety. Technology advances can only go so far in making us safer and more productive in our daily lives. Much of the progress comes in the way we interact with technology to make it better serve its human master.

Cyber Security -
Today, your cyber security depends more on you and your employees. Of course, you need the standard tools like anti-virus, malware protections, content-filtering, encryptions and a strong firewall, but these tools cannot protect you from threats designed to trick your users into opening the door for the attackers. Informing, training and supporting users is essential to a comprehensive cyber security plan. Over the next year, companies will work diligently to create a culture where users are aware of the latest threats and provide them with the tools to neutralize even the most sophisticated schemes. The strategy of defense-in-depth will become more focused on empowering the user to recognize, resist and report cyber threats. Much of the defense will center around educating employees of the common risks, latest threats and helping them to effectively communicate cyber dangers they have seen to other employees.
 
IoT Security
- The Internet of Things has given us at-our-fingertips connectivity to so many devices. From cameras to baby monitors to sensors of every type, we can be at many places at once with real-time monitoring. Unfortunately, so many of the IoT devices were designed with convenience, not security, in mind. Over the next year, we will see more security measures built into new IoT devices and add-on security packages and updates will be made available for existing devices. Unfortunately, consumers have selected price over features so some IoT devices are not able to be secured. This year, we will see an increase in the frequency and severity of IoT device hacks.
 
Digital Twins
- A digital twin is the digital representation of something physical. The concept is hardly new as it has been used for monitoring in science and engineering for years. This is the technology that keeps the electricity flowing and put a man on the moon. Today, with powerful, realistic graphics, digital twins will be the coupling of technology in near real-time monitoring with equipment that precisely maps in 3D, giving us a digital space that approaches the detail of a physical space. This concept will take the IoT to the next level as remote devices become digitally available on demand.
 
Cloud Servers - This is the year for small businesses to move some or all of their servers into the Cloud. With the increase in reliability and security, small businesses will take
advantage of Cloud productivity to save money without giving up any enterprise-class features. Most businesses already use the Cloud for email, so expanding Cloud use to applications, data storage and disaster recovery will be a natural next step. Services like Amazon, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure will continue to add features that make it even easier to move physical servers into the Cloud.
 
 
Disclaimer: Like horoscopes, our predictions for the Top IT Trends of 2017 are general in nature but they are intended to help you grow your business and profit from technology advances.
 
Cyber Safety for Employees
In the fight against cyber threats, employee training and support is essential.  It is also important to have a clear reporting procedure so if an employee sees something suspicious, they have a way to report it quickly. 
Many scams can be stopped, by being cautious and knowing the characteristics of an attack. Train employees to be skeptical of email links. Ensure that they always verify by phone or in person requests for funds and confidential information. Look out for email requests for orders from a new company especially for parts in quantities. Help everyone be vigilant online and ensure that no one inputs personal or credit card data without being absolutely certain of the authenticity of the site. 
Below is a short list of the types of exploits that may be seen:  
Cyber Security Awareness
  • Look out for social engineering. Social engineering can begin with a phone call asking for information or telling you that your computer has been hacked. The hacker is looking to gain access to your computer or get company information. They may say they are from Microsoft or your IT department. They sound very concerned and anxious to help. Don't give your password or any information and never give a credit card. If you think it is legitimate, tell them you will call them back. Any authentic service provider will understand your concern and encourage you to verify their identity
  • Ask someone. If you have any doubts, stop and ask someone.
  • Make sure you are saving your critical data in the proper location and it is being backed up, so it can be restored if needed.
  • If you think you have been hacked, tell someone immediately. Often a quick response can lessen the impact.
Staying Safe Online
  • Have up-to-date security tools. Your operating system, browser, anti-virus, content-filtering and malware protection should always be current.
  • Don't navigate to a site if your security program notifies you that the site is unsafe or the security certificate has expired.
  • Don't click pop-ups that tell you to install software or scan for viruses as they are usually fraudulent.
  • Never enter your personal information unless you are absolutely sure the site is real.
  • Stay away from promiscuous or edgy sites like those that promote pornography, firearms, drugs and adult themes.
  • Be careful of all sites with messages that are trying to raise your emotions. These can be religious or political sites that lure you with a controversial message.
Staying Safe When Using eMail
  • Don't click links. This is how most people get scammed. The link can look like it is from the IRS, UPS, Amazon, Target, your bank, your credit card company or so many others. Even if it looks real, don't click. If you think it is a valid request, go outside of your email to a browser and navigate to the site.
  • Never transfer or pay money based on an email. There is a current scam that looks like it comes from the company CEO or CFO asking you to wire transfer funds. This scam has fooled many. Whenever you receive a financial instruction email, verify with the sending party preferably by speaking to them in person.
  • Don't fall for chain email scams that tell you to forward to everyone you know. These are made up of false claims designed to get your blood boiling so you will send to everyone in your address book. If you want to check a fact, go to a bona fide fact check site. 
     

If we can help in your fight against cyber threats, report it by calling us at our HelpDesk 770 662-0312 or email HelpDesk@lansystems.com.

Remember if you see something suspicious, tell someone that can help.