Happening Next Week: Cybersecurity for Schools!

Cyber Security for School DistrictsThink you know cybersecurity? Protect your school – join our upcoming training.

Happening next week Thursday, join us for our latest webinar session! “Cybersecurity for School Districts” will cover the threats schools face day-to-day on a technology front. School leaders and technology decision makers will leave with a better understanding of how they can better can protect their school from these ever-evolving threats.

Did you know?

Cyber criminals are increasingly targeting school districts with highly personalized and sophisticated attacks. And the cost and time required to restore this data is high. Estimated at $294 per record, schools have some of the highest cost of recovery across any industry vertical.

Education systems have an obligation under FERPA, COPPA and CIPA to protect student private information and keep them safe online while at school. This webinar session will cover K-12’s requirements under these federal programs that all education systems must abide by in order to receive funding.

Are you properly protected? Learn everything you need to know about cybersecurity for school in our upcoming training. And get the tools you need to safeguard your school and student data with our upcoming training session.

Cybersecurity for School Districts: The Keys for Locking Down Student Data
Thursday, December 13th
At 1PM CST

Register for this training >>>

Unlock Your Office 365 Superpower: Azure

What makes a superheroes so agile?

A flexible, affordable and scalable network. One that is robust enough to take on the load of a new mission at a moment’s notice. Superheroes running on Microsoft Office 365 use Azure to keep their networks agile and affordable.

The only constant in business is change. With the fast pace of innovation constantly accelerating, it’s becoming increasingly expensive to keep investing in the latest and greatest IT solutions. At the same time, relying on older solutions while your competitors invest in new ones gives them a leg up on you to anticipate, manage, and respond more quickly to change.

Flex your agility. Unlock your competitive edge

With Azure you keep your competitive edge without expanding your budget. Flexibility in the cloud with Azure allows you to scale up or down, on demand. Reduce costs while getting the right technology for every phase of your business growth.

SMBs that are technology leaders outperform their peers in the marketplace. They are:

  • Experiencing 15% faster revenue growth.
  • Creating jobs almost 2x as fast as competitors *

Lower costs and boost revenue, it’s a win-win for any size and type of business. With Microsoft Azure you can adapt quickly to changing business needs affordably.

Break Boundaries without Breaking the Bank.

You want to focus on running your business, not your infrastructure and the bottom line. With Azure, you can build, deploy, and manage applications in the cloud without worrying about the cost of purchasing new server hardware. You can easily scale up or down as needed. You’ll have peace of mind knowing you have the added protection of multiple data backups in Microsoft-managed datacenters.

Ensure that you’re ready for a new mission anytime…Learn more about Azure >>>
*Techaisle 2015 SMB Cloud Adoption Trends Study

Work From Just About Anywhere

 

Love working from home? So do we.

Last month we shared eight tips for successfully working from home. Today let’s dig deeper into the benefits of working from home and then the risks businesses take when they allow ‘work from _____’. Couch, beach, coffee shop, Paris.

Today, business cares about the quality and quantity of work being completed, not necessarily where workers are. While there are still plenty of jobs that required people to be on location at certain times (doctors, attorneys, foremen, etc.), but most of these people will still do a good body of work offsite (filling out reports, entering time, setting schedules, etc.).

Benefits

With technology that is increasingly mobile and always connected, people expect to be able to work whenever and wherever. What’s more. Business expects people to work whenever and wherever. People are more productive and happy when they have the flexibility to work when and where they want to. Work life balance is improved when employees are allowed to work from home, studies have shown that they are healthier and less stressed.*

Risks

With a mobile workfoce, power has shifted in favor of the users and away from IT. An employee wants to work at 8PM on Sunday night? The boss is happy. Excited that the worker has decided to put in an extra hour here and there to make one more sale, to submit that last report. On the flip side, the IT team is expected to create environments that support almost any device AND they’re expected to support users who want to work at all times (including on Sundays at 8PM).

Most SMBs don’t fully understand the security concerns a “remote-enabled” workforce creates. Here are the side effects: 

  • Businesses will unknowingly take security risks – devices that have access to their senstive data are out in the wild. What if a device was stolen? What if a device is hacked?
  • Businesses won’t include security-related costs when they look at enabling a device-centric workforce. Rather, they’ll base their decision mostly on productivity and employee-convenience metrics.
  • Many businesses won’t realize that enabling a device-centric environment also means BYOD and remote access policies will need to be developed or updated.

With the expectations of today’s workforce it’s becoming increasingly difficult for business to limit the devices people use for their work – or the times that they can do their work. That’s okay though, because on balance, a device-centric approach can be a huge benefit to both the business and employees.

Ultimately, the only way to do enable a mobile workforce is to understand the implications, risks, and costs associated with this ‘work from just about anywhere’ approach going in.  Otherwise, things will be continually fraught with frustration, unintended risk and expense. Need help developing internal policies and reducing the risks associated with a mobile workforce? ITP can help. Contact us to discuss our work from home best practices and policies.

This blog originally appeared on ‘The Business Technology Place‘ – a website and blog run by our very own, Joe Ulm. Joe is a Senior Business Development Manager at Information Technology Professionals. Read this article, and more on his website.

*Workshifting Benefits: The Bottom Line – by Telework Research Network and powered by Citrix

Put student data on lock down with security training

Cyber Security for School DistrictsJoin us Dec 13th for training on K-12 cybersecurity

School districts are increasingly becoming the target for highly targeted and sophisticated cybercrime. Sensitive student and staff data is being stripped from unsecured servers and software. How? Through targeted phishing attacked and other highly personalized social engineering tactics. Join Information Technology Professionals for ‘Cybersecurity for Schools: The Keys For Locking Down Student Data’ on Tuesday, December 13th at 1PM CT. This webinar will be an in-depth discussion about the current state of cybersecurity for schools and the steps school leaders are taking to protect student data.

Facts about K-12 breaches:

  • 15 percent of all data breaches happen at educational institutions
  • More than 10 million education records that have been compromised since 2005
  • FERPA, COPPA and CIPA all protect students’ rights to privacy & safe internet content

Get educated on cybersecurity for schools. During this session we’ll cover steps school districts can take to protect student and staff data and sensitive information. We’ll discuss best practices for getting teachers and staff on the same page for creating strong passwords, protecting login credentials, and accessing critical systems securely.

Get the keys to locking down student data. Reserve your seat for this upcoming training events, “Cybersecurity for School Districts”. Join ITP on Tuesday, December 13th at 1PM CT for information on remaining in compliance and keeping student data protected.

Register for this event >>>

Unlock Your Office 365 Superpower: Skype

To outsmart villains, superheroes must be connected…

How? With sleek and sophisticated gadgets. At the push of a button they can alert their sidekick to impending danger, or get a status update from their assistant back at the lair. Skype for Business is your superhero transmission gadget. Unlock its powers to facilitate seamless team communication and collaboration. Because today’s workforce expects to connect, and create with others around the world, securely and at a lightning-fast speed.

Teams that communicate often and openly are better teams, period. To deliver stellar communications to excellent teams, Microsoft connects people in real time with the Skype experience people love and from the Office applications they use every day. See your contacts’ online statuses, schedule meetings in Outlook, and start conversations from apps like Word and PowerPoint.

Big or small meetings, Skype for Business makes it possible to speak to one or one thousand people at once. With Skype Meeting Broadcasts, these meetings are incredibly easy to join with just a browser and an internet connection. Video conference with an interview candidate 1,000 miles away, or collaborate in real time with a co-worker two seats away. Skype for Business makes communications and collaboration easy and intuitive.

Security? They’ve got it on lock. Conversations are protected by strong authentication and encryption, and you manage employee accounts and features. People-centric security. Skype technology and services are secure and focus on the individual, helping maintain compliance with modern regulations.

Here’s what others are saying about Skype’s real-time collaboration and communication tools:

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Stay one step ahead in business with a connected team. See Skype for Business in action >>>

Announcing Cybersecurity for School Districts Webinar

Cyber Security for School DistrictsJoin us for information on keeping student data on lock.

Every single day, educational organizations collect sensitive data from students and staff. This information in malicious hands would be debilitating both in money and time lost, to the system. Has your school district properly prepared for the threat of cybersecurity? Perhaps you’ve already experienced some sort of attack. Sadly, the stats are stacked against schools – cyber criminals are targeting school districts with increasingly personal and sophisticated attacks. Join Information Technology Professionals (ITP) on Tuesday, December 13th at 1PM for our ‘‘Cybersecurity for Schools: The Keys For Locking Down Student Data’”.

The cost of a breach

Estimated at $294 per affected record, the education sector has the second highest cost of restoration after a data breach. On top of the cost to restore data and re-secure the environment, school districts also risk non-compliance with government programs. The gamble of non-compliance to FERPA is great, school districts found in non-compliance will lose their funding from the government.

Education systems have an obligation under FERPA, COPPA and CIPA to protect student private information and keep them safe online while at school. This webinar session will cover K-12’s requirements under these federal programs that all education systems must abide by in order to receive funding.

During this session we’ll cover steps school districts can take to protect student and staff data and sensitive information. We’ll discuss best practices for getting teachers and staff on the same page for creating strong passwords, protecting login credentials, and accessing critical systems securely.

Get the keys to locking down student data. Reserve your seat for this upcoming training events, “Cybersecurity for School Districts”. Join Information Technology Professionals on Tuesday, December 13th for this session dedicated to remaining in compliance and keeping student data protected.

Register for this event >>>

Email Security – Protecting Against Evolving Threats

5 Requirements for Email Security

The face of cyber security is changing every day. From malware to ransomware… and everything in between, we are on continual high alert for email scams that pose threats to our technology environments.

“Wait! Don’t click that link……oh.”

Individuals from inside your organization pose one of the biggest risks to your technology environment. Social engineering and highly-targeted phishing scams make attacks even more personal. How? These cyber criminals are gathering information from social media and to create highly personalized attacks on individuals.

So how are you actively protecting your email? Here are five requirements you should consider when it comes to email security.

  1. Protection before, during and after an attack. The most important consideration is a solution that will allow you continuous monitoring of your email environment. Embrace a solution that will position you to better understand the scope of an attack, how to contain it, and get back to normal operations quickly.
  2. Evolving threats. The face of cyber-attacks is changing every single day. Requirement #2 is a solution that is sophisticated enough to recognize attacks hiding in plain sight, capable of dynamic reputation and behavior-based analysis. Protect your team will still allowing them secure access to the productivity tools they love.
  3. Casting a wide net. Meet ‘snowshoe’ spam, the next generation of malware delivery. Snowshoe spammers can rapidly change body text, links and IP address used for sending spam. These attacks are well disguised and nimble. Requirement #3 is a solution that can protect your environment from a wide variety of evolving threats.
  4. Smart data protection. Organizations must be able to reduce the chance that critical data will leave the network either by design or by accident. Requirement #4 is the ability to detect, block and managed risks in outbound emails.
  5. Flexible deployment. Is the key to staying protected in diverse environments. Requirement #5 is a solution that will encompass physical appliances, virtual appliances, the cloud and hybrid offerings.

Are you fully protected? Does your current email solution address each of these requirements? It might be time to consider a more robust approach to email and data security. Learn more about each of these topics in the ‘Five Requirements When Considering Email Security’ white paper by Cisco. (click the link below to automatically download the pdf)

Download ‘Five Requirements When Considering Email Security’ white paper now >>> 

8 Ways to Successfully Work from Home

Work from homeTips for Working from Home Better

These days, it is increasingly common to work from home. In fact, in 2014, almost 1 in 4 U.S. employees worked from home all or part of the time1. Moreover, also in 2014, more than 2/3 of U.S. companies had employees working from home2. Working at home can be extremely rewarding and help you achieve a better work-life balance… it can also save you time, money, and stress.

While there are many upsides to working from home, some individuals struggle in forming productive and healthy habits. Plenty of distractions stand between you and your work… there’s always another load of laundry to throw in, or a counter that needs wiping. Combat distraction while taking advantage of all that work from home has to offer with some tips from ShoreTel’s latest white paper ‘‘8 Ways to Make Working From Home As Great As It Sounds

Consider these 8 tips for improving your day-to-day productivity while at home:

Tip 1:  Create a comfortable workspace

  • This can be whatever kind of space works for you – you get to choose!
  • Should be distinct from other parts of your home so that you can focus

Tip 2:  Set daily goals

  • Setting realistic goals each day helps you focus on what you’d like to get done
  • Fun Fact: 3% of Harvard MBAs make 10x as much as the other 97% combined!

This is because they documented clear goals and constructed plans to achieve them3

Tip 3:  Manage distractions appropriately

  • Know when to respond to distractions and when it’s best to stay focused
    • e. a conference call may not be the best time to check email
    • Though, tending to your dog as needed can allow you to return to work sans distraction
  • Fun fact: Multitasking cuts productivity by 40% and decreases your IQ by 10 points!4

Tip 4:  Track your work time

  • This can help you set realistic goals & utilize your time well, so you have time for life outside of work
  • There are apps to help you do this! Check out 8 of the very best time tracking apps.

Tip 5:  Take breaks

  • Pausing occasionally throughout the day to take a mental break can help you work better
  • Go on a walk, stop at a coffee shop, or chat with a friend to recharge

Tip 6:  Make yourself available

  • It is ideal to be reachable when you have the convenience of working from home
  • Being available for clients and coworkers can improve the fruitfulness of your career

Tip 7:  Nourish your brain in a helpful way

  • When working from home, it can be easy to overeat…or forget to eat!
    • If you tend to overeat, it might be beneficial to follow an eating schedule and choose not to eat while in your workspace
    • If you tend to forget to eat, set alarms to remind yourself that it’s time for lunch or a snack

Tip 8:  Stay connected to your team

  • Connecting to your team & clients with some frequency can help you not feel like an outsider
  • It also helps your team continue to see you as a cherished team member

Dive deeper into each of these tips from ShoreTel’s white paper ‘8 Ways to Make Working From Home As Great As It Sounds’.

Download the full white paper here>>>

Sources: 

  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics 
  2. 2014 National Study of Employers
  3. What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School: Notes from a Street-smart Executive
  4. Psychology Today