How Hackers Get Around SMS Two-Factor Authentication

Every time you’re online and a site sends a separate code to check your identity, you’re using two-factor authentication. It’s become the norm. So, of course, hackers have figured out how to get around this, too. This article shows you how they do it and how to stay safe.

With billions of usernames and passwords leaked, access credentials everywhere are at risk, especially if you are reusing your log-in information on more than one site (don’t do it!).

Business websites want to offer a secure user experience, so two-factor authentication (2FA) has become the norm. It’s meant to help stop automated attacks in which bad actors use the leaked usernames and passwords.

Still, if the site you’re visiting uses short message service (SMS) to send a one-time code to your phone, you could still be at risk.

Hackers, using information they have from a data leak, can call your telephone company. They use your name, date of birth, and other identifiers available on the Dark Web, to impersonate you. Then, say you’ve lost your phone, they transfer your phone number to a device with a different SIM card.

That means when the one-time SMS code gets sent your phone number, the message will instead go to their device.

Android Users Also Beware

On Android devices, hackers have an easier time getting access to text messages. If they have access to your leaked Google credentials, they can log into your Google Play account. From there, it’s simply a matter of installing a message-mirroring app on your smartphone.

The app synchronizes notifications across your different devices. It’s for when you really need to be connected, and you’ll be able to see your phone’s SMS alerts on your tablet!

The app won’t work unless you give it permission when prompted to do so, but too many people don’t stop to read alerts from their own accounts: they assume it’s another necessary update and go on with their day. Otherwise, the hacker might call you in a social engineering ploy pretending to be a legit service provider. They’ll be familiar to you, so you’re more likely to listen when they ask you to give permission.

Again, when the one-time SMS code gets sent to your phone, because of the message-mirroring app, the hacker’s device will also receive the code.

What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?

It starts with using unique passwords for all sites you visit. Worried you’ll forget them? A password manager like MYKI can keep all your access credentials in one secure place for you and your team. You should also confirm that your credentials haven’t been compromised. If you use MYKI’s password service, you can  “check passwords” to see if there are any issues. 

Change any passwords that have been involved in a leak!

To avoid the SMS concern specifically, avoid using one-time SMS codes to verify your identity. Instead, you can use a non-SMS authentication tool such as MYKI password manager authenticator, which provides two-step verification services within the app itself.

Need help learning if your credentials have been leaked? Or want assistance setting up more security for your online activity? We can help. Contact our IT experts today at  (416) 645-2469 or (905) 667-0441 or email us. 

Want to be notified when our next blog is posted, sign up here.

7 Common Business IT Myths Debunked

MythBuster programs on television never focus on business misconceptions about IT. Too bad, because believing these myths can be both costly and dangerous to your business. This article debunks seven common business IT myths.

Sometimes myths are harmless, but when it comes to business IT myths, not knowing the truth is damaging. Make smarter tech decisions with accurate information and a better understanding of IT.

Myth 1: Consumer PCs are interchangeable with business PCs.

Sorry, this one’s false. Selecting a business-grade computer can impact productivity. Don’t squander your competitive advantage by relying on consumer PCs to get the job done.

Consumer PCs are largely about getting the price point down by using lower-quality materials, whereas business computers are built to last, use higher-quality components, and go through more testing. They have business-appropriate features such as fingerprint readers or encryption tools, and better warranties and support.

Myth 2: Apple computers can’t get viruses.

Microsoft Windows users are targeted more often because there are more Microsoft users, and the payoff is bigger. Plus, Windows PCs run any program requested, regardless of danger, whereas Apple has steps in place to prevent unauthorized malware from running.

This myth is also untrue. In fact, in September, Apple released a security update to fix its phones, tablets, and watches. Victims didn’t even have to click on a malicious file to risk device infection. So, if you’re using an Apple device, go into Systems and make sure you’ve upgraded to iOS 14.8, macOS 11.6, and/or watchOS 7.6.2.

Myth 3: One backup is enough.

In the case of data backups, you are much safer taking a 3-2-1 approach to data backup. Have three data backups available on at least two different mediums, one of which should be off-site.

You might backup your data to:

  • a second hard drive;
  • an external hard drive;
  • a thumb or USB flash drive;
  • a cloud service.

Myth 4: Antivirus software completely prevents infection.

Antivirus software is valuable, yes, and your business should consistently upgrade its antivirus software. But no antivirus is going to protect your business from every threat.

Security programs do their best to keep up with new threats and vulnerabilities, but infections can spread across the internet quickly. Plus, bad guys are getting better at crafting variations to evade antivirus tools. As a result, make antivirus software only one piece of your cybersecurity strategy.

Myth 5: Cybercriminals only target enterprises.

Attacks on enterprises grab the headlines, but nearly half of the cyberattacks hit small businesses. The bad actors know that small businesses are more resource-constrained and don’t have cyberattack prevention plans in place. It is easier to go after the little fish than targeting the enterprises with IT teams as big as a basketball squad.

Myth 6: It’s OK to wait until the computer fails to replace it.

You can wait, but it’s not going to be the best thing for your business. Long before a computer fails it could be slowing down your business. Older PCs disrupt productivity and reduce employee satisfaction.

As the computer ages, you’ll lose time loading applications and dealing with crashes. You may also be leaving your systems vulnerable to cyberattack if you can’t upgrade the software.

Myth 7: IT outsourcing is not effective for small businesses.

Maybe you think your IT systems are too small to need ongoing maintenance or monitoring, or (Myth 5) that you’re not at risk. Yet, IT systems of any size need ongoing, consistent attention, and outsourcing can help free up your IT resources to do more value-add tasks.

A managed service provider (MSP) can monitor hardware and backups, streamline systems for speed, and keep security current. The MSP can also manage firewalls, and identify and protect against threats. Partner with us for business IT support today! Call us now at  (416) 645-2469 or (905) 667-0441 or email us. 

Want to be notified when our next blog is posted, sign up here.

Stop Your Tech from Stalking You

Unless you’re a reality television star, you probably don’t like the idea of being watched at all times. So, why would you want your technology to know all about you? With digital technology today, it’s far too easy for our devices to turn creepy. Here are some suggestions to stop the stalker-like tendencies of the technology you rely upon.

Today’s marketing and online communications are all about customization and personalization. If you like a friend’s picture of an Art Deco door in Belgium, you see many more posts featuring similar designs. Or if you view an area rug on a website, you’re suddenly bombarded with ads for rug stores when you next go online.

This can add convenience, but it is also unsettling. What companies online know about you could be more detailed than what your friends know. Take the following steps to regain control of what your computer, phone, and apps know about you.

Review your privacy settings

Whether going online from a phone, laptop, desktop, or tablet, get to know the device’s privacy settings. Some important settings to review include:

  • email tracking – this can let people know if you opened their message or not;
  • location tracking – personalizes recommendations but also tells search engines where you are;
  • voice recordings – manufacturers use these to train virtual assistants, but pause this to keep your conversations to yourself;
  • purchase history – this helps feed the machine so that businesses know how to target you in the future.

Opt out or block ads

Opting out of ads limits the information collected from your browser or device. The site or business still receives basic information about you, but you will no longer receive targeted, interest-based ads any longer. Apple’s iOS 14 allows app blocking, and you can also express your choice on Android devices.

Otherwise, use browser ad blockers, such as AdBlock Plus, or JavaScript blockers, such Ghostery, to limit ad tracking. Also known as content blockers, these software programs prevent ads from showing on websites you visit. You can find ad blockers for Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, and Internet Explorer.

Check your permissions

Watch the permissions you give apps. We have already talked about checking device settings, but you can also limit the permissions you give to apps. For example, social media accounts have privacy settings that allow you to control what’s logged about you.

Plus, check permissions for other apps. Clash of Clans doesn’t need location services, for instance. Or you might not want to give Slack access to your microphone and video recordings.

Use webcam covers

Covering your webcam stops someone from potentially seeing and recording you. If you think you’d see the light come on to show the webcam is in use, know that hackers can disable that. A simple sliding webcam cover closes the webcam when you are not using it to avoid a cybercriminal having access.

Covering your webcam can also come in handy in all those online meetings you’re having. A covered camera means you don’t run the risk of your colleagues catching you unprepared.

Limit information you provide

Social media has created a culture of oversharing. There are probably many things you’ve seen about friends online that you would rather not know. You’re also sharing more than you need to with the companies that you interact with online.

If you’re filling out a form for a download, you might fill out only the required fields. When you add an app, be stingy with your personal details. Think about it from a need-to-know perspective. For instance, that home design game you love to play doesn’t need to know where you went to high school or with whom you bank.

Need help keeping the privacy-busting algorithms at bay? We can help. Our IT experts can configure device settings to limit information gathered about you online.

Contact us today at  (416) 645-2469 or (905) 667-0441 or email us. 

Want to be notified when our next blog is posted, sign up here.

What to Do If You’re a Ransomware Victim

You’ll know if you’re a victim of ransomware. Often you’re met with a red screen telling you your business files are encrypted. You won’t be able to do anything on the computer, although the cybercriminals will provide helpful instructions for how to pay up. How nice. Here’s what to do instead if you’re the victim of a ransomware attack.

Cybersecurity Ventures predicts ransomware will impact businesses every 11 seconds in 2021. Yes, you read that right. That’s up from every 14 seconds in 2019. Another research company reported ransomware increasing 485% year-over-year in 2020.

Know that it’s widely considered a bad idea to pay the ransom, because you’re rewarding the cybercriminal. Plus, you can’t even be sure that they will provide the encryption key needed to regain the use of your files. What! You were going to trust the bad guys?

The Important First Step

The first thing you’ll want to do is make it all go away. Yet wishful thinking is not going to get the job done. Instead, you’re going to have to turn immediately to your disaster response plan, because, of course, you have one of those already. Really, don’t underestimate the value of planning in advance for IT infrastructure compromise. Doing it proactively means calm, considered decisions rather than reacting in a crisis.

Step one is going to be identifying the systems involved and isolating them. Once you detect a compromise, limit the spread of infection by disconnecting the devices affected. Ideally, you take only a few computers offline or disconnect an individual network. Even in a large-scale compromise, remove all affected devices from the network to contain the malware.

As part of the isolation, don’t forget to disconnect any connected devices such as storage drives. The ransomware infection will even seek out USB thumb drives.

Power down only the affected devices if you are unable to disconnect them from the network. Why? Because turning them off means you might lose potential evidence.

Malicious actors may be monitoring your business communications. So, move offline to coordinate your response. Phone calls or text messaging will work, or personal email accounts.

Don’t attempt to restore critical systems until you have identified and isolated. After that, your business can move into triage mode. Prioritize what to restore, and recover using your data backup (again, of course, you have one of those, too). Consider how critical each system is for health and safety and revenue generation. Then, get to work restoring systems in an efficient, organized fashion.

Minimizing Ransomware Risk

Ransomware is a major threat to every business sector, and you don’t want to become the next victim. Common best practices include:

  • preventing an attack with anti-virus and anti-malware tools;
  • installing email filters to keep phishing emails from reaching your employees;
  • making frequent backups and keeping them separate from your network;
  • keeping up with ransomware and other cybersecurity threats.

Businesses that partner with a managed services provider have someone supporting their efforts to cut ransomware risk. Plus, if the worst happens, the MSP’s IT experts are at the ready to identify and isolate. They can find the samples needed, determine the malware strain you are dealing with, and report the attack.

Your data backup should have recent copies of all information up to (or close to) the time of infection. So, once the MSP has removed all ransomware, they will wipe your systems and storage devices. They can swiftly reformat the hard disks and reinstall everything from scratch.

An MSP can help you plan ahead to contain the damage from a cyberattack. Let our IT experts install best practices, set up safe backups, and track activity on your network. Contact us today at (416) 645-2469 or (905) 667-0441 or email us. 

Want to be notified when our next blog is posted, sign up here.

Weighing Software-as-a-Service and Managed Service Providers

There are many acronyms in the IT world. Two common ones are SaaS and MSP, which stand for software-as-a-service and managed service provider, respectively. The bigger question is what the differences are between these two and why you would need one or the other. Here’s help.

What’s SaaS?

Your business may already be relying on SaaS. Some of the more widely used platforms include:

  • Microsoft 365
  • Salesforce
  • HubSpot
  • MailChimp
  • Shopify
  • SurveyMonkey
  • Canva
  • Slack

SaaS companies are booming. Businesses are relying more and more on these technologies, and SaaS spending has grown 50% in two years. Why?

Software as a Service provides customers with convenience. The companies develop, manage, and update a product to support teams such as marketing, sales, or customer service. The SaaS platform will promise greater efficiency, improved productivity, increased transparency, and more. These tools automate and streamline processes to drive revenue.

Customers typically pay for a cloud-based subscription fee. In return, they get lower-cost services, reduced time to implementation, and scalability.

What’s an MSP?

Managed services supports software, as well as your

networking and hardware infrastructure. The MSP has human experts to install software, upgrade hardware, patch systems, and track security. The MSP provides all-around support for the business’s technology. This third-party firm gets to know you to help keep your business competitive.

The MSP tackles all sorts of tasks behind the scenes for your business. When your business outsources its IT to an MSP, you gain efficiencies and expertise. You are not giving up control but adding a partner to focus on time-consuming, complicated, and repetitive tasks. Meanwhile, your people can concentrate on driving innovation and generating revenue.

Businesses reap many rewards from working with an MSP. These experts can often find cost savings. Most MSPs charge a predictable monthly fee that’s easy to budget around. The enhanced expertise can also help ensure security and compliance. The MSP will also have the know-how to recommend the tools your business can enjoy most.

It doesn’t have to be either-or

Understand that you don’t have to choose between SaaS and an MSP – the two work well together.

MSPs can help you deploy and get the most out of your SaaS. In fact, an MSP can make sure your SaaS solutions work well together. They can help identify features on one platform that you’re not using. This could lead to you dropping an underutilized subscription to another SaaS.

Going on your own with SaaS means relying on each company’s IT support or asking your own in-house IT people to get to know the ins and outs of many different platforms. When you have an MSP, you pay that single provider for help instead of having to spend on tech support for each SaaS. Also, if you have a security issue, the MSP will alert you and act to cut the damage and repair the problem. The SaaS manufacturer doesn’t have the same responsibility.

Before you even get SaaS, the MSP can help guide your purchase. Your business may think it needs Slack because everyone else seems to be using it. But if you already have Teams, that could be unnecessary. The MSP learns about your business and how you work to help determine what SaaS’s are right for you.

The latest-and-greatest SaaS will come and go. Your MSP can remain the same as your business changes and evolves. Providing continuity of service, they will keep an eye out for the new SaaS you can adopt. The SaaS company wants to grow its customer base and evolve its platform, and the MSP’s job is to help your business succeed, with or without SaaS.

Contact us at (416) 645-2469 or (905) 667-0441 or email us today to enjoy the many benefits of working with an MSP. 

Want to be notified when our next blog is posted, sign up here. 

Lessons Learned from an Oil Pipeline Ransomware Attack

Your business may not be supplying oil to the United States, and you may not even be in the critical infrastructure business, but don’t think that means ransomware can’t happen to you, too. This article shares lessons learned from a headline-grabbing event, and they’re applicable to businesses of all sizes in all industries.

First, what happened? The May 2021 ransomware attack crippled a 5500-mile gasoline pipeline. The Colonial Pipeline serves up nearly half of the gasoline used by the East Coast of the United States. The attack, thought to be the largest ever on US oil infrastructure, encrypted almost 100 gigabytes of data. Russian hacker group DarkSide took the systems hostage, demanding an undisclosed ransom. The pipeline was offline for days, and the disruption plagued the country for weeks.

The lesson learned? Businesses cannot underestimate the importance of being proactive about preventing cybercriminal attacks. The Colonial Pipeline attack originated in Russia and attacked the US, but the motive was financial. The majority of cyberattacks come down to money. That means your business could be at risk, too.

Lesson #1: Educate employees

Avoid falling victim to a devastating ransomware attack by educating employees about cybersecurity. Train your employees to recognize phishing emails and other scams, teach them about the importance of strong passwords, help them understand potential dangers of using unsecured wireless networks or unencrypted devices, and prevent their downloading unsanctioned apps onto work computers.

Lesson #2: Use firewalls and email filtering

Configure firewalls to protect your network and block access from malicious IP addresses. Geo-fencing can reduce traffic from foreign actors in known cybercrime hubs.

Additionally, set up advanced spam filters. These help identify and stop phishing emails before they even get to your employees.

Lesson #3: Limit access

You’re thinking you’re doing that already with firewalls and filtering, but this refers to limiting access for the people who work for you. Configure credentials so that employees can access only what’s needed to do their job. Limiting administrative access makes it more difficult for bad actors to do damage.

Also, limit permissions to reduce access. One employee may need to read certain files but have no need to edit them. Configure the file and directory access accordingly.

Lesson #4: Monitor and patch

Even if you’re not online at all hours of the day, you should be monitoring IT 24/7. Set up alerts to identify any suspicious activity. You want to know as soon as possible if there is a vulnerability so your business can limit its exposure.

Also, patch: don’t ignore update notifications from your software providers or operating system manufacturers. Every piece of technology in your office could be an entry point for a bad actor. Cybercriminals are always finding new modes of attack and vulnerabilities. You have to be vigilant and keep your systems updated to cut your risk.

Lesson #5: Have a backup plan

If cybercriminals take your system hostage, you don’t want to have to pay a ransom. It’s costly, and you can’t guarantee you’ll get a functional system back. You will still suffer downtime and damaged reputation from the attack.

Having several system backups, tested regularly for accuracy, helps protect you from catastrophe. We recommend a 3-2-1 approach. That’s three separate copies of the backup on two different storage types, and at least one of them should be off-site.

Customize your backup plan around the specific needs of your business. One company might be fine backing up daily, whereas another may suffer if it loses even a few hours of data.

Cybersecurity doesn’t have to be complicated

Ransomware attacks are expensive and time consuming. Partner with a managed service provider to keep an eye on your systems. Our IT experts can configure protection, track activity, and provide backup solutions. Take preventative action to protect your business against ransomware and other cyberattacks. Work with professionals to install a layered IT security strategy today. Contact us today at (416) 645-2469 or (905) 667-0441 or email us. 

Want to be notified when our next blog is posted, sign up here.

Microsoft 365 Streamlines Business and Reduces Spend

When doing business online, you have many options for available software and systems. You might turn to one solution to handle online meetings, another to drive collaboration, and yet another to manage your content and workflow. It can get confusing. Plus, when you are duplicating tools, IT spend can mushroom unnecessarily. Microsoft 365 aims to offer a single, all-in-one solution. This article highlights the benefits of streamlining your software needs.

Formerly Office 365, Microsoft 365 is for home, business, enterprise, and education users. Microsoft touts that the software helps businesses reimagine the way they work.

Consolidating many business apps can encourage productivity, support collaboration, and cut costs. Doing away with the fragmentation of many different vendor apps your business can:

  • save time;
  • manage projects, communications, calendars, and more in a unified platform;
  • simplify deployment;
  • cut tech support and IT management challenges;
  • budget better with one invoice for the one solution.

Microsoft 365 Replaces Your Many Apps

There are many online business tools you can replace with Microsoft 365.


First, there’s Business Voice to replace your traditional phone systems. This secure and cost-effective VoIP service enables users to make and receive calls from any device. You can use a laptop, mobile, or desktop, while continuing to use the same number as the desk phone. You can dial in numbers for call conferencing, AI voicemail, transcription, and real-time captioning help, too.

Microsoft 365 also lets users pop into meetings immediately within their Teams channels. They can easily start a phone or video meeting, and during the meeting, they can also share files and PowerPoints. Plus, integrating Outlook contacts and calendars helps efficiency and scheduling.


Microsoft users are already relying on Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. With Microsoft 365, these files are easy to use and share online. Collaborate in a shared document, in real-time, with version control.

Within Microsoft Teams, users have a whiteboard and screen, too. Custom backgrounds and the Together mode are particularly useful during the pandemic. Blur the background on a video call or choose a custom setting. Or sit in a shared digital background to feel as if you’re all actually in the same space together again.

This can replace GoToMeeting, Zoom, and WebEx, as well as document management software, Box, or an on-premises file server.

Apps and Services

Integrate bots, automate workflows, or manage data with more than 700 productivity, project management, industry-specific, or business department apps.

Businesses can connect data to improve agility with Power automate doing repetitive tasks. Power BI makes it easier to discuss and visualize data.

Emails and Planning

Microsoft Exchange does away with on-premises email, Web hosting provider email, or Gmail. Plus, people can stay better organized with integrated notes, documents, and calendars.

Instead of tracking things in Trello, Basecamp, or another project platform, use Planner to stay on top of progress.

File storage

Your Microsoft 365 subscription includes 1 terabyte of OneDrive cloud storage. That’s equivalent to 6.5 million document pages (such as Office files, PDFs, and presentations). Plus, your workers can share, locate, and collaborate in SharePoint.


Microsoft 365 also offers secure messaging and multi-factor authentication. The “1,000+ security and privacy controls” help meet industry and regulatory standards. That’s without needing Proofpoint, Mimecast, or Barracuda, or other advanced threat protections.

Simplify your IT infrastructure with Microsoft 365. Reduce software duplication, cut back on software licensing costs, and regain storage capacity.

Find out more about this secure, current, unified platform solution. Microsoft 365 can benefit your business. Our IT experts can answer your questions. We’ll help you make the most of your Microsoft subscription. Contact us today at  (416) 645-2469 or (905) 667-0441 or email us. 

Want to be notified when our next blog is posted, sign up here.

Doing Business in Microsoft 365? Backup Your Data

Many business tools are moving to the cloud. One popular option is Microsoft 365, formerly known as Office 365. This unified platform consolidates Excel, Word, and PowerPoint with collaboration and communication tools. Added apps and services help streamline operations, too. Simplifying your IT infrastructure can also cut costs and reduce duplication of effort. Still, when you’re leveraging the convenience of Microsoft 365, data backup is your job.

When all software was on-site on business servers and machines, you had complete control. The IT team kept the systems up to date, virus-free, and running smoothly. They built in redundancy to ensure data recovery. They planned for natural disaster, human error, malicious attack, ransomware, or hardware misconfiguration.

Now, though, IT doesn’t have the same control. With the transition to Microsoft 365, the job has changed. Microsoft makes sure its users can continue to access SharePoint or Teams in the event of a disaster, but this doesn’t mean they are responsible for backing up your data – that’s your responsibility.

As do many cloud-based vendors, the company says you own and control your data. They ensure service availability, but you need to set up your own data backup in case of a hack, employee error, or failing to install a security patch.

What does Microsoft 365 Backup?

Reducing downtime is a big reason to backup data. Resilience in the wake of a data breach helps establish credibility with customers, investors, and employees. You may also need backups for compliance with legal guidelines and industry standards.

Yes, you can restore some data within Microsoft 365, but only in the short term. For instance, you can recover information from your deleted-items folder. When something is deleted from that folder, an administrator can often recover it from a system-wide recycling bin.

The thing is, Microsoft 365 doesn’t hold data for that long. It can range from two weeks to a month, depending on your configuration. Plus, you’re not in control of when data is purged, from which there is no recovery.

Microsoft’s datacenter redundancy and data replication efforts support service uptime. It won’t matter if your data is breached, encrypted, or irretrievable due to a hardware failure, flood, or fire.

You need your own data backup. We recommend that you have “snapshots” of your data in three places: one is on-site on a local, protected computer or device; another would be on a remote device; and the third would be in the cloud with a reputable third-party backup provider.

Test Your Backup

Having a backup of Microsoft 365 data offers reassurance that your business can bounce back. Still, don’t get complacent just yet. Along with having a process in place to back up your data, also plan on testing backups.

Testing helps you learn how effectively you can recover following data loss. Plus, testing backups saves you from finding out in a crisis that something has been wrong all along.

Protect your business from data loss and lengthy downtime with your own data backup. We can offer you backup services and help get your company up and running again if the worst does happen. Contact us at  (416) 645-2469 or (905) 667-0441 or email us for help today!

Want to be notified when our next blog is posted, sign up here.

5 Tips to Protect Your Laptop from Physical Damage

A laptop can hold your life. If you’re working from home, it’s essential to your income. For students, it’s where you keep all your notes and essays. Plus, there are the personal photos and videos. And you sometimes use it to stream your TV shows, or to video chat with friends and family. You may even make music, create art, or be writing the next bestselling novel on your laptop. So, you want to keep it in great shape. Here are five tips to protect your laptop.

#1 Don’t drop it

Or throw it, or stand on it, or expect it to withstand any serious impact. OK, that’s pretty obvious. You also don’t want to use your laptop in the bathtub or at the pool. Even a simple water spill on a laptop can damage the circuitry. If you do get your laptop wet, immediately turn it off and unplug everything attached to it.

#2 Open carefully

Laptops are getting thinner in every iteration. Some now even have foldable screens. The thinner and more flexible screen may look sleek and cool, but it’s also less rigid, which makes it more prone to damage. Especially on lower-cost laptops, the screen can flex if you open the computer up from just one side.

Yet, many of us hold a laptop in one hand and open the lid with the other. This can cause the screen to twist. Use both hands to open the laptop. Or get into the habit of opening your laptop from the center to avoid flex.

#3 Don’t bedazzle your keyboard or screen

Alright, maybe you weren’t planning on putting faux rhinestones on the screen or keyboard. Still, reconsider any decorations you have thought of adding. Even a keyboard protector (to prevent dust or spills getting into the circuitry) or camera privacy sticker could damage some of the new super-thin laptops. It’s just that there is now so little clearance between the keyboard and the screen.

If you really must have your stickers, put them on the protective sleeve that you get for your laptop.

#4 Disconnect carefully

Your laptop needs a consistent power source. If you damage the power cord connection, you’re done. So, make sure you pull the power cord out straight. Yanking it out sideways could damage the port.

Also be aware of where your power cord is connecting to the wall outlet. If you leave the cord trailing along the floor, someone could trip over it, or it could get caught on a rolling chair. This could not only damage the charging port but even pull the entire laptop onto the floor. That brings us back to #1, don’t drop the laptop!

#5 Keep it cool

No, you don’t have to store it into a refrigerator (please don’t!), but heat isn’t good for your laptop. You’ll want to keep your computer away from external sources of heat.

Again, as the laptops get thinner, they are more vulnerable to internal overheating. Ensure that the laptop’s intake ports are unblocked so that air can flow through and cool the circuitry. You might also blow dust out of the vents using canned air.

Also, avoid placing your laptop on very soft surfaces. A soft, uneven surface is more likely to block the internal fans. This leaves your device unable to regulate its temperature. You could even buy a laptop cooling stand, which provides extra fans to improve air circulation.

Average laptop lifespan will vary between two to five years. Keep your laptop on the longer side of that by taking these tips to heart.

If something does happen to your laptop, give us a call us today at  (416) 645-2469 or (905) 667-0441 or email us. Our IT experts are here to help you find the best laptop for you, upgrade and secure your laptop, or fix your laptop when you need it.


Want to be notified when our next blog is posted, sign up here.

How to Protect Your Proprietary Information

Proprietary information makes your business special, whether you’re a tech startup with a smart algorithm or a food manufacturer with a secret sauce. Regardless of industry, business gains competitive advantage from distinct practices or unique data. The last thing you want is someone with ill intent getting their hands on your differentiators. Here’s how to protect your proprietary information.

We all know cybercriminals are trying to gain unauthorized access to your computers. Most attention is on hackers stealing personal data, or malware attacks that render computers useless unless a ransom is paid. Other prime reasons bad actors seek out technology vulnerabilities are for corporate espionage or to make a buck selling your proprietary information to the highest bidder.

Trade secrets, business strategies, or product designs could all be at risk. The very future of your business could be at stake if you don’t control and protect your proprietary data. These strategies can help.

#1 Limit Access on a Need-to-Know Basis

It sounds very cloak and dagger: “you don’t have clearance for that.” Still, limiting access based on roles builds a stronger perimeter around proprietary data.

The front receptionist doesn’t need the same level of access to technology or data as the founder. Keep accountants and product development team members on their own systems, too.

This cuts the risk of inadvertent exposure or insider threat, plus, it contains possible damage. If one person’s access credentials are compromised, a hacker will only get so far.

#2 Educate and Audit

Check your control over proprietary data, and regularly audit what critical information you have and who has access to that data.

Also, vet employees to prevent bad actors from getting inside your security perimeter. Ongoing education can also help, as it will keep best practices top of mind with your employees.

#3 Limit Personal Device Usage

Many employees have powerful computers they can’t live without, or they may prefer to use their smartphones, laptops, or tablets. If you’re going to allow Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), you need to establish strict guidelines.

The business should:

  • ask employees to register any personal devices used for work;
  • segregate personal devices from the business network;
  • install remote monitoring to allow you to audit device access and ensure best practices;
  • require up-to-date software and vulnerability patching;
  • create a separate, encrypted drive on those personal devices for work data.

Also, ban the installation of hardware or software on office computers without involving IT. This can avoid someone downloading and installing a program that provides third-party access. The employee or department didn’t mean to cause a security breach, but you want to be safe.

#4 Protect Multifunction Devices, Too

Even with businesses doing more in the cloud, we still use printers, scanners, and copiers. Any of these could have internal storage that stores the data your users send to them. These devices are also attached to your network, and you may never have even changed the default password from the manufacturer.

Shore up security. Give these devices their own network separate from the main system.

#5 Destroy Any Hardware Properly

When you upgrade to new hardware, what do you do with the old technology? In many instances, it will sit unattended in a closet somewhere, or get boxed up and sent to an auctioneer without first clearing the hard drive. Work with a certified data destruction company. They can wipe your technology clean before resale or destroy them effectively.

Plus, keep in mind that paper remains a threat, too. Your employees need to be aware that a messy desk can mean documents go missing or get mixed up, and it is that much easier for a visitor to see and take an important document.

The ways to handle your proprietary information will evolve. Control and protection are key. Our IT experts can help you keep up with the threats and cut your risks. Contact us today at (416) 645-2469 or (905) 667-0441 or email us about securing your business’s lifeblood information.

Want to be notified when our next blog is posted, sign up here.