Tip of the Week: Your Productivity Doesn’t Depend on the Internet

It is an expectation for the modern business to rely on the Internet in order to complete its daily function. As a result, anytime there is an Internet outage, many employees may find themselves lacking purpose or direction. However, a lack of Internet doesn’t have to mean a lack of productivity. For this week’s tip, we’ll review some ways your staff can be productive without an Internet connection.

Keeping Things Organized
Office clutter happens. It is the natural side effect of a team being focused on getting task after task completed. If the files on your local network need some reorganization, or the workspace itself needs a little TLC, an Internet outage provides an ideal time to tidy things up a bit.

A tidy workspace will benefit the organization as a whole, as well as each employee. After all, the fewer distractions that an employee has on their desk, the easier it is for them to stay focused (and the easier it is for someone else to find a resource should that employee be away from the office that day).

Furthermore, it is much easier for one to find things in an organized closet or cabinet than one that has everything thrown in and piled up without any rhyme or reason, which translates to saved time. Using the time that the Internet is down to go through your storage and organize it will allow you to achieve an important task without sacrificing another.

If you can still access your internal network’s data storage, an Internet outage also presents the opportunity to reorganize this storage space as well. Using folders to organize the files on your desktop into a logical system of categorization will also help you to find them later when they can be used to achieve something.

Team Building
While technology has enabled businesses and their employees to experience greater connectivity than ever before, this has also contributed to the seemingly opposite effect of creating some barriers between team members as well. After all, it is much harder to build the interpersonal relationship that develops into the synergism that you want and expect from your team when most of their communication takes place through a screen. Additionally, this synergism will often have a positive benefit when collaboration is part of your team’s responsibilities. Therefore, it only makes sense to encourage the development of these interpersonal relationships when the Internet doesn’t allow for typical workplace duties to be completed.

As they wait for their Internet access to come back, your team can hold meetings that don’t need the Internet in order to be run. These meetings could even be relatively simple brainstorming sessions where new ideas can be shared freely. Alternatively, you might encourage your teams to reach out to departments they don’t often do business with in order to get to know the other people who work alongside them.

This can benefit management as much as it benefits the workforce. If you and the rest of your management team reach out to employees with the intent of getting to know each other better, you can better shape your management style. By doing so, you encourage your employees to be more engaged and communicative, and you can personalize your approach to each employee for the highest impact.

Mobile Devices
While there are times that an improperly used mobile device can be a detriment to office focus and productivity, there are also times that these devices, leveraged properly, can be your best bet if you want productivity to be preserved. Mobile devices provide the chance that, if your business’ Internet should fail, your employees could continue their work. With the right proactive planning, your workforce could continue their tasks through the use of their own mobile data, with reimbursement dictated by a Bring Your Own Device strategy, or on a device that your company provides.

 

2018 is Expected to See $96 Billion in IT Security Investments

If you were considering increasing your investment into your information security in 2018, you certainly aren’t alone. Gartner released a report that indicated a considerable rise in plans to invest in key security considerations.

Closer analysis of these considerations shows that businesses around the world are paying attention to essential security requirements that have seen relatively smaller portions of budgetary spending in the past, as well as increasing their security investments as a whole. For example, while identity access management sees the smallest amount invested, it is anticipated that there will be an increase in spending of 9.7 percent between 2017 and 2018.

In addition, spending on network security, security services, and infrastructure protection is expected to rise by 6.7 percent, 11 percent, and 7.7 percent, respectively.

Why? Simply put, 2017 was a rough year, in terms of security breaches and other attacks. Worldwide events, like WannaCry and NotPetya, have shown the importance of comprehensive network security preparations. Another recent reinforcement of this lesson came when the Equifax breach came to light. As is usually the case when a certain something hits the metaphorical fan, businesses are taking notice.

However, if these projections prove accurate, it may still not be enough.

With technology becoming more and more critical to business operations with every week that goes by, cybersecurity is only going to become more important–important enough that an overall spending increase of 8% might not be enough of an investment. After all, technology is becoming a factor in more and more elements of life, which gives a botnet more ammunition–and that’s just one example.

Fortunately, many businesses are also planning on outsourcing their security needs to experienced and trusted professionals. Spending on that is expected to increase by 11%. Will some of this increase be due to your investment?

If it is, reach out to Kite Technology. Our IT professionals are adept in ways to keep your business secure, as well as ways to improve your business’ performance. Give us a call at 855-290-KITE for more information.

 

Tip of the Week: Never Pay to Print Business Cards Again

As far back as the Renaissance, special guests were announced with name cards that displayed who the guest was and what types of greetings were due. It wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution that business cards became primarily a means of displaying trades or professional skills. Business cards are mostly used for marketing and networking in the modern age, and your organization should be using them.

Software developers have started to create applications that make using business cards even easier. Here are two of these apps and how you can use them to your advantage:

Drop
Drop is an app that serves two major purposes. It’s basically a virtual business card, but it also lets you take a quick snapshot of any new business card you’re given and save it automatically into a contact. Now you won’t have to worry about keeping the card safe and sound in your wallet.

It’s easy to see why Drop is such a great networking tool. Since you aren’t reliant on keeping the card on your person, you will have an easier time keeping track of it in your smartphone. However, you have to watch out for the app misreading the names or looking at the wrong address.

Overall, Drop is a solid solution, and it’s compatible with both Android and iOS devices. It even has a geolocation feature that can group your cards together based on the scanning location, or extract information from a business card you had already taken a photo of. Finally, you can create your own digital business cards, which is something that you could do even without having the app installed.

CamCard
CamCard is a solution that helps your business manage its business cards, as well as scan and collect information associated with them through a mobile app. Since it’s a cloud-based service, your scanned cards can be accessed on any connected device, be it a tablet, smartphone, or your web browser. You can also annotate scanned cards for any meetings or scheduled appointments that might be associated with them.

CamCard also has a business app that you can use to share business card information with your organization’s internal sales department. You can use this app to keep your organization up-to-date on information sharing. Information can be shared to either your entire organization or by department. Furthermore, integration with Google Contacts, Outlook Contacts, and Microsoft Excel can be achieved, and you can set up user access roles based on who you want to access this vital information.

 

20-Year-Old Exploit Finds New Life as ROBOT

There is no shortage of threats on the Internet, from situational issues to deliberate attacks meant to damage your company or steal your valuable data. While new threats pop up almost every day, some have been around for some time–so long, that many seem to not consider them as viable threats.

This can be seen in many considerably-sized Internet companies, including the likes of Facebook and PayPal, which recently tested positive for a vulnerability discovered in 1998 that enabled encrypted data to be decrypted.

When it was first discovered by researcher Daniel Bleichenbacher, this exploit was found in the secure sockets layer, or SSL, encryptions that protected (and still protect) many web platforms and websites. The algorithm that powers the RSA encryption has a flaw that permits a hacker to decrypt ciphertext without the key. The error messages that the encryption presents give hackers enough information to crack it.

As it would happen, instead of eliminating and reworking the flawed RSA algorithm, the SSL architects at the time simply created workarounds to limit the error messages.

This crypto-vulnerability, codenamed “Oracle,” provides “yes” and “no” answers to queries. This means that cybercriminals can phrase their queries specifically enough to ultimately retrieve enough information to form a detailed picture of the encrypted contents. This method is referred to as an adaptive chosen-ciphertext attack.

Recently, researchers have discovered that this vulnerability can be found on over a quarter of the 200 most-visited websites on the Internet, and on around 2.8% of the top million. Naturally, this includes Facebook and PayPal.

Researchers explained the oversight of what is now being called ROBOT, or Return Of Bleichenbacher’s Oracle Threat, as the result of too much focus being directed towards new threats, and the older ones being neglected as a result. As they said in a blog post:

“The surprising fact is that our research was very straightforward. We used minor variations of the original attack and were successful. This issue was hiding in plain sight. This means neither the vendors of the affected products nor security researchers have investigated this before, although it’s a very classic and well-known attack.”

These researchers sent their findings to vulnerable sites before going public so that a patch could be created.

Having a comprehensive understanding of the threats that are poised to damage your business will greatly help you keep it secured. We can help. For more information, reach out to Kite Technology at 855-290-KITE.

 

Tip of the Week: Don’t Let Your Old Android Device go to Waste

Unless you’re the trade-in or hand-me-down kind of person, it’s likely that you have a supply of old Android devices squirreled away somewhere. You know, just in case the one who have now breaks. However, these old devices can be useful in other ways around the office. For this week’s tip, we’ll go over three alternate uses for your mobile device in the office.

Portable Trackpad
There are assorted applications available that allow you to link your old phone to your computer and use it as an alternative controller to your mouse. These apps often offer specialized features that give you better control over media playback and other useful workplace utilities.

Just be sure to install whatever app you select from the Google Play store, as it is the safest option out there for downloading apps. However, you should also make sure that your IT department signs off on you adding these apps to devices used for work.

Universal Remote
If you happen to use smart devices in your office, your old phone could become a central control hub for them. Download the necessary apps from the Google Play store, and in no time, you’ll be able to control any of the gadgets you have installed around your office with a dedicated remote, eliminating the need for the bulky included remotes that accompany many of these devices, as well as the need to take up space on your current mobile phone.

Security Camera
Similarly to using your old device as a universal remote, you can find apps on Google Play that can turn it into a security camera with a few different features. By doing so, you can boost your office’s security with the option to check in on goings-on via a web browser, record the footage, and even have the camera activate when motion is detected.

Bonus Purpose: Donate the Phone to BOINC
The Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing, or BOINC, allows you to donate the computing resources of your old phone to assist research teams in their efforts towards scientific breakthroughs. So far, resources dedicated to BOINC have powered research into the climate, molecular dynamics, genetic sequencing, measured the efficacy of malaria treatments and the power of earthquakes, as well as many other scientific causes.

To participate, all you have to do is download the BOINC app from the Google Play Store and select what research you want to commit your phone’s resources to. The app will only run if your device is both charged and plugged in, as so not to leave you with a drained phone, and can be set to only transmit data over Wi-Fi, saving your data.