Keep your business running safely and efficiently no matter where your team is located.

COVID Resources and Tips

An overview of resources to help manage IT services for your employees working remotely during the pandemic.

Work from Home

I have never had employees work remotely—what are the most important things to know?

Depending on how you allow access to your corporate network, security concerns exist. If you are issuing a corporate device, then the company should have all the tools that the regular corporate devices have.  This method should be less of a concern, except an employee must protect the physical access to the desktop or laptop computer. If the employee leaves it on and logged in, anything can happen — i.e., their kids or cat can accidentally type on the computer and potentially damage the data for the company. If you are allowing the employee to use a personal device at home, then you must also be concerned about the security posture of their home machine AND the company’s network. Hopefully, your business is requiring the corporate standard security software installed on the home device.  This requirement is a smart move, as an employee’s home security software is most likely minimal compared to what the company provides. However, with company software on the employee machine, the employee may have the potential to lose some privacy. Make sure your business has a remote work and computer use policy in effect and that every employee signs it.

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Do I need to install security software on my employees’ remote work computer?

The short answer is yes! You should always have security software installed on a computer accessing the company data. Even if there is no direct connection like a VPN, vulnerabilities, and key-loggers on an employee-owned machine without security on it can open the company up to a huge risk of a breach, data loss, or a PR nightmare.

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What if my employees don’t have a stable internet connection at home?

If you plan on having employees work from home, this will be a requirement. They should check with their provider to make sure that all ISP hardware is working as expected. It may be time to look into upgrading the employee firewall or Wi-Fi at home, especially if it is over three years old. There are multiple options to allow remote access, though, and some do not require much internet connection bandwidth. With the adoption of cloud services becoming more and more prevalent, the requirement for fast internet is increasing for businesses, but not nearly as important for an individual user at home for business needs. Of course, if their internet is slow, then their productivity will be less than optimal.

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Data Security

Sharing data with collaborators?

Whether you regularly work remotely or are recently having to adjust to it, it remains of the utmost importance that you still consider data protection. Working from home creates a new way of accessing confidential data and poses a higher risk of data exposure to outside entities, whether by being hacked or your employees inadvertently sending the data somewhere it is not supposed to be.  It is a best practice to have a written policy for data sharing that the company provides so you know you are sharing your company’s data securely, whether it’s through Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, or any other data-sharing platform.

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Encryption for Sensitive data

Depending on your company, there are different requirements for encryption. Every company, including small and midsize businesses, has Human Resources departments that collect personal information like names, birthdates, Social Security numbers, and financial information. This information must stay secure. Also, there are some companies that must remain compliant with regulatory agencies.  It is essential to have an encryption policy in place for all sensitive data.  An organization can be fined or have other legal ramifications if a computer or a network is compromised or stolen that contains personal information and data is leaked or shared.

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Report a security incident

If you think a compromise of your information has occurred, you must report the incident to your IT Staff or IT provider.  They will then need to inspect the systems to determine the level of severity. The information is either then classified as a breach or a hack. A hack is something that is usually fixed quickly as hackers get into a system maliciously and delete some content or try to install some malicious software such as ransomware.  A breach is more severe.  A data breach happens when information that is compromised and was left unsecured has been exposed to third parties. It is important to have third party cyber liability insurance that provides coverage in case of a breach or hack.  Make sure the coverage has a high enough limit that your business is protected.  Standard cyber liability insurance protects the business for damages to the insured business, not their customers or vendors.  To fix this, make sure that your “Third-Party” coverage is high enough. This type of coverage protects you from Third-Party claims of damages and typically has lower limits unless specifically requested.  Your General Liability and Errors and Omissions coverage usually do not cover this when it is a cyber liability issue.

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What is our plan for identifying and addressing cyber threats? Is it current?

NetEffect has a protocol in place for a potential breach that includes full legal documentation with backup logs to preserve all necessary information. We assess the threat and remove it from further spreading.  If necessary, and depending on the severity, we will then work with the customer to contact any required authorities, legal representation, and insurance companies.  It is best to take a preventative approach, however. NetEffect has a multi-product, multi-layer approach to secure our customers called NETSecure Security Shield.

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What if I think I've had a security compromise while working remotely?

If you think you have had a security compromise, remove the machine from the Wi-Fi or home network it is on and immediately contact your IT department or IT provider for the next steps in the process.  It is best not to turn it off unless asked to do so. Many of today’s current threats either delete themselves on shutdown or, even worse, activate more threats on boot up.

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Strategy and Planning

What is an IT Strategic plan? Why is it important?

An IT Strategic plan is a document that details the comprehensive technology-enabled business management processes an organization uses to guide operations. The IT strategic plan is important because when done correctly, it aligns with your business plan, allowing you to meet the goals of your business objectives.

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Does your IT plan support your organization’s strategic and operational goals?

Your strategic IT plan should be aligned with the business strategy.  This alignment allows your company to gain a competitive advantage by making the best use of technology resources. When you have a proper IT plan in place, it allows your employees to be more productive and innovative. Every business initiative pursued by your business, and every dollar spent must support the overarching goals of the company.  IT should not be seen only as an expense.  If it is not contributing to an overall better bottom line, then the plan should be revised and aligned better with your business.

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Very Trustworthy, NetEffect Is The Best Choice!

NetEffect is very trustworthy and looks out for the best interests of the company.  They are timely and a pleasure to work with.  I love their OneRate Managed Services Agreement, which gives me predictable costs without any surprises.  If you are looking for an IT Provider, NetEffect is the best choice.

Steve Chesin Steve Chesin CEO
Carpets N More

Their Service And Knowledge Is Second To None

NetEffect has been our IT partner longer than I remember.  Their service and knowledge are second to none.  Whenever we have an issue, they seem to know exactly how urgent of a response we require.   If it is something that is significantly impacting our business, they are on it immediately.  If it is more of a "fine-tuning" type issue, they communicate well to address it according to our schedule.  We have never had an issue that was above their knowledge.  They manage to solve the issue one way or another.  Also, this service level and knowledge base have not skipped a beat during COVID-19.

David Wood David Wood Director of Sales & Marketing
Basic Food Flavors

I Have Only Used One IT Company In 21 Years

Thankfully, I have rarely needed IT emergency services. When I have had the need, NetEffect has been there for me every time.  Plus, having a predictable IT expenditure every month regardless of the demands is great. I have only used one IT company for my 21 years of existence. I am very happy with the services NetEffect provides.

Dr. S. William Pierce Dr. S. William Pierce Owner
Your MD