Is Starbucks The Biggest Danger For Your Business?

For a long time, Starbucks has called itself the ‘Third Place,’ which they defined as the place between home and work.

And while it could be a great place for a cup of coffee or to work outside the office, the truth is if you or your employees ever work from anywhere but the office, they may be exposing your entire business to danger.

Public networks like those at coffee shops and hotels are virtual playgrounds for hackers and cybercriminals. They love to hang out on these ‘open networks’ and attack people who use them by stealing data, passwords and even bypassing normal security to easily install malware.

Others go so far as to create ‘evil-twin’ public networks that others join by calling it something like “hotel guest” and wait for unsuspecting businesspeople to log on so they can hijack their computer.

It doesn’t end there.

Working from home poses its own set of issues, causing gaping holes in your security.

Even if your home network is private, chances are you or your employees don’t have the same firewalls and security at home as you would using the company network.

Even if your employees are careful, are you sure their kids aren’t online clicking on links that let others infiltrate their network? Are kids as diligent about not clicking on e-mail links or opening files as you or your employees might be?

While you may have locks on your doors and a security system on your house, once a child who lives there opens the front door, none of that security matters, and it’s the same online.

But it’s not ALL doom and gloom!

You can protect your business, your employees and your family by having an IT company that makes sure you have the proper security, systems and monitoring on these networks.

With the right security, it can even be safe to work from your favorite ‘Third Place.’

But you can’t assume you’re protected. You need to ask your IT guy to show you documentation of how you are protected on public WiFi, at home or anywhere.

Or you can get an independent third party to check your security and see how your current IT holds up.

For a free 10-minute discovery call where we’ll talk about your current IT systems, concerns or even getting a competitive bid, you can go to: https://www.panurgy.com/discovery-call/ or give us a call at 973-400-3700.

Panurgy is a trusted IT Support Provider in New Jersey that specializes in manufacturers.

How New Jersey Manufacturer’s Can Quickly Eliminate Tech Problems In Their Business

Now more than ever, we depend on technology to run our business (and our lives). When the “internet goes down,” most businesses are at a standstill until they are back online, costing thousands in lost productivity and sales.

It’s not just the BIG problems but things like file access, password protection, being able to print and recovering files or versions of files that were accidentally overwritten or deleted. All of these are common needs in today’s businesses.

That is why you must have a way to get back up and running quickly should something happen or even ELIMINATE tech problems before they start.

That’s why we’ve created a list to help you determine how ready your business is for these issues so you can stay focused on running a business and not have to worry about these all-too-common occurrences.

Check off all that apply:

  • Does your IT company answer their phone LIVE and respond to emergencies promptly within 2 minutes?
  • Is your IT company easy to reach and highly responsive (responding within an hour) when you need them for non-emergencies?
  • Do you know if your IT company proactively monitors, patches and updates your computer network’s critical security settings daily? Weekly? At all? How do you know for sure? Hint: Most don’t!
  • Does your IT company offer proof that they are backing up ALL your data, laptops and devices?
  • Does your IT company meet with you regularly (at least once a quarter) to report what they’ve been doing, review projects and offer new ways to improve your network’s performance instead of waiting until you have a problem to make recommendations?
  • Does your IT company provide detailed invoices that clearly explain what you are paying for?
  • Does your IT company explain what they are doing and answer your questions in terms that you can understand, NOT in “geek speak” and routinely ask if there’s anything else they can help with, no matter how small?
  • Does your IT company proactively discuss cybersecurity with you, make recommendations for protecting your network from ransomware and offer employee training videos, so they don’t fall victim to a scam?
  • Has your IT company provided you complete network documentation, or do they hold the “keys to the kingdom” refusing to give you admin passwords so you’re totally helpless if something goes wrong and you can’t get a hold of them?
  • Do techs arrive on time and dress professionally, and do you look forward to working with them, or do you cringe every time you have to make that call?

If your current IT company, technician or ‘IT guy’ does NOT check the boxes on every point, you could be paying for substandard support.

This could jeopardize your data and your network’s security and cost you thousands in lost productivity because you and your employees are spending time dealing with problems that shouldn’t exist.

If that’s the case, then it’s time you see what else is out there and make sure you’re getting what you pay for.

To schedule a free 10-minute discovery call to see how we can get rid of your tech issues, go to https://www.panurgy.com/discovery-call/ or call us at 973-400-3700.

Panurgy is a trusted IT Support Provider in New Jersey that specializes in manufacturers.

How To Prepare For Gen Z In The Workforce Be Proactive and Update Your Cyber Security Practices

Technology has evolved leaps and bounds over the last 20 years. In fact, in the next few years, the first generation to grow up with smartphones and social media, will join the workforce. It might seem like Generation Z will be the most cyber-secure generation, considering they’ve always had the Internet and other advanced technologies at the tips of their fingers, but reports are starting to show that this is not the case. Many business owners fear that Generation Z’s desire to share content online will lead them to accidentally reveal sensitive information that can cause financial, legal and branding damage to their business.

Online scammers have surely taken note of the power that social media influencers have over their fans and followers. Steve Durbin, CEO of the Information Security Forum, believes that organized criminal groups will begin posing as influencers in an effort to manipulate tech-dependent individuals into giving up sensitive information related to their employer. He’s not the only business leader who’s concerned either.

According to a study from the UK’s advisory, conciliation and arbitration service, 70% of surveyed managers were concerned about Gen Z entering the workforce. Instant gratification, resistance to authority and poor face-to-face communication were listed as the main concerns. Additionally, Entrepreneur magazine has stated that many Gen Zers struggle to differentiate between friends they’ve made online and those in the real world. The National Cybersecurity Alliance’s Annual Cybersecurity Attitudes And Behaviors Report stated that millennials and Gen Zers are more likely to experience a cyberthreat. That report also stated that Gen Zers and millennials have had their identities stolen more often than baby boomers. There’s good reason for business leaders to be concerned about the next generation entering the workforce.

If you’re a business leader who’s worried about cyber security and bringing the digital generation into your workplace, don’t fret quite yet. There are plenty of things you can do to prepare your business and ensure it stays cyber-secure. You must be proactive if you want your company to keep up-to-date with the best cyber security practices.

One of the first things you’ll want to do is implement or update a cyber-security training program. You need to have every member of your team buy into a cyber-secure culture, and the best way to get them on the same page is with a training program. That way there will be no questions, and cyber security practices won’t change from employee to employee. When new employees start, you will already have a cyber-secure culture established, so it will be much easier to train them on your processes.

Additionally, you want to ensure that all of your software is receiving its necessary updates. Failing to update software can leave your company vulnerable to cyber-attacks since those updates usually fill any holes that hackers can exploit. When a new software update is released, try not to wait. If your employees use smartphones for work, make sure they have the proper security software installed – and that it stays updated.

Another great option to take care of all of your cyber security and IT needs is to hire a managed services provider. With an MSP, your business will have its data backed up, the reliability and quality of your computer systems will be improved and you’ll save time that you can reallocate elsewhere in the business. There’s no better or more affordable way to improve your company’s cyber security than by hiring an MSP to take care of all of your technological needs.

While the new generation will certainly come with their own set of challenges and obstacles, you don’t have to worry about their cyber security practices if you’re proactive. Use password managers, hire an MSP and start a training program as soon as possible to jump-start the creation of your cyber-secure culture. We’ve introduced new generations to the workforce many times before, and Gen Z shouldn’t be more challenging than any of the others. There will just be slightly different challenges.

Making Working From Home Sustainable

There has been a lot written about working from home. The pandemic forced this on so many of us. And what started as a reluctant trickle became a flood of remote workers with little time to prepare. It was adapt or flounder. 

As the grounds for staying away from the office fade, a lot of businesses have begun bringing their workforce back to the office. Even as this is occurring, we’re seeing an increasing number of stories in the news about businesses losing key individuals that discovered the benefits of working remotely and decided they wanted to keep it that way.

For the most part, workers and independent studies have demonstrated that it is completely possible to effectively work at home. It’s possible to focus. And, it is possible to bring flexibility to your life without your team or business getting the short end of the stick.

Let’s assume you have or are considering greenlighting ongoing work from home. You want to set yourself up for the long term – no more temporary solutions. After all, you may be working remotely for the rest of your life. Have you considered it that way? If that’s going to be true – you have to make this situation sustainable.

Create a home you like to work in

I hope that after more than two years of remote working you have taken measures toward making a suitable environment. But, perhaps you convinced yourself it was temporary and you so didn’t commit. Here’s how can you make your home a great work atmosphere? 

Invest in the right equipment

This may include adjustable lighting, a good chair, a keyboard, a mouse or trackpad, and an external monitor so you can take a break from laptop posture. Sustainable remote work shouldn’t feel like you’re always camping over in an airport. 

Set boundaries, focus, and take breaks

Learn about the Pomodoro Technique. Have a visible timer that others in your home can see. They will realize that the countdown means you are focused and a break is coming soon and there will be a time that you will all get caught up. I’m going to emphasize adopting this technique again. It forces you to focus and it forces you to take breaks. It’s hard at first, but I’ve learned some hacks to resist distractions. Keep a notepad and a pen near and if your mind wanders, jot a keyword down and trust it will come back to you at your break and you can focus an entire Pomodoro just on that.

Shake it up from time to time

Begin the day at Starbucks, buy a small coffee, and camp there for a couple of focused hours. People don’t do this because they are lacking a proper workspace. Working in a public place, with the noise and the movement can actually help you stay focused. And it can also feel social.

Maintain work-life balance

When you work from home, the lines blur. Balance was a problem when we were at the office. You would go in early and stay late. Now that you’re home, it has the potential to be harder. There’s email over the weekends and at the table with your partner staring at you. It’s easy to over-weave work and home. Remember this is about sustainability. Find or maintain hobbies and interests. Use these as a way to get away from work and meet people. And don’t lose touch with your coworkers. If you aren’t doing it already, enjoy a virtual or in-person happy hour a couple of Fridays a month.

The ideas and best practices are varied. Just remember to invest in the sustainability aspect of remote work. Set your organization up with the best Remote Workforce Solutions. If you don’t, you [will] get burned out and will start imagining a better situation somewhere else. Stick with it, make those needed tweaks and settle into the new work/lifestyle.

Stay Compliant By Upping Your Cyber Security Practices

If you own or operate a business, there are plenty of things you must do to ensure success. You have to make the right hiring decisions; develop a product or service that you can sell; build relationships with clients, employees and partners; and much more. One of the biggest responsibilities that comes with owning or operating a business is ensuring that your business is compliant with any guidelines put in place by regulatory bodies.

Every business needs to make an effort to stay compliant, and a big part of that is making sure your cyber security practices are up to standards. With technology rapidly advancing and regulations changing fairly often, you have to stay up-to-date on any changes that should be made going forward. You also need to make an effort to plug any holes in your current cyber security plan.

You can do this by asking yourself a few questions and making the necessary adjustments if you answer no to any of the following:

  • Is my business protected by a firewall and antivirus software?
  • Do I use backup solutions, and do I have a disaster recovery plan in place?
  • Has my storage stayed up-to-date with any technological changes?
  • Do I have any content or e-mail spam filtering software?
  • What data am I encrypting?

Ensuring that your business stays compliant will be extremely important in maintaining client and employee relationships. If a customer’s information gets compromised because your business did not have the necessary cyber security in place, they probably won’t come through your doors again. As technology changes and evolves, so do many of the regulations and cyber security practices that you should put in place. It can be difficult to become compliant if your business was lacking previously. Luckily, there are a few steps you can take to help ensure that your business becomes and stays compliant with any regulating bodies.

First, you should document all of the consumer data your business holds. If a customer asks what information your business has collected on them, then you should be able to give them an honest answer. You might also be obligated to share this information. By keeping and maintaining this information, you will be able to supply your customers with it if they ever do ask.

It can also help greatly to partner with a managed services provider who manages IT needs since they will be able to perform routine IT data checks and work to better protect your customer and the private information within your business. MSPs go a long way toward helping all of your potential IT needs, but their usage when it comes to cyber security, protection and compliance should not be underestimated. Partnering with an MSP will help get your business on the fast track to becoming cyber-secure.

Another big part of ensuring that your business stays compliant is to introduce cyber security training for all of your employees. Did you know that 95% of cyber-attacks start with human error? If your team has not bought into a cyber-secure culture or does not know the proper cyber security practices, you could be in some trouble. Make sure that cyber security training is part of your onboarding process and continue to train your employees throughout their tenure with your business.

Once your employees are aware of the risks of cyber-attacks and have bought into a cyber-secure culture, it’s time to upgrade your cyber security. One of the best things you can do for your business is to invest in regular software patching. Technology is ever-evolving, and we should make the necessary changes to ensure it continues to cooperate with our network and systems. Put technology in place to cover these holes or partner with an MSP that can help take care of any lapses in your cyber security.

Additionally, you should invest in some content-filtering software. There are plenty of toxic websites with nefarious intent that can wreak havoc on your cyber security if accessed by an employee on your network. Content filtering allows you to restrict certain websites. It also goes a step further by recognizing patterns in websites that have malicious codes and blocking those websites that might pose a risk.

Cyber security and compliance work right alongside each other. If you’re trying to ensure that your business stays compliant, you need to buff up your cyber security practices. There are many methods you can take to do this, but if you’re unsure of where to begin, give us a call. We would be glad to help you take the next steps toward creating a cyber-secure business.