Protect your Identity on Social Media

You probably have heard of many people getting “catfished” or of people “catfishing” others. This is one form of identity theft that usually comes about through a social media network with photos and identity information taken from other strangers’ profiles. The act of being catfished may not sound as serious to some. After all, it is social media, where pictures are easily taken; that’s what you sign up for when you create an account, right? Wrong. There are many things that can go wrong: someone can ruin your reputation by using your image or, even worse, gather information to piece together and create financial fraud, or any other serious identity theft crimes. But, don’t panic or go off to delete all of your accounts! We have some tips to help you stay safe.

Set your account to private. Keep all strangers from getting information about you. While doing this, go through the entire privacy setting to make sure everything you want to keep private stays that way. If you come across a setting you don’t understand, keep them closed anyway; it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Don’t give strangers access to follow you online. If you don’t know who those people are, you don’t know what their intentions may be in following you or adding you as a friend. After all, all it takes to file a fraudulent tax returns is a name, birth date and social security.

Use a hidden name. This can be a middle name or a nickname that only your friends and family would know, so that they can still find you online or know who you are.

Be aware of the content you are sharing. Make sure you are not mindlessly revealing the answers to your security questions online. Also, try not to post images that show the layout of your home so that strangers can’t figure out where you live. Avoid sharing your location and birthday, if possible.

Avoid clicking on random links on social media. This includes those random social media quizzes. Many times, those links can carry malicious and invasive codes along with them that can infect your account or, even worse, your technology.

Best Software for HR

Having the appropriate human resource software can make all the difference in managing the tons of HR duties, but with an abundance amount of HR software programs it can be difficult to decide on the right one for your business. Some HR professionals may use the trial and error strategy to help them decide on the program that they feel works best for them, but doing this can be costly depending on the programs you use and/or how many tries it takes you to find “the right one.” Now, various business professionals may find that some programs work better for them than for others. Because of this, we have decided to give our readers a guide on what to look for in an HR software program along with a list of some existing programs that have had positive reviews.

To understand what you need to look for in a program, you must first understand the purpose of HR software. An effective program should be able to:

-Handle all administrative work

-Keep records on employees and tasks

-Provide tools for finding and retaining quality employees

In order to have a software that helps with the appropriate HR duties there are certain features to look for when doing research on them:

-Employee self-service

-Application tracking and screening

-Compensation and Succession Planning

-Collaboration tools

-Payroll and Benefits

-Performance Management

-Analytics

-Attendance Tracking

-Mobile Accessibility

Here is a list of some human resource programs that have received positive reviews:

-Zenefits

-People Matter

-BambooHR

-Namely

-SumHR

Need help deciding on a software? Call M&H Consulting for further advice!

Cyber Attack Trends to Watch out for

With all new technology trends come new cyber attack trends. According to an article in TechRepublic.com, 90 million attacks will hit tech users in a year and 70 percent of them will go unnoticed! Because of this, we have searched for the patterns of cyber attacks to be on the look out for years to come. Here is what we found:

Ransomware will continue to rise:

There have been many cases of ransomware in the past and they are expected to rise as a security problem in taking advantage of vulnerable servers. A large part of the reason for its rise is because this is one of the easiest ways of getting confiscated data back; you just pay the ransom.

Rise in attacks on Industrial Control Systems:

Let’s face it; many of our Industrial Control Systems are past the outdated stage of technology. Because these outdated systems were not designed with cyber security in mind, they are expected to be a security issue for the future.

More Sophisticated Spear Phishing:

With more sophisticated spear phishing, it will be more difficult to tell which emails should be avoided from those that are legitimate. Spear phishing emails are no longer as simple as a scam link being sent and asking to be clicked on. They are disguised as important business/company emails.

Hacking on Internet of Things:

Because the Internet is being applied in every device, even those, which were not originally built to connect online, many every-day appliances are expected to be hit with cyberattacks. These devices can be anything from an app-controlled coffee maker to self-driven vehicles. With these devices, privacy is limited once they are hacked. Hackers can get access to your home and business through these technologies.

Simply being aware of these cyber attack trends is not enough. Security measures need to be taken in order to prevent such attacks. For information on how to get ahead of these attacks, contact M&H Consultants!

Technology Trends

There are so many technology trends that have been developing over this past year that it can be difficult to follow all of them. As a business it is important to stay up to date with such trends in order to stay connected with your clients and fulfill their needs. We are highlighting such trends so that you can keep up-to-date with your client’s interest.

Internet Everything

This trend has been brewing for many years, but has only just begun to feel obvious. We’re talking about everything being accessible and possible on the Internet. Today, not only are you able instantly get a taxi to service you at a click of a button and manage all your bank accounts through an app, you can even get multiple other services in a pay-as-you-go matter. There are car insurances and outcome-based healthcare services that are pay-as-you-go services.

Artificial Intelligence

This trend you have most likely noticed in mobile devices and new technological advances highlighted in the news. Not only can you talk to and get information from your cell phone devices through Siri or Cortana but you are also able to ride on self-driven vehicles and even get medical diagnosis strait from your mobile device.

3-D Printing

You have probably heard of the boy who used a 3D printer to create braces that actually worked and straightened out his teeth for a much cheaper price than the traditional invisible braces. More and more devices are being created at an affordable price thanks to the 3D printing technology. 3-D printing has brought many medical advances to reality such as surgical tools, organs, and even stem cells, to name a few.

Virtual Reality

This trend is something we all thought of as a possibility but never realized how close to existence it really was. We are now able to fully interact, almost all, our senses in technology such as these. These experiences combine physical, virtual and the electronic environment to help you feel like you are living within the virtual world. Gaming devices are expected to adapt this kind of technology into their systems in the near future.

New Security Regulations

Because of all the new technological software being developed, new security regulations are also being implemented to help keep users secured.

The Best Way to Recover from a Hack

In the past we have touched base on the basics on recovering from a hack. Although there are many ways to prevent you or your business from becoming victims of a cyber attack, some hackings can be inevitable. Because of this, we are providing you with more information on the best way to recover from a hack.

The first step in the recovering process is to search for find out what exactly happened. During this step, make sure to keep the following questions in mind:

      What happened?

      Where did it happen?

      How did it happen?

      Why did it happen?

      Who did this affect?

      What was compromised?

Once you have all the answers to all these questions, you will be able to fulfill the following steps.

The next step is to let your clients and other stakeholders, that may have been affected by the attack, know what happened at a reasonable time. Give them information on what occurred, how your company will be handling the effects, and what they can do while the situation is being taken cared of. Depending on the damages, you may also want to seek legal advice as a business on the best ways to do so. Make sure to send updates on what is happening behind the scenes periodically.

One of the important steps in this process is to scan all of your devices and systems. Pay attention to any suspicious behaviors and look through any suspicious files, including codes, traffic and Internet bandwidth.

Once you have officially cleared your devices from all the damages and the holes in your system, it’s time to secure your accounts. This includes all third party passwords that may have been connected to the account or software that was hacked. If a software was hacked, then all third-party programs/accounts connected to it will also be at risk.

The final and most important step is to implement a strict security management system in your business in order to prevent another attack from occurring again. Need help determining a security management that works best for your business? Contact M&H for this and any other questions you may have.

How to Keep Phone Apps from Knowing Too Much about You

We all love apps especially those social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram and Tumblr. Most of us are semi-addicted to the information and images that flood our smartphones daily. But these apps also come with requests for access to some of your private information. How much is too much? And how can you block the access when it gets to be too much openness?

 

Some apps request things that seem pretty commonsensical like a camera app asking permission to use your phone’s camera. If you spend time on Facebook or Instagram, you probably upload snapshots of your friends and family all the time. Naturally, the app for these services needs to be able to access your photos. But then there are other requests for access that may ask for permission to use your data around the clock. Giving your GPS may seem like a good idea for a mapping app but not so much for a social media app or a video game. Those apps do not need to know your every move.

 

In addition to wanting to know more than they should, some apps try to gain access to your cellular account and charge you monthly fees without your explicit permission. Here are some suggestion so you don’t “get taken” when it comes to allowing access to your private info and images.

  • If you are concerned about an app, delete it from your phone.
  • Use common sense when downloading apps. Buy or only accept apps that come from a reputable source.
  • Use the privacy control settings on your phone. For example, you can choose whether the app can use your contacts or access your photos. You can deny location data entirely by turning off GPS on your phone. To do that, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services. (Source Apple)
  • Look at each app and what it has access to. Do this regularly so that a reset or change in user permission does not fool you.

 

Keys to a High Performing IT Department

 

How do you handle your IT needs for your small to medium sized business? Do you have a dedicated IT team? Do you have one guy that “does it all?” Or do you outsource for your IT needs? While one option may not seem better than another consider this statistic. According to Forrester Research, 70% of the companies listed on the Fortune 1,000 list ten years ago have now vanished. The reason: an inability to adapt to change. Is your IT department adaptable to the ever-evolving technology needs? It’s something to think about.

 

M&H Consulting wants you to consider what it takes to have a top-notch, high performing IT department. Here are some signs that you have the kind of crackerjack IT department that M&H can offer your company.

 

  • Always Learning– It is almost a requirement in the IT world to be up-to-date on the latest and the greatest software, hardware and services that are out there. Is your IT department knowledgeable of the newest malware, spyware and data backup protocols? If you can’t say yes, outsourcing with a company like M&H might bring you up to speed.

 

  • The Right Tools – Along with always learning comes having the right hardware and software to make your company work at its top efficiency. M&H specializes in computer and technology consulting so we make it our job to know and understand the tools of the trade.

 

  • Coordinated – Is your IT department on the same page or are they overwhelmed with everything that there is to do? Face it, it takes a lot to juggle security, hardware, software, updates, upgrades, installation and all that comes with an IT department.

 

If your IT department shows these signs of being a high performing IT department then great!  If it does not call M&H to discuss what we can do for you.

 

Pesky Pop Ups

They are every computer user’s arch nemesis – the dreaded pop up ad. While pop ups are a major hassle when you are trying to focus on your work, they are also a potential danger to your computer’s health. While pop up ads  are intended to drive traffic to a website or gain email lists, they can also be pornographic, a marketing ploy, spam or just plain ol’ unnecessary. Some pop ups even claim that your system is infected and to take action immediately. None of us need this nonsense in our lives. So let’s look at the danger of pop up ads and how to effectively neutralize them.

 

Some pop ups are not merely meant as advertising but have a more sinister function. Cyber criminals use these programs to distribute adware, spyware and more destructive types of malware. Clicking on or opening one of these pop ups could install a Trojan horse that unloads other malicious applications on your system or a keystroke logger with the ability to access any confidential data from tax information and passwords to your bank account.

 

Due to the maliciousness of some pop up ads, users can never be too careful when it comes to dealing with them. Interacting with pop ups can be a tricky deal so it is best to avoid getting them to begin with. There are several options computer users can take to  prevent these pop ups. If you can afford to buy pop up blocking software, that may be your best bet. However, there are free programs out there as well as steps that you can take on your own to block these unwanted ads from showing up in the first place.

 

For Chrome users Google has several pages giving specific directions on blocking pop ups. Read more HERE.  For Firefox and Internet Explorer users here are some directions to get started. If you have multiple interfaces or have had no luck getting rid of these malicious pop ups call M&H Consulting for the expert help to keep your computers protected.

Saving Your Laptop Battery

It never fails; the moment you need your laptop for a meeting or to complete work, while being away from an electric source, the low battery alert comes on. We have all been there staring at the horror of a battery that is too low to conduct business and, of course, you forgot your power cord. All’s not lost, however. There are still some things you can do to save your laptop battery. The idea is to reduce the amount of power the laptop is using, letting you squeeze in a few more precious minutes before the battery goes dead. In addition, there are some techniques to extent the overall lifespan of the battery. Here are a few techniques that can help you do both stretch your battery in a pinch as well as preventative measures that will help in the future.

 

  • Eco-Mode – If your laptop has an energy saver mode switch that on for long term use.  This will reduce the amount of battery life your computer uses regularly.
  • Adjust Settings – Backlighting can be a huge drain on power so turn it down slightly to reduce power consumption. Reduce the resolution if you are able to or are not using it for detailed images. Finally, adjust the sound. Saving the power from being zapped by the speakers can buy you a few more minutes of battery life.
  • Shut Things Off – Turn off applications you are not using and try not to multitask, which means multiple windows are open at once.
  • Turn Off Wifi and Bluetooth – While this may not be practical if you need internet access, it will stretch your battery life if you don’t need it.
  • Care for your Battery Regularly – It’s a good idea to take your battery out from time to time and care for it. If you have a laptop with a detachable battery, give it a careful wipe with a soft cloth every few months to get rid of any dust, and make sure the contact points are especially clean.
  • Don’t Let the Battery Empty – According to PC World, “Squeezing every drop of juice out of a lithium ion battery (the type used in today’s laptops) strains and weakens it. Doing this once or twice won’t kill the battery, but the cumulative effect of frequently emptying your battery will shorten its lifespan.”
  • Keep It Cool – Heat can break down a battery and shorten its lifespan. Keep vents unblocked and never leave it in a hot car or near a window that gets direct sunlight.

 

Care for your Keyboard

 

A computer keyboard is probably the most used part of your desktop or laptop. Without it, navigating your computer becomes fairly difficult, if not impossible. Unfortunately, your keyboard is also the most abused and overlooked part of your work space. How many times have you eaten lunch or a snack over your keyboard only to lose bits of your sandwich or chips into the dark recesses beneath the keys or, worse yet, spilled drops of your coffee on the board. Add to the crumbs and spills, the natural buildup of gunk and the keyboard is like its own little ecosystem. Therefore, cleaning and caring for your keyboard should be a top priority. Here are some quick tips to caring for your keyboard.

 

  • Avoid getting the keyboard wet. I know, I know. . . . drinking your morning coffee at your desk is a part of how you function each day. So, try putting a cover on your cup or putting it in a non spill mug. Liquids can short circuit a keyboard. If you do spill turn the keyboard over and shake out the liquid as much as possible. Use a can of compressed air to blow out the liquid from between the keys. Always unplug it if you think it could short out.
  • Use a transparent cover. Using a transparent cover can keep dust and unwanted debris from getting between the keys but will allow you to continue to type.
  • Regularly clean your keyboard. Keeping your keyboard clean is an easy process that you should perform regularly. You will need compressed air, a vacuum cleaner, a lint-free cloth and mild liquid dishwashing detergent. Try starting the cleaning by tapping out the dirt, then blowing it out. Clean each surface of the keys as well. Then, use a vacuum to suck out the dirt.
  • Intensive cleaning may be needed occasionally. For really filthy keyboards you may need to take the board apart and clean under each letter and number individually. This may include removing each key and cleaning under each with a Q-Tip.