Understanding IT Security Jargon

Understanding IT Security Jargon

Demystifying IT Security Jargon

We often get asked by our clients what a lot of the technical terms mean, and when it comes to IT security, well, there are a lot, and it is easy to see why many individuals get a bit perplexed when it comes to understanding what our technicians are trying to say.

This month we aim to give you the knowledge so misunderstandings are a thing of the past – Welcome to Systems Integration’s very own IT Security definition guide,  giving a  breakdown of some common jargon to help you understand the concepts better:

  • Authentication: Verifying someone’s claimed identity. Like checking your ID at a bank.
  • Authorization: Granting access to specific resources based on your identity. Like having the right key for a specific door.
  • Encryption: Scrambling data to make it unreadable without a special key. Like writing a secret message in a code only you and the recipient understand.
  • Firewall: A software program or hardware that filters incoming and outgoing traffic on a network, blocking suspicious activity. Imagine it as a security guard at a network gate, checking everyone who enters or leaves.
  • Phishing: Deceptive emails or messages designed to trick you into revealing personal information or clicking on malicious links. Think of it as someone pretending to be a friend to lure you into danger.
  • Malware: Malicious software like viruses, worms, or trojan horses that can damage or steal data. It’s like a computer illness that can harm your device.
  • Vulnerability: A weakness in a computer system or software that hackers can exploit. Like a loose lock on a door that a thief could break.
  • Patch: A fix for a software vulnerability released by the developer. Think of it as a security patch applied to the loose lock to make it harder to break.
  • Two-factor Authentication (2FA): Adding an extra layer of security by requiring a second verification step beyond a password, like a code sent to your phone. Imagine needing both a password and a fingerprint scan to access a high-security area.
  • Confidentiality: Ensuring that information is only accessible to authorized individuals.
  • Integrity: Maintaining the accuracy and completeness of information
  • Intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDS/IPS): Systems that monitor networks for suspicious activity and take action to block attacks.

These listed are just a few examples, but they should give you a better understanding of some key IT security terms.

As the list is endless though, here are some additional tips:

  • Don’t hesitate to ask! If you encounter a term you don’t understand, research it online or get in touch with one of our IT support Engineers
  • Security awareness training: Many IT support companies offer training programs to help users understand basic security practices and we are not an exception, we offer advice and training on all aspects of IT Security
  • Stay informed: Keep yourself updated on the latest cybersecurity threats and best practices by visiting our blog on a regular basis.
Common IT Issues And Fixes

Common IT Issues And Fixes

IT Support Troubleshooting Guide for Common Issues

As experienced IT support providers, we come across many IT issues that are quite easily rectified.  This month we look at the most common problems we help our clients with, some are simple, but some may prove more tricky – If that is the case don’t hesitate to contact the System Integration support team for further assistance.

General Troubleshooting Tips:

  • Restart the Device: A simple restart can often resolve temporary glitches and software conflicts.
  • Check Cables and Connections: Ensure all cables are securely plugged into your computer, monitor, router, and other peripherals.
  • Update Software and Drivers: Outdated software and drivers can cause compatibility issues and security vulnerabilities. Regularly update your operating system, applications, and device drivers.

Specific Issues and Solutions:

  • Slow Performance:
    • Close unnecessary programs running in the background.
    • Run a disk cleanup to remove temporary files and free up storage space.
    • Check for and remove malware or viruses that could be consuming resources.

Slow Internet Connection:

    • Restart your router and modem.
    • Check your internet service provider (ISP) for outages in your area.
    • Test your internet speed using online tools and compare it to your subscribed plan.
  • Password Issues:
    • If you forgot your password, try resetting it using security questions or a registered email address.
    • For complex password management, consider using a password manager tool.
  • Printer Problems:
    • Ensure the printer is turned on and properly connected (wired or wireless).
    • Check for and clear any paper jams or errors displayed on the printer panel.
    • Make sure the correct printer is selected in your software applications.
  • Software Errors:
    • Identify the error message and search online for solutions related to that specific error code.
    • Reinstall the problematic software if the error persists.

Additional Resources:

  • Many software vendors provide online troubleshooting guides and FAQs on their websites.
  • It can be noted that our technicians have a vast knowledge of software, their functionalities, and can often provide guidance or even provide access to the manufacturers software documentation that may not be initially provided.

Always Remember:

  • If you do have an issue you cannot resolve, document the problem and what you have done:  Notes on the symptoms, error messages, and any troubleshooting steps you’ve already tried, will provide are vital for to support technicians to be able to identify faults
  • Be Clear and Concise: The more information you provide about the problem, the faster the IT team can diagnose and resolve it.

The team at Systems Integration are always on hand to assist if you do have any IT issues, so please feel free to get in touch, if your or your business need any advice

Working from home? Things not to do

Working from home? Things not to do

In the last few months, the ‘working from home’ scenario has become quite common, and it is probably safe to say that it will be the norm for many of for the next few months at least.
For some, it may have taken a bit of adjusting; others perhaps always had a home office arrangement. Either way, under the current circumstances and with cyber criminals taking full advantage at the moment, we wanted to highlight some of the vulnerabilities home working can expose, not just for your employees but for your systems that they may be accessing whilst working remotely.
These are the most common bad practises that are happening more now than ever before.

PASSWORD PROTECTION

For work meetings and for keeping in touch with people for sheer sanity during the current lockdown period, you may have downloaded applications such as Zoom or Houseparty. These apps are great in their function and keeping us connected but their security has been brought into question. Especially with Zoom recently as it has been shown that although this is a great app, it’s security hasn’t quite been up to scratch
It’s essential you protect your data by making sure your key business applications, such as Gmail and Office 365, use complex passwords unique to these applications only. Where possible, you should also consider 2-factor authentication: You can never be too protected.
You have to remember that if anyone gets hold of your Google account access, you can be in a world of pain – all it takes is the search ‘https://passwords.google.com/‘ and they will suddenly have access to all the passwords you have saved on the many sites you use. 2-factor authentication is not just a nice to have, but is really a necessity.

EQUIPMENT THAT HAS SEEN BETTER DAYS

Many businesses have been struggling to acquire a sufficient number of laptops to allow all of their team to work at home. However, the worst thing you can do is reach for that dusty old laptop packed away in the loft.
Old equipment runs old operating systems. End-of-life systems like Windows-7, are no longer supported with security updates, leaving them wide open with loopholes hackers can easily exploit. Plugging in a Windows-7 PC or laptop at home and connecting via a VPN, is the same as plugging it in directly onsite, posing a huge risk to your entire business network. ensure your employees do not do it. Safer or better to invest in up to date kit than take the risk.

ANTI VIRUS SOFTWARE

You will probably find that on a day-to-day home PC, the security installed is great for the odd bit of surfing or Ebay browsing, but is often substandard for business use. If you or any of your team are using personal PCs or laptops whilst working from home, it’s important to understand that any connecting device that is not running sufficient anti-virus software, is a weak link in your network security. Ensure your team know the risks involved, flipping from a potentially unsecure site to one of your business systems on the same browser is all that is needed to give you an almighty headache and explaining to clients. Hackers and virus’s are clever and this lockdown and WFH situation is giving them ample time to practise their skills.

UNPATCHED USERS

Much like the anti-virus weakness, unpatched home working equipment poses a huge cyber security risk. If an unpatched user is compromised, dangerous malware or ransomware could spread like wildfire through your business, encrypting all your data and rendering it useless.
Make sure your patch management solution covers all remote clients and prompt your team to have their automatic updates on.
Familiarise yourself with the common cyber threats to look out for during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as Smishing (Dodgy texts) and Phishing (Email Scams)

FIREWALLS

If your business doesn’t operate fully cloud-based systems and you and your team members are connecting using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) instead, your need to ensure your firewall needs is A+. Non-industry-leaders can provide solutions but these often cut-corners on your security.
Ensure your firewall is up to the job of offering high levels of encryption between home connections and your head office – you can’t afford to compromise. At Systems Integration we have the knowledge of the level of security that is needed to run these systems, so please feel free to ask for advice.

At Systems Integration we offer more than just IT Support, but we are committed to helping our current and future clients be aware of the risks when it comes to tasks such as working from home. So if you or your business have any concerns in these troubling times, please get in touch and ask – we are more than happy to help.

Business As Normal

Business As Normal

We understand that the IT support we provide to our customers is vital to to enabling them to keep running and providing a service. As one of Swindon and Wiltshire’s leading IT services providers we have tens of organisations depending on our ability to provide a reliable and uninterrupted service, even more so, during through these difficult times. So, in light of the recent developments around Coronavirus (COVID-19), we would like to share with you the measures we are taking to ensure we continue to provide the services our customers need during the difficult time ahead.

For System Integration we are pleased to let you know it is business as usual…If our office needs to be shut to ensure social distancing measures are adhered to, it is not an issue, as all our technicians have the equipment available to sure they can assist you from their homes remotely.
We already have tried and tested Disaster Recovery plans in place to ensure service continuity in challenging times and now that major developments have taken place with the Coronavirus lockdown we implementing those plans.
Due to the nature of our business, a small number of staff will still be able to operate in the field for emergencies but as the majority of our IT infrastructure is cloud based this allows our team to work from anywhere.

How we ensure that our customers IT support is maintained:

  1. Any enquiries submitted by new or existing clients that we recieve through the website will be responded to within 2 hrs.
  2. All our helpdesk Technicians have access to ‘softphones’ and headsets which are installed on home computers, and connected to our cloud telephone system. This will ensure our support staff can continue to answer enquiries via phone as per usual.
  3. Our sales and account managers, although often field based, already have company provided mobile telephones allowing existing and new clients to contact them wherever they are, we can also forward telephone calls from our business telephone system to mobiles.
  4. We already use cloud computers (Remote Desktop Protocol). All our technicians can logon to our cloud computer system from any location and access their desktop and all software they normally use on a daily basis.
  5. Microsoft Teams or Zoom will be used internally so that our teams can communicate and work together as if they were sat next to you for collaboration and content sharing.
  6. Site visits that are non prioity are now postponed, but where possible we will work with you remotely.
  7. We will continue to go ahead with any customer meetings we did have via phone or video conference.
  8. We are experts on remote working and understand that this may be new to some of our clients, so are technicians are on hand to answer any set up questions you may have and to give advice on what systems to use to ensure communication is manitained within your teams

We will be regularly reviewing the government advice regarding COVID-19 and we remain committed to supporting you with the highest level of service. In the meantime if any of you have any concerns or questions then please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Should you need any help or advice regarding remote working for your workforce, please contact us on ​01793 481981
or request a call back via our enquiry form.

Remote Working – the new norm

Remote Working – the new norm

Last month we told you about the things you should not be doing when working from home, or remotely as it more commonly known. But it does now look as if working remotely is going to be the norm for many businesses. Even Facebook are now stating that they will be encouraging if not forcing some of their employees to work from their home in the future. So, this month we are letting you, as Employers or managers know what you should be doing if you have teams that are spread far and wide.
Whether it Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype or even good old phone, you should always make a point of keeping in touch with your team on a regular basis. Make sure you contact your team every day, whether you have a stand-up-type call at the start of the day or more informal chats through the day. If we go an entire day without seeing or talking to our team, we can begin to feel disconnected and isolated. If everyone is working on solo projects, try and encourage them to join up when they are on a break, make it seem like a normal day, they can just chat informally and maybe feel not so isolated.

If you have Zoom or Microsoft teams, make use of the video function. We know that sometimes it may be nice to sit in your pants all day and not do your hair, but you do not want this to be the usual day to day life working remotely scenario. If people are encouraged to use the cams and be seen, it will help them get into a routine, plus during meetings, as we all know, it is far easier to read a person’s facial reactions and convey your sentiment if you’re able to see each other. If you’re worried about the messy the wallpaper in the background not being modern or the picture on the wall, looking out of place, use the magic background blur button on Microsoft teams or the background change function on Zoom. this was you know that all focus is on you.

Even if you are working remotely, you need to ensure that yourself and your team are focused and available. Even if you think you look available and online, as you can with them, your colleagues will be able to tell if you’re not as focused or productive as usual.
That said, we’re all more productive when we take regular breaks and this is even more important when working from home. If you’re taking a break, let your team know by setting a message in your status to let them know when you’ll be back online. That way you and your team know that it is your time to focus on other thing and need that away time.

Make sure your team members have everything they need – Can they access folders/files that they need? Have they got Microsoft Teams for conference calls, instant messaging, collaborating and sharing documents? Do they need Microsoft Planner for organising and managing our productivity? If they do need these tools you need to ensure they know how to use them and are familiar with them. This could come in the form of cloud-based solutions like Office 365 and Microsoft Teams, or using a VPN to access your on-premise business-critical systems.

As ever Systems Integration are here to support you with your IT requirements, whether its installation of a new software, advice on the best and most suitable hardware for remote working or even help with your remote working model? With 40% of our current clients suddenly finding themselves working remotely, we know a thing or two about setting up a remote working model that works for everyone. If you need support in setting up a successful remote working model, get in touch with our experts today.

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