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IT

Losing Focus with too many Notifications?

With today’s instant notifications and over stimulation, there are days that it can cause you to lose focus on what you were… ding.. oh look, there is a new cute squirrel video!…. oh, sorry what was a typing again? Oh right… losing focus!

While there are times that these notifications can be important, there are also times that they can cause us to be unproductive in our day to day work. When you have a project or a slot of time that you need undivided attention, you can use the Focus Assist in Windows 10 to keep you on track.

This tool will stop all notifications for a specified time, and can be scheduled to repeat regularly or they can be turned on manually when you are sharing your screen with another person during a video meeting. If there are certain contacts that you need to receive notifications from no matter what, you can set them as VIP’s so that they will come through even if you have Focus Assist toggled on.

So, how do we turn on this tool to help us focus? Here’s how:

  • Hit the Windows key on your keyboard
  • Type “Focus Assist”
  • Click Enter

You will be presented with the screen below, and can set all of your parameters to suit your specific needs.

The IT team at TriTech is fully equipped to assist you in managing your IT even in small ways such as turning off notifications. Give us a call today for a network analysis to see how we can make your business more productive today at info@tri-tech.com.

Is it time to move away from RDP for remote users?

One of the most convenient ways of working remotely is remote desktop access. It is a widely known fact that opening a hole in a firewall in order to get a direct RDP connection is risky as it entails a weak encryption or VPN. Because it is convenient and so much quicker to set up a direct RDP rather than a VPN or a gateway proxy, most users tend to ignore the risks associated with it. Additionally, it is also considerably cheaper.

However, there are numerous disadvantages that accompany the use of direct RDP for remote users and perhaps the most important one is the concern for security. Because RDP makes use of port 3389 which is an open port, the security and safety of the user is at stake. The server can be immediately attacked by hackers through countless attempts of authentication in the hope that at least one of them would work.  It is best to rename your user account from ‘administrator’ to something different, as well as have a strong password and enable auto-lock on your account when there has been three attempts on entering the incorrect password.

The biggest problem concerned with the use of direct RDP is performance. Because of the aforementioned attempts to log into the server by hackers from all around the world, there are thousands of sessions created every minute which require the system to respond to them. Consequently, the main functions you are trying to perform on your server are affected through slower processing and unnecessary lags. There are some steps you can follow to ensure that your slow performance of the system is not because of a brute force attack; one of which is checking the session numbers to see whether they are insanely high or not.

While these can be temporary solutions, they are not always effective and the whole setup will still be a big threat to the safety of the user. Perhaps the best solution is to use a VPN or an RDP gateway proxy. These help secure the connection through the establishment of an encrypted tunnel in the network which prevents middle-man attacks and also helps provide a better network with better performance. A convenient and cheap as direct RDP sounds, it can be a source of a great deal of trouble in the long run and therefore it is advised to always take the safer route in order to avoid easily preventable costly incidents in the future.

Our technicians at TriTech are well informed and can help you get setup in a more secure environment. Send us a quick email to support@tri-tech.comand we’ll help you out right away.

Protecting your small business from fraud

For many small business owners, fraud has become an increasingly important issue, from both a risk management and legal perspective. By failing to take the right steps to secure your business from both internal and external threats, small business owners could be exposing themselves to both financial and legal risk.

Internal Threats

Although it can be hard to imagine, there are plenty of ways that your own employees can commit fraud without you even realizing it. One of the most popular ways is by padding employee expense reports. A lack of receipts accompanying an expense report could be a red flag that costs have been artificially inflated, with employees pocketing the difference between the real costs and the reported costs. As a result, be sure to put into place a way to monitor employee expense reports.

The same logic applies to vendor invoices. Business fraud experts warn that some employees may collude with vendors to submit falsified invoices in the hopes of splitting any profits from paid invoices. And some employees might take this type of fraud a step further by completely making up a “false vendor” and making sure that any vendor payments go to bank accounts that they control.

It is important to set apart your employee’s duties.  As an example, the person responsible for collecting cash, should not also be responsible for reconciling the receipts.  As a business owner, your accounting software should make it easy for you to spot check your accounting processes.  Spire allows you to do this by running a quick report, or by instantly viewing your entire GL at a glance.

External Threats

With the fastest-growing type of external threat being ransomware, it is important to secure your IT infrastructure. In the classic ransomware attack, an email sent to employees at your business will encourage them to open up an attachment or click on a malicious link. Once the link is opened, malware will get installed on the computer and spread to the network and the company will receive a ransom letter demanding that a payment be made or the data will be deleted forever.

Many of the most common fraud threats can be avoided with these steps:

  1. To prevent phishing attacks, employees should be told to check the source of incoming emails to make sure they are legitimate. That’s because many hackers try to “spoof” the name or identity of a legitimate business in order to get people to open their emails.
  2. Make sure all of your computers are up to date with the latest version of the operating software.
  3. Use reliable antivirus products
  4. Make sure all passwords are at least 15 characters using numbers, upper and lower case letters and symbols.
  5. Clear internet temp files on a regular basis.
  6. If you are connecting through an RDP connection, make sure it is through a gateway.

Despite all precautions, nothing is guaranteed.  It is best to be prepared by having automated backup in place so that you can essentially “reboot” your system from data stored in a third-party location.

If you have been an unfortunate victim of fraud, it needs to be reported.  To find out how, please visit the Canadian Office of Consumer Affairs.  For help in recovering your data, the Tri Tech service department can do their best to assist you.