Netready Blog

Netready has been serving the California area since 1995, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

FREE Software!

Free Software blog pic4

Is free software a good idea? It can be and it can be something to steer clear of too. In the news recently have been stories of free anti-virus software makers collecting your browsing habits and selling the information to third parties. This is called Data Harvesting and some in the US Senate are wondering why this hasn’t been investigated further.

Data harvesting has been around for a long time and most of the time you may see a pop up letting you know about it and you can opt-out. This is more-true for software that you pay for. But the free software can be a little tricky and you need to know what the publisher’s practices are to understand how to deal with it.

If you browse on Amazon or some other shopping site and are looking for a certain item, the next day you may see adds for the type of items you were looking for. The sites are monitoring your browsing and will use the information to try and sell your something. Some sites may actually sell your data to market research firms or corporations and you may never know it.

It’s not only happening with the free anti-virus software but it’s also happening with VPN companies and some web browsers have been identified as using similar practices.

Most of the time the data being collected is stripped of your personal information and is de-identified and you must either agree or disagree with the practice. If you disagree most of the time you can’t access the free software.

I’m not sure about you but I don’t want anyone or any business knowing my personal browsing and or keystroke or mouse movements. Big brother is watching now more than ever so be smart. If something is free there may be a catch and even if you pay for something there could be bad attributes that come along with it.

Look for weekly Technology Tuesday Tidbits published by Netready IT to remind everyone that IT runs your business and to make sure you have a good understanding of what is needed to survive and prosper....

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Things you need to do in 2020!



A new year is upon us and we all have goals to achieve and things you want to get done this year. For anyone dealing with IT related items one of the biggest goals we see is to push out improved security with the latest enhancements. One item that should be on every list is adding Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to network access and email if it’s not in place already.

There are multiple ways to implement improved security. One that is routinely overlooked is cybersecurity training for users. This in itself can help protect an organization as it only takes one individual to make a mistake and get phished. If MFA is in place and a user somehow does get phished and gives up their credential’s the addition of MFA will help stop the intruder from gaining access to the account.

Another item that needs to be addressed is basic patch management and system maintenance. Sure this sounds very basic but if you have an unpatched network (servers, workstations, firewalls, etc.) there are holes all over the place for a hacker to gain access by using a known exploit.

Older operating systems such as Windows 7 need to be replaced with Windows 10 for the best security. If you have legacy apps or just can’t get it done by January 14th, we have a solution that can extend the support period of Windows 7 computers for a limited time.

If you have any compliance requirements, the quicker you address and review your infrastructure to make sure you are compliant the better off you will be. FINRA, HIPAA and PCI are just a few of the various compliance regulations out there. Now with the CCPA going into effect in California time is of the essence to make sure you are compliant.

Another concern that is now putting all of us on alert is the recent event with the Republic of Iran. With the recent alert issued by CISA all in the cybersecurity space need to be aware of the threats that can come in various forms of retaliation including spear-phishing, data dumps of credentials, remote file copy, PowerShell and a whole lot more.

Don’t let your guard down and stay engaged with your trusted cybersecurity professional and do everything you can to secure your users and your environment.

Look for weekly Technology Tuesday Tidbits published by Netready IT to remind everyone that IT runs your business and to make sure you have a good understanding of what is needed to survive and prosper....

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The Human Firewall


Each week we hear of unauthorized breaches and other security issues in the news. Sometimes it’s an inside job and most of the time it was caused by someone that got phished and gave just enough information for the bad guys to gain access to a workstation or email account and then on to the network.

If you work for a large company, you expect your IT department to secure the business network from outside intrusion. Most do a good job of protecting the business assets, but they must stay one step ahead if they want to stay secure. But what about each individual user and their responsibility to be secure and use best efforts? What if you work for a small business and don’t have the resources that a large enterprise will have? Whether you’re a large business enterprise or a small business it’s all the same. Get the best tools and expertise you can and follow the direction of your trusted advisor to secure your business network and train your employees and reinforce those efforts.

Now the weak link here are the people that are employed by businesses big and small. Each one of these users has a responsibility not give away the keys to the castle and to keep the data secure. Sometimes it’s not that easy and the crooks will use all types of methods from phone calls, email phishing, exploits and open ports, drop a malicious USB thumb drive in a parking lot, you name it and it’s been done successfully.

You ask how a user can help secure a business network? By doing the right things and remembering the don’ts!

Be aware and take responsibility, follow security policies, use long passwords that can easily be remembered, use secured forms of email when sending sensitive information, dispose of sensitive information properly. Report suspected security issues, inform your IT department or person if your computer is lacking security software such as anti-virus and anti-spyware. Use an approved password manager that is encrypted and backed up, so all your passwords are not written down on a sheet of paper that can be lost or stolen. These are a few of the do’s but the list goes on.

The “don’t” is just as important so know the human firewall is real. Don’t share your passwords with anyone, don’t download unapproved software to your computer, don’t place sensitive information on an unsecured mobile device. Don’t use your workplace to do personal web browsing that could be considered unacceptable. Don’t click on unsolicited emails. These are just a few of the items you should be aware of to help you be more secure in the office and at home.

If this practice is new to you, consider a cyber security training class. This is a recommended method to reinforce the best practice methods of being secure and the human firewall can do a lot to help make your world more secure.

Look for weekly Technology Tuesday Tidbits published by Netready IT to remind everyone that IT runs your business and to make sure you have a good understanding of what is needed to survive and prosper....

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The Breaches Keep Coming


The breaches keep on coming. This time it’s been reported that the parent company of Saks Fifth Avenue was breached, and malware was installed on their point-of-sale system to gather credit card information of their customers.

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Testing Your Backup


Every production server should have some type of backup running daily if not hourly. I’ve seen all types of backup solutions over the years including USB drives attached to a server as the only backup which is not a good solution. There are NAS solutions with file copy or some type of software running a backup to the NAS. There are image-based solutions that take snap shots of the server and provide on-site and off-site cloud storage of the backup image. There are simple low-cost cloud solutions that copy your files to the cloud but don’t do much for backing up the system state.

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Cloud vs. On-Premise


Everyone talks about moving to the cloud and to forget about buying new hardware to host your applications. Over the past few years I’ve reviewed this option for many customers numerous times and found the public cloud solution to be a bit more expensive. Each time I penciled it out and ran the numbers for 5-years it turned out that hosting your own hardware was a more cost-effective method even factoring in maintenance and support.

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More Breaches


It seems like every day there are more security breaches in the news. One of the latest being reported is from Applebee’s restaurant chain that 166 RMH Franchise Holdings restaurants had the point-of-sale system (POS) compromised allowing perpetrators to gain access on the RMH network to obtain the credit card info including account numbers, expiration dates, security codes and customer names.

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IRS Warns of W-2 Phishing Scam


This year the Internal Revenue Service is again warning of a W-2 Form phishing scam that is circulating. The IRS is urging all employers to educate their payroll personnel about the scam that hit hundreds of organizations last year impacting thousands of employees.

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Passwords & People


When it comes to passwords that secure your personal and business information size matters. If you use a 6-character password it takes only hours for a hacker to crack it. If you use a 7-character password it takes days, and years to crack an 8-character password. With the NIST guideline an 8-character password is minimum and there are suggestions to use even longer passwords all the way up to 64-characters.

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Tip of the Week: Protect Your Online Identity With These 8 Tips

Tip of the Week: Protect Your Online Identity With These 8 Tips

The Internet has long been a great tool for business, but you can’t take advantage of it without putting your sensitive data at risk of threats, like hackers and malware. Granted, when it comes to cyber security, even the most cautious business will have a lot on their plate. We’ll go over eight of the most important security best practices, and how you can implement them for your business.

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5 Tips for Saving Money on your IT


Saving a little on your technology can go a long ways, but cutting too many corners can lead to additional problems and expensive downtime. Here are a few ways you can cut costs without creating long term issues.

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Disaster Recovery and Why it Matters to California Businesses


When you mention the term 'disaster recovery,' most people think about the big ground-shattering events like earthquakes, fires, floods, tropical storms, etc. While these natural events are certainly disasters and devastating in their own right, smaller things can constitute as a disaster for your business, and they aren't seasonal.

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What is your Identity Worth to You?


Your identity has quite a lot of value, especially in the wrong hands. Security firm ZoneAlarm put together some numbers in 2011 concerning identity fraud, and it even shocked us. Let's talk about a few of these statistics and what it means.

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Security vs. Convenience


Over the past year or so Netready has engaged with our clients on upgrading security to help safeguard our client data from unauthorized access. With security improvements you often see additional steps need to be taken to login or access data. In the past any changes in the day-to-day process was met with user objections. Today we are now seeing that most of our customers (about 75%) want to add the extra security even if adds a step to the process of logging in.

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Slow Computer? Increase your memory to boost computer Speeds


Sometimes when your workstation feels bogged down, a relatively cheap and simply hardware update can make a huge difference in performance. Adding more RAM (Random Access Memory, often just referred to as memory) can be a game changer for your bogged down PC.

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How Safe is Your Email?


Email is (and has been) a prime method of communication for businesses of all sizes. With email comes a whole slew of issues that are essentially synonymous with the technology; spam, information overload, phishing, and information privacy. Even Los Angeles small businesses that only do business locally are at risk of these issues. Personal email accounts are equally at risk. Employing proper precautions and practices whenever communicating via email is very important to prevent the risk of security compromises, monetary loss, and even legality issues.

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Recently banks have been hit with “jackpotting” incidence where thieves are using malicious software on ATM machines to force the unauthorized disbursement of large amounts of cash. This has been known to happen in other counties but never in the U.S. until recently.

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GDPR Rules


On May 25, 2018 the new GDPR rules will go into effect for those of you that offer goods and services the European Union. This impacts individuals and organizations alike and anyone that analyzes and or collects data tied to EU residents in any location.

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Cyber Security


In 2017 we all heard the stories of the hacks and breaches that were in the news. From the big-name organizations all the way down to the mom and pop businesses, many were impacted by cyber-criminal activity.

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Hardware Warranties


Today I’m talking about why it’s important to keep all your critical IT infrastructure covered under some type of warranty or maintenance. Some people think warranties are not needed. But when the time comes that you have a hardware failure on a critical component, you could be down for days if you don’t have it covered.

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