Outsourcing IT to a managed services provider (MSP) is becoming a common practice for small and mid-sized businesses. But for many of those companies, the extent of that “outsourced IT” function is support services. Seeking a help desk, they want to be sure that someone is available to address technical issues as they encounter them.Read More
One of the biggest tech trends to emerge over the past few years has made it easier than ever to connect everyday household items to the internet. Sometimes called the Internet of Things (IoT), this new wave of innovation allows us to interact with these devices in ways we once only thought possible in Star Trek or The Jetsons.Read More
It’s common these days for businesses to offer WiFi to their guests. For better or worse, many customers, vendors, partners, and contractors may expect to be able to access WiFi when they’re in your store or office.
There is, however, a right and a wrong way to set up guest WiFi. The right way ensures that guests can access the internet on their devices with minimal hassle, without exposing your internal resources. Setting up guest WiFi the wrong way, however, can create serious security risks.Read More
This past weekend, the world experienced the first truly international ransomware attack. The WannaCry ransomware has infected over 100,000 organizations in 150 countries since it was first discovered on Friday. WannaCry exploits a vulnerability in older or unpatched versions of Windows in order to carry out its mission: to encrypt victims’ data, holding it hostage until the user pays a ransom of $300. It has been spread largely through the use of spam emails containing malicious attachments.Read More
These days, busy professionals in fields from financial services to graphic design are increasingly relying on multiple apps to get their work done, often running two, three, or more apps at the same time. And the more we flip back and forth between email, spreadsheets, and various business-grade apps in our daily work, the more extra screen real estate becomes a necessity.Read More
Home assistant devices—speakers with powerful built-in voice assistants—have taken off in the last year. And it’s easy to see why, as they bring Star Trek grade functionality to the homes of consumers for under $200. You can ask them to play music. You can ask them about the weather. You can even ask them to control internet-connected devices, from thermostats to lightbulbs, inside your house.
Right now, the Amazon Echo and the Google Home are currently the only major home assistant devices on the market (although Apple’s HomePod will hit stores in December – more on this below). So, which one is the best?Read More
Imagine that you are an employee of a small or mid-sized business who handles financial transactions. Company executives regularly send you emails asking you to send money via wire transfer. It’s just part of your job. So, you arrive at the office on a Monday morning to an email in your inbox asking you to wire money to a specific account. How do you react?Read More
When working with parents to create personalized internet safety plans for their families, we often hear concerns about screen time. Prolonged screen time is especially common this time of year. Kids are getting out of school and have more unstructured time to spend flipping through their smartphones or tablets, or sitting on the couch playing videogames.
Based on a recent report by the American Association of Pediatrics, parents’ worries about screen time are legitimate. While there are certainly benefits to kids and teens interacting with technology – for example, educational apps and staying in touch with extended family – there are still good reasons for placing healthy, age-appropriate limits on screen time.Read More
If you’ve outsourced your technology needs to a managed service provider (MSP) within the last decade or so, you’ve probably heard about remote monitoring and management (RMM) software. When listed in an agreement or on an invoice, that line item might raise at least a couple of questions: “What is this, and do I really need it?”Read More
We're thrilled to announce that, for a second year in a row, Sean Wright, Affinity's Founder and President, will speak at the Pathway Women's Business Center's Tech Academy, a tech conference for entrepreneurs. The conference, which takes place on 5/30 at the Tennessee Bankers Association, aims to help entrepreneurs understand how technology, when rightly leveraged, can positively impact the bottom line of their start-ups.Read More
By now, we’re all used to using passwords to authenticate our identities online. But as we’ve grown more accustomed to coming up with and remembering passwords, cybercriminals have gotten far better at stealing them. The result is that many of our online accounts are at high risk for breach, especially because most people have bad habits when it comes to passwords. A study in 2015 found that nearly 3 out of 4 people use the same password for multiple accounts, and that 68% of people were using passwords that were five years old or older. Unsurprisingly, this same study found that 2 in 5 people surveyed had experienced some sort of security incident online.
The problem, of course, is that good password habits are difficult to learn and even harder to carry out. Thankfully, tools now exist that can drastically improve your password security. They’re called password managers.Read More
When businesses are deciding where to host their vital resources—email, key applications, and company data—the conversation usually revolves around two options: company-owned servers at the office or servers owned and maintained by a cloud vendor (commonly referred to as “the cloud”). But a third option, though not discussed as often, might be a better fit for some businesses. And that’s data center colocation.Read More
A couple months back, we reviewed a social media app called After School. Because the app allows teens to post anonymously, we raised the caution flag. We acknowledged, however, that After School’s developer does seem to have implemented some important safeguards to minimize inappropriate or dangerous content. Yik Yak is a different story.
Like After School, Yik Yak is asocial media app that allows it’s users to post anonymously. Unlike After school, the app contains relatively few safety features to protect younger users.Read More
We’re thrilled to announce a couple of exciting changes to the Affinity team! Michael Maxwell has been promoted from Systems Engineer to Manager of Technical Sales. And we’ve also added Keith Benion to the team as our first full-time Client Service Dispatcher.Read More
As we continue to move more aspects of our daily lives online, cybercriminals are developing more sophisticated ways of hacking our accounts and stealing our passwords. From banking to grocery shopping to managing household appliances, we’re putting ourselves at risk every time we create a new account. It’s gotten to the point that usernames and passwords just aren’t enough to protect our privacy.Read More
Technology has enabled today’s workforce to become increasingly mobile. Your company may have employees in numerous locations across the country. And even if it doesn’t, odds are you and your employees do at least some of your work outside the confines of your office—whether from home, coffee shops, or customer locations.
Unfortunately, cybercriminals have also developed sophisticated ways to use this increased mobility to gain access to your network and your data. Thankfully, there is a security measure that can drastically reduce the risk of a breach while still allowing for mobility— a Virtual Private Network (VPN).Read More
We’ve written in the past about phone scams where a criminal poses as a representative from “Microsoft Support,” asking for credit card payment to perform some necessary maintenance on someone’s computer. Thankfully, increased education on cybersecurity has raised consumer awareness of scams like these, but criminals have gotten even smarter at figuring out ways to steal your information.
Over the last six months, and increasingly in the last few weeks, though, we’ve seen multiple instances, as well as reports from others, of a new variation on this scam, which is even trickier.Read More
When you compare these cheap chargers with the more expensive ones manufactured by phone vendors like Apple and Samsung, the choice seems obvious – go cheap. But as often is the case with cheap, less expensive chargers are cheap for a reason, and some could put your phone, your home, and even your data at risk.Read More
Odds are, you spend most of your day staring into a web browser. We’ve come a long way from the days when web browsing primarily meant consuming news and other content on the internet. Now, we can do everything from grocery shopping to word processing—or even work in browser-based versions of serious business applications—without leaving a browser window. Part of what has made web browsers so useful—but also potentially hazardous—is the proliferation of browser extensions.Read More