IT consulting and tech support blog

Digital spring cleaning

Published May 12, 2023

Digital spring cleaning graphic depicting a squeegee wiping dirt off random text in binary.

Early May is mid-spring, and many are beginning the tradition of spring cleaning. You know that time of year you deep clean and declutter your home. Spring cleaning is a way to refresh and renew one’s living space. This year, we are encouraging you to perform a Digital Spring Cleaning. Digital spring cleaning is the process of organizing, decluttering, and optimizing your digital devices, files, and online presence. It involves cleaning up your computer files, email inbox, social media accounts, and other digital spaces to get rid of unnecessary and outdated data and to improve your digital security and privacy.

Here are a few digital spring cleaning tips.

Online accounts

Much like your homes, your online accounts can collect clutter and occasionally need a few minutes of care. Start by reviewing what accounts you have. Those can include email, social networks, clubs or organizations, shopping websites, and cloud storage accounts you have for both work and home. Think about these things:

  • Do you need them all?
  • Is there information in those accounts that isn’t needed anymore, such as credit cards saved in your accounts with shops and old documents on cloud storage accounts?
  • Are there accounts that you don’t use anymore and can close, like that old email account you never check?
  • Are you using the same password across any of these accounts that you could easily make unique and more secure?

Email accounts

Many email providers limit mailbox sizes and you should keep an eye on how many messages are in your inbox. Also, for security reasons, it is always smart to limit what is available in your email account. Consider these questions and actions:

  • How many emails are in your inbox – are there any you can file into folders or delete?
  • Is there information in your accounts that you can archive or delete?
  • When was the last time you cleared out your deleted items or trash folder?
  • Can you set a rule that will automatically empty your deleted items or trash folder on a regular basis?
  • Unsubscribe to recurring emails that no longer interest you.

Social media

Review your social media accounts by taking a few minutes to review your security settings, friends and connections as well as posts to make sure you’re still comfortable with them.

  • Is the information on your social networking and job websites – including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn – current?
  • Do your security settings ensure that only the authorized individuals can view what you post?
  • Do you still use or need all of the social media sites registered to you?

Web-browser settings

Did you know that web browsers can store your passwords and other personal data? Web-browsers can be gateways to your data for bad actors.

  • Take a few minutes to check your browser settings, clear out old data and ensure your browser’s security settings are still keeping you safe.
  • Make sure that autofill doesn’t contain sensitive information and that you don’t store your passwords in your browser.
  • Do you need all of the browsers on your system?

Backup files

Spring cleaning is a good opportunity to make sure you have a complete backup of important files. We recommend a cloud storage backup, but use something you feel comfortable with. Also, it important to make sure you’re saving the right files and that you can restore everything from your backup, since a backup that you can’t restore from isn’t useful at all.

Take out the trash

Do you have old devices in your house or office that should be recycled? If so, check with your local municipality, they may support e-Cycling initiatives and will help you dispose of them properly. Be certain to remove and shred or destroy hard drives and other components that might contain personal sensitive data.

These are just a few digital spring cleaning suggestions that may help you free up space on your devices, improve your digital security, and create a more streamlined and organized digital life. If your digital world needs a deep cleaning, New River Computing can help!

Microsoft Bookings – A Good Meeting Scheduling Tool

Published April 14, 2023

Have you ever tried to schedule a meeting between more than two individuals? It’s difficult with just 2 people and becomes exponentially harder with each additional person. At times, it seems like more time is spent trying to find a common meeting time than in the actual meeting. But the time spent scheduling meetings — the back and forth between people trying to figure out the best day and time @mdash; can be avoided using meeting scheduling tools. Microsoft Bookings is one such tool and makes scheduling/managing appointments easier.

If you have a Microsoft 365 subscription, then you should consider using Microsoft Bookings. Bookings has a web-based appointment calendar and integrates with Microsoft Outlook allowing customers and clients the flexibility to book a time that works best for them. Email and SMS text notifications that are a part of the Bookings app can reduce missed meetings and improve customer satisfaction. Just think of the time that can be saved with a reduction in repetitive scheduling tasks. An added bonus is that Bookings has a built-in ability to be customized to meet multiple needs of any organization.

Bookings also has features included to allow virtual meetings to be scheduled. Appointments booked as online meetings have unique meeting links included so attendees can join via Teams app, phone dial-in, or web browser. Bookings works effortlessly with Teams which allows users to create Bookings calendars, assign staff and schedule both new and manage existing appointments without ever leaving Teams.

Bookings is made up of these key features:

  • A booking page where your customers and clients can schedule appointments with the staff member who should provide the service or run the appointment. This web-based scheduling page can be shared via a direct link, your Facebook page, and even through link embedding within your website.
  • A web app that contains a set of web-based, business-facing pages where Bookings calendar owners and administrators within an organization can define appointment types and details, manage staff schedules and availability, set business hours, and customize how appointments are scheduled. These pages allow for versatility and the ability to customize a Bookings calendar to fit the diverse needs of the person or organization.

If you haven't already, check out the short introduction video from Microsoft above.

How Ready Is Your Company for a Cyberattack?

Published March 02, 2023

An abstract image depicting the text cyberattack and security breach, with a semi-transparent world map background.

That may not be a fair question…can any business really be ready for a cyberattack? Let’s think about it this way: Your business may not be ready, but it can take steps to be prepared and limit damage from these attacks.

If your company is not already prepared for a cyberattack, first understand the dangers and risks of an attack. When you think about how many millions of attacks happen each day, how much that threat could cost you, you start to feel the importance of having a quality cybersecurity posture. Bad actors are attacking from all angles, ready to take corporate and personal information Your business needs to be ready and we strongly encourage you to make necessary adjustments as soon as possible.

A cyberattack can be disastrous for a company, resulting in financial losses, damages to reputation, and legal responsibilities. Therefore, it is imperative for businesses to be ready for an attack by implementing strong cybersecurity measures. Here are a few key steps to get your company moving in the right direction.

  • Develop a Cybersecurity Plan.
  • Implement Strong Password Policies and Multifactor Authentication.
  • Regularly Update and Patch Software.
  • Backup Data Regularly.
  • Develop a Response Plan.
  • Conduct Regular Security Audits.

Develop a Cybersecurity Plan

Having a comprehensive cybersecurity plan in place is the first step in being prepared for a cyberattack. The plan should outline policies and procedures for preventing cyberattacks, identify potential threats and vulnerabilities, and define roles and responsibilities for employees. A good cybersecurity plan also includes regular training for employees to help them identify and respond to possible threats. Topics such as password security, email phishing, and social engineering tactics should be covered in the training.

Implement Strong Password Policies and Multifactor Authentication

Did you know that one of the most common ways cybercriminals gain access to a company’s systems is via weak or short passwords? Companies should implement strong, long password policies and require employees to use complex and unique passwords. New River Computing strongly recommends use of multi-factor authentication, which requires a second form of identification to access systems or data.

Update and Patch Software Regularly

Vulnerabilities in software is another common way cybercriminals gain access to a business’s systems. Therefore, it is crucial for companies to regularly update and patch their software to address known vulnerabilities. Using antivirus and anti-malware software to protect systems from potential threats is also recommended.

Regularly Back Up Data

Having regular reliable backups of data can be critical to recover should a cyberattack occur. It is suggested that data is backed up regularly to a secure, off-site location to ensure systems can be quickly restored if necessary.

Develop a Response Plan

Despite the best efforts to prevent a cyberattack, it is still possible that a company may be successfully targeted. Therefore, having a response plan in place that outlines the steps to take in the event of an attack is important. The response plan should include steps for identifying and containing the attack, notifying appropriate parties, and recovering data and systems.

Conduct Regular Security Audits

Regular security audits can help companies identify potential vulnerabilities in their systems and policies. These audits should include testing for potential cyber threats and vulnerabilities and reviewing access controls and user permissions.

In conclusion, companies must be prepared for a cyberattack by implementing strong cybersecurity measures. By developing a comprehensive cybersecurity plan, implementing strong password policies, regularly updating and patching software, backing up data regularly, developing a response plan, and conducting regular security audits, companies can significantly reduce the risk of a successful cyberattack. In today's digital age, being prepared for a cyberattack is not an option but a necessity for businesses of all sizes.

Security and cyber liability panel discussion

Published January 20, 2023

New River Computing recently hosted a panel discussion on security and cyber liability featuring the following panelists:

The panel was moderated by Jeff Nosenzo - Vice President of Brown Insurance.

If you missed out on the panel or want to revisit it, you can check it out in the video above!

PHP 7.4 has reached end of life (EOL)

Published December 15, 2022

Illustration of a tombstone for the late PHP 7.4

As of November 28, 2022, PHP 7.4 is now past EOL (end of life) and is no longer receiving security support. So, what does this mean to you?

Websites hosted directly by New River Computing

If you're a client whose website is hosted directly through New River Computing, no action is needed. All of NRC's hosted websites were updated to PHP 8.1 prior to the EOL date for PHP 7.4.

Websites hosted through a 3rd party

If your website is hosted through a 3rd party, New River Computing recommends reaching out to your hosting provider to confirm that your PHP version has been updated to a supported version (8.0 or higher).

What if I don't know where my website is hosted?

If you are an NRC client and don't know whether your website is hosted through NRC or a third party, or you have any other questions about PHP 7.4 reaching EOL, feel free to reach out to us.

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