How To Implement a Successful IT Automation Strategy

Business leaders are turning to IT automation to streamline many of their operations. While this advanced technology has benefits, there are specific ways to maximize success. Learn all about the advantages of automation and which measures will bring you the most success. 

What Is IT Automation, and How Does It Help Businesses?

You can automate many of your IT practices to save time and resources. This involves using artificial intelligence within your operating systems to perform various tasks easily. The following are some of the most common automated technologies on which businesses rely:

Business process platforms
Image recognition tools
Data mining and analysis tools
Chatbots or voice assistants

The main goal of using these forms of artificial intelligence is to free up your company's resources while cutting down on human error. If you focus on improving efficiency throughout your business, switching to these systems can help you achieve your goal quickly.  

Effective Ways To Approach Your IT Automation Strategy

Experts suggest following a particular set of guidelines to reap the rewards of automated operations. A survey from McKinsey & Company reveals some surprising data about organizations that switched to automated practices. The survey finds that 61% of participants who reported success with their strategy went about their process in the following ways. 

Evaluate Your Existing Process

You can learn a lot by assessing your manual processes. When taking the time to evaluate your current process thoroughly, you can identify things that need improvement. Make a plan to adapt these old processes to increase efficiency. 

For example, if you find that an employee spends an hour each day compiling data, find out whether it's possible to automate the task. You can gather the same data in seconds and allow your staff to focus on other projects. 

Encourage Employees To Adjust Their Mindset

It's human nature to be wary of change. However, a key part of launching a successful automation strategy is to get all your employees on board.

Experts suggest keeping your employees in the loop through every part of the process. After all, they are the ones who will need to use this technology and accept it as part of their new workplace culture. It's much easier to gain your employees' support when they feel included in decision-making.  

Start With Small Changes

Too much change at once can be overwhelming and lead to a longer adjustment period. Implement small changes instead of automating most or all of your systems immediately. This gradual process makes it easier to adapt, and you'll be less likely to experience major problems. 

Analyze Data and Collect Feedback

When implementing IT automation, it's normal for you to experience a few bumps in the road. Analyze data from your testing phase and gather feedback from those within your organization. You'll determine how effective the technology is while exploring ways you can improve. 

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Beware of This Microsoft Teams Phishing Campaign

Many people trust the contacts in their Microsoft Teams profiles and may immediately click any link they receive from what they think is a trusted contact. Hackers can exploit this trust by developing profiles almost identical to departments within their targets’ employment framework. Using these compromised accounts, hackers can send malicious software and put your business at risk.

A new Microsoft Teams phishing campaign uses social engineering to manipulate users into downloading a malicious attachment.

What Is Phishing?

Hackers use phishing to commit credential theft. Once they identify a suitable target, they lure them into completing an online form that requests login information. However, more advanced phishing campaigns use trusted software networks of the targets’ company to get unauthorized access to data.

Employees using business networks often fail to recognize new phishing attempts since they look like legitimate messages. These phishing methods put a business’s entire network, including devices, websites, and software, at stake.

How To Spot the Microsoft Teams Phishing Campaign

The new Microsoft Teams phishing campaign begins with a message from an Office365 account that belongs to someone claiming to work in the business’s HR department. The phishing message from the bad actor contains a ZIP file entitled “Changes to the vacation schedule.” This SharePoint-hosted file may look like a PDF file but actually contains an LNK file that contains DarkGate malware.

How Does the Campaign Work?

When employees receive the Teams message, they often have no reason to believe it contains malicious content. However, a known threat actor called Sangria Tempest operates the campaign, likely hoping to get payment from a ransomware deployment or sell personal information on the dark web.

The cybercriminal group uses the TeamsPhisher tool, allowing Teams users to send links and files to people outside their established network. The malware itself contains a disguised VBS file.

Once a user downloads and opens the file, the malware can collect sensitive login details and other pertinent information from the device.

In some cases, malware deploys more malicious code if it discovers that the Sophos antivirus software doesn’t protect the attacked device. This extra code accesses the system memory and stores the malware into the system.

How To Protect Your Teams Network

You can apply several methods to protect your organization from the new Microsoft Teams phishing campaign:

Employee education: Employees who are aware of current security threats can avoid interacting with them. We recommend training your staff about the campaign’s specifics so they stand a greater chance of protecting your business.
External contact avoidance: You can disallow contact with all external organizations using allow-lists in Teams.
Internal device usage: Businesses increasingly require their staff members to connect to sensitive business networks using organization-supplied devices. This decreases the potential for outside malware to access internal networks.
Link scanning: Microsoft Defender can scan and inspect links for malware detection that’s part of Microsoft Teams phishing campaign and other attacks.

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Effective Network Monitoring Techniques for Your Business

For your business to succeed, all departments must work to the best of their ability. Your IT network needs to operate the same way. That's where network monitoring comes in. Discover the most effective network monitoring techniques to drive your business to success. 

What Is Network Monitoring?

Network monitoring refers to checking and optimizing essential components within a computer network. Equipment like routers, switches, and servers are all included in a network monitoring checklist, as well as cybersecurity components like firewalls. IT experts must check these systems to stay ahead of any performance issues and minimize network downtime. 

The Importance of Network Monitoring

If your in-house IT team doesn't use network monitoring tools, your business is at risk for service disruptions. For example, checking your servers and routers tells you how quick your network traffic flow is. If the equipment can't efficiently handle the traffic, the entire network may experience issues. 

Even the most minor disruption can impact your business performance. This can compromise your network security and lead to decreased productivity. 

Network Monitoring Techniques 

There are specific protocols that network performance monitors should follow. IT experts can easily pinpoint and resolve issues by having complete visibility over the network's end-to-end components. Implement the following techniques to guarantee a strong and reliable computing network. 

Analyze Metrics

Are you tracking the right metrics in your network's performance? Experts recommend you track and analyze the following criteria for success:

Throughput: A network speed indicator, throughput measures how many units of information your network can process quickly.
Bandwidth: The maximum amount of data you can transfer through the network in a given period.
Uptime: The total time your network is functioning and available without issue.
Latency: The time it takes a data packet to go from one point to another.
Packet loss: The amount of data packets that never reach their final point.

Your analysis will help you adjust your network for optimum performance. For instance, if your latency and throughput data could be better, you may need to invest in stronger speed solutions. 

Create Alerts and Implement a Response Plan

Imagine a fire starts within your office. You never want this to happen, but you also know it's best to be prepared with fire alarms and emergency exit plans in place. The same should go for your computing network.

If an urgent problem occurs, your IT team must be ready. Create an alert system that notifies specific team members when an issue arises. The staff should make a custom plan to resolve the problem quickly. 

Automate Network Monitoring Tools

Your IT staff is always busy, but you can expand their resources by automating certain network tools. This is one of the best network monitoring techniques because it detects and resolves a problem before it escalates.

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Sensitive Information on Thousands of Companies Was Leaked

Sensitive information leaks can give cybercriminals access to bank account information, passwords, and other important data. Many companies, government agencies, and schools had to handle a dangerous situation. Learn more about this cybersecurity problem and how it can harm a business. 

The National Safety Council's Role

The National Safety Council (NSC) is a non-profit organization that partners with many companies to provide workplace safety training. The NSC's website had weaknesses, making thousands of email credentials accessible through a public web directory. 

Some of the impacted companies and institutions include: 

 The U.S. Department of Justice 

Researchers believe the cyber attack was caused by hackers who targeted the organization. They aimed to acquire information for malicious activities, such as phishing and credential-stuffing attacks. However, it is important to note that this is yet to be confirmed. The NCS has since fixed the issue.

Most passwords found by hackers using a weak algorithm can be cracked, estimated at around 80%. It can take up to six hours to crack a single password, depending on its strength. People may lose access to their accounts if someone else gets this private information. 

The Dangers of Sensitive Information Leaks

A large-scale leak comes with monumental risks to thousands of individuals. As experts have warned, once this information falls into the wrong hands, it can be used for online scams and identity theft. These issues can have serious consequences, including: 

Phishing emails are a common way hackers trick people into sharing personal information like bank accounts or credit card numbers. They can steal someone's identity as soon as this information becomes available.
Cybercriminals can demand money from organizations and stop them from accessing their accounts until they get paid. 
Financial loss can be serious when attackers target a company or an individual, leading to theft or demands for money. Sensitive information leaks can cause tremendous financial setbacks for the victim.

Data Protection Measures

The NSC no longer allows public web access to their client email directories. For better cybersecurity and protection of important information, companies must take matters into their own hands. Email encryption is crucial for businesses because it stops unauthorized people from reading messages.

Deploying measures such as multi-factor authentication makes it harder for hackers to access email accounts. There are small and effective methods to safeguard your business and employees from the harmful effects of cyber attacks. 

Sensitive information leaks can have serious consequences. You can protect yourself and your business by following proper cybersecurity measures.

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Ways SaaS Can Transform Your Business

Software as a Service, or SaaS, is one of the most innovative technology solutions businesses worldwide rely on. There are so many benefits to implementing this service in your business. Discover how SaaS can help your company succeed in an intensely competitive market. 

What Is SaaS? - The Basics

Companies are using cloud-based services to handle their computing infrastructure and minimize threats. Some of the most popular models are:

PaaS (Platform as a Service)
IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)
SaaS (Software as a Service)

While PaaS and IaaS have benefits, SaaS solutions are critical for expanding businesses. They involve working with a third-party provider who delivers all your software needs through a secure cloud system. The provider will ensure the software is safe and that all necessary members of your organization can access the program through an Internet-connected device. 

How SaaS Benefits Your Business

Did you know 45% of all IT spending is now dedicated to cloud computing services? With so many benefits, it’s easy to see why companies are making the change. Discover how your business can see long-term improvements with a SaaS program. 

It Is Cost Effective

No matter what industry or business models you work with, you want to ensure you’re choosing budget-friendly solutions. Fortunately, the upfront cost of most SaaS services is affordable. There are several free programs available that provide advanced features at reasonable prices. 

You may also opt for a subscription plan catering to your business needs. This option is ideal for any business leader looking for a customized plan. No matter what type of program you choose, your company can cut costs since cloud computing reduces the need for paper supplies, physical storage, and more. 

It Enhances Your Customers’ Experience

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. You’re more likely to trust a company that seems to value you. Innovative applications like SaaS show your customer base you’re willing to invest in modern technology for their benefit. 

Customers don’t have to worry about their data being compromised, either. SaaS models are all run by reliable third-party experts who maintain the highest level of cybersecurity. All of these components improve your customer service. 

It Is Easy To Integrate

SaaS applications can benefit all employees, whether your business consists of a small sales team or thousands of employees across various departments. Getting started is as easy as signing up for the service and paying small licensing fees. Once you do that, you can allow any necessary employees access to the application. 

Employees with access can view the software on any Internet-connected device, which helps boost productivity for team members who are always on the go. This software can easily integrate various reports, files, and other business systems so your organization can share information and collaborate effectively. With SaaS, businesses like yours can reap these benefits and more. Make the switch today if you’re ready to take your business to the next level.

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This Cyber Threat Is Targeting Cisco VPNs To Attack Businesses

Attention all businesses! A cyber threat specifically targeting Cisco VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) has managed to infiltrate secure business systems, putting their sensitive information and financial assets in jeopardy. Ransomware deployed by members of Akira heightens the looming threat.

Learn about the risks below.

What Is Akira?

The cyber gang Akira creates and uses ransomware to target different victims. Cisco VPNs have fallen victim to attacks first detected in May 2023. These attacks began with Akira breaching entryways to corporate networks undetected.

The attacks escalated with stolen data. Victimized corporations eventually became targets of ransomware attacks, which put their data, devices, and networks at risk. Some targeted industries include:

Real estate 

These industries are essential to modern civilization. Ransomware enters their systems, encrypting and hiding data on different devices as it spreads. Users face locked devices or encrypted folders they can't control when they try to access their data.

The ransomware gang asks the victim to pay a ransom to gain access to their device or decrypt their data. Criminals can also use the data for destructive purposes, such as damaging a company's reputation.

How the Cyber Threat Targeting Cisco VPNs Works

These attacks put cybersecurity experts in a race against rapidly evolving ransomware. But where did it all start? Here is how hackers target Cisco VPNs and cause cyber threats.

Vulnerable Remote Work Networks

Remote and hybrid workforces frequently use Cisco VPNs and similar tools. Akira developers buy login information on the dark web or gather other information to break into someone's account. From there, their ransomware accesses personal information via the target software.

Users trust the targeted tools and download them without worrying about security. Akira's ransomware will then find a weak point to exploit as an entry into the victim's device.

Contracting the Ransomware

Akira can hide its ransomware as a harmless email with an attachment or through file-hosting networks. In either case, when the victim opens the infected file, their device will be infected with the Akira ransomware. The program encrypts different data points, stopping the owner from accessing them.

The Akira group offers two options. Either the victim pays Akira, or the cyber gang sells their sensitive data on the dark web.

How To Protect Your Devices

Cybersecurity experts haven't found a guaranteed way to protect businesses and individuals from the cyber threat to Cisco VPNs. To keep your devices and information safe, follow these precautions:

Use multi-factor authentication for every device and digital account. Cybersecurity experts believe Akira exploits users with only one authentication factor.
Avoid vector software programs when possible. Akira disguises its ransomware as otherwise reputable programs.
Only download files and programs from secure, official websites. Ransomware spreads through illegal downloads and popups on insecure sites.

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Discovering the Hidden Threat of Fileless Malware

What comes to mind when you hear the word malware? Most people may think of phishing messages containing malicious files. Once you download those files to your computer, they infect the entire system with a virus, making it impossible to use your computer. 

While this type of cyber-attack is dangerous, there is another form of malware you need to be aware of. This guide provides an in-depth look at the threat of fileless malware and what you can do to protect yourself.  

What Is Fileless Malware, and How Do Cybercriminals Use It?

The file-based malware we mentioned earlier is easy to prevent with antivirus software. These programs detect any dangerous files that enter your hard drive. However, fileless malware is much harder to detect.

This cyber-attack involves hackers tricking you into opening a link or email attachment. Once you open the message, a malicious code is sent directly to your computer’s memory rather than its hard drive. This memory-based attack is much harder to catch and can corrupt your entire system. 

One of the reasons hackers carry out the threat of fileless malware is to destroy a business operation from the inside. They exploit your enterprise by attacking common software you use daily, such as JavaScript applications. The threat sometimes applies to native tools like Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) or Microsoft PowerShell. 

How To Protect Your Business From the Threat of Fileless Malware

If you’re wondering how to keep your business safe from this sneaky cyber-attack, we have some tips to help you. Experts suggest the following steps to protect your company from malicious hackers:

Look for indicators of attack (IOAs): Some IT professionals prefer to look for indicators of compromise (IOCs), but this does not always mean you’re under cyber-attack. Instead, be on the lookout for IOAs and ready your IT staff to mitigate such threats when they arise. 
Deploy a managed threat-hunting service: Your in-house IT department has plenty to juggle without the threat of fileless malware. Stay on top of the issue with a managed threat-hunting service. This third-party resource will monitor your network 24/7 and actively look for threats other security systems don’t catch. 
Educate your employees: Hackers target vulnerable users in hopes of infiltrating their system. Once they get a victim to fall for their scheme, they can begin the data exfiltration process. Your employees must always be aware of any suspicious messages they receive and report any unusual cyber activity to an IT professional. 

It is essential to make sure your company is safe from fileless malware.

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Upgrade to Microsoft Edge Version 115 and Boost Your Productivity

If you're looking for a simple way to improve the way your business works, Microsoft Edge has another great option. The most recent version of Microsoft's Edge browser has a number of new tools that could help you get more done. 

Read on to learn about the new technology and why so many experts say you should upgrade to Microsoft Edge Version 115 as soon as possible.

What New Updates Are Available?

The Edge management service is a tool in the latest version of Microsoft Edge that is meant to improve how you browse the web. This is the biggest difference from the old software, and it fixes common bugs that used to cause problems for many companies.

You must be an Edge or Global administrator to use this tool. The management service can be found in the Microsoft 365 admin center if your role permits it. It lets managers set the settings that other users' browser windows will show. 

New Setting Changes with Microsoft Edge Version 115

What are the settings that admins can now change or optimize?

Browser extensions: You may block all extensions within your workplace or set restrictions for downloading them. That way, you can control the URL that workers can download an extension from or only allow them to download certain apps.
Configuration profiles: This is a separate profile you will use to set up your browser policies.

How Microsoft Edge Version 115 Can Boost Your Business's Productivity

Why upgrade to Microsoft Edge Version 115 for the sake of your business? Business owners can leverage this new software and technology in various exciting ways. Of all the recent updates Microsoft Edge has put out, this version benefits anyone trying to increase their organization's effectiveness.

For example, Version 115 features a new sidebar that showcases different productivity tools, including Microsoft Office and Outlook. You can easily use these side by side to streamline operations.

Other prominent features of this software include the following:

Google Docs Offline Extension: Automatically installs to your Edge browser if you don't place restrictions on your extension settings. Your team can use any of Google's office applications (like Google Docs and Google Sheets) without Internet access, including continuing work on these projects when your WiFi goes down.
Text prediction: Instead of wasting time on long-form text, Microsoft Edge's latest text prediction feature makes typing content quicker and easier.
Helpful notifications: Are you about to close your browser with multiple tabs open? Don't worry; Microsoft Edge Version 115 will warn you before closing anything. It also has a feature that warns you about sites with similar URLs to ensure you load the right page. 

Microsoft Edge Version 115 benefits businesses by boosting their productivity.

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Unleash the Power of VoIP and Improve Your Business’s On-Hold Strategy

New technological advances happen daily, but is your business taking advantage of them? VoIP technology can drastically improve your business operations, save you money, and bring your business into the modern era of telecommunications.

What Is Voice over Internet Protocol?

VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a revolutionary new communication method. Instead of using traditional phone lines to talk to other people, this method lets you use any device connected to the internet. 

For example, any phone or computer that can connect to the internet can make calls over the web. You don't need a phone line or an internet plan for your cell phone. This method works by turning what you say into packets of data. The data bits are sent to your receiver by your business's IP network, which turns them into audio files. 

The flexibility of VoIP means that business owners who use this technology can get a lot out of it. 

Benefits of Implementing VoIP Services at Your Business

Are you unsure if a Voice over Internet Protocol system is right for your company? Countless businesses now use VoIP technology and see impressive results after implementing it. 

You'll Save Money

Every company needs internet access to conduct daily operations in today's world. This infrastructure will be around for a while, but you can cut costs by consolidating your phone and internet systems. Switching to VoIP is easy since you already have an internet connection. Sticking to standard phone lines requires a separate infrastructure, telephone service provider, and hardware. 

This can add up over time and impact your business success. Ditch the traditional phone system, and try communicating only through internet-connected devices and discover how much you can save. 

Greater Flexibility

One of the best things about VoIP is the flexibility it offers business owners and their employees. In a modern age of remote working, VoIP is a simple solution for making and receiving calls for nearly any location. You don't have to worry about missing a client's important call if you have a stable internet connection. VoIP can reroute calls from your in-office phone to your cell for maximum flexibility.

Experts find this helps boost productivity, especially among employees who are often on the move. 

Advanced Features

With this system, you can keep your phone numbers and access several high-tech features and capabilities, including:

Call forwarding
Video conferencing
Instant messaging
Call recording

These features can help your business run smoothly, regardless of where your employees or clients are. For example, you can use video conferencing and instant messaging features for internal communications and call recording for customer service training. 

Business Integration

No matter what type of business you run, VoIP can work with several other systems within your network. The most popular business systems that you can integrate this technology into include helpdesk software and customer relationship management platforms. With VoIP technology, you can streamline communication throughout your business.

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Ways To Use Dashboards To Boost Your Business Growth

Do you want to grow your business in one simple, streamlined way? Monitor your profits and uncover trends with a custom data dashboard. This technology is a great way to keep track of business performance.

Learn more about data dashboards and effective ways to use these popular systems for business growth. 

What Is a Data Dashboard?

If you don’t already know, a data dashboard compiles all your important data points in one accessible place. It helps you reduce time and resources for building a report with the same information. Companies of all sizes can gain something from these systems. 

Data dashboards paint a clear picture of your company’s performance and outlook using business intelligence. Savvy leaders take this information and make adjustments as needed. 

What Can You Include in a Data Dashboard?

Your dashboard can (and should) have your most important metrics and key performance indicators, or KPIs. These may include:

Online advertising budgets
Sales revenue
Total profit or loss
Web traffic

Developers can build custom dashboards that fit your needs. For example, if you run an e-commerce site, you might prioritize your revenue and profits over total web traffic. 

How To Effectively Use Dashboards for Business Growth

No matter the industry, data dashboards can help any business owner. You need to know the best ways to use them. Follow these tips for optimum business performance. 

Use an Automated Dashboard 

Data is constantly changing, and you can’t use outdated information. An automated dashboard provides real-time data. This way, you can easily view accurate metrics and KPIs. Just like the dashboard in your car, a data dashboard shows how well the engine of your business is running.

Check Data Regularly

According to multiple studies, companies that regularly check their KPIs are 30% more likely to experience growth. Make it a habit to check the real-time data daily, and you’ll be more in tune with specific trends. Use this information to your advantage and adjust your business practices accordingly. 

Analyze the Numbers

Data like website traffic, sales, and revenue can tell you a lot about your business performance. However, look beyond the numbers, and you’ll be able to identify trends that either help or hurt your business. Use these findings to alter your current methods for the better. 

For example, if your sales figures are consistent despite fluctuating budgets for your marketing channels, you could save money and boost profits by changing your marketing strategy. 

Set Goals

Seeing unsatisfactory numbers and mindlessly trying to improve them is not enough. You must set clear, realistic goals for each metric you measure. This way, you and your staff are all on the same page and can boost productivity when everyone knows the target you’re shooting for. 

This is one of the best ways to use dashboards for business growth because it lets you focus on specific improvements and aim to achieve them promptly.

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