Providing Innovative Home Office Cybersecurity for Remote Workers

News | Innovative Home Office Cybersecurity | Dominion Voice and Data

Innovative Home Office Cybersecurity Solutions for the Nearly 50% of Remote Workers Infected by Malware

According to a BitSight report, “Identifying Unique Risks of Work From Home Remote Office Networks,” the article revealed that “45% of companies had malware on their corporate-associated home networks.” This could mean major telecommuting complications for small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) if they are not prepared.

Where SMBs ordinarily could disregard cybersecurity and remote workspaces, that thought is a thing of the past. Now once traditional office settings are adopting work from home policies, businesses require the right communication and productivity tools needed to get the job done from anywhere, without slowing down production.

 


 

To sum it all up, vulnerability at the home-office is now corporate vulnerability,” – Chad Tester, COO, Dominion Voice and Data

 

What is the new normal?

“Unfortunately, whenever we get back to normal life, it won’t be so normal, anymore,” stated Chad Tester, COO of Dominion Voice and Data, citing the expected office policies which will force people to adhere to staggered schedules, where a worker comes into the office on Mondays/Wednesdays and another comes on Tuesdays/Thursdays. The expected growth of remote working, even after the states reopen will still be enormous.

Work-from-home is fast becoming the “new normal” and with tech giants like Twitter, Microsoft, Google and Facebook all extending work-from-home policies, many SMBs are trying to figure out the best way to reorganize themselves for success. Twitter and Square have announced their plans to let employees work remotely in perpetuity.

Google and Facebook have remote policies in place at least until 2021. Since these tech giants often serve as a leading indicator for SMBs across the country, business owners are looking for innovative, yet practical, ways to adapt to this new working environment and to ensure that their virtual infrastructure is secure.

 

Biggest challenges for business owners

The two biggest challenges for business owners who find themselves in this new work-from-home scenario are 1) How do I properly manage my employees? and 2) Which technology do we really need? The past several weeks have been a crash course in management, forcing business owners to innovate management solutions for employees, which leaves the second challenge up for resolution.

For any business owner who wants to address this vulnerability, at a minimum, they must equip their employees with a combination of the following technologies, Windows virtual desktops, SD-WAN, firewall and a printer/scanner. Virtual desktops provide employees with access to apps, software and technology that they utilize on their work computer.

SD-WAN establishes a secure and efficient means of connectivity for employees and a monitoring solution ensures the ongoing security of any devices or networks from cyberattacks, like phishing or ransomware. Lastly, printer/scanner solutions are absolute necessities for specific employees.

 

Remote working

With a relatively simple bundle of technology, SMBs can circumvent many of the challenges imposed on them through this pandemic, and they can set their company up for success as we transition into the “new normal.” While remote working has been steadily growing for years, there is now plenty of data, and common sense, to back these necessary shifts.

According to Kate Lister, President of Global Workplace Analytics, “Our best estimate is that 25-30% of the workforce will be working-from-home multiple days a week by the end of 2021.” That number is up from 3.6% of employees working from home half-time or more.

Empowering Companies to Combat COVID-19 with an Innovative Approach Using Microsoft Teams

News | Innovative Home Office Cybersecurity | Dominion Voice and Data

Microsoft Teams is a tool that dramatically enhances every employee’s ability to collaborate by integrating the functions of chat, meetings, calls and collaboration into a single platform. Throughout the pandemic, mandatory precautions have forced small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) across the country to innovate after being thrust into an immediate need to keep their operations running, remotely. Dominion Voice and Data is proactively helping customers transition to their staff to a remote workforce leveraging Microsoft Teams.


What is the new normal?

While working remotely is the “new normal” among many businesses, some companies are reluctant to change, often citing intangible benefits of working in a shared physical location. However, according to the Forrester Study: The Total Economic Impact of Microsoft Teams, those assertions lack data. In fact, according to the study, “information workers were able to save 4hrs/week through improved collaboration and information sharing,” thereby giving many employees the extra time they needed to finally catch up on all the loose ends that often interrupt operations. Furthermore, the Forrester Study also concluded that “an average of 150 overnight trips [were] replaced with online meetings by year 3.” Regardless of industry, every business stands to benefit greatly from the dramatic reduction in costs associated with decreasing travel budgets as well helping to combat COVID-19.

 

“We’ve been helping businesses transition to a more remote workforce for a long time and it’s not as complicated as many business owners make it out to be” – Chad Tester, COO

 

“We’ve been helping businesses transition to a more remote workforce for a long time and it’s not as complicated as many business owners make it out to be,” stated Chad Tester, COO at Dominion Voice and Data. “Business owners need to understand that the technology has matured to the point where they can recreate those same intangible moments of connection and collaboration using Microsoft Teams, that in decades past, could only be achieved through the use of a physical office.” Chad later continued, “with the Coronavirus in play, many business owners don’t have a choice but to adapt, but we’re seeing that once businesses embrace this shift they end up with a more productive team that responds quicker to immediate business needs.”

What are the benefits of switching to Unified Communications?

Another aspect of Microsoft Teams is that it centralizes all resources and then makes them accessible online, so that employees can find everything they need in one central, cloud-based location. This typically has a very strong impact on reducing employee downtime. According to the Forrester Study, “having resources available online in Teams reduces downtime by 14.6 percent.” When resources are available in one cloud-based location, downtime is reduced and complexity is lowered, making security and compliance easier.

Tester added, “In order to shift your workforce to a more remote environment that new environment must be supported. It demands that several technology solutions get put in place beforehand so that the transition can happen smoothly and maximum efficiency. With minimal investments in time and capital outlay, businesses can keep their businesses running strong no matter what natural disasters, pandemics or economic recessions loom on the horizon.”

 

ABOUT DOMINION VOICE AND DATA

Dominion Voice and Data is Central Virginia’s Leading Cloud-Based Managed Services Company. Our mission is to advance our client’s business goals through delivery of superior technology solutions and world class support.

At Dominion, we are your trusted technology adviser and reliable business partner so that we can design you a solution that fits your business model. Dominion Voice and Data is committed to maintaining the confidentiality of information that belong to our customers, especially Protected Health Information. To that end, we adhere to the requirements of the HIPAA Privacy Rule and the HIPAA Security Rule. We comply with all Business Associate obligations under HIPAA/HITECH, enabling Dominion Voice and Data to provide the highest level of services to our customers involved in the healthcare professions.

Leverage the Power of Microsoft Teams to Collaborate More Effectively

Learn how to leverage the power of Microsoft Teams and collaborate faster and more effectively with your team. As we enter a new decade, the workforce is changing drastically, both in demographic and behavioral tendencies. Millennials soon will make up the majority of the workforce and “by 2025, 3 out of every 4 workers, globally, will be a millennial,” (source: TIME Magazine). Millennials and Generation Z have a preference for working remotely and utilizing collaboration enabling tools.

 


 

How we work

Microsoft Teams is a representation of the way that communication has changed the way we work and is set to become the new standard in collaboration and professional communication, posing many new opportunities for enhanced productivity amongst SMBs. Dominion Voice and Data is helping businesses reinvent themselves and remain relevant with advanced technology, so they can reach higher heights than ever before.

“There are myriad of collaboration tools out there, but the core reason that SMBs will be utilizing Microsoft Teams in the future is because it increases an organization’s capacity to collaborate, but more importantly, they can collaborate securely,” stated Chad Tester, COO of Dominion Voice and Data.

This tool goes far beyond our traditional paradigm of workplace communication, which included emails, office phones and conference calls. The dominant channels of communication have shifted to a wider array, including, real-time collaboration, private chat, public conversation, audio calls, video calls and virtual meetings, all of which are encompassed in the Microsoft Teams solution.

 

How the workforce determines the communication tools

The younger players in the workforce, Millennials and Gen Z find this assortment of communication tools to be integral to their success in any organization. This is why Dominion Voice and Data is leading the charge on the deployment of Microsoft Teams, because it is the ideal way to meet the needs of younger employees while simultaneously maximizing the effectiveness of more seasoned workers.

“There’s a reason that Microsoft is including emojis and GIFs in the software, they understand who are the power users will be and how businesses need to adapt now, in order to keep attracting top talent in the future,” added Tester.

 

More companies are going international

Another key trend amongst SMBs is that more companies are going international. Whether they’re relying on international suppliers and vendors, developers or virtual assistants, the demand for bridging language barriers has proven to be key in keeping businesses ahead of the curve when it comes to collaboration.

One of the exciting features within Microsoft Teams is the ability to instantly translate languages in the chat or messaging features, with one-click. “The world economy is going to continue expanding and become more globally interactive,” commented Tester. “This is not going to slow down, in fact, it will only speed up.”

Lastly, companies that are concerned with the handling of sensitive information, which is especially important in industries like Financial and Healthcare, can rest assured that Microsoft Teams satisfies the requirements for compliance set by several governing agencies.

Businesses that want to increase their capacity for collaboration, innovation and relevance need to take a look at implementing technologies like Microsoft Teams.

 

ABOUT DOMINION VOICE AND DATA

Dominion Voice and Data is Central Virginia’s Leading Cloud-Based Managed Services Company. Our mission is to advance our client’s business goals through delivery of superior technology solutions and world class support.

At Dominion, we are your trusted technology adviser and reliable business partner so that we can design you a solution that fits your business model. Dominion Voice and Data is committed to maintaining the confidentiality of information that belong to our customers, especially Protected Health Information. To that end, we adhere to the requirements of the HIPAA Privacy Rule and the HIPAA Security Rule. We comply with all Business Associate obligations under HIPAA/HITECH, enabling Dominion Voice and Data to provide the highest level of services to our customers involved in the healthcare professions.

Monitoring the Dark Web to Keep Customers Information Safe

MIDLOTHIAN, VA – Cybercrime is rapidly on the rise in the United States and SMBs need to know if their information is on the Dark Web. Sadly, it’s become commonplace to see reports in mainstream news whereby hundreds of millions of customers’ data has been breached by cyber criminals, that have successfully infiltrated networks and extracted sensitive data which inevitably leads to identity theft, corporate intrusion or any form of cyber abuse. Dominion Voice and Data has taken a proactive step forward to not only address this rampant source of criminal activity, but to put an end to its effect on SMBs.

While the Dark Web is not a household term, it’s poised to become one. The Dark Web is the part of the Internet that is “not Google-able.” The Dark Web forms a small part of the deep web, the part of the web not indexed by search engines. It attracts those who wish to act in secrecy, which usually includes those who are associated with illegal activity. It’s the best place to purchase illegal drugs, hire illicit acts or hire hackers to attack specific businesses. This is also where an organizations’ email addresses and passwords are put up for sale.

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Dominion Voice and Data Protects SMBs From Windows 7 End of Life

MIDLOTHIAN, VA – March 2019 – Dominion Voice and Data a leading managed technology services provider (MTSP), is helping small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) secure their organizations from cyber-attacks, by addressing the Windows 7 “End of Life” policy that will begin in January of 2020. Microsoft has announced that they will cease supporting the software, providing updates, enhancing security features and the software will essentially become obsolete. SMBs need to be aware of this transition because cybercriminals are constantly inventing new methods and techniques to exploit weak infrastructure. If a business doesn’t adapt and bring in technology that can keep pace with the ever-evolving security threats that the modern business faces, they will eventually become a “sitting duck” for cyber attacks.

Many businesses handle problems like this in the same manner that they handle all other problems. Ignore it until they suffer a minor consequence, and after they feel some of the pain, then they react and begin solving the problem. However, this is a very dangerous strategy to utilize given the potential consequences. For example, we can look at the costs that some major players have paid for insecure infrastructure. According to Time Magazine, “The Equifax breach cost the company over $4 billion in total.” While small businesses can’t withstand losses like that, there’s also a stronger push from authorities for tighter cybersecurity measures, bigger fines and harsher penalties for lax policies.“

Find out more by reading our latest press release…

Dominion Voice and Data Disrupts Cybersecurity Industry with New Program

Midlothian, VA – Dominion Voice and Data, a leading managed technology services provider, announced today that the company has launched a cybersecuirty security-as-aservice program designed to protect businesses from daily attacks. Dominion Voice and Data’s cybersecurity-as-a-service is an all inclusive offering that combines best of breed technology for firewalls, antivirus software, phishing prevention, dark web monitoring, and data backup.

Dominion Voice and Data begins every customer relationship by formulating strategic IT goals, planning their IT budget, analyzing and reworking business processes and facilitating technology changes. The objective is to maintain the IT infrastructure and protect customers from cyber attacks that occur on a daily basis. The cybersecurity-as-aservice program creates security policies, controls and cyber incident response planning, ensures compliance with the changing laws and applicable regulations, and maintains a current understanding of the IT threat landscape.

Find out more by reading our latest press release »

Workspace as a Service (WaaS)

We are committed to providing cost-effective solutions for all your needs. The need for expensive on-premise equipment that depreciates and becomes obsolete is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Dominion Voice and Data offers Cloud Services that allow you to access your data and programs from any PC or device, using an app or by logging in through the internet.

Your home screen with all associated programs, files, and software needed can be accessed from anywhere at your convenience. The need for updates to operating systems and software are managed remotely by us.

WaaS allows flexibility and mobility, there is an immediate boost to productivity, and your entire team will be able to share data, collaborate, and connect. We have systems in place to back up and restore data, as well as disaster recovery protocols to ensure that you remain up and running. The majority of IT administration can be routed through us, which will free up some of your budget for other areas of your business.

This service includes 24/7/365 monitoring and access to Remote Help Desk support. Contact us for more information

Alerting Businesses About PCI Compliance

We are proud to announce an education plan to advise business owners on the potential risks facing any organization that accepts, stores and utilizes customer credit cards. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) applies to any organization, regardless of size, and it imposes rules on business owners who work with customer credit cards. The intention behind the regulations is to keep customer data secure from breaches; however, businesses that are not in compliance could face up to tens of thousands of dollars in penalties and fines. There are very simple solutions to mitigating these risks, and as fellow business owners, our leadership is sharing these risks and their solutions with the business community in order to keep companies protected from obscene fines.

When accepting sensitive credit card information, businesses need to assess several risks. The first major risk is a disgruntled employee stealing a customer’s credit card and utilizing that information for personal purchases. While these types of infractions are usually caught quickly, especially with the proper monitoring technology in place, customers can be reimbursed for fraudulent purchases. Unfortunately, the damage done to customer trust is often irreparable. The fact of the matter is that customers, who experience a data breach with a merchant, are extremely likely to avoid using that merchant, ever again. In other words, lackluster security measures here could cost a company dearly, not only because of the up-front fines but because of the negative word-of-mouth that usually follows an incident like this. To solve this issue, businesses can follow the comprehensive list of steps laid out in the PCI DSS that explains the measures a business can take to protect themselves from this liability, including actions such as encryption and limited levels of access. “Every single customer we work with is already doing their best to protect customer data; however, they are usually missing key elements that could get them in big trouble,” stated Steve Smith, CEO of Dominion Voice and Data. “Oftentimes we see businesses take customer credit card information over the phone and then write it down so that it can be added into the computer system later. However, one big mistake we’ve been noticing is that businesses are storing customer credit card information for longer than 5 days, which is strictly prohibited by these regulations. This is a perfect example of how business owners with positive intentions, end up paying big fines for being undereducated on these matters,” concluded Smith.

The greatest risk facing business owners and credit card security is hackers. Their methods are constantly evolving, and hackers are always finding new ways to attack businesses, the standards for PCI compliance are always changing as well. “Businesses can go to the PCI Security Standard Council’s website to view a comprehensive list of best practices or if they don’t want to have to comb through all the details, they can call a managed technology services provider, like Dominion Voice and Data for example, and they should be able to conduct a PCI network analysis and advise them on a few key areas to pay special attention to,” added Smith. “If your managed services provider is unaware of PCI compliance, you may want to consider reevaluating your relationship with that provider.”

Importance of 4G Backup

Dominion Voice and Data, a leader in unified communications, announced today that the company will be launching an awareness campaign to educate small to mid-sized business (SMB) owners about the importance of having a 4G backup plan in their organizations. With the vast majority of business owners virtualizing their infrastructure and investing heavily in cloud-based technologies to support an increasingly mobile workforce, businesses need more reliable connection to the internet than ever before. While many SMBs are routinely frustrated by incessant internet outages, especially in a wireless network environment, companies must understand the power of 4G Internet.

Find out more by reading our latest press release »