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Torch I.T. Solutions has been serving the Katy area since 2017 , providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

How will the Metaverse Going to Change Business?

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The new buzzword around town is “metaverse.” But what does that actually mean for businesses? Is it just something that social media companies need to be concerned about?

According to people like Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, the metaverse is coming. He stated that “Life without AR will soon be unthinkable.” Whether that’s a short-term or long-off prediction, companies need to be ready.

First comes the understanding of what the metaverse is. Metaverse is a general term – hence why it’s not capitalized like a proper name. The metaverse refers to a collective upgrade of the internet to a 3D virtual environment. This would be a world interconnected between various sites. These sites would reflect the immersive games that you see today.

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2023 Trends in Data Privacy That Could Impact Your Compliance

2023 Data Privacy Trends 2023 Data Privacy Trends

Data privacy has been a growing requirement ever since the internet age began. So much personal information is flying around through computer networks. Protecting it has become a mandate.

Most companies must follow HIPAA, GDPR, or another industry or locality-based privacy rule. By the end of 2024, 75% of the world’s population will have their personal data protected. It will fall under one or more privacy regulations.

You don’t need to be a large enterprise organization to have data privacy compliance at the top of your mind. It goes hand in hand with cybersecurity. Additionally, privacy requirements hit all sized companies.

Between July 2020 and July 2021, GDPR violations rose by 113.5%. The number of associated fines also jumped, by 124.92%. When it comes to HIPAA violations, each incident can carry a penalty between $100 to $25,000.

It’s important to make data privacy a priority and factor it into all your data collection processes. When companies collect, send, or store personally identifiable information (PII) it needs protection. This means putting adequate safeguards in place.

To stay on top of your privacy compliance obligations, you should also keep up with trends in this area. Next up, we’ve documented the biggest data privacy trends happening in 2023 that you should be aware of.

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Why Small Businesses Should Choose VoIP

VoIP for Small Businesses

Just five or six years ago, VoIP was still considered a “different” type of business phone system. One that wasn’t the norm. But the pandemic changed that way of thinking. Now internet-based phone systems aren’t simply the norm. They’re mandatory for business continuity.

During the pandemic, VoIP and video conferencing have skyrocketed by over 210%. This is largely due to the move to remote work and hybrid offices. Sixty-seven percent of surveyed companies say switching to VoIP helps improve call handling.

So, no longer is the business phone system tied to a physical location. This enables fluid management of a business with staff spread out over many locations.

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Follow These Steps for Better Endpoint Protection

Simple Guide for Endpoint Protection

Endpoints make up much of a company’s network and IT infrastructure. Endpoints are a collection of computers, mobile devices, servers, and smart gadgets. As well as other IoT devices that all connect to the company network.

The number of endpoints a company has will vary by business size. Companies with less than 50 employees have about 22 endpoints. Small businesses with 50-100 employees have roughly 114.  Enterprise organizations with 1,000+ employees average 1,920 endpoints.

Each of those devices is a chance for a hacker to penetrate a company’s defenses. They could plant malware or gain access to sensitive company data. An endpoint security strategy addresses endpoint risk and puts focused tactics in place.

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How to Stop the Increasing Number of Insider Threats

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One of the most difficult types of attacks to detect are those performed by insiders. An “insider” would be anyone that has legitimate access to your company network and data. This would be via a login or other authorized connection.

Because insiders have authorized system access, they bypass certain security defenses. Such as those designed to keep intruders out. Since a logged-in user isn’t seen as an intruder, those security protections aren’t triggered.

There are three troubling statistics from a recent report by Ponemon Institute. They illustrate the importance of addressing this threat. Insider attacks are getting worse, taking longer to detect and becoming more extensive.

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Checklist for Digital Offboarding of Employees

Checklist for Digital Offboarding

 

Digital footprints cover today's modern workplace. Employees begin making these the moment they're hired. They get a company email address and application logins. They may even update their LinkedIn page to connect to your company.

When an employee leaves a company, there is a process that needs to happen. This is the process of “decoupling” the employee from the company’s technology assets. This digital offboarding is vital to cybersecurity.

You don’t want a former employee to maliciously email all your customers from their work email. Sensitive files left on a former staffer’s computer could leak months later.

20% of surveyed businesses have experienced a data breach connected to a former employee. The U.S Department of Health and Human Services reported 14.6% of their HIPAA violations as of September 2022 were Unauthorized Access for breaches affecting more than 500 individuals.

Digital offboarding entails revoking privileges to company data, and much more. This is a critical process to go through for each former staff member to reduce risk.

Below, we’ve provided a handy checklist to help you cover all your bases.

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9 Urgent Security Tips for Online Holiday Shopping

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The holiday shopping season in the Greater Houston Area is taking off. This means that scammers have also revved up their engines. They're primed and ready to take advantage of all those online transactions.

Don’t forget to stay safe online during the buying frenzy that occurs this time of year. An ounce of cybersecurity prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure. It can also save you from a financial or privacy nightmare.

Here are some of the most critical safety tips to improve your online holiday shopping.

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5 Mistakes SMBs are Making in the Digital Workplace

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The pandemic has been a reality that companies around the world have shared. It required major changes in how they operate. No longer, did the status quo of having everyone work in the office make sense for everyone. Many organizations in the Greater Houston Texas Area and around the world had to quickly evolve to working through remote means.

During the worst of the pandemic, it’s estimated that 70% of full-time workers were working from home. Even now that the pandemic has hit a new waning phase, remote work is still very much a reality. 92% of surveyed employees expect to still work from home at least 1 or more days per week.

This transformation has forced companies to rethink the tools and policies they use. Many have also needed to completely revamp how they work. They've had to switch to a cloud-based digital workspace to enable a hybrid team.

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Become a Pro with Microsoft 365 - 7 Tips

Microsoft 365 is the most popular of all major office productivity software. It has 48.8% of the global market share, just edging out Google’s apps, by a couple of percentage points.

It’s used by individuals, small & mid-sized businesses, and larger enterprise organizations. It does everything a modern office needs. Including word processing and spreadsheet work to cloud storage and video conferencing.

Because Microsoft 365 is such a vast platform, with over 20 apps in total, it can be easy to miss helpful features. People tend to stick with what’s familiar. But this often causes them to miss out on time and money-saving bonuses in M365, beyond the core apps.

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6 Discontinued Technology Tools You Should Not be Using Anymore

Discontinued Tech Software you Shouldn't be using anymore

One constant about technology is that it changes rapidly. Tools that were once staples, like Internet Explorer and Adobe Flash, age out. New tools replace those that are obsolete. Discontinued technology can leave computers and networks vulnerable to attacks.

While older technology may still run fine on your systems that doesn’t mean that it’s okay to use. One of the biggest dangers of using outdated technology is that it can lead to a data breach.

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6 Important IT Policies Any Size Company Should Implement

6 Policies for Every Company 6 policies every company should have

Many small businesses make the mistake of skipping policies. They feel that things don’t need to be so formal. They’ll just tell staff what’s expected when it comes up and think that’s good enough.

But this way of thinking can cause issues for small and mid-sized business owners. Employees aren’t mind readers. Things that you think are obvious, might not be to them.

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Helpful Tips for Keeping Your Shared Cloud Storage Organized

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Cloud file storage revolutionized the way we handle documents. No more having to email files back and forth. No more wondering which person in the office has the most recent copy of a document.

Between 2015 and 2022, the percentage of worldwide corporate data stored in the cloud doubled. It went from 30% to 60%. A majority of organizations use cloud storage of some type. Typical services include OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, and others.

But just like the storage on your computer’s hard drive, cloud storage can also get messy. Files get saved in the wrong place and duplicate folders get created. When employees are sharing the same cloud space it's hard to keep things organized. Storage can be difficult to keep efficient without some organization.

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You Need to Watch Out for Reply-Chain Phishing Attacks

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Phishing. It seems you can’t read an article on cybersecurity without it coming up. That’s because phishing is still the number one delivery vehicle for cyberattacks.

A cybercriminal may want to steal employee login credentials. Or wish to launch a ransomware attack for a payout. Or possibly plant spyware to steal sensitive info. Sending a phishing email can do them all.

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How Often Do You Need to Train Employees on Cybersecurity Awareness?

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You’ve completed your annual phishing training. This includes teaching employees how to spot phishing emails. You’re feeling good about it. That is until about 5-6 months later. Your company suffers a costly ransomware infection due to a click on a phishing link.

You wonder why you seem to need to train on the same information every year. But you still suffer from security incidents. The problem is that you’re not training your employees often enough.

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Everyone Should have a Guest WiFi Network

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The number of internet-connected devices in Texas homes has been growing. It's increased exponentially over the last decade. A typical home, nation-wide, now has 10.37 devices connected to the internet. PCs and mobile devices make up a little over half of those and the rest are IoT devices.

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5 Exciting Ways Microsoft 365 Can Enable the Hybrid Office

MS Office Hybrid 5 exciting thing Microsoft can do for your hybrid office

“Hybrid office” is the new buzzword you’ll hear used in the Houston area business discussions and all around the United States. It’s the mix of having employees both working at the office and working from home. This has become more than a buzzword and is now the reality for many companies.

There was a survey of employees with remote-capable jobs. The survey found that as of February of 2022, 42% of them were working a hybrid schedule. And 39% were working from home full time.

The global pandemic brought on this hybrid office transition. It forced Houston, Katy and Fulshear, Texas companies to operate with teams that could no longer safely come to the office. During this time, employers and employees experienced the benefits of hybrid work firsthand.

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Alarming Phishing Attack Trends to Beware of in 2022

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In 2020, 75% of companies around the world experienced a phishing attack. Phishing remains one of the biggest dangers to your business's health and wellbeing because it’s the main delivery method for all types of cyberattacks.

One phishing email can be responsible for a company succumbing to ransomware and having to face costly downtime. It can also lead a user to unknowingly hand over the credentials to a company email account that the hacker then uses to send targeted attacks to customers.

Phishing takes advantage of human error, and some phishing emails use sophisticated tactics to fool the recipient into divulging information or infecting a network with malware.

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Is Data a Commodity? Maybe Not, but It Is an Asset

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The late American author Kurt Vonnegut once wrote, “New knowledge is the most valuable commodity on earth. The more truth we have to work with, the richer we become.” Written in the 20th century, it has been put in practice by 21st century businesses. As the Internet has grown, the amount of companies expanded, and the amount of data that those companies collect has grown exponentially, especially now that there is a market for such data.

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A Look at Business Computing Costs: Cloud vs. On Premise

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Profitability is less the measure of being able to turn a profit, and more the measure of how much profit you can make. For the successful small business, the integration of technology can dictate what kind of annual margins you are looking at. For the new company, however, it can be something even more critical: the difference between setting a course for success, or wallowing in failure. Today we analyze the cost difference between hosting your IT in-house, or choosing to host it in the cloud.

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Knowing, and Planning For, Your Organization’s Compliance Burden

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Despite what detractors say, regulations are in place for good reason. They typically protect individuals from organizational malfeasance. Many of these regulations are actual laws passed by a governing body and cover the entire spectrum of the issue, not just the data involved. The ones that have data protection regulations written into them mostly deal with the handling and protection of sensitive information. For organizations that work in industries covered by these regulations there are very visible costs that go into compliance. Today, we look at the costs incurred by these organizations as a result of these regulations, and how to ascertain how they affect your business.

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Torch I.T. Solutions
23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd Suite H120-237
Katy, Texas 77494