Cybersecurity starts first, and foremost, with people. Even with a secure perimeter, the people using the network can introduce risks to the environment. Teaching your employees what to look out for and where their responsibilities lie are the first steps to closing the security gaps and lessen the chances of your business falling victim to a vicious attack.

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Once you’ve decided to work remotely, you may find it difficult to stay in sync with the rest of your team back in the office.  Digital workforce infrastructure has been engineered for decades to provide a stable foundation for your office, but now that you’re outside of your firewall you may find yourself as frustrated as a hacker would be when trying to access your company’s documents.  While you may still be able to email back and forth with your coworkers, you can’t easily update your shared files, see who’s available to receive an incoming call, or update a customer’s order status.

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Working remotely may seem rather quick and easy. You head on over to your local coffee shop, order your triple-shot, half-caff, no foam, extra hot latte and sit at your favorite table in the corner.  You double check to make sure no one is looking over your shoulder, pop open your laptop and get to work. Right? Well, it’s actually a little more complicated than that. Staying secure in a non-secure work place comes with some much needed extra steps to keep your company data away from prying eyes.

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So what exactly would the Modern Office be considered nowadays? Just like Tamagotchis and Blockbuster Video, working full-time in an office seems to be a thing of the past. Telecommuting, or working from home, has increased in the workforce by 115% over the past 13 years -with most employees spending at least 50% of their time working remotely. All of the technology changes over the past years have made it easier to work not only from an office, but right from your home.

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Do you currently have VoIP or contemplating getting VoIP?  VoIP is a finicky technology to set up.  If not done correctly, you can have all sorts of quality issues with the service.  Before we go over some technological symptoms of VoIP being set up incorrectly, let’s first define what VoIP is.  VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol which is voice calls are going to be traversing the Public Internet as data packets (emails and surfing the net are data packets).  This method is not your traditional phone service going over copper lines and is rising in popularity in today’s business landscape.

If you have VoIP and you are experiencing call quality issues such as echoes, dropped calls, voice sounding mechanical, delayed dialogue, and dialogue cutting in and out then chances are, the type of Internet connection is the issue and you probably have a Public Internet connection such as DSL, UVerse, Cable, or Wideband.  There are many factors that affect call quality in a Public Internet Access.  The following link describes Latency, Jitter, and Packet Loss and how it affects call quality with VoIP calls:
http://www.dslreports.com/faq/12257 (or on following pages)

Public Internet Access is not the correct vehicle for VoIP because the internet cloud levels for Latency, Jitter, and Packet Loss are too high.  The best vehicle for VoIP is MPLS.  Below is a link on MPLS technology and VoIP:
http://ezinearticles.com/?MPLS-and-Its-Role-With-VoIP&id=1609433

MPLS is the technology behind our privately owned IP Backbone and it is a Telephone Company technology only – not Cable’s.  It is not only a labeling technology which allows us to recognize and prioritize certain data packets, but it rides on our private backbone which is provisioned to control the threshold of Latency, Jitter, and Packet loss (controlling these thresholds are also known as Quality of Service or QoS). Therefore keeping these levels low enough to not affect call quality. We cannot control these levels or recognize CoS (prioritization of data packets is called Class of Service or CoS in our industry) in the Public Internet Cloud.  AT&T has the largest IP backbone not only in the US but the largest in the world and therefore your VoIP calls will be going across this “Private Pipe” instead of the internet – the correct way to handle VoIP to maintain call quality and integrity.

There is a common misnomer that increasing bandwidth will address the VoIP issues.  There are much more to VoIP quality than bandwidth.  Bandwidth may mask the underlying issue and is like a finger in the dam if you experienced these symptoms. Please remember, at the end of the day, increased bandwidth on Public Internet access is still going across the Public Internet.  If you are experiencing these issues and still are even though you have increased your bandwidth or you are contemplating going to VoIP and are interested in learning more about MPLS, please reach out to me and we can set up a time for a consultation.

LINH NGUYEN (WINN)
Senior Fiber Specialist – Fiber Solutions
AT&T National Business
Mobility (Cell phones, Plans, Business Applications, etc.), Wire Line Solutions (Basic Office Lines, T1’s, Fiber, MPLS, Hosting/Collocations, Cloud Computing, etc.), and Cyber Security (Network Security: Premise & Network Based Firewalls, DDOS+Intellectual Property+Customer Data Protection, Vulnerability Scanning, Endpoint Security, Prevention Consulting, Monitoring, Detections, Threat Management, and Incident Response and Forensics)
Direct: 512-571-7949
Fax: 512-623-7734
Email: [email protected]

 

 

So you’ve decided to entertain the notion of VoIP (Voice over IP). Now comes the difficult part – the decision making. From a phone vendor’s point of view, their goal is to make a sale. With that being said, we unfortunately live in a world where you come across phone vendors who will say whatever they need to say in order to achieve that goal. Here are some of the things you need to be aware of so you don’t get hoodwinked into making the decisions that don’t work best for your company.

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In our last post we talked about the Pros and Cons of moving your systems to the cloud vs. keeping them in your office.

As you can see, it can really be a toss-up. Some systems are better kept at your office and some should be moved to the cloud. It really depends on your business’s current and future needs.

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Almost every day we hear of a new way hackers are stealing personal information from the public. They are creating so many new ways to exploit us that it’s almost impossible for the security vendors to keep up. This underlines the fact that the best way to try and remain malware free is, and probably always will be, to practice safe computing habits.

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How nice is it to come home to a well-lit house and the cool A/C on a hot summer day? Smart devices seem to be the easy fix for the little things in life with all of our busy schedules taking up so much of our time. While some of these devices are being put into place to help keep our homes secure, we might be inviting more danger in without even knowing it.

Recent studies have found that almost any Tom, Dick or Harry can hack a smart device within 30 minutes. All they need is access to the internet and the make and model of the device in question. “Using these devices in our lab, we were able to play loud music through a baby monitor, turn off a thermostat and turn on a camera remotely, much to the concern of our researchers who themselves use these products.” – Dr. Yossi Oren

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Ok, we’re going to get a little conspiracy / someone-is-watching-me crazy right now………

If you have a device with a camera that can access – or be accessed from – the Internet, then you may have a physical security problem. Someone may be watching you. Someone may be listening to your sensitive conversations.

 

You’re probably now thinking, “You’re right, you are going a little crazy!”

How many of your co-workers are walking around with an unsecured Android or iPhone that is listening for voice commands? How many of these devices have been in meetings when you were talking about very sensitive issues?

If you’d like to follow us down the path of paranoia, just do a web search for “hack android microphone.”

 

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