06 Feb 2018

Email Encryption

In some industries, most users want and many users must send encrypted email. What does this mean?

The message must be delivered securely. This is accomplished if the message itself is encrypted, then sent normally, OR, the connection is encrypted and the email sent without encryption. I have been saying for over a year, “Within a very short time there will no longer be options for sending encrypted email – because all mail will be encrypted by default.”

Did you know that all iMessages sent from an iOS device are encrypted? And it’s no burden at all. (That’s why an SMS message on an iOS device shows up green instead of blue. The green ones are not encrypted.)

THREE CHOICES:

The most common option for our clients to send encrypted email is with CipherPost Pro. It provides an add-on to Outlook so you get a Send Secure button next to your Send button. You can also use their website to send/receive secure mail. This is sold on an individual user basis.

An easier albeit more expensive option is Echoworks. All email is sent through their smart host. Their mail server determines if a connection to the recipient’s server can be made securely. If so, the message is sent normally. If not, the recipient receives a link to a secure URL to read the message. Very, very easy. No extra steps. Every email is sent securely unless you put {noencrypt} in the Subject line. This is sold on a domain basis, not by user.

The newest player in this space is Microsoft with their Azure Rights Management offering. It’s inexpensive, works like Echoworx, and is sold on a user basis. Interested? Give us a call to learn about Microsoft Azure Rights Management or just to chat about email encryption.

06 Feb 2018

Outlook Mobile

The Microsoft Outlook app on Android and iOS is awesome. I actually use it on my iPhone and iPad, instead of the built-in Apple mail app. It looks and feels just like Outlook, and puts my calendar into the same app as my email, which is very handy.

If you haven’t tried Outlook Mobile, I highly recommend it, even for just a test day or two. Here’s the latest feature additions.

  • Sync shared calendars
  • Manage delegated calendars
  • Meetup support
  • Event management (see co-workers availability, RSVP and recurrences)
  • Add a message to an invite, set events as private, mark events Busy, Free, etc.

For administrative assistants, these new features make it a breeze to stay informed and maintain the office calendar.

To get the Outlook Mobile app, open the App Store on your iOS device or the Google Play Store on your Android device. Setup is a cinch. Just give it your email address and password after choosing “Exchange” as your mail service type. As always, if you need help, give us a call!

30 Jan 2018

Hello, my name is Clayton Pajot

Hello, my name is Clayton Pajot.

I’m one of the Quo Vadis techs up here in Canada. I live in a small town called Walkerton, Ontario. I’ve been with Quo Vadis for about 6 months now, and it’s been a great experience so far! I grew up in rural towns surrounding the greater Ottawa area, where everyone has the most stereotypical Canadian accent you can think of.

Life moved my family around quite a bit. My Dad owned several businesses in the reclaimed wood industry; he would find old barns and negotiate with the owner to tear it down, bring the wood back to his Wood Yard. Once he cleaned the wood up, he could sell it to those looking to improve their houses or cottages with a rustic look. The business did well for over a decade and allowed my dad to see most of North America driving the wood from place to place.

After leaving high school in 2007, I went up north to a city called North Bay. It’s really not that far north in Canadian terms, but that’s the name. I went there to attend Nipissing University for a Bachelor of Business Administration, thinking I would go into Investing or some such industry. I found out over the course of three years there that I wasn’t enjoying it. I changed majors and minors and tried new courses, and ended up graduating with a Bachelors in Commerce. I was pretty discouraged by my university education. I felt that, though I had the degree, I didn’t want or feel prepared for any job it may help me get.

University did bring me something that I will always be grateful for though; my beautiful and long-suffering wife Priscilla. We met through our church in North Bay, and eventually helped lead our Christian group on campus together. We have been married for over two years now, and have just celebrated the first birthday of our son Arlo. My wife worked in a hospital for almost a year, while I was trying to find steady work to support my family. Discouraged, we wondered what God had in store for us. At church one day, a woman mentioned that an IT company in Teeswater, Ontario was hiring. This seemed odd to me as Teeswater is basically 35 people and a dairy creamery surrounded by 100 kilometers of fields, but it intrigued me, and I felt like it was something I could do.

I went to meet David McDonald and see the Quo Vadis office. We talked for almost an hour about everything Quo Vadis was, and how I could contribute to this company. They said they would train me in-house, show me the ropes of IT, and imbue me with real-life skills that would be useful no matter where I end up. I got the job over 6 months ago and since then I’ve learned a lot, met great people on both sides of the border, and get to work a job I actually enjoy! I hope this gave you a chance to learn a little more about me.

Sincerely,
Clayton

30 Jan 2018

The Demise of the Server

Over the past 20 years, we have seen the server become a normal fixture in the Small Business environment. At times there have been multiple servers handling file storage, email and printer sharing.

In the past decade we have helped migrate the mail to the cloud, as Office 365 has blossomed into one of, if not, the largest online mail service. The subscription service for the Office software was next, eliminating the need for CDs and Product Keys.

The latest is the OneDrive attack against Google Docs and Google Drive. Now Office on the Web is mainstream and sharing a Word doc is a breeze. 1Tb of storage comes with nearly every flavor of 365, and adding a 365 Group yields yet another terabyte. Laptops with limited storage are no longer a pain to use, as everything is available, by connecting to the cloud.

So where does this lead our businesses?

Printers that connect wirelessly or via Ethernet are standard these days, and sharing them from a central server is not as necessary as it was when we used serial cables or USB connections. The mail and the files are “up there,” so what’s left? SECURITY.

Without central management of network security, we return to the dark ages. We were forced to create user accounts on multiple devices to share printers and keep the passwords consistent. If you forgot your password, you had better know the admin password. Security was more of a speed bump we had to deal with, rather than a lifesaver for our business and reputations.

Microsoft is moving businesses to the Azure Active Directory. With your AD in the cloud, the last need for a physical server evaporates. When will this become mainstream for the SMB space? Not today or tomorrow. There are other challenges, such as software that must be shared locally, but keep watching. Your business has evolved in your industry… and it continues to evolve in IT. We’re happy to come along for the ride.

30 Jan 2018

OneDrive Perks

Everything I work on is shared on one of four 365 OneDrives. I have my personal terabyte and Quo Vadis has three other 365 Groups of which I am a member. 4Tb of space without any additional cost. This is the wonder of the 365 space.

I’m reminded of Microsoft Word’s first foray into the marketplace. It was a disaster. WordPerfect was king, and it kept that crown for a long time with all its templates and macros to merge docs. But when Microsoft returned with Word 2.0, the world was flipped on its head. WordPerfect was sold to three other companies before finally disappearing.

Microsoft Word became the de facto standard for word processing in the business world. This was followed closely by the downfall of Quattro Pro, Symphony and Lotus 1-2-3 all fell to the mighty Microsoft Excel.

File Move is a new Office 365 feature. With File Move, you can now move files between locations in Office 365 – including personal files and shared sites – while preserving the full fidelity of version history and document metadata.

OneDrive for Business File Hover Card is new. With File Hover Card, as soon as you hover your mouse over a file you will be able to see file details such as access stats like number of views, who viewed, and who modified.

08 Jan 2018

Webroot Updates Coming!

Many of you are now protected by the Webroot anti-malware agent we’ve installed last year. During the month of January we will be activating the features listed below to your devices.  Just like the at the airport, increasing security can have some unintended consequences.  Some of these features could bring to the forefront latent issues that have been around for a while. If that’s the case, give us a call and we will have the matter addressed.

Scan Schedule

Your computer is scanned for malicious software, during a time of reduced activity.  We will be setting your machine to preform a scan at 6PM.  All you need to do is ensure that your PC remains on for the evening and the scan will work fine.  

Firewall

A basic security feature of a computer is the firewall.  This should never be disabled as a fix for ‘something not working right’.  However, we have noticed some PCs have had their firewalls turned off.  Going forward, Webroot will ensure the firewall is always active.

Web Threat Shield

This blocks known threats encountered on the Internet and displays a warning. The Web Shield maintains information on more than 200 million URLs and IP addresses to comprise the most accurate and comprehensive data available for classifying content and detecting malicious sites.

When you run an Internet query such as a Google search, SecureAnywhere shields modify the results display with icons that give you safety information about each website returned as a result of the search.

Identity Shield

The Webroot SecureAnywhere Identity Shield protects you from identity theft and financial loss. It ensures that your sensitive data is protected, while safe-guarding you from keyloggers, screen-grabbers, and other information-stealing techniques. If the shield detects any malicious content, it blocks the site and opens an alert.

Recycle Bin

How long a security scan by Webroot takes is a function a few factors, one being how many files are stored on your PC.  To improve this performance, we have set the recycle bin to be emptied every weekend.  

If you ever receive a pop up which does not make sense to you, please do not hesitate to reach out to us so we can investigate.

08 Jan 2018

How Long Can You Afford?

So much has changed… I recall sitting down with one of our long-time clients and describing the USB backup concept using two USB drives and swapping them out weekly. I explained that the drives would cost less than $100 a piece and there was no monthly fee. Simple and effective (back then.)

I was surprised when he told me that he couldn’t afford it! Really? He had been pounding away on his calculator (yes, he IS a CPA) and confidently knew that his firm could not afford to lose a week’s worth of data. This man knows his business and his profit structure. Few do. We reworked his backup strategy to accommodate his needs. Fast forward a decade or more… The issue now is not whether we have a current backup. The data is no longer the issue. Today we need to reconstruct the environment. Having the QuickBooks data is worthless without a QuickBooks server… Having the SoftPro data is useless without the SoftPro server…

The experts call this concept Maximum Tolerable Downtime (MTD). These experts believe that the threats out there today are inevitable. Whether it’s data theft, misuse, ransomware or failure, it’s going to happen sooner or later. We have our vulnerability scans on sale during 2018 Q1. Cisco did a study in 2016 of how long you can expect your business to be down, in the event of a breach. Odds are you’ll be down for a day…

We view your backup strategy in three phases:

First is data backup. Almost inconsequential now. Our ability to restore a single file or folder of data quickly and easily. The backup window describes how long between each backup. The restore window is more important. It defines how long it would take to restore all of the backed up data. In the case of an encryption virus, this can be a long time.

Second is business continuity. How long can your business be down before losses or reputation damage is irreparable? Mirrored servers and hourly backups allow us to provide near immediate fail-over for your business.

Finally, disaster recovery provides for a complete replacement of your office infrastructure to keep your business going while replacements are made.

Each of these incremental steps have a cost. It’s like buying insurance for your business (a question we often receive) and how much it’s worth. There’s no right or wrong answer, it’s an individual decision, with which you must live. Let’s have an informed conversation about it. Call the Help Desk and choose option 2 for Wise Counsel, or email admin@quo.cc to get a quote.

08 Jan 2018

The EV Revolution

If you haven’t been watching, the automotive world is being rocked. The first successful American automobile manufacturer in 60 years is now worth more than General Motors. Elon Musk’s Tesla is giving the old guard a run for their money.

I purchased a Tesla Model S 100D three months ago. My first two months yielded zero fuel cost. Model S owners have unlimited, lifetime charging for free (at this time.) Tesla has proven that electric cars don’t have to be wimpy or severely limited in distance. My Model S, all wheel drive can go nearly 400 miles on a single charge and goes from 0 to 60 in about 3 seconds. (Which makes my grandkids giggle.)

The Model S is different from any other car I’ve driven. It’s like being on the monorail at the airport, heading to the distant car rental lots. The car is quiet – almost too quiet. The cabin has the sound dynamics of a recording studio. Unlike an ICE (internal combustion engine) car, the Tesla does better in city driving than on the highway. The stop-and-go traffic in the city uses the regenerative brakes to recharge the battery. You can actually head to the store and come back with more charge than when you left the house!

The back seat of the Model S is unbelievably roomy. There’s no hump on the floor in the middle. The back seat floor is flat all the way across. There’s no drive train to hide. In fact, when you open the hood, there’s no engine inside! This is called the “frunk” by Tesla, the front trunk. Open the frunk to add windshield washer fluid – the only fluid in the car. No oil, no brake fluid, no transmission fluid, and best of all – no emissions. The Model S has front and rear storage totaling a massive 32 cubic feet of luggage capacity. That’s more cargo space than the Grand Caravan, Nissan Quest and Kia Sedona. And nearly as much as the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna!

Remote Control

The recent cold spell has me using the Tesla app on my mobile phone to pre-heat the car. This can be done inside the garage because there is no carbon monoxide. In fact, there is no tailpipe! I can use the app to “Summon” the Model S. When summoned, the car opens my garage door, pulls itself onto the driveway, and closes the garage door! Unbelievable. When I get home, it will park itself in the garage, by itself, and close the garage door.

Bio-Weapon Defense Mode?

Model S features a medical grade HEPA air filtration system, which removes at least 99.97% of particulate exhaust pollution and effectively all allergens, bacteria and other contaminants from cabin air. The bioweapon defense mode creates positive pressure inside the cabin to protect occupants. I like that when driving behind the billowy black smoke of some big rigs.

Adaptive Lighting

Model S has full LED adaptive headlamps. 14 three-position LED dynamic turning lights improve visibility at night, especially on winding roads. Great when heading to the mountains for the weekend.

The Model S is a driver’s car. The gem of the interior is the 17 inch touchscreen which looks like a giant iPad. It puts rich content at your fingertips and provides mobile connectivity so you can easily find your destination, favorite song or a new restaurant. Bluetooth connectivity to your mobile phone is a snap. The roof is a solid piece of glass, providing a stunning view of the Carolina blue sky.

The winds of change are upon us, folks. Hop in and take a spin!

08 Jan 2018

It’s All About Security

Everybody and every publication is finally pushing the need for tighter security. What’s lacking in much of what you read is the balance necessary between security and usability. If we make the network so secure that our teams can’t get any work done, it’s useless.

This year, Quo Vadis will be encouraging our clients to embrace Microsoft’s Password Guidance. Many of you may be reading in your own trade journals about the idea of passwords with no expiration. We agree! Our goal is password diversity to provide the best security. Today’s general password policies actually do the opposite of our intended goal.

A University of North Carolina study found 17% of new passwords could be guessed in five tries or less, given the old password. And almost 50% could be guessed in a few seconds of un-throttled guessing! So much for diversity.

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is crucial to the security plans of the future. By way of reminder, two-factor authentication uses two out of three factors to confirm your identity.

  1. Something you know (like your password)
  2. Something you have (like your mobile phone)
  3. Something you are (like your face or fingerprint)

I use 2FA for my Amazon account, my online banking, my email, remote access… everything I can. You should too!

Here are our recommendations to move forward.

  1. Don’t use your business credentials outside work.
  2. Use two-factor authentication whenever possible.
  3. Use biometrics whenever possible.
  4. Invest in a password manager.
  5. Don’t store passwords in your browser.
  6. Don’t reuse passwords!
  7. Keep your operating system and application software updated. (We can do this for you.)

 

We will be reaching out to you shortly to remove your password expirations.

04 Aug 2016
data security

Data Security Class

We are protecting your digital assets with firewalls, passwords and other digital methods. We detect intrusion attempts and virus attacks with special software that runs on the firewall and your workstations. We respond to your calls when you have a problem or when we a problem is detected. Between protection, detection and response, which is the most important? We believe it’s detection – as would you if you didn’t detect a large man with a big knife was standing over your bed at until you opened your eyes!! The best investment you can make in your security is to train your staff. Give them the tools and training necessary to detect attempted data breeches by signing up for our Security Awareness class. The content is updated with current events and true stories all the time. 

The class is 1 hour long, $250 for 1-25 people.