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  • Eight ways to grow email lists for small businesses

    Posted on June 29th, 2020 at 01:00 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    SMALL BUSINESS

    By Nathan Segal

    According to Maria Veloso, author of Web Copy That Sells, most small companies tend to put too much focus on one-time sales, even if they don’t intend to.

    Which could mean leaving lots of repeat business on the table.

    Staying in contact with clients and customers is an important tool for small firms with limited marketing funds and resources. Subscription-based email lists are a relatively easy way to stay in touch. Regular, well-crafted messages remind customers that you have new products and services they might like to know about.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.25.0 (2020-06-29).

  • COVID-19: Protecting your customers

    Posted on May 11th, 2020 at 01:05 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    SMALL BUSINESS COMPUTING

    By Amy Babinchak

    As an IT-services firm that often works directly with our clients, we’ve had to develop policies for safely returning to the field.

    Those policies aren’t just for our safety; they are also designed to give our clients the comfort and confidence needed to let us back into their offices. (This is a two-way street; we must be assured that the customer has plans for our safety, too.)

    This requirement isn’t unique to IT firms — every service business needs to establish post-pandemic plans for working with customers, face to face.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.18.0 (2020-05-11).

  • Managing remote workers

    Posted on April 13th, 2020 at 01:05 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    SMALL BUSINESS COMPUTING

    By Amy Babinchak

    These past few weeks have been difficult on everyone, but they’re taking an additional toll on IT professionals.

    These pros have been putting in long hours helping users get set up to work from home. For example, my techs have been working 14-hour days seven days a week to get the businesses we support back on their feet.

    Fortunately, we have some experience with remote work. My staff has always spent about 70 percent of their workday in their home offices and about 30 percent at our clients’ locations. Now they’re working 100 percent from home.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.14.0 (2020-04-13).

  • RIP FTP: There’s a better way to share files

    Posted on February 17th, 2020 at 01:15 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    SMALL BUSINESS

    By Amy Babinchak

    Back in June of last year, I wrote about how Microsoft finally got its OneDrive cloud-storage service right.

    Today, I’m happy to report on the death of the classic, if somewhat cumbersome, File Transfer Protocol (FTP) — and how its end came at the hands of OneDrive for Business’s new Request Files feature. Let’s have a moment of silence for the ancient FTP’s passing.

    Fortunately, we might be able to put the last nail in FTP’s coffin — and rely instead on the new Receive files feature in OneDrive for Business (more info).

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.7.0 (2020-02-17).

  • How we automated the Win7 ESU-purchase process

    Posted on February 10th, 2020 at 01:05 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    SMALL BUSINESS

    By Amy Babinchak

    At Harbor Computer Services, we specialize in providing IT services to small businesses with between one and 100 computer users.

    An important part of those services is helping customers modernize their business processes by effectively using applications and tools provided with their Microsoft 365 subscription. Often, this entails automating repetitive office tasks — an approach we also apply in our own business. Here’s an example.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.6.0 (2020-02-10).

  • Patch Lady – forget that crypto one, worry about this one

    Posted on January 14th, 2020 at 21:41 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    If you are a IT consultant or admin with an Essentials 2012 (or later) server, or use the RDgateway role and expose it over port 443 to allow users to gain access to RDweb or their desktops, forget that crypt32.dll bug.  This one is one to worry about.

    Impacts 2012 and above – so no impact to SBS 2011 or SBS 2008, yes to Essentials 2012 and higher.

    Essentials 2012 exposes RDgateway over port 443 and 3389 is not open to the web (well, not normally) but given that this is a pre-authentication exploit, all an attacker has to do is to throw that crafted request to port 443 rather than 3389 (assuming I’m reading this right).

    So if you patch SMB servers that use RDgateway, worry about patching those servers this time faster than you would normally do.

    https://portal.msrc.microsoft.com/en-US/security-guidance/advisory/CVE-2020-0609

    A remote code execution vulnerability exists in Windows Remote Desktop Gateway (RD Gateway) when an unauthenticated attacker connects to the target system using RDP and sends specially crafted requests. This vulnerability is pre-authentication and requires no user interaction. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could execute arbitrary code on the target system. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.

    To exploit this vulnerability, an attacker would need to send a specially crafted request to the target systems RD Gateway via RDP.

    (edit:  for anyone asking, 2008 R2 is not vulnerable and thus SBS 2011 is not vulnerable.  It’s only vulnerable on Server 2012 and later, remember SBS 2011’s base operating system drops out of support today)

  • When moving to the cloud goes really badly

    Posted on December 16th, 2019 at 01:00 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    CLOUD SERVICES

    By Amy Babinchak

    Cloud computing is revolutionizing IT for small businesses, but there are still many skeptics.

    That surprises me as an IT consultant and provider. A well-implemented cloud environment can provide highly productive computing solutions, detailed security, and a boost to a company’s bottom line.

    Unfortunately, cloud services are not immune from botched installations. Recently, I was called in to investigate and repair a shockingly shoddy cloud implementation — easily the worst I’d ever seen.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.46.0 (2019-12-16).

  • Patch Lady – if you use a IT consultant

    Posted on December 9th, 2019 at 18:54 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    If you use an IT consultant please please please forward them this post by Amy Babinchak on what a Managed Service Provider should do to audit their own internal processes:

    http://techgenix.com/msps-internal-security-audit/

    Hackers, attackers are targeting consultants because they know they can hit a lot of people with one targeted attack.  Just the other day Krebs on Security reported that 100 small dentist offices were impacted by ransomware after their IT consultant was targeted.

    If you don’t use an IT consultant and instead do your own IT, make sure you think about the vendors and services you use for online activities and think about ways to add two factor authentication to sensitive information.  Add two factor to your bank access.  If you use hosted email, check with your ISP or vendor if they support two factor.  Just the other day I got an alert that my Xfinity had been logged in from an Ubuntu device.  I do HAVE an ubuntu device but I sure wasn’t logging into Xfinity from it.  I quickly added two factor it that account as well.

    Need two factor for remote desktop?  Check out duo.com

    Need a third party app that supports multiple vendors?  Check out authy.com

    Bottom line make sure that you protect accounts and log ins that you can’t live without and make sure they have extra protections.

    They are out to get you.