IT network diagrams are critical for small businesses

Why Your Small Business Needs an IT Network Diagram Before Trouble Hits

The more your business’s IT system grows, the more you need an up-to-date network diagram. You or your IT services provider may need it in an urgent troubleshooting situation. And that’s only one of the five reasons to have a network diagram — especially if you’re not an IT expert.

Upgrade to Windows 10 Pro

Small Business Dilemma: Should I Upgrade to Windows 10 From Windows 7?

Microsoft is retiring Windows 7 soon, and small businesses still using it are risking data breaches and deteriorating performance. Waiting until the last minute to upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7 could be risky. Instead, discover a smarter way to handle this and future upgrades.

Phishing attacks target personal financial data of you and your customers

How to Prevent Phishing Attacks: 4 Ways to Protect Your Small Business

Malware-packed phishing emails to small businesses are increasing — because they flat-out work. And the fallout for you and your customers can be catastrophic. Learn to spot typical phishing ploys, and follow four best practices to protect your business from phishing.

Twin Cities small businesses and startups can get free professional research help at the James J. Hill Center

Twin Cities Startups and Small Businesses Can Get Free Professional Research Help

For an entrepreneur, a breakthrough product or service idea is the seed. Research makes it grow. Here’s how Twin Cities startups and small businesses can get professional help researching key business areas, plus some IT areas you’re probably wasting time trying to learn yourself.

The 11-Point IT Security Checklist for Small Businesses

The 11-Point IT Security Checklist for Small Businesses

Giant data breaches at giant corporations make headlines just about every month. But small businesses have become the favorite target of hackers. Fight back: Defend your small business’s IT network by following our annual 11-point IT security checklist.

Selling a Minnesota small business requires preparing your IT infrastructure

Why a Minneapolis Business for Sale Needs to Consider its IT Infrastructure

It’s a seller’s market for Minnesota small businesses. But Andy Kocemba, who counsels small business sellers, says you can still leave big money on the table. Before putting your business on the market, answer four critical questions — one of which relates to your IT infrastructure.

How to Share a Calendar

How to Share a Calendar in Outlook, FindTime, Calendly

Scheduling meetings can be tricky when you run a small business, especially when you include people from outside your business. If you use Microsoft Office, learn how to share your Outlook calendar. Here’s a quick guide, plus tips on two free apps that help you set up meetings quickly.

Press Release: TechGen Alexa App Released

May 1, 2018, Minneapolis, MN We are excited to announce the release of an Official TechGen Amazon Alexa skill.

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Productivity Boosting Apps

We all have favorite apps that we use every day. Here are a few that will make you more productive and efficient.

Jog.ai – This is a neat web service that you can use to take meeting notes for you. Jog.ai acts as a middle-man recording your telephone calls. It not only gives you a high-quality recording, but will also transcribe your call, so it is searchable later. While you’re on a call, you can use the jog.ai web app to ‘mark’ important parts to refer back to later. Best of all, it will “listen” for keywords like “action item” and automatically highlight that part of your call. Just make sure you let the other caller know if you’re talking to someone in a state that requires that kind of notification.

LastPass – Lastpass stores your passwords securely behind a super-strong “master password” and also supports multi-factor authentication to further protect your credentials.  Lastpass syncs between your different computers, and mobile devices, so you can always access your important sites.    Other really useful features;  securely sharing credentials with others, and storing credit card and bank information – automatically filling out web-forms so you don’t need to track down your wallet!

Boomerang – A great plugin for Outlook or gmail.com  Boomerang reminds you to follow up on emails at some point in the future if the recipient doesn’t send you a reply.  But – one of the most powerful features is the ability to “share” preferred meeting dates with someone via email.  For example; if you’re trying to setup a conference call, you can pick a couple of dates/times that are available on your calendar and include those in the message.  Boomerang will automatically send an invite to both of you with the time-slot that the recipient selects.   I find this to be a little more personal than services like Calendly.com

Calendly – This is a great service that automatically syncs with your calendar and creates a simple website that shows your availability.  You can create different “booking templates” for things like 30-minute calls, 60-minute face-to-face meetings.   Calendly will let you specify specific minimum & maximum availability ranges, as well as custom fields that are added to the meeting.    Now when someone says; “Hey are you available next week?”   You can reply with your Calendly link, and they can pick a time that you’re available – that works for them too!

Interested in trying out any of these apps?  We can help you install them and integrate them with your existing systems!  Just contact us and we’ll be happy to help!

TechGen is ISO 27001:2013 Certified

Understanding IT Security Acronyms

PCI-DSS, ISO, HIPAA; you have probably heard many acronyms like these in reference to IT security. There are so many laws and organizations these days, it can be difficult for a person to know where to begin looking. This blog post will help introduce you to the topic so you can consider what might apply […]

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Ransomware and Disaster Recovery

Another large Ransomware attack this month forced an Indiana hospital to pay four Bitcoins, or $55,000. This is unfortunately an increasingly common story, but this one has a twist – they had backups of their data but still chose to pay. Why? Restoring their backups could have taken weeks, and it would have been too […]

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End of Year Scams

It’s the end of the year, and with the holidays wrapping up it means “time to get back to work” for most of us, but it means “time to kick into high gear” for hackers. With many companies running with partial staff, identity thieves see them as prime targets. When employees have extra workloads, they […]

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Identifying a Phishing Email

No matter how secure your network is, the first line of defense is always your employees. They are the gatekeepers to your network – deciding which emails are opened and allowed in. Hackers know that they can’t do anything until they get inside. Just like someone who wasn’t invited to the party, they will pretend to know someone, pretend to be someone else, or make up whatever other lies they can to get inside. In the computer world, those fake and malicious emails are called “phishing emails.” Because of how dangerous they can be, the ability to recognize phishing emails is critical to network security.

Here are some things to look for to help you and your employees determine if an email is legitimate, or a party crasher.

Make sure the email is something you were expecting to get. Unsolicited requests, invoices, and links should be suspicious.
Hover your mouse over every link before you click it. You will see a small popup that tells you where the link goes. Make sure the link goes to the correct place before you click. One way to always be safe is to navigate to the website yourself in your browser and don’t click the link at all.
Double check the email address that the email is coming from. Sometimes fake emails will use addresses similar to real sites (e.g. “Techgem.com” instead of “techgen.com”)
Did they misspell my company name or make other mistakes on the email? Do they use a generic name instead of mine?
Do you know the person sending the email? Is this the type of email they usually send? Look at the signature of the email and make sure it matches their usual signature. If their identity is in doubt, you can always call them and verify the authenticity of the email.
Phishing emails will try to make you click without reading. Check to see if the email implies urgency or extreme importance. For example: “IMMEDIATE ATTENTION – YOUR ACCOUNT WILL BE CLOSED”
Look for misspellings and poor grammar. Many people who send phishing emails don’t speak English as a first language.
There can be other, subtle red flags. For instance, does the email have a strange subject line, signature, or layout?
Sometimes, a legitimate email may have one of the above, but by looking at a combination of the above, you can usually tell a phishing email from a normal one.

Attached below is an example of a real phishing email, with the suspicious features we used to identify it pointed out. Take a look at how we applied the tips mentioned above.

Stay safe out there.

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Multi-Factor Authentication

Once again high profile hacking is in the news. Accounting firm, and security advisor Deloitte was illegally accessed by unnamed hackers last month who had managed to compromise an administrator account and used it to access one of Deloitte’s Microsoft Azure accounts. So far, at least six of their clients have been informed that data including […]

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Simple Ways to Protect Your Online Accounts and Your Business [Updated!]

Its clear that the Equifax breach is a big deal due to the type of information exposed.  We’re sharing some simple tips to protect your personal information, and  protect your business at the same time.  Still relevant a year later!

Using LastPass

Everyone should use a password manager like LastPass, 1Password or Roboform to ensure they’re using separate, complicated passwords on each website visited. This article will specifically show some quick tips/videos about using LastPass.   You’ll primarily use the app through Chrome/IE extension.  The video below will show you how to use it. Creating secure passwords is easy. […]

ISO 27001:2013 ISMS

TechGen Obtains Prestigious ISO 27001:2013 Certification

September 1, 2017
Minneapolis, MN

TechGen is pleased to announce that it has been awarded the ISO 27001:2013 certification.

ISO 20071 is an internationally recognized set of security standards that outlines hundreds of controls designed to protect IT infrastructure as published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). These standards address a wide range of physical, technical, and legal controls relevant to mitigating vulnerabilities and risks to data. The 2013 edition of the standards is the most recent, and most rigorous; addressing policies around access control, business continuity, human resources, incident management, physical security, and technical procedures.

TechGen has demonstrated to A-LIGN, an independent, third-party auditor, that it has technical controls in place and formalized IT Security policies and procedures.  A-LIGN is an ISO / IEC 27001 certification body accredited by the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB) to perform ISMS 27001 certifications.  Customers can be assured that TechGen takes concerns about the safety of their data extremely seriously, and has committed to meeting the highest standards available to protect them. This certification is a demonstration of that commitment to clients. TechGen continues to design, implement, monitor and maintain security controls that protect client information.

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2017 Password Security Recommendations

Everyone has heard a lot about password security, but as of June the suggested practices have changed. With the constantly evolving world of cyber threats in mind, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have gathered a significant body of evidence about what types of passwords work and which ones don’t. A […]