Why update?

Why should I install the updates?

Software updates -otherwise known as patches- perform many tasks. There are updates to the operating system and individual programs and such updates are fundamental for a computer to work correctly. For example, they add new functionality, eliminate outdated features, they update drivers, provide bug fixes and, what is even more important, they repair newly found software vulnerabilities.

The dangers of software vulnerabilities

In general, a software vulnerability is a security weakness detected in an operating system or computer program. Hackers take advantage of such weakness in the sense that they write code to attack it specifically and can package such malicious code inside benign looking files or websites. These vulnerable spots allow a determined attacker to potentially infect your computer without you doing anything other than viewing a website, opening a compromised email or playing infected media.

Once a piece of malware (Malicious Software) infects a computer, the attacker is usually able to steal data, allow him/herself to take control of the victim’s computer, and even set a backdoor in order to be able to regain access on demand.

But not all potential security breaches can be solved with software updates. Some times a company requires a dedicated “guard” to monitor the behavior of users and their data to find and stop attackers in their tracks. Recently there were two serious vulnerabilities found in Office 365 for which an update is not yet available.

For the specific Office 365 case above, IronOak IT is able to offer “Office Protect for Office 365” to its customers, which is a tool that enforces industry standard security policies to minimize the risk of sensitive company data being exfiltrated to the internet and to prevent user account breaches.

So, even though software updates may seem like a nuisance, think of them as a preventive measure to ensure your security on the Internet. The next time a message appears asking you to perform an update, do not hesitate and click on the “Install now” button to remain protected.

The Benefits of Proactive vs Reactive Support

IronOak IT Partner

The number of cyber-attacks that North American companies fall victim of keeps growing every year. Like the now infamous ransomware plagues that unstoppably multiply through infected computers, so do business problems multiply when technical disaster hits.

At an executive level, Reactive technical support is already well known, and is commonly used in most companies. It basically means that when problems arise in the network or operational systems of a business, someone at the company is tasked with finding an expert who can fix the issues. Waiting until things are unusable to call for support is common; decision makers may even feel like they are saving money by only calling an expert during absolute emergencies. Unfortunately, the reactive approach often turns out to be way more expensive, intrusive and time consuming than the method we’ll discuss next.

The Proactive approach is one that guarantees complete monitoring of a business’ hardware, software and network infrastructure. Proactive technical support as its name suggests, anticipates possible failures and problems that may appear in your corporate network, minimizing downtime and maximizing employee efficiency as much as possible. Crashed systems, networks and communications don’t only affect the day to day operations of the modern business, they can also be detrimental to a company’s reputation and overall SEO ranking.

The benefits of proactive support touch all areas of modern computing. IronOak IT for example, can live-monitor your whole business network, including computers and servers, and alert you in the event that a piece of equipment becomes vulnerable to a new threat. Our remote management agent allows us to remotely and automatically patch your systems as required, ensuring that you are always on the latest versions of all your applications and protected against the latest attacks.

In the same way that you run legal contracts past a general counsel, which helps your company stay out of legal trouble, asking your IT partner about technology ideas and changes beforehand can help your business work like a well-oiled machine where the agony of downtime is a thing of the past.

March, fraud prevention month

IronOak IT Fraud Prevention

Cyber fraud is a huge threat to our economy. It is estimated that this type of crime will result in losses of more than $ 2 billion globally in 2019 alone. The National Cyber Security Alliance investigated and found that identity theft is one of the main security concerns in North America. Below are the top six tips that consumers and businesses can follow to prevent cyberattacks from affecting them.

1 – Make a backup of your data. Having regular copies of all your personal and business information can prove to be a life-saver when/if disaster strikes. Ask about IronOak’s remote backup solution and never again worry about backing up your data.

IronOak IT stands with any Canadian business that has been affected by Cybercrime.  We’ll continue to defend and protect our client’s personal and business data and encourage all Canadian IT firms to raise awareness through Fraud Prevention Month in 2019 and in the future.

2 – Keep your software updated. Installing software updates for your devices and programs is essential. Always install the latest security updates for your devices and allow automatic updates for your operating system. Preferably use web browsers such as Chrome or Firefox that receive frequent and automatic security updates.

3 – Be on the lookout for phishing scams. Be aware of suspicious emails and phone calls. Cybercriminals will try to trick you and your employees into disclosing information such as passwords, banking information or company credit card information.

4 – Exercise good password management. Passwords that are 20 characters long, or 10 at least, are strongly recommended. Use a combination of upper and lower case, numbers and special characters (plus, minus, star, etc).; Don’t use the exact same password for multiple sites. Don’t share your passwords with outside parties. If you write them down – lock that paper up, seriously. Change your passwords frequently, at least every 6 months. Using a commercial password manager, like KeePass or LastPass, makes it easier to use strong passwords to access your favorite websites/programs.

5 – Watch where you click. Don’t be quick to trust unknown websites or download just any software. Many professional looking sites and software come bundled with malware that is made just to compromise your computer.

6 – Install antivirus protection. Make sure all your computer systems have a known and reliable antivirus program. IronOak IT offers its own antivirus solution to ensure your business computers are always protected against the latest threats.


6 tips to protect from data breaches

IronOak IT data security

Recent reports of large data breaches are alarming for everyone. Companies worry about the implications of having their financial and personal information leaked. Well-known and established organizations worry about the short and long term effects on their businesses. And smaller organizations worry about when they’ll be next. Two things we know for sure: the cost of a data breach is high and many companies don’t recover from them.

A question commonly heard in boardrooms around the world today is: what can organizations do right now to ensure they don’t fall victim to a data breach? Though many companies have security protocols in place, these don’t necessarily provide an Ironclad solution to defend them against the large variety of modern digital attacks. IronOak IT encourages six critical strategies that all organizations should consider:

1. Patch soon, patch often

A good number of successful attacks simply target vulnerabilities for which patches were already available. While new attacks are a real risk to keep in mind, most intrusions are caused by threats that have existed for weeks, months or even years. It is imperative that companies apply patches to each inventoried device and establish a formal patching and updating protocol. Ideally, the process needs to be automated, tracked and measured.

2. Combine local and global threat intelligence

Advanced threat intelligence allows organizations to reduce the time to detect threats and close the gap between detection and response. This begins by taking advantage of the threat intelligence that is already running on your network inside your firewall. For example, it is recommended that your IT firm install security tools designed to share, correlate information and take coordinated action. This means that when a new attack is discovered in a different continent such as Europe, your technology systems update their protection automatically –  before the attack even reaches Canada.

3. Implement signature-based security tools

The use of an enterprise level firewall takes advantage of security features for you. Most of the vulnerabilities that are typically exploited are already known. Attacks targeting those vulnerabilities can be detected using signatures. Signature-based detection tools allow your IT team to quickly search and block any infiltration attempts, or the execution of an exploit targeting known vulnerabilities.

4. Add behavior-based analysis

Attackers also use advanced techniques such as learning and imitating legitimate traffic patterns to evade detection. Security tools not only need to verify and inspect data and applications that look for malware, but they must also provide insight and in-depth analysis by looking for patterns over a period of time in order to detect malicious intent. Where possible, intelligent security systems must be able to intervene proactively and automatically to neutralize an attack before it has even impacted your technology. For peace of mind, IronOak IT recommends that you confirm with your IT firm that your security systems include behavior analysis.

5. Close web-based attack vectors with web application firewalls

Many threats no longer enter the network through traditional channels. Web-based attacks take advantage of the exponential growth of applications, especially those designed to query and extract information directly in the data center. An effective way to close that gap is through the implementation of a WAF which is specifically designed to provide deep and high-performance inspection of web application traffic far beyond what traditional firewall technology provides.

6. Segment your network

Due to the fluid nature of networked ecosystems and the wide range of applications that use today’s networks and data that flows through them, it is imperative to establish an effective and secure network segmentation that avoids the lateral propagation of threats. The objective is to create a coherent policy that ensures that if a section of your network falls victim to an attack, the rest of your organization can continue normal operations.


The need for a dedicated IT Support team becomes evident when you consider these 6 tips to protect your company from data breaches. Professionals that know the ins and outs of your technology systems are critical in the ever changing world of IT. A dedicated team of experts that plan and deploy security solutions will keep your data secure.

Contact IronOak IT today to ensure your business is protected.

Benefits of an outsourced IT team

IronOak IT outsourced IT
Companies nowadays face the growing need to modernize their processes in order to be more efficient in achieving their objectives. However, for many organizations it is difficult to bring to life, technically and economically, an effective Information Technology department that is able to perform the needed job while at the same time strategically advising the company in the implementation of the appropriate technological and computer solutions for its organizational structure, objectives and strategic goals. One of the benefits of having an external IT firm is that the monthly cost for support is largely known in advance and it always adheres to the structure contracted. This alone can result in direct monthly savings of up to 70%, which allows the company to maintain the infrastructure and resources necessary for an optimal functioning of the organization’s IT area. In this way, costs can be budgeted, planned and controlled in a more accurate manner. By partnering with an external IT support team you can stop worrying about:
  1. Hiring of specialized personnel.
  2. Training for specialized personnel.
  3. Implementation and maintenance of local and remote servers.
An external IT support firm manages to work more efficiently in terms of infrastructure and resources since the business focuses solely and exclusively on information technology. Given the knowledge that being an IT expert requires and the number of experts in an IT organization, an external IT firm will be able to provide solutions and advice on Information Technology in a better way, more quickly and at lower costs than an in-house department. Using best practices and methodologies already adopted and tested in the industry, IronOak IT will perform its tasks with a greater degree of efficiency than your company could do individually. All this translates into a real and significant reduction of your company’s costs while at the same time minimizing system downtime. Because IronOak IT works under the premise of innovation, your company can conveniently take advantage of new technologies that will help you take advantage of innovative solutions, which will give you an edge over your competition. IronOak IT keeps up with the latest technologies by diligently performing constant research and information gathering as well as because of our extensive experience in the field. Contact us today to find out more about what our expert team can do for your business.

The True Cost of slow computers

IronOak IT fix slow pc

A slow PC is more than a test of patience.

A slow computer can hurt employee and team productivity which translates to reduced profits! That consumer-grade machine might seem cheaper while standing at the checkout, but the lifetime cost of these devices is what a business owner should be looking at.

A recent Oxford Economics study where 3,000 businesses were surveyed, shows that employees waste upwards of 48 minutes a day just waiting for their computers to respond. That is a lot time looking at hourglasses and spinning wheels. This same study estimates that slow work computers account for a total of 7.5 billion dollars a year lost in the United States alone. Now imagine the unbelievable sum of money that businesses across the whole world waste for the same reason. This is the true cost of slow computers.

Employees that were interviewed regarding their experience with sub-performing systems reported email as the main cause for workday slowdowns. If this is what employees report, one can easily imagine the client or customer at the other end of the net waiting for an email response that is not coming as fast as it should.

Though it may not be completely obvious, the reality of the matter is that program and app delays add up and add up fast. Not only is this frustrating to the person using such programs but the delays that it causes truly make a difference in every businesses’ balance sheet.

Having a competent IT firm that monitors your systems to ensure that they are always in running order is a trend that modern businesses are starting to catch onto. Big business has known this for years. A good IT support specialist can recommend effective brands for purchase or lease, and will setup the new equipment for you, so you can trust it will run fast and snappy for the next few years. Without your own IT department, External IT support teams are the cost-effective way to keep your computers and other technology running as intended, keeping your employees productive and your business profitable.

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    What is VOIP?

    VOIP stands for Voice Over IP. This is a new communication technology that allows you to make and receive phone calls through the use of the internet.

    VOIP phones do not use the regular twisted-pair copper cable. An IP phone, as they are commonly called, only requires an internet connection in the same way that a computer does.

    Due to the fact that IP phones work digitally, as opposed to analogously, VOIP service providers can offer a wider range of features that allow businesses and their employees to be more productive and efficient in their communications.

    A business that is looking forward to make the move to VOIP must first have a reliable and fast internet connection. Before making the transition to VOIP, companies need to ensure their internet service meets the minimum requirements requested by their VOIP provider.

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