Convert a User Mailbox to a Shared Mailbox in Microsoft 365

How to Convert a User Mailbox to a Shared Mailbox in Microsoft 365

How to Convert a User Mailbox to a Shared Mailbox in Microsoft 365

After converting your regular mailbox to a shared mailbox in Microsoft 365, you retain all your existing calendars and email. The only difference is that it will be visible to several people. You can convert your shared mailbox back to private in the future. It promotes teamwork and convenience.

How to Convert a User Mailbox to a Shared Mailbox in Microsoft 365

Some of the most important things to know when converting from user mailbox to shared mailbox include:

  • The user mailbox you wish to convert must have a license -assigned to it before you can convert it to a shared mailbox. If it does not, you may not find the option to convert it. If you removed the license, add it back first. You can remove it back later.
  • Do not delete your old user’s account as you will need it to anchor your shared mailbox
  • With a shared mailbox, you can enjoy up to 500GB of data without a license. If you want more data, you must have a license assigned.

You can convert regular mailbox to shared mailbox by following these steps:

  1. Find the Admin option after logging in to your Microsoft 365 account
  2. Find the option ‘Active Users’ under the Admin option
  3. Choose the user you wish to convert and click on the option ‘Mail Settings’
  4. Click ‘Convert to shared mailbox.’
  5. Click ‘Convert’ to finish the process

Using the Exchange Admin Center

  1. Find the option ‘Exchange Admin Center
  2. Click on the option ‘Recipients’ and then ‘Mailboxes.’
  3. Find the user mailbox and select ‘Convert’ under ‘Convert to shared mailbox.’
  4. If the mailbox is less than 50GB, remove the license from the user. Stop paying for it, but do not delete your user’s account. If you are converting it for a previous employee, check to ensure that they have no other way of logging in.

Converting the Mailbox of Deleted User

If you wish to convert the mailbox of a deleted user, follow these steps to complete the process:

  1. Restore the deleted account
  2. Ensure that it has an assigned Microsoft 365 license
  3. Reset the password and wait for the mailbox to be created again
  4. Convert it to a shared mailbox and remove the license from the user mailbox
  5. Start adding members

Converting a Shared Mailbox to a Regular Mailbox

You can convert your shared mailbox back to a regular mailbox by following these steps:

  1. Login to your account as admin and find the Microsoft 365 Admin Center
  2. Click ‘Exchange’
  3. Find the options ‘Recipients’ and then ‘Shared’
  4. Click on the shared mailbox
  5. Click ‘Convert’
  6. Click ‘Convert to regular mailbox.’
  7. You will receive a warning message asking for confirmation.
  8. Click ‘Yes’

You must assign a license for the mailbox after conversion. You must also reset the password. The conversion can take a lot of time. When it is done, you will receive a completion message. Click ‘Close.’

After signing into Microsoft 365 again, you will find all the data from your shared mailbox.

In conclusion, Microsoft 365 is great for both regular and shared mailboxes. They all have unique features and benefits. A shared mailbox is an inbox type that allows you and other members of your team to send and receive emails from a similar address. It is a great option for companies that wish to promote teamwork. Since all members can respond to emails in the address, sharing work is easy.

If you wish to switch from user to shared mailbox, you can complete the process in a few simple steps. During the migration process, your data remains secure and integrated.

What Does $150K Ransomware Payment Say About Your Cybersecurity?

Ransomware Payment

$150K Ransomware Payment

A recent news piece published by Tech Republic highlights the discouraging reasons why too many businesses fall prey to hackers and pay ransoms for their digital property. Perhaps nothing adds insult to injury quite like someone burglarizing your organization and then making you pay for their crime.

A recent $150,000 ransom paid in Bitcoin to regain control of one small business’s digital assets reveals why so many cybercrimes go unreported. As staggering as the data breach statistics are, they may just be the tip of the spear. Security journalist Karen Roby conducted a Q&A with an unidentified CFO who made the decision to set aside pride and succumb to a hacker’s demands.

“His company chose not to get authorities involved given the value that was at stake, and the company’s immediate need to gain back control of its network,” Roby reportedly stated. “We’re hoping his first-hand account will help you better understand what these types of ransomware attacks look like and give you an idea of how to better protect your own organization.”

Ransomware Payment

How Do Ransomware Attacks Happen?

Ransomware attacks rank among the more prevalent methods used by digital thieves. The underlying strategy mirrors that of taking someone hostage and demanding payment from loved ones for their safe return.

In these cases, a company’s digital assets are taken hostage by inserting malicious software that effectively gives hackers total control of a network. Email remains the most-used delivery system. When someone in an organization gets tricked into clicking on a link or downloading a file, the ransomware application enters the network and hackers take control of the system and devices.

In order to regain control, cyber-thieves demand payment — typically in Bitcoin — in exchange for a decryption code. Like real-life hostage-taking, paying ransoms does not necessarily ensure the criminals will hold up their end of the bargain. Sometimes ransom-payers never receive the code. Other times, hackers delete systems to wipe away any digital fingerprints.

Why Some Decision-Makers Pay Ransoms

A ZDNet article called “Ransomware attacks: Why and when it makes sense to pay the ransom,” highlights why more businesses pony up rather than contacting the authorities. Written by Larry Dignan, the piece points out that the decision often comes down to cold financial calculations.

“Now paying ransomware is likely to go against conventional wisdom. The practice may also make you throw up in your mouth,” Dignan reportedly states. “However, there are real costs to having your company or city dead in the water for days. Paying ransomware should be viewed as any other business decision.”

In the case of the Tech Republic Q&A, the small business promptly contacted a third-party IT professional to assess the potential fallout of not paying the hacker’s demand. A quick review of the outfit’s digital assets revealed that the cybercriminal did not necessarily have control of what many consider to be the most valuable data. These typically include the following.

  • Banking information
  • Healthcare records
  • Personal identity information such as Social Security numbers
  • Intellectual property files

“The third party that we spoke to that were acting as our agent between us and the hackers. They said, ‘This is strange. You don’t really have anything they can hold over your head other than just stopping your business.’ But we engaged them quickly,” the ransomware victim reportedly said. “Ironically, they worked straight through on a Sunday to help us and by Monday morning we were in full agreement, and they began the conversation with the hacker group to see what we could get done.”

The third-party negotiated the ransom of $400,000 down to $150,000 in what took on the appearance of a corporate contract negotiation. The process revealed that some hackers conduct themselves like ordinary businesspeople. An encryption code was delivered, luckily, and this criminal outfit even offered tech support to the victimized company if they ran into problems getting computers back online.

“Yeah. I mean, if anything has made me laugh about this whole situation is that it’s just the selective morality of, ‘Hey, we know we’ve robbed you of money and your files and held you at our whim, but by the way, we’re here to help 1-800 …’ It’s unbelievable,” the victim reportedly said.

The Tech Republic’s microcosm looks at why organizations pay ransomware demands points out that some are overly reliant on their network. Failure to have a go-to backup system or secure digital assets that can be leveraged leaves industry leaders with a hard choice. Either pay up or sustain even greater financial losses. Bitcoin payouts are the hidden cost of subpar cybersecurity.

What’s the Best Way to Switch IT Managed Service Providers?

Switch IT Service Companies

The Best Way to Switch IT Managed Service Providers

The COVID-19 lockdowns have naturally changed how many organizations and companies operate. Educational institutions are embracing virtual classes, events that were previously held in person are now fully virtual, and a whopping 98% of employees worked from home to avoid spreading the novel coronavirus. Sadly, not all IT managed service providers were able to keep up with their customers’ needs during this challenging time, leading disaffected business owners to search for new IT managed services that can handle a company’s current and future IT challenges.

While finding a competent IT service is imperative, it’s also vital to know how to change companies without disrupting your current IT operations. The following are some expert tips that can help a company transition to a new IT service safely and smoothly.

Switch First

Don’t tear up your contract with your current IT managed service provider until you find another provider that can take their place. Furthermore, you’ll need your new provider to get to work on your IT set-up right away. Once your new IT service has everything under control, you can pull the plug on your former IT service.

What does this operation entail? Here are some steps you’ll need to take to make sure your business is ready to switch IT managed services:

  • Make sure you have all your login information and administrative access to all your accounts. Any decent IT managed service will provide you with this information even before you ask for it. Sadly, some subpar services try to hold onto your information to force you to continue to work with them.
  • Have your new company do a thorough cybersecurity assessment of your business to ensure there are no back doors that former IT technicians can use to gain access to your valuable company information.
  • Let your staff members know that you will be changing IT managed services by a specific date. Inform them of new protocols that will be put in place once you make the switch.
  • Schedule IT training sessions with your new managed IT service as soon as possible so your staff members can learn how to master new programs and cybersecurity rules quickly and easily.

What Does a Good Managed IT Service Look Like?

Selecting the right IT managed service provider to replace your current IT service is no easy task. Here are some tips that can help you make smart decisions.

  • Make sure the IT managed service is familiar with your industry.
  • Look up reviews online and ask prospective IT managed services to provide references from clients they have worked with in the past.
  • Ask about the pay structure. It should be a fixed monthly price, with allowance to scale services as the need arises.
  • Make sure the IT service can meet not only your current but also future needs.
  • Choose an IT service provider that puts a premium on cybersecurity services. Data breaches are becoming more commonplace than ever, with more than eight billion records exposed in the first quarter of 2020 alone.

Switching IT managed services can be challenging. It shouldn’t be done in a hurry; at the same time, you shouldn’t hesitate to find a new service provider if your current one is unable to meet your present and future needs. Do careful research to ensure your new provider is the best fit for your business and then start the transition process before notifying your current IT company that you will no longer use its services. Doing so will protect your business from disruptions while improving your IT efficiency and security.

Switch IT Service Companies

Microsoft Edge Browser FAQ

Microsoft Edge Browser

Have You Tried The Microsoft Edge Browser?

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer has been around from the early beginnings of the World-Wide Web. Over the years, it was sometimes immersed in controversy since it was “built into” some previous Windows versions. Well, not quite, since knowledgeable users knew how to install other browsers. But when Windows 10 came along, along with it came a new browser, Microsoft Edge. Below are some interesting, frequently asked questions.

Microsoft Edge Browser

What Great Things Can Microsoft Edge Do?

The following wonderful features exist on the newest Chromium-based version of Microsoft Edge, released January 15, 2020.

  • It has a new Collections feature that helps organize favorite webpages.
  • Web Note allows you to annotate web pages you find with a pen, highlighter, or typed notes. You can even do artful doodling on those pages, then save them in Edge or into MS OneNote.
  • It natively supports 4K video viewing, Dolby Audio, and Dolby Vision.
  • It runs on and syncs passwords, favorite websites, and settings on macOS, iOS, and Android. A Linux version is also rumored to be in the works for release later in 2020.
  • We are all familiar with horizontal web page tabs, but Edge also has an option to make them vertical, which is great for having lots of tabs open at the same time.
  • When you use passwords, Password Monitor will check autofill passwords against a database to see if they are in use elsewhere.
  • As with all great browsers, Edge also has a Privacy Mode.

Does Microsoft Edge Have Good Internet Protection?

The World-Wide Web, the wild-wild-West of the Internet, danger lurks all around. Cyber-thieves could use adware, malvertising, pharming, formjacking attacks, and man-in-the-middle browser attacks. Webpages may have malicious or poorly programmed scripts able to harm your computer and compromise your security. MS Edge is one of the major browsers in use, so all the reputable security software companies work together with Microsoft to create safe, seamless browsing experiences. Microsoft is continually being attacked from all sides, so its products are always being updated whenever issues are discovered.

Even if you were to accidentally lose or turn off your computer protection software suite of products, MS Edge works with other Windows applications to protect against the most common Internet hazards.

How Often Is Edge Updated?

Windows 10 users know that Microsoft has monthly updates for their systems. MS Edge will sometimes be updated at the same time. The user can also manually do updates or turn on automatic updating.

Is Microsoft Edge Based on Chromium?

The first version of Microsoft Edge came with the launch of Windows 10 using a proprietary Microsoft technology. Starting on January 15, 2020, Microsoft launched a new Google-Chromium-based Edge browser. In some ways, Microsoft’s version is more advanced than Google’s Chrome. For example, it already has anti-tracking defenses built-in. Edge has its own add-on market, however, add-ons can also be obtained from the Chrome Web Store.

Do I Have To Use Microsoft Edge?

If you use Internet Explorer 11 or an earlier version, you are probably using an operating system that will eventually no longer be supported. When that operating system reaches the end of its lifecycle, Microsoft will also phase out all support for that version of Internet Explorer.

However, you can use Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and many other browsers. Each browser has its strengths and weaknesses. Hard-core users of Chrome often find that MS Edge will often work where Chrome fails.

Should I Use Microsoft Edge?

Does your company require you to log in from home to get access to special web-based database applications? If so, you want to first check with your corporate IT office to see if their software is running software using legacy DLLs: ActiveX Controls, Silverlight, or Java. It is very expensive to make reliable, stable custom controls for specific company needs, so your IT department may want you to wait before trying to access their website for home-based work purposes. However, they may also give you special instructions on how to configure Microsoft Edge to run in IE mode or enterprise mode. Remember, for home-based work with established companies, ask them what upgrades work best before trying something new.

What About Edge with Adobe Flash, ActiveX, Silverlight, or Javascript?

Adobe is ending Adobe Flash after 2020, but Edge supports web pages with and without it. Edge does not support BHOs like Silverlight or Java, nor ActiveX controls. For operating systems that still support Internet Explorer 11, Edge can be set to open web pages with those technologies in IE 11 automatically.

Should I Try the New Microsoft Edge?

Yes! But make sure you first learn it on a personal computer or device. Anybody who does research on the Internet will like the new features within the Edge Browser.

 

Internal IT vs. Outsourcing IT

Outsourcing IT Services To An MSP

Internal IT vs. Outsourcing IT: The Value of Outsourcing to an MSP

The question of whether to outsource or rely on an internal IT team is common. Services that were once considered ‘nice to have’ are now necessities. They include machine learning, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing. While they add a lot of value to your business, they can be difficult to manage if you don’t have a reliable team of IT experts.

Outsourcing IT Services To An MSP

Why Outsourcing To An MSP Make Sense

While having an in-house team presents unique benefits, the value of outsourcing is unrivaled. Some of the reasons why it may be a better choice include the following:

1. Optimized Uptime and Consistency

Having an in-house team is a good idea, but how do you deal with issues after their working hours? Your in-house team has specific working hours. They may need to be away from work because of sickness or personal emergencies. Even the slightest problem could cost you days or hours of work. Outsourcing takes care of that problem. You can enjoy consistent and comprehensive IT support. Your MSP can handle issues as soon as they occur. They are available 24/7 and don’t need to take breaks. Your provider offers regular maintenance to promote peak efficiency.

With cybersecurity, consistency is critical. You cannot afford to snooze. Most ransomware attacks happen outside regular working hours. If you rely on your internal team, you need to wait until the next business day to address them. MSPs, on the other hand, can keep your business safe while you are away.

2. Specialized IT Support

Your in-house IT experts may do their best, but they are unlikely to deliver the expertise you need to take advantage of modern technologies. As your business evolves, you may need to train them or hire a new team. However, the right MSP can cater to the needs of your business as it grows. With their help, your business can take advantage of the latest technologies.

3. A Variety of IT Skillsets for Your Company

Your MSP can provide you with a range of skillsets that are essential for successful network management. They may provide you with IT strategy and planning, cybersecurity, and cloud and mobile expertise. Finding members of an in-house team that have all of these skillsets is difficult, especially if you have a limited budget. The most realistic way to take advantage of all the competencies is by working with an MSP.

4. Maximizing Productivity

Outsourcing is a smart way to free up some time for your team. They can focus on the core purpose of your business while your MSP focuses on IT matters. Your MSP handles issues that your in-house employees would otherwise waste a lot of time trying to resolve.

5. Safeguarding Your Institutional Knowledge

If you choose to work with an in-house team, you may need to spend a lot of time and money training them. When they leave your company, they take all your institutional knowledge with them. The IT industry is competitive, and your former employees are likely to share what they learned from you with their new organizations. With an MSP, you don’t need to go through the trouble of hiring, training, and rehiring staff members. They are a long-term partner that gets you through all the stages of growth.

6. Saving Money

Working with an MSP may be cheaper than hiring an in-house team. It cuts out the cost of training and hiring employees. With MSPs, your business can have less downtime and improved productivity.

The benefits of outsourcing IT services outweigh the advantages of working with an in-house team. The most outstanding ones include safeguarding your institutional knowledge, improving your productivity, 24/7 support, and specialized IT support.

Did You Really “Reply All” On That Last Email?

Please Stop The Reply All Emails

Office Workers Rejoice: Microsoft is Finally Subduing the Dreaded’ Reply All’

Do never-ending reply-all threads emails put a damper on your business chewing up precious time and resources? The good news is, Microsoft rolled out Reply-All-Storm Protection to all Microsoft Office 365 users, an update announced in 2019 that seeks to ease the email disruption to business continuity. Microsoft is finally subduing the dreaded Reply-All function. Your office workers can now rejoice! Last year, at the Microsoft Ignite conference, Microsoft announced it would work on a feature that would help prevent Reply-All email storms on Microsoft 365 Exchange email servers. Microsoft says the “Reply-All-Storm Protection” feature will block all email threads with more than 5,000 recipients that have generated more than 10 Reply-All sequences within the last 60 minutes.

Please Stop The Reply All Emails

The Flow On Effect of Reply-All Email Storms

When a Reply-All mail storm happens in your organization, it can easily disrupt business continuity. In worst-case scenarios, it can throttle the rest of your organization’s email for a significant period. Emails already drain 5 hours of worker’s time every day without having email servers slowing down or crashing. What happens if the number of recipients in an email chain is large when multiple employees hit the Reply-All button, then the ensuing event generates massive amounts of traffic that will either slow down or crash email servers. Events like this happen almost all the time sometimes because a few employees participating and amplifying Reply-All storms are using this as a prank. Microsoft itself has also fallen victim to Reply-All email storms on at least two occasions, the first in January 2019, and a second in March 2020. The Microsoft Reply-All email storms included more than 52,000 employees, who ended up clogging the company’s internal communications for hours.

How Reply-All Storm Protection Works

Reply-All Storm Protection in some ways sounds pretty simple, but there’s some pretty cool stuff going on in the cloud, that makes this possible: When Microsoft detects what looks like it might become a Reply-All storm, anyone who subsequently attempts to reply to everyone will get a Non-Delivery-Receipt (NDR) message back instead. This basically tells them to stop trying to Reply-All to the thread. Once the feature gets triggered, Exchange Online will block all replies in the email thread for the next four hours, preventing email servers from crashing or slowing down. This feature allows servers to prioritize actual emails and shut down the Reply-All storm.

Further Updates Expected

Over time, as Microsoft gathers usage telemetry and customer feedback, they expect to tweak, fine-tune, and enhance the Reply-All Storm Protection feature to make it even more valuable to a broader range of Microsoft 365 customers. Microsoft said future updates are expected as they will continue working on the functionality going forward, promising to add controls for Exchange admins so they can set their own storm detection limits. Other planned features also include Reply-All storm reports and real-time notifications to alert administrators of an ongoing email storm so that they can keep an eye on the email server’s status for possible slowdowns or crashes. “Humans still behave like humans no matter which company they work for,” the Exchange team said. “We’re already seeing the first version of the feature successfully reduce the impact of reply all storms within Microsoft.”

Are You Ready For Pandemic 2.0?

COVID19 Round Two

Will We Have Another Wave Of COVID-19?

Dr. Anthony Fauci has made clear that he is almost certain the novel coronavirus will come back in the fall. Even so, a whopping 42% of CFOs don’t have a plan for what to do if the pandemic and accompanying shutdowns hit yet again.

Don’t wait until fall hits to start preparing for a second COVID-19 outbreak and the economic shutdowns that will inevitably follow. Here are some things you can do right now to ensure your business can weather another coronavirus wave and come out victorious.

COVID19 Round Two

Assess Your Performance During the First Round

How did your business fare during the shutdown? Was it challenging to transfer to a remote set-up? Were there IT breaches as employees worked from home using networks that are typically far less secure than corporate ones? Was there hardware and/or software glitches as employees found it difficult to manage virtual meetings? Any problems and weak areas need to be addressed now, so you’re prepared to handle the second round of virtual operations. What’s more, you need to look for ways to improve your remote operations to ensure you’re meeting or even exceeding customer expectations. Clients, suppliers, and partners may have been willing to overlook problems on your end the first time around, but they’ll expect you to have your act together if another COVID-19 wave hits.

Adjust to the New Reality

Many companies are discovering that allowing employees to work from home is a win-win situation. Your business can save money on utilities and office space while your workers get the flexibility and convenience that suits their needs. If your business doesn’t have to bring everyone back, you may want to consider not doing so.

If technical difficulties were working from home the first time around, consult an IT service to see if these can be resolved. A managed IT service can help you create a custom cloud storage solution, set up a SaaS platform for your business, install next-generation firewall software on all your business/employee computers, and monitor your systems for signs of a cyberattack.

Train Your Employees to Face Tomorrow’s Needs

Business employees need to have the skills required to handle new jobs and responsibilities. Bank of America, for instance, tasked thousands of its branch employees with answering customer service calls. Other companies found that demand for certain products/services changed, and employees had to be reshuffled to meet current customer needs.

Are your employees prepared to take on new assignments as the need arises? Do they have the technological know-how to use new equipment or programs? If not, use the summer months to provide needed training. Bring new people into business meetings, create co-worker partnerships, and conduct training seminars to ensure your staff members can handle whatever tasks they may need to take on. A managed service can help provide the technological training your staff may need to handle new software programs and IT procedures, freeing you to focus on the overall needs of your business and your core business goals.

Preparing your business for a second COVID-19 wave could be a matter of life and death for your company. Don’t put it off; there are likely a lot of things you’ll need to do to ensure your business doesn’t just survive but thrives if the second set of lockdown orders are issued. Assess your response to the first pandemic wave, invest in improving your current IT set-up and ensure your employees have the tools and training needed to handle any responsibilities they may need to take on in the near future. The benefits of doing so are more than worth the time, hassle, expense, and effort.

Microsoft Outlook: FindTime With Colleagues

Microsoft FindTime

Everything You Need to Know About Operating and Using FindTime

Scheduling meetings seems like it should be an easy task. However, anyone who does business knows with everyone’s busy schedules how difficult it can be to find a time that works for everyone who needs to attend. FindTime is an Outlook add-in that can help companies manage the task of organizing meetings that fits into everyone’s schedule. The following is everything you should know about FindTime.

 

1. What is FindTime?

FindTime is an add-in from Microsoft’s Outlook that is used to simplify the process of scheduling meetings. FindTime was first introduced in 2015. A few years later it was changed and renamed Find a Time. In 2017 FindTime was back again. With FindTime a business can eliminate wasted time playing email tag just to schedule a meeting. Microsoft made sure FindTime was as secure as possible by encrypting personal information such as email addresses. In fact, everything including email subject, the email body, and the attendees the information is sent to is encrypted.

2. How Does it Operate?

Invitations to vote on meeting times can be sent to a variety of email addresses. These include Yahoo, Gmail, and other providers. With the data provided by users, FindTime can quickly figure which days and times will work best. The program can find openings in each person’s schedule that will work for meetings. The individual sending out invitations can then propose several selected times for the meeting. The attendees that have received invitations will all vote on the time they want. After a meeting time is chosen, FindTime sends out a notice to each attendee.

3. Who Can Use It?

To use FindTime, it’s necessary for the individual or business organizing the meeting to have Microsoft 365 Apps for Business. It can also be used with an Enterprise account that has Exchange Online. It’s important to know that the recipients of meetings scheduled using FindTime do not need to have the add-in installed. If a person is sent a request by someone that has FindTime, this person can still vote on meeting times without actually having the app. In fact, they don’t even need Office 365. It’s only necessary to have an email to be a recipient.

4. How Does Installation Work?

Installation is incredibly easy. All a person needs is Microsoft 365 Apps for Business. It can also be installed on Exchange Online through an Enterprise account. According to Microsoft support, it’s necessary to take the following steps to install FindTime from Outlook for the web.

  • Open Outlook
  • Select New Message
  • Select the Ellipses Button
  • Select Get Add-ins
  • Select FindTime

It’s also possible to install FindTime in Outlook Desktop and from the FindTime site.

5. Why Does Your Company Need FindTime?

FindTime is easy to implement and can be used by any type of employee. Saving time and squeezing more productivity into the same 24 hours is something every organization is striving for. TechRepublic states several good reasons why a company would want to use FindTime.

  • FindTime is easy to use.
  • FindTime is necessary only for the individual scheduling the meeting.
  • FindTime ends the hassle of back-and-forth between those trying to schedule a meeting.
  • FindTime sets up the meeting and informs each person who is invited.
  • FindTime is part of Microsoft 365, which many people already have.

FindTime is an add-in that nearly any type of business, large or small, will find useful. Spending more time trying to schedule a meeting instead of actually attending the meeting will be a thing of the past with FindTime.

Microsoft FindTime

Cybercrime & Coronavirus: What You Need to Do to Protect Business, Employees, and Profits

Coronavirus Cybersecurity

Cybercrime Spikes During Coronavirus: Tips to Protect Your Business

Learn why cybercrime tends to spike during times of global crisis. Get tips on how to protect your tech environment from cyber criminals during the coronavirus.  

Right now, people are hanging onto every news story about the coronavirus. They’re checking social media more than usual. They’re setting up home offices, learning how to use new collaboration tools with their colleagues, or trying to figure out what to do in the absence of income.

They’re also dealing with their kids being at home all day and wading into homeschool. On top of all this, they’re worried about the spread of the virus and its effect on the economy. While everyone is stressed, busy, and distracted, cybercriminals are focused and ready to go.

Coronavirus Cybersecurity

Cybercrime Spikes During Coronavirus

Cyberattacks almost always spike during times of global crisis, and right now, the Federal Bureau of Investigation reports that the coronavirus is no exception. Scammers are hacking into databases, sending out phishing emails, and leveraging the pandemic to convince victims to make donations to fake organizations or buy counterfeit personal protection equipment.

Analysts speculate that cybercriminals will cause $6 trillion in damages in 2021, and in 2020, damages are mounting as criminals take advantage of this situation. Research indicates that phishing emails have increased by 667% since February — that’s a seven fold increase in just a few weeks.

How to Protect Yourself From Cybercrime During the Coronavirus

Being aware of the risk of cybercrime is the first step. While many people think they are immune, no one is free of this risk — in fact, cybercriminals spend a lot of time targeting small businesses and organizations. To protect your business, practice these security essentials.

1. Be hyper-vigilant of incoming emails

As indicated above, phishing emails are on the rise. Cybercriminals are relying on people to have their guard down, and you and your employees need to be vigilant.

A lot of these emails contain dangerous attachments, while others include links to malicious websites. Never open an attachment or click a link from an unknown sender. If the sender looks familiar, take a few extra minutes to verify their identity. Scam artists often make their emails look like they’re coming from someone you know or from an organization like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

2. Secure all work-from-home computers

Another reason cybercrime is exploding right now is due to the unprecedented number of people who are working from home. If your employees are working from home, you need to take extra steps to secure your network.

Ideally, you should have your employees work on computers issued by your business. Home computers tend to be full of potentially dangerous videos, photos, or downloads.

Make sure all the computers your employees are using have a firewall that is turned on and configured correctly. Firewall misconfigurations can create extensive vulnerabilities in your network.

Finally, have your employees access everything through a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN encrypts all the data transmitted from their computers, creating an additional layer of security. Ideally, you should use a dual-factor VPN that requires your employees to enter their password plus an additional piece of verification such as a code texted to their phone.

3. Beef up your password strategy

Weak passwords threaten the security of your tech environment. Make sure your employees understand the importance of never using easy-to-guess passwords such as 12345, Password, their own names, or details visible on their social media pages.

Additionally, they shouldn’t let their browsers store passwords. Instead, you may want to look into a password manager such as LastPass or 1Password. These applications store passwords, but they can’t be accessed as easily as most browsers.

Cybercrime can cost you money, reduce your productivity, harm your reputation, and cause other types of damage to yourself, your employees, and your business. To reduce your vulnerability, contact a cybersecurity professional. They can help you identify the processes, products, and practices you need to stay as safe as possible, especially during a global crisis.

What You Need to Do to Protect Your Team From Coronavirus Phishing

Coronavirus Phishing

How to Protect Your Business From the Surge in Phishing Websites

Look at the spike in phishing websites during the coronavirus. Learn how cybercriminals are leveraging the pandemic. Find out how to protect your business.  

As the entire world is worrying about the coronavirus, cybercriminals are taking advantage of the global crisis to line their pockets. Google reports that there has been a 350% increase in phishing websites in the last two months alone. This threat is genuine, and you need to take steps to protect yourself, your business, and your data.

Coronavirus Phishing

What Is a Phishing Website?

Phishing websites are designed to steal your information, but they can work in a variety of different ways. For instance, a cybercriminal may make a website that looks like your bank site. You think the site is real so you enter your username and password, and then, the criminals have everything they need to access your account.

Similarly, a phishing website may look like it’s for a charity helping people with the coronavirus. Still, in fact, it’s just a scam designed to steal money and credit card information. In some cases, phishing websites download malicious files to your computer when you visit them — once executed, these files may encrypt your data until you pay a ransom, copy all your keystrokes, or steal information from your computer in other ways.

Rise in Phishing Websites During the Coronavirus

In January, Google reported that it knew of 149,000 active phishing websites. By February, the number almost doubled to 293,000. As the virus began to take hold in the United States in March, the number increased to 522,000. That’s a 350% increase since January.

During the coronavirus, the most significant increases in phishing sites have happened during the most stressful times. The most significant day-over-day increase occurred on March 21st, the day after New York, Illinois, and Connecticut told their residents to shelter in place. The second-biggest increase? March 11th, the day the World Health Organization declared the virus as a pandemic. Both of these days saw about a threefold increase.

Unfortunately, no one is immune — one survey indicates that 22% of Americans say they have been targeted by cybercrime related to COVID-19.

Critical Strategies for Protecting Yourself From Phishing Websites

To protect yourself and your business from phishing websites, you need to take a multi-pronged approach. Keep these essential practices in mind:

  1. Educate your employees about the risks of phishing websites. Send out a newsletter, set up a training session over videoconferencing, or find another way to talk with your employees about how to protect your business from phishing attacks.
  2. Don’t click on links in emails from unknown senders. A lot of cybercriminals use phishing emails to direct users to their sites. If the email appears to be from someone you know, double-check the sender, and consider reaching out to them directly before clicking on any links.
  3. Invest in quality cybersecurity tools that block malicious websites, prevent your computers from executing approved applications, or protect your network in other ways.
  4. Be aware of the signs of a phishing website. These may include misspelled names of companies or charity organizations or forms that ask for information you usually don’t provide. For instance, a phishing website trying to steal your bank details may ask for your username, password, and PIN, while your bank’s actual website only requests your username and password.
  5. Advise your team to be selective about the websites they visit. Ideally, if they are searching for information on the virus or trying to donate, they should go to sites that they know and trust, rather than going to unknown websites.
  6. Work with a cybersecurity specialist. They can help you safeguard your network, which ultimately protects your money, your data, your business, and your reputation.

To stay as safe as possible from cybercrime during the coronavirus, you need to be aware of the heightened risks. If your team is working remotely, your network is likely to be even more vulnerable than usual.

To get help, reach out to a cybersecurity expert. In essence, they can guide you toward the right products, scan your network for vulnerabilities, and take other measures to ensure you are as protected as possible.