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8 Tips for Secure File Sharing in the Cloud

File sharing has become one of the more common uses of cloud services.  The convenience of easy-to-use features along with a low price point have made Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive and others frequently used by many businesses.  Sensitive business documents are readily being shared between employees, customers and family members on the same accounts.

cloud file sharing

It's not that services like Dropbox are insecure, but rather how people are using them.  Here are eight tips to help you stay more secure while using file sharing services.

1. Use Paid Services
There are plenty of cloud sharing services that offer gigabytes of storage for free.  Paid versions of these services typically offer enhanced security options.  Invest in and use the extra security features.

2. Set Expiration Dates
One of the features most paid file sharing services provide is allowing you to control the length of time you share a document or folder with someone.  Set an expiration date that is realistic, but never ending.  You can always renew and extend the time based on your needs.

3. Assign Passwords To Shared Folders
Not everyone you know is as security minded as you.  Thus, some services allow you to assign passwords and set a security level if need be. 

4. Set Permissions
The more important the information, the more controls you want to put on the documents you are sharing.  You can assign different levels of permissions for folders and documents.  Some information can be read-only, and others can be given complete access.  In some cases you may want to create drop-boxes that people can add documents to, but where they cannot see the contents of the folders.  Providing full read-write and open access to your shared folders leaves your documents too open, increasing the risk of potential security breaches.

5. Use Complex Passwords
Use a combination of at least eight characters - upper case, lower case, symbols and numbers - to create a more complex password.  The two most popular passwords are "password" and "123456" to this day, and are fine examples of passwords not to create.  

6. Use Unique Passwords
Don't use the same password across multiple sites.  It would be very troubling to have your Facebook account compromised, but foolish to give those same thugs access to your bank, email and credit cards too.

7. Two-factor Authentication
Other security features such as secondary or two-factor authentication should also be used.  Services that use this method will send users a message with a one-time code that they must enter before accessing the system.  This is often an option and is typically set up with a text message sent to your smartphone.

8. Device Auto-locking
Most file sharing services provide round-trip access of your documents on your PC, web browser, iPhone and iPad.  Make sure all your devices have auto-locking set up to keep all points of access locked down.

Sign up for one of our upcoming Lunch and Learn Online Webinars.  Everyone month we cover topics on keeping your business secure, cloud services or iOS in business.  Check out our Events Page now to learn more.

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iOS tips for your iPhone and iPad: Control Center

Apple has added many ways for you to improve your productivity on your iPhone and iPad.  The Control Center provides quick and easy access to some the most common iOS controls.  the Control Center helps you mange your dive whether you are in a meeting, in the car or about to get on a plane.

Check out the 6:00 minute video to take full advantage of your iPhone or iPad. 




Sign up for one of our upcoming Lunch and Learn Online Webinars.  Everyone month we cover topics on keeping your business secure, cloud services or iOS in business.  Check out our Events Page now to learn more.

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The FREAK ATTACK! Are you Vulnerable?

This week researchers disclosed a new security vulnerability mostly associated with many current web browsers named the FREAK attack. The vulnerability allows attackers to intercept secure internet connections through HTTPS between vulnerable clients and servers and then change the connection to an older weaker encryption connection which can then be decrypted more easily.  

cloud computingHTTPS is the secure web browser connection you are likely using to access everything from Facebook to your banking information.  However, many public facing websites don't host confidential data and don't use secure connections.  The non-secure connection HTTP, is something you would be using when going going to media outlets, businesses or even your favorite restaurant online. 

The vulnerability was not created by hackers, but was older legacy code that should have been removed once stronger and more contemporary encryption methods were implemented. Powerful stuff back in the 90's, but not up to snuff with todays hackers. 

The FREAK attack seems to be most associated with OSX, iOS and Android.  Today the following browsers appear to be vulnerable:
• Chrome on Mac OSX and Android
• Safari on Mac OSX and iOS
• Android Browser
• Opera on Mac OS and Linux
• Blackberry Browser

I am generalizing a lot of what is a very technical issue, however this is very important for everyone browsing the Internet. There are no known attacks that have used FREAK vulnerability, but cyber criminals are rather quick to jump on publicly known exploits taking advantage of the fact that many users are slow to install patches.

You will need to update you computer, mobile devices and especially the web browsers on those devices once available. Both Apple and Google are working on patches that should be available within weeks. 

There are many orphaned versions of Android created by cell phone manufactures and mobile carriers.  You will need to contact them about updates to fix this vulnerability in your smartphone.

You can also go over to FREAKattack.com to identify the status of your browser.

UPDATE 3/6/2015
Microsoft has announced the FREAK flaw also affects Windows.  "Microsoft is aware of a security feature bypass vulnerability in Secure Channel that affects all supported releases of Microsoft Windows," the notice says. "Our investigation has verified that the vulnerability could allow an attacker to force the downgrading of the cipher suites used in an SSL/TLS connection on a Windows client system." As with Apple and Google, Microsoft is working on a patch that will be shared as soon as possible.

UPDATE 3/10/2015
Apple has release updates for OS X and iOS that includes Apple TV read here.

UPDATE 3/11/2015
Microsoft has announced an update and patch for the FREAK attack the latest notice.

It is advised that you keep up with all the latest security patches from hardware and software companies. 

Sign up for one of our upcoming Lunch and Learn Online Webinars.  Everyone month we cover topics on keeping your business secure, cloud services or iOS in business.  Check out our Events Page now to learn more.

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Outlook for iOS

Microsoft just recently released Outlook for iOS.  Business users that have Exchange or Office 365 mail servers will see the new mobile Outlook as a solid addition for their iPhone and iPad.  Outlook unifies mail, calendaring and files into one app making it easier to keep your business tools aligned.  

PC Outlook users will appreciate the unified suite of applications that Outlook for iOS brings into one mobile app. Access to your files in OneDrive, Dropbox, Box and Google Drive is an option too.  No need to jump back and forth between Mail and Calendar on your iOS devices.  You can add other mail services like your Google and Yahoo accounts as well. 

There are a solid base of features already built into the app and was very well thought out by the Microsoft development team.  For example you can customize swipes from your preference settings to delete, archive, flag, move, or mark your mail.  Quick links to share files in mail from your cloud drives.  The calendar view is easy to navigate and straightforward to edit. The app launches quickly and is very responsive.  

Users will like how easy the app is to setup and will find the user interface very intuitive as they get started.  Once I had it running on my iPad, I was anxious to install it on my iPhone.  Even as a first release this is a must have for anyone working with Microsoft mail servers and iOS.  

In addition, ActiveSync can be used for remote wipes and uses a passcode to encrypt all the data stored on your device.  There are a surprising number of features to make any current PC iOS user happy, but of course room for some improvements with contacts in future releases. 

In addition, if you are an Office 365 user be sure to check out Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint and One Note for iOS.  Microsoft is really serving up a strong suite of apps that work very well together and now with Outlook it really completes the package. Better yet this is free to all Office 365 subscribers. You can download all of these apps in the iTunes store today.





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Ease Technologies Named to Managed Service Provider 500 List by CRN

Company Recognized for Exemplary Approach to Delivery of Managed IT Services  

Columbia, MD February 17, 2015 – Ease Technologies, the leading IT Services Provider in the Mid-Atlantic region, today announced it has earned recognition on The Channel Company’s 2015 CRN Managed Service Provider (MSP) 500 list as one of the MSP Pioneer 250. This annual list distinguishes the top technology providers and consultants in North America whose leading approach to managed services enables their customers to improve operational efficiencies, elicit greater value from their IT investments, and successfully leverage technology to achieve greater competitive advantage.

CRN MSP 500

In today’s world of outsourced IT, the expertise of MSPs has become increasingly important to organizations. The plethora of choices in terms of consumption and procurement of technology can become overwhelming. To help facilitate companies’ selection and adoption of managed services and providers, CRN, the leading media outlet for technology vendors and solution providers who serve end-user customers, has identified the top 500 MSPs.

This year, CRN’s industryfocused directory highlights the Top 500 MSPs in three categories: 100 Hosting Providers who are experienced in providing mainly off-premise, or cloud-based, services; 150 Elite Service Providers who are large data center-focused solution providers with a strong mix of on-premise professional services as well as off-premise services; and 250 Progressive Service Providers who have a business model heavily weighted toward managed services geared toward the small and midsize business market.

“The allure of Everything-as-a-Service to organizations is largely rooted in the appeal of predictable operational expenses, cost-cutting, resource allocation and access to on-demand/pay-as-you-go technology. Therein lies a great need for the expertise of managed service providers,” said Robert Faletra, CEO, The Channel Company. “We congratulate the managed service providers who have engineered, or re-engineered, their businesses to deliver the services their customers rely on for future growth and ongoing success.”

“All of us at Ease are excited about being placed again on the list for the second year in a row and give credit to the hard work and dedication of our employees and loyal clients”, said Chuck Bubeck, President & CEO.  “We have successfully adapted and crafted our solutions for the changing technical support market over the last two decades and are proud to see our efforts rewarded once again”.

Coverage of the MSP500 will be featured in the February 2015 issue of CRN and online at www.CRN.com,

About Ease Technologies
Ease Technologies is a technology consulting and services firm for clients and markets who desire flexibility, creative talent and high reliability in a partner.  Since 1993, Ease has provided expertise and service offerings that include Managed IT Services, Cloud Workspace, software development, education consulting and IT staffing serving the Maryland, DC, Virginia region.

About the Channel Company
The Channel Company, with established brands including CRN, XChange Events, IPED and SharedVue, is the sales channel community’s trusted authority for growth and innovation. For more than three decades, we have leveraged our proven and leading-edge platforms to deliver prescriptive sales and marketing solutions for the technology sales channel. The Channel Company provides Communication, Recruitment, Engagement, Enablement, Demand Generation and Intelligence services to drive technology partnerships.

Learn more at www.thechannelcompany.com.

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