Press Releases

Sinu Blog: Playing with Sand

  • Monday

    Two-Factor Authentication “No Longer Optional” 

    As a follow up to our previous blog, we wanted to share a very helpful ZDNet article by Ed Botts who provides step-by-step instructions on two-factor authentication for cloud credentials to help protect online data.

    Bott argues that two-factor authentication (2FA) is “no longer optional” to mitigate risk for cloud services, and he has provided a series of images that show exactly how to enable two-factor authentication for some of the most popular cloud-based services including Microsoft Exchange, Google Docs, Office 365, Dropbox, Facebook and Twitter.


    While it may take an extra step or two to set up two-factor authentication, Bott says “…the assurance that your secrets will remain safe even in the event of a password breach is worth a few seconds of extra verification.”

    We could not agree more. It is critical to Sinu’s mission to keep our customers’ data safe, and we are constantly monitoring network security. We regularly advise that with a little effort, Facebook, Google, or other cloud-based accounts, need not be a weak link in security protocol.


    Attn Mr. CEO: Your IT Partner Is Your New Best Friend

    For smaller businesses and nonprofits, every penny counts. We’re sure you’ve noticed that, too. That’s why many small businesses and nonprofits have responded to the need to do more with less by outsourcing whatever they could – including their IT department. Managed IT solutions, like Sinu’s Technology Management services, are the new way of ensuring maximum uptime at a minimum spend.

    Of course, IT support is necessary for your critical business operations and applications to continue running smoothly. But it costs both time and money to hire the right IT professionals, pay them a full-time salary, and provide the necessary training they need to stay up-to-date on emerging technologies. Although it’s critical to have day-to-day IT support and data backup, that’s still time, effort and resources you’re taking away from your core business goals.

    Predictable performance and a predictable IT spend

    For that reason, Sinu provides an all-inclusive IT solution for small businesses and nonprofits that offers a lot of peace of mind for one fixed monthly fee. Whatever you need to do to run your business, whatever your organization’s goals are, we make sure you have the support you need at a predictable monthly price based on the number of people in your organization. That helps you with budgeting, it’s scalable as your business grows, and it mitigates worry about being hit with unexpected IT costs.

    For instance, Sinu’s all-inclusive service includes full-time help desk support, anti-malware and anti-spam solutions, data back-up and security, regular software upgrades and patches, and email setup and support. (You know, all the things you usually need a tech person for.) 

    Sinu also provides business intelligence reporting tools, as well as seamless remote-user solutions for your business or nonprofit that help your employees stay connected when on the road or working from home. Our Sinu Magic network monitoring system helps us identify potential issues and address them before they become a problem.

    An all-inclusive IT solution that helps you focus on what’s important

    Whether your organization is a small business or a nonprofit, our technology management services save you time, training and money. You need an IT solution that supports your productivity and allows maximum uptime for your mission-critical applications, but doesn’t cost any more than it has to – and that’s what you’ll get from Sinu.

    Sinu can also save you money because we don’t believe that small businesses and nonprofits need to invest heavily in in-house technology infrastructure, which can be expensive to purchase and maintain, as well as high-risk to operate. That’s why our technology management includes a file server appliance that eliminates the need for a server in-house. That’s just one example of the many ways we find to deliver safer, less expensive IT solutions to our customers.

    Sinu takes care of your IT needs so you can get back to running your business or working to fulfill your nonprofit’s mission. We think that’s reason enough to say that with Sinu, your new IT partner is your new best friend!



    7 Data Security Tips

    Whether it’s the BASH flaw we blogged about recently, the JP Morgan/Chase hack this summer, or the discovery of the Reddit Mac iWorm, it seems that news about data breaches has been more prevalent than ever. Data security has never been more important – as the amount of data that is stored online continues to increase and hackers get significantly more sophisticated, making even the savviest of computer users susceptible to breaches.

    While a business may wonder how they can keep their data safe when companies that have the resources of JP Morgan and Target are victims, there are several ways you can help mitigate the risk. We’ve listed a few of these “best practices” below.

    1. Create and Manage Strong Passwords

    Believe it or not, CBS News reported that the top three passwords of 2014 are, “123456,” “password” and “12345678.” As we noted in a recent blog, it’s important to develop passwords that are not immediately easy to uncover (no dog's names, kid's names, anniversaries, etc.). Instead, be sure to use at least eight characters, incorporating numbers and capital letters. Password generators can help as well, and using password managers can help keep track of your passwords and even automatically log you in. You should also use very different passwords for your less critical solutions, such as entertainment and social media sites, as you do for email and financial accounts.

    2. Review Your Password-Protected Systems

    Keep track of which systems require passwords and who has access to them. Review system security regularly and remove any unused accounts. Reset those passwords at least once a year – more often if you have high employee turnover.

    3. Reduce Risk by Removing Unused Technology

    Eliminate any Business Solutions which are no longer used. You should export data to a permanent storage solution, like a DVD, and shut down the unused system. We don’t recommend keeping technology around “just in case,” because it is another security risk.

    4. Integrate Authentication

     Try to integrate the authentication of as many of your systems as possible. Several systems now support ‘Single Sign On’ where one system will let you in if you have already authenticated to another one.  Explore these possibilities with your IT team to reduce the number of passwords you need to enter. The less passwords you have the more willing you will be to make your passwords “strong” and it will shrink your risk profile. 

    5. Online Transactions

    Never use your debit card at a place you don’t trust completely, use a credit card instead because your credit card has limited liability while your debit card does not. The security protocols for online commerce vary greatly, and it’s important to shop from trusted sites. For example, while even the well-trusted Ebay got hacked earlier this year, they responded quickly and alerted their members, automatically requiring each person to reset their password.  

    6. Recognize Phishing

    While most of us are now aware of the most popular phishing scams (someone you know is stuck in a European country and has lost all their credit cards), it’s becoming harder to tell a spam email from a legitimate one. Here are a few tips to help you recognize a hacker that might be phishing for your data:

    • If you receive an email from what looks like a trusted company (especially your bank), avoid clicking on the link. Instead, type the URL of that company directly in the browser. Banks don’t ask for personal information to be given by general URL or by email.

    • If a company sends you an email asking you to call them, look up their contact information online. Don’t use the phone number in the email. If it’s a criminal, you’ll be calling them and not your trusted company representative.

    • Review the email reply address. Once you click “reply,” you can see the email address in your reply field. If it looks suspicious, it probably isn’t safe to communicate. Phishers often cloak the email address when they email you, hoping you won’t look deeper to discover it’s a phony email.


    7. Instant Messaging

    Instant messaging (IM) has become a common means to communicate, even in the workplace. When you IM with friends or colleagues, do not give out critical information through IM because it is impossible to know whether the other computer is secure.

    If you have any questions about the security of your technology, give us a call and we would be happy to tell you about the Sinu Solution and how we keep your data safe.