Top Cyber Attacks that Businesses Face: Pre-Existing Malware Infection & Brute Force

Protecting businesses against cyber threats is much easier when we are aware of the potential risks. At vTECH io, we conducted a study to determine which cyber attacks businesses face the most. We found that 41% occur due to vulnerabilities in internet-facing devices, 38% happen through malicious emails, 5% of attacks happen through stolen credentials, 3% due to an insider threat, 5% due to a third-party threat, 3% of cyber attacks happen from pre-existing malware, and 5% happen from brute force. 


Over the past several articles on this topic, we have found that cybercriminals are increasingly creative. Businesses have become more vulnerable as their employees work remotely and they increase the number of devices they use to do business. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, also known as CISA, states, “As Americans become more reliant on modern technology, we also become more vulnerable to cyberattacks such as corporate security breaches, spear phishing, and social media fraud.” This article will discuss the final two top cyber attacks that businesses face, pre-existing malware and brute force.

Thankfully, it is not all doom and gloom. Our advanced technology also includes higher security measures, testing for vulnerabilities with AI, and advanced antivirus software. We are still in the information age with access to knowledge at our fingertips. We can prevent cyber attacks, mitigate risk, and train our employees for a more secure business network. Beginning with education on the threats at hand is the perfect place to start. 

Pre-Existing Malware Infection

One of the top ways businesses can experience a cyber attack is through a pre-existing malware infection. Malware, also known as malicious software, is any program or code designed to harm a system, network, or device. Malware affects a device the same way a virus would affect a person. It spreads throughout our system and wreaks havoc wherever it goes, slowing operations down. The malware may seek to control or stop an operating system completely to reduce productivity. 


A malware infection can be used to steal, encrypt, or delete data. It may also be used to change or control computer functions and see computer activity without the knowledge or permission of the user. This is often for monetary gain. 


Examples of how malware can enter a device include emails, downloading attachments, and visiting websites that have been hacked. Malware can also enter a device through illegal streaming services. 


Some signs a device is infected include: 


  • Devices running slowly;
  • Pop-up ads unexpectedly coming across the screen, also known as adware; 
  • System crashes; 
  • Browsing settings change; and
  • The antivirus software stops working.


To prevent malware infection, a user can keep software updated, be cognitive of emails and attachments, and use an email service that protects against malicious emails. A user may also be cognitive of the websites being browsed and avoid streaming pirated media or visiting sites that allow this. 


Getting rid of a current malware infection may need different methods depending on the kind of malware and device. However, any user can download antivirus software, run a virus scan, and remove infected files. Users should also practice safe internet habits and run consistent testing on devices to catch anything the antivirus software might miss.

Brute Force

The second type of threat is a brute force cyberattack. This is when a hacker tries to access an account by guessing credentials without software. A hacker will use trial-and-error to guess login information until they get it correct. Once a hacker has access to an account or device, they can use the access for monetary gain, to steal sensitive data, to infect malware, or to bring harm to a company’s brand. 


CISA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) found in cases of cyber-attacks through brute force victims used single sign-on (SSO) authentication which only needs one set of credentials. These victims also lacked multifactor authentication, had easy-to-guess passwords and used inbox synchronization. These commonalities give us an insight into how to prevent a brute force attack in the future. 


To protect against a brute force attack, create strong passwords, more than 10 characters, with capitals, lowercase, numbers, and symbols. Additionally, store passwords safely using a password manager. CISA  recommends using multi-factor authentication (MFA) and reviewing MFA settings to make sure it covers all internet-facing protocols. Employee training on proper password etiquette and storage will help reduce the opportunity of a threat as well. 

How to Protect Your Business 

With so many ways for a cybercriminal to pose a threat, it can seem daunting and quite intimidating to protect your business. At v TECH io, we are equipped to help you find the best solutions to enhance your cybersecurity. We offer training and testing to make sure your staff can identify risks and avoid making costly mistakes. 


To gain access to our experts, you can purchase a block of hours with vCyberGuard, our cybersecurity platform. These hours can be used for security projects, consulting, training, incident response, and more. They never expire, so you can use the hours as needed. 


To partner with v TECH io, click here and fill out the contact form. We will get in touch and start working on protecting your business today. Feel confident that your sensitive data is secure and rest assured knowing v TECH io is here to help. 


Top Cyber Attacks that Businesses Face: Stolen Credentials, Insider Threats, & Third-Party Threats

Cyber threats come in all shapes and sizes. Some may seem obvious and others can slip right under the radar. Either way, the first step to securing the enterprise is becoming educated on cyber attacks that threaten businesses.

At vTECH io, we have found the top cyber attacks that businesses face. Vulnerabilities in internet-facing devices and malicious emails make up 79% of the top cyber attacks that confront businesses. The other 21% of top cyber attacks include stolen credentials (5%), insider threats (3%), third-party threats (5%), pre-existing malware infections (3%), and brute force threats (5%). This article will cover stolen credentials, insider, and third-party threats.

Even though these threats make up a smaller percentage, they are still some of the top threats businesses face regarding cybersecurity. Each unprotected threat can cause a loss of money, customers, and brand reputation. Vigilance and proactiveness are essential to mitigating the risk of a cyberattack.

Stolen Credentials

Cyber attacks can happen when a cyber actor successfully steals system credentials from an employee. This often occurs through phishing, where an email is sent to an employee that looks legitimate but comes from a hacker. The cyber actor may convince an employee to share their credentials through email by threatening to shut down their account.

Attackers may also target corporate leaders. Corporate credential theft is more strategic. Cybercriminals will look through social media accounts like LinkedIn and find users who have credentials that will grant access to high-value data. The attackers use realistic websites and emails to deceive executive leaders into sharing their credentials.

Once credentials are stolen, attackers may use them in different ways. The credentials can be used to gain access to sensitive data. This can lead to ransomware when a cybercriminal steals data and holds it until a ransom is paid. They may also release malware into the systems to shut down or slow operations. Some cybercriminals may sell the credentials for monetary gain.

Since the hacker will use the stolen credentials to access data, it is challenging to spot when this occurs. Similarly, phishing attempts can be challenging to differentiate from a legitimate source. Preventing the threat from happening in the first place is the best form of protection.

To protect against someone stealing credentials, businesses can implement a policy-based, multi-factor authentication process for the network. Training employees on cybersecurity hygiene is also imperative to preventing a cyberattack. It is wise to run phishing attempts and educate employees on red flags to watch out for regarding emails. Implementing these protection strategies will safeguard the enterprise against future threats.

Insider Threat

In some cases, educating employees isn’t helpful when they are the ones posing the threat. An insider is a trusted individual who has access to an organization’s resources. The Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) describes an insider threat as when, “an insider will use his or her authorized access, wittingly or unwittingly, to harm the Department’s mission, resources, personnel, facilities, information, equipment, networks, or systems.” This can manifest in several different ways, one being a cyberattack.

An insider may be motivated to inflict a cyber attack for monetary gain or by “getting even” with their company. Whatever their motivation, they can cause harm by leaking sensitive information, stealing proprietary data or intellectual property, stopping business operations, inserting malware, damaging networks, and much more.

It is challenging to protect the network from an attack when the threats seem invisible and can easily go unnoticed. To protect the enterprise from an insider threat, it is important to implement a mitigation plan. CISA has a robust guide on creating this plan called the Insider Threat Mitigation Guide. They outline clear actions to take to proactively protect the enterprise and reduce the risk of a future threat.

Third-Party Threat

Threats coming from trusted people are sometimes more challenging to spot and more expensive to remediate. Unfortunately, cybercriminals are always looking for new ways to exploit businesses, even through their extended partnerships. Businesses have to be aware of the cybersecurity measures their vendors use as well as their own.

A third-party threat can happen from a contractor or vendor who is not an employee of an organization but has some authorized access to organization resources.

A third-party threat happens when a hacker finds third-party credentials for a business, often through phishing. The hacker can easily break through firewalls and access sensitive data.  These threats can be directly targeted or caused indirectly by vulnerabilities in the third party’s network.

To avoid a third-party threat, the first step is to ensure that all vendors use cybersecurity plans and best practices. Third parties should use regular penetration testing and social engineering testing. These tests should be documented and vulnerabilities should be remediated. Third parties should be regularly training their employees as well.

It is also advised to include a requirement to be notified when a data breach happens in the contract with vendors. Additionally, it is important to set cybersecurity expectations and requirements with all third-party vendors and contractors. Third-party vendors should comply with these safety measures to protect themselves and the businesses they work with.

vTECH io Can Help Protect Your Business

Cybersecurity threats confront businesses from all angles. With so many different threats, it is essential to determine the best security solution for your business.

vTECH io is here to partner with your business to help you safeguard against cyberattacks. Using Advanced AI technology, we can conduct customized spear phishing attempts and determine if your employees are your first line of defense against a cyber-attack or your weakest link.

We can also help you determine the best security solutions for your business size and needs. Our on-call experts are happy to assist you. To partner with vTECH io all you have to do is click here, fill out the form, and we will take it from there.


Uncover funding sources that directly support school safety.

Budget constraints can limit choice when it comes to school safety and crisis response solutions. Too often this leads to short-term decisions that have long-term costs.

Here’s why. 

  • Classroom phones and wall-mounted buttons aren’t always within reach of where an emergency is happening
  • Mobile apps are dependent on cellular connectivity which can be spotty or unavailable
  • Two-way radios are effective for the people who have them, but that isn’t typically every teacher and staff member  

Thanks to the availability of a number of funding sources, your district can deliver clear, accurate, and accessible crisis response solutions.

CrisisAlert from CENTEGIX aligns with the CARES Act and enables school districts to fund their school safety plans and protect every staff member and student.
Find your funding source and improve your school’s crisis response plan today. When a crisis happens, every second matters.

Click here for more information about our Education Solutions.


Top Cyber Attacks that Businesses Face: Malicious Emails

Emails are one of the easiest ways for cybercriminals to attack businesses. Now that the internet is accessible almost anywhere, the number of emails sent and received has continued to increase. In 2021, there were roughly 319.6 billion emails sent and received per day. This number is projected to increase to 376.4 billion in 2023

At vTECH io, we found that 38% of cyberattacks on businesses happen through malicious emails. With that many emails sent per day worldwide, it’s no wonder cybercriminals use malicious emails to attack businesses. One wrong click on a bad email, hyperlink, or attachment can open the door to hackers. 

Business owners need to be aware of the dangers malicious emails can bring. Employees are an easy target for hackers to breach the network and steal data. Fortunately, there are several simple precautions businesses can take to prevent a cyberattack.  


The first step in protecting your business is to become educated on the tactics a cybercriminal will take. Some of the biggest concerns with malicious emails are phishing and ransomware. 

Phishing is when an actor sends an email that looks trustworthy and convinces the end user to click on a link or attachment. They often attempt to get financial information, credentials, and other sensitive data. Phishing can also be used to trick the user into installing malware on their device. 

A phishing attack can be targeted at a specific group of people. Whaling, for example, is a type of phishing targeted at senior executives. The email often comes from a trusted source and elicits a sense of urgency. Essentially, the user must act quickly or something bad may happen. 


For example, a malicious email could look like it’s from a vendor asking for the user to update their account information or their account will be suspended. Or, the email could look like it’s from a user’s boss asking for system credentials. 

A recent study done by Tessian, a cybersecurity platform, showed that bigger businesses are more likely to receive emails from actors pretending to be employees or company suppliers. They also found that smaller businesses are more likely to receive emails from actors pretending to be board members or investors. Many actors will create similar logos to real companies and create fake email addresses that look legitimate. 

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released an article on phishing for National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Here are some examples they list of what a malicious email might contain:


  • “We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure that your account is not compromised, please click the link below, and confirm your identity.” 


  • “During our regular verification of accounts, we couldn’t verify your information. Please click here to update and verify your information.”


  • “Our records indicate that your account was overcharged. You must call us within 7 days to receive your refund.”

Cyber actors are creative and advanced and adapt their techniques to use modern technology to their advantage. Staying up to date on ways cybercriminals can attack the enterprise is important for protection. 


Once the end-user clicks on the malicious email and lets an actor in, there can be many different outcomes. Cybercriminals can use financial credentials to access users’ bank accounts and commit fraud. 


On a bigger scale, an actor can upload malware onto a device and gain access to the enterprise network. They are then able to wreak havoc on the system and steal sensitive data. Once they have this data on hand, they can hold it for ransom. 

Ransomware is a costly threat to businesses for several reasons. One, businesses are often asked to pay a huge sum of money for their data. Two, they waste large amounts of time and resources trying to figure out the best plan of action. Finally, that sensitive data in the hands of the attacker may belong to customers, breaching confidentiality. 

According to a study done by Statista in 2020, malicious emails are the most common delivery method for ransomware. The study showed that 54% of the people surveyed said they received ransomware through spam or phishing emails. One malicious email can have the power to take down an entire enterprise network and cost the business greatly. 

How to Protect Our Businesses

Protecting businesses from a cybersecurity attack is a high priority. However, it can seem nearly impossible when malicious emails can easily cause damage. Fortunately, there are a few simple tactics to implement to protect businesses. 


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends several actions to take to prevent an attack from a malicious email. Before clicking on an email attachment look up the company and make sure the email is from the real company and not an imposter. Show someone else the email to get a second opinion. Additionally, call the vendor directly to confirm the email is from them. 

To protect your business further, the FTC suggests backing up data frequently outside of the network. This ensures the data is safe and accessible if a hacker infiltrates the network. Install updates, patches, and email authentication and protection software on desktops and mobile devices. Lastly, keep employees up to date and educated on phishing schemes and red flags to be aware of. 

CISA also has a few recommendations for protecting the enterprise against an attack. They suggest not responding or clicking on any emails that may seem suspicious. Be aware and skeptical of emails that ask you to act immediately. CISA also recommends keeping all personal information private and secure, avoiding clicking on suspicious hyperlinks, enabling multi-factor authentication on your email, and using long and challenging passwords on emails. Lastly, install anti-virus software, firewalls, email filters, and anti-spyware on internet-facing devices. 

Be Proactive 

It is never too early to set up protection for your business infrastructure. At vTECH io, we make it easy to be proactive. Partner with us to find the best solution for your enterprise. We have world-class cybersecurity solutions for email protection. Our expert team is on-call and ready to implement streamlined security solutions and provide the training your team needs to stay safe. 

One security solution we offer is vCyberguard. We will help you find vulnerabilities in your internal and external networks and create a customizable solution to fit your network’s needs. You can download the vCyberguard brochure herePartnering with us is simple. All you have to do is click here, fill out the form, and we will take it from there.


Top Cyber Attacks that Businesses Face: Vulnerabilities in Internet-Facing Devices

Cybercriminals are strategic and always looking for new ways to attack your business. Companies are facing more threats as the internet becomes increasingly accessible. As more businesses move to remote models and increase their device usage, entire networks are left vulnerable.


At vTECH io, we have found that 41% of cyber attacks happen to businesses through vulnerabilities in internet-facing devices. This makes it number one on our list of the most common cyber attacks businesses face. 


Internet-facing devices are devices that have open access to the wide internet. It acts as a host for entry into a network. These Internet-facing devices can include, “any system that is globally accessible over the public internet (i.e., has a publicly routed internet protocol (IP) address or a hostname that resolves publicly in DNS to such an address) and encompass those systems directly managed by an organization, as well as those operated by a third-party on an organization’s behalf.” Internet-facing applications also create vulnerable entryways for hackers. 


It is crucial to become aware of the issues facing your internet-facing devices and patch up those vulnerabilities to secure your infrastructure against potential cyberattacks. 

Why do internet-facing devices leave businesses vulnerable?

Internet-facing devices may include hardware and software that leave open doors to cyber actors. Cybercriminals can use internet-scanning public services to find web-based human-machine interfaces (HMI) exposed to the internet. If they are password protected, they will push their way through, but many times these devices are left without a password. This leaves HMIs even more vulnerable to infiltration and attack.


Another big vulnerability for businesses is the increased number of remote workers. Workers are using more internet-facing devices, systems, and applications to access their work from home. While some applications may be accessed internally, many businesses operate using a large number of external applications and systems. These internet-facing systems are essential for communicating with customers and for employees to access their work remotely. 


Examples of internet-facing applications include remotely accessible services, cloud applications, internet-facing firewalls, SSH gateways, VPN gateways, web and mobile applications, and web servers.


Cybercriminals know that businesses don’t keep up with all of their internet-facing devices. They make easy targets because they are not protected or monitored as closely.  Cyber actors can get in and wreak havoc on your network. Thankfully, there are several ways you can protect your business from an attack. 

How to Prevent an Attack 

The biggest way to prevent someone from attacking your internet-facing devices is to be proactive. Following protocols to successfully protect your vulnerable devices can save your business a large amount of time and money. 


It is important that your organization has a detailed understanding of the internet-facing devices used throughout. Without this, it is much harder to asses risk, find vulnerabilities, and set up proper protection. Once internet-facing devices are accounted for and managed, the next step would be to implement patch and configuration management policies. 

Recommendations from Microsoft 

Microsoft released suggested actions to take to protect your business’s internet-facing devices


These suggestions include: 

  • Apply patches, change default passwords, and default SSH ports on all devices. 
  • Eliminate unnecessary internet connections and open ports. 
  • Restrict remote access by blocking ports, denying remote access, and using VPN services. 
  • Use an IoT/OT-aware network detection and response (NDR) solution, and a security information and event management (SIEM)/security orchestration and response (SOAR) solution to monitor devices for unauthorized behaviors.
  • Segment networks limit an attacker’s ability to move laterally and compromise assets after the initial intrusion. 
  • IoT devices and OT networks should be isolated from corporate IT networks through firewalls.
  • Make sure ICS protocols are not exposed directly to the internet.


Although this list of suggestions is robust, the work up front may protect your entire network from a major breach. 

Recommendations from CISA

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released an article on remediating vulnerabilities for internet-accessible systems. 


In this article, they list these four actions to take to remediate vulnerabilities. 

  1. Ensure Your Vulnerability Scanning Service is Scanning All Internet-Accessible IP Addresses 
  2. Notify the Scanning Service of Any Modifications to Your Organization’s Internet-Accessible IPs. 
  3. Ensure the Scanning Service Provides At Least Weekly Scanning Results 
  4. Coordinate with System Owners to Remediate Vulnerabilities


These different suggestions for safeguarding your internet-facing devices can help you create a more secure infrastructure for your business.

How to Further Protect your Business 

Hackers are strategic and looking for the biggest “bang for their buck.” Meaning they are looking for the easiest target that will get them the biggest return. As our businesses change and advance, these cyber actors advance with them. That’s why your network’s safety is one of our biggest priorities. We value your safety and the safety of everything you’ve worked so hard for.


vTECH io is here to partner with you to protect your infrastructure and secure your networks. We offer vCyberguard, our enterprise security solution. We will help you find vulnerabilities in your internal and external networks and create a customizable solution to fit your network’s needs. You can download the vCyberguard brochure here


To start protecting your businesses against cyberattacks today, click here, fill out the form, and we will do the rest. 


Why Cybersecurity Incidents Increase During the Holidays and How to Stay Safe

Most people take off during the holidays while cybercriminals get to work. Unfortunately, cyber actors ramp up their schemes during the holidays when most people have their guard down. A report by Darktrace in 2021 stated that ransomware attacks increase by 30% during the holidays compared to the rest of the year. 


The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the FBI released a reminder to stay vigilant during the holiday season as cybercriminals make plans to disrupt the networks and systems of businesses and organizations.


Unfortunately, the holidays leave networks vulnerable as people take time off from work, increase their online shopping, and get distracted. Holiday scams and ransomware are some of the most prevalent incidents that take place. These attacks can be expensive and damaging to companies of any size. It is important now more than ever to be proactive when it comes to cybersecurity for the enterprise.

Why do the holidays leave us vulnerable?

The most wonderful time of the year can be quickly turned sour by a cyberattack. The holidays leave companies vulnerable for many different reasons. Cybercriminals attack during the holidays due to the lack of vigilance people have during this time. Many employees become distracted by parties and rushed deadlines. They are rushing to get work done, forfeiting proper cybersecurity hygiene. Attackers know this and use it to their advantage. 


Many company networks have increased traffic during the holidays. Cybercriminals take advantage of this and find it easier to launch an attack unnoticed. Additionally, enterprises may receive more customer information during the holidays, increasing the value of the attack. Not to mention, IT professionals are burnt out trying to maintain security and will be less likely to check alerts on their much-needed time off. 

The FIFA World Cup 

The FIFA World Cup brings huge cybersecurity risks. In 2022, the FIFA World Cup will take place during the holiday season because the host country of Qatar is too hot to hold the game in the summer. Since soccer is the most popular sport across the globe, the World Cup is one of the most watched games. In fact, in 2018, 3.572 billion people tuned in to watch the World Cup. With so many people streaming the game online, it is a perfect time for cyber actors to ramp up their schemes. 


The increase in cybersecurity attacks during the holidays plus the FIFA World Cup means companies need to be vigilant and prepared for what may come. 

Types of Attacks

The FIFA World Cup receives a lot of attention from cyber actors looking to exploit distracted fans. Many incidents occur through fictitious streaming services tricking virtual users into creating fake accounts.


Holiday scams are a major threat this year because of how easily users can fall for them. Shopping cams can happen when people purchase gifts online and those gifts never arrive. Other holiday scams include auction fraud where a product is made to look legitimate but is not what the buyer thinks they are getting. Gift card fraud can happen when a seller is asking you to purchase a pre-paid card. 


There are also phishing schemes where people may be deceived by emails that look trustworthy from charitable organizations. Cybercriminals use these schemes to download malware. Unfortunately, 75% of cybercrimes happen through email


As online shopping increases, it is easy for consumers to input their credit card information quickly and without thinking. This is why it is important to be aware of where you are inputting your credit card information. Using unencrypted financial transactions can lead to credit card fraud. 


If an employee falls for any of these schemes, it can leave the entire enterprise at risk. If malware is executed, it can spread through the company’s systems. This can damage the systems and give unauthorized access to the actor, resulting in a ransomware attack. 

How to Stay Safe

CISA and the FBI have released several ways you can safeguard your enterprise against an incident this holiday season. They released an article stating some best practices for staying vigilant during the holidays. The article is titled Reminder for Critical Infrastructure to Stay Vigilant Against Threats During the Holidays and Weekend


They list these exact steps to implement before the holidays: 

  • Identify IT security employees for weekends and holidays who would be available to surge during these times in the event of an incident or ransomware attack. 
  • Implement multi-factor authentication for remote access and administrative accounts.
  • Mandate strong passwords and ensure they are not reused across multiple accounts. 
  • If you use remote desktop protocol (RDP) or any other potentially risky service, ensure it is secure and monitored. 
  • Remind employees not to click on suspicious links, and conduct exercises to raise awareness. 


Be Proactive

This 2022 holiday season is a perfect storm. Between Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the FIFA World Cup, the risk of a cybersecurity incident occurring is high. Extra precautions need to be taken to protect the enterprise against threats. No one wants to come back to work only to be confronted with an incident. v-TECH io wants to help you stay safe this holiday season. 


At v-TECH io, we sell blocks of CISO hours which we can use to review best practices for cybersecurity. We can also make sure your network is secured even when your staff goes home. Our experienced IT professionals are here to give you the support and peace of mind you need to enjoy the holidays. 


Being proactive by partnering with v-TECH io is an easy way to safeguard the enterprise. To connect with one of our experts, simply click here, fill out the form, and we will get to work. 


Advanced Features of Microsoft Office You May Have Missed 

Since its start in the early 90s, Microsoft Office has become a household staple for businesses of all sizes. Odds are you have been using Microsoft Office for years. With technology constantly being updated, there may be some advanced features you have missed over the years. 


Our time is valuable, and it’s important to optimize the tools we use every day. There are so many advanced features to Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. In fact, people even take classes and become certified masters of all things Microsoft. With so many facets of these applications, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and miss some excellent time-saving features. 


That’s why we have compiled a few tips on how to use advanced features of the most used Microsoft applications. We want to help you save time and ramp up productivity. 


Microsoft Word 

Microsoft Word is a great place to start. It is one of the simplest tools Microsoft offers. However, there are some Microsoft Word advanced features that will take your documents to the next level and save you time. 


The first feature you might not be aware of is the “outline view” option in Word. Creating an outline for a report or any written document in Word can help you stay organized. An Outline can also save you time when writing long and tedious documents. 


All you have to do to access this feature is go to the ribbon, click the view tab and then select outline


Putting your document into outline view allows you to easily navigate a long report by jumping to a specific heading. You can also quickly plan out a report by writing your draft in this format. Using the outline feature also allows you to edit your work by reorganizing and formatting headings. 


Another helpful feature of Microsoft Word is inputting equations. Writing out equations can be tedious and hard to understand. Thankfully, Word has a feature that allows you to insert equations much like Excell. 


The updated version of Word refers to it as “Equation” and to access it all you have to do is click Insert on the top toolbar, then select Equation, then Insert New Equation. You will then be able to use the toolbar to create and insert equations into your reports. 


These advanced features will help you save time writing reports and create a professional final product to present. 


PowerPoint presentations are a great way to enhance communication by using a visual. PowerPoint slides can be used for anything from presenting new objectives to reviewing company policies. It can help your staff better understand information and stay on track during meetings. With all of these benefits, it’s important you are getting the most out of this Microsoft application. 


Most of us create multiple slides and then spend a lot of time editing each slide to add logos, consistent fonts, etc. One advanced feature and major time saver of PowerPoint is the Slide Master feature. Using this feature allows you to create a master slide that will set the theme for the rest of your PowerPoint. You can add your logo, font, font size, and personalized background to this slide. Everything on the master slide will be transferred to the rest of the PowerPoint. Then, when you need to edit the formatting, you can simply edit it on the master slide. The edits will then apply to the rest of the PowerPoint. 


To use the slide master, click the View tab, then select Slide Master


This will open up the master slide and master layouts. On the slide master, you can create all of the design elements for your slides. You can edit each slide underneath the master slide to create a different look and it will not affect the rest of the PowerPoint. 


For a video tutorial on how to apply this feature to your PowerPoint click here


I think we can all agree using Microsoft Excel Spreadsheets can be either very confusing or very helpful. Many people take classes to become masters of Excel. If you’re not a master, but you are looking to increase your skills, we are here to help. 


One of the easiest ways to save time with Excel is to insert data directly from the internet. Unfortunately, copy-paste doesn’t do the job when formatting data correctly. Fortunately, Excel has an advanced feature that imports data from a website and formats it for you. 


The steps to accomplish this are to first click on File, then select Open. Then, a dialogue box will open asking you which file you’d like to import. Next, go to the question bar and copy-paste the website you want to import data from. Now click open


You may be asked for your security key. Enter your Windows login and click ok. The data should then appear formatted onto an excel sheet. This is a quick and easy way to import data into Excel. 


Another advanced feature of Microsoft Excel is the option to remove duplicates. Don’t waste time going item by item. Your excel spreadsheets may have thousands of items and you need to be able to remove duplicates efficiently to present proper data. 


To remove duplicates simply select the table or list you would like to edit. Then click the data tab. Now select Remove Duplicates. 


A window will open and ask you which columns and windows you would like to scan through to find duplicates. Input the appropriate information then click ok. Excel will then remove all duplicates. You now have a few new tools under your belt to expedite your spreadsheet creation and editing. 


Optimization is key to productivity and efficiency. Making the most of the Microsoft tools you already have integrated into the enterprise can help you maximize performance and reduce time waste. We know how important saving time is to your business. 

Our experts at v-TECH io can work with you to make sure you are getting the most out of the solutions you already have. We can support your optimization whether it’s Microsoft Office or another solution you are using. Our on-call experts are available to help. 


Partnering with us is simple and easy. All you have to do is click here, fill out the form, and let us do the rest. 


How to Overcome Hardware Supply Chain Delays

Not everyone understands the journey a product takes to get from the manufacturer to the customer. With suppliers spread across the world, travel can be disrupted by a variety of factors. 

Supply chain delays have slowed business down and increased the price of goods. With limited supply and high demand, inflation rises. Companies are unable to receive the items needed to onboard new employees or replace necessary hardware, delaying productivity. 

A recent study by GetApp stated, “78% of businesses have experienced moderate to significant supply chain delays for IT hardware in the past 12 months.” The same study found that 71% experience shipping delays of up to 6 months. These supply chain delays lead to high costs and lower inventory. 

Unfortunately, there are two types of relationships impacted by this. Companies have to decide between keeping strong relationships with suppliers or their customers. If they change suppliers to work around supply chain issues, they risk losing that business partnership. On the other hand, businesses risk losing customers and profit if they aren’t able to fulfill orders. 

Supply chain issues have been occurring for years, but COVID-19 exasperated the issue. Russia’s war on Ukraine has caused a lot of disruptions as well. With no clear end in sight, businesses need to formulate new, long-term strategies to overcome supply chain delays. 

China’s “Zero-COVID” Policy 

COVID-19 launched major distribution issues due to differences in work regulations. A significant amount of American businesses get their supplies from China. In fact, China accounts for 12% of global trade.

Since the virus originated in China, their COVID-19 regulations were and still are incredibly strict.  China has a zero-COVID policy. These limitations have created a major impact on supply chain distribution. 

Major cities in China are putting their citizens on lockdown and into quarantine facilities to mitigate the outbreak. The government is still shutting down manufacturing facilities and keeping shipments from leaving ports. 

With the continuation of COVID outbreaks in China and their incredibly strict COVID policy, there is little hope for recovering supply chain issues in 2022. 

U.S. companies may need to look locally for distribution and reduce their trade dependency on China. 

Russia’s War on Ukraine 

In February 2022, Russia invaded Ukrainian soil. This tragedy has triggered economic impacts internationally. Trade routes connecting Europe and China have been disrupted by the invasion. 

Many use Russia to transport supplies back and forth from Asia to Europe. The danger of traveling through Russia or flying above it has forced suppliers to use alternative routes that are longer and more expensive. The invasion has also led to an increase in gas prices, causing transportation costs to go up. In fact, Russia supplies 40% of Europe’s gas. Russia is also the second-largest exporter of oil in the world.  Both Russia and Ukraine export a large number of raw materials. 

Additionally, Ukraine supplies 50% of the world’s neon gas. This is used to make semiconductors or chips. Chips are used in iPhones, computers, cameras, and cars. There has been an ongoing international chip shortage for the past few years. The war in Ukraine has the potential to extend the shortage even longer. Chips are a major part of automotive manufacturing and other hardware. Fewer chips mean higher demand and higher prices. 

Government sanctions on trade between Russia and other countries will also impact supply chain distribution. There is a lot of uncertainty when it comes to war. It is hard to tell how long it will last and what the outcome will be. Since we are unsure what the future holds, businesses need to start planning to work their way around supply chain delays and increased costs. 

Shopping locally is now a necessity for those relying on Eastern Europe, Russia, and China for goods. Businesses need to look within their own borders to supply materials. 

Supply Chain Risk Management  

There is a model called the PPRR risk management model. This is a global supply chain risk management approach. 

PPRR stands for: 

Prevention: Be proactive by taking steps to mitigate the chance of future supply chain disruptions. 

Preparedness: Create a plan of action and recovery in case of an incident. 

Response: Carry out the recovery plan to contain and reduce the impact of an incident. 

Recovery: Get back to “normal” business operations as quickly as possible. 

Following the PPRR model is a great framework for managing risk. 

Another way to mitigate the impacts of supply chain disruptions is by having multiple suppliers. Take inventory of your suppliers and the potential environmental impacts that can occur. Have backup suppliers that can meet the same needs just in case. When environmental risks arise, stockpile inventory if possible. Creating a buffer for high-demand products is a good strategy to decrease the impact of supply chain blockages. 

An obvious choice for supply chain management is to find suppliers within your own borders. Although it can be more expensive, the benefits outway the costs when you consider the increase in transportation costs, loss of customers, etc. 

Implementing multiple strategies will help cushion the blow of supply chain disruptions and prepare for risks. 


One final strategy to take when overcoming supply chain issues is to organize and consolidate data. It is easier to keep track of suppliers, freight times, etc. if your data is centralized. Take advantage of predictive analytics and modern technology to stay organized and proactive. 

Optimize your supply chain risk management by partnering with v-TECH io. We are able to overcome potential supply chain issues that other companies might face. With a diverse group of vendors and suppliers, we can get access to what you need. We can help upgrade your software and hardware to keep you ahead of the curve. Supply chain issues are inevitable. All you have to do is click HERE and we will help you prepare for the future.


How COVID-19 Increased Enterprise Device Usage and Its Effects on IT Professionals

*What has your experience been?  Post your thoughts below.

COVID impacted more than just our health. Businesses and schools have adjusted to hybrid models while consumers spend more time shopping virtually. It’s as if the entire world has shifted. The common phrase, “these are unprecedented times” rings true. 

This shift has landed us deeper into the world of technology. As organizations change the way they interact with consumers and employees, businesses have increased their device usage drastically. People have decided to adopt new business practices that emerged out of necessity during the lockdown. 

The need for hybrid models has increased stress and pressure on IT staff to keep up. Unfortunately, many businesses have increased their device count without increasing their IT staff. 

This side of the labor shortage has left IT staff feeling a strain on their mental and emotional health. Beyond managing more devices, IT staff have increased the complexity of technology after COVID-19. Complex systems take time to learn, implement, and manage. 

Our information technology teams are essential aspects of businesses of all sizes. Their mental health and well-being should be a priority. Sadly, many times this is overlooked in order to meet a deadline or get ahead of the technological curve. 

IT staff are imperative to running any organization. This is why it’s important to be strategic about how we approach easing their stress without decreasing efficiency. There has to be a way to successfully manage the increased device load without exasperating the already stressful job. IT personnel are too essential to lose in a time when the entire world has moved online. 

Post-Pandemic Digitization 

The pandemic created a need for virtual business practices. With people unable to meet in person, schools, healthcare facilities, and companies turned to virtual meetings. Any switch to a virtual model has given IT staff more work. Not only are there new systems at play, but new devices to manage. 

Although much of the world has gone “back to normal,” many prefer meeting virtually. Companies save money and time by switching to virtual conferencing and working remotely. 

In fact, the market for video conferencing is projected to grow globally from $6.87 billion this year to  $14.58 billion by 2029. Virtual meeting technology is advancing and platforms are increasing their services. Artificial intelligence, IoT, and cloud tech are being integrated, moving the market forward. 

This projected market increase implies an increase in hardware to keep up. The rising demand for meeting virtually will only grow. Technology will advance to provide better virtual experiences, requiring enterprises to invest in more tech. Information technology professionals are the ones responsible for managing these devices. 

Video conferencing is also used by teachers and professors for hybrid learning. Therapists and doctors are using telehealth video platforms to meet with patients. The increased video communication across industries implies a continued increase of technology to support these systems. 

Working remotely has also become increasingly popular post-pandemic. According to Pew Research Center, the majority of workers who are able to work from home, prefer to. In order to protect cybersecurity, it is essential to provide employees with company-approved technology appropriate for working remotely. 

Mikako Kitagawa, research director at Gartner said, “The pandemic significantly changed business and consumer PC user behavior, as people had to adapt to new ways of working and living. Post-pandemic, some of the newly established ways of using PCs will remain regular practice, such as remote or hybrid workstyles, taking online courses and communicating with friends and family online.”

The technology needed to work remotely includes cloud computing, business applications, mobile tools, unified communications, project management tools, and of course, video conferencing. Not to mention the computer equipment necessary to support these systems. 

IT staff are often required to oversee the hardware and software used in an enterprise. The digitization of business will continue to increase. The popularity of hybrid learning, telehealth, and working remotely continues to rise with the promise of decreased expenses and convenience. 

IT employees are being asked to manage these changes, adapt to new technology, and fix current issues, all while maintaining data security. The task load is large and growing. 

The Effects on IT 

During quarantine, IT staff had to scramble to transfer business to remote platforms. The future of business was put on the backs of IT. If they didn’t figure it out and figure it out quickly, businesses would experience a financial loss. 

As the pandemic continued, mental health awareness soared in the corporate world. This forced corporate America to look inward and evaluate the correlation between work culture and mental health issues. Unforatenly, IT professionals are understudied regarding mental health. 

However, the information technology profession has a reputation for being a high-stress job with late nights and heavy workloads. A study done in 2015 by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that 54% of the 1,000 IT professionals studied had depression, anxiety, and insomnia. 

There are several health problems associated with IT professionals due to their sedentary job, staring at a computer screen, and high-stress situations. People who work in this profession are prone to back and vision problems, carpal tunnel, weight gain, and mental health issues. 

Increased device management and software integration add to the health problems already experienced in the industry. The labor shortage has put extra pressure on staff to do more work with less, resulting in burnout, increased anxiety, and depression. 

A big part of this issue lies with the size of the IT support team. Increasing hardware and software with the changing times does not mean companies are increasing IT support. The labor shortage doesn’t make this easier. IT-to-user ratios are coming out of balance. 

IT support teams are required to take on more work with less help.  The average turnover rate in the IT support field is 40%. That’s quite high and can be detrimental to any company. 

The increased number of devices has caused IT personnel to experience an incredible amount of stress. Stressed employees are unable to give their best. Stress leads to anxiety and depression and other health problems. These stressors need to be mitigated to retain our valuable IT staff. 

What’s the solution?

With the labor shortage and the Great Resignation at hand, it’s important now more than ever to take care of our IT professionals. This means bending the curve and creating strategic partnerships to ease the workload. 

First, start by becoming aware of your enterprise’s IT staffing needs. Figure out your IT-to-user ratio and whether it is appropriate for the size of your operation. Check-in with your IT manager on their workload, device numbers, and software management. 

If you discover your staff is overwhelmed, and you can’t increase IT staff, call v-TECH io

At  v-TECH io, we offer DellEMC Solutions. Dell EMC Solutions will equip your infrastructure across industries. 

Make it easy for your company to adopt a hybrid working model or go fully remote with our workload solutions. You can secure your network and save time with end-point security. We even offer desktops, laptops, and displays for optimal performance. Optimize device numbers by having efficient hardware that can handle the workload. 

We will optimize your infrastructure to create streamlined and secure systems curated for your needs. It’s time to take the pressure off your IT support team and let us handle the workload. Our on-call team will walk with you every step of the way. 

Setting up a consultation is quick and easy. All you have to do is click HERE and you are one step closer to a stress-free integration! 

Creating a strategic partnership with v-TECH io will help ease the strain on your IT staff while keeping efficiency high. 


New FTC Requirements and What It Means for Car Dealerships

The Federal Trade Commission has made an amendment to the Safeguard Rule as part of the Standards for Safeguarding Customer Information. The Rule was created to clearly update what defines a financial institution and to state requirements for securing customer information. 

Customer information includes records holding private and personal information. Such information containing financial details can be obtained illegally through hacking. Safeguarding customer information is crucial for the safety of the customer and the entity. Maintaining customer trust is a priority for any business holding private customer data. 

The Rule requires financial institutions to implement specific security systems to maintain the confidentiality of customer information. These security requirements must be met by the end of 2022. 

With the deadline hurtling towards us, let’s break down the Rule and how to comply with these new standards. 

The Safeguard Rule 

Here is a summary of the Rule: 

“The Safeguards Rule requires financial institutions under FTC jurisdiction to have measures in place to keep customer information secure. In addition to developing their own safeguards, companies covered by the Rule are responsible for taking steps to ensure that their affiliates and service providers safeguard customer information in their care.”

The rule initially came into place in 2003. However, public comments regarding modern technology inspired an update. The evolution of technology leads to advances in cyber threats. Implementing an information security program will decrease the opportunities for a cyber attack on customer information. 

An information security program must be implemented and maintained to adhere to the Rule. An information security program encompasses the different safeguards used to access and work with customer information. Section 314.4 discusses the different elements your information security program should contain. 

Some of these elements include: 

  • Assigning a qualified person the responsibility of managing and implementing your information security program.
  • Creating the information security program based on the potential risks and insecurities found during a risk assessment. 
  • “Evaluate and adjust your information security program” based on the results from the required testing
  • Create and maintain a written incident response plan. This plan should help your entity respond quickly and recover from a security breach.
  • The aforementioned qualified person should submit a written report, regularly, to your board of directors or equivalent governing body.

In summary, the information security program should secure the confidentiality of customer information. It should also protect against threats and unauthorized access that would compromise the integrity of the data.

What Does This Mean For Auto Dealerships? 

Car dealerships are now covered under this amendment. These safeguards are required to be implemented by December 2022. With the due date on the horizon, auto dealerships need to implement these new requirements ASAP. 

Previously, the Rule was not as strict. However, the new Rule has been amended to respond to modern threats and provide clearer guidelines for compliance.

Maintaining customer trust is crucial to continuing business. That trust is compromised if customer information isn’t secure when an incident occurs. The precise standards written out by the FTC will ensure the security of customer information, instilling more trust with clientele. 

According to the FTC, an important aspect of this is a Multi-factor authentication system or MFA. An MFA requires verification of users during login. It asks for multiple identity verifications, using secure authentication tools. Anyone with access to customer data will need more than a username and password to log in. They will also need a token, biometric, or application to verify their identity. This is a requirement under the Safeguard Rule. 

Duo – Making MFA Implementation Easy 

At vTECH io, we offer a solution called Duo which allows easy implementation of an MFA system. Compliance deadlines are on the horizon, but Duo can help quickly meet them. 

Their cloud-based technology creates seamless integration into your infrastructure. They can scale to any size business to meet your security needs. Their MFA will be deployed within a only matter of weeks. 

Implementing an MFA can seem overwhelming. Thankfully, Duo creates a user-friendly interface without compromising security. This allows employees to authenticate with only one tap. Their MFA can also pair with your SSO, making the login experience consistent. 

Securing customer information is the priority for these safeguards. With that in mind, Duo’s MFA looks at the health and security posture of a device when someone tries to access protected data. It will only allow access if the security requirements are met. This works on personal and business devices. 

In addition to implementing multi-factor authentication, DUA can help meet other compliance measures. They can help review access controls and maintain logs. 

Your Next Steps 

Compliance doesn’t have to be stressful and getting started is incredibly easy. vTECH io can help you implement the Rule safeguards using our Duo solution. 

We know how important your customers are to your business. We want to help you secure their personal information and to make the compliance deadline. 

Your next step is to click here to set up a call with one of our experienced tech advisors.  We will help you get set up with Duo and begin implementation. 

Don’t wait until the last minute to begin complying with the Safeguard Rule. Let’s partner together to create better security for your customer’s information.