St. Louis IT Company Anderson Technologies Launches Free Onsite Cybersecurity Training for Its Clients

St. Louis IT company Anderson Technologies is committed to educating its clients, as well as St. Louis at large, about cybersecurity and IT best practices. As part of that mission, it is offering free cybersecurity training workshops in which participants learn how to protect their computer systems from cyberattacks.

Small business owners have a lot on their plate. While it’s understandable that cybersecurity and other IT issues could fall through the cracks, there’s simply too much at stake to let that happen. Cybercrime targeting small businesses is on the rise everywhere, and St. Louis is no exception. By adhering to IT best practices, employees can mitigate their risk of being victimized by a cyberattack, including ransomware. In fact, it’s one of the smartest things they can do to help protect their business.

The team at Anderson Technologies strives to deliver clients the best managed IT services possible. It also wants to educate them. That’s why it recently unveiled a free Onsite Cybersecurity Training program to provide educational workshops about IT best practices. The IT company offers the sessions free of charge and holds them at clients’ offices for their convenience.

Mark Anderson, principal of Anderson Technologies, understands audience members have varying degrees of tech proficiency, so he designs his talks to resonate with non-technical staff members as well as those with deeper domain knowledge. Topics covered include:

  • Cybercrime and how it can impact you and your business
  • The importance of a multi-layered security approach
  • Creating reliable data backups and a strong disaster recovery plan
  • Why you need a hardware firewall and business-grade anti-virus/anti-malware software
  • Digital best practices all your employees should follow

Anderson also teaches participants how to recognize phishing emails and how to safely make company purchases online. After his presentation, questions from the audience are encouraged. He says the Q&A is one of the most valuable portions of the session.

The St. Louis cybersecurity and IT company ran its first free cybersecurity training seminar this April at Smile Station Dental, where Anderson fielded questions about password management and what to do if you think your computer has been infected with malware.

Even if a business has taken the proper precautions to protect its data from cyberattacks, an employee can unwittingly infect the network with malware by clicking a nefarious link or downloading a dangerous attachment. These scams have become tougher to spot as criminals get better at spoofing legitimacy. The increasing difficulty is what makes education even more crucial. By teaching its clients best practices and how to recognize red flags, Anderson Technologies believes it can help keep them safer online.

“Education is power,” says Anderson. “We want everyone to be as knowledgeable as possible, which is why we offer these workshops as a value-add for our clients, as well as to others in the St. Louis community. We believe educating users about cybersecurity best practices can save everyone trouble in the future and help limit the number of cyberattacks.”

As part of its mission to educate the St. Louis community about cybersecurity, the IT company has also produced an eBook, An Employee’s Guide to Preventing Business Cybercrime. Educating every employee, at every level of the organization, is an often-overlooked step of cybersecurity. This guide is specifically designed for small businesses and emphasizes that every employee has a role to play when it comes to keeping a business safe from mounting cyber threats. The eBook is available to download for free.

Anderson Technologies is a St. Louis cybersecurity company committed to providing quality IT services to St. Louis and beyond. If you’re interested in setting up a free cybersecurity training session at your office, contact Anderson Technologies by sending an email to info@andersontech.com or calling 314.394.3001.

Why Is Ransomware on the Rise in St. Louis?

Ransomware is on the rise everywhere, not just in St. Louis. Ransomware can cost a small business tens of thousands of dollars—or even more! Let’s take a look at the proliferation of ransomware, and how your business can protect itself.

A small business’s data is one of its most valuable assets. When criminals launch a ransomware attack, they use malicious software to hold your data hostage. They claim they will give you access to your data in return for a “ransom” payment (although criminals aren’t exactly known for being true to their word).

One of the most common ways in which cyber criminals launch ransomware attacks is by sending phishing or spear-phishing emails. Employees download attachments or click links that look innocuous enough, but they end up inadvertently installing ransomware on their computers as a result. The ransomware then searches for user data to encrypt on the computer or on the network or cloud-based storage system. Once data is encrypted, you won’t be able to use it, and the bad guys send a message with instructions on how to render your files usable again—by paying a “ransom,” often in the form of bitcoins. Often sending money to the criminals provides no guarantee they will release your data.

According to the United States Department of Justice, more than 4,000 reported ransomware attacks occurred daily since January 2016. That is a 300 percent increase in just one year.1  At Anderson Technologies, we frequently hear about St. Louis ransomware attacks—both from local small businesses and reports in the media. Earlier this year, ransomware impacted all 17 branches of the public library in St. Louis. Ransomware rendered their computers unusable. Library management refused to pay the $35,000 ransom and worked with its IT staff to remove the virus and restore service.

Ransomware Makes the Bad Guys Big Money

The reason ransomware is on the rise comes down to economics. In 2015, the FBI reported  approximately 327,000 robberies in the U.S., which accounted for an estimated $390 million in losses.

That same year, there were approximately 127,000 cyberattacks reported in the U.S., accounting for over $1 billion in losses. It’s no wonder criminals are turning to cybercrime. That’s a whole lot fewer attacks for a whole lot more money. Plus, currency like bitcoin makes it easier for criminals to carry out crimes since they can anonymously collect the ransom.

If you factor in downtime and the cost of recovering files, cybercrime actually costs companies approximately $75 billion each year.

Is Your Business Protected from Ransomware?

Ransomware is also on the rise because the bad guys are getting better at designing believable phishing and spear-phishing emails. Gone are the days of scams that are easily identifiable, ridden with typos and strange verbiage. Today, cybercriminals have gotten better at mimicking the language and graphical design of reputable companies, which improves their chances of someone clicking a harmful link or attachment.

For small businesses in St. Louis, cybersecurity protection is an intricate process. You need a multi-tiered approach that includes a firewall, intrusion protection system, internet content filtering, anti-virus and anti-malware software that runs in real-time and is updated regularly, and a thorough and tested approach to backing up your system files. You also need to educate your employees. Even if you are working together with a managed IT services provider to do “everything right,” it takes just one click from an unsuspecting employee to introduce an issue your prevention efforts will have to deal with.

Although your managed IT services partner can reduce the likelihood of an email containing ransomware hitting your employees’ inbox in the first place, malicious messages can still get through. Email providers like Google and Microsoft scan your messages and try to filter out ones that look suspicious, but criminals are working just as hard to update their tactics. The final layer of protection between a St. Louis business (or any business for that matter) and ransomware is employee education.

Just last month, a St. Louis small business called Anderson Technologies in distress. It had just fallen victim to a ransomware attack. Its previous IT services provider wasn’t able to restore its files, but Anderson Technologies experts managed to eradicate the malware and recover the compromised data!

Ransomware stories don’t always have such a happy ending. Indisputably, your best bet is to reduce your chances of coming into contact with ransomware in the first place. Anderson Technologies has a team of St. Louis cybersecurity and ransomware experts who can help protect your business. For more information on our St. Louis cybersecurity services, email info@andersontech.com or call 314.394.3001.


1 “How to Protect Your Networks from Ransomware” U.S. Justice Department. Retrieved on April 20, 2017 from https://www.justice.gov/criminal-ccips/file/872771/download

Our IT Company Rings the Bell for Small Business

Last week we filmed our video submission for the Morning Bell for Small Business campaign to honor our IT company and the many businesses we help to achieve IT goals. Sponsored by Chase for Business, the Morning Bell celebrates small businesses across America, and each day a different business is featured.

Each business has their own bell and their own unique way of ringing it, but only we will be ringing a 108-year-old bell hand-cast in London at the same foundry as Big Ben and the Liberty Bell. Originally a present from Mark to Amy on their 25th anniversary, this bell is the perfect symbol not only for this campaign but for the IT company they’ve built together.

View our video submission above and be sure to check out our blooper reel at the end of this post!

Casting the Anderson Bell

To begin the story behind this amazing anniversary present, we have to take you back to when it was first cast in 1908 at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, the oldest manufacturing company in Britain, established in 1570. Originally commissioned for a parish church in Norfolk, England, the bell is tuned to an F note and bears the inscription “We praise Thee, O God.”

It’s in the making of the bell that we find its meaningful significance. As Mark explained at their wedding anniversary, “A bell that’s made out of proper bell metal, not just brass, consists of two complementary metals forged together. One is copper and one is tin. When these two metals are combined in the furnace and turned into a bell, the properties of the new alloy allow it to be a little bit soft, have a very mellow wonderful tone, and makes it last forever. Literally if you kept a bell outside for eternity, it would stay the shape of a bell while developing a beautiful patina. If you just had a pure copper bell, it would sound horrible and would be too soft. If you had a pure tin bell, it would sound horrible and would be too brittle, and if you struck the bell, it would shatter. But the two metals combined—some softness, some brittleness—together they make this wonderful object.”

Making Anderson Technologies

Like this everlasting bell, our company remains steadfast in large part to its many complementary strengths. Each trait and each team member helps make our IT company successful. When Mark has a well-researched idea for the future, Amy finds the practical course to accomplish it. When Amy is driven to deliver in a timely manner, Mark makes sure the company’s work not only meets the client’s expectations but is done to the very highest standards.

Differing backgrounds, Mark in system and network administration and Amy in software development and project management, create effective collaboration. It’s what turned Anderson Technologies from an idea started in a spare bedroom into the company it is today. Together Mark and Amy, along with a talented team, are dedicated to providing effective solutions to clients through honesty, integrity, and the technical knowledge needed to solve your IT challenges.

We love the opportunity to ring our bell, and we invite other small businesses to do the same. If you submit a video, let us know so we can celebrate your small business, too.

AndersonBell-1


Video Bloopers

Enjoy these funny outtakes of our filming efforts late on a Friday!

St. Louis Computer Company IT TechWatch Newsletter

First IT TechWatch of 2016

We hope your year is off to a wonderful start! St. Louis finally received its first snowfall, and everything looks beautiful outside.

On January 21st, we sent out this month’s IT TechWatch, which featured several articles on critical technology issues important to every business ranging from data security to the IT infrastructure necessary for success. Our client feature article explains how implementing a proactive Managed Services program improved the reliability of a long-time client’s pet care business. Finally, we’re thrilled to introduce you to the newest member of our expert computer team, Luke Bragg.

If you’d like to receive our newsletter on an ongoing basis, there’s a sign-up section on our home page.

St. Louis Computer Expert Luke Bragg

Meet Luke Bragg: A St. Louis Computer Expert Joins Our Team

Anderson Technologies is proud to announce that Luke Bragg has joined the company as a Senior Systems Administrator to serve our clients’ growing needs. “Luke is a perfect addition to our team!” Company principal Mark Anderson shares, “He comes to us with almost nine years of systems administration experience managing computer infrastructure in a wide variety of corporate end-user environments. Our clients will be able to immediately benefit from his experience and broad knowledge base. Luke’s government security clearance speaks to his commitment to maintain the highest-level security standards. We also appreciate his CompTIA Security+ industry certification.”

Luke has worked for a wide variety of companies like Empire District Electric Company, Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas, and most recently Tapestry Solutions (a subsidiary of Boeing) in areas that required a focus on computer system architecture as well as very high-level technological expertise. Luke also understands the intricacies of system-wide solutions to protect against a host of security threats, including viruses, malware, spyware, and ransomware. He’s right at home managing large computer networks, installing and administering over 100 servers and deploying over 1,000 virtual desktops in one environment.

Company principal Amy Anderson says, “We’re very selective about the people we work with, and Luke’s background makes him a perfect addition to our top-notch team. He’s technically outstanding, has a very personable manner and a high sense of integrity, all of which align with our company. Luke is the kind of expert I would trust with my own computer, and that’s what we were looking to add for our clients.”

Luke is enthusiastic about working with clients one-on-one and values that interaction. He explains, “I love the vision of Anderson Technologies’ personalized service and ‘take-the-time-to-do-it-right’ mentality. As a systems administrator, you wear many hats, and I’m excited to know I will be making a real difference in the lives and businesses of our clients.” Luke is immediately available to work with all clients, getting them properly set up with our proprietary Managed Tech Services, installing system upgrades, and increasing security protection to keep client data from being compromised.

Luke lives in Swansea, Illinois with his children and wife, Amy, who teaches first and second grade. They have three children, James (11), Lucas and Logan (7 year old twins!) who keep them very active. Luke also enjoys singing in his church.

Congratulations Luke, and welcome to the team!

 

St. Louis IT Company Celebrates 2016

Anderson Technologies, a St. Louis IT Company, will be closed on January 1 in celebration of the new year.  We are confident that this coming year will be a year of prosperity and growth for all of our clients, and we are determined to assist with all St. Louis IT company needs!

We will be back in our offices on Monday, January 4th, ready to help with all your computer system needs.

Happy New Year!

St. Louis Computer Company Takes A Christmas Holiday

Anderson Technologies offices will be closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

This St. Louis Computer company hopes everyone has a great holiday.  We’ll be back next week to take care of all your IT needs!

Anderson Technologies, Inc. Launches Managed Tech Services Offerings for Its Clients

Anderson Technologies, Inc. is pleased to announce the launch of Managed Tech Services packages. Open to new and current clients, these packages cover a range of IT monitoring and protection plans tailored to your technological needs and budget.

Mark Anderson, principal and co-owner of Anderson Technologies said, “We’re excited to offer Managed Tech Services plans that enable us to manage our clients’ infrastructure more proactively. Rather than waiting for something to fail and fixing it then, these plans allow us to implement systems that help anticipate issues before they occur, increasing uptime and client productivity.”

By investing in outsourced monitoring, servicing, and general upkeep of their computer infrastructure, our clients experience fewer problems and less downtime. Most importantly, Anderson Technologies provides a more thoughtful, purposeful management of your ever-changing computing technology, while fixed-fee plans give clients predictable computer maintenance costs and accommodate a wide range of system needs and budgets.

Clients can choose from Anderson Technologies’ Sentinel, Guardian, and Citadel Plans, each offering varying levels of coverage to manage and maintain a client’s network, firewalls, servers, workstations, laptops, printers, and wireless infrastructure. With both on-site and remote support, data backups, recovery, and anti-virus/anti-malware management, Anderson Technologies provides clients thorough evaluations, system stabilization, and ongoing monitoring of potential vulnerabilities and system entry points.

“It’s of paramount importance to us to provide the same level of exceptional service our clients have always enjoyed,” added principal and co-owner Amy Anderson. “We feel this new system of support will benefit them tremendously. The reception we’ve had so far has been outstanding as clients experience peace of mind knowing their systems are being monitored. And from a financial standpoint, a predictable monthly fee helps clients avoid budgetary surprises throughout the year.”

If you’d like to discuss our Managed Tech Services and set up proactive support for your IT needs, please give us a call at 314.394.3001 or send an email to sales@andersontech.com.

 

 

Malware Security Alert: KeyRaider Infects Jailbroken iPhones

Although this latest hack might not apply to you, we want to advise you about the latest malware, nicknamed KeyRaider. News sources are reporting KeyRaider only targets “jailbroken” iPhones. Here is a link to an article that provides more information.

Jailbreaking is a practice most common among tech-savvy users who wish to remove the restrictions and limitations imposed by their phones’ operating systems. “Unless you have jailbroken your phone, you don’t need to worry about this malware security alert,” said Mark Anderson, principal of Anderson Technologies, Inc. “This isn’t really an issue for most of our clients but it does point to a key principle. In general, security barriers are important safeguards put in place by phone manufacturers. Bypassing these measures can have disastrous results.”

If you have a jailbroken phone or any security concerns about your computer infrastructure, we can help! Please contact us at 314.394.3001 or send an email to info@andersontech.com.

Managed Services, Specialty Projects, and Client Testimonials: Our New Website is Live!

We hope you’ll take a few minutes to look around Anderson Technologies’ new website. For the past several years, we’ve been so focused on building and managing our clients’ technology infrastructure, we haven’t prioritized our own.

The website has undergone a fantastic transformation. As we explain to all clients interested in refreshing their web presence, the new site needed a clean, easy-to-navigate design, mobile responsiveness for maximum usability, and proper search engine optimization.

Our goals were to better articulate our new managed services offerings, branded Anderson Technologies’ Managed Tech Services, along with the other technology support we provide and explain the many ways we partner with clients in Missouri and throughout the United States. The site seeks to highlight what is unique about Anderson Technologies and express the major benefits of teaming with us.

One of the most gratifying aspects of the new website is the testimonial section. As a part of our recent branding efforts, we commissioned an outside consultant to interview current clients, find out how they describe the company, and discover what value they see in having Anderson Technologies as their IT partner. The results of these conversations have been amazing. We are so grateful for the opportunity to serve our clients and for the lovely comments they shared.

You’ll also see we’ve added a blog which will be updated on a regular basis–along with our email newsletter to highlight timely and relevant content. Please take a few minutes to look around. If you have ideas or additional information you would like to see covered in the blog, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you!

Thanks to all who contributed to making this such a fantastic leap forward!