IT Support Newsletter

April 2016 Newsletter

We’ve Added Another Weapon in our Fight Against Malware

Reed Wilson, Founder & President

Happy Spring everyone! You've probably noticed our newsletters have been heavily focused on security recently and this one is no exception.  Security is such a critical component because it transcends the idea of our job as your IT solution provider.  It actually starts with you – our customer – who is interacting with data on a day to day basis. 

To help you, Microsoft has just rolled out a new feature of Office 365 called Advanced Threat Analytics.  This is available as an add-on to existing Office 365 subscriptions or as a stand alone license.  

What is Advanced Threat Analytics? 
This service combines the typical ‘analysis’ that happens with security products (such as anti-virus) with machine learning. Meaning that over time, Advanced Threat Analytics (ATA) actually gets smarter.  

You’ve probably heard a lot about artificial intelligence (AI) in the last few months and while this isn’t technically AI, it does analyze the behavior of a company (or user) over time to determine what is normal vs irregular.  By knowing what is normal versus irregular behavior, ATA can help us identify potential security issues earlier in the process.  

Keeping email safe  
While the machine learning stuff is cool, the service also includes a few other unique ways to help mitigate other risks in your environment.  The most common way malware spreads in organizations today is via email.  Most commonly, this is done via links embedded in emails that look legitimate or via attachments.  This service adds a layer of protection for each. 

Safe Links:  Safe Links scans inbound emails to make sure that the links that are shown in the email are actually redirecting users to the places where they need to go.  If the links are unsafe, they are removed from the email before being sent to the recipient. 

Safe Attachments:  This is my favorite new feature.  Safe Attachments actually opens unknown file types in an environment separate from your environment to detect potential malicious activity.  If the attachment is unsafe, the message is delivered to the recipient without the attachment.  This is especially useful since a very large percentage of malware/ransomware is delivered via malicious attachments (most commonly documents and PDFs). 

What’s Next? 
We will be discussing these options with our customers over the coming weeks, but if you would like to get a head start; let us know


Protecting Your Company from CEO Impersonation Attacks

Joe Accetta, Systems Engineer

More and more attackers are targeting businesses and trying to trick you out of personnel files through CEO impersonation attacks. These are a type of spear phishing attack, meant to look like they are from the CEO (or another high-level employee) sent to a lower level employee to get sensitive information or money from them (more on phishing on this blog).

These attacks are usually highly targeted and rely on the fact that lower level employees don’t always have direct contact with the leadership team and wouldn’t ask too many questions if asked to send information to them.

Read more on the blog >


Meet the Team - Kelley Medlock, Director of Operations

Kelley Medlock is the Director of Operations at PTG. Originally from Greenwood, SC, Kelley grew up in Spartanburg, SC. She attended Anderson University for undergrad, majoring in business management. She earned her MBA from Clemson University.

Experience
Before coming to PTG, Kelley worked in technical marketing for textile chemicals and finance and operations positions in B2B service companies. AT PTG, she oversees operations:

“My goal is always to make sure my team over-delivers on what the customer expects.  We set those expectations from the first contact (which is generally marketing or sales).  It is our primary duty to deliver those results and make the customer feel confident they made the best choice when they chose us.  The intersection of good marketing and solid operations.” 

Favorite Piece of Technology
"My Roku.  I love the ability to access to content from anywhere (including my home network machines or phone) to any TV (every TV) in my home.  So cool.  Way better than the fax machines in every room from Back to the Future 2!"

Interesting Fact
"I wrecked my first automobile at 20 months.  Car Seats have gotten a lot better since the 80's!"

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