5 tips to enjoy the holidays and stay on the ball at work

Woman holding Christmas gift at the desk

The holidays are in full swing, which means holiday parties, time off with the family, and sneaking away to finish up your shopping. However, it can be a challenge to balance holiday to-do’s with work to-do’s and the last thing we want to worry about during the holidays is work.

For most of us, knowing we’ve covered our bases allows us to flip the work switch off and relax. But that peace of mind can only be achieved if we set ourselves up correctly. And while business is inherently unpredictable, we’ve put together these five tips for factors that you can control before going away to set yourself up for a happy, stress-free holiday season!

  1. Pre-holidays prep

The biggest gift you can give yourself is peace of mind as we head into the holiday seaon, and that means preparation well ahead of time. Anticipating deadlines and prioritizing projects weeks ahead of when you’ll be out of the office can translate into a clear line between what needs to be done before you leave, and what can wait until after. Use apps like Trello to maintain your lists with this “before and after” perspective.

  1. Don’t be a bottleneck

Nobody wants to be the reason a project is being held up, and the key here is communication. Reach out early to all of your stakeholders and let your team know when you’re going to be out of the office – Connect with them in person, via e-mail or quick pings on Slack – so you can leave knowing you didn’t drop the ball.

  1. Notorious OOO message

Probably the simplest, yet most effective thing you can do is to set-up your Out of Office message. For anyone you might have missed before leaving, or that falls outside your usual team, it sets clear expectations while you’re away or unavailable. In many cases, after you let people know that you have limited access to email, they may even be pleasantly surprised to hear back from you while you are away.

  1. Schedule your work ‘check-ins’

If you do need to keep in touch while you’re off for the holidays, be sure to set specific times that won’t disrupt your time with family, and set a maximum on your communication. For example, an easy rule to follow is two email checks in your day: once in the morning, and once in the evening. Reply only to what is time-sensitive, and save everything else until you get back. Done. It’s important to respect the time you have allowed for time off, both for your well-being and for those around you. Switching your email notifications off or even turning your data off while you’re out enjoying yourself can help keep this in check.

  1. Enable your technology

Technology has made it possible for us to be equally or more productive when we are outside of the office. In fact, many leaders are beginning to embrace remote culture for its many productivity benefits. With LogMeIn Pro you can access files on your work computer from your personal laptop, even if you’re over the river and through the woods at Grandma’s house (assuming Grandma has wi-fi). Once you retrieve that document from your work computer, you may need to collaborate on it with a colleague or update a client in a quick meeting. Simple start up join.me from your laptop or your mobile app. You can easily screen share with a colleague or meet face-to-face with a client, maintaining strong relationships even with your time off.

         

Make Your Business More Cyber Aware

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We talk a lot about security here at LogMeIn, especially with our recent partnership with Kaspersky Lab, and given that October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NSCAM), it’s an ideal time to refresh some of your company’s security practices.

As a small business or an IT lead for a larger company, you’re maintaining a large amount of technology, devices, users, and much more. But there are a few areas where you can make quick improvements to better secure your company’s important information. Check out this list of items you can address fairly quickly and make quick improvements to your security:

Networks

From WiFi to VPN, make sure your company networks have strong, secure and protected passwords. Enable strong encryption (WPA2 and AES) and require authentication as needed. For the WiFi, set up multiple networks for each use case – one for employees, guests, IT, development, etc – to help eliminate disruption and security breaches impacting the entire company. Also consider the physical security of your network equipment – is it stored in the open where anyone can access, or is it stored away hidden from potential theft?

Mobile Devices

It’s likely that many of your employees are using more than just their desktop or laptop to access company systems and information. Make sure those devices are secure as possible, including requiring a passcode that enables you to wipe the device in case it is lost. On top of the passcode, use finger swipe authentication for additional security.

POS Devices

Many LogMeIn users are managing not just computers, but also POS devices. Those machines should be just as secure as others with strong, secure passwords that are changed frequently, if not automatically, and enabled with both user and admin access. You’ll also want to set up anti-virus protection on these machines; it’s likely they don’t receive as frequent maintenance as a laptop or desktop computer so anti-virus monitoring is critical to ensuring the machine is free from malware and threats.

File Storage

Whenever you’re using a cloud-based file storage and sharing solution, you can enable authentication for those user accounts as well. And if possible, set up application-level encryption to protect that data. You can also choose to restrict the locations and devices where data and files stored in the company account can be stored so you always know where that data is going.

Passwords

Our friends at LastPass have done a great job at highlighting the importance of good password practices, not just at home, but at work as well. The three key tenants that your company should adopt is secure, unique passwords for each account, use of two-factor authentication, and use of a password. Start with employee education on secure password practices and take steps within your team to roll out 2FA. While these are just a start, these steps will greatly improve your company’s security.

         

LIVE: LogMeIn & Kaspersky Lab offer best-in-class security & control

Today is the day! The Kaspersky Lab integration is now available in Central Premier accounts. This exciting new partnership allows admins to install best-in-class anti-malware software onto their managed computers.

Now with LogMeIn Central, you can centralize your IT automation and anti-malware needs into one tool for easier, more efficient management, including:

  • Award-winning defense against malware
  • Easily identify threats from a single dashboard
  • Proactively support endpoints with scans, real-time protection, and more

The Kaspersky anti-malware software is now available in Central Premier subscription packages at no additional cost.

To get started, simply log in and click on the “Anti-virus” dashboard in the left-hand column. On the AV dashboard, select the computers on which you want to install Kaspersky anti-malware and select the “Actions” menu at the top, then click “Install Kaspersky.”

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Not a Premier customer? Contact sales for a demo of Kaspersky Lab or visit our site to learn more start a free trial of Central Premier.

 

         

Introducing Kaspersky Lab anti-malware for Central Premier

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Today we’re excited to announce a partnership between LogMeIn and Kaspersky Lab that gives Central Premier customers a single IT tool for easier, more effective anti-virus management. Through this partnership, Central Premier customers will be able to install Kaspersky Lab’s anti-malware software and enable third party patch management for better insight and control into their managed computers.

Protect against the unknown
With the partnership, Central Premier includes a license of Kaspersky’s Endpoint Security for Windows anti-malware software, giving IT teams and MSPs the peace of mind to know that their computers are protected against even the most savvy threats. The Kaspersky Lab integration is built within the Central anti-virus dashboard so users can easily install the software, run scans, turn on real-time protection, and update virus definitions to stay ahead of potential issues and keep computers up and running.

The only IT tool you need
Not only can IT teams and MSPs consolidate their anti-virus and IT management tools into one, but now they can provide patch updates to third party software such as Adobe, Chrome, Java, and more – all within the Central dashboard. The integration to support third party patch will allow Central Premier users to keep their systems up-to-date with critical software automatically, without having to push updates on individual computers.

Powered by Kaspersky Lab
A leader in anti-virus protection, Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Windows includes advanced security for workstations and defends against viruses and malware. LogMeIn partnered with Kaspersky Lab for its effective, reliable anti-malware that has been proven year after year. Kaspersky Lab is a 2016 “Leader” in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, a position it’s held for 5 years in a row and proven through top scores in TOP3 third party testing. With Kaspersky protecting LogMeIn computers, IT teams and MSPs can have complete peace of mind that their computers are secured against threats.

The Kaspersky Lab anti-malware is included in Central Premier subscriptions, for Windows computers, at no additional cost and will be available in September. Third party patch management will be launched in early 2017.

Learn more about Kaspersky Lab and LogMeIn Central, and start a free trial at https://secure.logmein.com/welcome/Kaspersky.

         

The Surprising State of IT Security: 4 Key Trends Revealed

Whether it’s malware or hackers or viruses, they pose significant threats to businesses and companies around the world, and rightfully so. These continue to evolve – and get smarter – making risk management a consuming task for IT teams and MSPs. There were over 400 million known malware instances in 2015 and that number is on the rise in 2016. What’s even scarier is how commonplace breaches and attacks are – almost 60% of IT teams have experienced a breach or attack at some point.

But rather than becoming more skilled at handling these threats, IT teams are more challenged by them now than ever before. And there are plenty of reasons for that. With the proliferation of devices such as laptops, smartphones, tablets, and the rise of account-based information that lives in the cloud, employees and companies are more at risk than ever, and IT teams are scrambling to keep up with rapidly-changing tech behaviors.

In our latest research study, we heard from 500 IT professionals on everything related to anti-virus and security management – their current processes, challenges, and overall take on the overwhelming task of protecting their computers and customers from threats. Check out the infographic below to learn the 4 trends we uncovered in the current state of IT security.

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Secure Password Practices for IT Teams and Employees

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We’re halfway through June and I’m sure you’ve read more best practices and tips on Internet safety than you can even recall. However, our focus for today is one you don’t want to overlook. Today, we’re talking passwords – both what you can do from an IT perspective and what you can recommend to employees.

In previous posts, we’ve talked about how employees tend to be our biggest weakness when it comes to security; poor or uninformed habits open the door for phishing attempts and hackers. One of those biggest doors is through passwords, which we now use in nearly every facet of our workday – computer logins, wi-fi access, email, servers, and so much more. Knowing that almost two in three consumers (65%) either mostly or always use the same password, and nearly half store (and share!) passwords in a spreadsheet, it’s not difficult to see how serious problems could stem from password habits.

Tip #3: Establish password policies: Almost a quarter of people do not consider themselves informed on the best practices for password protection, so you can enhance your company security with a rather simple focus on passwords.

On the corporate/IT systems end, set up requirements for employees, including mandatory password changes every 30, 60, 90 days (you choose the increment), requirements for strong passwords, and enabling two-factor authentication on all systems that house important data.

For employees, setup a password security crash course and highlight the value this has not only on their work life, but also helps them prevent a breach in their personal accounts as well.  Educate employees on what it means to have secure passwords. This means not only creating strong passwords for your accounts, but also not sharing them with co-workers, friends and family, using a password manager to store passwords, changing passwords often, and using unique passwords for multiple accounts. Also, it might sound like a no-brainer but make sure employees are not using the same passwords for both personal and work accounts.

         

Educate your employees during Internet Safety Month

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In honor of Internet Safety Month, we’re offering up some of our best tips that help small businesses keep their employees and company information safe from fraud and hackers.

Your company is only as strong as your least-informed, most insecure employee; nearly 30% of companies say employee apathy is a big threat to their company’s security. It’s worth the time and investment in educating your employees, reinforcing the risks of weak security habits and instilling good habits, which is the focus of this week’s Internet safety tip.

Tip #2: Establish device management policies: It’s clear that how we get work done every day has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. It’s becoming much more uncommon to find desktop computers and the prevalence of laptops, tablets, and smartphones in the workplace has risen dramatically. With these devices, employees are able to work out of the office far more frequently. But that means IT teams need to be even more diligent with device management and BYOD policies, including encryption, firewalls, VPN requirements, and more.

However that’s only one side of the problem. Be sure to instill good practices with your employees. Encourage them to lock their computers before walking away from them or keep them securely stored somewhere while traveling, especially while traveling in places like airports or hotels. Also be sure employees understand not to connect outside devices – like external hard drives – to their work computers because of the risk of what those devices might bring to the computer.

Check out Tip #1 on safe browsing practices and stay tuned next week for another tip!

         

Customer Spotlight: Tom Hayden, Store Systems Manager at Cosi Restaurants

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A few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to speak with a few of our local Central customers at our Boston office, and one of those customers was Tom from Cosi, a nationwide fast-casual restaurant group – he’s been using Central for many years now at multiple companies and currently keeps all of Cosi’s POS terminals online with LogMeIn.

Here is a snippet of our conversation with Tom about how he uses Central in his day-to-day:

Let’s start off with what your role is and how you use Central.
I manage all of our POS systems at Cosi based here in Boston, and I use LogMeIn to manage all POS machines in every corporate and franchisee location across the country. We have over 500 terminals. I have to meet PCI compliance and LogMeIn is basically one of the only secure ways out there right now, especially with SSLs. Other than that it’s a VPN connection.

How did you first learn about Central?
Previously I worked for Elephant & Castle and while I was there, I implemented Central. Everywhere I go, LogMeIn follows. It’s a great product and easy to use. At Elephant & Castle they were using PC Anywhere and we had to connect to the network with a VPN, and I really don’t like that approach. It’s archaic and slow. So I rolled out LogMeIn to all of our machines. It was a no-brainer.

On a daily basis, what do you turn to Central for?
We use Central for anti-virus management to meet our PCI compliance requirements, as well as two-factor authentication. And I look at the reporting in Central to see if any threats have come in. In addition to that we use Central for installing new software and running scripts remotely.

We use an outsourced helpdesk to manage our help desk tickets and they all connect through Central. With that setup, we’re always actively creating new accounts and moving accounts out as end users get hired with the helpdesk vendor.

What keeps you using Central?
It’s simple. If the POS isn’t up, we don’t make money. With LogMeIn, I have an alert that goes out when a POS terminal is offline for 15 minutes. When it’s down for 15 minutes, there’s a problem. I get the alert and call the store, usually before they even know it’s down.

 

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4 Tips for SMBs During Internet Safety Month

Happy June and Happy Internet Safety Month! In a world where one in five IT professionals has experienced a malicious attack on their systems or accounts in the past year, Internet safety and security are more top of mind than ever.

As a small business, you need to be smart about how you protect your most valuable data and information, and we’re here to give you to the tools and resources to protect your organization. It’s important to understand possible threats, identify your organization’s security weaknesses, and establish processes to address internet and device safety, and protect the organization from risks.

Over the next four Fridays in June, we will offer up a new tip for SMBs on how to handle internet safety in their company.

Tip #1: Create Internet Browsing Awareness: Whether it’s while perusing websites or checking email, employees need to be aware of suspicious activity and links. As a company, establish internet browsing guidelines. For example, do you block all social media? Video streaming? Music streaming? Also what categories of sites do you block due to inappropriate content or potentially suspicious activity? Put these rules and regulations into a document that you share with employees on their first day of work and post it where it can be found at any time.

Email fraud and phishing is another very serious threat, mostly because of how common it is. According to recent research we conducted, phishing is a top 3 concern among IT teams (behind malware and hacking).  Prepare employees to look for potential phishing attempts that are designed to steal personal and valuable information. Safeguard your company by understanding the key signs of a fraudulent email and communicating them to employees. Have employees ask the 5 questions below if they suspect a phishing attempt. If they can answer ‘yes’ to one or more, the email might be suspicious.

Stay tuned next week for Tip #2 in support of Internet Safety Month!

 

         

Customer Spotlight: Running a Live Performance with Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Earlier this year we traveled to Chicago, Illinois to visit with Dan and co. at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), where they’ve been using Central for nearly a decade.

What we love about Dan and the CSO (other than the fact that they’re long-time users of Central) is how they embody that behind every great company, organization, or even performance, is an IT team, working at all hours from wherever they might be to keep everything up and running. As outsiders, we usually don’t see all that goes on behind the scenes and the CSO is a great example of what goes into ensuring an entire orchestra is able to perform night after night.

Dan and his team use Central on a daily basis to ensure that all of their computers and servers around the orchestra are up and running. With Central, they’ve made impressive improvements to their IT processes, including cost savings on licensing and hardware, decreased IT time spent on support requests, and increased proactive identification of critical software updates and machine health.

Watch the whole story here: