ACS - Advanced Computer Solutions

Tag: Security
The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly of Mobility and BYOD
February 20, 2019

There are a lot of advantages to mobility in today’s workforce, but the Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) movement has also brought its share of headaches as well.

Stay Secure My Friend... More Hackers Targeting SMBs
January 17, 2019

Many SMBs don’t realize it, but the path to some grand cybercrime score of a lifetime may go right through their backdoor.

Just Because You're Not a Big Target, Doesn't Mean You're Safe
January 9, 2019

Not too long ago, the New York Time's website experienced a well-publicized attack, which raises the question – how can this happen to such a world-renowned corporation?

Four Key Components of a Robust Security Plan Every SMB Must Know
January 4, 2019

Most businesses are now technology dependent. This means security concerns aren’t just worrisome to large corporate enterprises anymore, but also the neighborhood sandwich shop, the main street tax advisor, and the local non-profit.

5 Ways SMBs Can Save Money on Security
December 27, 2018

Small-to-medium sized businesses and large enterprises may seem worlds apart, but they face many of the same cyber-security threats.

Loss of Data: Causes and Prevention
November 14, 2018

The adoption of technology from the simplest of matters to the most complex problems has rendered us heavily dependent on it.

Traverse City businesses need enhanced security to protect their customers
November 6, 2018

We at ACS recently had our credit card stolen. Everyone knows that this is a hassle, but for us it’s a costly hassle. This card is primarily used to pay recurring payments to close to a dozen vendors. This means that when the card is stolen it takes hours of staff time to setup our payments with our vendors. What is interesting about this situation is that we had the card stolen shortly after doing something we rarely do, using the card at a local vendor.

Run your Business, not an IT Company
October 31, 2018

You went into business because you have an interest and expertise in some particular product or service.

Preventing Online Fraud—Always Verify Information Requests
October 12, 2018

In Traverse City, and Northern Michigan, we live in a very trusting culture. For most of us, the idea of impersonating someone for fraud or financial gain isn’t something that would enter our wildest dreams. However, in the rest of the world, impersonation is a strong tool that can be used to defraud you. 

Heads in the Sand—Owning a Mac, a PC, an iPhone, or an Android does NOT Make You SAFE from Online Attackers.
October 3, 2018

No computer or device is perfect. No company gets its security 100% right. If you deal in important data, you had better take steps to protect it. Antivirus, patching, security training, and solid cloud backup are all important tools to protecting your business. Cyber attacks happen all the time and on many fronts.  

Everyday Human Error Can Affect Data Protection
October 2, 2018

Are you under the impression that data loss is all about putting up firewalls to protect against evil cyber attacks?

Data Protection and Bring Your Own Device to Work
September 28, 2018

BYOD refers to a firm's policy of allowing employees to use their own personal phones, tablets and laptops for all their work applications.

Business Disaster: What Threatens Small Businesses the Most?
September 18, 2018

There are many threats to the integrity of a small business, and not all of them are as dramatic as a cyberattack or a hurricane.

Do Not Disable Your Computer’s Built-In Firewall
September 16, 2018

During my years working with businesses here in Traverse City and throughout Northern Michigan, I’ve needed to turn off the built-in firewall in Windows, dozens, if not hundreds of times. In the past this practice was often commonplace, today it is a severe security risk. 

SMBs: It is Hackers v. You - Don't Let Them Score
September 12, 2018

Selling stolen IDs and other personal data is a lucrative trade for hackers.


Penetration Testing vs Vulnerability Testing Your Business Network
August 31, 2018

Hearing “all of your confidential information is extremely vulnerable, we know this because...” is bad news, but whatever follows the ellipses determines just how bad.

Data Breaches are a Question of When, Not if
August 22, 2018

You hear on the news all of the time about big cyber attacks on large corporations, and even government agencies.


Don’t assume because you’re in Northern Michigan you’re safe from phishing or scamming
August 21, 2018

On the internet you are nothing more than an IP address (, Facebook profile, LinkedIn profile, or a name on a website. Scammers don’t know or care that Traverse City is a small town. Scammers don’t know or care that you are only “a small business.”

What is Ransomware and How Can it Affect your Business?
August 17, 2018

This cyberattack scheme hasn't garnered nearly as much attention as the usual "break-in-and-steal-data-to-sell-on-the-Internet version," but it can be even more debilitating.


Multi-Factor Authentication – The Fastest Way to Secure Your Business Online
August 17, 2018

Multifactor Authentication, what is it? 

Multi-factor authentication is a digital security feature used on websites and apps that does exactly as it sounds, it brings several factors to the authentication process—bringing more to your digital security than a simple password. This is often described as “something you know, something you have, or something you are.”

Data Security: A People Problem
August 8, 2018



Phishing Scams – A People Problem. There are some things that only people can fix.




Severe Vulnerability for HP Inkjet Printers
August 7, 2018

HP announced a severe vulnerability for 166 models of HP inkjet printers. By severe, they describe it as “9.8 out of 10” on the CVSS 3.0 Base Metrics.  The full list of affected printers can be found here.

IT Defense in Depth Part II
July 31, 2018

In our last blog we started talking about the different layers of security necessary to fully defend your data and business integrity. Today we will look at the human aspect of it, and network defenses.


IT Defense in Depth Part I
July 24, 2018

In the 1930s, France built a trench network called the Maginot Line to rebuff any invasion. The philosophy was simple: if you map out all the places an enemy can attack, and lay down a lot of men and fortifications at those places, you can rebuff any attack. 


You're Fired! Now Give Me Your Passwrd
July 19, 2018

"You're FIRED!" ( now give me your password)

Losing an employee is not usually a good experience.


60% Of Business Fail After Ransomware Infection
July 13, 2018

Ransomware (or cryptolocker) are the most dangerous viruses ever created for small businesses.

Password Basics That Are still Ignored
July 11, 2018

You can have all the locks on your data center and have all the network security available, but nothing will keep your data safe if your employees are sloppy with passwords.


4 reasons you will never be secure using your Mirotik, Netgear, Linksys or other consumer grade devices.
July 2, 2018

4 reasons you will never be secure using your Mirotik, Netgear, Linksys or other consumer grade devices.

The VPNFilter vulnerability has opened a lot of eyes to the world of network security. The very thought that a foreign governments military has complete access to our internet life is terrifying. The ramifications of the vulnerability are real, stolen data, stolen identities, theft, and fraud. It should really be no surprise that the VPNFilter vulnerability exists, and here are the reasons why.

Password basics people still ignore
June 7, 2018

You can have all the locks on your data center and have all the network security available, but nothing will keep your data safe if your employees are careless with passwords.


Update to Router vulnerability
June 7, 2018

In our continuing effort to educate our readers of important security events, I’m updating everyone on the ‘VPNFilter’ vulnerability found on a very large number of routers. We’ve had some feedback and questions regarding this event, and I hope to answer these in this post.

Security issue all should be aware of
May 29, 2018

Recently a massive security issue has been brought to light. The issue is known as the ‘VPNFilter’ vulnerability. The main reason this vulnerability is important is because it allows criminals to harvest your online credentials (your username and password.) This means your banking credentials, or any other online service you use is at risk.

Government regulations
May 25, 2018

Any business that stores customer payment information must comply with a number of state and federal regulations.

Cyber Crime and Security for SMB's
May 16, 2018

Did you know the illicit trading of personal data was worth $3.88 billion last year?

Security and your sub-contractors
May 10, 2018

So you feel relatively comfortable that you have created cyber security around your data and your employees are trained to avoid security errors in their day-to-day business ( a MAJOR source of security breaches, by the way.)


NPO's and volunteer security nightmare
May 4, 2018

Not-for-profits have an unusual issue regarding security. Firms that have trained, paid full-time employees have a strong level of control over the actions of their workers.


Your front door is talking
April 24, 2018

If you've been following the news, the Internet of Things is getting increasing attention.

Data regulation and our business: You are probably regulated these laws
March 14, 2018

Small firms are probably aware that there are laws regulating the handling of data, but they probably assume that these apply only to larger firms and that they are too small to have any data that is worthwhile or protected under state/provincial or federal laws.


The Cloud: Are there security issues?
March 1, 2018

For many, the idea of offloading their data to another physical/virtual location can seem like a security risk.

Antivirus tips for small business
July 10, 2017

Antivirus tips for small business

Today, I want to talk about antivirus. We had a client the other day ask me, ‘Hey, I’ve spent all this money on antivirus. Do I really need that and is that working for me?’

Security- DNS filtering
July 3, 2017

I’m Albert Steed with Advanced Computer Solutions talking about security. So far we’ve talked about antivirus and we’ve talked about OS patching and we’ve talked about third-party software patching. Now I want to talk about the fourth tool that we use which is called OpenDNS.

Security- Application patching
June 26, 2017

I’m Albert Steed with Advanced Computer Solutions talking about small business security kind of progressing from antivirus to Microsoft’s patching, so your OS and maybe your Office tools, Excel and Word.

Should you pay your ransom?
June 19, 2017

Today we’re talking about security, ransonware and we’re going to talk about paying your ransom. Should you pay your ransom?

13 Stats that should concern you about Cyber Security awareness.
May 29, 2017

The Pew Research Center, located in Washington D.C., is an organization that studies many issues facing Americans to provide information that informs us on topics such as politics, policy, Internet, science, technology, religion, and more. Recently they released a report titled: “What the public knows about cyber security.”

How Real is a Ransomware Attack Threat?
May 22, 2017

“Have you heard about the lonesome loser? He’s a loser but he still keeps on trying!” The Little River Band made these lyrics famous in 1979. But as great a song as that was, today I want to talk about data loss and how we keep trying and keep losing the battle.

So, you’re thinking of managing your own network security.
May 16, 2017

Many business owners wear more hats than can usually be considered safe. They are often managers, supervisors, trainers, accountants, bookkeepers, maintenance, drivers, and all too often IT support. There’s an old adage that goes: “he who is a Jack of all trades is a master of none” and that holds especially true in the IT support and security world.

Phishing isn’t about Trout Season Opening Day
May 9, 2017

A new Pew Research Center survey titled "What the Public Knows About Cybersecurity” revealed some startling statistics about how little most Americans know about cybersecurity. While most Americans understand the need for strong passwords and know public Wi-Fi hotspots are not very secure, a surprisingly low number of respondents to this survey were able to explain what phishing is or how to determine whether the website they are about to put the credit card info into is secure.

Cyber Criminals Attack Tax Records
May 2, 2017

Spring is in the air. For many of us that means more daylight hours to enjoy the outdoors; warmer temperatures, so we can open windows and air out the house; and trout season is just about to begin. For some of us though, this time of the year brings a lot of dread as the deadline for filing our taxes looms ever closer.

Should Your Business Hire a Network Security Specialist or Use a Managed Service Provider?
April 25, 2017

The past few years have seen cybercrime increase dramatically. While many business owners feel this is a problem for large companies, small to medium sized business (SMB) are suffering more attacks than larger organizations.

Does Your Network Security Provide Peace of Mind?
April 7, 2017

Data breach continues to be a major topic of concern for business owners in all industries.  In 2016 the number of reported data breaches grew from about 600 million to a startling 4 billion according to IBM Security’s X-Force Threat Intelligence Index.  This is more than the total number of breaches from the previous two years.

Ransomware!!! Run for the hills! (not really, but you should concern yourself about this.)
September 6, 2016

Having your business data, all of your business data, become worthless over night is a real problem. Ransomware does just that. This problem however is becoming more of a problem. The BBC reports "'Alarming' rise in ransoware tracked".


Email security is important
August 9, 2016

Ars Technica has a fascinating article around Hillary Clinton and her Email woes as Secretary of State. During her time, she struggled to get through the spam filters at the State Department. 

BBC declares “Huge spam and malware network goes offline” what does that mean for us?
July 12, 2016

It doesn’t mean much. The article (click here to read) lets us know that the “Necurs botnet” has gone silent. This particular botnet happened to be distributing the worst kind of virus, Trojans and ransomware. The botnet actually went silent for about 3 weeks. Then it came back, with a vengeance (click here for the update)!

Security and your smart device
July 5, 2016

Often I get asked, “I use my phone/tablet/smart device to do much of my banking, can’t I just do that?” To which I respond, “If you are using an apple product.” 

Ransomware is a constant threat
May 27, 2016

Ransomware is a real threat to both businesses and consumers.

Why do we recommend managed security for everyone?
May 26, 2016

I can hear you saying it "I only check my email, do some banking and read the New York Times, the free virus protection I have on my computer should work just fine!" I'm here to tell you, YOUR WRONG.

Do You Need to Be HIPAA Compliant?
November 4, 2014


Lately, we have gotten a lot of questions and concerns from customers about HIPAA compliance.   Because security is a big piece of that and computers are central to the question, we are going to talk a bit about HIPAA compliance this month on our blog.

Secure PDF's for Lawyers
October 31, 2013

Short on time?   The ABA's Law Practice Division, just released a new book - Adobe Ac

2 (BIG!) Benefits of Having a Network Audit Done
October 18, 2013

Due to the Syrian geo-political climate, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has deemed Oct

How to Determine if a Cloud Service is Safe Enough for Your Business
July 30, 2013

This spring, I attended the American Bar Association technology conference in Chicago.  The conference was held for attorneys and firm managers in order to gain knowledge of new technologies and learn the state of technology within the legal industry.

Three Questions To Determine Whether You Need a Security Audit
June 11, 2013

Nearly all businesses have a computer these days, but not enough of them have them properly set up.   While having a computer helps you keep core aspects of your business running -- correspondence, accounts payable & receivable, and more -- it needs to be working for YOU as well.   

Cloud Computing - Are You More Prone to Attack on the Cloud or In Your Office?
June 4, 2013

Do you think your data is more likely to be hacked on the cloud or on your local office computers?   While security has long been cited as an obstacle of adopting more cloud computing services, this article shows that cloud data is actually attacked less than your local computers.

The Simplest Thing You Can Do To Secure Your Data Online
October 24, 2012

The simplest thing you can do to secure your data online is to have a GOOD password.   Unfortunately, having a great password takes some thinking.   And you need more than one.   Luckily for you, we have provided 6 tips for creating passwords that can help secure your data online.