Holiday Special Edition – ECHO Newsletter

Holiday Special Edition – ECHO Newsletter

Lately, quite a few organizations have asked us to help maximize their technology investment and increase organizational impact.  Over the past few weeks, ECHO team has been busy responding to that demand by refining our technology roadmap and enhancing our cybersecurity services offering.

 

Topic of the month – What is IT?  – Part 2

Last month we talked through the basics of IT.  This month, we want to expand on that by talking about how technology impacts organizations and their people. 

We believe that technology is the most significant and far-reaching investment an organization can make, second only to its organizational culture.  

Personal computers and applications are driving increased productivity and efficiency. It might seem like a silly example, but look no further than word processing and spreadsheets. Remember typewriters, carbon copy paper, and paper ledgers?  Exactly.  We’ve come so far that we take modern productivity for granted. 

Beyond these simple examples is a much bigger prize:  letting computers do things that they are good at (rote, standardized tasks), and let us humans do things that we’re good at (creativity, intelligence, problem solving). Computers can (and should!) manage processes, coordinate tasks, process data, and do all those time consuming, boring, tedious tasks so we can use our time and energy for the tasks which are truly important. 

Technology can also drive internal and external organizational alignment. The value of this alignment is further enforced by technology-enabled knowledge share across organizations. Email, chat tools, voice and video conferencing tools allow us to communicate with ease. Cloud based document sharing, project management and workflow engine tools are making collaboration with the entire world much easier. Things get done much faster! Decisions are made collaboratively and communicated to everyone with ease.  

Finally, there’s the “holy grail” of technology impact – datadriven decision making and business intelligence. Sound like far distance future? It’s not. Actual application of Artificial Intelligence may be further on the horizon, but until then, we’re going to have to rely on our own intelligence to do our jobs.  The computers can do the rest.

 

Technology Tips

Polling in Slack 

Simple polls in Slack are a quick and easy way to take an organization’s temperature or pick the best of several options. The free version of Slack will give you basic information through this feature. 

There are multiple ways to create a poll, but the most common way is with the following syntax: 

/poll “Poll question?” “Option 1” “Option 2” “Option 3” 

Easy, isn’t it?  For more info please check https://simplepoll.rocks/faq/  

 

Salesforce tip

If you’re using Salesforce, you know how important it is to keep track of correspondence with your clients, prospects, volunteers, and donors, especially at this time of year! Tracking your meetings and emails is crucial to providing a 360-degree view of your constituents, and you won’t have to remember what your last touchpoint was! With a free add-on to Outlook or Gmail, you can leverage Salesforce right from your inbox. 

If you’d like something more robust, try Salesforce Inbox, which comes with a ton more features such as Send Later, Read Receipts, and Calendar Availability for scheduling meetings on the fly.

 

Cybersecurity tip

Everybody is a target!  ECHO works with clients of all sizes and we know from experience that even the smallest nonprofit organizations are vulnerable.  To someone three continents away, we all have something to steal. The scammers, spammers, and other adversaries just don’t care. 

Cybersecurity is not that complicated and should not be that expensive.  At the same time, it has to be taken seriously.  In March, ECHO will be presenting at the 2019 Nonprofit Technology Conference about cybersecurity protective measures for nonprofit organizations.   

If you want to know more, please ask anyone at ECHO.  We can help.  We live and breathe this every day with all our clients.  Bonus:  Our special of the month is a heavily discounted price on a Basic Cybersecurity Assessment (see below).

 

IT Tips of the Month

Over the past month, we’ve been following several issues: 

  • Clients are seeing an increased frequency and volume of phishing, spam, malware and adware attacks. Unless you’re already protected please consider: 
  • A targeted threat protection solution (Secure email gateway protection from malware URLs, spear-phishing, and malware attachments.) 
  • Security awareness training 
  • Phishing resistance training 
  • We are seeing a lot of so-called “brute force” attacks on our clients, where malicious actors attempt to break into a system through machine-generated password attacks. Multi-Factor Authentication goes a very long way toward remediating this issue.  
  • Password management: Most organizations use 10, 20, or sometimes 30 different applications over internal and cloud environments. Think about that in terms of all the access credentials you must maintain. I just counted about 100 different applications in my personal password management tool alone. About 50% or our clients use a Single Sign-On solution like Okta, OneLogin, Duo, or Azure Active Directory. These aren’t the cheapest tools, but they will dramatically increase security, advance productivity, and shorten employee onboarding/offboarding cost. Many of these solutions also offer multi-factor authentication as well. 
  • Finally, many organizations still struggle with document management and document sharing. Let’s just put it this way:  the era of attached to emails or chat conversations is over. You should never, ever send a file as an attachment again. There are many solutions out there. To choose the right one for your organizations, please talk to our team members. 

Did you know ECHO offers service desk support 24/7?   Give the Service desk a call (415.857.3246) or send a request to [email protected] and have the ECHO Team help solve your problems today 

What happens when you submit a ticket?  We’re glad you asked. 

 

Meet Janeth – IT dispatcher

The ECHO team is committed in responding to every request within one hour and resolving it within eight hours. Each month, we receive about 1,000 tickets from our clients.  The vast majority are dealt with immediately and resolved within a couple of hours. How does this happen? 

Our “secret sauce” is Janeth. Believe it or not, she is a real person, not an AI bot!  She’s just really fast and really effective. We call her the great master of tickets. 

Each call or email comes in as a ticket. As soon as that happens, Janeth takes ownership of that ticket and works on it until the client is satisfied, all the work has been documented, and the ticket is closed.  

Janeth triages each ticket to determine the severity of the problem, business impact, and technical complexity. She keeps an eye on the availability of all 22 IT engineers at ECHO and finds the best person for each ticket.  

Janeth keeps the communication to the client going. She also ensures that our busy engineering team does not drop the ball on any of them. 

Thanks to Janeth, our service desk team hits >97% of its service level agreement goals.  Our plan for the next year? 100%. 

 

The 2018 Cybersecurity Wrap Up

It’s been an interesting month in cybersecurity. 

 

The scope and breadth of the Marriott data breach is staggering.  

Background: Up to 500M customers had data exposed in a hack of Marriott’s Starwood Division. (Starwood, acquired by Marriott in 2016, includes Sheraton, Westin, Aloft, and W hotels.)  Hackers had been in the Marriott systems since 2014 and had plenty of time to harvest encrypted data, including credit card and passport numbers. 

“Good” news:  None of this information has shown up for sale on the dark web.  Yet. 

Bad news:  The Marriott data theft has been tied to Chinese state-sponsored hacking.  You may remember them from previous incidents at the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and Anthem Healthcare System. 

https://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2018/12/15/exp-gps-1216-sanger-on-marriott-hack.cnn 

On Tuesday, 12/18, NASA disclosed a data breach discovered in October affecting employee personally identifiable information between July 2006 and October 2018. 

Is your organization’s cybersecurity better than Marriott, NASA, OPM, or Anthem? 

 

On 12/7/2018, Wired Magazine issued the  

THE WIRED GUIDE TO DATA BREACHES

It is a good read.  We particularly like this quote: 

 “An unpatched web server or an employee clicking a malicious link in a phishing email can be all it takes. 

That’s also why some of the most groundbreaking examples of next-generation hacking come from targeted attacks to surveil high-profile individuals and groups… “ 

 

There is hope.  Many high-profile data breaches start through easily fixed cybersecurity lapses.  As always, it is best to have a plan.  THE WIRED GUIDE TO DATA BREACHES states: 

“Attackers are able to perpetrate most current data breaches relatively easily by exploiting an institution’s basic security oversights—that’s what happened with Home Depot, OPM, and Equifax.” 

“The best way to minimize the impact of a mega-breach, then, is not just to reduce the number of incidents, but to better manage the inevitable fallout.” 

 

Meanwhile, on Twitter…

Twitter memes have been used to trigger malware. 

If you are concerned about cybersecurity in your organization, ECHO can help. Our Basic Cybersecurity Assessment is an excellent starting point to understand your cybersecurity risks and get better prepared for the inevitable data breach. Please contact any ECHO employee for help. 

 

News from ECHO

Special of the month : Phishing Resilience Screening

The number of phishing attacks are expected to rise exponentially in 2019. Jagdish Mahapatra, Managing Director for Asia, CrowdStrike, concurs: “2019 will see cyber attackers continue to leverage sophisticated social engineering, phishing and spear-phishing techniques that bypass the capabilities of most security mechanisms.” 

So through the month of January, ECHO is offering a Phishing Resilience Screening for $500 (list price is $1,000). This phishing screen covers up to 500 named email addresses in a single domain and includes a kick-off meeting, a summary report as well as a presentation of findings meeting.

New ECHO Team members 

We’re pleased to welcome Vashti Talwar to the ECHO family! Vashti joined ECHO as the in-house Marketing Specialist earlier this month. 

Vashti is a graduate of the Master of Communication Management program at the University of Southern California. Prior to that, she was a flight attendant with Qatar Airlines. Having worked in an international and multicultural environment, Vashti brings great customer service and client management experience to the table along with her marketing expertise. She recently moved to the Bay Area to get involved in the technology sector and is excited to join ECHO’s fast-paced environment where she can gain exposure to different industries through our clients. Vashti also has a passion for nonprofits and currently volunteers at a San Francisco nonprofit.   

If you got this far, thank you! It’s greatly appreciated. 

We care about your business success and want to hear from you about how ECHO can help make your IT experience better.   Please let your Client Advisor know what’s on your mind today (good or bad).