Managed Security

How to Protect Your Cell Phone From Smishing!

Smishing and How to Protect Your Cell Phone

What is a Smishing Email?

A smishing email is a general term for a text that requests for you to click on a link, respond, or provide personal/corporate information.  The results of a successful smishing attack could mean compromised pin number, credit card information, passwords, social security number, and other private details that could lead to stolen identity.

What Types of Viruses Are Phones Vulnerable Too?

Interestingly, the types of viruses infested on phones are similar to the ones you see on computers.  For instance, your phone can be compromised adware, malware, ransomware, spyware, or Trojan horses.

How Do You Avoid Becoming a Smishing Victim?

There are many ways you can arm yourself against smishing attacks.  They include awareness, research, and avoidance.

1.  Watch Out for Questionable Text

smishing exampleClearly, this text example is an attempt to scam Trump supporters.  Subsequently, smishing texts often claim to already have an existing relationship with you. Remember, if you are not sure don’t click or respond.

The second clue is an immediate call for action.  Smishing texts will use emotional manipulation to try to get you to click or respond immediately.  In this example, they are clearly aiming to use a scare tactic by using the word “FAILED” in caps.

In addition, smishing texts will often use banking information to solicit feedback.  In some cases, they can even provide part or all of your account numbers.  Make sure it is legitimate before clicking.

2.  Google the Phone Numbersmishing example 2

When in doubt research the phone number.  In this particular example, it was a car insurance company.  Obviously, this is not the Republican party as suggested in the text above.

3.  Be Wary of Location Awareness

Cybercriminals are smart! They can use the VPN app on your phone to reveal your location. Subsequently, they know that a local text is more personal and will often yield a response from their victims.  For example, they can make it appear that you are receiving an offer from a local pizza parlor.

4.  DON’T CLICK or Respond

Watch out for emails from unknown sources that ask you to click on something or respond.  Both of these activities will download a virus on your device.

You should also beware of unsolicited emails from known senders with short subject descriptions or just a link.  For example, that person in your church or networking group that you hardly know will likely not send you a text with just a link out of the blue.

How Do You Know if You Are Already Infected?

Your phone could already be infected without your knowledge.  Here are some simple clues to find out if you are infected.  Is your:

  • Phone crashing a lot?
  • Is the battery draining much faster?
  • Phone showing new apps you didn’t download?
  • Device showing an unexplained sizable increase in data usage?
  • Phone company billing you for questionable text charges?
  • Does the device receive pop-up adds?
  • Phone overheating often?

How to Clean Up a Virus on Your Phone

To clean up a virus on your phone the first thing you need to do is clear the history and data.  This should help with any type of pop-ups.  Secondly, power off and restart your phone.  Thirdly, restore from an earlier backup if the first two steps didn’t work.  Last, restore as a new device as a last alternative.

Be Proactive About Smishing

The most important thing you could do to avoid a smishing scam is to download antivirus software on your phone.  Many users believe their cell phones are immune to security threats, but that is not true.

If You Think You Have A Smishing Text – Let Us Know

This post is part of the INSI Awareness Campaign that is designed to keep our clients protected and informed.  In addition, you can click here to learn more about our security offerings.

Most importantly, if you are concerned about smishing texts, please do not hesitate to contact our helpdesk at 770-387-2424 before opening it.  Our engineers are more than happy to check it out and make sure it is safe.  After all, we are here to serve you!


Problem Solving Skills

The Third Most Important Characteristic of a Great IT Support Engineer

Survey Says: Great IT Problem-Solving Skills

In the last two posts, we talked about how the ability of the engineer to follow processes and communicate effectively is vitally important to service delivery.  However, even then we still don’t have the makeup of a GREAT engineer.  The final characteristic of a GREAT engineer is…… IT problem-solving skills.

Problem-solving is the art of critical and creative thinking, self-directed learning, teamwork, and communication. An engineer who has this skill set instinctively knows how to handle technical problems.

Catch-All Approach 

Unfortunately, an engineer can’t be expected to excel at all levels.  Yet, most MSPs use a catch-all approach in their Network Operations Center (NOC).  In this scenario, they throw their engineers into a NOC where they take the ticket that is next in the queue.  If the engineer does not know how to resolve the issue, they hand it off to someone else.  Consequently, they also hand off the opportunity to learn how to fix it.

On the other hand, most of the engineers in the queue are overqualified to handle the ticket.  Why?  Because 80% of the tickets that come into the queue are entry-level.  It’s a catch-all strategy that doesn’t benefit the client, the MSP, or the engineer.

Experienced Engineers Get Bored Under the Catch-All Approach

Unquestionably, engineers get bored easily, and if they are not challenged, they lose their momentum and become stagnant. Nevertheless, they can be on a fast track to learn something new all the time or on the slow track and take Tier-1 calls. The difference in salary and technical skills is drastic five years down the road and they know this.

Therefore, for the sake of all, no one should ask a Tier-3 engineer to spend the majority of their time on Tier-1 level issues, or vice versa. They are either wasting the engineer’s talents (and charging you too much for simple problems), or you are paying the cost for someone to work on advanced issues who do not have the experience or capability to handle it – thus, resulting in extreme downtime.

The Catch-All Cost The Client Money

Due to the way they are structured, most MSPs look to hire engineers with experience.  Conversely, this doesn’t make sense considering that 80% of the tickets are entry-level tickets. Clearly, 80% are password changes, printer connection issues, display issues, updates, viruses, etc. that can be resolved within 15 minutes!  In fact, most entry-level tickets can be script-based.  Not surprisingly, enterprise companies have long taken advantage of helpdesk companies who are priced at Tier 1 & 2 rates.

In addition, experienced engineers are much more costly once you consider how competitive the market is with such a low unemployment rate.  Likewise, it is much more difficult to scale if the MSP is hiring only experienced personnel that everyone is fighting over.

Knowing this, how much do you think the MSP has to charge to make a profit? The truth is, most MSPs charge $150 per hour or higher.  Subsequently, that is the true math behind the unlimited, price per seat and price per device plans.  (Reference IT Outsourcing Secrets Chapter 2: The Math Behind It All.)

Therefore, it only makes sense for both the client and the engineers to hire 80% of the engineering staff at entry-level and promote within.  It scales better, it meets the engineer’s needs, and most importantly, it meets the client’s needs.

INSI’s Tiered-Based Approach is the Solution for Engineers and Clients

In contrast, INSI believes an engineer should be proficient at the tier level in which they were hired. What does this mean? A tier-1 engineer must be good at simple tasks, such as password changes, printer issues, etc. They resolve 60% of the end-user issues.

A tier-2 engineer must be proficient at troubleshooting more advanced desktop issues. They resolve 20% of the end-user issues.

The tier-3 team takes care of issues where multiple end-users are affected.  Additional tasks include highly advanced issues, projects, or network architecture planning. Therefore, a tier-3 engineer who was hired for server work must be very skilled at that particular task.

Our approach allows for a much clearer career path.  In addition, our engineers do not get bored nor are they under-qualified.  Therefore, our senior engineers who only focus on senior-level issues will be much more proficient than an engineer who works in the catch-all environment and spends 80% of their time on entry-level issues.  Also, our tier 1 & 2 engineers will not be assigned tickets that are way above their pay-grade.  Both speed up the time to resolution for the client.

Call INSI if You Want Problem Solving Engineers Working in Your Environment

INSI’s unique Customized IT™ Program is a tiered based approach that is ideal for both the client and the engineer.  Call us today to find out more about our programs.

Do You Want To Learn More About The Importance of Problem-Solving Skills?

If you would like to know more about this topic and how it affects you, visit Amazon or Barnes & Noble for a copy of the book IT Outsourcing Secrets – A Small Business Guide to Comparing IT Support Companies.


Communication Skills

What Is the Second Most Important Characteristic of an IT Support Engineer?

Survey Says IT Communication Skills!

In our last post, we talked about how the ability of the engineer to follow processes is the most important characteristic.  However, the ability to follow processes on its own is not a winning formula.  There are three ingredients and the second one is IT communication skills.

However, when you look at job descriptions for engineers, they read like a technical manual. For instance, there is a string of technical competencies they must master. In fact, for most MSPs, it is even greater because they expect the engineers to master all levels – not just the one they are being hired for.

Typical End-User Experience with Bad Engineers

As an end-user, I am sure you have received help from several desktop engineers in work and personal life. Certainly, there is one that stands out over time – either because he was so good, or because he was really bad.

For example, the good one probably listened to your issue, walked through a solution, fixed the problem, and went on their way. In contrast, the bad one was probably condescending, had a thick accent, or talked techy jargon over your head, and left you feeling lost as to what just happened.

The Importance of Great IT Communication Skills

Unquestionably, being technically astute is an important quality, but I would much rather get someone good with technology and give them the resources to be great than to hire someone who is going to chase away my clients.

Any network operations manager knows that knowledge can only be used on machines – not people.  They know great engineers should be able to communicate through stressful situations, have empathy, exercise patience, show confidence in their work, and be technically astute.

Unfortunately, this is a hard combination to find.  Especially when you consider the low unemployment rate in this industry.  But, the technical knowledge without good IT communication skills ends up costing the MSP money.  Therefore, the smart MSP’s guard against this.

Techy Talk Masterminds – Or So They Think!

Unfortunately, it is very common with small MSPs to talk the techy talk rather than communicate the solutions in layman’s terms. While their techy knowledge is quite impressive at first, it becomes old quickly.

Without a doubt, I can’t tell you the countless times a prospect told me that their IT guy showed up, went into the server room closet, stayed in there for five hours, and gave them a whopping bill. When they asked him what he did, he spoke circles around them with techy jargon.

At the end of the day, they had no idea what they paid for or why it was necessary. They felt bullied and lost. I am here to tell you, that is not the way IT support is supposed to work. After all, the most important word in IT support is “support.”  All of which require great IT communication skills!

INSI Makes IT Communication Simple

At INSI, we believe the client should understand the work we did and the options they have.  For this reason, we have Customer Service Managers (CSM) who serve as the single point of contact for their clients.  Each CSM is a seasoned engineer who has great communication skills.  Likewise, they will get to know your company, employees, and IT needs very well.

Also, each CSM committed to the security and reliability of your network.  As such, they make recommendations with security and reliability in mind.  Best of all, your CSM is responsible for directing and coordinating all the activities on your account.  Most importantly, they are measured on your client satisfaction.  This results in clear communication between INSI and the client.

Avoid the Techy Jargon – Call INSI Today for All Your IT Support Needs!

Do You Want To Learn More About the Importance of IT Communication Skills?

If you would like to know more about this topic and how it affects you, visit Amazon or Barnes & Noble for a copy of the book IT Outsourcing Secrets – A Small Business Guide to Comparing IT Support Companies.


Network & Desktop Monitoring

What is IT Monitoring? 

Monitoring is a tool that allows the provider to set up alerts, patch, report, automate, program custom scripting, catch issues early on, and prevent future issues.

There are two types of monitoring: network and desktop.  Both are equally important to the health and safety of your IT environment. They also both protect expensive assets that should not be taken for granted.

First Line of Defense for Your IT Assets

Let’s face it, computer systems are not cheap, and you need to keep them healthy if you want a return on your investment (ROI). After all, it is a known fact that unresolved issues, like missed updates or patches, can escalate into much bigger problems, such as viruses or leaving a door open to hackers.

Network Monitoring

As previously mentioned, Network monitoring tools alert, audit, patch, report, automate, allow custom scripting, catch issues early on, and prevent future issues.  Interestingly, only quality MSPs have access to robust monitoring systems called Remote Monitoring and Management System (RMM).  Moreover, RMMs monitor servers, routers, and firewalls 24 hours a day.

Benefits of Remote Monitoring & Management Systems:

Most importantly, RMM enables the MSP to oversee the network infrastructure for any failures to ensure maximum uptime. For instance, the network engineer can set up the thresholds to notify him/her of any issues.

However, there are many other benefits to using an RMM, including:

  1. Monitor operating system event logs
  2. Program to automatically apply fixes
  3. Provide system failure alerts to the network operations center (NOC) for immediate response
  4. Scan the network for any areas of weakness
  5. Allows security IP monitoring over the telephone network
  6. Notify the NOC of assets that require maintenance or replacement
  7. Automate Windows updates and patches to secure your network
  8. Create custom scripts across multiple devices during large deployments
  9. Schedule reboots to keep the systems updates
  10. Monitor configurations of Microsoft application to keep the system healthy
  11. Prevents malicious attacks through antivirus updates
  12. Manage the backup and disaster recovery to ensure recovery in the event of a disaster

What Does Desktop Monitoring Software Do?

Desktop monitoring allows the MSP to protect against common hardware issues, prolong the computer life cycle, and improve your ROI. Since 80% of your IT issues are desktop-related, it is absolutely necessary to protect your network environment.

In addition, desktop monitoring is part of the RMM that helps MSPs remotely monitor their client’s networks, computers, and endpoints.  Furthermore, this software allows for checkups on the CPU, memory, hard-drives, utilization, and among many other things, it detects issues early on.

Monitoring is Not a Full Security Program

As you can see, monitoring provides essential ingredients to protect your network.  However, it is not a security program and it does not protect against all security threats.  Therefore, if you would like 24/7 security monitoring, log management, and response, you will need a Managed Security program.  This service has cyber-security specialists monitor your network 24/7/365 and will alert you when there is a threat.  In addition, they advise you on how to resolve it quickly.

Make Sure Monitoring is Part of Your IT Support Package

You may ask yourself why an IT support provider would not provide network or desktop monitoring software to their clients.  Clearly, it all boils down to time and money.  Consequently, RMM software is expensive to license and maintain.  It can take several years before an IT support company is profitable.  Therefore, smaller companies may skip on this until they are prosperous.  As a result, you should make sure this service is part of your IT support agreement.  In fact, you should demand it.

Don’t Be Fooled

It also must be noted, that I have also seen several providers charge extraordinary amounts for desktop monitoring.  In one particular case, they charged $42 per month more on their premier package, in which desktop monitoring was the primary difference from the base package.  Of course, they had several other things lumped into the package to make it seem like there was a major difference, but there really wasn’t.  However, you should know the average monthly cost is typically around $3 per computer.  So, don’t be fooled.

INSI’s Goal is to Protect Our Clients

INSI uses a robust remote management monitoring tool called ConnectWise Automate that ties into our ticketing system.  Formerly known as LabTech, Automate is a leading global RMM provider for IT service providers.  Undoubtedly, Automate helps us significantly improve our operational productivity and efficiency by leveraging the power of IT automation.  In addition, it serves as the first line of defense against security threats for our clients.

Contact us today, if you would like to know more about INSI IT Support service.

Do You Want To Learn More About IT Monitoring?

If you would like to know more about this topic and how it affects you, visit Amazon or Barnes & Noble for a copy of the book IT Outsourcing Secrets – A Small Business Guide to Comparing IT Support Companies.


INSI Announces Partnership with Cybriant to Add Managed Security Services

INSI Announces A Partnership with Cybriant to Add Managed Security Services

Marietta, GA, 02/20/2020 – INSI, a Manage Service Provider and creator of the Customized IT Support model, today announced a strategic alliance partner with Cybriant, a leader in cybersecurity services. This partnership will allow INSI to launch a line of cyber risk management services that will allow their clients to proactively combat relevant threats from cybercriminals. Through these services, INSI is making enterprise-grade cybersecurity services attainable for all organizations.

Cyber Security Threats

Cybercriminals are using every resource available to find vulnerabilities.  Too often organizations find out what made them vulnerable after an attack. By adding the following managed services, INSI now can help clients use a preventative approach to cyber risk management. These services include:

  1. Managed SIEM with 24 x 7 security monitoring
  2. Managed Detection & Remediation
  3. Risk-based Vulnerability Management
  4. Responsive Patch Management
  5. Web Application Protection as a Service
  6. Risk Assessments
  7. Compromise Assessments
  8. Penetration Testing
  9. Incident Response & Incident Containment

INSI’s Cyber Security Commitment to Our Clients

INSI has also added consultative services that will provide a framework for architecting, constructing, and maintaining a secure business with policy and performance alignment. Clients can contact INSI for Virtual CISO, Risk Assessments, Compromise Assessments, and Penetration Testing.

“At INSI, we take our clients cybersecurity very seriously,” says Deborah Frazier, Head of Sales and Marketing for INSI and author of the book, IT Outsourcing Secrets.  “Most companies believe their Managed Service Company is providing full IT security services.  Unfortunately, they are disappointed when an event happens and they cannot recover from it.  I have seen this happen with multiple prospects over the years.”

Stephen Nowell, VP of Operations added, “The truth is, most MSPs provide basic block and tackle which includes monitoring, preventive maintenance, antivirus, and spam filtering.  Backups and Managed Security are an additional offering.”

“However, at INSI, we realized there was a big enough need to warrant 24/7 monitoring and response.  On the other hand, we also knew it would take at least fourteen cybersecurity specialists, and experienced Cyber Security leadership to provide that support.  That is why we sought out a Georgia-based reputable Cyber Security company.  This supports our goals to back the local community.” Stephen concluded.

Cybriant’s Commitment to Our Clients

“Having an effective Cyber Risk Management Service requires a vigilant effort by focused professionals,” said Bill Brown, EVP with Cybriant. “Through INSI, Cybriant can design, implement, and manage your entire cyber risk management program, or we can augment and reinforce your program where needed.

Contact INSI For Your Cyber Security Solution Today

With an increasingly dangerous cyber threat landscape looming, organizations should understand their vulnerabilities. Contact INSI by going to INSI to increase your cyber resilience.

About INSI

Since 1995, INSI has been providing IT support to small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in both Georgia and Alabama.  They offer Managed Services and their own unique INSI Customized IT™ package.  Also, their unique tiered structure allows clients to choose the exact services they want while reducing 80% of their cost on IT support tickets.  Additional services include hosting, disaster recovery, managed security, and unified communications. For more information, go to

About Cybriant

Cybriant assists companies in making informed business decisions along with sustaining effectiveness in the design, operation, and monitoring of their cyber risk management programs. We deliver a comprehensive and customizable set of strategic and managed cybersecurity services. These services include Risk Assessments, vCISO, 24/7 Managed SIEM with LIVE Monitoring and Analysis, 24/7 MDR, 24/7 Real-Time Vulnerability Scanning with Patch Management. We make enterprise-grade cybersecurity strategy and tactics accessible to businesses of all sizes. Find out more at