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Microsoft Gold Partner, I.T. Responsive Joins Best in Class Managed Service Provider, New Charter Technologies

Bringing Enhanced Value and Capabilities for Employees and Clients

When you visit a site, probably for the first time or from a new device or browser, you will see an alert that mentions the site uses Cookies to offer you a more personalized experience and asks you if you are okay with it. Let’s admit it. A lot of us don’t even bother to read what the notification says before we click “Accept” and move on with our browsing.

New Charter Technologies CEO, Mitch Morgan is excited to have the company join the growing roster of North American MSPs. “We are so excited to welcome Chance Weaver and the team at I.T. Responsive. Chance brings vision, passion, and expertise to our Microsoft Practice, as we drive Digital Transformation for our clients. The expertise and experience of the team is a great addition to New Charter.” Mitch explained.

Chance Weaver, the CEO of I.T. Responsive, was intrigued by the New Charter partnership opportunity because it offered the company the ability to maintain their brand and operations model while also leveraging a peer network for resource sharing and collaboration. “The ability to work inside of a larger organization increases our growth and efficiency. There’s an incredible opportunity for shared services and best practices that we can do much better collectively than we could do alone.” In particular, I.T. Responsive is a Gold Managed Microsoft Partner and brings extensive experience, certifications, and specialization to the entire New Charter platform. As a result, companies can now offer clients a broader array of services and expertise across various industries.

The Oval Partners and New Charter Technologies business model is focused on building a caliber of business that the IT industry hasn’t yet seen. The strategy is revolutionary and changing the standard in which the industry operates.

Here are the five pillars that make up the foundation of New Charter:

  • The platform partners with business owners who are not sellers but rather looking for an opportunity to continue what they’re doing and having a financial partner for further investment.

  • A team of business owners to partner with for the sharing of new ideas and industry best practices to accelerate their business forward.

  • The foundation of the model is centered around the idea that the Managed IT industry is a “people-business” requiring a local touch and should not be consolidated in order to build upon success and reach new growth and service delivery levels.

  • The partners who make up the New Charter banner are high growth and high margin businesses who share a common set of cultural and business objectives.

  • The owners are the Leadership team and are collaborating and strategizing in a way that has never been seen in the industry.

According to John Knoll, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Oval, “I.T. Responsive brings a new, complementary geography to our platform and as a Gold Managed Microsoft Partner, an ability for New Charter to drive further innovation for our customers. Chance and the team will be a great addition to our organization.”

I.T. Responsive is excited to begin tapping into all the benefits this new partnership has to offer for the company, its people, and its clients. “I’m incredibly excited to be part of this partnership and have the ability to offer more growth opportunities to my team.” explains Chance.

About I.T.Responsive

Founded in 1998, I.T. Responsive began with a mission to help small and mid-sized businesses get a quantifiable return on their technology investments. Since then, we have grown to provide both small, mid-sized and enterprise level services with best of breed service solutions and project services. With practices in Managed Services, Cloud Services, Virtualization and Infrastructure, I.T. Responsive has the team and resources to create and implement powerful and unique technology solutions for your organization. Learn more here:https://www.itresponsive.com/

About New Charter Technologies

New Charter Technologies is building a Dream Team of Managed Service Providers. Serving small-to-medium sized businesses in 10+ industries across North America, we deliver best-in-class technology solutions to propel our clients into the digital world. Learn more here: https://newchartertech.com/

About Oval Partners

Oval Partners is a multi-family office investment firm designed to provide liquidity, growth, capital and acquisition funding to founders of growing businesses across North America. Oval’s capital base is permanent—it is committed, unencumbered and unconstrained in terms of holding period. Oval offers the capabilities and capital of a private equity fund, but the mentality, partner orientation and investment time frame of a private holding company. Oval’s principals have completed more than 100 transactions involving platform investments, acquisitions, exits, and re-financings. Oval focuses on making investments in the tech-enabled services, information services, internet, software/SAAS, and industrial technology markets. New Charter embodies the essence of Oval’s targeted “buy and build” strategy in attractive, service-oriented, niche end markets. For additional information, please visit https://www.ovalpartners.com/ or contact Dan Escovitz at descovitz@ovalpartners.com.

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Everyone loves cookies--even cybercriminals

When you visit a site, probably for the first time or from a new device or browser, you will see an alert that mentions the site uses Cookies to offer you a more personalized experience and asks you if you are okay with it. Let’s admit it. A lot of us don’t even bother to read what the notification says before we click “Accept” and move on with our browsing.

Cookies are tiny information packets that store data related to your interaction and behavior on websites. It is like walking into your favorite local diner and having them serve up the “usual” instantly. Cookies, track your digital footprint on a website and allow the site to offer you a more personalized browsing experience. For example, let’s say you visited Amazon.com and looked at some cameras, perhaps you put one into your cart as well, but never checked out, or added one to your wishlist on the site. The next time the camera is on a sale, Amazon app sends you a notification about the price reduction. That happens with the help of cookies. And, that’s just one example. Cookies are not necessarily limited to shopping sites.You know how sometimes you can save your password for some sites, so you don’t have to type it or log in every time you visit the website? You are able to do that because of cookies. Any site can have cookies, though shopping and banking sites can’t function without them. These are known as session cookies and are absolutely indispensable, while some like persistent cookies make your web browsing experience more pleasant and the third party cookies, while not very pleasant, are used basically to facilitate online advertising. How do cookies become a security threat, then?

Cookies become a security threat when hackers get access to them. If hackers hijack your cookies, they can get access to your session, your passwords and other related online activities. Hackers sometimes create “Super Cookies” and “Zombie cookies” to steal information from authentic cookies. Such cookies are difficult to identify and delete and sometimes work like worms replicating themselves, thus making it more difficult to get rid of them. Hackers can also steal your cookies if they get access to your network or to the server of the website you are visiting. For example, if your bank’s or shopping website’s server was hacked into, chances are, the hacker has access to your cookies and thereby all your account details.

If you liked what you read, then check out our whitepaper, The cookie monster is coming for you, for a more detailed account of the threats posed by cookies and how you can manage them better.

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Understand your Cookie to manage it better!

There are 3 kinds of cookies, each having different functions. One of them is session cookies. If it weren’t for session cookies, you wouldn’t be able to do any online shopping, banking, social media posting or any other activity that requires you to be logged in/identified. These session cookies are temporary cookies and they disappear once you log out of the website, thereby ending your session. It is the session cookies that enable the website to identify you and your actions and react accordingly. Without them, every click you make on the site, will be treated as a new one, unrelated to the previous action. For example, you logged into your bank account to transfer money to a friend. If you click on “Money Transfer”, without a session cookie, the bank’s website won’t recognize you from your log-in and you just won’t be able to proceed further. You will be stuck in an endless loop of log-ins.

The second kind of cookies are called persistent cookies.These cookies are stored in the hard drive of your computer. Unlike the session cookies, they are not temporary and don’t disappear until you clear them proactively. Persistent cookies are used by websites to offer you a customized browsing experience. For example, when you visit the website of a company that has a global presence, you may be given the option to choose your preferred language and country, so the site displays relevant information. Unless you clear the cookies from your computer manually, the next time you visit the site, you will automatically be taken to the version of it that you chose last time--probably English, US.

The third kind of cookies are called third-party cookies and are typically used to retarget customers as a part of online advertising campaigns. You might have noticed that sometimes after you visit online shopping sites, ads related to the items you viewed on the shopping site shows up as you browse other websites too. That is a situation where third party cookies have been deployed.

While cookies by themselves are harmless, cybercriminals can use them as a medium to attack you virtually. But you just cannot make do without cookies. So, how do you manage cookies effectively to stay safe? Download our whitepaper, The Cookie, monster is coming for you to learn more!

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How to manage cookies effectively so they are not a threat to your data

Avoid third-party cookies: Third-party cookies are primarily used for online advertising and retargeting, so you won’t miss anything significant by avoiding these cookies. So, whenever you see a cookie alert on any site, first, check if it is for third-party cookies and if yes, it’s best to ‘Not accept cookies’. As a business, don’t allow third-party cookies on your site.

Secure sites: Make sure the sites you visit are secure (HTTPS) and have a valid SSL(Secure Socket Layer) certificate. The SSL certificate ensures that any data that’s exchanged is encrypted, meaning even if the hackers get access to the cookies, the information will be garbled eliminating any data leakage. As a business, make sure your site is secure and has a valid SSL certificate.

Anti-malware software and security patches: Install antimalware software programs on your computers and make sure they are up-to-date. Install security plug-ins and patches as soon as they are available, without delay. Do not use outdated software or operating systems for which support and security upgrades have been discontinued. Cybercrime modus operandi evolves at a rapid pace, an outdated cybersecurity setup will do you no good.

Invest in a good password manager tool: One of the reasons people tend to store passwords and other sensitive information online--which involves use of cookies, is because they have a tough time remembering passwords. A good password management system provides you with a safe and secure alternative.

Educate your staff: Train your staff to identify and steer clear of basic cybersecurity risks such as

  • Phishing links
  • Clone websites
  • Using public Wi-Fi
  • Poor password hygiene
  • Unverified app downloads, etc. ,

IT Policy: Establish a solid IT policy that spells out the dos and don’ts for your staff to follow in the office and also when accessing work data remotely.

If all of this feels overwhelming on top of running a business, it makes good sense to bring an MSP onboard who can take care of not just the Cookie monster but also of your entire IT security setup.

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Eight common password mistakes to avoid

Research points out that more 80% of data breaches happen due to password hacking, meaning that poor password hygiene is responsible for a majority of cybercrimes that follow data breaches. To make sense of this statistic better, let’s first look at what constitutes poor password hygiene.

Using simple passwords

Often passwords that are easy-to-remember are easy-to-hack. Do you use passwords such as password, password1234, delta123, etc.,? If yes, then you should be changing them at the earliest to something less obvious.

Repeating passwords across platforms

As another solution for remembering passwords, people tend to use one, single password universally. This dilutes the password even if it is a strong one. Plus, there’s always the risk of the password being hacked at one place and putting the data stored at all other places also at risk.

Unauthorized password sharing

Unauthorized password sharing for the sake of getting things done faster is a very real problem. For example, someone is on leave and someone else needs access to a particular file from their computer. The employee who is on leave shares the password and that can result in a security compromise.

Writing down passwords

This the most obvious, yet oft-made password mistake. Just so they don’t forget the passwords, people tend to write them down on a piece of paper, a diary or sometimes, store it on their phone. You know what can follow if the piece of paper or diary or the phone is stolen. Same goes for storing passwords on email and if the email server is compromised.

Not revoking access on time

Cases where ex-employees log-in credentials were used to hijack company data are not unusual. When companies forget to revoke the access of employees as they move out of the department or organization, they are leaving a gaping cybersecurity hole open which is easy to take advantage of.

Not updating passwords

Using the same password for years or even months can be risky. Passwords should be changed every 3 months and perhaps even sooner for critical applications.

Single factor authentication

For the more critical areas, multi-factor authentication must be deployed. Relying on password alone is a huge cybersecurity risk. Multi-factor authentication includes tokens, biometric authentication, OTPs, etc., which make it very difficult to hack into the application.

These are some of the basic password mistakes that almost everyone is guilty of at some point. You can prevent these from happening in your organization by educating your staff about them and training them well to cultivate good password hygiene.