5 Reasons Outsourcing Your IT Is a Smart Business Decision

In today’s world, businesses need to be able to rely on their technology. When something goes wrong with your IT infrastructure, it can have a major impact on your bottom line – that’s why so many businesses are turning to Managed IT services as a way to improve their cybersecurity posture and optimize their systems.

Outsourcing your IT can save you time and money in the long run, and it can help you focus on what you do best – running your business.


What are Managed IT Services?

Managed IT services involve hiring an outside provider to manage, monitor and maintain your business’s technology infrastructure. Managed IT providers can provide services like server monitoring, system patching, security updates, backup solutions, and more, and can help you save money on hardware, software and support costs while improving your cybersecurity posture and optimizing your systems.


Who Would Benefit from Outsourcing Managed IT Services?

Managed IT services are a great option for businesses of all sizes. Providers can provide customized solutions to meet the specific needs of your business, so you can have peace of mind knowing that your systems are secure and running efficiently.

Larger companies, especially those in highly regulated industries, may find outsourcing their IT even more helpful, as they can help them meet strict security and compliance requirements, though it’s also a great option for small businesses who don’t have the budget or resources to manage their IT system themselves. In fact, according to Somatosoft (2022), Outsourcing helps companies reduce costs by about 15% on average but up to 60% .

No matter what size your business is, Managed IT services can help you save money, improve your cybersecurity posture, optimize your systems, free up your time, and give you peace of mind and are an important part of running a successful business in today’s digital age.


5 Reasons You Should Outsource Your IT

There are many reasons outsourcing your IT is a smart business decision, but here are a few:


1. Managed IT services can help you save money.

Small businesses often have limited resources or budget. Managed IT providers can help businesses like this save time and money by taking care of routine maintenance and security updates as well as providing 24/7 monitoring and threat detection, so they don’t have to worry about their systems. They also often get discounts on software and hardware, which they can pass on to you.

Managed IT services can also help businesses scale quickly and easily, so they can expand without having to hire additional in-house staff or purchase expensive hardware and software. It also provides the flexibility and scalability that businesses need in order to stay competitive in today’s market, and can help you avoid the cost of downtime if an outage or attack occurs, which can be very expensive for businesses.

When you outsource your IT, you can save money on things like hardware, software, and support, and with Managed IT, you only pay for the services you need, when you need them. This can help you free up your budget for other important areas of your business.


2. Managed IT services can improve your cybersecurity posture.

The term “cybersecurity posture” refers to an organization’s overall security profile. This includes the measures it takes to protect itself from cyber threats and breaches, such as installing anti-virus software, using encryption technologies, regularly patching systems, and training employees on cybersecurity best practices.

By improving its cybersecurity posture through Managed IT services, an organization can better protect itself from malicious actors and data breaches. Providers offer a variety of solutions to help organizations improve their security postures, including 24/7 monitoring and threat detection capabilities.

With Managed IT, you’ll also have access to the latest security tools and best practices, so you can rest assured that your business is protected.


3. Managed IT services can help you optimize your systems.

Managed IT services can help you get the most out of your technology investments and optimize your systems by providing expert advice and support so problems can be quickly identified and addressed, ensuring that your systems are always running smoothly and at peak performance.

Managed IT providers can also help you troubleshoot issues and identify inefficiencies, so you can avoid costly downtime, and if you’re a growing business, it can help you scale your IT infrastructure quickly and easily as new users are added, new systems are set up, and new applications are installed so you can continue to grow without having to worry about your IT infrastructure.


4. Managed IT services can help you free up your time.

A 2016 survey done by Deloitte found that 65% of businesses decide to outsource so they can focus on business objectives. When you outsource your IT, you can free up your time to focus on other important areas of your business.

With Managed IT, you’ll have access to a team of experts who can handle all of your IT needs, so you can focus on growing your business. Managed IT providers will proactively monitor and manage your systems, so you don’t have to. They can also provide you with help desk support, so you don’t have to waste time troubleshooting IT issues yourself.


5. Managed IT services can give you peace of mind.

When you outsource your IT, you can have peace of mind knowing that your systems are in good hands. With Managed IT, you’ll have access to a team of experts who will proactively monitor and manage your IT systems, so you can focus on running your business. Managed IT providers can also provide you with regular reports, so you can stay up to date on the health of your systems. 


Get Started Today

Outsourcing your IT is a smart business decision that can provide many benefits to businesses of all sizes.

Managed IT providers can help you save money, improve your cybersecurity posture, optimize your systems, free up your time, and give you peace of mind.  So if you’re looking for a cost-effective way to manage and maintain your technology infrastructure, Managed IT may be the right choice for you.

Want to find out if Managed IT Services is right for your business? Contact us today to learn more.

The Risks Your Employees are Taking by Using Public Wi-Fi

Could Your Employees be Accidentally Putting Your Cybersecurity at Risk?

Whether in an airport, a hotel, or a nearby coffee shop, your staff will occasionally discover that accessing public Wi-Fi is inevitable, despite the hazards. Because of an office-closing emergency, team members may be required to react to an urgent request while traveling or working remotely. In any scenario, your company’s and clients’ data is likely to transit via these open networks, where bad actors might intercept it and exploit it to gain access to your systems. 

Allowing workers to work from home has a number of benefits, including increased safety and comfort and increased productivity. Remote working, on the other hand, is not without its drawbacks. If your team works from coffee shops, trains, or airports, be aware of the seven hidden perils of public Wi-Fi and learn about what you can do to mitigate the risks.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced millions of employees to work from unorthodox areas far from the office, and with this has come many dangers for business and entire industries. 

What’s the good news? It’s rather straightforward to reduce the dangers if you and your staff follow a few simple principles. Consider them fundamental hygiene principles for your laptop or phone, similar to using a digital hand sanitizer.


The Risks Of Public Wi-Fi

While it may appear that keeping Wi-Fi active when leaving the office is innocuous, it puts the employee and entire company at risk. When on the go, Wi-Fi-enabled devices might leak the network names (SSIDs) they regularly connect to. An attacker can then use this information to imitate and appear to be a known “trusted” network that is not encrypted. Many devices will join these “trusted” open networks without first confirming that they are real. 

To encourage consumers to connect, attackers don’t always need to imitate well-known networks. Some recent polling says that as many as two-thirds of individuals who use public Wi-Fi configure their devices to connect automatically to adjacent networks without checking the ones they’re joining. Uh oh.

A cybercriminal can launch several harmful assaults if your employee automatically connects to a hostile network or is misled into doing so. The attacker might use the network connection to intercept and manipulate any unencrypted material transmitted to the employee’s device. That means they may embed malicious payloads inside seemingly harmless web pages or other material, allowing them to take advantage of any software flaws on the device.


Once malicious information is installed on a device, various technical assaults against other, more critical components of the device’s software and operating system are feasible. Some vulnerabilities offer the attacker administrative or root-level access, giving them almost complete control of the device. All data, access, and functionality on the device are potentially compromised if an attacker gets this degree of access. The attacker can either delete or modify the information or encrypt it with ransomware and demand payment in exchange for the key.

The attacker might even use the data to spoof and imitate the employee who owns and uses the device. This type of deception may have disastrous effects on businesses. By impersonating a member of the Twitter IT staff, a Florida teenager was able to take over many high-profile Twitter accounts last year.

Here are some of the most common Wi-Fi attacks that employees could run into while using public Wi-Fi at the library, local coffee shop, or even at home:


Man-In-The-Middle Attacks

Connecting to free public Wi-Fi exposes your firm to the danger of having your data captured by third parties. This is a problem because hackers may place themselves between your employees utilizing Wi-Fi and the connecting point.


Ad Hocs

Peer-to-peer networks, or ad hoc networks, are peer-to-peer networks that link two computers directly. When remote employees join a public Wi-Fi network, their devices are likely to be programmed to automatically identify new networks, allowing hackers to connect to them directly.


When you log on to a public Wi-Fi network, your passwords and usernames are vulnerable to being stolen. Secure socket layer (SSL) or HTTPS websites give a necessary level of protection.


Worm Attacks

Worms behave similarly to viruses, with one notable exception. Viruses require software to attack in order to compromise a system, whereas worms may cause havoc on their own. When you join a public Wi-Fi network, you risk a worm spreading from another device on the network to your computer.



Hackers employing specific software packages to eavesdrop on Wi-Fi transmissions are another public Wi-Fi concern. This gives hackers access to anything your remote workers do online, giving them the ability to steal login passwords and possibly take over your accounts.


Hackers can potentially use an unprotected Wi-Fi connection to spread malware. Infected software on your computers and gadgets might put your company’s finances in jeopardy.


Rogue Wi-Fi

You and your colleagues may be duped into connecting to a rogue Wi-Fi network set up by a hacker. That “Free Wi-Fi” network might have been put up specifically to capture your company’s essential data.


How To Stay Safe With Wi-Fi

Be Picky

Not all public Wi-Fi networks are made equal; some are trustworthy, while others are harmful by nature. Employees who may work remotely should be taught not to join such networks by default.

Therefore, how should workers decide which network to join?

One that is safe, requiring a password to join or directing users to a registration or sign-in page — and that information is delivered to you by an employee or signs within a company. Man-in-the-middle attacks, which include hostile actors interposing themselves between your data and the websites you visit, recording everything, and sending malware to you, are possible over unsecured networks. 

Most essential, confirm the name of your chosen network with a network provider representative. Look at the list of public networks accessible at Atlanta International Airport, for example. You’ll see that several of them have identical names, such as Atlanta Airport Public and ATL Public. Double-check those network names since one of them might easily be a rogue hotspot set up by a hostile actor who is ready and able to exploit misconfigured connections.

Second, attempt to use public networks provided by well-known firms such as international coffee chains or hotel chains. These businesses must safeguard their brands and maintain reasonable network security.


Adjust Your Behavior

Even secure public Wi-Fi networks are fundamentally dangerous, so only use them for short periods. After all, you have no way of knowing which security steps were taken, how often software is updated, or anything else. You should alter your conduct as a result.

Stick to websites that encrypt data transfer, for example. The address bar for these sites has a padlock icon, and the URLs begin with “https” rather than “http”; the “s” stands for “secure.”

 Before connecting to a public network, you also need to enable Windows Firewall or another security tool.

Avoid using a public network to access any websites or apps requiring a password or containing sensitive information, no matter how tempting it seems. That implies there will be no banking or social media platforms. After all, there’s a good possibility a hostile actor has infiltrated the connection, so if you can avoid it, don’t dangle the keys to your digital safes on public Wi-Fi.

There are methods to avoid using public Wi-Fi when you’re not at work if you’re ready to invest. Most mobile phones may act as mobile hotspots, utilizing cellular data to connect another device, such as a laptop, to the internet. You may also buy a specialized mobile hotspot device, which has the advantage of accommodating several users at the same time.



If your organization does not provide a corporate virtual private network, consider installing and utilizing a VPN service on all of your devices, especially while accessing a public Wi-Fi network.

The added peace of mind can be well worth the small outlay and inconvenience. Thanks to these applications, the only site your smartphone contacts directly is a single encrypted web address. All of your internet traffic is then routed through a secure, end-to-end encryption system. However, keep in mind that a VPN is only as reliable as the people who manage it, so this is not the place to go for a free or low-cost VPN.

However, utilizing a VPN does not ensure your safety. Whoever might steal the credentials you need to get onto that VPN set up the network, especially if your organization doesn’t enforce multifactor authentication. If you do log in, change your password once you’ve returned to a secure network.

But, there is even more a company can do to ensure its employees stay safe no matter where they roam in the virtual world.

Employees should be educated about risk. Connecting to public Wi-Fi without restriction has become commonplace, and most individuals are unaware of the dangers. Informing your staff about the risks might significantly influence their behavior. Nobody wants to be the one who causes a data leak or a hack.

Verify users regularly. Early detection is critical if an attacker gains access to an employee’s device. Consider building on technology that can continually verify users without adding additional friction to improve security. Passive biometrics, for example, confirms each user’s identification based on their natural behavior, such as how they hold their device or type, allowing many intruders to be detected before they can cause major harm.

Work arrangements will continue to change as the pandemic draws to a close. It’s hard to predict exactly how work will evolve in the future. However, it’s a good idea to start planning today for a future where “working from home” doesn’t always mean working from home.


Wait Or Use Cellular

Next time you’re about to join on to public Wi-Fi for work, pause and consider whether it can wait. If you answered yes, you should press the pause button. Add the item to your to-do list for when you’re at work or at home with safe internet access.

When utilizing public Wi-Fi, browsers and websites use HTTPS and traffic encryption to protect them. As a result, it is relatively risk-free for users. However, depending on the sort of job you conduct, business data may be a different story.

If you can’t wait, you can use cellular data to connect. You may accomplish this by connecting with your phone, for example, by utilizing the Zoom app for your next video conversation. Tethering another device to your mobile smartphone and then accessing the internet is another method. All data transferred over the cellular network is automatically encrypted by your phone. This protects you from various typical scams, such as connecting to a false public wifi network or having someone nearby use eavesdropping equipment to view the data you send. 

If you don’t have access to cellular services, such as when there isn’t one, another alternative is to connect over public wifi and use a browser with built-in encryption. This makes it far more difficult for a threat actor to intercept your data and subsequently get access to your account using your credentials.



Connecting via secure Wi-Fi used to be a lot easier. After all, the line between work and home was clearer back then. We felt the lines were hazy at the time. Then there was the pandemic. The limits had vanished entirely. Expectations for constantly being on soared to heights we never imagined imaginable.

Employees began to take advantage of their flexibility by working from anywhere. For some, this meant working in a rented property across the nation for months at a time. Others took advantage of the opportunity to go to the supermarket during their lunch break. Most of us are now in more scenarios where we need to do business outside of our secure internet connection.

It’s absurd to expect employees never to use unprotected Wi-Fi to do business. After all, many of them require staff to be available at all times, no matter what. Instead, the best strategy is to find a realistic and practical solution to reconcile security with today’s business requirements. Also, be prepared to acknowledge that being constantly connected isn’t the best solution for the firm or the individual.

If you need help navigating cybersecurity, Edge Networks is here for you! Take our free, self-guided IT Security Risk Assessment, or contact us today for a free, 30-minute consultation.

The 12 Days of Cybersecurity Christmas

Giving you the Gift of Cybersecurity Awareness this Christmas

The holidays are upon us; let’s celebrate the 12 Days of Cybersecurity Christmas! Christmas is a time for joy, celebration, reunions with loved ones, and giving. Though this time of year is meant to be enjoyed and as stress-free as possible, it’s important to remember that not everyone uses this time to rest and relax. In fact, studies show that cybersecurity risks actually increase during the holidays every year.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) warns that cybersecurity risks like ransomware and malware increase on weekends and during holidays. They state that cybercriminals have specifically been initiating attacks on weekends and holidays when offices are closed and peoples’ guards seem to be let down. While ransomware may not always be the risk you face, there are plenty of other cybersecurity threats to be aware of while you’re online this holiday season.

That’s why we’re implementing the 12 Days of Cybersecurity Christmas, starting on Monday, December 20th and ending on December 31st! Our goal is to offer reminders and tips to help you stay protected during the holidays so that you can enjoy them with peace of mind, knowing you are safe from the threats of the internet. Keep reading for a free PDF download of 12 Days of Cybersecurity Christmas Tips and to learn how to improve your cyber protection this year and beyond.


Why Do Cybersecurity Threats Increase During the Holidays?

Before we get started, let’s talk about why cyber threats increase. The only reason isn’t that offices are closed and people take time off, though that’s a pretty big deal when it comes to taking on widespread issues. The fact is that people’s online activities become a bit more vulnerable. There’s an increase in behaviors that could lead to cybersecurity threats getting through your layers of protection.

Here’s a list of things that make cybercriminals excited about the holidays:

  • Higher online shopping traffic: People enter their card information left and right, trying to get gifts purchased. Not only that, but they’re looking to get the best deals and shopping on websites they don’t usually use.
  • Remote work increases: For most people, working from home for the holidays is a great way to stay close to the family. However, it also increases opportunities for work information to be intercepted and used against the person or the company.
  • Travel increases: When people travel, they flock to public locations with free WiFi. These public networks are great until a cyber-criminal observes them.


What Risks Do I Need to Be Worried About the Most?

There are two major issues that you should be worried about when you’re going about your digital lives this holiday season. These two cybersecurity issues are phishing attacks and data breaches.

Phishing, a take on the word “fishing”, is the act of a cybercriminal ‘casting out bait’ to try and get information from you. It’s a form of social engineering, and it can be very effective. Phishing comes in the form of emails, texts, and even phone calls! They’re pretty crafty too, using believable and human-sounding techniques to capture your attention and draw you in. 

Data breaches involve any form of your data being taken unwillingly. For an individual, data breaches really focus on banking information or personal information. Both of these things can be used in a way that impacts your finances, but can really impact any part of your life. Data breaches can happen from a number of sources, both online and in the real world.

So how do you prevent attacks like these from happening? Surely you can’t expect online shopping to cease or the use of public internet to be reduced. Well, we’re glad you asked!


The 12 Days of Cybersecurity Christmas

This holiday season, we’re introducing the 12 Days of Cybersecurity Christmas. We want you to be as safe as possible during the holiday season, which includes your digital safety as well. Each of the 12 days provides you and your loved ones another tip to help keep you safe this year. Check them out below!


Day 1: Improve Your Passwords

Many people make the simple mistake of using the same password across the board. This can be fatal when it comes to cyber-attacks and means that after a cybercriminal obtains your password and email address, they’ll have access to just about every other account you have, too.

Passwords need to be varied from site to site. Never use the same password twice and consider making passwords entirely different from one another. There are a number of programs that can help you create sophisticated passwords, as well as store them for you, such as 1Password, Dashlane, and OneLogin. This is normally a big help when it comes to password improvement.


Day 2: Be Cautious of Links

The holidays are a time where you’re expected to communicate with old friends and new ones! It’s a time where people check in on each other and send attachments to one another. When you’re talking with anyone online, you should always be cautious of links.

 Unknown links are a form of a phishing attack. These links often lead you to a place to provide some information, like a username and password. Before you click on any links this holiday season, verify that you know the person sending them. You don’t want your personal information being taken because you opened an attachment or clicked on a link unknowingly.


Day 3: Sparingly Use Debit Cards Online

Holiday shopping is in full force. There are many gifts to buy, and it’s likely that you’ll be sourcing some of them online. When you’re doing your online shopping, try to avoid using your debit card.

Debit cards are linked directly to your bank account.

When a cybercriminal gets access to your debit card information, they’re getting access to your money. This can create a number of issues. Many times, they’ll use the same information to do their online shopping, too. Consider using a credit card or a payment service like PayPal. These aren’t directly linked to an account, making stealing your payment information a bit more difficult.


Day 4: Don’t Save Your Payment Information

It’s a lot more convenient to have your payment information saved when you’re doing a lot of online shopping. Constantly having to pull your card out to enter digits can be a slow process, and that gets frustrating. Many websites and mobile operating systems will let you save your payment information, though. Great, right? Not really.

When you save payment information, you make that information vulnerable to data breaches. This can be a breach that occurs on the company’s side or with your personal device. If your payment information is saved, the criminal performing the breach now has all of your payment information. Say goodbye to your money, and goodbye to gift-giving! Never save payment information, regardless of how convenient it is.


Day 5: Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

When you’re trying to stay safe online, it’s vital that you enable multi-factor authentication, which is the act of adding a second layer of protection to your online accounts. Even with a username and password, cybercriminals can’t access information without the second (and possibly third) form of authentication.

In fact, MFA is effective in blocking 99% of phishing attacks. It’s easy to set up, and normally the second authentication step only takes a moment of your time. Totally worth it when you’re trying to stay safe.


Day 6: Keep Your Software Updated

The majority of the software that you’re using on your phone, tablet, and computer is going to prompt you to update it every so often. While this seems like an inconvenience, especially when you want to use that software, it’s crucial in staying safe. Most software updates are adding critical security measures to the program itself, helping to keep you safe. Don’t give hackers the opportunity by using out-of-date systems.


Day 7: Use a VPN

The holidays normally involve a lot of traveling. With many people working from home due to the events of the last two years, many people are taking their work with them, too. With that, they bring their work data. Often, travel means using public WiFi networks. The best way to stay secure on a public network is by using a VPN.

A VPN, or virtual private network, protects your IP address, which is required for many cyber attacks. It also encrypts all of your online activity. This helps to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks, where information is altered between sender and recipient. Getting a VPN can keep you safe during your holiday travels.


Day 8: Install Antivirus Software

As you’re perusing the internet, your computer will come into contact with a number of different websites. It’s possible to encounter threats on these websites, and a good all-around form of protection is antivirus software. Antivirus software is no longer just about viruses, though.

These are now comprehensive programs that keep you protected from a number of different online threats. This includes viruses, of course, but it can also protect you from malware, spyware, phishing attacks, and more. While antivirus software isn’t the last line of defense, it is a great start, and you should be using it if you aren’t already. If you have antivirus software installed, make sure it’s up to date. Otherwise, you’re not fully protected.


Day 9: Avoid Unknown and Unsecure Sites

When you’re in a rush to get the best gift for someone you love, you may encounter websites that are unfamiliar to you. Sometimes these websites are completely legitimate. Other times, however, they’re a threat to you and your cybersecurity. 

There are websites that carry what is known as drive-by download attacks. A drive-by download occurs as you enter the site. The visitation of the website triggers malicious code to be downloaded to your device. This code can be used for any number of malicious actions, including theft of personal information, injection of banking Trojans, and introduction of exploit kits. Stick to the well-established sites that you know to help avoid these problems. If using Google Chrome, you can also see if your site is secure by looking for the lock icon on the address bar of your site. Usually, Chrome will reveal a popup that states the web page is not secure, so you should avoid inputting any sensitive information onto that site.


Day 10: Avoid Unknown or Unnecessary Downloads

When you visit a website that asks you to download something to use it, it is possible that the software being downloaded is a cyber attack. Cybercriminals design downloadable software or browser extensions that collect and steal your data as you use your computer. It can lead to a number of other types of attacks, as well.

If you believe you’ve found a safe download, try to avoid installing any add-ons or extras with it until you know they’re safe, too. Keeping an eye on things is always the best tactic.


Day 11: Be Careful on Social Media

As one of the last tips we’ll provide on this article (check out our other posts for more!), we want you to exercise care in your social media profiles. Social media can be used against users more often than you’d think, and it’s able to be done using the simplest of posts. Any time you post something on a social media account, you’re allowing outsiders to take a glimpse into your life. Through detective work and social engineering, cybercriminals can quickly get quite a bit of information about you.

When you’re posting this holiday season, ask yourself, “Would I share this with a stranger?” If the answer is no, reconsider sharing it online. Of course, you can always increase the privacy of your profile, making it harder to obtain the information you share.


Day 12: Stay Educated and Use Caution

On our 12th and final Day of Cybersecurity Christmas, we encourage you to stay educated and use caution. Always stay on top of cybersecurity trends and learn the basics of staying safe online. Being cautious while on the internet is key in your cybersecurity. Often, people are criticized for maintaining a level of paranoia. However, it’s important to realize that with the internet, a bit of paranoia is warranted. The online landscape has grown to something limitless. With that amount of access, caution should always be exercised. It’s especially important that you exercise this caution during the holidays when malicious online activity is rising.

We’ve put together a free PDF of these 12 tips that you can reference later or share with friends, family, and colleagues. Download it below!


Download Free 12 Days of Cybersecurity Christmas PDF 


And with that, we wrap our 12 Days of Cybersecurity Christmas! We hope that you and your loved ones have a wonderful holiday and that our tips have helped you to remain safe this holiday season. As always, stay up to date on all things cybersecurity, and maintain vigilance with your digital safety.

Are you concerned about the cybersecurity of your business? Edge Networks can help!  Take our free, self-guided IT Security Risk Assessment, or contact us today for a free, 30-minute consultation. Happy holidays!

Why Data Hygiene Matters

Cleaning Up with Data Hygiene

Data hygiene often gets lost in the shuffle. After all, most databases have to deal with both new and old data, making it easy to forget about data maintenance and hygiene.

Of course, if you leave data hygiene for too long, your records may be difficult to access, hard to interpret, and filled with unnecessary and irrelevant information. Maintaining good data hygiene is critical for all kinds of data and digital records and makes it easier to use data effectively. 


What is Data Hygiene and Why is it Important?

There will always be more data, so good data hygiene can mean a wide range of things depending on why you’re cleaning your data. A large part of data hygiene can indeed be deleting unneeded or unwanted data, but there’s a lot more to it than that.

Data hygiene can also mean organizing your data so that it’s easy to find what you need in the different documents, files, and folders. Organizing by date, contents, and other easy markers can be an excellent way to maintain data hygiene, but every person and business may need a slightly different technique. 

It’s also important to consider the integrity of your files. Digital information degrades over time, so you need to access your data regularly enough to make sure it’s not showing signs of corruption or other alterations.

Using data maintenance tools is also a critical part of data hygiene. When issues and changes occur at a code level, built-in tools are a fantastic way to help repair the information so that it doesn’t degrade any further.

The combination of all of these tasks is critical to good data hygiene. Data hygiene can be a time-consuming task, but it’s every bit as important as maintaining up-to-date records and making sure important data is preserved in the first place. 


Who Needs To Practice Data Hygiene?

It might seem like data hygiene is only important for large digital projects, corporations, libraries, and archives, but the truth is that almost everyone who keeps information stored digitally should practice good data hygiene.

That means that almost anyone who uses a computer, whether at home or for work, should know the basics of data hygiene and how often to go in for data clean up and maintenance. 


Data Hygiene for Individuals and Homes

Data hygiene for individuals and homes usually means keeping important tax documents on record and organized, organizing family photos, and maintaining any digital copies of important documents like medical records.

Keeping these documents organized, clearly labeled, and checking for signs of possible corruption is essential for everyone. It’s also a good idea to make sure your data is backed up so that you have multiple copies and delete unnecessary data so that it doesn’t make it harder to find the information you need when you need it.

It’s also important to make sure all your family members have copies of their important data as part of data hygiene. That way, you each have the records you need without needing to go to a record-keeping family member to get it.

Individuals and families should perform data hygiene about once a year, at minimum. The more data you have, or the more complicated your data is, the more often you should do data maintenance and check your data hygiene. 


Small And Medium Businesses

Businesses typically have a lot more data than individuals or families, which means that data hygiene is even more important and that you’ll probably want to be a little more thorough when it comes to taking care of your data.

Just like individuals and families, the first thing you want to check on is whether your company’s data is well organized and easy to navigate. Create and maintain additional folders as needed. It’s common for businesses to need new folders every month (maybe even every day or every week), depending on how much information you’re tracking.

Businesses should keep track of tax records, business expenses, customer information, receipts, sales figures and profits, employee records, and other critical information. That means you have a lot of paper, documents, and spreadsheets to manage.

Ideally, data hygiene should be a regular part of every data maintenance routine. However, small and medium businesses should check file integrity and data organization a few times a year at a minimum. That way, you have the opportunity to arrange information into months, financial quarters, and years for easier access later. 


Large Businesses and Corporations

Large businesses and corporations should have a team of data managers and specialists who take care of data hygiene as a regular part of their maintenance routine. This is critical because managing data well and efficiently requires good data hygiene at scale. Data hygiene is also essential at this point because individual pieces of data are more likely to degrade and corrupt when they are being stored with a large amount of data, especially if that data is accessed, changed, saved, or rearranged often.

At the corporate level, data hygiene also works to preserve space on your servers. Too much data can be just as much of a problem as too little, and good data hygiene can keep your servers in better shape and gives you more information storage over time.

Maintaining good data organization, cleaning unneeded data regularly, and maintaining the integrity of individual files and spreadsheets will all help your business run more smoothly and efficiently.

For large businesses and corporations, data hygiene should happen regularly. Some files will need to be organized, purged, and restored daily, which is why having a data management team in addition to your data analysts and other specialists is essential for larger businesses. 


Data Hygiene Tips, Tricks, and How-To’s

The 3 C’s Of Data Hygiene

Clean, current, and compliant. These are the three C’s of data maintenance and data hygiene. High-quality data isn’t just collected and left alone, and it needs to be more than simply accurate.



1. Clean: Clean data means that there isn’t extra data included for no reason. Cleaning data can also refer to eliminating errors and coding problems, as well as replacing corrupted files with clean copies for better preservation.

2. Current: Current means that data should be as up-to-date and recent as possible. In an individual sense, current data might mean updating your medical records after every doctor’s visit.

For scientists, current means using the most recently collected data and ensuring a more recent study or experiment hasn’t replaced it.

For businesses, current means having the latest figures on business performance, profits, and needs as soon as they are available. Depending on your business, ‘current’ data might be weeks or months old, or only minutes.

3. Compliant: Compliant has different meanings in a different context, but the most common is the data compliance requirements for businesses. Businesses that operate in the EU are required to meet a specific set of data standards, called the General Data Protection and Regulation, or GDPR. It’s a good idea for all businesses to be compliant with this standard, but for businesses that are required to maintain certain data standards, there are actually fines and other consequences for failing to maintain your data properly.

There isn’t currently a GDPR equivalent in the United States, but it’s likely that there will be soon. That’s because one of the key reasons for the GDPR is that maintaining compliance also greatly increases your business’s cybersecurity.

Given the recent rise in cyber-attacks, particularly the increase in ransomware attacks against business data networks, data compliance is a critical part of good business practice and good data hygiene. 


Keeping Data Organized

Implementing a data organization system isn’t all that difficult, but maintaining that organization can be. Keeping data organized starts with making sure you (and anyone else accessing the data or adding new data) know how to properly save and organize files within the system.

You should also perform regular data audits to make sure the organization is being maintained. You may also need to reorganize or reclassify certain documents and files within your system from time to time.

An active organization system, one that can change to reflect the new needs of your data, will typically be more successful than a static organization system. However, active organization requires more maintenance, and it’s more likely that contributing individuals will make mistakes after changes. 


How To Purge Unneeded Data

Purging data is an important part of maintaining the integrity of your data and making it easier to access. Here are some questions to ask yourself when you’re considering whether or not to keep the data you’ve collected.

  • Is this information still relevant/helpful?
  • Does this information provide necessary context?
  • Is this information still correct?
  • Are there technical errors, typos, or other problems that should be fixed in a new file?
  • Is there another use for this information?
  • Has this information been recorded elsewhere?
  • If this information is necessary, is this the best format to present it?

Answering these questions will tell you if the data you’re working with complies with the 3 C’s of data and will also help you decide if the data should be purged, replicated, or cleaned up. 


Eliminate Unnecessary Duplicates

Data duplication is the plague of keeping your data organized, easy to access, current, and compliant. It’s not so much that the duplication itself damages your data integrity and more than the extra clutter of duplicate data makes it more difficult to navigate through your records and find what you need.

Whenever possible, eliminate duplicates.

That means considering whether data is preserved in other files and where data is best preserved in the case of duplication. Can files with similar information be merged without losing context and critical information?

Simply deleting a duplicate file isn’t always what avoiding data duplication is about, but it’s certainly nice when it’s that simple. 


Use Software Tools to Your Advantage

Spreadsheets, documents, graphics, and basically all digital files can degrade over time, no matter how well maintained your servers are. Software tools included in Excel and many other data-compiling tools help you eliminate unnecessary code and protect the digital integrity of your data.

Knowing what these tools are, and making a point of going in and performing maintenance on any critical data you have, is important for avoiding file degradation and eventual file loss. 


Ensure Proper Formatting Within Files

Formatting can be tedious work, but it’s important for keeping your data accessible and easy to interpret. Checking data formatting, updating as needed, and correcting minor errors within the files helps keep your data clean and easy to work with. 


Verify Data Correctness

One of the downsides of digital degradation is that sometimes information can be changed unintentionally within a file. When performing data maintenance, it’s important to check and make sure there aren’t any obvious changes and check facts and figures to make sure the data is still accurate.

Changes in available data, new standards, or changes in company procedure may all make stored data incorrect. In these cases, it’s best to update the content as quickly as possible. 


Why Data Hygiene Matters To You

Data hygiene might seem like a lot of effort to make sure everything stays accessible. After all, a few minutes of searching is all most people need to find the information they need on a computer or server, especially if they understand the organization of the server.

Good data hygiene saves time and makes your data and records easier to access, but it also does a lot more than that for your data.

Good data hygiene preserves the integrity of your files. If you’ve ever gone to open a critical document only to discover it’d been corrupted and is now a blank page, you know how important this is.

Keeping your data compliant with modern data preservation and maintenance standards also helps keep your data safe from cyberattacks and bad actors.

Data hygiene may even be helpful if you or your company are ever audited or become part of an investigation. Clear, easy to find, and easy to interpret data will help the investigation go faster so you, and your business, can get back to normal that much sooner. 

Unsure where to start? Edge Networks is here to help. Contact our IT department to learn more about Data Hygiene and any other IT or Cybersecurity needs.

3 Ways Software Updates Can Increase Cybersecurity

A Simple Step in Cyber-Attack Prevention

Cybersecurity is often a complex undertaking, requiring high technical knowledge, education, and skills to fully understand. At the same time, some of its most crucial aspects are remarkably straightforward and easy to implement. Perhaps the most relevant example of this seemingly contradictory concept is software updates.

Updating your software is simple, often requiring nothing more than clicking a button or inputting a password. It’s so straightforward that it’s easy to overlook as a security measure, and many organizations do. However, these software updates play a critical role in reliable cyber-attack prevention. Here are a few ways how.


1. Address Old Vulnerabilities

Given how complicated software development can be, programs, platforms, and operating systems will almost certainly contain minor flaws. Because of this, developers continue to analyze their products after launch, listen to user feedback, and release updates. If these updates are not installed, there is nothing stopping the software from retaining its original vulnerabilities.


laptop and a software update reminder post it


In December 2020 and January 2021, dozens of organizations and government agencies experienced a data breach from failing to update an outdated software program. The program, Accellion FTA, was more than 20 years old and nearing the end of its life. Had these companies kept up with updates or upgraded to newer software, they wouldn’t have fallen victim to these attacks.


2. Stay Safe From Emerging Threats

Just as software updates address old risks, new threats are emerging every day that they also must defend against. There are more than 1 billion pieces of malware on the internet today, with more appearing regularly. Software developers must frequently release new patches as they learn how to address new attack methods.

Cybercrime is a dynamic field, with criminals continually coming up with new ways to infiltrate systems. Consequently, cybersecurity must also be a continuous effort, hence the importance of software updates. If your system isn’t up-to-date, its built-in defenses may be insufficient against new attack strategies.


malware graphic

3. Introduce Helpful New Features

In addition to patching new and old security vulnerabilities, software updates can provide new features that further bolster security. These aren’t always directly related to safety but can indirectly minimize potential problems through quality-of-life improvements. For example, an update could boost compatibility with other programs, eliminating disruptions and outages that could leave either program vulnerable. 

If your software runs more smoothly, it will be less distracting to employees. As a result, employees (especially ones who have undergone Security Awareness Training) will be more likely to spot anything out of the ordinary, improving the company’s overall cyber vigilance. 


Best Practices for Updates

Even if you understand the importance of updating software, how best to approach it may not be immediately evident. The most crucial path to consider is enabling automatic overhauls. Automatically updated software will ensure you always have the latest version, even if you forget to look for or install new patches.

You should also remember to update your hardware along with your software. Unforeseen circumstances can impact the supply chain and make new hardware scarce or even unavailable. Upgrading early can help you avoid using potentially vulnerable legacy equipment while better alternatives are accessible.

Since updates often require your device to be unavailable for a short time, it may be best to update outside work hours. If you choose to go that route, set timers for your off period to remind you to check for or install updates. That way, you won’t forget to install new patches, and doing so won’t interfere with your job.

checking for updates graphic

Software Updates Are a Crucial Part of Cyber-attack Prevention

Since cyberattacks can be so complex, it’s easy to forget about the more straightforward aspects of cybersecurity. While they may not seem particularly significant at first, software updates are one of the most important steps in developing robust security. Taking the few minutes necessary to update your software will keep you safe from many threats.

Software updates are just one of the many facets of keeping your company safe from cyber-attacks. To learn more about the health of your business’s cybersecurity, take our free, self-guided IT security risk assessment today, or contact us for a free 30 minute consultation.


Guest Writer: Devin Partida

Devin Partida is a data center and networks writer whose work has been featured on AT&T’s cybersecurity blog, Yahoo! and other notable publications. To read more from Devin, please visitReHack.com, where she is the Editor-in-Chief.

Edge Networks Is Ranked A Top Oregon IT and Business Service Provider

Clutch.co top IT service award

Since 2006, Edge Networks has been providing all-things IT to our clients in order to help them be more productive and profitable. Our focus on staying ahead of IT trends and making our clients happy has caught the attention of Clutch.co. Recently, they recognized Edge Networks as one of the top IT services firms in Oregon! 

The Edge Networks team is happy to be receiving a Clutch Leaders Award:

“We are thrilled to be named a Clutch Leader,” said Edge Networks Founder and CEO, Mark Tishenko. “Big thanks to our amazing clients and partners who make this happen.”

Clutch is a B2B site that rates and reviews agencies across a variety of industries. The team helps connect businesses with the best suited service provider to solve their firm’s challenges. Based on their unique method, they rank hundreds of companies by evaluating their client feedback, market presence, and work portfolio. Our Clutch profile is #1 in their Leaders Matrix out of the top 15 Portland IT and business service providers:


clutch leaders matrix


Our success is not limited to Clutch. Rather, it extends to their sister sites: Visual Objects and The Manifest. Visual Objects publishes the creative and visual work of B2B companies so that prospective clients may view previous projects. Similarly, The Manifest aids potential buyers by sharing how-to guides and industry reports. Like Clutch, we are ranked on The Manifest with other leading B2B agencies.

All the teammates at Edge Networks are happy to receive this recognition. We would like to thank our clients for taking the time to thoroughly review our services with the team at Clutch. We look forward to the future as we continue to help our clients optimize their IT capabilities! 

Want to work happy? Let us know .