Common Mistakes To Avoid When Implementing A CRM For Your Business

In order to be successful, it is important for businesses to have a good customer relationship management system in place. However, many small companies make simple mistakes that get them in trouble. If you don’t keep your customer data clean and accurate, your business could be at risk. Here are some common CRM mistakes you need to avoid.

No implementation planning: It is important for businesses to plan and strategize ahead of implementing a CRM. CRM systems can help businesses achieve their goals and objectives if they define them clearly and analyze how they can be achieved. CRM will create problems rather than solve them without a proper plan. Get an outline from your CRM vendor on how to successfully implement the system to meet your goals.

Poor Reporting Interface: Your customer relationship management solution needs to be flexible enough to provide you with the types of reports needed to manage your customer base. Without a reporting interface and an intuitive way of generating, saving, and retrieving the reports you need, you’ll have to spend countless hours on admin tasks instead of concentrating on growing your company and servicing your customers.

Not knowing your CRMs limits: Generally, CRM solutions have customizable features. If you don’t fully understand what’s possible with your CRM solution, you could be setting up your business for disaster by attempting to integrate it. Closely examine your CRM solution’s features, limitations, and review them with your implementation team to head off disaster.

Ineffective Training: Many businesses make the mistake of thinking that once they have the CRM system, their employees will know how to use it. That is seldom the case. It’s important to provide employees with comprehensive training on using the CRM system and what information needs to be entered into it. Ensure you provide ongoing training and support to ensure that employees use the system effectively.

Businesses should avoid common CRM mistakes when implementing a CRM system. To ensure a successful implementation, you need to plan ahead, develop a flexible reporting interface, and know the limits of your CRM solution. Investing in the right CRM solution will allow your company to grow more efficiently and reliably.

The Advantages of VoIP for Businesses

Voice over IP, or VoIP, has become increasingly popular among business owners. However, many business owners ask if VoIP is viable in a landscape where many voice systems are either no longer supported or cost a fortune to upgrade.

Your business relies on a consistent and secure communication network. Therefore, choosing the right voice over IP solution is crucial for your business. Here are three things to look for when trying to find a voice over IP solution for your business.

Quality of Service – One of the biggest issues with traditional phone systems is the inconsistent quality of the calls. With VoIP, calls are routed through your internet, so distance no longer matters, and the quality of your calls is far superior.

Costs – VoIP may be more expensive than a standard phone system in some cases. However, in many cases, the overall costs of using VoIP will be offset because you will no longer need to pay for the line costs, physical hardware, and hourly labor associated with your current phone system.

Flexibility – VoIP can create flexible networks, changing how employees work and the business operates. In addition to offering internal telephony, VoIP systems allow you to connect multiple offices, make cheap international calls, or even integrate it with your video conferencing solution.

Voice over IP has become increasingly popular among business owners as a viable option to traditional phone systems. VoIP offers many benefits, such as superior call quality, cost savings, and flexibility. In a landscape where many voice systems are either no longer supported or cost a fortune to upgrade, VoIP is a great choice for businesses that need a reliable and flexible communication network.

If you’re wondering whether VoIP is right for your business, the answer is an emphatic yes. If you are considering upgrading your telecommunications infrastructure or are looking for a VoIP solution to improve employee productivity, give our team a call. We are glad to help.

Modern Security Solutions For Evolving Ransomware Attacks

Based on a recent survey conducted by the folks at Titaniam, a solid majority of organizations have robust security tools in place. Yet nearly 40 percent of them have fallen victim to a ransomware attack in the past year.

How can this be?  With conventional tools in place, how can this still be happening?

The answer to that question is complex. Ransomware attacks ultimately have three different phases.  Each phase must be protected against and in each case, the type of protection needed varies.  Let’s start by taking a closer look at the anatomy of a typical ransomware attack. They always begin the same way: Infiltration.

To do anything to your company’s network, the hackers first must gain access to your network.  Thus, your first line of defense is to keep that from happening.

The good news is that most companies have robust tools that are specifically designed to block unauthorized intruders.  The bad news is that hackers can get around those tools entirely by stealing an employee’s login credentials. That is how many of these types of attacks occur. Once inside, the hackers proceed with data exfiltration.  Wholesale copying sensitive data and uploading it to a command-and-control server operated by the hackers.

From the perspective of the hackers, this is where the payday is.  They know all too well that companies will pay handsomely to keep proprietary data from being leaked to the broader public, and hackers are only too happy to take full advantage of that fact.

This is where many companies are weak.  To protect against data exfiltration, companies need to invest in three different types of encryptions.  Encryption at rest, encryption in transit, and encryption in use. Most companies invest in one.  A solid minority invest in two, but very few invest in all three. That creates a window of opportunity for the attacker.

Finally, the third stage is wholesale file locking. This is exactly like what you think it is.  All the files that the malicious code can get to will be locked and encrypted.  If you want them back, you must pay.  Assuming you don’t have a recent backup, of course. Even if you do have a backup, you’ll pay in the form of downtime while you’re restoring those files.

Understanding exactly how a ransomware attack is put together and how it functions is key to designing a security routine that will defeat it, preventing the attackers from ever gaining a foothold on your network.

Hackers Use VoIP Systems To Install PHP Web Shells

Security researchers at Unit 42, a division of Palo Alto Networks, have been tracking the efforts of a massive campaign aimed at Elastix VoIP telephony servers.

They are used by companies of all shapes and sizes to unify their communications, and it is especially attractive because it can be used with the Digium phones module for FreePBX.

So far, the team has collected more than half a million malicious code samples over a three-month period.  An analysis of those code samples reveals that the attackers are exploiting a remote code execution vulnerability. It is being tracked as CVE-2021-4561 and carries a severity rating of 9.8 out of ten.

Security researchers report that hackers have been actively exploiting this flaw since at least December 2021.

Based on the code samples collected, the Unit 42 team believes that the attackers’ goal was to plant PHP web shells on successfully penetrated systems. That would allow them to execute arbitrary commands on the compromised servers.

Another security firm, Check Point, confirms Unit 42’s findings and both teams stress that the campaign is still ongoing.  Worse, it appears that there are two different groups involved in the attack. Although it is not currently known whether they are coordinating their efforts or if that fact is coincidental. Perhaps it is a case of one following the other so as not to miss out on an opportunity.

The attackers behind the campaign are both clever and technically savvy.  They’ve built in some good anti-detection strategies into the attack, such as masking the name of the back door so that the file name resembles that of a known file already on the system.  It would take a sharp pair of eyes indeed to spot it.

In any event, if you use Elastix VoIP, be sure your IT people are aware of this threat.

You May Need To Replace Old Cisco VPN Routers

Do you own one or more of the following products made by Cisco?

  • The RV110W Wireless-N VPN Firewall
  • The RV130 VPN Router
  • The RV130W Wireless-N Multifunction VPN Router
  • The RV215W Wireless-N VPN Router

If so, be advised that a new and critical security vulnerability has been found that impacts your equipment.  It is being tracked as CVE-2022-20825.  With a severity rating of 9.8 out of a possible 10, it’s about as serious an issue as it’s possible to have.

What is worse is that because the equipment referenced above is older and at the end of its service life, Cisco announced that there will be no patches to address this recently discovered security vulnerability.

Per a recent Cisco security advisory, the flaw exists because of insufficient user input validation of incoming HTTP packets on impacted devices.

It should be noted that this flaw only impacts devices that have their web-based remote management interface enabled on WAN connections.  If you’re not doing that, then even if you have an older piece of Cisco equipment, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

If you’re not sure whether remote management is enabled or not, just use the following steps. Log into the web management interface and make your way to “Basic Settings” and then “Remote Management.”  From there, just verify whether the box is checked or not and you’re all set.

In cases like these, we do wish companies were willing to be a bit more flexible. However, on the other hand, it’s easy to see how an offer of more time would be abused. So while we feel your pain if you own one of the impacted devices and we also understand why Cisco is taking a hard line and not granting any wiggle room.

All that to say, if you’re still using one of the devices referenced above, upgrade to a newer piece of equipment as soon as possible.