What is Malware and Why Should I Care?

Malicious Software or Malware is a serious concern to IT Security experts and business owners alike.  Malware is a category of Cyber Security threats that includes Viruses, Worms,Trojans and Botnets.  It is no surprise that the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) tenth annual IT Security Information Trends report placed Malware at the top of the list of security threats.  CompTIA cited that eighty-five percent of Business Owners and IT Professionals have a moderate to serious concern about Malware.  Why should you care? Many times Malware intrusions will go undetected. Some malware may cause your computer to run slowly.  Some malware may be programmed to silently harvest privacy data from your hard drive, while other malware is programmed to destroy data on your hardware.  Other malware can turn your PC into a Cyber Hacker by exploiting security holes and using your PC to attack other PCs. Costs associated with data breaches is estimated to be as high as a billion dollars each year.  Moreover, the number of Malware threats are exploding.  Symantec estimates there will be over 250,000 new threats (not attacks) identified on Android devices in 2012 alone.  What can you do to avoid Malware? IT Security Risk Assessment The reality is you can not afford to eradicate one hundred percent of all cyber threats, so you need to have a pragmatic plan for defending yourself.  Start by understanding your security risks by reviewing your core applications and data, policies and procedures, as well as, your network infrastructure.  You are as vulnerable as your weakest link. IT Security Compliance To protect your applications and their data, as well as...

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Fundamentals

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery planning is about making sure your company can quickly become  operational after a systems failure, natural disaster or other interruption.  A holistic approach is required to get your doors open and employees productive.  According to recent InformationWeek research, IT professionals polled about Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery are most concerned about protecting databases (68%), followed by email (45%), accounting data (39%) and network services (36%). It is important to separate basic data protection from business continuity planning.  Most companies have some type of backup in place to provide basic data protection.  When data is lost in an isolated situation, such as a hard drive failure, virus infection, or a lost device, your local or online backup provides a reactive way to rapidly restore your data.  Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery provides a proactive plan to pragmatically reduce the risks of a disaster recovery scenario.  Here are some important considerations: Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Risk Assessment Start by gaining an understanding of your environmental risks and exposure.  For example, the geographic area your business is located in,  may make you more prone to flooding, hurricane, earthquakes or fire.  These variables may raise your risks.  However, if you are adjacent to a hospital or fire department, you may have a lower risk of losing power during a disaster. Tailor your Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan to Your Company’s Needs Evaluate your core systems to determine what applications and data you need to operate.  Basic services such as phone, email or order processing may put your business at risk even with the a brief outage....

Are You Ready for Mobility?

Mobility in the workforce is increasing productivity and driving savings for small to medium sized companies. Recent research from the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) uncovers 73% of small businesses surveyed cite they have a mobile device strategy driven by moderate to heavy focus for Mobility to make employees in the field more productive. Moreover, 58% of respondents have productivity gains for travelling employees as a moderate to heavy focus to include smart phones, tablet PCs and laptop computers in their businesses. Connecting employees with customers was cited as a moderate to heavy focus for driving Mobility strategies by 55% of those surveyed, while 48% cited eCommerce as a moderate to heavy focus in their Mobility strategies. To take full advantage of smart phones, tablet PCs and laptop computers in your company, there are a few precautions to consider when rolling out a mobile solution. Here are a few tips to consider to get the most from your Mobility solution: Check your Mobile Security Policy Some mobile devices may be vulnerable to trojans, malware and phishing schemes. Ensure that your Mobile Solution includes security measures to keep devices connected to your network, corporate applications and data are up to date with mobile anti-virus and mobile-anti malware protection. Passwords aren’t enough to protect your devices, therefore, companies must also encrypt corporate data on mobile devices and be prepared to remotely locate and wipe lost or stolen mobile devices. Check your Network Bandwidth for your Mobility Solution Some mobile applications can put a strain on your companies wireless network. To receive maximum productivity from your employees using mobile devices in the...

Cyber Security: A Global Threat to Small and Medium Businesses

You hear about Cyber Security threats, data leaks and data loss in the news on a regular basis.   Malware, trojans and phishing schemes hatched in countries like China, India, Russia and other Eastern European countries attempt to rob businesses of confidential information, privacy data and critical application data.  Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard has made Cyber Security a national priority.  US President Barack Obama energized the dialogue on CyberSecurity by mentioning it in his State of the Union Speak with an executive order for federal regulators to provide better Cybersecurity for banks, telecommunications, energy and other industries. But what about Cyber Security for small businesses? Small businesses are equally targeted by Cyber Security hackers and may be less resilient from a cybersecurity attack than larger businesses as they may lack the stability, reputation and financial resources to rebound. Here are a few steps you can take to protect your business from the threat of a Cyber Security Attack: Beef up your Network Security to Avoid Cyber Security Threats Your network is only as strong as the weakest point. To avoid threats from Cybersecurity make sure you have a Firewall in place and keep all connected devices have up to date firmware, operating system patches and keep the latest anti-virus and anti-malware definitions current. Cyber Security Education and Training Educate your employees and staff on the threats of cybersecurity. Make sure they are aware of the threats of Phishing schemes and are able to identify and avoid these dubious attacks. Train all employees on the risk of sharing privacy data such as name, email, birthdays and financial information on social...

Backup and Disaster Recovery Driven By Global Climate Change

You can’t avoid reading about the extreme weather conditions. Flooding in Queensland, Australia’s Sunshine Coast, record snow storms in North America and searing heat driving wild fires, all point to global climate change. If your business is in the path of severe weather, would your applications and critical data be protected?  This begs the question, have you seen your backup lately?  In other words, do you have a Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan? Having a local onsite backup isn’t enough when a disaster strikes. You may not be able to access your facilities due to travel restrictions and your local backup of critical application data may be lost forever. It is imperative that your business has an offsite backup or online backup of your data to aid in a disaster recovery scenario.  Here are some considerations for business continuity planning. Cloud Backup/Remote Backup for Backup and Disaster Recovery Cloud Backup/Remote Backup provide small businesses with enterprise class infrastructure as an affordable option for backup and disaster recovery. High Speed Internet connectivity, data de-duplication technologies and cloud-based Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) make Cloud Backup/Remote Backup a safe, secure option for backup and disaster recovery planning. Cloud Based Software as a Service (SaaS)/Hosted Applications Cloud based Software as a Service (SaaS)/Hosted Applications provide an offsite alternative to premise based applications. SaaS applications store data in the cloud and are accessible across the Internet from multiple devices including, Desktop and Laptop computers, tablet computers, smart phones and other mobile devices. After a disaster you will be able to access your SaaS applications, even when you can’t access your office facility. Virtualization for...

Should I Run my Business in the Cloud?

If you are still foggy about Cloud Technology, don’t feel too badly. According to a recent survey of one thousand adults by Wakefield Research over 50% of respondents believe that weather patterns have an impact on Cloud Computing! The reality is most of us are using the cloud whether we know it our not. Cloud Computing is a cost effect way for companies to have access to enterprise class infrastructure they may not be able to otherwise afford. The Cloud can lower capital expense for your business while helping you upgrade your IT Infrastructure. So What is Cloud Computing and How Can Cloud Computing Help my Business? Here are a Few Ways you May Benefit. Software as a Service Software as a Service (SaaS) is a popular cloud based model for getting access to enterprise applications. Instead of having dedicated software running on your company premise you can opt for a cloud based version of your software running across the Internet. In most cases the Cloud option has the same features and performance as the “on premise” counterpart. There are many applications available in the Cloud including Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Sales Force Automation (SFA), Email and even Office Productivity Applications (e.g. Word, Excel, Powerpoint). Cloud Backup Cloud Backup or Remote Backup is another option for your business. Many companies rely on tape backup for their business. Cloud Backup provides an additional option for offsite backup and storage. Your application data, files and other important IT assets are stored across the internet using Cloud Backup. In many cases Cloud Backup Technology can back up as quickly as your local...
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