Is Network Security Your Priority?

Everyday there are reports of businesses being targeted with security attacks. The list of large companies being hit is long. Small businesses are equally vulnerable to security hackers and may be less resilient. To say that security is a top business concern seems unnecessary. Most companies understand that security is not something to be taken lightly. In a recent CompTIA survey, 74 percent of business leaders said that security is a higher priority today than it was two years ago. Eighty-five percent of firms surveyed reported that IT security will have an even higher priority two years from now. Network Security Versus Human Error Everyone agrees that security is important. Malware and hacking are still the major concerns. Human error has become one of the most recent threats. This is a growing concerns that needs attention. To combat human error, significant education and training of employees is needed. Mitigation strategies for all businesses, whether large or small, are of the utmost importance. With new models of security, there are new loopholes to exploit; with greater technology reliance, there is a greater potential for disruption. Add in escalating privacy concerns and critical regulatory concerns, and it is easy to see how security is becoming much broader than firewalls and anti-virus software. Security Policies and Procedures It is important for your business to establish clear procedures on notification and escalation of a data leak or data breach. Ensure that your team knows how to escalate a concern within the company. It is more important to raise the issues quickly rather than cover up a security breach. Your business must have clear...

Is Your Network Ready for Windows 10?

Since the July release of Windows 10, the tech world has been talking about the latest update from Microsoft. According to Microsoft, within one day of its release, more than 14 million users had downloaded Windows 10. Microsoft is rolling the new product out in phases, so how will you be sure your network is ready for the new Windows? The Good News about Windows 10 What users like about Windows 10 is that it is fast and familiar. Windows 10 includes an improved Start menu and is designed to startup and resume quickly. It also has the Microsoft Edge – an all-new browser. With the latest Windows product all updates are cumulative. Windows 10 should be compatible with the hardware, software and peripherals you already own. The OneDrive online storage can help you easily share files and keep files up to date across all your devices. Windows 10 Bandwidth Requirements Some businesses will wonder if they need more bandwidth for Windows 10. Though Windows 10 was free to download, updating the operating system is costing some dearly. Some updates may use many gigabytes of bandwidth for a typical installation. The new product and the automatic updates may tax some users with data caps. Some users may need to budget for this and make sure they have adequate internet connectivity. New User Interface for Windows 10 New concerns with the way that Windows 10 enforces automatic download and installation of updates is turning a free update into a costly endeavor for some users. Make sure you are up to date on all the security features, so that you do...

Is Your Head in the Cloud?

Are you ready to embrace the benefits of the Cloud? Whether your company is ready to acquire new software-as-a-service (SaaS) capabilities or in need of infrastructure upgrades via infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), Cloud has now reached new heights in the small and medium-sized business (SMB) world. According to current research by International Data Corporation (IDC), fifty percent of all companies are using at least one public SaaS offering, with a further 20% planning to implement such a service within the year. Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and (IaaS) are less used today, but there is interest and growth in that direction. Top Reasons for Moving to the Cloud According to the same report by IDC, here are the top five reasons that your business should be moving to the Cloud: Get access to the newest functionality faster. Improve utilization. Reduce the cost of overall IT spending. Improve staff productivity. Give business units more direct control over sourcing IT solutions. Bottom Line On Cloud There is no denying that the Cloud is here to stay and all indications are that the sooner you start to incorporate it into your technology portfolio the better. The fact is your competitors are getting the message and there is competitive risk at stake. Because the hallmark of Cloud is flexibility and agility, it can be relatively low risk to try it out.  The ‘pay as you play’ Cloud subscription model means there is little financial investment to get started. This all adds up to low barrier to entry. There are many economic reasons for moving to the Cloud and there are also compelling practical considerations and strategic opportunities. So...

Wearables are Fashionable, But Are They Secure?

Wearable technology, especially Smartwatches, including the Apple Watch, the Samsung Gear, and the Microsoft Band, are all the rage and are expected to become even more popular over the coming years. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), 2015 will see as many as 72.1 million wearables shipped. They are popular and fashionable, but do they leave your network open to potential security breaches?  Wearables and Security Risks Wearables represent another attack target for the cybercriminals who are currently enjoying the opportunities presented by mobile devices. Wearables have the same potential for data leakage, data loss, and industrial espionage as mobile devices. Some security experts agree that the current wearables have a limited attack surface. Other experts believe that there is a risk of a hack and warn that the danger could increase. Future wearables will likely behave as current mobile devices, making them far more appealing than computers for cybercriminals. Like computers, wearable devices are built on familiar operating systems and have vulnerabilities. Because security and privacy are not a priority for developers, these devices are not being built with security front of mind.  Considering that some companies encourage employees to bring their own devices, security threats of wearables should be incorporated into a firm’s policies. Bring Your Own Device Policy and Wearables Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, in which companies give employees the choice to use their own iPhones, iPads and Android smartphones for work, is a trend that business cannot avoid. A number of firms still do not have adequate policies, controls, or even the right technology. Some say a BYOD policy should include wearables...

Does Your Business Have a Password Management Policy?

In order to keep your business up and running and to avoid being hacked, your company must develop an effective password management policy. This is especially true for any business that must comply with HIPAA, PCI, and/or other regulatory compliances, as regulatory scrutiny and fines can be costly and time consuming. The following four steps can help protect your business from disruption. Make Your Password Complex Make passwords complex; don’t make it easy for hackers to access your company’s data. Include both uppercase and lowercase letters, at least one digit, and punctuation and special characters. Consider creating a passphrase that includes several words, but be sure to avoid expressions from movies or other everyday vernacular. Avoid The Usual Suspects Believe it or not, the most common password is “Password.” Whatever you do, do not use easy-to-guess passwords. Change all default passwords right away, and avoid obvious choices, such as your family name, your pets’ names, or your birthday. Also, not not allow employees to keep a Post-It on their desk with a list of passwords. Change Passwords Often Some systems automatically prompt you to change your password every now and then. For systems that do not already have this feature built in, consider making quarterly password changes mandatory for your organization. And remember: Recycling is good, just not for passwords. Smart Management Consider using a password management system or encryption email to secure your resources. Both can assist you in staying safe from malware and threats. Some malware programs are designed to “phish” for your password. While logging in, malware may transmit your password without your knowledge, so make...

Is Your Business Ready for a Disaster?

Disaster recovery and business continuity planning are processes that help organizations prepare for disruptive events—this might include a hurricane, an earthquake, a power outage caused by a fire or a cyber attack by hackers. Your business should have a process in place ranging from overseeing a disaster plan, to providing input and support, to putting the plan into action during an emergency. Having a Plan Is Important Given the human tendency to look on the bright side, some business people are prone to ignoring disaster recovery because disaster seems an unlikely event. Business continuity planning is a more comprehensive approach to making sure you can keep making money, not only after a natural disaster but also in the event of smaller disruptions including illness or departure an employee or other challenges that businesses face from time to time. The critical point is that neither element can be ignored, and physical, IT and human resources plans cannot be developed in isolation from each other. At its core, BC/DR is about constant communication. Don’t Forget to Test Your Plan Once you have a plan, it is imperative to test your backup and recovery scenarios to make sure you can bring your systems up in a timely manner. For disaster scenarios, consider training employees on protocol in an emergency situation. Understanding the effects that a disaster can have on your company is extremely important. In order to prepare your business for a disaster, it is necessary to analyze the costs and risks associated with downtime of your critical applications and their data. Having a proactive business continuity/data recovery plan will save your...
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