Can You Survive a Network Security Attack

Businesses are under constant attack from a variety of network security threats.  Cybercriminals hack databases for passwords for unauthorized access to your network.  Undetected Malicious software (malware) can trap and forward passwords. Viruses can infect your hard drive and destroy application data and files without your knowledge. Businesses large and small face these network security threats on a daily basis; larger organizations, however, may have more resources to fight attacks.  Small businesses may be more vulnerable to downtime and loss of productivity because of thinner margins and resources. Here are a few steps you can take to survive a network security attack. Prevent Network Security Attacks Before they Occur Protect your network by making sure all devices are in compliance with the latest anti-virus and malware updates. Ensure your operating system (O/S) patches are up to date. Protect your network with strong passwords and require your employees to change them regularly.  Discourage writing passwords down, and make sure employees are aware of the risks of a network security attack. Lock Down your Mobile Devices Mobile devices including smartphones and tablets are particularly vulnerable to theft and loss. Passwords on these devices can be easily cracked leaving your applications and data vulnerable to unauthorized access. Train your employees to report theft or loss of mobile devices quickly, and make sure that all data on the device is encrypted.  Having the ability to track and wipe data from these devices is another option to ensure you can survive a network security threat. Backup Your Data Online Backup and Cloud Backup are affordable options to have quick access to applications and data...

Is Your Network Ready for Cloud Computing?

Cloud-based based computing adoption is increasing among many businesses.  According to the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) Annual trends in Cloud Computing study, 60% of business owners reported having 30% or more of their IT Systems in the cloud.  Additionally, research firm IDC predicts cloud-computing solutions to total $24 billion by 2016. Why Cloud Computing? CompTIA research reports that of those businesses adopting cloud technology, 49% have experienced the ability to cut costs. Popular uses of cloud-based applications include business productivity, cloud-based email, virtual desktop, HR management, and financial management. Taking Advantage of Cloud Computing Cloud Computing Why Now? Cloud Computing Growth and adoption is driven by a number of trends in IT, including affordable broadband, Internet, virtualization, and mobile computing.  Businesses find it easier than ever to reliably and securely connect to cloud-based infrastructure.  Cloud providers use virtualization to share computing resources, which helps keep costs down and aids in migration and upgrade of hardware platforms.  Mobile users expect cross-platform connection of smart phones and tablet computers to corporate applications and their data.  These factors combined add to the appeal of cloud computing Cloud computing Deployment Scenarios Most cloud-computing deployments use public-cloud, private-cloud and/or hybrid-cloud platforms.  Selecting the right cloud architecture depends on a number of factors, including industry and regulatory compliance requirements, integration with legacy applications, security, and other considerations.  It is equally important to consider your network reliability and availability to ensure a smooth of cloud computing. Most industry analysts agree that cloud computing is here to stay.  Cloud computing is becoming an increasingly important component of IT infrastructure, and companies adopting cloud computing are deriving...

5 Things You Need to Know about Privacy Breach Notifications

Recent high-profile data breaches, such as those that occurred at Neiman Marcus and Target, have brought privacy breach notification laws into public debate.  In the event that your company’s secure information is compromised, it is important to understand privacy breach notification laws and standards. Privacy Breach Notification Regulations are Under Review Across the world, privacy breach notification laws are being updated and amended to keep up with the times.  In the United States, for example, federal standards are being discussed, but  each state may also have its own rules.  Furthermore, some states do not even have their own regulations, and laws and procedures regarding privacy breach notification standards vary depending on where your business is located. Be sure to know the regulations and standards for your own country or state. What is Privacy Data? This private information that your company may posses includes customer names, in combination with, account numbers, driver licenses, or social security numbers, although this changes from state to state and from country to country. Most laws require your business to inform customers, employees, and other stakeholders when their private information has been compromised. What is considered private information, and the timeframe in which customers must be informed of the breach, varies in each law. A Privacy Data Breach Has No Borders Many companies collect data from customers across the globe.  If a privacy breach crosses state lines or international borders, your company may need to comply with multiple standards. Failure to comply may lead to fines and penalties, in addition to customer disapproval. California laws, for example, impose fines up to $3,000 for failure to...

Heartbleed Bug: What a Business Owner Should Know

The name Heartbleed OpenSSL Vulnerability (aka Heartbleed bug) is as scary as it sounds. Some reports say up to two thirds of all secure websites (e.g. those with a web address starting with a green https://) are using OpenSSL.  It has been reported that Google was first to discover the Heartbleed bug  that compromised sites including Yahoo, Tumblr, Flickr, Amazon, and other websites relying on OpenSSL for security.  This security breach may provide hackers access to accounts, passwords, and credit card information. Heartbleed and Your Systems Business owners using OpenSSL for their email, website, eCommerce applications, or other  web applications should take action to prevent data loss or theft.  The fix for the Heartbleed bug should be installed on your operating systems, network appliances, and other software to ensure that confidential information is protected.  Consider having your IT professional test your public web servers to determine if they are safe. Heartbleed and Your Employees Your employees may have used websites that were exposed to the Heartbleed bug.  This means their username and password combinations may have been compromised by hackers tapping into what was supposed to be encrypted communications.  Employees should be reminded to reset passwords within the guidelines established by your company.  There are plenty of resources on creating a secure password.  Microsoft offers tips for creating a strong password on their website. The Need for IT Security Because the Heartbleed bug is pervasive, most internet users need to change passwords on sites like Gmail, Yahoo, and Facebook.  The Heartbleed bug is a wake-up call to the importance of having an IT Security policy that includes strong password...

Cyber Attack Target

Target Retailers were just involved in the second largest credit card breach in United States history. A cyber security attack occurred over Thanksgiving weekend, which exposed upwards of 40 million credit and debit cards users. Compromised information included credit and debit card information, as well as customer names. When large businesses are victims of a security breach, it often is highlighted in the news. What the media fails to recognize, is the susceptibility of small businesses to cyber attacks. Small Business are Susceptible to Cyber Attacks Many small business owners believe their company is too small to be targeted by cyber crime. According to Verizon Wireless’s 2012 Data Breach Investigation Study, 71% of data breaches occur in companies with fewer than 100 employees. An information breach can be devastating to a small business. Malware, or software used to interrupt a computer’s processing, is the most common way of perpetrating these attacks. Small businesses are often unprepared when it comes to these sorts of attacks. Protecting Data from Cyber Attacks Action should be taken to protect your small business and your customer’s sensitive information. First, audit your network regularly. Periodically scan your network for unauthorized computers and devices connected to your network directly or via Wi-Fi. Also, update any antivirus or malware software regularly. Also check your firewall and security settings. Make sure all your defense mechanisms are up to date and working properly.  It is also important that all employee are trained on your policies and procedures for avoiding malware and identifying phishing schemes. It is important to keep a secure network to ensure your customers trust. By keeping...
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