Target Privacy Data Breach: Part 2

Target Retailers were just involved in the second largest credit card data breach in United States history. Today Target announced the data breach that occurred over Thanksgiving weekend now exposes upwards of 70 million credit and debit cards. Target also disclosed the privacy data breach compromised names, addresses, phone numbers or email addresses, in addition to credit card information.  When businesses are victims of a security breach, loss of revenue is often highlighted in the news. What the media often overlooks is the internal costs of remediation, exposure to privacy breach laws and loss of reputation with their customers. Any Business can be the Target of a Privacy Data Breach While large companies make the news, many small business owners believe their company is too small to be targeted by cyber criminals resulting in privacy data breach.  According to Verizon Wireless’s 2012 Data Breach Investigation Study, 71% of data breaches occur in companies with fewer than 100 employees.  A privacy data breach can be devastating to a small business. Malware or software used to interrupt a computer’s processing, is a common way of perpetrating these attacks.  Small businesses are often unprepared when it comes to these attacks. What a Business Owner do to Avoid a Privacy Breach Action can 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. Check your firewall and security settings.  Make sure all your defense mechanisms are up to date and working...

2013 Technology in Review

As always, a lot has changed in the Technology world in the past year. Systems are updating, while new technologies are becoming more prevalent. Windows XP, the operating system that 33 percent of personal computers rely on, is on the way out. Windows 8.1 has become the standard. Also, personal computers are leaving the scene. Small businesses are moving to the compact and portable Tablet. Business On the Go has never been easier. During the past year most companies adopted cloud computing.  While many advances have been made in these technological areas, Cyber security threats and related losses are reportedly on the rise. Why You Should Care About Windows 8 Now that Windows 8 is on the market, it is important to consider the switch. Although it is difficult to change from Windows XP or Vista to 8, having the latest operating system is an important security issue. One option is to do a Clean Install of Windows 8. The other option is to replace XP machines with Windows 8 for potential tax incentives. Mobile Computing Hits Main Street Technology companies continue to release a wide array of Touch Devices and there popularity continues to increase. 2014 will be the first year that tablet sales surpass personal computer sales. This shift to touch devices in the workplace will lead to increased mobility, functionality, and profitability in the work place. Cloud Computing Adoption on the Rise A research report by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) 90 % of companies surveyed adopted cloud architectures as part of the IT infrastructure during 2013. In some cases, Cloud Computing deployments occur without...

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...

Happy Data Privacy Day!

Data Privacy Day may not be a holiday for your IT Support Professional, however, it is an international holiday dedicated to education about Data Privacy. On this day many private, government and academic Data Privacy and IT Security Professionals get together and discuss key issues about Data Privacy. What is Privacy Data and What Does This Mean to Your Business? Privacy Data can include a combination of Name, Address, Birthday and Taxpayer information. It can also include other information you may have related to employee health records, personnel records, customer data, supplier data and more. Keeping this data protected and secure from data leaks and hackers is important. You may face fines, suffer damages, loss of reputation and even loss of revenue if Privacy Data is leaked from your company. What Can You Do on Data Privacy Day to Protect Your Business? It is important to educate your employees about Privacy Data and the Risk of Loss. In today’s world where social networking is acceptable in many workplaces, employees may not realize the risks of sharing Privacy Information. The more your employees are aware of Privacy Data and the Risk of Loss the better. How Can I Protect Privacy Data on My Company Network on Data Privacy Day? It is important to keep you systems in compliance with O/S Patches, as well as, up to date with the latest Anti-virus and Anti-malware definitions. It is also a good idea to monitor your network for unauthorized access. You should also maintain a current backup of all of your privacy data. If you have a data leak you may be required...

New iPad at work? Make sure it is secure.

New iPad at work?  Make sure it is secure. With the holiday season behind us,  as expected, many employees are coming to work with shiny new tablet computers including Android Tablets, Microsoft Windows RT Tablets and the new Apple iPad Mini.   Your company may have a “Bring Your Own Device” mobile device management policy that allows employees to use these devices at work and, in some cases, for work.  Maybe you made that year-end corporate purchase to outfit your staff with the new iPad.  Either way, you need to make sure your corporate network, applications and data stay secure as these mobile devices enter the workplace. Here are a few tips to make sure your mobile device policies are in place, so your employees can use those new iPads securely.   Review your Mobile Device Policy Does your company have a written mobile device policy?  If not, you should put that in place.  The top issues with mobile devices, such as a new iPad, are related to loss or theft.  Because these devices may have access to your corporate applications and data, including email, customer and inventory data, make sure your employees know what is acceptable use for these mobile  devices.  Is it ok to store corporate data on personal devices within your company?  Conversely, can employees store personal data on a corporate owned mobile device?  Either way, have a stated mobile device policy so you can measure compliance with your mobile device policies and procedures.   Proactively Manage Your New iPad You can secure your iPad in case of loss or theft by keeping an audit of the...
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