Tag Archives: protection

Skimp On Data Protection And Pay The Price

10 Oct 17
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We’ve said it time and again: Today’s cybercriminals are using more advanced technology than ever. And those malicious tools are becoming even more sophisticated at a breakneck pace. To top it all off, new software developments are enabling these criminals to cast wider and wider nets, targeting businesses that, before, would have flown under their radar. Companies small and large, of every type, are being infiltrated by vicious cyber-attacks across the world each and every day.

Even knowing this, business owners are tempted to cut costs and corners. When you’ve never had a breach, data security can seem like a distant concern, especially for a limited budget. But regardless of which digital barriers you put in place to protect your business, you can bet on one thing: One day, your security will be tested by an attack. Whether or not the hackers punch through could mean the difference between your company shutting down for good — as 60% of small businesses do in the six months following a cyber-attack, according to the Denver Post — and remaining solvent and secure in your position.

When you’re struggling to stay afloat or simply wanting to be a savvy spender, you may think the best way to lock down your data is to put one of your staff on the task or to do it yourself.

And sure, your team can conduct hours of research searching for inexpensive security. And you’ll almost certainly find something cheap with good reviews and a decent track record. You’ll figure out how to install the software across your system, complete with firewalls, server protection, antivirus and maybe a bell and a whistle or two. Perhaps you’ll even hold a meeting to educate your staff on the do’s and don’ts of cyber security.

“Use intricately constructed passwords,” you’ll tell them. “Don’t click suspicious links in your email.”

Then, after a few days of fiddling with settings and ensuring the security software is properly in place, you’ll forget about it altogether. After all, it’s already installed, and you’ve checked to make sure there aren’t any gaps in the system. It’s not something you need to constantly monitor.

A year later, your business has — miraculously — doubled in size. You’re finally reaping profits. Best of all, a recent news story has brought your company into the public eye, and brand-new leads are contacting you every day. For the first time since the company’s inception, you can breathe easy.

Then, one Monday morning, you log into your computer. For a second, everything seems to be normal, until an innocent-looking pop-up fills your screen. “Attention!” an eerie robotic voice barks from your speakers, “Your documents, photos, databases and other important files have been encrypted!”

Thinking it’s a hoax, you click into your server drive. To your dismay, you really are locked out of everything. So, palms sweating, you read the rest of the pop-up. It provides instructions to install the deep web browser Tor as well as an address for you to visit. When you go there, you learn that in order to recover all your data, including the credit card information of your customers, you’ll need to dish out $50,000 in bitcoin.

A year ago, you couldn’t afford adequate cyber security. Can you afford $50,000 in cash today?

Identical situations are unfolding every day, with people exactly like you. Back in April, CNBC reported that across the previous 12 months, half of all small businesses had been infiltrated by malicious hackers. “Cyber security is clearly a concern that the entire business community shares, but it represents an especially pernicious threat to smaller businesses,” wrote the Securities and Exchange Commission in a 2015 report. “The reason is simple: small and midsize businesses are not just targets of cybercrime; they are its principal target.” Cheapo security solutions might be fine for a lone browser surfing the web at home, but they are shockingly inadequate resources on which to base the entire success of your company, your livelihood and the livelihood of your employees.

Frankly, it’s irresponsible to lock your data behind a flimsy $5 firewall. Invest in robust cyber security solutions and secure the future of your company.

5 Tools To Keep Your Kids Safe Online

30 Jan 17
lverbik
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School is in full swing, your kids are digging for the data they’ll need to fill all those reports, papers and projects that fuel their passing grades…

And Mr. Google can be their greatest friend when it comes to finding tons of tidbits to keep teacher happy.

But with great opportunity comes great risk…

Threats to your kids’ safety and well-being, posed by bullies, scam artists and pedophiles, lie in wait for the innocent. For example, according to CBS news, odds are about one in seven your kid will get picked on by a cyberbully.

Fortunately, you have a few tools and tricks up your sleeve to keep your kids safe. Here’s a helpful handful that we recommend:

  1. Kids may come across offensive web pages as they search the Internet. They can avoid this content by using child-oriented search engines, such as AskKids or KidsClick.org. This method isn’t always completely effective, so you may want to combine it with filtering software.
  1. A low-cost tablet and smartphone application can monitor, restrict and time your kids’ online activities. Mobicip blocks access to sexually explicit web sites. You may also use it to filter out various other material, such as news, social media or chat rooms.
  1. Cyber Patrol Online Protection offers a similar solution for desktop and notebook PCs. It blocks harmful web sites, logs online activity and limits the amount of time that kids can surf the web. This software also does its best to detect cyberbullying and warn parents.
  1. The STOPit smartphone app lets children tell adults about cyberbullying without risking retaliation. When kids see mean-spirited posts about their peers, they can anonymously forward the messages to parents or teachers. A high school in New Jersey successfully reduced bullying by urging students to use this app.
  1. Garfield, Nermal and Dr. Nova teach kids about Internet bullying in an interactive cartoon known as Professor Garfield Cyberbullying. The iPad app gives children tips on what to do when peers engage in this hurtful behavior. It uses a story about an online animal dancing contest to keep young learners interested.

These tools can make a big difference, but it’s still vital to talk about Internet safety. Be sure to discuss the potential risks with your child. Kids usually benefit when parents take the time to listen and offer helpful advice about specific issues.

Employees Keeping Your Data Safe? Don’t Count On It

10 Aug 16
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The biggest block to protecting your company’s data is employee ignorance about cybersecurity. In fact, your employees are probably compromising your data right now and aren’t even aware of it.

In case you haven’t read the reports, a statement from one of the many companies recently forced to close its doors following a cyber-attack involving one of their own employees brings the point home:

“Code Spaces will not be able to operate beyond this point. The cost of resolving this issue and the expected cost of refunding customers who have been left without the service they paid for will put Code Spaces in an irreversible position both financially and in terms of ongoing credibility.”

Root cause of the disaster? Very likely a phishing attack that one of their own team members unwittingly played a key role in.

If you want even a ghost of a chance that your data remains safe and secure, you MUST be aware of the five ways your employees are probably putting your company at risk right now:

Risky Passcode Practices

A good rule of thumb is, if you can recall a password, it’s probably not safe. Require the use of a random password generator to keep weak passcodes from being the weak link in your data’s defenses. Invest in a company-wide password protection system. And wherever possible, use two-factor authentication for logins to critical sites.

Working Outside a Secured Network

It’s great that your team loves to collaborate. Just make sure it’s done in a secure network. E-mail-sharing and file-sharing over a non-secured network can lead to leaks. Train your team to share sensitive messages and files only within a secure company network. Even better, invest in encryption and collaboration tools that keep your data extra-safe while in transit. After all, great teams need to collaborate. Just make sure it’s getting done without putting your data at risk.

E-mail Naïveté

Most people are aware by now that clicking on unknown links in an e-mail can lead to trouble. Yet clever hackers are sending ever more appealing e-mails that trick the unwary into clicking. Insist that no attachments from unknown sources are to be opened. And require that users on your network look up unknown links before blindly clicking on them.

Unattended Devices

Walking away from an open laptop in a coffee shop is a recipe for disaster. Yet even at the office, stepping away from a workstation can expose sensitive data to snoops. Insist that wherever your team works, they maintain complete visual control over any screen showing confidential company data.

Malicious Acts

You may find it hard to believe, but employees leaking critical data on purpose happens all the time. It may be for a personal venture – or a personal vendetta against your company. Regardless of the cause, it’s always a risk. And you may not see it coming. Safeguard all data coming into or going out from your company. And always change access codes whenever someone leaves your employ – willingly or unwillingly.

Protecting company data in today’s fluid and fast-changing business environment is tough work. If you don’t have a robust protection plan in place, your critical data IS at risk.  Safe data practices by your employees are absolutely critical to your company’s success and survival.

Need an ally to help protect your data from employee sabotage – accidental or otherwise?  Call us today at 317-857-0150 to schedule a complimentary review.

Protecting Your Data – Is your password strong enough?

18 Aug 14
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Information security is an ongoing process, not something you do once and then forget about, right?

Right!  If you’re still keeping all your original passwords in a small dusty notebook on the corner of your desk…it’s time to rethink.

 

You’ll be relieved to know there are some really good online password management solutions you can use.  Passwordbox.com, Lastpass.com and Dash

The single best way to reduce the risk that hackers have zeroed in on your online credentials is to change passwords on a regular basis. As an extra precaution, you could create a distinct password for each website.  This lessens the chances that a crook could tap into all of a person’s web-based accounts, especially bank accounts.  Consumers could for example, preface an easy to remember password with the name of the store, such as “amazon_Zulu58!”lane.com can help computer users develop stronger passwords that are kept in a virtual vault, of sorts.  That way unencrypted data doesn’t stay in the user’s browser cache.  Some sites also have a repository for credit card numbers.

“Proceed with Caution”  is a good general rule of thumb to remember whenever you’re opening attachments, making purchases or logging in to a site.  Some local Indiana banks and businesses have been breached when the hacker sends an e-mail to an employee that contains a malicious attachment.  A single careless click installs key-logging software that harvests passwords.  Clever hackers may even go so far as figuring out a professional organization to which an employee belongs and creating custom e-mails to entice the reader to open and click.

While some online retail sites appear slick and compelling for consumers – often times they are traps for stealing consumer data.  Be cautious of sites that lack basics such as a phone number or office address on the site.  Also, look for whether it is a member of the Better Business Bureau or whether it has been reviewed or recognized by industry publications that might attest to the site’s authenticity.  When placing online orders, consumers also should watch that the URL on the browser indicates that the data is encrypted, such as displaying https: rather than http:.

Much of the earlier hacking focused on financial companies. But as those systems have been strengthened, hackers are turning to less robust systems operated by hospitals, small retailers and other industries.

Here are six keys to help keep your information secure:

1)      Use a different password for every website you visit.  We know it seems like password overload but it is a lot less work than dealing with getting hacked.

2)      Use a combination of upper case, lower case, numbers and symbols.  The more original you are the better.

3)      Change your passwords every three months.

4)      If it’s hard to remember all your passwords, try a password manager.  With most password managers, you have to put in a master password every time you want to use it, so it keeps hackers out.

5)      Make sure your computer has an anti-virus program.  Several companies such as Avast, McAfee, Webroot and Kaspersky offer suites of protection.

6)      Set-up two step log-ins.  Two step authentication asks you to sign in with your password, and then add a second sign-in – a numeric code sent by text, e-mail or a phone call.  Think of it as a double password.

 

Have questions?  Jay and his team at Techno Advantage want to help you ensure that you’re protected.  Click here to contact a Techno Pro!

**Don’t forget – Windows Server 2003 will officially be unsupported on July 14, 2015. **

Contact Techno Advantage for more information on migration solutions.  317.857.0150