Blog

August 11th, 2014

Cloud Security

Cyber criminals, hackers, and viruses… oh my!
Follow these tips to ensure your business is protected
[byLliam Holmes]

THERE ARE THREE TYPES OF COMPANIES:

those that have been hacked, those that will be hacked and those that have been hacked but don’t yet know it. News of Heartbleed and the variants of Cryptolocker have highlighted once again that cyber crime is on the rise and a very real threat for small business owners.

To make matters worse, hackers don’t have rules, regulations and compliance concerns like HIPAA, HITECH, PCI, or Sarbanes-Oxley, which means that small business owners must take an offensive position to security. Unfortunately, many business owners don’t seem to focus on network and system security until after they’ve experienced a compromise, been adversely affected, or lost data.

To truly protect yoru business from the increasing number of cyber threats, consider taking an offensive, layered approach to security and be diligent at all levels, Security starts at the front door and needs to be well designed through technology but ultimately it must be monitored and audited, regularly. Gone are the days when it was easy to say”we trust everyone” or “I don’t have anything anyone would want”. Even if these statements were true, your systems could be used to attack other companies or steal personal identification data which could created great liabilities for you and your company.

Key Security

What con you do to protect yourself from some of the threats out there today?

  1. Be deliberate about passwords and access. Make sure your staff changes passwords on a regular basis and require complex passwords. Deactivate user accounts for ex-employees. Change the default passwords for network devices such as routers, switches and Wireless Access Points. Limit remote access to critical servers and systems. Don’t use the same complex password across multiple accounts iternally or on the web. Ensure that users don’t have administrator access to their workstations or laptops. Remember, viruses and spyware have access to the same data on the network that the current ser does.
  2. Employ a layered security approach between your network and the Internet. This could include: a Unified Threat Management based firewall, URL filtering, third party spam filtering, encrypted email, an IPS (Intrusion Protection System> and a WAF(Web Application Filter).
  3. Have a seperate computer or system for online banking and discuss banking security services includingaccount controls with your commercial banker.
  4. Insist on routine vulnerability testing of your network and remediation as necessary. Make sure your company is using an advanced firewall. Be sure to keep your subscriptions and patching up-to-date.
  5. Make sure you educate users on what software they can use as well and what they should avoid clicking on. Batter yet, implement advanced filters and anti-spam services to prevent your users from ever getting malware infected emails.
  6. Keep your computer operating systems and main business line applications running on the most current and supported versions. Update your SSL certificates and application programming interface (API) keys. Replace any machines that are running WindowsXP because Microsoft stopped providing security patches for this operating system in April 2014.
  7. Ensure you have reliable, well-tested data backup and recovery system so that if you must restore, you can do so quickly and efficiently.

Suggestion: Talk with your security officer or IT Provider to ensure you are addressing these areas. The key to protecting your business is awareness, planning, protection and ongoing auditing before the cyber criminals knock on your business’ door.

July 20th, 2014

IT Services in Atlanta

Running a website, blog or a company today requires more than the ability to share an appealing product or service. Understanding the importance of providing online support, responsive web design and intuitive platforms for users and potential customers is essential when you want to manage a success business in just about any industry. When you are living in Atlanta and looking to take your company online or to the next level of success, consider professional IT services in Atlanta to help throughout the process.

What are IT Services?

IT services range from managing computer networks in an entire office to implementing software updates and upgrades for all of your employees. Keeping data safe, secure and protected from potential hackers and online thieves is also possible with professional IT services who help companies and brands grow online.

Using IT services in Atlanta not only ensures you are on the right track of managing your business and moving forward in the right direction, but it is another way to keep all of your company’s information and data safe, secure and protected at all times. Understanding the benefits of IT services from professionals in Atlanta is a way for you to choose the right professionals for any company or brand you are looking to grow.

June 30th, 2014

PerformanceJust visit any website, and your browser might detect that there is a problem with its security. The hard reality of things is that most people will buy things online or even pay their bills through the Internet, but they do not have an antivirus software installed onto their computers.

Without an antivirus software, you will notice that you are putting your security and information at risk if someone were to hack into your account. Viruses on the computer come in many different forms and types, but many of them are geared towards obtaining your personal and financial information as a form of identity theft.

What an antivirus can do for you online is simply to keep you safe. The antivirus software is first going to make sure that every website you are visiting is not going to infect your computer and destroy it over time. The software is also going to keep your information safe when you’re shopping online or simply paying your bills.

Many people who do not have an antivirus software installed onto their computer are finding that it is very difficult to feel safe while shopping or buying things online. Not only is your financial information unsafe without this type of program, but a computer virus can literally destroy everything on your computer within a matter of minutes or hours, which makes it difficult if you rely on your computer daily.

If you have computers in your Atlanta company without up to date anti-virus software, give MIS Solutions a call today!

June 29th, 2014

Changing your Password and Why It’s Important

Changing your password isn’t an option any more; the security of your account is at stake. If you do not change your account password regularly, it may lead to some kind of compromise to your Atlanta company.

When an intruder acquires your password, he gains access to the account that was protected by your password. If someone gains access to your PC using your computer account password, he can then use your computer for attacking other systems and machines, and if the authorities find out, they will come looking for you.

Can I use a variant of my old password?

It is your habits that lead to compromises in life. With a little bit of effort, you will come up with a strong password for your account, so there’s no point in using a variant of the old password. Make it a lifelong habit to keep strong passwords to avoid the possibility of being compromised.

Create a Strong Password

It is important to choose a strong password for your account. Use a combination of alphabets, numerals and symbols. Make sure you use a combination of lower and upper cases for structuring the password. A strong password makes it difficult, if not impossible, for an intruder to breach.

Change Your Password Regularly

Change your account password regularly. For instance, you can maintain a monthly or quarterly schedule for password change.

June 28th, 2014

ServicesAllowing access to private business data is a difficult thing for business owners to do. You want to make sure that every piece of valuable information is protected against any form of theft or loss. One great way to protect your data is to establish a two factor authentication system.

A two factor authentication system is one in which you are asked for a secondary layer of information before you are able to access private information. For example, if you log into your company’s administrative portal, you will most definitely be asked for a password. Then, you would be asked for a secondary code or a piece of information that only you would know.

This, of course, makes your documentation more secure and makes it more difficult for someone to hack into your account. However, you should be very selective in regards to your password and the secondary code so that no one would be able to guess your answer.

As you spend time with employees over the years, they begin to learn things about you because you talk about your families and interests together. If you are someone who owns a boat, for example, and boating is your most favorite thing to do, your employees might know that about you. If your password is the name of your boat, that might be a little too easy for your employees to guess if they were trying to access your data. In addition, if your secondary authentication is your mother’s maiden name, your employees might know that too. Make sure all of your passwords and questions are things that only you would know for optimum security and protection for your data.

Topic Security
June 27th, 2014

PerformanceImagine if your computer system failed, and you lost every piece of client information and financial information. For most businesses, this would be catastrophic. It would take weeks to months to recreate all of that data, and some of it would be lost forever.

It is impractical to trust your employees to manually back up your system as often as they should. They could forget, or they could just not feel like it that day. For many larger companies, losing one day of records would be a huge undertaking to restore. In addition, allowing your employees to back up your system gives them the ability to walk out the door with all of your data. How much can you really trust an employee with everything that controls your business?

Even if you had the most trustworthy employees on the planet, and they back up your system every single day, the back up can still be lost or damaged. If the back up is left at the company, and the office burns down that night, the entire back up is destroyed. If the employee takes the back up home with them, you risk exposure of personal information to unauthorized people. Of course, their house could also burn down too.

The only safe solution is to employ an off-site back up service that will automatically back up your data everyday and store it on their secure network. Then, you can rest better knowing your data can easily be restored in the event of theft or loss.

Give MIS Solutions a call today to ensure your computer’s data is backed up and able to be recovered in the case of a disaster.

Topic Security
June 27th, 2014

What is Data Encryption?

Encryption is a useful way of protecting your precious information. With a little effort, you can master data encryption and prevent unauthorized access of your data.

Hard Disk Encryption

Hard disk encryption for your Atlanta company aims to encrypt data stored on your hard disk. This storage device is also useful for backing up your important files. Encryption prevents unauthorized access of the stored information. There are many third party software that offer hard disk data encryption services. You can look for the right software online.

Run the software after installing it. Select the folder that you want to encrypt. Wait for encryption to complete.

External Storage Device Encryption

To encrypt USB flash drives and other external storage devices, you can use more or less the same applications and programs that work for a hard disk encryption.

Traffic Data Encryption

There are instances when it becomes necessary to be more wary of Internet data that you’re sending and receiving. A virtual private network connects you to a secure server. Data transmitted via this route is encrypted, preventing its interception.

VPNs charge a small service fee. Payments can be made online.

Using a VPN is a simple task that does not usually require technical experience. The provider you choose will give specific instructions for connecting securely to the Web.

June 26th, 2014

PerformanceThere are many ways to make money from stolen data, as suggested by the increasing number of reports in data breaches and online incidents. One of the easiest ways for a hacker or a spy to get into a corporation’s network is by going in through someone who’s already familiar with it: an employee. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean they’d kidnap or ransom them, although that sort of thing is not unheard of. It could just mean that they’d be keeping an eye out for anyone who’s recently quit or have been fired from the business who might be looking for some extra cash.

Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world, and we do need to safeguard our network not just against attacks from the outside, but also from the inside. Many unsatisfied or recently laid-off/fired employees with access to sensitive information should be viewed very closely, as they often have the most unrestricted access to the data that’s most important to the business.

Implement review processes for employees who have been recently let go or when they’ve given notice that they’re moving on to a different company. Make sure to restrict their access to the system as soon as they’ve finished their employment, or even beforehand if it’s at all possible. Employees are great tools to use against malicious attacks, but they function as a double edged sword.

If you want to discuss keeping your Atlanta company safe from a breach like a former employee, give MIS Solutions a call today!

June 25th, 2014

ServicesWhen a hacker is trying to gain access to your network, oftentimes they will focus their efforts on gaining access to one of your computers. After they have breached that computer’s firewall, it becomes easier for the intruder to gain access to your data over your entire network. That is because many systems are not segmented.

Segmenting your network creates breaks between areas of your computer system. If suspicious activity is found at one computer, there is a possibility that the activity could spread to any devices that are part of that network segment. If the activity is not discovered, it is possible for the hackers to reach other segments of the network. However, this is unlikely. By segmenting the network, you create containment areas that will stop malicious activity from reaching your entire network.

Examples of items that create segments in your system are hubs, modems and routers. They break the system apart in a strange way all while connecting it at the same time.

Here is a better way to understand how segmenting your system works. If you work in an office building with several levels or floors, everyone who is on your floor would be part of your segment. You would have easy access to talk to them or go to their office if necessary. However, if you needed to go to an office on another floor, you would need something like a staircase or an elevator to connect you to the floor. Therefore, you would not be on the same segment as them. A safe computer network would be structured like this.

Give MIS Solutions a call to start working with an IT Consultant who can keep your Atlanta network safe!

Topic Security
June 23rd, 2014

ServicesOne of the biggest risks for anyone relying on a wireless Internet connection is the risk of being hacked. A person can be hacked if users gain access to the credentials required to access the network. One way to minimize the risk of hacking is to restrict remote access.

What kind of problems does restricting remote access resolve?

People who have access to one’s network can install malware like keylogger software to monitor a person’s activity. In addition to disturbing spyware, unauthorized access allows one to delete important files and even plant viruses. There are some steps that people can take to protect their privacy and prevent unauthorized access to personal data and information. One such step is restricting remote access.

What is the purpose of restricting remote access? 

It allows more individualized control over who can access private files, data and information on a person’s desktop. Access can be restricted by IP address and other methods. Manually blocking access using IP addresses is yet another option, which may require the use of a firewall. Other methods include restricting access using the registry. Rotating passwords, performing regular updates, implementing firewalls, changing authentication methods and limiting the number of users with direct access to the PC can improve security.

Loss of privacy, privileged information, virus attacks and malware installation are threats that can be addressed in part by restricting remote access to a person’s desktop. While this is only one step to improving privacy and security on the PC, it can be an important one to take.

If you would like to help your Atlanta Company with quality IT Consulting, give MIS Solutions a call today.

Topic Security