Why Data Security Is Import for Every Business:
As we stated before, massive security vulnerabilities in modern CPU hardware code-named Meltdown and Spectre put all operating systems at risk including Windows, Linux, Android, mac)S, iOS, Chromebooks and others. Nearly every device made in the past 20 years is affected.
To run a business or even function in todays world successfully, data security is crucial. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a individual, small startup or global conglomerate, data security can make or break an organization.
Yes, data security essential for every enterprise, irrespective of its size. In this digital world, businesses mostly rely on data storage and transactions to perform certain operations. Usage of data has increased business profitability and efficiency. At the same time, it also has potential security risks that could devastate a company.
Companies are accountable for the safety and confidentiality of its client data and employee information. It is a tedious task that’s becoming increasingly difficult as hackers come up with an advanced mechanism to evade safe and security measures.
The importance of data security
Data security is vital for every business whose bottom line will be affected more and even more so for those who lack the resources and knowledge to resolve the issue when a data breach occurs.
Irrespective of the type of data breach, your company will certainly experience severe consequences such as downtime and expensive legal fees. It’s therefore imperative that companies employ data security mechanisms and procedures to protect your data against threats to protect your brand reputation.
How can I justify investing in data security?
For some businesses, justifying cost and spend is crucial – they need higher level buy-in in order to implement the right safety measures. So how can you justify the cost?
The goal of all existing companies it to offer trustful services to their clients. In return, customers trust your company with sensitive information with every purchase. Whilst, no business intends to harm their clients, an unintentional or accidental data leak could potentially impact your business reputation.
When a security breach happens, there is a lot more than money at stake. Stolen data might put your clients at risk and, as a consequence, the future of your business.
Brand reputation takes years to gain and only minutes to destroy.
In recent years, the cyber intrusion process has been automated. And these automated cyberattacks are constantly being initiated without the involvement of hacker. These automated bot attacks divert the attention of the security team in order to gain access to your systems.
Businesses are legally responsible for the theft of information such as employee information, financial details and confidential client files. However, some businesses are ignorant about the harmful effects these vulnerabilities can impose upon their company. Hence, they fail to invest adequately in data security and the required security protocols.
As per several reports, for a small business, a data breach could as much as $46,000 for small businesses and $620,000 for enterprises. These expenditures include the cost of a fine, disruption of employee workflow and additional costs for necessary steps to restore the safety of your company data and network.
However, this doesn’t mean that the consequences of data loss are just monetary but can also impact the trust and reliability of your company. It will impact the future of your firm and can also jeopardize growth opportunities.
Data security: a case study
Michael Dell, CEO of Dell, has shared a story that really stresses on the need for data security.
The counter-threat unit of Dell was doing a research on new hacking methods that were used by the hackers. While they were doing it, the Dell team came up with some sensitive information from some top firms. They contacted the respective companies to let them know that their data were compromised.
One of the victim company hired dell to resolve the issue. It took nearly 45 days to clear up the issues. During which the company received a satisfactory survey mail from hackers pretending to be an IT company. The Dell team caught it before they could get cheated. The victim company had undergone security attack and being hacked for two years without knowing. Their confidential information had been stolen and stored by the hackers elsewhere.
How can you protect your company against security threats?
Many businesses overestimate their ability to handle data loss when a breach occurs. For instance, companies believe that they are adequately prepared to put off phishing efforts, but they forget to realize that the majority of data breaches do not occur this way.
Unsecured portals, websites, endpoints, networks and smart devices are vulnerable systems to invade by potential hackers. Hence, it’s important that companies review their safety mechanisms for processing and handling data securely in your IT environment.
Role-based access control (RBAC) is one method that can keep data more secure and allows the company to decide who accesses what type of the data, based on their role in the company.
Additionally, end-point protection software can block employees from accessing unsecured web pages and increasing the risk of a breach.
Antivirus, data backup and recovery software and firewalls are all methods of data protection that companies should not only use but keep up to date in order to protect their data.
Hire a professional to help protect your data and your company from catastrophic disaster and expense.
Is The Cloud Right For You?
Discover the pros and cons of investing in Cloud computing versus dedicated servers, to determine which could most benefit your business in 2019.
Dedicated Servers Vs. Cloud Storage: What’s the Difference?
The thing to remember when talking about the choices between dedicated and hosted servers is that one of the key issues in question is the access to, and control, you have over your data.
For example, Cloud storage solutions such as Google Drive, Dropbox, or iCloud function by uploading your data from dedicated servers on your primes to remote servers controlled by an outside company. Usually, there is a limit to the amount of free space provided, and additional space can be purchased for a monthly fee.
A dedicated server allows you to have full control over your data and resources and can be particularly suitable for large businesses which require a very high standard of data security. However, you will be responsible for the management and maintenance of the server hardware and its related infrastructure.
Meanwhile, if you invest in a cloud server for your business, you still have control over the services and space used but without the liability of hardware maintenance. Most cloud hosting providers allow you to choose the configuration of your server according to your needs, and to scale these features up and down as your business evolves. This is great for organizations with fluctuating needs, and for startups with plans to expand.
Is Cloud Storage Enough?
Remote storage enables you to access your files on the move, from multiple devices, and to share them with relevant contacts and employees as needed. In addition, as all your data is backed up remotely, your files are protected in the event of a disaster, and remain accessible, even if you cannot access your place of work.
This peace of mind is the reason many businesses are being converted to Cloud storage solutions, especially as these services allow greater workforce flexibility, and are typically cheaper than traditional server management. So if you are tempted by the Cloud purely for the purposes of remote storage then these services, used in tandem with your existing infrastructure, could be a good choice for your business.
Do Your Research
The first step in determining the best option for you is to identify the specific needs of your business:
Depending on the scale of your business, a dedicated server may not be an option, simply due to the costs of infrastructure and maintenance. One of the most prohibitive factors of using a dedicated server is its initial cost in comparison to cloud-based alternatives. Purchasing the required hardware and software, in addition to the basic costs of server installation, management, and access control can soon add up.
Whichever service you choose, it is always important to fully explore your options. Remote storage applications sport a dizzying array of different features and pricing structures. In addition, not all services are supported across every platform. For example, Dropbox is one of the few to have a client for Linux & Blackberry alongside other more mainstream operating systems.
Future-Proofing and Flexibility
With these details in hand, you can pursue quotes for the type of server that will fulfil your needs. With a dedicated server, you need to be sure that you have taken into account the potential for future growth, to avoid placing the server under unnecessary strain. If you underestimate your requirements, your whole business could come to a standstill until you either scale back your usage or invest in expanded infrastructure.
On the other hand, a Cloud-based server is more flexible. Your hosting provider can discuss a package that is tailored to your needs and may be able to help you set out a plan for your expected growth. The key advantage here is that changes in capacity can be made almost immediately, while doing the same thing for a dedicated server may take days, or even weeks.
The Question of Security
Whenever the debate about Cloud computing comes up, the primary concern for most undecided individuals is the matter of security. After all, while being able to access files from anywhere, on any device, is particularly useful, what happens if a device falls into the wrong hands while connected to your system?
Of course, there are countermeasures that can be put in place to combat these eventualities. This includes the introduction of comprehensive employee contracts regarding the responsible use of Cloud systems and data accessed via these services. Time-sensitive passwords, session timeouts, and IP restrictions will also help to ensure that your data remains safe.
Nevertheless, while the security concerns for a dedicated server are different, they are just as valid. Having an onsite server means you will need to restrict physical access and determine who has such access, and why. This includes keeping track of all existing keys and monitoring access during server maintenance and routine checks.
Your server may also be vulnerable to hackers, and other digital threats. While this is also the case with Cloud-based servers, you should have access to managed services which can oversee the digital security of your server on your behalf.
A Hybrid System
While the Cloud has huge potential for most business applications, the power and reliability of dedicated hardware still has its place. This is where hybrid systems come in. If you have existing dedicated servers, or you feel that there are aspects of your business that would benefit from a dedicated infrastructure, you can still take advantage of Cloud services.
One option is the creation of virtual workspaces so employees can work remotely, or access files from various devices on- and off-site. Access to a Cloud server can also be used to boost the processing power available to your business, without having to concern yourself with integrating additional hardware. This can be particularly helpful for those businesses which wish to retain a dedicated server, but also favor the flexibility offered by a hosted service.
The Final Verdict
Ultimately, there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to choosing between dedicated servers and the Cloud. You need to weigh up the needs of your business against the associated costs, and take care to consider how your business may grow and change in the future.
For many, the Cloud is a good place to start. As you can adjust the package to suit your needs and you have the option of incorporating dedicated hardware in the future if you require it. Alternatively, if you find that the Cloud does enough by itself, then you can simply increase your package in line with your needs, and focus on reinforcing the success of your growing business.
Malicious code is unwanted files or programs that can cause harm to a computer or compromise data stored on a computer. Various classifications of malicious code include viruses, worms, and Trojan horses.
- Viruses have the ability to damage or destroy files on a computer system and are spread by sharing an already infected removable media, opening malicious email attachments, and visiting malicious web pages.
- Worms are a type of virus that self-propagates from computer to computer. Its functionality is to use all of your computer’s resources, which can cause your computer to stop responding.
- Trojan Horses are computer programs that are hiding a virus or a potentially damaging program. It is not uncommon that free software contains a Trojan horse making a user think they are using legitimate software, instead the program is performing malicious actions on your computer.
Following these security practices can help you reduce the risks associated with malicious code:
• Install and maintain antivirus software. Antivirus software recognizes malware and protects your computer against it. Installing antivirus software from a reputable vendor is an important step in preventing and detecting infections. Always visit vendor sites directly rather than clicking on advertisements or email links. Because attackers are continually creating new viruses and other forms of malicious code, it is important to keep your antivirus software up-to-date.
• Use caution with links and attachments. Take appropriate precautions when using email and web browsers to reduce the risk of an infection. Be wary of unsolicited email attachments and use caution when clicking on email links, even if they seem to come from people you know. (See Using Caution with Email Attachments for more information.)
• Block pop-up advertisements. Pop-up blockers disable windows that could potentially contain malicious code. Most browsers have a free feature that can be enabled to block pop-up advertisements.
• Use an account with limited permissions. When navigating the web, it is a good security practice to use an account with limited permissions. If you do become infected, restricted permissions keep the malicious code from spreading and escalating to an administrative account.
• Disable external media AutoRun and AutoPlay features. Disabling AutoRun and AutoPlay features prevents external media infected with malicious code from automatically running on your computer.
• Change your passwords. If you believe your computer is infected, change your passwords. This includes any passwords for websites that may have been cached in your web browser. Create and use strong passwords, making them difficult for attackers to guess. (See Choosing and Protecting Passwords and Supplementing Passwords for more information.)
• Keep software updated. Install software patches on your computer so attackers do not take advantage of known vulnerabilities. Consider enabling automatic updates, when available. (See Understanding Patches and Software Updates for more information.)
• Back up data. Regularly back up your documents, photos, and important email messages to the cloud or to an external hard drive. In the event of an infection, your information will not be lost.
• Install or enable a firewall. Firewalls can prevent some types of infection by blocking malicious traffic before it enters your computer. Some operating systems include a firewall; if the operating system you are using includes one, enable it. (See Understanding Firewalls for Home and Small Office Use for more information.)
• Use anti-spyware tools. Spyware is a common virus source, but you can minimize infections by using a program that identifies and removes spyware. Most antivirus software includes an anti-spyware option; ensure you enable it.
• Monitor accounts. Look for any unauthorized use of, or unusual activity on, your accounts—especially banking accounts. If you identify unauthorized or unusual activity, contact your account provider immediately.
• Avoid using public Wi-Fi. Unsecured public Wi-Fi may allow an attacker to intercept your device’s network traffic and gain access to your personal information.
Antivirus software scans computer files and memory for patterns that indicate the possible presence of malicious code. You can perform antivirus scans automatically or manually.
• Automatic scans – Most antivirus software can scan specific files or directories automatically. New virus information is added frequently, so it is a good idea to take advantage of this option.
• Manual scans – If your antivirus software does not automatically scan new files, you should manually scan files and media you receive from an outside source before opening them, including email attachments, web downloads, CDs, DVDs, and USBs.
Although anti-virus software can be a powerful tool in helping protect your computer, it can sometimes induce problems by interfering with the performance of your computer. Too much antivirus software can affect your computer’s performance and the software’s effectiveness.
• Investigate your options in advance. Research available antivirus and anti-spyware software to determine the best choice for you. Consider the amount of malicious code the software recognizes and how frequently the virus definitions are updated. Also, check for known compatibility issues with other software you may be running on your computer.
• Limit the number of programs you install. Packages that incorporate both antivirus and anti-spyware capabilities together are now available. If you decide to choose separate programs, you only need one antivirus program and one anti-spyware program. Installing more programs increases your risk for problems.
There are many antivirus software program vendors, and deciding which one to choose can be confusing. Antivirus software programs all typically perform the same type of functions, so your decision may be based on recommendations, features, availability, or price. Regardless of which package you choose, installing any antivirus software will increase your level of protection.
Using antivirus software is the best way to defend your computer against malicious code. If you think your computer is infected, run your antivirus software program. Ideally, your antivirus program will identify any malicious code on your computer and quarantine them so they no longer affect your system. You should also consider these additional steps:
• Minimize the damage. If you are at work and have access to an information technology (IT) department, contact them immediately. The sooner they can investigate and “clean” your computer, the less likely it is to cause additional damage to your computer—and other computers on the network. If you are on a home computer or laptop, disconnect your computer from the internet; this will prevent the attacker from accessing your system.
• Remove the malicious code. If you have antivirus software installed on your computer, update the software and perform a manual scan of your entire system. If you do not have antivirus software, you can purchase it online or in a computer store. If the software cannot locate and remove the infection, you may need to reinstall your operating system, usually with a system restore disk. Note that reinstalling or restoring the operating system typically erases all of your files and any additional software that you have installed on your computer. After reinstalling the operating system and any other software, install all of the appropriate patches to fix known vulnerabilities.
Threats to your computer will continue to evolve. Although you cannot eliminate every hazard, by using caution, installing and using antivirus software, and following other simple security practices, you can significantly reduce your risk and strengthen your protection against malicious code.
For more information and help to keep your network safe
Is it time for your Annual HIPAA Risk Assessment?
HIPPA: In short - HIPAA is the acronym for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act that was passed by Congress in 1996. ... Reduces health care fraud and abuse; Mandates industry-wide standards for health care information on electronic billing and other processes; HIPPA
Recently, we received a question from a physician's office - "I already had a consultant come in last year and do a HIPAA risk assessment. I am now compliant. Why do I need to schedule another HIPAA risk assessment this year?" A HIPAA Risk Assessment is not just a mandatory compliance requirement, it is something that is needed to be done to keep your patient data safe and secure on an ongoing basis, and to identify potential issues. Things change, things happen, and you need to monitor your security on an ongoing basis. If you suffer a breach, then the agency that might conduct an audit is likely to ask for your most recent HIPAA Risk Analysis or Risk Assessment. If it is too far in the past, then you might be considered negligent. If you participate in the MACRA/MIPS incentive program, then you need to attest annually with the Center of Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) that you have conducted the annual HIPAA Security Risk Analysis. These are some reasons why a HIPAA Risk Assessment is not a one-time practice. Risk Assessments should be reviewed annually at a minimum and as new work methods are executed or updated technology is introduced.
Top 5 actions you can take to prepare for your next HIPAA Compliance review or risk assessment:
Identify where your PHI is stored:
On your Computer?
In your office?
Within your network storage?
On the cloud?
How to Safeguard your PHI?
What are compensating controls?
Compensating controls or alternative controls are put in place to satisfy the requirement for a security measure that is impractical to implement at the present time.
Examples of compensating controls:
When a medical office has paper charts that are filed on open shelves in a storage room or behind the reception desk, it is recommended to lock the charts at the end of the day. Many times it is not practical to put locks on all open shelves that are used to file charts. A compensating security measure can be used to install cameras surrounding the premises to monitor and record all activities. It is important that you also have a process in place to monitor the video recordings periodically.
If an Ultrasound Technician uses CDs, Tapes and Disks to store images or uses a USB hard drive to transfer the images to PCs and the EHR, then these devices have to be encrypted. Many times, the Technician is not sure if the Thumb drives are encrypted. A compensating control here would be to lock the CDs and flash drives in a cabinet when not in use.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is primarily concerned with the Privacy and Security of Patients' Protected Health Information. All entities that come into contact with Protected Health Information on a regular basis are covered under the Act. Has it been more than one year since your last HIPAA Risk Assessment? Or have you never had a HIPAA Risk Assessment done before? Either way, be sure to schedule your 2018 HIPAA Risk Assessment and 2018 HIPAA Training right away - don't wait until its too late.
PCS World Network has been providing IT services to the medical industry for over 15 years. A Managed Solution Provider You Can Trust. We can help you solve many of your concerns.
PCS World Network, Inc,
P.O. Box 152249
San Diego, Ca. 92195
Off: (619) 272-7593
Fax: (619) 272-7592
By Parita Patel 24By7Security
5 Data Security Threats Facing Companies Today
With all the threats to data security in today's IT landscape, viruses, once the bane of an IT administrator's existence, are the least of their worries. Here's a look at some of the concerns companies face when trying to secure data in a Web 2.0 world.
Targeted cyber attacks
Cyber attacks are no longer the creation of bored teenage hackers looking for bragging rights. With global organized crime syndicates behind cyber attacks, the nature of how they attack networks is changing, says a recent report by Forrester Research. No need for hackers to gather as much information as possible in one go; targeted attacks can now extract data over a longer period of time.
From intentional leaks from disgruntled employees to blunders involving misplaced laptops, data is escaping from inside organizations. The 2010 Verizon Data Breach Investigations report released in July found that almost 50 percent of data breaches were inside jobs. Companies need to be more vigilant about who has access to information, especially when it comes to corporate networks outside the firewall. The U.S. military is so concerned about insider threats to security that the Department of Defense is working on an algorithm to figure out when trusted insiders may be on the brink of psychologically turning on an organization.
Cloud computing opens up a new set of data-security concerns, mainly because it means companies must relinquish control of security to an outside party. While cloud computing providers are doing everything they can to build secure data centers, the way data is stored in the cloud - in shared environments alongside other customer data - is different from how a company might store it themselves and poses security concerns.
Corporate employees aren't just wasting time on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter - they're inadvertently leaking company data. Aside from the vulnerabilities in these online applications that seep into corporate networks, people are often posting private information. Third-party applications that employees can access through Facebook - which are often developed by individuals or very small companies - may also pose security threats unknown to corporate IT administrators.
Smartphones are ubiquitous in today's workplace. While companies have some control over protecting devices they configure, many employees use personal smartphones to download and access corporate information, giving IT administrators little to no control over their security. Because it's so difficult to implement platform-specific security given the range of devices being used, the paradigm is shifting from device-specific solutions to security being built into the network.
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Carlton Stephen Walters
Stephen Walters, President & CEO of PCS World Network, Incorporated a premiere provider of computer and Internet based solutions.