Encryption is a very important tool in today’s business environment, especially if you are trying to protect your email communications. Today, we’ll discuss the benefits of using encryption for your business’ communications solutions, but without an understanding of what encryption actually is, the conversation might be a little harder to understand.
Automation Concepts & Technologies, Inc. Blog
The Internet of Things is now made up of over 15 billion devices. 15 billion. This number includes both consumer devices in a home environment as well as business devices that are typically used in an office setting. As such, you cannot risk ignoring this phenomenon, whether it’s from a security standpoint or one of practicality. We’ll discuss the many ways the IoT is shaping business practices in today’s modern office.
The Internet of things can be described simply as devices that have connectivity to the Internet, and thus to a computing network. Many times these connected devices aren’t manufactured with security solutions onboard (or any security-minded foresight at all) so they can be fickle instruments when trying to onerously secure a network that includes numerous IoT devices. Today, we'll go over some of the threats IoT devices pose to your network, and how to reliably secure it from these threats.
As you may expect, the average Internet scammer isn’t above resorting to dirty tricks to claim their ill-gotten prize from their victims. A recent scam demonstrates just how dirty these tricks can truly be, and unfortunately, how ill-prepared many are to handle them.
Although we’re in the habit of discussing ways to keep your business more secure, we unfortunately have to discuss how to keep yourself more secure against a business. Walmart recently filed a patent that could potentially be used to undermine the security of everyone there, from shoppers to employees. We took the time and dug into the jargon in the patent to give you a better look at the situation.
The Internet of Things might be a considerable step up in terms of connectivity for a lot of users and organizations, but this comes at a cost. With more devices accessing connected networks than ever before, security becomes a main focal point of discussion for the Internet of Things. How can you make sure that your network is secure while these devices run rampant all around you?
Blockchain is one of the latest and greatest developments to come in computing. The spotlight is on Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, Dogecoin, and several other cryptocurrencies that take advantage of the blockchain, but it’s important to remember that it’s not exclusive to cryptocurrencies. In fact, it has several great uses, with some of the most important being cyber security, transparency, and privacy.
Whether you’re just a small business looking to get operations moving in your chosen location, or you’re an enterprise with multiple offices across the country, one thing is universally the same: you need IT support in some capacity. As more technology is added to networks of all sizes and complexities, the need to manage this technology improves. Thankfully, you don’t necessarily have to go at it alone--you have third-party outsourcing at your disposal, which can save you both time and money in the long run.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of outsourcing, though, especially if you don’t know what the ideal way to outsource your IT looks like. Take the break-fix model as an example. Since it’s mostly responsive to your IT issues rather than preventative, you might find that it’s not quite as effective at saving your business time and money as another alternative might be. By outsourcing, you will ultimately wind up spending much more capital on resolving issues rather than preventing them outright. Furthermore, your employees who are rendered unable to work as a result of this maintenance will further increase the cost of this downtime. A more preventative approach is ideal to eliminate unnecessary waste.
When you work with a managed IT service provider like Automation Concepts & Technologies, Inc., you can feel like you’re investing in your company’s future by taking a preventative approach to technology maintenance and management. By preventing issues from developing into larger, more expensive problems, you’re cutting costs by eliminating downtime and replacement expenses. Here are some ways that we can help your business save both time and money through managed IT.
- Security: If you’ve ever been the target of an online data breach, we’re sure that you never want to be on the receiving end of it again. Unfortunately, hacking attacks are so common that it can be tricky to avoid--and considering how costly and embarrassing it can be, you should be taking every opportunity to mitigate this risk. If you add in the considerable chance that your organization must comply with data privacy regulations, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t see security as a priority. Working with a managed service provider can provide the tools necessary to pull this off.
- Hardware problems: A workstation or a server unit breaking down presents a major issue for your business. Not only does this mean that your staff can’t do their work properly, but it also means that you have to replace this hardware before operations can resume. Remote monitoring and management from Automation Concepts & Technologies, Inc. can alleviate this problem by keeping an eye out for warning signs. This helps you avoid unexpected hardware failure and provides an opportunity to either resolve the issue, or prepare for the worst-case scenario. Either of these is better than the alternative--being unprepared entirely.
- Data backup and disaster recovery: If the entirety of your data infrastructure were to be wiped out immediately by a natural disaster, user error, or data breach, what would you do? More importantly, what would your business do in order to stay alive? If you don’t have Data Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR), you are in for a rough restoration process. Without the ability to suffer from minimal downtime and data loss, your business’ future could be in jeopardy. We can help you implement a business continuity strategy that can help you ensure the odd disaster doesn’t wipe your business off the face of the map.
For all of your business’ technology needs, and to ask us about our managed IT service offerings, reach out to Automation Concepts & Technologies, Inc. at (508) 622-5100.
Someday, you’re going to encounter a situation where you absolutely need Wi-Fi and the only option will be a public connection. This becomes rather problematic, as a public Wi-Fi connection is far from secure for business purposes. A method to maximize productivity without compromising security is needed for every business that has employees working out of the office, but what’s the best way to do it?
Spyware, like other malware, is a problem for any organization. Since your business generates, collects, and uses considerable amounts of data, there are plenty of organizations that want to get their hands on it. You spend so much time and money protecting your data against threats on the Internet, but what if the spyware were to just come standard on the computer you just bought?
In a statement given by Tom Bossert, the homeland security adviser to the White House, blame for the WannaCry attacks leveraged from May 12th to the 15th in 2017 was attributed to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. This assertion is in line with the conclusions that New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and Japan have come to, according to Bossert.
While many might see having a credit card stolen as identity theft, this is an oversimplification that can prove dangerous. While credit card theft can be an element of identity theft, equating the two means that other forms of identity theft are overlooked. In today’s blog, we’ll go over why identity theft and credit card theft aren’t exactly the same thing, and what you can do to help keep your business safe from damage.
Google is taking steps to protect the data of a small group of its users who run the highest risk of experiencing a data breach or hack. This new service, the Advance Protection Program, shows promise in protecting the information that these select few can access.
There are many organizations in the world that simply can’t have cybercriminals and hackers interfering with their data. One of these organizations, CERN (whose acronym translates to the European Laboratory for Particle Physics) has far too powerful of a computer grid to allow hackers to access it. To keep it safe, CERN has deployed what may be the future of cybersecurity: artificial intelligence.
In the last few months, there have been several high-profile data security breaches that resulted in the theft of millions upon millions of non-public information records. Though much of the focus in the aftermath of the breaches was on personal identity theft and prevention, it’s important to keep in mind that not all the stolen data records target individuals. Business entities are also at risk. Vendors and partners that you do business with regularly will probably have record of your company’s non-public information, payment information, or tax ID number.
ATMs are, surprisingly enough, not the most secure pieces of technology out there, though there are efforts to improve security by taking advantage of mobile devices. Granted, this won’t be enough to protect against the considerable vulnerabilities in ATMs. In order to maximize security and minimize the amount of damage done by vulnerabilities, the user needs to understand how to protect themselves while using ATMs.
Has your business dealt with a phishing attack? If not, consider yourself lucky. There has been a massive spike in phishing attacks as hackers are aggressively going after organizations and the personal identifiable information they hold. These attacks are just not focused on typical businesses either, they are going after organizations that provide public goods. One place that has become a major target for hackers (and phishing attacks) are schools.
At first glance, a college would be one of first places any hacker would look to steal information. Not only do today’s colleges have vast, powerful networks, they have many people that regularly compute on those networks who don’t take network security into account in the least. Despite the work of diligent IT administrators, the actions of the students and faculty on the network can really cause a lot of problems, so can direct attacks on the same students and faculty. For this reason, many colleges are starting to implement two-factor authentication procedures to ensure that even security-negligent college students aren’t putting their entire organization’s network at risk.
Two-factor authentication, for those who do not know, is the practice of requiring two steps to gain access to the network in the form of questions. The design is pretty simple, and has been around for a while. Traditionally, a user would type in a password which would prompt another access authenticator code. That electronic authenticator (also called, fob) would provide the user a code to use to access the door. Nowadays, most of the two-factor authentication credentials can be sent to an individual’s mobile device, as an overwhelming majority of people rely on smartphones.
In an article on KrebsOnSecurity, the Director of IT security and Infrastructure at Bowling Green University, Matt Haschak, stated that these attacks had grown from a relatively benign 250 in 2015 to over 1,000 in 2016. These attacks are carried out to steal credentials used to access BGSU’s MyBSGU portal, the main hub for student, staff, and administration affairs for the university. With these credentials, hackers can then infiltrate a system that is populated with thousands of people’s personal information.
Bowling Green isn’t the only example. Other universities have recently been targeted by what their IT security personnel calls “spear phishing” attacks, going after specific people associated with the college. This includes club officers, athletics administrators, and other people who would have access to “fast cash”. While IT administrators are cognizant of these relatively new threats, they tend to evolve and victimize before anything can be done about them.
One instance of this happened at the University of Delaware where scammers are targeting international students. These extortion attempts tell the target that if they don’t pay, they will face deportation under U.S. law. This shows that these attacks are specifically tailored to the recipients, making detection nearly impossible for IT administrators to ward against.
“This is something unusual,” UD IT communications group manager Richard Gordon said, “This is a scam that had not been seen at other universities before. It shows how these scammers are always looking for ways to try to hit students.” Gordon advocates diligence and integrating some type of two-factor authentication system for all accounts that hold sensitive information. “If the account information is stolen, then someone can get into your account. But if you have two-factor authentication, then they can’t access it because they need the extra security code. It’s an extra security piece.”
While college IT administrators have their hands full, your business is often considered low-hanging fruit for these hackers. If you want to learn more on how to protect your network, staff, and your business from these types of phishing attacks, contact our trusted team of IT technicians today. We can assess your current IT setup and consult with you on how to improve your organization’s network security. Call us today at (508) 622-5100.
One of the major password managers out there, LastPass, has become the victim of a major vulnerability. Google researchers from the Zero Day Project discovered this, along with other flaws within LastPass.
With Google Chrome’s Incognito mode, you can privately browse the web, but you may have noticed that Incognito mode also disables your extensions by default. This isn’t a big deal, but it can be an annoyance that you’d prefer not to deal with. Thankfully, there’s a good way to make sure that specific extensions stay enabled, even in Incognito mode.
Before we dive into this week’s tip, it has to be said: if you have a choice, you should probably avoid using a public computer. As a rule, these machines feature minimal security precautions, along with maximum risk to any data accessed by the PC. Although, if a situation ever arises in which you have no choice but to use a public computer, be sure to follow these security best practices.