Blog

May 13th, 2015

Here is a list of programs and services you probably didn’t realize are all cloud computing services:

  • Dropbox
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Mail (gMail)
  • Yahoo Mail
  • LinkedIn
  • SalesForce
  • Pinterest
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Amazon CloudDrive
  • Microsoft OneDrive
  • Evernote
  • Google Apps
  • Youtube
  • Cisco WebEx
  • iCloud
  • HubSpot
  • GoogleDrive

These are all cloud computing. In every case, the data you are viewing on your computer screen is on a server computer located somewhere on the internet. The data is not on your local computer or network. All of these services and more keep data on their servers for you to store, use, and view.

If you don’t use cloud computing you have different security issues than if you do use it. All computers and networks should be equipped with software and hardware firewalls, anti-malware software – antivirus, antispyware, antirootkit, etc., a good password set up, and so forth. More is here: How safe is your data in the cloud – tips to keep it safe.

Cloud computing has many benefits discussed here: Cloud computing lets your business interact more with your customers and here: what are the various cloud computing models – which is best for your business.

There are several security issues to be considered when using cloud computing. Most are common to non-cloud computing networks. Protecting your data is paramount.

Issues include unauthorized access and related password issues and data loss. With unauthorized access, data can be stolen, passwords can be used to access bank accounts. Confidential records can be accessed.

Sometimes the way multiple programs and cloud sites are connected to automate tasks can create more vulnerability. If the connections are not set up properly, a problem on one can affect connected accounts and data. For example, many programs can be set up to automatically save data to Dropbox. If a program connected to Dropbox gets compromised, everything in Dropbox could be accessible.

Precautions are necessary for safe cloud computing. Many of these are necessary for a safe network even without cloud computing. The ones that are useful in both instances are marked with an asterisk – *.

The interconnections of various apps should be audited regularly* so any vulnerabilities can be addressed.

Strong and varied passwords*. More detail is here: How to come up with effective passwords and what can happen to your network if you don’t.

Training of personnel to avoid social engineering* such as phishing discussed here: Why is phishing spelled that way and what is it?

Let Myers Network Solutions install the best anti-hacking solutions on your network*.

Keep passwords and access authorizations current*. Make sure access to sensitive data is allowed for only people who truly need it. Job duties sometimes change. Employees leave and are replaced.

Let Myers set up your network for automated continual back-up*. Having am up-to-the-minute backup as well as other slightly older backups protects you even if the worst happens. Data can be restored quickly.

If your business network has WiFi, security is sometimes overlooked. Having good security features enabled there greatly reduces vulnerability.

Further, if anybody is logging in to your network from the field and is using a public WiFi spot, that can make your network substantially more vulnerable unless good practices are followed. This is also true if they are logging in from home.

Myers Network Solutions is expert at protecting your network from vulnerabilities. We protect your data and your business.

April 27th, 2015

Does your company have staff in the field? Can they connect to your company network? There are many advantages to that set up. They include:

  • The ability for field staff to immediately update customer data so your information is always current.
  • The ability to keep job site progress data or order data current.
  • Sharing of documents and fillable forms.
  • Immediate order processing and printing after input from the field.
  • With the video features of most mobile devices, your staff can show you anything necessary to make your job more efficient. Often your visit to the customer site or construction site is made unnecessary.
  • You can have instructional or informational live conferences for customers and staff.
  • You can have archived instructional and informational videos available for both.
  • Many mobile devices can be equipped with the mobile versions of your company standardized software or front ends for server-based software for easy data exchange. Many of these server based programs have encryption as one of their features.
  • With automated up-to-the-minute backup, all data from the field is secure.

Security to Use When Mobile Devices Have Access to Your Network

The first and obvious security measure to put in place is passwords. You can have multiple passwords – one or more for each area of company data. Your staff will be able to access only the data pertinent to their job areas. Data is separated by department and / or sensitivity level.

Depending on software and / or operating system compatibility, the devices with access can be limited to certain models and brands or unlimited. In addition, there can be access from only company owned devices or from personal devices.

Most mobile devices have encryption software making use of a myriad of devices possible without compromising security. Some encryption software apps are available for multiple types and brands of mobile devices. That lends additional security and additional consistency of use. It also ensures that any company documents are never on a device without its own security features.

With standardized server-based programs and standardized encryption, usability and security are both maintained. Myers Network Solutions can help you ensure you have both.

 

April 22nd, 2015

How Cyber-Criminals Attempt to Break Security and Cheat You

Cyber-criminals use a number of methods to obtain user names and passwords. Using complex passwords protects you against one method. What are other methods to watch for and avoid?

Hacking Companies with Customer Databases

These receive a lot of publicity if the security break potentially affects a large number of people. Usually news outlets will suggest a password change.

A company that cares about their customers will contact you if you are potentially affected. To log-in and change your password, go directly to the company’s website to change your password. Don’t use the link in the email.

Database hacks at several healthcare networks, retail chains and others have been well publicized. Many are not publicized.

Phishing

Phishing is sending out fake emails that are designed to trick people into providing sensitive data. They can look like they came from your bank, UPS, FedEx, or anybody. Often they are from a company you don’t do business with. Those are the obvious phishing attempts. Other can look like they came from companies where you have a relationship.

This is one form of ‘social engineering.” Social engineering is a fancy term for criminals’ attempts to trick you.

If you receive one of these, don’t provide the information or log in through the email link. Go directly to the company website and log in that way if the request looks legitimate.

Recording Your Keystrokes

If your computer or network has been infected with a keylogger, your keystrokes are being recorded and sent to cyber-criminals. This data is scanned for websites you visited, user names and passwords you typed.

Keeping your anti-malware software up to date and running it often will prevent this type of ‘infection.’ It will remove it if you are already ‘infected.’ If it removes one or more, immediately change all of your passwords for safety.

How to Know If You Are Logged Into a Secure Website

Most websites start with http. However a secure website will start with https. The ‘s’ designates a secure website. Usually the s will appear only on the page(s) where you log in and pages you visit that require a log in to visit.

Working with Myers Network Solutions allows you to pass most of these tasks to our expert training. We can provide training to you and your staff. You do not have to become an IT expert.

Topic Security
April 21st, 2015

There are two main types of firewalls. One is hardware and the other is software. Both protect your computer and network from hackers and from some malevolent software.

Without any firewall anybody with internet access could get into your company network and computer data with only their internet connection and a little knowledge.

What is the Function of a Firewall?

A firewall is a filter. It blocks access to anybody or any software who is not authorized. Routers have a firewall built into their hardware. Settings can be adjusted for additional protection. There are also firewall software programs that add protection in addition to the routers. Because larger networks have multiple routers in place, computer traffic is checked repeatedly for redundant safety.

Another Firewall Feature

Firewalls can also be used to control outgoing internet traffic. That use of firewalls is less widespread. It can prevent access to certain websites or groups of websites that are considered non-business related.

What Do Firewalls Check?

What specifically is checked? Internet service providers have huge lists of unsafe website addresses and domains that are used to block known sources of hacking and malware. The list is always in flux. In addition, there are traits of packets of data that are characteristic to hackers and hacking. Those are found and blocked. They include specific words and combinations of words, port numbers and protocols.

Why Out-Sourcing Your Network Tasks Saves You Money and Gives You Peace of Mind

Computer and network security is a constant battle between cyber criminals and the rest of us. Anti-malware software – antivirus, anti-spyware, etc. – is always being updated as new threats are found and identified. In addition, routers sometimes have upgrades available.

Myers Network Solutions specializes in keeping your network running smoothly and safely. We stay updated on the latest threats and keep all hardware and software current so you are protected. You should be able to wear one less hat – the IT hat, or hire one less person – and spend more time running your business. Myers helps you do that.