You hear about hacks all the time. The news covers major websites who have had data leaks containing your email and password. Computers get infected and capture your login details for bank accounts and credit cards. In the worst cases, identity theft occurs because it is an easy crime to commit with a high reward.
In 2018, the passwords you used to trust to keep the bad guys out of your accounts are not enough anymore. Cyber attackers now use methods such as phishing, pharming, and keylogging to steal your password. Some have the power to test billions of password combinations.
If you’re like the majority of people, you use the same password for several websites. That means anybody who has figured out that password has access to everything you’ve logged into with it. In a time when it is extremely easy to look up what a person named their first pet or high school mascot, security questions aren’t much help.
Consider how a jewelry store operates. They don’t simply keep their valuables locked away with one key. There are alarms ready to be triggered, motion detectors, and sometimes even bars on the windows. Your data is valuable, just like jewelry. You need more than one line of defense to protect it.
In the computer world, your second line of defense (after your username and password) is called “2-factor authentication.” Sometimes referred to as a multiple-step, 2-factor authentication is a way to double check a person’s identity. This can be enabled every time a person logs in or just under certain circumstances. For example, signing in from a new device or different country might trigger 2-factor authentication.
Many of the services you may already use, such as Facebook, Gmail, accounting programs, and more, have 2-factor authentication options. If your bank has ever sent you a special code through text or email to enter before logging in, you’ve already used a type of 2-factor authentication.
2-factor authentication is absolutely crucial for online banking, email, and online shopping such as Amazon or PayPal. It’s also a must-have for cloud storage accounts (like Dropbox or Sync), password managers, communications apps, and productivity apps. This is especially true if you frequently use the same passwords for different websites and apps.
Some may consider 2-factor authentication unnecessary for social networks, but these are actually very important to keep safe. For ease, a lot of websites and apps allow you to sign up through your Facebook or Twitter account. You need to keep these networks safe so that somebody with your password can’t suddenly get into every account you have linked.
The point of using 2-factor authentication is to make hackers’ lives harder and prevent them from getting into your accounts. If they have captured your login username and password, they still need a second device to get in, especially when the computer or phone they are using has never logged into your account before. This makes it significantly more difficult for anybody to breach your account.
Plus, if you receive a notification with a special code to enter for logging in, and you weren’t trying to log into that account, you have a good signal that somebody else was trying to get in. That means it’s time to change that password and be grateful you had 2-factor authentication.
Give us a call at 937-660-4899 to help secure your business and accounts.
When considering IT threats to your business many articles focus on hackers, viruses, and attacks from external threats. These dangers are real, however, the largest threat to a business comes from inside the business itself.
People inside the business often pose the largest single threat to systems and security. These individuals often have trusted access and a detailed working knowledge of the organization from the inside. Employees should have the largest security consideration when designing a safe business plan.
It is important to first distinguish the type of dangerous employee we want to defend against. We're not talking about an otherwise model employee accidentally opening a malicious email or attachment. Rather, a disgruntled employee seeking to do damage to your business. An employee who may wish to destroy services or steal clients and files from your business.
Some, particularly young businesses, grant employees system-wide permissions from day one. This can make administration appear simple, preventing further IT requests in future. Granting system-wide access is a risky strategy.
Private information relating to the business should be restricted information. Many types of files need to remain confidential, often as a legal requirement. Human resource files, salary information, and employee documents should be limited to only a select few employees. Yet, businesses often keep confidential information in public places on the network. Granting system-wide access can appear to save time. It is, however, a security policy which only serves to cause security, administration, and potentially legal troubles in the future.
The Principle of Least Privilege
The principle of least privilege is a vital tool, helping you to handle internal IT security. It defines a security policy which ensures staff can access only the resources, systems and data they require to carry out their job. The policy protects the business from many different types of threat in day-to-day operations. Even where malicious attachments have been opened by accident, the damage is limited only to the work area of a single employee. This results in contained damage, less time needed to restore from backup, and drastically reduced downtime for the business. Along with limiting accidental damage, malicious employees looking to destroy or steal data are limited too. With restricted access, an employee with a grudge or profit motivation can only damage or steal from their own area of operation. This helps to ensure that no single employee can damage the entire firm's operations.
Security Policy In Practice
A member of staff within Human Resources, for example, may have access to the employee database. This will likely include payroll information and sensitive data. This same member of staff would have no need to access sensitive client data, such as sales information, in normal working conditions. Likewise, a staff member from the sales department should have no need for accessing sensitive HR records. Using the principle of least privilege, each employee may only have full access to systems that are directly related to their role. Similarly, some systems may be visible to a wider group of staff members even if they can only be edited or removed by one or two people. In some cases, a security policy may be defined by even finer details than a person’s role within the organization. An HR employee should not be able to edit their own file to change salary information for example. An employee file might only be edited by their superiors in such a case. Additional parameters can be used to assign privileges to enable the business hierarchy to work within the IT network. Seniority, physical location, and time are all examples of factors that can restrict access to critical systems and secure data.
We can tailor your network to your business, locking down your data to ensure data is only accessed on an "as needed" basis. Call us at 937-660-4899 now.
Running the Best Security Software
Most computers today run at least some form of basic antivirus. In the modern day however, threats have evolved to be more sophisticated, more damaging, and much more common. Ransomware, malware, phishing, and zero-day attacks all work to attack systems without strong security. Today, to keep up with increasing threats, you need a complete internet security package. A layered system means more than just virus scanning. A comprehensive security package includes prevention, detection, firewall and system monitoring at a minimum. These layers work together to provide security many times stronger than a stand-alone system. Reliable, up-to-date, security keeps you safe online. It's a resolution you simply can't afford to skip.
Clean Up Files
Cleaning up unnecessary files is the number one way to gain additional storage space on a typical device. It's cost-effective without any extra hardware purchases. Almost all computers have files hanging around from old software, data or applications they no longer need. Just like tidying the spare room or de-cluttering the kitchen, clearing files off your desktop and organizing your emails will leave your computer feeling refreshed and new again.
Restart Your Computer
Fully shutting down a computer and rebooting can take time. When you are watching the clock, waiting to start a task or get work done, it can feel like an eternity. Most of us enjoy simply opening the lid or powering on the screen to have everything ready to run. At times, a computer may not be fully restarted in weeks or even months. Our poor habits can cause issues with running software and the operating system too. Hardware updates, security patches, and critical updates often wait for a reboot before they install. Waiting too long can leave security flaws open and the system vulnerable to attack. Merely performing a reboot every once in a while can secure your system and help get rid of software problems. Often updates prevent new issues from cropping up too.
Use A Password Manager
Hacks of large institutions and popular websites are frequently in the news today. Almost every month a major service reveals they have been hacked, their database compromised, and their customer credentials have been stolen. For this reason, it is very unwise to use the same password to access multiple websites. This can be a challenge for many. It's clearly impossible to remember a unique and secure password for every site you visit. We recommend using a password manager that can store and recall your passwords for you. A good password manager relies on just one, very secure, remembered password to safeguard an encrypted database of all your login credentials. The password database is often stored in the cloud for access from all your necessary devices. A manager can typically assist in creating a strong, secure password for each of your accounts too. Using a good password manager and unique password for every site protects you against the attacks commonly in the news. Hacks compromising major services from your providers will be powerless against directly affecting your other accounts and services.
Keep Your Computer Away from Dust
Dust, hair, and household debris are one of the major causes of premature death for computers. Fans, used to cool components, suck in house dust as well as the air they need. This dust often clogs up the inside of the device and overheats internal components. If possible, keep a tower PC off the carpet, don't run your laptop sitting on the floor, blanket, or soft furnishings. Cleaning out your device is as good a resolution as any, and there's never a better time than now.
For a little help sticking to your digital new year resolutions and starting off on the right foot, give us a call today at 937-660-4899.
Many businesses have already embraced the benefits of going fully digital. It has allowed us to do more than ever before; saving both time and money going over work drafts and emails. It has saved us a ton of space too, eliminating the need for stacks of file cabinets in every office. But the digital boom presents us with brand new problems. By moving all our files into a digital space, the amount of storage we need to maintain has grown larger and larger just to keep up. As digital technology has improved, the resolution, clarity, and size of the digital files we create has exploded. Items such as Xrays, which used to be printed on film are now digital files transferred by a computer. As a result of the increase in both the number of digital files we use and their ever-growing size, the size of the data we need to store has exploded! There are a number of ways in which we can tackle our ever-growing storage problem.
Local Server or Network Attached Storage (NAS)
A local server is a machine physically located within your own office or building. These are typically designed to serve many files to multiple clients at one time from locally held storage. The primary advantage that a local network server has is that all your data is available to all users in one central location. This means that employees across the network can access all the resources made available. These machines can serve files at the speed of the local network, transferring large projects, files, and documents from a central position within the network with ease. A NAS has many of the same network properties, typically packaged as a smaller profile, low powered computer. A NAS is specifically designed to enable network file sharing in a more compact package. These can be available in units small enough to fit in a cupboard nook and yet still provide staggering storage space on only a small amount of power. Both a local server and NAS device allow for large amounts of storage space to be added to the local network. These units are often expanded with more and more storage over time. As an organization grows, so does its data storage requirements.
Sometimes the best option for storage is to move your ever-expanding data outside of the business completely. Often, offloading the costs of hardware and IT management can work out to be an intelligent business decision. The major advantage of cloud storage comes from the ability to expand and contract your services as needed without the unnecessary overhead of adding and maintaining new hardware. By moving storage to the cloud, data can be accessed from anywhere in the world. The flexibility provided by cloud storage allows limitless expansion to any number of devices, locations, and offices. Being able to access data from many locations at a single time can often provide a valuable boost to productivity that can help to speed projects along. Some of the drawbacks of cloud storage come from factors that may be outside of the control of the business. Not all internet connections are found to be up to the task of handling large amounts of data to and from the cloud. In some cases, the infrastructure is quite simply not in place yet to support it. IT security regulations can prove to be a barrier to enabling storage in the cloud too. Some regulations either prohibit the feature entirely or enable only certain specific types for use.
The Right Choice for Your Data
Both cloud and local storage can provide further benefits to enhance your business. Audit logs, central backups, and version control can all be used to secure the way your business handles data. Whatever your situation, whether a small NAS can boost your office productivity, a local server can provide the connectivity missing, or cloud storage can switch on new resources, we can advise on the best choices for your business.
Give us a call at 937-660-4899 to allow us to use our expertise to make the right chose for your data.
David is the managing member and main technology expert at Layer 2 Computers. Read More