Staying Safe in the Digital Age

Standard

 

In today’s world, nearly everything is interconnected. While this provides many great conveniences it does increase the risk of sensitive information landing in unwanted hands. It seems every other week there is news about a new security breach and, while these may be out of your hands, there are things you can start doing right now to minimize having your sensitive info or data hacked.

Passwords
  • Never write passwords down, especially on a sticky note around your desk.
  • Do not use the same password for multiple accounts.
  • Never share your passwords with anyone.
  • Use strong passwords with upper case, lower case, numbers, special characters, and at least 8 characters, overall.
  • Avoid common passwords like “Password1”, “abc123”, “123456”, etc.
Email
  • Do not open emails, attachments, or click links in emails from people you don’t know or are not expecting.
  • Do not click on links in emails that ask you to type in your credentials. Always visit the desired site by typing it into your web browser. A common trick called “phishing” is where you are routed to a look-alike site and have to put your info in.
  • One common method is someone gets hacked and email is sent out to people in their address book. If the sender is familiar but not the content of what they sent, use caution.
Web Browsing
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is (free games, easy money, you’ll never believe this one secret, etc).
  • Never login into an unsecure website. Depending on your browser, a secure site is usually indicated by a lock icon.
  • Avoid clicking on advertisements or pop-up ads. This is a good way to get unwanted cookies or malware on your computer.
Miscellaneous
  • Make sure all your mobile devices (cell phones, tablets, etc) have a lock screen with a password, pin, or other form of security.
  • Lock your computer whenever you walk away by pressing “Windows Key + L.”
  • Reboot once a week. Some Windows updates cannot apply until your PC is rebooted, which can prevent other updates from applying. This may also help with general performance of your PC as well.

This list only scratches the surface, but hopefully it has provided some good ideas about what you can do. Ultimately, if you are ever in doubt, get a second opinion from your IT department (if that’s Everon, call us at 888-244-1748) before clicking that link or opening that email!

key

 

Server 2003 Countdown: 7/15/2015 - What is your plan?

Standard

 

Untitled

Did you hear about how Microsoft ended support for Windows XP back in April? Know anyone who made a last minute scramble to upgrade (or hasn’t yet)? Or perhaps you heard about all those banks and ATMs still using Windows XP after support ended?

Microsoft has another looming End-of-life (EOL) approaching, this one for Server 2003—specifically July 15, 2015. This may not affect most users’ day-to-day operations, and you may be thinking, “That is months away, so why do I have to worry about that now?”

Unlike workstations, a server is central to your operating your business. It holds important (and probably sensitive) data not only for your company, but for clients as well. Server replacement is also more complex and requires budgeting and planning to help ensure a smooth upgrade. Or maybe now is the time to move your business into the cloud!

Either way, it’s best to be proactive and start the discussion with your IT department now. Similar to what we saw with Windows XP, there are a few key points to be aware of with the sunset of Server 2003:

  • Unauthorized intrusions. Users of Server 2003 will be at increased risk of unauthorized intrusions or virus infection, since Microsoft will be ceasing security patches and updates on July 15, 2015.
  • Lack of compatibility. Third party programs will eventually stop supporting Server 2003 in their updates and in their newer versions.
  • Limitations on performance. The older operating system is not as efficient using multiple CPU cores for multitasking and has RAM limitations that may be holding your company back.
  • Aging Hardware. There is a good chance your server is 5+ years old if it has Server 2003 installed. This is beyond the recommended 3-5 year life-cycle (and there is only a slim chance it is even still under warranty).

The clock is ticking. Make sure your company is not scrambling last minute to upgrade! If you need help with this, give us a call at Everon: 888-244-1748. Or email us at [email protected].

 

What Does HIPAA Compliance Mean To You?

Standard

 

For the small business owner, compliances can sometimes be complicated and overwhelming to figure out. You may be asking if there is even any compliance your company needs to meet. If you work in the health care industry, chances are you must adhere to HIPAA — especially if you are transmitting or storing protected health information (PHI). PHI, in a nutshell, is any health information regarding individuals.

Here are a few examples (but not the full scope) of what your business should be able to answer yes to, to help ensure HIPAA compliance:

  • Do all your workstations and servers have up-to-date antivirus?
  • Are you using encryption when emailing PHI?
  • For phones/tablets accessing email, do you have a policy in place to enforce a screen lock password?
  • If you have a server, is it in a locked room or closet?
  • Has your company fully migrated off of Windows XP?

You are also required to have a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) in place with any partners who have access to this sensitive data. This would apply if you use a Managed Service Provider (MSP), such as Everon*, to help handle your IT support. In this case, you would want to contact your Account Manager to provide you with a copy of our BAA. HIPAA violations can result in up to $1.5 million in fines for those who are willfully negligent. It is not something to be taken lightly.

If you have any questions about meeting compliance, I highly recommend you consult with your compliance officer, company auditor, etc. There are many other items outside of what your IT provider would typically cover that need to be addressed, as well. Some examples would be employee training for privacy policies and procedures, what happens when an employee leaves, and having a business continuity plan in the event of an emergency.

Everon can assist you in implementing changes, or we can get you in touch with one of our partners who specializes in compliance consulting. We also have tools available to help ensure your computers remain updated and that you proactively get alerts for issues, including antivirus. Just give us a call (888-244-1748), or email us ([email protected]), if you would like more information.

hipaa_logo

*  Everon is a HIPAA compliant Managed Service Provider.

Server 2003 Countdown: 7/15/2015 - What is your plan?

Standard

 

Did you hear about how Microsoft ended support for Windows XP back in April? Know anyone who made a last minute scramble to upgrade (or hasn’t yet)? Or perhaps you heard about how a large percentage of banks still use Windows XP in their ATMs and the risk it poses?

Microsoft has another looming End-of-life (EOL) approaching, this one for Server 2003 — specifically July 15, 2015. This may not affect most users’ day-to-day operations, and you may be thinking, “That is nearly a year away, so why do I have to worry about that now?”

Unlike workstations, a server is central to your operating your business. It holds important (and probably sensitive) data for not only your company but for clients as well. Server replacement is also more complex and requires budgeting and planning to help ensure a smooth upgrade. Or maybe now is the time to move your business into the cloud!

Either way, it’s best to be proactive and start the discussion now with your IT department. Similar to what we are seeing with Windows XP, there are a few key points to be aware of:

  • Increased risk to unauthorized intrusions or virus infection, since Microsoft will be ceasing security patches and updates on July 15, 2015.
  • 3rd party programs will eventually stop supporting Server 2003 in their updates and newer versions.
  • Limitations on performance. The older operating system is not as efficient using multiple CPU cores for multitasking and has RAM limitations that may be holding your company back.
  • Aging Hardware. There is a good chance your server is 5+ years old if it has Server 2003 installed. This is beyond the recommended 3-5 year lifecycle (and slim chance it is still under warranty).

Make sure your company is not scrambling last minute to upgrade!  If you need help with this, give us a call at 888-244-1748. Or email us at [email protected]server 2003

Google Dashboard – What Does Google Know About You?

Standard

Chances are good you have an account tied to Google:  Gmail, YouTube, Google +, Chrome, Picasa, Android phone, etc.  It’s also probably no surprise to most that Google likes to collect data about people who use it services but what exactly do they know?

Enter the Google Dashboard which allows you to a Plethora of data that has been collected over the years.  Some of it is interesting, like showing I’ve had 6 Android phones associated to my account with various other information about activation dates.  Other things make me a little uneasy like showing my last web, images, product, and maps search that happened on a totally different computer which I access my dashboard from.   I can even see the last app I downloaded to my phone.  The dashboard is a convenient place to manage the various services Google offers instead of going to each individual one.

The site also allows you to download various items such as your Picasa Web Albums or Profile Data which could be handy if you wanted to import or data into another service.  Check it out:  Google Dashboard

Google Dashboard