Why Is Data Loss So Serious?

Data Loss Can Completely Cripple Business Operations. In the event of extreme data loss such as the loss of an entire database, even temporarily, it is not uncommon for the impacted business processes to fail at multiple levels. The organization may be rendered helpless, unable to fulfill orders and struggling to update employee records. Producing financial reports and providing customer services may also be impossible.

This occurs because technology is the backbone of most business operations and most of these operations are connected through a central IT system. Therefore, any disruption to the IT system can affect other business areas such as phone systems and manufacturing processes. As a result, employees may be idled for prolonged periods of time while the lost data is being recovered. Productivity will suffer.

The Impact of Data Loss on Sales. Organizations can suffer significant harm when data loss makes it impossible to interact with customers, often resulting in lost sales. Since email is the primary channel of communication between organizations and their customers, if your email system were to go down, how difficult would it be for you to conduct business as usual? Any disruption in your communication with leads, prospects, or clients can translate into lost business. For instance, should you fail to submit a proposal or bid on time, the result would potentially be a major loss of projected revenue.

The same applies when a data breach is directed at a call center or CRM provider. This is particularly true for small businesses that rely on independent call centers for customer support assistance and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) providers for managing customer relationships. In a worst-case scenario, the harm resulting from an attack on either of these two might be enough to force a small organization into bankruptcy.

Data Loss Resulting from Theft. Data loss can also take the form of data theft where a hacker breaks into a computer or network and steals critical private business information. Business plans, product designs, and a variety of other mission-critical information can disappear. The economic impact of information theft is difficult to measure because the extent of the harm caused may only manifest itself over a long period of time.

Data theft often results in lawsuits, breaches of contracts, regulatory compliance failures, and loss of business.

Lawsuits and hefty fines typically go hand-in-hand when a company experiences data theft. As an example, if personal information such as names, addresses and financial account numbers are accessed by hackers, then organizations may find themselves embroiled in lengthy legal court battles.

Data thefts can also result in contract breaches and a variety of fines and lawsuits. Shareholders, for example, can sue an organization for failure to perform duties outlined in a contract. Customers can sue companies for direct and collateral damages resulting from a data theft that caused an order to be delayed or lost.

Regulatory Compliance Failures. In 2007, the State of Massachusetts Legislature passed 201 CMR 17.00, a comprehensive set of regulations addressing data breaches. Under these laws are a set of regulations that affect any business that collects and retains personal information of its customers. For the purpose of these regulations, “personal information” includes names, social security numbers, driver’s license numbers or financial account numbers, including credit or debit card numbers.

The regulations took effect January 1, 2010, and mandate that personal information – a combination of a name along with a Social Security number, bank account number, or credit card number – be encrypted when stored on portable devices, or transmitted wirelessly or on public networks. Additionally, the regulations call on organizations to utilize up-to-date firewall protection that creates an electronic gatekeeper between the data and the outside world and only permits authorized users to access or transmit data, according to preset rules.

Loss of business isn’t uncommon after data loss incidents especially if the loss was a result of a preventable event such as a security breach. Customers may feel that the company didn’t take adequate measures to safeguard their information and may therefore choose to discontinue doing business with the organization for fear of a similar event recurring in the future.

Data loss or theft can strike any organization. The wise choice is to be proactive by deploying an up-to-date and secure data backup system.

The main takeaway from these costly consequences of data loss is that businesses bear a huge responsibility for protecting the data they own. Failure to do so means facing serious operational and legal ramifications.

If you’re ready to get serious about protecting your business data, select a talented Managed IT Services/Managed Cloud Services company, like Bryley Systems, to help you double-check your IT infrastructure, recommend solutions to eliminate weak links in your security chain, and help you develop an organization-wide policy to help prevent data loss. Please contact us at 978.562.6077 or by email at ITExperts@Bryley.com. We’re here to help.

 

Tour of the new maintenance facility of the WRTA

Bryley’s President, Gavin Livingstone, who currently chairs the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce (WRCC) Ambassadors, arranged for a group of 20 WRCC Ambassadors and staff to tour the new Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA) maintenance facility at 42 Quinsigamond Avenue, Worcester. The tour was conducted by Jim Parker, General Manager of Central Mass Transit Management Inc. (CMTM), which operates and maintains all of the WRTA buses and facilities.

Touring Maintenance Facility

Created in 1974, the WRTA is the second-largest regional transit authority in Massachusetts, servicing Worcester and its surrounding 37 communities. WRTA buses typically run continuously from early morning through midnight (with some holiday exceptions); seven days a week, 365 days a year.

The WRTA’s new, 156,000-square-foot facility is roughly double the size of the original, outdated garage, which was built in 1928 as a trolley barn. The new facility is large enough for 75 transit buses and 30 vans (the current fleet includes 52 buses), and has nine maintenance bays. Buses enter the facility and head to a refueling bay where they can get a wash, repairs, fluid checks and adjustments – even get repainted – before rolling back into service.

Window View from the Upstairs Office

 

The new facility is also home to significant, up-to-date technology, including a WRTA BusTracker app, Track by Text, Track by QR Code, and WRTA-schedule/ tracking Kiosks located throughout the city.

Control Center

All operations run through the sophisticated Control Center, which is continuously manned when buses are on the road.

In 2014, Bryley Systems – the Managed IT provider for CMTM and the WRTA – designed and deployed an IT-infrastructure platform to support the technologies listed above, but with managed redundancies to allow continuous operation. (For details, visit Transportation Company Relies on Bryley Systems to Stabilize Technology Platform and Create Blueprint for the Future for details.)

The Costly Consequences of Losing Your Business Data – Would You Take the Risk?

Lost data is not a trivial matter. Don’t play with fire! Prevention is worth an ounce of cure.

Like it or not, technology occasionally fails. It can happen to you. Why take the risk when instead you could be taking steps to protect your data and prevent disasters. Being prepared is always the best option. Implementing a system for secure data backup/data recovery is one of the best ways to protect your business against loss of precious data, whether it’s a result of a hard drive crashing, an unintentional deletion, or a disaster such as a fire, flood, or storm.

Data loss, without proper protection, will impact business operations in multiple ways.

First, if the lost data and business records cannot be recovered – and this is a real possibility – you’ll be effectively out of business until the data and records can be replicated. The downtime you’ll experience will be crippling. This is a worst case scenario, but one you should be proactively working to prevent.

Second, the lost data might be recoverable. This is the most common scenario in organizations that back up their data –to an outside location, separate from the primary source. Still, recovering the data can be a lengthy process. There’s also the possibility that not all of the data will be recovered.

And third, when a disaster strikes, whether it results in the temporary or permanent unavailability of data, it can also cause critical business applications to fail. This is especially the case in relational databases. For instance, if the central database containing customer information becomes unavailable, then the sales system might also fail.

If you’re ready to get serious about protecting your business data, select a talented Managed IT Services/Managed Cloud Services company, like Bryley Systems, to help you double-check your IT infrastructure, recommend solutions to eliminate weak links in your security chain, and help you develop an organization-wide policy to help prevent data loss. Please contact us at 978.562.6077 or by email at ITExperts@Bryley.com. We’re here to help.

Artificial Intelligence: Who’s afraid of intelligent behavior?

By Lawrence Strauss, of Strauss and Strauss.

The early cave paintings of the hunt, Manet’s “j’ai fait ce que j’ai vu” (I did what I saw), computer graphics renderings in contemporary films: people have always looked at and tried to copy nature. And this is the goal of artificial intelligence (AI) researchers. Near the roots of computer science, Feigenbaum and Feldman, in their 1963 anthology, Computers and Thought, wrote that the goal of artificial intelligence research is to “construct computer programs that exhibit behavior that we call ‘intelligent behavior’ when we observe it in human beings.”1 Recently futurist Ray Kurzweil said AI’s goal is to create smarter-than-human intelligence.2 The goal has not moved much in 50 years: scientists are trying to understand the mechanics of the best in human thinking and create devices to match or better it.

The investment in this type of research is growing. As an example, in 2014, Google bought eight AI-related companies, including DeepMind3 that specializes in deep learning, software that “attempts to mimic the activity in layers of neurons in the neocortex, the part of the brain where thinking occurs. The software learns … to recognize patterns in digital representations of sounds, images, and other data” with the goal of building a computer that can understand language and make inferences and decisions on its own.4

The AI with us today includes Japan’s carmakers whose robots work unsupervised round the clock for up to 30 days without interruption. Losing US jobs to less developed economies saves manufacturers about 65% on labor costs; were US companies to replace human workers with robots, the savings is estimated to be up to 90%.5

And there are every day news stories like lawyers being replaced by computer programs,6 and surgeons being replaced by robots,7 it’s easy to think coders and roboticists are out to replace us all with machines that are better than the best of us.

AI places a perhaps never-before-seen amount of power in the hands of very few: particular software and hardware developers. As Lord Acton wrote a hundred years ago, “power tends to corrupt”. And, there is no want of fictional stories of robots and computers being either misused or doing the abusing on their own. Pretty scary prospects. But, beneath the interests in profiting financially from the efficiencies of automation, what is the motivation behind AI?

In May 2007, Steve Jobs with Bill Gates at his side laughing along and applauding, said, “I want Star Trek.” Star Trek was the vision for the future held by the generation of tech leaders behind Apple, Microsoft, Google (Larry Summers and Sergey Brin have each said Star Trek doesn’t go far enough) and Amazon (Jeff Bezos was a crew member in this Summer’s Star Trek Beyond).

Star Trek’s four main characters, Captain Kirk, Doctor McCoy, Mister Spock and the Enterprise were symbols of the spirit of adventure, vulnerable complaint, (half-Vulcan) logic, and technology, respectively. It felt like a balance, such that with that harmony of passion and caution and reason and tech nothing could go wrong. (It could have been more balanced; Star Trek creator, Gene Roddenberry, originally cast the First Officer as a woman, but in 1966 the network would not OK such radicalism.)

Besides the ship itself, Star Trek’s technology consisted of tricorders to see if everything checks out, phasers and photon torpedoes to blast, transporters and Warp drive to beat it out of there fast, and the female-voiced Computer, whose echo we hear in Siri, Alexa and Google Now (which at one time was code-named Majel, after Majel Barrett, the actor who played the Starfleet computer). The computer is an un-conflicted and detached source of information (unlike Spock who had interests, like saving his friends), and yet human — by contrast, was the mechanical-sounding Robot voice in the contemporary TV show, Lost in Space. So the Starfleet Computer was both helpful in a way a person could not be, due to the vastness of its data, but was also comfortably familiar. There is a similarity to Barrett’s treatment in 1968’s HAL (2001: A Space Odyssey), but unlike with HAL, there is never a threat from Starfleet’s computer. Google’s Brin has called for a benign HAL.

Network television made Star Trek a shared utopian vision. One of its main characters was an automated vessel somehow peopled by a crew of 430. Gene Roddenberry explained in “The Making of Star Trek” (1968), “One of the reasons … was to keep man essentially the same as he is now … I believe that man … always will be a social animal. You can’t divorce man from the things that human relationships give him.”

Roddenberry’s answer is not much comfort for people feeling the need of having to earn a living. It must be asked with the transition to more automation: how will we and our children continue to earn and survive?

“We end up with a universal, basic income … people will have more time to do other things, more complex things, more interesting things,” Tesla founder, Elon Musk told CNBC in November. Musk is convinced that jobs won’t be replaced, and that machines will soon be powerful to the point of disrupting our way of life.8

In December 2016, President Obama issued a report that read, “we should not advance a policy premised on giving up on the possibility of workers’ remaining employed [in spite of increased automation] … our goal should be first and foremost to foster the skills, training, job search assistance, and other labor market institutions to make sure people can get into jobs.” The report proposes government interventions like more funding for technical education and AI research.9

According to the Economist, “digital technology has already rocked the media and retailing industries, just as cotton mills crushed hand looms and the Model T put farriers out of work. Many people will look at the factories of the future and shudder. Most jobs will not be on the factory floor but in the offices nearby, which will be full of designers, engineers, IT specialists, logistics experts, marketing staff and other professionals. The manufacturing jobs of the future will require more skills. Many dull, repetitive tasks will become obsolete.”10

Fortune’s senior editor-at-large Geoff Colvin wrote, “don’t ask what computers can’t do. As their abilities multiply, we simply can’t conceive of what may be beyond them. To identify the sources of greatest human value, ask instead what will be those things that we insist be done by or with other humans — even if computers could do them. These are our deepest, most essentially human abilities, developed in our evolutionary past, operating in complex, two-way, person-to-person interactions that influence us more powerfully than we realize. When Oxford Economics asked global employers to name the skills they most want, they emphasized ‘relationship building’, ‘teaming’ and ‘co-creativity’.”11

In the 2015 film Ex Machina, writer/director Alex Garland has a Dr. Frankenstein/ Mark Zuckerberg-like character, Nathan, create a lifelike robot-woman, Ava. According to Nathan’s protégé, Caleb, Ava passes the Turing Test for judging artificial intelligence. But Ava turns out to seem to the audience flawed by her logic, in that while she figures out Nathan’s ultimate puzzle of getting free by using sophisticated stratagems, she appears oblivious to the needs of others and callously abandons Caleb to die. Ava has a goal without thought of the ramifications. At the same time, Garland imbues Caleb with human flaws that, though different in the way they look – it looked like a falling in love story – have a similar effect: Caleb was unwilling to intervene on behalf of a different robot-woman, one for whom he did not have an attraction, which led to her abandonment and death. Perhaps Garland is trying to teach us that AI may strike our sensibilities as a strange, alien cruelty, but man’s inhumanity remains our once and future true enemy.

Out walking one night with my wife, looking at the Christmas lights, we came to a house with colorful computer-controlled LEDs flashing a somewhat starry pattern near the front door. “That’s pretty,” she said. A few minutes later she pointed out the sunset with its pink sky and indigo stripes of clouds, and it took my eyes a few seconds to adjust from the house decorations to this other light, which was sublime. It was for me a good picture of humanity in pursuit of Intelligent Behavior. As Beethoven wrote: [humanity] feels darkly how far he is from the unattainable goal set for us by nature.12

 

Sources and references:

1Computers and Thought, Feigenbaum, Feldman, 1963, McGraw-Hill, New York

2http://www.businessinsider.com/ray-kurzweil-law-of-accelerating-returns-2015-5+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

3https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/nov/05/robot-revolution-rise-machines-could-displace-third-of-uk-jobs

4http://www.technologyreview.com/s/513696/deep-learning/

5https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/nov/05/robot-revolution-rise-machines-could-displace-third-of-uk-jobs

6http://www.businessinsider.com/the-worlds-first-artificially-intelligent-lawyer-gets-hired-2016-5

7http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/12/health/robot-surgeon-bowel-operation/

8http://www.cnbc.com/2016/11/04/elon-musk-robots-will-take-your-jobs-government-will-have-to-pay-your-wage.html

9https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/documents/Artificial-Intelligence-Automation-Economy.PDF

10http://www.economist.com/node/21553017&num=1&hl=en&gl=us&strip=1&vwsrc=0

11http://www.wired.co.uk/article/robot-takeover-geoff-colvin

12http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/3528?msg=welcome_stranger#2H_4_0003

Do’s and Don’ts of Password Security

We can’t say enough about the importance of passwords for your security

Strong passwords are the frontline against cyberattacks.

Passwords are the primary gatekeeper to secure your data, so it’s imperative to ensure it they’re as strong as possible. We have compiled a list of DOs and DO NOTs to help you create secure passwords.

DO create a complicated password. While passwords such as “123456” and “password” are easy to remember, they are also easy to hack. It is best to create a password that has at least 8 characters and uses a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. This makes it harder for hackers to gain access to your accounts. One way to accomplish this is to take a sentence and convert it into an acronym, using numbers to replace words such as “to” or letters (3 or $ for “s”, 1 for “I”, @ for “a”, etc.). For example, take the sentence “my favorite activity to do is swim” and convert it to “mF8a2di$!”

DO NOT keep written passwords within reach. There’s no point in creating a secure password if you are going to have the password in plain view. That’s akin to locking the deadbolt on the house, but having all the windows open! If you would like a written reminder of your passwords, keep it in a secure place (a locked cabinet or car glovebox are good examples). You may also consider a Password Manager Service.

DO change your password regularly. Even the most complicated password can be compromised given enough time. It is recommended that passwords be changed every 90 days (or sooner depending upon the importance of data that they safeguard). When you change your password, do not reuse an old password. Instead, create a new one for better protection.

DO NOT use the same password for multiple accounts. While this may be easier for you to remember, it also makes it easier for cybercriminals to gain access to all of your information!

DO use two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication (also known as 2FA) is a method of confirming a user’s claimed identity by utilizing a combination of two different components, generally something you know with something you have. A good example in everyday life is the withdrawal of money from a cash machine. Only the correct combination of a PIN (something you know) with a bank card (something you have) allows the transaction to be carried out.

This provides another layer of protection and significantly reduces the risk of a hack. That being said, it’s imperative that you update your personal information when something, such as your phone number or email address, changes.

For more information on password protection and security, connect with Bryley’s cybersecurity experts by calling us at 844.449.8770 or emailing us at ITExperts@Bryley.com.

It’s here! Announcing the launch of our new responsive-design Web site

After months of hard work and dedication, we are delighted to officially announce the launch of our responsive-design Web site that went live on February 7, 2017. The URL hasn’t changed. Take a look at www.bryley.com.

Bryley Systems is a Managed IT Services Provider and a Managed Cloud Services Provider serving clients throughout New England. We have been fulfilling the IT needs of organizations since 1987 with a focused, client-friendly approach by combining brand-name equipment and software with flexible service options and low-risk, custom-fit, support agreements.

The goal of our new Web site is to provide our visitors with an easier way to learn about Bryleys’ services and solutions. We are proud to announce the addition of our Managed Cloud Services, Network Assessment and Cybersecurity pages which describe our services in a more organized and detailed manner.

Our current and prospective clients will find useful information about our Support Options and Bryley Client Portal.

Our Resources page is filled with newsletters, industry related articles, white papers, blogs, client case studies, videos, and slide decks. We will be constantly updating our content with even more helpful information.

Amongst the new features the site contains are integrated, social-media buttons for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to foster improved communication with our clients.

We hope you enjoy the new Web site with its fresh look and easy-to-access material. The responsive design means you can check it from your tablet or smartphone, too. Come and visit us at www.bryley.com!

5 Reasons Content Marketing on Social Media is Essential to Your Business’ Success

This week’s blog has been prepared by Russell Mangsen, Principal Consultant at Namra Consultion Group, LLC (NCG).  Founded in 2016, NCG understands the importance of maintaining a strong online presence through social media channels.  The organization seeks to create an online community for their clients and in turn develop long-term, trusting partnerships.

Social media marketing and SEO are two tightly interwoven strategies. Both are organic, inbound strategies that focus on building an appealing identity that naturally attracts visitors. Since social media relies on high-quality content and a visible, strong brand presence, the efforts you spend on SEO can doubly improve your social media reach, and as most search marketers will tell you, your social media presence can greatly increase your search rankings.” (DeMers).

Most business owners understand the concept of content marketing, since, at its core, it makes sense; posting interesting content online, which generates consumer interest allows you to develop a following of potential customers for your business. In theory, it makes sense. But, how often do you have to post to see results? How do you develop this “interesting content” and how do you keep it interesting? What social media platforms are most important for your business? And finally, the biggest question we hear on a regular basis: “This takes a lot of time… Is it really worth the effort?”

When we hear this question (and we hear it a lot), we completely understand. How could a social network, originally built for teenagers and college students to make party plans, become a marketing tool, so powerful that every business in existence needs it just to survive? Well, here’s how: Let’s take a look at the amount of monthly users some of the most popular social media platforms had in 2016 – a number which has only grown since, and will continue to grow in the future.

“Social platforms have become the new leaders in the digital media industry, evolving well past their beginnings as digital communication networks and becoming full-fledged media distribution channels and entertainment centers.” (Adler).

Not bad, right? Now, let’s dive deeper into the ways social media can truly be used as a marketing tool, and a powerful one at that. There are many benefits to developing a strong digital presence for your business on social media. We’ve narrowed it down to what we believe are the 5 most important impacts a strong social media presence can have on your business. Our hope is that some of you may be able to justify dedicating the time or other resources necessary to bring your business into the digital age. It’s true, content marketing on social media requires a large amount of time and effort. When done correctly, though, it can allow your business to:

  1. Increase qualified leads by creating content, which drives your audience through social media to your website. At its core, the simplest goal of social media is to generate consumer interest, which organically drives traffic to your website – or wherever the sale happens in your business – when your audience desires more information. By creating content your target audience is interested in, you are increasing the chances a potential customer will come across your business’ online presence. Once they do, they will express their interest in your product or service by “Liking” or “Following” your business’ social media pages. One of the most common mistakes a business owner can make in today’s digital age is underestimating the value of their social media pages. What you may see as a simple “Like” on Facebook is actually a real person essentially endorsing your business, showing their support, and looking forward to your future posts because they are interested in the services you offer – the very definition of a qualified lead. What more could you ask for as a business owner?
  2. Increase your search engine performance by forming a cohesive link between your social media presence and your website. Posting industry-relevant and valuable content on multiple social media platforms, while maintaining your website, can have astronomically positive effects on your search engine performance and overall inbound marketing efforts. Your search engine performance will organically perform better as you create more industry-relevant content. The more high-quality content you produce, the stronger your company’s digital presence will become. Posting related content across multiple platforms will create synergy between each of your digital platforms, which serves to enhance the performance of your entire digital presence when people search for your business in Google. Simply put, the more content you create and spread across a broad array of platforms, the stronger your business will perform online. The final result being, when a consumer searches for your something industry, not only will your website appear on Google, but your Facebook page will appear as well.
  3. Build a more personalized brand by creating original content. So you’ve got people searching for your services on Google. They see your website, and then check out your Facebook page. That’s great, but what do they see? Anything interesting? Thought provoking? Or, just another business posting about the exact services they have listed on their website? On social media, it’s important to find the perfect balance between showcasing your services and showing the world “who” your business is. This is a great opportunity for you to build trust with people who have never even met you. Social media, at its core, is about connecting people with other people. Generally speaking, most people like to do business with people they know and trust. Your consumers want to get to know your business’ personality, and social media allows you to fully customize the message you wish to communicate to them. It also gives you the ability to display the people who make up your business, which is what social media is all about.
  4. Increase the effectiveness of your marketing by focusing on engagement, not just your lump-sum total impressions. “The entire marketing world is obsessed with impressions. You might hear someone say “40,000 people saw this video.” But the truth is, they didn’t. They didn’t because as soon as the ad came up in video form, they clicked away to a new tab to look at something they actually wanted to see. But they count as an impression. They count as ‘seeing it.’ On TV, it’s the same problem. Nielsen sees how many people watch a TV show and they count those impressions against the ads that ran during the show. But as soon as commercials came up, people picked up their phones. They opened Facebook or Instagram. They aren’t engaged with the TV.” (Vaynerchuk).
    In today’s world, content is king. Social media gives any business the opportunity to shine bright and break away from the overcrowded marketplace in their industry by creating engaging content that actually appeals to your consumers. Rather than spamming them with your logo and tagline over and over again, you will generate a following of potential buyers who simply like what your business has to say. The idea here is that you are telling the story of your business and engaging with the community around you, rather than hitting people with a new advertisement every day. This increases the effectiveness of your efforts in the same way that meeting with a potential buyer in person works better than sending emails back and forth or talking on the phone. It’s about the personal connection.
  5. Maximize your budget by saving money and spending efficiently. No business has an unlimited marketing budget, and with so many options for traditional advertising – newspaper, radio, television, online advertising, etc. – it can be difficult to determine which marketing channels will show you the highest returns. In some cases, the most appealing aspect of content marketing on social media is that it requires little to no capital to get started. After all, creating a Facebook or Instagram account is free. However, there is some give and take involved here, because in order to see results, a large time commitment must be made to generate appealing content on a regular basis for your audience to interact with. Many businesses see this as time well-spent, because if one thing is for sure, it’s that people are spending more time on digital devices now than ever before, and the world is only going to become more digitally oriented as time goes on. For this reason, it is essential for your business to begin focusing on building a strong digital presence.

After taking a look at these 5 main impacts social media can have on your business, we have seen many skeptics start to understand the importance of content marketing on social media. The majority of these skeptics even begin rationalizing the time or monetary investment needed to produce high results using the content marketing technique.

In conclusion, if you get one thing out of this article, we hope it’s this: There’s a reason we put billboards on the side of the highway instead of in the middle of vacant fields. Your consumers are on social media. If you want to get in front of your consumers, you need to be there too.

Sources

Vaynerchuk, Gary. “When Will Marketers Talk About Attention, Not Impressions?”. Gary Vaynerchuk. N.p., 2015. Web. 9 Jan. 2017.

DeMers, Jason. “6 Social Media Practices That Boost SEO”. Forbes.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 9 Jan. 2017.

Adler, Emily. “Social Media Engagement: The Surprising Facts About How Much Time People Spend On The Major Social Networks”. Business Insider – Tech Insider. N.p., 2016. Web. 9 Jan. 2017.

A Cybersecurity Plan Is NOT Optional – No Matter What Size Your Organization Is!

In 2016, cybercrime was on the rise, and within the past 5 years, the main targets have become smaller organizations.

As organizations attempt to educate themselves on this evolving threat, computer hackers are hard at work looking for new vulnerabilities to exploit. IT professionals and business owners need to keep track of ongoing trends in cybercrime and cybersecurity. Although most data breaches that reach the headlines are large organizations, don’t be fooled – small and medium business (SMBs) face a high level of risk.

Mitigating your risk is an important strategy and now is the time to begin planning for the year ahead.

All equipment must require login with a complex password or pass-phrase. Ideally, each of your passwords would be at least 12 characters, and contain a combination of numbers, symbols, uppercase letters, lowercase letters, and spaces. The password would be free of repetition, dictionary words, usernames, pronouns, IDs, and any other predefined number or letter sequences.

All potential points-of-entry should be protected and have detection capabilities. Cyber criminals work digitally — through viruses, spyware, malware, etc. – to extract information without ever physically entering your office. Bryley Systems provides a multi-layer, multi-point of entry approach to protecting our customers’ data.  This approach provides multiple layers of both hardware (network and web access) and software (anti-virus and anti-spyware) protection which are constantly updated.

Security logs should be monitored to detect threats and achieve compliance. Organizations are under constant pressure to protect data and crucial IT equipment. Monitoring logs is a critical component of a security strategy and a requirement for regulations such as PCI DSS, GLBA, HIPAA, SOX and others.

When putting together a cybersecurity plan, it is important to use these guidelines:

Identify. You need to know exactly what you have that is worth protecting. This identification step should include transmitted and stored data, networks, all endpoint devices, machines, users, and systems. Once all assets have been identified, you should perform a security assessment to locate each potential weak link within the assets you have identified.

Security Assessment. A security assessment will give you a clear view of your current weaknesses, potential points of entry for hackers, and the strength of your current security measures.  Computer security is an ever-changing world. Utilizing a layered approach is the best defense against cybercrime. Every organization, regardless of size, should continually manage, evaluate, and update their security infrastructure to lessen the threat of a cyberattack.

Protect. Once you understand what you need to protect, you can take immediate steps to secure those items. Protection involves a variety of measures, including implementing authentication and applying patches and updates to all equipment and software. Some assets may require upgraded technology to achieve the necessary security standard.

Detect. After you have put security measures in place, the next step is to implement the technology to monitor your environment for threats, such as firewall intrusion, distributed denial of service (DDoS), and ransomware attacks.

Respond. There is a saying in the cybersecurity community: “It is not a matter of whether your organization will experience a cyberattack. It is a matter of when.” No matter how good your cybersecurity plan is, you may still experience a threat or a breach. Therefore, it is crucial for your organization, or a designated third party, to decide how to respond to each type of threat. For example, your security tools may handle a threat automatically in one instance, but require a technician’s response in a different type of situation.

Recover. If your organization does experience a breach, you will want to have a recovery plan in place. The plan should spell out what actions should be taken, what tools should be used, and which person or partner will be responsible for recovering data, systems, and applications.

If you would like to improve your 2017 cybersecurity plan, or to inquire about Bryley’s full array of our Managed Cloud Services and Managed IT Services, please contact us at 978.562.6077 or by email at ITExperts@Bryley.com. We’re here for you.

Bryley Basics: HP, Inc. Battery Recall

HP, Inc. recently recalled some of its laptop batteries due to fire concerns. This recall affects less than 1% of the laptops purchased between March 2013 and October 2016.

The batteries being recalled were primarily sold online or in big-box stores (like BestBuy). They are black in color and were in these HP laptop models:

  • Compaq
  • Compaq Presario
  • Envy
  • HP
  • Pavilion
  • ProBook

Affected batteries, like the one pictured below, have barcodes that start with these characters:

  • 6BZLU
  • 6CGFK
  • 6CGFQ
  • 6CZMB
  • 6DEMA
  • 6DEMH
  • 6DGAL
  • 6EBVA

HP released this statement: “Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled batteries, remove them from their notebook computers and contact HP for a free replacement battery.”

For details, please visit the HP Notebook Computer Battery Safety Recall and Replacement Program.

If you would like assistance with a HP laptop purchased from Bryley Systems between October 2013 and August 2016, please call us at 978.562.6077 or email us at ITExperts@Bryley.com.