The 2015 Arkansas murder case that depended on smart-home devices, made the news again as the judge in the civil case upheld his ruling that James Bates is financially liable for the death of Victor Collins. The case against the accused was built on, among other forensics, records from Amazon whose Echo device was installed by the scene of Collins’ death, as well as evidence from a so-called smart meter. The smart meter reported inordinate usage of water around the time of death, which led the police to argue that a bloody patio was hosed down.
Surprised that in the last month, between two small marketing list brokers, more than a billion personal records were found to have been leaked on the internet?1
That data then gets leaked and sold to potentially hold users’ computers or reputation for ransom. Or as in a 2018 hack, of DNA tester, MyHeritage, there is the ability to sell the data to the insurance and mortgage industries, revealing DNA disease susceptibilities, thereby making the user ineligible for coverage or a loan.2
GDPR to the Rescue!
A sense of belonging, a sense of community and for businesspeople, a touchpoint for customer service and the ability to market to specific demographics are among social media’s benefits. And like every technology, social media – by which I mean websites that offer sharing tools that allow people to interact (e.g. Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat, Facebook, YouTube) – have their drawbacks.
Let’s face it, servers, like any piece of hardware, will eventually need to be replaced, but in the meantime, keep it running until it’s time to replace it. Developing a checklist of the tasks that need to be done regularly can go a long way in ensuring your servers consistently perform at their best. Because servers take care of all your data, it is important to watch and properly care for them. Such maintenance involves constant monitoring and continuously analyzing how the server is functioning. Preemptive maintenance not only reduces server issues, but also may increase the longevity of your server.
Every IT professional would agree that servers are the lifeblood of your organization. No matter what daily task you perform, whether it is responding to email, preparing for a presentation, or completing other workday tasks, it’s important to have a server in your office that runs smoothly. No organization, no matter what the size, wants to face the IT issues associated with a slow or non-responsive server. While there is no way to accurately predict when a server will need to be replaced, there are some general guidelines you should observe to ensure that this critical piece of equipment is running properly.
With black Friday just around the corner, many of us are starting to think about holiday shopping. We all love the convenience of being able to be at home in front of a computer vs the hassle of crowded malls and searching for parking spots. You can click here and there and order whatever product you desire and have it delivered to your front door. You can compare pricing, look for deals, compare products, and it all can be done quickly and in the convenience of your own home, any time, night or day. The downfall? Wherever there is money and users to be found, there are malicious hackers roaming around.
Connected devices are essential to our professional and personal lives, and criminals have gravitated to these platforms as well. Many common crimes—like theft, fraud, harassment, and abuse—are now carried out online, using new technologies and tactics. Others, like cyber intrusions and attacks on critical infrastructure, have emerged as our dependence on connected systems revealed new vulnerabilities.
Oftentimes, when you come across an article that someone is raving about as a ‘”MUST READ – Changed my life”, you glance through it with some skepticism, and then realize that it won’t change your life. However this time I came across one of these “life changing” articles and wow – it peaked my interest! It gave me an entirely different perspective on how to approach a conversation.
A firewall is a network security system that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules. A firewall typically establishes a barrier between a trusted internal network and an untrusted external network, such as the Internet. Firewalls block unauthorized access to your computer network from hackers, malware and viruses. They monitor data as it passes between your computer, your server, and the Internet to make sure that nothing harmful or unintended slips through. A firewall may block certain downloads, or require system administers to grant authority before opening files that fail to meet their security standards.
Firewalls are a critical component to effective security, and so is the configuration. A poorly-managed firewall can block legitimate activity, causing workflow errors and excess frustration for the end user. Or, a firewall with overly lax restrictions could miss harmful data packets, lending the user a false sense of security while malware and viruses penetrate your network. If firewalls are not managed and implemented properly, it can leave gaping holes in your security and give hackers the keys to your kingdom.
A firewall should always be properly configured. Knowing when to override its rules and let data through, as well as to understand how to respond in case of an alert, are judgement calls that require specialized knowledge and experience. Fortunately, a trusted IT partner like Bryley Systems will not only recommend the proper firewall, but configure, manage, and support it so that your network is locked down.
Regardless of your organizations size, no business owner wants the horrible consequences that a security breach can bring. Larger organizations often have greater resources to dedicate towards security. If you are a small to mid-sized organization, you generally have fewer resources and smaller budgets, and having your IT network brought down by a cyberattack can bring an organization to its knees.
Unauthorized access to your system files can result in the loss of important data, the leak of confidential client information, or the compromise of other security features. A properly managed firewall can nip this problem in the bud.
Internet usage has become a surprising sore point in employer-employee relations, as they are often used to block access to certain sites online. While some employees feel that blocking access to popular social media sites and other types of Internet browsing during work hours is simply a way to micromanage personal habits, many business owners feel it is necessary to cut down on the type of distractions that eat up productivity, as well as open up security issues at the office.
There are definite pros and cons to each side, but by prohibiting access to all but a select group of websites (or by using strict controls to determine what other websites are permissible) business owners can safeguard against employees accidentally visiting a dangerous website by mistake. This type of protection can prevent an unsuspicious employee from falling victim to a phishing scam or from entering important information into an insecure website. A managed firewall/Internet-security solution that provides website filtering can help your organization identify which websites your employees need to be able to access, based upon the type of organization you are, and what the employee’s job role is. It can even create a custom configuration of settings to block problematic websites for safer Internet browsing.
Having your firewall and Internet-security solution managed properly by an IT partner dramatically reduces the disruption of your day-to-day business tasks while providing you with the protection you need. Your managed IT service provider will maintain proper system configurations and monitor your network for potential security threats and will respond to alerts in a timely manner. Furthermore, your managed IT provider should be up-to-date with new technology, proper certifications, and security compliance regulations that might affect your organization. While you focus on running your business at peak efficiency, your managed IT provider also ensures your software and hardware remains up-to-date.
Educate your staff about the importance and significance of firewall protection and other Internet-security measures. This training can also help your employees spot potential scams before they fall victim to them.
Your organization should also consider other safeguards, such as monitoring software that can spot suspicious activity, or programs designed to detect and remove viruses from your system.
One of the most secure ways to protect your most valuable data is by limiting user access. Make sure to store your most secure files in as few locations as necessary. Only allow access to those employees who need it, and protect it with encryption and strong passwords.
A family can benefit from sharing a computer – whether it be the kids, parents or even grandparents. When you set up this new computer there are a few things to keep in mind so that everyone can enjoy it, especially if you have a large family.
You will want to make sure that the computer will perform to the required standards so that it will fulfill all of your needs. If you are retiring an old computer, be sure to dispose of the old one properly.
First, if you have only one computer in your home, you should think about putting together a schedule that fits for both children and adults. Think about the things that need to be accomplished such as homework, study time, family related chores such as bill paying, scheduling the kid’s events, or work related tasks. Figure out the time when everyone needs the computer and set time limits appropriately. Kids can often overlook their time limits on the computer so have a plan in place as how you will address this.
Most kids will know how to use a computer but it’s important to set the ground rules and locate the computer in a common area so the computer is more visible. Also think about the location of your computer so that the device is in a safe location to prevent it from overheating.
Each individual member will need an account. You wouldn’t want your work documents to get mixed up with Jr.’s projects. Having separate accounts will enable you to control each account and set up the necessary restrictions so that the kids cannot access unsuitable material, chat with strangers or change system controls. The parental controls are important so make sure that you have put these in place prior to the kids use the computer. You can also set up shared folders, too. Since the majority of families have multiple devices such as tablets, smartphones, etc, so you should consider high speed internet. Most families will download and steam content so you don’t want a slow internet connection to be constantly interrupting your tasks, especially when you are sharing it with multiple people.
A key must for any computer is a good quality and up to date antivirus software. The internet is fun but it can be dangerous, especially for kids and even inexperienced computer users such as a grandparent. The best software will block web threats, block dangerous web sites, secure transactions, and safeguard your kids. Top antivirus systems will protect all of your devices. Take the time to ask questions, do research and be sure this is set up properly. Email is something every family member can use, but if you have young children then you should set them up with a kid-safe email service. These services will enable a parent to monitor and control who the kids are emailing, as well as content, and block out inappropriate language.
A family computer will have a lot of data on it. It typically will contain family photos, school documents, family schedules, music, work related tasks, financial information, and more. Backing up all of this data is crucial. Have a scheduled “maintenance” routine to back up data to a hard drive. You may even consider cloud storage in the event you are concerned about something happening to the hard drive. In your regular maintenance routine, include cleaning the computer going through files, software, etc., and delete the unnecessary things you don’t need.
Family computers are fun and with a few rules for usage and adequate protection in place along with fast internet and all the software you need, your family will enjoy it – and enjoy it safely.