Surf securely with a VPN

There was a time when installing an antivirus program was enough to secure your data, but that’s no longer the case today. Whether you want to keep your online activities hidden from third parties or prevent your data from being intercepted by hackers, you need to invest in a virtual private network (VPN).

What is a VPN?

A VPN creates a secure tunnel between your device and the websites you visit, protecting you from hackers looking to intercept your data. All data transmitted and received through this secure connection is encrypted, preventing any third party from monitoring your online activities.

VPNs can also disguise your location. Once you’ve established a connection to a VPN server, your computer acts as if it’s using the same local connection as the VPN. As far as websites are concerned, you are browsing from the server’s geographical area and not your actual location.

Why should you have a VPN?

VPNs augment your cybersecurity and help protect your privacy. For instance, it’s generally considered bad practice to connect to public Wi-Fi networks, like those in cafes, libraries, and airports. This is because all data transmitted through these networks are unencrypted and, thus, are susceptible to exposure and theft. If you must use public Wi-Fi, make sure to activate your VPN. The VPN encrypts your data and keeps your connection secure as you surf the internet.

VPNs’ ability to mask your location also makes them ideal for accessing geo-restricted websites and content. If you’re traveling abroad and you find that critical documents or US websites are geo-blocked in your current location, just connect to a VPN server in the United States to regain access.

How do you choose a VPN?

Given the increasing demand for greater online privacy, VPNs are surging in popularity. When selecting which VPN to purchase, take the following into account:

Cost

There are free VPNs out there, but they likely keep logs of your internet activity or are filled with disruptive ads. That’s why it’s best to invest in paid VPNs like NordVPN and ExpressVPN. These paid options come with robust features, such as a large list of available servers, and configurations that bolster your data’s security.

Location

Where your VPN’s servers are located matters for several reasons. For one, the farther away the server you’re connected to is, the greater the likelihood that you’ll suffer latency issues. For a smooth surfing experience, it’s best to connect to the closest available server. Additionally, if you want to avoid geo-restrictions, you’d want to connect to servers in the same location as the content you’re looking to access. This means if you want to access research published in the United Kingdom, make sure your VPN has servers located in that country.

Capacity

Inquire with the provider or read their terms of service to determine how much data you’re allowed to use. If your tasks require a lot of online resources, then you should choose a VPN with a high data allocation. Also, find out how many of the VPN servers are online; a greater number of online servers means the VPN is capable of supporting resource-intensive tasks

Device compatibility

Choose a VPN that can be used across multiple devices. If you use your laptop, tablet, or smartphone to do your tasks, then you should invest in a VPN that’s compatible with all of these.

IP leak

Some VPN tunnels are not as secure as others. In some cases, the VPN could leak your IP address, enabling third parties to track your data and activities. Before buying a VPN, sign up for a free trial of the service if available. Activate the VPN and visit IP Leak. If the website says your IP address is being leaked, choose a different VPN.

If you need help in selecting the right VPN for your business, consult with our security experts today. We also offer comprehensive cybersecurity services so no hacker or third party can get their hands on your data.

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Keep your VoIP systems safe with these security measures

Investing in Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology can help your business save on communication costs, but you can take a big bite out of those savings if you don’t consider its security as a top priority. Unprotected VoIP systems and devices may be harming your business without you knowing it, so it’s crucial to implement these security measures now.

24/7 monitoring

VoIP security breaches usually take place outside operating hours. Attackers make phone calls using private accounts or access call records with confidential information on the sly. To avoid these security breaches, contract outsourced IT vendors to monitor network traffic for any abnormalities.

Virtual private networks

Virtual private networks (VPNs) create a secure connection between two points, as if they belong in the same closed network. It’s like building a safe secret tunnel between you and the person you’re calling. Using a VPN can also help overcome complications involving Session Initiation Protocol or SIP trunking, which is a recommended VoIP feature.

VoIP firewalls

Firewalls specifically designed for IP-based telephony curb the types of traffic that are allowed into your network. They ensure that every connection is properly terminated at the end of a session and identify suspicious calling patterns. Virtually every VoIP vendor provides these protocols, but you should always consult with your IT services provider as to how these protocols will be managed within your organization.

Encryption tools

VoIP systems that lack encryption can be easily broken into by hackers — even by amateur ones who can simply download and deploy tools to eavesdrop or intercept your calls. Some services claim to have built-in encryption, but companies still need to be vigilant and investigate how effective these are.

Using encryption ensures that even if hackers successfully download audio or video, they still won’t be able to decode the file unless they have the decryption key.

Password protection

Using passwords to authenticate your access to private information is not as secure as it once was. Hackers can easily guess a password and use it for cyberattacks. Protecting the passwords themselves adds a layer of protection against threats. This can entail enabling multifactor authentication or using a password manager to generate and store an array of complex passwords.

VoIP is as important as any of your other network security considerations. It requires a unique combination of protection measures, and we’d love to give you advice on these. Give us a call today to get started.

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How to protect corporate data

Time and again, we have seen hackers infiltrate even the most secure systems of multinational corporations. As a business owner, you can’t afford a data breach, as it could cost you your clients and reputation. This is why it’s crucial to implement strict security measures that can make cybercriminals think twice about trying to break into your network. Here are some tips to protect your corporate data.

Use two-factor authentication

Using a complicated password to secure your system is not an effective way to level up your cybersecurity. That’s because having to memorize a difficult password often pushes users to set that same complex password for multiple accounts. And if a hacker gets a hold of a recycled password, there’s a high probability that they could access all your accounts that use that same password.

Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security to your systems and accounts. 2FA comes in many forms: it can be a biometric verification in the devices that you own or a time-sensitive auto-generated code sent to your mobile phone. This security feature works similarly to how websites would require you to confirm your email address to ensure that you are not a bot.

Encrypt all data

Encryption is an effective obstruction to hackers, since it scrambles and descrambles data every time someone tries to read it. Encryption also causes compatibility issues if the data is not being accessed via a company’s own network systems. While applying encryption can be expensive, it is certainly well worth the money because it protects your data in case it falls into the wrong hands.

Keep systems up to date

Hackers are always upgrading their tools to take advantage of outdated security systems, so companies should keep up to protect their valuable technology resources. Many companies don’t install software updates immediately, and that’s a huge problem. Updates often close existing security loopholes, which is why delayed installation can mean exposing your systems to external attacks. Keep your data safe by installing software updates as soon as they are released.

Back up frequently

Implementing several layers to your security doesn’t ensure that hackers won’t find their way into your systems. This is why you need to back up data frequently, whether it’s on-site, off-site, or by way of cloud backups. In the worst-case scenario where your systems do get infiltrated, you can restore lost data from your backups.

Monitor connectivity

Many businesses have no idea how many of their devices are connected online at a given time, so it’s very hard for them to keep track of which of these should actually be online. Sometimes, a company’s computers and servers are online when they don’t need to be, making these tempting and easy targets for attackers. It’s advisable to configure business servers properly to guarantee that only necessary machines are online and that they’re well-protected at all times.

It’s much more expensive to recover from a data breach than to prevent one. If you’re looking to protect your business IT systems from potential threats, contact us today so we can help.

This post was originally published on this site

How to protect corporate data

Time and again, we have seen hackers infiltrate even the most secure systems of multinational corporations. As a business owner, you can’t afford a data breach, as it could cost you your clients and reputation. This is why it’s crucial to implement strict security measures that can make cybercriminals think twice about trying to break into your network. Here are some tips to protect your corporate data.

Use two-factor authentication

Using a complicated password to secure your system is not an effective way to level up your cybersecurity. That’s because having to memorize a difficult password often pushes users to set that same complex password for multiple accounts. And if a hacker gets a hold of a recycled password, there’s a high probability that they could access all your accounts that use that same password.

Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security to your systems and accounts. 2FA comes in many forms: it can be a biometric verification in the devices that you own or a time-sensitive auto-generated code sent to your mobile phone. This security feature works similarly to how websites would require you to confirm your email address to ensure that you are not a bot.

Encrypt all data

Encryption is an effective obstruction to hackers, since it scrambles and descrambles data every time someone tries to read it. Encryption also causes compatibility issues if the data is not being accessed via a company’s own network systems. While applying encryption can be expensive, it is certainly well worth the money because it protects your data in case it falls into the wrong hands.

Keep systems up to date

Hackers are always upgrading their tools to take advantage of outdated security systems, so companies should keep up to protect their valuable technology resources. Many companies don’t install software updates immediately, and that’s a huge problem. Updates often close existing security loopholes, which is why delayed installation can mean exposing your systems to external attacks. Keep your data safe by installing software updates as soon as they are released.

Back up frequently

Implementing several layers to your security doesn’t ensure that hackers won’t find their way into your systems. This is why you need to back up data frequently, whether it’s on-site, off-site, or by way of cloud backups. In the worst-case scenario where your systems do get infiltrated, you can restore lost data from your backups.

Monitor connectivity

Many businesses have no idea how many of their devices are connected online at a given time, so it’s very hard for them to keep track of which of these should actually be online. Sometimes, a company’s computers and servers are online when they don’t need to be, making these tempting and easy targets for attackers. It’s advisable to configure business servers properly to guarantee that only necessary machines are online and that they’re well-protected at all times.

It’s much more expensive to recover from a data breach than to prevent one. If you’re looking to protect your business IT systems from potential threats, contact us today so we can help.

This post was originally published on this site

Microsoft 365 data loss protection: A quick and easy guide

Businesses of all sizes and across all sectors are turning to Microsoft 365 for the productivity-boosting benefits it offers. Many also choose the subscription service for its robust security features designed to safeguard against cyberthreats of all kinds. To make the most out of these functionalities and ensure your business data’s security, follow these tips.

Take advantage of policy alerts

Establish policy notifications in Microsoft 365’s Compliance Center to help you meet your company’s data security obligations. With these in place, your employees will receive policy tips about sending confidential information anytime they’re about to send messages to contacts outside of the company network. These preemptive warnings can prevent data leaks and also educate users on safer data sharing practices.

Secure mobile devices

Since employees often use personal smartphones or computers to access their work email, calendar, contacts, and documents — especially if they’re working remotely — securing employee-owned devices should be a critical part of protecting your organization’s data. Installing mobile device management features for Microsoft 365 enables you to manage security policies and access permissions/restrictions, and remotely wipe sensitive data from mobile devices if they’re lost or stolen.

Use multifactor authentication

Relying on a single password to protect your Microsoft 365 accounts could lead to account hijacking, which could put your data at risk of being compromised. Instead, enable multifactor authentication (MFA). MFA requires users to supply additional credentials on top of a password before they can access their accounts. This makes it difficult for hackers to access your accounts since they not only have to guess user passwords, but they also need to provide a second authentication factor like a one-time SMS code or a fingerprint scan.

Apply session timeouts

Many employees usually forget to log out of their Microsoft 365 accounts and keep their computers or mobile devices unlocked. This could give unauthorized users unfettered access to company accounts, allowing them to steal sensitive data. By applying session timeouts to Microsoft 365 accounts, email accounts, and internal networks, users will be automatically logged out after a period of inactivity, preventing hackers from taking over users’ devices and accessing private information.

Avoid public calendar sharing

Microsoft 365’s calendar sharing feature allows employees to share and sync their schedules with their colleagues. However, publicly sharing this information is a bad idea because it helps attackers understand how your company works, determine who’s away, and identify vulnerable users. For instance, if security administrators are publicly listed as “Away on vacation,” an attacker may see this as an opportunity to unleash malware on unattended computers.

Employ role-based access controls

Access management is another Microsoft 365 feature that will limit the flow of sensitive data across your organization. It lets you determine which users have access to specific files in your company. For example, rank-and-file employees won’t be able to read or edit executive-level documents, minimizing the risk of data leaks.

Encrypt emails

Encrypting classified information is your last line of defense against data breaches. If hackers intercept your emails, encryption tools will make files unreadable to unauthorized recipients. This is a must-have for Microsoft 365, where files and emails are shared on a regular basis.

Partner with us to ensure your organization’s Microsoft 365 accounts are always secure and compliant with changing data security requirements. Give us a call today — our team of experts are here to help.

This post was originally published on this site

Microsoft 365 data loss protection: A quick and easy guide

Businesses of all sizes and across all sectors are turning to Microsoft 365 for the productivity-boosting benefits it offers. Many also choose the subscription service for its robust security features designed to safeguard against cyberthreats of all kinds. To make the most out of these functionalities and ensure your business data’s security, follow these tips.

Take advantage of policy alerts

Establish policy notifications in Microsoft 365’s Compliance Center to help you meet your company’s data security obligations. With these in place, your employees will receive policy tips about sending confidential information anytime they’re about to send messages to contacts outside of the company network. These preemptive warnings can prevent data leaks and also educate users on safer data sharing practices.

Secure mobile devices

Since employees often use personal smartphones or computers to access their work email, calendar, contacts, and documents — especially if they’re working remotely — securing employee-owned devices should be a critical part of protecting your organization’s data. Installing mobile device management features for Microsoft 365 enables you to manage security policies and access permissions/restrictions, and remotely wipe sensitive data from mobile devices if they’re lost or stolen.

Use multifactor authentication

Relying on a single password to protect your Microsoft 365 accounts could lead to account hijacking, which could put your data at risk of being compromised. Instead, enable multifactor authentication (MFA). MFA requires users to supply additional credentials on top of a password before they can access their accounts. This makes it difficult for hackers to access your accounts since they not only have to guess user passwords, but they also need to provide a second authentication factor like a one-time SMS code or a fingerprint scan.

Apply session timeouts

Many employees usually forget to log out of their Microsoft 365 accounts and keep their computers or mobile devices unlocked. This could give unauthorized users unfettered access to company accounts, allowing them to steal sensitive data. By applying session timeouts to Microsoft 365 accounts, email accounts, and internal networks, users will be automatically logged out after a period of inactivity, preventing hackers from taking over users’ devices and accessing private information.

Avoid public calendar sharing

Microsoft 365’s calendar sharing feature allows employees to share and sync their schedules with their colleagues. However, publicly sharing this information is a bad idea because it helps attackers understand how your company works, determine who’s away, and identify vulnerable users. For instance, if security administrators are publicly listed as “Away on vacation,” an attacker may see this as an opportunity to unleash malware on unattended computers.

Employ role-based access controls

Access management is another Microsoft 365 feature that will limit the flow of sensitive data across your organization. It lets you determine which users have access to specific files in your company. For example, rank-and-file employees won’t be able to read or edit executive-level documents, minimizing the risk of data leaks.

Encrypt emails

Encrypting classified information is your last line of defense against data breaches. If hackers intercept your emails, encryption tools will make files unreadable to unauthorized recipients. This is a must-have for Microsoft 365, where files and emails are shared on a regular basis.

Partner with us to ensure your organization’s Microsoft 365 accounts are always secure and compliant with changing data security requirements. Give us a call today — our team of experts are here to help.

This post was originally published on this site

IoT security in healthcare: What you need to know

The Internet of Things (IoT) is revolutionizing the healthcare industry. By remotely capturing medical data, facilitating medication delivery, and improving healthcare accessibility, IoT devices today are changing the practice of medicine and helping save more lives. But as with any new technology, IoT also brings a slew of security risks that healthcare practices need to address.

Computing devices that contain a treasure trove of patient data are attractive targets for cybercriminals. Healthcare apps, for instance, hold plenty of sensitive information, such as Social Security numbers, prescriptions, and medical histories. Should hackers ever get a hold of this information, they could resell it on the dark web or use it to steal their victim’s identity. They could even use this information to gain direct control over other IoT equipment, which would lead to even bigger consequences.

Similarly, hackers could exploit vulnerable medical devices to infiltrate even the most secure networks. They could use compromised IoT devices to sneak ransomware and other types of malware into a network, causing service disruptions and preventing practitioners from providing responsive treatment.

To effectively defend against IoT-related risks in your healthcare practice, consider the following:

Use multifactor authentication (MFA)

MFA requires users to provide more information than just their username and password to prove their identity, such as a password or PIN, an SMS code, or a fingerprint or retina scan. By enabling MFA on your networks and devices, hackers will have a harder time accessing your accounts and sensitive data.

Encrypt your data

Another way to protect your business and your patients from a massive data breach is through encryption. Encrypting electronic health records while they’re being transmitted or kept in storage prevents hackers from intercepting and reading confidential information.

If possible, everything that is transmitted across your network should be encrypted automatically to secure communications between IoT devices.

Install intrusion prevention systems

Since most IoT attacks are delivered via the internet, intrusion prevention systems are crucial to identifying and blocking unauthorized connections to your network. When you install intrusion prevention systems, hackers who try to remotely access or shut down your IoT equipment will be stopped before they damage your systems.

Security updates

Last but not least, IoT manufacturers regularly release security patches for their gadgets. Get in the habit of downloading these updates as soon they’re rolled out, or program your devices to automatically download and update themselves to ensure their safety from the latest threats.

When it comes to security, healthcare institutions have their work cut out for them. But whether you’re dealing with hardware security, data privacy, or regulatory compliance, it’s a good idea to partner with a managed IT services provider that specializes in helping the medical industry.

Call us today to discover how we can better protect you and your patients.

This post was originally published on this site

IoT security in healthcare: What you need to know

The Internet of Things (IoT) is revolutionizing the healthcare industry. By remotely capturing medical data, facilitating medication delivery, and improving healthcare accessibility, IoT devices today are changing the practice of medicine and helping save more lives. But as with any new technology, IoT also brings a slew of security risks that healthcare practices need to address.

Computing devices that contain a treasure trove of patient data are attractive targets for cybercriminals. Healthcare apps, for instance, hold plenty of sensitive information, such as Social Security numbers, prescriptions, and medical histories. Should hackers ever get a hold of this information, they could resell it on the dark web or use it to steal their victim’s identity. They could even use this information to gain direct control over other IoT equipment, which would lead to even bigger consequences.

Similarly, hackers could exploit vulnerable medical devices to infiltrate even the most secure networks. They could use compromised IoT devices to sneak ransomware and other types of malware into a network, causing service disruptions and preventing practitioners from providing responsive treatment.

To effectively defend against IoT-related risks in your healthcare practice, consider the following:

Use multifactor authentication (MFA)

MFA requires users to provide more information than just their username and password to prove their identity, such as a password or PIN, an SMS code, or a fingerprint or retina scan. By enabling MFA on your networks and devices, hackers will have a harder time accessing your accounts and sensitive data.

Encrypt your data

Another way to protect your business and your patients from a massive data breach is through encryption. Encrypting electronic health records while they’re being transmitted or kept in storage prevents hackers from intercepting and reading confidential information.

If possible, everything that is transmitted across your network should be encrypted automatically to secure communications between IoT devices.

Install intrusion prevention systems

Since most IoT attacks are delivered via the internet, intrusion prevention systems are crucial to identifying and blocking unauthorized connections to your network. When you install intrusion prevention systems, hackers who try to remotely access or shut down your IoT equipment will be stopped before they damage your systems.

Security updates

Last but not least, IoT manufacturers regularly release security patches for their gadgets. Get in the habit of downloading these updates as soon they’re rolled out, or program your devices to automatically download and update themselves to ensure their safety from the latest threats.

When it comes to security, healthcare institutions have their work cut out for them. But whether you’re dealing with hardware security, data privacy, or regulatory compliance, it’s a good idea to partner with a managed IT services provider that specializes in helping the medical industry.

Call us today to discover how we can better protect you and your patients.

This post was originally published on this site

Why cloud solutions are essential in healthcare

One of the main goals of running a healthcare practice is delivering high-quality patient care ㅡ cloud computing can help you provide that. It is more reliable, convenient, and secure than offline solutions, and accessible on any internet-connected device. Here are some of the benefits of cloud computing for your practice.

Easy information access

Reviewing patient records used to be a time-consuming activity. In the past, doctors had to either lug around reams of documents or spend hours in front of a desktop computer to retrieve health records. But with cloud applications for managing electronic medical records (EMR), doctors can conveniently access medical records from anywhere, at any time.

HIPAA compliance

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) stipulates rules and regulations on how to protect patient health information. Whether you use a browser-based tool or a mobile app, cloud computing makes it easy to adapt to HIPAA regulatory updates and changes. For instance, a vendor can update its data encryption standards in the cloud and the changes will automatically take effect on all accounts and devices — no new installs or configuration necessary.

Cost reduction

The cloud also eliminates the need for on-site hardware, maintenance fees, and expensive one-time software licenses. In terms of less quantifiable cost reductions, the ability to access work from anywhere at any time boosts productivity and makes your IT department more efficient.

Scalability

Unlike in-house computer hardware, you can scale cloud storage solutions in a matter of minutes. Beyond the benefit of organizational simplicity, web-based EMR software gives you more storage than you can ever need and retrieves records in a few seconds.

Better data backup and recovery

Data loss is a real issue for healthcare practices. Will your business continuity be safe if your office IT suddenly becomes inaccessible? Even a couple of days of downtime can have serious repercussions for your organization.

Practices that store their files in the cloud don’t have to worry about this. Nearly every cloud solution stores files in more than one location so backups can be restored quickly if anything goes wrong.

Want to learn more about the ideal cloud computing solutions for your practice? Get in touch with one of our tech experts today for personalized recommendations.

This post was originally published on this site

Why cloud solutions are essential in healthcare

One of the main goals of running a healthcare practice is delivering high-quality patient care ㅡ cloud computing can help you provide that. It is more reliable, convenient, and secure than offline solutions, and accessible on any internet-connected device. Here are some of the benefits of cloud computing for your practice.

Easy information access

Reviewing patient records used to be a time-consuming activity. In the past, doctors had to either lug around reams of documents or spend hours in front of a desktop computer to retrieve health records. But with cloud applications for managing electronic medical records (EMR), doctors can conveniently access medical records from anywhere, at any time.

HIPAA compliance

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) stipulates rules and regulations on how to protect patient health information. Whether you use a browser-based tool or a mobile app, cloud computing makes it easy to adapt to HIPAA regulatory updates and changes. For instance, a vendor can update its data encryption standards in the cloud and the changes will automatically take effect on all accounts and devices — no new installs or configuration necessary.

Cost reduction

The cloud also eliminates the need for on-site hardware, maintenance fees, and expensive one-time software licenses. In terms of less quantifiable cost reductions, the ability to access work from anywhere at any time boosts productivity and makes your IT department more efficient.

Scalability

Unlike in-house computer hardware, you can scale cloud storage solutions in a matter of minutes. Beyond the benefit of organizational simplicity, web-based EMR software gives you more storage than you can ever need and retrieves records in a few seconds.

Better data backup and recovery

Data loss is a real issue for healthcare practices. Will your business continuity be safe if your office IT suddenly becomes inaccessible? Even a couple of days of downtime can have serious repercussions for your organization.

Practices that store their files in the cloud don’t have to worry about this. Nearly every cloud solution stores files in more than one location so backups can be restored quickly if anything goes wrong.

Want to learn more about the ideal cloud computing solutions for your practice? Get in touch with one of our tech experts today for personalized recommendations.

This post was originally published on this site