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password, hackableYou cannot exist on the Internet without passwords. A few years ago a survey by PC World determined that 38% of Internet users had the same password for all sites. I hope you are not in that group.

Here are a few tips to help you strengthen your passwords. Your password needs to be memorable but also difficult to crack. These tips will help you improve your password security. If you need help, give us a call.

Use this link provided by Microsoft to check your password strength. www.microsoft.com/en-gb/security/pc-security/password-checker.aspx

heartbleed, virus, security alertYou’ve probably been hearing about it. There’s a bug…a security hole on the internet in the secure socket layer called “Heartbleed.” You may not understand some of the words I just typed. You may not think it matters, but this one matters. This one matters very much indeed. Read on and I’ll tell you why:

What is SSL?

You might not know what SSL is or means (it is the “Secure Socket Layer” ) but you’ve probably seen it a thousand times. When you go to a website to buy something, or when you log on to view your bank account information, sitting there in the upper left hand corner of the address bar, you see a little icon of a padlock. That’s the visible manifestation of the secure socket layer, and it’s an important symbol, because it means that your data is protected on the page where that symbol is displayed. That nobody can see what’s on that page, or get to your password and/or credit card information.

Or at least, that’s what that symbol was supposed to have meant.

It turns out though, that the secure socket layer really wasn’t all that secure. Some very smart people found a flaw in the code that would allow hackers to tunnel past the security that the little lock icon represents and get to your sensitive information after all. The flaw was in the “heartbeat” (thus the name of the bug).

So what’s the heartbeat?

Well, in simple terms, the software has to send out a “pulse” or “heartbeat” periodically to let the other parts of the system know that the connection is still there and still valid, and in that heartbeat lives the vulnerability.

The good news is that there’s already a fix for the bug, and that fix is being rolled out as we speak. Even better, there’s more than one layer of protection that companies can use if they want to add extra protection to their sites. (They can utilize something called “Perfect Forward Secrecy”).

The bad news? This bug has been out there, undetected for more than two years. In an era where computers go from bleeding edge to obsolete in less than 18 months, that might as well be forever. Even worse, if someone has been “listening in” on web traffic, recording where you go and what you do (think NSA), then they could utilize the data gleaned from this bug to cull that stored data for information too.

What You Should Do?

By the time you read this, the major players on the internet will be well on their way to implementing a fix to close the security loophole. Nonetheless, your first move should be to reset all your passwords. All of them. Everywhere, because we don’t know which sites were ultimately impacted.

Your second move should be to test the sites you visit for vulnerability. Note that you don’t need to test them all, but do test the ones that require you to enter passwords, or that you’ve entered payment information into in the past.

Test the sites you visit here: http://filippo.io/Heartbleed/
For full information on the bug, visit: http://heartbleed.com/

Used with permission from Article Aggregator

 

You use your iPhone or Android for everything else. Your spouse even texts you to grab some milk at the store or to tell you they’ll be gone when you get home. It’s quick, easy and gets the job done. Why not in business too?

If you’re going to text for business purposes, follow these 7 texting tips to keep it professional:

  1. Consider if your message is urgent. Your text may interrupt your recipient…be sure there’s a good reason for that interruption.
  2. Is e-mail better? Most people prefer business communications via e-mail as it better respects their time and ability to respond appropriately. Text messages are also easily lost if sent at a bad time.
  3. Do they only e-mail you? If yes, respond to them in the same way. If they e-mail, send an e-mail. If they call, call them back.
  4. DON’T TYPE IN ALL CAPS. DON’T YOU FEEL LIKE SOMEONE IS YELLING AT YOU WHEN THEY TYPE IN ALL CAPS? DON’T SEND E-MAILS OR TEXTS IN ALL CAPS.
  5. Proofread your message. Ever hear of “Auto-Correct” in text messages? Some can be downright embarrassing. If you’re taking the time to write the message, take the extra seconds to proofread.
  6. No abbreviations! Your recipient shouldn’t have to decipher your text message with a decoder ring. Be as clear as you can with proper grammar and pronunciation. No sense in risking losing a customer who gets fed up with your messages.
  7. Include your name in the message. Not everyone knows who you are simply by your cellphone number. Assume that the person doesn’t know who the message is coming from.

If you do text in a business environment, especially with a customer or prospect, follow these 7 tips to ensure that you are perceived as the true business professional that you are!

HIPAA and HITECH have been around for quite some time. Even so, many companies covered by these laws are way behind the times when it comes to actual implementation. And when you really think about it, even companies not covered by these laws should have the requisite policies and procedures in place.

  1.  Access Control Policy. How are users granted access to programs, client data and equipment? Also includes how administrators are notified to disable accounts when needed.
  2. Workstation Use Policy. Requiring secure passwords, monitoring logins and limiting unsuccessful logins are just a few of the basics covered. Policies also need to cover basic security best practices such as not allowing passwords to be written down or shared with others.
  3. Security Awareness Training. Organizations must ensure regular training of employees regarding security updates and what to be aware of. You must also keep an audit trail of your reminders and communications in case you’re audited.
  4. Malicious Software Controls. You must have documented policies for the frequency with which anti-malware and antivirus software are updated and what happens if an infection/outbreak occurs.
  5. Disaster Recovery Plan. How you respond to emergency situations (of all shapes and sizes) must be fully documented and tested regularly. A full Disaster Recovery Plan is something our company can help you with.
  6. Media Disposal Policy. How do you dispose of old computer equipment and data? You must have policies and procedures in place that cover exactly how all equipment is properly disposed of and logged.
  7. Review And Audit Procedures. There’s much more to HIPAA compliance than the 6 items discussed here; however, be certain also that whatever you do has a firm audit trail/log that shows that everything has been executed according to plan.

These are just starting points. If you’re subject to HIPAA or just want to make sure that your company is covered by these simple best practices, contact our office and we’ll be happy to review these areas with you.

1)    Cyber Thieves Keep A-Knockin’ But They Can’t Come In. A study presented at the International Conference on Dependable Systems and Networks showed that small-business networks are attacked every 39 seconds by some type of hacker or malicious software. Thankfully, having the proper firewall and office network security tools can prevent even the most determined cyber hacker from getting his hands on your network.

2)    Downtime Should Be A Thing Of The Past. Thanks to monitoring and maintenance tools that are openly available, any reputable computer company can now actually notice when things go awry and prevent your computers from having issues. Hot fixes, patches and security updates are generally items that, when maintained on a regular basis, keep a network healthy and up and running. If, for some reason, your network still has some kind of downtime, cloud-based remote management tools allow your IT professional to access your system from anywhere, getting you up and running more quickly than ever before.

3)    If Disaster Strikes, You Can Be Back Up & Running In Minutes Instead Of Days. In addition to lost data, many businesses’ operations would be completely down for days or weeks if a major disaster like fire, flood or theft ever occurred. Here’s where Backup & Disaster Recovery solutions (BDR) can help you feel very thankful indeed. Most of today’s BDR solutions include a “virtualization” component, which means an exact “picture” of your server and computers is taken throughout the day and stored elsewhere. If you ever need to get back up and running, your IT company simply restores that image…and you’re back in business.

 

Want to feel thankful instead of frustrated with your computers? Call us before November 30 for a FREE Problem Prevention Network Audit (a $297 value) that will help eliminate problems on your network and give you peace of mind.
CALL 614-503-7139 NOW!

by guest writer Doug Holthus, Esq. of Poling Law

Commercial LeasesThere are various Ohio statutes in place which govern the relationship which exists between residential property Tenants and their Landlords.  (See, Ohio Revised Code Chapter 5321, et seq.)  These statutes are commonly referred to as Ohio’s Landlord/Tenant Law and very specifically impose, upon both the residential Tenant and Landlord, a fairly detailed list of each party’s duties and responsibilities.

However, the Ohio legislature has provided no single series of statutes which govern the relationship existing between commercial property Tenants and their Landlords.  Instead, the fundamental rule is that the parties to a commercial property Lease are free to negotiate any Terms and Conditions and the Lease will be enforceable against both parties so long as the Terms and Conditions do not violate some other statute or Ohio’s developed common law.

With this in mind, the following (while certainly not an exhaustive list) are a few fundamental Terms and Conditions which are frequently included within commercial property Lease agreements with which you may want to become familiar:

•Subordination Clause
This Clause is valuable to the Tenant.  In essence, this Clause provides that if the commercial property is sold or encumbered by a mortgage (or otherwise), the Tenant will retain the right to occupy the leased space so long as the Tenant is not otherwise in default of any other Term or Condition of the Lease.

•Renewal Option(s)
A commercial property Lease can be entered for a Term of months or years.  The length of time is purely a product of the parties’ negotiations. However, in most instances the Tenant will want to make certain that it has the option to extend the Lease Term for an additional period of months or years beyond the stated Lease Termination date.

•Covenant Not to Compete
Occasionally, the commercial property owner (Landlord) and its Tenant will be engaged in a same or similar business enterprise.  When this is true, the Landlord may wish to include, within the Lease, a provision which provides that upon the expiration of the Lease, the Tenant will not move to some other location and operate a competing venture.  Such clauses are legal and generally enforceable, provided (among other reasons) they are reasonable in terms of geographic scope, they are reasonable in respect of length of time, and they do not appear to be in restraint of trade.

•Insurance Requirements
Most commercial property Leases impose various insurance obligations upon the Tenant.  The Landlord, too, will have its own insurance obligations.  Regardless, before you sign any commercial property Lease, make certain you also consult with your own insurance advisor.  Your insurance professional will need to see a copy of the proposed Lease for this purpose.

The above represent just a very few of the Terms and Conditions commonly included within any commercial property Lease.  The list is by no means exhaustive; so, should you have any questions concerning this article or any commercial Lease which you are considering, please feel free to contact either Mark McCarthy, Esq., or Doug Holthus, Esq., of Poling Law.

ATM Skimming Cyber SecurityOver a billion dollars are lost each year in the United States through “ATM Skimming” – far more than any losses from bank robberies – and it’s growing at a rate of more than 10% every year.

ATM Skimming is a cybercrime where the criminals steal (or “skim”) your ATM/debit card data when you’re using a typical ATM machine. They do this by fitting a small card reader over the typical ATM card slot, thus capturing your information. Additionally, the criminals install mini cameras above or near the ATM to capture your PIN number. The data is then transmitted via Bluetooth to the cybercriminals somewhere nearby. The average skimming attack usually lasts only an hour or two during peak ATM usage times (i.e. lunch hour or after work). Meanwhile, you have no idea that you’ve just been had and are at risk. These cyber-criminals will then sell the data on the cards to others so that they can either clone your debit card or wipe out your bank account.

5 Tips To Prevent ATM Skimming
  1. Cover your hand as you type. Obstructing the view of your pin from any cameras will render your data useless.
  2. Pay attention to the area around the ATM card slot. If anything looks loose or out of place, pull to see if you can remove it.
  3. Be aware of surroundings. Be extra careful of ATMs in dark or isolated places.
  4. Does the machine look different? If anything looks out of place (extra signage, mirrors, etc.) then avoid the machine.
  5. Notify the bank. If you find or suspect an ATM has been compromised, notify your bank and law enforcement immediately.

… And YOU Were The Reason For My Panic!

Was I having a nightmare? Was I just watching too many reruns of The Twilight Zone? Maybe taking the Halloween spirit too far? No – it simply occurred to me that you might not have a solid backup and disaster recovery plan in place!

And if your server data was erased, corrupted or destroyed because of a hardware malfunction, system crash, fire, flood or some other random, unforeseen disaster, you might not be able to be back up and running again FAST!

The Thought Of That Happening Scared Me Half To Death!

And quite honestly, it should scare you too! Just imagine what would happen if your server went down and you…

… Lost all accounting documentation and history…

… Lost all the work files you’ve spent YEARS developing…

… Lost the work files and documentation you desperately need to service your customers…

… Lost all the e-mails you’ve saved and couldn’t access your inbox…

Can you even put a price tag on it? Probably not, yet so many business owners aren’t 100% certain that they could be back up and running after a disaster or are purely hoping that their current backup system is working and storing a usable copy of their data.

Want to know for sure if your data is safe? Our FREE Data Security Analysis will reveal the truth… Since this is the month to give treats, I’m treating all of my friends, clients and prospective clients to this $300 service at no charge. That’s right… FREE! Go to http://www.networklogix.com/network-audit/ for full details and to sign up today!

Could terrorists crash your car with software?A recent AOL online article titled “The Scary Truth Of How Terrorists Could Crash Your Car” freaked a lot of people out by implying that terrorists could easily hack into your car’s computer systems and wreck your car (or hundreds of cars at a time) at speeds exceeding 100 mph. While that is a scary thought to consider, the facts are quite a bit less severe than the article suggests. Nothing like some great sensationalist journalism, eh?

What really are the facts? Could you really be hacked driving your car?

  • Cars are more and more dependent on software and electronics to run everything in the car, including GPS, music, brake systems, your power train, throttle and more.
  • A new car is a rolling computer with 80 to 100 microprocessors and 100 million lines of software code.
  • Researchers from the University of Washington and UC San Diego recently were able to successfully hack into an ordinary sedan, lock and unlock the doors, turn the engine on and off and listen to a conversation going on.
  • In another experiment, researchers compromised an auto repair “pass-through device” that helps technicians diagnose problems, which then allowed them to install software on every car that touched that device, potentially allowing them to control a wide range of auto functions on those cars.

New studies are being done on how to use wireless connectivity in cars to help avoid accidents, route traffic more effectively and make our travels even safer (over 90% of accidents are due to human error, and smarter cars can potentially fix that).

But the truth of the matter is that, although cars are packed with computers, very few systems can currently be controlled wirelessly from outside the car. In all reality, someone would likely need to install an additional attachment to your car’s computer system to really take it over.

Stay tuned, however, as I’m sure that this is going to be an ongoing discussion for many years to come.

Pumpin Plan

Andrew Moon and Mike Michalowicz in Nashville

Each year Americans start one million new businesses, nearly 80 percent of which fail within the first five years. Under such pressure to stay alive – let alone grow – it’s easy for entrepreneurs to get caught up in a never-ending cycle of “sell it – do it, sell it-do it” that leaves them exhausted, frustrated and unable to get ahead no matter how hard they try or how many countless hours they put in their business. Does this sound like you?

I know that feeling first hand since I was just like that. Over the last ten years building my business, I have sacrificed time with family and put in an unhealthy amount of time on building the business without the results to show for my efforts. My mind was always screaming along at 100 miles per hour, and I nearly always felt overwhelmed and exhausted. This didn’t change until I was able to narrow the focus of my mind and my business. I realized that I can’t be all things to everyone.

While in Nashville in July, I had the privilege of meeting Mike Michalowicz, the author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur and The Pumpkin Plan. He hammered home the concepts of having a narrow focus on the type of clients that we work with. He emphasized the need to specialize in helping a select group of companies, and do it better than anyone else.

After reading an article about a local farmer who has dedicated his life to growing giant pumpkins, Mike realized the same process could apply to growing a business. So what is the Pumpkin Plan?

  • Plant the right seeds – Don’t waste time trying to do everything for everyone who calls you for your services. Instead, identify the thing you do better than anyone else and focus all your attention, money and time on figuring out how to grow your company doing just that.
  • Weed out the losers – In a pumpkin patch small, rotten pumpkins stunt the growth of the robust, healthy ones. The same is true of customers. Figure out which customers add the most value and provide the best opportunities for sustained growth. Then ditch the worst of the worst…you know the ones who makes you cringe every time they call you?
  • Nurture the winners: Once you figure out who your best customers are, blow their minds with care. Discover their unfilled needs, innovate to make their wishes come true, and over deliver on every promise.

To grow the multimillion-dollar business you envisioned when you first started out, you now need to kill what’s not working, nurture what is working and develop systems to repeat the process. This is the essence of the Pumpkin Plan.


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