IT Support Services
Have questions regarding Information Technology or network support and you don’t know who to turn to? Call me today to schedule a free consultation and together we can design a robust business continuity solution for your business.
- Help desk or end user support (remote and on-site IT Support Services)
- Business Continuity and server redundancy
- Computer repair and diagnostic services
- Malware protection and firewall
- Software installation
- Smartphone support
- Remote Support
Serious Consequences Await For Financial or Healthcare Organizations Who Fail To Upgrade From Windows XP
Microsoft will end support for Windows XP on April 8th, 2014, which gives businesses less than 40 days to migrate to another operating system. The financial and healthcare industries will be severely impacted by the end of support date, yet 95% of ATM machines in the United States are running Windows XP.
While financial institutions and healthcare providers handle an extensive amount of extremely sensitive data, many of these organizations continue to run Windows XP despite the end of support date. Once Microsoft ends support for Windows XP, security updates and fixes will no longer be released, which means machines running the unsupported and unpatched operating system will be vulnerable to malware and other cyber-attacks.
In the healthcare industry, unsupported and unpatched operating systems aren’t compliant with HIPAA. In fact, Section 164.308 (a) (5) (ii) (b) of the HIPAA Security Rule states that all covered entities handling ePHI must have procedures in place to prevent, detect, and report malicious software.
So what should financial institutions and healthcare providers do to deal with the upcoming end of support date? Here are 5 tips to help you handle the end of Windows XP:
1. Stop Delaying the Migration Process
When you’re handling sensitive data, it’s absolutely critical to avoid running an unsupported and unpatched operating system. While migrating to a secure operating system may be time-consuming and costly, it’s necessary to protect your organization, data, and customers.
2. Upgrade Workstations
If necessary, upgrade your workstations. If they’re old and outdated, they’re not as secure as they need to be. If you’re in the financial or healthcare industry, non-compliance penalties will be much more expensive than the cost of upgrading your workstations.
3. Consider Software/Hardware Compatibility
Before you choose a new operating system, make sure your current software and hardware will be compatible. Perform a software and hardware audit to determine what’s compatible or incompatible, and upgrade software/hardware if necessary.
4. Upgrade from Exchange Server 2003 and Server 2003
Microsoft will end support for Exchange Server 2003 on April 8th, 2014. In addition, Microsoft will end support for Server 2003 in July 2015. While you’re upgrading from Windows XP, it’s a good idea to upgrade from Exchange Server 2003 and Server 2003 as well.
Looking to improve productivity and efficiency while mitigating security risks? Upgrade from Windows XP before April 8th, 2014. To learn more, give us a call or send us an email. As your trusted Microsoft Partner we can help you select and implement a secure operating system.
Businesses must make sure their network security is adequate to protect from external threats, but how do you know if your network security is adequate? Network security should protect your network from a variety of threats to make sure the reliability and safety of your network and data. If you’re looking for a network security solution, keep in mind that no single solution will protect you from the wide range of evolving threats.
Network security is accomplished through multiple layers of security, including hardware and software. When you’re using security software, always update and manage the software properly to protect your network. Here’s a few network security components to consider:
- Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware
Anti-virus and anti-spyware software prevents malware from entering the system, and if the malware does manage to enter the system, the software will tell you of an infection or help you remove the malware.
Firewalls can be configured to prevent access to specific websites or prevent employees from sending sensitive data outside of the network. In addition, firewalls prevent unauthorized computers from accessing the network.
- Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)
A virtual private network (VPN) is used to offer secure remote access. The VPN enables you to send sensitive information across shared or public networks securely by encrypting the data during transfer.
- Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS)
Intrusion prevention systems (IPS) are used to watch network and/or system activities for malware and security threats. The IPS will identify malicious activity, then log information about the activity and attempt to stop it.
Ideally, the network security components should work together to prevent threats to your network. The most common threats include:
- Hacker attacks
- Identity theft
- Spyware and adware
- Zero-day attacks
- Data theft
The benefits of network security are vast, including employee productivity, minimal downtime, regulatory compliance, and data protection. Ultimately, network security will protect your business assets from a range of threats.
To learn more about network security, give us a call or send us an email. We can help you add the proper hardware/software to protect your network and systems from security threats.
Mavericks Users Must Install OS X 10.9.2 to Prevent Data Interception
The OS X 10.9.2 update, which patches the SSL bug found in a piece of open source code and other issues, is now available for Mavericks users. Don’t wait on this critical update. Install it immediately. Your Mac should have prompted you already. The SSL bug could potentially allow hackers to intercept HTTPS traffic.
Essentially, the bug enables hackers to capture sensitive information, including usernames and passwords, during data transfers. While the bug impacts Safari and various applications, third-party browsers including Firefox and Chrome aren’t affected. Also, the SSL bug doesn’t affect versions prior to OS X 10.9 Mavericks.
What is SSL/TLS?
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and Transport Layer Security are used to set up an encrypted channel between a computer and servers. When the encryption is established, a padlock icon will appear in your web browser. SSL/TLS is also used to secure a variety of other connections, including:
- Credit card transactions.
- Webmail applications, such as Outlook Web Access or Online Exchange (Office 365).
- Virtualization applications, such as Citrix Delivery Platforms.
- File transfers over HTTPS and FTP(s) services.
- Network logins and other network traffic with SSL VPNs.
What Does the Update Fix?
The update will fix the SSL bug and other issues, including a sound issue and a VPN issue. The update also brings some new features to Mavericks, such as:
- FaceTime: incoming and outgoing audio calls
- FaceTime: call waiting
- iMessages: block incoming messages
- Safari: improve AutoFill
To learn more about the SSL bug and how to install the update, give us a call or send us an email. As your trusted IT company, we can help you stay up to date on the latest security flaws and updates and make sure your business Apple computers and Macs continue to work as designed.
Are You Using an iPhone? Critical iPhone Security Alert!—Install Your Apple iOS iPhone/iPad 7.0.6 Update ASAP!
Apple just released a patch for iOS 7 that includes a security fix for Secure Socket Layer (SSL) connection verification. If your phone or iPad has been upgraded to iOS 7, install this update now.
Without it your data may be at risk. The update prevents someone from taking your phone and disabling Apple’s “Find My iPhone” service. Thieves can do this and switch your phone to another iCloud account to remotely install apps and steal data. They can do this without having to guess, steal or even bypass your Apple ID password.
How To Install It Wirelessly Over the Air (OTA):
- Fully charge your battery before the update process. It can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour for the update to download and install.
- Consider connecting your iPhone to your local WiFi network so you aren’t charged for downloading time over your cellular connection.
- Open the Settings app and tap on General > Software Update.
- Tap Download to download the update.
- Wait for the download to complete. Tap Install to apply the update.
- When you get the notification that the update is ready, Go to Settings > General > Software Update and tap Install Now to install the update file.
How To Install It via iTunes:
- Connect your device to your computer using an USB cable.
- Wait for iTunes to open and connect to your device.
- Click on your device name in iTunes.
- Click the “Check for Update” button in the Summary pane.
- If an update is available, iTunes will prompt you to download and install it.
- Keep your device plugged in until the update is complete.
If you haven’t done it already, then upgrading from Windows XP should be on the top of your to-do list. Microsoft will end support for Windows XP on April 8th, 2014, which means the operating system will be vulnerable to security threats. Here’s 5 tips to help you ensure a smooth upgrade from Windows XP:
1. Stop Delaying the Upgrade
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably delayed the upgrade from Windows XP, however, it’s extremely important to begin the upgrade process as soon as possible. Once Microsoft stops providing security patches and updates, the operating system will become a huge security risk for your business. Are you delaying the upgrade because you prefer the familiarity of Windows XP’s interface? If so, Windows 7 is fairly similar to Windows XP.
2. Backup Your Data
Before upgrading, make sure your data is backed up and recoverable, in order to safeguard your business-critical data. If something goes wrong during the upgrade process, it’s critical to have your data backed up to avoid data loss.
3. Consider Software/Hardware Compatibility
Make sure your current software and hardware is compatible with the new operating system. Before upgrading, perform a software and hardware audit to determine which applications are compatible and which applications will need to be upgraded as well.
4. Keep Software License Keys
When you’re upgrading to a new operating system, make sure you’ve written down all of your software license keys. Once you’re finished the upgrade, the new operating system will require license keys to install the software.
5. Choose an Operating System
Consider your unique needs and requirements, then choose an operating system that suits your business. Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 are all great choices for any business, however, you should research each one and decide which one is suitable for your business. Also, consider your software and hardware while researching new operating systems to ensure compatibility.
For more tips to help you ensure a smooth upgrade from Windows XP, give us a call or send us an email. We can help you upgrade to a secure operating system.
When it comes to signing a document electronically, most people struggle with the hassle of signing and scanning the document. Did you know there’s a variety of other ways to sign documents electronically? Here’s 4 apps to sign documents via your smartphone or web browser:
1. HelloSign Chrome Extension
If you receive most of your documents through email, the HelloSign Chrome extension is a convenient way to sign them and send them back to the sender. The extension is integrated into your email inbox and enables you to sign PDFs received through Gmail. If you have an Android or iOS device, download the mobile HelloSign app.
2. DocuSign App for Android
If you have an Android device, install the DocuSign app to import documents from Dropbox or email and sign them on your phone, then send the document back to the recipient. DocuSign is available for free, however, you can choose a premium account for additional business-related features.
3. SignNow App for iOS
If you have an iPhone or iPad, install SignNow to import documents from Dropbox or email and sign them on your mobile device, then send the document back to the recipient. SignNow allows you to sign up to 5 documents a month for free. If you want to sign more documents, use a premium plan.
4. SIGNificant Signature Capture for iOS and Android
SIGNificant signature capture is a free app for both iOS and Android devices. If you want a full-feature app, download SIGNificant Signature Capture to sign documents on your smartphone using your finger or a stylus.
Keep Security in Mind
While signing documents electronically is extremely convenient, there may be some businesses that don’t accept electronic signatures. For those businesses that do accept electronic signatures, these apps will help you save time and effort compared to signing and scanning documents, however, remember to keep security in mind. If you’re signing a sensitive document, it’s wise to print it out and sign a paper copy instead of sending the document over email.
For more ways to sign documents electronically, give us a call or send us an email. We can help you choose the best electronic signature option for your unique needs.
You’ve probably been using Microsoft Word to write documents for years, however, there’s a few lesser-known ways to get work done faster and more efficiently. Here are 8 timesaving tips and tricks for Microsoft Word:
1. Select Text Quickly
You already know that double-clicking will select a single word, however, triple-clicking will select an entire paragraph. If you want to select an entire sentence, press the CTRL key and click on a word within the sentence. If you want to select a rectangular block of text, press the ALT key and drag your mouse to select the area.
2. Search for Edited Words
Working on a document with multiple pages? Press the SHIFT key and F5 simultaneously to search through the recently edited words in a document. If you’ve opened a previous document, use the Shift+F5 to see what you were working on before you closed the document.
3. Change the Case
Select a part of the document and press Shift+F3 to change the case of the selection. This alternates to change the case to uppercase, lowercase, or camel case while you’re typing a document.
4. Write Wherever You Want
Microsoft Word offers three different alignments on the left, center, and right side of the page. However, you can write wherever you want. Simply double-click anywhere on the page to start writing in a different area.
5. Convert to Plain Text
If you’re copying a piece of content from the web, the style and formatting will be copied onto the Word document as well. To remove the styling and formatting, select the piece of content and press CTRL+Space Bar to convert the content to plain text.
6. Use Word’s Calculator
There’s a hidden calculator in Microsoft Word. Find Quick Access Toolbar in the Word Options and switch to All Commands then add the Calculate Command to the Quick Access Toolbar. Once you’ve enabled the calculator, write your math expression in the document, select it, and press the Calculator button to view the results in the status bar.
7. Use the Built-In Thesaurus
There’s a built-in thesaurus on Microsoft Word. If you’re looking for a synonym, highlight the word and press Shift+F7 to view a variety of synonyms.
8. Move Text Without Copy and Paste
There’s a convenient alternative to using copy and paste to move text from one location to another in a Word document. Simply highlight the text, press F2, and place the cursor on the spot and press enter to move the text.
For more timesaving tips and tricks, give us a call or send us an email. As your trusted Microsoft Partner, we can help you save time while using Microsoft Office desktop applications and services.
The HIPAA Security Rule was enacted in 1996, designed to establish national standards to protect individuals’ electronic personal health information (PHI) used and/or stored by a covered entity.
Many healthcare organizations have complex technology environments, thus making it difficult for healthcare providers and business associates to comply with the HIPAA Security Rule policies and procedures.
These technology environments include multiple components, such as photocopiers, mobile devices, and networks. It’s important for healthcare organizations to examine these components and asses vulnerabilities where patient data is at risk of being accessed or exposed.
Most photocopiers contain hard drives that allow the copier to scan, fax, and store documents. When documents are scanned, the hard drive often stores the images. This becomes a security risk and potential liability for the healthcare organization because photocopiers are usually re-leased or sold with the previous users’ data contained on the hard drive.
When the photocopier is re-leased or sold, there’s a significant chance for disclosure of personal health information. If the protected information becomes disclosed or corrupted, healthcare providers will be held liable for the security breach.
Healthcare providers must discuss the potential security risks with their IT providers, ensuring their IT department takes part in selecting, installing, and retiring photocopiers. When the photocopier must be retired, an IT professional should make sure the hard drive is wiped of all sensitive data.
A HIPAA violation can easily result from the loss or theft of a staff member’s mobile device. With the increasing use of mobile devices in the healthcare industry, it’s important to implement adequate security safeguards. For example, the device password must be difficult for an unauthorized user to guess. Some mobile devices have optional settings for wiping information from the phone if the wrong password is entered multiple times.
In addition, avoid using email on your mobile device, such as sending sensitive information unencrypted via your mobile device. Instead, use a cloud-based encryption or VPN. Make sure apps that transfer sensitive information require physical login credentials each time the app is entered. There are also many cloud-based apps to encrypt the data being transferred to and from your device. These apps are available for both Android and Apple phones.
In the healthcare industry, most, if not all computers will be connected to a network. Networks involve many security risks. It’s important for the network to be able to defend against attacks from authorized users’ and infiltration of unauthorized information through the routers. Often, this is accomplished through the use of firewalls, hardware, and software devices that protect the network from hackers and security risks.
Firewalls are commonly used to deny access to unauthorized applications and users. Most firewalls have the ability to create audit trails or logs that keep track of access to the network. It’s a good idea to discuss firewalls with your IT provider to ensure the firewall and network safeguards are kept up-to-date and robust.
Do you share personal information via private Facebook messages? If so, it’s time to consider what you’ve written before you hit the send button. A complaint filed in California claims that:
“Facebook misleads users into believing they have a secure, private mechanism for communication, when in fact, Facebook mines user data, and profits from this data by sharing it with third parties.”
The lawsuit, filed by two Facebook users, stems from claims that they scan private messages and profile users’ online activity, and that they profit from this information by sharing it with data aggregators, marketers, and advertisers.
The lawsuit also states that Facebook users share personal information about themselves because they believe they’re communicating on a service without surveillance. The information found in private messages is typically information that’s not available to data aggregators.
Facebook has repeatedly defended itself against these claims. A Facebook spokesman said:
“We believe the allegations are without merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously.”
The lawsuit’s plaintiffs are hoping to file a class-action lawsuit that includes all Facebook users who have sent or received private messages on Facebook in the past two years. The plaintiffs are also seeking $10,000 for each user, or $100 for each day of violation.
Information security is a huge concern for organizations of all kinds. While information security is critical to achieve, it’s increasingly challenging to maintain. Firewalls, antivirus, access control and perimeter monitoring are important security measures, but today’s sophisticated cybercriminals are finding ways to bypass them and directly target data, applications and devices. The good news is that desktop virtualization provides an important additional layer of security, especially for those who employ BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and mobility initiatives.
The following are reasons to use desktop virtualization:
Improve Mobility and Flexibility
In today’s mobile workforce, employees are working from home, on the road, and in various locations outside of the office. As a business owner, you must ensure your employees have anytime access to applications and information, as well as the ability to share and collaborate from any location. Desktop virtualization allows authorized users to securely access centrally managed virtualized applications and desktops hosted in a data center.
Prevent Data Loss
When you centralize resources in a data center, you can manage and secure Windows applications and associated data in a single location. You can also set policies to control users’ ability to save, print, copy, and move data via a central point of administration.
Consumerization, combined with high-speed connections, has increased the ability for employees to work productively outside the workplace. When employees have a smartphone, tablet, or laptop for work purposes, they tend to be more productive outside of work hours as well. Desktop virtualization ensures your data is accessible to authorized users from any location they have an Internet connection.
Desktop virtualization makes it easier to manage a wide variety of user devices by centrally controlling information in a secure data center. In this case you should establish a security strategy defining when users can copy data, add applications, access peripherals, and perform other actions that are mandated by your industry regulations. Your strategy can be set using desktop virtualization.
Saves You Time and Effort
Desktop virtualization centralizes maintenance to simplify endpoint security. Antivirus updates and patches can be installed on a single master image then deployed throughout the organization. When you don’t have to worry about installing application and security updates, you can spend more time focusing on your business.
Safeguard Information During a Disaster
When a disaster occurs you must be able to ensure that business operations continue, and data and applications remain secure. Desktop virtualization provides an efficient approach to business continuity. With desktop virtualization, you can protect a single system, rather than a wide variety of desktops, laptops, and mobile devices. This increases recovery speed while allowing employees to work remotely in the event of physical damage to your business location.
Minimize the Impact of a Security Breach
Centralized management allows you to take action in the event of a security breach. With virtualization, you can isolate sensitive data and applications and run them on user privilege accounts, which minimize the impact of the breach. If a user is compromised, you can take the user’s environment offline and restore it to an uncompromised state.
To learn more about desktop virtualization, and how it can improve your information security, give us a call or send us an email.