Understand Your IT Before You Move To The Cloud

Understand Your IT Before You Move To The Cloud

Using cloud-based applications may not be right for every situation, but most businesses agree that they will continue to move away from on-premises computing in the future. It’s a natural progression.

The cloud can be defined in many ways. Most would include the concept of working in a virtual environment, but it’s much more than that. It’s about increasing your work efficiency. It’s about scalability. It’s about being able to work smarter, faster, and in a better way.

For a successful cloud adaptation, it’s important to understand your IT environment and how it fits into your overall goals. But where do you start?

Start Small – Don’t start with a large program that is used predominantly throughout your business’s work cycle. Instead, start by integrating something small to test the waters. Use less critical applications like a department application before diving in and making changes to your entire company’s structure.

Internal vs External – Before you make a change that will impact what your customers see, select programs that will impact smaller in-house functions first. Employees will be more patient with changes than clients will. It can help you test how well your internal structure performs before implementing on a wider basis.

Licensing and Agreements – What does a cloud-based application cost you as you move from other platforms? What about dedicated models? Will it be fully supported internally or through a third party? How is it serviced? Ensure that cloud-based models work the way you need them to work for how you operate.

Platform – The more sophisticated the system, the more you need to verify it works with the culture of your work environment. Is there a specific operating system version required for your application? Do you need specific devices for operation? Do you have those in place?

Security – Where will your data be hosted? How secure will the information be? How much control will you have over the information you are moving to cloud-based applications? Be sure to validate if the cloud vendor supports any regulations or security issues required for your business.

Moving to the cloud can be a simple process, but it isn’t always an easy process. Make sure you consider all of the repercussions before you make a move.


Are you ready to move your IT into the future?

One Simple Rule To Keep Your Data Safe

One Simple Rule To Keep Your Data Safe

Have you ever received emails from acquaintances that don’t quite make sense? You open them up to find a sentence or two followed by a link that says “click here.” You haven’t spoken with the person in months or even years. You’re not expecting anything from them. Still, you know them.

Do you trust it?

Of course not. By now we all know not to click. And if you ever have, you know what a horrible experience it can be. It can cripple your world very easily, shutting down access to many of the systems you use every day.

  • Your operations are interrupted.
  • Your data gets lost.
  • You suddenly need to upgrade programs and hardware.

And depending on the information exposed, you could face lawsuits, scrutiny from the FTC, and even the shutdown of your business operations.

Being hacked isn’t a fun experience. And most of us say we would do anything to avoid it.

Yet in reality, our actions often fall short of our words. We need to do more. Much more. And it’s really not that difficult.

A report from non-profit Online Trust Alliance found that 91 percent of all data breaches that occurred during the period looked at could have been prevented in easy manners. Things like patching a server, encrypting data, or training employees to act in safer manners overwhelmingly could have stopped most hacks.

A survey of top CIOs from around the world revealed that most company executives blame failed technology initiatives, including data breaches and security problems, on a lack of employee buy-in. That means employees, in general, are slow adapting to new technology, and are equally as slow at using technology in a safe and secure way.

So what does this mean for business owners? It means operating with eyes wide open.  It means spending a little money to ensure the best prevention tools are in place.

It means spending money on patches and upgrades promptly. Upgrades are created to protect you against known threats. The sooner they are implemented, the more protected you will be.

It means having an effective backup plan. It means working with your IT team to ensure all of your data is as safe as it possibly can be.

And it means creating the right insurance policy within your employee base. That means training them over and over again. Your data is only as safe as your staff allows it to be. If they access data incorrectly, or leave you at risk with weak passwords or leaving company hardware in open places, you’ll ultimately pay the price.

Strengthening The Human Element To Weaken Fraud

Strengthening The Human Element To Weaken Fraud

There’s a new level of fraud in town, and it doesn’t come from outside your doors. Instead, it’s coming straight from you.

Just ask a Snapchat employee about it, who fell for the scam earlier this year. In this case, the employee received an email impersonating the CEO, asking for sensitive data. The employee believed it, released the data, compromising internal employee records.

Fraudsters find where the weak points are. And in cases like this, they know that when you receive an email or a text message from someone you know, someone in authority, someone you’re used to receiving information from, the chances are you’ll respond without a second thought.

It’s called “call spoofing” and involves masking their phone number and manipulating it to appear as another. And you can use it to accomplish many different things, including obtaining sensitive information, making unauthorized purchases, even opening up lines of credit.

When something comes from a trusted source, you want to believe. It’s human nature. That makes this type of fraud that much more difficult to counter, especially for eager employees trying to do a great job and looking for opportunities to move forward within the company.

Just like a lot of other kinds of fraud, “call spoofing” relies on the human element to be successful. It plays on human emotion and their desires to ultimately please those around them.

It’s difficult to train your employees to question everything. But to succeed against some of the most potentially damaging security risks out there, questioning everything makes good business sense.

Strengthening the human element means making people aware of social engineering tactics. In an age where sensitive data is readily available for all to see in environments like Facebook or LinkedIn, fraudsters are able to guess the right answers to security questions with ease. Which means employees must look beyond the obvious – a simple answer – and go more on gut instinct – watching for things that simply don’t make sense.

Question everything.

  • Does this request make sense?
  • Is it framed in a way that makes it believable?
  • Is this something this person would normally ask for in this method of communication?
  • Is there a way I can quickly verify the validity of this request?

Training your employees to think differently is half of the battle. The other half involves strengthening your systems. Arm your employees with as much information as possible about normal routines within the business environment. Real-time fraud analysis systems can also validate information even before it finds its way to your employees’ email boxes or phone systems. And when something doesn’t meet with the way things are normally done, they have the ability to treat suspicious activity in a set way that puts your entire company at less risk.

How strong is the human factor in your business at preventing fraudulent behavior?

How To Maintain Security With Telemedicine Employees

How To Maintain Security With Telemedicine Employees

According to the US National Center for Health Statistics, the term “chronic disease” is defined as a disease lasting three months or more. In general, it cannot be prevented by a vaccine, nor cured by medication. It won’t just disappear. Therefore, the only way to live with it is to find ways to alleviate the suffering and make the condition not as severe.

IT security works in much the same manner. No silver bullet will eliminate the need for security altogether. To keep your data safe and secure, it requires ongoing treatment, testing, and re-evaluation, again and again. The goal will never be to remove the problem; instead, it’s about lessening the possibilities and lowering the risk.

In the healthcare industry, things change daily. While in-person patient care has always been the norm, advances in telemedicine are making patient care better and more accessible to all. It helps keep medical costs as low as possible, and can allow medical staff to go where their skills are truly needed the most.

But telemedicine comes with its own costs. Medical privacy and confidentiality issues extend to the telehealth industry. And under HIPAA, telemedicine clinicians have the same responsibility to protect medical records and keep information on treatment confidential. This extends to all files and processes used, including electronic files, images, video and audio recordings. They must be stored with the same guidelines as traditional paper documentation.

If you are incorporating telemedicine practices into your organization, at a minimum you should be:

Conducting annual HIPAA security risk analysis
Think of it as your own annual exam. Many changes take place each year, such as new system requirements, new system integration, IT infrastructure enhancements, organizational reconstruction, and employee turnover. And every time a change takes place, your data is at risk. Annual exams take a picture at a point in time to discover how well you’ve performed over the past year, and where improvements can be made in the coming year.

Encrypting all data on portable devices
Today, everyone has a variety of portable devices they use every day. Telemedicine practitioners will use their own devices. And if they leave them vulnerable and insecure, it puts your entire organization at risk. Over the last six years, loss or theft of unencrypted portable devices has made up over a third of all large breach incidents and put as much as 50 percent of all health data at risk. Requiring all devices that are used to access sensitive data is the first step in keeping data safe.

Running frequent assessments and testing
Hackers sole purpose is to break in, cause havoc, and get the information they are looking for. They don’t stop with one try; they work at it again and again. And because more of our data is being put online all the time, the level of intensity is only going to rise. If you’re not paying attention to the latest technology, the newest risks, and determining if your system has holes and weaknesses, you’re setting yourself up for disaster. Frequent assessment and testing is the only way to stay ahead of hazards.

Training your workforce on security awareness
Your employee base stretches beyond those that come to the office every day. Do you have a formal training program for those that work out of their homes? Those that telecommute? Those that see patients via audio and video resources? Engagement is needed at all levels in order to create a secure wall around all sensitive data. And it can come in many forms, from internal training, daily reminders, or visual cues.