What Sterling Heights Residents Need To Know About Information Security

 

Imagine the shock of coming into work one morning to find yourself locked out of the company accounting software.  You’re immediately flooded with regrets for not having taken even just a few simple security measures that might have prevented this.  Is the data gone?  Is the company bank account being drained?  What happens next?

 

Communities like Sterling Heights are finding themselves the victim of data theft as hackers move away from the big cities and into the less protected suburbs.  They simply are not prepared with the level of information security needed in today’s world.

 

Information security is the act of preventing illegal access, use, revealing, interruption, deformation, investigation, or distortion of information. In layman’s language, it means breaching information by an unauthorized person or entity either through physical or electronic means. Information security is vast in several areas including cyber forensics, mobile computing, and even social media.

 

3 Foundational Elements of Information Security

 

CIA (Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability). 

 

Confidentiality – involves the habitual concealing of proprietary information from access by unauthorized persons, companies, or process. For instance, you enter your password to access company payroll records, and in the process of logging in someone watches you.  Or someone sees that your passwords are kept on sticky notes in your top drawer. This is perhaps the easiest way for someone to gain access as it requires no hacking – someone with your password can generally walk right in.

 

Integrity – means the maintenance of consistency in the accuracy and completeness of your data. For example, when your information remains intact and can’t be edited by an unauthorized person without your consent. Hacking and security breaches are not always obvious; data can simply be changed in a small yet significant way that could go undetected for years.  Imagine discovering someone on the other side of the world had quietly added themselves to the distribution list for your bank statements?

 

Availability – this means the handiness of information for access and utilization of by an authorized person. Imagine an employee leaves the company and you discover they had been storing files on their personal drive rather than the company’s servers.  Not only is this data no longer available to you, but is out of your control.  A few simple steps could have prevented this, but for a company in a seemingly safe community like Sterling Heights, Michigan, information security gets overlooked.  So what can you do?

 

Cybersecurity for Sterling Heights Michigan Businesses

 

Although it may require only a few simple steps to prevent data theft and hacking, many businesses with no security processes or culture of security don’t know where to start.  It starts with a phone call.  To a business owner, information security might be complex, but an  information technology company such as Right Guy IT will know exactly where to start and what level of security is needed.  Right Guy IT can not only protect you from hackers, but train you and your employees how to recognize and prevent threats.  Can you afford to be hacked?

Cybersecurity Threats in Farmington Hills Michigan

 

Farmington Hills Michigan, like many other towns across the United States, is undergoing tremendous technological advancement in the current information age. Notably, businesses have invested heavily in technology to keep up with emerging trends for efficiency, increased productivity, and competitive advantage. In modern times, cyber-attacks and threats have become a norm for business in information-driven societies and economies. While companies in towns such as Farmington Hills Michigan might have in-house IT staff, it is becoming evident that they need a better line of defense against sophisticated cybersecurity attacks. How can cybercrime be controlled in the current digital age? First off, companies are taking considerable efforts and committing resources to improve their data security and compliance at all levels. Secondly, there are government regulations such as Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPPA) for the healthcare sector, and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union or California Consumer Privacy Act.

 

Cybersecurity Threats for Businesses

 

The growing cases of cybersecurity threats have made many businesses realize the need for enhancing internet and network security. A survey on cyber-attacks on businesses shows that approximately two-thirds of companies have had cyber-attacks within the last two years. As such the discussion for cybersecurity and lack of it are becoming widely discussed across numerous platforms including social media. Risks for business due to cyber-attacks include;

 

  • Compromise of confidential data – companies heavily rely on data in the current information age for instance marketing information and personal information of clients. Hackers could steal such information or even alter it affecting the company’s operations.
  • Recovery expenses – other than loss of information, there are hidden expenses after cyberattacks such as new training, buying security software, and the expensive and long process of data recovery. These expenses could have an impact in the long-term.
  • Damaged client trust – customers trust that companies will keep their data safe and in the event of a cyber-attack, they may decide to discontinue their transactions with the company which has a damaged reputation as well.  

 

Cybersecurity Threats Farmington Hills Businesses Face

 

Cyber security threats for businesses can be internal or from the outside in various forms as follows;

 

  • Phishing – through the use of emails and social media sites where users are convinced to click misleading links that gather personal information or company data or even worse downloading the company’s data from servers. 
  • Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS) – company servers are flooded with requests from many sources making them slow and may crash making it impossible to run until the requests have been blocked or terminated.  
  • Malware – for instance a Trojan virus disguised in the computers as a legitimate software for malicious activities such as spying without the consent of the company and users.  Ransomware is included in the category. 
  • Algorithm manipulation – as companies and their employees become dependent on IoT applications and cloud computing services, the more their data is vulnerable to attacks. Automation in companies is dependent on algorithms for interpreting and applying data.  Without regular evaluation and monitoring, algorithms may be prone to threats as codes may be compromised affecting the running of companies. 

 

Amid the increasing cases of cybersecurity threats and attacks on businesses, there is an increased urgency for strong digital security practices among all businesses. Smart Guy IT specializes in helping small business computer services and protecting the information needed to operate and continue to grow into the future.

West Bloomfield Michigan Data Backup

West Bloomfield information technology is going through the same transformation as many small towns; as more and more business data is being held on local hard drives, the need for data backup and disaster recovery has reached an urgent level. A few short years ago, a company hard drive might have held nothing more than a few spreadsheets, but today the same company’s computers might hold everything from banking data to employee payroll information.  If data loss of this magnitude were to occur, it could be catastrophic.  Could your business afford to lose all its data?

Data Theft

Cybercriminals and hackers are finding it more and more difficult to steal information from large companies and as a result are spreading out to the suburbs where personal information and business data is less protected.  Unfortunately, towns like West Bloomfield think data loss and disaster recovery assume this is only a problem for big cities like Detroit, not Oakland County, but the reality is anyone with a hard drive is vulnerable to attack.  Anyone with a computer could wake up in the morning to find everything gone.

Natural Disaster and Human Action

Fire and flood might come to mind first, but what about disgruntled employees deleting data, or someone simply hitting the delete button by mistake?  No amount of security can prevent this type of data loss as you can’t stop mother nature, or an employee with access.  These can be the most frustrating as they are often the easiest to avoid.  Imagine a leaky pipe in the ceiling dripping on a laptop overnight, wiping out this week’s payroll information or tomorrow’s sales presentation.

Backup Protection is the Answer

The answer is simple; backup.  Keeping business information protected from data loss is by having multiple copies.  Multiple copies, physically located in different areas could be the difference between your business shutting down, vs, pressing the restore button and pickup up where you left off within minutes.  Have multiple computers or complex systems?  No problem, disaster recovery plans can be designed ahead of time to get businesses up and running as quickly as possible – including getting employees up and running from home if necessary.

There are two main types of backup; local and cloud.  Local means the backup copy is held on the property on a server or external hard drive.  Cloud backup means company information is sent via the internet to an offsite data center.  Both types of backup methods can be set up to operate automatically and run behind-the-scenes without the business owner or employees having to do it manually.  In both cases the data can also be restored automatically in case of data loss.

Which is Better Local Backup or Cloud Backup?

Cloud.  With today’s fast internet speeds and the cost of data center storage dropping each year, cloud has become the best option.  A few years ago, slow internet connections meant a company might generate more data in a day than could be sent to the cloud, meaning only certain files would be designated for backup.  Fast-forward to today, and not only can all data be backed-up instead of only certain critical files, but all of it in real time instead of waiting until after business hours when enough bandwidth is available.  Imagine the comfort of knowing all your company data is being duplicated to a safe and secure data center, ready at a moment’s notice in case of disaster?

Right Guy IT is an expert in both cloud and local storage and can help design a safe, effective and affordable data backup plan for your needs.

Bloomfield Hills Network Security for Home Workers

 

Bloomfield Hills information technology is experiencing the same situation as many suburban areas around the United States.  Health conditions have forced many offices to either shut down or send as many people as possible to work from home.  In most cases, Michigan’s information technology systems were not ready for the security requirements of sending employees home to operate from their own computers and mobile devices.  A new focus has been placed on Bloomfield Hills network security for home workers as companies struggle to figure out how to manage cybersecurity when employees are sent away to work from homes, parks and coffee shop patios.

 

Bloomfield Hills Information Technology (IT)

 

Information technology is not much different in Bloomfield Hills than most any suburban neighborhood across Michigan.  Most Bloomfield Hills residents work in nearby Pontiac or commute to Detroit just over 30 minutes away.  The area’s computer support and IT is geared towards small businesses such as restaurant point of sale systems and small server management.  These types of IT needs have become so standard that most IT companies can handle them in their sleep.  But cybersecurity and network security for an employee sitting at home in an environment their employer and IT company has no direct access to, is an issue most IT companies are not ready for.

 

What Right Guy IT is Doing About It

 

The unfortunate reality is most IT companies don’t have the experience and breadth of knowledge to handle security for home-based employees.  From cybersecurity, to a local internet outage, to sharing their wireless networks with devices such as home security cameras, the ways in which hackers can get into a home network are endless.  Once a client (the technical term for the employee’s computer) has been compromised, it might only take seconds for a data breach to occur that includes company banking, insurance and even alarm and security system information.

 

But the good news is the securing of home networks and remote devices for home based employees is something Right Guy IT has been doing all along.  Protecting home workers from cyber attack and keeping company data safe and secure is second-nature for Right Guy.  Right Guy IT’s clients were relieved to know they had already been protected, that the necessary cybersecurity measures were already in place and their networks were safe.  Computer science already has answers to how to protect companies with home-based employees, but only a few IT companies know how to implement it.  Right Guy IT provides security for home workers across Michigan, especially places like Bloomfield Hills where extra bedrooms are being converted to home offices on a daily basis.

 

The Right Way to do Network Security for Home Workers

 

Network security for home workers begins not at home, but making sure the company’s network security is locked-down at its core so cybersecurity threats are stopped no matter where they come from.  Right Guy IT approaches security with the theory that all computers and devices are a potential threat, no matter if they are located at home or in the office.  This level of extreme alertness and scrutiny means the Right Guy IT security model was already designed for home-based worker security, and the security of every other computer that touches the company network or data.

 

To learn more about network security for home workers or how Right Guy IT has the right security for your home-based employees, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Rochester Hills Ransomware Protection

Rochester Hills Michigan is known to most people as a sleepy suburb with a Christmas parade and boutique shops lining Main street. But Rochester Hills has become a hub of commerce due to its close proximity to Detroit. With a population surpassing 70,000, Rochester Hills has a thriving business community with the same information technology needs as much larger cities. This is especially true for cybersecurity as small businesses incorrectly assume they’re too small to be the victim of an attack.

Ransomware Attack

Cybercriminals look for easy targets. If you think cybersecurity in local communities like Rochester Hills isn’t a problem, think again. As hackers are finding large organizations more and more difficult to penetrate, small business ransomware attacks are on the rise. Ransomware attacks stop a business in its tracks by stealing or encrypting data from a network or computer system, and not giving it back until a ransom is paid. Even a business with only a single computer could find themselves unable to operate if the cybercriminals steal the right file. The average ransomware attack demand is over $80,000, can you afford to pay this?

Ransomware Protection

Off-the-shelf antivirus and malware protection software offers some help, but is no replacement for managed security services from a professional information technology and computer support agency. The key to surviving a ransomware attack is to not be an easy victim in the first place. Cybercriminals look for easy openings and move on to the next potential victim once they see ransomware protection is in place. It’s no different than a burglar looking for a home to break into – they’re not going to pick the house with the alarm sign in the window.

Computer Security in Rochester Hills

Every small business that has been the victim of a ransomware attack regrets not having spent the time and effort securing their computer system ahead of time. Managed cybersecurity solutions are not only much more affordable than most business owners assume, but are dramatically less expensive than a ransomware attack payout. And there’s no guarantee the cybercriminals will return your data after their demands are met, and if they do, your business may be unable to operate for days or even weeks while your computer system is brought back online and the damage is repaired.

Difference Between Malware and a Ransomware Attack

Although a ransomware attack could be considered a form of malware, they have distinct differences. Malware is generally thought of as a small piece of automated software designed to target computers mostly at random. Malware enters a computer system and executes it’s code without direct control of its creator. On the other hand, when a ransomware attack occurs, there is usually a person or organization on the other end with direct control. Immediately following a ransomware attack, the victim will usually receive an email or even a phone call stating the cybercriminals’ demands. Once the attack takes place, there is little that can be done besides regretting not putting security in place beforehand. An information technology company can help you get back on your feet, but can’t roll back the clock to before the attack occurred.

IT Infrastructure and Computer Network Support for Rochester Hills

Right Guy IT specializes in the type of small business IT and computer networking support needed in Rochester Hills. Not only do we handle your IT services and help desk support, we help you plan for the future. And perhaps most important – we protect you from ransomware attack.

Last night I needed to create a Outlook OST on a drive other than “C”. I thought it would be a simple process, but it wasnt. As always when something doesn’t work right I Googled away and there was a lot of people who were trying to do the same thing with limited results. I came across many posts that suggested editing the registry. Normally when you edit the registry, things work. Its the brain of the computer. Everything you do interacts in some way with the registry. This is a real good time to stress the importance of backing up your registry before making any changes. Just open up the registry and export the setting, save it to your desktop or thumb drive, done. Anyway, I’m not going to recreate the instructions there are plenty of them on Google. A good one is: https://www.slipstick.com/outlook/config/how-to-move-the-imap-personal-folder-pst/.

This is the bottom line — IMAP *.ost files honor the ForcePSTPath key, not ForceOSTPath even though the data file extension is *.ost. This is the part that got me. I edited the registry as ForceOST Path according to countless sources on Google. That doesn’t work even though Outlook 2010 – 2016 uses the OST file format. It wasnt until I used ForcePSTPath that it worked even though the software doesn’t use PST. Yea Microsoft, that cost me 2 hours I will NEVER get back.

Onward and Upward.