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How Can Your Business Avoid the Starwood Hotels Credit Card Breach?

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide warned of the credit card breach issue as cyber criminals designed malware to steal credit and debit card information from POS systems.

This is an additional attack in a recent string of hotel chains to acknowledge credit card breach threats and investigations. The malware that hit Starwood affected certain restaurants, gift shops and other point of sale systems.

The malware was designed to collect certain payment card information including cardholder name, credit card number, security code and expiration date.

Good news is that compromised credit card holders will not be liable for unauthorized debit or credit card charges but the onus is on the cardholder to spot and report any unauthorized charges.

How can you protect your business from credit card breach?

  • Use an updated POS system or protect your current POS – Point of Sale systems have changed but there are still systems out there running on outdated Windows XP. If using an older system, you should meet with your IT consultant team or IT department and discuss how to “Sandbox” your environment. A Sandbox environment will limit an application to its intended functionality while not allowing it access files and resources beyond its initial and intended functionality.  This makes it hard for malicious software to compromise the system. Code Signing – Apple imposes strict code signing requirements on application developers, which maintain high standards among individuals creating applications. Before creating a project, developers must obtain three code signing certificates from Apple: a development certificate, a distribution certificate, and a Developer ID certificate. These strict requirements maintain the utmost security standard for applications running on iOS.

 

  • Proactive update and review – The greatest defense against breaches is proactive update and review of your infrastructure. If you implement every imaginable security measure on a POS system, you never fully eliminate your security risks but it is still the best defense. The recent Target breach, the IT team in charge of cybersecurity failed in consistently walling off sensitive data and removing the default accounts of unused POS devices. This resulted in one of the most major breaches in POS security. Only a POS system with the most up-to-date security can have the ability to safeguard a business from the ever-changing and incessant attacks of cybercriminals.

The recent Credit Card Breach at Starwood Hotels shows why companies need to adopt a POS security system that eliminates opportunities for hackers and cyber criminals.

365 iT SOLUTIONS is Toronto’s leading IT consulting firm delivering Managed IT ServicesIT Support ServicesIT Outsourcing ServicesTech Support Services and Cloud Services.

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Healthcare IT and managed services work together for success

Healthcare IT is helping the industry to grow as they embrace technology with the help of managed services providers.

Healthcare providers need to understand how healthcare IT and managed services work together including the benefits to their business and success. With advancement of technology, healthcare companies can now keep up and deliver better patient care while maintain security. This has been a main reason with more healthcare organizations are turning to managed services providers to lower costs and improve productivity.

There are many IT consulting providers that provide these services and tech support services however there are certain managed services providers that work specifically within the healthcare sector.

Here are some important points to consider when picking a managed services provider if you are in the healthcare sector.

Guarantee response times and SLA

When working with managed services providers, it comes to down to providing fast response times. You should always ensure you are offered 24/7 guarantees response times and a written service-level agreement (SLA).

Business continuity plan

Every business needs a business continuity plan or you are putting your organization in jeopardy.  You should be looking at your managed services provider to develop a recovery plan from major outages or natural disasters. They can create redundant systems as well as automatic failovers. As a healthcare organization, you cannot afford to lose valuable medical data in the event of a disaster.

Proactive IT security

If you do business in the US, you need to comply with HIPAA, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.  If you do business in Canada, you need to comply with PIPEDA, The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. Failing to meet regulations may result in huge fines, serious penalties, loss of contract and even the withdrawal of your license to operate. Your experienced managed services provider will offer proactive IT security services that include identity-based security and encryption as well as user authorized access control, data accountability and integrity.

 

As Toronto’s leading IT consulting firm, 365 iT SOLUTIONS offers a Complimentary Network and Security Audit to give businesses a real picture of their IT infrastructure, IT security and IT investment. We are successful at aligning healthcare IT and managed services.

Our Canadian team delivers industry leading Managed IT ServicesIT Support ServicesIT Outsourcing ServicesTech Support Services and Cloud Services. 365 iT SOLUTIONS works to find the most cost-effective solution to optimize your IT infrastructure, and ensure you will never face surprises or unforeseen costs.

If your business needs proactive network management, network setup & installation, IT consulting, IT systems maintenance, remote IT support, network and server support, network infrastructure, or wireless network design & deployment, you can count the 100% Canadian team at 365 iT SOLUTIONS.

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What dangers every company should consider when it comes to their IT infrastructure?

As technology advances, most organizations struggle to keep up. Here is a quick list of what dangers every company should consider when it comes to their IT infrastructure.

Does your business have an offsite backup plan?

This is becoming business 101, every business requires a data backup plan for when things go wrong. The second part of this plan is, have you ever tested the backups? Do they work? You need to sit down with your management team as well as your IT department or managed IT services provider and go over your disaster recovery plan in case there is trouble in the future.

Is your business software legally licensed?

Speak with your IT consulting company or IT department about the software being used and the implications to your business. You need to make sure the software you are using is legally licensed or you may run the risk of future issues including legal and financial problems.  Special note to companies using third party providers such as managed services or IT support services professionals, if they are using illegal or unlicensed software, you will be dragged in also to the legal proceedings and it is your responsibility and financial commitment to prove you were unaware of the issue.

Is your business in compliance with the type of business you are running?

Not only do you want to correctly follow government compliances for your business, but you want make sure that your current IT consulting company is as well. If they fail a compliance audit, you will be affected by it too. This could mean extended downtime or you may even have to search for someone else to be your IT support vendor. Some of these kinds of compliances might involve sensitive data, software regulations, or financial information. Software companies are making it easier to report illegal software like Microsoft, SIIA and BSA The Software Alliance for financial reward.

Is your business as secure as possible?

Not every business uses technology the same way however there are many foundation principles that should be used to build a fast and secure network. This should be a two-step process for all companies. The first step is to document your current environment as well as your work flow to see if there are any holes in the network or more efficient ways of handling your IT security. The second is to bring in an IT security expert that understands your business, industry as well as best IT security practices.

Is my business productive using technology?

Your organization has invested a significant amount of money over the years however is your business get the maximum efficiency? There are limitless options for how to do this however you need to plan business goals with technology.  Your IT department or IT support provider has to evaluate your current status, your business goals as well as your IT budget to ensure everything can be met or planned. When technology is managed properly, it should not be a cost for your business, it should be an investment in your sustainability and growth.As technology advances, most organizations struggle to keep up.

Review the list of what dangers every company should consider when it comes to their IT infrastructure and evaluate your organization.

365 iT SOLUTIONS is Toronto’s leading IT consulting firm delivering Managed IT ServicesIT Support ServicesIT Outsourcing ServicesTech Support Services and Cloud Services.

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Christmas is around the corner and you need to protect your data online

As everyone gears up for the holiday season, businesses and consumers have to be concerned on how they protect their data online.

A recent study found over 49% of Canadians indicated they are worried about the risk of identity theft when making online purchases. This is a high number but 75% of shoppers still plan to make their holiday purchases online this year.

Under 5% of the total number of fraud victims report their experiences to law enforcement agencies resulting $15-$30 billion annually in Canada in crime according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

So what can you do to protect your data when shopping online?

  • Use reputable websites when ordering online – Cyber criminals commonly trick people into handing over credit card information is setting up a fake website that mimics a popular website. You need to verify the company’s official webpage as cyber criminals change the URL of a fake site so it will look very similar to the real URL but it will be one or two letters off.
  • Check the security settings of your web browser – Before you enter personal or financial information on a webpage, you need to make sure you are using a secure connection. You will see a closed padlock symbol in the top left hand side of your web browser beside the URL or you will notice secure websites with “https” in the URL.
  • Get a credit card designated card for online shopping. – Security experts recommend users designate one credit card with a low limit for all their online shopping. If you are ordering something from a site and you are not familiar with the website, choose a card with a lower credit limit to protect yourself and identity.
  • Make sure your device and network are secure. – Wireless is generally inherently insecure according to security experts. Online shoppers should not be using public Wi-Fi for due to the lack of security. You should only use secure wireless networks and you should ensure you are using an up-to-date operating system and anti-virus or firewall solution.

365 iT SOLUTIONS is Toronto’s leading IT consulting firm delivering Managed IT ServicesIT Support ServicesIT Outsourcing ServicesTech Support Services and Cloud Services.

 

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New ransomware encrypts your data but forgets the key

As ransomware continues to grow and adapt, the latest string of ransomware encrypts your data but forgets the key. Is your business ready?

Ransomware is nothing new however it is a constant challenge for organizations as well as IT departments and managed IT services (MSP) providers. The latest string of malware works the same as previous versions by encrypting files on a target computer and charging the owner a ransom if they ever want to gain access again.

Ransomware attacks are becoming an increasingly popular tool with cybercriminals as they can cause large-scale damage to critical systems and force victims to pay large sums of money to unlock information.

The new string is going to be a challenge because unfortunately there is a major bug in the ransomware causing it to not only encrypt the data but it also forgets the encryption key.

What does this mean to your business?

Simple. If you do not have current backups of your data that have been managed and verified, your information will be lost forever. Even if you pay the ransom the files will stay locked up forever.

As a business you should evaluate the following key points:

  • How much is your company data and reputation worth?
  • Is your business running a business class firewall with security services?
  • Does your business have multiple backup copies?
  • Does your organizations backing up locally and offsite?

Businesses have to remember that disaster recovery is not a backup, it is a complete solution to address multiple different areas to keep your business running in case disaster strikes.

365 iT SOLUTIONS is Toronto’s leading IT consulting firm delivering Managed IT ServicesIT Support ServicesIT Outsourcing ServicesTech Support Services and Cloud Services.

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IT Outsourcing Remains Strong But Change is Coming in 2016

According to a recent survey, IT outsourcing will remain strong in 2016 however you would be surprised at the areas that will see increases and decreases.

Recently, Computer Economics surveyed over 130 North American companies in regards to their IT outsourcing practices. Here are some details on what the study has shown.

  • Organizations are increasingly outsourcing functions such as IT security and application hosting.
  • The average IT budget increased 3% in the last 12 months.
  • Large companies continue to be the leaders in IT outsourcing as they spend an average of 7.8% of their yearly IT budgets.
  • Mid-size companies spend 6.7% for IT outsourcing followed by small companies that spend 3.7% for IT outsourcing.

With a more in depth look, the functions being outsourced are changing including IT security, web ecommerce systems and application hosting seeing the biggest increase.

Application hosting has seen the biggest increase with 62% of organisations outsourcing it already with another 66% planning on it in the future. The biggest contributor to this rise has been the rise of Software as a service (SaaS) to application hosting.

A flat area has been datacenters and database administration, they have not seen an increase and there is no expectations of a future increase.

Managed IT Services and IT Outsourcing of desktop support, cloud computing, network operations and disaster recovery will increase at a steady rate because of the biggest potential for reducing costs through IT outsourcing.

IT outsourcing remains strong going into 2016 because it is becoming difficult to find the right staff and some Canadian firms have resorted to temporary workers to fill the IT talent gap.

365 iT SOLUTIONS is Toronto’s leading IT consulting firm delivering Managed IT ServicesIT Support ServicesIT Outsourcing ServicesTech Support Services and Cloud Services.

 

 

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What are your potential business risks?

No matter what industry, every business faces daily risks and there is no difference with the potential business risks with your technology and reputation. Is your business safe?

Let’s face it, every successful business understands that it must optimize their IT operations in order to keep the company profitable and at peak performance however there are also the challenges of constant pressures including security risks, risk management, compliance and cost effectiveness.

If your company has a CIO or IT manager, they are constantly addressing the challenge of cyber threats and regulatory demands depending on your industry. Yes, many industries are now undergoing mandatory IT audits especially healthcare, insurance and financial. If you cannot pass the audit, you may lose your contract or be passed on a proposal.

So what happens if you don’t have an internal CIO or IT manager? This is where you potential business risks multiply dramatically.

This is where companies turn to IT Consultants or Managed Service Providers (MSPs) as the best way identify and deal with potential threats and performance problems using an IT assessment. Not everyone is the same so you must ensure they understand your business goals and objectives prior to the IT assessment. Also, by getting a more than one IT consultant to look at it, you will get an unbiased assessment of the current state of your network, applications, and potential business risk exposure. Technology moves fast and by managing your IT in a proactive manner, it is a tremendous tool so you can keep you network up-to-date as well as plan the future of your business.

Here are 6 key points on why you need an IT assessment to reduce your potential business risks from security risks, performance, efficiency, cost savings and productivity issues.

  1. Strategically evaluate the impact of IT processes and vulnerabilities
  2. Discover current application and device vulnerabilities
  3. Evaluate the performance of all IT assets within the infrastructure
  4. Confirm complete network compliance with security and disaster recovery
  5. Create proposal of Return On Investment (ROI) from network upgrades
  6. Plan on future network growth including business goals and objectives

Criminal criminals and hackers are notorious for financial loss, brand reputation damage, and legal compliance fallout to companies however it is up to the company to ensure they have taken every responsible effort to protect their business and client information on their network.

365 iT SOLUTIONS is Toronto’s leading IT consulting firm delivering Managed IT ServicesIT Support ServicesIT Outsourcing ServicesTech Support Services and Cloud Services.

With our Complimentary Network and Security Assessment, we deliver a complete picture of your IT infrastructure including how your technology matches your business goals, gaps in security and how technology can help increase profits and productivity.

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Windows 10 migration and what you need to know

Microsoft Windows 10 is here and the race is on to migrate away from Windows 7 or Windows 8. Here are all points based on Windows 10 migration and what you need to know.

Many CIOs, IT managers and IT consultants are excited regarding the promise of free upgrades however upgrade can cause many disruptions when it comes to implementing a Windows 10 migration. The are many Windows 10 migration tools available however each of them come with potential issues to companies including downtime or conflict with an existing legacy software.

Windows 10 Migration

Windows 10 has had a great start with Windows 10 has being tested by 60 per cent of IT departments surveyed and 40 per cent planning on rolling it out in 2015. Another 74 per cent is targeting to have complete adoption by 2017.  This are better numbers than Windows 7 and Windows 8 experienced. A study carried out at IP EXPO Europe 2015 found that 54 per cent of companies were already using Windows 10.

Should you upgrade to Windows 10?

Windows 10 is an improvement over previous Windows versions with a range of new features for organizations. According to Microsoft, it is the most secure operating system ever as it offers enterprise data protection as well as helps employees securely login to applications, websites and networks without the need for a password. There is also Windows Defender that tackles malware and other security concerns.

What is a major change in Windows 10?

One major change introduced within Windows 10 is the introduction of continuous updates. This is a double edged sword as not all companies will be prepared for this as it may cause unforeseen issues however it allows to streamline operations across multiple devices including computers, notebooks, smartphones and tablets therefore allowing remote mobile workers to take full advantage of cloud computing.

What are some potential issues with Windows 10?

The end result will be a positive experience with Windows 10 however there will always be issues with migrations. Companies must consider issues around security and data protection as no one wants to be in the news regarding data breaches and hacker attacks.

Other challenges include the need to maintain user profiles, keeping track of user authored data and any potential problems with the user experience, which should be measured before, during and after the migration has taken place.

When a company is building a Windows 10 migration plan, they need to ensure they do not leave themselves in a vulnerable position so they must ensure they have adequate planning and backups in place.

How do you prepare for a Windows 10 migration?

You must prepare and plan out migrations to mitigate the risks of any potential issues occurring will help your company in the long term.

Here are three key points to consider when building your Windows 10 migration plan:

  1. Audit your business apps and eliminate ones that are rarely used or taking up space.
  2. Remaining apps must be rationalised and virtualized to cut back on licensing if possible.
  3. Update your corporate IT policy to enable Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).

A big key point also includes do not rush the process as this takes careful planning. There are many things to consider including software applications, web applications, user data and other unique issues according to your business.

Is your business ready for a Windows 10 migration?

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USB flash drives and social experiment equal security risk

A recent social experiment put out 200 USB flash drives in public resulting in concerning cybersecurity risks to devices including personal and employer computer equipment.

This social experiment was put on by CompTIA that is an information technology (IT) industry leader representing global interests of IT professionals and leading IT industry experts.

Their social experiment resulted in 17 percent of employees plugged the found USB flash drive into their device. Users then proceeded to engage in several potentially risky behaviors: opening text files, clicking on unfamiliar web links or sending messages to a listed email address. With the rise of cybersecurity threats, this is a clear indication of the growing issue organizations face with employees who practice unsafe cybersecurity habits and put your employer at risk.

Employees must be aware that the first line of defense is your employees and training. Unfortunately over 45 percent of 1,200 users surveyed stated that they do not receive any form of cybersecurity training at work or another 15 percent rely on paper-based training manuals. Training employees should be a priority on cybersecurity best practices.

Some other interesting facts regarding the survey and the importance of cybersecurity best practices:

  • 94 percent of full-time employees regularly connect their laptop or mobile devices to public Wi-Fi networks.
  • 69 percent handle work-related data while connecting to public WI-FI networks.
  • 38 percent of employees use the same password for work and personal purposes.
  • 63 percent of employees use their work mobile device for personal activities.
  • 41 percent of employees do not know what two-factor authentication is.
  • 37 percent of employees only change their work passwords annually or not at all.

How can you protect your business from these threats?

  • Work with you IT department or IT consulting team to come up with company security policies.
  • Implement a USB policy blocking employee access to the USB port. The port will still allow for devices to connect to the port however no data transfer.
  • Implement a proper company password policy resulting in a mandatory password changes every 90-120 days. Also the password should be complex and cannot be reused.
  • Consult with your IT consulting team and find a proper two-factor authentication to protect your business.
  • Educate and train all employees on company IT policies as well as cyber security threats as they are your front line of defense to protect your business.

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365 iT SOLUTIONS delivers a wide variety of services in the healthcare industry including Managed IT ServicesIT Support ServicesIT Outsourcing ServicesTech Support Services and Cloud Services.

Our Complimentary Network and Security Assessment will give you a complete picture of your IT infrastructure including how your technology matches your business goals, gaps in security and how technology can help increase profits and productivity.

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Healthcare industry security threats have risen over 300%

A recent study from a web security firm has shown that the healthcare industry security threats have risen over the past years compared to other industries.

During 2014, they identified a 600 percent increase in cyber-attacks against hospitals within a 10-month period. They also examined the cyber-criminal attacks and uncovered information regarding effective cyber-attack tools, techniques and are impacting the healthcare industry.

Here are some interesting facts regarding security threats on the healthcare industry:

  • The healthcare industry has seen 340 percent more security threats than any other industry.
  • Medical information is 10 times more valuable on the black market making healthcare a major target.
  • Healthcare organizations carry a proliferation of electronic health records which creates a data-heavy environment giving cyber criminals an enormous area to attack.
  • The healthcare industry is four times more likely to be impacted by advanced malware.
  • With limited budgets, lack of IT skills or internal IT department, many healthcare organizations lack the skill and knowledge necessary to detect, mitigate and prevent cyber-attacks.
  • The healthcare industry is 74 percent more likely to be impacted by phishing schemes as there is a lack of effective security awareness training and employee security training.
  • Healthcare is more likely to be impacted by CryptoWall and Dyre. Dyre malware can cause a significant amount of data loss while CryptoWall encrypts and holds your data hostage.

Are you in healthcare and is your business exposed to cyber criminals?

365 iT SOLUTIONS delivers a wide variety of services in the healthcare industry including Managed IT ServicesIT Support ServicesIT Outsourcing ServicesTech Support Services and Cloud Services.

 

Our Complimentary Network and Security Assessment will give you a complete picture of your IT infrastructure including how your technology matches your business goals, gaps in security and how technology can help increase profits and productivity.