Is Blockchain Coming to Your Neighborhood?

Is Blockchain Coming to Your Neighborhood?

Since 2008, the cryptocurrency Bitcoin has been in the news. Not only that, its underlying technology called Blockchain has become better known as an emerging technological trend. According to a COMPTIA brief citing research by Gartner, this technology is expected to grow in 2018 and beyond, with blockchain spending to reach a project $20 billion in 2024 and 2025. Is Blockchain for your business? Read on to learn more. More Than Just Cryptocurrency In an article in the Los Angeles Times from earlier this year, blockchain was tested by a major retailer in an effort to prevent further outbreaks of foodborne illness from contaminated produce. In a pilot test of the emerging technology, it was found that the path of a product through the supply chain could be tracked, from farm to shelf, and at all points in between. The tracking took only seconds, in contrast to the usual process which takes nearly a week. What is Blockchain? The definition of blockchain is “a technology that uses encryption to link a continuous series of records.” Instead of the data being centrally located or else not being trackable at all, it is distributed among multiple users, all of whom have access to a “distributed ledger” of actions on the data. Each participant has their own piece of the data and is connected to each of the other participants. This new technology, which we are hearing more about in 2018 and beyond, can help participants reach consensus while keeping data secure. For many businesses, blockchain has the potential to streamline daily business processes while ensuring compliance to cybersecurity regulations. The Role...
Processing Credit Cards? Make PCI-DSS Compliance Part of Your Network Security Plan

Processing Credit Cards? Make PCI-DSS Compliance Part of Your Network Security Plan

With the holiday season coming up soon, many businesses, both brick and mortar and online, will process a great deal of customer credit card information. This information will be stored and transmitted and must be protected from loss or compromise. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) is the standard for compliance and is important year-round. Is your business compliant? If not, how can your business reach that standard? Read on to find out more about this important issue. Not Just a Compliance Issue According to a COMPTIA resource, compliance is connected with overall network security. If your business is security-minded, then compliance is a natural next step. Many retail companies must protect their customers’ credit card payment information, and PCI-DSS is a common-sense standard based on good IT security practices. With the possibility of a data breach being very real, having a strong network security policy is a must. Security is part of the operational risks of a business, and PCI-DSS compliance lessens the risk of lost or compromised data. The Human Element in Compliance Not only should the business’s technological components be able to meet the standard, but employees should know best practices for keeping customer financial data safe. With companies providing devices for employees, as well as the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiatives in many companies, mobile security is an important aspect of complying with PCI-DSS. The COMPTIA guide cites the Ponemon Institute’s finding that 62% of lost or stolen devices contained sensitive corporate data; lagging behind at just 39% is the percentage of businesses with security in place. Employees trained to follow the...
Make Backup a Key Component of Your Disaster Recovery Plan

Make Backup a Key Component of Your Disaster Recovery Plan

With so many potential hazards–natural and man-made–that can disrupt your business, now is the right time to develop and implement a disaster recovery and business continuity plan. Not only can floods, fires or earthquakes disrupt daily life, they can interrupt your business for  extended periods of time. Also, data can be lost and compromised due to cyberattacks or human error. Businesses that suffer a data loss run the risk of going out of business. A key component of disaster preparedness and recovery is backup– making sure your company’s data is stored and accessible. Read on to learn about the role of backup in keeping your business in business. Backup is All About Recovery The purpose of keeping your company’s data backed up is to be able to access it if business operations are interrupted, whether by a natural disaster or a system breakdown. While there are on-premise methods of backup, such as collation or putting the data on tape or disks, many businesses look to the cloud to keep their data available. That way, when on-premise systems are down, files and applications can be accessed without interruption. Consider Mission-Critical Systems First What are the functions your business uses most often? How much downtime can your system handle? Are unified communications (phone and email), or collaboration (file sharing, for example) key components of your business? What about customer databases associated with e-commerce? Make sure to back up those applications and their associated data first. Such applications are best distributed among multiple network backbones, and in geographically diverse data centers. This redundancy can allow one system to take up where another...
The Business Risks of Cybersecurity

The Business Risks of Cybersecurity

With daily business processes as well as innovative new technologies like the Cloud Computing, keeping your company’s data and systems safe is a top priority. Damages from cybercrime, in the form of lost revenue, continue to mount; in the next few years, the cost could reach as much as $6 trillion a year. In daily business activities, companies gather, store and use a great deal of customer data. Employees, thanks to Software as a Service (SaaS), can now work anytime, anywhere, accessing company data from outside the office. Both your technology and your employees need to be ready for multiple threats to the security of your network. Read on to learn more about how to protect your business’ revenue and reputation and keep the business running smoothly. Knowing and Guarding Against Cyber Threats Cyber threats come from both inside your company and outside and can affect businesses of all sizes. Not only can malware and viruses attack your system and steal and/or destroy company data, lack of understanding of threats by employees can compromise the safety of your systems. Be sure to have the latest definitions of your anti-virus and anti-malware definitions up to date. Along with these protections, establish a culture of security. This should work from management downward and emphasize that everyone has a role in keeping your systems safe and your business productive. Keep an Eye on Your Network Another way to keep your business running smoothly is to monitor your network. Network monitoring can be done off-site, 24 hours a day, and can spot and eliminate threats to your security. It can keep even small...
Who’s Monitoring Your Network?

Who’s Monitoring Your Network?

A business’ network is relied upon heavily for many daily functions, and there are many places problems can occur. According to CompTIA, four leading security concerns are attacks from ransomware and malware, viruses that can get into your network and destroy data, and hacking attacks from cybercriminals. Along with these, there is also the possibility of outages caused by poorly-functioning circuits, and these outages result in lost productivity and revenue. Network monitoring can find and resolve these problems before they cause damage. Read on to learn about the role of network monitoring. Why You Should Monitor Your Network Network monitoring is a proactive way of detecting threats to the security of your network, resolving them before they cause serious problems. This can save your company both time and money, when network monitoring is part of an overall managed services plan. Possible cyber attacks can be prevented, thereby protecting your company from data loss and compromise of reputation. Not only that, but circuit monitoring can find bottlenecks that slow down your system and cause data loss and leakage. Access to your network can be tracked, finding unauthorized access by former employees, or social media usage that consumes a great deal of bandwidth. The Advantages of Remote Network Monitoring By having your IT service provider monitor your network remotely, your business can rest easy knowing that issues are caught and fixed without a trip to your office and can be fixed before data is compromised or systems are slowed down. This helps keep IT costs down by preventing problems before they get out of hand. Your network is protected from viruses...
Considering Cloud Computing?

Considering Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing has become more and more popular over the last several years, with that popularity continuing into 2018 and 2019. According to a report by the International Data Corporation (IDC), public cloud services will grow from nearly $70b to more than $141b in 2019. SaaS is likely to be the key consumption model for Cloud Services, and Telecommunications is expected to be the fastest-growing vertical industry. According to COMPTIA, half of all small to medium-sized businesses report having 31% to 60% of their IT functions in the cloud environment. What is cloud computing, and what are its benefits? Read on to learn more about this technology. More Access for Predictable Cost Cloud computing is an Internet-based model of computing, on a pay-per-use basis, with benefits to organizations large and small. Using the Cloud saves costs, partly by changing a capital expense to an operating expense. Businesses no longer need to replace aging infrastructure, but can move their data, systems and applications to a subscription-based model like Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or Software as a Service (SaaS). Businesses, at least in the public cloud environment, can share common system resources (hardware, software, operating system and application database). Usage monitoring and a utility billing model keeps the costs predictable. Cloud computing increases employee productivity by giving the business a common interface, allowing employees to work outside the office, and outside traditional office hours. Another function of the cloud is data backup, allowing the company to have data offsite for easier backup and recovery in case of a disaster. What To Consider Before Moving to The Cloud With all these...
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