January 2015

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2015-resolutionsNew Year’s Security Resolutions

It was a year of security breaches and incidents in 2014. The start of this year is good for goals and resolutions, so here is a short list of some security resolutions for 2015.

1. Password Security – This is still one of the most vulnerable parts of your security program. Most systems just have a simple username and password that are available to anyone on the internet. If this system has critical data, usernames/passwords just are not good enough anymore. You should look to some sort of two-factor authentication system or use a unique certificate to identify you. That way, if someone happens to compromise a password, they still have to have a 2 factor token to gain access to the system.

2. Firewall Rule Review – You should review your firewall rules at least once a year, if not more often. This would be a good time of year to remove old rules and objects that are not needed anymore.

3. Firewall/Security Log Review – This is something that is not done as often as it should be. You should be reviewing the firewall logs daily and if that is too much, at least weekly. This will allow you to have a good understanding of what normal traffic is and thus better detect traffic that is not normal.

4. Block File Downloads at the Firewall – Most people do not need to be downloading file types such as .exe and .dll. These file types should be blocked at the firewall. This will help prevent things such as cryptolocker or a number of internet spyware and malware from being installed on your system.

5. Patch – Not only are operating systems patches important, but so are patches for things such as Java and Adobe Acrobat. A major number of security breaches have been in third party software. These are important to patch.

January is a good time to start implementing some of these best practices. Help make 2015 a better year of security for your business.

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Vulnerability Scan

A vulnerability scan can help identify what vulnerabilities exist on your network. It is wise to run a vulnerability scan at least once a year to help identify what potential vulnerabilities exist and to then patch them. A hacker/attacker of your network will be using a similar tool, if not one of the first tools they use. If you need a vulnerability scan, feel free to contact TBJ.

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smartwatchReview: Smartwatches

According to the news, 2015 is going to be the year for the smartwatch. But statistics say that 2 months after being purchased, 80 percent of them are sitting in a desk drawer. Personally, I give the smartwatch a big thumbs down. If you want to receive notifications and texts on it, you have to be a certain distance from your phone. That means you will have to have your phone with you if you want the watch to do anything. A smartphone literally has all the same functions of the smartwatch, so why pay a couple hundred dollars for a useless device? Taking calls is also a problem – do you put it on speaker phone or plug in headphones? It is way easier to just use your phone and avoid the awkwardness. Another problem is texting – you have to type on a 2.4 inch screen with only one hand. That is much more difficult than using your phone, where you can use both hands with a much larger screen. Overall, I do not think that this product will succeed and will turn out to be a flop.

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chromecastGadget of the Month – Chromecast

I have been wanting to test this for quite some time and I finally purchased a Chromecast. The cost is only $35 dollars so it is very inexpensive. The Chromecast provides you with the ability to project what is on your various devices wirelessly to the TV. You can display streaming services such as Netflix, YouTube, and tabs from your Google Chrome web browser or your entire desktop. This is a very easy way to make your TV a big monitor or stream content to your TV.

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worldmapUse Your Firewall to Block Bad Countries

With the news of Korea and other nation states hacking, it might be time to block countries on your firewall. If you do not do business with foreign countries, it is probably time to block countries such as China, Russia, and North Korea from accessing your online resources. This will help protect yourself from being attacked. While this will not prevent 100% of the attacks, it is a good start and an easy thing to do on most firewalls. If you want more information on how to accomplish this, feel free to contact us.

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sleepIQSleep Number’s SleepIQ® Kids Bed

Sleep Number has produced a kids smart-bed that lets parents know when their kids aren’t asleep. The bed also allows parents to track their child’s sleep cycle – it will give a number 1 through 100 based on how the child slept through the night. It uses pressure sensors that are built into the mattress. These sensors can track movement, breathing, and record the child’s heart rate. The data that is collected by the bed is available to the parent on a smartphone app. The app also features an alert that will let the parent know when a kid has gotten out of bed in the middle of the night. It will cost about $1,000, and be available in twin, full, and queen sizes. They will be available later this year.

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2015-planningFinal Thought of the Month – Planning for 2015

With the New Year upon us, its a good time to plan for 2015. If your budget runs the calendar year, this is the perfect month to sit down and plan out the IT projects and upgrades for the year.

Why plan? If you plan, you will keep the stress down on your staff and the end users you serve. It also allows you to determine if you have enough resources or if you are going to have to outsource some of the work. If you have a plan, you will not be attempting to fit a bunch of projects in at the end of the year or during the summer when people like to take vacation.

You also need to purchase equipment. Planning ahead will make sure you have the equipment onsite in enough time to complete the project. You also might be in-between model releases and if you are, you might want to wait the extra month to get the next generation device.

A few hours or days of planning will help you in the long run.

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