Twelve Key Questions You Need to Ask About Your Computer Security for Your Home or Business

Security technology is only a part of an overall security plan. If you own a small business or a home-based business, or if you’ve been tasked with implementing security at your organization, developing a comprehensive security plan should be a very important part of your overall security strategy. Get the information you need to get started on the right track! In the computer/internet security game, the best move is one of Prevention! Prevention! Prevention!

With that in mind, here are the twelve questions you need to be asking, or, at least, be thinking about if you’re serious about preventing or stopping security risks, threats, and attacks:

1. Do I have a solid security policy or strategy?

If you don’t, begin immediately to get sample security plans, policies, and best practices for your business and/or home.

2. Where would I go for key information and news on keeping your information private?

Search the internet for managed security services. Ask if they provide a free computer test to assess your pc’s level of vulnerability. Ask if they provide the latest tips to keep your privacy and protect your personal information and that of your business. Or simply – ask me.

3. Does my disaster recovery plan include redundant back-up and data recovery systems?

Understand what a good data back up system is and how to best recover from a disaster.

4. Do I know how to create safe passwords?

Learn how to write virtually un-crackable passwords.

5. How do I train my employees or family members to be secure?

Get all leading research on what to teach about security.

6. What do I do if my employees are my biggest security risk?

Learn all about social engineering and insider hacking.

7. What or who is a hacker?

A person who uses and/or creates software technology to break into the computers of individuals, businesses, government, and organizations for personal gain is known as a hacker. Often after he, she, or they hack into a computer, they can control it secretly by remote, making it a “zombie computer”.

8. How does he (or she or they) break into home and business computers?

If they don’t have the break-in software, they can buy it off the black market, or create it, themselves. With this technology, they use their malicious software to look for holes in the computers of their targeted victims.

9. To what extent might my home or business computers be vulnerable to hackers, hacker’s tools, viruses, etc.?

You will never know unless you take the time to test your computer to see what holes are open, by what back doors (up to 65,000 portals) are malware entering your computer.

10. What is “drive-by hacking”?

Because wireless Internet access points have become popular for homes and businesses, home and business computers have now become a major target for hackers. In this new phenomenon, called “dive-by hacking”, hackers simply take their laptop computers in their cars and drive through business parks or residential neighborhoods remotely scanning for open wireless networks.

11. Would I know if someone tries to hack into my computer?

Depending on the security measures you have on your computer and the sophistication of the hacker’s software program, you might or might not be aware. Using keylogging programs, these cybercriminals can secretly see and record every keystroke you enter on your computer, thereby gaining access to all your private and personal information.

12. I have all the security measures, anti-virus, anti-spyware, and firewall I need. Can I still be hit by hackers and other pc-disabling attacks, risks, and threats?

Again, depending on the security measures you have on your computer and the sophistication of the hacker’s software program, your computer or computers might or might not be compromised. Remember: Cybercriminals are superintelligent criminals! They somehow always seem to stay one step ahead of authorities and anti-cybercriminal software.

Obviously if you have to ask these questions, then you need to take immediate steps to plug the holes and cover the gaps.

So, here are some steps you can take immediately to implement, increase, or improve your present security measures:

* Learn all you can about hackers and the tools and methods they use to invade your privacy and cause problems. Subscribe to a comprehensive source of Internet security research, news and information for small and mid-sized businesses and organizations, or other professionals, that want to increase their level of security and build on their current technologies and efforts.

* Take advantage of the research already done. Get access to information about the leading topics in the security field, including hackers and hacker tools, viruses, data back up, writing good passwords, government and legal issues, protecting from insider hacking – and more.

* Stay current with important security news developments. Work with a managed security firm that maintains an entire library of the most beneficial news articles, white papers and other links that you can use to maintain an excellent awareness of cyber-security issues on an ongoing basis.

* Need help creating a security plan for your organization or business? Take advantage of professional security consulting and training both by telephone consulting or on-site visits. Get vulnerability assessments, employees training, security implementation, and much more.

Because cyberpredators and other cybercriminals are becoming smarter and more sophisticated in their operations, they are real threats to your personal security and privacy. Your money, your computer, your family, and your business are all at risk.

These cybercriminals leave you with three choices :

1. Do nothing and hope their attacks, risks, and threats don’t occur on your computer.

2. Do research and get training to protect yourself, your family, and your business.

3. Get professional help to lockdown your system from all their attacks, risks, and threats.

Remember: When you say “No!” to hackers and spyware, everyone wins! When you don’t, we all lose!

© MMVII, Etienne A. Gibbs, MSW, The Internet Safety Advocate and Educator

Business Travel Security Good Practice

Travelling, especially abroad, inevitably takes people out of their familiar environment. Additionally, when travelling for business purposes the travellers themselves often have to contend with a busy schedule and the effects of jet lag, all in a sometimes alien climate and foreign language. Given the pressures on businesses to be efficient it is very often the case that business travel planning is rushed and business travel security is neglected or ignored completely. It is only when an incident occurs that the importance of business travel security becomes apparent and by then it is too late.

It is always better to prevent problems than have to deal with them and observing business travel security good practice can provide peace of mind and allow business people to focus on their core business tasks. This brings benefits to both the employers and travellers themselves. The employers can show that they have exercised a duty of care towards their staff and be confident that they have taken reasonable steps to protect their company assets, human, physical and critical information. The individual business traveller can benefit from enhanced personal safety as well as ensuring the protection of their personal data by following simple business security good practice.

Business travel security good practice starts with good planning and so the things you do before departure can have as much effect on the security implications for your trip as the things you do when you are there.

Depending on the nature of your trip, the budget you have available, and time constraints, it may be sensible to obtain the services of a specialist business travel security consultant, but if for whatever reason this is not possible there are some things you can do, prior to departure, to help ensure your security and safety.

Obtain as much information as possible about your destination, its laws, customs and climate. This will allow you to travel without attracting too much attention to yourself. You should also obtain a specific threat assessment relevant to your destination to give you advanced warning of the type of potential problems you may encounter. The depth of information required in the threat assessment will depend on the destination itself, clearly more detail will be required if visiting one of the worlds terrorism hotspots, but the threat of crime is universal. The UK and US government provide free online advice for their nationals travelling abroad and local newspapers, often available online and in English are also a good source of destination crime information.

Prior to travelling you should sanitize your laptop, mobile phone and any other electronic device you plan to take, removing all personal details and critical commercial data. In a perfect world you would leave your regular devices at home and take a clean device on the trip, but if that is not possible then backing up critical data before travelling is essential, as is using a different password during the trip. Also ensure that anti-spyware and virus protection on any devices you do take is current.

Business travel security good practice includes taking a copy of important documentation such as passport and driving licence prior to departure. Leave a copy at home and take another copy with you, but kept separate from the originals, this will be a great help in the event of loss or theft.

Set up an emergency protocol, to be enacted in the event of an incident and have this written down. This will give you a procedure to follow, crucial when you are in a stressful situation in an un-familiar environment. You should know emergency numbers at your destination as well as emergency contact numbers at your own organisation.

Taking care of business travel security properly should give you peace of mind and allow you to properly focus on the purpose of your trip, taking care of business.

Designing Cyber Security Measures Can Be Good For Business

A cyber security design business may not be the first thing most people think of when considering starting up their own online business, but in today’s world it can be much more lucrative than you might think. With more and more sectors of our society relying on digital media and the sharing of information, keeping that information safe is of utmost importance.

Think about it… right now everything from cars and planes to utility companies and governments are using computer systems to operate. Even the smallest glitch in the communication of information in those systems could bring entire communities to a standstill.

And, of course, this kind of cyber sensitivity holds true on a smaller scale as well. Small companies and even individuals with personal computers need to be sure that their information is safe at all times. Unfortunately, while everyone is jumping on the cyber bandwagon, very few users actually understand how the process works and what they need to do to keep their information safe.

This is where a trained IT professional can make a real difference. With specialized knowledge of how computer systems work, the kind of cyber threats that exist and how to guard against them, you could find the ideal niche with a cyber security design business. You can put your skills to use to help others feel safe when they entrust their important information to the digital world.

And there is plenty to defend them from. There are almost as many specific kinds of potential cyber attacks as there are applications for digital technology. It seems that as quickly as a new device or software is created, hackers and other cyber criminals are figuring out ways to exploit it for their own good. When you consider how ill-prepared the average consumer is to defend against these attacks, then you begin to see just how wide the scope of this problem is.

It can be overwhelming to consider the possibilities: phishing, back door attacks, spoofing, tampering and a host of other malicious attacks can be perpetrated at any time. For businesses, the stakes are even higher because not only is their information at risk but potentially so too are their customers. They cannot afford to take any chances and so they’ll want to ensure their systems are secure.

With the proper training, you can step in and offer them that security they’re looking for, making suggestions about how best to protect their information from attack. One such step is to carefully analyze any new program to identify what its vulnerabilities are before they can become exploited. Knowing where the weak spots are makes it that much easier to defend them.

Of course that’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of security, but your training and knowledge should help you come at the subject from every angle and develop the best possible plan for each individual customer. Now you can see why a cyber security design business could be your best opportunity to put your IT skills to work for you.

Business Continuity Planning: Your Company’s "Safety Net"

The Importance of Business Continuity Planning

Business Continuity Planning can offer protection from many potential risks that can threaten your company by disrupting critical business processes. These risks include traditional disasters like earthquakes, fires, floods, and tornados, as well as risks from terrorism (both physical and cyberterrorism), cybercrime, computer failures, theft and employee sabotage. Any one of these events can be extremely disruptive and detrimental to your business, yet all of the potential damage from each of them can be substantially minimized through business continuity management.

A business continuity management program is likely to increase your company’s profitability as the primary focus of business continuity management is to minimize business process disruptions and financial loss during major and minor events. This translates into improved reliability and productivity for your company and consequently, a competitive advantage and increased market share.

Business continuity management is a relatively new term that is often thought of as interchangeable with “disaster recovery”. In fact, business continuity management entails so much more. Business continuity management includes disaster recovery, business recovery, business resumption, contingency planning, emergency and crisis management.

The Benefits of Business Continuity Planning

  • Identify and resolve structural problems within an organization.
  • Gain a clearer understanding of your business processes.
  • Address the “Backlog Trap” scenario before it occurs.
  • Streamline business processes to insure easy recovery in the event of a crisis.
  • Identify bureaucratic and inefficient structures.
  • Create fast and effective communications systems.
  • Establish minimum service levels for mission critical activities.
  • Cost effectively focus your IT budgets for maximum resilience.
  • Identify and prioritize critical business data and storage requirements.