28 Jun 2019

4 Reasons to Use a Multi-Cloud Strategy for Your Data

Data Management on Multiple Cloud Platforms

Plenty of IT providers have been moving toward multi-cloud strategies, both internally and for their clients. Why is that? We’ll dive deeper into the benefits of multi-cloud strategies. But first, let’s define exactly what they are.

Multi-cloud strategies provide data management across several cloud platforms. This may include any cloud deployment model, including private cloud, public cloud, community cloud, or hybrid cloud services. The multi-cloud approach prevents single-vendor dependency. That means more options so you can really optimize your digital systems for your business. That’s just one benefit, though.

According to CIO, “the drivers behind the trend are crystal clear. Benefits, such as avoiding vendor lock-in, cost savings, performance optimization, a lowered risk of DDoS attacks, as well as improved reliability, are all critical as businesses jockey for position in today’s new digital economy.”

 

The Top 4 Benefits of Multi-Cloud Services

 

1. Security

There are pros and cons to security in multi-cloud strategies. It’s not necessarily safer overall to use a multi-cloud strategy. Just like in a house, multiple entry points provide more room for intruders to get in. However, when you have your business spread out over multiple platforms, it also becomes more difficult for intruders to take everything. Plus, disaster recovery is often faster and more effective in this scenario.

 

2. Leverage

Single-service cloud providers hold a lot of control when you only use one. You’re at their mercy, and you often don’t have a fast alternative. That means switching to new cloud technology can cost you a lot of downtime.

Meanwhile, when you use different cloud services, you get to keep more control within your business. From a cost-savings perspective, that’s a major advantage. If one provider suddenly skyrockets their pricing, you can quickly make a switch to your other providers. The same goes for providers that add or remove services, or make significant platform changes.

 

3. Performance Optimization

Working with multiple cloud providers offers a ton of benefits for businesses. It’s not the right system for everyone, but for those it does work for, it can easily optimize many different components of the business. That’s because you can custom fit features of different platforms to suit your operations, finances, R&D, CMS, CRM, and more.

Different aspects of your business may function better in distinct cloud environments. For example, Google could be optimized for your operations, while research might function better with Microsoft Azure’s cloud computing system.

 

4. Multi-Feature Functionality

In a lot of cases, when businesses try out software, it’s like all the ladies of the kingdom trying on Cinderella’s glass slipper. Machine learning can only go so far in some cases, leaving you with single cloud solutions that only work half the time.

A multi-cloud environment combats this by giving you more selection for the features you need or combining features of different systems to integrate your own custom solution. You can keep most of your data in your data center, but shop out different features of other solutions.

 

Getting Started with a Multi-Cloud Database Strategy

It’s important to have the right developers and IT technicians in place to help you manage your cloud services.

If you want to find out what a multi-cloud strategy would look like for your business, book a consultation with Alt-Tech’s IT professionals and software developers. We’ll map out your best options, your best and worst case scenarios, and a cost-benefit analysis to help you decide if it’s the right move. Then, we’ll help you implement your custom solution.

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14 Jun 2019

3 Tips to Destroy Sensitive Data & Information

Data destruction used to be simple. You’d take your files to the office shredder, toss them in, and they’d be effectively destroyed.

Unfortunately, it’s much harder to destroy electronic files. You might think you’ve completely destroyed your files by emptying the trash folder, but that’s usually not enough to permanently delete files from your computer. Emptying your recycling bin appears to delete sensitive information, but really, all you’re doing is erasing the file’s “easy to find” location. It still exists on your computer.

 

Why Can You Still Recover Files?

Have you ever felt that moment of panic when you accidentally delete an important document? Or when you can’t find Monday morning’s presentation? We’ve all accidentally deleted files before. That’s why our computer systems are designed to protect our files. According to How to Geek, this is how it works:

Your operating system keeps track of the files you have on your computer with pointers. These pointers show your computer where each file lives. When you delete a file, there’s free disk space where the old file once lived. That space can now be used to store a new file. However, until your computer saves another file in that free space, the previous file still has a footprint there and can be recovered.

 

Why is it Done this Way?

For speed and recovery. Deleting a file’s pointer and marking the space as available is a much quicker process than rewriting or writing over large files. It also means we have the chance to recover files if they’re accidentally deleted.

So how can you permanently delete documents from your computer?

 

  1. Overwrite It

When you delete sensitive files, they can still be recovered from your hard drive. Fortunately, there’s a simple way to prevent recovery: by overwriting your sensitive data.

Overwriting is usually done with a specialized program or software. When you’re overwriting, you’ll be literally writing over sensitive information with unimportant, meaningless data. The more times a file is overwritten, the harder it is to decode. There’s still some debate about how many times you need to overwrite to effectively wipe the file, but it’s generally recommended that you overwrite a file 3 times, if not more.

 

  1. Degaussing

Degaussing is a process where your hard drive is passed through a powerful magnetic field to make it completely unreadable. While this method doesn’t actually delete your files, the magnetics scramble the magnetic fields of your electronics to the point that data recovery is nearly impossible.

Unfortunately, you can’t just run a fridge magnet over your hard drive. This method requires you to use a trained professional to ensure the magnetic fields are properly shuffled. Which means it probably isn’t the go-to method for most small businesses.

 

  1. Destroy It

If you store sensitive information on a hard drive there’s one sure fire way to permanently destroy the data: physically destroy the hard drive. It’s kind of like shredding a paper document – except you’ll be shredding the electronics inside your hard drives.

Some companies offer this service for you, but it’s simple enough to do on your own. All you need to do is stop the electronics from running completely. You can do this by nailing through the drive, crushing it, or cutting it into pieces – however you can safely manage it. And this can be done for any electronic device, including memory cards or flash drives. The only downside? You’ve lost your entire storage device in the process!

It’s not the ideal destruction method for files, so if you’re about to head in this direction as a last resort, come see the professionals at Alt-Tech for a security consultation first. We can save you money and make sure all your sensitive files are securely stored or deleted.

 

To learn more about securely deleting files from your hard drive or if you need help recovering a file, schedule your free consult. We’re ready to help you with all your managed cyber security needs, big or small.

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24 May 2019

How to Prepare Your Business for a Phishing Scam

Working online comes with certain risks. There are computer viruses, malware, spyware, worms, Trojan horses, and ransomware – just to name a few. With all of these potential threats, how can you keep your company safe online?

According to a 2017 study, 90% of online attacks can be traced back to phishing scams. Even though so many attacks are related to phishing, many companies still aren’t sure how to identify and avoid phishing scams. To help, we’ve put together some of the best ways to identify and prepare for a phishing attack.

 

What is a Phishing Scam?

A phishing scam is one of the most common cyber attacks we face. In a phishing scam, the hacker will usually disguise themselves as a reputable company and contact you through email. The phishing message will ask you to click a link or download an attachment, which allows the hacker access to your personal information like credit card numbers, account numbers, login credentials, and other sensitive company information. This also leaves you vulnerable to malware attacks.

While phishing emails are most common, there has been a spike in phishing attacks using text messages and direct phone calls. We’ve also seen an increase in spear phishing, which is a targeted phishing attempt directed at and personalized for a specific individual. These attacks are typically geared toward identity theft, so make sure to pay close attention to suspicious texts and phone calls.

 

How Can You Detect Phishing?

Phishing emails used to be littered with spelling errors and obvious mistakes that made them easy to identify. Scammers have gotten a little smarter over the years. Fortunately, there are still a couple simple ways you can detect a phishing attack before it strikes.

 

Read Closely

While it isn’t common anymore, it’s still best to double check all emails for spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, or other red flags. These are all signs of a phishing scam. Remember, if an email seems ‘phishy’, it probably is.

 

Look For Urgency

A phishing scam will usually want you to act now. Maybe it’ll say that your account is about to be closed or that there’s a limited time offer. Either way, their goal is to make you feel as if you need to act quickly. Remember, most companies won’t close your account without ample warning, so don’t panic. This urgency could indicate a phishing scam.

 

Double Check the Information

While it might look like it comes from a legitimate site, a phishing email will be coming from a less than reputable source. You can verify the legitimacy of the email by looking at the sender’s email address, the phone number and contact information, by contacting the legitimate institution to verify, or by typing the alleged web address in a search engine.

 

Protect Your Business

The best way to protect yourself from phishing scams is through preparation!While you can usually identify a phishing scam using the tips above, it’s still best to have a little extra protection in place.

 

Update and Install Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Software

You can keep your personal information more secure by keeping your computer’s operating system and anti-virus tools completely up to date. And this helps with more than just phishing attacks. Having anti-virus and anti-malware in place will help protect your business from all kinds of online attacks.

 

Educate, Educate, Educate!

Your employees are your best defense against online attacks. To get them on board, train every employee on what a phishing scam is, how to detect it, and what the proper response is.

 

By following these steps, you can help prevent phishing scams from harming your business. If you want to improve your business’ online security, call Alt-Tech’s security team and learn how we can help protect your business online.

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14 May 2019

Is it Safe to Use Public WiFi?

Using public WiFi is like having a conversation in public. You never really know who is listening in. Having someone eavesdrop on your conversation probably isn’t a big deal. Having someone gain access to all your computer files, however, is a real security issue.

If you’re on a public network, someone may be able to access your personal information, passwords, and more. We do our best to protect our work and home networks with WiFi protected setups, passwords, and even hiding our networks. But, many of us don’t worry about WiFi security on public networks in the same way.

While you can’t guarantee public WiFi security, there are a few ways you can help keep your information secure on public networks.

Know Which Networks to Trust

The best way to stay safe when using free Internet is to know the network. You’re going to have to use your best judgement for this one, but usually the best networks are the ones that seem the most trustworthy.

Familiar networks are probably safer than ones you’ve never heard of or used. Some WiFi networks are much more secure than others. For example, you probably shouldn’t trust the network named “FREE WIFI HERE”. The WiFi at a well-known coffee shop, like Starbucks, however, is probably fairly secure.

Only Use Secure Networks

Unsecure WiFi networks are ones that have no security protocols in place to stop people from accessing them. If you don’t need to enter a password to join a network, it probably isn’t very secure. Using unsecure networks can leave you vulnerable to “man in the middle” attacks. Of course no WiFi network is completely secure, but using networks with more security (like logins or passwords) are generally safer.

Don’t Connect Automatically

Many of us have our mobile devices configured to automatically connect to different WiFi networks. The problem is you have no way of controlling which wireless networks your device connects to. There are two options to mitigate this:

  1. Set your device to never automatically connect to WiFi networks
  2. Set your device up to ask you before it connects to unknown networks

Turn Off File Sharing

File sharing and AirDrop are incredibly convenient. You don’t want your computer to be automatically sharing things with strangers. Fortunately, you can avoid this by turning your file sharing off before you connect to a public network. Once your file sharing has been shut off, cyber criminals can’t just reach out and take your files.

Keep Your Computer’s Antivirus Updated

This may seem obvious, but it’s always best for your computer and antivirus software to be up to date. If you can take ten minutes and update your computer or install antivirus software, your system will be much more secure. Working on public networks without any protection increases your risk of cyber attack. If you plan on using public WiFi frequently, it’s best to have antivirus or antimalware on your computer.

Use a VPN

The best way to ensure public WiFi safety is to install a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on your device. VPN services encrypt your data and mask your IP address, keeping your information hidden. Installing a VPN hides your personal information from other people using the same network.

It always feels good to know you’re staying safe online. These easy tips will help you keep your data secure the next time you’re using a public WiFi network. Remember, if a network isn’t up to your security standards, don’t use it! You can always improve your online safety by investing in your own portable WiFi router or using your own hotspot.

Want to learn more about cyber security? Check out our recent post on the 5 Best Practices to Improve Cyber Security. Or get in touch with our team at Alt Tech to learn more about cyber security and get IT service you can count on!

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26 Apr 2019

Digital Disasters Happen: Do You Have a Cyber Attack Plan?

We live in an online age. As a business owner, you rely on your computer systems to keep your company running. Unfortunately, with an increased reliance on computer networks comes the increased risk of cyber security incidents.

You might think that data breaches, stolen credit card information, and ransomware attacks won’t happen to your business, but cyber criminals target businesses of all sizes in all industries. When disaster strikes, preparation can make a major difference in how these situations play out.

Why Do You Need to Be Prepared?

You might think that your company isn’t at risk of a cyber attack, but every business today faces the risk of a cyber attack. Cyber criminals target the information systems of any business. Annually, nearly 70% of Canadian organizations face some form of cyber attack. To guard against the threat of cyber attacks, many businesses will:

  • Increase online security
  • Educate employees
  • Have ongoing cyber monitoring
  • Stay on top of current cyber trends and threats
  • Invest in cyber insurance

These actions all help mitigate your risk, but sometimes risk management isn’t going far enough. Every business also needs a cyber plan. In case of a cyber attack, this action plan can guide your company through the aftermath.

Create an Incident Response Plan (IRP)

Cyber attack preparedness means having a plan in place. An Incident Response Plan (IRP) should help your incident response team know how to respond and react in the event of a cyber incident. This plan will need to be reviewed and refined over time, but it should generally:

  • Assess your business needs by considering your key assets, potential weak points, and what data is at risk. From this you can determine where to focus your plan and your security efforts.
  • State which employees or departments will look after potential incidents and what each team member’s role will be. This will help you train employees in case of an attack and help them know how to react during an event.
  • Set up a detection and monitoring system so you can catch malicious software as quickly as possible.
  • Define the difference between a major and minor incident and lay out the different processes for each.
  • Lay out recovery steps. Explain how you’re going to remove the infection and deal with the recovery actions. You’ll need to have several different scenarios laid out. Try creating general guidelines and considering the attacks you’re most likely to experience.
  • Decide on your follow-up actions. How will you explain to customers that their information has been compromised? What steps will you take with employees to help education and prevent future attacks?

This is a very general outline of an IRP; you’ll need to go more in-depth based on your specific business so that your team knows exactly how to respond, no questions asked. Having this plan ensures your team can act quickly in case of a cyber attack. Remember that every business faces unique cyber risks. So make sure to take the time to consider your businesses specific risks so you can tailor your IRP to your company’s needs.

 

While you never want a cyber incident to occur, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Having an incident response plan in place will help your business know how to respond and help you recover from an attack much faster than you would without it.

At Alt Tech, we can help protect your business from online attacks. From around the clock monitoring to data recovery, we help give you peace of mind online. Contact us today to find out more about putting a specific IRP in place for your business.

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12 Apr 2019

Why Your Organization Needs Vulnerability Management

From antivirus software to firewalls and VPNs you’ve done your best to ensure your company has incredible network security. But no matter how many security measures you put in place, there are still vulnerabilities in your network. One of the best ways to stay ahead of online threats is by regularly completing vulnerability assessments.

What is a Vulnerability Assessment?

A vulnerability assessment is a form of online risk management. Essentially, you run a network scan in order to identify any potential weak points in your network. Most vulnerability assessments will then rank the vulnerabilities according to the level of risk they pose. From that information you can make a plan for remediating and mitigating potential threats before your system is compromised.

Why Complete Vulnerability Testing?

Online threats and information security are a concern for all businesses today. So why wouldn’t you want to help improve your online security any way you could?

Vulnerability testing will find the gaps in your current security systems – hopefully before hackers do. This gives you an edge in protecting your business online. Some of the benefits of performing regular vulnerability assessments include:

  • Identifying security risks before they become a liability
  • Determining what devices face the most risk
  • Determining the level of risk your business faces
  • Creating an inventory of risks on every device
  • Establishing where you need to focus your cyber security efforts

Vulnerability testing can be an excellent way for you to assess and improve your business’ security online. But a vulnerability test is only an assessment, not a solution. You will most likely need to take action after your assessment to improve your business’ cyber security and put protections in place.

What to Do After Your Assessment

After your assessment, you can begin creating a vulnerability management plan for your business. Some of the basic steps to take following your vulnerability assessment include:

  • Looking at and ranking all the threats identified in your assessment according to the level of threat.
  • Deciding which vulnerabilities pose the greatest threat to your business. You can determine this by considering: which systems are affected; what data is at risk; what business functions are at risk; the ease of attack; and the potential damage.
  • Allocating your resources to fix the areas of greatest concern first.
  • Repairing the weakness so it’s no longer a concern.
  • Introducing new programs or changing current programs and practices to further prevent future vulnerabilities.
  • Having your business reassessed in the future.

When you’re creating your own vulnerability management process, remember that discovering vulnerabilities doesn’t mean you’ve solved the problem. A truly effective vulnerability management system goes beyond simply running scans on your system; it includes implementing steps to strengthen vulnerabilities.

Extra Considerations

When you begin looking at different vulnerability management tools there are a couple things to consider:

  • There are different types of assessments that focus on identifying vulnerabilities in different areas of your network. For example, vulnerability scans that focus on your host system, your network, or your database. When you’re choosing an assessment, make sure it’s the right one for your business.
  • They don’t actually test; they only assess. Vulnerability assessments don’t truly test the strength of your system. They’re simply there to identify and shed light on potential weaknesses. If you’re interested in assessing the identified weaknesses, you may be interested in penetration testing. In a penetration test, a trusted IT professional will actually attempt to hack your system. This will let you know how vulnerable your critical assets are to a hacker.

Do you want to stay on top of your network’s online security? Or are you interested in learning more about the benefits of vulnerability assessments? At Alt Tech, we have vulnerability solutions that will help you understand the threats your company faces. Contact Alt Tech today to begin employing our vulnerability management solutions and get better protection for your business systems in place today.

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22 Mar 2019

Choosing the Best File Storage Option for Your Business

Secure file storage used to mean keeping your files in a filing cabinet or in file boxes. With online storage, we now have greater security, storage, and sharing capabilities. For years now, the most effective storage facility for documents and files has been in the online cloud – but there are other options for you to consider. Here are some of the most popular file storage locations for your business.

Cloud Storage

Cloud storage has fast become the most popular way for individuals and businesses to store and share files. By using cloud storage, you’re able to work in real time with other people – anywhere, anytime, from any device. You also know your data is stored together in one place and that everyone is working on the most up to date versions, allowing you to actively collaborate with one another without the hassle of sending and saving documents. There’s also a fairly unlimited storage capacity. But the cloud isn’t without its flaws. There are some security workarounds and depending on how much info you need to store, you might end up paying a high monthly bill.

External Hard Drives

If you’ve already got your files saved in the cloud you might be wondering what the benefit of an external drive is. In the end, it comes down to security. If your files were to be wiped or compromised on a cloud-sharing program (which is unlikely, but possible), you would have a complete backup of your files on an external drive. There’s no need to connect to the Internet or even go online; it’s all right there waiting for you. While there’s always the risk that your disk drive can break down or become damaged, they’re an excellent resource to have as your backup to cloud storage.

Flash Drives

Flash drives aren’t usually the go-to for file storage or sharing anymore because of the amazing capabilities of cloud software, especially because flash memory and security are fairly limited. However, they’re excellent if you need to share a couple files between people or if you’re looking for a cheaper option. Just because they’re a little lower tech doesn’t mean they aren’t still a viable option. Similar to external hard drives, these are also an excellent option if you want a secondary backup for particularly important files on a cloud drive.

Deciding on Your Storage

When you’re deciding which of these methods is best for your business, be sure to consider the following:

  • Reliability. Can you trust this method to support your files for years to come? Are you going to be worried about losing files or causing major setbacks to your business?
  • Cost. Is this option the most cost effective? Does the cost equal the benefit your business will receive? Remember the most cost-effective storage method may not be the cheapest one.
  • Storage Capacity. How much storage does this option offer you? And how much storage do you need? You want to make sure that you have enough room to store current and future data.
  • Lifespan. Does the storage media have a limited lifespan? Will the technology you’re using quickly become obsolete or will it have some longevity?
  • Speed. How quickly does it operate? Do you have to wait a long time to upload or save files? And how long does it take to retrieve that data? You don’t want to be left waiting because of a slow storage method.
  • Security. Even when you’re looking at storage methods, data protection is still your first concern. Be sure that no matter what method you choose, your files are going to remain secure and protected.

Different data storage methods have different benefits. It’s always best to have a back-up, so choose a storage method that will give you full peace of mind.

Have questions about options for file storage in Edmonton? Need to know what’s going to work best for your business? Learn more about our data storage options, or contact Alt-Tech’s data storage experts for a consultation.

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08 Mar 2019

5 Best Practices to Improve Data Security

Cyber security starts internally. From new security solutions to software updates, there are plenty of ways you can help keep your company safe. So where to begin? We’ve put together the 5 best practices for you to implement to secure business data and give you some peace of mind.

1. Always Update!

When your computer gets that pop-up saying it’s time to update, it’s tempting to simply push the ‘later’ button. But you need to stop ignoring those updates! Updates improve information security by responding to current threats and fixing bugs. They address all the different security issues present in your computer. So by updating your computer, you’re actually keeping data protected without having to do any of the work.

2. Protect with Strong Passwords

One of the cheapest and easiest ways to keep your data safe is to have a strong password. Having simple or common passwords makes it easier for cyber criminals to access sensitive data. Fortunately, these data breaches are preventable by having your employees create strong passwords and regularly update their passwords.

There are a few easy ways to improve the strength of your password. For example, you can increase the length, include numbers, or include special characters. If you want to learn more about which passwords to avoid and creating strong passwords, check out our post on The Worst Passwords of 2018.

3. Keep an Eye Out For Phishing Scams

Phishing scams, ransomware, and other cyber attacks are something that all businesses have to deal with. You can’t stop these cyber threats entirely, but you can help reduce the risk of actually having your data stolen. The best way to stop sensitive information from being stolen through a cyber attack is to learn what to look for.

When you receive a phishing scam, it’ll probably look legitimate, but beware because they can cause a lot of damage. Typically phishing scams are emails that appear to be from a trustworthy source. They will ask you to follow a link or to provide some form of personal data. These attacks are often filled with grammatical errors, so keep an eye out for mistakes or strange wording. They’ll also want you to ‘act fast,’ claiming that your account has been hacked or is expiring. Don’t believe these emails – take the time to read them through and verify them before you click any links. Whenever unsure, contact the company by phone to verify that the email is legitimate. Stay vigilant and always double-check suspicious emails to prevent falling victim to phishing scams.

4. Secure and Encrypt Data

A lot of companies are encrypting their information. Encryption takes your data and converts it to codes. Only someone who has the ‘key’ can unlock the codes to access the information. If you don’t encrypt your information, you leave it more exposed to online threats.

By using encryption, you’re making it impossible for a hacker to read or make copies of data. So, while the information may be lost, you don’t have to worry about someone else having access to it. If you’re interested in other methods of protecting your information, you can also look into data masking or data erasure techniques. Alt-Tech has plenty of encryption options that have helped companies secure their data more easily and thoroughly.

5. Educate Your Staff

You can’t implement any of these practices if you haven’t taken the time to educate your staff. When you take the time to help them understand the different security threats and how they can counteract them, they’ll know why it’s important and how to manage threats. Make sure you explain your company’s online practices and procedures, hold sessions on how to recognize phishing and other scams, and make sure to update your staff on policy changes or new threats. This will make all the difference when it comes to protecting your business online. 

Want to improve your business’ cyber security? Alt-Tech is here to help! We offer data backup and recovery, system security services, and around the clock monitoring. To learn more check out our services page.

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22 Feb 2019

The Biggest Cyber Attacks of 2018

There are over a million people online, and every day there are people and companies that fall prey to cyber attacks. While security researchers are always working to keep our information safe, hackers are always looking for new ways to steal it. That means there’s always a major risk for cyber attack for companies operating online. 

2018 was a big year for security breaches in Canada, the United States, and abroad. A lot of companies experienced breaches that affected millions of people. We like to keep an eye on what’s going on in the IT world, so we’ve created a list of some of the biggest cyber attacks 2018 saw, as well as some advice to help businesses avoid breaches in 2019.

Quora

The popular question and answer website was hacked this year, affecting as many as 100 million users. A malicious third party hacked into the website, gaining access to users’ names, email addresses, profile information, and passwords. Very little has been said about this attack outside what information was compromised.

British Airways

The British airline had to deal with a massive online attack when criminals hacked into the airline’s booking records. This affected records on both the website and the app. Hackers gained full access to traveller’s personal information. This included about 380,000 people’s credit card information. The airline made sure to notify people about the breach as soon as possible.

Marriott

This year Marriott was informed of an information breach that had been occurring since 2014. In this case, thieves had access to the payment cards, personal information, passport numbers, and travel information of over 500 million people. Because of this, authorities believe it could have been the work of nation state hackers.

Facebook

This well-publicized hack affected over 87 million users of the popular social network. Stolen information included people’s personal information such as relationship status, birthdate, and employer. While this breach actually occurred a couple of years ago, the information just surfaced in 2018. Due to that delay, many users are upset about Facebook’s lack of transparency.

Protect Your Company

You probably won’t experience a data breach as large as these companies, but having your information hacked could cost you thousands of dollars and significantly damage your company’s reputation. So, how can you prevent these attacks from happening in your company this year? There are a few quick and easy ways to protect your company:

  1. Protect your usernames and passwords. Making sure employees regularly update their passwords for computer logins and accounts. Changing your password protects makes it more difficult to hack into a computer, protecting you from a security breach.
  2. Update and secure your computer networks. The online environment is constantly changing and so are the risks. Have your IT team keep your security systems up to date with the latest online security.
  3. Be prepared for ransomware attacks. These attacks can happen at any time. They could come in an innocent-looking email or appear on a website. To avoid accidentally installing malware, make sure you can recognize attacks and respond appropriately.
  4. Promote cyber security training. The best way to avoid data breaches is to keep your employees informed. Educate them about cyber risks, how to recognize them, and what to do in case of an attack. 

At Alt-Tech, we can help protect your business from online attacks. We offer around the clock monitoring, system security and access services, virtual IT manager services, and more. If you’re ready to begin protecting your business online, contact us today.

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08 Feb 2019

5 Things You Need to Know About Cloud Computing Services

The cloud has been around for quite a while now, but it still feels pretty new and foreign to most of us. When someone says your data has been stored in the cloud what does that mean? Where has your information gone? Has it disappeared entirely? Is it stored on a computer somewhere else? 

While you may not know exactly what it is, cloud storage affects you every day and will probably be coming to your workplace – if it hasn’t already. For those who don’t know (or are to embarrassed to ask) we’ve compiled 5 things you absolutely need to know about cloud storage services.

1. What is Cloud Storage?

The cloud is a data center that takes your files and folders and stores them over the Internet, rather than on your computer’s hard drive. This allows you to access your files from anywhere, so long as you have Internet connection. It also makes sharing files and collaborating with multiple people much simpler. The key benefit, however, is that your information is stored safely and securely in an offsite location in case of any damage to your onsite computer or hardware.

2. There are Different Versions

When you begin using the cloud, you’ll find there are multiple versions. The most popular varieties are Software as a Service (SaaS), or Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). This can get a little confusing, especially for beginners, but the basic difference is who is looking after the servers and storage. With SaaS, an external cloud provider hosts the servers and storage, whereas with IaaS, you’re the one managing the cloud.

3. You Probably Already Use It

That’s right; a lot of us store data in the cloud without realizing we’re doing it. That’s because, even though it may seem confusing, the cloud is already integrated into the computing services we use every day. There are several good examples of cloud environments you’re probably familiar with, including Google Drive, Netflix, iCloud, Microsoft Azure, and Dropbox. 

4. There’s a Hybrid Cloud

This uses a mix of third party (or public) services and private cloud services combining the benefits of both methods. Employing a hybrid cloud service often results in cost savings because you have more control when you need to scale your services. It also provides you increased data storage capability so it can handle spikes in data storage. You may actually already be using a hybrid if you’re using a combination of in-house IT services and external programs.

5. It Isn’t Free

If your company is just starting out and you’ve already integrated your systems with the cloud, then your job is pretty simple. However, a lot of companies will need their information to be migrated to the cloud and managed. You either need to hire and train new employees or find a trustworthy external company or consultant to help with the transition. While this can be costly in the short term, it helps you stay at the top of your industry instead of falling behind. And that, in the long-term, will give you a competitive edge.

Cloud computing resources are making a big difference in the way we do business. They provide a freedom and a security in how we store, save, and share our files. Are you ready to begin the move? 

At Alt Tech, we offer a range of cloud services including Email Hosting, Application Hosting, Server Hosting, and Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity Offsite Hosting. We can help you understand which cloud services will work best for your specific company, and how to use them effectively. To learn more, check out our Cloud Services or contact our team of cloud experts

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