Should You Use a VPN?

If your business is booming and you have started to branch out or if you have employees out on the field, it is ideal for them to have access to the company’s server real time to facilitate your operations. But providing your employees access to your company’s information increases the chances of a security breach and data leakage to unauthorized users which may compromise your operations and cost you thousands of dollars.

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is fast becoming the choice among top companies today in keeping their network secure. The possibilities of the internet are endless and it’s about time you use it to your advantage, but at what cost. Every day, more and more computer viruses are invented and hackers are getting increasingly aggressive in their methods of breaching security in order to sell organization’s information for a profit. If you haven’t thought about it, it’s high time you protect your interests as well as your clients and invest in a VPN.

A Virtual Private Network means providing a secure and exclusive connection to those authorized by you to connect to the company’s main server and access your information. You have the option to set up your own software of application which requires authentication from users prior to providing access to ensure that only members of the organization is able to get in.

You can also find VPN’s for your own private use. A popular VPN choice among consumers is Hide My Ass. HMA is affordable, easy to use, and provides users with a wealth of options. You can visit that link to read one of the better reviews we found covering their service.

A VPN will benefit you in so many ways, and we have listed some of these below:

  • A VPN allows your business to connect to multiple offices across the globe without leasing your own line and by using only the power of the internet.
  • Individual employees who access the organization’s server remotely and remote offices can exchange data securely without worry that this will be accessed by unauthorized users.
  • For business who would like to cut costs, a VPN will make it possible for your employees to work from the comforts of their own homes while ensuring that the integrity of the system is kept intact. This will also reduce the cost of travel of employees to report back to your office base just to update the main system if they are able to do this from their laptop or mobile using the company application.
  • This will ensure the productivity of your employees who are working remotely and help them make effective use of their time and company resources.

If you are considering getting a virtual private network (VPN) for your business you must ensure that the type of network that will be put in will be able to protect your data as it travels the public network. Make sure that unauthorized users will not be able to access it and in the off chance that they do, make sure that they are only able to acquire encrypted data as what a VPN is designed to do.

Your VPN connection should also be the same across all users and all your remote offices should be able to access or connect to your home network during the prescribed working hours. As your business grows make sure that your VPN has the ability to handle that growth to prevent the additional cost of having it replaced with another one.

Protection In Business

cyber criminalOnline Protection

If you run an online business, it’s vital that you protect the information of your customers and avoid identity theft at all costs. The hardest part about online business, after convincing them to buy, is getting customers to hand over personal information. In the early days of the internet it was nearly impossible to get customers to give over their credit card numbers for fear of fraud. Now, with ecommerce programs and merchant accounts, you can ensure that your customers information is kept safe.

Also, make sure you remind your customers that all of their information is encrypted as they enter it in the fields. This scrambles the numbers and letters in their names and credit card numbers and prevents hackers from stealing it.

Disposal

It is a law that says a business must dispose of a customers information in a safe and secure manner after they make their purchases. For example, if all business kept their customers information located on spread sheets what would happen when they tossed them into the bin? People sifting through the trash could sort the scraps together and conjur up customers credit card numbers, addresses, and other vital information.

Now there is a law in place that allows customers to enter their info without the fear of fraud. It is required by government to destroy any and all information or suffer legal ramifications.

One challenge many businesses face is constantly updating technology. Companies are often in situations where they have to upgrade their servers, desktop computers, and other input devices. Just erasing data off of storage devices is no longer enough. Cyber criminals can recover deleted files off of hard drives and memory devices. Now companies are either using hard drive shredders or employing a data destruction service that has access to them.

Precautions

Another important piece of information that customers need to practice is the ability to detect when something doesn’t seem right. A business, regardless of their size, will never ask for passwords, credit card numbers, or home addresses through email or phone calls. If you should happen to receive phone calls asking for this type of information please notify the police and notify the business these people are ‘claiming’ to be associated with. Businesses don’t need your personal information for any reason what so ever and this info should only be entered when making purchases directly through the company.

Overall, crime is always going to exist in our society. However, with proper programs and precautions, we can cut back on this crime and help customers rest at ease with their online shopping and purchases. Never give out your private information and always make sure you’re dealing with businesses that dispose of your information quickly. These are all steps to make shopping online safe.

How to Protect Your Digital Data From a Vengeful Ex

Heather Kelly, CNN
By Heather Kelly, CNN
updated 5:14 PM EST, Mon February 4, 2013 | Filed under: Mobile
Breaking up is hard enough without worrying about whether your angry ex is posting intimate photos of you.
Breaking up is hard enough without worrying about whether your angry ex is posting intimate photos of you.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A new study highlights dangers of sharing intimate pics or data with your partner
  • Racy photos or texts can be a liability if the relationship heads south
  • A scorned ex, or suspicious partner, can use passwords to cyberstalk you
  • Study: Cyberstalking significant others, both current and former, is common

(CNN) — When a relationship ends badly, every racy photo or text you shared with your ex becomes a potential security problem.

All your private information, shared as a sign of love and trust, is suddenly vulnerable. A vengeful ex-lover could leak it online, use your passwords to cyberstalk you or exact other forms of digital revenge.

Scorned lovers are nothing new, nor are regrets, in the harsh light of a dissolving relationship, about exposing too much of yourself to someone. But in the mobile age, it’s easier to share intimate pieces of information like photos and videos, as well as equally sensitive information such as e-mail passwords, banking logins, health insurance identification and Social Security numbers.

This Valentine’s Day, 36% of Americans say they plan to share a salacious photo with their partner over text message, e-mail or social network, according to a new romance-themed survey from security company McAfee. According to the study, one in 10 exes has threatened to post a revealing photo of a former partner online, and 60% of those people have followed through with it.

What’s more worrying is the increasingly common practice of cyberstalking significant others, current and former. More than 50% of people shared their passwords with a partner, the survey found.

“Sharing passwords is seen as a sign of love and devotion, a sign of commitment,” said Robert Siciliano, McAfee’s online security expert. “When the relationship goes south, change those passwords right away.”

More than 56% of people snooped on their partner’s social media pages and bank accounts, and 48.8% looked at their e-mails.

The cyberstalking habit extends beyond just current paramours.

Respondents also admitted to checking up on their exes, as well as their current partners’ exes, on sites like Facebook and Twitter. The survey found that men are more likely than women to surreptitiously check their partner’s personal accounts and to check on exes on social media.

“Be very careful,” said Erika Holiday, a clinical psychologist who specializes in relationship issues and grief and loss. She recommends holding off on sharing that personal information, which can seem like a great idea in the early euphoric stages of a new love.

“Not until you truly truly know a person, and that takes years, even decades. It takes a very, very long time,” she said.

Prevention is the only way to really protect yourself, and there are some practical security measures everyone should take.

Start by turning on password locks for your mobile devices and computer. When you’re comfortable in a relationship, you might be more lax about security on these devices. Adding a passcode to a smartphone is recommended for everyone, regardless of relationship status, but only 40% of Americans currently protect their phones with a password.

Siciliano also recommends installing antivirus software on your personal devices, especially Android phones and tablets, to better protect any sensitive information saved on there. Also install tracking software, such as Apple’s Find My iPhone, that allows you to remotely wipe information from a device if it’s lost or stolen.

When it comes to sending naughty photos or sharing personal information like passwords with partners, Siciliano offers this sound advice: “How about just don’t do it?

“There are a lot characteristics of this study that ultimately boil down to human behavior more than security issues,” he said.

Once a photo or video is shared over text or e-mail, the creator has lost all control over what happens to that content. To take something like that out of circulation, the recipient would have to agree to delete all copies from their phone or e-mail account.

Trusting someone to do this is more complicated if the relationship has ended badly, and if they’ve shared it with even one other person, it could be impossible to rein in the spread of your personal photos.

Don’t feel pressured to share your passwords, even as a way of proving that you are trustworthy or trust someone.

“It’s OK to keep certain things to yourself; it doesn’t necessarily mean you are hiding something,” Holiday said.

She also suggests keeping an eye out for any red flags early in a relationship, a period when many people are blinded by new love and prone to overlooking flaws or telling behaviors. Listen for stories about how they handled past breakups, heed any warnings from their friends or relatives, and look out for any past behavior that was criminal or otherwise shady.

After a breakup, your options are more limited. Change any passwords immediately to protect personal data. If your ex has compromising photos or information, you can try to reason with them and ask that the files be deleted.

Holiday says the reason they would share photos in the first place is because they are experiencing pain. Letting them know how much pain you are also in can minimize their pain and, hopefully, decrease their desire for malice.

“If they can’t reason with that person, then the damage is done, and the only thing they can do is to try and find meaning in that experience,” Holiday said.

There is very little you can do once private photos or information are out there except learn from mistakes, share your story with others who can change their own practices and move on.

“Be humbled. We’re talking about real-world shame here. Chalk it up to a learned experience,” Siciliano said.

A Couple Of Home Safety Tips

home securityHome invasions are happening with more and more frequency. Besides having a security system, here are a few tips you can use to help prevent your home from becoming the next target.

Obviously, make sure your doors are all locked. Use high quality locks. This is not a place to skimp and try to save a few bucks. Using a double deadbolt on each outside door is a good idea. Potential thieves are looking for easy targets. An extra set of locks may be enough to discourage them from targeting your home.

If you have a sliding door, put a metal or wooden rod inside the base of the door to make it impossible to open without breaking it.

Make sure your windows are closed and locked securely. Even if you are just taking a short stroll around the neighborhood, it is a good idea not to leave windows on the ground floor even cracked while you are out. If you are in an area with a higher crime rate, you may want to think about placing grills on the windows. While not very appealing to the overall appearance of a home, they will prevent burglars from entering even if they break the glass.

If you are considering leaving a spare key somewhere, leave it with a neighbor that you trust. Experienced thieves can easily discover your secret hiding spot for a key.

You want to keep the areas outside your house well lit, and if you are going to be away for any length of time, keep a few lights on in the house. A dark house is an invitation for thieves.

One thing many people never think about is suspending mail and newspaper deliveries. A driveway full of newspapers or porch with unclaimed packages are both good signs that the homeowner is away.

Welcome

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