What Makes Up a Quality Data Backup Plan?

How does your company manage its data, and what is the plan to protect it? Chances are your data is not as secure as you think. Sure, you have an external drive, you back-up at the end of the week, and you make sure every file saves properly, but that is not enough to protect your business and its clients. G6 has tips for drafting a quality data backup plan.

 

3 Questions to Ask Yourself When Creating a Data Backup Plan

Before you tackle the actual plan itself, you need to reflect for a moment. This is a critical stage in the creation of the plan.

  1. What type of data does my business gather?

How important or sensitive is the data your company acquires? Data can be accounting figures, customer information, tracking information, and vendor information. If your company inputs or access it on a daily basis, it is data. You need to understand what type of data your company acquires, how sensitive it is, and which files are essential for swift recovery.

  1. How often does data change?

Does your company need immediate backup, or can some files wait until the end of the week? You need to understand the frequency of data collection to create a schedule that best suits your company and its recovery efforts.

  1. How safe is your current system?

If your company acquires sensitive data and houses sensitive company information on its systems, frequent and safe backups are critical. Consider all types of losses that threaten the data: weather, fire, security intrusion, theft, lost device, and user error. You need to ensure the sensitive data housed on the system is secure and easy to retrieve if the company experiences a loss.

 

3 Features of a Quality Backup Plan

Now that you have decided what type of data your company has and needs, you can begin braining out the data backup plan. A quality backup plan has three important features.

  1. Backup is disconnected

If you rely solely on external backup devices, you are not as safe as you think. The USB-connected external hard drive at the other end is susceptible to ransomware, just as the rest of your system is. Many companies are moving their backups to the cloud. The cloud backup system runs in the background, which makes it unlikely for a threat to infiltrate the cloud. Plus, employing cloud services comes with data monitoring, threat prevention, and support for effective data management if you work with the right service provider.

  1. Backup is automated

A good backup system is an automated and encrypted one. To ensure the integrity and reliability of your data, your plan must include automatic backups. Automated backups do a couple of things: provide the most updated data, and they work without relying on human interaction to get the job done.

  1. The plan is rehearsed

A quality backup plan is one that is rehearsed often. Your company must perform regular audits and data recovery drills. The company’s data backup plan must be adjusted as you recognize flaws, as the nature of the business changes, and as the company grows.

Learn About Computers in the Computer Club Talk about Event

If you’re looking for a fun and innovative way to explore the internet and learn new things about computers, the Adult Computer Club is the place to be. It is not a class, but a club where the members help each other out and try new things in an exciting and friendly atmosphere.

Who

This is an adult club. Adults of any age and any skill level are welcome to join. It is a great club for seniors as well; since they often need the most help with learning the ins and outs of computers and the internet.

What

This is an adult based computer club where you can learn all about the internet with the help and the support of your fellow club members. Get ready to explore new things that you have never explored before and try out new and exciting things that you have never tried out before. It has a fun and friendly ambience for all.

Where

The meetings will take place at the Wells County Public Library, which is located at 200 W. Washington St. in Bluffton, Indiana 46714. They will be held in the board room in the main library.

When

The first meeting will be held on November 10th from 1:00pm – 2:00pm. This is a reoccurring event that will take place once a month, which will be on the second Tuesday of every month.

Why

This club is an easy way to learn about computers and the internet. It will cover a variety of different topics. It is great for all skill levels. It can be especially great for someone who may not know too much about computers, or someone who just wants to brush up on their current skills and learn more. Members can help each other out and learn from each other. It is meant to be fun and stimulating for everyone involved.

How

The computer club currently has openings and you can register online. All you will need to do is enter your name, phone number, and email address. Once you sign up with your email address you will receive an email reminder every month.

Contact Info

Your main person of contact will be Emily Marshall. She can answer any questions that you may have or help you get started if you need it. You can reach her at 260-824-1612.

Additional Info

You can bring your own laptop, tablet computer, or eBook reader to the meetings or you can share one of theirs, the choice is yours. If the Bluffton-Harrison Metropolitan School District has to close because of bad weather, this program will be cancelled as well. In addition to the club, check out the fairs that are held throughout the year on a variety of different computer topics as well.

5 Tips to Secure Your Wi-Fi

With the increase in the use of mobile devices—laptops, smartphones, tablets—it is becoming the norm for companies to use a wireless (Wi-Fi) network to access the Internet. A Wi-Fi network comes included with a router that is connected to a broadband Internet service by way of a modem. While routers come with their own security features, they can still be hacked into. Once someone unethical has gotten inside the router, they can use the bandwidth as well as gain access to the computers and devices on the network. Here we offer 5 tips on how to ensure you have a secure Wi-Fi network.

 

  1. Turn on the Firewall for Secure Wi-Fi

Firewalls are designed to shield computers from harmful invasions that are either software-based or hardware-based. Wireless routers usually include built-in firewalls, but they are sometimes shipped with the firewall turned off. Make sure to look and see if the wireless router’s firewall has been turned on.

 

  1. Turn on WPA2 Encryption

Using the encryption setting on your wireless router can greatly increase your chance of having a secure Wi-Fi network. If your Wi-Fi was set up a few years ago and you haven’t made any changes to the settings, there is a strong chance you’re using an outdated version of the encryption and it can easily be hacked into.The most effective standard encryption for routers is “WPA2”. There is also “WEP”, but WPA2 is considered to be the best. If it is not already set, change your network security settings to WPA2.

 

  1. Redo Default Passwords

The majority of wireless routers come with passwords preset for managing its settings. Hackers can become familiar with the common default passwords, making it easy to get into your network. For more secure Wi-Fi, change the router’s password once it is installed. The best bet is to use a combination of numbers, symbols and letters.

 

  1. Change the Network’s Default Name

An SSID (service set identifier) is the name of the network. When a device with a wireless connection searches and shows the nearby wireless networks, it lists all networks that publicly display their SSID. Most routers come with a default SSID, which is usually the company’s name. For more secure Wi-Fi, change the network’s SSID, but it is not recommended that you use personal information like the names of family members.

 

  1. Turn Off Network Name Broadcasting

Wireless routers often broadcast the SSID to the general public. This can be a helpful feature in businesses, hotels, restaurants, libraries or any other public place that wants to offer Wi-Fi to their customers. For a private network, this feature is not necessary and it is recommended that it be turned off, especially if you are using a network at home or just for employees of your company. One last note, never assume public wireless networks are secure.

 

Contact us if you have any questions about securing your wireless network!

Best Mobile Apps to Increase Work Productivity

Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could cram an eight-hour workday into five hours? What would you do with the extra time: read a book, spend it with family, and fit in an extra work out? Unfortunately, we haven’t figured out how you can bend time to your will, but there are apps out there that can help you organize your workday and make the best use of the time you have. Here are four of our favorites, all available for Apple or Android.

 

Shoeboxed  

If your workday includes frequent time out of the office, check out Shoeboxed. This free app lets you scan and organize business receipts, and then generates a digital expense report with receipt images. It will also pull receipts from your Gmail inbox and collate them with the others on your phone. You can even send the expense report directly from the app. Using your device’s GPS Shoeboxed can track mileage, and can also scan and store business cards.

 

Highrise

When your business involves members of a team all working on different facets of several different projects, it can be challenging to make sure everyone has the information they need. That’s where the Highrise app comes in. This “simple contact management” app allows sharing of emails, meeting notes, contact lists or documents with everyone who needs them. It also organizes task lists by company or project, allowing your team to concentrate its effort where they are needed most. Integrated privacy settings ensure data is shared with only those who should have it.

 

Lift

The Lift app focuses on goal achievement through coaching, accountability and positive reinforcement. Joining one of Lift’s common challenges puts you in touch with other users attempting to improve the same aspects of their lives. You also have the option to create an entirely new challenge and track your progress or receive coaching. Goals for a business setting might include learning to run better meetings or answering phone calls or emails in a timelier manner. Coach.me, the parent company of Lift, is also Beta testing a new executive leadership program aimed at improving team productivity.

 

Toggl

Toggl is currently the most widely used cloud based time tracking app. It can be used to point out areas of your day in which you are most likely to lose focus and procrastinate, or to track your team’s time management for client billing purposes. Through the creation of different projects inside the app, you can track any action, from time spent on individual projects to time in meetings to time in the lunchroom. For ultimate client accountability, there is the option to create a link to an open-ended public time report, so progress can be viewed at any time. The app is also able to generate and share reports.

4 Ways to Minimize Security Risks Online

These days, there’s just no escaping the inevitable daily usage of the Internet. In most cases, we welcome it, warmly, appreciating its convenience for so many of our routine tasks. Just as it is convenient, though, online activity also holds the potential to compromise your personal security.

While there are several ways that a person’s online security can become compromised, there are also several ways that these risks can be combatted. Heeding caution — even in seemingly harmless situations online — can help you reduce the risk of experiencing security issues. Here are some helpful hints for minimizing security risks online.

1. Be Sensible and Smarten Up Your Passwords

Come on, you can be a little more creative than just using “password123” as your go-to for everything. It’s not just a matter of creativity, however. Commonplace passwords such as these can be guessed easily, making a hacker’s work much easier.

Additionally, a universal password (one used for all online accounts) is also risky as it would allow a hacker access to not only the particular account they hacked, but subsequently, everything else with that password.

To hopefully prevent this possibility, creating different passwords for your various accounts is recommended. Additionally, these passwords should be changed about twice a year. It might force more memorization than you’re used to, but it will be worth reducing the security risks.

2. Familiarize Yourself with Anti-Malware Software

Even computer novices know about anti-virus software, but there are major perks for those who are aware of anti-malware software. While anti-virus software is great to have, it does not always come equipped with anti-malware features. Therefore, it’s recommended that you ensure protection from malware by separately installing an anti-malware software.

3. Fine Print Isn’t Always So Fine…

Everyone has rolled their eyes and scrolled through a seemingly endless ‘terms and conditions’ manifesto when signing up for something online. This is sometimes harmless, of course, but there can also be fine print that puts you at risk in these agreements. Some companies will discreetly mention soliciting your information for marketing purposes, which you’ll obviously want to avoid. Whenever possible, seek opt-out options and pay attention to any automatically-checked boxes that appear when agreeing to legal terms.

4. Conceal Your Identity with a VPN (Virtual Private Network)

One of the most convenient aspects of the Internet is that we can access it just about anywhere we go today. However, hackers are known to exploit the use of public wi-fi by creating faking networks. A great way to give yourself some protection when you’re using a public network is through the use of a VPN, which is short for “virtual private network.”
A VPN is designed to keep your profile anonymous from threats such as hackers when you’re using the Wi-Fi at the likes of an airport or a cafe. The use of a VPN will also keep your profile anonymous when you use it at home.

Benefits of Operating System Hardening

Perhaps one of the most important server tasks you can do is server hardening. Server hardening, which is also referred to as operating system hardening, is the process of making the server stronger and more resistant to security issues. Server hardening is an inexpensive and simple task to improve the overall operating system for maximum performance and to reduce expensive failures. You may not have heard much about server hardening, but it provides a wealth of benefits of which you may be unaware.

System Hardening is a Process

System Hardening takes security and diligence to another level. The process requires many steps, all of which are critical to the success of the hardening system. The more steps a user follows, the safer and more resilient the system will be.

  • Use strong passwords, change them often, utilize symbols and various formats, and use different passwords for various sites and applications.
  • Establish a password lockout policy.
  • Restrict access to each computer and device.
  • Disable the guest account and features.
  • Limit idle time and sleep settings.
  • Establish data encryption for all incoming and outgoing communications.
  • Remove unnecessary software on the server.
  • Perform regular security audits and patches.
  • Remove undesirable binaries.
  • Establish a comprehensive backup and recovery system.
  • Install anti-virus software and updates, and firewalls.
  • Remove unnecessary file shares.
  • Rename system administrator to something not easily detected by a criminal.
  • Restrict permissions to files, services, registry entries and end-points.
  • Seek help from an IT professional.

Benefits of OS Hardening

The above tasks are just the tip of the iceberg as far as server hardening is concerned. Many more tasks must be completed, and each is more complex. For proper execution and to maximum protection, seek professional assistance from an expert. Once you harden your server, you will experience a wealth of benefits.

  • Saves money in the long run

The less hardware and software running on the computer, the less money you will have to spend in the future for updates and on expenses to remove malware in the future. Hardening also frees up more space on the computer, which means you don’t have to buy more memory.

  • Eliminates access points

Removing unnecessary files, software and file sharing reduces the number of access points a criminal has to the server.

  • Improves performance

As we said before, hardening frees up disk space and memory, which is like removing the sludge from the computer. The computer will work quicker and more efficiently because it is not bogged down or struggling to operate with limited memory and space.

  • Reduces holes in security

Hardening adds to the various levels of security to protect users and their servers. Hardening also removes disabled files and programs that are often forgot about and provide attackers cloaked access to the system.

How Technology Has Enhanced the Lives of Military Families

When service members were deployed overseas, or even across the US, they had to rely on handwritten letters home and the occasional garbled telephone call to loved ones. Currently, the United States has personnel deployed in 75% of the World’s Nations. According to a 2014 publication of the Army Times, nearly 11,000 troops, which is higher than anticipated, were in Afghanistan at the beginning of the New Year and many more are in Europe, The Pacific, Korea and Iraq.

As deployments take more and more service men and women away from home, communication is critical. Fortunately, communication has improved thanks to modern technology. The Internet has transformed the lines of communication between service personnel and their families.

90% of Service Members Use Email To Stay In Touch

Email is one of the top technologies used by military members and their families. Email reduces communication times from weeks to just seconds. Email is spontaneous and while it is not a handwritten letter from a loved one, it is just as reassuring, treasured and relieving. A 2010 survey conducted and published by Blue Star Families reported that nearly 90% of military members and their families used email to stay in touch.

Email use depends on the geographic location of the service member and the availability of Internet access. A popular service, which the DoD cut in September 2013, was Moto Mail. It was a way for deployed service men and women to receive letters from home even if they did not have Internet access. The service allowed family members to write out letters like emails, and then the service printed the letters and had the letters delivered to millions of service members over nearly a decade.

Communicating Through Instant Messaging

Instant messaging, such as MSN, Skype and Yahoo! allow families to stay connected instantly as well. Service members and their families can talk just as they would via text message or face-to-face conversation. Instant Messaging allows families to rest assured knowing their loved ones are on the other end, even if they cannot see his/her face.

Face-to-Face Communication Through Web Cams

Web cams and YouTube are becoming one of the most important tools for communication between military members and their families. A familiar face on the screen is comforting for each person involved, and it allows young children to remain connected to their parent(s). Many times, men have to leave pregnant spouses and cannot return until after the child is older, or parents have to miss crucial developmental stages, and the web cam makes it easier.

The web cam not only puts families face-to-face, but it is also a tool to help children feel connected to their parent(s). Families can record short video clips and include them in emails, or they can upload larger files, such as birthday parties, first steps, recitals, and games, to internet channels such as You Tube, blogs and family web sites.

Communication is important for the psyche of both the service member and each family member. Communication allows deployed family members to feel at ease knowing their loved one is just a quick message or video call away.