Archive for October, 2016

Frequently Asked Questions About Phishing

27 October, 2016

Phishing is a common form of online identity theft that involves sending fraudulent emails in order to steal the target user’s personal information, credit card details, social security number and other sensitive data. A phishing email is crafted to look legitimate and often creates a sense of urgency to instigate immediate action from the receiver. However, despite the increasing number of phishing attacks, many people are not able to identify fraudulent emails and get tricked into giving out their personal information.

Given below are some frequently asked questions that will help you avoid becoming a victim of phishing attack:

How do I identify a phishing email?

Cybercriminals send out phishing emails masqueraded to be sourced from a legitimate entity, such as a bank or credit card company. Although these emails can be recognized easily by poor grammar and hoaxed email addresses, some of the phishing attempts can be highly sophisticated. The typical characteristics of a phishing email are that they create a sense of urgency and require the user to update his bank account information. Also, fraudulent emails do not address the sender by his name.

What should I do if I receive phishing email?

If you receive a phishing email, make sure you delete it without opening, particularly if it contains any links or attachments. You must remember that banks and financial institutions do not ask for sensitive information over emails. In case you have any doubt regarding the authenticity of the email, contact the sender directly.

How do hackers get my email address?

In most cases, the hackers do not know your email address. They simply send out the emails to randomly generated addresses so that they are likely to reach some customers of a specific bank or credit card company. The hackers may also detect an unprotected email server and send out phishing messages to the addresses on it.

What should I do if I have been scammed by a phisher?

If you suspect being a victim of phishing attack, immediately change your login credentials for the online accounts that may have been potentially compromised. Review your financial statements to identify any unauthorized activity. Inform your bank or credit card provider and request them to block all online transactions from your account.

Centex Technologies is a leading IT security company in Central Texas. For more information on phishing attacks, feel free to call us at (855) 375 – 9654.

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The Impact Of BYOD On Data Security

20 October, 2016

In today’s challenging business environment, employees are required to be more flexible and productive. As such, many employers have started to implement a ‘Bring your own device’ (BYOD) policy instead of providing employees with company’s computer systems. BYOD is an innovative business model that offers numerous benefits, such as minimizing hardware costs for the organizations, enabling employees to work from anywhere and staying connected to work even after the office hours. However, despite these benefits, there are a lot of data security risks that BYOD brings for the organizations. Some of them have been listed below:

Insecure Application Usage

When employees use their personal devices for work, your company’s IT department cannot control which applications can or cannot be used. This can be a major security threat to the corporate data, particularly if the employees do not maintain caution while downloading apps or files from the internet. These may contain a malicious code that records the user’s keystrokes or steals data stored on the device.

Lost/Stolen Devices

In case your employee’s device gets stolen or lost, the information stored in it is at risk of unauthorized access. This is particularly true if proper security measures, such as strong password and data encryption policies, are not in place. In some instances, important organizational controls may also be accessed by anyone who has the device.

Wireless Access Points

Some employees configure their mobile devices to detect and connect to the available open networks. Accessing internet from free Wi-Fi hotspots at coffee shops, hotels or internet may put your company’s data at risk. The information transmitted over such networks is not encrypted and all the communication can be intercepted by a hacker.

Access From Non-Employees

The use of employees’ personal devices by the family members is a common scenario. Considering this, there are chances that the data be accidently deleted or shared with unauthorized users in case the employee fails to log out of the application.

Jailbroken And Rooted Devices

Employees who are tech-savvy may also jailbreak their device in order to get the latest app or software program. This removes the limitations imposed by the manufacturer and lowers the security of the mobile device, making it susceptible to hacking attack. Rooted devices are also at risk as they give administrator-level permissions to the device owner, facilitating him to install potentially malicious apps.

For more information and tips on data security for your Central Texas based organization, feel free to contact Centex Technologies at (855) 375 – 9654.

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Tips For Effective Patch Management

13 October, 2016

Patch management is a complex process that involves maintaining and applying upgrades to various software applications installed on an organization’s computer systems. These patches may either be released to fix a security issue or to improve the functionality of a software. Even a single unpatched computer can make the entire corporate network vulnerable to online security threats. Therefore, implementing a patch management policy is important to handle this process efficiently.

Given below are some tips for effective patch management in an organization:

Know Your Network

The ultimate objective of patch management is to secure every computer and mobile device accessing the organizations’ network. However, analyzing the software installed on all computers can be tedious and time consuming. Poorly managed assets can easily turn into the network’s weakest links and lead to hacking attacks. Therefore, you should consider automating the analysis and deployment of patches. With this, you can manage the application of patches to all the computers through a single system.

Plan Your Approach

Even if you have automated the patch management process, you must devise a plan to keep everything in streamlined order. Group the computer systems according to different departments or users. Following a systematic approach will ensure timely and effective patch upgradation on all computer systems. Begin by installing updates on computer systems that are more sensitive to the problem addressed by the patch. IT team or the tech savvy employees should use the patches first so that they can identify and report if any problem is detected.

Conduct Regular Scans

Patch management is not a one-time process. It is an ongoing activity that requires continuous scanning and assessment of resources by the IT managers. This is essential to identify systems that do not support automated patch management and need to be manually updated. The patches should also be tested before deployment as they may lead to problems if not properly applied.

Rely On A Single Source For Patches

Another way to simplify your patch management is to rely on a single solution for all the software and applications. This will help to lower the complications involved in the process as you do not have to maintain and learn the procedures as well as techniques of multiple solutions. It will also reduce overall operating costs and facilitate end-user communications.

We, at Centex Technologies, provide efficient IT security solutions to the organizations in Central Texas. For more information, you can call us at (855) 375 – 9654.

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Reasons Why SMBs Should Switch To Cloud Computing

October 7, 2016

Setting up a dedicated IT infrastructure can be quite complex and requires exorbitant investment. As a result, entrepreneurs are embracing cloud to facilitate file storage, data processing, accounting, business communication etc. However, many small and medium business (SMB) owners are uncertain of the benefits of cloud computing and are apprehensive about adopting this technology.

Given below are a few reasons why SMBs should switch to cloud computing at the earliest:

  • Cost Reduction: One of the major advantages of cloud computing is that it offers significant cost savings to the SMBs. They do not have to incur an upfront cost on new servers and hardware. The initial costs for cloud computing are also minimal, as it is essentially a pay-as-you-go service. Through cloud computing, businesses can have access to advanced enterprise applications and productivity platforms even if they have a limited amount of capital to invest.
  • Increased Data Security: Small and medium sized businesses often do not have round the clock monitoring, endpoint security and efficient disaster recovery strategies implemented. The cloud computing model incorporates strong encryption, filtering, patch management and cryptography techniques to make sure that your data is completely secure.
  • Scalable: SMBs usually have limited IT requirements at the time of start-up. However, with time, there may be a need to upscale or downscale the computing resources at certain times. Most cloud service providers allow you to alter your resources as and when required, without having to make any major changes in your existing IT infrastructure.
  • Flexibility: Cloud computing allows the employees to work more flexibly, irrespective of their geographic location. They can access important documents and data from anywhere anytime. All they need is a web-enabled device and an internet connection. They can also share files with other team members and stay updated about the status of each project. Many employers are now adopting Bring Your own Device (BYOD) policy which further adds to the functionality of the cloud computing.
  • Equal Opportunities: Cloud has provided a platform for the SMBs to compete and stay at par with the large business firms. With access to the same advanced platforms and hardware as the competitors, it can reduce the overall IT workload. As they use the same resources used by established businesses, SMBs can efficiently direct themselves to the path of a faster success.

For more information on the benefits of cloud computing for SMBs, contact Centex Technologies at (855) 375 – 9654.

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