Pervasive Computing: Benefits And Considerations

15th May 2017

Pervasive computing is an emerging technological trend that works on the principle of enabling internet connectivity in everyday objects with an aim of improving their functionality. Also known as ubiquitous computing, it involves embedding microprocessors in electrical appliances, cars, lighting systems, wearable devices etc. to minimize the need to interact with computers. The users can access the internet any time through these network connected devices.

Considerations For Implementing Persuasive Computing In An Organization:

  • Define goals

Firstly, you need to have a clear idea in your mind about the usage and purpose of pervasive computing in your organization. Determine the features it should have and the functionality you want the devices to serve. Also, identify the type of devices that will be connected to the network. You can consider implementing a pilot project to test the results of pervasive computing before executing it throughout the organization.

  • Understand the work environment

This step involves three aspects. First, gather information about the type of network and bandwidth available in your area. Make sure there are no connectivity issues in any part of your office. If you are planning to incorporate Wi-Fi connectivity, check if there are problems in getting coverage for the entire building.

Second, analyze the costs involved in the project. If your business activities involve massive data sharing and constant internet connectivity, you may need to evaluate the capital investment required for pervasive computing.

Third, determine the type of devices needed, i.e. if you require a laptop, tablet, wearables or any other type of internet compatible system. Also zero-in on the other important aspects such as the device’s screen size, in-built and expandable memory, stand-by time etc.

Address the potential security issues

Network security is one of the major concerns of IT professionals which gets further aggravated with the use of internet connected mobile devices. Therefore, you should identify and resolve any potential security vulnerabilities to prevent your entire network from getting compromised.

Choose the right software vendor

There are a number of wireless software companies offering solutions for implementation of pervasive computing. However, you should choose only the reliable provider who has experience in handling wireless technologies. The products it provides should have strict security features and be updated frequently.

Centex Technologies is a leading IT security consulting company serving business firms across Central Texas. For more information, you can call us at (855) 375 – 9654.

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The Five Key Steps To Take After A Security Breach

8th May 2017

Every business firm implements stringent security policies to mitigate the risk of a data breach. However, as hackers are becoming more sophisticated in the use of advanced tools and technologies, ensuring complete security against an attack may not be possible. It is important that you formulate an incident response plan that specifies what needs to be done in the event of a data breach in order to minimize its impact on the business operations.

Listed below are the five key steps that you need to take if your organization witnesses a security breach:

Conduct Complete Investigation

Clear thinking and immediate action is important to deal with a security breach in an efficient manner. Analyze when the attack occurred, how the hackers got access to the network, which systems have been compromised as well as what information has been leaked. This will give you an idea about the steps required to reduce the impact of the incident.

Ensure Containment

All the potential causes of the security breach should be controlled with immediate effect. Install software updates and patches to make sure your network does not remain vulnerable for a long period. Change the password for all the compromised accounts as well as those that use the same log in credentials. Restrict the infected computer systems from accessing the corporate network.

Communication

There should be constant communication between the company management and incident response team. Providing frequent updates to the customers, regulatory authorities or third party investigation agencies may also be necessary, depending upon the extent and nature of the data breach. In order to avoid any delays or miscommunication, lay out a specified medium through which information should be conveyed.

Implement And Test The Security Fix

Once the vulnerability has been identified and fixed, you must ensure that you have completely recovered from the breach. The IT security team should review the server logs and network traffic. You can also consider executing a penetration test to identify any unpatched security flaws.

Prevention Of Future Breaches

Lastly, you should thoroughly audit your data security practices to determine if there is a scope for improvement. Provide training to your employees on the best practices to keep their official accounts and data safe. Regularly re-evaluate your security policies to identify any modifications or additions required to stay protected against attacks.

We, at Centex Technologies, can help you prevent deal with a security breach and minimize its impact on your business. For more information, you can call us at (855) 375 – 9654.

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Securing Your FTP Server

28th April, 2017

File transfer protocol (FTP) has become one of the most popular and convenient ways of sharing data within a network. Considering its extensive usage, FTP security has become an important concern for the IT professionals. A poorly configured server can act as a critical flaw in the cyber security of an organization.

Given below are some tips that you should follow to secure your FTP server:

Define user accounts and permissions

Each user on the FTP server should have a separate account and login directory. This will help to ensure that the files are accessed only by the authorized users. In case you want to create directories that can be shared by multiple users, you can explicitly state the permissions for each of them. Also, access should be allowed according to the specific duties to be performed by the employees. For instance, if one needs to simply read a file, permissions to share, modify or delete it should be disabled.

Enable logs

When you enable logs in your FTP server, you can have a complete record of the IP addresses and users who accessed the server. Maintaining a log will help you to identify the traffic patterns, unauthorized login attempts and any potential security threat.

Limit the number of incorrect logins

Make sure you restrict the number of invalid logins that a user can make. After the set limit has exceeded, the account gets locked and needs to be activated again. This reduces the likelihood of a brute force attack, in which the hackers gain access to a network by guessing multiple password combinations. Ideally, you should set the permissible login attempts between 3 to 5.

Enforce password compliance

Weak passwords are often the biggest loopholes that allow the hackers to access the FTP server. You should enforce strong password policies and make sure that all the users comply with it. The password should consist of 8 to 10 characters comprising of uppercase and owe case letters as well as alphanumeric characters. You can also implement a policy that requires users to change their passwords after a set period of time.

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

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Protecting Yourself Against Cyberstalking

26th April, 2017

Cyberstalking is a common type of cyber crime that involves using electronic means of communication, such as IMs, emails or social media, to stalk the victim. The stalker may send threatening messages, make false accusations, spy the victim’s internet activities, steal his identity or simply make unwanted advances to stay in contact.

Given here are some tips that should be followed to protect yourself against cyberstalking:

Be Careful While Sharing Information Online

It is important to be cautious when you post anything on social media or share information through emails or IMs. It is very easy for the hackers to gather details about you such as name, residence, places of interests, friends and likes/dislikes.

Google Yourself

Search your name on Google to see what results are being displayed. It is quite possible that hackers have created fake profiles in your name. You can also search your phone number to detect any unwanted information about you. Delete or report all the incorrect or unauthorized information you find about yourself on the internet.

Password Protect All Accounts

Create strong passwords for all your online accounts specifically online banking, email and social networking profiles. The security questions you choose should be complex so that the correct answers cannot be guessed by the stalker. Avoid using your name, date of birth, phone number or other such trivial details in your password.

Stay Vigilant

In some cases, the cyberstalker may attach a web-enabled device to the victim’s computer system to monitor his activities. A software program or application may also be installed that transmits all your sensitive information to the stalker. Therefore, make sure you stay vigilant and perform a regular check to identify any such threats. Always log out of the computer system and lock the screen when you are away.

Review Your Privacy Settings

Social networking websites constantly keep on changing their privacy policies so you should keep a check on your account settings. Limit the number of people with whom you are sharing your information. You can even block some people from seeing your posts or photos. Accept friend requests from only those people whom you personally know and trust.

For more information on how to safeguard your identity over the web, please contact us at Centex Technologies (855) 375 – 9654.

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Why Zero Knowledge Encryption Offers Best Cloud Security

17th April, 2017

Cloud computing has provided a convenient way to store, access and share data over the internet. However, password leaks and security breaches in the recent years have led to many apprehensions about the use of cloud services. The lack of compliance standards and stringent security policies in the cloud make your data vulnerable to many online attacks.

What Is Zero Knowledge Encryption?

Zero knowledge encryption is one of the most secure ways to protect your information stored in the public cloud. It offers complete data privacy, ensuring that no one can access your files, not even the cloud service provider. It also known as personal encryption or private key encryption.

How Does It Work?

When you upload any data to the cloud, it is encrypted on the client side. The key to decrypt the data can be accessed by the authorized user. Even the company providing the cloud services cannot access the data because the information gets encrypted before it reaches their servers. The decryption key is stored in the cloud server in a hashed format which is known only to the user.

The reliability of zero knowledge encryption is assessed on the basis of 3 principles:

  • Completeness – Assuring that the cloud service provider is properly following the security protocols.
  • Soundness – Double checking that the account can be accessed only by entering the right password.
  • Zero Knowledge – Verifying that the decryption key is known only to the user.

Advantages Of Zero Knowledge Encryption

  • It offers the highest possible control over your data stored in the cloud.
  • Zero knowledge encryption allows you to use the popular, convenient and user-friendly cloud services in the most secure way.
  • It minimizes the likelihood of a data breach as all the information is stored in an encrypted format. Even if the cloud server gets compromised, your data will still be safe because only you have the decryption key.

Limitations Of Zero Knowledge Encryption

  • In case the user forgets his account password or decryption key, there is no way to retrieve the files stored in the cloud.
  • The privacy of data becomes your responsibility. You will be held liable for any loopholes in its security or unauthorized attempts made to access the files.

For more information on zero knowledge encryption and cloud security, feel free to contact Centex Technologies. We can be reached at (855) 375 – 9654.

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