Petya, WannaCry, Crypto whatever you want to call it, they are in the news. These are not viruses, they are money making schemes, worms more accurately, that are infecting thousands of computers around the world. These worms are no longer solely created by bored hackers or someone wanting to make a few extra bucks; they are now also being used by terrorists. With the authors of these worms making headlines and thousands of dollars, they are not going away anytime soon. What does it mean for you and your business?
In the days of the floppy disk, the challenge for hackers was to get a system infected by shutting down individual devices which could then ruin someone’s day from the inside or capture a glimpse of their internal data.
Our world now is connected with internal and external network computing access intertwined. There are now numerous ways that entire systems can be exposed and held hostage. What are you to do??
This means keeping your systems up to date. Some offices worry that keeping up to date means having constant issues with bugs in the software or compatibility issues. However, it is important to stay up to date. IT professionals employ testing and experience to know the balance of staying ahead of hackers while still maintaining smooth and secure operation of your network.
Computer operating systems need to be patched regularly. The software that runs your important company operations needs to have its updates applied as well. This is separate from updating the computer OS. In some cases this will protect you even if your office does get breached from an external hacker. The internal protection systems can save you from having to notify patients of a breach because the sensitive data on the server is protected and safe from the hacker.
Create a schedule to update your firewall’s firmware and hardware to ensure the best protection from the constant barrage of hackers. You will also want to make your system invisible to port scanners which tells the hackers to move on.
If you are feeling overwhelmed and possibly not understanding all that is involved, it is time for professional IT to help.
Have your IT do an inventory of connected devices quarterly.
You need to understand that all external access from software vendors is a risk. Most people don’t realize that by giving a particular vendor internal access to their server they have opened their network up to hundreds of IT people. They will have access to your internal systems. This means you need to have an agreement protecting you from the software vendors in case of a breach. Anyone that potentially has access to your system should sign a Business Associate Agreement. This states that even though they have access to your system they will protect the data to the best of their ability. Physical access to the system is just as important which means if the cleaning crew can be in the office and possibly see patient data, they need a BA as well.
If you do your own IT or you have a patient doing you a favor… you are not doing yourself a favor. Professional IT services pay for themselves over and over. We spot things that average IT people don’t see. Additionally, we stay up to date on HIPAA/PCI compliance. Most of all, we succeed when you are protected and profiting.
In the end, Users are a big security issue. Even the best IT guys get tricked into clicking something they shouldn’t. If it happens to experts it will happen to your office staff. Train your staff on the dangers and the costs of one mistake. It will make them think twice about checking Yahoo news on your company network. In fact, you may consider not allowing personal web use to be accessed on the private network and placing that in employee manuals. Many offices dedicate a staff PC for browsing and down time. This can be an older computer placed on a public portion of your network.
Finally, don’t click on links in emails. Be very wary of opening attachments from senders you don’t know as well as senders you do know. Phishing emails are known to grab contacts from the address book of infected computers and send out emails as the owner of the infected computer. This makes them look legitimate and increase the probability that you will open them. Often, saving them to the desktop first will prompt a security scan and possibly protect you. But if in doubt, contact the sender to ensure the attachment is legitimate.
If you have questions, we have answers… let our professional staff help.
Martin Business Systems
Over 17 years of business IT experience has proven to be an asset in solving problems and providing long lasting IT Solutions for your business.
Friendly and knowledgeable staff that love people and want to help you.
"... Sean is very professional, personable, and extremely knowledgeable. We are a very busy high functioning dental practice with 2 doctor, 3 full time hygienist, 9 operatory, and a total team of 15, running 5 days a week. It is no easy feat to keep us all in sync and up to date with all the current updates, but Sean has a great attention to detail, understanding our systems and procedures, as well as see’s things that need to be addressed to protect us from further issues. He is very quick to respond in a time of urgency as well as always being extremely flexible to our hours, needs, and timelines. Sean is a huge asset to our office.
We stay up to date on HIPAA, network security and best practices to ensure your system is not vulnerable to the latest attacks. We partner with the best teams to provide outstanding malware and antivirus protection. From software to hardware protection, we are constantly striving for excellence.
We specialize in Dental IT. We are experienced with a wide range of dental software and hardware. Our team is dedicated to providing outstanding network solutions that are both HIPAA and PCI compliant. We are committed to helping your office run solid, reliable and secure systems so you can continue running your business smoothly.
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