Archive Monthly Archives: January 2019

Windows 7: Under One Year Until Support Ends

Windows 7: Under One Year Until Support Ends

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Use Windows 7? Do you love your Windows 7? Will your need or desire to continue to use Windows 7 surpass this year? If so, you should be aware that in just under one year — January 14, 2020, specifically — Windows 7 Extended Support ends for most users. As such, there are things you need to know and decisions you may have to make. This is your guide to understanding what the expiration of Windows 7 Support may mean for you in one year.

  • A straightforward interface that is well-designed and laid out;
  • A start menu that combines the old with the new;
  •  A clutter-free and clean look that is familiar to you;
  •  Thumbnail previews that allow you to automatically open an item; 
  •  Jump lists that allow you to quickly access files or documents you frequently use;
  •  Performance that allows the system to boot up comparatively quickly; 
  • A new calculator to convert units, figure out fuel economy, etc.;
  • A new WordPad that offers more formatting features;
  •   and — among many other features — Upgraded and improved media player and center.

These are just a few of the reasons that so many PC users love their Windows 7 and do not want to particularly give it up, especially when they found Windows 8 a disappointment. In fact, StatCounter suggests that 41.86% of PC users — who according to Statista makes up nearly 84% of the market share for desktop PCs — use Windows 7 still while another 42.78% use Windows 10 and a sad 8.72% use Windows 8. Those statistics say a lot about Windows 7 and suggest that a lot of people are going to need to figure out what they are going to do before January 2020, if they want their systems to be secure and updated.

Why is Microsoft ending support for Windows 7?

There is no specific reason why Microsoft is ending support for Windows 7 come January 14, 2020, except that this date is the date provided in Window 7’s lifecycle.

Windows 7 Lifecycle

October 22, 2009

October 31, 2013

October 31, 2014

Date of general availability for:

  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Home Basic
  • Home Premium
  • Ultimate

Retail software end of sales for:

  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Home Basic
  • Home Premium
  • Ultimate

Retail software end of sales for:

  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Home Basic
  • Home Premium
  • Ultimate

October 31, 2016                               End of sales for PCs with Windows 7 Professional preinstalled

 January 13, 2015                               End of mainstream support for Windows

7 January 14, 2020                           End of extended support for Windows 7

As indicated in the above table, if you did not extend support for Windows 7, then the problem of extended support expiring on January 14, 2020, does not apply to you. If you had purchased that extended support, then you need to pay attention and determine what you want to do because a year will be over before you know it.

What will happen after extended support for Windows 7 expires on January 14, 2020?

Come January 14, 2020, if you are still using Windows 7, rest assured your desktop will still work; Windows 7 will continue to work beyond 2020. The issue here is your extended support.

Come January 14, 2020, extended support expires and with that expiration ends any updates to your PC. That means your system is vulnerable because the latest, most advanced security updates will not be available to you.

Who will be affected by Microsoft’s decision to end support for Windows 7?

It is important to be clear that not all Windows 7 users will be affected by the January 14, 2020 extended support expiration date. In fact, in September 2018, Microsoft announced that some business users can pay for an additional three years of security updates. Unfortunately, this does not extend to home versions.

In other words, if your windows license type is an original equipment manufacturer or a full package product, there will be no extended security updates for you, and this includes all home versions. However, if you purchased a volume license (i.e., Enterprise or Open Value) for Windows 7 Pro or Enterprise, then you can purchase the additional three years of security updates — so primarily only business users can receive the updates at a cost.

What are your options after Microsoft Windows 7 support expires? If you absolutely must keep Microsoft Windows 7, then you have options, though they may not be optimal options. These options include:

  • Playing with the idea of purchasing an upgrade to Windows 10 and then downgrading your rights to Window 7; 
  •  Continuing to run Windows 7 without security updates, but this is not a good option because as computer desktops and software advance, so do the hackers capabilities (home users if careful, can consider it, but it is probably not an option for business users due to legal and liability risks);
  • Disconnecting any Windows 7 PC from the internet, but this means disconnecting you to the very thing that keeps you connected to the world, so it may not be your best option either. 
  • Migrating from Windows 7 to another operating system, e.g. Windows 8 or preferably Windows 10.

What does Windows 10 offer you?

Some PC users are hesitant to switch to Windows 10 because it does have its drawbacks. Some specific Windows 10 drawbacks include:

  • The increased sense that Microsoft is invading our privacy with its default settings. Most of these setting can be changed but you must go in and manually make these changes.  
  • The ability to control your updates is limited when compared to Windows 7. Plus, these updates are made without user knowledge — which only entrenches the sense that PC users are being spied on when something happens to their system without their knowledge, even if it is for their own security.
  •  The interface is less customizable (e.g., can’t change colors) — and this is unfortunate in an age where we celebrate our differences, including how we set up our interface system.
  • Older programs do not run well on Windows 10, so if you have older programs, you may be in need of identifying additional and newer products or software.

That said, it is good to be reminded that even though you love your Windows 7 whether it’s because you simply love it or love it because it’s what you are familiar with, Windows 7 has its own drawbacks, too. Windows 7 drawbacks include:

  • Windows 7 was released in 2009. This was a time when iPad was a rumor and mobile phones were not as advanced. Today you want software that works across all your platforms. Windows 7 can’t do this most likely, but Windows 10 can.
  • If you ever needed to use a virtual desktop then you know this feature is not available in Windows 7 unless you use Desktops v2.0 software. Virtual desktops allow you to organize your space better and have become an essential tool for modern-day users. Windows 7 does not offer this capability easily but Windows 10 does.
  •  We all know Apple’s Siri and Google Now. These are convenient built-in assistants to help us do anything from scheduling tasks or appointments, dictating notes, playing music, adding reminders, and much more. Windows 7 does not have a built-in assistant but Windows 10 does: Cortana.
  •  Ever been in your Windows 7 and want to search the web from your desktop and then realize you can’t. To search the web, you have to navigate to the right tab and then look something up. Windows 7 does not offer a convenient search feature for the internet, but Windows 10 does: the search bar allows you to search anything from your folders, apps, files, Windows store, and the Internet. 
  • Gaming is another thing so many of us like to do today aside from work. Windows 7 has always been a trusted gaming platform — so this is not a drawback except for the fact that Windows 10 has built on Windows 7 gaming capabilities to make it even better. So, if you like gaming, whether it’s DirectX 12, PC Game DVR, or Xbox one game streaming, among others that you like to use for gaming purposes, then Windows 10 offers the best performance for you.

How to determine what you should do about your Windows 7 come January 14, 2020?

If you are one of those PC users to be affected by the end of extended support for Windows 7 in January 2020, then you have to determine what you will do. The last section implicitly directs you in which way you may consider, but if you are not yet confident in Windows 10, ask yourself the below two sets of questions: 

1.Do you use your computer to access the internet? If so, do you keep private information online or conduct private matters online, i.e., financial information, tax information, banking, consumer purchasing via Amazon or other outlets, etc.?

2.Do you like Microsoft’s operating system Windows? Do you want to stay with Windows (but not Windows 8)? If so, would you like something similar to Windows 7 but operates better?

If you answer yes to these questions, then it is safe to say you should consider Windows 10. A free upgrade to Windows 10 expired in 2016, but the price you pay today can save you in the long run.

So, now you have it. There’s a lot to consider if you use Windows 7 and like using it. If you are an owner of a volume license for business users, then you do have a viable and reasonable solution to the deadline: you can purchase another three years of security updates. This option provides you ample time to consider other options and train personnel on new desktop operating systems.

But if you are not a volume license holder, then you really need to consider what you intend to do. Security is highly important today in our virtual worlds and without it, you risk impacting your so-called “real” world. A hacker can destroy what you have built up over the years, from finances to projects to just about anything that is maintained or kept on your computer, in the cloud, or online. The issue of the January 14, 2020 expiration for Windows 7 extended support is indeed a serious one.

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What Are the 3 Big Changes at Microsoft in 2019?

What Are the 3 Big Changes at Microsoft in 2019?

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Ever since Microsoft incorporated as a company in April 1975, it has led the way in releasing innovative computing products for home and business users. From the release of its first operating system to the computer mouse to Microsoft Office, the company has always been one step ahead of the competition in changing the way people in the United States, Canada, Australia, and England manage their home lives. This year will be no exception. With 2019 being just days old, Microsoft has already indicated it will make three significant changes to the personal computing landscape.

Microsoft Edge to Become Chrome Engine

For as successful as Microsoft has been with its software programs and operating systems, the same cannot be said for each of the browsers it has released. It seems that every browser from Explorer 1.0 for Windows 95 to Microsoft Edge has struggled with spotty performance and security issues that did not win the confidence of users.

The introduction of Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox gave consumers more options and caused a steep decline in the number of people who still used Microsoft Explorer, Edge, or other Microsoft browsers. To counteract its lost market share and inspire consumer confidence, Microsoft is rebuilding Edge using open-source software. It is the same software that currently allows Google Chrome to operate. Microsoft even plans to make the upgraded browser available to Mac users.

People who currently use Microsoft Edge will not have it disappear on them. Instead, they will notice greater consistency in website displays and overall improved performance. Current Chrome users will have a better experience while surfing the web on a Windows operating system. The goal is to improve the Internet for all who use it, not just those who choose to use a Microsoft product.

Skype for Business Changed to Microsoft Teams

Skype, the application that allows users to see and talk to one another through a video application, has long been a staple of the business world in developed nations around the globe. It has allowed companies to forgo expenses associated with sending people out of state or to another country to attend meetings and hold them remotely instead.

However, Microsoft recognized that the application required some tweaking to be more user-friendly for teams with people working remotely all across the world. This led to the creation of Microsoft Teams along with the announcement that Skype for Business would no longer be part of the Microsoft Office bundle for customers with fewer than 500 seats.

In development for several years, 2019 is the year that Microsoft Teams officially launches. Its designers considered the corporate and remote user and included several features that would make file sharing and team collaboration much easier.

The new communication system is a single platform that draws largely from cloud computing. This includes a chat application, inclusion of the popular cloud collaboration program Slack, and all features that users currently enjoy with Microsoft Office 365. Perhaps the biggest benefit of Microsoft Teams over Skype for Business is that it includes all features on a single platform.

The Introduction of Microsoft Office 2019

In the three decades since its 1989 launch, Microsoft Office has consistently been the productivity tool of choice for businesses and private users alike. People use programs such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher, Visio, and Project every day to create, manage, and communicate on the job and at home.

Its current version, Office 365, connects people to the cloud to make it easier than ever for collaborative teams to get their work done without sharing the same office space. Coupled with the increased ability to store files on the go, Office 365 shares much of the credit for making it possible for growing numbers of people to log in and work from anywhere.

The release of Microsoft Office 2019 is one of the three major changes the company will make this year. The new program shares many features with Office 365, including the availability of each of the seven productivity applications. It also has several key differences, including the following:

  • Developers planned Microsoft Office 2019 as a one-time release, which means it will not receive any future updates
  • More mobile application features that enable users to create a higher volume of content in less time
  • Zoom features on PowerPoint for an enhanced viewing experience
  • New Excel spreadsheet features that make it easier to create charts and analyze data
  • Outlook email program automatically sorts emails and pushes the most important ones to the top

The major decision facing Microsoft Office business users is whether to remain with the subscription-based 365 program or upgrade to the one-time 2019 release.

What Next?

It is too early in the year to determine how these changes will affect users and whether Microsoft will ultimately profit from them. The only thing any computer user or an IT department can say for sure is that change is constant. The most successful people accept that nothing stays the same in the world of personal computers. They welcome the opportunity to change and to reap the benefits of someone else’s innovation.

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FBI Warns Businesses Of Cyber Attack From China

FBI Warns Businesses Of Cyber Attack From China

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Who Has Been Impacted by Chinese Cyber Attacks?

At the beginning of the year, the FBI warned businesses to protect themselves from cyber attacks by foreign entities, saying activity has spiked in the past 18 months.

Hewlett Packard and IBM are among the businesses most recently targeted. There’s a National Counter-Intelligence and Security Center that manages intelligence efforts for the U.S. government. It recently launched a campaign to address continuing threats. The center warns that many companies need to be more to protect against cyber theft.

Foreign governments accused of cyber attacks against the U.S. include Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, with China receiving the most scrutiny in recent reports.

How Do Hackers Breach Company and Government Security?

According to Entrepreneur magazine, hackers create fake social media accounts to get people to reveal work and personal information. One of the ways to guard against bad actors is to carefully scrutinize social media requests from people that aren’t personal connections and to research apps before using or downloading them, as well as keeping antivirus software up-to-date. 

The FBI warning including a brochure entitled, “Know the Risk, Raise Your Shield” that targets federal employees. The recent warnings follow a string of cases against individuals and organizations accused of stealing proprietary information from U.S. government and businesses.

Nine cases filed since July 2018 include two hackers investigators say are linked to the main Chinese spy agency. Knicknamed APT 10, they allegedly stole corporate and government information via cyber attacks on employees.

Has There Been an Uptick in Recent Activity?

The breach of private businesses by Chinese hackers first hit news headlines in 2014, when Sony Pictures was hacked. This prompted an agreement in 2015 between Chinese President Xi Jinping and then President Barrack Obama that curbed cyber attack for a while.

At FireEye, a cybersecurity firm, analysts track hackers working on behalf of the Chinese government. The firm’s representative says attacks are on the uptick recently. These hacking groups are referred to as Red Leaves, cloudhopper, and APT10.

Managed Service providers are among the groups targeted. MSPs supply technology, telecommunications and other services to business clients.

If they can break the security systems of such companies, Chinese hackers gain access to the sensitive data of the MSP’s clients. APT10 has routed malware via an MSP network to its business targets. However, there are many steps businesses can take to protect their employees and data from prying eyes in cyberspace.

What Should Business Do to Raise Their Shields?

U.S. businesses should take proactive measures to safeguard against cyber attacks from Chinese hackers via email, social media and other points of entry.

This includes ensuring that advanced detection tools are utilized on network and email servers to safeguard access to company data. Regular threat assessments and employee training can help. This provides a diagnosis of the state of a firm’s cyber defenses regarding advanced persistent threats that attempt to find breaches in the company’s firewall. Precautions taken against the intrusion of foreign governments include:

  • Fortify access controls. Evaluate the plans, policies, and procedures that govern corporate technology to keep proprietary data safe. This could include that installation of multi-factor authentication (MFA), data encryption and solidifying a layered defense system on all possible points of cyber attacks.
  • Training. Make cybersecurity education and training a top priority. Everyone from the Board of Directors and C-Suite to individual employees needs to understand how to avoid cyber attacks by avoiding fake emails, malware and weak password strategies, among other efforts.
  • Incident response plan. Organization leadership and key technical personnel must develop a protocol for dealing with threats. This should include representatives from business administration, information technology and operations.
  • Crisis communications plan. Align the protection policy to risk management methodologies and the business needs of employees.
  • Adopt a monitoring, detection and response plan. Quickly detect intrusions and breaches via rapid-respond plans to effectively eradicate the malware or other methods of entry.
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Will Cybercriminals Shutter Your Business In 2019?

Will Cybercriminals Shutter Your Business In 2019?

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If the frightening headlines about massive data breaches were not warning enough, upwards of 60 percent of all small and mid-sized businesses, reportedly shutter within six months of a systems hack.

The leading causes of nefarious systems incursions are reportedly caused by about 25 percent of valued employees repeating the same username and password across multiple platforms. But what remains even worse is that fact that as many as 95 percent of all small businesses lack adequate protocols to safeguard important company or customer information.

In the coming months and years, cyber threats are expected to continue to pose a grave danger to the health and well-being of small and mid-sized organizations. The question business leaders may want to ask themselves is . . . will you join the 60 percent of companies that did not recover from a data breach?

Strengthen Your Business Defenses

Many of the toppled 60 percent may wish they knew then what many know now. That is, the key to cybersecurity does not solely depend on having the best software protections. According to the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, and Department of Homeland Security, nefarious email remains a primary trap used by cybercriminals and DHS recommends the following safety procedures. 

“Never click on links in emails. If you do think the email is legitimate, whether from a third party retailer or primary retailer, go to the site and log on directly. Whatever notification or service offering was referenced in the email, if valid, will be available via regular log on.”

“Never open the attachments. Typically, retailers will not send emails with attachments. If there is any doubt, contact the retailer directly and ask whether the email with the attachment was sent from them.”

 “Do not give out personal information over the phone or in an email unless completely sure. Social engineering is a process of deceiving individuals into providing personal information to seemingly trusted agents who turn out to be malicious actors. If contacted over the phone by someone claiming to be a retailer or collection agency, do not give out your personal information. Ask them to provide you with their name and a call-back number. Just because they may have some of your information does not mean they are legitimate.”

As you can surmise, these cyber safety measures do not necessarily rely on the latest antivirus software or systems protections. Hackers continue to take advantage of human oversight and error to infiltrate organizations and pirate valuable personal data and intellectual property. Homeland Security also recommends that business leaders implement the following employee training and protocols to protect against data breaches via email.

  • Maintain Secure Passwords: Change passwords regularly and never share them or provide co-workers with access.
  • Verify Sources: Make certain that emails originate from people and companies within your network by contacting them directly for verification.
  • Nix Auto-Download: Never use automatic download options for email attachments.
  • Never Click On Links: Embedded links are a primary method used by hackers to trip up team members through ransomware and malicious viruses.

Strengthening a company’s defenses begins with employee training and awareness that data breaches are not reserved for significant organizations and Fortune 500 corporations. Hackers continue to troll for low hanging fruit and unsuspecting employees who make innocent mistakes.

Employee Cyber Security Training is Job One

Although ransomware attacks reportedly declined from 638 million in 2016 to 184 million in 2017, according to Statista, this method has been used to target a tremendous number of small and mid-sized outfits. 

The common attitude among cybercriminals is that decision-makers will ultimately weigh the cost of paying the ransom against potential profit losses and do the math. Hackers understand that poorly defended organizations are likely to negotiate and pay up. That’s why valued employees must remain vigilant and be a sort of human firewall if you will.

Proactive industry leaders are tasked with training employees and also determining which team members could be considered at risk. An IT support team can utilize training videos, create a cybersecurity policy and implement it by working with groups and individuals. But once the hands-on work has been completed, it’s imperative that companies conduct ongoing cybersecurity evaluations. These are logical methods to consider.

  • Identify team members who could be best targeted by hackers.
  • Deploy unscheduled mock cyber attacks.
  • Create and release convincing but harmless mock ransomware links via email.
  • Require employees to complete cybersecurity training modules.
  • Require advanced training for those who are tripped up by mock cyber attack drills.

We may be living in a golden age of technology, but our everyday fallibility remains the threshold that cybercriminals use to break into our business systems and rob our valued customers and us of critical data. One of the primary ways to avoid joining the 60 percent who are out of business is to make team members aware of cyber dangers and provide them with the skills to combat cybercriminals.

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Top 8 Cybersecurity Concerns For Local Businesses

Top 8 Cybersecurity Concerns For Local Businesses

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As businesses add more layers of cybersecurity to their arsenals, cybercriminals are finding new ways to attack system, networks and devices. There is a constant stream of emerging threats that can mean trouble for companies of any size.

Why Is Data Security a Major Challenge Going Forward?

Businesses today are realizing the vast opportunities that come from leveraging, monetizing and collaborating on their collected data. That means companies need to protect their data not only from privacy breaches but also from data misuse, data manipulation and loss of intellectual privacy.

Data validity, for example, is one particular area of cyberattack emerging. Data need not be stolen to hurt the business reputation. Instead, hackers could alter data such that it becomes invalid or inaccurate in such ways to delegitimize business outcomes and partnerships.

Industries need to identify and deploy new technologies that protect data while it’s at rest and in transit. Privacy risks related to data in use are hindering the full realization of data collaboration, limiting the opportunities available to companies.

Here are 8 other cybersecurity challenges that businesses need to combat now or shortly.

1. Chatbots at Risk

Artificially intelligent chatbots have become commonplace, helping to answer questions and guide web visitors to required information and action. Hijacked chatbots, however, could mimic existing tools to drive victims to click on links, download malicious files or share private information.

Web application flaws could also be exploited to insert malicious chatbots into sites that don’t have one.

 While these intrusions will likely be text-based bots for now, shortly, speech-enabled bots could lead to further victimization over the phone or other voice-enabled technologies.

2. Artificial Intelligence Mean Powerful Malware

The rise of AI, the Internet of Things and machine learning means more opportunities for business transformation. They also invite more smart attacks using intelligent malware. Cybersecurity providers need to develop new means of detecting these threats and training personnel to recognize and prevent them. Many of these preventative measures need to be automated to provide continuous detection and prevention.

Part of the challenge is the sophisticated tools hackers are using. Updated exploit kits, artificial intelligence and natural-language algorithms have allowed hackers to automate convincing emails. Simple processes allow for the generation of emails to millions of stolen addresses with compelling phishing attempts.

3. Data Exposure

AI-enabled applications rely on data pools to power advanced functionality, both for smaller companies and giants like Amazon and Facebook. The increasing use of data pools means more potential for developers to expose information, often customer data. These data aren’t necessarily subject to hack, but instead are vulnerable and accessible to anyone who can find the vulnerabilities.

4. Cyberwarfare 

Bad actors are no longer content on ransomware and phishing attempts. Technology advancements provide new opportunities for targeted and individualized attacks.

These attacks may leverage artificial intelligence to target individuals or corporations. Data integrity attacks, for example, could force organizations to completely replace computer hardware. Physical assaults could use drones and other tools for physical assaults.

5. Infrastructure at Risk

Nation-states will continue to wage cyber attacks on enemies with state-sponsored attacks on infrastructure. Attacks on national security, emergency communications, public health and financial systems could cripple governments and create spiraling consequences for the private sector.

Smaller conflicts could also be used as testing grounds for nation-states to assess new tactics, procedures and technologies that could be used in more significant geopolitical conflicts.

6. Data and Privacy Regulation

In 2018, the launch of GDPR, covering privacy issues for European Union citizens, forced companies to reevaluate their privacy and disclosure procedures. Similar privacy laws were approved in Canada and California. These new regulatory mandates are likely the first wave of protections that will force companies to spend more on cybersecurity, data transparency and reporting. As control of data begins to shift from institutions to individuals, companies are going to need better ways to monitor and report on compliance from multiple jurisdictions.

7. Connected Devices in the Crosshairs

With connected refrigerators, stoves, thermostats, doorbells and washing machines becoming the mainstay in many homes, the possibility of exploits is grave. Hackers will begin to identify and exploit vulnerabilities in these smart devices. Manufacturers will need to build in additional safeguards and architecture to meet growing consumer demand while keeping bad actors away.

8. Industrial Control System Risks

While there are more automated systems to allow for greater control of buildings, utilities and factories, there are inherent risks of exposure. Many of the players providing the technology in this space are new, making high-value targets all the more enticing to hackers.

Each year brings with it new technical innovations sure to drive better business outcomes. At the same time, hackers will find more sophisticated means to create more effective intrusions.

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How Can You Keep Your Partners & Employees From Leaving Your Law Firm With Your Data?

How Can You Keep Your Partners & Employees From Leaving Your Law Firm With Your Data?

Perhaps this comes as a surprise to some but there really isn’t a way to keep employees from stealing your data unless you plan ahead. Did you know that close to 60% of employees steal company data when they leave? And 67 % take it to their new position. This is according to a survey the Ponemon Institute conducted in 2009. At almost ten years ago, these numbers may have increased by now.

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Perhaps this comes as a surprise to some but there really isn’t a way to keep employees from stealing your data unless you plan ahead. Did you know that close to 60% of employees steal company data when they leave? And 67 % take it to their new position. This is according to a survey the Ponemon Institute conducted in 2009. At almost ten years ago, these numbers may have increased by now. According to the study:

  • 65% took email lists,
  • 45% took non-financial business information,
  • 39% took customer contact lists,
  • 35% took employee records, and
  • 16% took financial information.

Only 15% of respondents’ employers performed a review to determine if digital or paper documents were walking away with their employees.

How Did These Employees Steal Data?

According to the study, most of them took digital information. How? By quietly downloading it to a USB memory stick, CD, or DVD.

How Do You Prevent Employee Data Theft?

With the increase in Bring Your Own Device to the workplace and work-from-home positions, it’s easier than ever to steal proprietary data.

There is specialized software we can use to determine if someone has copied files from your server. But we must install and implement it before their exit.

The Key Is Prevention – 6 Tips

Ask your IT service provider to use technology tools to help you keep an eye on your data. They can help you do so in the following things:

1. Protect Your Sensitive Data. Use IT controls that limit access. Your receptionist doesn’t need access to your client’s case files. Ask your IT provider for tools like Microsoft Active Directory or other identity-management solutions to ensure only those you want to access files can do so.

Protect the data itself with hard-to-guess passwords and encryption that scrambles data unless the user has access to a decryption key.

Ask your IT provider to track the use of computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones in your firm. Mobile Device Management can wipe data from mobile devices remotely if they are lost, stolen or if you believe an ex-employee has your data.

There are also products that can record everything that occurs on company devices with logging and reporting. There are legitimate software solutions for this. You can ask your IT professional to direct the software to monitor specific employees and give your managers the right to set policies to review collected data.

If you have a server, it’s possible to prevent USB drives from being connected to Windows computers. Data Loss Protection stops data from slipping through exit points such as email, instant messaging, thumb drives, file-sharing services, printers and malware.

2. Implement Backup and Virtualization Systems: Having a way to keep files, emails and more is critical to prevent both accidental and purposeful deletions. Make sure you have backups of data that are not accessible to those leaving, just in case they decide to delete your files in anger. Ask your IT provider to set up a virtual image-based copy of your IT assets that include all of the applications you use so you can access them wherever you are.

3. Develop An IT Security Policy For Employees: As your IT service company representative to help you outline the rules for downloading or removing proprietary information from your legal practice. It should also include the use of email, instant messaging and social media to ensure data isn’t transferred in this way. All rules should cover employees’ devices while at work.

Make sure your employees all sign an agreement that affirms their understanding of these rules and the importance of keeping your law practice’s data confidential. Your partners and other attorneys should be provided separate confidentiality and non-compete agreements. Partner and attorney separations should be worked out in advance.

Make sure to have proper agreements in place that allow you to seek damages if you discover that data or paper files were taken without authorization. You may not discover until months later that a former partner took off with your digital information.

4. Use Technology To Monitor Employees Who Are Planning To Leave Your Practice:

Your IT provider can implement technology that can record everything a particular employee does including uploading data, downloading data and any other activity you deem suspicious.

5. When Employees Leave, Terminate All Access To Your Systems Immediately:

The key is to move fast to cut off departing employees’ access to your firm’s network, applications, email accounts and physical files. Be sure to change passwords on any social media accounts for your business they may have used. Your IT service company can manage this for you.

Of course, anyone you fire should be escorted out of the building immediately. Don’t let them take anything from their office. You can gather their belongings for them or have someone stand guard and watch carefully while they pack up their personal items. Better to be safe than sorry.

6. Ask Your IT Provider To Review Your Digital Information After An Employee Leaves: They can review email and other activity to ensure your confidential data stayed with you and didn’t leave your office.

Some say that it ultimately comes down to trust. But as an attorney, you know that this saying doesn’t ring true. And with technology and the advice of your IT specialist, there’s no need just to hope your confidential data stays that way.

For more information on keeping your law firm’s data secure, contact the experts at Parkway Technology Solutions. We’re your go-to Legal IT Solutions advisor in Winston Salem, North Carolina. We’ll assess your IT security and implement a plan to keep your data safe.

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At the beginning of October 2018, Tabs3 Software announced that it had acquired CosmoLex. This makes it the most complete offering of its kind.

What Are the Best Ways to Improve Law Office Cybersecurity?

As technology continues to evolve, those people threatening it adapt as well. This is also true in the legal sector where a breach in security can be devastating. Clients are demanding more from law firms by way of protection. Firms are scurrying to respond.

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Meets...The Best In IT.

Learn how Parkway's Legal IT Services helps firms across North Carolina achieve better results.

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How Can You Keep Your Partners & Employees From Leaving Your Law Firm With Your Data?

How Can You Keep Your Partners & Employees From Leaving Your Law Firm With Your Data?

Perhaps this comes as a surprise to some but there really isn’t a way to keep employees from stealing your data unless you plan ahead. Did you know that close to 60% of employees steal company data when they leave? And 67 % take it to their new position. This is according to a survey the Ponemon Institute conducted in 2009. At almost ten years ago, these numbers may have increased by now.

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Perhaps this comes as a surprise to some but there really isn’t a way to keep employees from stealing your data unless you plan ahead. Did you know that close to 60% of employees steal company data when they leave? And 67 % take it to their new position. This is according to a survey the Ponemon Institute conducted in 2009. At almost ten years ago, these numbers may have increased by now.

  • 65% took email lists, 
  • 45% took non-financial business information, 
  • 39% took customer contact lists, 
  • 35% took employee records, and 
  • 16% took financial information.

Only 15% of respondents’ employers performed a review to determine if digital or paper documents were walking away with their employees.

How Did These Employees Steal Data?

According to the study, most of them took digital information. How? By quietly downloading it to a USB memory stick, CD, or DVD.

How Do You Prevent Employee Data Theft?

With the increase in Bring Your Own Device to the workplace and work-from-home positions, it’s easier than ever to steal proprietary data.

There is specialized software we can use to determine if someone has copied files from your server. But we must install and implement it before their exit.

The Key Is Prevention – 6 Tips

Ask your IT service provider to use technology tools to help you keep an eye on your data. They can help you do so in the following things:

1. Protect Your Sensitive Data. Use IT controls that limit access. Your receptionist doesn’t need access to your client’s case files. Ask your IT provider for tools like Microsoft Active Directory or other identity-management solutions to ensure only those you want to access files can do so.

Protect the data itself with hard-to-guess passwords and encryption that scrambles data unless the user has access to a decryption key.

Ask your IT provider to track the use of computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones in your firm. Mobile Device Management can wipe data from mobile devices remotely if they are lost, stolen or if you believe an ex-employee has your data.

There are also products that can record everything that occurs on company devices with logging and reporting. There are legitimate software solutions for this. You can ask your IT professional to direct the software to monitor specific employees and give your managers the right to set policies to review collected data.

If you have a server, it’s possible to prevent USB drives from being connected to Windows computers. Data Loss Protection stops data from slipping through exit points such as email, instant messaging, thumb drives, file-sharing services, printers and malware.

 2. Implement Backup and Virtualization Systems: Having a way to keep files, emails and more is critical to prevent both accidental and purposeful deletions. Make sure you have backups of data that are not accessible to those leaving, just in case they decide to delete your files in anger. Ask your IT provider to set up a virtual image-based copy of your IT assets that include all of the applications you use so you can access them wherever you are.

3. Develop An IT Security Policy For Employees: As your IT service company representative to help you outline the rules for downloading or removing proprietary information from your legal practice. It should also include the use of email, instant messaging and social media to ensure data isn’t transferred in this way. All rules should cover employees’ devices while at work.

Make sure your employees all sign an agreement that affirms their understanding of these rules and the importance of keeping your law practice’s data confidential. Your partners and other attorneys should be provided separate confidentiality and non-compete agreements. Partner and attorney separations should be worked out in advance.

Make sure to have proper agreements in place that allow you to seek damages if you discover that data or paper files were taken without authorization. You may not discover until months later that a former partner took off with your digital information.

4. Use Technology To Monitor Employees Who Are Planning To Leave Your Practice:

Your IT provider can implement technology that can record everything a particular employee does including uploading data, downloading data and any other activity you deem suspicious.

5. When Employees Leave, Terminate All Access To Your Systems Immediately:

The key is to move fast to cut off departing employees’ access to your firm’s network, applications, email accounts and physical files. Be sure to change passwords on any social media accounts for your business they may have used. Your IT service company can manage this for you.

Of course, anyone you fire should be escorted out of the building immediately. Don’t let them take anything from their office. You can gather their belongings for them or have someone stand guard and watch carefully while they pack up their personal items. Better to be safe than sorry.

6. Ask Your IT Provider To Review Your Digital Information After An Employee Leaves: They can review email and other activity to ensure your confidential data stayed with you and didn’t leave your office.

Some say that it ultimately comes down to trust. But as an attorney, you know that this saying doesn’t ring true. And with technology and the advice of your IT specialist, there’s no need just to hope your confidential data stays that way.

For more information on keeping your law firm’s data secure, contact the experts at Parkway Technology Solutions. We’re your go-to Legal IT Solutions advisor in Winston Salem, North Carolina. We’ll assess your IT security and implement a plan to keep your data safe.

If you found this article helpful, there are many more on our Law Blog. Here are some examples of what you’ll find.

Why Small Law Firms Across The US Need Quality IT Services & Support

Lawyers and staff now rely on modern technology, which makes it necessary for law firms to have experienced IT support readily available for troubleshooting and maintenance of equipment, applications and systems when things go sideways

What Improvements Will the Combination of CosmoLex and Tabs3 Provide to Law Offices?

At the beginning of October 2018, Tabs3 Software announced that it had acquired CosmoLex. This makes it the most complete offering of its kind.

What Are the Best Ways to Improve Law Office Cybersecurity?

As technology continues to evolve, those people threatening it adapt as well. This is also true in the legal sector where a breach in security can be devastating. Clients are demanding more from law firms by way of protection. Firms are scurrying to respond.

law_ebook

Can Your Legal IT Services Firm
Keep Law & Order With Your
Practice's Technology?

Learn how Parkway's Legal IT Services helps firms across North Carolina achieve better results.

Click Here
Download Our Free Report

SCAM ALERT: Google Play Gift Cards

SCAM ALERT: Google Play Gift Cards

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If there’s a will there’s a way when it comes to scammers, especially with gift cards. Everyone loves gift cards. Consumers love how easy it is to purchase gift cards, use gift cards and even give gift cards. It’s as simple as buying a card at a brick and mortar store or clicking a few buttons and almost instantly having the funds needed to play. Scammers love gift cards too. Gift cards can immediately be activated and spent by these scammers even before the owner of the card knows what happened. 

Google Play gift cards are targets right now. Scammers love how easy they are to steal so consumers need to stay one step ahead of these online crooks. Here’s one of the latest Google Play Gift Card Scam that is scouring the internet.

Scam Alert: Currently there is an email scam occurring where thieves, posing as someone the recipient knows and are phishing for personal, financial, and other private information. This includes requests for Google Play Gift Cards. For example, the message will read, “I need

you to pick up a couple of gift cards. Can you make this happen? The type of gift card I need is Google Play gift cards. I need 4 cards in $500 denominations…scratch the back of the card to reveal the card codes and email me the gift card codes.”

Take away: Never provide any personal information including gift card codes like Google Play in an email. What seems like the information is going to a trusted source, it could be a scam.

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Can Your Legal IT Services Firm
Keep Law & Order With Your
Practice's Technology?

Learn how Parkway's Legal IT Services helps firms across North Carolina achieve better results.

Click Here
Download Our Free Report

How Can You Keep Your Partners & Employees From Leaving Your Law Firm With Your Data?

How Can You Keep Your Partners & Employees From Leaving Your Law Firm With Your Data?

Perhaps this comes as a surprise to some but there really isn’t a way to keep employees from stealing your data unless you plan ahead. Did you know that close to 60% of employees steal company data when they leave? And 67 % take it to their new position. This is according to a survey the Ponemon Institute conducted in 2009. At almost ten years ago, these numbers may have increased by now.

Parkway tech

Perhaps this comes as a surprise to some but there really isn’t a way to keep employees from stealing your data unless you plan ahead. Did you know that close to 60% of employees steal company data when they leave? And 67 % take it to their new position. This is according to a survey the Ponemon Institute conducted in 2009. At almost ten years ago, these numbers may have increased by now.

According to the study:

  • 65% took email lists,
  • 45% took non-financial business information,
  • 39% took customer contact lists,
  • 35% took employee records, and
  • 16% took financial information.

Only 15% of respondents’ employers performed a review to determine if digital or paper documents were walking away with their employees.

How Did These Employees Steal Data?

According to the study, most of them took digital information. How? By quietly downloading it to a USB memory stick, CD, or DVD.

How Do You Prevent Employee Data Theft?

With the increase in Bring Your Own Device to the workplace and work-from-home positions, it’s easier than ever to steal proprietary data.

There is specialized software we can use to determine if someone has copied files from your server. But we must install and implement it before their exit.

The Key Is Prevention – 6 Tips

Ask your IT service provider to use technology tools to help you keep an eye on your data. They can help you do so in the following things:

1. Protect Your Sensitive Data. Use IT controls that limit access. Your receptionist doesn’t need access to your client’s case files. Ask your IT provider for tools like Microsoft Active Directory or other identity-management solutions to ensure only those you want to access files can do so.

Protect the data itself with hard-to-guess passwords and encryption that scrambles data unless the user has access to a decryption key.

Ask your IT provider to track the use of computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones in your firm. Mobile Device Management can wipe data from mobile devices remotely if they are lost, stolen or if you believe an ex-employee has your data.

There are also products that can record everything that occurs on company devices with logging and reporting. There are legitimate software solutions for this. You can ask your IT professional to direct the software to monitor specific employees and give your managers the right to set policies to review collected data.

If you have a server, it’s possible to prevent USB drives from being connected to Windows computers. Data Loss Protection stops data from slipping through exit points such as email, instant messaging, thumb drives, file-sharing services, printers and malware.

2. Implement Backup and Virtualization Systems: Having a way to keep files, emails and more is critical to prevent both accidental and purposeful deletions. Make sure you have backups of data that are not accessible to those leaving, just in case they decide to delete your files in anger. Ask your IT provider to set up a virtual image-based copy of your IT assets that include all of the applications you use so you can access them wherever you are.

3. Develop An IT Security Policy For Employees: As your IT service company representative to help you outline the rules for downloading or removing proprietary information from your legal practice. It should also include the use of email, instant messaging and social media to ensure data isn’t transferred in this way. All rules should cover employees’ devices while at work.

Make sure your employees all sign an agreement that affirms their understanding of these rules and the importance of keeping your law practice’s data confidential. Your partners and other attorneys should be provided separate confidentiality and non-compete agreements. Partner and attorney separations should be worked out in advance.

Make sure to have proper agreements in place that allow you to seek damages if you discover that data or paper files were taken without authorization. You may not discover until months later that a former partner took off with your digital information.

4. Use Technology To Monitor Employees Who Are Planning To Leave Your Practice:

Your IT provider can implement technology that can record everything a particular employee does including uploading data, downloading data and any other activity you deem suspicious.

5. When Employees Leave, Terminate All Access To Your Systems Immediately:

The key is to move fast to cut off departing employees’ access to your firm’s network, applications, email accounts and physical files. Be sure to change passwords on any social media accounts for your business they may have used. Your IT service company can manage this for you.

Of course, anyone you fire should be escorted out of the building immediately. Don’t let them take anything from their office. You can gather their belongings for them or have someone stand guard and watch carefully while they pack up their personal items. Better to be safe than sorry. 

6. Ask Your IT Provider To Review Your Digital Information After An Employee Leaves: They can review email and other activity to ensure your confidential data stayed with you and didn’t leave your office.

Some say that it ultimately comes down to trust. But as an attorney, you know that this saying doesn’t ring true. And with technology and the advice of your IT specialist, there’s no need just to hope your confidential data stays that way.

For more information on keeping your law firm’s data secure, contact the experts at Parkway Technology Solutions. We’re your go-to Legal IT Solutions advisor in Winston Salem, North Carolina. We’ll assess your IT security and implement a plan to keep your data safe. 

If you found this article helpful, there are many more on our Law Blog. Here are some examples of what you’ll find. 

Why Small Law Firms Across The US Need Quality IT Services & Support 

Lawyers and staff now rely on modern technology, which makes it necessary for law firms to have experienced IT support readily available for troubleshooting and maintenance of equipment, applications and systems when things go sideways

What Improvements Will the Combination of CosmoLex and Tabs3 Provide to Law Offices? 

At the beginning of October 2018, Tabs3 Software announced that it had acquired CosmoLex. This makes it the most complete offering of its kind.

What Are the Best Ways to Improve Law Office Cybersecurity? 

As technology continues to evolve, those people threatening it adapt as well. This is also true in the legal sector where a breach in security can be devastating. Clients are demanding more from law firms by way of protection. Firms are scurrying to respond.

law_ebook

Can Your Legal IT Services Firm
Keep Law & Order With Your
Practice's Technology?

Learn how Parkway's Legal IT Services helps firms across North Carolina achieve better results.

Click Here
Download Our Free Report

The 2019 Attorney’s Guide To Protecting Client Information

The 2019 Attorney’s Guide To Protecting Client Information

Law firm cybersecurity has never been more critical. Follow these tips to start 2019 prepared for the increasing number of cyber threats.

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Law firms need to be particularly vigilant about guarding against cybersecurity. Not only do they handle a variety of non-public personal and financial information about their clients, but the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has begun requiring firms that specialize in several types of law to follow more stringent cyber security protocols and procedures that other types of businesses and law firms. Fail to comply with these requirements and your firm could face a fine, or worse, be held liable in the event of a data breach. Currently, these requirements apply to real estate lawyers, but they may soon also include those who practice family law. Law firm data security is more critical than ever.

What is the threat landscape for law firms in 2019?

What does the threat to the average small or medium-sized law firm look like as we begin 2019? Consider the following statistics:

1. According to a study by “Small Business Trends,” 43 percent of cyber attacks are aimed at small businesses like law firms.

2. It takes most companies at least six months to catch a data breach. Imagine the damage to your firm’s reputation and your clients’ finances that can be done by that time.

3. Windows-driven devices are the most commonly hacked with Android devices running second. However, that doesn’t mean that Macintosh and Apple users can relax their cybersecurity.

4. The average cost of a cybercrime data breach is $301 per employee.

5. More than 4,000 ransomware attacks occur every day, according to the FBI.

6. More than three-quarters of all businesses reported being a victim of a phishing attack within the last year.

7. The United States is, by far, the most significant target of cyber crime, with more than 38 percent of victim companies, according to a study by Norton. They also estimate that the U.S. will account of half of all crime by 2023.

Despite these alarming statistics, law firms tend to lag behind other professions and industries in combating the threat of cybercrime. The American Bar Association (ABA) ranked the average small law firm’s cyber security procedures and protocols at a 3.5 out of 10. The reasons are many. Law firms have been more reluctant to embrace new technology than other types of businesses. Also, many small and medium-sized law firms lack an IT department or even a designated IT person. However, no matter how small your operation, you ignore cyber security at your peril.

Guarding against cybercrime in the new year

Fortunately, there are some easy and affordable things you can do to beef up your firm’s cyber defenses.

1. Segregate the firm’s most sensitive information. Restricting access to your firm’s most sensitive digital information is the first step in a good cybercrime prevention plan. This is the digital equivalent to locking documents in a safe an only giving a chosen few key employees the combination. You’ll want to use the most vigorous security protocol for this data, such as changing passwords frequently and only giving top employees access.

2. Install and update anti-virus and anti-malware software programs. Such programs, regularly updated are the first line of defense against cybercrime, and can be surprisingly effective.

3. Invest in employee training. Many cyber threats, such as phishing scams, can be neutralized if your employees know what such scams look it. Also, drilling employees on good basic computer and email practices, such as never opening an emailed attachment, and holding employees accountable for their actions can significantly minimize your firm’s level of exposure to cybercrime.

4. Enlist help. An IT managed service provider can help you protect your firm’s sensitive data without your having to house, maintain and staff an IT department. This type of company can offer a myriad of IT services, including cybersecurity, for one affordable monthly fee. At Parkway Tech, we take the time to get to know your firm and your business model before we custom design an IT package just for your firm. Many firms put their security and computer expectations in writing by producing and distributing a one or two-page list of what computer activity is allowed and what is prohibited.

The ABA estimates that merely concentrating on these four areas regarding cybersecurity can reduce the typical small law firm’s cyber security risk by 85 to 90 percent. Now that’s good news on which to start the new year.

About Parkway Tech

Located in Winston-Salem, Parkway Tech specializes in helping small and medium-size law firms with their IT needs. We have been offering legal IT services, including cybersecurity, since 2008, and we pride ourselves on our friendly, responsive customer service. We’re so confident that you’ll be impressed with our service that we offer a 90-day guarantee on all of our managed service packages. If you’re not thrilled by what we offer, you don’t pay. It’s as simple as that. Not many other IT specialists make that offer.

To learn more about how Parkway Tech can help your firm combat cybercrime, visit parkwaytech.com or contact us at (336) 310-9888.

law_ebook

Can Your Legal IT Services Firm
Keep Law & Order With Your
Practice's Technology?

Learn how Parkway's Legal IT Services helps firms across North Carolina achieve better results.

Click Here
Download Our Free Report