Category Archives: Regulation

Work from home strategies leave many companies in regulatory limbo

Like most American businesses, middle market companies have been forced to rapidly implement a variety of work-from-home strategies to sustain productivity and keep employees safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. This shift, in most cases, was conducted with little chance for appropriate planning and due diligence. This is especially true in regard to the security and compliance of remote work solutions, such as new cloud platforms, remote access products and outsourced third parties. Many middle market … More

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Cybersecurity is failing due to ineffective technology

A failing cybersecurity market is contributing to ineffective performance of cybersecurity technology, a Debate Security research reveals. Based on over 100 comprehensive interviews with business and cybersecurity leaders from large enterprises, together with vendors, assessment organizations, government agencies, industry associations and regulators, the research shines a light on why technology vendors are not incentivized to deliver products that are more effective at reducing cyber risk. The report supports the view that efficacy problems in the … More

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Data protection predictions for 2021

2020 presented us with many surprises, but the world of data privacy somewhat bucked the trend. Many industry verticals suffered losses, uncertainty and closures, but the protection of individuals and their information continued to truck on. After many websites simply blocked access unless you accepted their cookies (now deemed unlawful), we received clarity on cookies from the European Data Protection Board (EDPB). With the ending of Privacy Shield, we witnessed the cessation of a legal … More

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How tech trends and risks shape organizations’ data protection strategy

Trustwave released a report which depicts how technology trends, compromise risks and regulations are shaping how organizations’ data is stored and protected. Data protection strategy The report is based on a recent survey of 966 full-time IT professionals who are cybersecurity decision makers or security influencers within their organizations. Over 75% of respondents work in organizations with over 500 employees in key geographic regions including the U.S., U.K., Australia and Singapore. “Data drives the global … More

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Global adoption of data and privacy programs still maturing

The importance of privacy and data protection is a critical issue for organizations as it transcends beyond legal departments to the forefront of an organization’s strategic priorities. A FairWarning research, based on survey results from more than 550 global privacy and data protection, IT, and compliance professionals outlines the characteristics and behaviors of advanced privacy and data protection teams. By examining the trends of privacy adoption and maturity across industries, the research uncovers adjustments that … More

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Banks risk losing customers with anti-fraud practices

Many banks across the U.S. and Canada are failing to meet their customers’ online identity fraud and digital banking needs, according to a survey from FICO. Despite COVID-19 quickly turning online banking into an essential service, the survey found that financial institutions across North America are struggling to establish practices that combat online identity fraud and money laundering, without negatively impacting customer experience. For example, 51 percent of North American banks are still asking customers … More

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Why SSL Certificate is Necessary for B2B Business?

Do you run a B2B business with an active online presence? If so, then you must be concerned about your cybersecurity and data protection practices. Unless you do that, security breaches such as supply chain attacks, ransomware, man-in-the-middle attacks, and phishing attacks could ruin your market reputation. B2B businesses thrive on customer retention, and therefore endangering customer data by not investing in the right security measures could sabotage your business.

There are two things you need to watch out for — on-premise security measures and in-transit security measures when it comes to cybersecurity. For a minute, let us assume that you and your clients have all the on-premise security essentials in place, including updated software, firewall, antivirus, etc.…

In that case, your only concern should be the in-transit data. This can very well be taken care of with an SSL certificate. Now, if you are thinking of buying a cheap SSL certificate, then you probably don’t know much about this technology, so let’s begin with that.

What is an SSL Certificate?

If you wonder what an SSL certificate is and whether it is any different from the TLS certificate, then no worries. We will tell you everything there is to know about these two technologies. The Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate, sometimes called the Transport Layer Security (TLS) certificate refers to the technology that encrypts communication between the client and the server. 

Primarily, Netscape developed the SSL technology way back in 1995 to uphold data integrity and prevent unauthorized access. However, since 1996, the SSL technology has not been updated, and what we currently use is the TLS, which makes use of the encryption protocol. So, the TLS is the successor of SSL, and therefore the two terms are used interchangeably. So, whenever you see a website that shows ‘HTTPS’ or a green padlock in the URL bar, then you can be sure that it is encrypted with an SSL certificate. 

How does an SSL Certificate work?

SSL certificates make use of cryptography to encrypt the in-transit data by deploying the public-private key encryption. To get started with it, you need to install the desired type of SSL certificate on the webserver that hosts your website. Installing a valid SSL certificate enables end-to-end encryption, which is also possible through a self-signed certificate but is not recommended.

For an SSL certificate to be valid, it must be duly signed by a Certifying Authority and must be digitally signed with the CA’s private key. You can buy a cheap SSL certificate and install it in less than fifteen minutes, but only if you opt for a domain validated SSL.

As a B2B business, you probably make use of multiple subdomains and extensions. So you must consider a more advanced SSL certificate like the Wildcard SSL or the Organization Validated SSL. Although all types of SSL certificates use the same encryption protocol, they offer different types of validations. 

 

Why should I install an SSL Certificate?

If you are still wondering whether you need an SSL certificate for your B2B business’s official website, then read on. Below listed are some of the core benefits that come with installing the right SSL certificate.

Ø Secure Data Transmission

Transmission of customer data through the internet can be intercepted by cybercriminals who may then use it against your customers’ best interests. As the internet transmits communication through multiple computers or servers, there could be a vulnerability at some transmission point that a cybercriminal might exploit. An SSL certificate prevents this through the public-private key encryption, ensuring that the data remains accessible only to the intended recipient.

Compliance

As a business owner, you might have stumbled upon the term ‘HTTPS’. You may be aware of its role in complying with the various data privacy and cybersecurity laws and regulations. For example, the HTTPS is mandatory under the GDPR and PCI DSS.

The HTTPS is recommended because it is the secure version of its predecessor, the HTTP protocol. Unlike the HTTP protocol, the HTTPS does not transmit the data as plain text but rather encrypts it through cryptography. This prevents unauthorized interception of personally identifiable and sensitive data such as addresses, phone numbers, email IDs, passwords, credit card details, etc…

SEO Benefits

Every business strives hard to rank higher in Google’s search results, and one way of doing that is by installing an SSL certificate. Back in 2014, Google emphasized the significance of SSL and its impact on search engine rankings. So, having one installed on your website would give your business higher visibility and generate more organic traffic.

Join the HTTPS Everywhere Movement

Let us assume you did everything right and have a decent number of visitors coming to your website. Now your goal should be to establish yourself as a credible business and turn your visitors into customers. In 2020, this won’t be possible without installing an SSL certificate on your website.

That’s because Google Chrome, the browser with the largest market share, has now adopted the ‘HTTPS Everywhere’ approach. So, it flags websites that do not run on the HTTPS protocol by alerting the user of potential security threats. While that is something you can overcome with a basic domain validated SSL certificate, using a more advanced validation is recommended.

Declare your Legitimacy

B2B businesses such as digital marketers, SaaS product developers, and remote consultants who have little to no physical interaction with their clients must use advanced SSL certificates. We recommend the Organization Validated (OV) SSL certificate, which is slightly expensive but comes with many benefits for such businesses. Before issuing an OV SSL certificate, the Certifying Authority performs a comprehensive validation of a business’s existence. It, therefore, brings along more credibility to B2B businesses and professionals that operate remotely. 

Conclusion

We have discussed everything you need to know about SSL certificates as a B2B business owner. As you may have realized, a B2B business needs to avoid buying a cheap SSL certificate to save a few bucks. Instead, B2B business owners must consider investing in one based on the level of validation they seek. It does not matter how big or small your B2B business is because as long as it is credible, there is hope.

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Great Ways to Improve Mac’s Performance and Security

You are bound to run into Macbook performance problems. And when that time comes, the computer becomes more prone to cybersecurity threats on top of performance issues, such as stuttering and crashing.

It is important to ensure that your Mac is in the best possible shape for as long as possible. You need to create a maintenance routine and stick to it. Doing so would help to avoid potential risks. After all, even a very small problem can evolve into something you will not be able to manage.

The ways you can take better care of the Macbook are mentioned below. Implement them in your strategy and stick to that maintenance routine.

Way #1 – Pay Attention to Activity Monitor

App management might not seem like that big of a deal, but if you have been using a Mac for a while, some stuff is bound to be nothing but a hindrance. 

Launch Activity Monitor and sort the processes by relevant metrics. CPU or memory usage is the best to determine which applications require the most resources. 

Applications that you can remove should be removed. Also, it is worth mentioning that looking for alternatives might also be a good course of action. And not just for those that are not so resource-hungry. Mackeeper is a good example. It is not the best antivirus in terms of features and performance. Not to mention all the shady stuff that surrounds the software.

You can uninstall mackeeper and look for better antiviruses that will provide security as well as performance improvements. And this is just one of the examples of how you can change things by taking better care of app management.

Way #2 – Disable Visual Effects

Visual effects should be off the list regardless. They offer nothing of considerable value and are only consuming battery life as well as the resources of the computer. Look at your settings and see which of these effects can be disabled. 

Way #3 – Scan for Potential Viruses

A sudden drop in the computer’s performance out of nowhere could mean that you are dealing with viruses and malware. Cybersecurity threats can attack you even if the computer is for personal use only. 

A reliable antivirus does not guarantee that the system is protected. You also need to be more wary of the links you click on. Enabling the firewall and taking other precautions, like auto-login feature or VPN when browsing, could also be of use.

Way #4 – Update the System

System updates should be one of your priorities. While most of these happen automatically, you should still look now and then to make sure that there OS is using the latest version.

Even if small, an update will still introduce new features and improvements to stability, security, and overall performance. In case an update takes a while to finish installing, let it take all the time it needs. These things should not be rushed.

Way #5 – Free up Disk Space

Lack of disk space happens to be one of the biggest problems for Mac users, especially when they switch the OS for the first time. It is no secret that it will take time to get used to how little drive storage is available. 

However, if you are not careful with how you approach things, you will end up with only a few gigabytes left. When that happens, expect a Macbook to cause you quite a headache.

So what are the possible solutions to eliminate the issue? Well, there are a few things you can do.

For one, getting rid of useless applications and junk files like caches, old backups, and extensions will help. Removing files like language packs, old email attachments, as well as downloads ought to do the work, too.

Finally, you can look to transfer some data to clouds or external storage devices. Lastly, there is a way around keeping large media files on the computer, including music tracks. There are a lot of streaming platforms, such as Netflix or Spotify, that will make everything a lot easier.

Way #6 – Stop Memory Leaks

Memory leaks can run out of control if you are not careful. The distribution of memory is not something you can solve that easily. The simplest solution would be to restart the computer regularly. Every few hours should do the trick just fine.

Way #7 – Optimize Internet Browser

Internet browsers could cause the most problems, and if you do a lot of work with them, or cannot enjoy the time you spend surfing the web, it will be an issue. 

Changing to another browser is the easiest path to take, but if you have a lot of information, such as bookmarks, stored on your current browser, you will need to find another way out.

Removing excessive extensions and add-ons certainly helps. Keeping the number of open browser tabs will also make a difference. 

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Data Security: How HIPAA Rules Affect Your Organization

Every organization has to ensure that all of its data is stored securely and that any possibility of data leaks or information theft are minimized as much as possible. Healthcare providers must also ensure that they comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Here are some of the ways in which HIPAA rules can affect your practice and steps you can take to ensure you comply.

HIPAA Rules

The two fundamental components of HIPAA are the Privacy Rule and Security Rule. The key aspects of HIPAA’s Privacy Rule relate to who can have access to personal health information (PHI), how it is used and disclosed. Policies and procedures should be implemented to ensure that only the minimum information necessary is disclosed and that written patient authorization is obtained prior to their information being disclosed. Failing to follow the HIPAA Privacy Rule can lead to civil and even criminal penalties. The HIPAA Security Rule requires that all ePHI which is created, sent or received be kept confidential, that data integrity is maintained and that data is available when needed.

Safe Storage Of Electronic Records

Most patient healthcare information is now stored digitally, making it easier for clinical data to be access between providers. However, this data is still subject to the same HIPAA rules. It may include information about the patient’s medications, medical history and billing information. Crucially, this means that all electronic health records need to be stored securely and that adequate security measures need to be in place to prevent improper access.

Adequate Encryption

It is essential that safeguards are put in place to ensure that security threats and breaches are minimized.

One of the most important safeguards to implement is secure encryption of data. To ensure maximum security, it’s essential that you use software that encrypts the data when you back up health records. The same applies to any platforms you may use to transfer patient information with other healthcare professionals or patients themselves.

Prevention Of Data Breaches

Whenever anyone without authorization accesses personal health information, this is considered a data breach. This may be a hacker, a member of the team with malicious intent or just a curious employee. Organizations need to take steps to protect patient information from being improperly accessed, as far as they reasonably can, to prevent avoidable data breaches. Whenever a data breach is discovered, it is imperative that the organization provides a breach notification, as specified in by the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule.

Safeguard Against Cyber-Attacks

Organizations also need to ensure that they have adequate safeguards in place to protect against ransomware and cyber-attacks. Ransomware attacks involve malicious software encrypting the data on a computer or network and denying access to the data until a ransom payment has been made.

Healthcare providers are particularly vulnerable to ransomware and cyber-attacks.  Most of these attacks aim to steal electronic healthcare data which can then be sold on. The best strategy to ensure you can recover from any sort of cyber-attack is to have offline backups. You also need to ensure that any data kept on the cloud is stored securely. You risk fines, damage to your reputation and even poor healthcare outcomes if you don’t have proper security in place.

Safeguarding Public Health

Whilst individual privacy must always be adhered to, there are instances in which PHI can be released en masse. These will be specific instances which impact on public safety. For example, any situation which requires disease or death to be identified, monitored and responded to. Other situations include terrorism, surveillance, outbreak investigation and research. You need to be clear about what information can be disseminated and used in each case.

Conclusion

In order to ensure that you and your business associates are complying with HIPAA and properly and securely protecting PHI, you need to minimize the risk of any health information becoming compromised, improperly disclosed or stolen and encrypted. Ensure that you have the latest security management initiatives in place in order to protect your digital platforms and ensure that patient information remains secure and uncompromised.

Beatrix Potter is a cybersecurity writer at Essay Services website. 

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The Cyber Security Guide For Small Business Owners

Cybercrime isn’t limited to large corporations or wealthy individuals; it also targets small businesses. According to the U.S. Congressional Small Business Committee, a significant amount of cyber-attacks targeted businesses with less than 100 workers. A related study by the SMB CyberSecurity Report established that 50% of SMBs had experienced a security breach in the past.

The reason small businesses are targeted more than large corporations is that they’ve vulnerabilities in their networks. This means it’s easier to breach the networks of small businesses than it’s to penetrate large corporations. Small businesses don’t allocate sufficient time and funds to secure their networks. They also lack expert personnel, have outdated security programs, and fail to secure their endpoints. The following are some of the basic cybersecurity best practices for small businesses.

Use a Firewall

Setting up a firewall is one of the basic ways of defending your business against a cyber-attack. The Federal Communications Commission urges small businesses to have firewalls to prevent data breaches. Some organizations have a standard firewall and an internal firewall for additional protection. Employees working remotely should also set up firewalls on their home networks.

Put Your Cybersecurity Policies In Writing

When it comes to cybersecurity, it’s advisable to put your policies in writing. To get started, you can attend online training through the Small Business Administration Cybersecurity portal. You can get help with drafting your policies from the FCC’s Cyberplanner 2.0. Alternatively, you can request a comprehensive toolkit for cybersecurity best practices through the C3 Voluntary Program for Small Businesses.

Use The CIA Model

When it comes to establishing cybersecurity policies, you should use the CIA model to guide you. This model helps keep your business secure by protecting your data. The elements of this model are Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability. First, you should make sure information can’t be accessed by unauthorized personnel. You can do this by encrypting the information.

Secondly, you need to protect data and systems from being altered by unauthorized personnel. This means you should ensure that the information is unchanged from the time you create it to the time it reaches the end-user. Lastly, ensure authorized personnel have access to information when they need it and that you update your applications whenever necessary.

Train Employees In Cyber Security Measures

After you have established security policies, the next step is to train your employees on how to incorporate these measures. For example, you should train your employees on how to create strong passwords. It would help if you also established rules that penalize employees for violating the business’s Cybersecurity policies. Make ground rules on how to manage and protect client data and other important information. For example, you may establish rules that all machines should have the latest security software, operating system, and web browser to guard against malware, viruses, and online threats.

Device a Plan For Mobile Devices

According to Tech Pro Research 2016 BYOD, 59% of businesses allow BYOD. There’s a high surge in the use of wearables like wireless fitness trackers and smartwatches. For this reason, small businesses should establish BYOD policies that emphasize the need for security precautions. Norton by Symantec also urges small businesses to encourage employees to set automatic updates and use a strong password policy for mobile devices that are tapping into the company’s network.

Back up Your Data Regularly

You may still be breached after observing all the necessary security measures. This is why you need to back up data regularly. You also need to back up data that is kept in the cloud because those servers could also be compromised. Store your backups in a safe place to guard against fire outbreaks and floods. Make sure your backups are up to date.

Apply Multifactor Identification

No matter how secure you think you’re, mistakes are inevitable. An employee can make a mistake that leaves your network vulnerable. Using the multifactor identification settings provides an additional layer of protection to your network. You can use employees’ phone numbers because it would be unlikely for a cybercriminal to have both the pin code and the password.

Secure Your Wi-Fi Network

If your business has a Wi-Fi network, you need to secure it. Encrypt and hide the Wi-Fi network, so it’s not accessed by unauthorized personnel. To hide the network, set up a wireless access point to prevent it from broadcasting the name of the network, also called the Service Set Identifier (SSID). Protect access to the router using a password. 

Endnote

Many businesses downplay the threat of cybercriminals, arguing that they don’t have significant assets or that their data is not worth a security breach. However, cybercriminals target the weak networks of small businesses more than the heavily secured networks of large organizations. For this reason, it’s important to observe cybersecurity practices to ensure your business and clients are secured from cyber thieves. The above measures will help you tighten the data security of your organization, making it more difficult for hackers to breach your systems.

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ITAR compliance: ignorance is no excuse

The ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) legislation details what measures businesses and individuals must take to comply with ITAR requirements and specifies severe penalties, both civil and criminal, for non-compliance. The reach of the regulations is broad and suppliers of all kinds may be subject to requirements to keep sensitive information secure and restricted.