Category "The Cloud"

Data, especially that of your customers, is your business’s lifeblood. It’s not only valuable to you but to others such as cyber criminals and your competitors. It’s essentially informational wealth. But unlike other forms of wealth such as jewelry or precious metals, business data isn’t kept in a vault. Too many businesses keep their data behind unlocked doors for much of the day. This lack of physical security is a common oversight caused by an almost exclusive focus on cyber threats. Crime has a way of exploiting relative weaknesses or paths of least resistance, and it’s only a matter of time before a physical breach occurs.

The physical security weaknesses of business server rooms and even professional data centers come in many forms. These include:

Exterior Windows

This mistake is more common of business server rooms than of professional data centers. Glass won’t hold up to the flying debris of a violent windstorm. Once broken, the server room is exposed to the elements. The fragility of glass also makes windows a favorite point of entry for thieves.

An Open Lobby

Sometimes, the front door is the easiest way into an otherwise physically secure building. Many companies have an unlocked door leading into a lobby that’s “guarded” by a receptionist. Getting past this person is easily done with two people. One distracts the receptionist with questions, while another walks past. This is best done while the lobby is busy with people.

Poorly Locked Doors

Mechanical locks can be picked, and their keys lost or stolen. The dead bolts of some locks are easily pushed back with a knife or plastic card. Sometimes bolts don’t extend far enough, and allow the door to be kicked open.

Sheetrock Walls

If the only barrier between the server room and an adjacent room is a sheetrock wall, a person wearing heavy boots can kicked their way through the wall. A large hammer will also suffice.

Walls That Don’t Connect With the True Ceiling

Very large rooms are often converted into smaller rooms using multiple interior walls that don’t connect with the ceiling. Drop ceilings are then used for the smaller rooms. A person can remove a drop ceiling tile and climb over the wall and into an adjacent server room.

Converting a typical office space into a physically secure data center is difficult if not impossible. When considering the services of a data center, thorough security due diligence is required. WHOA.com uses physically secure Tier IV data centers. Contact us with your questions about our managed security services.

There is a reason why cyber criminals prefer medical health information to many other types of data, including credit card and bank account data. Medical health patient information such as social security numbers, personal identities, and health histories don’t change. On the other hand, pass-codes can be quickly changed and credit accounts frozen when a breach is discovered. Banks will react fast. People are more likely to notice unexplained bank account withdrawals and credit charges than unexplained health insurance claims and charges to Medicare. This is because health record exploitation isn’t on their radar. In short, compared to medical records, bank data has a brief shelf life for felonious use.

Medical records also contain much more information that can be put to many uses. Phony passports and other ID cards can be fabricated and sold for profit. The personal health problems along with names and phone numbers of people can be sold to telemarketers who then attempt to sell related equipment and supplies to the victims. Medical records can contain enough information, including place of employment, for criminals to file fake tax returns. Valuable medical items can be charged by criminals to Medicare and to health insurance accounts and sold for profit.

With stolen medical health information being the digital gold that it is, it’s more important than ever to use an HIPAA compliant cloud service for hosting personal health information. HIPAA compliance is not only the smart thing to do, it’s the law. Noncompliance can result in being served with civil and criminal penalties and with fines up to a maximum of $1.5 million per year. Not only will a data breach harm your business, it can also harm your customers/patients. They can be victimized with identity theft, lose their health insurance, face higher health insurance premiums, and depending on how their information was abused, suffer many other difficulties.

WHOA.com offers HIPAA compliant cloud services and is ISO 27001-certified. To learn more about how we protect our client’s data, contact us.

Investing in a business continuity plan can be viewed as a kind of insurance into which a company sinks effort and time to assure business survival should disaster strike. However, this viewpoint is too limited. Insurance only pays off when something goes wrong. Otherwise, the premium payments are lost money. Business continuity planning, if done correctly, will increase your profits and business opportunities. It shouldn’t be seen as a cost, but as an investment. Here are two important ways this investment pays off:

It Improves Business Efficiency

Putting together an effective business continuity plan requires careful deconstruction of your business processes. You’ll be forced to assess and prioritize your processes and technologies with the idea that those given the highest priorities must continue to function in a disaster. When performing this analysis, you will spot ways to improve their performance. Why would this happen? Because your attention is directed in places never viewed before, and will likely reveal obvious improvements. You may find that some of the processes with the lowest priorities aren’t needed at all. Jettisoning them will eliminate unneeded business costs. You might also discover and eliminate duplicated processes.

It Creates More Business Opportunity

The 9/11 disaster taught many large businesses the importance of having robust supply chains. If a disaster paralyzes critical suppliers of a company, that company is also paralyzed. It takes time to find alternative suppliers, and business revenue is lost in the mean time. If you’re a small business, having a business continuity plan makes you look more viable as a reliable supplier to larger businesses.

Most fortune 500 companies require their vendors to have continuity plans. The same is true of the government. A business continuity plan allows you to bid for and win lucrative contracts with the government and the largest companies.

If you’re a SaaS business, your customers’ survival as businesses may depend on uninterrupted access to your software service. Without a business continuity plan in place, many potential customers will deem you as too great a risk to become dependent on your service. At least the customers of suppliers have an inventory to partially carry them through a supply chain disruption. However, if a disaster takes down your business, your customers will immediately feel the effect. A business continuity plan allows you to compete for the business of companies who would never have considered you viable before.

If you require assistance in implementing a business continuity plan or have questions, contact us at WHOA.com

Unless you’ve experienced a disaster that threatened your business, it’s hard to appreciate the importance of a sound business continuity plan. All too often, people consider disasters as remote events, and don’t give business continuity the attention it deserves. Their thinking is further influenced by a number of misconceptions, or myths, that reinforce their decision to postpone or forego setting up a business continuity plan. Here are three business continuity myths:

There’s No ROI in a Continuity Plan Other Than Surviving a Remote Event

A disaster isn’t necessarily a remote occurrence because it can happen at any time, and business survival in the face of a disaster should be sufficient motivation in itself. However, there are other aspects to having a plan that can help your bottom line. A business recovery plan gives you leverage to negotiate a more favorable business insurance rate. Having a plan in place reduces the size of your insurance claim when disaster strikes. This makes you a lower risk to the insurance company and their rates should reflect this fact.

A business continuity plan also makes you a more reliable supplier for other businesses. You can guaranty you’ll deliver regardless of disruptions or disasters. Make this one of your selling points.

Small Businesses Aren’t at Risk

The same disruptions or disasters that affect large businesses also affect small businesses. One disaster many small businesses feel exempt from is a cyber attack. Why would a hacker target a small business when there are bigger fish out there? Hackers are often opportunists. When they detect a weakness, they’ll exploit it regardless of the size or success of their victims. In fact, small businesses tend to have weaker security in place, which makes them attractive targets.

If You Aren’t in a Natural Disaster Area, Business Continuity Isn’t Needed

A natural disaster isn’t the only type of disaster. A fire could destroy your place of business or a broken water main could flood and destroy your offices, records, and servers. Alternatively, a water main break could damage your foundation and cause a partial collapse of your building. A gas leak could also take down your building. A break-in followed by theft or vandalism can destroy critical business records and data.

If you have questions about why you need a business continuity plan or about how to implement one, don’t hesitate to contact us at WHOA.com.

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