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5 Great Tips for Avoiding Data Loss

When news breaks that mega companies like Target and national banks had been the victim of a huge cyber security breach, business owners and executives around the country immediately started to wonder how vulnerable their companies were. 

That's a good question, and an extremely important one in the digital age. It goes without saying that very large businesses, and those with extensive e-commerce operations, need to have multiple security layers in place to protect customer data. But, even if you don't have millions of customers, or billions at stake, there are a handful of important tips you should follow to prevent data loss and theft:

1. Back up everything, and back it up often. Regardless of whether the data loss comes from a hacker or power surge, you should have backup copies of your most important files in place and ready to use.

2. Update your hosting software frequently. The kinds of cyber attacks that affect most small businesses aren't sophisticated. Instead, they rely on known exploits in software packages like WordPress. By updating yours frequently, you can often close the door to would-be opportunistic thieves.

3. Change passwords regularly and don't use obvious words or phrases. We've all heard this advice before, but it still holds true. In the same way that you shouldn't make your pin number "1234" (something that nearly one out of 10 people do), your company's passwords shouldn't be easy for automated software to guess.

4. Restrict access to trusted personnel. In a lot of small businesses, anyone borrowing the owner’s or manager's password can get access to anything on the company website, or in databases. That's a prescription for disaster. Set different security levels so that employees can access what's needed, but not more.

5. Keep an eye on your technology. Often, you can prevent digital break-ins before they happen, simply by paying attention to things like the number of failed logins to your website or server. The closer you’re watching things, the less opportunity thieves have to catch you napping.

Feel like your company’s online security isn't what it should be? Talk to a member of the Kinetik team today to see how we can help.

Keeping Security in Perspective

As we’ve learned from the recent attacks on major retailers Target and Nieman Marcus, and websites like LinkedIn and Kickstarter, cyber theft is a big business – and focused on big business.  When hearing stories about compromised security, it’s easy to become concerned about the level of safety on one’s own computer.  It’s also important to keep fears in check.

Discussing the topic, Kinetik I.T. President Josette van Stiphout had this to say:

security level

“I think we all get paranoid when these things happen, but we also need to keep it in perspective, because professional cyber hackers are out for massive information. They're most likely not going as much after the small individual business to capture data. They're going to go for the masses.  They want to get as much data in the least amount of time, and therefore they are targeting industries and sites that store a lot of personal data – for example the retail industry is now a huge target, with credit card numbers, personal information – that’s what they're going to go for.”

Josette advises not getting overly paranoid, suggesting that “if you are the small individual business, you want to make sure that your data is secured, that it's not easily accessible, and that you have a strong authentication process that has been tested. Furthermore, check for “back-doors” that could provide easy access for hackers to your network and servers.” Taking action that’s appropriate to your business should be a consideration.

Although cyber-security is about dealing with professional hackers and thieves who always seem to be a step ahead of technology, not having appropriate security levels in place can cause a company a great deal of issues and headaches.  

As a premier provider of internet and information technology solutions and resources, Kinetik I.T. has a mission to move clients forward, enabling them to reach their full business potential by providing products and services specially suited for their individual business needs.  To learn more, and to stay up to date with Kinetik I.T., visit or follow Kinetik on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

Keeping Info Safe Online

When a major national retailer is the victim of cyber-attack, it’s headline news.  Late in 2013, Minneapolis-based Target Corporation and Neiman Marcus succumbed to cyber thieves.  It’s now estimated that between November 27 and December 15, 2013 – prime holiday shopping season – the payment card data of 40 million shoppers who bought merchandise in-store at U.S. stores, as well as the personal information of another 70 million customers, was compromised. 

According to available data, the Target mishap is one of the country’s largest recorded data security breaches. Considering the scope of this crime, it’s easy to assume a heist the planning and implementation of which would rival those of a modern-day thriller. To the contrary, the security breach is believed to have been the result of that most innocuous of daily trifles: phishing emails.

According to recent research, while the amount of phishing is decreasing, the methods employed are more targeted, with cyber criminals becoming more skillful. And harmless as it may seem when it appears in the inbox, one of the most effective subject lines, as determined by cyber-security experts at Websense of San Diego, is an invitation to connect on LinkedIn. And if the first and second emails don’t draw in the prospect, data indicates that the third email will finally get them to click a link or open an attachment – though these may not always prove malicious.  Phishing emails proved to be Target’s downfall, when an employee of third-party contractor Fazio Mechanical Services Inc. of Sharpsburg, PA clicked through from a “malware-laced e-mail phishing attack.” Unfortunately, the company’s detection software simply wasn’t capable of protecting the company’s network from the threat.

This kind of incident leaves a business owner to ask, "What can I do to make my company data more secure?"  The best place to start is with awareness.

Security is not a one‑size‑fits‑all approach, because each business is unique, with different network and data challenges. Security measures also depend on the size of the company, the amount of business, on what data is at risk.  

Employees can also be a threat to cyber‑securing the business. The data breaches can occur by simple human error – as with the Target breach, and more recently with Kickstarter, the popular online crowd-sourcing website. This type of error can be related to many factors, among them poor decision‑making, or the consequences of someone else's decision‑making, and not understanding security policies and procedures.

Understanding existing security policies and protocols is imperative, and assembling a security matrix to addresses internal organization risk is a great place to start.  Begin by assessing and assigning appropriate levels of access and security on email servers, employees' tablets or mobile phones. 

When cyber attacks are in the news, it’s important to maintain perspective. Small-to-medium-sized businesses will have less to worry about than a major like Target, or a site with the online reach of Kickstarter.  While keeping data safe should be of concern to every business, the level of security should be appropriate to the size and scope of the individual entity and specific data or intellectual property to safeguard. 

To learn more about services and products, and to stay up to date with Kinetik I.T., visit or follow Kinetik on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.