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HIPPA Compliant Office in the Cloud

When I’m talking with our customers and partners about healthcare and HIPAA, a frequent question is “What about your cloud-based voice services?  Are they compliant with HIPAA requirements?” Discussing HIPAA requirements to protect sensitive patient information often starts with documents and email, so the implications for voice and hosted PBX may not be as obvious. But you need to look at all of your business services when exploring regulatory compliance. Think of all of the voicemails you receive from patients, pharmacies and other care providers. Like email and patient records, all of this information needs to be protected as well. Along with our business email, email archiving, and file backup and sharing solutions, our voice services are included under our business associate agreement (BAA). So our HIPAA-regulated customers benefit from using a single provider with services backed by...

Who Creates Risk in Your Organization?

The New York Post broke incredible news this week: the AOL email account of the Director of the CIA was hacked. By a teen. Who “social engineered” Verizon to get the password. Now, every element of that story in and of itself is already incredible. But what made our jaws truly drop was the revelation that the teen discovered sensitive CIA data in the Director’s personal email. It turns out the Director had been emailing work documents to his personal account. If it’s any consolation, the Director is not alone. We surveyed 2,000+ office workers about their data security habits. We learned, for example, that 22% of Baby Boomers like Director Brennan have emailed company information to their personal email address. What’s worse, though, is that 30%...

Exchange 2003’s End-of-Life: One Month Later

It’s been a month since Microsoft ended support for Exchange 2003. I’ve seen quite a few articles and forum threads offering instructions for upgrading on-premises Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010 or 2013. And from what I gather reading the forums, a lot of folks are finding it a troublesome experience. I was looking at MSExchange.org recently, and I found this series of instructional articles specifically geared to helping small businesses migrate from 2003 to 2013. They’re very well written, and I applaud author Steve Goodman for taking the time to fully document the migration process. However — it’s DAUNTING. Goodman doesn’t specify how many parts this series will end up including, but he did describe fifteen high-level tasks required to migrate from 2003 to 2013. By way of comparison, his series...

What is Active Directory and why is it so important?

You might hear people talk about Active Directory™. Sometimes they refer to it as “AD”. Active Directory is a Microsoft® software that organizes and provides access to information in an operation system’s directory. It is a link between “objects” and “values”. That sounds pretty “techie”, but it can be simplified this way: Think of Active Directory as the “contacts” app on your mobile device. The “contacts” app itself would be your Active Directory. Your individual contacts would be the “objects”, and the address, email and phone information for each contact would be the “values” in your Active Directory. The “objects” aren’t just limited to people and users. It can also contain “group objects”such as computers, printers and so forth. Active Directory can also set forth which users have permissions for certain folders and even specific files...

Phishing Evolves: Best Practices to Avoid Being Phished

A few weeks into my tenure at Ascend Technologies, I received an email from Fidelity alerting me that my 401(k) account needed action.  It stated that I needed to activate my account within 2 weeks or I would lose matching for the year.  Being new to the company, I didn’t want to miss out on this opportunity.  I remember thinking that it seemed a little strange considering no other company had imposed such a rule, but I thought, “Hey, maybe this company does things differently.”  So I clicked and activated my account. The next day I received an email from our security and privacy team telling me I had been phished.  I was shocked. Nothing seemed fake or out of place. What now? Sadly, nothing about this story is unique.  Every day, people click on links and...

Ransomeware Threats on the Rise in 2015

What does the cloud, “Breaking Bad”, Australia, and bitcoins all have in common? If you are up-to-date on current cyberattack trends around the world, you may have heard about the “Breaking Bad” themed ransomware attack currently spreading like wildfire through Australian computer systems. Ransomware is a type of extortion software that infects a computer system to lock down and scramble important data through encryption. It can lock you out of your computer or mobile device, prevent you from opening your files, or stop you from running certain applications like your browser. In most cases, if you pay the ransom, everything is fine, but sometimes this malware can destroy your data or permanently damage your computer. Recently a law firm made headlines after they became victim to a ransomware attack.  Paul Goodson’s law firm in...

A Great VoIP Experience Starts with Great QoS

When you pick up your phone you expect to hear that familiar dial tone sound and expect to be able to clearly hear the person on the other side, right? When that doesn’t happen, it’s a Quality of Service (QoS) issue, and we know how frustrating these types of problems can be. In the old days of Ma Bell, copper wires, switchboards and human operators, you contacted your local phone company when QoS issues arose. Today, in the world of the Internet and Voice over IP (VoIP), it can be hard to figure out who to contact to fix the issue. The problem could be any number of things, including:
  • Your office wiring
  • The local network (router/switch to which all of your computers and phones are connected);
  • Someone in your office streaming a movie or other large media file;
  • Too...

Get the best of both worlds: SecuriSync & File Servers

Traditional file servers became popular in the business world because they facilitate access to files inside a company’s network. But businesses have evolved, and employees need mobile access to files from the device of their choice. File servers cannot meet the requirements of today’s workforce. They’re expensive and lack the essential features that modern businesses need like mobility, security and collaboration. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. When you compare file servers to modern file sync and share tools, you realize that they’re missing many essential features. And these gaps are driving millions of users to adopt freemium, insecure products like Dropbox. There’s a better option for your business: add cloud-based file sync and share to your traditional file server. With SecuriSync you can actively sync your traditional file server with the file sync...

What you need to know about the VENOM security flaw

Another month, another mega-vulnerability. If you haven’t already heard about the VENOM vulnerability, you will. It’s being compared to Heartbleed and could have widespread security implications for cloud service providers. It’s certainly the largest vulnerability discovered so far this year. Most cloud providers use virtualization technology to “share” a single server’s hardware among many operating systems that host customer data. The VENOM (Virtualized Environment Neglected Operations Manipulation) vulnerability could allow a hacker to break out of a single virtual machine and take control of the underlying hypervisor, which controls all of the virtual machines. This is bad. Any data passed through a network compromised by the VENOM vulnerability is at risk, including logins, passwords, bank accounts and other highly sensitive information. The vulnerability accomplishes this through a bug in the virtual Floppy Disk Controller used by XEN,...

What do SMBs really know about Hosted Phone Systems?

When 74 percent of small and medium-sized businesses rank voice communications as “extremely important to business operations” — you’d imagine that the adoption of cloud-based phone systems would be relatively high. But in the case of hosted PBX, IP telephony and unified communications, the reality doesn’t match the perception of usage. A recent survey conducted by Allworx Corp. and Hanover Research found that a vast majority of SMBs are unaware of the technology trends in business phone systems, and most are not utilizing the advanced technology widely available today. Here were a few other eye-opening stats from the survey:
  • The vast majority of SMBs are unfamiliar with telecommunications terminology such as IP telephonyhosted PBX, IP PBX, virtual PBX, SIP trunks or Unified Communications.
  • The top five most desired phone features by SMBs are: voicemail as email attachments (38 percent), remote desk phones (25 percent),...

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