According to a new study released by security firm Dasent, the number of malware-infested websites has increased to 1.2 million in 2010, from 560,000 in 2009.
Dasient, a company specializing in combating malware on websites, has released a new report claiming that over 1.2 million websites were found to be infected by malware in the third quarter of 2009, more than double the number during same period last year.
These infected websites are especially dangerous since, unlike other forms of malware vectors, they don’t require the user to click on a link or open an attachment. They infect users through “drive-by-downloads” or by just visiting the infected website. Hackers take advantage of the dynamic and interactive features of today’s modern websites and social networking sites to deliver their payload.
Other dangerous forms of infected websites are those hosting fake antivirus scams, which fool users into downloading malware posing as legitimate antivir (more…)
Turnaround times are accelerated with the use of electronic signatures because you don’t keep your customers waiting while you search for contracts or forms. Additionally, adding an electronic signature to a document is just like signing on paper. There is no need to change your customers’ habits and they are assured that even with remote handling, all their documents are secure.
Signatures have been the most accepted means of authentication since ancient times. During the Roman Empire, a combination of seals and signatures were recognized as the primary source for document and legal contract authentication. In the 1830s, electronic communications became legally recognized “electronic signatures” when the telegraph and Morse Code were invented. In 1976, Martin Hellman and Whitfield Diffie introduced public key cryptography, wherein cryptographic keys were first distributed over an unprotected public network. The first electronically signed document was an agreement between two nations – a Joint Communique signed by Ireland and the United States in 1998.
What is an electronic signature or e-signature?
There are different definitions for this term, but for the purpose of US law, the US Code defines it as “an electronic sound, symbol, or process, attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.”
Why are businesses using electronic signatures?
- Electronic signatures help cut costs.
Studies show that among US companies alone, 30 billion paper documents are copied or printed every year. The associated cost for each document is estimated to be $6.50. Five hundred documents are signed by the average authorized employee each year, which means that the total annual cost of using paper documents per employee is $3,250.
- Electronic signatures are good for the environment.
The reduction of paper usage will not only cut down operational costs, but will also help save our environment. For every person who uses e signatures, the savings is equal to ¾ of a barrel of oil, ½ of a tree, or 150 pounds of carbon emissions per year.
- Electronic signatures help reduce fraud.
When documents are signed electronically, the integrity of the content is guaranteed. E-signatures also enable real-time verification of the handwritten signature as opposed to a pre-defined biometric profile. Any manipulation within a document that involves an e-signature will automatically result in making the signature invalid.
- Electronic signatures help increase customer satisfaction.
Turnaround times are accelerated with the use of electronic signatures because you don’t keep your customers waiting while you search for contracts or forms. Additionally, adding an electronic signature to a document is just like signing on paper. There is no need to change your customers’ habits, and they are assured that even with remote handling all their documents are secure.
- Electronic signatures give entrepreneurs more time to increase sales.
Because workflow is much faster with the use of electronic signatures, processing times are reduced and sales people and consultants have more time to spend on getting new business. This can significantly increase the company’s revenue.
E-Signatures and Mobile Devices
Many business owners have come to realize the importance of using e-signatures in business. In fact, some businesses have even adapted this signing process for the smaller screens of mobile devices. If the transaction involves straightforward, simple sales contracts, a mobile e-signature is ideal. The customer sees and agrees to what exactly what is being purchased on the spot, and this allows salespeople to work more efficiently. For lengthy documents however, especially those that have several form fields that require considerable interaction with the client, a PC format is more suitable.
How Legitimate are E-Signatures?
As for the legitimacy of e-signatures, you need not worry. In 1999, the European Union passed the EU Directive for Electronic Signatures, and on the 30th of June, 2000, US President Bill Clinton signed into law the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN), which signified that all signed electronic contracts and documents are as legally binding as a paper-based contract.
Did you know that an average office keyboard and mouse can contain as much as 400 times more germs and bacteria than a toilet seat? That’s pretty disgusting, especially when you start to imagine opening a bag of chips and eating from it – after using your keyboard.
Ingesting such dangerous bacteria can cause any number of ailments and illnesses, ranging from mild to seriously life threatening. The solution: regularly cleaning your workspace, especially your keyboard and mouse.
Cleaning your workspace and workstation also has the added benefit of making your computer work more efficiently. Dust, dirt, and grime stuck in your keyboard and mouse make them sticky and uncomfortable to use, while de-dusting and cleaning the inside of your CPU enables better ventilation that increases its life span and performance.
Cleaning materials don’t cost much (especially when you consider the cost of hospital and medicine bills), and cleaning isn’t all that time consuming – so there’s little reason to put it off. Disinfectant wipes – which can kill about 95 percent of existing bacteria – are available at any grocery store, and you can buy compressed air at most office supply stores to clean the spaces between and under the keys of your keyboard. It takes less than 5 minutes of your time each day.
So why risk the chance of infection and sickness when you can simply take a few minutes each day to disinfect and clean your workspace? It might be terribly trite, but the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” still holds true.
Money is tight and hard to come by, and a lot of companies are looking to cut costs and sacrifice the non-essentials. For many, taking off a chunk out of the IT budget is one of the ways to try to save money.
However, when it comes to IT services, chances are a bit more investment may actually save money in the long run, since many technologies make operations more efficient and increase of productivity.
An article from Inc. Technology shares 10 very helpful tips on how investing in certain technologies can help your business better weather the recession. The article lists specific technology investments worth forking out money for, including Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), Web conferencing, and Virtualization Software among others. There are also many practical tips on making IT work more cost effectively.
To find out more, read the article here:
As we begin to store more and more of our data on the Internet and in the “Cloud,” the threat of that data being accessed and used by someone or something outside of our knowledge or control becomes very real. Data such as credit card information, banking transactions, work history, private addresses and numbers, email and much more are now stored and searchable in everything from Facebook, Google, Twitter, and a host of other applications.
In a June report titled “Assessing the Security Risks of Cloud Computing“, analyst firm Gartner recommends that businesses work closely with their IT department or trusted IT services provider and consultant to understand the risks of storing data in the cloud.
Not stopping there, Microsoft has called for even greater government oversight. Recently, Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith travelled to Washington to urge the US Congress to enact legislation that would protect information that’s stored in the cloud.
Microsoft is proposing legislation that would call for:
- Reforming the Electronic Communications Privacy Act
- Modernizing the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
- Helping consumers and businesses manage how their information is collected and shared
- Addressing data access issues globally
The move coincides with Microsoft’s recent efforts to offer cloud-based services not only for its consumer and corporate customers, but the government as well.
Is your business ready for the cloud? What security and privacy policies do you have in place regarding your employees’ use of cloud-based services? Not sure? Contact us today to find out how we can help.
- Microsoft’s thoughts on cloud computing (microsoftontheissues.com)
- Challenges of cloud computing (techsling.com)
- Gartner: Seven cloud-computing security risks (infoworld.com)
You can’t have a disaster recovery plan until you first have a good backup solution. Is your backup solution good—or just good enough?
The traditional backup process is done to tape – which has a number of limitations including high cost (particularly as capacity increases), difficult upgrades, degradation over time, and slow backup and restoration.
Over the past three to five years, there has been a transition to hard-disk-based backup solutions that generally offer the ability to easily increase capacity as well as backup and restore much faster.
Whichever solution you use, there are many risks to your data.
Traditional backup processes capture only one snapshot of your information per day. So if your backup is scheduled to take place at 12 a.m., you risk losing the entire following day’s work in the case of a disaster.
The backup process traditionally involves significant manual labor. Someone has to ensure that the correct media is in the drive. Someone has to look at the results of the backup to ensure that it is complete (and ideally perform periodic data restorations). Then, when the backup is complete, someone has to take it offsite for safekeeping.
While some businesses have the capabilities to perform all of these backup-related tasks, many others don’t—and therefore have no idea if their backups will be there when needed.
How can you make your backup system better?
- First, you should be absolutely sure that every bit of your data is backed up multiple times per day.
- Second, the human element should be completely eliminated from the equation.
- Third, restoration should be quick and flexible, so you can bring back any part of your data or all of it, depending on your needs.
- Finally, the impact on your business should be minimal. In fact, you should be unaware that a backup is even in progress.
We can help you set up and maintain a backup solution perfect for your needs. Contact us for more information.
Patching and updating the programs that you use, as well as removing old or unused programs, can go a long way in ensuring that your system is safe from malware attacks.
One of the more subtle ways hackers use to get malware into your system is through exploiting programs that are either old or not up to date.
Naturally, most programs are not perfect when they first come out, and hackers are always out to exploit weaknesses in the design and infrastructure of these programs. This is why developers constantly send patches and updates to their clients and subscribers.
Programs that do not have these patches and updates that fix vulnerabilities in the system are very viable entry points through which malware can enter your system. Also, older programs on your system might be phased out, which means the developer is not releasing patches or fixes for them anymore.
This is why it is essential that your programs be up to date, especially with the latest security patches that plug up holes in the system. And if there are programs that are beyond their expiration date or aren’t being used any longer, it’s a waste of space and resources to keep them installed in your computers. It’s important that you regularly check the status of your programs to make sure that they’re always in tip-top shape.
If you’d like to ensure that the programs you use are always patched, updated, and safe, please contact us so we can sit down with you and develop a customized security system that meets your specific needs.
Having a device that just prints out paper won’t cut it anymore - today’s printing needs involve much more. Taking care of several needs in a single device is convenient and cost effective, and saves space too.
These days, printers have become more than just, well, printers. There are many additional features and factors to consider for your purchase, as well as its use, to be as cost effective as possible.
Multi-functionality is one of the most important factors you should consider when buying a printer. With technology moving in leaps and bounds, having a device that just prints out paper won’t cut it anymore. Today’s printers have multiple functions, which make them more versatile. Look for features such as a built in scanner (preferably capable of multiple page scanning), as well as fax and copy options. It’s much more convenient to have everything in a single device, and it saves space too.
Another factor to consider is how economical your printer will be to use. One feature that helps reduce costs is called duplex printing, which allows you to print on both sides of the page - saving on paper costs and making your operations much more environment friendly. Make sure that your printer has the option of setting duplex printing as its default mode.
Another way to save is by determining which type of printer you need - laser or inkjet. Inkjet printers print slower, but are cheaper to purchase and use. Laser printers print faster and offer better quality output, but are much more expensive to purchase, and the ink cartridges cost a lot more, too. So before buying a printer, it’s essential to determine how you’ll use it first.
Also make sure that your printer has the option to print draft and black-only copies for not-so-important documents. When you don’t need professional quality or color prints you should have the option to enable lower quality printing, which will save on ink costs.
You should also look into network printing, which lets multiple users print from a single printer. This enables you to monitor ink and paper usage better, and also eliminates the need for multiple printers in the office, saving on purchase, operation, and maintenance costs. An LCD on your printer will also help you diagnose and troubleshoot problems, as well as preview documents that are printing or in the cue.
If you are looking for help in buying a new printer for your office, or want to organize your existing printing system to save on costs, please feel free to give us a call so we can discuss options that will meet your particular needs.
The people behind MS Outlook have now integrated social networking into the system through the Outlook Social Connector.
Outlook has long been the staple in many business communications – it is truly one of Microsoft’s feats of genius given how prevalent it is in professional correspondence between businesses and organizations today.
In order for the platform to conform and adjust to current norms, the people behind MS Outlook have now integrated social networking into the entire system through what they call the Outlook Social Connector (OSC). What the Outlook Social Connector basically does is enable the user to connect his or her email account with his or her LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, and Windows Live accounts. You’ll be able to receive updates from these social networking websites through MS Outlook.
Outlook Social Connector is compatible with versions of MS Outlook beginning with 2003 and up, and boasts features such as adding friends into social networking websites through the new Outlook People Pane, as well as receiving updates from friends and contacts whose email address is also listed in their social network account. Also, like a social network, the OSC allows you to set privacy settings and select the kind of information you want made public.