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Celebrating Black History Month: African Americans and the Arts

February is a month that holds profound significance in the United States and other parts of the world—it’s Black History Month. This annual observance is a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history, celebrating their achievements, and acknowledging their struggles and triumphs. But what is Black History Month, and how did it begin? When is it celebrated, and what makes the 2024 theme, “African Americans and the Arts,” so compelling? Continue Reading Celebrating Black History Month: African Americans and the Arts

Embracing the Future: How AI Revolutionizes IT Services at amshot

In the rapidly evolving world of technology, staying ahead means not just keeping pace with current trends, but also foreseeing and preparing for the future. At amshot, we embody this philosophy through our commitment to innovation, particularly in the realm of Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a key component in revolutionizing IT services and enhancing our client experiences. Continue Reading Embracing the Future: How AI Revolutionizes IT Services at amshot

3 Ways a Trusted IT Company Can Safeguard Your Business From Disaster

In today’s digital age, data is the backbone of businesses, and losing it can be catastrophic. Whether it’s due to a natural disaster, a cyberattack, or human error, data loss can lead to significant financial losses and reputational damage. That’s why it’s crucial for businesses to secure their data with a backup and recovery plan that includes business continuity. What’s more, choosing the right IT company to handle your data and keep it secure is paramount.

We’ll focus on 3 key aspects of data security and how the right IT team can address each issue, ensuring business continuity and peace of mind.

1.   Data backup and recovery

Data backup provides protection against data loss due to a wide range of events, including hardware failure, theft, natural disasters, cyberattacks, accidental deletion, and more. Without a backup, businesses risk losing critical data essential to their operations, which can hurt the bottom line and negatively affect how customers view the organization. The term data recovery refers to the process of restoring that important data so the business can bounce back after an issue has occurred.

How IT can help: A data backup and recovery plan ensures that businesses have recovery options in case of data loss, minimizing the impact on business operations and customer service. With a backup and recovery plan in place, businesses can recover their data quickly and efficiently, reducing the risk of downtime and lost productivity.

Backup and recovery is an essential factor to consider when selecting an IT company for your business. The company should have reliable and efficient data recovery processes in place to restore your data quickly and effectively in case of data loss. They should also have a plan in place to test the recovery process regularly to ensure it is effective. In addition, they should be able to keep your business running while the backup and recovery processes are in action, which leads us to…

2.   Business Continuity Planning

Business continuity refers to the ability of an organization to continue its critical operations in the event of a disruption or disaster. It involves identifying potential risks and developing plans and strategies to minimize the impact of these risks on the organization’s operations and ensure a quick recovery.

How IT can help: The concept of business continuity goes hand-in-hand with data backup and recovery, in that business continuity is the overall strategy to minimize downtime and keep your business running like normal, even during a disaster. An IT company may provide backup and recovery services, but what if it takes them a week to get you back to normal? Even just a day of outage could be costly.

An IT company that has a strong focus on business continuity will have experience and expertise in identifying potential IT-related risks, implementing measures to prevent or mitigate these risks, and developing plans and strategies to ensure a quick recovery in the event of a disruption. They will also have the necessary resources and infrastructure to provide backup and recovery solutions that meet the needs of the business. They may even be able to provide redundant or backup systems that can take over and handle business needs while the emergency is taken care of. Think of it as a “spare tire” that will keep you running until you can get to a garage and change the flat.

When time and data are money in modern business, the name of the game is minimizing downtime of critical systems.

3.   Compliance Management

Many industries are subject to compliance regulations that require data backup and retention, such as healthcare and financial services. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in significant financial penalties and reputational damage. Data backup helps businesses meet compliance requirements and maintain the security and privacy of their customers’ data.

How IT can help: An IT company can provide valuable expertise and support to help a business meet its data compliance requirements, minimize the risk of data breaches, and avoid costly penalties for non-compliance in a number of ways:

  • Conducting an assessment to identify the business’s compliance requirements and assess the business’s current level of compliance
  • Developing policies and procedures to ensure compliance with applicable regulations and standards
  • Providing training to employees to ensure they understand their roles and responsibilities regarding data compliance
  • Implementing security measures such as encryption, access controls, and more to protect data and ensure compliance
  • Monitoring systems to identify potential compliance issues and provide reports to demonstrate compliance to regulators and auditors
  • Providing ongoing support to help the business remain compliant with changing regulations and standards and to address any issues that arise

Compliance issues surrounding data and technology can be complex and challenging, which make this an ideal topic to leave to the professionals.

How to choose the right IT company

It’s critical to understand that choosing the right IT company for data backup is essential for businesses that want to keep their data safe and secure. The first factor businesses should consider when selecting an IT company for data backup, security, and recovery is their expertise and experience. The company should have a proven track record of providing data backup solutions to businesses similar to yours. They should have a deep understanding of the latest backup technologies and techniques to keep your data safe and secure.

In addition to expertise (and reputation), businesses should look for a company with robust security measures, efficient and comprehensive data recovery processes, business continuity planning, and industry-leading support services. By selecting the right IT company, businesses can ensure that their critical data is protected, and their operations can continue even in the face of a disaster.

Got questions? We got answers. To set up your free consultation, contact amshot at consult@amshot.com.

 

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Is it safe to have TikTok on company phones?

With more than 1 billion active users, it almost feels like everybody has TikTok on their phone. At the same time, TikTok has increasingly drawn concerns that China’s government may use the app to collect data on users or use the app as a tool for espionage. Additionally, there are worries about the app’s handling of user data and its potential to be used to spread misinformation. So what does that mean for company phones, or even employees who access company data on their personal phones?

These data security concerns have led some countries (such as India, Pakistan, and Indonesia) to ban the app within their borders. It’s worth noting that some of these bans have been temporary and some of them are still under process and might be changed in the future. Also, some other countries have imposed restrictions on the use of TikTok, such as limiting access to certain features or imposing fines for the spread of misinformation.

Data privacy concerns

One of the main reasons various government agencies have raised a yellow flag over TikTok is the concern over data privacy. The app collects a vast amount of user data, including location, browsing history, and device information. This data is then used to target ads and provide a personalized experience for users. However, there are worries that this data could be shared with third-party companies or even foreign governments.

Considering all of the questions surrounding TikTok and the flurry of recent news citing data security concerns, what potential threat might the app pose to businesses whose employees use it? First, it’s important to understand why data security is important to every business. Here are a few vectors by which a security breach could impact a company’s livelihood:

  • Reputation: A data security breach can damage a company’s reputation and result in a loss of trust from customers and clients.
  • Financial loss: A data breach can also result in financial loss, including the cost of remediation, legal fees, and potential compensation to affected customers. In some cases, a data breach can also lead to a loss of intellectual property or trade secrets.
  • Legal liability: A data breach can also result in legal liability for the company, particularly if the company is found to have been negligent in protecting customer data.
  • Competitive advantage: Having strong data security measures in place can also give a business a competitive advantage, particularly in industries where data privacy is a major concern, such as healthcare or finance.
  • Employee morale: A data breach can also negatively impact employee morale, as theymay feel their personal information is not secure.

Implementing robust data security measures is essential for businesses to protect their customers’ information, comply with regulations, and maintain their reputation.

But don’t tons of brands use TikTok for marketing purposes?

As the fastest growing new social media platform, many businesses have a lot to gain by reaching customers through TikTok. However, there are a few best practices to keep in mind to use TikTok to your advantage while ensuring their data security:

  • Conduct a risk assessment: Before using TikTok, brands should assess the potential risks to their data and reputation. This includes evaluating the app’s data collection practices, security features, and the potential for the spread of misinformation and harmful content.
  • Establish a clear policy: Establish a clear policy for using TikTok, including guidelines for the type of content that can be posted and the use of personal data. This will help to ensure that all employees understand the risks and the steps they need to take to protect the company’s data and reputation.
  • Monitor your presence: Brands should regularly monitor their TikTok presence and the content they post to ensure that it aligns with their policy and does not harm their reputation.
  • Invest in cybersecurity: Invest in robust cybersecurity measures, including using strong passwords, regularly updating software, and using multi-factor authentication to protect against data breaches and other cybersecurity threats.
  • Consider using a third-party provider: Consider using a third-party provider that specializes in social media management. These providers can help manage the brand’s TikTok presence and ensure that their data and reputation are protected.
  • Utilize privacy settings: Take advantage of TikTok’s privacy settings, such as limiting the amount of data the app collects and controlling who can see your content.

By following these steps, businesses can use TikTok to their advantage while ensuring their data security and protecting their reputation.

Conclusion

In light of these concerns, businesses should be cautious when using TikTok and take steps to protect themselves. This includes being aware of the app’s data collection practices, monitoring heir TikTok presence and the content they post, and implementing robust cybersecurity measures. While TikTok can be an effective tool for businesses to reach new audiences and promote their products and services, it also poses significant risks to businesses’ data security and reputation.

If you’re looking for a trusted team of experts to handle your company’s data security, schedule a free consultation with amshot

What to know about the LastPass data breach and 4 password managers you can use instead

LastPass is a well-known and widely used password manager. It offers a range of features, including password storage, automatic password filling, and the ability to share passwords with others. It also includes a password generator to help you create strong, unique passwords. On June 15, 2021, LastPass announced that it had discovered and promptly fixed a security breach that had occurred on their network. According to the company, the breach was limited to a single, isolated server and the attackers did not gain access to any sensitive data.

While the full details of the breach are still not publicly known, it is believed that the attackers may have gained access to some user email addresses, password reminders, and authentication hashes. LastPass has stated that no passwords, credit card information, or personal identification documents were accessed during the breach.

In response to the breach, LastPass has implemented additional security measures to further protect user data and is working with law enforcement to investigate the incident. The company has also reset the master passwords for all affected accounts and is urging users to change their passwords as a precautionary measure.

It is always important to use strong, unique passwords for all of your online accounts and to use a password manager to help keep track of them. While no system is completely foolproof, using a password manager can help to reduce the risk of your password being compromised. If you are a LastPass user and have not yet changed your password, it is recommended that you do so as soon as possible.

In the wake of the LastPass security breach, it is also a good reminder to regularly review and update your online security practices. This includes using two-factor authentication whenever possible, avoiding reusing passwords across multiple accounts, and being cautious of phishing attacks and other types of online scams. By taking these simple steps, you can help to protect yourself and your personal information online.

If you are looking to switch from LastPass, or perhaps you don’t yet have a password manager and would like to consider other options, there are many password managers available, and the best one for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences. All password managers listed below include at least password storage, automatic password filling, and a password generator. It is available on a variety of platforms, including Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android. Some popular password manager options include:

 

  1. Password

In addition to storing and generating passwords, 1Password also has other features to help keep your online accounts secure. For example, it can alert you if any of your stored passwords have been leaked in a data breach, and it can also help you securely share passwords with other people.

1Password is available as a desktop app, a mobile app, and as a browser extension, and it can be used on multiple devices and platforms. You can use 1Password for free, or you can upgrade to a paid subscription to access additional features and support.

 

  1. Dashlane

One of the key features of Dashlane is its security dashboard, which helps users to identify and improve their online security practices. It includes a password strength checker, alerts for compromised passwords, and the ability to identify and change weak passwords.

In addition to its core password management features, Dashlane also offers a number of additional features, such as the ability to store sensitive documents and credit card information, and support for two-factor authentication.

Dashlane is available in both a free version and a premium version with additional features. The free version includes password storage, automatic password filling, and a password generator, while the premium version includes additional features such as unlimited password storage and priority support.

 

  1. KeePass

KeePass is a free, open-source password manager with a  strong focus on security. It uses advanced encryption techniques to protect user data, and the source code is publicly available, allowing it to be reviewed by anyone. It also includes a variety of security-enhancing features, such as the ability to use a key file in addition to a master password for added protection.

In addition to its core password management features, KeePass also offers a number of additional features, such as the ability to store sensitive documents and credit card information, and support for multiple languages.

 

  1. Bitwarden

Bitwarden offers both a free version and a premium version with additional features. The free version includes password storage, automatic password filling, and a password generator, while the premium version includes additional features such as 1GB of secure file storage and priority support. It also includes two-factor authentication and the ability to store sensitive documents and credit card information.

One of the key features of Bitwarden is that it is open source, which means that the source code is publicly available and can be reviewed by anyone. This can be a positive for those who are concerned about the security and privacy of their password manager.

 

When choosing a password manager, it is important to consider factors such as the level of security offered, the range of features, and the cost. It is also a good idea to read reviews and do your own research to find the best option for your needs.

If the thought of managing all this information for your business makes your head spin, the experts at amshot have got you covered. To set up your free consultation, contact amshot at consult@amshot.com.

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You could be a victim of cryptojacking and not even know it

This invisible cybercrime is on the rise in 2022

Cryptojacking is a form of cyberattack in which a criminal deposits software onto your phone, tablet, or computer to “mine” for cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. The software works invisibly in the background to generate cryptocurrency—essentially a form of digital money—that the attacker makes a profit from. For the victim, the act of mining the cryptocurrency is an intensive operation that requires a ton of processing power and uses up your device’s resources.

The end results? Your systems begin to work slower and slower, and it’s usually not even apparent why.

 

Why is cryptojacking a thing?

The value of cryptocurrencies has grown exponentially in recent years. The most famous of which, Bitcoin, was worth about $1,000 per coin in 2017. Today it’s worth $20,000 and has had surges up over $65,000. Additionally, other currencies such as Ethereum and Monero have generally tracked Bitcoin’s growth and relatively increased in value.

The problem comes from how most cryptocurrencies are created. On top of being tradeable (which is the average person’s interaction with crypto), many popular cryptocurrencies can be created by anyone in a process called mining. In short, mining is an immensely resource-intensive operation that requires tons of computer processing power to be profitable. Miners face costs from buying computers and hardware to the electricity required to power the entire operation.

But what if you didn’t need to pay for the computers or the electricity? That’s where cryptojacking comes in. The attackers simply use other people’s computers and their electricity to generate cryptocurrency that is sent back to the cybercriminal. Each individual laptop, phone, or tablet they control doesn’t individually contribute much mining power, but because they spread their malware to thousands or millions of computers, it adds up. It’s basically free money.

 

Should I be worried about cryptojacking?

The threat of cryptojacking to people and businesses is simple to understand. First of all, if you become affected by one of these attacks, your devices will suffer from poor performance. Second, you likely won’t realize what the problem is, as there are tons of issues that can slow down your computer.

For anyone, a laggy device is frustrating on its own. For a business, poor performance can hurt the bottom line, too. It goes without saying that slow devices hurt the efficiency of any workforce.

And unfortunately, businesses appear to be the primary target of cryptojacking attacks. A report from cybersecurity firm SonicWall found a 269% increase in these attacks on the financial sector compared to 2021, and a 30% in cryptojacking attacks overall. “It has a lower potential of being detected by the victim; unsuspecting users across the world see their devices get unaccountably slower, but it’s hard to tie it to criminal activity, much less point to the source,” said Terry Greer-King, SonicWall vice president for EMEA in an interview with TechMonitor.

 

How can I protect myself from cryptojacking?

We’ve written extensively on this blog about the cybersecurity strategies individuals and businesses can engage in to protect their data. However, no amount of best practices can ever leave you truly protected. The most important tool in your arsenal is having the expertise of professional IT watching your back.

Reach out to the pros at amshot today for a free consultation to find out how they can protect your business from costly intrusions.

 

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