Performing Data Risk Assessments
If your organization is required to follow any compliance mandates for data management, there is a good chance that data risk assessments may be recommended. But the language regarding what those assessments actually are can be vague.
It’s possible that your IT team may understand the necessity of such risk assessments, while not knowing how to approach these assessments in a manner that guarantees regulatory compliance.
What Does a Data Risk Assessment Accomplish?
Data risk assessments allow you to take a big picture look at your organization’s handling of data in order to determine the overall security of the data that you manage. It can help you to understand your strengths and weak points so that you can improve in your overall data management.
With a proper data risk assessment, you end up with an overall understanding of your risk levels and a plan to manage the most critical needs.
Below are some suggestions for conducting a data risk assessment. Sometimes organizational pride can get in the way. It’s important to handle the process with humility and treat it as an opportunity to learn about your organization and improve your weaknesses.
1). Get uncomfortable. Use a data risk assessment as an opportunity to understand your weak points at the highest level of exposure. That way a plan can be developed to better address these in the long run. It’s important to understand your company’s highest-level vulnerabilities before an attack.
2). Use basic questions to determine risk level. You can ask questions that will help you prioritize risk such as: Do we collect personally identifiable information? Do we collect highly sensitive information (think credit card numbers or health records)? What other sensitive data remains in our possession? Questions along these lines can help you establish the level of sensitivity with this information.
3). Figure out risk vs. exposure. You can use any gathered information to understand how to mitigate your risk and exposure levels with additional safeguards.
4). Modify your data storage based on risk. When you’re able to map out your company’s vulnerabilities some changes may need to be made to where that data is stored. Maybe cloud storage, remote servers, or other solutions can add additional peace of mind.
5). Add security to mitigate risks. Once you have some added information, you’ll have a better understanding of the threat level that your organization faces. It may be time to bring in more security or establish some firewalls. It may be time to enhance your company’s password procedures or add two factor authentication. Whatever the case may be, you can prioritize the actions based on various threats.
Data Risk Assessments Lead to Improved Safety
You can’t control what you don’t measure. Proper data risk assessments are simply about analyzing your levels of exposure. They’re also important to understand that if your data does fall victim to a cyberattack or is lost, that a data security company can help you restore what you lost and keep your company up and running.
What is Data Mapping?
Data mapping performs an essential function in organizations as they continue to amass increasingly large amounts of information. This increased data collection can be used for a myriad of reasons from more informed marketing decisions to better product development practices.
But keeping track of that data can be a cumbersome process without some organizational standards in place. That’s where data mapping comes into play. At some point collected data may need to be moved between systems, or stored using a different program. A data map is the tool that is used in these events to make sure that data arrives in its destination accurately.
What Data Mapping Means for Your Organization
Simply put, data mapping is the process of matching fields from one database application to the next. It’s a fundamental step in safe data migration and integration. Data mapping is a common business practice, but as the amount of data collected by businesses grows, it becomes increasingly important and complex.
Data Management Begins with Mapping
Without proper data mapping, data has the ability to be corrupted. It’s possible under some circumstances that data will end up in an unusable format or become corrupted. Data mapping allows you to make the most out of your information long after any migrations. It is what ensures that your data will wind up in a usable format in its new source, so that the old source can be properly retired.
What’s Involved in Data Mapping?
The first step to data mapping is establishing what data needs to be moved, and where it needs to go. This includes noting the tables, fields, the formats of the data, and the frequency it needs to be moved.
At this point it’s important to match current fields with new destinations to ensure that it lands in a legible and useful format. You can begin the process with a small sample size to ensure that the transfer works in the ways that you expected. From there the full transfer can be deployed, maintained and updated.
The Need for Software that Can Handle Complexity
We’re largely past the days where complex data migrations, integrations, or transfers can be operated with mapping processes drawn out on paper. More data and more complex data processes render software a necessary tool to assist.
It’s important to find talented data analysts and flexible software programs that can ensure that your company’s objectives are well represented. You need the infrastructure in place to be able to handle large-scale data management in an increasingly competitive business management.
A Data Management Safety Net
Data mapping can save your organization massive headaches in the data management process. But should you lose any sensitive information in the process, a data recovery specialist can help you recover and restore what was lost. If you need help with data recovery, contact us today!
Is Your Company’s Data Secure?
Is your company’s data secure? It’s an important question that businesses and organizations should spend some time with, especially as the way we do work evolves.
Your business may have hit its stride with remote work during the pandemic in 2020. Whether you’ve been pleasantly surprised by the necessary adjustments, or you were thrown off guard by sudden changes, you may want to check what type of security vulnerabilities you’ve been left with in the aftermath of the adjustments you were forced to make.
Some of your employees’ behaviors as they work from home may unintentionally leave your company’s most vital data in jeopardy. Below are some of the work-from-home technology scenarios that can lead to increased data vulnerabilities.
Remote Work Data Vulnerabilities
Reduced Security on Personal Devices
If your remote work program was made possible by allowing employees to use their personal devices, it can present added security headaches for your IT team. Personal devices and public Wi-Fi systems can expose organizational data to several additional risks and make it easier for a hacker to gain access.
Strict password regulations and educating your employees about proper safety measures while working from their own devices, can help them to understand the risks involved proceed with the right cautions in place.
An Old Threat Renewed with Phishing
Hackers baiting unsuspecting email users into traps is really nothing new. What is new is the level of sophistication and ill-intent in the wake of the pandemic. Some may masquerade as medical supply sellers. Others may try to pull on your heart strings, with fake charitable causes. When your employees click on the email links, they may be downloading malware that lets outsiders access all of your data.
Educating employees about the threat of these phishing scams is a solid first step in making sure your company’s data is secure. Make sure they understand that if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. They can always Google the company, organization, or even email address that the email originated from in an attempt to find out whether or not it is legit.
Software and Wi-Fi Vulnerabilities
If Microsoft 365 is somewhat new to your remote workforce, they may not be used to what the login screen looks like. Fake login screens allow hackers to steal login credentials and access any document created within Office 365. They can then impersonate users and login from their own system.
Insecure Wi-Fi also leaves vulnerabilities. This can allow users into the system who can insert malware or simply look for sensitive data that they can steal. These vulnerabilities may exist within other commonly used software programs as well.
It’s hard to let yourself believe that someone your company hired may desire to cause harm within your organization. But there may be outside forces influencing their behavior. The devastating financial impact of the pandemic, inability to pay the mortgage, or out of control medical bills can cause people to behave in unrecognizable ways.
Employees may be able to download sensitive data to a personal computer device, giving them the ability to act outside of your monitoring.
Make Sure Your Company’s Data is Secure
It’s critical to do everything possible to answer the question: “Is your company’s data secure?” If you find that security has been breached, it’s important to take action fast. If you’ve lost sensitive data due to a security event, a professional data recovery company can help you to regain access to lost data. Contact us today!
How to Increase Productivity While Working Remote
The great news for companies that have transitioned into remote working environments due to the pandemic, is that remote work has proven to be a more productive avenue for employees. But like anything, there may be stumbling blocks when you look at how to increase productivity while working remote.
While remote work comes with some stumbling blocks that we’ll address, it will likely also increase overall productivity for a few reasons. First, it eliminates the need for a commute. Employees in an office setting are also more liable to become sidetracked by conversation with their coworkers. While this may be one of the social benefits to office work, it leads to unproductive time.
At the same time, remote workers may find themselves in need of an adjustment period to better address their time behind the desk. These suggestions are designed to increase productivity while working remote.
Increase Productivity While Working Remote
Workers are inundated by notifications from every work-from-home technology platform that their company uses. They need to consider which notifications they can turn off, so not to be distracted by messages of little significance. Management can also consider what notifications their employees need, and which they don’t.
Employees can also eliminate environmental distractions by working from a home-office, rather than a bed, couch, or kitchen table. When they can find a more professional setting within the home, they are likely to get more done. This helps keep them focused on their work, rather than cleaning, laundry, or making personal calls.
Keeping a To-Do List
No matter how hard you try, those distractions may seep in. Sometimes it helps to consider the most important tasks that need to be completed in a given day and create a to-do list. A well thought out to-do list can help bring employees back to the larger tasks on hand when email, social media, and personal distractions become overwhelming. Regular phone calls or meetings between management and employees can also help to keep everyone on track and on the same page as far as priorities go.
Simply documenting what must get done on a given workday can be a powerful way to increase productivity while working remote.
Take More Breaks
When employees are able to take more breaks and step away from their work, they can reset their mental focus. You can encourage employees to get up and walk around when they get stuck or lose focus. Employees may benefit from the Pomodoro technique, which consists of breaking down larger tasks into short productive intervals, separated by short breaks.
The catch with the Pomodoro technique is that when they are at their desk and focused on a task, they must stay focused. No email, social media, or any other distraction in that window.
Work From Home Can Be Stressful
If employees are feeling additional stress or anxiety in the work from home environment, it may help to encourage short walks on breaks, or meditation. When they take action within their personal life to reduce stress and feel calmer, they will without a doubt become better employees.
The idea that employees can be more productive from home may sound counterintuitive. But encouraging them to become more well-rounded in these ways can help them bring more to the table and increase their job satisfaction. But addressing the above steps can help employees increase productivity while working remote.
5 Common Technology Problems While Working Remote
The pandemic sped up the work-from-home revolution, and with it came some wonderful benefits, and new technology problems while working remote. Companies are more agile than ever before, and workers experience the benefit of not having to commute.
It’s provided a chance to rethink how we interact in the work environment. On a whole, workers have become more productive in their home environment. While there have been tremendous benefits to stem from this development, it’s not without its problems, either.
Technology Problems While Working Remote
Workers Are Over-Informed
This is one of the most common technology problems while working remote and can sneak up before people even notice.
The communications platforms that bring us the ability to work from home are a double-edge sword. Project management platforms, instant messaging software, email, video, texting, and video calls all make it possible to quickly and easily communicate. But workers are quickly inundated with notifications to the point that it will hamper their productivity.
Each of these notifications are a distraction pulling employees away from what they were doing. It’s important to make sure employees know when they can turn notifications off. Management using these tools need to carefully consider what situations are worth notifying employees over, and which are not.
Incentives Issues and Distractions
When you are in the office and you finish early, you will still be paid. You likely need to find something to occupy your time for the rest of the shift so that you can maintain some level of productivity. But what happens when you are at home and you finish early? You won’t make more money by getting done faster. Sometimes productivity and efficiency are not properly incentivized under this situation.
When you work from home, you may be tempted to login to personal social media or email accounts. These distractions can eat away at the time you are supposed to be working. These incentive issues and distractions may need to be rethought in the home environment.
More Technology Isn’t Always The Answer
We’re tempted to replace full staff meetings with Zoom calls. Face-to-face communications may now be replaced with email. But the communication may leave something to be desired. The video or audio may go out on a Zoom call. Somebody in a large meeting may inevitably have video or audio issues. There may be interruptions from employees’ family members or cameos from pets.
All of this can slow down the communication process. It may be time to do away with this type of meeting in favor of allowing employees an extra block of time to remain productive. This can help increase productivity.
Data Security Issues
Remote work leaves your company’s network and data security more vulnerable. While work from home policies may ultimately increase productivity, there is often a cost in an inherent data security risk. That cost comes in the form of increased exposure to hacking, data theft, or exposure to cybercriminals. Many larger companies have already been in the news for data breaches.
IT departments in remote work companies must help to educate employees about common sense data measures, such as changing passwords, two-factor authentication, and network security. Taking some preemptive steps now can help thwart one of the most common technology problems while working remote. Should you experience data loss, you can always hire a data recovery company.
Fighting Isolation and Loneliness
There aren’t as many opportunities to connect with coworkers or customers via phone or video calls, and it’s just not the same. Many are experiencing isolation or loneliness when they cannot leave their home to be around their coworkers. This is a general problem in society brought on by the pandemic, but it certainly rears its head in the remote work environment.
It often goes undetected until it’s fully manifested, and may not be immediately noticeable in day-to-day activity. Steps can be taken by employees on a personal level to reintroduce some social interaction in other aspects of their lives. More phone calls, video calls, and or social media messaging can help people feel more connected.
Overcoming Technology Issues Related to Remote Work
There’s no question that remote work has led to more employee productivity. It’s likely a trend that will be here to stay, long after we’ve recovered from the pandemic. IT departments will need to address the data security issues by putting more protective measures in place. IT and management may also play a role in other technology problems while working remote.
5 Hard Drive Recovery Tips for Your Laptop
These hard drive recovery tips for your laptop can help your remote work force, should one of their computers go down.
With more employees working remote in the U.S., laptop usage is on the rise. There is no question about the convenience of portable devices, especially when it comes to companies allowing their employees to work from home.
But sometimes these devices fail, and when they do, sensitive data can be placed in jeopardy. Updates, physical damage, and a failure to save your work can all cause problems. The good news is that much of the time, it’s not the data in question that is gone, but rather the part that pointed the user to the data.
In these cases, recovery is almost always possible. The data remains on the computer, it just takes more work to regain access to it. Below are some hard drive recovery tips for your laptop, to help in these instances.
Hard Drive Recovery Tips for Your Laptop
Seek Professional Help Fast – If you’re dealing with sensitive data that would cripple your company should it be lost, the problem is likely best in the hands of a professional. Customer support or a professional data recovery company can help you restore and recover data so that your business can keep running without any hiccups.
Stop Using the Laptop in Question – If you think you are close to hard drive failure, but your computer remains in a usable state, the best thing you can do is to stop using it until the hard drive problem is resolved. Any additional use could be causing further damage and make it harder to recover the files in question.
Data Recovery Apps – There are free and paid apps that you can install from the internet to help you recover files. If you are technology savvy, and you may only be looking for a few files, this option could work for you. The risk with these apps is that installing anything on your computer, even if it is to help with this type of situation, could be making things worse by overwriting the very files that you’re looking to recover. The likelihood for unrecoverable files increases in this situation.
Hook it to a Working Computer – On a Mac laptop, you can connect it to a working computer to essentially treat it as a large USB drive. The computers can be connected with either a USB-C, Thunderbolt 2, or Firewire cable.
On the broken Mac, you’ll need to press the T button on startup. If it’s already turned on, you can go to the Apple on upper left > System Preferences > Startup Disk > Target Disk Mode. From this point, files can be grabbed, and then the disk can be wiped or repaired without concern for your data.
In some situations, starting the computer in recovery mode, or creating a bootable drive may be what’s needed to regain access to the computer so that you can access necessary files.
Remove the Hard Drive (If You Can) – PC laptops are likely to be more complicated than the Mac instructions above. They may require removing the hard drive – something that is made more complex and complicated in a laptop than a desktop. The hard drive can then be diagnosed by plugging it into a working computer. But this is something that may require experience to try it, because further damage can be caused to the computer.
Hire a Data Recovery Company
The severity of the hard drive problem may vary from situation to situation. If you’ve tried any of these hard drive recovery tips for your laptop with no success, the best thing you can do is to stop tinkering with the computer, and contact a data recovery company. Remember, when hard drive failures happen, there is still a high probability that the data can be recovered.
Will We See More Automated Data Security?
Automated data security using machine learning and AI technology can have a significant impact on protecting business’s digital assets.
There is no question that the threat level with hacks on personal and company computers and networks is rising. Cyber criminals are employing new tactics to gain access to restricted information on a regular basis. As they employ new technologies to gain access to restricted systems, it only makes sense that the same technologies could be used to help protect those systems. Automated data security is improving, and will continue to be a tremendous asset to businesses and organizations of all size, around the world.
Data security will continue on the trend of increased automation as various cyber threats increase. Between a growing number of strategies employed by cyber criminals, and companies transitioning to work-from-home structures, the need for new protections is growing. Increased use of machine learning and artificial intelligence can help in the fight.
Automated Data Security Tools Will Assist Data Scientists
While there’s no question that automated data security tools are more efficient than any human, they will be seen as an asset to the IT team that can make the security process more effective. It will be similar to a doctor using the same type of tools to make a diagnosis, while providing the same level of person-to-person care that patients have grown accustomed to.
Data scientists will still be needed to assess any data and make any recommendations or interpretations. Their role will continue to be a necessary one, even though the process itself may be streamlined through more efficient technologies.
Streamlined Information Means More Targeted Decisions
If you are receiving automated and targeted information on a regular basis, that information can be used to improve business decisions. For example, new insights on your customer base or target markets can help you understand how to better position your company to sell more. Those insights can come instantly, and they can be from company data, or industry-wide data that tracks certain consumer behaviors.
All of this instantaneous access to key data points can be interpreted by stakeholders in an effort to make more informed decisions.
Better Risk Assessment
AI and machine learning technology will give companies and organizations a better picture of what risks they face on an ongoing basis. Automated data security tools can allow businesses to see threats in real time, and give them more power to stop cyber attacks as they happen. As computers and other IoT technologies are equipped to handle massive amounts of data in real time, their vulnerabilities increase.
Machine learning and AI technologies are the best-equipped tools to provide enhanced protection in this type of environment.
Make Your Data More Actionable
New automated data security technologies will help businesses on several levels.
In the absence of AI and machine learning data technologies, you may be collecting useful data without the ability to interpret it in a timely manner, or to make informed decisions. The ability to use this data in a robust manner will make a significant difference for small businesses in a competitive marketplace. As AI and machine learning options become more readily available, the benefits that they have to offer will help to level the playing field.
Data security will become more automated in the near future. This is a trend that will help to protect businesses from an increased level of vulnerabilities that have to do with work-from-home trends as well as a growing number of types of attacks.
Not All Hacks or Security Breaches are Created Equal
In a day and age when security breaches are commonplace, and the threat of personal data that you’ve collected is in jeopardy of being made public, hacks are routinely reported on in the media. Not all of the hacks that we read about are created equal.
First, there are various types of hacks. While any successful effort to breach your data security is alarming, the after-effects are not always experienced in the same magnitude.
The Definition of Hacking
The term “hacking” has become commonplace, and is used across a variety of applications to mean different things. But as it’s related to data security, we’ll define it as gaining access to unauthorized information through a system network or computer. There are an increasing number of these hacks and security breaches being reported on an almost daily basis. Governments, retail outlets, schools, and other businesses and institutions remain at high risk as targets for these attacks.
Types of Security Breaches and their Severity
Phishing and Social Engineering Hacks – This is when the hacker attempts to trick you into sharing your personal information with them. Maybe they pose as a business, or someone offering a service, in an attempt to get you to share your personal financial information. It might be imitating someone you know, asking you to do something like wire money, or click on a link to download a piece of malware, for example.
Phishing and social engineering hacks can have a significant impact on the victim, especially if they give up key personal information such as a social security number, bank account, or if they physically wire large sums of money.
Malware Injecting Devices
Devices such as USB sticks can be used by hackers to inject malware onto a device. That malware can then be used to gain remote access, to your computer and any information on it, causing significant security breaches. That’s why it’s important to consider the source of any type of USB, keyboard, or computer mouse before you plug it into your computer.
Entrance Through Missing Security Patches – Websites, software, routers, and other hardware often require security updates. When those updates are not completed in a timely fashion, it can provide an opening for hackers to gain access to your computer or network. When users ignore the pop-ups for updates it can leave them vulnerable.
It’s important for employers to make sure that all devices, software, and applications are routinely patched and updated to ensure their safe usage. This means making sure that employees routinely make the updates needed to function. This simple step goes a long way in reducing the chances for security breaches.
Passwords – Many hackers gain access through cracking the right password. It may happen through a malware program that allows hackers to monitor your keystrokes. There are also software programs that can guess the right password by running several combinations of letters and numbers in a matter of seconds, giving the hacker access.
Distributed Denial of Service – These attacks focus on taking down a website, or other online assets. They typically involve overwhelming a site with more traffic or requests than the server can handle, and thereby shutting it down. There are security products and services that can help protect your online assets from this type of attack.
DDoS attacks can have a crippling effect on your business, preventing you from being able to conduct your business as usual.
Make Sure Your Team is Aware of Digital Threats
Hackers can gain access and cause significant damage to your company through any of the above means. While any of these attacks can result in financial loss or the loss of data, DDoS attacks can shut down your whole business, and be difficult to recover from. The level of damage and the impact of the security breaches depends on the type of hack, and the impact that it can have. It’s crucial to educate your employees about the importance of data security, and preventing these hacks.
This means teaching them to evaluate the source of an email before they enter personal information, and making sure they complete the updates that need to be completed. Employees can be required to set passwords that include upper case letters, numbers, and punctuation marks. Making them more security savvy can help protect them and your business in the long run.
The Growing Need for Data Simplification Software
Smaller companies are competing all the time to keep up with their larger counterparts, and a major part of that struggle manifests in the way that companies collect data. With data simplification software, or data management as a service (DMaaS), the smaller companies have a means to level the playing field and compete with larger competition.
There are several issues that contribute to smaller companies being presented with more challenges when it comes to data collection. Variations of these issues can manifest across small businesses in a range of industries. Having some form of DMaaS software can help businesses to overcome these issues.
Key Issues that Lead to Difficulty with Data Collection for Small Businesses
IT Budgets are Being Slashed – As companies struggle to stay within limited budgets, IT and data science departments must find a way to operate with less. Technology, government, education, and other industries are being forced into this predicament.
Data Collection Operations are Complex – Complex data often comes with complex infrastructure. Between software installations, updates, and maintenance, data collection can take an inordinate amount of time and resources. Using some form of data simplification software can allow companies to better re-allocate their resources to meet their needs.
Employee Stress and Turnover – Having a solution that simplifies and streamlines data collection can help reduce stress and turnover within the IT department. It can allow IT professionals to better focus on deriving value from that data and help to improve the company’s bottom line.
The Benefits of Data Simplification Software and DMaaS Software Solutions
The benefits of data simplification software can help businesses that are already on a budget. DMaaS software offers a form of cost predictability, so that companies don’t become overwhelmed collecting data that may or may not have appropriate usage applications.
It will allow these same companies to better be able to compete against larger companies that currently have more data collection resources, and win more business. These smaller companies will be able to do more with what they have.
Employing a DMaaS solution within the company will save IT teams a considerable amount of time, and allow them to focus on other needs like equipment maintenance, tickets, and data security. Ultimately, the use of DMaaS software could help IT teams to reduce turnover, and better serve their employers.
Data Security as Part of Your DMaaS Package
In addition to allowing companies to make better decisions with their data simplification software, DMaaS programs are also providing added levels of data security. They are including a variety of features that will help small businesses protect their data. Here’s a brief list of features that may be available:
- Backup and archiving
- Disaster recovery
- Data security
Many of the platforms on the market use machine learning technology to identify data anomalies or catch cyberattacks that are currently in progress. Many of the platforms available are providing seamless experiences on premises and in the cloud, which is an important feature for companies that are transitioning to work-from-home.
Will DMaaS Work for You?
There are several advantages to data simplification software for small businesses. It can make your IT operation more efficient, and allow your employees to focus on other objectives, such as improving the company’s bottom line. DMaaS allows small businesses to more easily compete with larger competition. The right platform will also provide an added layer of data security in the process.
As IT budgets shrink, and companies are forced to find enhanced levels of productivity with fewer resources, DMaaS software allows companies to do more with fewer resources.
Focusing Your Data Collection
Focusing your data collection is a crucial step in getting the right information to make important decisions.
It doesn’t matter what type of industry you are in, or how many customers you serve. It doesn’t matter if you’re business operates from your home, or you’re on the Fortune 500. Data collection is crucial for running your business.
The data you collect today can help you make more informed decisions for tomorrow. That data should be relevant to your business operations so that you can put it to the best possible use.
Some examples of consumer data might include:
- IP addresses
- Email addresses
- Phone numbers
- Past searches
- Health information from a phone or wearable
- Location information
- Previous ads that have been clicked on.
But before you go collecting as much consumer information as you can, it helps to understand what you might use it for, because collection for the sake of data collection is a waste of time.
Gaining a Deeper Understanding of the Market
When you understand how consumers behave online, you’re able to better target them with your marketing. This includes understanding their demographics and purchasing behaviors.
Understanding this information can help you better shape your business to fit customer needs. It can help you remain relevant in the marketplace and give you the ability to stay ahead of the industry trends. Collecting the right customer data can allow you to optimize your website and the rest of your marketing to stay ahead. This is an important consideration in focusing your data.
Strengthen Your Database
Maybe you have a new product release coming up. Maybe your company is expanding into a new market. Whatever the case may be, you’ll need a way to communicate the exciting news with your customer base. Your ability to reach out in these circumstances is only as good as the data that you collect.
When you have email addresses, phone numbers, IP addresses, or other behavioral information, you’re able to reach out to a targeted audience and let them know a bit of news that might interest them. This can help to automate your marketing and maximize the results.
Personalize the Experience
No matter what industry you’re in, consumers likely have a significant amount of choice. If they don’t like what they see from you, they can quickly move on to another option. The data that you collect allows for a more personalized experience.
When you know what type of products a customer is interested in, or a little bit about their online shopping habits, it allows you to personalize the experience and keep their interest in the purchasing process.
This can be done by segmenting your data to people with similar interests, or understanding what devices people are using to access your website. It can help you to shorten the sales process and capitalize on visitors. It can also help make your email marketing more appealing.
Collect Your Data Responsibly
Personal data is valuable to your customer. If that data is lost or stolen, you can break trust with your customers in a way that is difficult to repair. It’s important to understand whether your business is required to meet General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements for managing and protecting consumer data.
The Power of Focusing Your Data
It’s easy to get lost in an overwhelming sea of data. It’s easy to rationalize collection, because that’s what other companies are doing right now. But the data that you collect is only as valuable as what you are doing with it. Make sure that you continue to use it to make decisions that will improve your company.
Focusing your data is an important step in keeping the rest of your business decisions on track. It doesn’t help to collect information that you aren’t going to use.
What Data Storage Technology is Right for You?
Data storage technology is an important consideration for any business. The information businesses collect plays a critical role, and how they store that data makes a difference in protecting it.
Companies thrive when they make informed decisions based on the data they collect. It’s not necessarily about collecting more data, but instead using the data that you have in more intelligent ways. But first it needs to be properly stored.
There are three methods for storing your data, and any further options will fit into one of these categories. Each method has advantages and drawbacks, and what you choose will depend on individual factors related to your business.
Types of Data Storage Technology
This is for businesses looking to maintain control (and responsibility) of their data in all forms. This method amounts to the data being kept on the individual servers for your business. For many companies, the servers are typically on-premises, in a dedicated server room.
While this method may offer a more straightforward strategy, there’s increased responsibility within the IT department to protect that data, and ensure that it’s there when you need it. Companies who store their data on-site need to make sure that their hardware is current and secure, and that software is regularly updated. It’s important to make sure that the IT department is given the appropriate resources to safeguard this valuable asset.
For many businesses, the responsibility of safeguarding that data may be a little more than they want to take on. Colocation data storage is simply taking advantage of a data center. They get the versatility of using that data and having complete control over it, without being responsible for the on-premises storage. There are pricing models that make this a dependable option.
There are often protection methods involved with colocation data storage that would be difficult to implement in an on-premises model. Data storage centers often implement new features, and companies benefit from the more complete security measures of an established data storage facility. Many data storage facilities also offer remote support, adding additional value to the package.
Businesses no longer have to be limited by the finite space in hardware storage devices. They no longer need to worry about the expense of replacing outdated storage devices, or buying new hardware as they continue to grow. Cloud storage offers an easy alternative to maintaining your own data storage equipment.
It’s also easier to access critical company data on mobile devices, or laptops, with cloud storage. This is a significant benefit to any business with a remote workforce – which is many companies during the pandemic.
The drawback to cloud storage comes in the open nature of the technology. Preventing unauthorized access to cloud storage is a significant part of data security. Added security measures such as encryption protocols and 2 factor authentication add to the security of this popular data storage method, however.
Finding the Data Storage Technology That’s Right for You
Your company will have individual factors that influence the decision on how to store your data. What you decide will likely be determined by factors such as:
- The size of your company
- The overall sensitivity of the data that you keep
- How you use the data that you keep
- The size and capabilities of your IT department
- Accessibility of data to employees and company stakeholders
Once you determine the data storage technology that you want to use, there are methods specific to that technology for keeping your data safe. If you do happen to experience data loss, you can contact We Recover Data to help you regain access.
The Role of a Data Scientist in Business
The role of data scientists is an important one for business. In order to look at it, we have to examine the increasing importance of data in companies of all sizes.
The use of data is critical for business growth and development. The right data can improve the ability to make important business decisions. It can help companies use resources more efficiently and reduce waste. It gives businesses a means to make more informed decisions that can lead to new opportunities.
But in order to properly collect and evaluate the right information, it helps to have someone who can help you to make sense of it. This is where data scientists come into play. Data scientists will continue to be in high demand, as the information that they evaluate also continues to increase in value and importance.
What Does a Data Scientist Do?
The data that you collect is useful, but making sense of it may feel similar to making sense of a foreign language. That’s where data scientists come into play. They distill vast amounts of information to help other stakeholders make informed decisions. Below are some of the responsibilities that may include:
- To gather large amounts of data and interpret it in an understandable format.
- To use programming to extract value and insights.
- To discover any useful trends.
- To stay on top of data trends with technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, or text analytics.
Data Scientists Are Important In Businesses of All Sizes
It used to be that only large companies invested in data. But as the importance of collecting data has increased for businesses of all sizes, so has the need to employ talented data scientists, to help extract maximum value from that data.
Small startups, mid-size businesses, and Fortune 500 companies all rely on the data they collect to remain competitive within their markets. New software makes data more accessible to companies of all sizes. This makes hiring data scientists a no-brainer, to get the most out of the information around you.
Data Scientists Set the Foundation for Truth
An organization is only as strong as the data it collects and utilizes to make more informed decisions. This is especially true in a more competitive industry, where other businesses may be making use of their data collection practices.
Data scientists set the foundation for truth within an organization. They provide information that sets the path forward. They can offer new ways of handling familiar problems while creating new paradigms for doing business.
Because of their increasing importance in the business world, they’ve been under short supply.
The Current Shortage of Data Scientists
As the role of data has become more critical for companies, so is the ability to synthesize it into a format that allows companies to make more informed decisions. Over the last few years, salaries have increased for these positions, as companies scramble to hire qualified people for these positions.
The opportunity cost is high for companies that aren’t able to hire the right person for their position. A shortage of data scientists has been documented over the last few years, as these factors have converged. One study predicts that the demand for these positions will grow significantly between now and 2026.
The job requires a unique blend of technical skill and analytics. They require the skill of a mathematician, a programmer, and someone with the ability to translate key trends in a manner that other executives, and co-workers from other departments will be able to understand. This combination of skills can be hard to find one single person, adding to their value.
Data scientists gain entry into the field in any number of ways, but it usually starts with a 4-year degree from an accredited college. Many have advanced degrees as well. About 38 percent have a PhD, and 73 percent have a graduate degree.
The high levels of education necessary add to the growing demand.
The Benefits of Authentication for Business Security
While the hassles of the authentication process can be overwhelming for those looking to access specific accounts or data, the benefits of authentication for business security, employee security, and consumer security are strong.
Your employees likely have several passwords to remember as part of their digital lives. At some point their password creativity runs dry, or they don’t see the need to create multiple passwords for different accounts. They may overlook the need for online security, inadvertently laying the groundwork for cybercriminals.
Account authentication is another layer of added security against this outcome. It’s a way to protect company data from cybercriminals who may otherwise be able to access multiple accounts with one password. It’s also a safeguard against weak or recycled passwords.
There are other benefits to authentication as well, listed below.
5 Benefits of Authentication
Enhanced Data Security – Two-factor authentication drastically reduces the occurrence of data theft by involving a second device that the hacker would not have access to in the login process. The majority of security breaches are due to weak or recycled passwords, and authentication can lower this number.
Reduce Help Desk Tickets – Authentication can help streamline the workflow for the IT department. In many organizations, password resets involve the IT department. Either security personnel has to complete the task themselves, or employees involve them when they become confused by the process. Two-factor authentication can help reduce the need for this, and put data security safely back in the employees’ hands.
Added Security for Remote Work – Many businesses are relying heavily on remote work during the pandemic. This makes it harder to involve the IT department in the data security process.
Authentication can help ensure that employees are able to safely access much-needed data, reducing the threat of hackers gaining access to sensitive materials.
Prevent Identity Theft – Authentication works well to protect customer information as well. If cybercriminals are able to hack into customer accounts, it can be devastating to your company’s reputation. Authentication can help you guard against that. While Amazon’s two-factor authentication may seem tedious to some, it beats someone logging into your Amazon account to make unauthorized purchases.
Quick Process – While employees or customers may be slightly inconvenienced, the process does not take long. For two-factor authentication, it’s typically as simple as entering a code that is sent to a mobile device. This 30-second action can have a drastic impact on the safety of your data.
Protect Your Most Sensitive Data
As businesses are increasingly dependent on the data they collect, cybercriminal activity has been sharply on the rise over recent years. The benefits of authentication help to guard organizations and customers’ most sensitive data.
As companies gravitate more heavily to remote work, this trend will only accelerate. As far as data security measures are concerned, it’s pretty straight forward to implement.
If you find yourself in need of recovering sensitive data, contact We Recover Data today!
Common Industries at Risk for Data Breaches
The industries at risk for data breaches are varied. A hacker’s motives will likely determine why an industry, or a specific company is targeted. Understanding their motive and the information that they are after can help your company protect itself from these types of cybersecurity threats.
Some of the reasons that a hacker may attack include:
- Financial gain
- To gain knowledge of current activities through spying
The most frequently targeted industries each offer something for hackers in this respect. Below are some of the hackers’ most common targets.
Top Industries at Risk for Data Breaches
The Financial Industry
The financial industry is routinely a top target for hackers who are looking for financial gain. Banks, insurance companies, and wealth management companies are all at risk. A hacker may use web application attacks to force their way into the system. In a large company, millions of clients may be using the web app at any given time, making these attacks cumbersome, and difficult to track down.
In March of 2019, 2.4 million records from the Dow Jones were exposed. The incident highlighted the need for major organizations to look into vendor risk management. Some hackers may try a different approach. It could be as simple as installing skimmers or card traps on an ATM.
Higher education institutions often funnel money into building renovations and attracting potential new students. They’re focused on large academic projects and research development. Their singular focus in other directions can leave them susceptible to various cyberattacks. Ransomware poses a threat for colleges and universities. They need to develop strong IT departments capable of handling these types of threats in real-time.
K-12 schools are also at risk because hackers understand that there won’t be as strong of a cybersecurity presence there. They can serve as a training ground for hackers to learn how to access important records. K-12 schools often have outdated, less secure equipment. Malicious actors are able to break in and access student or teacher personal information, modify grades, or simply disrupt the system in any way they want.
Stolen medical records give hackers access to personal data that often leads to financial gain. They also lead to the ability to secure prescription drugs or gain unauthorized access to medical programs. These benefits can lead to strong incentives for cyberattacks.
Because the data storage programs used by healthcare companies can often be complex, unintentional leaks also occur frequently, which can also be damaging.
Retail is one of the top industries at risk for data breaches because it was unaccustomed to the need for cybersecurity. Many retailers have been slow to the need to adequately protect the sensitive customer information that they collect, such as credit card or even social security numbers.
As many as half of all US retailers have experienced a data breach within the last year, an alarming statistic that speaks to the frequency they are targeted.
Because of the sensitive nature of the personal information that is stolen, the attacks on big box retailers have become high profile and tend to draw attention to this issue. These cyberattacks can have a devastating effect on a retailer’s brand when they are mishandled.
There are many industries at risk for data breaches, for various reasons. With the ability to store vast amounts of data, come those who look to access it for malicious purposes. A more robust data protection effort can help to protect sensitive data and company infrastructures. If your organization has fallen victim to a cyberattack, it can be devastating to your organization and your reputation.
If you’ve lost access to sensitive data, you can contact us to help you regain access.
Data Security and Remote Learning
As more and more schools transition to a home-based approach, data security and remote learning will become increasingly intertwined. While a good move to keep people safe from the virus, this transition requires an increased effort in cybersecurity.
School districts across the nation are faced with similar data threats as the businesses that were forced into utilizing a remote workforce. Teachers and students alike will need to be educated on how to use remote learning technology safely. This could mean crash courses in everything from video conferencing software such as Zoom, to remote learning hardware devices, such as Chromebooks or other laptops.\
There’s also the safety of the main remote learning platform to consider, and any other software programs that might be utilized.
Data Security and Remote Learning: The Process is Moving Faster
For many school districts, remote learning may have been a long-term initiative, rather than an immediate objective. One-to-one programs, where a piece of technology would stay with the student, may have been rushed to accommodate the current reality.
But because of the nature of the pandemic, and remote learning becoming the only way for students to continue their education, the process was expedited. This rush is what makes data security and remote learning such important considerations.
In the midst of the recent stay-at-home flurry, many tech companies began to offer free or discounted subscriptions to their software. This opened the door for teachers to access it without the traditional district vetting processes that would typically involve the IT department. These programs may not follow the school’s typical student data security standards.
There are federal laws such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act that districts need to adhere to, even as we rapidly shift to remote learning during this pandemic. When teachers make software and technology decisions independently of the district, there’s no check to ensure that these privacy and data security standards are being met.
While some states have clearing houses that will vet educational software for districts throughout the state, in others, each individual district is responsible for their own vetting. The process can typically take months to complete, depending on the size of the district and the resources they can allocate to the process.
On-Camera Security Concerns
While Zoom’s educational products meet federal regulations for children’s privacy laws, they’re other products do not. So a standard Zoom subscription may not be the quick answer for video access and remote learning.
Parents should also consider covering their child’s laptop camera as an added security precaution. There is a 2019 complaint against Zoom filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center for activating users’ cameras, even when they’re not on the platform. It’s also a potentially dangerous target for hackers.
Data security and remote learning are extremely important. In the past, school districts have rightly acted in a slow and deliberate manner when it comes to technology, investigating their hardware and software options to ensure they meet state and federal laws.
The pandemic understandably created a sense of urgency when it comes to the implementation of remote learning. Even in these unprecedented times, the district is responsible for both students’ and teachers’ data security.
This means finding a way to vet software before it is implemented. It means arming users with common sense security measures, such as covering their cameras and overseeing the methods that teachers use for video conferencing. It’s important to make sure that safety is considered in all aspects.
If you’ve lost any sensitive data, contact us today!
Cybersecurity and Disinformation
Cybersecurity and disinformation are heavily intertwined in the U.S. and around the globe. With a pandemic, social unrest, and important elections happening all over, accurate information for the public is more critical than ever. In many places, human safety is at stake, and we need to be able to trust the information that we receive.
What happens when there are very few safeguards on that information? Anyone can publish a website, social media posts, or videos regardless of the accuracy of their message. People who are receiving misinformation or disinformation may not be aware that it’s even occurring.
According to Dictionary.com, misinformation is false information spread regardless of the intent to mislead. We’ve all told a story and forgotten the details. (Think about how the size of the fish increases every time you tell the story.) The childhood game of telephone is a prime example of how quickly misinformation can spread from one telling of a story to the next.
Disinformation on the other hand, is knowingly spreading false information. This could be spread through false or deliberately misleading news or political statements. Propaganda can have its roots in disinformation from time to time.
So, Where Does the Role of Cybersecurity Come In?
Cybersecurity and disinformation will remain heavily intertwined as the technologies that cybercriminals use continue to advance. As mentioned before, we are in turbulent times with the raging pandemic, social unrest, and contentious elections. Hackers may play on our sensitivities to these issues, providing disinformation, in hopes to get us to provide sensitive data in phishing scams.
They may go as far as registering fake domains and opening social media accounts, in an effort to make the entire scam appear legitimate from beginning to end.
But the stakes can go steeper than any one person as a victim. Entire countries can put out disinformation campaigns in an effort to sway another country’s election. Fake charities are set up as a way to scam innocent people into providing money.
These and other methods often have very real-world ramifications.
Cybersecurity and Disinformation – Taking Action
Disinformation can be a threat to society as a whole. It’s important for cybersecurity officials to make a plan and take action against harmful disinformation. IT departments, technology professionals, and government officials must work together to protect the integrity of organizations and institutions while protecting citizens.
Social media companies have taken action with disclaimers about the accuracy of a post, or removing it from their platforms altogether. IT officials can work to have fake sites, or spoof sites taken down. They may spoof large companies or agencies in an attempt to fool people.
It’s important to realize that cybercriminals won’t operate with the same ideals or ethics instilled in most of us. The disinformation that they weaponize in order to exploit people online can and should be stopped. IT and cybersecurity professionals are in a unique position to put a check on this type of crime.
The Pandemic’s Role Speeding Up Cybersecurity
Speeding up cybersecurity efforts has been an initiative of many IT departments and technology professionals since the pandemic began.
Work from home initiatives were always going to be something that IT departments and security experts needed to figure out. But the pandemic led huge numbers of the workforce out the door of the building, and to their private home office. Many businesses are seeing benefits, but they are also forced to deal with the risk.
Businesses are tasked with the tall order of improving productivity from remote locations, while mitigating dangerous threats at the same time. According to a survey of 800 businesses conducted by Microsoft, providing secure remote access to resources, apps, and data was the number one challenge reported by security professionals. This necessitates speeding up cybersecurity efforts.
Cyberattacks During the Pandemic
Cybercriminals understand that when more employees work from home, they become a more attractive target. Below are some common cyberattacks that businesses need to be prepared for:
Phishing – Employees should be careful when it comes to opening emails from outside the organization, especially those that may be asking for money or some form of sensitive personal information.
Ransomware – A Covid-related subject line may appear on malicious ransomware emails. It’s important for organizations to prepare their employees for this reality, and to be ready by backing up essential data.
DDoS – More users trying to access services remotely at the same time, can open up more vulnerabilities for the system to be attacked. It’s important to be prepared.
Speeding up Cybersecurity Means Securing Employee Home Networks and Personal Devices
While no one was exactly ready for the pandemic and its resulting impacts on businesses in 2020, there are some measures that can be taken to improve security on employee’s home networks and personal devices. Speeding up cybersecurity measures will help to prevent any worst-case-scenarios that may emerge down the road.
Using a Virtual Private Network can add a layer of security. It may also help to make sure that employees have access to their device instruction manual so they can follow recommended manufacturer security measures.
The instruction manual may provide additional insight such as:
- Setting up two-factor authentication
- Enabling automatic updates for operating software, routers and modems
- Configuring security and firewall setup
- Establishing lock screens
Adjusting to the Times
As the pandemic rages on, companies will need to get used to operating under less than ideal circumstances. Adjustments will need to be made to maximize productivity, and the necessary security adjustments will surely follow. This of course means an organized effort in speeding up cybersecurity.
The types of integrated security measures listed above will need to be followed by all companies, small, medium and large. The work from home movement is no longer something that can be forestalled. The best thing that companies can do is to hire experienced cybersecurity and IT personnel that can help to institute solid planning measures that maximize that productivity while protecting corporate data at the same time.
Educating employees on how to make their work-from-home experience a safe one is a big part of these measures. Employees must understand the looming threats, and how to decrease the risk of falling victim to a cyberattack.
What are the Newest Cybersecurity Threats in 2020?
There’s no secret that cybersecurity threats in 2020 have been on the rise for businesses and organizations. Advancements in technology and the creativity of the individuals perpetrating these crimes have both been on the rise. At the same time, organizations have become more reliant on customer data, which can at times be sensitive.
All of this adds up to a perfect storm. Below are some of the most common cybersecurity threats in 2020. It’s important to do more to protect your data and to understand that professional data recovery may be your best option to get it back in the event of a loss.
Common Cybersecurity Threats in 2020
Cloud storage provides a significant asset to businesses looking for alternative ways to store their data. But storing sensitive data related to employees or business operations with a third-party host can present a risk. Below are some of the cloud vulnerability threats that IT departments and organizations can prepare for:
- Data breaches
- Account hijacking
Major cloud providers are working to improve their security, but they are not immune from attack. But IT departments need to be ready to secure their own data.
As AI is utilized for many new business applications, hackers and those looking to do malicious harm are finding ways to incorporate it, too. This new tool can be used to make malicious software more sophisticated and threatening. It can be used to detect system vulnerabilities and break-in.
Phishing relies on misleading the victim into giving up compromising information. This could be login credentials, credit card information, or a social security number. Cyber criminals are developing new methods and strategies, often preying on victims who often simply want to do the right thing.
This is the term given to a fake audio or video file, often used for malicious reasons. With the emergence of AI, it’s become easier to create computer-generated videos of prominent figures, while recreating the message. This can be used for political figures, CEOs, celebrities, or more. They have become high quality and believable.
Preparing for Cybersecurity Threats
Organizations must be ready for incoming threats from cybercriminals. The internet has always had an element of people looking to do harm, that’s not new. But the sophistication level is ever on the rise.
IT departments can educate employees to the common threats and help them to recognize when their hardware or their actions may pose a threat. Strong, regularly changed passwords improve security. Two-factor authentication also helps to prevent attacks. It’s also important to keep software up to date to prevent threats.
Backing up data in multiple places can help you maintain access and prevent common business disruptions. Encryption can also help to protect it should it fall into the wrong hands.
You can invite employees or people that you trust to hack your own system so that you may understand where any potential vulnerabilities may exist. And make sure to fix them. When you are proactive regarding data, you can protect your organization from these common cybersecurity threats in 2020.
The Role of AI And Cybersecurity
AI and cybersecurity go hand in hand. As companies continue to expand, they require more hardware and software. Combine that with emerging work from home and bring your own device type policies, and traditional methods of cybersecurity may no longer accomplish the job.
Growing companies have an ever-growing number of vulnerable attack points. Analyzing and protecting these points is no longer a job that can be accomplished on a human scale. This is where artificial intelligence can help. AI can do anything from pinpoint attempts to hack into your server, to identifying behavior that may leave data increasingly exposed.
What It Means to Have AI In the Fight
You may have advanced technology software that protects your company’s data, but that doesn’t necessarily make it AI. The main difference is this: AI becomes more intelligent with more data. It becomes more efficient, or smarter at the job.
Alternatively, many cybersecurity programs may simply employ data analytics. With data analytics, you are collecting data points to make the next logical conclusion, but there is no cognitive ability on the part of the program.
AI Improves Cybersecurity by Employing New Knowledge
AI and cybersecurity both improve when the technology can employ its new knowledge to protect company data. This is done through machine learning, neural networks, or deep learning.
It becomes an ideal tool for solving cybersecurity issues when tasks like threat detection become automated. A medium-sized company may have hundreds of devices and only a handful of skilled cybersecurity professionals on staff. There may be more data stored than any one person can analyze or protect.
When the scale of data and information passed around is beyond what any one person can protect, AI becomes a dependable option for asset protection. Once AI is properly trained, it becomes an extension of your cybersecurity team.
What AI and Cybersecurity Can Accomplish
Below are just a few of the tasks that a properly trained AI can handle in order to help with cybersecurity:
- Asset inventory – This includes getting a scope on the number of company devices and data volume surrounding a company.
- Threat risk – AI can establish patterns in hacker behavior and company exposure to determine the level of risk that your company is currently under.
- Improved Response – Without AI, it may take days, weeks, or months to even realize that data has been breached. AI can help with an immediate response.
The bottom line is that attacks are becoming more advanced as well. The best tools available to protect your data are also being used to coordinate the attack in the first place. The ability for AI to detect and help protect companies against evolving threats provides a distinct advantage in cybersecurity.
AI and cybersecurity will continue to grow together. An AI and human partnership in protecting company data will be a powerful combination that allows companies to concentrate on their core strengths for years to come. It’s the best way to detect threats, coordinate responses, and protect valuable company data in a world that contains ever-evolving threats.
Data Collection and AI
Data collection and AI are increasingly important tools for a variety of human tasks. Our use of artificial intelligence is only limited by our imagination, and we’re able to do more with it seemingly every day. Programs are being built that can beat the smartest humans at our favorite games, such as chess and go. Soon it will be driving our cars, cooking our meals, diagnosing our medical conditions, working in law enforcement, and more.
These AIs work on mass data collection, at a scale beyond what most humans comprehend. The definition of data collection is simply gathering and evaluating information from countless sources. But when AI is involved, the scale of the operation accelerates. That AI needs to be able to account for nearly any variable that might be thrown in its direction. When we’re talking about a task as monumental as driving a car, that’s a significant number of variables.
That data collection allows AI to find recurring patterns. From those patterns it can use machine learning algorithms to form its own predictive models in order to establish trends. This is how AI can be used to reduce the number of traffic accidents, or more accurately diagnose our medical conditions. It’s why there is potential to use AI in the law enforcement world to help get criminals off the streets.
But there are massive amounts of data that need to be collected in order to safely incorporate AI to complete these functions.
How Much Data is Needed for AI?
The reality is that there is no perfect answer to that question, and it is heavily reliant on the function that you are looking for the AI to complete. Many will build their early models with as little data as possible to keep it working, for simplicity’s sake. There are complex mathematical formulas designed to let data scientists and engineers know when it is time to stop and when you need to collect more data to make it work.
More data is not always the answer. Sometimes there’s no more data to be had, and the options are to either generate new data points based on what you currently have (data augmentation), or to create new data points using complex sampling techniques (data synthesis).
Data collection is almost always the best option for AI, especially if there’s more data to consider. It will give the model more accurate data points to rely on.
Data Collection and AI: Protecting What’s Collected
Data collection and AI are forever intertwined, and that comes with a new set of cybersecurity risks. Companies using data to build complex AI systems will need to be ever-vigilant at protecting that data from hackers and general data loss. This is especially true in cases where the data collected may include sensitive information.
Practical steps such as using a secure network, backing up data, and making sure your data is password protected will all work to safeguard against data loss and potential cybersecurity issues.
And in the event of a data loss, companies may be tempted to try free software and other popular means to attempt recovery. But that route can often result in more damage. An experienced data recovery company may be their best chance at regaining access to that critical information.
AI and Data Collection for Law Enforcement
AI and data collection for law enforcement go hand in hand. It’s easy to see how the vast collection of data on individuals across the nation can be used to help prevent crime and enhance society’s greater good. Criminals use the same tools as non-criminals: smartphones, laptops, social media platforms. They leave a trail that can easily be mined for law enforcement purposes.
But there is a fine line with this sort of data collection as well. Our law enforcement AI would only be as unbiased as the data it collects. It’s imperative to make sure that the data collected is accurate and fully unbiased.
Establishing Criminal Intent
What people post on social media amounts to circumstantial evidence. It may or may not be an expression of criminal intent. It may or may not point toward resolve to commit a crime. Not all data points will be available, and therefore you’re likely not receiving a complete picture of what happens.
To understand the shortcomings of AI and data collection for law enforcement, it helps to look at another field. Researchers are developing AI to write advertising copy. The copy that is so far being produced currently falls short of the capabilities of a human copywriter that understands how to play on human emotion. The same thing holds true in law enforcement.
Criminal investigations and law enforcement involve more than a simple collection of data points. Eyewitness accounts, 911 recordings, and police body cam footage factor into criminal investigations. The human element is critical here for AI to develop an accurate track record for predictive policing.
While AI and data collection will become increasingly important tools for law enforcement, a human connection will always be vital in this field.
Data Breaches From Police Departments
Law enforcement is not immune from data breaches. As predictive policing and investigation AI are more heavily implemented, police departments will find themselves housing data in larger volumes. This makes them a bigger target for data breaches.
In June of 2020, hundreds of thousands of potentially sensitive files from police departments across the US were leaked online. The leak included 10 years of data from over 200 departments, fusion centers, and other law enforcement training and support resources.
The Los Angeles Police Department was also recently hacked, exposing the confidential personal information of up to 20,000 individuals. Names, dates of birth, email addresses, and passwords were all made public.
Data Collection for Law Enforcement
As police departments collect massive volumes of data to use in their investigations, they will need to safeguard that data and protect the people involved. Data collection for law enforcement will become more prominent in the near future. AI and machine learning will depend on this data in order to enhance the investigatory process. But safeguards need to be taken in order to ensure safety – especially when people may not have willingly given their personal data over. Police departments can back this data up, and work to encrypt it. They can make sure that it is password protected, and only accessed from secure networks.
Any of these steps may work to improve the security of data.
What’s the Difference Between Data Security and Data Privacy?
Data security and data privacy are similar concepts with overlaps, but they are not the same thing. There are several distinctions that are critical for businesses bound by GDPR or California Consumer Privacy laws to understand. The difference between data security and data privacy is in the details of what they mean for an organization.
First, it helps to have a working knowledge of what’s entailed in both operations.
The Difference Between Data Security and Data Privacy
Data security focuses on the protection of a business’s technology and tools, in order to deter cyberattacks. It’s a means to protect sensitive information such as social security numbers, credit card information, or bank accounts.
This is a necessary measure in order to protect your customers and your organization from those who would intend to do harm.
Data privacy involves complying with local and federal laws within and outside your industry that help protect sensitive data. It’s a process to make sure that you are following all necessary measures to protect your customers’ most sensitive data.
More states and countries may make consumer privacy laws in the near future. HIPAA would be an example of industry privacy regulation in health care.
Understanding the Difference Between Security and Privacy is Crucial
Some common data security measures include:
- Multi-factor authentication
- Multi-device management
- Identity management
Without these and other measures in place, the data that you collect could be at risk of a breach. Make no mistake, the data that you collect is likely your business’ most valuable asset. If it is put at risk, your business’s livelihood is also in jeopardy.
Without certain data security in place, you could also be in violation of a variety of data privacy regulations. This could put you in legal jeopardy, and it could become a cause for concern amongst your customer base.
The Role of GDPR and the CCPA in Protecting Customer Data
Businesses that fall under the jurisdiction of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and the California Consumer Privacy Act are obligated to safeguard the data that their businesses collect. Both laws create a set of consumer rights as it comes to the data that businesses are able to collect about them.
More US states are expected to follow suit regarding the creation of data privacy regulations. It’s certainly in a business’s best interest to protect customer data both from a regulatory standpoint, as well as keeping your customers satisfied.
Data Security and Data Privacy Have a Role in Your Company
The difference between data security and data privacy is in what they mean for your company.
While they are not the same thing, they are certainly interrelated and play a critical role within your organization. Taking proper steps with both can help ensure that you are protecting your most valuable asset. Security and privacy measures are also both important in protecting your customers from catastrophic data breaches after they entrusted you with sensitive personal data.
Security revolves around safeguarding the tools and technology involved in your business. It’s making sure the devices that you use, as well your company website and databases are safe and secure. Privacy is about making sure that you are following the appropriate industry, federal, or local regulations. If your business is not required to meet any of these regulations, it’s still a good idea to do whatever you can to safeguard your customers’ sensitive data.
Are Cyberattacks on the Rise Because of Coronavirus?
Most people are rightly focused on staying healthy at the moment. They’re doing the things that are necessary to keep safe and prevent themselves from getting sick.
But they may need to shift their focus to a different type of virus protection. The answer to the question “Are cyberattacks on the rise because of coronavirus?” is cause for some added precautions.
Companies are expanding their work from home policies in order to keep employees safe and healthy. That increase in remote work can lead to an increase in cyberattacks, as the hardware becomes more vulnerable. It’s not easy for organizations to provide in-person IT support for remote employees or equipment.
Employees can take steps to be more vigilant about security concerns as remote work may be popular for the foreseeable future.
Are Cyberattacks on the Rise Because of Coronavirus? Yes. But Here’s What You Can Do About It.
Use Caution with Email
Cyber criminals will use any means possible to get you to click on their emails and provide compromising personal information. Two-factor authentication can help ferret out the questionable emails.
Internal email scams can be easier to spot, if you check with the sender before responding. When the person that a hacker is imitating says that they did not send the email, you know that it’s a scam. You’ll certainly want to double-check with the sender before you enter a credit card number or send money.
Make it Harder for Hackers
When hardware devices, including your router, are up to date with virus protection, it makes it harder for criminals to access your accounts. Those pesky updates need to be completed when the notifications arise, in order to protect hardware and software from hackers.
You’ll also want to avoid using Bluetooth in public places. Hackers will be able to see exactly what you are doing.
The Importance of Secure WiFi
When you work on a company-owned device, it’s important to only use WiFi that is secured, and has a password. This is of course, a good rule to follow with personal devices, too. These WiFi connections are safer because it’s harder for criminals to gain access. You can also verify with the owner of the network that you are accessing it correctly.
Avoid accessing any confidential or sensitive information from a public WiFi account, whenever possible. A hacker may be able to access anything that you see on the internet.
Remember that Confidential Information Is Still Confidential
You may be working from a remote location. In some cases, you may be on a personal device, instead of a company-issued device. It’s easy to slip into comfortable working habits. But it is important to remember that confidential company information is still confidential.
Personal email accounts should not be used for company business. Employees need to keep track of what they are printing at home. Some of it may need to be shredded after use. If that’s not an option, it may be better not to print it to begin with.
Report Lost or Stolen Devices
A missing device could put sensitive company information at risk. It’s important that employees report any lost or stolen devices immediately so that the company has time to take any necessary precautions.
The Reality of Remote Work
It’s likely the uptick in remote work will be around for the foreseeable future. But it’s important to remember that the answer to the question “Are cyberattacks on the rise because of coronavirus?” is a resounding yes. Therefore, precautions need to be taken.
With the added convenience and productivity of remote work, comes some enhanced risk. And hackers know that more people are using remote (and therefore less secure) devices. It’s important that employees and employers alike remain vigilant about the security risks with some of the precautions above.
The Different Types of IT Security
There are several types of IT security that focus on various aspects of the same goal – to protect an organization’s data. That data can be in a digital or physical form. For example, IT security would encompass all online activity, but also a room full of physical files.
The categories of IT may vary by organization or expert. Below are a few of the key types we can concentrate on.
3 Types of IT Security
Network security is simply the interaction between different devices over a network. The role of network security specialists focuses on hardware and software security, as it relates to the network as a whole. The objective is to protect the network from unauthorized access or misuse. When it’s better protected it can provide a more secure work environment conducive to organizational goals.
One method for maintaining proper network security may include monitoring all device logins. This may clue security specialists into irregularities, to flag malicious abuse. When proper protocols for a breach are in place, the threat can be minimized.
Endpoint security focuses directly on network devices. It’s critical that only the designated devices are able to access sensitive information or company data. Endpoint security allows companies to understand when an unauthenticated device accesses this key information. Laptops, cell phones, and tablets can all be evaluated. And each new connection increases the risk of the company’s information.
Some ways to accomplish this include:
- Control of privileged users
- Application controls
- Data controls
- Intrusion detection
The software updates for endpoint security measures can be pushed out through the server to each individual device in order to ensure security measures are uniform.
This form of IT security tends to deal largely with the transmission of information. For example, any measures taken to make email communication safer would fall under the branch of internet security. Encryption is one example of a measure that could be taken to make sure that the information gleaned by attackers would remain protected.
Websites with an https at the beginning are usually encrypted in a way that protects the information. Firewalls, tokens, and password managers are additional steps that can be taken.
Bringing IT Together
When you understand the different types of IT security, you can keep company data safer. Your plan may depend on the personnel and resources that are available to you and your organization.
The bottom line is whether you are self-employed, or working as part of a large organization, there are measures that you can take to protect your network, devices, and the information that you send. It’s time to evaluate your processes and determine what steps can be taken to better secure your data.
Technology and Covid-19: Improving Our Ability to Fight Back in the Pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic is still raging through many American cities, and technology can play a huge role in controlling the spread of the virus. Patients, caregivers, hospitals, and health care providers are relying on both established and emerging technology in various forms. Technology and Covid-19 will be intertwined.
Many of the technologies used to fight Covid-19 will require the collection of data in an effort to provide essential coverage and prevent spread. Privacy and cybersecurity measures can help to protect that data from any additional adverse effects.
Technology and Covid-19: Here’s What is Helping
The technology needed for effective telemedicine (a computer or phone with video capabilities) has been around for a long time, but with Covid-19, there is a strong motive for implementation.
Telemedicine has already become a viable alternative for patients to avoid making trips to the doctor’s office and receive necessary healthcare from the comfort of their home. It is an option that is readily available to patients and doctors alike.
In a socially distanced world, telemedicine helps avoid putting people at unnecessary risk as they seek all types of healthcare. It’s also a huge benefit under a stay at home order. This allows doctors and other healthcare providers to focus on more urgent cases. More insurance companies should be willing to cover this type of appointment from here out.
The global Covid-19 pandemic is taxing the supply of many healthcare products. Masks and other forms of personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, and other equipment have been found in short supply. Instead of ordering and waiting for these products to ship, this has been an opportunity for 3D printers and other members of the maker community to step forward and fill the void.
Even these 3D-printed additions to a common door handle can help prevent the spread of the virus through eliminating common-touch surfaces.
Artificial intelligence can be useful in a number of different applications during a pandemic. Doctors and other healthcare providers can use it in early detection of the Covid-19. It can help researchers develop new drugs and treatments for the virus. It can even help hospitals in resource management during a pandemic.
AI can be a useful tool in assistance to human healthcare professionals. It does operate on machine learning however, which requires an abundance of data. This data will need to be safeguarded to protect sensitive information.
Virtual reality has already proven to be a useful technology for surgical applications. The da Vinci surgical systems have already shown that. But virtual reality can be used for other applications, too. It’s being used to place medical students in a wide variety of patient situations to help them better develop empathy.
It can even be used as a therapy tool for helping to relieve PTSD in front-line workers.
Technology is an essential tool in fighting Covid-19. There are a lot of ways that technology can help us fight a global pandemic. But with growing applications, steps will need to be taken to ensure the safety of sensitive data and information. An expert data recovery company can help.
Contact Tracing and Privacy – What You Need to Know
How to provide proper contact tracing and privacy measures during a pandemic is a growing concern for the millions of Americans impacted by this disease. While the U.S is experiencing another spike in Covid-19 cases, contract tracing is revving up as another method to manage the disease. Privacy and cybersecurity issues are appearing in the headlines on a regular basis, as we work to track the path of the virus.
The tracing methods being used in the partnership between Apple and Google depends extensively on Bluetooth low energy technology to inform individuals when they’ve been exposed to the virus. The potential success of this application rests on mass participation, and the tech companies involved have the ability to secure that. But privacy questions emerge based on the methods these companies use to secure that type of cooperation.
The American Civil Liberty Union (ACLU), a growing group of concerned scientists, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have all expressed their concerns over the privacy and cybersecurity issues involved in that effort.
The ACLU’s concerns rest with the potential for overreach, discrimination, and ensuring that participation remains voluntary. These become hurdles that could potentially impact the success of the long-term project.
What Contact Tracing Apps Accomplish
Contact tracing applications can play an integral role in stopping the spread of the Covid-19 virus by alerting people early on to a potential threat. They offer the use of commonplace technology as a means to provide knowledge of a threat early enough to slow the eventual spread. But the ability for that to work, and for the technology to dependably spot potential exposure, relies on people to forgo some level of privacy.
The Bluetooth technology being used would allow for a higher level of individual privacy than an app that is based on individual geo-location tracking. It still works and provides useful information because contact tracing depends on collecting a vast amount of data on the general population.
How that data is stored, and what that data can be used for in the future also needs to be addressed. Congress is considering legislation to ensure that collection stops in the aftermath of the pandemic, and that the data is sunset at this time. But it’s tough to say whether that can be enforced, and whether that will actually happen.
Contact Tracing and Privacy – An Increased Potential for Data Theft
Any time you have mass collection and centralized storage of personal data by the government, you run an increased risk of data breaches occurring. The apps also open individuals up to the threat of phishing scams, ransomware, and other cyberattacks.
The issues and potential threats involved will need to be addressed in order for this technology to live up to its full potential.
The technology exists for phone apps to have a tremendous positive impact in the fight against Covid-19. They can alert people early on to the threat of the virus, and potentially limit or stop the spread of the disease in individual cases. But in order for this to occur, the intertwined link between contact tracing and privacy will need to be addressed.
Questions need to be answered about what will be done with the data after the pandemic, who will have access, and how it will be guarded. If that data can be safely managed, this technology can be an extremely useful asset as we address the pandemic.
Data Recovery for Government
Data recovery for government may be different than it appears.
When you think of certain government agencies, you may picture vast amounts of technology that make them immune to problems such as data loss or cyberattacks. You may picture movies and television shows that depict amazing futuristic technologies, capable of amazing feats, and remaining impenetrable to people looking to do harm.
The movies and television that portray government this way don’t really offer a realistic depiction of reality. The truth is that hackers are advanced, and equipment fails, leaving those with some highly essential tasks still vulnerable to some of the same computer and data loss issues.
Maybe we tend to romanticize this type of government work out of a sense of importance to what some of these agencies do. For instance, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are tasked with keeping American citizens safe.
Many other agencies perform critical functions and are responsible for vast amounts of sensitive constituent data. We often don’t want to picture what happens if anything were to happen to that data. But that reality doesn’t make them less immune.
Local, state, and even federal government agencies are susceptible to data loss and cyberattacks just like the rest of us. Actually, government data breaches can often have higher stakes than the corporate world, because the threats are often larger.
Below are a few examples of some large-scale government data breaches from recent years. Proper practices in data recovery for government may help.
Foreign Hackers Steal the Personal Information of 4 Million
Hackers who were believed to be from China stole the personal information of 4 million American residents in 2015. It was unknown if the information was only federal employees, or if it included government contractors. The data was in the hands of the Office of Personnel Management, and the FBI is investigating.
A Flaw in the US Postal Service Site Exposed the Information of 60 Million Users
For a brief period in 2018, anyone could log onto the US Postal Service website and have access to the information of 60 million users. This included email addresses, usernames, User IDs, account numbers, street addresses, phone numbers, and other sensitive data. There was enough information for someone to pose as the owner of the home and have the mail rerouted.
U.S Voter Database Exposed
A database of 191 million US voters was exposed in the largest government data breach to date, back in 2015. The database was incorrectly configured and left exposed on the open internet. There was personal information left exposed that belongs to users across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Government Entities Need to Take Precaution
The public sector remains at a significant amount of risk for data breaches and data security. Significant amounts of damage can be done when private citizens’ sensitive personal information is left exposed. It’s important that government IT and cybersecurity officials take appropriate measures to safeguard this data wherever possible. Proper data recovery for government can help.
In the event of lost or unrecoverable data, it helps to contact an expert data recovery specialist.
Work from Home During the Pandemic, and The Risk of Data Leakage
More employees are being asked to work from home during the pandemic, in order for productivity to continue. This new arrangement is predicted to be more widespread, even as we recover from the current health crisis. For many employees, it may be their first time working from home.
They may be asked to work with critical business data on personal devices, or they may be tasked with using business devices on less secure WiFi networks. It’s important for your employees to take the necessary steps to protect company data as they work from home during the pandemic, whether they’re working on your devices or their own.
Unfortunately, not even a deadly biological virus is slowing cyberattacks. Below are some steps that your employees can take to more securely manage data as they work from their own homes.
Tips to Work From Home During the Pandemic
Use Antivirus Software – Updated software and antivirus platforms can help to prevent phishing and cyberattacks. While many platforms update automatically, some require that you manually check for updates. Some may also deactivate their antivirus software in order to maintain faster processing speeds.
But as new malware, viruses, and phishing schemes are developed daily, this is a risk that’s not worth taking. The best thing that you can do is to make sure that your virus protection software is activated and updated, and that it is working to protect your sensitive data.
Keep Backing Up Data – Data backups are the most surefire way to protect your business against data loss. While there may be a minor inconvenience on time, if data goes missing for any reason, you’ll rest easy when you can regain access. This may be as simple as a USB drive, or a cloud backup. An external hard drive could also be beneficial. Google Drive, Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive are all viable options for off-site cloud backup.
When you can successfully back this data up, it can minimize downtime following data loss.
Uninterrupted Power – You can buy devices that provide emergency power in the event of an outage, protecting your data from a loss if the power shorts out. These devices are often used in large office settings, but they’re also available in smaller form for personal use. Even if you only gain a few minutes of continued use, it’s long enough to save your work.
Treat Your Technology Well – The lockdown has put a high demand on certain consumer goods, and laptops are no exception. That’s not surprising considering the spike in working from home. With this in mind, it’s important to treat your technology as well as you possibly can. It may be time to change simple bad habits such as eating or drinking in front of the computer.
You may also want to clean the computer from time or get a cooling pad to prevent your machine from overheating. When you do everything possible to make sure that your devices are taken care of, you reduce the risk of data loss.
For those new to the setup, it can be challenging to work from home during the pandemic. But if you follow some of these simple suggestions, you should be able to keep data safe.
Cybersecurity Lessons that Can Be Learned from Covid-19
We’re in the midst of watching how every nation on the globe responds to a significant health crisis in real time, and there are some cybersecurity lessons we can take from this experience. First, let’s take a quick look at what’s happening in the world right now. In certain high-population areas, hospitals have been overrun and the health crisis is playing out in a very real way. The stay-at-home orders were able to limit the spread of the virus in other locations.
As we watch the Covid-19 response play out in real time, there are some natural parallels that can be drawn with cybersecurity and keeping sensitive business information safe during a crisis. These threats have enough in common that they often share a common name: viruses. So, it stands to reason that there could be some cybersecurity lessons from all of this.
Cybersecurity Lessons to Be Found in the Covid-19 Response
Lesson 1: Understand the Correlation Between Convenience and Security
So much of American life is set up in commune with others. We love our sporting events, concerts, festivals, and other large gatherings. We love public transportation, restaurants, and retail. So many of these things are set up for easy access and convenience. They’re part of our comfortable way of life. When there is a health and safety threat, we find ourselves in the position of sacrificing convenience for added security.
It’s the same with running your business.
There is a heavy emphasis on streamlining the workflow. Efficient processes can help speed up necessary tasks and ultimately make your company more profitable. This can pit convenience and security against each other. Minor inconveniences like two-factor authentication or automatic updates can also go a long way in keeping information secure.
Lesson 2: The Importance of Testing
Testing is the method that communities, states, and nations use to understand the depth of the Covid-19 issue within their community. Without this in-depth testing, there would be no way to understand just how deeply rooted the problem is within their borders.
The same rings true with cybersecurity. If you lack the methods to discover what’s been compromised, you’ll never be able to take the proper steps to fix the problem. The adage rings true in both areas: if you don’t understand the problem, you cannot fix it.
Lesson 3: Protect Assets
Certain segments of the population (the elderly and those with another medical diagnosis) fall into the most vulnerable categories with Covid-19. Nations are coming to terms with what it means to protect these elements of the population. Protecting these segments is another of the big cybersecurity lessons from Covid-19.
Certain data sets are more vulnerable to cyberattacks as well. Sensitive customer information, your most important financial information, and other key data points must be protected. The more valuable certain data is to the health of your business, the more valuable it will be to those looking to do you harm.
Lesson 4: Stop or Control the Spread
When you know how a virus (biological or computer) is spread, you know how to control its spread as well. For example, stay-at-home measures, the use of masks, and washing your hands is reducing the spread of Covid-19.
Added security and data backups can minimize the impact of cyberattacks as well. When your cybersecurity is set up to protect your most crucial data, it becomes harder to compromise. These cybersecurity lessons from Covid-19 can help you to understand and better protect valuable data.
5 Easy Steps Small Businesses Can Take to Improve Cybersecurity During Lockdown
Major data breaches are finding their way into the news all the time. Major retailers, credit, and finance companies have had major difficulty safeguarding customer data. Some companies may have limited resources to protect themselves from cyberattacks, but during the lockdown, you may find yourself with more time.
Below are 5 easy steps businesses can take to improve cybersecurity during the lockdown.
Change Passwords for Everything – From email platforms to accounting software, to system logins, you’d be surprised how many different platforms, and therefore passwords, businesses and their employees are entering in a given day. Go through every online platform or piece of software that you may have an account with, and change the passwords. This is a step that can be repeated either every three months or six months for optimal security.
Perform Regular Software Updates – Every time a computer, security system, mobile application, or a piece of software offers an update, it should be completed. Any connection online is vulnerable to being hacked, and one of the highest vulnerabilities is in out of date software.
The very purpose of many of these updates is to reduce vulnerability. Therefore the safest thing you can do is to complete them as soon as they are available.
Use a Password Manager – A password manager can help select unique and secure passwords for every site you use and keep track of them for you. It has the added benefit of simplifying this part of the security process for your employees. Many of these programs allow you to securely share passwords with employees as needed.
Delete Unused Accounts – How many times have you or an employee signed up for an account on a platform that you no longer use? These accounts become another way for hackers to gain access to sensitive information. If you’re not actively using a social media or software account, the best thing you can do is to delete it, so that hackers won’t have another way in.
Use Two-Factor Authentication – It may seem like an unnecessary burden at the time, but the sites that ask you to enter the passcode that’s been texted to your phone are the most secure. This added step enhances the security of the site and protects the user’s personal information. It’s relatively easy to activate, it’s only a minor inconvenience, and it’s highly effective at keeping information protected.
Consider VPNs – Open networks with generic and limited security measures become easy to hack for someone with the right experience. A virtual private network (VPN) offers added security, especially if employees might be connecting through public WiFi services.
These Are Steps That Can Be Implemented to Improve Cybersecurity During the Lockdown
Not every small business has the budget to spend tens of thousands on security, and that’s understandable. But taking some simple and affordable steps to safeguard information can decrease the chances of a successful cyberattack. Here are a few additional steps that will take minimal effort on your part:
- Empower your front-line employees to be able to identify and notify you of cybersecurity threats so that proper actions can be taken.
- Update your system to require password changes either every three months, six months, or annually.
- Set your operating systems to perform automatic updates. This will prevent busy employees from putting these updates off for long periods of time.
When you take these added security steps, you can better protect the information that’s vitally important to you, your customers, and the success of your business. This will help you to improve cybersecurity during the lockdown.
The Most Common Causes of Data Loss
We rely on our data extensively. The files, applications, and contact lists that we build can be critical to day-to-day business operation. We often take this data for granted as we use it to build successful companies. The truth is that data can often be lost or stolen. Many companies aren’t doing what it takes to maintain access to this crucial data in the event of a crisis.
Data loss can occur for a variety of reasons. It can be something as serious as hacking or something as trivial as a spill over a keyboard. The outcome is often devastating to the company or individual.
How Companies Lose Data
Old files can clutter desktops and drives. Deleting what we no longer use is an often-used method for staying organized and uncluttered. The problem arrives when you accidentally delete a file that’s necessary to your organization. When you don’t back up the data, this can be a dangerous and damaging scenario.
Computer Crashes or Power Loss
If you are writing a new document or working with existing data, it’s crucial to save the document as you continue to work. If you are working in complex databases or creating new documents your work can be completely lost in the event that your computer crashes. This can cause lost work that can never be recovered.
A power loss can cause a short that renders data unrecoverable. It can lead to mechanical damage within the machine. The easiest way to protect yourself is through automatic and regular backups of your work.
Viruses, Malware, or Hacking
There are many different types of viruses and malware, and there are many people out there with malicious intent. This can impact operational software, stored data, and leave you exposed to a world of problems. Hackers can also cause damage to your digital assets, resulting in data loss.
Large corporations are responsible for extensive troves of valuable and sensitive data – making them frequent targets for malicious intent. Regular cloud backups or removable drive backups can be critical in recovering from data loss. It’s also important to install antivirus software to protect yourself.
Hard drives break down over time. They are composed of many moving parts, and those parts are often delicate. Once you have problems with a hard drive, all of the data stored on that particular drive can be put at risk. A data recovery company may be your best bet at this point to recover any critical data.
Sometimes computers break due to their age, and the typical wear and tear of any product. Sometimes there are manufacturing defects. A computer’s memory can often be affected when a computer is accidentally dropped.
Regular backups protect against hardware defects.
Recover Data by All Means Necessary
As you may have noticed, backing up your data is a critical step in preventing data loss. Once important data is lost, contacting a data recovery company is your best bet in recovering that data. There are free versions of recovery software, but those programs may actually decrease the chances that you recover what was lost. If you’re looking to recover lost data, call us today at (866) 400-DATA.
Data Recovery for Smart Phones
We’re all carrying around computers in our pocket. The information that can be stored by our smartphones, tablets, and other devices is quite remarkable. Think of the music, pictures, and documents that you can quickly access. But with that technological convenience comes another reality to consider.
Smartphones are prone to crash. Their data can corrupt. We also tend to be rough on them through everyday usage. We drop them on the ground, in water, or crack their screens, and break them in new and innovative ways. It’s easy to lose the data that we’ve taken for granted in our pocket.
A lot of people rely heavily on their smart phones, and a broken device may mean inaccessible business data. Photos, apps, and contacts can be inaccessible, creating a whole host of new problems. No one wants to start over with their data. With a little bit of understanding on the device and the issue, they may not have to.
The Location of Data May Vary
Where your smartphone stores data may vary by make and model. Apple’s iPhones store their data with internal memory. The various models use different sizes of NAND flash memory. You can also set your phone up to store information to iCloud or iTunes, Apple’s cloud-based solutions.
Android’s have a similar setup. They have internal memory, often NAND flash. Some devices also contain an SD card. If you’ve lost data it may be stored on this card. The SIM card itself may also have a copy of the data, but this may depend on the amount of memory previously available on the card. Most new Android phones also offer cloud options for data backup as well. Whether you’re operating with an Apple or Android phone, it’s recommended that you use the cloud option to back up critical data to avoid this loss.
How Smartphone Data is Lost
Physical damage caused by the user can result in a mechanical failure. This includes things like drops, water damage, or anything else that can disrupt the mechanical operation of the phone. With hard enough contact, the flash memory chip on the internal circuit board can break, and be rendered useless. Regular wear and tear of an aging phone can also be a cause for mechanical failure. Either way, it can result in missing file structures or links, or if there are faulty memory applications.
The good news is that many times with mechanical failures, the files are simply not able to be displayed. They are often, however still on the memory, and ultimately recoverable.
Recovering Lost Data on a Smartphone
Data recovery software for smartphones can be a risky endeavor. It doesn’t have a high success rate, and it can lead to larger problems, as noted in our recent post, The Hard Truth About Data Recovery Software. If you are looking for your best chance to recover lost data, you may want to hire a data recovery specialist.
Data recovery companies such as We Recover Data can use their extensive tools and resources to help you recover your lost data before it is too late. If you’re looking to recover smart phone data, call us today at (866) 400-DATA.
The Hard Truth About Data Recovery Software
When data is lost, it’s normal to want to take whatever measures are at your disposal to get it back. The problem is that using free data recovery software can complicate your problems and make it harder to accomplish your objectives.
It’s normal for people to want to handle major projects themselves. With the assistance of YouTube, Google, and other online knowledge repositories, the DIY mentality can thrive. It is often possible for people and organizations to save money this way. But with a project as critical as data recovery, you can also make things significantly worse.
There is Little Protection with Software
Downloading a free or cheap piece of software may give you peace of mind. It may help you to feel like you’ve done what you could about a situation. The reality is that you’re still exposed to a host of problems starting with that missing data.
The simple act of downloading software onto your system increases the chances of overwriting, corrupting, or destroying any missing data that you were looking to recover. In fact, some of these software packages include a message in their fine print that suggests you should only use it if there is another copy of the data available to you. In most cases, you’re likely using the software because there is no other version of it available.
Downloading Software Could Be the Very Thing That Leaves the Data Unrecoverable
Your missing data may be exactly where you left it. Data is typically only erased from the drive’s table of contents, meaning it’s actually right where you left it, but there is no visible path for access. At the point that it’s missing, it’s often not yet overwritten.
When you install software, or add additional data to your hard drive, that is when existing data could be overwritten.
You Can Worsen the Condition of a Failing Drive
Adding and running utilities on a failing drive can make it fail faster. The more a drive spins and tries to read bad sectors, the worse the condition will be. Software won’t be able to read data off a drive that has physical failures – that is a mechanical issue. Drives need to be imaged before a recovery is attempted. That way recovery efforts don’t damage existing data.
Software Can’t Diagnose Your Problem
If something is truly wrong with your drive, software won’t be able to tell you. A corrupt drive, or any type of physical failure will be undetectable. A cheap utility software can’t read what is actually going on.
If You’re Panicked About Losing Data, It’s Worth Making an Important Investment
The truth is that no data recovery company would work directly on the original media. If they can’t make a copy and work from that copy, the likelihood of recovery would likely shrink. They understand that running software degrades the drive while reducing your ability to recover.
If you value your data, there is a better, more likely way to recover it. You can contact a data recovery company such as We Recover Data to recover files from your drive. Call us today at (866) 400-DATA.
5 Tips to Avoid Catastrophic Data Loss
There’s a feeling of devastation in the moments after you realize you’ve suffered a significant data loss. When you lose valuable information that your business depends on, it can cripple your ability to function. In extreme cases, it can force a company out of business.
Thankfully, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of data loss crippling your organization. With some simple steps, you can avoid data loss altogether, or at the minimum, reduce its impact.
Always Back Up Your Data
Backing up your data on a consistent, regular basis is key to avoiding a catastrophic data loss. This is the act of keeping a copy of your original data on a separate disk media. USB drives, removable hard drives, and cloud storage all offer companies a means to back their data up. If the data is critical to your organization, off-site backups may be the way to go.
Backing up data is an act that may require some discipline. You might have to stop working for long enough to make these backups. But it is an act you won’t regret in a worst-case-scenario.
Complete Your Software Updates
The purpose of software updates is often to protect your system from specific vulnerabilities. Many of these perspective vulnerabilities can be damaging to your data. This is why it’s important to keep up with updates as you are notified. You can also run system checks to determine what software has available updates.
Anti-Virus Software is Critical
It’s important to be proactive in protecting your computer from malicious viruses, malware, trojans, and other problems. When viruses operate in the background they can change or delete much-needed data, causing any number of significant problems. A strong anti-virus program with firewalls can help prevent the spread of viruses through the internet. They offer added levels of security and decrease your vulnerability.
Run Disk Defragmentation Programs
As more programs are used, it can cause an internal mess on the back end of your computer’s hard drive. Disk defragmentation cleans up temporary and unused files. It creates a clean working environment that is less stressful to your machine. This ensures data is organized in a more contiguous manner, that is easier to access in the event of a recovery. It’s recommended to run this every few months.
Practice Good Usage Habits
Protect your network from unknown users. It’s the best way to prevent someone with malicious intent from getting in. When you receive emails with attachments from unknown users, it’s best to ignore them. Make sure that your firewalls are set to higher standards.
Past that, it’s important to continuously save your documents as you make changes to them. This prevents data loss if an application unexpectedly quits.
Prevent a Worst-Case Scenario
As technologies progress, so do the many ways that companies can lose their data. The truth is that many of the crises’ that data recovery companies respond to are preventable. Implementing some of the above tips can help you to safeguard data.
The Growing Need for Data Recovery
Ever since businesses and organizations made the transition to storing important data on computers, that data has had the potential to be lost. Important information is vulnerable to being deleted, stolen, or corrupted. Technology has historically acted in unpredictable and nerve-racking ways.
What has changed is the means that we have to deal with these issues. At the beginning of the computer age, any institution that lost data in this way was likely on its own. They either were forced to move on without the data (no matter how critical), or consult someone with the expertise who might have already been on staff. But that has changed with the advancement of the technology companies use.
Complex Data Systems Lead to Complex Data Problems
The information technology industry has changed the way that organizations operate, and put an increasing significance on the data they cultivate. As data storage technologies advance, it has become increasingly difficult for companies to have a person on staff who knows how to recover data in the event of a crisis. Data recovery specialists began to pop up, as a way to help these organizations recover that lost, stolen, or damaged data.
The first data recovery specialists fielded panicked phone calls from companies in all types of data emergencies. These specialists used proprietary software and tools to help their clients recover their much-needed data.
A Constantly Evolving Industry
Entire companies have sprouted up that focus on providing data recovery services based around constantly emerging technologies. This industry is still a tight-knit industry. There are only a small handful of companies that have the technologies available to meet the demands of the world’s largest companies.
Data recovery companies develop tools and enhanced capabilities based on the potential crises’ that companies can face. Despite this effort, it’s not even always possible to anticipate every type of problem that can occur with every type of equipment before these events actually unfold.
Full capabilities in the data recovery industry require a dedication to both software and hardware recovery methods. It requires an intimate understanding of the latest data storage innovations. These products make it easier for companies to store and access their data, but they often add a layer of complexity to the data recovery process.
A Business Built on Trust
Even though the businesses and organizations that require data recovery help are caught in a desperate jam, they must trust the company that they enlist to help them recover their most important data. They’ll want to know that they are dealing with an organization that has likely seen and solved a similar problem before. They’ll want someone capable of providing exemplary customer service and being sympathetic to the situation at hand.
The data recovery industry requires companies to be on the forefront of innovation, while being able to build client-centered relationships. This is a tough combination for businesses in any industry to accomplish. But at We Recover Data, we believe that the future belongs to the companies who can master both facets of this industry.
If you have any questions, or would like to discuss your next project, contact us today!
Modern Technology and Data Recovery
Technology over the last decade has brought several forms of data storage. With new methods for data storage available to the public, the data recovery industry is expanding and met with new challenges.
Data is playing an increasingly significant role within organizations. Because of this, data loss is an overwhelming and potentially devastating experience. It’s easy to enter a state of panic over the loss of something that takes on such a central role.
Below are some of the new data storage technologies available to the public, and the complexities they present in the recovery process.
Recovering an Encrypted Machine
Encryption can work directly on hardware devices. It can be a way to secure your data more effectively and protect your safety and security. The algorithms used to secure this data are also increasingly advanced. The challenge is that data recovery requires decryption, which becomes increasingly complex as this technology advances.
Solid State Drive Recovery
The mechanical hard disk drives that we’ve grown accustomed to, contain several moving parts. This isn’t the case with solid state disk drives. Solid state drives work on innovative electronics and advanced algorithms. While there are many advantages to running a system like this, data recovery can become increasingly challenging and time consuming. Data recovery specialists will need to research the algorithms the drive uses in order to restore the lost data.
Cloud Storage Recovery
Many users love their cloud storage device. It opened up a new world of convenience. However, the data is actually controlled by the service vendor in these cases. Many cloud storage vendors don’t want to share their technology specifications, making recovery more difficult.
RAID Data Recovery
New technology such as redundant array of independent disks (RAID) allows users to use more hard drives in the data storage process. This can be a convenient way for businesses and organizations to store increasingly large amounts of data. But it can also present a new set of data recovery issues. Because these hard drives are connected together, data loss in one drive can impact other drives.
Virtualization System Recovery
Virtual reality and other virtualization systems also bring a tremendous amount of innovation to a business. These systems also make data recovery more challenging. When data is lost on virtual disks or virtual machines, it is more complicated to recover than a standard PC. In a virtual environment, one machine may be running several virtual machines. If the hardware on the main machine malfunctions, each virtual machine may be corrupted as well. This scenario can lead to unrecoverable data loss.
Mobile Device Data Recovery
Our smart phones and other mobile devices are capable of amazing things. We can read and write data directly onto these devices through the camera, word processing, and other applications. As they are capable of storing increasing types and amounts of data, recovery becomes more challenging. Corruption is increasingly common on these devices. Data recovery on different types of devices requires different methods.
Hiring a Data Recovery Specialist
The types of data loss mentioned above are becoming increasingly difficult to recover on your own. The good news is a professional data recovery specialist has the technology and expertise to move past some of the challenges presented from these new and innovative technology. If you are looking to recover some crucial data, hire a trusted data recovery specialist to make sure the job is done right.
5 Innovations that Are Changing the World
Technology is changing the way that the world operates at an increasingly faster rate. As we incorporate these new technologies into the world, data storage and recovery will play an increasingly significant role in maintenance and upkeep.
Below are five of the innovations that are quickly driving that change. Many of these technologies are in their early days, and will continue to be applied to solve new and emerging problems.
Crispr offers us the possibility of eliminating any genetic disease. It’s a pretty straightforward technology that’s still in its early stages. It works by finding and removing mutated sections of DNA. The technology can then replace what it removed with non-mutated variants.
With Crispr, you can eliminate previously rampant diseases from entire bloodlines. It can be used to eliminate cancer, or mutations like blindness. We’re still at the beginning stages of understanding the capabilities Crispr offers, but the potential is there to help humans live healthier, longer, more fulfilling lives.
Cryptocurrency burst onto the scene in 2009 as a creative use of blockchain technology, but it’s far from the only way this technology can be applied. Blockchain essentially offers a secure public ledger, allowing digital information to be distributed without being copied. It’s the very definition of a democratized system.
It’s a safer way to complete transactions and the business and tech worlds are taking notice. Financial technology, journalism, e-commerce, healthcare, cybersecurity, and logistics companies are finding new and innovative ways to incorporate this technology into their product offerings.
While today’s computers are extremely powerful, quantum computing has the potential to push our capabilities significantly further. Computers run off bits of code that come across in a series of zeros and ones, that communicate necessary information. Quantum computing occurs with quantum bits that process faster than what we’re presently used to. This can be a terrific aid in machine learning and AI and result in key data being analyzed even faster. This can help become the engine that drives AI in several different industries.
Companies like Microsoft and Google are investing billions of dollars into the next generation of computing technology, that can make highly accurate predictive models at a fast speed. As this technology progresses, data will play an increasingly heightened role, and proper data storage and recovery considerations become crucial.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning thrive on data. It’s essentially the ability to read vast amounts of data quickly and perform desired actions based on analysis and interpretation. This technology will continue to spread across and transform multiple industries.
Large retailers use AI to sort and ship product. Social media companies use AI to moderate comments across a large platform. Banks and credit card companies use it to moderate fraud. Car manufacturers are using it in more and more features as we progress toward driverless vehicles. AI is all around us, and it is changing the way that the world operates.
As technology like driverless vehicles or IoT appliances break down, the mechanic will only be one aspect of fixing it. Data recovery specialists will also be involved.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
Virtual reality is being used as a way to train the workforce. Headsets allow for seemingly real workplace scenarios to occur. It can also be used in pain management, by distracting a patient who may be suffering. It opens up a world of possibilities anywhere where people could benefit from experiencing realistic scenarios.
The healthcare field is already benefited from augmented reality for things like training and performing complex surgeries. There is a lot of potential in this technology being used to increase capabilities. Augmented reality has the potential to become a powerful driver within the tech industry. AR could enhance applications in almost any industry.
Ethics and AI
There are a few leading technology companies with ample resources who are the forefront of developing tomorrow’s most innovative AI. These companies are moving faster than the government can regulate the industry. There are very few laws or regulations on the books to address AI, so that the public has assurance that what they are using is safe.
According to a recent survey from the company SnapLogic, 94 percent of IT decision makers across the US and UK believe that more attention needs to be paid to corporate responsibility and ethics in AI. With advancements being made in autonomous vehicles, healthcare and medicine, environmental technology, and more, it’s critical that AI companies keep the safety of the public in mind. Below are a few steps they can take to create a safer, more ethical AI environment.
Comply with Regulations That Are on the Books
It may be common sense, but the need to comply can go by the wayside in technological competitiveness.
In the US healthcare industry, AI would be governed by Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), or possibly other federal and state laws. If companies have any European customers or employees, they would be governed by General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
It’s critical that companies producing AI follow the regulations that are on the books.
Take Control of Data
Data is the gasoline that fuels AI. It’s critical to make sure that the body of data collected is representative of the body of people who will be using the model. This means that data scientists need to continue to use best practices to serve potential customers.
As technology advances, guarding data is an imperative step in protecting the integrity of your technology. When data is compromised, either through hackers or an inadvertent loss of personal data, the public trust is undermined. It’s critical to have secure firewalls in place, and reliable data backups. It’s also critical to have a data recovery plan in place, in the event that operational data is lost. This may mean understanding when a data recovery company may be your best bet to be able to recover from data loss.
Define and Live by Our Values
As more industries become increasingly automated and autonomous, there needs to be a higher standard than statistical accuracy. AI will be empowered to make an increasing number of decisions that may come into conflict with our ethics and values. For example, machines may be making decisions on a defendant’s innocence or guilt. They may decide who will be impacted most in a car accident. They may be making important medical decisions for us in healthcare.
It’s critical that AI know when to default to human ethics over a purely statistical decision. This requires societies to define and live by their values. The decisions made will ensure that our AI is a tool that works on our behalf, and not the other way around.
AI Is Here to Stay
AI will play an increasingly large role in a number of existing and emerging industries. It will be automating roles that currently require human intervention. As that happens, it’s critical to keep humans’ best interest in mind. By following the steps above, we can create AI systems that are ethical and safe.
Technology’s Positive Impact on Climate Change
Data and technology are everywhere. As we collect more information and more data sets, some of the technology that we create is having a significantly positive impact on the environment and climate change.
Below are some of the technologies that are allowing humans to make a positive dent on this issue. As we discover new opportunities to implement technology, there are more opportunities at our fingertips for change. In the midst of this heavy reliance on information, data recovery can play an important role in this key issue.
Technology Is Positively Impacting Climate Change
Data Storage That’s Out of This World
Data centers scattered across the US make up about 2 percent of our national electricity consumption. That’s an amount that significantly contributes to rising carbon emissions. These data centers spew 100 million metric tons of carbon pollution annually, which is more than the greenhouse gas emissions of 140 countries.
To thwart this problem, there are companies looking to store data on satellites that orbit the earth. These satellites could simplify large-scale international operations, and offer an added layer of security, with data stored on a satellite. When these satellites break down, they’ll not only need highly trained mechanics to fix the issues, but data recovery specialists who can help properly restore the integrity of the equipment.
Urban greenhouse gas emissions are significant. Businesses, homes, schools, and hospitals all give off a significant amount of emissions. In fact, these sources are responsible for almost 20 percent of the greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.
A company called Sidewalk Labs, owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is addressing this issue, by examining ways that digital technologies can help with these problems. They’re reexamining things like traffic patterns to eliminate places of common congestion. Other major tech companies around the world have also committed significant investments in how to reduce emissions in urban areas as well.
More Efficient Transportation
Oil alternatives are already on the market, including electric, solar, and ethanol. But part of the hang up with this type of technology is that it’s just not as efficient and widespread as traditional gasoline. For instance, if you need to charge your electric vehicle, it can take hours, instead of the moments spent at the gas station.
A prototype charger for BMW and Porsche vehicles is capable of adding 62 miles of range to your vehicle in three minutes. It may be a while before this type of charger is commonplace, but when it is, electric vehicle ownership will become more convenient.
Food and Agriculture
As the world’s population continues to increase, finding enough sources of meat will become an increasingly difficult challenge. This is especially true because cows are a significant source of methane gas, and agriculture accounts for 18 percent of the total release of greenhouse gases worldwide.
There are companies and investors looking heavily into the possibility of lab-grown meat, and plant-based alternatives. The company Beyond produces a plant-based alternative that is growing in popularity. As the world becomes more and more crowded, technology is finding more efficient ways to feed the increasing population.
Technology as Part of the Solution
As the problem of climate change continues to present itself in different ways, technology and data collection provide new answers. There are companies working hard to solve tomorrow’s most pressing issues. As this data-driven technology advances, there will be new and exciting opportunities for data recovery as well.
Taking Advantage of a Digital Native Workforce
There is a generation of employees becoming involved in the workplace who grew up with technology playing a significant role in their personal life, and in their education. They are not only comfortable with that technology but expect it to be part of the workplace environment. If your company is holding on to more traditional views of technology, it may be time to make some updates and take advantage of what a younger generation of workers can offer.
Below are some of the steps your company can take to take advantage of a strong digital native workforce.
Encourage Good Ideas from Everywhere
Social media networks implicitly encourage conversation and the spread of ideas from the bottom up. They offer a distinct opposite to a more traditional, hierarchical approach. The youngest generation of workers grew up with social media present through every aspect of their lives.
Social media networks provide the groundwork to encourage and foster new ideas. These ideas can be of great benefit to your business. If your company still operates on a more hierarchical approach, it may be time to shift and find ways to encourage new ideas. Involving social media in the workplace can make your youngest employees feel more welcome.
View Change from a Results-Oriented Perspective
To an employee with a more traditional mindset, seeing a colleague constantly on their cell phone during work hours may be problematic. Receiving texts outside the normal work hours may feel off-putting. But this is where it’s necessary to consider overall results. The employee on their cell phone may be handling customer service issues as they arise. What looks like succumbing to distraction may actually be enhanced productivity.
The Cloud and Mobility
Cloud computing is nothing new for young employees. They’ve been using the cloud to store music and photos for a long time, and they are growing to expect that capability from an employer.
A transition to the cloud and mobile apps allows workers to do their job from anywhere. This can allow for more flexibility, and the ability to find effective methods for communicating. It also changes what we think of as the workplace and can provide the infrastructure for a work from home arrangement.
This is an increasingly important arrangement for younger workers and can offer an incentive for workers to remain loyal into the future.
Establishing the Right Tools
Companies need to implement the right set of tools to allow workers this extended connectivity and flexibility. There are a host of SaaS platforms available looking at all aspects of today’s workplace needs.
Applications like Slack, Trello, or Basecamp are establishing their own means of connectivity. They offer a way to fight back against inner-office silos and make information more readily accessible on all fronts.
Attracting the Best Talent
The key to long-term success for any company is the ability to attract the best talent of tomorrow. The way to do that is through making the workplace appealing to a younger generation of digital native employees. Are you doing everything you can to make your culture and environment as inviting as possible?
Revenue Generation and the IT Department
Traditionally, the IT department has not been viewed as a revenue center. The projects that they work on consume part of the budget, but the department has not traditionally been expected to generate money for the company. As the sales and marketing processes increasingly rely on technology, that reality is starting to shift.
More businesses are expecting their IT department to add to the company’s bottom line, which is shifting the focus of the role for many chief information officers. Let’s look at some of the increasingly common ways that IT departments are starting to produce revenue for their companies.
Revenue-Producing IT Projects
IT departments across the U.S. and globally are becoming larger. When they bring on new people, they tend to benefit from more creative ideas. These IT departments are taking on an increasing amount of projects in addition to internal business infrastructure. It also becomes easier for decision makers to approve this expansion when the IT department becomes a source of revenue.
Below are some of the types of projects that have transitioned IT departments into the profit game.
Chat-Bots – Artificial intelligence chat bots can enhance customer service and have the potential to close more sales. These tools have the power to make the customer experience more seamless every day. IT departments are a crucial part of implementation and support.
eCommerce Websites – The IT department has the ability to capitalize on the technology necessary to capture more leads. They can put a stronger infrastructure in place for a higher level of sales.
Mobile Apps – Mobile apps can deepen a customer’s relationship with a company. The customer is making the commitment to reserve sacred home screen smart phone space. Every interaction holds the potential for revenue generation.
Data Collection Tools – The IT department can take up the task of data collection in order to streamline services. They can develop the necessary reports that will impact the decision-making process.
Monitor Internal and External Technology Use
In the process of developing revenue-producing IT projects, it’s important to monitor and understand how technology is being used both internally by employees, and externally, by customers. Technology helps to create a more efficient work environment. It can help younger employees feel involved in company culture, and a part of the decision-making process.
It can also help you to engage with customers more frequently, and meaningfully. Technology such as mobile apps can be used to strengthen customer relationships and increase interactions. The bottom line is that the right technology can strengthen your company’s image on more than one front.
Has Your Company Made the Transition?
It may be time to reconsider how your IT department is viewed within the company. With these strategies in mind, IT can become part of the revenue generation cycle, or to provide a foundation of revenue support for other departments.
IT departments can grow and prosper as they learn how to add more value for the company and its customers. When these departments are viewed as revenue generation centers, they can more justifiably expand, and draw higher salaries for their contribution.
When Your Company Needs a Digital Transformation
Digital transformation as we’re referring to it, is simply the integration of technology into all aspects of a business. It’s a term that can be overgeneralized, but some specific actions can have a fundamental impact on your company culture and transform how you operate. Digital transformation impacts a business’s culture, the operational process, and the customer experience.
Your business may still find itself in a situation where you’re looking to rethink outdated operating models, or to become more agile in the way you address the customer experience. You may be looking to better match the productivity of competitors, or generally looking to experiment with technology more.
This is when a strategic digital transformation can be highly beneficial.
Guidelines for a Successful Digital Transformation
Whatever your purpose, a successful digital transformation requires a process and a plan. Below are some guidelines for getting started:
- Communicate the Vision – Employees may become anxious when change is in the air. Be as specific as you can regarding the changes, and make sure to communicate expectations. Reinforcing your company’s mission and how this new technology can help will work wonders when it comes to putting everyone at ease.
- Foster Learning – Make sure that your employees feel comfortable learning the new technology. Make it easy for them to understand how it works, and how it helps productivity. Employees may be more receptive when they understand how it fits in with the larger picture.
- Listen – Make sure that you listen to your employees, find out what they are working on, and any opinions they may have regarding the new technology. They may have some valuable input on how to implement upcoming changes.
- Take Your Time – You can test technology changes on small jobs, before going all in. See what a new process does to company culture. See how it improves productivity. Make sure that you’re not needlessly overcomplicating your employee’s lives.
The Benefits of Digital Transformation Speak for Themselves
When digital transformations are successfully implemented, the benefits are astounding. Below are just a few:
- Increased Profits – When you find creative ways to use data and implement new technology, it can have a tremendous positive impact on the bottom line.
- Engaged Employees – When employees have more direct ways to communicate, and they are provided with current business data, they are more inclined to participate.
- Set the Industry Pace – Many businesses are obsessed with keeping up. When you are on the edge of digital technology, you can set the pace instead of worrying about what the other guy is doing.
- Improve Customer Experience – Improved access to data and the most efficient digital technology can improve the customer experience.
The Time to Start Is Now
Whether your company is highly successful or struggling to keep up with the competition, the time to undergo your digital transformation is now. A successful digital transformation will allow you to remain productive, and utilize technology for optimum results. It can help you make better use of the resources that you have now.
These are things that should appeal to any business no matter what stage you are in. It pays to be making the most of your technology.
Signs Your Hard Disk Is Failing
Data loss comes in a variety of different packages. Sometimes it occurs out of the blue, and there were no signs of impending doom that could have been headed. Other times, temperamental equipment may be trying to tell you something in advance. What appears as a narrow escape could really be a sign of worse events to come.
Below are some of the common signs of hard drive failure that should not be ignored. Sometimes they can be confused with the effects of malware, but whatever the case, it’s time to address the issue.
A Clicking Sound
Sometimes there is an audible clicking sound made by the head of the hard drive. This can be caused by an inconsistent power supply to the drive, or physical damage.
Access Denied Prompts
If the computer gives you pop ups denying access to various partitions on the drive, it may be a sign that the drive is failing. This can be a sign of loose connections in the drive, or corrupted storage. Either way, the hard drive may be failing at this point.
The hard drive may simply crash more frequently on an older computer. But those increased crashes can also be a sign that the hard drive is about to fail. When you get to this point, the disk may completely stop working altogether at any point.
Sector Not Found Prompts
When your computer is warning you that sectors of the hard drive are unavailable or not able to be found, it’s time to have it repaired.
It’s Time to Bring Your Computer to a Professional
Computers are similar to any other major appliances, or to your health. If you are consistently experiencing concerning symptoms, it may be signs of a larger problem. When you ignore these symptoms long enough, something worse, such as a hard drive failure resulting in data loss, can occur.
There are other common issues that can happen with your hard drive that are less serious and aren’t necessarily a threat to the data that you’ve accumulated. If you are tech savvy and understand how to perform basic hard drive maintenance, you may be able to take care of some of these issues internally before involving a computer repair expert or a data recovery specialist.
Reformatting the Drive
If an external hard drive’s format isn’t compatible with the computer, you may need to reformat the drive. It’s helpful to back up any information being stored on the disk somewhere else, and then follow the prompts under the “My Computer” icon to reformat.
A hard drive may malfunction because of the drivers. Resetting the drivers can help. On a PC, you can go to the device manager, and right click on the device to find the “update drives” option.
The Disk is Full
If you’ve accumulated a lot of data over the years, this is a real possibility. Your system may run slow at this point, and it can cause the drive to malfunction. All that needs to be done to fix this problem is to delete old, unnecessary content. Keep in mind that photos, videos, music, and large graphics will take up the most file space.
When a disk is routinely partitioned, it becomes fragmented. PCs have an option under the system tools to defragment the drive to restore some usable space to the computer.
Don’t Ignore Computer Problems
When you ignore routine computer problems, it’s a sign that something more serious is wrong. If you’ve tried any of the above fixes and they didn’t work, it may be time to bring your computer in to have the hard drive repaired.
Common Customer Mistakes in Data Recovery
When a disaster jeopardizes the security of your company’s information, it takes a well-written and routinely tested data recovery plan to keep your organization running. It’s important to keep backing up your data, but those backups need to be used to quickly restore your operating environment. Downtime will have a significant cost to your organization. The more that you can do to minimize downtime, the better.
It helps to make sure that your data recovery plan is tested, so that everyone knows their role in the event of a data loss. Below are some of the common mistakes we see as organizations attempt to restore their data.
Keeping It an IT Matter
The employees who use the missing data the most are the ones who will be most impacted by a data loss. They’re also helpful allies as you work to recover lost information. They can give you input on the most crucial data within your organization, and in testing your recovery plan. They can help you rank the most crucial information in day-to-day usage.
Creating a Data Recovery Plan and Not Testing It
Data loss creates organizational stress. When you develop a strategy for dealing with fires or tornados, you would test that too, to make sure that employees knew what to do. The same is true for a data recovery plan. Make sure that those who rely on the data understand what to do when it’s not readily accessible. Make sure that everyone across the organization understands their role in the recovery process.
Not Taking Advantage of Available Technology
Manual on site backups serve their purpose but may not be enough to get you through a data loss. They also rely on employees to set aside the time to back their information up, instead of an automated process. Cloud technology with automated backups offer a safe way for organizations to store data off site. There are flexibility and cost measures to this approach that make it an advantageous data backup method.
A Failure to Revisit Your Plan
Your organization is a fluid enterprise. The employees who handle your data change. The technology around you changes as well. For these reasons, it helps to review your data recovery plan on a regular basis to make sure it accurately reflects your organizational interests.
Not Enough Contingency Planning
What happens if your on-site backups were impacted by the same disaster that impacted your top level of data? It’s crucial to remember that Plan B can be impacted in the same way that Plan A was. As you develop a data recovery plan, make sure that you think through multiple scenarios. Now, it’s true that you can’t plan for everything, but a thorough approach to planning will help keep you more secure in the long run.
Your Organization Can Avoid These Mistakes
Like anything else, it helps to know where the data recovery pitfalls are. Understanding what not to do is important. After you have a data recovery plan in place, test it and include the appropriate employees for the process. By being thorough now, you’re in a better position to withstand whatever the future may hold.
Data Recovery for Healthcare and Hospitals
Human error, technology failures, and weather can all throw a kink into an established routine.
This makes data recovery for healthcare a necessity. It’s an industry where lives literally depend on the availability of plentiful information. Data recovery plans help employees to understand what to do when that critical data isn’t immediately accessible, and how to regain access.
Problems can arise without warning, and when they do, it’s good to have a data recovery plan in place.
Eliminate Unnecessary Risk in Your Healthcare Organization
When there is technological downtime in a healthcare facility or a hospital, lives literally hang in the balance. Organizations lose money. Depending on the particular risk facing your organization, HIPAA compliance and patient records may also be placed at risk.
Putting a detailed data recovery plan in place can help you to eliminate much of this unnecessary risk. Organizations may not always want to factor this type of planning into their annual budget. But if you’ve ever faced data loss or a similar technology crisis, you understand the jeopardy this can place your organization in.
When There’s No Data Recovery Plan in Place
Healthcare service can slow down considerably when your front-line medical staff doesn’t have access to patients’ medical histories. It’s hard to maintain a high level of service when staff and patients both become frustrated with the process. Data recovery plans can help you to have a plan in place when the electronics and technology we depend on are rendered inaccessible for unanticipated reasons.
When real-time care information is placed in jeopardy, and employees are working without access to patient records, the quality of care is also at risk. For example, think about a patient who needs a new medication. This would mean that doctors and nurses would not have access to their other medications to monitor interactions, or a proper dosing schedule. This is all crucial information in the context of care.
The Importance of a Data Recovery Plan
A proper data recovery plan is an insurance investment in your organization’s future. Not only will it help protect your patients, it will help you maintain HIPAA compliance, and can help you keep your reputation safe as you deal with sensitive information on a moment-to-moment basis. (Consider what happens if sensitive patient information is left exposed.)
Regular testing of the plan, on at least an annual basis (if not more frequently), can help ensure that your organization can survive a data crisis.
If your organization is missing important data, it’s important to understand that there are recovery options. While recovery software imposes additional risks, an experienced data recovery company may still be able to help you extract missing data off the software in question. If you have any questions, or would like to discuss your organization’s situation, contact us today!
6 Common Data Recovery Myths Busted
For most people, we sit down at the computer, we power it up. We click on our file and take for granted that it will open, showing us the data that we need to complete whatever tasks need completion at the time. Eventually, the process may not work the way that you expected it to. A file may be lost, damaged, or corrupted. When that occurs it’s important to understand how the data recovery process works.
Below are six popular data recovery myths that we hear about quite a bit.
Data recovery software can be used to reliably recover just about anything.
This myth can be particularly dangerous when it comes to recovering valuable business data. This software can and often does cause permanent damage to the hard drive that prevents a complete recovery. It also may not be able to recover the data in question.
Reformatting a drive permanently deletes all data.
When you reformat a hard drive, it typically removes the file from the table of contents, leaving it in the same space. In many cases, when data is lost due to reformatting, it can be recovered by data recovery specialists.
When data is deleted, it can never be recovered.
This myth is complicated. It can vary from system to system. But the way that most hard drives work is that when a file is deleted, the space that file occupies is marked as available for new data. It isn’t truly deleted until the hard drive writes over it as it downloads new data.
If you can get the hard drive to a data recovery specialist before it writes over the lost file, you may still be able to recover what was lost.
Data recovery fixes the hard drive in question.
Data recovery specialists are able to restore a hard drive to the point where data is recoverable. But it’s rarely in a dependable state after that. The data that we recover is often copied to another device of their choice when it is returned.
Professional data recovery can be cost prohibitive.
Like any other service, you are paying for professionals’ time. Other factors including the circumstances around your data loss, how much data needs to be recovered, and the expertise of the recovery company can factor into the cost.
You must determine what the lost data is worth to your company as well. It may be more costly if you are forced to replace this information.
Any lost data is recoverable.
It’s not uncommon for data recovery companies that want your business to make extreme claims about their service. But the fact remains that the circumstances around your data loss will determine whether your data is recovery. For example, with physical damage to the hard drive, or the use of data recovery software, the chances that data is recoverable decrease dramatically.
Do Your Research Before Hiring a Data Recovery Specialist
Your data is critical to your ability to run your company. Before you trust the task of recovering it to anyone, you owe it to yourself to do your research. Make sure that the company is honest, and that they are not making promises that can’t be kept. It’s crucial that you can trust the company that is working to restore your valuable data.
How AI Can Aid with Data Recovery
How AI Can Aid with Data Recovery
Managing your company’s data backup process is more important now than ever. With more monetary value placed on data and information, hackers are more motivated than ever to attack and exploit it for their own gain. They may be using technology and developing new ways to damage your infrastructure and access your information.
Artificial intelligence can assist in backing up and securing your data in new ways. It can be a valuable asset when it comes to recovering or maintaining control of that data.
Automated Data Backups
New technologies are emerging on a regular basis that automate data backups. These programs can be trained to operate within the requirements of the business to ensure that data is always being backed up behind the scenes. These AI programs make automated backups more powerful and efficient and allow businesses to focus on activities that are more central to their mission.
Machine Learning Improves the Process
AI can collect information on a wide variety of viruses and malware. It can eliminate time-consuming research and understand and detect abnormal occurrences. All of this leads to a system that is better able to protect the user. It is an effective tool in fighting phishing, spamming, and threat analytics.
Machine learning and AI improve at their tasks quicker than their human counterparts – an attractive benefit when it comes to cybersecurity and data recovery. It’s an effective means to protect your valuable data. AI can become a powerful defense against more sophisticated attacks.
Responding to an Incident
When disaster strikes, AI can analyze the data faster and in more depth than a team of your most reliable employees. AI can also make fast recommendations based on that data to ensure that you respond to the incident that occurred in the most effective manner possible. AI may be able to assist in the data recovery process as well, by performing tasks such as reinstalling networks.
Recovering Technological Assets
The network configurations behind cloud computing can be largely overwhelming. AI can be a tremendous asset in the event of an outage, or other form of data loss. AI systems are being trained to monitor a technology system and intervene when risks or failures are being detected.
Why AI is a Necessary Aid
As businesses continue to grow, and the need for data continues to expand, AI can play an integral role in safeguarding that data. The need for backup systems, constant system analytics and monitoring, and response aid will only continue to rise in the near future. Businesses are also being required to abide by more regulations when it comes to the safekeeping of data. As the demands continue, AI provides a more efficient way for them to keep pace.
AI can automate the attacks against us. As hackers and those looking to exploit data have more powerful tools at their fingertips, it makes sense for businesses to use these same tools to maximize their protection.
5 Common Scenarios that Lead to Data Loss
We all depend on our computer and the data that it holds to the extent where we take it for granted. We tend to assume that the information we collect, that helps us with day-to-day business activities, will always be there. But data loss is more common than we realize, and for those of us who run businesses, this can be a significant problem.
Below are five common scenarios that can lead to data loss. You can minimize their impact by creating data backups on a regular basis. If the hardware is old or the data isn’t critical to your operation, you can try to run recovery software in an attempt to access your data. But that path comes fraught with risk. If the data is valuable and the loss is significant, you’ll have more success by talking with a data recovery company.
Common Ways Data Loss Occurs
We all want a clean working environment, and that desire may carry over to our desktop screens and file storage. Sometimes we might get a little carried away and delete a file that we needed while we’re attempting to declutter and clean up.
If we don’t have a backup, and we delete the wrong file, that scenario can present a real problem. Accidental deletion is frustrating, but it does happen.
Viruses or Malware
As businesses and organizations gather larger amounts of data, hackers find new ways to attack that data every day. The more valuable it is to you, the more potential value it might have in the wrong hands.
The damages can vary greatly depending on the virus, but when hackers go after business data the threat can be serious. If there is serious monetary value attached to the data that you hold, the threat of viruses or malware needs to be taken seriously.
Smartphone Device Corruption
We’ve come to depend greatly on the computers in our pockets, but they are susceptible to risk, as well. Photos, music, and other files kept on smart phones can be lost or damaged. There may be deletions, formatting problems, or hardware crashes. Any time your phone is dropped or submerged in water, your data is at risk.
The good news is that file recovery programs can work on your phone as well. But for the highest success rates, you’ll want to contact a data recovery specialist.
Physical Damage to the Computer
If the computer fell or was hit by something, or it is otherwise physically damaged, you run the risk of data loss. If that physical damage extends to the hard drive, that can likely impact the ability to call up certain files. In other words, your data is likely damaged, too. If the computer powers up, you might be able to run some data recovery programs on it and see what happens.
Power failures carry risk on multiple levels. First, there is the risk that anything you might be working on at the moment is lost or damaged. Second, a change in voltage can damage any number of computer parts and cause lasting damage. Creating regular backups can help reduce the risk of data loss in the event of a power failure.
The Technology Industry’s PR Problem
When the internet and social media companies were in their infancy stages, trust and optimism were high. The public had positive outlooks on what the future might look like with new technology reshaping the world. Today, that same level of trust simply isn’t there.
Companies that struggle with privacy issues struggle with their image, and rightly so. The urgency to remedy any privacy issues is high for this reason. Consumers expect to be able to use services without having data sold to third parties or stolen. But this year, the word “techlash” took off, and Oxford Dictionary defined it as the strong and widespread negative reaction to the growing power and influence that large technology companies hold.
Presidential candidates are making technology an issue by calling for the breakup of some of the industry’s larger companies. Big names like Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Mark Cuban are warning people that artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human species. All of this means that Silicone Valley and the tech industry in general no longer benefit from the public’s blind trust.
Social Media Companies
Consumer trust in social media is still at a significant low, following the 2016 presidential elections. Concerns rise as a handful of these companies gain a stranglehold on massive amounts of consumer data and what might be possible with it.
Trust remains a significant issue for Facebook, Google, Amazon, Twitter and other companies that work hard to collect massive amounts of data. Google compiles data from every search. Amazon is compiling data every time you use Alexa. All of it is done behind the scenes, and the public may generally remain skeptical about how much of it actually benefits users.
The Tech Industry as a Force for Good
Tech companies need to proactively earn back the public trust now, so that they can get on with solving the problems of tomorrow. A lack of trust now could significantly impede their efforts in the long run as they face developing new technologies.
For example, more can be done to safeguard the use of data while keeping users’ best interests in mind. Tech companies can do more to place the greater good of their communities above their profit line. This may mean finding other metrics to measure success other than time on site.
Blockchain, AI, autonomous automobiles, IoT, the cloud, mobile technology and other new developments carry with them a significant amount of promise. It’s easy to see how these developments can replenish the public’s optimism. But at the same time, fears on issues such as automation or the threats of AI need to be addressed.
From an ongoing PR perspective, users need to be able to realistically trust that they won’t be leaving themselves vulnerable as they use these services. They need to be able to trust that using these new products won’t leave them exposed in the long-term.
How Technology is Changing the Workforce
It was only a few decades ago that companies handled everything in an analog fashion. If you wanted to conduct a meeting with a valued client halfway across the country, you needed to purchase plane tickets. Important documents needed to be printed, and keeping track of meetings, agendas, and to-do lists required significant effort, and good old pencil and paper.
The workplace has significantly changed over the last few years, and technology is leading the way. Communications and logistics have been simplified through software, apps, and modern tech advances. Technology has led to significant advancements in:
- Task performance
The Internet and modern technologies have allowed businesses to double-down on their goals while operating in a much more efficient manner.
Below are Some Ways Technology Has Helped in the Workplace
Email is a prime communication tool. It can provide written documentation relating to specific projects and more. Smartphones, social networking, chat apps and more have revolutionized companies’ internal communications. Video chats through apps like Skype, Google Hangouts, or Apple’s FaceTime have made it possible to be remote and visible at the same time.
This opens the door to making remote work an easier possibility, keeping employees happier at the same time. It makes long-distance client and customer relationships even easier. Technology allows for people who may not be inside the office to remain in the loop when necessary.
Technology eliminates the needs for massive stacks of paper. It eliminates the need for a mess of notebooks, daybooks, calendars, and more. Mobile apps and project management software can help keep your organization efficiently on track. It can promote responsibility, accountability, and highlight what needs to happen for timely project delivery.
This kind of software programs and apps can increase quality and efficiency – meaning that you simply just get more done.
Productivity is Key
Modern productivity software helps organizations track all aspects of execution on a daily basis. It allows companies to track progress and better understand what needs to happen internally in order to meet specific goals and deadlines.
Businesses require a higher level of security to ensure safety and efficiency and technology plays a significant role in this process. Hardware and software add enhanced data encryption so that only the right parties are able to view sensitive materials. Fingerprint and facial recognition each add additional levels of security.
Companies now require additional software and algorithms to protect sensitive data and prevent it from being lost or stolen.
Enabling Remote Work
Millennials want the freedom and flexibility that comes with remote work. Studies are showing that companies can benefit greatly from allowing their workforce this benefit – and with technology it’s easier.
You can create a powerful, interconnected virtual workforce all aligned with the organization’s goals. Cloud technology, video conferencing, and instant messaging all help companies coordinate with their workforce no matter where they are located.
Technology has changed the look and feel of the workplace from just a few short years ago. Organizations that fully leverage the freedoms and conveniences that come with enhanced technology will put themselves in a position to succeed in the future.