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Let’s face it, protecting your privacy from hackers and spies is no easy task. Smart cybercriminals would go to extremes to hurt individuals and companies financially. Cybersecurity has become a serious issue these days as criminal minds have been inventing new ways to steal sensitive information that will lead them to personal financial gains. With an increased success rate of cybercriminal activities for hackers and scammers, many people are finding hacking a lucrative career path and a steppingstone towards faster growth and success.

My Personal Take on Online Security and Protecting Your Privacy

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers The internet, which is a blessing these days, can also be a dangerous place to share your personal and business information. Privacy has more or less become a rare commodity these days, and companies can no longer claim to have 100% cybersecurity or secured systems and networks. The malicious apps and malware software, dangerous viruses, and phishing scams are growing in number, and companies have little or no clue what to do to secure their networks. If we specifically talk about data breaches and identity theft, they are becoming commonplace, creating real risks to your privacy.

What Cybercriminals Look For?

Hackers, scammers, and spies want valuable data. This includes bank details, bookkeeping records, credit card numbers, email addresses, home addresses, vendor details, stakeholders’ details, birth dates, past financial records, and more. They will exploit any opportunity at hand and make individuals and companies pay for their lack of cyber or online security. The main reason why cybercriminals can easily break into your accounts is due to outdated operating systems, networks, or browsers.

This is why protecting your privacy against cybercriminals is absolutely mandatory for every individual and company regardless of the size, scale, and location. Two of the most common reasons why cybercriminals desire to steal data is 1) blackmailing where personal data is stolen for personal interests and 2) extortion. Where an individuals or company’s data is held for ransom.

Here’re the tips for protecting your privacy from hackers and spies, which means online security needs to be duly tracked, updated, and embraced to prevent cybercriminal activities. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Minimize Your Digital Presence

Sharing too much data on social media and the internet can be dangerous for you. According to experts, it can pose potential threats to not only individuals but also for the companies. Sharing personal information and tweeting too much about your day-round activities can turn into a disaster. Recently, a story about a young girl who had been followed by some crazy pedophile tweeted about being home alone and being attacked, took the internet and social media by storm. This made headlines across the world, making people aware of the dark side of the internet. So, this fun-loving and socially interactive activity can be dangerous, which needs to be minimized and stopped right away for one’s safety and the sake of online security. To cut a long story short, just restrict your online presence and do not give any personal information to anyone before verifying their legitimacy and credentials.

Keep Your Systems and Networks Updated

Giving easy grounds to cybercriminals means letting go of your personal and business information to online criminals without showing any resistance. There is no denying the fact that outdated systems and networks are vulnerable to cyber threats. One thing is clear; they can’t prevent cybercriminals from entering your servers due to obsolete software and firewalls. So, you need to keep online security in-check and keep all system software updated, encrypt your wireless network, and have firewall software that will oppose spyware and phishing attacks. Most importantly, malicious viruses attacking your servers. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Implement Strict Password Policies

By establishing code and implementing strict password policies, you can expect to elevate your online security. In today’s world, where protecting your privacy has become an extremely challenging task, a strictness in implementing password policies can help prevent data leakages and keep cyber criminals away from breaking into your system and networks.

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual bookkeeping, providing service to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks™️ file, critical financial documents, and back-office tools in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of certified US-based accounting professionals provide bookkeeping, record storage, performance reporting, and controller services including training, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, process and controls advisement, and bill-pay. With flat-rate service plans, Complete Controller is the most cost-effective expert accounting solution for business, family-office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Lock shield with security lock concept and futuristic electronic technology background, vector illustration
The frequency of cyber attacks has grown to an unimaginable level within the past few years. The internet, which is a very useful resource, can also be a potential threat to your personal information or sensitive data stored on your computers or laptops. Also, most of our personal or business transactions happen over the internet which raises serious level threats as we expose our bank account details to cyber criminals or hackers. Cyber criminals use unique ways of stealing our private information that is, then, is misused by them.

Practically speaking, cyber attacks have become a scary reality for every individual and organization. Hackers have invented sneaky ways and techniques to steal from us, which are beyond our control and imagination. The prevention of cyber attacks is possible but only when we know how to tackle and deal with impending cyber threats. You must be prepared and responsible for blocking potential threats from hackers or else you will lose vital information.

Intensified Demand For Cyber Security Experts

The failure to come up with a counter plan for the prevention of cyber attacks is what causes businesses to fall prey to cyber threats. According to studies, nearly 95% of online businesses have reported data breaches on their online platform in 2017 which means cyber attacks have grown to become one of the leading threats to online businesses. Moreover, the demand for cyber security experts has also increased proportionally and every business with an online presence is feeling the need to have the superior expertise of professional IT experts.

Keeping your sensitive data like passwords, financials, bookkeeping records, and bank accounts safe and protected from outside intruders like hackers and scammers has become quite an intimidating task. Most individuals and organizations lack technical knowledge, skills, and abilities to deal with potential cyber threats themselves which is why they need to hire cyber security experts to ensure their sensitive personal information is safe and secure.

Protection Against Impending Cyber Threats

Since we use so many devices these days for personal and business purposes, it has become extremely difficult to protect our personal information against so many viruses, malware, malicious apps and other similar cyber-bugs. With so many tools and an abundance of information over the internet, cyber threats can be minimized up to a great extent. Most entrepreneurs who cannot afford to hire expensive cyber security experts for their data protection services can take advantage of various security tools such as strong passwords, a VPN, an antivirus software, a firewall, better hardware and precise software knowledge. Moreover, entrepreneurs need to stay vigilant of the latest trending digital threats which may hamper their operating systems.

Secure Your Devices and Networks

Businesses need to stay on top of their game if they expect to secure their company from potential cyber dangers. Data encryption can help you to protect and secure your devices and networks which prevents your personal information from leaving the servers and devices.

Backup Your Data

This is one of the leading data protection tips that is often overlooked. Backing up your sensitive data often gives you more command over your personal information. This means, if you lose your personal information somewhere, then you can recover it easily. Even if your original device is compromised, you will always get the data recovered from the duplicate copy that you have backed up.

Turn Off Your Computer

For the prevention of data theft, cyber security experts recommend to turn off our computers as soon as we are done for the day. Leaving computers and other smart devices on and  connected to the internet leaves us vulnerable to rogue attacks. Internet-enabled computers and devices can easily fall prey to cyber attacks or hackers. For preventing cyber attacks and malicious activities on the internet, you need to continuously upgrade your system which includes data security and safety, new hardware and upgraded software protected against cyber attacks.

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

 

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Internet connectivity has become a necessity in today’s society. The dependence on the internet has transformed the world into a digital jungle. Every day, billions of people around the world are logging on to the internet and using a plethora of social media platforms to stay connected.

Many devices use internet connections that aren’t secure; they provide little protection from iron-fisted hackers. Using a VPN network is essential to address and evidently tackle the issues of privacy.  A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is useful in providing protection against different cyber-attacks, including:

  • Fire sheep
  • Wi-Fi-Spoofing
  • Honeypot cyber attack

VPN and Network Security

Virtual Private Networks make internet-based networks secure, allowing users to get access to a provided network. The data shared on a private network through a VPN is safe and secure; the minimum risks involved with using VPN’s have made them more popular over time.

A VPN network functions like a Wide Area Network or WAN. At the front of the operations, WANs and VPNs have similar functionalities. VPN and WANs appear as they would on a private network, offering security from high hacker attacks.

Corporate Uses of VPN

Today, companies are focusing on using secure Virtual Private Networks (VPN). Large multinational corporations are leaning towards implementing the use of a VPN to make their remote data centers safe and secure from foreign threats including cyber attacks resulting in data breaches. A single data breach can cause a company to lose millions. The safe and secure access to corporate data centers ensures that their confidential information is secured.

Companies rely on using a VPN network to give employees access to corporate data anywhere in the world. In the last few years, home based internet users have started to opt for a VPN network as it provides some of the best security measures. It protects corporate data and keeps the network anonymous.

Why and When to Use a VPN Service?

A major advantage of using a VPN network is to keep important data networks away from prying eyes. When on a VPN network, it goes through different processes before the connection is encrypted and secure. The people who have access to the same internet network make the network more secure, allowing a single user with a VPN to remain anonymous.

Using a VPN network ensures the safety of data by providing adequate security even if someone is using a public Wi-Fi network at an airport, shopping mall, train station and any other form of public internet networks. A VPN system makes it safer to get access to crucial banking information as well. It’s safer to use a VPN network for all banking needs; it not only makes the network more secure but a VPN gives its user’s partial anonymity.

In countries laden with conflicts and internet censorship, a VPN can sometimes become the only way to stay connected with the outside world. In many conflict zones around the world, companies and people are using a VPN to keep their data secure and safe.

Using a VPN Service at Home

Home users can use a VPN network to make their network secure and avoid a cyber attack on their network that could result in a data breach and identity theft. Setting up a VPN connection at home is easy. Install a VPN application on a computer that you plan to keep on 24/7. Such a computer must have an uninterruptible power supply. Set up a VPN connection with the home network. This can be done through the router, NAS, and by a home computer.

Once everything is successfully installed, the VPN is now ready to run and secure the entire network. The VPN is not completely anonymous; the internet service provider will be able to see the traffic and the websites visited. Using a VPN network will allow users to stay anonymous and give protection from cyber attacks and hackers.

Even though a VPN does not provide 100% anonymous service, it provides a considerable security for any network. It serves as one of the most optimal solutions for a safe network.

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

 

 

 

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The web has catered to many needs of the modern consumer. Be it shopping for apparel or ordering a pizza, the web has revolutionized the way markets and consumers think. While it has integrated so well into modern society, some precautions are needed to be taken in order to enjoy and reap the benefits of this blessing. The cyber world can be a dark place and one can easily fall prey to being a victim of privacy violations. Protect your privacy online by never giving out highly volatile and essential information like credit card details, cell numbers, and social security numbers, among many others.  These may be used against your will or, worse, in malicious activities.

Here are five simple ways to protect your privacy online to experience a more wholesome capacity of the World Wide Web without worrying about running into any bad situations.

1. Never Give Out Full Information

Protect your privacy online because you never know who’s watching your profile. Rest assured, there are various ways to hide or even go invisible on many social media websites. If you can do it, its only fair to think that there would be others using such features. Exposing oneself to the unknown may have consequences that would be compromising so taking precaution is always advised. Be careful about what information you put out there.  Be careful about presenting your phone number, address, etc. 

2. Social Security is Yours Alone

Some websites may ask for social security numbers, for instance, a doctor’s office. Or, when people get official looking emails that request them to share their number for so and so reason. Protect your privacy online and beware. Never ever give out social security numbers because the cyber domain is not always secure. Being present at an office of a doctor to schedule an appointment where they ask you for the number is acceptable, but online it is a definite and a huge “NO”!

3. Know your Computer When Issuing a Transaction

Whenever undergoing or issuing a transaction, use your own computer at home. When you know the hardware is secure and that none of your vital information is being shared, you are actually less exposed to threats. Protect your privacy online by using only trusted computers. Using internet cafes for financial transactions or passing of information can be compromised as the systems could have keyboard tap software that records each and every tap on the keyboard that is logged and stored in a remote location.

4. Use the Browser To Your Advantage

Surfing online is fun and all, but with the private browsing feature, it becomes traceless. If using a shared computer, using this tool is highly recommended. Also, protect your privacy online if you are worried about someone going through your email or other private stuff without you knowing.

5. Change Passwords

Changing all passwords at least fortnightly is strongly advised. Thus, chances of an account being compromised would be dim. Never click yes on the operating system asking you to save your password along with your username on the computer as this would allow anyone access simply by clicking on “OK”.  A secure way of coming up with a password is to use caps on the first letter, a digit, a symbol, and small letters. Protect your online privacy by always using a new password and avoid repeating it on different websites.

Following these five simple tips will help protect your online privacy to better allow you to enjoy the cyber world without concern of being compromised.

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

 

 

 

 

 

HIPAA Compliant - Complete Controller

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a legislation of the United States that ensures data security of all medical information for individuals. 

Today, the top healthcare organizations’ concern is compliance with HIPAA (Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996). HIPAA rules are meant to secure protected health information (PHI), whether electronic or manual. To achieve HIPAA compliance, healthcare institutes and professionals must follow guidelines to ensure the security and protection of their patients. If you are not sure about the rules, talk to the Chief Information Security Office for review. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

HIPAA Compliant – A Checklist

HIPAA rules and regulations have changed over the years, causing healthcare organizations to face many challenges. Its complex language has often created a hindrance, making it hard for organizations to determine if their activities are correctly maintained according to HIPAA compliance. Healthcare organizations must address some specific rules by HIPAA, which are as follows:

  • HIPAA Privacy Rule
  • HIPAA Security Rule
  • HIPAA Enforcement Rule
  • HIPAA Breach Notification Rule

 

HIPAA Privacy Rule

The HIPAA Privacy rule ensures that an individual’s healthcare information is adequately protected, including all medical records and personal information (healthcare plans, insurance, and financial). The goal is to provide security while allowing secure access to healthcare practitioners, but not without a patient’s authorization. The rule is to balance the disclosure of information and protect the privacy of an individual. According to the HIPAA Privacy Rule, patients have full rights over their medical information, which means they can obtain their medical records or request a correction. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

HIPAA Security Rule

The HIPAA Security Rule has set the national principles to safeguard an individual’s electronic health information as declared under the privacy rule. The Security Rule ensures the reliability, security, and confidentiality of the electronic PHI. Three types of safety measures fall under the HIPAA Security Rule: Physical protection, Technical protection, Administrative protection.

Physical Protection

Limited Access to Facility – The organization must limit the physical access to its amenities and ensure that only authorized personnel are allowed in the facility.

Workstation security – The organization must implement strict policies and procedures for the use of electronic devices. A covered entity must record all activities of hardware, including people responsible for transferring or moving data.

Technical Protection

Access Control – The organization must allow only authorized personnel to access electronic PHI. Any removal of e-PHI from the system must be examined, ensuring that it is appropriately altered or destroyed.

Audit Control – All hardware and software activities must be recorded and examined, ensuring that there is no data theft or misuse of the information. It is the organization’s responsibility that only authorized people to have access to the information.

Administrative Protection Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Security Officials – The organization must entitle a security official for implementing policies and procedures.

Training Management – The organization must train all of its employees and brief them on the security measures of e-PHI and the consequences of violating any policies and procedures.

Assessment – The organization is responsible for assessing all its security measures and how well they are followed. Organizations must be consistent with the rules by limiting the disclosure of e-PHI to a minimum. Only authorized personnel should have access to the information.

HIPAA Enforcement Rule

The HIPAA Enforcement Rule requires enforcement of the Privacy Rule by all healthcare organizations. If any organization fails to comply with HIPAA, it must face penalties. There are several ways the OCR implements the Privacy and Security Rules:

  • Investigation of complaints
  • Determining whether healthcare organizations follow HIPAA
  • Educate organizations and provide substitute compliance if required

 

HIPAA Breach Notification Rule

Any organization that allows disclosure of healthcare information without authorization, under any circumstances, will be convicted of violating HIPAA rules. If the organization discovers a breach of information, it must notify the secretary right away.

 

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual bookkeeping, providing service to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks™️ file, critical financial documents, and back-office tools in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of certified US-based accounting professionals provide bookkeeping, record storage, performance reporting, and controller services including training, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, process and controls advisement, and bill-pay. With flat-rate service plans, Complete Controller is the most cost-effective expert accounting solution for business, family-office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
online business security - Complete Controller

As more and more companies shift from traditional operations towards an IT infrastructure, the threat to privacy, identity theft, and online security risks are ever-increasing. Businesses need to take precautions and security measures to tackle cybersecurity issues and enhance their online privacy and security.

Moreover, employees must follow their company guidelines to protect user-information from data theft. Data theft can be disastrous for employees as well as the customers of a company. Below are a few security measures that businesses can take to ensure protection from data theft. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Using a VPN System

To secure the operations of a business, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to provide the business with additional security. VPNs allow access to the internet anonymously and encrypt all data traffic to and from the company servers. 

As a result of the VPN, it becomes challenging for hackers to track the servers’ computers and locations. Good VPN providers send a security warning when someone from the company tries to access suspicious URLs to improve protection from data theft.

Firewalls

Like most businesses today, all devices are likely to be connected to an internet connection. If so, it is highly likely that hackers have surveyed the computer network at least once. Hackers do this randomly, but when they find a valid computer address, they exploit all vulnerabilities to access the system and individual computers located on the network.

Installing a firewall is the best way to prevent this type of attack. Firewalls operate by distinguishing between distinct segments of the network, allowing only authorized traffic to access protected sections. The firewall examines every data packet circulating the web to ensure its legitimacy and filters seemingly suspicious data packets. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Take Precautions When Dealing with Portable Devices

If the business provides its employees with portable devices like smartphones and laptops, they must ensure that they have the latest data protection features installed. Mobile devices are the most vulnerable to data theft and invasion of privacy. Often, these devices are stolen; hackers try to break into these devices to steal user data. The data could include essential details about the business and its clients.

The best option for businesses is to have an IT security company to provide them with secured measures to protect their portable devices in case of theft. IT security firms have experts capable of accessing the devices if they are stolen and attempt to retrieve the information safely.

Performing a Data Backup

Two types of backups will help protect data from identity theft and secure the privacy of the users. The first backup is performing a complete backup of all data. When performing a full backup, the data that requires a substitute is copied to a secure device. The second kind of backup is an incremental backup. In this type of backup, new data gets added to the previous backup since the last backup of your system.

The most effective method is to combine the two backup processes for more security. Perform a full periodic backup and an incremental backup every day. It is also possible to do a full back up every day.

It’s essential to verify that the backups are working correctly. It would be catastrophic to lose all data, only to find that the backup systems are not working. To avoid this issue, set a restore point of the data to a new location. This preset will ensure that the backup systems are working; the process can identify any problems during the backup procedure. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Different Ways to Back Up the Data

Data backup can be performed in various ways. You can put them on a physical device such as a USB flash drive or a second hard drive. You can also place them in a shared folder on the network. Additionally, you can also keep backups in a secure offsite location. 

Cloud-Based Backup

Backing up secure data to a specific physical site will not help in the event of a natural disaster or theft. All companies should invest in a cloud-based backup system. A cloud system has several benefits, including giving complete accessibility to accessing the data at any geographical location with added protection from data theft. Cloud systems ensure the privacy of the entire company, including employee and customer data protection.

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual bookkeeping, providing service to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks™️ file, critical financial documents, and back-office tools in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of certified US-based accounting professionals provide bookkeeping, record storage, performance reporting, and controller services including training, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, process and controls advisement, and bill-pay. With flat-rate service plans, Complete Controller is the most cost-effective expert accounting solution for business, family-office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers