March 25, 2019

IT Infrastructure, Computer Networking & Data Storage Predictions For 2014

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2014 IT & Data Storage Predictions

As an Orange County provider of proactive technology solutions, Zephyr Networks offers a series of IT infrastructure, computer networking and data storage predictions for 2014. Following the trends of 2013, small to mid-sized companies will continue to move toward virtualization, mobile diversity and cloud-based storage and applications. Given the security implications of the NSA disclosures over the past year, there also will be a remarkable shift to private cloud options to provide a greater sense of data and network security.

Zephyr Networks outlines in brief our IT infrastructure, computer networking and data storagepredictions for 2014.

2014 Information Technology & Data Storage Predictions:

1) The private cloud will be embraced by small to mid-sized businesses to guarantee greater security. Zephyr Networks is expanding our business in 2014 into data center management to enable private cloud options for our client base. Private cloud options allow for virtualized storage while avoiding the snooping eyes that seem to be all over the public and corporate versions of the cloud.

2) Virtualization goes from being the business exception to the business norm for small to mid-sized companies. Through virtualization, a company can run multiple operating systems simultaneously on a single machine. There will be a sharp rise in network virtualization, server virtualization and application-desktop virtualization through Google Apps.

3) VMware will be the number one option embraced by small to mid-sized business to address their virtualization needs. VMware, the industry-leading virtualization software company, streamlines IT operations by virtualizing the IT infrastructure. From the data center virtualization to the private cloud to mobile devices, VMware enables access to a company’s essential data and applications from any device, anytime, anywhere. Such access is not only going to be what is wanted, but it is going to be what companies need to stay competitive in 2014.

4) Application and desktop virtualization will become the norm as companies move away from traditional isolated software on individual computers and embrace virtualization. By taking full advantage of virtualization, small to mid-sized companies will be able to save money. Although it began in 2013, such a shift will become commonplace in 2014 as small to mid-sized companies recognize the value, the security and the universal access provided by application and desktop virtualization.

5) IT infrastructure growth and the expansion of virtualization in all business arenas will call for the dual need of both greater bandwidth and expert help. As a result, IT providers like Zephyr Networks will be needed to manage and secure all of the new options available. Although less expensive and more utilitarian, the new options will still be new, demanding a greater need for external support and management. With the support offered by companies like Zephyr Networks, the technology advances of 2014 will allow small to mid-sized businesses to truly thrive as the year progresses.

 

 

5 Data Security Questions To Ask A Cloud Vendor

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Data Security in the Clouds

Do you know the data security questions you should ask a cloud vendor? Zephyr Networks understands how important it is for a company to be able to trust a cloud vendor. When you are allowing an external party to safeguard the essential data and proprietary information that forms the backbone of your business, you need to be confident in their capabilities. Although not comprehensive, the 5 data security questions below can help any business validate whether or not they want to work with a potential new cloud vendor.

5 Data Security Questions To Ask A Cloud Vendor

1) Does the cloud vendor implement controls to segregate your data from other client companies?

Since cloud vendors tend to base their business on a multi-client model, the addition of other companies opens the door to a greater possibility of attack. If a multi-client server is not properly secured, a flaw in one client application could allow an attacker access to your company’s data. This is why it is essential for each client company to be safely segregated from the others on any cloud-based server.

2) Does the cloud vendor regularly encrypt and test its backups?

If a cloud vendor does not test its backups on a regular basis and update the necessary encryption, such backups are theoretically useless. Cloud-computing server backups need to be regularly tested, monitored and encrypted with the latest data security updates.

3) Does the cloud vendor have a reliable disaster recovery and business continuity plan for its data housing server sites?

When it comes to data recovery plans and business continuity strategies, your company cannot take a chance in the internet age of 24-hour business opportunities. Make sure any cloud vendor your company chooses to work with has a reliable disaster recovery and business continuity plan to ensure the safety of your data.

4) Does the cloud vendor follow data destruction processes for computer equipment and storage devices that ensures the zeroing out of all confidential information?

Before you enter into an agreement with a cloud vendor, ask them about their data destruction process. Do they take all the necessary steps to zero out confidential information on decommissioned computer equipment and storage devices? If you move on later, will your confidential information be thoroughly wiped from their servers?

5) Can the cloud vendor provide relevant certificates and applicable compliance certifications?

There is a vast array of compliance certifications for cloud vendors that include the following; ITIL, COBIT, ISO 2700, and many more. If a cloud vendor claims to be in such compliance, ask them to show you the relevant certificates and applicable compliance certifications? If they can’t do this, there most likely is a problem.

Cloud Vendor Relationship Managed

As a proponent of cloud-based solutions, Zephyr Networks has the experience needed by our clients to secure and ensure their valuable company data. We consistently negotiate and manage a client’s relationship with a cloud vendor.  To learn more about how we can help you with cloud-based storage, data security and network security solutions, please call Zephyr Networks toll free at (800) 884-7559 or fill out our handy contact form.

Since Recorded Data Breaches Doubled In 2012, Zephyr Networks Asks How Big Will The Increase Be In 2013

In the final months of 2013, Zephyr Networks wants to point out that the number of recorded data breaches more than doubled in 2012 to 2,644 incidents. It is important to realize that these are only the recorded incidents. Companies often cover-up data breaches to protect the estimated public integrity of their business. Still, even without the additional numbers due to unrecorded data breaches, this was still a 117% increase, according to a report by Open Security Foundation.

Recorded Date Breaches

 

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Data Breaches Are Like Open Books

A co-author of the report, Risk Based Security CEO Barry Kouns agrees with Zephyr Networks when it comes to the final estimation of data breaches during any calendar year. Kouns explained the need for discrimination when analyzing the given statistics: “We must exercise caution when analyzing the number of exposed records since on average, 26 percent of the incidents tracked do not report the number of exposed records.”  

If your company had an unrecorded data breach in 2012 or 2013 that you chose to keep under the covers, please do not remain in denial. The data breach did happen, and, without proper network security precautions, it most likely will happen again. Zephyr Networks is a top provider of network security options and services. In 2012, data breaches in the business sector accounted for 60% of total incidents, followed by government (17.9%), Education (12%) and Medical (9.5%).

External Data Breaches

Nearly 77% of reported incidents were carried out by external agents or activity outside the organization, and 68.2% of the data breach incidents were carried out through hacking. In fact, hacking was responsible for 22.8% of exposed records in 2012. Internal data breaches accounted for 19.5% of incidents as company employees crossed the line into criminality.  66.7% of the data breaches led directly to exposed records of confidential information and client data.

Overall, when compared to the rest of the world, the United States amazingly accounted for 40% of recorded data breaches. Considering the population size when compared to the billions of people across the globe, this figure is both impressive and scary. What will the increase in the number of recorded data breaches be in 2013?  If you need help preventing future data breaches, please call Zephyr Networks toll free at (800) 884-7559 or fill out our handy contact form.

 

 

A Poetic Look At The Cryptolocker Virus By Doug Breskow

From The Crypt

 — A Halloween Poem by Doug Beskow 

cryptolocker, crypt, halloween, doug breskow, zephyr networks

Ghosts, goblins, headless horsemen don’t scare,
Not even the man with horns and flaming red hair.
Jack ‘O’ Lanterns, skeletons and skin head punk rocker,
Won’t give you fear like Cryptolocker.

It’s not walking dead or some scary grave yard,
But a real computer virus that hits really hard.
It comes as an email from DHS, UPS or FedEx,
And encrypts your files and then with might to flex,
Demands a ransom of 3 to $700 in four days,
Or else files, data and pictures disappear in a haze.

Cryptolocker is real and this Halloween you should feel,
Not fear of witches, goblins and other unreal,
But, Cryptolocker virus because it is real!

Designed To Help With HIPAA Compliance Issues, Will The New Google Apps Business Associate Agreement Be Embraced By Small To Mid-Sized Healthcare Companies?

Will small to mid-sized healthcare companies embrace the opportunity of cloud security integration offered by the new Google Apps Business Associate Agreement? In a recent Google Apps update connected to the HIPAA Omnibus, Google announced the introduction of the new Google Apps Business Associate Agreement for healthcare companies looking to use Google Apps. The Google Apps Business Associate Agreement provides healthcare company support through the integration of Google Apps and help with HIPAA compliance issues. The focus of the agreement is to ensure network safety and security.

Google Apps Business Associate Agreement HIPAA Compliance

Since Zephyr Networks fully supports the use of Google Apps for our client companies, it is clear that this positive step by Google will allow healthcare companies to make a cleaner transition to the security and support of cloud-based applications. The goal of the Business Associate Agreement is to remove barriers for healthcare companies to adopt Google Apps and help with HIPAA compliance challenges.

What Zephyr Networks appreciates about this forward step is the focus on helping  small to mid-sized companies that use fewer Google App services. Despite their limited use, such usage truly can improve their productivity and ensure HIPAA compliance. The Google Apps Business Associate Agreement only applies to the following Google App services: Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, and Google Apps Vault.

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Google Apps & HIPAA Security

From extensive experience with past healthcare clients, Zephyr Networks knows the usage of such Google Apps can go a long way toward helping a business adapt to the new HIPAA requirements. Google Apps offer cloud flexibility and remote access while being safe and secure. It is a perfect combination for small to mid-sized healthcare companies faced with the challenges presented by compliance to the new HIPAA Omnibus. 

Google Apps Business Associate Agreement Questions

To sign up for the Google Apps Business Associate Agreement, a health care company representative must answer three online questions about their business:

  1. Are you a covered entity (or business associate of a covered entity) under HIPAA?
  2. Will you be using Google Apps in connection with protected health information?
  3. Are you authorized to request and agree to a business associate agreement with Google for your Google Apps domain?

Zephyr Networks Believes In Google Apps

If the response to these questions are in the positive, the company representative will be taken to the online business associate agreement. Without question, this update is targeted specifically at small to mid-sized businesses. Most larger healthcare companies already will have adopted the usage of Google Apps and other security-oriented cloud strategies to deal with the HIPAA Omnibus. If you need help with Google Apps and the decision to sign up for the Google Apps Business Associate Agreement, please call Zephyr Networks toll free at (800) 884-7559 or fill out our handy contact form.

Zephyr Networks Integrates Different Technologies And Cloud Potential To Improve Client Productivity And Profitability

When it comes to managing the IT needs of our clients, Zephyr Networks takes a proactive approach towards Cloud potential. We understand that a company hires an information technology services provider in order to improve both productivity and profitability. After all, when it comes to business, the bottom line remains the bottom line. By integrating new and different technologies that jibe with Cloud potential into a client’s company framework and employee infrastructure, we help turns abstract ideas about productivity and profitability into working realities.

Zephyr Networks understands that with the expansion of network capabilities and the proliferation of new devices, the base employee computer station is no longer what it once was. By focusing on integration and believing in Cloud potential in the form of Cloud computing, we allow information technology solutions to work across a variety of platforms while avoiding conflicts and bugs. Our goal is to help you lower operation costs while providing access to the latest technological solutions so you can keep up with the competition.

Cloud Potential Means Google Drive

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Explore Cloud Potential

A perfect example is when one of our clients wanted to have employee’s update their work files with client and sales information remotely. At the same time, they did not want to pay for every employee to have a laptop with the resulting Wi-Fi costs. Zephyr Networks offered the solution of combining Google Apps with iPads to foster better, cheaper and faster results. Integrating a Google Drive solution with the cloud-based PDF Expert application, the employees could fill out PDF files remotely and load them to their Google Drives using cloud technologies. Full Wi-Fi accounts and laptop computers were not needed to accomplish the goals of the company.

By fully taking advantage of Cloud Storage and Servers, companies can be relieved of the ongoing maintenance burden of their own servers. Zephyr Networks has become experts at integrating Cloud Programs and Cloud Solutions with the local systems of our client companies. At the same time, we help with security credential management to ensure network security and data security.

The Evolution of Cloud Potential

As we like to tell our new clients with a smile, Cloud potential quickly is evolving into the new mainframe of the world. If you can, imagine the mainframe concept of your own servers on a global scale in the form of the Cloud. If you want to learn more about our proactive solutions for IT services, please call us toll free at (800) 884-7559 or fill out our handy contact form.

 

3 HIPAA Omnibus Rule Compliance Tips For Health Care Organizations

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HIPAA Omnibus Rule & Compliance

With March 26 being the effective date of the HIPAA Omnibus Rule taking effect, the time for your health care company to contemplate possible compliance options practically is over.  What keeps your company from being in real trouble is that Sept. 23 is the actual compliance enforcement date. The HIPAA Omnibus Rule modifies the HIPAA privacy, security and enforcement rules as well as the HIPAA breach notification regulations. These changes are complex and detailed because they include both greater accountability and documentation requirements. Such requirements complicate the rush for an implementation plan. The solution may not be simple, but Zephyr Networks can point you in the right direction to accomplish the first steps.

3 HIPAA Omnibus Rule Compliance Tips

HIPAA Compliance Tip 1: Implementation

Numerous healthcare associations, Internet resources and consultants can help your company understand the HIPAA updates, what’s changed from the earlier versions of the HIPAA Omnibus Rule, and where the risks are to your company. How complicated the implementation plan is depends on how compliant your program is today with past HIPAA standards and rules.

Your health care organization should be able to use the HHS Security Framework as a baseline and develop a compliance program. Still, very few people in the health care industry have read the entire HIPAA Omnibus Rule. It is extremely lengthy so the best bet is to use the search feature of your PDF reader and look for “Final Rule.” Read and understand every section that starts with this heading. Make sure you have good policies, documentation, processes and controls in place to meet each standard. Zephyr Networks can help our clients with the network security procedures and IT needs that apply.

In addition, The National Institute of Standards and Technology offers numerous free guidelines for how to create and manage security programs, including a HIPAA Security Resource Guide and HIPAA Toolkit.

HIPAA Compliance Tip 2: Operational Compliance

The operational goal of every compliance program should be simplicity and universal application in the context of your company. Each compliance program can be measured against the metrics used by the Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights in its HIPAA audit program protocol. Compare your program of processes, controls, policies and training against the 78 security, 81 privacy and 10 breach elements. If you believe there is a gap, you most likely have identified a risk. The IT experts at Zephyr Networks can aid you in this complex process.

HIPAA Compliance Tip 3: Ongoing Transition Plan

The rise in reporting of breach incidents combined with the new hefty fines should motivate your motivate your health care company to prioritize an ongoing transition plan. By working with a quality IT and network security provider like Zephyr Networks, you can help guarantee that the initial push becomes an ongoing part of your business model. When it comes to regulations as complex as the new HIPAA Omnibus Rule, one initial push is not enough. Your health care company has to focus on creating an ongoing transition plan that turns the initial shift into a part of your company’s inherent culture and technological approach . Implementation must evolve to become a normative state of being.

After all, your health care company’s goals in this compliance process of implementation is the same as the main goal behind the new HIPAA Omnibus Rule. Like the new rules that have expanded HIPAA, a big part of your company’s ultimate goal is to improve the quality, integrity, and confidentiality of your patient’s protected health information. Still, Zephyr Networks understands how intimidating compliance with the new HIPAA Omnibus Rule can be for any health care company or business. This is why the information technology experts and network security consultants at Zephyr Networks are available to help your health care company navigate these dangerous waters.

 

Showing The Prominence Of Cyber Defense, Cisco To Buy Cybersecurity Company SourceFire For $2.7 Billion

At the end of July 2013, Cisco Systems agreed to buy Sourcefire, a key provider of cybersecurity services, for about $2.7 billion in cash. Reported in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, the acquisition reflects the growing fervor for cyber defense and the rising value of companies that can help guard against computer-based attacks. As a major Orange County provider of IT solutions and cybersecurity, Zephyr Networks  believes the efforts of major players in the technological industry to provide cybersecurity is only just beginning. Unlike the corporate giants, however, Zephyr Networks is able to deliver IT solutions and cybersecurity to small to mid-sized Orange County businesses with a desire to connect with the human face of their cyber defense.

Cybersecurity Equals Big Business

Under the terms of the mega deal, Cisco will pay $76 a share in cash, nearly 30 percent higher than Sourcefire’s closing price on Monday. The offer includes retention-based incentives for Sourcefire’s executives. Founded in 2001, Sourcefire has grown into a major cybersecurity provider. In 2012, the company reported $5 million in profit on revenue $223.1 million. Shares in Sourcefire climbed about 29 percent in premarket trading, to $76.40, over the deal price, in a potential sign that investors might be expecting a bidding war. After all, quality cybersecurity providers on the level of Sourcefire are few and far between, and there might be other bidders coming to the table.

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Sourcefire & The Importance of Cybersecurity

In a statement, Cisco said that adding Sourcefire would take it’s portfolio of security offerings to the next-generation of excellence. “Buy has always been a key part of our build-buy-partner innovation strategy,” said Hilton Romanski, a Cisco vice president for corporate development. “Sourcefire aligns well with Cisco’s future vision for security and supports the key pillars of our security strategy.” Without question, the acquisition of Sourcefire is symbolic of the primary role that Cyber Defense has ascended to in the arena of business, technology and security.

Zephyr Networks & Affordable Cybersecurity

The focus of the work of Zephyr Networks  the IT stability and cybersecurity of our client company. If you want to find out how our IT solutions can help your company and ensure your cybersecurity , please contact Zephyr Networks today. To learn more about cybersecurity strategies that are affordable and actually work, call Zephyr toll free at (800) 884-7559 or fill out our handy contact form.

 

Orange County IT Services Provides Company Stability So You Can Work On Your Business, Not In Your Business

The key to Zephyr Networks approach to providing Orange County IT Services is stability. By ensuring that your company has the very best in information technology, system virtualization and network security, we give you the freedom to work on your business and not in your business. How many top executives have seen time and resources drained by network interruptions, data breaches, and poor technological planning? At Zephyr Networks, we truly believe that such challenges should be non-issues that no longer present problems or take up the time of our client companies.

By focusing on solutions that are both proactive and preventative, Zephyr Networks provides our clients with the freedom to do what they do best. After all, the point of going to work every day is not to work in your business, but to work on your business, being productive and profitable. Technology is supposed to make work easier. The very point of technological innovation is to improve your productivity and profitability. When IT issues get in the way of your core business, something clearly is not right and needs to be addressed. Zephyr Networks is designed to provide effective solutions to such problems.

The four-tiered approach of Zephyr Networks is at the very heart of why we do what we do so well. The beating core of this heart is setting the technological groundwork of consistent stability for our clients when it come to their IT needs. Like the consistency of a heartbeat, we want your company’s technology and networks and computer systems to operate consistently, effectively and efficiently. After ensuring stability, Zephyr Networks delivers ongoing maintenance and monitoring to help with business continuity. Business continuity is not merely an issue of what to do during a catastrophic event. Rather, business continuity is an ongoing day-to-day focus on the smooth and reliable operations of a company’sinformation technology, computer systems, and networks.

The third part of Zephyr Network’s four-tiered approach is like the armor a knight wears to protect the stability of his heart. Network security, cyber defense and contingency planning make up the defensive attributes of this armor. By making sure that your company is protected from data breaches, cyber criminals and casual hackers, Zephyr Networks prevents problems before they happen. The fourth part is about helping you do what you do best: Zephyr Networks helps you work on your business by keeping your computer systems up-to-date and making sure you remain on the cutting edge of technological updates. If there is an innovation that can help your company without consuming too much time or too many resources, Zephyr Networks wants you to have the freedom of knowledge to make such a choice.

Zephyr Networks understands that the focus of our work remains the IT stability and security of your company. By making sure that your technology base is strong, we help to give you the freedom to grow and improve your core business.  If you want to take your Orange County IT services to the next level of excellence, please contact Zephyr Networks today. To learn more about how we can help your company, call Zephyr toll free at (800) 884-7559 or fill out our handy contact form.

Zephyr Networks Supports The Launch Of The California Cybersecurity Taskforce To Address Cyber Defense

Zephyr Networks supports the official launch on  May 13 of the California Cybersecurity Taskforce.  California government officials and private-sector leaders came together to discuss a comprehensive cybersecurity plan for the state. This was the official launch of the California Cybersecurity Task Force, the first state-led collaboration of its kind. Because of the interconnectedness of government and private-sector IT assets, collaboration has become crucial, said Michele Robinson, acting director for the Office of Information Security. The ultimate goal is to collaborate and work together to improve cybersecurity for the state.

The meeting allowed discussion on several topics, all with the goal of establishing a framework and overall plan for statewide cybersecurity. Among the topics discussed were information sharing between governments and the private sector; challenges to industry, such as the need for improved laws and regulations; and the need for increased cybersecurity research and education. Among the meetings participants were officials from the National Fusion Center Association (NFCA), the FBI, the Sacramento Utility District, Cyber Watch West (CWW), and private companies such as Verizon, Bank of America and Symantec.

california cybersecurity

California Cybersecurity Taskforce

State CIO Carlos Ramos said one of the California Technology Agency’s biggest goals with respect to this effort will be improving the awareness of the importance of focusing on cybersecurity. Whether it’s hactivists, state-sponsored cyberattacks, cyber-terrorism, espionage or just opportunistic hackers, he said, attacks on government are on the rise — which a  2013 report released by Verizon also found. Private industry, local government, state government, financial organizations and even the federal government stand to benefit from the collaboration that will take place through the collaboration of the public and private sectors in the California Cybersecurity Taskforce.

By being proactive, Ramos  says the state will have a better chance at staying ahead of the curve in the never-ending battle of network security. “California really is out in front of other states,” Ramos said. “We’ve seen a number of areas, particularly in technology, where governments tend to follow our lead. I am quite hopeful, from that perspective — the framework and the work that we do here — that other states will take and emulate and put in place across the country.”

Zephyr Networks completely supports te launch of the California Cybersecurity Task Force with an understanding that such a task force will focus on the larger problems of the state and major institutions, both public and private. When it comes to the cybersecurity challenges of small to mid-sized businesses in Southern California, your best bet is to contact a company like Zephyr Networks for help. To learn more about how Zephyr Networks can improve the cybersecurity of your company, please call us toll free at (800) 884-7559 or fill out our handy contact form.