Blog

March 3rd, 2014

passwordWant an easy-to-remember password that’s super-secure? Try mixed-entry passwords. While JohnSmith12345 could fairly easily be broken, J1o2h3n4S5mith (inserting the same numbers between each letter in the password) would take about 1,800 years to crack, and is almost as easy to remember!

March 3rd, 2014

norouterThis past Christmas, a hacker reportedly stumbled upon a back door to Linksys and Netgear DSL modems that allow an attacker to reset the router’s configuration and gain Admin access. Not good!

Some routers have this “back door” open to the local computer network while others are open to the Internet side of things, opening up users of these devices to remote Internet attacks. This essentially means that someone could easily gain access to the network and all files located on it.

In the past, this may have taken weeks or months to get out, leaving plenty of time for the manufacturer to get in contact with their clients, right? Not so anymore. In this instance, the exploit was promptly posted up to GitHub in a PowerPoint explaining all of the details and how to exploit the devices.  Many others started trying this out (just for fun, of course), and confirmations started flooding in immediately for all to see.

The Bottom Line: If you are concerned at all about the security of the data on your network, you need to have a real, business-class firewall and router in your office. These days, it doesn’t pay to go cheap on IT security.

 

March 3rd, 2014

hopewell_logo_big_FINALHopewell envisions a community where all individuals with special needs can experience life to the fullest in a supportive and caring environment. Families of children with special needs face unique and often lifelong challenges – challenges that are difficult to overcome. Hopewell provides residential, respite and recreational programs for individuals with developmental, physical and mental disabilities. Hopewell Children’s Homes is a non-profit organization which houses children with various disabilities in multiple locations with their corporate head office in Ariss.

Hopewell Children’s Homes was started in 1983 in Ariss, as a specialized home for 4 children who required 24 hour care due to severe physical and developmental disabilities. The program soon increased in scope and size.  By 1988 the home had expanded to 10 beds, thanks to the help of many volunteers.

The name Hopewell was derived from the Hopewell Creek, which runs past the facility.
In 1990 Hopewell Children’s Homes became incorporated and registered as a charity.
Johanna and John Oosterhuis, being the founders, moved their family out of the facility in 1996.  In 1999, a 10 bed facility was added for adults with similar needs.
Today the program in Ariss consists of a 10 bed children’s facility and a 12 bed adult facility.  1 bed is used for respite.

wnnxgyPtuh

In 2003 a new program, called Stephanie Home, was started by Hopewell.  Stephanie Home, which is located on Stephanie Drive in Guelph, provides respite care to approximately 50 families with children with high behavioural problems.  They may have a variety of diagnosis, although often with autism.  Typically, the children will stay at Stephanie Home for 3 to 4 days each month.

In 2005 a new recreational program, called Playsense was started by Hopewell.  Playsense, which is located at the Shelldale Centre in Guelph, provides adapted respite and recreational programs to children and adults as well with developmental disabilities.  Playsense also provides programs and workshops for a variety of groups.

Says John Oosterhuis, founder of Hopewell Children’s Home Inc., “We are appreciative of the work HLB has done for us thus far. They are very professional and knowledgeable and have taken on everything that we have thrown at them with a smile and competence. They are literally a phone call or email away with a prompt solution. They have been instrumental to our growth and we are confident they will continue to provide innovative ideas on how to move us forward for years to come.”

For more information go to http://www.hopewellchildrenshomes.ca/

March 3rd, 2014

To be a successful executive you must know how to knock down walls. I don’t mean the walls of brick and steel that hold up buildings; I mean the bureaucratic barriers that hold up communication.

In many companies, communication flows through narrow channels, usually from the top down — chimneys of power, they’re called. People walled off from these chimneys are left to work in an information vacuum.

Today’s successful corporations have demolished the walls that prevent the lateral flow of communication. With the walls gone, information permeates the organization.

Such organizations find it easier to achieve the “Four F’s” that management expert Rosabeth Moss Kanter tells us are essential to business success. A successful company, she says, must be focused, flexible, fast and friendly.

  • You can’t focus the efforts of your entire workforce if your organization is crisscrossed with walls that impede the flow of information.
  • You can’t be flexible if you have a rigid corporate structure in which every division and department is a closed information loop.
  • You can’t be fast if information has to seep slowly through layer after layer of management.
  • And you can’t be friendly if your people don’t talk to other people inside and outside your organization.

If you look around, you may see plenty of boundaries in your own company that need to be removed. One of them may be the door to your office that remains closed to input from your employees. Another might be a rigid boundary between hourly and salaried employees that keeps people in one category from talking freely with people in another. Or it could be a boundary that shuts out ideas that don’t originate in your own organization.

Other boundaries might be the lines that run between divisions of a corporation. If one division develops a new method or a new technology, does it keep it to itself or does it share it with other divisions? Among the toughest boundaries to dismantle are the ones individual managers erect around the borders of their turf.

In the old days, corporations became overpopulated with people who were promoted to their “levels of incompetence.” Armed with the word “manager” in their titles, they staked out their own little turfs and guarded them jealously.

In a corporation without boundaries, advancement means moving into positions in which knowledge can be put to productive use as coaches, advisors or knowledge workers; where expertise is interchanged throughout the organization.

dudeDr. Nido Qubein is president of High Point University, an undergraduate and graduate institution with 4,300 students from 40 countries. He has authored two dozen books and audio programs distributed worldwide. As a business leader, he is chairman of the Great Harvest Bread Company, with 220 stores in 43 states. He serves on the boards of several national organizations, including BB&T (a Fortune 500 company with $185 billion in assets), the La-Z-Boy Corporation (one of the largest and most recognized furniture brands worldwide) and Dots Stores (a chain of fashion boutiques with more than 400 locations across the country). As a professional speaker, Dr. Qubein has received many distinctions, including the Golden Gavel Medal, induction into the International Speaker Hall of Fame and as the founder of the NSA Foundation in Arizona.
To learn more about Dr. Qubein, go to: http://www.nidoqubein.com/

 

March 3rd, 2014

handcuffsImagine walking into your office one morning to discover your computer network was breached by a hacker, exposing not only YOUR company’s data, but also your clients’. Imagine the embarrassment of having to notify your clients that, because of you, their personal information may now be in the hands of cyber-criminals. And hopefully that’s the only damage done

Operations could be halted or severely limited for days, possibly weeks. Your data corrupt to the point of being useless. Clients lost. Potential lawsuits and government fines for violating data-breach laws. The exorbitant emergency IT fees to get everything restored to working order fast. Then there’s the risk of your bank account being drained dry – and because you’re a business, you are NOT protected by the banks in the same way individual consumers are.

You’re At Greater Risk Than You Think

     With St. Patrick’s Day this month, I want to take a moment to remind you that just because you’ve been “lucky” enough to avoid an incident like this in the past doesn’t mean you’re not at risk – in fact, that’s exactly what cyber-criminals want you to think.

We can help! All you have to do is call our office at 519-822-3450 or go online to http://www.hlbsolutions.com/about-us/contact-us/ to find out more details.

March 3rd, 2014

Picture123The Nest Protect Motto: Safety shouldn’t be annoying.

We have all experienced it. That annoying low-battery chirp that 9 times out of 10 wakes you from a dead sleep. Why is it that the smoke alarm battery inevitably runs low in the middle of the night? When it happens…in your half-awake stupor, you rip it from the wall with intentions of re-hanging it in the morning. More times than not, you forget to replace the batteries and re-hang it and then there you are with no warning system should a fire break out in your home. This annoyance has now become a safety issue.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), almost two-thirds of US home fire deaths happened in homes with no smoke alarm or no working smoke alarm.

The Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarm comes without that annoying chirp or the threat of false alarms. It’s unique structure and settings give you quiet,

visual low-battery reminders and allow you to relay to the alarm when the smoke is from that burning grilled cheese versus an actual fire. Its remote features also allow you to manage your alarm and receive alerts via your smartphone.

This innovative device gives you all the protection and security you need, without the annoyances. Get yours today at: https://nest.com/

 

 

 

March 3rd, 2014

catRecently, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of local businesses suffering significant financial and productivity losses due to employees inappropriately using their Internet access during work hours – and much of this is fueled by social media sites such as Facebook and YouTube. Studies have shown that between 60 and 80 percent of people’s time on the Internet at work has nothing to do with work!

What makes this situation so dangerous is that the majority of business owners don’t even realize that it’s going on until it’s too late. By then they have found themselves in the middle of a costly and embarrassing lawsuit because an employee posted something inappropriate online OR downloaded a virus.

In other cases, the owner NEVER finds out, but is inadvertently losing THOUSANDS of dollars because employees are spending 2-3 hours a day to goof off online – and you’re footing the bill.

And age of the employee doesn’t affect an employee’s ability to waste time on the Internet. Older employees do things like managing their finances while younger employees check social media.

A Company Internet Policy Is NOT Enough

     A recent study showed that the presence of a strong Internet policy at work was not enough to curb activity, as many employees don’t think it’s wrong to surf the web and a policy was not going to change their minds. Unfortunately, the only way to curb this activity is not only to threaten consequences, but to actually take action and reprimand employees.

Our Free Internet and E-mail Usage Audit gives you the answers to whether you have a problem on your hands. Schedule your Internet and E-mail Usage Audit today by calling our office at 519-822-3450 or go online to http://www.hlbsolutions.com/about-us/contact-us/ to find out more details.

August 3rd, 2011

It is inevitable to have to upgrade any kind of software sooner or later. This is now true for Windows XP, as Microsoft has announced a discontinuation of support for the operating system in 2014. Microsoft recommends upgrading to the newer Windows 7 OS, which is something worth considering as early as now.

Part of using any sort of software is the inevitable need to upgrade. Most if not all software needs to either be replaced and upgraded as the demands of the market entail more efficient processing of the various data and information a business handles.

Such is the case with Windows XP. While many continue to use this proven straightforward operating system, Microsoft has decided to stop support by the year 2014. Microsoft further recommends upgrading to its latest OS, Windows 7, in order for users to continue to receive OS support.

While there are some lines of business applications that have not been upgraded to work with Windows 7, most have and there are alternative approaches. Also, your business needs the security and protection that only a current, up-to-date operating system can provide.

We understand that changing your OS will entail some expense, including new licenses, hardware, and some training. Fortunately, these things are designed to help you operate more efficiently and increase your productivity in the long run. But such change will take time, and if you are interested in starting to plan for an upgrade now, we’ll be happy to sit down with you and develop an upgrade process that meets your specific needs.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic News
May 24th, 2011

Many SMBs are unaware that hackers are finding online banking transactions to be profitable and easy targets for cyber-attacks because of several weaknesses in the security systems not only of both organizations, but also in the authentication protocols between them.

In a recent attack, cyber-thieves managed to get away with $63,000 after they exploited vulnerabilities in the online payroll system of a small business with its bank.

First, the crooks managed to infiltrate the company’s system through a piece of malware called the Zeus Trojan. This gave them access to the company’s data, including the password and username used in transacting with the company’s bank. The thieves then created several new ghost employees and created payroll accounts for them, which they sent to the bank and authenticated using the company controller’s username and password. And to cover their tracks, the hackers erased the confirmation emails regarding the transaction.

This incident highlights the need for better security systems in both the business and their bank as security experts cite online banking transactions as one of the favorite targets of cyber-criminals. Cyber-attacks such as this one exploit weaknesses in many existing systems that rely on very simple and automated authentication procedures to confirm transactions.

A direct threat to your business finances is not something to be taken lightly. You not only need to review your current online banking system, but also the current security protocols you have installed, since hackers and cyber-criminals are constantly updating Trojans and other malware to adapt to changing IT protection systems.

We encourage you to have us take a look at the systems you have in place to determine if you are at risk for attacks like these. Please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to draw up custom security solutions that address your specific needs.

References:
Sold a Lemon in Internet Banking
Cybercrooks Drive Away With $63,000 from Car Dealership

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic News
April 13th, 2011

lockerInternet security is an issue not to be taken lightly. As an increasing number of businesses use the web for more efficient operations, there is also more risk of being affected by malware and viruses. But thanks to initiatives such as WebBlaze and BitBlaze from Professor Dawn Song, developers are better equipped to make more effective IT security systems.

If you think hackers are the only ones doing their research to release newer and scarier viruses and malware on the web, think again. It is comforting to know that there are also very capable people doing what they can to make the internet a safer place like Professor Dawn Song, associate professor at the University of California at Berkeley and MacArthur Foundation fellow.

In a nutshell, Professor Song has been looking at different ways to make the internet experience more secure. Her two initiatives WebBlaze and BitBlaze are aimed toward developers who want to create better and much more secure programs and applications.

WebBlaze is a compilation of different strategies from Song and other like minds who tackle different problems and solutions in all sorts of platforms, and BitBlaze is an analysis tool for malicious software. While we won’t go into too much detail (it involves very complicated math), the gist is that Song and her colleagues are drawing up some very solid solutions to constantly evolving security issues on the web.

It’s exciting to see developments like these in the security industry. As threats continue to evolve, so does the means through which they are fought. The more we use the internet and the more the online experience becomes integral to the day-to-day operations of businesses big and small, the more important securing your data and information becomes. And because of efforts such as Professor Song’s, we can expect security programs to be much more effective and efficient as time passes.

Know more about BitBlaze and WebBlaze

Learn more about Dawn Song here

If you are looking to assess and beef up your security systems, we’d be happy to sit down with you and take a look at improvements that can make your business and your data much more secure.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic News