The Connection, Inc Blog

The Connection, Inc has been serving the New Jersey area since 1992, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Solid Backup Helps Builds Continuity

Solid Backup Helps Builds Continuity

With a lot of business owners being extra cautious about their spending and doing what they can to prevent unexpected interruptions they are doing everything they can to prevent data loss. This month, we thought we would tell you how data redundancy can help towards this goal.

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Do Your Privacy Practices Line Up With Your Privacy Expectations?

Do Your Privacy Practices Line Up With Your Privacy Expectations?

How concerned are you about your data privacy, as a consumer, particularly when you entrust it to another business? If you answered “very”, you aren’t alone… 87 percent of Americans consider their data privacy to be a human right. Having said that, most don’t pay near enough attention to their own security precautions. Let’s take a few moments and examine this trend.

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What’s Happening with Blockchain

What’s Happening with Blockchain

For a while there, blockchain was a buzzword that you would hear about constantly. It was the future of data security and secure online transactions. As 2020 has pointed our attention elsewhere, you’ve heard less and less about blockchain technology. Today, we’ll take a look at what some of the most innovative companies are doing with distributed encrypted networks,

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Data Services Your Business Should Be Using

Data Services Your Business Should Be Using

Your business’ data is one of its most important assets. Today, there are ways to utilize data to help build a better business. Let’s take a look at the data services that are designed to help the modern business get the most out of this resource. 

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Four Questions You Need to Ask Yourself About Your Data’s Security

Four Questions You Need to Ask Yourself About Your Data’s Security

Data security always needs to be considered as one of your most important business priorities. After all, the ramifications of data loss are wide-reaching and severe. To help you ensure that your data security is at the level it needs to be, we’ve put together five questions you need to answer regarding your business’ security preparedness.

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Not All Threats are External

Not All Threats are External

As much as a business relies on its technology, it relies just as much upon its employees to properly put that technology to use. Unfortunately, this can very easily expose the business to various threats that involve their employees. Understanding these insider threats is crucial for a business, especially given how current events may tempt those who would never have considered them otherwise.

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It’s Time to Get a VPN

It’s Time to Get a VPN

A virtual private network (also known as a VPN) is something that more and more businesses are using, especially now while most of the workforce is now working from home. As a means of encrypting data while it is in transit, the use of a VPN enables you to transmit assorted types of data more safely. Of course, not all VPNs are the same, and so you need to be careful to select the right solution for your needs.


Let’s go over a few considerations you should keep in mind.

Why Do I Need a VPN?

Look at it this way: in a normal situation, how often do you find yourself accessing the Internet as you’re out and about--more specifically, checking on business matters and sending and receiving business data? Any time you do so (or otherwise access the Internet) your data is susceptible to being spied on and/or intercepted on its way to its destination. 

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic currently in place, we’re far from a normal situation. Now it is more important than ever to give your workforce a secure way to access company data.

This should make the importance of a VPN to businesses of all sizes only too apparent.

What to Look for in a Business VPN

There are fundamental differences between a VPN designed for consumer use and one designated for a business. A personal-use VPN allows your selection process to be boiled down into what is pretty much a simple value-based decision: which option gives me the protection and speed for the best price? Personal VPNs tend to protect home users from being tracked online. It’s yet another layer of protection, but they aren’t really designed for business.

However, a business has different needs than an individual user, the primary one being the fact that the end-user isn’t necessarily the one who should be controlling the VPN’s use.

To address this exact issue, business VPNs are designed to allow for centralized management, something that consumer-focused VPNs do not. With a business VPN, you have the power to make sure each user is protected by the VPN in a simple way.

Additionally, different types of VPNs exist to fulfill different needs. There are remote access VPNs, which are the better-known variety that preserves privacy and protects data while it’s in transit. There are also site-to-site VPNs, which allow users working on different networks to access resources from the others’. This is particularly handy in large businesses with multiple locations, as they allow data to be shared between locations conveniently and without any risk to security.

This has just been a brief introduction to the VPN-selection process. If you’re serious about putting one into place, or even if you just want to learn more about them, reach out to The Connection, Inc. Our team can help evaluate your situation and recommend the best course of action for you, as well as help you fulfill your business’ IT needs. Call us at (732) 291-5938 today.

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A Brief Introduction to Database Management Systems

A Brief Introduction to Database Management Systems

Data is one of a business’ most important assets, and as such, it needs to be kept in such a way that it remains organized and utilizable. This has led to widespread use of databases in businesses, which has necessitated the use of database management systems. Let’s take a closer look at these systems, and why they are so crucial.


For a frame of reference, let’s imagine that our database is actually a library, and all of the books inside are actually our data. Following this analogy, the database management system (or DBMS) is like the Dewey Decimal System… it keeps the contents of your database/library organized and usable.

The Function of a DBMS

As you may have already figured out, the database management system helps you secure and organize the data stored in your database. By allowing you to better keep track of your database’s activity, you maintain more control over your database.

This control, paired with the added convenience of the DBMS, offers you a variety of benefits. These benefits include.

  • A DBMS allows you to restrict access to data that an end user has.
  • Users have a simpler time finding the data they need.
  • It eliminates the need to restructure data to use different programs.
  • Administration procedures can be unified.
  • A DBMS makes data processing more economical.
  • Data inconsistencies between file systems are eliminated.
  • A DBMS allows for simultaneous data access between multiple users.

So, when all is said and done, a DBMS can simplify your users’ tasks, without sacrificing your control or data security.

If you want to optimize your business’ productivity and efficacy, The Connection, Inc is here to help. Call (732) 291-5938 today to discuss your particular needs with us.

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Are Your Biggest Threats Coming From Inside Your Company?

Are Your Biggest Threats Coming From Inside Your Company?

Most businesses that really lean on their IT go to great lengths and expense to keep those systems secure. Sometimes, however, all those firewalls and antivirus software don’t stop threats that come in from your staff. Today, we are going to go through the three different types of human error that your staff can undertake, and how to deal with each.


Accidental

The most benign of the insider threats, the accidental mistake typically happens when data is in transit. Circumstances often lead to situations that are less than ideal. Typically, these types of mistakes are made when an employee isn’t properly trained. If you have security policies in place, but an employee hasn’t been made privy to them, or at the very least they aren’t given the knowledge on how to stay compliant of them, there is a disconnect that can often lead to problems. 

Negligent

Unfortunately, most insider threats are of this nature. These are threats that are brought on directly from user error because of a lack of diligence. When data is lost in a database, when malware is downloaded on the network, or when mobile hardware is lost, your company is dealing with user negligence. Most negligence is not premeditated, but due to its avoidable nature, it is looked on much less favorably as compared to accidental mistakes. 

Malicious

When an insider acts in a way that is intentionally malicious towards an organization. This can come in several forms. A user that has access to company computing resources can deliberately steal data, inject malware, and bypass security policies enacted by the IT administrator. Then there is the mole, who is a person that is actually an outsider, but is provided access to company computing resources, and uses his/her position to pass information onto competitors, steals it with the intention of selling it off, or using it nefariously later. 

How to Spot Insider Threats

The nature of the beast here makes spotting insider threats difficult, but there are some indicators that can help you identify if you have a bad actor in your midst. 

  • Type of activity for users - If a user has access to certain resources, but their job doesn’t typically require them to use those resources, especially ones that are filled with sensitive information, you wouldn’t be misguided to further monitor that employee’s behavior on your computing network. 
  • The volume of traffic - If you can’t account for a sudden uptick in network traffic, you may want to investigate. 
  • Times of activity - If you see spikes in traffic at strange times, you’ll need to ascertain why.

How to Protect Against Insider Threats

You can take some pretty straightforward steps to combat any insider threats. They include:

  • Increase visibility - You will want to put systems in place to keep track of employee actions. You can do this best by correlating information from multiple sources. 
  • Enforce policies - Having your policies documented and easily accessible will avoid any misunderstanding of your business’ expectations on how employees interact with its technology resources. 
  • Comprehensive training - IT isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. To avoid accidental mistakes and to help reduce negligence, consider putting together strong training initiatives. They will go a long way toward helping staff understand what is expected and what is possible.
  • Access control - Of course, if you set up permissions for every part of your business, you can effectively set who can see what, making sabotage and negligence less likely to hurt your business. 

If you would like help identifying how to protect your business’ network and data from threats, even the ones that come from inside your business, call the IT professionals at The Connection, Inc today at (732) 291-5938.

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Promoting Data Privacy

Promoting Data Privacy

Today, everything we do on the computer and on our phones creates data. Organizations that are good at utilizing this data, often look to capture everything that they can. This can leave the individual searching for a way to keep his/her data secure. Let’s take a look at some of the best practices used to prioritize individual data privacy.

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Your Business Will Benefit from Proper Data Management

Your Business Will Benefit from Proper Data Management

As digital systems have been adopted by more businesses, data has become a bigger tool. This is due to businesses having the initiative to direct this data into creating strategy. Today, data services are a desirable component for a business to embrace. Let’s take a closer look at how businesses are expanding their use of their data.

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Learn Why Backups are Most Crucial to Users

Learn Why Backups are Most Crucial to Users

Data loss is no joke - and we’ve heard plenty of stories from people who have experienced it firsthand, when personal or business data was lost. We appreciate everyone who shared their experiences with us, and allowed us to post them here. First, we’ll tell the story of someone who learned something in college that wasn’t in the syllabus.

Don’t forget to share your own stories with us in the comments!


College was a pretty great time for me, so I have a lot of good memories of it. Of course, they weren’t all great... One memory in particular still bothers me a little: when I almost failed in sophomore year because my computer went bad.

I went to college to study journalism, so there was a lot of writing involved. So much so, that my Dad surprised me before I started my second year with a computer for my dorm room so I could write and edit my copy in peace. The student computers on campus were a little ways from the dorm, so it was nice not to have to hike across campus by myself.

Sophomore year started wonderfully - I wrote a few articles for the student paper each week, and I got some of my general studies courses out of the way so I could focus on professional development during my later years. I even went abroad for a few weeks on a mission trip that fall, and had assembled quite a photo album with the digital camera I had bought for the occasion.

However, toward the end of that first semester, everything went wrong, all at once.

I had heard I should keep up a backup, but I really didn't think I'd have a problem. My Dad had just bought me this new computer just before the semester started, so everything was updated and new. I had a copy of *most* of my files when I moved them over to the new computer, so I figured I was in good shape for a while.

Then, just before Thanksgiving, I was in a bit of a rush. My roommate had already taken care of everything she had to and was pretty much just waiting to go home for the holiday - she just had a few more classes to attend. 

I, on the other hand, was swamped - I wanted to get a few assignments started before break so I wouldn’t have to play catch-up after, and I had bitten off more than I could chew. 

I had to make sure I would have enough time to write everything that the paper would need after break, so I was trying to get a head start on some projects I knew were coming up. One was a research paper for the global history course I was taking. 

Knowing full well that very few college students would work on a research paper before a break, the professor had literally had us drawn our topics from a hat. I had pulled… the Hussite Wars, I think... and I had already put together an outline for this paper to be built around. This thing was supposed to be pretty hefty, with a full bibliography, according to our professor.

So there I was, typing away as my roommate watched Miss Congeniality for the third time that week. Just as Sandra Bullock was teaching self-defense using the SING technique, my computer started making weird sounds, and suddenly the screen went blank.

After a moment of shock, I started to panic. I had just put in hours and hours of work on this paper, and it was suddenly gone. Then I looked closer - everything was gone. All of my files, all of my work - everything… including the pictures I had taken during my trip.

My heart was broken, and my gut felt like it was filled with concrete.

It was late at night, so campus IT services had already gone home. I couldn’t sleep a wink, and the first thing I did in the morning was to haul my computer over to the IT service desk. They looked it over, and found that there was, unfortunately, nothing they could do to restore my files, although they got the computer working again.

I went home for break pretty stressed out - not only had I essentially wasted a ton of time on work that I was going to have to redo, I didn’t have all of the pictures that I had from my trip - those were what really hurt to lose. That’s why I was so happy when my Dad reminded me that I had already made him a CD of all the pictures I had taken, and he made me a copy to bring back.

The next few weeks were miserable, as I basically had to stay up all hours to get everything done. Somehow, I managed. I have since learned my lesson, and when working on an assignment, I ALWAYS keep a backup - although I don’t use a CD anymore.

What We Can Do Better

To protect your business’ data, you should always have more than one copy of it saved, and these copies should be kept in separate locations. While you should be taking multiple backups a day, it is best if they run continuously, ensuring that the most work you would lose would amount to just a few minutes.

We want to thank our contributor today, and remind you that The Connection, Inc can assist your company with its data backup and continuity needs. Reach out at (732) 291-5938 to learn more about our solutions!

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Tip of the Week: Managing Your IT Inventory Management

Tip of the Week: Managing Your IT Inventory Management

IT inventory management is the process of making sure that your information technology resources are maintained to be their most effective, such as what needs to be updated, which licenses need to be renewed, and whether your resources are helping you accomplish your organizational goals. It is essentially a fancy way of saying asset management, specific to your IT - and it is a very important process for any business.

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Tip of the Week: Get Better at Managing Your Mobile Data

Tip of the Week: Get Better at Managing Your Mobile Data

You may not think much about managing mobile data, but if your business routinely transmits sensitive data over the Internet, you should. Today, businesses of all types are using the Internet as a tool to drive their sales and marketing processes, but they don’t often consider the threats that come in when they use it for productivity. Today, we will go over what a Mobile Information Management solution is, and how to leverage it for your business. 

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File Sharing Tips from the Pros

File Sharing Tips from the Pros

The more time that passes the more files your business accumulates. These files need to be stored in a place where your staff has access to them. Since a lot of today’s work is collaborative, finding the right file sharing and collaboration solution is extremely important for the growing SMB. Today, we will tell you some things you need to do to maintain efficient file management systems.

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Why Managed Services: Data Management

Why Managed Services: Data Management

Managed services offer businesses an improved means of obtaining and managing the technology they rely on. With data being so important to the modern business, much of this technology is devoted to storing, securing, and leveraging this data. Working with a managed service provider can help a business get the most value out of their data management practices. Let’s go over how.

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The Endless Line of Costs from a Data Breach

The Endless Line of Costs from a Data Breach

Picture this… In your office you have a bag filled with thousands of envelopes. In each envelope there is $242 in cash. Unbeknownst to you, a thief has gained access to your office, but you don’t realize this until 279 days later. How much is this going to cost your business?


Data breaches on average in the US cost $242 per breached record. With the average breach compromising 25,575 records, the average cost per data breach is $8.19 million. Of course, the financial cost per breach is determined by a number of factors, but regardless of how much each breached file is actually worth, the entire situation has a chance to be the end of everything that you’ve been doing. Today we discuss these factors and determine how your business can avoid experiencing the effects companies feel in the aftermath. 

Talking Numbers… Very Large Numbers

Let’s take a brief look at the 2019 Cost of a Data Breach Report.

It’s no secret that anything associated with the healthcare industry costs a pretty penny. Healthcare data breaches are no different. The average cost of a data breach in the healthcare industry costs approximately 6.45 million dollars. This number is a staggering $15 million in the United States, where healthcare costs outpace the rest of the world. The cost-per-record increased over five percent within just a year, increasing from 408 dollars to 429 dollars. This 21-dollar increase might seem insignificant, as well as non-healthcare records increasing 2 dollars over a year, but remember that the average breach compromises 25,575 records. That means comparing 2018 to 2019, even non-healthcare data breach costs increased by over half a million dollars per incident. 

Clients Will Forget About Our Breach … Right?

Word travels fast in the digital age. If your business suffers a data breach, statistically these are the long- and short-term hurdles you will face.

Once customers hear their personal data has been breached, some begin to look for alternative companies in which to do business. It’s not uncommon for customers to feel that their data cannot be trusted following a data breach, and it's hard to blame them. In fact, on average 3.9 percent (even higher in the healthcare industry) of customers leave service following a data breach. For businesses with fewer than 500 employees, a data breach could ultimately lead to problems attracting new revenue, and ultimately, failure.

Mitigation

What your business needs to know following a data breach, is time is of the essence. The faster you solve the issue at hand, the less it is going to cost. Solving the problem within 200 days reduces the total cost by $1.2 million on average. What’s better than saving $1.2 million? Not suffering from a data breach in the first place. The Connection, Inc offers services that can help prevent breaches. Call (732) 291-5938 to learn more about our security services.

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Four Ways Cloud Storage Can Benefit Your Business

Four Ways Cloud Storage Can Benefit Your Business

Cloud solutions have proven their value in many different business applications, a major one being the ability to use a cloud service as a storage solution. By doing so, a business can enjoy a few additional advantages as compared to one that relies on more traditional storage solutions.

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Using the Private Cloud Adds Security to Your Databases

Using the Private Cloud Adds Security to Your Databases

Cloud-based databases are valuable for businesses on plenty of levels, but when you consider how much risk you expose your organization to by using a public cloud over a private solution, you suddenly start to realize that the ramifications could be far beyond repair. Compared to the public cloud, a private solution presents a greater opportunity for security, flexibility, and customization.

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3 Ways You Can Protect Your Data

3 Ways You Can Protect Your Data

Businesses have a lot of data to protect and it’s not so simple as implementing a catch-all solution that can keep your data secure. In fact, it takes several solutions working in tandem to maximize data security. We recommend a combination of a unified threat management tool, a Bring Your Own Device policy, and a virtual private network solution. Let’s take a longer look at them:

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  The Connection, Inc is proud to announce the launch of our new website at http://www.tconnection.com. The goal of the new website is to make it easier for our existing clients to submit and manage support requests, and provide more information about our servic...

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The Connection, Inc
51 Village CT
Hazlet, New Jersey 07730