Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: security

All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technology contractors relating to security and security clearances.

Working Remotely? Secure your devices with these 5 easy security tips

Working Remotely? Secure your devices with these 5 easy security tips

This guest post was written and submitted by TechWarn

These are very strange times we are living in. Many governments have implemented a stay-at-home order meaning more and more people are working remotely. Studies show that in mid-March 2020, more than twice the number of North Americans were working at home compared to the same period in 2019.

Companies spend thousands of dollars a year on security measures to protect their systems from cyberattacks. But with employees turning their kitchen table into a home office and working on a home network, how can they follow company protocols and protect sensitive information?

Encrypt Data

One of the best security tips for staying safe when working remotely is to secure devices with a VPN. A virtual private network creates a secure connection and encrypts data, making it unreadable to prying eyes. VPNs can be installed on individual computers and smart devices, which also helps protect and shield online activity when using public wifi.

The Internet of Things (IoT) now means that many devices are connected to a home network. Think gaming consoles, security cameras, baby monitors, and AI-powered virtual assistants. It can be difficult to install a VPN directly on these devices, so protect everything connected to the home wifi with a VPN router.

Antivirus

Your home computer is now being used to store and amend work documents that, without installing the proper security, are easier for hackers to steal or destroy. The antivirus software available for home installation may not be as powerful as those used by businesses but it can prevent malware from attacking devices. Even free antiviruses significantly reduce the risk of attack and should stop you from getting in trouble with the boss.

Update Programs and Operating Systems

The security risks to operating systems, programs, and applications continually change as cybercriminals look for new ways to overcome protocols. Unfortunately, this is often easy as users are too lazy to update software.

In 2016, a ransomware attack known as WannaCry affected 200,000 computers running an out of date version of Microsoft Windows. Ensuring devices and software, especially those used for work purposes, are up-to-date with the latest security patches, should help prevent these kinds of cyberattacks from happening in the future.

Use Strong Router Passwords

Default passwords for routers are often very weak and a quick search on the internet is all it takes to find them. Hackers use these defaults by writing them into the code of malicious software. If a router becomes infected, it becomes a bot, allowing criminals to read all data sent over the network. Always change the default password to a minimum of 12 characters with a mixture of numbers, letters, and symbols.

Always Use Corporate IT Services

Many companies have IT services set up for employees to use while working from home. Corporate email systems, internal messaging platforms, and video conferencing tools have all been vetted and secured by IT departments and provide colleagues the tools to communicate.

It can be tempting to use instant messaging and video meeting platforms outside of the corporate setup. Zoom has become a popular platform for holding virtual meetings but a breach in its security lead to Zoom bombing, with uninvited guests accessing meetings and posting pornographic images. Always use the systems that are already in place to avoid unauthorized assess to company and personal data.

Working remotely may be the new norm and no one knows when employees will return to the workplace. In the meantime, stay home, stay safe, and be sure to work as securely as possible.

8 Ways to Make Your Home Office More Secure

8 Ways to Make Your Home Office More Secure

Millions of people around the world have found themselves working from a home office over the past month, and many of them were not prepared. You might have a home office set-up, complete with a comfortable workspace and the right equipment, but is your client’s information well-protected? You may need to step-up your security game.

We’ve shared tips before on how you can guarantee your individual device is secured, and there are more steps you can take to ensure your client’s assets remain safe. Here are a few steps you can take to move closer to that final goal.

  • Remember Basic Security: Let’s start with the standard practices you’re (hopefully) already doing. Install quality virus protection on your computer and work only on a secure Wi-Fi that’s backed-up by a safe password. Speaking of passwords, stop writing them down where anybody can find them. There are a number of affordable password managers available that will make your life easier and more secure.
  • Be Aware of Online Dangers: There are reports of more email attacks during the COVID-19 crisis. Now more than ever, be extra diligent before downloading an attachment or responding to an email that seems the least bit suspicious. Even if it appears to be coming from a co-worker you trust, if it seems out-of-the-ordinary, double check with a phone call to the supposed sender.
  • Don’t Ignore Security Updates: When your computer or software says that there are updates available for security purposes, take the advice and run the updates. Of course, given the previous point, if any update is suspicious, do your research before clicking the “Install” button.
  • Be Careful When Using the Cloud: Saving files to a cloud service such as Dropbox, Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive is a helpful idea for sharing files with coworkers, and often securely. Before doing so, ensure that it is an approved service by your client’s security team and that your credentials to that service are also secured.
  • Be Aware When Making Calls: The weather is going to become nicer which means your windows are going to be open and you may be in a fortunate situation where you can work on the back deck. Keep your phone conversations quiet because you never know who is listening.
  • Lock Things Up: So far we’ve been talking about electronic security, but physical items such as documents should also be considered when securing your home office. Break-ins happen and kids can get nosey. Set-up locks on your office and invest in a cabinet that locks to help keep client documents safe.
  • Keep Organized: Forget kids and burglars, your own disorganization could be the reason you misplace important documents or passwords get into the wrong hands. Spend a few extra minutes each day to keep your workspace clean and organized.
  • Shred Paper: If you print any documents that have any sort of private information, you should have a paper shredder in your home office. Your client depends on you to dispose of waste responsibly.

There is a lot of change happening that’s causing all of our lives to be a little more out of order. While some things will justifiably be missed, when working from home, it’s imperative that your client’s security remains at the top of your priority list. Could you improve the security in your home office?

Free Webinar to Help You Ensure Client Security While Working from Home

The new normal of physical distancing is expected to be in place for a while yet, meaning working from your home office on a more permanent basis is now a reality. Fortunately, the nature of IT contracting allows for this fairly easily and there are few complications in serving clients and completing projects.

While clients are thrilled that work can still be completed and productivity can remain high, there are security concerns. More remote workers mean that more information may be stored offsite and clients put their trust in IT contractors to keep their systems secured. That means that on top of being productive for your client, you also need to be vigilant in security to protect their information.

Last Summer, we shared a post written by NPC, an organization that specializes in secure mobile solutions. As the article states, clients depend on you to protect their business interests and “The impact on a contractor from a lost, stolen or compromised device while in a contract can be devastating.” Their service is an as-a-service model that provides secure managed devices with back-up completed each day into a secure data centre.

Free Webinar: Office 365 Basics for Secure Work from Home

Free Webinar to Help You Ensure Client Security While Working from HomeOn top of working on a secure device, you want to know that you’re using the software as securely as possible. One of the most common suites of software is Office 365. NPC is hosting two webinars in the coming week with practical insights regarding Office 365 to ensure your productivity and security during this time of challenge.

This webinar is for anyone that would like to know what Office 365 can do for them to work remotely, or current remote users who would like to be sure they are working securely but may need some clarity on key features. Staying connected to your team is important, doing it securely is critical. In this free 60-minute webinar NPC will walk you through the minimums of what you will need to effectively work from home using Office 365, and how you can be productive using key applications like SharePoint and Teams.

The webinar is open to everyone and will cover topics including: The Importance of Secure Computing from Home at this Time, Specific Cyber Threats, The Essentials for Secure Computing in Your WFH Environment, Connecting to Your Data with SharePoint, and Connecting to People with Teams.

Use either of these links to sign-up for the webinars:

It’s 2019. Do You Know Where Your Data Is?

There’s little such thing as privacy in this world. If you use the Internet and access any major technology platform, your data is almost definitely being captured in some form or another. How often do you think about what kind of information is out there and who has access to it?

Unless you’re extremely diligent, you can guarantee that at least one of the major players — Google, Facebook, Apple, Twitter, Amazon or Microsoft — has some data on you. And this infographic from Security Baron tells you what they might have.

Even though the infographic isn’t even a year old yet, it already contains some outdated information (Google+ doesn’t exist anymore). Still, it remains an eye-opener and accurate on most fronts.

The Data Big Tech Companies Have On You - SecurityBaron.com - Infographic
By SecurityBaron.com

Companies Are Tracking Your Entire Life

Have you ever received a call or email from a recruiter and thought “How did this person get my information?” We receive that question a lot and even wrote a post with some explanations a couple years go. While IT recruiters can definitely be resourceful in finding skilled contractors, that’s nothing compared to what large corporations have on you.

This video from Bright Side explains that every time you download a free app or access some websites, you are being tracked. Companies are gathering your information and selling it to marketers so they can target you. Some consumers say they don’t mind, but many frequently express concerns with these practices. This video not only gives the scary details about how companies are getting your data, it also gives tips to protect yourself.

Is There a Hidden Spy App on Your Cell Phone?

The world can be a scary place with bumps and bangs around every corner. However, we often look past the silent threats which can sometimes be the most dangerous. With phones getting increasingly more complex and “smarter” with every release, hackers have become harder to catch, let alone notice.

Do you want to make sure your phone is safe? The first step is to detect a problem as quickly as possible. Check out this infographic from FamilyOrbit for more information and forward it to your friends and family who have cell phones and protect them from the unseen dangers that could be just a double tap away.

How to Detect Hidden Spy App on Android or iOS – Infographic - An Infographic from Family Orbit Blog
Embedded from Family Orbit Blog

Ensure You’re Working on a Secure Device… But Don’t Spend Time Securing It

The following guest post was provided by NPC

IT and professional contractors are the definitive mobile professional.  Moving between jobs that can be anywhere from a few days to a few years, mobility, adaptability and professionalism are essential to their success. They’ve been mastering the “gig economy” long before it was topical. Many contractors make exceptional money, better sometimes than their permanent-staff counterparts. The difference between the winners and losers may not be the luck of the draw on the positions they land, but how they organize and present themselves. Running an efficient and secure one-person office is critical to being able to focus on the work opportunity, and to maximize revenue generating hours.

But as solo entrepreneurs, how a contractor spends their time doing just that is important.  Like it is for any professional, time is money. It’s reasonably certain that someone who owns a car dealership no longer changes their own oil. Smart producers look carefully at their operational responsibilities and how they spend their time. They watch for opportunities to offload a task to someone that can do it faster-better-cheaper. Even though it may be a task they know how to do themselves, once the value of their skills overtakes the value of the task, they offload it.

As-a-Service models are related to and fast becoming as ubiquitous as Cloud Computing. They are great opportunities for professionals of all types to offload some of the time-consuming and low value work that is not only a bit of pain to keep up with, but takes away from either their revenue producing work, or, more importantly, precious personal and family time.

An example of this is NPC DataGuard’s secure managed computer offering. For a single monthly fee NPC will provide a professional with a top-of-line laptop, desktop or hybrid tablet, that is already sourced, configured, and secured with industry leading backup and security tools.  Giving the responsibility to someone else to provide a computer that is built, managed and monitored, always in warranty, with single-point-of-contact 24/7 support, can be a big time saver for the Contractor.

For those jobs that require the contractor to “BYOD”, being secure and protecting their business interests, and that of their clients, is essential. The level of security that can be achieved in these types of specialized models is exceptional. Fully encrypted and biometric access devices will impress those clients that require you to work on a secure device. As well, as an example, NPC DataGuard’s Pro product comes with $5M in privacy breach remediation insurance if an NPC ever failed to protect critical personal information you may work on for your client.

The impact on a contractor from a lost, stolen or compromised device while in a contract can be devastating.  What is your plan today for such an event? What’s your personal Business Continuity Plan?  A secure managed computer includes a full back-up completed each day into a secure data centre.  A lost, stolen or damaged device can be replaced with data restored, saving you countless hours doing it yourself and getting you back to work.

“As-a-Service” models offer products and services to ensure the contractor does not waste time on tasks that pay him or her less than what they can make, as well as levels of  technology performance that even an IT professional might find hard to achieve on their own.

Spending a lot of time buying, configuring and securing your own computer can now be a thing of the past. Key to driving top revenue is showing up professionally with military-grade security on a slick new computer and being able to focus on the opportunity at hand.

This guest post was submitted by our friends at NPC. Visit this page to learn more and to get a special offer for all of our readers.

Quick Poll Results: Are IT Professionals Concerned with Digital Security?

With the growing concern about privacy and security in today’s technology, we decided to turn to our network of technology experts to find out how serious they perceive the threat to actually be. Last month’s contractor quick poll asked how concerned you are with all of these breaches and hacks, and if you believe we all need to start being more vigilant online.

After a month of being published, we’ve had a number of responses and they’re still coming in. At this point, here’s what people are saying. Where do you fall on the spectrum?

How concerned are you about digital privacy and security?

Contractor Quick Poll: Does Digital Privacy and Security Keep You Up at Night?

The last few years have seen no shortage in hacks and data breaches. It seems every large company gets their time in the spotlight as they face public relations nightmares, explaining to customers that their data was breached and why it took so long to disclose it. Add to the mix privacy investigations of the world’s largest social networks like Facebook and Google, plus the damage a hacked smart home can do, and it’s no surprise that some people prefer to remain off the digital grid all together.

As an IT professional, you’re more knowledgeable than the average person on this topic, so it’s easier to identify risks and take precautions. Unfortunately, that added knowledge means you’re also cursed with enough information to better understand how easily your privacy can be breached and what kind of implications that can have.

In this month’s contractor quick poll, we want to know how technology experts view the current state of digital privacy and security. Are you less concerned because you know how to protect yourself or worried because you understand the threats that face us?

How Blockchain Technology Will Impact M-Commerce and Security Industry in 2019

Since its introduction, Blockchain technology has wowed the IT world with its multi-faceted use, and 2019 looks like it will be no different. While Blockchain has already made large amounts of headway in the mobile app development, retail, and financial sectors, it is beginning to dive further into app security, M-Commerce, and payments, which will in turn, make records tamper-proof and more reliable than ever before. In appTech’s infographic we are able to see just how Blockchain is affecting our ability to pay wirelessly using our phones, and how certain apps and concepts are becoming more secure the more developed they become.

How Blockchain Technology Will Impact M-Commerce and Security Industry in 2019