With the recent cyber-attacks on large retail stores like Target and Neiman Marcus, businesses of all sizes must take proper precaution to ensure the security of both their own private data and the personal data of their customers. Aside from an innovative business continuity plan and secure IT support, an efficient business network relies on strong passwords from owners and employees.

According to The Washington Post, the Target hacker used software known as BlackPOS to infect sales systems and steal credit card information along with other financial records. The 17-year old Russian teenager then gained remote access by trying several easy and commonly used passwords, eventually logging in. Using “weak passwords” for your business’s cloud storage can leave your IT network exposed to personal data leaks. As the leading IT specialists, Brash Concepts warns businesses of the potential risk of using vulnerable passwords.

Here are a few IT consulting tips for strengthening your weak passwords to ensure your data remains private:

Strong Passwords: A strong password contains upwards of 14 characters. This includes a combination of upper and lowercase letters as well as at least one number and one symbol.

Use Mnemonic Devices: Do not use the same password for multiple devices and data libraries. Use the first letters of an easy sentence for a strong and unique password for each level of security. Example: a5Ceg: all 5 Cows eat grass.

Passwords Require Consistent Updates: When going through a system update or a network change, it is best to change your password to something new and equally complex.

In addition to privately monitored IT consulting from Brash Concepts, business owners and employees must take individual steps to protect their personal data. Weak passwords can easily leave your business’s confidential files susceptible to cyber-attacks and hacks. Secure your IT data center and develop a reliable business continuity plan with the help of Brash Concepts today!

As of January 14, 2020, Microsoft will stop releasing updates and patches for Windows 7.

What does this mean for us?

If you’re using Windows 7 and encounter a problem, Microsoft may not offer support to fix it.

An even bigger issue once Windows 7 enters the End of Life phase is that it won’t be patched for new viruses or security issues.

This will leave your system extremely vulnerable to malware and Trojan horses that could not only compromise your computer, but will also expose your data to hackers.

What can we do?

We strongly advise you to purchase a new machine with Windows 10 already installed. Moving your files to a new PC is easy with the use of an external hard drive or large thumb drive.

Do we have to get new computers? Why can’t we upgrade our current systems?

Even if your current system meets the requirements for a Windows 10 upgrade, it won’t function well. (ie: slower speed, crashes, etc.)

Our team will be happy to assist you in upgrading to a new Windows 10 equipped operating system. Make the switch sooner rather than later for a seamless transition.
Email: sandy@brashconcepts.com

If a laptop is stolen or lost, and the data is not backed up, you just lost it all. Worst of all, even if you had it locked with a strong password, it’s very likely to get cracked. Once the thief succeeds, any private data that is unencrypted is free for the taking. One solution: keep sensitive and important data, files, pictures, contracts, etc., on a secure private cloud service, so it’s never on your employer’s hard drive in the first place. By storing this information in the cloud, you can immediately revoke access when a device goes missing. Side Tip: If you have important family photos, store it in Shutterfly or some other photo-storing cloud application so those are backed up as well.

Cybercrime is at an all-time high, and hackers are setting their sights on small and medium businesses who are “low hanging fruit.” Don’t be their next victim! Click here to download this free report that reveals the most common ways that hackers get in and how to protect yourself today.