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Welcome to our blog where you can find everything from tech-tips to keeping your data secure. Have any questions? We'd love to hear from you!

Plan for Compliance and Avoid Loss

Plan for Compliance and Avoid Loss

Today’s world is driven by data. Naturally, information systems must be secure. Business is all about relationship and without proper security protocols in place, your clients will lose their trust in you. While today’s hackers have many ways to breach an organization’s network, data breaches that occur as a result of lax security are unforgivable from a customer standpoint. Some organizations can spend more on security than others, but data security must be a priority, no matter your IT budget.

Here are some of the regulations all business owners and IT administrators should know:

  • GDPR: The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation is as comprehensive a data protection law as there is. Its aim is to protect the citizens of EU-member countries from data breaches. The GDPR applies to every organization that processes personal information of people residing in the EU.
  • CAN-SPAM ACT: This rule ensures that individuals don’t receive explicit or misleading advertising information from an organization.
  • GPG13: Known as the Good Practice Guide 13, it is the U.K.’s general data protection regulation for organizations that do business in the U.K.
  • HIPAA: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act puts several guidelines on how patients’ data is shared and disseminated by insurers and health maintenance organizations.
  • SOX - The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires corporate records to be kept for seven years to ensure that there is transparency in the accounting. For IT this means being able to have access to data to run reports when called upon.
  • PCI-DSS - Payment Card Index Data Security Standard are regulations enacted to try and reduce fraud by protecting an individual’s credit card information.

A business that doesn’t adhere to simple IT regulations probably isn’t adhering to other regulations. Would you want to do business with someone that you know won’t do what’s asked of them to protect YOUR data? Unreputable businesses that are looking to gain an edge by not meeting regulations will pay later for not spending now.

Compliance and Your Business

How will you plan for your company’s compliance? The best way is to educate yourself on what exactly your business needs to plan for by looking at the regulatory mandates, and by seeking out organizations who have already become compliant with their respective industry regulations. This is where a managed IT service provider (MSP) can be helpful. Since we take security compliance extremely seriously, and deal with many businesses across a wide variety of industries, we have the perspective that can provide a clear strategy on how to stay compliant.

Machado Consulting uses sophisticated monitoring, management, and reporting software to reduce risk and put our clients in the best position to prepare for any audits or assessments that need to be completed by regulators. Since the regulatory landscape is constantly changing, our IT professionals are in a unique position to serve as both IT administrator and regulatory consultant.

If you are searching for a way to control your compliance situation, look no further than the IT professionals at Machado Consulting. We can come alongside your organization to help eliminate any risk your organization would have as a result of compliance concerns. Call us at (508) 453-4700 today to get started. 

Originally published as “Knowing and Planning for Your Compliance Burden”, June 23, 2018. Updated October 16, 2019.

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Being Smart & Social: The Importance of Cyber Hygiene on Social Media

Being Smart & Social: The Importance of Cyber Hygiene on Social Media

Blog post originally published on April 10, 2019 as "Social Media Users Should Consider Their Personal Information". Updated September 27, 2019.

Social media has completely changed the dynamics of how people communicate with one another. In an age where a picture can appear on thousands of devices all over the world, privacy has become a major concern for anyone using social media. According to the Pew Research Center, 72% of Americans over 18-years-old use some social media platform. 

In relation to this increase, the number of cybercriminals looking to steal money, information, and identities has also risen. Privacy concerns are prevalent in today’s social media environment, and users must be aware of how their data is vulnerable.  For most people social media is a place where they can share their civil and political views, personal health information, learn scientific information, engage in job, familial, and society-related activities, and where they get most of their news. Between social media and online commerce, more personally identifiable information is shared with corporations than you would ever knowingly share with your best friends. Think about that.

As social media usage increases, (we currently spend 30% of our online hours on social media), we are sharing more and more personal information. App developers create more third party integrations that require you to share your personal info in order to use their service. But the more this happens, the easier it is to lose control over who has your data, how their storing it, and how they're monetizing it.

Why Stay on Social Media If It Makes You Vulnerable?

If you are at the beach and a lifeguard told you that they saw sharks in the water, would you wade around waist-deep trying to spot the sharks? No chance. We constantly warn people to protect their personal information, and they consistently don’t. Why? Because we all tend to think of data and privacy in small, targeted ways, but we now know that data breaches and big data gathering happen to anyone and everyone. While personally motivated cyber attacks occur, it's much more likely that your privacy will be compromised by a larger scale attack.

Here are some great tips for staying safe on social media, as posted by the Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Division, for more detailed information, check out the CISA website.

  • Limit the amount of personal information you post 
  • Remember that the internet is a public resource 
  • Be wary of strangers 
  • Be skeptical 
  • Evaluate your settings 
  • Be wary of third-party applications 
  • Use strong passwords
  • Check privacy policies 
  • Keep software, particularly your web browser, up to date 
  • Use and maintain anti-virus software 

Remember, less is more on social. Sure, your "Likes" may establish your online personality, style and preferences, but you might find yourself the target of more than just savvy marketers.

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Why Managed Services: Proactive Maintenance and Management

Why Managed Services: Proactive Maintenance and Management

In order for one methodology to replace another, it has to provide more value than the one that came before. In terms of IT support, managed services can deliver far greater value than the familiar break/fix method. In this series, we’ll explore the value that managed services contribute to a business, starting with their proactive nature.

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Evaluating Your Business’ Information Technology

Evaluating Your Business’ Information Technology

It’s imperative that you keep your IT infrastructure under control, but many organizations push it to the side. The problem is that ignoring IT often makes it so that you aren’t properly evaluating your technology infrastructure and support, meaning that you could be wasting time and resources that would be better spent elsewhere. Ask yourself the following questions to determine whether or not your IT systems are being maintained properly.

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Tip of the Week: Extend Your IT Budget

Tip of the Week: Extend Your IT Budget

Budgeting for your technology can be pretty difficult. You never really know when some problem is going to present itself and cost your business an arm and a leg. Since you can’t always see what’s coming, saving money when you can is important. Let’s take a look at a few ways that you can save money on your business’ IT.

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