How Regulatory Compliance Affects Your Business

Businesses are now dealing with more regulations than ever. As the Code of Federal Regulations continues to grow, it’s important to make sure that your business is compliant with all applicable regulations. Especially important are those involving data protection, sharing and storage. In many industries this can be a daunting task that calls for professional assistance.

Regulatory compliance is both an ethical and practical issue for your business. Regulations put in place to protect consumers offer businesses the opportunity to put their ethical culture on display. Most regulations also carry some kind of penalty in the event of a breach. These can range from modest fines to jail time.

In order to guarantee your ability to achieve full regulatory compliance, it’s important to be aware of how regulations change the way your business operates and the consequences of failing to comply.

Consequences of Regulatory Compliance Breaches

The true impact of a compliance breach can be hard to quantify, but the monetary penalties associated with regulatory compliance breaches are a good starting point. Fines are meant to be a deterrent as well as a punishment, and are therefore designed to be able to have a major effect on a business’s bottom line. HIPAA violations carry clear financial penalties in the healthcare sector, for example. A Category 1 violation carries a $100 minimum fine, with a ceiling of $50,000. A Category 4 violation carries a $50,000 minimum fine, with a ceiling at $1.5 million.

As the severity and number of violations increases, fines can skyrocket. Fines can also vary wildly by industry. The largest fine ever levied for an environmental violation, for example, was against BP for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill: $18.7 billion.

In the post-Enron era, governments throughout North America and Europe have taken major steps to prevent future corporate corruption. There has been a surge in regulations affecting every branch of a business. Knowledge of these regulations and their penalties will protect your business in the future – and possibly change the way you operate.

The Constantly Changing World of Regulatory Compliance

Part of running a growing business is preparing to change the way you operate to comply with new regulations. In some industries, sweeping regulations and policy changes mean that decision-makers have to stay on their toes. Two industries in particular come to mind: healthcare and finance.

The Affordable Care Act was rolled out over several years and made significant changes in the healthcare sector, particularly regarding insurance processes and plan administration. As healthcare professionals adjusted and grew accustomed to these changes, shifts in the political landscape made it clear that things could change again very quickly. It’s impossible to tell what the regulatory scene will look like for the healthcare sector in two years.

After the Enron scandal, legislation like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act introduced sweeping regulations for American businesses, particularly in the financial sector. Responsible recordkeeping and financial reporting has never been so important. This goes doubly for businesses working with large amounts of other people’s money.

In some cases, organizations in these industries are able to hire a full-time compliance staff. For small to medium-sized businesses, hiring a dedicated compliance team may not be feasible. In cases like these, working with an outside compliance expert may be the best course of action.

Certain managed service providers like Diverge IT are uniquely equipped to help businesses address and resolve regulatory compliance issues. If you have concerns about your current level of compliance or want an extra level of assurance, we’d love to discuss what our team can do for you. Feel free to get in touch – peace of mind could be just a phone call away.

Three Industries that Require Certified Regulatory Compliance

In the modern marketplace, nearly every industry is held to certain regulatory standards for information and data handling. Certified regulatory compliance has proven to be a challenge for many businesses. Regulation complicates many aspects of recordkeeping and operations, especially in industries that handle sensitive data. As a result, the line between remaining compliant and properly protecting customer data and sensitive assets has a tendency to blur.

For small businesses, however, the challenges of certified regulatory compliance are even greater. Startups can rarely afford the services of a full-time compliance manager. Unfortunately not many entrepreneurs have a full working knowledge of the regulations affecting their industry. Thankfully, there is a solution to this problem. You can rely on an outside service provider to handle certified regulatory compliance so that you can focus on actually running your business.

If your business operates in any of the following sectors, regulatory compliance should be one of your top priorities as a manager. Keep in mind, however, that this is not even close to an exhaustive list. If you’re curious about the regulatory environment for your industry, there’s no substitute for professional counsel.

Healthcare

As one of the most regulated industries worldwide, the healthcare industry should be highly concerned with certified regulatory compliance. One of the most important aspects of the healthcare industry from an ethical and legal standpoint is the protection of patient information. This is more than a matter of doctor-patient confidentiality. Data breaches, hardware failure, and other potential disasters pose a huge threat to the integrity of healthcare organizations. HIPAA compliance is often at the top of a healthcare administrator’s list of priorities.

Certified regulatory compliance is essential for any healthcare organization, and compliance often coincides with investments in solutions like data backup and recovery. At Diverge IT, we have experience working with healthcare providers to handle regulatory compliance and other issues.

Finance

Like the healthcare industry, the financial sector is also highly regulated. 21st Century legislation like Sarbanes-Oxley has made compliance more of a priority than ever before. Responsible bookkeeping and reporting are top priorities. Any business that involves moving large amounts of money should be highly aware of compliance issues.

Diverge IT has extensive experience handling certified regulatory compliance and other IT needs for financial institutions. In high-risk industries like these, it pays to be vigilant.

Education

Regulation has become part of the DNA of higher learning institutions. Legislation like FERPA and Title IX have affected the way universities and colleges operate on a fundamental level, and can carry heavy penalties for breaches in protocol. Regulatory compliance affects nearly every department in an institution, from admissions to athletics.

Regulatory compliance is a great trademark of an ethical organization, and regulatory breaches can carry heavy civil, criminal, and financial penalties. If you think your business could benefit from professional consulting on certified regulatory compliance, it’s worth having a conversation with a professional about it. Besides our suite of managed services, Diverge IT also offers compliance expertise that can help protect your business. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like to get a conversation started,

data recovery

Why Does Your Business Need Data Recovery Services?

If there’s one thing that’s true of IT, it’s that somewhere, somehow, something will go wrong. For businesses, the most important strategy is preparation. After all, computer systems fail for all kinds of reasons. That’s why one of your biggest priorities should be to protect your company’s data.

Data recovery services are an essential solution that any worthwhile IT partner should provide. That’s because data can become compromised or lost for many reasons, ranging from technical issues and cyber attacks to natural disasters (like flooding and fires). Data recovery services are essential because they provide insurance so that these unpredictable events won’t cripple your business.

What are the biggest causes of data loss?

There are three main culprits for data loss. One of the most common reasons is simply human error. Sometimes, data is deleted or written over by authorized staff during the course of their work. Often, they don’t realize their mistake until they need the data at a later date.

Another major cause of data loss comes from remote attackers and disgruntled employees that act maliciously. Cyber attackers are typically outsiders that often compromise your data and try to hold it hostage. They fill your systems with malware and other viruses and demand payment to release your data. The threat from this kind of malware (aptly dubbed “ransomware”) is growing every day, and in many situations, unprepared organizations have paid thousands of dollars in ransoms to retrieve their own data. Without any data recovery services to fall back on, they face a stark choice between paying up or going out of business.

Natural disasters are the most uncontrollable causes of data loss. They pose a huge threat to companies located in areas that are prone to flooding, earthquakes, and wildfires. When disaster strikes, your data could get wiped out along with your on-premise equipment – unless you have a backup and recovery plan in place.

Redundancy is fundamental

Business decision makers should always choose redundant data recovery services. Redundancy minimizes business interruption and ensures smooth operations in any situation. At Diverge IT, our data recovery services cover broad platform and application support, online backup monitoring, and multiple servers/PC configurations. 

Using our managed services means that your most critical data is regularly backed up in the cloud. There’s no extra investment in expensive hardware or software. By de-duplicating, compressing, encrypting, and automatically storing your data in another physical location, we ensure its complete safety. From there, you can efficiently retrieve and recover it in the event of data loss.

When you can’t rely on having an internet connection, you must prepare with an offline solution to restore lost data. Combining offline data storage with a local vault solution allows you to protect your critical data from any physical damage. Specialized vault facilities offer advantages such as climate-controlled protection, bar code tracking and management, regulatory compliance, long-term records compliance, and privacy protection.

Diverge IT offers data recovery services to mitigate all the data loss scenarios your business may face.

Our full range of secure data recovery options ensures your business will always have a “Plan B” to stay up and running, no matter what. Contact us today to find out how you can build a foundation to be ready for anything.

Ransomware

No DivergeIT Clients “Wanna Cry”

We’ve been tracking this closely and found that the combination of our email defense, patching policies and Webroot malware practices has been effective preventing the global attack from impacting our client base.

This particular payload is delivered via email (zip file) which then launches a hunter trojan that spans the network, attacking known Windows OS vulnerabilities. While our front end systems quarantines zip files, the combination of all our products that help protect clients. For instance, clients who open the payload from their gmail, yahoo or other email accounts on work PCs are bypassing the email defense, but DivergeIT’s patching and malware protection becomes critical protection. Additionally, having active backups and restore points will allow us to recover data should a PC or server become hit with ransomware.

Client: No Reported Incidents of Ransomware

* Email Defense: client has our recommended email filtering product in place.
* Internet Browsing Defense: client’s network and internet browsing is being filtering outside of the office, prior to the information from the websites being displayed onto your computers.
* PC Patching: client’s PCs are actively patched on a regularly scheduled and the team reviews status on weekly basis of all our clients.
* Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware: client’s PC configuration includes DivergeIT webroot which is actively updated, maintained, and monitored by our support teams.
* Backup: client’s servers are being backed up on-site multiple times per day, and off-site every evening. In the event your servers were compromised, we would not need to go down the bitcoin route as we would simple be able to restore your most recent backup.

Although these new attacks are causing a justifiably high level of concern, DivergeIT has taken pride in the fact that not a single one of our clients that have our security suite in place have been impacted by these new threats. What’s more, is that simply having these systems in place is only about a quarter of the battle. Ensuring these systems are being actively tracked, managed, and there is reporting/altering for deviation is how we have been able to ensure our clients are not being impacted.

Data Backups

Data Backup and Recovery: A Tale of Two Businesses

In this wild era of dangerous cyberattacks, malicious hackers, rampant wildfires, and accidental data deletions from Phil in accounting, your data is never safe. Your business needs more than protection.

 

It needs insurance.

 

Enter the world of data backup and recovery. Though your data may be lost due to many different factors, data backups make sure that you’re back up and running in no time at all (pay more attention next time, Phil).

 

So why in the world would anybody willingly choose to not have a backup solution? We don’t know. Let’s say you’ve got two small companies. One is led by a short-sighted man that doesn’t care for backups, and sees them as a frivolous cost. “What do we need a backup plan for? We hardly have any data!”, he says, foolishly.

 

We’ll call his company Risk IT Inc.

 

Our other company is led by a very smart lady. She knows that even though the sun is shining today, rain may come tomorrow. That’s why she’s investing in data recovery. “We may not have much data, but it’s all that we’ve got. It’s better to be safe than to be sorry”, she says, wisely.

 

We’ll call her company Smart Lady Corp.

 

 

Risk IT Inc.

Our short-sighted CEO at Risk IT Inc. has recently been hit by a very nasty cyberattack. Largely due to poor employee training, someone opened an infected email attachment that spread ransomware throughout the entire company’s file system. Now what?

 

As it turns out, Risk IT Inc. is on par with many other companies. A whopping 75% of small businesses don’t have a disaster recovery plan in place. What could have been a trivial annoyance has now totally crippled all business transactions. The not-so-smart CEO must now retroactively look for help to unlock all of his company files or risk paying the huge fee that was demanded by the ransomware.

 

That’s not even the worst part. Our foolish CEO failed to realize that the costs to retrieve his company data far exceed those of regular data backups. Meanwhile, Risk IT Inc. was down a mere seven days. And yet, one year later, Risk IT Inc. closed their doors and never opened back up again. Why? Because more than 90 percent of companies that experience at least seven days of data center downtime go out of business within a year.

 

Don’t be like Risk IT Inc.

 

Smart Lady Corp.

Our thoughtful CEO at Smart Lady Corp. has been hit by the same nasty cyberattack that wiped out Risk IT Inc. However, when she heard the news that her data was compromised, she didn’t panic.

 

She sighed. “How annoying”, she thought.

 

She sipped her coffee, told her employees to take a 15-minute break, and restored all of her data from her backups instantly. Smart Lady Corp. brushed off a serious attack because they were prepared with their data backups.

 

Just like that, her business was saved. Having a backup plan in place may not have benefitted her immediately, but it spared her business from spending an average of $8600 an hour in downtime.

 

Be safe. Not sorry.

Diverge IT wants you to be like Smart Lady Corp. We understand that you may not be there yet, but we want you to always think about the future. We want to help you use the time you have today to plan and prepare for the possibilities and challenges of tomorrow. If you’re ready to invest in your future, shoot us an email.

A Foundation of Trust: Data Recovery Services Help You Rebuild

A Foundation of Trust: Data Recovery Services Help You Rebuild

Data loss is, at its best, annoying. But what’s worse is when it has a significant negative impact on your business.

It’s always a blow to lose something of sentimental value, such as family photos. But the loss of corporate data can often be catastrophic. It can even put companies out of business before they have time to recover.

The good news is that there’s a range of data recovery services available from experienced IT management firms. These services can help to recover lost data in a timely fashion, allowing employees to pick up the pieces and rebuild the company quickly. These firms use a variety of techniques to restore or recover lost data, depending on how the loss occurred.

Accidentally Deleted Data

Accidentally deleted data is often the easiest to recover. But companies should nevertheless refrain from using whatever drive or storage medium the data was saved on as soon as they realize there’s a problem. The more the drive is used, the higher the chance the deleted data is rewritten with new data – making it irrecoverable.

Deleted data can typically be recovered without hassle. When a file is deleted on a PC or server, the data on the disk doesn’t go away. It’s still there only it’s no longer accessible by conventional means. So long as the deleted data isn’t rewritten, chances are it can be brought back from the dead.

Corrupted Files

A corrupted file or drive is an altogether different problem. When corruption occurs, the drive is almost always inaccessible. Even if it can be accessed, chances are there will be severe problems such as glitches in graphics, random text appearing on documents, or missing parts.

When trying to recover corrupted data, the results are unpredictable. It all depends on how extensive the damage is and to what extent the data is “broken.” Even so, data recovery services use advanced software and other techniques to repair damaged files and access data that still exists on a corrupted drive.

Restored data may still have minor problems with random text in places and lost file names. However fixing these is a minor inconvenience compared to the problem of losing data altogether.

Mechanical Failure

Even more problematic is mechanical failure. When a drive has physical damage or has completely broken down, it looks as if the data stored within it is lost beyond all hope. But in fact, data recovery service professionals might still be able to recover the data.

When a hard drive no longer works, it’s usually because one of the mechanical parts has broken down. But that means the actual disk on which the data is held is still intact. Removing the storage medium is a tricky process, but specialists in data recovery services have the tools and the know-how to do so. With the storage medium removed, it’s a simple matter to plug it into other equipment to read the disk and recover the data therein.

Get in touch with the team at Diverge IT to experience working with true peace of mind.

The Case for Data Recovery Services

The Case for Data Recovery Services

There’s no denying the negative impact of a severe data loss on your business. A recent report from Unitrends claims that 94% of organizations that suffer from a catastrophic data loss end up going out of business.

The bad news is that data loss can occur within any organization, from numerous smaller-scale events. This includes a hardware or operating system failure, accidental deletion, physical damage to the storage arrays, theft, and many other reasons.

Most businesses that fail to recover do so because they’re unable to restore their servers promptly. This means they’re unable to access contacts, orders, and operational files needed to serve their clients. Businesses must keep downtime to a minimum if they want to stay up and running.

As such, it pays for businesses to be proactive by having a reliable data recovery services partner in place before disaster strikes. Here are just a few of the benefits:

Faster Services

Any company facing a severe data loss needs to fix the issue as soon as possible. Having a contract with a partnering IT firm means they’ll start working to repair the problem right away. Numerous data recovery companies even promise full data restoration within 24 hours of diagnosis.

Reduced Risk

A second benefit is that many providers offer damage-free diagnostics to ensure the situation isn’t made worse during the initial investigation. Some firms that provide data recovery services also have policies in place that prevent them from charging if they cannot recover your data.

Unparalleled Expertise

Even if your company has an IT team used to handling RAID arrays or logical recoveries, they probably don’t have the skills and equipment needed to perform a physical recovery on hard drives that have suffered from mechanical failure. These services require an altogether different skill set, and should only be done in a certified clean room environment where the fragile storage mediums won’t be damaged.

When you partner with Diverge IT, we make it our mission to provide proactive security services to keep your business up-and-running against all the odds. So give us a call. We’ll show you the way.

information security analysts consulting

Top Threats an Information Security Analyst Protects You Against

There are many, many threats out there in the cyber world. And it’s not just hackers. Some threats can come unintentionally from an accidental click on the wrong link. Your network is precious and carries vital business information, so these risks can be extremely damaging and potentially destroying if the power falls into the wrong hands.

With the rise in data breaches taking a hold of businesses all over the nation, your company needs an information security analyst now more than ever.  

An information security analyst is trained to protect your network against dangers such as malicious hackers and virus threats. They are always researching and staying up to date on the latest IT news, gadgets, compliance and legal regulations, and hacking methodology. They also take it very seriously to promote security awareness within your company. You won’t find a more reliable source of IT security anywhere else.

Information security analysts take a variety of measures to keep your top-secret, personal information safe from outside, and inside, threats. Some of the main ways we do this are through:

  • Risk and Vulnerability Assessments – These scan your network and illuminate any weak points that may be increasing the amount of risk you’re at. This makes it easier to quickly address and strengthen what needs to be.
  • Defense Planning – This consists of installing protections such as firewalls, site blocking rules, and data encryption.
  • Establishing a BDR Plan – In case the worst happens and you don’t have access to your information on-site anymore, information security analyst will make sure your data is always backed up and protected at an alternate location so that you always have a copy of your data somewhere.
  • Constant Monitoring – If any of your systems or applications ever need upgrades, an information security analyst will make sure to get it done so that you are always performing at the best of your ability with minimal risks.

Here are Some of the Top Threats an Information Security Analyst Protects Against

The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things, or IoT, is a phrase that refers to devices connected through the internet that can also communicate with each other. This can include anything from printers, televisions, refrigerators, security systems, phone, smart watches, and anything else accessible via the internet. Gartner predicts that by 2020, there will be 50.1 billion internet-connected devices.

Why is the IoT a threat? Well, all of these additional devices create more and more access points for hackers to target. If all these devices are connected to your company’s network, this puts your network at an even greater risk. This makes it even harder to implement a concise and effective security strategy to properly protect everything your network needs. 

This is when our information security analysts step in. With our always current knowledge and dedication to your specific enterprise workflow, we will be able to assess your network and determine which systems to implement to protect your network and your devices.

Viruses

Sometimes, you catch a virus by total accident. Maybe you’re browsing the internet and you see an interesting article title, so you click on it. It didn’t look suspicious to you, but suddenly, all these windows start popping all over your screen and your eyes widen in horror as your realize what you’ve done.

An information security analyst can protect mistakes like this by implementing certain site-blocking measures. This precaution will automatically block work computers from viewing sites that aren’t the safest. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Hackers

Of course, we all know about this threat. Hackers are malicious, ruthless, and cunning. They can damage your reputation, make your clients lose trust in your, and cost you hundreds and thousands of dollars. However, our information security analysts are ready. Because of our extensive knowledge and experience, we know how hackers think, and we know how to best them.

Protect Your Network with Diverge IT

At Diverge IT, our information security analysts are experts on fighting the toughest battles of the cyber world. Any of the above threats won’t stand a chance. Protect your network by contacting us today.

two guys consulting

Why Hiring an Information Security Analyst is Right for Your Business

There are a lot of things that can be bad for your business. Hiring unqualified people, neglecting important tasks, not paying your bills, letting your data be easily accessed by anyone… the list goes on and on.

However, there are also a lot of things that can be good for your business, one of which is an information security analyst. With all the threats out there in the cyberworld, you need someone who really understands network security and what could possibly threaten it. This level of expertise is a huge advantage an information security analyst can bring to your business.

What is an Information Security Analyst?

An information security analyst is like that friend you had in school that knew everything about your weakest subject and would always study with you and help you ace that course. However, the subject now is security, and the test is whether your information will survive a hacker attack.

As the name suggests, an information security analyst is a professional that will analyze the security of your business data. Then, they will strategically monitor your network for any security breaches or abnormal behaviour. Because they we will know your network and its data from the inside-out, whenever something weird pops up, a red flag will immediately flash in their minds and they will address it immediately.  

And when we say that your security will be in the hands of the best, we mean it. An information security analyst doesn’t earn that title just like that. Usually, these experts have a degree in computer science, programming, or a similar field. They also may be required to earn certain certifications at the job.

How Exactly Does an Information Security Analyst Protect Your Business?

At Diverge IT, our experts will protect your critical assets against threats, outages, and losses with proactive network monitoring, 24/7/365 support, and the implementation of various security applications such as Firewall, routing supporting, and site blocking abilities. We will also:

  • Run risk assessments to discover any areas that need strengthening
  • Establish a network disaster recovery plan in case the worst were to happen
  • Train your staff on network and data security best practices
  • Constantly upgrade your network with the most up-to-date solutions and services

Hackers are getting smarter by the day, but no matter how smart they get, they are no match for the expertise and skill of an information security analyst. Hiring our security professionals will always be a right for your business. If you would like to discuss this more in detail, get in touch! It’ll be one of the smartest choices you’ve ever made for your business.

Workflow Automation

Work Healthier and Happier with Workflow Automation

Often, employees, regardless of the business, feel stressed-out over their work. They are stuck performing non-critical activities, taking huge portions of pressure home with them.

Using workflow automation can reduce these activities, giving employees better control of their time and energy. Unsurprisingly, workflow automation has the side-effect of making a happier workplace, which adds to the overall health of employees.

Tackle the definition of time.

People are constantly under pressure due to deadlines and schedules. Although many people attempt to multi-task, multi-tasking means switching between two or more tasks very quickly and the result over time is inevitable burnout.

Workflow automation can take a huge part of the burden, adding time to the employees’ schedule, and making their life at work more pleasant.

Better use of energy.

People’s energy levels differ during the course of a day. Unfortunately, their responsibilities tend not to care about this human aspect. The conflict here adds to a feeling of pressure.

Workflow automation, however, makes every routine task as simple as possible. It may shorten the activity of reporting at the end of the work day, for example, which is a time when many people are tired. With this time saved by workflow automation, staff could open the afternoon for a productive talk or informal brainstorming with the colleagues.

It’s good to end on a high. Employees can leave the office with a smile, instead of a frown due to inputting data for reports or mandatory time-sheets.

Simplified priorities.

When discussing a really successful businessman, people tend to think that this person must be super-human, performing a hundred tasks per minute.

What they don’t understand is that extremely successful people typically have their work process simplified and their priorities redefined. One way or another, they have their workflow automated, so that routine activities are being taken care of. This way, these people feel more relaxed to focus on non-automated activities, like building healthier client relationships and developing innovative ideas.

Change of habits.

They say that a change is as good as a rest. Here is one example where that may be true. Imagine that an invoice takes several days and many steps to be approved. This is a normal process for many businesses. With workflow automation, however, it is possible to change old habits. Workflow automation also streamlines processes. So in this scenario, approval time for an invoice can be cut in half, or more.

Employees benefiting from workflow automation may find that they have a less stressful time waiting for invoices and other official matters. Their reduced waiting time and reduced anxiety can redefine how they interact with the business.

Slow down

Businesses today are more dynamic than ever. Employees, unfortunately, can be hostages of this never-ending race. Being constantly busy seems to be a new norm. Being busy and fueled by adrenaline all the time is not so healthy. Human beings are not designed to sustain a fight or flight response throughout business hours.

Implementing workflow automation can take care of many business operations simultaneously, leaving employees with sufficient time to calm their minds and slow down. This way, they’ll make better, more informed decisions. They will become more creative and productive, as they probably were when they first began work. With space, your employees will make sure that your organization is thriving.

And they’ll need fewer sick days, too.

Workflow automation removes a burden from the shoulders of employees and their employers. Staff with clear goals, clear means of achieving them, and adequate time to do a good job, tends to be more relaxed, more productive, happier, and healthier.