The Meridian Blog: Tech News, Tips & More for SMB and Enterprise Environments

An Overlooked Threat to Network Security: Don't forget about your printers

Juliana Lee

Posted by Juliana Lee
Tue, Dec 05, 2017


Fringe devices, such as printers, can pose some of the biggest security risks, if not properly managed.

When it comes to IT security, most business professionals today think about their desktop computers — as they should. But our smartphones, tablets and PCs are not the only devices on our networks that can compromise critical infrastructure.

A few months ago, the Distributed-Denial-of-Service (DDOS) attack on Dyn Inc.'s Domain Name Server marked an unprecedented level of cyber intrusion, causing widespread website availability issues throughout the East Coast. This disruption shed light on some of the major vulnerabilities within Internet-of-Things devices, including those that we tend to overlook, such as printers. 

Keep reading for:

  • a quick video on why you should care about printer security, courtesy of Christian Slater and HP Studios
  • key factors that come into play for the overlooked threat of printer security
  • what you can do to overcome the risk and secure your printers
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Five Best Practices to Avoid Common HIPAA Violations

Juliana Lee

Posted by Juliana Lee
Tue, Jun 06, 2017

Fines up to $1.5 million, loss of clients, and negative publicity are just some of the serious consequences of violating the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

The penalties for non-compliance are based on the level of negligence, and in some cases carry criminal charges that can result in jail sentences. HIPAA compliance is serious business, and when penalties are levied one of the main things taken into consideration is what, if any preventive steps were taken.

With that in mind, here are some basic best practices to implement regarding HIPAA compliance, including:

  1. Comprehension of the guidelines
  2. Training
  3. Guard against 3rd party disclosure
  4. Proper disposal methods
  5. Mobile device management

Read on to learn about each of these five best practices, and how you can implement them.

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Unsecured File Sharing is Risky Business

Erjon Xhepa

Posted by Erjon Xhepa
Mon, Jan 09, 2017

File sync-and-share apps have become increasingly popular with enterprises, both small and large.

In some organizations, the ability to share and edit electronic documents is essential to their operations. Used properly, file sharing can enhance productivity, creativity, and collaboration. Used improperly, it can cause data security nightmares.

Hackers and other cyber crooks are always looking for the weak spot in any network security system. They're constantly probing and testing firewalls and antivirus software, or going on “phishing” expeditions looking for victims. But, sometimes, they get lucky and an unsecured document or email just drops into their laps.

RELATED: Is Antivirus Software Really Dead?

A mistake in peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing can result in anything from a slight inconvenience to a major security breach. As a member of Meridian’s VCIO Team, I consider secure file sharing to be a top priority. In this post, I'll explain why it should be one of your top priorities, too.

Read on to learn more about:

  1. Key points that should be included in your policy for secure file sharing
  2. Risks associated with unsecured file sharing
  3. Advantages of secure file sharing practices
  4. Guidelines to help determine who should be responsible for preventing unsecured file sharing in your organization
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Why and When Email Encryption is Important for SMB Security

Juliana Lee

Posted by Juliana Lee
Tue, Aug 16, 2016

I can’t stop thinking about encryption.

Right after Google announced plans to release an extension to its Chrome browser called “End-To-End”, with the goal of facilitating easier email encryption, I found a postcard on the sidewalk. The postcard was addressed to a house three doors down from where I found it, so I simply took it there and dropped it in their mailbox. But, in the process of searching for the address, I inadvertently read the greeting — “Dear Aunt Sally.”

Having no interest in Aunt Sally, I read no further — but I could have — and that is the point of this blog. Unencrypted email can be less secure than sending a post card via snail mail.

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10 Messy Desk Mistakes That Threaten Data Security in Your Office

Juliana Lee

Posted by Juliana Lee
Tue, Jun 14, 2016

It may sound like simple common sense, but keeping your desk and work area tidy is an often overlooked component of data security. It’s also the perfect place to start improving your security habits.

A messy desk also makes it more difficult to realize something is missing, such as a folder with hard copy print-outs of customer lists. In addition to increasing the likelihood of something being removed, a cluttered desk means that the discovery of any theft will likely be delayed — perhaps by days or even weeks if the victim is out of the office or distracted by competing projects or priorities. Such delays make it more difficult to determine who the perpetrator is and where the stolen material might now be located.

Encouraging yourself, your team and other coworkers to maintain a neat desk pays off in two ways. In addition to making digital and paper assets more secure, people with clean desks are more apt to be productive, and therefore happy, because they can quickly — and safely — access the tools and resources they need to do their jobs.

Read on to learn about the top 10 most common messy desk mistakes that you should start avoiding TODAY!

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Top 3 Browser Threats to Secure Website Browsing

Juliana Lee

Posted by Juliana Lee
Tue, Jun 07, 2016

When you venture out onto the Internet, it’s easy to get tangled up in the vast web of threats lurking on many website pages, often without even realizing it. Plus, today's threats are constantly evolving, usually much faster than we (the general population of law-abiding citizens) learn about them. Some of them are readily apparent, but others are well hidden, and getting sneakier each day.

Read on to learn more about each of these top browser threats and how to avoid them:

  1. Malvertising
  2. Social Media Scams
  3. Web-Based Exploits
  4. PLUS Best Practices for Secure Web Browsing
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Top 5 Risks of Using Outdated Technology

Juliana Lee

Posted by Juliana Lee
Thu, Apr 14, 2016

The rotating hourglass. The spinning rainbow ball. The constant string of pop-up notifications begging for this update or that patch. You've been there before. At one point or another, we've all felt the frustration that comes with using outdated technology.

Unfortunately, using outdated technology in business comes with much bigger risks than just pain and frustration. In fact, according to this Microsoft infographic, 70-80% of the top 10 malware could be avoided if technology was updated correctly.

Read on to learn the top 5 risks that will make you re-think using outdated technology.

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Best Practices for Secure, Responsible Disposal of Computers & Devices

Jasmine Lancaster

Posted by Jasmine Lancaster
Wed, Dec 23, 2015

Many people will purchase or receive new computers and devices this holiday season. In fact, according to ForbesIDC predicts the worldwide smart connected device market will accelerate past 2 billion units by the end of 2015. If you're among the lucky owners of new computers and devices this year, you or your company may be planning to get rid of the old computers or devices, which have been replaced by newer versions. If so, I urge you to do so with caution!

Along with a collection of potentially harmful toxins, computers and other connected devices house vital information including passwords, registration numbers, account information, addresses, telephone numbers, and a host of other private information. Your hard drive is a goldmine for identity thieves and it is important to use proven methods to wipe this data from existence, before disposing of devices. Simply throwing the devices or their hard drives away could potentially cause more harm than good.

Below, we reveal the proper techniques to dispose of computers and devices, guard against identity theft, and protect the environment:

  1. Backup significant files and information
  2. Sanitize your hard drive
  3. Dispose of your computer

Read on to learn more about each step.

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End of Support for Internet Explorer: What You Need to Know

Juliana Lee

Posted by Juliana Lee
Wed, Dec 09, 2015

Microsoft will officially end support for older versions of its Internet Explorer (IE) browser on January 12th, 2016. This includes Internet Explorer version 10 and earlier. This means that anyone still using older versions of IE after the end-of-life date on the 12th will be susceptible to security holes, as Microsoft will no longer provide patches or updates for the antiquated browser versions. 

Read on for more information about End of Support for older versions of Internet Explorer, and actions you should take to ensure security.

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Top 5 SMB Tips on How to Prevent Ransomware

Juliana Lee

Posted by Juliana Lee
Tue, Nov 24, 2015

Ransomware is a vicious type of computer virus that first reared its ugly head in April 2014. It infects individual and business computers, encrypts all files on them and then holds them for ransom until the victim pays for a key to unlock the files. The payment is usually demanded in the digital currency Bitcoin because it easy to use online, it is publicly available, and it protects the criminals’ anonymity. Bitcoin must be purchased with the victim’s real money (ransoms range from $200 to over $10,000), and there is no guarantee that the cyber-kidnappers will keep their word and decrypt the hijacked systems.

An alert from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) warns that CryptoWall, a current version of an earlier ransomware named CryptoLocker, is the most current and significant ransomware threat in the United States. Ransomware encryption is practically impossible to break, so the only alternative after infection in many cases is to pay the ransom and hope the crooks keep their word. Therefore, preventing a ransomware infection is vital, especially for small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs) with limited IT resources. In this post, I've summarized the top five tips that the FBI and independent security firms recommend on how to prevent infections of ransomware.

Read on to learn more about each of these top five tips to help SMBs prevent ransomware:

  1. Antivirus software and firewall
  2. Updates
  3. Verification
  4. Backups
  5. Popup blockers
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News, best practices and more to help you get the most out of your office technology. Whether you're an SMB owner who wears a lot of hats, or an enterprise IT director, facilities manager or just someone who wants to work smarter — this blog has the resources you need to maximize the business impact of all your tech investments. Be sure to subscribe to receive email updates about new posts!

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