Stolen IPAD and IPHONE: Plan Recovery Strategy Now

The top business reason why the IPAD has become a business tool is its portability and usability for many simple tasks like email and web applications. Mobility is always a blessing with a security curse when it comes to communication devices. When a device is stolen productivity loss and inconvenience demand a high price. Confidential emails are compromised; not to mention private data in applications are open to unfriendly eyes. Communication is stunted. Before you buy an IPAD or use an IPHONE for business there are some security cautions you need to put in place. Ask yourself.

1. Has my IT consultant setup my IPAD and IPHONE for remote wipe of confidential data in the event of theft?
2. Have I setup a strong password on my IPAD?
3. What is my security plan if my IPAD is stolen?

My clients do not have to worry because they all have applications installed on their devices by VIT Services to quickly find and recover the device. In the event of a theft here is the strategy to recover the stolen items.

1. VIT Services immediately performs a remote wipe or lock of the device.
2. We locate the device whereabouts remotely.
3. We notify apple that the device is stolen.
4. Of course we always encourage clients to notify the proper authorities.

The main advantage here is that with the proper San Diego IT specialist helping quickly recover your IPAD or IPHONE and close security vectors, a debilitating but common occurrence is significantly reduced.

For example, if you accidentallly left your IPhone at the movie theatre in Mission Valley and gave us a call. Within minutes the locations is known, if its in the dumpster out back or in a pawn shop. We help you notify the police, help them confiscate your device, and get it returned to you within days if not hours. Its essential technical expertise like this that sets a San Diego IT provider apart from the others.

Chuck Vedrene is CEO of VIT Services a downtown San Diego IT consultancy. Reach him at 619.886.1826 or info at vitservices.com.

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Saving IT Costs In Today’s Economy

Just ran accross some great ideas. Some not too great, but something everyone can gain from reading.

30 Ideas

20 Ideas

Saving on telephone bills through VOIP and saving on server costs through virtualization are two areas I can help with. I’m pretty strong with Green initiatives being an organic farmer myself.

If you are a medical office please visit my medical site.

Do or say something very nice to someone before you end your day!

Chuck Vedrene 619.886.1826

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VIT Services Customer Testimonials

Thank you Brian, Bernie, and Kevin of San Diego Tax and Wealth Management for your generous video contributions. Here are a few of my customers and what they have to say about VIT Services.

Case Study 1

Case Study 2

Case Study 3

Reliable Responsive Computer Support Dedicated to your Success. Call Chuck 619-886-1826 If you are a medical office then please check out www.emrsandiego.net.

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Slow Computer: No Need to Buy a New Machine

In this economy I’m not encouraging any of my customers to buy new computers. If the power supply which is out of warranty fails, then we’ll spend the $50 to replace it, not $1200 for a new system. Replace the hard disk with a super fast SSD hard disk. Check how much faster it is on bootup compared to a regular hard disk.

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In some cases it will be FASTER than a new computer. In this video a new Macbook is tested against older Macbooks with the hard disk replaced with an SSD disk.

I can get you setup with this incredible performance boost within a day. Please call Chuck 619.886.1826. If you live anywhere in the united states I can get this done for you. Please call. If you are in the medical field check out emrsandiego.net and for home computer help sandiegofixmypc.com.

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HIPAA Audit Update

McAndrew’s comments came Wednesday at the National HIPAA Summit in Washington. She also announced that planning for the long-delayed HIPAA compliance audit program, mandated under the HITECH Act, is continuing, with a pilot of one or more audit models likely to take place later this year. McAndrew, however, declined to say whether the actual audit program could be launched by year’s end.
Also speaking at the HIPAA Summit was Valerie Morgan-Alston, who recently was named OCR’s first-ever deputy director for enforcement and regional operations. The creation of the position by OCR Director Georgina Verdugo is part of a reorganization that places a new emphasis on enforcement, Morgan-Alston stressed. “We are serious about HIPAA enforcement.”
Evidence of OCR’s HIPAA enforcement ramp-up has been in the headlines in recent weeks. The office annnounced a $4.3 million civil monetary penalty against Cignet Health, which operates four clinics in Maryland, in a case involving failure to provide patients with access to their records. It was the first time OCR had levied a civil monetary penalty for a HIPAA privacy rule violation.
And Massachusetts General Hospital entered a resolution agreement, paying a $1 million settlement and agreeing to corrective action in a case stemming from paper records lost on a subway.

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HIPAA Gets Teeth

In a step that could pave the way for ramped up HIPAA enforcement at the state level, training for state attorneys general on how to file a HIPAA federal civil lawsuit will be offered this spring, a federal official announced Wednesday.
The HITECH Act, which called for increased penalties for HIPAA violations, also enabled state attorneys general to file the federal lawsuits. But so far, the only well-publicized action has been a lawsuit filed by former Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who is now a U.S. senator, against insurer Health Net. That lawsuit was settled in July 2010, when the insurer agreed to pay $250,000 in damages and offer stronger consumer protections.
Training for attorneys general and their staffs will be offered in four regional meetings from April through June, said Susan McAndrew, deputy director for health information privacy at the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights. The first event will be April 4-5 in Dallas. OCR will pay all expenses for two members of each state’s attorney general’s office to attend the training, McAndrew says.
The training will help ensure “that state attorneys general will be better prepared to carry out their new authority under the HITECH Act in enforcing HIPAA,” McAndrew said.
Training will be offered in Atlanta and Washington in May and San Francisco in June. “Once those meetings are completed, we’ll have computer-based training available as well,” McAndrew explained.
She also pointed out that even if a state succeeds in a federal civil lawsuit for a HIPAA violation, OCR, which enforces HIPAA at the federal level, also could take action.

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How To Stay Safe On Public Wi-Fi Networks

Starbucks, Airports, and in America’s finest city we have a TON of cafe’s with free wi-fi.   Who can pass up a chance to get some work done, the convenience is insane. So are the threats so here are some vital tips.

1.  Turn off file sharing immediately ( don’t worry I’ll show you how to do this in MAC and Windows).

2.  Turn on your windows or MAC firewall.

3.  Use Secure Socket Layer (SSL) surfing and email. Don’t use pop email without SSL. For instance instead of http:// at the beginning of your URL use https:// if at all possible.

4.  Use LOLO security ( my personal favorite security technique of all time) short for Lights On Lights Off security. Turn your wireless ON when you need it and then turn the freakin thing OFF when you are not using it. I knew you’d love it.

5.  Have a decent anti-virus software installed and up to date.

6. Use strong passwords. Strong is a password with numbers, letters, and symbols all together. You no likey this? Ok. Let’s make it easy.  Hold your fingers over the keys that spell something you remember and then slide your fingers one position to the right.  For example  “ask” becomes “sdl”” and “this” becomes “yjod”. Stong and you won’t forget it. Add an ! and a good year you remember and bam! You are strong!

7. Don’t save standard SSID’s in your wireless list like Linksys, Netgear, DLink, blah blah blah. Go through that list and delete them.  You will automatically connect to them and who knows what you will be exposed to when you walk down that street.  Bad neighborhood. Don’t want to do that.

8. Run your Microsoft updates regularly.

9. Make sure your bluetooth connection isn’t discoverable.

An excellent article showed up on Lifehacker about this subject which is the inspiration for this blog. It will give you tons of details on how to do the above.

It’s insanity out there. Don’t let yourself be a victim people. Know Your Computer Stuff!

Chuck Vedrene – CEO VITServices

619 886 1826

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Is Your Realtor, CPA, or Mortgage Broker Careful With Your Identity?

That’s a mighty good question since many of us are in tax mode trying to beat the October 15, 2010 deadline for taxes, buying a house in this awesome market, or refinancing at these insane rates. How careful is your trusted advisor with your SSN’s, bank account numbers, investment account numbers, etc? Probably careful to the extent of their knowledge. First let me mention that I wouldn’t trade my bookeeper, CPA, realtor, financial adviser or loan person for anybody. Great people just like us. And like us they need education! Ok people let’s learn a few things.

1. Anytime you email your SSN, Bank Statement, 1040, or Schedule C to anyone with a gmail, hotmail, or cox address you are just asking for it. Why? This mail sits in their mailbox unencrypted with nothing but a password protecting the mailbox. Compromise the mailbox and you’re a casualty. Any good virus will do.

2. Encrypt your sensitive documents please folks. How? Use 256bit AES encryption and a strong password. Use a zip tool (archiver) to do it. My favorite is 7zip. It’s fast and powerful and takes 5 minutes to get quick with. Ready? Let’s encrypt a file!

3. Download 7zip here. http://www.7-zip.org/ Just grab the 32 bit for Windows unless you have a 64 bit machine. How would you know? Check here http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/32-bit-and-64-bit-Windows-frequently-asked-questions if you are uncertain.

4. Install using the default options.  Here is a video on how to do it. It’s not me, some nerdy dude but the video is very helpful in showing you how to encrypt a file easily.

5. Right click on your file to encrypt and choose the “add to archive” option.

6. Firstly change the Archive format to Zip (becaue everyone and their grandma uses that) then change the encryption method to the robust AES-256, thirdly enter your password. Then click OK. The rest of the options can be left as default. Make sure your password is easy to remember and strong. Stong means letter, numbers, and a ! or other symbol that share the number keys on your keyboard.

7. Your file is now encrypted. Now let’s try to open it.

8. Now right-click your zip file you just created and click on 7Zip > Extract all. Enter your password and it creates a folder of your documents unencrypted.

9. When dealing with your Realtor, CPA, or Loan Officer from now on send them your encrypted data by sending them the entire zip file. That’s some safe stuff your emailing. Any hacker will spend 30 seconds and realize he can’t get it and move on to the next target.

10. If your trusted advisor can’t open your file they will get a “compression not compatible” error message. This means they need some education so forward them a link to my blog.

Know Thy Computer Stuff.  It will save your bacon.

Chuck Vedrene – CEO VITServices

619 886 1826

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Speed Up My Computer – Know Thy Computer Stuff in 60 Seconds or Less

Slowness is always related to one of five things.

  1. Hardware degradation or impending failure
  2. Virus, malware activity
  3. Poor written application or faulty installation of one.
  4. Poor written application or faulty installation of one.
  5. System resources saturated.
  6. Lack of maintenance or OS corruption.

From my experience here is the resultant set of speed increase you can expect.

  1. 25% speed increase – Memory upgrade.(if resources are maxed out)
  2. 15- 25% speed increase – OS Maintenance – Delete, prefetch, internet temp files, clean out
    startup, limit installed programs from activating, defrag, and chkdsk
  3. 25% speed increase – Format hard drive, re-install operating system and applications
  4. 50% speed increase – Replace hard drive, re-install applications,
  5. System resources saturated.
  6. 75% – 100% speed increase – virus malware removal.

Recommendation:

  1. Upgrade virus definitions and scan for viruses.
  2. Test laptop running with minimal applications to see if that solves the problem.
  3. Install more memory if resources show they are saturated.
  4. Replace machine if 3 years old or older if you have a technician do the work
  5. If you do the work yourself then either re-format the hard disk and re-install applications.or better yet replace hard disk first then perform the re-install.
  6. If you’re smart you will get an image of “re-modeled” computer so you won’t have to go through the time consuming setup again for virus removal, slowness, or new computer.

If you need help call Chuck at 619.886.1826. I specialize in small business technology.

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Stop Spam!!

What:How to stop spam

Why?Do I have to ask? It wastes time, money, and resources. Its also vulgar and often shocking.

How?If you are a home or home business user read below. Curtailing spam in small business is not a 60 second discussion since it includes discussing vaious techniques such as tar pits, filtered recipient policies, UTM, and cloud based anti-spam filters. However I have a solution that right now has a 1% rejection rate achieved through proprietary behavioral analysis. There are very few people who know this stuff. Like I said you need to call me today. 619.886.1826.

Now, some key principles for everyone to stop spam…

  1. If you don’t know the person sending the email or can’t pick up the phone to verify the sender just don’t open
    the email. Delete it.
  2. Never write back asking to be taken off their list unless they have an explicit opt out policy at the bottom of the email in accordance with federal law, AND you can verify that they are a legitimate business. If they are honest it will be easy to tell.
  3. I don’t believe in anti-spam software on your computer. They don’t work well and slow your computer down. At $5 a month, cloud based spam filters clean out the spam before it gets to you.  Let me know if you want to see one in action. 
  4. Set up a junk mail account that you can use when businesses force you to give them an email address. Use anything you want; ex. froglegs@yahoo.com or something like that.
  5. Don’t put your email in signatures or on websites with the normal email syntax. Use dave at cisco dot com or something the spam bots can’t recognize.
  6. If you are a small business then you have 5 more things you can do. Call me.
  7. Example: There is a service called www.spamarrest.com/ that is the most devious double faced spam organizationI have ever encountered. On one hand they are a legitimate anti spam service, on the other hand, once you become their customer, they harvest then solicit your contact list for themselves, and repeat the process with the entries in your contact list. To close in for the kill, they sell all the names they have illegally harvested to spammers. There is not a lower place in the universe for these slimeballs to go. I just obtained a new client that got hit with these guys bad, and they had to bail on their sole company email address because of this criminal act.

    Detail: You can find out more detail here www.toyz.org/cgi-bin/wiki.cgi

    That’s 60 seconds…

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