Monday, December 8, 2008

10 Essential Information Security Strategies to reduce Technology Risks for Small Business

10 Essential Information Security Strategies to reduce Technology Risks for Small Business


Julius Clark

  1. Consider these basic measures to secure your business' desktop/ laptop computers:
    • Install or configure a built-in software firewall product.
    • Install an antivirus program, set it up to update automatically and scan often. Installing a few malware/ spyware programs is a good idea as well.
  2. Keep up with patching for your Operating System and all installed software applications.
  3. Secure your desktop login by using a password that is difficult to be guessed or cracked with a password cracking program and don't ever share it. Changing it often (every 90 days) will offer more protection.
  4. Consider the following basic measures to secure your wireless network to protect the computers behind it lower the risk of being hacked:
    • Change the "Default Settings" on your wireless router.
    • Enable the hardware firewall features on your wireless router. This will reject anonymous requests for information sent from the internet and block unauthorized traffic.
    • Enable built-in encryption (WPA-2 recommended) on your wireless router. Follow the guidance in step 3 to create a strong passphrase that should be kept secret.
    • Disable wireless router from broadcasting its signal. This will prevent your network from showing up as a wireless access point on others computers that are in close proximity.
  5. Securely store your laptop out of site when not in use. If you can't take it with you then lock it up in your car trunk. If your vehicle doesn't have a trunk, don't attempt to cover it up under a seat just take it with you. Additionally, the data contained on your laptop is far more valuable than the hardware.
  6. Consider using encryption technology to protect your confidential data.
    • Use software that encrypts the entire laptop hard drive if you store credit card or social security numbers, health records or any other confidential/ sensitive information. A secret key will be required to decrypt the laptop's hard drive to boot it up, and the contents of the laptop can't be accessed; even the hard drive is taken out and place it into another device, the data will remain protected from unauthorized access. Note, laptop encryption protects the contents of your computer prior to start up. Encryption gets turned off once you login with secret key to decrypt or when your laptop is in sleep or suspended mode. Completely log off and shut down your laptop for encryption to be engaged again.
    • Encrypt your email communications if you transmit confidential information over the internet.
    • Use an encrypted flash drive that you have to authenticate to when accessing the files.
  7. Routinely backup your most critical data on to a flash/ thumb drive and keep it offsite. If managing offsite data regularly is not ideal, consider using an online data backup service. If any of your files are lost due to deletion, hard drive failure or if a laptop is lost/ stolen, the data can be easily restored over the internet and onto another computer once you provide the correct credentials.
  8. Setup a password to login to your mobile phone, just in case your phone is lost or stolen. This could prevent a person from accessing its contents.
  9. GPS or car Navigation units should not be preset with addresses to your business, home or locations where your children and parents are at.
  10. Implement Security Awareness practices for your business:
    • Create an information security policy that employees are expected to follow.
    • Become knowledgeable of Federal, State, Regulations and Laws pertaining to your industry regarding the safeguarding of confidential records.
    • Be on wary of individuals asking suspicious questions over the phone or in person regarding the technology your business uses. The information an attacker gains could be used to figure out a way to compromise your data/network assets.
    • Be conscious of your surroundings at airports, cyber cafes, etc. Individuals can use a social engineering technique called "shoulder surfing" to steal your user IDs and passwords. If possible, have your back facing a wall and give yourself a better view of all in front of you; consider purchasing a laptop privacy filter/ screen.
    • Shred confidential information before throwing it in the trash.
    • If you suspect that an unlawful criminal activity has occurred involving your business computers or internet activity, report it to law enforcement immediately.

Finally, if you are not computer savvy enough to implement these security strategies yourself, contact a qualified Information Security consultant.

"There is a world of difference between a certified computer technician and a certified information security professional."

Julius Clark, MBA, CISSP, CISA

Information Security Professional

Nice & Intelligent Business Solutions


Sunday, December 7, 2008

iKey Portable Recording USB Device

I love smart technology and this friend is it. The iKey Portable USB recorder. I DJ as a hobby and hated dealing with my cumbersome recordable CD player when I wanted to record my music/ DJ set, with this baby, all I have to do is connect it into my record out from my Mixer and then insert a simple flash drive (you can also record to an iPod) and press the record button and bam! The iKey instantly records my in MP3 format to the flash drive. After I am done, I remove the flash drive and place it into my computer and burn my DJ set to CD. Nice convenience!


Depending on where you look the price for this is between $125 -$199

Watch Jonathan the DJ Tutor demo the device.


• USB Port (For direct connectivity to supported USB Storage Device)
• Compatible with USB 2.0/1.1/1.0 devices
• Compatible with iPod®
• Records audio to Uncompressed WAV format or MP3 format (w/ selectable bit rate, up to 320kbps)
• Gold plated RCA inputs
• Microphone input with Phantom power (3v)
• Built-in Phono preamp for direct connection of Turntables
• LED Indicator shows memory remaining on target drive
• Soft Carrying case with three different face plates (red, black and silver)
• Battery powered w/ low battery indicator
• DC charger input with DC adapter included for use with rechargeable batteries
• 6-bar VU meter with peak hold and Overload indicator
• 1/8” (3.5mm) Headphone monitor output
• Record volume control
• Reset button
• Requires 4 AA Rechargeable Batteries (Not Included)

Company website:


BDPA Charlotte IT Assessment Project

"From the Classroom to the Boardroom"

BDPA Charlotte is proud to announce the creation of the BDPA Information Technology (IT) Assessment Project:

A collaboration between area Corporate IT professionals and Computer Science students to assess the Information Technology needs of Charlotte area Community Computer Centers.


BDPA Charlotte

IT Assessment Project

Project Purpose

The purpose of the BDPA Charlotte Information Technology (IT) assessment project is help local Charlotte organizations with community computer centers identify IT gaps. Community computer centers provide vital IT resources to citizens in underserved communities, but they often lack the personnel with skills to adequately assess their technology needs. BDPA Charlotte is looking for Charlotte area organizations, which have small to medium size community computer labs to conduct a complementary IT computer assessment. BDPA, the premier organization for African-Americans in IT, can fill this knowledge gap for organizations in our community, by providing the thought leadership and expertise to accomplish this noteworthy goal. As Microsoft phases out its most successful Operating System (OS) Windows XP, the BDPA's IT assessment project will make coordinators of community computer centers knowledgeable of the hardware requirements needed to run Microsoft's new OS Windows Vista. Additionally, it will identify risks and threats existing in their desktop computing environment.

Supporting Statistics

  • 89.6% of all the worlds' computers run some flavor of Microsoft Windows. Source: http://marketshare.hitslink.com
  • Currently, 66% of computers still run the Microsoft Windows XP OS version. Source: http://marketshare.hitslink.com
  • 98 out of every 100 computers have 1 or more unsecure applications installed. Source: www.computerworld.com

Project Details

The following steps outline the actions performed as part of the IT Assessment Project.

Services Performed

* Security Vulnerability Assessment to identify risks and threats that exist on existing desktop/laptop computers.

* Assess the ability of existing computer hardware to meet the upgrade requirements to run the Microsoft Windows Vista Operation System.


Approximately four weeks after assessment, BDPA Charlotte will provide the community computer center with a formal report. The IT assessment will provide a road map to assist community computer centers for identifying and prioritizing their needs. This will empower community computer centers to provide higher quality of services to our students, job seekers, and seniors in our community. Additionally, the report information can be useful for grant applications.

Funding Requirements

The IT Assessment Project is FREE to local community computer centers, which grant BDPA Charlotte volunteers permission to perform the assessment.

BDPA Charlotte Qualifications

BDPA Charlotte is a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization comprised of professionals working in the IT field or anyone having an interest in computers. BDPA Charlotte is member of the National BDPA organization that has over 57 Chapters nationwide. Our membership is diverse and composed of IT executives, managers, consultants, entrepreneurs, project managers, developers, network engineers, programmers, web developers, instructors, and students.

BDPA is a global member focused organization that positions its members at the forefront of the IT industry. BDPA is committed to delivering IT excellence to our members, strategic partners, and community.

BDPA Charlotte strives to accomplish our mission by serving the Charlotte community, keeping our members educated and employed.

BDPA Charlotte Board

Charles Moore

Julius Clark Sr.
President-Elect & VP of Business Management

Lawrence Belton Jr.
VP of Finance

Cassandra Seibles
VP of Membership Services

Sherri Sonnier
VP of Membership

John Hoffler
VP of Student Information Technology & Scholarship Program

Aaron Johnson
High School Computer Competition Coordinator

Background of Project Manager

Julius Clark Sr.

Information Assurance Professional



Salem International University

MBA, 2004 - 2006

University of Fairfax

MSIS, Information Security, 2004 - 2006

Wentworth Institute of Technology

BS, Electronic Engineering, 1994 - 1997

Honors and Awards

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE)


Server & Network Architecture, Information Security, Information Technology Audit, Career Mentoring

and Non-profit Management.


* Security Compliance Monitoring & Reporting Engineer at Wachovia Bank
* President Elect, VP of Business Management at BDPA Charlotte Chapter
* Information Technology Auditor at Wachovia
* Director of Education at BDPA Charlotte Chapter
* Implementation Coordinator at Wachovia
* Sr. Systems Engineer at Wachovia
* Network Analyst at Piedmont Natural Gas
* Network & Telecom Analyst at Homesite Home Insurance Corporation
* Sr. Systems Engineer at American Student Assistance

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Ending of Windows XP by Microsoft

Windows XP was a huge success for Microsoft (7 years running), but like anything else its shelf-life has come to an end. Here are some “Fast Facts” concerning your ability to continue using or getting support for Windows XP from Microsoft.

Fast Fact 1: Microsoft ended the off the self sale of Windows XP earlier this year. (June 2008)

Fast Fact 2: You can still purchase computers with XP on them from a retailer.

Fast Fact 3: Support for Windows XP from Microsoft will be in effect until April 2014.

Fast Fact 4: Business customers may install Windows XP via the customer “Downgrade Rights” benefit. If you purchase Vista Business or Ultimate, you may down grade to Windows XP Professional until you are ready to start using Windows Vista, which makes you “Future Proofed” , since you already have a license for Windows Vista.

Microsoft letter to existing Windows XP Customers: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/letter.html


Dog Saves Other Dog After Being Hit On Highway

This is purely incredible! We as humans should learn a lesson by this courageous and heroic act by an animal and allow the best of our humanity to help one another!

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