Why Backing Up Data is So Important for Businesses

Remember the days of floppy disks where you entrusted important documents to tiny pieces of plastic that were easily lost, destroyed, erased? Well maybe you don’t because you’re too young to have even held a floppy disk, but it’s the same scenario with CD’s, flash drives and external hard drives today. Thankfully, we have cloud storage systems like DataYard’s OwnCloud, which is similar to Google Drive, OneDrive, and Dropbox to hold various documents.  

On top of that, many of our files end up in our email or on a project management system that we can access from any internet-connected device. 

These days, you’d have to be crazy to trust important files to a single disk, or even one hard drive. And yet, many businesses fail to properly backup their computer and server systems, leading to much bigger issues. 

Many companies that suffer a major data loss without a proper backup system in place never fully recover. Don’t think your business can suffer from data loss? Think again. 

There are many ways to lose data....

People often associate data loss with data breaches and malicious attacks, which is fair. After all, cyber-attacks, viruses, and other malicious activities ultimately result in the theft, corruption, and/or general loss of data. 

But that’s certainly not the only way you can lose data. 

Even if your systems are updated and well protected from external threats, things can still go very wrong. Machines break. Hard drives wear out. A power outage can result in the loss of unsaved information. A fire or natural disaster can destroy the equipment housing your data. 

Let alone the dreaded data loss due to something as basic as spilling a cup of coffee on a computer or network device. Nearly 30% of hard drive failures are caused by simple accidents. 

Losing data costs a lot of time and money. Having your systems down can cost a lot as wellIf you want to keep your business safe and your information protected, you need proper backup systems in place.  

For those who operate under various compliancy standards, backup systems are likely required. Failure to follow backup protocol can result in the loss of clients, as well as potential fines. 

Providing Peace of Mind with Quality Backup Support 

At DataYard, we understand just how important backups are to modern businesses. That’s why are backup services go above and beyond the various needs of our customers. Whether you have compliancy standards to meet or not, we can make sure you information is safe. 

Our cloud hosting automatically creates daily backups going back at least 30 days. Additional backups can be made as needed. Our servers our housed in our data center which is well protected against power outages and other dangers. 

Additionally, we offer colocation for those who prefer/need to use their own equipment. Want backups created offsite? We can help with that too. 

In addition to our general server capabilities, we offer consultation and management to clients across the globe, along with onsite IT services in the Dayton, Ohio area. 

Keep your business protected from data loss. Contact DataYard today.

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Thank You Dayton Developers

The last few weeks have been full of exciting announcements for Dayton’s downtown revitalization and we just want to thank a few of the people we see investing their time and passion into our home.

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Who Exactly Needs to be HIPPA Compliant?

HIPPA compliance can be a little intimidating for those who have never dealt with it before. Not only are the rules vast and complex, but failure to follow HIPAA can lead to major fines, lawsuits, and more. Before you dig too deeply into the ins and outs of HIPAA, it makes sense to wonder whether or not HIPAA is a factor for you in the first place.  

Though HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, it of course extends to more than just health insurance providers.  

Anyone working within the health or medical industry at any capacity will encounter some part of HIPAA. This includes physicians, dentists, counselors, and more. Additionally, companies that have vendors, customers, or third-party connections in the health industry may also be required to follow parts of HIPAA. 

In today’s digital age, one area where businesses really need to be mindful of HIPAA compliance is regarding their online tools and services. 

Do Your Online Services Need to be HIPAA Compliant?

Virtually every business or organization has a website these days. That website is hosted on a physical server somewhere. However, not all servers are the same.  

In addition to different speeds, capacities, and software, some servers are HIPAA compliant while others are not. Now, just because you operate within the health industry does not necessarily mean you need HIPAA compliant hosting. 

For example, let’s say you’re a dental office with a simple website explaining who you are, what you do, and how you can be reached. In this case, HIPAA compliant hosting isn’t required. However, if you wish to add digital intake forms, or you plan on storing current or potential client’s health information, HIPAA comes into play. 

Of course, it’s not just websites that are hosted on servers. Email, online software, cloud storage, and more all fall under HIPAA compliance rules. It’s important to make sure you’re protected. 

HIPAA Consultation Makes Compliance Easy 

At DataYard, we provide HIPAA compliant hosting solutions and IT services to protect your clients’ information and keep you from facing hefty fines. We realize you might not exactly know what you need when it comes to maintaining HIPAA compliance. That’s why we also offer IT consultation services that we call the Discovery process to make sure you get exactly what’s needed. 

Whether you know what you’re looking for, and you’re looking to talk to someone who does, DataYard is here for you. 

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Basic Requirements of HIPAA Data Compliance

Security should be a high priority for any business sharing information across the internet (or any other digital network). For those who operate under HIPAA, it’s not just something you should do; it’s something you have to do by law. 

Recently, we discussed what part of HIPAA covers digital and online assets. Today, we’re going to focus on some of the basic features HIPAA requires. This is by no means a full breakdown, as that would very long, confusing, and attention shattering. 

Instead, we’ll discuss on some of the broader areas you’ll want to make sure are covered by your hosting provider and IT team. 

The goal is here is to handle PHI (protected health information) appropriately by ensuring three things: 

  1. PHI can only be viewed, edited, and shared by authorized people. 
  2. An individual must be able to access their PHI whenever they choose to. 
  3. PHI must be safeguarded against data loss. 

To do so, you’ll need the following… 

Data Encryption 

Data encryption is the first level of defense for your PHI. This ensures that data can only be accessed through the proper points of access (such as login portals). Should a person or program go around your server controls to break into your system, any data obtained will be undecipherable.  

Access Logs 

It’s important to know who accesses what data and when they access it. Also, any changes, edits, or additions must be logged. These logs will help prove that compliance has been maintained. Should problems arise, they’ll also help determine the source and what’s been affected.  

Typically, access logs should go back as far as six years. 

Automated Backup Systems 

It’s not just data breaches that you need to protect against. The loss of data can be just as damaging. HIPAA systems are required to make regular, complete backups that are fully encrypted. That way, should your system be breached or destroyed, a backup can be put in place to maintain compliance.  

Backup Power 

In order to keep information accessible, the power needs to keep running to your servers and systems at all times. Backup power is required to prevent against potential outages and ensure that PHI can always be accessed. 

System Updates 

Outdated software or hardware systems can be a common cause for both technological issues and breaches in security. Any server, network, OS, or device that’s involved in the handling of PHI must stay up to date. 

Depending on the complexity of your network, this can be quite an undertaking. 

Password Compliance 

Weak passwords are very dangerous for any system. In fact, they’re the most common causes for data breaches. In the case of HIPAA, weak passwords aren’t just a liability; they can violate policy. Organizations operating under HIPAA must have systems implemented for creating, changing, and safeguarding passwords”. 

The specifics of how you go about doing this can vary. What matters most is that you have an established system that everyone follows. 

Still, using complex passwords and changing them frequently aren’t always enough. Even when strong passwords are used and regularly changed, you can still be vulnerable to brute force attacks (programs that randomly generate characters until the right password is entered). 

To truly protect yourself, you need additional security measures in place that signal warnings and lock-out hackers before they can break your password. 

When It Comes to HIPAA, You Can’t Plead Ignorance 

Whether you understand all the specifics of HIPAA requirements or not makes little difference. You’ll be penalized all the same. Failure to comply with HIPAA rules will put you under the enforcement of the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services (or OCR). 

An individual HIPAA fine can be as much as $50,000. An organization can be fined as much as $1,500,000 per violation category in a single year. On top of that, you may face civil lawsuits from people affected by any breaches or data losses. 

This is enough to crush many large companies let alone the small ones. The best protection against this happening is by leveraging the assets, knowledge, and experience of a company like DataYard. 

At DataYard, we provide dedicated cloud hosting, cybersecurity services, and colocation services that can meet the strictest areas of HIPAA compliance. We house are cloud servers in Dayton, Ohio where they are protected against outages, breaches, and data loss.  

Additionally, our IT expertise enables us to consult, advise, and directly assist you in maintain HIPAA compliance across the rest of your systems. 

Contact us today and make sure you maintain compliancy.  

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HIPAA Compliance for Hosting and Data Security

If you work anywhere in the healthcare space, you’re probably very familiar with HIPAA compliance. Passed in 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act provides rules and guidelines for healthcare access, health information storage, health insurance, and more.

HIPAA consists of five primary parts or titles:

  • HIPAA Title I – Health care access, portability and renewability,
  • HIPAA Title II – Preventing health care fraud and abuse; administrative simplification; medical liability reform
  • HIPAA Title III – Tax-related health provisions
  • HIPAA Title IV – Group health insurance requirements
  • HIPAA Title V – Revenue offsets for tax deductions

While HIPAA provides an important function of protecting the health coverage and personal information of individuals, along with reducing fraud across the industry, it can get a little confusing.

Arguably the most complex section of HIPAA is Title II, which among other things, covers how information is stored and accessed. Since almost everything is digital these days, that means Title II covers your hosting, server, and network setup. 

Meeting the Requirements of HIPAA Title II

Failure to follow the proper requirements of HIPAA Title II can put your customers personal data at risk, not to mention result in some serious penalties. It’s very important that all of your information is stored securely within a HIPAA compliant system. 

Of course, HIPAA extends beyond hosting, covering IT areas such as account access, password management, and more. You also need to be mindful of working with external vendors and third parties, as they bring additional risks and requirements regarding your data. 

Professional Help for Staying HIPAA Compliant 

By itself, the world of hosting and IT support is very technical. When you add in HIPAA compliance, the complexity multiplies. That’s why it’s best to utilize an experienced IT team that’s well versed in HIPAA compliance. 

At DataYard, we offer a wide range of services for companies and organizations that operate under HIPAA. This includes private cloud hosting at our data center in Dayton, Ohio that meets HIPAA and HITECH requirements. Additionally, we can provide you with consultation, on-going support, and threat protection so that all of your technological and digital fronts are covered. 

You don’t need to understand all of the complexities of HIPAA Title II. You just need an IT team that does. Contact us today! 

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What Place Does Colocation Have in a Cloud Based World?

For many companies, having their own servers has become a thing of the past. Where once, a business had to find space to place racks, run wiringprovide backup power, etc., they can now utilize someone else’s servers halfway across the world. 

Even for companies who need high-performance, extra security, and 24/monitoring, cloud hosting solutions can provide dedicated server space that keeps up with all of their demands. 

But in-between cloud servers and in-house servers, there is another option: colocation. 

Colocation is when you house your own physical server equipment in a third-party data center. You handle the purchasing and configuration of the equipment. The data center keeps it secure, powered, and cooled.  

This has proven to be a popular solution, as it frees businesses from having to store their dedicated servers in their own buildings. Advanced systems can make noise and run hot, not to mention they need backup power sourcesextra security measures, and high-speed network access. 

By placing your equipment in a data center, you can free up your own real estate and remove the responsibility of keeping your servers powered, protected, and connected. It’s a best of both worlds approach. 

However, as cloud hosting and dedicated virtual servers have grown in capabilities, many have moved away from colocation. Some have even gone as far as to say that colocation is dead. This is not true. In fact, colocation is on the rise. 

Why is that? It’s simple. Some businesses need their own equipment.  

And others just like having ownership over it. 

There are a few reasons why you may want colocation.

Specific Hardware Requirements 

Every business has different hardware, compliance, and security measures to follow. Cloud servers take a universal approach to hosting, providing more of a “one-size-fits all” solution, even if there are some options you can customize. 

With colocation, you choose every part of your setup, which means you can tailor it to your specific needs. In some cases, a company’s software and/or internal systems may require server hardware that simply isn’t popular enough to be found as an option for cloud hosting. 

Technical Knowhow 

Due to the fact that you’re purchasing and configuring your own equipment, colocation does require some advanced IT knowhow. For companies with IT workers on staff, this is great, as it allows them to setup their system exactly how they want it.  

And we know firsthand how particular IT people can be about the way things are configured. 

Ownership 

Cloud hosting, even when you’re using private or dedicate servers, is a rental service. You are paying someone to use their equipment. When you stop paying them, you lose the ability to use that equipment. They may also have specific rules regarding how you use the equipment. Some businesses are completely fine with that. 

Others prefer ownership. 

With colocation, the equipment is yours to use as you wish. If you decide to change who you’re partnering with for hosting, you can take your equipment with you. 

In Need of Colocation? 

Our Data Center in Dayton, Ohio is equipped to handle all of your server needs. Whether you want private cloud hosting, shared hosting, or space for colocation, you can expect a high quality, customer driven experience. 

Our colocation services are scalable and move-in ready. At DataYard, you’ll have 24/7/365 access, should you need it. Meanwhile, we’ll make sure your equipment stays secured, protected, and connected.  

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sdlan.datayard.us upgrades

On Tuesday June 11Th at 3PM EST DataYard will be upgrading our Unifi controller, sdlan.datayard.us. The Unifi web portal may be unavailable for 15 minutes during this time. No other systems will be affected.

Let us know if you have any questions, concerns, or just want to chat: 1.800.982.4539 or support@datayard.us. Remember to follow us on Twitter (@datayardtechops & @datayard)!

Google Chrome Updates – Is Your Site Secure?

The world’s most popular Internet browser, Google Chrome, is releasing an important update in the coming weeks.  Starting with the public and stable release of Chrome update 68, the browser will show a yellow “warning” icon next to the URL of web sites which are not protected by a SSL cert, and when this icon is hovered over a “Not Secure” warning will be displayed.  With over 53% of total browser market share, this update is sure to affect a wide swatch of users and websites.

Read the Google blog post here.

Not sure if your website will be affected by this change?  Visit your site in a browser, and then look at the URL in the address bar.  If your address begins with “HTTP” and not “HTTPS”, your visitors may start to see a warning when this update is released.

To get ahead of the curve on this, give us a call or send us an email – for $175 a year, we can purchase, coordinate, and install a fix for this issue for any DataYard hosting customers.  Just another way we are here to help you make IT better.

 

Keeping the Internet Safe

Earlier this month was Safer Internet Day, which is a day dedicated to creating awareness around safe internet usage mainly geared towards children and teens. I realized this topic didn’t exist when I was growing up. Think about it for a second. I am in my mid-late twenties and I have had more years with dial-up internet or no Internet at all, than I have with anything close to the high speeds we have today. I’ve grown up with the Internet quite literally. When I was a kid, teachers and parents were just trying to grasp the concept of the Internet and how it was used, let alone talk about how to safely address it. For this reason, I’ve taken it upon myself to catch all of us up on some quick Internet Safety Tips.

Passwords

Creating complex passwords and changing your passwords regularly can go a long way. That means moving past the passwords like ‘Password123’ and ‘Jacob19’, onto more creative phrases and symbols. It is also beneficial to use different passwords for your different accounts and websites, rather than using the same one across the board. For this reason, I would recommend using tools like LastPass, KeePass or 1Password to help keep track of all of your different passwords. These tools can also be set up to remind you to reset your password every couple of months.

Public Network Security

Free public Wi-Fi has essentially become a basic utility, making the internet easily accessible virtually anywhere. This is also making users increasingly vulnerable. The challenge with public Wi-Fi is that it’s often unsecured, making it easy for hackers to access your device. If you want to utilize public Wi-Fi in a secure manner, you can purchase a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is a software that will provide you with a secure connection to the Internet.

At Home Network Security

Taking a comprehensive look at your home network will allow you to have peace of mind when you are connecting to the Internet at home on your various devices. Changing administrative passwords and implementing a few precautions can make your connection much safer. For a checklist on securing your home network check out our Securing Your Home Network blog.

Safe Browsing

Many times, Internet browsers themselves provide Safe Browsing functions (see Google). However, you can go an extra step and retrain yourself on not giving away personal information, avoiding questionable websites, only downloading software from sites you trust, and increasing your browsers security settings.

  • Click Smart – don’t click on sketchy links or ads
  • Share Selectively – don’t just share your personal information with anyone
  • Shop Safe – when shopping online always make sure to look for https

HTTPS

Keep an eye on the addresses of the sites you are visiting. In the address bar for your website, you will see either HTTP or HTTPS (more about the difference) which represents how data is transferred between a web server and a web browser. With an HTTPS site, the data is encrypted, which keeps your information safe. This is extremely important for any online shopping or banking, and any site taking your personal information. You need to make sure that it has encryption.

Stay Up to Date

Staying up to date on the latest operating systems (OS) and software/application versions will ensure that you have the most up-to-date security measures in place. We recommend turning on auto-update when applicable.

If you have more questions about making your home a safe place please feel free to reach out to us on social media or at hello@datayard.us

Other Resources:

How to update your DataYard Mail Filter Settings

DataYard’s new and updated mail filter features improvements to both spam and virus filtering performance and the user interface.  This article explains how to create an account on DataYard’s Mail filter, update your password, add and remove entries from your whitelist and blocklist and adjust your spam filtering levels from the defaults.

Creating an account

Access the Mail filter login page at https://filter.datayard.us.  Enter your email address in the username field and click  “Create New Password”

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It will tell you that an account has been created and will have sent an email to you with your password.

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Now you can log in to the portal with your email address and password.

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Here is what you’ll see when you log in.  The page will default to the Quarantine Inbox that is disabled by default (you can enable it by following the instructions here).

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Changing Your password

Upon logging in, click on Preferences

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Then click Password

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Enter your old password and desired password as directed, then click Save Password.

 

Updating your whitelist/blocklist

Click Preferences, then Whitelist/Blocklist

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You will be presented with the following page.  To add an address to either list, click into the entry box in either list, then enter the address and click Add.  To remove an entry, click the trash can next to the entry you wish to remove.

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To remove an entry, click the trash can next to the entry you wish to remove.

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You can edit the list as a whole by clicking Bulk Edit on the list you wish to edit.

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Never edit the first line and put each entry on its own line, as shown below. Click Save once finished.

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Customizing your filter settings

Click on Preferences, then Spam Settings

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In order to change your settings from your Domain defaults, select No for Use Domain Defaults under the Spam Scoring section, then click Save.

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You’ll now be able to adjust the scoring levels for blocking, quarantine (see Enabling Your Spam Quarantine if you’d like to utilize the quarantine feature) and Tagging.  Adjust the sliders to your desired levels and click Save.  Higher numbers are less sensitive and lower numbers are more sensitive. For example, if you change the Block slider from the default level of 5 to 8, you will receive more messages.

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Getting Help

The new mail filter includes comprehensive help, if you need an explanation for a setting or section, simply click the “Help” link at the top right of every section header.

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You can also contact us any time at support@datayard.us or 937-226-6896 for assistance.