The Role of VPNs in Your Security Arsenal

Virtual Private Networks or VPNs have been used for over 20 years to provide computer access to corporate networks for employees traveling or working remotely. Their adoption by both corporate and private users has boomed over the past 5 years as awareness has grown about privacy risks.

In fact, “doing it without protection” has taken on new meaning as public WiFi is broadly ubiquitous and heavily used. Personally, I either use Verizon cellular data or I use a VPN if I can’t access a trusted network. And I don’t trust business networks unless I know what they use for security. That means that I use VPNs often when I am working on my laptop.

For those interested in learning a bit more about VPNs, here is a link to a useful articale in PC Magazine – https://www.pcmag.com/roundup/296955/the-best-vpn-services

And feel free to contact me if you are interested in learning more about VPNs and their role in a comprehensive security strategy for your family or your business.


Reboot and Update !!

The FBI is strongly recommending that all routers be rebooted and that your router firmware is up to the latest release.    Additionally, I recommend that you make sure that all of your phone, tablet, and PCs are at the latest release in order to provide the latest protection against internet-based threats.

Here is the link to the NYT article on this topic.  CLICK HERE

 


Sophos XG-105 Security Appliance – Hands On

I researched network security companies for several months before selecting Sophos Ltd as my partner of choice.  The selection was based on a series of demos, analyst reviews, product pricing, and support for a managed service offering.  I installed the Sophos XG-105 security appliance in my lab in January after getting enrolled as a partner and going through basic education on the product line.  Continue reading


RING Brings Floodlight Camera to Market

RING, the company known for their doorbell cameras just released a floodlight camera consisting of 2 LED lights and an HD camera on a fixture that is intended as an easy replacement for dual floodlight outdoor fixtures.  Priced at $249, this is in the same price range as many of the outdoor WiFi-enabled cameras and it has two advantages – it controls the included LED light fixture and it is wired into house power so there are no batteries to charge or replace.

The packaging is first rate and includes a screwdriver and socket that you will need for installation.  New installations will require a round electrical box with power.  Installation instructions are clear and there is video available through the Ring phone app to help at each step.  You will need a clear WiFi signal at the installation point to support the HD images that stream from the camera.

Once mounted, all interaction with the light and camera is done through the Ring App.  The app allows you to easily control settings for the light, motion sensitivity and range, and what kind of alerts you will receive.  You can be notified anytime there is motion in the area that you have set to monitor.  You can swipe on the alert to bring up the app and see exactly what is happening.  You can also go to the app and use the Live View function to get a live video stream from the camera at any time.

The camera includes a speaker and microphone that allows you to hear what is happening as well as speak to someone near the camera.  The small speaker will not allow you to broadcast your voice throughout the yard, but is may be useful for instructions or warnings.

Each unit comes with 30 days of free recording before you will have to pay for a video storage plan.  Annual plans are $30 per camera or $100 for unlimited cameras.  Video is retained for 6 months.

I have installed 2 units in the past 2 weeks and I am impressed with the picture detail, build quality, and installation ease.

They are available in white and black and can be ordered through Ring.com or purchased at some Home Depots.  I expect broader availability as production ramps.

Contact me if you have any questions or would like to schedule an installation.


Approaching Technology for Home – Incrementalism vs One Big Project

Home improvement projects can usually be divided into those that need to be tackled as one big project and those that can be tackled in pieces.  Remodeling a kitchen is best done as one big project while upgrading the landscaping can be done in smaller chunks over time.  In both cases a master plan is a really good idea – it saves time, minimizes rework, and makes sure that you address the structural issues up front.  Changes to plumbing, electrical, and irrigation are expensive and disruptive when done late in the project.

In most cases, home technology can be added and upgraded incrementally without a cost penalty — as long as you have a plan or road map.  Your technology plan should include the overall scope for your projects – security, control, remote management, lighting, entertainment, and more.  Your scope then helps determine infrastructure requirements and core technology ecosystem.  Infrastructure in most cases consists of a combination of wired and wireless networks that are needed to carry music, video, and instructions throughout your home.  The primary network requirements are capacity and coverage — enough speed everywhere you need it.

Unlike most other home infrastructure, technology has multiple standards and ecosystems.  If you purchase a new lamp, you know that you can take it home and plug it into any standard wall outlet and it will work.  With technology, you need to make choices.  Think PC vs Mac or iPhone vs Android.  Tech ecosystems is a topic for another day, but suffice it to say that you are better off making a choice up front to save time, money, and headaches later.

With your plan in hand and infrastructure choices made, you are in the best position to move forward with confidence and tackle projects as your priorities dictate and your budget allows.

We are here to help at every step of the way, from planning through delivery.


Comfortable In Her Own Home

As a recent widow, I worried about living alone.  Joe Chappell at Connected HHI made me comfortable staying in my home.  I chose SimpliSafe’s security system for ease of use and it performs well and is easy to use.  I travel a fair amount and chose Nest thermostats for convenience and energy savings.  I love that I can see and control everything from my iPhone. I have added lighting control, garage door control, and a keyless lock and everything works from my Apple iPhone.  My next project is cameras for my entry and driveway.

Working with Joe has been a pleasure.  He considers my needs and my budget when recommending options for me to consider.  I was comfortable with the process and I feel comfortable staying in the home I love.

M.A.M.


PCI Compliance – A Primer

If credit and debit cards are important to your business, you need to understand three things:

  • What is PCI Compliance
  • What is your potential cost for Non-Compliance
  • How to be sure that your business stays compliant

This paper will provide a brief overview of these three topics and provide a plan to move forward.Continue reading


Digital Security for your Business

Do you wonder or even worry about risks to your business from hacking, viruses, ransomware, client data breaches, exploits, and other digital attacks? Do you understand all of the threats and potential risks to your business? Are you confident that you have the necessary protection in place to protect your networks, computers, mobile devices, and critical data?

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Connected HHI Adds Sophos as Network Security Partner


Connected HHI is proud to add Sophos as our partner for Network Security.  Sophos is recognized as a market leader* in network security for business.  With Sophos, we can provide business protection from viruses, malware, ransomware, and hacking across your servers, PCs, tablets, and phones.  Sophos products control what gets in and out of your network to protect from external and internal threats, keeping your business and client data safe.  We have Sophos equipment installed in our lab and available for demonstration.

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Security Steps That We Can Take

With all of the news on hacking attacks and identity theft, it is important to take steps ourselves to protect our data and our systems.  Three areas that we control are our passwords, our networks, and our devices.   The following is an overview of password hygiene and the role that password managers can play.  Further posts will cover network and device security.

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