Category: Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity in the Remote Workplace

Cybersecurity in the Remote Workplace

Cybersecurity issues have been around for quite some time. Most organizations have put in place security layers to reduce or eliminate the risk of data breaches. But all of that was when offices used to function in the traditional way – unlike in the “new normal” world that COVID-19 brought about, in which many employees now work from home.

Yes, the coronavirus pandemic has turned things upside down. It is not as if remote work is a new concept. Companies were flexible with remote work set-ups, but were certainly not prepared when a majority of the staff needed to work at home.

Making home a remote workplace is a challenge from several standpoints. And security – or cybersecurity, to be more precise – is one such challenge that needs addressing.

Pandemic Affects Security Needs

As a business, you need to understand how the pandemic affects security needs. Businesses need to factor in the security issues that are imminent with telework and mobile security. With the current situation unlikely to change in the near future, it is in your interest to implement security measures to keep your company’s data – and that of your customers’ – secure, while maintaining the productivity of your employees at the optimum level.

It is, therefore, crucial that business take into account the rising risks of security breaches. To create continuity plans, businesses need to put in place security measures for mobile and remote computing to reduce or eliminate the threat.

How to improve cybersecurity for remote employees?

A strong company policy that covers every risk area needs to be drawn up and distributed to every employee in your organization. To ensure that everyone understands the measures and to enforce compliance, you should schedule teleconferences for training. There can be no compromise on content security, especially when it comes to your proprietary data. 

Here is how you can improve cybersecurity for your remote employees:

Make sure your remote employees use a VPN – People working from home should use a virtual private network (VPN). Using a VPN not just bypasses geographic restrictions, it also helps improve online privacy. A VPN can encrypt your internet traffic. Therefore, even if someone intercepts your data, they cannot read it. Ask your employees to use a VPN when they are accessing company information.

Tell your employees to use secure Wi-Fi connections only – Most of our home Wi-Fi systems are secure. Ensure that your employees know that it is not safe to use public Wi-Fi networks while accessing company information. Most of the cyberattacks emanate from these places. Make sure your employees don’t use public Wi-Fi while accessing company information. Our blog post – “Is It Safe to Use Open Wi-Fi Hotspots?” – covers this important issue in detail. Spoiler alert: No.

Change the password of your home router – Ask your employees whether they have changed their home routers password after installation. Many people don’t bother to change the password, which makes their home network vulnerable to cyberattacks. Also, ask your employees to install firmware updates to patch security vulnerabilities.

Make sure your employees use strong passwords – Tell your employees to use strong passwords. Many people still use the same password for several accounts, although it leaves their devices vulnerable to hacking. Also tell your employees not to use the “remember password” feature while accessing company data.

Make sure your employees use two-factor authentication – Some cyber attackers are smart enough to break strong passwords. That is why adding a second layer of security like two-factor authentication and a two-step verification process can help avert many cyberattacks. You can opt for email or text message confirmation, or use facial recognition or a fingerprint scanner.

Back up your important data – Make sure you back up all your important files. In case of an attempted breach, you need to have your data secure somewhere, and the best and most cost-effective place to keep your data safe is the cloud.

Make sure you have firewalls – Writing for Cybereason, Sean Mooney recommends the following

“Firewalls act as a line of defense to prevent threats from entering your company’s system. They create a barrier between your employees’ devices and the internet by closing ports to communication. This can help prevent malicious programs’ entry and can stop data leaking from employees’ devices. Your employees’ device operating systems will typically have a built-in firewall. In addition, hardware firewalls are built into many routers. Just make sure that they are enabled.”

Ensure your employees have antivirus software in place Ensure antivirus is in place and fully updated. Although a firewall can help, threats will inevitably get through. A good, advanced antivirus software can act as the next line of defense by detecting and blocking known malware. Even if malware does manage to find its way onto an employee’s device, an antivirus may be able to prevent it.

Go for end-to-end encryption Make sure your employees share sensitive company information in an encrypted form. Your employees’ devices should have up-to date-encryption tools. The messaging service you use for communication should have end-to-end encryption.

Have a data security policy in place It should be the responsibility of your employees to keep their devices safe if they are working in a public space. The content on their devices can remain secure until the time someone enters the password. You should have a policy in place so that your data remains safe and secure.  

Teach your employees about phishing attacks Train employees how to identify and handle phishing attacks and other forms of social engineering involving remote devices and remote access to company information systems. Employees should be warned to be suspicious of emails from people they don’t know — especially if they are asked to click on a link or open a file. Even emails sent from people they know, but asking for unusual things, should be suspect. Instruct your employees to double check with a phone call when in doubt.

Using personal internet-connected devices for work – The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend was gaining in popularity even before COVID-19. However, as covered in our blog post – “What You Need to Know Before Your Company Adopts BYOD” – there are significant security risks that can leave companies vulnerable to data theft and other cybercrimes. Before your company goes BYOD, be sure you take the necessary risk mitigation measures.

Ask your employees to report security issues Your employees should report suspicious security incidents on a priority basis so that your IT team can act quickly and avert any potential breach.

Don’t forget mobile security

Everyone owns a smartphone or other type of mobile device – at least, those who are part of the working world. Therefore, it is crucial to give due attention to mobile security. According to Wandera, there were 455,121 mobile phishing attacks, 1.9 million Wi-Fi incidents, and 32,846 malware attacks in 2018. Mobile security is crucial, and you need to do everything you can to thwart possible threats. Our blog post – “Mobile Security Threats – Present and Future” – cover this in greater detail.

Here are steps that you can take to improve mobile security:

Endpoint security detection to ward off sophisticated attacks – Hackers these days use sophisticated methods to steal information. Mobile phishing, whaling, pretexting, and baiting are some of the methods that hackers use these days to steal information. 

To prevent these threats, you need to implement endpoint detection. Endpoint detection alerts you about unknown or unauthorized devices that are present on the network. You can then get the matter investigated and bar the device from accessing your network.

Monitoring user behavior – The Wandera report states that 1 million smartphone or tablet lock screens got disabled in 2018, making the job of hackers easy. Moreover, many users don’t even implement lock screen protection on their devices.

If your employees lose any of their devices, it can increase the risk of data theft. Monitoring user behavior is important because it can tell you when the user usually uses the device. And if you see unusual activity on your employees’ devices, you can lock the device out of your network to avert a data breach.

Bar user access to those who don’t need it – People often change jobs. The moment someone leaves your organization, make sure you remove them from your network so that they cannot access your company information. Leaving these endpoints open can increase your chances of data theft.

Educate your employees – If your employees are using mobile devices of their own, teach them best practices for mobile device security. When you educate your employees, they are more likely to keep their devices protected. Teach them about strong lock screen codes, facial scanning and why they need to update their devices. You can also consider using Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Mobile Application Management (MAM) as these solutions can keep your employees’ mobile devices secure.

Solid Cybersecurity Solution for Today’s Work Environment

Fortunately, adapting to the new normal of remote work need not leave your organization vulnerable to cybercriminals and data loss – not to mention the substantial loss in revenue and reputation suffered after successful data breaches. DocuServe has the industry experience and solutions to protect company data, keeping employees productive without risking data loss. Our eServe encryption solution provides content security in the cloud, mobile access, security at rest and in motion, encrypted data security, remote wipe and much more.

Contact us to learn how DocuServe can be the ideal solution for your company’s move to the brave new normal world.

Costly Data Breach

How Costly Could a Data Breach Be?

A data breach can have wide-ranging consequences for businesses of all sizes. Data breaches not only affect your company’s reputation, but can also cause you substantial financial losses.  With regulatory fines, remediation costs and lost business opportunities, data breaches can prove to be a costly affair to handle.

But how costly could a data breach be?

Let us look at data breach statistics. According to the 2019 Cost of a Data Breach Report, the average total cost of a data breach is $3.92 million, with the United States being the most expensive country – $8.19 million and healthcare being the most expensive industry at $6.45 million.

That is why businesses these days rely on content security to keep their proprietary content, customer information, financial data, research, corporate training materials, and other crucial information safe from compromise.

But as a business owner, it is important to know common reasons for data breaches, and steps you can take to prevent them.

Common reasons for a data breach

It is generally presumed that only outside hackers cause a data breach. But that is not always the case. A data breach can occur due to many reasons, including the following:

An unintentional insider – If an employee uses their colleague’s computer and reads files without proper authorization and permission, it is a kind of a data breach. In this case, the intention of the user is not malicious, and the employee does not share or pass on the information, but it is a breach nevertheless.

An intentional insider – If the information is accessed with the intent of sharing or using it for nefarious means, it is an intentional data breach. The person may have the authorization and permission to access the information, but they are planning to use it to harm the company or an individual, the intent is malicious, and could lead to a serious data breach.

Stolen or lost devices – If a device (laptop or hard drive) that is not encrypted or properly locked is stolen or lost, it could result in a data breach. If a hacker or malicious user gets hold of such devices, they can misuse the information. 

Hackers or outside malicious actors – When people intentionally use various methods to steal sensitive information from a company or an individual, it is a data breach. Such people are known as hackers – outside malicious actors who intentionally cause a data breach.

Preventing data breaches

With data breaches on the rise, it is important to know how to prevent one. Here are some effective ways to prevent data breaches:

Focus on asset inventory – If you want to improve your organization’s security, you need to have a clear understanding of what software and hardware assets you use in your network and physical infrastructure. You can also use an asset inventory to prepare categories and ratings so that you are in the know about threats and vulnerabilities your assets might face. When you are aware of the threats and vulnerabilities, you can better prepare your infrastructure for possible attacks.

If you need to tackle data breaches, you need to focus on endpoint protection. You cannot avert a major data breach with just an antivirus. Relying on antivirus alone can leave your endpoints like desktop and laptop vulnerable. Vulnerable desktops and laptops can cause major data breaches if not secured properly.

You can use encryption to prevent data loss and leakage. Encryption also helps you enforce unified data protection policies across all your endpoints, servers and networks.

Do a vulnerability assessment or, better still, use a vulnerability and compliance management tool – If you want to identify the gaps and weaknesses in your physical and virtual landscape, you need to use a vulnerability and compliance management tool – or at least complete a vulnerability assessment. Vulnerability and compliance management can monitor your infrastructure and keep your IT security in top condition

When you use a vulnerability and compliance management tool, it allows you to understand the security threats and things that need remediation. It also allows you to prepare an action plan to tackle security vulnerabilities and take appropriate actions.

Complete regular audits on security posture – If you want to identify the potential gaps in compliance or governance, you need to ensure that you complete regular audits. Regular audits help you validate your security posture. A security audit is a thorough assessment of your security policies, vis-à-vis your preparedness to head off threats. A security audit will let you know how you handle information security in your organization.

A security audit can bring out the following:

  • Your organization’s documented security policies and their effectiveness.
  • Your organization’s management process, escalation profiles, and the procedures you follow in case of incidents and breaches.
  • The network security mechanisms you have in place in your organization – IDS/IPS, ERP, next-gen firewalls, etc.
  • Your organization’s security and log monitoring setup.
  • Your organization’s encryption and password policies.
  • Your organization’s disaster recovery plan and business continuity roadmap.

A security audit will also bring out whether you test your applications for security flaws or not – as well as whether you have a change management process in place for the IT environment. You also learn how you back up your files and media, and who can access them. It also sheds up light on your restore procedure testing.

You also get to know whether you review your audit logs or not, and if you get them audited, when they are reviewed.

Keep your staff educated and trained on data privacy and security issues – Once you are through with the security policy audits, you can implement an employee policy that deals with data privacy and security issues. But it is important to provide regular training to your employees so that everyone in your organization is aware of their responsibilities. Make sure that you train your employees on the following points:

  • The principle of least privilege – end-user access and privileges.
  • The importance of creating and using unique passwords for computers and other devices in the workplace.
  • Recognizing and avoiding a phishing attack.
  • The documented system for those who leave your organization, be it your employees, vendors or contractors.
  • Immediate reporting of any data compromises and breaches.

You also need to ensure that you have a policy in place on how your employees should retrieve, handle, dispose of and send data. Designating a person to conduct regular training on information security issues is a good way to ensure that ongoing education and training is consistent.

With such precautions in place, it is possible to avert major (and minor) data breaches in your organization. But as mentioned earlier, if you want to keep your company information safe and secure, you need to apply a content security solution.

DocuServe is a cloud-based digital data protection company providing services that include cloud-based document management, content encryption and distribution, and digital media replication and encryption to businesses in every industry. Contact us today to learn about our full range of solutions.

A robber holding a computer

How Secure Is Your Digital Content?

Data security is – or should be – a top priority for businesses both big and small. With data breaches increasing, it is imperative to implement security measures at every level. So, what should organizations do to streamline and secure their digital workplace and content? Our DocuServe team offers information about essential tools, trends and advice – especially for web developers who use WordPress.

Collaboration in the cloud – the advent of the CCP

Every business knows that a migration to the cloud is necessary. The productivity gains of going paperless and the sheer speed of a digitally-integrated workflow are only possible with a well-implemented content collaboration platform (CCP) solution.

As defined by Gartner, the CCP market covers a range of products and services that enable content productivity and collaboration. CCPs are aimed at individuals and teams, inside or outside an organization. Additionally, CCPs increasingly support lightweight content management and workflow use cases.

Why does your digital workplace need a CCP?

If you want to improve productivity and teamwork, you need to devise secure ways for content sharing and collaboration with your employees and colleagues both inside and outside your organization. According to Gartner’s content collaboration magic quadrant, 50 percent of midsize and large organizations in mature regional markets are expected to use a CCP by 2022 to improve productivity and collaboration and implement document workflows.

CCPs not only empower and connect people, but also enable a new level of productivity, collaboration and efficiency. Just as importantly, it covers security and compliance issues, in addition to helping meet business goals. As outlined by Gartner, the core functionalities of CCPs include:

  • Mobile access to content repositories.
  • File synchronization across devices and cloud repositories.
  • File sharing with people and applications, inside or outside an organization.
  • Team collaboration with dedicated folders.
  • A content repository, which can be cloud-based or on-premises, native to the CCP platform or based on other file servers or repositories.

Using these workplace apps separately and out of context of a CCP platform is difficult and trying for employees to use to perform specific tasks. Also, managers and employees perceive these workplace apps in a different light. When you opt for a CCP, you can eliminate most of these problems because they offer different levels of support for the following:

  • Data protection and security
  • Usability
  • Mobility
  • Simplicity
  • User productivity
  • File manipulation
  • Content management
  • Collaboration
  • Analytics
  • Workflow
  • Data governance
  • Integration
  • Management
  • Administration
  • Storage

What to avoid

KIssflow’s Employee Experience Survey was conducted to assess the day-to-day interactions of the employees and leaders of various industries with workplace software – and the extent to which the workplace software affects the overall employee experience. Findings revealed the following:

  • The opinion is different among employees and leaders on how much workplace software they use.
  • Employees are less satisfied with the software they use than the leaders.
  • Employees are less likely to believe than their leaders that workplace technology empowers them to do their jobs in a better way.
  • When it comes to using workplace technology to their advantage, employees face several obstacles. Some of these obstacles are inadequate training, confusing and complex interface, and lack of guided learning tools.

According to Kissflow CEO Suresh Sambandam, “We can’t build enterprises as we did a decade or so ago, but the problem is, we’ve started working for the tools we’ve implemented, instead of the tools working for us. Each time a tab is switched, productivity goes down and some momentum is tossed away.

“With a digital workplace, enterprises are providing a radically new experience so that working is easy and fun, and not a burden to fathom all the things that are going on in 6-7 different applications running as siloed tabs on people’s browsers.”

CCPs offer complete data protection and uninterrupted service, and can be extremely useful for start-ups that have small teams and need to work closely with external teams on different projects. With a CCP in place, you can communicate efficiently to complete projects which need collaboration. It keeps your business organized and help you avoid workplace silos.

Keeping your digital content secure

As previously mentioned, information security is a serious threat to organizations worldwide. Your data is a major investment – as is your website. Because 25 percent of websites are powered by WordPress, it should not be surprising that hackers frequently target WordPress sites.

Fly Plugins offers crucial tips for keeping your digital assets safe and secure.

Make sure your foundation is strong – When you talk of security, you need to ensure that your foundation is secure. And, a secure foundation starts with your laptop or desktop computer. Should the hackers compromise your device, you can’t do much by securing WordPress.

Use a strong password – Not to be rude, but you’re probably not as clever as you think you are. Don’t use a password that has a personal meaning you believe no one will ever guess, or assume that no hacker would try anything as obvious as “password 123” or “password.” Don’t keep a text file or spreadsheet of your password. Never use a sticky note on your laptop that has all of your passwords.

In addition:

  • The physical security of your laptop is of utmost importance. Make sure that you keep it in a safe place to prevent theft.
  • Always use an antivirus program – add a firewall for additional security.
  • Always use a secure Wi-Fi connection.
  • If your organization has a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy, take the appropriate security measures. Our blog post on the topic covers what you need to know.  

Select a secure web hosting service – Server-level security is also of utmost importance. When you select a web hosting service provider, perform your due diligence so that you know in detail the level of security it provides.

Set up WordPress correctly from the start – Do not use ‘admin’ as the primary administrator account. Ensure that you do not begin your database table names with ‘wp.’ Again, use strong passwords for the admin account, and use multilevel authentication.

Keep yourself updated –Keep current on all security updates, as well as WordPress, themes, and plugins. Have a staging site so you can test the updates before using them on your live site.

Also, ensure that you only install plugins you trust. In most cases, the plugins available on the WordPress site are safe. You need to be careful with free plugins. It is important to go through the reviews before installing them. Never download a free premium plugin.

Secure the goods – You can install the free Sucuri plugin, which performs all the necessary security monitoring and malware detection, and has tools that harden your WordPress site. The Sucuri scan feature can clean your site, and its primary features include security activity auditing, file integrity monitoring, remote malware scanning, blacklist monitoring, effective security hardening, post-hack security actions, security notifications and website firewalls.

No matter what platform your company uses to meet its unique needs, DocuServe specializes in offering industry-leading solutions for keeping your digital content safe. Our secure document and rich media sharing app can reduce the risk of data exposure. With DocuServe, you can easily control content distributed to employees, vendors, and potential customers. Contact us to learn more.


Document Management System, Cybersecurity, Digital File Management

Why Hospitals Need a Document Management System

Technological innovations have helped several verticals optimize their performance. For example, CRM software helps the sales and marketing function, LMS software helps the learning and development vertical and a cloud-based HR software helps the human resources department. Likewise, a document management system is what helps hospitals streamline their operations and improve efficiency.

A document management system (DMS) is used to track, manage and store documents, which results in the reduction of paper usage. A DMS is capable of storing records that can be created and modified by different users. It helps hospitals serve their patients much more efficiently.

Having a document management system in a hospital streamlines everything

Having an electronic document management system in hospitals not only helps the administrators and healthcare providers, but also patients on several fronts. It is a software system that organizes and stores different kinds of documents. It streamlines billing processes, allows test result and other form sharing and improves behind the scenes functioning – which results in an overall increase in the hospital’s efficiency in the following ways:

Streamlining the billing process – When people are hospitalized, finance and bills are among the most stressful aspects. The sooner and more correctly patients’ claim forms are submitted, the better and more quickly they get to know what they are up against on the financial front. It can relieve some of the stress of those who are already facing a difficult time.

Since it integrates patient documents, it makes care consistent – When every department in the hospital has access to the same patient files, it can make certain aspects of care consistent. Usually, the healthcare providers verify all the information with the patients, but not everyone is in a condition to spell out all the details all the time. For example, it is difficult for people with PTSD to narrate their experiences to every doctor, nurse and technician each time they see a new caregiver. But with a document management system in place, one note which is accessible to all caregivers can ease the patient’s stress.

Better coordination between labs and results – A document management system coordinates the flow of information from one department to another. Though many hospitals digitally share lab results, working with multiple applications can increase the odds of user error – which also slows the process. A hospital document management system should be easily accessible and accurate.

Improving behind-the-scene functions – Though administrative hiccups don’t affect the patients directly, they can surely impact the overall performance of the hospital. When hospitals streamline their back-end processes, it reduces the stress among staff members. It improves patient care by resolving issues like understaffing or overscheduling. With a hospital document management in place, you can track workflow and patterns – which can improve efficiency. Also, if you want to update pamphlets on after-surgery care, it allows you to do so in a consistent manner, and the changes you make reach everyone throughout the system.

Top five reasons you need a document management system

Hospital DMS, Hospital Document Management SystemAdministrative costs for hospitals and healthcare clinics in the United States account for over 25% of the total expenditures. A substantial part of the spending is because hospitals do a vast amount of paperwork for record keeping, billing, coding and insurance. Also, every additional visit adds to the volume. Moreover, medical facilities have to maintain all the records for a minimum of 10 years after a patient’s last visit.

Therefore, maintaining digital records and using a document management system has several advantages.

Here are the top five benefits of document management system in hospitals, according to Becker’s Hospital Review:

1-  It saves money – A DMS reduces material and equipment, such as paper, printers, ink cartridges, etc. It also reduces the amount of storage space needed. At times, hospitals have to devote floors for record keeping. All patient records stay on the servers – either on-premises or in the cloud. It can also reduce employee costs (fewer are needed), as well as retrieval feels.

2-  It also allows greater security and compliance – You can lose or damage paper documents in case of fires, mold, flooding or other types of disasters. With redundant storage features and disaster recovery solutions, your data remains safe and secure at all times. Also, all the files in your system benefit from a detailed chain of custody, in which employee names and timestamps are automatically assigned at each stage of processing.

You can also put in place access rights for sensitive patient data so that only those authorized can access it.

Facilities that use an electronic document management system can easily follow compliance regulations like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.

 3- It allows faster processing with minimum errors – Physically retrieve paper documents from archives and delivering them to the departments requesting them is a time-consuming process. A digitized document management system reduces retrieval time to seconds – with no physical effort.

Since everyone has access to the same electronic medical record, any department can access the documents without the need to photocopy. Should your DMS allows file segmentation, your billing department can update payment information, and the healthcare workers can update medical data at the same time.

Also, some platforms allow real-time collaboration, in which users can make simultaneous changes to the same record without creating mismatched edits. Every record displays the most recent and accurate information – thereby ensuring fewer errors and redundancies.

4-  It improves the patient experience – With a document management system in place, you can improve the overall functioning of your hospital and give your patients a positive experience. When properly implemented, a DMS can lower operating costs, as well as significantly reduce errors, processing times and privacy leaks.

5- It can be done in manageable stages – Using a DMS, it’s possible to start with a small batch of records, and use the subsequent savings to help finance the next stage. Done in this way, you’ll gain productivity and efficiency, allowing your facility to reap ever-increasing gains as you move forward with implementation.

In this time of intense competition among hospitals – as well as an increasing focus on the patient experience and patient privacy – a DMS is a necessity for every healthcare facility.

DocuServe provides robust solutions for every industry, including healthcare. Contact us to learn more.

Enterprise Security

What is Enterprise Security?

With the threat of cyberattacks looming large in organizations of every size, it is imperative for companies to have foolproof security in place to keep their data safe and secure. But enterprise security is a challenging and broad issue. To reduce and eliminate the risk of unauthorized access to information technology systems and data, you need to have a comprehensive strategy that secures all entry and end points.

Enterprise security comprises the strategies and techniques that companies undertake to reduce the risk of unauthorized access to data, IT systems, and information. The activities in enterprise security include the institutionalization, advancements, change and evaluation of a firm’s enterprise risk management (ERM) and security methods.

Enterprise security administration entails different business units, staff, personnel and officials to work together to secure a company’s digital assets, ensure data loss prevention and safeguard the company’s reputation. Enterprise security activities should be in line with the organization’s compliance requirements, culture and administration strategies. Enterprise security activities include conducting vulnerability and risk analysis tests that are intrinsic to the organization’s business.

Enterprise security is also about devising procedures and strategies that can safeguard the company’s physical assets.

Dealing with the human factor

Though all technological help should be put in place to keep cyber attacks at bay, it is also vital for organizations to understand the human angle in dealing with the security issue.

Humans have broken many barriers when it comes to technology. However, people have a habit of experimenting with technology that at times goes beyond the original intent. Experimentation with technology is good, but this is also the point where security problems begin. As organizations embrace technology, it is becoming increasingly difficult for companies to predict all the threats and vulnerabilities that come to fore in the process. This is what makes enterprise security reactive by nature, and that is why protecting the system or asset becomes extremely difficult.

Also, security has become a problematic issue because of economic reasons. The market these days has become extremely saturated and fragmented. Enterprise security companies claim to offer almost identical solutions to everyone in the market. In addition, buyers are more interested in getting a solution that helps them meet their compliance norms rather than address their security problems. Also, buyers are ready to purchase solutions that are not effective, and sellers continue to market their product as if their product is infallible. Both buyers and sellers are operating in an environment of uncertainty, which adds to the enterprise security problem.

Two of the other issues that further complicates enterprise security are the cloud and the internet of things (IoT) because they expand the total attack surface.

How can companies approach security at a strategic level?

The fact is that there are countless moving parts in enterprise security. Since the challenge of enterprise security is so dynamic, pledging technological, organizational and financial resources to one specific strategy can prove counterproductive. Despite the fluid condition that governs the market forces and recent developments in IT/OT infrastructure, one factor that remains constant throughout is that all the cyber attacks are carried out by human beings.

Irrespective of the motives and methodologies of the attackers, be it rogue actors, industry competitors, corporate insiders, organized crime syndicates or nation-states, they can only operate within limits dictated by human behavior.

To effectively address potential insider threats, organizations should have full visibility into every employee, customer, and contractor. And, to address external threats, organizations should proactively try to identify attackers and their recognized patterns of behavior.

The future of enterprise security

Mobile security has always been an issue with enterprise security and will remain so in 2019 as well. The future of enterprise security vis-à-vis mobile presents a characteristically scary scenario. Mobile threats are on the rise and businesses need to be mindful of this development. Here is a complete lowdown of mobile security threats – present and future.

According to David Slight, president of Quora Consulting in North America, security, security, and security will dominate enterprise mobility in 2019.

Some of the main security problems that mobilized enterprise will face in 2019 are:

WPA-3 – WPA-2 which has been in use for over a decade has encountered vulnerabilities in the last two years; hence WPA-3 was introduced last year. The standard rollout of WPA-3 will take place this year which means a lot of work needs to be done that includes an upgrade to the 192-bit encryption in WPA-2. An enterprise will have to update its RADIUS service to use this enhancement. For public networks, WPA-3 will use a new encryption format called OWE which prevents snooping and session hijacking. But Wi-Fi access points need to be upgraded to support the WPA-3 which is what will make a mobile device secure.

Home office security is a big problem – In 2019, the home will become a more popular attack vector. The problem on this front is escalating because of the rise in the popularity of smart devices and home offices. As these devices are used for both private as well as business purposes, it makes the devices insecure which will be a big challenge to tackle in 2019.

The 5G network rollout will be a challenge – 2019 will see the rollout of 5G. And, like with every new technology, security will remain the main concern. Though the 5G mobile devices will not be widely available in 2019, securing these devices is going to be challenging and expensive. As more 5G IoT devices will connect to the 5G network directly without a Wi-Fi router, it will make devices more vulnerable to direct attack.

The IoT also poses threats – There are billions of endpoints in the IoT. Onboard security is often compromised to keep down the cost of each endpoint and to power them. What worsens the problem is that the IoT devices are available to hackers readily. Since IoT offers several loopholes because the systems are primeval and vulnerable to attacks, it is advisable to hire outside penetration companies to identify the weak spot to avoid breaches.

Attackers think globally, but act locally – Too many employees have a careless attitude towards workplace security, which makes the job of an attacker easy. The threat is likely to come from the network (compromising a single Wi-Fi connection) or phishing.

Does bring your own device (BYOD) affect enterprise data security?

Though security professionals are increasingly becoming open to embracing BYOD policies, yet businesses are not too confident when it comes to the data security of employees’, laptops, tablets, and personal phones. A recent Bitglass study reveals that out of the 400 IT experts surveyed, 30% were hesitant to embrace BYOD because of security concerns like data leakage, shadow IT, and unauthorized access to data. With GDPR or General Data Protection Regulation and other data privacy mandates kicking in, it has become vital for the organizations to monitor and protect their data.

There is a growing acceptance of personal devices in the enterprise – Using personal devices for work was not the norm just a few years back. Though employees used their personal computers and laptops to access company networks, as a concept BYOD was not prevalent in organizations back then.

Mobile threats are on the rise, yet security has not changed much – Since the mobile devices are relatively insecure, it is not surprising that criminals target is so often and with precision. It is not difficult for criminals to gain access to both corporate data as well as personal data from an easy-to-breach mobile device. Mobile device management tools and remote wiping, basic security precautions, are put in place only by 50% of those surveyed in the Bitglass study. Also, many security teams don’t have clear visibility about the apps used on personal devices.

Though the federal government’s use of mobile technology is improving, many communication paths remain insecure which makes the whole ecosystem vulnerable to attacks (a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) study).

Similar security loopholes are present in the private sector as well. Mobile devices are considered the riskiest point of intrusion to corporate networks.

Put in place smart policies for BYOD security – You need to ensure that your employees use personal devices safely and securely. BYOD is a beneficial yet risky practice. Before a company adopts BYOD, it should put in place a smart BYOD policy so that their data remains safe and secure. When it comes to BYOD, here is what you need to do to keep your enterprise data safe and secure:

Find out whether your employees need to use personal devices for doing their work. Those who don’t need regular access to networks or employees who work remotely should be left out of the BYOD program because it is difficult to monitor their devices.

Next, encourage your employees to update their operating systems and security software regularly. Make it mandatory for employees to use corporate security software on personal devices. And, if they are connecting their devices to the enterprise network, they should follow the company’s security protocols.

As you can see, enterprise security is a complex goal to achieve. DocuServe has the industry experience and solutions to protect company data to ensure that all your data remains safe and secure. From securing your data in the cloud and protecting your corporate secrets to keeping your mobile devices safe, DocuServe is a one-stop shop. Contact us to learn more about our industry-leading solutions.


Mobile Security Threats – Present and Future

As the number of mobile devices increases around the world, keeping the digital content safe and secure is becoming a challenge. With cybercrimes on the rise, data breaches these days are becoming a norm rather than an exception. Mobile security, therefore, is a serious concern, and it is important to know the security threats that can affect your mobile devices. Just as viruses and spyware can infect your computers, mobile devices are also susceptible. Mobile threats can be categorized as follows: application-based threats, web-based threats, network-based threats and physical threats.


What is an application-based threat?

Downloading an app can bring in several types of security threats. It is not easy to detect a malicious app because they look fine on a download site, but these apps are specifically designed to carry out malicious activity. Application-based threats can be categorized as follows:


Malware – Once downloaded and installed on your phone, malware can send unwanted messages to your contacts, make changes to your phone bill or hand over control of your device to the hacker – all without your knowledge.


Spyware – This is software used to gather information about a person or organization, which can later be used for activities like financial fraud or identity theft. Phone call history, user location, contact list, text messages, browser history, private photos and emails are common data targeted by spyware.


Privacy threats – These are applications that might not be malicious, but collect or use sensitive information like contact lists, location and other personally identifiable information that can be used for fraudulent purposes.


Vulnerable applications – These are apps that contain errors that can be used for malicious purposes. Vulnerabilities like these allow the attacker to take control of your device by accessing sensitive information, stopping a particular service from proper functioning, carrying out undesirable actions or downloading apps on your device – again, without your knowledge.


What are web-based threats?

Since mobile devices are always connected to the internet and often used to access web-based services, web-based threats pose a serious threat to mobile devices. Some of these are:


Phishing scams – Phishing links are sent through email, text messages, Twitter, and Facebook, connecting you to websites that are designed to extract information (like passwords or account numbers) by tricking you. It is not easy to ascertain whether these messages and sites are fraudulent, as they very closely resemble the legitimate websites.


Drive-by downloads – It is a program that automatically gets downloaded to your device when you visit a web page. And, in some cases, the application starts automatically even without your knowledge.


Browser exploits – This is a form of malicious code that takes advantage of a flaw in your mobile web browser or software. It is typically launched by Flash player, image viewer or PDF reader. Sometimes when you visit a web page that is unsafe, you can put in motion a browser exploit that installs malware or performs other unwanted actions on your device.


What are network-based threats?

Mobile devices support both cellular networks as well as local wireless networks, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. These networks can host the following threats:

Network exploits – It takes advantage of the vulnerabilities of the mobile operating system or other software that operates on cellular or local networks. Once connected to your device, can malware can be installed on your phone without your knowledge.

Wi-Fi sniffing – When proper security measures are not taken by websites and applications, they send unencrypted data across the network, which can be intercepted by cyber criminals as it travels.


What are physical threats?


Simply stated, the main physical threat is the possibility of your mobile device being stolen. Most of our important personal information is there – as well as sensitive corporate information, for those who conduct business on their mobile device. In this case, theft of a mobile device leaves your company’s sensitive proprietary information vulnerable, as well as the account and/or personal information of clients and vendors – not to mention the resulting PR nightmare once the resulting data breach is made public.


The current state of mobile security


Kyle Johnson – site editor for BrianMadden – provides insight on the overall severity of mobile security threats. He focused on findings in Google’s “Android Security 2017 Year In Review” and statistics from mobile security vendor Lookout. While the Google report can be accessed via the link provided in the previous sentence for those who are interested, Johnson’s take-home summary states that the frequency in which Android users encounter a potentially harmful app (PHA) are as follows:

  • “In 2016, the annual probability that a user downloaded a PHA from Google Play was 0.04% and we reduced that by 50% in 2017 for an annual average of 0.02%.”
  • “In 2017, on average 0.09% of devices that exclusively used Google Play had one or more PHAs installed. The first three quarters in 2018 averaged a lower PHA rate of 0.08%.”


Regarding Lookout, Johnson reported it offered a wide range of data for both Android and iOS mobile operating systems. According to Lookout, 56% of their users (both consumer and enterprise) between January to September 2018 clicked on a phishing link through their mobile devices. There has been a steady growth of 85% every year since 2011 in which users fell for mobile phishing links.


As far as app-based threats are concerned, it is 4.7% for enterprise Android devices and 0.1% for IOS devices. While 20% of the app-based threats are Trojans, the other 80% are adware and other app-based threats.


However, concludes Johnson, “One thing that remains top of mind while examining the data is that we want to know how many data breach incidents can be directly attributed to mobile devices. Unfortunately, this is apparently difficult to determine.”


Mobile security projections for 2019

The Global Security Threat Outlook 2019 was recently released by the Information Security Forum which details the security risks and encumbrances to mitigate the risks.

Here are top four security threats businesses should expect in 2019:


Ransomware and cybercrime are expected to become more sophisticated – Though the ransomware attack frequency has decreased in 2018, the attacks have become more potent and targeted. Instead of indiscriminately attacking any computer, crypto jacking malware is being used to target enterprise networks. According to the report, it is not easy to calculate damages from ransomware, but still, it claims that globally more than $5 billion were lost from ransomware in 2017. The report also cautions that ransomware on mobile devices is set to increase in the future.


The weak link in security is smart devices – As smart devices such as personal assistants on smartphones and internet-connected devices become even smarter, the security threat is set to increase. According to the report, these devices are security black boxes, and it is difficult for organizations to keep track of the information that is leaving the network or what is secretly being captured and transmitted by these smart devices. When breaches occur, organizations will be held responsible by regulators and customers for inadequate data protection.


It is difficult for legislation to keep up with the security realities – Unfortunately, our elected lawmakers possess little – if any – knowledge about today’s technologies. Therefore, security best practices legislation either comes in too late or not at all. At times, sweeping changes are made without providing prior information to corporations, which makes it difficult for them to implement the compliance norms. According to the report, it becomes difficult for the organizations to keep abreast of such developments that could also impact their business model. It will particularly impact cloud implementations, as understanding the location of cloud data is a difficult task.


Supply chain security is a hopeless case – According to the report, organizations in 2019 will find that ensuring the security of their supply chain is a hopeless case. Irrespective of the supply chain provider, organizations should focus on managing their key data and knowing where and how the data has been shared across various channels and boundaries. In 2019, it will be important to compartmentalize access to data and fingerprinting data shared with third parties to detect leaks.


If businesses and individuals don’t adopt ways and means to secure their proprietary content, confidential company secrets, or personal data, their data can be compromised by hackers pretty easily. Whether it is cryptography to secure your data in the cloud, video encryption to protect your corporate training materials, or content encryption solution to protect your mobile devices, companies (and individuals) these days have various options to keep their information safe and secure from prying eyes.


What you need to do is make a smart move and select a reliable data protection company like DocuServe to ensure that all your data remains safe and secure. From securing your data in the cloud and protecting your corporate secrets to keeping your mobile devices safe, DocuServe is a one-stop shop. Contact us to learn more about our industry-leading solutions.


Document Management with GDPR

With the start of the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on May 25 of this year, data privacy has a new meaning – and a new global respect. GDPR sent many American companies scrambling to achieve compliance as it implements sweeping changes on businesses that deal with customer data – which may even include yours. In other words, GDPR compliance isn’t just for EU-based companies.

GDPR Basics

The GDPR was established to protect the personal data of EU residents and affects any business that has customers located in the EU. There is no restriction based on location, company size or scope of business, meaning any entity with an internet presence will be affected. Fines for non-compliance will be high. Data protection watchdogs can impose a fine of up to £20,000,000, or four percent of your total annual worldwide turnover. Any service offered to an EU resident – regardless of whether the service is free and which country hosts its servers – has to play by the rules. For all the information on the GDPR, visit its website,


A Major Difference

At issue is the major differences in the approach to collecting personal data in the United States and the EU. In the U.S., personal information is often collected as a matter of course, with only an ‘opt-out’ offered to consumers. By contrast, GDPR requires that in order to collect information from EU data subjects, an affirmative ‘opt in’ consent must be obtained that clearly specifies how the data will be used. Privacy policies must match.

Once information is obtained, the EU data subject has the right to request that his or her data be deleted; that is, to invoke the right ‘to be forgotten.’ Incorrect information must be corrected upon request. These rights may seem simple enough, but when data is held in multiple locations, developing a process to handle such requests could be difficult. As an organization, you need to know how GDPR will affect your paper documents. This is where a document management system (DMS) can come in to help make your business GDPR-compliant.

A document management system manages, stores, and tracks electronic documents and electronic images. With the use of document management scanning, paper-based information can be captured and managed in a much more secure and efficient way. You can use a DMS to organize and control documents across your organization, which helps make your business GDPR-compliant.

With data breaches on the rise, businesses can’t do without content security.  As a business, you need to protect your company information and customer details. Be it your company information, customer information, financial details, research, training, intellectual capital, corporate secrets, or securing your mobile data for BYOD purposes, you need to make sure that your data remains secure, both at rest and in motion.

Also, it’s difficult for companies to know how many paper documents actually exist. Duplication on photocopier, removal of documents from your office and insecure disposal of documents can all lead to the existence of several copies of the same document, which is again a problem according to GDPR standards.

When thinking about GDPR compliance, here are some questions offered by YourDMS:

  • What kinds of documents you possess, and do they include personal information?
  • Are you able to find documents easily?
  • How long does it take to locate them?
  • Are all of your documents stored in one place?
  • Are you sure you have all the documents?
  • Are you aware of the number of copies that exist for each document?
  • Can your documents get into wrong hands?


You should keep in mind three things with document management and GDPR. Here are three things with regards to document management and GDPR, courtesy of Create Ts and Cs:

Encryption – A ransomware virus can easily access your organization’s data, which could include your staff records as well as customer bank details. But, with the DMS in place, all of your files are encrypted on entry, and held as images. A DMS ensures that your data and documents are kept safe even at the time of an attack. If you want to be GDPR-compliant, you need to use a DMS because it encrypts your data.

Role-based access control – According to the GDPR standard, you need to make sure that information and data are locked down. It should not only be kept safe from the outside world, but also within the organization. Your employees should not have access to all the information; it should only be need-based. You don’t need your sales manager to know your customer’s bank details. You can put in place rules with a DMS which can restrict access control.

Retention control – As an organization, you also need to keep in mind that you store data for an appropriate period. You cannot and should not hold on to the information beyond the stipulated time. When you start using a DMS, it makes sure that it stores personal data correctly, and flags documents that need deletion.


How DocuServe document management can help with GDPR

As mentioned earlier, an efficient DMS can help you comply with the GDPR. That is where DocuServe’s document management comes into the picture. DocuServe is a secure cloud-based content distribution and protection system that can keep your digital content safe. DocuServe provides you with complete control over your content, right up to the document level. Because DocuServe is a cloud-based technology, your documents, video, and other shared files don’t exist on the user’s device – which makes it easy for you to withdraw and manage access – also helping your organization’s GDPR compliance.

DocuServe ensures content security because the content is encrypted between the application and the operating system and within the document, which ensures greater security. This is another GDPR requirement which states that an organization should ensure that personal data is kept secure at all the times. With DocuServe, you can delete, eliminate, and remove your data as and when required – another important GDPR requirement.

Other ways in which DocuServe ensures GDPR compliance include:

  • Security (including mobile) at rest and in motion.
  • The right to be forgotten by deleting or removing personal data on request.
  • Privacy by design (everyone in the organization works in the same way and to the same procedures).
  • Data retention (securely delete information in part or incompletely).


DocuServe has the ideal DMS solution to help your business achieve GDPR compliance. Contact us today.

Secure your Digital Content from Hackers

Video Encryption – How to Secure Your Digital Content

If you are uploading your music video on the internet, you want others to view it. But if your video pertains to corporate training, you don’t want unauthorized people to access your confidential company information. Video encryption can protect your content from unauthorized viewing.

Data breaches, unauthorized sharing and data theft are risks for everyone doing business these days. To survive in this fiercely competitive world, you need to rely on content security to keep your company information safe and secure.

Encrypting your videos is one way of protecting your corporate information. Once your video content is encrypted, you can safely share the information with your staff, customers, partners and prospects.

There are three options for securing your videos from prying eyes: encrypting the video, protecting the video or doing both of them together.

What is encryption?

While encryption pertains to masking or manipulating the data, protection means securing the file through codecs, passwords, container formats, etc., so that others cannot access the data inside.

But, to get heightened security, you can apply both encryption and protection, which is the best option to protect your content. When you use the word encryption in casual conversation, it might mean encryption, protection, encoding, or all of them in different proportions. Therefore, encryption in this context means protecting your data in every way possible – which, of course, includes both encryption and protection.

What is video encryption?

Video encryption is the process of keeping your video secure from prying eyes. Why do you need to encrypt your videos? There could be two reasons. The first is personal and the second is Digital Rights Management (DRM).

Personal encryption, as the name suggests, is used for personal privacy. For example, when you make a video and want to share it with your family, friends, customers, etc., but at the same time, you don’t want the content to be viewed by unauthorized people.

Digital Rights Management is along the same lines, but involves more complexities. The different levels of DRM are:

  • Qualitative and quantitative video streams for various price points
  • Region-centric video
  • Device or media-centric video
  • Software-centric video
  • Adaptive streaming

So, what is the main difference between personal encryption and Digital Rights Management? In case of personal encryption, except for the intended recipient, everyone else is blocked out. But, in case of DRM, it blocks people out either temporarily or permanently, without human help and on a given set of conditions.

Qualitative and quantitative video streams for different price points – If you are ready to spend more money, you can get 4K, but if you want to pay the lowest price, you will have to settle for SD. Since it directly impacts the resolution (physical data of the video stream), it affects the quality. The more you pay, the higher quality you get.

Region-centric video – Do you want to cater to a particular region? You don’t want other regions/ countries to see the video. The reasons for this form of DRM could be either you are barred by law to cater to other regions, or you want to control the market dynamics. In such scenarios, you need region-specific management.

Device or media-centric – This is done to restrict your media from playing on devices that don’t support it. You create a media that is exclusive to a particular device like iTunes, Kindle, Apple TV, etc., and those that don’t conform to the device are unable to play it.

Software-centric video – You need adequate software support and/or also pay a license fee to play some videos. When the operating system doesn’t support the codecs or if the license is not paid for, then certain NLEs don’t play some codecs. Hence, codec licensing is another way you can control the viewing of your video.
Adaptive streaming – During adaptive streaming, the video dynamically adapts to the resolution, bit rate, etc. of the internet speed and/or some other factors.

What you need to keep in mind before switching to a video encryption standard

Because people have different devices, you need to use multiple encryption methods to protect your video.

What has been encrypted by you today will be decrypted by someone else sooner rather than later. Hence, to get over the problem, you should use larger bit depths to encrypt your content. But this increases your overall costs and is also inconvenient to the end-users.
Technology keeps changing. What you encrypt today might get obsolete three years down the line. For this reason, you may need to eventually re-encode your content, or else it will become unreadable. It means that you need to keep one unencrypted copy of your video in a safe place.
You are bound by the licensing you buy. If someone hacks your encryption service, or if a better option comes up in the market, you will have to start the encryption process from scratch.

How online videos are protected

First, the video is encoded into standard encryption, which is stored in a secure server. Not everyone is allowed access to the video. You need to login to the server with a verified email account and password to view/access the video.
Safe Video EncryptionThe video is transmitted through a secure pathway to the viewer’s computer, and can be viewed on a browser, which decrypts the video. The browser does not allow unauthorized access to other software to either view it or record it. The browser also does not allow the OS to store the content in the viewer’s computer. The secure connection is terminated soon after viewing is complete. For targeted marketing and statistical research, the data from the viewer is passed on to the content provider. With this data, you can also track down pilferages and leakages. And, if by chance the video is downloaded, then the encryption makes sure that it does not play on the available media player.

So, how does video encryption stop piracy?

The “pirate” needs to have adequate knowledge to decrypt the encryption. The pirates have to pay upfront to get a high-quality stream. And, when you pay, it is obvious that the server would have the necessary information on you.

The pirate has to encode the encrypted stream with the help of a software to get an accessible format. The process will either increase the size of the file or reduce the quality of the source. As the size of the file increases, the pirate needs to spend more to upload the data again. Cloud algorithms can use the uploaded source and match it up to the original stream to find out the correlations.

Video encryption options

There are two scenarios when it comes to video encryption: video at rest and video in motion (streaming).
Video at rest – Some options for videos that remain on hard drives or those that are downloaded to play at a later stage are:

  • Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) – 128, 192 or 256 bits
  • Google Widevine
  • Apple Fair Play for videos from iTunes
  • Marlin
  • Windows Protected Media Path or PMP

Video in motion or streaming video – Some option for video in motion or streaming video are:

  • RTMFP and RTMP(E)
  • Soon-to-arrive HTML5 DRM standard

The most secure of the encrypting systems is AES, which has been adopted by the United States government and is now used worldwide.

Obviously, video encryption is not a DIY project. DocuServe provides robust data encryption solutions for a wide variety of industries. Learn about all we offer, then contact us to keep your intellectual property secure.

Blockchain 101 with Docuserve

Blockchain 101: What You Need to Know About Blockchain

Have you heard about blockchain?

Chances are you must have heard about it, but probably haven’t given blockchain the kind of weight it deserves. But make no mistake, blockchain is a technological marvel that will have far-reaching effects on not just the financial services market, but on other industries and businesses, as well.

If you find Bitcoin and cryptocurrency fascinating enough to delve into and explore, you also need to know something about blockchain.

A blockchain is a distributed and shared database where the database storage devices are not all linked to a common processor. It is a list of growing records, called as blocks, which are connected and secured by cryptography. Every block is connected to the previous block and has a transaction data and timestamp.

Cryptography ensures the safety and security of a blockchain. Users are only able to edit the blockchain parts they own, and that is if they have the private keys which are mandatory to write to the file. Cryptography also makes sure that your copy of the distributed blockchain remains in sync with others.

Blockchain is intrinsically resistant to data modification. It is a public, open, distributed and shared ledger that can record transactions between parties in a certifiable, efficient and permanent way. Blockchain is used as a distributed ledger and is managed by a P2P (peer-to-peer) network jointly sticking to a protocol for authenticating new blocks. And, once data is recorded in any block, it cannot be changed. To change the data, all the subsequent blocks have to be altered, which is not an easy task and can happen only with majority collusion.

Blockchains by design are secure and represent a distributed or shared computing system with high levels of Byzantine-like fault tolerance. As a result, blockchain technology allows data management in a decentralized and an autonomous way. Therefore, blockchain is best suited for medical record keeping, recording of events and other record management activities like transaction processing, identity management, food traceability, voting or documenting provenance.

The Invention of Blockchain

As mentioned earlier, blockchains are designed to be secure databases. The concept of blockchain came into existence in 2008 by a person or group under the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto, and then introduced as the part of the digital Bitcoin currency for the first time in 2009. For all Bitcoin transactions, the blockchain acts as the public ledger. With the help of blockchain technology, Bitcoin became the first digital currency to solve the problem of double-spending, and that, too, without the use of a central server or an authoritative body.

What Are The Different Types of Blockchain?

Public blockchains – Public blockchains like Bitcoin are big distributed networks that work through a native token. Anyone can participate in this forum, and at any level. They have open source code, which is maintained by the community.

Permissioned blockchains – A permissioned blockchain like Ripple control roles that people can have in a network. They are big and distributed systems, and also use a native token. In permissioned blockchains, the core code may or may not be open source.

Private blockchains – These are smaller systems, and do not use a token. Membership in private blockchains is closely controlled. Consortiums prefer this type of blockchain where members are highly trustworthy, and confidential information can easily be traded without any problem.

All of these are blockchain types, and all of them use cryptography, which allows users on any given network to securely manage the ledger in a decentralized way.

The Importance of Blockchain

The internet is a decentralized forum, which we use to share most of our day-to-day information, but for financial transactions, we are forced to resort to a tried and tested system of a centralized financial institution, such as banks. Even the popular PayPal payment for online transactions only becomes effective once we integrate it with a credit card or a bank account.

With blockchain technology in place, people can transact and do business with each other directly without the involvement of a middleman. The blockchain technology helps remove the middleman as it performs these three vital roles:

  • Records all transactions
  • Establishes identities
  • Establishes contracts (typically a prerogative of the financial services sector)

Blockchain technology, if implemented, can have a far-reaching effect on the financial services sector, as it has huge market capitalization. Though it will cause an upheaval in the financial services market, the technology can considerably improve the efficiencies of the financial services business.

Not only will the financial services sector be able to benefit from blockchain technology – other industries also stand to gain tremendously. Other than Bitcoin, the technology can also be used to store all sorts of digital data, including computer code.

The piece of code can be programmed to perform a function when some parties key in their entries, which is nothing but getting into a contract. This code could also decipher external data feeds, anything that can be analyzed by the computer – such as news headlines, weather reports or stock prices – which could be used to create contracts that will automatically be filed as and when the conditions are met. These are referred to as smart contracts, and this can open an exciting number of opportunities.

One blockchain pioneer is Ternio. Based in Lewes, DE, Ternio provides blockchain for the programmatic digital advertising industry. Says Ternio co-founder Ian Kane:

“At Ternio, we use Blockchain to solve the many problems facing digital advertising such as domain fraud, bot traffic, lack of transparency and lengthy payment models. Ian Kane of Ternio_Blockchain CompanyThe issue is that incentives are not aligned, causing both advertisers and publishers to feel they are on the losing side of the deal. Blockchain is the solution to bring transparency to the supply chain because it inherently brings trust to a trustless environment.

“By reducing the number of bad players in the supply chain, it enables the good companies to thrive. Most important, publishers are able to collect a higher percentage of the total ad dollars entering the ecosystem and will do so at the time of impression delivery. Blockchain is still in its infancy, but the underlying technology is here to stay and all ad tech companies should be looking at how it can help to improve their business.”

How blockchain is different from Bitcoin

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are able to exist only because of blockchain technology. For example, Twitter is a social medium platform that is on the internet. The internet makes Twitter possible, but Twitter itself is not the internet.

How blockchain functions

Blockchain is comprised of blocks, each of which records some current transactions. These blocks permanently go into the blockchain, and new blocks are created as soon as old ones are completed.  All these blocks are linked to one another in a sequential and linear manner, and each block has a hash of the previous block. The blockchain contains all the information, from the last block to the first-ever block.

Once a transaction takes place, the information remains in the blockchain permanently. It cannot be copied or deleted, it can only be distributed. The technology is completely secure, as blocks can only be added with complex cryptography.

Blockchain databases are autonomously managed for sharing information between two parties. Since it is a P2P network that has a shared or distributed timestamping server, there is no need for an administrator. The person using the blockchain is the administrator.

There is no third party involvement in blockchain because the users validate each time one person pays to another for anything. The details of the transactions are recorded in the blocks publicly, which are later verified by other users. All the participating computers – referred to as nodes – share the database of the blockchain. Every node gets a blockchain copy, which means that you get public records of all the transaction that ever happened on the network.

Blockchain technology has the potential to improve our existing financial services sector, including banks. As this disruptive new technology stands ready to change the world, the decision-makers in financial services and other industries now face the challenge of developing a strategic approach to adaptation.

Information on Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency For Dummies: What is Cryptocurrency & How Does it Work?

There is tremendous interest in the cryptocurrency space right now, and equal parts confusion, uncertainty, and doubt. Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, ICOs. What do these even mean? This guide will be a brief overview of what cryptocurrency is and how it works.

Cryptocurrency is a general name referring to all the encrypted decentralized digital currencies like Bitcoin. The underlying infrastructure that makes these cryptocurrencies what they are is called blockchain. At its simplest, a Blockchain is a shared database (ledger) that everyone can write to and access to verify transactions. It is extremely secure because the transactions are encrypted with 256-bit cryptographic keys. So instead of the record of every transaction that has occured on a server, all the information is kept in the decentralized ledger (the blockchain).

These ledgers are constantly checked against one another automatically to stay up to date with the master. The master is the longest most agreed-upon chain at any given time.

“Anyone (or any program) can check the ledger any time because the ledger is public. But, everything on the ledger is encrypted, so unless you have the key for the ledger slots you’re trying to look at, all you see is nonsense. This is how the system is able to be secure, but also public. Everything is encrypted using an algorithm that is, as of now, unhackable.” – Adam Kerpelman, founder and CEO of Juris – Human-Powered Dispute Resolution for Blockchain Smart Contracts, 

When a new coin comes out it usually releases a “white paper” which is like a sales pitch. Initial Coin Offers (ICO’s) are new coins used for crowdfunding. Cryptocurrency is legal and taxable in the US, but it isn’t legal tender and is treated as an investment property. With that said, due to its infancy and history so far, cryptocurrencies should be invested in and used with their historical volatility in mind.

Is Cryptocurrency Safe?

Says Scott Amyx, of Amyx Ventures, “Cryptocurrencies are inherently very safe but the vulnerability of cryptocurrencies lies not with the underlying technology but rather with people and institutions — hackers trick the user into divulging access to the exchange, typically your email address and a password (via phishing) or to the private key in your wallet. Specific to exchanges, the most common way is to hack into your email account and then request a password reset to the exchange.”

To mitigate this risk, Amyx recommends enabling  multi-factor authentication.

Cryptocurrency wallet_Crypto wallet

Where Do You Keep Cryptocurrency?

  • A third party exchange such as Upbit and OKEx
  • A first party wallet with a public key  which allows others to give you cryptocurrency and a private key (to open the wallet for withdrawal)
  • In the case of an exchange, investors can buy and store digital currency using their service.
  • For a wallet, you are responsible for keeping the private key safe so that no one can hack into your wallet.

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