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Ben Schmerler

Ben Schmerler is a Senior IT Risk Advisor at DP Solutions, an award-winning managed service provider (MSP) headquartered in Columbia, MD. Ben works with his clients to develop consistent strategies not only for technical security, but also policy/compliance management, system design, integration planning, and other business level technology concerns.
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Recent Posts

Not all backups are created equal

Privacy and security are important to your organization, but they’re even more important to those whom you serve. Nearly 75% of Americans feel it is “extremely” or “very” important that the companies they work with keep their information secured and have easy-to-understand explanations of what, how, and why information is shared. Rule of thumb: If you collect it, protect it

Here are a few tips for protecting information:  

  1. Follow all reasonable measures to protect every piece of information you have about your client or customer.

  2. Have policies enforced that prohibit unauthorized access to those who do not have a need to see it. 

  3. Consider whether you really need that information in the first place, and the liability associated with holding it.  Compliance concerns may make you rethink if you really need to store that sensitive data in the first place.

  4. Be open about how you use information that your clients give you. Clearly communicate any practices and processes, and use this as an opportunity to set your organization apart by demonstrating that you implement proper security and risk management standards.

Contact us to learn more.

  Ben Schmerler | Senior IT Risk Advisor

DP Solutions
9160 Red Branch Road, Suite W-1  |  Columbia, MD 21045
410.720.3300 x106 (Baltimore)  |  301.858.5609 x106 (Washington)
410.992.3559 (Fax)  |  www.dpsolutions.com

 

 

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The clock is ticking on Windows 7

Windows 7 proved over the years to be a reliable and stable operating system, and even as new versions like Windows 8 came to market, Windows 7 stuck around.  Even as Windows 10 finds greater market penetration and higher customer satisfaction than Windows 8, we still see many users continue to use Windows 7.  That’s understandable.

But unfortunately, extended support on Windows 7 ends in January 2020, which means if your organization is using Windows 7, you have less than a year to prepare for an upgrade.

Losing support on Windows 7 is a big deal.  It creates a major potential risk for exploitation, because every day that Windows 7 remains after support ends, more flaws will be discovered that Microsoft simply will no longer attempt to fix.  You put your organization at risk if you leave it in place after support ends.

Fortunately, the upgrade path to Windows 10 is usually not as challenging as previous upgrades, and we have time to plan this out.  

Contact us today so we can figure out how this might impact you and come up with a plan.

  Ben Schmerler | Senior IT Risk Advisor

DP Solutions
9160 Red Branch Road, Suite W-1  |  Columbia, MD 21045
410.720.3300 x106 (Baltimore)  |  301.858.5609 x106 (Washington)
410.992.3559 (Fax)  |  www.dpsolutions.com

 

 

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Privacy – it’s just smart business!

Privacy and security are important to your organization, but they’re even more important to those whom you serve. Nearly 75% of Americans feel it is “extremely” or “very” important that the companies they work with keep their information secured and have easy-to-understand explanations of what, how, and why information is shared. Rule of thumb: If you collect it, protect it

Here are a few tips for protecting information:  

  1. Follow all reasonable measures to protect every piece of information you have about your client or customer.

  2. Have policies enforced that prohibit unauthorized access to those who do not have a need to see it. 

  3. Consider whether you really need that information in the first place, and the liability associated with holding it.  Compliance concerns may make you rethink if you really need to store that sensitive data in the first place.

  4. Be open about how you use information that your clients give you. Clearly communicate any practices and processes, and use this as an opportunity to set your organization apart by demonstrating that you implement proper security and risk management standards.

Contact us to learn more.

  Ben Schmerler | Senior IT Risk Advisor

DP Solutions
9160 Red Branch Road, Suite W-1  |  Columbia, MD 21045
410.720.3300 x106 (Baltimore)  |  301.858.5609 x106 (Washington)
410.992.3559 (Fax)  |  www.dpsolutions.com

 

 

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Staying secure in a social media world

The age of social media has let millions of people reconnect and stay up-to-date with family members, friends, and acquaintances. It also continues to shape the manner in which we communicate with each other. But it’s important to keep a few things in mind before you check your social media feeds.

There is no delete button on the Internet. Everyone knows how to capture a screenshot. Even if you keep your social media completely private, when relationships change, nothing is private. Are you going to be comfortable in 10 years with what you post today? It will be archived forever.

Be very careful before sharing names of real businesses, clients, friends or family. You don’t necessarily know who will see that information, or if you are even communicating with the right person.  Social media is very accessible, which makes it also prone to fraud.

A good social media policy in the office now can save headaches later.

Learn more about IT Policy Management

  Ben Schmerler | Senior IT Risk Advisor

DP Solutions
9160 Red Branch Road, Suite W-1  |  Columbia, MD 21045
410.720.3300 x106 (Baltimore)  |  301.858.5609 x106 (Washington)
410.992.3559 (Fax)  |  www.dpsolutions.com

 

 

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What is a Disaster Recovery Plan?

  • A Disaster Recovery (DR) Plan is the strategy an organization uses to recover business operations quickly in the event of a disaster
  • Businesses must define what classifies as a disaster and the impact a disaster could have
  • A disaster should be defined more by the impact it has on the organization than the event itself
  • Disasters with the highest likelihood and impact should be the main focus of your DR Plan

A basic definition of a Disaster Recovery (DR) Plan is: “A strategy that outlines what an organization does to recover as quickly and effectively as possible in the event of some sort of catastrophe.” 

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How to be a smart traveler

Now that we all rely on mobile devices to work, one of the worst things that can happen is being out of town and losing your phone, tablet or laptop. This can happen to anyone, so it’s important that you implement the right tools and rules when you are travelling for work. 

Here are a few tips for mobile work: 

  1. Make sure that critical data doesn’t live solely on a mobile device
  2. If data is sensitive, make sure the mobile device storing the data has encryption at rest
  3. Ensure that the device has strong authentication and password rules, so that an unauthorized user cannot immediately access the data

 

Get our free Safe Travel Checklist (PDF) for more tips on safe business travel practices. 

  Ben Schmerler | Senior IT Risk Advisor

DP Solutions
9160 Red Branch Road, Suite W-1  |  Columbia, MD 21045
410.720.3300 x106 (Baltimore)  |  301.858.5609 x106 (Washington)
410.992.3559 (Fax)  |  www.dpsolutions.com

 

 

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Back to Basics: SECURITY MANAGEMENT

Many IT decision makers spend a lot of time trying to protect their organizations from the newest type of scam or the newest cyber-crimes. However, it’s important to always keep the basic principles of security management in mind to make sure you, your company and your clients remain safe… and it all starts with user awareness. 

Everyone in the organization should understand basic security principles that are relevant to your organization. This education should be a part of every new employee training. Acceptable Use and Incident Response guidelines are examples of some common security policy items that everyone should know their role in as they become a part of your team.

Proper communication and procedures, as it pertains to IT security, is often overlooked, but can represent a huge return in risk mitigation when properly utilized.  Have you considered how you talk about IT security with your employees?

Learn more about Security Awareness Training

  Ben Schmerler | Senior IT Risk Advisor

DP Solutions
9160 Red Branch Road, Suite W-1  |  Columbia, MD 21045
410.720.3300 x106 (Baltimore)  |  301.858.5609 x106 (Washington)
410.992.3559 (Fax)  |  www.dpsolutions.com

 

 

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Encrypt that USB drive!

One of the smartest things you can do when utilizing USB drives to store and transfer data is to encrypt the drive. As long as the drive is encrypted, the odds of that data being breached are greatly reduced should it be stolen or misplaced.  

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Did you know?

How important is computer and cyber security? Let’s take a look at some facts to put it in perspective: 

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Updates - sometimes annoying, but critical

If you’ve used a Windows computer for any length of time, you notice the little pop-ups telling you something needs to be updated. 

Almost any application these days connects to the web to get new updates and patches, often times related to security flaws. Sometimes this can be frustrating. They require reboots, they can arbitrarily change settings and functionality, and something that behaves one way may behave differently after the update.

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