OMNI Solutions Group Blog

OMNI Solutions Group has been serving the Washington D.C. metropolitan area since 1994, providing IT Support such as technical help-desk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

An SMB’s Guide to Understanding HIPAA

An SMB’s Guide to Understanding HIPAA

Security has never been easy for any business that deals with sensitive information. Nowadays, even a small business that uses an Internet connection has to worry about hackers and malware of all types. This is especially problematic for small healthcare offices that need to keep sensitive information secure and safe from online threats.


This is primarily due to the fact that file storage systems are becoming increasingly reliant on connected digital systems. Traditional file storage systems are inefficient and susceptible to all sorts of problems; primarily user error, document destruction, and theft. While digital systems are now capable of more efficiently storing sensitive patient data, this comes at the major risk of hacking attacks. Cyber criminals understand how valuable personally identifiable information is, making healthcare institutions lucrative targets.

In particular, hospitals are feeling the effects of hacking attacks--mainly due to the crippling effects of ransomware. Hackers understand how crucial a hospital’s data is to its operations, so they’re more likely to shell out huge amounts of revenue in order to save their data from ransomware. In most cases (this goes for larger enterprises too), hospitals have little choice but to comply with a hacker’s demands.

To protect the data of patients in healthcare networks and systems, HIPAA governs guidelines for how organizations protect sensitive data. Here are some tips to help you keep your business HIPAA compliant.

  • Use a quality data backup and disaster recovery solution. You want to make sure that your business is equipped with tools to not only back up, but also restore, your critical and sensitive data. This includes making sure that you have an optimal recovery point objective, as well as a quality recovery time objective. Lastly, you need your data stored not just on-site, but also in the cloud or an external data center for safe keeping.
  • Implement enterprise-level security solutions. Regardless of whether or not your business handles sensitive data, you should always be using security solutions like firewalls, antivirus, and spam blocking technology. A Unified Threat Management solution is a great way to take advantage of preventative security solutions.
  • Use encryption. Often times, organizations won’t see the need to encrypt their data specifically because they’re already using other security measures. They don’t think that there’s a chance that their data will be stolen. While HIPAA doesn’t necessarily call for encryption, we highly recommend it. Encryption makes any stolen data practically impossible to decipher--or, at least, not worth the hacker’s effort.
  • Consult professionals in the IT field. Your business or organization specializes in a particular craft--not IT security. Therefore, it makes sense to bring in IT professionals who have been around the block a time or two to guarantee that you don’t overlook the details of HIPAA compliance.

If your business is having trouble keeping up with HIPAA compliance, OMNI Solutions Group can help. We understand the ins and outs of HIPAA compliance and want to ensure that your practice doesn’t get stuck with budget-breaking fines from failing to adhere to HIPAA standards. To learn more, reach out to us at 301-869-6890.

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Be on the Lookout Executives, Hackers are Targeting You!

Be on the Lookout Executives, Hackers are Targeting You!

Let’s say that you’re walking down the hallway of your office when you bypass a team member from accounting. They tell you that the wire transfer you requested has been completed successfully, but you don’t remember ever asking for such a thing. You take a look through your books and see that a ton of money was sent to some random stranger who took on your identity.


You may have heard about CEO fraud, which is commonly referred to as “whaling.” It’s like a phishing scheme, but on a much more intricate scale. Instead of faking the identity of another employee, or someone from a financial institution or government agency, the hacker will try to use the identity of a business owner or CEO instead. The idea is to use an employee’s fear of confrontation and eagerness to comply with requests to the hacker’s advantage--and you’d be surprised by how often it works.

In particular, wire transfers are proving to be a lucrative option for hackers who manage to trick users. As reported by ITProPortal: “Individuals create bogus messages seemingly from a senior leader, for example the CEO, which ask employees to wire funds across to them. The messages ultimately trick employees into transferring large amounts of cash electronically.” The average fraudulent wire transfer is valued at approximately $67,000, with some going well above. Plus, according to the FBI, over the past three years CEO fraud has cost businesses over $3 billion.

In most cases, wire transfers are difficult, if not impossible, to challenge, so your best chance at recovering from one is to not experience it in the first place. They are simply much too fast and are often finite in nature. Therefore, the most pressing matter is to address how your business can handle this shocking amount of growth in CEO fraud. You need to start by addressing how your staff handles unsolicited requests via email, telephone, or otherwise. Here are a few tips to consider for your business.

  • Implement hands-on phishing scam training: There’s no better teacher than hands-on training. Implement a training procedure where you purposely expose your employees to messages similar to phishing scams. See how they react to them, and if it’s not favorably, go through the proper protocol that they should keep in mind.
  • Always check in person before sending credentials, or anything else: In general, emails requesting suspicious or sensitive information should be cross-checked by either in-person communication, or by checking the email address and domain from which the message originated. However, some hackers have the ability to spoof email addresses, so it’s usually best to check with whoever supposedly sent the message.
  • Educate employees on best practices: This goes back to hands-on phishing scam training. It’s important to remind your team of security best practices, and regularly quiz them on how to avoid phishing and CEO fraud.

To learn more about CEO fraud and other types of security red flags, reach out to OMNI Solutions Group at 301-869-6890.

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Study Shows Way Too Many Businesses Ignore Insider Threats

Study Shows Way Too Many Businesses Ignore Insider Threats

Insider threats are an unpleasant reality of working with sensitive information, though you might be relieved to hear that not all instances of insider threats have malicious intentions. Then again, maybe you aren’t relieved since a threat is still a threat. Either way, we’ll discuss some statistics concerning insider threats, and what you can do about them.


Insider threats are defined as internal threats that could come in the form of either malicious or negligent users. Perhaps an employee recently quit and left the office in a flurry of madness, or maybe you have employees who just don’t care to follow security best practices. Either way, insider threats are major problems that need to be addressed.

Internal and External Threats: Reality vs Expectations
A study by Accenture and HfS Research shows that 69 percent of businesses have experienced the theft or destruction of data due to internal threats, compared to only 57 percent experiencing the same due to external threats. In contrast, only 55 percent expect to become the victim of an internal threat, while 80 percent expect external affairs to cause trouble. The lesson to be learned is that you need to be prepared for all types of threats--even those from the inside.

Exposure of Sensitive Data to the End User
The Ponemon Institute conducted a study in which 62 percent of users felt that they had access to data that they weren’t supposed to have access to. In essence, a user-access control system needs to be put into place to keep users from glimpsing sensitive or private information, such as employee salaries or personally identifiable information (Social Security numbers, birth dates, home addresses, etc).

Reaction Time to Insider Threats
According to Ponemon, the reaction time to insider threats varied. Some organizations responded quickly, while others went months, or even years before finding out:

  • Within 24 hours: 24 percent
  • Within a week: 19 percent
  • Within a month: 14 percent
  • Within 6 months: 20 percent
  • Within a year: 9 percent
  • More than a year: 14 percent

It’s somewhat surprising that so many organizations took so long to find out, but it’s a clear indicator that something’s wrong. Businesses need to be able to find out who accesses sensitive files, and why, at a glance. Monitoring network traffic and activity can provide this critical function.

The Ability to Respond to Insider Threats
This one’s simple; SANS Institute reports that 31.9 percent of organizations have no way to combat insider threats, while 68.1 percent do have the ability to respond. If so many organizations have the capabilities to do so, then why don’t they? Perhaps they just aren’t aware of the activity.

How Effective Preventative Measures Are
SANS Institute reports that:

  • Only 9 percent of businesses have proven techniques to prevent insider threats from taking root.
  • 42 percent claim to have tools but haven’t used them.
  • 36.4 percent are in the process of implementing processes to prevent insider threats.
  • A paltry 2.3 percent aren’t concerned at all about insider threats.

Potential Vulnerabilities
Mimecast claims that 45 percent of companies feel that they’re unequipped to handle malicious insider threats within their email security--more than any of the other potential email threats. Keeping a tight grip on what leaves and enters through your business’s email stream is key to protecting your organization’s digital assets.

The Types of Insider Threats
According to Gartner, there are three types of insider threats. One, called a “second streamer” (someone who uses the data from one job to obtain revenue from another job) consists of 62 percent of insider threats. 29 percent of insider threats are called the “career launcher,” or someone who took information with them as they left a company. Only 9 percent of insider threats could be classified as sabotage.

So, how does your business handle insider threats? If you can’t answer this question, OMNI Solutions Group can. To learn more, give us a call at 301-869-6890.

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Is the Reform of ECPA Enough to Prevent the Government From Reading Your Emails?

Is the Reform of ECPA Enough to Prevent the Government From Reading Your Emails?

How private are your emails and other digital communications? Can the government go through your digital files without you knowing about it? As you may have suspected, they can, thanks to a loophole in an outdated law--a loophole that U.S. lawmakers are trying to close.

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How Your Business Can Benefit From a Virtual Private Network

How Your Business Can Benefit From a Virtual Private Network

Most of your business’ technology is a direct result of your need to quickly and securely disseminate information. While there are solutions meant to improve efficiency peppered in there, the vast majority of IT solutions are designed to create, share, or protect information. On today’s Internet there are many threats looking to corrupt or intercept that information. One way your organization can share information more securely is through the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

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Alert: A New Malware to Worry About for PC Gamers Using Steam

Alert: A New Malware to Worry About for PC Gamers Using Steam

Hackers have always gone after industries that are profitable, or hold sensitive information that can be lucrative when sold under the table. As such, retailers that accumulate financial credentials are often hit by hacks. The entertainment industry is no different, and hackers continue to grow craftier in their pursuit of wealth and power. Not even Steam, the PC gamer’s most valuable software solution, is safe from the dangers of hacking attacks.

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Researchers Investigated Internet-Connected Surveillance Cameras, What They Found is Unbelievable

b2ap3_thumbnail_internet_of_things_presents_risk_400.jpgThere’s a reason why IT professionals think that the Internet of things is a major security discrepancy. Around 5.5 million new devices are being connected to the Internet every day, and are giving security experts a run for their money. The Internet of Things and its devices could potentially become a security hazard for businesses that aren’t prepared to protect their assets from hacks.

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New Technology From LG Lets You See What a Bowling Ball Sees [VIDEO]

b2ap3_thumbnail_lg_rolling_security_400.jpgNew consumer technology holds a special place in many users’ hearts. In particular, the LG Rolling Bot looks like it will be a nifty little device to leave either in your office or at home. Basically, it’s a rolling security camera that can be controlled remotely through a smartphone.

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Crafty Hackers Find Ways to Intercept Wireless Transmissions

b2ap3_thumbnail_man_in_the_middle_400.jpgThe Internet of Things is constantly growing. Seemingly every commercially-available product now has a corresponding app or some sort of connectivity to the web. As this entity grows bigger still, you begin to see things that have very little intrinsic value coming with Internet connectivity.

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Tip of the Week: Add a PIN to Windows 10 Login to Improve Security

b2ap3_thumbnail_windows_10_pin_400.jpgBusinesses all over the world are taking advantage of two-factor authentication, causing the password’s value to depreciate over time. Passwords aren’t powerful enough to keep users safe from advanced threats. Hackers are finding ways to punch holes in even the most comprehensive security solution, forcing users to focus on improving security through other means.

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How a Hacker Could Potentially Assassinate a Hospital Patient

b2ap3_thumbnail_hack_threats_400.jpgWhenever hackers show themselves, they always spell trouble. Whether it’s stealing credentials or completely taking over someone’s computer, a hacker has a plethora of targets and methods that can be irritating for the average PC user, or business executive. In fact, hackers are so crafty that they can even hack into hospital equipment.

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Tip of the Week: Use Poetry to Protect Your Data

b2ap3_thumbnail_pasword_login_400.jpgPassword security is a common problem that businesses that take their cybersecurity seriously have to deal with on a regular basis. Passwords need to be complex and difficult to guess, but easy to remember at the same time. Unfortunately, these two goals don’t go hand-in-hand, and as such, users often have to sacrifice one for the other. The “passpoem” is a concept born to resolve this issue, though it takes a pretty roundabout path of doing so.

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How a Firewall Protects Your Data From the Worst of the Web

b2ap3_thumbnail_firewall_security_400.jpgSince you run a business, you know that your business’s network requires a secure firewall in order to keep threats out. In fact, the firewall is the most basic of security protocol that you should be taking advantage of. Knowing what a firewall protects you from, and what it doesn’t protect you from, is an important first step toward improving your data infrastructure’s security, and in turn improving your business’s continuity.

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Tip of the Week: Windows 10’s Default Settings May Invade Your Privacy, Here’s How to Change It

b2ap3_thumbnail_lock_privacy_400.jpgFor all of you who have Windows 10, you probably have realized that it is, without a doubt, one of the most refined versions of the Windows operating system released by Microsoft in recent years. In a way, it takes the best aspects of Windows 7, combines them with the metro menu from Windows 8, and adds several great new features that improve the user experience. However, not all is well for Windows 10; many users are concerned with some of Windows 10’s questionable data collection policies.

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Lock Your Doors and 2 Other No-Brainer Tips to Protect Your Data

b2ap3_thumbnail_desk_lock_security_400.jpgYou know the saying “you can never be too careful”? It’s always said by the person who understands the value of proceeding with caution, and understands that all it takes is a moment to lose everything. In some cases, it could be your workplace dignity, but in others, you need to cover your tracks to prevent hackers and other miscreants from performing the unspeakable: messing with your computer while you’re away from it momentarily.

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Agent Chrome Goes Incognito in Google City

b2ap3_thumbnail_google_incognito_mode_400.jpgAgent Chrome is a pretty well-known guy in Google City. In fact, you could say he was the top of his class at Browser University, and everybody who is anybody knows who he is. When on the job, Agent Chrome sometimes needs to lay low and avoid the prying eyes of the masses around him. And this particular operation, rightfully dubbed “Incognito,” is one such occasion.

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The Best Way to Prevent Hackers from Finding Holes in Your Security

b2ap3_thumbnail_security_assessment_400.jpgYour organization is constantly at risk of being attacked by malicious entities. This is a fact that modern businesses have to live with. If this is the first time you’re seriously contemplating cyber security, you need to take all potential options into account; including the worst-case scenario, and how you would combat it.

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How You Handle Your Mouse Says a lot About You

b2ap3_thumbnail_mouse_authentication_400.jpgIn this day and age, a password isn’t enough to keep your accounts secure from attempted hacks. Passwords can be cracked as easily as anything. A lot of businesses have moved to two-factor authentication in order to preserve their data. There are several ways of using this for your business, but a new startup called BioCatch is developing an authentication procedure which looks at your mouse activity.

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Less Than 1% of Hackers Can Bypass Facelock Security App

b2ap3_thumbnail_facial_recognition_security_400.jpgPeople use and reuse old passwords time and again, and then they get two-factor authentication to augment their fifteen-character passwords. Wouldn’t it be great if your computer could recognize you just by how well you recognize others?

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Tip of the Week: Set Up 2-Step Verification for Your Google Account

b2ap3_thumbnail_googles_two_factor_authentication_400.jpgToday’s headlines are dominated by stories of major companies getting hacked, making the average computer user feel uneasy about their security. If you’re solely dependent on a measly password to protect you from hackers, then you’ve got good reason to worry. Adding a second layer of verification is an easy way to protect your information. Here’s how to set up 2-Step Verification for your Google account.

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