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Importance Of Regular Software Updates

When working on a computer, it is common to receive pop-ups suggesting you that ‘a software update is available’. It is tempting to click on ‘Cancel’ or ‘Remind Me Later’ button, when you are busy with some work. However, it is not a healthy practice to put off software updates for a long time or even worse neglecting them.

The sooner you update your system, the higher will be your confidence in the security of the system. But it is common for users to ask why it is so important to install software updates.

Here are some points that emphasize on the importance of software updates:

  • What Do Updates Do? : Software updates offer an array of benefits & revisions. The updates might include fixes to security loopholes detected in previous versions of the software. Another benefit of software updates is that they may include fixes to combat or remove software bugs for an improved efficiency and performance. Installing updates to the operating system can help in improving the speed and performance of the complete computer system. It also makes the system ready for new types of software that are designed to be compatible with latest OS versions.
  • Patch Security Flaws: Software vulnerabilities are security flaws found in the programming of the software. They tend to offer easy entry point for the hackers. Hackers take advantage of these vulnerabilities by creating a code to target these security holes. The code is packed into malicious software which then infects the system to steal confidential data or cause other damage. Software updates contain security patches that cover the security holes to keep hackers out of the system and create a secure environment.
  • Secure Your Peers: Undoubtedly, installing a software update helps in preventing security attack on the system, it is also essential to protect other systems connected to the same network as the system in question. The reason being that if a system is infected by a malware, it can result in lateral spread of the malicious code in the connected devices.
  • Enhance Software Features: Software updates may be designed to enhance some features of the software or add new features to the software. These updates ensure that the performance of the software is improved. While these updates may be considered to be non-essential and low priority in nature, these software updates help in ensuring that the business uses a software version that is fully compatible with what clients and customers are using.

For more information on importance of software updates and how to maintain computer systems for enterprise, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.       

Importance Of Genuine Anonymization Of Patient Data In Healthcare

Data anonymization is the process of protecting private or individual sensitive information by either erasing or encrypting the personal identifiers that form the connection between an individual and stored data. This helps in retaining the data while keeping the source anonymous.

What Is the Need For Anonymization Of Patient Data?

  • Data science including collection and analysis of patient data is of immense importance for improving healthcare. It forms the basis of healthcare research for improving drug discovery, predicting epidemics, designing advanced cures, etc.

However, the law requires healthcare researchers to keep the PHI (Personal Health Information) of people secure. So, the only way of using patient’s data for research is to get their consent beforehand. This places a limitation on the data sets as some patients may decline the consent. Data anonymization lifts certain restrictions as it removes the patient’s identifiers and renders the data anonymous. It provides healthcare researchers the ability to access extensive, coherent, and historic data that can be built upon without damaging patient trust.

  • Second reason that emphasizes the importance of genuine anonymization of patient data is that patients may be reluctant to seek medical attention if they fear that their PHI may be shared with someone. Genuine anonymization helps the healthcare institutes in offering privacy assurance to their patients.
  • An information leak or disclosure that an individual has tested positive for STIs such as HIV/AIDS can invite discrimination or social stigma. Anonymization of such data helps in reducing the risk of such disclosure and maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of patient data.
  • Another reason for incorporating genuine anonymization of patient data in the healthcare industry is to keep the data secure from cyber criminals who may cause a data breach and negatively affect the patients.

What Data Anonymization Techniques Can Be Used?

Data Masking: Real data is hidden by altering values. For example, a mirror of a dataset may be created and the value characters may be replaced with symbols such as ‘*’ or ‘x’.

Pseudonymization: The private identifiers such as name, address, etc. are replaced with face identifiers or pseudonyms.

Generalization: Some of the identifier data is removed while retaining a measure of data accuracy. For example, removing house number from the patient’s address while retaining the road name.

Data Swapping: It is also known as shuffling or permutation. The dataset attribute values are rearranged so that they don’t correspond with original values.

Data Perturbation: The original data set is modified by adding noise to the data and rounding off the numbers such as age or house number of the patient.

Synthetic Data: An artificial data set is created instead of altering the original dataset based on patterns and statistical analysis.

For more information on the importance of genuine anonymization of patient data and methods of implementation in healthcare, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.

Things You Need To Know About Mobile Device Management

Most of the employees at workplace connect their mobile devices to secure corporate networks. The trend is gaining popularity as it offers flexibility and convenience. However, this has given rise to concerns over security, privacy and connectivity. With the rapid adoption of BYOD culture by organizations, there is a requirement for more dynamic security solutions. Without a MDM (mobile device management) software, business information on lost or stolen devices will not be secured and can lead to loss of data. Also, personal devices used by employees have increased exposure to malware and viruses that could compromise confidential data.

This results in a rise in number of incidents involving data breach and hacking. Such events are detrimental for a company’s reputation among customers and other business partners. As there is an increase in corporate cyber-attacks, businesses are seeing the value of comprehensive MDM solutions.

Mobile device management is a system that is designed for IT administrators to secure policies, permission rights and applications across multiple platforms. It enables easy monitoring of all mobile devices to safeguard all business applications and credential assets. The organizations, through MDM software, can have complete control over their data.

For effective results, MDM solutions should be executed effectively. Essential criteria for successful MDM solution are:

  • Enforcement of security policies and passwords
  • 24/7 monitoring and fully manageable
  • Cloud-based system (to have automatic updates)
  • Remote configuration and monitoring
  • Restricting access to specific data and applications through Geo-fencing
  • Remote data wiping to prevent unauthorized access
  • Data restoration facility for corporate data
  • Rooting alerts for any attempts to bypass restrictions
  • Logging for compliance purposes
  • Remote disabling of unauthorized devices
  • Scalable – to accommodate new users and sophisticated devices
  • Device troubleshooting
  • Device location tracking

Other factors to be considered while implementing MDM solutions are:

  • Architecture: MDM software should be implemented depending upon the preferences of an individual business. Even with the increase in cloud services and infrastructure; organizations still have some systems that are run in their own data centers. In this case, solutions are required for on-site, cloud and hybrid options.
  • Direction: MDM solutions should be opted by a company depending upon the development of the enterprise. It should best fit current and future needs of the business.
  • Integration: It is essential for MDM solutions to comply with the existing security and management controls of the business. The right software will enhance both security and efficiency, enabling IT administrators to monitor and control from a single access point.

For more information about Mobile Device Management, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375-9654.