Thursday, 28 May 2020

Handle Your Documents Like a Pro While Working at Home

So, weeks into your lockdowns wherever you are in the world, (1) you must already have gotten in the grove of remote working and effectively working at home and (2) you miss working from the office, with all its perks and quirks such as nosy and noisy officemates, free instant coffee, and your important printed documents so much. To have the best of both worlds in terms of having an easy time with work, you need to accept the advantages that remote working presents through technology, where document management and workflow implements may be made available. Here are some great practices that will allow you and your team to develop systems to process your documents over email and messaging. Don’t worry, these are easy and quick to implement, so you shouldn’t have such a hard time.


Do other things with documents

A key to seamless and more effective management of documents when everyone is doing remote work is allowing people not just to have copies of their documents but also to do other things. One, there should be an auditing tool that will allow the recording of all actions from you and the other recipients. Other features that can be included that will surely benefit you and your team are automated document creation and multiple tab views of the document so that recipients can see the different edits introduced to the document, and a record of correspondence (like a chat feature) that would come with the document.

However, thanks to the growing and emerging enterprise collaboration tools, working from home or any remote location can now be almost as productive and rewarding as working from the office. These remote work collaboration tools allow employees and companies to work together on professional projects and plans while not working under the same roof. They are meant to reduce the bottlenecks of communication gaps, feedback and approval processes, and more. They also help drastically in core aspects such as communication, planning, project, and task management, and file and data sharing. Here are our top picks for the best enterprise-level collaboration tools.



Turn on annotation, not just editing

Collaborative platforms like with OneDrive (for Microsoft) and Google Drive are magnificent as they allow you to distribute your documents to your teammates and other concerned parties (e.g., external clients), as well as allow them to review, download, and edit those documents. But what if you don’t want those parties to change anything in the document, although you would still want to know what they think of the document? That’s where turning on annotations comes in handy. Turning on annotations or comments allows you as the document owner to gather suggestions without other parties changing anything on your document. After all, getting and providing feedback is one of the tenets of effective collaboration.

For teams taking advantage of everything online content collaboration has to offer, effectively annotating shared documents is a skill that’s best learned sooner rather than later.



Get your electronic approvals in tow

In this era when people from rank and file to management are all working from home, how can anyone get the proper approvals for documents that the higher ups need to green light? An email trail may not be the most efficient nor the most integrity-filled or audit-friendly method of approvals, but something has to be done with documents to be approvals, right? Thus, to make electronic approvals in this time of remote work as flawless as possible while still adhering to legal standards, you need to regulate requirements and rules for electronic signatures and utilize electronic signature software that is compatible with legal standards.

Getting documents approved in a structured, timely fashion is one of the more understated challenges in project management. You might have everything lined up perfectly, but if a key stakeholder doesn’t give the ‘okay’ on schedule, things can go downhill quickly.


Documents are a pain to maintain when you’re not at the office, and if you’ve lost them, they can be horrific. Read here if this is happening to you: Don’t hesitate to contact us, we will help you.

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Sunday, 24 May 2020

Are You Ready for a Post-COVI19 World?

As in the course of human history, the COVID19 pandemic is bound to end. Some scientists and mathematicians opine that things will return to normal after six months, while some analysts have adapted a more pessimistic view, saying things will not normalize until a cure or a vaccine for the virus is discovered and made public.  Thus, when this turmoil will end, we do not yet know. But as an adage goes, nothing lasts forever and thus, the pandemic will end.

So, while we know that currently, what we will have to do is to stay at home, not get sick and flatten the curve, what do you think the world will be like once the crisis is over? The events as they unfold currently have already changed the way we live, so the post-COVID19 world should be very interesting. What could possibly change and what never be the same again because of this virus that people easily dismissed as just another passing disease months ago?


Automation and remote will be the norms

Businesses will be under pressure to be liquid so as to stay afloat. Thus, costs will have to cut, particularly those that do not return profits. Employees that are not as productive as they should be will be cut off, automated procedures may need to be adapted, and other employees may have to continue with remote work may need to be continued for businesses to save on operating costs. In the long run, jobs may move from people to machines or people in the office to people working remotely, and subsequently, people in the country to people overseas since offshore labor and overhead costs are cheaper.

Mass remote working in the US could be here to stay after Covid-19 has receded, according to a new report from Gartner, raising ongoing security concerns.



Med-tech innovations and telemedicine will explode

As hospitals and other medical facilities have become overwhelmed with COVID19 patients, people suffering from other diseases have suddenly been left alone without any immediate recourse for assistance. This is where telemedicine and other remote medicinal services come in. Once the crisis recedes, remote health care will become the emerging, if not already becoming the default. Not only will telemedicine make everything cost-efficient to healthcare insurance providers and the patients themselves, but doctors will also be able to provide their services to far more patients.

In the face of a surge in cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), physicians and health systems worldwide are racing to adopt virtualised treatment approaches that obviate the need for physical meetings between patients and health providers.


Education moves online and student debt will go on a decline

Students and their parents have demanded reimbursements for tuition and other fees because universities have opted to move classes online. When fall semester comes and universities will still be doing online classes, there will surely be so many students demanding tuition fees to be decreased.  Remote learning and its impending success will encourage more learners to go for this more affordable method since they can learn at a fraction of costs. For sci-fi fiction enthusiasts who have read the book Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (or the movie by Steven Spielberg) where students go to virtual schools, this crisis may make that sci-fi episode into reality. But then, online education may just solve the worsening student debt crisis so many Americans are experiencing.

Although it is too early to judge how reactions to COVID-19 will affect education systems around the world, there are signs suggesting that it could have a lasting impact on the trajectory of learning innovation and digitization.


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Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Welcome to the Era of Video Conferencing

Most, if not all of us are confined at home, no thanks to this coronavirus crisis we are facing. But then, even if we are undergoing this extremely traumatic experience in fighting an unseen enemy, there’s still work to be done. While it used to be that we need to schedule conference rooms and book restaurants to meet with our teammates and clients, we now need to make sure we have somewhere to accept meetings from our “home offices” – whether it be in the bedroom, living room, kitchen, dining room, or for those with foresight, their home offices. Attending meetings is such a big part of working and whether you are working in the office or in the comforts of home, you need to know how to successfully hold them. With your laptop, videoconferencing platform, and agenda in tow, what else do you prepare as you embark on your journey to becoming a remote working video conferencing pro?


Look the part

The way you look in your videoconference doesn’t just matter to the attendees of your meeting, but it will also affect how you conduct yourself in your meeting. When you just brushed your hair, grab the nearest and most presentable top and wear it five minutes before a video conference, you will feel rushed and unfocused during the meeting. Thus, you need to prepare your clothes and your appearance in a video conference, just like how you prepare yourself when you’re going to the office. Take a shower, shave (for the men), and wear your power attire and feel the difference - you will be more confident, alert, and focused during the meeting.

“At the end of the day, even though everyone understands you’re working from home, it’s important to project a certain image of how you want to be seen as a professional,” says Linda Raynier, a career strategist and YouTuber with nearly 630,000 subscribers. “You want to show there’s no difference between working from home and going into work.”


Make sure your background doesn’t distract anyone

What you want to avoid when conducting a videoconference is your teammates or your client wearing weird expressions when they see you on their screens, and if pressed, asking you what that hanging thing is behind you. You certainly don’t want dirty dishes, laundry, or dusty walls making your meeting attendees uncomfortable when they see that on your video. Look for a corner in your place that has a professional, plain background, install lighting fixtures, and test yourself by opening your laptop’s camera and recording something of you and your background, so you can check how it looks like.

In fact, many video conferencing programs allow you to change the background to something else entirely. So if you think the time is ripe for something a little more relaxing than a plain blue or green background then perhaps a woodland scene or Lakeland background might be the way to go. It obviously depends on the context of your meeting but having the ability to flavor your meeting with something complimentary to the subject matter might be a neat touch.


Run a tech check

As suggested earlier, make sure your camera is functioning properly by doing a recording before the meeting. Your headset has to be in good condition too, with a functioning mute button that you can use when you’re not the one doing the talking. You wouldn’t want to distract the other attendees with a couch or a sneeze, would you?

Headsets are purpose-built to make your voice sound clear and eliminate outside noise. Cutting out in the middle of a big meeting, or having your teammates hear the garbage truck pass by is not a good look. If you’ve been relying on a sub-par microphone setup for your conference calls, this guide has you covered.


Speaking of sound...

Even with a top-of-the-line headset and camera, there may still be other audio factors that may be out of your control. From the neighbor’s lawn mowing to your baby’s sudden crying, it may feel like you are helpless against these noises tat can distract your meeting. Or are you helpless? There are apps available that do a phenomenal job in canceling background noise so that your video conference attendees don’t get distracted by the sounds of a dog howling or a big bike passing by.

One solution: Krisp is an AI-powered noise-cancellation technology that can virtually eliminate those kinds of noises. And while Krisp is a paid program, in response to the coronavirus, the developers of Krisp have introduced a free tier of service.


If you find that some documents you have gotten in a videoconference have some missing, don’t fret. Our expertise can help you recover your lost documents. Read more on what we do here: 

The following blog post Welcome to the Era of Video Conferencing was initially seen on


HDRG Publishes New Blog Post On Streaming Devices

Irvine, CA based Hard Drive Recovery Group (HDRG) recently published a new blog post that seeks to help their community decide what streaming devices they should own in order to have an optimal experience. Shared freely on their website, the new post is only one of many similar posts that help readers navigate common issues with their computers. The company hopes that their latest article, ‘Which Streaming Device Should You Have?’ will help their readers figure out which devices will help them enjoy their favourite streaming media the most.

“It’s the era of media streaming,” states the post. “The days of having to be a slave to cable TV with limited choices of packages with so many unexplained charges and fees. Cord cutters, rejoice. Future joiners of the cord-cutting bandwagon, feel free to explore your choices. This is because a streaming device that allows you to watch shows and movies and listen to music has become a hot ticket. For those with older models of smart TVs, or anyone who would want a reliable method of streaming can get a streaming device that will provide them exactly that.”

Here, the article makes the argument that a dedicated streaming device offers a variety of advantages that may make them more attractive to certain users over simply browsing a streaming service via a more conventional device, such as a computer, smartphone or tablet. All of these advantages can be boiled down to one incontrovertible fact: a streaming device, by its very nature, is designed to do one thing in particular. As such, each of the current streaming devices on the market try to offer unique packages, but they all deliver a service that is centered solely around streaming content in a rapid and accessible manner.

Hard Drive Recovery Group mentions a number of devices that offer such capability. This list includes Amazon Fire TV, Roku Premier/Express, Google Chromecast, Nvidia Shield TV and Apple TV. Between these options, the article states that it is more likely than not that a streaming media consumer will be able to find a device/service that suits their preferences. However, it is crucial for people to carry out some research into the service they want to buy. On the surface, some may think that it is enough to get a service that offers all (or at least most) of the media they want to watch. However, the competitive nature of the field has led to each company attempting to stand out by offering unique and exclusive tools to their audiences. As such, HDRG advises that shoppers take these additional features into consideration before they settle on a service to take home.

While they are always pleased to share tips regarding computer usage on their blog, Hard Drive Recovery Group specializes in recovering data from a wide assortment of storage devices. While most will be familiar with the fact that data can be retrieved from a failed or failing hard drive, the company’s services are also available to those who need data saved from damaged flash drives, SSDs and so on. Given that many tend to store critical information on their computer, for instance, the loss of a hard drive can prove disastrous. In such circumstances, they are advised to seek out Hard Drive Recovery Group for assistance.

As a 5-Star Yelp review from Kirsten C. says, “I don't know much about computers, so when my computer started acting up, I was dumbfounded. My granddaughter on the other hand, lives, sleeps and breathes computers, so I had her tell me what was wrong with it. She insisted that it was the hard drive, so I called this company for more information on recovering it. I explained my situation, and they were very understanding and professional. I scheduled a time to come in and have them repair my hard drive. I dropped it off to be repaired, and when I came to pick it up, it was good as new. Fully functional PC again. Thank God for Hard Drive Recovery Group.”

Those interested in learning more about the various streaming devices currently available on the market are welcome to visit HDRG’s blog, which is freely accessible through their website. More information regarding their data recovery services can be found here as well, and interested parties may direct any further inquiries to Maureen Davies of Hard Drive Recovery Group.

from Hard Drive Recovery Group

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Don’t Put your Documents at Risk When Working Remotely

Remember the time when people (including you, maybe) dismissed the coronavirus as just some pesky disease from China that will come to pass in weeks? Currently, literally thousands die in the US alone from the disease and confirmed cases now number to over a million. This unprecedented increase has twisted the arms of authorities to impose drastic measures to flatten the curve of new cases and avoid the overwhelming of the healthcare sector. Other countries have imposed border lockdowns, curfews, and the US included, allow those who can, to work from home.

As expected, employees will need to utilize company-provided devices in these uncertain times, as there is no timeline yet as to when the crisis will be completely defeated.  But then, the ambiguity of the situation has been taken advantage of by cybercriminals who will exploit the paranoia of remote workers and expose data and hardware vulnerabilities in the systems they use. How can remote workers then ensure the integrity of the data they get to handle is never compromised during the duration of their remote work period?


VPNs for more security

Among the tools your company can provide you for your peace of mind while remote working is a VPN, which is a program that would allow you to connect to a computer safely, especially when you are using a network that isn’t really that secure, like your home network that may not be that strong against cyberattacks. Using a VPN gives you an added layer of privacy by hiding your browsing history. With that, your company documents can be protected from being seen by unauthorized people.

VPN technology has been around for years, but there has been a spike in interest over recent times. This has been fueled by various factors, including increased concerns about governments monitoring online activities, ISPs potentially reselling user data, more people working at home, and of course, those ever-present hackers looking to intercept data for nefarious deeds.



Store your docs in a cloud

During this era of remote work, cloud-based services are a great option to use to store and transfer data. When documents are stored in a cloud, people with access to it can have copies to them, removing the taxing procedure of emailing documents to those who need to have them. Data loss due to malfunctioning or misplaced computers is reduced, if not avoided altogether.

Whether it's tapping into the tools included with the cloud storage app you already use or simply dragging files into an open browser window, you've got several options to weigh.



Stay away from USB sticks and memory cards

If you are working from home, chances are you are using a laptop or PC issued by your company. If this is the case, you have to avoid using USB stick or memory SD cards. These devices usually carry with them a lot of malware that can adversely affect the files you have stored on your laptop or PC.

But, be careful where you place it since some flash drives tend to be too small for comfort. Therefore, you can quickly lose the device and all your valuable data if you’re not careful.


Employ strong passwords

Hackers are having a field day with so many people working from home as they use less secured networks that do not necessarily have industrial-strength firewalls and anti-hacking software. Thus, if you are working from home, your best defense against hackers would be to make sure they can’t infiltrate your accounts with you using super strong and hard-to-guess passwords. With your accounts and devices being un-hackable, you can be sure unauthorized people can’t get their hands on your documents easily.

Conversely, a password that is difficult to guess makes it prohibitively difficult for common hackers to break into a machine and will force them to look for another target. The more difficult the password, the lower the likelihood that one's computer will fall victim to an unwanted intrusion.



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Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Hard Drive Recovery Group Shares Useful Information About 5G Networks

Irvine, California based Hard Drive Recovery Group is reaching out to the community to share useful information on 5G mobile networks and what the average user can expect from the transition into a generation of wireless technology.

5G, as the name suggests, is the fifth generation of wireless mobile technology. It is set to be more reliable, accessible and at least 20 times faster than its predecessor, promising to elevate mobile communications to a whole new level. While most people are eager to make this transition, others are still unsure of what they can expect from the new generation of mobile networks, questioning whether or not it is worth investing in a new, 5G compatible device.

Being familiar with the struggle of not being able to catch up with new technology, and eager to look out for their community as always, Hard Drive Recovery Group has put together a comprehensive guide containing all there is to know about 5G networks. Maureen Davies, a representative of the company, states, "As appealing as this new generation of wireless technology may be, it still requires that you make a significant investment in upgrading your mobile device. Whether it is worth it or not depends on how you plan to use this new technology. While it is not an easy decision, we'll outline some of the things that you should take into consideration before upgrading."

Through their blog, Hard Drive Recovery Group states that 5G works on a variety of frequencies: low-band, mid-band and high band. These perform very differently from each other and depend on the type of 5G cell tower that is in place in the area. Despite this, the experts note that the 5G network is faster, more reliable and has broader coverage than its predecessor even on the low-band frequency.

"All of this means nothing if you can't take advantage of the new, improved speed of 5G, which will undoubtedly be the case for some people," says Davies. "5G networks may not make a difference depending on the purpose that your mobile device fulfills in your day-to-day life. Regardless of this, the increased connectivity that 5G has to offer will benefit everyone indirectly. The automotive industry, supply chain and manufacturing entities and even healthcare and smart cities will thrive on 5G, as it is believed to be the key to many new possibilities in these areas."

People all across the globe are welcoming the introduction of 5G into their lives. 35% of consumers in the UK have expressed their interest in purchasing a 5G smartphone in 2020, per Amdocs data cited by It is expected that 190 million 5G compatible devices will enter the hands and pockets of consumers over the course of the year, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC), with projections predicting 2.6 billion 5G subscriptions by 2025.

"Whether or not you are ready to welcome a 5G network into your life will depend heavily on your needs, though everything points to the fact that this will be just one more of the tech-related things you have to deal with, such as losing data mysteriously," says Davies. "While only you can decide whether or not you want to upgrade to a 5G device, losing your data is something that you cannot control. The only way to recover your lost data is by contacting professionals who are familiar with these situations."

The only way to recover data in such circumstances is by hiring a data recovery service. Hard Drive Recovery Group, for instance, offers a reliable, prompt, and affordable data recovery service. They are known within the community for their commitment towards their clients, going as far as offering free hard drive inspections. For these and many other reasons, they are considered one of the best data recovery specialists in the US, and they are one of the best-rated services in California.

The company's website offers more details on Hard Drive Recovery Group and their services. Customers may reach out to Maureen Davies to follow up on any further inquiries as well. Similarly, the company can be reached through their social media platforms.

from Hard Drive Recovery Group

How Do You Ace Working Remotely?

Because of the threat of COVID-19, companies and governments have found themselves implementing what can be considered as the largest work-from-home experiment in recorded human history. Many praise remote work as a great solution, as it allows employees to still work while still distancing themselves from each other during this uncertain time in what is seen as a responsible move to prevent the further spread of the virus. So, while most companies were in the primary stages of considering work-from-home policies only a few months ago, now it seems that they have been forced by circumstances to realize them. But even before the COVID19 pandemic forced this arrangement upon almost the entire world, there have already been enlightened groups that have embraced the benefits of remote work.

But then of course, like anything else, working from home also presents a number of challenges. Because employees are not supervised, productivity may be sacrificed. Moreover, cybersecurity can be a huge challenge, since the networks of employees working from home may not be as fortified as those in the office, making them a possible target of hackers. So, if you’re currently working from home, we have some suggestions for you.

Prioritize remote security

Since employees are not under the security perimeter of their companies, it would be difficult to sure that data protection, privacy, and security would be properly set up. Although the most common solution being forwarded for remote security concerns is VPNs, cybersecurity experts claim this may only be a quick fix. More effective solutions being championed include endpoint-based data loss prevention (eDLP) solutions, using virtual machines on Windows, and setting up dedicated terminal servers for teams working remotely.

Data loss prevention software and tools monitor and control endpoint activities, filter data streams on corporate networks, and monitor data in the cloud to protect data at rest, in motion, and in use.



Clarify communication policies

An important factor in the success of a remote team is clear and constant communication. Unfortunately, that may be compromised sometimes in work from home settings since no one is there to keep tabs on every team member every single day. Thus, team members can get into the habit of having a catchup or checkpoint at least once a day just to ensure everybody still interacts with the rest of the team and the workload is still manageable, not to mention lift everybody’s spirits up.

Communication within a company is crucial at the best of times, and the world is not in the best of times right now. To ensure business continuity throughout COVID-19, proper and functional communication must be maintained.



Utilize collaboration tools

Now that you and your teammates are not working in the same location, you cannot just talk a short walk to your teammate’s workstation and have a chat or arrange a quick huddle.  There are tools that will allow you to effectively collaborate with your teammates, hold meetings, and share important information n documents. Take full advantage of these tools.

The beauty of online tools is that many of them are easy to use and offer a cost-effective (and sometimes free) solution to businesses who are finding ways to stay operational despite the threat of the virus.



Handle people with care

What everybody is undergoing now is unprecedented. This is definitely a traumatic experience that people may not necessarily know how to cope, so it is important that everybody gives others the benefit of the doubt whenever one member goes offline for 10 minutes or if somebody doesn’t sound enthusiastic in a team meeting. Now is not the time for more online isolation or sterner regulations; reach out and regularly assure everyone that you will be there if you need them.

Employers should be empathetic, understanding and flexible as workers try to navigate the unexpected changes to their lives. The last thing an employee needs is the employer being rigid about them working from home to take care of their family until they find an alternative solution.



Remote work is a great privilege not a lot of us enjoy; therefore we should strive to be good at it. If you encounter data loss problems during this lockdown period, read here: We may help you with your data recovery concerns.

How Do You Ace Working Remotely? is courtesy of HDRG


Thursday, 7 May 2020

Three Things to Do Before Joining a Video Conference

Because of the coronavirus crisis, a majority of us will need to work from home.  And as any veteran telecommuter will tell you, you will have to conduct a meeting with your team or your colleagues through a video conference call. While the technicalities of setting up a video conference may already user-friendly, there is still the issue of doing them properly, in proper etiquette. After all, just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you can slack, especially in these online video meetings. Here are some dos of video conference etiquette that you can do even before the meeting starts so that you can hopefully conduct them as effectively as possible.

Do: Have an Agenda

Doesn’t it irritate you when you attend a meeting where everybody just sits around, waiting for all attendees to be present, and then, when finally is already in the meeting, the person presiding the meeting takes a while to get things in order? At least in actual physical meetings, you can express your frustration to the meeting presider with facial expressions. With virtual meetings, it could be difficult to tell people to get on with the meeting and stop wasting time. Thus, meetings, whether actual or virtual, need to have an agenda. An outline of what the meeting is about and what topics will be discussed is necessary.

By providing staff with an agenda, attendees know what to expect, can guesstimate how long it will run, and, if there is an element of participation, will give them an opportunity to prepare talking points. "If you know you have people coming from other meetings, then maybe start the meeting five minutes after the start time," said James McQuiggan, security awareness advocate, KnowBe4, who added, regarding agendas, "Include it in the meeting notice. Also, have it on a slide that is shared and readily available."



Do: Have your tech ready

A lot of videoconference gets bogged down by connectivity issues, programs that suddenly freeze, or poor connectivity with some attendees. While they cannot be totally avoided, you can check on your hardware and whether your internet speeds are stable. If you foresee a problem with your internet connection during the meeting, then inform the attendees that you might be encountering issues later, and advise them of what to do when you might suddenly get kicked out of the meeting because you got disconnected. Better yet, ask for everybody’s permission to have the meeting recorded so that anyone who will have connectivity issues can listen or watch the recording later and still be updated on everything that was discussed.

Having everyone start on time is crucial to an effective videoconferencing meeting.

To avoid a last-minute scramble because of an unexpected app download or web browser permission process, make sure you have the correct meeting link, dial-in number, and app downloaded on your phone or computer ahead of time.

After download and setup, login to the app and make sure you can enter and exit the virtual meeting room without issue.




Do: Prepare your background

You may not have a home office and attending a videoconference with you in the kitchen that has pans and pots in your background can distract other attendees. Look for a bare wall in your house and make it the background of your makeshift “home office.” If it is impossible because your house is so decked out, then use the background features of your video conference platform. Microsoft Teams and Skype (that will give way to Microsoft Teams soon) allow video conferencing participants to blur their background, while Zoom allows users to choose a virtual background.

Start by trying to find a quiet, 'reasonably vanilla' environment, suggested Jonathan.

'If you have the ability to create a working space away from the main hub of the home then so much the better,' he said.

He added that some technologies allow you to blur the background but that can put strain on internet connection.



Meanwhile, if you have noticed that you have important files missing from your external hard drive, then read this: We can help you recover your missing files, so get in touch with Hard Drive Recovery Group if you need assistance with recovering missing documents.


Three Things to Do Before Joining a Video Conference was first seen on The Hard Drive Recovery Group Blog


Tuesday, 5 May 2020

How to Cope With Ransomware

With the coronavirus pandemic severely affecting healthcare organizations, you would think that cybercriminals would tone down on wreaking havoc on them. A lot of them have actually promised to stop their activities for the meantime until the situation improves, with some of them even offering free service for organizations that have been mistakenly encrypted. But then, there are still some gangs who are not promising anything, with one of them actually threatening to take their actions further especially to big pharma sites, as these organizations allegedly take advantage of the public panic to rake in more profits. For these, let’s take those promises with a bit of salt, shall we?

With most computer system and information technology specialists of companies working from home (unless some of them are actually staking out in their offices for the entire lockdown period), the risks companies face of getting cyber attacked is especially high.  When there is no one in the office to physically asses their systems, the response time of these IT people to any threat will be greatly affected. So, unless all illegal activities against all organizations that ultimately affect individuals and their data come to a halt, then there will always be the threat of events like ransomware on top of every web user’s head.

But how does an organization deal with such an attack? Millions of dollars have been lost because many organizations have dealt with ransomware attacks through the only option they were left with – by paying the ransom. But surely, this shouldn’t be the only way to deal with this situation.


If there’s a ransom, then why not negotiate?

As ransomware attacks have become quite rampant since last year, the most common ways people have responded would be either to pay the ransom, which can go anywhere between thousands to millions of dollars (in the case of high profile organizations), or seek the assistance of consultants so that the data that was lost because of ransom non-payment can be recovered.

But then, one approach in real-life situations that seem to forget as a viable option is negotiation. Isn’t it that when someone gets kidnapped or be in a hostage situation, that there are crisis specialists (usually police officers) who will negotiate with the kidnapper or hostage-taker?  The tactics these negotiators can prove useful for anyone in a ransomware attack situation.

In general, the less the victim knows about how to purchase bitcoin, the more time the victim has to build up rapport and trust with the cybercriminal. During a negotiation, an attacker may extend payment deadlines, lower the ransom, decrypt some data as a show of “good faith” or provide step-by-step assistance in purchasing bitcoin.



Is prevention the best course of action? 

The latest ransomware campaigns have started targeting businesses and their employees who are working from home through methods like phishing emails and attacking the vulnerabilities in the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) of Microsoft. As someone who may be working from home because of the COVID19 lockdown, can you do something to make you less vulnerable to this kind of attack?

Lock down RDP. The RDP attack vector is regularly targeted by ransomware attacks. Disable RDP where not required. Apply secure configurations where RDP is enabled, including use of strong passwords (at least 16 characters in length) and multi-factor authentication (MFA).



Be prepared!

Unless all vulnerabilities of all computer systems in the world are detected and resolved, everyone is at risk of getting attacked by ransomware. So, it is best to be prepared as possible. Make your passwords super strong. Change them regularly. In your company, why not do a ransomware drill, just like an earthquake or fire drill where everybody would know what to do in case of a ransomware attack? The important thing is for everyone in your organization to know what can happen and what they should do in case it happens.

Some organizations fall into the trap of thinking they’re not important or not big enough to fall victim to a ransomware attack. In today’s high-severity cyber risk landscape, everybody is at risk, according to Francine Armel, focus group leader – international specialties, Beazley Canada Limited.



Meanwhile, if you have important documents or files that have gone missing, Read this: Let our data recovery services help you recover that important data.


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Friday, 1 May 2020

Windows Recovery Services Firm Issues New Blog Post on Giving Windows 10 a Chance to Stabilize

Hard Drive Recovery Group, a data recovery services firm based in Irvine, California, has revealed that they have recently released a blog post that suggests that users of Windows 10 give it a chance to stabilize. Because of the recent death of Windows 7, many have shifted to Windows 10 but the whole Windows-using public will likely become used to Windows 10 only by the end of the year. There has been a public outcry regarding the bugs discovered in Windows 10 but such is the case for most upgrades. It is expected for Windows users to really get used to Windows 10 after a few months. Those who want to know more about this can access their blog post titled, “Why Giving Windows 10 a Chance Isn’t Such a Bad Idea,” on their website.

Maureen Davies, a spokesperson for Hard Drive Recovery Group, says, “There are a number of features that may come in handy with the latest Windows 10 update. These include the Windows Sandbox, Windows Timeline, Your Phone, Cortana, and Windows Hello. See? Windows 10 isn’t as bad as everybody is making it out to be. If you need data recovery services for some fails in your updating process, have a look at our services. Data recovery need not be such a hassle, as you can take advantage of our expertise.”

Hard Drive Recovery Group provides secure and safe hard drive recovery services for both PC and Mac hard disk drives. This is done through clean room hands on data retrieval and through software. Maureen Davies points out that, “Each day, we recover thousands of megabytes of files and data for individuals and companies across North America.”

This data recovery services firm focuses on determining the most efficient and most affordable solution for hard drive recovery. And they are the only shop in the industry that is offering 24 hour turnaround for RAID recovery, as well as overnight hard disk drive recovery shipping. They also provide the hard drive recovery diagnosis free of charge. What makes them stand out among the crowd is that they have almost 20 years of experience in data recovery, and they always charge flat rate prices.

Basically, they will first offer a solid estimate to potential clients before the hard drive is shipped to them to prevent any surprises. Furthermore, if they are unable to recover data, there would be no charge. Thus, whether the data was lost because of mechanical failure or due to a computer virus, natural disaster, or accidental deletion, they are the company to be contacted first for hard drive recovery.

For businesses, they offer various data recovery solutions. These include RAID 10 data recovery, RAID 5 data recovery, and repair of Sun Solaris and MS Exchange servers, including SQL and Oracle databases. They also provide emergency data recovery services for enterprises. Their number one priority for enterprises is the restoration and repair of the business’ RAID array. They have a high level of experience with regards to HP ProLiant, Dell PowerEdge, Promise and IBM ServeRAID controllers, including other major brands of RAID systems.

And an important focus for them outside of hard drive recovery is portable media. They have a wide range of experience with regards to recovering data and files from portable media, such as ZIP and Jaz disks, DLT and DAT tape, CD, DVD, and other formats.

It should be noted that their key focus since they were established was on basic desktop computer hard drive recovery services via both hard disk repair service and recovery software. This means that for those who have experienced file system errors that may only require Mac, Linux, or NTFS data recovery software, they have the appropriate product. On the other hand, for those who experienced a physical hard disk crash may be assisted by their professional hard disk recovery technicians.

Those who are interested in data recovery services and other related services from Hard Drive Recovery Group may want to visit their website, or contact them on the phone or through email.

from Hard Drive Recovery Group

Keeping It Clean, Including (and Especially) Our Gadgets

The coronavirus pandemic has changed how we live, and that is no exaggeration. Entire states have declared lockdowns, residents have been instructed to practice social distancing and to stay home. There seems to be no near end in sight yet as cases of patients confirmed positive of the virus have been steadily increasing.  If we are forced to see any upside to what’s happening, it's that everyone has become more conscious of personal hygiene. All around the world, authorities have regularly campaigned for the public to adhere to sanitation practices like the 20-second rule of handwashing, keeping our hands away from our faces, and maintaining proper coughing and sneezing behavior. For us who can’t seem to live without a social media update every hour, good hygiene should also mean making sure our gadgets are virus-free.

There is still no documentation of the COVID-19 virus being transmitted through surfaces, as the most common means of transmission current is through direct human contact or respiratory droplets. However, health authorities such as the CDC suggest that surfaces should still be cleaned, as recent studies have shown that the virus can actually last for hours to days on some surfaces.  Thus, cleaning and disinfecting are still widely advised as effective ways of preventing COVID-19. So, how do you exactly clean your gadgets without damaging them?

Virus, virus go away!

Since phones come from various manufacturers, practices may vary, although there are some common guidelines that you can follow no matter what brand your phone is. To start, make sure your phone is not plugged to any cable and all protective cases are removed.  Lint-free, soft cloth, like those made of microfiber or those used in cleaning camera lenses is recommended. A dampened cloth should also be used to wipe any smudges, although you need to make sure there’s no excess moisture that may get into the open ports.

Another possibility is to buy a screen protector and place it on top of your phone display. The better ones are glass and usually run from around $7 to $40 for a pack of two or three, depending on your phone model. If you clean a screen protector using a light solution of alcohol and water, it shouldn’t damage your phone’s actual display. Screen protectors have the additional advantage that they prevent your display from being accidentally scratched or cracked, although they can be a real pain to install and may make your display slightly less sensitive to your touch.


Getting soapy

But then, if we’re trying to get rid of germs and viruses, simple wiping will not cut it. Health experts have advised that the coronavirus has a fat coating that can only be destroyed by either soap and water or alcohol. Doublecheck with your phone manufacturer’s website whether you can use soap to clean your phone, though.  For example, cloth dampened with soapy water is recommended by Apple, but only for the iPhone 11 line. Meanwhile, Samsung does not recommend soap to clean your handset.  Disinfectant wipes are okay with Google, Samsung, and Apple, as long as they do not contain bleach.

Using a mixture of water and rubbing alcohol is an effective method but using more than 50 per cent alcohol can also risk damaging the screen. If the chemical coating is removed, it is still possible to reapply it using a simple application kit.


How about your other gizmos?

Don’t forget your tablets and laptop (which you will be using a lot for your telecommute)! Same with smartphones, you may clean them with dry lint cloth, then slightly dampened cloth for the screen. For disinfecting action, disinfectant wipes that do not contain bleach are recommended. Mice and external keyboards may be cleaned with compressed air, which only removes particles and dust, but not germs.

Think about the gear that you're in contact with most often, like your keyboard and mouse. These peripherals are a little bit more hardy than your smartphone, so you can take more aggressive measures, like that can of compressed air we mentioned.



Meanwhile, if you’ve also done digital cleaning in your laptop and you got carried away, deleting important documents, then read on: Trust our experts to help you recover those files.

Keeping It Clean, Including (and Especially) Our Gadgets was initially seen on Hard Drive Recovery Group


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