What Is CPNI (Consumer Proprietary Network Information)?

The Consumer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) is information that telecommunication services (I.E. local, long distance and wireless telephone carriers) acquire about their subscribers. The information that is collected typically includes the services they use, as well as the amount that they use these services and the type of usage.

To be more specific, the type of information the CPNI includes is the various data displayed on a customer’s monthly phone bill, which may include:

• Telephone line type and its technical characteristics

• Service class

• Existing phone charges

• Local and long distance service billing records

• Directory assistant charges

• Usage data

• Calling patterns

• All optional services to which the customer has subscribed

• And so on

Although the CPNI collects all of the above information of telephone customers, the CPNI does not include the customer’s personal information, such as their name, address or phone number. The only parties that are privy to this personal information are the customer and their telecommunications company.

Furthermore, it is important to note that the Telecommunications Act of 1996, together with the clarification from the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC), usually forbids the use of any information that is collected about a customer, even for marketing purposes, unless express permission to use the information is first given by the customer. In addition, if a customer switches service providers, the previous telecommunications carrier they were with, is not permitted to use any information in an attempt to lure the customer back.

However, the CPNI does not prohibit everything. For example, the CPNI rules do not forbid the gathering and publishing of aggregate customer information. Moreover, the CPNI rules do not prohibit the use of telephone subscribers’ information for the purpose of creating directories.

Keep in mind, a telecommunication provider must have their customer’s permission first before they can share their customer’s CPNI with any third party, including other agents, affiliates, or parent companies. That being said, generally, when a customer allows a telecommunications provider to share their CPNI, this helps the provider to better serve the customer and meet their service needs. Nevertheless, a customer has the right to notify their carrier that they withdraw their consent to have their CPNI shared whenever they wish, and their carrier must comply with their request.

It is important that you know your rights so you have the chance to protect yourself and your personal information. Therefore, should you feel that your rights are ever being violated, you can find out who owns a phone number [http://www.whoownsthisphonenumber.com] and file a compliant with the FCC.

Tips for Securing Your Network

When computer networks were isolated within the walls of offices, an Internet connection was a luxury and not a critical component of business functions. That has now completely changed for businesses that rely on computers to acquire and deliver services. Customers, business partners, remote office locations, and mobile workers expect connectivity to your office network. This interconnected nature of networks opens doors to new levels of productivity; and to threats that can disrupt business.

Securing your network should not be an afterthought; it just makes business sense. The benefits of a secure network are numerous:

It is more reliable, has fewer problems, and consequently costs less to maintain.
It improves productivity across all your stakeholders: customers, partners, and employees.
It protects your investment in bandwidth by controlling abusive use and unwitting hosting.
It lowers your exposure to legal and regulatory action.

In this article I highlight numerous tips for securing networks. This information was gleaned from research of published industry best practices and tips from government sites, such as the FCC, and from our own experience in supporting business networks.

The tips presented here can significantly enhance your computer network security. Do note, however, that no one can guarantee absolute security. You need to carefully balance the requirements for implementing security with proper investments in time and money, while keeping business objectives squarely in mind. These tips are organized into a few key strategies.

Employee Education and Policy Strategy

Provide Security Training: All employees, includes managers and executives, should be educated on basic security practices and how to protect sensitive business information. Establish policies and rules, including penalties for violating them, on how to protect sensitive data and make training available on a regular basis. Topics include: whether and when to use Web for personal use on office computers, instant messaging, social networking sites, streaming video and music, if and how company monitors Web usage, prohibited activities, tips for safe browsing, common techniques used by hackers and how to avoid falling prey.

Use Strong Passwords: Passwords are the most common method for gaining access to network resources. Unfortunately, they are also easy to hack through the use of automated tools. Train staff to use their passwords as they would their home keys: don’t leave them lying around and don’t share them. Strong passwords typically use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols, are at least 8-characters long, are changed every quarter, and differ significantly from previous passwords.

Regulate Access to Information: You probably don’t want to give everyone full access to everything. The judicious use of network user groups and permissions ensure network resources and data are available on a business need basis and that the Administrator account is only provided to trusted resources and executives and used only when necessary. Many line-of-business applications support roles, such as Sales, Operations, Accounts Payables, etc. to provide access to data they maintain on a business need basis.

Internal Network Strategy

Implement Backup and Disaster Recovery Procedures: Core business data is the lifeblood of any business. Implementing a multi-level backup procedure; image, file and folder, and offsite, is a simple way to protect critical data. Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) appliances take this a step further by helping you quicken server recovery in case of failure. Testing your backups periodically is an important component of any backup strategy.

Implement Desktop and Server Virus Protection: These software solutions have been around for a long time and they continue to evolve as threats evolve. Keep your anti-malware software current and its definitions current.

Patch Desktops and Servers Regularly: Security vulnerabilities in the operating system and in applications are regularly addressed by reputable software vendors. Take advantage of them. Keeping security patches current from your software vendors protects your computer from known attacks and vulnerabilities. Again, there are centralized patch management tools that make the process less time consuming.

Centralize Computer Administration: By implementing a server and applying a group policy across computers, you can standardize the process and save each user the time it takes to implement configurations one computer at a time. There are tools to centrally manage virus updates, security patches, desktop firewall, permission groups, and other security features.

Secure Physical Access: Do not overlook the physical location of your critical network infrastructure. These should be accessible to trained and trusted employees. Keeping this infrastructure secure in a locked room or server closet will reduce inadvertent or fraudulent access or change to network.

Secure WiFi Access: WiFi access to the network enables even mobile employees to be productive. Data, as it travels over the air is typically less secure than when it travels over wired networks. Information traveling over the air is at risk of interception. Use wireless data encryption protocols to ensure that data is encrypted during transit from source to destination to protect against risk or interception. Also, setup wireless access point for guests on a separate subnet so they can access the Internet but not your network.

External Network and Perimeter Strategy

Consider Outsourcing Email Services: Corporate email has become mission critical for businesses of all sizes. If you do not have a mission-critical application support infrastructure internally, consider outsourcing your email infrastructure. The widespread availability of such solutions from key industry vendors makes these affordable. And you can leave the worry of securing and maintaining such infrastructure in the hands of those that do it 24×7.

Secure the Perimeter: Connecting your network to the Internet allows you and your employees to gain access to valuable data and be productive even when on the run, but it also exposes your network to attack from intruders. Most small businesses use consumer grade routers/firewalls to protect the edge of their network that is right behind the broadband modem. Though these devices have grown in functionality, they aren’t equipped to handle the perimeter security needs of a business. With business grade routers/firewalls/UTM (Universal Threat Management) appliances, you gain a powerful hardware platform that provides ability to filter malicious traffic and spam from the outside, receive regular security updates, provide secure remote access, implement intrusion detection and prevention services, and prevent infectious code from executing from trusted but compromised sites.

Stay Informed and Vigilant: There are numerous industry and government sites dedicated to network security. Stay informed as data and practices continue to evolve. Business-grade UTM appliances are designed to be monitored remotely from security operations centers and to send reports and alerts that may need attention.

Request Links to Related Resources

If you found this topic of interest, I encourage you to request a list of additional resources you can download at no cost. Simply email: info@rcare-solutions.com with the words “Network Security Tips” in the Subject line.

Basic Social Networking Information

If you don’t know what social media networking is then you may wonder what it really is. Social networking is the grouping of individuals together into more specific and defined groups more like rural communities or possibly a neighborhood subdivision.

Although social media networking is possible in person like organizing a group of a specific interest today it is most popular with the use of internet where meeting new friends from all walks of life can be located in social networking sites that are being widely used worldwide.

The internet is filled with millions and millions of individuals who are looking forward to meeting new people, to gather, to share first-hand insider information and experiences about random things in life that on the latter, develops friendships and if possible, professional alliances. People also are now widely using social networking in their business endeavors and the services that they are offering. It is one way of having their company, products and services known all over the world. Social networking aids in driving more traffic to your website by bringing on line visitors to visit therefore which at one point in time bring you sales and new customers.

When talking about social communities, websites are the most commonly used platform to be able to engage in social networking. These websites are also known as social sites allowing users to network with each other. The socialization part may involve reading of profile pages and some personal information of other members in the community, being able to share confidential and public information and by social media networking; you can organize and merge them all in your online profile.

Making friends is just one of the many benefits of engaging yourself in the social networking websites. Another is the diversity because the internet gives you the chance to give out information since most the internet users gain access in the internet. Meaning, you are able to organize and combine all your profile into one page, giving out a more personal profile in real life today.

The friends that you are able to engage via in social networking give individuals the venue to share talents and other vital information that can be mutually beneficial to both parties. They can be mutually beneficial in the sense that they would be able to help each other bring business and from now only an online friendship but as business associates as well.

As stated, social networking is often involved in groupings, specifically individuals or organizations coming together into one bigger group. While some social community websites focus on a particular interest, others do not. Once you are in the social networking community, you are now free to create your own group with specific interests and have the freedom to accept and eliminate group members if they don’t meet your standards or if they don’t share a common interest with the rest of the group.

Moreover, social networking involves groupings and forming communities of specific interests and likes, and both social and business interests.