Important Information about HIPAA Compliance

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As part of IX Web Hosting’s ongoing compliance initiatives, we have identified recent changes in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) that may impact some of IX’s customers. Specifically, these changes require Covered Entities and all of their Business Associates who create, receive, maintain transmit or have access to protected health information (or the possibility exists that the protected health information in the business associate’s custody or control could be compromised) to independently comply with HIPAA.

To help identify those customers who may be impacted, IX is asking its customers to notify IX if they are considered a Covered Entity or Business Associate under HIPAA and store or transmit electronic protected health information using IX’s services. IX will assume that the recent changes in HIPAA do not impact IX customers who do not identify themselves as a Covered Entity or Business Associate. IX has also updated its Terms of Service with customers to prohibit the use of protected healthcare information on websites that IX hosts.

If you answer “yes” to both of the following questions, please contact legal@ixwebhosting.com no later than 09/23/2013.

  • Is your business a Covered Entity or a Business Associate as defined by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 or HIPAA (45 CFR 160.103)?
  • If so, are you maintaining or transmitting Protected Health Information or PHI (defined in 45 CFR 160.103) using any of the IX services?

If you did not answer “yes” to both of the above questions, there is no need for further action

Please see below for some frequently asked questions.

We appreciate your cooperation and look forward to continuing to serve you.

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If I answer “yes” to both questions will my service be impacted or change as a result of the new regulations? What if I answer “no”?

If you answer “yes” to both questions your services will change. You must transfer to another hosting provider. Upon request, we can provide you with the name of a provider who is HIPAA compliant and operating in a HIPAA compliant data center. If you answer “no”, there will be no changes to your services at this time.


If I answer “yes” to both questions what will IX do with the information that I provide?

IX will use the information to recommend you transfer your account to a provider who can supply HIPAA compliant services.


Will I be contacted by an IX representative whenever new regulations apply to my business?

Not necessarily. We may contact you if the regulations apply to and affect IX’s provision of services to you.

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Important Yahoo Mail Update

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On Monday, July 15th, Yahoo Mail will be removing all inactive email accounts (specifically, those that haven’t been logged into for the past year) and will be releasing them back into the public domain.

This could potentially affect anyone who currently has a mailing list that includes these unresponsive Yahoo email addresses, because if someone else picks up the released email address and gets an unfamiliar email or newsletter, they may end up marking it as spam.

If you have a mailing list that may include some of these email addresses, you may want to identify and remove them as soon as possible. If someone re-registers one of the released emails, gets your newsletter by mistake, and marks it as spam, it can easily cause ISPs like Google and Gmail to block any further emails you attempt to send.

It’s never pleasant to have to delete subscribers, but it’s better than being marked as spam.

Remember, Yahoo is making this change on Monday, July 15th, so try and contact your Yahoo contacts ASAP.

 

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What the mailman dragged in

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So, yesterday my mailman brought me yet another one of those Domain Registry of Amer*** letters. These letters are seriously annoying.  Take a look (click below to see bigger image) :

If you didn’t already know, these letters are a notorious marketing ploy.  They try to convince you to renew your domain name with them by sending you an official-looking notice, by postal mail.  If you follow the directions, not only will you pay an arm and a leg for a year of registration, but you’ll also be transferring your domain registration to another company. I often get letters from customers, who ask me, “How did these scumbags get my snail mail address?”  It’s actually really easy.  And sort of scary, too.

Your domain name’s ownership information (it’s also called the “WHOIS information”) is available in a public database – which can be accessed by anyone.  See for yourself right here.

This is the same reason you usually started getting boatloads of spam to the email address associated with your domain.

Obviously this is bad.  Only for specific reasons would you want to share your info (and I’ll tell you about those in a couple of weeks).  But as a general rule, it’s better to hide your contact information from public view.

So how can you hide your contact information?

Until now, there hasn’t been a lot you can do about it.  But because so many of you have been asking for it, we’ve added a sweet new feature called Domain WHOIS Privacy.  It basically removes your information from the WHOIS database.  You still own your domain, but now you won’t have to deal with all the spam, fake mail, and telemarketing calls.  Of course you always have the option to turn privacy off at any time, but I don’t recommend it.

I’ve got all my personal names, and even some of my business names, protected with Domain WHOIS Privacy.  It works wonders and the spam you get decreases considerably.

So if you want to add it to your existing domain(s), it’s only $6/year (which is like one or two lattes from Starbucks, depending on how complicated of a person you are). And it’s well worth it.  Here are some instructions on turning privacy on.

To make it a no brainer, we’ve bundled domain privacy with new .com domain registrations. For a short time, you can register new .coms for just 4 bucks if you add domain privacy when you order them.

I hope you like this new feature, and that it’ll help you as much as it has helped me.

Yours,

Fathi Said, CEO
IX Web Hosting

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The importance of maintaining your web applications

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Web application maintenance is vital to the health and security of not only your website, but your entire hosting account.  Not only does this directly impact your security but also your reputation on the Internet.  Failure to maintain web applications is one of the leading causes of hacked sites.  A hacked site sees a negative impact on their Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

What is a web application?

Generally, a web application is a type of application that is accessible over a network and usually uses a browser as the primary interface.  A more in-depth explanation can be found on Wikipedia, but that is beyond the intended scope of this post.  Web applications can come in many flavors and purposes.  Some are designed to help you manage and display content to your visitors.  Some are used as shopping carts to help you display and sell your products.  Others are designed to display content in a gallery format.  In the next section, I include a list of many of the popular web applications.

Why should I upgrade?

One reason new versions of applications are released is because new features are added.  That’s usually the first thought that comes to mine when you hear about a new version:  What was added?  Sometimes a new version is released and nothing obvious appears to have changed.  Chances are, that version was released to patch one or more security vulnerabilities.   Most applications include a change log file; reading it will explain what has changed from one version to the next.  To help illustrate the importance of these upgrades, I have compiled a list of some of the more common web applications and their corresponding advisory listings at the popular security site, Secunia:

You will notice that many of the advisories listed have been resolved by installing the current version.  While hosting account security hinges on many aspects of your account access, up-to-date software goes a long way towards keeping your account secure.  There are also several tutorials available to suggest configuration changes to make your applications more secure, here are two to get you started:

How do I maintain my site?

The very first thing to do is to backup your site.  It is imperative you back up your own site before every major change.  Do not depend on the hosting company’s regularly scheduled backups!  What would happen if the hosting company’s regularly scheduled backup occurs after you have made changes that did not have the desired effect – you would have nothing with which to revert.

Also, do not depend on plugins to handle your critical backups.  Consider for a moment:  All of my backups use a plugin inside my application.  After applying an update, access to my dashboard is broken.  I cannot restore from my backup without dashboard access.  This makes about as much sense as keeping the spare keys to your locker inside the locker.  Sure the spare keys are safe, but you’ll never open the locker to get your spares if you lose your main key.

To properly backup the site, you will want to download a copy of your web files using an FTP application and also export a SQL dump of the active database.  Both of these actions are outside the scope of this article, but check back in the coming weeks for more info.  Until then, Google is your friend!

Once you have a solid backup, log into the application’s dashboard and update each plugin individually before attempting the core application update.  This order is important as some plugins will need to be updated to be compatible with your application’s newest version.  This can be time consuming, but it is worth the effort of updating one module at a time.  If you succumb to the temptation to update them all at once and your testing shows some aspect of your site is broken, you will not know which plugin was the cause of the error.

When your testing is complete and all plugins are updated, then it is advisable to review your active plugins to ensure their compatibility with the core application’s update.  Personally, I would make a backup of this configuration now.  While not absolutely necessary, it will save you time if the core update breaks your site.  Now follow the update steps recommended by your core application.  Some have buttons to update within the dashboard, some require more intricate steps.

I like to take another full backup of the known good configuration after you have completed your updates of plugins and the core application.

Many web applications offer the ability to sign up for their newsletter.  This is a great way to keep yourself appraised of updates and will help you to continue maintaining your site.  Keep your web hosting account (as well as your visitors) safe!

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Book Review: The Six-Figure Second Income

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We’re starting the first of a series of book reviews.  Today’s book is one that is meant for those that have the desire to start their own revenue generator but have not had that much experience with their own online business before.  It’s meant for people who have the drive to turn an hour a day and every day experiences into six-figures.  Specifically, it’s about creating a profitable information product.

My friend, Jon Rozek, has written a book: The Six-Figure Second Income: How to Start and Grow a Successful Online Business Without Quitting Your Day Job. I’ve known Jon for a while and he’s helped me out quite a bit with my business…this guy is an expert and this book is valuable.

This book hits many points that I started into in my email to you about PayPal last week.  In short summary, this book walks you through the process of creating an “information product” that will solve other people’s problems (as it perhaps solved yours), creating a website around that product and then marketing that website so people know you exist and actually buy from you.

Keep in mind, this book is for the development of a profitable information product, but the process he discusses for marketing to your buyers is critical to any business.  If you’ve never done email campaigns, news and sales letters, autoresponders, “launches,” pay-per-click marketing, etc., this book might just be a very valuable learning tool for your business.

Jon has decided to give a bunch of bonuses to those who purchase his book on Tuesday, September 21st. The biggest bonus is that they’re giving away a free seminar where he and the co-author, David Lindahl will answer your questions, discuss topics from the book and give you the opportunity to network with other like-minded people.  The seminar is just outside of Boston on Friday-Sunday, November 5-7.  If you’d like more information, just shoot an email over to questions@sixfiguresecondincome.com.

I had my fiancé read it first because she’s a really fast reader and extremely opinionated, but when I saw it was taking her longer than one sitting to read it, I thought something was wrong.  It also always seemed to be opened, face down next to her rather than…well, finished, so I started to worry that Jon and David had produced a dud.

Instead, I saw that she was working on many of the points Jon had written about with her own business ideas and was pausing only to be inspired.  This is exactly what you want out of a book.

We have both read many similar books, but none were as realistic and thorough.  This book literally walks you through the simple process of making money online without working that hard, but doesn’t make the mistake of promising that by the last page, you’ll be a millionaire.

You definitely can become a millionaire following his exact steps and Jon and I know many who have, but it’s not realistic for everybody.  It is, however, important to note that many of the bonuses these guys are offering include audio interviews and advice from the guys who have had 7-figure+ success with this process, so no one wants you to think that it’s impossible.

I just hope you don’t have some moral or religious aversion to making money without shedding any blood, sweat, or tears. (Page 14)”

Read more about the book and its reviews here: http://www.amazon.com/Six-Figure-Second-Income-Successful-Business/dp/0470633956/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top.

If you have a business-related book that you’d like our staff to check out and talk about, let us know in the comments.

Fathi Said, CEO

IX Web Hosting

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We're Always There When You Need Us The Most!

Your Dedicated Support

At IX, we take care of our customers. And dedicated support is one of the ways we prove to you again and again that we are here to help you every step of the way, regardless of your skill level. With IX dedicated support, you get a support technician personally assigned to assist you. You get their name, number, email, social media connections, and work schedule! It's just one more facet of our service which proves our deeply rooted belief that being a great hosting provider requires more than just cutting-edge technologies, but the best in support and service.