cybersecurity

Protect Your Business with 3 Gifts Ideas

The holidays are almost here and now is the time to start thinking about what you’re going to buy for the people closest to you. It’s also a good idea to think about the perfect gift for long-term business success

Instead of buying the newest computer, smart speaker or tech gadgets for your business, how about getting something you’ll enjoy for many days to come — peace of mind. How do you do that? By protecting your business from cybersecurity attacks. 

Companies of all sizes are doing more business electronically, which makes having the right security in place essential. Phishing and ransomware attacks are on the rise, and businesses need to protect themselves. According to Tech.Co, cyberattacks cost U.S. businesses $654 billion in 2018. So, how can you give your business peace of mind?

Here are three cybersecurity gifts to give your business this holiday season:

Two-Factor Authentication

Cracking passwords is a hacker’s way to try to gain access to your network. One way to beef up your security is by creating an extra layer of protection. Over the last few years, two-factor authentication has become the new standard in safety. With this security method, once you enter a program password, you’ll receive an email or text message with a code to verify that it’s you trying to get in. This means you’ll be alerted if someone is trying to break into your network. 

Automated Offsite Backup

When thinking about data security, redundancy is a good thing. Keeping regular backups of your essential business data is important to prevent data loss. However, to keep your business safe, your data needs to be kept in at least two separate physical locations, including one away from your primary location. That way, if a phishing or ransomware attack ever compromises your primary server, you’ll still have access to your data and keep working. 

New Software 

Are you still using old software to run your business? If so, you may need an upgrade ASAP. Microsoft Server 2008, Windows 7 and other products are reaching their end of service in January 2020, whether you’re ready or not. When a piece of technology reaches the end of life, that means no more updates. This exposes outdated tech to vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. If you’re still using any of the Microsoft products reaching EOL, then it’s time for an upgrade.

How We Can Help 

While the burden of protecting customer’s data falls on your business, you don’t have to do it alone. Our team of cybersecurity experts can help select the right solutions to protect your business from bad actors. Contact us today to get peace of mind this holiday season. 


cybersecurity

The 4 Types of Data Breaches You Need to Know

If you were hit with a data breach, would you know?

It seems like a silly question, but companies take an average of more than 190 days to identify a data breach. Imagine the damage a hacker could inflict on your business in that time! Considering that the average data breach in the U.S. costs $7.91 million, it’s smart to know what you’re looking for, so you can quickly identify and contain the damage – minimizing the costs of lost data, lost productivity and noncompliance.

Here are the four major types of breaches you need to protect your business against:

Ransomware

Ransomware attacks occur when a hacker takes your data hostage in exchange for a payment. This often means encrypting your data, so you can’t access or read it. For most businesses, this brings production to a standstill. Unfortunately, even paying the ransom may not resolve the situation. In 2018, 45 percent of U.S. companies that were hit by a ransomware attack paid the ransom, but only 26 percent of those companies had their files unlocked.

Ransomware can be delivered through email, malicious websites or social media messages, among other avenues. Even if your data is restored, assume that any sensitive data on the affected machines has been compromised. 

Malware

Malware is a more general term that includes attacks like spyware and viruses. Malware is generally designed with the goal of stealing information from your systems in one way or another. Viruses can even spread between the computers on your network. 

Unlike ransomware, which is usually detected right away, other forms of malware can cause months or years of damage before they’re detected. According to Verizon’s 2018 Breach Investigations report, 92 percent of malware is delivered by email.

Phishing

One of the most common forms of email malware is phishing attacks. In a phishing attack, a victim receives an email that seems to come from a trusted sender. In generic attacks, this might be someone like UPS or Apple. The recipient clicks a link or downloads an attachment, unintentionally downloading a virus onto their system.

Some phishing attacks are even more targeted. They may appear to come from a source close to you, like your company’s leadership. This can be extremely difficult for your employees to recognize without proper security training.

Denial of Service (DoS)

A Denial of Service (DoS) attack is designed to shut down a machine or network, making it basically inaccessible. Attackers accomplish this in two ways. One is a flood attack, where attackers flood the target with more traffic than the server can handle, causing it to slow down and eventually stop. Hackers can also exploit vulnerabilities that cause a system to crash.

The goal is typically not to steal information, but to lock legitimate users, such as employees or customers, out of a system. You may have also heard news stories involving Distributed Denial of Service, or DDoS, attacks. DDoS attacks can cause more intensive damage, since the target is being attacked by multiple systems at multiple locations.

Other Types of Data Breaches

Not every breach comes from a hacker – there are other types of data breaches to be on the lookout for. Employees may accidentally cause a breach by viewing data they’re not authorized to handle, or by leaving a laptop or other device where it can be lost or stolen. Employees or other internal personnel may also act maliciously by downloading, sharing or erasing data with the intention of causing harm to a company.

How We Can Help

Data breaches are constantly evolving and becoming more dangerous, but you can tackle them with help from a trusted security partner. Our security solutions shield your business from a broad spectrum of cyberthreats while we educate your team on best practices to avoid data breaches. If you’re ready to take your data security seriously, contact us now.


microsoft ending support

How Are You Preparing for 2020’s Microsoft End-of-Support List?

If you’re like most businesses, you’ve been seeing notifications start to surface about a daunting change to your business. Coming January 14, 2020, Microsoft® will no longer be providing support for a long list of Microsoft products and solutions. These notifications can be easily closed, and users can even check the “do not notify me again” option.

Have you been ignoring them? Let’s look at why you shouldn’t, and how you can be fully prepared when End of Support becomes a reality this January.

What Does End-of-Support Mean?

This 2020 deadline marks the point at which any solutions on the list will no longer be supported by Microsoft, which means anyone still using these solutions will no longer be able to receive direct support from Microsoft. It also means your users might start running into less-than-ideal experiences. But neither of these issues are your biggest concern. The major risk of not updating your solutions is that you’ll be opening up your systems and users to significant risks. Without ongoing updates and patches from Microsoft support, your outdated solutions will leave the door wide open for security failures and serious compliance risks.

How Can You Prepare?

You have a few options if you’re a business customer. You can pay for extended support or buy Windows Virtual Desktop, but both of those options are an extra cost and even that extended support will have an expiration date.

Your final option is to choose to upgrade your Microsoft solutions, but that means:

  • Creating and communicating an exit strategy for your existing solutions
  • Upgrading all of your existing solutions
  • Managing any training needed for users on upgraded solutions

It’s a lot to manage, and doing it right could mean a full-time resource dedicated to managing the exit, the upgrades and the proactive forward management of your solutions care. If you’re working with a small team or a small budget, it might be particularly tough to dedicate a single resource to your Microsoft solutions updates.

How We Can Help

If that sounds like a lot of work, it is. Thankfully, you don’t have to go it alone. We’re your partner in making this transition simple and seamless. Let us take on the entire process and any other IT support you’re looking for – while you focus on everything else your business needs for growth. Contact us today and let’s talk about how we can help.

 

 

 

 


business-continuity

How Business Continuity Plans Differ from Disaster Recovery Plans

Nobody likes to think about worst-case scenarios when it comes to their business. Unfortunately, your company is susceptible to a wide variety of natural disasters, building structure fires and cybersecurity attacks. 

To be prepared for the worst, some companies create a disaster recovery plan to help get them back up and running. But what about a business continuity plan? 

One misconception is that if your company has a disaster recovery planthen you don’t need a business continuity plan. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Here is why you need a business continuity plan and how it can help your company. 

What’s the Different Between These Plans?

A disaster recovery plan is the process to get your company’s IT operational following a cyberattack, human error, hardware failure, building fire or natural disaster.

Disaster recovery plans only focus on IT while a business continuity plan has a much broader scope. Business continuity plans are detailed outlines, including the procedures and instructions businesses need to follow to get back up and running following a crisis. Business continuity plans have contingencies for each aspect of your business, such as operational processes, assets, human resources, etc. 

How Business Continuity Plans Help Your Company? 

When disaster strikes, the longer your company is offline or nonoperational hurts your bottom line. According to Gartner, every minute your company IT is down cost $5,600 per minute. With those stakes, you don’t have time for a confused staff asking you, “What do we do?” 

With a business continuity plan in place, your company will know what to do if a crisis strikes. Key stakeholders will be able to direct others on what’s needed based on the severity of the crisis. 

What’s in a Business Continuity Plan

Several steps go into creating a well-rounded plan

  • The first step is to conduct a business impact analysis. This is the time to take inventory of your resources, figure out which business functions will need to be addressed first to get the business running again and what resources will be required to do it. Click here to download FEMA’s free Business Impact Analysis worksheet.
  • The next step is developing recovery strategies. These are plans that detail the steps needed to be taken to get the company back up to the minimum operating levels. Also, this is the step to address any potential gaps in your plan regarding resources, personnel or processes.
  • The third step is developing a plan framework on how the continuity plan will be executed during a crisis. To help the plan run more efficiently for larger companies, organize a team comprised of people from each department to map out their department-specific continuity plans. 
  • If you don’t have one already, this would also be a great time to draft an IT disaster recovery plan. Also, document any manual workarounds so your team can access key programs remotely in the event of the network going down.
  • The final step is to test your plan. Conduct training and exercises so everyone knows what to do if a crisis occurs. If you find a gap or problem during training, update your plan accordingly and then test again.

How We Can Help

For small and medium-sized businesses, it can be a daunting task creating a business continuity plan from scratch. To help streamline this process, our team of experts walks you through every step, from completing a business impact analysis to testing and revising your plan. 

Don’t stress about the future of your business. Contact us to find out how we can help.