October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Be Aware and Prepared

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Be Aware and Prepared

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness month, a “collaborative effort between government and industry to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity, and to ensure all businesses have the resources to be safer and more secure online.” This year, according to the US Department of Homeland Security, the emphasis is on a proactive approach. Read on to learn more about various aspects of cybersecurity. Develop Awareness of Current Security Threats The more technology advances and expands, the more places an attack can occur. Cybercriminals are growing more clever and resourceful, and know how to insert malware, or a bot that can mimic human activity. There are also phishing schemes, wherein an attacker can send an email persuading an unwitting employee to share confidential data. Weak spots in a network are subject to exploitation as well. Many companies, according to CompTIA, think that security is “good enough,” and haven’t yet dedicated much of their budget to maintaining cybersecurity. However, your business doesn’t have to be one of them. There are steps you can take, starting with an assessment of your network’s security. Take an Inventory of Current Protections What is your current level of security? Take stock of your business’s protection, starting with the computer network. Are there any weak spots or vulnerabilities needing to be patched? Make sure that you have the most current operating system patches. Also ensure that your antivirus and anti-malware definitions are current, to block attackers from infiltrating your system. Map all devices connected to your network, including ones operated by staff working remotely to make sure that those points are safe. Do your employees know...
Protect Your Business Through Cybersecurity Awareness

Protect Your Business Through Cybersecurity Awareness

October is Cybersecurity Awareness month and knowing this can serve as a wake-up call to protect your company’s data, networks and systems from internal and external hazards. Read on to learn more about protecting your business. Cybersecurity—An Overview  The overall goal of cybersecurity is protecting a business’ computer systems from attacks and intrusions, and your data safe from loss or compromise, preserving your business’ revenue and reputation. While natural disasters are always a factor–and preparing for them is a piece of the IT security puzzle—manmade hazards like viruses and malware are just as important to guard against Cyberattack. Not only that, phishing attempts—emails designed to get an unwitting recipient to supply private information—are a common threat. Fortunately, plenty of protections are available to help safeguard your business’ technological assets. Tools Can Help Keep Your Business Secure Many resources are there to help you protect your business and its network. Antivirus and anti-malware definitions, kept up to date, can guard your system against the newest threats. Operating system patches can protect weak spots in your system and should also be as current as possible. Network monitoring helps keep track of possible intrusions as well as bottlenecks that slow down data transmission. Last, but not least, your staff can be a key part of your strategy, if they are trained to recognize potential hazards. Enlist Your Employees in Fighting Cyber Attacks Your human resources have the potential to be a resource in maintaining the information security of your business. If well trained, in what to recognize and how to report it, your employees can protect you from an attack. Impress upon...
The Importance of Data Protection Before a Disaster

The Importance of Data Protection Before a Disaster

Hurricane Dorian is just one event that can potentially affect a business’s access to its data and reemphasizes the importance of having a data protection plan in place. Other events can have the same effect—cyclones, earthquakes, and hurricanes–suspending business operations for days or weeks.  Even a brief power outage can put your company at risk, not to mention the threat of cyberattacks. Read on to learn more about keeping your business’ data safe and accessible.  Reasons to Safeguard Your Data Data can be considered the lifeblood of your business, enabling transactions as well as access to customer or patient records, and containing a company’s intellectual property. Loss or compromise due to corruption by malware and viruses, or even a brief outage, can result in costly downtime. Not only that, a company can suffer a loss of revenue and even reputation. If subject to industry regulations, a business can incur fines for revealing personal information. These consequences can be prevented with a solid data protection strategy.  Assess Data Protection Needs to Develop Your Plan A data protection strategy starts with assessing your business’ needs. Consider first which data and applications are mission-critical for keeping the business running—for example, phone communications, Internet, and email. Depending on your business type you may need to comply with certain regulations—HIPAA, for example. Consider natural hazards common to your area, and whether you want your data to reside on-premises, or in a cloud data center. With your data in the cloud, it can be accessed remotely and without interruption. If using the cloud, decide which environment is best, whether public or private.   Test Your Plan...
Monitor Your Network to Keep it Safe and Thriving

Monitor Your Network to Keep it Safe and Thriving

With technology ever changing and progressing, more is demanded from your network than ever before.  Cloud computing, along with multiple applications and huge amounts of data, demand a strong and healthy network. Read on to learn more about how to monitor your network and maximize its flexibility, efficiency and security. Network Monitoring—The What and the Why Network monitoring is a proactive part of a managed services plan, alerting a business to hazards both within the network and attacks from outside. First, network monitoring can show where there are poorly functioning circuits leading to disconnections, or bottlenecks in the system. Network outages due to these causes, along with natural disasters and power outages, can cost a business in terms of loss of revenue, downtime, and loss of reputation from data leaks. Second, network monitoring can identify external threats such as denial of service attack and potential ransomware intrusion attempts. The Where and How of Network Monitoring If a hazard or intrusion is identified quickly, it can be dealt with quickly, keeping a problem from escalating. For example, it can find potential holes where data can be leaked or lost. Also, excessive bandwidth consumption can be identified, so that computing resources can be directed toward mission-critical applications. Unauthorized users can be detected, to protect the network from those who should access it. Software-defined Wide Area Networks (SD-WAN) is a system in which multiple carriers are used, affording the business additional flexibility; if one part of the network is down, another part can pick up the traffic, allowing for uninterrupted service. Remote network monitoring can save time and money by eliminating the...
Hybrid Cloud Considerations

Hybrid Cloud Considerations

Cloud computing, despite varying levels of adoption, has become a common way for a business to avail itself of computing resources without having to maintain expensive infrastructure. Companies can use varying levels of resources, scaling up and down as demand and usage changes. How does a company know which cloud environment is the right one? Read on to learn more about how to make this determination. What is Hybrid Cloud? Hybrid cloud is a combination of on premise, third party, private cloud, and public cloud. Some companies have moved all the infrastructure to the Cloud. This could include software as a service (e.g., Customer management system), or also infrastructure as a service for application hosting or Cloud backup. Other companies may choose to keep some services available on premise (at their location) for failover or easy access, while at the same time tapping in to public or private cloud services for off-site redundancy or access to new features that may not be available in legacy systems. Benefits of Hybrid Cloud Hybrid Cloud can offer flexibility and agility to a business, allowing you to get the best of both worlds. For example, having files locally can help you backup quickly in the case of ransomware attacks, without having to restore from the cloud. If you are in a disaster recovery scenario when you cannot access your physical location, private or public cloud can give your applications and data from most anywhere. Hybrid Cloud Considerations If you are combining on-premise, public cloud and private cloud in your business, it is important to have a solid network infrastructure to avoid bandwidth bottlenecks...
Train Your People to Fight Cyberattacks

Train Your People to Fight Cyberattacks

With the advance of technology, many benefits have come to businesses—commerce taking place twenty-four hours a day and the ability to have meetings with workers half a world away, among others—but cybercriminals have learned to exploit technology, using practices such as phishing (planting a fraudulent link in an email) to gain access to business’s data and networks.  With social engineering, Phishing, and Spearfishing on the rise it is important for you to raise employee awareness about these threats. Read on to discover how to keep your business safe from this type of intrusion. What Phishing is and How to Prevent It Phishing is an increasingly popular way for attackers to access company data and plant malware in a network. A phishing attempt involves putting a fraudulent link in an email to get the recipient to click on the link and unwittingly import malware into their company’s network. Spear phishing, a related type of attack, focuses on an organization or individual. Employees can be trained to recognize an attempt by looking for clues. One is misspellings and grammatical errors in the message. Another tipoff is a strange or suspicious sender’s address; if it looks strange or suspicious, don’t open the email. Yet another practice is to point the mouse arrow over a link to look at it without clicking. All are things an individual can do, and there are additional effective practices. Focus on the Fundamentals The best preventive measures are simple. According to a CompTIA article, getting the basics right is one of the soundest investments a business can make. Prevention, as always, is far less costly than repair....