Last month’s blog provided information about ways to “Avoid Being Held Hostage by Ransomware.” Eight days later, on May 12, 2017, there was a global outbreak of the Wanna Cry Virus. With Cyber Threats on the rise, the importance of maintaining network compliance is top of mind with business owners and IT professionals alike. Industry compliance regulations, including PCI, HIPAA, and SOX, drive best practices in Network Compliance. However, most businesses today rely heavily on their systems to access Cloud Services, Voice, and Data Networks for mission-critical applications that run their business. What can you do to maintain network compliance?
Automate Your Network Administration
Keeping operating systems and network configurations up to date is a top priority for network compliance. Each device that connects to your network needs to have up-to-date operating system security patches, anti-virus definitions, and malware threat prevention in order avoid un- intended intrusion of your network. There are abundant tools and managed services to help your business stay up to date without adding to your internal labor cost.
Proactively Monitor Your Network
Monitor your network to identify any systems that are out of compliance. Proactive monitoring can also identify unauthorized devices connected to your network. You can monitor your network traffic to identify unusual use of network bandwidth. Aside from slowing down your systems, excessive bandwidth may be the result of a malware-infected device that is exploiting your network.
Documenting Your Network Security Controls
Achieving compliance with documented security procedures including password policy, systems maintenance, backup procedures, and compliance measures, is critical to following most industry compliance regulations. It is a best practice to update these procedures annually. Reviewing your Network Compliance policies gives your business an opportunity to stay up to date and serves as a reminder of the importance of maintaining network compliance.
Contact your Technology Advisor if you have questions about maintaining network compliance or other concerns regarding ransomware and other related Cyber Threats.
Ransomware, spyware, phishing schemes, and other Cyber attacks are commonplace in today’s world of technology. According to a recent article in Forbes, ransomware attacks grew at an accelerated pace in 2016 with reports of 638 million attacks, almost 200 times more than the number of ransomware attacks in 2015. Most experts agree that Ransomware attacks will continue to occur–so what can you do to avoid being a ransomware hostage?
Not All Ransomware is Created Equal
Before you panic, find out what type of Ransomware you are up against. Scareware is a type of Ransomware that tricks you into thinking you have a bigger problem. A simple scan may quickly remove the pop from your browser cache and get you back on your way. Some ransomware is truly nasty — your entire system may be encrypted, meaning you will need to wipe your system and start over if you have a good backup. Otherwise, you may find yourself hostage to the cybercriminals to unlock your data.
An Ounce of Protection is Worth a Pound of Ransom
Data protection is an important element in minimizing the impact of Ransomware. Make sure your network security is fully compliant. Backup your data, update your antivirus definitions and make sure your security patches are up to date. Consider using Cloud Backup, Security as a Service, and Managed IT services to keep your network up to date. Having a strong offense to avoid ransomware is your best defense.
Don’t Forget the Human Element
Train your employees on a regular basis on the importance of staying vigilant against Cyberattacks and how to avoid being a hostage. There are many resources to get training for your team. Periodic updates about threats and security procedures serve as a reminder to your employees to ensure they adhere to best practices.
If you need security training or are interested in a review of your network, security vulnerability, or other technology infrastructure, contact your Technology Advisor today.
Defending against Cyber threats is no easy task. Understanding the risks and designing a defense strategy are important steps in protecting yourself from Malicious actors and Cybercriminals. Staying current on Operating System and Application Patches, Restricting Network Access, and maintaining antivirus and malware protection are known ways to protect your network. Employee awareness and education on how to identify threats, and the importance of adhering to policies, also bolster your defense against cyber attack. If you’re not convinced, review the following Cyber threats you need to protect against.
How Malicious Software (Malware) Works
Malware is self-propagating software designed to infiltrate your network. This software can come in the form of a worm that will infect your network via your router via your Internet Protocol (IP) address. If it doesn’t find a hole in your network it may automatically update to scan for the next sequential IP Address, infiltrating and corrupting networks as it goes along. Avoid Malware by proactively scanning your network and keeping your network in compliance.
Why Phishing Could Put You Out of Business
Every year, millions of SPAM emails are sent to unwary recipients with the hope of collecting private and personal information including, account/password, privacy data and other information that can be exploited for profit. What’s more, Phishing is a popular way for Cybercriminals to distribute Ransomware, a form of malware that holds your systems hostage in exchange for payment. In the event of a data breach, your company may need to disclose the impact to customers and other stakeholders. In addition to ransom and legal fees, your company’s reputation may be on the line. Email protection and web content filtering are ways to protect against phishing schemes. It is also important to train your employees in how to identify and avoid these types of attacks.
Distributed Denial of Service Attack (DDoS)
Think of a Distributed Denial of Service Attack (DDoS) as a flood of system-generated traffic attacking your business infrastructure, designed to take you offline from the Internet. Hackers may try and extort your business or use DDoS in retaliation. Many Cloud Providers have excellent resilience and redundancy to defend against DDoS. If you rely on your own infrastructure, be sure to monitor for unusual activity and have a plan for failover in the event of a DDoS attack on your business.
Cyber attack threatens businesses large and small. Planning and network protection, combined with training, are your keys to defending against unintended data loss and business interruption due to Cyberthreats. Contact your Network Security specialist to find out what you can do to prevent a Cyber attack on your business.
It is no surprise, technology flattens the world for many businesses. What’s more, nearly every business sector finds it necessary to collect, maintain, analyze, and monetize user data. Many think Cybersecurity risks only apply to highly regulated industries, such as legal, healthcare and financial services.
Cybersecurity Risks Go Beyond Borders
Factors outside industry, including geographic considerations and sensitive consumer data, can create cybersecurity risks that need to be managed. These factors run the gamut of domestic and international laws, regulatory bodies, and private-party business agreements. Cybersecurity compliance can touch every business to some degree.
Internet of Things (IoT) and Cybersecurity
Adding to the list of concerns are non-traditional technologies entering your businesses network. IP-enabled technology called Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly being adopted in the workplace. The Cybersecurity threat is moving beyond desktops, laptops and services. A new generation of mobile devices–Point of Sale (POS), IP video surveillance, embedded sensors, VoIP, and others–is just the first wave of emerging technologies that need to be secured.
How to Minimize Cybersecurity Risks
There are many things a business can do to reduce Cybersecurity threats. According to the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), the following elements are the building blocks for a cybersecurity program:
Documented policies, procedures & standards
Identity & access controls
Physical & environmental security
Cybersecurity threats are a reality of today’s world. The risks of data compromise and/or loss can cost more than dollars; such risks can cost your reputation. Your business is only as secure as your Network. If you have questions about your business needs, ask your technology advisor about how to manage Cybersecurity threats to your business.
We all know, not being able to get on the WiFi is annoying. But worse still, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks can impact your business and even interfere with vital infrastructure such as electrical grids. According to Forbes’s Michael Krancer, an attack in 2015 knocked 80,000 electrical customers offline for three hours. Other recent attacks put several eCommerce and Internet Server Providers out for hours. In a world where people are always connected to computers, such an attack is becoming all the more common.
What is Distributed Denial of Service?
A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack occurs when devices connected to the Internet are used to flood a business’s server with data, and make it unavailable to customers (and potential customers). Unlike a simple Denial of Service, a Distributed Denial of Service is an attack on a large, perhaps global, scale. Botnets, networks of devices controlled remotely, are used by malware authors to send huge amounts of junk data to servers. Devices can include cameras, smartphones, or PCs—any device connected to the Internet. Internet of Things (IoT) and other IT trends will fuel the expansion of connected devices. The effect is to exhaust server resources with fake or incomplete information requests, and render the business’s website unavailable to legitimate customers. Attacks can happen on the bandwidth or application layer, or from sheer volume.
What Does a Distributed Denial of Service Mean to You and Your Business?
First, it means loss of legitimate traffic. Your customers can’t access your website, and of course can’t buy products and services from you, costing your company revenue. According to a report by Incapsula cited in a Security Week post, a typical attack lasting 6 – 24 hours can result in a loss of half a million dollars. Second, non-financial costs–loss of trust from customers, loss of intellectual property, and exposure of confidential data–also result.
What Can You Do to Be Prepared for a DDOS Attack?
The primary purpose of protection is to detect and mitigate attacks. As DDoS attacks target multiple systems, be sure to protect on multiple fronts. Be sure to monitor call centers and other customer-facing systems. Mission-critical systems should have redundancy and failover. All of these defenses should be part of your business continuity plan, in the event of a natural—or man-made—disaster.
If you are unsure about your readiness to survive a DDOS or need assistance in protecting yourself, contact your trusted technology advisor today.
We all read about Cyber attacks in the news. There is no denying the loss of productivity from a virus-infected laptop or the embarrassment of hacked email. With threats from Ransomware on the rise, it is no surprise leading market analysts Juniper Research, predict the cost of data breaches to $2.1 trillion globally by 2019, an increase of nearly four times the cost of breaches in 2015.
Why Cyber Attacks are on the Rise
Now here is the surprise: according to a recent report by the Ponemon institute, 79% of IT and IT security professionals report they lack the proper infrastructure to identify and defend against cyber attacks. Lack of tools and resources was cited as a reason why they felt their Cyber defense systems were nonexistent, partially deployed, or inconsistently deployed.
Check your Network For Cyber Vulnerability
Due to the risk and exposure of Cyber Attack, there are a number of tools and techniques you can deploy to identify vulnerabilities. Here is a short list to check your network health:
Check firewall security settings. Ensure your company is protected from malware attacks, hackers, and viruses.
Scan for spyware. Malware and other unauthorized access can silently steal your company’s bandwidth, which can slow your computer systems while stealing confidential information about you, your employees, and your business.
Verify your network’s backup system to ensure it is working properly, and is consistently backing up all of the critical files and information.
Ensure you have the up-to-date operating system and security patches on your network.
Diagnose slow and unstable PCs that may be vulnerable.
Taking these important steps may save you thousands of dollars, along with hours or days of IT Headaches. If you feel you are lacking the tools or expertise to defend yourself against Cyber attacks, contact your Trusted IT advisor and ask for a comprehensive network health check.
How secure is your network? A recent study by CompTIA links human error as the primary cause of security breaches. In fact, human error is at fault 58 percent of the time, as compared to technology error occurring 42 percent of the time. This survey of over 1500 business and technology executives points to the need to teach staff the importance of Network Security.
Continue reading Findings Link Network Security to Human Error
According to a recent Trends in Information Security report by CompTIA, malware, hacking, privacy and data loss/leakage top the list of serious concerns over security threats. Companies large and small have been victims of these security threats. While large corporate security breaches makes the news, smaller companies may not have the vigilance to detect, and the resilience to survive a network security breach. Hackers have evolved and are now more sophisticated than ever. Network Monitoring can identify security exploits before it is too late.
Network Monitoring is Proactive
Just like getting your vital signs checked at the doctor’s office, network monitoring is a proactive way to detect a network security threat. Network Monitoring scans for viruses, malware, patch compliance and any unauthorized access to help determine network health and compliance. By using intrusion detection when a system has been breached, you are immediately notified. It’s important to proactively monitored your network and act swiftly.
Network Monitoring Saves You Time and Money
By remotely monitoring and managing your network and related IT assets, your IT Service Provider may be able to detect and remediate security issues without ever coming to your office. This will result in an overall reduction of IT costs. Routine IT tasks, including Patch Management will ensure that all Application and Operating System (O/S) patches are up to date thus protecting your business against vulnerabilities. In addition, keeping software up to date may give you productivity features and benefits.
Avoiding Downtime and Increasing Security
Secure remote support is an important element for delivering an IT Managed Service. In addition to remote support, many IT Service Providers offer remote network monitoring, managed backup and managed security in their IT Managed Service offerings. By adopting the Managed Service Model your IT Service Provider can proactively manage your IT needs in a secure and cost effective manner.
Don’t wait until you have a security breach to add proactive network monitoring to your line of security defense. If you have concerns about your network security contact your IT service provider today.
The new Windows 10 operating system is purported to be the best Windows ever. The combination of ease of use for new users, automatic updates, and built in security features is causing small to medium sized businesses to breathe a sigh of relief as business owners dream about spending less time and money on training and more energy on making money – finally.
Windows 10 is Easy to Use
The new OS combines the interface of Windows 8 with the Start menu of Windows 7. This is a godsend for small business, because it means not having to train employees to complete mundane tasks, such as syncing a Bluetooth device. Such options are readily available on the Start menu now. The Windows 10 Start menu is designed to be easy for new users. Check out some of the things users can now do right from the Start menu:
- Find settings
- Launch applications and place apps into the program list
- Find documents
- Adjust desktop resolution
In addition, the new OS is designed for all platforms, especially smartphones. When using Windows 10 on your smartphone, it will only display the finger-control interface. All in all, Windows 10 is great for SMBs who want to avoid high training costs.
Microsoft experienced the pain first-hand of customers complaining about having to upgrade from Windows XP and later from Windows 7 to 8. Microsoft Vice President for Operating Systems, Terry Myerson, explained that the company never wants to be in the position of having to convince people to buy the next version of Windows again. The plans for Windows 10 include a continuous series of upgrades performed automatically. This means that in the future, questions about what version of Windows you’re running will become meaningless because everyone will have the same version as universal upgrades begin to take effect, making business as seamless as ever.
Enhanced Security Features
Windows 10 is offering new ways to protect users from dynamic script-based malware and other forms of cyberattack. Specifically, they’re using AMSI (Antimalware Scan Interface), an interface standard that allows applications and services to integrate with any existing antimalware product on your PC. Applications can use AMSI to scan files and employ other techniques to identify malicious behavior. This means that your device will automatically be inspected on a much deeper level than before.
Windows 10 has made quite the leap, and those who have tested the new OS report only good news. To learn more about how the new Windows 10 OS can improve your small to medium sized business, contact your trusted IT advisor today.
Big data breaches have been making headlines more and more frequently. It was announced last week that the computer systems at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management had been breached. This is the second computer break-in in the past year for the agency. An estimated four million current and former federal employee records may have been compromised. Guidance Software, a cybersecurity firm, used Einstein, an intrusion detection system, to trace the breach back to a machine under the control of Chinese intelligence.
Is Your Network Protected?
The hard truth about data breaches is that no one is safe: An individual, a small business, a Fortune 500 company, and government agencies can all be infiltrated. Costs from data breaches have grown tremendously in recent years. On average, a data breach will cost a large company about $640,000 to cover the cost of business disruption, information loss, and detection. It takes the average company about a month to recover. If you own a small to medium sized company, it’s doubly wise to be prepared. Small organizations can expect a higher per-capita cost than large organizations. So, what can your organization do to be better prepared for a possible data breach?
Why Invest in Stronger Security Measures
United States senators have added $200 million in funding to their proposed fiscal 2016 budget to fund a detailed study of the cyber vulnerabilities of major weapons systems. Smaller organizations would be wise to follow these footsteps and make data security a priority going forward. The biggest goal for SMBs when it comes to data security is education over technical improvement. Security education must be interactive, ongoing, and measurable in order to raise awareness about data security. In addition, the following tips will help keep your company data free from infiltration
Tips on Keeping Your Data Safe
- Keep antivirus and anti-malware definitions up to date.
- Train your employes regularly on IT security measures.
- Create a clear-cut, step-by-step Data Breach Incident Response plan in the event of a security attack in order to limit damage and reduce recovery time and costs.
- Hire an Information Security Firm.
One of the best investments your organization can make is to become wholly prepared for a data breach. If your organization needs guidance on protecting your company’s data, contact your trusted IT advisor today.