Tag Archives: plan

Network Abuse: Don’t Push Your ‘Luck’

16 Mar 17
lverbik
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Look around your office. Isn’t it great to see your team hard at work on their computers? Yet if we take a closer look, let’s see what’s really happening…

Joe, your new sales rep, is poring over last weekend’s game stats…

Amy in marketing is looking for a new job, surfing your competitors’ websites, chatting with their HR people…

Wes, over in customer support, just bogged down your entire network by downloading a video file of Metallica in concert…

Guy, your new hire in shipping, is on hotdate.com, viewing questionable photos…

Bob in accounting is browsing stock-investing sites, in search of a hot tip…

Okay, so maybe it’s not that bad at your company. But this type of behavior will happen to some degree if you don’t proactively prevent it. The real problem is, unfiltered content often links to malware and other threats. Ignore it and you risk productivity losses, legal liabilities, extortion, blackmail and fraud. And not only that, the resulting data loss and corruption can cost your company big-time. Cyberthreats stemming from unfiltered content aren’t something you can count on your lucky leprechaun or four-leaf clover to protect you from.

In today’s mobile environment, content filtering has becoming a greater challenge than ever before. Your company may already be doing some filtering at the network level. However, when was the last time you checked the number of mobile devices linked to your network? As your workforce goes mobile, your network is exposed to a rapidly expanding “attack surface.” With BYOD (bring your own device) now the norm, the old rules of content filtering just don’t cut it anymore.

Are You Making Any Of These Mistakes?

Old content-filtering models presume your network has a safe “firewall.” But now, with BYOD, you need a different way to protect your data. And that’s where endpoint security comes into play. Endpoint filtering keeps devices on your network safe from infection, no matter where they hook into the Internet.

But make ANY of the following mistakes with endpoint security and your network could be a sitting duck:

  1. Missing even ONE endpoint. This applies to tablets and smartphones as well as home-based machines that VPN into your network.
  1. Skimping on security policies, protocols and training. Believing that tech tools alone will keep your network secure is a recipe for breaches. In fact, no technology can keep a network safe if users cut corners.
  1. Leaving endpoint filtering out of your overall security plan. Ad hoc security invites disaster. An improperly designed system exposes holes that hackers love to find.

So, What Exactly Should You Filter?

Forrester Research states that companies whose users access the cloud should:

  • Detect and intercept unusual or fraudulent activities related to data in the cloud.
  • Detect, neutralize and eliminate malware in cloud platforms.
  • Detect and monitor unsanctioned cloud applications and platforms usage.
  • Protect against leaks of confidential information.
  • Encrypt structured and unstructured data in cloud platforms.
  • Investigate suspicious users and incidents.

Between BYOD and ever more complex cyber threats, you simply can’t afford to run around putting out fires. You absolutely MUST proactively defend your network in depth with endpoint content filtering.

Why Cyberthugs LOVE Your Business

14 Dec 16
lverbik
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It was a typical morning at the offices of a small Midwestern online retailer. This company, whose name we cannot mention due to a non-disclosure agreement with our source (Gary Miller, GEM Strategy Management) owned a very successful online catalog offering a wide variety of women’s apparel and accessories. They had a terrific reputation and brand, and every reason to be excited about their future.

Then, with a single click, the death spiral began…

An employee received an e-mail with a link to a benign-looking catalog. All it took was one click and the company’s entire network was infected. The Crytowall malware dug deep into the company’s accounting system and customer files, including credit card and social security numbers.

Fifteen thousand customer accounts were locked up by the malware. A ransom demand soon followed, requiring $50,000 for the key. Unfortunately, the company’s backup systems had been down for the last three months. With no way to remove the virus without destroying crucial data, the company had its back against a wall.

They paid for the decryption key. But no luck – it didn’t work. Business came to a grinding halt. The company owners couldn’t afford to rebuild their entire network. Within six months, the company closed its doors, strangled by a lack of sales and cash flow.

Could this happen to you?

Hackers have discovered that small businesses make juicy targets. These criminals love going after small businesses because they’re often the easiest to penetrate. IBM reports that over 62% of the 4,000 cyber-attacks that occur every day target small businesses.

Cyberthugs filch information to rob bank accounts via wire transfers. They steal customers’ personal identity information and resell it on black markets. They nab key information to file fraudulent tax returns, and commit health insurance or Medicare fraud – in your customers’ names.

Most small businesses are easy prey because they fail to take precautions. But you don’t have to be like most small businesses. Here are four things you can start doing TODAY to prevent a shutdown that could destroy your fortunes.

Understand evolving threats – Know what’s at risk in your company. Stay on top of the different schemes hackers use to gain entry. Learn all you can about phishing, spoofing, social engineering, malware, systems hacking, pharming and the latest scams so you can see them coming. Identify your company’s weak points and bolster them as needed.

Institute a dual signature policy – Require that two people sign off on every transaction. At the very least, when in doubt, pick up the phone. Verify all fund transfers or requests for payment before releasing funds.

Ingrain a solid data security policy in your company’s culture – Yes, you need to define and document protocols…but that’s not enough. In order for them to work, they must permeate every activity you and your team engages in. Your employees are the gatekeepers of critical data. Train them to see the warning signs, engage in safe practices and respond effectively to an attack. Examples include using only unique, complex passwords and keeping a “clean desk,” where sensitive information isn’t exposed.

Have – and practice – an incident response plan – Just like a fire drill, being ready for a breach gives your team an edge when faced with a crisis. When everyone knows exactly what to do, you’re better able to nip a hack in the bud.

Why play Russian roulette with your company’s data?

If you’ve been putting off cyber protection measures, thinking, “Oh, that would never happen here,” you are putting your company’s entire future in jeopardy. NOW is the time to call in an expert you can trust to verify that your data is safe in today’s rapidly evolving battle against a host of online bad guys.

When it comes to protecting your data – whether it’s bank account information, customer and employee records or proprietary IP or processes – we’ve got you covered.

Don’t Let a Power Outage Take You Out

15 Feb 16
lverbik
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Dealing with a natural (or unnatural) disaster can have devastating effects on your work and business. There’s one you can prepare for that will give you peace of mind in one major area and that is a power outage. Power outages can be caused by a number of sources, including traffic accidents knocking down utility poles in your area to major storms causing an outage in an entire region.

While this may not seem like a huge threat to your business, know that over the past 15 years, the number of power outages has increased steadily from year to year, now occurring at a rate of six times higher than what they were in 2000—with no sign of decreasing.

The reasons for this are a combination of an aging infrastructure and the sheer growth of our country’s technology and the demands it places on our power grids.

But what to do when the power goes out?

The time to think about that is not then but now. Preparing your business for a power outage is not an area to be overlooked. Not to be a downer, but like death and paying taxes, it’s not a matter of if, but when. Here’s how you can prepare now:

Step 1. Identify critical areas of your business that would be affected, including:

  • Utilities such as gas, water, electric, sewer
  • Heating and ventilations systems
  • Security, alarm systems
  • Elevators
  • Voice and data communications systems
  • Servers and associated cooling systems
  • Computer networks

Step 2: Prepare backup plan:

  • Have an alternate communication plan in place in the event of a power down so that you can contact key personnel.
  • Identify key players in your organization who will be your team on standby should an outage occur—and make sure they know their roles in an emergency.
  • Prearrange a plan with backup vendors if and when primary suppliers are unable to meet your needs.
  • Ensure onsite backup power source is ready and in working order, checking its status regularly.
  • As part of your data recovery, move IT infrastructure to the cloud for accessibility.

There’s power in being prepared for what seems to be the inevitable power outage. The cost of not being prepared could mean the difference between staying functional and being completely cut off—because it only takes one big loss to have a devastating impact on your business. So get your people and plan in place, both inside and outside with key suppliers and offsite data hosting. Then when the lights go out, you’ll be in business. Contact us today for more power IT solutions.