As long as businesses host valuable data, cyber criminals will continue to bypass the security protocols meant to protect this data. The causes of security breaches range from device theft or loss, weak and stolen credentials, malware, and outdated systems that use ineffective security measures. And with these five tips, you can take the first step toward making sure a security breach never strikes at your precious business data.

Limitation of lateral data transfers

Employees not being educated on data sharing and security is one of the biggest reasons for internal data breaches. It’s a good idea to limit access to important data and information by restricting access privileges to only a small number of individuals. Also, you can decide to use network segmentation to cut unnecessary communication from your own network to others.

Keeping your machines and devices updated

Internal breaches might also occur when employees work with unguarded or unprotected machines. They might unknowingly download malware, which normally wouldn’t be a problem if machines were properly managed. Updating your operating systems, antivirus software, business software, and firewalls as often as possible will go a long way toward solidifying your defense systems.

Use monitoring and machine learning to sniff out abnormalities

It’s not all on your employees, however. Network administrators should employ monitoring software to prevent breaches by analyzing what is “normal” behavior and comparing that to what appears to be suspicious behavior. Cyber criminals often hide in networks to exploit them over a long period of time. Even if you miss them the first time, you should monitor suspicious activity so you can recognize impropriety and amend security policies before it goes any further.

Creating strong security passwords and credentials

No matter how often we say it, there’s always room for improvement when it comes to your passwords and login procedures. In addition to text-based credentials, you should require other methods whenever possible. Great for fortifying your network, fingerprints and smart cards, for example, are much harder for cyber criminals to fake. Regardless of which factors are used, they must be frequently updated to prevent breaches, accidental or otherwise.

Security Insurance

In the end, no system is perfect. Zero-day attacks exploit unknown gaps in security, and human error, accidental or otherwise, can never be totally prevented. And for this reason, small businesses need to start embracing cyber insurance policies. These policies help cover the damages that might occur even under a top-of-the-line security infrastructure. Considerations for selecting a policy include legal fees, first and third-party coverage, and coverage for reputation rehabilitation.

The field of cyber security is overwhelming — even for seasoned IT professionals. But not for us. We spend our days researching and experimenting to craft the best security solutions on the market. If you’re interested in one of our cutting-edge cyber-security plans, call us today.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Office 365 has given business owners access to online organizational programs and collaboration tools for years. In an effort to become more user-friendly, Microsoft recently added new features to Office 365, including two security upgrades and the addition of productivity tracking. Keep reading to find out more about Office 365’s new Azure Information Protection, Enterprise Mobile Device Management and Productive Insight features.

Azure Information Protection

Using Office 365 protection technology, also known as Azure RMS, this feature allows business leaders to mark sensitive documents and control who has access to information in various documents. The protection travels with the data, whether it is online or provided through another device. Business owners can mark a document as internal and keep it from being sent outside the company. Drop-down menus also allow users to apply trackable data protection in order to identify potential leaks and gain insight into how a business is structured.

Enterprise Mobility + Security Suite

Re-branded from the Enterprise Mobility Suite, this feature adds more security potential to sensitive data while allowing business owners to manage apps on any device from one location. Users have more control over identity-driven access and also encrypts data to allow secure collaboration among employees.

Productivity Insight

This feature, an addition to Delve Analytics, tracks an employee’s time management at the office. MyAnalytics for Outlook allows business owners or managers to see who has read, replied, and forwarded their email while also providing them with information on the the email sender. The feature also acts as a storage receptacle for shared files and contact information so they can be accessed quickly.

As Office 365 expands its services to include security and productivity features, companies using cloud-based servers have an advantage over old-school computer users. Not only do they have access to the technology to keep their data safe and accessible to employees, but they also have the management software to see where their efforts are paying off by way of productivity programs. If you need to know more about the new features of Office 365, give our professionals a call. We can answer your questions and help you get the most out of the new Security and Productivity Insight additions.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Small business owners know that content is vital for increasing reader engagement, encouraging customers, and pushing people through the sales funnel. That being said, even the most interesting information in the world won’t do well if it’s on a poorly designed website.

There are specific design choices (like white text on a black background) that discourage readers by making the viewing experience unpleasant or even uncomfortable. If you want to build the most beautiful and effective site possible, follow this list of dos and don’ts.

Website Design 2017: Dos

Crafting a page for the internet isn’t like writing a paper for school or college. Our expectations have changed over time, and now it’s very easy to spot websites that don’t meet these requirements. Any time you’re building a page you should:

  • Pay attention to your color palette. Remember, warm shades like red and orange are exciting. They can call for action or bring memories of sunshine and summertime. High-energy companies, such as a skateboard retailer, will likely enjoy brighter hues. Cool shades often are more sophisticated and relaxed, and may be better suited for a site with a more casual nature.
  • Include images. People are naturally drawn to graphics and pictures, especially when greeted by forward-facing models. High-quality pictures are visually stimulating and help keep viewer attention.
  • Follow the F pattern. The top left corner of your page will get more attention than anywhere else. Our eyes scan in an F pattern, meaning we read the introduction then browse for the information we’re after. Well-designed websites will always take this into account, even when publishing blogs and product pages.
  • Balance content and white space. Too much content is glaring and overwhelming for your viewers. Make sure there’s enough white space to give their eyes time to adjust. At the same time, look for a balance between your elements. While people spend more time looking at the top left, they still favor symmetrical designs for everything but text.

Faux-Pas to Avoid

There are plenty of simple mistakes people make every single day. When you’re building or renovating your site, make sure you avoid:

  • Amateur images. Nothing will make your site seem outdated faster than poor quality or badly manipulated photographs. Watch out for pixelation, displeasing colors, stretched proportions, and shoddy layering techniques.
  • Outdated designs (i.e., WordArt). At one time, these options were the first choice for sprucing up a grade-school presentation. Today, they have no place on your site. You’re better off having no graphics at all than building a site that looks like a third-grade project.
  • Excessive advertising. Spam and popups are everywhere, and if your website resembles either of these in the slightest, people will be quick to turn away. If your viewers can’t tell the difference between your content and an ad, you’re in trouble. Some consumers will avoid a website forever if they see too much advertising.
  • Too many graphics. High-quality images are good, but blanketing the page in text bubbles and small pictures is not. When the page is too busy, it will feel overwhelming and spammy. Every image should have a specific purpose – don’t slap it on the page just because you can.
  • Jarring colors. Bright shades can be a wonderful tool to set the mood for your website. Unfortunately, they can make or break you. When your colors are too bright, they can be downright painful to view on a screen, plus they are distracting and unprofessional looking. Keep things simple and try not to oversaturate.
  • Bogged-down load times. Flash was the most interesting way to interact through your site at one point, but now people are focused on speed. Try to avoid software or huge videos that take too long to load. Your viewers could get bored and leave before the page fully loads.

Crafting a beautiful website is important, and not as difficult as it may seem. Keep these guidelines in mind and you’ll be able to build the prettiest online platform possible.

Ask yourself what your website is doing for you and whether it’s aligned with your business needs and objectives. The GCInfotech professional web design team is here to help.

You don’t have to be a big corporation to catch a cybercriminal’s attention. In this article you’ll learn about the risks that business email compromise, ransomware, and a new breed of malicious Microsoft Office files pose to your small business.

Did Your Boss Really Email That?

The next time you receive an email from your manager or from the head of the company urgently requesting sensitive information or banking details, check again.

Scammers are going beyond spear phishing and using a scheme called business email compromise (BEC) to trick employees into sending them money. And it’s not just large companies that fall for the email wire fraud scam. In April, the FBI warned that small companies and non-profits—any business where wire transfers are a normal part of conducting business—are desirable targets.
“The schemers go to great lengths to spoof company email or to use social engineering to assume the identity of the CEO, a company attorney, or a trusted vendor,” stated the FBI in its security alert. “They research employees who manage money and use language specific to the company they are targeting, then they request a wire fraud transfer using dollar amounts that lend legitimacy.”
The losses are real and potentially devastating to small businesses. BEC scams have affected companies in every state of U.S. and 79 countries, according to the FBI. In Arizona alone, the average victim loses between $25,000 and $75,000.
Law enforcement received BEC reports from more than 17,000 victims from October 2013 through February of this year, the agency said. In total, they were scammed out of more than $2.3 billion, said the FBI. One unidentified American company was hit for nearly $100 million and another, Ubiquiti Networks lost $39.1 million last year.
If you get an urgent, email-only request for a wire transfer, it’s time to raise your guard. The FBI suggests something as simple as picking up the phone and verifying that everything is on the up-and-up.

Data Held Hostage

By now, the threat of ransomware has been well publicized. This particularly wicked form of malware encrypts victims’ files, rendering them useless until they pay—you guessed it—a ransom. Even forking over the funds doesn’t guarantee that cybercriminals will uphold their end of the bargain.
According to a recent report (PDF) from Symantec, the average ransom demand—$294 at the end of 2015—has climbed to $679 today. Sure, it may a small price to pay to regain access to critical data, but the total cost can quickly climb in small office environments.
“While the home user may be faced with a $500 ransom demand for one infected computer, the ransom demand for multiple infections at an organization could quickly rack up to tens of thousands of dollars,” cautioned the report.
And the threat’s growing larger. Trend Micro observed that the number of new ransomware families out in the wild climbed to more than 20 during the first half of 2016, a 172 percent increase over all of 2015. Worse, they are getting more insidious.
“JIGSAW [a ransomeware variant] deletes encrypted files whenever victims fail to pay the ransom on the given deadline. Similarly, SURPRISE increases the ransom every time victims miss a deadline,” stated Trend Micro in a recent report. “Our findings also revealed how some ransomware families were designed to target specific business-related files. SURPRISE and POWERWARE, for example, encrypt tax return files.”

A New Twist to Malicious Microsoft Office Documents

Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files are among the most widely emailed among employees, and cybercriminals bank on that fact to spread malware and collect user credentials.
It’s not exactly news, but Sophos has noted that malware coders are switching up their tactics. If you’re expecting attackers to flood your inbox with Word documents that harbor the malicious macros of old, keep reading.
Word Intruder, a popular exploit kit, now targets an expanded set of Microsoft Office vulnerabilities and stages complex attacks that may slip through your defenses if your systems aren’t properly patched.
Sophos, a security software company, recently revealed in a blog post that the latest version of “Microsoft Word Intruder now includes the ability to deploy a decoy document, as well as new payload files that are relocated to the end of the exploit block.” The tactic, according to Sophos security researchers, enables attackers to cover their tracks while the exploit does its damage.
The best defense against this type of threat is to train employees to stop opening attachments from unsolicited emails and to keep your anti-virus software up to date.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from Small Business Computing SOURCE

November 30th — is National Computer Security Day, an annual event observed since 1988 to help raise awareness worldwide of computer-related security issues. It should also serve as a reminder to small business owners to protect their computer networks from hackers, fraudsters and identity thieves.

Computer security is sometimes referred to as cybersecurity or IT (information technology) security. It applies to the protection of computer-based equipment, the information stored on and services related to it from unauthorized and unintended access, change or destruction, including unplanned events and natural disasters.

Recently, the public opinion research company Ipsos Reid released the findings of a survey of U.S. small businesses revealing that many of them do not fully comprehend the impact a data breach can have on them. As a result, they take a passive approach to safeguarding sensitive information that leaves them vulnerable not only to a breach but potentially devastating financial and reputational damage as well.

The survey also found that:

  • Sixty-nine percent of small business owners are not aware or don’t believe that lost or stolen data would result in financial impact and harm to their businesses credibility.
  • Forty percent have no protocols in place for securing data.
    More than one-third of the respondents report that they never train staff on information security procedures.
  • Forty-eight percent have no one directly responsible for management of data security.
  • Just 18 percent would encourage new data privacy legislation requiring stricter compliance and penalties to information security threats.

Computer Security Day is an excellent time to ensure that your company is following best practices to protect yourself from data breach and identity theft. They include:

  • Analyzing possible security gaps in your organization and within your supply chain.
  • Implementing ongoing risk analysis processes and creating a security policy specifically designed to limit exposure to fraud and data breaches.
  • Regularly training employees in proper document management and encouraging their adoption of security best practices.
  • Implementing a “shred-all” policy for unneeded documents and keeping sensitive materials under lock and key until they are destroyed.
  • Paying particular attention to hard drives on computers or photocopiers. The only way to destroy data stored on hard drives is physical destruction.
  • Installing and using effective computer network protection such as anti-virus software and a firewall.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from TransFirst SOURCE