When it comes to protecting small businesses from cyberattacks, there is a constant balance between managing risk and applying limited resources between security, operational budgets, and convenience. Small businesses face critical resource decisions every day. Can my business afford to deploy optimal, strong cybersecurity solutions? And will my cybersecurity policies be a burden for my employees, trading partners, and customers?

Small business owners face significant challenges, and their most important daily responsibility is ensuring their businesses grow and thrive. As an industry, we have not done enough to connect the benefits of strong cybersecurity practices and policies to business expansion, resiliency, and long-term survival.

There is no area of cybersecurity more indicative of the challenges we face in threading the needle between security and business-friendly policies than usernames and passwords. We still overwhelmingly rely on an insecure means of account and network access that has proven inefficient and insecure for more than 30 years.

Multi-factor authentication (MFA)

We know there are more secure methods that can be deployed. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) bolsters security by requiring users to present more than one piece of evidence (credential) whenever the user logs in to a business account (ex. company email, payroll, human resources, etc.). MFA usually falls into three categories: something the user knows (a 15-character password), something the user has (fingerprint), or something the user receives (a code sent to the user’s phone or email account).

MFA works, but companies remain extremely reticent to deploy. The Global Small Business Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) Study released by the Cyber Readiness Institute (CRI) found that only 46% of small business owners claim to have implemented MFA methods recommended by leading security experts, with just 13% requiring its use by employees for most account or application access.

Most companies implementing some form of MFA have not made it a requirement for all.

Only 39% of those who offer MFA have a process for prioritizing critical hardware, software, and data, with 49% merely “encouraging the use of MFA when it is available.”

According to Microsoft, 99.9% of account compromise attacks can be blocked simply using MFA. Yet, 47% of small business owners surveyed said they either didn’t understand MFA or didn’t see its value. In addition, nearly 60% have not discussed MFA with their employees.

Implementation of MFAs

Implementing MFA does not require hardware changes to company computers, mobile devices, or printers. Instead, there are numerous free and low-cost software-based tools users can download to their company and personal devices. For example, email providers usually offer (and encourage) MFA. Therefore, it can be as easy as clicking an option in email settings to turn on MFA.

There are several easy steps companies can take to implement MFA. First, organizations should update their policies and procedures with specific expectations. For example, all employees should implement MFA on their company email accounts. Next, hold workforce information sessions to communicate MFA policies and expectations. Employees need to know that it is easy to activate MFA on their accounts. Finally, designate someone in the organization who accepts the responsibility for cyber readiness to help employees troubleshoot as they begin using MFA.

Final Thoughts

At CRI, we fully believe strong cybersecurity is a business imperative, not an operational challenge. This requires a change in mindset from small business leaders, new questions must be asked, and behaviors need to change:

  • Can my business afford to suffer a cyberattack?
  • Will a cyberattack irreparably damage my brand?
  • Will a cyberattack burden my employees, customers, and trading partners?

Honestly answering these questions will change the importance of cybersecurity in a small business’s growth strategy.

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 SmallBiz Technology SOURCE

Watering hole attacks are on the rise, but many businesses are still unprepared against it. To avoid falling victim to a watering hole attack, it is crucial to know what it is, understand the risks, and take steps to defend your business.

How watering hole attacks work

The term “watering hole” colloquially refers to a social gathering place where a particular group of people often go to. As internet users, we all have unique “watering holes” or websites that we frequently visit. For example, a financial analyst is likely to visit websites related to financial investments and market trends.

In a watering hole attack, cybercriminals observe the watering holes of a specific demographic and infect their targets’ most visited websites with malware. A user who has the misfortune of visiting any of these compromised sites will then have their device automatically loaded with malware.

The malware used in these attacks usually collects the victim’s personal information and sends it back to the hacker’s server. In extreme cases, the hacker will also actively take control of the infected device.

But how does a cybercriminal choose which websites to hack?

With internet tracking tools, hackers find out which websites companies and individual users visit the most. Hackers then attempt to find vulnerabilities in those websites and embed them with malicious software.

Tips to defend against this threat

Hackers these days are so highly skilled that they can exploit any website using a watering hole attack. Even specific ethnic communities and demographics have become targets of this scheme.

Protect yourself and your business from watering hole attacks by doing the following:

Update your software
Watering hole attacks often exploit security gaps and vulnerabilities to infiltrate computers and networks. You can significantly reduce the risk of an attack by regularly updating all of your software and browsers. Make it a habit to check the software developer’s website for any security patches. Better yet, hire a managed IT services provider to keep your system up to date.

Closely monitor your network
Regularly conduct security checks using network security tools like intrusion prevention systems that detect and contain suspicious or malicious network activities before they cause problems. Consider using bandwidth management software to enable you to observe user behavior and detect abnormalities that could indicate an attack, such as large data transfers or a high number of downloads.

Hide your online activities
Use a VPN and your browser’s private browsing feature to hide you and your team’s online activities. You can also block social media sites from your office network, as these are often used as share points of links to infected sites.

Watering hole attacks can be devastating to businesses of all sizes. By staying informed and taking steps to protect your business, you can minimize the risk of becoming a victim. Contact us today to learn more ways to keep your business safe from watering hole attacks and other cyberthreats.

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

We use passwords for just about everything. Most of us have to enter a password to get into our computers and then enter other passwords to access our e-mail, social media profiles, databases, and other accounts. Even our cell phones and tablets can and should be password protected. In fact, if you aren’t securing all of your devices and accounts with passwords, you should definitely start. It could help prevent your business and personal information from becoming compromised.

Why Passwords?

We use passwords to ensure that those who don’t have access to our accounts, can’t get access. Most of our devices hold large amounts of personal information. Think about the potential harm someone could do if they gained access to your personal cell phone. They would immediately be able to see all of your contacts, pictures, and applications. They might even be able to log in to your e-mail, where they could obtain your banking information. If this type of access falls into the wrong hands, it could be detrimental to your life. Passwords offer the first line of defense to prevent others from obtaining sensitive information.

This becomes even more important if you own a business. Each of your employees should be utilizing strong passwords to access company information. If your business is not using passwords – or is using simple passwords – you could be opening yourself up to hackers and cybercriminals. If a cybercriminal gains access to your company’s private information through a weak password, they will gain access to customer information which could damage your reputation and open you up to lawsuits. That being said, everyone within your business needs to utilize complex and unique passwords.

Making A Strong Password

Not all passwords are created equal. When it comes to making a strong password, you must think about it. If you use a password that you can’t remember, then it’s essentially useless. And if you use a password that’s too easy to remember, your password probably won’t be strong enough to keep cybercriminals out. Your password should be long, have a mix of lowercase and uppercase letters, utilize numbers and special characters, have no ties to personal information, and should not be a word from the dictionary.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s not enough to just create complex passwords. They also need to be unique. In addition to this, you should use a different password for each and every one of your accounts to help maximize their effectiveness. Think about it this way: Let’s say you use the same password across your business e-mail accounts, social media accounts, and bank accounts. If someone decrypts the password for your Facebook page, they now have the password for more valuable accounts. If you can’t tell that your social media account was compromised, the cybercriminal could try to use that same password to gain access to more important accounts. It’s a dangerous game that can be avoided by using unique and complex passwords for every account you use.

Remembering All Of These Passwords

You may be worried about remembering all of your passwords if you have to create a unique one for each of your accounts. Your first thought may be to write them down, but that might not be the most secure option. If someone gets their hands on your little black book of passwords, they’ll immediately gain access to all of your accounts with a handy directory showing them exactly where to go. Instead, you should utilize a password manager to help keep track of all of this sensitive information.

With a password manager, you only have to worry about remembering the master password for your password manager. All of your other passwords will be securely hidden. Password managers also give you the option to create random passwords for your accounts to bolster their security. That way you can have the most complex password possible without worrying about forgetting it. Additionally, password managers can also help you remember the answers to security questions and more so that you never get accidentally locked out of one of your accounts. They’re easy to use, convenient and secure.

Passwords are an important part of your cyber security plan. Make sure you and your employees are using complex and unique passwords. It can also help to implement some training so your employees understand the importance of secure passwords. When used correctly, passwords will help deter any would-be cybercriminals from accessing your sensitive information.

Are you interested in learning more about cybersecurity? Call us today and discover how our wide array of tech services can safeguard your business.

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

Students are returning to the classroom now that back-to-school season is officially underway. During the first few weeks, teachers will be reteaching their students the topics they learned in the previous school year to help them regain knowledge they may have forgotten during summer break. But students aren’t the only ones in need of a refresher every year. Your employees also need to be refreshed on company policies, values and, most importantly, cyber security practices.

Did you know that human error accounts for 95% of all successful cyber-attacks? When a cybercriminal is planning an attack, they look for weak points within a company’s cyber security plan. The easiest spot for hackers to exploit is a company’s employees. New cyberthreats are created on a consistent basis, and it’s important that your employees know what to do when they encounter a potential threat. If your employees are not routinely participating in cyber security trainings, your business could be at risk, regardless of size.

Every single one of your employees should be familiar with your cyber security practices. When they’re hired on, they should go through an initial training that lays out all of your practices, and they should also participate in refresher trainings throughout the year to ensure that the entire team is on the same page with cyber security. At the very least, you should host at least one security training annually. If you’ve never put together a cyber security training, you may be wondering what topics you need to cover with your team. Below, you will find four of the most important topics to cover.

Responsibility For Company Data

This is your opportunity to explain to your employees why cyber security is so important. They need to understand why cybercriminals are interested in your company’s data and what they could potentially do with it. Everyone on your team has a legal and regulatory obligation to protect the privacy of your company’s information. When discussing this topic with your team, it’s imperative that they know the ramifications of falling victim to a cyber security threat.

Internet Usage

Does your company have restrictions on what websites your employees can use while at work? If not, that’s something you should look into. Every device that’s used by your employees should have safe browsing software downloaded onto it to prevent them from stumbling upon dangerous sites that could put your company’s data at risk. Your employees should know what sites are acceptable to use and that they should not be accessing their personal accounts while connected to your company’s network. They should never click on links that are sent from an anonymous source or are found on an unapproved website.

E-mail

If your employees utilize e-mail while at work, it’s important that they know which e-mails are safe to open. Employees should not respond to e-mails that are from people they aren’t familiar with, as that could be a cybercriminal attempting to gain access to your company’s data. Employees should only accept and open e-mails that they are expecting or that come from a familiar e-mail address.

Protecting Their Computers

If your employees have their own personal computers, they should be doing everything in their power to keep them protected. Whenever they walk away from their computer, they should make sure it’s locked; they should also never leave their computer in an unsecure location. Also, ensure that your employees are backing up their data routinely and have downloaded necessary antivirus software.

It’s of the utmost importance that your team has been fully trained in your cyber security practices. If they haven’t, they could open your business up to all sorts of cyber-attacks that will damage your company’s reputation from a customer perspective. Your business will also no longer be compliant, and insurance companies may not cover your claims if your team is not participating in regular training.

Ensuring that your team is aware of your cyber security practices and actively taking steps to strengthen your cyber security is the best way to stay compliant and prevent cyber-attacks. If your team is not regularly going through cyber security training, you need to start. It will offer more protection to your business, which will make your customers more comfortable doing business with your company.

Are you interested in learning more about cybersecurity? Call us today and discover how our wide array of tech services can safeguard your business.

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

Working from home is becoming an increasingly popular option for employees around the world. While this flexible work arrangement can be a great perk for employees, it also comes with its own set of security risks. Follow these cybersecurity tips so you can protect yourself, your personal information, and your company’s data while telecommuting.

Patch your software regularly

Although installing software updates can be a major nuisance, these updates generally address critical weaknesses and protect your systems from the latest threats. Most apps now offer an automatic update feature so you don’t have to manually patch your software.

Another option for your business is patch management software. These track patches on employee devices and roll out the most recent updates on a company-wide scale.

Fortify your accounts

When everyone is working remotely, user accounts must be properly secured. One way to achieve this is by setting at least 12-character long passwords with numbers and special characters mixed in to make them more difficult to guess. More importantly, these passwords must be unique to each account, to minimize the damage if hackers manage to compromise one set of credentials. If you find it difficult to generate and remember login details for all of your accounts, consider using password managers like LastPass, Dashlane, and Keeper.

To further strengthen your accounts, you’ll also need to enable multifactor authentication (MFA). This adds another layer of identity verification — like fingerprint scans or one-time activation codes sent through SMS — to make it more difficult for cybercriminals to hijack your accounts.

Use a virtual private network (VPN)

VPNs are primarily used to circumvent geographic restrictions on location-specific websites and streaming services, but they’re also a crucial tool for remote workers. A reliable VPN creates secure connections between devices and networks by encrypting internet traffic. This hides web activity from prying eyes, protecting your employees’ online privacy and mitigating the risk of hackers stealing company information.

Set up firewalls and antivirus software

Make sure to enable firewalls in your operating systems and hardware. These provide a strong layer of protection between your device and the internet, preventing malicious programs and other network threats from reaching your device. Your managed IT services provider (MSP) may also provide third-party firewalls in case your computers don’t have any built in by default.

In addition to firewalls, you’ll want to implement antivirus software to detect and remove any malicious programs that manage to infiltrate your device. Just remember to constantly update the software so it can effectively detect the newest malware strains.

Secure home routers

Home Wi-Fi routers are not as thoroughly secured as their business counterparts so take extra precautions to safeguard them. For starters, change the default router password immediately after setting it up because hackers can easily look up the password online once they know your router model. You should also install the latest firmware updates to eliminate any security vulnerabilities.

Finally, check whether your router has Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) encryption settings to secure inbound and outbound traffic. If your router doesn’t have WPA2, you’re overdue for an upgrade.

Back up your data

Important files must be backed up regularly in the cloud and your external hard drive. This way, you’ll always have a copy of your files in case of a major data loss incident like a ransomware attack or a power outage.

Watch out for online scams

The biggest threat remote workers face is online scams. Phishing emails may entice you with free coronavirus test kits in exchange for personal information. Some cybercriminals may even masquerade as legitimate companies, CEOs, or friends to trick you into clicking on dangerous links and attachments.

To avoid these threats, you must be critical of everything you see online. Look for any suspicious links and attachments, grammatical errors in the email body, and misspelled email addresses. Plus, you should never give out sensitive information to an unsolicited email, text message, or phone call.

Working from home poses many cybersecurity challenges for businesses, but you don’t have to address them alone. If you need guidance with enabling MFA, setting up firewalls, and even avoiding scams, we can provide the IT support you need.

Are you interested in learning more about cybersecurity? Call us today and discover how our wide array of tech services can safeguard your business.

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

If you’re struggling to juggle your passwords, the solution to your woes is a password manager. See our recommendations.

Password managers are a safe, secure way of logging into your various online accounts. In fact, they’re vastly preferable to the alternatives of either trying to remember multiple unique passwords or re-using the same password over and over.

According to Pew Research Centre, half of users have up to 25 password-protected accounts online. That’s far too many for the average person to remember, making it hard to stay secure. A secure password manager will automatically store all your logins, meaning that you’ll never have to remember one ever again, and can even generate passwords for you.

Given that even industry-leader LastPass was once the victim of a hack, concerns remain over using password managers. Besides, you may be questioning the wisdom of storing all your passwords in one place. These are legitimate concerns, but research has shown that using a password manager is far more secure than not using one. The risk of your business getting hacked is high, particularly during the pandemic, so we’d strongly recommend getting one yourself.

As for which password manager you should choose? We’ve tested some of the best password managers around, and while they’re all safe and secure, the best on test was LastPass. This stands out thanks to a simple interface, secure setup, and brilliant family-sharing options. Plus, you can try LastPass for free to see if you like it.

Is it Safe to Use a Password Manager?

Yes – a good quality password manager is a safe, trustworthy and highly recommended security tool. In fact, security experts almost uniformly believe that password managers are infinitely safer than virtually every alternative there is, for businesses and individuals alike.

Top password managers, such as 1PasswordDashlane or LastPass, can be trusted to protect your account logins thanks to secure encryption that keeps your passwords secret.

Here’s how it works in practice. You create an account with a password manager, then create a single “master password” to log into it. To keep your password manager safe to use, it’s essential that your master password isn’t anything obvious. So that’s no to “12345,” “qwerty,” or “passwd.” Instead, pick a longer phrase or mix and match cases and special characters – just ensure it’s unique and memorable.

Then, the password manager can get to work automatically generating complex, unique passwords for every service you log into online – one for your Amazon account, email account, Facebook account and so on. You won’t need to memorize these – whenever you login in, the password manager will automatically apply the password (and you enable the password manager via that single master password).

This entire process is far more secure than re-using the same password over and over on multiple sites – the single biggest risk you can take with you and your business’ online security. It’s also far easier than attempting to remember multiple unique passwords.

So, if it’s all win, why are there any questions around password manager safety? Largely, these come down to an understandable concern over the security of handing over your logins to a third-party service. That’s why we’d recommend only using a trustworthy, well-rated password manager. So which ones would we recommend?

Most Secure Password Manager

If you want a secure password manager, you should opt for a paid one. Free password managers tend to be restricted in some way, and are usually supported with adverts. Additionally, free password managers are simply not set up to handle a full business’ security needs, which means paid for is always the way to go.

In our testing, we found LastPass to be the most secure password manager. For a few dollars a month, it could save you a lot of headaches, as well as time spent waiting for password reminder emails to drop into your inbox.

Do Password Managers Get Hacked?

No online system is infallible. Password managers – just like any other online service you use, such as Amazon, Twitter or Facebook – run the risk of being hacked. In fact, some have been.

The best password managers, however, will take your security very seriously – after all, you’re paying for the service. If you lose trust in them, they lose your patronage, and with it, your payment.

When LastPass was hacked in 2015, users were right to be concerned – after all, if a hacker could get into the system, they could, in theory, have access to every password that LastPass users had stored there. However, even though its security was breached, hackers were unable to steal any information – all of the passwords were protected by the users’ Master Password, which is not stored on the LastPass servers. This meant that the encryption on the passwords stored by LastPass was unable to be cracked. And that is why you should pay for a password manager.

Password managers are also a common target for ‘ethical hackers’ — those who like to test the security of online systems to flex their coding muscles. Password managers are their white whale – crack one of these open, and they’ll win the acclaim of the industry.

This isn’t as scary as it sounds though. In fact, ethical hackers are offering a great service, finding exploits in online systems before more nefarious people do. Once they’ve found a vulnerability, these hacklers will make contact with the service and let them know, allowing the provider to then fix the issue.

Verdict – Should You Use a Password Manager?

We can’t state this clearly enough – a password manager is a safe, recommended way to secure your online logins. The alternatives are far, far riskier – in particular, that old habit of re-using the same old password again and again across multiple websites (please, just don’t).

No system is guaranteed bullet-proof, and as the LastPass hack showed, even password managers can be vulnerable. However, as that very incident showed, there are serious protections in place, and these prevented the LastPass hack from being a disaster for any customers.

In the age of hybrid work and vast security breaches, we’d strongly recommend getting up and running with a password manager for proper online peace of mind.

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 Tech.co SOURCE

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said today that the amount of money lost to business email compromise (BEC) scams continues to grow each year, with a 65% increase in the identified global exposed losses between July 2019 and December 2021.

From June 2016 until July 2019, IC3 received victim complaints regarding 241,206 domestic and international incidents, with a total exposed dollar loss of $43,312,749,946.

“Based on the financial data reported to the IC3 for 2021, banks located in Thailand and Hong Kong were the primary international destinations of fraudulent funds,” the FBI said.

“China, which ranked in the top two destinations in previous years, ranked third in 2021 followed by Mexico and Singapore.”

This was revealed in a new public service announcement published on the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) site as an update to a previous PSA from September 2019, when the FBI said losses to BEC attacks reported by victims between June 2016 and July 2019 reached a total of over $26 billion.

According to the IC3 2021 Internet Crime Report [PDF], BEC scams were the cybercrime type with the highest reported total victim losses last year.

Victims reported losses of almost $2.4 billion in 2021, based on 19,954 recorded complaints linked to BEC attacks targeting individuals and businesses.

BEC scam?

BEC scammers are employing various tactics — including social engineering, phishing, and hacking — to compromise business email accounts which will get used to redirect payments to attacker-controlled bank accounts.

In this type of scam (also known as EAC or Email Account Compromise), the crooks will commonly target small, medium, and large businesses. Still, they’re also attacking individuals if the payout is worth it.

Their success rate is also very high, given that they generally impersonate someone who has the target’s trust, such as business partners or company executives.

However, “the scam is not always associated with a transfer-of-funds request,” as the FBI explained in the PSA alert.

“One variation involves compromising legitimate business email accounts and requesting employees’ Personally Identifiable Information, Wage and Tax Statement (W-2) forms, or even crypto currency wallets.”

BEC defense guidance

The FBI also provided guidance on how to defend against BEC scam attempts:

  • Use secondary channels or two-factor authentication to verify requests for changes in account information.
  • Ensure the URL in emails is associated with the business/individual it claims to be from.
  • Be alert to hyperlinks that may contain misspellings of the actual domain name.
  • Refrain from supplying login credentials or PII of any sort via email. Be aware that many emails requesting your personal information may appear to be legitimate.
  • Verify the email address used to send emails, especially when using a mobile or handheld device, by ensuring the sender’s address appears to match who it is coming from.
  • Ensure the settings in employees’ computers are enabled to allow full email extensions to be viewed.
  • Monitor your personal financial accounts on a regular basis for irregularities, such as missing deposits.

The federal law enforcement agency advises those who fall victim to BEC fraud to immediately reach out to their bank to request a recall of funds.

They’re also urged to file a complaint with the FBI at BEC.ic3.gov, regardless of the lost amount, and as soon as possible.

Published with consideration from BleepingComputer  SOURCE

Both two-factor authentication and two-step authentication are processes that can help keep your business safe from data breaches. But while they serve the same purpose, these two methods are vastly different. In this blog post, we will discuss the differences between two-factor authentication and two-step authentication, as well as the benefits of each process.

According to the Allianz Risk Barometer, businesses are more worried about cybersecurity threats compared to other business disruptions like supply chain issues, natural disasters, or even the COVID-19 pandemic. This is why business owners are ramping up data security measures. One way they do this is by implementing two-factor and two-step authentication. Many businesses use the two terms interchangeably, but these processes are quite different.

Two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a security measure used to ensure that people trying to access a system are who they say they are. 2FA requires users to provide two pieces of information before being granted access.

When you try to log in to a system that uses 2FA, you’ll be asked to provide not only your password but also another piece of information or form of identification. This second factor can be something you know, like a PIN or a security question, or something you have, like a physical token or key fob. If you have the correct password and the second piece of information, then you’ll be granted access to the system. Because of the additional authentication information required, hackers would have great difficulty breaking into a network using a 2FA system.

Two-step authentication

Two-step authentication (2SA) is an extra layer of security that can be added to your online accounts. 2SA requires you to enter both your password and a code that is sent to your phone or email before you can log in.

Adding 2SA to your online accounts can help protect your information from being hacked. Even if a hacker knows your username and password, they will still need the code that is sent to your phone or email before they can log in to your account.

There are a few different ways to set up 2SA. Some websites, like Google and Facebook, offer 2SA as an additional security measure that is especially useful when you or someone else is trying to log in using a new or different device. Others, like Dropbox and Twitter, require you to set up your authentication profile in the settings page before you can use their app. A 2SA setup is typically quick and easy, and only requires you to have your phone or email immediately accessible when you log in.

Which one is better?

Relying on a single-factor authentication process is no longer sufficient in ensuring the safety of your network. Securing the authentication process and making it difficult for cybercriminals to access your network should be on top of your priorities. Deciding whether to use two-step or two-factor authentication largely depends on your business’s specific security requirements. To take the stress out of choosing which between the two methods better suits your needs, call us today for expert cybersecurity advice.

Are you interested in learning more about cybersecurity? Call us today and discover how our wide array of tech services can safeguard your business.

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

You might wonder if now is the right time for your small business to turn to cloud computing for all your data storage needs.

While you’ll find many benefits with cloud computing, you might also have concerns over potential security issues. Fortunately, you can embrace the advantages of cloud computing while still keeping your small business and your customers’ private information safe.

Look into ideas such as hybrid cloud computing, which costs less money and gives similar advantages to companies. You’ll still gain the safety net of a third-party provider, but for a fraction of the cost.

Here are some things to keep in mind when considering whether cloud computing is a secure option for your small business.

1. Train your workers to identify attacks.

Phishing usually starts with an email made to look as though it’s from an official source.

Teach your staff to go directly to a website and never click on links within an email. You can significantly reduce social engineering attacks by training your workers to recognize them.

Phishing can also look like an email from someone higher up in a company, but will actually be from someone trying to gain access to accounts. It’s always best to double-check requests for passwords or personal information by calling the other employee directly.

According to Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report, approximately 36% of breaches come from phishing attacks. Phishing is quite avoidable if you train your workers to recognize and avoid it.

2. Install virus and malware protection.

Make sure every device used by your company or its employees – even remote workers – has the latest virus and malware protection installed.

One of the biggest threats to the computing safety of your small business is workers not protecting their accounts. Hackers can do a lot of mischief if they get their hands on login credentials.

Make sure any device used to access accounts has protection installed. Remote workers may need to go through IT to ensure they add two-factor authentication and install all available software.

Companies should provide protection and follow up frequently to be sure it gets installed and updated properly.

3. Insist on strong passwords.

One way people allow hackers into their accounts is by reusing passwords, not changing them frequently, or using easy-to-guess combinations.

At a minimum, you should change all your business passwords every few months, including any passwords to cloud computing software.

Encourage employees to use passwords that aren’t easy to guess and contain lowercase letters, capitals, numbers, and characters.

Don’t forget to watch the passwords you use for software as a service (SaaS) applications. A company with under 500 employees uses as many as 123 different SaaS apps.

For example, if you use several different websites for various tasks, make sure you change passwords when an employee leaves or you terminate them. Not keeping up with passwords opens your business to vulnerabilities.

4. Set clear security policies.

Avoid confusion over security protocols by setting some policies.

What happens to customer data when you no longer need it? How often do you change passwords? Are there tiers to data access?

Figure out what works best for your organization and set the rules. This helps current and future employees know what’s expected of them.

5. Comply with all applicable laws.

Know the rules surrounding data protection.

For example, if some of your customers reside in the European Union (EU), you fall under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and must comply with the rules or face fines.

States such as California have similar standards. Your state and local governments may vary, so be sure to check any applicable laws.

You also must comply with laws in areas where your out-of-state customers reside.

6. Set a budget.

McKinsey & Company recently noted most companies plan to have $8 of every $10 in their IT hosting budget go toward cloud hosting by 2024.

The pandemic brought many companies online with cloud access for remote workers they weren’t planning to implement yet.

The increase in data means an increase in online criminal activity.

So, is cloud computing safe for your small business? The answer isn’t always the same, but most cloud hosting providers invest quite a bit of money into the most recent security measures possible.

It’s likely as safe as any other method of storing data, short of keeping information only on paper, which isn’t practical. Set a budget that meets your company’s goals. You can always increase it if you feel your data isn’t safe enough.

Is cloud computing safe or not?

Cloud computing is as safe as any other form of digital data storage.

You should ensure any companies you hire have the latest in safety standards and security. Take steps to protect your information, such as training employees and frequently changing passwords.

With some good security practices and awareness, it’s much less likely that you’ll face a data breach.

While the cloud offers a wide variety of benefits and solutions, choosing the service which is best for your company’s needs can be tedious. To ease this burden, we can help you find the best solutions for your business. by talking to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment. We’ll you find the best solution your business needs, ensure proper migration and implementation allowing you to focus on running your business.

Published with consideration from SmallBiz Technology SOURCE

Without technology, businesses cannot compete and succeed. But with the advancement in technology comes the ever-constant threat of hackers and cybercriminals. That’s why small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) need to protect themselves with robust cybersecurity solutions managed by reputable managed IT services providers (MSPs).

The numbers

Through the years, the number of SMBs falling victim to cyberattacks has drastically increased. Ransomware attacks, misconfigured systems, credential stuffing, and social engineering are among the many cyberthreats that SMBs face. Also, according to Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report, one in every five data breach victims was an SMB. What’s more, only 47% of SMBs are able to detect breaches within days.

The financial consequences have also considerably increased. IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report 2021 shows that “data breach costs rose from USD 3.86 million to USD 4.24 million.”

The numbers don’t lie, so it’s only about time SMBs take cybersecurity seriously. You can safeguard your business from cyberattacks and provide a more secure customer experience by working with a trusted MSP.

Why managed services?

Partnering with MSPs is the most effective way to prevent attacks and defend against malicious threats. MSPs offer a full range of proactive IT support that focuses on advanced security, such as around-the-clock monitoring, data encryption and backup, real-time threat prevention and elimination, network and firewall protection, security awareness training, and more. Here are some of the services an MSP can offer:

    • Around-the-clock monitoring – A cyberattack can happen at any moment. By having someone watching your networks and systems 24/7, MSPs ensure that any potential threats are identified and dealt with quickly.
    • Data encryption and backup – Data encryption transforms readable data into an unreadable format. This can be done through the use of a key, which is only accessible to authorized users. This way, even if the data is compromised, it can’t be read without the key. Meanwhile, data backup is the process of creating and preserving copies of data so that it can be restored in the event of data loss.
    • Real-time threat prevention and elimination – By using technology that can detect and stop threats as they happen, this security solution can minimize the impact of an attack and keep your business data safe.
    • Network and firewall protection – Networks and firewalls create a barrier between the business network and the internet, securing confidential data, such as customer information, employee records, and trade secrets. Networks can be configured to allow certain types of traffic through while blocking others, so that only authorized users can access specific resources.
    • Security awareness training – Now, more than ever, SMBs need to be aware of cybersecurity threats and how to protect themselves. MSPs can facilitate security awareness training that can help employees spot red flags and know what to do (and not do) to keep company data safe.

Managed IT services are designed to identify and fix weak spots in your IT infrastructure, enabling you to optimize the digital backbone of your business processes. With managed IT, you’ll also have faster network performance, a solid business continuity and disaster recovery strategy, and minimal downtime. You’ll also get a dedicated team of IT professionals ready to assist you with any technology-related problems. This is much more effective and budget-friendly than having in-house personnel juggling all of your business IT needs.

Being proactive when it comes to cybersecurity is the only way to protect what you’ve worked hard to build. If you’d like to know more about how managed services can benefit your business, just give us a call — we’re sure to help.

Are you interested in learning more about cybersecurity? Call us today and discover how our wide array of tech services can safeguard your business.

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