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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

We’re all aware of the dangers posed by cybersecurity threats. Without exception, we all want to protect ourselves. Not all of us know how.

There are those who wish to take advantage of any and every vulnerability. However, according to a recent survey of business owners and independent insurance agents in the United States, many businesses are simply not taking the necessary steps to protect themselves and their assets.

This is bad news. It should give all SMB participants nightmares. Because a breach in one company can lead to a domino effect. More companies can fall within a matter of hours.

Some also seem to be attempting to persuade themselves that they are invulnerable, even though they are aware that they should be doing more.

The news has been full of small business technology and security trends this year. Following cybersecurity industry trends, knowing how hackers infiltrate networks, and taking the necessary safeguards to keep them out are important parts of defending your organization.

The following are the top cybersecurity trends to watch in the New Year.

1. Implementation of multi-factor authentication.

Multi-factor authentication is a method in which users must authenticate their identity by using two or more different devices at the same time.

Example: When trying to log into a program, users may input their password on their computer’s browser and then get a code on their cellphone, which they must enter on the computer once more to be successful. It increases the security of logins by certifying that the user is who they claim to be in at least two locations.

Businesses may utilize a variety of third-party programs. To incorporate multi-factor authentication into their systems. If you market to clients who use applications such as Facebook, Robinhood, and Netflix, you may discover that they are already acquainted with the process. This is because prominent apps such as these already employ the method.

While many firms still consider multi-factor authentication to be optional, others are using multi-factor authentication systems as an extra layer of protection against a cyber attack.

2. Increased cyber-threats to remote employees as a result of technological business advancements.

In the opinion of cyber security experts, the transition to remote or hybrid work that has been prompted by COVID-19 has placed workers at greater risk of cybersecurity attacks.

In addition, when individuals bring their personal networks and devices into the workplace, they become more vulnerable to phishing emails and ransomware assaults. Their preparation is lacking. They don’t have the security protections that a company would put in place on its internal systems.

Your workers will benefit from having better security measures installed on their cloud-based apps, home devices, and home networks if you provide them with tools and training.

Find out more about the best practices for cybersecurity training. Consult in-house or get a professional consultant. Don’t rely on your Uncle Fred or some online website!

3. Attacks against cloud-based computing business services.

According to a survey by Northeastern University, cloud-based computing services have grown in popularity in recent years, and businesses are using them more than ever across a growing number of international employees.

They make it simple for workers to access the resources they need to be successful from any location, and they are both accessible and reasonably priced to host and maintain. The downside is that they are a great target for cyber-attacks, as well.

As a precaution, make sure that your cloud-based systems are up to date. You should also run breach and attack simulations to identify any security system flaws.

4. Simulation of a breach and an assault.

When there is illegal tampering with your technological systems, this is referred to as a cybersecurity breach.

Test your system frequently with BAS. These breach and attack simulations (BAS) are crucial. Even for the smallest business. They help you discover the most vulnerable parts of your cyberinfrastructure. Once discovered, they can be quickly strengthened.

Implementing BAS may assist you in identifying and eliminating vulnerabilities in a timely manner.

Learn more about the ramifications of a data breach on your company. Do some simulations at the beginning of the New Year.

5. Managing the use of technology and gadgets.

For the purposes of this definition, the Internet of Things (IoT) is a structure of physical things. These devices contain sensors, automation, and other software technology in order to communicate and exchange data with other devices and systems through the internet.

The term encompasses anything from linked equipment on the factory floor to smart home items and automation technologies. It’s swiftly encircling us and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.

Begin to incorporate artificial intelligence and smart technology into your organization. Develop an enterprise-wide plan to detect and manage every connected machine.

This is critical to maintaining the security of your network and data. Don’t put off the hard work, because the payoff can be significant.

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 smallbusinesstechnology.com SOURCE

Your employees are your first line of defense when it comes to protecting your business from cyberthreats. Human error is one of the single biggest culprits behind cyber-attacks. It comes down to someone falling for a phishing scam, clicking an unknown link or downloading a file without realizing that it’s malicious.

Because your team is so critical to protecting your business from cyberthreats, it’s just as critical to keep your team informed and on top of today’s dangers. One way to do that is to weave cyber security into your existing company culture.

How Do You Do That?

For many employees, cyber security is rarely an engaging topic. In truth, it can be dry at times, especially for people outside of the cyber security industry, but it can boil down to presentation. That isn’t to say you need to make cyber security “fun,” but make it interesting or engaging. It should be accessible and a normal part of the workday.

Bring It Home For Your Team. One of the reasons why people are often disconnected from topics related to cyber security is simply because they don’t have firsthand experience with it. This is also one reason why many small businesses don’t invest in cyber security in the first place – it hasn’t happened to them, so they don’t think it will. Following that logic, why invest in it at all?

The thing is that it will eventually happen. It’s never a question of if, but when. Cyberthreats are more common than ever. Of course, this also means it’s easier to find examples you can share with your team. Many major companies have been attacked. Millions of people have had their personal data stolen. Look for examples that employees can relate to, names they are familiar with, and discuss the damage that’s been done.

If possible, bring in personal examples. Maybe you or someone you know has been the victim of a cyber-attack, such as ransomware or a data breach. The closer you can bring it home to your employees, the more they can relate, which means they’re listening.

Collaborate With Your Employees. Ask what your team needs from you in terms of cyber security. Maybe they have zero knowledge about data security and they could benefit from training. Or maybe they need access to better tools and resources. Make it a regular conversation with employees and respond to their concerns.

Part of that can include transparency with employees. If Julie in accounting received a phishing e-mail, talk about it. Bring it up in the next weekly huddle or all-company meeting. Talk about what was in the e-mail and point out its identifying features. Do this every time phishing e-mails reach your employees.

Or, maybe Jared received a mysterious e-mail and made the mistake of clicking the link within that e-mail. Talk about that with everyone, as well. It’s not about calling out Jared. It’s about having a conversation and not placing blame. The focus should be on educating and filling in the gaps. Keep the conversation going and make it a normal part of your company’s routine. The more you talk about it and the more open you are, the more it becomes a part of the company culture.

Keep Things Positive. Coming from that last point, you want employees to feel safe in bringing their concerns to their supervisors or managers. While there are many cyberthreats that can do serious damage to your business (and this should be stressed to employees), you want to create an environment where employees are willing to ask for help and are encouraged to learn more about these issues.

Basically, employees should know they won’t get into trouble if something happens. Now, if an employee is blatantly not following your company’s IT rules, that’s a different matter. But for the day-to-day activities, creating a positive, educational, collaborative environment is the best way to make cyber security a normal part of your company culture.

Plus, taking this approach builds trust, and when you and your team have that trust, it becomes easier to tackle issues of data and network security – and to have necessary conversations.

Need help creating a cyber security company culture that’s positive? Don’t hesitate to reach out to your managed services provider or IT partner! They can help you lay the foundation for educating your team and ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to today’s constant 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

cyber security

And What You Need To Do NOW To Protect Yourself

Everybody gets hacked, but not everything makes the evening news. We hear about big companies like Target, Home Depot, Capital One, and Facebook getting hacked. What we rarely hear about are the little guys – the small businesses that make up 99.7% of employers in the United States, according to the Small Business Administration. It’s these guys who are the biggest targets of cybercriminals.

Basically, if you run a business, that business is a potential target. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, what you sell or how popular you are. Cybercriminals go after everybody. In 2018, a cyber security survey by the Ponemon Institute found that 67% of small and midsize businesses in the US and UK were hit by a cyber-attack.

For the cybercriminal, casting a wide net makes the most sense because it gets results. It puts them in a position where they are able to extort money, steal sensitive information and ultimately profit off of destroying the property, prosperity and reputation of others.

Why do cybercriminals love to target small businesses? There are a handful of reasons why small businesses make sense to attack.

  1. Small Businesses are the most vulnerable. Business owners, entrepreneurs and executives aren’t always up-to-date on network security, current cyberthreats or best practices in IT. They have a business to run and that’s usually where their focus is. Unfortunately, that means cyber security can take a back seat to other things, like marketing or customer support. This also means they might not be investing in good network security or any IT security at all. It’s just not top-of-mind or they may feel that because it’s never happened to them, it never will (which is a dangerous way of thinking).
  2. Small Businesses don’t take IT security seriously. Coming off that last point, it’s true that many businesses don’t properly secure their network because they feel that they aren’t vulnerable. They have the mindset of “It hasn’t happened to me, so it won’t.” Along those same lines, they might not even take password security seriously. According to research conducted by Trace Security, upward of 80% of ALL breaches come down to one vulnerability: weak passwords! Even in 2020, people are still using passwords like “12345” and “password” to protect sensitive data, such as banking information and customer records. Secure passwords that are changed regularly can protect your business!
  3. Small Businesses don’t have the resources they need. Generally speaking, medium to large companies have more resources to put into IT security. While this isn’t always true (even big companies skimp on cyber security, as the headlines remind us), hackers spend less time focused on big targets because they assume it will take more of their own resources (time and effort) to get what they want (money and sensitive data). Many small businesses lack the resources like capital and personnel to put toward IT security, so hackers are more confident in attacking these businesses.

Just because you haven’t had any major problems for years – or at all – is a bad excuse for not maintaining your computer systems. Threats are growing in number by the day. While many small businesses might think, “I don’t have the time or resources for good security,” that’s not true! You don’t need to hire IT staff to take care of your security needs. You don’t need to spend an arm and a leg securing your network. IT security has come a LONG way in just the last five years alone. You can now rely on an IT security firm, like GCInfotech, to handle all the heavy lifting. They can monitor your network 24/7. They can provide you with IT support 24/7.

That’s the great thing about technology today – while many hackers are doing everything they can to use technology against us, you can use it against them too. Work with a dedicated and experienced IT security firm. Tell them your business’s network security needs and they’ll go to work fighting the good fight against the bad guys.

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