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Every business depends on tech these days. The number of third-party SaaS solutions out there has made cutting-edge technology easily accessible even for the small business startup.

As entrepreneurs build their tech stacks, though, they need to be aware of a couple of potential issues. The first is security. Cybercrime continues to be a legitimate concern for anyone online. Businesses should take necessary measures to improve and maintain cybersecurity.

Second, owners must make sure that they’re optimizing their small business technology. With so many options available, it’s easy to become buried under an avalanche of 21st-century solutions. This is true even if they aren’t all benefitting you the way they should.

Here are a few suggestions for ways small businesses can both optimize and secure their digital activity to ensure that they’re getting the most out of their tech.

Start with your Wi-Fi.

Your Wi-Fi is the digital gate to your company. In a tech-heavy world, this makes it the main entrance to your tech stack, your files, your data, and your business as a whole. If you want to optimize how your small business works, you need to start by setting the stage with a quality Wi-Fi solution.

The Wi-Fi experts at Plume point out that this obviously includes the need for a strong and dependable wireless signal, but it shouldn’t stop there. As is the case with the company’s small business-focused WorkPass Wi-Fi solution, a good Wi-Fi network should also be safe, easy to use, and intimately woven into the fabric of your business.

By using a quality small business Wi-Fi solution, you can simultaneously tap into the simplicity and ease of residential routers as well as the firepower of an enterprise-level internet connection.

Small business Wi-Fi has the potential to double as a business intelligence (BI) platform that collects and turns data into actionable insights. This can help you manage your workforce and communicate with guest users. It can also keep your entire team engaged with adaptive connectivity that is fast, reliable, and ultra-secure.

If you want your small business to be productive and secure at the same time, make sure to start by using a reputable and capable small business Wi-Fi solution.

Establish solid cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity can be intimidating. The need to keep your technology safe and secure from outside threats is an ever-present concern. Many solutions can also be prohibitively expensive — but not all of them.

There are many small-yet-effective ways that you can secure sensitive data while optimizing your small business technology. Intel suggests half a dozen ways to do this, such as:

  • establishing a solid private Wi-Fi setup (see the previous step) that doesn’t require logging in on any public Wi-Fi connections;
  • keeping hardware upgraded at all times — and, of course, making sure your team installs all software patches and updates in a timely manner;
  • using strong passwords and implementing MFA (multi-factor authentication) whenever possible;
  • utilizing apps like Windows 10 Pro security and Norton Antivirus to block unwanted malware; and
  • teaching your staff to use proper digital hygiene (maintaining strong passwords, installing updates, etc.) at all times when using office tech.

If you feel like overseeing all of these steps is too much, consider using a Device as a Service (DaaS) solution to increase security. This is a new kind of service that bundles the distribution, management, and IT support for a business’s tech. These are then overseen by a third-party provider, taking the perpetual responsibility off of your plate.

Manage your marketing.

Marketing is one of the easiest areas to bleed cash and ooze inefficiency. This is partly due to the subtle and intangible results that marketing can generate.

If you have a sales team, you can measure their success in dollars and cents. You can apply the same simple math to other areas. These include manufacturing, paying an accountant, or shipping and handling costs.

When it comes to marketing, though, it’s easy to pour endless money into things like content creation and brand awareness without really knowing how effective they are.

If you want to optimize your marketing activity, the first thing you need to do is set up analytics tools to track your results. There are many ways to do this, including free tools, like Facebook Pixel and Google Analytics. In addition, many tools, like Shopify or Mail Chimp, come with built-in data collection dashboards.

Of course, tracking data in a dozen or more applications is challenging. That’s why you may want to consider an additional third-party tool to unify your analytical marketing data. AI-powered solutions like Hawke.ai can bring all of your marketing results into a single dashboard where you can find insights to help you make informed, optimized decisions.

Optimizing and Securing a Small Business (Without Panicking)

There are many factors that go into keeping a business both efficient and safe. For small businesses, this task can feel time-consuming and expensive.

However, if you approach things with a strategy in place, you can manage both concerns without too much trouble. Start by putting things like a solid Wi-Fi solution in place and establishing key cybersecurity protocols. From there, focus on conducting ongoing digital hygiene training. Use the tools available to gather data and turn it into actionable and efficient business strategies, too.

Optimizing small business technology is an assumed aspect of any startup venture at this point. The critical factor is making sure that your tech stack is helping, not hindering, your small 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 SmallBiz Technology SOURCE

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

Microsoft Teams is a great tool that can help improve communication and collaboration in the workplace. However, the popular business communication platform can also be a security concern if it’s not adequately secured. In this blog, we’ll dive into some practical tips for securing Microsoft Teams and keeping your workplace safe.

Utilize built-in security features

The most dependable approach to securing Microsoft Teams is through governance restrictions. These are rules that set the parameters for how the platform will be used, who can establish Teams accounts, and what information people may provide. Appointing a Teams administrator will be critical in ensuring that Teams security policies are followed by users throughout the company.

Administrators should also set up Teams’ data loss prevention (DLP) feature to prevent accidental exposure of critical information and reduce the risk of data breaches. For instance, administrators can use sensitivity labels as a condition in DLP policies to instantly block guests or unauthorized users from accessing or sharing data in a Teams channel or a private chat.

Limit external access

Speaking of guest users, you should also use Teams’ Lobby feature when meeting with external users or teams. This feature redirects guests to a virtual lobby where they will wait before being admitted into the meeting. This can be useful when you want to talk with your team first before officially starting the meeting with a client.

Another way to control Teams access is by creating security groups. By default, a user with an Exchange Online mailbox can create a Team and become a Team owner. Creating a security group will help prevent unwanted and unverified users from creating and joining any group, extension, and Team.

Enable MFA

Multifactor authentication (MFA) is a practical way to enforce security when using Teams. In 2020, more than 99.9% of compromised Microsoft enterprise accounts didn’t use MFA. This is highly concerning because if an attacker compromises a Microsoft account and is able to get into Teams, they will gain access to valuable information the account’s owner works with through the platform as well as other integrated apps.

MFA can be used in conjunction with a password, PIN, or biometric data such as a fingerprint or an iris scan. In the case of Microsoft Teams, requiring multiple factors for authentication ensures that only authorized users will be able to access their accounts. And when someone else tries to gain access, they will be alerted of suspicious activity so they can take steps to further safeguard their accounts. This can discourage malicious actors and, more importantly, instill better security habits among users.

Following these tips can help ensure a seamless and secure collaboration environment for your workplace. Contact our IT experts today to learn more about Microsoft Teams and how to better secure it against attacks.

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 TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

True story: At a company I once worked for, employees received an email about an unexpected bonus. In private Slack channels, we wondered whether it was a well-played phishing attempt. Turns out, the bonus was legit, but so was our inclination to question it. Phishing—when cybercriminals pose as legitimate institutions to get info or money from you—is the origin of up to 90 percent of breaches and hacking incidents, says Frank Cilluffo, director of Auburn University’s McCrary Institute for Cyber and Critical Infrastructure Security in Alabama.

These cyber bad guys have even taken it to the next level with “spear phishing,” a practice of sending emails that appear to be from someone you personally know. “This happened to me once and it was a humbling experience,” says Adam Doupé, director of the Center for Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics at Arizona State University in Tempe. Turns out, the email seemed to be coming from a colleague, and Doupé was boarding a plane when he got it so he wasn’t as careful as he would normally be. “I ended up replying with my cell phone number,” recalls Doupé. “When the phisher responded with a request to send gift cards, the alarm bells went off.”

Knowing that a cybersecurity expert got played, an average person has to be hypervigilant. But could you be missing out on legit offers and emails because you’re being too cautious? Your first line of defense: install a protection software (like Malwarebytes). This sort of protection that lives on your computer, coupled with our expert tips below, will stop phishers in their tracks.

3 Ways To Tell If It’s Phishing Or Not

Experts say there are a few things you can do if you’re unsure whether an email is a phishing attempt.

1. Check the email address carefully.

Hover your cursor over the full email—not just the sender’s name—to see if anything looks off. “For instance, instead of .com, the address may contain .ru,” says Cilluffo. (.Ru indicates that it’s from a Russian server.) Compare the address on a recent email to one that you’ve responded to previously.

2. Call or text the person you think may have sent the email.

Ever receive an email from a friend or colleague and it seems off? Maybe it’s much briefer than usual or perhaps they addressed you by your full name rather than a nickname. Trust your gut, and don’t respond or click on any links or attachments until you’ve verified the email. While it truly may just be a link to their kids’ fundraiser, it could be the work of a cyber criminal trying to get you to download malware—aka malicious software.

3. Verify through an independent news source.

Sometimes you may receive an email about an important recall notice or info about a class-action lawsuit. Search on a trustworthy news site whether the link contained in your email appears in any news articles, suggests Doupé.

Bottom line?

Cyber criminals are getting more and more creative at making their phishing attempts appear legitimate. Go with your gut, slow down to verify the validity of messages you receive and install a protection software (like Malwarebytes) to stop phishers before they start.

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 yahoo.com SOURCE

HTML files remain one of the most popular attachments used in phishing attacks for the first four months of 2022, showing that the technique remains effective against antispam engines and works well on the victims themselves.

HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is a language that defines the meaning and structure of web content. HTML files are interactive content documents designed specifically for digital viewing within web browsers.

In phishing emails, HTML files are commonly used to redirect users to malicious sites, download files, or to even display phishing forms locally within the browser.

As HTML is not malicious, attachments tend not to be detected by email security products, thus doing a good landing in recipients’ inboxes.

Statistical data from Kaspersky indicates that the trend of using HTML attachments in malicious emails is still going strong, as the security company detected 2 million emails of this kind targeting its customers in the first four months of the year.

The numbers culminated in March 2022, when Kaspersky’s telemetry data counted 851,000 detections, while a drop to 387,000 in April could be just a momentary shift.

How HTML evades detection

The phishing forms, redirection mechanisms, and data-stealing elements in HTML attachments are typically implemented using various methods, ranging from simple redirects to obfuscating JavaScript to hide phishing forms.

Attachments are base64 encoded when present in email messages, allowing secure email gateways and antivirus software to easily scan attachments for malicious URLs, scripts, or other behavior.

To evade detection, threat actors commonly use JavaScript in the HTML attachments that will be used to generate the malicious phishing form or redirect.

The use of JavaScript in HTML attachments to hide malicious URLs and behavior is called HTML smuggling and has become a very popular technique over the past few years.

To make it even harder to detect malicious scripts, threat actors obfuscate them using freely-available tools that can accept custom configuration for a unique, and thus less likely to be detected, result and thus evade detection.

For example, in November, we reported that threat actors used morse code in their HTML attachment to obfuscate a phishing form that the HTML attachment would display when opened.

Kaspersky notes that in some cases, the threat actors use encoding methods involving deprecated functions like the “unescape()”, which substitutes “%xx” character sequences in the string with their ASCII equivalents.

While this function has been replaced by decodeURI() and decodeURIComponent() today, most modern browsers still support it. Still, it might be ignored by security tools and antispam engines that focus more on current methods.

Conclusion

HTML attachment distribution was first seen spiking in 2019, but they remain a common technique in 2022 phishing campaigns, so they should be seen as red flags.

Remember, merely opening these files is often enough to have JavaScript run on your system, which may lead to automatic malware assembly on the disk and the bypassing of security software.

As the security software doesn’t detect an attachment as malicious, recipients may be more likely to open them and become infected.

Even if your email security solution doesn’t generate any warnings, you should always treat HTML attachments as highly suspicious.

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 bleepingcomputer.com 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

Small businesses aren’t exempt from Russian cyberthreats, according to US officials. Here’s what to know.

In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, cybersecurity concerns in the US are mounting for small businesses, home offices and larger enterprises, according to national security alerts issued by the FBI, DHS and CISA.

Even though government-sponsored attacks are gaining public attention, cyberattacks from independent actors or groups are always a concern for small to midsize businesses. Factors like budget and IT staff limitations can leave small businesses more vulnerable to cyberattacks. The Small Business Administration reported there were 32.5 million small businesses in the US as of 2021.

There’s no foolproof way to completely protect yourself from online attacks, but the first step is to understand what the threat is, where your business may be at risk and which proactive steps you can take. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of cybersecurity tips for small business owners.

Know the most common cyberattacks

Cyberattacks can take many forms and are constantly evolving, according to the US Small Business Administration, but the best defense is knowing the most common cyberattack forms like malware, viruses, ransomware and phishing.

Malware is an umbrella term for malicious software that aims to damage your computer, server, network or client.

Viruses and ransomware are also considered as types of malware. Viruses mean to infect your computer as well as other devices, leaving your system vulnerable. Ransomware, which has been on the rise in the US, works like a virus, but is usually delivered through a phishing email and essentially holds your system hostage until a sum is paid.

Phishing is a type of scam that tricks people into clicking links that appear legitimate, but are actually malicious. Clicking the link infects your device with malware. Once your system is infected, cybercriminals can attempt to steal sensitive information. Phishing falls in a wider category of social engineering, a tactic meant to deceive individuals into disclosing sensitive information or clicking a malicious link.

Train employees to be security-conscious

Cybersecurity is a team effort. Make sure your employees create strong passwords and reset them on a regular schedule. Employees should be aware of red flags that indicate phishing emails and malicious files, as well as have an action plan in the event that an attack happens. It’s also important to keep devices, software and browsers up to date. The FCC suggests establishing clear guidelines for internet use, how to best handle customer data, as well as penalties for violating those policies.

Secure your Wi-Fi networks

Your business’ Wi-Fi should be secure, encrypted and hidden, according to the FCC. Your business’ router needs to be password protected, and it shouldn’t broadcast the network name.

If your small business is operated out of your home, consider whether it’s time to upgrade your router to handle modern security threats. If you’re new to Wi-Fi networking, CNET has a handy FAQ that covers the basics.

Back up your files

Cyberattacks often mean to compromise, delete or steal your data. Backup programs can help mitigate this risk. It’s even better if the backup software you’re using lets you set up a schedule or automate backups, according to cybersecurity firm Kaspersky. Keep a copy of your backups offline in case of a cyberattack.

Use antivirus software

Finding the right antivirus software is an important weapon in your small business’ arsenal against cybercrime. Antivirus software doesn’t have to break your bank either — Microsoft Defender is free for Windows, for example. Check out CNET’s guide for the best antivirus software for more information.

For more information, check out big tech’s efforts to support Ukraine shift the industry’s role and how you can help Ukraine refugees and those affected by Russia’s invasion.

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 cnet.com SOURCE

Hackers have found a clever way to get around anti-malware software — they’re using fileless malware, a type of malicious software that’s not as visible as traditional malware. This means it can infect your entire infrastructure without you even knowing. Let’s take a closer look at how fileless malware works and what you can do to defend against it.

What is fileless malware?

Fileless malware is malicious software that doesn’t rely on executable files to infect your infrastructure. Rather, it hides in your computer’s random access memory and uses trusted, legitimate processes, such as Microsoft Office macros, PowerShell, and Windows Management Instrumentation.

Fileless malware isn’t as visible as traditional malware. It uses a variety of techniques to stay persistent and can adversely affect the integrity of a business’s processes and the infrastructures that run them. Because there are no files to trace, fileless malware escapes detection by most anti-malware programs, especially those that use the databases of known threats. Most automated sensors cannot recognize illicit scripts, and cybersecurity analysts who are trained to identify them usually have a hard time determining where to look.

What potential damage can fileless malware do?

If it is not detected and removed, fileless malware can do a lot of damage to business systems, such as:

  • Steal or destroy data
  • Modify files without authorization
  • Act as a backdoor for other types of malware
  • Cause system crashes and instability
  • Disrupt normal operations by taking up CPU time or memory

Examples of high-profile fileless malware attacks include the Democratic National Committee hacking in 2016 and the Equifax data breach in 2017.

How big of a threat is fileless malware?

Cybersecurity provider WatchGuard Technologies’s Internet Security Report for Q4 2020 found that fileless malware attacks during the year jumped by 888% from 2019. Worse still, their Q2 2021 report revealed that just halfway through 2021, the number of fileless malware detections originating from scripting engines like PowerShell was already at 80% of 2020’s total script-initiated attack volume.

How can you defend against fileless malware?

Your business should practice defense in depth in which you implement multiple safeguards to reduce exposure and mitigate damage. Such safeguards include keeping your systems updated, limiting user access rights and privileges, cultivating a security-aware workforce, and utilizing advanced security solutions that analyze behavioral trends. Lastly, you should also partner with a managed IT services provider that offers 24/7 network monitoring, security audit, and penetration testing. Call us today to get started.

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

Be on guard against ransomware. Small businesses can fall victim to cybercrime even though many owners don’t think they are likely targets.

A little legal practice, a 35-person manufacturing firm, and a two-person charitable organization are all examples of technology-driven businesses. As much as any brand-name financial institution or international shop, their core operations depend on operating systems, software applications, and networks. And they have all been victims of ransomware.

However, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) may be severely harmed, unlike large corporations, which are more likely to withstand a high-profile cyberattack.

A problem? Yes, but perhaps not as big as you think.

SMEs pay a high price for business disruption. They pay a high price for remediation and data recovery. They may lack the expertise and workforce to secure their essential IT infrastructure from cybercrime.

Enormous Ransoms for Small Businesses

According to NetDiligence’s Cyber Claims Study 2021 Report, ransomware has accounted for 40% of overall incident expenses connected to cyber claims in the last five years.

That is to say, the average ransom demand in 2020 was $247,000.

Research has estimated the cost of recovering from a cybersecurity breach affecting a small business to be roughly $352,000. These expenses do not account for the loss of client confidence due to the misuse of sensitive data.

Criminals know that small firms have weak or non-existent cybersecurity systems. As a result, they target them in large numbers, sending out repeated phishing attempts in the hopes of capturing a few victims in their automated nets.

Google has sent out 50,000 phishing or malware attack alerts as of October 2021, up 33% over the same month in 2020.

Since the Covid-19 epidemic, work-from-home and work-from-anywhere technologies have become more popular, exposing workers and small company systems to cyberattacks. According to one survey, approximately 70% of full-time workers in the United States started working from home during the Covid-19 epidemic.

Unfortunately, some small businesses infrequently take efforts to secure their remote employees. These efforts include implementing two-factor authentication (an additional login step) or encrypting computer disks. During the epidemic, millions of people lost their employment. Have they lost access to all of their email accounts and logins? Probably not.

Vulnerabilities in Small Businesses and Cybersecurity

Why are tiny firms such prey to predators? They could not have the operational know-how or staff to appropriately defend their IT systems and networks.

Meanwhile, here are a few examples of circumstances that put small companies at risk:

  • IT infrastructures are often outdated, are not regularly updated, and are poorly constructed.
  • The person in charge of IT — whether the CFO, the CEO, or a random employee — is seldom updated on the newest security risks and solutions.
  • Given the average pay of roughly $165,000, hiring a chief information security officer is often unaffordable.
  • A jumble of local hardware, networks, devices, and apps may make cyber protection difficult.
  • Employee cyber awareness training is poor or non-existent.
  • Backups may be unreliable or have not been thoroughly tested.
  • Business continuity and disaster recovery planning have not been emphasized.

Company executives may mistakenly believe that they are too tiny to be a cybercrime target, to their detriment.

Getting a Head Start On a Tough Situation

You don’t need any new gear or antivirus software to start boosting your company’s cyber security image.

Begin by taking a detailed inventory of your physical and digital assets, as well as a vulnerability assessment. It’s critical to create a “data governance” document that establishes guidelines for data management. People still record passwords on Post-it Notes on computer displays or taped on the bottom of mouse pads in small workplaces. Thus this technique is essential.

Above all, cybersecurity awareness training for employees is also necessary.

Phishing or other efforts at social engineering or getting individuals into vulnerable networks are a vital security threat vector for the ransomware outbreak. According to IBM’s 2021 X-Force Threat Intelligence Index, phishing was responsible for one-third of all cyberattacks. Ascertain that your personnel knows what to look for in these circumstances.

For example, penetration testing is another technique to go ahead with.

“Pen testing” ensures that your security measures are effective. Therefore, few small firms, in all experience, have the competence to undertake penetration testing. Therefore you may wish to hire an expert.

Finally, some experts recommend that every company establish real-time network and server monitoring. While strong passwords, two-factor authentication, encrypted data, and network firewalls are necessary and will slow down attackers, complete protection is neither cost-effective nor practicable.

Taking efforts to mitigate the potentially catastrophic effects of a cyberattack may be well worth the expense for small companies.

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

Businesses of any size can fall victim to ransomware. How will you protect your small business from it? And can you afford it?

The Business of Chicago

One Monday morning, 35 workers of a Chicago business board of directors turned on their computers. They were met by a desiccated head popping up and demanding nearly a quarter-million in Bitcoin. Hackers had shut off their internet access. Their databases had been scrambled and rendered unusable.

This NGO had vital infrastructure but no skilled cybersecurity professionals or even a proper data recovery and business continuity strategy, much like thousands of other ransomware victims whose tales never reach the news.

Company management believed that its data and networks were secure until they experienced that dreadful Monday morning return to work. The company also lacked the financial wherewithal to pay the ransom.

Productivity loss is the biggest price tag paid by ransomware victims. In addition, they suffered the time-consuming job of controlling and cleaning up after the assault.

According to Proofpoint and the Ponemon Institute study, a ransom payment generally amounts to less than 20% of the entire cost of a ransomware attack’s interruption.

The staff at the Chicago organization discovered too late that their data recovery methods did not actually back them up. The organization labored over finding paper documents in order to recreate its records from the ground up.

Businesses In a Bind

Many smaller businesses believe they aren’t vulnerable to ransomware. That is very clearly not the case.

According to the National Cyber Security Alliance, small and midsized firms are the target of the bulk of cyberattacks, with up to 60% of them going out of business within six months of the ransomware assault.

Three Simple Steps to Defeat Hackers

Some may reasonably question, if a $44 billion firm like Accenture can fall prey to ransomware, what hope does a smaller company have?

Everyone requires a reaction plan if no one is immune to an assault. Consider the following three essential steps:

1. Provide cyber awareness training to all staff.

PEBCAC stands for “problem exists between computer and chair” in the world of cybersecurity.

Because email phishing is by far the most common threat vector for ransomware, the first line of defense is to teach all employees not to open unfamiliar attachments or clickbait links — “You’ve just won $1 million!” — and to protect their login credentials, preferably with two-factor authentication.

Some employees, believe it or not, still retain passwords on Post-it Notes stuck to their computer displays. Every employee in today’s networked remote workforce is a member of the security apparatus. Employees play an essential role in data protection. However, they must be given the correct knowledge and training.

2. Update all of your applications.

An inventory of operating systems and software is the first step in any threat assessment.

Updates defend a computer network from known security flaws. Additionally, you must properly maintain and configure every firewall and server to stay safe.

Unfortunately, this seemingly simple task of data governance is a big undertaking. It’s made considerably more difficult by the abundance of endpoints. Think smartphones, industrial systems, IoT devices, and all the equipment used by work-from-home staff.

3. Put backups and recovery strategies to the test.

This is the one step that many companies skip. You shouldn’t.

Pick a day, perhaps a Saturday, when everyone “pretends” to be victimized by a hacker. Test the reliability of your backups and the amount of downtime you can expect to endure should you fall victim to ransomware.

How You Can Recover

To recover from an assault, every firm needs dependable backups and, equally essential, a business continuity strategy. Form a cyber incident response team and conduct penetration testing to ensure the safeguarding of vital infrastructure. Be proactive rather than reactive in your cyber response.

No one is immune to assault. These are merely the beginning of your defenses.

Monitor network traffic in real-time. Otherwise, your organization is extremely susceptible. Mechanisms must be in place to detect and respond to intrusions before you suffer damage. Be aware that 100 percent prevention is neither cost-effective nor practical.

Virus Software

Virus software and firewall hardware have come a long way. However, at the end of the day, the greatest defense is a skilled cybersecurity team.

A monitoring and incident response control center will allow speedy data recovery, reducing downtime for both internal and external cyberattacks. Outsourcing a security operations center may help businesses with limited resources reduce their risk.

Consider the cost of business disruption as the first step in making systems more robust. Governments, utilities, and even IT corporations are all vulnerable to assault. Put a solid data security strategy in place. Without one, it’s not a question of if, but rather when hacking will occur.

Make sure your cloud storage is secure.  It’s imperative that you do so ASAP. Without this safeguard, all sorts of malware, such as ransomware, can run riot through your systems.

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