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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

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

Can business printers get hacked? The short answer is yes. Anything that connects to your business network can be exploited by malicious actors on the internet, even innocuous machines like your printers. These can be exploited to steal data and/or create entry points into your system to launch larger attacks. So make sure you follow these tips to protect your work printer environment.

What makes business printers vulnerable to cyberattacks?

When assessing network security threats, companies primarily focus on servers and computers not only because these are the most exposed to external threats, but also because they get the bulk of cyberattacks. Printers are often at the bottom of the list since they are not prime targets. What’s more, their functions seem to be internal at first glance, as they don’t interact with external systems.

But it’s exactly because of their primary functions, namely printing and scanning, that make print devices perfect cybercriminal targets. Businesses run important documents such as tax forms, employee information, medical records, and financial statements through print devices — information that hackers would definitely love to get their hands on.

And they can, easily.

Network printers store previous print jobs in their hard drive, sometimes including those that have been canceled. If anyone accesses the printer — even remotely — they may be able to see those documents by hacking into the printer using a specialized tool.

Files can also be intercepted during wireless transmission, as modern printers can now be connected to the web. Not only can hackers exploit printers’ open network ports to view data, but they can also take over vulnerable printers and transmit their own data through these machines.

Lastly, hackers can exploit vulnerable printers to bypass your cybersecurity system. Once they find a way in through your printers, crooks can then launch broader cyberattacks from within your network, which can be difficult to contain.

What can you do to protect your business printers?

Business printers should not be disregarded when planning a cybersecurity strategy. Keep your print devices secure by following these best practices:

  1. Monitor your network surreptitiously and always promptly install printer software updates and patches. Printer manufacturers often release software support or updates, so always be on the lookout for those.
  2. Change the default password and administrator login credentials of printers with web management capabilities.
  3. Allow only company-owned devices to connect to your printers.
  4. Always connect to your printers using secure connections. Conversely, avoid accessing your printers through a public internet connection.
  5. Restrict printer access by using a firewall.
  6. If your wireless printer has a feature that requires users to enter a PIN before they can print documents, enable it to prevent unauthorized access.
  7. If you don’t use your printer for fax and email, isolate your printer from your main company network and disable out-of-network printing.
  8. If you handle classified data, do not connect your printer to any network. Instead, connect it directly to your computer using data cables or print from a thumb drive.
  9. Secure your printouts by enabling manual feed. This setting requires a user to manually input paper (or any material to be printed on), reducing the risks of the printed document getting stolen or being left in the printing area.

Another way to secure your printers is by partnering with an IT company that can take care of your printer-related worries. From thwarting attacks to reducing management costs to keeping your printer at optimal functionality, our experts can 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

To keep cyberthreats at bay, you need proactive cybersecurity solutions in your arsenal. They identify and contain threats before they wreak havoc on your systems and cause significant productivity and financial losses. Here’s all you need to know about proactive cybersecurity and how to implement it.

What is proactive cybersecurity?

Traditional cybersecurity is reactive — your IT team or managed IT services provider (MSP) will be alerted of a cyberattack after it has happened, leaving them to alleviate the impacts. In contrast, proactive cybersecurity is preventative — it takes into account all potential threats and seeks to identify vulnerabilities so that they can be addressed before they lead to larger, downtime-causing issues.

Many organizations have adopted proactive cybersecurity measures along with reactive ones and are now reaping the benefits, including the ability to stay one step ahead of cyberthreats and improved data compliance.

How to implement proactive cybersecurity

In adopting a proactive approach to cybersecurity in your organization, you must follow these steps:

  1. Understand the threats you’re facing
    Before you can work toward preventing cyberattacks, you must know exactly what you’re up against. Seek the help of your in-house IT staff or MSP in identifying the types of attacks that are most common in your industry.
  2. Reevaluate what it is you’re protecting
    Once you have a list of the biggest threats to your organization, you need to take stock of how each can damage the various components of your network. Map out every company device that connects to the internet, what type of data they have access to (regulated, mission-critical, low-importance, etc.), and what services are currently protecting those devices.
  3. Choose proactive cybersecurity measures to put in place
    Depending on the risks and assets uncovered in steps 1 and 2, your IT team or MSP may recommend any of the following measures:
Proactive measure What it entails
Security awareness seminars for all internal stakeholders Train everyone from the receptionist to the CEO about effective security practices such as password management, proper mobile device usage, and spam awareness.
Updated anti-malware software or cloud-based service Protect your data and systems against the latest and most menacing malware.
Routine software patches and upgrades Minimize the chances of leaving a backdoor to your network open.
Web filtering services Blacklist dangerous and inappropriate sites for anyone on your network.
Perimeter defenses (e.g., intrusion prevention systems and hardware firewalls) Scrutinize everything trying to sneak its way in through the borders of your network.
Policy of least privilege Limit users’ access only to the data they need to fulfill their tasks.
Data segmentation Rank data according to sensitivity and build micro-perimeters around high-value datasets.
Full-disk encryption Make data stored in computers and portable devices unreadable so that if these machines are stolen, the files they have inside remain secure.
Virtual private networks Make data transmitted across unsecured connections unreadable so that intercepting it would become futile.
Strict access controls Prevent unauthorized access to accounts by using strong passwords, multifactor authentication, and auto screen locks and logouts for idle users.
AI-powered network monitoring Identify suspicious user and software behaviors such as employees accessing files outside their departments.

If you’re looking to implement a proactive cybersecurity strategy to protect your business’s critical systems, give our professionals a call today. We’ll assess your needs and recommend the best, most effective solutions to address them.

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

Businesses today are aware of the importance of regularly updating the different software they use to keep these running optimally and protected against cyberthreats. However, they often overlook the firmware of their computers and other devices. At best, firmware is only updated if there’s an issue with the hardware. But it’s actually a good idea to always keep firmware updated, and here’s why.

What is firmware?

Firmware is a basic type of software that is embedded into every hardware component in computers, computer peripherals (e.g., keyboards, mice), printers, mobile devices, and Internet of Things devices. It’s also found in some household appliances and gadgets such as TV remote controls, as well as everyday objects like traffic lights.

Essentially, firmware controls the device it’s installed on, sending instructions for how the device communicates with its different hardware components. It is only compatible with the make and model of the particular hardware it is installed on, and it cannot be uninstalled or deleted.

Why is updating firmware important?

According to Microsoft’s 2021 Security Signals report, firmware attacks are on the rise. These attacks involve injecting malware into computer systems to tamper with the firmware on motherboards or hardware drivers. From there, cybercriminals can do any number of things to the infected computers, including remotely controlling the devices, disabling the antivirus software, exfiltrating data, and blocking access to the devices and the data they contain.

Experts recommend installing firmware updates as soon as these become available to effectively protect against firmware attacks and other threats to your business’s cybersecurity. Users will also enjoy increased speed and enhanced performance with a firmware update.

How to install firmware updates

The method for updating firmware differs from device to device. For instance, you can simply download and install firmware updates on both iOS and Android devices. However, for devices such as routers, you will have to apply firmware updates from the manufacturer’s website or administrative console.

Keep in mind, however, that updating firmware can be tedious and time-consuming. In some cases, a firmware update can reset your devices and restore factory settings, causing you to lose custom configurations on your computers, routers, and the like. And if you fail to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter, you risk damaging your systems.

It’s therefore best to leave the installation of firmware updates to the experts. For more information about firmware security and how to safely install firmware updates, or for any questions related to business IT, give our specialists a call today.

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

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Do IT security terms like “phishing” and “intrusion protection” sound extremely foreign to you? If so, it’s time you familiarize yourself with these and other common cybersecurity terms. By learning these basic concepts, you’ll be more aware of the depth and scope of online dangers and, hopefully, be better prepared to deal with them.

Malware

For a long time, the phrase “computer virus” was misused to refer to every type of attack that intended to harm or hurt computers and networks. The more appropriate term for these harmful programs and files would be “malicious software” or “malware.” Whereas a virus is a specific type of malware that is designed to replicate itself, any software created for the purpose of destroying or unfairly accessing networks and data should be referred to as malware.

Ransomware

Don’t let all other cyberthreats ending in -ware confuse you; they are all just subcategories of malware. Currently, one of the most popular of these is “ransomware,” which is malware that encrypts valuable data until a ransom is paid.

Intrusion prevention system (IPS)

There are several ways to safeguard your network from malware, but an IPS is quickly becoming one of the nonnegotiables. An IPS sits inside your company’s firewall and looks for suspicious and malicious activity that can be halted before it can exploit or take advantage of a known vulnerability.

Social engineering

Not all types of malware rely solely on fancy computer programming. Experts agree that the majority of attacks require some form of “social engineering” to succeed. Social engineering is the act of tricking people, rather than computers, into revealing sensitive or protected information. For cybercriminals, complicated software is totally unnecessary if they can just convince potential victims that they’re a security professional who needs the victims’ password to secure their account.

Phishing

Despite often relying on face-to-face interactions, social engineering does occasionally employ more technical methods. Phishing is the act of defrauding people using an app or a website that impersonates a trustworthy or often well-known business in an attempt to obtain confidential information. Just because you received an email that says it’s from the IRS doesn’t mean that it is. Don’t take such emails at face value — always verify the source, especially if the emails are requesting your sensitive data.

Antivirus

Antivirus software is often misunderstood as a way to comprehensively secure your computers and workstations. These applications are just one piece of the cybersecurity puzzle and can only scan the drives on which they are installed for signs of well-known malware variants.

Zero-day attacks

Malware is most dangerous when it has been released but not yet discovered by cybersecurity experts. When a vulnerability is found within a piece of software, vendors will release an update to fix the gap in security. However, if cyberattackers release a piece of malware that has never been seen before, and if that malware exploits one of these holes before the vulnerability is addressed, it is called a zero-day attack.

Patch

When software developers discover a security vulnerability in their programming, they usually release a small file to update and “patch” this gap. Patches are essential to keeping your network secure from the vultures lurking on the internet. By checking for and installing patches as often as possible, you keep your software protected from the latest malware.

Redundant data

When antivirus software, patches, and intrusion prevention fail to keep your information secure, there’s only one thing that will: quarantined off-site storage. Duplicating your data offline and storing it somewhere other than your business’s workspace ensures that if there is a malware infection, you’re equipped with backups.

Our cybersecurity professionals are always available to impart more in-depth knowledge of the many different kinds of cyberthreats. Get in touch with us today and find out how we can help you with your IT security woes.

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