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

Why Passwords?

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

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

Making A Strong Password

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

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

Remembering All Of These Passwords

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

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

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

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

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

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

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

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

Responsibility For Company Data

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

Internet Usage

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

E-mail

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

Protecting Their Computers

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

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

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

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

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Many businesses still haven’t figured out secure remote working

It’s been more than two years since the pandemic forced much of the world into lockdown, with many companies thrown into a remote working environment.

But new research has shown the majority still haven’t figured out how to keep their workforce secure as they work from their kitchens, local libraries, coffee shops, and airports.

A survey of 3,000 IT staff and other employees conducted by TechRadar Pro, in partnership with Perimeter 81, shows that more than three-quarters of businesses have at lease some remote employees.

Their responses to questions around intended spending for 2022-23, however, revealed that many still do not have the necessary protections in place; 10% will look to implement some form of access management, while 9% will prioritise VPN and zero-trust solutions, respectively.

Further, just half (50%) of firms have a cloud-based cybersecurity solution in place, with an additional 15% saying they are currently exploring their options.

VPNs and firewalls reign supreme

Ever since the pandemic, the number of cyber-incidents, data breaches, business email compromise attacks, and ransomware attacks has spiked, bringing with them billions of dollars in damages.

Cybersecurity researchers argue that many employees who were forced into a remote working environment weren’t prepared, and ended up compromising their corporate networks with malware-laden home devices running no antivirus solutions, password sharing, and falling victim to phishing and other social engineering attacks.

However, now more than two years since the transition, it should be expected that businesses hold up their end of the bargain too, putting in place the necessary services to protect against threats.

The data shows that companies are performing strongly when it comes to a web security (more than two-thirds have either web or malware filtering solutions set up). Cybersecurity solutions like VPNs and firewalls have also seen relatively high levels of adoption.

But the survey data also serves to highlight the number of businesses that remain at risk, when the inevitable occurs.

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 TechRadar SOURCE

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

Patch your software regularly

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

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

Fortify your accounts

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

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

Use a virtual private network (VPN)

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

Set up firewalls and antivirus software

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

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

Secure home routers

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

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

Back up your data

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

Watch out for online scams

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

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

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

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

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org  SOURCE

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

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

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

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

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

Is it Safe to Use a Password Manager?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Secure Password Manager

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

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

Do Password Managers Get Hacked?

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

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

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

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

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

Verdict – Should You Use a Password Manager?

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

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

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

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from Tech.co SOURCE

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

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

Two-factor authentication

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

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

Two-step authentication

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

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

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

Which one is better?

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

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

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Some of the most well-known companies in the world, including Sony Pictures, Home Depot, Adobe, and eBay, have been victims of cyberattacks. While major corporations like these are high-profile targets for hackers, small- and medium-sized businesses are not exempt from data breaches. And because it may be difficult or impossible to undo any damage caused by cybercriminals, it’s imperative for any business — regardless of their size — to take steps to fortify their systems. The following security tips can help guard company data.

Use two-factor authentication

Using a complicated password to secure your system is not an effective way to level up your cybersecurity. That’s because having to memorize a difficult password often pushes users to set that same complex password for multiple accounts. And if a hacker gets a hold of a recycled password, there’s a high probability that they could access all your accounts that use that same password.

Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security to your systems and accounts. 2FA comes in many forms: it can be a biometric verification in the devices that you own or a time-sensitive auto-generated code sent to your mobile phone. This security feature works similarly to how websites would require you to confirm your email address to ensure that you are not a bot.

Encrypt all data

Encryption is an effective obstruction to hackers, since it scrambles and descrambles data every time someone tries to read it. Encryption also causes compatibility issues if the data is not being accessed via a company’s own network systems. While applying encryption can be expensive, it is certainly well worth the money because it protects your data in case it falls into the wrong hands.

Keep systems up to date

Hackers are always upgrading their tools to take advantage of outdated security systems, so companies should keep up to protect their valuable technology resources. Many companies don’t install software updates immediately, and that’s a huge problem. Updates often close existing security loopholes, which is why delayed installation can mean exposing your systems to external attacks. Keep your data safe by installing software updates as soon as they are released.

Back up frequently

Implementing several layers to your security doesn’t ensure that hackers won’t find their way into your systems. This is why you need to back up data frequently, whether it’s on-site, off-site, or by way of cloud backups. In the worst-case scenario where your systems do get infiltrated, you can restore lost data from your backups.

Monitor connectivity

Many businesses have no idea how many of their devices are connected online at a given time, so it’s very hard for them to keep track of which of these should actually be online. Sometimes, a company’s computers and servers are online when they don’t need to be, making these tempting and easy targets for attackers. It’s advisable to configure business servers properly to guarantee that only necessary machines are online and that they’re well-protected at all times.

It’s much more expensive to recover from a data breach than to prevent one. If you’re looking to protect your business IT systems from potential threats, contact us today so we can help.

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

authentication

A secure login process is an excellent way to protect your business from cybercriminals.
When it comes to verifying user identity, you can choose between two-step authentication and two-factor authentication. Learn the difference between the two so you can have a better appreciation of your cybersecurity options.
If you want to improve your business’s cybersecurity, you should take a closer look at your authentication process. Two-step and two-factor authentication are two of the most commonly used authentication methods. Many businesses use the terms two-step and two-factor authentication interchangeably, but there are subtle differences between the two.

Two-step authentication

A two-step authentication process requires a single-factor login (such as a password or biometric reading) as well as another similar type of login credential that a user must provide. This process typically requires entering a password for the first step and entering another security code for the second step, which may be accomplished by providing a one-time code generated by an authenticator app such as Google Authenticator.

Two-step authentication adds an extra step in the verification process, making it more secure than single-step authentication (i.e., providing only a password). However, if a person or business is hacked, it won’t be enough to stop hackers from getting a hold of whatever they are looking for.

Two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication, a subset of multifactor authentication, is significantly more secure than two-step authentication. This type of authentication requires two different types of information to authenticate a user’s identity. For example, it could be a combination of a fingerprint or retinal scan as well as a password or passcode. Because of the additional authentication information required, hackers would have great difficulty breaking into a network using a two-factor authentication system.

Which one is better?

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

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