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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

Remote work is becoming the new standard. Even employees who initially missed being in the office are loving working from home. It gives them a break from noisy open floor plan office spaces and offers much more personal freedom. This begs the question: is remote work more efficient than physically being in an office?

According to the studies cited below, remote work is a more productive environment for employees and could improve productivity of an organization in other ways too. For example, it gives organizations access to a wider pool of talent, allowing them to utilize experts from all over the world.

Why is Remote Work More Efficient?

In the past, employees had to get up in the morning an hour and a half before going to work. Now, they can simply get out of bed, have breakfast, and still make it in time for the morning kick-off virtual meeting. Cutting two hours of prep and traffic time per day improves the mood and happiness of workers.

With a 45-minute commute one way, the hours spent in traffic alone add up to more than 25 hours of saved time per month.

The second thing that lowers productivity aside from distractions is an overbearing or intimidating boss. According to Stress.org, 35% of the workers reported that the biggest stress factor in an office environment is communicating with a boss or a leadership figure. Meeting on web-based video conferencing platforms has the effect of leveling the playing field. Plus, it can reduce the stress over an in-person meeting. None of the power dynamics are available to the boss, like standing while you sit. Or potentially the office furniture layout puts you at a disadvantage. In fact, by giving the boss the same challenges with microphones, cameras, and other technology, everyone in the conversation has more equal standing.

Remote Work Requires Organization

A common pushback on remote work often comes from micromanagers who feel more confident if they can closely oversee employees. And to be sure, some employees do not perform well in self-directed circumstances. Smart organizations will focus on helping employees be more productive without direct supervision, or by improving online supervision techniques by utilizing new technologies for secure video conferencing and always-on meeting tools. Because the alternative of bringing them back to an office is likely to become harder as time passes and remote work becomes more entrenched.

For more effective strategies working from home, you need more personal organization. In an office, there are structural elements that help organize your day and your workspace. At home, things that are common in an office are just not there.

Organizations that can identify those who are not as well suited to remote work, and help them with structure and clear expectations, will be more effective than those who ignore the problem.

Remote Employees Are Happier

While some companies are trying to drive people back into the office because ‘it’s always been done this way,’ others are trying to make an educated decision.

study by Tracking Happiness concluded that working remotely or hybrid increases employee satisfaction and happiness by more than 20%. The survey was taken by more than 13,000 participants from Asia, North America, and Europe.

According to the surveyed people:

  • Having an office-based work environment will make them less happy
  • They want hybrid or remote work to be the norm
  • Commute time plays a big role in dissatisfaction with office work
  • Having to spend lunch breaks at or near the office is a negative
  • Millennials prefer to work only from home

Remote Work Has a Better ROI

Not only are people more productive at home, but with them working off-site, companies have lower office expenses. This has led to a paradigm shift in how companies think about employee training and collaboration. In the past, companies planned off-site training and sent their on-site employees to a local hotel, conference center, or specialized collaboration space to ‘get away’ from the office distractions for important training or planning sessions.

What if most of your employees are already off-site remote workers? What do you do with your office space that is underutilized now? You can turn your off-site meetings into on-site meetings at your office and eliminate the expense of third-party meeting spaces. Utilize the space you have with periodic on-site collaboration and training sessions for your remote workers.

There is still a need for office space, but how it will be utilized in the future is still unclear. In the next few years, as building leases begin to expire, the full impact of this reduced office expense will be known.

Final Words

Remote work is more productive and efficient. Plus, it leads to a happier lifestyle for employees. The ROI of hybrid workers is much higher than office workers since it comes with lower costs.

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

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

A record number of businesses said goodbye to the traditional in-office work model in 2020. They embraced the remote work model as they adapted to the new COVID-19 reality. This switch to remote work was a huge shift that came with many challenges, and some of those challenges are still felt today.

One of those challenges was – and is – cyber security. Businesses wanted to get their remote workforce up and running, but there were a lot of questions about how they would keep their newly remote employees secure.

So, how can you enable remote work while keeping your business and your employees secure? How do you keep cybercriminals out? The answer is multifaceted. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to cyber security — that would make things much easier! But there are several steps you can take to help your remote team stay productive while keeping the cybercriminals out. Here are three things you need to do:

  1. Skip the public WiFi. This is Cyber Security 101. Never use unsecured, public WiFi, especially when working. For remote employees who have the option to work from anywhere, using public WiFi is tempting. It’s easy to access, but it comes with huge risks, including the potential to expose your device to intruders.Thankfully, there are plenty of options to help keep employees connected without having to worry about snoops. The most popular is the VPN, or virtual private network. VPNs allow remote workers to securely access the Internet, even through public WiFi. VPNs are ideal for remote workers who need to routinely access your network.Another option is the personal hotspot. This is a portable WiFi access point, usually paired with data service through a telecom like Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile. these devices give remote workers flexibility to work anywhere they can get high-speed data service. Because the remote worker is the only person on the hotspot (and should be the only person), there is less worry about hackers snooping for your data.
  2. Have a strong device policy. When it comes to cost-cutting, it can be appealing to let employees use their own devices while working remotely. Avoid this, if possible. The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) approach has its benefits, including keeping costs down. We need to keep in mind the security costs could be massive, especially if an employee gets hacked or misplaces crucial data. In short, BYOD can get complicated fast, especially for businesses unfamiliar with the BYOD approach.That said, many businesses work with an IT services company to create a list of approved devices (laptops, tablets, smartphones) that employees can use. Then those devices are loaded up with malware protection, a VPN, and other security solutions. So, while employees may be using a variety of devices, they all have the same security and other necessary software in order to perform their duties.The best device policy, however, is to provide employees with work devices. This ensures that everyone is using the same hardware and software, and this makes it much easier to keep everyone up-to-date and secure. It takes a little more effort logistically, and it has a higher up-front cost, but when it comes to keeping your business secure, it’s worth it.
  3. Don’t forget about physical security. While businesses are focusing on digital security right now, they’re not putting a similar focus on physical security. They may have a team of people working remotely spread across different neighborhoods, towns, states or countries. This mobility comes with the risk of device theft or loss.
    If employees will be carrying their work devices with them, those devices should be kept nearby at all times. That means never leaving work devices in vehicles or unattended at a café or airport (or any location). Never leave a device where it has the potential to be taken.It’s important to remind employees to not only keep their doors locked, but also keep work devices out of sight. You wouldn’t want to set up a home office in a room facing the street outside while leaving the windows open and the door unlocked. Just as cybercriminals are looking for ways to break into your network, criminals are looking for opportunities to take high-value items.

The way we work is changing, so we must be prepared for whatever happens next. Implementing these three steps will give you a starting point, but they aren’t the end point. Work with an experienced MSP to get the most out of your remote work approach. Businesses may not return to an in-office model, so the more steps we take to secure our businesses and our remote teams, the better off we’ll all be.

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