Costs of Data Breaches Up 23% from Last Year

A new report from the Ponemon Institute, an organization that publishes the annual “Global Report on the Cost of Cyber Crime,” recently announced that the cost of a data breach has jumped 23% from last year. Here’s what your small to medium sized business needs to know about being prepared in case of a data breach. The Data Breach by the Numbers The report revealed that a data breach will cost a large company about $640,000. This price tag includes hefty costs, such as business disruption, information loss, and detection. The report also revealed that it takes a company an average of 31 days to recover, yet experts advise that the time to remediate from a breach should only be less than one week. Interestingly, small organizations have a higher per-capita cost than large organizations. So, what can your business do to be more prepared? Have a Data Breach Incident Response Plan An Incident Response is an organized approach to responding to and managing the aftermath of a security breach or attack. The goal of such a plan is to limit damage and reduce recovery time and costs. An Incident Recovery plan should include a clear-cut definition of what your company constitutes as an incident and a subsequent step-by-step process that should be followed carefully after an incident occurs. Consider Hiring an Information Security Firm If you contact an Information Security firm after a data breach occurs, your organization will have to pay more money and wait longer to recover. You may not be prepared to remediate and respond in time. Knowing who to call helps your organization avoid...

Steps to Follow When Migrating to the Cloud

Many small to medium sized businesses are migrating to the Cloud – backups, better security, regulations, security, and the Cloud ensures that your company is always up to date without having to continually invest more time and money. So, how can your business make the leap? Here are 3 steps to get you started with your migration to the Cloud: Start With Hosted Email An easy first step is to move your company email to a hosted email solution. Cloud email solutions may include a number of additional services for spam protection, antivirus protection, email archive and more.  When you move your email, first consider how many mailboxes are in use? Can you consolidate or eliminate email inboxes? This is a good time to consider how you can reduce costs and improve security and performance. When moving email to the Cloud, consider starting with just the last six months worth of emails, then move older data over time. Move Data and Files to Cloud Storage Moving your files is a logical next step to getting your business to the Cloud. Consider what data you need to migrate to the Cloud. Now is the perfect time to clean up customer data and archive historical information, such as office documents, financial history and email archives. Planning out your migration carefully will save you time and cloud storage costs in the long run. Move Servers that Support Legacy Applications Consider how you will move servers that support line of business and other legacy applications. Unfortunately, not all legacy applications can live in the Cloud. But, many legacy applications can leverage at least...

It’s Time to Take Cloud Security Seriously

While cloud security concerns are top of mind with many business owners, the benefits of the cloud far outweigh the risks. Nevertheless, as companies deploy cloud computing, taking cloud security seriously will ensure a smooth transition to the cloud. Top Cloud Security Concerns If you are moving your business to the cloud it is important to understand and address your security needs. For many companies, the top concerns of cloud security are cloud service provider’s encryption policies, business continuity and disaster recovery capability, data protection and data integrity. There are a number of other critical concerns, such as the physical security, identity and access management, and regulatory compliance. How to Protect your Data in the Cloud Create Strong Passwords An important step you can take to protect your data in the cloud is to create a policy for passwords within your organization. By requiring a string of text combining numbers, letters (both uppercase and lowercase), and special characters your employees will avoid common passwords that are easily hacked. Also, ensure that your company policy requires changes to passwords regularly and asks employees to use unique passwords when accessing the cloud from their desktops. Network Compliance In addition to creating strong passwords, it’s important for your company to keep your network in compliance. Your network is secure as its/ weakest point of access.  Ensure desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones are maintained with the latest operating system patches and are protected by up to date antivirus and antimalware definition updates. End User Training on Security Employees with a clear understanding of security policy and related risks will help keep your data...

Bright Outlook for Cloud Computing

According to CompTIA’s IT Industry Outlook 2014, cloud computing is even more on the rise since last year. As Generation Y (20-34 years old) infiltrates the work force and members of the Baby Boomer generation reach retirement age, there have been noticeable changes to how technology is used in the workplace. With this shift comes an inevitable increase in cloud computing: “Companies are relying on cloud computing for business processes such as storage (59%), business continuity/disaster recovery (48%), and security (44%)” (CompTIA: IT Industry Outlook 2014). The three models for cloud systems – Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – have all steadily increased year after year, especially among medium-sized businesses. All data points suggest cloud computing is a popular option for business of any size. Are you up to speed on adopting the cloud into your business? How to Leverage Cloud Computing These three main cloud solutions – Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – can leverage your IT business substantially. SaaS provides a way to deliver software and technical services that would otherwise be very costly. Most small businesses can adopt cloud computing into their company only using SaaS services. PaaS allows businesses to create custom apps, databases, and other business services all integrated into one platform. IaaS allows businesses to purchase infrastructure from providers as virtual resources. Which model best fits your business? Advantage of Cloud Computing There are multiple advantages to adopting cloud computing into your IT business, the biggest benefit being the ability to...

Avoiding Downtime by Having a Business Continuity Plan

Companies small and large are increasingly reliant on their IT systems and infrastructure. Having a Business Continuity plan is a proactive way of avoiding unnecessary downtime due to a disaster, human error, or security breach. Not only may downtime cause data loss, but also according to Gartner Research, a conservative estimate of the  cost of downtime for a computer network is $42,000 per hour. For a small business without a Business Continuity plan, such downtime could have long-term crippling implications. In case of natural disasters or IT outages, it is important to be able to calculate risks and financial losses caused by downtime in order to best allocate IT resources to get your business back online quickly. Below are suggestions for putting downtime for your computer network in perspective. Downtime of your Computer Network and Your Business Continuity Plan There are many factors that contribute to losses caused by downtime. These factors include employee productivity, financial losses, fines, legal fees, loss of revenue, and loss of goodwill. Whether it is inventory sitting on trucks, invoices that don’t go out, or cash registers that stop ringing, it is important to understand which applications and data are most important to bring back quickly. By identifying the systems that are most important to keeping your doors open, you will quickly realize where the highest risk of downtime is in your business.  Also note that losing sensitive data, such as credit card information, may attract heavy fines and loss of reputation in addition to lost revenue. How to Avoid Downtime With Your Business Continuity Plan To avoid the disastrous effects that downtime can...
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