What is Ransomware and How to Protect Against It

Ransomware is a type of malware designed to block access to your computer until a sum of money is paid. Ransomware issues have impacted many individuals with home computers; however, it is only a matter of time before this malicious software attacks business. Starting with Cryptolocker in 2013, Ransomware exploits have become increasing sophisticated and have cost individual companies thousands of dollars in ransom. Here are some tips to take to help your business avoid being held captive by Ransomware. Backup to the Cloud to Recover from a Ransomware Attack. An inadequate backup strategy without real-time backups or offsite backup could hamper your ability to recover from a Ransomware attack. Being able to recover data from your Cloud Backup could get your systems up and running in a hurry, avoiding the need to pay ransom. Keep Your IT Assets Up to Date and in Compliance If your systems get behind in operating system and applications patches and updates, you may create a security hole that can be compromised by Ransomware. Many managed security and managed service offerings include proactive management and delivery of these important updates so your network will not be held hostage by ransomware. Training Your Employees to Detect and Report Ransomware Your employees are your front line of defense when it comes to your systems security. Make sure your employees know how to identify a phishing email and understand the risks of opening documents and attachments (including unfamiliar file extensions or .exe file formats) from unauthorized sources. Ensure your employees understand what Ransomware is and how it can impact your company’s productivity and drain financial resources....

Proactive Networking Monitoring: What & Why

Your business relies more and more on healthy network infrastructure. Migration to Cloud, Compliance and IT Security all fuel the case to proactively monitor your network health. By proactively scanning your network, you can identify bottlenecks and other irregularities that could impact your network performance and network security. Identifying network compromise in advance will save your business time and money in the long run. Here are some considerations of what to proactively monitor on your network and why: Monitor Your Network Performance Network performance monitoring may identify a number of issues impacting your employee productivity. In some cases it may be a hardware failure (network switch or router) that is causing intermittent outage. Data-intensive applications (e.g. remote backup, call center or VoIP) may need optimization to improve overall network performance. Regular proactive network monitoring will identify these issues that can easily be remediated to avoid any unnecessary downtime, loss of employee productivity, or other failures such as dropped calls and failed backups. Monitor Your Network Access A periodic scan of devices attached to your network will identify any unauthorized access to your network. You may identify devices including desktop, laptop and mobile access from terminated employees, unauthorized access on your wireless network, and other potential compromises to your network. A regular scan of your network helps you stay in compliance and avoid any security compromise. Monitor Your Network Utilization By monitoring your network utilization, you may identify usage patterns impacting your overall network performance. Social media and streaming technologies can chew up your company bandwidth. By monitoring your utilization you may need to implement internal policies on use of...

Findings Link Network Security to Human Error

How secure is your network? A recent study by CompTIA links human error as the primary cause of security breaches. In fact, human error is at fault 58 percent of the time, as compared to technology error occurring 42 percent of the time. This survey of over 1500 business and technology executives points to the need to teach staff the importance of Network Security. Common Cybersecurity Threats Today’s businesses rely on a number of Cloud Services to maintain competitive edge, agility and efficiency. These applications run on a variety of devices including tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices. Failure of employees to keep up with threats from social media and mobile malware can impact the security perimeter of your business. The more your employees know of the risks, the more likely they are to follow policies and procedures to help avoid compromise. Network Security Risks Big companies are big targets. Larger organizations may have big databases of customer information that may entice hackers to strike. However, larger organizations may have sophisticated threat detection to identify security breaches so they can respond quickly to a cyber attack. Alternatively, threats at smaller companies may go undetected. While the amount of data may not be as large, hackers may view smaller organizations as easy targets. What’s worse, smaller organizations may be less likely to recover from a privacy breach. Security Training for Your Staff There is a range of topics to address within your company. It is important for your team to understand the range of threats that can compromise your company data. Antivirus, Malware, Phishing and even SMS Phishing (SMISHING) are...

Tackling Cloud Security

Security is always top of mind with businesses migrating to the Cloud. Cloud Services are rapidly being adopted by most businesses today. According to IDC, the worldwide public cloud services market reached $45.7 billion in 2013 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23% through 2018. Cloud Security is an important consideration for businesses migrating to the Cloud. So, what are the top security concerns businesses face? Top Cloud Security Concerns CompTIA’s Ninth Annual Information Security Trends study identified system downtime/business interruptions, exposure or loss of data during file transfers to the cloud, and concerns over encryption of data (either transactional or at rest) as the top three issues identified by business owners and IT Professionals. In addition, respondents raised concern over complying with legal/regulatory requirements. What can a business owner do to migrate securely to the Cloud? Cloud Security and Compliance Most experts agree, start by understanding your Cloud Security requirements. If you have regulatory requirements, a Private Cloud solution may make it easier to comply with standards including HIPAA and PCI. However, this doesn’t mean you are more secure. Beyond encryption, having a solid strategy for using the technology in your organization is a key factor in Cloud Security. Employees: Key to Tackling Cloud Security Your employees may be your biggest threat to Cloud Security. Without the proper training, your employees may access your company’s Cloud Services from unsecure devices. This could cause security breaches and data leaks of privacy information. What’s more, it is important to control the adoption of Cloud Services within your business to help mitigate Cloud Security...

Is Your Network Ready for the Cloud?

Moving to the Cloud requires a fast, reliable network to ensure high availability to Cloud applications and their data. Critical systems including Cloud backup, SaaS, VDI, VoIP and other critical systems need consistent broadband access to ensure employee productivity, compliance and keep customer service levels high. This begs the question, is your network ready for the Cloud? Network Assessment for Cloud Readiness When moving to the Cloud it is important to understand where you may have points of failure on your network before they happen.  Consider starting with a Network Assessment. By simulating peak loads for voice and data on your network, you can identify weaknesses in a controlled environment. By proactively monitoring your network, you can ping to measure packet loss, latency and uptime; also, you can identify bottlenecks for failure, allowing you to fix problems before they happen. Avoiding unnecessary downtime and/or data loss improves employee productivity and helps ensure compliance. Maintain Network Security and Compliance for Consistent Computing Access Malicious attacks, including cyber threats and unauthorized access to your network, will not only expose you to loss of critical data.  They may also degrade your network performance. Unauthorized network use by employees may also consume bandwidth that slows down your network. Unauthorized video streaming and access to unauthorized websites contribute to a slow network. Upgrade or Improve Network Performance There are many options to create an affordable wide area network. Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) is an emerging option to create secure, reliable access to your Public or Private Cloud Services. This new technology, which provides centralized management and policy-based enforcement, makes it faster to...
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