The Most Recent Data Breaches and Their Consequences

Big data breaches have been making headlines more and more frequently. It was announced last week that the computer systems at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management had been breached. This is the second computer break-in in the past year for the agency. An estimated four million current and former federal employee records may have been compromised. Guidance Software, a cybersecurity firm, used Einstein, an intrusion detection system, to trace the breach back to a machine under the control of Chinese intelligence. Is Your Network Protected? The hard truth about data breaches is that no one is safe: An individual, a small business, a Fortune 500 company, and government agencies can all be infiltrated. Costs from data breaches have grown tremendously in recent years. On average, a data breach will cost a large company about $640,000 to cover the cost of business disruption, information loss, and detection. It takes the average company about a month to recover. If you own a small to medium sized company, it’s doubly wise to be prepared. Small organizations can expect a higher per-capita cost than large organizations. So, what can your organization do to be better prepared for a possible data breach? Why Invest in Stronger Security Measures United States senators have added $200 million in funding to their proposed fiscal 2016 budget to fund a detailed study of the cyber vulnerabilities of major weapons systems. Smaller organizations would be wise to follow these footsteps and make data security a priority going forward. The biggest goal for SMBs when it comes to data security is education over technical improvement. Security education must be...

Moving to the Cloud: The Advantages

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), total public IT Cloud services (SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS) spending will reach $127 billion in 2018. Compared to the 4.1% compound annual growth rate the IT market will experience from 2013-2018, the public Cloud will grow at a 22.8% compound annual growth rate. That’s five and a half times more than the total IT market spending! The Cloud is unquestionably the most significant trend ever to hit the IT industry. Understanding these figures warrants a thorough review of the advantages associated with moving your organization to the Cloud. Cost Savings The prime advantage of Cloud computing is the ability to pay for what’s being used instead of being compelled to pay for unused services. It’s just smart business sense to cut out unnecessary spending. Large Cloud providers are able to offer more computing power at a lower cost, as they benefit from huge economies from scale. Just make sure Cloud services are not over-provisioned, and only use what you need. Advantages of Both Public and Private Models Organizations have a lot of options when it comes to Cloud models, but most people are confused about the difference between the public and private model. Public Cloud services are designed for a market and not a single enterprise. It is open to all potential users and is shared among unrelated consumers, while private Cloud services are shared within an enterprise but have restrictions on access. These Cloud services can be either onsite or offsite and can be managed by either a third party or in-house staff. There are advantages to both models. The public...

Protect Your Organization from Ransomware

It’s a moment every business owner dreads. A message appears on your organization’s computer screen alerting you that your files have been encrypted and the only way to access them is by paying a ransom. Security threats to computers and mobile phones have grown more sophisticated around the globe in the past few years. The United States in particular saw an increase in “ransomware.” What is Ransomware? Cypersecurity experts report that ransomware is one of the fastest growing forms of hacking, and the scary part is that no one is safe. An individual, a small business, a Fortune 500 company, and government agencies can all be infiltrated. It also attacks smartphones. Ransomware is malicious software that hackers use to extort money from individuals or businesses by preventing them from opening their documents, pictures, and other files unless they pay a ransom, usually in the amount of several hundred dollars. How Ransomware Works Similar to other hackers’ schemes, ransomware can arrive in emails or attachments with links that, when clicked, encrypt your files. Attacks can also occur during a visit to a website, as cybercriminals can attach computer code to even the most well known websites. It could happen during something as harmless as updating an application or downloading an app on your smartphone. Protect Your Organization Cybercriminals are starting to target small businesses more and more, because generally speaking, they are more vulnerable. While big companies have backups and separate computers for their different departments, small to medium sized businesses lack technology teams, sophisticated software, and secure backup systems to protect from ransomware. One of the best investments your...

Why the Cloud Isn’t Going Away

Cloud Computing is only beginning its growth and progression; more than half of all businesses have already implemented Cloud Computing in some way or another into their day-to-day operations. Whether you need improved security, lowered costs, higher efficiency, a backup plan, or a mixture of these benefits, the Cloud is the answer. There’s no pressure to migrate completely to the Cloud. In fact, if you already use applications like file sharing, website hosting or web based email you already rely on Cloud Computing. Smart IT strategy is researching which parts of the Cloud fit the needs of your business and discussing a flexible solution that can be customized to your organization – that’s why the Cloud already works for so many businesses. If you haven’t yet considered utilizing the Cloud, it’s time to decide if you want to keep up with the latest technology or be left behind. The Cloud is here to stay, and here’s why: Cloud Computing is Reliable The majority of companies trust the Cloud enough to make the migration. With the Cloud, companies have constant access to all the information they need, because they can access it from any computing device and from any location. This flexibility in itself makes the Cloud the most reliable solution. Also, with Cloud solutions, data can be backed up to multiple locations and services, which adds another level of protection. You can always add more levels of protection by choosing to use behavior-based key management servers and encryption management keys. The Cloud is Affordable Cloud computing is known to reduce IT management costs dramatically. Migrating to the Cloud may...

How New Technology is Changing the Way Your Business Needs to Think About IT Security

New technology trends pose new security threats to businesses. CompTIA reports that 64% of companies report a “drastic or moderate” change to their security approach. In their survey, more than half of businesses recognize opportunities within their organization for security improvement. IT security priorities are currently focused on developing new corporate policies and educating employees. Businesses are no longer solely relying on annual security reviews; the majority of companies are seeking education that is more ongoing and interactive to avoid future security threats. Modern Day IT Security With new and evolving technologies, the overall approach to IT security must be re-evaluated from the top levels of a business. As more cloud solutions and mobile devices are being utilized within the workplace, new security products are attempting to meet the needs of modern day IT security, such as firewalls, Data Loss Prevention (DLP), and Identity Access Management (IAM). When strategizing your organization’s IT security plan, two main areas need to be addressed in order to be prepared in today’s security landscape: risk analysis and end user awareness. Balancing Risk and Security Risk analysis is becoming a critical activity as companies decide how to handle corporate data, but only 41% of companies are currently performing this in a formal way. Typical risk analysis includes determining the probability of a risk, estimating the potential impact, and then deciding on mitigation strategies. But, the growing trends of cloud computing and mobility have increased the need for careful risk analysis. Since with public cloud computing and personal smart phones and tablets, data resides outside of your company’s control, companies must re-evaluate which data and...
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