Communication Security in the Digital Age

Communication Security

Communication Security in the Digital Age

Key Points:

  • Cyberattacks are becoming increasingly common, so protecting your business is essential.
  • Employees must be trained on good communication security practices to avoid falling victim to cyberattacks.
  • Communication security can be boosted by encrypting data, utilizing a secure network connection, and keeping devices up-to-date.

In today’s business world, data breaches and cyber attacks are becoming more and more common. As a result, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your communication channels are secure. What does that mean, exactly? Is it worth the effort? Let’s take a closer look.

Communication Security

What Is Communication Security?

Communication security, also known as ComSec, refers to the measures taken to protect electronic communications from being intercepted and read by unauthorized users. ComSec includes hardware and software solutions, such as firewalls, encryption, and access control measures.

The Importance of Communication Security

When it comes to communication security, it’s essential to understand that there are a variety of ways in which your communications can be intercepted and read by others. Electronic interception of communications is relatively standard. For example, someone else on the network can intercept and read your communications if you’re using a public Wi-Fi network. This is why it’s essential to use a private, secure network whenever possible.

Data breaches and cyberattacks have become common occurrences in today’s digital world. As our lives move increasingly online, we leave behind a digital footprint with every mouse click. This digital footprint is a treasure trove of information for cybercriminals, who can use it to commit identity theft, financial fraud, and other crimes. While there is no foolproof way to prevent a data breach or cyberattack, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk.

How to Boost Communication Security in Your Business

Business communications have come a long way, from emails to instant messaging and video conferencing. As our methods of communication evolve, so do how cybercriminals can exploit them. While you may think your communication methods are secure, there’s always room for improvement when it comes to security.

There are several steps you can take to boost your communication security. Here are a few of the most important:

Utilize a Secure Network Connection

One key way to boost your communication security is to make sure you are always using a secure network connection. This means avoiding public Wi-Fi hotspots and ensuring your home or office network is password-protected. If you must use public Wi-Fi, be sure to only connect to encrypted websites (look for https:// in the URL) and avoid entering sensitive information such as passwords or credit card numbers.

Keep Your Devices Updated

It’s also essential to ensure that all your communication devices are up-to-date with the latest security patches. This includes ensuring that your computer’s operating system and installed applications are up-to-date. Many devices will update automatically, but it’s always a good idea to double-check and make sure everything is updated manually.

Use Encryption Software

One of the best ways to boost communication security is to encrypt all of your data. This means that if anyone intercepts your communication, they would not be able to read it without the proper decryption key.

Check Links Before Clicking

One of the most common ways hackers gain access to our devices and data is through phishing emails. These emails appear to be from a legitimate source but contain links that lead to malicious websites. Before clicking on any links, hover over them with your mouse to see where they are taking you. If the URL looks suspicious, do not click on it.

Inspect Email Addresses

Another way to spot phishing emails is to look closely at the sender’s email address. Frequently, phishing emails will come from addresses very similar to legitimate addresses but with a few small changes. For example, a phishing email from Amazon might come from an address like “amaxon.com” or “a-mazon.com.” Always inspect email addresses carefully before opening any attachments or clicking any links.

Implement Access Control Measures

Access control measures help to ensure that only authorized users can access your communications. For example, you might require employees to use two-factor authentication when logging into company email accounts. This means that they would also need to enter a code sent to their mobile device in addition to a password. This makes it much more difficult for hackers to access your data.

Use a Virtual Private Network

A virtual private network (VPN) is a great way to boost your communication security. VPNs encrypt all your traffic, making it much more difficult for anyone to intercept and read your data.

Train Your Employees on Good Security Practices

Finally, one of the most important things you can do is train your employees on good security practices. Ensure they know how to spot phishing emails, create strong passwords, and not fall victim to other common security threats. The better educated your employees are about communication security, the less likely it is that your business will be compromised by a cyberattack.

Benefits of Good Communication Security Practices

By following the tips above, you can help to ensure that your communication is secure. This is important for both individuals and businesses. Businesses that implement good communication security practices can enjoy many benefits, including:

  • Reducing the likelihood of data breaches
  • Protecting sensitive information
  • Preventing loss of customer trust
  • Ensuring compliance with data privacy regulations
  • Saving money on costly security breaches

Businesses and individuals who take steps to secure their communications can also enjoy peace of mind knowing that their data is safe from prying eyes. Communication security is more important than ever in today’s increasingly connected world.

Final Thoughts

Communication security should be a top priority for any business or organization in today’s digital age. By taking steps like encrypting data, utilizing a secure network connection, keeping devices up-to-date, and training employees on good security practices, you can help ensure that your business is protected from cyberattacks. As the world becomes more connected, it’s important to remember that communication security is everyone’s responsibility.

Cyber Risk Insurance 101

Cyber Risk Insurance 101

Cyber Risk Insurance 101: What is it and Who Needs It?

Every business needs to protect itself against cyberattacks. That’s why companies must have cyber risk insurance. Cyber risk insurance can help you pay for the costs associated with a data breach or ransomware attack, but there are other things that you should consider as well. Understanding cyber risk insurance, why it’s necessary, and how it works will help determine if your business needs this coverage.

Cyber Risk Insurance 101

What is Cyber Risk Insurance?

First, let’s define what cyber insurance is. Cyber risk insurance is a protection plan provided by an insurer to help protect your organization from monetary loss resulting from a cyber breach or attack. It works like traditional property and casualty insurance: you pay the premiums, and in the event of a loss (or series of losses) due to cyber-related incidents, your insurer reimburses you for any financial costs associated with that loss.

If a breach occurs and leads to stolen customer data or other damages, your company can file a claim with its insurer—and get paid out accordingly if approved.

Who Needs Cyber Risk Insurance?

The answer to this is simple: all businesses. Cyber risk insurance can be a lifesaver for those who may not have the means or desire to purchase cyber protection. There are several instances where organizations of all sizes should consider cyber insurance coverage, from startups to government agencies and nonprofits.

In addition to the apparent need for small businesses, however, it’s worth noting that large firms also benefit from cyber risk insurance. Large corporations with thousands—or even hundreds of thousands—of employees can experience significant downtime if their computer systems suffer an attack on their networks. A large company may also have access to sensitive information about its customers or suppliers that could be used against other companies with whom they do business.

Many considerations go into cybersecurity and protecting your business from financial loss due to a cyberattack. Here are some of the key ones:

  • The cost of a data breach. According to the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach is well over $4 million.
  • The cost of an attack on your business. A cyberattack can lead to physical damage or theft from your company’s stockroom or warehouse, intellectual property theft, and loss of customer data and trust.
  • The cost of ransomware attacks – Ransomware attacks are malicious software designed to block access to infected computers until users pay ransom demands (often via Bitcoin), which amounts to digital extortionists trying to extort money by holding computer files hostage until they pay up! How much do these hackers demand? Exorbitant sums that could total in the six-to-seven-figure range.

Why Should I Buy It?

While you may think that your business is immune from cyberattacks, the truth is that no company is completely safe. While there are no guarantees that a cyberattack won’t happen to your business, the right insurance protects you and your team from the damage caused by one.

Cyber insurance is one of the best ways for businesses of all sizes to protect themselves against cybercrime and other unexpected losses from data breaches. The cost of recovering can be astronomical—and if you don’t have the proper coverage in place, they could put your entire business at risk. It may seem an expense at first glance, but it can be well worth protecting against financial threats.

Put another way: if you think purchasing cyber risk insurance is expensive, imagine how expensive it will be when you’re under a cyber attack and don’t have any protection.

Types of Cyber Insurance Policies

Numerous types of cyber risk insurance policies are available to businesses. You’ll have to evaluate your own specific needs to understand which one fits your organization best:

  • Business interruption insurance: This policy protects against the loss of income resulting from a cyberattack, such as a denial-of-service attack that results in a website being down for an extended period.
  • Cyber extortion insurance: This policy covers the cost of responding to ransomware attacks and ensures that your business is compensated if you pay an attacker’s ransom demand.
  • Data breach insurance: If you suffer from a data breach or lose customer information due to hacking, this type of cyber insurance can help cover costs associated with notifying customers and handling any legal action taken against you by consumers whose private information was compromised as part of an attack on your servers or network infrastructure.

Keep in mind that in many cases, you can mix and match the type of policies you buy. It is better to err on the side of caution, opting for more protection versus less. That way, you’ll have more holistic security against possible cyber attacks.

Should You Buy Cyber Insurance?

If you’re not sure whether or not cyber insurance is right for your business, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you have a budget for a potential breach? You may not be able to afford $2 million worth of coverage upfront, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth investigating. Many carriers offer packages based on risk tolerance, which means they’ll provide coverage even if there are gaps in your policy.
  • Are you comfortable with the risks associated with cyber-attacks? While some companies might be squeamish about admitting their vulnerabilities, others would rather know what they’re up against so they can start taking steps to mitigate those risks.
  • Do you already have an established plan for responding to and recovering from an attack? If so, buying cyber insurance might make sense because it gives peace of mind knowing that your company will be protected financially should something go awry (and trust me—it will).

Cyber insurance is a crucial part of cyber risk management and should be essential to your overall business plan. If you’re unsure if cyber risk insurance is right for your business, contact us, and we can answer any questions you may have. And remember: The cost of a security breach or data breach can be devastating. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

7 New and Notable Microsoft Teams Features You Need to Know

7 New Teams Features

Seven New and Notable Microsoft Teams Features You Need to Know

Critical Points In This Article

  • Microsoft continuously rolls out new features for Teams users. Here are seven of the most recent and notable improvements.
  • Improved search capabilities regarding Chat messages.
  • The addition of a soft focus filter for Teams Meetings.
  • Greater Teams and Outlook integration.
  • Pre-assignment of attendees in Breakout Rooms.
  • Improvements to Polls, including ranked choice answering and reusing poll questions.
  • Elimination of the default Wiki Tab.
  • Shared audio on smartphone Teams Meetings

Microsoft Teams is not only one of the most robust and secure software applications on the market, but users also enjoy the continuous release of new features. Teams auto-update every two weeks, providing users with new productivity-enhancing and security features to help them make the most of the application. Because of the frequency of the updates, it can be hard to keep up with all the changes Teams undergo in a given year. But to help you make the most of Microsoft Teams, here’s a look at some of the most notable changes in 2022.

7 New Teams Features

Improved Search for Chat Messages

One long sought-after improvement is the ability to navigate directly to a Chat message that appears in your Search results. Previously, when you’d search for a message using a person’s name, you’d be taken to a single message without being able to see the full conversation. This approach made it hard for users to find attachments or aspects of the conversation they were looking for.

By the beginning of 2022, Teams had already made notable improvements to their search function. They’d redesigned their interface so you can find all of the references to your search term in Teams on the All tab. If you’re looking specifically for messages, you can search within the Messages tab, which speeds up finding the chat you’re looking for. But now, by honing in on Chats you’ve had with a specific user, you can more easily find the information you’re looking for.

Soft Focus Filter in Teams Meetings

Teams now offer users a Soft Focus feature you can use in Teams Meetings. This feature uses AI to soften your appearance in video meetings, subtly reducing the amount of detail transmitted. As a result, you may appear more hale and hearty, which can help you make a better impression in meetings or when presenting. You can control the extent to which you use this feature in Audio and Video Settings.

Greater Teams and Outlook Integration

Now, in Outlook, you can leverage Teams content more easily. If you open a message and scroll over the new Teams icon that appears at the top right of the message, you’ll see you can share the email to Teams, schedule a meeting in Teams with those who’ve received the message you’re looking at and chat with message recipients more easily.

You can also send Forms more easily to Teams users and through Outlook. In the Send and collect responses option in Forms, you’ll find an option to send a preformatted message with a link to your Form to the Channel you type in. You’ll see a similar preformatted message for Outlook recipients, and when you select the mail client, you’ll be able to email the form link to any email address you want.

Pre-assign Attendees in Breakout Rooms

When you create a meeting and assign it to a Channel, you can now assign attendees to a Breakout Room before the meeting. Many of us have been in meetings where we have to way a few minutes as the Organizer scrambles to assign each attendee to a Breakout Room for the meeting to continue. This feature eliminates that delay allowing you to run a seamless meeting.

Once you’ve created a meeting and assigned it to a channel, simply head to the meeting on your calendar, open it, and click Edit. You’ll see a Breakout Rooms tab, which, when selected, will allow you to create the number of breakout rooms you need and then assign attendees automatically or manually to those rooms.

Poll Improvements

You can now add a Polls tab to your meeting, allowing you to incorporate polling more easily. There’s also a new option that allows you to create Polls where participants can rank the different options in your Poll. If you’re looking to get feedback on, say, new designs or projects, this feature can really come in handy in helping you gauge your audience’s thinking.

You can now also reuse the Poll questions you’ve created easily. In the Polls tab, you’ll find a My recent tabs option. Selecting it will show you questions you’ve already used on the right-hand side. Click on the question(s) you want to use, select Save as a draft, and you’ll see they’ve been added to the new Poll you’re creating.

Elimination of the Default Wiki Tab

If you’re a commercial teams customer, Teams will no longer add a default Wiki tab when you create a new Channel. You can add a Wiki if you want, and any Wikis that have already been created will remain intact. However, new Channels will no longer automatically include this tab.

Before this change, some users stumbled across a hidden danger. These Wikis were stored in a SharePoint library. Removing the Wiki tab from the Channel would permanently delete the SharePoint file and all of the Wiki content with no chance of recovery. To avoid this, knowledgeable IT administrators and MSP staff might spend extra time deleting the Wiki tabs in Teams provisioning solutions. However, by eliminating the default addition of a Wiki to each Channel, time can be saved, and this potential mishap can be avoided entirely.

Shared Audio on Smartphone Teams Meetings

You can easily share audio if you’re on a Teams meeting on iOS or Android. Simply enable the new Share Audio feature, and you can now share audio with participants, such as through a video or music app, when you’re using the Share Screen function. This function works for iOS 13 or later and Android 10 or later.

Why Small Businesses Must Implement Ongoing Risk Management

Risk Management

Why Small Businesses Must Implement Ongoing Risk Management

Key Points

  • Risk management is identifying, assessing, and managing risks to help protect against potential losses or liabilities.
  • Risks can come from financial, operational, legal, or reputational risks.
  • By identifying and assessing risks early on, you can take steps to mitigate or avoid them altogether.

The traditional security perimeter is no longer enough to keep organizations safe. Cybercriminals are increasingly sophisticated and can easily bypass perimeter defenses. Preventing sophisticated attacks requires a new approach that starts with risk management and extends security throughout the entire network. Risk management is vital for small businesses. Implementing ongoing risk management as a standard practice can help protect your small business against potential losses and liabilities.

Risk Management

What Is Risk Management?

Risk management is a proactive approach to security that starts with identifying assets and vulnerabilities and then implementing measures to protect against potential threats. By taking a proactive approach, organizations can reduce the likelihood and impact of security breaches.

Risk management starts with a risk assessment, identifying and evaluating potential security risks. Once identified, organizations can develop and implement strategies to mitigate or reduce those risks.

Risk management strategies can include developing security policies and procedures, implementing security controls, and increasing employee awareness. Organizations must continually monitor and adjust their risk management strategies as new risks emerge, and existing risks change.

Effective risk management requires a commitment from everyone in the organization, from the CEO to the front-line employees. When everyone understands their role in security and works together to reduce risks, organizations can better protect themselves from potential threats.

What Are the Components of Risk Management?

There are four main components of risk management:

  • Asset identification: Organizations must first identify their assets, which can include things like data, systems, and people.
  • Vulnerability assessment: Once assets have been identified, organizations must assess their vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities are weaknesses that can be exploited by threats.
  • Threat assessment: Organizations must then identify the potential threats to exploit their vulnerabilities.
  • Risk mitigation: Once risks have been identified, organizations can implement strategies to mitigate or reduce those risks. Risk mitigation strategies can include developing security policies and procedures, implementing security controls, and increasing employee awareness.

These components work together to form a comprehensive risk management strategy. Organizations can better protect themselves from potential threats by taking a proactive and holistic approach to security.

What Are the Benefits of Risk Management?

There are many benefits of risk management, including:

  • Reduced likelihood of security breaches: Organizations can reduce the likelihood of a security breach by identifying assets and vulnerabilities and implementing security measures.
  • Reduced impact of security breaches: If a security breach does occur, risk management can help reduce the impact. Organizations can limit the damage and quickly recover from a breach by having policies and procedures in place.
  • Improved security posture: A proactive approach to security can help organizations improve their overall security posture. Organizations can become more resilient to potential threats by identifying and addressing risks.
  • Improved compliance: Risk management can help organizations meet compliance requirements related to data security and privacy.

Implementing Ongoing Risk Management in Your Business

As a small business leader, you always seek ways to protect and grow your company. One way to do this is by implementing an ongoing risk management strategy.

Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Identify potential risks. The first step in risk management is identifying potential risks that could affect your small business. This can be done through various methods, such as brainstorming sessions, conducting surveys or interviews with employees, or reviewing previous incidents. Once you’ve identified potential risks, you can begin assessing them.
  • Assess the likelihood and impact of each risk. The next step is to assess the likelihood and impact of each risk. This will help you determine which risks are more serious and must be addressed first. To assess the likelihood of a risk, consider how probable it is that the event will occur. To assess the impact of a risk, consider the potential financial or reputational damage that could be caused by the event if it were to occur.
  • Develop mitigation strategies. Once you’ve identified and assessed the risks, you can develop mitigation strategies. Mitigation strategies are designed to reduce the likelihood or impact of a risk occurring. For example, if you’re concerned about the possibility of a data breach, you might implement safeguards such as encryption or two-factor authentication for your digital systems.
  • Implement control measures. Control measures are designed to prevent or detect errors or fraud. For example, control measures for financial risks might include implementing Independent Reviews or separating roles within your accounting department so that one person cannot record and approve transactions.
  • Monitor and review regularly. Risk management is not a static process; it should be revisited regularly so that new risks can be identified and existing mitigation strategies can be updated as needed. Depending on the size and complexity of your small business, this might be done quarterly, semi-annually, or annually.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your small business is prepared for any potential risks that may come it’s way. Implementing ongoing risk management as a standard practice will help protect your business against losses—and allow you to sleep better at night knowing that you’re prepared for anything.

Applying Zero-Trust Principles to Your Risk Management Strategy

Zero-trust is a security principle that states that organizations should not automatically trust anything inside or outside their networks. Instead, all users, devices, and resources should be verified and authenticated before being granted access. Zero trust prevents cybercriminals from penetrating your organization by validating every user, device, and connection trying to access data or systems.

Adopting and implementing a zero-trust security strategy is not just about investing in the right technology. It’s about changing the way your organization thinks about security. Zero trust requires a shift in mindset from perimeter-based security to identity-based security. Organizations that have yet to make this shift are at a greater risk of data breaches and expensive cyber attacks.

According to IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach 2022 report, 41% of organizations revealed they have deployed a zero-trust security architecture, while the other 59% have not. The report also revealed the organizations that have deployed a zero-trust security architecture saved over 1 million dollars in data breach costs.

Zero trust is no longer a new or emerging technology – it’s a must-have for any organization looking to protect its data and systems. As the need for better security grows, so does the adoption of zero trust.

Wrapping Up

Risk management is an important part of running a successful small business. By identifying potential risks and implementing mitigation strategies, you can help protect your business against losses. Review your risk management strategy regularly to ensure that it stays up-to-date, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you need it.

6 Common IT Problems

IT Problems

6 Common IT Problems and Their Impact on Businesses

Key Points:

  • The ever-changing landscape of technology leads to new IT problems every day.
  • Businesses must be proactive to stay ahead of the curve regarding IT problems.
  • Businesses can avoid major disruptions by being aware of the common issues and implementing the appropriate solutions.

IT Problems

Information Technology (IT) is a crucial part of any modern business. It helps organizations become more efficient and connect with customers, employees, and partners. However, IT can also be a source of frustration, as it is often complex and prone to problems. In any business, specific IT problems are bound to occur no matter how well-prepared you are. Whether a crashed server or an email outage, these issues can cause serious disruptions in your workflow. Today, we’ll discuss some of the most common IT problems all companies face and provide tips on addressing them.

1. Lack of IT Security

One of the most common IT problems is a lack of security. With so many cyber threats out there, it’s essential to have strong security measures in place to protect your data and systems. Unfortunately, many companies don’t invest enough in security, leaving themselves vulnerable to attacks.

Solution: Make sure you have a robust security system, including firewalls, anti-virus software, and intrusion detection. Train your employees on best security practices, and ensure they understand the importance of keeping your systems safe.

2. Downtime

Another common IT problem is downtime. This is when your systems or website is down for maintenance or due to an issue. Downtime can be costly for businesses, leading to lost productivity and revenue.

Solution: Have a plan in place for dealing with downtime. This should include having backup systems in place so that you can continue to work if your primary system goes down. Make sure your employees know what to do during downtime and have a way to stay in touch with customers or clients if your website is down.

3. Data Loss

Data loss is another common IT problem. This can happen due to hardware failure, human error, or malicious attacks. Data loss can devastate businesses, leading to lost information, customers, and revenue.

Solution: Invest in data backup and recovery solutions. These will help you protect your data and quickly recover it if lost. Make sure your employees understand the importance of backing up data and have a process in place for doing so.

4. Outdated Hardware and Software

Another common IT problem is outdated hardware and software. As technology evolves, it’s essential to keep your systems up-to-date. Otherwise, you’ll be at a competitive disadvantage, and your systems may become vulnerable to security threats.

Solution: Regularly update your hardware and software. This includes both your operating system and the applications you use. Stay up-to-date on the latest security threats, and make sure your systems are protected against them.

5. Slow System Performance

Slow system performance is another common IT issue. This can be caused by many factors, including outdated hardware, insufficient resources, or incorrect configurations. Slow performance can lead to lost productivity and frustration for users.

Solution: Invest in new hardware or upgrade your existing hardware as needed. Make sure your systems have enough resources, such as memory and storage, to meet the demands of your users. Also, check your configurations and make sure they are optimized for performance.

6. IT Support Issues

Another common issue that businesses face is IT support. Many companies don’t have enough staff to support their IT systems or staff that is not properly trained. This can lead to issues when things go wrong or when users need help.

Solution: Make sure you have enough staff to support your IT systems and that they are properly trained. Also, consider using a managed services provider (MSP) to help with your IT support needs. MSPs can provide expert support when needed, often more cost-effective than hiring your own staff.

What Impact Do These IT Problems Have on Businesses?

Every business relies on information technology (IT), whether communicating with customers or employees, processing transactions, or managing inventory. When IT systems go down at any time, it can cause serious disruptions to business operations. The impact of IT problems typically falls into one of three categories:

  1. Financial Impact
  2. Productivity Impact
  3. Reputational Impact

Let’s take a closer look at each of these categories:

1. Financial Impact

The financial impact of IT problems can be significant. Even a relatively minor issue can cost a business thousands of dollars in lost productivity, data loss, and revenue. In some cases, IT problems can even lead to business failure.

2. Productivity Impact

IT problems can have a serious impact on productivity. Even a minor issue can result in lost productivity, as employees cannot work effectively. Sometimes, IT problems can even lead to shutdowns, as businesses cannot operate without IT systems.

3. Reputational Impact

IT problems can also damage a business’s reputation. If a business experiences a major IT outage, customers may lose faith in the company and take their business elsewhere. In some cases, media coverage of IT problems can damage a business’s reputation.

IT problems don’t just impact one area of a business. They can have a ripple effect that impacts many different areas. This is why it’s crucial to have a plan to deal with IT problems.

Final Thoughts

No business is immune to the potential downside of technology. IT problems can have a significant financial, productivity, and reputational impact on businesses of all sizes. The best way to avoid these problems is to invest in a reliable IT infrastructure and to have a comprehensive plan for dealing with IT issues. By being prepared, businesses can minimize the impact of IT problems and keep their operations running smoothly.

Why You Should Backup Microsoft 365

Backup Microsoft 365

Why You Should Backup Microsoft 365

Key Points:

  • Microsoft 365 is one of the most popular business solutions for collaboration in the cloud.
  • Businesses of all sizes and types are experiencing an increased risk of cyber attacks.
  • Microsoft 365 has several built-in security features, but data backup is vital and should be a habit.

As businesses embrace a hybrid and remote workforce, more and more organizations are choosing Microsoft 365. Formerly known as Office 365, Microsoft 365 is a great software suite that offers many benefits for businesses and has become the leading solution for collaboration in the cloud.

Organizations choose Microsoft 365 for various reasons, such as cost, available tools, or because the subscription-based software enables users to add Microsoft’s core applications to their subscription plan. In addition, Microsoft 365 continues to offer advancements and enhancements that firmly establish its position as the leading software solution for many businesses.

One of the primary reasons many organizations choose Microsoft 365 is because it is one of the most secure productivity tools available. In addition, Microsoft 365 is hosted in the cloud, on a remote server, and developed by one of the biggest names in tech.

Storing data in the cloud is convenient because it makes data universally accessible to everyone in your organization, regardless of their physical location. Your team can use Microsoft 365 to access data anytime connected to the internet. But storing data in the cloud also increases the risk of data loss, which has become a severe issue in recent years.

No matter how good a product or service is, there are always drawbacks, and Microsoft 365 is no exception. For example, Microsoft 365 has a host of built-in security measures but doesn’t include a native option to create Microsoft 365 backup and store data on the cloud.

Backup Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 Risks

All software, even Microsoft 365, comes with certain risks. Typically, it’s your responsibility if an issue causes you to lose valuable business data. While software developers, such as Microsoft, strive to eliminate any potential problems before they occur, you must ensure your data is protected with an accessible backup.

According to Microsoft’s Services Agreement, the company and its distributors make no warranty concerning the use of their services. The agreement goes on to say that the use of the service is at your own risk and that because of the nature of computer and telecommunications systems, there is no guarantee that services will be uninterrupted, timely, and secure or that errors and content loss won’t occur.

In addition, the Services Agreement states:

“We strive to keep the Services up and running; however, all online services suffer occasional disruptions and outages, and Microsoft is not liable for any disruption or loss you may suffer as a result. In the event of an outage, you may not be able to retrieve Your Content or Data that you’ve stored. We recommend that you regularly backup Your Content and Data that you store on the Services or store using Third-Party Apps and Services.”

What Are the Risks?

Microsoft 365 is known for being a highly secure app. This reputation for security is because the app has several built-in security features that help keep your data as secure as possible. For instance, apps like OneDrive and SharePoint have a data retention period. Typically set by default to 90 days, the data retention period ensures that if you accidentally delete a file or data, it can still be accessed for a period of time afterward.

But what if you don’t discover the error within the retention period? How would you recover your critical data without an accessible backup? Losing accidentally deleted data is one of the potential risks of Microsoft 365. Other risks may also include the following:

Cyberattacks

Cyberattacks are a growing threat that all organizations face, regardless of size or industry. While Microsoft is one of the biggest names in the tech industry, that doesn’t mean they are immune to cyberattacks.

Known for being proactive when it pertains to cyber security, Microsoft’s Security Response Center is the company’s front line of defense. Staffed by leading cyber security experts, the Security Response Center works to defend consumers and internet users at large from cyber threats.

Microsoft’s security response team has responded to several recent threats, including some tied to malicious actors either sponsored or protected by foreign governments. In 2020, the U.S. government imposed sanctions against Russia because of the country’s connection to the SolarWinds hack.

The U.S. has recently found that China has also been involved in cyber warfare attacks. Microsoft and the U.S. believe China is either behind or supporting the cybercriminals responsible for attacking vulnerable Microsoft Exchange servers. Security experts and government officials believe that attacks from malicious nation-states will continue to grow and that no organization is immune from these attacks.

In all of these cases, Microsoft’s security response team has responded quickly to stop the attack and remediate the compromised accounts. But unfortunately, even Microsoft’s cyber security experts fear that the risk will continue to grow as attacks become more sophisticated.

Internal Breaches

Whether intentional or accidental, internal data breaches occur. Often a data breach results from a simple mistake. The mistake may result from a lack of training or simply a lack of attention at the wrong moment. For instance, an employee may inadvertently click on a malicious link because they thought it was legitimate.

In other cases, a disgruntled former employee could make intentional changes to your data and systems if their access permissions have not been removed. In either case, whether deliberate or accidental, without having an accessible backup, your organization could experience severe problems from this activity.

Always Back Up Your Data

Microsoft 365 has many security features to protect your system and data. While these features are an excellent first line of defense against attacks and loss, you are solely responsible for your data. With the threat of cyber attacks growing exponentially, it pays to have an up-to-date backup of your business data. For example, suppose you have an issue recovering your data due to intentional or accidental actions. In that case, having your Microsoft 365 data in an accessible backup can ensure that your organization can recover quickly and get back to business.

Express Yourself With Over 800 New Reactions in Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams Reactions

Express Yourself With Over 800 New Reactions in Microsoft Teams

Key Points

  • Communication is key in any workplace, and Microsoft Teams is a great way to stay connected with your colleagues.
  • Reactions are a way to add emotion and personality to your messages in Microsoft Teams.
  • Microsoft Teams will be adding over 800 new reactions, giving users more ways to communicate with each other.

Microsoft Teams will be getting an update that includes expanded reactions. This means that users will have over 800 different reactions instead of the current standard options.

Microsoft Teams Reactions

How to Use Reactions in Microsoft Teams

In addition to raising your hand virtually and giving applause, there are a few other ways you can use reactions in Teams. For example, you can use the thumbs-up reaction to show agreement or the laugh reaction to show that something is funny.

Expressing yourself with reactions is a quick and easy way to let your teammates know how you’re feeling without interrupting the flow of conversation. You can click on the “Reactions” button in the screen’s upper-right corner if you want to express your reaction to something during a meeting.

What Role Can Reactions Play in Communication?

Reactions have become a staple in our digital communication, with people of all ages using them to express themselves. While some may see them as a fun way to communicate, reactions can play a key role in communication.

Reactions can help reduce misunderstandings in text-based communications. When people use reactions, they are less likely to have their messages misinterpreted. The use of reactions can also lead to increased positive emotions, and those who use reactions in their text messages typically have a more positive experience than those who don’t.

So, what does this mean for Microsoft Teams users? The update to Microsoft Teams that is expanding the reactions available is a great way to improve communication within the platform. The expanded reactions can also make Teams a more fun and engaging place to communicate.

You’re sure to find the perfect reaction for any situation with so many different options. Whether you’re feeling happy, sad, or somewhere in between, a reaction can express it. So why not take advantage of them?

Should You Use Reactions in the Workplace?

Now that you know a little bit more about reactions and how they can be used in communication, you may wonder if using them at work is appropriate. The answer to this question is that it depends on your workplace culture.

If you work in a more formal environment, it’s probably best to stick to the standard reactions. However, if you work in a more relaxed environment, the expanded reactions can provide a great way to add some personality to your messages.

No matter your workplace culture, it’s always important to be respectful when using reactions. If you’re unsure whether or not it’s appropriate to use a certain reaction, err on the side of caution and don’t use it.

How to Use Reactions in a Professional Setting

If you are part of a workplace that is okay with using reactions, you may be wondering how to use them in a professional setting. When using reactions in a professional setting, it is important to use them judiciously. You don’t want to overload your messages with reactions, as this can be unprofessional. Instead, use them sparingly.

Here are a few tips for using reactions in a professional setting:

  • Use reactions that are appropriate for the context and tone of the message.
  • Avoid using reactions that could be interpreted negatively.
  • Use reactions sparingly so as not to overwhelm the message.
  • Consider your audience when using them. Some audiences may be more receptive than others.
  • Be aware of your reactions, as they can be a form of nonverbal communication.
  • Use reactions to emphasize or provide additional information rather than replace words.
  • Avoid using reactions that might be seen as unprofessional, such as the Rolling Eyes reaction.
  • Think about how your reactions might be interpreted before you use them.

When using Microsoft Teams, keep these tips in mind to ensure that you use expanded reactions professionally and appropriately.

The Benefits of Using Reactions in the Workplace

While some potential risks are associated with using reactions in a professional setting, there are also many benefits. Reactions can help humanize communication, making us feel more connected to our colleagues.

Here are a few benefits of using reactions in the workplace:

  • Reactions can help to lighten the mood, especially during difficult or stressful times.
  • They can be used to communicate complex emotions or situations that might be difficult to express in words.
  • They can help to build rapport and relationships with co-workers, clients, and customers.
  • They can be used to show appreciation or gratitude, which can go a long way in fostering a positive work environment.
  • They can be used to show empathy, which can be helpful in difficult situations.
  • They can help to break the ice and get conversations started.
  • They can help us to better understand the people we work with.
  • They can provide a way to communicate when we can’t speak non-verbally, such as in a meeting.
  • They can help us to remember important information or messages.

The benefits of using reactions in the workplace are vast. If you haven’t used them in your professional communications, now could be the time to start. You’ll have even more options with the expanded reactions in Microsoft Teams.

Final Thoughts

The addition of expanded reactions is just one of many ways that Microsoft is constantly working to improve the Teams user experience. Recently, we’ve seen updates that include built-in meeting translation, end-to-end encryption for calls and chats, and even a feature that allows users to blur their background during video calls. With each new update, Microsoft is making it clear that they’re listening to feedback from users and striving to make Teams the best it can be.

Uber Investigating Security Breach After Hacker Gains Access to Internal Databases

UBER DATA BREACH

Uber Investigating Security Breach After Hacker Gains Access to Internal Databases

Key Points

  • Uber announced a security breach last Thursday evening in response to a report from The New York Times.
  • The breach was carried out by an unknown hacker, who made their presence known in a message sent to Uber’s employees over Slack.
  • The hacker claimed to have compromised several internal databases.

On September 15, 2022, Uber contacted law enforcement to report that an unauthorized third party had accessed its network. According to some sources, the Uber security breach “looks bad”, but the extent of the damage is still unknown.

According to a security engineer, the hacker released proof of the security breach on a Slack channel used by Uber employees. The proof consisted of the names of several internal databases that the hacker claimed to have compromised and how the databases were accessed. The hacker also shared explicit photos with Uber employees through the Slack platform. After Uber became aware of the communication on Slack, the company took steps to take the channel offline.

Some systems the hacker compromised include the Amazon and Google-hosted cloud environments used by Uber to store its customer data and source code. The hacker, who claims to be an 18-year-old, seems to have conducted this breach for publicity. However, any sensitive information obtained could still be used to blackmail or extort Uber customers, drivers, and employees. The hacker could also potentially sell this information on the black market.

Uber works with law enforcement and cybersecurity experts to investigate security breaches and determine how to best protect its customers, drivers, and employees. Also, many employees have worked tirelessly to lock down the affected systems and prevent further damage.

UBER DATA BREACH

A Social Engineering Attack Started It All

The Uber breach was caused by a social engineering attack that allowed the hacker to access an account. The hacker claims to have obtained a password from an Uber employee through the social engineering attack. The hacker communicated with the employee and claimed to be a corporate IT employee who needed a password. The unsuspecting employee complied, and the hacker could access an Uber database.

This is not the first time Uber has been the victim of a data breach. In 2016, Uber suffered a data breach that affected 57 million riders and drivers. That data breach was caused by hackers who could access Uber’s customer database. The hackers could obtain Uber customers’ names, email addresses, and phone numbers. They also obtained the driver’s license numbers of 600,000 Uber drivers.

Looking back at the 2020 Twitter hack and the breaches at Microsoft and Okta, it is evident that social engineering attacks are on the rise. Cybersecurity experts believe that social engineering attacks will continue to be a major problem in the future. These types of attacks exploit the trust that people have in others.

To carry out a social engineering attack, a hacker will usually pose as an IT employee or someone who works for a company with which the victim is familiar. The hacker will then ask the victim to share sensitive information, such as passwords. The best way to protect yourself from a social engineering attack is to be suspicious of any email, phone call, or text message that asks you to share sensitive information.

If you are unsure if the request is legitimate, you can always call the company or person who is supposedly asking for the information. Do not share sensitive information unless you are absolutely sure the request is legitimate.

What the Uber Breach Means for Other Companies

The breach on Uber will be a wake-up call for other companies who are lax about their cybersecurity measures. It shows that no one is exempt from being hacked—not even big corporations with plenty of resources. If anything, they’re more likely targets because hackers know they have more to lose.

So what can companies do to protect themselves? For starters, they must ensure that their two-factor authentication system is airtight. They also must regularly review their security measures and update them as necessary. Additionally, companies must educate their employees about cybersecurity best practices and ensure they follow them at all times.

When a company suffers multiple data breaches, it may give more cybercriminals the idea to target that company. So companies must take measures to prevent future breaches from happening. Cybersecurity is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. companies need to be vigilant about their cybersecurity at all times in to protect their customers and employees.

How to Protect Your Business from Hacks and Data Breaches

Like most business owners, you probably think your company will never be the victim of a hack or data breach. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. No company is immune to hacks and data breaches, no matter how big or small.

So what can you do to protect your company? First, you must ensure that your cybersecurity measures are up to date. This includes using two-factor authentication and regularly reviewing your security measures. Additionally, you must educate your employees about cybersecurity best practices and ensure they’re following them at all times.

Here are a few tips to help you protect your company from hacks and data breaches:

  1. Use two-factor authentication for all of your accounts.
  2. Review your security measures regularly and update them as necessary.
  3. Educate your employees about cybersecurity best practices.
  4. Make sure your employees are following best practices at all times.
  5. Have a plan in place for if/when a data breach occurs.

By following these tips, you can help protect yourself from data breaches. However, even if you take all of these precautions, you may still be at risk. That’s why it’s important to have a data breach response plan in place so you know what to do if your company is ever targeted.

Final Thoughts

Data breaches, social engineering attacks, phishing attacks, and other cybersecurity threats are rising. As our dependence on technology grows, so does our vulnerability to these threats. Cybersecurity is a critical issue that must be addressed by businesses and individuals alike. As Uber attempts to recover from its recent breach, it is important to remember that no organization is immune to these threats.

Cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility. Does your organization have a plan to protect itself from these threats? If not, now is the time to develop one.

Microsoft Teams Client Stores User Authentication Tokens in Unsecured Text Format

Microsoft Teams Client Stores User Authentication Tokens in Unsecured Text Format

Microsoft Teams Client Stores User Authentication Tokens in Unsecured Text Format

Key Points

  • A new Microsoft Teams exploit could allow attackers to access sensitive user data.
  • Microsoft Teams saves auth tokens as cleartext on Windows, Linux, and Mac computers.
  • Businesses can protect themselves from this exploit by taking some security precautions.

A security vulnerability has been discovered in Microsoft Teams that could allow an attacker to gain access to a user’s account and data. The issue lies in that Teams stores authentication tokens in cleartext, meaning that anyone with access to the application’s installation directory can easily steal them. This issue affects Windows, Mac, and Linux users.

Microsoft has acknowledged the flaw, but there is no indication that a patch will soon be released. In the meantime, users are advised to exercise caution when using the application and to avoid accessing it from untrusted devices or networks. It is also advised to avoid using the Microsoft Teams desktop client altogether until this issue has been fixed. Using the web client in a browser is a more secure option.

Microsoft Teams Client Stores User Authentication Tokens in Unsecured Text Format

Security Alert: Microsoft Teams Vulnerability

The flaw was discovered by the cybersecurity firm Vectra. A Vectra team assisted a customer in removing a disabled account from the Teams settings. Upon further review, Vectra found public tokens that provided access to Skype and Outlook. Vectra determined that the access tokens were active and gave them access to the Outlook and Skype APIs.

The biggest concern is that this flaw could be exploited by malicious actors to steal Microsoft Teams authentication tokens. This would allow them to remotely log in as the user and bypass MFA, gaining full access to the account. Information thieves use similar methods to steal data from other applications, such as Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Discord, and many more. By using malicious extensions, they can collect user data and send it to remote servers without the user’s knowledge.

How Does the Exploit Work?

Microsoft Teams is a browser-based app that uses the Electron framework. This makes it easy to develop and use, but it is not as secure as other options since it doesn’t include features like encryption or protected file locations. Vectra found that Microsoft Teams stores access tokens in an ldb file, which is not as secure as other methods.

Microsoft requires users to be logged in to uninstall Teams, so Vectra began their research by reviewing the local account configuration data. The Vectra team intended to remove the links to the account they were logged into, but when they searched for the username in the application files, they found public tokens that provided access to Skype and Outlook. Every token they found was active and could grant access without the two-factor authentication process being enabled.

They also found that the “Cookies” folder contained valid authentication tokens, account information, session data, and marketing tags. To prove their concept, Vectra created an exploit that loads the SQLite engine into a local folder, uses it to scan Teams’ local storage for authentication, and then sends a high-priority message with its own token text to the user. This exploit would allow hackers to access sensitive user data without going through the proper channels.

Microsoft Responds to Flaw Discovery

Microsoft has responded to the discovery of a flaw in Microsoft Teams by stating the Vectra exploit “does not meet our immediate service requirements”. Microsoft believes that Vectra’s exploit will require other vulnerabilities to penetrate the network. Microsoft will consider releasing a fix that could be delivered as a future update. However, the software giant has not yet provided a timeline for when that might happen.

The Potential Implications of the Exploit

If left unpatched, this flaw could have major implications for users of Microsoft Teams. While phishing users with their own tokens is one of the potential attack vectors, it is not the only one. An attacker could also use this flaw to brute force their way into an account or carry out other actions that could lead to data loss or theft.

If the Microsoft Teams client is installed and used in its current state, anyone who does so will still have the credentials needed to do any action through the Teams user interface, even when Teams is turned off. Attackers could modify SharePoint files, Outlook mail, calendars, and Teams chat files. They could also carry out more damaging actions, such as selectively destroying data, hijacking communications, or engaging in targeted phishing attacks.

What Can Businesses Do to Protect Themselves?

Fortunately, some steps businesses can take to protect themselves from this exploit. First and foremost, it’s important to ensure that all users have unique passwords for each account they use. Additionally, businesses should consider implementing two-factor authentication for all accounts. Finally, businesses should keep their software up-to-date with the latest security patches. By taking these precautions, businesses can help mitigate the risk posed by this exploit.

Here are some additional security measures businesses can take:

  • Do not store sensitive information in Teams chat conversations
  • Monitor process activity for unusual command line arguments related to your chat application (in this case Microsoft Teams)
  • Implement network detection and response to quickly identify and block malicious traffic associated with lateral movement within your environment
  • Switch to the browser version of Teams

Vectra recommends using Microsoft Edge to load the app, providing additional protections against token leaks. If you’re a Linux user of the Microsoft Teams app, you may want to switch to the browser version or a different collaboration suite. This is because Microsoft has announced plans to stop supporting the app for Linux by December.

Final Thoughts

This exploit’s discovery highlights the importance of security in the business world. Businesses can help protect themselves from potential attacks by taking some simple precautions. However, it’s also important to stay up-to-date on the latest security threats so that you can be prepared if another exploit is discovered.

Progressive Web App (PWA) Replaces Microsoft Teams Linux Client

Progressive Web App (PWA) Replaces Microsoft Teams Linux Client

Progressive Web App (PWA) Replaces Microsoft Teams Linux Client

Microsoft has announced that it will replace the Teams desktop client for Linux with a Progressive Web App (PWA) by December 2022. The company has not clarified when it will be offering the PWA, but it is expected to have it released before December.

The company released the Linux app for Teams in 2019. It has been serving the market for the last three years and is expected to retire for something better. This CLIENT will stop working when the new app comes into play.

Messages on the retirement of the desktop client were sent to Microsoft customers in late August in the Microsoft 365 message center notification MC412007. The company has not sent customers any other messages regarding the same. There has also been no news regarding the topic. However, given the nature of the communication, it is thought that the company is introducing a platform that it can use to provide additional features to its customers.

When Microsoft introduced the app in 2019, it touted it as a Microsoft 365 app for Linux desktops. It was distributed to the client in .rpm and . deb formats. However, most users complained that the app lacked parity with other clients, especially regarding the background effects for calls and meetings.

Over the last three years, the company has pushed various updates on the client. However, it has not impressed users as much as other Microsoft-based clients. The company may be looking for an app with which to provide feature parity and engage its customer base.

Progressive Web App (PWA) Replaces Microsoft Teams Linux Client

 What Customers Did Not Like about Linux Teams Client

While the Microsoft Teams client has offered Linux users the ability to use Microsoft tools on Linux, it has several issues that make it less appealing. Here are some of them.

Slow and Buggy

Several customers complained that the client was slow and buggy, especially regarding video chatting. Some users had issues getting the mic and screen sharing problems to work in some browsers. Besides, the WebGL platform on which it was designed is unavailable on some browsers. The software fallback may take over 30 seconds to load, which is really slow compared to other streaming tools.

Meeting Numbers Came Late

The Teams Linux client invitation system was a problem until the company upgraded it late last year. Earlier, the URLs were gnarly and long, unlike other tools that use a meeting number. It also had a “context” feature that changed based on the person attending the video conference.

Besides, users couldn’t join as guests. They must sign up and use their names and email addresses when they are invited to a virtual meeting. This is very tasking for some users and may lead to issues like phishing and other scams.

Search and Export Features

Exporting or saving an active chat to a file is impossible. There is also a feature that allows you to copy and paste the entire chat for future reference. In addition, the client did not allow users to search within the current chat. These two features were only possible with the administrator. It means users cannot refer to the conversation they had earlier with the rest of the team or search for specific information.

Enter the Teams Web App

The Teams Webs app should be fully operational before the end of November. It promises to revolutionize interactions between Linux and Microsoft users. According to Microsoft, the Teams app contains rich features that enhance user experience.

Among the key features are background effects, gallery view, and reactions. Besides, the app bridges the gaps between the Teams client on Windows and the Linux platforms. Users can also raise their hands during meetings and notify the administrator. They can also blur their backgrounds, insert custom ones, and access all the client features in an easy-to-use layout.

Other great features of the app include a system notification for chat and channel dock icons, each with controls, an auto-start feature, access to system permissions, and the ability to search messages. The app interface has also been redesigned so users can easily access features. It is less crowded, and all the links to the major features are on the main page.

In addition, the company called the Teams PWA an evolution of its Linux web experience, which offers the best of the web with the key functions of any good client. It does not require any installation; it is lightweight and full of features.

How will the Announcement Affect You?

If you use or manage the Microsoft Teams Linux desktop client, you will be required to set up the Teams PWA or use the web app to continue conducting your business. Getting started with the new tool is easy, but you should consider doing it before the cutoff date for the current client.

This involves informing all the users of the change and having them switch to the new platform when it is available to the public. It is also good to try it while the other client is still available. This allows them to learn at their own pace before the alternative is removed.

Microsoft has yet to provide all the details required for a successful transformation. However, most people can already use the publicly available PWA. Once Microsoft publishes a detailed guideline, it will be easy for people to make the proper switch.

The Microsoft Teams PWA is only available on Chrome and Microsoft Edge. Other browsers cannot run it. It is expected that Microsoft will make the app available as a full app on Linux to make communication a lot easier. The company has a Team client for the Mac that is simple to use and has the same features as the Windows platform. It will be interesting to see what the company plans for the future now that there are several competing applications such as Meet and Zoom. All-in-all, the new platform is expected to be a lot better and provide an awesome user experience.