Are You Ready For Pandemic 2.0?

COVID19 Round Two

Will We Have Another Wave Of COVID-19?

Dr. Anthony Fauci has made clear that he is almost certain the novel coronavirus will come back in the fall. Even so, a whopping 42% of CFOs don’t have a plan for what to do if the pandemic and accompanying shutdowns hit yet again.

Don’t wait until fall hits to start preparing for a second COVID-19 outbreak and the economic shutdowns that will inevitably follow. Here are some things you can do right now to ensure your business can weather another coronavirus wave and come out victorious.

COVID19 Round Two

Assess Your Performance During the First Round

How did your business fare during the shutdown? Was it challenging to transfer to a remote set-up? Were there IT breaches as employees worked from home using networks that are typically far less secure than corporate ones? Was there hardware and/or software glitches as employees found it difficult to manage virtual meetings? Any problems and weak areas need to be addressed now, so you’re prepared to handle the second round of virtual operations. What’s more, you need to look for ways to improve your remote operations to ensure you’re meeting or even exceeding customer expectations. Clients, suppliers, and partners may have been willing to overlook problems on your end the first time around, but they’ll expect you to have your act together if another COVID-19 wave hits.

Adjust to the New Reality

Many companies are discovering that allowing employees to work from home is a win-win situation. Your business can save money on utilities and office space while your workers get the flexibility and convenience that suits their needs. If your business doesn’t have to bring everyone back, you may want to consider not doing so.

If technical difficulties were working from home the first time around, consult an IT service to see if these can be resolved. A managed IT service can help you create a custom cloud storage solution, set up a SaaS platform for your business, install next-generation firewall software on all your business/employee computers, and monitor your systems for signs of a cyberattack.

Train Your Employees to Face Tomorrow’s Needs

Business employees need to have the skills required to handle new jobs and responsibilities. Bank of America, for instance, tasked thousands of its branch employees with answering customer service calls. Other companies found that demand for certain products/services changed, and employees had to be reshuffled to meet current customer needs.

Are your employees prepared to take on new assignments as the need arises? Do they have the technological know-how to use new equipment or programs? If not, use the summer months to provide needed training. Bring new people into business meetings, create co-worker partnerships, and conduct training seminars to ensure your staff members can handle whatever tasks they may need to take on. A managed service can help provide the technological training your staff may need to handle new software programs and IT procedures, freeing you to focus on the overall needs of your business and your core business goals.

Preparing your business for a second COVID-19 wave could be a matter of life and death for your company. Don’t put it off; there are likely a lot of things you’ll need to do to ensure your business doesn’t just survive but thrives if the second set of lockdown orders are issued. Assess your response to the first pandemic wave, invest in improving your current IT set-up and ensure your employees have the tools and training needed to handle any responsibilities they may need to take on in the near future. The benefits of doing so are more than worth the time, hassle, expense, and effort.

How to Use Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams Training

How to Use Microsoft Teams Technology

Microsoft Teams has quickly become one of the most popular tools businesses are using as employees have migrated to working from home.

How can your business best use Teams and its features to keep employees connected and productive during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Microsoft Teams Training

What Is Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams is a cloud-based tool that combines multiple features in one cohesive platform. It can be used by businesses and organizations of all sizes, allowing for collaboration and communication among internal employees, freelancers, clients, customers and partners.

The application includes versions of familiar Microsoft programs and integrates easily with Office 365, the cloud version of the company’s popular productivity suite. Within Teams, employees can create, post, share and collaborate on Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. In addition, the platform includes voice over internet protocol (VoIP) phone services, videoconferencing and instant message capabilities.

Here are some of the main capabilities:

  • Chat. The function allows for private or group messages, and file attachments via OneDrive for Business
  • Calendar. The platform syncs with participants’ Outlook calendars to simplify meeting and appointment scheduling
  • Calls. Using the Skype framework, users can launch voice or video calls
  • Teams. When a new team is created, an Office 365 Group is created in the background, allowing integration with the cloud-based apps

Teams allows businesses to work across operating systems (desktop versions are available on Windows, Mac and Linux), a web-based app and a mobile app (for Android and iOS devices).

Teams also supports virtual meetings, presentations and webinars, accessible by internal and external participants.

How Does Microsoft Teams Work?

Teams groups users into channels based on work function, special project, responsibility areas or meeting group. Each channel contains a virtual workspace with threaded chats, shared digital files, and space for real-time collaborating tools.

Teams lets you store files within the Microsoft solutions or other file sharing sites like Dropbox or Google Drive. Ample third-party integrations allow you to connect Teams to other popular tools.

There are multiple plans available:

  • Free Version. You can create a Teams organization of up to 300 people (or unlimited if part of an accredited educational institution) with 10 GB of storage, plus 2 GB per person. Your organization can be divided into teams or channels and allows for group audio and video calling
  • Office 365 Business Essentials. This plan costs $5 per user per month. It includes Microsoft support, more features and storage, and integration with Microsoft SharePoint, Yammer and Planner. It also integrates with Stream apps
  • Office 365 Business Premium. This version, for $12.50 per user per month, gives access to desktop Office apps like Outlook and Word, plus higher data capacity

How Secure Is Microsoft Teams?

With the rapid deployment of new tools, many of which employees don’t know very well, cyberattacks have increased. Hackers are taking advantage of vulnerabilities and user fears to launch malware that can attack systems and websites, steal data and disrupt sessions. Here are some tips for keeping your Zoom meetings protected:

  • Create Global Teams Management. Any user with an Exchange Online account can create and own teams by default. To better manage the number of team managers, consider creating a group that have permissions to make new groups and teams
  • Restrict Guest Access. Leave guest access disabled or restrict privileges as default settings, especially for screen sharing and phone calls
  • Use Audit Features. The analytics section provides useful data on logins, team membership and changes, data permissions and changes, data manipulations and app installations
  • Configure Apps. Teams supports built-in apps from Microsoft, third-party apps and apps built internally. Managing which apps are allowed based on source or data handling is prudent

Microsoft Teams is a powerful tool to help your organization connect, collaborate and communicate.

Cybercrime & Coronavirus: What You Need to Do to Protect Business, Employees, and Profits

Coronavirus Cybersecurity

Cybercrime Spikes During Coronavirus: Tips to Protect Your Business

Learn why cybercrime tends to spike during times of global crisis. Get tips on how to protect your tech environment from cyber criminals during the coronavirus.  

Right now, people are hanging onto every news story about the coronavirus. They’re checking social media more than usual. They’re setting up home offices, learning how to use new collaboration tools with their colleagues, or trying to figure out what to do in the absence of income.

They’re also dealing with their kids being at home all day and wading into homeschool. On top of all this, they’re worried about the spread of the virus and its effect on the economy. While everyone is stressed, busy, and distracted, cybercriminals are focused and ready to go.

Coronavirus Cybersecurity

Cybercrime Spikes During Coronavirus

Cyberattacks almost always spike during times of global crisis, and right now, the Federal Bureau of Investigation reports that the coronavirus is no exception. Scammers are hacking into databases, sending out phishing emails, and leveraging the pandemic to convince victims to make donations to fake organizations or buy counterfeit personal protection equipment.

Analysts speculate that cybercriminals will cause $6 trillion in damages in 2021, and in 2020, damages are mounting as criminals take advantage of this situation. Research indicates that phishing emails have increased by 667% since February — that’s a seven fold increase in just a few weeks.

How to Protect Yourself From Cybercrime During the Coronavirus

Being aware of the risk of cybercrime is the first step. While many people think they are immune, no one is free of this risk — in fact, cybercriminals spend a lot of time targeting small businesses and organizations. To protect your business, practice these security essentials.

1. Be hyper-vigilant of incoming emails

As indicated above, phishing emails are on the rise. Cybercriminals are relying on people to have their guard down, and you and your employees need to be vigilant.

A lot of these emails contain dangerous attachments, while others include links to malicious websites. Never open an attachment or click a link from an unknown sender. If the sender looks familiar, take a few extra minutes to verify their identity. Scam artists often make their emails look like they’re coming from someone you know or from an organization like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

2. Secure all work-from-home computers

Another reason cybercrime is exploding right now is due to the unprecedented number of people who are working from home. If your employees are working from home, you need to take extra steps to secure your network.

Ideally, you should have your employees work on computers issued by your business. Home computers tend to be full of potentially dangerous videos, photos, or downloads.

Make sure all the computers your employees are using have a firewall that is turned on and configured correctly. Firewall misconfigurations can create extensive vulnerabilities in your network.

Finally, have your employees access everything through a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN encrypts all the data transmitted from their computers, creating an additional layer of security. Ideally, you should use a dual-factor VPN that requires your employees to enter their password plus an additional piece of verification such as a code texted to their phone.

3. Beef up your password strategy

Weak passwords threaten the security of your tech environment. Make sure your employees understand the importance of never using easy-to-guess passwords such as 12345, Password, their own names, or details visible on their social media pages.

Additionally, they shouldn’t let their browsers store passwords. Instead, you may want to look into a password manager such as LastPass or 1Password. These applications store passwords, but they can’t be accessed as easily as most browsers.

Cybercrime can cost you money, reduce your productivity, harm your reputation, and cause other types of damage to yourself, your employees, and your business. To reduce your vulnerability, contact a cybersecurity professional. They can help you identify the processes, products, and practices you need to stay as safe as possible, especially during a global crisis.

What Is Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) and Why Does it Matter?

What Is Two Factor Authentication_

What Is Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) and Why Does it Matter?

What is two-factor authentication (2FA) and why does it matter? If you are unfamiliar with this extra layer of protection for all of your logins, keep reading. 

It’s no secret that we live in a time where access to laptops and smartphones is so prevalent. Almost everything we do in our daily lives has some sort of connection to these devices, leaving us vulnerable to hackers and scammers who want access to our personal information.

Thankfully, there is a way to help protect yourself. Two-factor authentication (2FA) provides an extra layer of security over what a traditional password offer. Here is what you need to know about two-factor authentication and why it matters to businesses.

What Is Two Factor Authentication_

Why is Digital Security as a Whole So Important?

Before we can discuss 2FA, we really need to talk about a few of the basics as to why digital security is so important. As individuals, the main reason to practice good digital security habits is to protect your personal information. But for businesses, the benefits of taking extra steps to ensure information is secure is two-fold. Not only does this keep private information of your employees and companies safe, taking additional security steps to protect your customer’s digital data builds trust. That’s why it is important to take measures like implementing 2FA.

What is Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)?

That said, let’s discuss what two-factor authentication (2FA) actually is. This is an extra layer of protection that requires users to prove that they are who they say they are by providing a second set of identification credentials.

How it works is that the user puts in their basic login and password. Then they are immediately required to provide an additional piece of information. This information generally falls into one of three categories:

  • Something you know, such as a PIN or a second code;
  • Something you have in your possession, like a credit card you can type in a number to or a smartphone that you can receive a text message on;
  • Something you are, which includes a fingerprint or use of a biometric device.

In most cases, using 2FA on your website or internal desktop will require just the something you know category. Only in extreme cases with especially sensitive data needing protection will companies often utilize the other two options.

What Are the Different Types of 2FA?

Now that we’ve talked about the basics of 2FA, it is a good idea to talk about the types. There are literally hundreds of options for how you can implement this type of security measure, but some are a bit more common than others. The most used types include:

Hardware Tokens: This is usually a small fob or device that produces a code when a user tries to login. The user must then input that number on their screen. This is usually the least preferred option as the fobs are cost prohibitive and easily lost by users.

SMS-Based and Voice-Based: This is where a user receives either a one-time token via a text message or a phone call. With SMS, the user must input the keycode onto the screen to gain access. For voice, the user must verbally say the passcode when prompted during the call. Both methods are extremely common and many companies are opting for their use.

Software Tokens: The most popular 2FA method is a software token. This is where the user must install a special application on their phone and use it to gain access when attempting to login.

Push Notifications: Alternately, you can also opt to use a push notification as part of 2FA. When the user provides their login information on the screen, a special notification is sent to their smartphone. The user must then approve the popup on the phone to continue.

In short, it is always a good idea to take extra precautions to protect systems and data. Two-factor authentication (2FA) ensures information is much more secure than traditional passwords by adding a layer of security. For most businesses, this is a good idea that protects both sensitive data and builds trust with customers.

What You Need to Know About Two Factor Authentication

Two Factor Authentication

Everything You Should Know About Two Factor Authentication

Does your business use 2FA? With the prevalence of data breaches today, it’s time to start employing this simple security feature within your business.  

Without a doubt, you’ve read and heard about the rampant cybersecurity problems that are insidiously plaguing businesses today. Municipalities in places like Florida, South Carolina, and elsewhere are having access to their systems denied unless they pay hundreds of thousands of dollars. Businesses of all sizes and in all industries are being shut out of their data until they do the same.

As a business owner or manager yourself, you are probably concerned about whether your organization will fall victim to the same fate. What can you do to prevent a cybersecurity attack?

You may be surprised to know that the fate of your business’s security probably lies within a straightforward thing that you and all of your coworkers and employees use every day: passwords.

The fact of the matter is that most people in your business are putting your data and systems at risk every day with the weak login credentials they use. That is, many people use the same password for all of their accounts — both personal and business related. Furthermore, many people use passwords that are way too simple and easy to guess by hackers — the name of the street that they live on, the name of their pet, their date of birth, or their anniversary date.

It’s hard to stop people from doing this because most employees don’t think that their password really matters. They assume that it will never be guessed by anyone (how could it be?), and as long as they don’t share it with anyone, it’s good enough to keep would-be cybercriminals at bay.

Unfortunately, this is not the case.

The only way to indeed keep hackers from guessing passwords or using high-tech trial and error algorithms to uncover passwords is to use two-factor authentication, also known as 2FA.

What Is 2FA?

2FA or two-factor authentication is a security system that forces users to have two proofs of identity before they can log in to a database, program, computer, or network. This is a system that you should be using at home and within your business.

As the name implies, there are two elements of two-factor authentication. First, the user must provide something they know. This could be a password or passcode, a pin number, or the answer to a secret question.

Next, the user must provide proof of something they have. For example, the two-factor authentication prompt may ask that the individual put in their credit card number (because their credit card number is something they possess). Likewise, some organizations will give each individual employee a security token that actually stays in their possession. This might be an RSA security device, a Google Authenticator, or something else. This device will be activated when prompted during login and will provide a passcode or pin that changes frequently. Another option is biometric authentication, such as an iris scan, voiceprint, or fingerprint.

Has Your IT Services Company Spoken to You About 2FA?

As the owner or manager of your business, it shouldn’t be your responsibility to ensure the security of your sensitive data and network systems. This responsibility falls on the shoulders of your IT services company, and within their security division, one of the pillars of a robust cybersecurity strategy should be two-factor authentication.

If your IT services company has not spoken to you about employing a two-factor authentication system, don’t wait to ask them about it. The foundational necessity of this simple security measure suggests that if they haven’t already employed it, they’re probably not doing their job in other ways.

In that case, it’s time to find a new managed services provider. Give us a call, send us an email, or visit our website today to learn how we can help.

Two Factor Authentication

Smart Steps When Working From Home

Working from home coronavirus

Working From Home Due to Coronavirus? Consider These Tips

If you’re suddenly working from home due to the coronavirus, maximize productivity with a dedicated workspace, enjoyable breaks, and engagement with colleagues.  

For the vast numbers of Americans suddenly barred from their offices due to the coronavirus pandemic, working from home can pose significant challenges. At home, distractions — including undone chores, needy pets and bored kids — abound, and tech troubles like unreliable Wi-Fi can stymie conference calls and online meetings.

What are some steps you can take to maximize productivity as you maintain a balance between the personal and the professional?

Working from home coronavirus

Create a Dedicated Workspace

For individuals living in small homes, working at the kitchen table may seem natural. However, trying to get work done in a space that has other uses — such as eating — can pose problems. At mealtimes, you’ll need to move your laptop, tablet, papers and other necessary work-related items elsewhere, then move them back later. In addition, working in a central location in your home can expose you to any number of distractions.

Consider setting up a dedicated workspace that’s private and quiet. Even a small desk tucked into a corner of your bedroom can work, and it provides you with a spot for leaving your work items set up at all times. A dedicated workspace also makes it easier to separate the professional and personal portions of your day.

Schedule Calls and Concentration Sessions

Working from home, you may feel disconnected from colleagues — and, thus, obligated to participate in any calls or virtual meetings to which you’re invited. At the beginning of your workweek, consider reviewing your schedule to make note of any planned meetings.

Once you know when to expect virtual meetings, cordon off some time dedicated to intensive work that requires uninterrupted concentration. Staying connected with co-workers will be more important than ever as you try to get your work done remotely, but you also need periods you can devote to critical projects.

As you hammer out your weekly schedule, take advantage of the flexibility that working from home offers. In the time that you don’t spend commuting, you can take calls or dive into intensive tasks. If you prefer to read or get work done in the early mornings or later in the evenings, you can do so.

Make Your Breaks Count

As you work remotely, consider scheduling some breaks into your day. Particularly when you work in a confined space, getting some fresh air and a change of scenery can provide a needed boost for both your state of mind and your productivity.

During the few minutes at a stretch you spend away from your screen, try to work in some activities that support health. Whether you prefer a quick walk or enjoying your lunch outside, time outdoors can give you the recharge you need to spend meaningful hours back at the computer.

Find Ways to Engage With Colleagues

If your job involves working as part of a team, you’ll want to keep in touch frequently. Along with virtual meetings, a business-oriented chat app can allow you to ask questions and provide feedback quickly and without the formality of email. For groups who work together throughout the day, a dedicated chat room can provide a virtual location for checking in between project work.

When you’re trying to concentrate or you’re on a deadline, you can use “do not disturb” functionality to signal that you are currently unavailable for online chats or calls.

Video calls have their downsides, including using more bandwidth than regular audio calls. However, conducting virtual meetings through video calling also provides an additional level of nuance and interaction that you may not get with the typical conference call. If you participate in frequent calls, consider using a video calling app for at least some of them.

As you adapt to performing your job from home, you’ll discover what works best for you — including creating a dedicated space, scheduling time for concentration, engaging with colleagues, and taking meaningful breaks. Your co-workers may appreciate hearing your tips as they strive to develop their own remote work-life balance.

Coronavirus Spreads Computer Viruses as Hackers Target Businesses

Coronavirus Hackers

Hackers Target Businesses Concerned Over COVID-19

Hackers are capitalizing on fear and concern related to coronavirus to launch ransomware and malware attacks. Here’s how to protect your business and employees.

As the COVID-19 spreads worldwide, hackers are taking advantage of an already stressed and strained healthcare system to attack vulnerable companies. Phishing attacks are on the rise worldwide, capitalizing on fear and a desire for information.

In many cases, hackers are sending emails purportedly from the World Health Organization or local hospitals. However, these emails contain ransomware and keystroke-logging malware.

Here’s the latest on coronavirus-themed attacks.

Coronavirus Hackers

What Is the Emotet Trojan Virus?

IBM recently warned of a spam issue targeting Japan. The messages contain Microsoft Word files that are full of macros. When opened, the macros infect uses with the Emotet Trojan. Once launched, the trojan can insert itself into email conversations. As the trojan propagates, the malware lets hackers steal information and embed malware onto users’ machines.

Japan is particularly vulnerable, not only due to the coronavirus but also the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, which are under threat of cancelation. One message translation warns of the coronavirus’ spread to areas of Japan, urging readers to open the attached notice.

A similar campaign has targeted Italian companies with a phishing campaign. It purports to be a notice from the World Health Organization with precautions to take to prevent the virus from spreading.

It contains a malicious Word document asking users to click on an “Enable Editing” button then an “Enable Content” button to see all the information. Users doing so, however, download the Ostap Trojan-Downloader. It contains the Trickbot downloader that is a customizable, frequently updated tool popular with hackers.

How Are Hackers Exploiting the Coronavirus?

As the number of news sites covering the coronavirus has grown, so too have the number of registered domain names related to the virus. According to one analysis, since January 2020, more than 4,000 domains have been registered globally related to the coronavirus. Three percent are considered malicious and another 5 percent deemed malicious, making coronavirus-themed domains 50 percent more likely to be dangerous than others registered in the same timeframe.

The World Health Organization has issued a warning about the daily reports it’s receiving about phishing attempts. However, hackers are smartly creating emails that look as though they’re coming from official sources, leading more users to open the emails and download files. Hackers can scrape information from official websites to create email templates that seem legit.

“National emergencies and/or disasters add a fear factor that acts as one more hook for hackers to get what they need,” said Ron Culler, ADT Cybersecurity’s senior director of technology and solutions, in a recent Vox article. “When fear is added to any targeted campaign — be it a legitimate or scam campaign — the effectiveness of that campaign is increased.”

How Can We Prevent Phishing Attacks?

Businesses can take several steps to educate employees and protect against these attacks. A layered approach to cybersecurity is a prudent way to reduce the risk of attacks from various vectors. Here are some tips:

  • Educate users about the prevalence of coronavirus-related phishing schemes, advise them to be cautious and show them how to detect suspect emails (look for spelling and grammar errors, check the sender’s email address)
  • Ensure that hardware and software are patched and updated promptly, ideally with automated update tools
  • Use and update endpoint anti-virus, anti-phishing, anti-spam and anti-malware tools
  • Have an incident response plan in place to ensure teams can respond quickly in the event of a ransomware or malware attack
  • Update endpoint detection tools such as firewalls and other system monitoring and alert solutions
  • Consider segregating networks to reduce the impact of self-propagating malware
  • Use email security tools that inspect attachments and disable the running of macros on attachments
  • Update blacklists of malicious IP addresses and compromised websites
  • Use content filters to block access to inappropriate and dangerous websites
  • Review access restrictions to limit the spread of malware throughout systems

Businesses must now address coronavirus-related issues both from an employee safety standpoint and a cybersecurity perspective. For assistance in protecting your business from coronavirus cyberattacks, contact your managed services provider today.

Does Your Cybersecurity Plan Include Incident Response Measures?

Incident Response Planning

Has Your Business Fallen Behind In Its Incident Response Strategy?

Incident Response plans are proving to be a key element in data breach recovery. That’s why proactive industry leaders are adding and updating these strategies.  

Incident Response Planning

Entrepreneurs and other decision-makers are acutely aware that doing business in the digital age requires robust cybersecurity. Most companies employ standard anti-virus scans, firewalls, and other commonplace measures to protect valuable data. But we are all just as keenly aware that the number of debilitating data breaches suffered continues to uptick despite business leaders’ best efforts.

From 2017 to 2018, the number of exposed records increased from 197 million to more than 446 million, according to reports. Cybercriminals will ultimately continue their efforts to come up with increasingly deceptive ways to penetrate business networks and leverage personal identity files, financial records, and other information that can be ransomed or sold on the dark web. How your organization responds to a breach could have lasting implications about business sustainability. That’s why companies now need an Incident Response plan embedded into their cybersecurity strategy.

What Does An Incident Response Plan Entail?

Proactive business leaders are enlisting the help of cybersecurity experts to create a viable response to an otherwise debilitating breach. These plans are crafted with input from key stakeholders to be ready to identify, contain, mitigate, and make a full recovery from a cyber-attack.

What many industry professionals may not realize — until it’s too late — is that recovery from data and financial loss could be the least of your problems. When employees, shareholders, and other businesses are impacted due to a hack of your network, you could be facing civil litigation. With that goes the industry reputation you worked so hard to develop. To truly recover from a systems hack, industry leaders are pulling together their resources to implement a six-phase Incident Response plan.

How To Develop A 6-Phase Incident Response Plan

It’s imperative that decision-makers understand that a robust Incident Response plan is not a set-it-and-forget-it endeavor. As part of your overarching cybersecurity strategy, it will need to be revisited regularly. That’s mostly because digital bandits are ceaselessly finding innovative ways to penetrate business defenses. Regardless of their criminal activity, a deftly implemented Incident Response plan delivers results. These are the six necessary phases.

  • Preparedness: This phase calls for your valued team members to be trained to manage their clearly outlined responsibilities in the event of a cyber-attack. Common strategies for readiness include running mock breaches and ongoing education.
  • Threat Identification: A hacker can attempt to breach your system in a variety of ways. Targeting endpoint devices and convincing an unsuspecting employee to log in or click on a malicious link is among the most prevalent. Having the ability to identify threats and breach entry points promptly reduces response time.
  • Damage Containment: From the moment a breach or cybersecurity incident occurs, your ability to deter the spread of malicious software or the removal of data ranks among the most crucial ways to control the damage. Hackers may decide to destroy files after their theft to erase digital fingerprints. It’s in your best interest to have methods in place to swiftly regain control.
  • Eliminate Threat: Once you have secured control over your data, eliminating the threat must be decisive. The cause may be malicious software or login and password penetration. Whatever allowed the cybercriminal into your business system, it must be stamped out immediately.
  • Begin Recovery: Once you are satisfied that the threat has been eliminated, the team members tasked with restoring systems and data can do their job. Having an actionable Incident Response plan likely helped save essential data and shortened the time your operation was offline. If you believe other parties could be impacted, notify them promptly.
  • Post-Mortem Analysis: In the aftermath of a cyber-attack, specific team members should be designated to gather information and create a report to share with key stakeholders. There are valuable lessons to be learned that can make your organization better prepared the next time.

Although every business wants to be ready to defend against a cyberthreatThe Third Annual Study on the Cyber Resilient Organization indicates that upwards of 77 percent do not have a clearly articulated Incident Response plan in place. If your organization has not implemented an Incident Response strategy, we would like input about enhancing an existing one. It may be in your best interest to enlist a third-party cybersecurity consultant.

[Video] What Is Ransomware?

What is ransomware

What Is Ransomware: 5 Tips To Protect Your Business

Ransomware can damage and take a heavy financial toll on your business. What is ransomware and 5 tips you can take to protect your business today?  

 

For businesses and organizations of all types, the Internet represents great promise and risk, with risk in the form of cyberattacks. Of the different kinds of cyber attacks, ransomware, in particular, can be very damaging exacting a heavy financial toll on you and your business.

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to your system until a ransom is paid. The reason they are dangerous and damaging is that even if you pay, there is no guarantee that you will get your system back. There are many stories of organizations paying their ransom, receiving nothing in return, and dealing with the loss of their data.

What happens in a ransomware attack?

In a ransomware attack, hackers gain access to your system through a malicious link or vulnerability attacking your network and backup files. Their mission is to render your back up files and folders useless so that you cannot gain access to your system files. Once incapacitated, the hackers contact you demanding a ransom, often in the form of cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, believing that they are protected behind a shield of anonymity.

What types of organizations are targeted?

One would think that the organizations most vulnerable to a ransomware attack are small to medium-sized. The truth is that any organization that is not taking its cybersecurity seriously is at risk of a ransomware attack. Cybersecurity, for many, is often an afterthought until it happens to them. This includes businesses, non-profits, and government agencies of all sizes.

How can I protect my business from ransomware attacks?

While there are things you can do to minimize the chance that you will be a victim of a ransomware attack, the risk cannot be entirely eliminated. However, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk of an attack. If ever you needed a reason to take action, consider that ransomware prevention is a fraction of the cost to recover from a ransomware attack. Never mind the financial cost. Consider that for most businesses, their IT system is the brains and nerve center of their operation storing customer lists, financial information, and everything else.

Some of the things that you can do to prepare for a ransomware attack include:

Having a business continuity plan

A business continuity plan consists of daily backups of all of your data, both locally, and to the cloud.

Invest in the best tools and equipment

You don’t want to cut corners when it comes to your cybersecurity. For that reason, you want to invest in the best tools and equipment. This includes anti-virus software, anti-malware, DNS filtering, and very strong firewalls.

Never click an unknown without knowing the sender

The average office worker receives 121 emails per day. As a result, it is easy to see how you or an employee can overlook a malicious email. While most people would click a link or download a file without a second thought, never open an attachment or click a link without verifying the authenticity of the sender. If you have any reservations about an email or sender, delete the email.

Keep up on your training

Cybersecurity is evolving quickly. Unfortunately, so are the hackers. As a result, you and your staff need to keep on top of your cybersecurity awareness training to stay ahead of the curve.

Work with a competent IT company

Make sure that your IT services company knows what they are doing. Many companies are marketing themselves as cybersecurity experts. As a result, you need to do your research to assess their cybersecurity skills.

There are more things that you can be doing to protect yourself from ransomware attacks. However, this is a good start for what you can do today. The other thing is to contact us to discuss a personalized ransomware prevention program for your business.

What is ransomware

[VIDEO] COVID-19 (Corona Virus): Business Continuity Plan Ready?

COVID-19 Business Continuity

Coronavirus Spreading: Make Sure Your Business Continuity Plan Is Ready

The spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) has taken root across the country. More and more locations are starting to report cases and this number continues to raise alarm bells throughout the medical profession, and unsurprisingly, across businesses everywhere.

Business Continuity During Crisis

In the video above, We shared with you the importance of making sure your business continuity strategies are in place and ready to go. Many of the largest global enterprises to local small businesses have begun to exercise and test business continuity strategies in the event that their offices and factories are shut down due to the spread of this virus – forcing staff members to work remotely to keep the business functioning.

Are you prepared in the event that your employees need to stay home due to quarantine or a similar occurrence? If not, we urge you to reach out to us to talk about setting up:

  1. Remote access solutions that let your team work from home with access to data, applications, and systems.
  2. Communication solutions that enable anytime, anywhere communication via the internet from any device or location.
  3. Cybersecurity solutions for office and home computers that keep you safe against cybercriminals leveraging this major headline as a mechanism of social engineering.
  4. Emergency procedures that outline how to recover equipment, emergency contact information for employees, and more.
  5. Virtual private network (VPN) technology to ensure your employees are using a secure, encrypted connection at home to access corporate information.

Systems MUST be in place for employees working from home as they’re using their own computers to access corporate resources. It’s up to you to make sure those computers are clean from viruses or other security issues.

Our team is more than familiar with creating proven contingency plans for situations like this. You don’t have to handle this difficult situation alone. We can help you get prepared and make sure your employees are accessing corporate information in a safe and secure manner.

Reach out to us right away over the phone, by email or by visiting our website.

COVID-19 Business Continuity