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How to Optimize Your IT Environment

How to Optimize Your IT environment

Organizations have now shifted to working from home and we have put together a list on how to optimize your IT environment and cyber security.

Amid the urgency to shift to the cloud, a few important aspects of IT planning may have been overlooked. As a result of the move to the cloud, it is unlikely that a long-term plan has been developed in relation to data governance — the practice of managing, maintaining, and using enterprise data in a secure way.

At the beginning of the pandemic, it is understandable that companies did not place a high priority on data governance. Now, with companies reviewing their cloud strategies and contemplating the next steps for optimizing their cloud investments, to help maximize the value from the cloud, data governance plays a crucial role. In fact, this has become increasingly true because last year’s data was produced at an unexpected speed. As your IT infrastructure becomes cluttered with overwhelming amounts of unorganized data, the rapid creation of data can result in data sprawl, a staggering amount of unorganized data that becomes out of control.

To optimize your IT environment, organizations that are planning to migrate more workloads to the cloud or to consolidate their IT infrastructures in advance of mergers or acquisitions should seize this opportunity to fight digital inertia and improve the entire process. To maximize long-term success for companies, here are five key ways they should optimize their IT environments.

As a leading managed IT services Toronto, we can help your organizations achieve the following items.

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Introducing Governance in the Organization

A data governance strategy will ensure that you remain in control of your data. Unfortunately, there are still many businesses that do not have a proper governance strategy in place yet. In some companies, the emphasis is on implementing technology that can help them meet compliance regulations and enable discovery within their systems; however, a focus on managing and managing data is not always the priority. The consequences of this, as well as the challenges governing data can quickly become out of control – for instance, rising costs related to data sprawl and the inconveniences faced by employees when they must chase down the information they need.

As a proactive way to resolve this issue, establish a plan for implementing a governance model and train internal IT teams to take care of the governance work. Ensure that your team is familiar with the technology tools available to them and the necessary reporting to be able to make decisions about what data to keep and how to manage access to it. By doing so, you will minimize the possibility of data sprawls.

Clean up the unnecessary data in the house

When you migrate data from on-premises to the cloud or from one cloud tenant to another, there is always an opportunity to clean things up at the same time. You should take advantage of the migration process to reevaluate what you have, and eliminate data you don’t need, when your company migrates workloads or consolidates IT resources.

If you have compliance rules and regulations in your company, you’ll have to consider what data you can remove, however, there’s still a good chance that you’ll be able to archive or delete some data. The services and technologies such as Microsoft Teams and its channels should be reviewed and evaluated. In the upcoming weeks, we’ll be talking about the importance of structuring SharePoint, Teams, and channels in a better way. You do not necessarily need to make all the data available to all users if your company’s compliance guidelines require that you retain a significant amount of data. You only need to make it available to those who need it.

As a leading managed IT services Toronto, we can assist in cleaning up your data.

 

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Find a good lead for your project

The cost of hiring someone who is truly in charge of governance can be worth it in some cases. There’s a way to engage your company’s management team directly as part of the data governance process. The best way to measure the cost of technology resource allocation is to ask them to define the report and methodologies for calculating those costs.

Managing effectively is not just about using technology; it’s also about using technology in a proactive manner that can be controlled by a responsible leader. It will be incumbent on your company’s governance lead to enact change and ensure that any issues that surface are not only identified, but also addressed by the leadership team of your organization.

Investing in a governance champion doesn’t necessarily mean needing to hire a new employee. It could mean taking advantage of a third-party tech solution that monitors your systems and provides insights to help you make better decisions. Your champion should, at the end of the day, enable you to acquire data when you need it at the right time when you need it. Otherwise, using your data may have rendered it obsolete by the time you use it.

Create a Roadmap for Success

In the context of data governance, establishing best practices is not always an easy task. Most of the time, it is a lengthy process. Therefore, you might want to consider establishing a governance roadmap to inform the direction in which your company will go. Having the ability to accomplish small goals as well as map out strategic projects to drive accountabilities and organizational governance will help your company achieve its goals. Moreover, you can include a roadmap that outlines how the new cloud or technology solutions should be evaluated in relation to your corporate governance guidelines.

Your organization should have flexibility in both how it approaches solutions to technology problems and how it approaches its data management and management operations. You want to improve efficiency, cost management, and employee satisfaction at the end of the day, because that’s what you really want.

Any successful managed IT services in Toronto can assist you in future proofing your business.

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Keep going, don’t stop

If you have accomplished getting your house in order, do not abandon your governance practices once you have done so. There is much more to corporate governance than solving a problem. It is about ongoing maintenance to ensure that your company is in control of data creation, access, and management. A regular assessment of your data is vital to ensuring that only the best, most accurate, and most relevant information is retained, and that outdated or unnecessary information is not accumulated over time.

In the excitement to move to the cloud, some companies may have overlooked the need for a long-term governance plan. Thankfully it’s never too late to introduce a governance model that will ensure long-term success. The amount of data most enterprises tend to generate is staggering, and because of this, they need to be proactive in making sure that they implement effective governance practices. If your organization does this, it will be able to leverage technology more efficiently, improve productivity, manage costs more effectively, and maximize the value of its IT resources.

Looking on how to optimize your IT environment?

365 iT SOLUTIONS  is CyberSecure Canada certified by the Canadian federal government.

Let the 365 iT SOLUTIONS complimentary data breach scan report if your credentials have been compromised by cyber criminals and hackers.

365 iT SOLUTIONS is a leading Toronto boutique IT consulting firm that specializes in award winning Managed IT ServicesIT Support ServicesIT Outsourcing ServicesTech Support ServicesCloud ServicesManaged Security Services, Cyber Security Training and Dark Web Monitoring, and Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR).

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Poor Cyber Security Practices are Challenging Hybrid Environments

Organizations are facing obstacles as poor cyber security practices challenging hybrid environments for employee productivity and security.

The numbers showed that roughly 29 percent of workers are still using the same passwords for both personal and work accounts, posing a security risk to their company if their personal accounts are breached.

In a study of 2,000 employees conducted by a cyber security professional services company, the authors discovered that 39 percent of respondents often or always used their personal devices to access corporate accounts and content, while another 24 percent did so sometimes.

The report also notes 13 percent admitted to having lost over the last 12 months devices containing important or sensitive data used for work, which poses a threat of this information falling into the wrong hands.

It is being argued that the pandemic is causing a shift in the way a greater number of workers are accessing their corporate data. Today, more than ever, workers are accessing the data from their personal devices outside of the office. In the modern workplace, the number of employees working remotely has increased dramatically, thus presenting new risks and vulnerabilities to organizations due to poor cyber security.

Another issue is the lack of information security training within businesses, with 18 percent of employees saying they have never received data security or cybersecurity training, and a further 29 percent reporting it happens only once or twice a year within their organization. It also leads to a percentage of 24 percent of workers not knowing about the potentially harmful cyber threats that may affect their businesses.

Among thousands of workers, fewer than one in five always protect their web connections while working away from the office through VPNs or secure wireless, while 15 percent admit to never switching to a VPN (virtual private network) or secure wireless when working away, and another 15 percent say they are not sure if they do.

It is possible to mitigate the threats associated with remote and hybrid working by implementing a comprehensive, well-structured, and relevant program that addresses key areas, including technological advancement, up to date security policies and frameworks, and a clear understanding of what should be done with data in terms of storage and access. In order to completely eliminate the risk of cyber-attacks, this should be implemented in conjunction with ongoing training and education programs to promote cultural change among the most at risk population.

Poor Cyber Security Practices are Challenging Hybrid Environments 1

Cybersecurity Checklist

Here is a cybersecurity check list to identify threats, reduce vulnerability, and prepare to reduce poor cyber security.

  1. Develop an IT policy
  2. Training end users
  3. Software and OS updates
  4. Install the latest antivirus software
  5. Use strong passwords
  6. Define access control
  7. Reduce admin access
  8. Segment and divide the network
  9. Secure communications
  10. Secure your device
  11. Use layers of security
  12. Vulnerability testing and scanning
  13. Data Backups
  14. Cybersecurity response planning
  15. Security practices

Can you stop cyber attacks? There is no question about it, but you ought to be prepared with your cyber security in order to protect your organization from poor cyber security.

365 iT SOLUTIONS  is CyberSecure Canada certified by the Canadian federal government

Our complimentary data breach scan can check if your credentials have been compromised by hackers.

365 iT SOLUTIONS is a leading Toronto IT consulting firm that specializes in Managed IT ServicesIT Support ServicesIT Outsourcing ServicesTech Support ServicesCloud ServicesManaged Security Services, , Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR), and Cyber Security Training and Dark Web Monitoring.

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How Can Ransomware Attacks be Prevented

If your organization wants to prevent a cyber security breach and data loss, the questions management is asking is how can ransomware attacks be prevented?

The article includes necessary information on how ransomware attacks be prevented for your organization.

A major responsibility of employers is educating their employees about cyber security protection, policies, and procedures.

It is becoming more evident to organizations that cybersecurity training for employees is crucial in order to protect sensitive customer information.  By giving employees cybersecurity training, they are going to be able to understand the value of cybersecurity in the organization.  By implementing these training courses, the organization will be able to ensure that there exists a more cyber-resilient working culture within the organization.

In order to avoid clicking on a suspicious link, it is recommended that you do not do so and ransomware attacks be prevented.

When opening attachments or clicking on links in spam or unsolicited emails, make sure to be careful not to open or click on anything unsafe. Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report published in 2018 indicates that approximately 70% of all data breaches are a result of phishing attacks. If you want to avoid becoming a victim of a phishing scam, it is of utmost importance to be able to identify a phishing scheme.

By using email and endpoint protection you can protect both your emails and your endpoints proactively.

By keeping your program up-to-date with the latest malware signatures, you can help ensure your system never gets infected with any threats. Scan all incoming emails, remove all malicious attachments, and filter out any links that have been attached to them. Providing users with VPN services while they are outside of the company’s network will give them support while they communicate with out-of-network users, in addition to notifying them when they receive out-of-network emails.

How Can Ransomware Attacks be Prevented 1

Having a stronger password system is essential

The security of a password is one of the most important factors in protecting a company’s assets. It is a great way to protect your company from unauthorized password sharing as well as the use of the same password by several people at the same time. Using two-factor authentication is a great way to prevent this. A SSO system could also double as an added security measure, and you may choose to utilize it.

You must have offsite backups

It is very important that you have a backup created for your important or sensitive data and systems in order to protect them. It is a good idea to practice restoring your computer after a ransomware attack to ensure your recovery will be successful. There is no reason to have backups because ransomware gangs target backup files to disable your ability to recover.

How Can Ransomware Attacks be Prevented 2

Store your data following an infection.

Remember, however, that backups cannot be of much assistance in cases where the malicious actor behind the ransomware has already exfiltrated the data to their own server and has threatened to make that data publicly available unless he or she is paid the ransom. If you are concerned about data loss, consider a software program that prevents it from happening as a way to prevent it.

As part of your role in mitigating the impact of ransomware, here are some things you can do to assist you.

As long as you have access to only one resource, compromising only one device can cause significant damage, even though you have a limited blast radius, since it can gain access to just one device. It is imperative that special attention be given to ensuring that only those individuals who have a need for access to critical information are given access to this material, in an effort to minimize the size of the blast.

Use Zero Trust Security Model

In the event you assume that you will be forced to use your perimeter defenses as a last resort, then taking all the necessary steps to ensure that they are secure and safe should be the primary focus of your planning. Authenticating each device connected to your network is a requirement every time it connects to it. Therefore, it is not enough to only authenticate them when they are connecting for the very first time. Even though some devices don’t connect to your network every day, there are certain devices that will need to be authenticated every time they are connected to your network. You should also be closely monitoring the activity that occurs in your environment, as well as ensuring that no one else has access to anything that they shouldn’t have.

If you wish to protect your data from the spread of ransomware, it is crucial that you monitor your data and alert yourself to any telltale signs you may see. It is crucial that you use tools like user and entity behavior analysis to identify and alert you when users and/or devices show abnormal behavior, and then promptly take action to stop these threats before they have a chance to affect the entire organization.

Can attacks be prevented? Of course but you should be ready with your cyber security to protect your organization.

365 iT SOLUTIONS  is CyberSecure Canada certified by the Canadian federal government

Is your organization safe? Our complimentary data breach scan can check if your credentials have been compromised by hackers.

365 iT SOLUTIONS is a leading Toronto IT consulting firm that specializes in Managed IT Services, IT Support ServicesIT Outsourcing ServicesTech Support Services, Cloud Services, Managed Security Services, , Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR), and Cyber Security Training and Dark Web Monitoring.

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Remote Workers, Data Breaches, and Third-Party Vendors

A recent research study shows that there is a large concentration of risk to organizations when it comes to remote workers, data breaches, and third-party vendors.

This is spread across multiple verticals including supply chains, construction, professional services, manufacturing, and much more. While organizations are increasing their IT budgets to address cyber security, the critical question for management is where the funds should be directed to make a tangible impact to help close the gaps in visibility, strategy, and monitoring.

 

  • 93 percent of businesses experience breaches caused by third-party vendors
  • 97 percent of organizations report negative impacted by a cybersecurity breach
  • 93 percent of businesses have suffered a direct cybersecurity breach
  • 37 percent of organizations have seen a yearly increase in third-party cyber risk.
  • 13 percent of businesses report third-party cyber risk as not a priority
  • 31 percent of organizations report that supply chain and third-party cyber risk was not a concern
  • 91 percent of businesses report an increase for cyber risk management
  • 38 percent of organizations stated that they have no way of knowing of a third-party’s cybersecurity position
  • 55 percent of healthcare organizations shows the highest rate of third-party cyber risk awareness
  • 55 percent of organizations stated that identifying cyber risk is a key priority
  • 29 percent of businesses report six to ten data breaches in the last 12 months
  • 89 percent of healthcare organizations report that remote working has added extra risk to their infrastructure
  • 29 percent of business leaders report remote working as no impact to their infrastructure risk.

Cyber security experts agree that even though they are seeing a rise in awareness around the issue, breaches and the resulting negative impact are still high.  Organizations need to be more strategic in cyber security.

What about the remote workers?

According to new research by a data center specialist firm, remote working poses an increased cyber risk for organizations.

Many IT departments or tech savvy employees now work remotely as a result of changes brought about by COVID.  They have reported that 77 percent of business owners consider remote working a cyber security risk.

A survey of 1,000 small and medium-sized businesses showed that 66 percent are struggling to monitor their infrastructure. Another 25 percent leave their IT infrastructure completely unmonitored therefore raising their cyber security risk leaving them a large target to becoming a future victim of a cyber-attack.

Organizations and management need to understand that data may not be included on a balance sheet but it is one of the most valuable assets that cannot be replaced like office equipment, computer, laptops, and servers.

As a result of the research study, remote working increases cyber risks for organizations as they leave their infrastructure unmonitored.  This poses a significant risk of sensitive data that may be exposed, encrypted, third-party, and ransomware attacks.

Organization data and IT infrastructure should be treated as any other asset, and proactively protected. If an organization is unable to secure their infrastructure due to remote working or a lack of IT expertise, they must hire a managed IT services provider to do it for them, or run the risk of having their data compromised in the future.

365 iT SOLUTIONS  is federally certified by the Canadian federal government under the CyberSecure Canada program.

Let our complimentary data breach scan investigate if your credentials have been compromised by hackers.

365 iT SOLUTIONS is a leading IT consulting firm in Toronto that offers Managed IT ServicesTech Support Services, Cloud Services, Managed Security ServicesIT Support ServicesIT Outsourcing ServicesBusiness continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR), and Cyber Security Training and Dark Web Monitoring.

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Adaptive Cyber Security Is Critical to Stopping Advanced Cyber Attacks

As the cyber security landscape changes daily, successful organizations understand that adaptive cyber security is critical to stopping advanced cyber attacks.

Managed IT services providers (MSP) and IT departments are encountering cyber threats from keyboard attacks to a wide-scale and destructive ransomware attack. Unfortunately for many organizations, reactive triage and remediation by alert will fail in such cyber security situations and stopping advanced cyber attacks.

Security alerts are a good place to start when investigating, but they do not provide the organizations with the information needed to efficiently mitigate the severity, effects, and spread of an cyberattack. Rather than queueing up isolated security alerts, managed IT services providers (MSP), IT security teams, and IT departments would do better to shift their focus more toward the security incident which could be used to respond.

When you switch from a reactive alert-based triage and remediation system to one that is built around comprehensive cyber security incident remediation, you can enjoy enormous benefits, including savings on time and resources.  This would lift the burden from your IT department and shift it to your managed IT services provider.  This would be a definite corporate strengthening of your organizations IT security posture build on a zero trust and stopping advanced cyber attacks.

As the cyber threat protection process evolves, managed IT services providers (MSP) will need to adapt and scale their processes accordingly.

Here are four immediate steps an organization can take to protect themselves from stopping advanced cyber attacks.

Adaptive Cyber Security Is Critical to Stopping Advanced Cyber Attacks 1

Changing the triage from alerts to incidents

Regardless of how your organization handles initial cyber security triage, you should ensure it is able to present meaningful correlated incidents on top of alerts. There are a number of parameters that should be used to prioritize the incident queue, including the potential risk posed by the cyberattack, cyberattack technique, cyberattack progress, and assets affected by the cyber attack.

The way to investigate a single cyber security alert depends on its stage and the cyberattack technique being used.  It is critical to provide guidance on how to investigate each one to your managed IT services provider. As part of assessing the incident, it is essential to find and identify all cyber attacker activities and affected assets from the cyber threat.  This will form your basis for the incident remediation plan.

Implement automatic processes

It is possible for your managed IT services provider to automate coordinated processes by mapping your custom cyber security playbook to the incident in a structured and durable manner. The managed IT services provider can handle some incident categories automatically and resolve them on their own without any human intervention assistance. While other aspects of the process will be automated others requiring expertise will remain manual like investigation. Using the incident graph, automation should be able to determine where and how to assist the managed IT services provider therefore saving time and enabling the managed IT services provider (MSP) to focus on the more complex and critical cyber security incidents.

Adaptive Cyber Security Is Critical to Stopping Advanced Cyber Attacks 2

Bring the Team Along

It is important to understand the benefits of working with cyber security incidents and how this approach changes the game for the organization. In situations where a new cyber security alert detects exfiltration, the alert is mapped to a tactic or technique that is appropriate to resolve the issue.

Don’t buy until you try it

Make sure you choose a cyber security product and cyber security service that will allow your organization to shift to a proactive incident-based approach and support the evolution of cyberattacks. Organizations should have the option to automatically correlate cyber security alerts into incidents, prioritization of incidents, categorize, and the ability to map your cyber security playbook at the time of the incident.

All organizations must remember that all organizations have different preferences and specific processes that must be taken into consideration prior to developing a proper cyber security solution.  The cyber security solution should integrate recommendations for action based on cyber security incidents that have occurred within the organization and across the industry.

365 iT SOLUTIONS  is certified and approved by the Canadian federal government under the CyberSecure Canada program.

We will be able to determine if your credentials have been compromised by hackers by conducting a complimentary data breach scan for you.

The 365 iT SOLUTIONS team is a top technology consulting firm in Toronto that specializes in Managed IT Services, Technical Support Services, Cloud Services, Managed Security ServicesIT Support ServicesIT Outsourcing ServicesBusiness continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR), and Cyber Security Training and Dark Web Monitoring.

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Ransomware Is No Different Than Other Cyber Security Attacks

Ransomware is no different than other cyber security attacks and organizations need to be proactive at staying vigilant to protect from hackers.

Organizations are at risk of not keeping up with cyber security measures because of ransomware attacks.  Businesses which make adjustments to their cyber security and IT environments will be much better protected against regular cyberattacks from hackers and cyber criminals.

Ransomware Is No Different Than Other Cyber Security Attacks 2

Ransomware is no different than other cyber security attacks and businesses should stop thinking ransomware is somehow unique to other threats to their business. Hackers and cyber criminals playbooks do not change much with time as there are many targets out there.  They take actions such as gaining access, increasing privileges, and stealing or destroying information. I think it would be great if they were to establish persistent access at the same time. The best hacking methods always win.

A ransomware attack is simply the ‘steal or destroy’ stage of the cyberattack in which a hacker runs a program to encrypt a victim’s data.  Next step is the same as a regular cyberattack, whether the aim is to start a ransomware campaign, spy on an organization quietly, or use the compromised system as a steppingstone to another network for a larger pay out.

Ransomware Is No Different Than Other Cyber Security Attacks 1

Most business leaders believe that hacking relies on secret programs and knowledge only known to a few shadowy hackers and cyber-criminal groups.

Even though this is bad news for defenders, the hackers approach is typically straightforward and predictable. Detection and protection methods used by cyber security vendors against ransomware are generally tried and trusted because they are successful.

The true problem arises when a sufficiently motivated cyber-attacker can circumvent the systems cyber security protections, policies, and procedures. The result is an arms race in which the vendors of security products develop products to block attackers, who then learn how to progress, which then propels the vendors to adapt. It is a constant cycle.

By challenging their own security environment, businesses can also help proactively prevent attacks.

Healthcare

  • Since 2009, healthcare industry reported over 2,100 data breaches. (Tech Jury)
  • Only 6 percent of healthcare organizations budget cybersecurity measures. (Fierce Healthcare)
  • Since 2020, 50 percent of ransomware attacks were healthcare data breaches. (Health and Human Services)
  • Average cost of $408 per record has cost healthcare for data breaches. (HIPAA Journal)
  • Since 2016, ransomware attacks against healthcare providers have caused over $157 million in losses. (HIPAA Journal)

Education 

  • Universities saw an increase of 100 percent increase in ransomware attacks between 2019 and 2020. (BlueVoyant)
  • Higher education saw a payout of $447,000 on average from a cyber-attack. (BlueVoyant)
  • Approximately 84 percent of higher education facilities have been affected by ransomware attacks. (Emsisoft)
  • Over 66 percent of universities lack basic email security configurations. (BlueVoyant)
  • Approximately 38 percent of universities have unsecured or open database ports. (BlueVoyant)

Finance & Insurance

  • Approximately 62 percent of all records leaked in 2019 were from financial institutions. (Bitglass)
  • Over 204,000 people experienced a login attempt to access their financial information. (Hub Security)
  • Approximately 90 percent of financial institutions have been targeted by ransomware attacks. (PR Distribution)
  • In 2020, 70 percent of the cyberattacks went after financial institutions. (Hub Security)

Government 

  • In 2020, 33 percent of cyberattacks on governmental bodies were ransomware (Security Intelligence)
  • In June 2019, a city in Florida paid a $600,000 ransom to recover hacked files. (CBS News)
  • Around 38 percent of local and state government employees are trained in ransomware attack prevention. (IBM)
  • A ransomware cyberattacks against a Southern city in 2020 cost over $7 million. (SC Magazine)

In lieu of focusing on a cyber security issue such as ransomware, organizations should ensure their own IT environments are secured effectively to prevent any type of cyberattack.

365 iT SOLUTIONS  is federally certified by the Canadian federal government under the CyberSecure Canada program.

Let our complimentary data breach scan investigate if your credentials have been compromised by hackers.

365 iT SOLUTIONS is a leading IT consulting firm in Toronto that offers Managed IT ServicesTech Support Services, Cloud Services, Managed Security ServicesIT Support ServicesIT Outsourcing ServicesBusiness continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR), and Cyber Security Training and Dark Web Monitoring.

We Make IT Simple!

 

 

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Top 4 Cyberthreats And How To Prevent Them

Small businesses do not make the news when being affected by ransomware however the threat is real and here are the top 4 cyberthreats and how to prevent them.

The majority of cyberthreats and cyber security breaches in a recent report were discovered days, weeks, or even months after they occurred.

Small businesses face a variety of challenges related to their lack of awareness and IT resources to defend against threat actors, cyber criminals, and hackers.  Cyber attackers have shifted their sights to small businesses with fewer resources and fewer staff as enterprises increase their budgets and resources to proactively defend against the increasing number of cyberthreats organizations face.

Cybercriminals are now looking at small businesses as low hanging fruit compared to larger enterprises thanks to automated cyberattacks and supply chain attacks.  With the use of automated cyber security tools, attackers can quickly expand their scale without much additional effort therefore putting small businesses in a difficult position.  No matter the size of a business, everyone must have the same cyber security strategy similar to those employed by enterprise organizations.

Here are Top 4 cyberthreats and how to prevent them for small businesses.

 

Top 4 Cyberthreats And How To Prevent Them ransomware

 

  1. Ransomware

The basic concept of ransomware is the same across the board.  An organization must pay a ransom to unlock their data. A second ransom is often demanded by cybercriminal attackers to prevent stolen data from being sold online on the dark web.

There have been many high-profile ransomware attacks in the past few years that have made headlines. A good recent example is the Colonial Pipeline attack that cost almost $5 million in ransom in order to restore access to files and data.

Cyberattacks typically culminate with the use of ransomware. A payload is a program that is executed once a cyber attacker has gained access to the victim’s network.  Phishing, social engineering, or web application attacks are typically the first step into a network.  As soon as the hackers have gained a foothold in the network, they can start deploying ransomware to every endpoint they can reach and then demanding the ransom. Cyberthreats are a constant issue.

How To Protect Yourself from ransomware

There is no one-size-fits-all cyber security solution to ransomware prevention however preventing the initial cyber security breach is a strong first line of cyber security defense.  A recent study found that enterprises received 94 percent of their detected malware by email.  Preventive ransomware-related financial loss and downtime is directly tied to your employees being continuously educated about these cyber-attacks.

There are several cyber security mitigation techniques that must be used to proactively prevent a ransomware attack. After the network has been compromised, there is little that can be done to prevent a ransomware attack. Ransomware attacks can cause significant damage, but there are several ways to limit the impact to your organization.

The number of systems affected by a ransomware attack can be limited by proper network segmentation, proactive backups, and an effective incident response plan. A few encrypted systems can easily be restored from backups rather than pay a ransom to the cyber criminals.

With the use of tight firewall rules and network segmentation, this will allow your organization to separate branches of its network. Many organizations do not permit printers on their network to initiate communications with workstations and servers. A single compromised device will not give an attacker access to your entire network.

Organizations should always maintain a strong incident response policy and backup your data.  Ransomware mitigation hinges on having good backups located in a safe location.  This will be the major difference between paying a ransom and detecting the breach in a timely manner and restoring your data.

Top 4 Cyberthreats And How To Prevent Them Misconfigurations

  1. Misconfigurations and Unpatched Systems

One of the biggest targets for hackers and cyber criminals is to rely on security misconfigurations that are incomplete or incorrect.  When they discover the incorrect configuration settings that do not meet industry security standards, they can easily be detected by cyber-attackers and hackers.

Accidental firewall rules are not the only cause for a cyber security attack. There is also unpatched systems, broken access controls, exposed sensitive data, and outdated IoT (Internet of Things) components to consider as well. Dark web marketplaces offer tools that cyber-attackers can use to scan for these vulnerabilities the same way penetration IT consultants can do for your organization.

How to protect yourself from misconfigurations and unpatched systems

To prevent cyberthreats, cyber security is a layer multifaceted approach so you can deal with misconfigurations across all layers of your IT security. A patch management program is a good first step in removing the “low-hanging fruit” that these automated attacks target. Several automated tools can scan for outdated applications and missing patches, letting remediation be more effective.  You can minimize the likelihood of a misconfiguration by providing the proper cybersecurity training to your technical staff.

Top 4 Cyberthreats And How To Prevent Them credential stuffing

  1. Credential Stuffing

When hackers and cyber criminals use stolen credentials, they gain access to the network. These network credentials come from breaches and are purchased off the dark web.  Credential stuffing involves the use of a victim’s username and password to log into an account.

It is becoming increasingly common to run into this type of attack due to its ease of execution. The emergence of dark web marketplaces in the last decade has made it possible for cybercriminals to simply order a set of valid usernames and passwords.

Hackers can recruit a network of automated bots to attempt to log into services such as Microsoft 365, Google, AWS, or anything else after obtaining a list of usernames and passwords. They can access an account with little or no trace if they can find a valid credential set.

How to protect yourself from credential stuffing

This type of cyberattack is preventable by simply implementing multi-factor authentication and limiting password reuse. When and account is using multi-factor authentication, the cyber-attacker must also have access to the victim’s phone for every log in with valid credentials.

When an organization limits password reuse, it will prevent credential stuffing attacks. More passwords means that users must keep track of more passwords, but a breach of credential at a popular streaming service will not threaten your vital systems.

To keep track of all these passwords, a security policy requiring the use of a password manager is crucial. A password manager stores your passwords in an encrypted vault secured with a “master password” so you only need to remember one password.

Top 4 Cyberthreats And How To Prevent Them social

  1. Social Engineering

Cyber criminals do not use social engineering to break into systems, they use it to compromise a person. A common form of this is an email phishing attack in which the individual is tricked into downloading malware or giving up their credentials. A multistep cyberattack often starts with social engineering.

Over 70 percent of social engineering and phishing incidents are uncovered by outside parties is even more concerning. Unfortunately, employees often do not realize that they have been phished when they fall for the cyberattack. Hackers and cybercriminals are continually figuring out new ways to cheat automated cyber security tools.

How to protect yourself from social engineering

There are many variations of social engineering, making it difficult to prepare your organization for all of it. Social engineering cyberattacks can be prevented by implementing a strong cybersecurity awareness program. Your employees will benefit from engaging and educational security content, as it will not only prepare them for what they’ll see, but also help shift corporate culture to a security-first mindset.

Bottom Line to Top 4 Cyberthreats And How To Prevent Them

Human risks that contribute to cyber security breaches cannot be minimized in a singular way. It is necessary for employees to browse the web, open emails and even answer the phone with a healthy amount of suspicion. To have a small social engineering attack surface, an organization must have a strong cybersecurity culture, policies, and procedures.

Most small businesses close within six months after suffering a cyberattack, so strengthening your cyber security posture is not just logical, it’s crucial to business survival. Proactive backups, updates, patches, and adequately cyber security training for your employees can mean the difference between business as usual and closure.

365 iT SOLUTIONS  is federally certified by the Canadian federal government under the CyberSecure Canada program.

Let our complimentary data breach scan investigate if your credentials have been compromised by hackers.

365 iT SOLUTIONS is a leading IT consulting firm in Toronto that offers Managed IT ServicesTech Support Services, Cloud Services, Managed Security ServicesIT Support ServicesIT Outsourcing ServicesBusiness continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR), and Cyber Security Training and Dark Web Monitoring.

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Important factors for companies dealing with ransomware attacks

Important factors for companies dealing with ransomware attacks

As technology advances with continual innovation and sophistication, it will bring management up-to-date on important factors for companies dealing with ransomware attacks.

The latest cloud services for based file storage platforms enable more flexible sharing of information and data within an organization.  It also ensures forensic assessment and cyber threat recovery from cyberattacks without losing productive time or having to pay the ransom to the cyber criminals.

Important factors for companies dealing with ransomware attacks 1

Here five important factors for companies dealing with ransomware attacks and how to avoid disruption from cyber criminals:

Factor 1: Cloud File Shares

It is often difficult for companies to recover from digital cyberattacks because they rely on traditional on-premises file sharing infrastructures using servers with redundant infrastructures for disaster recovery (DR).  Proactive maintenance is always required from the IT department or managed IT services provider (MSP) for these complex IT structures.  They are especially challenging and resource-intensive when a cyberattack occurs and a disaster recovery (DR) plan needs to be processed quickly.

Cloud-based services and business applications in the public cloud is predicted to account for 45 percent of all IT spend by 2026 as it will make it easier to share information over the internet.  Next-generation tools cloud-based services storage systems us a central nature and localized file access therefore it makes it easier to detect damage locally and to restore files in the event of a cyberattack. Cloud services computing is growing in popularity in the post-Covid economy as it has already helped businesses cope with the ransomware threat and cyber security.

Factor 2: Change Immutable Data

There are many major advantages of cloud services computing in addition to the fact that ransom cybercriminal gangs tend to attack older technology infrastructures or those built for remote working during the pandemic not following industry best practices.  Global file systems provided by cloud file storage allow for a practical safeguard against regular outages and hacker exploits because they provide complete data integrity and don’t need to move data from one location to another for access.  Due to the lack of confidence in the reliability of cloud storage systems in the past, many organizations ignored them as a viable option however thanks to the proven performance of these cloud services products and their large installed bases around the world, those days are over.

Factor 3: Targeted File Recovery

Most cloud service file services allow for continuous file versioning snapshots.  Continuous file versioning allows organizations to maintain their data integrity of their cloud-based file storage services.  These tools allow IT departments and managed IT services providers (MSP) to take unlimited snapshots of file share status as frequently as every five minutes, which allows for controlled recovery of files after a cyberattack.

There are many organizations that have been in the headlines and had to pay enormous sums to cyber criminals out of fear of losing productivity time, data, and reputation. IT departments and managed services providers (MSP) can set more predictable and faster Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) into the recovery plan as new ransomware exploits emerge daily.

Factor 4: Recover in Minutes

When it comes to restoring files, this is an unfavorable task for IT departments or managed IT services providers (MSP) handling hybrid IT infrastructures.  Many organizations have found that even after responding immediately to a ransomware attack, full operational recovery takes weeks or sometimes even months.

Cloud-based file storage services offer a “roll back” feature for business-critical data to the exact moment when it was encrypted.  This is very helpful for organizations that are heavily dependent on several locations as well as a distributed workforces as it gives them the peace of mind that their critical resources are secure in the event of a cyberattack.

Factor 5: Simplify Disaster Recovery

A better way to understand how cloud file storage services is evolving, you will need to understand recent events. Mant IT departments and managed IT services providers were tasked with the responsibility during the pandemic to keep the lights on at organizations.  It became increasingly difficult for companies to find extra staff to manage their business continuity (BC) planning, and many companies with more complex, hybrid technology stacks do not do it at all.

Due to the ability to roll back files to the time of an incident in today’s cloud file storage service products like SharePoint, business continuity (BC) planning and testing are much simpler and faster. It is also less resource-intensive than on-premises storage infrastructures ever could be. With the cloud, it’s easier to plan and recover from ransomware exploits.

Important factors for companies dealing with ransomware attacks 2

Important factors for companies dealing with ransomware attacks include ransomware cyber threats evolving over time.  Cloud services providers have developed major innovations that have enable companies to use simple business continuity (BC) planning so they may assess damage quickly, and restore files.  This allows organizations to achieve Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs) in minutes, rather than days or weeks. Ransomware cyberattacks can be more predictably reacted to and recovered from with cloud-based file storage products.

365 iT SOLUTIONS  is federally certified by the Canadian federal government under the CyberSecure Canada program.

Let our complimentary data breach scan investigate if your credentials have been compromised by hackers.

365 iT SOLUTIONS is a leading IT consulting firm in Toronto that offers Managed IT ServicesTech Support Services, Cloud Services, Managed Security ServicesIT Support ServicesIT Outsourcing ServicesBusiness continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR), and Cyber Security Training and Dark Web Monitoring.

We Make IT Simple!

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Why do ransomware victims pay the ransom

The majority of businesses have suffered a ransomware attack in the past year however why do ransomware victims pay the ransom?

It has become common knowledge and recommendation from experts and law enforcement agencies, do not pay the ransom. Unfortunately, a leading cyber security firm has reported some alarming news, companies are paying.

Why do ransomware victims pay the ransom 2

  • 83 percent of ransomware victims feel they have no choice but to pay up the ransom
  • 64 percent of organizations have fallen victim to a ransomware attack in the last year
  • 42 percent of organizations have reported to have experienced loss of revenue and reputational damage
  • 72 percent of organizations have increased their cybersecurity budgets in the past year
  • 93 percent of organizations have allocated a specific budget to fight ransomware threats

Experts in cybersecurity and law enforcement agencies strongly advocate against paying the ransom due to numerous reasons.  This behaviour encourages cyber criminals, hackers, and bad actors to spread more ransomware to more organizations.  It also does not guarantee data restoration as well as that the cybercriminal hackers will not launch another cyber attack on your organization.

Why do ransomware victims pay the ransom 1

Organizations need to proactively defend themselves against these cyberattacks instead of paying the ransom. Cyber security experts agree that companies must first ensure privileged access to their network such as using multi-factor authentication (MFA) or other methods to enforce zero trust.  This will keep cybercriminals contained and minimize the damage they can do to your organization.

Why do ransomware victims pay the ransom? Password-Stealing attacks are surging.

According to Kaspersky, password-stealing malware attacks from hackers have increased by 45 percent in the last six months of 2020 showing clear signs of the need for improved cyber security policies when it comes to login security.

Based on research from their cyber security team regarding Trojan-PSW that is a stealth application that gathers login and other account information, there was nearly 500,000 targets in September 2021 as compared to April 2021.

Organizations need to remember that user logins, passwords, payment details, and other personal identifiable information remain a hot item on the dark web market for cyber criminals.

Cyber security professionals recommend that businesses and users take extra cyber security precautions to protect their personal information.  This includes multi-factor authentication (MFA).  Cyber criminals and hackers are also using password stealers more often, which indicates users should be extra careful, refrain from following bogus links, and use an updated cyber security solution.

Cyber security insurance changes

Most insurance organizations are explicitly setting the requirement for multifactor authentication as a minimum-security standard in order to be insured.  This would save organizations from over 90 percent of cyber security attacks and cyber threats.

Cyber criminals have been using SIM swapping and other methods to intercept one-time passwords generated by text message.  In 2021, Microsoft recommended that all organizations avoid MFA methods that rely on phone networks and instead rely on authentication apps for authentication.

365 iT SOLUTIONS  is federally certified by the Canadian federal government under the CyberSecure Canada program.

Let our complimentary data breach scan investigate if your credentials have been compromised by hackers.

365 iT SOLUTIONS is a leading IT consulting firm in Toronto that offers Managed IT ServicesTech Support Services, Cloud Services, Managed Security ServicesIT Support ServicesIT Outsourcing ServicesBusiness continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR), and Cyber Security Training and Dark Web Monitoring.

We Make IT Simple!

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What is proactive cybersecurity to your business

To keep cyberthreats at bay, a business needs to understand what is proactive cybersecurity to your business, as well as what are the proactive cybersecurity solutions available.

What is proactive cybersecurity to your business 2

Cyber security professionals detect and contain cyber threats before they wreak havoc on your systems and lead to significant productivity and financial losses.  In this article, you will learn how to implement proactive cybersecurity and what you need to know to protect your business.

What is proactive cybersecurity to your business?

As a practical matter, traditional cybersecurity is reactive.  Your corporate IT department or managed IT services provider (MSP) will be alerted of a potential cyberattack only after it has already occurred, leaving them little time to mitigate the damage.  As opposed to reactive cybersecurity, proactive cybersecurity is preventative.  It takes in account all possible cyber threats and identifies vulnerabilities in order to address them before they cause downtime to your business.

The adoption of proactive cybersecurity measures along with reactive ones has been highly successful, with organizations now able to remain one step ahead of cyberthreats and improve data compliance.

What is proactive cybersecurity to your business 1

The following steps should be taken as part of your proactive cyber security within your organization:

  • Identify cyberthreats and prevent them
  • Your in-house IT staff or managed service provider can provide you with insight into the types of cyberattacks
  • Identify which parts of your organization’s network you are protecting.
  • Consider how much damage each cyber threat can cause to them
  • Determine what services the devices will access in the future and how to protect them
  • Make cybersecurity proactive by putting in place proactive measures
  • All internal stakeholders should attend cyber security awareness seminars
  • Every employee should be trained how to manage their passwords, mobile devices, and spam
  • Use proactive business-class anti-malware software to stop malware from infecting your system
  • Use a proactive updating and patching software on a regular basis
  • Ensure your network is not vulnerable to backdoors
  • Providing web filtering services and security services
  • Your network should be blacklisted from dangerous and inappropriate sites
  • Next generation hardware firewalls with intrusion prevention systems should be used
  • Limit access to only the data needed to complete their tasks by using least privilege approach
  • Use full-disk encryption to make data stored in computers and portable devices unreadable
  • Use virtual private networks to make data transmitted across unsecured connections unreadable
  • Implement strict access controls to prevent access to accounts by using strong passwords, multifactor authentication, auto screen locks, and logouts for idle users
  • Use business-class AI-powered network monitoring to identify suspicious user and software behaviors

What is proactive cybersecurity to your business?

If your business is looking to implement a proactive cybersecurity strategy to protect your critical systems, look no further.

365 iT SOLUTIONS  is federally certified by the Canadian federal government under the CyberSecure Canada program.

Let our complimentary data breach scan investigate if your credentials have been compromised by hackers.

365 iT SOLUTIONS is a leading IT consulting firm in Toronto that offers Managed IT ServicesTech Support Services, Cloud Services, Managed Security ServicesIT Support ServicesIT Outsourcing ServicesBusiness continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR), and Cyber Security Training and Dark Web Monitoring.

We Make IT Simple!