10 Cybersecurity Tips for Your Small Business

If you run a small business, you have a responsibility to your employees and customers. Your employees rely on you to provide them with a steady paycheck in exchange for all their hard work, and your customers rely on you to provide top quality products and

services.

Your customers also expect you to keep their personal data safe, from the credit cards they use to make their payments to the names and addresses they provide. If you run a small business, you have a responsibility to those customers, and you need to take cybersecurity very seriously.

It seems sometimes that not a day goes by without another data breach, and many of those intrusions are aimed squarely at the small business community. If you want to protect your business and its data, start by building these cybersecurity tips into your daily operations.

  • Train all employees on the importance of cybersecurity, including the security of their personal devices. Continue their education with regular refreshers and warnings about current cyberattacks.
  • Set up a separate Wi-Fi network to let workers and guests connect their smartphones and other handheld devices. Personal devices can be a weak link in the security chain, so keeping them off the corporate network improves your overall protection.
  • Use strong spam filters and check their accuracy regularly. Many cyberattacks originate with infected emails.
  • Consider turning off clickable links in incoming emails, at least for emails that originate outside the company.
  • Establish a strong firewall and keep it updated. Whether you use a software firewall, a hardware device or a combination of both, your firewall is your first line of defense against cyberattacks.
  • Test your backups on a regular basis by doing dummy restores. Your cybersecurity and ransomware defense is only as good as your latest backup, and it is important to know where you stand.
  • Keep every device on your network, from network attached storage devices like external hard drives to the servers in the data room to the computers on the desks, up to date with the latest security patches. Make sure your operating systems and software packages are up to date, and do spot checks to make sure the recommended updates are being applied.
  • Stay abreast of end dates for software support. When support for a given operating system or software package ends, so do the security updates. Always have a plan in place to update your operating systems as the support end dates approach.
  • Consider outsourcing your IT operations to a third party. It can be hard for small business owners to keep up with the never-ending security requirements, and outsourcing those tasks can improve safety and give those owners one less thing to worry about.
  • Give employees only the access they need. Insider threats run the gamut, from the unintentional sharing of proprietary information to the deliberate theft of company secrets. Following the least access policy can minimize these dangers.

Running a small business is hard, and keeping your customer data safe can be even more challenging. The threats to data security are not going away – if anything they are ramping up with every passing day. Small businesses are increasingly the targets of sophisticated hacking attempts, ransomware attacks and other online threats, and it is easy for your own business to be caught unaware. Building cybersecurity into your daily operations is the best way to protect yourself, starting with the 10 security pointers listed above.


10 Ways Nonprofit Agencies Can Enhance the Privacy of Their Data

Data breaches are nothing new, and they are no longer confined to for-profit businesses. More and more nonprofit agencies are finding their data compromised, leaving their donors, volunteers and the people they serve vulnerable to identity theft and other serious ramifications.

There are several reasons that nonprofit agencies are increasingly becoming the targets of hackers and the writers of ransomware. One of the most significant reasons for the targeting is the perception that nonprofit agencies often lack the sophistication to protect their data adequately, and there is some truth to this assertion.

Nonprofit agencies often run on shoestring budgets, with little money left over for IT staff or outsourced data monitoring. For many years, some nonprofits have treated security as an afterthought, but these days no one can afford to be blasé about protecting the integrity of their information.

If you run a nonprofit agency or work for one, you need to take a proactive approach to data security. Here are 10 things you can do right now to protect your donors, your customers and the data with which you are entrusted.

  • Collect only the information you need. Whether you are collecting money from donors, working with the people you serve or bringing new volunteers onboard, minimize the amount of data you collect.
  • Recruit volunteers with solid technical skills. Having volunteer staff with up-to-date technical skills is a great way to protect your data without interfering with the good work you do.
  • Store sensitive information offline. If you must store Social Security numbers, credit card data and other confidential information, keep it in an offline database.
  • Provide employees and volunteers with the least necessary amount of access. Giving staff members access to only the information they need to do their jobs reduces the chance of data leakage and helps keep everyone safe.
  • Train your employees and volunteers on security best practices. Provide each new worker or volunteer with data security training, and hold regular sessions to remind them how important it is to keep the firm’s data safe.
  • Install a quality email filter and check it regularly. A good spam filter can reduce the chances of email-based phishing attempts and data breaches.
  • Filter internet traffic as well. Just loading a compromised website could put the security of the entire network in danger, and a good filter is your first line of defense.
  • Turn on automatic updates for all your connected equipment. Keeping your software up to date is an essential part of data security for nonprofits.
  • Schedule an annual security test for your network. Intrusion testing should be an integral part of your data security, and a yearly review will give you, and your customers, peace of mind.
  • Require strong passwords for website access. Online access can make it easier to give donations to the nonprofit, but weak passwords can put those donors at risk. By requiring a secure password for the nonprofit website, you force everyone who logs on to take their security seriously.

Nonprofit agencies face significant challenges when keeping their data safe. From the assumption of weak security to the reality of stretched budgets, these difficulties can create real problems. By taking a proactive approach to the safety of your donor, volunteer and customer data, you can enhance data security and make a data breach far less likely.


Dark Web Monitoring Is Here!

 

Elevated Technologies Now Delivers Dark Web Monitoring Services through ID Agent Partnership

 Elevated Technologies Offers Monitoring and Alerting of Stolen Digital Credentials, Increasingly Valuable Asset on Dark Web

 Houston, TX – January 30, 2018 – Elevated Technologies announced its new Dark Web monitoring services provided through its partnership with ID Agent, provider of Dark Web monitoring and identity theft protection solutions. With Dark Web ID, Elevated Technologies offers around the clock monitoring and alerting for increasingly compromised digital credentials, scouring millions of sources, including botnets, criminal chat rooms, peer-to-peer networks, malicious websites, bulletin boards and illegal black market sites.

“With the security landscape ever changing and more small / medium size businesses are being targeted, a partnership with ID Agent was a must.  They add a robust Dark Web monitoring solution to our new Cyber Security department Elevated Cyber Security.  This new department is solely focused on a vast amount of security services for the SMB community.  We welcome ID Agent onboard and look forward to a great business partnership assisting the Elevated family.” said Jason Rorie, Founder of Elevated Technologies.

The Dark Web is made up of various digital communities, and while there are legitimate purposes for the Dark Web, it is estimated that over 50 percent of all sites on the Dark Web today are used for criminal activities, including the disclosure and sale of digital credentials.

“Digital credentials such as usernames and passwords are widely used to connect to critical business applications – the reason these credentials are among the most valuable assets found on the Dark Web,” said Kevin Lancaster, CEO of ID Agent. “Unfortunately, the unaffordability of cyber offerings has played into the cyber poverty line experienced by small businesses. Dark Web ID, however, delivers an affordable model that provides small businesses with the same advanced credential monitoring capabilities used by Fortune 500 companies to organizations in the SMB and mid-market space.”

Dark Web ID is the industry’s only commercial solution available to detect customers’ compromised credentials in real-time on the Dark Web. It vigilantly searches the most secretive corners of the Internet to find compromised data associated with your customers’ employees, contractors and other personnel, and notifies them immediately when these critical assets are compromised. There are a few competitors in the market but none completely focused on the Dark Web as ID Agent’s solution.

About ID Agent

ID Agent provides a comprehensive set of threat intelligence and identity monitoring solutions to private and public sector organizations and to millions of individuals impacted by cyber incidents. The company’s flagship product, Dark Web ID, combines human and sophisticated Dark Web intelligence with capabilities to identify, analyze and monitor for compromised or stolen employee and customer data, mitigating exposure to clients’ most valuable assets – their digital identity. From monitoring your organization’s domain for compromised credentials to deploying identity and credit management programs in order to protect the employees and customers you serve – ID Agent has the solution. For more information, visit: http://www.idagent.com or go to LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

About Elevated Technologies

If you want more from your IT support company and are in need of a robust system to solve even your most challenging technology problems, your solution starts with Elevated Technologies. With Houston’s most advanced team of IT support experts and one-of-a-kind IT solutions, even your most challenging technology problems are no match for Elevated Tech. Our team of IT support experts implement advanced technology strategies, leveraging IT as a competitive advantage. Our mission is to create a personal, trusting relationship with every client in order to serve each business to the fullest.


How Small Businesses Can Stay Safe from Hackers This Holiday Season

small business protected from hackers

Do you realize the holidays are one of the most popular times for hackers to target small businesses? With these tips, your small business can stay safe from hackers this holiday season. Digital media professionals recommend owners step-up cybersecurity measures to safeguard their business from attack while the festive season reigns. Here’s how you can protect the well-being of your enterprise and stay safe.

Key cyber security tips

Boredom is an issue among workers as the holidays approach. They surf the Internet, checking their Twitter and Facebook accounts and looking at personal emails which may contain malware. Doing so allows hackers to gain entry into computer systems. Millions of businesses are at risk and can benefit from the following advice.

  • Use data protection strategies to match the information your business keeps. Data encryption, encryption keys, and multi-factor identification, for instance, can defend sensitive files. Thieves might steal them, but they won’t be able to gain access to records.
  • Educate staff about staying alert to the possibility of hackers using them to break into computer systems. Teach them about the methods hackers’ use, such as sending personalized emails and pretending they are associates.
  • Monitor your small business well using passwords and malware defense. Also, make sure firewalls are in place, and antivirus software and network security certificates are up-to-date.
  • Restrict admission to vital data via employee’s mobile phones. Be wise and invest in a centrally controlled system that allows IT departments to wipe stolen devices remotely.
  • Carefully dispose of sensitive data. You might imagine information disappears from your computer when you erase files, but, until the disk space it took up is reused, it can be found.

Don’t let hackers spoil the holidays. Contact Elevated Technologies today to protect your IT network from today’s cyber threats! Keep your enterprise secure, and you can enjoy peace of mind.

 


Don’t Let Hurricane Harvey Cloud Your Business

With Hurricane Harvey reminding us how quickly our resources can be ripped away from us, businesses all over the city are scrambling to keep on track while the streets continue to flood. Many employees will be working from home for days or even weeks—if they can. The rest are down for the count. The question that everyone seems to be asking is: How could we have prepared for this?

The answer: The cloud. With the cloud, your employees can work from home with full access to all their files 24/7 365 days a year—even in the middle of a disaster.

How?

Cloud storage providers such as Elevated Technologies give you a remote data center, where it manages the infrastructure, servers, and virtualization of your data, and you simply access your virtual files using the internet, giving you access anywhere, anytime.

With the cloud regularly backing up your important files and allowing your employees to work from anywhere in the world, your business can be prepared for the worst and maintain efficiency and productivity as much as possible.

Disaster recovery plans are also imperative for protecting your most valuable information. Does your IT support offer full cloud solutions and disaster recovery plans? The answer to this question could mean the difference between hundreds of corrupted files while your employees are left without work for weeks, or the security of your data and your business’ productivity.

Be the company that was one step ahead and endured the storm. Contact Elevated Tech today to ensure that your data is always safe and secure—even in the middle of a hurricane.

 


The Sweet Spot Between Managed IT and In-House Support

For many business owners, there is a bright line of demarcation between the world of managed IT services and the alternative of handling technical and client support entirely in-house. Each option has its advantages and drawbacks, and each option has its advocates in the business world.

Some business owners feel that outsourcing their IT services and client support makes a lot of sense. Those business owners often cite the lower costs of IT services, and the greater flexibility an outsourced solution provides. They feel that having an expert firm handle their data backups, compliance procedures and IT support services reduces overhead, eases growing pains and provides the best level of service to employees and customers.

Other business owners feel just as strongly about managing their IT services and client support internally. Those business owners feel that giving up local control is a mistake, and that stepping back from these vital services disconnects them from an important part of the business.

With so many differing opinions, it would seem that there is no room for common ground between the two camps, but that is not necessarily the case. Both groups of business owners, the ones that feel that local control is vital and the ones that insist outsourced IT is the best way to go, can agree on the value of supplemental staffing.

Business owners who love the idea of local control can use supplemental services to ramp up their operations quickly and respond to unforeseen circumstances. Whether the surprise event is a data breach, a network intrusion or a sudden influx of business, supplemental services can get the company through the crisis and leave the firm stronger on the other side.

Supplemental support can be just as valuable for business owners that are already taking advantage of outsourced IT services. Under most circumstances, this kind of remote support is sufficient, but there are times that on-site supplemental staff can fill in the gaps.

From training the staff on the latest software upgrades to giving presentations on best email practices and safety from phishing and ransomware attacks, there are times when on-site resources are the best approach. In those circumstances, supplemental services can bridge the gap and enhance the value of managed IT support.

No matter which side of the managed IT/local control argument you believe in, supplemental services can be a valuable tool in your customer and client support arsenal. From providing on-site support for computer upgrades and hardware replacements to training on-site staff on the use of a new software product, the value of supplemental services is something that all business owners can agree on.


Disaster Recovery

 

A disaster is any accident or event that causes great damage or loss. A disaster can be a flood, sudden loss of power, physical damage, or any natural or human-induced disaster. Many businesses do not have a backup plan or disaster recovery plan in place. Some companies who have backup plans often backup to an on-site location. On-site backup is fine as long as there are no major accidents. If your backup is on-site and a flood occurs, all of your information could potentially be lost. This is why it is crucial to have a disaster recovery plan and a backup plan in place. Disaster recovery (DR) involves a set of policies and procedures to enable the recovery of vital technology infrastructure and systems following a natural or human-induced disaster. Data recovery focuses on the technology systems supporting critical business functions which involve keeping all essential aspects of a business functioning despite significant disruptive events. Elevated Technologies can provide your company with disaster recovery services that will protect your data through cloud based storage and recovery. Our cloud backup services are off-site and automatically backup as frequently as your business needs it, even if it is every 15 minutes. With our backups, the off-site replication is constantly monitored. If there is a problem that arises, you are alerted. Elevated Technologies provides you with a monthly report to let you know that your data is safe. In the event of a disaster, your downtime with be minimized with faster restore times. This ensures that you can access your most critical data that impacts your day-to-day operations. A disaster recovery plan makes the difference between losing everything or having a temporary headache. With a secure disaster recovery plan manager by Elevated Technologies, you never have to worry about recovering from a disaster.