Tag Archives: Cyber Security

4 Reasons Why Companies Today Should Use a Managed IT Service

As we grow more reliant on modern technologies and systems, IT failures significantly alter our ability to work and run business. Businesses of all sizes place an urgency on operational efficiency, but not all companies are equally equipped to sustain this efficiency. Small-medium size businesses may have limited IT resources, making it likely to fall behind in updates and network management and essentially putting the company’s system in jeopardy.

Managed services have been on the rise in the business world. This year alone, managed IT service providers are expected to bring in $649 billion, and is projected to reach $731 billion in 2020. You might be asking yourself “Why is this specific business model so successful?” or “Why should I make the switch to a managed service provider?” Here are a couple reasons why:

1.) Efficiency and Reliability

One of the main reasons that small-medium size businesses choose managed IT services is that it provides more efficient and reliable IT operations. Most companies that partner with managed service providers is because of overburdened IT staff or the lack of employees that are knowledgeable and skilled to handle certain tasks and effectively handle the whole network on their own.

When looking at these potential situations, it is hard to deny the importance of working with a managed IT service provider. A majority of companies using managed services describe their business with their IT provider as a joint arrangement with their internal IT department, leading one to believe that different aspects of IT management fall into the MSP realm while others are handled in-house. The goal for these business owners is to enhance and improve the performance of the internal IT department, not replace them. An outside IT service not only adds an extra team of IT specialists to help with any concerns or issues, but ensures the benefit of having the most up-to-date technology and innovative solutions that will assist in maximizing productivity and profitability. Some of these technologies include:

  • Cloud computing
  • Data protection/recovery
  • Network security/cyber security

Investing in these tools ensures the entire IT infrastructure becomes more dependable and efficient, and that the internal IT department is able to keep control of the situation.

2.) Enhanced Security

Did you know that 62% of cyber victims are small-medium size businesses? 60% of those victims will go out of business within six months of an attack.

Because more Houston businesses are starting to rely on storing, processing, and distributing data via the internet, cyber security is becoming a crucial component to the health of a business. Many business owners are fearful that they will become victim to a security breach.

As a managed IT service provider, it is not only their job to educate the company on the matter but help manage network security. A good IT provider will provide outsourced monitoring and management of a business’s security devices and systems, and custom-build their security service to meet the business’s needs. Some managed network security services include:

  • Managed firewall
  • Managed secure Wi-Fi
  • Managed remote connectivity
  • Managed Windows patching
  • Managed third-party patching
  • Managed anti-virus protection
  • Vulnerability scanning
  • Two-factor authentication
  • User awareness training

3.) Proactive Maintenance and Monitoring

This is one of the most important benefits of having a managed IT service provider. Business owners have little to no time to spend worrying about their IT infrastructure or other IT concerns. A business owner should be focusing on nothing but their business, which is why having a managed IT service provider is so valuable.

These IT security solutions and services are always working to detect potential threats or vulnerabilities. Having fully managed IT support means that any disturbances or issues can most often be troubleshot and repaired before they are a concern to the business owner.

A managed IT service will provide a sophisticated IT infrastructure for a company’s entire network, including:

  • Firewalls
  • Data
  • Phone systems
  • Switches
  • Networked devices
  • PCs
  • Printers
  • Routers
  • Servers

4.) Cost Effectiveness

When you have managed IT service, you’ll be paying the same amount each month regardless of how much support you need. This means you’ll know exactly what to budget and what services you’ll receive, allowing you to be more flexible when financing other aspects of your business.

There is no reason to wait until something goes wrong to elicit IT Support for your business. Catastrophic data breaches and network failures are not worth the costs or the downtime. If a business aims to grow and flourish, keeping its competitive edge, they will need a solution that offers managed IT services to avoid the avoidable.

Unlimited IT support for a fixed monthly fee gives your business the ability to focus on things that truly matter, without neglecting its technology management.

Want to learn more about the advantages of managed services? Call Elevated Technologies at 281-653-7726 to learn more and move forward with the confidence of a fully managed IT service for your Houston business!

Security Controls Around Communication Channels

Safeguarding company assets have become more and more critical over the years.  It seems like just a few years ago having a firewall, anti-virus software and partially aware employees were plenty to keep your company safe.  Today, this is no longer the case. Every company needs layered security.  Multiple layers of protection for a company is called defense in depth. This is the process of having more than technology in place.  Companies need a human, physical and logical protection mechanism in addition to security technology. 

 Communication channels in a company give employees ways to collaborate and communicate like never before.  This makes companies more productive and efficient.  These methods of communication or channels need constant security.  So much confidential, sensitive and proprietary information is stored in these channels.  If one were breached, it could be devastating to the company.

Defense in depth to help secure these channels can consist of many different methods.  Physical security is needed to restrict access to the office building or office suite. Each employee should only have physical access required to do his or her job.  Someone in accounting does not need access to the IT rooms, but IT would need access to all spaces as an example.  Doors should auto lock and employees are only are granted access based on the badge or code authentication.  Companies also need a no tailgating policy.  This will educate employees not to let other people follow them into a space without badging in themselves. 

Human security is accomplished by constant awareness training.  Employees need to be trained on the physical, human and software security measures.  Each employee needs to know the difference between a legit email, spam email and a phishing email.  They will also need to be trained on proper use of the computer systems, network, applications and email to name a few.  Social engineering is a hacking technique that is picking up much traction.  Employees need to be trained to be diligent on whom they come in contact with.  This style of hacking can be done over the phone, in person or via email.  This needs to be part of the onboarding training as a new hire and continuing education throughout their employment.  Most of these topics are covered in the company’s acceptable use policy. 

Software and application security help protect companies by providing logic security around authentication and access methods.  Most of the critical information today is stored in some type of application.  These applications need to be protected by the use of multiple forms of authentication, file and role-based permission and proper placement on the network. 

Hardware security protects company data by providing solutions such as encryption.  Hard drives can be encrypted at rest to prevent access to data if stolen.  Hardware and software encryption can be set up to protect data in transit if sensitive data is transferred by email, web or FTP.  Hardware appliance such as SIEM collectors can be implemented to monitor network traffic in real time for malicious activity. 

These types of defense tactics can be deployed together to protect communication channels.  Different communication channels provide distinct advantages and disadvantage per use for a company.  Each channel also needs its own security solution design to protect the information contained within the channel. 

Email is the most widely used communication channel.  It is also the one that is most exploited.   Most cyber-attacks today start with an email scam.  Protecting this channel is imperative.  A combination of encrypted email systems, DLP, spam filters and user awareness training need to be in place to secure a company’s email. 

Smartphones and texting are becoming more and more used in companies.  Companies are issuing phones to employees that will have access to company resources.  The companies also allow employees to text each other for business purposes.  Employees are also guilty of texting for personal reasons as well.  These phones are critical to protect since they are mobile and contain so much company information.   This is beneficial to a company because an employee can be more productive by having their email and apps on the go.  Employees do need to be aware of their device at all times.  A stolen smartphone can be an immediate breach for a company. User training in addition to security policies can protect the phones.  Most companies have a mobile device management (MDM) solution to manage the phones.  This gives the company the ability to remotely wipe all data from the phone to prevent theft of the information.  MDM also allows security policies to be enforced on the devices such as passwords on pin codes to open the phones. 

Social media is becoming more and more utilized by companies.  This communication channel is excellent for reaching clients or prospective clients.  You can market to these groups easily which allows for quicker growth of the company.  This is a great benefit to a company when they can reach their market in just a few clicks.  The downside is that social media is probably the most hacked platform in existence.  If a social media platform or only an employee’s account is hacked, it can hurt your customer base.  They could receive false messages from the employee’s account to hack their account.  This is the new age worm virus.  It could quickly ruin the reputation of a company if social media is misused.  If employees are allowed or required to have company social media accounts, they need to be trained on proper use of their account.  They need to be required to have strong passwords on these accounts and only post company related content.  Social media monitoring software also needs to be deployed to automate alerting if anything negative happens on the company’s account.

Defense in depth is required to provide proper security to companies today.  Company owners and executives need to be aware of what it takes to secure data and communication channels properly.   Most of the people in these positions still have the old way of thinking.  They believe that having a firewall and anti-virus software is enough, but it is not.  They need to be educated on defense in depth.  Also, they need to be educated on where their company’s data lives inside various communication channels.   Once these channels are identified, the right protection can be implemented by using the defense in depth method. 

References

Montesino, R., Fenz, S., & Baluja, W. (2012). SIEM-based framework for security controls automation. Information Management & Computer Security, 20(4), 248-263. doi:http://dx.doi.org.library.capella.edu/10.1108/

Beckman, M. (2005, 09). Protect vulnerable employee data. ISeries News, , 49-52. Retrieved from http://library.capella.edu/login?qurl=https%3A%2F%2Fsearch.proquest.com%2Fdocview%2F219545626%3Faccountid%3D27965

27% of Healthcare Organizations Have Had a Ransomware attack in the Past Year

The Kaspersky Lab reported that 27% of healthcare employees said their organization had at least one ransomware attack in the past year. 33% of those individuals said their organization experienced multiple breaches.

In the report, Cyber Pulse: The State of Cybersecurity in Healthcare, the lab explained that in 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights was notified of more than 110 hacking/IT-related data breaches that have affected more than 500 people. That’s a lot of money, not to mention how breaches can permanently damage a company’s reputation and potential harm to patients.

To investigate cybersecurity in health care, the lab used Opinion Matters, a market research firm, to do a survey of healthcare employees in the US and Canada. 1,758 were surveyed to look into the perception of these employees regarding cybersecurity in their company.

81% of small healthcare companies (1-49 employees), 83% of medium-sized healthcare companies (50-249), and 81% of large healthcare organizations (250+ employees) reported experiencing between 1 and 4 attacks.

According to the Penemon Institute/IBM Security’s 2018 Cost of a Data Breach Report, the average cost of a data breach has risen to $3.86 million. Kaspersky Lab’s 2018 Cost of a Data Breach Report reports the average cost at $1.23 million for enterprises and $120,000 for SMBs.

Of course, cybersecurity is important to prevent healthcare companies’ financial loss, but 71% said it was important to protect patients. 60% said it was important to protect the people and companies they work with.

Even though a lot of healthcare companies have a form of cybersecurity in place, many employees don’t have confidence in their organization’s strategy. As a matter of face, only 50% of healthcare IT workers were confident in their cybersecurity strategy, that fell to 29% of management and doctors, 21% of nurses, 23% of finance employees, and 13% of the HR department.

A lot of healthcare employees seem to have a false sense of security. Data breaches are being reported daily, but only 21% of respondents had total faith their organization’s ability to prevent cyber attacks and didn’t think they would suffer a single data breach in the upcoming year. Say what??

Even though 73% of employees said they’d let the security team know if they got an email from an unknown individual asking for PHI or login info, 17% said they’d do nothing. 17% of employees also confessed to having received an email request from an outside vendor for Ephi and gave them the info they requested!

Healthcare companies have become a major target for hackers because of the success they’ve had in the past. IT personnel, management, and all employees have to work together in order to accomplish the balance of training, education, and security solutions that will prevent breaches.

Tax Season and Cyber Security

Doing our taxes online: the majority of Americans are doing it, which increases the number of cyber criminals ready to target unsuspecting individuals every year. However, there are ways to protect your information and lower your risk for identity theft, fraudulent tax filings, and more.

Protect yourself. You can create a pin on IRS.gov to prevent the misuse of your social security number. To get a pin, you must pass the IRS identify verification process and then create a user profile. Always password protect your electronic tax files and encrypt any information you share electronically—although you should never submit personal information through email. Avoid using public Wi-Fi and unsecured wireless networks.

Know what to look for in phishing scams. Many people get shaken up by a supposed email from the IRS, but most of these emails are scams that are aimed to make people feel panicked and click on a harmful link. Do not click any embedded links—go to IRS.gov to gather information about what is required of you. The IRS never demands payment without having first sent written notice, and they will never ask for payments over the phone. Make sure to delete any harmful or suspicious emails from your inbox.

One of the best ways to protect your data is by getting informed. Understand that as the taxpayer, you are primarily responsible for your taxes even if you received help from a tax preparer. This is why you must ensure that whichever company you go through is reliable and legitimate.

Choose a preparer who has tons of information about them online, asks specific questions, and provides you with your own signed copy of your return. Avoid tax preparers who base their fees on a percentage of the refund or that have no proof online of their services or expertise. Avoid submitting information through websites that don’t have HTTPS in their url, as HTTPS pages use encryption that HTTP sites do not.

Elevated Tech values cyber security and always wants to ensure the safety of all businesses and individuals. To learn more about cyber security, data recovery, and the extra mile Elevated Tech takes to protect your business, contact us todaywe’ve got you covered.

CyberSecurity with Elevated Tech

Did you know that 62% of all cyber crime is against small to medium sized businessesDid you know that 60% of you will go out of business within 6 months of an attack?

The public typically only hears about cyberattacks against high-profile companies, banks, and government websites. In reality, small businesses make prime targets for cybercriminals, competitors, and disgruntled parties. Due to their lack of resources, small businesses have the least-protected websites, accounts, and network systems — making cyberattacks a relatively easy job.

Whether you have a website, online account, or any type of Web-based infrastructure, you are at risk for a cyberattack and need to take preventative measures.

Cybersecurity is no joke. And yet, 90 percent of businesses don’t protect their data. You may think your business is safe, but just having your files backed up does nothing to stop them from being corrupted. You need defenses that stop the attack before it even touches your valuable data.

Elevated Technologies will be your protector and your offensive line. To help you protect your business, here are three Elevated Tech smart and safe solutions that will keep you safe at all times.

·       Elevated Tech  engages your traffic with our exclusive MSP turnkey solution. It’s a bundled next-generation firewall that shields your business operations. This includes installation, configuration, deployment and management.

·    We patch almost anything so you remain profitable. Our management program patches Windows and more than 20 third-party applications. It’s a simple, predictable approach that streamlines patching with just a few clicks.

·       Our fully managed data backup solution automatically backs your files as frequently as every 15 minutes. More importantly, you’ll be able to restore your critical applications rapidly. And the solution is only about the cost of your monthly phone bill. That’s the same or less than managing it all yourself.

·       We proactively protect your servers, PCs and laptops from viruses and malware with a fully managed solution. It includes enterprise class endpoint software, 24/7 monitoring, and management by a team of technical experts. This total endpoint security is only about the same price as your anti-virus software.

Elevated Tech also offers training for you and your employees; your people are your best defense against an attack. We provide end-user security training courses that build awareness. You can count on three outcomes: Your people will form a healthy level of paranoia. Your organization will reduce its cyber risks. And our straightforward approach means you won’t wish you could get your hour back.

 

Contact Elevated Technologies today and be the percentage that stops problems before they start.