Cybersecurity: Are Passwords Your Vulnerability?

Cybersecurity strategies need to take into account vulnerable areas, such as employee passwords.Don’t let employee negligence be the source of a data breach. Cybersecurity has never been more important, yet too few companies are doing what they should to protect themselves in areas that can be easily remedied with a few important steps.

According to a study by password management firm Keeper Security, 81 percent of data breaches are due to weak passwords, or passwords that were stolen or still set to default. The same study found that almost 60 percent of people use the same password for everything. What can you do to ensure your employees are practicing safe password procedures?

Cybersecurity attacks continue to become more targeted and severe, carrying heavy consequences for victims. Despite the threat, a study by the Ponemon Institute shows that instead of becoming more prepared, many companies are doing less.

The Ponemon survey found that 61 percent of respondents had reported a cyberattack, which is a six percent increase over the year prior. Almost 54 percent reported that their data had been breached, which is up from 50 percent a year earlier. A ransomware attack became a reality for 52 percent of respondents, and more than half of those said they got hit more than once.

What steps can you take to protect against a cyberattack?

·       Gain more visibility into employee password practices

·       Don’t use the same passwords for accessing multiple accounts

·       Don’t share passwords

·       Use strong passwords that are not easily compromised

·       Develop a password policy and enforce it

·       Implement a control policy regarding BYOD (bring your own device)

·       Train security staff more frequently

·       Update antivirus software and encryption software

The costs associated with stolen records are severe; enough to sink some companies, particularly when you consider the average cost of a data breach is around $1 million-plus. The ongoing lack of preparation and neglect of developing more robust password policies puts many companies at great risk, which is why it’s important to take proactive steps to remediate weaknesses.

At Focal Solutions, we’ve developed a number of processes that make telecom easy. Our team is committed to the success of your business, and that includes making sure you’re secure with robust cybersecurity solutions. We have a mission to develop long-term advocacy for our clients and know industry best practices. Contact us today to learn more.

Preparing for Ransomware: Reliable Data Backup Is Key

While human error is part of the reason for ransomware attacks, securing data offsite negates vulnerabilities.Ransomware is taking center stage as a number of companies across industries are hit with digital attacks. WannaCry ransomware made headlines when it targeted PCs at banks and healthcare facilities; NotPetya, a malware that is an adaptation of ransomware, made similar headlines when it hit businesses in Europe hard. What can you do to ensure your data won’t be held hostage?

What we know about ransomware right now is that it looks a lot like a PC infection. Its “goal” is to go through your drives and encode all the data that it can, leaving you unable to gain access to critical records until you pay the attacker their ransom.

Business administrators pay large amounts of money to recover their data, in some cases $40,000 or more. The fight against these attacks seems fruitless as the attackers alter their models, always coming up with new ways to sneak into systems and latch on to important data.

As of last year, almost 30 percent of private ventures were involved in a ransomware attack, according to research from IBM. Nearly 60 percent of medium-sized businesses had experienced similar extortion. Security specialists can’t keep up with all the different strains of attacks, which means companies are simply moving to a mindset of paying the ransom as part of their business strategy.

The key to staying safe is to have a reliable data backup. It is imperative that your IT system is not outdated. Furthermore, employees need to be trained on how to use digital systems in a secure way that doesn’t compromise systems. According to Acronis, a data protection company, an inside person ineptly ushers in an attack on a company approximately 30 percent of the time.

New advancements in backup technology allow companies small and large to improve rather than replace their current backup methods. For instance, replication and snapshots have been determined to be a smart part of the strategy against ransomware. Replication involves making periodic copies of your data from one server and putting it on another server.

At Focal Solutions, we take ransomware attacks extremely seriously. We are an advocate for our clients, and we always focus on client satisfaction, and that involves staying prepared and ready for any malicious attack. As telecommunications industry insiders, let us help you get connected with the solutions that make the most sense for your company to keep you safe from attacks. Contact us today to hear the rest of the story.

 

Security in the Age of the Mobile Workforce

The mobile workforce presents unique security concerns for IT. How can enterprises protect their data?The mobile workforce is a boon for enterprises. No longer constrained by geographical concerns when hiring, corporations are able to attract the best talent and offer them a high level of flexibility and the ability to collaborate with their peers across the globe.

Remote access allows employees to work from wherever they are, and field employees can access all the data and resources they need on their mobile devices. In addition, companies save on travel expenses as their employees enjoy the ability to hold virtual meetings in which collaborative software makes it easy to brainstorm and discuss a project.

Increasing Cloud Migration 

The rise of the mobile workforce wouldn’t be possible without the increasing adoption of cloud technology. These two growth areas are intertwined and present a complex security landscape for IT. Here are a few of the concerns on the minds of CIOs trying to protect their systems and data:

  • Providing a secure and reliable data connection for the mobile workforce
  • The complexity of bring your own device (BYOD) culture
  • Supporting technology for a global team, including syncing time differences and facing infrastructure challenges and language barriers

Security in the Cloud

With so much data flying around the mobile workforce, data centers, and the cloud, there’s a lot of opportunity for security breaches, which can be costly in terms of disaster recovery and from a public relations perspective. Every CIO faces concerns when they consider allowing all of their data to move outside the relative safety of carefully-constructed corporate firewalls.

The good news is that the cloud can be as safe as any corporate environment with the right security tools in place. In addition, disaster recovery tends to be much less costly than it is in an on-premise system. The flooding of a data center in a river valley, for instance, won’t cause an interruption in business processes because the data is stored in the cloud.

Putting out Fires

Many CIOs, confronted by the complexity of security in the age of the mobile workforce, are turning to managed services for a variety of areas, including mobile security. In a changing landscape in which cloud and mobile technology are significantly disrupting the IT industry, CIOs are realizing the value of outsourcing some aspects of security management. It frees them to focus on strategy and innovation, rather than putting out security fires.

The mobile workforce adds a new layer of security concern to an already complicated cloud environment. Talk to your clients about outsourcing their security, with Focal Solutions as your partner. Contact us today to discuss the new challenges in mobile security.