As more people around the globe are impacted by the novel Coronavirus pandemic, The ITeam has created an IT guide for businesses.
As the year hastens toward its final days, most organizations are gearing up for 2020 with a renewed sense of purpose and solid business strategies. While developing your strategy, you may have some concerns about the unknowns facing your business and industry. But if you are preparing your plan for the coming year without including your IT strategy and infrastructure needs assessment, you’re missing a core piece of your ability to remain competitive, differentiated, and functional. Does your IT strategy support your business strategy?
IT Deserves a Seat at the Planning Table
Business strategy and IT strategy are two sides of the same coin. Yet most businesses look at IT and IT investment as a cost, not an opportunity. Whether you’re launching new products in 2020, planning to hire new staff, rolling out an app, or adding a new location, IT strategy is an essential piece of every goal. Do your new products include IoT components? What resources will be required to launch a new product or service? What kind of equipment will you need to add new people to your network? How will you handle security and training? As you plan for changes, growth, and the future of your business, IT should be a factor in every decision. Your IT team – internal and outsourced – should be part of your planning process.
Proactive IT Planning Saves You Time and Money
If you don’t include IT in your strategic planning, ultimately it will still be something you have to deal with. Unanticipated needs and adjustments will just end up costing you more, slowing you down, or complicating your plans. Proactive IT planning is essential for ensuring that you can meet your strategic objectives. It forces you to consider how your current infrastructure and support will enable you to deliver on your goals, identify where gaps are in your IT support, and establish what will be required to accomplish your strategic plan.
A Symbiotic Relationship
The more closely you can align your IT to your business strategy, the stronger your organization will be. It’s not just about cybersecurity, although that is certainly a piece of the puzzle. It’s about having a mindset in which your IT infrastructure, security, technology, and assets are considered integral pieces of your entire business strategy puzzle and not simply an afterthought.
The ITeam partners with businesses to ensure that their IT strategies and business strategies align. We understand the challenges facing Canada businesses and are committed to helping Calgary- and Alberta-based businesses develop proactive, cost-effective IT strategies that minimize risk and maximize efficiency. Contact us to learn more.
October is Cyber Security Awareness Month (CSAM), an internationally recognized effort to improve cybersecurity for all persons and organizations. In Canada, cybercrime is one of the biggest threats facing the nation, from identity fraud to phishing attacks and ransomware to election security. Every person and every business have a role to play in keeping Canada safe.
The ITeam is proud to participate in Cyber Security Awareness Month. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram for daily cybersecurity tips, news, and updates. And follow these recommendations to make your organization more cybersecure:
Your employees are your first line of defense against cybercrime. They need to know what to look for, how to respond, and when to act. Employee training should be mandatory for every person working in your organization, from the top down. Ensure that your training includes information about using strong passwords, improving email security (don’t click links or open files from unknown or unconfirmed sources), and establishing firm policies about how, when, and what devices can access your network.
Backup and Disaster Recovery
It’s not a matter of if but when your organization will fall victim to cybercrime. Even with the best training, a sophisticated hacker may still trick an employee into clicking a link that locks you out of your network. Instead of paying a ransom and further encouraging cybercriminals, develop a comprehensive data backup and disaster recovery protocol to protect your business. Start with our guide, How to Create an Effective Disaster Recovery Plan.
Develop a Comprehensive IT Strategy
Securing your business requires more than just passwords. It begins with the right policies: making cybersecurity a business fundamental, setting limits within your organization in regard to who can access your data, and assessing risk regularly. Once you begin to develop a culture of IT security in your organization, you will be able to prioritize essential cybersecurity tasks, such as updating and patching software and apps, implementing layers of security to protect your organization, meeting necessary compliance requirements for your industry, and identifying any vulnerabilities in your network.
Partner with a Managed Services Provider
Every organization faces the real possibility of a catastrophic event that could compromise its data integrity and threaten its very existence. The ITeam provides essential IT support to businesses in Alberta. We provide fully managed and personalized services designed to meet the needs of virtually any business. Our team will work with you to customize a cost-effective solution and help you develop a comprehensive IT security strategy that will help you survive any threat, whether natural or human-caused. Contact us to schedule a network assessment today.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen an increase in data breaches, email hacking schemes, and ransomware attacks across the globe. And if that wasn’t enough to consider when developing your IT security plan, here are three future threats to think about.
3 Future Threats to Include in Your IT Strategy Now
1. AI-based protection. We see an opportunity for AI to help manage IT security and alert users when their networks are being compromised, either through hostile activity or as a result of security policy violations. Benefits of using AI include defense against cyber-attacks, defense against software errors and failures, and improved security and crime prevention. And while no one expects AI to come in and solve all our cyber security problems, AI technology is moving closer to being one of the tools of tomorrow to help keep data and systems protected. The catch: Hackers will exploit AI the way they exploit everything else, making 24/7 monitoring and multiple layers of security necessary to effectively protect your organization.
2. Evolving challenges in protecting client data. Each year, new threats become commonplace, government shutdowns threaten the larger system infrastructure, and the conversation around data mining and selling personal data becomes more relevant and heated. Data breaches evolve both in frequency and in volume – think Target, Yahoo, and Capital One. Even thinking about data breaches can be a scary thing. Data protection procedures will need to not only comply with all laws and regulations, but must also be agile and proactive, capable of keeping up with future threats, to ensure that all your data is protected. The catch: Hackers will continue to grow more sophisticated in their efforts to fool your employees into taking their bait. Awareness, training, and sophisticated email security will be required, to stay a step ahead.
3. 5G, IoT, and other new tech will introduce more risk. Technology is changing quickly. The catch: Adopting new technology will be a means of remaining competitive and will be necessary for serving your customers, but it also introduces new risks – some of which no one can predict. The only way to protect your organization is to have a team of experts who are constantly assessing risk, proactively developing and implementing solutions, and at your side to help you navigate the complexities.
The ITeam understands the IT security issues facing businesses in Canada. We are committed to helping Calgary- and Alberta-based businesses develop proactive, cost-effective IT strategies that minimize risk and maximize efficiency. We are dedicated to helping your business protect its systems from threats – including those on the horizon. While you are thinking about ways to keep data safe, eliminate email hacks, and manage your IT in a way that makes sense for you, contact us and let’s work together to keep you running smoothly and safely.
More than 6 million Canadians were impacted by the Capital One data breach that happened this year – and that was not even the biggest breach by any stretch. The biggest data breach is still Yahoo, whose breach impacted more than 3 billion people. Big or small, however, each data breach is costly and damaging – to consumers, to businesses, and to the economy. We can – and should – learn everything we can from these incidents to avoid repeating them. In analyzing security breaches that have occurred over the last 10 years, experts found that the main reasons data breaches occur are:
- Failure to patch
- Human error
- Insider attacks
- Poor mobile device management
Failure to Patch
Too often, a breach occurs because an organization has delayed patching, leaving them vulnerable to hackers. This often happens because the organization does not have a dedicated IT staff, leaving one or more employees responsible for IT on top of their other duties. Those other duties – their “real” jobs – take priority and patching jobs get postponed.
Partnering with a managed services provider (MSP) can help solve this problem and extend the strength of your IT team, whether your team is a whole department, or one person assigned with additional responsibilities. An MSP ensures patches are installed in a timely manner, but they’re also there to monitor your network 24/7.
Clicking links and opening attachments in emails that appear to come from within your organization or from a trusted vendor cause more data breaches than we can measure. It’s possible your organization has malware sitting on your network right now that has been introduced by an errant employee and has yet to have been detected.
While we can never completely remove human error from the equation, we can drastically reduce the number of email-related data breaches by:
- Developing, implementing, and enforcing strict zero-trust policies
- Providing ongoing training to employees to help them recognize potential phishing scams
- Limiting the data to which employees have access
- Requiring multi-layer authentication that includes complex passwords and other access barriers
Insider attacks don’t account for many data breaches, but they can be the most devastating simply because of the betrayal involved. According to the 2019 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, insider threats are on the rise, accounting for 34% of data breaches. In one case highlighted in the DBIR, a hacker admitted that when all other efforts failed, he bribed an employee to get him inside the network.
Preventing insider attacks can be difficult; they are often only discovered after the fact during forensic analysis– and often after the employee is long gone. But you can minimize the risk of insider threats by having multiple layers of security, strictly limiting employee and third-party access to data, and by conducting regular audits. Often, insider attacks come from former employees whose access to the network was not terminated; make it protocol to immediately revoke all access to employees who leave – whether they leave on good terms or not.
Poor Mobile Device Management
Mobile phones are being used to conduct business whether you authorize it or not, so your best bet for protecting your organization is to have a highly sophisticated MDM security plan in place that includes the following:
- Strict usage requirements that include installing your security on the device being used and requiring the use of a secure network when conducting business
- Remote wipe capabilities to disconnect the device from your network in the event that it is stolen, or the employee leaves the organization
- A no-tolerance policy for any employee who refuses to comply with the security requirements
Data breaches are not going away, but you can minimize the risk to your organization with strong IT security and a comprehensive disaster recovery plan. You can’t just address one of these issues; you must have a comprehensive, proactive data security program that addresses all of these risks and more.
The ITeam understands the IT security issues facing businesses in Canada. We are committed to helping Calgary- and Alberta-based businesses develop proactive, cost-effective IT strategies that minimize risk and maximize efficiency. Contact us to learn more.
Suite 200, 1210 8 Street SW
Calgary, AB T2R 1L3
Suite 200, 1210 8 Street SW
Calgary, AB T2R 1L3
(Mountain Standard Time)
The ITeam $$ (403) 750-2540 Calgary, AB5
stars"The ITeam provides peace of mind with high level security and superb customer service." - Jeff B.