You don’t have to increase spending to improve cybersecurity, but every business can be more strategic about what they spend where.
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) need to improve cybersecurity. They aren’t as protected from cyber threats as they should be. Although larger corporations have more data for cyber criminals to take advantage of, SMEs are less likely to have up-to-date cybersecurity defenses, making them tempting – and easy – targets for hackers.
Because SMEs are easier targets, you may feel the need to invest heavily in the right infrastructure to protect your private information. Although improving cybersecurity is a must, a good strategy doesn’t have to drain your budget; managed services can be a predictable, plannable, and affordable cost. Your MSP can help improve cybersecurity and protect your business and support a stronger strategy that includes:
You’d be surprised how many systems are still running on outdated, unlicensed, or unpatched software. This leaves businesses completely open to attack, as critical upgrades to prevent data breaches must be installed to protect your organization. Hackers will take advantage of these vulnerabilities in your infrastructure.
Staff training and education.
Human error is the most challenging aspect of cybersecurity because it’s not as easily managed. The only way to mitigate the possibility of mistakes is to educate employees on an ongoing basis. Teach your staff about the latest phishing methods and implement basic policies and procedures to protect business data.
Strict permissions and policies.
Not everyone in your organization should have access to every system. Controlling access to your data to only those who must have such access can limit risk. As well, having strict policies about passwords, email security, and mobile device use can protect your organization.
Offsite backup and data recovery (BDR).
By storing a backup of your data at a secure offsite location, you will have access to the information your business needs to remain in operation, even if your facility is inaccessible or destroyed. Offsite backup and data recovery is critical to all businesses, no matter their size.
Every organization should be using multi-factor authentication because password protection simply isn’t enough to protect your business. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a crucial security layer requiring more than one authentication method to verify a user’s identity.
These basic cybersecurity practices will help you protect your infrastructure in a cost-effective way. SMEs must defend against cybersecurity threats, because they are at risk, more so than larger organizations. These simple steps are the best start to securing your private networks, leaving more money in the budget for the right resources. Don’t fall victim to cyber threats when you can be prepared and remain competitive in a time when IT is your strongest asset.
As a top-rated IT security firm in Canada, we are committed to helping Calgary- and Alberta-based businesses develop proactive, cost-effective IT strategies that minimize risk, maximize efficiency, and build trust with Canadian citizens. Contact us to learn more.
The world is connected to a variety of diverse digital landscapes, ranging from app usage to credit cards, and this level of connectivity is such that it is unwise for any organization to ignore global cybersecurity risks.
Regardless of industry, every organization is at risk of malicious attempts to enter a private security network, and the location is irrelevant.
The Equifax breach is an excellent example: Although the cyber attack predominantly affected those in the US, millions in Canada were susceptible to the breach as well.
All businesses must prepare against the inevitability of malicious cyber attacks, particularly as technology continues to advance on a global scale.
Organizations aren’t prepared for GDPR
Despite advanced warnings regarding the implementation of new cybersecurity standards, many organizations are still unsure of how to manage changes that will ensure compliance with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The new regulation – scheduled to take effect on 25 May 2018 – demands that organizations handle personal data differently, but how those organizations ensure compliance is another matter entirely.
Resources are being pulled in different directions, and time will need to be set aside to educate stakeholders.
This primarily affects those businesses that engage in international trade, and an understanding of what is necessary to comply with the GDPR will help enhance cybersecurity when doing business with international clients.
The Internet of Things (IoT) poses a threat
Concerns surrounding the level of security among IoT devices has been discussed many times, but there is little forward progress in addressing the problem.
Although such devices add a level of convenience, they could provide the opening that a hacker needs to gain access to sensitive information.
Organizations that utilize IoT devices without the proper security infrastructure are susceptible to unmanaged risks, as it will become harder to track what – and how – information is transferrable.
IoT compromises security and no organization is immune.
The supply chain remains a weakness
Many organizations have a firm grip on their own cybersecurity practices, but knowledge of the existing infrastructure of third-party vendors is not as common.
Hackers are capable of taking advantage of this weakness in the supply chain, thereby gaining access to your IT infrastructure.
Unfortunately, when it comes to global business, the supply chain is a critical component of a successful operation.
Organizations must address the security risks between their international suppliers and take proactive measures that will prevent or at least minimize breaches.
The advance of breakthrough technology surpasses security spending
One of the most prominent concerns relating to international cybersecurity is the global tech war.
Individual countries are determined to produce the best in technological advances, without addressing security concerns applicable to those devices or systems.
Information security teams are expected to keep up with such developments, but the development of a robust cybersecurity strategy takes time.
Risks must be assessed holistically within the organization to close any gaps that hackers could leverage.
Stakeholders are demanding results, but they must understand that the best technology will pose a threat to the entire business if the end result is not secure.
International preparedness is the only way to mitigate international security risks. Individual organizations are only single elements of the global economy, and in a digital world, there are virtually no limits to the damage a single breach can cause. Malicious cyberattacks are an international concern, particularly as criminal organizations become more prominent. The international sharing of technology can boost the world economy, but the cybersecurity risks will grow as well.
If you were an early cloud strategy adopter, you may have migrated to the cloud years ago when the trend was still in its infancy.
The benefit of being an early adopter is that you can be the first to take advantage of the cost savings and increased productivity.
The drawback is that you’re often the one out front helping identify the bugs and quirks that keep the system from working the way it’s expected to work.
Some organizations weren’t willing or able to take that kind of risk and are only just now considering the cloud.
It’s the perfect time to do so – and if you were an early adopter of cloud strategy, now can be a great time to learn about innovations that can save you more time and money and keep you more secure.
There’s no avoiding the fact that the cloud is here to stay.
3 Benefits of a Cloud Strategy with Microsoft Azure
In Canada, it’s become even simpler now with Microsoft Azure.
Microsoft Azure is a comprehensive solution for organizations that are moving to the cloud and need scalability and a multi-pronged platform.
It offers a reliable, scalable, and secure infrastructure environment with Canada-based data cloud services and storage.
The benefits of Microsoft Azure include:
In addition to being fast and reliable, Azure offers a secure cloud solution.
According to Microsoft: “Security and privacy are built right into the Azure platform, beginning with the Security Development Lifecycle (SDL).
The SDL addresses security at every development phase and ensures that Azure is continually updated to make it even more secure.”
To improve the flexibility – and speed – of the cloud service delivered by Azure, Microsoft has acquired flash storage company Avere.
What does this mean for businesses moving to the cloud using Azure?
According to the press release announcing the purchase, not only does Avere support large-scale media needs, but it also supports the high-performance computing needs of organizations “in life sciences, education, oil and gas, financial services, manufacturing and more.”
Azure is an extension of the idea that turning costs into more-predictable monthly expenses rather than unplanned, unexpected capital costs is a smart business strategy.
This allows organizations in any industry to improve customer experience, drive innovation, and manage costs.
Investing in Azure might be right for your business.
However, to really obtain the ROI you’re anticipating, be sure to choose an Azure MSP who will help you:
- Implement and manage your Azure operations
- Manage your hybrid cloud
- Migrate your systems
- Ensure that you have the most comprehensively secure IT strategy possible to meet your operational needs
Whether you need help evaluating storage needs, configuring data, or ensuring compliance, having the right MSP partner is more important than ever.
The ITeam is an authorized partner MSP for Microsoft Azure. Contact us to learn more.
The most common mistake a small business makes regarding cybersecurity is the assumption that their business will not be targeted.
Unfortunately, hackers do not discriminate based on size.
Small businesses often have vulnerabilities in their systems that can lead to billions in losses.
Cybersecurity should be a top priority for all businesses.
Most Common Hacking Methods
A comprehensive cybersecurity strategy requires more than the basic security package.
Hackers’ techniques continue to evolve, and potential threats are surfacing from virtually every angle.
The following is a list of the most common hacking methods:
- APT (advanced persistent threats) – long-term targeted attacks that attempt to access networks in multiple phases to avoid detection
- DDoS (distributed denial of service) – hackers intentionally overload a system to force a network shutdown
- Insider threats – the misuse of network credentials by an administrator or previous employee, to access confidential information
- Malware (malicious software) – any type of program that is introduced to your system to damage or gain unauthorized access
- Password attacks – a variety of means by which hackers can attempt to crack your passwords, including mass theft, Wi-Fi monitoring, and brute force.
- Phishing – an attempt to gain confidential information via what appears to be a legitimate website or email source
- Ransomware – akin to malware, but hackers will demand ransom in return for the release of confidential information or unlock a system
Although you cannot predict what breach your small business is most likely to experience, the best strategy is to be prepared for any attempts to gain access to your system.
Strategy Depends on the Nature of Business
Your cybersecurity strategy will also reflect the nature of your business.
Defining the best security solution will involve an understanding of the risks specific to your organization.
How much does your business rely on e-commerce?
Do you have sensitive customer data stored on cloud servers or laptops?
Do your employees rely on Wi-Fi or personal networks to conduct business matters?
Knowledge of these factors, among others, will help give you a better understanding of which resources should be delegated to cybersecurity.
Establishing the right framework will help minimize the amount of risk to which your business is exposed.
Implement Best IT Practices
Applying best practices related to cybersecurity is an important tactic that every small business should employ.
Rather than rely on certain security recommendations, establish formal security policies to ensure that every department and all personnel are in compliance.
This will help reduce insider threats as well as password attacks. Additionally, keep all your software current, including security patches and updates.
Failure to do so could create a gap in your security wall could make it easy for a hacker to install malware.
Most importantly, educate your employees on cybersecurity strategies and prevention, which will reduce the number of successful attacks.
Do not fall victim to the misconception that small businesses are not a target for hackers.
A company with 50 employees is not going to make headlines if their business is attacked due to cybersecurity weaknesses, but it is a common occurrence nonetheless.
It is important to recognize that your current security systems may have gaps, and there should be frequent audits of your IT infrastructure to ensure consistent functionality.
Make cybersecurity one of your top priorities, regardless of the size of your business. Don’t be the next target.
The ITeam understands the cybersecurity issues facing 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)
(Mountain Standard Time)