IT is a great way for your company to improve its technological infrastructure and develop security processes. But how can you tell if the company you select and the IT service agreement you sign will benefit your company?
It is crucial to be able to depend on your technology, staff, vendors, as well as other important partnerships, in order for an organization to succeed.
Different IT companies may offer different services. They might not all have the same expertise or qualifications.
Know what you need from IT services before choosing an IT company. This will help you find the right company that can meet your needs.
This article will cover a few things you need to know when hiring an IT service provider. We also provide some helpful tips that you can use along the way.
1. Is the IT company you are looking at having worked with similar organizations?
Technology can differ greatly between industries. It is important to find an IT service provider who meets your needs and has extensive industry experience.
A trusted IT service provider can help you get the best possible IT support.
2. Do they have the ability to support your workstations or servers?
It is important to outsource IT services only to experienced IT professionals who are familiar with your operating system.
There are many levels of IT expertise. You may not get the right support if your IT company isn’t well-versed in operating systems.
3. Can an IT company manage an organization of your scale?
You must find a company that has the right workforce to fulfill your IT outsourcing needs.
Make sure you are clear about your expectations. Always ask what number of engineers they have currently on staff, and in which departments.
Ask about their support processes and how they plan on meeting all your needs and strengthening your infrastructure.
4. Is the IT service partnership agreement working in your favor?
It is important to fully understand the terms and conditions of any company that you are considering hiring for IT services. You must have the same expectations as the company providing your services.
5. Number of Workstations
Many IT companies require that a minimum number workstations and users be available in order to support an organization.
Many companies require that your IT infrastructure be updated to meet their requirements. This is not always a bad thing. However, it is important to be fully aware of what you’re signing up for.
Your relationship with IT services should be as beneficial to your company as it is to the IT company. Call SpartanTec, Inc. now if you need the help of experts in handling all of your IT security needs.
What is a denial of service attacks? When malicious cyber threat actors cause legitimate users to be unable to access information systems or devices, a denial of service attacks (DoS) attack is triggered. The affected services include website, email, as well as online accounts (such as banking) as well as other kinds of services that depend on the affected computer network or computer.
Denial-of-service conditions are created by flooding the target host or network with traffic, until it cannot respond or crashes. This prevents legitimate users from accessing the affected system. DoS attacks can cause organizations to lose time and money, as well as make it difficult for them to access their resources and services.
What are the most common denial of service attacks?
You can carry out a DoS attack in many ways. An attacker flooding a network server is the most common type of attack. This type of DoS attack involves sending multiple requests to the target server and overloading it with traffic. These service requests are fraudulent and have fake return addresses. This misleads the server when it attempts to authenticate the requestor. The server becomes overwhelmed as junk requests are processed continuously, which creates a DoS situation for legitimate requestors.
An attacker sends Internet Control Message Protocol broadcast messages to a variety of hosts using a spoofed source Internet Protocol address (IP). This attack is called a Smurf Attack. These spoofed packets are then received by the recipients, and the target host will be inundated with their responses.
SYN flooding is when an attacker requests to connect to the target server, but fails to complete the connection using what is known as a 3-way handshake. This method is used in Transmission Control Protocol (TCP/IP) networks to establish a connection between local client/host and server. An incomplete handshake renders the connected port unusable for future requests and leaves it in an occupied state. The attacker will continue sending requests and saturating open ports so legitimate users can’t connect.
DoS attacks can affect individual networks without them being directly targeted. The network may also be affected if its internet service provider (ISP), or cloud service provider is attacked and targeted.
What is a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS)?
When multiple machines work together to attack a single target, a distributed denial of service (DDoS), attack is made. DDoS attackers often use a botnet, a group of internet-connected devices that has been hijacked to carry out large-scale attacks. Hackers use security flaws or weaknesses in devices to control many devices with command and control software. An attacker can control their botnet and conduct DDoS attacks on targets once they have it. The infected devices will also be affected by the attack.
Botnets, which are made up of compromised devices, can be rented to other potential attackers. The botnet may be made available to “attack for hire” services that allow untrained users to launch DDoS attacks.
DDoS makes it possible to send exponentially more requests to the target, increasing the attack power. DDoS also makes it more difficult to attribute the attack’s source, which increases its difficulty.
As more devices connect to the Internet of Things (IoT), DDoS attacks are becoming more common. IoT devices are often vulnerable to compromise and exploitation because they use default passwords and lack security postures. Users often don’t notice that IoT devices are infected. An attacker could compromise thousands of devices without their knowledge to launch a large-scale attack on hundreds of thousands.
How can you avoid becoming part of the problem?
Although there is no way to avoid being a victim of DoS attacks or DDoS attacks, administrators can take proactive steps to minimize the impact of such attacks on their network.
You can enroll in protection services that will detect abnormal traffic flows and redirect traffic away from your network. Clean traffic is sent to your network after DoS traffic has been filtered out.
To ensure efficient and effective communication, mitigation and recovery in case of an attack, create a disaster recovery plan.
You should also take steps to improve the security of all your internet-connected devices to avoid them being compromised.
Configure a firewall to block traffic from entering and leaving your computer. (See Understanding Firewalls for Small Office Use and Home Use).
To minimize the risk of other people accessing your information, you should evaluate security settings and implement good security practices.
How can you tell if there is an attack?
A DoS attack could look like a non-malicious availability issue, such as technical problems in a network or an administrator performing maintenance. The following symptoms may indicate a DoS attack or DDoS attack.
Network traffic monitoring and analysis is the best way to identify DoS attacks. A firewall or intrusion detection device can monitor network traffic. Administrators may set up rules to alert users when there is an unusual traffic load. These rules can identify the source and drop traffic packets that match a specified criteria.
What should you do if you feel you are having an attack?
It is crucial to get assistance from the right technical or IT professionals if you suspect that your business has been affected by a DoS attack or DoS attack.
To confirm if the service interruption is caused by maintenance or an internal network problem, contact your network administrator. To confirm an attack is occurring, network administrators can monitor traffic and identify the source. They can then apply firewall rules to mitigate the situation and redirect traffic through DoS protection services.
Ask your ISP if they are experiencing an outage. They might be able advise you on the best course of action.
Do not lose sight of other hosts, assets or services that are part of your network in the event of an attack. DoS and DDoS attacks are often used by attackers to divert attention from their target and to use that opportunity to attack other services in your network.
A DDOS attack is serious. Call SpartanTec, Inc. if you suspect you have been compromised.
Russia’s cyber-forces are less visible and could be poised to launch a new wave cyberattacks against western energy, finance and communications infrastructure. Regardless when an invasion happens, tensions will continue to rise and the cyber threat will not diminish.
The consequences of the conflict in Ukraine for business — cyber, conventional, and hybrid — will have a profound impact on businesses far beyond the borders of the region. Have you evaluated whether your business is at risk? Many small businesses think they will not be affected – think again.
You are likely too late if you’re just starting to evaluate your cyber defenses. Cyber defense requires a long-term strategic investment and not just a quick fix.
The cyberthreat posed by the conflict in Ukraine is perhaps the greatest ever for U.S. companies. Russia’s invasion would result in the harshest and most severe sanctions ever imposed against it. Russia views these measures as economic warfare. Russia will not be silent, but will respond asymmetrically with its vast cyber capabilities.
Recent warning from the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency was issued by the CISA about the possibility of Russian cyberattacks spreading to U.S. networks. This follows previous CISA warnings regarding the dangers posed Russian cyberattacks on U.S. critical infrastructure.
Cyber skirmishing is already in its infancy. In Ukraine, banks and government systems were attacked within the last week. U.S. companies are noticing a sharp increase in cyber probing.
Dragos CEO Rob Lee told us that “we have observed threat groups that were attributed to Russia by U.S. government agencies performing reconnaissance on U.S. industrial infrastructure, such as key electric and natural gas stations, in the recent months.
We were informed by several multinational security and intelligence departments that they anticipate Russian cyberattacks. They also assess the possibility of second- and third-order impacts on their operations.” Companies have indicated that they anticipate an increase in scams and attacks in the context of the Ukraine crisis. Risk assessments are usually dependent on whether the company has any direct links to the Ukrainian banks or other critical infrastructure.
If it’s too late to increase your cyber defense, as conflict seems imminent, then what can leaders do other than throw their arms up?
First, a cyber- or IT problem can quickly become a business problem. Firms should immediately begin to draw out, dust off, and exercise business continuity plans.
What does it look like to work in an analog world or pencil-and-paper for days, weeks or months? In a matter of seconds, 30,000 laptops belonging to Saudi Aramco were made into paperweights by hackers. Grab your pen knife, and take a look at the crisis response paint. Ask “If my IT systems fail, how will I track my inventory, manage accounts, and communicate with my organization?”
Second, examine carefully your supply chain. Hidden dependence on Ukrainian-based code writers or software engineers could pose a risk to your firm.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, more than 100 Fortune 500 companies worldwide rely at minimum partially on Ukrainian IT services. Several Ukrainian IT firms are among the top 100 global outsourcing options for IT services.
Third, connecting to vendors and peer networks can greatly increase your chances of detecting and mitigating cyber intruders. Your teams should be empowered to reach out and assist cyber and intelligence teams from peer companies and federal and local partners who are closely monitoring the same threats.
Make sure your teams are aware of their local CISA representatives and FBI field offices. Also, ensure that they are on their mailing list to keep up with alerts and warnings. To increase awareness and build a collective defense, share anomalous and malicious cyber activity with local and federal partners.
Fourth, instill security mindset among your employees. Enabling multifactor authentication, which makes you 99 percent less likely to be hacked, patching old vulnerabilities, making passwords strong and remembering that phishing remains the most common attack vector for sophisticated adversaries, all of these things can help to improve overall security.
Cybersecurity is closely linked to overall business security. Cyber threats are often a problem for corporate leaders. However, IT security must be considered alongside geopolitical risk assessments.
It is important that teams working on cybersecurity, geopolitical risks, and physical security work together, and not in silos. One case involved a corporate intelligence manager who said that he had done a joint assessment of Russia-Ukraine with his cyber intelligence team — it was the first time they had ever worked together in this way. This case highlighted the importance of pre-existing relationships, and it prompted new levels in cooperation.
It may not be possible to build relationships during crisis. It is better to establish communication and cooperate before disaster strikes.
Corporate resilience, disaster recovery, and business continuity plans are crucial in times of crisis. These require all company attention and solutions.
It is time to take out your contingency plans, test them, and see if they are up-to-date, realistic, and suitable for the purpose, with war in Europe imminent. Call SpartanTec, Inc. now if you want to keep your business and network secure with the help of IT experts.
Your business cannot afford being a victim to internet criminals and cybersecurity threats. Your business could be exposed if it is harmed by a weak security system.
Cyberattacks are more common than ever and they are becoming more frequent. They are more common in small and medium-sized businesses.
A study found that 43% of cyberattacks target small businesses. Only 14% of small businesses are prepared for hackers.
Cyberattacks are not limited to small businesses. Identity theft can happen to anyone. It is important to be aware and alert for cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
What is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity refers to the protection of computer and network systems against harm and theft, including data, software, and hardware. It also helps businesses to find a way out of disruption.
Cybersecurity is not just about the internet or software attacks. Few people consider the physical components of computers. Cyberattacks can cause serious damage to the device.
Cybersecurity Protection Elements
Organizations must plan their cybersecurity efforts across the entire information system in order to have an impact on cybersecurity. These are the components of cybersecurity:
Network security: Protecting a company’s network against unwanted threats and attacks.
Application security: Continuous testing and updating is required to ensure that programs are safe.
Endpoint security: This is for companies that have remote access to their business network. The system can allow cybercriminals to take the data. Remote access to company network can be protected by endpoint security.
Data security: This is the protection of company and customer data within networks and applications.
Database and infrastructure security: Secures data and databases that are part of the company’s network.
Cloud security: Protects files and data stored in the cloud. This is a complex task because data protection requires a completely online environment.
ERP Cybersecurity Strategy
Enterprise Resource Planning or ERP, systems allow employees to collaborate more effectively and communicate with each other through a single database. Companies can run their business processes by using ERP systems.
These include supply chain management, manufacturing, finance, human resource management, and marketing. This system stores data that can be used for planning, decision-making and operational management.
ERP is a tool that can be used by partners and businesses involved in product development, sales campaigns, mergers and acquisitions. This means that more data flows and is available to many users. An ERP’s data flow will increase, exposing business information systems and software to more vulnerabilities.
ERP security is not often a primary consideration when choosing a provider. In recent years, ERP has become more vulnerable. Serious disruptions to ERP systems can cause financial and operational problems that could cost you your company time and money.
Cyberattack risks can be mitigated by an ERP system strategy. These are eight other cybersecurity vulnerabilities that businesses need to be aware of.
Cybersecurity’s Top 8 Common Weaknesses
Businesses can work with cybersecurity teams to achieve the following:
Cybercriminals can gain access to your network if it isn’t secured. They can access all systems and devices connected to the network once they are infiltrated.
Unsecured Communication Channels
Companies exchange sensitive information frequently, so it is important to protect all communication channels. An encrypted email platform can be a great way to communicate with clients securely.
Hardware engineers and software developers are constantly looking for security threats that could harm users. They patch the problem to fix it once they have found it. To make a patch work, hardware and software must be updated at the device level.
Businesses can be put at risk by outdated systems. Software and devices can be set to automatically update to receive any patches that are available to correct known security flaws.
Cybercriminals can gain easy access to user accounts through bugs in an app. This could be due to a bug in the software programming interface that integrates two apps. You could also be experiencing a problem with software from a third-party.
It is impossible to detect and prevent every bug. You can improve security by scanning your applications regularly and carefully vetting vendors.
Cybersecurity strategy lacking
Many businesses don’t have a comprehensive strategy to address their cybersecurity needs. Many businesses don’t have a high-end strategy for their cybersecurity needs.
Strategic approaches set the scene for security priorities and serve as a guide to anticipating and responding in case of attacks.
Inadequacy of monitoring
You should monitor traffic and be proactive in scanning for ransomware and distributed denial-of-service attacks. Businesses are at risk from these types of intrusions if they don’t have proper monitoring. Modern monitoring also integrates artificial intelligence for vigilance.
Employee Training is a Problem
90% of data breaches are due to human error. When an employee gives a password to another person, this is called a “password swap”. They then gain access to company data which opens the door to attacks.
Employees are taught best practices in cybersecurity by training them. They learn how to use strong passwords and identify attacks in advance.
Companies should ensure that employees receive consistent training in order to retain information.
Internet of Things and Multiple Connect Points
One of many technologies that companies can use to leverage their business is the IoT (Internet of Things). This could involve multiple connections to a single network. IoT offers businesses greater productivity and efficiency but it also presents vulnerabilities.
To mitigate threats, it is important to be prepared for remote access security threats.
Final Cybersecurity Measures
Security risks should be communicated to the entire workforce as part of a company’s cybersecurity efforts.
Employees are also the last and most important line of defense. A strong team and collaboration between the upper management is key to business security. When there is a disconnect between operations and teams, common weaknesses can often be present.
You can take a stand on cybersecurity and embed it in your operations. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding responsibility.
A security-minded, ownership-focused culture is key to ensuring resilience. For cybersecurity initiatives to be effective, organizations must make changes and show constant commitment.
Awareness and preparation are key to successful implementation. Companies that document and test risk mitigation plans reduce risk and increase client confidence.
Prevent data breaches
Organizations must continue to plan for cybersecurity maturity and risk planning. These essentials will ensure that your organization is agile, adaptable, and alert to emerging threats.
Call SpartanTec, Inc. now if you want to boost your company’s online security measures to prevent cyberattacks.
Small business owners are terrified of having their company or brand online smeared. It’s no wonder and it is not surprising that business owners can feel powerless when they are subject to a torrent of online criticism.
You can prevent this from happening by simply controlling your reputation. Companies that are directly hurt by the media are examples of companies who have lost control of their narrative or didn’t pay attention until it was too late. But that doesn’t mean you have to.
Two-step procedure to manage your brand online.
When it comes to reputation management, the best and most important thing you can do is simply to be there. If you don’t participate in the conversation, it is impossible to control it. You can connect with customers regularly on all your social media channels. Social media is social. Your customers are not your target audience. Instead, you should be talking with them. This is an important distinction that owners often overlook. You should be prepared to talk with your customers for a while. You’ll have control over the story and be able to guide the conversation.
Engaging means you have an ear for the ground. If someone leaves a negative review, or any other negative press, it will be obvious quickly. Respond when you see it! Do not respond in anger. Do not lash out or get defensive. Remember, everyone online can see your responses and what you are saying.
You can respond calmly and professionally, try to find the root cause of the problem, then do your best to solve it. Customers will respect you if you show that you are trying and don’t lose your cool.
Management of your reputation sounds more difficult than it really is. It’s all about being involved and connected. Keep your fingers on the pulse of the online community around your business.
Dark Web Scan
There is nothing that can damage a company’s reputation faster than the exposure of their customers’ data to the rest of the world. Are you aware if your data was compromised? SpartanTec Inc provides a free dark-web search. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Contact us today or fill out our simple online form – https://www.spartantec.com/darkweb/
If you think a data breach can’t happen to you, think again: According to the Ponemon Institute’s Fifth Annual Benchmark Study on Privacy and Security of Healthcare Data, criminal attacks are up 125 percent compared to five years ago. And that’s just in the healthcare sector. Now more than ever, organizations need a primer on how to protect sensitive data. With cybercrime attacks on the rise, it’s critical to understand what a data breach is, how it differs from a security incident and how to plan a data breach response.
Incident vs. Data Breach
Think of a security incident as a pesky cold that may sideline you for a couple days, but clears up fairly quickly. It’s any event that violates an organization’s security or privacy policies around sensitive information like Social Security numbers or confidential medical records. This can be anything from a misplaced drive to missing paper files. A data breach, on the other hand, is like the nastiest flu bug ever — a whopper of a virus that will knock you off your feet. The folks at ID Experts define it as a security incident that meets specific legal definitions per state and federal laws. Specifically, data breaches require notification to the affected individuals, regulatory agencies, and sometimes credit reporting agencies and media.
Security Incidents Are Status Quo
Security incidents are, sadly, part of the status quo — with 65 percent of healthcare organizations reporting having experienced electronic information-based security incidents over the past two years, according to the Ponemon study. While not all cybersecurity incidents escalate into data breaches, there’s a regulatory obligation to complete an incident risk assessment when PHI (protected health information) or PII (personally identifiable information) is compromised.
When an incident does escalate into a data breach, a quick and effective response is critical. This requires close collaboration across the company or organization, not just IT security. Stakeholders in legal, marketing, public relations, the C-Suite and other functions have to be prepared to own a piece of the incident response and work together in a fairly seamless manner.
The first two, vital steps following a data breach are 1) Quantify the damage; and 2) Determine your response. To address the first, quantifying damage, it helps to know at any point in time what information requires the most protection, where it’s stored and how it’s protected. At SpartanTec, Inc. in Fayetteville NC we recommend performing periodic cyber threat assessments to develop this understanding for:
managing enterprise risk
quell fears, especially when the breach is more serious than initially thought
credit monitoring isn’t enough
media interest is high.
It requires data breach agility.
Organizations with high data breach agility are more likely to have cybersecurity platforms that optimize visibility and the sharing of actionable threat intelligence between prevention and detection tools and across endpoints, data centers and the cloud.
This is one of the advantages of the security fabric. Based on open APIs, it links together different security sensors and tools to collect real threat data, enabling technology and people to more effectively coordinate and respond to potential threats.
To ensure your company’s data is secure, Contact the team at SpartanTec, Inc. to learn more.
A data breach can spell doom for many businesses. A cybersecurity breach can result in the loss of customer and business information, as well as internal business data like transaction history and inventory lists. This is something that businesses do not want to have to deal with.
The loss of customer trust can have a devastating effect on a business, not only in the immediate financial consequences of fraudulent orders and bank transfers but also the long-term economic impact.
The first step to preventing data breaches is understanding the causes. What are the top causes of data breaches?
Here are some of the most common causes of cybersecurity breaches.
Reason #1: Unpatched Security Vulnerabilities
Data security professionals have been collecting information for years on exploits hackers have used to attack companies in many countries. To identify these exploits for future reference, they are divided into hundreds of Common Vulnerabilities (CVEs).
Many of these security flaws remain unfixed for long time. According to Verizon’s 2015 Data Breach Investigations Report (PDF), “99.9%” of exploited vulnerabilities were compromised within a year following publication of the CVE.
These security holes are still open to hackers, so don’t leave them unfixed.
Cause #2: Human Error
Unfortunately, the greatest source of computer security breaches is not some forgotten security bug or unknown vulnerability, but human error.
Shrm.org cites statistics from CompTIA that show human error is responsible for 52 percent of security breaches. While the exact nature of an error can vary, some scenarios include:
Use of weak passwords
Not sending sensitive information to the right recipients
It is possible to prevent many of these human errors by making sure that employees are familiar with basic data security procedures. According to the SHRM article, experts often recommend that employees receive more training in order to address the “human firewall” issue.
Cause #3: Malware
Malware isn’t just a problem on personal computers, but it can also be a threat to your company’s systems. According to Verizon DBIR 2015, 5 malware events are reported every second.
Although many of these “malware incidents” are minor, they can still be alarming.
There is also a lot of variation among malware samples.
According to the Verizon DBIR, “We found that 70 to 90% of malware samples (depending upon the source and organization), are unique to one organization.”
Many malware programs are not derived from one “family” but a handful of other families. Verizon estimates that 70% of malware activity came from “20 families.”
Cause #4: Insider Misuse
Although closely related to human error and company data, it is much more dangerous. Human error can be described as an innocent mistake or accident. Insider misuse is, however, the intentional abuse of the company’s systems and data by authorized users, usually for personal gain.
According to Verizon’s DBIR report, “it’s all in the grabbing of some easy Benjamins by these mendacious malefactors with financial gain or convenience being the primary motivators (40%)
This is because the malicious actor could be someone your company has trusted. Even worse, Verizon’s report points out that “catching insider abuse is difficult… In many of the incidents reviewed, the insider abuse occurred during forensic examinations of user devices after individuals had left a company.”
Although it is almost impossible to prevent insider abuse, you can limit damage by compartmentalizing information on your network and cloud. It is more difficult for one user to access files or systems that are not restricted. It can make it more difficult to share the data.
Cause #5: Physical theft of a data-carrying device
The physical theft of sensitive company information is last on the list. These can be laptops, desktops and tablets as well as smartphones, tablets, hard drives and thumb drives.
A stolen device’s data can lead to a serious cyberattack. This is dependent on the type of information on the device. If the device is not wiped, more sensitive information will be considered a data breach.
Verizon reports that “most thefts occurred within the victim’s work area (55% percent of incidents), but employees-owned vehicles (22% incidents) are also common locations for thefts to occur.”
These thefts are often opportunistic and difficult to predict. It is important to limit the chances of data-storing devices being removed from the workplace.
There are many data breach threats, but these are the most serious.
Call SpartanTec, Inc. now if you need the help of experts in securing your network against online threats.