5 Steps to Implanting Successful Cyber Security Policies

How confident are you that your business can repel a cyber attack? Small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) might consider themselves safe but think again. In 2021, 61% of all SMBs reported being the target of a cyber attack in the last year.

Security incidents cost businesses money in many ways. The most obvious is the interruption of business activities. However, companies also suffer from theft, reputational damage, and fines.

Each business needs to put into place a robust company cyber security policy. Keep reading for our 5 steps to developing and implementing cyber security policies.

1. Understand Your Company’s Vulnerabilities

The first step is understanding your business’s cyber security weak points. Involve your IT team to determine the entry points an attacker could exploit for access. Also, note what sensitive data could be of interest to attackers.

Review your current cyber security policies and technology for possible improvements. For example, adding cloud storage and cloud cyber security services decreases your chances of a data breach.

2. Create Realistic Cyber Security Policies

Not every business can spend thousands of dollars on security each month. The key to creating an effective cyber security policy is to make it realistic for your business.

Create your security policy document by detailing all data that needs protection and how you will do it. This part of the policy should be the most detailed. Implement the changes in stages if there are many of them.

Remember to include how a response team will handle potential cyber attacks.

3. Ensure Compliance with Regulations

The cyber security policy must comply with regulations. At the federal level, there isn’t a single act that governs all data protection. Instead, there are hundreds of federal and state data protection laws.

Some federal laws, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), are sector-specific. Thus, companies need to ensure compliance with all laws relevant to them.

4. Provide Cyber Security Training

It’s no use having cyber security policies if staff do not adhere to them. Training is essential for outlining risks and common cyber attack methods. Company culture should include cyber security as everyone’s responsibility.

For example, staff should recognize phishing attempts. This is a common way cybercriminals use unsuspecting employees to get login credentials.

5. Audit and Test Your Systems

After implementing your cyber security policy, you need to monitor its effectiveness. Firstly, ensure there are audit logs of all prohibited actions for transparency.

Secondly, conduct cyber attack readiness assessments. Put your systems to the test by simulating cyber incidents, such as malware and password attacks. Carry out further training as needed. Also, consider extra security solutions where you find weaknesses.

Don’t Fall Prey to a Cyber Attacker

Businesses cannot rely on luck to keep their data and services safe. Thus, it is necessary to develop and implement cyber security policies. These should cover all aspects of stored data and how your company will protect it.

Take advantage of cloud services to increase cyber security at your company. We connect businesses with providers of voice, data, and cloud services. To find the best products for your business, contact us today for a free quote.

5 Data Management Mistakes Small Businesses Should Avoid

Data is growing at never-before-seen speeds, and data management must increase at the same rate.

The first realization is that data is a digital asset that is as vital as, if not more important than, your network or telephone system and requires the same rigor to manage and secure.

Small business entrepreneurs have so many duties that they frequently overlook data management. Here are five data management blunders to avoid.

Not Putting in Place a Data Governance Structure

It is a mistake not to designate a data officer or, at the very least, to establish a governing body in the organization. Instead, the IT framework should define:

  • Data classification
  • Data life
  • Data-in-transit
  • Access controls and rules
  • Backup and recovery

Data has life; it is born and eventually dies – managing the data life cycle is vital.

Failure to Comprehend Data Design and Architecture

It is a recipe for catastrophe to lack clear regulations regarding how and where data is stored.

Many businesses are blissfully oblivious of data copies:

  • How often is data copied into a spreadsheet
  • Used a few times and then forgotten
  • Was that spreadsheet with all of your personal information discarded

Did you realize that an email attachment duplicates the original document? When you submit that spreadsheet to a coworker, you are making a duplicate.

Inability to Control Data Quality

Users are frequently dissatisfied with the data provided and will, in many situations, create their data and store copies of that data on their local devices or other storage.

This data is hidden from the governing structure and policies. Disregarding users who complain about the quality of information they receive, it is a mistake to enable users to continue working with their datasets without knowing the risk and, worse, the compliance breach.

Ignoring Information Silos

Consider departments in a corporation siloed, each with its own set of goals, metrics, etc. Each department may have its perspective on, say, the client. Each department may require different information on the customer – but what if that information differs – even subtly?

It is a mistake not to put up the effort to assure data synchronization, accuracy, and time relevance across departments.

Concentrating Solely on Compliance

Companies that aim to attain legislative IT data governance to meet the needs of stakeholders and regulators are almost certain to adopt shortcuts. This approach will lead the organization to IT to meet the governance requirements in most circumstances. Everyone in the company, from the CEO to the technician in the server room, will benefit.

The error is that data management is not driven from the top-down and does not involve the entire business.

Boiling the Ocean

Data management can be intimidating and even perplexing at times. So, while breaking down data management into deliverables is critical, it is even more crucial to avoid attempting to handle all of the company’s data management challenges at once. As a result, the biggest mistake is failing to recognize that data management is a continuous effort.

Are you looking for a solution to manage your corporate data? Then, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us! Along with our networking partners, we will provide you with the best available solutions that are tailored to your company’s specific requirements. 

Six Essential IT Network Security Safeguards and Best Practices

According to research, 55% of those in the IT industry claimed to have experienced a cyber-attack of some sort, and 50% had suffered an actual data breach. Under these circumstances, it’s no surprise that IT network security safeguards and IT security best practices have become increasingly important to those within the industry. Considering this fact, understanding the following industry best practices will help increase your company’s security.

IT Security Best Practices:

1. Identify Your Sensitive Data:
Each company will be forced to address handling confidential data, including simple things like ID information, social security numbers, and more. Once you have determined the nature of your sensitive data, you have taken the first steps in protecting it from incursions. Identifying vulnerable data and keeping records on it will serve you well.

2. Focus on Your Employees:
One of the most common originators of sensitive data leaks and security issues are your employees. This fact means that educating employees on security risk is essential. You must implement a security awareness training program to impart the importance of a secure workplace so they can make informed choices. The most common attacks businesses face comes in the form of social engineering and phishing tactics targeting your employees.

3. Protect all Your Computers:
IT journalists have reported cybercriminals that make targets out of businesses that do not have the necessary transaction controls, authentication procedures, and red flag reporting capacities. To avoid these issues, every computer on the premises must have antivirus software, firewalls, and other security programs installed.

4. Social Media Oversight:
Your business cannot be separated entirely from social media. Consequently, you must empower your employees with specific guidelines when using social media. An essential initial step would be something like labeling content confidential and inappropriate for social circulation.

5. Protecting Mobile Devices
With an ever-growing number of sensitive mobile devices in offices where vulnerable data is circulated, part of securing your IT networks means scrutinizing smartphones and tablets. Consequently, encrypting all approved mobile devices and providing the mobile devices can save your company from a catastrophic security breach.

6. Developing Security Partnerships
Partnering with third parties and vendors who work to build committed IT network security safeguards uniquely tailored to your needs is essential. When looking for partners find one with a reputation for handling information security and ongoing support to businesses within your industry.

Understanding the importance of Network Security.

Any successful business needs robust network security alongside a thorough risk management plan. Denial of service attacks, data breaches, malware and viruses are just some of the security threats that can bring a business to its knees. As a business owner or a technology expert, ask yourself if you’re prepared for these important aspects of network security.

Maintain physical security. Make sure every point of access to your network is controlled and protected. This typically involves establishing secure areas and requiring access cards or other means of personal authorization.

Educate your employees on how to protect every aspect of your network and company.
Defend your perimeter. When it comes to protecting your network, one of the first steps is to put antivirus software and firewalls in place. You’ll also want to include software for intrusion detection and monitoring.

Next, consider what level of encryption your company needs, and whether to set up a VPN for inbound and outbound traffic.

Finally, a security plan is only as good as its most recent security updates. So, be sure to include patch management in your security workflow.

Control system access. Any user access to company systems or networks should always be subject to automatic log off. In addition, users should be required to create and maintain strong passwords. Also make sure to track login activity and network access, and then monitor these activity logs on a regular basis.
It can be overwhelming to know where to start when it comes to network security. That’s why it’s best to go through a professional risk assessment to determine what kind of security risks your company may be exposed to and how to limit the chances of a potential security breach. Contact us today learn more about the proper security measures to take for your company.

Why a Cloud Based Video Surveillance System is the Most Economical

Video surveillance was once considered a luxury that only large businesses or businesses that were at high risk could afford. Plus, the equipment was often clunky, lacked versatility, and recording was kept on site. Thanks to cloud computing solutions, however, video surveillance is now an affordable way to enhance security for any size business.

Four ways that cloud-based video surveillance is more affordable than traditional surveillance:

1. The only equipment you’ll need is the cameras. Video surveillance once included not only the video cameras but the equipment on which it was recorded, whether it was a videotape-based machine or DVR, it had to be kept and maintained on site. Vital data was lost when the machine failed to record, and recording devices could be stolen and costly to replace.

2. Many cloud based video surveillance systems allow you to monitor and playback recordings on equipment you already own like your smartphone or tablet, eliminating the need for additional screens (and sometimes employees) to monitor activity. It also allows more flexibility when monitoring, for instance, you could oversee your business from your home or while on vacation.

3. Cloud based video surveillance systems are often the most flexible systems. If you decide to expand your business or want to enhance your cloud based system, it can often be done with a simple software upgrade, no need to completely replace all of your current equipment.

4. If you’re hoping for a system that doesn’t require a lot of additional training or knowledge the cloud based video surveillance systems are often built for simplicity. This eliminates the obligation to hire additional help to train you and your employees and even to maintain your system.
Cloud based computer systems and software are constantly evolving so if you once thought a video surveillance system might be too costly or complex for your business a cloud based system could be exactly the right fit now.

Microsoft Office 365 is a must have for every business.

Since its launch by Microsoft in 2011, Office 365 has rocked the world of business both small and large, and has revolutionized the world of telecommunications.

This group of software and services makes it simple to run a business, but it’s accessibility is only the start of its benefits.

Read on to find out the top reasons why Office 365 is the software for you and your business.

  1. User friendly. Whether you’re using Outlook, Office applications, or hosted services, Office 365 offers a compatible and user accessible design. It’s easily configurable for single sign-on and automatic software updates, and the program is designed to be highly intuitive.
  2. Security. Contrary to popular belief, small businesses are just as susceptible to security breaches as large enterprises. Microsoft allows access through encryption for all of their products, and Office 365 is no different. Designed with security in mind, it limits access to email and other transmissions of information to those with verified authorization.
  3. Office Web Apps. Acting as a supplement to traditional Office applications, Web Apps provides access at all times to Word, Powerpoint, OneNote, and Excel, even when the computer you’re using isn’t equipped with Microsoft Office.
  4. Reliability. Microsoft was so determined to guarantee reliability that it named this platform Office 365, implying that Microsoft is ready to help every day of the year. With regular updates and careful scrutiny for malware threats, Office 365 is there for your business.

Even now, Microsoft is still updating the Office 365 platform to keep up with an evolving industry, combining many of its services into one platform to increase efficiency and improve the user experience. 

Combining the power of multiple Carriers.

Harnessing the power of multiple Carriers strengths is the new way in which todays businesses can create more than just best effort services.

One such example in Southern California is the combination of Spectrum Coax and Fiber bandwidth coupled with TPX Managed Services/Voice options. A Business owner now has the option to take advantage of the current low cost bandwidth made available via Spectrum and pair it with the TPX premier Nationwide Managed Services.

Multiple Carriers can also create redundant back-up systems that can seamlessly shift Voice and Data traffic from primary to secondary and to even a third bandwidth provider.  An Active/Active/Active configuration would apply bandwidth to your network that guarentees 100% uptime

Call us to review great combinations that may be available to your business.

Important Considerations for Data Center Colocation

Colocation serves as the third choice for businesses that are deciding between internal data centers and leasing external servers. Colocation is similar to cloud hosting and helps small businesses to achieve scalability and security through corporate hosting solutions at an affordable price. Here are a few considerations for small business to take into account while choosing a colocation.

Uptime Service Level Agreements

Colocation center provides their clients a 100% uptime guarantee and uses multiple ISPs and multiple WAN connections to create a reliable network. The experienced staff at a colocation center help you to maintain the network software safely by modifying server configurations and upgrading softwares promptly.

Power management

In cases of interrupted power supplies, the IT companies makes use of uninterrupted power supplies to make their systems shut down propely but not to keep servers functioning. But, if you are using a colocation data center, it contains several onsite generators which will help you to keep your equipment running for a long period of time even during long power interruptions.

Data Protection

Colocation data centers use various economies of scale to make the most effective applications inexpensive. These centers also use surveillance cameras, physical barriers and professional security personnel to prevent illegal access to the data.

Colocation centers also employ a wide array of safeguard measures to protect the equipment from natural disasters and damages. They also have on call administrators who are capable of handling complex problems in a very short span of time. The managed solutions offered by these data canters are often less expensive than other internal operations and offers a high level of professionalism.

Top Three Cyber Security Myths Faced by Organizations

Most organizations have made a sincere effort to address cyber security threats; However, many enterprises miss the mark due to some common errors and misconceptions.

Read on to find out more about the cyber security myths faced by contemporary enterprises.

Myth 1

Cyber security issues belong to the IT department only

It is true that the IT department with its multiple technological controls is highly prone to cyber threats. It’s important to note that problems can arise from anywhere within the organization.

Myth 2

Security breaches affect the bigger organizations only

Whether you are an enterprise or a startup, the risk of security breach still exists. It is imperative that every organization apply and budget for the elements and resources necessary to apply a proper and secure network.

Myth 3

The latest security tools and technologies must be the primary focus to achieve maximum protection

Relevant tools and technologies are important for the optimal cyber security. The culture of cyber security must also be imbibed within the workforce and people must be taught to handle the processes in the most secure way.

Why is an IP Video Surveillance System better?

IP Video Surveillance systems are quickly becoming popular. IP video surveillance is a digital video surveillance system that sends and receives data. The most important factor to be considered before the installation of the video surveillance system is the right calculation of the required bandwidth.

Read on to find out the major benefits of IP video surveillance .

  • The quality of the pictures captured (in terms of resolution) through the IP camera is much better than the ones obtained through analog. Also, the IP cameras capture a wider field than conventional.
  • With an IP camera you can set flags within the field of vision. The flags can be set to denote missing objects, detection of motion and so on. When you wish to go back and check a particular event from the past, these flags help you to easily navigate through the footage.

Unlike the traditional analog camera system where each camera must be connected to the DVR directly, the IP video surveillance can operate wirelessly and as a component of your IP network.