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4 Cybersecurity Tips For Business Owners & Managers Jul 08, 2019
New cybersecurity stories hit the news every day. You’ve surely heard about large companies getting hacked or ‘breached’, passwords stolen, identities compromised and more.
The topic of cybersecurity gets brought up so much, it’s no surprise that it has become a kind of background noise in the business world. Warnings about security protocols, new viruses and ransomware scams are just the tip of the iceberg when you look into what is happening in the IT security world.
While the news stories keep coming and businesses continue falling victim, there is at least one thing that remains the same . . . the need for cybersecurity training and awareness is here to stay. If you are in business, you have data that cybercriminals want to steal. Simple as that.
Cybersecurity conversations and solutions don’t have to be daunting though. In fact, there are some quick, common-sense tips you can put into place that will make you and your business a harder target for those looking to do you harm.
Top 4 Cybersecurity Tips For Professionals
1. Use Unique and Strong Passwords For All Online Accounts
This tip is one you’ve surely heard many times before but over 85% of all adults reuse their passwords online. On top of that, most people don’t know how to create a truly strong password. Some characteristics of a strong password are:
- Minimum of 8 characters
- A mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters
- At least one number
- At least one special character (!@#$%^&)
- No personal details (pet names, family member names, birth dates, address info etc.)
The average adult has over 100 different accounts online (bank accounts, credit cards, social media, email, apps etc.). It’s understandably difficult to create and remember a different password for everything you do though.
What to do about it? Look into a password manager tool for yourself and your staff. A password manager will store and organize all of your unique passwords securely. Here at Andromeda, we recommend LastPass. It has some great features and is a trustworthy password management tool. If you have questions about that, feel free to reach our team.
2. Run A Network Security Audit At Least Once A Year
You can’t address things if you don’t know they are broken. An annual network security audit done by a third party IT support partner will give you visibility into the small cracks hiding in your network security.
This type of audit should check things like open ports on your firewall, password protocols, your backups, your disaster recovery plan, the status of your warranties, your antivirus and spam protocols and more.
You can engage your current IT services provider for this audit or look for a third party vendor to come in and take a fresh look at your setup.
It never hurts to get a new set of eyes on your setup. Andromeda provides these types of assessments to our clients with our professional 35 point network security assessment. If you’d like to speak with our team about this service, give us a call at (815) 836-0030 or send an email to Contact@WeNetwork.com
3. Regularly Test Your Backups and Disaster Recovery Plan
One of the top methods a cybercriminal uses to make money is ransomware. Ransomware is classified as a cyberattack where a criminal gains access to your network (through brute force or stolen employee email/passwords). After accessing the network, the criminal then encrypts all or a portion of your business data and locks you out of it. The only way to recover the data is to pay a ransom (often in the form of bitcoin or other cryptocurrency). If you don’t pay up – they destroy your data.
These types of attacks cause serious damage. Businesses lose big money due to down time, reputational damage and in some cases, even government fines (in worst cases where evidence that a business intentionally ignored or neglected their data security, victims of ransomware/cybercrime can even face jail time).
Imagine that, you’re the victim of a cyberattack and you have to pay the government fines on top of it all?!
Ransomware and cyberattacks happen, there is almost no way to avoid them 100% of the time. But, with a proper disaster recovery plan including regular data backups (on site, in the cloud and off site) you can quickly and calmly restore your business data and win against cybercrime.
Don’t just accept anyone’s word when it comes to verifying your backups though. You should be sure that whoever is maintaining your backups and disaster recovery is running regular tests and providing you proof of valid backups. You should also run a demo scenario at least twice a year to test how long it would take you to be back up and running in the event of a breach or equipment failure.
4. Employee Cybersecurity Training Is Key To Your Defense
Cyber security is constantly changing and new attack strategies show up regularly. The one thing that shouldn’t change for you though, is your commitment to ongoing employee training.
After all, the #1 threat to your office network security is actually your employees! The staff are the people who will accidentally visit an infected site, click a bad link, download a file with a virus etc. and the only way to help stop those behaviors/accidents is through education and proper training.
A good employee training program will offer ongoing training and support. It may also score and rank your employees/office based on performance etc.
At Andromeda, we offer our clients an employee cyber security training in an online program. This allows employees to go at their own pace and complete training in the office or on the go. This solution provides weekly tech tips, training videos, micro quizzes, individual employee risk scores and more.
Make sure to look into training if your organization isn’t already offering this to employees. This really is a must have solution to protect your office.
These are only 4 tips you can use to improve security at the office. There are many more but if you cover these bases you have a great start.
If you have any questions related to cybersecurity or IT at the office, give our team a call at (815) 836-0030 or send a message to Contact@WeNetwork.com. We are always here to help you!
The post 4 Cybersecurity Tips For Business Owners & Managers appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.How A Third-Party Data Breach Impacts Cybersecurity At Your Business Aug 05, 2019
With the average American adult maintaining over 130 different accounts online, the risk of a data breach or data being stolen continues to grow. Between social media, financials, productivity applications, email, business applications, online shopping and countless other accounts online, your “online life” becomes more and more a part of your day to day physical life as time passes.
As more of our lives and data are shared online, criminals are focused on breaking into these databases to steal the valuable info they hold:
- Personal Info such as name, address, dates of birth, social security numbers etc.
- Financial information such as bank info, credit cards etc.
- Social Information on social media accounts
This is a real problem facing consumers globally but the impacts span beyond individual damages and stolen identities (though, those damages are bad enough).
When a criminal steals your password, or the password of a coworker, chances are – they’ve gained access to many pieces of your “online life”.
Here’s an example to illustrate how a third party data breach can lead a criminal back to your business.
Your HR manager helps book travel for employees at the business. He set up a business account at a national hotel chain to book rooms for whatever the business travel needs are. The hotel chain’s database suffers a breach and cybercriminals steal thousands of email/password combos including your HR manager’s credentials.
Your HR manager used the same password he uses for all kinds of sites online when he created the login at the hotel company site. This means that the criminals who have this breached data, now have access to your payroll software, servers and all the other things your HR manager interacts with.
The criminals either use this data themselves or take it to the Dark Web to sell for a few dollars (password/email combinations go for $3-$5 on average on the Dark Web).
Breaches like these happen daily and criminals use the information they steal to do as much damage as they can.
This creates a unique problem for business owners and managers because what can you possibly do to protect yourself from a data breach happening at a hotel chain or some other account online?
Things get even trickier when the average span of time between a data breach and disclosure to the public reaches 15 months. Meaning, criminals have a 15-month head start to get to your business and do damage before your are notified on the 5 o’clock news or your social media feed.
So, how can you defend against this kind of thing?
First, implement a password policy at your business:
- Strong Passwords Required
- Change Passwords Regularly (90 days minimum)
- Dual Authentication
- Lockout Procedures
Second, roll out a password management tool across your organization.
As mentioned earlier, the average adult in America manages over 130 accounts online. It is no wonder that we have a hard time creating strong and unique passwords for each of those accounts. It would be nearly impossible to remember all of that without writing things down – which isn’t secure.
To bridge the gap between security and memory, implement a password management tool. Look for something that is encrypted, secure and be sure to consider mobile capabilities. We recommend LastPass as a great option to start.
Third, invest in Dark Web Monitoring
Dark Web Monitoring is still a newer service offered to businesses and professionals. This is a monitoring solution designed to scrub different areas of the Dark Web (chatrooms, discussion boards etc.) for data connected to your domain.
If we apply Dark Web Monitoring to the example above with the HR Manager for instance – when the criminals stole data from the hotel chain and went to sell/share it on the Dark Web, the monitoring tool would identify your IT company to have the HR manager change passwords. That way, the criminals have useless data and you are protected well before you learn about the breach 15 months later.
The post How A Third-Party Data Breach Impacts Cybersecurity At Your Business appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.New Healthcare Breach Blamed On Stolen Laptop Feb 11, 2020
There have been a dizzying number of high-profile data breaches in recent months, and now we have one more to add to the growing list.
Health Share of Oregon is a Medicaid Coordinated Care Organization. They recently disclosed that they lost control of health and personal information belonging to more than 650,000 people.
The root cause in this case wasn't an elaborate hack. One of their employees had a laptop computer stolen while making use of a third-party vendor responsible for non-emergent medical transportation.
Health Share has begun the daunting task of sending out letters to every patient who had their information compromised. They're offering a free year of identity monitoring, credit monitoring, fraud consultation and identity theft restoration. That is pretty standard fare in situations like these, but also small comfort for those who have been impacted. In addition to the individual patient contact letters, the company also released a statement.
Their statement reads, in part, as follows:
"Though the theft took place at an external vendor, we take our members' privacy and security very seriously. Therefore, we are ensuring that members, partners, regulator, and the community are made fully aware of this issue."
The company also tried to reassure impacted individuals by letting them know that their personal health histories were not exposed.
That's a good thing, but the data that was stolen was extensive. It included members' names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, Medicaid ID numbers, and Social Security numbers. All that is more than enough information to steal 650,000+ identities.
Health Share has set up a toll-free call center, open Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 5:30pm. The service is available to any impacted individuals with questions or concerns, which is a fantastic additional step we don't often see when things like this happen. Now, if only it hadn't happened in the first place.