3 Facts About Network Security Every IT Expert Knows

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

network security systems

We hear about network security breaches, hackers, cyber-criminals and data leaks on a near-daily basis. These threats affect businesses small and large alike; in fact, a stunning 87% of small businesses faced a security breach during 2012 alone.

When a data breach can bring your business to its knees in an instant, leaking employees’ private information and exposing other sensitive data, it’s essential to protect your computer networks against these threats. However, most small businesses don’t have the knowledge or resources to combat these cyber-attacks.

Want to learn more about how today’s IT experts work to protect their network security systems? Make your own business’ networks infinitely more secure with these three pieces of expert advice:

Strong passwords are more effective than you think
Did you know that 80% of all cyber breaches take place as a result of weak passwords? Passwords that are easy to remember — like “12345,” “abcdefg” and your name — are also easy for hackers to guess. By requiring your employees to create strong passwords, and by establishing a two-step login system, you can ward off a good chunk of potential threats to your network security systems.

New devices aren’t automatically safe
It can be easy to assume that any new computers or computer hardware your business purchases will be completely free of malware and protected from any vulnerabilities. Shockingly, however, this isn’t always true. A number of devices come with vulnerable adware and backdoors already installed on their systems. In fact, nine out of every 1,000 will be infected with spam on average!

HTTPS should never be optional
Critics of HTTPS websites claim they’re too slow, that it doesn’t really protect websites from cyber-attacks or that it’s only for websites that need to be ultra-secure. These are all dangerous misconceptions, however. Without HTTPS, you website is essentially exposed to hackers and other eavesdroppers, allowing them to easily access what data your site is processing — and even alter this data.

Have any other questions about how IT managed services providers can help your business optimize its network security management and provide other advanced computer services? Ask us anything in the comments below.

3 Ways Your Company Can Improve Its IT Compliance Instantly

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

it compliance

Across today’s corporate landscape, a significant number of companies remain concerned about their information technology (IT) systems’ fulfillment of compliance program requirements.

In fact, in a recent survey, a mere 32% of chief operating officers reported feeling confident or very confident in their IT systems, the Wall Street Journal reported on June 29.

These days, the biggest IT compliance mandates include PCI, HIPAA and FISMA. These mandates require businesses and companies to protect, track and control all access to sensitive data, including employees’ personal information.

It can be easy to think that this form of network security management isn’t that important to your company’s success. However, when a HIPAA compliance breach of 500 records or less can result in a stunning fine of $50,000 or more, your company can’t afford to let its IT system’s compliance take a backseat to other priorities.

Could your company need to make improvements to its IT systems’ compliance to current compliance mandates like PCI, HIPAA and FISMA? Find out with this list of the three best ways your company can give its IT compliance a boost:

Educate your employees
Did you know that your own employees are often some of the biggest threats to your company’s IT compliance? Believe it or not, but between 75 and 80% of all malicious cyber attacks actually come from within an organization. Because of this, maintaining your IT infrastructure with security auditing, managed IT support services and penetration testing is absolutely vital.

Automate whenever possible
Automating your IT systems’ everyday functions is key to reducing occurrences of human error and keeping your company’s data safe. With automation, your computer systems can collect data automatically and perform correlations, analysis and other assessments securely and effectively.

Remain vigilant against third-party apps
One of the biggest compliance issues facing companies today is the third-party app. These unseen devices and apps, most often used by end users looking for faster solutions, can ultimately weaken your IT infrastructure and make it vulnerable. To solve this, it’s generally recommended to enact modern enterprise cloud solutions.

Do you agree with this list? Have any other questions about the types of IT consulting and IT project management services we offer? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Harvard Data Breach Leaks Information From 8 Colleges and Administrations

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

network security systems

Last month, Harvard University revealed that a data breach had occurred to two of its internal IT systems, impacting eight of its various colleges and administrative departments in the process.

According to a July 2 Fortune article, the Ivy League university first discovered its network security systems had been breached on June 19. The colleges and administrations hit by the breach include the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard Divinity School, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Central Administration, the Graduate School of Design, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Despite this, the Harvard Kennedy School, as well as the university’s business, law, medicine and dental schools, so far appear to be untouched by the network security systems‘ breach.

Harvard officials stated that the breach hasn’t revealed any research data or personal information, TechCrunchreported. However, the university advises anyone associated with the affected groups to change their password to the Harvard network login. In the near future, Harvard will require an additional password change for added security. When 80% of all data breaches come as a result of weak passwords, this is hardly surprising.

“Password changes will be required again at a later time as the University takes further steps to enhance security,” Provost Alan Garber and executive vice president Katie Lapp said in a letter to the university community.

Harvard University is far from being the only large organization to experience compromised network security systems over recent years. Throughout the last six years alone, the U.S. government saw a staggering 680% increase in the number of cyber attacks it experienced. Additionally, between 75% and 80% of all malicious cyber attacks originate from within an organization.

Even so, it will be vital for Harvard’s IT department to seek out heightened managed IT support services, onsite computer services or the help of qualified network security specialists to prevent a similar data breach from taking place.

What are your thoughts on the Harvard data breach? Have any other questions for us about the importance of network security management? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Three Signs Your IT Managed Services Provider Could Be Failing You

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

it managed services providers

Managed services are quickly becoming one of the most preferable ways for businesses big and small to outsource their IT needs with a cost-effective solution.

Not only are managed services more affordable than staffing a full IT department, managed services providers can also ensure your enterprise’s computer networks follow compliance mandates like HIPAA and PCI that require you to protect sensitive information. They also keep your company’s technology performing at its optimal level, allowing you to focus on bettering your business.

But is your managed services provider doing all it should be doing to ensure your enterprise’s success? Or should you start looking at different IT managed services providers? Find out with this list of the three signs that you should consider hiring different IT managed services providers:

Your managed services provider doesn’t back up your data
Your managed services provider should regularly back up all of your company’s important files, especially if they are stored in the cloud. This includes critical OS files, data and emails. If a server outage occurs and your data isn’t backed up, you could end up losing it all — protect your data by choosing a managed services provider that backs it up regularly.

Your managed services provider doesn’t perform system updates as needed
The best IT managed services providers know that computer system updates are integral to overall system performance. In addition to keeping up with these patches and updates, your managed services provider should consult with you to schedule maintenance periods at an optimal time that will avoid periods of downtime.

Your managed services provider doesn’t prioritize security
At companies and businesses everywhere, network security has become one of the top priorities. In 2012, a shocking 87% of small businesses suffered a data breach in their networks — and even the federal government has seen an obscene 680% increase in the number of cyber attacks it experienced over the last six years. Because of this, you can’t afford to hire IT managed services providers that don’t make your network security one of its biggest focuses. Your managed services provider should offer services like firewalls, content filtering and spam filtering.

Have any other questions about the various types of managed IT support services, such as unified communications and telephony installation? Let us know in the comments below.

Wi-Fi, Mobile Among Biggest Network Security Concerns for Small Business

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

network security management
Many small businesses are aware of the need for network security management to keep their enterprise safe from data breaches, especially when as many as 87% of small businesses dealt with a security breach in 2012 alone.

And while internal data breaches from current and former employees are undoubtedly common — 57% of small business security breaches come from an internal, staff-related source — two new threats are increasingly making themselves apparent to network security specialists. Their names? Wi-Fi and the mobile web.

Wi-Fi
As a growing number of consumers expect the businesses they visit to offer free Wi-Fi, the number of businesses who comply with their customers’ demands has risen astronomically. Yet a shockingly low number of businesses properly encrypt their Wi-Fi networks to protect their data — if they were using encryption at all. Additionally, a stunning number of businesses use default passwords for their Wi-Fi, according to a Naked Security article.

One way to shore up a Wi-Fi network’s defenses? Boost its password’s complexity. Studies have shown that 80% of all data breaches take place due to weak, easy-to-guess passwords! Additionally, hiring IT managed services providers to continuously monitor your business’ Wi-Fi network can take the work of network security management off your hands, allowing you to focus more on your business.

Mobile
According to a March 25 Guardian article, 95% of businesses studied allow their employees to bring their smartphones into the enterprise’s network whether it’s to use the office Wi-Fi or for another use. Yet 41% of these same businesses were affected by a mobile security breach, proving that mobile network security systems are more needed than ever.

To boost mobile security, the Guardian suggests that small businesses take a multi-faceted approach — it’s no longer sufficient to rely on Google and Apple developers to police their apps and protect businesses from mobile data breaches, especially when the number of mobile competitors to these two giants is growing by the day. With a combined system of traditional network security management, device security and application security, businesses can ward off mobile data breaches.

What are your thoughts on this article? Do you agree that small businesses should focus on security vulnerabilities? Let us know in the comments.