Rahul B

Four Simple Cybersecurity Fundamentals

You hear statistics like this all the time: last year, the cost of the average data breach was $3.86 Million. Furthermore, by the end of 2021, worldwide cybercrime costs will hit $6 trillion annually.

Both figures are true but seem so large they’re actually hard to relate to. That said, we can say from experiencing panicked inbound calls from prospective clients who have been hit by ransomware: hackers target businesses of all sizes.

Why? It’s just a numbers game. The evidence shows that 95% of cybersecurity breaches are caused by human error so they probe and they probe looking for the easiest prey, usually through some form of email scam.

Hit a small business for five grand here, a larger one for $150k there… pretty soon you’re talking about real money, as the saying goes.

Because most cybersecurity breaches happen due to an organization’s own negligence or carelessness, be sure you are following these tips – at minimum – to protect your data from cybersecurity attacks:

  1. Keep Your Tools Updated

It is imperative to always install security/antivirus/anti-malware software on your system. It is all the more important to install software updates for your applications, programs, and operative system. The best way to stay updated is to have IT experts like us manage patches and system updates, white labeling them and ensuring they work as intended before installing. If you don’t have such IT support, however, then turn on automatic updates whenever possible. Also, make sure to keep browser plug-ins up to date and use safe web browsers that get automatic and frequent security updates such as Firefox and Chrome.

  1. Password Management

It’s convenient and easy to use the same password across all your subscriptions. Unfortunately, it is also convenient for the hacker to steal your data – breach one system and they’ve breached them all. A password manager generates unique, encrypted passwords for each of your logins and enters credentials automatically. Tools like Keeper and LastPass are such simple and elegant solutions, we can’t understand why everyone doesn’t use them.

  1. Learn to Spot Suspicious Emails

Most understand the need to be vigilant and suspicious of any official looking email that demands bank details or other personal information. To help employees learn how to avoid and report such emails and calls immediately, companies should strongly consider ongoing anti-phishing training. Since email remains the primary threat vector, this inexpensive solution offers perhaps the greatest ROI of all cybersecurity investments.

  1. Never Leave Devices Unattended

Physical security is as important for your network as technical security.  When in public settings, encourage employees to lock their devices by before leaving them even for a short period of time. Also, create org-wide screen timeout defaults, lock your server room and provide employees with lockable desk drawers as well. Good cybersecurity requires a cultural focus.

Cybersecurity does not refer to any single solution (anti-virus, firewall, etc.), it is achieved through layers of protection that are meant to frustrate cyber criminals and encourage them to go elsewhere.

While there are many more complex tools and solutions that help protect larger organizations, businesses of all sizes should be practicing the core fundamentals outlined above if they want to avoid becoming one of the statistics.

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As today’s businesses have done their best to embrace the newest solutions in an ever-changing technology landscape, it has become clear that conventional network architecture can’t always support the workloads and complexities of the latest digital initiatives.

Here comes SD-WAN.

SD-WAN stands for the software-defined WAN (Wide Area Network). It is a virtual WAN architecture that allows for any combination of networking services such as LTE, MPLS and broadband internet services. It acts as a centralized control function to direct traffic across the WAN.

SD-WAN can help minimize overhead costs while increasing network performance, as well. It also offers flexibility to access multi-cloud services. This advanced technology not only streamlines network management but also ensures several real-world business advantages. Here are a few:

Managing Connection Options

With SD-WAN technology, organizations can create a single network infrastructure that can handle several connection types such as MPLS, broadband or cellular connections.

In addition, SD-WAN can also facilitate the cable or wireless connection between the branch office and data centers.

And when there is a need to connect more remote locations to the network, the connection can be spun up quickly and more easily.

SD-WAN technology eliminates the need of installing expensive routing hardware. Instead, it provisions connectivity from a single location, such as the cloud or headquarters. It also ensures improved flexibility, letting you scale connectivity down and up as per your requirements.

Improving Performance

Not all network traffic carries the same importance to the organization. To answer this reality, companies can configure SD-WAN to prioritize network traffic components, ensuring that vital traffic like VoIP always has the bandwidth and is configured to run over the most reliable route at any point in time.

By delivering important applications through dependable, high-performance connections, you can minimize packet loss and latency concerns, improving productivity and keeping frustrating at bay.

SD-WAN also increases IT efficiency at your other business location as it enables automation and establishes dependable links for IoT projects.

Reducing WAN Costs

MPLS bandwidth is significantly more expensive than public internet bandwidth. However, the costs of MPLS aren’t just an outcome of significantly higher bandwidth charges. Installing an MPLS link can take a huge amount of time, whereas a properly configured SD-WAN installation can be completed in a very short period of time – and additional locations added with just a few clicks!

Time is money for all businesses and eliminating the WAN as a bottleneck can help give a big competitive advantage. SD-WAN can minimize ongoing operating expenses by switching from costly MPLS lines to commodity broadband like cable, DSL, fiber, and even mobile technologies.

Increasing WAN Agility

MPLS wasn’t made with agility in mind. But that’s not the case with SD-WAN, which was designed to maximize agility and flexibility.

By eliminating the hidden complexities of multiple transport systems and allowing for performance-based routing (PBR), SD-WAN lets enterprises meet the unique demands of cloud workloads. Like we have said before, the installation of MPLS can take a huge amount of time. With SD-WAN, the installation at new sites can be done within hours or days.

Likewise, it takes nearly a month to add bandwidth in many MPLS applications, while SD-WAN enables quick bandwidth provisioning at all sites.

Supporting Edge Computing

Another advantage is that SD-WAN can support Edge computing.

Edge computing is a distributed computing technology to deliver computation and data storage to the location where it is needed, which improves response times and conserves bandwidth usage.

With SD-WAN, important data at the edge can be kept at the branch office network—and less important data can be shifted to the cloud. This way, it leads to reduced latency, lower bandwidth usage, and improved reliability.

To learn more about how SD-WAN might improve your business operations while saving you money, as well, contact us for a 1-on-1 demo.

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Top 5 Cybersecurity threats for a business

Top 5 Cybersecurity threats for a business

The “Global Risks Report” by the World Economic Forum says the chance of nabbing and prosecuting a cybercriminal at 0.05%. Moreover, global losses from cybercrime were more than $1 trillion in 2020 alone. Combining these two pieces of information, resilience and business awareness is the key to avoid security breaches and secure sensitive data.

With the increasing level of remote and work-from-home jobs, the sophistication and intensity of cyber threats are also increasing. Below, we are sharing the 5 most damaging cybersecurity threats for businesses and enterprises in 2021:

  1. DDoS Attacks

Last year, nearly 10 million DDoS attacks were attempted, with the loss per hour of service reaching as much as $1,00,000. Previously compromised devices are used by hackers to employ a botnet which is required for a coordinated DDoS attack. Every such machine, which has been compromised by hacking or malware, can be used to perform a criminal activity while the owner of the machine is completely unaware that it is happening.

It used to be that web traffic was targeted using this method. But now, artificial intelligence (AI) is being used by cybercriminals to perform DDoS attacks. While it seems to be a poison, AI can also become the cure for preventing and eliminating DDoS attacks.

  1. Cloud Computing Loopholes

To target cloud computing systems, hackers look to exploit servers with weak passwords and unpatched systems by performing brute-force attacks with the aim of somehow accessing stored user accounts. They can also steal other sensitive data or plant ransomware into the system. There also have been instances of usage of cloud systems to coordinate DDoS attacks or to perform crypto jacking. To avoid the compromise of cloud systems and make them more secure, proper attention should be paid to cloud storage configuration, end-user actions on cloud devices, and the security of application user interfaces (APIs).

  1. Third-Party Software

Today, there is no independent stand-alone digital system that can function by itself. Most organizations employ the services of one or more third-party tools. Some of these tools have at least one critical vulnerability. If exposed to hackers, it can cause the opening of the gateway to a host of other domains. In 2020, third-party breaches affected some of the biggest global brands such as Instagram, General Electric, and Spotify.

  1. Ransomware

Ransomware is a program that encrypts the data on the affected system and then demands payment to release the infected data. In 2020, the cumulative sum of demands generated by ransomware was more than $1.4 billion. Some of the most recent cases of ransomware causing a ruckus include the compromise of research data on Covid-19 at The University of California, and the attack on a German hospital where cybercriminals disabled its patient care systems, which even resulted in the death of a patient undergoing treatment at the hospital.

  1. Social Engineering

Social engineering attacks manipulate human psychology to attain the specific goals for hacking a system. Phishing emails, scareware, and quid pro quo are some of the techniques used in social engineering attacks.

Zero Standing Privileges can be implemented by enterprises and organizations to prevent social engineering attacks. If zero standing privileges are implemented, a user will be granted access privilege only for a particular task, and the privilege will last only for the time required to complete that task. In this case, even if the credentials are compromised, hackers won’t be able to access sensitive data and internal systems.

Covid-19 has transformed our workplaces and these transformations are here to stay, along with the increasing cyber threats faced by enterprises. Cybersecurity teams at businesses will have to develop strong and robust policies to respond to the threat arising out of cybersecurity challenges.

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