SpartanTec, Inc. Wilmington NC

(910) 218-9255

cybersecurityPeople tend to imagine the most popular targets of cybersecurity criminals to be big business and government organizations. Although these are lucrative targets, they are very difficult to breach successfully.

Hackers are mostly opportunists. They want targets that are valuable, but they also make sure that their practices are optimized and attack low hanging fruits. That’s why they like to attack small businesses. They will get access data and money, making them profitable targets, and they’re easier to breach because they have lower defenses.

Fortunately, having even the most basic cybersecurity strategies can thwart cybersecurity threats. Cybercriminals who come across difficult obstacles would rather target those with minimal or no defenses or IT support at all.

 

 

Of course, it’s not that simple. Hackers always change their strategies and learn new methods so they can catch small businesses off guard and take advantage of their vulnerabilities. That’s why you need to make sure that your cybersecurity strategies are updated.

Top Cybersecurity Strategies You Need To Know

Cloud Security

It’s about securing your cloud based infrastructure, data, and applications. Small businesses rely on the cloud to provide the infrastructure that their businesses need. Cloud based security systems are cheap, accessible, and efficient but they’re not equal. It’s crucial that you choose applications and platforms that give the highest security level possible and have integrated safeguards to protect your business against vulnerabilities.

Network Security

Network security methods involve preventing the misuse and unauthorized use of your computer network. It includes the data and devices that are controlled by your company’s network administrator. The least you can do is restrict access to your Wi-Fi network by having a strong password. You can also call SpartanTec, Inc. and let our team of IT experts help improve your network security.

Firewalls and VPNs

You should consider investing in firewalls and virtual private networks. They cannot prevent all kinds of cyberattacks but they are effective when used correctly.

Upgrades and Updates

They are commonly underestimated but they are the best methods you can use to boost the cybersecurity of your business. Developers and programmers are always watching out for new threats, and once they discover one, they will create a patch to protect you against it. But, in order to benefit from this patch, it has to be installed. A lot of companies leave their software and devices not updated, leaving them vulnerable to cyberthreats.

Data Backups

It’s best to have several backups of your company’s data. By doing so, you will have access to your data backup once you become a victim of a natural disaster or a ransomware attack.

Limited and Segmented Access

You should also limit and segment your employee’s access to the data and system owned by your company. While it can be quite tempting to think that cybersecurity threats come from external hackers, the truth is that it can also originate from inside your company. If you keep tight controls over your user access, you will get to limit the damage that’s caused to your company.

 

Call SpartanTec, Inc. now if you need the expertise of IT professionals to help protect your company from cyberthreats.

 

SpartanTec, Inc.
Wilmington, NC 28412
(910) 218-9255
https://manageditserviceswilmington.com

Serving: Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Columbia, Wilmington, Fayetteville, Florence

 

cybersecurityThreats to cybersecurity are growing problems for governments, big corporations, and small businesses. Studies showed that 22% of small businesses have become the targets of cybersecurity attacks. About 11% of these happened last year.

It’s important to protect your business from these online threats. However, some business owners don’t have a clue where to start. Here’s a simple guide that can help you navigate the world of online threats.

What’s at risk?

Cyberattacks will put your IT equipment, data, and money at risk. If a cybercriminal or a hacker gets access to your network, they could cause a lot of damage with whatever they find like:

These computer security attacks will not only put your company at risk but also use their access to your network as a way to access the networks of other firms that you’re affiliated with.

 

 

What is the effect of a cybersecurity attack?

A cyberattack can significantly affect your business. As a matter of fact, 60% of small businesses that become victims of a cyberattack close down their operations within six months following the breach. Even if that’s the worst result of the attack, there are other consequences that companies may face including:

What can you do to protect your business from cyberthreats?

Small businesses may feel helpless against cybersecurity threats. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your company.

Train your employees

Your employees could put your businesses at risk of a cyberattack. Studies show that 43% of data loss comes from internal employees who either carelessly or maliciously provide criminals access to the networks. You should invest in computer security training for your staff. They should know what they have to do if they get receive a suspicious email, for example.

Conduct Risk Assessment

Assess possible risks that may compromise the security of your network, information, and systems. Check and analyse possible threats because it can help you come up with a plan that will help plug any openings in the security.

During a risk assessment, you should know where and how your information is stored and who can access it. Find out who might want to access the information and how they might try to get it. Identify the risk levels of potential events and how data breaches can possibly affect the company.

Use An Anti-Virus Software

You should install an anti-virus software that can protect all of your devices from phishing scams, ransomware, spyware, and viruses. Be sure that the software offers protection against cyberthreats and technology that can help you clean up the computers as required and reset them to a state when they were not infected.

Update The Software Regularly

The software you use to keep your company running must be updated regularly. This will prevent cybercriminals from getting through your network through openings or gaps in your software. If you’re unsure of what you need to do, you can hire a cybersecurity company to help you out.

Back up your Files Regularly

You should have a backup program that will automatically copy your files to a data storage. SpartanTec Inc. offers reliable backup and disaster recovery services. In case there’s an attack, you could restore all of the files from your backups. Pick a program that will provide you the ability to automate or schedule the backup process so you do not need to remember to do it. You can store copies of your backup online and offline.

 

Call SpartanTec, Inc. now and let our team of IT experts improve your company’s cybersecurity so you can minimize your risk of falling victim to a cyberattack.

 

SpartanTec, Inc.
Wilmington, NC 28412
(910) 218-9255
https://manageditserviceswilmington.com

Serving: Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Columbia, Wilmington, Fayetteville, Florence

cybersecurityNow is the best time for businesses to check how their handling their company data. Over the past few decades, technology has become a crucial component of any workplace. From financial transactions and email correspondence, to work documents and networking, companies of all sizes depend on technology to stay connected all the time and perform their work efficiently. But, when such communication lines are compromised or threatened, it could lead to a disastrous effect on a company. That's why cybersecurity is crucial.

The cyberattacks on TalkTalk back in 2015 is among the most high profile incidents as it result to a record fine of £400,000 because of its security failings. In line with that, Three Mobile was also victim of cyberattack, wherein 200,000 of its client information were exposed.

However, it’s not only the bug businesses that need to worry about network security. Even if you only have a small business or even those who have small to medium enterprises are still vulnerable to cyberattacks.

 

 

 

Know The Latest Cybersecurity Threats

Data breaches may result in lost files, assets, or intellectual property as well as website or system corruption. There are several kinds of online security threats these days. These include scammers who send fraudulent emails, impersonate a legal business, as well as malware and viruses.

Data Leak Protection

Among the most personal and rampant threats when it comes to cybersecurity is data leaks. They can cause damage to business and individuals alike. All companies hold a wide range of data from employee data to customer information, which usually contains sensitive details which could easily be vulnerable if businesses do not take the needed steps to protect them.

Limiting the amount of personal information that is made available to the public is one good way of making data is secured from possible leaks.

However, there are other methods available to minimize the possibility of exposure. You should consider setting up a burner email, which is a dummy email account that your company can use when they sign up for a service or site that they do not want to provide their real email address to. In case your email account has been compromised, there is the “Have I Been Pawnd” online tool that lets users search through different data breaches to determine if their email address has been breached.

Ransomware Protection

Ransomware is another cyber security threat for businesses. It is a kind of malware that encrypts the data of a businesses and can only unlocked in exchange for a large fee. Although the data that’s saved on the computer could be vulnerable to ransomware, these kinds of cyberattacks have also grown in popularity with the emergence of cloud services for data storage.

An increasing number of business are choosing the cloud for storing data. But there appears to be a misconception that cloud data storage is much safer and secure than the hard drive of a computer. Businesses must make sure that the valuable data is always backed up in different places.

Even though malicious programs and software continue to develop, security software these days are adapting to cope with online threats, too. That is why it is crucial for businesses to update its anti-virus software all the time.

On the other hand, there’s also a misconception that anti-virus alone can deal with ransomware. Companies have to make sure that they invest in a reliable software that could protect them against cyberattacks.

 

Call SpartanTec, Inc. if you need professional IT services that can help maintain the cybersecurity of your company.

 

SpartanTec, Inc.
Wilmington, NC 28412
(910) 218-9255
https://manageditserviceswilmington.com

Serving: Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Columbia, Wilmington, Fayetteville, Florence

Zero trustOne of the latest buzzword when it comes to cybersecurity is zero trust. You need to know what zero trust is and what it’s not.

Zero trust is a strategic effort that can help prevent a successful data breach by getting rid of the concept that the network architecture of a network is trustworthy. It is based on the principle to never trust and always verify. Zero trust is made to protect the digital environments by using network segmentation, prevention of lateral movement, and the simplification of granular user access control.

Conventional cybersecurity models work on the outdated assumption that everything inside the network of a company can be trusted. This is a broken trust model that assumed that the identity of a user isn’t compromised and that every user will act responsibly and could be trusted.

The zero trust model knows that trust is considered as a vulnerability. Once it is on the network, the users as well as the malicious insiders and threat actors can move laterally freely and exfiltrate or access all the data that they’re not limited to. Keep in mind that the attack’s infiltration point is generally not the target location.

 

 

A Zero Trust Architecture

You will identify a protect surface under a zero trust model. This surface is comprised of the most valuable and critical data, services, applications, and assets of a network. Each organization will have a unique protect surface.

Once you’ve identified the protect surface, you can determine how traffic will move across the company in relation to its protect surface. You can determine and set in place a policy that will ensure safe and secure access to your data. When you know the interdependencies between the users, services, infrastructure, and the DAAS, you can set up specific controls as near to the protect surface as you can. This will help create a microperimeter surrounding it, which will move together with the protect surface.

Zero trust does not depend on your location, the users, application workloads, and devices can be found everywhere and that’s why you cannot tie zero trust in a single location. It should be spread across the whole digital environment. You have to make sure that the right users will have access to the right data and applications.

Users also access data and application from different areas like small branches, offices, coffee shops, and even at home. Zero trust needs consistent control, enforcement, and visibility to be delivered through the cloud or directly on the device. You can prevent data loss and secure user access by having a software defined perimeter, regardless of where the users are located, which devices are used, where the data and workloads are hosted.

Workloads are very dynamic and they move across different data centers and hybrid, private, and public clouds. With zero trust, you should have a deep visibility into the interdependencies and visibility across devices, users, networks, data, and applications.

Many believe that achieving zero trust to improve their network security Wilmington NC is complex and costly. But zero trust is actually developed on your existing architecture and do not need you to get rid and replace your current technology. You will find no zero trust products. There are products that work perfectly well with zero trust environments. It’s easy to deploy zero trust. It’s easy to implement and maintain. You just need to identify the protect surface, map out the transaction movements, create a zero trust architecture, create a zero trust policy, and monitor and maintain regularly.

 

With the help of SpartanTec, Inc. your business can implement a zero trust architecture and rest assured that your data is protected. Call us today for an assessment of your network to determine if you are truly safe from outside intrusion.

 

SpartanTec, Inc.
Wilmington, NC 28412
(910) 218-9255
https://manageditserviceswilmington.com

Serving: Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Columbia, Wilmington, Fayetteville, Florence

data protectionPersonal data is extremely valuable to the person from which it originates that's why data protection is a must. We all have it (or at least pretend to…more on that in my next blog), and we all want it protected when we share it. There are global legal expectations for personal information protections, such as those provided by:

These laws and standards (and others like them) have been enacted to protect an individual’s right to be left out of the marketing race to find, analyze, and sell personal preferences, habits, and spending patterns. They were created to establish a degree of trust between data owners and data users. However, it is relatively common to hear or read about broken trust relationships as a result of data theft. We see it almost every day.

The question for today’s topic is this: how much is that information really worth?

If we were to take a dive into the world of stolen information, we would find a wide range of pricing depending on details such as the type of data, the volume being purchased, and the target from which the data was collected. While prices vary widely, here are a few rough approximations for the current value of information.

Credit Card Numbers

You can purchase valid credit card numbers for around $.50. If the credit card comes with names, PINs and other vital information, the value increases to the $2.00 to $2.50 range per card number.

 

Yahoo! Accounts

This was probably the largest cybersecurity breach data theft in history, or at least that we know of. We didn’t find out about this one well until after the fact, but according to various reports there were roughly one billion records stolen back in 2013. Three copies of the entire data set sold for about $300,000 per copy. That makes each record worth a whopping 1/3 of $.01 on a per-sale basis. Bulk sale stores have done well with the business model of offering volume discounts, and apparently stolen Yahoo! data validates that strategy. The basic premise is to provide customers with the ability to buy more so they will save more on a per-unit basis.

Bank Accounts

These are a little tough to value, but generally speaking a valid bank account, to include login credentials, varies according to the amount associated with the account. There is only one verifiable instance I know of, maybe there are more out there. An individual was incarcerated last summer for selling account credentials for $10. The accounts had balances of $100 to $500, so the payoff (if it could be realized) compared to the investment was relatively high.  For accounts ranging up to $20,000 balances, the price jumped to the $70 mark for complete login credentials. Again, this is based on one person being arrested for selling them. There are bank accounts and associated names being sold relatively cheaply (under the $1.00 range). Typical bank account information is sold at a pretty low price.

Medical Records

These are a little more interesting, as they currently bring in from $10 to $20 per record. This is relatively steady and accurate compared to bank account information. It seems that medical records have an intrinsically higher value placed on them than the more common types of financial information.

The questions is…why?

Financial Information Issues

When we analyze financial information, there are a few issues that become readily apparent. The primary one relates to the longevity of the information’s usefulness. This includes credit card numbers/PINs and banking account information. Fraud detection, velocity of discovery, and tracing activity are the three major problems criminals encounter with financial information.

Fraud Detection

Banks live and breathe fraud detection. When it comes to credit card operations, we have all been prevented at one time or another from using our card due to a variety of circumstances occurring at the time of purchase. I was running from airplane to airplane and had to buy a birthday gift for a loved one. I was in an airport jewelry store a thousand miles from home and tried to make the purchase with a few minutes to spare to my next flight. The transaction was blocked and I had to jog off to catch the flight without purchasing a gift. It was halted because a handful of fraud prevention rules were broken, such as where the purchase was attempted, the amount of it, and other spend patterns that broke the rules and blocked the transaction.

Most banks offer fraud alerts on credit cards. Many of us have separate cards for business and personal use, possibly issued by different banks. Details regarding every card purchase I make are delivered as a text to my cell phone, typically within seconds of transaction completion. This is a relatively common customer service capability. The banks, of course, are interested in cutting the cost of fraud within their managed accounts. Regulators also play in the fraud prevention picture, adding pressure to apply technologies for creating fraud detection rule sets and alerts to the consumer. Consumers exert a high demand for implementing adequate financial protections. In order to stay competitive, banks have to keep pace with the marketplace, regulators, and consumer trends. Fraud detection is a competitive edge from a cost and customer confidence perspective.

Chip and PIN systems also assist in thwarting the bad guys. Even though cards and pin numbers can be bought, the chip also contains a variety of details the criminal may not know that is checked at the time of transaction. Some chips implementations validate the chip serial number and credit card pair back to the bank prior to releasing funds. There are a variety of potential barriers to block unauthorized use of the chip and PIN combination.

Co-Managed IT ServicesVelocity of Detection

We now have the ability to rapidly identify suspicious behavior as it pertains to our financial transactions. As previously stated, we have almost instantaneous reporting of credit card transactions. We can set clip levels of transaction alerts for our bank accounts. These include the ability to block transactions based on transaction amount, location of purchase, time of purchase, and other parameters – all customizable by the account holder. Accounts can be frozen until the suspicious behavior is properly communicated, analyzed, or managed.

Gone are the days of receiving a mailed account activity summary that, if it included fraudulent activity, resulted in days of gathering details, submitting the information, and waiting for account restoration. Now the account or credit card is simply suspended until resolution of the issue. If fraudulent activity was perpetrated we can rapidly restore funds and operational use of the account within a short period of time.

Traceability

Financial institutions have the ability to trace transactions with a high degree of accuracy as money flows between accounts. In the earlier example of the individual selling account information, it didn’t take very long to identify and incarcerate the perpetrator. The digital paper trail was a glowing set of arrows pointing back to the individual. Customers that had their accounts emptied reported it to the bank, who notified the authorities. They worked with the banks to back trace account transfers and arrest some of those individuals involved in stealing funds. All it took was one to talk to lead them to the kingpin of the operation that was selling account information. The path back to the involved criminals was relatively clear.

So if we look at bank account and credit card data from those three perspectives, the information has a very limited shelf life and poses a higher potential for identification of the individuals stealing money. It is simply a high risk model best left to amateurs or those criminals with little imagination.

Medical Records

Cyber criminals love medical records for several reasons.

Depth of Information

Medical records contain full names, date of birth, parental information, social security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, next of kin information, and a wide variety of other types of personal information. This information is useful for a wide range of cybercrimes. Tax season is upon us in the United States, and tax fraud associated with identity theft has more than doubled in the past two years. In order to fill out a fraudulent tax return, all a criminal needs is a valid name, social security number, and address.  Medical records carry a great depth of information about an individual, allowing for a wide range of fraudulent crimes to be leveraged using the data. They provide information that can be used either directly or in a support role for a wider range of . More about that in a bit.

Longevity

As previously stated, bank accounts and credit card numbers have a very short lifespan in terms of usefulness for a criminal. Conversely, medical records provide a much longer shelf life for the cybercriminal. It can take months for medical record theft to be discovered, and an even longer period of time to notify the individual that their data was stolen. This allows a deeper analysis of the information at an almost leisurely pace.

Limited Recovery

When details relating to a bank account or credit card are used to perpetrate fraud, the recovery is relatively simple. The financial institution simply stops the card from being used and issues a new card, changes account passwords, or closes the account and reopens a new one for the individual. When a medical record is stolen, recovery to an operationally restored state is extremely difficult (if not impossible). Your name will remain the same, and the likelihood is high of you retaining the same social security number, address, telephone number, blood type, and other details pertaining to you. The only viable recourse is to work with credit rating companies so you can be notified of suspicious behavior such as new loan requests, account openings, or credit card requests. Notifications to government agencies and law enforcement can help remediate a situation if your information is used fraudulently, but you are adopting a very reactive posture. The bottom line is that once your medical record information is stolen, it has a very long shelf life from a criminal’s perspective.

Work Correlation

Medical records provide names, addresses, telephone numbers, and other important personal information, but they contain other pieces of extremely valuable data as well. One example is the medical plan identifier. This is typically represented by numbers or an alphanumeric, and relate directly to a single company’s medical plan. If a cybercriminal knows the company associated with a medical plan, it is relatively simple to discover other records using that same plan identifier.

Once that is completed, the resulting pile of medical records can be further sifted to provide an even stronger probability of linkage between individuals. The simplest method is to take the country code and next two or three digits of a phone number and cross reference them. In the US the area code is used, and other phone systems around the world use a similar approach for determining the locality or region of the phone user. It is also relatively simple to correlate home addresses and find people that have even a higher probability of knowing each other. Maybe they carpool together.

Once these steps are completed it is relatively simple to socially engineer a situation that results in malware being inserted into a corporate IT environment. Cybercriminals can create emails from one friend in a company to another with commonly used document formats harboring malicious code. They can even determine the department, such as finance, HR, receiving, etc., and leverage that to customize a malware delivery package that will have a very high potential of success.

Data Protection is Crucial

Millions of medical records have already been stolen. With the static nature of the information contained in them, cybercriminals have years to analyze and mine data, then correlate that information to create highly customized malware packages. Employee awareness training, data backups, or the daily integration of malware signatures into firewalls may not be enough. Reactive measures fail.

 

Call SpartanTec, Inc. now if you want to know more about our managed IT services and how we can help protect your business.

 

SpartanTec, Inc.
Wilmington, NC 28412
(910) 218-9255
https://manageditserviceswilmington.com

Serving: Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Columbia, Wilmington, Fayetteville, Florence

data breachMany people are hearing about news regarding a data breach. Consumers are now wondering how this is always happening. It would appear like companies must be more serious about their data security. Needless to say that a data breach can cost millions and can tarnish the reputation of the company involved.

Consumers may recall that Target was breached back in 2013. Shoppers became worried about shopping at the retail giant. Now, the data breach has cost over $90 million and nothing can help them measure the damage to their reputation. Just like other stores, Target stores are suffering from the trend wherein consumers prefer to shop online. A lot of surveys confirm that shoppers are reluctant to purchase at smaller online stores. The general belief is that bigger stores have better cybersecurity.

This theory was questioned when JP Morgan Chase, the largest banker in the nation, lost the personal information, addresses, and names of 76 million customers. Data breaches as such will diminish public trust and cause shoppers to stop shopping online even more.

So how could you prevent this from happening to your business?

 

 

How To Prevent A Data Breach?

Restrict Data Access

In the past, every employee can access all their computer files. These days, firms are starting to learn the hard way, to restrict access to their more important data. After all, there is no reason for an employee who work in the mailroom to access accounting documents. If you limit those who can view certain data, you will narrow down the pool of people who may click on harmful links accidentally. As companies move forward, you should expect to see all of the records to be partitioned off so that just those who distinctly need access can access it. This is only one of those common sense methods that firms need to do.

Third Party Vendors Should Follow

Companies work with different third party vendors. It’s more crucial to know who these individuals are. Firms could even open themselves to legal cases by letting strangers to get into their premises. What if the person who delivers the office supplies just got out of jail? You should consider this carefully. Apart from that, make sure to restrict the kinds of documents that vendors can view.

Perform Employee Security Awareness Training

According to the latest surveys, employees are considered to be the weakest links in the chain of data security. Even with training, staff open suspicious emails on a daily basis that have the possibility to download viruses. Among the mistakes that employees make is believing that one training class about cybersecurity is enough. In case you are serious about protecting your crucial data, you should schedule regular training every month or quarter.

Update Software On A Regular Basis

Cybersecurity experts suggest to keep all application software as well as operating systems are updated on a regular basis. Install all of the patches when possible. Your network will be vulnerable if the programs are not regularly updated and patched.

Create A Cybersecurity Breach Response Plan

Your business must have an in-depth cybersecurity breach preparedness plan because it will allow both the employer and employees to know the possible damages that may happen.

 

Call SpartanTec, Inc. now and learn how our IT experts can help protect your business against data breaches and other types of cyberattacks.

 

SpartanTec, Inc.
Wilmington, NC 28412
(910) 218-9255
https://manageditserviceswilmington.com

Serving: Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Columbia, Wilmington, Fayetteville, Florence

 

ransomwareAny malicious software that aims to infect your computer and show a message that asks you to pay a fee if you want to gain back control of your system again is called a ransomware. This kind of software will hostage critical system and data and ask you for thousands or worse, tens of thousands of dollars. That is why it is crucial to protect your company from all kinds of ransomware attacks.

How It Happens?

The crucial point you need to know is that ransomware doesn’t just appear on a computer. The victim unknowingly starts to download a malicious software on their computer. Having said that, if your staff don’t know what to search for to identify a possible ransomware attack, your company will become vulnerable.

When it comes to being cunning, cybercriminals are among those who are on top of the list. They use effective methods and they are extremely skilled when it comes to tricking people into downloading a file or clicking a link that they think is legitimate. Sending emails are one of the most common strategies they use.

 

 

For instance, the email will look as if it really came from a mail carrier like FedEx or UPS, and it states that a package will be delivered and that you need to click a link. It could also be someone from your contact list or even a co-worker that sends you a file that’s been infected. It could also be a service provider or a vendor with an attached invoice. It could also pose as a banking institution like Paypal and ask you to click on certain link.

Once you click on the malicious attachment or link, the ransomware will then encrypt its data and lock you out of your files. You will only see a screen that says you will not be able to access your files unless you pay a ransom. Things are made much more complicated if one of your employees open a malicious file without knowing that it is infected. The virus will be downloaded and work in the background. However, the computer lock as well as the ransom demand might not happened after days or weeks have passed.

Protect Your Business From Ransomware

Employee Training – employee training is important since users need to do an action to trigger the ransomware download. This will greatly help in protecting your company from ransomware attacks. Your cybersecurity team or vendor must provide regular training to assist employees in identifying possible ransomware.

Backup Files – the most effective defence against ransomware is to be smarter than the attackers by lessening your vulnerability to ransomware threats. This implies having a backup of all important data and this should be done daily. By doing so, you won’t be forced to pay to access your data because you have a backup of all your files and they are all up to date.

Detection Software – it’s also crucial to put in place basic cybersecurity Wilmington NC measures. This may include technology that will detect malware and ransomware, as well as patching software security loopholes to stop malicious software from infecting your system.

Do you want to make sure that your data and your network are safe? Call SpartanTec, Inc. now.

Any malicious software that aims to infect your computer and show a message that asks you to pay a fee if you want to gain back control of your system again is called a ransomware. This kind of software will hostage critical system and data and ask you for thousands or worse, tens of thousands of dollars. That is why it is crucial to protect your company from all kinds of ransomware attacks.

How It Happens?

The crucial point you need to know is that ransomware doesn’t just appear on a computer. The victim unknowingly starts to download a malicious software on their computer. Having said that, if your staff don’t know what to search for to identify a possible ransomware attack, your company will become vulnerable.

When it comes to being cunning, cybercriminals are among those who are on top of the list. They use effective methods and they are extremely skilled when it comes to tricking people into downloading a file or clicking a link that they think is legitimate. Sending emails are one of the most common strategies they use.

For instance, the email will look as if it really came from a mail carrier like FedEx or UPS, and it states that a package will be delivered and that you need to click a link. It could also be someone from your contact list or even a co-worker that sends you a file that’s been infected. It could also be a service provider or a vendor with an attached invoice. It could also pose as a banking institution like Paypal and ask you to click on certain link.

Once you click on the malicious attachment or link, the ransomware will then encrypt its data and lock you out of your files. You will only see a screen that says you will not be able to access your files unless you pay a ransom. Things are made much more complicated if one of your employees open a malicious file without knowing that it is infected. The virus will be downloaded and work in the background. However, the computer lock as well as the ransom demand might not happened after days or weeks have passed.

Protect Your Business From Ransomware

Employee Training – employee training is important since users need to do an action to trigger the ransomware download. This will greatly help in protecting your company from ransomware attacks. Your IT support team or vendor must provide regular training to assist employees in identifying possible ransomware.

Backup Files – the most effective defense against ransomware is to be smarter than the attackers by lessening your vulnerability to ransomware threats. This implies having a backup of all important data and this should be done daily. By doing so, you won’t be forced to pay to access your data because you have a backup of all your files and they are all up to date.

Detection Software – it’s also crucial to put in place basic IT security measures. This may include technology that will detect malware and ransomware, as well as patching software security loopholes to stop malicious software from infecting your system.

 

Do you want to make sure that your data and your network are safe? Call SpartanTec, Inc. now.

 

SpartanTec, Inc.
Wilmington, NC 28412
(910) 218-9255
https://manageditserviceswilmington.com

Serving: Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Columbia, Wilmington, Fayetteville, Florence

zero trustIn today’s ear that’s defined by mobility and the cloud, the traditional perimeter based security is no longer enough. Firewalls are not sufficient either when it comes to protecting the information of a company. That’s where zero trust comes in.

Data moves around a lot and it’s possible to be going back and forth to the cloud because it is going to be within your walls. That’s why companies are concentrating on multipronged methods to defend themselves against cyberattacks that come from various vectors.

If you consider the appropriate security architecture and methods to protect data, many of it just comes down to executing the basics appropriately, restricting access to only the ones that need it most, putting extra protection on the most confidential data, and ensuring that you know who is accessing what.

Security managers, unfortunately, continue to grapple with the complexity that comes from cobbling various cyber defence methods for network security. SOCs always scramble to stay on top of the alerts that streams across the consoles from various technologies.

Such solutions have to be combined and make sure that they work well with each other. Otherwise, there’s no way for the modern SOC manager to prevent the coming of silos while keeping themselves sane.

 

 

Understanding the Basics of Zero Trust

Zero trust network can help you with your company’s network security problems. It is an architectural and conceptual model that governs how security teams have to redesign their network. The zero trust model promotes a more holistic method to data security and adds more focus on the technologies and processes. The objective is to create secure micro perimeters, stronger data security through obfuscation methods, limiting the risks linked with too much user access and privileges, and enhanced security detection as well as response with automation and analytics.

It involves looking for cybersecurity solutions with certified integrations and automated orchestration abilities that will lower the operation problems on your team. You require tools that will inform one another without the need for human intervention that could detect threats correctly across the whole environment including all of the devices, the cloud, and your network.

Why Should Your Company Embrace Zero Trust

Zero trust will give full breadth of services and products across cloud, network, and endpoint, needed to protect business from the kinds of advanced threats that are targeting them daily. And when threats are determined, orchestration abilities will simplify the task of responding them on all linked devices including mobile. This type of platform could either prevent a breach well before it takes place, or at the very least, identify it quickly and set in place the appropriate mitigation steps.

It aligns with the reality that data could be everywhere. Apart from the conventional data center and network, it could be in the cloud SaaS apps, Azuer, mobile devices, and even both personal and corporate, and thumbdrives.

Given the stringent compliance requirements especially after the pass of GDPR in Europe, platforms offer significant help here if to comes to enforcing identity, securing data, and access controls on network and devices, segmenting workloads and networks.

Call SpartanTec, Inc. now for more information about zero trust and our managed IT services.

SpartanTec, Inc.
Wilmington, NC 28412
(910) 218-9255
https://manageditserviceswilmington.com

Serving: Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Columbia, Wilmington, Fayetteville, Florence

Zero trust accessWith an ever-expanding digital infrastructure, an increasingly sophisticated cyber threat landscape, and a growing cybersecurity skills gap, IT and OT leaders are facing pressure daily to establish and maintain trust in their networks. Furthermore, the situation has become even more challenging in recent months with the need to secure remote work around the world. Zero trust Access (ZTA) addresses these concerns by providing full visibility and dynamic control over devices on the network.

To find out more about the challenges of securing network access, we met digitally with two of Fortinet’s Field CISOs: Alain Sanchez and Courtney Radke. We discussed the need for implementing Zero-trust Access in today’s evolving networks and expanding cyber threat landscape.

Q: Can you share some perspective on why Zero Trust Access is more critical than ever?

Alain - The sophistication of the cyber threat landscape has extended to new classes of attacks that aim to inflict damage while remaining silent. They are targeting IT and OT devices, and the industrial systems that manage production in segments such as manufacturing, energy, and pharmaceuticals. And the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the need for full automation of production.

As production relies more and more on sophisticated regulation, no sensor, application, or user should by default be allowed to influence the running of any critical infrastructure or process. Due to the precision and speed of production required, any malicious order or fake value sent into the process can have devastating effects.

 

 

Network access can be compared to the physical access to a controlled building. The default state of all entry doors needs to be set to “closed,” and not "open." Access rules need to be dynamically refreshed with real-time authentication systems. An individual’s credentials should not just be established at the exterior door, but throughout the building. And the overall behavior of that individual while inside the building should be monitored against a machine-learning baseline profile so that if an individual begins behaving badly, actions can be taken.

This holistic vision of a trust that is continuously earned rather than granted once for all access requires a full integration of the entire security ecosystem. The moment you have a subcomponent that can’t be pinged and dynamically compared to a model of how it is supposed to behave, you’re in danger of breaking the security chain. As CISOs discover these types of weak links within their controlled systems, they have to make hard decisions about who is allowed to do what. The best solution is to opt for a scalable security system that can establish and monitor a zero-trust access model.

Q: The growth of devices is key to the need for Zero Trust Access. Can you share some best practices for managing this exponential growth in terms of security?

Alain - Act quickly, never hastily. ZTA is about knowing and controlling who and what is on your network. Exponential growth should not be a reason for trading security for speed. Of course, the CISO must be the guardian of this principle. Even if enterprises have to catch up on months of production and backorders, security must remain a priority.

The second ally of the security team is automation. Automation is an outgrowth of proper planning and can save precious time in detecting and responding to cyber threats. Once a zero-trust model has been designed and adapted to the level of risk that your business is comfortable with, the deployment then needs to be orchestrated to reach the level of scalability required in large infrastructures.

Q: What are the areas or technologies that provide the most "bang for your buck" with regards to securing organizations' network access using the zero trust model?

Courtney - Maintaining a strong perimeter is a key to success, although most would have you believe the perimeter no longer matters or is too undefinable to control. Has it expanded and grown more complicated? Absolutely. But it is by no means uncontrollable, nor should it be ignored. Aligning to the zero-trust model means implementing a least access policy that grants the user the minimum level of network access required for their role and removing any ability to access or see other parts of the network. The sharing of information and the building of context and baselines of your users, devices, and networks becomes pivotal to the success of a zero-trust model. It also allows for easier implementation of multifactor authentication (MFA), which is another key technology. MFA is the basis for Network Behavior Analytics (NBA) and User and Environment Behavior Analytics (UEBA) technologies, both of which are designed to protect a network from harm and allow for quicker identification and remediation once harm has been done.

Let me give a retail example. Retail is something we all understand since we all experience retail on a daily basis. As a tangible example, given the nature of retail today where omnichannel is the norm, implementing a zero-trust model is more challenging than ever.

For those unfamiliar with the term, omnichannel is a cross-channel content strategy that organizations use to improve user experience and drive better relationships with their customers across multiple points of contact. The purpose of providing omnichannel experiences is to unlock doors to the consumers and remove barriers wherever possible. It enables retailers to expand to new demographics and open up new revenue streams through technology, which is now required to remain competitive in today's market. Unfortunately, however, every door you open to better enable customer engagement also provides new opportunities and new attack vectors for threat actors to compromise your business. Protecting these solutions requires carefully controlling who and what has access to internal systems, data, and devices.

Q: Is there anything about Zero trust Access that some CISOs may not have considered?

Alain - The zero-trust model is a strong concept that moves cybersecurity away from implied trust that is based on network location.. It's a necessary approach as more and more business-critical and life-critical processes become fully digital. However, for people not versed in cybersecurity, the word might carry negative connotations. Wrongly interpreted, it might resonate as if the network, the PC, the applications, or in fact the entire digital ecosystem will stop recognizing its users. It can be seen as a barrier to productivity.

But nothing could be further from the truth. ZTA is a foundational pillar of any effective security strategy. It actually enables the right person to have immediate access to the resources they need to do their job, while also eliminating the risks and downtime that can result from unauthorized access. However, to advocate for the adoption of necessary security solutions such as this, especially as the cyber threat landscape continues to evolve, CISOs need to do more communication and education. They will find themselves not only needing to explain what needs to change and why, but more importantly, how these changes will benefit the organization. This communication is particularly important to those teams that have until now been managing user network access based on a legacy notion of implicit trust.

Q: How does Zero trust Access relate to VPNs and the increase in remote work?

Alain - The rise in remote working has put a spotlight on the limitations of VPNs that take a perimeter-based approach to security. Users connect through the VPN client, but once they're inside the perimeter they often have broad access to the network, which exposes it to threats.

Unlike a traditional VPN-based approach, which assumes that anyone or anything that passes network security perimeter controls can be trusted, the zero-trust model takes the opposite approach: no user or device can be trusted to access anything until proven otherwise. A zero-trust network access (ZTNA) solution allows organizations to extend the zero-trust model beyond the network. The terms zero trust access (ZTA) and zero trust network access (ZTNA) are often used interchangeably, however, there is a difference. Whereas ZTA focuses on role-based access control to the network, ZTNA relates to brokered access for users to applications.

Unlike a traditional VPN tunnel that provides unrestricted access to the network and applications, ZTNA connections are granted to individual applications per-session. Access is granted only after both the device and user have been verified. Because location is no longer a reliable indicator for access as it is with a VPN, ZTNA policy is applied whether users are on or off the network.

Call SpartanTec, Inc. now if you want to learn more about IT services and how our team can help improve your company's cybersecurity.

SpartanTec, Inc.
Wilmington, NC 28412
(910) 218-9255
https://manageditserviceswilmington.com

Serving: Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Columbia, Wilmington, Fayetteville, Florence

cybersecurityToday’s enterprises are dealing with constant change affecting different parts of their business. And far too often, the various solutions to these new realities do not align. This is especially true of business goals and cybersecurity policy. Traditionally, as your customers have maneuvered simultaneously to address rapidly changing business and consumer demands along with security threats, a compromise was made at the expense of cybersecurity.

However, as new threats evolve with enormous consequences for the bottom line, board members and C-level executives are shifting their focus to recognize the critical role network security must play in business, but without impacting either profitability and accessibility.

 

 

Competing Business Trends Facing Your Customers

This is easier said than done, as your customers need to be able to address several competing trends with a single solution. Speed, profitability, and business growth often appear to be at odds with compliance and security. However, for your customers to be successful, each of these trends must be addressed without hindering another.

  1. Speed & Profitability

Profit is the main objective of each business unit, and today it is increasingly achieved through speed, either in terms of responding to customer needs, managing inventory and production, or delivering critical services. This is why trends such as digital transformation and agile development exist. The consumers your customers serve expect instant accessibility and information.

  1. Business Growth

If the profitability opportunity is met, the next challenge that your customers’ will face will be growth. In today’s digital business environment, this means that the infrastructure they have in place must be both scalable and elastic. Otherwise, growth and speed will be hindered, ultimately impacting both profitability and viability. To achieve this, infrastructures are being reworked to handle the increased traffic every couple of months, often through a combination of new technologies such as IoT, cloud-based infrastructure or services, and expanded data center resources and throughput.

  1. Security

With new, sophisticated cyberattacks targeting businesses of all verticals, especially targeting the constantly expanding attack surface, the nature of the security infrastructure cannot be ignored. A successful data breach can cause severe reputational damage; ransomware and DDoS attacks can knock organizations offline; and sensitive customer can be stolen, resulting in severe liabilities. Any of these will impact the bottom line. As a result, your customers need security solutions that enable growth and profitability, while securing their network and data. They just may not know where to look.

  1. Compliance

As your customers leverage new tools, such as connected devices and applications, they are collecting more consumer data than ever. As a result, a number of regulating bodies across the world have begun imposing strict new standards for data storage and protection. To avoid the fines and penalties that accompany non-compliance, your customers need security controls that ensure they meet these standards.

Security and Velocity

For security and compliance, the easiest solution would be to decrease network accessibility. However, this would be at direct odds with their business goals and needs. Network accessibility is integral to digital transformation efforts and employee efficiency. Similarly, security has often been seen by business units to be a hindrance to innovation. Part of the reason is that IT support teams typically add one-off isolated point solutions to the network to address the ‘threat of the day.’ However, the lack of communication between these devices can result in decreased network accessibility and visibility, as well as security efficiency, ultimately compromising performance. Ath the same time, however, C-level executives increasingly acknowledge the importance of mitigating data breaches and remaining compliant.

As a result, a recent study found that 43 percent of cybersecurity professionals agree that aligning the goals of the IT teams with those of business units is the most beneficial investment organizations can make. With Fortinet, it is now possible for your customers to align these four conflicting goals using an integrated Security Fabric approach to achieve both security and velocity without compromise either one.

Align Business and Cybersecurity Policy with the Security Fabric

The Security Fabric is an architectural approach to cybersecurity that provides comprehensive network protection without inhibiting business operations.

The Security Fabric allows your customers to deploy leading security solutions across their distributed environments that are also designed to communicate with one another in order to detect, prevent, and respond to threats in a coordinated fashion, regardless of where they occur. This broad network of solutions extends from the network perimeter, with next-generation firewalls and endpoint protection, into the cloud, with application security, CASBs, and more, and deep into the core of the network through dynamic network segmentation and powerful data center security technologies. Each device that makes up the Fabric is also regularly updated with the latest threat intelligence from FortiGuard labs, ensuring an automatic response the moment a threat or threat trend is detected. This comprehensive, intelligent security approach enables the network accessibility organizations need, and at the speeds they require, allowing genuine requests to pass through uninterrupted while stopping those that are suspicious.

The Security Fabric is also highly scalable. This means that as your customers’ business and networks grow, their cybersecurity policies and protocols will grow with it. Additionally, the Fabric is designed to evolve alongside emerging networking trends. So as new approaches such as intent-based networking gain traction across your customers’ organizations, the Fabric promises to deliver intent-based security to complement and protect those advanced network architectures.

Final Thoughts

Your customers need to be able to provide a seamless experience to their users, while meeting compliance standards and securing their network from data breaches through effective cybersecurity practices and zero trust network. While many of today’s traditional security solutions do not provide the flexibility and performance to meet these conflicting goals, the Fortinet Security Fabric offers intelligent and comprehensive security that allows for unprecedented growth, speed, profitability, and compliance.

For more information on current promotions, events, and product updates contact your Fortinet representative, or refer to the Fortinet Partner Portal.

Call SpartanTec, Inc. now for more information about cybersecurity and zero trust network.

SpartanTec, Inc.
Wilmington, NC 28412
(910) 218-9255
https://manageditserviceswilmington.com

Serving: Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Columbia, Wilmington, Fayetteville, Florence

 

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