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The Global Risks Report 2016, your next suspense novel…

If you’re looking for a scary story, put down the latest spy novel and pick up the 11th edition of The Global Risks Report 2016, courtesy of the World Economic Forum.

The cyber attack threat takes center stage in North America, standing out as the most likely risk by far. The report reflects the perceptions of nearly 750 experts and decision-makers in the World Economic Forum’s constituencies surveyed in late 2015.

The risks perceived as the most likely to beset various regions this year include:

Social volatility
Interstate conflicts
Economic instability
The truth is that governments, businesses, organizations, and citizens in most parts of the world face pretty much the same dangers from cyber threats as their North American counterparts.

The Grant Thornton International Business Report 2015, for example, shows that cyber attacks are estimated to have cost Asia Pacific businesses $81 billion in the preceding 12 months, while firms in both the EU and North America saw revenue losses just over $60 billion.

Cascading Effects

Cyber dependency is a global trend in a world where digital businesses reside in increasingly connected, smarter and more automated environments.

That means that an entity’s risk is increasingly tied to that of other entities, making it harder for any single party to fully protect itself. This raises “the odds of a cyber attack with potential cascading effects across the cyber ecosystem,” the report states.

Consider also the impact of other risks that can lend more fuel to the cyber-attack flames. “Chronic and resurgent violence, conflicts, and economic and social volatility will remain prominent features of the current and future reality,” the report notes. Such conditions only make it easier for bad actors to gain new recruits to conduct cyber-attacks, be they criminal or terrorist in nature.

Raise Your Defenses

The World Economic Forum’s 2015 Executive Opinion Survey, out of 140 global economies, 18 put cyber-attacks on their list of top three risks and eight consider them a risk of highest concern for doing business. These are Estonia, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United States.

Growing awareness is a good thing, but improved readiness to face these attacks is even better. If there’s a happy ending to this scare story, it is that defenses can be improved, although organizations must first fully grasp the extent of their cyber-security risks and the investments required to better manage those risks and build resilience.

The Global Risks report recommends actions that businesses can take to better defend themselves, such as:

Fostering greater cooperation throughout their value chains
Sharing cyber breach data with law enforcement
Building up security for under-protected areas like machine-to-machine connections
It’s unlikely that every organization can prevent every cyber attack, but companies should emphasize methods to identify and effectively mitigate them by streamlining mechanisms for:

Early detection
Response and recovery
Rapid mitigation
Better manage the consequences
That sounds like a good plan to us, and hopefully it’s one that organizations of every stripe will waste no time putting into action.



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3 BEST VPNS FOR ANDROID

Summary:  Using the internet on an Android phone or tablet with the default settings leaves you very vulnerable online.

It means hackers can gain access to your personal information and control your device. A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, will protect your Android device.

A VPN encrypts your presence online so that someone cannot remotely put malware on your smartphone or tablet, download apps, or steal personal details.

To be fully protected online when using Android, get Express VPN today.

 

 

NOT USING A VPN IS DANGEROUS

My Android smartphone started doing some really weird things last year.  It began to download apps all by itself.

When I started flicking through the home screens on my phone I noticed random app icons that were never there before.

I certainly never downloaded them and I have no idea how they got there. Even though I deleted the apps from the device, new apps kept reappearing every few days.

It was through a friend I realized my Android phone had been hacked and I needed protection.

Infiltrating an Android device is actually more straightforward than you might think.   For example, if you regularly use public Wi-Fi, it is easy for a trained hacker to gain access to your device.

Some common signs that your device has been hacked include:

  • Battery being drained quicker than usual due to malware
  • Internet data is being used up quicker than normal
  • Apps are being downloaded without your consent

If any of these issues are happening to your Android device then you need to take action.  You should run an anti-virus and clean your phone, but this is just a reactive measure.

You also need to be proactive to stop it from happening in the future.

MY 3 BEST ANDROID VPN RECOMMENDATIONS

There are so many VPN services out there that claim to be the best.  However, I speak from personal experience on what the top 3 services are for Android operating systems.

I take my security very seriously now.  After my device was hacked last year, I went through several VPN services before I found one that I was comfortable with.

I want to help you guys protect your data and your information and this is why I have decided to share my top 3 recommendations with you.

#1 EXPRESS VPN – 9.5/10 – THE BEST VPN FOR YOUR ANDROID DEVICE

Express VPN should be your first choice to protect your Android device.

They have over 100 VPN locations in 78 countries, which provides you an incredible number of options regardless of your location.

Express VPN also provides its users unlimited bandwidth, unlimited speeds, zero logging of your Internet activity, ease of use and their reliability is through the roof with 99.9% uptime rate.

Needless to say, Express VPN is a reliable service that is perfect for your Android.

Express VPN is affordable, only $8.32 a month with a 12-month subscription and they offer a 30-day money back guarantee.

You also get world-class live chat and email support 24/7, and Express VPN boasts an impressive average response time of under 30 minutes.

Downloading the app and using the service is super easy, too. Since we are concerned with security we have to mention how Express VPN protects you, with 256-bit encryption.

The experts at Express VPN provide this high level of encryption to ensure your security and privacy.

When combined with their speeds and customer service, it’s easy to see why Express VPN is our top choice for your Android.

To get the best protection and service available for your Android, check out Express VPN here.

#2 IPVANISH – 7/10 – HARDER TO USE ANDROID APP

IPVanish also have an Android app but it is not as easy to use as Express VPN and also has a slow customer support team.

I have friends who are not great with new technology. It takes them a while to figure out how to use different apps and software.

With Express VPN they could open up the app and be secured in seconds.

It is much harder to use the IPVanish app. If you don’t have a lot of time to spare then you should get the Android software from Express VPN instead.

Another problem with IPVanish is that their customer service is really slow. I had issues installing the app on my Android device and need to contact their support team.

It took hours from submitting my support ticket to receiving a reply. With Express VPN I had a response in minutes and a solution to my problem within the hour.

If you want to use a reliable and simple Android app that will allow you to use the internet anonymously then get Express VPN.

You can visit the IPVanish website here.

 

– See more at: https://securethoughts.com/3-best-vpns-android/#sthash.p2u8ZsKL.dpuf


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Is the Cloud Secure?

 

There seems to be a common misconception about the cloud not being secure. Organizations are worried that by utilizing the cloud, they risk compromising important company information and confidential data. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, the cloud adds security to your environment and workspace. It is more secure than using your laptop! A global study of more than 4,000 organizations done by the Ponemon Institute Thales e-Security found that using the cloud for processing and storing critical data is almost an inevitable solution. More than half of all participants responded that their organizations already transfer sensitive or confidential data to the cloud while only 11% say that their organization has no plans of doing so. This is down from 19% two years earlier (Forbes).

Think of cloud security in terms of accidentally downloading a virus. When you do so on you work laptop, there is a good chance it will corrupt all your important files and information. You will then notice your computer running slowly and your private data is now compromised. However, if you were to download the same virus on your virtual laptop, the same thing should happen, right? Actually, that is wrong. As soon as you are aware that you have a virus, you can have your administrator pull your desktop back in time to before the virus was downloaded. Literally, you have the ability to revert back in time to the previous “image” of your desktop. You’re no longer vulnerable to that virus and your private data is no longer being compromised.

2When Sony Pictures Entertainment experienced a cyber-attack around the release of their movie “The Interview”, a hard and expensive lesson was learned. Not only were Sony’s eyes opened to the other security requirements for their industry, but businesses began considering the costs of managing and securing their information in-house rather than utilizing the cloud. The cyber-attack on Sony cost them around $100 million, not including the loss incurred by the hit to their reputation. They’ve had to invest an abundance of time and energy into rebuilding and diagnosing what really caused the security breach. The unending amount of fees they face such as responding to investigations from the Federal Trade Commission and Securities and Exchange Commission, and potentially state attorneys general, will definitely add up and put a financial burden on the company. It also caused an insurmountable loss of good-will for Sony. They also lost valuable information like strategic planning and trade secrets that affect a corporation’s profits. The hackers got ahold of confidential personnel records of its employees and various embarrassing emails from executives, all of which endangered Sony’s relationships with employees, talent, contractors and vendors (Logicworks).

Had Sony been utilizing cloud services, the situation would not have unfolded in the detrimental way that it did. Their valuable information would not have been lost as it would have been stored safely in the cloud. With the extensive security placed within the cloud, hackers would not have been able to access any of their confidential personnel records. This would have ultimately avoided the situation and saved Sony from the losses that occurred.

More and more organizations are moving to the cloud, and rightly so. The security only continues to improve and the risks of in-house assets continue to rise. Forbes says that 47% of marketing departments will have 60% or more of their applications on a cloud platform in two years. This year will be the year that the doubts of cloud security will be put to rest. Don’t put yourself in a Sony situation.


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4 Myths About Mobility in the Workplace

small-business-lender

The use of mobile devices for business can no longer be ignored. It’s changing the way business is done and that’s proving to be a positive thing. While many organizations have taken this development in stride, others are turning a blind eye to the inevitability of business mobility. Research and statistics show that technology brings many advantages to the table, and70% of professionals will work via smart, mobile devices by 2018. Why leave your professionals in the dust? Let’s debunk some of the major myths regarding mobility in the workplace.

Myth #1: Your employees will be less productive.

Today, your employees will actually be less productive if they’re chained to one location, without the option for mobility. The fact of the matter is that work productivity is a management problem, not a technology problem. 90% of business communications stretch far beyond the local workplace – so why limit employees to that local workplace? Imagine that an employee has to leave the office for a meeting or to make a sale. It’s counterproductive for that employee to head back to the office to complete and submit a form, and it’s not good for your customer service if employees in the field can’t access necessary data or complete deals on the spot. Business mobility strategies actually save time and can ultimately increase sales by giving employees the tools they need to make quick decisions. These capabilities also improve a business’ reputation.

64% of employees conduct some sort of business after hours at home. The magic of cloud computing and mobile devices is that they allow people to complete business tasks from any location, at any time. This actually increases productivity, allowing your employees to produce the same quality of work while away on a business trip or otherwise working remotely.

Myth #2: Mobility will make your business less secure.

Of course, as with most technology, there is risk associated with business mobility. But, as with most technology, risk can be addressed.

As you implement mobility into your business, you simply need to focus on risk management and security. By paying attention to Mobile Device Management, analytics, encryption, authentication and strict policies, you can implement a mobile strategy in a risk-free way.

Many studies show that employees are already using smart devices for work, with or without company approval. Rather than ignoring this fact or expecting to put a stop to this trend, address it by creating a company-wide policy. This should include the acceptable use of devices, security measures, technical standards, etc. Check out this article for guidelines on how to do BYOD the right way. This can (and probably should) be something that employees are required to sign off on. It should also be accessible to employees at all times.

Though employee policies tend to fall to the Human Resources department, this is a process that should include the IT team and others with a knowledge of technology and mobility. By combining policies with training on the importance of data security and user diligence, the risk of business mobility becomes no greater than that of other business initiatives.

Myth #3: All mobile devices are the same.

You may be thinking, “Well of course they’re not all the same,” but too many businesses today are treating all devices equally. People use different devices for different reasons. Compare the typical use of a laptop vs. smartphone vs. tablet. Of course there is overlap, but one policy won’t necessarily cover the essentials for all of these devices. They might each require unique management strategies, so a business should address that when moving forward with a mobility strategy.

Myth #4: Business mobility is optional.

The fact is that mobility is a huge part of the business world already. Almost 1/3 of enterprise data is accessed through mobile devices today. Organizations ignoring this fact might find themselves falling behind. Today, a great business strategy practically requires a mobility strategy, as it factors into employee productivity, company collaboration, business profits, customer service, marketing and much more. And any business expecting to grow will need to give employees the ability to access business data on the go. The trend towards mobility is driven by a desire for greater productivity and flexibility. To ignore it would be counterproductive for a business.

Don’t let your business down. Mobility in the workplace is important. By debunking these popular myths, we hope to help businesses adopt a mobility strategy that is both effective and safe.


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HOW CAN I MAKE SURE MY SIP TRUNKS ARE SECURE?

SIP trunk security encompasses a number of different issues. To address them, most security vendors prefer a layered approach to provide an effective way of isolating and protecting the telephony system and the communications path to the SIP service provider.

Here are some tips to help identify which areas of SIP security need to be changed or redesigned to help avoid unpleasant surprises.

  • Ensure complex passwords for your SIP trunk: SIP trunk providers require authentication in order to allow incoming and outgoing calls from the SIP trunk. Make sure complex passwords are used for the authentication process to your SIP provider.
  • Limit access to the telephony system: Only specific people from specific locations should have access to the telephony system. Always ensure your telephony systems are isolated in a separate VLAN and the correct VLAN security policies are in effect.

Accept SIP traffic only from your SIP provider: Block traffic from all external sources except your SIP provider. This will help limit access to your telephony system and minimize chances of unauthorized access.


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Keep Your Hacker Hands Out of My Phone System

If you are an OfficeSuite Phone customer and read the New York Times article Phone Hackers Dial and Redial to Steal Billions you might be in a panic, worried how to protect your business from such a scam.

But don’t worry, Broadview has your back.

Protect your business from hackers and fraud.

Fraud prevention starts by protecting your business phone system.

The scam or hack mentioned in the article involves people calling into a phone system’s voicemail service to make outbound calls. While this feature is convenient for some, it poses a huge risk as most passwords are easy to guess (more on that below).

So hackers call into the phone system, automatically try different passwords until they get through and then make calls to premium toll phone numbers (900) or other phone numbers to rack up charges.

Broadview decided years ago to cut this off by simply eliminating the not often used “call out” feature, thus thwarting the hackers.

We also recommend that OfficeSuite Phone customers update their “Permission profiles” by turning off any calling permissions that employees do not need or should not have, especially when the office is closed.

There was another problem years ago of overnight cleaning crews racking up international calls while working without much oversight. Companies were surprised to see lots of unusual international calls on their bill and were again worried about hackers.

With the OfficeSuite Phone service you can turn off any type of call, except emergency, during “closed” hours. Plus you can define “closed” hours differently for different people or groups with our Business Hours function. This is especially useful if you have multiple shifts during the day.

Finally, it is always recommended to change passwords at least once a year. We offer passwords up to 10 digits which are significantly harder for hackers to crack than four digits. We also recommend not using easy to remember passwords like 1111 or 1234.


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Bring your Own Device

Whether it’s vacation season or not, the demand for mobility in business in general has been growing steadily, fueling the adoption of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement. If your business is ready to embrace the rewards of BYOD (think happier, more productive employees), it’s time to get serious about mitigating the risks that come along with allowing personal devices to access your company network.

Let’s explore BYOD’s evolution; take a look at the risks and rewards of embracing BYOD; and then take a deeper dive into how to balance it all so that you and your employees can enjoy the best of both worlds. If you want to see our interactive webinar where we discuss BYOD, visit our community post here.

BYOD 1.0

BYOD 1.0 is roughly defined as occurring from 2009 to 2012, but you could argue that it all started back in 2007 when more and more business professionals began switching from their BlackBerry® devices to the newly-introduced iPhones®. When BlackBerry ruled the business mobility scene, security was much easier for the Information Technology (IT) department.  IT purchased, distributed and managed the devices for employees. At this stage, IT only had to concern itself with protecting two things:

1) The device itself and any data stored on it. (Known as Mobile Device Management, or MDM.)

2) The connection between the device and the corporate network. (Known as Virtual Private Network, or VPN.)

While this may seem easy as compared to today’s BYOD challenges, it actually caused frustration for both IT and employees, and here’s why. With BYOD 1.0, it was all or nothing, meaning IT had to protect the entire device and any data and activity on it. There was no way to hone in on the company data and leave an employee’s personal data and activity alone.

Employee Complaints

Most people don’t want to have a phone for work and a phone for all the other times. It’s too much of a hassle! So what naturally happened was company-issued BlackBerries and other devices were used for both work and play. (As someone who had a BlackBerry back in the day, I’ll admit to this!) But that meant the company could invade your privacy whenever it wanted. And, if you left the company, the IT department would ‘wipe’ your device, so along with all your company data and applications went your personal data (photos, etc.) and apps. It’d all be gone.

IT Complaints

IT did not want to see any evil or hear any evil. In fact, IT did not want to be bothered with an employee’s personal data and apps! To them, this only introduced a new challenge: how to protect the device from potentially harmful web browsing by the employee.

In short, BYOD 1.0 left both employees and IT wanting. Enter BYOD 2.0.

BYOD 2.0

From about 2013 on, we’ve been living in the 2.0 version of BYOD. The biggest difference between BYOD 1.0 and BYOD 2.0 is the ability to provide security to only the company’s data, apps and network access and leave the employee’s personal data, web browsing and apps alone. This has been accomplished by changing the focus from device protection to application protection. Remember Mobile Device Management, or MDM, from 1.0? That has now been replaced by Mobile Application Management, or MAM. With BYOD 2.0, both groups are happy. Employees are no longer concerned with their company infringing on their privacy. IT is also happy because they can now focus making sure the business’ data, applications and network are all locked down and secure.

Weighing the Risks and the Rewards

If you want your staff to be happier and more productive, BYOD is definitely the way to go. Studies have shown:

  • Employees whose companies embrace BYOD work up to 20 additional hours per week, unpaid1.
  • 92 percent of these newly-mobile workers “enjoy their job flexibility” so much so that they are “content” with working the additional hours.
  • On top of that, 42 percent of business professionals would like “even greater flexibility for their working practices.”
  • Companies realize cost-savings in two ways: reducing or eliminating the capital expense of purchasing mobile devices and reducing or eliminating the monthly service costs.
  • When companies embrace BYOD, the IT department is re-branded as innovative and forward-thinking, which many times carries over to the entire organization’s brand.

Those are all positives, but here are the downsides:

  • 76 percent of business professionals believe that BYOD introduces serious risks2.
  • Only 39 are prepared to mitigate the risks.
  • 59 percent of organizations had increased malware infections over the past 12 months because of unsecured laptops, smartphones, and tablets.

Overcoming  ‘Different’ Challenges

Back in BYOD 1.0, there was typically one kind of device, from one vendor, serviced by one carrier. But that’s when IT bought, owned and managed everything. Now that employees are brining different brands of smartphones, tablets and laptops, which they purchased from different places, and running them on different carriers’ networks, the complexity has multiplied. While it may seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. All you have to do is create what’s called dynamic policy enforcement which gives you flexible security over company data and applications.

Different Strokes for Different Folks

As with everything else in life, it all depends on who you are. Based on how complex your data storage and data center services are, you’ll require different types of mobile device security. Here’s a quick cheat sheet:

  •   Have a traditional data center set-up? Control access with a VPN gateway.
  •   Use an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) public cloud offering, (such as Amazon EC2)? Control access with a VPN  gateway and secure applications by hosting them on virtual servers.
  •   Use a Software as a Service (SaaS) offering? Skip the VPN but still enforce identification and authorization to access corporate data.

It’s no longer enough to secure the device itself. If employees are using their own devices to access your network, you need a solution that extends beyond data and apps on devices into wherever you store your company’s data, whether that be in cloud-based services such IaaS or SaaS, or in your own data center.  Look for a mobile device service provider who combines mobile and access management into one service. And look for a provider who can offer all the security you need, including authentication and authorization, data-at-rest security, and data-in-transit security, among others.

The Key Lessons

  • Determine your company’s BYOD goals before worrying about the risks.
  • Don’t let your employees become secret hackers.
  • If your IT team has no idea what harboring rootkits, keyloggers , data-at-rest and data-in-transit security are, hire an expert.

Your employees want to use their smartphones and other personal devices for two things: 1) they want to store and use your company data outside of work, and 2) they want to conduct business, which often requires accessing your company network and services (think email!). As you’ve seen, the rewards are great but the risks can be, too if you don’t know how to properly secure your company’s proprietary information and safeguard against employees accidentally introducing harmful malware into your network. Knowledge is power so they say, and it certainly rings true with BYOD. The more you know, the more you can balance the risks and rewards and reap all the benefits without worrying about the unwanted repercussions.

 

Sources:

1. 2012 Mobile Workforce Report from enterprise WiFi access firm iPass

2. Poneman Institute/Websense survey


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What can you learn from the VTech breach

The breach of VTech by an unknown cyber-criminal continues to escalate. After initial reports of a breach exposing personally identifiable data of it’s customers (despite VTech’s statement otherwise), the hacker released a limited set of personal messages and photos from VTech customers to prove a near-complete compromise.

It’s been a bad week for VTech. Make no mistake, VTech is the victim of a crime. However the more immediate issue is the potential fallout for their customers and their children. And it’s here that VTech’s initial response has made things worse not better. Thankfully, they’ve adjusted course in the last 24 hrs and are being more open with information.

Let’s learn from this. Here’s what you can do as a defender to make sure your organization is better prepared to handle a breach.

Communicate Openly

The time to figure out your post-breach communications plan is now. When you’re dealing with the fallout from a breach, you want to be able to implement a step-by-step plan that is appropriate for the situation.

Here’s a basic outline of what you’re going to need;

  • An open and honest email to customers that contains;
    • specifics of the data that was stolen
    • contact information to speak to someone fully informed of the situation and ready to respond immediately to their concerns (e.g., customer care)
    • an apology
    • a timeline for future communications
  • A press release that contains;
    • specifics of the data that was stolen
    • the steps you’ve taken to inform your customers
    • a media contact for comment and additional information
  • An open and honest communication to stakeholders that contains;
    • specifics of the data that was stolen
    • what is know so far about the mechanics of the breach
    • the steps you’ve already taken in response
    • the steps you plan to take
    • who is the lead for communications
  • A public URL that you can use to gather information (like an FAQ)
    • this should be constantly updated as the situation evolves
    • use this as the default resource to send everyone to
    • don’t hide this away on a corporate site. Make sure it’s visible where your customers visit

These items should be written ahead of time in a customizable template. Remember this is in addition to the internal response that you’ll require.

When you realize that you’ve been hacked, here are the steps you need to take to effectively communicate;

  • acknowledge that there has been a breach and that you’re actively investigating it
  • identify and inform affected customers
  • publish the public URL for general awareness
  • inform and brief stakeholders
  • issue a press release with critical information and a point of contact

All of these should be written in a tone that is clear and apologetic. Don’t needlessly muddy the waters (e.g., VTech’s re-definition of personally identifiable information), try to deflect blame, or raise the point that your a victim too. You can provide an explanation and get into the specifics of how this happened afterwards.

The immediate goal is to reduce the impact of the breach.

This means ensuring that your customers have the necessary information as quickly as possible. If they need to take action of some sort (cancel credit cards, change account credentials, etc.), you want them to be made aware so they can reduce the chances of something bad happening.

Act Decisively

Once you start to respond to an incident, the process has 5 key steps;

  1. detect
  2. analyze
  3. contain
  4. eradicate
  5. recovery

These steps are bookended by “prepare” and “improve/learn” and together these steps form the foundation of a solid incident response (IR) process.

Most often, the biggest challenges are faced in the “contain” step. This is often when the IR team is faced with tough decisions that directly impact the business.

VTech issued the following update on their FAQ 01-Dec-2015;

“As a precautionary measure, we have suspended Learning Lodge, the Kid Connect network and the following websites temporarily whilst we conduct a thorough security assessment.”

This is not something that any organization ever wants to have to write. But it’s 100% the right call despite the potential impact to the bottom line.

When is the right time to make this type of call? There’s no firm rule. It’s a judgement call based on the information you have at the time.

What you can do to make this easier is to work out possible scenarios ahead of time. This is an extremely difficult exercise to work through as it assumes your other work in defending the organization has failed. But it’s critical to work through these scenarios in theory and in practice (called a game day) in order to write a playbook for IR.

Part of this exercise is to determine who in the organization has the required authority to make the decision to shut down services. Hopefully you never have to make that call. But if you reach that point, you need to know who to call.

All of the processes you have in place with your security practice work towards never having to make a call to shutdown services. If you’re hacked and you have to make that call, you’re far better off working from the playbook you wrote ahead of time instead of calling an audible.

Know Your Exposure

The most important thing you can do now to reduce the impact of being hacked is to review the data your are collecting and storing. By creating an inventory of the type of data you have, it is much easier to evaluate the risk you’re facing.

With the list in hand, you want to run through a very simple exercise. Put each data point on it’s own sticky note. Use the stickies to combine various data points to create different points of view.

The goal of this play on usability card sorting is to find which data points pose more risk to your business when they are linked to other data points.

If we take the VTech example, their app store requires a billing address, the social app links parents and children, and the messaging server temporarily stores photos and private messages. Individually each of these data points poses a risk. Combined, that risk escalates dramatically.

Mapping out all possible connection between all of the data points you collect & store let’s you better identify risks and set the appropriate mitigations.

Those mitigation could entail;

  • not storing the data at all
  • isolating the data in separate backend systems
  • ensuring that your monitoring practice is looking for warning signs of data aggregation

Until you map out the entire landscape of data you store & collect, you won’t know what level of risk you’re facing. Without that knowledge, how can you formulate an effective defence?

Prepare For The Worst

No one wants to be hacked. It’s a security team’s worst nightmare. You can reduce the impact of a breach by taking steps now.

  • Set out a communications plan. Create a few templates for key communications so you can fill in the details during the incident in order to reduce your response time
  • Practice and planning are key. Work through possible response scenarios ahead of time. Practice them. Make sure you know who has the authority to suspend services if you need to take dramatic steps to contain a breach
  • Know what data you are collecting and where you store it. Understand how those data points can be combined and how those combination affect the risk (and value) of the data. Add additional protections as appropriate

When you’re focusing on keeping the lights on or, worse, getting them back on. The last thing you want to do is to shoot from the hip. Writing out a clear playbook for all aspects of incident response is the key to a successful response.


National Computer Security Day: Is Your Business Protected?

We all use computers for something in our lives, but for businesses that rely on them, National Computer Security Day is a great reminder to review the security measures you have in place. We’ve discussed in several posts how important it is for your business to keep your security measures up-to-date, but in honor of the holiday,  we are going to focus on the different areas of security that might be at risk and how to best keep them safe.

Email
Your email systems can be at risk for a number of reasons. If the server fails, you might not be able to access important information, and if any emails contain sensitive information, that information could be obtained by hackers.  There is also the age-old scam where people send viruses through email. Having a good email security system in place will make sure that emails containing questionable content will be blocked and quarantined. It will also ensure that your emails are backed up for easy access in case of emergency. You and your employees, with the right protection, are able to enjoy inboxes that are spam-free, contain no unsafe content and are properly backed up.

Firewall
What are your security objectives? How much of a block do you want between your computer network and the outside world? Having a well-managed firewall lets you call the shots and ensures that your network is constantly being monitored. You can reference web-based reports at any time to identify any erratic behavior and address any issues.

VPN
If you have employees or clients who access your network remotely, you need your VPN to be secure. VPN security means that you can have people work from home without worrying, and that any data sent through the network will be encrypted so that it cannot be intercepted and obtained, avoiding any cyber-attacks.

Internet Policy
What types of websites would you like to allow your employees to access from the at-work network? Having a security system that enables internet-use management allows you to put filters on accessible URLs to avoid any legal issues or potential issues for your employees who might access dangerous sites. Some managers also employ internet policy management systems in order to boost workplace productivity.

Data Storage
Storing your business’s critical data in a place that is easily accessible, secure, and backed-up is imperative. Having a good managed security service means that your data will be backed-up on a regular basis, which reduces the amount of time it would take for your business to recover from a potential security threat, as well as the amount of time you’d be exposed to any risk. This is hugely important to have In place to ensure that your sensitive data is monitored and secure 24/7.

What steps is your business taking to avoid security threats? Are you using a managed security service? National Computer Security Day is the perfect time to make sure all of your security management efforts are up-to-date and that you have the right protection in place for your business. We offer a variety of managed security services and is always here to help you get started.

 


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