Think Beyond Basic Backups to Tackle Ransomware

Although ransomware has long been a serious concern for business owners all over the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has created new opportunities for this threat to flourish, and the attack vector is likely to become even more dangerous in the coming years. We discuss the need for additional backup to tackle ransomware.

According to a report, 304 million ransomware attacks occurred globally in 2020, with ransomware affecting over 65% of global businesses. Experts suggest that this is only the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately, even though SMBs continue to be disproportionately affected by these nefarious attacks, reporting and notifications rarely make the news.

When it comes to cybersecurity and ransomware, the biggest mistake SMBs make is assuming hackers only target large enterprises. This is why many SMBs still rely on simple backups and don’t have a solid strategy in place. 

The truth is that hackers are counting on smaller businesses to have fewer security measures in place, making it easier for them to get into your systems. While it’s good to have a data backup, it’s high time you take its security a step further.

The 3-2-1 Backup Strategy for Your Business

This is an industry best practice for reducing the risk of losing data in the event of a breach. The 3-2-1 strategy involves having at least three copies of your data, two on-site but on different mediums/devices, and one off-site. Let’s examine each of the three elements and the issues they address:

  • Three copies of data

Having at least two additional copies of your data, in addition to your original data, is ideal. This ensures that, in the event of a disaster, you will always have additional copies. The first backup copy of data is usually kept in the same physical location as the original, if not the same physical server.

  • Two different mediums

Storing additional copies of your valuable data on the same server/location won’t be helpful in the event of a breach. Keep two copies of your data on different types of storage mediums such as internal hard drives, and removable storage like an external hard drive or a USB drive. If this isn’t practical for your business, keep copies on two internal hard disks in separate storage locations.

  • One off-site copy

Keep one copy of your data off-site, far from the rest. This helps safeguard against worst-case scenarios.

In addition to the 3-2-1 backup strategy, consider applying the concept of layered security to keep your data and backup copies secure.

Importance of Layered Security in Cyber Defense

Most SMBs have an antivirus or firewall installed, but this is usually insufficient to combat today’s sophisticated threat landscape, necessitating the application of a layered security approach. 

Because no security technology or measure is flawless or guaranteed, layered security assumes that attackers will infiltrate different layers of an organization’s defenses or have already done so. The goal of this approach is to provide multiple security measures so that if an attack gets past one security tool, there are others in place to help identify and stop the attack before your data is stolen.

The THREE ELEMENTS of layered security are: 

  • Prevention 

Security policies, controls, and processes should all be devised and implemented during the PREVENTION phase.

  • Detection 

The goal of DETECTION is to discover and notify a compromise as soon as possible.

  • Response

A quick RESPONSE is crucial for the detection phase to be meaningful.

Layered security is divided into seven layers by security experts. Hackers seeking to get into a system must break through each layer to gain access. If you want to keep cybercriminals out of your systems, concentrate on improving these seven layers:

1. Information security policies

Implement security policies that restrict unauthorized access because the security and well-being of IT resources are dependent on them. This will help you raise information security awareness inside your organization and demonstrate to your clientele that you’re serious about securing their data.

2. Physical security

Physical security measures, such as fences and cameras, are critical to prevent unwanted intruders from breaking in. It also helps monitor employees with access to sensitive systems.

3. Network security

All it takes is for hackers to exploit a single vulnerability to get access to a company’s network. They can easily break into computers and servers after they’ve gained access to your network. Therefore, establishing effective network security measures is essential.

4. Vulnerability scanning

Vulnerabilities that occur because of factors such as inadequate patch management and misconfigurations open the door for cybercriminals. However, vulnerability scans help detect these missed patches and improper configurations.

5. Strong identity and access management (IAM)

Because of technological advancements, acquiring passwords and hacking into networks is easier than ever. IAM restricts access to critical data and applications to certain workers, making unauthorized access hard.

6. Proactive protection and reactive backup + recovery

Proactive protection detects and fixes security risks before they lead to a full-blown breach. The goal of reactive backup and recovery is to recover quickly after an attack.

7. Continual monitoring and testing

Failure to regularly monitor and test your backup and disaster recovery strategy is a major oversight and can result in a breach.

While it’s your responsibility to make sure your business doesn’t get sucked into the quicksand of data loss, it’s easy to become overwhelmed if you’re attempting to figure out everything on your own. Working with a specialist like us provides you with the advantage of having an expert on your side. We’ll make sure your backup and security postures are capable of tackling ransomware threats. Li Tech Solutions offers clients in Long Island and Brooklyn the mission-critical services every business needs to succeed.  Reach out today to schedule a consultation.

 

 

 

What Is a Proxy Server and Do I Need One?

What is a Proxy Server?

In a nutshell, a proxy server is an “intermediate” server that stands between an original server and a destination server. When one computer sends information to another, that information may need to pass through a third server – the proxy server. This article covers what a proxy server is, how it works, and benefits it provides. 

Most Internet traffic is routed through proxy servers (with very few exceptions). Individuals use their terminals to query other computers for information, and their requests and responses are sent through proxy servers.

But why use proxy servers if they’re just in-between two computers exchanging information? The majority of modern proxy servers do a lot more than simply traffic web requests or data, ranging from filtering web traffic to offering shared network connections to storing or caching data to improve network speeds.

In truth, individuals and organizations alike both benefit from proxy servers and they may occasionally decide to use proxy servers for specific purposes.

How a Proxy Server Works

Each terminal connected to the Internet (including computers or mobile devices) has an IP or Internet protocol address. A given terminal’s IP address is essentially the “street address” of that terminal. The IP address allows other computers to find it and helps proxy servers send traffic to that terminal when needed.

For most Internet traffic flow, a proxy server is another computer connected to the Internet with its own unique IP address.

When a user sends a data request, the request goes to the proxy server. The proxy server then makes the data request on behalf of the original requester. When the responding terminal sends data back, the proxy server collects the data and sends it to the first computer.

Of course, proxy servers can make changes to the data they collect or store because they are in-between the beginning and end computers in a data exchange. For example, proxy servers can change the IP addresses of originating terminals, encrypt data, and more.  

Callout 1- close up of proxy server- what is a proxy server with 3 bullet points

When is a Proxy Server Useful?

Proxy servers are useful in a variety of situations for both individuals and large organizations or enterprises.

When You Need Improved Network Performance

Proxy servers may first and foremost improve loading speeds and bandwidth savings. By caching data for popular websites, such as Wikipedia or a company’s home site, the load time for those websites goes down.

Proxy servers can essentially save copies of frequently visited websites and only need to update the saved data occasionally. This, in turn, reduces network traffic and may lead to network performance improvements as well.

In some cases, this can save organizations time and money.

When You Need to Control Internet Usage

Proxy servers may also be used to monitor and control Internet usage. As the servers between originating terminals and recipient computers, proxy servers may allow:

  • Administrators to observe Internet traffic and see how employees are using the Internet. For example, most companies don’t want employees to be serving social media while on the clock
  • Administrators or parents to block certain websites, including websites with inappropriate material for work or a child’s age
  • Anyone to monitor and log web requests to check web traffic and gather data
  • And more

This aspect of proxy servers is important for businesses, marketing agencies, parents, schools, and other institutions or individuals.

When You Need Increased Privacy/Security

Proxy servers furthermore provide benefits for privacy and security. For example, individuals can use proxy servers to change their IP addresses so that other individuals or organizations can’t tell where their web requests came from. This is a form of identity protection and is a major part of VPN (virtual private network) security.

A VPN can protect identities by:

  • Masking IP addresses or countries of origin
  • For example, a network user sends a request for information from a recipient terminal. The terminal, while sending the data, also sent a tracking cookie after the information request
  • However, the tracking cookie only encounters the proxy server/VPN IP address. It reports this IP address back to its sender
  • As a result, the original requester of the data has their identity protected and their IP address remains anonymous

Additionally, companies and individuals alike can configure owned proxy servers to encrypt web requests. This may prevent malware sites from getting access to the proxy server, prevent spying or capturing of user traffic/data, and more.

Companies may also use proxy servers and VPNs for the same privacy benefits as described above. Proxy servers can protect employees from accidentally giving hackers or cybercriminals access to sensitive corporate information or passwords.  

Callout 3- When is a proxy server useful? with four descriptions listed

When You Need to Access Restricted Data

Lastly, proxy servers may allow users to access restricted or blocked resources. For example, an individual who wants to watch a TV show that is restricted in their country may be able to get around government firewalls by logging into a proxy server from another location.

When they query a recipient website for the TV show’s stream, they receive the data since it flows through the proxy server and never encounters the national firewall.

Thus, proxy servers are an important part of information freedom and allow citizens in restrictive countries access to more information or media than they would have otherwise.

Do You Need a Proxy Server?

In the end, proxy servers are an important part of the Internet overall and play a major role in all the web traffic that flows throughout the World Wide Web each day. In most cases, you never choose to use a proxy server intentionally.

But your organization may intentionally decide to leverage proxy servers for several of the advantages above, including increased security and better monitoring of your employees’ workplace habits.

Proxy servers can help you save money and make better use of company time by giving you more direct control over the traffic that flows to and from your company’s computers.

Fortunately, LI Tech Solutions can help you both set up and maintain proxy servers for the health of your organization and any other data or traffic-related goals you may have. As experts in data protection, server management, and more, we are well-equipped to help you benefit from proxy servers linked to your organization.

Contact us today for more information.

How Can Cyber Resilience Protect SMBs?

Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) usually invest less in cybersecurity, making them easier targets for cybercriminals. Close to 30% of businesses experience a cyberattack at least once per week.  This article looks at why and how to implement a cyber resilience strategy for your business.

1-The need for constant vigilance and defense against hackers has led many SMBs to complicate cybersecurity matters. Though the percentage of businesses that have adopted formal, business-wide incident response plans has increased from 18% in 2015 to 26% in 2020, the ability to contain an actual attack dropped by 13%.

2- This is because: (a) businesses do not consistently test threat-readiness of incident response plans and (b) many of them use too many security products that hamper the ability to identify and respond to a cyberattack.

It is here where a cyber resilience strategy can help organizations protect uptime and recover from incidents faster. Some people use the terms cybersecurity and cyber resilience simultaneously, but the meanings are different. 

While cybersecurity primarily aims at blocking nefarious cyber players from attacking your network, cyber resilience is more about planning, defending, responding to and recovering quickly from a cyberattack. Endpoint protection, email security, network security, backup and data recovery, identity and access management and a host of other critical solutions together fuel a comprehensive cyber resilience strategy.

 

Arm Your Business with Cyber Resilience 

The cyberthreat landscape is evolving at lightning speed and traditional security measures cannot keep up with it. Experts have predicted that a ransomware attack will occur every 11 seconds in 2021.  The only way forward for businesses, including yours, is to draft a cyber resilience strategy that highlights ways to move forward in the face of a cyberattack.

Your business is cyber resilient when:

  • You’ve implemented measures to guard against cyberattacks 
  • Proper risk control measures for data protection get deployed  
  • Hackers cannot severely disrupt business operation during or after an attack

The major components of a cyber resilience strategy are:

  • Threat protection 

By deploying efficient attack surface management and risk management, you can easily take your business through the path of cyber resilience. Doing so helps you minimize first-party, third-party or fourth-party risks that arise because of data leaks, data breaches or misconfigurations. Additionally, assessment reports identify key risk areas that require attention.

  • Adaptability 

Cybercriminals are shapeshifters who constantly change their devious tactics. Ensure your business can adapt to emerging cyberthreats.

  • Recoverability 

To quickly bounce back after a security incident, your business must have all the necessary infrastructure, including robust data backups. Conducting mock drills that let you understand the employee readiness to counter cyberattacks is also important.

  • Durability

Your IT team can improve the business’ durability through constant system enhancements and upgrades. No matter what strategy the criminals use, prevent their actions from overwhelming you through shock and disruption.

 

5 Ways Cyber Resilience Protects SMBs

Adopting cyber resilience proves beneficial before, during and after cyberattacks. Five ways it protects SMBs:

1. Enhances system security, work culture and internal processes

By implementing a cyber resilience approach within your business, you can easily design and develop strategies tailor-made for your existing IT infrastructure. Additionally, it improves security within each internal process, so you can communicate desired behavior to employees.

2. Maintains business continuity 

Cyber resilience ensures that operations are not significantly affected and business gets back to normal after a cyberattack.

3. Reduces financial loss 

The financial damage caused by a breach can be so severe that businesses go bankrupt or even close.  This resilience strategy keeps threats in check, reducing the chances of business disruption as well as limiting financial liabilities.

4. Meets regulatory and insurance requirements 

It helps keep your business out of regulatory radars by satisfactorily following all necessary criteria. Also, complying with regulations can be beneficial to your business for cyber insurance claims.

5. Boosts company reputation 

Having cyber resilience by your side gives you better control in the event of a successful cyberattack. It helps you block attacks, bounce back quickly if an incident happens and minimize the chaotic aftereffects of a breach. This improves your business reputation among partners and customers.

Don’t worry if the concept of cyber resilience is tough to crack. We can guide your business to and through this strategy. Start with an assessment to check your business’ cyber resilience level.

Contact us now!  

Li Tech Solutions offers innovative managed IT services to clients in Long Island and Brooklyn.

 

Article curated and used by permission.

Sources:

  1. Infosecurity Magazine
  2. The 2020 Cyber Resilient Organization Study
  3. JD Supra Knowledge Center

 

Mission-Critical Cloud Applications and Compliance

Cloud infrastructure is a critical component to millions of businesses. No longer are sensitive data and applications relegated to on-premises solutions. According to the Cloud Security Alliance, 69% of enterprises around the globe are rapidly moving mission-critical and sensitive data to the cloud.

With a massive migration, regulatory compliance has become part of the foundational focus for the modern enterprise. Data-sensitive industries such as healthcare and financials must continually be on the alert for non-compliant system behavior.

Moving data from an on-premises solution to the cloud forces an organization to re-examine compliance issues. How that data is kept so that it remains in conformance with current laws and industry regulations is a critical element.

Off-Premises and SaaS Solutions

Financial and healthcare organizations are opting for an off-premises alternative to their file and content needs. Shifting to off-premises can be a difficult choice for companies. However, if done right, off-premises is a highly secure and viable option for the enterprise. 

Callout 1- Off-Premises and SaaS Solutions title with two bullet points

Benefits of Mission-Critical, Off-Premises File Servers:

    • Cost-Effective: Less on-site hardware and personnel needed to maintain the equipment
    • Scalable: Pay only for what is needed
    • Anytime/Anywhere Access: A perfect solution for health and financial accounting personnel
    • Authentication and Encryption: Data is secure with encryption keys kept on-premises
    • Regular Backups, Software Patching
    • Virus, Spam, and Malware Protection
    • Managed by a Professional Third-Party

SaaS

Businesses of all sizes in the Long Island and Brooklyn area have come to rely on advanced IT firms similar to Li Tech Solutions. Managed SaaS offerings from Li Tech provide cutting-edge software delivery models. These financial and healthcare enterprise solutions are provided throughout the region.

Li Tech’s advanced software-on-demand and other similar services are offered with the help of Microsoft Azure, a world-leading, cloud-hosted enterprise. 

Regulatory-Compliant Cloud Service Providers

Cyber stakes are high for every company. Keeping the intellectual property and mission-critical data safe from the constant barrage of cyberattacks takes a proactive approach.

Sensitive data and core applications drive the organization. Protecting this critical information requires affirmative and dynamic leadership.

Compliance for highly-regulated industries are big targets for cybercriminals because of the enormous payoffs they offer. 

The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act set the foundation of financial compliance for cloud and on-premises solutions. The Act aims to safeguard sensitive financial data for its customers. Storing personal and financial information downstream has broad implications for Cloud Service Providers. 

Callout 2- Regulatory-Compliant Cloud Service Providers title with text on blurred blue background

Cybersecurity experts expect more attacks due to the following conclusions:

  • More attacks on critical infrastructure are coming due to the widespread emergence of disparate remote networks.
  • Mission-critical breaches will expand because of hastily adjusted business mechanisms which leave wide security gaps for attackers.
  • New and more efficient email phishing attacks are growing. More mission-critical data is going into the attacker’s accounts.
  • Expect growth in state-sponsored attacks and industrial espionage. These attacks will concentrate on the sensitive data intellectual properties companies possess.
  • Machine learning and artificial intelligence are attractive targets to cybercriminals. AI and ML technologies are closely linked to business automation methods.
  • The growing development of ransomware is expanding in the financial sector. Attackers will continue to target high-profile victims.

Companies in the financial industry should be selective when choosing a provider. CSPs should have a variety of physical and administrative safeguards in place. Another feature to consider with a CSP is data encryption. The CSP should be using at least a 128 Blowfish algorithm. SSL, with symmetric cryptography, keeps customer data safe while in transit to the cloud. 

Anticipated Threats For Business

Companies in healthcare, finance, and similar industries not only have to prepare for the worst, but they must also find ways to maintain uptime. Enterprises must remain open throughout every cyberattack while providing seamless services to customers and staying fully compliant.

Businesses continue to explore solutions that reduce on-premises cost and complexity while providing additional features and benefits to clients. On- and off-premises solutions are plentiful; it is wise to take the time, study all the options, and choose carefully. 

Callout 3- Three Anticipated Threats for Business listed with blue cloud computing background

Final Word: Mission-Critical 

Cyber vulnerabilities and risks continue to grow for businesses of all sizes. Modern-era companies need to be intelligence-driven and response-ready.

Effectively integrating cloud and outsourced services through Managed Security Service Providers has become critical to a successful organization. Cyber threats and attacks continue to challenge governments and businesses around the world.

Li Tech Solutions offers clients in Long Island and Brooklyn the mission-critical services every business needs to succeed. The phenomenal growth of Managed security service providers (MSSP), such as Li Tech Solutions, has the needed countermeasures to contain cyberattacks.   

Healthcare Compliance and Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is revolutionizing every facet of healthcare services. HIPAA- compliant storage, applications, and varied networks worldwide are trending to the Cloud, solving complex infrastructure issues and data protection solutions.

The fundamental premise of the Cloud: provide a computing model to enable ubiquitous,  convenient, on-demand network access. The Cloud is a shared pool of configurable computing resources (servers, networks, storage, applications, and proprietary services) to rapidly provision with minimal management or provider interaction.

Cloud compliance within the Healthcare space continues to be identified as a pivotal facet to protecting patient data. Cloud innovation continues to evolve, and lax protection cannot be permitted. There is no resolution in sight to skyrocketing ransomware and malicious code attacks.

The following post highlights a few of the challenges and innovations healthcare organizations face in a world of increasing cloud adoption and rampant cyber-raids.

  • Attacks Are on the Rise
  • HIPAA Compliance
  • Compliance in the Cloud
  • Innovate in a Multi-Cloud World 

Callout 1- blurred background- text about groundbreaking cloud applications -

Varied healthcare industries ranked personalized care (52%) and AI assistants (44%) positively impacting cloud adoption.  Patient portals, mobility, and back-end development are actively being harnessed to work with groundbreaking  Cloud applications.

LI Tech Solutions provides breakthrough Managed Services Support for Long Island and worldwide healthcare.  LI Tech’s regulatory compliance division can equip your enterprise with proprietary hybrid cloud frameworks to mitigate any malware attack. (516) 210-6400

Healthcare cost restraints and data protection solutions, rooted in the Cloud, are rapidly being implemented worldwide. Ransomware, service denials, and other malicious codes are proliferating more than ever before.

Attacks Are on the Rise

Millions of individuals are being affected by extortion-based ransomware attacks carried out against healthcare companies:

  • 48,000 patients of CarePointe Enterprises, an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist in Merrillville, Indiana, announced a ransomware attack on June 21, 2021
  • Atlanta Allergy and Asthma reported an assault on 9,851 of its patients in January of 2021. 

Callout 2- laptop diagnosis with stethoscope on computer-Attacks Are on the Rise-4 bullet points

Attacks against healthcare continue to escalate. SonicWall gave its mid-year threat assessment. In just the first six months of 2021:

  • Cryptojacking increased by 23%
  • Encrypted threats rose by 26%
  • IoT attacks increased by 59%
  • Ransomware rose by 151%

HIPAA Compliance

Healthcare organizations worldwide are under intensifying pressure to satisfy the mounting demands of patients and administrative compliance.  Data security is a motivating factor for Cloud deployment decisions by a majority of healthcare firms. Cost concerns placed a distant third.

Healthcare, across every industry vertical, must use care when implementing Cloud-based solutions. The HIPAA Privacy Rule vigorously protects an individual’s information when dealing with any electronic activity. 

HIPAA compliance requires healthcare systems to have appropriate physical, administrative, and technical safeguards protecting PHI and ePHI files.

LI Tech Solutions (516) 210-6400 

Callout 3- blurred background- HIPPA Compliance-2 bullet points

A substantial impediment to adopting cloud services is the treatment by HIPAA of external cloud partners. Healthcare Cloud vendors or subcontractors are compelled to secure an individual’s PHI to HIPAA standards. This element alone is intimidating to many smaller, under-resourced companies on the Cloud’s periphery.

The HIPAA Omnibus Rule is another fundamental safeguard of patient histories. Healthcare companies and their business associates/subcontractors must enter into a transaction agreement delineating the proposed uses of a patient’s personal healthcare information (PHI). If an associate runs afoul of the HIPAA law, the originating healthcare company can be held directly liable for the breach.

Technology functions differently in the healthcare space because of how electronic data is processed and stored.

Compliance in the Cloud

HIPAA compliance in a world of accelerating advancements in cloud computing is a daunting task for every healthcare entity.

In 2014, NIST set a Cybersecurity framework for industries to establish Cloud compliance within the  HIPAA Rules and Regulations. Loopholes, uncovered by enterprising cyber-attackers, must be sealed with the help of determined American IT companies. 

Framework Foundation:

  • Identify personnel, devices, systems, and facilities and define their importance to the organization and business objectives. Prioritize the organization’s Cloud mission and its objectives. Define cybersecurity roles, responsibilities, and corresponding risk-management arrangements.
  • Monitor regulatory risk and operational governance.
  • Establish risk tolerances and Cloud priorities.
  • Ensure personnel is adequately trained to maintain Cloud security obligations. 

Callout 4- blurred background-Innovate in a Multi-Cloud World-3 text boxes

Innovate in a Multi-Cloud World

Healthcare is no longer a quaint little doctor sitting in a book-filled room, just down the street. Physician groups around the globe draw on the competence of countless other professionals connected to the unparalleled Cloud foundation.

Regulatory frameworks, HIPAAGDPR,  and HITRUST, among other agencies, afford protection for various patient-critical environments. Healthcare continues its universal adoption of the Cloud and its sophisticated technologies. 

Multi-Cloud offerings and hybrid technologies offered by elite IT service companies, LI Tech Solutions, and others, innovate and leverage data in real-time.

Managed IT services for non-profits is an emerging area of technology. LI Tech Solutions and other elite IT firms, offer powerful implementation and consulting of deep-dive Cloud frameworks. 

Machine learning and AI have become embedded in every facet of healthcare, providing powerful insights and network security. Unusual behavior can be identified in every application, user, and cloud workload to mitigate threats before damage is done.

Data encryption has developed into a strategic ingredient in a layered approach to patient care. Organizations must map out when each PHI file enters its network environment, where the file is being stored, and where the file exits the network. 

HIPAA requires each healthcare company to encrypt and decrypt electronic health information for each of its patients. (ePHI)   

HIPAA does not stipulate what degree of encryption is required for PHI files. However, best practice across the industry recommends AES-128, AES-256 or better.

Key segments of the healthcare sector continue to identify shifting models made up of multi-cloud structures and HIPAA compliance. 

Implementation of advanced technologies within the Cloud and healthcare R&D divisions remains robust and challenging.

LI Tech Solutions is an elite managed services provider for the healthcare sector in Long Island. (516) 210-6400

Make Hybrid Work Environments Secure

The COVID-19 pandemic caused an unprecedented shift in the way people work. Although most companies relied on a fully remote work model initially, the vaccine rollout has led to the popularization of hybrid work environments. A hybrid work environment has elements of both the traditional on-site work model and the remote work model. Employees can choose to work from home, at the office or a combination of both.

Hybrid environments have certain advantages such as:

  • Employee happiness

Hybrid environments help boost employee morale since there is opportunity for collaboration with colleagues at the office as well as working remotely.

  • Better productivity

The flexibility provided by the hybrid work model helps employees focus on their work when they are at their most productive. In a survey by Microsoft, 82% of business leaders reported good productivity when flexible work schedules were adopted.

  • Reduced costs

Companies no longer need to provide office spaces for their entire workforce at once and employees need not commute daily to their offices. It helps reduce costs significantly.

  • Better protection against the pandemic

Although vaccination is encouraged the world over, the World Health Organization has suggested that everyone follow measures like social distancing for an extended period of time. Keeping this in mind, a hybrid environment certainly ticks all the boxes.

On the flip side, hybrid work environments do have their share of disadvantages as well. Of these, heightened cyber risks need immediate focus. 

 

The Problem and the Solution

Flexible work locations lead to cyberattacks and associated pitfalls like data loss because many endpoints operate outside of the secure corporate perimeter. That is why 88% of businesses believe it is vital to secure remote work tools and protect customer or employee data in the distributed work environment. This puts the responsibility on the companies to protect their digital assets through regular software updates, proper password management, robust data backups and business continuity solutions, continual employee training, etc.

Hence, asset management is imperative for the diagnostics and mitigation of vulnerabilities and threats. Keeping a tab of all software and hardware your business possesses can be an ideal first step towards successfully managing digital assets. It should not just be a one-dimensional process of noting down the model number, serial number, location, etc. Asset management for security and data breach protection related to hybrid environments needs an in-depth set of inventories. For this, there should be a clear picture of the operating system, the patch levels, the configurations and even the state of known vulnerabilities.

Asset management provides a firm foundation for risk assessment of your business’ hybrid work environment. Risk assessment helps you identify:

    • Internal and external vulnerabilities in your business.
    • Threats to the business’ data, systems, software, cloud and networks.
    • Consequences/impact if the threats exploit vulnerabilities.
    • Possibility of harm that may eventually unfold.

Regular Risk Assessment Offers the Following Benefits to Your Business

  • Identifying your risk profile: 

Detecting threats and sorting risks based on their potential for harm helps you focus your efforts on urgent pain points.

  • Protecting your digital assets: 

Risk assessment helps you determine ways to protect your critical assets and vital data in the distributed work environment.

  • Reduce security spending: 

Regular risk assessments help you reduce security spending because you know where you need to allocate funds to ramp up security.

  • Actionable analytics: 

Availability of information that gives enough insights into the future helps you take adequate actions to improve your business’ security.

  • Keeps you compliant: 

When you handle your business assets and data securely through regular assessments, you can save your business from a regulatory violation.

 

The Decision Is Yours!

If you have read this far, chances are you are looking for ways to plug security loopholes that arise from hybrid work environments. Although risk assessment and asset management can help you address, reduce or avoid security challenges, you may be confused about where to start. 

By collaborating with a partner like us and making use of our expertise in risk assessment and asset management, you can prevent vulnerabilities from escalating into full-blown disasters.

 

Article curated and used by permission.

Sources:

  1. Building resilience & maintaining innovation in a hybrid world, Microsoft
  2. Accelerating Digital Agility, Cisco

 

Photo by Julia M Cameron from Pexels

Working Better With the Cloud

In all its forms and applications, the Cloud has revolutionized business. If a company chooses to be more efficient, secure, or scale to new heights, the Cloud is a precondition to success. According to the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, 84% of small business owners consider cloud services fundamental to their successful operation.

An organization can extend employee productivity beyond the physical workplace and allows businesses to meet any future possibilities.  

The Cloud is one of a few ground-breaking technologies equally accessible to small, medium, and large enterprises. Whether the operation is a one-person shop or multi-national, the Cloud can generate an opportunity.

The following post highlights how integrated IT companies such as LITech Solutions bring all the possibilities of the Cloud to any size business. Only a few, highly trained organizations around the globe, offer the solutions as LI Tech.

  • How Can the Cloud Transform Your Business?
  • Working with LI Tech
  • The Cloud
  • Final Word

LI Tech Solutions (516) 210-6400 

Callout 1- Blurred background - How Can the Cloud Transform Your Business - 3 bullet points

How Can the Cloud Transform Your Business?

Consider the following seven areas where LI Tech Solutions has made a difference

  1. Scale at Speed. There are occasions when a business encounters a surge in production or a sudden rise in shipments. Moving operations to the Cloud allows the firm to deal with such increases quickly and efficiently. Services are better coordinated, support offerings are enhanced, and communications across the supply chain are reinforced.
  2. Greater Collaboration. According to Microsoft, 66% of small to medium-sized businesses recognize the ability to work on any device integral to their operations. Teams in outlying parts of the globe can collaborate on documents and tasks without email attachments, sharing calendars, or jumping on the phone.
  3. Cloud-based services are bringing clients and patients into the discussion, improving information sharing and patient care. Healthcare has benefitted from the Cloud and its wondrous possibilities, unlike any other industry. LI Tech Solutions is at the cutting edge of Digital Healthcare.
  4. The ability to access data at any time for anyone with the appropriate credentials is an essential part of growth. The Cloud offers consistency between employees, management, and consumers, meaning everyone is on the same page. Barriers of remote access are eliminated; Cloud computing brings the office to the employee.
  5. Employees are finding a work-at-home solution as their best route to raising a family, with 36% of all new hires since 2019 agreeing to both in-office and residential work situations. LI Tech offers integration alternatives for companies to blend with the new work paradigm.
  6. The Cloud allows businesses to deliver a customer experience that adds new digital touchpoints and insights to the relationship. Brands are building through traditional advertising channels and new Cloud-based initiatives; growth ahead is the direct link between business and consumer.
  7. Growing your company online means having the proper information at the most opportune time. Companies must make certain the information they receive is correct. 52% of all web traffic comes from automated bots, and half of those are bad bots looking to harm your hardware and networks. LI Tech’s backup and security methodologies are the future of data security.

LI Tech provides five robust components that take your organization into the future. The company is one of the exclusive few Cloud Integration providers that can undertake any size infrastructure opportunity. (516) 210-6400 

Callout 3- blue cloud computing concept- Title: The Cloud - 4 services LI Tech Solutions is Pioneering

Working with LI Tech:

  • LI Tech scans your current computer software and hardware configurations and offers cost alternatives and improvements.
  • Collaboration is improved for all teams. Your company’s skilled employees will experience a radical improvement in connecting with others. Employees access files and documents housed in secure areas of the Cloud Infrastructure.
  • LI Tech’s advanced security measures keep data safe and encrypted. Advanced network protocols deal with the everyday care of the network. 

The Cloud

Exciting new technologies are advancing the enterprise, and proprietary services are revolutionizing the corporate infrastructure. Every business sector is seeing the rewards of innovating with the Cloud and LI Tech Solutions.

Four services LI Tech Solutions is pioneering:

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) helps businesses by taking advantage of pre-formed structures to handle different workload demands. A major player in Cloud services is Microsoft Azure, an LI Tech partner known worldwide as an innovator.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) gives your company’s developers access to cloud-based mechanisms such as APIs and web portals. PaaS such as Salesforce Lightning is an attractive solution to build next-level CRM applications.
  • Software as a Service (SaaS) brings the world to any device. SaaS gives users access to applications to help them collaborate better, manage projects with efficiency, and grow the business without constraint.
  • Compliance as a Service (CaaS) is one of the newest services provided by LITech. As the assimilation of the public and government expands, so do the mounds of regulation. CaaS by LI Tech helps companies meet the overload of excessive regulation. 

Callout 4- cloud computing icon over suit- LI Tech Solutions offers cloud solutions

Final Word

No other company in the technology space gives its patrons a forward-thinking opportunity like LI Tech Solutions. From its proprietary Managed Services to the Cloud Infrastructure division, LITech offers consumers the best of all worlds.

Businesses around the globe are accelerating their infrastructure move to the Cloud. LI Tech offers unmatched solutions spanning the Cloud and business environments. LI Tech’s advanced services provide increased performance metrics and deliver tight integration with the tools already being used by the company.

How Data Compliance and Cybersecurity Differ

When you run a business, compliance and cybersecurity are two essential factors. Both are equally important for the seamless operation of your business. While compliance helps your business stay within the limits of industry or government regulations, security protects the integrity of your business and sensitive data.

It is worth noting that although security is a prime component of compliance, compliance does not equal security. This is because compliance does not consider the growing threat landscape and associated risks. What it considers, however, is a set of pre-defined policies, procedures, controls, etc. 

If an audit concludes that these pre-defined elements are adequate and your business adheres to them, everything is considered “okay” from a compliance standpoint. However, you still may not be up to scratch from a security standpoint, which only goes to show that you can be compliant but still fall short on security.

In other words, because compliance requirements take a predictable path and change slowly, the compliance landscape lags behind the rapidly changing, unpredictable security landscape.

Now, let’s find out how your business can benefit by combining compliance and cybersecurity.

 

Get Covered With Security and Compliance Solutions

There are multiple security loopholes that you must proactively fix to stay out of danger. You can do it by deploying suitable security solutions. A few common security loopholes and related solutions are:

1. Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) 

APTs across three attack pillars endpoints, network and the cloud — are capable of paralyzing hybrid/remote/on-site work environments. Experts estimate the global APT protection market to be worth close to $6 billion in 2021 and $12 billion in 2025.(1) This statistic highlights the trouble caused by APTs. The best way to tackle it is by deploying a solution that can: 

  • Offer 24/7 monitoring and threat hunting
  • Efficiently block malicious actors that evade firewalls and antivirus systems

2. Insider threats skyrocketing at alarming rates

Over the last two years, insider incidents have increased by 47%.(2) What makes the scenario even worse is the fact that insider threats are tough to detect. That’s why it is advisable to have an advanced internal threat detection solution that combines machine learning and intelligent tagging to identify anomalous activity, suspicious changes and threats caused by misconfiguration.

3. Lack of clarity about the network

Keeping track of all the computers, mobile phones, printers and servers on your business’ network is challenging, especially in today’s increasingly remote-first approach to work. But without knowing the devices on your network, it is not possible to know your IT network’s health. To combat this problem, you need an automated assessment and documentation solution capable of identifying risks to all assets, including those not physically connected to the network.

4. Untrained employees and credentials getting sold on the dark web

  • When your employees are untrained and are unaware of risky actions, it could lead to severe security setbacks. For example, an employee carelessly clicking on a phishing link could lead to a full-blown ransomware attack on your business. 
  • Another major cybersecurity issue that you may encounter is when your credentials get sold on the dark web. Experts estimate that 60% of the information available on the dark web could negatively affect most businesses’ security and financials.(3)
  • Remember that inadequate data access protocols are not just a security issue but can also land you in hot water with regulators.

Tackle all the above issues by deploying industry-best solutions for security awareness training, dark web monitoring and identity/access management.

Just like security loopholes, you must also fix compliance loopholes the moment you spot them. Non-compliance can even lead to regulators levying penalties as high as 4% of your company turnover.(4) Beyond financial loss, you will also have to face stakeholder dissatisfaction, drop in market share, etc. To avoid such trouble, use a solution that automates compliance processes and generates insightful reports that document compliance.

 

Convergence of Cybersecurity and Compliance

Most companies have at least minimum protection in place, such as an antivirus on workstations/active firewalls. However, you must make sure that your business’ security posture can withstand the growing cyberthreat landscape. With some effort, you can incorporate your security solutions into your compliance strategy as well. 

By carefully bringing both security and compliance together systematically, you can reduce risks significantly. To ramp up your organization’s security posture, you can implement strong authentication, data protection, access monitoring, network-to-edge defenses, etc. By routinely validating the effectiveness of these solutions once they’re in place, you can ensure your organization is taking the necessary measures to avoid non-compliance and security breaches. 

 

Ready to take the next step? We can help.

 

Register for a consultation to learn more about how LI Tech Solutions can help you combine compliance and cybersecurity to prevent data compliance issues.

 

Sources:

  1. Statista
  2. 2020-Global-Cost-of-Insider-Threats-Ponemon-Report
  3. CSO Online
  4. GDPR Associates

2021 Top Cybersecurity Trends

Cybersecurity trends are continually evolving and growing within the powerful frameworks of information technology, the cloud, and network technologies. In the last few years, rules and procedures have been rewritten to modernize business.

Companies of every size must realize cyber threats are legitimate and will continue to be part of our everyday lives for years to come.

  • SolarWinds
  • Cybersecurity in 2021 and Beyond
  • Final Word

There are no magic bullets to achievement in business. Owners must now change the way they process their cyber activities to remain ahead of the curve. There has been a flurry of new threats and technologies that have attacked the new stay-at-home mobile workforce.

The remote workforce model has no network boundary, and more applications are written for the cloud than ever. These new network devices, and in most part, poorly written code, give attackers the green light into your business. 

Callout 1- global network background-Title: Rules & Procedures Have been rewritten to modernize business   

Three Cybersecurity solutions help remote workers control their network.

The world has shifted, and hackers have found lucrative new areas of access to a companies’ network. In response to a lack of network borders, the adoption of new cyber protection technologies has accelerated. 

  1.  SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) is a real-time context policy for a continuous assessment of risk. SASE is a cloud-delivered service based on WAN  and network security policies.

SASE policies can benefit a corporation in several respects, such as flexibility with a cloud infrastructure, reduced complexity, and cost savings.

  1.  Zero Trust has been in the lexicon of technology since 2010 when the phrase was first introduced. A few years later, Google implemented a Zero Trust Policy for their network. Zero Trust is an approach that organizations should not automatically trust any device or human access inside or outside their network.
  2.  XDR (Extended Detection and Response) is in the early stages of development by several elite vendors. XDR uses machine learning techniques to house multiple security mechanisms. Risk managers are continually overrun with security alerts; XDR helps to eradicate these daily pressures.

XDR helps companies improve threat detection and response by centralizing their activity and reducing false positives. 

Callout 2- blurred background-The adoption of 3 new cyber protection technologies listed

SolarWinds

Washington DC’s worst cybersecurity hack, SolarWinds Orion, has company executives around the world shaking in their loafers. Cyber experts believe there are simply not enough skilled workers to track down all the destruction done to business and government networks.

Politico: From the President of Microsoft,  SolarWinds Orion hack was the most powerful and sophisticated cyber-attack ever!!!.

Bruce Schneier, a cyber expert and Harvard fellow states, “We have a serious problem. We don’t know what networks they are in, how deep they are, what access they have, what tools they left.” The only way to know these infected networks are clean, “to burn it down to the ground and rebuild it.”

Three cybersecurity trends have emerged since the SolarWinds attack.

  1.  Microsoft was one of the prime recipients of the mayhem created by SolarWinds. According to authorities, hackers capitalized on the limitations in the authentication architecture of the software giant and its protocols. Microsoft has since rebuilt the vulnerabilities and taken issue with the government’s insistence that more could have been done.
  2.  Cyber Insurance premiums have surged 29% since 2020. Policies for cyber attacks have been around for a lot longer than most people realize. In 1997, AIG wrote the first cyber insurance policy. With cyber-crime increasing dramatically since SolarWinds, premiums for cyber insurance have risen approximately 11% annually with no signs of slowing.
  3.  The cloud, with advanced services and advantages for remote work, has skyrocketed the targets for attackers. After SolarWinds, assaults on cloud applications have increased and look to extend their torrid pace well past 2021. Mis-configured cloud settings were a significant cause of breaches in 2020 at an average cost of over $4 million to the enterprise. 

Callout 3- side lock icon -Solar Winds-with three trends listed.

Cybersecurity in 2021 and Beyond

Every company is now being urged to be proactive in its approach to cybersecurity and the myriad of cyber threats that are coming. Organizations must come to terms with the fact that security is no longer an optional expense but a budget line item.

  • Companies must prioritize a cybersecurity workforce. 56% of organizations report a scarcity of personnel for 2021.
  • Data continues to multiply every day. Businesses must automate their security processes whenever feasible. In 2020, IBM found close to a 4 million dollar discrepancy in the cost of a data breach from automated companies instead of those that were not.

Machine learning and AI technologies continue their meteoric rise in complexity and usefulness. These technologies are being developed as part of the enterprise infrastructure for automated security and replacing human intervention.

AI goes both ways in cybersecurity trends. Criminals take advantage of AI and machine learning techniques. Cybercriminals are automating their attacks using data poisoning and model stealing.  

Callout 4-digital matrix background-Cybersecurity in 2021 and Beyond - with 4 descriptions

Final Word on Cybersecurity Trends

Decades ago and still today, business success requires a lot of open-to-close hours, sweat equity, and plenty of sacrifice. In this digital age, most business owners think an antivirus program would do the trick, and their data records were secure.

Cybersecurity should now be one of the initial steps taken to prepare your organization for success. A healthy distrust for cyber-attackers goes a long way toward keeping company data, intellectual property, and digital assets safe from these criminals.

First Step to Compliance: A Thorough and Accurate Risk Assessment

Complying with data privacy and protection regulations wouldn’t give several business owners sleepless nights if it only meant installing a predefined list of security solutions. Compliance goes way beyond this and for good reason. In principle, regulators, local or international, want businesses to:

  • assess the type of data they store and manage
  • gauge the potential risks the data is exposed to
  • list down the remediation efforts needed to mitigate the risks
  • undertake necessary remediation efforts regularly
  • and most importantly, document every single step of this seemingly arduous process as evidence

Each of the above steps are mandatory and non-negotiable. A closer look will tell you that installing a list of expensive security solutions comes only after the first three steps in the process have been followed. Skipping past these initial steps and acting merely on presumptuous knowledge is tantamount to leaving your business’ future to sheer chance. It’s anyone’s guess what that would lead to.

That’s why we’re going to explain to you why a thorough and accurate risk assessment is truly the first step towards achieving compliance. Moreover, when repeated regularly, it can help you demonstrate continuous compliance while keeping cyberthreats at bay.

 

Security Risk Assessments Unearth Crucial Insights

A thorough and accurate risk assessment can unearth a host of crucial insights from even the deepest and darkest alleys of your IT environment to ultimately empower your decision making. Having actionable insights at your disposal can help you build strategies to reduce risk levels in practical ways instead of shooting in the dark by testing various tools.

Here are some of the most important details that become more apparent and unambiguous with every risk assessment.

 

Baseline of the System

A risk assessment helps you chart out the lifecycle of all data that is collected, stored and managed in your entire network.

 

Identification of Threats

A meticulous risk assessment identifies all the possible threats, such as intentional, unintentional, technical, non-technical and structural, that your business data is exposed to. 

 

Identification of Vulnerabilities

With each assessment, you get the latest list of vulnerabilities prevalent in your network with respect to patches, policies, procedures, software, equipment and more.

 

Current Status of Existing Controls

From the assessment report, you can also understand the existing security and privacy controls protecting your business against vulnerabilities.

 

Probability of Impact Is Critical to Compliance

An accurate assessment report is fully capable of anticipating the probability of a threat that might exploit one of your network’s existing vulnerabilities.

 

Strength of Impact

Risk assessment also helps you gauge the possible impact of any threat hitting your business.

Imagine how easy it would be for you to build and implement a strategy to fix the security loopholes in your business while maintaining a well-documented record of your efforts.

 

Why Risk Assessment Is Needed for Compliance

While assessing whether you did everything in your capacity to ensure full compliance with the regulations, you also need to keep in mind that a regulator seeks evidence of compliance – documented reports. Besides helping you chart a successful path to compliance, a thorough risk assessment adds great weightage to demonstrating evidence of compliance. When you present the risk assessment reports along with other documentation, you demonstrate how your business carried out due diligence in upholding principles of data privacy and protection.

Please remember that no regulator expects you to have a fail-safe strategy. What matters is uncompromising intent, informed action and undeterred consistency. If you can demonstrate all this, you will most likely avoid any punitive action as well as a long list of problems could that surface afterwards.

 

Compliance Help Is Just a Conversation Away

Contrary to what is often claimed, there are no shortcuts to compliance or to any of the steps that lead to it. At the outset, achieving compliance might seem grueling. However, it isn’t as bad as it seems when due process and expert guidance is followed.

A conversation with us is all you need so we can help you walk through the complexities of risk assessment with diligent and customized guidance.

 

Article curated and used by permission.