The Top 3 Cybersecurity KPIs Every Business Needs to Track

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are an excellent way to measure your team’s success. When it comes to Cybersecurity KPIs, there are a few we recommend to be at the top of your IT team’s list. 

 

#1: How Prepared Are You?

As the attack surface continues to expand with the introduction of new technologies, it’s crucial for teams to regularly assess their preparedness to handle a cybersecurity incident.


A deep understanding of possible threats determines how prepared your team is to respond to a breach. Tools like 
VirusTotal and Open Threat Exchange (OTX by AT&T) can provide insights into the latest trends and developments in the digital landscape, helping your team stay up-to-date and better prepared to keep your company’s data safe and secure.

 

#2: Unidentified Devices

Unidentified devices are any devices that are connected to your company’s network but are not properly registered or authenticated. These devices could be owned by employees, contractors, or other third parties, but they may also be owned by outsiders who have gained access to the network.


Tracking and identifying all devices connected to your company’s network is essential. This includes laptops, desktops, smartphones, and other internet-enabled devices. Having a record of all devices helps ensure that only authorized users have access and that any unidentified devices are promptly removed.


In addition to maintaining clear documentation of devices, networking monitoring tools can help with ongoing tracking of what devices are connected.

 

#3: How Long Does It Take To Recover?

Conducting regular tabletop exercises, where the team practices responding to a hypothetical incident, such as a ransomware attack or an unidentified device accessing the network, can help ensure that your team is ready to quickly and effectively address modern threats.

1. Assemble Your Team

Gather all relevant team members, including IT staff, cybersecurity professionals, and key stakeholders.

 

2. Choose a Scenario

This could be a simulated cyber attack, data breach, or any other incident that could impact your organization.

 

3. Walk through the scenario step-by-step

Start by setting the scene and outlining the initial incident. Then, have team members discuss and decide on their response, just as they would in a real-life situation. This might include activating your incident response plan, communicating with stakeholders, and taking necessary remediation steps.

 

4. Debrief and review

After the exercise is complete, take some time to debrief and review what happened. What went well? What could have been done better? Use this feedback to identify any areas for improvement and update your response plan as needed.

At a minimum, it’s recommended to conduct preparedness exercises annually to ensure that your team has the skills and resources necessary to respond to a cybersecurity incident. In addition, investing in a well-documented and rehearsed preparedness process can save time, money, and data in the event of a real incident.

 

Group of people discussing cybersecurity KPIs

Get Started Today

Keeping up with the trends can be tedious on your own, which is why we’re here to help. Outsourcing some or all Cybersecurity and IT is a smart business decision that can benefit businesses of all sizes.

Edge Networks can help you save money, improve your cybersecurity posture, optimize your systems, free up your time, and give you peace of mind. If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to manage and maintain your technology infrastructure, Managed IT is the right choice for you.


Contact us
 today to learn more.

Tips for Safer Internet Day 2023

Tuesday, February 7th, 2023 is the 20th anniversary of Safer Internet Day! The motto this year is Together for a Better Internet. Safer Internet Day started as an “initiative of the EU SafeBorders project in 2004 and taken up by the Insafe network as one of its earliest actions in 2005, Safer Internet Day has grown beyond its traditional geographic zone and is now celebrated in approximately 180 countries and territories worldwide.”

Some of the most prominent topics this year are:

  • Wellness
  • Identity
  • Self-Respect
  • Scams
  • Predators
  • Creeps

Internet safety doesn’t have to be hard. Here are a few simple things we recommend to take care of your digital footprint.

 

 

Private / Public Social Media Accounts

Whether you’re a business owner, influencer, or just online often, we recommend keeping your personal account separate from your business or creative account. Setting your personal accounts to private and keeping your personal day-to-day posts locked in that account will offer a higher level of protection from internet scams and harassment. 

 

It’s harder for someone to guess your password or send phishing messages if they don’t know about your personal life.

 

Password Managers

Password Managers are a great way to keep track of all your unique passwords. The longer and more complex your passwords are, the more difficult it is for someone to guess them and take over your accounts (or steal personal information).


We understand that there may be some fear over using a password manager, considering the recent news about 
LastPass’ breaches. However, most password managers do not store your master key within the password vault or within the company’s records. So even if data is stolen, as scary as that sounds, in a lot of cases that data is still encrypted and protected. At Edge Networks, we use 1Password as our password vault, and have been very happy with the service!

 

Of course, we always recommend using strong, unique, and long passwords, but one thing we recommend to people who really feel that they can’t use a unique password for every single online account they have is to organize their accounts into three different tiers. The first tier would be lower stakes sites that might have less security and may be more likely to be compromised, such as shopping websites. The next tier would be bigger businesses such as Amazon, or maybe your Healthcare account. The final tier would be reserved for high stakes information such as loans, your bank account, social security, etc.

 

Doing this is still risky, but it at least ensures that if a more lower-stakes account gets compromised and the low tier password is leaked, that same password won’t give hackers access to your more high-stakes accounts. This way, you’ll also know what other accounts in that tier will need their password changed.

 

Plus Email Addressing

Plus email addressing is an incredibly helpful tool in the event of a data breach. This type of email addressing allows you to add a “+” sign and additional words after your username, and have the email still be delivered to the same address. 


For example, if your email address is alexa@example.com and you wanted to create a new account on the Target website, you could use the email alexa+target@example.com and the email would still be delivered to alexa@example.com.

 

If you get hit with a phishing email or a spam email and you want to know where the attacker got your email from, you are able to go in and see the recipient address they sent it to. If that address is alexa+target@example.com, you know the account that was breached was your Target account. This is a great way to create accountability and keep good track of your data being compromised without having to create a new email account for each account that you make.

 

Remember to Stay Safe Online

Safer Internet Day is a great reminder that we can play a role in a safer internet not only today, but every day of the year. One of the easiest ways to get involved with Safer Internet Day is by starting conversations and raising awareness with the people around you, whether it’s your partner, children, work colleagues, parents, friends, or clients.


Contact us
 today if you’d like to learn more about protecting your business’ data online.

Cybersecurity Trends To Follow Beyond 2022

As the digital world continues to grow, so does the cyber threat landscape. Therefore, IT departments must stay updated with cybersecurity trends to stay one step ahead of hackers.

Are you curious about what to focus on? Here are a few key trends to watch:

 

Attack Surface Expansion

In the past, IT was managed within the borders of an IT environment company’s network.


Now with remote work and work-from-home staying mainstream, everything’s borderless. As a result, the 
attack surface, or the number of all possible points an unauthorized user can access your system, has expanded.


This can happen in many ways, but it is most often caused by introducing new systems or devices into an organization’s network.


Attackers can use these new devices to get into your IT infrastructure and run malicious programs. For example, if you are running a business with remote employees and you introduce a Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection for them, this may open up an attack point for hackers to get into your network.


Working with a well-trained Cybersecurity and Managed IT team, either internally or externally, can help protect the flow of your company’s data, ensuring the safety of your network.

 

The Human Element

A solid onboarding and continuous learning program will set your team up for success. Technology is evolving rapidly, making regular training sessions an essential part of Cybersecurity health. 


At Edge Networks, our team goes through weekly training via 
Ninjio to stay updated with the latest trends and best practices to ensure our clients are provided the best possible cybersecurity and IT services.

 

cybersecurity trends

The Misconception of the Cloud

Cloud services are a boon in the remote work environment. However, cloud service providers are not responsible for the data stored on your company’s servers. They are only responsible for the infrastructure that runs the systems. 


There is a
 shared responsibility matrix to consider when using cloud services to store and share company data. The service provider promises to keep the infrastructure running, while your company promises to maintain the best cybersecurity practices to ensure the security of the company’s data.

Below is a diagram illustrating how Microsoft manages the division of responsibility.

 

A common pitfall is not keeping up to date with server patching. Cloud service providers will roll out updates to their servers to ensure the security and integrity of the cloud. If a company doesn’t stay updated with these patches, it can expand its attack surface points and put the cloud data at risk.

 

Get Started Today

Keeping up with the trends can be tedious on your own, which is why we’re here to help. Outsourcing some or all Cybersecurity and IT is a smart business decision that can benefit businesses of all sizes.


Edge Networks can help you save money, improve your cybersecurity posture, optimize your systems, free up your time, and give you peace of mind. If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to manage and maintain your technology infrastructure, Managed IT is the right choice for you.


Contact us
 today to learn more.

5 Reasons Outsourcing Your IT Is a Smart Business Decision

In today’s world, businesses need to be able to rely on their technology. When something goes wrong with your IT infrastructure, it can have a major impact on your bottom line – that’s why so many businesses are turning to Managed IT services as a way to improve their cybersecurity posture and optimize their systems.

Outsourcing your IT can save you time and money in the long run, and it can help you focus on what you do best – running your business.

 

What are Managed IT Services?

Managed IT services involve hiring an outside provider to manage, monitor and maintain your business’s technology infrastructure. Managed IT providers can provide services like server monitoring, system patching, security updates, backup solutions, and more, and can help you save money on hardware, software and support costs while improving your cybersecurity posture and optimizing your systems.

 

Who Would Benefit from Outsourcing Managed IT Services?

Managed IT services are a great option for businesses of all sizes. Providers can provide customized solutions to meet the specific needs of your business, so you can have peace of mind knowing that your systems are secure and running efficiently.

Larger companies, especially those in highly regulated industries, may find outsourcing their IT even more helpful, as they can help them meet strict security and compliance requirements, though it’s also a great option for small businesses who don’t have the budget or resources to manage their IT system themselves. In fact, according to Somatosoft (2022), Outsourcing helps companies reduce costs by about 15% on average but up to 60% .

No matter what size your business is, Managed IT services can help you save money, improve your cybersecurity posture, optimize your systems, free up your time, and give you peace of mind and are an important part of running a successful business in today’s digital age.

 

5 Reasons You Should Outsource Your IT

There are many reasons outsourcing your IT is a smart business decision, but here are a few:

 

1. Managed IT services can help you save money.

Small businesses often have limited resources or budget. Managed IT providers can help businesses like this save time and money by taking care of routine maintenance and security updates as well as providing 24/7 monitoring and threat detection, so they don’t have to worry about their systems. They also often get discounts on software and hardware, which they can pass on to you.

Managed IT services can also help businesses scale quickly and easily, so they can expand without having to hire additional in-house staff or purchase expensive hardware and software. It also provides the flexibility and scalability that businesses need in order to stay competitive in today’s market, and can help you avoid the cost of downtime if an outage or attack occurs, which can be very expensive for businesses.

When you outsource your IT, you can save money on things like hardware, software, and support, and with Managed IT, you only pay for the services you need, when you need them. This can help you free up your budget for other important areas of your business.

 

2. Managed IT services can improve your cybersecurity posture.

The term “cybersecurity posture” refers to an organization’s overall security profile. This includes the measures it takes to protect itself from cyber threats and breaches, such as installing anti-virus software, using encryption technologies, regularly patching systems, and training employees on cybersecurity best practices.

By improving its cybersecurity posture through Managed IT services, an organization can better protect itself from malicious actors and data breaches. Providers offer a variety of solutions to help organizations improve their security postures, including 24/7 monitoring and threat detection capabilities.

With Managed IT, you’ll also have access to the latest security tools and best practices, so you can rest assured that your business is protected.

 

3. Managed IT services can help you optimize your systems.

Managed IT services can help you get the most out of your technology investments and optimize your systems by providing expert advice and support so problems can be quickly identified and addressed, ensuring that your systems are always running smoothly and at peak performance.

Managed IT providers can also help you troubleshoot issues and identify inefficiencies, so you can avoid costly downtime, and if you’re a growing business, it can help you scale your IT infrastructure quickly and easily as new users are added, new systems are set up, and new applications are installed so you can continue to grow without having to worry about your IT infrastructure.

 

4. Managed IT services can help you free up your time.

A 2016 survey done by Deloitte found that 65% of businesses decide to outsource so they can focus on business objectives. When you outsource your IT, you can free up your time to focus on other important areas of your business.

With Managed IT, you’ll have access to a team of experts who can handle all of your IT needs, so you can focus on growing your business. Managed IT providers will proactively monitor and manage your systems, so you don’t have to. They can also provide you with help desk support, so you don’t have to waste time troubleshooting IT issues yourself.

 

5. Managed IT services can give you peace of mind.

When you outsource your IT, you can have peace of mind knowing that your systems are in good hands. With Managed IT, you’ll have access to a team of experts who will proactively monitor and manage your IT systems, so you can focus on running your business. Managed IT providers can also provide you with regular reports, so you can stay up to date on the health of your systems. 

 

Get Started Today

Outsourcing your IT is a smart business decision that can provide many benefits to businesses of all sizes.

Managed IT providers can help you save money, improve your cybersecurity posture, optimize your systems, free up your time, and give you peace of mind.  So if you’re looking for a cost-effective way to manage and maintain your technology infrastructure, Managed IT may be the right choice for you.

Want to find out if Managed IT Services is right for your business? Contact us today to learn more.

Smart Home Breaches: How to Prevent Them and What to Do If They Happen

It’s no secret that smart homes are becoming more and more popular. For many, a smart home helps make life a little easier and even feel more luxurious, whether it’s a Google Home being used as a speaker to stream your favorite songs across the house, a Ring doorbell keeping track of who’s on your doorstep, or an Amazon Alexa automating tasks around your home. Consumers have access to a growing range of IoT appliances, including smart refrigerators, lightbulbs, coffee makers, and even washing machines, proving that there is something for everyone in the smart home device realm.

While this technology offers many benefits, it also comes with a risk: cybersecurity threats. Because the smart device market is expanding quickly, it has become a fast-growing target for hackers. In the first half of 2021 alone, there were more than 1.5 billion attacks on smart devices, with attackers generally looking to steal data or use compromised devices for future breaches and cryptocurrency mining. If proper precautions aren’t taken, your smart home devices can be vulnerable to data breaches too.

In this blog post, we will discuss what smart home breaches are, what to do if your device is compromised, how businesses can be affected, and how to prevent these breaches.

 

What is a Smart Home?

A smart home is a home that uses internet-connected devices to automate tasks like lighting, security, temperature control, and more. These devices are often controlled by a mobile app or voice assistant such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home. While smart homes offer many conveniences, they also create new opportunities for cybercriminals to creep into your home.

 

smart home breach

What is a Smart Home Breach?

A smart home breach is when an unauthorized user gains access to your smart home devices or network. This can happen in a number of ways; here are a few of them.

 

Unsecured Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth connections

Unsecured Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth connections leave your home vulnerable to attack. If a hacker gains access to your smart home, they can steal your personal data, spy on you, or even control your devices remotely.

By exploiting vulnerabilities in smart home devices, hackers can gain access to your network and steal your data. This type of attack is especially concerning because it can happen without the homeowner ever knowing that their security has been compromised

 

Malicious Apps

These breaches can often occur through malicious apps. There are many smart devices that can be controlled by mobile apps. However, there are also many malicious apps that masquerade as legitimate smart home apps. These malicious apps can give attackers access to your smart home devices and data.

 

Phishing Attacks

Attackers will send you an email or text message that appears to be from a legitimate company, such as your smart home manufacturer or service provider. The message will likely contain a link that takes you to a fake website where you are prompted to enter your personal information, such as your username and password. Once the attacker has this information, they can gain access to your smart home devices and data.

 

What Should You Do if a Smart Home Breach Occurs?

Change Passwords

Change the passwords for all of your online accounts, especially any that are linked to your smart home devices. This includes your email, social media, and any other accounts that might be connected to your smart home in some way. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on your credit report and bank statements for any suspicious activity.If you notice anything out of the ordinary, be sure to report it to the proper authorities.

 

Factory Reset Your Devices

 If you’re really worried about someone gaining access to your smart home devices, you can always factory reset them and start from scratch. While this may be a hassle in the short-term, it’s worth it if it means protecting your data and keeping your family safe.

 

Report the Incident

Reach out to your smart home’s customer support line and let them know what happened. They may be able to help you troubleshoot the issue and prevent it from happening again in the future. They may also have additional steps for you to take or may be able to help you remotely disable any malicious functionality that has been added to your devices.

 

How to Prevent Smart Home Breaches?

Reach out to your smart home’s customer support line and let them know what happened. They may be able to help you troubleshoot the issue and prevent it from happening again in the future. They may also have additional steps for you to take or may be able to help you remotely disable any malicious functionality that has been added to your devices.

 

Create Strong Passwords for Your Smart Devices

Setting a strong password for your smart device and your network can help keep your data safe and secure.

 

Use a Private Wi-Fi Network to Connect to Your Smart Home

You should also avoid using public Wi-Fi networks to connect to your smart home as these are often unsecure. Public wifi networks are often unencrypted, which means that anyone can listen in on the data being sent back and forth. This includes passwords, credit card information, and more. Ideally, you would use a private Wi-Fi network with a strong password. If you must use public Wi-Fi, make sure to use a VPN (virtual private network) to encrypt your data.

 

Update Your Device’s Software Regularly

To help combat breaches, it’s important to keep your smart devices’ software up-to-date. Manufacturers often release updates that patch security vulnerabilities, so by keeping your software updated, you’re helping to protect yourself from potential breaches and closing any potential security holes that could be exploited by malicious actors.

 

How Can Smart Home Breaches Affect My Business?

If you’re a business owner, it’s important to be aware that smart home breaches can affect you as well. For example, if an employee’s smart home is breached, the attacker could gain access to sensitive company data. To prevent this from happening, businesses should have strict cybersecurity policies in place, and employees should be trained on how to keep their smart devices secure.

If your business uses smart devices around the office, it’s important to take the right precautions to avoid a smart device breach. Make sure that all smart devices are password-protected and that only authorized employees have access to them. You should also have a cybersecurity plan in place in case of a breach. This plan should include steps for how to identify and fix the issue, as well as how to prevent future breaches from happening. You should also prioritize educating your employees on smart device security and best practices, as well as how to respond if a breach does occur.

 

How a Managed IT Service Provider Can Help

If you’re not sure where to start, a managed IT service provider can help you create and implement a cybersecurity plan. They can also provide guidance on smart device security and help you troubleshoot any issues that arise.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help keep your business and home safe from breaches.

Spyware: The Silent Threat to Your Business

Are you the first line of defense for your business? Do you know what’s going on with your systems at all times? If not, you could be at risk for a silent attack that can incapacitate your business. Spyware is designed to stay hidden and collect information without the user knowing. It can access passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive data, all without raising any red flags. According to a study done by Symantec, the number of detected malware variants rose by 62% in 2020 alone, so you need to ensure you’re properly protected against it.

So how do you protect yourself against it? To answer this question, we need to start at the beginning.

 

What Is Spyware and What Does it Do?

Spyware is a type of malware that is designed to steal information from your computer or mobile device. Spyware can be used to track your activities, collect your passwords and credit card numbers, or even spy on you through your webcam.  It can be dangerous to individuals, but it can also be very dangerous for your business, as it can lead to data breaches and loss of confidential information. This is why it’s critical to have a cybersecurity strategy in place to protect your business from these types of threats.

Types of Spyware?

There are many different types, but some of the most common include:

Adware

This type of spyware displays unwanted advertisements on your computer, which can be annoying and intrusive, but is not generally considered to be dangerous, though it can slow down your browser, crash your device, and sell your data to third parties to create targeted advertisements.

 

Stalkerware

This is a monitoring type of spyware often used to track your location, spy on your activities, and collect other information about you without your knowledge. This type of spyware has been widely criticized due to its use by stalkers, abusers, and employers.

 

Browser Hijackers

This type of spyware changes your browser’s settings, such as your home page or search engine. It can also redirect you to malicious websites that try to install more spyware on your device.

 

Zero-Click

This can infect your device without any interaction from you and works by trying to find weaknesses in a system and then breaking into the device without any input from the user. It uses a trial-and-error approach – it keeps trying to enter until it finds a security vulnerability in a program, operating system, or app.

 

Trojans

These are malicious programs that masquerade as legitimate software in order to trick you into installing them. Once installed, they can be used to steal information or take control of your computer.

 

Keyloggers

These programs record everything you type on your keyboard, which can be used to steal passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive information.

 

How To Protect Your Business

There are several measures you can take to protect your business:

  • Keep your software up to date: Make sure that all of your software is up to date, including your operating system, web browser, and anti-virus software. Spyware often exploits vulnerabilities in outdated software to infect your system.
  • Install an antivirus programThis is a must-have for any business, as it can help to detect and remove spyware from your system. Make sure to keep the virus definitions up to date to ensure maximum protection.
  • Use caution online: Be careful about the emails you open and the websites you visit. Do not click on links or attachments from unknown sources, and be careful about downloading free software from the internet. Spyware can be spread through email attachments or by visiting malicious websites.
  • Install a spyware removal tool: Install an anti-spyware program that can detect and remove spyware from your system.
  • Use strong passwords and change them regularly: Spyware can often collect passwords that are stored on your system. Use strong and unique passwords for all your accounts to help protect your information and remember to change them regularly.
  • Use a firewall: A firewall can help to block spyware and other malware from infecting your system. It is important to configure your firewall correctly to ensure it is effective.
  • Work with an MSP: Consider working with a Managed Service Provider who can help you implement spyware protection measures and keep your systems up to date.

 

How to Remove Spyware

If it does manage to infect your system, there are a few steps you can take to remove it:

  1. Run a scan with an anti-spyware program like Spybot Search & Destroy or Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. These programs can often find and remove spyware that other anti-virus programs miss. If the spyware is not found by these programs, you may need to manually remove it.
  2. Change any passwords that may have been compromised by the spyware.
  3. Run a scan with your anti-virus software to make sure that the spyware has been completely removed from your system.
  4. If this all seems overwhelming, a Managed Service Provider (MSP) can take care of all this for you.

 

How a Managed Service Provider Can Help

If you’re concerned about cybersecurity threats like this, consider working with an experienced Managed Service Provider (MSP). An MSP can help relieve the pressure of managing your IT systems by providing expert guidance and support. MSPs can help you protect your business in several ways.

  • MSPs can help keep your software up to date and patch any vulnerabilities that could be exploited.
  • Second, they can perform regular security audits to identify any potential vulnerabilities in your system.
  • Third of all, they can provide you with anti-spyware software and spyware protection and help you configure it properly.
  • Finally, a Managed Service Provider can help you develop a plan for what to do if your system does become infected with spyware.

Spyware is a silent threat that can have serious consequences for your business. By taking steps to protect your business and remove it if it does infect your system, you can help keep your business safe from this threat. A Managed Service Provider can be a valuable partner in helping you protect your business from spyware and other cybersecurity threats.

If you have any questions on how to protect your business, please schedule a call with us. We would be happy to help you keep your business safe from this threat.

The Importance of Protecting Your Sensitive Information in 2022

As more and more people get on the internet and start sharing information, data breaches are becoming more common. In 2021, a report found that 45% of US companies suffered a data breach in the past year.

This is alarming news for any business owner trying to protect sensitive information from prying eyes. Are you worried about your sensitive data and wondering what you can do to secure business information? Keep reading to find out more about this cybersecurity issue.

 

What is Sensitive Information?

Sensitive data is confidential information that must be kept from the eyes of outsiders because its loss, misuse, modification, or unauthorized access could negatively impact an organization’s or individual’s welfare or security. Usually, organizations and individuals will use passwords and other means to protect their information from threats.

There are three different kinds of sensitive information:

  1. Personal information like social security number, home address info, etc
  2. Business information like patent information, new product strategy, and more
  3. Government classified information

The problem is that too many folks are complacent about data loss, thinking they are safe because they use a strong password. Cybercriminals are becoming quite savvy about accessing sensitive information, despite strong passwords. So you need to do a lot more than this to protect sensitive information.

 

How to Protect Sensitive Information?

A lot of sensitive data is lost due to the following issues:

  • Lost or stolen equipment
  • Weak passwords
  • Lost or stolen credentials
  • Social engineering attacks
  • Targeted attacks
  • Data encryption deficiencies
  • Partner vulnerabilities

The way to fill in security gaps is by taking care of each of these vulnerable spots one by one. Having your employees change their passwords every six months is not enough. They need regular training to know what not to do to lose sensitive information to exploitative forces.

Layers upon layers of security must also be added to ensure that you are ready to face hacking attempts when they happen (as they will).

 

Who is a Target?

Unfortunately, too many business owners believe they are safe from cyberattacks. You might wrongly believe that only enterprise businesses and big brands are vulnerable to data breaches, but that’s not the case.

Everyone is vulnerable to sensitive information loss, no matter how big their organization is. You probably process tons of sensitive information about your customers daily, like credit card information, phone numbers, customer addresses, and more. All that information is vulnerable to threat.

Every week, you hear of some company that wasn’t careful enough with their customer information and came under fire in the media for losing valuable customer data. Not only is a data breach a terrible hit against your sales, but your reputation among customers will also suffer. It could take months or years to recover from such a downfall.

 

What Steps to Take if Your Sensitive Information Has Been Exploited?

The problem is that cyber attackers are constantly coming up with new ways to bypass your defenses. That is what they do best.

That’s why it’s important not to sit on your laurels once you have done one security update. Being safe in this world from cyberattacks means constantly taking action to protect your company’s sensitive information from hackers.

Nowadays, employees have begun working from home more frequently, and on top of that, they freely use their personal devices to access sensitive business data. These two points make businesses more vulnerable than ever to losing valuable information.

There are certain things you can do to protect yourself.

 

Have a Solid Strategy for BYOD

The minute your employees start taking your sensitive information off-site into their homes, cafes, and abroad while travelling, they become most vulnerable to attacks. You don’t want to start micromanaging your employees because that won’t be conducive to boosting productivity.

But you can build a strategy on how BYOD (bring your own devices) will work in your company. Also, remote work will need to have a security strategy wrapped around it.

 

Implement Policies about Digitized Files

Going paperless is great for the environment. But is it good for your sensitive information? If you are going to digitize all your sensitive data, have policies on how this will take place.

Think about how the digitized files will be stored and where on your network. Also, have strict delineations on who can access these digitized files and who can alter and delete these files.

 

Educate Your Employees

According to Proofpoint’s 2022 Human Factor report, 55% of employees admitted to taking a risky action, like clicking an email link that led to a suspicious website or not knowing what phishing is.

Humans are definitely the weakest link when it comes to compromising your IT security. That’s why your employees need to be constantly trained and educated on the latest cybersecurity threats.

 

Assess Risks From All Sources Regularly

Just like cybercriminals are constantly coming up with new ways to access your sensitive information, the same applies to you as well. You need to constantly be accessing your security network and strategies to identify holes and fill in those gaps as soon as possible.

You can’t sit still for even a second in a world where information is king, and everyone wants a piece of your information, legally or illegally.

 

Set Controls on Who Can Access Sensitive Information

These are some considerations for setting effective controls on sensitive data:

  1. What data is collected from all sources, customers, employees, partners, etc.?
  2. What data is collected internally?
  3. Set levels of sensitivity for all data collected
  4. Figure out who needs access to the data and don’t give access to those who don’t need it

It might create extra work for your security team if you have one or for your employees. But all this red tape will ensure that no unscrupulous person gets access to your sensitive data to do with it as they will.

 

Decide How Long Data Needs to Get Stored

In this fast-paced world, data doesn’t need to get stored forever. You will have to figure out how long you need to store data and then have measures in place to delete stored data appropriately. This way, you are not leaving yourself vulnerable to attacks due to old unused data.

You won’t have to worry too much about public data like company brochures, press releases, and employees’ first and last names (and bios on LinkedIn). But everything else, like internal data, classified data, and other more sensitive data, needs to get guarded with care.

 

Know Your Data

Do you know what kind of data your company deals with daily? There are probably hundreds of pieces of data that come through your employees’ devices and through your IT network.

There’s no way you can keep an eye on each piece of data yourself, nor can your cybersecurity team do so if you have one. That’s why you need to have security infrastructure in place that will keep an eye on your data for you, even when you are not around.

Through processes and technology in place, this monumental task of protecting your sensitive information can get simplified and efficiently executed without unencumbering your employees’ workflow.

 

Hire a Security Company to Protect You From Data Loss

Feeling overwhelmed and fearful at the thought of your sensitive data getting breached by someone who wants to take advantage of it is normal. Many business owners believe they aren’t vulnerable or have done enough when they do a few security updates, which leaves them in danger of losing sensitive data. If you cannot keep your sensitive information safe from the threat, you should hire a security company to take care of this for you.

There is a level of expertise and knowledge required to protect sensitive information, and it can be the difference between your company going bankrupt because it lost valuable customer information and customer trust or staying in business for a long time.

 

Schedule Your IT Assessment Today to Ensure Your Sensitive Information is Safe

Each business and industry has to look at security and sensitive data protection in a different manner.  If you need help figuring out where to begin,  contact us today, The IT and cybersecurity experts at Edge Networks have years of experience behind them. 

We will conduct a comprehensive assessment of your overall IT infrastructure to determine where the gaps lie and where you are vulnerable to data loss, so we can help protect sensitive information. We will even perform real-time cyberattacks to assess your IT network and identify immediate vulnerabilities.

Schedule an assessment today, and our experts will be in touch with you.

Human Error in Cybersecurity Breaches

Running a business is difficult work. There are so many factors you need to consider. One area of business that’s become increasingly more important is cybersecurity. Cyber-attacks are on the rise, so you’ll need to do everything you can to protect your company.

Cybercriminals are always looking for ways they can exploit organizations. One of the main ways they like to manipulate people is by taking advantage of human error. So, what exactly is human error in cybersecurity, and how can you protect your company?

This article explains some of the different kinds of human error that affect cybersecurity and offers security tips to help keep your company safe.

 

Physical Security Errors

Many people don’t consider physical security a part of cybersecurity. However, cybercriminals often resort to “real-world tactics” as companies are increasingly paying attention to things like firewalls, antivirus software, and data backups. If a criminal can physically get into your company property, they can damage your digital infrastructure. For example, they could install new keyboards that log keystrokes, insert malicious USB sticks into workstations, or simply walk out with sensitive hardware.

Letting unauthorized people into your company offices is a significant human error that can compromise your organization’s security. Given that this type of error could lead to a significant security breach, you’ll need to take measures to minimize this threat. For example, you might require employee swipe cards or use specific keys or access codes to enter the premises. You also need to ensure your employees know that letting unauthorized people into the offices poses a risk to the organization.

Another physical security error is when employees don’t properly secure the site. For example, they might go home without locking doors properly. This could allow unauthorized people to get in and access the computer systems. You can mitigate these kinds of problems by having clear expectations and responsibilities laid out. Everyone should know basic security rules and know who is responsible for locking up the property at the end of the workday.

 

Skill-Based Errors

In small-to-medium-sized businesses, people often make skill-based errors. This is when someone performs a task incorrectly, potentially causing a security risk. For example, a worker might fail to correctly set up antivirus software on their workstation. Or they might turn off the antivirus protection entirely. You can minimize these skill-based errors by reducing the control workers have over their workstations. You should have clear administrator privileges set up. This means people won’t be able to tamper with the antivirus software unless they work for the IT department.

Skill-based errors don’t necessarily happen because an employee is incompetent. These errors often occur because an employee is tired or distracted. This means you can reduce skill-based mistakes by making sure your workers are not fatigued or overworked.

This type of error can also occur when employees don’t have the correct training or if they’ve been dishonest about their level of experience. As an employer, you must always ensure your workers have the skills they need to do the job. If your employees’ IT skills are lacking, you should consider training seminars or training courses. Not only will this help protect your company against cyber-attacks, but it will also help your workers develop their skills and become better professionals.

 

Decision-Based Errors

Decision-based errors are another kind of error that could impact business protection. This is when an employee makes a decision that leads to a security issue. For example, someone might open a file that installs ransomware on the company network. Someone could also plug in a USB stick that was infected with a virus.

If you want to reduce decision-based errors in your workplace, you need to prevent people from making poor security decisions. This means your staff will need to understand security risks well. You can do this by having security seminars and a clear security policy in your employee handbook.

Another solution is to have systems in place that prevent risky behavior. For example, you might prevent people from being able to plug in USB sticks or open EXE files.

 

Misdelivery

Misdelivery is a form of human error where someone sends files, documents, or information to the wrong person. This can be a significant problem if your company deals with confidential data.  If misdelivery occurs, you’ll need to disclose the data breach to your customers, which could impact your company’s reputation and lead to less business in the future.

 

You can combat this by ensuring there are clear procedures for working with confidential information and ensuring you are compliant with security standards.

 

Password Problems

Another form of human error relates to passwords. Everyone knows that you need to have unique, strong passwords, but few people put this into practice. In fact, around 56% of people reuse the same password across multiple services.

When people do this with their work account, it introduces a problem. You can’t control what your workers do in their personal lives. If someone is using the same password at home and on their personal accounts, it’s a significant risk. If hackers get into their personal account using their password, it’s possible they will try the password across other services. This will enable hackers to breach your systems.

One of the best ways to deal with this is by having a good password policy. Having mandatory password changes every few months makes it much less likely that people will use the same passwords they use in their personal life.

Another potential solution is using multi-factor authentication. This is when you need both your password and a verification code to log on. When you input your password, a verification code is sent to a second device or service. For example, you might receive the code as a cell phone text message.

This is a great policy as it eliminates a lot of the risk of human error. Even if hackers have an employee’s password, they still can’t break in without the code.

 

Social Engineering

Another way hackers use human error to their advantage is through social engineering. Social engineering is when hackers use clever psychological tricks to manipulate people into compromising their security.

For example, someone might call an employee pretending to be the CEO. If the employee falls for this technique, it’s a serious human error. Social engineering is very prevalent because it exploits well-known weaknesses in human psychology. These attacks often convey a sense of critical urgency. If a situation feels urgent, people are much more likely to make a mistake and compromise on security.

In the last decade, most companies have stepped up their game in terms of cybersecurity. Most companies run robust firewalls and antivirus software, but none of this matters if a hacker uses social engineering techniques. Social engineering techniques are so prevalent in cybercrime that some statistics suggest hackers use social engineering in around 98% of attacks. The only way to protect your company is to make sure your employees understand how these attacks work.

The only real solution here is to have frequent security training. Your employees need to recognize social engineering and have someone they can report suspicious behavior to.

Human error is much more likely if people feel their reports won’t be taken seriously or if they’ll get in trouble for reporting a false positive. Creating a strong security culture in your organization is the best way to reduce human errors.

 

Take the Necessary Steps to Reduce Human Error

To conclude, you need to understand that some level of human error is inevitable. With that said, this article has shown there are many measures you can take to reduce the risk. You can have strong security policies, set up permissions systems, and create a strong security culture.

 

Of course, setting up strong cyber defenses is a very complex task. The world of cybersecurity is constantly changing, and it’s a full-time job in itself to monitor emerging threats.

With this in mind, working with a managed IT services company makes a lot of sense to help safeguard your company. If you want to work with such a company, contact us today and take the first steps in protecting against human error and securing your business.

4 Ways Penetration Testing Can Improve Your IT

You’ve probably heard of penetration testing, but you may not be entirely sure what it is or why your business needs it. Penetration testing is a type of security assessment that simulates a real-world attack on your systems to identify vulnerabilities. It’s one of the best ways to identify potential weaknesses in your system.

This may apply to a local service, a cloud database, or any other type of technology you use. Your system needs to be able to reveal vulnerabilities to be as secure as it can be. You risk intrusion if you haven’t examined your system design for any weak spots. Therefore, the first key advantage of a penetration test is that it makes your system more secure against hackers.

In this blog post, we’ll give you a brief overview of penetration testing and explain why it’s so important for businesses of all sizes. 

 

What is Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing, also known as pen-testing or white-hat hacking, is a type of security assessment in which auditors attempt to exploit vulnerabilities in a system. The goal of penetration testing is to identify weaknesses that could be exploited by malicious attackers. 

A penetration test helps improve your organization’s cybersecurity posture by performing real attacks to simulate what an attacker could do. These attacks will assess the risk of a potential security breach and see how far an attacker could go within your environment.

Good penetration testing should do the following: perform real attacks to test cybersecurity posture, exploit vulnerabilities, report and present findings, and offer guidance and prioritization on items that need to be addressed.

Finding a reputable company to perform these tests is extremely critical. Learn more about how Edge Networks can get you started.

 

How Can Penetration Testing Improve Your IT?

1. Making Vulnerabilities Visible

A penetration test is one of the best ways to identify potential weaknesses in your system.

This may apply to a local service, a cloud database, or any other type of technology you use. Your system needs to be able to reveal vulnerabilities to be as secure as it can be.

 

You risk intrusion if you haven’t examined your system design for any weak spots. Therefore, the first key advantage of a penetration test is that it makes your system more secure against hackers.

 

2. A Genuine Simulation

A penetration test mimics the steps a real hacker might take to access your system.

As a result, it becomes a very realistic test in its construction. Penetration tests have this important advantage because it’s a real way to gauge how secure your system is.

 

The parameters are the same as what a real hacker would use to try to break into your system.

 

3. Improve Compliance and Protect Your Data

Data protection is one of the most crucial security components for modern businesses. You risk future serious breaches if your company and customer data are not secure. This is a vital step in your cybersecurity strategy.

An expert hacker shouldn’t be able to access any of your data, according to a penetration test!

Penetration tests can also help your business with data compliance and regulation.

You can use a pen-test to ensure your system’s design complies with all applicable laws and regulations. Penetration testers will highlight these issues if it isn’t.

Then, you’re able to address these issues to guarantee that your company continues to operate in full compliance with all applicable laws.

 

4. Fortifies Trust In Your Business

Customers will feel more comfortable doing business with you when you demonstrate your integrity in this manner. They’ll think you’re acting more professionally because of your penetration tests. 

 

As a result, customers are likelier to stick with your business or brand because they will feel your processes and systems are rigid and secure.

This is where penetration tests come in handy, as they can help you get more clients. All you need to do is show your customers that you’re working hard to fix any problems and provide the best service possible.

 

Success With Penetration Testing

Penetration tests can benefit your business and your IT department or team. Whether you use an internal resource or managed IT solutions externally, both need to be made aware of the results of your penetration test. This way, you can ensure that your IT improves as a result of anything your vulnerability tests show. 

We hope this blog post has given you a better understanding of what penetration testing is and why it’s so important for businesses. If you have any questions about penetration testing or would like to schedule a test for your business, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

How to Choose the Right VPN Service For Your Business

Your location, IP address, browsing history, and device type are some of the things you leave while browsing the world wide web. A VPN can help encrypt your internet connection, preventing anyone from eavesdropping on the data you share online or which website you visit every day. VPNs are an invaluable tool for everyone, especially business owners. You can securely access sensitive business information even when connected to public Wi-Fi—no need to worry about cyber criminals when connected to the VPN service.

In this article, we’ll talk about what a VPN is, how to use it, what the benefits are, and how to choose the right VPN service for you. Feel free to reach out to us anytime if you have questions or clarifications.

 

What is a VPN?

Virtual private networks or VPNs are a service that protects your privacy and internet connection. It protects your data by hiding your IP address, allowing you to access hotspots and public Wi-Fi safely. When browsing through a VPN service, no one can see which website you visited or what else you are doing online.

You need a VPN when you regularly use public Wi-Fi or when you view sensitive business information. When connected to the VPN service, you can browse in full privacy without worrying about cybercriminals. 

No one wants to be tracked or watched online. With a VPN, you get full security. There’s no need to worry about data breaches because your traffic is encrypted. 

 

How Does a VPN Service Work?

When you visit a website, the internet service provider receives this request and takes you to your website destination. With a VPN service, instead of being taken directly to the website, it redirects your traffic to the VPN server first and secures your connection before sending you to your destination. 

With a client-based VPN, you only need to log in and connect. Connecting to the service authenticates your computer or mobile device, and the server applies an encryption protocol to protect all data you send and receive.

The VPN service will create an encrypted tunnel to fully secure the data traveling in this “tunnel”. It secures your data by wrapping it in an outer container, which is encrypted through encapsulation. The outer container is removed through the decryption process when the data arrives. 

 

What are the Benefits of Using a VPN Service?

Secures Your Network

Without a VPN, a website or an application can track your online activity and target you with ads using the data they collect from your activities. You may notice several ads popping up when you don’t use a VPN. The most effective way to hide your online activities and secure your network is through a VPN. 

A VPN can stop a software or a website from accessing online information and using this to their advantage. It keeps the online information you send and receive anonymous and secure. 

 

Prevents Data and Bandwidth Throttling

Because using a VPN secures your network, internet service providers cannot track how much data you are using when browsing or downloading applications on the internet. This comes in handy if your data is limited each month. You don’t have to worry about slow internet services when you consume a specific amount of data.

With a VPN, you can avoid a data cap, helping you work faster and save money. This tool is especially useful to small business owners on the road that use smart devices to access business-related activities online.

When you’re using Wi-Fi, the internet service providers can’t track the data used by your device, preventing them from slowing down your connection when you reach the cap.

 

Hides Private Information

The last thing you want is to have your private information exposed online. Without protection, hackers can gain access to this sensitive information and use them to gain access to your bank accounts or credit card information. Some hackers may attempt to impersonate you. 

It’s possible to hide your private information online with a VPN. This encrypts all your online communication, making them unreadable to cyber criminals. 

 

Allows Access to Restricted Websites

Some websites don’t allow visitors from certain countries or let them use all of their services. It’s usually common to streaming devices that only serve specific locations. They can block your access with your IP address that indicates your location. With a VPN, you will have another IP address, allowing you to access any website. 

If some of your employees need full access to websites with restrictions, it’s entirely possible with VPN. 

 

Saves You Money on Long-Distance Phone Fees

If you make several phone calls overseas, having a VPN can help you save money. There is no need to connect to the remote access servers when you have the VPN. Simply connect it to your local ISP access point to save more money. 

 

Affordable

Compared to the cost of expanding your cybersecurity department, using a VPN service is more cost-effective. If you’re a business owner, you can significantly reduce your cost by using a VPN. On average, they can cost you $50 – $100 per year. The exact amount depends on what is offered by the VPN service. 

To maximize the benefits of having a VPN, consider investing in a good VPN router. With the router installed, your employees can easily use the VPN service. If you’re looking for the cheapest option for expanding your IT department, we suggest buying a VPN service. 

 

Low Maintenance

One of the good things about having a VPN service is that it’s not difficult to set up, and no high maintenance costs are involved. All you need is a VPN subscription, and you can use the service immediately. 

 

Are There Disadvantages to Using a VPN Service?

Nothing is perfect, not even the VPN. While they are extremely beneficial to businesses, especially when privacy is concerned, it does have their cons. 

Reduced Internet Speed

The encryption process in securing your data may take time and could affect your online experience. It’s important to choose the right VPN service, to ensure that it doesn’t slow down your internet connection. 

 

It Can Be Complex

Depending on who is providing the VPN service, it can be difficult to understand, especially for those who haven’t used the service in the past. Look for a VPN service that offers easy to use tool for connecting to the network. 

 

How to Choose the Right VPN Service

Privacy

When choosing a VPN service, look for one that offers the most private VPN. One feature you need to look out for is the encryption protocol. Remember, every protocol defines how the app and server connect with the devices when encrypting data. Choose a service that offers the best privacy.

 

Compatibility

If you use a computer, a tablet, and your mobile phone with the VPN, make sure that the service supports all of your devices. Also, make sure that it offers a good connection as that can affect your online experience. Before choosing a VPN, check all of its features first before purchasing. Make sure that it’s suitable to what your business needs. 

When you’re a small business owner without experience choosing a VPN service, we suggest hiring a professional to help you make an informed decision. One thing to keep in mind: always prioritize your privacy first.

 

Customer Support

Not all business owners have an IT department that can help resolve technical issues. So it would help to have a VPN service provider that offers 24/7 support. Check their websites for FAQs or live chat sections, as these indicate how dedicated they are to providing exceptional service to their clients. 

 

Ease of Use

The last thing you want in a VPN service is complex configurations. You can avoid this by choosing a provider that offers an easy-to-use tool for encrypting your sensitive business data. Look for a user-friendly VPN service, especially when you are not tech-savvy. 

 

Accessibility and Speed

A slow connection is frustrating. While a VPN usually slows down your connection, some providers have a resolution to help you enjoy faster and more reliable internet connectivity. 

In addition to speed, make sure that you can access your VPN service from anywhere. Check which country the VPN is based and how the regulation might impact privacy.

 

Do You Need More Help?

Edge Networks is an IT company dedicated to helping your business with cybersecurity. Let us know if your business needs help with Cloud Management, Data Recovery, IT Risk Assessment, or Server and Network Management. We are more than happy to help. Get in touch with us today!