What Cyber Security Solutions Does Your Business Actually Need?

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When it comes to most types of business solutions, there are the things that you "need" and the things that you "want." Creating a manageable IT infrastructure often involves paring down your business needs to just the essentials. Unfortunately, the same process can't be applied to cyber security. In terms of cyber security solutions, more is almost always better.

The Different Types of Cyber Security Solutions

Identity and Access Management (IAM). Authentication services are critical for identifying and controlling user roles. By limiting and tracking employee access, you can ensure that potentially malicious users don't gain access to your computer systems. 

Risk and compliance management. Companies today need to concern themselves with regulatory compliance, risk management, and security auditing. Risk and compliance management suites provide a dedicated and specialized resource to ensure this compliance. 

Encryption. Encrypted data is protected data. Even if encrypted data is stolen, it cannot be accessed. Encrypting data when it is being transferred is especially important, as otherwise it might be stolen while in transit.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP). Most companies today rely upon their data for their critical operations. Data Loss Prevention solutions are dedicated to ensuring that data remains available and accurate. 

Unified Threat Management (UTM). A UTM solution often encompasses multiple of the above and below solutions, in a single all-around resource that is designed to both detect and mitigate threats as they come in.

Firewall. Firewalls control incoming and outgoing connections, to better protect the network from potentially malicious actions. 

Antivirus/antimalware solutions. Antivirus and antimalware solutions scan a computer system looking for known threats. Modern solutions are even able to detect previously unknown threats based on their behavior.

Intrusion Detection System (IDS)/Intrusion Prevention System (IPS). These systems work to identify any potentially hostile actions. The faster a company can identify these issues, the faster it can react to them.

Disaster recovery. Companies have to be able to recover from a disaster quickly. Disaster recovery solutions facilitate the process of re-deploying data and requisitioning replacement resources. 

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) mitigation. A DDoS attack remains one of the most popular and devastating attacks on an enterprise, potentially disrupting its entire network or taking down its website. Advanced security solutions can now detect and mitigate DDoS attacks.

Web filtering. 31% of data breaches are actually due to mistakes by employees. Web filtering services protect employees from accidentally accessing potentially harmful services, providing an additional layer of security regardless of their browsing habits. 

What Does Your Business Need?

By now, you're probably wondering which of those security solutions your business actually needs. Unfortunately, the answer is that modern businesses are going to need most, if not all, of the above listed services. And to make it even more of a challenge, not all of these services come bundled together.

This is where a managed service provider can help. MSPs are able to integrate and manage all of your necessary cyber security solutions to ensure that your business doesn't have a gap in its security. Rather than having to worry about whether you have the solutions you need, you can simply leave it up to the professionals. 

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The Top Phishing Trends You Need to Know About

pexels-photo-87322.jpegAbout 1.2 million phishing attacks were reported throughout 2016, making it the worst year in recorded history. But phishing attacks aren't just on the rise: they're also becoming more sophisticated. In order to protect your business from the ever-growing threat of attacks, you need to be aware of the most recent phishing trends.

Whaling Attacks Cost Companies Billions

Through whaling attacks, cyber criminals spoof the credentials of high level executives and utilize these credentials for their own gain. Whaling attacks are becoming popular as more businesses are exposed to social media; cyber criminals can easily see the hierarchy of nearly every business and choose a target to mimic.

Many whaling attacks involve nothing more than a spoofed email header that appears to come from within a company itself. A whaling attack may be something as simple as a request to the accounting department to forward employee 1099s. From there, the phisher has access to critical personally identifiable information.

"Blocking and Filtering" is No Longer Effective

Web filtering services are still an incredibly important component of any security system. However, it cannot protect against advanced phishing tactics. In the past, web filtering services would be able to catch many phishing attempts, as they would have a black list of known URLs that they needed to defend themselves against. 2016 saw the lifecycle of known phishing sites and URLs going down steeply, with 84% of them lasting fewer than 24 hours. It's up to employees, rather than software, to be able to identify these phishing tactics. 

Social Media Phishing Attempts On the Rise

Q4 of 2016 saw a staggering 500% increase in social media phishing attempts. Though primarily targeted towards end users, these phishing attempts can still be concerning for a business. Approximately 77% of employees now use social media while at work, with many of them using their social media accounts to connect to other colleagues. Business-focused social media platforms such as LinkedIn may further increase these risks. And even if an employee's own device is the only one that is compromised, many employees still keep work-related information on their personal systems.

Phishing is, at its core, a social engineering technique: a con. The only way to ensure that your company is protected is to make sure that your employees are well-educated and up to date with the latest phishing trends. CWPS' advanced Security Awareness Training, powered by KnowBe4, puts your employees through comprehensive training sessions and simulated phishing attacks. Through this training, you can ensure that your employees are able to identify and react to phishing threats -- rather than falling victim to them.

Guide to Keeping company's data safe

6 Ways to Get Your Team Onboard With Cyber Security

pexels-photo-289927.jpegIf your team isn't onboard with cyber security, your company is vulnerable. Employees are one of the leading causes of cyber security breach -- not through malice, but through carelessness. But motivating employees to care about something as abstract as cyber security can be a challenge in and of itself. Here are a few tips to get your team onboard.

1. Get the Executives on Board

Inspiration always has to come from the top down. The more devoted executives are to security, the more employees will be; executives must lead by example. This is also useful because executives tend to be targeted by cyber criminals and they tend to be the least prepared.

2. Show Them the Consequences of Poor Security

Employees need to be aware of what could happen if poor security leads to the system being compromised. Educate employees on the potential consequences of poor security: companies regularly lose millions of dollars to a single data breach, and they can suffer from business interruption for weeks. 

3. Create a Company Culture of Security

Cutting corners is something that frequently leads to compromised security. It's important that the company's protocols and procedures are always properly followed, and that the company culture itself encourages strict security measures. When training employees, make sure to emphasize security and to avoid any security short cuts.

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4. Develop Accountability

Employees should understand what areas of security they are responsible for and the consequences of breaking security protocols. By having clearly outlined security requirements, cyber security will become less abstract. Instead, it will become something that they manage in their day-to-day tasks.

5. Create a Written Policy

In order to be onboard with a cyber security policy, employees first need to be clear on them. Written cyber security policies should be revised and reviewed periodically, and employees should go over them to ensure that they understand their requirements. An IT MSP can help you develop a comprehensive policy that covers everything you need.

6. Keep Up With Training

Cyber security is constantly changing. To make sure that your employees are prepared to face modern cyber security challenges, you need to educate them. Regular training is necessary not only to enforce the company's culture of security but also to update employees on any new risks.

As mentioned, training your employees regularly is one of the best ways you can keep them onboard. When they understand the threats and know what to do about them, they are more likely to respond and react quickly. CWPS' Security Awarness Training provides simulations and activities designed to target and motivate the modern employee.

Guide to Keeping company's data safe

Developing a BYOD Policy? Consult Your MSP

pexels-photo-271560.jpegThough it may sound simple, the mechanics of a BYOD policy are actually very complex. Many employees today don't just bring their own devices to work -- they also use their devices for work while on-the-go. This can expose a company to a lot of risk if their BYOD policy isn't well-developed. MSPs are well-versed in developing, managing, and enforcing BYOD policies. Here are just a few areas in which you may want to consult your MSP.

Consider your regulations. Different industries have different regulations related to security and compliance. If you're in an industry that involves HIPAA, for instance, you may have special rules regarding what can and can't be stored on personal devices. This is also true throughout legal industries and other professional organizations. An MSP will be able to direct you to these regulatory standards so that you can avoid a costly audit or risk assessment.

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Define ownership. When your employees download information and use apps, does your company control it or do they? An MSP will be able to help you establish ownership of this information, so that your company has the control that it needs to protect itself. Otherwise what do you do when an employee leaves and walks out the door with company information?

Create an acceptable use policy. Your employees need to know what they can and can't do at work and even with their devices. When they choose to use their devices for work, they make their devices a part of the company's infrastructure. Your MSP can help you craft an acceptable use policy that is not overly restrictive but still protects your business.

Protect your endpoints. A BYOD policy alone can only do so much. Once you've developed your BYOD policy, you also need to invest in endpoint protection. Endpoint protection is important because users can make mistakes -- and, sometimes, a user may not even be at fault. Your MSP can set up protections so that even if a device is lost or stolen, the information on it won't be compromised.

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A BYOD policy is going to inform your employee's interactions with their end point devices for a long time to come. With as many BYOD-related risks as there are, it only makes sense to involve the professionals. An MSP will be able to help you at all levels of your BYOD strategy so that you and your employees can take advantage of the benefits of personal devices without having to expose yourselves to the risks.

Guide to Keeping company's data safe

7 Startling Phishing Attack Statistics

15064575_s.jpgAt this point, you're probably aware that phishing attacks are trending upwards. You may also be aware that many businesses encounter phishing attacks every day -- and that a single phishing attack can cost a company millions of dollars. But phishing attacks have become so ubiquitous that many companies are not taking steps to protect themselves, instead simply counting on their security and their luck. Here are a few startling phishing attack statistics that may change your mind and spur you into action. 

Phishing Attacks Statistics

1. 85% of organizations have suffered from phishing attacks. Phishing attacks are everywhere, and most organizations will encounter them at one point or another. Companies need to be exceptionally vigilant to avoid the worst consequences of a phishing attack. 

2. Phishing is the #1 delivery method for other types of malicious software. A phishing attack isn't just targeted at gaining information. Phishing attacks can also be used to distribute malicious programs, such as ransomware. Email attachments are still the main method of delivery for malicious programs.

3. Phishing increased by 250% in the first quarter of 2016 alone. Phishing isn't just trending upwards -- it's increasing by leaps and bounds. With as many phishing attempts as there now are, it becomes very difficult for employees to avoid them all. 

4. 97% of users are not able to identify a sophisticated phishing email. Many phishing attacks are fairly rudimentary. But when they are targeted appropriately and sent to the right person, they can be virtually unidentifiable.

5. A single spear phishing attack costs an average of $1.6 million. Spear phishing involves a phishing attempt that appears to come from a known and trusted sender. Just one of these attacks could cost a business over $1.5 million.

6. A full third of organizations report that they were victims of whaling. 2016, in particular, saw an increase in emails that spoofed the identity of CEOs and other members of the C-suite. Many of these highly publicized attacks were targeted at getting personal and financial information, such as W2s and bank accounts.

7. Only 3% of users report phishing emails to their management. You could already have been the target of a phishing attempt and not realize it. Most users simply delete suspicious emails and forget they exist -- leaving other users vulnerable.

Phishing attacks don't have to be just a reality that modern corporations have to deal with. You can defend against them -- you just need the right technology and the right training. At CWPS, we offer not only completely managed security solutions, but also comprehensive KnowBe4-powered training, seminars, and simulations.

Guide to Keeping company's data safe

Selecting Hybrid Cloud Solutions? Partner With an MSP

33491176_s.jpgHybrid cloud adoption is undeniably on the rise. This is leading to increasingly complex cloud environments, many of which can be both difficult to implement and to manage. Partnering with an MSP is a simple way to get all of the advantages of hybrid cloud solutions alongside the ease-of-use that managed services can provide.

Current Trends in Hybrid Cloud Computing

Organizations are using both public clouds and private clouds for different applications and resources. Different cloud models may be used for different workloads, while some clouds may be reserved for an organization's most critical assets. Whereas before a company might have a single private cloud and a single public cloud, today they can have multiple clouds of both types. Companies may have a single cloud simply for data while maintaining different clouds for each of their applications. Through the use of these disparate clouds, a hybrid cloud solution can become quite unwieldy.

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Not only are there many moving parts, but these parts are all interacting with each other and integrating separately. Ideally, the goal is to establish a seamless hybrid cloud environment, in which both public clouds and private clouds can work easily together. The system needs to be able to work consistently, even as data is moved from one cloud to another.

Integrating and Establishing a Hybrid Cloud Solution

MSPs are experts in both developing and integrating a hybrid cloud solution. Where a hybrid cloud solution already exists, a managed service provider will be able to offer ways to improve consistency and seamlessness between each cloud solution. Where a hybrid cloud solution hasn't yet been established, an MSP will be able to develop a solution from the ground up that is tailored to the organization's current and future needs. Either way, the MSP will be able to optimize and tighten the hybrid cloud, so that it operates consistently and offers the organization the resources that it requires. MSPs will also be able to secure the hybrid cloud effectively; otherwise, security will be determined by the weakest link.

Many organizations are going to find themselves moving to a hybrid cloud infrastructure if they haven't already. In fact, some organizations may already be using a public and private cloud architecture without proper integration. Through the use of an MSP, better integration can be achieved, and an organization can make better use of its existing resources. For more information about MSPs and their benefits, contact the experts at CWPS today.

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The Top Cyber Security Threats of 2017 (And How an MSP Can Help)

45725783_s.jpgIs your company protected from the top cyber security threats of 2017? Cyber security can change not only by the year but by the hour -- and that can be difficult to keep track of for organizations of any size. An MSP can help fill gaps in your resources and educate your organization on the most prominent threats to your business and your industry.

The Biggest Cyber Security Threats in 2017

Malware

What would happen if your organization's computer system was wiped out tomorrow? Would you be able to contact your customers? Fulfill your orders? Malware -- malicious software that infests your network -- can have many goals. It can be designed to do everything from quietly steal your data to obliterate your entire infrastructure. Either way, you need a comprehensive data protection plan to protect against it. Dealing with malware requires early detection, regular data backups, and thorough network scanning.

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Ransomware

Ransomware is a special type of malware that is designed to take your company's data, encrypt it, and hold it for ransom. Unless you pay the ransom, your company may never get back its information. Luckily, ransomware is also one of the easiest types of attacks to defeat -- if you've planned ahead. Through an MSP, you can ensure that you always have up-to-date copies of your data safely stored and encrypted somewhere else. If your organization is struck by ransomware, you can then re-deploy your data without having to pay any hefty penalties.

IoT

The IoT is introducing a multitude of new threats centered around new hardware that is connected to your corporate network. From printers to smartphones, the "Internet of Things" is growing -- and many of these IoT devices are not secured. To protect against potential intrusions or exploits, your organization has to constantly monitor these devices and keep their firmware up to date.

Internal Threats

But perhaps the most common issue your organization will face are internal threats -- threats that are created by your employees. With a continually expanding workforce and increasing reliance on mobile employees, internal threats are becoming even more prevalent. Internal threats come chiefly from two places:

Malicious employees. Disgruntled employees may seek to take data with them as they leave, or to destroy data before they go. If they have the security permissions to do this -- and data isn't properly backed up and encrypted -- it can be difficult to stop them.

Careless employees. Employees will frequently leave their confidential information, such as login data, in publicly accessible places. Once their accounts have been breached, your organization's data can be breached.

How do you protect your organization from threats that arise from within? An MSP can help. MSPs are able to improve upon your security controls, authentication services, and threat detection, to both minimize and mitigate these threats.

There are undoubtedly many cyber security threats that have emerged throughout 2016 and that will become even more devastating in 2017. An MSP doesn't just provide third-party security and risk assessment services but also can become a valuable partner against new and developing threats.

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3 Ways An IT MSP Can Help You Modernize Your Workplace

64921064_s.jpgWhile today's workplaces may have the ultimate goal of modernization, very few of them are actively working towards it. Companies may also feel pressured by the idea of change or simply not know where to begin when it comes to modernization. But a modern workplace makes sense for today's organizations, especially SMBs -- and they don't need to do it on their own. An IT MSP can help modernize a workplace without significant investment or disruption.

Why Should SMBs Modernize their Workplace?

SMBs need to work with limited resources to grow, expand, and stabilize. Modernizing a workplace makes it easier to leverage existing resources for more substantial results; through technology, a smaller number of employees can have a far greater impact. Modernization makes it possible for SMBs to work with remote employees in addition to working while on the go and provides SMBs the ability to protect their business infrastructure in terms of security.

How Can IT MSPs Help?

Collaboration technology. Cloud collaboration systems such as Cisco Spark or Interactive Intelligence provide a consolidated environment through which employees can communicate, trade ideas, and work. For SMBs, a collaboration system enables them to leverage employees from anywhere in the world, in addition to being able to work from home. An IT MSP can help in integrating, managing, and upgrading this type of technology.

Cloud-based communication platforms. In the modern workplace, calls are routed using Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) solutions instead of traditional call centers. Cloud-based communication platform like 8x8 removes the need for costly hardware and makes it easy to manage and monitor calls. This also provides businesses with a wealth of data, helping them to make better business decisions when it comes to things like customer service and sales.

Mobile security. One way in which businesses have no choice but to modernize is through mobile support. Mobile devices are going to be used for business -- it's simply up to the company whether or not they are going to properly secure their system. MSPs can establish solid mobile security measures, to enable companies to leverage the power of mobile devices without opening themselves up to unnecessary risk.

Modernizing a workplace doesn't have to mean disrupting current operations or spending a substantial number of resources. With the help of a managed service provider, many SMBs can begin integrating modernized operations into their companies today. For more information about the benefits of both modernization and managed service support, download our free eBook today.

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How Managed IT Services Can Help You Execute Your IT Strategy in 2017

53104369_s.jpgIt's a great time to begin assessing your organization's IT Strategy in 2017. Building out an IT strategy framework is a non-trivial task, and it isn't something that you just do once: it's important to keep analyzing and revising your IT strategy as more information becomes available. Managed IT services are an excellent way to ensure the proper execution of your IT strategy, reduce costs, and improve performance.

Your IT Strategy for 2017: How Managed IT Services Help

1. Auditing Your Current Infrastructure and Conducting Risk Assessments

For many businesses, an infrastructure may grow organically. And that means that eventually it may no longer be suited to the organization's current needs. An MSP will come in, audit your existing infrastructure, and identify inefficiencies that need to be removed. An MSP will also be able to conduct risk assessments regarding issues that could arise with your business -- and give you recommendations for dealing with them.

2. Reviewing Current Staff Members, Their Expertise, and Their Skill Gaps

It's important that you utilize your employees effectively. It is a very rare individual who is able to complete all tasks up to the same standards: most employees have certain areas in which they perform better. An MSP can provide a third-party, expert review, regarding your staff members and where they best fit into your organization. Not only will an MSP be able to identify any skill gaps, but they'll also be able to help you fill them. Whether you need to reorganize your staff, acquire additional staff, or train your existing staff members, an MSP will be able to create an action plan that fits into your IT strategy.

3. Aligning Your Resources With Your Desired IT Initiatives

Finally, once an MSP has been able to audit and analyze your current stack, they will be able to align these existing resources with your desired IT initiatives. This will ensure that your organization is moving together in a single direction and that all of your resources are moving towards your organization's core goals.

Altogether, one of the largest benefits of an MSP is the ability to acquire an established, experienced partner. MSPs are able to lend their expertise to you throughout all layers of your organizational strategies, to create better business outcomes and provide critical support. Whether you have a small business, mid-sized business or big business, there's a managed IT service available for you.

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Considering Security as a Service? Partner With a Managed Service Provider

47677359_s.jpgCyber security is becoming a bigger, more complicated issue than many organizations are prepared to handle on their own. In fact, a single data breach can cost an organization up to $4 million in damages. This is where security-as-a-service shines. Security-as-a-service can provide your organization with a sophisticated, easy to deploy security systems at a fraction of the cost. A managed service provider can help you select a security-as-a-service solution and integrate it with your current environment.

1. What is Security as a Service?

Through security-as-a-service, an expert security provider is able to offer their security solutions to an organization on a subscription basis. The security service provider manages the day-to-day operations, upgrades, and troubleshooting of the security system, while the organization is able to reap the benefits of a more advanced security system than they could otherwise support.

2. What are the Advantages of Security as a Service?

Superior knowledge. A security-as-a-service company focuses on a single thing: providing security. They are able to stay current on modern security trends and risks, and react proactively to potential vulnerabilities. When engaging a security-as-a-service provider, an organization is able to engage a wide array of expert specialists within their field. Otherwise they would have to rely on their internal IT team, which will often be comprised of generalists.

Superior resources. Modern security systems don't just require expertise -- they also require resources. A security-as-a-service provider will have the hardware and software resources that an organization would not be able to acquire -- at least, not without them being prohibitively expensive.

Superior savings. Because a security-as-a-service provider operates on a subscription basis, the organization only needs to pay a low, flat rate fee every month. Otherwise the organization would need to invest in on-site security professionals, off-site security consultants, and a physical infrastructure.

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3. Why Choose a Managed Service Provider to Implement Security as a Service?

When it comes to implementing security-as-a-service technology, an organization still needs someone to integrate the system with their own current infrastructure. A managed service provider can help. MSPs can be brought in anytime during the process and will be able to advise the organization on the right security system for them. Not all security-as-a-service systems will support the same types of business or features; an MSP provides a valuable third-party link between the technology and the organization. The only alternative would be to bring in a costly security consultant.

Security-as-a-service is a fantastic solution for any organization currently dealing with security challenges. If you feel that your organization could benefit from security-as-a-service, CWPS can help.

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