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The ONE Thing You Must Do to Keep Your Cloud Data Secure

The ONE Thing You Must Do to Keep Your Cloud Data Secure

What your business can do to ensure your sensitive cloud data is never stolen or breached

Do you really know if your cloud data is secure in your business? Especially during a time of crisis like the COVID pandemic, while Hackers and cyber criminals are increasingly trying to breach business’ IT systems, we must not panic, but also be prepared!

Cloud data storage is becoming a massive industry in this country, and many businesses and other institutions are putting their data into the cloud. Some of this data is pretty harmless.

Other stuff — like hospital records, banking information, or company payrolls — are prime targets for bad actors or cyber criminals. Is the cloud storage trade-off worth the risk? In an answer- yes it is. This falls under IT security as well of course and you can learn more about how to ensure your IT security is top notch in our recent blog post.

However, as a business owner or manager, you must be proactive in ensuring you and your employees do all possible to ensure that your cloud data is secure. More importantly, your IT provider or in-house IT guy must be but encrypting your sensitive data.

Where is my company’s data actually being stored or managed?

Every cloud storage company you talk to will claim to take top-of-the-line security measures on behalf of your data. But that, in a nutshell, highlights the problem with cloud storage. Your data is entrusted to a third party for safekeeping. It’s possible that they’d do everything in their power to safeguard your information.

But bad things, like ransomware, phishing, or just plain going out of business, do happen. And when they happen, it’s not the cloud storage company whose data is on the line; it’s yours.

Even if that doesn’t occur, let’s be honest. Most of the major cloud storage companies are based in the United States, the U.K., Ireland or France, where they could be subject to NSA snooping (or questionably legal surveillance from any other government entity).

Despite the best efforts of many storage companies to prevent government intrusion, your data could still be at risk, even when it’s locked up tight.

Why is encryption so important in cloud data storage?

This brings us back to encryption, which is the hands-down best way to protect your data, period. It’s just like locking sensitive data in a box, with a password needed to reopen it. Even if someone gets ahold of the box, if they don’t have the password, there’s nothing they can do with it. You can encrypt data yourself with free tools.

There are a lot of encryption tools out there and you’ll want to make sure that you have the right one for your specific needs. If you ever need a recommendation, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask! We’ll be happy to provide you with the specific recommendation (free or paid) that fits your needs.

In addition, most cloud storage companies protect your data with their own encryption, but this isn’t as secure as encrypting your own information. That’s because the cloud storage company has the encrypted data in its possession, but it also has the keys to that data.

If someone can get in, they can probably get the information they want. And a disgruntled employee — or just a hapless one — can also provide hackers access to the system through good old-fashioned human engineering.

Is it really important for your IT Provider to encrypt your cloud data?

If the cloud storage company is compromised (and it happens quite often), will your data be secured or unsecured? Well, if you’re encrypting your own data before uploading it, then the bad actors will open up the safe to find … a bunch of locked boxes. Pretty frustrating, right?

On the other hand, if you’ve trusted the cloud storage company to take care of everything, you’re going to have a bad day.

As you can tell, it makes sense to have your IT guy encrypt everything that gets put on the cloud before it gets there. But remember, just as your cloud storage provider is vulnerable, you can be vulnerable as well.

It’s less likely that bad actors will target your company specifically, but if they want your data bad enough, they’ll go to great lengths to get it.

What’s the most likely way Hackers can actually get access to my data and how a good IT Provider should stop this?

Many people have a misconception that these criminals will just use a magic program to crack your encrypted files.

Decryption does exist, but it requires a lot of time and processing power. It’s far more likely that hackers will target your email or other aspects of your system and try to find out the encryption codes that way.

And never forget that people are the weakest part of your IT security. Educate employees so they aren’t vulnerable to phishing scams, downloading questionable software, and visiting the wrong websites.

Present a “hard target” when it comes to your cloud storage, and seriously, encrypt your data before you put it online. If your IT guy isn’t doing that already, you need a new one.

If you want to talk to us about cloud data storage and security and need any advice on how you should be managing, let us help you out.

We are always happy to help businesses out and give free, expert advice where we can to help you plan and keep your systems safe & secure! Schedule your Free support and discovery call today with our in-house IT Security Expert & MD, Danny Barr. 

Protect Your Business From IT Security Threats

Protect Your Business From IT Security Threats

Top Ways to Protect Your Business From IT Security Risks during the COVID-19 Crisis

 

During the current crisis caused by COVID-19, IT Security has never been more important to your business. Today, cyber crime is more than a potential threat facing your business. It’s an unavoidable force of nature and has became ever worse due to the COVID-19 crisis.

It’s like preparing for hurricanes, earthquakes or any type of natural or man-made disaster that could create business survival and growth issues. It is the same thing with a digital cyber-event.For many of us, it’s easy to imagine these kinds of things happening to someone else and not us. The problem is that cyber criminals go after everyone ans especially now in a time of crisis.

IT security will be an area perhaps overlooked now with so many remote workers in Ireland and globally.

Hackers and cyber criminals will find ever more opportunities to breach IT security with home networks being more easy to circumvent and even lack of strong antivirus software, firewall or lack of IT Administrator control over downloads from home laptops, encryption or 2 factor authentication. To name but a few overlooked security measures for remote working.  Cyber criminals cast a wide net because that gets results through relaxed or a lack of IT security policies during a crisis like COVID-19.

How seriously do I need to take the so called IT security threat during COVID-19?

 

Our team at Cinnte believes you should be taking this very seriously. We work closely with tech companies like Google & Microsoft who advise and research trends and keep up to date with their findings.

Indeed senior sources at Microsoft have said in recent times including Roger Grimes, that eventually every business will be hacked &  that every company is completely and utterly owned by a nefarious hacker or easily could be.

Irish SME owners and senior management in Ireland might imagine that they are immune from cyber attacks or IT security breaches. This is a wrong assumption to have, however. You may be if the view that, ‘we don’t have enough cash to justify some faceless hacker’s effort.’ We would all be be wrong to think this way.

The reality is around half of cyber-attacks go after small businesses. These don’t really get reported by the media. They’re not as flashy as a cyber-attack against a big bank or retailer. But it’s the attacks against small businesses that do the most damage. One 2016 study found that 60% of small businesses hit with a cyber-attack closed within six months.

 

What proactive cost effective things can I do as a business decision maker to keep my company’s data secure during the COVID-19 crisis & beyond?

 

Thankfully, it’s not all bad news. While some business owners have no clue what cyber security they have in place, others are looking for ways to shore up their businesses. There are steps you can take to keep the bad guys out.

Two of the best ways to do that are to simply keep all your software up-to-date and keep your team educated about the threats.

The two most likely reasons you will get exploited are due to unpatched software or a social engineering event where someone is tricked into installing something they shouldn’t that may look legit but is actually ransomeware.

How can you keep your software up-to-date?

You can actually automate a lot of it. There are several easy-to-use tools built just for this to increase your IT security.

Many of them also let you manage your software across your entire network from one set location. Say goodbye to jumping around and coordinating updates. Even better, there are many platforms capable of updating themselves. You just want to keep a close eye on them.

Do I need an enhanced company wide policy for IT Security during COVID-19?

 

It’s always a good idea to put strong company policies in place aroudn IT security and common useage. You want to be clear about your security and help inform employees about the dangers posed by malicious files and e-mails, among other things. Take time to educate them on the threats that are out there. And keep the education ongoing, because the threats are ongoing. The bad guys are always looking for new ways to break in.

And don’t forget about accountability. Keep the conversation going and talk to your employees about what they know about cyber security. Some businesses go so far as including cyber security training in their onboarding. Education is everything.

 

What else can I do to improve my IT security that is going to be easy to implement & economical?

 

Finally, you MUST partner with a highly trained, security-focused managed service provider or other Managed Services IT provider.

They must be dedicated to keeping you protected from these constant threats. Some businesses try to do it on their own only to realize they don’t have the resources. Others think they need an entire in-house IT team to handle all of these threats.

But the fact is, by outsourcing the work, you save money while keeping out the bad guys optimizing key parts of your network and software. It’s a win/win. It’s all about being proactive. When you have a group of experts working every day behind the scenes, IT security stays top of mind in your organization, whether you’re thinking about it or not. Really, it’s one less thing you have to stress about.

 

Want to learn more about easy, cost effective IT Security measures and other IT stuff like remote working? Book a free 15 minute Phone Support & Discovery consultation with one of our IT Security Experts today. Just click below and book today to schedule your free call!

Stop Covid-19 Cyber criminals during this pandemic

Stop Covid-19 Cyber criminals during this pandemic

Covid-19 Cyber criminals Are Counting On You Letting Your Guard Down During This Global Pandemic

Covid-19 Cyber criminals all over the world and in Ireland will be counting on businesses and others become less guarded regarding their internet usage and their IT security during the current crisis. The world is slowing down during this world pandemic. The global economy is being hit hard. People are no longer going out. We’re told to quarantine or self-isolate and not engage in groups.

 

Should I really be worried about IT Security at this time & Covid-19 cyber criminals Stealing My Information

You can bet there’s one group that’s not slowing down at all. In fact, they’re probably working overtime while the rest of us have our lives turned upside down. Cyber criminals and hackers know there’s no better time to strike than during a global crisis.

While you are distracted and spending your time trying to make sense of this new normal, they are finding new ways into your IT network so they can steal data and passwords, compromise your clients’ private information and even demand large ransoms.

Cyber criminals are already increasing their illegal activities and this expected to cause €6 biliion damages by 2021 across Europe! But, if history repeats itself, hackers will be out in full force throughout this corona virus scare. We fully expect in the upcoming weeks that headlines will change from stories about COVID-19 to accounts of a frenzy of cyber-attacks on corporations and small businesses by Covid-19 cyber criminals.

Here are solutions you can implement now to help protect your business data, money and productivity

 

1. Be more suspicious of incoming e-mails.

Because people are scared and confused right now, it’s the perfect time for hackers to send e-mails with dangerous malware and viruses. At this moment, your in-box is probably filled with “COVID-19” subject lines and coronavirus-focused e-mails.

Always carefully inspect the e-mail and make sure you know the sender. There’s a .gov e-mail address out there now that’s not legitimate and is spamming in-boxes across the country.

Avoid clicking links in the e-mail unless it’s clear where they go. And you should never download an attachment unless you know who sent it and what it is. Communicate these safeguards to everyone on your team, especially if they are working from home.

 

2. Ensure your work-from-home computers are secure.

Another reason we expect a rise in cyber-attacks during this pandemic is the dramatic increase in employees working from home. Far too many employers won’t think about security as their team starts working at the kitchen table. That’s a dangerous precedent.

First, make sure your employees are not using their home computers or devices when working. Second, ensure your work-at-home computers have a firewall that’s turned on. Finally, your network and data are not truly secure unless your employees utilize a VPN (virtual private network). If you need help in arranging your new work-from-home environment, we would be happy to get your entire team set up. Learn more in our recent blog post about how to work productively from home during this weird time.

3. Improve your password strategy.

During crises like the one we are all facing right now, your passwords could mean the difference between spending your time relearning how to grow your business and trying to recoup finances and private data that’s been hacked. Make a point now to reevaluate your passwords and direct your team to create stronger passwords.

Also, while it’s so convenient to save your passwords in your web browser, it also lessens your security. Because web browsers simply require their own password or PIN to access saved passwords, a skilled hacker can bypass this hurdle. Once they access your saved passwords, they can steal as much as they want – credit card information, customers’ private data and more!

Instead, you should consider a password manager to keep all of your passwords in one place. These password managers feature robust security. A few options are [LastPass, 1Password and Keeper Security Password Manager].

You, your team and your family have enough to concern yourselves with in regards to staying healthy, living a more isolated lifestyle and keeping your business strong. There’s no need to invite in more problems by letting your computer and network security slide during these times.

 If you need additional security advice or would like to have a free phone discovery consultation to discuss how to keep your data safe, simply connect with us today & book in for a 10 to 15 minute chat!

Remote Working During COVID-19 Made Easy

Remote Working During COVID-19 Made Easy

How You Can Quickly Shift To A Remote Working Business Model To Maximize Productivity In Today’s Challenging Climate

As a business owner at the moment, you’re now facing unprecedented challenges including remote working set up and management, to help deal with the corona virus pandemic. You are asked to self-isolate and practice social distancing to “flatten the curve.” You are asked to allow your employees to work from home to reduce possible exposure and slow the spread of COVID-19.
 
These are all reasonable requests. However, as a business owner you also need to maximize productivity, bring in revenue and try to grow your business in these demanding times. How can you accomplish these goals when your office is now likely closed, and you’re concerned about productivity dropping off? That’s where we as an IT Managed Service Provider want to guide you as best we can to get the best out of your employees and your IT resources at this challenging time to drive productivity and get positive outcomes from remote working while staying secure, disaster free and driving growth.

How do I enable remote working from home while managing employees and ensuring operational success?

The answer does lie in setting up your office to function remotely, but if you haven’t done so or are just starting to get this process rolling we can guide you along to ensure success. We recently wrote about IT hacking here and this is something t be mindful of especially with remote working however, there is no need to panic because there are steps to stay secure.

If you’ve never implemented a work-from-home policy before, it may seem like a whole different world. Managing an entirely remote workforce goes far beyond giving your employees a laptop and reminding them to check in every once in a while. After all, there are many factors most business owners haven’t ever had to consider, such as:

  • What technologies do I need?
  • How can my employees work from home without compromising the security of our network?
  • How can I make this new work environment as easy, comfortable and productive as possible?

1. Don’t allow employees to use home computers or devices- Their mindset may be, “Well, I’m working from home so I may as well use my home computer.” This is a dangerous mistake. Our team works hard to ensure your company computers and network are secure and protected from malware, viruses and cyber-attacks. Their home computers and devices could be littered with tons of downloaded music, videos, images and more. Because it’s more exposed, it can invite malware into your network. Rather, provide a company-approved and secured computer/laptop for employees to use at home.
 
2. Secure their WiFi access point. 
Without a secure WiFi access point, you’re essentially leaving a back door open to hackers. That’s because WiFi signals are often broadcast far beyond your employees’ homes and out into streets. Unfortunately drive-by hacking is becoming more popular among cyber-criminals today. A few tips for securing your employees’ WiFi access points:
 

  • Use stronger encryption and a more complex password
  • Hide your network name
  • Use a firewall

 
These security measures are not difficult to set up. But if you have any questions or need assistance, we will be happy to help get your employees set up remotely.

3. Use a two-factor authentication VPN. VPN stands for virtual private network. It’s essentially a private, encrypted tunnel that goes direct to your IT network in your office. Ideally, you’ll want your VPN to support two-factor authentication. This means it’s doubly secure because your employees will need to call in to access the network. If you don’t have a VPN for your employees to use, you can consider other services, such as GoToMyPC or Zoho. While these products are not as secure, at least they keep your home network from being exposed. 

As business owners & directors ourselves, we too are having to pivot and work differently than we ever have before. However, because we have the technology and infrastructure in place, we are still surprisingly productive. 

Can I get this done with mimimal disruption & little or no financial cost?

Yes, you can is the answer to both questions. Our team wants to help your business survive and thrive during today’s unique environment. If you and your IT team need extra hands right now…or solutions to help your employees work SECURELY from home…we have software tools, expert staff and resources we’d like to offer you to keep your business as productive as possible.

Please click the link below if you wish to book a quick 10- to 15-minute call to discuss how we can gave you free IT Support and guidance over the coming weeks.

Alternatively you can email danny@cinnte.ie & let us know what day/time suits you for this quick call to suss where you are regarding your IT in your business so we can plan this together! Stay safe and stay positive!

Top Ways IT Hackers from Get Around Your IT Security

Top Ways IT Hackers from Get Around Your IT Security


 

How much do you know about IT Hackers? Cyber-crime is at an all-time high and IT hackers are setting their sights on small and medium businesses. They are doing this via Firewall and anti-virus weaknesses in particular in the IT security setup. These IT Hackers know the small and medium businesses who are “low hanging fruit.” Don’t be their next victim! This article reveals the most common ways that hackers get in and how to protect yourself today.

IT Hackers Take Advantage Of Poorly Trained Employees-

The #1 vulnerability for business networks are the employees using them. It’s extremely common for an employee to infect an entire network by opening and clicking a phishing e-mail (that’s an e-mail cleverly designed to look like a legitimate e-mail from a web site or vendor you trust). If they don’t know how to spot infected e-mails or online scams, they could compromise your entire network. IT Hackers are very well aware and well equipped to make the most out of gaps when it comes to poor employee IT security practices.

IT Hackers Exploit Device Usage Outside Of Company Business-

You must maintain an Acceptable Use Policy that outlines how employees are permitted to use company-owned PCs, devices, software, Internet access and e-mail. We strongly recommend putting a policy in place that limits the web sites employees can access with work devices and Internet connectivity.

Further, you have to enforce your policy with content-filtering software and firewalls. We can easily set up permissions and rules that will regulate what web sites your employees access and what they do online during company hours and with company-owned devices, giving certain users more “freedom” than others. Learn more about cyber security awareness training for your employees here.

 

IT Hackers Take Advantage Of WEAK Password Policies-

Passwords should be at least 8 characters and contain lowercase and uppercase letters, symbols and at least one number. On a cell phone, requiring a password to be entered will go a long way toward preventing a stolen device from being compromised.

Again, this can be ENFORCED by your network administrator so employees don’t get lazy and choose easy-to-guess passwords, putting your organization at risk. At Cinnte, we highly recommend you have strong, enforceable password policies.

 

They Attack Networks That Are Not Properly Patched With The Latest Security Updates-

New vulnerabilities are frequently found in common software programs you are using, such as Microsoft Office; therefore it’s critical you patch and update your systems frequently. If you’re under a managed IT plan, this can all be automated for you so you don’t have to worry about missing an important update.

They Attack Networks With No Backups Or Simple Single Location Backups- 

Simply having a solid, reliable backup can foil some of the most aggressive (and new) ransomware attacks, where a hacker locks up your files and holds them ransom until you pay a fee. If your files are backed up, you don’t have to pay a crook to get them back. A good backup will also protect you against an employee accidentally (or intentionally!) deleting or overwriting files, natural disasters, fire, water damage, hardware failures and a host of other data-erasing disasters. Again, your backups should be AUTOMATED and monitored; the worst time to test your backup is when you desperately need it to work!

 

They Exploit Networks With Employee Installed Software-

One of the fastest ways cyber-criminals access networks is by duping unsuspecting users to willfully download malicious software by embedding it within downloadable files, games or other “innocent”-looking apps. This can largely be prevented with a good firewall and employee training and monitoring.

 

They Attack Inadequate Firewalls-

A firewall acts as the front-line defense against hackers blocking everything you haven’t specifically allowed to enter (or leave) your computer network. But all firewalls need monitoring and maintenance, just like all devices on your network. This too should be done by your IT person or company as part of their regular, routine maintenance.

 

They Attack Your Devices When You’re Off The Office Network-

It’s not uncommon for hackers to set up fake clones of public WiFi access points to try and get you to connect to THEIR WiFi over the legitimate, safe public one being made available to you. Before connecting, check with an employee of the store or location to verify the name of the WiFi they are providing. Next, NEVER access financial, medical or other sensitive data while on public WiFi. Also, don’t shop online and enter your credit card information unless you’re absolutely certain the connection point you’re on is safe and secure.

 

They Use Phishing E-mails To Fool You Into Thinking That You’re Visiting A Legitimate Web Site-

A phishing e-mail is a bogus e-mail that is carefully designed to look like a legitimate request (or attached file) from a site you trust in an effort to get you to willingly give up your login information to a particular web site or to click and download a virus.

Often these e-mails look 100% legitimate and show up in the form of a PDF (scanned document) or a UPS or Fastway tracking number, bank letter, Facebook alert, bank notification, etc. That’s what makes these so dangerous – they LOOK exactly like a legitimate e-mail.

They Use Social Engineering And Pretend To Be You- 

This is a basic 21st century tactic. Hackers pretend to be you to reset your passwords. In 2009, social engineers posed as Coca-Cola’s CEO, persuading an exec to open an e-mail with software that infiltrated the network. In another scenario, hackers pretended to be a popular online blogger and got Apple to reset the author’s iCloud password.

If you want to learn more about how you can ensure your IT security is as strong as it could be and how you can improve this to ensure your data, network and all IT systems are kept safe, you can learn more here, or you can fill out the form here and we would be happy to send one of our Consultants to you to perform a complimentary IT security assessment.

Don’t wait for hackers or other cyber criminals to take advantage of any vulnerabilities in your system. Help your business to be secure & grow by having the best IT security you could possibly have.

How Office 365 Can Improve Your Business

Are your frustrated by Microsoft Office 365 products and wondering how to get the best of them?

Office 365 can improve your business by saving your business time and money but maybe you didn’t know this? You are perhaps perplexed by how it can work for you and how you can resolve migration and billing issues with Office 365 in the cloud.

If you are confused or think you are not getting the best value or experience for Office 365, let us help you and explain how it can save you time and money in the long run.

As an IT Managed Service Provider supporting Office 365 for many years, our IT Engineers understand that you will have run into some problems. Problems with billing to the point of your account being shut down or limited because of payments not being applied to your account properly.

You may also have had Problems getting a hold of anyone with the expertise and answers you need to licensing problems and questions about compliance. Problems with navigating the complicated licensing of Microsoft Office 365, Azure, server licenses, etc. You can read more about Microsoft Office 365 here also.

 

How we at Cinnte can make Office 365 better for you to use:

We aim to make Office 365 billing, jargon and use for our clients as seamless and easy as possible for end users like yourself who are in business. You can also learn more about how we can help you implement Office 365 for your business here.

We are one of a select number of Microsoft CSPs (cloud solution providers) in Ireland and our role is to always make the process of using Microsoft products as straightforward as it can be for our clients! We have migrated over 700 users to Office 365 for multiple organizations & businesses since 2011 when it was released by Microsoft.

 

Why You Should be Using Office 365 for Business if you are thinking of migration:

  • No upfront buying costs because it takes away the necessity for capital buying and therefore enhances your flow of cash
  • Very flexible insofar as you will be enabled to add more users easily and scale up or downwards based on business needs
  • Boost to your IT and your business from using up to date versions of software, providing access to the latest versions of Microsoft Office applications.
  • You can access your files and data anywhere and at any time through a stable internet connection using Office Web Apps.
  •  Sophisticated technologies such as Teams & SharePoint are more cost effective and accessible than ever before
  • Each separate 365 license allows you to operate 0365 on up to 5 different devices.
  • Security is increased considerably and Microsoft offers a 99.7% backup guarantee which means it is practically impossible that any files will be lost period. It offers advanced threat protection from suspicious users or devices and secure mobile device usage whereby employees use of company emails and other apps can be managed remotely if you have an IT policy and your IT Provider can and should manage this for you.

 

Are you still unsure about Office 365 and why you need your business:

Office 365 migration is a no-brainer for a business owner. There are many advantages for business, whether you need to improve your collaborative abilities, improve productivity, data backup and threat protection as well as better email capabilities, Office 365 does everything i says on the tin.

However, if you want to learn more about the specifics of rolling it out and how to implement it for your business, get in touch with us today and we will be happy to discuss your current Office requirements. Contact us by emailing us today at info@cinnte.ie and one of our team will get back to you ASAP!