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Overcoming Alert Fatigue

The major challenge in cybersecurity protection isn’t the lack of capable tools. It’s actually the human element. Cybersecurity teams experience alert fatigue, which hinders their ability to deal with threats.

Modern threat protection solutions generate many alerts, but not all received alerts pose threats. According to a study by McAfee, over 40% of IT experts say the majority of alerts lack actionable insights. Differentiating between the real threats and false ones can be a challenge.

The overwhelming number of alerts cause ‘alert fatigue,’ something that many IT personnel find hard to cope with. This is why many alerts end up being ignored.

Why Do IT Security Professionals Ignore Alerts?

With enterprises recording over 2 billion transactions monthly, lots of unnecessary alerts occur in the process. This huge number of alerts tend to be overwhelming. Due to a large number of false positives, 31.9% of IT experts said that the high frequency of alerts lead to some of them being ignored, according to McAfee.

While many of the alerts may be benign, ignoring them can be detrimental to any business. A 2014 data breach at Target cost $252 million. The IT personnel admitted to having seen the alert, but they ignored it because of the large number of false alerts.

How to Overcome Alert Fatigue

In a 2020 survey, 99% of IT professionals complained that high volumes of alerts made work harder. These alarming statistics show that despite having high-end solutions, your IT environment isn’t secure yet. As long security professionals experience alert fatigue, they’ll always ignore some alerts.

Successful cyber attacks and data breaches can lead to a diminished brand reputation, loss of customers, and huge financial losses. Overcoming alert fatigue is an important aspect of your security. Here are a few ways to do it.

Automating the Security Stack

To effectively minimize the risk of ignored alerts, you should look for automated solutions. They provide real-time analysis of security threats and help differentiate between high- and low-risk alerts. With automated solutions, it will be easier to detect and solve threats in real-time.

66% of teams that use high levels of automation in their IT resolve threats the same day. Those with low levels of automation find it hard to deal with security threats. 94% of IT teams say automation is the best method when faced with high-frequency alerts. 

Cloud Monitoring

Since most of the transactions that send alerts are in the cloud, there is a need for real-time cloud monitoring. As more businesses adopt cloud services and applications, more hackers will seek to occupy that gap.

With cloud monitoring, it’s easier to detect threats that might lead to attacks. You can easily detect the source of the attack, contain the damage, and prepare for similar attacks in the future.

Follow a Security Framework

A cybersecurity framework acts as the blueprint to a safe business. Depending on your business, you should have a security framework for data protection and compliance. At ISG, we follow the NIST Security Framework, which consists of 5 elements:

  • Identification

The first step should be to identify the potential risk facing your business. This involves classifying risks from high to low.

  • Detection

You should always monitor your systems so you can detect any vulnerabilities and threats.

  • Protection

You need to invest in the right protective technologies. This includes system patching and employee training.

  • Response

How do you respond to threats? Ideally, you should have a plan to evaluate and mitigate security breaches and a way to communicate with customers and staff.

  • Recovery

After an event, you’ll need to build your business back up with a recovery plan, including contingency plans.

Working With an IT Managed Service Provider to Overcome Alert Fatigue

Today’s attackers are smart, capable, and adaptable. That’s why, even with high-end solutions, detecting threats is a challenge. 

There are many tools that should be a part of your multi-layered cybersecurity approach, but they aren’t always enough on their own. You shouldn’t neglect the human element of cybersecurity.

If you’re concerned about alert fatigue with your IT team, or your cybersecurity posture in general, consider consulting with our IT professionals. We can help you identify where your systems and security can be strengthened and how to solve any IT problems you may be facing, including alert fatigue.

The Role of Firewalls in Defending Your Data

A firewall is an essential part of your cybersecurity. It serves an integral part in your organization’s defense against threats and cyber attacks.

A firewall protects many vulnerable programs on your systems. It forms one of the crucial layers in a company’s layered security strategy. If you want a layered security architecture, you need a stable firewall.

Besides the firewall, your layered security should also include the following;

  • Regular assessments
  • Endpoint protection
  • Employee training and awareness
  • Web and email filtering
  • User access control
  • Patch management
  • Data backups

These elements constitute multi-layer cybersecurity. With these multiple security layers, your risk of a security breach is minimized.

What is a Firewall?

A firewall is a security firmware or software that forms a barrier between networks to allow and block certain traffic. It inspects traffic so that it can block threats that might harm your systems.

Firewalls are designed to authorize low-risk traffic that might not harm your network. If it detects harmful traffic, either from a virus or a hacker trying to gain entry, it blocks it immediately.

Just like a guard in your gates, a firewall prevents what’s coming in and going out. It uses pre-set commands to filter suspicious and unsecured sources. It guards traffic from a computer’s entry point.

Why is a Firewall Important?

It is vital to have a stable and reliable firewall in your company’s network. It plays a crucial role in protecting it from intruders. Ideally, it acts as a guard to your perimeter, performing the following tasks:

Preventing Hacks

With businesses taking a digital approach, hacking activities continue to rise significantly. A firewall defends you from unauthorized connections, potentially from hackers. Firewalls have become an essential part of any company that wants to protect its data. It can deter a hacker from accessing your network entirely.

Monitoring Network Traffic

A firewall monitors traffic at all times to safeguard your network. Your IT team can rely on the information gained from continuous monitoring to create advanced security layers.

Promoting Privacy

Since firewalls proactively keep your network safe, they promote brand reputation. Clients know they can trust your company with their data since all systems are secure and inaccessible by hackers. With a strong firewall, no data can be stolen whatsoever.

Different Types of Firewalls

There are multiple types of firewalls that help block malicious traffic, including proxy service, stateful inspection, and packet filtering. These firewalls limit network entry based on different criteria. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages, which is why firewall technology has produced something more well-rounded: next-generation firewalls.

Next-Generation Firewalls

A next-generation firewall (NGFW) combines all the strengths of past firewall technologies into one tool. This bundle of security measures includes elements such as:

  • Antivirus
  • Intrusion prevention
  • Encrypted traffic inspection
  • Deep packet inspection

NGFWs are more advanced than traditional firewalls and help forge your cybersecurity. They move beyond port/protocol, blocking to a more advanced protection system.

The Benefits of an NGFW  

A NGFW is a threat-focused approach that provides advanced risk detection. It’s the gold standard of firewall protection. If you have not implemented an NGFW, then you are doing your business a disservice.

Advanced Policy Control

Thanks to deep packet inspection, next-generation firewalls enable the use of internet applications that allow more productivity while blocking less desirable applications. Unlike the traditional firewalls that only allow or block traffic, NGFWs deny access to all applications considered insecure.

Content and User Identification

NGFWs monitor and scan content in real-time, so no data can leak. This includes filtering and files and threat identification. Also, these firewalls easily detect specific users responsible for traffic that poses threats.

Firewalls Reinforce a Layered Security Approach

Cybersecurty is crucial in today’s world. Threats are constantly evolving, and defenses must continuously improve to stay ahead. 

Securing your network should be a top priority for all businesses. The best way to remain secure is to implement a layered approach to your cybersecurity

At ISG Technology, we are committed to helping businesses improve their network security. Get in touch with us today to consult with our experts.

7 Habits of Highly Secure Organizations

In today’s economy, businesses must understand and leverage the value of data to remain competitive and appealing. Data has enabled us to create more desirable products and better understand consumers’ behavior, becoming a company’s major asset. 

This content is brought to you in partnership with Aruba Networks

And so, it becomes crucial to implement a bulletproof cybersecurity system to protect such an essential asset. But, data security is much more than that, and implementing organization-wide habits to keep this information secure should be part of any security system.

A recent survey by the Ponemon Institute and HPE identified 7 commonalities in the cybersecurity plans of highly-secure organizations. Jim Morrison, former FBI Computer Scientist and current HPE Distinguished Technologist, presented these principles in a special webinar for ISG Technology, in partnership with the Hewlett Packard Enterprise. The following is a summary of those principles.

1. They Value Security as Part of Digital Transformation

Technology has become an essential aspect of any business’s operations, and without investing in the current digital transformation, your company is likely to become outdated and less competitive quickly. 

However, along with these technological innovations come a few challenges that entrepreneurs can’t ignore. As your company gathers data, it becomes crucial to implement solid security systems. Security can’t be an afterthought. It should be an integral part of a digital transformation plan.

2. They Manage Risk Effectively

This content is brought to you in partnership with Aruba Networks

Proactively and effectively managing the risks inherent in business is an essential component of a successful digital transformation. Throughout the digital transformation process, over 75% of high-performing enterprises work in close collaboration with a risk management team.

A risk management team can offer valuable advice regarding the implication of any initiative you are launching, identifying the areas that carry the highest cybersecurity risk, and can help build security into the design of new projects

3. They Use Security Automation

Human error still represents one of the major risks for any company’s security, despite how advanced our technological innovations have become. Eliminating or reducing manually-operated systems through automation can represent a suitable solution to this issue. 

Automation can play a major role in your security system. The automated system will introduce compliance as code, implement a standard response and access control system, and reduce reliance on the decisions made by an analyst.

4. They Implement a Zero Trust Model

When it comes down to protecting the data of your business, clients, employees, and contractors, you want to always be sure of your security. Implementing a Zero Trust model means you always verify the status of your security.

This is “not because workers are bad,” explained Jim Morrison, HPE Distinguished Technologist. “It’s that workers get distracted.”

HPE’s Silicon Root of Trust is a security measure built in to a server’s silicon. It provides a unique, immutable fingerprint that connects the silicon to the firmware. If the firmware is ever compromised by an attack, the Root of Trust will not allow the server to boot up. It’s the strongest hardware security solution on the market.

5. They Use Machine Learning

Machine learning is among the most revolutionary innovations of our era. Using machine learning in data security will decrease the company’s reliance on human perception and decision making.

Instead, the system itself is to recognize the voice, face, or optical character of whoever is trying to access data. This can help you implement a standard recognition and access system that will nearly eliminate human error.

6. They Purchase Cyber Insurance.

Today, investing in a cyber insurance policy is one of the best ways to protect your company against losses or damages due to data breaches, which can be extremely costly for any business. A cyber insurance policy can cover you in the event of business interruption, cyber-extortion, reputational damage, media liability, and more.

7. They Connect Privacy and Security

It’s crucial to understand that it is not possible to have privacy without a strong security system. Effective cybersecurity reduces the risk of privacy breaches for customers, employees, and partners. It also minimizes human error. Because of this, cybersecurity defenses and privacy measures are tied together. 

Understanding these perspectives on business security can help you find the weaknesses in your own cybersecurity posture. For help implementing the security measures you need, contact us today.

Is physical data destruction completely secure?

Cybersecurity is a paramount issue facing businesses in the digital world. The average costs of a successful cybercrime in 2017 were roughly $1.3 million for large enterprises and $117,000 for small- to medium-sized businesses, according to Kaspersky Lab. These figures include the cost of data theft but do not encompass the additional potential price of a damaged reputation and ensuing legal action. Data also indicates that cyberattacks will become only more expensive and damaging in the coming years.

Defending an organization against cybercrime requires a multi-channel approach. Companies should be open to software solutions, employee training and hardware upgrades whenever necessary. However, another avenue for cybercrime is occasionally overlooked. Physical theft of connected mobile devices, laptops and even desktop computers can lead to an open pathway for cyberattacks. In addition, some businesses simply sell their used electronics without first doing a proper data cleanse.

But can information to completely and permanently removed from a hard drive?

Hard drives are traditional data collection units that can be altered in a number of ways. However, the question is "can data be permanently removed."Hard drives are traditional data collection units that can be altered in a number of ways. However, the question is “can data be permanently removed?”

The levels of data destruction
Deleting data is not as secure as some might assume. In actuality, when information on a computer is “deleted,” the files themselves are not immediately removed. Instead, the pathing to that information is expunged. The data is also designated as open space, so the computer will eventually overwrite it. However, until this rewrite occurs, it is relatively easy for the information to be restored and accessed by any tech-savvy user.

Fortunately for organizations trying to permanently dissolve their data, deletion is only the first step of the process. Lifewire recommended three additional methods to ensure that information remains lost.

First comes software – using a data destruction program on the hard drive. This method has been met with approval from the National Institute of Standards and Technology as a secure way to permanently remove information from a hard drive, according to DestructData. However, drawbacks include resource consumption, as this can be a time-intensive process. In addition, some overwriting tools can miss hidden data that is locked on the hard drive.

The most secure method to completely remove data is degaussing. Hard disk drives operate through magnetic fields, and degaussers alter those waves. The result is a drive that can never be read again. In fact, the computer will not even register it as a hard drive from that moment on. However, the downside in this process is twofold: One, the drive is useless after degaussing. Two, this method can on only hard disk drives. Solid state drives and flash media do not use magnetism in the same way, so a degausser will be ineffective.

The final option is to physically destroy the data drive. While many people think that this task can be done with patience and a hammer, it is unfortunately not that simple. Hard drives can be rebuilt with the right tools and expertise. According to the Computer World, NASA scientists were able to recover data from the charred wreckage of the Columbia shuttle after its disastrous explosion and crash in 2003.

Computers that are simply thrown out can still possess classified data, which can return to haunt the company.

The resiliency of hard drives
In short, it can be difficult to permanently expunge data from a hard drive. This reality is in part why businesses are opting for less internal data centers and more dependency on cloud solutions. According to TechTarget, cloud solutions represent a more secure method of data organization than traditional IT infrastructure.

While data can be safely deleted, the reality is, unless a degausser is used, there is always some chance of information recovery. Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated, and given the expensive nature of dealing with data breaches, it is understandable why the cloud is becoming the preferred solution.

7 critical questions you should ask when choosing a cloud computing provider

There’s no question that cloud computing is on the rise. More and more businesses are turning to cloud computing as their default setting. But with so many options to choose from, how do you select the right provider for your business?

Here are seven critical questions you should ask when choosing a cloud computing provider.

1. What cloud computing services do you provide?

Produced in Partnership with VMWare

There are many different types of cloud services such as a public cloud, private cloud and hybrid cloud. If you already know what type of service you want, your first step is to make sure your potential provider offers that service.

More than likely, though, you know you want to move to the cloud, but aren’t sure which type of service would work best for you. A good cloud computing provider should not only be able to explain the services they offer, but help you to determine which cloud computing services would best meet the needs of your business.

2. How secure is your cloud computing?

Security should be at the top of any list when data and networking is concerned.

Cloud security, just like network security, ensures your data stays safe. Ask potential providers what network and server-level security measures they have in place to protect your data. Security measures to look for include encryption, firewalls, antivirus detection and multifactor user authentication.

3. Where will my data be stored?

Produced in Partnership with VMWare

Since cloud computing involves the storage of data at off-site locations, the physical location and security of those data centers is just as important as online security.

SSAE 16 and SOC 2 Type II certifications are the best indicator that your provider’s products, systems and data are compliant with industry security standards.

4. How will my business be able to access the cloud?

One of the benefits of cloud computing is its flexibility and ease of access. You’ll want you understand how you will be able to access your data on the cloud and how it will integrate into your current work environment.

If your company is poised to grow in the near future, you may also want to ask about scalability and your provider’s ability to meet your growing needs.

5. What is your pricing structure?

Pricing for cloud computing can vary greatly, so make sure you understand how and for what you will be charged.

Ask about upfront costs and the ability to add services as needed. Will services be charged hourly, monthly, semi-annually, or annually?

6. How do you handle regulatory compliance?

Produced in Partnership with VMWare

Understanding the many laws and regulations, such as GDPR, HIPAA, and PCCI, that pertain to the collection and storage of data can be intimidating. That’s why one of the benefits of hiring a cloud computing provider is having security experts take care of regulatory compliance for you.

You’ll want to make sure your provider is constantly working to stay up-to-date on the latest rules and regulations that may affect your data.

7. What customer support services do you offer?

Cloud computing never sleeps and neither should your provider’s technical support. Getting help when you need it is important, so you’ll want to ask your provider if they provide 24-hour technical support, including on holidays.

Ease and availability of reporting problems is also important so ask about phone, email, and live chat support options. You may also want to ask about your provider’s average response and resolution times.

Asking these questions can help you find the right cloud computing provider for your business. And getting the right answers is only a phone call away—call your managed IT services provider to start the process today.

Produced in Partnership with VMWare

Protect your company and your reputation with managed cybersecurity

Although many businesses understand the significance of their compliance obligations, data and privacy compliance laws evolve at such a rate that it’s hard to stay ahead. Below, we go over why compliance is so critical to your business and why a managed cybersecurity solution is the best way to support your compliance and cybersecurity needs.  

The importance of compliance

Compliance is critical for many reasons, but for businesses, there are two key considerations – reputation and financial loss. Typically, compliance breaches have serious financial implications. For example, in the healthcare sector, a breach usually costs an average of $150 per record. When we also consider the likely reputation damage caused by a data breach, the overall cost to the business can be far higher. 

In other words, compliance has never been more important. 

How cybersecurity helps you stay compliant

Cybersecurity boosts your compliance in three key ways. 

Data Encryption 

Encryption is a straightforward form of data security that turns a document into a scrambled, unreadable file. It’s only converted back to its original form when a user enters a password. Encryption helps you preserve data confidentiality when you store files or send emails. 

Network monitoring 

If you monitor your network, you can identify and isolate threats and vulnerabilities before they infiltrate your system. This allows you to protect sensitive data, including medical records, from external threats. 

Phishing and ransomware protection

Phishing emails often look just like authentic emails from trusted organizations. Unfortunately, this is how so many employees unwittingly share sensitive information with fraudsters. Up-to-date cybersecurity can help you identify malicious messages and isolate them, which assists with your compliance obligations. 

If like many companies, you’re worried that complying with your regulatory requirements is too much for you to handle in-house, that’s where managed cybersecurity comes in. 

Why managed cybersecurity is the best option for compliance needs

The truth is that managed cybersecurity saves you time, resources, and reputation damage. In fact, research shows that companies that deployed security automation technologies experienced around half the cost of a breach ($2.65 million average) compared to those without such technologies ($5.16 million average). Here’s why you should opt for managed cybersecurity services (or MSPs) over-relying on your in-house team. 

Expert knowledge 

MSPs are experienced industry specialists who stay ahead of the changes in compliance and privacy law. They understand your compliance obligations and are dedicated to helping you remain compliant at all times.

Dedicated compliance support

MSPs aren’t just industry experts. They’re available 24/7 to support your unique compliance needs. They can monitor your network security around the clock and remedy any system vulnerabilities before there’s a costly data breach.

Backup facilities 

With the support of an MSP, you can remotely store and password-protect sensitive data, and you can restrict employee access to confidential files. This minimizes the risk of an employee negligently – or maliciously – tampering with important records.

Operational efficiency

Essentially, MSPs take the stress out of compliance. They free up your other employees to focus on running the business while they take care of your legal data protection obligations. As a result, you can concentrate on growing your company.

With an MSP’s support, compliance is one less thing to worry about.  

Reach out today 

As cybersecurity becomes ever more challenging, you need IT, specialists, on your side. With managed cybersecurity services, you benefit from the constant support of a dedicated IT team that fully understands your unique cybersecurity needs, all while reducing downtime. For more information on managed cybersecurity, contact us. 

How to find the right cybersecurity provider for you

A cybersecurity provider can help reduce your downtime and minimize your exposure to the growing number of security threats out there. To help you find the right provider for your organization, we’ve broken down what you should look for in a provider – and why having that cybersecurity support is so important. 

Why cybersecurity is important

The importance of cybersecurity can’t be overstated, and every business needs a reliable cybersecurity solution. Why? Because cyberattacks are on the rise – over 61 percent of businesses experienced a cyberattack within the last year, and this statistic is only set to increase. 

Although you may think you can handle your own cybersecurity needs in-house, cyber threats are becoming increasingly more sophisticated, and you’ll need the help of a dedicated security partner to stay ahead of the challenges. 

What a good cybersecurity provider can do for you

The truth is that not all cybersecurity providers are created equal. However, all good providers demonstrate these four key characteristics.

Comprehensive protection  

A good cybersecurity provider actively protects your company against the ever-rising threat of complex phishing and ransomware scams. Phishing attacks account for over 90 percent of data breaches, and a cybersecurity provider should offer comprehensive protection against all such threats.

Service dedication  

Business doesn’t sleep, and neither should your network support. Your security provider should provide constant network monitoring services to detect vulnerabilities and prevent intrusions before they strike. 

Customized, proactive support 

Since cybersecurity threats evolve so frequently, it’s often impossible for in-house IT staff to keep up. Your cybersecurity provider should be dedicated to staying ahead of new and emerging security threats so you can focus on running your business.  

Flexible budget options 

No two businesses have identical cybersecurity needs, which means there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all security model. A good cybersecurity provider works with you to identify your core security needs and offers you a range of services within your budget. 

How to find a cybersecurity provider

Finding the right cybersecurity provider for your unique business needs doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are some tips for finding the right provider today.

Consider your needs

Before looking for a cybersecurity provider, be clear on what you actually need from them. For example, your priorities may include:

  • Cloud and remote security 
  • Privacy law compliance 
  • Network monitoring 
  • Infrastructure upgrades 

When you understand your priorities, it’s easier to find the right cybersecurity provider.

Be honest about your budget

Set out your IT budget and be realistic about what you can afford to spend on cybersecurity services. Good providers offer flexible support plans to suit every budget. 

Ask questions

There’s no such thing as asking too many questions when you’re looking for a cybersecurity provider. Your provider should feel like an extension of your own team, so it’s important that you’re comfortable asking them for support and advice. 

Choose an expert 

For any business, it’s important that you choose a provider with the experience and expertise to handle your unique security needs. Whether you’re subject to complex privacy regulations or you’re looking for comprehensive, remote support, be sure that your provider understands your niche and how to protect your data and assets effectively. 

With a reliable cybersecurity provider, you can easily secure your business data and IT infrastructure in a cost-effective, legally compliant way. For more information on how to devise the right cybersecurity solution for you, contact us today.

Why you should outsource your cybersecurity to professional service providers

Cybercrime can cost the average US organization up to a staggering $13 million per year, according to recent reports. What’s more, even a single cybersecurity incident can cost an SMB over $54,000 in recovery costs. The good news is that there’s a way to protect your business from the financial costs, service disruption, and reputation damage associated with data breaches, and that’s by partnering with a managed services provider (MSP). Below, we break down how managed cybersecurity services work and why partnering with an IT professional is the best way to protect your organization from cyber vulnerabilities. 

How managed cybersecurity works 

Managed cybersecurity means outsourcing the management of your cybersecurity systems and devices to an external service provider. These providers are known as Managed cybersecurity Services Providers (MSSPs) or Managed Services Providers (MSPs). 

MSSPs and MSPs typically offer a wide range of cybersecurity services, including: 

  • Data backup and recovery
  • Intrusion detection and threat monitoring 
  • cybersecurity audits
  • Network monitoring
  • Disaster planning
  • cybersecurity intelligence
  • Incident response and investigations 

These IT professionals are especially helpful to organizations with limited or no in-house IT staff, but every company should consider partnering with them. Here’s why.

Why cybersecurity is so important 

Cybercrime and data breaches are more common now than ever before. One recent study showed that businesses face an average of 145 cybersecurity breaches per year, and this figure is only expected to grow. cybersecurity incidents don’t just cost your company money, either. Other consequences of cybersecurity failures include: 

  • Loss of company reputation
  • Damage to hardware 
  • Irretrievable data loss 
  • Hours, or even days, of downtime 

Can partnering with an IT professional really protect your business from these side effects? The answer is yes. MSPs protect your business from cybersecurity incidents in the following essential ways. 

24/7 support

Hackers work around the clock, and so should your support system. With an IT professional on your side, you’ll have access to round-the-clock IT support and intrusion detection, giving you the confidence you need to get on with running your business while your service provider handles your cybersecurity needs. 

Expertise 

It’s hard to find in-house IT professionals with the up-to-date skills and knowledge they need to protect your business from cybersecurity threats. MSPs and MSSPs have the training, expertise, and experience to protect your company from these evolving threats as and when they arise. 

Compliance management

Highly regulated industries such as finance and healthcare must adhere to strict data protection and cybersecurity regulations. An MSP can help you comply with these regulations, and they’ll alert you to any changes in the law that affect your business. In a constantly evolving regulatory landscape, this support is invaluable. 

Cost savings 

Recovering from downtime costs you time, money, and resources. IT professionals save you money by reducing your exposure to these costs – all for a predictable fee that fits in with your annual IT budget.  

Training 

There’s no substitute for well-trained staff, given that employee negligence is a leading cause of data breaches and cybersecurity incidents. A cybersecurity services provider can help to prevent employee error and negligence by making your personnel aware of the latest threats and how to avoid them. 

Choose a partner today

Partnering with an IT professional or MSP drastically reduces your exposure to hackers and minimizes the risk of data loss and corruption. For more information on what an MSP can do for you and your business and why it’s so important to protect your organization from cybercrime, contact us today.

6 tips for setting cybersecurity goals for your business

Cybersecurity is a major issue for every business, whether you’re running a multinational organization or a local company. Here’s what you need to know about why prioritizing cybersecurity is so important – and some advice on developing a cybersecurity strategy that aligns with your company’s needs and your IT budget. 

Why cybersecurity is so important 

When it comes to cybersecurity, there’s no such thing as being too careful. Cybercrime is rapidly on the rise, and the average cost of a security breach has shot up to over $13 million in recent years. 

What’s more, antivirus and antimalware programs aren’t enough anymore to protect your company from increasingly sophisticated threats. Statistics show that 52% of breaches featured hacking, 28% involved malware and roughly 33% included phishing or social engineering, respectively.

If you plan on keeping your business secure, there are a few steps to follow. 

1) Know what you need from your cybersecurity 

Every viable cybersecurity strategy is designed to achieve two things. Firstly, it should protect your business from external threats. Secondly, it should minimize the risk of negligent employees exposing your sensitive data to hackers. 

To get started, it’s a good idea to download or create a planning tool. This will allow you to note down your cybersecurity goals and how you plan on achieving them. You can revise this plan if necessary and set new goals as you go along.  

2) Establish threats and risks

Make sure you understand the impact of any disaster, be it a security breach or a malware infection, on your operations. Prepare for as many eventualities as possible and review the threats to your business regularly. 

3) Set targets for maintenance 

Update your antivirus and antispyware software regularly, and set up your systems so they automatically download crucial patches when they become available. Maintain your hardware and replace or repair faulty equipment when necessary. 

Make it a goal to change passwords regularly and always monitor access to your wireless network for any suspicious activity.   

4) Schedule backups 

Make sure that you back up important data and system processes at regular intervals. Automate these backups where possible so you don’t forget about them.   

First, decide how frequently you’ll back up data and where you’ll store it, such as in the cloud or in hard copy. Make sure you comply with privacy laws and other sector-specific regulations. 

5) Don’t forget employee training

Your employees are key to ensuring that your cybersecurity strategy is a success. Set training goals and review employee understanding of cybersecurity issues on a semi-regular basis. 

When setting training goals, set out a manageable schedule for cybersecurity training and a plan for monitoring adherence to cybersecurity processes. 

6) Seek expert advice

IT managed services providers are best placed to help you devise effective cybersecurity goals that suit your business needs and your budget. If you’re unsure how to get started on a cybersecurity strategy, or if you’re worried that your current strategy isn’t working, it’s a good idea to seek professional help.  

Staying protected

Although every business is unique, there are some cybersecurity goals common to them all. Ultimately, keeping company data secure from evolving and existing threats should be a priority for every business going forward. For more information on developing a cybersecurity strategy that suits your business, contact us today.

How to leverage NIST 800 when building your company’s cybersecurity framework

If you’re reading this, there’s a chance you’ve already heard of NIST 800. As a set of guidelines that’s been established by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, NIST 800 outlines the best practices for identifying and responding to cyberattacks. It also outlines the way your organization can prevent them.

Although NIST 800’s guidelines are a must for businesses seeking out government contracts, they can prove useful to any organization. When it comes to cybersecurity, you have a lot of options. The ways you can protect your servers, emails, and mobile devices are seemingly endless. You may hear of one organization finding success with a particular method and assume that it’s right for you. But, why would you take chances when you could follow the carefully-researched recommendations outlined by NIST 800?

If NIST 800 is something you’ve yet to seriously consider, it’s worth learning more about how it should influence your cybersecurity framework.

Introducing NIST 800 and its functions

The NIST 800 framework focuses on five key areas. Each one should form a part of your cybersecurity policy.

Identify

Before you begin protecting yourself against cybersecurity risks, you need to identify what they are. For example, most businesses are at risk of a ransomware attack. These attacks account for 15% of cyberattacks in the United States. However, your organization may also face risks that are unique to its industry. For example, if you work in medicine, you’re at risk of losing sensitive patient information. 

Detect

The detect element involves introducing ways of detecting potential threats and vulnerabilities. For example, you could use continuous monitoring to look for real-time threats. You could also add vulnerability assessments to look for flaws in your system.

Protect

Once you know what risks your business faces, you need to protect it against them. This could include measures such as access control, firewalls, antimalware software, and more. You may also want to consider employee education. Around 95% of cybersecurity breaches involve human error. As such, employee education should become a big part of your framework.

Respond

Even with the best cybersecurity frameworks available, events will happen. Because of this, you need to know how you’ll respond to various events. The NIST 800 framework recommends creating response strategies for the different risks you face. If you do have to launch a response, assess how it went and identify whether you can do better next time. Having such analytics will make your cybersecurity framework stronger.

Recover

Recovery follows your response. Your response will outline how you respond to an event, whereas recovery identifies how you will build your business back up. For example, laptops and PCs have a failure rate of 0.5% to 3%. Not only do you need to know how you’ll respond to such a failure, you need to know how you’ll carry on once it happens. This may involve looking at a number of contingency plans.

Cybersecurity essentials that help you remain NIST compliant

Certain cybersecurity essentials will help you remain NIST compliant. Even if you’re not using the NIST 800 framework to secure a contract, embracing these essentials will go a long way in strengthening your own policies.

Software updates

Did you know that 80% of organizations that experienced a data breach could have prevented it by updating their software? Software updates don’t just exist to make everything run a little smoother. When software developers release new programs, they do so in the knowledge that some vulnerabilities won’t become obvious until later. When those vulnerabilities do become obvious, they release updates that are essential for patching over them.

By failing to update your software, you’re giving cybercriminals an in. They know which types of software require updates, as that information is very public and available to them. If they find that you’re using an older version of your software, they’ll use it as a way to breach your barriers. 

Antivirus and antimalware programs

It should go without saying that antivirus and antimalware programs are essential. However, they’re still worth mentioning, as you need to go beyond the absolute basics. 

There are lots of antivirus programs out there to choose from, but not all antivirus programs are made equal. NIST 800 outlines some of the minimum standards you should aim for. As the framework is necessary for securing defense contracts, it’s safe to assume that their minimum standards are quite high.

Around 350,000 types of malware are identified every day. That means your defenses against it need to be top-notch. With that statistic in mind, it’s no wonder NIST 800 doesn’t leave anything to chance on the malware front. By using it as inspiration for your own defenses, you could significantly reduce the likelihood of an attack affecting you.

Access control policies

Access control policies identify who can have access to various types of information. They also identify how you can access that information. 

When it comes to who can access different types of information, you should only grant access on a need to know basis. If it isn’t necessary for someone to access data for the purpose of their job, they shouldn’t access it at all. Should someone with access move into a different role, you should always review their access to see whether it’s still necessary. Finally, you also need to discuss how you will revoke someone’s access once they’ve left your organization.

As for how you and your employees can access different types of information, pay particularly close attention to mobile devices. Around 87% of businesses depend on Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies. If yours is one of them, make sure it’s safe to access various types of data using each device and outline how your employees can do so.

Informative sources

NIST 800 recommends creating manuals and guidelines for your employees. In doing so, you empower them to take responsibility for themselves when it comes to cybersecurity. When they become more responsible, your employees could become one of your biggest assets.

If you think back to the previous statistics about human error’s involvement in cybersecurity events, empowering your employees is incredibly important. Although providing them with manuals won’t prevent all human-error-related events, it does give them a point of reference. In moments of confusion, having a manual to turn to could stop employees from guessing their way through processes, which in turn could prevent mistakes.

Profiles

NIST 800 also recommends creating a profile for your organization. That profile will outline its unique requirements in terms of cybersecurity. It will also identify the resources available to tackle such risks and their order of priority.

Your profile is designed to identify the biggest risks at your organization and how you’ll tackle them. It stops you from tackling risks blindly, which is important as some require more attention than others. Always remember that your profile can change over time. Factors that could influence it include the new technologies you adopt and how you change your business practices.


Whether NIST 800 is necessary for your cybersecurity strategy or not, you can use it to influence your framework. The level of detail it goes into is designed to protect government-level contracts. Your clients and customers will likely appreciate the same degree of attention to detail, and you could prevent a significant cybersecurity breach.

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