Are your employees helping hackers?

Consider what happens when a threat bypasses perimeter defenses and targets an employee—in the form of a malicious email or text, or even a voicemail that might prompt a response with confidential company information.
Your employees need to practice strict and secure cybersecurity habits— not only to thwart digital attacks, but also to prevent someone from simply walking by their desk (in the office or at home) and picking up a device or document that contains sensitive information.
It only takes one incident to completely destroy any goodwill you’ve  established and built with your customer base.  Educating your staff on what it takes to protect proprietary documents and data is critical.
Download our e-book: Cybersecurity Tips for Employees, then contact us to schedule Security Awareness Training  – provided as part of our GUARDIAN Managed Security Services.

IT security must continually be revisited

Data Security Now Requires Consistent, Vigilant Monitoring and Maintenance 

With all of the various threats to your company’s data and factoring in the impact of exploited network or system vulnerabilities, you simply don’t
have the time to do what it takes to keep your business secure.

If you don’t have someone constantly and actively monitoring your network, you may not detect any issues until it’s too late. What if you didn’t know you were hit with ransomware until after the ransom payment window closed, and you couldn’t access any of your files?

The average time to detect malware or criminal
attack is 170 days (Heimdal Security).

Examples of time-consuming, but necessary cybersecurity tasks you can offload include:
Reviewing firewall rules
Updating your firewall
Patching the latest vulnerabilities discovered
Maintaining required controls and standard certifications, such as: ISO, SSAE16, HIPAA, SOX, etc.
Filtering web content
Updating software

Download our CyberSecurity Checklist to see where your company currently stands.

If you have questions about keeping up with your company’s security – whether it’s in-house or outsourced – contact us today. We’ll be glad to begin the conversation with you!

Don’t Risk Your Reputation

Besides the cost and lost productivity that we’ve mentioned in past blog posts, there’s a less obvious consequence from cyber-attacks… your company’s reputation. You’ve probably worked for years to build a solid image and reputable brand. And even though it may not show up on a balance sheet, it’s a key component to your success.

Here are a few ways in which a company’s reputation is affected by a cyber-crime:

  • Current customers lose confidence in your ability to mitigate another breach and may begin to question their loyalty to your business.
  • Potential customers may immediately rule you out as a partner.
  • Employees question the management or leadership’s competence if the situation isn’t handled quickly and efficiently; frustrations mount the longer they’re ‘left in the dark’ and work doesn’t get back to normal.
  • Vendors may seek other partners, wondering if (or when) it will happen again.
  • Competitors notice the weakness and capitalize on the competitive advantage they now have.

And don’t be fooled into thinking that cyber criminals will overlook you because you’re a start-up or located in a rural area or part of lesser-known industry. If you have data – and every business does – you’re a target for them.

If you have questions about your company’s security, contact us today. We’ll be glad to begin the conversation with you!

Cyber security – more facts!

Small and medium-sized businesses are a prime target for attackers because they tend to be easier targets. They’re often less secure and unprepared for attack. (Think about burglars that go after houses where they know no one is home – it’s a similar concept!)

Besides the facts we shared last week, here are a few more facts about cyber crimes and their impact on small and medium-sized businesses:

  • Did you know that 79 percent of small businesses do not have an incident response plan? Without one, you may never be able to fully recover when a security incident becomes a reality. (Nationwide Cyber Security Survey)
  • An IBM and Poneman Institute study found that the estimated global average cost of a data breach was a staggering $3.62 million. (Cost of Data Breach Study)
  • Similarly, 60 percent of companies that lose their data due to an attack or disaster will shut down within six months. (Boston Computing Network)

This information is intended to help make an informed decision about what cyber-security solution is right for your business. Investing in an outsourced cyber-security solution to protect against the expanding threat landscape can help mitigate damages inflicted upon your business. When you’re ready to get serious about IT security, keep our team in mind – we’re here to help!

Today’s cyber-security landscape: a few facts!

In the IT world, cyber-crimes and data breaches are becoming more and more common. And unfortunately, it doesn’t matter what size of business or type of information, everyone is fair game. We’re finding that whether it’s credit card data, client records, vendor contracts, or other private information… even your small business data is worth big money.

Here are a couple tidbits about today’s cyber-security world:

Many small businesses think that they’re not a target!

In fact, 82% of small-medium sized businesses (SMBs) say they’re not targets for attacks as they don’t have anything worth stealing. (Towergate Insurance). However, 55% of SMB respondents have experienced a cyber-attack in the past year, and another 50% have experienced a data breach involving customer and employee information. (2016 State of SMB Cybersecurity)

You may underestimate the value of your information.

It doesn’t always seem like it, but every business has data worth stealing. Did you know that the average cost per lost or stolen record is $158? It may not seem like a lot, but this number grows quickly once these records are stolen by the hundreds. (Cost of Data Breach Study)

Remember… from audits to zero-day threats and everything in between, we’re here to help you navigate today’s security landscape!

Planning for Adversity: Ensuring business communication continuity with the cloud.

Your new marketing campaign was a huge success and your office is receiving the highest level of calls you’ve ever experienced in your growing business.  Your staff is taking live calls, checking voicemail and returning customer inquiries as fast as they can.

Can you imagine the impact if your phone system goes down mid-morning – at the peak of the call volume?

Who knows why disaster strikes?

It could be a clumsy utility worker, a lightening storm or some other unpredictable problem.  Phone system issues are a reality with traditional telecommunications systems and can create enormous business headaches for you.

If your business hasn’t planned for adversity with a disaster or redundancy plan, those kinds of communication failures can significantly disrupt your business from, well, doing business.

What is your communication continuity plan?

In the past, developing a disaster recovery plan meant that your IT staff would need to re-engineer your business phone system so it could be recovered successfully. If you’re a growing business, you likely don’t have that kind of unlimited resources for equipment and infrastructure.

This is where cloud communication can help.

Cloud phone systems have greatly advanced system recovery and business continuity in the face of an outage. They’re hosted virtually, so there’s no need to worry about the types of disastrous scenarios that used to disrupt on-premise or landline phone services.

If a phone line is cut, cloud-based systems are totally unaffected. If Internet service goes down, phone calls can be re-routed to backup cell phone numbers or other business offices.

3 Essential Business Benefits of Switching to the Cloud

As you think about a continuity plan for your phone system, there are several important benefits to the cloud that you want to consider.

  1. Your phones stay up and running – always. Even if a total outage strikes, wiping out your office’s power and Internet service, cloud-based phone systems allow employees to connect from anywhere — their home, a coffee shop, or wherever they can tap into power and a data connection.
  2. Redundancy is built into the architecture in all the applications. This means that the system isolates any issues and the redundancy allows you to troubleshoot during business hours rather than coming in after-hours.
  3. Cloud-based phone systems are completely scalable. If you need to re-direct call flow from one site to another, it’s very easy to do without any disruption in call quality or service.

Simply put, recovery and continuity is a non-issue.

With these benefits in mind, the question, then, is why you wouldn’t switch to the cloud?

Ramping Up: Deploying a Phone System that Works for Remote Employees

What if you were challenged by your CEO to hire a significant number of new employees within the next 6 months?  He would want you to find the right talent that will do the jobs exceptionally well and meet the demands of your growing business.

As a senior manager, you know that finding employees with the right stuff will require you to look outside of your current office locations.  Your goal is to find the right people – location is no longer critical.  And, you need to remain close to the new team with fewer layers and more attentive communication.

Of course each new employee will have a personal smartphone they can use remotely, but you know that business calls are better conducted on a private line that provides more reliable call quality.

You need your team to be efficient and professional as quickly as possible.

How will you ensure you have a phone system for the new remote employees that will enable them to be productive right away?  You know your current on-premise phone system may limit the efficiency and capabilities of your off-site staff.

On-Premise Phone Systems May Limit Remote Employees

Generally, the benefits of on-premise phone systems are about reliability, caller identification, and voicemail functionality. Businesses that have onsite systems want to maintain control of their technology, have concerns about data privacy and often have international locations.

Modern cloud phones systems, on the other hand, allow employees (including remote workers) to:

  • Quickly set up new phone lines
  • Take advantage of click-to-dial technology
  • Implement detailed call analytics
  • Easily link their phone to CRM and ERP applications
  • Get live help directly from their phones without engaging IT

If you’re growing, hiring and building a business that leverages remote staff, then an on-premise phone system without cloud functionality might be limiting their productivity.

Is a Cloud Phone System the Solution?

With cloud-based VoIP technology, you no longer have to deal with these challenges. Onboarding a new remote employee is as simple as purchasing a phone, connecting it to the Internet and downloading some software.

Gone are the added setup, management, maintenance costs and headaches. Your employees have immediate access to the exact same functionality as your on-site employees. And perhaps best of all, cloud phone providers ensure your phone system is constantly upgraded and protected. All these changes provide your company improved uptime, call reliability and customer experience.

In a word, a cloud-based phone system just makes things simpler.

If you’re looking for a more effective way to sync remote workers to your company’s network, then you may want to consider moving to the cloud. Your remote employees — and their customers — will thank you for it.

 

If you’d like to examine cloud phone system options for your company, contact us and let’s determine what makes the most sense for your company’s situation.

 

DT Receives Veteran Institute for Procurement GROW Certification

Deerwood Technologies recently completed the Veteran Institute Procurement (VIP) GROW Program, a comprehensive training and certification program that helps veteran-owned businesses strengthen their ability to win government contracts and do business with both military and civilian agencies they once served in uniform.

On June 22, 2017, Deerwood Technologies was one of 49 businesses from 15 states and the District of Columbia to graduate from the Veteran Institute for Procurement (VIP) GROW Program.

After completing the VIP Start program in April 2016, this seemed like the next logical step for Jim Mayne, owner at Deerwood Technologies. “The VIP program has helped us grow our public sector client base to complement our commercial business, giving us an advantage that most IT Solutions and Managed Security Services Providers don’t possess,” said Mayne.

Jim served in the US Navy in Pensacola, Florida from 1976-1980, after which he worked for major financial institutions in Minneapolis, Minnesota before establishing Deerwood Technologies in 2006.  He also enlisted briefly as a US Navy reservist with the Naval Intelligence Processing System Support Activity from 1986-1988.

The first program of its kind in the nation, VIP GROW is conducted by specialists in the essentials necessary to win government contracts: law, accounting, insurance, human resources, marketing, and proposals. It also provides participants with access to Federal and prime contracting executives along with a national network of veteran owned small businesses that they can team with on opportunities.

Since its launch in 2009, VIP GROW has helped 727 service-disabled and veteran-owned small businesses grow. This three-day, 27-hour comprehensive certification program has volunteer instructors and is provided at no cost to participants; being fully funded by the Montgomery County Chamber Community Foundation, partners, and VIP sponsors.

“We are honored to give back to the men and women who served our country by providing them with the tools necessary to succeed as government contractors,” said Barbara Ashe, President of the Montgomery County Chamber Community Foundation. “We hope this training fosters their success as businesses and employers.” 

For additional info about the VIP program visit www.NationalVip.org.

To our GUARDIAN Network Support® clients:

The purpose of this note is to notify you of proactive, preventative actions we’ve taken on your behalf for your GUARDIAN Managed Workstations and Servers.

Last month, Intel released information regarding a firmware flaw in certain computers with their chipsets in general business computers.  Consumer PC’s and data center servers are not affected.  Read more: Intel® Product Security Bulletin

In recent weeks, Deerwood Technologies engineers identified client computers with this vulnerability, created and tested a script to mitigate the security risk.

Late last week, we completed actions to disable the Local Manageability Service (LMS) on susceptible client computers to prevent an unprivileged local attacker from gaining system privileges. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact any member of the Deerwood Technologies team!