3 Steps to Optimize Your IT Infrastructure for Growth

3 Steps to Optimize Your IT Infrastructure for Growth

The growth period of a business is always exciting, but it can also be an overwhelming time. Organizations need to ensure their operations can support greater demands. If their IT infrastructure is not optimized to scale, this period of transition can be more difficult.

A common business practice that indicates growth for companies are mergers and acquisitions (M&A). While there are many factors that go into M&A deals, technology and security plays a critical role. According to research from (ISC)², 63% of M&A experts say IT tools are factored in as assets while 95% consider cybersecurity a tangible asset. Optimizing your IT infrastructure will benefit business productivity, increase security and prepare your business for future growth, even if you don’t expect to be a part of a M&A.

Source: (ISC)²

Optimizing your IT infrastructure

Your organization should not just be optimized for your current business needs but also for your business plans for the next 5 or 10 years. Of course, the future is always uncertain, and many things can happen in between. However, optimizing your infrastructure for something like a M&A will help your organization get to where it needs to be when the time comes. Here are three things you can do to optimize your organization for future growth.

Audit and Assess

The first step in optimizing your IT infrastructure is to assess your IT assets and understand how they are being used across your organization. Sometimes organizations purchase software programs or applications that they later abandon or are similar to something already being used. As a result, they are potentially spending a lot on licensing fees on services they aren’t even using/don’t need. It’s important for organizations to gain visibility into their infrastructure in order to understand how their IT investments work for their business.

The best way to gain visibility into your IT infrastructure is to audit and keep track of all the devices, software and apps being used and who has access. As roles change and employees depart your organization, you need to ensure that permissions are being adjusted accordingly. Taking the time to review your IT assets can help keep your organization more secure and ensure you’re maximizing your IT revenue.

Manage and Monitor

Management of your IT infrastructure is important in ensuring that all systems, software and applications are updated to the latest versions. When your IT systems are properly managed, its easier to keep track of which parts of your infrastructure need to be upgraded and ensure that your network is working efficiently. Failing to update your IT assets puts your organization at risk to security vulnerabilities and compliance regulations.

Monitoring and management of your IT assets can be overwhelming, especially if you have limited resources. In cases like this, outsourcing to a managed services provider like Jolera can help reduce IT costs and provide organizations with IT expertise. Outsourcing IT management leaves the IT issues to your service provider while you focus on your business. If you are interested in how Jolera can help you manage your IT infrastructure, contact us today.

Scale and Secure

When organizations start to grow, things can get complicated very quickly. Having an IT infrastructure that can support expansion can alleviate stress and make the process easier. The traditional on-premise IT infrastructure model makes it more difficult for organizations to scale their business due to the hassle of having to purchase, configure and integrate new equipment into their network. Using cloud technologies within your IT infrastructure ensures your organization is built to scale.

When scaling your IT environment, it’s important to ensure your organization remains secure and complaint. Encryption is key to protecting data, whether its in transit or at rest. Having IT experts who understand your business needs and security is key. Securing your IT infrastructure is important no matter where your servers reside. Protect every threat vector by integrating security solutions like our Secure IT platform. Our solutions were created to work together to ensure that organizations can layer security across their technology assets.

How Your Security Culture Builds Customer Trust

How Your Security Culture Builds Customer Trust

Cybersecurity risks are at an all time high, making security an integral part of an organization’s business. As consumers become more cognizant of data breaches and the threats to their information, they expect organizations to secure their data. Research by Privitar found that 50 per cent of consumers would trust a company less if their data was being inappropriately used. By integrating security inside out via your organizational security culture, you end up with more secure processes and controls to protect customer data. As a result, organizations can build trust with the customers and business partners they work with daily.

Source: ZDNet

How Security Culture Shapes Organizations

Security culture encompasses the beliefs, behaviours and values that drive how an organization approaches security. A good security culture ensures organizations are safeguarding data and decreasing cyber risk by embedding security into their business processes and encouraging employees across all departments to share the security responsibility. 

To reduce risks and protect their network, many organizations implement security technologies like firewalls and anti-malware tools. However, many hackers are targeting employees instead with phishing emails and other social engineering tactics. Without a strong security culture to motivate and guide employees to take security seriously, organizations put their business at unnecessary risk. 

Building a strong security culture is an ongoing process and simple activities like forcing employees to undergo cybersecurity training once a year is not enough. Organizations need to shift their mindset and see their security culture as an opportunity to improve their organization instead of a liability. 

How to Differentiate Your Organization with Security

Building customer trust is not easy and retaining it is even more difficult. Implementing steps to improve security culture will not only give you peace of mind in that you are staying secure but will help you build trust with business partners and customers.

Increase Executive Understanding

Without support from business leadership, having a strong security culture is difficult to maintain. Business leaders are responsible for prioritizing security and ensuring that there is a security budget available. If business leaders aren’t putting in the necessary effort to invest in security, an organization’s overall security culture will be weaker.

Executives who make it a point to have a strong security culture show employees and business partners that they understand the risks cyber threats pose to their business.  This means they are investing in protecting their data by using security solutions and implementing user awareness training. When customers or stakeholders see that security measures are being taken seriously, it makes them more willing to enter business.

Improve Data Security

Security isn’t separate from business processes. In fact, all business processes should have security built in to ensure data is adequately protected. Organizations must consider a data-centric approach to security. This includes being aware of the data they collect, its value and how that data is being secured and accessed. 

An effective cybersecurity culture will help employees mitigate cyber risk and prevent data exfiltration. Being aware of threats like social engineering will help employees be more alert and prevent them from engaging with these attacks. They will also feel more open to reporting these kinds of incidents if they come across them. Limiting employee access to organizational files and ensuring data is encrypted and backed up is also crucial. Integrating cost effective security solutions like those from our Secure IT platform will keep data safe at every threat vectors. 

Review Security Investments

As organizations grow, security measures might change. As you handle more data and/or hire more personnel, security becomes a greater issue. Organizations need to evaluate their security measures to ensure their security culture reflects what the business needs. For example, if you are hiring new employees, make security a part of onboarding. Ensure that new employees read security policies and are required to do cyber awareness training.

Doing a security assessment will help validate security controls and help organizations keep track of their security processes. These assessments help organizations understand where they need to improve and help guide them on how to be more secure. This can help organizations develop their security strategy and help them focus on how to improve. If you are interested in conducting a security assessment for your organization, contact us today. 

Threats of the Week – February 10, 2020

Threats of the Week – February 10, 2020

Metamorfo Trojan

A trojan malware campaign is targeting online banking users around the world with the aim of stealing credit card information, finances and other personal details.

Like many other hacking campaigns, Metamorfo begins with phishing emails that in this case claim to contain information about an invoice and invite the user to download a .ZIP file. By downloading and running the file, the victim allows Metamorfo to execute and run on a Windows machine.

Source: ZDNet

How do you protect yourself?

Proper security measures must be in place to defend against Metamorfo trojan and similar threats. Having proper up-to-date endpoint security provides a cross-generational blend of threat defense techniques to protect systems from malware.

CVE-2020-0014

Android has released its monthly security bulletin that contains details of security vulnerabilities affecting Android devices.

The most severe of these issues is a critical security vulnerability in the System component that could enable a remote attacker using a specially crafted transmission to execute arbitrary code within the context of a privileged process.

Source: Android

How do you protect yourself?

Updated your Android to the latest version.

.SaveTheQueen Ransomware

Researchers have uncovered a new strand of ransomware that encrypts files and adds the extension ‘.SaveTheQueen’ to it.

The progress of the newly uncovered malware was found to be tracked using the system volume (SYSVOL) folder found on active directory (AD) domain controllers.

Source: InformationAge

How do you protect yourself?

Proper security measures must be in place to defend against .SaveTheQueen Ransomware and similar threats. Having proper up-to-date endpoint security provides a cross-generational blend of threat defense techniques to protect systems from malware.

How Security and Compliance Work Together

How Security and Compliance Work Together

In today’s data driven society, compliance and security remain big priorities for businesses. In fact, the 2019 Security Priorities Study by IDG found that 66% of companies see compliance mandates as the driver of security spending. While compliance is important, it’s not enough to be the main driving force of an organization’s security approach. Checking off the compliance box doesn’t necessarily mean an organization is secure. Both compliance and security need to work together to help guide an organization to success.

Source: IDG

Compliance vs. Security

Compliance and security are often thought of as being the same but they are actually two separate actions. Compliance refers to standards that are established by a governing body and outline a general security blueprint organizations must follow. Organizations that follow compliance regulations do so to satisfy a third party. Compliance helps organizations build trust for their business partners or customers. 

Security, on the other hand, consists of all the policies, processes and controls that an organization implements to protect their information and technology assets. Organizations need to constantly maintain the tools and processes they implement to defend against threats. The main driving force of security is not to satisfy a regulatory body but to protect the organization from threats. 

Measuring Compliance and Security

Compliance and security are measured in different ways. To prove compliance, an organization has to undergo an audit. These audits only measure a snapshot of an organization because they are only conducted during a specific amount of time. The purpose of compliance is to validate that organizations have controls in place to protect data.

Security, on the other hand, is an ongoing process. Organizations need to constantly monitor and manage their infrastructure to ensure that the security technologies in place are working well and are updated to protect against the latest threats. The purpose of security is to protect data, prevent breaches and detect threats.

Staying Compliant and Secure

The best approach to compliance and security is to build an in-depth defense approach that not only encompasses compliance needs but takes into consideration the organization’s assets and how to best protect them. A compliance lead approach often leads to organizations only implementing the bare minimum for security. For example, an organization can say they have a disaster recovery plan in place but if they haven’t tested their plan, they won’t know if it will work as intended in the event of an actual emergency.

Both compliance and security work together to manage risk. However, security makes it easier for organizations to achieve compliance. By implementing security technologies and policies organizations, organizations show that they have proper security controls in place. Advanced security technologies like security information and event management (SIEM) systems generate log data that is useful for reporting. SIEM monitors all activity on your devices which validates the processes and controls you are taking to protect data. This information is vital for report generation necessary to prove compliance as required by various regulations. Generating reports and documents is time consuming but already having access to this documentation through the security controls you’ve already implemented can make it easier to provide in the event of an audit. If proper security controls are in place and can be validated and measured, meeting compliance regulations will be an easier process.

5 Benefits of Using Managed Security Services

5 Benefits of Using Managed Security Services

It only takes one security incident to potentially cripple a business. Just last month, one telemarketing company shut down due to a ransomware attack. Any organization can fall victim to a cyber attack and attacks are increasing. According to a report by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), 71% of Canadian organizations experienced at least one cyber attack that impacted their business in the past 12 months. With managed security services, any business can protect themselves.  Here are 5 benefits of using managed security services.

Source: Imperva

1. Proactive security

A proactive security approach is vital for organizations in a time where the threat landscape is always changing. Staying reactive means that you are only catching security incidents after they have happened, which means hackers have time to roam around your network undetected. According to a report by Crowdstrike, cyber criminals can spend up to three months lurking in target networks.

Organizations like Jolera provide 24/7/365 security solutions as-a-service to ensure businesses are protected around the clock. By consistently monitoring IT infrastructures and helping organizations implement preventative technologies like firewalls and endpoint protection, we are able to help them take proactive steps in securing their businesses.

2. Minimize security costs

Modern security platforms are expensive to build, manage and run. The tools, technology, licensing fees and personnel required to run a security operations centre can end up costing organizations millions of dollars. For smaller organizations that don’t have a lot of resources, using security services can provide them with the protection their business needs for a fraction of the cost.

By outsourcing security services, organizations avoid paying high upfront technology costs and don’t have to worry about spending time and resources hiring security staff. Instead, organizations only pay a predictable monthly fee for the security services they use. This makes it easier for organizations to budget their security needs and minimize costs.

3. Greater access to security resources

By implementing security services, organizations leverage the experience, capabilities and expertise of a managed service provider (MSP). Using security services provides organizations with leading edge security because each service offering has been tested across different businesses to withstand the threat landscape.

Because MSPs live and breathe security, they will have greater resources, knowledge and investments in the latest technologies and skills. This gives organizations access to resources they might not normally have. Technologies like security information and event management (SIEM) systems are typically very expensive but can provide organizations with advanced threat detection capabilities. A solution like Secure IT – SIEM makes this expensive technology more accessible.

4. Focus on your business

Running a business is a lot of effort and organizations might not have the resources to handle security in addition to their current workload. Without security expertise readily available, security becomes a difficult and overwhelming task for most organizations. As a result, businesses might neglect their security responsibilities. With security increasingly aligning with business operations, organizations can no longer ignore the impact of security.

Busy organizations can still get the security help they need through managed security services. Security experts are available to take care of the security aspect of an organization, allowing organizations to focus on their business. This gives organizations peace of mind in that they know they are being protected and don’t have worry about making security work for them.

5. Easily manage compliance

Data regulations are becoming increasingly important for organizations. It can be difficult for organizations to manage and understand how industry and global regulations affect their business. Increasing security makes it easier for organizations to achieve compliance.

An MSP will be more knowledgeable in compliance regulations and can help organizations implement the necessary security controls to ensure they are being compliant. Security services also provide records like log data which is important for record keeping and can be used as evidence in the event of a data breach.

For more information on how Jolera can help your organization with its security or IT needs, contact us today.

5 Ways to Protect Customer Data

5 Ways to Protect Customer Data

As consumers continue to live their lives online, they become increasingly aware and worried about the use of their data online. According to research by CPA Canada, 76 per cent of Canadians fear Canadian businesses are vulnerable to cyber attacks regarding their personal data. With the increasing amount of data breaches happening every day, customer data across all industries are in danger of being exposed. Just recently, LifeLabs fell victim to a cyber attack that might have compromised the data of 15 million Canadians. Hackers are getting more sophisticated and regulations like PIPEDA make it imperative for organizations to start taking customer data protection seriously. With this in mind, here are 5 things organizations can do to protect customer data. 

Source: CPA Canada

1. Secure your endpoints

Endpoint protection is vital for protection against malicious threats. One compromised endpoint can lead a hacker right into your network, putting data at risk. Protecting endpoints with a solution like Secure IT – Endpoint provides layers of security that goes beyond just an anti-virus. Endpoint protection can prevent data leaks and provide device encryption to protect data. Centralized management of all endpoints make it easier for organizations to keep track of their endpoints and configure security. 

2. Be aware of your customer data

The more customer data organizations collect, the more time and resources they need to dedicate to storing and protecting the data. Organizations need to understand the data they’re collecting and ensure that they’re not collecting more than what is needed for business purposes. Organizations also need to limit employee access to customer data. Stories of employees accessing customer information for malicious purposes make customers wary of giving up information and can make them hesitant to do business with your company. Organizations must pay attention to data collection regulations like PIPEDA that govern how organizations store and collect personal information to ensure they are being compliant with the law. If organizations operate globally, they also need to be aware of how international regulations like GDPR and the new California Consumer Privacy Act affect the data they collect. 

3. Securely backup your data

Critical to data protection is backing data up in a secure data centre. Backing up data ensures it is protected in the event of a disaster or a ransomware attack and is a vital part of an organization’s disaster recovery plan. Automated scheduling of data backup makes it easier for organizations to ensure that the latest information is backed up. Backing up data locally also ensures that the data is protected by regional  privacy laws. Encrypting data while it’s in transit and at rest is vital to prevent hackers from accessing the data. For more information on Jolera’s backup solutions, visit our Store IT product page. 

4. Update your infrastructure

Ensure that the devices in your IT infrastructure are running the latest software and hardware updates. Failing to patch your applications and software or continuing to use legacy systems puts your systems at risk to being exploited by hackers. Threat actors can easily scan your systems for unpatched vulnerabilities, which they can exploit to gain access to your network. It’s important to ensure that your systems are always updated to protect against the latest vulnerabilities. Similarly, using a legacy system like the recently unsupported Windows 7 operating system puts customer data at unnecessary risk. These unsupported systems mean that manufacturers will no longer provide security updates. This makes it easier for threat actors to exploit vulnerabilities because they know that manufacturers won’t be issuing patches or updates to prevent them from being exploited.  

5. Monitor with SIEM

When it comes to data protection, monitoring your systems is essential. SIEM systems aggregate log data from the devices across your network, prevent data exfiltration by using behavioural analysis to detect suspicious activity. SIEM can detect large amounts of data being transferred across your system or through the use of external web applications. Intelligent analysis can also correlate seemingly unrelated activities such as a user plugging in a USB and accessing data they don’t normally use. When SIEM detects unusual behaviour, it generates a security alert that is then investigated by a security expert who takes action to remediate the alert. SIEM is an invaluable tool that provides an automated layer of detection to determine actions indicative of threats. For more information on Jolera’s Secure IT – SIEM solution or how Jolera can help you secure customer data, contact us today.