Over the past year, several businesses have accelerated their digital migration plans by adopting cloud services and strategies. While the shift to the cloud environment has helped organizations function remotely, it has also exposed them to major cloud security risks.
Most small-scale businesses still use their on-premises security controls. Some have slightly adapted them to suit their cloud environments. But, such half-baked security measures aren’t fully up to pace to offer optimal protection in the current cloud security landscape.
- How serious are the cloud-security risks? According to Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report, 2020 was the first year when external cloud assets of businesses were more commonly targeted by cybercriminals than on-premises assets. The total number of cloud security breaches and incidents across the Western world reached record highs.
- How expensive are the cloud security threats? According to a recent poll, companies will need to spend $2.47 million on average over the next 12 months to close security gaps in their cloud environments.
- What is the biggest cloud security risk in this year? In a recent poll, 64% of corporate professionals claimed data loss is the number one cloud security concern. Ransomware is also a top threat as such Cyberattack threats can quickly bring organizations to complete halts.
71% of organizations in the West currently use hybrid (multi-cloud) cloud strategies. While hybrid cloud approaches offer perks like easy integration of apps, business continuity, etc., they also open critical security gaps.
Leave these gaps open for too long, and your company may experience data leakage, unnecessary downtime, and other security risks. It’s vital for modern-day businesses to be “incident-ready” at all times, meaning companies must implement well-defined cloud security strategies.
Here are four critical cloud security tactics every business must implement in 2021 to protect their cloud environments from security threats –
- Start Automating Cloud Functions
Cloud automation is the process of using code to simplify cloud operations. Companies must invest in cloud automation testing to strengthen their cloud management capabilities. Automate certain cloud functions so that when potential problems arise – they’re flagged and addressed automatically.
Here are three cloud functions you can automate to instantly improve your operational efficiency –
- Automated Server Management: Automation is a lifesaver when servers fail. Temporary standby servers are automatically updated. Workloads are instantly shifted to other locations to keep things running.
- Automated Incident Response: Preventive security controls can’t eliminate all potential data theft risks. Setting up an automated cloud incident response strategy means your company can make faster responses to security-related incidents.
- Automated Software Updates: Replacing end-of-life devices and old software tools with outdated security tools is vital. Even more vital is regularly checking for updates and applying extra security patches whenever they become available. Automating this process with software tools can help businesses save a lot of time.
- Invest in the Right Technology Stack and an Expert Team to Manage those Technologies
Having antivirus programs or localized internal security processes won’t protect your cloud infrastructure from security breaches. Without the right technology stack, it’s impossible to understand cloud usage and key security risks.
Businesses must invest in technological stacks for threat detection and containment activities. Your cloud monitoring tech stack should be able to –
- Identify and categorize regulated data so that companies can understand how their sensitive data is being shared by cloud participants. It’s okay to store sensitive data in the cloud. But, you need the right tools to monitor who accesses this data, where it goes, etc.
- Set up permission systems on all files and folders in the cloud environment. The tools should be able to track user roles, locations, device types, etc., at all times.
- Uncover harmful behavior of careless employees and third-party cyber-attackers.
Start this process by auditing your cloud configurations for encryption, network configuration, and identity/access management. Then, understand the most exploitable weaknesses in your cloud infrastructure. Employ a skilled cloud security team (in-house or outsource) that can efficiently address these threats and –
- Ensure end-to-end cloud security monitoring.
- Create and manage a comprehensive cyber threat intelligence database.
- Help installs efficient security monitoring systems.
- Conduct threat modeling based on real-time threat intelligence whenever suspicious activities are detected on the cloud.
Outsourcing cloud management responsibilities is the most secure and the most flexible option for business owners new to the cloud. Such service providers prevent security risks and costly downtime by patching all exploits as and when they happen.
- Create a Dedicated Privileged Access Management Strategy
Privileged accounts on cloud systems are user accounts that have more “privileges” than the average user. These accounts can install/remove software, upgrade cloud configurations, etc. That’s why privileged accounts are the most vulnerable to security threats.
Cybercriminals know that compromised ‘privileged accounts’ will grant them unfettered access to the company’s IT infrastructure. Unmanaged privileged accounts are the leading cause of on-cloud data breaches.
Companies must implement a Privileged Access Management (PAM) strategy before attackers gain administrative control over their ‘privileged’ cloud accounts. According to a recent Gartner survey, by 2020, 90% of organizations will implement dedicated PAM strategies.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of organizations currently lack the PAM technology and au fait support needed to implement PAM strategies. Here are some primary PAM practices that are easy to implement –
- Create a concept of privileged identity in the workplace
- Create appropriate access management strategies according to the pre-defined roles and responsibilities of each team member.
- Separate cloud-management duties by giving each team member different roles and authorizations
- Use dedicated monitoring systems to oversee all privileged access requests.
The separation of roles, authorizations, and responsibilities should be based on specific security processes. For instance, there needs to be one privileged user who has access to the company’s encryption keys. Other members shouldn’t have privileged access to this data.
- Always Respond to Cloud Security Issues
As your business evolves in the cloud, there will be security incidents that demand either automated or personalized responses. These cloud security incidents will happen on a regular basis. Make sure to respond to each security threat.
- Use two-factor authentication whenever users access sensitive data in the cloud. By asking for extra verification for high-risk access situations, you can lower the volume of daily security incidents.
- Keep adjusting cloud access policies as you integrate new tools, apps, services, etc.
- Conduct daily scans of all files in cloud storage. Use anti-malware tools to regularly eliminate all suspicious files.
Cloud isn’t just an IT technology that businesses use to access data or improve their company’s computing capabilities. It’s a solution that’s in the minds of every CIO that wants to advance business their business operations. As your business evolves in the cloud environment, so do the security threats you face by using the cloud.
You’ll need a top cloud security provider to implement new, advanced security solutions on a regular basis. We at Eyes Everywhere are the ideal IT security expert to give your business the cloud security boost it needs. The company offers advanced off and on-site cloud support services. Be it conducting enterprise-grade cloud backups or securing a company’s cloud file-sharing system – Eyes Everywhere can provide end-to-end cloud security solutions for all types of businesses.
Have you developed an IT disaster recovery plan, or DRP, for your business?
The DRP has become over the years a necessity for companies at a time when computer disasters multiply, in particular cybercrime. But many companies have not yet made their arrangements, in particular, because of the expense item that this represents.
However, whether you are a VSE, an SME, or a large group, the consequences of the downtime of your computer system and the loss of data can be disastrous for your business.
Convinced of the need to anticipate the disaster recovery of your business?
Thanks to this article, you will know everything about the DRP, its advantages, and the procedure to follow to set it up.
What is a disaster recovery plan (DRP)?
A business recovery plan is defined as a set of procedures, the objective of which is to plan how to restart professional activity as quickly as possible in the event of an IT incident. By extension, the DRP also designates the document listing these procedures. It can be developed and owned either by the company itself or by an external service provider.
What does the DRP include?
Each IT disaster recovery strategy is to be adapted according to your company and its specificities, there is no ideal model. Finally, the most important thing is to anticipate everything and to have the most complete overview possible to better control the unforeseen.
Broadly speaking, the disaster recovery plan should include:
- Identification of critical activities that must be continued,
- Identification of all risks,
- The different maintenance solutions,
- The procedures to be applied according to different scenarios,
- The resources necessary for business continuity (human resources, raw materials, equipment, subcontractors, etc.),
- The recovery deadlines to be observed.
Why put in place a disaster recovery plan?
Some entrepreneurs perceive the implementation of a DRP as a shortfall in cash flow. However, developing a back-up plan has become essential given the current challenges.
The main advantage of the DRP? Ensure the resumption of activity as quickly as possible, to avoid significant losses in terms of business opportunities and turnover, which are sometimes fatal for companies.
Here are the various negative consequences of an interruption of systems or machines that the IT disaster recovery strategy can avoid:
- a slowdown in practical activity, as the teams no longer have certain essential resources to carry out their missions.
- a negative impact on turnover due to the incompetence to sign new contracts,
- the loss of data which is dangerous for the very activity of the company, which no longer has the information necessary to ensure its normal activity,
- a decrease in customer satisfaction who cannot benefit from the product or service for which he paid,
- a referral of a negative image to potential partners and prospects,
- risks of legal proceedings for breach of obligations.
Steps in developing a disaster recovery plan
A disaster recovery plan is specific to each company since it is built according to its structure, its needs, its size, etc. However, certain mechanisms and good practices are commonly applied when it comes to setting up disaster recovery plan steps.
Step 1: identify possible risks
Not all businesses are exposed to the same incidents and disasters.
If we take the example of natural disasters, note that some companies have more exposed infrastructures (seismic zones, flood zones, etc.).
So proceed upstream with an analysis of the risks to be prevented, and consider all possible scenarios.
Step 2: assess your critical resources and activities
In a context where systems are increasingly complex and associated, it is therefore advisable to precisely define the priorities of the company concerning the necessity of certain components.
To do this, evaluate the following two data:
The RTO, or Recovery Time Objective. This is the maximum amount of downtime your business can handle before the situation becomes serious.
The RPO, or Recovery Point Objective. It corresponds to the maximum duration of data loss admissible by the company. For example, an activity constrained to a full data backup once a day has a 24 hour RPO. This can be greatly reduced for some companies which perform much more regular data backups. This is the case, for example, in the banking sector.
Ultimately, analyzing these two indicators helps you determine with precision the degree of urgency by department or by activity, and consequently the measures to be adopted for each.
Step 3: Define your disaster recovery strategy
Once the potential risks have been identified and the impacts by activity defined, it is time to consider the measures and strategies to adopt, as well as their implementation.
Which measures to choose?
The measures must be taken taking into account the needs of the company, as well as its entire information system (from hardware and software and applications, including its data).
In general, we distinguish two types of measures:
- Preventive measures. For example :
- The backup routine data,
- The redundancy or data replication,
- The use of backup sites, etc.
- Curative measures. For example :
- The trigger emergency systems,
- data recovery or recovery,
- The use of data backup sites,
- The application restart, etc.
Step 4: Document in writing
As we have seen, the disaster recovery plan also relates to the document on which all the strike forces of the company will rely in the event of a disaster.
Putting your DRP in writing facilitates the general organization, the management of human resources, and the understanding of the procedures by your entire company.
Step 5: set up tests
It is difficult to make the right decisions in the face of disappointments in an emergency and stress.
Solution? Set up tests:
- At the organizational level, to make sure everyone knows exactly what to do in the event of an IT business interruption.
- At the technical level, and this regularly. This process allows, for example, to anticipate the behavior of your data backup system.
Step 6: upgrade your DRP
Note that the tests discussed above are also used to review your disaster recovery plan if necessary, based on detected failures.
Besides, an IT disaster recovery strategy evolves and adapts to changes in your business, whether economic, organizational, or technological.
Do you have a plan?
Let’s face the truth, IT risks are increasing as data becomes an increasingly critical business to modern businesses.
Therefore, it becomes essential to limit the breakage by utilizing a disaster recovery plan. And if the establishment of a DRP depends greatly on technical implementation and the choice of efficient and suitable software, you need to be aware of the human dimension. Because the performance of the measures adopted greatly depends on the approval and understanding of all the players, from the management spheres to the practical teams.
And you, in the event of an IT disaster, what is your plan?
Since last year, the global pandemic has led to several changes in the work culture of many organizations. It was not a good year economically for many businesses and firms; however, most companies allow their workers or staff to work from home (WFH). It is proven as a boon for many companies as it continues their work process.
The term, remote support, refers to a system that permits a technical support person to attach with and use a selected computer or network from any location to provide support. Using remote support, your IT consultants won’t need to come to your physical location. They will be able to address your concern immediately using remote access software.
With increased dependency on technology, you have to ensure that your team has access to all the essential tools and systems to bring a great business outcome. But the challenge is how to resolve your employees’ technical issues when they are WFH, which is where you should consider hiring a company that can provide dedicated remote support for your staff, who will brilliantly resolve technical issues.
The Top 5 WFH Technical Issues;
- WIFI Settings– While employing your staff to WFH, it’s the company’s responsibility to ensure that your employees have a reliable internet connection, which will withstand the increased traffic and workload. Their internet connection should be ready to support cloud-based services and be available throughout their working hours.
- VPN- While working from home, if your office staff faces VPN issues, remote support services are available to troubleshoot the problem.
- Bandwidth- Remote support services will allow and check the proper transfer of data and internet connection to you. It will make your staff work efficiently.
- Zoom/Teams Calls- Sometimes, meeting calls on zooms or team calls are declined or not appropriately connected due to the weak internet connection. With the assistance of the remote support services, you can resolve this problem too.
- Passwords Management- Work from home is not an easy task. With the pressure of home responsibilities, a staff has to work for the office, and sometimes they caught themselves in a problem when they forgot the password for some data and site. Remote support services will effectively make you manageable to your passwords and help to get them.
It’s vital to make sure you have the right remote IT support for your business so your staff can conduct their work efficiently.
Usually, small businesses have a low budget, and they cannot hire permanent employees or workers for remote IT support. A better solution in this scenario is to outsource your IT support to a remote support specialist. It is an efficient way for users to have access to a dedicated helpdesk. It is the best way to work for the companies as it results in several advantages. Organizations equipped with remote support get proficient outcomes that resolve most issues.
Why Do Small Businesses Need Remote Support for WFH Staff?
The data reveals that more than 20% of businesses globally allow their staff to WFH and are employed with remote IT support. It is an excellent evolution in technology. They handle many business operations and provide problem-free technology to the businesses and support your staff to complete the work without any stress of IT issues.
Remote support services allow technicians to diagnose and repair the computer system through the internet or remote desktop programs. This method improves the quality of the work and provides the best software solution to the customers.
While accompanied by a remote IT service, you will get the proper solution for your WFH staff. The IT support team technicians excellently resolve the issue and access a specific laptop, desktop or server. They update the server or software and manage the files on the server or the system. Moreover, they evaluate the problem and diagnose it to maintain the several programs. Millions of organizations worldwide use and rely on remote IT support services, and it has become a primary part of the IT sector.
The Benefits of Remote IT Support for WFH Staff
Utilizing remote IT support services can be beneficial for a small firm to a multinational company. It provides support for your day to day operations and keeps your IT systems operating at their optimum. Here we list some benefits that will help you to grow your business and support your WFH staff.
- Maintain Expected Business Growth
- Cost-Effective Service
- Fast Response
- Boost Productivity
- 24/7 Accessible
- High-Tech IT Services
Maintain Expected Business Growth
For any business; whether it’s a small or multinational company, they have a goal to attain an apex position in their industry. Expanding and growing an organization is very important for business owners. Having adequate remote support will improve your potential to work and support your employees to resolve IT problems. It will make your work speedy and allow you to gain more profit in the business.
By getting the backend of an IT service, you will get assistance to resolve your problems. You can find various remote IT support services that provide you cost-effective services and not charge any additional amount such as on-site visit fees, emergency booking assistance fees, and much more. Hence, it becomes profitable for your company’s budget, and by utilizing minimal cost on IT services, you can invest your money on the other projects.
Remote IT services are different from traditional IT services. Now, you can get quick responses from the remote tech by messaging or on call. They are always ready to provide expeditious IT solutions to the people. By availing the remote IT services will save your business time and efforts.
If you allow your staff or employees to work from home and face IT services problems. It will be a hindrance to your business profit, and it will decline the productivity level of an employee. Having excellent remote IT services throws out all the obstacles in your business and improves your employees’ productivity. However, every process or work in a company can only be completed through IT services. If it’s not working correctly, it slows down all your company’s work processes and productivity. With the support of a remote IT service, you can quickly troubleshoot your IT issues, reduce downtime, and authorize your staff to be more productive.
Availing an IT support service not only manages your IT issues but also provides you 24/7 customer support. They not only serve the services during office hours; instead, they are always ready to help you and grant your computer to work flawlessly.
High-tech IT Services
As you see, technology is continuously evolving, and remote IT support services become news and a significant trend of IT solutions in technology. Therefore, it is crucial to get high-tech and advanced services to your company. When you permit remote IT services to troubleshoot your IT issues, they will splendidly update all the measures in your system and move your company with the latest technology.
With the growing technology, remote IT services become sophisticated for the businesses and will evolve much more new features. Getting solutions to your IT problems is stressful. It detains your profit; therefore, it is essential to get assistance with the best remote support services as they move your business towards success. We at Eyes everywhere are an excellent remote support service provider to sort out all the IT-related problems that your staff is facing.
The word “Cloud Storage or Cloud Backup” has become a buzzword in today’s world of internet and digitalization. Data is considered more valuable than gold in this century. The more we have become dependent on the internet, the more our data is prone to cyber-attack like theft, viruses, etc. from your local servers, and loss of your business data can be devastating for your business.
The data related to your businesses are the lever which keeps your business running smoothly and you must keep your files in an organized manner for future references. Businesses are generating tons of data every day and it is becoming difficult for them to manage that information on their own. Hence there comes the term Business Cloud Backup.
We will talk about Business Cloud Backup and its benefits in detail later, however, let’s get yourself acquainted with the term first.
What is Cloud Backup?
Cloud backup can be defined as remote servers where data is stored which are known as data centers and can be accessed via the internet. Organizations can send a copy of their data to these servers located at another location so that it can be restored if data is compromised or lost from local machines. These remote servers are operated and maintained by third-party, which are termed as cloud backup services.
To meet industry standards or regulations, many organizations need to store their data on the cloud to protect data against loss or viruses. Not complying with these standards can cause penalties and fines.
Why is Cloud backup imperative?
Data can be lost in many ways. Some of them are accidental error, employee or competitor theft, or physical failure of computers or cyber-attack. Such data losses can cause a huge cost to companies. Such important data shall always be at more than one place so that if one storage is compromised, data can be restored from other locations.
Below are some most common causes:
- Technology Fails
- People Make Mistakes
- Mother Nature
- Competitive Advantage
Options for Cloud Backup
- Public Cloud Backup: Microsoft Azure or Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) are options of Public Cloud Backup which comes at a lower cost than other options. Though this option is cheaper, it has greater risks such as slow tech support, ridden with errors, shared data tenancy, etc., plus offer only a basic storage service for your data on the cloud.
- Internal Cloud Backup: Organizations with big budgets and infrastructure facilities can opt for this option. In this, data is stored and protected at your own space and gives you complete control of it. But this is considered a costly solution as one still needs to pay for Hosting, Servers, and Infrastructure & Security.
- Disk-to-Disk-to-Cloud Backup: This option is also known as a hybrid option as in this some of the data is stored at local servers, some data can be stored at cloud and some information can be backed up in both ways. However, if a hybrid backup system is not managed well, it can be difficult to know which data is stored where and may affect the overall recovery speed and its accuracy, if data is lost.
- Hosted, Private Cloud: It is also known as third party private clouds. Third-party private clouds give you the comprehensive protection of an on-premise, private cloud, without the additional costs for maintenance, security, or infrastructure. It also has additional benefits such as compliance with standards, data encryption, automated backup system, etc. The simplicity of a hosted private cloud makes it easy for your organization to quickly recover data at a predictable cost.
Having so many options can confuse you about which backup system is best suitable for your needs. Choosing from different available options may vary from organization to organization. However, one must consider the many advantages of cloud backup that when you need to access your data, which option is fastest, most reliable, and cost-effective. One must consider the backup frequency, its efficiency, pricing structure, and customer support while choosing Cloud Backup for Business.
Top benefits of Business Cloud Backups
Backing up your data in the cloud offers you the facility to retrieve your data and access in case of local hardware failure. This gives you confidence that your data is available 24×7 and well protected.
Once your data is stored in the cloud, it becomes a perfect place for your archives which can be accessed from everywhere with internet connectivity. You need not carry hard disks everywhere and you need not be dependent on any single computer or server. The cloud has other advantages as well and is remarkably affordable.
It has the advantage of requiring no physical location that you’ll need to handle maintaining on your own. A competent IT administrator can keep you connected and can manage your data remotely without too much hassle.
Let’s look into the top benefits of Cloud Backups:
- 24×7 Availability, Anytime, Anywhere: In today’s world of the internet, work happens at all times in all places. Business is no more bound to happen in four walls of your office buildings or designated office working hours. Businesses are offering flexible working hours and are adapting to work from home. Cloud storage technology enables businesses to survive in today’s fast-paced world. Being connected to the internet, you can reach your files anywhere with internet connectivity.
- Data Protection: In today’s competitive environment, businesses can’t survive without data and loss of which can cause huge losses to organizations. Cloud storage and backup have become important for every business. Cloud storage eliminates the risk of losing everything to natural disasters like hurricanes, fires, tornadoes. Cloud storage puts the burden of maintaining hardware on the service provider, who typically has multiple forms of redundancy so that you can be confident your data is protected.
- Cost-Effectiveness: Every business whether big or small loves to save money, and cloud storage is cost-effective in comparison to physical storage. With the usage of cloud backup services eliminates buying of servers and physical hard drives. With some basic monthly charges given to Cloud Service Providers, your worry about the time and energy to maintain physical hardware. The responsibility of maintaining cloud storage lies with service providers. Secure, encrypted storage to protect your sensitive business files is going to cost more than a consumer-level solution.
- Collaborate Better: Many cloud storage services include collaboration tools that can help your business operate more efficiently. Cloud storage offers file synching which makes sure that you are always working on the most recent file. It also allows multiple users to work on the same file at the same time. Organizations with remote workforce offer real-time collaboration which helps your team work together like they would if they were in the same room.
- Fast Recovery: Compared to old solutions like disks and tape backup, the cloud offers extremely fast recovery time if it is necessary. The process of data recovery is a speedy process – almost as fast as you can communicate with your provider. It’s important to consider and understand how much bandwidth is available to you as well. This will impact the speed, as well as the amount of data you are backing up, which should be measured as well. The details should all be spelled out in your service level agreement (SLA).
Advantages associated with Cloud Backup; the business must consider moving forward with Cloud Storage option rather than relying on inferior systems. On the contrary of conventional backup systems, Cloud Storage and Backup is the trend of today’s century. You will be left behind managing your conventional systems while your competitor will be much ahead as he was able to focus his focus giving his worries of data management to Cloud Storage Service providers.
You don’t want that, do you?
Cloud storage service is worth spending. All you need to do is pick the right service provider who best suits your needs and budget based on the scale of your business, pay monthly basic fees and you can rest assured of your important documents which are stored at remote servers. Now without being worried about your files, you can completely focus on the growth of your business.
It’s not surprising that tech companies based in the United States are favorite targets of cyber hackers and unknowingly become breeding grounds for nefarious activities that include global terrorism. These activities focus on American tech companies because they provide the infrastructure necessary for extremist groups around the world to thrive and prosper, while they tread closely on the edge of free speech that is valued and protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
American society highly values the right to free speech and tech companies worldwide are now struggling to determine where free speech crosses the line into something altogether different that can be used for dangerous and nefarious purposes.
One of the latest victims is WordPress.com, which is a free hosting site for any website built with WordPress. Executives of the tech giant are now grappling with that issue after the non-partisan advocacy and research group known as the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) identified WordPress.com as host to a number of questionable websites.
WordPress.com has been identified as a hosting source of websites that feature violent videos (firing squads, beheadings) and dangerous terrorist propaganda that many find offensive and outside the scope of free speech.
Automattic is the parent company of WordPress.com and its spokesperson issued a statement saying “While our service is designed to enable users to freely express their ideas and opinions, however controversial, safety is important to us. As such, we don’t allow websites of known terrorist groups or genuine calls for violence against individuals or groups on WordPress.com.” The CEP’s research contradicts that statement and executives at WordPress.com are currently investigating the matter.
The CEP shared correspondence from a WordPress.com employee who identified himself as “Sal P.,” who indicated “WordPress.com is deeply committed to free speech and will not take content down just because we find it offensive or disagree with the point of view,” adding that a review will be conducted of those individuals or groups that CEP alleges maintain iffy websites on WordPress.com and appear on the federal government’s “Specifically Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List.”
David Ibsen is the Executive Director of CEP and he told The Washington Post “In our experience dealing with tech companies, when they don’t want to do something, they talk about free speech, and when they want to do something, they talk about terms of service.”
Whatever you want to call it, executives at WordPress.com have a huge problem on their hands, as well as plethora of other vulnerable American tech companies.
Internet Technology (IT) Services and Support
The recent data breach at Sony Pictures was not the first for American companies, but it was the biggest breach of confidential information in the history of the Internet and raises questions for anyone who has ever recorded personal information on any Internet website.
The Sony breach was initially detected on Sony’s PlayStation Network, which is a service that allows video game users to connect to each other on the Internet. After Sony officials realized that someone had transferred data off the PlayStation Network, they shut down the site and began the painstaking process of assessing the damage.
Investigation into the breach revealed that the hacker(s) had stolen passwords and other personal information from over 70 million accounts, which was later updated to over 100 million accounts, approximately 12 million of which included credit card numbers which were unencrypted. Encryption simply means using a coded system of storing information, which makes stealing that information much more difficult. Sony’s data was unencrypted and, therefore, vulnerable to hacking.
Unfortunately, hacking personal information can take all forms. Credit card information is not the only vulnerable aspect of business because theft of a company’s confidential information regarding contracts, salaries and benefits can literally turn a business upside down or cause its destruction altogether.
Since Sony is still investigating the data breach, company officials have revealed very little about what actually happened or how they intend to fix the problem that allowed the invasion in the first place. Big companies like Sony employ individuals who are well versed on IT support and services who will find the problem and figure out how to fix it.
If the Sony breach has taught us anything, it’s that companies need a professional I.T. consulting firm, such as Eyes Everywhere, for technical support and IT support in order to protect valuable information that hackers work hard at stealing on a daily basis. This is not just simply to secure the server against viruses, hackers and intruders (internal or external), but also to ensure proper configuration and hardening. We should also scrutinize more carefully payroll and other outside services, including those that are “cloud based,” that maintain our information, files and documents that are supposedly secure since we have no inkling as to the level of knowledge of their personnel about IT services and support. Last, but not least, we should be prepared by devising both a disaster recovery plan and a public relations strategy for dealing with these types of invasions, should they occur.
Cyber criminals have become much more sophisticated, widespread and determined and American businesses need competent IT services and support in order to stay on top of these threats and protect them from expensive, legally required credit monitoring services for those whose information was stolen. Employing reliable IT services and support will go a long way towards protecting your company’s reputation and valuable information with which its entrusted and preventing a data breach, like those against Target, Sony and others that have been detrimental to their business operations.