The crucial role of MSPs in SMB cybersecurity

With modern cyberattacks targeting companies of all sizes, businesses cannot afford to relegate cybersecurity to the bottom of their list of priorities. When it comes to cybersecurity, even small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) would do well to get help from an expert. Here’s how having a managed IT services provider (MSP) implement robust cybersecurity solutions for you will benefit your business.

The numbers

Through the years, the number of SMBs falling victim to cyberattacks has drastically increased. Ransomware attacks, misconfigured systems, credential stuffing, and social engineering are among the many cyberthreats that SMBs face. Also, according to Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report, one in every five data breach victims was an SMB. What’s more, only 47% of SMBs are able to detect breaches within days.

The financial consequences have also considerably increased. IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report 2021 shows that “data breach costs rose from USD 3.86 million to USD 4.24 million.”

The numbers don’t lie, so it’s only about time SMBs take cybersecurity seriously. You can safeguard your business from cyberattacks and provide a more secure customer experience by working with a trusted MSP.

Why managed services?

Partnering with MSPs is the most effective way to prevent attacks and defend against malicious threats. MSPs offer a full range of proactive IT support that focuses on advanced security, such as around-the-clock monitoring, data encryption and backup, real-time threat prevention and elimination, network and firewall protection, security awareness training, and more. Here are some of the services an MSP can offer:

    • Around-the-clock monitoring – A cyberattack can happen at any moment. By having someone watching your networks and systems 24/7, MSPs ensure that any potential threats are identified and dealt with quickly.
    • Data encryption and backup – Data encryption transforms readable data into an unreadable format. This can be done through the use of a key, which is only accessible to authorized users. This way, even if the data is compromised, it can’t be read without the key. Meanwhile, data backup is the process of creating and preserving copies of data so that it can be restored in the event of data loss.
    • Real-time threat prevention and elimination – By using technology that can detect and stop threats as they happen, this security solution can minimize the impact of an attack and keep your business data safe.
    • Network and firewall protection – Networks and firewalls create a barrier between the business network and the internet, securing confidential data, such as customer information, employee records, and trade secrets. Networks can be configured to allow certain types of traffic through while blocking others, so that only authorized users can access specific resources.
    • Security awareness training – Now, more than ever, SMBs need to be aware of cybersecurity threats and how to protect themselves. MSPs can facilitate security awareness training that can help employees spot red flags and know what to do (and not do) to keep company data safe.

Managed IT services are designed to identify and fix weak spots in your IT infrastructure, enabling you to optimize the digital backbone of your business processes. With managed IT, you’ll also have faster network performance, a solid business continuity and disaster recovery strategy, and minimal downtime. You’ll also get a dedicated team of IT professionals ready to assist you with any technology-related problems. This is much more effective and budget-friendly than having in-house personnel juggling all of your business IT needs.

Being proactive when it comes to cybersecurity is the only way to protect what you’ve worked hard to build. If you’d like to know more about how managed services can benefit your business, just give us a call — we’re sure to help.

This post was originally published on this site

These 5 types of hackers are a threat to SMBs

Malicious hackers are motivated by different things. Some do it for fun, some want money, and others just want to end your business. Getting to know how they behave and what drives them informs how you must defend your organization against them.

Script kiddies

In terms of skill, script kiddies (or skids, for short) are at the bottom of the hacker totem pole. Their name comes from the fact that they use scripts or other automated tools written by others. They are often young people on a quest for internet notoriety or who are simply bored and in search of a thrill.

Script kiddies shouldn’t be dismissed so easily, however. The ILOVEYOU virus, considered one of the worst malware on the planet, was developed by skids.

Hacktivists

Hacktivists often hack into businesses and government systems to promote a particular political agenda or to effect social change. These so-called “hackers with a cause” steal confidential information to expose or disrupt their target’s operations.

Even if you’re a small- or medium-sized business (SMB) owner, you’re not immune to hacktivist attacks. This is especially true if your company is associated or partnered with organizations that are prime hacktivist targets.

Cybercriminals

Cybercriminals break into digital systems or networks with the intent to steal, destroy, taint, and/or lock away data. They usually target individuals, SMBs, and large companies that have exploitable weaknesses in their cybersecurity.

Cybercriminals attack using a number of methods, including social engineering tactics to trick users into volunteering sensitive personal or company data. This information is then used for identity theft, sold on the dark web, or leveraged to launch attacks against other businesses. Cybercriminals can also infect computers with ransomware and other types of malware.

State-sponsored hackers

True to their name, these hackers are backed by governments. The hackers’ goal is to promote their backer’s interests within their own country or abroad. In most cases, this involves taking down websites that criticize the state, swaying public opinion, cyber-terrorism, and leaking top-secret information, among others.

As they are, state-sponsored hackers are already dangerous to business owners, but even more so when they make it their goal to cripple an entire country’s financial system or disrupt commodity supply lines. This could involve interfering with the economy or disrupting business operations. Tech and pharmaceutical companies are a frequent target, but businesses in other industries aren’t safe from state-sponsored hackers either.

Insiders

The scariest type of hacker is the one that lurks within your own organization. An insider can be your company’s current and former employees, contractors, or business associates. Oftentimes their mission is payback. They’ll steal sensitive documents or try to disrupt the organization’s operations to right a wrong they believe a company has done to them. Edward Snowden is a prime example of an insider who hacked the organization he worked for — the US government.

Malicious hackers are always changing their tactics to meet their goals, making them an ever-present threat to any organization, including yours. It’s crucial that you stay one step ahead by working with cybersecurity experts who can help protect your company from dangerous hackers and other cyberthreats. Contact our team today to get started.

This post was originally published on this site

These 5 types of hackers are a threat to SMBs

Malicious hackers are motivated by different things. Some do it for fun, some want money, and others just want to end your business. Getting to know how they behave and what drives them informs how you must defend your organization against them.

Script kiddies

In terms of skill, script kiddies (or skids, for short) are at the bottom of the hacker totem pole. Their name comes from the fact that they use scripts or other automated tools written by others. They are often young people on a quest for internet notoriety or who are simply bored and in search of a thrill.

Script kiddies shouldn’t be dismissed so easily, however. The ILOVEYOU virus, considered one of the worst malware on the planet, was developed by skids.

Hacktivists

Hacktivists often hack into businesses and government systems to promote a particular political agenda or to effect social change. These so-called “hackers with a cause” steal confidential information to expose or disrupt their target’s operations.

Even if you’re a small- or medium-sized business (SMB) owner, you’re not immune to hacktivist attacks. This is especially true if your company is associated or partnered with organizations that are prime hacktivist targets.

Cybercriminals

Cybercriminals break into digital systems or networks with the intent to steal, destroy, taint, and/or lock away data. They usually target individuals, SMBs, and large companies that have exploitable weaknesses in their cybersecurity.

Cybercriminals attack using a number of methods, including social engineering tactics to trick users into volunteering sensitive personal or company data. This information is then used for identity theft, sold on the dark web, or leveraged to launch attacks against other businesses. Cybercriminals can also infect computers with ransomware and other types of malware.

State-sponsored hackers

True to their name, these hackers are backed by governments. The hackers’ goal is to promote their backer’s interests within their own country or abroad. In most cases, this involves taking down websites that criticize the state, swaying public opinion, cyber-terrorism, and leaking top-secret information, among others.

As they are, state-sponsored hackers are already dangerous to business owners, but even more so when they make it their goal to cripple an entire country’s financial system or disrupt commodity supply lines. This could involve interfering with the economy or disrupting business operations. Tech and pharmaceutical companies are a frequent target, but businesses in other industries aren’t safe from state-sponsored hackers either.

Insiders

The scariest type of hacker is the one that lurks within your own organization. An insider can be your company’s current and former employees, contractors, or business associates. Oftentimes their mission is payback. They’ll steal sensitive documents or try to disrupt the organization’s operations to right a wrong they believe a company has done to them. Edward Snowden is a prime example of an insider who hacked the organization he worked for — the US government.

Malicious hackers are always changing their tactics to meet their goals, making them an ever-present threat to any organization, including yours. It’s crucial that you stay one step ahead by working with cybersecurity experts who can help protect your company from dangerous hackers and other cyberthreats. Contact our team today to get started.

This post was originally published on this site

5 Tips to combat VoIP eavesdropping

Eavesdropping is a form of cyberattack that has been around for years. Cybercriminals have been listening in on Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone calls since the technique was proven to be effective in obtaining valuable information, and they are showing no signs of stopping their malicious activities anytime soon. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to combat VoIP eavesdroppers.

Change the default configurations of your VoIP system

Using your VoIP phones without changing the default configurations can be the worst mistake you can make. These days, it’s easy for hackers to search vendor documentation for things like default usernames and passwords. Depending on your VoIP provider and phone model, you should have the option of changing the default login credentials on your handsets.

Get updates from your handset vendor

In 2015, Cisco detected vulnerabilities in their VoIP phones that enabled attackers to listen in on phone conversations. Cisco quickly released security alerts to inform their customers about these vulnerabilities, giving them enough time to address the issues. The lesson here is you must regularly monitor advisories from your hardware vendor or work with an IT provider that does so for you. Without proper monitoring, you won’t know how susceptible your corporate VoIP phones are to eavesdropping.

Update session border controllers

Another way to combat VoIP eavesdropping is to constantly update your session border controllers (SBCs). By doing so, you’ll be updating your VoIP’s antivirus software, which means your systems are better protected from constantly evolving cyberthreats. Routine SBC updates are essential for securing SIP trunking as well as responding to new threats.

Encrypt VoIP calls

If you work in a regulated industry like healthcare or finance, encrypting VoIP calls is essential to staying compliant. Work with your VoIP provider and auditors to determine the best encryption options for your communications infrastructure. Many cloud VoIP providers offer call encryption guidelines, and some even offer it as a premium service.

Build a hardened VoIP network

Make sure your VoIP network has:

  • IP private branch exchange (PBX) using minimal services, so that the hardware can only power the PBX software
  • Firewalls with access control lists set to include call control information
  • Lightweight Directory Access Protocol lookup, and signaling and management protocol
  • Reinforced endpoint security with authentication at the endpoint level

To effectively defend against VoIP eavesdropping, businesses need to take a holistic approach to cybersecurity. This includes enforcing policies, deployment, and security practices that will keep malicious agents out of your network. Feel free to contact us for further information on how to protect your business.

This post was originally published on this site

5 Tips to combat VoIP eavesdropping

Eavesdropping is a form of cyberattack that has been around for years. Cybercriminals have been listening in on Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone calls since the technique was proven to be effective in obtaining valuable information, and they are showing no signs of stopping their malicious activities anytime soon. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to combat VoIP eavesdroppers.

Change the default configurations of your VoIP system

Using your VoIP phones without changing the default configurations can be the worst mistake you can make. These days, it’s easy for hackers to search vendor documentation for things like default usernames and passwords. Depending on your VoIP provider and phone model, you should have the option of changing the default login credentials on your handsets.

Get updates from your handset vendor

In 2015, Cisco detected vulnerabilities in their VoIP phones that enabled attackers to listen in on phone conversations. Cisco quickly released security alerts to inform their customers about these vulnerabilities, giving them enough time to address the issues. The lesson here is you must regularly monitor advisories from your hardware vendor or work with an IT provider that does so for you. Without proper monitoring, you won’t know how susceptible your corporate VoIP phones are to eavesdropping.

Update session border controllers

Another way to combat VoIP eavesdropping is to constantly update your session border controllers (SBCs). By doing so, you’ll be updating your VoIP’s antivirus software, which means your systems are better protected from constantly evolving cyberthreats. Routine SBC updates are essential for securing SIP trunking as well as responding to new threats.

Encrypt VoIP calls

If you work in a regulated industry like healthcare or finance, encrypting VoIP calls is essential to staying compliant. Work with your VoIP provider and auditors to determine the best encryption options for your communications infrastructure. Many cloud VoIP providers offer call encryption guidelines, and some even offer it as a premium service.

Build a hardened VoIP network

Make sure your VoIP network has:

  • IP private branch exchange (PBX) using minimal services, so that the hardware can only power the PBX software
  • Firewalls with access control lists set to include call control information
  • Lightweight Directory Access Protocol lookup, and signaling and management protocol
  • Reinforced endpoint security with authentication at the endpoint level

To effectively defend against VoIP eavesdropping, businesses need to take a holistic approach to cybersecurity. This includes enforcing policies, deployment, and security practices that will keep malicious agents out of your network. Feel free to contact us for further information on how to protect your business.

This post was originally published on this site

Small- and mid-sized businesses need cybersecurity

If your company has recently suffered from a data breach or a ransomware attack, then you know how costly it can be. You lose not just hundreds of dollars but also the reputation you’ve built through the years. That’s why you need cutting-edge cybersecurity solutions to protect your business from ever-growing cybersecurity threats. The good news? Even small- and mid-sized businesses can partner with managed IT services providers (MSPs) who can provide robust solutions and security expertise to protect businesses from huge losses.

The numbers

According to the Ponemon Institute’s 2019 State of Cybersecurity in Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (SMBs) survey, cyberattacks have increased dramatically. Here in the United States, 76% of companies were attacked in 2019, a significant leap from 55% in 2016. Sixty-nine percent of US businesses reported data breaches in 2019, up from 50% in 2016.

The financial consequences have also increased considerably. The average cost spent by companies because of damage to or theft of IT assets and infrastructure increased from $1.03 million in 2017 to $1.2 million in 2019. Costs due to disruption to normal operations increased from an average of $1.21 million in 2017 to an average of $1.9 million in 2019.

The attacks

Globally, the most common forms of attack on SMBs are those that rely on deception: phishing (57%), stolen or compromised devices (33%), and credential theft (30%). Worse, cybercriminals are targeting SMBs more, with reported attacks having increased from 60% in 2017 to 69% in 2019.

Why managed services?

Partnering with MSPs is the most effective way to prevent attacks and protect your business from malicious threats. MSPs offer a full range of proactive IT support that focuses on advanced security, such as around-the-clock monitoring, data encryption and backup, real-time threat prevention and elimination, network and firewall protection, security awareness training, and more.

And because managed services are designed to identify and fix weak spots in your IT infrastructure, you’ll optimize the digital backbone of your business processes. You’ll have faster network performance, a solid business continuity and disaster recovery strategy, and minimal downtime. One of the best things about managed services is that you get a dedicated team of IT professionals ready to assist you for any technology problems you may encounter. This is much more effective and budget-friendly than having in-house personnel handling all your IT issues.

Being proactive when it comes to cybersecurity is the only way to protect what you’ve worked hard to build. If you’d like to know more about how managed services can benefit your business, just give us a call — we’re sure to help.

This post was originally published on this site