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3 Advantages for Outsourcing to a Managed Service Provider

While it is true that technology is a vital part of businesses today, it also does create some challenges. The increased use of technology requires a staff to maintain it as well as creating the need for extra security considerations. This role usually falls to a company’s IT departments, but there is also another option for businesses of all sizes – outsourcing this aspect of the business to a Managed Service Provider (MSP). Here’s a look at some of the advantages to outsourcing:

IT Departments Are Often Understaffed

When hiring people for an in-house IT department, businesses often hire a handful of individuals who have a wide variety of skills. In fact, many companies rely on a small number of people to handle the IT needs of a company, but even in smaller businesses, the needs are so varied that this isn’t always the best approach. For example, all businesses need to be concerned with cyber security but many don’t have a dedicated cyber security expert on staff.

As a result of this, companies usually have IT needs that the small, in-house departments are unable to meet. This doesn’t happen when entrusting IT to an MSP because they formulate an IT plan based on a company’s specific needs and match the appropriate staff with that plan. In order for businesses to build up a comparable, in-house IT department, it would take a considerable amount of the companies’ resources.

Managed Service Providers Save Companies Money

The biggest resource that MSP’s save a company relates to money. Hiring an MSP to handle IT is cost effective because they pair the best IT professionals to get the job done. There are a lot of hidden costs associated with hiring additional employees that simply aren’t associated with MSP’s.

Because of this, companies are able to save money and increase the quality of their IT. Not only that, but Managed Service Providers also have a tendency to hire experts, so businesses of all sizes have access to them at a fraction of the cost. For companies to hire experts, the costs associated are even greater since they would need to pay the individuals a salary, fund their benefits, pay taxes, et cetera.

Increased Efficiency

Overall, MSP’s are often more efficient than an in-house department would be. Benefits such as around the clock management, access to a team of experts, and access to a custom plan are all the ways that managed service providers can help companies run more efficiently. Managed Service Providers not only constantly monitor a business’s networks and other IT capabilities, but they are able to respond to a problem quickly so that it can be resolved without resulting in serious losses for the company. The increased efficiency when it comes to IT results in greater efficiency for the company as a whole.

Businesses have a choice as to whether they want to fully outsource all of their IT needs to a Managed Service Provider or maintain some IT staff while also outsourcing most of it. Contact Roan Solutions for more information and to help you choose the options that are right for your business.

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Developing a Data Loss Prevention Strategy

Businesses should have a data loss prevention strategy in place. Otherwise they risk allowing sensitive information to fall into the wrong hands, which could result in a loss of revenue for the company. This has been of interest to businesses of all sizes because issues such as the most recent WannaCry ransomware attack, insider threats, security breaches, and even stricter privacy laws, have led businesses to develop stricter protocols for data loss prevention. Here’s a look at the process companies need to follow in order to create a data loss prevention, or DLP, strategy:

Determine the Critical Data

Businesses of all sizes generate and process a large amount of data. Which of this information is actually critical? Before creating a DLP strategy it is important to determine which information is the most important so that the right data can be protected. Data that should be the priority could include customer information, product information and data, and financial information. DLP should begin with the most sensitive data at the company.

Know What the Risks Are

Another key component of a data loss prevention strategy lies in identifying what the specific risks are. It is also important to understand that the risks associated with the data will determine on the types of data. Email, for example, may have different risks than financial information would. Consider the types of data that is the most critical to the company and then pinpoint what the risks are. The risks will have a lot to do with how the data moves through the network and also how it is stored. Data that passes through a BYOD such as a personal computer may have different risks associated to it than data that is resting inside a firewall. Both scenarios will need to be addressed in the DLP strategy.

Train Employees

One of the things that businesses need to understand is that employees often represent the weakest link in any data loss prevention strategy. Whether they realize it or not, employees can do something that results in data loss. Employees need to be trained on the best practices that they need to follow in order to prevent data loss. In this case, most of the data that is lost is accidental. Employees need to understand how data is moved so that they can be more effective. In particular, people need to know how their actions can cause data loss so that they can prevent it from happening and also self adjust if they unknowingly cause loss of data.

When assembling a DLP strategy, it is a good idea to approach it methodically. It is important to pinpoint exactly what the risks are and also determine which types of data are the most sensitive. From there, businesses can identify the best strategy for their needs. For more information on how to compose and implement a DLP strategy, contact Roan Solutions.

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How Businesses Can Deal With Insider Security Threats

It is true that employees are often the weakest link businesses face when it comes to cyber security. When we consider how to cope with this, we understand that training employees on the ins and outs of cyber security can certainly go a long way to minimizing this threat. However, there is another side that businesses of all sizes need to consider – when an insider becomes a threat maliciously. According to a new paper published by Intel®, over 40% of data loss is caused by insiders both by accident and maliciously. Here’s a look at what businesses can do to deal with insider security threats:

What Exactly is An Insider Threat?

Cyber security experts often define an “insider threat” as something that is done maliciously. These are not to be confused with the type of threat that occurs when a misinformed employee gets taken in by a scam, unknowingly opens an email that contains ransomware, or clicks on an image that contained a virus. Insider threats are different because the malicious intent originated with the employee and not from an outside source.

For example, when an employee uses the fact that they can access sensitive information to extract this information for personal gain, this is considered an insider threat. Although the insider is behaving like a hacker in that they want to us the information for their own gain, they didn’t need to use the standard tricks that a hacker needs to use. They accessed the information easily since it was likely part of their job description.

What Can Companies Do About Insider Threats?

When creating a cyber security plan, it is important to understand that insider threats need to be part of it. Many companies spend most of their resources on preventing things like viruses, malware, ransomware, and CEO fraud from impacting their business that they fail to consider that insider threats are a real concern. Companies can start by clearly defining the insider threats in which they are most susceptible.

The defenses for dealing with malicious insider threats and accidental ones are pretty similar. Here’s a look at what companies can do:

  • Training employees about cyber security can at last minimize the accidental insider threats.
  • Control access. Restricting access to sensitive data can also minimize the risk of insider threats. Implementing tighter measures for vetting employees when it comes to allowing them access to sensitive information can also help. It is also important to stop insider access from occurring when malicious activity is suspected.
  • Monitor activity. IT departments should consider implementing strategies that will help them monitor activity on their network and stop the threats immediately before they can cause considerable damage.

Since insider threats tend to be malicious, businesses of all sizes need to do what they can to tighten their cyber security protocols and increase employee education. For more information on how to cope with insider cyber security threats, contact Roan Solutions.

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How CIO’s Can Address Cyber Security Challenges

Every now and then, news breaks of a major cyber security attack that costs a company millions, if not billions, of dollars. These usually represent the extreme side of cyber security and the reality is that all businesses are at risk of experiencing a range of threats, such as viruses, malware, ransomware, and even CEO fraud. Even if there aren’t millions or billions of dollars at stake, businesses of all sizes are vulnerable.

However, it is important to understand that the outlook is certainly not bleak. Businesses need to develop and execute a strategy for dealing with cyber attacks, and the CIO, or Chief Information Officer, or VCIO, the Virtual Chief Information Officer can both do a lot to help facilitate this process. Here are some key ways that the CIO or VCIO can help businesses meet these cyber security challenges:

Understand That Employees Are Especially Vulnerable

It is true that employees are the weakest link in any cyber security plan, but it doesn’t always have to be this way. There are few behaviors that employees often engage in that can put the company at risk, and their actions both at work and at home can actually cause cyber threats to infiltrate the company’s network and IT infrastructure. Regular education and training about cyber security can certainly go a long way to helping minimize this threat because it will enable them to recognize emails they shouldn’t answer, attachments they shouldn’t open, et cetera.

However, CIO’s and VCIO’s also need to recognize that their behaviors on their personal devices can also make the company vulnerable. If an employee were to have a virus or malware attack on a personal laptop and then they email an attachment to someone in the company from that laptop, do their work on their personal laptop, or even simply use their laptop at work on the company’s network, this could all transfer the cyber threat to the business. CIO’s need to educate their IT department and their employees company-wide on the best way to minimize this threat.

Continually Review and Monitor Existing Cyber Security Policies

Once companies establish a cyber security plan, the tendency is to believe that once it is set up, the business will remain safe from cyber threats. The truth is, cyber criminals are diligent and they’re constantly upgrading their approaches so that they can be more effective at their craft. If companies create and implement their cyber security plan and then leave it alone, this can make the company vulnerable. CIO’s need to recognize that simply creating and implementing the plan once isn’t enough. The policies need to be reviewed and updated on a regular schedule in order to insure that the business remains protected from threats. CIO’s also need to ensure that their employees are implementing the scheduled security plan and not becoming lax in their efforts.

When it comes to keeping a business safe from cyber attacks, it is up to the CIO or VCIO to keep a close watch and address these security challenges. For more help on how to do that, contact Roan Solutions.

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Prevent CEO Fraud With Employee Education

When it comes to cyber security, there are a lot of threats that could plague your business. Some of these threats, such as malware and viruses, can usually be detected and dealt with by using a high quality antivirus or antimalware software program. Some cyber threats, however, aren’t as straightforward as that, such as CEO fraud.

Although CEO fraud is considered a part of cyber security, it also involves a customized interaction between the cyber criminal and the victim. To combat this type of fraud, employee education can help considerably especially when training is paired with other measures, such as more effective email scans. Here’s more information on the best way to prevent CEO fraud:

Definition of CEO Fraud

CEO fraud is often referred to as a BEC, or Business Email Compromise, incident. This is because it usually starts when the victim receives an email that impersonates the CEO or other high level executive. In it, the CEO or other executive convinces the victim to make a money transfer into a certain bank account from the company’s funds. This type of scam works because the criminals are often successful at playing the role of the CEO or the executive, which allows the victim to feel confident making the money transfer. However, the reality is that the person in the email was only impersonating the CEO and that the funds transfer went to the criminal’s bank account.

Educate Employees About CEO Fraud

The key to preventing your business from becoming victimized by a CEO fraud, you need to educate your employees as to what it looks like so that they won’t be taken in by the scam. They should not only be able to recognize CEO fraud when they see it, but they should also have a solid plan for what to do once they do identify the fraud. Sure, email filtering can help stop this scam from occurring, as well.

However, cyber criminals who specialize in CEO fraud will likely know how to beat the filters. Education also needs to be ongoing since scammers are skilled at adapting their strategies as soon as they realize that people are no longer taking the bait. As their tactics become more sophisticated, the employees need to always stay one step ahead. A good training program will allow for ongoing education.

As businesses implement strategies for combating the various cyber threats, the cyber criminals have had to develop new ways to defraud the companies. Some cyber criminals do what they do because they simply want to cause problems. However, others are motivated by the prospect of stealing money, as is the case with CEO fraud. The good news is that this kind of fraud can be handled simply by properly educating employees. If they know how to spot it, they won’t be taken in by the scam. For more information on how to best handle CEO fraud, contact Roan Solutions.

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3 Ways to Prevent CEO Fraud

CEO fraud is one of the rising cyber security threats that businesses are faced with. This type of fraud is called a Business Email Compromise (BEC) incident because hackers usually first make contact with the victim via email. In it, the cyber thieves impersonate a high-level executive, such as the CEO of the company, to trick the individual into wiring funds to a fraudulent, overseas account. This type of theft often fools many employees since it looks legitimate on the surface.

The end result is that CEO fraud can cost a company millions if the hackers manage to execute the scam successfully. However, there’s some good news. There are ways businesses can prevent this type of scam from occurring in the first place. Here’s a look at what businesses can do to prevent CEO fraud scams from taking place:

Educate Employees About CEO Fraud

Since incidents of CEO fraud is on the rise, it helps to educate employees as to what CEO fraud actually looks like so they can avoid getting involved with the scam. This can be accomplished through security awareness training, which can help prevent incidents of fraud from occurring in the first place. Employees need to know what a typical fraudulent email looks like and also how to avoid taking part in the scam once the threat is identified. Increasing employee awareness and training them about all aspects of cyber security, not just CEO fraud, are important measures for guarding against cyber scams.

Implement Better Email Filtering

There are a few telltale signs that can show whether the email truly came from a C-level executive or if they came from a scammer. While employees can certainly be trained as to how to spot the difference themselves, it also helps to set up better email filtering so that employees may not even see the fraudulent emails. Scammers use tactics such as spoofing the company’s domain name, spelling the company’s domain name incorrectly, and placing the CEO’s name in the from line of the email even though the email didn’t originate from the company.

Develop Secure Wire Transfer Protocols

Wire transfers are a big part of CEO fraud scams since the hacker’s main goal in impersonating the c-level executive is to get the victim to wire transfer large amounts of funds to a bank account. Imagine if the employee believed the scammer and was about to transfer the requested money. Having stringent wire transfer protocols in place could further prevent the scam from being successfully executed. For example, if the policy states that wire transfers can only be made if the CEO or other executive approves it first, this could prevent the scammer from obtaining the money.

Are you concerned about cyber security threats such as CEO fraud but are unsure of where to start? Contact Roan Solutions for help creating a cyber security plan that can handle threats such as CEO fraud.

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Rising Cyber Security Threats for 2017

There’s no doubt that cyber security is a big threat for businesses today. One of the issues businesses of all sizes are faced with is the fact that once they get a handle on one type of threat, another security concern takes its place. While the goal of any company is to create an all-encompassing plan that will cover all the threats, it does help to stay current on the subject since it can help companies create effective strategies on how to handle them.

However, to accurately prevent these threats, it helps to define what they are. Keep in mind that all the standard threats still exist, such as malware, phishing, and viruses, and businesses should plan accordingly. However, there are some that have become more common. Here is a look at some of the top cyber security concerns that businesses may face in 2017:

Internal Threats

These days, businesses shouldn’t only be concerned about cyber security breaches that come into the company from the outside. Currently, most businesses seem to focus on preventing hackers from getting into the network from the outside. As it becomes harder for them to breach the networks from the outside, they tend to explore options that will enable them to breach systems from the inside.

To do this, hackers often attempt to manipulate employees, often by blackmailing them. Other internal threats to be concerned with include internal espionage and even CEO fraud, which is where hackers emulate the CEO and upper level management as a way to gain information. Note that most of these threats can be prevented through adequate employee education.

Ransomware  

Although ransomware has been around for some time, it has increased in its frequency over the past few years. Ransomware is defined as a type of security breach where a malicious piece of software, or malware, embeds itself into a computer system and blocks users from accessing it. The cyber criminals responsible for this type of security threat offer to unblock the system as long as a sum of money is paid.

Once a company is infected with ransomware, it can be difficult to reverse the damage. The FBI doesn’t advise paying the ransom, but they do admit that these cyber criminals are difficult to catch. From a business’s perspective, even if access to the system is restored, the loss of revenue could be devastating. Besides creating an extensive plan that would protect the system backups from the threat of ransomare, it is important to educate employees on how to prevent a ransomware attack in the first place.

Because cyber criminals are becoming increasingly more aggressive, it is important that businesses not only understand the threats, implement a cyber security plan that will fully protect the business. This not only includes the standard measures such as firewalls, virus and malware protection software, and a solid data backup plan, but also making sure that employees are fully educated on the risks and what to do about them. Contact Roan Solutions for more information on how to do that.

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Email Security Best Practices for Businesses

Email is an important part of business communications and when done correctly, it can certainly make people’s jobs easier. Employees have come to depend on email but at the same time, emails can make businesses vulnerable to threats such as malware, worms, viruses, and spyware. Fortunately, businesses don’t need to stop using email altogether to create a safe environment. Implementing the following best practices can make email more secure:

Know What’s at Stake

Before implementing a strategy for making email more secure, it helps to know what the risks that insecure emails can cause because that will help businesses formulate a plan for safeguarding against the risks. Specifically, what would happen if sensitive information within the emails ended up in the wrong hands? How much money does the company stand to lose if an email infected the computer with malware, spyware, worms, a virus, or another threat? In the majority of cases, these threats could result in a loss of data and that, over time, could cost the company money.

Implement Email Security Measures

At the very least, businesses need to utilize email security measures that are available today in order to control the threats, such as malware, that can be present in emails. For most businesses, the choices for how to secure their email are constantly growing. Here’s a look at some of the in house measures businesses can take:

  • Dedicated Email Server. One strategy businesses can use is to have a dedicated email server that will isolate the emails from the rest of the company’s applications. If an email is infected, it will have less of a chance of infected the rest of the company’s information.
  • Automatic Updates. Another thing that can help increase email security is to stay on top of any software updates that need to be made with email software programs as well as virus protection software.
  • Content Filtering. Sophisticated content filtering can further protect a business from emails that contain security threats. It can also help control spam emails. While many email companies provide their own in-house filters, there are programs out there that are even more effective than those.

Use Cloud Based Email

While the above suggestions are certainly helpful, they are a bit outdated in today’s environment. Cloud based email is an extremely reliable solution that doesn’t require businesses to have a dedicated emails server, or implement filtering and security measures. Cloud email systems like Microsoft Office 0365 and Google’s business mail solution allow for encryption and also come with their own filtering and security measures. This is a much better solution for businesses.

Ensure Employee Compliance

However, implementing email security measures can only take a company so far. Employee compliance to internal email security policies, knowledge of the types of problems negligence with their own email inboxes can cause, as well as informed leadership, can all go a long way to increasing overall email security. It is up to company leadership and the IT departments to set policies that will help keep workplace emails safe and secure. However, it is up to the employees to implement these policies and remain diligent when policing their own email accounts.

Need help making business emails more secure? A managed IT service provider helps companies make these types of decisions. Contact Roan Solutions for help creating an email security plan that best suits the company’s needs.

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4 Cyber Security Threats Plaguing Businesses

4 Cyber Security Threats Plaguing BusinessesThere are many cyber security threats that businesses are faced with today. Of course, there are always ways for businesses to prevent these threats from impacting them. However, in order for companies to minimize these threats, they first need to know what they are. After knowing what their security threats actually are, they can then develop an effective cyber security plan. Here’s a look at the threats of which businesses need to be aware:

Data Breaches

Data breaches are a threat to businesses of all sizes and the major problem with them is that it not only puts sensitive company information at risk, but also customer data. Cybercriminals steal data such as credit card information, company information, and other personal information. Companies can combat this threat by following industry compliance guidelines, such as HIPAA or PCI-DSS guidelines, and by diligently updating the company’s security features, such as changing passwords on a regular schedule and updating the firewalls.

BYOD Vulnerabilities

While the Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, phenomenon has revolutionized the workplace, it has also brought with it a new set of security concerns. From a security standpoint, BYOD is hard to monitor. Since companies often leave individuals who are largely in control of the security of their devices, it can be incredibly hard to monitor the threats that can come from BYOD. IT departments should consider creating company-wide policies policing the security of these devices so they can better control these threats.

Malware

Malware includes anything malicious that is designed to damage a business’s devices, such as its computers. Malware can include spyware, viruses, and Trojans. There are several ways to prevent malware from infecting the company’s devices and to other parts of the IT infrastructure, such as servers. To combat this, it is important to make sure that each device has an adequate firewall and up to date malware detection and cleanup software program installed.

Insider Misuse

Many people don’t realize that not every cyber security threats originate from the outside. There are some external concerns to address, as well. One of the biggest internal problems is referred to as insider misuse and is classified as a data breach originating from within the company when one or more individuals access information that goes beyond what they need in order to perform their daily duties. Whether intentional or not, this type of data breach puts the security of the company at risk because the information could often fall into the wrong hands.

It’s true that cyber security is an issue for businesses of all sizes and it certainly does help to develop an effective cyber security plan that is tailored to the business. However, in order for that to happen, it’s important to know what the threats really are. For more information about how to protect your business from these cyber security threats, contact Roan Solutions.

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Security Benefits of Using a Managed IT Provider

Security Benefits of Using a Managed IT ProviderBusinesses today are faced with multiple security threats, such as viruses, malware, hackers, and other issues. In order to properly manage these threats, it helps to have a dedicated team of experts whose main role it is to keep the business’s assets secure. Security breaches pose multiple threats to businesses, such as sensitive data leakages and downtime, which both can result in lost revenue for the company.

In order to minimize these issues, it helps to have a solid security plan. Unfortunately, businesses often don’t have the right IT team in place to handle these security issues. In this case, using a managed IT provider can step up the company’s game when it comes to security. Here are the security benefits companies enjoy when using a managed IT provider:

Access to Top Security Technologies

One of the major roles of a managed IT provider is to optimize the company’s IT infrastructure. Since security measures are part of the infrastructure, this is something the managed IT service will provide, as well. Not only that, but they add a level of expertise to the security protocols that a company’s existing IT department may not have access to. Tasks such as building security firewalls, installing top of the line virus protection, and implementing email spam filters are all things the service provider could install to beef up security. Not only that, but they’ll be able to use the industry’s best technologies in order to perform these tasks.

Perform Constant Network Maintenance

It isn’t enough to implement the security protocols while building the IT infrastructure. The network needs to be continuously monitored and assessed so that maintenance can be performed. The problem is, IT departments are often strapped for resources, which means that these tasks aren’t always being performed. If these maintenance measures aren’t taken, it can make it much easier for a threat to breach the IT infrastructure and put the company’s valuable assets at risk. Activities that could raise red flags include network activity from a certain IP address outside of the business’s normal base of operations, software updates, and an increase in spam emails to employee email addresses. These all should be addressed before they pose a serious threat.

Adherence to Industry Policies

In some industries, it isn’t necessarily enough to implement security measures that will keep the business’s assets safe. There are some policies that need to be adhered to, as well. The problem is, industry standards are always changing, and many IT departments aren’t staffed well enough to keep up. With managed IT providers, however, this isn’t the case since they always stay current with industry policies, such as HIPAA and PCI, as part of their ongoing training. These compliance standards often have protocols that will help keep the company’s information assets more secure.

Managed IT service providers can help keep a business’s valuable assets more secure. For more information on how Roan Solutions can help, click here.

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