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3 Common Cloud Migration Hurdles and How to Overcome Them

It’s true that businesses can benefit from cloud computing, but the migration process can be a hassle. Businesses of all sizes no doubt embrace the cloud because they’re attracted to the many benefits, such as the cost savings, increased data storage, and improved security. However, transferring data into the cloud can be problematic if not done correctly. Businesses should first identify the major challenges associated with cloud migration and then take measures to prevent them from occurring. Here’s a look at how businesses can beat the most common challenges when it comes to migrating to the cloud:

Choose the Best Cloud Solution

Businesses can insure a smooth transition by first taking the extra time to select the right cloud service for their needs. Things to consider include data storage, price, security, and compliance. The goal is to determine which of these is the most important and then select the cloud solution that will best meet these needs. For example, data storage within the health industry is required to be HIPAA compliant. The cloud solution that is chosen needs to follow those regulations. Finding the right cloud solution will make the migration process go much smoother.

Follow Security Best Practices

On of the biggest challenges to overcome has to do with data security during the migration itself. Sure, businesses could have adequate security in place. There’s also no doubt that most cloud providers ensure that data that is being stored on their platform is protected. However, data that is being transferred is especially vulnerable. Before making the switch, check industry compliance standards and follow the protocols outlined. For example, HIPAA compliance regulations indicate that for transferring data, it should first be encrypted to minimize the risk. In fact, encrypting the data can be beneficial for all industries.

Manage Time and Resources

One of the biggest hurdles to cloud migration is the fact that the process requires the use of a lot of resources. It also takes a considerable amount of time. These two things alone are enough to cause businesses to postpone the migration, even if they know that the cloud could ultimately make things much easier for them. Moving data, especially if the data will need to be encrypted beforehand, can be a slow process. Not only does it take a lot of bandwidth, but also some of the data might need to be moved manually or overseen by the IT department. The way to prevent this from becoming an issue is to set realistic expectations for the process and adequately plan all the details of the migration so that things can go much more smoothly.

Are you thinking of moving your business to the cloud? To insure a smooth transition, cloud service providers and IT professionals need to work together. Contact Roan Solutions for more information about the best way to approach migrating to the cloud.

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Security Considerations for Cloud Computing

There’s no doubt that cloud computing is increasing in popularity with businesses of all sizes. They implement a cloud computing infrastructure for a variety of reasons, including cost savings and efficient and streamlined data storage. Before any business makes the switch to cloud computing, it is important to take security into consideration and some believe that security is actually enhanced when using the cloud. Here are some things to consider about cloud computing and its relationship with security. This can ultimately help companies find the best providers for their needs.

Keeps Your Data Safe in Case of Attack 

Even if the business has adequate security measures in place for their internal networks, a breach can still occur that leaves sensitive data vulnerable. When a company’s sensitive data is stored outside of the company’s network, however, it will remain impervious to an attack that impacts the business’ networks. The reason for this is that the cloud has its own security so internal security breaches are unlikely to trickle into the cloud. This is especially true in the case of ransomware attacks. Utilizing the cloud can ultimately prevent a business from being tempted to pay the ransom to restore the data since they’ll be able to access and restore the data on their own.

Knows About Industry Compliance

When it comes to the security of the networks, industry compliance is also an issue to examine when it comes to the cloud. Each industry has its own set of security protocols. These include the PCI-DSS compliance standards that are required for financial and retail institutions as well as the HIPAA compliance that is required of some other industries. Not only do companies need to stay current on the security standards, but the cloud-computing providers need to be compliant, as well. When shopping for cloud providers, it is important to make sure that they do adhere to these standards. With that being said, cloud service providers can make industry compliance much easier because most are in compliance.

Makes Sure the Migration Process Goes Smoothly

When it comes to the cloud, most IT departments are attracted to the ease at which they can store and access the data and don’t necessarily give the security itself much thought. Even if the cloud service itself has excellent security, there are still security risks. Data migration from the company to the cloud is one of those risks and it can be challenging because during the transfer, the data is vulnerable. For experienced hackers, this is all the time they need. Great cloud security companies know what the risks are and will take measures to minimize them. Some have extra security measures in places that will minimize or eliminate this security risk altogether.

There are a lot of benefits to cloud computing and this service can truly benefit businesses of all sizes. Before deciding on a provider, it is a good idea to keep these security considerations in mind. Contact Roan Solutions for more information.

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How Businesses Can Protect Against Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware that is a troublesome security threat. When the network is infected, the ransomware shuts down the infrastructure and leaves instructions to pay a certain amount of money in order to regain access. If the business doesn’t pay, access will not be granted. While it is not a good idea to give in to ransom demands, it may seem impossible to deal with a ransomware attack when it occurs. The solution, then, is to prevent one from occurring in the first place and to take measures to restore an infected system rather than give into demands. Here’s more information about this:

Install Antivirus Software

According to tests conducted by the private network service provider NordVPN, about 30% of popular antivirus programs can successfully detect and neutralize a ransomeware attack. Though this doesn’t seem like a lot, this still means a large number of computers are automatically protected from ransomeware. In order for this strategy to be effective, though, you must keep your antivirus up to date, otherwise newer software risk going unseen and infecting your computer.

Keep Current on Updates

Ransomware is able to infect computers by exploiting security vulnerabilities in older versions of software. By regularly installing updates to the programs the business uses, this lessens the chances of falling prey to an attack. This is especially important for computers working over a network, as a single infected machine can spread the virus to every other computer that accesses that network. For best results, set the computer to automatically install new updates from the manufacturer and contact the company’s IT department for additional instructions.

Train Employees on Best Practices

Employees need to undergo training to help prevent them from accidentally infecting the network with ransomware. People shouldn’t be clicking on links and attachments with an unknown origin. This strategy is one of the first things to learn when accessing the Internet, as it works well in fending off many forms of malicious software including ransomware. If there is an email from an unknown or suspicious sender with a poorly spelled message about clicking a link within it, it’s best to avoid it altogether.

Create Regular Backups

Keeping up-to-date backups of all the data contained on company computers is a good strategy for avoiding disaster and losing valuable resources and time. In the event a hacker is able to infiltrate your computer, these backups can be used to restore the computer to an earlier state without the virus or ransomware, minimizing the loss. It can also be helpful to backup select important files like presentations or reports if you fear losing them may substantially damage the company.

While ransomware is a dangerous security threat, there are things that can be done to prevent an attack and to minimize its impact. It is important to contact an IT professional and exhaust every option for fixing the problem before taking drastic action. Contact Roan Solutions for more information.

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5 Ways to Raise Cyber Security Awareness

It has been proven numerous times that an organization’s cyber security may be compromised from a variety of factors. Although it is assumed that hackers will be the main issue, some of the problems may be located internally. Employees may deliberately or unknowingly subject their organization to a serious cyber security lapse. Therefore, the first step to having a secure cyber security model should involve boosting a company’s cyber security awareness. Here’s more information:

Make Employees Aware

Though the assumption among many persons is that the issue of cyber security is only a concern of the IT section of a company, that isn’t always the case. The responsibility to protect an organization from unintended data access lies upon all employees, regardless of the departments they are stationed within an organization. Having an integrated messaging system that can routinely remind employees of their duty to safely secure login details can steadily nurture the good behavior of ever getting concerned about a company’s cyber security.

Reward Employees

In some instances, employees may discover cyber security lapses not because that is what is required of them but just because of their committed effort to ensure that the organization they work for is protected from the harm that cyber security lapses may create. Such extra work efforts must be recognized and awarded accordingly. Doing that can encourage many employees always to have it easy anytime they may have cyber security lapses that may be worth the attention of a company’s management.

Educate Employees on Cyber Security

Sometimes, cyber security hacks may happen just because employees are not trained accordingly on how to handle company’s login details, software policies and data security protection measures. All employees must be professionally trained on the kind of cyber security risks that may befall their organization and how to respond to any suspicion of malicious data access activity. The training should be routine so that employees are made aware of the lately emerging cyber security trends. Besides that, employees need to not only know how to identify the threats, but also deal with them when they arise.

Lead By Example

A company’s stance on cyber security should be uniformly and consistently be advocated by all the managers and employees. Junior employees often pick a lot from their seniors. If a company’s executive demonstrates the right behavioral influence on how cyber security threats should be dealt with, junior members in a company will carry the same stance most likely forward. Companies should routinely conduct cyber security training for both its leaders and juniors. Doing that always ensures that all members of a company get to have a consistent stance on what comprises a good cyber security practice.

Report Cyber Security Issues

You can imagine what can be at stake if junior employees observe data security lapses initiated by their seniors and seemingly have no means on how to safely report such instances to relevant department within a company. Companies therefore should have cyber security reporting models that safely hide identities of persons who inform about security lapses. Having such models can encourage more people within an organization not to be driven by fear anytime they may have sensitive information they would love to share.

A healthy cyber security approach forms the basis through which companies can safely conduct their businesses. Raising awareness of cyber security can ensure that data access within an organization’s networks should be done in an organized manner. For more information, contact Roan Solutions.

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5 Reasons Why Businesses Need a VCIO

Building and managing an IT infrastructure can be a complicated task, and businesses don’t have the time to stay on top of constant changes in technology. Instead of struggling to maintain an IT setup in the midst of the daily grind, consider the benefits of hiring a Virtual Chief Information Officer, or a VCIO. Here’s a look at some reasons why businesses should consider using a VCIO:

Experience Cost Savings

There are considerable cost savings associated with a VCIO as opposed to an in-house CIO. Bringing a VCIO on board costs less than using multiple IT services. By paying one fee for comprehensive IT management, businesses also avoid having to bring on and train extra staff members. Virtual CIOs already have expertise in all the areas necessary to create and maintain a strong IT platform for businesses of all sizes.

Improve Communication

Imagine having one application through which all staff members could communicate, collaborate and send important information in real time. A VCIO can find and implement just such a platform with the features needed to keep communication open between everyone in the business. Employees will no longer have to spend hours searching for emails and documents or waste time in meetings obtaining progress reports. Modern collaboration platforms are cloud-based, allowing team members to stay in touch while activities can be monitored remotely.

Maintain Data Security Essentials

No business can survive without a strong approach to data security and a solid plan for disaster recovery. Data breaches are inevitable risks of modern IT, and VCIOs know how to put the proper protections in place. Such a framework can be extensive and complex, and it must be updated regularly to protect data from vulnerabilities. Should a problem occur, the VCIO could help the company get back on track as quickly as possible.

Create and Implement a Plan for Future Growtih

A business’s IT setup should dovetail with the overall business goals so that the technology involved can support future growth. If companies try to handle it without the aid of a CIO, there can be delays in implementation or miss new opportunities altogether as daily business concerns take precedent. Put a VCIO in charge of creating a plan and integrating new technologies as they arrive to keep the business on track. The VCIO has the ability to focus his or her efforts on this on task, unlike a CIO who may have too many roles to create as effective a plan as possible.

Easily Scale Up Coverage

As fresh solutions appear, a VCIO can evaluate the options and determine which ones will benefit the company. This allows businesses to scale up as needed without any delays in service and keeps the business running efficiently. Rather than getting hung up on fixing old problems before taking advantage of new applications and platforms, businesses can enjoy consistent access to the latest technologies.

Using VCIO services gives companies all the benefits of an onsite CIO at a reasonable cost. With someone else managing the growth and development of the IT setup, employees in the company are free to focus on moving the company forward. For more information, contact Roan Solutions.

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Insider Threats are a Top Security Concern

One of the biggest security threats businesses have had to cope with recently are what are referred to as insider threats. Defined as malicious activity done from within a company, no business is immune to them, which means they can be hard to manage. When companies define their cyber security strategy, they often focus on external security breaches. For a variety of reasons, managing insider threats could be more difficult, challenging and intensive. Insider threats come in different forms and can result in significant damage. Here’s a look at what businesses can do to deal with these threats:

What Are Insider Threats?

Insider threats are both accidental and deliberate, but it is the deliberate ones that are the biggest concerns. Educating and training employees can minimize accidental threats, developing internal cyber security policies, and making sure these policies are enforced. Deliberate threats involve the use of schemes and techniques that target the key areas within the organization. Insider threats have cost companies and corporations huge sums of money, since some of these threats come to pass, prompting the company to implement damage control plans and other associated contingencies. This eats into the finances of the company and may lead to significant losses. Data is the biggest thing at risk but some schemes are designed to target a company’s monetary reserves.

Challenges Arising from Insider Threats

Because these attacks happen from within, the damage can be considerable. One of the greatest challenges is that the attacks may go undetected for some time, which can result in some serious losses. The fact that the thieves operate from within means that they are able to monitor the fraud on a regular basis and make necessary changes to increase their success. Most of the time, those performing the fraud are legitimate members of the company, which means that they often have access to the company’s networks.

What to Do About Insider Threats

There are things businesses can do to minimize insider threats. One of the biggest ways is to constantly monitor the activity of its employees. If anything looks out of place, businesses can investigate and address the problem before serious damage can be done. Monitoring is also useful because it can establish the trends and patterns of employees. Once someone doesn’t follow his or her pattern, this activity can be investigated.

Not only that, but businesses should also tighten security from within the business’s network. Sensitive areas should be protected with additional security and passwords and only those who need to have access to the information will be allowed access. When it comes to monitoring, this can make it much easier.

Employee training is also something that can help minimize insider threats, particular those that were not done intentionally. Educated employees are less likely to fall victim of scams, open inappropriate emails, and engage in any activities on the company’s network that can put it at risk. Not only that, but knowledgeable employees may even detect suspicious activity and report it.

Insider threats are a real problem for businesses today. Contact Roan Solutions for more information on what to do about them.

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Security Risks Associated With IoT

The latest technological advances allow people to communicate and interact with each other and their devices in ways they never thought possible, creating a world of limitless potential. Although IoT, or the Internet of Things, adds a layer of convenience to businesses of all sizes, problems can arise. In particular, there are security concerns to be aware of.

Ultimately, companies need to decide how they want to handle IoT and the associated security risks. Since IoT does make workers’ lives easier, businesses might want to consider identifying what the risks are and then develop solutions to minimize these risks. Here’s a look at the main security concerns associated with IoT:

Physical Threats

Physical threats are those that occur to the layer of a network that includes the hardware. These types of threats are designed to specifically impact the hardware, such as a USB port in a physical device. The goal of this type of threat is for a hacker to take control of the specific device, such as the USB port, and use it to gather information, insert malicious code, or cause a virus that can cause the company harm. Typically, attackers need to be fairly close to the device in order to execute this type of attack.

Network Attacks

Network attacks related to IoT are a serious threat, especially since the attacks can be executed remotely. Hackers search for easy ways to breach a system and unfortunately, not all IoT devices are secure so it is fairly easy for the attackers to gain unauthorized access. They often breach systems in search of sensitive information they can use, such as customer and credit card data. Not only that, but some attacks are crippling and can cause the company to go offline. If this happens, it can also represent a considerable loss of revenue.

Spoofing 

Spoofing is another serious concern when it comes to IoT. This occurs when two or more devices communicate with each other, they will use IP addresses, hardware codes and other identifiers to determine the identity of any device that is requesting information or trying to execute a command. Someone with a little knowledge about how networks operate can spoof device information to send commands or to steal someone’s information. When a device is compromised it can then be used to launch denial of service attacks on other networks. This is another one of those serious threats that can result in a loss of revenue for the businesses.

After learning about the countless threats that come with IoT, some people feel reluctant to embrace the advances in technology. The good news is that anyone can take proactive steps to stay out of harm’s way and to safeguard their sensitive files. Using encrypted connections, physical security and device updates will work wonders when it comes to reducing these risks. For more information on what can be done, contact Roan Solutions.

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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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