The southeastern United States is home to many thriving tech hubs. Succeeding in this vibrant environment requires the right technology, infrastructure, and security measures in place. Even companies that excel in digital innovation benefit from the second opinion of skilled professionals offering IT services. From Chattanooga to Huntsville and beyond, companies routinely take advantage of managed services to keep infrastructure streamlined and secure.
Thinking about investing in some new computers? Not sure where the office stands with its cyber security? Curious about how many devices are connected to the network? First, it is important to understand what an IT security network assessment is and how it can benefit an office.
4 Reasons to Have an IT Security Network Assessment Done
An IT security network assessment is a comprehensive review of an organization’s existing IT infrastructure, software, and hardware. This review focuses on security, compliance, and operational efficiency in an organization’s network. This detailed report includes a review of the performance of the network, a security assessment to define areas of improvement (i.e. vulnerabilities and bugs in the network), a network inventory used to discover which devices are on the network, the network architecture, and much more. It is one of the first places a company starts when choosing to leverage managed IT services.
By having an outside objective network assessment conducted, businesses can figure out which aspects of the business are working, what may be holding it back, and how best to plan for the future. An assessment can catch problems early before they affect a company’s productivity or even worse – the bottom line.
Choosing an IT services partner is vital because it involves trusting a third-party partner to handle a company’s most critical business information and help during network issues or a crisis. RJ Young has a reliable team of trained professionals to create custom unique solutions to help a business succeed. With the amount of managed IT services options available, it can make choosing a provider difficult.
When choosing a managed services provider, look for a provider that will:
1. Address Security Blind Spots and Weak Points
The primary purpose of security is to prevent unauthorized access to a company’s network or sensitive information. However, the average office is technologically sophisticated. There are many opportunities for security blind spots to arise simply because so many devices now exist in an office.
For startups and small businesses, the likelihood of blind spots or weak points increase. Startups frequently need to access the same technological solutions as their established rivals, but they may not have the skill or expertise to deploy these solutions securely.
However, an IT security network assessment is valuable to companies, no matter their size. Like a car, a network benefits from regular checkups. A comprehensive IT assessment will identify:
- Internet-connected devices that are not adequately secured, like printers or smart devices
- Outdated hardware with known security flaws
- Software that is incorrectly configured, updated, or secured
- Employee security practices that may result in a breach
- Areas where the IT department lacks visibility
- Technological assets lacking physical security
- Assets in use that might not be compliant with regulations
2. Discover Shadow IT
Network assessments frequently reveal the presence of shadow IT in a company. According to Cisco, shadow IT is the use of technological assets without the use, permission, or knowledge of the IT department. This typically occurs because employees are buying or installing software or applications (though sometimes hardware) to do their job. Employees often install shadow IT when IT support is unavailable, or the current tools provided by the company are insufficient.
Shadow IT is not malicious, but it nonetheless creates an opportunity for malicious software or criminals to gain access to a network. It also makes network traffic monitoring much more difficult because these resources might not be visible to an IT department. If the IT department is not aware of an application or software on a device, they cannot support it or ensure that it is secure.
Gartner estimates that by 2020, one-third of successful attacks experienced by enterprises will be on data located in shadow IT resources, including shadow Internet of Things.
Shadow IT is not going away and an assessment can help uncover these resources. A managed IT service provider, such as RJ Young, can then review the resources and either integrate them into the authorized list of IT assets, or eliminate and replace them with secure tools to help employees do their jobs.
3. Identify Opportunities to Optimize Secure Accessibility
Many people view security and accessibility as being at odds with each other. Sometimes this leads to people taking shortcuts that undermine the preventative measures taken to protect a network. For example, some users may:
- Turn off multi-factor authentication to make logins easier
- Store passwords in insecure, but accessible locations
- Disable the firewall to access the resources they need on a computer
If users are disabling cyber security features, it is a sign that they are not deployed in a way that supports productivity and accessibility. An IT security network assessment can identify these instances to recommend later configurations that optimize accessibility while maintaining security.
4. Access Expert Advice Before Developing Infrastructure
Many cities in the Southeast have reputations for being tech hubs full of competent, technologically fluent professionals who know what they are doing when it comes to software and hardware. However, no one should buy a car without having it inspected by a mechanic first. Think of an IT security assessor like a mechanic.
An IT security network assessment is a smart first step when considering additional infrastructure investments.
An organization may know its IT infrastructure inside and out, but that does not diminish the value of a second set of eyes. Instead, a professional who is specifically trained to conduct assessments will be able to provide insights regarding immediate, short-term, and long-term impacts of the proposed developments. Even if a company does not intend to pursue managed IT services, such advice can mean the difference between scalable growth and unnecessary expenses.
RJ Young Provides IT Services in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Throughout the Southeast
An IT security network assessment is a smart move for any organization, even if they are already experts in the technology industry. A comprehensive evaluation conducted by trained professionals is one of the most valuable services that a technologically sophisticated office can employ. Carrying out regular IT security assessments to gain better visibility or implementing zero-trust networking can be an effective way to tackle threats.
Before upgrading those computers or making significant changes to the office’s IT security, give RJ Young a call. Work with a team of experienced professionals who know tech startup scenes like Chattanooga’s and are prepared to deliver the right IT services to thrive.
RJ Young provides managed IT services and assessments to companies in Chattanooga, Tennessee and throughout the Southeast. Contact an RJ Young specialist to get started with a comprehensive network assessment today.
Healthcare organizations take a variety of measures to safeguard patient protected health information (PHI). From managed security services to the thoughtful engagement of security best practices, keeping PHI safe is as vital as delivering the best quality care.
HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) specifies a series of administrative safeguards under the Security Rule that pertain to password creation. It requires healthcare organizations to develop procedures for creating passwords and keeping them secure.
Over 80% of hacking-related breaches are due to weak or stolen passwords, according to the recent Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report, and over 70% of employees reuse personal passwords at work.
Password best practices were a hot topic throughout 2019. Major companies have come under scrutiny for their inadequate password practices.
Even though 91% of people are aware reusing passwords is not a good practice, 59% reuse their passwords at home and work making it a top priority for businesses to educate employees about password best practices.
For healthcare organizations, failure to keep passwords secure represents a violation of HIPAA which may result in costly fines. Avoid this by implementing these five best practices for password security that satisfy the Security Rule under HIPAA.
The 5 Best Practices for Password Security That Satisfy HIPAA Requirements
Passwords stay safe when they are strong and protected from exposure. That involves a combination of practices involving both password and device management. Security experts at RJ Young recommend that healthcare organizations:
1. Use Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication (2FA) has been around for about five years and was recognized as a password best practice in 2019. 2FA requires two security actions to prove a person’s identity. This includes entering a code sent via text message to a work-issued phone or using a specific physical object – like a key card – issued to an individual.
2FA prevents unauthorized access by people who have fraudulently acquired the login credentials of an account. While a hacker might gain a password from a successful phishing attempt, he or she will not have access to an employee’s key card or work-issued phone.
2. Randomize Passwords With a Mix of Characters
Most users choose passwords based on familiar words or objects, making them easy to crack. This happens because the password generation requires a mixture of letters, numbers, and special characters. Random strings are hard to remember, however by choosing a less random password, it becomes statistically more likely that the password can get cracked.
To best satisfy the HIPAA Security Rule with passwords, use a random password generator — these are harder to crack.
3. Limit the Devices Employees Can Log in to Accounts On
Secondary devices, like employee personal devices, are often compromised by undetected malware. They introduce a security risk into a HIPAA-regulated environment. Additionally, these devices don’t receive security monitoring and management like the rest of the network does. Therefore, they may be infected with keyloggers or other advanced security threats that can be difficult to detect.
Companies should also prohibit employees from logging into work sites on personal devices – while this might not work for all businesses, implementing a BYOD Security Policy can help. This keeps PHI firmly within a company, while also helping limit password exposure, malware attacks, and other security hazards.
4. Disable Password Autofill on Browsers
Password autofill is a convenient tool for managing personal passwords, but for a healthcare organization, it can be extremely dangerous. Many medical offices rely on tablets and other mobile devices or technology while in the office, which – while convenient – are easier to steal. If autofill has been enabled on a browser on the device, all confidential company information can easily be accessed.
Disable autofill on Chrome under the Advanced tab in the Settings window. For Firefox, the option is found under Options, Privacy, and the History heading. For Safari open the preferences window, select the auto-fill tab, and turn off all the features related to usernames and passwords.
5. Conduct Periodical Password Audits & Change Regularly
Password audits involve a review of the passwords currently being used by users. They are an excellent way to spot weak or duplicated passwords so users can change when necessary. Password audits also keep password security at the forefront of everyone’s mind, helping to promote a security culture that keeps patient information safe.
Change passwords at least every three months for non-administrative users and 45-60 days for administrative accounts. Be sure to change your password if you have shared it with another colleague for maximum security.
Managed Security Services Can Help Organizations Use Better Passwords
Password security has been one of the prevailing IT security trends over the past year. As longstanding practices like frequent password changes have fallen out of favor, professionals are discussing other ways to keep passwords safe in an environment with an ever-increasing number of security threats. In 2020, password security involves a combination of secure passwords and best practices to protect those passwords from unwanted exposure.
Managed security services can prove valuable for healthcare organizations striving for improved IT network security and password systems. These professional services deliver increased security across a network and help companies satisfy HIPAA’s stringent requirements. With a managed security service provider (MSSP), healthcare organizations can retain their operational efficiency while enjoying better intrusion detection and security protection.
RJ Young is an experienced security provider for companies in the healthcare industry. Start a conversation with RJ Young to discover how they can help secure your network.
Every day, more advanced technologies emerge across the business landscape. They bring innovation and disruption that continues to power growth. Over the past few years, cloud service providers have helped businesses transform their wide ranging processes. Cloud solutions are a robust industry that has quickly matured and became mainstream.
Cloud services provide access to powerful capabilities once outside the reach of most small companies.
The State of Cloud Services in 2020
More opportunities exist for companies in every industry to use the cloud. The value of these flexible, scalable solutions is well-known. Many businesses are turning to them to stay lean and competitive.
According to Emergent Research and Intuit, some 80 percent of US small businesses will deploy cloud computing this year.
In 2019, several new and exciting cloud computing services hit the market. Many of these have drawn from existing cloud solutions, refining and expanding them for more specific business needs. In 2020, expect to see cloud-based:
- Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS): Cloud services work well alongside outsourced hardware or network components. They also deliver software or other capabilities while keeping business infrastructure lightweight.
- “Work from home” cloud-based businesses: With cloud computing, working from home is easier for small businesses. Cloud solutions make access to business tools easy to use and eliminate the need for physical business locations, helping small businesses reduce their budgets.
- Data privacy law optimization: Data privacy is becoming more critical than ever. Governments like the European Union and states like California are enacting sweeping privacy laws and regulations. Cloud computing is poised to provide the data processing infrastructure that companies need to comply with.
How Cloud Service Providers Support Modern Businesses
Businesses – especially small ones – have turned to cloud computing over the years because it’s a cost-effective way to access computing power. In many ways, cloud services have leveled the competitive playing field, allowing smaller companies to compete with their larger rivals. In 2020, cloud services will continue to support modern businesses in many different ways.
1. Empowers Businesses to Move Faster
With the rise of cloud computing services such as IaaS, platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and software-as-a-service (SaaS), a business’ infrastructure has begun to move quicker. Many cloud service providers now deliver everything a company needs without investing in expensive hardware and software licenses. Instead, companies pay a subscription to a cloud service provider and acquire flexible, scalable solutions.
While the business benefits from the lightweight nature of cloud services, the cloud service provider takes on the IT tasks that would otherwise slow down a business. Hardware maintenance, software patching, and updates all get done behind the scenes. Companies spend less time fiddling with technology and more time undertaking operations that make the business thrive.
2. Drives Collaboration and Innovation
The cloud has long been known for its ability to inspire collaboration within a company. With a cloud storage service, employees can access all the information they need while working on projects. They can update the central repository to keep everyone in the loop. The cloud helps keep their information secure but accessible, helping projects stay on track no matter where the team members are located.
3. Increases Security
Cloud services have become so popular in part because cloud storage is much more secure than an onsite server. Even if a device is stolen or a physical building damaged, a company’s data will remain safely stored within the cloud. It cannot be corrupted, lost, or compromised due to an onsite disaster.
Likewise, cloud technology is more difficult for hackers to access. As a result, Gartner expects cloud storage to be one of the most popular options for small business data security. Cloud storage can mitigate the impacts of phishing, ransomware, and other tactics that gained prominence in 2019.
Modernize the Business With Managed Services From RJ Young
Cloud solutions are not just popular; they’re becoming vital to business success. In 2020, cloud service providers will continue to expand their offerings. Small businesses will have more options than ever before to drive operational efficiency with computing power.
With the vast majority of businesses expected to adopt cloud solutions this year, forward-thinking companies must consider what this technological revolution means for them. Adapting to the prevalence of cloud based solutions means staying modern, relevant, and competitive.
RJ Young helps companies achieve streamlined processes with advanced technology like cloud based solutions. Start a conversation with an RJ Young specialist today to discuss what cloud solutions can do for your small business.
About REN Dermatology
REN Dermatology is a dermatologist office that focuses on both medical and cosmetic dermatology. Since 2013, REN Dermatology has been offering a wide variety of services to clients in the Middle Tennessee area. RJ Young partnered with REN Dermatology to implement a medical office managed IT strategy for their specific needs.
REN Dermatology partners with RJ Young to ensure that they maintain reliable daily operations for their business. RJ Young works to make sure REN Dermatology’s network is secure and HIPAA compliant.
They make you feel like you are their only customer and that’s the way you should be feeling.Kara Ballard, REN Dermatology
Identifying The Problem
Areas of Improvement
The biggest issue REN Dermatology faced was the uncertainty surrounding their network and technology. After submitting trouble tickets to their previous vendor, they had no way of tracking the vendor’s progress. This made it very difficult for REN Dermatology to know if they were meeting HIPAA regulations. Additionally, staff members wasted valuable time following up with the IT provider on a regular basis.
Creating a Solution
Creating a Managed IT Strategy
In order to help REN Dermatology maintain a secure and compliant network, RJ Young provides Managed IT Services for a fixed-monthly fee. Utilizing over 25 years of experience, RJ Young’s Managed IT Services developed a custom plan for REN Dermatology that would support long-term growth and innovation, while ensuring HIPAA compliance.
How RJ Young Implemented the Strategy
RJ Young’s Managed IT Services let REN Dermatology rest assured that their network and technology are being cared for correctly. RJ Young’s Help Desk allows REN Dermatology to monitor the status of a project,
so they can rest assured that all of their IT needs are being handled quickly and with care. Around the clock monitoring ensures that REN Dermatology’s network is secure and meets the IT regulations set forth by HIPAA.
The fixed-monthly fee gives REN Dermatology the ability to have a set budget for their IT services, so they never have to worry about unexpected costs. Having reliable service and consistent payments allows REN Dermatology to spend less time worrying about their network and spend more time on their practice.
Learn More About the Case Study: Medical Office Managed IT Services Featuring REN Dermatology
Contact an expert at RJ Young today to learn how Managed IT Servcies can help your organization.
Check out RJ Young’s other Customer Case Studies and Testimonials.
A cyber security breach is stressful, terrifying, and can be incredibly damaging to a business. However, it is also a reality for companies of all sizes, ages, and industries. Understanding how, where, when, and why a breach occurs can go a long way to preventing a successful breach from exposing sensitive data, personal information, and consumer information. According to IBM Security, the average total cost of a data breach is $3.92 million.
It is the age of cybercrime, and attacks on businesses across the board continue to rise.
Cyber Security Breaches are at an All-Time High
Cyber security breaches are at an all-time high and show no signs of slowing down. Many of the IT security trends from 2018 remain prominent, but there are also new features arising in the security landscape, helping to fuel the ongoing epidemic. These include:
1. The Rise of Novel Cyber Attack Tactics
2018 saw the rise of novel forms of attack such as cryptojacking and ransomware attacks, and 2019 and 2020 continue that trend. According to Symantec, there are several new types of cyber attacks that are becoming more popular.
This year has seen an increase in:
- Formjacking. In this form of digital credit card skimming, criminals inject malicious code onto an e-commerce website that steals credit card information.
- Living off the land attacks (LotL). As open-source and cloud-based software becomes more prevalent, LotL attacks are on the rise. These attacks use off-the-shelf software to hack a site or computer in the hopes that the network activity will look like a legitimate operation. Several of the largest attacks in 2019 constituted LoTL attacks.
2. More Clever Spins on Tried-and-True Methods
Cisco reveals that phishing emails have remained as popular as ever. Hackers are not afraid to find new ways to leverage this age-old trick. Because of this, the average employee now has to look out for much more than spoof emails.
Among the many new, ingenious phishing schemes were:
- Business email compromise (BEC). In a BEC attack, a hacker spoofs an email from a manager or CEO, requesting an employee to carry out some business function, task or disclose certain sensitive information.
- Invoice Trojan horses. Instead of trying to convince an employee to log into a suspicious link via email, some phishers embed malware into a document that looks like an invoice an employee might be expected in hopes they will open it.
3. Criminals Are Looking Beyond Obvious Targets
Businesses large and small are facing cyber security threats. Moreover, the latter is becoming an increasingly popular target because they are likely to be unprepared for such an attack. However, hackers are looking even beyond the smallest businesses and startups. Even utility companies like the Tennessee Valley Authority are finding it critical to develop robust cyber defenses.
The Impact of a Breach to a Business
A 2018 report by the U.S. government estimates that cyber security breaches cost the US economy between $57 and 109 billion annually – a number that is only growing. Companies typically sustain significant financial losses in the form of containment expenses, downtime, fines, and lost business.
However, these immediate financial consequences are often only the tip of the iceberg. Other impacts which a company might experience include:
- Loss of or damage to business data. Losing business data can affect a company’s ability to operate. For example, consider the epidemic of ransomware attacks that continue to hit government offices. By locking up municipal data, offices cannot perform any of their normal business functions that make the local government-run. As a result, the attack becomes incredibly valuable to criminals seeking a ransom.
- Loss of consumer trust and business reputation. A data breach in a business is typically accompanied by a backlash from consumers, who are often the ones to bear the brunt of consequences from a cyber security breach. When personal data has been exposed or stolen, customers feel betrayed. Reputation loss after a cyber attack can also make it hard to find new customers.
- Long-lasting financial repercussions. The 2019 cyber security report sponsored by IBM has an alarming new statistic. As many as 11% of businesses report financial implications – lost revenue or increased expenses – for as long as three years following a cyber security breach.
In a recent global study by Gemalto, they surveyed 10,000 individuals and 70% claimed they would stop doing business with a company that had experienced a data breach. While large companies may be able to absorb the loss of customers that results, for small to medium businesses, reputation damage and loss of customers can prove devastating. With that being said, a cyber security breach could have a detrimental impact on your business.
Why Deploy Managed IT Services to Secure Your Network
With only 34% of security professionals feeling confident in their company’s cyber security strategy, many companies are looking for viable ways to improve security without draining their IT budget. Managed IT services are one such way in which companies can accomplish this goal.
Managed IT services:
- Deliver network security without any missed endpoints or weak spots. Cybercriminals exploit weak spots in a company’s security infrastructure, such as unsecured printers or shadow IT. Managed IT providers are explicitly trained to look for these things.
- Ensure faster discovery and response time for breaches. IBM estimates that the average company takes 279 days to identify and contain a breach. With a managed service provider, that time is cut down, reducing the opportunity for data exposure and data leaks.
- Deliver expert security for less than in-house acquisition. Managed IT services are a convenient, affordable way to access best-in-class security infrastructure that is tailored to an organization’s needs.
Let RJ Young Help Protect Your Business from a Cyber Security Breach
Every business is at risk for a cyber security breach, therefore a business should always be prepared to deal with one. The type of cyber security breach, your industry, location, and organizations’ structure are all factors of how long it takes to identify and contain a data breach. The average time to contain a breach is 279 days, according to Ponemon Institute.
By enlisting the help of a seasoned team of security experts from RJ Young, companies can stay a step ahead of hackers and avoid the harmful consequences of a security breach.
Contact RJ Young today to discuss your cyber security challenges.
Small business cyber security took many interesting turns in 2019. From the rise of novel forms of attack to an increased reliance on sophisticated technology, it is clear that security is a rapidly changing field.
In 2019 it was predicted that things like cloud technology and growth of the IoT (Internet of Things) would have a significant impact on the way small businesses thought about and undertook cyber security. That proved to be correct – and these trends will mostly continue into 2020.
However, it is also clear that cyber security is entering new terrain.
5 Trends for Small Business Cyber Security in 2020
1. Passwords are on Their Way Out
In 2020, security will begin shifting from the use of strong (or weak) passwords to the use of multiple authentication factors and biometrics. These are tied to a user’s identity and cannot be easily stolen or reproduced.
Passwords have been a staple since the earliest days of the internet. Just a few years ago, it was estimated that there would be some 3.4 billion passwords in use on devices and accounts by 2020. Developing strong passwords has long been seen as the first line of defense against cybercriminals.
However, that is rapidly changing. The most robust passwords – jumbles of letters, numbers, and symbols – have proven too hard for the majority of the population to adopt. Security experts from numerous firms point out that people also opt to reuse one or two passwords, which might seem to be strong. Each additional reuse grants another opportunity for a hacker to steal it, thus potentially compromising a string of user accounts.
According to the creator of HaveIBeenPwned, an increasing number of data breaches and data leaks are a direct result of weak passwords and password reuse.
In 2020, that is going to change as cyber security strives to adopt credentialing methods that hackers cannot steal.
2. Threats to the Internet of Things (IoT)
The world is anxiously awaiting for the commercial rollout of 5G. Around half of the US may have access to it by the end of next year. 5G is the prerequisite for the rise of a practical Internet of Things – and hackers are eagerly anticipating it, too.
The Internet of Things is different from the internet in that devices do not connect to a central router but rather directly to themselves. As a result, it will become much easier for small business cyber security strategies to overlook this internet-connected device in the office.
However, that will prove dangerous. These devices will have access to the same network upon which the company computers will operate. The Internet of Things within an office can very quickly become a soft underbelly around a company’s defenses – a threat that, according to Symantec, is already on the rise.
3. Supply Chain Attacks Are on the Rise
A supply chain attack happens when a hacker infiltrates your system through an outside partner or provider with access to your systems and data. That might involve malware embedded in real software, or data that becomes compromised as a result of a cyber attack on a business partner. In the past few years, there have been more suppliers and service providers touching sensitive data than ever before. A good example is the 2014 Target data breach which was caused by a third party vendor.
According to Cisco, supply chain attacks are one of the biggest threats to small businesses. SMBs are not just attractive to hackers because they may lack robust security defenses. It is also because they may not necessarily know who has access to their sensitive information. As a result, hackers are choosing to target vendors of SMBs in an attempt to get at precious data – and it’s working.
4. The Risks of Shadow IT Will Come to Light
Shadow IT is the installation or creation of IT infrastructure by employees without the knowledge or permission of the IT department. Shadow IT examples include consumer applications in the cloud such as file sharing apps, social media, and collaboration tools such as Office 365.
However, while the IT department is not responsible for the physical infrastructure or even managing of the application, they are still responsible for ensuring security and compliance for the corporate data employees upload to the cloud. This puts the IT department in the uncomfortable position of saying no to employees using cloud applications. Although most of these tools help employees do their jobs, they also provide a convenient backdoor for cyberattacks because they usually lack security.
Cyber security watchdog Analytics Insight estimates that at least 33 % of all cyberattacks in 2020 will leverage shadow IT in a company. Organizations need to act now to discover, secure, and curtail this severe blind spot before it is too late.
5. Cloud Security Takes a Tumble
The cloud has enjoyed the long-standing perception of security. But in 2020, that might begin to slip.
Forrester notes that as the public cloud becomes mainstream in company options, companies are looking for a way to enjoy privacy and security. Hybrid cloud solutions – the use of public and private clouds – were briefly touted as the ideal solution to balancing these needs. However, it is rapidly becoming evident that hybrid solutions are susceptible to many of the same security issues plaguing regular servers. In 2019’s breach of Capital One’s AWS service highlights this. A misconfigured firewall allowed a former employee to access applications that had access to the finance giant’s cloud – and 100 million consumer records.
Protect Your Small Business in 2020 with RJ Young
Small business cyber security has become more imperative than ever. Despite the adoption of sophisticated strategies like the use of managed IT service providers, cybercriminals remain undeterred. That is why it is necessary to stay ahead of the curve by anticipating trends. The best defense is not just a good offense, but rather being proactive and staying prepared.
RJ Young helps companies in Huntsville, Nashville, Chattanooga, Birmingham and throughout the southeast secure their office environments and enjoy operational efficiency. Contact RJ Young now.
Outsourcing is a common strategy across the business world. It helps reduce business expenses, access talent and infrastructure, and streamline business operations. Businesses can outsource almost every element of their processes, from manufacturing to entry-level jobs. IT outsourcing has become extremely popular, allowing companies to access top-notch security technology at a fraction of the cost.
Deploying managed IT services, or outsourced IT, is a smart move for companies especially where the existing internal IT department needs technical support or network consulting.
IT Outsourcing as a Supplement, Not a Replacement
Outsourced IT works exceptionally well when it complements a company’s existing IT infrastructure. Any company which relies on technology to communicate, advertise, or conduct business processes is going to have IT infrastructure – in other words, every business. Technology is not optional for survival.
Outsourcing IT, particularly in the form of Managed IT services, helps fill the gaps and reduce costs. For small companies, that may mean the guidance of an experienced specialist who can assist with the configuration of a server or optimization of data storage in the cloud. For larger companies, outsourcing IT may mean helping the internal department maintain critical visibility of the network, uncovering shadow IT, or merely providing backup support when the internal department gets swamped with help desk calls.
Internal IT Must Focus on What Matters
Internal IT departments play a crucial role in the digital office environment. Companies rely on phones, printers, servers, cloud services, and more – which makes staying aware of and on top of all these devices critical to success. However, the more technology that exists in an environment, the more work it takes to manage these devices, keeping them optimized and secure at all times.
That is a tough task already for internal IT, which means they have better things to do than changing print drivers or helping someone reset their login password. Imagine if these mundane lower-level tasks could be outsourced to a reliable third-party help desk that specializes in managed IT services. With RJ Young, they can be!
Outsourcing specific IT tasks like monitoring network traffic and handling help desk calls, keeps internal IT departments from getting hamstrung by basic tasks. This allows them to focus on higher-value initiatives within the company to support growth, innovation, and technological optimization.
Technical support for larger more complex projects can also be outsourced. Many of the internal IT departments within a small business, or even an enterprise-level business, do not have the bandwidth or staff to take on larger projects, such as server migrations, which is where IT outsourcing comes into play.
Low to high-level IT tasks that can be outsourced include:
- Help desk and desktop support
- Managing emails for phishing attacks
- Providing infrastructure support
- Managing users and resetting employee login passwords
- Managing networks and printers
- Network consulting
- Server migration and support
- Antivirus solutions installation
- Managing regular data backups and disaster recovery
- Ongoing remote support and 24/7 remote monitoring
- Managing antivirus basics, virus protection, security suites, firewalls, and ransomware protection
Existing internal IT staff struggle to keep up with the growing needs of businesses, but RJ Young’s Managed IT Services can help.
More Eyes Mean Better Security
One of the most significant advantages of leveraging outsourced IT has always been the increased security this service brings to companies. With data security being such a huge concern for companies large and small, it pays to have a team of third-party specialists looking over a company’s current security strategy.
An internal IT department may be staffed with skilled, experienced, and diligent professionals, but they do more than monitor the network for suspicious traffic. In contrast, a managed IT service provider, such as RJ Young, has teams that specialize in cybersecurity. Their fresh eyes may not only catch something the internal team has overlooked, but they may also be aware of new threats or know tricks to prevent well-known security threats more efficiently.
Furthermore, having a third-party IT service on board means access to more powerful technology to monitor networks and user accounts. Whether that’s the powerful artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities that many services have today or software which centralizes network monitoring. Outsourced IT lets companies take advantage of technology without needing to invest in it themselves.
More eyes mean better security. Data is the most precious commodity a business owns, and it is worth the investment to protect it.
RJ Young Works with Existing IT Departments to Increase Productivity & Improve Security
Outsourcing IT services is a strategy for improving a company’s IT infrastructure and data security. If the IT department is struggling to keep up with the needs of a growing business or the company does not have the means to invest in the tools the IT professionals need, consider enlisting a managed IT service provider to help. By handing off simple or overly complicated tasks to a third-party specialist, an internal IT department enjoys the ability to focus on the IT tasks that their internal IT team have the bandwidth and staff to handle.
Outsource your business’ cybersecurity headaches and data security projects to RJ Young. Let their team of IT professionals assist your internal IT department with technical support or network consulting.
RJ Young works with internal IT departments to streamline IT infrastructure and improve data security. Contact RJ Young today to discuss how your internal IT professionals can benefit from IT outsourcing.
Edited article from Sophos.com
Cybercrime is an enormous industry. And when there’s that much money involved, criminals are motivated to invest substantial time and money in ripping people off. When they’re ripping off businesses, non-profit organizations, and government agencies, they’re driving up costs for everything we all buy and do. And, of course, millions of ordinary people have been victimized directly by cybercrime – whether it takes the form of ransomware, phishing attacks that compromise their financial accounts, or criminals hijacking their computer’s power to “mine” cryptocurrency. This is where the importance of Cyber security comes into play.
Since there’s still no single reliable source of data on global cybercrime IT security trends, it’s difficult to know just how immense the losses are. But they are unquestionably massive. Two reputable estimates will make the point. In 2018, partnering with a security vendor, the nonprofit researcher Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) estimated the overall cost of cybercrime at $600 billion. That would make cybercrime the third largest type of crime after government corruption and narcotics trafficking.
If CSIS’s figure is correct, this represents 0.8% of global GDP: a pretty sizable tax on all of us. But an even higher number comes from the global consulting firm Accenture, which recently told business leaders that cyberattacks will place $6.2 trillion in economic value at risk over the next five years. For the world’s largest 2,000 companies, that translates into 2.8% of revenues – and in some industries, it’s much higher.
The criminals still use off-the-shelf malware. And there’s plenty of it out there: phishing kits, loaders, customizable infected Microsoft Office files, trojans, keyloggers, zero-day exploits, ransomware-as-a-service offerings, and more. (Deloitte’s December 2018 survey found that it’s still technically possible to start your own cybercrime business for under $40 a month, using tools they can buy or rent in a large global online black market.) But the most effective criminals are complementing off-the-shelf tools with sophisticated manual hacking techniques that were previously used primarily for industrial or government espionage or sabotage.
In Sophos’s 2019 Annual Threat Report they found that cybercriminals are also becoming more sophisticated about “living off the land” – using tools and resources they find on the devices they attack. Most often, those devices are running Windows, which includes high-powered administrative and management tools such as PowerShell, WMI, and the Windows Scripting Host. Often, attackers trigger complex chains of scripts that operate in multiple Windows processes and leave few traces. This means defenders can’t rely on traditional methods – so Sophos Intercept X relies on machine learning to recognize when a computer’s behaving anomalously, even if it’s using Windows’ own components to do so.
As machine learning grows more ubiquitous, of course, everyone will have to respond to cybercriminals who’ll also use it. Some researchers believe machine learning will help criminals discover more zero-day attacks that don’t yet have defenses against them, create more convincing personalized phishing attacks, discover users’ passwords more effectively, and evolve botnets in ways that are harder to counter.
It’s easy to imagine that all the news is bad. However, not everyone sees it that way. Criminals have been forced to jump through more hoops because defenses have been improved. More than half of websites and 80% of network traffic is now encrypted – and that’s major progress. Best of all, even today, many of the basics still go a long way towards keeping individuals safe through cyber security. That means: keep your systems updated and patched, use sophisticated security software, don’t share personal information with strangers, and don’t click where you should not.
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From a recent study by Syntonic, 87% of companies rely on employees using their personal smartphones to access mobile business apps and services. A BYOD security policy is tricky, but it is a necessity for any company wishing to leverage the resources available to its workforce. Bring Your Own Devices, or BYOD, is a policy that authorizes employees to use personal computers, tablets, and mobile devices in the workplace. It is one of the many ways companies leverage available resources in a way that promotes productivity and reduces costs.
According to CBS News, 67% of people use their own devices at work. As mobile solutions become more standard and beneficial for business processes, BYOD has become increasingly popular.
In recent years, there was a strict ban on personal devices in the workplace, but companies have quickly realized that it boosts employee productivity and can potentially save on capital expenditures to boot. The BYOD policy has significantly changed the modern workplace by encouraging companies to rethink the role of employee-owned technology in the business environment.
However, for IT network security, BYOD policies also introduce a complicated challenge to overcome. A formal BYOD security policy needs to protect both the company as well as the employee. Likewise, it must deter employees from using their devices for personal pursuits without restricting their ability to work.
The use of BYOD is on the rise, and in return, so are the risks to businesses. More than 50% of employees have not received any instructions on BYOD security policies in the workplace. Despite improved productivity and other positives, using a personal device for work-related tasks without instruction can pose significant security risks and concerns for IT professionals.
Tips for Creating an Effective BYOD Security Policy
To address these challenges, companies must develop a security strategy that anticipates these risks while respecting the fact that it is the employee who ultimately owns the device.
A solid BYOD security policy should:
1. Establish Security Requirements
Encourage employees to get in the habit of following security best practices by making necessary security measures a requirement. A good policy should require employees to:
- Keep their devices password-protected at all times
- Consider measures such as requiring the use of a VPN (virtual private network), which masks internet traffic from a device
- Requiring antivirus software to help mitigate the chances that corporate data will be exposed to malware from a personal device
All personal devices in the workplace should be subject to the same requirements.
2. Identify Acceptable Devices and Proper Use
Clearly define which devices are acceptable, including device types and operating systems, such as Apple iOS and Google’s Android OS. Doing so helps keep the IT department from feeling overwhelmed by compatibility issues with multiple types of devices.
Additionally, identify the instances of acceptable use of personal devices in the workplace. Employees can and will be tempted to use personal features of their devices while on the clock.
Many BYOD policies address this in two specific ways:
- Consider using a company app which requires users to log in before they can access company data
- Enforce a whitelist approach to app users which refers to giving specific apps explicit permission to run on a device – access of all others is banned during work hours
3. Require Registration with the IT Department
Registering devices with the IT department helps maintain the visibility of the devices connected to the network. Companies can easily make this part of the onboarding process for new hires and new devices. A network administrator can easily compare a list of registered devices to the list of connected devices to spot unauthorized connections.
Likewise, gathering such data creates a snapshot of device demographics to help the IT department develop infrastructure which is compatible with the devices used.
4. Clarify Data Ownership
Devices brought under a BYOD policy will have a mix of corporate data, such as work emails, calendars, documents, contacts, and personal data stored on them. Make it clear to employees that their data remains solely their property and under their control. Consider including resources to help employees keep their data backed up if a device is stolen or destroyed.
Likewise, indicate what data the company owns. Using tools such as mobile applications helps with this process, as all company information will be stored on the device in one specific place.
5. Implement Mobile Device Management Software to Prepare for Loss or Theft
Mobile Device Management (MDM) software allows companies to remotely manage end-user devices. Chances are your phone, tablet, or laptop go with you almost everywhere making them easy to lose.
If a device is lost, stolen, or otherwise compromised, MDM provides a foolproof procedure to remove sensitive data from the phone remotely.
The true cost of a lost mobile device goes far beyond the price of replacement – just think of the loss of productivity, downtime, intellectual property, the support required, the data breaches and all the legal fees. It has been estimated that the average loss to a company exceeds $49,000.00 per lost or stolen device!
Although some sensitive data, such as company financial information, should never be stored on a BYOD, it is inevitable that such devices may come into contact with sensitive information.
6. Include an Employee Exit Plan
When an employee leaves a company, corporate data must be removed from the device. Merely wiping the device using an MDM software is a heavy-handed method. Instead, develop a set of exit procedures to safely remove company information in a way that preserves the integrity of the employee’s personal information.
An example of an exit procedure includes backing up employee data and content before wiping the device. It may also include a checklist of apps to uninstall.
RJ Young Can Help Your Company Secure and Manage Employee-Owned Devices
A BYOD policy promotes productivity and reduces costs, but cybersecurity is more complicated than ever and security professionals face a dynamic terrain with no apparent boundaries.
As more companies recognize the value of employee devices in the office, robust BYOD security policies are necessary to help keep companies secure and safe, but a formal BYOD policy is a great place to start.
RJ Young helps companies develop strategies for every security challenge they may face. Discuss plans for BYOD with a security specialist today.
Digital technology is flooding the modern business environment, creating new opportunities for productivity and achievement, however it also puts businesses in a vulnerable state for network attacks. In the ongoing struggle to protect IT environments from internet threats and malware, there is one endpoint that is often overlooked: the printers connected to the network. Believe it or not, IT services and printing are more connected than you think.
The shift towards this new digital reality is changing the way companies think about and deploy security. As features such as automated workflows, sharing services, and integrated project management tools become more common, a company’s technological infrastructure is more intertwined than ever.
Nowhere is that more evident than the border between the IT department and the printers. Many managed IT service providers consider a company’s printers part of its networking strategies. That’s not by mistake – a good managed IT strategy evaluates a company’s printers to ensure efficiency and security.
Cybersecurity for 2019: It Involves More Than Computers and Servers
In today’s world, cybersecurity has been receiving a lot of attention due to several recent attacks. Hackers are always looking for an endpoint or way they can gain access to a company’s network which contains tons of sensitive information. Cybersecurity contends with a multi-faceted, dynamic landscape which includes far more than computers. All devices which access the internet through a company’s network now establish an endpoint.
The traditional perspective of securing endpoints – such as computers, routers, and mobile devices – leave plenty of opportunities to overlook other web-connected devices in the office. As the Internet of Things (iOT) becomes more prevalent in the modern office, the scope of what a cybersecurity strategy must consider is only increasing. As modern offices rely more on digital tools to conduct business, it is becoming much harder to distinguish where cybersecurity ends, and another service begins.
Why Are Printers More Vulnerable Than Companies Realize?
When companies assess their security threats, they usually focus on computers and servers, but overlook printers because their functionality seems too basic. Modern printers are sophisticated digital devices which come with much of the same hardware as computers. They include hard drives, central processing units (CPUs), a network adapter, and software which controls all of this hardware, known as firmware. Printers are essentially computers, but most people don’t think of it that way.
A recent survey by Spiceworks found that only 18% of IT professionals believed printers represent a security risk. Less than half had deployed any printer protection at all. Even then, only 16% of IT professionals implemented best practices such as security certificates to govern their printing protocols.
When left unsecured, printers create a backdoor into a company’s network – and hackers know this. For example, think of all the sensitive information a company printer has had previously in its queues. A hacker could access the printer’s internal hard drive and view all of those documents which contain confidential information. If queued documents are stored on a built-in hard drive or flash memory, the printer can keep copies of the documents even when the printer is turned off.
Shared printers allow a hacker or malware to move from the printer to company computers. The connectivity which enables users to do their jobs efficiently is turned against the organization when printers are not secured.
The Importance of IT in the Printing Infrastructure
IT plays a critical role in asset management and workflow processes. While managed print services may strategize the most efficient ways to accomplish a process, IT ultimately governs the way printing infrastructure fits within the company’s broader cybersecurity strategy. The most typical approaches to printer security display elements of both managed IT and managed printing services.
These approaches include:
- Access control. Both managed print services and IT use workflow management strategies to control physical access to the print station.
- Network security. A managed print service often includes mapping out where printers are positioned to maximize efficiency. Managed IT takes advantage of this by implementing procedures which include developing network documentation such as a network diagram to identify all endpoints – including printers.
- Device security practices. Best practices such as never leaving print jobs sitting in the tray improves printer security. Managed print services include practices such as supply automation to help prevent supplies from disappearing quickly – or suspiciously.
Both managed IT and managed print services deploy many of the same tactics but with different end goals in mind. These two services can work together to secure and optimize a print environment.
RJ Young Helps Companies Get Serious About Protecting Their Printers and Their Network
Most businesses spend a significant amount of money securing their network and servers, but continue to overlook their printers as a severe security risk. A printer is a vulnerable endpoint where cybercriminals can slip in and access a company’s network. With this in mind, it’s vital for businesses to make sure their printers have the latest security software installed, and that they stay up to date with how to keep devices as secure as possible to avoid security breaches in the future. Printers are typically not perceived as a severe security risk, but RJ Young wants to change that perception.
Are your printers secure? Let RJ Young help your business develop a thorough, secure, and efficient printer and network infrastructure. Contact RJ Young today to learn how they can help.