Do you and your employees use Teams to interact virtually, SharePoint to share and collaborate on documents, OneDrive to store business and personal files, or Outlook’s web mail?


If so, your business data and proprietary information may be at more risk than you think. And you could be wasting money and slowing things down at the same time as well.


Microsoft takes the security of their platform very seriously, but that doesn’t protect you from your own people, who are often performing high-risk actions within these applications on a regular basis, regardless of whether their actions are accidental or malicious.


3 Obstacles to Cloud Success:


1. Wasted Money


Extra licenses that are being paid for and not used, and sometimes resources in Azure that are not needed, but charged for monthly by Microsoft.


2. Wasted Time


It’s very common for the environment to quickly get bloated with data, which can negatively impact performance and productivity.


3. Loss of Control


You can’t manage what you can’t see or control. Without regular reporting and analysis of your Microsoft Cloud environments, there’s no way for you to understand your risks, contain costs or improve productivity.


Common Cloud Threats:

  • Compromised Account Credentials

  • Insider Threats, Human Error

  • Excessive User Permissions


Microsoft Office 265 is hands down the most common set of business applications and cloud services used by businesses like yours.


What can you do?


Partner with Specialists!


Microsoft Office 265 is hands down the most common set of business applications and cloud services used by businesses like yours. It’s unlikely that you have the internal resources to stay on top of this. While Microsoft does include some administrative tools that allow you to manually access the environment through the web and toggle back and forth between menus, it can be incredibly time-consuming and very difficult to identify issues or big-picture trends.

A specialist will be able to understand your cloud environment and mitigate any discovered risks, as well as continue to analyze your cloud environment performance and security. This will help to improve and maintain your cybersecurity, as well as increase productivity and save you time and money.


If you use the cloud, consider consulting an IT Specialist such as Critical IT Solutions to monitor your cloud environment risks.


Contact us for more information.




  • Hani Eshack


1. Have a Cyber Readiness Plan


With headlines full of cyberattacks and security breach victims, it is time to take the risks seriously. The success and survival of your business will be determined by your ability to overcome security threats or breaches. You need a cyber readiness plan that includes elements of prevention, continuity, and recovery strategies.


→ To start building your cyber readiness plan, contact us today.


2. Establish Strict Policies and Procedures


Policies and procedures regulate business operations and are essential for defining the standards and expectations of employee behavior and actions in the workplace. While establishing strict, security-focused protocols is essential, a system of validation and enforcement is equally important. After all, rules without consequences are merely suggestions.


→ Let us help you develop security-driven policies and procedures for your business.


3. Keep Updates - Up to Date


While updates often introduce new or enhanced features into your apps, programs, and systems, they also install security and performance fixes known as patches. Undiscovered defects or flaws can leave your systems exposed. Hackers will exploit any vulnerability or security gap they find. Keeping your systems updated is vital for keeping your business cyber-ready.


→ Let us automate and optimize your system updates and patches. Contact us now to get started.


4. Force Authentication


One-level security is no longer enough. Even the strongest passwords are vulnerable to theft or exposure. Requiring more than one method to authenticate user identity or access permissions can reduce or eliminate the risk of stolen or unauthorized credentials being utilized.


→ Get cyber-ready with identity and access management today.


5. Back-Up Everything!


Data is the lifeblood of every business. Unfortunately, the risks and threats to the protection, privacy, and usability of that data are endless. Follow the 3-2-1 method for backups; a minimum of three unique copies of your data, two available locally and one off-site or in the cloud. Make sure to test your backups often for functionality and integrity.


→ Ensure that your data is protected and secure from cyber threats. Contact us today.


6. Don’t Neglect Compliance


Maintaining regulatory compliance is mandatory for many organizations. While navigating and satisfying the obligations can be complicated and stressful, achieving compliance is a critical component of having a cyber-ready business. Security and privacy are integral elements of compliance.


→ Let us take the stress out of compliance for your business.


7. Continuous Network Intelligence


Knowledge is power. A critical component of cyber readiness is having on-demand insight of anomalous activities, suspicious changes, potentially harmful misconfigurations or any other malicious activities occurring internally on your network. Promptly detect and remove threats before they cause damage.


→ Enable advanced internal security detection in your business today.


8. Security Awareness Training


Users are the weakest link in security, given a lack of education and experience. Instituting a security awareness training program for every member of your staff will significantly reduce the probability of user-related errors and exposures.


→ Get started with developing a security-first culture with user training.


9. Combat the Password Crisis


With over 80% of hacking-related breaches linked to weak, reused, or stolen passwords, user credentials are emerging as the top vulnerability for businesses. Balance convenience and security by monitoring the dark web for exposed credentials, implementing multi-factor authentication, and streamlining control of password management.


→ Find out how you can overcome the password crisis in your business.


10. Don’t Skip the Insurance


Increasing risks and threats of data breaches and ransomware, regardless of size or industry, have prompted many businesses to adopt Cyber Risk Insurance to protect themselves from catastrophic loss. Investing in a cyber insurance policy could save your business should you be the next victim.


→ Contact us to find the right policy for your business and be ready for any possibility.


11. Reduce Supply Chain Vulnerabilities


Nearly two-thirds of firms (65%) have experienced cyber-related issues in their supply chain in the past year. As a part of your cyber readiness plan, you must deploy protocols to evaluate and monitor the security of your supplier networks and third-party vendors.


→ Contact us to learn more about keeping third-party incidents from impacting your business.


12. Deploy a Multi-Layer Security Strategy


Security is asymmetrical. Where businesses must plan, prepare and defend against every threat or scenario, cybercriminals only need to find a single weakness or hole in your defenses to carry out their malicious plans. Protect your data and your business by deploying multiple security strategies together as one.


→ Let us help you develop and apply a defense-in-depth approach.



  • Layla Eshack


MALWARE


“Malicious software” such as ransomware, is designed to damage or control a computer system. Some common types of malware include ransomware, spyware, trojan horses, and viruses. Malware can be installed on your device when you download files, browse websites, open attachments, etc.


To avoid malware on your device, keep your software updated and do not click on links or attachments unless you know and trust the sender. Keep your network and devices protected by using anti-virus and malware protection. Keep these services updated.


PHISHING


Phishing is widely popular among cybercriminals for collecting personal information from individuals, sometimes with the intention of stealing the individual's identity. Phishing often involves fake email messages with malicious links or attachments. Sometimes these emails look like they could be from a trustworthy source (e.g. The IRS, the bank, the CDC), but they are designed that way to get you to be willing to share private personal information such as bank account information, social security numbers, and more.


Phishing relies on the individual opening the untrustworthy email. To avoid falling victim to phishing scams, always make sure you trust the sender before opening messages, and never download attachments you are not expecting. Never ever give your personal information to someone over email or text message. If you click on a phishing email from your company computer or business email, contact your IT provider immediately.


In the COVID-19 era, there are more phishing scams than ever before. These tend to play off of the fear of the pandemic and are still directed at gaining your personal information. Sometimes they promote false cures for the virus, or they pose as contact tracers who claim they “need” your information in order to work on tracing the virus. Lately, these scams come in the form of text messages, trying to get you to click on a link. Do not click on this link - this is not how legitimate contact tracers contact you. Beware: legitimate contact tracers are not out to get your personal information, and they should never ask you to give them your SSN, financial information, or passwords.


Man in the Middle


Man in the Middle attacks occur when a hacker inserts themselves between your computer and the web server. There, the hacker may be able to access your personal information such as login credentials, or impersonate the party you are attempting to communicate with, or simply eavesdrop on the communication in an attempt to gain information. These attacks can be hard to detect and can cause serious damage.


There are ways to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks. Prevention techniques including using a VPN, avoiding the use of public networks, keeping browser applications updated, regularly monitoring your network traffic, and educating yourself and your employees on how to prevent and detect these threats.


DDoS


DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service and means overwhelming a server with queries and data in order to shut it down. DDoS typically involves several sources generating enough fake traffic to make a certain website or servers unavailable to legitimate users. DDoS attacks vary in scale. DDoS is more of a threat to businesses than individuals. When businesses are hit with a DDoS attack, they could be nonoperational for hours or days at a time, losing customers and profits.


DDoS attacks can be difficult to recover from. While you cannot completely prevent a DDoS attack, businesses can help avoid the impact of DDoS attacks by using preventative techniques. For example, the more resilient your business operations are, the less likely for a DDoS attack to impact business. Having scalable network bandwidth, data centers in multiple locations, and firewalls are some of the ways you can help to protect against the potential damage of a DDoS attack.


CROSS-SITE SCRIPTING


A cross-site scripting attack injects malicious code into a website that targets the visitor’s browser. It occurs when a user visits a website containing malicious code, and it allows the attacker to steal the user’s cookies or passwords. The impact of the attack varies depending on the nature of the website. In some instances, the attacker can access private, personal, or financial information while masquerading as a user.


SQL INJECTION ATTACK


An SQL injection attack corrupts data to make a server divulge information, such as credit card numbers and usernames. It allows attackers to control the database by executing malicious SQL queries. The attackers can access, change, and delete data within a database. These attacks are especially impactful for businesses that store customer’s personal or financial information.


SQL Injection Attacks can be prevented. There are many techniques to do so, including properly taking advantage of privileges, firewalls, data sanitization, and parameters. Your IT provider will be able to provide more specific actions for your data situation. These are absolutely worth exploring, as a data leak could be catastrophic for business.


If you have questions about your business's cybersecurity vulnerabilities, contact Critical IT Solutions today for a free assessment.


www.criticalitsolutions.com

info@criticalitsolutions.com