Money—saving it and making it—drives almost every business decision regardless of the size of your organization. Cutting back on IT makes room in your budget, but ultimately results in more IT issues and subpar performance. It’s the old cliché — you get what you pay for, and if you pay for mediocre service, you’re going to get mediocre results.
The challenge is finding the right balance of internal and external support. Full-scale in-house IT support can be expensive, but fully outsourced support isn’t always a viable solution either. If you already have a dedicated IT professional or team, you may be better suited for a co-managed model that closes your technology gaps without busting your budget or breaching your security needs.
The advantages of co-managed IT include:
- Takes a Load Off — We know what you’re thinking, but no, you don’t have to fire your internal IT team if you decide to co-manage your IT services. In fact, bringing on an MSP will enhance your team’s value to your business. If you have an internal IT professional or team, their workload becomes increasingly complicated as your business grows and becomes more dynamic. Fixing daily hiccups, updating software, mitigating security threats and optimizing performance consumes time that’s better spent on strategic planning. Co-managing IT solutions enables you to make better use of your internal resources and free up your team’s time so they can focus their energy on researching and implementing new hardware and software that aligns with your business goals and growth.
- Fills in the Gaps — When your business grows faster than your IT team, it may lead to a slew of technology issues when there’s a new hire or your company rolls out a new service. As you grow, routine tasks tend to shift to the back burner—but someone has to manage the everyday aspects of your infrastructure to minimize risk to your mission-critical systems. Perhaps growth isn’t the issue—maybe your IT staff doesn’t have the bandwidth or expertise to roll with the changes. Partnering with an MSP can help you with managing your IT environment or simply act as an advisor.
- Keeps Your Business Moving — Whether it’s sick days or approved vacations, your IT expert or team is sure to miss some days during the year. Even when you have a full house, you may have everyone working on a major project and need backup support for routine maintenance and issue tracking. Partnering with the right MSP means your systems will be monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, giving your business the coverage it needs whenever you’re short-staffed or faced with an emergency.
If you want or need more control, already have in-house IT, or simply don’t need all the services of a full-blown MSP agreement, co-managed IT services is an alternative that can give you just the right amount of support you need without blowing your budget. Contact one of our experts for more information.
The FBI and Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) recently announced a public service warning of ransomware attacks looming on the horizon. With attacks on the rise, particularly surrounding holidays and weekends, Nitor Solutions urges Winston-Salem-based businesses of all sizes to remain vigilant throughout the rest of the year.
This year is on track to being one of the darkest for cybercrime. In fact, the first six months of this calendar year saw a 151% increase in attacks compared to the same time last year.
While your business is at higher risk of encountering ransomware, the Nitor Solutions team is proactively working to keep our community safe and provide 360-degree ransomware protection. As your local cybersecurity experts, we understand our civic duty in protecting your business and staying ahead of the latest threats.
How Cyberthreats Infiltrate Businesses
Cybercriminals today are masters of deception and social engineering. They use believable phishing emails disguised as trusted brands to manipulate people into revealing their sensitive information.
These messages alert you of supposed purchases made to your account or potential compromises to your account, urging you to click a link or download an attachment. At first glance, they appear legitimate, and one wrong click in less than a second can provide a floodgate of trouble for your business.
Your data becomes encrypted, the ransom alert and timer are set, and pressure is put on your business from all angles. Long gone are the days when a ransomware attack focused solely on your business. Now, they reach out to your clients and investors, sharing that their data is compromised as a result and increase pressure exponentially to have you pay out fast and big.
That’s when you’ll really feel your back is up against a wall.
The Latest Ransomware Tools
The techniques and tools behind ransomware attacks are becoming more sophisticated alongside their social savviness. Here are just a few of the latest ransomware tools in circulation.
- CryptoWall — infiltrates operating systems with an email and fake downloads
- Locky — Microsoft Word document that’s sent through email and contains malicious macros
- TorrentLocker — targets Microsoft Windows and uses malware to encrypt the victim’s files before demanding ransom
- CTB-Locker — encrypts files on a hard disk and demands ransom; known for high infection rates
- CrypVault — renames a file extension to “. vault” to make it seem like it’s already quarantined by anti-malware
Keeping track of these and thousands of other methods isn’t realistic for the everyday businessman or woman. However, <> is well-versed in the most advanced ransomware attack strategies and ransomware prevention methods in today’s market. We use sophisticated, zero trust methods to keep your data locked down, yet still accessible and intuitive for those who should be accessing it.
A Cost Beyond Dollar Figures
According to research by the National Security Institute, the average ransomware demand is a steep $200,000 and can be tempting to pay out and try to recover over time. After all, it’s a worthwhile price to pay to get your business and client’s critical data back, right?
But the costs go far beyond the initial ransom request.
If you pay, you’re increasing the risk of your business being flagged for retargeting, and potentially won’t get your data back despite following the ransom instructions. In fact, more than nine out of 10 victims of ransomware never get their data back.
Additionally, they are beginning to reach out to those you do business with, breeding a cloud of mistrust and potentially lost business and reputational damage that lingers for years to come. This creates a cycle of decreased ROI, increased risk and, for many, the end to their business altogether.
The overwhelming consensus: save your business by investing in preventative measures, rather than paying the ultimate price when it’s too late.
What Does Ransomware Protection Look Like?
Although the problem can feel insurmountable and overwhelming, there are many strategies we can help implement to defend your business. Here are just a few of our suggestions:
- Train Your Team
Cybersecurity training is a must. Forbes notes that human error accounts for 95 percent of cybersecurity breaches. So, investing in all the right tools may be useless if your employee’s digital behavior is your weakest link. However, with frequent and proper training, they can become your first line of defense and greatest asset in cybersecurity efforts.
- Update Your Software as Soon as You’re Prompted
While having to restart your computer can feel like a pain during your midday activities, it’s critical to the health of your business. Software updates seal the cracks where attackers could potentially let themselves into your systems. However, expert managed security partners can work with your team to create an automated updates schedule that minimizes interruptions to your operations.
- Adjust Your Security to Factor in Remote Workers
Nearly 70 percent of organizations have experienced a compromise because of a remote office or roaming user. Yet, most users don’t use the proper VPNs to account for travelling or remote employees. With the right VPN in place, you can disguise your network and secure your data against external threats.
It’s Time to Partner with an MSP
There’s never been a more pressing time to seek out expert cybersecurity support, and the expertise at Nitor Solutions goes well beyond ransomware prevention. We assess your current technology infrastructure and arm your business with a comprehensive strategy required to defend your data. In addition to increased security, we offer a wide spectrum of services that equip your business to operate more efficiently and intuitively.
There will always be risks in operating a business, but with Nitor Solutions, you can rest assured knowing you’re in good hands.
To request a security assessment and gauge your risk of a ransomware attack in Winston-Salem, reach out to one of our experts today.
Let’s face it; Accidents happen. If it can go wrong, there’s a good chance it will. That’s why every business, from the mom-and-pop shop around the corner to the Fortune 500 company in the downtown high-rise, needs a backup and disaster recovery plan. At Nitor Solutions in Winston-Salem, we know disasters — manmade and natural — are on the rise. We also know business continuity and disaster recovery plans are crucial to long-term business success.
According to FEMA, four out of 10 businesses don’t reopen after a disaster and another 25 percent fail within one year. Too many businesses are unprepared for a disaster because they don’t have the proper backup and disaster recovery plans in place. The truth is catastrophic events can derail your business, but you can stay ahead of unexpected events by recognizing the potential threats.
Here are 4 reasons your small business needs a backup and disaster recovery plan:
1. Natural Disasters
We’ve all witnessed the deadly impact of natural disasters across the country. Notable natural disasters range from hurricanes along the Atlantic coast, flooding everywhere from New York to Louisiana, and wildfires in California. Businesses are devastated. Buildings, equipment and livelihoods have been damaged or destroyed.
2. Building & Hardware Failures
As the temperature outside rises, so do the number of building fires. Summertime is a peak time for commercial structure fires as the summer heat, overworked air conditioning units and lightning strikes increase the risk of fires.
When your building suffers a fire, there’s a strong chance your hardware may fail. Hardware failure causes data loss, downtime and reduced productivity.
3. Cyberattacks and Data Breaches
Hackers and cybercriminals are starting to view small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) as prime targets. According to Verizon’s “2019 Data Breach Investigations Report,” 43 percent of breaches involved small businesses. Here are some of the ways cybercriminals attack:
- Malware — malicious software such as spyware, viruses and ransomware. Once in your computer, the malware can block access to your computer, covertly transmit data or destroy the system from the inside.
- Phishing — the act of sending fraudulent communications, such as emails or attachments, which ultimately trick the receiver into providing access credentials.
- Exploiting Outdated Software — Hackers taking advantage of weaknesses in older versions of computer programs. For example, according to CSO, there was a patch available for Windows computers months before the WannaCry ransomware attack, but the people affected put off downloading the update.
4. Human Error
Unfortunately, if there is going to be a data disaster, we — the end user — will most likely be the cause. Ninety-five percent of cybersecurity issues are the result of human error, according to IBM. These behaviors can include clicking on suspicious links, neglecting to download software patches and updates, accidentally deleting important files and intentional damage caused by disgruntled employees.
How We Can Help
For SMBs, it’s not a matter of “if” you’ll be affected by hardware failure, a data breach or some natural disaster — it’s a matter of “when.” But with a comprehensive business continuity and disaster recovery solution including onsite and offsite servers, automated cloud backups and enhanced security features, your business won’t miss a beat when the unexpected happens.
Let Nitor Solutions help by designing a business continuity and disaster recovery strategy completely customized for your business. Contact us today to get started.
Haven’t backed up your business data? Then, you’re monkeying around with the sustainability of your business. It’s so easy to lose everything. No backup server. No backup files. No data recovery services. No more business.
It’s incredibly important to safeguard against total loss of business data. What if you get hacked? Your hard drive crashes. Or, you spill coffee across your keyboard. You’ll want to make sure a copy of what keeps your business operating is safely stored using remote or offsite backup for retrieval.
According to tech and business industry pillars, consider this:
- < 50% of surveyed small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have no disaster recovery service in event of a catastrophic data loss (Symantec)
- 20% of SMBs don’t do daily backups; and 43% of those that don’t back up daily think it’s a waste of time (Paragon Software Group)
- > 93% of companies that lose a data center for > 10 days file for bankruptcy within a year of the incident (National Archives & Records Administration)
Here’s more to think about when it comes to backing up your systems, preventing business data loss, and properly protecting your information.
Tape vs. Cloud Backup Services
A simple way to implement backup services is to clone a copy of your data onto a tape. Companies have relied on this method or other internal systems for preserving information for … ever.
Today, those methods are past their prime. They’re expensive and unreliable. Failures are common. Security breaches are a threat. Tapes are plastic … they can melt in the firebox! Unfortunately, businesses often don’t realize the risks they run until the damage has been done.
But, with a well-thought-out data backup and recovery solution, a managed service provider and you can guard against threats with a real-time replication system that will work for your business. And, it will be one that’s easy to manage and suits your budget and business needs.
A good and dependable alternative is backing up your data to the cloud … just like all the cool companies are doing these days. There are plenty of services that let you backup data via the Internet.
Take, for example, Axcient, Datto, or even Carbonite. These are popular, cloud-based backup solutions for SMBs that a managed service provider can serve up. They are known as hybrid cloud solutions, meaning that there’s an onsite backup appliance at your location that backs up your network in near real-time. For added protection, the appliance then uploads your data to the cloud (to what is really an off-site data center).
The advantage to using these services is that you don’t have to worry about losing or breaking a physical drive, or watching it melt. It’s also unlikely your data will get lost. If it did, you could reasonably expect that these solution providers would go out of business. Cold comfort, yes, but comfort nonetheless.
So, let’s talk today about data backup and disaster recovery services for your business. Contact us now for more information and a free consultation. We will show you the best ways to protect your business data on your path to becoming more agile, efficient and scalable.
If there’s one industry that cybercriminals love to attack, it’s finance. Organizations within the industry, like banks, insurance companies and brokerage firms, are rife with confidential customer financial information that hackers are eager to steal. Moreover, cybercriminals are coming up with innovative new ways to attack these institutions, researching the best ways to target victims and maximize their return. So, what kind of cybersecurity protection is available to financial organizations?
The first step to successful cybersecurity protection is understanding the risks and then developing strategies for how to address them. Let’s break it down here, beginning with the biggest reasons malicious actors pursue the financial sector.
Data Pays Big
If there’s one thing that pays big for hackers, it’s customer data. Cybercriminals often steal information like credit and debit card info and Social Security numbers and sell it on the dark web. In fact, a hacker can make between $250,000 and $1 million by selling a batch of 50 to 100 credit card numbers alone. It’s a lucrative business – and hackers believe it’s worth the big risk of getting caught.
Digital Transformation Vulnerabilities
The financial industry continues to experience a vast digital transformation as financial products, services and operations become more available online. While this means more convenience and easier user access, it also increases the risk of cyber-related attacks like ransomware. This is especially true as more financial institutions work with outside tech companies to provide a better digital experience, potentially exposing customer data to misuse or loss.
Complicated Compliance Regulations
Regulatory compliance is a must for any kind of financial institution, yet compliance laws can be difficult and time-consuming to follow. State, federal and international regulators continuously release new rules and laws to combat the evolution of new cyberattacks. Cybercriminals can easily expose businesses that are not up to date with their compliance by targeting weaknesses in their system, leading to heavy fines and legal penalties as a result.
How Can the Finance Industry Prepare?
Beyond knowing the risks in the industry, finance organizations can get better cybersecurity protection by being aware of the vast amount of security tools, strategies and resources available to assist them. For instance, by working with security experts from a managed service provider (MSP), organizations can undergo security testing that addresses any security gaps in their systems. They can then create a plan to close these gaps and craft a stronger security infrastructure that keeps cybercriminals out while keeping the right individuals in.
How We Can Help You Fight Against Cybercriminals
Unfortunately, cybercriminals are only getting savvier with their hacking techniques, and that’s not bound to change anytime soon. Businesses that operate in the finance industry need to be more alert than ever before to what type of vulnerabilities their company faces and fix them before it’s too late. Fortunately, our team of seasoned security experts can help get you started on the right foot. Contact us to learn more about the security services, tools and resources we can provide you with today!
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help your business with cybersecurity protection, check out additional blogs in our resources section.