In today’s digital age, it is more important than ever to protect your business from cyber-attacks. Hackers are getting more sophisticated, and they can easily steal your sensitive data or bring down your entire network with malicious software. This can be devastating for a small business. Fortunately, we here at Elevated Technologies believe in empowering businesses. We do that through the capabilities of technology and safeguarding computer networks, hence avoiding falling victim to malicious software. That’s why it is essential to have a plan in place to protect your company from these threats.

What is a cyber attack?

Cyber-attacks occur if hackers try to access a computer without the proper authorization of a person or entity to access the device. Besides cybercriminals, other types of cyber attacks include cyber warfare, terrorism, hacktivists, and hackers. Each motive is different but mostly falls into one of the following categories: criminal, political, or personal. Criminally minded attackers aim for profit in money laundering, data stealing, and business disruptions. In a similar fashion, employees who are disgruntled are able to use funds, data, and even just a chance of disrupting a company system for their business. But the mainly targeted targets are retribution.

The most common type of cyber attack is a denial-of-service (DoS) attack. This is where hackers flood the servers of a target organization with so much traffic that it crashes and becomes unavailable. Another common type is phishing attacks, where hackers send emails that look like they’re from a legitimate source in an attempt to trick people into clicking on malicious links or attachments. To learn more on this Elevated Tech has a great resource on Identifying and Preventing Email Phishing.

A Cyber Attack is Preventable

Despite cyber-attack prevalence, checkpoint reports indicate 98% of businesses do not have an efficient cyber defense strategy. Cyber attacks can always be prevented. Cyber defense requires a comprehensive cyber security architecture spanning networks, endpoints, mobile devices, and cloud services. It is also advisable to combine multiple security layers in one glass pane for a control policy. Furthermore, it enables you to combine event information in a network and cloud service environment.

Here are 10 tips that will help you do just that!

Tip #1: Install a Firewall

A firewall is one of the most important tools you can use to protect your business from cyber-attacks. It acts as a barrier between your network and the outside world, and it can help prevent hackers from gaining access to your systems. Make sure that your firewall is up-to-date and your computer systems are in order.

Tip #2: Use Antivirus Software

Antivirus software is another essential tool that can help protect your sensitive data from malware and other malicious threats. Make sure that you have a good antivirus program installed on all of your devices, and keep it up-to-date to prevent anyone who would want to steal data.

Tip #03: Create Strong Passwords

One of the best ways to protect your intellectual property and business from cyber attacks is to create strong passwords. Make sure that your passwords are complex and unique, and don’t use the same password for multiple accounts.

Tip #4: Use Two-Factor Authentication

Another excellent approach to safeguard your business from cyber-related issues is to employ two-factor authentication. It adds an extra layer of protection to your accounts, as well as limiting hackers’ access. What wrong actors want is to gain access and the ability to move about undetected, so this helps not make it easy for them.

Tip #5: Back Up Your Data

Backing up your data is another essential step in protecting your business from a cyber attack. If your data is lost or stolen, it can be devastating for your company. Make sure to back up your data regularly and store it in a safe place.

Tip #6: Stay Up-To-Date on Security Threats

It is important to stay up-to-date on the latest security threats. Hackers are always coming up with new ways to steal data or take down networks, so it is essential to have a plan in place to deal with these threats.

Tip #7: Educate Your Employees

One of the best ways to protect your business from cyber attacks is to educate your employees. Make sure they know how to protect themselves online, and teach them what to look for in suspicious emails or websites. Train your employees in cybersecurity awareness and make sure they are aware of the dangers of clicking on links in emails and downloading attachments from unknown sources. 

Tip #8: Use Strong Encryption

Encryption technologies, such as SSL and TLS, can also help you defend your business. It keeps your information secure and protected, making it difficult for hackers to access it.

Tip #9: Use a VPN

A virtual private network (VPN) is another important tool for protecting your business. It creates a secure connection between your device and the internet, making it difficult for hackers to steal your data. Make sure that you are using a good VPN service, and be sure to keep it up-to-date.

Tip #10: Use a Secure Wi-Fi Network

When working from home, it’s critical to use a secure Wi-Fi network. Make sure the network you’re using is protected by a password, and stay away from public networks whenever possible.

These are just a few of the essential tips for protecting your business from cyber attacks and malicious code. By taking these steps, you can help keep your company safe from these threats.

Cyber threats are now affecting business operations in all segments. Cybercriminals recognize the recent advances in cybersecurity at companies and have developed attacks to avoid traditional safeguards. Modern cyber-attacks are multi vented and use polymorphic code to avoid detection. The detection and responses are becoming more difficult. The target for cybercriminals is the endpoint.

Contact us today for a free cybersecurity briefing. We serve businesses through the Greater Houston Area, including Sugar Land, Katy, The Woodlands, Richmond, and Cypress.

If you found this article helpful, be sure to share it with your friends and followers!

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At this point, you’ve probably heard of crypto an exhausting number of times on tv and social media. Especially with celebrity ambassadors like Lebron James and Matt Damon. They asked you to  “make history” by using crypto in their latest commercials. And why not? After all, it’s the new currency the mega-rich like Elon Musk and Tim Cook are using. If these smart entrepreneurs can do it, why not you? Well for starters, few of us have a team of investors scouting the markets. And most of us don’t have fraud analysts looking out for us on the net. But that’s where we come in, Elevated Tech has put together a list of ways to safeguard yourself from becoming a victim of a crypto scam.

So what exactly is cryptocurrency? According to Forbes, it is a medium of exchange that is digital, encrypted, and decentralized and has no central authority that manages it. Instead, the cryptocurrency’s use and value are negotiated via the internet. It is here where scammers are finding creative new ways to run their hustle on potential victims.

Unfortunately, according to the Federal Trade Commission millions fell prey to crypto trading scams on the internet last year. The FTC also estimates that those between the ages of 20-and 49 are 5 times more likely to get scammed using crypto

How to Avoid Cryptocurrency Scams

To arm yourself you probably need to identify what is a cryptocurrency scam? It is essentially anytime a fraudster tries to get you to invest or pay for goods or services using only this currency. 

Crypto Dos & Donts:

  1. Do your research
  2. Don’t trust everyone
  3. Secure your Crypto wallet
  4. Use multi-factor authentication
  5. Check that URL
  6. Reject fee offers
  7. Look out for social media scams 

This last one is important because if you read a tweet, text, or email that tells you to only send cryptocurrency, it’s more than likely a scam. Even if it’s coming from someone you may know, the likelihood is that their account may have been hacked.

Cryptocurrency Scams to Watch Out For

  • Promising to earn you lots of money in a short period of time 
  • Promising big payouts with guaranteed returns
  • Paying to recruit others into a program
  • Growing your money if you give them the cryptocurrency you’ve bought 
  • Sending unsolicited job offers to help recruit cryptocurrency investors, sell cryptocurrency, mining scams, trading scams, or help with converting cash to bitcoin
  • They’ll promise you a job (for a fee), but end up taking your money or personal information
  • Promising big claims without details or explanations
  • Promising free money 

Don’t fall victim to these scams, before this happens reach out to Elevated Tech for employee testing and training. This is the best way to increase your defense against outside cyber threats. It also guarantees that your entire team is on the same page regarding cybersecurity vigilance.

Contact us today to make sure you and your team are protected. At Elevated Technologies, preventing cyber attacks is our specialty. The quality of service and loyalty we provide is what makes us the top trusted IT company for Houston area businesses.

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The best cyber security plan incorporates several types of security assessments that make sure your business is always protected against threats. However, it’s not enough to know what security assessment you should use. You need to know how and when to use them to get the most out of your cyber defense.

In this guide, we’re going to break down four different types of security assessments we recommend at Elevated Technologies. We’ll also go over when to use each one so that you can save time and energy. Let’s dive in.

What are Security Assessments?

Security assessments are routine tests that evaluate how well your company’s security infrastructure works. The purpose of running security assessments is to identify weaknesses where your company’s IT system is more vulnerable to outside attacks. 

One cyber attack can threaten your entire business. Using periodic assessments makes sure that all of your security system’s weaknesses are found and solved before they become serious issues. 

Types of Security Assessments and When to Use Them

Every business is unique, which is why they need customized security plans. At Elevated Technologies, we create personalized cyber attack prevention plans using firewalls, data management, dark web monitoring, and more. 

When you take a multi-pronged approach to cyber security, you also need multiple types of security assessments to test all of your efforts. Let’s explore four types of security risk assessments that our IT experts recommend at Elevated Technologies.

Vulnerability Assessments

Vulnerability assessments search for flaws and bugs in applications, software, data, and other infrastructure. They conduct an automated scan of your network that identifies risks and categorizes them by their threat level. They find flaws by searching through codes and configurations.

There are several vulnerability assessment types, including:

  • Wireless scans
  • Network scans
  • Application scans
  • Database scans
  • Host-based scans

When to Use Vulnerability Assessments:

You should automate running vulnerability assessments on your server on a regular basis. Since they evaluate both web-based programs and infrastructure, they are effective for identifying a wide array of security weaknesses. However, vulnerability assessments have a limited scope, which is why they are only the first step. They are a valuable part of your assessment plan, but you should also employ other types of security assessments.

Penetration Testing

Penetration testing takes a more targeted approach than vulnerability testing. Instead of evaluating your entire system at once, this type of security assessment tests a specified unit. For example, you can use penetration testing to check the security of your website, mobile apps, local network security, and more. 

Think of penetration testing as a planned attack on a certain part of your system. There are automated and manual penetration tests. With manual testing, IT experts, such as our team at Elevated Technologies, attempt to hack your specified target to identify its weaknesses. 

The most common type of penetration testing is blackbox testing, which is when an IT expert attempts an external hack without any prior access to the company’s network. You can also perform a whitebox test, which is when an IT expert is given some access to the network before they hack it.

The planned hack provides you with valuable data about the strengths and weaknesses of your target. From there, you can improve your security measures based on the results of the penetration test.

When to use penetration testing:

Penetration testing is done on demand and offers a more in-depth analysis of your cyber security measures than vulnerability testing. With that in mind, you should perform penetration tests when you want targeted data about a specific part of your business. 
Penetration testing is one of the top types of security assessments that can help with information security. One of the most threatening cyber breaches a business can face is when its customer’s sensitive information is hacked, leaked, and sold. The company not only faces legal consequences, but they also lose customer trust and loyalty. A penetration test can evaluate how easy it is for an outsider to hack your customer’s data.  

Cloud Security Assessment

This type of security assessment exploits weaknesses in your company’s cloud-computing system. The test identifies access points that unwanted intruders could use to access the data that your company stores in the cloud. Once the access points are identified, our IT team at Elevated Technologies can patch them and minimize security threats to your business. 

When to use cloud security assessments:

Out of all the different types of security assessments, this one is mandatory for the following business models:

  • Software as a service (SaaS)
  • Platform as a service (PaaS)
  • Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)

If you utilize a cloud-computing service as part of your business’s daily operations, performing regular cloud security assessments is crucial. 

Security Audits

Security audits ensure that your security measures meet the current standards of the security industry. Unlike other types of security assessments, security audits are less about identifying your system’s weaknesses and more about making sure your company is compliant. 

A security audits checks for compliance with the following regulatory bodies:

When to use security audits:

Scheduling regular security audits ensure that your business stays out of legal trouble. We recommend that all companies conduct security audits at least twice a year. However, some companies should conduct them more often depending on their size, IT system, and amount of stored data. To learn how often you should conduct a security audit, contact us today to schedule a free cyber security briefing for your business.

Contact Us Today to Conduct Various Types of Security Assessments For Your Business

Hopefully, this guide to our most recommended types of security assessments gives you a clearer idea of what your company needs. At Elevated Technologies, we recommend using more than one security risk assessment for a well-rounded and thorough approach. 

The right security assessments for your business depend on a variety of factors, which is why our IT team creates customized cyber security plans for each client. Contact us today to get started with your own personal security plan for your business. 

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top 5 cybersecurity trends 2022

How do you protect yourself in today’s dangerous cyber landscape? Reading our top 5 cybersecurity trends in 2022 to make sure your cybersecurity defense is strong.

Every new year introduces new cyber threats to watch out for, and 2022 is no different. In fact, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic poses more unique cybersecurity threats than in previous years.

With everyone staying close to home, and much of the population still working from home, life is getting more and more digital. The adoption of smart technology also opens the doors to new types of cyber threats.

1. Increased Protection Against Ransomware Attacks

A ransomware attack occurs when a hacker accesses your server and encrypts files, leaving you unable to access them. Attackers then threaten to publish your private data or destroy it unless you pay them a ransom. 

The ransom is usually in a cryptocurrency, and many attackers don’t live up to their end of the bargain, which means you lose access to your data forever. If your data gets published online, your business can face legal battles and fines, not to mention damage to your reputation.

Ransomware attacks drastically increased in 2021, and they will continue to increase this year. Most attacks start with a phishing email, which tricks employees into clicking on a link that looks reputable. 

Fight Ransomware Attacks With Employee Phishing Training

Phishing emails are getting harder and harder to identify without training, which is why ransomware attacks are at the top of the cybersecurity trends 2022 list. Unfortunately, many employees give away private information or click on a link that downloads ransomware software before they realize it was an attack.  

In 2022, it’s crucial that your team knows how to spot phishing messages. Our team at Elevated Technologies can test your employees with mock phishing emails. Once we identify your weaknesses, we offer customized employee phishing training to improve your defenses. 

2. Better Cybersecurity Hygiene in 2022

Not all 2022 cybersecurity trends are grim. As cyberattacks get more advanced, more people are waking up to the importance of strong cybersecurity defense plans. That means that more small businesses are hosting cybersecurity training for their employees.

Small businesses have a stronger threat of a data breach because attackers assume they do not have cybersecurity measures in place as larger corporations do. Luckily, many small businesses have caught on, and more will implement cybersecurity practices in 2022.

The best way to protect your small business from a cyberattack is with a security plan that’s made for your operations. All businesses are different, so they have unique vulnerabilities when it comes to cyber threats. 

At Elevated Technologies, we create cyber attack prevention plans based on your strengths and weaknesses, and we monitor the dark web around the clock to make sure your private business information isn’t leaked.

3. Supply Chain Attacks Increasing

The COVID-19 pandemic put strains on supply chains across all industries making this one of the most prevalent cybersecurity trends 2022 will encounter. As businesses fight to keep up with consumer demand, cyber attackers will attempt to take advantage of supply chain vulnerabilities. 

To prevent this, it’s important to have strong security across your supply chain management systems. That means that you need effective safety measures in place throughout the processing, manufacturing, handling, and distributing phases of your operations, especially as you outsource. 

A great example of a supply chain hack is the 2020 SolarWinds attack that affected several departments of the U.S. government. Attackers accessed Microsoft cloud programs through a supply chain hack, along with SolarWinds and VMware software, to steal government data.

4. More Smart Technology Hacks

Thanks to smart technology, you can connect your refrigerator, watch, thermostat, and a myriad of other everyday devices to the internet. While smart technology makes life and business more convenient through integration, it also opens the door to more cyber threats. The more devices you connect, the easier it is to breach data.

This cyber threat should not scare you from implementing smart technology that can make your business processes easier. However, it’s vital that every internet-connected device and software has strong cybersecurity to minimize attacks. 

5. More Attacks Through Mobile Devices

Most people relate cyberattacks to laptops and desktop computers. That’s because computers are easier to hack than phones. However, in recent years, hackers have shifted their focus to mobile devices.

According to cybersecurity trends in 2022, your phone knows more about you than your computer does. Along with tracking your location at all times, cloud technology allows you to seamlessly share data across several devices through your phone. Plus, phones also store financial data through banking apps and services like Apple Pay. 

As workers continue to work from home, they use their phones for both business and life. That means that valuable company data could end up on a mobile device. In addition, phishing emails and texts are often opened on phones.

As a business owner, it’s important that your cybersecurity training includes mobile security. Whether your employees work from the office or from home, they need to know how to protect company information on all of their devices.

Now that you know the top 5 cybersecurity trends in 2022, it’s time to get protected. At Elevated Technologies, we can give your employees the training they need to stay safe on the internet. 

Employee testing and training is the best way to increase your defense against outside cyber threats. It also guarantees that your entire team is on the same page regarding cybersecurity vigilance. 

Contact us today for a free cybersecurity briefing. We serve businesses through the Greater Houston Area, including Sugar Land, Katy, The Woodlands, Richmond, and Cypress. 

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What applications do you use for your day-to-day operations? And how do they help optimize your business activity? Every business is different and has different uses for certain software. That is why you will see that some software is best used for one company and not the other. 

Are you able to collaborate with coworkers? How secure is your information? Free software could be beneficial in a sense of cutting costs, yet, it may not be the most ideal. Free software for businesses can cause compatibility issues with other programs. Making it difficult to communicate and perform other daily tasks. On another note, using free applications such as Gmail and Yahoo are great for personal use. But, as for professional use, your business could be at risk for liability issues. Free applications rarely have any kind of warranty or guarantee that you are safe from bugs. This could lead to the loss of sensitive client and or business information. That in turn affects the reputation and level of professionalism of your company. In some cases, this could be difficult to overcome and leaves your business in a vulnerable state. 

Now that we have discussed some of the risks, free software does have its benefits. Free software for businesses is easy to use and does not need updates on the users’ end. Not to mention, it’s free! Users have the freedom to explore the applications without locking into subscriptions. This gives users the flexibility to choose the right software for their business.

What is Open Source software? 

Open source software is free applications that are transparent to the public. It’s maintained by designers, engineers, and developers. These contributors can make improvements to the design and function of an application. In open source software consumers are responsible for issues present. Unlike commercial software, vendors are responsible for responding to issues. Open source software can perform operations for businesses for little to no cost. A few examples include Firefox, OpenOffice, and GIMP

Open Source Benefits and Risks

Open Source software provides a convenient solution to meet business needs. Especially for businesses that are trying to keep operating costs low. You may want to think twice about how open source software programs are putting you at risk. For example, business functions such as payroll hold sensitive employee information. This includes addresses, bank information, and social security numbers. Open Source vulnerabilities include lack of security, compatibility issues, and lack of warranty. With that said, there is no guarantee that your business operations are secure. Because community members of open source software are volunteers. They hold no obligations to protect users nor are they liable for any issues that may occur.

Benefits of Using Free Software

  • Flexible
  • Cost-Effective
  • Easy to use
  • No lock-in subscriptions
  • Transparency

Risks of Using Free Software

  • Lack of security
  • Liability Issues
  • Lack of warranty
  • Operational Insufficiencies
  • Poor developer practices

Free Software for Business FAQs

Is free software secure?

Yes, generally free software is secure. Contributors from all over the world collaborate and work out any bugs the program may have. Because the number of contributors is so broad this can mean that bugs get fixed faster. 

Can open source software be hacked?

Yes. In some cases, open source software is more susceptible to cyber-attacks. It depends on the size of the community associated with an open source project. For example, a large open source software such as Microsoft is still vulnerable. But, it has a much larger number of contributors. These contributors are adding new features and improving software at a rapid pace. As for smaller open source projects, they may not get the same attention as the larger project would. This could result in more downtime, making your information more accessible to hackers. Make sure your open source is reputable and has a robust community of contributors. 

How is open source software useful to small businesses?

Open source software allows small businesses to perform daily tasks at little to no cost. Businesses are able to gain unlimited access to full functioning software. Which helps optimize growth and efficiency throughout the company. But, as a business grows larger in scale, it may need more advanced tools to ensure the safety of the business.

Can I use free software for business?

Absolutely! Free software is beneficial for many aspects of a business. Some even prefer free software applications. 

Dependable IT Support

Free software for business has many benefits, but it is also important to understand the risks. Thinking about using free software as a software solution for your business? Stop, and ask yourself how your software optimizes your business activity. Elevated Technologies helps educate and advise businesses with these types of questions. Contact us today to ensure you’re using your open source software safely.

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What is a VPN?

Have you ever wondered “what is a VPN and how does it work?” Here is everything you need to know about a VPN. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a secure connection between two or more devices. It allows users to access information and resources on the Internet without revealing their identity. It is commonly used to protect a company’s confidential data and guard against malicious activities online. 

How Does A VPN Work?

A VPN works by creating an encrypted tunnel between the user’s device and the website or resource they are trying to access. All data is encrypted as it passes through this secure tunnel, ensuring that only authorized users can view the content. It masks users’ IP addresses, making it hard for others to trace their online activities. 

What is a VPN used for?

A VPN is used to secure confidential data and guard against malicious activities online. It can also be used to:

  • Access regionally restricted content
  • Receive better streaming speeds
  • Hides IP addresses and locations
  • Protect user privacy when browsing the Internet
  •  Access public Wi-Fi securely without leaving any traceable trails

Why you need a VPN

A VPN provides a secure connection and helps protect you and your company’s online activities. It helps ensure your online privacy and security from malicious attackers. It can help you stay anonymous and avoid unwanted tracking. A VPN can help reduce latency and speed up your Internet connection.

It is important to remember that while a VPN can offer many benefits, it should never replace effective security measures. You should still have strong passwords and use reputable websites and services online.

How to get a VPN

There are many VPN providers available online. You can choose to either pay for a VPN service or use a free one. Paid services usually have more features, greater speed, and better security than free services. You should also look for a provider that is reputable, offers good customer support, and has servers located where you plan to use them.  Once you have chosen a provider, you can download their VPN software onto your company devices and connect to the Internet securely. If you work from home, there is always the option of setting up a home VPN server. This requires some technical knowledge but is an effective way to protect your online activities. 

Always make sure to read the provider’s terms and conditions before making a purchase or signing up for a service.  This will ensure that your data is secure and you are getting the level of protection that your company needs. It is important to keep your software up to date and regularly monitor your VPN connection for any suspicious activities or weak points. 

VPN Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a VPN for free?

Yes, there are many free VPN services available online. However, these services usually have limited features and slower speeds compared to paid services. 

Is a VPN safe?

Yes, when used correctly a VPN can help protect your identity and data from malicious actors. It is important to choose a reputable provider that offers strong encryption.

Can I use a VPN and Wifi at the same time?

Yes, you can use a VPN with Wifi at the same time. This will help protect your online activities and keep your data secure while connected to public networks.  It is important to make sure the VPN is properly configured before connecting to any network. 

Can I use a VPN on mobile devices?

Yes, there are many mobile VPN apps available that can be used on both Android and iOS devices. Most of them are free to download and easy to set up.  Make sure to read the terms and conditions before signing up for a service.

Let Elevated Technologies Help

Now that you question, “what is a VPN and how does it work”, you can decide if a VPN is right for your company! By understanding what a VPN is, how it works, and why you need one, you can make sure that your online presence is secure and anonymous. Taking these steps will help protect your privacy and ensure that your data stays safe no matter where you are. If you have any questions contact us today!

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IT Disaster Recovery Plan

Disaster Recovery is not always the first thing business owners take into consideration when running a company. With this said, digital threats are a serious liability and danger to businesses. Disasters such as cyber-attacks, floods, fires, employee errors, and hardware malfunctions are only a few of the reasons to invest in an IT disaster recovery plan. A plan helps businesses take the necessary precautions to tackle any digital threat. It not only informs the business owner but the staff as a whole as well. 

An IT disaster recovery plan outlines a plan of action to stay safe, all while keeping business owners updated with the latest tools and trends. Disasters happen all the time, so why not have your team 10 steps ahead of the game. IT companies such as Elevated Technologies strive to help businesses stay educated and out of harm’s way when it comes to security breaches or data loss.

As employees become more knowledgeable about digital threats, there is still no guarantee that anyone is risk free. The importance of a data recovery plan is to prepare with techniques and tools before the disaster happens. Today, more than 80% of the nation’s population is working remotely. This means that employees are at even more risk to cyber attacks, considering home connections tend to be less secure.

Developing an IT Disaster Recovery Plan

Any amount of downtime during a security breach can cause a business to suffer financially. Not to mention the stress of losing profitability and reputation. The more downtime a business has the more costly it becomes to restore. Review the below steps and questions to help you avoid financial loss and minimize risk.

IT Disaster Recovery Plan Steps:

  • Collect an inventory of hardware such as servers, desktops, laptops, and wireless devices as well as software applications and data.
  • Identify critical data and perform regular backups, to guarantee the protection of all data. One of the most common and cost-effective services that perform backups is the “cloud”. Cloud services secure all critical data in the event of a hardware malfunction or data threat. This ensures data is secure and accessible through any given device.
  • Create a system of action if and when a disaster or security breach happens. This would include assigning roles, procedures, routes of communication, and practice. A business disaster recovery plan should act as a checklist for the staff in case of an emergency.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What needs to be considered in creating your plan? 
  • Do you know the consequences of “x amount” of downtime for your company?
  • What data is considered “crucial”? 
  • How often should data be backed up?

Disaster Recovery Strategies and Procedures

An IT Recovery Strategy is developed in the business impact analysis and is responsible for all business functions and processes. Without all hardware, software, data, and connectivity, it could mean failure. Businesses that can’t tolerate any downtime will oftentimes use dual data centers. This handles all processing needs. Because data mirrors between the two centers, this lessens the chance of lost data. However, this isn’t always ideal for every company. This can end up being very costly, so this is usually an option for larger companies. Small to midsize companies have other options like using an internal recovery strategy. This model stores data at more than one facility and can use the vendor strategy where they rely on vendors to fully configure data.

Business Impact Analysis

A business impact analysis is an assessment that identifies all potential risks and vulnerabilities of a business. Complete this risk assessment before creating an IT disaster recovery plan. This reduces the chance of blindsiding a company by any disruptions. It also prepares a business for the consequences of those interruptions.

Data Cloud Backup Services

Data loss can happen at any given time. Whether it’s caused by natural disasters, hardware malfunctions, or ransomware attacks. Backups help businesses save and store data in a secure place to where compromised data is restorable. Cloud backup services are a cost efficient way users can feel confident in their protected data.

Disaster Training and Testing

Although there isn’t any guarantee a disaster won’t happen, there are ways businesses can stay updated and prepared. Implementing security training can help employees learn about the risks of ransomware attacks. This will give individuals specifics to keep an eye out for in the event of an attack

Assessing Your Current IT Backup System

Protecting your business with an IT disaster recovery plan begins with assessing your current system and processes. Contact Elevated Technologies for help deciding which step to take next in safeguarding your important information.

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types of data breaches

Before we get into the types of data breaches, we need to ask the question – what is a data breach? The definition of a data breach is when an unauthorized person gains access to your data or network. This “hacker” can then delete or share your personal or company data.

​​What are the risks of a data security breach? The implications of a breach of data depend mainly on the type of data hacked. For example, types of data breaches in healthcare might risk thousands of patient files and can even put their lives at risk. Different types of personal data breaches can provide hackers with a detailed profile of your personal data. From where you live, work, travel, to your social security and bank account information. Consider everything about you that exists virtually. 

What types of security breaches exist? We have followed the trends and statistics on data breaches 2020 and data breaches 2021 to help you protect your company data. The 7 most common types of data breaches listed below will give you a good idea as to how to prevent data leaks and cyber security breaches.

Common Types of Data Breaches

1. Password Guessing

It may surprise you to know that one of the most common types of data breaches is perhaps the simplest one: guessing. Unfortunately, many people don’t get too creative in making their passwords, making them easy to guess. And what’s even worse is that most people use the same password or variations on the same password across all of their accounts. This means that if a hacker can guess just one of your passwords, they can gain access to almost all of your virtual information.

Have I Been Pwned, a resource that checks accounts for signs of data breaches listed the most commonly used passwords.

  1. 123456
  2. 123456789
  3. qwerty
  4. password
  5. 111111
  6. 12345678
  7. abc123
  8. password1
  9. 1234567
  10. 12345

2. Phishing

Phishing attacks typically involve an email set up to appear as though it is from a trusted source, for example, an account you already have. The hacker will request personal information or action, such as clicking a link or downloading an attachment. The Internet Crime Complaint Center reported that phishing crimes (the top reported crime) over doubled from 2019 to 2020.

The 10 most frequently-used subject lines in attacks are:

  • Request
  • Follow up
  • Urgent/Important
  • Are you available?/Are you at your desk?
  • Payment Status
  • Hello
  • Purchase
  • Invoice Due
  • Re:
  • Direct Deposit
  • Expenses
  • Payroll

3. Malware

This is an umbrella term for many different types of computer viruses that can wipe entire computer systems. These viruses threaten companies with deleting any and all data that they may rely on.

The main way to prevent a malware attack is simply being careful to not open anything that you are not sure of the source.

4. Denial-of-Service Attack

A Denial-of-Service Attack (DoS) involves flooding a network with traffic to the point of overloading it. While data is not stolen or deleted, this attack forces a company to shut down until they are able to identify the breach. However, DoS attacks may serve as a distraction while other attacks take place. 

DoS attacks typically target large companies, since they take a lot of coordination and are most often a form of protest.

5. Physical Types of Data Breaches

20% of cybersecurity incidents in 2019 started or finished with a physical action (ENISA Threat Landscape 2020 – Physical Threats).

Many companies ignore this type of threat in considering their cyber security, but it is far more common than people think.

65% of employees said they behaved in ways or adopted practices that may risk physical security. This type of attack starts with simple mistakes such as leaving a prototype out or writing down a password.

6.  Keystrokes

A keystrokes attack occurs when a hacker gains access to your keyboard activity – your keystrokes. In doing so, they gain access to everything you type; credit cards, passwords, phone numbers, personal information, etc.

Typically, this attack comes as a form of malware and can threaten your personal or company computers.

7.  Ransomware

A ransomware attack is very similar to kidnapping or holding a hostage. The hacker will send a message to the victim, demanding money in exchange for not publicizing or deleting their data.

The Harris Poll found that 20% of Americans have fallen victim to ransomware attacks. 

Not only do these types of data breaches threaten data privacy, but they also force a company to shut down while addressing the security breach. The average downtime increased at the end of 2020, going from 19 days in Q3 to 21 days in Q4 (Coveware’s Q4 2020 Ransomware Marketplace report).

How to Protect My Company from Common Types of Data Breaches?

So, how do you prevent data breaches? While there is no perfect method of protection, staying familiar with the most common types of data breaches is a good way to start. 

You can also begin implementing standard practices to improve cybersecurity. Have employees regularly update passwords and train staff to recognize phishing scams. 

Most importantly though, have a dedicated company data breaches response team. Having an incident response team at the ready can reduce the average cost of a breach by $2 million (IBM 2020 Cost of a Data Breach Report). This team can also help you with cloud-backup services that keep your data safe for when cyber security breaches do occur. 
Contact Elevated Technologies experts today to learn more about our tips and resources for protecting your data!

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Spoiler alert: a lot has changed in the past year and a half. The ways we shop, eat, celebrate, educate, and travel will be forever changed after March of 2020. Perhaps the most widely experienced change has been the shift from office-based to home-based employee work. Remote work setup has raised concerns about data privacy now that company data security is in the hands of everyday employees. Keeping up with the data privacy trends in 2021 strengthens your virtual private networks (VPNs) and safeguard your business.

Let’s face it, a vast majority of home-based workers either do not employ safe data sharing practices or are not aware of them. This leaves any companies vulnerable to data leaks and cyber-attacks. To keep your business data safe, you must comply with the new normal trends and regulations that cover privacy. Here are the data trends that you should watch out for this year.

1. Global Data Privacy Regulation Trends

The introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018 began a whole new era of data protection and privacy. This affected more than 60 jurisdictions worldwide. This is not merely a trend that businesses and organizations ought to keep up with and understand. Companies must comply with this regulation. Failure to do so could entail steep penalties for companies and compensation for data subjects.

One of the repercussions of the GDPR is the decrease in the amount of data that businesses can store. Organizations must also delete customer personal information when it’s no longer needed. In addition to this, companies need clear consent from the data subjects before you can process and store their information. Data storage must become more efficient, protected, and managed than ever before.

To demonstrate GDPR compliance, companies and organizations must:

  • delegate data protection responsibilities to their staff
  • maintain proper documentation of the data collected and used
  • train your employees in implementing security measures
  • have established contracts with third parties that process data for them

2. Data Privacy Transparency Trends

As more and more data breaches occur, a top data privacy trend in 2021 is the consumers’ demand for data privacy transparency. Customers now have increased awareness of their rights and the cost of their data. Companies that fail to address these concerns find themselves losing customers to competitors who create a safer environment for sharing personal information.

Online shopping has been steadily rising for years. The pandemic has brought online marketplace activity to all-time highs. There are now more people who use the web for purchase than ever. Because of this, we advise businesses to establish and maintain digital trust with their customers. Data privacy trends in 2021 show that secure data policies, data sharing practices, and privacy-enhancing technologies are now vital to the health and growth of a company.

3. Third-Party Risk Management Trends

Another trend brought about by the GDPR is the heightened focus on third-party risk management and risk assessment. This means that businesses must be more careful in choosing the third parties that they work with to prevent personal data breaches. You must now follow more rules when it comes to sharing consumers’ personal information with third parties. This is also true in how the latter can use or sell the information. One of these rules is having Data Processing Agreement contracts in place for third-party companies you hire to process your data.

More organizations are foreseen to incorporate privacy frameworks to prevent potential data risks and comply with data regulations. Leveraging companies that provide managed network security helps strengthen your business’s privacy program and achieve compliance with the GDPR.

Moving Forward with Data Privacy Trends 2021

Ensuring the data privacy of consumers and complying with the GDPR helps solidify your consumers’ trust inyour business. It is also important to keep abreast with data privacy trends in 2021 to better address your customers’ concerns and retain loyalty. Remember, companies that fail to provide consumers with the safety they demand could end up with dwindling customers and profit. You can protect your company from data risks by investing in privacy technologies, managed IT services, and data security.

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Dark web security

Did you know, that every Fortune 500 company has been exposed to the Dark Web at some point? Their massive Internet presence and amount of customer data leave them vulnerable. While no one is immune to the dangers of cyberattacks, those who invest in cyber security fare better than those who neglect Dark Web security.


So, how do you prevent your business from falling victim to attacks done using the Dark Web? Elevated Technologies founder Jason Rorie wrote a book for that. Rorie’s book, Small Business- A Hacker’s Playground, gives us valuable insights. Rorie explains everything you need to know about the Dark Web. He talks about how it affects small businesses and the steps you can take to protect yourself online.

What is the Dark Web?

The Dark Web is the hidden part of the Internet only accessed using a special kind of software. The websites here are still visible to the public. But, server details hide, and these sites are not indexed by search engines. Because of the anonymity, some hackers use it to release classified information. Unfortunately, the Dark Web attracts harmful people who often do illegal things. Here are a few examples of Dark Web activities:

Fraud

Fraud is a very broad term. This is a criminal action that intends to steal someone’s identity or information.


Hacker Solicitation

Hacker solicitation is when a hacker tries to get information from something. Whether it be from a person or system, they don’t have permission.


Subscription Traps

Subscription traps are very dangerous. They offer you a low price to get you to subscribe and then charge high rates that you can’t get out of.


Purchasing Credit Card Numbers

On the dark web, people can find ways to buy someone else’s credit card information. Once they buy the credit card they can use it at their own discretion.

What are the Dark Web Security Threats?

Phishing

Hackers can use the Dark Web to send emails that seem real to unsuspecting victims. This is Phishing. This tricks the recipient into giving away their personal details or login credentials. Once the hackers receive the sensitive information, they send malware to the victim. Then, they demand a ransom to stop the attack on the victim’s computer.

Malvertising

In this type of cyberattack, hackers inject malware into many legitimate advertising networks. They also deliver malware to victims whose personal details they have captured.

Watering Holes

The attacker watches a group and zeroes in on an individual who often visits certain sites. Then, the attacker infects someone from the group with malware. This capitalizes on the fact that attacking one victim could affect the whole group.

Web Attacks

The hackers begin by finding the weaknesses of an Internet-facing company. Then, they exploit that vulnerability to get into the company’s network and find login credentials.

Protecting Against the Dark Web Security Threats

Use Secure Passwords

Simple protection against the Dark Web is to stop using simple passwords that are too easy to guess. Create complex passwords by incorporating a variety of characters. You should also avoid using the same password for different accounts. While no password is completely secure, these measures should make it difficult for hackers.

Change Passwords Regularly

Using the same password over an extended period will make you more vulnerable to hacking. Changing your password often will make it difficult for hackers to get into your account. Also, you will be able to determine if someone else has been trying to log into your account.

Use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Your email, social media, and bank accounts should have two-factor authentication. This makes it much harder for hackers to access these accounts. Another benefit of 2FA is a lesser chance of losing access to your own account. Those who log in will have to go through a double layer of security.

Answer Security Questions with Fake Answers

Social media has made it possible for anyone to find out the most private details about a person. For this reason, it would be wise to create fake answers to security questions. This way, hackers will not be able to crack the answer.

Password Managers

There is a service called Dark Web ID that detects stolen credentials and cyber security threats. It monitors the Internet and private websites. This is to ensure that its clients’ credentials are not found on the Dark Web. It also manages passwords to make sure that personal details are not compromised.
Criminal activities using the Dark Web generate hundreds of millions of dollars a year. This amount equals the money that businesses lose when they fall victim to cyber attacks.

To prevent this scenario from happening to you, ramp up your company’s cyber security today. Don’t know where to start? Elevated Technologies is here to help. Contact us today to help protect your business from the dark web.
For more information on Dark Web security, check out our founder Jason Rorie. And his book Small Business – A Hacker’s Playground: Cyber Security.

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