Defending Cyber Attacks for Remote Work Security
Businessmen work from home on a computer with a keyhole icon for personal access security systems. the concept of cyber information data and privacy on high technology in the present and future.

Remote Work Security

Cyber attacks are becoming more common and sophisticated, which makes remote workers an easy target for hackers. More companies now allow employees to work remotely. It’s important to consider the remote work security risks that come with this freedom. By implementing a few simple remote access security control measures, you can help protect your company’s data.

Remote Access Security Risks

There are a few remote work security risks to be aware of. Be sure to educate yourself as a remote worker on how to identify and avoid these threats.

  • Targeting: You as a remote worker often have access to sensitive company data, which makes you a prime target for cybercriminals.
  • Unsecured Networks: When working remotely, it’s important to only use secure WiFi networks. Hackers can easily set up fake WiFi networks, pretending to be a legitimate business, and use them to gain access to your data. Only connect to familiar networks.
  • Malware/Phishing: Remote workers may not be as familiar with security measures as on-site employees. They may be more likely to accidentally download malware or open phishing emails.

Remote Access Security Controls

As the world becomes connected, remote control security for cyber security becomes important. Remote access security controls help protect organizations from attacks that come from outside.  These controls can include firewalls and virtual private networks. As well as intrusion detection and prevention systems. By implementing these controls, organizations can reduce the risks of hacks and improve security.

How to Prevent Cyber Security Attacks/Tips for Remote Security

There are a few things you can do to help keep yourself safe from cyber attacks. By taking these remote work security measures, you can help protect your company’s data and keep you and your devices safe.

  • Make sure to use a secure VPN to connect to your work devices
  • Have strong anti-malware software, and learn how to use it
  • Educate yourself about remote work security risks
  • Be cautious with the emails you open and the websites you visit

Remote Control Security for Cyber Security

There are a few things you as a remote worker you can do to help protect yourself from cyber-attacks. These are in addition to the remote work security measures your company takes. It’s important to be extra vigilant about your cyber security. By following these remote work security tips, you can help keep yourself and your company safe from cyber-attacks.

  • Always use a strong password and never reuse passwords
  • Enable two-factor authentication whenever possible for extra security
  • Be cautious about the emails you open and the links you click
  • Only connect to familiar, secure WiFi networks
  • Never download software from unknown sources
  • Disconnect from all networks if you suspect a malware attack
  • Contact your IT support team if you suspect a cyber attack

FAQs

How do you protect remote connections?

The best way to protect remote connections is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN encrypts all data that is sent between your device and the VPN server, making it more difficult for hackers to intercept and access your data.

What are some security issues in remote access?

There are a few remote access security issues to be aware of, such as unsecured networks, malware/phishing, and targeting. Be sure to educate yourself on how to identify and avoid these threats.

What is a remote security attack?

A remote security attack is from a hacker attempting to gain access to your data or devices. They do this by exploiting vulnerabilities in remote access tools or systems.

What are the techniques that to overcome security attacks?

There are a few techniques that can help overcome security attacks. These include using a VPN, having strong anti-malware software, and being cautious. Be extra cautious about the emails you open and the links you click.

Let Us Help You 

If you need help with making sure you stay safe as a remote worker, let us help you get you started. We can make sure you have quality security as a remote worker, so you don’t have to worry. Contact us today to learn more about how we can meet your remote work security needs!

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Cybercrime is a big business, and hackers are constantly looking for new ways to steal passwords. There are many ways that hackers are stealing passwords now. If you’re not careful, they can easily gain access to your accounts and sensitive information. However, by being aware of the most common methods hackers use for stealing passwords, you can take steps to protect yourself. To keep your company safe, it is crucial for you and your employees to:

  1. Recognize the risks of hackers stealing passwords
  2. Understand password-stealing methods
  3. Prevent password theft

Risks of Hacked Passwords in Business

The vast majority of businesses rely on passwords to protect their valuable data and systems. However, passwords are not foolproof. In fact, they are often the weakest link in an organization’s cyber security defenses.

Risks include:

  • Unauthorized access to company systems and data
  • Disruption of business operations
  • Loss of revenue
  • Damage to reputation

There are many ways hackers steal passwords, and they are constantly finding new methods. If you’re not careful, they can easily gain access to your accounts and sensitive information. However, by being aware of the most common methods hackers use to steal passwords, you can take steps to protect yourself.

Common Password Stealing Methods

Hackers use a variety of methods when stealing passwords. The most popular methods include:

1. Social Engineering

Social engineering is a type of attack where hackers trick humans into divulging information or performing actions. This then allows the attacker to gain access to systems or data.

Phishing attacks are one of the most commonly known types of social engineering attacks. This is a type of password hacking where hackers disguise themselves as people you know, such as family members, friends, or co-workers. They typically use phishing emails or text messages. The goal of this is to convince you they are someone you know. This then enables them to include a link or attachment that will either download malware to your device or prompt you to fill out a form with your personal information.

2. Malware

This is a malicious software program downloaded to a device in order to steal data and information. Malware most commonly comes from phishing emails and texts. But it can also come in the form of online advertisements containing malware or websites with pop-up ads and “free download” links. 

Malware can gain access to a person’s password, bank account information, or other sensitive information. It can also install viruses on a person’s computer or device. It is one of the most frequently used methods of cyberattack, and it can have serious consequences for the victim. 

Keylogging is a type of malware that records the keys a person presses on their keyboard. This information can then gain access to passwords, bank accounts, or other sensitive information.

3. Brute Force Attacks

One of the most common methods of password hacking is a brute force attack. This essentially involves guessing a password with a large number of combinations until the correct one is found. Hackers often use software to help them generate possible passwords. These software systems can include every possible combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.

Typical types of brute force cyber attacks include:

  • Password spraying – trying common passwords against many accounts
  • Dictionary attacks – trying words from a dictionary as passwords
  • Hybrid attacks – using a combination of dictionary words and most commonly used passwords
  • Guesswork –  trying personal information such as birthdays or addresses
  • Credential stuffing – using lists of stolen username and password combinations to gain access to accounts
  • Shoulder surfing –  looking over someone’s shoulder to see what they are typing

Preventing Password Theft

  1. A good way to prevent password theft is to implement a strong password policy. This should include using a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, symbols, and proper password length. Employees should also avoid plain text passwords. This password policy should require employees to change their passwords regularly.
  2. In addition, you should consider using two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever possible. This requires users to enter both a password and a code that sends to their phone or email before they can access an account. 2FA adds an extra layer of security that makes it much harder for hackers to steal passwords.
  3. The best preventative option includes training your team members. As a business owner, you should educate your employees about the risks of password hacking and the importance of cyber security. Through employee phishing training, you can help prevent your employees from falling victim to password theft.

Password Hacking FAQs

How do hackers get passwords?

There are a few different ways that hackers steal your passwords. A few examples include a brute force attack or a malware attack.

One typical way is by using a program that guesses passwords until it finds the right one. An alternative way is by stealing passwords from people who have saved them in an unsecured file on their computer or smartphone. Another way is by obtaining passwords through a phishing attack. These attacks are when a hacker sends you an email that looks like it’s from a legitimate company. They then ask you to enter your password into the website or email address included in the email. 

Truly, the list of cyber attacks on passwords is extensive. Read an in-depth description of different methods in the excerpt above.

How can malware be used to steal your password?

Another way hackers can get passwords is by using spyware or malware to steal them. Spyware is software that secretly collects information about you. Malware is malicious software that can damage or take control of your computer. Password hackers can use keylogging malware to record the keys pressed on a device, in order to gain the victim’s passwords.

Be sure to keep your computer’s security software up-to-date, and never click on links or download files from emails that you don’t trust.

How to stop getting hacked?

There are a few things you can do to help protect yourself from getting hacked:

  • Use strong passwords and change them regularly
  • Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts
  • Install a good antivirus and firewall program
  • Make sure your operating system and software are up to date
  • Be careful about what links you click on and what attachments you open
  • Don’t give out your personal information unless you absolutely have to
  • Team up with a skilled IT Support Company to help secure your business

How fast can hackers get your password?

It depends on the strength of the password, how often it is used, along with other factors.

Generally speaking, the stronger the password, the longer it will take for a hacker to crack it. And if a password is only used for a specific site or application, it will be easier for a hacker to crack than if used for multiple sites or applications.

There are also software programs that can help hackers steal passwords more quickly. So the bottom line is that it depends on the specific circumstances. The more password protection used the better.

What password do hackers usually use?

The most common password is “password”. Other easily guessed passwords are “123456” and “qwerty”.

To create a strong password, you should use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. It’s also a good idea to change your password regularly.

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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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Types of Security Assessments

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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Do I Need a VPN

One may ask “Do I need a VPN?” The answer is yes! Now let’s ask, What is a Virtual Private Network? A Virtual Private Network, protects your network and keeps sensitive data safe. Whether you work from home, at a coffee shop, or on the go, you can securely connect to your corporate network. A VPNs encrypted connection allows employees to work safely outside of the office. This is possible through any device that meets the requirements, or what is also known as a device’s posture. Examples include laptops, tablets, and even smartphones. Without a VPN an employee’s traffic is accessible by third parties. This could lead to significant downtime, data loss, and increased susceptibility to cyber-attacks. A business needs a VPN to ensure all work is private and secure.

How VPNs Work

So, what does a VPN actually do, and how does it work? It disguises your online identity and encrypts your internet traffic. This prohibits a third parties’ ability to track and steal information. What is a VPN used for? A VPN is used to hide information such as your IP address, internet traffic, and data. This is one of the main jobs a VPN should perform. Other benefits include protecting your internet history, limiting downtime, and authentication methods. A VPN keeps track of all log-ins and makes it difficult for third parties to receive access. A VPN is able to secure information due to its encrypted connection which is known as a tunnel. This tunnel supports a secure remote network for employees.

Types of VPNs

A site-to-Site VPN is a connection between two or more networks. These networks can be across many locations or branches of the company. Whereas a Remote Access VPN is a connection between a remote device and the primary network. In this case a business will likely give equipment out such as a laptop or phone that connects to the company’s VPN. 

Site to Site

A site-to-site is usually used by larger companies that have more than one location. Employees are able to connect to the same VPN to have access to resources housed on the primary network. This type is more complex and not as flexible as the others. But, it is the most effective when ensuring communication between departments. 

Remote access

As for remote access VPNs, businesses can connect endpoints to the corporate network. Endpoints describe devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones. These endpoints are then checked to ensure they have the right posture to run securely. The devices connect to the network, unlike site-to-site where it’s network-to-network. Remote access is beneficial for employees who travel or work from home. This allows a secure connection from anywhere, even on public WiFi.

IT Support in Katy TX

Now that you know the importance of a VPN, ask yourself Do I Need a VPN? And let us do the rest. Reach out to Elevated Technologies to learn more about the services we provide. How can we help you and your business run smoothly? It’s your job to run a business, let us keep up with the latest IT support. 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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