State of Email Security for 2019

State of Email Security for 2019
State of Email Security for 2019

Email has been an irreplaceable blessing and a cruel curse to the cybersecurity of business over the years. Email connects the employees as well as the rest of the world. However, because email connects employees to the rest of the world, email has also come to be the largest vulnerability of any organization. In fact, recent studies report that 94% of companies will experience an email-related malicious attack. 

These attacks are generally phishing attacks such as emails requesting money transfers and fraud based attacks such as impersonation of third party vendors. Email is the easiest point of contact for other users, external or internal, to interact with employees and attempt malicious attacks. Reasons for improving email security are endless and companies are looking for solutions to remedy potential vulnerabilities in their systems.

Vulnerabilities are Increasing

The amount of email-based attacks towards a company has consistently seen a rise in recent years. As the world moves further and further along with the use of the internet and emails, this trend isn’t likely to see any change. IT departments are finding it increasingly difficult to protect the company and increase email security. In fact, 61% of businesses believe that they will likely or inevitably suffer an email-borne attack. 

Companies are continuing to promote email safety protocols and educate employees on the proper usage of email. Through these efforts, they hope to minimize security risks and improve vulnerability management. However, while these efforts to increase employee ability to spot cyber attacks have increased, only 25% of companies are providing training to actively increase email security. This training is commonly in the form of group sessions or informative videos. Some companies even go as far as having one on one sessions with employees to ensure that they understand the risk involved in email and that they keep the company safe while using it.

Effects of Attacks on Businesses

Many of these email-borne attacks have had direct effects on the functioning and profits of the organization. Specifically for email-based impersonation attacks, organizations have reported that:

  • 13% lost their position in the market
  • 26% loss of reputation
  • 27% had to cut back on employee numbers
  • 28% lost customers
  • 29% experienced direct financial loss
  • 39% experienced data loss

While 25% reported that they experienced no loss because of an impersonation email attack, this doesn’t mean that they didn’t suffer losses from some other form of attack. The chances are high that they did. 

More to Email Security Than Just Outside Threats

There’s more to email security than simply malicious user attacks. There are also human errors involved. 31% of C-suite level(CFO, CEO, CTO) employees have reported to had sent sensitive data to the wrong person. If this information is incorrectly sent to a fellow employee, the situation may not be so bad. However, if the wrong information is sent outside of the company, there is a chance that the information can be used to harm the company. Roughly 40% of employees at a given organization believes that the CEO undervalues the impact of email security.

C-suite level members of an organization are also the target of most cybercriminals. As C-suite level members often hold valuable information and have authorization to much of the company, cybercriminals highly target these individuals because they can profit the most from them. C-suite level employees, just as much as normal level employees, need to become better educated on email security.

Email security should be one of the many integrated security strategies seriously enforced to protect the company. For more information regarding the state of email security, contact AE Technology Group. We are well-versed in protecting the networks of companies and offer solutions that can prevent cyber disasters and increase vulnerability management including email security.

Ransom + Software = Ransomware: How to Prevent Data Hostages

Ransom + Software = Ransomware: How to Prevent Data Hostages
Software

The word ransom conjures images of true crime documentaries and ski mask clad villains holding your data hostage in cyberspace. In fact, the term “ransomware” is combination of the words ransom and software. This type of cyberattack typically operates by phishing scams, using malicious email links and attachments or drive-by downloading to gain access to sensitive information. Hackers steal company data, encrypt it, and charge unsuspecting victims an exorbitant ransom fee (typically in bitcoin so as not to be traced) to obtain access to their own documents, networks, and servers.

The good news is you won’t need a team of secret agents to put these villains in their place. Knowledge and simple preemptive action is key when it comes to protecting your company’s data.

A Targeted Strike

Understanding the ways hackers exploit vulnerable networks can save businesses a lot of time and money in data recovery costs. Hackers have become more sophisticated in recent years, targeting specific entities they know will pay a high price for the safe return of their data. Companies that handle sensitive and confidential information are the most vulnerable, with ransomware attacks becoming prominent in the healthcare industry as well as in corporations that utilize CRM (Client Relationship Management) systems.

The latest victim? Municipalities. According to a recent report from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, although the number of ransomware attacks have decreased in recent years, infiltration attempts are becoming more targeted and devastating where successful. Hackers now have the ability to shut down entire cities and demand payment to restore vital services.

An Impenetrable Defense

Now that we know how ransomware works and who is at risk, we can begin taking steps to fortify our data security. 

Foremost, always backup your data, servers, and networks. Cloud servers and SaaS can cut down on vulnerable infrastructure, provide reliable and automated backups, and keep your data stored in one, convenient location. 

A dependable firewall is essential for any business. Strong antivirus software updates automatically to account for new and evolving threats, detecting risks before they become a problem.

Implementing basic technology training for your large or small business can enable employees to take cybersecurity into their own hands and learn more about common phishing scams, suspicious links, and malware prevention.

Of course, super powering your company’s security with a managed IT service is the best way to keep your critical systems information safe. Contact our tech gurus today to learn more about protecting your business from ransomware and other threats.

January 2020 is THE END for Windows 7: Here’s What You Need to Know

January 2020 is THE END for Windows 7: Here's What You Need to Know
Need to Know

As you may have heard, Microsoft recently announced that it will be ending support for Windows 7; in fact, they have set the end-of-life date for Windows 7 as January 14th, 2020. After this date, Microsoft will no longer be offering support, updates, and vital security patches for Windows 7. 

What Does This Mean?

So what does this mean for you if you are one of the many businesses still running PCs that use Windows 7? While you don’t have to worry about your PC not working anymore starting January 2020, as Windows 7 computers will still continue to operate, you will no longer get updates and support from Microsoft. This means that you will no longer get automatic security and bug fixes from Microsoft, which can make it extremely costly, and dangerous, to keep operating Windows 7. In fact, without proper security support, Windows 7 computers will quickly become the target hackers.

What Should You Do?

If you still run Windows 7 on your computers, you may be wondering what your next step should be. Ultimately, your best course of action would be to upgrade to Windows 10 before the deadline, as this will ensure that you do not go through a period where your computer is not protected by vital security upgrades and bug fixes. Ultimately, putting in the time and money now to upgrade your business’s computers to Windows 10 can help to save you from the stress that a security breach would cause if you continued to use an operating system past its end-of-life date. 

However, before upgrading your computers to Windows 10, you should take a moment to consider the age of your business’s computers and how much it would cost to update them to Windows 10. If your computers are showing signs of age, it may make more sense to replace them with new computers that come preinstalled with the latest version of Windows. 

Contact us to learn more about Microsoft ending support for Windows 7 and how this could affect your business. 

Ways to Get the Most from a Managed Help Desk

Ways to Get the Most from a Managed Help Desk

Ways to Get the Most from a Managed Help Desk

Managed Help Desk

In any business, the customer is the King. For this reason, most organizations have a support desk to deal with the queries raised by their clients. However, understanding and anticipating consumer needs presents a challenge to many help desk managers. Why? Because the consumer gauges the effectiveness and service quality of an organization’s response to a raised concern based on their arbitrary metrics.

An organization’s help desk personnel adheres to internal guides and service-delivery systems to anticipate consumer needs. However, you can only provide excellent customer care by assessing clients’ experiences and requirements. For instance, if a consumer expects his/her query to get solved after 24 hours, then he/she should receive a response within that time frame. The only problem comes when the issue is urgent. Fortunately, we’ve compiled some useful tips on how to get the most value from a help desk management system.

  • Establish Smarter Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Help desk managers should agree and clearly define the services to employees and clients to provide quality responses to consumers’ concerns. That not only makes it easy to measure service excellence but also enables you to have informed expectations. Help desk management tools that have an SLA feature makes it easy to include SLA specifications into your business operations.

  • Promote Customer Self-Service

According to statistics, 72% of consumers would love to use self-service help desk tools. Therefore, businesses need to have user-friendly management software. For example, you can have a consumer self-service portal and Q&A forums where consumers can find solutions to their problems.

  • Establish a Helpful Culture

Most businesses’ help desks focus on reducing costs, which compromises quality of service delivery. Nonetheless, if your goal is consumer-oriented, you’ll not only offer useful help to clients but you’ll also cut down the costs. Additionally, it boosts the accuracy of your expectations on consumer’s needs, letting you have solutions before problems erupt.

Feel free to contact us if you think your business needs a revamped help desk management system. Also, if you have any further queries or need additional information on this, please check out our website.

Ransom + Software May = Ransomware

Ransom + Software May = Ransomware
Ransomware

Advancements in both hardware and software technologies have allowed businesses to expand their markets, reach new customers, and become far more productive than they could have possibly dreamed.

As is often typical however, new ways of doing business also open up new avenues criminals can use to steal, or hamper a company’s daily operations just “for the fun of it”. In some cases, hackers and criminals employ what amounts to kidnapping of data or other technological resources until a business pays a ransom. For companies who are not well prepared for such attacks — ransom + their corporate software vulnerabilities may indeed equal a ransomware attack.

How It’s Done

There are several ways that hackers and criminals can gain access to corporate networks and the data that resides on them, but one of the most popular is through a phishing attack.

In a phishing attack, a hacker will typically send an email that looks like it is from a legitimate source such as another employee, often high ranking in the company, or another company that may be a client, vendor, or partner. If the employee receiving the email is not fully prepared to spot a phishing attempt, they might reveal the login credentials for access to the corporate network and/or software applications. Once in the system, hackers can encrypt files, barring employees from accessing any corporate systems until the company pays a ransom. In more than a few cases, the ransom amount paid was quite steep.

Who is Vulnerable

Essentially anyone doing business online can become vulnerable to a phishing attack. However, in recent years municipalities have become increasingly vulnerable to these types of attacks. Large and even medium-sized cities have become popular targets since the systems they oversee provide essential services for both businesses and residents in the area.

Prevention

Proper training is one of the essential keys that can help to eliminate a ransomware attack. Employees need proper training to spot phishing attempts and other suspicious online activity.

A comprehensive tested backup plan is also essential. Up-to-date backups that are held in areas where even hackers cannot access them is key to recovering from a ransomware attack. Regular testing of a backup restoration is also essential to ensure the restoration process will run smoothly if an attack should occur.

If you would like to know more about how to prepare your company to withstand against cyber criminals, please contact us.