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Preparing Businesses for the Future of Cybersecurity

April 28, 2020 at 9:40 AM / by Juan Fernandez - VP of Managed IT Services

Remote work has become a sudden necessity in the weeks since COVID-19 first began making it’s way across the globe. The need for businesses to support thousands of employees working from home has placed extraordinary strain on IT teams as they roll out VPN and multi-factor identification, and on the network infrastructure as a whole.

The FBI recently issued warnings of an increase in fraudulent crimes tied to the coronavirus. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of cyberattacks on businesses in 2019 increased from 45% to 61%  in the previous year. For small businesses, a successful cyberattack poses a significant risk to their operations. As large enterprises have higher budgets and more resources to protect against attacks, criminals are now frequently attempting to exploit smaller company networks for financial gain. Keeping ahead of the latest cybersecurity trends will be vital for running a sustainable business in the future.

Latest Cybersecurity Best Practices that Every Business Should Adopt

It’s common for small and medium companies to compromise on some areas of their operations. SMBs spend 10% of their annual budgets on IT, and therefore can’t always afford a sophisticated security firewall. Unfortunately, with aging equipment, unpatched devices, and lack of IT support, small businesses are also prime targets for cyber criminals

 So, while IT security may not have been a critical concern in the past, it now presents a major problem for most businesses. If businesses don’t take a proactive approach to their IT and network security, especially as the workforce becomes more distributed, it could lead to reputational damage, civil liabilities, compromised data, and in the worst cases, put an end to the business. Cyberattacks, like ransomware, can lead to major financial repercussions and the complete loss of all company data.

How a company chooses to protect its information systems now will make all the difference as business gets under way again. While digital technologies can increase productivity and efficiency, when misused, these same technologies could also put the entire business in jeopardy. Securing systems with the latest best practices for cybersecurity can help alleviate the risks and ensure reliable operations well into the future.

Educating Everyone about the Risks

Improving the cybersecurity of the company should be everyone’s concern, from the C-suite and department heads, to newly hired interns. Understanding the risks and pitfalls, whether employees are working in the office or remotely, will help everyone in the company to make the necessary behavioral changes. Merely clicking on a suspicious link in an attachment could lead to an infected network. If the company as a whole understands this, it’s more likely employees will inform their IT department about a possible phishing attempt before it succeeds.

Providing a comprehensive cybersecurity policy that covers both in-office and remote-work is a must have. The security vendor Tuesday released a report based on an analysis of more than 41,000 organizations that determined 45% of companies had malware on their corporate-associated home networks, whereas only 13.3% of companies had malware on their corporate networks.

Requiring employees to follow general cybersecurity guidelines and creating work-from-home specific policies is a must.

General Cybersecurity Guidelines for Employees to Follow:

1. Always install Windows updates

2. Update anti-virus tools regularly

3. Use a password manager

4. Lock your computer when stepping away from your desk

5. Don’t be click happy

6. Use caution when opening email attachments

Remote Work-Specific Guidelines:

1. Turn off automatic Wi-Fi connections
2. Uninstall unnecessary software from personal computers
3. Use the VPN at all times
4. Ensure secure browser configuration

For more tips on keep your remote work secure, download the 18 Things to Make Your Remote Work Secure, Convenient, and Stress Free” checklist.

Use Managed IT Services

Having access to cybersecurity experts is more important today than ever before. If the company doesn’t have the budget to invest in hiring experts, using Managed IT Services can help bridge the knowledge and financial gap. Digital technologies enable Managed IT service providers to take over the management and operations of the company’s network and connected devices. While Managed IT Services will help secure networks, it also provides the company with a versatile solution for all their IT requirements.

Deploy Cybersecurity Solutions Across the Network

Companies should opt to use Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) for all access to company information. They should also ensure they deploy the latest antivirus, anti-malware, and firewall solutions on their networks and devices. Wherever possible, the company should automate the process of updating all virus and malware definitions. If the company allows staff to connect to their networks from their personal devices, it’s imperative they set a security policy that applies to all the connected equipment. For access to sensitive information, adopting two-factor authentication can help prevent a breach from succeeding.

Reduce the Attack Surface

An attack surface refers to the landscape of devices vulnerable to a cyberattack. It’s common for companies to enforce security on workstations, handheld devices, and servers. However, printers and copiers should also be part of their network security policies. Modern printers have their own sophisticated software onboard, which cybercriminals can exploit to gain access to the network. Using Managed Print Services will ensure the company has the latest network protection installed on all their imaging devices.

Secure Your Company’s Network with ImageNet Consulting

ImageNet can help businesses of any size develop a comprehensive cybersecurity policy and reduce their attack surface. With access to cybersecurity experts and a dedicated team of professionals, working with ImageNet can help businesses build resiliency and effectiveness into their cybersecurity strategy

ImageNet Consulting can also help companies to streamline their operations by leveraging the latest technologies for improved productivity. With Managed IT Services ImageNet works with companies to develop a reliable technology stack that suits their needs and improves their future sustainability.

To discuss the latest cybersecurity best practices, and find out how Managed IT Services can help protect your company, reach out to ImageNet Consulting today.

Topics: MIT

Written by Juan Fernandez - VP of Managed IT Services

Juan Fernandez’s 26-year career in the IT industry is a testament to his investment in improving business outcomes with technology and developing the IT industry. His entire career is dedicated to improving service delivery by embracing effective and efficient use of technology through a vision of technology, security, and compliance for small business, government, education, healthcare, and financial industries. Mr. Fernandez has created effective business models for delivering IT-based services such as DaaS, SaaS, DRaaS, HaaS, XaaS, and promoting online development opportunities to increase individual self-service capabilities and leading strategic initiatives to effectively transform technology to be simple, flexible, adaptable, and responsive to the customer needs. He has focused his career on educating customers and companies on his Making “IT” Simple approach. Mr. Fernandez was recognized at HP’s Global Partner Event in 2019 as HP DaaS Innovator of the Year, alongside ImageNet’s HP Partner of the Year award for 2019. Juan and the ImageNet team won Continuum’s 2019 “Growth Partner of the Year” and “Hyper Growth Partner” for 201% growth in 12 months. Mr. Fernandez is part of the select group who writes the CompTIA A+, Network +, Security + Tests, and sits on the CompTIA Subject Matter Expert Technical Advisory board and the CompTIA Channel Advisor board. He was elected Vice-Chair in 2020. He was the winner of the 2018 Continuum MSP Shark Tank for best security and services presentation, which set the stage for an all-inclusive Security and Device-as-a-Service model, establishing the framework for channel and MSP models. Juan sits on the Forbes Magazine Technology Council, Konica Minolta Global IT Services Council, Unitrends Partner Advisory board, HP DaaS Advisory Committee for Device-as-a-Service, WatchGuard Advisory Board, serves as a Channel Futures MSP Mentor and works with many other channel companies to develop the future of technology and XaaS models.

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