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Making Your VoIP Network Bulletproof (Six Tips to Protect Your VoIP from Cyberattacks)

Hardly any phone call system in a business beats VoIP when it comes to efficiency and flexibility. However, it’s not immune to cyberattacks. Discover how you can secure your VoIP ASAP.

What kind of communication system are you using for your business?

I asked because many modern-day businesses have now switched to the Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP). This technology allows employees to perform voice calls using only their internet connection. 

It’s often a wise choice considering that using VoIP comes with several benefits to a business.

Among its benefits include lower operating costs, greater convenience than traditional services, increased accessibility, higher scalability, and the ability to multitask. VoIP also comes with advanced features for teams of all sizes, is completely portable, and offers superior voice quality. 

However, VoIP systems also have limitations, with cyberattacks being their number one downside. 

The good news is that it’s possible to protect a business’s VoIP system from hackers. And if you already implemented this in your business, it’s not too late to secure it.

Read on to discover the most common threats to your network and tips on preventing them.

The Need for VoIP Protection

All VoIP systems require a stable internet connection to function properly. Unfortunately, their reliability on the internet makes them vulnerable to various security issues.

Some of the most frequent ones include:

Security Issue #1. Denial of Service

Denial of Service (DoS) is a common threat to VoIP systems comprising attacks designed to shut down a machine or network and make it inaccessible for use. 

When this happens, legitimate users of VoIP technology may not be able to access their information systems and devices. And call centers can be affected by lower call quality, uptime, and latency. 

Security Issue #2. War Dialling

War dialing is an attack that controls the company’s private branch exchange (PBX) and scans for other phone networks. This means hackers can dial numbers and connect to modems and other extensions.

Security Issue #3. Toll Fraud

Toll fraud is a threat that consists of making calls to outside lines from a company’s existing system. 

For example, hackers will dial costly international numbers intending to rack up toll charges to your business. 

Security Issue #4. Phishing

This is a common threat wherein attackers send fraudulent messages designed to trick victims into revealing sensitive information. Often, the unsuspecting victims would divulge information about passwords, internal IP networks, and similar data. 

Security Issue #5. Malware

It’s a threat where attackers install malicious software via email or phone. A file or code gets delivered over a network and has the goal of infecting, stealing, or exploring the information contained within a system. 

After infecting the system with malware, VoIP hackers can enter your network and access critical business information. 

Security Issue #6. Call Interception

The call interception attacker uses unsecured networks to intercept the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) traffic that serves to initiate, maintain, and terminate real-time voice and video sessions. 

A victim of a call interception attack can be redirected to another line hosted by the hacker, for example.

6 Tips for Boosting VoIP Security

Given the variety of threats imposed by attackers on VoIP systems, it’s necessary to optimize your VoIP security ASAP. 

Here are 6 valuable tips to get you started.

Tip #1. Set Up a Firewall 

Secure firewalls are necessary for all VoIP systems. It’s important to make your VoIP software and hardware firewalls scan information that goes in and out of the system and ensure it’s secure. 

If spam or a threat comes your way, the firewall will identify and gain control over it, shielding your system shielded from the attack.

Also, a good firewall will allow the data packets you send to travel unhindered. 

Tip #2. Use Strong Passwords 

Your VoIP system is no different from any other software or platform you use for handling sensitive information. For this reason, it needs to be protected with strong and regularly updated passwords. 

Aim for combinations of at least 12 characters, including numbers, upper- and lower-case letters, and special symbols. And for ultimate protection, go for passwords consisting of a random character series. 

It’s crucial to set a password as soon as you configure your VoIP system. Otherwise, you’re likely to forget about it later. 

Also, remember that some VoIP phones come with pre-set passwords, often available publicly. That’s why you should change yours as soon as you get a chance. 

Ideally, try to change your passwords every three months.

Tip #3. Restrict Calling

Many VoIP attacks happen due to toll fraud. So, if your business runs locally, there’s no need to have the international call option enabled. This allows you to be on the safe side and avoid paying expensive bills you weren’t even responsible for making. 

You can let your VoIP service block 1-900 numbers to avoid toll fraud. 

Tip #4. Encourage Your Team to Report Suspicious Behaviour 

Many of the VoIP attacks arrive due to irresponsible behavior. To prevent this from happening, educate your team on how they can best do their job without affecting the system’s security. 

For starters, they should know how to spot unusual network activity, handle passwords, and report suspicious behavior. They should also report ghost calls and missing voicemails whenever received. Staff also shouldn’t store voicemail for too long. 

The reality is that sometimes, cybersecurity training during onboarding often isn’t enough. That’s why you should do periodical training to keep your VoIP safe at all times. 

Tip #5. Deactivate Web Interface Use 

Ideally, you should deactivate the web interface used for your VoIP system. 

Why?

Using phones on a desktop computer opens an area of weakness to attackers. It’s enough for a single phone user falling prey to leave the whole system exposed to an external party. All your data can be stolen in text format as a result. 

So, unless it’s absolutely necessary for you to use the web interface, be sure to secure it very strictly.

Tip #6. Use a VPN for Remote Workers

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are great software that encrypts traffic regardless of your employee’s location. 

You can set up such a network for your remote staff to prevent data leaks and breaches. The good news is that using this service won’t degrade the call quality. 

(Re)Gaining Control Over Your VoIP Security

VoIP systems are a fantastic alternative to landlines. After all, they offer many more features and flexibility at a fraction of the cost. However, their reliability on the internet also makes them susceptible to cyberattacks. 

If you have just set up a VoIP system for your company or are thinking of starting one, securing it should be your number one priority. Don’t risk falling prey to toll fraud, malware, phishing, and other attacks. Take some time to secure your business by following the tips from this article. 

And if you need more help to implement these changes or would like to further discuss securing your business’s VoIP system, reach out to us and we can set up a 10-15-minute chat. 


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

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Making Your Mobile Devices Safe From Cyberattacks: The 9 Best Practices

The reality is, mobile devices are less safe than desktop computers. Boosting security on such devices is essential if you use them in business. 

Technological breakthroughs have streamlined your operations in several ways. Primarily, you can now use mobile devices to make your communication and data sharing more convenient.

But this technological advancement also means that information on your team members’ mobile devices is no longer limited to just phone numbers and contacts. They now contain much more significant data, such as emails, passwords, and other account details. 

That’s why keeping those mobile devices secure is key to shielding your reputation and minimising the risk of losing money. 

Unfortunately, the protection of tablets and smartphones against cyberattacks isn’t as robust as that of desktops and laptops. Anti-malware applications may be present, but they’re not as powerful as their computer counterparts. In addition, many devices don’t support certain measures and applications that companies develop to enhance business security. 

Fortunately, you can still implement robust safety measures to protect your smartphones and tablets. 

This article will cover the nine best practices in improving cybersecurity on mobile devices.

The Nine Practices

Practice #1 – Establish a Sound Security Policy

Before issuing tablets or smartphones to your teams, create an effective usage policy. Define rules about acceptable use and determine the penalties for violating them. 

Your employees must be aware of the security risks and measures that can help them reduce the risks. They should know that they are the first line of defense against cybercrime. 

Furthermore, be sure to develop a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy if you permit your team to use a personal device for business. Your company policy can include the following: 

  • Requirements for the installation and remote software wiping on any personal device that stores or accesses company data
  • Employee training and education on safeguarding company information when using wireless networks on their mobile devices
  • Data protection methods that include automatic locking or other security measures applicable after long inactivity periods
  • Protocols for lost and stolen devices 
  • The use of security software and antivirus platforms 
  • Backup requirements 

Practice #2 – Ensure the Operating System Is Up To Date

Updating Android and iOS operating systems improve overall user experience, but their most significant role is in addressing security vulnerabilities. 

Therefore, install updates as soon as the developer rolls them out to reduce exposure to cybersecurity threats. Delaying it may give criminals enough time to attack your weaknesses and take advantage of outdated operating systems.

Practice #3 – Enable Password Protection

A complex password or PIN can help prevent cybercriminals from accessing mobile devices. Besides using alphanumeric combinations, you can also use facial or fingerprint recognition, depending on what suits your employees. 

If you opt for digits and letters, don’t share the combination with people outside your company. On top of that, be sure that your staff doesn’t store them on their phones. Unmarked folders and physical wallets are a much safer option.

Practice #4 – Install Business Programs Only

Lenient download policies can allow your team members to install non-business apps. Downloading such apps might seem harmless, but they are also infamous for their harmful advertising codes and many other threats. 

To mitigate this risk, tell your employees they can only download and use apps necessary for their roles. 

Practice #5 – Avoid Public Wi-Fi Connections

Your team may need to use public Wi-Fi networks in emergencies to send crucial emails or schedule a meeting. However, connecting to such networks can expose confidential company information to cybercriminals using the same network. 

The easiest way to minimise this risk is to provide a high-quality internet plan that features roaming services for your remote workers. 

But if there’s no way to avoid public Wi-Fi connections, a reputable virtual private network (VPN) or secure global network (SGN) may do the trick. It can help shield your data by creating direct, secure links from your location to the intended website. 

Practice #6 – Leverage Phone Tracking

Losing company-issued mobile devices is unfortunate, but it’s not the end of the world. 

Enabling Android Phone Tracker, Find My Phone on iOS, or other device-tracking software can help locate your lost smartphones. Some programs also enable you to remove data on your stolen devices remotely. 

Installing these apps takes a couple of minutes and gives you much-needed peace of mind. With it, even if your staff loses their mobile device, cybercriminals are less likely to get their hands on the content. 

Practice #7 – Incorporate MDM (Mobile Device Management Software)

For even more security, you may want to integrate with reliable MDM. It’s an excellent way to separate personal and business information while allowing your team members to set up robust security measures on their devices. 

In most cases, cloud-based software is the most affordable, flexible, and manageable type of MDM. Many platforms let you check out device information, update and manage apps, configure your devices, create usage restrictions, and remove content remotely. 

If possible, implement MDM software that enforces security measures across all devices. As previously mentioned, this can include data encryption, strong passwords, and setting up containers to separate personal information from enterprise data.

Practice #8 – Screen Messages Carefully

Cybercriminals frequently employ SMS phishing to trick your team into clicking dangerous links. They pose as someone credible, asking your staff to share confidential information. 

If your employees encounter such messages, they should delete them or alert the IT department. Another great idea is to avoid opening the SMS and block the sender. 

Practice #9 – Blocking and Whitelisting

Many threats can compromise your company due to employee errors. For example, a team member may not realize they’re downloading a malicious app that allows thieves to steal data from their mobile devices. 

Blocking and whitelisting can enable you to protect your employees from these risks by determining which sites and apps are safe. 

On one hand, blocking certain applications can give your IT department peace of mind and alert them when someone tries to access those applications.

On the other hand, whitelists can work great for highlighting the tools your team should prioritize over social media and games.

Don’t Drop Your Guard

Securing your desktop computers and laptops only is a disaster waiting to happen. 

Your employees may still use their mobile devices to send emails and share sensitive information. That’s why shielding them from cybercriminals should be your top priority. 

So, develop a strict usage policy and follow other recommended practices to make your team’s smartphones and tablets virtually impervious to data theft. 

Get in touch with us today for even more cybersecurity tips. We can schedule a non-salesy chat to help you identify and address any potential security risks.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

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13 Strategies To Make Your Cybersecurity Failproof

Skilled hackers can easily access your system and steal precious business information. Upgrading your cybersecurity can help address this problem.

Taking your cybersecurity seriously is a must. Otherwise, you leave the door open for criminals to compromise your business’s privacy and cause legal troubles. 

Now, you might think that cybercriminals only target large companies due to more resources. But that’s not the case. 

Whether you’re a small or medium-sized organization, you have a large amount of sensitive data that hackers can utilize. If it ends up in the wrong hands, your reputation can be in shambles, and you may lose access to invaluable information.

The good news is that every business leader can prevent this scenario. And the best way to do so is to take cybersecurity measures to the next level. 

This article will share the 13 most effective strategies for making your cybersecurity disaster-proof. 


The 13 Strategies

Strategy #1 – Upgrade Cloud Security

Data cloud storage is cost-effective and convenient, but that doesn’t mean you should use just any platform. 

Look for the most secure ones that prioritize safety features. Some of your best options include Icedrive, pCloud, and Sync.com.

Strategy #2 – Secure Each Part of Your Network

Mobile devices, computers, and laptops connected to your network can be ideal entry points for hackers. Safeguarding these devices with decisive authentication measures is a great way to prevent cyberattacks. 

You can benefit from having strong Wi-Fi and device passwords. They limit access and help ensure only your team members can enter your system. 

Here are a few guidelines for creating strong yet convenient passwords: 

  • Don’t go overboard while mixing letters, symbols, numbers, and upper-case characters. Instead, come up with something simpler, but it should still have a minimum of eight characters. 
  • Choose something you can easily memorize. 
  • Never leave your password hints publicly available. 
  • Reset your passwords whenever you forget them. In addition, change them once a year to keep things fresh.

Strategy #3 – Use Anti-Fraud Services for Card Payments

Seek advice from banks or your payment processor on selecting trustworthy, validated, and anti-fraud services. Besides protecting your information, they can also shield the data of your clients to help preserve your reputation. 

Strategy #4 – Incorporate Additional Security Measures 

Regardless of the number of your security measures, you can always consider adding more. 

Antivirus protection is a must and is the most common tool to combat cyberattacks. It can block malware from compromising your devices and data. Look for programs from reliable providers and only use one antivirus app per device. 

Investing in firewall protection is another great idea if you want to safeguard your business against hackers. They can screen out viruses and other harmful activities on the internet and determine the traffic that can enter your devices. 

That said, Mac OS X and Windows devices have their own firewalls, named Mac Firewall and Windows Firewall, respectively. But besides your computer, you may also want to set up a firewall on your router to minimize security threats. 

Finally, don’t forget about using virtual private networks (VPNs). They can stop web browsers, software, and people from accessing your connection, keeping the data you send and receive anonymous.

Strategy #5 – Don’t Ignore Upgrades and Updates

After receiving notifications that your technological tools need an update, you might consider ignoring it. However, this can be a huge mistake since outdated systems are more susceptible to hacking. 

To prevent this, regularly upgrade and update your devices and software. It can bolster their defenses against cyberattacks. 

Strategy #6 – Develop Sound Protocols With Your Customers and Suppliers 

Securing your communication and data sharing with suppliers and new clients is also paramount. If possible, only use direct contact channels via trustworthy personnel. Moreover, insist on codewords to denote changes in payments, terms, and other key details. 

To further lower the risk of data theft through suppliers and clients, vet each person before granting them access to your system.

Strategy #7 – Back Up Your Data

Ransomware attacks are a common form of hacking. It involves cybercriminals holding your business hostage by restricting your access to your data until they receive a ransom. 

To eliminate this concern, store your company information on multiple platforms and networks. Backing up your data can prevent your organization from crumbling due to inaccessibility.

Strategy #8 – Only Use Approved Devices and Connections

Remote work is becoming more popular than ever. Although it’s helped enterprises lower costs, it’s also increased security risks. In particular, your employees might be using their own devices or networks that aren’t secure. These are ideal gateways for thieves to steal your information. 

You can address this problem by rolling out your company mobile devices and allowing your team members to only work from them. 

Strategy #9 – Buy Similar Domains

Purchasing similar domains is an effective way to boost your cybersecurity. It can lower the risk of receiving emails with malicious attachments from spoofed addresses and links to spoofed websites. 

Strategy #10 – Train Your Team

A huge number of cyberattacks take place because of employee ignorance. Some employees often click on suspicious emails and fall for phishing schemes or share their passwords without any second thoughts. 

Hence, minimizing human error is a must. 

Set up phishing campaigns and simulations so you can prepare your team for potential security breaches.

Strategy #11 – Restrict Employee Access

Not all cyberattacks originate from outside your company – they can also come from within. 

To reduce the damage someone from your enterprise can inflict with hacking, restrict employee access to only some sections of your system. 

Strategy #12 – Foster a Culture of Security in Your Workplace

Cyber security should be the number one priority in all your departments and not just your IT provider. With everyone working together to shield their workplace from attacks, you’re much more likely to preserve your data. 

Strategy #13 – Regularly Check for Vulnerabilities

You don’t want to be idle after implementing all these defense mechanisms. Instead, conduct regular audits to identify weaknesses of your business’s cybersecurity. Doing so can help ensure that you patch up your vulnerabilities and upgrade your security system.

Keep Hackers at Bay

Enhancing your cybersecurity is a multifaceted procedure. It encompasses all parts of your system and numerous activities, such as incorporating software and backing up your data. 

This makes the process highly complex. 

If you need help in ensuring your cybersecurity is as effective as possible, contact us for a quick 10-15-minute, obligation-free chat. Let’s talk about how we can help you improve your cybersecurity and keep threats at bay. 


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

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How To Choose Your VPN To Boost Protection Against Cyberattacks

Public networks expose your business to security threats. Switching to a VPN can greatly help in reducing those threats.

Many companies rely on public networks for communication and data sharing. It allows them to cut costs and allocate their funds elsewhere. 

However, it also raises several security issues. 

For starters, the network provider might be monitoring the activity, which gives them access to customer details, emails, and critical files. As a result, sensitive information can end up in the wrong hands, compromising the organization’s reputation. 

Another potential consequence is losing access to bank accounts, credit cards, and invaluable resources. These issues can lead to huge losses for any business.

Your business might be facing the same risk whenever a team member connects to a public network. 

To eliminate it, you need to switch to a virtual private network (VPN) or secure global network (SGN). Both offer online anonymity and privacy, enabling you to conduct your operations away from prying eyes. 

Still, you can’t go for just any VPN or SGN. This article features the 10 factors to consider when choosing the right one.

The 10 Factors

Factor #1 – Location

The location of your VPN or SGN servers is essential for a few reasons. 

For example, the greater the distance between your server and your business, the higher the chances of facing latency issues. That’s why to ensure a seamless surfing experience, stick to the nearest server available. 

Furthermore, you can also consider a VPN or SGN from the same place as the content your team needs to access to overcome geographic restrictions. If your work requires research from the UK, for example, find servers from that country. 

Factor #2 – Price

Using free VPNs or SGNs might be tempting, but they deliver a lackluster experience. To start with, they can log you out of internet activities and are often chock-full of disruptive ads. 

You’re much better off investing in a paid platform. They come with various robust features, a larger number of servers, and configurations to bolster your security. 

Factor #3 – Device Compatibility

Another detail you should consider is the compatibility of your VPN or SGN. 

In most cases, you need software that can work with several devices, such as your smartphone, laptop, and tablet. Otherwise, cross-platform work will suffer. 

Factor #4 – Capacity

Before choosing your VPN or SGN, make sure to determine the amount of data you can use. That means if your operations warrant tons of online resources, you should pick a solution that supports considerable data allocation. 

Moreover, check the number of online servers. The higher the number, the more efficiently your platform can support resource-intensive tasks. 

Factor #5 – Protocol Support 

Protocols are rules that stipulate connections between the client (software on your device) and the server. 

There are different protocols, but the most widely used ones include PPTP, OpenVPN, IPSec, SSL, SSH, and SSTP. Each offers varying speeds and levels of security, both of which are vital to your company. 

For instance, OpenVPN is an open-source protocol and one of the safest options for enterprises. It runs on 256-bit encryption keys and advanced ciphers, offering robust protection against cyberattacks. Plus, it features excellent firewall compatibility.

Factor #6 – Data Logging Policies

VPNs and SGNs log user data to streamline customer support and limit available connections. However, you need to consider what information they’re logging. 

In most cases, this includes session times and IP addresses. But some providers can also log your software, downloaded files, and web pages you visit. 

When looking for a suitable VPN or SGN, be sure to read the data logging policy to determine the information the app will store. You should also verify the company is transparent; if someone tries to deceive you, turn down their offer.

Factor #7 – Availability of a Kill Switch

No cybersecurity measure is fail proof – VPNs and SGNs are no exception. Overloaded platforms can trigger IP leaks, interrupting your private connection and exposing your true address when online. 

To avoid this scenario, look for platforms with a built-in kill switch. It disrupts your devices’ access to the internet in case of IP leaks. The kill switch stops transfers of unencrypted information and can help prevent cybercriminals from obtaining your data. 

Factor #8 – Updates

Your VPN or SGN provider needs to roll out regular updates to ensure you can perform your operations safely and efficiently. 

If they don’t openly specify the update frequency on their webpage, find out when the last update was on your app store. It should give you a clue on how frequently the updates get sent out.

Factor #9 – Centralized Management

Centralized management enables you to control VPN or SGN distribution more easily, allowing you to manage access permissions and user accounts. Some of the best apps even feature gateway or role-based access management. It permits users to access only those segments of the network they need to perform their jobs. 

Another important consideration here is control from your console. IT administrators should have permission to open and delete accounts as well as check the devices linked to the platform. 

Lastly, your organization might benefit from VPNs or SGNs with IP whitelisting. They allow administrators to approve the IP addresses of your enterprise to ensure only members with a verified IP can use corporate resources. This feature provides granular control over network accessibility. 

Factor #10 – Customer Support

Customer support might be the most significant factor. Your provider should be easy to contact through different portals, such as telephone, live chat, and email. 

Easy accessibility lets you inform the VPN or SGN developer about various issues. For instance, they can help restore your network if it goes down and prevents unwanted exposure. 

Most client support teams are highly accessible, but make sure to verify this by reading customer reviews. 

Safeguard Against Cyberattacks With a Bulletproof VPN

The digital world is rife with challenges, especially if your business uses public networks. Loss of data can happen at any time, which can give your competitors the upper hand and tarnish your reputation.

That’s why switching to a VPN or SGN is one of the wisest investments you can make. 

To make the most of your service, find an app with dependable security features, customer support, and suitable configurations for your operations. 

You’ll also want to patch up any other cybersecurity vulnerabilities. And we can help you make that happen. 

If you’d like a quick, non-salesy chat to discuss your cybersecurity and find out where you might have any potential risks, contact us today.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

Microsoft

How Microsoft 365 Defender Can Shield Your Company From Phishing Scams

Phishing can lose you a lot of money and expose sensitive information. Microsoft 365 Defender can dramatically mitigate this risk with several features. 

Phishing attacks are a severe threat to your business. These fraudulent actions can cause your team members to accidentally share financial, customer, and account information with cybercriminals. 

How does this happen?

The issue is that the attackers seem credible since they’re impersonating trusted sources and high-level executives. As a result, your team members may not even have second thoughts about distributing sensitive personnel or corporate data. 

Despite the attempts to raise user awareness of this fraud, phishing emails are still widespread. 

They’re the starting point of most hacking activities and can make organizations lose millions of dollars. In addition, the victim may face legal action, diminished reputation, reduced customer confidence, and business disruption. 

That’s why protecting your business from phishing attacks is paramount. 

Numerous safety mechanisms are available, but Microsoft 365 Defender might be your best option. It comes with various security layers to safeguard against successful phishing attempts.

This article will list the seven key features of Microsoft 365 Defender that can help protect your business from phishing.

The Seven Key Features

Feature #1 – Phishing Email Protection

The most dangerous type of phishing scam involves emails whose sender seems to be an actual entity. The attacker often uses cunning tactics, like referring to the victim by their name or nickname. Sometimes, they can even use real accounts and use them to trick businesses. 

Using machine learning, Microsoft Defender 365 lists the contacts you regularly communicate with. Then, it uses advanced tools to differentiate suspicious from acceptable behavior. The result is more accurate detection of phishing emails. 

Feature #2 – Malware Defense

Different types of malware can spread through phishing emails. 

For example, ransomware locks your files and systems until the attacker receives a ransom. 

Spyware can be even more dangerous. It steals your information by copying clipboards, taking screenshots, or recording keystrokes. 

Microsoft Defender 365 addresses such malware with robust safety mechanisms, namely: 

  • Layered malware defense – The platform comes with multiple malware scan engines to help diagnose potential threats. They provide a robust heuristic inspection to shield your system even in the earliest stages of an outbreak. This type of protection is superior to using just one anti-malware program. 
  • Real-time response – During outbreaks, the platform provides your team with instant access to devices, allowing you to investigate and contain threats in real-time. It also enables your team to collect data and proactively tackle malware. 
  • Rapid definition deployment – The Microsoft 365 Defender team maintains a close relationship with anti-malware engine developers. Consequently, users of the platform receive malware definitions on time. Plus, the company checks for definition updates every hour to help protect you against the latest malware. 
  • Common attachments filter – Some file types aren’t meant for emails, such as executable documents. With that in mind, the common attachment filter lets you automatically block them without any scanning. Some of the file types it can remove include .ace, .exe, .app, .ani, and .scr.

Feature #3 – Spam Block

Another common culprit for phishing campaigns is spam emails. Blocking them is an excellent way to shield your organization from attacks. 

Defender boasts powerful anti-spam technology to address spam emails by examining the source of the message and the contents. If the email comes from untrustworthy sources or contains suspicious information, it automatically goes to your spam folder. 

On top of that, this feature examines your team members’ activity to help make sure they don’t send spam emails to other users. 

Feature #4 – Safe Links

Phishing emails don’t only contain attachments. They can also include URLs to lead your team members to a fraudulent website. 

These web pages often look legitimate, but they generally require the victim to provide some information. Furthermore, they can lead to websites that install or download malware on your computers. 

Safe Links shield your system from malware transmissions using URL detonation. It scans email links and checks for suspicious behavior. 

Microsoft Defender 365 warns you not to visit links that open malicious websites. Otherwise, you can open your destination URLs normally. It’ll also rescan the service sometime later and look for any security problems. 

Another great thing about this feature is that it scans email links from all personnel within your organization. Moreover, it works great on documents uploaded to SharePoint and Microsoft Teams. 

Feature #5 – Sandbox Isolation

Some users, especially if they’re reckless, commonly open malicious email attachments without second thoughts. They can expose company data to prying eyes as a result, which can ruin your reputation and give your competitors the edge. 

Defender can reduce this risk by opening all email attachments in a sandbox. It serves as isolation, meaning that malicious files can only affect the sandbox rather than your system. 

Once the program isolates malware, it’ll warn you not to open it. But if the attachment is safe, you’ll be able to use it normally.

Feature #6 – Enhanced Filtering

Enhanced Filtering is perfect for enterprises that route emails to on-premises environments with third-party services before sending them to Microsoft 365. 

The platform comes with inbound connectors that verify whether your email sources are trustworthy. The higher the complexity of the routing scenario, the higher the chances are that email connectors don’t reflect their real source. 

What’s more, this feature preserves the authentication signals that may have disappeared while routing emails. It enhances the filtering capabilities of Microsoft 365, allowing it to detect phishing and spam emails more effectively. 

Feature #7 – User Submissions

Microsoft Defender lets you set specific mailboxes where you can send any threatening emails. 

This feature allows you to determine the criteria for safe and malicious email while identifying the mailboxes that will store these messages. Thus, your administrators have more control over flagging emails and reporting them to Microsoft. 

Microsoft 365 Defender Is a Sure-Fire Solution

Phishing attacks can spell disaster for your company. To neutralize the threat, integrate your office’s computers with Microsoft 365 Defender. 

This platform can keep your system intact with dependable security measures. It can also detect malicious activity on time, enabling you to address it before it spreads and compromises your privacy. 

Using Microsoft 365 Defender is just one part of your cybersecurity. If you’d like a non-salesy chat to help determine other potential risks in your network, reach out to us today.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

Cyber Security, Internet, Network, Technology

Is Your Data Secure? 8 Best Practices for Vetting Cybersecurity Vendors

An effective way to bolster your business’s data security is to work with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) or I.T. Service Provider (ITSP). They address network vulnerabilities to prevent cybercriminals from exploiting them.

Besides monitoring and organizing your servers, a Managed Service Provider (MSP) or I.T. Service Provider (ITSP) plays a pivotal role in the cybersecurity program of your business. They implement several strategies to shield your network from attacks and protect your data. 

For instance, many providers use email authentication protocols to monitor your server’s vulnerabilities. They can keep users from accidentally accessing malicious websites by determining spam emails containing malware or viruses. This results in enhanced system security. 

Another common practice is training your employees to ensure they follow the highest security standards. This is especially important if you have remote team members since there’s no way to keep track of their activities. To tackle this issue, an MSP or ITSP teaches your staff how to operate safely to avoid harm to your company’s infrastructure and reputation. 

On top of that, an MSP or ITSP can neutralize various threats due to their proactive approach. They offer several tools such as firewalls and endpoint detection to control the traffic and stave off cyberattacks. Also, they can install antivirus software and email security to stop intrusion attempts. 

Needless to say, an MSP or ITSP can shield you from a wide array of cybersecurity issues. But it’s vital to work with the right provider. 

To ensure this happens, you should look for and abide by the best practices for an MSP or ITSP in the cybersecurity space. This article will examine what they are. 

The 8 Best Practices

Practice #1 – Enforce Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Cybercriminals are becoming proficient at accessing your credentials, so it’s critical to enable MFA for all your users.  It consists of three elements: a password, security token, and biometric verification. Consequently, if attackers breach one security layer, they’ll still have to do a lot of digging to access your information.

Practice #2 – Make Patching a Priority

Application and operating system exploits are common. Hackers target them to access your system and compromise your data, but you can prevent this through regular patching. 

Making sure your system is up to date with the latest security standards decreases the risk of exploitation. 

Practice #3 – Conduct Regular Cybersecurity Audits

An MSP or ITSP must be aware of onboarding, offboarding, and lateral movements within an organization. This warrants frequent cybersecurity audits to assess the competency of your team. 

Many MSPs or ITSPs hire third-party companies to perform their security audits. They can detect if a person who no longer needs access to the network still has it. It’s something that can endanger the client’s information, especially if the individual is a former employee. 

Conducting regular audits mitigates this risk. It enables an MSP or ITSP to implement some of the most effective access privilege limitations: 

  • IP restrictions – These security measures ensure that only users who can access your local network can utilize remote administration tools. 
  • RMM software updates – Software vendors typically dispatch updates to fix vulnerabilities and patch numerous security gaps. 
  • RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) Security – This Windows native administration tool reduces the chances of ransomware attacks in your organization. 

Practice #4 – Have An Off-Site Backup

Backups are crucial for tackling malicious activities and ensuring operational continuity after cyberattacks. 

They also help address whether the company and its clients can access the latest version of their data and applications. This feature is vital for enterprises that must adhere to compliance requirements, including PCI-DSS and HIPAA. 

But besides implementing on-site backups, your MSP or ITSP should also set up off-site versions. If attackers compromise your RMM software, they can most likely reach on-site backups, too. 

So, to avoid disasters, businesses should have an off-site backup accessible to only a few people. It should also be offline for greater security. 

Practice #5 – Incorporate Log Monitoring

Log monitoring is analyzing your logs for potential glitches. As an MSP or ITSP scrutinizes your records, they can detect traffic from harmful sources and provide a clear idea of threat patterns. And over time, they can deploy countermeasures to seal these gaps. 

For example, cybersecurity experts use reliable security information and event management (SIEM) tools. They facilitate scanning through piles of information to enable faster threat detection.

Practice #6 – Launch Phishing Campaigns

Phishing cybercriminals target your team members with emails or text messages, posing as legitimate institutions to steal your data. Unfortunately, most attacks succeed because of human error, meaning your MSP or ITSP should be aware of and monitor employees’ behavior. 

Setting up fake phishing campaigns is a great way to test your team’s ability to respond to phishing attacks. It allows you to pinpoint and improve inadequate responses, bolstering data security. 

Practice #7 – Choose Your Software Carefully and Secure Endpoints

From small browser plugins to large-scale business systems, be sure your providers take data protection and cybersecurity seriously. Learn about their commitment to these aspects before purchasing their application. 

Furthermore, employ web filtering tools, antivirus software, and email authentication to fend off ransomware attacks through malicious emails. Ensure each endpoint and your virus definition library are secure and up to date with the latest standards. 

Practice #8 – Set Alerts and Document Everything

An MSP or ITSP that configures their systems to receive alerts upon system changes can work proactively and tackle threats early on. Many platforms automate this process through rules templates, personalization, and direct tickets to the PSA. This eliminates manual digging, saving precious time. 

Another useful strategy is to document your cybersecurity information, such as your defense mechanisms, emergency guidelines, and disaster recovery plans. You should also review it regularly to help pre-empt cyberattacks.

Cybersecurity Is Paramount

While digitalization has significantly streamlined your operations, it’s also made you more susceptible to data theft. 

To ensure cybercriminals don’t get their hands on valuable information and ruin your reputation, your MSP or ITSP needs to adopt well-established security practices. 

But if your provider hasn’t introduced off-site backups, regular patches, and employee training, you’re not getting your money’s worth. Hence, you may be frustrated since your provider isn’t delivering the necessary results. 

This makes you a sitting duck for cybercriminals. You need to resolve the issue as soon as possible. 

We can help you do so. Reach out to us for a quick 15-minute chat, and our tech experts will do their best to show you a way out of your cybersecurity dead end.


Featured Image Credit

This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

Hacking, Cybercrime, Cybersecurity, Electronic World

Explaining Cybersecurity Audits (And the Three Tips for Running One)

You need more than the latest antivirus software to ensure your company’s network is secure. A cybersecurity audit helps you create a complete picture of your security strategy.

Cybercrime has grown into one of the epidemics of modern times. 

In 2018 alone, we saw 812.67 million instances of malware infection. Meanwhile, 2020 brought with it a 600% increase in cybercrime. And estimates state that ransomware attacks will cost companies over $6 trillion per year by 2021.

If you don’t prioritize cybersecurity, you place yourself and your company at risk of attack.

Now, it’s likely that you already have some strategies in place to combat hackers and other malicious cyber forces. However, you also need to feel sure that the measures you have in place are sufficient.

That’s where cybersecurity audits become important.

In this article, we examine what cybersecurity audits are and share some crucial tips for running one in your company.

What is a Cybersecurity Audit?

Think of an audit as a comprehensive examination of every cybersecurity strategy you’ve put in place. You have two goals with the audit:

  • Identify any gaps in your system so you can fill them.
  • Create an in-depth report that you can use to demonstrate your readiness to defend against cyber threats.

A typical audit contains three phases:

  1. Assessment
  2. Assignment
  3. Audit

In the assessment phase, you examine the existing system. 

This involves checking your company’s computers, servers, software, and databases. You’ll also review how you assign access rights and examine any hardware or software you currently have in place to defend against attacks.

The assessment phase will likely highlight some security gaps that you need to act upon. And once that’s done, you move into the assignment. 

Here, you assign appropriate solutions to the issues identified. This may also involve assigning internal professionals to the task of implementing those solutions. However, you may also find that you need to bring external contractors on board to help with implementation.

Finally, you conclude with an audit. 

This takes place after you’ve implemented your proposed solution and is intended as a final check of your new system before you release it back into the company. This audit will primarily focus on ensuring that all installations, upgrades, and patches operate as expected.

The Three Tips for a Successful Cybersecurity Audit

Now that you understand the phases of a cybersecurity audit, you need to know how to run an audit effectively such that it provides the information you need. After all, a poorly conducted audit may miss crucial security gaps, leaving your systems vulnerable to attack.

These three tips will help you conduct an effective cybersecurity audit in your company.

Tip #1 – Always Check for the Age of Existing Security Systems

There is no such thing as an evergreen security solution.

Cyber threats evolve constantly, with hackers and the like continually coming up with new ways to breach existing security protocols. Any system you’ve already implemented has an expiration date. Eventually, it will become ineffective against the new wave of cyber threats.

This means you always need to check the age of your company’s existing cybersecurity solutions.

Make sure to update your company’s systems whenever the manufacturer releases an update. But if the manufacturer no longer supports the software you’re using, this is a sign that you need to make a change.

Tip #2 – Identify Your Threats

As you conduct your company’s cybersecurity audit, continuously ask yourself where you’re likely to experience the most significant threat.

For example, when auditing a system that contains a lot of customer information, data privacy is a crucial concern. In this situation, threats arise from weak passwords, phishing attacks, and malware. 

More threats can come internally, be they from malicious employees or through the mistaken provision of access rights to employees who shouldn’t be able to see specific data.

And sometimes, employees can leak data unknowingly.

For example, allowing employees to connect their own devices to your company network creates risk because you have no control over the security of those external devices.

The point is that you need to understand the potential threats you face before you can focus on implementing any solutions.

Tip #3 – Consider How You Will Educate Employees

You’ve identified the threats and have created plans to respond.

However, those plans mean little if employees do not know how to implement them. 

If you face an emergency, such as a data breach, and your employees don’t know how to respond, the cybersecurity audit is essentially useless.

To avoid this situation, you need to educate your employees on what to look out for and how to respond to cybersecurity threats. This often involves the creation of a plan that incorporates the following details:

  • The various threat types you’ve identified and how to look out for them
  • Where the employee can go to access additional information about a threat
  • Who the employee should contact if they identify a threat
  • How long it should take to rectify the threat
  • Any rules you have in place about using external devices or accessing data stored on secure servers.

Remember, cybersecurity is not the IT department’s domain alone. It’s an ongoing concern that everybody within an organization must remain vigilant of. 

By educating employees about the threats present, and how to respond to them, you create a more robust defense against future attacks.

Audits Improve Security

Cybersecurity audits offer you a chance to evaluate your security protocols. 

They help you to identify issues and ensure that you’re up-to-date in regards to the latest cybersecurity threats. And without them, a business runs the risk of using outdated software to protect itself against ever-evolving attacks.

The need to stay up-to-date highlights the importance of cybersecurity audits.

However, your security solutions are not one-and-done. They require regular updating and re-examination to ensure they’re still fit for the purposes you’re using them for. As soon as they’re not, there will be vulnerabilities to your business that others can exploit.

Audits improve cybersecurity.

And improved cybersecurity means you and your customers can feel more confident.

If you’d like to conduct a cybersecurity audit but you’re unsure about whether you have the skills required to do so correctly, we can help. We’d love to have a quick 15-minute no-obligation chat to discuss your existing systems and how we may be able to help you to improve them.


Featured Image Credit

This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.