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It is common for organizations to invest in preventative cybersecurity defenses. In fact, most organizations have technologies such as firewalls and anti-virus software that are designed to stop a cyber-attack. These controls certainly serve a purpose in fighting the war against cybercrime and should not be discounted.

But, cybersecurity professionals are recommending that we turn our attention to our ability to detect cybersecurity incidents and recover from them.

It makes perfect sense. The reality is that defending cyber-attacks is an incredibly hard task to do. Hackers are anonymous, perimeters are not physical, attacks are sophisticated, and the volume of cyber assaults launched every day is astounding. Defending cyber-attacks is a little like entering a cage fight blindfolded with one arm tied behind your back. Despite the best defensive efforts, you will get hit.

Hence the recommendation to invest the ability to recover from a cybersecurity incident. Of course we will continue to defend ourselves from cyber criminals, but we also recognize we are not fighting a fair fight, and that we will likely suffer a cyber incident at some point. The thought is simple, when we become a victim of cybercrime, we must be prepared to recover from the incident. 

If you do not regularly backup critical data and systems, then you must start doing so immediately. If you do not have a documented disaster recovery plan, then you must create one as soon as possible. In the process of creating a data backup strategy and disaster recovery plan, please recognize the nine most common mistakes made and more importantly, how you can avoid making them in your quest for recovery preparation. 

The 9 Mistakes

 

1. The Scope of the Backup is Incomplete 

It is very common to see a data backup that has very little strategic thought behind it. Evidence of this mistake presents itself in the form of:

  • Important Data, Applications, or Systems that are NOT included in the backup job(s).
  • All Data, Applications and Systems are backed up the exact same way – there are no priorities.
  • The time it takes to ACTUALLY recover lost or corrupt data is much longer than expected.
  • The point in time in which you are ACTUALLY able to restore to is too far in the past (I want to recover yesterday’s information, but I am only able to recover last month’s information!)

Avoid this mistake by classifying and prioritizing the data, applications and systems that need to be backed up. A Business Impact Analysis will identify critical sets of data and define Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPO). This allows you to implement a backup job that supports lightning fast restore times for critical information.

 

2. Backups are Not Completed Automatically 

All too often we see backup jobs that require a person to manually start the backup. The process to start the backup job is usually very simple, like clicking a button. However , people forget to do it.

Backup jobs should always be automated. Automation eliminates human error or neglect and yields a much better chance of having a successful backup when you need it most.

With Datto you will receive daily backup verifications and screen shots of your virtual servers give you peace of mind and ensure that your backup data is working and accessible to you when you need it.

 

3. There is Only ONE Copy of the Backup 

There should always be more than one copy of your data backup. For critical systems, we recommend having three copies – for less critical systems, we recommend having two copies. The logic is simple, what happens if your data backup is lost, deleted or becomes corrupt? If you need to restore from backup, is it more comforting to have only one recovery source, or is it more comforting to have a few recovery sources?

 

4. Backups are Not Monitored for Success

So many businesses have a “set it and forget it” mentality about their data backup jobs. People rarely check to see if the backups are running successfully. For this reason it is important that your backup jobs are monitored very closely and if there are any errors (and there will be from time to time) that cause a backup job to fail.

There are many systems that are available to provide monitoring and alerting services for backup jobs. You must keep a close eye on your backups; otherwise you will find yourself in a very bad situation one day.

This is why Datto has implemented screenshot verifications for their users. This ensures that the backups are operating as designed and the users have peace of mind that their critical data is being saved in case of a disaster.

 

5. Backups are Not Kept Offsite

It is very common for data backups to be kept onsite, in the same physical location of the systems that are being backed up. While this practice is acceptable for some types of system failures (hardware failure, software corruption, etc.), it is a terrible idea for other types of failures. For example, if your building floods or burns – and your servers are severely damaged – do you think the backup media that was located right next to those servers will also be damaged? YES, IT WILL BE! For this reason, it is important to keep at least one copy of your data backups offsite, at a different physical location.

Not only will the Datto backup all your data to the device itself, but it will also backup everything to 2 separate offsite cloud storage locations. So in the event that the local device is destroyed, you can still access your information, even from a remote location. 

 

6. There is Insufficient Capacity for Backups

The backup job is 400GB, but your backup tape or drive is only 300GB. Capacity issues have a tendency to create sloppy and incomplete backup jobs. It is imperative that your backup media be sized and provisioned to not only support your current backup needs, but also allow for some element of growth over time.

Need help determining you backup size? A simple Capacity Planning exercise conducted by a Databranch engineer could be incredibly important to your overall backup strategy. Click here to request a meeting with one of our highly trained team members.

 

7. There is No Documented Disaster Recovery Plan

Often we see backup jobs that are working very well. Critical data is being backed up at regular intervals which support organizational RTO and RPO requirements. Then, disaster strikes. There is a power outage that fries the server, the network room floods, the building burns down, etc.

A backup job is only successful if data can be easily and quickly recovered. You need to have a recovery procedure documented! Typically this is in the form of a Disaster Recovery (DR) Plan. The plan should include important procedural steps involved in recovering lost data and should also indicate who is responsible for performing those steps once a disaster is declared.

If you choose to not have a documented DR Plan, then recovering from a disaster will be chaotic and frustrating at best! At worst? A disaster could cost you business thousands of dollars and could possibly cost you the business itself.

Interested in calculating the cost of downtime for your business? Check out our Recovery Time Calculator here.

 

8. There is No Process to Add or Remove Items from the Backup Scope

As new servers, applications and data repositories are added to your computing environment – they also need to be added to your backup job(s). It is very important to have a documented Data Backup Policy that outlines the process for adding or deleting components of the data backup job(s).

Without a policy, new systems may or may not be integrated into the backup job(s) effectively and old systems may never get removed. Once you have a great data backup job, you want it to stay great. This requires governance and oversight typically provided by good policies and procedures.

 

9. Backups are Not Tested; People are Not Trained

Data backup job(s) absolutely, positively need to be tested at least once a year – if not more frequently. A true test is the only way to verify that critical information can be restored if needed. More importantly, people (employees, vendors, etc.) should all be educated on the restore process, especially if they play a critical role in restoring lost or corrupted data. A common and effective way to provide this training is by conducting routine Table Top exercises where DR scenarios are presented to the recovery team and they have an opportunity to respond – without creating any service disruptions

 

Backup and Recovery Solutions

Avoid these common pitfalls and be confident in your ability to recover from most cyber security incidents. Invest in defense, and also in resiliency. Our backup recovery and disaster recovery solution ensures that your data is restored to its former state, with little to no downtime or interruption to your business.

Databranch monitors the success of every backup, and if there’s an issue, we’ll take care of it for you as part of the service. With a commitment to continually improve and serve, Databranch employees regularly go above and beyond to ensure complete customer satisfaction. Reach out to us today at 716-373-4467 x115 or [email protected], you can rest assured that your data is in good hands.

 

 

Article used with permission from Cyberstone.

The global pandemic put a big emphasis on the need to run a business from anywhere. Enabling employees to work remotely requires cloud solutions. This includes collaborative platforms like Google Workspace and Microsoft 365. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone systems have also become critical.

VoIP allows companies to stay in contact with customers and potential customers. Employees can work from anywhere and still answer the business phone line. Callers get a similar experience no matter where employees may be working, office or home.

When you have people working from home, those old landline systems are inefficient. This has led to a large movement by businesses to VoIP. Both for necessity and cost-savings.

According to Microsoft, 82% of organizations have reported saving money after implementing VoIP.

While VoIP is the way to go for the future, this doesn’t mean it’s foolproof. Companies that don’t set up their system efficiently, can experience issues. This includes things like dropped calls, low bandwidth, and features left unused.

If you’ve been struggling to make your cloud phone system more efficient, check out these tips below. They provide setup best practices for VoIP. Use these to positively impact your bottom line.  

 

1. Check Network Capabilities

You can’t just assume that you can enable a VoIP system, and all will be well. Your network may not be able to handle the extra bandwidth needs without adjustments.

Things you want to look at include jitter and packet loss. Additionally, review router settings to make sure it can handle peak traffic times. Experiencing dropped calls or choppy audio shows a need to address issues. These may include adjusting network hardware and/or increasing your ISP bandwidth.

 

2. Prioritize Your VoIP Software Using QoS Rules

Quality of Service (QoS) is a router settings area that allows you to say which traffic is most important. If QoS is not in place, it means resource issues. A large cloud backup could kick in and interrupt your calls because it’s taking up bandwidth.

QoS sets up “traffic lanes” that give priority to certain functions. You’ll want to have your VoIP software prioritized to get the bandwidth it needs. This avoids issues with less critical processes hogging up internet resources.

Using QoS keeps your calls smooth and improves the reliability of your cloud phone system. It’s also a good idea to use these rules for other important cloud activities.

 

3. Provide Quality Headsets for Your Team

A cheap headset can ruin the call experience for a potential customer. If someone calls in and can’t hear anything or gets choppy reception, they’ll quickly get frustrated. They will most likely figure that your company doesn’t have its act together.

Head off potential problems by issuing quality headsets for your team to use. Reach out to Databranch today at [email protected] if you need help finding a quality headset and verifying its compatibility with your phone models.

 

4. Set Up Departments & Ring Groups

One of the great features of VoIP phone systems is the ability to set up ring groups. You first set up your department groups (accounting, marketing, etc.). Then set the included employee extensions.

Creating a ring group allows you to have a call go to your customer support department as a whole. This is better than one person, who may be busy. That way, the whole group gets the ring, and the first available person can pick up.

Ring groups improve the caller experience by reducing the wait time. It can also mitigate the need for the caller to leave a voicemail and get stuck waiting on a callback.

 

5. Create Your Company Directory 

Auto assistants are extremely helpful and nearly all VoIP systems have them. First, you set up your company directory and then record messages to prompt the caller.

For example, you can set up a message that prompts them to input the last name of the person they are trying to reach. If they aren’t calling a specific person, they can be routed to a department.

While setting up a company directory takes a little effort upfront, it will save much more. You no longer will need to have someone specifically routing every call. Callers can also get to the person or department they need faster. This improves the customer experience and boosts office productivity.

When implementing a Hosted VoIP system with Databranch, our highly qualified engineers will create your directory and ring groups in the format you desire to give your business the most efficient calls possible.

 

6. Have Employees Set Up Their Voicemail & VM to Email

When you get out of a long meeting, going through a bunch of voicemails can take time. Instead of having to listen to each one to see which calls are a priority, you could simply read through them.

The voicemail to email feature in VoIP phone systems will automatically transcribe voicemails. They are then emailed to the recipient. This improves efficiency and eliminates wasted time having to listen to entire messages to know who called.

Have employees set up this feature with their extension and email address. Some VoIP systems also offer an option to have transcribed voicemails sent via SMS!

 

7. Train Your Team on the Call Handling Process

Don’t leave your employees to jump in and learn a VoIP system themselves. It’s important to train them on the features and the company calling process. This ensures that your team can enjoy all those time-saving features.

 

Get Help Enhancing Your Business Phone System

Need help improving your business phone system? Looking for a better customer experience? Reach out to Databranch today at 716-373-4467 x115 or [email protected] to schedule a consultation. We can help!

Our Rock-It VoIP Platform offers flexibility and scalability to accommodate for fluctuations and growth in your business, and we can service locations nationwide. We also port your numbers so they stay the same and handle any upgrades, maintenance, and programming! Learn more about Rock-It VoIP here.

 

 

Article used with permission from The Technology Press.

Cybersecurity insurance is still a pretty new concept for many SMBs. It was initially introduced in the 1990s to provide coverage for large enterprises. It covered things like data processing errors and online media.

Since that time, the policies for this type of liability coverage have changed. Today’s cyber insurance policies cover the typical costs of a data breach. Including remediating a malware infection or compromised account.

Cybersecurity insurance policies will cover the costs for things like:

  • Recovering compromised data
  • Repairing computer systems
  • Notifying customers about a data breach
  • Providing personal identity monitoring
  • IT forensics to investigate the breach
  • Legal expenses
  • Ransomware payments

Data breach volume and costs continue to rise. 2021 set a record for the most recorded data breaches on record. And in the first quarter of 2022, breaches were up 14% over the prior year.

No one is safe. Even small businesses find they are targets. They often have more to lose than larger enterprises as well. About 60% of small businesses close down within 6 months of a cyber incident.

The increase in online danger and rising costs of a breach have led to changes in this type of insurance. The cybersecurity insurance industry is ever evolving and businesses need to keep up with these trends to ensure they can stay protected.

Here are some of the cyber liability insurance trends you need to know about.

 

Demand is Going Up

The average cost of a data breach is currently $4.35 million (global average). In the U.S., it’s more than double that, at $9.44 million. As these costs continue to balloon, so does the demand for cybersecurity insurance.

Companies of all types are realizing that cyber insurance is critical. It’s as important as their business liability insurance. Without that protection, they can easily go under in the case of a single data breach.

With demand increasing, look for more availability of cybersecurity insurance. This also means more policy options, which is good for those seeking coverage.

 

Premiums are Increasing

With the increase in cyberattacks has come an increase in insurance payouts. Insurance companies are increasing premiums to keep up. In 2021, cyber insurance premiums rose by a staggering 74%. 

The costs from lawsuits, ransomware payouts, and other remediation have driven this increase. Insurance carriers aren’t willing to lose money on cybersecurity policies. Thus, those policies are getting more expensive. This is at the same time as they are more necessary.

 

Certain Coverages are Being Dropped

Certain types of coverage are getting more difficult to find. For example, some insurance carriers are dropping coverage for “nation-state” attacks. These are attacks that come from a government. Many governments have ties to known hacking groups. So, a ransomware attack that hits consumers and businesses can very well be in this category.

In 2021, 21% of nation-state attacks targeted consumers, and 79% targeted enterprises. So, if you see that an insurance policy excludes these types of attacks, be very wary.

Another type of attack payout that is being dropped from some policies is ransomware. Between Q1 and Q2 of 2022, ransomware attacks increased by 24%.

Insurance carriers are tired of unsecured clients relying on them to pay the ransom, so many are excluding ransomware payouts from policies. This puts a bigger burden on organizations. They need to ensure their backup and recovery strategy is well planned.

If a cybersecurity incident occurs, does your business have a recovery plan? If not, reach out to Databranch today to get started.

 

It’s Harder to Qualify

Just because you want cybersecurity insurance, doesn’t mean you’ll qualify for it. Qualifications are becoming stiffer. Insurance carriers aren’t willing to take chances. Especially on companies with poor cyber hygiene.

Some of the factors that insurance carriers look at include:

  • Network security
  • Use of things like multi-factor authentication
  • BYOD and device security policies
  • Advanced threat protection
  • Automated security processes
  • Backup and recovery strategy
  • Administrative access to systems
  • Anti-phishing tactics
  • Employee security training

You’ll often need to fill out a lengthy questionnaire when applying for insurance. This includes several questions about your cybersecurity situation. It’s a good idea to have your IT provider help you with this.

This can seem like a lot of work that you have to do to qualify for cyber insurance. As you review the questions, your IT partner can identify security enhancements. Just like other forms of insurance, if you take steps to reduce risk, it can often reduce your premiums.

So, it pays to do a cybersecurity review before applying for cyber insurance. You can save yourself time and money. It can also fortify your defenses against cyberattacks.

 

Need Help Making Sense of Cybersecurity Policies?

Cybersecurity coverage and insurance applications can be complex. If you answer wrong on a question, it can mean paying hundreds more in premiums than you should. If you’re considering cybersecurity insurance, don’t go it alone. Contact us today at 716-373-4467 x 115 or [email protected], we can explain the policy details and provide guidance.

 

 

Article used with permission from The Technology Press.

The Importance of Training

 

We all learn differently.  While some individuals can read instructions one time and know what to do, there are others who benefit from being taught visually or by ‘doing’.  Regardless of how you learn, having a single approach for everyone isn’t ideal.

 

The one thing we do know about learning, or training, is that when it comes to cybersecurity, repetition is important.  That doesn’t mean taking the same course every quarter, or re-reading the manual once a year.  Smart and safe cyber practices are critical to your business’s success and human error is the number one reason that breaches occur.  You and your colleagues are your company’s greatest risk, but also your greatest asset. 

 

Our Approach

 

We offer ongoing and interactive training.  Why? Because to stay secure, you need keep up with cybercriminals and their ever-changing tactics. This isn’t a one-and-done approach. Cyber-crimes are always adapting to the way we live and work, so we need to adapt to mitigate the risks.  These nefarious characters want to catch you off guard.  Which means that as soon as a new device is released, a pop culture story becomes news, or a pandemic hits the world, they are ready to dupe you.  That might mean they’ll come after your money, your identification, or hit you with a slow burn that gets them into your business, and you don’t realize it until months later…but they are there lurking and waiting for their next score.  

 

Everyday Habits

 

Our approach mixes video training, with integrated tools that teach on the job.  This will help to address not only the variety of ways that people learn, but also the variety of ways that you can be targeted!  If you are a current client and want to ensure that you’re maximizing the tools and resources that we offer, or you’re new here and interested in learning more about how you can work with our team to protect your business, let’s talk today!

 

The Cybersecurity Training Courses for 2023 are available now! Contact Databranch today at 716-373-4467 x115 or [email protected] for more information on these courses and how you can enroll in a security awareness training program.

The new year has just begun and it’s a time of renewal as we plan for the possibilities to come in 2023. It’s also a time when you need to plan for resiliency in the face of ever-present cyberattacks.

Sixty-eight percent of surveyed business leaders feel that cybersecurity risks are getting worse, and they have a good reason. Attacks continue to get more sophisticated. They are also often perpetrated by large criminal organizations. These criminal groups treat these attacks like a business. 

In 2021, the average number of global cyberattacks increased by 15.1%.

To protect your business in the coming year, it’s important to watch the attack trends. What new methods are hackers using? What types of attacks are increasing in volume? Knowing these things is important. It helps you better update your IT security to mitigate the risk of a data breach or malware infection.

We’ve pulled out the security crystal ball for the upcoming year and we’ve researched what cybersecurity experts are expecting. Here are the attack trends that you need to watch out for.

 

Attacks on 5G Devices

The world has been buzzing about 5G for a few years. It is finally beginning to fulfill the promise of lightning-fast internet. As providers build out the infrastructure, you can expect this to be a high-attack area.

Hackers are looking to take advantage of the 5G hardware used for routers, mobile devices, and PCs. Anytime you have a new technology like this, it’s bound to have some code vulnerabilities. This is exactly what hackers are looking to exploit.

You can prepare by being aware of the firmware security in the devices you buy. This is especially true for those enabled for 5G. Some manufacturers will build better firmware security into their designs than others. Make sure to ask about this when purchasing new devices.

 

One-Time Password (OTP) Bypass

This alarming new trend is designed to get past one of the best forms of account security. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is well-known as very effective at preventing fraudulent sign-in attempts. It can stop account takeovers even in cases where the criminal has the user’s password.

There are a few different ways that hackers try to bypass MFA. These include:

  • Reusing a token: Gaining access to a recent user OTP and trying to reuse it
  • Sharing unused tokens: The hacker uses their own account to get an OTP. Then attempts to use that OTP on a different account.
  • Leaked token: Using an OTP token leaked through a web application.
  • Password reset function: A hacker uses phishing to fool the user into resetting a password. They then trick them into handing over their OTP via text or email.

Interested in learning more about Multi-Factor Authentication and how it can enhance your businesses cybersecurity? Read more about it here.

 

Attacks Surrounding World Events

During the pandemic, the cyberattack volume increased by approximately 600%. Large criminal hacking groups have realized that world events and disasters are lucrative.

They launch phishing campaigns for world events. Attacks come for everything from the latest hurricane or typhoon to the war in Ukraine. Unsuspecting people often fall for these scams. This is because they are often distracted by the crisis.

People need to be especially mindful of scams surrounding events like these. They will often use social engineering tactics, such as sad photos, to play on the emotions.

 

Smishing & Mobile Device Attacks

Mobile devices go with us just about everywhere these days. This direct connection to a potential victim is not lost on cybercriminals. Be on the lookout for more mobile device-based attacks, including SMS-based phishing (“smishing”).

Many people aren’t expecting to receive fake messages to their personal numbers. But cell numbers are no longer as private as they once were. Hackers can buy lists of them online. They then craft convincing fake texts that look like shipping notices or receipts. One wrong click is all it takes for an account or data breach.

Mobile malware is also on the rise. During the first few months of 2022, malware targeted to mobile devices rose by 500%. It’s important to ensure that you have good mobile anti-malware. As well as other protections on your devices, such as a DNS filter.

 

Elevated Phishing Using AI & Machine Learning

These days, phishing emails are not so easy to spot. It used to be that they nearly always had spelling errors or grainy images. While some still do, most don’t.

Criminal groups elevate today’s phishing using AI and machine learning. Not only will it look identical to a real brand’s emails, but it will also come personalized. Hackers use these tactics to capture more victims. They also allow hackers to send out more targeted phishing messages in less time than in years past.

 

Schedule a Cybersecurity Check-Up Today

Is your business prepared for the cyber threats coming in 2022? Don’t wait to find out the hard way! Contact us today at 716-373-4467 x 115 or [email protected] to schedule a cybersecurity check-up to stay one step ahead of the digital criminals.

 

Article used with permission from The Technology Press.

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