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IMAGE SOURCE: https://pixabay.com/photos/cyber-security-internet-network-4610993/

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) like Databranch. They address network vulnerabilities to prevent cyber criminals 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 cyber attacks. 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 on boarding, off boarding, 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 cyber attacks. 

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. 

(Databranch is a proud Datto Diamond Partner and can help your organization implement a true business continuity/data protection solution for your organization.)

PRACTICE #5 – INCORPORATE LOG MONITORING

IMAGE SOURCE: https://pixabay.com/photos/startup-business-people-students-849804/

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 cyber criminals 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. 

To learn more about Databranch’s Breach Prevention Platform which includes monthly simulated phishing attempts and continuous end-user security awareness training, click here or email: info@databranch.com

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 preempt cyber attacks.

CYBERSECURITY IS PARAMOUNT

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

To ensure cyber criminals 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 cyber criminals. You need to resolve the issue as soon as possible. 

Databranch can help you do so. Reach out to us for a quick 15-minute chat at 716-373-4467 x 15 and our tech experts will do their best to show you a way out of your cybersecurity dead end.

Article used with permission from The Technology Press.

Dear Valued Client,

Clients trust Databranch as their partner in providing proactive guidance to Risk Management, Security, and Compliance, and the same holds true as the COVID-19 situation continues to impact most aspects of our lives.

We understand that our services are an important priority for your business. That said, Databranch has taken additional measures so that we can continue to provide the same high level of quality and responsive services.

Our measures include: 

  • Maintaining continuous communication with health and government organizations to ensure that we are operating in a responsible manner to ensure the health and well-being of our staff, their families, and our clients; 
  • Continuing to leverage remote technologies, standard operating procedures, and proven processes that have been in practice at Databranch, Inc. for years; 
  • Working with clients to address and overcome new challenges that have arisen as a result of COVID-19. 

 

Thank you for trusting in us and you have our promise that we will continue providing our exceptional level of service while working to ensure the health and safety of everyone.

If you require assistance in ensuring the availability of your most critical assets as this situation evolves, we can develop, review, or mature your existing business continuity plan. Please reach out to your dedicated Databranch Account Team Member, call 716-373-4467 x 15, or email info@databranch.com

 

Sincerely,

David Prince

President

Databranch, Inc.

Olean Phone: 716-373-4467

Elmira Phone: 607-733-8550

  1. 716.373.5518

www.databranch.com   

Our May Newsletter featured clients are Mark Powers, President, and Judy Benjamin, Controller, from Penn-Troy Manufacturing. Their business is located in Troy, PA with a focus on manufacturing valves for waste water treatment and large commercial engines and compressors. We have had the opportunity to partner with them for their IT needs since early 2014 and are excited to celebrate their five year anniversary as a Databranch Comprehensive Care Client this summer!

We were first introduced to the Penn-Troy team when they reached out to us after they were referred to us by another Databranch Featured Client of the Month, Dura-Bilt. Shortly after our initial meetings we began working together and Mark remembers, “I was most impressed when you guys brought in our list of unknown unknowns – things that had real potential to go wrong and we didn’t even know it. I was impressed with how comprehensive the analysis was.”

There is significant distance between the locations of both our offices, but this has never hindered the relationship or level of support. According to the Penn-Troy team, “It’s never been an issue. You guys get here and take care of all of our problems. The remote login sessions your team uses are also very easy to use as well for quick support.”

The biggest benefit they’ve seen to their company since becoming a Comprehensive Care client five years ago, “Peace of Mind. We know that if something fails everything’s backed up, we can call your team, and we get fast response so things are taken care of very quickly.” The main reason Judy likes working with Databranch, “It’s the response to issues and problems from Karyn (Databranch Service Coordinator). If I call and tell her, we have a major issue she gets right on it. It’s amazing how she can prioritize things.” Mark added, “Your team is very proactive. We have our Quarterly Business Reviews and you definitely bring things to our attention before problems happen. Also, everyone is very nice and easy to work with.”

Databranch President, David Prince, describes our relationship as a wonderful partnership and said, “There is real, honest, open communication between our two teams which allows us to work together effectively. Penn-Troy Manufacturing is one of our favorite clients to work with year after year and it is a pleasure to serve a company that values the role technology plays in their daily business operations.”

Final words from Mark and Judy, “It’s like having your IT person here, but not here with access to a full staff instead of just one guy. You fill the role of IT for a smaller company like us very well.”

Our July Client of the Month is Jackie Gregg, Controller at Control Chief, a manufacturer of industrial crane remote control and locomotive remote control solutions. We have had the pleasure of working with Jackie since the early days of Databranch and have enjoyed partnering with Control Chief for their IT needs since 2009. Our mission is to help our clients succeed through effective planning, implementation and management of their technology and as Jackie says in the video below, “What do I have? I have peace of mind. I can go on vacation for a week and know that my servers are going to run and my people are going to keep working. If there’s a problem all I have to do is pick up the phone and I’m going to have someone here onsite with the problem fixed and that’s well worth the price we pay you every month. Would I recommend Databranch? Highly.” 

 

 

 
 

Sitting Duck

Small businesses are under attack. Right now, extremely dangerous and well-funded cybercrime rings in China, Russia and the Ukraine are using sophisticated software systems to hack into thousands of small businesses to steal credit cards, client information, and swindle money directly out of your bank account. Some are even being funded by their own government to attack small, virtually defenseless businesses. 

Don’t think you’re in danger because you’re “small” and not a big target like a Target or Home Depot? Think again. 82,000 NEW malware threats are being released every single day and HALF of the cyber-attacks occurring are aimed at small businesses; you just don’t hear about it because it’s kept quiet for fear of attracting bad PR, lawsuits, data-breach fines and out of sheer embarrassment.

In fact, the National Cyber Security Alliance reports that one in five small businesses have been victims of cybercrime in the last year – and that number is growing rapidly as more businesses utilized cloud computing, mobile devices and store more information online. Quite simply, most small businesses are low-hanging fruit to hackers due to their lack of adequate security systems.

As a local IT support company, we work day and night to protect our clients from these attacks – and unfortunately we see, on a regular basis, hardworking entrepreneurs being financially devastated by these lawless scumbags – We are determined to WARN as many businesses as possible of the VERY REAL threats facing their organization so they have a chance to protect themselves and everything they’ve worked so hard to achieve.

Free Report Reveals The Critical Protections Small Businesses Need Today

We want to do everything that we can to stop cybercrime, so we have put together a FREE Executive Report titled “7 Urgent Security Protections Every Business Should Have In Place Now” that we have made available at no charge here on our website at www.databranch.com/sittingduck.

Download your free Report today at www.databranch.com/sittingduck or by calling our office at 716-373-4467 ext. 15.

During this time of year the threat of fire, flood, severe storms, water damage from office sprinklers, and even theft is very real.

One of the most valuable assets for any company is its data. Hardware and software can easily be replaced, but a company’s data cannot! 

As a reminder to all of our clients and friends, here are some simple things you should do to make sure your company is ready for any natural disaster.

  1. Back Up Your Data Remotely! Everyone knows that data should be backed up on a daily basis, but many people still use in-house backup systems that will get damaged in a natural disaster or fire, and can easily be stolen. We recommend backing up all data to an off-site location, and we offer this as a service to our clients.
  2. Use a Quality Surge Protector With Uninterruptible Power Supply Battery. A high quality surge protector combined with an uninterruptible power supply battery backup will go a long way in protecting sensitive electronic equipment from surges and other electronic irregularities that can destroy your computer’s circuitry.
  3. Make Sure Your Servers Are Off The Floor Or In The Cloud. If your office gets flooded, having your equipment off the floor will prevent it from being completely destroyed. Server racks can be purchased and installed very inexpensively.  Or consider moving your critical server equipment to the cloud and be protected no matter the weather!
  4. Have A Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plan. Every business should have some type of plan in place for continued operation after a disaster. Would people know where to go? Who to call? How to log in and access data remotely? Hopefully you’ll never need it, but having a simple plan will make you sleep a lot easier at night knowing you have a way to continue to operate when disaster strikes.

FREE Report: The 10 Disaster Planning Essentials For Any Small Business

Don’t lose everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve in an instant! This report will reveal important planning strategies you should have in place now to protect yourself from common data-erasing disasters including natural hazards, human error, cyber criminals, hardware failure, software corruption and other IT failures.

Download this FREE REPORT today at www.databranch.com/10essentials

When it comes to avoiding downtime, Databranch, Inc. is among the best of the best. The IT consulting/outsourcing provider and Datto partner has been operating out of western New York for over 30 years, delivering managed services, networking and security.

David Prince, President of Databranch, is a big fan of the Datto business continuity solution. “We’ve been doing this for a long time, so we have a good idea of what does and doesn’t work. Tape backup has proven to be unreliable and can add days to the recovery process. For years, I was on a quest to find something better, and Datto has been that and more ever since we’ve partnered with them,” according to Prince.

He cites the ability to extend support to clients remotely as one of the biggest features that help his business thrive. According to Prince, Datto has helped grow his business, and differentiate Databranch from other MSPs.

“Datto has been a lifesaver for us ever since we adopted the solution. It’s given me peace of mind knowing we can recover in any situation. Since we cover such a large geographical region, being able to get a client back up and running remotely has saved valuable time and money for our clients; especially when dealing with inclement weather or urgent issues,” said Prince. 

Working in such a large and diverse region, Databranch serves a wide variety of industries, including manufacturing. One of those clients is Clarion Sintered Metals, a powdered-metal manufacturer located in Pennsylvania. Clarion runs a 24/7/365 operation, so downtime is never an option.

When Clarion’s servers crashed, Databranch was there to save the day and keep operations running as normal. Thanks to a proactive MSP and their Datto solution, Clarion didn’t suffer any downtime.

To learn how Databranch and Datto protected Clarion, download the full success story here.

To receive more information about how Databranch and Datto can help your organization fill out the form below to be contacted by a Databranch business continuity expert!

 




 
Take this quiz to find out!
 

How can you tell if you are receiving poor or substandard service? 

 
How do you know if your computer guy is doing everything possible to secure your network from downtime, cyber-criminals, data loss, or other frustrating and expensive disasters? 
 
Could your current computer guy actually be jeopardizing your network?

 
If your computer support company does not score a “YES” on every point, you could be paying for substandard support. 
 
  • Do they respond to emergencies in 30 minutes or less?
  • Are they easy to reach when you need them for non-emergencies?
  • Do they offer ongoing maintenance to keep your systems running smooth?
  • Do they proactively offer new ways to improve your network’s performance?
  • Do they provide detailed invoices that clearly explain what you are paying for?
  • Do they complete projects on time and on budget?
  • Do they follow up on your support requests quickly?
  • Do they offer a guarantee on their services?
  • Do they arrive on time and dress professionally?
  • Do they have other technicians on staff who are familiar with your network in case your regular technician goes on vacation or gets sick?
  • Do their technicians maintain current vendor certifications and participate in ongoing training?
  • Are you confident they aren’t learning on your time?
  • Do they give you their full attention rather than seeming constantly rushed?
  • Are they adamant about backing up your network and having a disaster recovery plan in place?
  • Do they offer to meet with you regularly to review your business plans, your network status and their own performance in supporting your company?
  • Do they provide frequent updates, status reports and follow-up calls and e-mails so you don’t have to manage their progress on projects?
  • Do they offer flat-rate or fixed-fee project quotes, rather than giving themselves a wide-open playing field with “time and materials”?

 

Unless you’ve been living in a tomb, you know you should be backing up your computers and server. But here’s something you probably DON’T know that will come back and “bite” you: simply having a backup of your data is NOT ENOUGH to guarantee you could be back up and running fast in the event of a disaster.

Having a data backup merely means that you have a copy of your company’s data stored somewhere; it does NOT mean you have a way to instantly restore your network back to normal – a shocking dose of truth most business owners discover after they’ve experienced a major network crash or data-erasing disaster.

For example, if your network dies because of a hardware failure, your entire company is down, period. No e-mail, no printing, no accessing your database, customer records, and more. Until whatever caused the problem can be fixed (which might involve ordering replacement parts), your business is deader than a doornail.

 

So You Reach For Your Backup Only To Discover…

Your information is there, but without a server, you have nowhere to load that information, and no way to access it. On top of that, a backup only holds your data, not your operating system, settings, or software applications. So even if you can load the data, you can’t actually use it without re-loading all the software applications—no small feat. Even IF you have all the software disks and key codes (most people don’t), it could still take days — possibly weeks— to rebuild, and the costs can run into the thousands.

 

That’s Not The Half Of It

The three most common causes of server downtime are hardware failure, software corruption and human error. But nearly 20% of businesses suffer damaging downtime from fire, flood, theft, or other natural disasters, and 44% of them never recover—and that’s mostly because they didn’t have a disaster recovery plan in place.

A disaster recovery plan covers more than just backup. It maps out how to get your business restored and running again in every possible scenario.

For example, if another company in your office building has a fire, the police may quarantine your building preventing you from even entering your office. Or if a major storm knocks out power, Internet or the phone lines, you need a plan “B” for servicing customers, taking orders and keeping things rolling.

 

3 Crucial Components To A Disaster Recovery Plan

  1. Have One! As the old adage goes, “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” When it comes to disaster recovery, nothing could be more accurate. If something happens to your office, will your employees be able to work from home? Do you have an alternate plan for your phones? Where would you temporarily set up shop? How quickly could you get technology equipment you need to function like computers, scanners, or printers? How will you access the Internet? Make a point to document the answers to these questions.
  2. Onsite Server “Virtualization.” In a downtime situation, virtualization is basically a business owner’s lifeline to his business. Once only available to big businesses with deep pockets, this now affordable technology can literally get you back up and running just as you were before the disaster… in as little as 24 hours. If the disaster doesn’t take out your whole office, virtualization can have you back in business the same day.  Here’s how it works. A second server makes exact copies of everything on your server—operating system, software applications and data—every 15-60 minutes. This server replica, also known as an “image,” can take over if your main server fails or gets corrupted. No need to re-load software, reconfigure your network, or re-load your data. In as little as 30 minutes, everyone in your company can get back to work, just as they were before the downtime. Compare this to the days or WEEKS it could take without virtualization; the productivity and money savings is staggering. Side Note: If you are still using old tape backups, you NEED to throw them away and virtualize your server with an offsite backup!
  3. Offsite Image of Your Server. Fire, flood, theft, natural disasters, or even faulty office sprinkler systems can physically damage your office equipment, including your server and your backup system.

 

Head this off by having an exact copy (an image) of your server’s operating system, settings, programs, and data sent daily to an offsite location. Also, make sure this image can be quickly loaded on to a server and shipped to you. With this in your plan, a tornado could rip open your office and destroy everything, yet you could be back up and running within a few days.

 

     Want To Make SURE Your Business Can “Stay Open” 
After A Disaster? FREE Disaster Recovery Assessment Shows You How

 Because it’s Halloween, we’re giving away a FREE disaster recovery assessment to any of our clients who want to upgrade to our new DataGuard Intelligent Business Continuity Solution. This service will make sure:

  • Your files are automatically backed up multiple times per day right over the Internet. No more rotating and storing tapes or running the risk of tape failures!
  • Your data is safe from fire, floods, storms, viruses, hackers, hardware malfunctions, and human error!
  • You can back up ALL of your data and not be limited to the size of your tape drive.
  • Should a disaster occur, you can be back up and running the very next day…we GUARANTEE it.

We normally charge $500 for a Disaster Recovery Assessment but it’s yours FREE if you schedule an appointment before Halloween, October 31st! To get started, call us at 716-373-4467 or send us an e-mail to alasky@databranch.com

Happy Halloween!

When was the last time you seriously thought about your business’s disaster recovery plan? If you’re like most small businesses you’ve thought about it briefly and then put it aside as something that is not pressing and can be dealt with another day, when your to-do list is shorter or you have more time. According to a Forrester Research Study 24% of companies polled had experienced a full data disaster and with less than 40% of all small to medium-sized businesses properly and regularly backing up their data, many are unable to recover. Now is the time to put in place a backup and disaster recovery planbefore your company experiences an unexpected disaster and becomes one of the 70% of businessesthat goes out of business within two years of suffering a serious data loss.

One of the biggest mistakes a company can make is believing that a disaster will never happen to them. For many people the word disaster is associated with big weather events like hurricanes or earthquakes and the ensuing damage from flooding and fires but disasters are day-to-day occurrences. When it comes to technology many of us have done something that could endanger our data to the point of no return, whether it’s accidently downloading a virus from an untrusted email attachment or deleting something by mistake, and it’s important to plan for the human error we all are susceptible to. Your data is the backbone of your company and keeping it safe from all potential negative forces is key.

At Databranch, we promote implementing an intelligent business continuity solution and our preferred solution is Datto. Having an intelligent business continuity solution not only ensures the backup of your data but provides a speedy recovery leaving your business with very little downtime. You may be thinking, “It’s OK, we’re a small business, not a multi-million dollar company, we can afford to be down for a few days” but according to the National Archives and Records Administration, 93% of companies that lost their data center for 10 days or more file for bankruptcy within the year. It’s time to consider the actual cost of downtime for your company including how much it would cost to pay employees that aren’t able to work and what it would cost to lose a customer because you couldn’t provide service to them in a timely manner. (If you would like to see your recovery time and downtime costs try this calculator (http://www.databranch.com/managed-services/data-disaster-recovery/rto-calculator).

We know it can be hard to change from something that has been working for you and that you are familiar with, but the reality is traditional backup solutions like tape and disk are no longer sufficient. With traditional solutions it can take weeks to recover your data, there is high risk for human error in creating the backup, it’s difficult to test if your backup is working properly, and when recovering data, tape failure rates exceed 50%. This does not mean we are suggesting you eliminate local storage and put all of your data in the cloud. Instead, we recommend a hybrid cloud solution to all of our customers through Datto.

Having a hybrid cloud solution gives your business the best of both worlds. You can perform easy local restores from your on-site Datto device but also have the reassurance that if something happens to your local device your data is safely located off-site in the cloud, in two separate bi-coastal data centers. This means that once set-up you will have three distinct copies of each file automatically backed up, eliminating the possibility for human error. At Databranch, we can monitor your backups, verify a successful completion, and take action if a backup doesn’t complete successfully. You no longer have to worry if your data is being backed up correctly and can have the peace of mind that if a disaster strikes, you won’t find out that an important file has been corrupted or backups haven’t taken place for months; both problems that often occur with traditional backup. By implementing a Datto business continuity solution your downtime is drastically reduced and with the virtualization capabilities of the SIRIS device, you can turn your device into a virtual server, keeping your business running while potential problems like server failure are being addressed.

In today’s day and age it’s essentially impossible to be without access to your business data. Technology is critical to everyday business practices and having a backup and recovery system you can count on is imperative. The time to develop an intelligent backup continuity system is now, not next week, not when your schedule calms down, but today. As Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

Databranch can help provide a solution for your company’s business continuity and disaster recovery needs. If you would like to learn more, please call us today to speak with an Account Manager, or visitwww.databranch.com/Data-Disaster-Recovery

 
 
 
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