Cybersecurity in the White Space

Cybersecurity White Space

A recent online post pointed out that the white space in the FedEx logo, between the “E” and “x”, creates an arrow. 

FedEx Logo

Once you see the arrow, you cannot miss it. You will see it every time you look at the logo.

The subtle, almost subliminal, arrow symbolizes a sense of forward motion and subconsciously reinforces the FedEx brand message of on-time delivery.

The power of the logo is not just the name, it is in the symbolism. The same is true for your cybersecurity.

The power of your cybersecurity is not just in the overt actions, success is in the white space.

Focus

Our cybersecurity efforts often focus on the concrete measures we can take to protect ourselves and prevent attacks. We deploy hardware, install software, and configure settings to both passively and actively protect our systems, data, and people. These actions are tangible and visible. 

Cybersecurity White Space

Equally important, if not more so, are the less visible cybersecurity efforts– your cybersecurity white space. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is cybersecurity awareness a deliberate part of your culture?
    • Do you educate your team on their role in cybersecurity?
    • Do employees and contractors understand which behaviors help security and which can harm it?
    • Does your team understand how to recognize, report, and respond to security risks and attacks?
  • Do you have policies and procedures in place that set expectations for maintaining appropriate cybersecurity?
    • Do these policies and procedures include guidance and limits on human behaviors and actions that can pose or elevate risks?
    • Do you have consequences for negligent or deliberate non-compliance?
  • Do you understand the risks should a cyber attacker gain access to your systems?
    • Do you understand the protections you need in place to limit attacker access to identities and sensitive information?
    • Can you isolate attacks and prevent them from spreading across your environment?
  • Do you have plans in place to not only restore damaged or lost data, but to recover your business from a successful cyber attack?
    • Do you have cyber insurance?
    • Do you have clear action plans for how your business will respond to a successful cyber attack?
    • Will you be able to run your business while you recover your systems and data (and/or while computers are held as evidence)?
    • Do you have plans and resources in place to:
      • Comply with state and regulatory reporting requirements?
      • Communicate effectively with customers, vendors, and partners?
      • Manage your legal and financial liability?

Model for Success

Successful cybersecurity includes the visible and the white space. Our Security CPR model and managed security services include all three best-practice pillars:

  • Communication and education
    • Security awareness focused on human behaviors, risk recognition, and responding to suspicious acts.
    • Policies and procedures that guide and protect your business in line with compliance requirements.
  • Prevention and protection
    • Expertise, tools, and services to prevent cyberattacks and protect your business, data, and team.
    • Compliance assessment and management services to benchmark and certify to appropriate industry and regulatory standards.
  • Recovery and response
    • Business continuity services to keep your business running during forensic investigations and data/system recovery and restoration efforts.
    • Data restoration and disaster recovery plans and resources to return your business to normal operations as quickly and effectively as possible.
    • Cyber insurance brokerage partnerships to ensure your business is properly covered within your budget.

Call to Action

If you have not done so recently, now is a great time to step back and assess your IT services and solutions. Our Cloud Advisors are ready to help and assist with any questions or concerns. Start with a complimentary Rapid Security Assessment, contact us, or schedule time with one of our Cloud Advisors

About the Author

Allen Falcon is the co-founder and CEO of Cumulus Global.  Allen co-founded Cumulus Global in 2006 to offer small businesses enterprise-grade email security and compliance using emerging cloud solutions. He has led the company’s growth into a managed cloud service provider with over 1,000 customers throughout North America. Starting his first business at age 12, Allen is a serial entrepreneur. He has launched strategic IT consulting, software, and service companies. An advocate for small and midsize businesses, Allen served on the board of the former Smaller Business Association of New England, local economic development committees, and industry advisory boards.

Improve Your IT Atmosphere

AtmosphereFor those of us who have played video games over the years, even though we are not hard-core gamers, the experience has changed. The technology has certainly advanced over time. More importantly, the user experience – the IT atmosphere – has improved.

Back in the day, video game sound provided basic contextual clues to guide your gameplay. Listen to a few seconds of the Atari Combat game soundtrack from 1977. With only 8 bits to work with, and speakers that could only play one note at a time, the beeps and buzzes react to player actions and provide a basic context for the game. 

Now listen to a minute of the Gusty Garden Galaxy Theme from Super Mario Galaxy from 2007. Even without seeing the game in action, you can hear and feel the motion of the game. The more than 80-piece orchestra does more than reflect player actions, it creates an atmosphere and sets a mood.

IT Atmosphere

The same evolution is true for your IT services. Historically, your IT services were there to help you complete tasks – send messages, write documents, and create spreadsheets. Today, your IT services should create a rich atmosphere that empowers your team and enables your business

From simple tools to feature-rich, integrated productivity suites, you and your team have access to features that save time and effort, foster collaboration, and save money.

And yet studies show that, on average, small businesses underutilize the tools they have. Studies show, for example, that small businesses only use 15% of their Microsoft 365 services. Oftentimes, lack of awareness (or education) results in adding other services and tools that duplicate existing features and capabilities.

Making Improvements

Creating an effective IT atmosphere involves more than having tools and services in place. An effective atmosphere is an environment that fosters communication, collaboration, and productivity for individuals and teams.

Know What You Have

Catalog the IT services and capabilities you have in place. Understand how your team is using the services and identify underutilized features and functions. Identify those that could be beneficial. 

Eliminate Duplicity

Remove duplicate and overlapping services from your environment. Ensure your team is using the same tools and resources. Create commonality and encourage sharing of best practices.

Educate, Train, and Support Your Team

Ensure your team is aware and understands how to take full advantage of the capabilities within their current workflows or as part of improved workflows. Guide team learning to align with their roles and responsibilities; keep it timely, relevant, and in digestible chunks. 

Manage Your Shadow IT

Shadow IT, the individual use of non-sanctioned tools, can trigger significant problems for your business. Beyond security and information privacy risks, shadow IT isolates information and people. Listen to why your team is using tools and work to ensure that those capabilities are within your ecosystem. Remove objections to using company systems while enforcing your policies.

Call to Action:

If you have not done so recently, now is a great time to step back and assess your IT services and solutions. Our Cloud Advisors are ready to help and assist with any questions or concerns. Contact us or schedule time with one of our Cloud Advisors

About the Author

Allen Falcon is the co-founder and CEO of Cumulus Global.  Allen co-founded Cumulus Global in 2006 to offer small businesses enterprise-grade email security and compliance using emerging cloud solutions. He has led the company’s growth into a managed cloud service provider with over 1,000 customers throughout North America. Starting his first business at age 12, Allen is a serial entrepreneur. He has launched strategic IT consulting, software, and service companies. An advocate for small and midsize businesses, Allen served on the board of the former Smaller Business Association of New England, local economic development committees, and industry advisory boards.

Best Practice – The Lowest Price May Not Save You Money

Small businesses face many challenges as they start up, grow, and thrive. Technology and IT services are one such challenge. While small businesses can find the technology and IT services they need, and want, IT costs often poses a barrier to entry. The range of competing solutions, evolving security requirements, the need for cyber insurance, and the lack of specialized advice combine to create additional complexity and stress.

Faced with budget constraints, and uncertain of the choices before them, small businesses often focus on price. More specifically, they look for the lowest-priced technology and services that they believe will meet their needs. Unfortunately, price-first decisions can lead to significantly greater costs over time.

What to Avoid

Free Services
  • Vendors market free services to consumers. These services usually lack features, security, and support necessary for effective business use. Using these features often violates industry or legal standards for protecting information. The result: you face increased risk and liabilities.
Consumer Tech
  • Manufacturers often price laptops and other consumer devices lower than their business model counterparts. And while feature differences may be minimal, business models typically offer longer warranties (1 year versus 30 to 90 days) and include certified repairs and warranty services. Often, these services include, or can be upgraded to include, on-site service on the next business day.
  • The impact is longer repair and service times, resulting in more business disruptions and downtime.
Good Enough
  • Many businesses choose less expensive solutions because they are “good enough.” These solutions may provide anywhere from 60% to 80% of what you need or want.
  • Although this may work in the beginning, businesses will often end up adding another low-cost solution when they need the additional features.
  • You end up with multiple tools with overlapping features and silos of data and information. The result is reduced efficiency and productivity.
Skimping on Security
  • Small businesses feel like a small target for cyber attacks. In reality, small businesses are easier targets because they are generally more vulnerable.
  • And while your business may not be a specific target, you are more likely to get caught by broad-based attacks, such as ransomware.
  • We have blogged quite a bit on the increasing security demands. Stepping back from security reduces costs, but will result in business disruption, financial and legal liability, and higher recovery costs.
  • Most small businesses fail within six months of a successful cyberattack.

Focus on Value

When making technology and IT service decisions, focus on value, not cost. Value includes consideration of factors such as efficiency, enablement, overhead, flexibility, and expandability.

Here are some other value considerations:

  • Understand the Demands on your Business. Regulatory requirements and industry standards will impose features and limitations on the technologies and services you choose. 
  • Evaluate Current and Future Needs. Avoid lower-cost solutions that will need future upgrades or replacements. These changes can cost more than the initial savings and can disrupt, or require, significant changes to workflows and business operations.
  • Consider Scalability. Many cloud services offer subscription options you can upgrade as your requirements evolve. While you should not avoid necessary security features, you can scale other capabilities to your current needs.
  • Focus on Best Fit. Assess how well the technologies and services you are considering will fit together. You lose the savings on lower-cost services if you need to manually move data or add third-party data sync tools.

Call to Action:

If you have not done so recently, now is a great time to step back and assess your IT services and solutions. Our Cloud Advisors are ready to help and assist with any questions or concerns. Contact us or schedule time with one of our Cloud Advisors

About the Author

hBill Seybolt bio pictureBill is a Senior Cloud Advisor responsible for helping small and midsize organizations with cloud forward solutions that meet their business needs, priorities, and budgets. Bill works with executives, leaders, and team members to understand workflows, identify strategic goals and tactical requirements, and design solutions and implementation phases. Having helped over 200 organizations successfully adopt cloud solutions, his expertise and working style ensure a comfortable experience effective change management.