Leadership Thoughts: Noteworthy Blog Posts – Jun ’24

As small business owners and leaders, you carry the responsibility for the direction and success of your business.  And while Cumulus Global provide managed cloud services that help you thrive and grow, we understand your responsibilities are broader than just IT. As a way to share some leadership thoughts, here is a curated list of blog posts from trusted experts that we hope will inform and inspire.

Human Factors

Legal and Compliance

Management

Marketing

Productivity

Strategy and Leadership

Wellness

  • 7 Tips for a Successful Workplace Wellness Program
    • In today’s fast-paced world of hybrid work, finding a balance between work and wellness is more important than ever. Prioritizing wellness at work is not only essential for individual health and happiness but fosters a positive and productive work environment with less absenteeism and lower healthcare costs.
    • Michell Grasso, Synergy Wellness Center

Our IT Ideas That Still Hold True

A few of our past IT leadership thoughts that remain true and relevant today.

  • Cyber Security Will Change Companies
    • IT change management is a structured process for evaluating proposed IT system or service changes. This procedure is carried out prior to implementing the requested change on an organization’s network, reducing or eliminating network outages.
    • Cumulus Global Blog, June 2022
  • What is a MCSP?
    • The need to monitor and maintain equipment and infrastructure drops off while your need to monitor and manage services, apps, and data increases.
    • Cumulus Global Blog, November 2017

Help us keep the ideas flowing. If you have any blog posts that are leadership thoughts you want to share, please let us know.

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. 

 

Pragmatic Security: Balancing Security Measures for Small Businesses

Security vs UsabilityWhile on vacation recently, I did something that I did not think has been possible since July 1970. I boarded a commercial airline flight without having to go through security. No ID check. No metal detectors. The gate agent scanned the barcode on my ticket and I walked on board. The experience was, at first, confusing as I went from curb to gate with no security checks. I asked the gate agent why there was no security check; the answer was pragmatic security.

Pragmatic Security in Action

Airport security intends to prevent hijackings. I was traveling in New Zealand, which you know is an island country.  The nearest country, Australia, is at least a 3½  hour flight by jet. My plane was a dual engine turboprop with about 70 seats with and a range of 930 miles. It is impossible for the plane to leave the country.

Hijacking a regional flight in New Zealand is pointless, as you cannot escape the country. The security risk is miniscule.

In New Zealand, flights on regional planes do not have (or need) security checks. To board a jet, however, you will board at a “jet gate” having passed through all of the common security and ID checks.

Pragmatic Security for Your Small Business

The concept of pragmatic security also applies to IT and cybersecurity. Not every business needs every security measure. We can, and should, scale our IT and cyber security to meet our needs and priorities.

That said, the baseline has changed. In New Zealand, the baseline security for flights is that the customer has a ticket.  For smaller businesses, the historical baseline has been “a secure firewall/router, antivirus software, and email filters for spam.”

As we have discussed in other Security Update Series blog posts, we face new security demands from customers, insurance providers, and regulators. As cybersecurity risks increase, so do the solutions we need to implement.

Pragmatically: How Much Security is Enough?

While the answer varies based on your business needs, risks, and priorities, our Security CPR model provides a solid baseline. We are also proponents of understanding risks. As we discussed in this blog post, focusing on the most prevalent risks and the most damaging risks is the best place to start.  Designing your security solutions from these two angles provides a solid baseline of protections. Additional measures can be added as needed to meet industry or regulatory requirements.

Call to Action:

If you have not done so already, a baseline security assessment is a good place to start. Our Rapid Security Assessment provides a quick review of core security services. And our Cloud Advisors are ready to 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 – Completing Security Surveys and Questionnaires

Data Protection & Security

In our recent Security Update Series blog post, New Security Demands & Requirements for Small and Midsize Businesses, we discussed three drivers for increased business security. We noted that expectations will often be expressed in security surveys and questionnaires you are asked to complete. Providing incorrect, incomplete, or misleading answers, whether intentional or not, can impact premiums and your available coverage.

To minimize the risks and potential pitfalls, here are five best practices to follow:

1 Know the Process

Before starting your response, have the broker or agent walk you through the process in detail. What role do the security surveys or questionnaires play in the underwriting process? While some carriers only use a single survey, others will ask for follow-up information and/or request evidence supporting your answers.

Understanding the process will guide how you answer questions and the nature and amount of information you provide.

2 Follow the Rule of Absolutes

Following the “Rule of Absolutes,” answering “yes” or “no” to a question means “yes” or “no” everywhere and in every instance. 

For example, if you answer “yes” to the question, “Do you require multi-factor authentication for user login?”, you are stating that MFA is in place for every possible user login for every system or service. Answering “yes” if this is not the case will be considered a misleading or deceptive response.

The better approach is to answer with commentary that accurately responds to the intended questions without absolutes. Using the above example, provide a list of systems for which MFA is required, optional but recommended, and/or not available. In addition to being a more accurate response, the information will better inform the underwriting risk assessment.

3 Understand the Questions

Not all questions may be clear. Some questions will focus on technology. Others will focus on policies, processes, and procedures. Still others will focus on outcomes.

For example, these three questions:

  1. What security incident and event management (SIEM) system is in place?
  2. Do you have security incident and event management?
  3. Do you monitor, save, and analyze security event logs to identify alerts and conditions that require responsive action?

Question 1 appears to be asking about specific software or tools. The second Question asks about capability; the software tools and operational resources may be implied or assumed with a “yes” answer. Question 3 probes procedures, possibly independent of the supporting technology and/or existence or use of a security operations center (SOC).

If you are not sure how to best answer the questions, consult with the broker or agent for guidance.

4 Pause and Implement

In reviewing the security surveys or questionnaires, you may notice an emphasis on certain aspects of your security systems, solutions, policies, and processes. 

If your answers appear to indicate weakness in these areas, consult with the broker or agent for guidance. You may benefit from pausing the effort until you can update or implement expected services and solutions.

In some cases, indicating that an improvement is in process may be sufficient to move forward.

5 Get Legal Advice

You own and are legally bound by the survey and questionnaire responses you provided. This holds true even if IT providers, vendors, and others have drafted portions of your response.

Before submitting your responses, review the surveys or questionnaires and your responses with qualified legal counsel familiar with cyber security. Understand if answers provided by third parties may create issues or liabilities. Understand any and all commitments expressed and implied in your responses.

What to Do:

The best course of action is to assess and, if appropriate, adjust your security services before you face a survey, questionnaire, or audit. Our Rapid Security Assessment provides a quick review of core security services. Our Cloud Advisors are ready to assist with any questions or concerns.

Contact us or schedule time with one of our Cloud Advisors

About the Author

Bill 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. 

 

IT Solutions: 3 You Can Live Without

Business Continuity & Protection

With continued, rapid change and evolution of the cloud services and capabilities, we hear that we “need” many things. The reality, however, is that many of the “solutions” being hyped are not really needed. In our recent blog post, we offered three IT solutions you need. But in this blog post, we will share three solutions you can do without.

1 3rd Party Conference Tools

Both Microsoft and Google Workspace, with Teams and Meet, include robust audio and video conferencing services. There was a time when third-party services like Zoom offered unique features. However, capabilities such as transcription, translation, break-out rooms, and Q&A panels are now a part of Teams and Meet.

Notably, some of the advanced features of Teams and Meet, such as streaming, come with upgraded Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace licenses. These upgrades are generally less expensive than third-party services.

2 Physical Desk Phones

While some of us may have an emotional attachment to the physical phone on our desks, for many, these devices feel like clutter. The way we make and receive calls has changed. Our devices should change as well.

Features like hot links, click-to-dial, and voice dialing are available within the apps and browsers on our computers and phones. Smartphone apps let us make and receive business calls without sharing our personal phone numbers and maintaining separation between personal and business text messaging and voicemail.

Headsets and speaker/microphones give us hands-free access to our phone systems at our desks, from our smartphones, and in our cars and trucks.

3 Unsecure Artificial Intelligence

You do not need unsecure AI. Even so, you and your team likely want to use it.

Chances are, you and members of your team may already be using Chat-GPT, AI meeting assistants, and other AI-powered tools.

The challenge is that most public AI tools are not secure. Using them likely violates confidentiality and nondisclosure clauses in contracts. Using them may also put you in violation of HIPAA, PCI, and other data privacy laws and regulations.

Before jumping into AI as a company, and before “Shadow AI” (unvetted tools) gets out of hand, develop an AI strategy and plan. Begin with identifying use cases and understanding how to ensure data security, privacy, and compliance. Pilot solutions and educate/train your team.

Copilot and Gemini AI both offer artificial intelligence tools that integrate with Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace, respectively. These are secure tools that use the permissions capabilities of the ecosystems. 

What to Do:

Contact us or schedule time with one of our Cloud Advisors. Without obligation, we are happy to discuss your business and IT services. We can also map out opportunities to save money and leverage AI, along with other emerging technologies.

If you are interested in three solutions you need, jump over to this post.

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.

IT Solutions: 3 You Need

Business Continuity & Protection

With continued, rapid change and evolution of the cloud services and capabilities, we hear that we “need” many things. The reality, however, is that many of the “solutions” being hyped are not really needed. Therefore, we will cover three IT solutions that you do need.

1 Resilience

Basic protections against malware, ransomware, phishing, and other cyber attacks are no longer enough. Businesses are not pressing for better cybersecurity from suppliers. Cyber insurance carriers are looking for more cybersecurity capabilities to better manage their risks.

We expect most small and midsize businesses to be asked about, or required to deploy, more advanced cybersecurity services and solutions. Fortunately, these can be provided affordably and effectively to smaller businesses.

2 Continuity

It is not enough to be able to recover files from backup in the event of a disaster, system failure, or cyberattack. Your business needs to be able to return to operations (RTO) quickly, even if your operations are degraded. The ability to fully recover and return to normal operations (RTNO) is also a new priority.

If your customers are other businesses, you are part of a supply chain. Your customers are under pressure to ensure and demonstrate that their supply chains are secure and reliable. This means your customers want you to demonstrate that you are protected and, if a cyberattack happens, that you can recover quickly. Your business disruption is theirs as well. Your customers want and need assurances.

Continuity solutions for small and midsize businesses are effective and can be cost-effective when properly planned and executed. These can range from system images that run in the cloud in an emergency to using remote desktop/virtual desktop services.

3 Secure BYOD

A few years ago, “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) was just an experimental strategy. With hybrid and remote work now a part of our norm, BYOD can be an effective means to provide budget-friendly IT services to your team. The challenge is that employee devices being used for company work need to be managed and secured as if they are company-owned.

Employees need to allow you to install security tools, such as endpoint protection and remote management agents, as well as backup/recovery and continuity tools. This can be a difficult task, as employees worry about the privacy of their information on their personal devices.

Securing BYOD can be a mix of policies, procedures, technology, and compensation. Secure BYOD can also be attained by separating the device from the business apps and data. Remote Desktop/Virtual Desktop Infrastructure solutions allow any device to access and use a secure and private environment –  network, systems, applications, and data – without commingling personal and business apps and data.

What to Do:

The first step is to assess your current business resilience and continuity capabilities. Completing our free Rapid Security Assessment will provide a quick review along with recommendations specific to your business and needs.

Next, please contact us or schedule time with one of our Cloud Advisors. Without obligation, we are happy to discuss your business’s operational IT needs and how you may increase your capabilities and save money.

Finally, stay tuned, as our next blog post will cover three IT Solutions you can do without.

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.

New Security Demands & Requirements for Small and Midsize Businesses

Security, Privacy, & Compliance

As the cybersecurity landscape continues to change, we see an evolving trend of new security demands being placed on small and midsize businesses. In this first post in our Security Update Series, which covers the evolving cybersecurity landscape for small and midsize businesses, we take a look at the drivers behind the new security demands on your business.

Three Drivers for Business Security

As is typical, the demands and security requirements are coming from three directions:

  • Regulation
  • Cyber Insurance
  • Supply Chain

Each of these three sources is increasing its expectations for your security practices and systems.

1 Regulation

As of November 2023, 12 states have enacted comprehensive data privacy laws, and 5 states have tailored information privacy laws. Other states have existing laws with similar protections that differ in implementation and enforcement. In 2023, 12 states introduced and are considering new privacy legislation. The vast majority of these laws may be enforced based on the location of the victim of a data breach. If you have customers in multiple states, you face a patchwork of legal requirements and potential liabilities. State rules extend beyond federal regulations, such as HIPAA, Sarbanes/Oxley, and SEC regulations, that may apply to your business.

Most businesses must also comply with industry regulations. If you accept credit cards, for example, you must comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS). These industry regulations often require additional policies and protections beyond federal and state regulations.

2 Cyber Insurance

Insurance carriers and underwriters base their calculations of risk through in-depth analysis of claims history and broader trends. Cyber insurance, being relatively new, does not have the same claims history as other business liabilities. As such, insurers continue to learn and adapt. Part of this learning is that cyber insurance claims are larger than previously predicted, basic security solutions often fail to provide sufficient protection, and a company’s ability to recover may be as important as its protections.

Furthermore, insurers are actively holding customers accountable for the statements made on applications, questionnaires, and audits. In 2022, Travelers Property Casualty Company of America sued International Control Services Inc. (ICS) in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois (Case No. 22-cv-2145). ICS stated that multi-factor authentication (MFA) was in place. The forensics investigation following a ransomware attack determined that MFA was not in place. Travelers claimed and maintained that the misrepresentation “materially affected the acceptance of the risk and/or the hazard assumed by Travelers.” The parties settled with cancellation of the payout, leaving ICS uncovered for any costs or damages.

While some insurers attempted to mandate specific security solutions or products, most insurers are now looking to verify a much broader range of security infrastructure. Beyond endpoint protection and MFA, insurers are using their growing understanding to set broader expectations. Security activities such as internal and external penetration testing, collection and analysis of security and activity logs, and the availability of business continuity solutions are starting to appear on cyberinsurance applications. Many insurers are also starting to request third-party validation and benchmarking against security frameworks, making streamlining security for SMBs even more important.

3 Supply Chain

If you provide products or services to businesses, you are in their supply chain. Governmental and industry regulations applicable to your customers will create new requirements for your business. The supply chain effect is not new. Organizations bound by HIPAA demand require a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) from suppliers. Sarbanes/Oxley, SEC regulations, and others include requirements that businesses must validate levels of compliance from suppliers and vendors. The same is becoming a reality for cybersecurity. As businesses develop their cybersecurity programs, they want and need to ensure their supply chain is equally secure. Cyberinsurance, industry regulations, and government regulations are starting to require this level of diligence.

As a smaller business, your customers may begin with changes to confidentiality and non-disclosure terms in your contracts related to the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools and services. You may be asked to conform to a specific security framework. You may be asked to confirm and attest to a set of security practices. Businesses that do not comply risk litigation and losing customers.

What to Do:

The first step is to not panic. These changes will surface over time.

Start with making sure your basic security services are in place. Complete our Rapid Security Assessment for a quick review of your current, basic security infrastructure. We will also provide recommendations specific to your business and needs.

Our Security CPR Managed Security services deliver an affordable, effective, security solution that helps you meet current expectations. These services integrate well with our Managed Cloud Services and can be implemented quickly and affordably.

To learn more or to discuss your options in more detail, please contact us or schedule time with one of our Cloud Advisors.

And, continue to follow our blog for Security Update Series posts for more information and ideas.

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.

Cumulus Global Offers Easier Public Sector Cloud Purchasing

Managed Cloud Services by Cumulus Global

Cumulus Global Offers Easier Public Sector Cloud Purchasing

Participation in multiple, national, cooperative purchase programs to save schools and local governments time and money.

 

Cumulus Global proudly announces that schools and local governments can now purchase Google Workspace, other cloud services, and related professional services via one of four national cooperative purchasing programs. By participating in these programs, Cumulus Global services and solutions are now available with simplified bidding and quoting processes. Local governments and school systems will save time and money.

“This is a big step forward for Cumulus Global and our public sector customers,” stated Cumulus Global CEO Allen Falcon. “If we can quote cloud and professional services without extensive bidding and RFP processes, we save time and money.”

By participating in multiple procurement associations, Cumulus Global is more likely to find a match with schools and governments for managed cloud solutions. They can use any of the four procurement vehicles to which they belong: Equalis Group, National Cooperative Purchasing Alliance (NCPA), OMNIA Partners, or PEPPM Cooperative Purchasing.

“We are meeting governments and school districts where they are,” noted Falcon. “Chances are, we are in a program that your school or local government can use.”

As part of the company’s commitment to added value, the company is transparent with respect to program participation fees. The company will share and pass through these fees as-is, without markups. Local governments and schools interested in learning more can schedule an introductory call with a Cumulus Global Cloud Advisor.

About Cumulus Global

Managed Cloud Services for Small and Midsize Businesses, Governments, and Schools

Cumulus Global (www.cumulusglobal.com) is an industry-leading managed cloud service provider with a mission to deliver solutions with tangible value.

  • What We Do: We translate your business goals and objectives into solutions and services.
  • How We Do It: We start with your business needs and priorities. Planning and migration includes guidance to help your team adopt and utilize new services. Your team benefits from co-managed services, ongoing support, and client success services that help you adapt as your business changes and grows.
  • What We Offer: Managed cloud solutions featuring Google, Microsoft, and more than three dozen providers.

For more information, schedule a no-obligation introductory meeting with a Cloud Advisor.