Posts

Cyber Security Will Change Companies

Security, Privacy, & ComplianceAt a recent security and risk management summit, Gartner shared their views of how cyber security will change companies.  While Gartner’s predictions focus on larger enterprise, several of their observations will likely hold true for small and midsize businesses (SMBs).

Here are some observations and our view of how they will impact small and midsize businesses.

Through 2023, government regulations requiring organizations to provide consumer privacy rights will cover 5 billion citizens and more than 70% of global GDP.

Privacy regulations will continue to expand as more nations pass legislation establishing privacy requirements.  Within the US, we expect more states to follow California, New York, and Massachusetts with varying levels of regulations. Along with the regulations come the potential for fines and increase civil litigation. In many of the statues, the protection is afforded the customer based on the customer’s location, not the location of the business.

For SMBs, establishing an maintaining a sound security footprint is essential.  Beyond the technology tools, businesses need to educate employees and have the policies and procedures in place. These policies and procedures should define expectations for employees and for how the business will respond to an incident.

By 2025, 80% of enterprises will adopt a strategy to unify web, cloud services and private application access from a single vendor’s SSE (Security service edge) platform.

Protecting access to systems is more challenging as the proliferation of usernames and passwords continue.  As the human element can be the greatest security challenge, Identity and Access Management (IAM) solutions will become the norm.

For SMBs, Single Sign-On (SSO), centralized identity/password vaults, and other tools are available and are, generally affordable.  Many SMBs current hesitate given the incremental cost per user per month. As the cost and risk of missing becomes greater, we expect SMBs will see value of Identity and Access Management solutions. These solutions will become the norm, not an add-on.

By 2025, 60% of organizations will use cybersecurity risk as a primary determinant in conducting third-party transactions and business engagements.

With increased concern and scrutiny from customers, consumers, and regulators, businesses are under increasing pressure to monitor and protect against third-party cyber security risks.  This trend will impact SMBs in two ways.

  1. Given the prevalent use of business email addresses as identities for third party applications and services, SMBs will monitor for reported breaches. Third party breaches give cyber criminals an attack vector.
  2. Larger enterprises will see businesses in their supply chains as potential security risks. They will increasing include cyber security requirement in vendor authorization process and in contracts.

SMBs need to be ready to meet the security and risk management demands — people, process, and technology — of their customers.

By 2025, 70% of CEOs will mandate a culture of organizational resilience to survive coinciding threats from cybercrime, severe weather events, civil unrest and political instabilities.

As businesses adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic, the inability of most businesses to respond to large scale disruptions exposed flaws in traditional business continuity planning. The pandemic put a spotlight on the need for business resiliency and continuity plans for businesses that had not yet considered continuity to be a priority.  The level of planning to address the threats from cybercrime will need to be the same as the planning for other disasters and business disruptions.

For SMBs, leveraging cloud solutions will remain the most cost-effective business continuity option.  Moving systems and applications into cloud services increases security, adds redundancy, provides geographic diversity, and provides better remote access than on-premise systems.  SMBs are at greatest risk from local or regional issues. Cloud services … even if only a “lift and shift” of existing servers and applications … will be accepted as a cost-effective way to improve security and resiliency.

We expect small and midsize businesses will need to expand their security footprint. They will need to improve resiliency.  Appropriate solutions are available and are affordable.  Businesses can meet their security, resiliency, continuity, and operational needs effectively and affordably. The inherit advantages of cloud services and solutions make this possible.

To evaluate your requirements and readiness for better security and resilience against cyber attacks and other business disruptions, contact us for a consultation, or book some time with a Cloud Advisor.  The consultation is free and without obligation.


Expect an Increase in Cyber Attacks

Data Protection & SecurityThe U.S. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is warning businesses to be prepared to defend against cyber attacks originating from Russia. “Every organization—large and small—must be prepared to respond to disruptive cyber activity,” the agency says in its warning.

Our security vendors, analyzing aggregate data, are starting to see a definitive increase in the number and frequency of attacks.

Fortunately, you have a range of tools at your disposal to protect you business:

  • Next-Gen endpoint protection
  • Advanced threat protection
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Cyber-awareness training
  • DNS/Web protection
  • Third party breach monitoring

These services, paired with recovery and continuity services, can prevent your business from succumbing to an attack. And, if you do fall victim, ensure your business can be back up and running on hours, not days or weeks.

Please contact us if you have any questions or would like a no-obligation review of your security footprint.  You can also schedule a call with one our Cloud Advisors, below.


Data Breaches are Still a Thing

As we speak with small and midsize business executives, we sometimes hear that cyber attacks and the risk of data breaches are no longer seen as a threat serious enough to warrant attention and spending.  We understand this hesitancy. Even with the level of media visibility, the prevalence of security solutions and a weariness of the constant focus on security can lead to the conclusion that we can let our guard down.

The reality, however, is that the rate of cyber attacks jumped about 600% in 2020.  More businesses are getting attacked and more attacks are successful.

A List of Breaches

For perspective, in the last 4 weeks, the cyber security experts at ID Agent have published data on these major breaches. Many are likely to be familiar to you or represent a major government entity.

  • Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia
  • Pennsylvania Department of Health
  • The Resort Municipality of Whistler
  • CNA Financial
  • OfficeDepot
  • Personal Touch Holding Corp
  • Facebook
  • Hobby Lobby
  • Illinois Office of the Attorney General
  • Wyoming Department of Health
  • Eversource Energy
  • California State Controller
  • LinkedIn
  • The New York Foundling
  • University of Maryland Baltimore
  • CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield Community Health Plan District of Columbia (CHPDC)

The Case for Concern

The list, above, is only a sample and only represents larger breaches.  Cyber attacks hit small and midsize businesses on a daily basis. Even so, we often view protection and recovery services as insurance.  We do not want to pay for coverage; we hope we never need to use it; and we do not see the value until we are a victim.

A Model for Success

Cyber security differs from insurance. We can reduce the risk of successful attacks with foresight, planning, and protections. Our CPR Cyber Security Model balances awareness, prevention, and response.

Communicate and Educate

Involve everybody in the solution. Communicate the risks and your commitment to protecting the business and your employees. Educate your team on the risks, how to spot and report attacks, and how their behavior can prevent or help an attack.

Protect and Prevent

Implement multi-layer, multi-vector protections that focuses on your people (identities), data, applications, and systems. Use “next gen” solutions that analyze behaviors and that can learn as risks evolve.

Respond and Recovery

No defense is perfect. Have services in solutions in place that let you recover and return to operations within a time frame that protects the health of your business. More than getting data and systems back on line, we recommend that you put in place the forensics, legal, public relations, and customer service resources you will need in a cyber attack emergency.

Want to learn more?  Want to assess your cyber security protections and risks? We can help.  Email us or complete our contact form to schedule a complimentary meeting with one of our Cloud Advisors.

 

Cyber Protection Solutions for SMBs

Data protection iconAs our businesses become even more reliant on technology and cloud services, the frequency and sophistication of cyber attacks continue to accelerate. Your Cyber Protection 

Cyber Protection Needs

We need our businesses — and our people — to be aware, protected, and able to recover.

At Cumulus Global, our CPR model maps the necessary components of cyber security into three areas.

  • Communicate & Educate
    • Ensure you team understands the risk, educate them so they can avoid falling prey, create a culture of security and data privacy.
  • Protect & Prevent
    • Leverage advanced and “next gen” technologies to prevent attacks and to protect your networks, systems, data, and people from attacks.
  • Recover & Respond
    • No system is perfect; make sure you can recover your data and systems, return to normal operations, and respond to the technical, legal, and communication challenges.

Successful Cyber Protection relies on your policies and procedures, technologies, and people working in sync. Across more than a dozen focus areas, you need to balance the level or protection you need with the costs and with the risks of not doing enough. You need to balance external requirements, such as government and industry regulations, with internal priorities.

Your Cyber Protection Solution

To design and implement an affordable, integrated, and effective cyber protection solution for your business, start with a Cyber Protection Assessment (CPA).  A CPA will assess your needs, within the context of your business, and preferred solutions across 15 areas of focus:

  • Written Information Security Plan
  • Patches and Updates
  • Email Encryption
  • Data Destruction
  • Background Checks
  • Written Information Response Plan
  • Antivirus and Intrusion Detection
  • Email and Web Security
  • Account and Identity Management
  • Employee Training
  • Firewalls
  • Backup / Continuity / Disaster Recovery
  • File Encryption
  • Network Access Security
  • Responsible Parties

Using the results of the Cyber Protection Assessment, you can plan and implement your levels of protection in each area to create the balance that is best for your business.

Next Steps and Resources

Your best next step is to contact us and discuss your cyber protection status and needs with one of our Cloud Advisors. Consider using our Cyber Protection Assessment to understand your needs, current protections, gaps, and priorities.

Related Resources:

4 More Protections for Your Business

Data protection iconIn our last blog post, we identified 3 must-have protections for any business using Google Workspace or Microsoft 365.

  • Backup/Recovery
  • Advanced Threat Protection
  • Multi-Factor Authentication

In combination, these protections help prevent successful attacks and give you the ability to recover should an attack be successful.

Here are 4 more protections for your business

Putting these protections in place improves your ability to prevent attacks, and your ability to survive.

1 Next-Gen Endpoint Protection

Basic anti-virus protection is not enough. Scanning files for known or similar patterns will not protect you from modern malware or ransomware.

Next-Gen Endpoint Protection solutions use advanced heuristics, behavior analysis, and machine learning to assess threats in real-time.  These solutions identify attacks, prevent them from running, and roll-back damaging activity.

2 DNS and Web Protection

Cyber attacks are not all breaches. Attackers can use DNS to block your use of the Internet or to impersonate you and your business. Both types of attacks hurt your business and your reputation.

Between 15% and 20% of malware is downloaded without your knowledge from websites. This malware is often hidden in third party content on websites your trust.

DNS protection creates a protective barrier that prevents others using your DNS service against you. Web Protection blocks dangerous web sites and prevents malware downloads to your devices.

3 Employee Communication and Education

Ignorance is not bliss. Employees who know are less likely to make a mistake and trigger an attack or breach. You want your team to understand:

  • The danger of cyber attacks and how to avoid them
  • The likely damage form cyber attacks
  • What to look for
  • What not to do

Employee communication and education is key to creating an aware and resilient team. Combined with testing and guidance, a communication and education program reinforces positive behaviors with on-going guidance and support.

4 Business Continuity for On-Premise Systems

Most small and midsize businesses still have some on-premise systems. The connectivity and integration across systems creates an increased risk for damage and loss. Even with backup/recovery in place, restoring systems, databases, applications, and data can take days. You want, and need, to be back in business quickly — in minutes or hours.

Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery (BCDR) solutions enable you to resume operations within minutes using images of your systems running in cloud data centers. With BCDR in place, your business runs smoothly while you recover your on-premise systems.

Failing to protect your data and systems is a failure to protect your business.  Contact us for a free assessment of your data and business protection needs.

Evaulating SaaS Backup Solutions

Data protection icon

You have many choices when choosing your SaaS backup solution for Google Workspace (G Suite), Microsoft 365, Salesforce.com, and other cloud services.

When picking your solution, look for the data protection capabilities you need. At a minimum, a SaaS backup solution should offer the following.

Comprehensive Protection

Some SaaS backup solutions only protect email, files, and folders. Look for solutions that offer protection for contacts, shared drives, collaboration and chat tools, and calendars. Solutions with these features are far more effective at maintaining business continuity. And, the cost is often comparable.

Frequent Backups

More frequent backups let you to restore to a more recent point in time, minimizing data loss. Restores are faster and easier with less manual effort to perform restores. Services that backup multiple times per day will provide better results than those that only backup daily.

Access During Outages

Look for and choose a SaaS backup service that lets you export and access your data in the event of an outage. While limited in scope, the ability to use data should Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 be unavailable can help you keep essential work on-track.

Security & Compliance

The SaaS backup service you choose should be secure, with data encrypted at rest and in motion.  Additionally, services that meet SOC1/SSAE-16 and SOC 2 Type II reporting standards will help you meet HIPAA, GDPR, CCPA, SEC, and other regulatory compliance requirements.

Your Next Step:

We recommend you protect all data in Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 with a secure and robust backup/recovery solution.  Protecting your cloud-resident data is no different than protecting data hosted on servers and systems in your office. We can help you make the right choice.

For more information, view and download our eBook, SaaS Protection Buyers Guide.

Learn more about Cumulus Global’s data protection and security solutions, contact us to discuss you needs and options, or schedule a complimentary cloud advisor appointment.

3 Reasons for SaaS Data Protection

Data protection iconSaaS data is not immune to permanent data loss. Microsoft and Google make no guarantees when it comes to restoring deleted data, whether from human error or a malicious act. While Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) may make collaboration more efficient, data protection and management is a shared responsibility. Both Google and Microsoft include some basic recovery capabilities, but they not enough to protect your business.

Here are 3 major reasons to add SaaS data protection to your Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace solution.

1: Data Loss Due to Permanent Deletion

If an employee accidentally deletes a critical spreadsheet from OneDrive or Google Drive, or a deleted folder of important emails passes the retention period in Trash, neither Microsoft nor Google will be able to recover your data.

Even if those files are within your retention period, locating and restoring lost data can cost you more time than you can afford.

2: Data Loss Due to a Ransomware Attack

If your business suffers a ransomware attack, you cannot roll-back your data to a point-in-time before the attack without a backup solution. Your data is likely gone forever.

More than losing valuable business data, you will face potentially crippling costs.  You may choose to pay the ransom (without any guarantee your files will be unlocked). You may work to rebuild your lost data. Either way, you will spend significant money, time, and lost productivity trying to save your business.

3. Time and Money Lost in Recovering Files

Retaining critical user data when employees leave your company is costly without a backup solution in place. The time spent to recover data might be more than what your business can afford. SaaS Data Protection lets you retain past employee data without the need to keep their Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace account active. You save time and money.

Whether you lose data or time, the impact to your bottom line can be significant. To address this challenge, you need a secure solution for this growing reliance on the cloud.

Learn more about Cumulus Global’s data protection and security solutions. To ensure your business continues to run smoothly, schedule a complimentary cloud advisor appointment.

Service Update: Datto SaaS Protection

Service Update: Datto SaaS Protection. The latest Datto SaaS Protection platform is now available to all of our costumers. For more recent customers, you are already on the newest platform.  For our longer term SaaS Protection (aka Backupify) customers, the transition process will begin as early as February 1, 2021. The process will complete before May 31, 2021.

Benefit:

With this move, all Datto SaaS Protection customers will have access to the latest features. These include protection for Microsoft Teams and Google Shared Drives, and the Daily Backup Success Report.

Process:

To ensure a smooth transition, any data on the legacy platform will be archived in one of Datto’s secure Microsoft Azure instances. A fresh backup set will initiate on the new platform. We can assist you in exporting your legacy backup data if you prefer to not have it stored by Datto on Microsoft Azure.

There are some unique aspects of the transition for some of our customers, our Service Team will contact you as needed to discuss your transition.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns.

SaaS Backup – 4 Dangerous Misconceptions

SaaS Backup is just as important, and necessary, as backups for data hosted on in-house servers and systems.

Data protection iconWith more remote work, our reliance on SaaS applications and services such as Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace has become more critical to our success. Easy access to files and folders from anywhere and the integrated collaboration tools keep our teams connected and productive.

Here are 4 common, but dangerous, myths and misconceptions about SaaS applications and services that will put your data and your business at risk.

Myth 1: SaaS Applications do not Require Backup

While SaaS applications protect against data loss in their cloud servers, this does not protect against user error, accidental and malicious deletion, or ransomware attacks. And while accidental deletion of files is by far the most
common form of data loss in SaaS apps, ransomware can be the most damaging. Ransomware is designed to spread across networks and into SaaS applications, impacting many users.

Ransomware isn’t only an on-premises problem. It can and does spread into the cloud, especially when using the OneDrive and/or Drive File Sync clients.

You need a way to quickly revert files, folders, settings, and permissions in the event of an attack.

Myth 2: File Sync is a Backup

While file sync tools like Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive File Sync do create a second copy of files and folders, they do not replace backup. File sync automatically copies changes to synchronized files. If a file or folder is infected with ransomware, the malware will automatically be copied to all synced versions of that file.

File sync services do offer some restore capabilities via versioning, but they fall short of a true SaaS backup solution.

  • If a file is deleted, older versions of the file are also deleted
  • End users control backup and recovery, so you have no control over coverage or process
  • Large restores are a time-consuming, manual process.

Beyond simply lacking the restore capabilities of a backup solution, file sync and share can introduce ransomware to Microsoft 365 or Google Drive. File sync and backup are not competitive solutions, rather they can and should be used together.

File sync and share tools are for productivity; backup is for data protection and fast restore.

Myth 3: SaaS Applications are Always Available

While SaaS apps are highly reliable, outages do occur. In 2020 alone, Microsoft 365 suffered five significant outages in the space of six weeks. Last year, Google Workspace suffered a global outage, leaving users with no access to for several hours.

Outages and slow restore times are not just an inconvenience. When you cannot access important business data, productivity falls and revenue suffers. Creating backups that are independent of a SaaS provider’s cloud servers is the only way to ensure access to essential files in the event of an extended outage.

Myth 4: Microsoft and Google are Responsible for Backup

Microsoft and Google ensure they will not lose your cloud data. However, they do not take responsibility for restoring data if you lose it. This is why Microsoft recommends third party backups for Microsoft 365 data, having defined the concept of the Shared Responsibility Model.

In the Shared Responsibility Model:

  • Microsoft and Google protect your data against:
    • Service interruptions due to hardware or software failure
    • Loss of service due to natural disaster or power outage
  • You must protect your data against:
    • Accidental deletion and damage
    • Hackers, ransomware attacks, other malware
    • Malicious insiders

The Shared Responsibility Model places the onus of data protection squarely on you. Google and Microsoft are responsible for keeping their systems up and running; you are responsible for preserving and securing your data.

To review your data protections, and your ability to recover from accidental or malicious loss, contact us or schedule an appointment with our Cloud Advisors.

9 Cyber Security Tips

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, cyber threats and ransomware attacks have accelerated, exceeding 30,000 attacks per day in the US. Cybersecurity measures have never been more important. The move to remote working environments as well as the vulnerability of global economies in crisis has created an open-season for cybercriminals. No business—big or small—is safe.

Small and medium businesses (SMBs) seemingly have a target on their backs, so strengthening your security posture is essential right now. The good news: There are ways to protect your business against ransomware attacks.

Here are nine tips you that boost your business’ resilience to cyber attacks:

Communicate & Educate

1. Conduct a security risk assessment. Understand potential security threats (e.g., downtime from ransomware) and the impact they may have on your business (lost revenue). Use this information to shape a security strategy that meets your specific needs.

2. Create straightforward cybersecurity policies. Write and distribute a clear set of rules and instructions on cybersecurity practices for employees. This will vary from business to business but may include policies on social media use, bring your own device, authentication requirements, etc.

3. Train your employees. Because cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving, an ongoing training plan should be implemented for all employees. This should include examples of threats, as well as instruction on security best practices, and periodic testing.

Prevent & Protect

4. Protect your network and devices. Implement a password policy that requires strong passwords and monitor your employee accounts for breach intel through dark web monitoring. Deploy firewall, VPN, and next-gen antivirus technologies with advanced threat protection. Ensure your network and endpoints are not vulnerable to attacks. Implement mandatory multi-factor authentication. Ongoing network monitoring is essential, as is encrypting hard drives.

5. Keep software up to date. Be vigilant about patch management. Cyber criminals exploit software vulnerabilities using a variety of tactics to gain access to computers and data. Your IT provider should automate this for your businesses with a remote monitoring and management. Keep your mobile phones up to date as well.

6. Back up your data. Daily (or more frequent) backups are a requirement to recover from data corruption or loss resulting from security breaches. Consider using a data protection tools that take incremental backups of data periodically throughout the day to prevent data loss. Remember that you need to protect your data in the cloud as well as you protect your data on local servers and workstations.

7. Know where your data resides. The more places data exists, the more likely it is that unauthorized individuals will be able to access it. Use data discovery tools to find and appropriately secure data along with business-class Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications that allow for corporate control of data. Eliminate redundant and “Shadow IT” services.

8. Control access to computers. Use key cards or similar security measures to control access to facilities. Ensure that employees use strong passwords for laptops and desktops. Give administrative privileges only to trusted staff as needed.

Respond & Recover

9. Enable uptime. Choose a powerful data protection solution that enables “instant recovery” of data and applications. In fact, 92% of managed IT service providers report that companies with business continuity disaster recovery (BCDR) products in place are less likely to experience significant downtime from ransomware and are back up and running quickly. Application downtime can significantly impact a business’ ability to generate revenue. Can your business afford downtime costs that are 23X greater (up by 200% year-over-year) than the average ransom requested in 2019?

The best defense is a good offense. A robust, multi-layered cybersecurity strategy can save your business. Contact us to learn more and for a free Cyber Security Assessment.

library

A Cyber Insurance Primer

Cyber Insurance Primer

With the increase in cyber attacks on small and midsize businesses, we recognize the need for cyber insurance to protect against potentially catastrophic financial loss. Completing applications and underwriting process seems like a pro forma process. All too often, however, businesses learn that the process is significantly more complicated.

Most cyber insurers do not help with the services you need in the event of a data breach. Even more challenging, insurers are denying claims if businesses cannot demonstrate compliance with their underwriting documents.

Cyber Insurance is a tool, not a solution.

This slide desk from our June 2022 3T@3 Webcast, discusses cyber insurance trends and expectations, and as a key component of your response to a cyber attack.

Please confirm the information, below, to view and download the slide deck:

15 Best Practices for Cyber Protection

eBook Source: Cumulus Global

As our businesses become even more reliant on technology and cloud services, the frequency and sophistication of cyber attacks continue to accelerate. We need our businesses — and our people — to be aware, protected, and able to recover.

At Cumulus Global, our CPR model maps the necessary components of cyber security into three areas.

  • Communicate & Educate
  • Protect & Prevent
  • Recover & Respond

Policies and procedures, technologies, and people are all part of the equation, as is cyber insurance for financial protection. Deciding where and how to invest is a value proposition balancing costs, benefits, and the risks of inaction. 

In this eBook, we look at 15 Best Practices for Cyber Protection. We rank solutions from “bad” to “best”. Your business may not need the “best” solution for every area; you can match services and costs to your risks and needs. 

These best practices improve your protection, mitigate liabilities, and facilitate affordable cyber insurance coverage.

Please confirm you information below to view and download the eBook.



SaaS Protection Buyer’s Guide

eBook Source: Cumulus Global

Microsoft, Google, and other cloud providers backup their infrastructure. They ensure that their services are running and accessible. You, however, are responsible for managing, securing, and protecting your data.

This eBook guides you through common myths about cloud services, why SaaS protection is important, and selecting your SaaS protection solution.

Please confirm you information below to view and download the eBook.



Webcasts

Next Normal: IT Efficiency

3T@3 Webcast Series: Tuesday, Feb 23rd at 3:00 PM

COVID-19 and the events of the past 10 months have, and continue, to change the way we run our businesses.  While some of these changes are temporary, many will become part of our next normal. For many of us, these changes came in a scramble to work from home. With respect to IT, this has many businesses using new, often redundant apps and systems.

Are the IT choices made during the crisis the best for your business in the long term?

This month’s 3T@3 Webcast, is the first in our “Next Normal” series looking at how we adapt, prepare, and respond to economic, social, and business changes.  We start the series exploring “IT Efficiency.”  We see where many small businesses signed on to services in order to adapt to mandatory closures, reduced office capacity, and parents’ need to be present for children learning remotely. Many of these service duplicate features in other systems, resulting in excess cost and lost productivity.  Join Cumulus Global CEO Allen Falcon to identify how you may streamline your IT services, reduce costs, and improve efficiencies.

Watch the recording on-demand



Data Protection & Security