Security

Ultimate Guide on Data Security

Your IT systems are no longer safe unless you have strong data security measures in place. 

Data security has become more than a legal obligation to follow a bunch of compliances. When the security of your customer’s sensitive information is threatened, it’s time to take a step back and analyze what you can do to improve safety.

The data threats can be of any form: data loss through cyberattacks, phishing collection of personal information, virus attack, or insider theft. You can strengthen data security by enforcing strict access controls, protocols, strong firewalls, and antivirus and antimalware protection systems.

This blog will take you through various things you need to know to improve your data security.

The Importance of Data Security

Before you look into the details of what data security means and how you can enhance it, let’s start by analyzing the main concerns: Data security is defined as the laws and regulations that ensure the safety of people’s personal information (e.g., credit cards) and information systems in various business, medical, and technical fields. It’s time to think of data security as a responsibility and not a means to comply with regulations. 

You have data from users, end-users, and business partners, all of which contain private and sensitive data. Before choosing any third-party service provider, let’s break down each type of information and what you need to know. 

End-User Data: They include information such as identity and authentication details, geo-locations, credit card information, bank details, phone numbers, etc. These may be maintained internally but will often leak to another party. 

Application Data: This is the code that runs on your computer. For instance, when a website requests a particular piece of information on your computer, this is what you are typing in.

When such data is hacked, it can threaten the very foundation of your business and, at the least, lose your customers’ trust. This is why you need to give the most to such data.

Reasons for Weak Data Security

The main reason for weak data security is human error. Your employees may accidentally click on an insecure link or email attachment that contains malware. Other possible causes include lack of training, lack of control on employees, weakly trained staff, and employees who have a poor understanding of network administration. 

If this sounds like your environment, start doing these three things: 

  1. Add passwords to every new login. This way, when a user gets a password for a new account, they won’t reuse the same password. 
  2. Install virus protection and antivirus software on all computers and mobile devices. 
  3. Don’t email sensitive or confidential information to any external sources. That includes emails, text messages, and social media platforms.

How to Improve the Data Security

An effective data security system takes an in-depth look at data and its security needs while changing data processing systems or building new ones. Here are some of the ways to improve your data security.

  • 1. Create Strong Passwords

With the increasing usage of mobile apps, password leaks have been a frequent occurrence. It’s unfortunate, but passwords are one of the weakest links to protect our data, exposed more than 30,000 times per day, according to SplashData. We are all guilty of not changing our passwords often enough. This is because most people do not make a conscious effort to change their passwords often enough, or even at all.

The damage can be difficult to recognize and stop. However, there are steps we can take to improve the situation. The first step is not to use a shared password. 

  • 2. Set up Firewalls

Your firewall’s purpose is to stop unauthorized devices from accessing network resources and the internet. Make sure you have enabled port forwarding for all your access points to ensure the best results. This allows port forwarding for critical destinations to work. 

You can specify the port ranges in which access to these destinations is allowed. 

  • 3. Enable Access Controls

Using Single Sign-On (SSO) solutions, SSO is a secure system in which one login system can provide you with multiple access points such as web, mail, data, and so on. It is an easier way to protect data and grant access to authorized users. You can create multiple accounts for each of your employees. You can also configure password management systems for each of these accounts.

  • 4. Create Encryption

Encrypting your data helps ensure that nobody can access and misuse the data stored on your systems, even if they get their hands on it. You can use standard encryption to add“secret” information into a file, creating a code that a person cannot read without the appropriate decryption key. And you can also simply enable 2FA for your login attempts.

Wrapping Up

Data security is no longer about whether or not you’re complying with rules. Instead, it’s if you’re implementing a security approach that a knowledgeable insider or hacker can’t circumvent.

Being hacked often happens because a person or company is unaware or uneducated about some rudimentary security protocols. Educate your employees to adopt the right security practices to keep your organization safe.

Security

IT Security vs. IT Compliance: What is the Difference?

Is there any difference between IT security and IT compliance?

This is often one of the common doubts many get when talking about securing their IT systems.

IT security and IT compliance both have to deal with protecting the information. But that’s where the similarities stop. There are quite a lot of differences between what goes on in IT security and IT compliance.

But, for some IT professionals, both terms are interchangeable, and their differences get blurred. This blog specifically sheds light on what constitutes IT security and IT compliance and the differences between them both.

What is IT Security?

IT security is needed to prevent attacks from malicious sources and protect our IT systems. IT security is also about minimizing the damage in the event of an unstoppable attack and ensuring that sensitive information is kept safe.

While the explanation seems simple, the process behind IT security is not. There are many ways through which hackers can gain access to our IT systems, and IT security professionals need to predict and enforce firewalls to prevent them.

At LayerOne Networks, we provide security services for companies in Corpus Christi and use a combination of IT security practices to keep the security systems updated. We use a set of automated tools, security kits, and manual processes wherever needed to conduct regular audits and tests to reinforce and strengthen IT security.

What is IT Compliance?

IT compliance is the need to follow a specific set of regulations based on third-party requirements. While there’s no direct motivation for IT compliance, like IT security, failure to meet the compliance needs can have serious repercussions.

IT compliance helps maintain a standard of security for the users by enforcing specialized IT security practices. Usually, IT compliance is mandated by:

  • Government
  • Client contract 
  • Industry-specific regulations and standards

For example, healthcare companies need to follow HIPAA compliance for all of their IT systems to maintain the data security of the patient’s information.

Similarly, there are various other industry standards that every business needs to follow. Moreover, adhering to the standards of compliance will also serve as a plus point for client acquisition. 

Our IT consulting firm has helped many companies to understand such compliance needs and adhere to them. We analyze such mandatory IT compliances for a business and assist them to be in line with them all.

What’s the difference between IT security & IT compliance?

IT compliance is fixed when compared to IT security. With IT compliance, you’ll need to follow all the particulars in the industry, government, and contract compliance. You don’t need to go out of your way to come up with novel ideas for it.

However, IT security is entirely flexible based on your business needs, budget, and capability. You can exercise any amount of cybersecurity as much as you need to keep your information protected. You’ll look at the security of your system from different points of view and analyze the best way to maximize data security.

Let’s compare the difference with the actual processes of IT security and IT compliance.

3 Different ways to improve IT security

Most hackers try to gain access to an IT system in 3 common ways:

  • Networks: There are network security tools and firewalls that we can install to fortify the networks. It can prevent hackers from attacking the system and quickly rely on the hacking attempt by security professionals.
  • People: One of the most common ways hackers try to crack an IT system is through the people. The employees may carelessly click on malicious links or open websites through which the malware gets installed, gains all the login information, and sends it to the hacker. To prevent it, we need to conduct regular IT security seminars to warn people against such hacking attempts.
  • Devices: The physical devices we carry may be prone to phishing attacks. There is specific software we need to install and conduct regular screening to prevent such types of attacks.

3 Different ways to follow IT compliance

Here are some common IT compliance frameworks that many companies need to adhere to:

  • SOX ( Sarbanes-Oxley Act) is required to maintain the financial data of public companies. It has several requirements for maintaining, destroying, and altering the data.
  • PCI DSS compliance stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards. It is created for maintaining financial information by using secured networks, different levels of access, and testing. 
  • ISO 27000 is a standard that certifies companies that follow certain high levels of security. It outlines how a company should approach and follow information security management. While this isn’t mandatory, companies that follow ISO 27000 have an edge in clients’ eyes over those who don’t.

Striking a balance between IT security & IT compliance

When we look at it closely, IT compliance is often seen as a mandatory one where we can do the minimum and get by. This is where IT security complements compliance and adds to the protection of IT systems.

Every organization requires robust security systems, multi-layered defense protocols, and IT security training sessions. We can use compliance to find the gap in IT security and further increase the protection with advanced security systems and tools.

IT compliance establishes the foundation of IT security, and with further protection measures, we can ensure that your IT infrastructure is kept safe at all times. 

With the new improvements in technology, it’s becoming challenging for organizations to keep up with the latest hacking techniques and update their IT security. This is where our IT consulting firm is of the best use.

With our managed IT services focused specifically on IT security and compliance, we can keep your entire IT ecosystem secure. Reach out to us at (361)653-6800 to discuss your IT security needs in detail.

Security

An Ultimate Guide on Two-factor Authentication (2FA) for Small Business

There are so many things for a small business owner to juggle — everyday operations, new improvements, and employee management are just the tip of the iceberg.

Add to it the scare of IT security, and the whole thing becomes all the more difficult.

Small businesses are more prone to hacking attempts. In fact, 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses. While this statistic may scare any small business owner, there are so many things that you can do to reinforce security — and at no additional cost.

And one of such essential security measures you need to employ is two-factor authentication, commonly known as 2FA.

What Is Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)?

Most online platforms are offering 2FA now. Right from Gmail to cryptocurrency exchanges, 2FA has added an extra layer of security and prevented many hacking attempts. If you want to strengthen your protection further, you can enforce zero-force security.

But if you want to start small and slowly add more layers to your data security, then the very first thing you need to enable is 2FA.

2FA is the next level of authentication after verifying your login details. Even if the hacker knows your username and password, 2FA can still stop the hacker from accessing your account.

How Can a 2FA Look Like?

Every platform offers a certain type of two-factor authentication. For example, when you log in to your Google account and enable 2FA, you’ll receive a notification to confirm the login from a new location on your registered smartphone. 

But this is not the only form of 2FA.

A 2FA can be:

  • A security question
  • An instant security number
  • A pre-created pin or security question
  • A fingerprint scanner on your smartphones

While these types of 2FAs can be found commonly on many online platforms, there are also physical forms of 2FA like a card or a key. This is best for physical storage locations of sensitive data or products.

It’s highly advisable that you enable 2FA on the common platforms you use for your small business. If you’re unsure of enabling 2FA on any online platforms, you can reach out to your IT service provider or any other reliable IT consulting firm to help out.

4 Reasons Why Your Small Business Needs 2FA

Every small business needs 2FA, but why? Because there are no drawbacks and lots of advantages. Here are some prime reasons why you need to enable 2FA for your small business right now.

  • You need to keep your sensitive information safe

Can you imagine the repercussions if your sensitive information, including customer’s data, falls into the wrong hands?

This one incident could very well lead to the derailing of your small business. When you don’t want such unfortunate situations to happen, you need to add as much security as possible to your critical platforms. This includes any cloud storage you’re using, your email account, CRM, online banking, and other platforms where you share or store important data.

  • You need to give the hackers a hard fight

Let’s face the truth. It’s become very easy for hackers to use malware to access all our usernames and passwords. If there’s one thing that can stop them and give them a hard fight, it is the 2FA. 

If your platforms allow you to get notified of logins from new devices, it’s vital that you enable them. This way, you can be informed when someone tries to hack your account and quickly take steps to prevent it.

  • You have nothing to lose since it’s free!

While many other managed IT services and security solutions may cost you at least some money, there’s no investment to use 2FA on online platforms. All you need to do is enable 2FA, test it once, and be assured that you’ve added an extra layer of security. You don’t have anything to lose!

  • You don’t need to spend time to implement 2FA

Now that we’ve cleared that it’s free, the next question you may ask is, ‘Should I spend a long time on 2FA?’ Not at all!

It’s as simple as clicking a button on and off. You can switch off 2FA anytime you need, of course, with some password protection and verification. But you still have complete control over your 2FA. You just need to make sure to remember the type of 2FA you’ve enabled and remember it.

Wrapping Up

As a small business starting, you don’t need to pour tons of money for your data security. With just a few simple steps free of cost, you can ensure an additional level of security — with no strings attached.

If you still haven’t enabled 2FA for your critical applications, then it’s high time you do it. It can make all the difference between a successful hacking or a failed attempt.

If you’re looking for additional security than 2FA, then you can reach out to our company offering security service in Corpus Christi. LayerOne Networks is a popular IT consulting firm specializing in managed IT services and IT security. You can reach out to us now to know more about our cost-effective security solutions for small businesses.

Security

Ransomware vs. Malware: What Is More Dangerous?

At a time when businesses are under threat from cybersecurity issues, you can never be too cautious.

 

Online security threats are everywhere — from the emails we open to the WiFi networks we connect. And with businesses depending on online tools and communication, we need to be careful more than ever to prevent ourselves from attacks. This is why everyone needs to be aware of the different cyber threats and what it means for businesses. 

 

Among the popular cyber issues, ransomware and malware are some of the most common ones used interchangeably. 

In this blog, our security experts from our IT consulting firm shed light on the differences between ransomware and malware and analyze which of these is the most dangerous.

 

What Is Malware?

Malware is software or a tool that has malicious intentions—many of the current cybersecurity hacks and threats we find come under the category of malware.

Usually, the hacker tricks you into installing this malware on your system by clicking on a trustworthy link or gaining access to your login details. Once this malware is installed, it can monitor all the actions you do on the system, record, and send it to another server accessible by the hacker.

The typical examples of malware are viruses, worms, spyware, adware, crypto-jacking, and spambots. Every malware is designed to do a specific job as needed by the hacker.

What Is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware that gets access to a system and asks for a ransom in exchange for giving access. Usually, the ransomware software gets installed on a system with phishing attacks.

A ransomware software can access the credentials, files, share them to another location, set up a ransom, and demand payment. One of the main issues with ransomware is that the hacker threatens to leak confidential information if the ransom isn’t paid. 

Which Is More Dangerous: Ransomware or Malware?

First of all, we need to understand that there are certain degrees of danger to either form of hacking based on the security and the sensitiveness of the accessed files. To understand which can do more harm, we need to know how different they are.

Basic Working

Before we consider how malware and ransomware are different, let’s first understand how much they differ in the way of operations.

Most malware will try to replicate the files on the system and share them with the hacker. It also copies itself from file to file, corrupting the files in the process and gaining access to the information.

Ransomware is entirely different. Once ransomware gets installed, it prevents access to the system using high-security features. The ransomware will be removed after the payment is fulfilled.

Level of Access

Let’s consider the amount of access both of these cyberthreats have. In the case of malware, while it can access information up to a level and even slow down the system’s performance, it cannot destroy a business.

On the other hand, we have seen several actual companies shutting down after being attacked by ransomware. So, in terms of access and impact, ransomware is more threatening than most other malware.

Method of Protection and Removal

Protecting your systems against different types of malware, including ransomware, is done by installing anti-virus and anti-malware protection solutions. The company employees who have access to sensitive information should avoid clicking on suspicious links and becoming victims of phishing attacks.

While the protection for both ransomware and malware is similar, the ease with which we remove this malware once it gains access to a system is different. While we can try to remove other types of malware by using software, it’s hard to do the same with ransomware. Only when the payment is fulfilled can the ransomware be removed.

Identification 

When a system is infected with malware, it can be hard to identify it. The malware doesn’t make itself known, and you can only detect it using the anti-virus programs and suspect when your system’s performance is slowing down. If it’s mild malware, you can reconfigure the operating system to get rid of it. Or, you can implement a disaster recovery program to salvage some of the damage.

However, in the case of ransomware, the ransomware will make itself known soon after it has infected a system by blocking your access. So there’s very little you can do when the damage is already done other than to pay up.

When we compare these different levels of impacts of both malware and ransomware, we see that ransomware can do more damage than ransomware since ransomware is almost always brutal.

How Can You Protect Yourself from Malware and Ransomware?

If you’re wondering how you can prevent any cybersecurity issue from happening, then you need to be critical of the protection programs you have in place. Apart from using software and tools to run regular security checks, it would help if you got a good data security team to help you increase security.

LayerOne Networks is an experienced IT consulting firm offering security services for businesses in Corpus Christi. With our security IT services, we help businesses increase their protection from such malicious software and keep their information safe. If you’re looking for an experienced team to help you out, then reach out to us now.

Security

How To Do Penetration Testing?

Did you know that many of the hacking incidents could’ve been avoided by proper penetration testing?

When you want to know how vulnerable your system is, the IT team goes for penetration testing. It’s also known as pen testing or ethical hacking in the colloquial language.

As a part of the penetration testing, the IT team tries to break down their defense using various techniques and new technologies. Such tests are vital for any organization to understand where they stand in data security and prepare for the following steps to amp it up.

In this blog, we’ll learn about the basics of performing penetration testing and the step-by-step procedure.

What Happens in Penetration Testing?

There’s no one way of conducting penetration testing simply because there’s no one way that hackers use to gain access. So the security team or the IT consulting firm performing the testing should think outside the box about the possible ways of attacks to the infrastructure.

So, in penetration testing, you can either test through individual applications, IT applications, standalone systems, servers, or networks or through the base of the IT infrastructure as a whole. The security team then identifies the weak points in the system that can make your entire IT infrastructure vulnerable.

Usually, the testers will sit down with the official website, platforms you commonly use, or your IP addresses and break down the firewall. This may range from gaining access by obtaining a password from any employee to running complex hacking algorithms.

There are several types of penetration tests:

  • Wireless testing
  • Internal and external testing
  • Blind testing
  • Social engineering
  • Physical testing
  • Targeted testing
  • Double-blind testing

Since the threat can come from any side and in any way, the testers need to be thorough about the different points of access to the systems and conduct pen testing through all of it. This should be performed regularly to make sure that there aren’t any new loopholes coming up. You can hire an expert IT consulting firm providing security services to help you out.

5 Step Process in a Penetration Testing

Step 1: Understanding the Test Expectations

 In a penetration test, there are several ways to go about it. While this is strictly a white hat practice, we need to venture into the gray or black hat practices to look at the vulnerabilities from the hacker’s perspective. From these black and gray hat tests, you’ll most likely identify the external vulnerabilities. 

Step 2: Setting Limits

While you’re planning the pen testing, you may also want to set the limitations of the test. For example, do you want the testers only to identify the vulnerable points of entry, or do you want them to gain access to your data?

Setting such boundaries for your testing will give a structure for the testers based on your current conditions.

Step 3: Reconnaissance

This is where you get down the nitty-gritty details of the test. You’ll consider the types of tests you’ll be performing, the systems, and the trouble points that need to be addressed. You’ll also be gathering the basic details of the target like domain names, IP addresses, and other important information you can collect.

Essentially, you’ll be collecting data to breach the network.

Step 4: System Breach Attempt

With the information you’ve collected in the previous step, you’ll put them to action. You can use any software or write any custom scripts to gain access to the internal information.

There may also be some technical discovery during the survey that indicates weakness in a particular area. The tester can attack this weakness through several hacking methods and try to gain access.

If the testing team cannot find any vulnerabilities during the survey, they may resort to getting the username and password through phishing attacks and social engineering.

Once the tester has gained access to the system, there are two ways to go based on the initial requirements. They can either mark it as a point of vulnerability or gain access, retain access and check how long it can sustain.

Step 5: Analysis of the Test

Once the testing team has completed the pen test, the last thing is to collate the findings. This will be:

  • A list of vulnerabilities, 
  • The amount of sensitive data accessed,
  • The time is taken for the system to respond to the threat,
  • The duration the tester was able to retain access without detection, and
  • The following steps to prevent them.

Once you’ve identified the vulnerabilities, you can quickly go about fixing them with the help of your IT team and prevent hacking attacks. You can strengthen your firewalls, implement zero-trust security, enforce new security practices for your employees and increase your overall data security.

Conclusion 

When you think about the volume of work an IT team has to do to conduct this test and take steps to increase security, it’s overwhelming. This is when you can look for the guidance of an experienced security team from an IT consulting firm.

LayerOne Networks is one of the most trusted IT consulting firms offering security services in Corpus Christi. From managed services to enforcing high-security features for your IT infrastructure, we provide a broadband of IT services to ramp your team’s productivity. Reach out to us now to discuss more details.

Security

Cybersecurity Risks In A Pandemic: What You Need To Know

Ever since the work-from-home culture has become the norm, many cybersecurity risks are coming to light.

Companies that were once confident in their data security can now be seen fretting about picking up the pieces and enforcing high-security measures to protect their confidential information. And many new cyberthreats that weren’t given much notice before and are becoming the prime focus now.

At LayerOne Networks, we have helped our customers transition with ease to the new work-from-home norm and maintain their IT security. While there are a few critical adjustments needed from the side of the organization, you can still enforce the same level of security even during this change of workplace. 

The Vulnerable State of Companies in the Remote Culture

The COVID-19 pandemic turned the whole world upside down. Companies that never allowed WFH before are now becoming a permanent remote team now. Managers who once preferred to have their teams work from the office have to meet them on virtual calls. Everyone is adopting the new normal and so should your IT system.

It’s a vulnerable state for the company, especially for the cybersecurity team, to navigate this sudden change. Within a single month, many organizations have to facilitate the means for employees to work from anywhere and the IT infrastructure and security teams played a central role in it.

Understandably, not a lot of businesses were ready for this shift. The quick rise in digital communications that replaced face-to-face discussions made companies more prone to attacks from outside. As a result, the cybersecurity teams and IT consulting firms were under immense pressure to develop new ways to safeguard the organizations from threats.

Meanwhile, the hackers quickly got down to work and used phishing emails and fake websites to lure the employees into allowing the malware inside. Some unfortunate companies to become victims went swiftly under attack and were struggling hard to survive.

During such times, we worked with many clients to quickly facilitate safe operations with remote working. Our managed IT services took care of this shift to remote work-life and enforced new security systems and procedures for a safe working atmosphere from anywhere.

Here are some of the crucial things that every business needs to know about cybersecurity in the pandemic.

5 Essential Evolutions to Improve Cybersecurity During Pandemic

First of all, we need to understand that developing better cybersecurity systems for employees in the pandemic isn’t complete without their involvement. Here are the things we need to address to upgrade security systems.

  • Educate the Employees About Safe Practices

The entire workforce should be aware of cybersecurity threats that could compromise the whole company. Most of these threats trick the employees into taking some action and then gaining access through that. 

Firstly, businesses need to conduct regular security workshops with practical examples to take the employees through various ways to be targeted. Secondly, the cybersecurity team should send test phishing emails and other similar security attacks designed to draw out the employees who are most vulnerable and help them increase their security awareness. 

  • Shift to New IT Operating Models

Businesses that need to respond quickly to such a long-term situation can’t do well with a bare minimum solution. You need a new operating model that considers the remote work culture and includes high-security tools and applications with stringent protection measures. 

  • Use Cloud-Based Security Platform

When even your cybersecurity professionals are working from home, adapting to a cloud-based security system makes sense.

It will give your employees instant access to files and databases and help your data security team maintain a stronghold on security. They can enforce threat protection solutions, conduct regular testing and security audits and take quick actions when a threat is detected. Also, cloud-based solutions can reduce your operating costs and give control over remote employees’ protection measures.

  • Create a Renewing System of Access & Authorization

Gaining access to passwords and authorization answers is easier in the remote work culture. This is why you need to make sure that they don’t fall into the wrong hands or safeguard the system even when that happens.

You need to create a regular system of changing the passwords every few weeks, along with any other authorization details. You can also provide remote access to systems without a VPN and set up privileged access management to give a higher level of access to the IT admin teams.

  • Implement New Security Technologies

As new cyber technologies emerge, so do hacking technologies.

With that in mind, you need to educate your employees about updating their systems to newer software versions and conducting regular checks for viruses and malware.

You can hire an external IT consulting firm to implement new cybersecurity technologies that identify the latest threats and prepare to prevent them from gaining access. These new threats are often not detected during manual checks, and therefore, cybersecurity technology should be able to see instances in nanoseconds. 

If you want to implement such security solutions, you can now consult with one of our data security experts.

Wrapping Up

Cybersecurity risks have heightened ever since the pandemic broke out and remote work culture was introduced. You can still keep your business protected by staying on top of the cybersecurity threats, raising new policies for employees, educating them, and implementing new security measures.

LayerOne Networks is one of the top IT consulting firms in Corpus Christi offering security services. Reach out to our team to know more about how we can enhance your cybersecurity.

Security

What Is The Need For IT Security And Cybersecurity?

Ever had a scare of an unauthorized attempt to breach your IT system?

When you had to go through such a harrowing experience, you would know why you should give due importance to IT security. 

Cyberattacks are becoming so frequent and common. Nowadays, hackers aren’t just targeting the big corporations but also the small startups and even ordinary individuals. So when the risks of being open to such cyber threats are increasing, we need to mount additional security to protect our IT systems from such malicious attempts.

In this blog, we’ll look at some strong reasons you need data security systems and how you can enforce them.

3 Reasons Why Your Company Needs Powerful IT Security

At LayerOne Networks, one of the top IT consulting firms in the country, we’ve seen many clients coming to us after data breaches or cyber threats. And there’s one thing we advise to all of them — take preventive measures before the danger becomes real and does real damage. We offer security IT services for clients to protect themselves before the threat becomes a significant issue.

This is why our cybersecurity experts are bringing together some compelling reasons for you to take IT security seriously before you become a victim.

  • Hackers Leave No One

The threat of cyberattacks is accurate, and it’s there to stay. Therefore, every organization has to take preventive measures to keep their data safe and their customers’ sensitive information secure. 

Several hackers have different purposes for hacking and gaining access. Some do it for monetary purposes, some for political reasons, and some do it just because they can! There are so many different kinds of hacking attempts that don’t see the nature of your business or the amount of money you have.

You may be a slowly-growing startup, and you may still be hacked or infiltrated with ransomware just because your system was easy to break.

In a first-ever study at the University of Maryland, hacker attempts are found to happen every 39 seconds on average! Even if you’ve been spared till now, you never know when your turn might come. So, it’s always better to be cautious and on your defense to protect your IT systems.

  • The Developments in Technologies Help the Hackers Too

As we see new technologies coming up for data protection and cybersecurity, we must remember that more such technologies can help hackers. The hackers are also getting armed with new tools and software, which allows them to break firewalls and find loopholes in the security systems.

For example, when your employees use IoT devices in the same network they use to log in to your company’s server, it becomes even more accessible for hackers to gain access. Such technological advancements are proving to be a cybersecurity threat and can compromise even highly secure systems.

Companies need to be cautious with the software they use and be stringent with employee policies on the login. You don’t just need robust cybersecurity solutions but should also teach your employees to conduct business in a safe atmosphere.

  • Cybersecurity Threats Are Far More Than We Think

When we say cybersecurity, it doesn’t just mean protecting the access pages and keeping up firewalls. There are multiple threats in cybersecurity that require individual attention:

Data security is the protection of the information stored in an offline database or online cloud storage. There are numerous ways through which hackers can gain access to these storage systems. Several security measures are needed to prevent that, like data encryption, tokenization, data access security management, and many more.

Network security is essential to protect the entire IT system from unauthorized access through the networks. Intruders generally use malware or viruses to get access details and codes and use them to target companies.

You can improve network security through antivirus programs, firewalls, renewing new passwords regularly, antispy software, and antimalware software.

Application security is needed when a particular application is targeted — either to gain access to the application’s critical information or gain access to the entire system through the application. Applications can be protected from such access through regular maintenance and security checks, updating the applications often, and conducting vulnerability and penetration testing to find loopholes in the security systems.

These are just a few of the common cybersecurity risks and systems you need. Unfortunately, there are far more such security risks your company is prone to, and it’s vital to analyze and understand every one of them to ensure their security.

What to Look for in a Cybersecurity Service Provider

If you’re searching for someone to provide managed IT services, including cybersecurity, then you need to know what you’re looking for.

Here are some essential qualities that a cybersecurity provider should have:

  • Expertise in various types of cybersecurity 
  • Expertise in the recent hacking technologies and IT security solutions
  • Prompt in chipping in and fixing issues
  • Dependable to handle the sensitive information
  • Previous history of successful security projects and satisfied clients
  • Demonstrated ability to control the security of your entire IT infrastructure 
  • An eye for finding security loopholes and knowledge of improving the current position

If you’ve been wondering, ‘Where can I find such IT services near me to enforce cybersecurity?’, we have the solution. LayerOne Networks offers IT consulting services on cybersecurity to help you figure out the best way to keep your systems safe.

Security

Importance of Zero Trust Security for Your Business

The way in which businesses operate today is a far cry from what it was a couple of years back. The hard truth? The information is no longer as secure as we thought it was.

With so many hacking attempts and everyday news of security breaches, it’s becoming harder to trust any person or technology. In other words, zero trust sounds like the best idea.

This forms the crux of zero trust security, where every person or access is considered hostile until proven otherwise. This zero trust notion was first introduced in a paper in 2010 by John Kindervag from Forrester Research. Soon the term caught on, considering the volatile and technologically advanced world we’re living in.

A zero trust solution for data security essentially means that every request isn’t trusted until it’s verified. And this happens every single time a user tries to gain access or sends a request. So, why should you consider zero trust security for your business? Let’s find out.

5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs Zero Trust Security

At LayerOne Networks, our security experts have implemented zero trust security systems for some of our clients. In this blog, we’ll explain why you need to include zero trust security as a part of your managed IT services

  • You Need Additional Protection for Integration with Third-Party Services

Many times, we tend to link our software with other third-party applications to improve productivity. Or, we use multiple tools to build an application. For example, software developers may use third-party services for logging, authentication, and other similar needs. So, in the end, even a single software may have a host of different applications that have access to the information.

This is when zero trust security plays a crucial role. When every single request passing through the application is verified, we can prevent access or attacks from happening through these third parties. 

  • You Get Complete Visibility into the Logins

The zero trust security works with the notion that the system is already compromised and has to verify every action. While it acts on the process of verification, it never trusts anything. 

So, the visibility of the traffic to the application plays a central role in the security. Every single network log, access, the location of the access, and other details are recorded. The security team can monitor these movements of data and the login details for every single one of the users.

You can also use this data to analyze the attacks or attempts of hacking to pinpoint the exact location, user, and nature. One important point to note here is that zero trust security also monitors the DNS traffic, which is usually unchecked in traditional systems. This helps to avoid unauthorized data access and predict exfiltration.

  • You Need to Maintain Data Security Even with the Remote Work Culture

Ever since the pandemic hit us more than 18 months back, the remote work culture has become a norm. Many companies have permanently allowed for WFH, while some are still in the transitional stage. 

If you have some of your employees working from home, we have to realize that their home networks wouldn’t be as secure as our office networks. It is easier to hack into your enterprise using the home networks.

Zero trust security becomes helpful in such cases since it already considers that the threat is in. It suspects every single request and interaction to and from the application, which means it can stop and verify new instances of request from the WFH employees and prevent any security attacks.

  • You Can Reduce Your Vulnerability

Let’s face it. Every organization that has some amount of dependency on online tools and applications is prone to cyberattacks. And we also have lots of vendors, external service providers, and freelancers that have access to our network. So when you’re switching IT providers or moving to new freelancers, they may still have access even after they’ve stopped working for your business.

When there’s something you can do to minimize your vulnerability and increase your security, it’s essential to consider it. Otherwise, you can’t imagine the consequences of your customers’ sensitive information and operational data falling into the wrong hands.

Zero trust security disallows application access until the user can positively prove their identity. It analyzes the way the device or the user is communicating, the network through which they’re communicating, and puts them through various authorizations to verify them.

Every communication through the application is checked for malicious attacks, which means your business operations will be better protected than most other security systems.

  • You Can Minimize the Security Tech Stacks

As more and more cyberthreats are cropping up and hackers are coming up with new ways to gain access or threaten organizations, the security stacks that are needed to protect ourselves have also increased. So when you want the manpower to implement so many of these tech stacks, you need to hire a big security team to build and manage them. 

But with zero trust security, you can do away with most of the security tech stacks and replace them with a single device in the cloud that monitors every piece of communication. You can minimize the complexity of the projects and the technologies needed and to save on employee costs.

Wrapping Up

In today’s distributed organization, the importance of data security has increased by folds. Zero trust security can reduce your vulnerabilities and improve data protection through the application. 

LayerOne Networks is one of the top IT consulting firms offering managed IT services, data security solutions, and IT consulting services. If you have a business in Corpus Christi and are searching for ‘IT services near me,’ then reach out to us now.

Security

7 Tips for Disaster Recovery Planning to Help Protect Your Business

Can you imagine a situation when even your backup fails?

Yes, we know that’s one of the worst things that can happen to your business. But as much as we don’t want to imagine such a situation, it’s always better to be prepared for it.

When you rely on just your local storage and a backup, you don’t have any way to get back the lost data when the IT system goes down. Having a disaster recovery plan ready will help you salvage the data and critical business information even when the unfortunate happens.

If you haven’t yet started the disaster recovery planning, then this blog will guide you to build one for your business.

7 Tips for Planning Disaster Recovery for Businesses

Before we go on to the actual procedure of setting up a disaster recovery plan, you need to understand that this is more than just a backup. A disaster recovery plan comes into play when your main system, as well as the backups, fail. 

Many IT consulting firms and cloud service providers work together to offer disaster recovery planning customized to your business. Even when you hire one, it’s always essential to know the planning that goes behind.

  • 1. Assess Your Threats & Risks

How will the disaster occur? 

This must be the first question you ask yourself and your IT team. Assess your IT infrastructure and backup options and think about all the various ways in which it goes down, gets corrupted, or, even worse, hacked.

If you want to prepare for the worst, you have to think about the worst to create procedures to tackle the situation.

  • 2. Identify & Prioritize the Critical Systems

Creating a disaster recovery plan by considering all of your threats is essential. However, what will happen when multiple threats happen at once?

This is when you need to prioritize. Think of all the bare minimum that you need to run your business and on which you have critical information. You should prioritize the recovery of such systems first. 

As a part of the disaster recovery plan, you need to have a priority list of systems you need to recover in order. Put this down in writing so that your IT team can get to the task by referring to this list when the chaos breaks out.

  • 3. Have a Quick Response Team

You may think that your entire IT team is more than enough to manage any such crisis. But, more often, the IT team will get drowned in a chaotic situation with so many things to handle. 

This is when you need to bring the recovery experts in. These are people who plan and execute the disaster recovery day in and day out and, therefore, have the skillset to quickly get on the job without getting anxious. 

You can either hire the experts and make them a part of your in-house team or have a third-party team outsourced and ready. 

At LayerOne Networks, we offer disaster recovery and security service for companies in Corpus Christi. Our recovery experts have worked on multiple projects to successfully recover and restore the data within minimal downtime. You can call us at (361)-653-6800 for more information.

  • 4. Create Proper Communication Channels

Who should your IT team inform first when the disaster strikes? Who is next? And next?

All of this information should be put in writing and given to the IT team. It is easy to get flustered and confused when a disaster strikes. So, having documentation of the communication channels will set the IT team in the right direction to resolve and recover.

  • 5. Be Realistic in Your Recovery Goals

We want the disaster to be managed as soon as possible and the IT system restored quickly. But that’s not what happens in real life. Creating unrealistic goals for the recovery would only make things even worse.

So, to have realistic goals, we need to understand two parameters: Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO). Both of these metrics tell us the acceptable amount of time your system can be down and the time it will take to recover the data. We need to understand and keep track of the metrics when retrieving the data.

  • 6. Test Your Recovery Plan

We cannot stress more the importance of having a trial run of the recovery plan. You can identify the bottlenecks in the plan and improve it only when you go through the disaster recovery process.

Furthermore, it prepares your employees to respond properly and take the necessary actions to support the recovery. You can conduct trial runs for disaster recovery every once in a few months so that the employees remember what to do when the real thing strikes.

  • 7. Detail the Alternate Recovery Plans

This is the most desperate situation a business can find itself in. Nonetheless, we need to plan for it. 

There have been instances where the employees couldn’t access the local disaster recovery sites or cloud storage during an emergency due to unavoidable reasons. 

So, what’s the next step in that case? Do you plan to have some critical data stored in another online backup storage? Or do you have a plan to have some offline backup at a distant location?

Think about what to do in the worst-case scenario when the recovery plan doesn’t go through. You can plan to have backup storage at an alternate location and get it delivered or some cloud location where your team can access critical files.

Wrapping Up

Having a disaster recovery plan is a must for every business due to the number of threats and risks we’re open to. At LayerOne Networks, our recovery experts offer managed IT services in Corpus Christi to help businesses prepare and safeguard themselves against disasters.

You can schedule a consultation call with one of our experts to know more about how we can help you.

 

Security

Security As A Service: Align SECaaS to Your Cybersecurity Risks

Security can’t just be tied to data centers. How can you enforce security for your applications on the cloud hosted from another part of the world?

Enter, Security-as-a-Service, otherwise known in short as SECaaS. 

Most businesses have shifted to cloud platforms to build, store and manage applications. In such cases, the business operations happen entirely through a network connected to the cloud.

With the increasing threat of cybersecurity, SECaaS ensures maximum safety for the information sent to and from the cloud using the network.

So, what actually is SECaaS and how can it help you?

Let’s find out.

What is Security-as-a-Service?

Simply put, Security-as-a-Service is an outsourced model for cybersecurity services. Through SECaaS, the company providing IT security services will offer the required technologies for cybersecurity to make the cloud and mobile platforms safe and secure.

The cybersecurity service provider will take control of your online security needs, including monitoring, intrusion, authentication, updation, malware protection and antivirus security. This provider will also be well-equipped to handle any future threats and advise on the best practices for implementing security for any new applications.

The 2019 Gartner report, “The Future of Network Security Is in the Cloud”, mentions: 

“What security and risk professionals in a digital enterprise need is a worldwide fabric/mesh of network and network security capabilities that can be applied when and where needed to connect entities to the networked capabilities they need access to.’

This is exactly what we focus on at LayerOne Networks. By combining the security for network, web gateway, cloud access security broker and other network access points, our data security service providers at Corpus Christi focus on delivering holistic cybersecurity solutions customized to business needs. 

We help to work against the cybersecurity risks and resolve them without causing any harm to your organization.

5 Common Cybersecurity Risks That Every Business Is Exposed To

For any typical business, irrespective of the scale, there are lots of cybersecurity risks you’ll encounter:

  1. 1. Malware Attack: This can come into the system in any form, like using free software or from any downloads. 
  2. 2. Data Breach: Hackers gain access to the storage, usually by brute force attack or through network hacks, to find the password.
  3. 3. Phishing Attacks: Malware or virus gets downloaded into the system when users click on a link and gain access to compromise the system.
  4. 4. Ransomware: This is one of the most recent and fast-growing cyberattacks where hackers will lock access to the information until the ransom is paid.
  5. 5. IoT Attacks: Hackers use the IoT devices and networks to crack the password and enter the network as one of the usual users

These are just some of the common cybersecurity risks that any business can face. You never know when these attacks will happen or if you’ve been targeted. So, you need a strong cybersecurity team to continually monitor your security measures, identify data breaches and attack attempts and enforce higher security to avoid these issues in the future.

Why Do You Need SECaaS?

If you are using a cloud network for your business operations, then you most definitely need SECaaS. But apart from that, if you’re thinking about managing cybersecurity in-house, we strongly advise you to consider the advantages of outsourcing SECaaS from an experienced provider. Here’s why you need an external SECaaS provider.

  • Expertise at Minimum Security Costs

This is one of the top reasons why you need an external SECaaS. 

We all know that with the rise in cybersecurity, no mundane security measures will make the cut. You need uncompromised, top-notch cybersecurity that protects your information to the maximum.

When you outsource to a good cybersecurity provider, you can save so much money and at the same time, get experts to work on your security details.

  • Quick Response Time

Generally, SMBs don’t have the resources to hire a complete in-house team for cybersecurity. This blows them wide open for cyberattacks from outside and no one to battle it from their side.

Instead, SMBs can opt to outsource it to SECaaS who will run regular maintenance checks and be there for the business when an attack hits. Time is of the essence in cyberattacks. The more time we take to respond, the more the attackers will gain access. 

A SECaaS provider will have a standby team ready to manage and tackle any attacks, put a stop to it and salvage as much as possible.

  • Keep Your Security Details Updated

If you think installing malware management software and an antivirus application is enough to protect your sensitive data, then you’re in for a shock.

Hackers are regularly working on cracking the best of the best security technologies, which is why the security software companies release regular updates to keep ourselves one step ahead of them. So, you need a team to update, monitor, analyze and improve your cybersecurity details. This is where the help of a SECaaS provider comes in.

  • Easy Scalability

When you’re planning to expand your organization or include new applications, you also should extend the shield of cybersecurity to the new inclusions. This can require lots of new resources, manpower and technology equipment if you plan to do it alone.

Instead, with a SECaaS provider, you can easily scale up or scale down your security measures as and when you need without any vast expenditure. This cybersecurity will be one thing less on your checklist when focussing on expansions.

How Can You Hire a Good SECaaS Provider?

There are so many companies offering managed IT security services in the market. So, then how can you find the best one for you. Here are a few things to look at:

  • Expertise
  • The size of the team
  • The technologies they use
  • The cost of the services
  • The previous and current client experience
  • Security strategies
  • Risk management strategies
  • Backup strategies

Based on this information, you can make an informed decision to choose the best company for SECaaS.

If you’re looking for a trusted company offering security service in Corpus Christi, talk to one of our security experts at 361-653-6800 and get an idea of our expertise and services.