Security

Benefits & Risks of Cloud Computing and Cybersecurity

Cloud computing is a natural fit for cybersecurity. 

For large corporations and even small and medium-sized businesses, the cloud offers a variety of benefits that can improve operational performance. And for most companies, moving to the cloud and leveraging cybersecurity is an essential step toward future growth.

It’s becoming more and more common for companies to outsource their IT needs to save time and money, but with increased outsourcing comes increased risk. 

In this blog, we’ll look at the benefits and risks of cloud computing as well as cybersecurity.

Why is Cloud Computing + Cybersecurity the Best Choice?

CloudComputing

Cloud computing is at the top of its popularity and for a good reason. It makes companies more efficient, productive, and profitable. Though the cloud does have some drawbacks when it comes to security, there are far more benefits than outweigh them.

Scalability 

One of the most prominent benefits of cloud computing is its scalability. When it comes to cybersecurity, this means that companies can now have access to data security solutions and protocols that they couldn’t afford on their own. As their businesses grow, so will their cloud-based security solutions and protocols by using firewalls and other tools when they need them.

Custom Security

Another benefit of cloud computing is that it allows companies to customize the level of protection they receive based on their specific industry or business needs. For example, if you’re an e-commerce company, you can focus specifically on data security measures for credit card information as opposed to a government agency that might have different regulations or concerns. You can even customize protections based on your specific business model—a SaaS provider would have different needs than an IaaS provider.

Instant Data Access

Cloud computing makes it easier for employees to work from multiple locations on multiple devices like smartphones and tablets. This can help improve productivity, especially if the company has employees that work remotely or travel frequently.

Secure Data Storage

Companies use cloud computing to store information in offsite data centers, accessible through the internet by authorized users. The cloud stores data securely so that it takes a lot more effort to steal information than with traditional storage methods like hard drives and memory sticks.

Quick Information Sharing

Cloud computing allows for faster access to information which means less time wasted searching for files or waiting for them to download from an email attachment. Not only does this increase efficiency, but also improves customer service as well because customers don’t have to wait as long when making inquiries about products or services offered by the company.

Inexpensive; No Infrastructure Costs

Cloud computing offers cost benefits because you don’t have to invest in expensive hardware equipment or software systems to get started. You also don’t have to worry about spending money on servers and other IT infrastructure and cybersecurity architecture, as everything from data storage to upgrades is taken care of by your service provider. This makes it easy for small businesses to manage their technology needs without straining their budgets or resources.

Automatic Software Updates 

Most cloud service providers offer automatic updates as part of their service, so users don’t have to worry about downloading or installing updates and patches.

This saves them time and makes it easier to get new features without having to buy new versions of the software they use.

What are the Downsides of Cloud and Cybersecurity?

Cloud and Cybersecurity

Cloud Computing has become a bit of a buzzword in the past few years. While some people are still hesitant to adopt this technology, many businesses have already made the transition. And while there are many reasons why Cloud Computing can be beneficial, it also has its share of risks. 

So is it worth it? Let’s dive into the three main risks associated with Cloud Computing and see how you can mitigate them.

Concerns about Outage

The biggest drawback of cloud computing is not having access to the data if there’s an outage on one of their servers or something happens where they can no longer provide service for some reason (e.g. natural disaster). In this case, you’ll need a physical backup to resume your work and if all your data resides on the cloud, you may need to wait until the cloud reboots to begin your work.

Solution: A great solution to handle this issue is to choose a reliable provider. There are many cloud computing services online and you can get the help of an IT consulting firm to choose a provider where there are no such issues.

Concerns about Data Security 

One of the things that makes people feel uncomfortable about storing their data in the cloud is that they don’t have control over it anymore. You store all of your sensitive data online and trust one or several third-party providers to keep it safe, but what if they fail?

What if you accidentally delete a file and forget to check your trash folder? If you don’t have a backup, all that information will be lost forever, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Solution: You can use backup and recovery solutions to keep your data safe even in case you inadvertently deleted your information. While this is a common issue, this happens with all systems — both physical servers and the cloud.

Concerns about Insider Threats

Insider threats are a big problem for cloud computing. The cloud is only as secure as its weakest link, and the weakest link is often the people who have access to the data.

There are employees in your organization who have access to sensitive data, and they may not be using it responsibly. Sometimes, that’s because they’re malicious — they’re actively trying to harm the company by selling or leaking sensitive information. However, most other times, it’s because they aren’t educated about security or safety protocols. They might be sloppy with their passwords or click on phishing links because they don’t recognize them as suspicious. This could harm your entire cloud network.

Solution: The best way to handle this issue is to conduct regular safety programs and educational seminars to keep your employees appraised about the safety measures they need to follow.

Looking for a company offering IT consultant service and security service in Corpus Christi? Reach out to our team today to get guidance on the latest cloud security measures and protocols.

Security

The Importance of Cyber Security Architecture

Organizations spend enormous amounts of time and money on cyber security. As a result, they prioritize protection based on potential harm. This includes theft of customer information, loss of intellectual property, or direct damage to the physical infrastructure.

However, cyber security is not just about protecting the organization from external threats. It is also about protecting the employees of the organization. Employees often have access to confidential information about customers, suppliers, and other vendors and data about the company’s employees, products, and finances. If sold or stolen, this confidential information can lead to identity theft, loss of customers, and lower employee morale.

Having a solid security plan can increase the overall security of the IT infrastructure and enable an additional level of protection in all online activities.

Every business needs security

data-security-corpus-christi

Security architecture helps IT and security professionals identify the security controls that are required to protect an organization. It takes into account the organization’s goals, policies, business needs, and existing technology. 

The framework helps determine how security controls will be managed and implemented. It also identifies what security capabilities are required and what controls need to be implemented.

Security architecture is much more than a collection of security tools and policies. It is a set of interconnected processes, procedures, and technologies that protect information and infrastructure from threats.

Here’s how to think about security architecture: Your business needs to communicate securely with partners, customers, and vendors. It needs to store information securely. It needs to authenticate users and devices and encrypt their communications. It needs to manage user privileges, provide secure remote access, and protect against information leakage.

Security architecture supports all of this. In addition, it ensures that security is implemented effectively and consistently.

Essential components of security architecture

Security architecture framework should include the following components:

  • Security framework: This refers to a collection of statements that describe how security controls should be implemented.
  • Security policies: These define the acceptable levels of risk, operations, and loss for the organization.
  • Security requirements: These determine how security controls should be implemented to protect the organization from threats.
  • Security capabilities: These set how security controls will respond when a security event occurs.
  • Security controls: These define how security controls are implemented.
  • Security management: This refers to a collection of statements describing how security should be managed.

Implementing a security architecture for your business

Security architecture is an organization’s overall security strategy to protect its information and systems from external threats.

However, not all security architectures are created equally. While all organizations need security architecture, not all organizations have the same needs or goals. 

Whatever the plans are, the need for IT security in an organization can be split into four categories: 

  • Prevention and detection 
  • Monitoring and analysis 
  • Incident response  
  • Crisis communications

This is why security experts from our IT consultant service do extensive research before coming up with a security architecture plan that meets your company’s needs. Here are some of the key processes for creating a security architecture.

1. Understanding business goals & structure

Security architectures are most often designed to meet an organization’s business objectives, such as maintaining data security, preventing unauthorized access, and complying with regulatory standards.

For example, a healthcare organization’s security architecture might include measures to prevent hacking of its computer systems from complying with HIPAA regulations.

Security architecture aims to identify, manage, and mitigate risks to an organization’s information assets. Good security architecture helps an organization achieve its business objectives, such as protecting sensitive data and controlling costs.

Understanding the scope of IT security and devising a plan around it is incredibly important.

2. Customize the plan according to the scope

Security architectures are not one-size-fits-all. Some organizations, such as financial institutions, need more protection than others. Different businesses, such as manufacturing corporations deal with different risks. An organization’s security architecture should meet its business objectives by protecting information assets and supporting business strategy.

The best security architectures are those that align with an organization’s specific business goals. This is why we sit down with the team to develop a strong plan and an implementation strategy for the security architecture. 

3. Creating a strategy

We begin by creating an overall security strategy. Most security architectures include the software, hardware, and policies that provide security. Security architectures also address various security technologies, including firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and anti-virus systems.

This high-level strategy includes a high level of threat and risk analysis.

4. Building the design

We set security priorities first. The highest priorities are mapped to the highest priority projects.

Security architects design security processes. These may include incident reporting, handling, and change management.

5. Developing architecture 

Security architects create security plans that identify which security technologies are suitable for the highest priority security projects. Security architects also develop policies, standards, and procedures that guide security engineers and system administrators in implementing and using the security architectures.

6. Training employees

They train employees with the best security practices in mind. This is crucial to ensure that the employees meet the high-security standards and do everything they can to maintain online security. 

Do you want to implement a robust security architecture for your organization? Let our security experts at LayerOne Networks help you. We are one of the most experienced IT consulting firms that provide the best security service in Corpus Christi. Contact our team to get insights into devising an architecture customized for you.

Security

What is Spear-Phishing And How to Prevent It?

Spear-phishing is becoming an increasingly common threat. This is due to increased public reliance on the internet and the growing complexity of technology. 

The constantly changing landscape of data security makes it difficult for organizations to institute effective defenses. 

In this blog, we’ll look at what spear-phishing is and how you can protect yourself from becoming a victim.

What is spear-phishing? and how is it different from phishing?

The difference between phishing and spear-phishing is that the attacker makes a general attempt to obtain sensitive information from random people in phishing. In spear-phishing, the attacker makes a particular attempt to get sensitive information from a specific person.

The motive behind spear-phishing is usually an attempt to steal money and disrupt or destroy the victim’s business. In contrast, phishing is more often a random attack designed to steal money. 

Spear-phishing scams are more sophisticated in that they are targeted, and attackers use social engineering techniques like spoofing. The attackers use social engineering to get the victim to download a malicious application or email attachment. The application or email attachment downloads gigabytes of malware, which harvests the victim’s passwords, and other personal information.

data-security

How does a spear-phishing attack happen?

In spear-phishing, the attacker creates a convincing email that appears to be from a trusted source. For example, the phishing email could appear to come from a trusted source such as a bank or a well-known e-commerce company. The email might also contain a link or an attachment. If you click on the link or open the attachment, you could be taken to a website where the attacker has installed malicious software that can capture your information. The captured data could reveal your password, username, and other confidential information.

Spear-phishing can be incredibly dangerous because the attacker can obtain a great deal of information. The attacker can craft a message tailored to the victim by researching the victim, which increases the chances of falling for the attack.

Spear-phishing attacks often appear to come from trusted sources. For example, the phishing email could appear to come from a trusted source such as your bank or a well-known e-commerce company. The email could also contain a link or an attachment. If you click on the link or open the attachment, you could be taken to a website where the attacker has installed malicious software that can steal your information. The stolen information could reveal personal information such as your password, username, or other confidential facts about you.

What distinguishes spear-phishing emails from other emails?

  1. Phishing emails all contain a subject that relates to the topic that the email is actually about. 
  2. Phishing emails all have a link. Links in emails are the easiest way for hackers to trick you into  downloading malware.
  3. Phishing emails all contain an attachment. The most common attachments are Microsoft Word  documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PDFs. 
  4. Phishing emails all look legitimate. They appear as if they came from someone you know.

To avoid spear-phishing attacks, employees should follow these practices:

Never divulge your passwords

Legitimate businesses do not send emails asking for your password. If you receive an email that claims to be from a legitimate business with your username or password as one of the required fields, do not attempt to enter that information on that site. Instead, go directly to the business’ official webpage.

It’s also essential to change your passwords often. Make sure that you use different passwords for different accounts.

Use two-factor authentication

To protect yourself, use a Two-Factor authentication system. This means that you must provide another piece of information that is only known to you personally in addition to your password. Examples of this are a one-time code texted to your cellphone or a one-time pin sent to a landline telephone number.

Think twice before taking quick actions 

Hackers thrive on convincing you to take quick action without taking the time to think.

If you receive a threatening email, call the company directly. Be skeptical of any email that asks you to update your information. For example, an email that tells you “you have to update your information by going to www.something.com.” is more than likely a phishing email. 

Be aware that some phishing scams are clever. For example, an email may ask you to update your information because there has been a security breach, and that update will cost you money. Contact your credit card company or bank to verify any suspicious activity.

Check the URLs of the webpages

Sometimes the emails from phishers look so legitimate that we click on them. 

Hackers can make emails look like they’re from trusted companies such as FedEx, your bank, Amazon or PayPal. If you follow the link, you wind up at a web page that looks similar to a trusted businesses website except that instead of “FedEx.com,” it says, “phisher.com.”

The page asks for your login and password, and if you give them away, the phisher has your information. So make sure to check the URLs from the links you click on before you type in your login information.

Conclusion

There are just a few things you can do to protect yourself against spear-phishing attacks. To know more and prevent these incidents, you need a reliable IT consultant service. 

LayerOne Networks is an experienced and well-trusted firm providing managed IT and security service in Corpus Christi. You can reach out to our team of IT experts today to get suggestions and guidance on protecting anyone in your organization from spear-phishing attacks.

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.

Ultimate Guide on Data Security

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 vs. IT Compliance: What is the Difference?

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 Security vs. IT Compliance: What is the Difference?

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?

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

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?

Ransomware vs. Malware: What Is More Dangerous?

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?

How To Do 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

How To Do 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.

Cybersecurity Risks In A Pandemic: What You Need To Know

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

Cybersecurity Risks In A Pandemic: What You Need To Know

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

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

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

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.