Security

Secure your Zoom Meetings: Complete Guide

Video conferencing app Zoom has recently become the most preferred choice of thousands of organizations and businesses. With the current COVID-19 situation many countries have enforced shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders. As many of us are working from home, individuals and businesses are in quest of a chat service that is simple to use 

Deciding upon which technology will suit your business can be tough. Partnering with an expert IT professional allows you to find the perfect technology to fit your company without wasting time or guessing.

The use of VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) and Email were not enough for workers and management to hold their meetings. Although there are many other virtual conference solutions like Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting, BlueJeans, and Skype the top preference is Zoom.

In a recent company blog Zoom revealed that till December 2019, the company was hosting 10 million users a day that has now surged to 200 million.

When you must have first begun with Zoom you must have also thought:-

Is it safe to use the Zoom app?

How to use a zoom app or how to set it up correctly to avoid any data leakage?

What are the best practices to be followed?

Since inception Zoom has strived to provide a secure environment to its users. With numerous security features and host controls, this platform comes designed to efficiently manage all your meetings, help users communicate distantly, and prevent disruption.

A researcher in July 2019 disclosed a severe security issue in which Zoom opened up webcams and compromised to persistent spying; a bug that stayed in place in spite of the software being uninstalled due to a leftover local web server.

To ensure zoom security best practices, a dedicated security tab was presented to streamline the process of changing security settings for hosts and meeting participants. But with the rising popularity of Zoom, there were security ramifications. And despite Zoom’s Security Resource Guide and Zoom’s recent steps to address its security and privacy, issues still remain. Privacy policy of the firm details extensive data collection and “Zoom bombing

Let’s glance upon some important steps that can be taken to preserve the security of your next meeting as much as possible

Do not share your Zoom account details on public forums

Most vital point for ensuring your meeting to be secure is not to share a link to a meeting on a public forum. Doing this makes it more vulnerable to hackers. Maximum Zoom meetings have an open for anyone to join link that if clicked allows anyone to join. This link if shared on Twitter or Facebook can create risk.

Hackers can easily collect such links and share them with groups with the definite intention of Zoombombing. Also the same applies to meeting IDs. Hence mitigating these risks and avoiding putting your meeting link in public places is advisable.

If you need to create a meeting for more than a couple of colleagues/friends, it is good that you don’t use your usual meeting ID and get a different password instead. You can do this via a web interface.

Validate Users

When you create any new event, only signed-in-users should be allowed to participate.

Lock Down Your Meeting

Once you begin your meeting, head over to the “Manage Participants” tab and click on “More” and “Lock” the meeting once all your participants are in. This will prevent hackers from joining even if access details/meeting IDs has been leaked. 

Turn Off Participant Screen Sharing

Disable the ability for meeting participants to share their screen as nobody is interested to see pornographic material shared by a Zoom bomber. You can access this option from the new “Security” tab in active sessions. 

Join Before Host

It is good that you don’t allow others to join your meeting before you arrive, as the host. You can enforce this setting under “Account Settings” for a group.

Set up a Registration System

You can check out tools like Eventbrite which is used to register the details of participants who wish to attend the meeting session. You can then send a link and password via private message to registered attendees. This move works as a double check to safeguard your meetings.

Another way to screen the participants before they enter your meeting is the Waiting Room feature. This feature gives hosts more control over session security and is legitimately useful for purposes including virtual office hours/interviews.

Check for Zoom Security Tips & Update

As security issues arise and solutions are deployed or some of the functions are disabled, one should ensure that they have the latest version. If you want you can check this, open the desktop application, on the top-right click on your profile, and select “Check for Updates”.

Avoid file-sharing features of meetings, especially if you think unwanted users are sending content which can be malicious. You can prefer to share your material via Box or Google Drive instead. Also, Zoom has disabled this feature anyway due to “possible security susceptibility.”

Kick-off Nuisance Attendees

You can remove participants if you find them disrupting your meeting.  Hover over the name, tick “More,” and kick them off. You can also ensure that they do not rejoin your meeting by disabling “Allow Removed Participants to Rejoin” below the “Settings: Meetings – Basic” tab.

Make sure everyone in your team is comfortable and aware of zoom security advice and its settings if you are planning to use Zoom for business purposes. Download the Zoom client directly from the legitimate Zoom.us site and not from any other source.

Happy Zooming!!

 

Security

6 Cloud Computing Trends to Watch In 2020

Cloud computing services is a dynamic industry that is growing at a breath neck pace. More and more businesses, large and small, are turning to the use of the internet to process, manage, and store data, rather than using a local server or a personal computer.

So, why is cloud computing so popular? It offers redundancy, stability, and security. It allows both users and companies to run software without installing it. It eliminates the problem of buying and maintaining hardware. The cloud also gives users the opportunity to access content from almost anywhere. Generally, it is more affordable, which makes it suitable for businesses of any size. And for smaller companies who don’t have the resources to employ system administrators, managed cloud services are an excellent solution.

As hot as the cloud computing services market is (Forbes reports that 83% of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud by 2020), it is almost impossible to predict where the industry is going. Still, there are certain big-picture trends that are shaping the market and ultimately are expected to influence the future of Cloud Computing.

So, let’s take a look at 6 of the top trends influencing cloud computing in the year 2020.

  • Multi-Cloud Computing Evolves Toward Omni-Cloud

Large businesses have been routinely distributing workloads across multiple cloud providers for a while now. This is because they have found that multiple Infrastructure-as-a-Service providers can deliver their increasing demands for:

  • Greater availability of compute cycles in real-time
  • More efficient connectivity across data platforms
  • Application movability
  • Cross-platform associations by vendors

In the future, we can expect to see the multi-cloud start to look a lot more like an Omni-cloud. As applications become more portable, data becomes more mobile, computation speeds continue to increase, and vendors form more alliances, multi-cloud services will become linked to provide cross-cloud solutions to the most complex computing needs. The largest enterprises will benefit from omni-cloud computing services because the enterprises can use a wide variety of niche providers and hyper-scalers to acquire differentiated services at competitive prices while avoiding vendor lock-in.

  • Serverless Computing Takes Over

When cloud-based systems originally came into existence, the servers were leased based on pre-determined server space needs. This resulted in inefficient resource usage and unnecessary costs. Then, serverless computing was created to offer a kind of “Pay as you Go” model.

Serverless computing involves providing backend services on an as-used basis. Servers are still used, but a company is charged based on usage, not on a fixed amount of bandwidth or number of servers. The cloud provider manages code execution and the customer only pays when the code is running. So, the service auto-scales depending on demand.

Serverless computing can help companies regulate their expenses and devise tactics to better utilize the available resources. The serverless model with cloud hosting services is thus more efficient and profitable. So, we can expect serverless computing will continue to expand and take over as cloud computing advances and becomes more sophisticated.

  • Quantum Computing Becomes a Driver

Quantum computing allows servers to process data at super-fast speeds. And since the cloud relies on fast networks with no backlogs, quantum computing will be a key driver of cloud computing growth.

We all know the passage of time will continue to bring technology evolution and improvement in the performance of computers. Businesses will become increasingly dependent on machines and systems that can process very large volumes of data, very quickly. Quantum computing will allow significant increases in computational power and compute efficiency. And the cloud will be integral to managing and storing lots of data in a viable and sustainable way.

  • Edge Computing will Gain Ground

Edge computing means that part of the computational needs of an application happens “at the edge”, or close to where the data is collected. It happens on your mobile phone, or inside your internet-connected devices around your house, or inside your car. Each unit of edge computing has its own storage, networking, and computing systems. Jointly they accomplish many functions like routing, load balancing, security, and network switching.

The benefits of edge computing include being able to process data in real time without latency issues, and the ability to quickly respond to a particular data point. It’s also about analytics, and the ability to analyze a large amount of data without moving it back and forth across the internet.

In 2020 and beyond, edge computing will gain ground as companies move toward smaller data centers at the edge and place data closer to the location where it is being generated. Some estimate that by 2025, 75 per cent of enterprise-generated data will be created and stored at the edge. Obviously, the rise in edge computing will influence the way companies utilize cloud-based environments in the future.

  • Containers and Kubernetes Become the Dominant Strategy for Cloud Portability

A container is a standard unit of software that packages up code, with all its dependencies and configurations, so the application runs quickly and reliably from one computing environment to another. Modern applications are increasingly being built using containers, because they offer a “build it once, then run it anywhere” flexibility. Kubernetes (pronounced “koo-ber-net-ees”) is open-source software for deploying and managing those containers at scale.

As containers and Kubernetes simplify the deployment and management associated with hybrid clouds (cloud environments made up of a mixture of on-premises private cloud resources combined with third-party public cloud resources), we can expect to see a huge rise in both containers and hybrid clouds.

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the New Phenomenon

In 2020, we will also see increased use of AI, and AI-based services and solutions will be delivered using the cloud. In fact, the cloud will elevate access to AI by giving many companies the ability to use it now.

How will the broader application of AI materialize? It will be increasing used to proactively solve problems before they occur. For example, AI-based platforms can help data centers learn from past data and distribute workloads across peak periods more efficiently. AI can and will be used to do everything from saving energy, to detecting patterns in server or network hardware failures, to solving skill shortage issues.

With creative cloud-based solutions, AI will provide new innovations beyond our current imaginations. AI capabilities will work in the business cloud computing environment to make organizations more efficient, strategic, and insight driven. Cloud computing already offers businesses more flexibility, agility, and cost savings by hosting data and applications in the cloud. And artificial intelligence capabilities will increasingly be layered with cloud computing to help companies manage their data, look for patterns and insights in information, deliver customer experiences, and optimize workflows.

No doubt about it, cloud computing will continue to radically alter the way IT works for business. These trends may seem futuristic to some, but they signal a positive and dynamic set of technology possibilities for businesses of all sizes. A competent cloud computing services agency like Layer One Networks can be your best partner in taking full advantage of the many benefits a well-managed cloud hosting service can offer your company.

Have a question?  Please call us on at 361-653-6800.

Happy Reading!!

Security

Do I REALLY Need Two-Factor Authentication?

two-factor-authentication

The short answer is yes. The long answer is also yes, but with more details. In a world where everything we do has become digital, from ordering food for dinner to updating your vehicle’s registration each year, it’s become absolutely essential to protect your virtual identity just as carefully as your paper one. Moving beyond a password that’s just the name of your favorite childhood pet is a great first step, but two-factor authentication is an additional layer of security that can truly provide peace of mind. When all your personal and professional data is at stake, choosing that additional step should be a no-brainer—but a surprising number of people haven’t incorporated this yet.

Let’s dive into the long answer on why two-factor authentication is an essential move towards improving your business’s security:

What Is Two-Factor Authentication?

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an extra step in the login process whenever you go to log in to any of your online accounts. The most common version of this is the one where a 5-10 digit code is sent to your phone, or you receive a call that contains that code, and then you input that code after entering your password. This requires any potential thieves or hackers to have both your cell phone and your password in order to access your account—and it is often time-sensitive as an extra precaution. It’s possible to use an app instead of a text message or call, which provides an additional layer of security.

Why Is Two-Factor Authentication Better?

If this process sounds like a big hassle that would be better suited to a spy movie from the 90s, don’t be fooled! Hackers and cyber criminals are advancing as technology advances, and now that we all have all our data available digitally, it is imperative to stay one step ahead. By adding an extra step to your account, you make all your information much harder to compromise. As a business, this is even more important, since you may have all sorts of sensitive information that criminals would love to get their hands on—including your customer’s payment information. By implementing two-factor authentication, you’re going the extra mile to ensure that your customers data and your own remains safe.

How Do I Implement Two-Factor Authentication?

Once you’ve decided to implement two-factor authentication for your business, you have options for how to go about it. The phone call or text-messaging options are a great place to start, but some companies go even farther with cloud-based options, issuing personal fobs with electronic keys, or applications that issue one-time passwords for each login attempt in addition to the employee’s own password. The right option for your business will depend on your needs and the amount of data you have to protect, so contact an expert to find out which two-factor authentication solution would be best for your business.

Got more questions about improving the security of your business? We’ve got answers. In the digital world, cybercriminals abound, and we’re here to help you protect yourselves, your customers, and your business from those threats. If you’re ready to get started with our top-of-the-line data security services or other protection options, give us a shout today.

Security

Beware Ransomware: How To Protect Yourself

Ransomware-lock-encrypt-danger-layer-one

Ransomware is one of the most dangerous threats on the internet right now. It’s a particularly pernicious type of malware, which actually seize your files after infecting your computer and encrypts your files until you pay to get them back. The infection isn’t usually limited to one device, either—just like a zombie virus, it will spread through your system to any connected devices. Plus, even if you pay the ransom… there’s no guarantee the program will actually release your files.

If that sounds pretty medieval hacking strategy to you: Yes, that is exactly like seizing a noble prince from a neighboring kingdom as he’s riding through the forest and keeping him locked in a stone tower until the court ransoms him back with a chest of gold pieces. It’s a criminal tactic that really hasn’t evolved since the 1400s—and it’s a serious problem right now.

Here are some of the strategies we suggest using to protect yourself against ransomware infections:

Install Updates Regularly

One of the best things you can do for your systems and your organization as a whole is to ensure that updates are run on time. Most ransomware attacks target vulnerable applications that may not have installed the latest security patches. Stay one step ahead of these attackers by always making sure you have the latest versions installed.

Invest In Security Software

Investing in a solid security system and then keeping it updated is a great way to make sure that nothing dangerous ever slips through the cracks. A reputable antivirus with a strong firewall will stop many threats in their tracks and give others enough trouble that they won’t bother going further. While there is no surefire way to prevent these attacks from occurring, you can definitely work to make your system a difficult target.

Look Before You Click

Always hover over links to ensure that they lead where you think they will! One of the most obvious ways to tell if you are being led to a suspicious site is if the URL is almost right, but not quite. It may be missing letters, numbers, or have a different domain than usual. If the link doesn’t look normal, don’t click on it!

Back Up Your Data

We really can’t stress the importance of backups enough. When you back up your systems and data regularly both in the cloud and in a physical on-site copy (that is NOT connected to your other devices), you’ll be able to restore your files without ever having to worry about the encrypted ones. Many versions of cloud storage allow you to revert to a previous version of your files, so in many cases, you may be able to simply revert to a version where your files are unencrypted.

By taking these steps, you’ll keep yourself, your equipment, and your data safe from ransomware threats. Don’t let your “royalty” go riding through the forest alone! By using the proper security measures and requiring two-factor authentication, you can send your noble prince into the forest in full armor, protected by his best knights. And if you need help adding the right protection to your systems… you know where to find us.

Contact Layer One Networks today.