Technology fuels local businesses these days, helping them achieve their goals and vision. At the same time, local businesses are also at increased risk for growing cyber threats worldwide – ALL businesses are impacted, not just the big ones that make national news. One of the important foundations of keeping your technology safe is to conduct a security risk assessment each year (at least!).Read More
Technology Advisor Blog
Cybersecurity headlines may sound scary, but it’s important for local businesses to know there are a lot of smart and affordable things you can do to fight back to stay more secure online and increase your chances of surviving a cyber event. A basic security risk assessment can help identify security gaps to remediate, and ongoing employee training will greatly help reduce “clicks” on the wrong things. Preventing problems is a lot less expensive and more effective than responding to an incident, but it’s not possible to eliminate all risk. As a technology service provider, Ekaru has been working with local businesses in the greater Boston area for many years, and having an incident response (IR) plan will make a big difference in your ability to successfully recover after a cyber incident.Read More
October is time for Halloween, Pumpkin Spiced Lattes, and Cybersecurity Awareness Month! Have you ever wondered why there are so many quirky holidays? National Talk Like Shakespeare Day is celebrated on April 23rd for example. There's also Squirrel Appreciation Day which is on January 21st. It may seem confusing, but this just goes to show how diverse our culture really is! While it may seem like some of these holidays are a bit silly, one of them is pretty important: an entire month dedicated to cybersecurity. Now that’s a topic worthy of a holiday!Read More
This year’s initiative highlights the growing importance of cybersecurity and encouraging individuals and organizations to take necessary measures to stay safe and secure in an increasingly connected world.Read More
Did you know that the global cost of cyber crimes will go over $2 trillion by 2021? It’s also just not government agencies or large corporations that have to worry about cyber attacks and data breaches. Small businesses are actually the biggest target for cyber criminals because they often have smaller IT teams and less security.Read More
September is time for back to school and back to business! This is a great time to get serious about training your employees to understand their role in helping a business or organization stay safe.Read More
Perfect timing! Here's a phishing email that just arrived, and a prime example to show a few tips on how to spot a problem email. The subject of the email was "subscription renewal", and at the beginning of the month a lot of these may arrive in anyone's inbox. This one immediately caught my eye because the preview text showed "Hello dear". The other thing to note is that we've all been taught to not "click on the link", but this one invites us to call a number. That's a common new tactic and in the never ending cat and mouse game as computer users become more aware of dangerous links, the cyber criminals just come up with a new twist.Read More
When the pandemic hit, businesses all over the globe had to shift to remote work almost overnight. Now, with the vaccine rollout in full swing, the hybrid work model is gaining popularity. This allows employees to work from home, the office or split their time between both. According to a recent Accenture Report, close to 65% of businesses have adopted a hybrid model, and most workers prefer it that way.
However, a distributed workforce comes with its own set of challenges. One of the primary concerns of IT leaders across the globe is the unprecedented increase in cybercrime. The FBI reports that cybercrime has shot up by almost 300% since the start of the pandemic.
Relying on one basic security solution will, therefore, prove to be futile against sophisticated attack vectors. You may have seen advertisements on-line or on television promoting a single security solution that solves all your cybersecurity problems, but it just doesn't work like that! This is where an approach like Defense in Depth (DiD) finds its relevance. If you've attended any of our security workshops, we also often refer to this as "layers of security".
Defense in Depth is a cybersecurity approach in which multiple defensive methods are layered to protect a business. Since no individual security measure is guaranteed to endure every attack, combining several layers of security is more effective.
This layering approach was first conceived by the National Security Agency (NSA) and is inspired by a military tactic of the same name. In the military, layers of defense help buy time. But in IT, this approach is intended to prevent an incident altogether.
While Defense in Depth is critical to protecting your business against evolving cyberthreats, it’s an undertaking that requires time, extensive knowledge and experience. Partnering with a technology service provider like Ekaru can simplify the process, reduce stress and minimize opportunities for error.
How Your Small Business Can Help Defend Against Threats
All of the major cybersecurity protocols and frameworks (NIST, HIPAA, CMMC, etc) focus on three primary areas of control:
1. Administrative Controls
The policies and procedures of a business fall under administrative controls. These controls ensure that appropriate guidance is available and that security policies are followed.
Examples include hiring practices or employee onboarding and offboarding protocols, data processing and management procedures, information security policies, vendor risk management and third-party risk management frameworks, information risk management strategies, etc.
2. Technical Controls
Hardware or software intended to protect systems and resources fall under technical controls. Examples of technical controls are firewalls, configuration management, disk/data encryption, identity authentication (IAM), vulnerability scanners, patch management, virtual private networks (VPNs), intrusion detection systems (IDS), security awareness training, etc.
3. Physical Controls
Anything aimed at physically limiting or preventing access to IT systems falls under physical controls. Examples include fences, keycards/badges, CCTV systems, locker rooms, etc.
Essential Elements of Defense in Depth:
A technology service provider will help you implement all the elements of an effective Defense in Depth strategy to minimize the chances of threats seeping in through the cracks. These elements include:
A firewall is a security system comprised of hardware or software that can protect your network by filtering out unnecessary traffic and blocking unauthorized access to your data. We strongly advise implementing a "business class" firewall and not simply relying on what your Internet provider installed.
2. Intrusion Prevention and Detection Systems
Intrusion prevention and detection systems scan the network to look for anything out of place. If a threatening activity is detected, it will alert the stakeholders and block attacks.
3. Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)
Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) solutions operate by constantly monitoring endpoints to find suspicious or malicious behavior in real time.
4. Network Segmentation
Once you divide your business’ network into smaller units, you can monitor data traffic between segments and safeguard segments from one another. If there's a breach in one segment of the network, the other segments may be protected.
5. The Principle of Least Privilege (PoLP)
The principle of least privilege (PoLP) is a cybersecurity concept in which a user is only granted the minimum levels of access/permissions essential to perform their task. If an employee doesn't need access to protected information, they should not have access. In many cases, over time data winds up being stored in a way that multiple people have access to it when they don't need to. Conduct regular audits of the data you hold.
6. Strong Passwords
Poor password hygiene, including the use of default passwords like “123456” or “admin,” can put your business at risk. Equally risky is the habit of using the same passwords for multiple accounts. To protect your accounts from being hacked, it’s essential to have strong passwords and an added layer of protection by using practices such as multifactor authentication (MFA).
At the start of the pandemic, there was an intense scramble to enable remote work for many in the “laptop class”. For many people, working from home was a welcome change from stressful commutes and a hectic family life. Some people are scrambling to get back to the office to escape makeshift dining room desks that compete with family life and chaos, or just crave the social interaction, creative interactions, and other structure that office environments provide. You might be in a hybrid situation, where you are putting in hours both at home and in the office. Either way, you’re back and you’re ready to go.Read More
Here's a re-cap of our recent community cybersecurity training event. Cybersecurity these days is like a game of chess. For every move, there's a counter move. As people put more technology protection in place, the cyber criminals just get more clever. User awareness is often the key to staying safe! Will your employee click on that dangerous link? It takes just one wrong click to do a lot of damage. The more you and your team know about the latest threats, the better. We were pleased to host close to 100 local small business leaders from Westford, Acton, Littleton, Chelmsford, Concord, Waltham, Southborough, Northborough, and Wellesley during our recent small business cybersecurity awareness training session. Education is a key part of Ekaru's mission, and here are a few highlights from the event.Read More