5 Most overlooked security hazards, and how to mitigate them

The ever-changing nature of the cyberthreat landscape is always taking people by surprise. New threats come and go, and the biggest hazards are often overlooked until it’s too late. Good security practices come with keeping informed about the latest trends and providing regular training to your employees. It’s also important to remember that every business is a target, no matter its size or industry.

Keep your company safe by mitigating the five security hazards that we tend to miss:

#1. Weak authentication methods

These days, people are tasked with trying to remember login credentials for multiple accounts, which is why many people reuse passwords that are easy to remember. This makes them vulnerable. Weak authentication methods are susceptible to brute force attacks. Companies should always enforce strong password policies but, more importantly, add an additional verification layer such as fingerprint scanners or mobile authenticator apps.

#2. Default installations

When installing new hardware or software, it’s often tempting to breeze through the installation process and leave everything at default settings. In many default configurations, devices can easily join networks, but the convenience may pose a security risk. Another common problem is using default router passwords, some of which can easily be discovered online, leaving the entire network vulnerable as a result. It’s important to always look through security and privacy settings and change default passwords.

#3. Lax policy enforcement

You can have all the security policies in the world, but they’re worthless if there’s no concrete way of enforcing them. While a documented information security policy is essential from an administrative perspective, it’s also important that you implement the controls necessary to enforce the rules. Examples include blacklisting prohibited protocols, websites, devices, and apps. You should also implement data loss prevention (DLP) to reduce the risk of information leakage across less secure networks like social media and instant messaging applications.

#4. Inadequate employee awareness

Employees are the first and last line of defense in any organization. Although vulnerabilities in technology often get the blame in the event of a cyberattack, it usually boils down to human error. Hackers are always looking for new ways to exploit unsuspecting victims. That’s why every organization should have a regular employee training with simulations on current and emerging threats.

#5. Single line of defense

Using a firewall to protect a company network and antivirus software to protect endpoints used to be enough. Nowadays, with the ubiquity of cloud-hosted and mobile assets, it’s more important than ever to implement multiple layers of defense to guard against overlooked vulnerabilities and more sophisticated attacks like advanced persistent threats (APT). Many businesses outsource round-the-clock network monitoring and alerts to add an extra security layer.

Netwize prides itself on more than 20 years of experience working with businesses of all sizes to help them become more secure and resilient in today’s increasingly competitive market. Call us today to learn more.

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Why should you hire an MSP to manage your network infrastructure

Today’s businesses have grown so reliant on their networking infrastructure that even an hour of downtime can lead to serious losses in productivity and profit. It doesn’t help that enterprise technology is becoming increasingly complex.

With the supply of IT expertise still struggling to keep up with demand, and the enormous costs that come with it, few businesses can afford to maintain their own full-fledged IT departments. Even if they can, chances are it won’t be long before they end up being overburdened by the constantly growing demands of today’s market. If any of these problems sound familiar, then it’s probably time to consider outsourcing network management to a managed IT services provider (MSP).

Maximize service availability

Network availability has a direct and immediate impact on business performance. In the age of cloud computing, where many mission-critical business apps are hosted off-site, the performance, uptime, and reliability of your network are even more crucial than ever before. As business networks become increasingly complex, utilizing modern technologies like SD-WAN, there’s a greater need to implement a centralized management solution that proactively monitors issues that might affect performance and service reliability.

MSPs constantly monitor your network to ensure uptime, as defined in their service level agreements (SLAs). That way, your employees will be able to access the resources they need to do their jobs no matter where they are and which device they’re connecting from. With your entire networking infrastructure managed for you, you’ll also be able to reduce operational costs and boost productivity and morale.

Incorporate security into IT

The complex and multifaceted nature of today’s enterprise networking environment introduces many new risks into the equation. Although there’s no denying the value of cloud computing and mobile technologies in the modern business, they also give attackers more entry points to your critical business data. That’s why you need a way to monitor all incoming and outgoing traffic to and from your network 24/7/365.

It’s imperative that you keep your business communications secure by encrypting all data sent across the public internet and locking down your network from eavesdroppers and other attackers. An MSP should provide all the security and data management solutions you need to protect your business, such as virtual private networking (VPN), managed firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention (IDS/IPS), and unified messaging. In other words, your entire network infrastructure should be secure by design and compliant with all regulations facing your industry.

Augment in-house IT

If you already have an in-house IT department, you may think there’s no need to partner with an MSP, but is your existing IT department able to keep up with the workload? Are they scalable enough to adapt to your growing business demands? Are they active around the clock to proactively safeguard your network from the constant threat of cyberattacks? The answer is likely no, unless you’re running a very large business that can afford to take care of all its technology needs in-house.

Partnering with an MSP shouldn’t mean sacking all your existing IT staff and closing down your in-house data center, and you should be cautious of any vendor who might suggest such a thing. Rather, an MSP can augment your existing resources by providing services on demand. That way, you can tap into the expertise and computing power you need when you need it, while retaining a higher degree of control. No doubt your IT staff will be happy to have one less responsibility on their shoulders too.

NetWize provides a complete range of managed network services to businesses around Utah. Call us today to take your first step towards technological transformation.

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What are the pros and cons of cloud computing?

Everyone in the field of business technology is talking about cloud computing these days, but decision makers are more concerned with where the hype stops, and the real benefits begin. Despite what some vendors might say, the cloud is not a fix-all solution. On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine any organization that can’t benefit from including cloud services in their technology strategies. In fact, if you’ve ever used leading applications like web-based email or Google Docs, then you’re already in the cloud.

Availability

Although they’re becoming more reliable, computers need occasional maintenance from operating system updates to upgrades and physical replacements for ailing hardware. There’s always going to be downtime during these processes, which is why relying solely on in-house IT can substantially reduce system availability. If, for example, your email server needs to be taken offline or is taken down by a hardware failure or cyberattack, you’ll lose access to one of your most mission-critical systems.

The cloud doesn’t have such issues. Providers proactively look after cloud hardware and back up mission-critical systems in multiple offsite servers to maximize availability and so that you never have to worry about scheduled or unscheduled downtime.

Flexibility

When it comes to flexibility, cloud-hosted applications and other computing resources are with you no matter where you go and which device you use. This affords an unprecedented degree of flexibility, thereby enabling workforce mobility and the productivity and cost-saving benefits that come with it.

While you do, in theory at least, lose a degree of control when you’re having your computing workloads handled in a third-party data center, almost all everyday business applications work optimally in a remotely hosted environment. With platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings, you can even develop your own bespoke cloud applications and services.

Scalability

Scalability is one area where the cloud trumps in-house IT every time. Since the cloud gives you access to a wealth of computing resources on demand, there’s practically no limit to the scalability of your infrastructure.

By contrast, relying entirely on your own IT department and on-premises services means you’re limited by things like budgetary constraints and physical space and infrastructure. Furthermore, the cloud is heavily intertwined with virtualization, which offers the ability to create an entirely software-defined computing architecture that completely does away with your dependence on physical hardware.

Mobility

As mentioned, enabling workforce mobility can boost productivity and morale. After all, most people prefer to work with their own devices with which they’re familiar, and an increasing number like to work at home or on the move. Both are impossible if you’re fully reliant on an in-office network. The cloud, however, lets people access the applications they need for work wherever they are on any internet-connected device. Since the data stays in the cloud, administrators can still maintain full audit trails and enjoy complete control over access and security policies.

Performance

When it comes to weighing the benefits and drawbacks of cloud computing versus in-house IT, this one’s a tie. Whether performance will be better or worse depends a lot on the workload. While the cloud gives you access to the most cutting-edge hardware in the world, the fact that there’s a large distance between the end user and the remote data center means bandwidth and latency will never be as good as they are with local computing. For most applications, this doesn’t present any discernible difference. However, for very high-performance, specialized, or latency-sensitive tasks, it’s still better to use local computing resources.

Netwize helps businesses in Salt Lake City drive outstanding results with modern technology. Call us today to take your first step towards digital transformation.

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Is it time for you to partner with an MSP? 5 Questions you should ask yourself

It has never been easy to innovate, leveraging technology to stay ahead of your competitors, when you’re entirely reliant on in-house expertise and systems. With technology obsolescence and rising threats to information security presenting an ongoing challenge to business leaders, it’s imperative that you find the right partners to work with. If that sounds like a familiar problem, then it’s probably time to start working with a managed services provider (MSP).

#1. Are your systems struggling to keep up with demand?

From an operations standpoint, modern technology presents businesses with the opportunity to grow without restrictions. However, those stuck with old in-house computing infrastructure will find themselves struggling to keep up during periods of high demand. Partnering with an MSP gives you access to computing resources and expertise on demand for a predictable monthly fee per user.

#2. Do your employees crave workplace flexibility?

Ever since the rise of cloud technologies and ubiquitous internet connectivity, the workforce has been striving to break the chains of the office desk and the nine-to-five routine. Employees are now more accustomed to working from home or on the move, and it’s a trend that shows no signs of slowing down. By outsourcing your IT and having your computing workloads taken care of in the cloud, you can facilitate complete workforce mobility and reduce overheads.

#3. Have you recently suffered a data breach?

Corporate data is under constant assault from hackers, social engineering scammers, and a multitude of other threats. Small businesses, presenting something of a sweet spot between risk and reward, tend to be the favorite target. If your organization has recently suffered a data breach, then it’s time augment your systems with cutting-edge defenses to reduce risk and keep up with the quickly evolving world of cybersecurity. MSPs typically offer the full range of security services needed to stay safe, such as round-the-clock monitoring, intrusion detection and prevention, and more.

#4. Is unscheduled downtime hindering productivity?

As organizations across all industries become increasingly reliant on technology, downtime is one of the biggest barriers to growth and productivity. Customers now expect companies to be consistently online, and if you can’t serve them in their time of need, they won’t hesitate to look elsewhere. In other words, unscheduled downtime is not something you can afford to suffer. MSPs are bound by the obligations outlined in their service level agreements to respond to support tickets within given deadlines and maintain a minimum level of service availability.

#5. Are you struggling to keep up with your competitors?

Many established brands have all but vanished simply because they failed to keep up with the times. To prevent your business from being usurped by more innovative competitors, you need the latest and most suitable IT solutions on your side. It’s practically impossible to do that when you’re fully reliant on an in-house IT department due to factors like the shortage of expertise and high costs involved. To innovate fast enough, you need access to the right vendors, and that’s generally something that only comes with a partnership with an MSP.

Netwize helps drive real business results with modern technology and the expertise required to make everything happen. Call us today to take your first step towards digital transformation.

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