Keeping Your IT Network And Computers Safe

For those small and medium sized businesses that have a growing IT department, keeping on top of security is one of the key elements in maintaining company safety.  With more and more personal data changing hands it is of utmost importance to ensure that you’re meeting vital protocol and remaining compliant with any security regulations in your industry.  The cost of data breaches grows exponentially should any victims that had data stolen desire to file a lawsuit or take other compensatory action.

This is where outsourcing your IT security to a professional company can be worth the cost.  You can free up your in-house IT staff while ensuring that your security remains top of the line.

Picking an IT company to do your security can be a bit of a daunting task, but with a few simple tips you can cut down your search by weeding out the companies that don’t deserve your time or business.

Think Local

Local IT companies are the best choice for this.  Picking large, nationwide companies can often leave you feeling like you’re just a number in the system, not a personal client.  This is where local companies shine: by giving you personalized attention and being close at hand if an emergency happens.

I live in the San Diego area, so for example I would be looking at local IT companies.  I would not expand my search to Los Angeles, that would be too far.  Don’t go more than an hour away from your business location.  For IT Support San Diego has one of the best companies in the business: AMA Networks.  With over 20 years in the business, AMA has seen everything and is meticulous about creating strong security for all of the IT networks that they maintain and work with.

For example, AMA Networks strives to deliver a personalized experience to all of their clients and ensure that they are face to face, honest, and forthright with letting clients know what upgrades might benefit them and which are unnecessary and might just be “upsells” to another company.

Think Medium Size

When choosing an IT company for your security, ensure that the company you choose isn’t too small to be overwhelmed by the potential for multiple emergencies happening at the same time to clients.   Make sure they have enough employees that they can assist multiple clients at once.  However, don’t go with a huge company where again you won’t get personalized service and you’ll get a more “cookie cutter” approach to you IT network.

Trust Your Gut

Lastly, trust your gut.  You should definitely try to meet the IT company you want to hire in person to get a feel for how they are.  Visit their office and assess company morale and how organized they are.  This can tell you a lot about a company.  Get word of mouth recommendations from other companies in your industry, and ask honest questions about how the IT company has responded to them in an emergency or computer security situation.

Ask these questions of the IT companies themselves: any company worth their salt should be excited to answer challenging questions such as these.  If a company is not proud of how they work or respond to companies experiencing after-hours emergencies, then they might not be the company for you.

The Biggest Cyber Threats you should anticipate the rest of the Year

Today it’s a fresh Trojan that is doing the rounds; tomorrow a stubborn virulent strain of phishing malware is unleashed; by the middle of the week, a Fortune500 hack has been reported, and come weekend, so has been a huge ecommerce platform.

When it comes to cybercrime, we are at a point where attacks seem almost scheduled. They are constant, unrelenting, and afford us little time to process before we are faced with a fresh challenge. It has become so commonplace over the past three or so years that – just as anything routine – we’ve started developing indifference toward the whole drama.

In truth, however, this is no way to treat cybercrime. We live in a world where hackers not only possess an ever bulging arsenal of malicious strains, but also a tremendous degree of power. We have reached that point of a Hollywood picture that depicts nation-state attacks conducted virtually and the lines between virtual and reality are becoming increasingly blurred.

Here, we highlight the major cyber threats that have been happening and those you should anticipate for the rest of the year.

If you have become a victim of some of these threats, we highly recommend using Reimage, a computer repair tool that can rebuild Windows after critical system files have been damaged or removed by malware or viruses.

Ransomware

When it comes to this kind of attack, cyber criminals are targeting data that is very valuable to you and data that you would be willing to pay for its recovery. This is particularly hitting work files, but this is not to say it couldn’t happen to any other computer file or system.

The biggest motive behind most ransomware is that they are easy to reap through. When the victim’s data or system is held ‘hostage’, the business (or individual) must part with a fixed sum which but serves to give an instant financial incentive for hackers.

At the moment, you should particularly be wary of one called CRYPAURA. This ransomware has the capacity to encrypt over a hundred file types, locking you out. And you have little option other than to pay.

Mobile Adware

Adware is bad, but mobile adware is worse. The mobile world is proving to be one of the most promising hunting grounds for hackers these days. Android, in particular, is experiencing its fair share if a 2014 annual security report by Cisco is anything to go by. It says that a staggering 99 percent of all mobile malware in 2013 was directed at the Android platform. Since, Google has moved to address a number of security challenges, but still…

The reason why mobile malware is increasingly becoming such a threat to the point it is eclipsing its desktop counterpart is obvious to you: there lacks as many and robust defenses as there exists for computers. Additionally, you’re likely to try out new mobile apps than you are PC ones. Things are unlikely to change much for the rest of the year.

Critical Infrastructure Attacks

The idea that critical infrastructure is susceptible to virtual attacks is scary by itself. And as mentioned at the start of this post, this isn’t the stuff of future or Hollywood: it is happening now. In fact, an [in]famous one was carried out by North Korea the other day, as reported by the WSJ.

This attack encompassed a series of intrusions and was aimed at removing data from the network and this very critical data involved highly classified items such as plant blueprints. There was no physical damage suffered in this case, but that is bound to happen at some point. This is why it is becoming increasingly vital for individuals and businesses to have in place a cyber strategy, and for governments to begin building security plans for critical infrastructure.

2015 is clearly shaping up to be remarkable in terms of ingenuity, volume and sophistication of attacks. And we surely haven’t seen the last of it.