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Cyber Attacks: A Growing Threat to Brand Reputation

The growing number of cyber attacks each year are appalling. In 2015 alone, companies saw an average of 160 cyber attacks every week, which was more than three times the average in 2010 of 50 per week.

In order to establish a successful brand for your business, you must take the time to build customer trust and loyalty, increase brand awareness, and boost performance. But with even just one data breach or cyber attack, all of your efforts could get flushed down the drain in the blink of an eye.

Last year, some of the nation’s most respected brands were the targets of cyber attacks. Big businesses that were hit include Premera Blue Cross, Anthem, Sony Pictures, Staples, Home Depot, JPMorgan Chase, Target, Michaels, and many more. But small to midsize businesses (SMBs) should be just as concerned about cyber security as large enterprises. Research shows that 81% of SMBs are currently concerned about cyber security, and 91% think about it often.

If your business is unprepared for the consequences of cyber attacks, you’re tasked with the near impossible challenge of rebuilding customer trust, loyalty, and revenue. To achieve success, businesses must provide each of their clients with dependable services and create a  brand that can be trusted. When a cyber attack hits your business, there are several negative outcomes that can arise, such as increased downtime, loss of company assets, or the leak of sensitive customer information and data. These consequences all add up to a tarnished reputation – something that can significantly lower the net worth of your entire company and increase your risk of going out of business permanently!

So how can you shield your business against this new age of “brand terrorism”? In the past, businesses kept hackers out with basic security measures like firewalls, intrusion detection, and antivirus software. Yet in this day and age, employee mistakes have grown to be a huge concern. In fact, research shows that human error is attributed to 95% of all data breaches. Simple mistakes such as using weak passwords or opening virus-contaminated emails (known as phishing) occur often. Other commonly carried out mistakes include sharing corporate data outside of the company or forgetting to delete sensitive data – leaving it vulnerable to costly and damaging data leaks.

The best defense against cyber attacks and data breaches may be to thoroughly train your employees to prevent carelessness and negligence. It’s crucial to spread the message on the importance of confidentiality and implement data protection technology and solutions to keep your company data safe. Employ multi-factor authentication (MFA) and encryption solutions, which could drastically reduce the incidence of online identity theft and other types of online fraud.

Here at G6 Communications, we make it our mission to keep your company data safe from lethal hackers and cyber attacks. For more information, please contact us for a free consultation!

Enhance Security with Managed IT Services

Today’s realm of IT security is more unstable than ever before, as new threats develop and hackers grow more deceptive. Maintaining a secure network is becoming an impossible challenge for business owners all over the world. As a result, organizations are suffering from unaddressed security holes, vulnerabilities, and incidents that would normally be mitigated with the right IT security plan. In recent years, businesses have resolved these issues by outsourcing their IT security needs.

With managed IT services, your security needs are proactively addressed and fixed. Here are three ways managed IT services enhances your network security.

Access to Skilled IT Security Professionals

Managed IT services gives you access to skilled and experienced IT security professionals who provide a broad range of solutions to cater to your individual security needs. With the help of a managed service provider (MSP), you can refer to a team of experts to determine the right security solutions needed to shield your critical data and systems. That means keeping hackers’ prying eyes away from your sensitive enterprise data! Having access to this knowledge comes in handy when approaching the monitoring, management, and development of your network security.

IT Security Assessment and Deployment

With managed IT services, your security solutions can be whipped into tip-top shape. Because your technology is in the hands of IT experts who know everything about the industry, your business will be equipped with the latest and greatest security solutions and services, such as intrusion detection, firewalls, patch management, upgrades, security assessments, and security audits. With managed IT services, your business gains comprehensive protection to help you steer clear of potential disasters and reduce risk.

Ongoing IT Security Support and Management

Managed IT services come with these crucial security management solutions: monitoring, incident response, and problem prevention. With 24/7 monitoring, a team of IT professionals are constantly watching your network for the detection of anomalies or security events. Incident response means that you will be instantly alerted with relevant information to ensure complete and real-time protection. With problem prevention, potential IT issues are addressed and resolved before they have a chance to interrupt or diminish your business continuity. Managed IT services can carry out all of these duties while continually improving your security solutions which, in turn, can lead to an optimized and more efficient environment.

To learn more about how you can enhance your network security with managed IT services, contact G6 today! We’d love to hear from you.

5 IT Security Trends to Look Out For in 2016

Cyber-attacks have become an ever-increasing threat to businesses, and IT security is on high alert. In fact, last year kicked off with a series of high-profile data breaches, and the FBI ranked cybercrime as one of its top law enforcement activities. Some of the big companies who got hit in 2015 were: Anthem (as many as 80 million records of customers and employees were exposed), Sony Pictures (several private company documents were compromised and the theatrical release of “The Interview” was cancelled), JPMorgan Chase (the account information of 83 million households and small businesses were stolen), and several others.

IT security is a major issue that should not be taken lightly. Here are five IT security trends to watch for in 2016.

1. Mobile devices are a huge target.

With more consumers integrating smartphones and other mobile devices into their lives, it has become easier for malicious hackers to target these devices for their personal gain. BYOD (bring your own device) and other mobile-related practices are becoming increasingly popular in the workplace. Smartphones also continue to be the preferred source of authentication for many financial transactions. With so much on the line when it comes to what your mobile device stores – credit card information, business-sensitive data, and other confidential materials – it’s easy to see why these devices are a prime target for cybercriminals. That’s why it’s essential for companies to implement secure policies and employee guidelines on safe mobile practices.

2. Hacktivism and terrorist cyber-attacks will gain traction.

As we near the next US Presidential election in the month of November, “hacktivism” will lead to a rise of protest and politically-driven attacks in 2016. And these attacks will be carried out across a wide spectrum, including social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Hijackers who are set on spreading false information on the personal accounts of candidates or want to relay information about specific political issues will take storm.

Additionally, the ongoing conflict in the Middle East and Eastern Europe will spark even greater worldwide political tension, and terrorists will impact IT security through drastic means like shutting down entire systems or news channels.

3. Ransomware is on the rise.

This is a type of malware that creeps its way into your computer through infected links or popup messages and leads to your computer or mobile phone being locked and inaccessible. The only way for you to get your data back is to pay a ransom to your attacker typically through Bitcoin, an encrypted form of online payment that enables the hacker to receive payment anonymously. In some cases, victims are asked to pay several thousands of dollars.

This isn’t something new, but it’s increasing and becoming a huge IT security risk to look out for in 2016.

4. Be aware of internal threats.

A data security breach can cost your business its reputation as well as a lot of money. It can be especially devastating when the breach is caused by someone from the inside. Well-known breaches such as Ashley Madison (37 million records stolen) and Morrison’s (100,000 staff records leaked) have been widely reported to have been perpetrated by insider threats.

But spotting a security threat from within can be incredibly difficult because the attacker is somebody who usually has permissible access to the data they steal. That’s why it’s important for companies to have security systems in place to protect against both outsider and insider threats.

5. Spear phishing will grow more sophisticated.

Spear phishing occurs when a single user or department is addressed by someone who appears to be from within the organization – aka someone you trust – and they request sensitive information like logins and passwords from you. This is the primary method for hackers to gain access to secured networks in order to deploy spyware, Trojan Horses, and other malware in the targeted computers. With the targeting of high-level executives or people with a high security clearance on the rise, it’s crucial for businesses to invest in a quality IT security plan and policy in order to keep their systems protected.