Cybercriminals can launch very sophisticated attacks, but it’s often lax cybersecurity practices that enable most breaches.
This is especially true when it comes to small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs). Small business owners often don’t prioritize cybersecurity measures. They may be just fully focused on growing the company. They think they have a lower data breach risk. Or they may think it’s an expense they can’t bear.
But cybersecurity is not only a concern for large corporations. It's a critical issue for small businesses as well. Small businesses are often seen as attractive targets for cybercriminals. This is due to many perceived vulnerabilities.
Fifty percent of SMBs have been victims of cyberattacks. More than 60% of them go out of business afterward.
Cybersecurity doesn’t need to be expensive. Most data breaches are the result of human error. But that is actually good news. It means that improving cyber hygiene can reduce the risk of falling victim to an attack.
ARE YOU MAKING ANY OF THESE CYBERSECURITY MISTAKES?
To address the issue, you need to first identify the problem. Often the teams at SMBs are making mistakes they don’t even realize. Below are some of the biggest reasons small businesses fall victim to cyberattacks. Read on to see if any of this sounds familiar around your company.
In today's world, sustainability isn't just a buzzword; it's a necessity.
Businesses around the globe are increasingly embracing eco-friendly practices. This isn’t only for the positive impact on the environment. It’s also for the benefits they can bring to the bottom line.
Sustainable technology habits are not only about reducing your carbon footprint. They’re also about improving efficiency, cutting costs, and attracting environmentally conscious customers.
“Going green” can mean saving more dollars, besides helping the planet. Below, we'll explore several sustainable tech habits you can adopt. These are not only good for the environment but also a win for your business's bottom line.
1. Energy-Efficient Hardware and Appliances
Investing in energy-efficient hardware and appliances can lead to significant cost savings, especially in the long run. Energy-efficient devices consume less electricity, resulting in lower utility bills.
Consider upgrading to Energy Star-rated equipment and using LED lighting to reduce your energy consumption. It may surprise you how fast your electric bill goes down after replacing lightbulbs.
2. Virtualization and Cloud Computing
Virtualization and cloud computing solutions can help you optimize your IT infrastructure. By consolidating servers and resources, you can reduce the number of physical devices. This leads to lower energy consumption and reduced hardware maintenance costs.
3. Remote Work and Telecommuting
Embrace remote work and telecommuting. This reduces the need for office space. It also cuts down on commuting-related emissions. Employees who work remotely also report increased job satisfaction and productivity - both of which can positively impact your bottom line.
4. Renewable Energy Sources
Consider transitioning to renewable energy sources like solar or wind power. The initial investment may be significant but renewable energy can lead to big savings on electricity costs. Additionally, it demonstrates your commitment to sustainability, which can attract eco-conscious customers.
5. E-Waste Recycling Sources
Put in place e-waste recycling programs. These help you properly dispose of outdated or non-functioning electronic equipment. Many electronics can be refurbished, resold, or recycled. This reduces waste and potentially generates revenue through resale.
6. Optimize Data Centers
Data centers are notorious for their high energy consumption. Optimize your data center by doing things like:
• Using energy-efficient servers
• Implementing efficient cooling systems
• Consolidating data storage to reduce power usage
7. Green Web Hosting
Choose a web hosting provider that uses renewable energy for their data centers. This reduces your website's carbon footprint. It can also lead to improved website performance and uptime.
8. Paperless Office
Transitioning to a paperless office can save money on paper, ink, and storage costs. Use digital documents, electronic signatures, and cloud storage solutions to reduce paper usage.
Office workers spend about 6 hours a week searching for paper documents. Digitizing files allows for keyword searching. This reduces those wasted hours and improves productivity.
9. Eco-Friendly Office Supplies
Buy eco-friendly office supplies. This includes recycled paper, biodegradable pens, and reusable office products. These sustainable choices can reduce your office expenses. They also show your commitment to environmental responsibility.
10. Software Optimization
Regularly update and optimize your software to reduce system resource usage. Unnecessary background processes and inefficient code can strain your hardware as well as increase energy consumption.
11. Remote Monitoring and Control
Install remote monitoring and control systems to manage your facility's energy usage. This technology allows you to adjust heating, cooling, and lighting remotely. This reduces energy waste. Smart thermostats are very affordable now. That makes this an easy energy energy-efficient win.
12. Green Transportation Policies
Promote green transportation policies for employees. These might include:
Incentives like subsidies for eco-friendly commuting options can help. They promote the reduction of transportation costs for your team.
13. Sustainable Data Practices
Adopt sustainable data practices by cleaning and organizing your databases. The goal is to remove redundant or outdated information. Efficient data management reduces storage requirements and enhances data processing speed.
14. Green IT Certification
Consider pursuing green IT certifications. Such as the ISO 14001 or the Green Business Bureau certification. These certifications can improve your environmental standing and boost your company's reputation.
15. Employee Education and Engagement
Educate your employees about sustainable tech habits. Encourage their participation in eco-friendly initiatives. Engaged employees can help identify more cost-saving opportunities.
16. Supply Chain Sustainability
Collaborate with suppliers and partners committed to sustainability. Sustainable sourcing and procurement practices can lead to cost reductions as well as a more resilient supply chain.
17. Lifecycle Assessments
Conduct lifecycle assessments of your products and services. This helps you identify areas where you can make environmental and cost improvements. This process can help you optimize your offerings and reduce waste.
18. Green Marketing
Leverage your sustainability efforts as a selling point in your marketing campaigns. Customers are increasingly seeking out eco-conscious businesses. Promoting your sustainability can help you stand out from the competition. It can lead to increased brand loyalty and sales.
Endpoint management has changed a lot over the last two decades.
There was a time when companies housed all endpoints in the same place. This made managing them simpler. But it held offices back from being mobile and flexible.
Today’s office can include endpoints around the globe. Remote teams can work from anywhere. And people often prefer doing things from their mobile devices. Such as checking email or managing tasks.
The average enterprise endpoint makeup is 60% mobile devices. And it’s estimated that they handle about 80% of the workload. What does this mean for security? That an endpoint device management solution has become a necessity.
One that might be on your radar is the new Microsoft Intune Suite. It bundles several areas of endpoint management into a single platform.
Wondering whether it's worth taking the plunge and upgrading? Stick around as we break down the what, why, and how of this cloud-based management solution.
What is Microsoft Intune Suite?
First things first, what is Microsoft Intune? It's a software tool that helps you manage your company's devices and apps all in one place. Whether your employees use PCs, Macs, smartphones, or tablets, Intune's got your back.
So, what's the deal with the upgrade? Microsoft has been hard at work improving Intune. The latest version brings some exciting new features to the table.
The core capabilities of Microsoft Intune include:
Cross-platform endpoint management
Built-in endpoint security
Mobile application management
Microsoft Configuration Manager
Here’s a comparison of the subscription options you now have with Intune:
Microsoft Intune Plan 1
Microsoft Intune core capabilities are included with various subscriptions:
Microsoft 365 E3 & E5
Microsoft 365 F1 & F3
Enterprise Mobility + Security E3 & E5
Business Premium plans
Microsoft Intune Plan 2
Add-on to Microsoft Intune Plan 1 that offers advanced endpoint management capabilities
Microsoft Intune Suite
Plan 2 features
Microsoft Intune Remote Help
Microsoft Intune Endpoint Privilege Management
Microsoft Tunnel for Mobile Application Management
Management of specialty devices
Select Microsoft Intune advanced endpoint analytics features
Two monitors are often better than one when it comes to getting things done efficiently.
A dual-monitor setup can significantly enhance your productivity. This is true whether you're a gamer, a creative professional, or an office wiz who loves to multitask.
A study by Jon Peddie Research found that dual displays can increase productivity by 42%. But it’s not as simple as just setting up an extra screen.
It’s common for people to feel “off kilter” when trying to work from two monitors. They may even find it harder despite having more screen real estate. The cause is usually the setup. They either have the screens positioned wrong or aren’t optimizing the settings.
We’ll dive into some dual-monitor setup best practices. These should help you improve your two-screen experience and take it to the next level.
BEST PRACTICES FOR A GREAT TWO-SCREEN SETUP
1. MATCH SIZE AND RESOLUTION
Before you jump into the excitement of a dual-monitor setup do some matching. Make sure your monitors are well-matched with each other. Try to use monitors of the same size and resolution. This helps to avoid any jarring differences in image quality or screen real estate. Your eyes will thank you for the consistency!
2. GET THE RIGHT CABLES
Picture this: you've set up your dual monitors, and you're all excited to fire them up. But your cables don't fit the ports! To avoid this headache, check your device outputs and inputs to ensure you have the right cables on hand. HDMI, DisplayPort, and DVI are common options. But verify which ones you need for optimal performance.
3. POSITIONING IS EVERYTHING
Now that you've got your monitors ready to go, let's talk positioning. Placing your monitors correctly can make a world of difference. This is true for both your comfort and productivity.
Ideally, arrange them side by side, keeping the top edges aligned. Adjust the angle to reduce neck strain, and make sure the distance is comfortable for your eyes. After all, you'll be spending a lot of time in front of these screens.
4. EMBRACE THE EXTENDED DESKTOP
It’s tempting to mirror your displays and have the same content on both screens. But that's not the full potential of a dual-monitor setup. Embrace the extended desktop feature. It allows you to have separate content on each screen.
This means you can work on a document on one screen. And browse the web or handle email on the other—double the productivity!
5. FOCUS ON TASKBAR TWEAKS
A cluttered taskbar can quickly turn your dual-monitor setup into chaos. Keep things organized. Set the taskbar to display only the active applications on the screen they're open in.
• Right-click on the taskbar, go to "Taskbar settings.”
• Open “Taskbar behaviors”
• Adjust the setting, “When using multiple displays, show my taskbar apps on." Set it to the taskbar where the window is open.
No more hunting for the right window across two taskbars.
6. LEVERAGE SHORTCUTS
Did you know that Windows has some nifty window-snapping shortcuts? Use the Windows key plus the left or right arrow to snap an application to one side of the screen. It will fill exactly half of it.
This is perfect for comparing documents. As well as writing while researching or watching a video while working. It's a productivity boost that you won't be able to live without once you've tried it!
7. GAMING IN STYLE
If you're a gamer, a dual-monitor setup can bring your gaming experience to a whole new level. Many modern games support dual monitors, allowing you to have an extended field of view. This is especially true in racing and flight simulation games. Just remember to adjust your graphics settings accordingly for the best performance.
8. MASTERING MULTI-TASKING
Multitasking is where dual monitors truly shine. For example, you can have your design software open on one screen and your reference images on the other.
Writers can have research materials on one screen. With their writing software on the other. The possibilities are endless. It's like having a productivity superhero at your disposal! Explore workflows that make the most of both screens.
9. TAME THE CABLE CHAOS
Dual monitors mean double the cables. If you're not careful, it can quickly turn into a cable jungle. To keep things tidy, invest in some cable management solutions. Such as adhesive cable clips or cable sleeves. Your setup will look cleaner. It'll also be easier to make changes or upgrades in the future.
10. DON'T FORGET THE ERGONOMICS
As you immerse yourself in your dual-monitor world, remember to consider ergonomics. Ensure that your monitors are at eye level. And your keyboard and mouse are at a comfortable height and angle.
Good ergonomics can prevent strain and discomfort. This allows you to enjoy your setup for longer without any aches or pains.
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has revolutionized the way businesses operate
It offers convenience, scalability, and efficiency. No more dragging software from one device to another - everyone can collaborate easily in the cloud.
But alongside its benefits, SaaS brings with it potential threats. When software and data are online, they’re more vulnerable to attacks. One of the latest threats to move from endpoint devices to the cloud is ransomware.
Ransomware has been around attacking computers, servers, and mobile devices for a while. But recently there has been an alarming uptick in SaaS ransomware attacks.
Between March and May of 2023, SaaS attacks increased by over 300%. A study in 2022 by Odaseva found that 51% of ransomware attacks targeted SaaS data.
In this article, we’ll delve into what SaaS ransomware is and the risks it poses. And, most importantly, how you can defend against it.
WHAT IS SaaS RANSOMWARE?
SaaS ransomware is also known as cloud ransomware. It’s malicious code designed to target cloud-based applications and services. These include services like Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, and other cloud collaboration platforms.
The attackers exploit vulnerabilities in these cloud-based systems. The ransomware then encrypts valuable data. It effectively locks users out of their own accounts. Cybercriminals hold the data hostage. They then demand a ransom, often in the form of cryptocurrencies. The ransom is in exchange for the decryption key.
THE RISKS OF SaaS RANSOMWARE
SaaS ransomware adds a new layer of complexity to the cybersecurity landscape. It presents several risks to individuals and organizations.
The most immediate risk is the loss of critical data. You lose access to your cloud-based applications and files. This can cause productivity to grind to a halt.
A successful SaaS ransomware attack can tarnish your organization’s reputation. Customers and partners may lose trust in your ability to safeguard their data. This can negatively impact your brand image.
Paying the ransom is not guaranteed to result in data recovery. It may encourage attackers to target you again. Furthermore, the cost of downtime and recovery efforts can be substantial.
DEFENDING AGAINST SaaS RANSOMWARE
As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. When it comes to SaaS ransomware, proactive defense is key. Here are some effective strategies to protect your organization against these threats.
EDUCATE YOUR TEAM
Start by educating your employees about the risks of SaaS ransomware. Include how it spreads through phishing emails, malicious links, or breached accounts. Teach them to recognize suspicious activities and report any unusual incidents immediately.
ENABLE MULTI-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION
MFA is an essential layer of security. It requires users to provide an extra form of authentication to access accounts. This is often a one-time code sent to their mobile device. Enabling MFA reduces the risk of unauthorized access. This is true, even if a hacker compromises an account's login credentials.
Frequently backing up your SaaS data is crucial. In the event of a ransomware attack, you still have your data. Having up-to-date backups ensures that you can restore your files. You won’t need to pay the attacker’s ransom demands.
APPLY THE PRINCIPLE OF LEAST PRIVILEGE
Limit user permissions to only the necessary functions. Follow the principle of least privilege. This means giving users the lowest privilege needed for their job. Doing this, you reduce the potential damage an attacker can do if they gain access.
DEPLOY ADVANCED SECURITY SOLUTIONS
Consider using third-party security solutions that specialize in protecting SaaS environments. These solutions can provide many benefits. Including:
• Real-time threat detection
• Data loss prevention
• And other advanced security features
KEEP SOFTWARE UP TO DATE
Ensure that you keep all software (SaaS applications, operating systems, etc.) up to date. They should have the latest security patches installed. Regular updates close known vulnerabilities and strengthen your defense.
TRACK ACCOUNT ACTIVITY
Put in place robust monitoring of user activity and network traffic. Suspicious behavior can be early indicators of an attack. One example to watch for is several failed login attempts. Another is access from unusual locations.
DEVELOP AN INCIDENT RESPONSE PLAN
Prepare and practice an incident response plan. It should outline the steps to take in the event of a ransomware attack. A well-coordinated response can mitigate the impact of an incident. It can also aid in faster recovery. The sooner your team can respond, the faster business gets back to normal.
Let’s dive into a topic that might give you the chills—cybersecurity skeletons in the closet.
You may not have old skeletons hidden away in the basement. But there’s a good chance of cybersecurity vulnerabilities lurking in the shadows. Just waiting to wreak havoc.
You can’t fix what you can’t see. It’s time to shine a light on these hidden dangers. So, you can take action to protect your business from potential cyber threats.
Let's get started uncovering threats that could leave your business in danger. Here are some of the most common cybersecurity issues faced by SMBs.
OUTDATED SOFTWARE: THE COBWEB-COVERED NIGHTMARE
We get it; updating software can be a hassle. But running outdated software is like inviting hackers to your virtual Halloween party.
When software vendors release updates, they often include crucial security patches. These patches fix vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. So, don't let outdated software haunt your business. Keep everything up to date to ensure your digital fortress is secure.
WEAK PASSWORDS: THE SKELETON KEY FOR CYBERCRIMINALS
As technology continues to advance, so does the need for heightened awareness and proactive measures to safeguard sensitive information.
Cybersecurity can seem like an insurmountable task for everyday people. But it’s not only a job for the IT team. Everyone can play a part in keeping their organization’s data safe. Not to mention their own data.
October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. It serves as a timely reminder that there are many ways to safeguard data. Following the basics can make a big difference in how secure your network remains.
WHAT IS CYBERSECURITY AWARENESS MONTH?
Cybersecurity Awareness Month (CAM) is an annual initiative held every October. It promotes cybersecurity awareness and education. It aims to empower individuals and organizations by giving them knowledge and resources. It helps people strengthen their defenses against cyber threats.
CAM started as a U.S. initiative, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, before quickly spreading around the globe. It’s led by two agencies:
National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA)
Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)
This collaborative effort involves various stakeholders. Government agencies, industry leaders, and cybersecurity experts all come together for the goal to raise awareness about cyber risks and best practices.
THIS YEAR'S THEME
This is CAM’s 20th year. To celebrate, the theme revolves around looking at how far cybersecurity has come, as well as how far it has to go. This year, CAM focuses on four key best practices of cybersecurity:
Enabling multi-factor authentication
Using strong passwords and a password manager
Recognising and reporting phishing
ESSENTIAL CYBER HYGIENE: 4 KEYS TO A STRONG DEFENSE
Central to Cybersecurity Awareness Month is the promotion of essential cyber hygiene practices. We follow good hygiene to maintain physical health, like how we brush our teeth every day.
Cybersecurity also requires ongoing good hygiene practices to secure the online environment. These practices form the foundation of a strong cybersecurity defense. They help both individuals and organizations.
ENABLING MULTI-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION (MFA)
Implementing Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) adds a vital layer of security to all logins. In most cases, a hacker can't breach an account protected by MFA. This is the case even if the cyber crook has the password.
According to Microsoft, MFA can block 99.9% of attempted account compromise attacks. With that strong track record, everyone really should be using it, on every login they have.
STRONG PASSWORDS & A PASSWORD MANAGER
At least 12 characters
At least 1 upper case letter
At least 1 lower case letter
At least 1 number
At least 1 symbol
Passwords remain a critical aspect of securing online accounts. Despite the increased use of biometrics, passwords still rule. Encourage your team members to use strong, unique passwords for each account. Avoid easily guessable information like birthdays or names.
Companies can help by setting strong password enforcement rules. This requires a strong password before it’s accepted in a system. For example, you may set up a policy that requires a password to have:
Outdated software creates vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit. Regularly update operating systems, applications, and firmware. This ensures the latest security patches are in place.
Automating updates is a good way to ensure they’re done promptly. Companies can use endpoint device managers to handle updates across all employee devices. Managers like Intune simplify the process and enhance endpoint security.
RECOGNISING AND REPORTING PHISHING
Phishing attacks are a common vector for cyber threats. Train your team to identify phishing emails, suspicious links, and unsolicited attachments. Encourage them to verify the sender's email address, as well as never provide sensitive information unless certain of the recipient's authenticity.
It’s also important to educate employees about phishing beyond email. Phishing via text messages has been increasing significantly. Some criminals phish via direct messages on social media platforms.
Another important aspect of phishing awareness is to report phishing. If it’s reported, then other employees know to avoid that phishing trap. The organization’s IT team also needs to know so they can take action to mitigate the threat. Be sure to let employees know how they can report a phishing email when they suspect one.
Many people worry about someone hacking their computer, but they’re not really thinking about their wireless printer getting breached.
It’s a tool that most individuals use sporadically, such as when you want to print out tax forms or mailing labels. Printers tend to be out of sight, out of mind - that is until you need to print something and run out of ink.
Well, they’re not out of the mind of hackers. In fact, unsecured printers are a classic way for criminals to gain access to a home network. To illustrate this point, Cybernews purposely hacked printers. It hijacked nearly 28,000 unsecured printers globally. The success rate was 56%.
What did it do once it gained access? Ironically, it made the printers print out a guide on printer security.