Technology

The Remote Workplace and Cybersecurity Concerns

The recent COVID-19 pandemic has created a temporary remote workforce that has swelled to unprecedented levels and may signal a larger and more permanent shift to remote work. Working from home reduces certain health risks associated with the coronavirus. However, working at home also creates cybersecurity risks and other IT management issues that must be resolved before any work is done remotely.

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Defining Remote Work Helps Identify Risk

Remote work involves working away from the office. The worker may be entirely home-based. More frequently, time is shared between the home and the office. Remote work may be temporary and only involve an occasional business trip. Remote work may also involve daily sales or service calls. For the cybersecurity provider, the challenges are many, depending on the circumstances.

The Cybersecurity Issues With Remote Work

Managing the cybersecurity of a blended or fully remote workforce is more challenging than managing the cybersecurity of on-site endpoints.

Three Risky Practices That May Endanger Business IT

  1. Ignoring Basic Physical Security Practices in Public Places

Cybersecurity encompasses not just digital security but also physical security. Sensitive information can be stolen when an employee talks loudly on the phone while working in public places. They may unintentionally expose their screen to prying eyes at a nearby table or venue. Devices may be left unattended while taking care of personal matters.

  1. Accessing Sensitive Data Through Unsafe Wi-Fi Networks

When remote workers connect to the home wireless network or access corporate accounts using unsecured public Wi-Fi, malicious actors in the vicinity can easily spy on the connection and harvest confidential information.

Data sent in an unencrypted form in plain text is easily intercepted by cybercriminals. Employees should never access any unknown Wi-Fi networks unless they are using a VPN connection.

  1. Using Personal Devices for Onsite or Remote Work

Employees frequently transfer files between work and personal computers when working from their homes. This practice is a cause for worry. At the same time, some companies allow employees to use their personal devices at work. This “Bring Your Own Device” or BYOD policy is trending in popularity, but it is very risky.

Remote workers may not be updating their software. This neglect or oversight creates security gaps in the work environment. Employers and their managed IT company team must continuously stress the importance of applying software patches in a timely manner and for a good reason.

An employee may quit or be terminated but keep the confidential information stored on their device. IT management must have in place a strategy that controls endpoints. Otherwise, critical data or valuable trade secrets may be lost or stolen.

Teaching employees basic remote security measures is an IT management imperative. Periodically, remind employees not to expose company data while working remotely, whether at home or on the road.

Secure the Remote Workforce: Formalize a Remote Work Security Policy

Employers must ensure that their remote workforce is secure. This can be done by creating a security policy specifically designed for remote workers.

Essential Security Items That Should Be Included in a Remote Work Policy

  1. Clearly define which positions are eligible for remote work.

Some job functions are too risky for remote environments except under the most controlled conditions. Establish clear guidelines for which positions are a good fit for remote fulfillment. Where appropriate, provide some explanation for why some jobs are excluded from the work-at-home option.

  1. Specify the platforms and tools remote workers should be using.

Both on-site and remote staff should use the same approved tools, such as project management tools, cloud storage platforms, and communication/video conferencing tools.

  1. Train employees on how to respond to the first signs of account compromise.

Every company should have mandatory cybersecurity training and a clear, understandable policy and procedure manual for both on-site and remote workers. The environments have their own complexities and need individual attention.

Indispensable Tools That Both Regular and Remote Workers Should Have Installed on Their Devices

  1. Multi-Factor Authentication

This authentication provides a strong additional layer of security.

  1. Password Manager

Besides multi-factor authentication, employees should also be using a password manager. With this tool in place, workers will not need to remember the different passwords for work-related accounts.

  1. VPN

VPN connections are crucial when remote workers connect to unsecured networks, such as Wi-Fi hotspots. It is recommended that employees use the company’s VPN. The VPN routes the traffic through the internet from the business’ private network, ensuring even more security.

  1. Firewall

A firewall prevents unauthorized access to and from a network. This tool strengthens the security of the employees’ devices. A firewall monitors network traffic, blocking unwanted traffic.

  1. A Strong EDR Solution

The exact details of endpoints always need to be visible to system administrators. A complete endpoint detection and response (EDR) solution be deployed. It will allow the IT management team to remotely prevent next-gen malware, data leakage, respond quickly to threats, and automatically manage software deployment and patching.

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Conclusion

Innovation and agility are needed to remain competitive when a crisis challenges future business success. Implemented properly, remote work is a safe and effective solution for the workforce and business. Yet, remote work comes with security risks that should be addressed and mitigated before employees work from outside the office. A seamless and multi-layered IT managed solution can protect against cyberattacks whether the workforce is on-site or remote.

For more information about managed IT solutions, contact Mobile Computer Services of Wake Forest at (919) 230-2900.

Business Continuity in the Midst of International Disruption

Recently, a worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus triggered an international response of monumental proportions. Nations large and small implemented travel bans prohibited large gatherings and suspended public schools. In some instances, individuals have been advised to practice social distancing, self-quarantine, and shelter in place. Distance learning is the new norm for most students through the end of the school year.

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Businesses large and small have moved to lighter schedules or shut down altogether. Major employers such as Oracle, Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Netflix have urged employees to work remotely if possible. In a matter of days, sometimes overnight, employers re-positioned large segments of their workforce as remote, home-based workers.

Those businesses that already accommodated a remote workforce simply needed to scale. With many businesses being cloud-based, the expansion was not too difficult. For smaller companies working from the ground up, the challenges are great.

However, there are solutions that can be swiftly implemented with the right IT management company in place. Here are five of the most important solutions during this pandemic.

  1. Consult with an IT management professional.

Business continuity plans typically involve data recovery and device repair. Business continuity, in the current climate of international disruption, encompasses a much broader scope. Yet, technology affords the capability to adapt and adjust with agility. Re-locating the workforce and re-positioning tech assets is manageable. Consulting with an experienced professional who can bring real solutions to the table and then execute immediately is essential if a small business is to survive. The agility may achieve a competitive advantage for the smaller business over larger, less responsive competitors.

Work out a plan, craft a strategy, and then execute as a team. Bring an IT expert into the decision-making process and keep them close.

  1. Implement cloud-based solutions if they are not already in place.

Many businesses are entirely cloud-based. Being cloud-based assures portability unless the entire communications infrastructure collapses. However, systemic implosion is not expected. The workplace is entirely incidental to work performance as long as high-speed internet is available. Cell phones and satellites bridge the digital chasm in the absence of fiber. Many sales reps work from their vehicles every day. For an agile workforce, cloud-based platforms are solutions that work and work well.

An IT support specialist can advise about options that match an employee’s specific needs or limitations. Functional cloud-based software may include accounting software, sales tools, CRM tools, and a project management platform.

  1. Procure and upfit needed hardware and software for the transition out of the office.

Possibly the greatest challenge facing small businesses during this worldwide disruption is hardware acquisition. Demand for monitors, cables, and laptops is outpacing supply. With large sectors of the labor force sidelined and some service and product sectors dormant, capitalization is the issue for small businesses. Recent changes in tax law have made it advantageous for companies to acquire hardware as a service (HaaS). HaaS allows businesses to procure needed equipment paying what amounts to a rental fee and still receive a tax advantage. Hardware accessibility at a low entry point in this dire financial climate could spell the difference between success or having to close the doors to the business.

  1. Install an enterprise-level communications platform.

A small business that has moved its control and communications centers off-site will need an enterprise-level, feature-rich telecommunications system at an affordable price. VoIP solutions enable a variety of innovative features. Reliable, crystal clear connections cannot be sacrificed. The reliability of a VoIP system is an integral component of a company’s reputation.

Teleconferencing with employees, vendors, and clients is the most viable way to maintain both communication and community when miles separate. The VoIP solution must provide crystal-clear audio quality and video conferencing capabilities.

  1. Cybersecurity: Take necessary precautions to secure the network.

When working from home, cybersecurity must be a chief concern. The healthcare industry is pushing workers out of the office or practice and into the home workspace. COVID-19 is no respecter of persons. A populated back-office increases employer liability. Sending employees home to work to avoid one risk may be exposing company data to another and even greater risk. Work computers in the home must be password protected. Measures need to be taken to secure the home network from cyber hacking and cyber snooping.

Consulting with an experienced IT specialist can prevent prying eyes from viewing HIPAA-restricted information. Any proprietary and confidential information requires protection, whether health-related or not. Security protocols should be in place and functional on all company devices. An IT consultant can identify vulnerabilities and mitigate risks.

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Conclusion

Sending employees home to work remotely may solve one set of problems, but it may also create a host of other concerns, especially when IT management and security are at stake. Most small businesses, dentist’s offices, and veterinary clinics do not have the expertise needed to configure a productive, efficient, functional, and secure IT solution. Consulting with an expert can save time, money, and resources that could be used to create, produce, work, and serve.

For more information about managed IT services, contact Mobile Computer Services, Inc. of Raleigh at (919) 830-9448.

How Dental Practices Can Gain an Advantage Through Dental IT Services

Data or information is the heartbeat of business in a world driven by data. The dental office is a prime example of a data-dependent environment. How a dental practice manages its data directly influences office processes, team demeanor, the customer journey, and profitability. An excellent dental IT management solution will improve overall office process efficiencies, enhance and preserve team harmony, promote a positive and pleasant customer journey, and increase and protect profitability. A well-run dental practice gains a competitive advantage, but a dental practice cannot operate well without a solid managed IT service provider. The IT solution must also feature a 24/7 IT management support component.

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Most dental practices are unable to maintain a dental office IT support expert. Even if an office were able to staff a full-time IT manager, it is unlikely that one person would be able to stay fully informed about the latest IT industry issues and advancements. Securing the services of a local IT management provider with a specialization in dental practice IT software, network, hardware, and cybersecurity is a superior solution.

Dental offices require managed IT services that provide HIPAA compliance, operational efficiency, software services, network services, hardware repair and maintenance, cybersecurity, VoIP, and many other dental specific needs essentials for modern dental practices. Imaging, accounting, patient processing, and the entire spectrum of dental office software applications fall under the umbrella of IT managed services.

Mobile Computer Services, Inc. of Raleigh offers a spectrum of IT services designed specifically for a dental practice. The team manages the IT needs of the dental office, so the dentist can focus on helping patients. Mobile Computer Services, Inc. provides managed IT services, network services, business continuity planning, IT consulting for dentists, IT security, on-demand services, office moves, VoIP, email protection, and hardware as a service.

Mobile Computer Services, Inc. has assisted many dental practices in the Raleigh area in the implementation of the necessary protocols to ensure HIPAA compliance. They ensure that communications systems, patient information collection, data transmission, and records storage and maintenance processes include the specific steps required for HIPAA compliance.  Don’t just take our word for it, see what MCS customers say here.

The priority of Mobile Computer Services, Inc. is the continuous, smooth, flawless operation of the dentist’s practice. 24/7 proactive monitoring and management of a practice’s IT systems are the key feature of the company’s service menu. Their managed IT services for dentists include designing and installing new systems or maintaining older systems that are already in place. Their wide range of services can be tailored to fit needs ranging from remote desktop support to in-person computer support at the dental practice.

Network Services

Skilled, qualified technicians deliver comprehensive care for the dental IT network. The competent team ensures no loss of critical information or productivity.

Business Continuity Planning

Technical issues occasionally emerge. Having the correct systems and backups in place eliminates worry and brings peace of mind to the conscientious dentist. With Mobile Computer Services, Inc., a dental practice has access to state-of-the-art back-up and data restoration systems. Active management of all relevant systems coupled with proactive steps to mitigate risks safeguards dental offices that have secured IT management services and support from Mobile Computer Services, Inc.

IT Consulting for Dentists

A professional consult brings expert insights into dental IT services. Consultants know the systems and hardware required to enable the dental practice to function at optimum performance.

IT Security for Dentists

Document security and safety is a critical need for every dental practice. The legal complications of a data breach can be expensive to mediate, and full compliance with HIPAA is a non-negotiable for a dental practice. One of the functions of a dental IT management team is to mitigate the risk of a cyber-attack on a practice. Mobile Computer Services, Inc. can deploy a robust cybersecurity solution that safeguards data and protects dental practices against damage and security breaches.

On-Demand Services for Dental Practices

Peace of mind accompanies the knowledge that a support team is on call around the clock and available to repair malfunctioning technology and broken computers. Clients only pay for the support they need.

Office Moves

With the growth in the economy, some dentists are expanding at their current location or moving to a larger location. Flexible, customizable cabling solutions can be configured to accommodate expansion or a move. Competent assistance with the move or expansion means that the technology infrastructure will be in place on time and will be functional according to plan.

VoIP

Implementation of a VoIP system protects dental practice from becoming obsolete. The VoIP solutions from Mobile Computer Services, Inc. provide high-quality audio as well as conferencing capabilities. Dentists can reduce phone bills, improve communications with clients, and increase the productivity of staff with VoIP.

Email Protection

Email protection is an area often neglected by dental practices, yet it is one of the primary ways that customers interact with the office. Emails are a prime target of cyber-attacks. The cyber specialists at Mobile Computer Services, Inc. build an email infrastructure designed to ensure business continuity while remaining completely secure and infection-free.

Hardware as a Service for Dental Practices

The cost of new hardware can be staggering. Over time, operating systems and hardware components become outdated and need replacing. HaaS (hardware as a service) provides dental practice with the equipment, accessories, and support needed at an affordable price point.

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For more information about the IT support specialist Raleigh dentists trust for cybersecurity. The team can be contacted by phone at (919) 230-2900.

Managed IT Services Help Dental Practices Protect Against Cyber Attacks

According to a recent study, the average direct cost of a cyber-attack resulting in a security breach at a small business is approximately $38,000. Downtime ($23,000), lost business opportunities ($5,000), and the service providers the company will need to hire to deal with the cybersecurity breach are included in this figure. Small businesses pay an average of about $10,000 in professional services which include hiring an IT security and risk management team, auditors, lawyers, accountants, and public-relations consultants. The actual direct cost to a small business such as a dental practice may not be exactly $38,000. However, when adjusted for scale, the financial expense to recover from a security breach could be even more impactful.

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These expenses are the visible costs of a cyber-attack. Other hidden but real costs are often overlooked, underestimated, or unaccounted for. An iceberg illustrates the relationship between the “above the surface” and the “below the surface” costs. It is the hidden 90% of the iceberg that has the greatest potential to sink ships.

Hidden Costs of a Cyber-Attack on a Dental Practice

Common perceptions of cyber-attacks are mostly shaped by what companies and businesses are required to report publicly. Instances of cybersecurity breaches of which the public is most aware involve payment data, personal health information (PHI), and the theft of personally identifiable information (PII). Other instances of security breaches rarely attract public attention. These cases include espionage, intellectual property (IP) theft, attacks on core operations, destruction of data, or attempts to disable critical infrastructure. With the prevalence and impact of cybersecurity breaches expanding, business owners and professionals such as dentists and orthodontists must be acutely aware not only of direct impact costs to their businesses but also the hidden costs associated with a cybersecurity breach.

Increased insurance premiums

An area of expense that is indirect but associated with a cyber breach has to do with insurance premiums. Insurance premium increases are the extra costs an insured business incurs to purchase or renew cyber insurance policies after a cyber incident.

Factors influencing the premium amount include:

  • Information concerning the circumstances surrounding the incident and unmitigated culpability
  • Intentions to improve the security solution
  • Anticipated litigation
  • Assumptions regarding the policy holder’s level of cybersecurity maturity

Increased costs to borrow funds

Should there be a drop in credit rating following a cyber incident, the victimized business will face higher interest rates for borrowed capital, whether it is raising debt or renegotiating existing debt. This situation could directly impact plans and efforts to expand a dental practice to multiple locations. The practice is now perceived as a higher-risk borrower following a cybersecurity incident. The additional interest expense paid over time could be staggering. It is virtually impossible to calculate the lost profit resulting from the failure to scale to meet market demand due to the inability to obtain reasonable interest rates on investment capital.

Disruptions or destruction of business operations

This highly variable cost includes losses related to manipulation of or changes in normal business operations and expenses associated with rebuilding operational capabilities. Victims of a cyber-attack will need to repair facilities and equipment, build temporary infrastructure, redirect resources, or increase existing resources to replace systems that were disabled. In a dental practice, disruption inpatient flow for any reason directly and immediately impacts cash flow.

Customer relationship losses

Quantifying the loss of clients or customers after a breach can be very difficult. Economists and marketing teams address this issue by assigning a value to each client or customer to quantify how much the business must invest to regain particular customers. Dental practices acquire loyal customers and build relationships that last a lifetime. Losing a patient certainly carries a monetary loss, but the relational expense could be even more painful.

Value of unrealized revenue from lost contracts

The fallout from a cyber-attack could impact present and future contracts for goods and services for any business, including a dental practice. Projections are only estimates, but these estimates are grounded in real numbers and trends. Projecting future losses or unfulfilled gains could exponentially increase the cost of a cyber-attack. The value of lost contract revenue, such as Invisalign, braces, and retainers, includes revenue, income, and future opportunities that are lost when a contract is terminated following a cyber incident.

Devaluation of trade name

To accurately assess the financial impact on the value of a trade name, the pre-attack and post-attack value must be calculated. This cost could approach the value of the practice itself, especially if the brand has an identity that transcends the dentist’s name. If the victimized dental practice is ever put up for sale, the damaged brand or trade name could be an expensive liability.

Loss of intellectual property

The loss of intellectual property (IP) is an intangible cost associated with loss of exclusive control over trade secrets, copyrights, investment plans, and other proprietary or confidential information. The loss of IP can result in the loss of competitive advantage, revenue losses, and potentially irreparable economic damage to the dental practice. Just a few examples of IP includes patents, copyrights, designs, trademarks, and trade secrets. In larger, multi-dentist, multi-location, or even franchised locations, the loss of IP could dissolve a lifetime of effort and investment for all parties involved.

Damaged reputation

A cyber-attack inflicts more than stress and financial pain. It also damages a dental practice’s reputation. The long-term value of reputation and perception in the dental industry is all but impossible to tangibly calculate. What is the value of a good name and a solid reputation? It is priceless. Cyber-attacks wound deeper than dollars. To mitigate a negative impact on reputation, managing risks and vulnerability to cyber attackers must be a central focus in order to ensure a dental practice’s reputation remains intact.

The impacts of a cyber-attack can affect a business in various ways depending on the nature and severity of the attack. No business, not even a dental practice, is immune. Thankfully, outsourced IT managed services are a simple, affordable solution to protect dental practice against the painful effects of a successful cyber-attack.

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To learn more about dental IT services, contact Mobile Computer Services, Inc., one of the most skilled managed IT service providers in Wake Forest. Staff can be reached by phone at (919) 230-2900.

Managed IT Services Company Promotes Security Over Repair

ITS Team Security warns small businesses that failing to prevent a cyber attack can be catastrophic

The protection and peace of mind afforded to a business by a competent IT management service partner is much more affordable than the alternative. Keeping a business operational and safe is only a fraction of the cost required to repair the damage done by a successful cyber-attack. Since modern companies are data-driven, a data breach can devastate a small company or strangle a new business.

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What is the expense of a successful security breach to a small business?

Regardless of what size of a business is, a cyber-attack imposes budgetary pain. However, the pain of a cybersecurity incursion upon a small business will be felt differently than an assault on a large company. The scale of size may soften the blow on the large company even though the actual cost to repair, replace, and restore may be many times greater than the expense to the smaller business. The damage inflicted by a breach can carve a significant slice out of a small business’s bottom line. The intensity and longevity of that pain depend on the extent of the intrusion, the IT management solutions in place to deal with the disaster, and other less noticeable impact areas.

A recent study analyzed the associated costs of a successful cyber-attack. The average security breach at a small company or business costs about $38,000. This figure includes the costs of downtime, lost business opportunities, and the services that the targeted company will need to bring on board to resolve the cybersecurity breach. On average, small businesses pay about $10,000 in professional services including hiring IT security and risk management consulting, legal counsel, accountants, auditors, and public-relations specialists.

This broad assessment clearly shows the effects of a cyber-attack reaching into areas that are not typically associated with a repair and recovery effort. Network repair and data recovery are more easily addressed than the less tangible matters of public relations. Data recovery is one thing; reputation repair is another.

The tangential but significant impacts on a small business break along the following lines

  • Downtime costs for small businesses are around $23,000.
  • Lost business opportunities calculate to about $5,000.
  • Many victims will pay approximately $8,000 to make sure such an incident never occurs again. These efforts involve investing in new staff, cybersecurity training for current employees and upgrading the IT infrastructure.

According to estimates, the direct financial damage inflicted on a large business is even more costly. The average cybersecurity incursion costs about $825,000 which is many times more than that of a small business. Economies of scale come into play when factoring the overall pain inflicted on a company, but size in and of itself does not make a business impervious to the cyber carnage resulting from an attack.

What companies are required to make known about a cyber incident shapes much of the popular conception regarding the cost and impact of security breaches? Some examples of security breaches that make it onto a public venue and into the public eye involve payment data, personal health information (PHI), and the theft of personally identifiable information (PII). Costs related to customer notification, credit monitoring, and the possibility of legal judgments or regulatory penalties are lower profile, but they are still very real. In response to breaches in these areas, there is movement in the direction of calculating the “cost per record” for consumer data breaches.

Infrequently brought to public attention are instances of espionage, data destruction, theft of intellectual property (IP), attacks on core operations, or attempts to neutralize critical infrastructure. These types of attacks can inflict a more traumatic injury and lead to additional costs that are more complex to calculate.

Given the impact and growing frequency of cybersecurity breaches across many fronts, business owners and executives must consider both the direct costs to their businesses and the number of the less obvious costs associated with a cybersecurity breach.

Preventing a destructive cyber event is much less expensive and time-consuming than recovering from one. Having a competent IT management solution in place and operational 24/7 is mandatory for any business in the 21st century.

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For more information about cybersecurity, managed IT services, HIPPA and DOD cyber compliance, network repair, cloud services, data recovery, email compliance, VoIP solutions, IT business consulting, business continuity plans, and peace of mind, visit the ITS Team Security website at or contact the team by phone at (858) 538-4729

The Cost of Cyber Security: An Ounce of Prevention or a Pound of Flesh?

Mobile Computer Services, Inc. of Raleigh warns business owners of the potentially devastating costs of a successful cyber-attack.

An ounce of prevention or a pound of flesh? That is not quite how the adage goes, but the adaptation is closer to the truth than the original when applied to cybersecurity. With cyber threats, it is only a matter of time before the attacks arrive in the inbox or breach the wall of security intended to protect a business’s email, its entire network, or its cache of precious data. A less expensive solution to cyber threats is inadequate in comparison to robust managed IT solutions. Today, data is the heartbeat of a business. A data breach can destroy a small company or squeeze the life out of a new business. Insufficient cyber protection is not only dangerous; it could be deadly.

That ounce of prevention is a fractional cost of the pound of flesh that will be exacted should a successful attack be launched on an exposed and vulnerable system. When calculating the magnitude of the difference, remember the intangible but very real value of peace of mind, which is priceless.

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The impact of a cyber-attack on a small business will be felt differently than an attack on a large company. The scale of size may mitigate the effects on the large company even though the actual cost to repair, replace, and reboot may be vastly higher than the expense to the smaller business. The damage caused by a breach can put a significant dent in a business’s bottom line. Size does not matter. The attack still inflicts budgetary pain. The intensity and longevity of that pain depend on the nature and extent of the attack, the managed IT services in place to deal with the catastrophe and other less noticed impact zones.

According to one source, “The average security breach on a small business will cost about US$38,000, according to a study from Kaspersky Lab. The amount includes the costs of downtime, lost business opportunities, and the services the company will need to hire to mitigate the cybersecurity breach. Small businesses pay, on average, about $10,000 in professional services, including the hiring of IT security and risk management consultants, lawyers, auditors, accountants, and public relations consultants.”

It is manifestly evident from this summary assessment that some impacts are visible above the surface while other effects are less obvious but still very detectable on the cyber Richter scale.

Further delineating the tangential, but nonetheless profound impacts on a small business, the assessment continued, “Downtime costs for smallish businesses hover around $23,000 and lost business opportunities about $5,000. Many of the victims will spend about $8,000 trying to ensure a similar incident doesn’t happen again with investments in new staff members, cybersecurity training for existing employees, and making upgrades to its IT infrastructure.”

The average cybersecurity breach for a larger business costs about $825,000, which is more than double that of a small business. Economies of scale come into play when factoring the overall financial impact.

While the impacts of a cyberattack will be experienced differently by small and large businesses, the damage caused by a security breach can create a significant dent in a business’s bottom line, regardless of size.

What companies are required to publicly report shapes much of the popular understanding as to the cost and impact of a cyber-attack? Some examples of security breaches that make the news are payment data, personal health information (PHI), and the theft of personally identifiable information (PII). Costs related to customer notification, credit monitoring, and the possibility of legal judgments or regulatory penalties get less media attention, but they are real concerns. In response to breaches in these areas, there is a movement toward calculating “cost per record” for consumer data breaches.

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Rarely put on public display are instances of data destruction, espionage, intellectual property (IP) theft, attacks on core operations, or attempts to neutralize critical infrastructure. These types of attacks can produce more significant injuries and lead to additional costs that are more difficult to determine accurately.

Given the prevalence and impact of cybersecurity breaches, business owners and executives must consider not only the direct impact costs to their businesses but also the number of less obvious costs associated with a cybersecurity breach.

Not sure how to measure those costs of a cyber attack or are you worried your network may not be adequately protected?  Mobile Computer Services, Inc of Raleigh, NC can help. Contact MCS today to schedule a complimentary network assessment and find out if your current Managed IT Services vendor is adequately protecting your business and data or if you should consider other options for your technology peace of mind.

8 Serious Threats Lurking in the Cybersphere

When cyber threats strike, they are costly for both large and small businesses. A recent study provided data indicating that the direct cost to a small business to remediate a cyber-attack is $38,000. For a large company, the direct costs are a whopping $825,000. These figures do not account for more tangential and tertiary or “hidden” costs which rocket recovery and enhanced prevention costs into the stratosphere.

“The study (Kaspersky Lab) found that malware attacks are the most prevalent type of cyberattack. Other common categories include phishing attacks and accidental data leaks by employees. Despite the potentially crippling financial impact of such attacks, many businesses aren’t making cybersecurity a top priority. Only 50% of the IT professionals surveyed list prevention of security breaches as one of their major concerns.”

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Attacks are being launched incessantly. When they hit a target, the cost of repair and recovery is high. Yet, too many businesses are unprotected and vulnerable.

Cyber attackers target individuals, as well as businesses. Getting a virus, being hacked, losing critical data, having one’s identity stolen, or having a PC or device rendered useless can be extremely frightening, frustrating, and costly. The situation becomes more complicated when personal computers and devices are used in a small business. IT management solutions must address this co-mingling of business and personal devices.

Mobile Computer Services, Inc. of Wake Forest, an IT support specialist, is warning small business owners about some of the most dangerous malware threats lurking in the cybersphere.

WinRAR Bug is a new and dangerous malware

WinRAR, a popular program, extracts compressed files. It has been around for years, and all this time, it has had a hidden vulnerability. Attackers can engineer compressed files so that they extract malware directly to the Windows operating system without warning. A host of malware is taking advantage of this newly revealed vulnerability. WinRAR owners should patch it right away. Since WinRAR does not patch automatically, the software must be updated manually to be safe.

Fake Asus updates weaponized with viruses

Asus recently made it known that its update software was breached at the source, and one of the latest critical security updates for their machines secretly contained malware. The malware was distributed to over 1 million people, but fortunately, it appears to have only been hunting for 600 specific targets. Asus owners who think their computer has been affected by the malware known as ShadowHammer should check their device on the Asus website.

IoT attacks hit 32.7 million

IoT devices are rising in popularity. However, their controls are relatively easy to attack and abuse. Many have no built-in firewalls, and they may also lack the ability to change default usernames and passwords. Since 2017, this vulnerability has led to a 217.5% increase in attacks against IoT devices. In general, these attacks are engineered to generate swarms of remote-controlled ‘bots’ that can implement targeted DDoS attacks that bring down portions of the internet. Those having or planning to obtain an IoT device should ensure its security.

New Android malware can drain bank accounts

A new type of banking malware was discovered on Android devices very recently. This malware, known as Gustuff, can automatically break into banking and cryptocurrency apps installed on a phone and steal funds. This application spreads by texting the contacts on a victim’s phone. Do not click on the links in unusual text messages! If there is concern that there may be an infection, research Android Antivirus Apps.

NVIDIA patches its graphics management software

Many gaming computers have an NVIDIA graphics card. It has recently been discovered that the management software controlling these graphics cards is vulnerable to a bug that would allow users to arbitrarily execute code within a victim’s computer. So far, no exploit has yet appeared for this vulnerability. To be on the safe side, patch the graphics card drivers as soon as possible.

SMBs: Easy targets for ransomware

Statistics show that 43% of cyber-attacks target small businesses.  Lacking the money and time to secure their computers, these companies make easy targets. Small businesses need to be on guard.

Facebook stored passwords in plain text

Hundreds of millions of passwords were stored by Facebook in plain text. If an attack had ever breached that part of Facebook, hackers would have been able to steal accounts. Facebook users may want to consider changing their password.

New vulnerability in TP-Link smart home routers

Owners of the TP-Link SR20 Router might consider replacing it because developers at Google recently announced that this brand of router is affected by a vulnerability. Attackers can take control of the router if they join the same network. Google revealed this vulnerability to the public 90 days after telling the manufacturer since the manufacturer apparently did not immediately issue a fix. The recommendation is to replace the router unless TP-Link has released a fix.

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To protect a business from cyberattacks, entrepreneurs can consult with Mobile Computer Services, Inc. of Wake Forest, one of the leading managed IT service providers. For more information about IT service management that provides solutions encompassing all facets of data management and cyber protection, contact Mobile Computer Services of Wake Forest at (919) 230-2900.

Outsourcing to a Managed IT Services Provider Can Benefit Wake Forest SMBs

Almost all companies have some need for IT support and services, but most can’t afford the high costs of hiring IT staff to work in-house. For companies considering the alternatives, working with a managed IT services provider in Wake Forest can reduce IT costs as well as offering a number of other benefits.

IT Company Wake Forest NC

1. Leveraged Experience

Employing a single IT professional or a small in-house team means that the business is limited in the expertise that it can draw upon in the event of a tech issue. In-house staff will need to be constantly trained at considerable cost and, even then, they might still struggle to keep up with specialized IT companies that offered managed services.

Unless the business can afford to hire industry-leading IT professionals, it is going to suffer. In most cases, a young, inexperienced IT graduate will be hired but, because they lack the experience and mentoring, they’re going to try different things that may or may not work. In contrast, outsourcing IT activities gives the business access to IT professionals who have the skills, training, and experience to meet the needs of the business.

It can be tempting to save costs in this area but think of the worst-case scenarios that could happen and most business owners quickly realize that it is almost always cheaper and less risky to outsource IT services to a professional company that does nothing but IT support and Managed IT services. A business’s data is its most important asset as should be prioritized accordingly.

2. Risk Reduction

Downtime is expensive, and an IT services provider can help to streamline and stabilize the IT processes, reducing the risk of downtime and in many cases, preventing incidents that would result in downtime.

Reducing risk in a company is important as it allows owners and managers to focus on turning a profit. But to minimize network, computer and data security risks takes specialized procedures and management. Outsourced IT professionals can protect a business from attacks with an actively managed firewall and stringent security protocols along with 24×7 computer and server monitoring.

Consider the costs of downtime for your business and compare it to the cost of hiring an IT company to manage the business’s IT – suddenly those costs look like a great deal.

3. Lower, More Predictable, Costs

Proactively choosing to work with managed IT service providers will save a lot of money in the long-run. First, in addition to being more effective, it’s also a lot more affordable than managing IT in-

house along with all the costs that come with employees, training and turnover. Secondly, it also ensures that the business is prepared in the event of an IT emergency, such as a hacked network or wide-spread software malfunction. When this happens, assistance is needed immediately; the costs can mount up quickly to the point where it can use up an entire year’s IT budget in a single incident not handled timely with a fast resolution.

A monthly contract with an outsourced IT company will prevent issues from happening with proactive network monitoring, as well as providing the necessary assistance at a set budget if something does happen. A fixed monthly fee makes it easy to put into the operating budget and avoid unexpected costs which can easily cripple a small business

4. Stay Up-to-Date and Innovate

New technology almost always requires new learning, and a business’s IT requirements may cover a wide range of services, including cloud storage, internet connectivity, and network firewalls all of which are services offered by different vendors. These services are essential for the smooth running of a business but can be confusing to navigate, especially if something goes wrong. An outsourced IT specialist will resolve issues quickly and efficiently, allowing staff to focus on their core job functions.

Managed IT Service Provider

Outsourced IT professionals will also help introduce new software and technology as it becomes available to further streamline the operations of the business. Mobile Computer Services in Wake Forest offers IT support services to local businesses offering IT consulting, network services, security, and more.

A High-Level Guide to IT Management Services in San Diego

ITS Team Security Partners With Local Businesses to Provide IT Management Solutions

Doing business in the 21st century means managing mountains of information or data. A company lives or dies based on how it manages its data. This need to manage data in business, industry, government and education has led to the creation of the entire service industry — the IT or “information technology” sector.

So great is the demand that the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the employment of information technology and computer occupations is projected to expand 13 percent over a ten-year period from 2016 to 2026.

Businesses and business owners in San Diego who possess a basic, high-level understanding of the scope, function, importance, and value of IT management services are strategically well-positioned to make better decisions about IT management for their company.

managed it services

What do IT management services encompass?

ITS Team Security provides managed IT services. At the highest level, these services include:

  • Cloud Services
  • Cybersecurity
  • Catastrophic Disaster Data Loss Recovery 
  • IT Repair
  • Compliant Email
  • VOIP
  • Professional IT Services & Technology Consulting

Managed Cloud Services: Efficient, Burden-Free, and Scalable 

  • Network design, set up, maintenance
  • Cloud Security
  • General Email Solutions
  • HIPAA Compliance: Law firms and medical practices need to be compliant in their software use.

From databases to email compliance, ITS Team Security serves the San Diego area’s needs. ITS Team Security started implementing cloud services before it was called “the cloud.” They have been helping their customers manage data, keep their business up and running, and they can access all the essential parts of their business from wherever is needed.

Managed cloud services allow a business to run how and where it needs to. Being cloud-based translates into flexibility and optimum efficiency. With work done in the cloud, a new member can be up and running immediately. Working in the cloud means being up and running 24/7 with no downtime, even for backups and network maintenance.

Scalability means that as a business grows, cloud service grows with it. Whether opening a new office in Japan or going on a trip to Zimbabwe to source new products, the company information is readily available whenever wherever it is needed. Cloud-based management from ITS Team Security relieves the chore of managing company data and keeps that data safe and accessible. A business can focus on what matters: growing the business and serving customers.

Cyber Security

  • Ransomware
  • DOD Compliance
  • Virus, trojan attacks, denial of services

Systems are constantly under attack from around the world. Security efforts must be ever diligent and vigilant since cyber enemies never slumber. Hackers with malicious intent are always plotting and repositioning. Cybersecurity is a non-negotiable in IT management. The field of cybersecurity involves the protection and recovery of networks, devices, and programs.

Catastrophic Disaster Data Loss Recovery

Vigilance means proactively taking every precaution necessary to ensure that data is protected at every point. It is inevitable that an attack will occur and that some repair and recovery will be required. In the face of a catastrophic data loss disaster, recovery must begin immediately with little or no disruption to the business. A sound business continuation plan will anticipate a disaster and include a rapid response protocol.

IT Repair

  • General Device Repair
  • Data Loss Recovery & Backup

Even the best protection will inevitably be compromised, so IT management must include protection, repair, and recovery. Networks, devices, and programs will need to be repaired, and data will need to be recovered. Outsourcing IT management makes sense for almost every business. Having an IT management service provider that can handle every aspect of data, technology, and hardware makes for a consolidated effort when trouble strikes with the outcome being a swift response and recovery for the assailed business.

Compliant Email

  • General Email Solutions
  • HIPAA & DOD Compliance

Email compliance, along with general email solutions, is essential for the flow of information along safe, secure, private lines of communication. General email solutions must involve necessary compliance requirements such as are required for HIPAA and DOD.

VOIP Security: Telephony

  • Telephone and voice services

The days of copper-line telephones are long gone. Today, a new phone line can be set up in as little as ten minutes, with all the routing and security needed to properly run a business. Phone-based telecommunications are still an essential part of doing business here in San Diego, so a business VOIP system should be a priority.

Professional IT Services and Technology Consulting

Business continuity is vital. Through discovery and analysis, technology consulting exposes all the areas where a business is potentially at risk. Once potential breach points are identified, a risk mitigation plan is developed to address the vulnerabilities and further protect from attacks.

Data management is vital in a business environment that is both dependent upon and driven by data. Making a system secure, repairing damaged networks, connecting to the cloud, supporting existing systems, and monitoring 24/7 is the mission of ITS Team Security, a technology partner in San Diego.

Increase ROI by Outsourcing IT Management

Increase ROI by Outsourcing IT Management

Small business owners who understand the complexity of effectively and profitably operating a business also understand the absolute necessity of having an IT management solution that is engaged and on guard 24/7. Hardware, software, network services, data protection and recovery, cybersecurity, a business continuity plan in case of a catastrophic systems failure, IT consulting, email protection — these are indispensable factors of running a business in the technological age.

An IT management solution is mandatory, but is this solution an end in itself? Business owners must realize that outsourcing IT management is an opportunity to increase ROI. ITS Team Security, a San Diego managed IT company, highlights the following ways that managed IT services positively impact a business’ return on investment:

Outsource IT Management

Control capital costs

Outsourcing IT solutions converts fixed costs into variable costs, freeing up capital for investment in other areas of a business. This relocation of capital may net a more favorable outcome when used in a project with more potential for profit.

Capture the power of fractional resources

A fractional resource strategy allows startups to use the services only as they need them while avoiding large expenditures in the early stages of the business.

Increase efficiency

While in-house IT management solutions are very expensive for a small business, outsourcing IT management is much more cost-effective. Companies that do everything in-house have much higher research, development, marketing, and distribution expenses. An in-house solution requires hiring an in-house manager, which means yet another salary that needs to be paid. Besides, not all IT tasks are large enough to warrant a dedicated hire.

The expenses accrued from an in-house solution must be passed on to customers. When a small business bypasses these expenses by outsourcing IT management, it can gain a competitive advantage over larger, more established competitors. Competitive advantage translates into greater ROI.

Release labor and talent for core competencies and new projects

Outsourcing IT management frees up energy and talent that can be directed towards core competencies and new projects. When small businesses can focus on what they do best, they can maximize resources and profits.

Accelerate scalability

As a company grows its marketing imprint, tackles new projects, and expands its labor force, IT requirements expand swiftly, even overnight in the case of new acquisitions. With a phone call to the outsourcing company, the IT managing team expands to take on new challenges, both actual and projected. Employee acquisition, training costs, skill inefficiencies, and spoilage are all avoided. This dynamic responsiveness of the managed IT service provider positively influences potential ROI.

Protect the continuity of the customer journey

When IT effectively managed, there is a powerful impact on customers. Customers experiencing technology glitches with a business may go looking for another supplier or service provider. They may also find a friend to talk about the unhappy experience. At the very least, the customer may no longer be confident shopping on a business website or contacting the help center with questions or problems. In contrast, satisfied customers give repeat business and positive referrals, and they are confident in the company they choose to do business with.

Reduce risk

Every business investment carries a certain amount of risk. Markets, competition, government red tape, financial environments, and technologies all change very quickly. Technology is evolving at lightning speed. Merely keeping up – maintaining the status quo – is unacceptable, even dangerous, in the world of data management and cybersecurity. Highly competent outsourced IT management providers assume and manage this risk for clients. The professionals are typically more proficient at risk mitigation in their areas of expertise. Efficiencies in risk mitigation convey great value in terms of ROI. To keep everything in perspective, for a business owner, peace of mind is priceless.

Managed IT Services

Ultimately, defined IT needs dictate the direction a business pursues when searching for IT management, cybersecurity compliance, DOD compliance, HIPAA compliance, email security, or network security in San Diego. For those businesses searching for managed IT services in San Diego, the cybersecurity experts at ITS Team Security specialize in protecting client data and, when needed, recovering the crucial data as fast as possible in order to minimize business disruption.

For more information about managed IT services, visit the ITS Team Security website at https://itsteam.com. Staff can be contacted by phone at 1 (858) 538-4729.

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