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Uppermost Events To Be Prepared For Cloud Security

Data Theft

The biggest security concern moving forward is data breaches. A billion records have been stolen through data breaches. Today, data theft is a full industry worth billions of dollars. It’s just a different form of online retail. That’s a stark, scary view, but it is the reality. Most stolen data is bundled and then sold to buyers who will sift through it and figure out what they can use or re-sell. In other words, there’s a global supply pipeline of products. If you think of it like oil or another natural resource, a cybercriminal is just treating businesses like a well or a mine. The product they steal goes through several steps of refinement, storage, and transport before finding someone who will utilize it. To keep with the metaphor, organizations must ensure that their data is resistant to the kind of exploratory drilling that data thieves use to find their product.

Lost Data

Data loss can occur without the involvement or attempt of theft. These data losses typically come in three varieties:

  • A natural disaster results in the loss of access to files.
  • A human error results in files being stored improperly or altogether deleted.
  • A sudden change in business results in a cloud provider dropping promised resources or access to its clients.

The first and second of these occur regularly. This is why you need to ensure redundancies are in place to weather any disaster or error. The third is very rare as more major players have entered the market as cloud providers. These major players have more accountability and handle their clients more responsibly than some of the very first cloud providers once did.

Denial of Service

Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks has become the bane of many businesses over the last several years. Attackers use a botnet of distributed computers that are infected with malware in order to overwhelm an organization’s servers. This way, the organization can’t simply block a particular point-of-origin.

Sometimes these attacks are aimed to take down a website and make it unusable for a period of time. This can result in significant lost profit, operability, and even customers or clients shifting their business elsewhere. In this way, it’s a significant tool of sabotage. Other times, these attacks are orchestrated in order to cripple a service long enough for the attacker to simultaneously enact another form of attack – such as a data breach.

These attacks require a service with experience in DDoS attacks, and with the established botnet to pull it off. You might think that would severely limit who could target you, but just as Security-as-a-Service exists to mitigate these attacks, DDoS-as-a-Service exists to perform them. Cybercriminals don’t need to know how to pull these attacks off themselves; they just need to hire a service to do it for them.

Security Vulnerabilities

The Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities both operated through bypassing the compartmentalization that exists between applications. In this way, a small vulnerability allowed them access to much more information than it should have. Spectre was primarily useful on older, unpatched operating systems. Meltdown impacted a far wider variety of PCs, but after Spectre it was all-hands-on-deck so it didn’t have quite the same impact.

While patches exist for both, they can also impact system performance. Some businesses are measuring the balance between these two choices. Seal a vulnerability or maintain performance. Of course, the most effective measure will be to replace affected processors, which is quite expensive and unrealistic for most organizations.

For the time being, the best defense is to make a choice as to whether you’ll patch the vulnerabilities out and risk performance degradation. Cybersecurity plans can accommodate both choices, keeping up with security updates is absolutely necessary on all devices. If this had been done, Spectre would have been much less impactful.

Tools such as Microsoft OMS and EMS can help you manage an entire network of devices, and organize who has access rights on devices, users, applications, and file levels.

Other Concerns

Effective cybersecurity doesn’t stop here. There are additional concerns, such as API security, insider threats, lost or stolen devices…the list goes on. Put simply, you need a top-down approach that helps you understand each segment of your cybersecurity. Organizations need to be able to manage granular decision-making and security on a holistic management level.

Choose a cloud service provider that’s proved, and utilizes sound access rights management. Supplement your own cybersecurity with Security-as-a-Service where needed. A good way to hybridize is to dedicate your in-house IT team to daily duties and operations while you utilize Security-as-a-Service to keep you consistently safe through longer-term organization and strategy. To find out more please contact NetPillar.

Is your email domain being spoofed?

What is Email Spoofing?

Email spoofing is the creation of email messages with a forged sender address for the purpose of fooling the recipient into providing money or sensitive information. Email spoofing is a fraudulent email activity hiding email origins. The act of email spoofing occurs when imposters are able to deliver emails by altering emails’ sender information. Although this is usually done by spammers and through phishing emails for advertising purposes, email spoofing can have malicious motives such as virus spreading or attempts to gain personal banking information. Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) does not provide any type of authentication process for persons sending emails. Yet, it is the primary email system for most people, facilitating email spoofing. this can lead to various scenarios, most commonly where an attacker will forge the identity of someone to use their authorization in order to gain something, for example impersonate a CEO to order someone to wire money to a bank account.

What is it costing companies?
The Herjavec Group reports cybercrime will cost the world $6 trillion by 2021; while it’s hard to know how much of this amount will derive from ‘spoofing’ tactics, it only takes one look at your junk mailbox to see how many people are looking to deceive you for their financial gain.

In response to this, three protocols have been introduced over time to attempt to mitigate the issue of email spoofing by providing mechanisms to verify that incoming mail is from the domain it claims to be sent from. These three protocols are known as the Sender Framework Policy (SPF), DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), and Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting & Conformance (DMARC). These protocols will be explained in detail in how they operate, what they mitigate, and how to use them to help protect your own domain from being spoofed.

So how to prevent this?

Did you know that every email has two different senders? One email address is called the ‘envelope sender‘, and the other is set in the email header. The latter is known as the ‘From:’ header, which is normally displayed by the email clients, like Microsoft Outlook. Unfortunately, cybercriminals can forge the ‘From:’ header to trick email clients into displaying a name and email address that belong to your business.
You or your IT staff can make changes to your email service settings to help block deceptive emails coming into your organization, and put other email services on notice as to what a legitimate email coming from you should look like. This is done by adding what is known as SPFDKIM, and DMARC DNS records to your company’s domain name.

Reasons why your business needs to move to the cloud

The shift for businesses to use cloud computing hasn’t come straight away, but that is simply because many organizations haven’t yet been faced with a “server refresh”. Typically, a server refresh – replacing servers that are out of warranty – happens every five to seven years. Before the warranty is up, it may not immediately appear to make sense to migrate to the cloud and waste that huge investment.
For others, they don’t look for alternatives to the on-premise or private cloud until they have to, because their operating system has had its support discontinued. For instance, if you have the operating system Windows Server 2008 on-premise, by 2020 Microsoft will no longer support that product, so any vulnerabilities will remain and put businesses at risk of certain exploits or vulnerabilities.
Businesses come to us at Perfect Image with the issues they are experiencing with their on-premise or private cloud infrastructures. They want a solution that can lower costs, improve productivity, increase scalability, boost business growth, etc. It’s usually quite clear to us, for nearly every single case, is that cloud or hybrid is the solution they need.
So, what are the typical problems found with traditional infrastructure, and how can the public cloud meet business needs and eliminate these issues?

Companies spend large amounts of money developing and installing software to improve their operations. Cloud computing enables your business to access software on the internet as a service. Cloud computing is also a safe way of storing and sharing data.
Your staff can access the service at any time and from any location to complete their tasks. Cloud computing services fall into three major categories that include Platform as a Service (PaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). You can choose any of these services depending on the needs of your business. If you are unsure about moving from the traditional way of computing, here are the top reasons why you should move your business to cloud computing.

Reduced costs
Establishing and running a data center is expensive. You need to purchase the right equipment and hire technicians to install and manage the center. When you shift to cloud computing, you will only pay for the services procured. More interested in how the cloud can reduce cost in your business? Check out the importance of the cloud to the enterprise then.
Providers charge to cloud computing services based the features, storage, number of users, time, and memory space among other factors. Hence, you can choose a package that suits your budget and save costs.

One of the major benefits of cloud computing is mobility. The service gives you and your employees the flexibility to work from any location. Employees can complete their tasks at home or from the field.

You can reduce the number of workstations in your office and allow some employees to work from home to save costs further. Cloud computing enables you to monitor the operations in your business effectively. You just need a fast internet connection to get real-time updates of all operations.

The traditional way of planning for unexpected growth is to purchase and keep additional servers, storage, and licenses. It may take years before you actually use the reserve resources. Scaling cloud computing services is easy. You can get additional storage space or features whenever you need them. Your provider will simply upgrade your package within minutes as long as you meet the additional cost.

No need for a backup plan
Traditional computing system requires back up plans, especially for data storage. A disaster can lead to permanent data loss if no backup storage is in place. Businesses do not require any such means when storing data on a cloud. The data will always be available as long as users have an internet connection. Some businesses use cloud computing services like backup and a plan for disaster recovery.

Data security
Sometimes storing data on the cloud is safer than storing it on physical servers and data centers. A breach of security at your premises can lead to compromised data security if laptops or computers are stolen. If you have data on the cloud, you can delete any confidential information remotely or move it to a different account. Breaching the security measures on clouding platforms is difficult. Hence, you are assured of data security.

Improved collaboration
Business owners are always looking for ways to boost individual and team performance. Cloud computing is among the most effective ways of improving team performance.
Staff members can easily share data and collaborate to complete projects even from different locations. Field workers can easily share real-time data and updates with those in the office. In addition, cloud computing eliminates redundant or repetitive tasks such as data re-entry.
You can improve the level of efficiency, increase productivity, and save costs by moving your business to cloud computing. The best approach is to shift the operations gradually to avoid data losses or manipulation during the shift.

Compare different service providers and their range of services to pick the right provider. Your experience and ability to enjoy the benefits outlined above depend on your choice of a service provider. Ask for referrals from other business owners or conduct a thorough background check to get the best cloud computing services.


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