Cyber Security: The Ultimate Guide

by Wayne Roye

by Wayne Roye

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In the event that You Fall Victim To A Cyber-Attack Without Proper Cybersecurity, You Are At Risk Of Being Judged as “Careless And Incompetent.”

Yes, this is harsh. But the moment hackers breach your system and access any type of employee, patient, or customer data, you will get NO COMPASSION. You will immediately be labeled stupid and incompetent.
Both Authorities and clients might investigate your business why this breach happened under your watch. If they find out that you did not implement the security measures that we outlined in this guide, you can be held liable and be slapped with serious fines and lawsuits. Claiming ignorance of the law is obviously not a defense. As a business owner, you will not carry the heavy burden of answering complaints that carry with them costly, goliath, and reputation-destroying nightmares. Yet, it doesn’t end there…

Negative effects of cyber breaches:

  1. As per the laws of most states, you will be obliged to inform your clients and even the public that you have exposed their data to cyber criminals so that proper responses can be made.
  2. Your competitors will go on celebration mode over it.
  3. Your customers will get furious and will find other providers.
  4. Trust and respect may diminish and employees may even fault you.
  5. Your bank is not required to replace funds stolen due to cybercrime (go ask them), and any monetary misfortunes will be denied by insurance companies unless you have a very special kind of insurance policy for cybercrime.
We beg you: Do not take these risks and threats too lightly.

Why We Wrote This Report For Our Clients and Audience

In the course of the last few months, hackers have become more advanced, aggressive, and ruthless. The damage produced by such attacks are ballooning through time, and as a response, Congress have been legislating new guidelines requiring businesses to step-up information security and protection or face solid sanctions.

To aggravate the situation, COVID-19 forced organizations to quickly send their employees to work remotely without a solid security protocol. This compromised many businesses and exposed vulnerable data to less secured conditions. The pandemic situation has likewise awakened the excitement of cybercriminals who are eager to increase their exploits during this global crisis.

We’ve been monitoring these patterns and setting up solutions such as secured network services, network security services, IT support to ensure the safety of our customers. We innovate in not just offering a piece of software or hardware, but we embed our own skill in IT security with every piece of service we offer.

Some of these we offer as a stand-alone service, and some are add-ons to existing services that our clients have now. On a regular basis, we assess our clients’ present security situation and make tailored suggestions based on their particular circumstances.

To assist your understanding, we’ve created this report to help you understand why we doing what we do.

Caution: This Cyberattack CAN Happen To YOU and the Damages Maybe Beyond You Can Bear

Our greatest challenge in protecting YOU and other customers is resistance. Many business owners keep on saying to themselves, “this won’t happen to me” or “I have nothing that hackers want.” Or subconsciously they think that in case the hacking occurs, the harm will not be that huge. Ten or twenty years ago that could be true, but NOT TODAY.

A Man Who Spent Years in Cybersecurity Legal Battles because of "One Small IT Security Mistake"

Here’s the true story of Michael Daugherty, former CEO of LabMD. He had a medical testing lab in Atlanta where they conducted blood tests, urine tests, and tissue samples for urologists. 

His business is obliged to comply with government rules such as HIPAA Regulations (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) which revolves around data privacy. He hired an internal IT group with the belief that they can protect the business from cyber hackers – yet the billing department manager wanted to listen to music and downloaded peer-to-peer file-sharing software.

However, she accidentally left her documents folder open (which contained more than 9,000 patient documents) and that was used as an entry point by other users of that file-sharing network. It was accessed and taken without permission. Sounds like a “small and harmless” mistake by a tenured employee! Michael Daugherty back then also thought that these are being taken care of by his IT team.

“Daugherty lost large amounts of clients as many of them switched to other providers. Insurance companies refused to renew his coverage.”

The billing manager’s mistake enabled IT-skilled individuals to hack in, access the document and use it against LabMD for blackmail. At the point when Daugherty refused to pay them a “ransom”, the organization detailed a report to the Federal Trade Commission, who at that point came thumping on Michael’s doors.

After spending sleepless nights, stressful days, and approximately 5000 pages of pleadings to Washington, the Court simply responded that his filing was “insufficient.” The government further requested for an in-person interview with staff about the hacking. Then, Washington conducted a strict scrutiny assessment for his business. They assessed his processes, documentations, security protocols and trainings for the employees to ensure data protection. (NOTE: That’s why we have made these assessments as our service)

Days of personal roller coaster turmoil passed by. Employees blamed him for the tragedies that happened. The employees left and searched for another employer not under government scrutiny and can give them better job security. Daugherty lost large amounts of clients as many of them switched to other providers. Insurance companies refused to renew his coverage.

A multitude of documentation was demanded from him by the FTC, together with countless requests for interviews and data that he had already provided. It took a great toll on him financially, emotionally, and mentally. Huge amounts of time and money were wasted. Paying for attorney’s fees drained him and in the end, he declared insolvency. The only things he was able to save are those that we have in his garage today.

Have you ever said, “It won’t happen to me” or “Not to my company…?”

Never subscribe to the idea that you’re safe from cyber attacks because you’re not a major corporation like Experian, J.P. Morgan, or Target. Never lose your vigilance just because you have a “great” IT department and securities set-up. Try not to believe you’re in peril since you’re “little” and not a major organization like Experian, J.P. Morgan or Target? That you have “great” individuals and securities set up? That it will not occur to you? — This is PRECISELY what hackers want you to become – to be complacent, to subconsciously rest on your cyber security laurels so you become their easy victim.

According to an independent IT security organization, there were 1.13 billion malware programs out there last 2020, and even more, are present now.

Small private companies are the target of 70% of these cybercrimes (source: National Cyber Security Alliance); you may have not heard of these in the news simply because news agencies are only interested in BIG breaches OR that hacked companies just wanted it to die down so their public perception won’t be notoriously battered, avoid suits and shame.

But without a shadow of doubt, reality is – “small and ordinary” businesses are exposed to these business-killing threats every day, and stubbornly embracing this mindset of “That will not occur to me” is a surefire approach to leave yourself totally open to these cyber criminals.

The National Cyber Security Alliance revealed that one in every five small businesses have been victims of cybercrime last year – and this figure only states those that were reported.

Meaning, many are still hiding their facts on cyber hacking because of the bad reputation and negative light that it will shed against their business. So it’s safe to say that the number of small businesses compromised by cyber attacks is higher than 20%.

Do you think you will always be “too small” and “out of the radar” of cyber criminals that they won’t target you for ransomware? If they succeed, they will hostage your data for days and make demands.

Again, do you think you will be “too small” that cyber criminals won’t install malware and use your server to illegally hold the data of your customers, vendors, employees? Do you think that hackers will think of you as unimportant that they won’t illegally control your bank account?

The AVERAGE ransomware request is currently at $84,000 as per Osterman Research (source: MSSP Alert), and more than $100,000 are lost per ransomware incident and over 25 hours of downtime. Obviously, $100,000 isn’t the apocalypse, right? In any case, would you say you are OK that this will happen? Will you take that risk?

It’s not just the Cybercriminals who are the Problem – Employees too!

Hackers from China and Russia are the common culprit in the minds of money when it comes to cybercrime; however, another equally dangerous “hacker” are disgruntled employees, either from your company or your vendors. Because of their insight into your system and access to your records, they can cause huge damage.

What harm would they be able to do?

Taking Confidential Company Records Upon Leaving. They leave the company together with YOUR confidential business records and client data – these can be stored in their personal devices, software, or online accounts. They still hold access to cloud applications, for example, online media and document-sharing platforms (Dropbox or OneDrive, for instance) that you’re not even mindful they were using.

Osterman Research, in its comprehensive investigation, found out that 69% of business owners experience data disaster because of employee turnover, and 87% of representatives who leave take confidential information with them. How would they abuse that data? Offer it to contenders, BECOME a contender or hold it to use at their next work.

Stolen stocks, funds, client lists. Statistic Brain Research Institute found that 75% of employees have stolen something from their bosses in some way. Employees use subtle ways to steal items such as inventory, credit card charges, or checks. Your hard-earned goes down the drain that you won’t be able to recover. This occurs to many businesses and not a lot would want to admit it.

But here’s the most widely-practiced way of stealing: Stealing TIME. They squander long stretches of hours by charging time against your hard-earned money where, in fact, they are actually doing personal tasks, playing mobile games, messing around, shopping around, soaking in social media, gambling, reading the news, and a LENGTHY list of non-business-related activities.

Your company when employees log time falsely. Instead of benefitting from the productivity of the 40-hour workweek, you’re paying more with fewer services. Some may even grumble about being “overloaded” and “exhausted” or demand that “You need to hire more staff!” so you do. Once permitted, this activity will suck your profits meant for growth.

We do put web security filters in employees’ computers to limit the websites they visit. If not, they could do things that will put you in legal peril, such as downloading pirated music and videos, visiting adult-content sites, gaming and gambling – all these websites belong to a HIGH-RISK category. These can transmit viruses, ransomware and cause cyber attacks. The good thing, we presently have services to prevent employees from doing these risky activities).

Disgruntled Employees Delete EVERYTHING. A typical situation: A worker is terminated or stops since they are discontented with how they are being dealt with – however before they leave, they delete ALL data that they can get their hands on. Regardless of whether you sue them and win, the litigation expenses and squandered time for the purpose of recovering information, not to mention the mental burdens of it all, are far greater expenses than what you might get if you win the case.

Good thing, for our managed IT clients, we use data recovery and business continuity tools to keep business going; however, for customers who are not under this solution, they are helpless against this.

Are you safe from these hacking possibilities?

Loss of valuable data or money through unauthorized access. Data theft may be committed by your finance, HR, and accounting who have special access to highly confidential data. Unauthorized extortion can be done not just by the leadership, but their staff or vendors. They can take cash or confidential information. One move regarding human resources can lead to great compromise – hiring an intern, part-time workers, or outsourcing to a vendor – some ill-minded person could abuse this access and sell data to third parties or channel funds from your account.

How Cybercrimes Destroy Your Business

1. Reputational Damages

Cyber attacks can damage your company’s reputation and lose your customer’s confidence. Worse, they may confront you with multiple class-action lawsuits and spread the news through social media.

2. Government Fines, Legal Fees, Lawsuits

Data breaches are one of the biggest causes of fines and penalties that can destroy a business. The legal ramifications are so enormous that one company lost $575 Million in 2017 when it exposed nearly 150 million people’s personal and financial information.

3. Beyond Fines and Damages

Fines and damages are not the only damaging effects of data breaches. On top of that, there are operations interference, network downtime, delays, and piling of work. Loss of deals. Investigation and legal fees will devour your income just to figure out what sort of breach occurred and what information was compromised. IT restoration costs, if possible, to put back your operations again. Not to mention the huge taxing of your time.

Cyber Security Solutions We Recommend or Provide

Cybersecurity is a matter of proactive approach to us, and not merely reactive. Instead of waiting for things to break before fixing, we work continuously to prevent breaches from happening in the first place.

1. Vulnerability Assessments

Vulnerability assessment uses non-invasive approach, both in the form of manual and automated scans, to identify security vulnerabilities and flaws in your system. We then prioritize them accordingly based on what areas need to be addressed first.

2. Penetration Testing

Penetration testing uses an invasive approach which to discover security vulnerabilities in your network. It simulates a real attack that would determine the robustness of your IT infrastructure.

3. Proactive Security Monitoring

Many businesses leave their network security to chance. If operations are running smoothly, you may think that proactive security monitoring is not a practical investment to make. Instead, think of the cost which averages around $150 per record, according to IBM and Ponemon Institute’s annual “Cost of a Data Breach” report.

Learn more about our cyber security solutions.

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