The Connection, Inc Blog

The Connection, Inc has been serving the New Jersey area since 1992, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Innovative Cybersecurity Tools Your Business Needs

Innovative Cybersecurity Tools Your Business Needs

Despite the events of recent months, cybersecurity can never be too far from your awareness—especially where your business is concerned. As a refresher, let’s go over a few solutions that you need to have in place to protect your business from the persistent threats that are out there.

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4 Cybersecurity Tools You Need to Know About

4 Cybersecurity Tools You Need to Know About

It may be an understatement to say that business has been difficult thus far in 2020. With all that is going on, nobody should have to deal with cybercrime. Unfortunately, it remains a major consideration for every IT administrator and business owner. With complex solutions being developed to help ward off these cyberthreats, strategies are changing. Today, we thought we’d take a look at four security tools your business should consider to help keep these scammers out of your network. 

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How Has COVID-19 Impacted Cybersecurity Needs?

How Has COVID-19 Impacted Cybersecurity Needs?

Data security is always a challenge that businesses must rise to meet, but the COVID-19 pandemic has complicated things significantly by creating situations that make ensuring this security even more difficult. Let’s go over the impacts that many organizations—especially those in the healthcare industry—have had to deal with due, in part, to the coronavirus.

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Cyberattacks Have Gone Way Up Since the Pandemic Started

Cyberattacks Have Gone Way Up Since the Pandemic Started

We’ve been predicting it, and feeling it, but now the numbers are in. Officially, cybersecurity attacks have increased significantly since the start of the COVID-19 crisis - in particular the lockdown.

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Why You Need to Consider How Your Data is Stored

Why You Need to Consider How Your Data is Stored

If you have a computer, it has data on it that you’ve stored. Whether it’s the novel you’ve been working on in your spare time or pictures from your kid’s sixth grade graduation on your home PC, or the databases and applications that your business’ infrastructure supports, all of this data is generally stored in exactly the same way. Whatever your case, you should know that your data is terrifyingly fragile - far too fragile to ever be kept in just one place. Let’s dive deeper.

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Is Your Staff Holding Up Their End on Security?

Is Your Staff Holding Up Their End on Security?

It seems as though every business is depending more and more on their IT. This means that their employees have more exposure to their IT systems. Unfortunately, that relationship is where the majority of the problems you will have are. The facts are that any business that has built a strong security policy has the solutions in place to keep direct infiltration from happening. Hackers have to find another way.

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Are Your Biggest Threats Coming From Inside Your Company?

Are Your Biggest Threats Coming From Inside Your Company?

Most businesses that really lean on their IT go to great lengths and expense to keep those systems secure. Sometimes, however, all those firewalls and antivirus software don’t stop threats that come in from your staff. Today, we are going to go through the three different types of human error that your staff can undertake, and how to deal with each.


Accidental

The most benign of the insider threats, the accidental mistake typically happens when data is in transit. Circumstances often lead to situations that are less than ideal. Typically, these types of mistakes are made when an employee isn’t properly trained. If you have security policies in place, but an employee hasn’t been made privy to them, or at the very least they aren’t given the knowledge on how to stay compliant of them, there is a disconnect that can often lead to problems. 

Negligent

Unfortunately, most insider threats are of this nature. These are threats that are brought on directly from user error because of a lack of diligence. When data is lost in a database, when malware is downloaded on the network, or when mobile hardware is lost, your company is dealing with user negligence. Most negligence is not premeditated, but due to its avoidable nature, it is looked on much less favorably as compared to accidental mistakes. 

Malicious

When an insider acts in a way that is intentionally malicious towards an organization. This can come in several forms. A user that has access to company computing resources can deliberately steal data, inject malware, and bypass security policies enacted by the IT administrator. Then there is the mole, who is a person that is actually an outsider, but is provided access to company computing resources, and uses his/her position to pass information onto competitors, steals it with the intention of selling it off, or using it nefariously later. 

How to Spot Insider Threats

The nature of the beast here makes spotting insider threats difficult, but there are some indicators that can help you identify if you have a bad actor in your midst. 

  • Type of activity for users - If a user has access to certain resources, but their job doesn’t typically require them to use those resources, especially ones that are filled with sensitive information, you wouldn’t be misguided to further monitor that employee’s behavior on your computing network. 
  • The volume of traffic - If you can’t account for a sudden uptick in network traffic, you may want to investigate. 
  • Times of activity - If you see spikes in traffic at strange times, you’ll need to ascertain why.

How to Protect Against Insider Threats

You can take some pretty straightforward steps to combat any insider threats. They include:

  • Increase visibility - You will want to put systems in place to keep track of employee actions. You can do this best by correlating information from multiple sources. 
  • Enforce policies - Having your policies documented and easily accessible will avoid any misunderstanding of your business’ expectations on how employees interact with its technology resources. 
  • Comprehensive training - IT isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. To avoid accidental mistakes and to help reduce negligence, consider putting together strong training initiatives. They will go a long way toward helping staff understand what is expected and what is possible.
  • Access control - Of course, if you set up permissions for every part of your business, you can effectively set who can see what, making sabotage and negligence less likely to hurt your business. 

If you would like help identifying how to protect your business’ network and data from threats, even the ones that come from inside your business, call the IT professionals at The Connection, Inc today at (732) 291-5938.

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Social Engineering and Your Business

Social Engineering and Your Business

As prevalent as cybersecurity threats unfortunately are today, many users tend to overlook major threats that they just aren’t focused on nearly as much: social engineering attacks. Social engineering attacks are just another means for a cybercriminal to reach their desired ends, and therefore needed to be protected against.

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Baseline Cybersecurity

Baseline Cybersecurity

More than any time before, cybersecurity has to be a major consideration for businesses. It is, in fact, one of the biggest problems the modern business has to face day-in and day-out. Shortage in cybersecurity talent and antiquated strategies are making it difficult for businesses to find the knowledgeable resources that will help them work to secure their network and data from threats to the business.  

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Armored Car Cybersecurity

Armored Car Cybersecurity

It’s fair to say that most business owners aren’t cybersecurity experts. That’s why there is such a large investment in cybersecurity solutions. That outlay is justified, sure, but is it effective? Today, we’ll talk a little bit about network and cybersecurity, and how all the capital investment in the world may not actually keep your network secure. 

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4 Timeless Cybersecurity Rules to Live By

4 Timeless Cybersecurity Rules to Live By

Cybersecurity has become an overly complicated, increasingly important part of our lives. These days, many people are concerned about their privacy; who is collecting their data, what data is being collected, how to prevent information from being stolen, how to prevent breaches, etc. Then there are the traditional threats like malware, ransomware, and phishing that are not only becoming more common place but are capable of doing more damage. 


Protecting yourself isn’t simple, but there are a few time-tested rules you can live by to help fend off the threats and control your data while living in an increasingly complex world.

These rules are adapted from Brian Krebs, a reporter who has written hundreds of cybersecurity stories in the Washington Post and is an avid security blogger. We’ve added our own spin based on our experience with working with New Jersey businesses over the years.

If You Don’t Need It, or Didn’t Ask for It, Don’t Click It

Malware and other cybersecurity threats often start with an end-user doing something to get infected. Thanks to the efforts of Microsoft and security software developers, an idle computer sitting in the corner of an office at night is much less likely to be breached than a computer that a user is sitting at and actively using. Cybercriminals understand this, and they use tactics to trick users into allowing malicious software to get installed.

For instance, most malware today is distributed through email attacks, where a legitimate-looking email comes in with an innocent-looking attachment that requires the user to click on to infect the computer. Other threats come in through installing bad applications that come bundled with malware. Remember a few years ago when browser toolbars would often get installed and slow down your computer or start manipulating how your browser worked? 

While some of these threats are slowly getting weaned out of existence because the software, we generally use is getting smarter or at the very least, more security-minded, the threats are still out there. Visiting the wrong website could lead to a scareware popup stating that your computer is infected. This popup might look exactly like your antivirus, and you might make the snap-decision to install malware just because it looked legitimate and urgent. It’s really all about being aware and thinking before you click, or immediately contacting your trusted IT support before you risk being breached.

If You Did Need It, Keep It Updated

Almost all software receives occasional updates from the developer. These updates might include new features, fix bugs and compatibility issues, make the software run faster or more effectively, or patch vulnerabilities. 

I know a lot of us also get that tinge of paranoia when we learn that something we use every day has been changed. For example, when my Gmail app on my smartphone updated and moved the setting to switch inboxes from the top left of the screen to the top right, it really upset my flow. It sounds small and stupid, but it has been several months, and my thumb is still not accustomed to going in that direction when I want to switch between my accounts!

Updates are a fact of life though, and while some software updates may seem frivolous or downright annoying, much of the time there is also a security aspect that cannot be ignored.

Cybercriminals are constantly looking to exploit software vulnerabilities; and, if they can find a way to break into hundreds of thousands, or millions, of computers through a vulnerability in an application, that’s payday for them. They might not know about a vulnerability until the developer releases an update for that vulnerability, but hackers also know that most people don’t run their updates right away. This opens up a window of time where they can take advantage of a security flaw, and the longer you ignore your software updates, the riskier it gets.

This rule, like the first, applies to literally every single device you own. Your desktop, your laptop, both PC and Mac, your smartphone and tablet, your Kindle, your Switch/Playstation/Xbox, your smart appliances, and everything else that connects to the Internet. Fortunately, a lot of devices these days automatically pull their updates, but it’s always important to understand that failing to keep your Internet-connected devices updated will lead to security breaches.

If You Don’t Need It, Get Rid of It

Want to avoid having to run updates for an application or device that you don’t use anymore? Just remove it from the equation. If you installed some software to edit a particular type of file for a project and don’t need it anymore, uninstall it. If you have an old tablet you keep plugged in that you haven’t used in six months, check it and run the updates or shut it down and take it off of your network.

Remember, every single thing you put on your network; whether it be a device like a computer, printer, or smartphone, or software on one of those devices, needs to be kept updated and secure. The more you have, the more overhead there is. Simplify your life and dial back. You’ll likely find there is a lot of stuff you’ll absolutely need to have as it is, but there is likely a lot of clutter you can remove.

Of course, you don’t want to remove anything that is actually actively keeping your network and files safe, so you’ll need to evaluate and audit things carefully, which leads to the next point.

Audit Your Technology Regularly, and Keep Additions/Removals/Changes Documented

Chances are you’ve made a lot of decisions over the last few years that you don’t remember making. We make decisions every day that are, in the long run, inconsequential and forgettable. This morning I had a bagel - I don’t normally have a bagel but we had blueberry bagels and I can’t say no to blueberries… the point is, in six months, I am not going to remember this bagel. I won’t even remember capturing this historical bagel moment on this blog post. The same goes for that snap decision to install a free application that lets you edit GIF files. In 6 months, you won’t remember that it is sitting there on your computer, and possibly increasing your chances that a threat might get in.

The same goes for the hardware on your network, the settings on your server, and even the security permissions for your online accounts, such as bank accounts, email, and social media. Taking time every few months to audit everything is crucial, because a simple inconsequential adjustment can come back to bite you later.

If you stick with these four golden rules, you can prevent a lot of headaches later, and these rules have proven to withstand the test of time, and probably will continue to for a long, long time. That doesn’t mean they are the end-all-be-all of protecting yourself and your business from online threats. For more help locking down your business and preventing cyberattacks, reach out to The Connection, Inc at (732) 291-5938.

You can also check out the blog of Brian Krebs at krebsonsecurity.com, and for more IT security news and resources, be sure to follow our blog.

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Cybersecurity Insurance Gaining Steam

Cybersecurity Insurance Gaining Steam

Controlling your organization’s data relies on keeping your network and computing infrastructure free from threats. Early detection allows your business to actively confront risks before they develop into major issues. However, threats are becoming more difficult to detect in early stages, and one hidden threat could doom your entire business. 

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Celebrating Cybersecurity in Professional Services

Celebrating Cybersecurity in Professional Services

The professional services space is filled with important information. Lawyers, accountants, doctors, and many more professionals have access to some of the very most personal information available. For this reason, they are continuously targeted by hackers. Since October is cybersecurity awareness month, we thought we would take a look at modern cybersecurity practices to see which ones were working best for professional services firms. 

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Are You a Security Threat?

Are You a Security Threat?

Just like you can form habits to be more productive, you can also form habits that expose your organization to risky situations, namely security problems. Your employees in particular are likely to have picked up a couple of nasty habits over time, so it’s up to you to address them and keep them from becoming an issue in the long term.

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Network Security is Crucial for Every Organization

Network Security is Crucial for Every Organization

Avoiding risk is important for every business, unless your business is as a daredevil, then mitigating risk will have to do. Nowadays, with technology being an omnipresent element in most businesses, technology-based risks have grown in concert. As a result, the modern business owner and IT administrators need to understand the new risks and how to proactively work toward avoiding (or mitigating) them.

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Cybercrime’s Evolution and the Potential Blockchain Shield

Cybercrime’s Evolution and the Potential Blockchain Shield

Cybercrime has morphed over the past decade or so. With unbreakable encryption making breaking directly into a network all but impossible, phishing, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, and other methods of indirect hacking have become en vogue. As a result, software companies are looking in some strange places to find building blocks for intrusion mitigation. One interesting emerging technology being used for this purpose is blockchain.

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How to Secure Data Using Passwords

How to Secure Data Using Passwords

All that stands between hackers and your accounts’ data, be it personal information or sensitive business info, is a measly string of characters that may (or may not) be complex enough to thwart their attacks. We’re talking about your passwords, and for many businesses, they are the only thing protecting important data. We’ll walk you through how to make sure your passwords are as complex as possible, as well as instruct you on how to implement additional security features to keep your data locked down.

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4 Decisions You’ll Make About Your IT

4 Decisions You’ll Make About Your IT

Business is never quite as simple as it’s made out to be, and nowhere is this more true than with your organization’s IT. Today we will be covering some of the most important parts of your IT’s decision making that will need to be addressed, questions and concerns included, especially in regard to business-critical functions.

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Ransomware Shuts Down Doctors’ Office - Is Your Business Protected?

Ransomware Shuts Down Doctors’ Office - Is Your Business Protected?

Let me ask you a question… let’s say that you’re about one year from your projected retirement, when a ransomware attack encrypts all of your files. What do you do? Pack it in and retire early? This is precisely the situation that the practitioners of Brookside ENT & Hearing Services of Battle Creek, Michigan, have found themselves in - and it may not be over yet.

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Do and Don'ts of Managing Your Passwords

Do and Don'ts of Managing Your Passwords

Password security is a tricky part of running a business. After all, it’s not just dealing with your own password, but those of the many employees all throughout your organization. In times like this, it’s helpful to provide them with a list of how to make the best passwords possible. Here are a couple of examples for what to do, as well as what you shouldn’t do, when building a proper password.

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The Connection, Inc
51 Village CT
Hazlet, New Jersey 07730