Category: Cloud

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4 Interesting Cloud Storage Trends to Watch for in 2022

One area of cloud computing that is used widely, but often isn’t as flashy as the software side is cloud storage. Storing files in the cloud to make them easily accessible and shareable from anywhere was one of the very first uses of the cloud that was adopted widely by many users.

As advances like automation and AI come to other types of cloud services, like team communications and business apps, cloud storage is not being left behind. The industry also continues to evolve to make storing data in the cloudless complex, more reliable, and better secured.

It’s estimated that in 2021, 50% of all company data was stored in the cloud. This is an increase of 15% from just five years earlier. With today’s hybrid teams that may be working from home and be hundreds or thousands of miles away from co-workers, it’s important to centrally locate files in cloud systems that can be accessed by everyone.

What can you expect to see in the cloud storage market this year? Here are some of the most interesting trends to keep an eye on.

1. Built-in Ransomware Defenses

Ransomware can impact data no matter where it is stored. Whether on a computer, server or in a cloud storage platform, this malware can encrypt the information and make it unreadable to the business that owns it.

In 2021, the average ransomware payment increased by 82% and ransomware incidents rose 64% during the first half of the year. A survey of CISOs found that over the last 18 months, 98% of organizations suffered a cloud data breach.

To combat ransomware, you’ll begin seeing cloud storage services offering ransomware recovery protection. This involves sophisticated systems that can help prevent files from being encrypted by code as well as those that take a copy of files and store it securely away, so files can be restored at the click of a button.

With ransomware showing no sign of stopping, this is a welcome addition in the cloud storage arena.

2. “The Edge” Becomes More Key in Cloud Storage

One of the new buzzwords of the last few years has been “Edge” or “Edge computing.” This means bringing data applications and storage resources geographically closer to the user that needs to connect to them.

As reliance on cloud storage and other cloud applications has increased, so has the need to improve response times from user to server. When data must travel across large distances, it becomes more difficult to quickly and economically deliver the best user experience. Thus, cloud service providers have been moving to an Edge computing model.

What this means for you is better reliability and faster response when accessing or searching on files because your provider is going to work to provide your service from one of the company’s cloud servers that is geographically closer to your location.

For companies with offices spread out around a country or throughout the world, this means that you’ll want to keep service location in mind when signing up for cloud storage and have a discussion with the provider about distance and how Edge computing factors in.

3. Expect More Help from AI and Machine Learning

AI and machine learning are making just about every area of technology smarter. Microsoft Word and text message apps now predict what you might type to help you fill in the blanks and type faster. Programs like Photoshop can crop around a person in an image in seconds using AI.

AI is also going to become more prevalent in cloud storage this year. You can expect help with automatic organization of your files based on your cloud storage patterns. 

Look for features designed to eliminate manual or repetitive tasks to free up more time. This includes AI helping to automate things like provisioning, obtaining, and importing data (known as “ingesting”), managing data retention, and more.

4. Legacy Vendors Begin Offering More Cloud Options

2022 is going to bring more cloud storage options coming from legacy technology providers. For example, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise recently introduced a new Data Services Cloud Console, and Dell Technologies just announced a new APEX multi-cloud design that it is working on to improve the cloud ecosystem.

More cloud storage options mean you may need more help deciding which model will work best for you, as pricing will vary widely. You don’t want to end up with more storage than you need or be paying a lot for a smaller amount of space.

It pays to keep on top of new offerings and understand that every new cloud storage option might not be a fit for your organization’s specific data storage needs.

Get Help Optimizing Your Cloud Storage & Backup Environment

Your business data is what runs your company, and it needs to be stored securely and in a way that’s accessible. Find out how we can help you optimize your cloud storage to improve cost efficiency.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

Which Type of Hackers is Endangering Your Business Data? (And How to Protect Your Sensitive Info from Them)

Your data is pivotal to running a successful company. If you don’t have proper security measures in place, hackers can easily steal your data and take you out of business.

Cybercriminals might be the biggest threat facing your company. Besides gaining access to your money and accounts, they can also take over critical software, preventing you from collaborating with clients. 

Any organization can fall victim to hacking. However, small and medium businesses are particularly at risk. 

Why?

Too often, their owners don’t always address cybersecurity when launching their company. Sometimes, they even just hire the first IT service provider they see. They also don’t know how to shield themselves from online attackers, making them low-risk targets. 

As a result, these organizations often go under due to the loss of sensitive data. It isn’t a risk you can take. 

To help mitigate it, this article will introduce you to the various types of hackers and explain how to protect your business from them.

THE 5 TYPES OF HACKERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Here’s a quick list of potential hackers, depending on what they’re after:

#1. HACKERS WHO ARE AFTER PERSONAL INFORMATION

Many hackers are dying to get their hands on the personal information of your clients and employees. It includes birth dates, financial data, and social security numbers. 

Social security numbers might be the most valuable asset they want to get ahold of since cybercriminals can use them for various purposes. For instance, they can perform tax fraud, open credit accounts, and make other significant identity breaches. 

In addition, financial data can be utilized for fraudulent activities and purchases, especially if it lacks robust digital security systems. 

#2. HACKERS WHO WANT TO GET INTO THE DIGITAL  INFRASTRUCTURE

Storage and data servers are expensive – and hackers know that.

In order for them to cut costs, hackers may aim to store their applications and data on your infrastructure instead. The better your infrastructure, the more likely cybercriminals are to target it. This can strain your network to the limits and have devastating effects on your business. 

Unsurprisingly, tech companies are some of the most common victims of this type of hacking. 

The common indicators that a hacker has tapped into your digital infrastructure include:

  • Running out of storage faster than usual
  • Your network suffers slowdowns 
  • You may have unknown devices on your network. 

#3. HACKERS WHO ARE AFTER CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION

Few business aspects are as important as your intellectual property (IP). Your products and services enable you to stand out from the competition and strike a chord with the target audience. 

A huge problem arises if hackers steal the design of your upcoming product before you launch it or submit your patent. A competitor may obtain the information, allowing them to hit the market first and undercut your sales. 

#4. HACKERS WHO WANT TO GET ACCOUNT DATA

Sure, you and your IT service provider might have done enough so that hackers might not be able to obtain financial data. But are your employees’ accounts secure? 

If hackers compromise them, they may let them run scams and gain information to disrupt your operations. 

For example, losing CEO login credentials can be devastating. Besides granting hackers access to sensitive information, it also helps them impersonate the CEO. In return, they can solicit information from employees or clients and halt your operations. 

This data breach can lead to widespread confusion, tarnishing your reputation. 

#5. HACKERS WHO AIM TO HAVE NETWORK CONTROL

In some cases, hackers aren’t after data. Instead, they want to gain control of the entire network. And to make it happen, they launch ransomware attacks. 

These activities enable them to lock you out of the system and make data inaccessible until you pay a ransom. They’re typically initiated through spam, phishing emails, and online ads. 

The average ransom amount stands at approximately $30,000, but the loss caused by business disruption is much more significant. 

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR BUSINESS

Now that you know how hackers can compromise your company, let’s check out 5 effective ways to protect yourself: 

WAY #1. INVESTING IN SECURITY RESOURCES

A key factor ignored by many owners is the amount of money and time devoted to cybersecurity. Avoid this mistake by allocating enough resources to set up solid defensive measures. Make sure to invest in a reliable IT service provider to help you out.

This way, your online accounts, hardware, and network should be more secure. 

WAY #2. TRAINING YOUR TEAM

Most security systems have weaknesses. And their employees are usually the biggest ones. 

For this reason, HR managers and CEOs should ensure their staff follows optimal security measures, both in-office and at home. They must all remember that any phone or laptop they use for work can be a weak point and entryway for hackers. 

To introduce your employees to the best security practices, consider arranging security education and training for a month once a year. You can talk about different aspects of your company and the steps necessary to deter cybercriminals, for example. 

Sound education can go a long way in promoting a healthy security culture. 

WAY #3. ADDING AUTHENTICATION

There are many valuable tools you can use to fend off hackers. One of them is two-factor authentication (2FA) – a simple yet effective weapon against scammers. 

This measure requires each user to verify their identity to access your system. You could use it on all business-related accounts to reduce the chances of cybercrime. 

Furthermore, encourage your team members to activate 2FA on personal accounts. This way, they’ll be more likely to follow appropriate security practices, reducing the risk of compromised devices and data breaches. 

WAY #4. LEVERAGING SOFTWARE

Computer viruses are another go-to tool for hackers. And a great way to deal with them is to incorporate antivirus software. 

Make sure your built-in antivirus software is up to date. Also, you can consider a corporate package from trusted companies like BitDefender, Norton, McAfee, and Total AV. 

Each machine that can access work resources should rely on this software. Plus, the user should conduct weekly antivirus scans to lessen the chances of computers getting infected by a virus.

WAY #5. PERFORMING SECURITY CHECKS 

Checking your system is vital for optimal cybersecurity. Solid antivirus software is practical, but you shouldn’t disregard manual scans. It’s crucial that your IT service provider does this periodically.

More specifically, check who’s accessed your network and make sure each point of access is authorized. Any suspicious activity must be reviewed and rooted out. Otherwise, these red flags can prove fatal for the company. 

STAY ON THE SAFE SIDE 

Battling hackers may not be the most exciting part of running a business. However, neglecting cybersecurity turns your company into a sitting duck for scammers. You may lose money, data, and your reputation might suffer irreparable damage. 

While there isn’t a bulletproof solution, adopting the outlined tactics should be a strong starting point. 

Contact us today if you want to discuss your cybersecurity in greater detail and pinpoint potential risks. We can arrange a quick, non-salesy chat and figure out ways to help you. 

Article used with permission from The Technology Press.

Making Your VoIP Network Bulletproof (Six Tips to Protect Your VoIP from Cyberattacks)

Hardly any phone call system in a business beats VoIP when it comes to efficiency and flexibility. However, it’s not immune to cyberattacks. Discover how you can secure your VoIP ASAP.

What kind of communication system are you using for your business?

I asked because many modern-day businesses have now switched to the Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP). This technology allows employees to perform voice calls using only their internet connection. 

It’s often a wise choice considering that using VoIP comes with several benefits to a business.

Among its benefits include lower operating costs, greater convenience than traditional services, increased accessibility, higher scalability, and the ability to multitask. VoIP also comes with advanced features for teams of all sizes, is completely portable, and offers superior voice quality. 

However, VoIP systems also have limitations, with cyberattacks being their number one downside. 

The good news is that it’s possible to protect a business’s VoIP system from hackers. And if you already implemented this in your business, it’s not too late to secure it.

Read on to discover the most common threats to your network and tips on preventing them.

THE NEED FOR VOIP PROTECTION

All VoIP systems require a stable internet connection to function properly. Unfortunately, their reliability on the internet makes them vulnerable to various security issues.

Some of the most frequent ones include:

SECURITY ISSUE #1. DENIAL OF SERVICE

Denial of Service (DoS) is a common threat to VoIP systems comprising attacks designed to shut down a machine or network and make it inaccessible for use. 

When this happens, legitimate users of VoIP technology may not be able to access their information systems and devices. And call centers can be affected by lower call quality, uptime, and latency.

SECURITY ISSUE #2. WAR DIALLING

War dialing is an attack that controls the company’s private branch exchange (PBX) and scans for other phone networks. This means hackers can dial numbers and connect to modems and other extensions.

SECURITY ISSUE #3. TOLL FRAUD

Toll fraud is a threat that consists of making calls to outside lines from a company’s existing system. 

For example, hackers will dial costly international numbers intending to rack up toll charges to your business.

SECURITY ISSUE #4. PHISHING

This is a common threat wherein attackers send fraudulent messages designed to trick victims into revealing sensitive information. Often, the unsuspecting victims would divulge information about passwords, internal IP networks, and similar data.

SECURITY ISSUE #5. MALWARE

It’s a threat where attackers install malicious software via email or phone. A file or code gets delivered over a network and has the goal of infecting, stealing, or exploring the information contained within a system. 

After infecting the system with malware, VoIP hackers can enter your network and access critical business information

SECURITY ISSUE #6. CALL INTERCEPTION 

The call interception attacker uses unsecured networks to intercept the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) traffic that serves to initiate, maintain, and terminate real-time voice and video sessions. 

A victim of a call interception attack can be redirected to another line hosted by the hacker, for example

6 TIPS FOR BOOSTING VOIP SECURITY

Given the variety of threats imposed by attackers on VoIP systems, it’s necessary to optimize your VoIP security ASAP. 

Here are 6 valuable tips to get you started.

TIP #1. SET UP A FIREWALL 

Secure firewalls are necessary for all VoIP systems. It’s important to make your VoIP software and hardware firewalls scan information that goes in and out of the system and ensure it’s secure. 

If spam or a threat comes your way, the firewall will identify and gain control over it, shielding your system shielded from the attack.

Also, a good firewall will allow the data packets you send to travel unhindered.

TIP #2. USE STRONG PASSWORDs

Your VoIP system is no different from any other software or platform you use for handling sensitive information. For this reason, it needs to be protected with strong and regularly updated passwords. 

Aim for combinations of at least 12 characters, including numbers, upper- and lower-case letters, and special symbols. And for ultimate protection, go for passwords consisting of a random character series. 

It’s crucial to set a password as soon as you configure your VoIP system. Otherwise, you’re likely to forget about it later. 

Also, remember that some VoIP phones come with pre-set passwords, often available publicly. That’s why you should change yours as soon as you get a chance. 

Ideally, try to change your passwords every three months.

TIP #3. RESTRICT CALLING

Many VoIP attacks happen due to toll fraud. So, if your business runs locally, there’s no need to have the international call option enabled. This allows you to be on the safe side and avoid paying expensive bills you weren’t even responsible for making. 

You can let your VoIP service block 1-900 numbers to avoid toll fraud

TIP #4. ENCOURAGE YOUR TEAM TO REPORT SUSPICIOUS BEHAVIOUR

Many of the VoIP attacks arrive due to irresponsible behavior. To prevent this from happening, educate your team on how they can best do their job without affecting the system’s security. 

For starters, they should know how to spot unusual network activity, handle passwords, and report suspicious behavior. They should also report ghost calls and missing voicemails whenever received. Staff also shouldn’t store voicemail for too long. 

The reality is that sometimes, cybersecurity training during onboarding often isn’t enough. That’s why you should do periodical training to keep your VoIP safe at all times. 

TIP #5. DEACTIVATE WEB INTERFACE USE

Ideally, you should deactivate the web interface used for your VoIP system.

Why?

Using phones on a desktop computer opens an area of weakness to attackers. It’s enough for a single phone user falling prey to leave the whole system exposed to an external party. All your data can be stolen in text format as a result.

So, unless it’s absolutely necessary for you to use the web interface, be sure to secure it very strictly.

TIP #6. USE A VPN FOR REMOTE WORKERS

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are great software that encrypts traffic regardless of your employee’s location. 

You can set up such a network for your remote staff to prevent data leaks and breaches. The good news is that using this service won’t degrade the call quality. 

(RE)GAINING CONTROL OVER YOUR VOIP SECURITY

VoIP systems are a fantastic alternative to landlines. After all, they offer many more features and flexibility at a fraction of the cost. However, their reliability on the internet also makes them susceptible to cyberattacks. 

If you have just set up a VoIP system for your company or are thinking of starting one, securing it should be your number one priority. Don’t risk falling prey to toll fraud, malware, phishing, and other attacks. Take some time to secure your business by following the tips from this article. 

And if you need more help to implement these changes or would like to further discuss securing your business’s VoIP system, reach out to us and we can set up a 10-15-minute chat.

Article used with permission from The Technology Press.

Lead Your Business More Effectively by Implementing Unified Communications

Unified communications are a go-to solution for business owners looking to streamline their businesses and increase employee productivity in the long term. See how it benefits your business.

Providing high-quality communication channels is crucial for any company. After all, it promotes cross-department collaboration and faster exchange of ideas.

Since phones often don’t suffice for this, many business owners turn to unified communications.

But what exactly is unified communication?

This article explains just that. Read on to discover the main concepts of this approach and how you can use it to help your business achieve success.

WHAT IS UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS?

Unified communications is an all-in-one platform that unifies phone, video, screen sharing, chat, and file management into a single space. It’s a ready-to-use system that allows for seamless communication in numerous ways.

The system operates as a cloud, making it easily accessible to all team members with access to the internet.

But why should anyone consider switching to unified communications?

There are several reasons, but this is the most crucial:

Business leaders who adopt it would be able to impact their business every day and make it seamless for employees to interact with each other.

That said, we’ll list 5 of the key features of this concept to help you better understand how it can help you scale your business.

THE 5 FEATURES

FEATURE #1. MOBILITY

When connected to unified communications, all employees can stay connected at all times and from all locations. It doesn’t matter whether they’re working from home, vacationing on a remote island, or sitting in the office. They’ll still be able to chat, receive calls, and more.

FEATURE #2. UNIFIED MESSAGING

This allows employees to handle different message types using a single tool. They can easily switch communication modes, depending on their needs.

FEATURE #3. CONFERENCING

Whenever you need conferencing tools, you’ll have them in the palm of your hand. You can allow a group of teammates or customers from outside your organization to connect and speak via video or audio from different locations.

FEATURE #4. FAX SUPPORT

Faxes received through unified communications appear as email attachments. This way, users can also receive faxes on their desktops and smartphones.

FEATURE #5. PRESENCE

This feature lets other users know each other’s status. That means you’ll be able to see when someone is online (Active), busy (Do Not Disturb), or away (Out of the Office).

HOW UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS HELP BUSINESS LEADERS

So, what are the benefits of using unified communications in your business?

Let’s explore 6 of them below.

BENEFIT #1. HIGHER TEAM PRODUCTIVITY

It’s important for a business owner to boost their team’s workflow and eliminate bottlenecks. Because once they get to do so, productivity will drastically improve.

This can be done thanks to unified communications.

This type of communication makes it easier for team members to save time on various tasks, including:

  • Faster file sharing that gets rid of email threads for teamwork
  • Ability to receive calls from any location
  • Ability to receive voicemails and faxes directly in the email
  • Single-click video meetings for emergencies

Teams with access to such technologies can be more effective and get more tasks done in a single day. It also helps get rid of communication challenges.

BENEFIT #2. LOWER COMMUNICATION COSTS

Legacy phones and on-site communication tools often cost more than your IT budget should allow.

On the other hand, unified communication relies on the internet for all its activities. This means your phone system turns to Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and integrates with the rest of the tools. This approach eliminates the need for server and hardware infrastructure creation.

Unified communications also make it super easy to add new users. You can simply do so via an easy-to-use dashboard without having to make service calls.

Finally, the cost of unified communications is the same every month. There won’t be any surprises to your budget.

BENEFIT #3. ENHANCED CUSTOMER SERVICE

Whether or not a company is successful greatly depends on the quality of its customer service.

With unified communications, your employees can provide great customer service easier. After all, they can respond to client queries regardless of their location. It’s because all chats, incoming calls, and emails are visible from any device.

You can also integrate all your CRM software on the platform for added benefits.

For example, when a person contacts your business, the person in charge can see all the necessary information and notes related to that client. In the end, they can help them solve issues faster.

BENEFIT #4. EMPOWERING A REMOTE WORKFORCE 

Thousands of companies have switched to remote work over the past few years. There are plenty of benefits to this approach after all.

However, a constant concern here is ensuring that remote workers have all the tools they need for work.

Thanks to unified communications, all communication aspects are included in a single platform. This means that all your remote worker needs is a stable internet connection to get access to your network and all the features, just like the rest of the team.

BENEFIT #5. INCREASING ORGANIZATIONAL AGILITY

When you increase your team’s productivity, the same follows for the entire organization. The organizational agility reflects the strategic value of unified communications. And the results you achieve impact your business as a whole.

So, to see how this approach benefits your work, you must view unified communications from the management side as well.

Sure, communication has a utilitarian role for management. But when that communication drives productivity, streamlines workflow, and leads to enhanced business outcomes, it’s where you really get to see its value.

BENEFIT #6. ENHANCED SECURITY 

The security aspect is crucial for every business. And unified communications enhance the security of a business by integrating all applications into a single platform.

As a result, it becomes straightforward for the IT team to apply specific security policies across all apps. It’s also easier for them to manage security patches and compliance updates since all applications share the same protocols.

REALIZING THE POWER OF UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS

Streamlining the processes inside an organization is extremely important in improving the overall performance of its employees. And unified communications allow you to do just that. 

With it, you can boost your customer experience and make your team more efficient by integrating your whole communications system into a single platform. 

Unified communications will let you and your team make calls, host conferences, send emails, receive faxes, and chat from a single, unified space to make your job (and life) easier. 

If you’d like to learn more about implementing unified communications in your business, we’d be happy to help. Reach out to us and we can have a 10-15-minute chat to discuss this topic further. 

Article used with permission from The Technology Press.

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