I Got A Guy: Co-Managed Solutions and Your Business

“I got a guy”, we’ve all heard it, we’ve all said it. When it comes to services we need, from a mechanic to a painter to your business IT support, we all got a guy, or have a friend whose got a guy. However, let’s really explore that, because one person may be a point of contact or the main person, but rarely ever is the only part of the equation. Your mechanic has his team, your IT guy or gal should be no different.If you were building a house, and one person showed up with no backup and said “Ready to work boss”, your immediate response would be “This is a big job, where is everyone else?” Managing your network and protecting your business’s data is a big job. Your network keeps you up and running, and your data is as valuable as anything else in your business. Proper management can turn your business into a stalwart, improper management can cripple you and your customers.SPECIALIZATIONThink about it like this, you fell off your bike and are pretty sure you broke your arm. You show up at the hospital and they say to you “We only have one doctor on staff, his specialty is podiatry.” You would then go to another hospital that has a team of specialists on hand. That isn’t to say this single doctor is unqualified, he just doesn’t have the tools or backup needed to properly handle what you are dealing with. He’s just one man. Now think about your IT tech. They are just one person dealing with tens to hundreds of computers.  They are a specialist in about one or two things, in a field that covers dozens of specialties. A co-managed IT solution allows you to keep your existing IT professional while empowering both them and your business by backing them up with a team of experts.SECURITYYour system security is essential to your business. Think of it as war. You have enemy combatants trying to break into your system every day, attempting data theft, trying to access your infrastructure, and use your business to their advantage. Hackers are a formidable foe, and you need to fight fire with fire. With a co-managed solution, like the one offered by DelVal technology, you get the best of both worlds as your defense team. Your in-house IT specialist will be able to lead an army of security specialists in to battle with cyber attackers to keep your data and infrastructure safe. Defending the castle is more than a one-man job, and it isn’t fair to you or your IT personnel to make it one.SERVICE

A lot can happen to one person to put them out of commission. Illness happens, family emergencies happen, and people leave. If that person is your onsite technician, the consequences could be devastating to your business. The man-hours lost, the confusion, the maintenance, and the risk associated with not having someone at the helm of your system is more than your business can afford. With a co-managed system, you have back-up in case of catastrophe. Your co-managed partner can step in to ensure that your data and network don’t fall to the wayside, or worse, if your guy or gal goes MIA. If you need to hire a new IT professional, your Co-Managed Solutions Provider or CMSP can make the transition smooth and seamless.ACCESS

Technology changes at the blink of an eye. When it comes to keeping up with the times, your company’s IT department has limitations. Learning new technology takes time to learn, which takes time away from that person, that single person, managing your network. New technology, more so than anything, is expensive. In that sense, think of a Co-Managed system as a timeshare. With a timeshare, you pay a small portion of the fees for the property but have access to it a few times a year. With co-managed IT, you gain access to your CMSP’s technology, pairing it with your own to give you a timeshare approach to your technology and saving you tens of thousands of dollars a year. Even better, you don’t only get it a couple of times a year like you do with a timeshare, but have the technology working for you when you need it! As your company grows, so will your technology needs. The potential issues you can run into are abundant, and the anxiety and frustration that come with these hurdles can divert your attention away from where it matters, your business. With a Co-Managed approach, you and your IT personnel get a partner that helps you through the growing pains and helps you realize your business’s potential without having to break the bank on new technology.COSTThink about your IT guy. Now think about how much it would cost you to have two, three or four of them depending on your needs. What if, however you can get the IT team you need without having to break the bank. With a Co-Managed Solutions Provider, like Delval Technology Solutions for example, you get a full team at your disposal for less than adding just one in house IT professional. You will reap the benefits of increased security, productivity, and growth potential at a fraction of the cost of adding a team of specialists to your payroll. Plus, think of the renewed vigor of your own IT person knowing they have coverage when they need it, and specialists to complement their specialty.You got a “guy” for your car repairs, a “guy” for your house repairs, but even they have a team behind them. You have a “guy” for your IT, you are loyal to them, you know them, you trust them. But what if one guy is not enough. That is where a Co-Managed Solutions Provider like Delval comes in. You get to keep your “guy” and give them the tools and backup needed to optimize your businesses technological potential. This helps you bring in more revenue and focus on satisfying your customers, at a fraction of the cost.


Cyber-attacks and Cyber-Security in the Age of Covid-19

 Covid-19 has changed the world as we know it. It has also reshaped the business world into one that exists just as much digitally as it does in traditional brick and mortar form. With new territory comes new problems, and cyber security is not immune from this. What are the biggest cyber-attacks hackers are employing in the age of Covid, and more importantly, how do you protect your business and your data from hackers and their cyber threats?

The pandemic that is Covid-19 has altered the way Americans and the world do business, and experts are speculating these changes may be permanent. In 2020 over 50% of businesses migrated from the office to the cloud. Of those 50% over 70% of business owners say they will continue to allow workers to work remotely after the pandemic*. This has to do with what employers are seeing as an increase in productivity and allowing businesses to pull human assets from all corners of the earth. On top of this E-Commerce has seen a whopping 30% boom in business across the board, with many E-Commerce companies seeing record profits in 2020*.

 

With new opportunities for businesses however, there are also new opportunities for hackers and cyber-criminals to wage potentially crippling cyber-attacks on both businesses and individuals. Social Engineering attacks are on the rise. What is a Social Engineering attack? Simply put it’s an attack that uses your employees, procedures and protocols to hack into your company’s system and steal your most valuable asset, your company and customer data.

What is Phishing? What is Spear Phishing?

In the age of the Coronavirus, many employees are working from the cloud. This means that they are not within shouting distance of their fellow coworkers, making it more difficult to double check who sent what. At times, cyber-attackers disguise themselves as IT workers. They will call, text or email employees claiming an issue with immediate urgency is occurring, and you must click this link or download this software to rectify the situation. In fact the Manor School System in Texas was hit with a phishing attack that cost them over 2.2 million dollars!

Phishing attacks fish for inform by tricking your employees into opening emails, clicking links, or answering text messages plagued with ransomware, spyware or other harmful software aimed at stealing information and gaining entrance to your system. Spear Phishing, which is a more targeted approach, disguises the cybercriminal as a trusted staff member or affiliate and utilizes similar phishing techniques, to obtain data crucial to your business. In 2020 alone, a 600% increase in Phishing attacks was reported*. The CDC even went as far as to release a press release warning citizens and companies of Covid-19 related phishing attacks.  These attacks would disguise themselves as vital information about Coronavirus, the stimulus, the WHO and other hot button issues, with dangerous consequences to anyone.

Nothing is To Big To Hack

No one is immune from these attacks. In the past year, cyber-attacks on banks have continued to climb  by 238% since 2019*. In fact, the average ransomware payment went up by 33% to over $111,000! Think for a minute what a $111,000 hit would do to your business. Earlier this year the DarkHotel hackers attacked the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Gates Foundation, leaking thousands of emails and logins to the Dark Web.

Major companies were proven to be more vulnerable than they expected this year as well. Nintendo suffered a breach that exposed information for 160,00 users of their Nintendo Online platform. Mitsubishi had blueprints for a missile, yes, a missile, stolen from them in an attack. EasyJet, a UK airline had a breach that cost them billions of dollars in lawsuits and almost killed the company completely. T-Mobile and Marriot were both hit with attacks that leaked thousand of employee and millions of customer email credentials. MGM Resorts had 142 million guest accounts exposed. What do Canon, University of Utah, University of California SF, a German hospital, a Nevada school district and Barnes & Noble have in common? Ransomware attacks that cost them millions.

The federal government was hit with what analysts are calling the largest coordinated cyber-attack in history. Solarwinds Orion was targeted with malware disguised as a software update in March to June of 2020. What makes this even more notable is of the 18,000 customers that fell victim to the attack, most were in the government sector including the US Dept. of Energy, Dept. of Homeland Security, the United States Post Office, the Treasury Department and the Pentagon. According to leading digital security firm FireEye, the attack was coordinated to exploit high profile users and included technology, telecom and consulting firms in the US, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Even more concerning is that this attack spanned 3 months and wasn’t even discovered until months later.

FireEye is perhaps the leading tech security firm in the United States and is employed by many top groups in both the public and private sector. Yet even they are susceptible to attacks from malicious actors. According to an article in the New York Times, FireEye revealed that its own systems were pierced by what it called “a nation with top-tier offensive capabilities.” The company said hackers used “novel techniques” to make off with its own tool kit, which could be useful in mounting new attacks around the world.

How do you protect yourself and your business from cyber-crime?

 

I know what I just told you sounds downright terrifying. “Let’s be real here,” you may be thinking “if the government, MSP’s, security firms and billion-dollar industries are being hacked, attacked, and extorted, protecting my business is hopeless isn’t it”. Well, I’m pleased to tell you it isn’t. Cybercrime will never go away, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t potent measures to combat it. It is key to remember that these hackers and cybercriminals are for the most part opportunists. The same way if you leave an open window in your home you are more prone to a break in, if your passwords for everything is 11111111, you are more prone to being attacked.

 

Protect Your Passwords

Your passwords are your first line of defense. When dealing with attacks such as credential stuffing, hackers are taking one username and password combination they have and attempting to use that combination on every other account attached to that person. Also, they can take information from employees’ social media, be it a pet they show off on FaceBook, or talking about their Alma Mater on Linkedin to glean information that will help them crack a password. By using varied passwords, randomly generated passwords, and avoiding personal information in passwords, you can help close the door on random cyber-attacks.

Train Your Team

Proper security training for staff is also a key. For example, we at Delval Technology Systems provide our customers with monthly cyber security training. This helps keep your employees on their toes and helps them recognize and avoid attacks. A company’s data are not only assets to the company themselves, but to the staff as well. By training your employees to act as “human firewalls”, you have a fantastic defense system against social engineering attacks. In the age of unified communications, in which companies employ all facets of telecommunications, it is important to have a staff that is knowledgeable of these threats and how to protect against them, wherever they may come from and whenever they may occur.

Fortify Your Network

A great tool to employ in the unified communications era is multi factor authentication. This is an added layer of protection and serves as a secondary identification process to prevent unauthorized address to systems and accounts. This can come in the form of an identification email, text message or phone call. This ensures that the person using the credentials is the actual owner of those credentials.

For those companies that have migrated their workforce to the cloud, a secure VPN is paramount to keeping your network safe and secure. “What is a VPN?”. A VPN is a Virtual Private Network, a secure connection between two networks that is made over the public internet. Think about it as a reinforced tunnel to keep your data, traffic, and IP hidden from the rest of the internet.  Utilizing a VPN is akin to a Jedi employing a force field to shield ships from attack.

Get a Partner You Can Trust

Finally, the absolute best way to protect your network and your data from hackers and their cyber-attacks is to invest in Managed Security Services. Simply stated, managed security services gives your business access to top security technology and a team of experts that monitor your systems and protect you from attacks before they happen. Cyber Resiliency is a term you may hear a lot, and by employing a Managed Security Services company such as Delval Technology Solutions will make sure that not only are you prepared to face any threats that may come your way, you can also ensure that if something slips through the cracks, your business can minimize losses and get back to work fast.

The world of technology can be a scary place, but it doesn’t have to be. With proper training and support, the kingdom that is your business can become a highly fortified fortress, protected from the marauding bands of raiders that are hackers and other cyber criminals. Contact DelVal Technology Solutions, named top 10 in Cloud Security by Enterprise Security Magazine two years running, for more information and protect your business, your data, and your customer’s data with our best-in-class services.

.

*1- https://www.wandera.com/statistics-on-remote-working-during-covid-19-lockdown/

*2- https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2020/08/25/ecommerce-during-coronavirus-pandemic-in-charts/

*3- https://www.forbes.com/sites/simonchandler/2020/11/25/google-registers-record-two-million-phishing-websites-in-2020/

*4- https://www.cybertalk.org/2020/08/11/is-it-fiscally-responsible-for-financial-institutions-to-spend-a-small-fortune-on-cyber-security/