Why Ransomware Encrypted Baltimore’s Systems and How It Could Have Been Prevented

Why Ransomware Encrypted Baltimore’s Systems and How It Could Have Been Prevented

Since early May, the city of Baltimore has been under siege by ransomware. The offending ransomware, called Robinhood, has encrypted data needed to perform several city services, and its creators are demanding a payment of 13 Bitcoins—about $113,000—to restore the city’s files.

Ransomware attacks on cities have been increasing around the country. For example, in March 2018, Atlanta was compromised by a ransomware attack that ended up costing taxpayers millions of dollars.

(more…)

Defining and Mitigating the Different Types of Insider Threats to Your Business

Defining and Mitigating the Different Types of Insider Threats to Your Business

If you suffer a security breach, there’s a good chance it will come from within your company. It’s even more likely that the incident won’t be reported.

A recent Carnegie Mellon report found that 50% of incidents involving the exposure of private or sensitive information were the result of insiders.

Compounding the problem, according to Gartner, nearly 60% of workplace misconduct goes unreported. And because insiders tend to cover their tracks, their attacks are more difficult to uncover in the first place.

To make matters even worse, when insiders are caught, the issue is often downplayed or handled internally to avoid the publicity that might result from prosecution.

In this article, we’ll speak with an expert in the field, define the different types of insider threats, and discover practical ways to reduce internal security risks.
(more…)

How the Instagram Leak Compares With 5 Recent Data Breaches

How the Instagram Leak Compares With 5 Recent Data Breaches

An unsecured database holding the personal information of 49 million Instagram customers was recently discovered. The data breach has affected numerous celebrities, influencers, and brands because the database in question is owned by a social media marketing firm that specializes in sponsored content for the platform. For Facebook—the parent company of Instagram—the episode is just the latest in a series of data security lapses.

Breaches such as Instagram’s appear in the news on a regular basis, but, though the results are usually similar, the causes often vary. Businesses must learn from recent data breaches to protect themselves against similar attacks in the future.
(more…)

GDPR Anniversary: Impacts on Facebook, Google, and the Data Privacy Movement

GDPR Anniversary: Impacts on Facebook, Google, and the Data Privacy Movement

Note: This document, while intended to inform our clients about the current data privacy and security challenges experienced by IT companies in the global marketplace, is in no way intended to provide legal advice or to endorse a specific course of action. For advice on your specific situation, consult your legal counsel.

In the year since GDPR took effect, regulators have given millions of reasons to take it seriously: $57 million to be exact, the amount Google was fined back in January. And though the world’s largest internet company was the first to be fined, small businesses have faced the most difficulties.

GDPR‘s biggest impact, however, has been its role in fundamentally altering the conversation about data privacy.

(more…)

10 predictions for the future of IT and the management strategies that will follow

10 predictions for the future of IT and the management strategies that will follow

By 2030, IT’s primary focus will shift to providing strategic business value by delivering innovative products and services. However, traditionally siloed and process-driven IT departments are not well suited for the speed and adaptability needed to take advantage of emerging digital business opportunities.

This means that IT and business strategy must be aligned to boost the responsiveness and agility that will be required to compete in the future. This can be accomplished by embracing collaborative management techniques and increasing autonomy among IT staff. To build context for the future of IT, here are a few of my predictions for information technology in the year 2030:
(more…)

Service desk vs. help desk: What’s the difference?

Service desk vs. help desk: What’s the difference?

Service desk versus help desk: Tomāto, tomáto or apples and oranges?

In the past, the two terms were used interchangeably, and in many cases they still are. However, they can connote two different ideas depending on who you’re talking to. Knowing the ways in which they are different can prevent businesses from buying too much software or overstating their capabilities.

Ask your IT staff about it and they’ll probably call it the “service desk,” but when employees have a problem, they’ll probably say “call the help desk.”

To add some anecdotal evidence, I asked two friends, each of whom have spent their entire careers in IT management, to give me their first reactions to the question:

“What’s the difference between a help desk and a service desk?”

—“Well, honestly I’d expect a service desk to be more useful. Help desk has picked up negative connotations. Helpless desk …”

—“I’m not even sure what the difference is … here at ‘Big Box Retailer’ we call our help desk the Technology Support Center.”

Well that clears that up.
(more…)

Ease IT asset disposal management with policy and software

Ease IT asset disposal management with policy and software

Too many businesses have old desktops stuffed into closets, decommissioned servers sitting in a warehouse, or useless CRT monitors taking up space in a storage locker across town. As technology evolves faster and faster, companies pile up ever-increasing piles of obsolete IT assets.

In recent years, cloud storage and software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions that store data off site have rendered many onsite storage devices bulky and unnecessary. Desktops have been replaced by laptops and tablets. Even the utilitarian flash drive has been usurped by cloud-based solutions such as Dropbox.

Getting rid of old computers and other IT assets involves risk to intellectual property, regulatory compliance, and the environment. Small businesses must create a process that ensures IT assets are dispositioned in a manner that maximizes data security while minimizing environmental impact.

So how do I get rid of all these old computers?

One option is to hire an IT asset disposition (ITAD) vendor. These companies take end-of-life IT assets, securely delete any stored data, and dispose of them in an environmentally responsible manner. While this might seem like an easy choice, you must choose a reputable company and consider a range of factors including transportation and data destruction practices. We’ll come back to ITAD options later in the piece.

(more…)

Internet of things (IoT) security for small business

Internet of things (IoT) security for small business

While consumer internet of things (IoT) devices such as smart thermostats and fitness trackers have garnered much of the media’s attention, the internet of things has been quietly optimizing business operations around the world. In fact, according to a recent GSMA study, the number of internet of things endpoints used for business operations will surpass the consumer market by 2025.

Business IoT has shown promising results: A recent Gartner survey found that 80 percent of companies that have implemented IoT technology feel that their return on investment has been better than expected (report available to clients).

(more…)

Managing remote teams with a remote work policy

Managing remote teams with a remote work policy

Employing remote workers opens your company to a larger talent pool and attracts those who prefer a flexible working environment (i.e., the vast majority of job seekers). In fact, a recent survey found that 86 percent of workers age 18-34 would be more likely to take a job that offers at least some remote work over one that doesn’t.

Recent data shows that up to 85 percent of U.S. companies allow some form of remote work. However, a recent GetApp survey found that a mere 19 percent of small businesses have a formal remote work policy in place. To retain employees and stay competitive, small businesses must develop remote work policies that fully embrace the changing dynamics of work that can be done at any time and from any place.

(more…)