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5 Indications You’re On the Verge of an IT Nightmare

The IT team at your company has a very busy job to do, and sometimes, it seems like their work never ends. This is why many companies solicit the help of a CIO, who can work with IT to manage the network and keep an eye on any risk factors. Since there always seems to be a lot of buzz coming from the IT room, it can be difficult for a company leader to determine if there’s a real issue going on, or that’s just a normal day-to-day situation. So, how will you know when the silence or the chatter actually means something?

C-level leaders need to be able to rely on their teams to recognize when the company may be on the verge of an IT nightmare. While it’s not always entirely clear, there are some key signs you can look out for to prepare yourself for what’s coming, and hopefully stop whatever it is in its path.

1) You Seem to Be Left Out of the Conversation

If you used to be copied on all the correspondence going on between your IT team, your CIO, and other employees working with your company, but now your inbox is empty, this could be bad news. While it could just be a glitch in the system (which, isn’t a good thing, either), if your staff has stopped reaching out to you about problems, then the problem may be much bigger.

As a C-level leader, it’s important to be wrapped up in the conversation, even though you may not have time to worry about it. You can’t be responsible for anything if the information isn’t getting to you quickly enough.

2) There’s A Lot of Turnover

All of a sudden, there are people in the office you don’t recognize or vendors on the other end of the phone that you’ve never worked with before. A few employees that you know well have given in their notice and new employees with seemingly less experience have been hired. Hopefully, you’ve been made aware of the changes, but ultimately, too many turnovers can be detrimental to IT. Or, the problems with IT are so severe, that it’s caused people to move onto something different.

There are many reasons why turnovers are indicative of a bigger problem. But, overall, having new employees or contractors join the team constantly, can let a breach inside that much easier. This is especially more likely with the constant onboarding and off boarding of new staff members as it’s difficult to manage so many new network identities.

3) The Alerts Never Stop

Sometimes, there isn’t enough work to do, and other times, it’s like the work never ends. If customers are continuing to call in or email their IT problems and your team can’t keep up, that’s an IT disaster waiting to happen. This doesn’t mean you need to hire more people, but instead, you have to find a solution to these consistent problems that are distracting IT away from what’s critical.

4) There’s a Lack of Innovation

Technology is constantly improving each and every day and IT teams should always be striving to find better solutions to new and old problems. There should be frequent meetings about what IT is currently up to, what new data breaches or Malware cases have been reported, or what changes are being made to streamline processes throughout the company.

At these meetings (or e-mail correspondences) it should be evident that IT and other C-level leaders are constantly searching for new ideas. There should always be new proposals circulating, and if there aren’t, that could mean that there’s a problem somewhere.

5) Auditors are Making Frequent Appearances

If there’s any indication that you’re about to wake up to an IT nightmare, it’s that auditors are showing up at your office, and your compliance check already passed months ago. There’s no reason auditors should be interested in your company unless something is seriously astray. If this is happening, then don’t waste any time; figure out what’s going on, now.

These are just a few indicators that something’s not right in the IT department. If you’re noticing any of these signs, then it’s time to take a closer look at the inner-workings of your company and fix the problems ASAP. If you’re not sure where to start, a CIO can help you rewind, discover the problems, and assign solutions and strategies that will be effective long-term.

In the meantime, try our RiskAware™ Cyber Security Scan & Report to see where your security currently stands.

5 Reasons to Hire a CIO Before Hiring an IT Team

Whether you’re starting a business from scratch or finally making investments to grow your business, one thing you’re probably thinking about is hiring people to help. Any time you can bring people on board to help you with business tasks, it’s evident that you’re thinking about long-term strategies, and that’s great. But, before you start doing what it seems like everyone else is doing to be successful (in this case, hiring an IT team to help with tasks you don’t know how to do), hold off for just a second. While there’s no doubt that an IT team is instrumental in any company these days, it’s actually much more important to hire a CIO before anything else.

Here’s why:

1) You Should Know What Kind of Talent to Look For

It may seem as though all IT experts can be thrown in the same category. They all went to school for computer engineering, they are all smart in their own way, and most importantly, they seem to know a lot more about information technology than you do. But, the thing is, many business leaders don’t know what they don’t know when it comes to this stuff.

Any IT person possesses a unique skill asset which can either make them a great fit for your company or not at all. A CIO can determine what talent is ideal for your company, so you know what kind of skills and abilities you’re looking for in a person, before making any decisions.

2) You Don’t Want to Spend Money Unnecessarily

Do you need one IT person, or do you need a team? Or, can the jobs you need to be taken care of right now be handled by the CIO? Before you start to spend money on resources that you don’t currently need, let your CIO determine exactly what it is and who it is you should be investing your hard-earned money in.

3) Don’t Leave Out the Need for External Vendors

It’s not just an in-house IT team that needs proper vetting before being hired. It’s also – if not, more – the external vendors you might be working with. There’s a whole process of identity management and onboarding and offboarding that needs to happen in order to protect a company from an unintentional (or sometimes, intentional) data breach of any kind. A CIO can determine what strategies should be in place prior to hiring external vendors.

4) Perhaps Your Network Needs a Change

Just as a CIO would help you hire an IT expert that has the appropriate skill set for your network, they can also determine if you’re using the right technology, software, cloud infrastructure, etc. Before making any employment decisions, it’s a good idea to make sure you don’t need to change anything about your network, first. After all, it would be frustrating for an IT person to get familiar with your system, just to have to learn something else.

5) You Need an Unbiased Assessment Before Deploying Resources

Hiring a CIO before hiring an IT team is like going to your general practitioner before seeing a specialist. While it might seem that going to a specialist straight away would make sense time-wise and financially, there may not be anything you need to worry about in the first place. This can be true of your company, too. Don’t jump to any conclusions and don’t spend money on resources you may not need, whether that be an IT person or a certain piece of technology. Instead, hire a CIO and have them assess your network before hiring or deploying any resources.

But, What If I Already Have an IT Team?

If you’ve already hired an IT team, don’t worry. You don’t need to let anybody go. But, you can and should still hire a CIO to help serve as the liaison between you as the company leader and your IT squad. It’s never too late to have an unbiased expert hop on board and take a look at everything. This way, there can be a system of checks and balances to ensure your business is being run as efficiently as possible, while every team member truly feels as though his or her role is vital in the success of the company.

That being said, if possible, reaching out to a knowledgeable CIO should be the first step, not the last. A CIO can help manage your network in a way that nobody else can. And, not just in terms of hiring decisions, but security, backup, disaster recovery, and everything in between.

In the meantime, try our RiskAware™ Cyber Security Scan & Report to see where your security currently stands.

Should There Be an IT Hierarchy in Companies?

When it comes to managing a company’s network, data issues, or IT concerns, there are a lot of people that work together to make sure everything runs smoothly. One task may finally be complete only after various members from different departments come together. People from HR, IT, as well as C-level leaders may all be assigned various roles in order to implement security standards, backup protocol, or onboard contractors.

But, despite the fact that security and network maintenance is a team effort, who has the ultimate say in what goes on? Who is in charge – the one running the show to make sure everyone else does their job? There’s a lot of conversation surrounding this idea that IT shouldn’t be situated in a hierarchy model. However, others disagree and believe that in order for things to really go well, someone needs to take the lead.

The best option?

Let’s find out.

When Roles Get Confusing

Human resources hires a CIO. A CIO then advises the IT team on what needs to be done in order to create a disaster recovery program or help mitigate security risks. IT understands the task at hand and works with the administration on a devising a new budget regarding the systems they’ll need to implement. HR then tells IT that new, outside contractors are being hired, and therefore, those security protocols are absolutely necessary and need to be implemented sooner than later. But, the CIO and other C-level leaders can’t seem to be convinced about whether or not the budget has room for what the others are proposing.

Does something like this sound familiar?

According to a study conducted by Nintex titled the Definitive Guide to America’s Most Broken Processes, it was found that 62% of respondents said their company has broken processes when it comes to IT. While it might seem like the office has a system to cope with all these roles, responsibilities, and requests, it can be a bit convoluted. And, especially when each role is so different, it’s difficult to determine who should really be answering to whom. Does IT work under HR when they can control HR’s access to the system? Then, does the CHRO answer to the CIO, or does the CIO answer to the CHRO depending on the situation? Experts believe these roles should be interchangeable in order to avoid conflict and miscommunication in business.

But, that still leaves the role of “leader” unfulfilled, which can be hard when a company’s decision on an important matter cannot be agreed upon. Someone, eventually, must have the final say.

The Problems with Teamwork

Let’s say the whole “teamwork” thing is working well for everyone involved. Then, one day, a data breach occurs, or the network shuts down. One of the biggest causes of something like this, specifically the data breach, is human error. If this happens, the blame needs to put somewhere, even if the company leaders will still need to take responsibility for the entire breach.

Going with the idea that “two heads are better than one”, there are certainly a lot of things a team can accomplish versus a single person when it comes to mitigating risks across the company. That being said, there is also an equal number of things that can go wrong- more things that aren’t being handled appropriately, or miscommunications that can occur – when there isn’t a hierarchy in place to check for errors internally.

Put an Outsourced CIO in Charge

Many companies still hire in-house CIOs, which may be good for the moment, but may not make a difference if there’s a crisis. In any situation where it’s difficult to determine who is in charge, it’s necessary that companies consider hiring an outsourced CIO to make appropriate calls in the best interest of the company, and without employees being personally invested in what’s going on.

An outsourced CIO can easily determine what’s at risk for the company and can clear those up through a process in which everyone works together – a process in which they oversee everything, and assign roles to those who can handle it. They can check for consistent gaps in the system, make sure employees are given the appropriate access to the network based on their position at the company, and work with other C-Level leaders to determine whether or not things like a BYOD policy are safe for everyone involved.

Remember, an outsourced CIO doesn’t have any emotional investment in the company. They are completely unbiased and can, therefore, make decisions that other team members may not be in a position to make themselves or don’t feel comfortable making. While it’s understandable that working as a team can be effective, there are times when something just calls for a professional leader’s decision on the matter.

So, for those that say that there shouldn’t be a hierarchy in IT, maybe they should reconsider before jumping to any conclusions.

In the meantime, try our RiskAware™ Cyber Security Scan & Report to see where your security currently stands.

Hire a CIO Who Understands the Importance of Cloud Technology

Every day, the technology companies rely on in order to run their business continues to evolve. Nowadays, more and more companies are moving over to the cloud. For companies who aren’t native to the cloud, then moving your entire network to this new infrastructure takes a professional with solid expertise. If your network is already in the cloud, then making sure apps and software are running smoothly while maintaining their security, also takes a knowledgable person. While most companies have IT leaders working internally, many outsource the help of a CIO to take charge of data on the cloud.

So, before you choose any CIO, you want to make sure yours is keeping up with the times.

Cloud Expertise is What’s On the Menu

Many companies today are being convinced that the cloud is the way to go. They are taught about all the benefits when it comes to cost, security, scalability, and managed services. Companies know that if they aren’t at least thinking about moving to an all-cloud environment, then they will start to fall behind. At this rate, the help of an outsourced CIO is not only important, but it’s necessary. And, when you go shopping for one, cloud expertise should be at the top of their list of skills.

It’s time to step forward into the future.

The Cloud Provides Companies With More Flexibility

A CIO who can provide the option of “possibilities” is a great place to start when looking for someone to manage your network. Luckily, a professional who understands the cloud doesn’t need to work too hard, as a cloud infrastructure provides lots of flexibility on its own. The cloud allows users to do what they please with software that fits their company’s needs. For instance, if you’re currently running software on AWS, but you want to transition to another provider (or, you want to use more than one), a cloud environment allows you to do that.

However, an ordinary business leader might not know where to start with all of this. Therefore, reaching out to a CIO who can manage your cloud for you will help you experience all this flexibility worry-free.

Consistent Management of Security

Another reason CIOs should be pushing for the cloud is because of the security it provides. The cloud allows security to be focused on the apps and the different identities accessing the network themselves, unlike traditional firewalls that aren’t quite as reliable. One of the most important roles of an outsourced CIO is to manage your network’s security, which is especially important for businesses that are constantly onboarding and offboarding third parties or have employees who work remotely.

With the support of an expert CIO, the cloud helps keep your network more secure than ever, while ensuring that your business stays compliant with industry standards.

Everyone Has a Role

One reason business leaders may feel hesitant about outsourcing their CIO is because they may feel as though they have the expertise they need already at their office (or their remote office). If they already have an IT team managing their network needs, it may feel a bit like ‘betrayal’ to outsource that kind of thing.  The thing is, as familiar as your IT team may be with the cloud, their role is still a bit different (yet, still important) than that of a CIO. While the CIO may be in charge of choosing the apps or infrastructures best suited for your business, the IT team may be on top of securing those apps, making sure those apps are consistently updated, and assigning new users with identities that follow a strict protocol.

The cloud certainly takes a lot of work off of a human’s hands, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to let anyone go. Everyone still has an important role when it comes to the cloud, it’s just that those roles may shift.

If you’re interested in hiring managed services, that’s great! But, just make sure your CIO has significant experience with the cloud.

In the meantime, try our RiskAware™ Cyber Security Scan & Report to see where your security currently stands.

 

Concerned About Carillion? Why Your Small Business is Safe

In January 2018, U.K.’s second-largest outsourcing construction company, Carillion, collapsed, leaving many people confused and others significantly out of money. When a company this large has to completely go into liquidation, projects simply cease to continue, and a lot of questions have since been raised. While the media has been discussing the issue of private contracts being combined with public services, companies who outsource services are also concerned, but for different reasons. This is making the general public a little uneasy when it comes to the idea of outsourcing overall.

However, there are lessons to be learned from a company like Carillion. And, especially if you’re a small business, you really don’t need to worry. Just check on these:

Communication is Key

In any business, bad communication can lead to even worse problems. In order to make sure things don’t go wrong, having open communication is imperative. Unfortunately, with Carillion, communication may not have always been as clear as it could have been, and when things started to going downhill, a rescue plan was too late to execute. Of course, this can be inevitable when you’re running such a big operation.

Luckily, as a small business leader, communication between you, your CIO, and your IT team is not only easy, but it’s kind of the whole point of outsourcing to begin with. An unbiased CIO allows there to be a smooth conversation among all parties, ensuring that no one is left out of the loop, and instructions are given to the right people. It also helps to make sure businesses stay compliant, as they should be advised their own role in compliance along with the CIO and IT.

Always Pay Attentions to Contracts and SLAs

If your biggest worry about hiring an outsourced CIO is the legitimacy of the contracts and service level agreements, that’s a valid concern. A contract that’s not treated seriously or that doesn’t clearly outline what it will encompass, can potentially cause a lot of damage. Additionally, contracts should also be flexible; as a client, it’s nice to have the freedom to go back in and make changes as needed — changes that won’t put anyone at a disadvantage. Carillion didn’t really have this option, as they mainly worked with long-term contracts.

An SLA is the single most important thing you can consider before moving forward with outsourcing your CIO. But, as a small business with very specific needs, it’s likely you’ll be in good hands no matter what.

How Busy is Your CIO?

In the case of Carillion, they were managing way too many contracts at once — many of which didn’t pan out. When you’re taking on contracts to build everything from schools to roads to hospitals for the government, it can get a bit too overwhelming to keep everything in order. Any outsourced CIO may be able to relate to this to some degree. After all, a CIO who wants to provide the best support for their clients needs to be available on a regular basis, and know what to do and how to do it.

It goes without saying that if the CIO you’re looking to hire seems too busy with other clients, then a similar situation to Carillion — though, on a smaller scale — may happen. Would it affect you? Not necessarily. But, it’s still important to work with someone who isn’t stretching him or herself too thin.

Outsourcing Your CIO is Still a Great Idea

Though the Carillion situation might be a bit scary when it comes to the thought of outsourcing, unfortunately, they had factors going against them that won’t be the case for small businesses. One of the reasons Carillion had a downfall was because, at the end of the day, they took on more than they could handle. This was one of the rare times where we see the potential negative side of outsourcing. That being said, even though potential customers may have some reservations, the benefits certainly outweigh those concerns by a long shot.

For businesses who don’t have the time to handle their technology needs, outsourcing to an expert CIO can make a world of difference. They do what they need to do to make sure your network runs smoothly, letting you take care of business. Of course, a good CIO will work with your IT team while still keeping you in the loop. Overall, outsourcing your CIO saves you time, money, and the stress.

Still worried? Hopefully, this made you feel a bit better about your outsourcing plan.

In the meantime, try our RiskAware™ Cyber Security Scan & Report to see where your security currently stands.

It’s Time to Start Giving Your Data the Respect It Deserves

Many of us like to think of data as bits of information floating around in the cloud — after all, what other way is there to envision something that’s more or less invisible to the naked eye? Well, if that’s how you refer to the data in your network, then it’s likely you’re treating it as such, too. The problem with this is that data deserves more respect than it’s getting. When companies make big decisions based on what they consider a ‘single-entity of data,’ they might be missing a lot of worthy information and could end up making a costly choice because of that.

The Deal with Data

There are currently a lot of trends surrounding data, but sometimes it’s not about the data itself — it’s about how you’re managing it. Because data is so fundamental to business operations, it’s time that we start treating data as a valuable asset to the company. Whether you need to imagine data wearing a suit and tie to work every day or that it’s sitting in the conference room at a team meeting, that’s fine. But,  if you don’t, there may as well be big consequences for your company.

Unfortunately, it’s not so easy. The problem is, data is just too big. When it comes to gaining real value from interpreting data, it’s impossible to know where to begin. This is why companies are starting to look at data lakes and other solutions to help find what’s valuable, without wasting time on shuffling through data that might not serve a purpose. While data lakes might be out of the question for your business, there is a lot you can do on your own, first.

How to Make Data a True Asset

Just as you would set certain protocols and management tasks as a company leader, data shouldn’t be left out from this. Remember, data in many ways is an enterprise. Therefore, those same protocols and principles you assign to anything else in your company should also be assigned to data. Just as you would measure an employee’s performance, calculate your sales, or monitor your network’s security, you should monetize, measure, and manage your data the same way. This way, you can be sure that the information you gain from this data is truly meaningful, without any part of it being overlooked.

Apply Analytics to Data

How would you really internalize potentially imperative information at your company?

You would analyze it.

So, data needs to be analyzed, too, in the appropriate manner — just as you would apply analytics to any other aspect of your business. If you want real ROI, then it’s absolutely necessary to put data under the microscope. This can be hard when there is just a plethora of data out there, waiting to be sorted. Therefore, data needs to be evaluated while being combined with the analyses done on sales, marketing, and feedback.

If you’re not quite sure how to go about this, keep in mind that there are several lenses with which to look at data. According to James Burke, director at ISG, you can proceed this way:

  • Descriptive analytics: What happened?
  • Diagnostic analytics: Why did something happen?
  • Predictive analytics: What will happen next?
  • Prescriptive analytics: How can we make something happen?

Today, there are many resources companies can utilize to help analyze their data correctly and treat that information as an asset. When done consistently, companies will see positive results.

How Outsourcing a CIO Can Help With This

The right data can tell us about our business. If your company is eager to find strategies to grow, then it’s worth looking at that data to see if it holds any clues. Likewise, companies don’t want to spend money on resources they don’t need, especially if that budget is needed elsewhere. When treated as an asset, data can be very valuable in terms of understanding your business because it can give companies a better visual of what’s really necessary. But, this is difficult for companies to do on their own.

The solution?

Outsourcing your CIO — a professional who knows how to do all of this. They know what to look for, how to analyze it, and how to apply it to future decisions. They know what to take from a large amount of data, putting it under the microscope to find what’s valuable. They know what they are doing and how to help you. Investing in a CIO, then, will save your company a lot of time and money in the long run.

In the meantime, try our RiskAware™ Cyber Security Scan & Report to see where your security currently stands.

What Companies Do After Data Breaches That’s Causing More Harm

Data breaches can happen to any company. No matter what industry you work in, there’s always a threat out there. While companies can be doing a lot to stop a breach before it happens, they sometimes have to learn the hard way that they’ve made an error somewhere along the line.

But, it’s not always what companies do before a breach happens that’s a problem. Sometimes, it’s what they do afterward that results in more serious problems long-term. However, if companies can be aware of what mistakes they can make following a data breach, then they can do a better job of cleaning up the mess and getting back on their feet.

Of course, if you ignore this advice, then you could be making things much worse:

Trying to Keep it Quiet

When a breach happens, there’s no doubt that it’s embarrassing. You’re well aware of what people will say about your company, and that some customers may decide to stop buying your products and services altogether. But, it’s always important to remember that honesty is the best policy. And, in today’s world, if you fail to be honest, people will eventually find out anyway, and wonder why you didn’t come forward in the first place.

We’ve seen it in the headlines with major companies. Equifax, Target, Yahoo…all of these companies waited quite some time before reporting the breach to the news. Uber failed to say anything at all. But, often times, the public beat them to it, leaving customers asking, “Why?”

If consumers know about the breach, they have time to call their banks, change their passwords, and secure their information. Most people are also understanding that breaches happen. What they can’t understand is why the company would waste any time in helping them their consumers protect their data.

If your company experiences a data breach, inform relevant parties ASAP. If you’re still waiting for information, you can let your customers know that you will give them more details as soon as possible. Of course, having a protocol in place to deal with this is very important.

Not Giving Correct Information

Perhaps what’s worse than trying to cover up a breach is giving the wrong information about it. While you should give a press release as soon as you can, it’s never okay to jump to conclusions and then report those conclusions to consumers. Instead, you can say “We’re waiting for more information at this time,” instead of flooding the media with information that isn’t necessarily true. Many major companies have done things like this on various occasions, leading to more confusion and questions that could have been avoided.

Trying to Protect Your Reputation and Taking it Too Far

In addition to keeping a breach “hush-hush,” companies also make the mistake about fretting over their reputation too much. And, as we’ve all learned, sometimes putting in too much effort in anything has the opposite effect.

For instance, back when the Yahoo breach happened, CEO Marissa Meyer did not inform users to reset their passwords. She was too concerned that this would “annoy” customers when instead, it could have protected them. Additionally, when the Equifax breach occurred, the company profited off of consumers by giving them the opportunity to freeze their report for a price. Before that, they told consumers that they’d get a year of free credit score reports if they waived their right to sue the company.

If you experience a breach, there are always going to be consumers who have something negative to say about it. But, as long as you follow protocol, the consumers that are loyal to you will appreciate your cooperation and not let the breach ruin the relationship they have with you.

 Not Owning Up to Your Role in Causing the Breach

Although we know a breach can happen to anyone, the truth of the matter is that most companies can prevent a breach – or, at least minimize the magnitude of that breach – if they really wanted to. It’s also important to recognize that many breaches are a result of human error within the company and not external threats. Company leaders who fail to come clean and give a public apology for the breach, regardless of whether or not they actually had a role in the matter, are causing more damage long-term.

So, bite your tongue, apologize, and make sure whoever or whatever is responsible for the breach is held accountable, only after you’ve said your “sorry.”

If you can avoid these mistakes after a breach occurs, you will be better off.

In the meantime, try our RiskAware™ Cyber Security Scan & Report to see where your security currently stands.

How Cybersecurity Can Be Used for Client Acquisition

By now, most business leaders are well aware of how important it is to practice cybersecurity in their company. Companies who don’t implement strong and consistent security strategies are putting themselves at a huge risk. The slightest breach can leak your most sensitive information and the information of your customers. Depending on what kind of business you’re running, failing to follow cybersecurity compliance laws can give you much more trouble than just losing the trust of your customers; although that’s, of course, enough of a reason to make it a top priority.

But, if that alone isn’t quite enough incentive to convince you of the need for cybersecurity, what if we told you that investing in it could seriously increase your client acquisition? Would you reconsider it then?

Here are a few of the ways that using cybersecurity can help you actually bring in more leads:

Hacks are Becoming More Prevalent, and Businesses are Vulnerable

As technology has become more advanced, so have the types of hacks we see and the frequency of them occurring. Whether it’s ransomware, malware, a phishing scam, or any other type of hack, there are so many ways it can be executed. If businesses aren’t staying on top of what’s out there and how to take preventative actions against hackers, the potential results could be devastating. The more developed hackers become with their methods, the more vulnerable businesses become, since it’s not really possible to know everything that’s out there. That being said, businesses who are trying their absolute best to combat these hackers are going to be seen as more reliable. This in itself can lead to more customers.

Consumers Don’t Know All the Different Ways a Hack Can Be Disguised

As much as you don’t know all the kind of hacks that are out there (which is why, of course, you hire a CIO to help you), your clients may know even less. For example, if they see an email that looks like it came from your business, but it’s actually a hack, they might not think twice before clicking on it. If you take the time as a company to really be proactive about your cybersecurity, stay on top of anything fishy that’s happening, and keep your prospective clients in the loop, they’ll love to join you.

Proof of Cybersecurity = Trust

These days, the average consumer knows about the risk of companies getting hacked and their information getting exposed to people it doesn’t belong to. Even the most well-known companies: Yahoo!, Bank of America, and most recently Equifax, have fallen victim to significant cybersecurity breaches. Whether you were personally a victim or not, it will definitely make you think twice before signing up to use the services provided by any of these companies.

If you have a good history of solid security and can ensure your customers that you’re taking as many precautions as possible to protect them, they are going to be more inclined to do business with your company over a similar competitor that’s not putting as much attention on their cybersecurity situation. As you can see, cybersecurity leads to trust with your potential clients.

Any company is more likely to gain more clients if they are attentive to their cybersecurity and transparent with their current and potential clients about what they offer. Of course, if you hire a managed service provider who acts as your CIO, you’re going to have a much easier time with this.

In the meantime, try our RiskAware™ Cyber Security Scan & Report to see where your security currently stands.

Are Your Employees Hiding the Truth About Your Recent Security Breach?

Though company leaders would like to believe that their own employees wouldn’t do anything to put the company’s security at risk, sometimes, these employees are actually the most likely suspects. Though we tend to think data breaches are only caused by malicious hackers, usually, those aren’t the people you need to worry about. That’s because most of the potential problems are being caused by the people sitting right in front of you every day.

So, are your employees ignoring security measures deliberately? Probably not. But, they could be avoiding telling you about a cyber-security incident, that could ultimately result in a major loss for your company.

So, if it’s just a little mistake, why are these employees not saying anything? And, as a leader of your company, how can you get them to speak up so you can stop the problem in its tracks?

 5 Reasons Employees are Causing Data Breaches and Not Saying Anything

Typically, one of the biggest reasons an employee won’t tell you about a data breach is the same reason no human likes to admit he or she is wrong. After all, why bring attention to something when it might not be a big deal after all? This mentality, along with other things, is putting companies at major risk, resulting in huge losses that could have otherwise been avoided.

Besides that, there are other reasons why employees don’t say anything.

1) They’re scared of losing their job.

These days, companies have strict rules in place when it comes to their employees correctly managing the equipment. If employees are held accountable for a data breach, it’s certainly not the kind of news an employer wants to hear. Therefore, employees are under a lot of pressure and thus afraid of losing their job if they put the blame on themselves.

2) Policies are too loose and employees are taking advantage.

If your company has a BYOD policy or you have a lot of remote workers accessing the system from all over the world, you’re already at risk. If that device is not solely for work and thus lacks the proper security on it, you’re at risk of a data breach whenever that person uses their device at home, at a cafe, or while traveling. Don’t let your employees take advantage of your leniency, because once a BYOD policy is implemented, it’s very difficult to supervise.

3) They were uninformed or unaware that they even did something.

Perhaps an employee made a security error, but they didn’t even know they did. With technology being so advanced, even the best and most skilled employees may not be too read up in the IT department. In many cases when there’s a data breach, it’s very likely the person who is at fault isn’t even aware that they are. All employees need to have basic knowledge when it comes to protecting your company’s security.

4) They were actually careless.

While in most instances we want to believe that a potential cyber breach was really just an accident, we know that’s not always the case. There are employees who don’t follow guidelines and are quite careless. And, if that is what happened, that’s not something an employee is going to be so willing to admit.

5) They were doing it intentionally.

It’s hard to trust any one 100%, and when that one untrustworthy person has access to your company’s most sensitive data, there’s always a chance that you’ll receive an unfortunate surprise; that someone you hired has been intentionally stealing your company’s data or hacking your systems to their own benefit. As scary and unlikely as this may seem, it has happened before, and will continue to happen if employers aren’t more diligent.

How to Prevent Employees from Causing Serious Breaches

The first step in making sure your employees don’t cause a data breach is by screening employees before they start working for your company. It may seem obvious, but you don’t want any suspected hackers slipping through the cracks.

If your employees are all deemed trustworthy but you still want to prevent them from accidentally causing a breach, start by implementing strict security standards in the office. Make sure new employees are aware of how to use the systems securely and update current staff regularly. Secondly, make sure your employees feel comfortable letting you know that they may have made some kind of error. If they feel worried about losing their job, they aren’t going to be willing to talk. But, encouraging them to speak up and assuring them that it’s the right thing to do, will save your company from any serious breaches and leave your employees feeling secure in their job.

Additionally, it’s your job as a company leader to make sure you implement specific instructions given to you from your outsourced CIO. For example, if your CIO strongly advises you against using a BYOD policy, then listen. Most of all, make sure your CIO is doing their job of keeping your company’s security safe above everything else, and it will be much easier to prevent problems from happening altogether.

Don’t have time to worry about your employees making an expensive mistake? Your CIO will take care of that.

In the meantime, try our RiskAware™ Cyber Security Scan & Report to see where your security currently stands.

You Can’t Protect Your Network Without Knowing This About Passwords

When it comes to protecting a network from data breaches, there are many things a company can do to help secure themselves as best as possible. But, most of the time, it’s not what companies are doing, but what they’re not doing correctly that puts them at risk.

One of the most basic yet most important things that companies need to pay attention to is their passwords. There have been many reports over the years on what qualifies as a “good password.” However, according to recent reports, it seems that what we think we know about passwords is very, very wrong.

If company leaders don’t stay up to date on the latest security news, then they could be making big mistakes in their overall Internet security plan.

So, here’s the advice you need to update your passwords and upgrade your security.

Complicated Passwords are Hard for Humans, Easy for Computers

For a long time, the creator of the NIST Memo back in 2003, Bill Burr, suggested that the best passwords were those that used a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. He also encouraged users to make passwords that were not obvious keywords in their lives, but maybe used the first letter of each word from their favorite quote.

This is why, nowadays, when you create a password, you’re asked to write a password that falls between 8-12 characters and includes different letter cases, numbers, and symbols.

Well, that’s a lot to remember. And, when we’re also encouraged to keep changing out passwords frequently, we forget. After all, how many times have you forgotten a password?

See, we might try our best to re-create fancy passwords every other month. But, the fact of the matter is, hackers using the right technology are able to figure out those kinds of passwords easily. In fact, it wouldn’t be a surprise if A.I. could guess your password faster than you can remember it.

So, what’s the new solution?

Longer Passwords

That’s right, folks. According to new reports, the current methods you’re using to create passwords aren’t exactly helping you stay secure. If you really want to protect your network, you should continue to be vigilant. Use two-step notifications, use different passwords for each of your programs, and make your passwords longer. Computers are less likely to guess longer passwords than the type of passwords we’ve been encouraged to use for years.

Only One Problem

Making longer passwords is no problem, right? Wrong. Because of what we know to be the “best” way to guard ourselves against hackers, most websites don’t even give you the option of creating longer passwords. As with most things, the status quo takes time to catch up to what we actually know to be true. Therefore, it might be quite a while before you’re even allowed to create longer passwords, and by then, maybe we won’t be using passwords much at all anymore.

So, How Can I Help My Company Stay Secure?

When you have the opportunity to create a longer password, go for it! But, in the meantime, you’ll have to continue to practice tight security measures for your company’s network. One way to do this is of course by staying on top of the news. See what current threats are out there, and what experts are saying you can do to protect yourself further.

And, speaking of experts, you don’t need to go at this alone. All the conversation surrounding appropriate security measures can be rather overwhelming. To combat it, seek the help of an outsourced expert in cyber security and risk management. This way, you can always be sure you’re doing everything you can to take your company’s network security seriously; whether that’s creating the right password or implementing other smart security tactics along the way.

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