hardware in trash can

Data Loss Examples: 4 everyday threats to your data

Recently, we covered five real-life data loss nightmares. From online dating and government agencies to hardware manufacturers and news agencies, these five data loss examples span a variety of industries.

The consequences of the data loss that stemmed from these five examples were devastating, crippling reputations, pocketbooks, and futures. However, these examples still might not be enough to showcase the “everyday” reality of data loss for working professionals.

So let’s take a moment to discuss 4 everyday threats to your data.

Lost Devices

Like with the Daily Mail incident (a lost laptop) and even with the situation involving the English prison system (a lost USB drive), a lost (or stolen) device won’t just set you back financially. In reality, this is one of the simplest ways for your company to fall victim to data loss.

When you consider the number of employees using personal devices to access work data, this threat of potential data loss becomes even greater and in turn, even scarier. Lose the wrong device with the right data on it and your business could suffer from data loss that is either impossible to recover or that eventually exposes the sensitive information of partners, clients, employees, or all of the above.

(P.S., It’s not just devices you have to worry about losing. What happens if you misplace a sensitive document?)

Accidents

At the end of the day, losing a device is an accident. But that’s not the only type of accident that leads to data loss.

Have you ever accidentally deleted something? Maybe that time you were able to recover the lost data … but what about next time? Or the time after that?

Accidents are a leading cause of data loss in the professional world because you can’t always hunt down a deleted document in the Recycle Bin. In most cases, this data is dumped after a few months and overwritten by new data.

For example, what if someone unknowingly deletes a sensitive work document? Let’s say that a few months later, another person requires that deleted document for an important task. What happens then?

At this point, the data is already long gone and overwritten — which means that, unfortunately, that person is out of luck.

Hardware Malfunctions

Hardware isn’t always reliable. More specifically, hard drives stop working all the time, making loads of data inaccessible in the process.

In fact, malfunctioning hardware isn’t just a leading cause of data loss; it’s the leading cause of data loss. Because of this, keeping hardware healthy and in prime condition has become a necessity for many companies across the world.

This being said, hardware malfunctions can’t always be avoided. Some are inevitable and can be the direct result of a water leak, power outage, or even a tiny bump.

Malware and Hackers

While completely losing your data to hackers and malware isn’t exactly considered an “everyday” occurrence, having it breached is a different story. At this point, your data isn’t exactly lost, but it’s certainly been seen and handled by malicious actors — like it was a few years ago with Ashley Madison and like it currently is with Equifax.

But then again, we now have ransomware to consider. Now this is a form of malware that will take your data and make it inaccessible, resulting in true-to-form data loss. Sure, if you pay the fine, you might get your data thing — but that’s not a definite reality. It could be gone forever.

If you’d like to learn more about data loss and it how happens to businesses, then check out our report on 5 Data Loss Nightmares. You’ll pick up some interesting facts and learn how to better protect your data in the process.

secure mobile data

4 simple ways to secure mobile data when you’re on the go

Over the years, working on the go has become the norm for business professionals everywhere. But at this point, it’s more than just the norm … it’s critical to success.

If your team isn’t mobile, then everything from productivity and employee morale to customer service and efficiency will suffer.

And ultimately, this suffering will only hurt your competitive edge and damage your company’s reputation.

This being said, mobility doesn’t come free of risk. In fact, the more mobile you are, the more at risk you are of data loss, security breaches, and cyber threats. Which means you have a major dilemma on your hands.

So naturally, the question becomes: How can you successfully secure mobile data when you’re on the move?  

Let’s break it down, shall we?

Lock thy device

First and foremost, lock your devices. And this doesn’t just mean your cell phone. This includes your tablet, laptop, and yes … even your home computer.

No device should ever be left wide-open, and no passerby should ever have the ability to open your device and immediately start snooping. You must make it as hard as possible for criminals to get into your devices — because remember: the easier it is to get into your devices, the easier it is for criminals to snatch your mobile data.

However, just because logging into your computer might feel significantly different than logging into your online banking account or email, this doesn’t mean you should drop traditional password-building strategies.

While your phone or tablet may have limitations, your computer and laptop usually don’t. Keep these passwords just as strong as any other password you would create.

Public vs. Private

Unfortunately for every coffee shop-loving person out there, public connections aren’t always the safest things on the Wi-Fi block. In fact, there is such a thing as a fake Wi-Fi hotspot. If you hop onto a connection like this, you might be infected with a nasty virus.

Or worse … a criminal may have the ability to track everything you type and everywhere you go. And if you’re worried about the security of your mobile data, then this is one thing you should probably avoid.

If connecting to public Wi-Fi can’t be avoided, just make sure you aren’t accessing anything sensitive. And keep in mind, this doesn’t just involve sensitive business data … this should also account for personal messages, banking information, and things of that nature.  

2FA is where it’s at

Wherever possible, consider using 2FA for your online accounts (otherwise known as two-factor authentication, two-step authentication, or multi-factor authentication). 2FA is especially critical for apps or sites that directly (or even indirectly) include banking, health, legal, or communication information.

2FA is typically very simple to implement, and the added security it provides makes the “second factor” worth it. This second step may include an email asking you to verify the login (which may only be sent to you if it’s an unrecognized browser) or it could be a password and a security question.

Usually, 2FA involves: something you know (like a password or question), something you have (like an email or text message), or something you are (like a fingerprint).

An expert knows best

That’s right. You can’t do everything alone — especially when it comes to business security.

These days, the majority of Managed Service Providers offer some form of on-the-go data protection. They can help you manage mobile devices or provide your company with a business-grade solution for file-sharing.  

Adding features like these to your traditional security solution can mean the difference between a completely secure business and one littered with vulnerabilities and holes.

These tips are only just the beginning. Securing your on-the-go data requires dedication and an ever-evolving security solution. If you’d like to learn more about securing your mobile data, then give us a call or send us a message today. We’d love to chat.

How an MSP Partner Is Like a Scout Helping Make Your Hunt a Success

Growing your business is a little like planning a hunting trip. You need so much there to be successful: the right equipment, the right training and the right skills… but what if you could add an extra partner to the equation?

Think of your managed IT service provider as the scout on your hunting trip.

What do scouts do? They go ahead and check out the lay of the land. They clear the path for you and point you in the right direction.

An MSP can be your scout on your hunt in business to help you be a success. We at Cognoscape provide our clients with a custom IT road map so they know what may lie ahead for them, and what direction they should take to be the most successful.

This technology road map is tailored to keep our clients up-to-date on all the latest IT trends in the industry that could make their hunt, their business hunt, a success. Whether it be network security, relocation, regulatory compliance, cloud computing, and much more, we act as the scout on your hunting trip.

When you’re out in the wild looking to expand your business and find new clients, there’s the potential for a lot of errors. You know that making the wrong turn could get you caught in the weeds: an issue or technology hang up that could potentially set you back days or even weeks. That’s the last thing you want to happen in the fast-paced professional landscape of today.

So why risk everything by going it alone? Bring us along as a scout with you on your hunt, and we’ll help make sure that you take the right paths and come out a success.

Zombie Apocalypse Prep, Part II: Utilizing IT Tech in Survival

It’s happened. Your worst fears have come true – the dead are reanimating, and they have one thing on their rotten minds: having you for their next meal. The world as you know it is gone. Power is out everywhere. You’ve managed to survive so far by sealing yourself and your team up in your office.

But there are loved ones out there you and your people must reach. Your office barricades are effective but weakening. Also, your food and water supplies scavenged from within the office are growing thin. You and your group MUST leave the office and brave the streets. What will you do? Here are a few tips on how you can utilize your now non-functional IT tech to prepare yourself for the journey.

Use Your IT Tech – Flat Screens Make Reasonable Shields

While you have hardly returned to the age of chivalry, the idea of a shield does sound appealing when faced with the alternative of the undead chomping into a bare arm. Remove the stand and the cord (but save it for later) and punch two holes within the screen all the way through the back. Use duct tape or cloth to strap the screen to your non-dominant arm. Now, when a creeper tries to maul you, you can give it a face full of flat screen to gnaw at while you use the weapon in your other hand to finish it off.

Routers Are a Great Diversion/Melee Weapon Combo

Before you and your team head out on your journey, grab a router or two and throw them in your bag. If you find yourself with a herd of walkers blocking your only path, pull one out and snap off the antenna (if it features one). Then, hurl it well off to the side. Thrown routers tend to make an enormous amount of noise when the hard plastic shell hits the pavement. The creeps will hear it and start shambling toward it, and away from your escape route. Also, if one of them happens to see you as you pass by, use that antenna to ventilate his noggin, then scramble away to safety.

Cognoscape’s Zombie Apocalypse Prep Series Will Continue

Who knows when or if it will ever happen? But when it does – and if it happens during work hours – you’ll know what to do, thanks to your Cognoscape survival training. In the meantime, why don’t you stock up on the latest defense and weaponry items the IT tech world has to offer? Talk to Cognoscape, and we’ll devise you a plan . . . but it will probably be an IT support plan, as it’s the best way to bide our time . . . until . . .

Group of zombie over burn city background that had no security precautions.

Security Precautions During a Zombie Apocalypse

Why would a company take the time to develop security measures for a zombie apocalypse? Because it’s not about IF it happens, but WHEN it happens. No one likes to think about the end. But those who survive are the ones that came prepared. Implementing security throughout your business might seem slightly daunting, but don’t let others misinterpret your mindfulness with paranoia. Take our advice – here are a few security precautions to implement to prepare for a zombie apocalypse.

Zombie Security

Protect Sensitive Data

The zombies will break into your business and end up eating everything or everyone. This means you need to ensure that your data is secured outside of your enterprise You must conceal your most valued information. If you have financial records, employee identification information, and financial accounts that are securely stored, then you ensure a dedicated line of protection is in place.

Secure Server Rooms

Lock yourself in your server room if the zombies are coming, and there is no where else to run. Head for the room with the highest levels of security. Your server room should have a login for those who enter and exits the room. With a dedicated surveillance camera to keep visual sights on those monsters, you should be safe – for now.  
Security measures need to be taken seriously unless you want your business to be infiltrated. The very best IT organizations report spending 6-8% of their budget on security. That is going to have to double in the short-term to counter the threat of the surveillance state, just to account for the deployment and management of encryption everywhere. If you need help planning for a zombie attack or a cyber attack, allow us to help you protect your network from breaches. Who are you going to call? Cognoscape!