Posts

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.

Your network security guy is a little bit like your hunting partner

We know that it sounds like a bit of stretch, but it really isn’t. How you choose a network security consultant is similar to how you choose your hunting partner. Throughout our time in the security industry and our experience as hunters, we’ve noticed a few similarities between our love of the hunt and our passion for protecting your network.

A good hunting partner, like a good security consultant, is always prepared. If you’re a hunter, you know you need to be ready when your prey appears. You might only have one shot. To be prepared to accurately hit your target, you’ve had months or even years of training to use your scope, your gun, and your surroundings to create a favorable outcome. Your security consultant should have similar skills. A ready consultant will have years of experience and training behind them. Your consultant should be aware of the technical landscape of your industry and the threats present. Similarly to experienced hunters, they’ll be able to troubleshoot when things go wrong and are aware of how to execute when things perform correctly. A prepared hunting partner will understand the terrain they’ll be traversing. A security consultant should prepare a technology roadmap to accomplish your business goals, as well.

To adequately protect your network, your security consultant needs your confidence. So does your hunting partner. If you’re in a blind, staring intently towards moving wildlife, chances are you have a lot of faith in the guy (or girl) with a loaded weapon sitting next to you. A compromised network can come with some pretty hefty damages, so choosing the right IT partner can be one of the most important business decisions you make. You’re entrusting your livelihood to another individual whether you’re in a blind or in the office, security strategizing.

Hunting can be a tedious hobby. You can have all the training and all the tools to tackle your prey, but Bambi might not show up. Likewise, you might have 10 layers of protection in place and never experience a cyber threat. The idea is that you’re ready to defend when necessary, not that you’re actively “looking for trouble.” Like hunting, you never know when the cyber attack will actually occur. You can only be prepared for it when it does happen. This takes a lot of patience, but that patience pays off in the end. A security consultant’s job is to be ready, and your hunting partner’s job is to be ready.

When you choose who to take on that get-out-of-the-house-and-make-some-deer-jerky hunt, you’re looking for a person you can trust- a person who you know to be dependable and prepared. You’re looking for the same in a security consultant. At Cognoscape, we’ve had quite a few successful hunts, and we’re even better at protecting your network. Give us a call to discuss scopes, security, and strategy.

4 Signs that You’re Out of PCI Compliance

Compliance with the standards set by the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council can be cumbersome and flat out difficult. And the punishment for non-compliance can be stiff penalties and fines – or even worse, non-compliance could allow a hacker or data thief to get into your company’s systems and steal critical data from you or your customers. To avoid these unsavory outcomes, it is best to make sure that your business gets PCI compliant and maintain that compliance status. It is critical that you know if your company is PCI compliant so that you can keep your business protected from fines and hackers alike. Here are some of the ways that you can know if your business is not compliant. If any of these signs describe your business, then it is time to make a change and get back into compliance.

You Store Cardholder Data

Storing cardholder data means that you have highly sensitive information that can be stolen on your systems. To maintain PCI compliance, you should not save or store any cardholder data, whether in digital or written form. To avoid storing cardholder data, you can use a card reader, POS terminal, or a payment processor that doesn’t retain that information. That way, you don’t have to think about protecting or encrypting that data on your systems.

You Don’t Have A Separate Network For Payment Processing

PCI compliance can put extra pressure and security measures on your network. That’s why it is a good idea to have a separate system for your regular business connection just for payment processing. This is especially relevant if you are using IP-based credit card terminals.

You Don’t Automatically Log Customers Out

When your customers log in and make a purchase, they might be doing so on a public computer or at a public kiosk. When they leave that computer, they might forget to log out, allowing another person to stumble upon their open session and make unauthorized purchases. Make sure that you avoid these kinds of scenarios by automatically logging your users out of their sessions after a set period. If for example, users are automatically logged out after five minutes being idle, you have a significantly higher chance of stopping unauthorized purchases.

Your Employees Don’t Have Unique Login Information

To be PCI compliant, all of your employees need to have their unique login information for sensitive systems. That way, if there an issue, you know which employee was responsible.

Take Advantage of A Network Security Specialist for Your Business

The more our society becomes dependent on technology, the more we see an increase in data breaches, cyber crimes, and leaking of sensitive information. This is why the government and businesses of all sizes are focusing more of their efforts on network security. When it comes to keeping your information safe, you can’t go at it alone. Network security specialists are in high demand for assisting companies with their online safety needs. Below we discuss the importance of working with a network security specialist to keep your business secure and information safe.

 

Role of a Network Security Specialist

Your network security specialist is in charge of safeguarding your computer system and protecting it from threats. Threats may be external or internal in nature, but some of the biggest threats to network security generally come from outside sources. The network security specialist will install firewalls and programs that issue alerts when there is an attempt to infiltrate the system. Network security specialists are constantly updating their level of knowledge to keep up with the growing technology industry.

 

Advantages of Hiring a Network Security Specialist

Having a network security specialist in your arsenal of weapons to combat hackers has many advantages, including:

 

Protection of Company Data

Part of the job of a network security specialist is to constantly monitor the flow of information within the network, prevent unauthorized users from accessing sensitive data, and check on bandwidth usage. This data may be pertaining to customers when dealing with companies like banks or other large corporations. Information such as phone numbers, account numbers, credit card numbers, addresses, and emails can become exposed. Government agencies will have information that pertains to internal communications and secret operations, posing as threats to national security. A network security specialist is vital to the safety of these organizations’ information.

 

Setting IT Infrastructure Usage Rules

A network security specialist is one who is in charge of designing and implementing security protocols within a computer network. This involves having control over the data that users have access to and setting up password authentications and firewalls. The specialist is able to block access to particular websites as well as prevent the installation and usage of certain applications that may pose a threat to the network infrastructure. With a network security specialist on board, they will be able to catch employees violating company computer policies and notify their manager.

 

Custom Security for Your Network

Your network security specialist will sit down with you and create a plan that is specific to your business’s needs. There is no “one-size-fits-all” model for any company and should never be offered to clients. Your custom network security plan will help your business grow much quicker by eliminating potential technology roadblocks that pop up. If you do not have a network security specialist working with your organization, you run the risk of losing customers to security breaches.

 

We want to be your network security specialist! Contact us today and we will discuss the best path for your company to follow when it comes to data and network security.

Benefits of Network Security

You’ve spent countless hours, days, months, maybe even years building your business…what if everything you had worked for was ruined because of a security breach? All it takes is one bad security breach and you’re out of business. This is why your company needs CognoSecurity. Let’s look at the benefits of network security.

Reduced Stress

With CognoSecurity you will never lose sleep over stressing about your business’ security. We will handle everything so that you don’t have to. Now you have more time to focus on making your business even more successful, because you know it’s safe with CognoSecurity.

Decreased Risk

Think about all of the risks you’re taking without having your business protected by network security. Are you willing to risk your business’ reputation? What about your data? Or even your entire company? If not, you need network security to make sure none of these things are put at risk.

Disaster Recovery

Unexpected things happen – that’s just life. But wouldn’t it be nice to be prepared for the unexpected? Well, with CognoSecurity you can be. When disaster strikes, CognoSecurity will help your business recover quickly, whether you’ve suffered a security breach, natural disaster, or anything else that might happen.

Increased Productivity

When you aren’t stressing over network security issues and security breaches, you and your employees can focus on the business’ success. You’ll become more productive and you’ll also save your hardware and software from any potential harm caused by security breaches.

Ready to protect your business from harm? Let’s talk today about your business’ security needs.

Top 5 Reasons You Need Network Security At Work

Conducting day to day business can be consuming and stressful. Making sure that your company network is secure does not always rank number one on your list of things to do. There are so many things that need to be tended to! Here are the top 5 reasons why network security should be your top priority:

1. First and foremost, without network security at work your livelihood is at stake. As a business owner, most of your important documentation and records are stored on a computer. Leaving your network unprotected means that at any time your system could be infiltrated by unwanted viruses, trojans or even worse – malicious hackers who could obtain and distribute personal information.

2. Not only can your vital company information can be compromised, your identity could be stolen and used. Different types of computer viruses and trojans do different things. If a virus relays information to a third party your identity could be used by that person or worse. It could be sold to other people.

3. If losing your identity isn’t bad enough, it can get worse. Without network security you could unknowingly provide internet predators with your customer’s information. This means that your reputation as a company is at stake. Any business owner would agree that a good reputation is your best asset and a bad reputation could mean your demise.

4. By having a good network security system in place, you will be saving money in the long run. Companies that are constantly putting out fires and spending unnecessary money to fix problems as they occur. Each time they pick up the phone to call an IT specialist money flies out the door. By being proactive you will keep your budget minimal.

5.  Using network security guarantees that you will be successful in your endeavors. By protecting your assets you will be able to focus on what you do best. Safeguarding your network allows others to trust in your ability to conduct business and do what is best for everyone.

Network security at work is beneficial in many ways. It helps you to save money. It also offers security to your team of employees and customers. Network security prevents unexpected problems. In conjunction with these benefits, network security is necessary to safeguard your personal information and that of your affiliates. Without network security your business could be in serious jeopardy.

Top 3 Benefits of Network Security Services

If you’re running a business, you need to make sure that your network is secure – there’s no question about it.

Imagine. What would happen if a hacker infiltrated your network and accessed your critical data? You could lose that data or, even worse, you could lose your company!

Don’t leave your company vulnerable and risk losing everything you’ve worked so hard for. There are several ways your company can benefit from network security services – here are the top 3.

 

#1: Peace of Mind

It can be a challenge to safeguard your business from security threats since hackers are constantly devising new ways to steal data and wreak havoc on businesses.

So, what can you do about these security threats?

Luckily, you don’t have to face them alone. By taking advantage of network security services from Cognoscape, you can gain the peace of mind that you need. You’ll be able to sleep well at night knowing that your network is not at risk and your valuable company information is safe from harm.

 

#2: Productivity

When you aren’t dealing with security breaches and network security issues, you’ll be able to empower your employees to be more productive. You’ll also save your software and hardware from harm caused by security breaches.

Instead of dealing with downtime and the stress of losing critical data, you and your employees can focus on your job duties. That way, everyone can work as efficiently as possible instead of being unnecessarily disrupted.

 

#3: Compliance

Every company has certain regulations in place that are set to improve efficiency.

Here at Cognoscape, we understand that adhering to the security compliance regulations for your industry is not an option – it’s a necessity. You can trust that the security solutions you’ll receive from Cognoscape will meet all of the security compliance regulations necessary.

 

It’s easy to see how network security can lift a huge burden from your shoulders and improve your company processes. Contact Cognoscape today for a network security solution, and let’s work together to help your business succeed.

Network Security tools are not always enough

Network Security tools and antivirus products do not provide complete protection from the Viruses and Malware that threaten businesses on a regular basis.  Common sense and intuition can help fill the gaps where network security tools leave off.  A recent example comes from a client who correctly DID NOT open the attachment and referred the email to our team for analysis.  Working for a lawfirm, our client knew that such a notification would arrive as a certified letter instead of just an email to a distribution list.  The email came in as follows:

From: Douglas Rosenthal – Attorney [mailto:doug.rose@douglasrosenthal.com]
Sent: Monday, August 02, 2010 3:04 PM
To: Recipients
Subject: Cease and Desist

Dear Sir

It has come to our attention that your website contains a logo thatis identical/substantially similar to our copyrighted Work.
Permission was neither asked nor granted to reproduce our Work and your Work therefore constitutes infringement of our rights.
In terms of the Copyright Statutes, we are entitled to an injunction against your continued infringement, as well as to recover damages from you for the loss we have suffered as a result of your infringing conduct.

In the circumstances, we demand that you immediately:
1. remove all infringing content and notify us in writing that you have done so;
2. credit all infringing content to ourselves.
3. immediately cease the use and distribution of copyrighted material;
4. undertake in writing to desist from using any of our copyrighted Work in future without prior written authority from us.

Attached is a list of the copyrighted material in question.

We await to hear from you.

This is written without prejudice to our rights, all of which are hereby expressly reserved

The email attachment is a Microsoft Word document named 822010.doc with a size of 112,532 bytes.  Opening the document you see what looks like a PDF file named infrige_documents.pdf with the instructions “(double click to view)”.

A quick look at the properties of the embedded file (In Word 2010 – Right Click on the file/Packager Shell Object Object/Properties) shows the embedded PDF file is really an executable named  INFRIG~1.EXE with a description of “Ufouonkt Uvadb”.  The file name was even a misspelling of INFRINGE, another clue that the whole thing is bad.  Launching this file would have launched a virus that would attempt to infect the computer.  When I tested this file, only 17% of the the world’s anti-virus engines would have flagged it as bad.

With any email or pop up message we advise our clients to either call us or forward the email so we have a chance to prevent a much bigger problem.  When in doubt, DO NOT open items or click messages when you can easily pick up the phone and get the help of an IT professional.