In the first weeks and months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported a dramatic fivefold increase in the number of cyber attacks directed at its staff. It also warned the public to beware of the rampant cyber attacks and phishing scams that attempt to take advantage of pandemic panic.
Many other businesses and organizations are facing the barrage of these increased attacks, but because of the necessity of remote work, they are confronting these cyber threats with weakened out-of-office cybersecurity measures.
So, as many businesses look to make remote work a more permanent solution, one of the most important things they need to do is to protect their digital systems, assets, and communications.
Due to COVID-19, many businesses have had to quickly transition their employees to remote operations.
Under normal circumstances, businesses would usually have set up explicit processes and policies before switching employees to at-home work. However, quickly changing health guidelines and lockdown measures left some businesses scrambling as many employees who were working as usual one day were quarantined at home the next.
Forms are a very common business practice for many organization, both SMBs and Enterprises. Forms can facilitate collecting data, save time, reduce mistakes and helps in creating a systematic recording of information. The problem is that they are not easy to create and once the data is collected, it is not easy to analyze.
Office 365 Forms is an easy-to-use tool that helps businesses create surveys, quizzes and polls and see results as they become available.
You can create forms in minutes, send and collect data and use their built-in analytics to evaluate responses. Forms can be private (only internal users with an Office 365 account) or public. Once the form is crated, it can be embedded in your website or simply sent in an email with a link; it even gives you the option to generate a QR code. Forms are also mobile friendly, so they can be filled out from mobile devices as well.
Office 365 Forms also gives you the option to collaborate and share this form with colleagues so that they can also make changes to the forms or use them as templates.
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We all know Office 365 is the way to go for both SMBs and Enterprises, but deciding how to manage the users and accounting for the overhead it takes, are important things to consider. Organizations will usually have an on-premise Active Directory (server) with a list of all the users, first name, last name, usernames, and most important PASSWORD.
When you create a new Office 365 account (tenant), your out of the box option is to replicate the list of users you have on-premise to the cloud, you can do this by creating one by one or by importing a list. One of the biggest headaches we face as Network Administrators is the management of these accounts, if you make one change on-premise, you have to replicate the change in Office 365, not not mention the fact that sometimes the passwords can be different from on-premise (the password you use for your computer) and for Office 365, so now users have to remember 2 passwords instead of one.
5 Ways SMBs Can Save Money on Security
Small-to-medium sized businesses and large enterprises may seem worlds apart, but they face many of the same cyber-security threats. In fact, in recent years, cyber-criminals have increasingly targeted SMBs. This is because it’s widely known that SMBs have a smaller budget, and less in-house expertise, to devote to protection. Thankfully, there are several things SMBs can do today to get more from even the most limited security budget. And, no, we aren’t talking about cutting corners. Far too often, SMBs cut the wrong corners and it ends up costing them more money in the long run. It’s a matter of taking a smarter approach to security. Here are five smart approaches to take
Four Key Components of a Robust Security Plan Every SMB Must Know
Most businesses are now technology dependent. This means security concerns aren’t just worrisome to large corporate enterprises anymore, but also the neighborhood sandwich shop, the main street tax advisor, and the local non-profit. Regardless of size or type, practically any organization has valuable digital assets and data that should not be breached under any circumstances.
This makes it the responsibility of every business, especially those collecting and storing customer/client information, to implement a multipronged approach to safeguard such information.
Yes, we’re looking at you, Mr. Pizza Shop Owner who has our names, addresses, phone numbers, and credit card information stored to make future ordering easier and hassle free.
Just Because You’re Not a Big Target, Doesn’t Mean You’re Safe
Not too long ago, the New York Times’ website experienced a well-publicized attack, which raises the question – how can this happen to such a world-renowned corporation? If this can happen to the New York Times, what does this bode for the security of a small company’s website? What’s to stop someone from sending visitors of your site to an adult site or something equally offensive?
The short answer to that question is nothing. In the New York Times’ attack, the attackers changed the newspapers’ Domain Name System (DNS) records to send visitors to a Syrian website. The same type of thing can very well happen to your business website. For a clearer perspective, let’s get into the specifics of the attack and explain what DNS is.
Stay Secure My Friend… More Hackers Targeting SMBs
Many SMBs don’t realize it, but the path to some grand cybercrime score of a lifetime may go right through their backdoor. SMBs are commonly vendors, suppliers, or service providers who work with much larger enterprises. Unfortunately, they may be unaware that this makes them a prime target for hackers. Worse yet, this may be costing them new business.
Larger companies likely have their security game in check, making it difficult for hackers to crack their data. They have both the financial resources and staffing power to stay on top of security practices. But smaller firms continue to lag when it comes to security. In many cases, the gateway to accessing a large company’s info and data is through the smaller company working with them. Exposed vulnerabilities in security can lead cybercriminals right to the larger corporation they’ve been after.
Cybercriminals Target Companies with 250 or Fewer Employees
Research is continuing to show that cybercriminals are increasingly targeting smaller businesses with 250 or fewer employees. Attacks aimed at this demographic practically doubled from the previous year. This news has made larger enterprises particularly careful about whom they do business with. This means that any SMB targeting high-end B2B clientele, or those seeking partnerships with large public or government entities, must be prepared to accurately answer questions pertaining to security. This requires an honest assessment of the processes taken to limit security risks.
View Security Measures as Investments
CEOs must start viewing any extra investment to enhance security as a competitive differentiator in attracting new business. Adopting the kind of security measures that large enterprises seek from third-party partners they agree to work with will inevitably pay off. The payoff will come by way of new revenue-generating business contracts that will likely surpass whatever was spent to improve security.
Would-be business partners have likely already asked for specifics about protecting the integrity of their data. Some larger entities require that SMBs complete a questionnaire addressing their security concerns. This kind of documentation can be legally binding so it’s important that answers aren’t fudged just to land new business. If you can’t answer “yes” to any question about security, find out what it takes to address that particular security concern.
Where a Managed Service Provider Comes In
Anyone who isn’t yet working with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) should consider it. First, a manual network and security assessment offers a third-party perspective that will uncover any potential business-killing security risks. A good MSP will produce a branded risk report to help you gain the confidence of prospects to win new business.
A MSP can properly manage key elements of a small company’s security plan. This includes administrative controls like documentation, security awareness training, and audits as well as technical controls like antivirus software, firewalls, patches, and intrusion prevention. Good management alone can eliminate most security vulnerabilities and improve security.
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Cloud Monitoring Can Be the Difference Maker for SMBs
It’s a fast-paced world. Not only do people want things, they want things right now. This sometimes-unnerving need for instant satisfaction has only intensified now that we have Wi-Fi and mobile devices that keep us connected regardless of where we are, what we’re doing, or the time of day. There is no longer any tolerance whatsoever for waiting. A business with a website that fails to load, or loads too slowly, will lose customers and leads to competitors.
So what has your business done to address this need for constant accessibility and optimal uptime? Do you feel you’re doing enough to meet the demands and expectations of your customers, new business prospects and those who have just now found you on Google?
Why Hybrid Clouds are More Than Just Another Trend
It should come as no surprise that many small to midsize business owners take pride in overseeing every aspect of their startup business. Naturally, many are apprehensive when it comes to surrendering control of their servers, their data, and their applications.
The downside of this need for control is that operating and maintaining everything onsite can be time consuming, super expensive, and it can make your business more vulnerable to failure related downtime and cyber threats.
Although everything can be stored in the cloud at a fraction of the cost, many aren’t responsive to the idea of sharing the infrastructure their technology runs on.
The great thing about the cloud is it’s not an all or nothing thing. This is exactly why so many small to midsize businesses have turned to hybrid cloud solutions. Just as they name implies, hybrid cloud solutions are both on and off premises. It’s the best of both worlds. An entrepreneur can still control certain aspects of the business on-site, but simultaneously exploit the cloud’s cost effectiveness and overall scalability.