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Directive Blogs

Directive has been serving the Oneonta area since 1993, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Securing Your Business from the Internet of Things

Now that the holidays have come and gone, you might have a couple of new gadgets in your home or office that connect to the Internet. Depending on what these gadgets are, you might have a serious security issue sitting right in front of you without realizing it. Some devices that don’t normally connect to the Internet--also known as Internet of Things devices (IoT)--aren’t as secure as you’d like them to be, particularly in a business environment.

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Here’s How Companies Struggle with IT Security

No business can be successful if it’s constantly suffering from data breaches. Therefore, you should take measures to mitigate the issues caused by these threats before they present themselves. Here are four of the biggest issues your business could face in the field of network security.

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Tip of the Week: Improving Some Cybersecurity Basics

What are your chances of being hacked, or targeted by some kind of cyberattack? I hate to tell you this, but they’re probably a lot higher than you might think.

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Your Business May Be Most Vulnerable from the Inside

It can be easy, with all the threats covered in the news, to assume that the biggest dangers to your business all come from the outside. This is a dangerous mistake, as there are plenty of vulnerabilities that originate from within your organization, making it easier for outside threats to come in, if not being bigger threats in and of themselves. Below, we’ll review some of the biggest, mostly internal dangers that your business may face.

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Otsego County Target of Significant Cyberattack

We continually cite just how important IT security is, but like most things, people may not completely understand just how crucial it is until it hits home. Otsego County, would seem to be too small of a place to attract a hacker’s attention, but the Otsego County county government network was reportedly attacked. County Information Technology Director Brian Pokorny said hackers gained access to the county website and other files through a zero-day vulnerability,

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Looking Back at This Year’s Cybersecurity Issues

Every business in operation today needs to have some kind of comprehensive network security. Simply put, there are too many threats that can come in through an Internet connection for them to continue doing otherwise. The past year provides plenty of anecdotal proof of this fact, as a quick glance back can show.

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Here Is a List of this Year’s Most Devastating Hacks

Today, we’ve compiled some statistics that give these threats context, as well as a list of some of the most devastating hacks from the first half of 2018. Hopefully, these lists will put into perspective just how important building a network security strategy is for your company. Here are some statistics to help reinforce just how important cybersecurity is:

In 2017 over 130 large-scale breaches were reported, a 27 percent increase over 2016.Nearly 1-in-3 organization have experienced some sort of cyberattack in the past.Cryptojacking (stealing cryptocurrency) increased 8,500 percent in 2017.100,000 organizations were infected with the WannaCry ransomware (400,000 machines).5.4 billion WannaCry attacks were blocked in 2017.The average monetary cost of a malware attack is $2.4 million.The average time cost of a malware is 50 days.Ransomware cost organization’s over $5 billion in 2017.20 percent of cyberattacks come from China, 11 percent from the United States, and six percent from the Russian Federation.Phone numbers are the most leaked information.21 percent of files are completely unprotected.41 percent of companies have over 1,000 sensitive files left unprotected.Ransomware is growing at 350 percent annually.IoT-based attacks are growing at about 500 percent per year.Ransomware attacks are expected to quadruple by 2020.7.7 percent of web requests lead to malware.There were 54 percent more types of malware in 2017 than there were in 2016.The cybersecurity market will be worth over $1 trillion by 2025.

If that isn’t scary enough, below are some of the attacks that have taken place in 2018. We’ve broken them down into public (individuals, governments, etc.), and private (businesses). Keep in mind all these events took place before the calendar turned to July:

Public January

The Department of Homeland Security was affected by a data breach that exposed information about 247,167 current and former employees.

March

Atlanta, Georgia was targeted by a ransomware attack called SamSam. This resulted in a massive problem for their municipal infrastructure. The ransom price given was $51,000, but Atlanta’s leadership refused to meet these demands. Overall, the numbers show that Atlanta has spent more than 10 times that number in the fallout of the attack. Some estimates place the actual cost of this event at nearly $20 million.India’s national ID database, Aadhaar, leaked data of over a billion people. This is one of the largest data breaches in history. A user could pay 500 rupees, equal to about $7, to get the login credentials that allowed anyone to enter a person’s 12-digit code for their personal information. For 300 rupees, or about $4.20, users could also access software that could print an ID card for anyone associated with the database.Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics company that U.S. President Donald Trump used to help his campaign, harvested personal information from over 50 million Facebook users without asking for their permission. Facebook hasn’t called this a data breach, but Cambridge Analytica has since been banned from using the service thanks to this event.

June

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Help! My Staff Hates My Company’s IT!

Fellow business owners, do you ever feel like you need to walk around on eggshells when it comes time to implement a new process or policy with your employees? Does it seem like your staff fights back tooth and nail when there is any technology change or IT restriction? You aren’t alone.

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Security Threats and Defensive Measures You Can Take

Network security for small businesses is far from simple. There are countless threats out there that want to see your business fall, and it only takes one to see this come to fruition. Unless you take action now to protect your organization, you risk the future of your business. But what is it that businesses need to protect from, and what measures are out there that can accomplish this feat?

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Mobile Device Management Builds Mobile Reliability

Even if you try to ban them in the office, it’s inevitable that your employees will bring their mobile devices to the workplace anyway. Instead of worrying about them wasting away the day, why not try to turn the devices to your advantage? There are more tools out there than ever before to not only add smartphones to your workflows, but to make them profitable and valuable for your organization.

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4 Internal Threats Every Business Owner Should Understand

In light of all the data leaks and vulnerabilities that have been brought to light over the past few years, network security has to be a priority for every business. One problem many organizations have is that while they are protecting their network and infrastructure from threats outside their company, the real threats are actually coming from inside. Today, we’ll look at four ways threats can cause havoc from inside your organization.

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Are You Ready to Adapt to Network Security Changes?

Humankind has always adapted and improved technology to make life easier, starting all the way back at fire and the wheel. Nowadays, our approach to making life easier through technology is centered around productivity and security - if we can accomplish more than before in the same amount of time, without worrying that it will be stolen, we’re happy.

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A Brief Overview of Network Security

The reliance the modern business has on its IT cannot be understated. As a result, to keep their computing network and infrastructure running efficiently, companies need to have a network and cybersecurity policy in place. With the development and use of organizational computer networks with multiple endpoints, understanding the basics of network security is helpful when implementing and employing network security systems. Today, we take a look at the parts of your network, their functions, and what you need to do to protect them.

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Sorry Han, When it Comes to Security, You Need to Know the Odds

Star Wars is a cultural phenomenon. For the past 40+ years audiences from all around the world have become enthralled with the characters, the story, and the technology that existed a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Who knew that it was also a wonderful lesson in modern IT security? For today’s blog, we look at three situations that happened in Star Wars: A New Hope; and, how, if proper IT strategies were put in place, the Empire would have been able to protect its greatest asset.

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Tip of the Week: Spotting Fake Apps on the Google Play Store

Mobile devices have countless uses, all of which enable users to get the most out of them. But what if all of your efforts at finding the best applications for the job are wasted on finding a fraudulent app on the Google Play Store? Believe it or not, the Google Play Store has its fair share of malware available for download in all types of disguises. Here are a few tips to help you avoid installing them in the first place.

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Threats are Changing - Are You Prepared to Change with Them?

Security is a part of business that is constantly changing and evolving. What worked ten years, five years, or even two years ago may not be relevant in today’s security environment. What are some of the major changes that your company can expect to see in the coming years? We’ll walk you through some of the ways that security will be changing in the foreseeable future, and what you can do about it.

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FREE Printout: IT Security End-User Checklist

This guide was created so that business owners, office managers, and IT departments can provide it as an educational resource to showcase some of the most basic IT security practices that can be implemented in your workplace. We recommend printing this out and handing it out to your staff for maximum results.

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FREE Printout: Dos and Don’ts of IT Security

The following guide is designed to be used by business owners and office managers as an educational resource to establish some basic IT security best practices in the workplace. Feel free to print it out and hand it out or post it in common areas.

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Tip of the Week: Which Browser Provides the Best Security?

For most users the Internet browser is one of the most utilized applications on their computer or mobile device. With the influx of aggressive problems, it is mighty useful to know which Internet browser is the best for keeping your data, identity, and network secure. Today, we will take a look at the five most popular Internet browsers found on desktop and laptop computers and decipher which are the most reliable.

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Tip of the Week: How to Protect Yourself from Invoice Impersonation

As cybercriminals become increasingly sophisticated in their methods of attack, it is important that your staff--the ones on the front lines--are educated to spot these attempts and know what to do if one is encountered. In order to spot these attacks, it is important to know what to look for.

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Large or Small, Data Breaches Can Wreck Your Business

It’s no secret that a data breach can have serious consequences for any business, especially after some of the events that occurred throughout 2017. From the costs to repair any internal damage done to the efforts it takes to regain client trust, recovering from such an attack is no easy feat--and they’re only poised to get worse.

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A Social Media Strategy Helps Businesses Start the Conversation

Building a social media strategy can be somewhat troublesome for the modern business. Not only do you not know how it can affect your organization, you also know that your competitors are likely using it. To this end, we’ll go over how your organization’s social media practices can influence success.

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There are New Ways to Secure Your Data

Security is an aspect of running a business that absolutely cannot be ignored, regardless of whether or not you see it as a considerable issue in the near future. The fact remains that your organization will always be at risk unless you take actions to keep it safe today. By taking advantage of some of the latest and greatest security tools on the market, you’ll be able to protect not only from the basic threats, but more advanced ones as well.

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Is Your Cybersecurity Prepared for 2018?

2018 could potentially be a big year for your business. However, your business needs to be around long enough to see any positives that may come its way, which means you need to be prepared for the negatives. Here are five resolutions for you to make this year to help preserve your organization’s cybersecurity.

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Two-Factor Authentication Frequently Asked Questions

Data security has to be a core consideration of the modern business, so every small effort you can take to protect your business is important. One such effort is the implementation of two-factor authentication. However, your employees may not initially feel entirely comfortable with some facets of two-factor authentication.

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Using 2017's Examples to Maintain Network Security in the New Year

Network security is a crucial consideration for every single business, especially ones that utilize the Internet. There were a lot of negatives and some positives that came out of 2017 in regards to cybersecurity. Below we have listed some of the most troubling cybersecurity statistics collected in 2017, and we’ve followed it up with suggestions on how to keep your business safe in 2018.

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Data Security Has to Be A Priority For Your Organization

Considering that since January 1st of this year, there has been upwards of 10 million personal information records lost or stolen each day, odds are that you, or someone you know, has had their records compromised by a data breach. With such a high incident rate, individuals and businesses that have never received any kind of notification that their records were included in a breach, generally consider themselves lucky and assume that they are not at risk of identity theft or unauthorized account usage. Unfortunately for them, that is not always the case.

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Why A Network Audit Is A Good Idea

Most small businesses don’t have the luxury of an in-house IT department. Even if they do have one, it’s likely a small department run by a handful of folks who have their hands full with either implementation projects or simply staying afloat. With opportunities to invest in the improvement of your infrastructure few and far between, a network audit can help you identify where your network suffers most, and what you can do about it.

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Why You Should Pay Attention to Data Security Notifications

If you’ve watched the news lately, chances are you’ve seen the Equifax breach and the ridiculous fallout it has caused. Over 133 million personal records have been stolen. While it’s difficult not to feel individually victimized by such a breach, it’s important to remember that it’s often not your specific credentials targeted by hackers. Since businesses often hold onto valuable information, they have big crosshairs painted onto them. It doesn’t even stop there--any vendors or partners you deal with are also in danger of hacking attacks.

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October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Cybercrime is the fastest growing criminal activity in the world. From the largest enterprise to the individual, it can affect anyone, anywhere. To help ensure the cybersecurity of American citizens and their businesses, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other agencies work together every October to raise awareness about the threats people face online through a series of educational events and activities.

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Who Needs To Be Involved In Network Security? Simple: Everyone

Network security is an important part of keeping both your business and your staff away from online threats, but it’s not enough to implement the best, most comprehensive solutions on the market. There are a surprising number of facets to network security, and in order to optimize protection against online threats, you’ll need to know all of them. Thankfully, you don’t have to do this alone.

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Major Cyber Threats Are Less Of A Worry With An MSP’s Help

There are dozens of surveys and reports produced each year that evaluate digital threats and cybercrime. Not every publication applies to every business - but many of them do have some important take aways about the best practices of handling IT. Here’s few highlights from the 2017 Cyberthreat Defense Report that offer important insight for SMBs and their use of technology.

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When It Comes To Your IT, There's No Such Thing As A Dumb Question!

Especially with so many people claiming to be tech-savvy, asking a question about IT can be a bit nerve wracking. Because of this hesitation, there are a lot of people who don’t ask questions about technology because they feel like their questions might be stupid. For example, having an updated operating system is a term that is tossed around a lot by IT professionals, and even some not-so-professionals.

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Protect Your Business with Strong Network Security Practices

With the surge in the number of small and medium businesses that have fallen prey to malware and cyber criminals, there is a lot of focus of what an organization can do to prevent being a victim and how the company should handle themselves after an attack. There is another key factor to preventing cyber criminals from penetrating into your network: your employees.

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Your Employees are Your Most Important Security Feature, and Biggest Risk

Here’s a question: on a scale of one to ten, how confident are you that your employees are acting in the best interests of your organization’s network security? How confident are you that you’re setting a good example when it comes to handling your business’ security? Unfortunately, any confidence you have on this matter may be misplaced.

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Tip of the Week: 12 Security Rules Every PC User Should Follow

While you are probably spending a fair amount of time thinking about your business’ security, can you confidently say the same about those that you’ve employed? Unfortunately, your workers may not put much thought into network security. This could very possibly lead to some severe issues potentially harming your business operations.

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Common Misconceptions Concerning Business Cybersecurity

Today, we want to talk about something that not a lot of businesses would want to think about. What would happen to your organization if it were to suddenly experience a hacking attack? While security solutions can go a long way toward protecting your organization, you still want to make sure that you’re not relying solely on your security tools for protection. Rather, you should always stay vigilant, even if you don’t think something could go wrong.

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How Does a UTM Firewall Protect Your Business?

Every time you pick up a personal computer from a vendor, chances are that it will have an extremely basic firewall pre-installed. These consumer-grade firewalls leave much to be desired, especially in the business environment. You’ll want to make sure that your organization is equipped with enterprise-level solutions designed to protect on both a fundamental level and an advanced level. To do this, you want to take advantage of a Unified Threat Management solution.

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What a Firewall Does and Doesn’t Do, and Why it Matters for Your Business

So you keep hearing about the need for a firewall, but maybe you’re not exactly sure what it is or even what it does. As a business owner, you don’t need to fully grasp the complexities of network security in order to effectively manage your company. Although, it is beneficial for every business owner to understand the basics of what a firewall is, along with a working knowledge of how it protects an organization’s IT infrastructure.

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Over 75% of Organizations Are Vulnerable to Hackers, Study Finds

Is your business prepared to handle all kind of online threats? A recent study shows that it probably isn’t. According to the think tank Ponemon Institute, four out of five businesses don’t have the infrastructure or security experts they need to spot and prevent incoming cyber attacks from succeeding. This is a significant statistic that can’t be ignored, especially if you want to secure your business.

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Having a Network that’s Tested Guarantees You’ll Overcome Any Disaster

Does your SMB have an internal IT department? Chances are that it is a major pain point for your organization, and even if you do have one, it might be bogged down with so much work that mistakes can happen and threats can slip through the cracks. Sometimes the best way to protect your network is to know where and how threats manage to get there in the first place.

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The Explosion of Mobile Devices is One Trend Your Business Must Account For

You may have heard about the Internet of Things in passing, but do you truly understand the nature of these connected devices, and how they will affect your business in the coming years? The Internet of Things is a major trend that needs to be addressed if your business plans on succeeding in the near future.

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Can Your Firewall Protect You From 304 Million Different Kinds of Malware?

b2ap3_thumbnail_malware_increase_400.jpgSmall and medium-sized businesses continue to have problems shoring up their cyber security. Even with the latest solutions, like antivirus and firewalls, they still need to be wary of impending attacks. New threats are created on a daily basis, all of which want to infiltrate your network and cause harm to your business. In fact, 27.3 percent of all malware in the world was created in 2015 alone. Will we ever escape from the clutches of malware?

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Complacent IT Technicians Can Be a Company’s Worst Nightmare

b2ap3_thumbnail_be_safe_on_network_400.jpgThe modern business is inundated with all types of threats, from people outside the organization phishing around for information, to employees that are aloof to their role in your network’s security. If your network’s security is like a levee, it is indisputably an IT department’s job to fill in the gaps to ensure a deluge of misfortune doesn’t swamp your company’s IT. So what happens when your company’s IT department is the biggest offender of perilous activity?

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