6 tips to protect from data breaches

Corporate security - IronOak IT

Recent reports of large data breaches are alarming for everyone. Companies worry about the implications of having their financial and personal information leaked. Well-known and established organizations worry about the short and long term effects on their businesses. And smaller organizations worry about when they’ll be next. Two things we know for sure: the cost of a data breach is high and many companies don’t recover from them.

A question commonly heard in boardrooms around the world today is: what can organizations do right now to ensure they don’t fall victim to a data breach? Though many companies have security protocols in place, these don’t necessarily provide an Ironclad solution to defend them against the large variety of modern digital attacks. IronOak IT encourages six critical strategies that all organizations should consider:


1. Patch soon, patch often

A good number of successful attacks simply target vulnerabilities for which patches were already available. While new attacks are a real risk to keep in mind, most intrusions are caused by threats that have existed for weeks, months or even years. It is imperative that companies apply patches to each inventoried device and establish a formal patching and updating protocol. Ideally, the process needs to be automated, tracked and measured.


2. Combine local and global threat intelligence

Advanced threat intelligence allows organizations to reduce the time to detect threats and close the gap between detection and response. This begins by taking advantage of the threat intelligence that is already running on your network inside your firewall. For example, it is recommended that your IT firm install security tools designed to share, correlate information and take coordinated action. This means that when a new attack is discovered in a different continent such as Europe, your technology systems update their protection automatically -  before the attack even reaches Canada.


3. Implement signature-based security tools

The use of an enterprise level firewall takes advantage of security features for you. Most of the vulnerabilities that are typically exploited are already known. Attacks targeting those vulnerabilities can be detected using signatures. Signature-based detection tools allow your IT team to quickly search and block any infiltration attempts, or the execution of an exploit targeting known vulnerabilities.


4. Add behavior-based analysis

Attackers also use advanced techniques such as learning and imitating legitimate traffic patterns to evade detection. Security tools not only need to verify and inspect data and applications that look for malware, but they must also provide insight and in-depth analysis by looking for patterns over a period of time in order to detect malicious intent. Where possible, intelligent security systems must be able to intervene proactively and automatically to neutralize an attack before it has even impacted your technology. For peace of mind, IronOak IT recommends that you confirm with your IT firm that your security systems include behavior analysis.


5. Close web-based attack vectors with web application firewalls

Many threats no longer enter the network through traditional channels. Web-based attacks take advantage of the exponential growth of applications, especially those designed to query and extract information directly in the data center. An effective way to close that gap is through the implementation of a WAF which is specifically designed to provide deep and high-performance inspection of web application traffic far beyond what traditional firewall technology provides.


6. Segment your network

Due to the fluid nature of networked ecosystems and the wide range of applications that use today’s networks and data that flows through them, it is imperative to establish an effective and secure network segmentation that avoids the lateral propagation of threats. The objective is to create a coherent policy that ensures that if a section of your network falls victim to an attack, the rest of your organization can continue normal operations.


The need for a dedicated IT Support team becomes evident when you consider these 6 tips to protect your company from data breaches. Professionals that know the ins and outs of your technology systems are critical in the ever changing world of IT. A dedicated team of experts that plan and deploy security solutions will keep your data secure.


Contact IronOak IT today to ensure your business is protected.

Benefits of an outsourced IT team

IronOak IT outsourced IT

Companies nowadays face the growing need to modernize their processes in order to be more efficient in achieving their objectives. However, for many organizations it is difficult to bring to life, technically and economically, an effective Information Technology department that is able to perform the needed job while at the same time strategically advising the company in the implementation of the appropriate technological and computer solutions for its organizational structure, objectives and strategic goals.

One of the benefits of having an external IT firm is that the monthly cost for support is largely known in advance and it always adheres to the structure contracted. This alone can result in direct monthly savings of up to 70%, which allows the company to maintain the infrastructure and resources necessary for an optimal functioning of the organization's IT area. In this way, costs can be budgeted, planned and controlled in a more accurate manner.

By partnering with an external IT support team you can stop worrying about:

1. Hiring of specialized personnel.
2. Training for specialized personnel.
3. Implementation and maintenance of local and remote servers.

An external IT support firm manages to work more efficiently in terms of infrastructure and resources since the business focuses solely and exclusively on information technology. Given the knowledge that being an IT expert requires and the number of experts in an IT organization, an external IT firm will be able to provide solutions and advice on Information Technology in a better way, more quickly and at lower costs than an in-house department.

Using best practices and methodologies already adopted and tested in the industry, IronOak IT will perform its tasks with a greater degree of efficiency than your company could do individually. All this translates into a real and significant reduction of your company’s costs while at the same time minimizing system downtime.

Because IronOak IT works under the premise of innovation, your company can conveniently take advantage of new technologies that will help you take advantage of innovative solutions, which will give you an edge over your competition. IronOak IT keeps up with the latest technologies by diligently performing constant research and information gathering as well as because of our extensive experience in the field.

Contact us today to find out more about what our expert team can do for your business.

The true cost of slow computers

Slow Computer IronOak IT

A slow PC is more than a test of patience. A business computer that is running slowly can dramatically hurt employee and overall business productivity which directly translates to a reduction in profits. A low-grade machine can seem cheaper when one is standing at the register but the true lifetime cost of such devices is what business owners should be actually looking at.

A recent Oxford Economics study where 3,000 businesses were surveyed, shows that employees waste upwards of 48 minutes a day just waiting for their computers to respond. That is a lot time looking at hourglasses and spinning wheels. This same study estimates that slow work computers account for a total of 7.5 billion dollars a year lost in the United States alone. Now imagine the unbelievable sum of money that businesses across the whole world waste for the same reason. This is the true cost of slow computers.

Employees that were interviewed regarding their experience with sub-performing systems reported email as the main cause for workday slowdowns. If this is what employees report, one can easily imagine the client or customer at the other end of the net waiting for an email response that is not coming as fast as it should.

Though it may not be completely obvious, the reality of the matter is that program and app delays add up and add up fast. Not only is this frustrating to the person using such programs but the delays that it causes truly make a difference in every businesses’ balance sheet.

Having an external IT firm that monitors your systems at all times to ensure that they are always in running order is a trend than modern businesses are starting to catch onto. A good IT support specialist can recommend good brands to purchase and even setup new equipment for you that you can trust will run fast and snappy for the next few years. External IT support teams are the cost-effective way to keep your servers and computers running as intended and your employees happy and productive.

Business Peace of Mind Through Good IT Management

IronOak IT tech support

Cyber attacks, ransomware and viruses that have affected the information systems of many companies in Canada have been the main headline in the media this year. When the objective is to safeguard private data, customer data, avoiding computer issues and unavailable network time - the recommended option is to get an external IT management company.

Good IT maintenance can liberate your business from many problems associated with lack of security, software updates and normal equipment failure due to daily use. Lost time caused by any of these issues directly impacts a company’s bottom line; therefore it is recommended that issues are resolved in a timely manner.

Apart from rapid response times and good prices, having an IT service contract with an external company brings several advantages to the table. A business can greatly benefit from the periodic computer, network and system-wide scans that an external IT firm can offer as part of a contract. Some companies also provide inventory services that help you keep track of software licenses, purchase dates and serial numbers; which needless to say prevents downtime at the least expected moment.

Just any IT service provider won’t do. A company that employs only seasoned professionals who have seen and dealt with numerous problems is a must-have. It is of paramount importance to look at online reviews - as well as word of mouth recommendations - in order to achieve that peace of mind that, after all, every business looks for.

Business Data Security

Data security Iron Oak IT

Companies of all sizes run the risk of being victims of disruptive attacks such as phishing, DDoS or ransomware, whose costs can amount to millions of dollars. In addition, government regulations can punish companies with significant fines for failing to secure their systems and data in an appropriate manner. Meanwhile, the modern always-connected workplace further increases cyber challenges since workflows now spread across devices, networks and geographic locations.

At the same time, the capabilities of office printers and multi-function devices have multiplied in recent years. Nowadays they are responsible for a large portion of input, output, transfer and storage of business data. This is one of the most dangerous, often overlooked, attack vectors in the workplace today.

Faced with these challenges, now more than ever, companies must have fully secure data and document management systems, and be able to prove it. Any business must have a structure that ensures that information regarding threats is shared effectively in order to be able to act accordingly.

In order for modern businesses to survive the current technological challenges, they must establish privacy and security protocols that ensure, on the one hand, the confidentiality of data, enabling access to restricted information only in accordance with the company's security policies.  On the other hand, companies need accountability and data integrity, avoiding the unauthorized edition of documents while in transit or while stored. Finally, a modern business requires data availability, which means having access to information and documents from wherever and whenever required.

It is essential to keep a vigilant eye on the complex life cycle of business data in the digital workplace, implementing security measures that protect the integrity of data, whether in transit or at rest, but at the same time allowing secure access without slowing business processes down. In addition, we must not forget the importance of safe data disposal especially when confidential data is at stake. Therefore, it is essential to have a professional erasure service provider handle both physical and digital data to eliminate any residual information. The modern digital workplace should be as dynamic as the cyber threats it faces and as flexible as the work practices within it. That is why IronOak IT believes that cybersecurity should be an intrinsic part of the technology that organizations choose to enable in their workplace. Companies must establish the highest security standards no matter how they choose to structure and grow their business.

What measures have you taken to protect your business recently?