Information Security, SMBs Are Vulnerable to Malware Attack

Network Security. Cyber Security. Information Security.  These are terms that are buzzing around small businesses, mid to large business, IT professionals and their teams.  Questions like “how large it the threat?  Is my business really a target?  What reasonable steps should I take? are often difficult to raise and even more difficult to answer.

Optimum Networking partners with Webroot to help ensure our clients’ endpoint protection.  As a trusted Managed Service Provider, our clients rely on our Support Desk, Onsight Engineers, Professional Services Team and Information Technology Business Strategy specialists.

Webroot—the Colorado based and international leader in anti-virus and anti-malware software—has released a white paper titled “SMBs are Vulnerable to Malware Attacks—10 reasons clients need a layered security strategy to stay safe”.

Here is a summary of their report:

  1. It’s not a matter of if you will hacked, but when—This is about awareness. The threats are so pervasive and non-discriminatory, that no company is safe. From solo entrepreneurs to SMB to enterprise companies, the bad guys cast a wide net.  You need to prevent as much as you can, and mitigate the damage when possible.
  2. The landscape evolves constantly—The bad guys present a moving target. If they remained the same, we would have beaten them by now.  No matter how good your internal IT professional or consultant is, they can’t stay up to date on all the latest threats. You need an expert team like Optimum Networking and updated tools from a quality vender like Webroot.
  3. End users may not know security best practices—the number one vulnerability to any system is always the human factor. You can have the best security system installed in your house, but if you leave the front door open or don’t activate the alarm, or worse yet, invite the criminal in and give him access to your valuables, all your security investment will go to waist. You may think you and your employees are savvy enough not to do this, but don’t be too sure.  Talk to Optimum about employee training and testing programs.
  4. Lack of effective security policy—barring all your employees “seeing the light” and adopting low risk, sound cybersecurity practice, you need to have policies in place (if for no other reason than to Cover Your Assets). If you in-house or contracted business attorney does not specialize in this, let us know and we can point you in the right direction.
  5. Exposure to multi-vector attacks—Think of all they ways you and your employees interact with the cyber world: email, attachments, links, web browsing, hosted applications, hosted servers, backups, mobile phones and more. These are all vulnerability points and requi
    re a comprehensive information security plan.
  6. Complex security platforms create administrative challenges—the more complex the threat, the more difficult (and costly) the response can be. By leveraging systems already in place from teams like Optimum Networking and services like Webroot, you can save your organization critical time and money.
  7. Out-of-date systems create vulnerabilities—Update Update Update. In the past you updated to get the latest or greatest features of your software or just for compatibility issues. Now updates are critical to maintaining data security patches.  When your IT professional tells you it is time to update, listen.
  8. Poor data backup practices—Backup Backup Backup. This is written three times for a reason.  Backup, then replicate the backup offsite, then monitor and test your backups on a regular basis. This will not prevent an attack, but it will mitigate the damage tremendously.
  9. No network visibility—tools to monitor your network can be cumbersome and costly. Optimum Networking can provide this visibility so our engineers can keep an eye on your systems, and provide ongoing reports for your peace of mind.
  10. Compliance issues—which can cause more harm to your business: the cyber criminals or the well-meaning bureaucrats that will impose fines, sanctions or worse on your company for non-compliance? Pick your poison, or work with Optimum to discover what boxes you need to check off to avoid trouble and implement just the right amount of information security.  And be careful, your biggest clients will be imposing compliancy requirements soon if they haven’t already.

If you can honestly say you have each of these items covered, sleep well tonight.  If not, please reach out to Optimum Networking so we can do an information security audit and help get you and your company on the right track.


Denver Managed IT Services You Can Trust

When it comes to technology in the business world, you need a reliable partner who can capitalize on opportunities and address problems, making your IT experience pain-free. This is why Optimum Networking is the leading provider in Denver for managed IT services. Our experts work tirelessly to ensure that our clients have the technical support they need to run their businesses at peak performance.

Denver managed IT services provider working on computer

When you are considering a support team for your Denver managed IT services, there are a number of things to keep in mind.

Connecting Your Network

Whether you are responsible for printing checks, meeting materials, or contracts, the ability to access and use a printing service that does what you need it to when you need it, is vital to keep all the trains running on time. The thing about printers is that they usually work until they don’t. Diagnosing the problem is often time-consuming and mentally taxing, holding up the progress of anyone who needs a tangible document.

In order to keep all of our Denver managed IT services, including printing, running smoothly, the Optimum Networking Remote Operations Center, affectionately referred to as the ROC, handles client calls and IT support twelve hours a day, five days a week. This local, in-house team of engineers can help you diagnose and resolve technical problems in real time. We also keep a team of highly-trained IT experts on-call in case problems arise outside of regular business hours.

Protecting Business Assets

Cyber-security breaches have continued to increase in recent years, however, many individuals and businesses are unsure of what to do if they experience a breach themselves. Regardless of your business or industry, security plays an important role in your customer relationships. The ability to respond to, or even prevent cyber-security threats, can help to increase your bottom-line. With technical innovation booming in the Mile High City, finding a Denver managed IT services provider is not hard. The challenge is presented when providers fail to meet expectations and your security is compromised.

Optimum Networking provides high-quality anti-virus and anti-SPAM protocols that are designed to offer advanced threat protection. Our clients also have access to our cyber-security awareness training program that keeps your employees informed on what not to click. If a threat were to break through the firewalls designed to protect your information, our experts at the ROC will guide you through the process of taking the affected computer off the network and restoring your systems with our secure backups. As a leading Denver managed IT services provider, we are constantly updating the cyber-security protocols to help keep your business information protected.

Streamlining Business Operations

Many companies who have not found the right Denver managed IT services partner rely on key staff members to help them through technical problems. This leads to a continuous cycle of crisis and rebooting without anything truly getting solved. It also takes those key employees away from their own responsibilities. As the Business Development Manager of Optimum Networking, I encounter the type of band-aid quite often when talking to small businesses.

This is why we pride ourselves on the ability to take IT problems off our clients’ plates. Partnering with Optimum Networking for your Denver managed IT services not only gets your employees back to their designated work but also streamlines your technology to make your business operations more efficient.

Outsourcing Your Denver Managed IT Services

Outsourcing can be a scary term for a lot of business owners. Recently we had a client, who had a number of senior staff members, including the IT manager, resign to start a rival firm. With the former IT manager having access to all of the admin log-ins and passwords, network diagrams, vendor contracts, and other pertinent business information, there was a serious security problem and it just so happened to be caused by the exact person who would normally solve it.

Outsourcing wasn’t looking so bad, now. Within 24 hours of working with this client, our engineers were able to change all admin usernames and passwords. We then redesigned the network diagrams with the necessary system documentation, allowing our client to stay on top of their production schedule and avoid a crisis.

While this is certainly a unique scenario that we hope not many business owners have to face, outsourcing your Denver managed IT services keeps your business from having a single point of failure. Partnering with a reliable IT support provider allows your business to capitalize on expert knowledge without any potential sacrifice to your operation.

When Optimum Networking is your Denver managed IT services partner, you get expert IT support that you can trust. Contact us today to learn how Optimum Networking can keep your technology connected, protect your assets, and streamline your business operations.

7 Technology Mistakes Law Firms Make

In the legal world, we live on deadlines. In our rush to accomplish those goals for our clients, we sometimes take shortcuts. Here are a few shortcuts, especially in technology, that can cost you in the long run and ultimately hurt your practice.

  • Poor Software Licensing Practices
  • Software licensing usually comes in two ways – per site and per seat. Per site means that you are permitted to install your software on all machines in your firm. Per seat means that you are only allowed to install your software on the number of users purchased from the software company. A hybrid model allows for a certain number of licenses with each business software package purchased. Unfortunately, some firms have received harsh monetary penalties for violating licensing agreements by installing multiple copies when the licenses provided for a single user. It is important to review your End User Licensing Agreement to make sure you are compliant.

  • Hardware
  • Buying hardware is much like buying a car. It is best to put your dollars in power and speed. By focusing on processor speed, RAM and hard drive space, you will have equipment that runs efficiently and handle updates without slowing down your network. Unsure about how to spec or size your PC, a reputable managed service provider like Optimum Networking can help.

  • Not Embracing Cloud-Based Solutions
  • There are many cloud-based solutions for law firms. For litigation, there are programs for e-discovery and practice management. For corporate and transactional practices, there are programs for document assembly and collaboration. By utilizing cloud-based programs, law firms can reduce or even eliminate the expenses associated with file servers. Before selecting a cloud-based solution, make sure the software company provides SSL and/or AES encryption for your data. They should also provide backup services for your cloud-based data.

  • Faulty Email Security Policies
  • Most law firms put disclaimers on email to protect clients, however, they fail to have basic policies to protect against threats such as email viruses and malware. There are great solutions to secure email and protect against phishing scams and other online threats.

  • Not Implementing Cybersecurity
  • In today’s world, law firms can be targets of hackers and ransomware. To help reduce your risk, use cloud-based technology for data storage that provides encryption. Make sure your IT support company provides managed network security service as well. You can also implement password security policies in your office. Recently, a large law firm was down for over a week because they were victims of ransomware. Believe it or not, most data breaches are caused by human error such as having a password written on a piece of paper or not locking a workstation when away from your desk.

  • Not Utilizing Website Security
  • Unfortunately, websites are not immune to exploitation. There are a couple of easy ways to keep your website safe – investing in website security or monitoring software and installing website updates. Hackers often exploit a vulnerability that could have been corrected with the latest update. You will want to check with your IT person to verify the correct updates are installed.

  • Not Seeking Professional IT Help
  • When your network goes down, who do you call? By building a relationship with an IT managed services company, you can focus on helping your clients while your IT managed service provider helps you. It will save you time and money and allow you to focus on your client, not technology woes.

Gina Ventola is the Practice Manager for Ventola Law. She has worked in the legal technology field for over twenty years and was previously the Technology Services Manager for an international law firm.

Do You Have The Right Safety Net For Ransomware?

As a Denver IT services company, we consistently get calls asking for more information about the latest ransomware attack. Some of these calls are from business owners who are seeking relief from an attack that has already occurred.

A Ransomware Attack Can Decimate Your Business

A recent ransomware attack was “Wanna Cry” which infected over 230,000 computers worldwide in 24 hours. There are multiple layers of protection that firms can implement to ward off this type of attack (and others). The sad truth is many small businesses aren’t prepared, and they get attacked by these ransomware viruses. When a ransomware attack happens, it can lock all your files and your entire business can be held hostage.

So what can you do if you are hit by ransomware? The truth is, if you are hit by Wanna Cry or another ransomware attack, your options are going to be limited.

Do You Pay The Ransom?

Paying the ransom demanded is often expensive AND there is absolutely NO guarantee that your data will be recoverable. After all, you are making a deal with a criminal. Even if you do recover the data, it may not be usable.

Ransomware and System Damage

Data recovery is just the tip of the iceberg. These kinds of malicious attacks can create system damage as well. There are literally thousands of processes that must operate perfectly for your applications to run properly. Most Denver IT Services companies will advise you to completely wipe all your systems, including your servers. This means deleting everything, even the operating system, down to the “bare metal.” Ouch.

The Real Safety Net Against Ransomware Is Data & System Backups

If your data is backed up and is accessible, you are only partially safe. The data can be reloaded onto your network, but, if you haven’t backed up your applications and your operating system image(s), someone must rebuild your servers from the ground up. The cost to do that will vary widely depending upon your environment, but rebuilding servers can easily cost thousands of dollars. And that doesn’t include the cost of your business being down during the process.

Are Your Data and Systems Protected?

If wiping down to the bare metal scares you, then you probably haven’t protected both data and systems. In the event of a ransomware attack, your backup systems and processes can save your business. Or not. If they aren’t in place or they are running incorrectly, it can cause your business to fail miserably. (Don’t wait till you are held hostage to learn if your backups are being handled properly. Call a Denver IT Services company sooner rather than later.)

The Advantages of Image-Based Backup

Image-based or “bare metal” backup replicates everything– files, operating systems, applications, and configurations. With this solution, your entire computing environment can be restored in hours versus days. The cost of restoring from an image-based backup is a fraction of the cost of rebuilding servers from the ground up and re-imaging your workstations

The Right Backup Solution

With the right Denver IT Services company, backups can be automated, managed, and affordable for SMB’s. With the correct solution in place, which includes data and system backup, you can be assured that your critical information and applications are safe.

Are you unsure of your business’ ability to survive a ransomware attack? Optimum Networking can assess your environment and make recommendations aligned with your specific business operations. Contact us to discuss your data security.