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Critical Questions to Consider in Light of Ongoing Security Compromises

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Although the pace of data breach stories seems to have slowed in 2015 compared to past years, the scary part is that could be because such incidences of cyber attacks have become alarmingly common.

Last week, Travelers Insurance estimated that 50% of its small businesses have been the victim of an attempted security breach, while 60% of all attacks in 2014 struck small to medium-sized businesses. AT&T’s October Cybersecurity Insight Report was even more distressing, finding that corporate IT attacks were up 48% in 2014, with 43 million known security incidents in 2014 — or 117,000 attacks daily.

Travelers determined in its survey that 85% of companies would be willing to inconvenience customers if it meant better protecting their online security. But AT&T’s study found that 51% of organizations are not re-evaluating their information as a result of high-profile data breaches. And 78% of all employees do not follow the security policies set forth by their employer.

But is it all doom and gloom? Not necessarily. Luckily, most cyberattacks don’t have as far-reaching of an impact as originally anticipated or reported by the technology media. But the endless litany of stories highlighting security flaw after security flaw certainly showcases the need to take IT security more seriously.

That’s where CMIT comes in. Since 1996, we’ve worked hard to keep small to medium-sized businesses safe, putting proactive systems and services to work for our clients. If you’re concerned about security compromises, or a recent data breach has raised a red flag for you, consider the following three questions — and then consider the benefit of making your work life safer, more productive, and, with the right set of security tools, more conducive to an improved bottom line.

     – What are the main threats? Data breaches, malware, and viruses represent the Big 3. Due to the persistence of hackers and cyber thieves, data can be compromised anywhere, at any time. Meanwhile, the difference between malware and viruses is simple: malware is a broad term that includes viruses, spyware, adware, Trojan horses, and worms, among other bugs. A virus is a program that copies itself from one place to another. All viruses qualify as malware, but not all malware qualifies as a virus. Strong, layered network security can provide a solid safety net to keep your systems safe.

     – Where do these threats exist? Unfortunately, they have popped up everywhere. In the cloud, where data might be compromised on the way “up” from your computer or on the way back “down” from data centers; on mobile devices, where malware attacks increased nearly 100% from 2013 to 2014; on any operating systems new or old, Windows or Mac; and on social networks, where clicking on that shocking video or too-good-to-be-true offer can end up compromising your data — and that of all your friends.

     – How can these threats be stopped? The solutions seem simple — it’s putting them to work that often presents a challenge. Strong, unique passwords are a must, as is top-flight data encryption to protect your information and that of your clients. What does the future hold? User-centric managed ecosystems, which deemphasize the number of physical computers and systems and instead consider the employee and however many devices he/she uses as the focus, are becoming increasingly popular.

If you’re still not sure how to navigate the tricky terrain of IT security — or whether you even need to worry about it in the first place — CMIT Solutions can help. Contact us today to find out more about our commitment to defending your network, protecting your data, and empowering your team to be more productive. We worry about IT so you don’t have to.

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