July 4, 2012
Every small business owner knows how computers and specifically email have transformed into critical business systems that businesses cannot function without. It is often easy for business owners to assume their computer systems are safe from attack because it “won’t happen to my business”. Complacency is a dangerous option when it comes to SMB security.
High profile attacks on large corporations get coverage but hackers are increasingly targeting small and medium businesses
Over the past year, there have been numerous high-profile data breach cases involving major corporations. Iin the past year compromised security at Sony, the global games company, allowed criminals 20 million accounts which including email addresses, phone numbers, passwords, and in some cases credit card numbers. It has been reported that some of this information is for sale in several cybercrime forums. Another high profile attack and possibly the biggest data breach in US history was the Epsilon attack earlier this year.
Epsilon a global provider of marketing services had their IT system hacked and the criminals gained access to the names and email addresses on their customer database which included some of the worlds largest companys across a variety of sectors. This successful attack gave criminals access to large amounts of information about individuals in these companies, details which will allow them to more effectively target each company more specifically.
This may give the perception that only large corporations are potential targets for hackers however the reality is that hackers are increasingly targeting small and medium sized business knowing that oftentimes they do not have the resources or technical knowledge that large corporations do.
Internet Crime unit inundated with complaints from small and medium sized businesses
At SpamTitan we see countless scenarios where small businesses come to us as a result of falling victim to threats similar to those suffered by these high profile companys. Any medium sized company that relies heavily on email to conduct business requires anti spam and anti phishing protection. Over 400,000 complaints were filed with the Internet crime complaint centre in 2011, a partnership between the National White Collar Crime Center and the FBI. These complaints came from small and medium sized businesses affected by online phishing scams and other Internet related crimes.
How to protect your business against phishing attacks
Visiting the Anti-Phishing Work Group will give you sound advice to safeguard your business against phishing scams and gives you beneficial information on how to avoid becoming a victim.
Some of their advice is
- Employees should never respond to spam email with confidential or sensitive information, a legitimate companies will never ask for sensitive information via email.
- Make employees aware of what a spear phishing attack is and to be on the look out for anything in their in-box that looks suspicious. The best way to avoid your company becoming a victim of a spear phishing attack is to improve awareness of what’s happening before anyone loses any personal information.
- Never give out company financial information such as banking numbers to an email enquiry. Your bank does not need you to confirm your account information…they already have this information.
- Make sure your network is protected with up-to-date virus, anti spam and malware protection. Ensure you update the software regularly and use a trusted and recommended solution.
A 2011 poll carried out by SpamTitan discovered that 70% of companies that believe their organisation had been a victim of a spear phishing attack are unsure that such attacks are reported to I.T. and dealt with appropriately. This lack of proactive measures to deal with the attacks can cost companies financially through the loss of data and system downtime. Educating employees around a range of security issues is an important step that many companies ignore. Yes, robust, powerful and updated security solutions are crucial but this doesn’t mean that companies can afford to ignore the ‘softer’ behavioural issues associated with security. It only takes one employee to open the wrong email to give access to senstitive company data bring a whole company’s IT systems to a halt.
May 8, 2012
Many small businesses will never recover from disasters, natural and otherwise, and the main reason for this is because business owners didn’t have a plan to recover their business. Many small businesses don’t have a business continuity plan in place to cope with these kinds of event and when they occur, the results can be devastating or catastrophic to life of the business. According to Gartner , 50% of businesses that experience a major disruption ultimately fail.
The most common business disaster is data loss, which can result from a number of causes including human error, hardware failure, natural disaster and theft. Fortunately data loss is easy to recover from if you have a backup solution in place.
- Familiarize yourself with your data – know what you have, where it is and what is most important.
- Consider your backup options. Your backup must be offsite, secure and available for recovery 24/7. One popular option that meets the above criteria, with the added benefit of ease of use and automation, is online backup. Other options include tape or backup to external media.
- If you choose to outsource your backup needs, make sure that you choose a provider that offers security, monitoring and support.
- Decide who will be responsible for either managing you backups internally or working with your selected provider to get your backup solution carried out.
- Do a run-through of the recovery process. Backup is nothing without recovery, so be sure that you are familiar with the recovery process and confident that it works smoothly. Your provider should be happy to walk you through a test-recovery procedure.
Review your data regularly to be sure you’re backing up everything you need. For example, if you add a new server in your office, your backup should reflect this addition. This should be done every other quarter if not every quarter.
In the busy day-to-day operations of most small businesses, there is little time for planning for, or even considering the unlikely event of catastrophic technical failure. This is particularly true of small-to-midsize companies that typically have less IT infrastructure in place.
A little preparation could literally save your business!
Here are some of the questions you’ll need to ask yourself when determining whether or not your business is ready to recover from a disaster:
- Do you perform backups regularly on every server and employee hard drive in your organization?
- Do you regularly send your data to a safe, off-site archive?
- Do you have a proven media, drive, software, and automation solution?
- Does your current backup and recovery system meet your business uptime needs?
- Do you use backup rotations to provide good versioning?
- Do you know how fast your data is growing?
- Is your backup scalable for this data growth?
Some ideas, for more information please contact www.c24.co.uk
July 4, 2011
At C24 we are working with data all the time; whether by delivering it or by storing and managing it. Recently we presented at a SAGE conference; which went extremely well, and it became clear that what we believe about data is true, we have too much.
The challenges we face with the sheer volume of data that we create is where we store it and what can we do with it, whether it is in a MS SQL database, MS Exchange, Oracle or any number of other silos. Talking to the delegates it became obvious that the main problem is how can we turn this data into a competitive advantage? Business Intelligence has promised a great deal for several years, however it has always been very expensive and limited by the type of databases it can connect too at the right price.
This blog is not about the C24 business intelligence tool it is about data and the value of it. We spotted this video on YouTube and though that it was spot on. The new oil could quite possibly be data. As ever enjoy……
November 29, 2010
Some of the C24 team went out Friday night for a meal, I could say for team strategy but it was more about building on already strong relationships. To people who do not know C24 the business was first created by Paul Hemming,over the next 12 months a number of people have come together to create a business that has a vision of delivering business applications at speed for the SME marketplace.
There are a number of businesses; such as Zappos, that grab international headlines for their business culture and the relationships they have with clients, but there businesses across the UK that also have fantastic cultures and great relationships with clients. C24 are in my opinion one such company, the business has grown from strength to strength which is shown not only in turnover and profit but also in the way the C24 team have come together to offer fantastic business solutions. The C24 way of working has also shown clients that there are businesses that do really care about relationships and will bend over backwards to make things happen.
There are a number of core values that are driving our business:
- Embrace and drive and change from within
- Have fun and enjoy your C24 time maybe have a different way of thinking
- Deliver fantastic customer service
- Be passionate and love what we do
- Be positive about each other
- Be honest and humble
Please follow us via this blog so that you can see what C24 are up to but also you could also see some of the technologies that we are interested in.