Why are mobile devices like a needle in a haystack for IT?

When your business depends on response speed and access to data and email, ‘on the go’ availability is a must. However, more access brings more mobile data security threats. That is why it is rational to assess risks and have a well-thought-out protection strategy before adopting mobile device usage across your business.

As part of our series of blogs highlighting the pitfalls of cyber security for business, this week we’re looking at why mobile devices with access to business data can prove to be a needle in a haystack for IT to keep track of.

Mobile devices – a needle in a haystack for IT

An employee’s mobile device is an interesting target to a broad array of cybercriminals. Some are looking for corporate intellectual property (and according to Kaspersky’s “IT Security Risks Survey 2018,” employees in 1 in 5 enterprises access corporate intellectual property using their personal mobile devices and tablets). Others think that your contact list is good loot — it can be used for spear-phishing attacks on your colleagues.

While those are rather exotic threats, don’t forget about more widely distributed malware that doesn’t target a specific business. Last year, our systems registered 42 million attempted attacks on mobile devices. They included a variety of Trojans that tried to hijack social media and bank accounts, ransomware, and more. They may not sound as scary as targeted attacks, but they can cause plenty of harm, especially if the accounts in question are corporate ones, and the situation is especially common in small and medium businesses.

Mobile specifics

The main problem with mobile devices is that they do not stay inside a company’s security perimeter, which makes pinpointing the threats akin to searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack for IT. They can be exposed to unsecured public Wi-Fi or just be lost or stolen. When employees use the same device for both work and personal activities, more problems pop up. An employee might accidentally download a compromised application preloaded with a spying module or ransomware, for example. They might try to root or jailbreak their device and expose it to even more threats.

Some of the problems with mobile data security — unfortunately, not all of them — can be solved with mobile device management and enterprise mobility management solutions. To resist sophisticated malware, companies need an additional level of protection.

How to prevent business mobile security breaches

Kaspersky’s ‘Security for Mobile’ solution was recently updated to include machine-learning-assisted technologies with cloud-based threat intelligence mechanisms to bring threat prevention, detection, and remediation to mobile platforms and thus keep your business information safe.

For example, Kaspersky Security for Mobile can detect if an employee’s smartphone or tablet is jailbroken or rooted (bad enough if the employee did it, but worse if done without their knowledge). Our solution also provides application control, Web traffic control, antiphishing, and antispam subsystems to corporate devices.

Kaspersky Security for Mobile integrates with Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, iOS MDM, and Samsung KNOX platforms; and Kaspersky Security for Android (a part of this solution) is also compatible with VMware AirWatch and MobileIron. That compatibility allows your IT staff to configure and control security management for most widely used mobile devices.

Want to find out more?

As Kaspersky Platinum Partners, Complete IT Systems can offer you expert advice on the solutions and how they could be effectively deployed in your business.

To find out more please call us on 01274 396 213 or use our contact form and we’ll arrange a good time to call you back.

Why collaboration is now a business essential, not a ‘nice to have’

Every company is in the relationship business. The best way to serve customers and move your business forward is to work better with others towards a common goal. Collaboration (both offline and online) is one of the most important driving forces for continued growth in any business, small or large.

Collaboration lays a foundation for better teamwork. Effective and meaningful collaboration is much more than just ‘working together,’ and employees who collaborate better are able to work towards providing new and superior solutions to customers they serve.

Employees are part of a greater whole, and working together is the only way business goals and visions can be achieved. Your employees are more likely to continue working with you when they have strong connections and relationships with the people they work with and feel they’re a part of something bigger. Collaborating isn’t easy for everyone, but it will, over time, get your business to a much better position to innovate.

The right collaboration technology can have a significant impact on your business

Collaboration tools are changing the way we work. Collaboration based on cloud technology is fast becoming a permanent feature of the contemporary workplace. The popularity of online tools and platforms have helped reinforce the benefits of collaboration for businesses. Many organisations from all industries are turning to technology to eliminate physical barriers and enhance business growth.

With different business communication products and services ranging from email to project collaboration to storage, including Outlook, Office 365, Teams, Yammer, SharePoint, Skype and OneDrive, Microsoft allows businesses of all sizes to connect and communicate to increase productivity.

With Office 365, employees can track and participate in business operations from any office, on any device and at different geographical locations. Leveraging the power of the right collaboration tools will give any business a competitive edge. Collaboration tools do not just encourage better knowledge sharing; they improve the speed and effectiveness of people’s efforts, and make it easier to execute on ideas.

With the right tools like Teams, Yammer and Skype, your business can take care of online meetings, team chats, group brainstorming, task sharing, and more. Collaboration technologies help shape how work is done in different departments and enable teamwork that leads to better results, greater innovation and ultimately higher productivity.

Collaboration reduces the barriers to productivity and business growth

The success of your business depends on how fast people can open up and work with each other. Tasks and projects that may now take months can be reduced to a few weeks to solve or complete. Most importantly, team members contribute different, unique standpoints and expertise to get things done. Multiple ideas and solutions make it easier to find better answers to business problems, and with cloud solutions like SharePoint and OneDrive, employees can contribute remotely to projects in real time.

Businesses that have access to collaboration tools and systems are able to access information, documents and business data faster. Your decision process can be shortened when the right communication structures are employed.

Good communication eliminates unnecessary and long business processes, allowing for collaborative discussion and helping to disseminate ideas, documents and general information across your business quicker.

It encourages a culture of ongoing learning

Companies that make room for collaboration open new opportunities for growth among colleagues. They allow their employees to enhance their capacity to grow beyond their comfort zones and take the business to new heights.

When people open up and work without fear or favor, they are able to share their knowledge, experience and skills with team members freely. Workplace collaboration challenges people to think, communicate and receive clarity about what they are good at and how best they can use their skills for the growth of the business.

Individuals within teams can share with each other – exploring, testing and refining new ideas. Effective collaboration builds trust among employees and teaches them to rely on each other – allowing them to function as a more cohesive unit.

Collaboration encourages creative and original thinking

Many smart employees are disengaged due to poor communication or internal collaboration systems. You can empower your employees to become part of the company’s future by opening up better communication channels that allow them to contribute to ongoing projects. Collaboration, when executed well, brings different voices, specialties, teams, and opinions from several locations together to solve business problems. With the right tools, employees can brainstorm and come up with creative ideas.

Microsoft Teams, now available in Office 365, gives your team an incredible opportunity to interact and share ideas with each other. All your content, tools, people, and conversations are available in the team workspace to encourage creative thinking and provide a modern conversation experience for your employees.

The value of creating an environment where employees are encouraged to think creatively and put their ideas forward should not be underestimated. Promote and foster creativity by investing in the right collaboration resources.

It moves any business more effectively toward its goals

Collaboration and better communication has far reaching benefits for your business. True collaboration improves competitiveness by enabling better communication and better work-flow between employees, partners, and customers.

When properly executed, the outcome of embracing cloud collaboration tools often exceed expectations. Expect employees work better, stimulate fresh thinking and encourage innovation, taking your company to new heights.

If your business is yet to fully benefit from collaboration tools, invest time and resources into the right apps and systems for your company today. Expect and celebrate teamwork. Encourage employees to use the right tools instead of relying heavily on just email. Better collaboration can be the lifeblood that lets new ideas thrive throughout your business.

Want to find out more?

As Microsoft Gold Partners, Complete IT Systems can offer you expert advice on the solutions and how they could be effectively deployed in your business.

To find out more please call us on 01274 396 213 or use our contact form and we’ll arrange a good time to call you back. This handy infographic from Microsoft also outlines succinctly how its solutions can assist your organisation’s GDPR needs.

Start-ups: How to start the right way with IT security

Always built on innovative ideas, intellectual property and the collective vision of its founders, startups take years to turn dreams it into real business plans and obtain funding to start operations.

But a new business can find itself in a spider web of competition and intense pressure to grow the business. There is hardly time to think about issues like Security. But when problems do occur, loss of critical business information is inevitable.

Complete IT Systems and Lenovo take a look at how you can start your business the right way and without breaking the bank in this age of unprecedented cyber security attacks.

Why are startups more susceptible to security issues than more established companies?

Most of the focus (understandably!) is on acquiring customers and driving profitability

According to a recent study by Champlain College, 60% of small businesses fail within six months of suffering a cyber-attack. Almost 31% of all cyber-attacks targeted companies with fewer than 250 employees. The point is that startups often rely on the perception that they aren’t significant enough to warrant the attention of cyber criminals. Criminal intent, on the other hand, will find the most natural targets first. As the IT resources of most startups are directed towards growth rather than security, these organisations are comparatively easy targets.

Lack of detailed data security policies

We live in an era where the mobile workforce is prevalent. Employees routinely use their business devices as well as personal devices for work-related tasks. The Champlain College study also shows that 60% of small businesses don’t have a privacy policy that employees must comply with when handling customers, such as sharing files using free sites and tools. As a result, these companies can’t be sure that employees are aware of the risks even when they merely sync data across their devices. The risk factor goes up as the digital touch points with customers expand with new ways of doing business.

Lesser capacity to sustain ‘damage.’

Big companies have dedicated resources and funding assigned to ensuring IT security. While damaging, a one-time data breach is not necessarily business-crippling to them. According to this ZDNet post, “The larger Target breach, which occurred in late 2013 and exposed over 40 million credit and debit card account numbers as well as 70 million other PII (Personally Identifiable Information) records ended up costing the company about $105 million, after subtracting insurance reimbursement and tax deductions for breach-related expenses. That is less than 0.1% of the company’s 2014 sales”.  However, 60% of small companies fail after IT security problems. Security problems can be more damaging to a startup, compared to a large and established business.

What’s the easiest way to increase security?

End-point security is the simplest and easiest way to boost security and protect your business. It ensures that only bonafide employees can access company PCs and data. It is the first and most crucial component of IT security infrastructure. Without it, even the most sophisticated IT security solution is incomplete. For startups, end-point security assumes even greater significance because it is easily accessible, affordable and straightforward to manage.

End-point security is the overall term for three categories of protection:

User access control
This set of technologies protects unauthorized persons from accessing company PCs. It doesn’t depend on passwords only, which can be stolen or hacked, but on a potent combination of biometric and secondary identifications.

Port & hardware protection
Port security features controlled help protect against theft of data from the USB and other access ports on company PCs. Hardware protection includes features that prevent access to the chassis of desktops and workstations, and also for inbuilt devices like cameras.

Data protection
Data needs to be protected from theft, and from inadvertent loss due to technical failures. Backing up data efficiently and automatically can be the strongest ‘peace of mind’ factor for startups. It is also necessary to ensure that if data loss or theft occurs, it is recoverable only by you, and unusable by thieves because of strong encryption.

What are the end-point security features that matter?

User Access Control

  • FPR (Fingerprint Recognition): A biometric security feature which requires the user to authenticate themselves using a fingerprint.
  • Smart Card Access: A highly secure way of storing login information in tamper-proof cards, that can also be used to manage access to multiple devices without using passwords.
  • NFC (Near Field Communication): NFC is a type of radio communication standard, much like Bluetooth, WiFi and other networking technologies. To snag the NFC signal to log in, the user needs to be physically close to the company’s PC, with the right NFC tag or secondary device.

Port & Hardware Protection

  • Smart USB protection: This is a USB security solution which blocks the data transfer capability of the USB port, but still keeps it functional for input devices like mouse and keyboard.
  • Camera Shutter: Camera hacking risks can be avoided by physically covering the camera. With the shutter built into the camera, protecting privacy just requires closing the camera cover.
  • Chassis lock: A lock and key mechanism for the chassis that prevents theft of components, including hard drives and graphics cards.

Data Protection

Full Drive Encryption (FDE): This is a method for encrypting hard drives in such a way that all data on the drive is always encrypted, without the use of third-party encryption solutions. FDE drives encrypt data on the disk by default. Used along with a hard drive password, FDE prevents unauthorised users from booting the drive and accessing your data, while full disk encryption prevents more sophisticated attacks, such as attempting to retrieve data directly from the drive’s platters.

Online Data Backup: Compared to tape archives, backing up your business data automatically online offers better speed and ease of use. Business continuity is assured when technical or natural disasters strike.

Hard drive retention: When a hard drive is replaced under warranty, this add-on service allows the company to retain the original drive. It ensures the data is always in safe hands and is never handed over to a third party.

Built-in security features of Lenovo products:

As Lenovo Platinum Solution Partners, Complete IT Systems can offer you expert advice on the Lenovo range and how it could be effectively deployed in your business. To find out more give us a call on 01274 396 213 or email  and we’ll get back to you promptly.