This HUGE And Recent Data Breach Practically Guarantees YOUR Personal Information Was Stolen

Ransomware Data Breach

Back in May, the company MOVEit, a file transfer platform made by Progress Software, was compromised by a Russian ransomware operation called Cl0p. They used a vulnerability in Progress’s software that was unknown to exist at the time. Shortly after the attack was noticed, a patch was issued. However, some users continued to be attacked because they didn’t install it.

The software is used by thousands of governments and financial institutions and hundreds of other public and private companies from around the world, and it’s been estimated that at least 455 organizations and over 23 MILLION individuals who were customers of MOVEit have had their information stolen.

Some of the organizations compromised include:

  • The US Department of Energy
  • New York City Department of Education
  • UCLA
  • Shell
  • Ernst & Young
  • Northwest Mutual
  • Pacific Premier Bank
  • TransAmerica Life Insurance
  • Honeywell
  • Bristol Myers Squibb
  • Gen/Norton LifeLock
  • Radisson Hotel
  • BBC
  • British Airways

The majority of those organizations (73%) are based in the US, while the rest are international, with the most heavily impacted sectors being finance, professional services and educational institutions.

Cl0p is a type of ransomware that has been used in cyber-attacks since 2019. Data stolen is published to a site on the dark web – a section of the worldwide web where cybercriminals sell and trade information without having to reveal themselves. The ransomware and website have been linked to FIN11, a financially motivated cybercrime operation that has been connected to both Russia and Ukraine and is believed to be part of a larger umbrella operation known as TA505.

What makes this attack so terrible is that many of the organizations compromised provide services to many other companies and government entities, which means it’s very likely their customers, patients, taxpayers and students were compromised by association. And yes, you’re probably one of them.

The big question is, were you notified?

For some reason, this breach didn’t make mainstream headlines, but when a company is compromised, they are obligated to tell you if your data was stolen. This can come in the form of an e-mail or snail mail letter. However, due to spam filters, e-mail delivery is clearly not a reliable way to ensure an important message is received, and organizing a letter for over 36 million people can take time.

If you use the software, you need to ensure that all your passwords and PINs are changed ASAP and you must be on the lookout for any strange activity. Don’t use the same passwords and make sure they are at least 12 characters long, using uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as special characters and numbers.

You should also ensure that MFA, or multifactor authentication, is turned on for all critical software applications and websites you use, such as Microsoft Office, QuickBooks, banking and payroll software, your credit card processor, etc.

Want to know if your company’s information is on the dark web? Click here to request a free Dark Web Vulnerability Scan for your organization (sorry, we don’t offer this for individuals). Simply let us know your domain name and we’ll conduct the search for free and contact you to discuss what was found via a confidential review (NOT via e-mail). Questions? Call us at 252-329-1382, press 2.

What You Should Know About Data Privacy – And How to Get Started

Managed IT Services for Law Firms
Managed IT Services for Law Firms

What You Should Know About Data Privacy – And How to Get Started

Data privacy is an issue of significant concern in the digital age, in large part because data breaches keep occurring, revealing the personal data of millions of people worldwide. Even one isolated breach can have profound consequences. Individuals may be subjected to identity theft or blackmail, while companies might run the risk of financial losses as well as harm to the public, investors, and customer trust.

It can be difficult to balance the need to utilize personal data for business purposes against an individual’s right to data privacy. In this article, we’ll explore the significance of data privacy, how it relates to data protection, which compliance regulations are centered around data privacy protection, and what you should be aware of when implementing a data privacy policy.

What You Should Know About Data Privacy – And How To Get Started

What Is Data Privacy, And Which Data Is Involved?

Data privacy, also referred to as information privacy, centers around how data should be gathered, stored, controlled, and shared with any third parties, along with complying with all applicable privacy laws.

To properly characterize data privacy, it’s helpful to specify precisely what is going to be protected. Several types of data that are customarily regarded as sensitive, both by the general public and by legal mandates, include:

  • Personally Identifiable Information (PII):  Data that could be utilized to identify, reach out to, or track down an individual, or to differentiate one person from another.
  • Personal Health Information (PHI):  Medical history, insurance information, and other private data accumulated by healthcare providers and could possibly be connected to a particular person.
  • Personally Identifiable Financial Information (PIFI):  Credit card numbers, bank account details, or other data regarding a person’s finances.
  • Student Records:  An individual’s grades, transcripts, class schedules, billing details, and other academic records.

More generally, in its “Guide to Protecting the Confidentiality of Personally Identifiable Information,” the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) offers the following examples of information that might be considered PII:

  • Name: Full name, maiden name, mother’s maiden name, or alias personal identification numbers, such as social security number (SSN), passport number, patient ID number, or a financial account or credit card number.
  • Address Information:  Street address or email address.
  • Personal Characteristics: Photographic images (particularly of the face or another distinctive characteristic), X-rays, fingerprints, or other biometric images or template data (e.g., retinal scans, voice signature, facial geometry, etc.).
  • Information About an Individual That’s Linked or Linkable to One of the Above: Date and/or place of birth; race; religion; activities; geographical indicators; and employment, education, financial, or medical information.
What You Should Know About Data Privacy – And How To Get Started

Which Data Is Not Subject to Data Privacy Concerns?

There are two main categories of data that aren’t subject to data privacy concerns:

  • Non-Sensitive PII: Information that is already in the public record, such as a phone book or online directory.
  • Non-Personally Identifiable Information: Data that can’t be used to identify an individual. Examples include device IDs and cookies. (Note: Some privacy laws consider cookies to be personal data, since they can leave traces that could be used in conjunction with other identifiers to reveal a person’s identity.)
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Personal Data Protection and Privacy Regulations

Data breaches continue to make the news all too regularly, and the public realizes they’re gradually losing control over their confidential information. Industry research demonstrates that 71% of Americans occasionally or frequently worry about their personal data getting hacked, and that 8 in 10 U.S. adults are concerned about businesses’ ability to protect their financial and personal information.

In light of escalating public concerns, governments are tirelessly working to establish and improve privacy data protection laws. Indeed, the need to confront modern privacy issues and safeguard data privacy rights is a worldwide trend. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the most noteworthy law, but a number of nations – including Brazil, India, and New Zealand – have instituted new privacy regulations or reinforced existing regulations to govern how personal data can be collected, maintained, used, disclosed, and disseminated.

Currently, there are a number of prominent U.S. federal privacy laws in effect which obstruct companies from improper transmission of personal data, each designed to address particular types of data. These include:

  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) / Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH): Intended to secure personal health information.
  • Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA): Limited to financial information.
  • Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA): Protects children’s privacy by enabling parents to manage what information is collected.
  • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA): Safeguards students’ personal information.
  • Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA): Regulates the collection and use of consumer information.


Shadow IT: How Your Company’s Data Is Silently Being Leaked Online

Data Protection vs. Privacy Protection

Data privacy is closely connected to data protection. Both share the same goal: shielding sensitive data from breaches, cyberattacks, and unintentional or deliberate data loss. Whereas data privacy focuses on guidelines for how organizations may gather, store, and process confidential information, data protection concentrates on the security controls that take into account the confidentiality, integrity, and accessibility of information. Furthermore, data protection typically involves protecting not only personal information but other all-important data as well, including trade secrets and financial information.

Strictly speaking, data protection demands enacting policies, controls, and procedures to uphold data privacy guidelines, such as the following standards outlined in the ISO/IEC 29100 framework

  • Accountability
  • Accuracy and Quality
  • Collection Limitation
  • Consent and Choice
  • Data Minimization
  • Individual Participation and Access
  • Information Security
  • Openness, Transparency, and Notice
  • Privacy Compliance
  • Purpose Legitimacy and Specification
  • Use, Retention, and Disclosure Limitation
What You Should Know About Data Privacy – And How To Get Started

How to Get Started with Data Privacy Protection

Merely putting into action one or more data security technologies doesn’t assure that you will bring about total data privacy. Rather, when framing your data privacy protection policies, make sure to observe these best practices:

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Know Your Data

It’s imperative to understand exactly what information is being gathered, how it’s being used, and whether it’s being hawked to or shared with third parties. Since various types of PII and their manifestations are unequal in value and some personal data can become sensitive in certain circumstances, you must classify your data by way of a quality data discovery and classification solution.

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Take Control of Your Data Stores and Backups

Be sure not to retain personal data without a clear purpose. Establish retention policies and moderate personal data in line with its value and risk.

What You Should Know About Data Privacy – And How To Get Started

Manage and Control Risk

Data privacy protection has to incorporate periodic risk assessment. Rather than creating a framework from the ground up, you can implement one that’s already well-established, such as the NIST risk assessment framework defined in Special Publication SP 800-30.

What You Should Know About Data Privacy – And How To Get Started

Hold Periodic Training Sessions for Users

Ensure that employees are familiar with the subtleties of data privacy and security. Clarify privacy basics from the outset, specifying which devices can be employed when working with sensitive data and how this data may be transmitted and shared. Occasionally, it’s appropriate to advise personnel that they aren’t permitted to alter other people’s records, whether out of curiosity or for personal reasons, nor are they at liberty to take proprietary data with them when they part ways with the organization.

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Final Thoughts

In times past, individuals’ personal data could be gathered discreetly and shared freely – but those days are gone. Now, any organization that collects and utilizes financial, health, and other personal information must manage that data with regards to its privacy.

By applying the best practices detailed above, your organization can establish a baseline privacy structure for becoming a conscientious and principled steward of personal data.

If you need help implementing a data privacy protection plan, DataGroup Technologies can help! Give us a call at 252.329.1382 today!

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Shadow IT: How Your Company’s Data Is Silently Being Leaked Online

Shadow IT: How Your Company’s Data Is Silently Being Leaked Online
Shadow IT: How Your Company’s Data Is Silently Being Leaked Online

Shadow IT: How Your Company’s Data Is Silently Being Leaked Online

There’s a growing trend creeping into organizations of all industries and sizes: shadow IT. This relatively new term is used to describe any unauthorized cloud applications that employees are using and downloading to perform work-related activities with company data. This can be file-sharing services like Dropbox or survey software such as Zoomerang. The list goes on and on.

Why Do People Use Shadow IT?

When employees are able to find new technologies and solutions that help them do their jobs faster and achieve better results, why wouldn’t they make use of them? Others simply have a set of software and services that they feel more comfortable working with, even if these resources are not company-provided or approved.

The accelerated growth of cloud-based consumer applications has also hastened the adoption of shadow IT. Common applications such as Slack and Dropbox are now available at the click of a button. Companies that embrace a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) culture — allowing employees to use their personal devices such as smartphones or laptops to perform their jobs — face a greater threat of the unauthorized use of certain applications or software. 

Security Risks of Shadow IT

Three primary types of cybersecurity risks of using shadow IT include:

Shadow IT: How Your Company’s Data Is Silently Being Leaked Online

Data Loss

When employees are able to find new technologies and solutions that help them do their jobs faster and achieve better results, why wouldn’t they make use of them? Others simply have a set of software and services that they feel more comfortable working with, even if these resources are not company-provided or approved.

The accelerated growth of cloud-based consumer applications has also hastened the adoption of shadow IT. Common applications such as Slack and Dropbox are now available at the click of a button. Companies that embrace a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) culture — allowing employees to use their personal devices such as smartphones or laptops to perform their jobs — face a greater threat of the unauthorized use of certain applications or software. 

Shadow IT: How Your Company’s Data Is Silently Being Leaked Online

Unpatched Vulnerabilities and Errors

Software vendors are constantly releasing new patches to resolve vulnerabilities and address errors found in their products. Typically, it’s up to the company’s IT team to keep an eye on such updates and apply them in a timely fashion. But when it comes to shadow IT, administrators can’t keep all these products and devices up-to-date simply because they’re unaware of their existence and active use.

Shadow IT: How Your Company’s Data Is Silently Being Leaked Online

Compliance Issues

Regulatory compliance is critical for many organizations. There are many standards that businesses have to comply with, from PCI for financial services to HIPAA for healthcare providers. In the event of an audit, your organization could end up facing huge fines, not to mention legal fees and bad PR.

Business Risks of Shadow IT

Outside of security issues, there are also significant risks to your business involved with the use of shadow IT. These include:

Shadow IT: How Your Company’s Data Is Silently Being Leaked Online


Even though boosting efficiency is one of the common reasons that many people start using shadow IT in the first place, chances are high that the end result will be the total opposite. Every new technology should be checked and tested by your IT team prior to being implemented in the corporate infrastructure. This is essential to ensuring that new software functions properly and that no software or hardware conflicts exist.

Shadow IT: How Your Company’s Data Is Silently Being Leaked Online

Financial Risks

In a number of cases, shadow IT solutions mirror the functionality of standard products approved by the IT department. Consequently, the company squanders money.

Shadow IT: How Your Company’s Data Is Silently Being Leaked Online

Low Entry Barrier

Anyone with a browser and a credit card can purchase or enroll themselves into applications that integrate with your organization’s critical applications and/or store company data such as client lists, emails, files, etc.

Shadow IT: How Your Company’s Data Is Silently Being Leaked Online

So, What’s The Solution?

There are a number of things your technical staff can do to address the issue of shadow IT use:

  1. Continuously monitor your network for new and unknown software or devices. This can — and should — be incorporated into routine vulnerability testing.
  2. Conduct an audit, encouraging employees to come forward about any shadow IT usage they’re engaged in, promising that there will be no repercussions for their admission.
  3. Once you know what applications are being used, you can set your company firewall to block applications that you don’t want employees to access with company data and devices.
  4. If circumstances exist where an otherwise-unapproved application or software is deemed necessary for use by certain individuals, require these employees to seek approval prior to downloading. Catalogue these sites by user with their login information for each individual. This way, if an employee leaves your organization or is terminated, you will have a record of their access. This could prevent a malicious attack on the user’s part which could ultimately harm your organization, particularly if company data is stolen and sold or given to a competitor.
  5. Create a system for ranking and prioritizing risk. Not all applications outside of IT’s control are equally threatening, but you need to at least be aware of what’s being used in order to determine if they’re a threat to security or a violation of data privacy laws.
  6. Develop a list of approved devices for BYOD use. Make sure that employees understand that only company-approved applications and software can be used in conjunction with their work on these devices.
  7. Create an internal app “store” for all applications that have been evaluated and authorized for use within the corporate infrastructure. If this isn’t possible, make sure your policies concerning approved device, application, and software usage are clearly denoted in a prominent place that’s accessible to all users.

If your organization could benefit from outsourced management of your IT infrastructure, 24/7/365 monitoring of your network, superior cybersecurity services, cloud computing, and onsite support as needed, give DataGroup Technologies a call at 252.329.1382! We’d be more than happy to partner with you!

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What Is MDM & Why Does Your Business Need It?

What Is MDM & Why Does Your Business Need It?

What Is MDM, And Why Does Your Business Need It?

We live in a society where technological advances are increasingly accelerating consumer demand for mobile devices. These devices are continually evolving to create limitless possibilities for users. This supports the consensus of the general public – they’re continuously on the go and seeking to enrich their daily lives with tablets, mobile phones, and other devices.

The dynamic nature of technology requires organizations to be easily adaptable and willing to effect cultural changes. Nevertheless, since company progression is hampered by a failure to change with the times, it’s clear that most organizations don’t realize how much they can benefit from Mobile Device Management (MDM) security.

MDM entails deploying software to secure, monitor, manage, and support mobile devices either owned by the organization or the employees themselves.

Employees are capable of accessing company data more easily than ever before, whether by the use of mobile phones, printers, or tablets. With this increased access, the need to monitor these mobile devices is crucial.

Organizations seek to strike a balance that empowers employees to be more efficient. Since mobile devices ease this process, it’s vital that company data is kept protected and under close observation. Pairing MDM software with managed IT support services is the best way to maximize your network security.

There are a number of distinct benefits revolving around maintaining the integrity of the company’s network and the data within it. In this article, we’ll recount and expound upon 7 clear benefits of mobile device management.

7 Key Benefits of Mobile Device Management (MDM)

What Is MDM & Why Does Your Business Need It?

Remote Management of Users and Devices

Remote management describes any operation in which the controlling device is not physically attached to the actual unit. The principal reasons for implementing a remote management system are to enhance safety and boost productivity. 

Remote management is one of the most conspicuous advantages of MDM. However, the capability to remotely manage users and their devices shouldn’t be discounted. This ability assures the security and health of every mobile device that’s connected to a network, while providing an option to remotely render unauthorized users and applications inoperative as needed.

What Is MDM & Why Does Your Business Need It?

Automatic Deletion

Automatic deletion frees up storage created by temporary files that were not deleted by applications and that are no longer necessary to keep.

With MDM, you can easily delete confidential information from any device in the event that a device is lost, stolen, or is still in the possession of a previous employee who might otherwise retain access to sensitive company information. The capability to execute this kind of action gives rise to considerable peace of mind from the company’s perspective.

What Is MDM & Why Does Your Business Need It?

Data Backup

Data is a major component of any organization – quite simply, it keeps the company running. 

Data backup is the copying or archiving of files and folders with an eye toward being able to restore them in case of data loss. An organization that fails to back up its data is very likely to topple at the first sign of trouble. 

When you incorporate an MDM solution, data connected through corporate applications is backed up in conjunction with company policies. This supports business continuity measures through preventing single or multiple mobile devices from being points of failure for information loss.

What Is MDM & Why Does Your Business Need It?

Supports Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, is the practice of permitting employees of an organization to use their own computers, smartphones, or other devices for work purposes. This not only creates a level of trust within the organization among employees, who now feel more valued – it also allows them to work within their comfort zone, utilizing devices with which they’re already very familiar.

Traditional IT support was more inclined to reject “unknown” devices as intrusive. However, MDM fully recognizes the importance of BYOD. Modern organizations would be wise to encourage employees to utilize their own mobile devices to access information such as important data and emails, provided they don’t abuse their rights.

By properly managing every device connected to the network, you don’t have to compromise security for the sake of efficiency.

What Is MDM & Why Does Your Business Need It?

Cost Savings

Assuming that mobile devices are monitored and maintained well, enabling BYOD also saves the company the stress of buying and replacing mobile devices every time something goes wrong or a new employee is hired. In other words, it conserves money – undoubtedly, the amount that would be required to purchase a new device would end up being significantly higher than the cost to secure and manage an existing mobile device.

What Is MDM & Why Does Your Business Need It?

Regulatory Compliance

Regulatory compliance involves an organization’s adherence to the laws, regulations, guidelines, and specifications relevant to its business processes.

Modern regulatory compliance should include safeguards that prevent an unauthorized device from compromising your business’s security. In addition, MDM’s reporting capabilities should permit the confirmation of network integrity.

With MDM, compliance initiatives are closely monitored through a centralized console. This means you can ensure enhanced protection while working in correlation with legal requirements.

What Is MDM & Why Does Your Business Need It?

Controlled Device Updates

Making sure systems are up to date is a major focus in the business world, as this is a crucial component of security.

MDM enables the organization’s management to control when updates are installed on devices by setting a local system update policy for each device in the network.

What Is MDM & Why Does Your Business Need It?

Application Control

Your organization likely utilizes a number of different apps, all of which are essential to some degree or another for ensuring a productive workforce. MDM security creates a centralized control for users who need to install these apps on their devices.

Application control also works to block or restrict unauthorized applications from executing in ways that put data at risk. The MDM’s centralized management system generates a number of significant advantages, such as role-based access management and the ability to disable applications as needed.

Additional functions of application control include completeness and validity checks, identification, authentication, authorization, input controls, and forensic controls, among others.

What Is MDM & Why Does Your Business Need It?


It’s essential for organizations to manage team members’ mobile devices that are connected to the network in order to ensure the success of identity and access management as well as optimization of functionality and mobile device security.

Achieving this success starts with identifying the solution that’s right for your business, with the goal of protecting your corporate network. The solution you choose should include device tracking and inventory, application distribution, password verification, and regulatory enforcement, as well as data encryption.

Is your business looking to bolster its network security? Call DataGroup Technologies at 252.329.1382 to learn more about how implementing mobile device management can benefit your systems and your security.

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What Is IT Compliance? Here’s What You Need To Know

What Is IT Compliance? Here’s What You Need To Know

What Is IT Compliance? Here’s What You Need to Know

Any business that promotes and performs digital services, has an online identity, or uses electronic systems to collect and store data is required to meet certain IT compliance standards.

IT compliance regulations are designed to help safeguard the sensitive data of billions of people worldwide by providing security for consumer data, the regulations to secure it, and regulatory compliance to oversee businesses.

Without IT compliance standards and guiding regulations being put in place and enforced, data breaches are more likely to occur, resulting in the loss of financial and sales data, leaks of clients’ private information, and even drained bank accounts which could sink businesses and ruin lives.

Although many of these regulations are mandatory by law, IT compliance standards also incorporate a number of information security best practices which can benefit your organization beyond merely the specified requirements.

Most of these regulations originated in the mid-to-late 1990s, after the Enron scandal revealed how easy it was for corporations to manipulate data for illegitimate gain. As access to and use of technology for all purposes grew, so did the number of ways in which companies could exploit it. As a result, there are now many regulatory bodies around the world that issue rules affecting technology and all of its uses.

Standards for IT compliance can vary greatly by industry, the size of the business, its geographical location, and even the types of customers it serves.

Specific guidelines are laid out for each rule within the standards so that organizations clearly comprehend how to comply. In order to avoid noncompliance with these regulations, every rule must be followed to the letter.

As such, meeting IT compliance standards demands careful planning, defining policies and procedures, and executing them precisely. Failing to comply with these requirements can cost a company millions of dollars in fines and runs the risk of incurring other penalties as well.

Recent trends – such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies and the increasing prevalence of Internet of Things (IoT) devices – have made IT compliance burdensome and bewildering for many organizations. In an effort to achieve and remain in compliance, companies often employ specialized digital tools to continuously identify, monitor, audit, and report adherence to standards.

The role of IT compliance continues to grow, as the electronic sharing and storing of information has an impact on departments such as finance, human resources, and operations – all of which depend on IT services for gathering, disseminating, and reporting data.

Given the amount of data captured and stored by companies today, IT compliance is quite possibly the most important factor in any business.

What Is IT Compliance?

By way of definition, IT compliance is the process of adhering to legal, internal, or contractual requirements for IT systems and processes with regards to the security, protection, availability, and integrity of sensitive data.

Compliance regulations are often centered around the requirements of a third party, such as industry standards, government policies, security frameworks, and terms of agreement with clients and business partners.

In essence, IT compliance involves taking appropriate control of businesses’ or clients’ information, including how it’s obtained and stored, how it’s distributed internally and externally, and how the data is secured.

Being compliant with a particular set of standards means that all relevant aspects of the business required to conform to those standards actually do so, and that the company can definitively prove that fact.

Who’s Responsible for Meeting IT Compliance Standards?

While the framework of IT compliance regulations is established by third parties, companies are responsible for their own IT compliance measures.

Organizations are not only charged with defining, documenting, and analyzing the processes to be adhered to, but also ensuring the availability of information and defining the rules of internal and external communication.

Ensuring that all applicable requirements are implemented in accordance with the rules lies with the individual or department tasked with IT compliance management. This is also where it’s determined which requirements apply to the company in the first place, as well as how they can be implemented in the best way possible. In addition, IT compliance management is tasked with keeping up-to-date on changes in legislation and ensuring that any necessary adjustments to IT are made in a timely manner.

While some companies utilize compliance management systems or software, others may choose to employ a dedicated compliance officer. Both options are intended to ensure proper compliance with and monitoring of the agreed-upon processes and rules.


What Is IT Compliance? Here’s What You Need To Know


What Is IT Compliance? Here’s What You Need To Know

Avoid Fines and Penalties

Organizations found to be in breach of IT compliance requirements can expect to face steep financial penalties for violations, as well as legal ramifications and other aggressive enforcement actions – especially following a data breach.

What Is IT Compliance? Here’s What You Need To Know

Protects Your Business’s Reputation

A single data breach can cause considerable harm to your company’s reputation. It creates the impression that your business can’t be trusted and doesn’t take the appropriate steps to protect the privacy and security of its customers. If customers feel like they can’t trust you with their sensitive information, your business is doomed! By adhering to IT compliance standards, you’re positioning your business to be better protected against data breaches while simultaneously safeguarding the privacy of your customers, clients, employees, and the business itself.

What Is IT Compliance? Here’s What You Need To Know

Puts You in Good Company

Many organizations have invested significant time and resources to achieve and maintain compliance with industry-specific guidelines with regards to data security – accordingly, they may be reluctant to partner with organizations that haven’t done the same. Maintaining IT compliance assures prospective partners in your industry that you’ve done your due diligence to secure the data you collect. In doing so, you’re projecting your company as an industry leader when it comes to security and a reputable partner in business.

What Is IT Compliance? Here’s What You Need To Know

Builds and Maintains Customer Trust

Modern consumers want reassurance that any personal or financial information they hand over to your business will remain protected. Any proof otherwise will scare away prospects, current clients, and even employees. When your organization proves itself capable of meeting lofty standards concerning digital security and privacy (even those that aren’t specifically required by law), your current customers will feel more secure when using your services and you’ll be more likely to win new business with security-minded customers.

What Is IT Compliance? Here’s What You Need To Know

Enhanced Cybersecurity

Any company entrusted with collecting and processing customer information must be vigilant to ensure that this confidential data remains confidential. As you begin to implement various protocols in an attempt to meet compliance requirements, you’re essentially working on shielding your network from intrusions. Most IT compliance standards are merely an extension of basic security protocols. Achieving and maintaining IT compliance can help streamline your processes, decrease the chances of outside attacks, and even deter malicious insider attempts. Complying with industry standards can also help identify any gaps in your existing IT security strategy which might have otherwise gone unnoticed.

Common IT Compliance Standards

Every state in the U.S. has data breach notification laws requiring businesses to notify customers in the event that their personal information is compromised. In addition, U.S. companies may be subject to the authority of one or more federal regulatory agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

With respect to IT compliance, every industry has its own set of unique requirements. As such, there’s no single IT compliance standard for all businesses. In some instances, an organization may have to adhere to several different types of compliance regulations, depending on the industries within which the business operates.

Compliance requirements can vary tremendously from state to state, and some apply regardless of whether your business is located in the state. For example, both the California Consumer Privacy Act and the NYDFS Cybersecurity Regulation impose requirements that can pertain to a business in any state, provided that it deals with data relating to these acts.

In addition to federal, state, and local government agencies, any organization charged with protecting data in order to ensure its confidentiality, integrity, reliability, or availability is likely answerable to IT compliance regulations. This last group includes most employers, colleges, and universities.

Businesses most commonly affected by IT compliance – and most in need of setting up a framework for compliance – include financial institutions, retailers, e-commerce, healthcare and health insurance, other insurance institutions, banking, defense, utilities, and credit card issuers. Strict compliance requirements also apply to critical infrastructure in sectors such as energy, government, food, transportation, information technology, telecommunications, and media.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common IT compliance standards to help you determine which regulations may apply to your organization:

What Is IT Compliance? Here’s What You Need To Know

Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA)

This government-mandated compliance standard applies to hospitals, clinics, health insurance providers, employers that offer health insurance to their employees, and any organization that stores, collects, transfers, accesses, or otherwise handles healthcare data.

Failure to comply with HIPAA requirements can tarnish a company’s reputation, result in steep fines, and even bankrupt an entire organization.

Key standards enforced by HIPAA include:

  • Maintaining privacy regulations that restrict the disclosure of healthcare information without first obtaining the patient’s consent
  • Ensuring that businesses rigorously secure any files containing electronic protected health information (ePHI) by implementing administrative, physical, and technical structures preventing unauthorized individuals from accessing patient data
  • Implementing a notification system that immediately alerts businesses and patients in the event that a security breach or threat occurs
What Is IT Compliance? Here’s What You Need To Know

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)

This set of regulations was initiated by MasterCard, Visa, and other credit card companies in an attempt to minimize financial fraud by better securing customers’ credit card information.

Any business that stores, transmits, or processes customers’ credit or debit card data and payments must act in accordance with the rules governing those practices and operations as outlined in PCI DSS.

Compliance with this standard results in greater transparency and increases the trustworthiness of businesses managing these types of transactions, assuring customers that their financial information is protected and they can safely make purchases. Conversely, failing to adhere to PCI DSS requirements could subject a company to substantial financial penalties.

While this particular compliance standard isn’t government-mandated, it’s one that most businesses are compelled to meet. This is because major credit card companies like Visa and MasterCard require businesses to have PCI DSS validation.

In order to meet the requirements of this standard, businesses must develop robust systems and processes for hosting and protecting customers’ financial information. Monitoring accounts and being constantly on the lookout for potential security threats is one way of achieving this. Another option is to implement granular controls which limit who can access different parts of a customer’s account. Limiting access prevents unauthorized individuals from accessing the account information that can be used to steal customers’ identities.

What Is IT Compliance? Here’s What You Need To Know

Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX)

In the wake of the Enron incident, U.S. Congress passed this federal law for the purpose of overseeing how organizations handle electronic records, data protection, internal reporting, and executive accountability.

SOX ensures that companies reveal complete and accurate financial information so stakeholders and the general public can make informed decisions before choosing whether to invest in the business. In addition, this compliance standard helps minimize the risk of accounting errors and deter fraudulent practices.

Any publicly traded company or business making an initial public offering (IPO) is required to meet this standard. Company boards, management personnel, and accounting firms are also bound by SOX. Failure to comply can result in stiff criminal penalties.

In terms of network compliance, SOX deals with policies regarding where data is stored, establishing access controls, and the flawless installation of backup procedures.

What Is IT Compliance? Here’s What You Need To Know

Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA)

Established in 2002, FISMA establishes a minimum requirement for federal agencies developing data protection plans, promotes certain types of security software and systems, verifies third-party vendors, and accounts for the different security needs of various governmental departments.

Essentially, the act demands that federal agencies treat information security as a matter of national security. While government agencies must adhere to FISMA compliance standards, businesses that work with government agencies may also need to be aware of these regulations. Failure to comply with FISMA can result in loss of federal funding and inability to enter into government contracts.

What Is IT Compliance? Here’s What You Need To Know

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

This regulation applies to any organization – public or private – that collects and processes the personally identifying information of any European Union (EU) citizen or resident. Any company, regardless of its geographical location, that wishes to do business in the EU or handle the personal or financial data of people from the EU must comply with GDPR standards.

According to the GDPR, organizations must first ask the permission of “data subjects” (i.e., EU citizens or residents) before collecting their personal data. This offers users the opportunity to opt-in or opt-out of data collection. If the individual opts out, the organization must delete any previously collected information.

What Is IT Compliance? Here’s What You Need To Know

Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA)

Enacted in 1999, the GLBA requires institutions to inform customers of their privacy policies on an annual basis, particularly in regard to how information is shared with certain third parties. Organizations are compelled to give customers the opportunity to opt-out if they don’t wish for their information to be shared. In addition, companies must disclose what measures they’re taking to safeguard the personal data of their customers.

Financial institutions – such as banks, savings and loans, credit unions, insurance companies, and financial advisory firms – as well as accountants, real estate agencies, and universities are all subject to GLBA regulations.

The three “rules” of the GLBA include: financial privacy (how institutions can collect and share private financial information); safeguarding (how institutions must implement security measures to protect client information against cybersecurity risks); and pretexting (this prevents businesses from collecting data under false pretenses).

What Is IT Compliance? Here’s What You Need To Know

Final Thoughts

There are a number of challenges associated with IT compliance. Following these tips can help your company avoid the extravagant fines, penalties, and other legal consequences associated with noncompliance:

  1. Educate your employees on all aspects of data privacy and provide them with the tools they need to protect sensitive data.
  2. Provide mobile and remote employees with laptops and devices that contain security policies and prevention mechanisms (such as remote-wipe capabilities) in order to maintain secure access to corporate data.
  3. Put authorization mechanisms in place to limit access to downloadable applications. Only allow downloads of approved software and applications.
  4. Enforce encryption for security and prevent access by devices without secure access.
  5. Utilize only secure and modern cloud storage solutions.

Ensuring that your organization achieves and maintains IT compliance begins with identifying the regulations that apply to your line of business. Drilling down to the areas of interest for your specific organization can help you design and implement the proper compliance frameworks. This can be a challenging and confusing process, especially if you’re inexperienced in these matters.

While it’s possible to manage IT compliance internally, it’s not the best way to go. The process is lengthy and will only serve to distract you from your core business responsibilities. Why go through all that stress when you can outsource this service for just a fraction of your IT budget?

At DataGroup Technologies, compliance is more than a service we provide – it’s woven into the fabric of all of our IT solutions. We can help you build an IT environment that not only supports your business’s growth but meets the necessary IT compliance standards as well.

Reach out to us today at 252.317.0614 or drop us a line here to see how we can help you #SimplifyIT!

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Are Your Credentials On The Dark Web?

Are Your Credentials On The Dark Web?
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Are Your Credentials On The Dark Web?

Would you hand over your password to a complete stranger to log in to your bank or investment account? What about your email or other cloud service account?

Obviously, no one wants to voluntarily surrender their credentials to crucial accounts such as these. But every day, many users – potentially even your customers or team members – may be doing something equally as perilous.

We’re constantly being admonished not to use the same password for multiple accounts. At the same time, having an ever-increasing number of applications means also managing an escalating number of accounts.

Recalling individual passwords can be a hassle – if not implausible. A password manager can help. Ultimately, though, the most formidable threat of all is credential exposure.

Are Your Credentials On The Dark Web?

What Is Credential Exposure?

Credential exposure is when a company in possession of your login information is breached – that is, personally identifiable information is publicly disclosed – and the attacker is able to access these account records.

If maintained inappropriately by the company being breached, those accounts can be laid bare, giving the attacker easy access to your login information.

Due to the fact that most applications now default to an email address for the username, and many people reuse the same password across countless applications, it’s not difficult to see how this can swiftly wreak havoc.

All of this may well leave you speculating about what steps you can take to defend yourself from dark web breaches. Here are a few commonsense approaches to keep your assets protected.

Are Your Credentials On The Dark Web?

Implement Multi-Factor Authentication

The first thing you can do to safeguard your credentials is to implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) on any account that supports it. Resign yourself to using that authenticator app regularly – the additional time spent during logins will outweigh the time you’ll spend recovering from a data exposure which results in a compromised account.

There are a variety of free and paid options, including Microsoft’s Authenticator app, which harmonizes with the Office 365 and Azure infrastructure that many organizations are already using. This is the first of many measures to take and should be standard operating procedure in your office. 

Are Your Credentials On The Dark Web?

Use A Secure Password Manager

While there is a degree of risk connected with storing all your credentials in a single location, the benefit of having the password manager create and remember strong passwords is worth that risk for most users.

In addition, many password managers provide the means to safely share a password with another user, detect who has gained access to a password, and make sure that you are aware of which passwords need to be updated in the event that someone who has previously accessed a password leaves your company.

Are Your Credentials On The Dark Web?

Perform A Dark Web Scan

There are a number of tools available that can execute a dark web scan – i.e., searching the results of publicly shared data breaches where credentials were exposed. Not only can these resources notify you of any exposures associated with your email account, they can also make you aware of the password which was exposed so that you know to refrain from using that one in the future.

Cryptocurrency 101

Ensure That Your Product Set Is Secure

You need to ensure that the software you use with your clients is secure. Solutions such as single sign-on (SSO) allow you to access a specific program’s entire suite of products via one secure login, making it easier for you to set up and connect products, as well as manage your account.

Are Your Credentials On The Dark Web?

Don’t Recycle Compromised Passwords

Lastly, it’s essential to bear in mind: if your credentials have been revealed publicly, you can never use that password again. Once that password is part of a public list – particularly one that’s associated with your email address – you can safely assume that it will also be included in a future attack.

If you use passwords similar to the one that was compromised, you’ll need to change those, too. The risk is too great to even contemplate reusing it; and any other account that uses the same password should be immediately updated as well.

Keep in mind that this isn’t personal. You may not have been the cause of the exposure, but that credential is now public. There’s no indignity in something you can’t control, but taking appropriate action after the fact is the only way to defend yourself going forward.

Are Your Credentials On The Dark Web?

Final Thoughts

Keep these tips in mind when using and reviewing your login credentials in order to protect your assets from exposure on the dark web. Remember, every precaution you take today is one less risk to manage later.

Are you curious to find out whether your credentials are already on the dark web? We can perform a dark web scan for you! Call us at 252.329.1382 or visit today to see how we can help you #SimplifyIT!



An earlier version of this article appeared on the ConnectWise blog.

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Is Your Cybersecurity Policy (Or Lack Of One) Leaving You Wide Open To Attacks?

Is Your Cybersecurity Policy (Or Lack Of One) Leaving You Wide Open To Attacks?
Is Your Cybersecurity Policy (Or Lack Of One) Leaving You Wide Open To Attacks?

Is Your Cybersecurity Policy (Or Lack Of One) Leaving You Wide Open To Attacks?

Every business, large or small, should have a cybersecurity policy in place for its employees. Employees need to know what is and isn’t acceptable with regard to all things IT. This policy should set expectations, outline the rules, and provide employees with the necessary resources to put the policy into effect.

Your employees serve as the front line of your business’s cybersecurity defense. You may have all the antivirus software, malware protection, and firewalls in the world, but if your employees haven’t been instructed about IT security or don’t understand even the fundamentals, you’re putting your business in serious jeopardy.

What can you do to rectify that? You can put a cybersecurity policy in place. If you already have one, it’s probably overdue for an update. Once your policy is ready to go, it’s time to put it into action!

Are You Protected Against Business Email Compromise Attacks?

What Does a Cybersecurity Policy Look Like?

The particulars can appear different from business to business, but a general policy should include all the basic elements, such as password policy and equipment usage.

For example, there should be rules for how employees utilize company equipment, such as PCs, printers, and other devices connected to your network. Employees should understand what is expected of them when they log into a company-owned device – from guidelines as to what software they can install to what sites they can (or cannot) access when browsing the web. They should know how to securely access the company network and understand what data should (or should not) be shared on that network.

Many cybersecurity policies also incorporate rules and expectations related to:

  • Email use
  • Social media access
  • General web access
  • Remotely accessing internal applications
  • File sharing
  • Passwords
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Break Down Every Rule Further

Passwords are a prime example of an area of policy that every business needs to have in place. Password policy often gets neglected or simply isn’t prioritized as highly as it should be. Like many cybersecurity policies, the stronger the password policy is, the more effective it is. Here are a few examples of what a password policy might include:

  • Passwords must be changed every 60 to 90 days on all applications.
  • Passwords must be different for each application.
  • Passwords must be 15 characters or longer when applicable.
  • Passwords must use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, at least one number, and at least one special character. 
  • Passwords must not be recycled.
  • The good news is that many apps and websites automatically enforce these rules. The bad news? Not ALL apps and websites enforce these rules. That means it’s up to you to stipulate how employees should set their passwords.

    Setting up a cybersecurity policy isn’t easy, but it’s vitally important – especially these days, with more people working remotely than ever before.

    At the same time, cyberthreats are more prevalent than ever. The more you do to safeguard your business and your employees from these cyberthreats, the better off you’ll be when these threats come knocking at your door.

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Final Thoughts

If you need help setting up or updating your cybersecurity policy, do not hesitate to call your MSP or IT services partner. They can help you devise a cybersecurity policy that provides everything you need to ensure a safer, more secure workplace.

If you don’t currently work with a managed services provider or your in-house IT team is in need of additional support from certified professional technicians, DataGroup Technologies is happy to help! Give us a call at 252.329.1382 today or contact us here to see how we can #SimplifyIT for you and your organization.

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Top Cybersecurity Trends For 2021

Top Cybersecurity Trends For 2021
Top Cybersecurity Trends For 2021

Top Cybersecurity Trends for 2021

Bell bottom pants, neon-colored everything, kale as a diet staple…. Trends come and go and, for the most part, we aren’t preoccupied with keeping tabs on whatever’s in fashion at the moment. But cybersecurity trends? That’s something we can certainly support!

So, what can we anticipate seeing as consumers, employees, employers, business owners, or merely members of the general public who regularly use computers?

At the time of this writing, we’re a quarter of the way through 2021. Let’s take a look at a few key cybersecurity trends we’re seeing so far.

Top Cybersecurity Trends For 2021

Inside Jobs

There’s a disturbing phenomenon that is growing in popularity known as insider-threat-as-a-service (ITaaS). Yes, you can actually hire a disgruntled employee to undermine a business and compromise its data integrity by stealing information or destroying the business from the inside.

Managed services providers like us have been paying attention to ITaaS for longer than just the current year. But now that the entire hiring process for many remote employees is being conducted via video or other long-distance methods, it isn’t always a simple task to garner and build up the trust you might have commanded from years of sharing office space.

Top Cybersecurity Trends For 2021

Fake IDs

Illegally obtained credentials can be utilized for more than securing a credit card. Sure, you can create an identity and establish credit – but you can take it a step further and concoct a history that doesn’t actually exist in relation to the person for whom it’s being created.

This is a significant progression from the aforementioned insider job that can occur; but it’s crucial to be aware of exactly who you’re hiring and to whom you’re providing your sensitive information.

Top Cybersecurity Trends For 2021

Bigger Phish

With people being the number one risk to cybersecurity and working from home being common practice for many, an overall increase in cyberattacks can be anticipated.

Why? Because human beings are the quickest point of entry for any hacker, and unobserved humans are even easier to dupe. Subsequently, phishing scams will be even more widespread with regard to cyberattack attempts.

Top Cybersecurity Trends For 2021

Final Thoughts

At the crux of any trend is the fact that it will ebb and flow in popularity over time. One trend that isn’t going anywhere, however, is the possibility of data breaches. While the outfit or the outward appearance may vary, an attempt is always made to disguise the true identity of the attacker.

The best-case scenario for any business to implement a solid cybersecurity plan designed to protect your systems and networks from external (or internal) intrusion, thereby ensuring smooth and uninterrupted business operations and securing your employees’ and customers’ vital data.

DataGroup Technologies, Inc. (DTI) can help you do just that! Reach out to us today by calling 252.329.1382 or visit our website to schedule a free IT assessment for your business.

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What In The World Is Ethical Hacking?

What In The World Is Ethical Hacking?
What In The World Is Ethical Hacking?

What in the World Is Ethical Hacking?

The term “hacker” originated in the 1960s at MIT to describe computer experts who applied their skills to redevelop mainframe systems, boosting their efficiency and enabling them to multi-task.

Nowadays, the word is primarily used to identify skilled programmers who gain unauthorized access into computer systems by exploiting weaknesses or deploying bugs. They’re often thought to be motivated by malice, mischief, or money – and sometimes all three.

With the persistent popularity of the internet and the ever-expanding evolution of e-commerce, malicious hacking has become the most widely recognized form, a perception supported by its portrayal in various kinds of news media and entertainment.

That being said, not all hacking is bad. Which brings us to the second major type of hacking. Ethical hacking, in and of itself, might seem like a contradiction in terms – after all, hacking into somebody’s account or service doesn’t seem particularly ethical. But you may be surprised by the good that it can do.

Before we go further, let’s sort out the major differences between malicious and ethical hackers.

Malicious hacking is carried out in an attempt to breach the systems or networks of an organization (or individual) in order to compromise important data by stealing it, thereby tarnishing the organization’s reputation as well as its assets.

Malicious hackers, often referred to as “Black Hat” hackers, will gladly take advantage of any mistakes made by programmers during the software development process in order to penetrate the security framework of the software.

Ethical hackers, often labeled “White Hat” hackers, essentially employ the same techniques and approach the process with the same mindset as malicious hackers – the difference lies in their intent.

By definition, ethical hacking is the authorized process of intentionally bypassing the security defenses of an organization’s IT infrastructure with the express purpose of identifying any vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and other potential security threats.

Afterwards, the ethical hacker notifies the organization of any issues that they discovered while assessing the systems or network and propose solutions in order to help protect the organization’s assets from future attacks by malicious hackers.

Granting permission to have your crucial infrastructure ethically hacked by professional cybersecurity experts can go a long way toward improving the overall security posture of your organization.

Hiring an outsider to perform this service is generally preferable as it ensures that the ethical hacker uses a systematic and measured approach, thus closely mirroring what an external cyberattack might look like.

What In The World Is Ethical Hacking?

Is There Any Rhyme or Reason to an Ethical Hack?

Short answer: YES! In order to perform a hack legally, a White Hat hacker must observe and adhere to a set of clearly delineated ethical guidelines:

What In The World Is Ethical Hacking?

Key Protocols of
Ethical Hacking:

  1. Seek authorization from the organization before performing any security assessment on the system or network.
  2. Define the scope of the assessment and ensure that all work remains within the organization’s predefined legal boundaries.
  3. Report any security breaches and vulnerabilities identified during the assessment, and suggest possible remedies for resolving them.
  4. Respect the privacy of the individual or company whose system or network is being assessed. Abide by all terms and conditions of any non-disclosure agreement required by the assessed organization.
  5. After checking the systems for vulnerabilities, erase all traces of the hack. This will prohibit malicious hackers from infiltrating the system via any identified loopholes.
  6. Inform the software developer or hardware manufacturer of any security risks discovered if said risks were previously unknown.

In general, an ethical hacker seeks to answer the following questions:

  • What kinds of vulnerabilities would a potential attacker see?
  • What specific information or systems would a hacker most want to access?
  • What could an attacker potentially do with this information?
  • How many people might notice the attempted hack?
  • What is the best way to resolve these vulnerabilities?
What In The World Is Ethical Hacking?

What Are The Main Benefits of Ethical Hacking?

There are four primary benefits of ethical hacking, particularly  when compared with the disadvantages that are part and parcel of nearly all malicious hacks.

What In The World Is Ethical Hacking?

Prevent Data from Being Stolen and Misused by Malicious Hackers

Ethical hackers seek to identify and close loopholes in a computer system or network. This can help keep sensitive data from falling into “enemy hands.”

What In The World Is Ethical Hacking?

Discover Vulnerabilities from an Attacker’s Point of View

By testing a company’s security measures in a controlled, safe environment, an ethical hacker can work to detect possible entry points from the perspective of a cyberattacker. In doing so, they can address and fix any issues before a malicious hacker has the opportunity to exploit them.

What In The World Is Ethical Hacking?

Enhance Computer and Network Security

An ethical hacker can help determine which security measures are effective, which need to be updated, and which prove to be little deterrent to nefarious cyberattackers.

With this knowledge in hand, an organization can make more informed decisions as to how to enhance the underlying security of its IT infrastructure. By doing this, the organization further defends itself against would-be attackers that might seek to exploit the computer network or take advantage of mistakes made by personnel.

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Gain the Trust of Clients and Investors

Enacting improved security measures helps safeguard the integrity of customer information, including both products and data. This also helps build trust with clients and investors, the importance of which can’t be emphasized enough.

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What Practical Advantages Can Ethical Hackers Bring To Your Organization?

They Understand How the “Bad Guys” Think

Getting inside the mind of a hacker is no easy task, even if you have a background in IT. Failing to comprehend how hackers think and what they want could be catastrophic to your business – and the bad guys are more than willing to turn your weak spots to their advantage.

White Hat hackers may be ethical in their own endeavors, but they know perfectly well how the minds of their questionable  counterparts work. They understand how hackers operate, and they can leverage that knowledge to safeguard your network against intrusion.

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They Know Where to Look

Each business network is incredibly complex, with interconnected computers, mobile devices, home-based workers, and traveling employees logging on from the road.

Understanding what to look for when assessing an organization’s cybersecurity can be challenging, but ethical hackers know where to start and where potential blind spots are likely to be lurking.

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They Can Discover Weak Spots You May Have Failed to Notice

You may believe that your network is as secure as it can possibly be, but it might have hidden weaknesses that you aren’t aware of. Those weak spots may be imperceptible to you, but a seasoned ethical hacker can recognize them from a mile away.

Pinpointing hidden weaknesses in a system’s cyberdefenses is one of the predominant reasons to enlist the services of an ethical hacker. These “good guy” hackers are experts at finding open ports, backdoors, and other plausible entry points into your computer network.

Top Cybersecurity Trends For 2021

Their Testing Skills Are Beyond Compare

Testing and retesting your network is an integral part of a successful cyberdefense, but the effectiveness of your strategy depends upon the skillfulness of the testers. If the people testing your network don’t know what to keep an eye out for, this could produce a false sense of security – and culminate in a devastating data breach.

With regard to network testing and intrusion detection, ethical hackers’ skills are unsurpassed. With years of experience scrutinizing networks for vulnerabilities, they know how testing should be carried out, and you can count on the accuracy of the results.

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They Can Help You Engineer a Reliable Network At the Outset

If you’re a newcomer to the business world, having an ethical hacker as part of your startup team can help you create a superior and more robust network from day one. Constructing a computer network with integrated security features will considerably reduce your susceptibility to breaches and data theft, and bringing White Hat hackers on board gives you an undeniable advantage.

Ethical hackers have encountered all kinds of networks, and they know how those systems should be constructed. If you want to create a network that’s fast, scalable, and impervious to hackers, these cybersecurity experts can help you accomplish it.

It might seem peculiar to welcome hackers into your company, but the right hackers can truly enhance the security of your organization and your network. Hiring ethical hackers is a phenomenal way to evaluate your cyberdefenses, so you can build a better and more secure corporate network.

What In The World Is Ethical Hacking?

Final Thoughts

Data breaches are becoming more common and costly every year. In its latest report, the Center for Strategic and International Studies stated that cybercrime costs an estimated $600 billion per year globally. Most businesses can’t afford to absorb the fines, loss of trust, and other negative impacts associated with data breaches.

With malicious hackers discovering newer ways to penetrate the defenses of networks nearly every day, the role of ethical hackers has become increasingly important across all areas.

Whether yours is a small, mid-sized, or large business, there’s always a possibility that it could fall victim to a cyberattack. Most businesses deploy some type of IT infrastructure to deliver services to their customers – whether it be computers, laptops, servers, printers, wireless routers, or (most likely) a combination of these. All these devices are in danger of being breached at some point in time by cybercriminals, unless your organization takes measures to ensure that they aren’t vulnerable to attacks. This is the critical role that ethical hackers perform.

To learn more about what DataGroup Technologies (DTI) can do to bolster the security of your organization, reach out to us at 252.329.1382 or drop us a line here.

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Don’t Let Your Employees Become Your Biggest Vulnerability!

Don’t Let Your Employees Become Your Biggest Vulnerability!
Are You Protected Against Business Email Compromise Attacks?

Don’t Let Your Employees Become Your Biggest Vulnerability

A couple of years ago, TechRepublic ran a story with the following headline: “Employees Are Almost As Dangerous to Business As Hackers and Cybercriminals.” From the perspective of the business, you might think that’s simply inaccurate. Your company strives to hire the best people it can find – people who are good at their jobs and would never dream of putting their own employer at risk.

And yet, many employees do – and it’s almost always unintentional. Your employees aren’t thinking of ways to compromise your network or trying to put malware or ransomware on company computers, but it happens. One Kaspersky study found that 52% of businesses recognize that their employees are “their biggest weakness in IT security.” 

Where does this weakness come from? It stems from several different things and varies from business to business – but a big chunk of it comes down to employee behavior.

Don’t Let Your Employees Become Your Biggest Vulnerability!

Human Error

We all make mistakes. Unfortunately, some mistakes can have serious consequences. Here’s an example: an employee receives an e-mail from their boss. The boss wants the employee to buy several gift cards and then send the gift card codes to them as soon as possible. The message may say, “I trust you with this,” and work to build urgency within the employee.

The problem is that it’s fake. A scammer is using an e-mail address similar to what the manager, supervisor, or other company leader might use. It’s a phishing scam, and it works. While it doesn’t necessarily compromise your IT security internally, it showcases gaps in employee knowledge. 

Another common example, also through email, is for cybercriminals to send files or links that install malware on company computers. The criminals once again disguise the email as a legitimate message from someone within the company, a vendor, a bank, or another company the employee may be familiar with. 

It’s that familiarity that can trip up employees. All criminals have to do is add a sense of urgency, and the employee may click the link without giving more thought.

Don’t Let Your Employees Become Your Biggest Vulnerability!


This happens when an employee clicks a link without thinking. It could be because the employee doesn’t have training to identify fraudulent e-mails or the company might not have a comprehensive IT security policy in place. 

Another form of carelessness is unsafe browsing habits. When employees browse the web – whether it’s for research or anything related to their job or for personal use – they should always do so in the safest way possible. Tell employees to avoid navigating to “bad” websites and to not click any link they can’t verify (such as ads). 

Bad websites are fairly subjective, but one thing any web user should look for is the presence of “https” at the beginning of any web address. The “s” tells you the site is secure. If that “s” is not there, the website lacks proper security. If you input sensitive data into that website – such as your name, e-mail address, contact information, or financial information – you cannot verify the security of that information, and it may end up in the hands of cybercriminals. 

Another example of carelessness is poor password management. It’s common for people to use simple passwords and to reuse those same passwords across multiple websites. If your employees are doing this, it can put your business at a huge risk. If hackers get ahold of any of those passwords, who knows what they might be able to access. A strict password policy is a must for every business.

Don’t Let Your Employees Become Your Biggest Vulnerability!

Turn Weakness Into Strength

The best way to overcome the human weakness in your IT security is education. An IT security policy is a good start, but it must be enforced and understood. Employees need to know what behaviors are unacceptable, but they also need to be aware of the threats that exist. They need resources they can count on as threats arise so that they can be dealt with properly. Working with a trusted managed services provider or IT services firm may be the answer – they can help you lay the foundation to turn this weakness into a strength.

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Final Thoughts

DataGroup Technologies provides businesses of all sizes with security awareness and best practices training. Our goal is to make sure that your staff can identify threats and remain proactive. Knowledge is power, and well-informed employees can serve as a human firewall for your organization. For more information about our security awareness training solutions, please call us at 252.329.1382 or drop us a line here!

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