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5 Ways EstesGroup Helps with Your CMMC Compliance

5 Ways EstesGroup Helps with Your CMMC Compliance

You might be reading this post if you are researching Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), your company needs to become compliant, or your company is already compliant with CMMC but you have need of more IT services. In 2019 the Department of Defense announced a new cybersecurity protocol named CMMC that all DoD contractors (and some of their supply chains) would need to adhere to starting in 2020. There are 5 Levels of CMMC Certification, and EstesGroup can be an asset to companies in any of the levels.

 

5 Ways EstesGroup Helps with Your CMMC Compliance

  1. EstesGroup helps you identify the technology and/or services you need to meet your CMMC Level Requirements.  
  2. EstesGroup can improve your Process Maturity by helping evaluate your Procedures, Policies, or Practices. Once we’ve reviewed those processes, we can help update them to ensure you meet your CMMC Level and other compliance requirements. 
  3. There are 17 Domains that CMMC is built on. EstesGroup has the experience, tools, and services to support your business across nearly all of these domains.  
    • EstesGroup routinely deploys tools and managed services that directly support these CMMC domains: 
      • Access Control, Asset Management, Audit and Accountability, Configuration Management, Identification and Authentication, Maintenance, Recovery, Risk Management, Security Assessment, Situational Awareness, Systems and Communications Protection, and System and Information Integrity. 
    • EstesGroup can consult on and support technology used in these domains as well, but these domains typically require internal personnel or a third party on-site.  
      • Awareness and Training, Incident Response, Media Protection, Personnel Security, Physical Protection, and Risk Management 
  4. EstesGroup Managed Services (ERP Hosting ECHO & Managed IT) employ many of the standard Cybersecurity measures required for CMMC. We regularly monitor our internal and client assets for threats, perform preventative maintenance, and update technology or processes to meet or exceed cybersecurity requirements.  
  5. EstesCloud Hosting (ECHO) services enable many CMMC requirements without significant impact to you, your users, or your bottom line. By hosting your servers or software solutions in a managed cloud environment, you can compartmentalize your compliant systems and protect them at the highest CMMC levels, without locking down your whole office. For more details, see our page on EstesCloud Hosting for Aerospace & Defense  

 

 

To Learn about CMMC, read our blog What is CMMC: Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification?”

 

EstesGroup is a Managed Service Provider who works with Manufacturing and Distribution companies by providing: ERP Hosting (ECHO), Managed IT, Epicor ERP, and Prophet 21 ERP services.

 

Have questions about CMMC or do you want more information on how EstesGroup makes companies more secure? Contact Us or fill out the form below.

 

What is CMMC: Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification?

What is CMMC: Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification?

CMMC: The Looming Cyber-Security Certification that Affects 60,000+ Companies. 

 

In 2019, the U. S. Department of Defense (DoD) announced a new security protocol program for contractors, called Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). CMMC is a DoD Certification process that lays out a contractor’s security requirements and it is estimated that between 60,000-70,000 companies will need to become CMMC compliant in the next 1-3 years 

 

CMMC is basically a combination and addition to existing regulations in 48 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 52.204-21 and the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) 252.204-7012, and includes practices from National Institute and Technology (NIST) 800-171, the United Kingdoms’ Cyber Essentials, and Australia’s Essential Eight requirements. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) will remain a separate certification from CMMC; though companies that are ITAR Compliant will need to adhere to CMMC as well. 

 

CMMC Version 0.7 was released in early December 2019, and it is expected that Version 1.0 will be released to the public by end of January 2020. To view the latest CMMC document, visit the CMMC DoD site. 

 

CMMC Notables 

  • There are 5 Levels of security maturity process (basic is 1 and most stringent is 5) 
  • Any company who directly or even some who indirectly does business with DoD will adhere to CMMC – that means direct DoD contractors and high level CMMC companies’ supply chains must adhere to at minimum base level requirements 
  • No Self-Assessment (unlike NIST) Companies need to get certified through a qualified auditing firm 
  • DoD will publish all contractor’s certification levels requirements 

Is My Business Affected by CMMC? 

 

This is easily answered with a 2-part question: 1, is your business a direct contractor to the DOD, or 2, does your business do business with a company that is a contractor to the DoD*? If you answered “yes” to question 1, then your business will need to be CMMC compliant. If you answered “yes” to number two, then it is very probable that your company will need to be CMMC compliant. 

What are the CMMC Levels? 

  • Level 1 – “Basic Cyber Hygiene”  
    • Antivirus 
    • Meet safeguard requirements of 48 CFR 52.204-21 
    • Companies might be required to provide Federal Contract Information (FCI) 
  • Level 2 – “Intermediate Cyber Hygiene” 
    • Risk Management 
    • Cybersecurity Continuity plan 
    • User awareness and training 
    • Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) documented 
    • Back-Up / Disaster Recovery (BDR) 
  • Level 3 – “Good Cyber Hygiene”
    • Systems Multi-factor Authentication 
    • Security Compliance with all NIST SP 800-171 Rev 1 Requirements 
    • Security to defend against Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) 
    • Share incident reports if company subject to DFARS 252.204-7012 
  • Level 4 – “Proactive” 
    • Network Segmentation 
    • Detonation Chambers 
    • Mobile device inclusion 
    • Use of DLP Technologies 
    • Adapt security as needed to address changing tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) in use by APTs 
    • Review & document effectiveness and report to high-level management 
    • Supply Chain Risk Consideration* 
  • Level 5 – “Advanced / Progressive” 
    • 24/7 Security Operations Center (SOC) Operation 
    • Device authentication 
    • Cyber maneuver operations 
    • Organization-wide standardized implementation of security protocols 
    • Real-time assets tracking 

One important thing to note about CMMC, is that unlike NIST and other current certifications, CMMC will require certification from an authorized 3rd Party CMMC authorized certification company. Currently, most companies can self-certify for DoD-related securities. EstesGroup is not a CMMC Certification Company, but we can help companies prepare and get their security up to requirements.

For more specifics on CMMC, access the latest DoD’s CMMC Revision.

 

Learn more about CMMC with 5 Ways EstesGroup Helps with Your CMMC Compliance

 

Do you have questions of CMMC or how EstesGroup can help your company with CMMC? You can Contact Us or make a comment in the form below.

 

How You Can Strengthen Your Network and Security with Passwords

How You Can Strengthen Your Network and Security with Passwords

We’ve all done it, at least once. Some of us maybe more than a couple of times, and I know there’s few that are repeat offenders. You know what I’m talking about – the bane of the security admin’s existence – default passwords.

Those are the usernames and passwords that come with every device. Even in this day and age, most systems don’t REQUIRE you to change the credentials that get you system admin rights. The bad guys know that and use it to their advantage.

When most of our business and personal systems are protected with just a name and a basic password (and maybe a trusted network range?), that’s pretty easy pickings for someone with a brute force tool or a sniffer to find out your secrets. And once the bad guys have your credentials, then what? Well after that is when the real dangers begin.

When’s the last time you changed your voicemail PIN from 0000? Perhaps your home router is still admin/password even though the FBI issued a warning for everyone to change it? And how many ERP users keep system admin “manager” around with the default password of… you guessed it. And those accounts open the door wide to anyone wanting to get in; good and bad.

If you have systems exposed to the bad guys (and we all do!) then this post is for you. STOP IT! Even if you told me “Well, none of those systems are internet exposed”, I’d ask “where are the bad actors in your network?”. If you said “outside the firewall”, I’d respond with something like “I dare you to create a share/folder called “payroll” and see how long some curious netizen (aka employee) fell into that folder looking for something juicy.

Imagine splaying your entire infrastructure wide open to someone who just happened to know that Netgear uses admin/password for all their routers? Or that your company name is NOT a good password?

So what’s a concerned system admin gonna do? It’s easy in theory and hard in practice. Here are some digital security tips that will create a stronger password security strategy:

1. Change the default username and change the default password.

2. Start using stronger passwords, not [email protected] We recommend pass phrases, or a sentence that you can remember but the bag guys will have a hard time guessing.

3. Enable account lockout so that if “x” bad passwords are guessed in a row, the account is locked FOREVER (not reset after 10 minutes, thank you Microsoft). Helpdesk notification of such a lockout will put you in the know.

4. Remove admin credentials from being used on untrusted networks. Yes, your users are untrusted! Create a management VLAN, or a specific set of IP’s that can RDP, or shutdown the access from outside devices altogether.

5. Enable multi-factor authentication. This can easily be enabled in Office 365 and Active Directory, and if your devices leverage that directory then they automatically get that 2FA protection as well.

6. Hack yourself! Run a network scanner, or hire an outsourced IT firm to investigate for you, find the unsecured devices and fix them before the bad guys do.

7. Let us help you! We can run an ethical scan IT Assessment Detective scan of your systems, attempt to break into your systems, and give you a full reporting of your IT weaknesses. As “they say” knowledge is power.

So, don’t let your next phone call to the EstesGroup be “help me, I got hacked!” And let our managed IT services company help you run your business better with a strong password security strategy – before the bad guys teach you a lesson.

Interested in Outsourcing your IT? Or have a question on data security? Ask us, we would love to chat.

Ransomware is getting mean!

Ransomware is getting mean!

As you might have heard, or possibly experienced, ransomware is a particularly nasty form of malware that holds your files hostage. In fact, DC webcams were hacked by ransomware before the inauguration! In the past, the ransom was usually just under $2,000 and, if you paid it, you probably got your files back. Those days are passing quickly.

Lately, one of the biggest dangers of ransomware is that they’ve figured if you’ve paid once, you’ll probably pay again, so paying actually sets you up to get hit again! “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice…” In fact, we recommend against paying the ransom at all!. If infected, you can contact the FBI and while they won’t get your files back, they will open a case. I suggest you have a strategy for ransomware prevention implemented BEFORE you get hit.

To add injury to insult, when you do come up with the Bitcoin to pay (no, they don’t take American Express), there’s a possibility that you WON’T get your files back! The unlock key simply doesn’t work, and the bad guys no longer are interested in you at all. They got what they wanted,they might even ask for MORE money! Another danger of ransomware is that ewer variants will also start randomly deleting files until you pay up! Ouch!

Paying $600-$1,800 might not seem like a lot, but I am preparing for the day when the hackers don’t just demand money to return your files, they’ll start demanding MORE money to stop deleting your files, or worse yet, sell your files to your competitors! Can you afford a $20,000 ransom or risk your confidential data appearing in your competitors inbox?

Do you have a rock-solid backup policy? Have you been hit with ransomware and don’t want to fall prey again? Contact us today and let’s talk about ransomware prevention. EstesCloud has the vaccine for ransomware!

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Click here to schedule a meeting to let us help you make your technology a no-brainer!

Healthcare Cyber Attack Protection

Healthcare Cyber Attack Protection

Are your electronic medical records safe from healthcare cyber attack?

Researchers at Microsoft are warning that several encrypted databases of medical records are vulnerable to attacks and information loss. With the increased use of cloud computing, data breaches on encrypted databases has increased, so healthcare industry cybersecurity is more important than ever. They identify the threats in multiple ways, but one is individual and aggregate. Individual attacks are designed to gather information about a specific person where aggregate attacks are meant to recover statistical information about the entire database. These can both be very malicious.

It is still common practice to use encryption to protect against cyberattacks, and it is still one of the best defenses, however, using encryption only, is not the best solution for healthcare cyber attack prevention. Encrypted information is unscrambled in a computer’s memory, so if a cyber terrorist is able to access that, it is dangerous. In order to be useful, encryption needs to be continual to prevent progressive decoding to occur.

Heathcare cyber attacks, like the ones most notably against Anthem and UCLA Health System, are on the rise. The healthcare industry has become a target due to their lack of security. It also isn’t just medical records, attacks against the accounting databases, which store significant information, are also at risk. To date, over 90 million patients have been affected by data breaches from such attacks on healthcare industry cybersecurity.

The largest concern with these attacks is the resulting identity theft. Due to privacy laws such as HIPAA, it is extremely difficult to remove misinformation on medical records, including something as simple as a blood type- which could result in the wrong blood transfusion in an emergency medical information.

The best solutions for healthcare cyber attack prevention include password protection strategies, encryption, firewalls, backup security, web filtering, and IT security action plans. These strategies for healthcare industry cybersecurity can all be created and implemented through IT Managed services and must comply with current HIPAA Security standards.

Protecting HIPAA Data On Mobile Devices

Protecting HIPAA Data On Mobile Devices

HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act that was passed by Congress in 1996.

Essentially, HIPAA enshrines the means by which American workers and their dependents can keep their health insurance coverage should they change or lose their jobs.

HIPAA also sets industry-wide standards for electronic billing of health care services, and mandates the confidential handling of an individual’s medical information.

So what does this have to do with mobile devices?

Plenty.

Mobile devices have affected every industry sector. With each passing day, more and more professionals conduct their business using tablets, laptops, or Smart phones. This includes the medical industry where doctors, nurses, and physician’s assistants routinely send confidential data over satellite data plans and wifi.

In most cases, the medical industry’s use of mobile devices translates into better patient care. But it also opens personal medical data to the threat of cyber theft.

To maintain HIPAA compliance, health care professionals and IT managers should implement the following best practices when handling health care data on mobile devices:

Obtain Written Permission Before Operating via Mobile

Make sure to document the fact that your patients have signed off on communicating with your office via email or any other electronic means. Documented consent is critical to HIPAA compliance. It’s also one of the simplest and best ways to avoid embarrassing misunderstandings and potential legal suits down the line.

Stick to Proper Professional Jargon

The ease and speed of mobile devices often results in users relying on abbreviations, emoticons, and other forms of Internet vernacular. Put simply: DON’T DO THIS. Remember that communications, notes, and files that appear unprofessional can subject health care practitioners to confusion at best and malpractice suits at worst. Treat every character you type on behalf of your job as the valuable work product it is. Your company and the patients you treat depend on accurate communications scripted in proper industry vocabulary.

Everything Goes Into the File

Remember that every email you send or receive, every file you upload or download, every conversation you have by phone is part of your patient’s official medical record. Text messages, phone calls, and conversational asides might not seem important in the moment, but they all form a piece of the overall puzzle a patient’s profile presents. Be sure to record every instance of communication diligently to prevent confusion and delays in treatment, as well as to maintain HIPAA compliance.

Encrypt Your Transmissions

No one leaves for work each day while the door to his house stands open wide. That’s just common sense. By the same token, no one using a mobile device in the 21st century should send any transmission without securing that message via data encryption. User passwords activate but one tier of proper data security. DON’T STOP THERE! Add as many layers as you can in the form of personal questions, icons, PINs, and other challenge-response tests. Remember that there’s no such thing as too much security.

Our ComplianceCare service from EstesCloud can help you solve all of your HIPAA IT issues.