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How to Respect Data Privacy in 2023

How to Respect Data Privacy in 2023

Data Privacy Week is an annual expanded effort from Data Privacy Day — taking place from January 22 – 28, 2023. The goal of Data Privacy Week is to spread awareness about online privacy among individuals and organizations. The goal is twofold: to help citizens understand that they have the power to manage their data and to help organizations understand why it is important that they respect their users’ data.

As a Data Privacy Week Champion, EstesGroup recognizes and supports the principle that all organizations share the responsibility of being conscientious stewards of personal information.

Data Privacy Week Champion

Data Privacy in 2023: The Story of You that You Wish to Tell

All of your online activity generates a trail of data. Websites, apps, and services collect data on your behaviors, interests, and purchases. Sometimes, this includes personal data, like your Social Security and driver’s license numbers. It can even include data about your physical self, like health data – think about how a smartwatch counts and records how many steps you take. If you are a company owner, you hold the responsibility of protecting your employees and customers by keeping your business data private with the help of cybersecurity solutions that follow compliance regulations.

While it’s true that you cannot control how each byte of data about you and your family is shared and processed, you are not helpless! In many cases, you can control how you share your data with a few simple steps. Remember, your data is precious, and you deserve to be selective about who you share it with!

How Businesses Can Respect Data Privacy

Respecting the privacy of your customers, staff, and all other stakeholders is critical for inspiring trust and enhancing reputation. According to the Pew Research Center, 79% of U.S. adults report being concerned about the way their data is being used by companies. By being open about how you use data and respecting privacy, you can stand out from your competition.

Be transparent about how you collect, use, and share consumers’ personal information. Think about how the consumer may expect their data to be used. Design settings to protect their information by default. Communicate clearly and concisely to the public what privacy means to your organization, as well as the steps you take to achieve and maintain privacy.

About Data Privacy Week

Data Privacy Week began as Data Privacy Day in the United States and Canada in January 2008 as an extension of the Data Protection Day celebration in Europe. Data Protection Day commemorates the Jan. 28, 1981, signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection. NCA, the nation’s leading nonprofit, public-private partnership promoting cybersecurity and privacy education and awareness, leads the effort in North America each year.

About the National Cybersecurity Alliance

The National Cybersecurity Alliance is a non-profit organization on a mission to create a more secure, interconnected world. We advocate for the safe use of all technology and educate everyone on how best to protect ourselves, our families, and our organizations from cybercrime. We create strong partnerships between governments and corporations to amplify our message and to foster a greater “digital” good.

Learn how a private or hybrid cloud strategy can help your business with data privacy management today. Please fill out the form below to schedule a free consultation with our ERP, IT or Cloud Services experts, and we’ll do all we can to help your business run better!

Cybersecurity Insurance Policy Pleasantries

Cybersecurity Insurance Policy Pleasantries

Do you feel like your business insurance policy will cover you in the event of a digital disaster? If you’re online, you’re at risk, and small and medium businesses that engage in e-commerce are especially vulnerable to threats. To prepare for zero-day cyber attacks and other threats, you can enroll in a cybersecurity insurance plan. Let’s have a look at how you can protect yourself against losses by using cyber security solutions and cybersecurity insurance together.

Cybersecurity Insurance Estes Cloud Security

How much cybersecurity insurance coverage do you need?

Your coverage should match your maximum level of acceptable losses. Your risk increases as your online presence grows, and each year cybercrime gets smarter, with novelty attacks arising from talented dark web lurkers. 

Hackers never rest, and security software IT companies must match their energy and their creativity. As a business owner, you face the great responsibility of securing your servers, your networks, your employees, and your customers. Even with everything protected by cybersecurity software solutions or by SECaaS (Security as a Service) management, you’ll want to ensure that your insurance coverage offers some hope if and when digital disaster strikes.

  • Know your cyber risks
  • Know your cyber threats
  • Know how much cyber insurance coverage you need
  • Know how the cyber security landscape is evolving

What is cybersecurity insurance?

Like healthcare insurance can’t prevent you from getting sick, cybersecurity insurance can’t prevent you from getting hacked. Therefore, your first step should be to buy a comprehensive cybersecurity solution. Do not trust a default security installation or setting. Zero-day attacks, often in the form of ransomware, evolve beyond the fundamental levels of cybersecurity. A basic security assessment, including a dark web scan, is a free service from a managed IT service provider like EstesGroup, and can reveal any issues that could result in a breach. Before you buy cybersecurity insurance, assess your risks and know your current threats.

Your next step is to invest in a comprehensive cybersecurity insurance plan. Understanding that insurance coverage is an aftereffect activity, like cleaning up downed trees following a thunderstorm. Breach cleanup can be as simple as credit monitoring or as complex as lawsuits and shutdowns.

Some industries regulate the level of protection you need. If you’re unsure about your industry compliance regulations, talk to EstesGroup consultants. In most cases, cyber incidents can be prevented by following the strict government guidelines that govern your industry.

In the event of a security breach, a cybersecurity insurance plan can help you redeem your losses, protect your reputation, and recover damages.

Cybersecurity insurance should include coverage for the things that matter most to your business operations, from server to remote worker:

  • System or network takeovers
  • Financial losses
  • Data breaches
  • Sensitive information theft
  • Data theft
  • Ransomware extortion payments
  • Company losses
  • Customer information breaches
  • Personal information and identity theft
  • General liability
  • Business interruption

If you store sensitive data on-premise or on a local server, you’ll need more comprehensive coverage since in-house and local systems are easily breached. Consider storing your data in a private cloud or a hybrid cloud platform for enhanced security and lower cyber insurance requirements. A good data center will offer a 100% SLA (service level agreement) and carry the risk of the losses mentioned above for you, which means you don’t have to worry about a cyberattack. The cloud provider and data center are mitigating these risks for you.

A managed service provider scans the cybersecurity insurance policies and insurance companies for you.

Cybersecurity insurance plans are a common loss for companies because business owners often overspend, thinking more money invested means lower risk. Don’t get tricked by the nefarious ways of fly-by-night cybersecurity insurance agents. EstesGroup is here to help you navigate relationships with cybersecurity professionals. Some of the experts you need to plan your cybersecurity policies and protocols are in-house at EstesGroup. And when it comes to things like cybersecurity insurance, the Estes team can serve as your liaison so that you get the best rates, the best services, and the best future for your business.

Is your business safe?

If you have a level of cybersecurity insurance that falls in your comfort zone, and if you have security services in place that will indeed protect your data in an attempted breach, then you will operate as a trusted business in the digital world. If you’ve suffered losses to your business or to your reputation because of a security breach, please reach out to us. Sometimes even the best solutions fail, and our managed IT services team can help you recover from disaster and surface vulnerabilities as they develop in your business.

How much does insurance cost your business every year? 2022 cybersecurity insurance rates are skyrocketing as the digital landscape is becoming more dangerous for American businesses. Even small businesses can benefit from liability coverage. Let’s begin a conversation about how digital transformation can help secure your business. We even protect the insurance firms!

Go Hybrid Workforce, Go Hybrid Cloud

Go Hybrid Workforce, Go Hybrid Cloud

As part of a post-pandemic plan, businesses are solidifying and strengthening remote worker infrastructure and allowing employees to bounce between casual and corporate office settings. As a long-term commitment to flexible work environments and work-life balance, companies are increasing remote worker support by deploying private and hybrid cloud infrastructure to secure, protect, and optimize a hybrid workforce.

Hybrid Cloud Hybrid Workforce

Solutions Like Microsoft Teams for Remote Teams

Teams are divided like never before, and this has proven to be a good thing. By allowing a hybrid workforce, you empower workers to choose the best setting for the work at hand. Social distancing requirements necessitated home offices, but in a post-pandemic era, that same flexible cloud-based infrastructure can allow workers to tap into secure software solutions, like Microsoft Teams, and complete their work from home, or from a hotel or other remote setting. Microsoft Teams provides an innovative toolset, giving remote workers everything they need to communicate and organize workflows.

When employees are dispersed, employers have to be creative with the software solutions they choose for basic business communication and operation. A secure network infrastructure needs to be properly managed so that productivity levels stay high. Employees must understand the tools they’re given, and they also need to be trained so that they understand the risks of remote connectivity. A software like Microsoft 365 comes with basic cybersecurity by default, but these cloud-based solutions require trained users, good management, and often need supplemental software and services, like SECaaS (Security as a Service).

Benefits of the Hybrid Cloud for a Hybrid Workforce

The main objective of a hybrid system, whether it be a hybrid cloud or a hybrid workforce, is to create optimal work productivity, low turnover of talented staff, and high ROI (return on investment) of purchased software and services. When you’re combining on-premise technology with remote enablement tools, you’ll need to invest in a cloud management team that understands the risks of hybrid systems.

Digital Transformation Results in More Access, Better Resources

In a hybrid cloud environment, employers can create coast-to-coast and even international teams without increasing the risk of a security breach. With managed IT services in place, companies can use specialized external staff to maintain the cloud platform, using technology to stay relevant and competitive. 

Working with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) helps your business by giving you a complete suite of technology solutions and skills for every IT need that comes with hybrid systems. If your employees need to access your company data from a home office, then you can ensure that the web browser is protected by state-of-the-art cybersecurity solution.

What Cloud Does Your Hybrid Workforce Need?

If you’ve always done business in an on-premises infrastructure, then the shift to remote work might have put your sensitive data at risk early in the pandemic when companies weren’t aware of the risks of public cloud services and public cloud environments. Now that hybrid work is becoming a “benefit,” similar to a company discount program or company car, hybrid cloud solutions are replacing the basic web-browser access of the remote workforce of the past. 

An off-premises data center can create a cost-effect hybrid cloud architecture, giving you a robust backup and disaster recovery solution for all of your software, including those that work by default in a public cloud capacity. 

Can Public Clouds Turn Hybrid Workforces Into Hybrid Monsters?

If you Google “cloud,” you’ll see that a business cloud strategy means something different to everyone. When creating the cloud-based infrastructure for your remote employees, you should carefully design your cloud to give you the uptime, backup, and security you need to manage your business. Be leery of promises of the simplicity of public cloud offerings. Take on-premise technology and private cloud solutions into consideration before letting a third-party vendor limit you to the public cloud.

Please Fill Out the Form Below to Get a Free Hybrid Workforce Assessment

Let’s begin a conversation and see if your business would benefit from a robust hybrid cloud solution.

Staff Security Training Tips: What You Get Is What You Click

Staff Security Training Tips: What You Get Is What You Click

Security Training for Your Employees is Critical in Times of Pandemic and Political Unrest

Do you have a “get this spam away from me” approach to digital communication management? It can be tempting to be strict, to set privacy and filtering settings at the max and limit online interactions from strangers. However, our email boxes often lead us to opportunities and relationships that will ensure future business success. With this in mind, we’d like to help you understand how staff security training allows you to keep your business open to outside communication while preventing a data breach.

Staff Security Training Secure Network Secure Server Grid

Digital Stranger Danger

Clicking on links is often something we do without thinking, so it’s important to provide staff security training that truly tests an employee’s impulsive online behaviors. Business owners can incorporate fraudulent link prevention strategies into routine security assessments, testing, and training by hiring a cybersecurity firm to randomly test users. This provides real data about user behavior in both the traditional office and in remote office settings.

Fake Link Identification and Education

Training your staff to know how to see a hacking attempt is considered a proactive cybersecurity strategy. Some business owners out there are comfortable with risk and choose a reactive strategy to security breaches.

Proactive Security

  • Backup and disaster recovery planning
  • Staff security training
  • Network assessments and testing

Reactive Security

  • Paying a ransomware fee to recover business data
  • Issuing a cyber incident alert after a breach
  • Testing backups and live system data for malware after a breach

If your goal is to prevent a security breach, then you need a proactive strategy, and this should entail staff security training.

Malicious Link Monitoring

To some business owners, a “bad” link is anything clicked that threatens privacy. In a world of email communication and marketing (often invited through a subscribe button), it’s best to train staff to recognize fake links, rather than to broadly and strictly limit communication to the outside world. However, robust endpoint security options might be your best option if you own highly sensitive data. You wouldn’t want a potential customer to end up in a spam folder, but you don’t want to risk losing compliance certifications, either. If you give your employees the tools and training needed to recognize hacking attempts, then you can safely do business online without the worries of ransomware.

URL Verification

Our top recommendation is to train your employees to observe all web addresses, or URLs. Phishing attempts often use recognized brands to trick you. With security training, your staff learns how to quickly recognize imitation URLs. Once you recognize the common patterns of cybercriminals, you can easily recognize links posing as legitimate companies. A URL might include an underscore or other symbol that doesn’t appear in the original web address.

Website verification falls into a spectrum of risk — like anything else in the world of cybersecurity. You might decide to train staff to be more aware of common edits hackers make to URLs. You might go further and train users how to right click on the address to gather more information about the hyperlink. You might use tighter measures in order to meeting compliance regulations for handling sensitive data:

  • Anti-phishing software
  • Virtual isolation protocols
  • Outsourced managed IT security

Education is readily available for your staff. The Phish Scale, developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), is an excellent example of free training available on their website.

Even the most careful clickers can fall into a hacker’s trap. This frequently happens when the name of a legitimate company is used as a malicious hyperlink.

Email Monitoring

How full is your “Junk Email” box? Smart mailboxes usually send suspicious, or unknown, emails to a junk folder. Some programs go one step further and prevent a user from opening a “junk” or “spam” email unless it it first moved to an inbox. Email monitoring software often comes with a free trial period, so you can gauge how effective the solution is at preventing security risks through a spam filter for incoming emails.

How can you prevent your staff from opening junk email? Phishing scams result in more than 90% of security breaches in some geographical areas, with around 3 out of every 4 American businesses falling prey to an email-based cyberattack.

Because of the prevalence of phishing attacks, email monitoring needs to include a human. Software is a step in the right direction, but staff security training makes your cybersecurity solution more effective. 

  • Employees gain email monitoring skills that complement antivirus and malware monitoring solutions
  • Employees learn how to identify the authenticity of websites and URLs, email addresses and emails, phone numbers and text messages, as well as other contact information sources that could be altered to trigger malicious attacks
  • Employees develop intuition for recognition of a cyberattack and learn how to launch a proactive security alert to coworkers 
  • Employees learn how to train and test one another, creating a self-monitoring environment conducive to productivity

Email boxes are a common information security risk for unauthorized access to company information, as well as personal information. View your mail server as a data security risk, and see your junk email folder as a soft problem-solving step toward more robust protection like full server monitoring intrinsic to a private cloud hosted environment.

Cyber threats are getting smarter and can take advantage of an operating system that needs to be patched or of a user mindlessly clicking on a “junk e mail” posing as a junk email. Small edits can help phishing attacks get through even the best software, and can trick even the most suspicious and judicious humans. If you need more robust technical support than your internal IT team can offer, then partner with a managed service provider (MSP) like EstesGroup for expertise when you need it.

IT Support and Staff Security Training Services for Your Business

EstesGroup is a leader in the fusion of cutting-edge enterprise resource planning (ERP), business software solutions, and human talent. If you are concerned about the rise in successful phishing attacks and other malicious cyberthreats, then you should sign up for a free technology assessment today. You are a short phone call away from knowing if you need a more advanced security audit or even a penetration test. For more security tips, please register for one of our virtual events. Do you have an immediate cybersecurity concern? Talk to an IT support specialist now.

Who Knows What You’re Doing For Data Privacy Week?

Who Knows What You’re Doing For Data Privacy Week?

The EstesGroup 2022 data privacy initiative focuses on educating businesses on best practices for collecting data and promoting transparency, respect, and security.

Every second, EstesGroup cybersecurity experts work to protect the data of our customers, our employees, our partners, and our friends. In this spirit, we are once again a Data Privacy Week Champion. As one of the leading cloud providers in the nation, we know full well how important it is to recognize and support the principle that all organizations share the responsibility of protecting information.

Data Privacy Week 2022 Champion

Data Privacy Week Raises Awareness Within Organizations

The COVID-19 pandemic has blurred private environments, like bedrooms and living rooms, into corporate offices, given our increased dependence on remote workforces. A universal respect for privacy has never been more important: the pandemic has also increased international attacks on American businesses, and this has left the homes of remote workers vulnerable to cyberthreats most common in traditional office settings.

EstesGroup helps businesses manage data through advanced cloud-based solutions that offer the protection levels trusted by medical record keepers, law offices, manufacturers, distributors, and more. We promise to guard our clients at every level possible:

We protect online data, and we secure offline data with the same robust approach to risk management that makes even the most sensitive information safe in the hands of our IT staff.

We prevent unauthorized access and ensure that compliance regulations are not only met, but exceeded.

We secure employees wherever they are and train them to protect themselves against the perils of digital harm.

We educate our customers so that they handle their data wisely and keep everyone in their networks and supply chains safe from cyberthreats.

Data collection is only increasing, and the risks are following suit.

The Pew Research Center reports that 79% of adults in the United States are worried about the security of their data as it is handled by organizations. Here are a few tips to earn the trust of your employees and customers by deploying secure privacy management strategies:

  • Save now, secure now: There is no room for procrastination in cybersecurity. If you save the data, protect it.
  • Go now, know now: Choose your cyber pathways wisely, and know who in your company is traveling where and ensure that you are documenting digital tracks so that a breach can be traced after disaster strikes.
  • Collect now, share now: If you are collecting information, inform your employees and customers about how you are saving, using, and sharing information through clear and concise policies that abide by privacy laws.
  • Behave now, train now: Know how to behave and train your employees to do likewise.

Understand Data Privacy

  1. Get a free cyber health check from EstesGroup.
  2. Sign up for a full security audit at least once a year.
  3. Enroll in educational programs at least once a year so that you’re fully informed about how the digital landscape is changing.

Manage Data Privacy

  1. Distribute and post current policies to all employees.
  2. Delete unused applications and move vulnerable data offline using secure backup plans.
  3. Use firewalls, encryption, cybersecurity solutions, and disaster recovery planning services.
  4. Move operations into a private or hybrid cloud environment for the most control over your data, ensuring cybersecurity and privacy at every endpoint.
  5. Ensure that your partners and vendors have up-to-date privacy measures in place so that your employees and customers are also protected in your extended network.

For more information regarding adoption of a robust privacy framework to meet industry compliance regulations, please learn more about NIST. If you would like help understanding the details of NIST Privacy Framework, AICPA Privacy Management Framework, ISO/IEC 27701 – International Standard for Privacy Information Management, please contact the EstesCloud team.

As privacy management champions, we have your back — and can manage your backup, too.

5 Signs Your Business Needs Cybersecurity Training

5 Signs Your Business Needs Cybersecurity Training

Cybersecurity Education Begins With Ownership

Small and medium sized business owners beware! 65% of attacks that originate in cyberspace are aimed at companies that think they’re too small to be of interest to cybercriminals. If you think you’re at low risk, read on and see why our IT security consultants recommend cybersecurity training for everyone.

Cybersecurity Training Hacker in Network Security Lock

Are you a small business owner? Or are you a once-small company now grown into the medium range of corporate presence? When it comes to cybersecurity solutions for businesses, you always have to structure your services and behavior to prepare as if you’re bigger than you are. This involves a comprehensive security solution that covers your entire company network, from suppliers to employees. Do you have an enterprise-level cybersecurity strategy that protects every connection and end user from digital harm?

If you own a business, you know how precious your data is to daily operations. Profitability depends on good data management behaviors. Because all companies are vulnerable to hackers, your data should be presumed insecure. Cybersecurity should be a proactive approach to cybercrime, rather than a reactive (disaster recovery) move.

Are you on a cybercrime watchlist?

Breaches happen, even to the most prepared companies. Therefore, your risk management policies should be revisited frequently. Business owners should be part of this process. A board of advisors might be beneficial, and it can be cost-effective to outsource this high-level cybersecurity work to a virtual CIO or to a firm with the technology skills that guarantee security for your data.

What happens when a hacker is watching your business?

It takes about a half of a year for business owners to become aware that a hacker has breached the network. It also takes about two months to react to a cyber attack. 

Here are five signs your business is at risk and in need of cybersecurity training:

1. You are a small or medium size business.

Far less likely to report cybercrime to the authorities, small and midsized companies are viewed by hackers as a low-risk target. Manufacturers and distributors are often looking to scale, and maintaining a good reputation is key to a successful future. As a growing business, you wouldn’t want your reputation to include a history of victimization by way of ransomware.

2. You think it’s a small problem or that someone else is addressing the issue of cyber safety.

Fear of expense often prevents small and midsize manufacturers and distributors from securing the technology solutions and services they need to protect their data. A good backup solution isn’t enough, even though this is what many company owners depend on for risk management. When planning your IT department budget, price out outsourced help, especially when it comes to cybersecurity. Often, the experts at an IT managed services provider (MSP) will be more friendly to the budget than on-site technology staff.

3. You think you need to cut the IT budget… but IT costs are actually decreasing.

Firewalls and phishing filters are a necessity these days. Due to a mix of popularity and availability, technology cost trends show that business owners can get enterprise-level technology services with affordable pricing. Cloud-based IT services, such as SECaaS (Security as a Service) look at the unique needs of your business and adjust pricing accordingly. Only pay for what you need.

4. Your employees don’t know what they don’t know.

Cybersecurity training might be the most important activity you schedule for the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022. The time is now. Hackers take advantage of poorly trained employees on a daily basis. 95% of security breaches are successful because of human error. Train, train, and train again. Technology is an ever-evolving field, and this ripples into the dark web as cutting-edge malware. Protecting your talented staff from the dark web is key to employee retention in today’s culture.

Fortunately, cyber education is often free online. Formal training is easy on the budget. If you have a million customers relying on your manufacturing operations to maintain uptime, your cyber security plan needs to defend more than credit card numbers and social security numbers. You need an IT solution that comprehensively protects the countless connections along your supply chain, right down to the home offices of your remote workers. 

Sign up for a ransomware simulation attack today to see if your employees are ready for disaster. Employees are eager to learn security breach mitigation strategies because their personal information is at risk in the event of a data leak. Information security begins with security training.

5. You’re likely to pay the ransom if you are attacked.

More than half of small businesses pay a ransom. Reasons revolve around damage control: you definitely don’t want your data or your reputation harmed by a ransomware attack, so in the moment you are likely to pay the attacker. If you think you’d be likely to pay a ransomer to get your data back, then you stand unprepared. Once you have a solid cybersecurity plan in place with a crew of talented IT staff to support your solutions, you’ll know that you’ll never pay a hacker a dime of your earnings. In the event that you experience a breach, you’ll know that you have an incident response plan that won’t involve a ransom payment.

Today’s cyber landscape is riddled with massive corporations hitting the news for million-dollar ransomware attacks. When was your last security audit? It’s better to act as a big little company in a technology culture in which the hackers are frequently more skilled than even the best IT staff.

  • Empower your workers with the best solutions so that they can use their talents to their full extent.
  • Prevent identity theft of employees by securing personal data and corporate data.
  • Bring in a white hat hacker to test both onsite and remote cybersecurity solutions and services.

Can your staff respond properly to a data breach? Do you have an incident response plan clearly delineated so that all employees understand your disaster recovery process? Have employees been thoroughly trained to recognize cyber threats lurking in their email accounts as phishing attempts?

Cybersecurity training involves both on-premise and cloud-based breach mitigation techniques. EstesGroup offers coast-to-coast onsite and cloud IT services, including everything from project and budget planning to education and monitoring.