Reducing the Cost of a Data Breach: A Comprehensive Guide for Small Businesses

Monday, May 27th, 2024

Data breaches are a significant threat to businesses of all sizes. According to the IBM Security “Cost of a Data Breach Report 2023,” the average cost of a data breach reached an all-time high of $4.45 million in 2023. This guide provides an in-depth look at the factors influencing data breach costs and offers practical steps to protect your small business from such costly incidents.

Key Findings from the 2023 IBM Data Breach Report

  1. Average Cost: The average cost of a data breach in 2023 was $4.45 million, a 2.3% increase from 2022.
  2. Healthcare Industry: For the 13th consecutive year, the healthcare industry experienced the highest data breach costs, averaging $10.93 million.
  3. Detection and Containment: Organizations with extensive use of security AI and automation identified and contained breaches 108 days faster than those without, saving $1.76 million on average.
  4. Breach Lifecycle: Breaches with identification and containment times under 200 days cost $3.93 million on average, while those over 200 days cost $4.95 million.
  5. Cloud Environment: 82% of breaches involved data stored in the cloud, with multi-cloud breaches costing the most at $4.75 million.
  6. Ransomware: The average cost of a ransomware attack was $5.13 million, and involving law enforcement reduced the cost by $470,000.
Trends in Data Breach Costs

Graph: Trends in Data Breach Costs

This graph illustrates the increase in the average cost of data breaches and the per-record cost from 2017 to 2023.

Steps to Protect Your Small Business

  1. Implement Strong Security Measures:
    • Access Controls: Restrict access to sensitive data to authorized personnel only. Use role-based access controls and regularly review access permissions.
    • Encryption: Encrypt data both in transit and at rest to prevent unauthorized access. Ensure that encryption protocols are up to date and properly configured.
    • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Implement MFA to add an extra layer of security. This reduces the risk of unauthorized access from compromised credentials.
    • Firewalls and Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS): Use firewalls and IDS to monitor and protect your network from malicious activity.
  2. Regularly Update and Patch Systems:
    • Software Updates: Ensure all software, including operating systems and applications, are regularly updated to patch known vulnerabilities.
    • Patch Management: Implement a robust patch management process to quickly address security flaws in software and hardware.
  3. Conduct Regular Security Training:
    • Employee Training: Educate employees about phishing attacks, social engineering, and safe data handling practices. Regular training helps to reduce human errors that could lead to breaches.
    • Incident Response Drills: Conduct regular incident response drills to prepare employees for potential data breaches. This ensures that everyone knows their role in responding to an incident.
  4. Develop and Test an Incident Response Plan:
    • Incident Response Team (IRT): Form an IRT responsible for managing data breaches. Ensure the team is well-trained and equipped to handle incidents.
    • Plan Testing: Regularly test your incident response plan through simulations and drills. This helps to identify gaps and improve response effectiveness.
  5. Invest in Advanced Security Technologies:
    • Security AI and Automation: Implement AI and automation tools to enhance threat detection and response capabilities. These tools can significantly reduce the time and cost associated with data breaches.
    • Threat Intelligence: Use threat intelligence services to stay informed about emerging threats and vulnerabilities. This helps in proactive threat hunting and risk management.
  6. Use Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Tools:
    • DLP Solutions: Deploy DLP solutions to monitor, detect, and prevent data breaches. These tools help to ensure sensitive data is not leaked or accessed without authorization.
  7. Regular Audits and Compliance Checks:
    • Security Audits: Conduct regular security audits to identify vulnerabilities and ensure compliance with industry standards and regulations.
    • Compliance: Stay updated with relevant regulations and ensure your business complies with standards such as GDPR, HIPAA, and others.
  8. Establish Partnerships with Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs):
    • MSSP Engagement: Partner with MSSPs to enhance your security posture. MSSPs provide expertise and resources that small businesses might lack internally. We are here to help

Partner with NVITS for Security Solutions For Small Businesses

Data breaches are a growing concern, but by implementing strong security measures, regular training, and advanced technologies, small businesses can significantly reduce their risk and potential costs. Proactive steps, such as encryption, MFA, and regular audits, combined with a well-prepared incident response plan, can help protect your business from the financial and reputation damage of a data breach.

At NVITS, we are an award-winning company based in Northern Nevada, dedicated to helping businesses safeguard their data. Our team of experts provides comprehensive cybersecurity solutions tailored to your specific needs. From advanced threat detection and response to employee training and compliance audits, NVITS ensures your business remains protected against the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats.

Contact us today to learn more about how NVITS can help you mitigate the risk of data breaches and secure your business’s future.

Dropbox Sign Data Breach: Urgent Security Update and User Action Guide

Tuesday, May 7th, 2024

Online storage provider Dropbox has issued a notice regarding a security incident involving unauthorized access to customer credentials and authentication data within one of its cloud services.

The incident unfolded as an unauthorized party managed to infiltrate the production environment of Dropbox Sign (previously known as HelloSign) on April 24, as detailed in a company blog post dated May 1. Dropbox Sign facilitates the online signing and storage of various legal documents such as contracts, nondisclosure agreements, and tax forms, using legally binding e-signatures.

The intrusion specifically targeted an automated system configuration tool within Dropbox Sign, leading to the compromise of a service account that executes applications and runs automated processes for the service’s backend.

“This account possessed the capabilities to perform diverse actions within the Sign production environment,” the Dropbox Sign team explained in their blog post. “The intruder exploited this access to penetrate our customer database.”

Exposed Customer Data The breach exposed a range of Dropbox Sign customer data including emails, usernames, phone numbers, and hashed passwords. Additionally, individuals who interacted with documents through Dropbox Sign without creating an account had their names and email addresses compromised.

Screenshot 2024-05-07 at 9.39.22 AM

The intruder also accessed critical service data such as API keys, OAuth tokens, and multifactor authentication (MFA) details. This data is crucial for third-party partners to connect and integrate seamlessly with the service. The exposure of OAuth tokens, in particular, raises concerns about potential cross-platform attacks that could affect users of related services.

Despite the breach, Dropbox confirmed that there was no evidence of access to the actual contents of customer accounts, like signed documents or agreements, nor was any customer payment information accessed. Importantly, the infrastructure of Dropbox Sign is largely isolated from other Dropbox services, which were not impacted by this incident.

Upon detecting the breach, Dropbox engaged forensic experts to thoroughly investigate; this investigation remains active. The company is also proactively contacting all affected users to guide them through steps to secure their data.

Mitigation Efforts In response to the breach, Dropbox’s security team took immediate steps to mitigate the impact. These included resetting passwords for Dropbox Sign users, logging users out of connected devices, and initiating the rotation of all compromised API keys and OAuth tokens. Users will be prompted to reset their passwords upon their next login to the service.

API customers are required to generate and configure a new API key, following detailed instructions provided online. Until these keys are rotated, Dropbox will temporarily restrict certain functionalities of the API keys to maintain security.

As these security measures are implemented, full functionality will be restored to the service once the new API keys are in place, ensuring continued secure operations.

it’s crucial to take immediate and actionable steps to enhance their cybersecurity and protect their sensitive information. Here are key actions they should undertake:

closeup photo of turned-on blue and white laptop computer

Immediate Steps for Affected Clients

  1. Reset Passwords
    • Instruct clients to change their passwords for Dropbox Sign as well as any other accounts where they may have reused the same password. Encourage the use of strong, unique passwords for each account.
  2. Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
    • If not already activated, advise clients to enable multi-factor authentication on their Dropbox Sign account and all other critical accounts. MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring additional verification to access an account.
  3. Review Account Statements and Alerts
    • Clients should closely monitor their account statements and set up alerts for any unusual activities. Early detection of suspicious activity can prevent further damage.
  4. Update Security Questions
    • If Dropbox Sign or any other accounts use security questions for identity verification, these should be updated immediately. Choose questions and answers that are not easily guessable.

Long-Term Security Measures

  1. Regularly Update and Review Account Permissions
    • Encourage clients to regularly review and update the permissions on their accounts, ensuring that only necessary permissions are granted to apps and services.
  2. Conduct Regular Security Audits
    • Advise clients to perform regular security audits of their digital tools and assets. This helps identify vulnerabilities before they can be exploited.
  3. Educate on Phishing and Social Engineering Attacks
    • Provide training and resources to help clients identify phishing attempts and other forms of social engineering. Awareness is a powerful tool against cyber threats.
  4. Utilize a Secure Password Manager
    • Recommend the use of a reputable password manager to generate and store complex passwords. This minimizes the risk of password reuse across services.
  5. Keep Software Updated
    • Ensure that all software, especially security software, is up to date on clients’ devices. Regular updates often fix security vulnerabilities.

In Case of Identity Theft

  1. Consider a Credit Freeze
    • If there is a risk of identity theft, suggest that clients place a freeze on their credit reports. This prevents criminals from opening new accounts in their name.
  2. Alert Affected Individuals
    • If client data has been compromised, help them develop a plan to notify affected individuals and guide them through protecting their own information.
  3. Engage Cybersecurity Professionals
    • If needed, consider hiring cybersecurity professionals to assist with breach analysis and mitigation strategies to enhance security postures.

By taking these steps, clients can not only mitigate the immediate effects of the Dropbox Sign data breach but also strengthen their defenses against future cyber incidents. Ensuring ongoing education and proactive security measures are key to maintaining data integrity and trust in a digital world.

40 Alarming Small Business Cybersecurity Statistics for 2024

Monday, February 5th, 2024
Cybersecurity Company Reno

As technology continues to advance and businesses increasingly rely on digital platforms, the threat of cyberattacks looms larger than ever before. Small businesses, in particular, are vulnerable targets for cybercriminals due to their limited resources and often inadequate cybersecurity measures. In this article, we delve into 40 alarming small business cybersecurity statistics for 2024. These eye-opening figures shed light on the rising risks faced by small businesses and highlight the urgent need for improved cybersecurity practices.

1. Small businesses are prime targets for cyberattacks, with 43% of all cyberattacks targeting small businesses in 2023.

2. The average cost of a single cyberattack on a small business is $200,000, which can be devastating for many small enterprises.

3. Despite the high costs associated with cyberattacks, only 14% of small businesses have cyber insurance coverage. This leaves the majority of small businesses exposed to financial losses in the event of a cyberattack.

4. Phishing attacks continue to be a significant threat, with 90% of successful data breaches being attributed to phishing.

5. Small businesses often lack proper employee training in cybersecurity, with only 39% providing formal training to employees on cybersecurity practices.

6. Ransomware attacks have become increasingly prevalent and pose a significant risk to small businesses. In 2023, there was a 311% increase in ransomware attacks targeting small enterprises.

7. The aftermath of a cyberattack can be long-lasting and detrimental for small businesses. It takes an average of 46 days for businesses to fully recover from a ransomware attack, resulting in prolonged downtime and potential loss of revenue.

8. Small businesses are also vulnerable to supply chain attacks, with 50% of small businesses experiencing a supply chain attack in 2023.

9. The use of cloud services by small businesses has increased, but so have the risks associated with it. In 2023, 70% of small businesses experienced a breach involving a third-party cloud service provider.

10. Small businesses often underestimate the importance of regularly updating their software and systems. In 2023, 46% of small businesses reported not having implemented any software updates or patches in the past year.

11. Mobile devices are increasingly being targeted by cybercriminals, with 44% of small businesses experiencing a mobile-related security breach in 2023.

12. The lack of strong passwords remains a major cybersecurity concern for small businesses. In 2023, 65% of small businesses had employees using weak or reused passwords.

13. Small businesses are not immune to insider threats, with 34% of all small business data breaches being caused by internal actors.

14. The healthcare sector is particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks, with 48% of healthcare-related small businesses experiencing a cyberattack in 2023.

15. Small businesses in the financial sector are also high-value targets for cybercriminals, with 54% of financial institutions experiencing a cyberattack in 2023.

16. The use of outdated or unsupported software increases the risk of cyberattacks. In 2023, 37% of small businesses were using outdated operating systems, leaving them vulnerable to known security vulnerabilities.

17. Employee negligence remains a significant cybersecurity concern for small businesses, as 68% of data breaches are caused by employees’ mistakes or negligence.

18. Small businesses often lack dedicated IT personnel, with 66% relying on either internal staff or external contractors for their cybersecurity needs.

19. Cybersecurity threats continue to evolve, with 59% of small businesses reporting being targeted by new types of cyber attacks in 2023.

20. Small businesses that experience a cyberattack often face reputational damage, with 60% of customers losing trust in a business after a data breach.

21. The cost of cybercrime is expected to reach $10.5 trillion annually by 2025, highlighting the increasing financial impact on small businesses.

22. Small businesses are more likely to be targeted by cyber criminals due to their relatively weaker cybersecurity defenses compared to large corporations.

23. The average cost of a data breach for small businesses is $200,000, which can be financially devastating for many.

24. Only 14% of small businesses have a formal incident response plan in place, leaving them unprepared to effectively respond and mitigate the damage caused by a cyberattack.

25. Small businesses often do not have cybersecurity insurance, with only 29% of small businesses having cyber insurance coverage in 2023.

26. Phishing attacks are a common method used by cybercriminals to target small businesses, with 67% of small businesses experiencing a phishing attack in 2023.

27. Small businesses that fall victim to a cyberattack often struggle to recover financially, with 60% going out of business within six months of the attack.

28. Ransomware attacks are on the rise, with 55% of small businesses reporting being targeted by ransomware in 2023.

29. Small businesses are more likely to pay the ransom demanded by cybercriminals, with 58% admitting to paying a ransom to regain access to their data.

30. Cybersecurity breaches can lead to costly legal consequences for small businesses, with 41% of data breaches resulting in a lawsuit or regulatory fine.

31. Small businesses in the retail industry are frequent targets of cyberattacks, with 47% experiencing a data breach in 2023.

32. The use of unsecured public Wi-Fi networks puts small businesses at risk, with 59% of small business employees connecting to unsecured networks while working remotely.

33. Social engineering attacks, such as impersonation or manipulation of employees, are a growing concern for small businesses, with 62% reporting being targeted by social engineering tactics in 2023.

34. Small businesses often lack proper employee training on cybersecurity best practices, with only 39% providing regular cybersecurity training to their staff.

35. The majority of small businesses do not have a dedicated cybersecurity budget, with 58% allocating less than $5,000 per year for cybersecurity measures.

36. Small businesses that experience a cyberattack often suffer from prolonged downtime, with 43% reporting that it took more than a week to fully recover from an attack.

37. Small businesses are increasingly targeted by state-sponsored cyberattacks, with 31% of small businesses reporting being subject to attacks from foreign governments in 2023.

38. Small businesses often overlook the importance of regularly updating their software and systems, with 47% failing to consistently patch vulnerabilities.

39. Employee negligence or human error is a leading cause of data breaches for small businesses, accounting for 48% of incidents.

40. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to supply chain attacks, with 41% reporting being affected by a supply chain attack in 2023.

One alarming statistic reveals that small businesses that fall victim to a cyberattack often struggle to recover, with 43% reporting that it took more than a week to fully recover from an attack. This prolonged downtime can have severe consequences for small businesses, leading to lost revenue, customer dissatisfaction, and potential closure.

Additionally, the statistics show that small businesses are not adequately prepared or trained to handle cyber threats. Only 39% provide regular cybersecurity training to their staff, leaving them vulnerable to social engineering tactics and employee negligence, which account for a significant percentage of data breaches.

Another concerning statistic is the lack of dedicated cybersecurity budgets for small businesses. With 58% allocating less than $5,000 per year for cybersecurity measures, it becomes evident that many small businesses are not prioritizing this crucial aspect of their operations.

The global cost of a data breach in 2023 estimated to be USD $4.45 million, indicating a 15% increase over a span of three years (post pandemic). These alarming statistics highlight the urgent need for small businesses to prioritize cybersecurity. Without proper defenses and readiness, small businesses are at significant risk of financial loss, reputation damage, and even closure. It is crucial for small business owners to invest in robust cybersecurity measures, including employee training, incident response plans, regular software updates, and cybersecurity insurance

The evolving landscape of technology brings both advancements and vulnerabilities, making it imperative for small businesses to stay vigilant in the face of cyber risks. With cybercrimes on the rise and threats becoming increasingly sophisticated, it is crucial for small business owners to prioritize cybersecurity measures to protect their data, finances, and overall business operations.

Many small businesses are unaware of cyber threats and fail to address them. The individuals are not aware that hackers are targeting them and are aware of their inadequate security measures. On the other hand, an increasing number of small businesses are taking measures to strengthen their data security and avoid significant losses. An increasing number of individuals are recognizing the importance of implementing robust defense and response strategies if they want to avoid the financial burden and consequences of a successful attack. It is advisable to take action as there are cost-effective options available to provide strong protection for businesses, even those with modest IT budgets.

At NVITS, we have been working with a wide range of industries and compliance regulations to ensure  our clients Infrastructure, their cyber defenses, and overall cyber security best practices are covered with a robust business continuity and disaster recovery.

The Benefits of Partnering a Managed IT Services Company

Wednesday, May 10th, 2023

If you run a business that requires a lot of IT support but you don’t have the budget for major hardware upgrades or hirings, then outsourcing your IT requirements might be what you need to do. Managed Services Providers (MSP) are companies that provide these managed services, including IT works, and they have been on the rise lately.

It’s becoming more expensive and complicated to have effective IT staffs that can handle all of your IT inquiries, which is why a third party aid might be what you need.

If you aren’t convinced, here are additional 11 benefits of managed IT services:

  1. Reduce Risk

Not optimizing your company’s software can be dangerous for your entire corporation, especially when technology is developing as fast as it is. Coding loopholes and outdated protective measures can be exploited, and not to mention new government regulations that require businesses to run their IT department according to certain sets of rules. If you aren’t tech savvy, you might be putting your business in danger from information leaks and disputes with the government.

  1. Proactive Solutions

When you choose to outsource to a managed IT services provider, as a proactive effort, you receive better performance, nearly zero downtime and fewer glitches. Your IT MSPs agents will seek out these issues, fix them and optimize your systems to ensure that your websites, hardware and information stay intact and effective at their intended purposes.

  1. Controlled + Predictable Spending

You will be informed of the costs and procedures before the service takes place. This means that you will be spared from unexpected fees and technical spendings that might put your company behind.

  1. Level the Playing Field

Larger companies typically have in-house support services with a team of full-time IT professionals. It’s often too expensive for smaller companies to hire the tech-support personnel and carrying hardware and software necessary for such things. With a managed IT service specialist, you don’t need to worry about that. They provide you with both the skilled personnel and state of the art tools to deal with these issues. These things are often not something that smaller businesses can afford, but MSPs use them as their main assets, so they don’t have to worry about profit loss. You can work on more important things and worry less about the technical problems.

  1. Compliance and Security

When you outsource to an MSP that is familiar with PCI compliance standards, they will minimize the risk related to credit card numbers, client data or any other sensitive information. Security strategies are imperative to modern businesses, as you reputable companies can’t afford to have their system’s security jeopardized. MSPs implement security strategies to keep your firewall and your DMZ is up-to-date, among other security measures.

  1. Access to IT Professionals

MSP companies often have a large network of IT professionals so you don’t have to scour the internet looking for competent ones. This will limit your headache to a minimum when it comes to staff hirings.

  1. Vendor Management

We deal with the software and hardware vendors, so you don’t have to deal with and complicated and technical conversations. It saves you time on researching your best choice, as they have the knowledge to help you make the best one. But don’t worry, you can talk to them about any concern you might have.

  1. Faster Response Time

Having an agency that works closely with you can be highly beneficial for your business. They are attentive to your pleas, and any IT problem can be solved quickly with a swift response.

  1. Stay Focused on Business

You don’t have to sit there in front of a computer trying to understand why the error with your system is occurring. If you aren’t involved with computer technology, it can be very difficult to analyze and fix a problem, especially if you don’t have the right tool and knowledge on where to look. IT MSPs can provide you with all of this and more.

Your business yields the best return at its highest efficiency. This is something that can only be achieved when your network is at its peak condition. Consider talking to The Benefits of Hiring a Managed IT Services Company today to see how they can help you with your business.

Got managed it services?

If you are still debating if MSP is a good fit, let’s offer you a free IT assessment to determine if you are a candidate. No obligations, nothing. Get started here

Four Ways to Block Spam From Your Inbox

Saturday, April 15th, 2023

The fact that email is so accessible, free and fast, makes it a very convenient tool for us. It also makes it a very convenient tool to use to spam your inbox. Buy simply purchasing a list of email addresses, professional spammers can bombard their victims with as many messages as they please. We have our ways of preventing these attacks but, of course, they have a host of automated tools to help them expand their volume and slip past filters. They are sneaky but there are things that you can do to proactively keep spam out of your inbox for good.

Here are five strategies for blocking spam:

1. Train your spam filter

Most email platforms include some form of spam detection. Messages that seem fraudulent or unimportant will be red-flagged by your provider and sent to the spam folder. The best thing about these filters is that you can train them to fit your inbox. This means that with the click of a button, you can decide if the spam detector made a mistake or missed a spam email. You can configure its settings and actions to improve its performance.

For example, let’s take a look at Gmail. Every time you open an email, a Report Spam button that looks like an exclamation point appears at the top of the email. If you find a message that is obviously spam that slipped through the spam filters, click this red button and your spam will filter messages like this to its memory bank so that you no longer get them. On the other hand, if you check your Spam folder and find that a useful email was placed there, open it and click the not spam button at the top of the page.

2. Employ alternative email addresses

One way to avoid spam is to create an alternative email address that is separate from your personal or business email address. When we order a product, often times the company that we ordered it from takes the liberty of spamming our inboxes with irrelevant content that has nothing to do with our purchase. This can also include receiving unwanted marketing updates or sharing your contact information with an advertiser. By creating a secondary email address you can keep all spam from entering your important inbox of your main email address. This alternative address can be used for traveling purposes, online shopping and more. Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, or Mail.com offer free email address setups so you can make one with ease of mind and wallet.

However, it’s important to note some details when creating a new account. Gmail addresses ignore dots in email addresses, so an email sent to “[email protected]” and an email sent to “[email protected]” will both arrive at the same inbox. The same can be said for email addresses that contain plus signs. So messages addressed to “[email protected]” and “[email protected]” will both land in the same inbox. Good news though, this is actually helpful! Why? It means you can enter the variation on your current email address whenever you sign up for or buy something and then create a Gmail filter to put anything sent to that address in its own folder, separate from the main Primary tab.

Instructions: To create a filter in the web interface, click the Options button on the top right, followed by Settings and then Filters and blocked addresses. Click Create a new filter, enter your tweaked address in the To field, and then decide what you want to do with these types of emails.

3. Download third-party extensions

The internet truly offers a fix for everything. If you are finding that a lot of spam slips through your email provider’s spam filter, try adding a third-party app to supplement it. This type of service stops messages as they travel between an email server (the cloud where messages are stored) and your inbox.

Free is always a plus so try Mailwasher. Plug in your email login details and Mailwasher applies a series of filters to identify unwanted messages. With this, if you like, you can review the stopped emails online before they show up in your inbox.

There is also the free SpamCop service. This is like a mini police station. It allows you to report bad actors to internet service providers (ISPs) so they can block these messages at the source. This not only helps your inbox stay clean but helps others as well because you will be shutting down certain spam altogether.

4. Protect your email address

You should aim to keep your primary address as secret as you can. Do not display it on public pages such as social media platforms or a personal website. You should have a whole separate email address for this. This is the first place bots and spammers will look.

If you don’t want to keep track of too many email addresses but you have to have your email address available, try writing it out longhand. For example, try “John Smith at Google’s email service” whenever you need to display it on the web. This will make sense to a human but a bot will not be able to process and collect it.

In addition to this, there are some email marketers that will use a tracking pixel, or something similar, to decipher the difference between email addresses that are actually used and ones that are not. They send messages to a variety of addresses and as soon as a human opens one of them, the spammer will receive a confirmation that the address is in use. In order to avoid this, just don’t open spam. You most likely know what spam looks like at this point so just trash it or filter it out right away.

Spam is inevitable if the right tactics are not implemented to block it. Here at NVIT Solutions, we understand the ins and outs of email solutions and we are here to help. Give us a call to start blocking spam today!

5 Effective Tips for a More Secure Office

Wednesday, February 15th, 2023


When thinking about securing your business from cyber threats, the mind quickly turns to phishing, hacks, and viruses, but there are many security threats in and around the office that can expose your business to a host of threats and cybersecurity issues. In conjunction with a solid cybersecurity solution provided by your MSP, be sure you and your employees follow these office tips to protect your physical workspace from system comprises, unauthorized breaches and data loss.

Unlocked devices

Mobile phones, laptops, desktops, tablets, and even printers/multi-function devices should all be locked and password protected when unattended, as any of these (and any other) network-connected devices can be comprised, allowing for unauthorized access into your system or unauthorized removal of data from it. Even though most devices lock/power down after idling for some period of time, create an office culture where locking devices becomes second nature for all employees.

USB Drives

USB drives pose a host of security issues. Unknown drives should never, ever be used, as they could easily contain hidden malware or spy software that could exfiltrate data or install ransomware on your network. However, those drives that you do use for normal business functions must be kept under lock and key, so they are not compromised with malware, misplaced or stolen. USB drives make it far too easy for curious eyes or unauthorized user to get a peek into sensitive or confidential business information and are unfortunately left behind in public places (airports, coffee shops, etc.). Make sure any and all USB drives used in your business are cataloged and their whereabouts known at all times—or perhaps look to cloud solutions for sharing/transporting data.

Paper Documents

What may be innocuous to your employees could be valuable to others who’d want to infiltrate your systems. At the end of the day, be sure that papers, reports, financial records, and any other proprietary data is off desk surfaces, locked away, or shredded (i.e., not in the trash). After they are no longer needed, shred any documents with financial records, proprietary data or confidential information. And of course, to minimize this issue, go digital wherever possible.

Passwords

It’s a common occurrence, even in the face of many strict cybersecurity policies, but many employees use notes or cheat sheets for the various usernames, logins, and passwords they require for day-to-day work. Nothing could defeat the purpose of a password more easily than this practice, and leaves the door wide open to anyone who accesses your office to gain entry into your network and systems. Discuss a software-based password management system with your MSP and seek out an option that will work best for your business in order to prevent this risky behavior.

Wallets and Keys

Just like easily-accessed passwords are a threat, wallets and keys that are left on desks during meetings, bathroom breaks, lunches, etc., can all leave your business exposed to unauthorized entry. Pay special attention to this if there are areas of your business under lock and key, or if ID/keycards are used, as these are typically kept in wallets. Misplaced keys and access IDs can quickly lead to tampered or duplicated methods of access, so if need be, offer lockers or secure places where employees can store their personal belongings while they work.

These are just a few security best practices to enact in your workplace, alongside an effective cybersecurity solution. If you’re thinking about protecting your business from cyber threats, let’s discuss a few options that could work best for you. Securing your office shouldn’t be that hard. It’s just another layer to protect your assets.

What is Penetration Testing and Why is it Important?

Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

With the arsenal of tactics that hackers have today, we must fight back and protect our data with an arsenal of prevention tactics, including testing. Penetration testing is an important step towards safer applications and organizations. Penetration testing (A.K.A. pentesting, or security testing) is the process of testing your applications for vulnerabilities and put yourself in the hacker’s shoes. To do so, we start by answering a simple question: “What could a hacker do to harm my application, or organization, out in the real world?”

To ensure that a penetration test is effective, it must involve experts in all things IT. This includes a skilled hacker or a team of skilled hackers. Don’t worry though, it is the good kind of hackers, the ones that are on your team.

To start, we purposefully ensure that the hacker(s) don’t have access to any source code, and then try to gain access to your systems and applications. Penetration tests can be implemented IP address ranges, individual applications, or even as little information as a company name. The tests can vary depending on specific needs. The level of access you give an attacker depends on what you are trying to test. Here are some examples of penetration tests:

  • To test if an application is well secured, a penetration tester could be given access to a version of a web application you haven’t actually started using yet. They will then be told to try and gain access or cause damage by any means possible. The penetration tester will then employ a variety of different attacks against various parts of the application in an attempt to break in. If they succeed, then we will try another or implement security measures.
  • Hackers can even gain access by simply having your business address. The team of penetration testers will be given your company’s office address, and tell them to try and gain access to their systems. The team could employ a wide range of various techniques to try and break into the organization, ranging from social engineering to complex application specific attacks.  

The purpose of a penetration test is to identify key weaknesses in your systems and applications, to determine how to best allocate resources to improve the security of your application, or organization as a whole. This is the time to find weaknesses in your systems, rather than a bad hacker finding them. This is your chance to fully secure your organization. Nevada IT Solutions is here to help.

Why Are Penetration Tests Important?

  • It’s a great way to educate your employees and security personnel on real experience in dealing with an intrusion. A penetration test should be carried out without informing staff, like a fire drill, to allow an organization to test whether its security policies are truly effective and studied. This test should be taken just as seriously as a fire drill.
  • Penetration testing reports can be used to help train developers to make fewer mistakes. These tests highlight faults in the security systems, which is a very good thing. If developers can see how an outside attacker broke into an application or part of an application they helped develop, they will be more motivated to improve their security education and avoid making similar errors in the future.
  • They provide feedback on the most at risk routes into your company or application. Penetration testers think as a real world attacker would. They think outside of the box, and will try to get into your system by any means possible, just like the actual situation would play out. This could reveal lots of major vulnerabilities your security or development team never considered.
  • It can uncover aspects of security policy that are lacking. For example, many security policies give a lot of focus to preventing and detecting an attack on an organization’s systems but neglect the process of handling an actual attacker. You may uncover during a penetration test that whilst your organization detected attacks, the security personnel could not effectively remove the attacker from the system in an efficient way before they caused damage.

If your company has not carried out a penetration test, it is absolutely time to do so. Time is of the essence because hackers will carry out their attacks without warning. Are you prepared? Your first few penetration tests will probably deliver some shocking results, and highlight that your organization is much more vulnerable to attack than you ever predicted. Nevada IT Solutions is your partner in preventing future attacks through the use of penetration testing. Don’t be caught off guard. We will help you be prepared for anything.

15 Ways To Protect Your Business From A Cyber Attack

Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

Just because your a small business, doesn’t mean you’re beyond a hacker’s notice or reach. Unfortunately, most small businesses are particularly susceptible to cyber-attacks and breaches, simply because they are small, don’t have all the IT security control needed to protect them.

In the video below we compiled a list of ways that you can protect your business from a cyberattack:

The Importance of Managed IT Services (updated 2024)

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

Why Small Businesses Should Leverage Managed IT Services: A Comprehensive Guide

Introduction : Managed IT Services for Small Businesses

In the rapidly evolving digital landscape, small businesses often struggle to maintain effective IT systems without stretching their budgets. Managed IT Services (MSPs) provide a lifeline, offering robust IT management at a fraction of the cost of in-house teams. This article explores the multifaceted benefits of MSPs, including cost efficiencies, expert resources, strategic technology partnerships, and more, illustrating why small businesses should consider this vital service.

Managed IT Services for Small Businesses
Managed IT Services for Small Businesses

The managed IT services industry is experiencing robust growth, driven by several factors including the rising need for cybersecurity and the adoption of cloud-based solutions. In 2023, the global managed services market was valued at approximately USD 283.90 billion, and it’s projected to grow significantly in the coming years, reaching an estimated USD 839.83 billion by 2032. This represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 13% during the forecast period​ (Fortune Business Insights)​.

Regionally, North America dominates the market, partly due to the high concentration of managed service providers (MSPs) and substantial IT budgets from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the U.S. The Asia Pacific region is expected to experience the highest growth rate due to increasing investments in data security and cloud solutions, with countries like China and India playing significant roles​ (Fortune Business Insights)​.

Key segments within the managed services industry include managed security services, which are in high demand due to the growing frequency and sophistication of cyber threats. Managed data centers and cloud services are also significant, with many companies leveraging these services to enhance operational efficiency and data management​ (Grand View Research)​​ (MarketsandMarkets)​.

Overall, the outlook for the managed IT services industry is positive, with expected growth across various service types and regions, supported by ongoing digital transformations in several sectors​ (newsroom.cisco)​.

The Strategic Advantages of Managed IT Services for Small Businesses

1. Predictable Costing with Fixed Monthly Fees One of the most attractive features of MSPs is the predictable cost structure. Small businesses can enjoy comprehensive IT services at a fixed monthly fee, which includes everything from routine maintenance and monitoring to emergency response and updates. This model eliminates unexpected IT expenses, allowing better budget management and financial planning.

2. Comprehensive Expertise at Your Disposal Unlike hiring a single IT professional, partnering with an MSP gives small businesses access to a team of experts across various IT domains. Whether it’s cybersecurity, cloud services, or network management, MSPs bring a breadth of knowledge and experience that is economically out of reach for many small enterprises.

3. Enhanced Cybersecurity Measures Cybersecurity is a major concern for businesses of all sizes in today’s data-driven environment. MSPs provide robust cybersecurity services tailored to protect small businesses from the latest threats. These services include regular updates, threat monitoring, risk assessments, and responsive support in the event of a security breach.

4. Scalability and Flexibility As a business grows, so do its IT needs. MSPs offer scalable services that can be customized to meet the evolving demands of your business. Whether scaling up or scaling down, MSPs can adjust services efficiently to match the pace of your business growth, providing flexibility that is not typically available with in-house IT staff.

5. Access to Chief Information Officer (CIO) Services Many MSPs offer virtual or fractional CIO services, providing strategic oversight of your IT operations. This includes assistance with IT budgeting, security planning, compliance management, and future technology roadmaps. Access to CIO-level expertise helps small businesses make informed decisions that align with their long-term objectives.

6. Leverage Technology Partnerships MSPs typically maintain strategic partnerships with major technology providers. This means small businesses can benefit from the latest technology solutions at competitive prices, including software, hardware, and cloud services. These partnerships also ensure that the technology solutions implemented are best suited for your specific business needs.

7. Proactive Maintenance and Monitoring Beyond just addressing problems as they arise, MSPs focus on preventing issues before they occur. With 24/7 monitoring and regular maintenance, MSPs can identify and resolve potential issues, reducing downtime and the associated costs of disruptions to business operations.

8. Regulatory Compliance and Data Protection Staying compliant with industry regulations is crucial for avoiding costly legal issues. MSPs ensure that your IT systems adhere to relevant laws and regulations, such as GDPR, HIPAA, or PCI-DSS, depending on your business niche. They also help protect sensitive data, a critical component in maintaining customer trust and business integrity.

Managed IT Services for Small Businesses
Managed IT Services for Small Businesses

FAQs about Managed IT Services for Small Businesses

Q1: What are Managed IT Services? A1: Managed IT Services involve outsourcing your business’s IT operations to a third-party provider who manages all aspects of your IT infrastructure and support, typically under a subscription model.

Q2: How do Managed IT Services help reduce costs? A2: MSPs eliminate the need for large capital investments in IT infrastructure and reduce the overhead costs associated with hiring, training, and maintaining an in-house IT staff. The fixed monthly fee model also aids in predictable budgeting and financial planning.

Q3: Why is cybersecurity a crucial part of MSP offerings? A3: MSPs provide updated, robust cybersecurity defenses that protect small businesses from emerging threats and breaches, which are often costly and damaging to reputations.

Q4: Can MSPs support remote or hybrid work models? A4: Yes, MSPs are equipped to support businesses with remote or hybrid work models by providing secure access to network resources, supporting collaboration tools, and ensuring cybersecurity across various locations and devices.

Q5: How should I choose the right MSP? A5: Consider factors such as the MSP’s experience with businesses of your size and industry, the range of services they offer, their pricing structure, and their ability to support your long-term business goals. Client testimonials and case studies can also provide insight into their capability and reliability.

Conclusion

Managed IT Services are not just a tactical choice for small businesses—they are a strategic imperative in today’s digital age. By partnering with an MSP, small businesses gain access to expert IT services, robust cybersecurity protection, strategic technology partnerships, and scalable solutions that support growth and innovation. In essence, an MSP can transform your IT operations from a cost center into a strategic asset, positioning your business for success in a competitive marketplace.


This comprehensive guide underscores the transformative impact that Managed IT Services can have on small businesses, enabling them to operate with the efficiency and security of much larger organizations.

If your business is ready to explore managed IT services with an award winning Northern Nevada managed services provider. Reach out to Us and we would be happy to get the conversation started to see if your business can benefits from Managed services. NVITS offers free assessment, schedule yours here