How Cloud Storage Promotes Scalability

It’s no secret that cloud technology has altered the fundamental landscape of IT infrastructure. It has provided both companies with access to virtually limitless storage space, has expanded data backup and retrieval capability, has improved recovery after data loss, and has allowed smaller companies to respond effectively to the challenges posed by rapid growth.

If you’re like most business owners, you’re already looking toward the future and your company’s place in it. Cloud technology offers some distinct advantages to the startup or small business poised for growth.

​More Storage Space

Though the cloud offers far more than data storage, it is this feature that continues to attract small and medium-sized businesses. The cloud’s virtually limitless data storage capacity allows you to safeguard sensitive information and host vital applications offsite, taking the burden off your in-house servers and providing a secure home for personal data, financial transaction data, and more.

For a growing company, the cloud presents an open horizon in terms of storage, letting you abandon that patchwork of hard drives that got you through your first year. And perhaps best of all, cloud storage means that your company needn’t incur the expense of major IT infrastructure acquisitions (like new servers) every time your business expands. What ever your data storage needs, today or in the future, the cloud can handle them.

Greater Power

Another advantage of cloud technology is that it allows small businesses access to powerful processing resources such as software development or analytics tools. Infrastructure limitations once hobbled rapid growth because expensive capital purchases, system integration issues, and troubleshooting consumed time and resources. The power of the cloud removes these limitations and allows smaller businesses the same agility enjoyed by their larger competitors. 

And unlike expensive hard capital purchases, the cloud never becomes outdated or obsolete, never fails to meet compatibility requirements with other technologies, and allows you to power up when you need to—whether during seasonal traffic spikes or over the long term as your business grows.

Increased Flexibility

To remain ahead of the competition, your business must be agile enough to respond to rapid changes in market dynamics. If a sudden shift in customer demand catches your company by surprise, the result could be empty warehouses, backlogged orders, and lost customers.

The cloud allows you the versatility to answer changes in marketplace dynamics with confidence. Cloud technology makes it possible to reconfigure your IT infrastructure and reshape workflows in response to market forces—without committing yourself to costly equipment or assets that may lose value tomorrow.  

Better Time Management

Managing, monitoring, and troubleshooting your company’s IT infrastructure can consume your in-house IT team’s focus and attention. That means less time to work on the mission-critical task of making your business the best it can be. Cloud technology takes the often-burdensome responsibility of troubleshooting network problems off your hands, allowing you to focus on innovation.

The Bottom Line

As a business owner, you’re always conscious of the effect any expense will have on your business. When considering a new capital purchase, you have to ask: What kind of return on investment will it deliver, and how soon will it pay for itself? Because cloud technology lets you scale up (or down) based on the daily demands of your business, it removes the risk of purchasing potentially costly assets today that may be obsolete tomorrow. And with cloud storage, you won’t need to worry about recouping the cash outlays of capital purchases.

The Rise of Managed Data Centers

The scalable nature of cloud computing has allowed many organizations to rely on managed data centers, maintained by experts who understand how to maintain and scale shared, private, and hybrid clouds. Cloud technology also allows resources to be allocated easily in a monitored environment where overloading is not a problem.

At Iconic Technologies, we understand the needs of today’s growing businesses. Our skilled IT consultants are eager to share our advanced computing solutions with your team. We can assist in migration of data to the cloud, creation of a backup and recovery plan in the event of data loss, and reinforcement of your network’s cybersecurity protocols. Contact us today and discover what Iconic Technologies can do for you!    

Interested in learning more? Contact one of our representatives today!

IT Security Audits – Why Your Business Needs One?

Cybercrime seems to be evolving almost as quickly as the technology used to detect and prevent it. Hackers and other cybercriminals have become adept at pinpointing and exploiting weaknesses in a website’s security, and the results can be devastating. Cybercrime can compromise sensitive customer information, financial transaction data, emails and attachments, and even industry trade secrets.  

In response, many businesses are strengthening their security perimeters by partnering with a managed services provider. An MSP can perform a complete and thorough audit of a company’s cybersecurity profile, identifying strengths, pinpointing weaknesses, and suggesting solutions consistent with each company’s IT needs and budget.

​What Goes into an IT Security Audit?

There are three basic diagnostics that an MSP typically uses to test your system’s security: a security audit, a vulnerability assessment, and penetration testing.

Typically an IT security audit will examine your system’s physical configuration and environment, any software used, your information handling processes, and common user practices. The goal is to evaluate the overall performance of your system as measured against pre-established criteria.

A vulnerability assessment entails a complete examination of your information system with a specific focus on identifying potential entry points cybercriminals might use to gain unwanted access to your system or its files.

Penetration testing evaluates your system by having an IT security professional play the role of a malicious hacker and attempt to circumnavigate your system’s protections. By using some of the same methods hackers use, an IT consultant can often ferret out more subtle weaknesses in your security protocols.

A complete and thorough audit often makes use of all three methods to ensure the highest level of protection.

What Questions Does an IT Security Auditor Ask?

An IT auditor is going to examine any area of your system where a cybercriminal could cause harm.

An audit evaluates many factors, including:

  • How robust are network passwords and how easy are they to crack?
  • How is access to shared data controlled?
  • Are their audit logs and are they regularly reviewed?
  • Are current security systems consistent with industry best practices?
  • Is there any unwanted redundancy is systems or services?
  • Are operating systems and applications patched to current levels?
  • How are data backed up?
  • Is there a disaster recovery plan and how often is it rehearsed?
  • How robust are your business’s encryption tools?
  • What is your company’s process for tracking configuration and code changes?

The answers to these and other questions can help an MSP or cybersecurity consultant pinpoint potential vulnerabilities and take pre-emptive action to protect your system before a crime occurs.

Compliance Audits and FISMA

The Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) requires all federal agencies and their contractors to bolster their cybersecurity protocols. The law affects not only government agencies, but also independent contractors who do business with the government. FISMA requires that businesses handling sensitive federal data be held to the same rigorous cybersecurity standards as the federal government.

If your business performs contract work for the federal government, an independent IT security audit by an MSP is a great way to ensure that your IT security protocols are in full compliance with FISMA standards. Maintaining compliance not only bolsters your firm’s security protocols, it also helps avoid any fines or penalties that might be incurred for noncompliance.

How Often Do You Need an IT Security Audit?

Cybercriminals are continually searching out new ways to beat even the most advanced security protocols. So the preventive measures you took to bolster your system security 3 years ago may already have been compromised by hackers. As an industry standard, it’s recommended that you invest in an IT security audit annually. This will not only help keep you a step ahead of cybercriminals, it will also help your business adjust its security protocols in response to any internal changes in your system architecture.

At Iconic Technologies, we understand how important it is to safeguard your business against cybercrime. Our skilled team members can help you plan and execute an IT security audit without drawing your in-house IT staff away from mission-critical tasks. And we can offer informed advice on making IT purchases that will bolster your system without breaking your budget. Contact us today and discover what Iconic Technologies can do for you.

Interested in learning more? Contact one of our representatives today!

Email Encryption Privacy Tactics the Pros Use

Nearly 300 billion emails travel between senders and recipients each year worldwide. With that much information on the move, cybercriminals have many opportunities to intercept, compromise, or expose data while in transit. Vulnerable targets can include message content, attachments, user names, passwords, and even financial information. With stakes this high, effective email privacy controls are essential.

Fortunately, there are a few email encryption tactics you can put in place now to prevent a potentially costly cyber-attack later. Let’s have a look at a few.

Use Web-Based Email

Modern transport layer security (TLS) employs tools such as Internet Message Access Protocols (IMAP), Post Office Protocols (POP), and Simple Mail Transfer Protocols (SMTP) to safeguard email while in transit.

But if you use a local (rather than a web-based) email provider, you may not be receiving the benefits provided by these added layers of security. Ask your web-based email provider what security protocols they use and how your email is protected end-to-end.

Adopt Advanced Anti-Malware Protocols

For years, businesses and individuals have been safeguarding their electronic communications from viruses, spam, and phishing scams. While traditional methods have focused simply on identifying signatures of known malware, but more advanced initiatives now use more sophisticated methods - such as threat intelligence - to pinpoint the IP and email addresses of malicious sources. These newer tools can help identify bad actors in nearly real time, providing an extra layer of email security.

Perform Regular Email Health Checks

Today’s employees don’t always work onsite, and often collaborate over distances using personal devices like smartphones and tablets. By conducting automated health checks of your email network, you can identify any irregularities, including potentially problematic areas, such as end user devices with weak security settings. You can even conduct regular penetration tests to see how your system reacts to an invader. This can be useful in pinpointing and reinforcing “soft spots” in your cyber-defenses.

Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

MFA goes beyond username + password security to deliver an additional layer of protection. There are three types of authentication factors that a user may employ to access a secure site or web page: knowledge factors (such as a password or ID question); possession factors (such as a one-time password or security token); and inherence factors (such as voice or fingerprint recognition).

Possession factors may be either material (like a fob or keycard) or virtual (like a one-time password), whereas inherence factors focus on biometric factors such as voice recognition, retinal scanning, fingerprint scanning, or facial recognition. By combining these factors, you’re likely to block or discourage the vast majority of cybercriminals and scammers.

Adopt Security Tools Users Like

Few things are more difficult than trying to enforce compliance with security protocols that users dislike. Users may find some security tools cumbersome, confusing, or time consuming, which can result in reluctance among users to adopt the new practice. Noncompliance, even on a small scale, can leave your company vulnerable to penetration by phishing scams and hackers. So take some time reviewing security products before you buy. Observe them in action and ask about user experience with these tools before you onboard them.  A system everyone likes will be one everyone is more likely to use.  

At Iconic Technologies, we’ve spent years studying the way companies like yours protect their electronic communications, and our skilled team members are well equipped to help you make informed choices about the email security products you purchase and use. Contact us today, and discover how Iconic Technologies can provide you with the efficient, cost-effective email security solutions you need.

Interested in learning more? Contact one of our representatives today!

3 Tips for Businesses to Help Improve Cloud Security

These days it seems all too often that we read news headlines about major data breaches—often compromising large amounts of sensitive personal or corporate information. And while cloud storage offers protection from local server failures, it carries its own security concerns.

For example, data may be compromised while in transit, former employees may still be able to access and sensitive data, and catastrophic system failures can result in significant data loss. Anticipating and adapting to these potential threats can mean the difference between smooth operation and potential catastrophe.

So, how can you improve cloud security for your company’s sensitive data? Here are 3 tips you can put into action today.

Use a Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) Process URL

We’re all accustomed to entering a user name and password combination when accessing personal accounts, shopping online, logging into discussion forums, and even gaming. But these standard protocols are no obstacle for cybercriminals capable of cracking complex alphanumeric passwords in minutes. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) adds an additional level of security to the process.

Here’s how it works. There are three types of authentication factors (credentials) that a user may employ to access a secure site or web page:

  • Knowledge factors - what the user knows (such as a password or ID question).
  • Possession factors - what the user holds (such as a one-time password or security token).
  • Inherence factors - what the user is (such as voice or fingerprint recognition).

Possession factors may be either material (like a fob or keycard) or virtual (like a one-time password). Inherence factors focus on biometric factors such as voice recognition, retinal scanning, fingerprint scanning, or facial recognition. By combining these factors, you can add layers of protection to your security protocols, effectively blocking cybercriminals seeking personal data.

Monitor, Log, and Analyze User Activity in the Cloud

Often the best way to spot potential vulnerabilities in your network’s security protocols is to monitor and analyze user activity. By knowing when, where, and how users are accessing data, you can identify any user activity that puts sensitive data at risk.

There are several areas where monitoring and analysis of user activity can help identify potential threats. These may include:

  • Video recording of sessions
  • Log collection and analysis
  • Keystroke monitoring
  • File or screenshot captures

While all monitoring of employees’ online activity must be conducted within the parameters company policy, such techniques can pick up most irregularities - anything from using company time for personal web-surfing, to compromise of sensitive intellectual property or financial information. 

Develop a Data Backup & Recovery Plan In Case of a Cloud Security Breach

There’s an old saying that goes, “If you don’t have a backup, you don’t have a plan,” and nowhere is this more true than in the area of cybersecurity. Even with the best protocols in place, system failures can result in catastrophic data losses that can cost your business time, money, and loss of reputation.

That’s why many IT consultants suggest implementing a data backup and recovery plan now, you can avoid an array of potentially expensive hassles later on. An experienced cybersecurity consultant can help you create an effective backup plan, test your data backup and recovery capabilities, and safeguard your most sensitive data from large-scale corruption or loss. 

Bonus Tip: Have an Offboarding Plan

When an employee leaves your company, what protocols ensure that they no longer have access to sensitive company data? If allowed access, a former employee could access, corrupt, or steal potentially sensitive information and share it with competitors or cybercriminals. Although such occurrences are not common, the stakes are high enough that your company should have an offboarding plan in place to ensure that former employees no longer possess the ability to access your data.

At ICONIC Technologies, we understand the importance of cloud security. That’s why we offer the most advanced solutions available for 24/7 system-wide monitoring, encryption, and data recovery. Contact us today and discover how ICONIC Technologies can improve cloud security for your company.

Interested in learning more? Contact one of our representatives today!