This is social engineering in action

In the simplest terms, social engineering is manipulation. It plays on the frailty of the human psyche.

According to CSO, it doesn’t matter if your company has the best defensive technologies and physical security in place. If a sneaky social engineer can trick your employee into giving out a password, you’re still at risk.

There are several aspects of social engineering in the business world that you need to know about so you can avoid it.


Pretexting involves setting up a false scenario such as pretending to be an official from a bank. The victim thinks they’re talking, emailing or texting someone legitimate who just needs more information about an account. Sometimes the attacker even pretends to be providing an IT service.

The attacker will then insist that certain information is needed in order to fix a problem or to confirm an employee’s identity. This method relies on exploiting a relationship built on trust.


Digital Guardian defines tailgating as a situation in which someone without authorization simply follows someone with authorization into a restricted space. This is a type of physical social engineering.

For example, someone might ask to borrow your access card, claiming they forgot their own. Or someone might ask to use your laptop or phone, using the opportunity to install a virus. The absolute simplest example is when one person asks another to hold a door open for them.


This is probably the most common form of social engineering used. Fraudulent information is passed off as legitimate in an attempt to get you to install malware on your network, computer or mobile device.

Most of these kinds of cyberattacks begin with an email. Unfortunately, many of your employees may assume email is basically safe. All it takes is one employee clicking on the wrong link.


Baiting happens when someone puts a malware-infected CD or flash drive in a place where another person is likely to find it.

The attacker is counting on someone finding the infected device and loading it onto their computer. Once it has been loaded the attacker has access to that person’s system . . . and you have a potential data disaster.

Tips for avoiding social engineering

The first step for avoiding social engineering is knowing who and what you can really trust. No matter what industry you’re in, there are several steps your organization should take to prevent social engineers from wreaking havoc.

Conduct random tests

You should periodically test your employees to discern how easily they succumb to various social engineering threats.

Fight phishing

Reduce phishing attacks by refraining from opening any links in emails from unknown senders. When in doubt, it’s always better to delete suspicious emails.

Require identification

You can eliminate pretexting and tailgating by insisting on identification before letting anyone enter any area of your business.

Continual education

Social engineers are constantly changing and upgrading their tricks, making it imperative to keep your staff trained and updated on what to look out for and avoid.

Choose the right IT company

An experienced IT company should be reliable, responsive and have years of experience and expertise.

Wrapping up

Social engineering can be just as complex as hacking. The only real difference is it adds an especially frustrating psychological twist.

We highly recommend partnering with an IT provider who understands all levels of security your company needs. Complete IT support should include technology as well as thorough employee training.

What to learn from the most interesting data breaches of 2017

Several high-profile organizations experienced data breaches in 2017. For instance, you probably saw media reports about data breaches involving Equifax or the InterContinental Hotel Group.

It isn’t enough to know that these breaches occurred. Companies and organizations need to pay attention to the mistakes that made the security breaches possible. That way, you can inspect your own company’s policies to make sure you protect yourself and your customers.

Equifax proved that how you behave after a data breach matters

A 2017 data breach at Equifax, one of the world’s largest credit reporting companies, exposed the personal information of approximately 143 million Americans. The problem was deemed so important that Congress held several hearings to understand what had happened.

According to Equifax, the breach happened because of a flaw in one of the company’s web applications.

Obviously, Equifax didn’t get the help it needed closing common cybersecurity holes. The worst part, though, was how Equifax chose to handle the situation. Some of the company’s most egregious actions included:

  • Waiting about two months to tell consumers about the breach.
  • Letting executives sell their Equifax personal holdings before announcing the breach.
  • Creating an unsecured WordPress site to help consumers determine whether they were affected by the breach.
  • Requiring consumers to provide even more sensitive information to determine whether the breach affected them.

The most important thing to learn from Equifax is how to behave after a breach happens. Basically, do the opposite of what Equifax did. The organization’s tarnished reputation may never recover.

InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) exposes thousands of consumers to identity fraud

InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) revealed in early 2017 that a data breach had affected 12 of its properties. Malware on the company’s servers had stolen credit card information from guests who used their cards at the hotels’ on-site restaurants and bars. Understandably, the announcement concerned thousands of people.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of IHG’s security problems. A couple of months later, the company admitted that the malware hadn’t attacked 12 of its locations. Instead, it had targeted 1,200 locations. The malware also did more than gather credit card information from restaurants and bars. It had stolen personal information from payments processed at hotels, too.

A better cybersecurity process would have likely uncovered the malware before it had a chance to affect so many people. Unfortunately, IHG didn’t have the IT security to identify the threat before it had an opportunity to spread from a handful of locations to thousands.

Ransomware Targeted Organizations in Nearly 100 Countries

In 2017, ransomware became such a huge problem that it affected organizations in nearly 100 countries. Hospitals in Great Britain had to turn away patients because they couldn’t access their medical records. The malware also affected hospitals, police stations and businesses in the United States, Russia, Spain and Portugal. Overall, the ransomware affected about 57,000 networks around the world.

Educating employees to recognize phishing attempts is one of the most effective ways to prevent ransomware attacks. Organizations also need to update their systems and applications to patch security vulnerabilities.

Given the excessively wide reach of the 2017 attack, it’s obvious that most people don’t know how to protect themselves from ransomware.

If you’re worried that you don’t have the right technology or policies to protect your company from data breaches, contact your managed services provider to learn more about the most effective defenses. Without the right tools, you could fall victim to attacks just as easily as the organizations mentioned above.

The most common SMB cybersecurity threats and how to protect your business

The headlines may spend more time focusing on data breaches suffered by enterprises and other large companies, but that doesn’t mean hackers have forgotten about small businesses.

The typical data breach costs small businesses $117,000, which can take a big chunk out of your operating budget. Plus, you have to account for the cost of disaster recovery, informing consumers about the breach, paying for security audits, and dealing with the reputation loss.

Approximately 60% of small businesses never recover from a cyberattack, instead going out of business. Understanding and proactively addressing SMB cybersecurity threats puts you in a position to protect your business.

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You most likely already familiar with the term “malware.” Malware is a malicious application that can help hackers get into your network, hijack your computers or cause system problems. Ransomware is a specific type of malware. It makes it possible for a cybercriminal to take complete control of your data and hold it for ransom.

Ransomware relies on encryption, so you can’t just turn off one computer and move to another. Instead, you have to restore from a  backup or pay the attackers to get your data back.

You see ransomware frequently mentioned because it’s a profitable way for hackers to bring in revenue. You can reduce the potential damage of a ransomware attack with a robust backup, which allows you to restore your systems without paying anything.

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Social engineering and phishing

A common portrayal of a hacker is someone furiously typing, trying to find the right username and password combination to get into your network. In reality, they may end up getting unintentional help from the people in your organization.

Phishing takes place through email. The would-be hacker sends malware through emails that look legitimate. The victim ends up opening the file and downloading the malicious file on their workstation.

Social engineering is a broad term that describes situations where the hacker manipulates people to get the result that they want. For example, they can pretend to be a person in a different department and use that fake identity to access resources they should not have access to.

One way to protect against the people skills of certain charismatic hackers is to give the entire company training that explains the situations they may encounter. You don’t need everyone to have an IT specialist’s level understanding of cybersecurity, but you do want them to know what they’re looking for.

Hacker Quote

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POS viruses

If you have a physical retail location, your point of sale systems may be at risk of getting hacked.

POS viruses are loaded directly onto this equipment, typically by leveraging some sort of security loophole or breach. They can access credit card information, customer addresses and other personal data. (It’s also worth mentioning that POS terminals should be separated from any connections to office workstations and other devices to avoid malicious data injection/hijacking.)

Limit the chances of this cybersecurity breach from happening by staying up to date on operating system and firmware updates for your POS. Talk to your vendor to see whether they have other security recommendations in place.

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A distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack overwhelms your network’s capacity and causes your resources to crash and become inaccessible. DDOS attacks often leverage botnets of compromised devices, making so many server requests that your server simply can’t handle them.

Or, in plain English, the hacker overwhelms your server, which keeps it from working.

Sometimes bringing your systems down is the entire point of a DDOS. In other cases, the hackers use a DDOS to try to identify other vulnerabilities that they can use to gain access to your systems.

A proactive cybersecurity system can help you stay ahead of a DDOS attack. The affected IP addresses can be blocked. Or you can spread the traffic over multiple servers to stop the spike in requests from bringing everything down. You might even resort to backup servers that are distributed elsewhere, such as a cloud-based resource.

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SQL injection

Many web applications depend on SQL databases to store data. They can’t function without having access to this valuable digital asset.

An SQL injection introduces malicious tables into your databases that could lead to data breaches, unauthorized access and other problems. SQL injections can happen due to unpatched software or forms that fail to sanitize user-submitted fields. If you don’t realize that your database has been breached, then you may end up getting attacked multiple times without finding the culprit.

Keep your SQL databases updated and audit them frequently. Look over all of your forms and confirm that any code gets removed from the text fields before it reaches the database. Preventative maintenance can stop a lot of SQL injections in their tracks.

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Internal bad actor

The most significant threat could come from within your organization. Employees sometimes work in concert with “bad actors” or an employee could even be a “bad actor.”

What’s a bad actor? Someone who wants to breach your security and compromise your data. Sometimes this happens when an employee is working for the competition. Other times they may be disgruntled and upset at the company.

While it’s difficult to protect against malicious individuals who have leadership positions in your organization, you can easily limit what lower level employees can do. Use a robust user account management strategy to control permissions and stay on top of deactivating user accounts when necessary.

Your company’s HR department, if you have one, also needs a streamlined process for firing employees that limits how much damage they could do on your network before leaving.

Preventative protection can stop most SMB cybersecurity attacks before they start.

Stay a step ahead

Cyber attacks are a threat to companies of all sizes. Keep your SMB protected by exploring these methods for staying safe and reducing the risk of a data breach.

No cybersecurity strategy is 100% effective, but you can put yourself in a position where you minimize your risk profile.

Internal threats 101: What they are and how to avoid them

We’ve warned you before that half of all small to midsize businesses have endured at least one cyberattack. But did you know that “the biggest cybersecurity threats are inside your company?”

That’s an eye-opening claim from a 2016 report by the Harvard Business Review. It’s also backed by data from IBM’s 2016 Cyber Security Intelligence Index. According to that report, some “60% of all attacks were carried out by insiders,” with 75 percent of those coming from malicious actors. (The rest were inadvertent—which is better but still bad.)

What’s more, these internal threats can be particularly harmful. A 2017 article from Tripwire stated that “53 percent of companies estimate remediation costs of $100,000 and more, with 12 percent estimating a cost of more than $1 million.”


On top of that, insider threats can go undetected for years on end. And guilt in such cases is really difficult to establish. It’s little wonder why an estimated “74 percent of companies feel that they are vulnerable to insider threats,” and a whopping 7 percent classify their vulnerability as “extreme.”

The conclusion?

While it’s critical to defend against external cybersecurity threats (and they are, generally speaking, more widely sensationalized), internal threats are just as important to catch. Today, we’ll be giving you a leg up by delving into what constitutes an internal threat and how you can mitigate the risks.

Just what is an internal threat?

For a straightforward definition, we turn to SecureList:

“Internal threats include any harmful actions with data that violate at least one of the fundamental principles of information security (integrity, availability, and confidentiality) and originate from within a company’s information system.”

Easy enough to comprehend, but classifying internal threats goes even deeper. According to CSO, internal vulnerabilities come in three main flavors: accidental, negligent and malicious. Those first two have a degree of overlap, as there’s no ill will on the part of the employees who are responsible.

Accidental threats arise when employees aren’t well-educated on proper protocol (and, by extension, open your company to maladies like ransomware and phishing schemes). Negligent threats occur when employees understand the protocols but willfully ignore them in favor of completing a task the “easy way.”

Malicious threats, on the other hand, are a whole different ballgame.

The offending employee might be holding a grudge. They might have been paid off. Whatever the case, malicious instances are categorized by employees within your company who wish to intentionally cause damage. Those employees use their knowledge of your systems to further their less-than-well-intended goals.

How to guard against internal threats

The strategies you employ for mitigating internal threat risk will vary based on the types of danger we listed above.

For accidental and negligent threats, education and enforcement are key. As EY so succinctly put it, “education is prevention.” Getting employees up to speed is a great way to cut down on the mistakes that can put your organization in a cybersecurity predicament.

solid IT support team can help with educational efforts. Combine that with a no-nonsense policy that reminds employees that cybersecurity rules are not to be taken lightly. That’s how to deal with a sizable portion of the internal risks your company faces.

Malicious threats require a different approach.

Preventing these are where background checks, employee monitoring and restricted access to various systems will benefit your overall preparedness. Again, leveraging IT pros to formulate a strategy will grant you significant benefit.

With the right methodologies in place, your vulnerability will diminish drastically.

Ransomware 101

Any kind of virus is scary. The idea of the technology you use turning on you is unsettling at best. As we come to rely more on computers, smartphones, tablets and the cloud, a single cyber attack can be devastating.

And yet, there is one form of cyber attack that stands out. Ransomware is singularly chilling. When this malware finds its way onto your device, it demands payment . . . or you lose your files. Forever.

While ransomware may seem like a new form of cyber attack, it’s actually been around for a while. In fact, the first known ransomware attack happened in the 1980s.

Attack Number One

It was 1989, well before email or Instagram. The average PC user wasn’t logging into the internet, so the delivery method of that first ransomware attack may seem low-tech by today’s standards. It came on floppy disks.

20,000 of them.

The disks were distributed to users in 90 different countries, each labeled as a product of the PC Cyborg Corporation. No such company exists, but no one was counting on name recognition to get recipients to use the disks. They were counting on the content.

The disks included software designed to detail a person’s risk of contracting AIDS. In those days, AIDS was both terrifying and mysterious. New information was welcome, especially if it promised some measure of protection. The attack played on a common fear.

The software included a legitimate risk assessment tool, as well as a virus. After the user rebooted their computer a set number of times, they would be prompted to turn on their printer. At that point, a literal ransom note would print, along with instructions for paying the ransom (or “licensing fee”) in exchange for decryption software.

It was a deviously creative plan, and it set the stage for modern ransomware.

The Modern Threat

Alert aware iconToday’s ransomware is fundamentally the same as that first attack, though there are some notable differences. The delivery method, for example, has changed. We’ll cover that in more detail in a bit.

Keeping your organization safe may seem like a tall order. There are so many clever ways a cyber criminal can infiltrate your network. Not only that, but ransomware attacks are alarmingly common.

And yet, the best cybersecurity is really just strict adherence to some basic strategies. In other words, it seems complex, but it’s not.

If you’re serious about protecting your company – and you should be – there’s a two-pronged approach that will stop most ransomware dead in its tracks. You need solid employee education, and you need the right technical tools.

Employee Education

The vast majority of ransomware relies on a single potential weakness in your network – the user. This is particularly true for ransomware.

Ransomware can only find its way into your system if it’s invited. Without an open door, it can’t touch you. The trick is to make sure your people know how to avoid inadvertently inviting ransomware onto your network.

Let’s look at three key areas.


Phishing emails are the modern-day equivalent of the same strategy the AIDS Trojan used. Even if you’re not familiar with the term “phishing,” you’re likely aware of this type of attack. The user receives an email with a link. Click that link and malware makes its way onto your system.

The thing about phishing emails is that they only work if the user clicks on the link, opting to download something. If the recipient doesn’t do that, nothing happens. Unfortunately, about one-third of all phishing emails work. Innocent users take the bait, clicking on malicious links.

The success of phishing comes down to a lack of employee education. If your people know and understand the danger of suspicious downloads, they’ll be far less likely to fall for them.

Social Media

Email isn’t the only delivery vehicle for phishing.

Here’s a common scenario. Attackers create fake social media accounts on sites like Facebook and Twitter. The newest variation is a fake account that appears to represent the customer service department of a trusted company. Attackers then watch for complaints from real customers, promptly messaging them with “fixes” . . . which are, of course, loaded with dangerous links.

Make sure your employees know of this tactic. If you or any member of your staff is having issues with a product or service, make sure you initiate conversation with the vendor. Don’t trust anyone who initiates conversation with you without first verifying the authenticity of the account.


Remarkably, there are still a lot of folks out there using painfully ineffective passwords. In a recent survey. A surprising number of users were actually using the password “123456.” That’s not just an invitation for cyber attack. That’s a neon sign with a laser light show and door prizes.

Instruct your employees to use strong passwords, and encourage them to change them often.

Hidden predictable password

Technical Tools

In addition to employee education, there are some things you can do on the technical side of your network to protect your company from ransomware attacks. Like employee education, these aren’t particularly difficult to execute. But don’t be fooled by their relative simplicity.

These are crucial steps to keeping your network safe.

Software Updates & Upgrades

In June of 2017, the Petya ransomware virus made worldwide headlines, infecting an estimated 16,500 machines. Ready for the painful twist? Microsoft released patches to address the vulnerabilities Petya exploited in May.

Software updatesToo many companies have a casual, relaxed attitude about updates and upgrades. Yes, it’s inconvenient to reboot your machine so the OS can update. Yes, it’s expensive to upgrade from the old version of a program to the new (current) version. And yes, it’s extremely important to do both anyway.

Software developers do their best to outpace cyber criminals. When they find holes in their products, they address them. But if you don’t update and upgrade appropriately, you’ll remain vulnerable.

Backups & Business Continuity

Even thorough security measures aren’t a guarantee that you won’t fall victim to a ransomware attack. After all, it just takes one employee clicking on a malicious link. Just one out-of-date program. It can happen, even if you’re cautious.

Because the threat is very real, your protection should include a worst-case-scenario plan.

Ransomware is engineered to hold your data hostage. That can ruin a business – unless you have recent backups and a solid business continuity plan. If you’re prepared, even a successful attack won’t unravel your company’s stability.

A word of caution here, though. Business continuity isn’t something we advise doing on your own. But, that’s a perfect lead-in to our final technical tool . . .

Cybersecurity Partner

A cybersecurity partner should be a part of your ransomware defense plan. Particularly if you don’t have an internal IT department. There’s no substitution for expertise. Working with the pros makes protection much easier to manage.

A well-qualified cybersecurity partner can even handle employee education on your behalf.

CCS Technology Can Help

Ransomware is a serious threat. That’s why we recommend a serious, proactive response. The individual parts aren’t all that complex, but each piece is important.

If you’re looking for ways to shore up potential security holes in your network, the experts at CCS Technology are here to help. We have years of experience helping small businesses just like yours. We know what it takes to stop ransomware.

Plus, we’re just a phone call away. Let us know how we can help you.

Closing the most common cybersecurity holes

Are you sitting down? We’re going to begin with an alarming stat.

Half of all small-to-medium-sized businesses have encountered at least one cyber attack. Wait. It gets worse. In cases involving theft of data, SMBs spent an average of over $955,000 to recover from the attack. Even for businesses that do post profits in the millions, nobody wants to drop that kind of money on a cyber attack.

There’s a host of things you can do to protect your business from cyber criminals, but one of the most important security measures is easy to overlook. A staggering number of cyber attacks start by targeting one specific weak point: your employees.

The average user may not be aware of the creative, devious ways hackers work. To give your business an instant cybersecurity boost, start by educating your people.

If you’re wondering what your staff needs to know, you’ve come to the right place. Below, you’ll find several critical tips and tricks any SMB can put into play immediately. While a cybersecurity training session may not be the most exciting way to spend an hour, the stakes are high and the information is priceless.

Be (a little) Paranoid

First, tell your people, candidly, to ditch the “it won’t happen to me” attitude. Even tech savvy folks get duped from time to time. In the ever-changing world of cyber crime, there’s no room for arrogance. A little paranoia is appropriate.

Alert aware iconIn general, assume there are people outside your organization who want your data. Assume they want access to your network. Assume they’ll go to impressively creative measures to get it.

That doesn’t mean you have to avoid the internet at all costs. Email, web services and remote access are all necessary tools. You can’t take take your business back to the Stone Age and still be successful.

Instead, shoot for balance. Make sure your employees know the same time-saving, profit-generating technology they use every day can be turned against them. Cultivate an awareness of the possibility of cyber attack.

Security is a shared burden. Everyone on the team needs to pitch in.


If you want to see an IT guy cringe, tell him you use one password for everything, and it’s “123456.” When he’s done convulsing, he’ll most likely launch into a tirade about password security (and justifiably so!).

Tech news sites routinely warn of the dangers of using “123456” and “password” for web services, but both of those examples still show up on lists of the most commonly used weak passwords.

Hidden predictable password

What makes for a better password? Several things:

  • Passwords should be long. The generally agreed upon minimum length is 12 characters. The shorter the password, the easier it is to crack.
  • Passwords should be unique. Don’t use the same password for multiple services. If you do, one security breach can easily turn into dozens of security breaches.
  • Passwords should be complex. Include numbers, letters, and symbols. Steer clear of dictionary words as much as possible. And, no, obvious substitutions (like using a zero in place of an “o”) don’t do nearly as much to discourage hackers as one would hope.

Of course, passwords also have to be memorable, which is one reason why so many employees use low security passwords. To get around that issue, consider using a password manager. LastPass, for example, makes it a breeze to up your password game.

Stranger Danger!

Email SecurityEmail is a prime point of entry for malware, phishing and ransomware attacks. Seemingly legit downloads and links can lead to epic cybersecurity breaches. Even if your email server scans inbound messages for dangerous content, don’t make the mistake of assuming every clickable option is safe.

Warn your employees to only download files from people and companies they know and trust. Also make them aware of the hazard of links. Cyber criminals capitalize on curiosity to worm their way into networks. No matter how interesting the article, or how cute the kitten pictures, strongly encourage your staff to never click on email links from unknown senders.

Other Tips

Consider the above the big three. If you only have a few minutes with your employees, those are the tips you should share first. If you can carve out a bit more time, here are some other areas worth covering.

  • Updates Are Your Friends. Way too many people ignore update notifications. Even if you’re right in the middle of a flow, churning out work, when your software or operating system requests permission to apply an update, do it. Keeping your tools updated is a basic rule of cybersecurity.
  • It’s Good to Share. In this case, we’re talking about sharing to a local server or the cloud – AKA, backing up your work. Never rely on a single version of any file. All your data should be duplicated somewhere secure.
  • Lock It Down. When an employee walks away from their workstation, they should always lock it. Not only will that protect staff from . . . interesting aesthetic changes applied by coworkers (think David Hasselhoff desktop wallpaper), but it also adds an additional layer of security. Lock computers when not in use, especially if guests are frequent in your office.
  • Know Your Network. When you’re mobile, be careful about the Wi-Fi networks you use. Public networks are convenient, but not always safe. Be discerning. And never use an open, unknown network. That’s just asking for trouble.

Go over these cybersecurity tips with your employees, not just once, but repeatedly. Bad cybersecurity habits are hard to break. Frequent reminders will help you close some of the most common holes in your network security, helping to stave off costly attacks.

If you’d like even more help shoring up your cybersecurity, the expert team at CCS Technology can help. We know what it takes to protect businesses. To find out more about how we can help, contact us today.


4 tips for securing your enterprise resource planning software

In the Oscar-winning drama The Social Network, Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin are two Harvard college students working to create what is now the most widely used social networking site in the world: Facebook.

There’s a scene from the film where a crowd of students cheer on five nerdy guys furiously typing on computers. Zuckerberg looks on while Saverin approaches him, asking what’s going on.

“They have 10 minutes to get root access to a Python web server, expose its SSL encryption, and then intercept all traffic over its secure port.”

Saverin replies, “They’re hacking.”

Turns out, these five guys are participating in a “hackathon.” One where, according to the rules, they take a shot every 30 or so seconds.

To these students, hacking is a game. Something fun to do at a party. In the business world, it’s anything but.

The possibility of a cybercriminal breaching your business network and gaining access to sensitive company data is very real. And very serious.

One of the ways a hacker can do this is through your enterprise resource planning software. We’re here to help you prevent that from happening.

Why is ERP security important?

Enterprise resource planning software has the potential to give an overview of your entire company-wide operations, including everything from customer and financial relationships to personal data, HR information and intellectual property.

A data breach that includes ERP records would have sweeping impact. Productivity takes a hit, your reputation suffers, and revenue could easily dip. And if your business is subject to compliance regulations, you could be looking at hefty violation fines, too.

The key to avoiding these headaches is a robust network and application security designed specifically to protect all your data, including the information managed by your ERP solution.

Here are 4 tips to help you better secure your ERP software.

  1. Update, update, update.

Forgive the repetition, but this first tip is just that important. Update your network security and upgrade your application software to the most current release. Due to ERP’s integration into nearly every area of your company, a breach into one are of your network can expose your entire system to hackers.

Patching your system will protect against new malware threats and fix bugs. Plus, updates can introduce new software capabilities unavailable in previous versions.

Since enterprise resource planning software is massive, performing updates will take longer. Scheduling them outside of business hours will help you eliminate update-related downtime.

  1. Control user access.

If anyone in your company can access all the information in your ERP, then in the famous words of NASA Mission Control, “Houston, we have a problem.” Allowing every employee to see every module’s information is a security risk. And, depending on the data, a potential compliance violation.

“66% of data protection leaders admit that employees are the weakest link in an enterprise’s security posture.” – Ponemon Institute

To prevent internal attacks or accidental data removal, define permissions for different features in your ERP and require employees to frequently change their passwords. If an employee doesn’t need access to certain information to do their job, they shouldn’t have it. An experienced professional can help you set up these permissions.

  1. Train your employees.

Piggybacking onto our previous point, it’s essential to acknowledge that employees pose a substantial security risk, so be sure you take into consideration segregation of duties when allocating permissions. Sure, your staff means well. But humans, by nature, have a larger predisposition for error than machines.

“60% of respondents believe employees lack adequate knowledge of cybersecurity risks.” – Ponemon Institute

That’s why it’s critical to train your team on cybersecurity best practices. If your team knows how to spot and report unusual activity in your ERP, you can greatly reduce a cyberattack’s damage.

  1. Use active reporting.

Visibility is crucial. If an issue occurs, you’ll need to know where in order to resolve it. Real-time, internal reporting can help by letting you see problematic user activity as it happens and trace data quickly and efficiently. Run frequent audit reports in your most sensitive ERP modules.

For example, if users try to access data without the required permissions, you’ll know. Once you’re made aware, you can address the issue immediately, minimizing potential damage.

Securing your enterprise resource planning software.

Taking a preventative approach is always the best way to approach network and application security. While there’s not a universal solution, these tips should provide you with a solid foundation for securing the sensitive data in your ERP.

Related Blog: The Advantages of ERP for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

Is your network safe from cyber attacks?

Before the landmark work of Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch, humanity had some . . . interesting explanations for causes of disease. A prominent theory held that “bad air” was to blame for ailments. Odd though that sounds, it makes sense.

With no knowledge of germs, people relied on basic observations about sickness and health. They saw that people living near foul odor (like primitive sewer systems) were more likely to fall ill. The most noticeable issue was the smell – hence the theory.

Eventually, Pasteur and Koch would develop what is now known as “germ theory.” This changed how we conceive of disease. But there’s a valuable lesson in humanity’s previous mistaken understanding.

You can’t adequately protect yourself from something if you don’t understand the true nature of the threat.

When your network gets sick.

There’s a modern, technical equivalent to germ theory: cyber crime. On some level, we all acknowledge the similarities. After all, we call malicious software “viruses.”

Unfortunately, a lot of business owners understand as much about ransomware as folks in the Middle Ages understood about bacteria. Too many of us talk about malicious software like it just appears out of the ether.

We know how horrible viruses are when they strike. But do you really understand where they come from? If you don’t, your network could be exposed.

The origins of malware.

Malware doesn’t spontaneously appear. Viruses and ransomware are the direct results of intentional effort. Said another way, cyber attacks start with cyber criminals.

Their motivations vary from financial gain to political statements. Their objectives are the same either way. Cyber criminals create malware to disrupt computer systems and take networks offline. Even if they don’t make money from the attack, the financial impact on affected businesses is still considerable.

The effects of cyber crime.

A recent Business Insider article starts with this ominous opening line.

“Warren Buffett sees cyber attacks as a bigger threat to humanity than nuclear weapons.”

That may sound like a dramatic overstatement, but the most recent cyber crime statistics lend Buffett’s assessment uncomfortable credibility. Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that the total cost of cyber crime will hit $6 trillion dollars by 2021. (Yes, that’s “trillion” with a “t.”) What’s more, half of all small to medium-sized business experienced at least one cyber attack in the last year. Finally, according to the Denver Post, “60% of small companies that suffer a cyber attack are out of business within six months.”

The financial impact of a single cyber attack is significant enough to undo the foundation of your business. That’s no small thing.

Stopping cyber crime.

You can’t stop something if you don’t understand it. Our efforts to stop literal epidemics weren’t nearly as successful as they could have been before we understood germ theory. Similarly, stopping cyber crime comes down to understanding the very nature of it.

If you want to protect your company, you have to tap into some serious know-how.

Of course, most small business owners don’t have the time for that. It can take years of experience to really understand the nature of cybersecurity. On top of that, the landscape of cyber crime is always changing. It’s not easy to stay current.

Which is why so many small businesses turn to outside help. Not only does it save you time, but it could easily save the future of your business should you experience a cyber attack.

CCS Technology and cybersecurity.

Here at CCS Technology, we understand the complexity of keeping your network safe. We know what’s at stake, and we know the kinds of tactics cyber criminals rely on. We have a consistent track record of safeguarding our clients, and we can help you beef up your security, too.

If you’re interested in giving your organization the protection you need from cyber crime, get in touch with us today. Our friendly technicians are ready to walk you through every step of the process.

Related Post: Cybercrime: 5 Things You Need to Know