Allison Dillow No Comments

Malware & Ransomware…What To Expect in 2017!

Cyber-attacks are on the rise and there are several steps your small business can take to reduce risk and mitigate success of an attack.

Many experts in the IT industry believe that by 2020 there will be 200 billion devices connected to the internet. Driving this incredible number is the Internet of Things (IoT). There will be no escaping this connectivity as our homes, workplaces, cities, cars, planes, and WiFi hot spots will have dozens of devices connecting to the internet from wherever you are. But, all this connectivity is also problematic as each device that connects to the IoT can be hacked.

When device manufacturers are informed that there are vulnerabilities in their products they are slow to issue software updates if they bother at all. However, while the IoT already is under attack, it is not the only source of hacking. Business’ are dealing with more frequent threats daily.

Where Do Cyber Attacks Come From?

A report about Cyber Crime from F-Security answers the question of where attacks originate and other interesting facts as well. They include:

Attack Origination – In 2016, most cyber-attacks had IP addresses from 10 countries. The top five were:

  • Russia
  • The Netherlands
  • The United States
  • China
  • Germany

Outdated Android devices expose users to risks.

The poorly maintained infrastructure allows successful cyber-attacks to happen using basic scriptable techniques.

Ransomware families are rising exponentially in a year over year comparison. In 2015, there were 44 new ransomware attacks identified, but, in 2016 that number soared by more than 4-fold to 197 new ransomware families discovered.

This and other reports show the trend for cyber-attacks is they will continue and continue to increase. In fact, F-Secure Security Expert Andy Patel had this to say about why the report was done:

“Commodity malware, like ransomware, is still prevalent. And endpoint protection is excellent at protecting users from those threats. But defenders need to think about risk assessment, penetration testing, breach detection, incident response, and crisis management if they want cyber security plans they can count on when attackers wise up to their defenses.”

How Can My Company Prevent Computer System Attacks from Being Successful?

No IT security vendor can guarantee your company won’t be a victim of a hack or ransomware – changes occur too rapidly in IT for a claim like that to make any sense. But, there are some proactive steps you and your company can take to limit and mitigate an attack.

Inform & Educate Staff

Ransomware is almost always the result of a successful phishing plot. Warn employees about clicking on links or downloads that come to them from external email addresses. If a legitimate email seems “off” tell employees to call to authenticate it before opening links or completing a download.

Likewise, downloads from unknown websites hold all the dangers of clicking on email links, warn staff about both risks.

Hire a Managed Services Provider (MSP)

Keeping track of OS patches, software program patches, printers, and other devices can exhaust the IT function of small and medium-sized businesses. By delegating security to an MSP, your IT people no longer need do these unproductive tasks and can devote themselves to programs and advancements that improve efficiency and company productivity – in other words, help advance the company’s profitability.

For more information about how a Managed Service Provider can help you solve current and future security issues give BK Connected Solutions a call at 540.662.0084, visit our website at bkconnectedsolutions.com or email us at bkconnectedsolutions@bkcs-inc.com.

Used by permission
Allison Dillow No Comments

Cyber Security Statistics Small Businesses Should Be Aware Of

The latest cyber statistics reveal that small businesses are at a high risk for attacks.

Each day media outlets cover the latest cyber-attacks throughout the globe. From the recent CIA data breach to the multitude of mom and pop small businesses that succumb to a phishing scam, the evidence of a growing number of cyber attackers is prevalent. Any small business that is not considering the state of their IT security needs to keep the following statistic in mind: approximately 60 percent of small businesses will be forced to close their doors within six months of a data breach or other form of cyber-attack. If you still have a “this won’t happen to me mentality,” then remember those small businesses are targeted 43 percent of the time by cyber attackers. These statistics are not meant to only scare you, but rather to help you understand where your small business is most vulnerable.

Small Businesses Need To Remain Vigilant
By reading the latest cyber security statistics you can fortify your IT defenses to reduce the risk of attack and minimize vulnerabilities. The first two statistics to help you formulate your defense are the following:

  • Malicious intent is the leading motivator for cyber hackers in 48 percent of data security breaches.
  • An estimated 52 percent of data security breaches are caused by system failure or human error.

The above statistics showcase the importance of cyber security education. If your employees and vendors don’t understand best practice approaches for maintaining a secure business network, then you are putting yourself at an increased risk for costly data breaches. In fact, a recent study revealed that in the aftermath of a data breach involving employee or customer information, businesses spent an average of approximately $879,582. This money was spent as either a result of the theft of valuable IT assets or the damage caused by the cyber-attack.

Small Businesses Need To Do More Than The Bare Minimum
Valuable IT assets are housed by almost every small business. These assets include: email addresses, phone numbers, billing addresses, full names, purchase histories, credit cards, and any other personal or professional information for employees, customers, or vendors. Cyber attackers will steal these assets and sell them at a profit on the black market. So, while you might be tempted to think that “your company doesn’t have any data worth stealing”, think again.

You must remain vigilant and dedicated to meeting your IT security needs so that you don’t become like:

  • The 62 percent of small businesses who don’t regularly upgrade software solutions;
  • The 69 percent of small businesses who fail to monitor business credit reports; and
  • The 78 percent of small businesses who don’t encrypt their databases.

The moral of the story is written in the statistics. If you want to protect your small business from cyber-attacks, minimize the damage that an attack could cause, or safeguard your valuable data assets, then you need to do more than the bare minimum. IT security should be as important as marketing, hiring the right employees, or solidifying business relationships. Take the steps needed to protect your business from IT cyber-attacks by contacting BK Connected Solutions at 540.662.0084, bkconnectedsolutions@bkcs-inc.com or by visiting bkconnectedsolutions.com.

Used with permission
Allison Dillow No Comments

Why Cyber Security Efforts Fail

If you spend the majority of your life in the digital world, as millions of people around the world do each day, cyber security should always be one of your top priorities. You would never hand a stranger your credit card and the keys to your home, trusting that they aren’t going to rob you blind – yet that is essentially what so many people do when they fail to take the appropriate steps to protect themselves online. In an era where it is sadly all too common to wake up and find out about yet another massive data breach that has struck one of the biggest organizations on the planet, Americans should be ashamed of themselves concerning their current cyber security efforts.

Cyber Security: The Situation

Per a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, most Americans aren’t just “lax” about cyber security – they’re alarmingly ambivalent. In a study that touched base with over 1000 adults in the country, it was revealed that even people who have experienced privacy breaches in the past cannot be bothered to protect themselves in the modern cyber world.

The study revealed that only 12% of those who responded use a password management program, for example, despite the fact that they’re incredibly easy to use and are mostly inexpensive. Instead of protecting themselves against hacking and phishing attempts with strong, randomized passwords, people are choosing to use the same old tired “easy to guess” passwords instead. To make matters worse, a lot of respondents said that they used either similar or identical password across multiple accounts – yet another invitation to hackers to come into your life and take anything that they can.

Another unfortunate finding had to do with the fact that most Americans fail to update apps or operating systems as soon as they become available – even though it’s easy to automate the process of doing so. Most app and OS updates don’t just include new features – they also fix significant security vulnerabilities as quickly as possible.

The most alarming insight revealed by the study is that this is even common among younger users. It’s easy to see that this is a problem that, if anything, is only going to get worse over time as young people age and carry these poor habits with them into the future. If anything, the only people you should be happy for are the hackers as they’re about to inherit an entire generation of individuals who seem to care very little about their online privacy and cyber security in general.

BK Connected Solutions is incredibly proud of our position as one of the area’s premier leaders regarding the latest in IT news, tips, trends and tricks that you need to survive the digital life. If you have additional questions about this or any other related topics, don’t delay – contact us today by phone at 540.662.0084 or via email at bkconnectedsolutions@bkcs-inc.com.
Used With Permission.

Allison Dillow No Comments

BK Connected Solutions To Sponsor Mens’ & Ladies’ Commonwealth Luncheons

As the bloom gains more and more recognition, BK Connected Solutions couldn’t be any more proud and excited to partner with the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival to co-sponsor both the Mens’ and Ladies’ Commonwealth Luncheons!
Read on for more details regarding each event. If you’d like to purchase tickets or have questions we’d be happy to help. Give us a call or shoot us an email at allison@bkcs-inc.com.


Ladies’ Commonwealth Luncheon:

Join BK Connected Solutions on Apple Blossom Friday, May 5th from 11-1 at the George Washington Hotel for a brand new event! Enjoy networking along with delicious appetizers and our favorite libations at the Ladies’ Commonwealth Luncheon!
For more details, click here
United Capital Ladies Commonwealth
Friday, May 5 @ 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

$50
George Washington Hotel Ballroom

For 2017, the Festival is offering the United Capital Ladies’ Commonwealth. The event will be Chaired by Festival Veterans, Glenne White and Kay Ross; and, will be held in the elegant ballroom at the George Washington Hotel. To get this event off on the right foot, retiring City of Winchester Mayor, Liz Minor, has been asked to be the Honorary Chair, and she has gleefully accepted. Attendance will be limited and will probably be capped at 150 ladies.

The George will be operating bars stocked with soft beverages and festive adult beverages; and, “stand-and-nibble” food stations serving cocktail party-style. Midday Friday is a very busy party time in Bloomtown; and, as is the case with the BB&T Men’s Commonwealth Luncheon, all ladies with a business-and-politically-oriented slant to their nature, who are looking for a quieter, more conversation-able atmosphere for their celebration, are asked to consider this event. Tickets for this impressive new Festival event are $50.00; and SABF Ticket Forms will be available starting Thursday, November 10th, at SABF Headquarters at 540-662-3863, and available for download. Stay tuned! The Festival will continue to supply event updates!

Mens’ Commonwealth Luncheon

Join BK Connected Solutions on Apple Blossom Friday, May 5th from 11-1 at the Piccadilly Brew Pub for the 10th annual Men’s Commonwealth Luncheon! Enjoy networking along with delicious appetizers and favorite libations prepared by the Piccadilly Brew Pub!
For more details, click here

BB&T Men’s Commonwealth Luncheon
Friday, May 5 @ 11:00 am – 2:00 pm

$35
Piccadilly’s Public House, 125 East Piccadilly Street (next to the George Washington Hotel).

This popular gathering of gentlemen will be reminiscent of the original and complementary to the current Stag Luncheon. The area’s business and community leaders know this is one party not to miss!

It is held in the heart of downtown Winchester in a restored grocery warehouse built in 1900, now known as Piccadilly’s Public House. Attendees enjoy a delectable lunch of custom-made Baltimore bratwurst with their favorite libations and special samples of world-famous distilled spirits while engaging in lively discussions and meeting Festival celebrities.

Proper attire includes a jacket or tie. Gentlemen, raise your glasses in a toast to Apple Blossom’s nostalgic event: the BB&T Men’s Commonwealth Luncheon is sponsored by BK Connected Solutions, Annandale Millwork, Anthem, Frogale Lumber Supply, Piccadilly’s Public House & Restaurant, and Yount, Hyde and Barbour.

Allison Dillow No Comments

Why Managed Services Are So Essential to the Future

An overview of why managed services are not just important, but why they’re an essential part of the future of nearly every business you can imagine.

Regardless of the industry that your business is operating in, technology acts as the foundation of every service that you offer, every function that you perform and every step that you take. As a result, having a competitive technological advantage is something so important it literally cannot be overstated enough. If you can’t outspend your larger competitors, you need to be able to do the next best thing: work smarter, not harder. To that end, managed services are essential to the future of nearly every organization for an incredible list of reasons.

What Are Managed Services?

At its core, managed services equate to a delivery model that allows systems like servers, networks, storage and more to all be monitored and managed via third party businesses over the Internet. Do you need to add additional storage to your network? Don’t worry about running out to the store, researching hard drives, making a huge purchase and finding someone to install it. Just call up your managed services provider, let them know that your needs have changed and they’ll take care of the rest instantly – all in exchange for one low and predictable monthly fee.

Superior Efficiency

Because certain essential services are all managed through a third party, the number one reason why managed services themselves are so important has everything to do with efficiency. Not only will businesses of all sizes enjoy a superior level of visibility over the resources that they have in place and how they’re being used, but this also brings with it advantages like efficient incident resolution, reduced downtime and risk and much, much more.

Cloud and remote infrastructure management allows for real-time, proactive monitoring – meaning that you’ll no longer be waiting for something to go wrong before you can act. Instead, an IT professional will be watching for signs that something may go wrong so that it can be avoided altogether. They will also comb through logs and reports to make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future.

Greater Cost Effectiveness

What managed services bring to the table for small businesses is greater cost effectiveness across the board. Instead of dealing with the massive upfront investment of researching, building and maintaining your own infrastructure, nearly everything is handled by someone else. Someone who can see exactly how your resources are being used, allowing you to make smarter, more informed decisions when it comes time to upgrade.

Additionally, because managed services are a “pay-as-you-go” delivery model, you’re only paying for exactly what you’re using and not a penny more. In terms of your IT investment, you no longer need to plan for the future because managed services allow the future to essentially plan for itself based on the patterns identified today.

Make no mistake: managed services aren’t just important. They’re going to become mission critical as time goes on. If you’re in or near Winchester, the Shenandoah Valley, Eastern Panhandle or Northern Virginia / Metro DMV areas and would like to discuss managed services or any other related topic with someone in more detail, don’t delay – contact BK Connected Solutions via email at tech@bkcs-inc.com, via phone  at 540.662.0084 or on the web at bkconnectedsolutions.com.

 

Used with permission