Are Your Applications Vulnerable to Data Breaches?

With all this talk about how vulnerable small businesses and individuals are to hacking, it can seem like the applications we use every day are an afterthought in the battle against malware. Application security is one of the most important kinds of cybersecurity because  web applications (and mobile applications) work with staggering amounts of sensitive customer data.

How an application developer handles security can be a defining moment for the success of the application. Ignoring application security can carry ethical, legal and financial consequences. Actively addressing security isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s also a fantastic move in terms of public relations and customer experience.

The Frequency of Application Security Failures

The security failures of application developers are well simple, but so routine that they’re difficult to correct. In 2016, an estimated 72% of applications had at least one major encapsulation error. Security issues were most prevalent in mobile applications; 95% of recently tested mobile apps had some kind of security issue, and 80% exhibited critical or high-risk vulnerabilities.

The good news is that 45% of organizations plan on scaling up their application security spending in the next 12 months. It’s likely that stagnant security budgets are a contributing factor to the lack of progress in application security in recent years.

How Developers Are Addressing Security

Many application developers are catching on to the increasing importance of applications security and reacting accordingly. Some are focusing on combating malicious practices that cause downtime. Netflix is one recent example. By rerouting user traffic to servers in other regions, Netflix has been able to devote entire regions’ worth of servers to use as a live-fire testing zone to run security simulations. In one recent test, Netflix DDoS’d (Distributed Denial of Service) itself in order to find areas of vulnerability and engineer more effective solutions.

Developers that are getting on board with increased security spending should begin to see results within the next year. Outsourcing application security responsibilities is more viable than ever. Editors spot mistakes that writers miss due to their familiarity with the content. Similarly, third-party security specialists can find flaws in code and functionality that developers may skim over after months of working on an application.

In the meantime, there are many options for end users to take security into their own hands.

What You Can Do to Improve Security

Not all aspects of application security fall at the developer’s feet. There are many precautions that users can (and should) take to further secure their information.

Using random and complex passwords is one of the best possible ways to prevent your accounts from being compromised. Keeping track of dozens of passwords can be a burden, so consider using a password management program to keep track of and automatically enter passwords on your personal devices. Stay away from passwords that carry personal significance.

In the office, consider implementing dual-authentication, and require employees to lock up their workstation at the end of the day. Keep in mind that with the increased use of mobile and personal devices for work purposes, your network perimeter doesn’t end at the walls of your office; it now extends to every employee’s pocket and home desk. Proper cybersecurity education can help employees spot the warning signs associated with poorly secured apps.

Web applications are already ubiquitous and will only become more common and more powerful with the passage of time. The potential of application development will only be fully realized once security is prioritized as highly as functionality.

How Safe is Your Data?

Cybercrime will cost $2 trillion by 2019. This incredible figure means that we are less than two years away from cybercrime costing enough money to fuel a G8 economy (Italy, the current eighth-largest economy in the world, has a GDP of $1.8 trillion). The staggering impact of cyber crime is compounded by the fact that it only seems to be getting more common. 2017 has already seen two major waves of destructive ransomware.

Attacks like these are causing many business owners to question the security of their own data. Small businesses are often viewed as soft targets by malicious parties. To complicate matters further, cyber attacks are uniquely deadly to smaller businesses. An estimated 60% of small businesses that suffer a cyber attack go out of business within six months.

Now more than ever, it’s important to evaluate your current technological resources and determine if you’ve taken the necessary steps to protect your data.

Do You Have Backups in Place?

Even if a deadly cyber attack never comes to pass, there are plenty of everyday threats to data that doesn’t have a reliable and recent backup.

In the old days, backing up your data was a simple but time-consuming process. You’d spend time every few days loading all of your data onto an external hard drive just in case something happened to your main storage device. Thanks to the emergence of cloud computing, however, backing up your data isn’t just easy – it can be instantaneous as well. When you work in a digital workspace like Google Drive, all of your work is saved in real time in a massive global infrastructure. That means spilling your coffee on the computer or accidentally closing out of your document won’t cost you hours or days of progress.

Working in the cloud is only one layer of redundancy, however. For comparison, the military uses upwards of 10 redundancies. Working with a professional IT expert can help you put all the necessary processes in place to ensure your data is safe from destruction.

Have You Reduced the Risk of Human Error?

The best-laid cybersecurity plans rarely survive first contact with an untrained employee. Ensuring that your employees are able to identify malicious schemes like phishing or malware can go a long way towards making your business a hacker’s nightmare. Even if you invest time and money in firewalls and other precautions, all it takes is one click on a bad email to compromise your entire network.

Luckily, professional cybersecurity training is widely available. If your business works with technology in any capacity, such training is worth it. Implementing policies like dual authentication and requiring employees to shut down and password lock their workstations at the end of the day can be massively beneficial.

Controlling access to your facilities is important as well. Using surveillance and controlled access technology in your offices and other buildings can ensure employees are working safely and effectively, and it prevents additional unauthorized access to your secure information.

If you reach this point and feel that your business may not be as insulated from cybercrime as it could be, there’s no time to wait. The Preferred Technology Solutions team is standing by to help North Texas businesses gain peace of mind through data security. Just reach out today to kick off a discussion and begin the process of making your business a bastion against malicious cybercrime.

Security Breach

What a Security Breach Will Cost Your Company

More and more often we see stories in the news regarding data breaches at major companies, from the Sony hack that put the data of millions of gamers onto the open marketplace to the Home Depot breach that put the credit card information of thousands of their customers onto the Web. The Ponemon Institute, which tracks such incidents, estimates that the average cost of a security breach is $3.5 million, with the lowest that they have knowledge of at $750,000 and the highest at nearly $31 million.

 

The volume of these attacks is on the rise, with credit card companies, banks and other financial institutions leading the list of companies that have to deal with hackers on a regular basis. Other companies aren’t safe either, though, as all information, of any kind, will command some kind of price on the black market. Hackers will go after any storage that they find is easy to breach in the hope of finding some sort of paydata.

 

This means that your company isn’t safe either – any data is a commodity, and its loss may hurt you more than it lines the criminals’ pockets. Having all of your client information deleted, for example, can spell the bankruptcy of your firm, and in more ways than you realize. Not only will you no longer be able to have their history and such, but you’ll have to go to them, hat in hand, and explain that their data is no longer secure. This is not only embarrassing, but it’s also a bad blow to your company’s reputation.

 

Reputation is important, especially if you have a bad one. You don’t want to be known as the company that lost data. Customers expect companies to realize all these threats and have security in place to prevent it, making it your responsibility to guard against them even if they are a lot more sophisticated than conventional means can handle. Sony is a good example: it took a public apology by the CEO and the board for a horde of angry gamers to stay on as customers, and even then many left and took their wallets elsewhere. The consequences for Home Depot are still a little unclear, but their stock took a tumble as shareholders started selling in anticipation of disappointing profit figures.

 

Security is no small matter. It can decide the future of your business. Unlike an individual, as an entrepreneur you can’t rely on free options or on downloadable programs; you’re going to have to enlist the services of IT security professionals who can set up a suite of protection for you and who will monitor your security situation at all times. It may not be cheap, but the alternative can cost you a lot more.

New “Bash” Security Threat Surfaces – Preferred Technology can help ensure that you are protected with our “Effective IT” Solutions

Do you remember the catastrophic “Heartbleed” security bug that started wreaking havoc on people and businesses in April?

Well, a new security bug has surfaced, and it is being referred to as “Bash.” It has been widely stated that this bug will be even more disastrous than Heartbleed was.

If your system falls victim to Bash, an unauthorized user could gain control of your entire system! That could be completely devastating for your company.

To learn more about the severity of Bash, click here.

In the midst of this harrowing announcement, there IS good news – Preferred Technology can help ensure that you are protected with our “Effective IT” Solutions.

Remember, here at Preferred Technology, we are the security and data recovery experts! Contact us today, and let’s work together to keep your assets safe.

3 Simple Tips To Help You Secure Your Data At Work

Securing your data at work is crucial. Think about it – could you really recover from data loss if you didn’t have any files backed up?

Probably not – you would likely end up going out of business.

Don’t let that happen.

Check out these 3 easy ways to secure your data in the workplace.

 

Use Strong Passwords

Hackers are getting smarter all of the time – and that means that your passwords are getting weaker. Make sure that you don’t use easy dictionary words for your passwords. Even if you combine a dictionary work with a combination of numbers it still isn’t a very strong password.

If you want some easy tips on how to create a secure but memorable password, check out our previous blog post.

 

Back Up Your Data

What would happen if a natural disaster or security disaster occurred and you didn’t have any of your data backed up?

Chances are, you’d lose a lot of money and the trust of your clients. And that’s not all – you could even lose your entire business!

There’s no need to risk everything you’ve worked so hard to build.

Here at Preferred, we offer security solutions to give you the peace of mind you need and know that your data is backed up. That way, you can stop worrying about losing your data and know that you’ll be able to easily recover if it does ever happen.

 

Talk To Your Employees

Human error is one of the top causes of security breaches.

You need to make sure your employees know how important security is in the workplace. You could hold a meeting or even plan an event to let them know best practices for keeping company and personal information safe.

You should also make sure that you enforce security policies, and that those policies are easy to understand. That way, your employees will not have to question what the security rules are and your data will remain safe.

 

Have you already followed these steps? If you need further help securing your business, contact Preferred today – let’s work together to make sure your company data is safe!

Backup and Disaster Recovery

Imagine how much easier your life would be if you had consistent peace of mind – you could focus on your company’s strategic vision instead of the day-to-day tasks that are trivial but necessary to keep your business functioning properly. If you weren’t so preoccupied with those tasks, you’d be able to attend to your long-term business goals and work toward achieving them. Dallas IT support company Preferred Technology Solutions can help by giving you the data protection and network security that you need!



Proactive Monitoring – Instead of reacting to issues AFTER they occur, we give you the peace of mind you need by working hard to prevent problems from ever happening in the first place.

Focus on Running Your Business – If you have a problem that needs to be resolved, you can count on our qualified engineers to fix it right the FIRST time. That way, you can focus on strategically running your business.

Knowledge and Expertise – Gain peace of mind knowing that our highly qualified, enterprise-level engineers are available for you to speak to directly at any time. When you call us, you won’t have to speak to an automated system – a real person answers the phone!

Safeguard your Information – Worried about what would happen to your critical data if a disaster occurred? We’re here to help! Here at Preferred, we’ll provide you with data protection and the most effective disaster recovery solutions on the market.

Support when YOU need it – You can call us any time 24/7/365 – rest assured knowing that we’re going to be here when you need us!


At Preferred Technology Solutions in Dallas, we employ certified, enterprise-level engineers to resolve your issues. Because of our top-quality employees, we are able to identify, diagnose, and resolve complex IT issues BEFORE they have detrimental effects on your business. We also analyze your business and create a custom technology solution that is tailored to meet your specific set of needs – that way, you can feel confident in your network security!

By giving you the peace of mind and data protection that you need, we enable you to focus on the “big picture” and eliminate the need to worry about the details. Let us solve your problems the FIRST time by cutting out the middleman and connecting you directly with an expert. Get the peace of mind you need by utilizing NetManage – it’s the most effective solution!

Network Security

Can you imagine the devastating effects that an attack on your corporate data would have on your business? Sometimes, in these situations, businesses NEVER recover – and, if they do recover, it’s a lengthy, painstaking process. Do you really have the time to worry about that kind of disaster occurring?

Here at Preferred, our goal is to give you the peace of mind that you need and help you ensure that your information is safe if an attack occurs. Preferred’s Resource Security Analysis enables you to easily identify your network’s vulnerability from both the outside world and your internal user community.



A customized solution – tailored to fit YOUR needs!

If you obtain a security solution from another company, chances are, they’ll simply provide you with a one-size-fits-all solution. So, what’s different about security solutions at Preferred? We take the time to get to know YOU. A certified engineer will be in contact with you, analyze your business needs, and create a custom security solution for your business based on those needs – there’s no better way to get EXACTLY what you need.

Testing your security – the same way an outside attacker would!

When we test your security, we think like a hacker by pinpointing any “weak links” in your system. After we’ve identified your potential risks, we supply you with a proactive, practical plan of action so that you can put a halt to anything putting your data at risk! By thinking like a hacker, we give you the peace of mind you need to know that your system will be safe from attack.

You can rest assured knowing that your business is protected and your assets are as safe as they can be!

Instead of worrying about the day-to-day details that keep your business running efficiently, shift your focus to the “big picture” and you long-term business goals!


Our certified, enterprise-level engineers in Dallas are committed to developing the most effective solution possible for YOU! When you call us during the work day, you’ll talk to a PERSON – not an automated system. One of our engineers will then analyze your business needs and create a customized security solution for you based on those needs.

Don’t risk your assets. Protect them! Contact us to speak to an engineer in Dallas and get your personalized solution – it’s the most effective way to keep your business safe!

Fortinet Security Research Leads Expertise on Mobile Malware

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Sep 22, 2011 – Fortinet® – a leading network security provider and the worldwide leader of unified threat management (UTM) solutions, today announced that in just five years, the number of mobile malware has grown from 52 to over 2,500*. With more than 15 years of experience in cryptology, security protocols and operating systems, Axelle Apvrille has conducted in-depth research on mobile malware such as the Symbian Yxes worm, the Zitmo Trojan and more recently Spitmo, the latest Android malware which intercepts SMS from financial institutions and is the first to spread without the help of Google’s Market or any other third-party markets. The threat of mobile malware is now reality for Android users: records showed that a single malicious sample was downloaded more than 200,000 times**.

Disaster Preparedness Checklist

DISASTER PREPAREDNESS CHECKLIST

Preferred Technology Solutions can help you prepare your Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Plan. Please contact us to discuss your readiness and formulate a plan. The importance of being prepared cannot be overstated. Please look over the following checklist and let us know how we may help you to prepare your business in the event of such an occurrence.

• Have a plan to provide emergency notification to all employees, clients, visitors and customers in an emergency.

• Document a timeline for workplace preparation and closure. Consider the safe shut down or removal of servers and other equipment. Allow time for employees to prepare their families and take care of personal matters as well. Allow enough time for them to execute their personal preparedness plans. (Encourage them to have one and to practice it with their families.)

• Develop a phone redirection strategy should your phone service be interrupted. For example, does your main line automatically roll to a cell phone or external land line 5 to 10 miles from your main facility? Or, can it be remotely be set to roll to another line? Do you know how to program your system do this? If not, our certified engineers can help.

• Assure your employees know where to go to take cover in the event of a tornado. Unlike a hurricane or tropical storm, a tornado may develop almost without warning, appearing within minutes and leaving little time to react. Winds can exceed 200 mph causing enormous damage in its path. Basements and storm shelters are the safest. Otherwise, the interior 1st floor hallway or interior room away from windows, doors and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. For outdoor work avoid trailers and automobiles. The best place to take cover is in a water free ditch. In all cases it is best to be covered by a mattress, blankets or heavy towels.

• Contract PTS to provide a location for recovery should your facility be damaged or inaccessible. We can provide work space and rapid replacement of servers, PCs and other business essential hardware and software.

• Assure all important electronic and paper documents are copied and stored at a safe off-site location.

• Provide each employee and critical partner with a binder of your disaster plan including their specific responsibilities and a list of home and cell phones of employees and critical partners. Review and update the contact information quarterly. Communication following a disaster is critical. Establish a communication plan that will work regardless of the nature of the disaster. Consider a secondary toll-free number or website that is hosted outside of your region. Instruct employees on when, how, and what to communicate through these channels following a disaster.

• Train on the process to assure critical employees and partners now what will be expected of them. For example, you may need IT staff within hours after a disaster to reestablish your systems.

• Store water, nonperishable food, first-aid supplies, generators, cleaning supplies, batteries, flashlights, and other necessities you anticipate maybe needed.

• If travel to your facility or to remote locations will be needed during the recovery phase, know the airline scheduling options and review them quarterly.

• Contract hotel and meal arrangements that will be required.

• Develop a plan to allow your payroll, benefits, and HR functions to operate during a disaster, after a disaster, or during any period in which access to your workplace is restricted.

• Establish a plan for safe for re-entry into each facility following a disaster. A third-party inspector may be necessary to verify safety.

• Regularly conduct drills to assure everyone knows where to go and that the phone and other documented processes work.

• Be sure this information is in your on-boarding procedure.