4 Key Elements to Consider When Searching for an Enterprise Data Security Solution

SecuritySecurity rightfully remains a top concern for tech-side executives and IT personnel, especially given recent trends towards cloud computing and big data. While these applications have created new types of external threats, organizations also need to be aware of the risks posed by insiders. Well-designed data security plans anticipate both scenarios and deliver purpose-built solutions.

It’s normal to be wary when dealing with sales agents who are pushing specific security solutions, as they often have their own agendas. Knowing the right features to look for is the key to breaking past the sales jargon and securing a data protection solution that’s right for the unique needs of an organization.

With that in mind, here are some indispensable tips for finding an effective enterprise data security solution that delivers good value:

Beware of Rock-Bottom Up-Front Costs

Some vendors push security solutions with price tags that seem too good to be true, which they justify by claiming that the solution is relatively light on software needs, allegedly accounting for its low cost. Such offers should be received with skepticism.

When it comes to costs, it’s essential to look beyond the up-front expenditures and into cumulative fees. How much will it cost, in total, to run this security package for a year, or for its expected lifetime? Will it require additional human or IT resources? Does it offer savings potential? If so, how much?

Account for the Risks Posed by Privileged Insiders

No business wants to consider the possibility that many serious security risks originate with its own employees, but this is, unfortunately, the case. Privileged insiders can compromise data knowingly or unknowingly, so it’s essential to find a solution that introduces critical checks and balances.

The best way to keep an eye on the activities of privileged insiders is to implement a security system that tracks local access to critical data. Here are some specific features to look for:

  • The ability to identify attempts of unauthorized users to access local networks
  • Controls that facilitate the blocking of users or activities that may compromise data
  • Dynamic masking features that prevent sensitive information from being distributed outside the network
  • Quarantine capabilities that identify and isolate privileged insiders who knowingly compromise company information

Read the Fine Print

When it comes to license agreements, some vendors will insist that a particular package is unlimited when, in reality, the package carries restrictions. One common example is a security solution with an “unlimited” license that allows IT teams to monitor any number of sources but has strict caps on the number of authorized collectors.

To be sure an unlimited solution is truly what it claims to be, read the fine print and follow up by questioning the vendor about anything that doesn’t seem clear.
Remember: It Only Takes One Attack

Businesses with incomplete security solutions in place shouldn’t delay in taking action. It only takes one attack to create serious complications, and the possibility of suffering costly losses is elevated the longer a business goes without a comprehensive data protection plan.

The professionals at ROI Networks specialize in helping enterprises of all sizes safeguard their data. To learn more about ROI’s advanced suite of enterprise security solutions, please contact us today.

Preserving the Organization’s Reputation Through Cybersecurity

CybersecurityHackers and cyber villains are lurking in just about every corner of commerce today, from skimmers at gas stations to massive enterprise and governmental system infiltrations. These compromises are incredibly costly, not only in dollars but also in damage to a business’s reputation. Protecting against such crimes has become a multi-billion dollar industry. Companies of all sizes must invest in cyber security programs to protect themselves and their customers.

The Impact of Reputational Loss

Nearly everyone who reads online news has heard about the financial ramifications of a breach. Not only must a company correct the vulnerability, but they also must help affected parties repair and recover their losses. A successful hacker may collect records for months before being detected, putting millions of consumers and patients at risk of identity theft and financial losses. Breach amelioration costs can quickly reach millions or billions of dollars.

Recovery is not where the catastrophe ends. Even with effective breach handling, the future of an affected company is at risk. Revenues will shrink nearly immediately as consumers look for other vendors or providers of the service and will likely remain severely diminished for a long time period. In many cases, the combination of recovery expense and sharply declining revenue could easily be a company’s end.

In the event that a breached business does manage to recover, the future may be complicated. Regulatory agencies may step in and microscopically review practices and policies, requiring significant time and effort from company stakeholders to comply. All factors considered, reputational damage can be as costly as financial losses.

Building a Security-Minded Team

As hackers create new ways to breach systems and acquire sensitive data, the enterprise’s security processes and procedures must also shift and change. Creating a strong mindset of security in an organization allows streamlined evolution to occur as needed. Every level of the business, from the Board of Directors down to the most entry-level employees, must be educated on cybersecurity and simple ways to prevent exposure. Criminals will go to great lengths to obtain informational assets, and some techniques are as basic as chatting up the administrative assistant.

Multi-Pronged Cybersecurity Efforts

A number of factors will strengthen the company’s security program:

  • Intrusion prevention and detection systems should be active and routinely updated.
  • Train each team member on how to avoid social engineering and phishing attempts.
  • Keep systems separate; many breaches have occurred at the supply chain connection to core systems. Failing to protect that gap has led major enterprises into massive incidents.
  • Restrict privileged access and provide the minimal permissions level required by an individual’s job description.
  • Stay on top of updates to anti-virus/malware signatures.
  • Create and practice an Incident Response Plan, complete with crisis mode.
  • Consider appointing a key officer for security and compliance if one does not already exist.
  • Obtain appropriate and adequate cyber insurance to protect the company should an incident occur. Having a well-constructed security program often reduces the cost of such protection.

Cybersecurity is an important topic today, and companies that fail to execute an effective program typically suffer a tragic fate as their reputation crumbles. For more information on constructing a strong security program, contact ROI Networkstoday.

The Ongoing Security Crisis in Healthcare

SecurityThe list of healthcare companies that have experienced a breach is growing at an alarming rate, with more continuing to be discovered. Despite the spotlight finally beginning to shine on healthcare security, news stories every week seem to report yet another incident. Here’s a look into why these breaches continue to occur, and what might be done to stop them.

Common Problems

A frequent cause of a breach or data theft is simple error. A patient file is accidentally left out in a public area, a worker steps away from an unsecured computer with patient data left on the screen, or a company laptop in plain sight is stolen from a worker’s vehicle. Applications may not be password protected, or the passwords used by doctors or admin assistants may fail complexity rules and be easily guessed for unbridled access to sensitive data.

Other points of vulnerability are vendor connections to the systems that house healthcare data. In both big box retail and healthcare, breaches have occurred when vendors are linked in but fail to properly protect their own systems or that connectivity.

Other causes are more complex or political. For example, healthcare workers are charged with filling out extensive amounts of paperwork for each patient interaction and test. While the intention is to provide better patient care through communication of all possible details, the result is overburdened nurses who are outnumbered by patients and forms.

Lastly, archaic software systems or components are not up to today’s security standards. Many hospitals do not use modern software due to the expense and effort of implementing changes to systems. This can leave doors open to cybercriminals seeking payment and identity data easily found in patient records.

Solutions

Unfortunately, many workers in the healthcare industry place the entire burden of security on their IT departments. While IT is responsible for ensuring that best practices for application and data protection are implemented, overall security is not a task that can be performed without support from all levels of the company. There must be a partnership between IT and the rest of the organization.

Here are a few easy ways to improve security in healthcare:

  • Security training – Basic principles for physical and technological protection should be covered in annual and new-hire training sessions. Topics should include password strength, ways to easily secure a system or device, and avoiding common hacking or phishing methods.
  • Streamlining processes – So much paperwork is required in patient care. Providing easy, intuitive methods of completing these responsibilities can cut down the time required. Analytics can then be produced from the data collected to further identify how processes for both administration and care may be improved.
  • Control risk – Fully assess vendors who will be connecting to systems, prohibit or limit non-company devices from storing or accessing patient data, and educate the workers who access the systems.

Medical data is incredibly valuable. From the records held by providers, a thief can potentially gain access to credit card information and extensive personal records that facilitate identity theft. Healthcare organizations must do more to protect patients from this growing area of crime. To continue the discussion on healthcare security, contact ROI Networks.

How the Ransomware Crisis Is Impacting Healthcare Data Security

August Blog # 4 (1)A recent string of high-profile cyberattacks is renewing fears of the increasingly coordinated and sophisticated attacks that can be used against healthcare organizations. According to a recent report from IBM’s worldwide security services operations, the healthcare industry broke back into the top five of the most frequently targeted industries in 2015.

A growing number of these attacks have come in the form of ransomware, where malware programs are unknowingly introduced through e-mails and e-mail attachments are used to hold critical data systems hostage.

Businesses Under Siege

Clinical information systems at hospitals, clinics, and treatment centers handle a wealth of personal and confidential data found in electronic health records (EHR), including Social Security numbers, credit card data, and medical history — making them prime targets for a variety of cyberattacks, including ransomware attacks.

One hospital had its clinical information systems shut down for over a week due to a ransomware attack. The cybercriminals behind it held these systems hostage for $3.6 million before settling on $17,000 paid in Bitcoins and restoring access to the hospital’s data. Another health system had its clinical information system shut down due to a virus-based hacking attack, complete with a digital ransom note. It took weeks for officials to restore access to its data.

New Threats, But Little Preparation

The drastic surge in cyber security threats has left healthcare IT leaders throughout the U.S. struggling to keep pace. Unfortunately, the healthcare industry has seemed ill-prepared to combat ransomware and other cyber security threats. Current challenges facing patient care organizations and the healthcare industry in general include:

  • Little to no awareness of the magnitude and intensity of the ransomware problem in U.S. healthcare
  • Minimal investment in data security when compared to other industries
  • Little to no data security strategic planning and an inability to execute strategic plans
  • Insufficient training, expertise, and preparedness among those tasked with data security
  • Insufficient staffing within information security departments
  • Reluctance among C-level executives and boards of directors to directly address ransomware and other cyber security threats

What Can Be Done

In an effort to protect themselves against cyberattacks, a growing number of patient care organizations in the U.S. are hiring chief information security officers (CISOs) to lead anti-cyberattack efforts. However, the effectiveness of the CISO relies on sufficient funding, support personnel, and support at the C-suite and board levels. A lack of buy-in and support from C-level executives and board members can stymie efforts to develop an effective force against ransomware and other cyberattacks.

In addition to guaranteeing funding, staffing, and top-level support, healthcare IT leaders should focus on developing a comprehensive strategic cyber security plan. Such plans should include common-sense security measures, including:

  • Daily backup of core information systems
  • Use of security operations centers (SOCs) and other external services
  • Implementation of role-based access systems
  • Enterprise-wide training of all IS end-users on a regular basis

These efforts to implement a successful data security/cyber security apparatus can help the healthcare sector overcome its vulnerability to ransomware and other malicious attacks.

If your company is dealing with its own cybersecurity issues, ROI Networks can help it move in the right direction. Contact us today for a no-obligation security session.

Healthcare Security Needs a Remedy

August Blog # 2 (1)Nearly every industry has seen a breach occur in the last decade, and healthcare is no exception. Sadly, the frequency of healthcare-related identity theft and fraud has increased exponentially in just the past few years. Security is a critical issue at this point — and one that does not yet have a clear solution.

 

Threats

The tricks used by cybercriminals to hack into retail and financial businesses are the same used to target healthcare companies. Theft of computer equipment, social engineering and phishing attempts to obtain login credentials, and virus and malware exposure are just a few of the ways that hackers gain access to healthcare data. Ransomware is the newest tool, where a piece of software shuts down access to the system or PC and demands a fee to unlock it again.

The methods may vary but the goal is the same: Obtain sensitive information that can be used for financial gain. Social security numbers and private health information are easily used in identity theft attempts to acquire loans, credit cards, or other assets in the name of the patient. The victims suffer severely from this crime, and it can take months or years to recover from the financial devastation.

Lack of Focus

Security has not been enough of a topic of discussion in healthcare to date. Well known organizations that recognize healthcare providers and facilities for excellence do not extend that to healthcare security companies at this time. Great importance is placed on stability and uptime rather than on locking down data and reducing risk exposure.

The Industry Problem

Managed service providers that specialize in security encounter major complexity when trying to extend their offerings to the healthcare realm. Many of the systems involved in healthcare are antiquated legacy systems that should have expired long ago, yet are still up and running due to the cost of updating the technology.

In addition, so many layers exist that securing every end point is a serious effort:

  • Payers – Insurance companies, Medicare, etc.
  • Providers – Doctors, hospitals, surgeons
  • Billing service providers – All healthcare services are billed to an individual or an insurance company/government entity for payment
  • Software – EHR systems, supply chain software, patient registration systems, and more
  • Personnel – Not all computer users are experienced or properly trained on how to handle security issues

While diagnosis and treatment tools have leapt light years in the past decade, the applications used for patient management have not followed this trend. Many practices are resistant to change, and as a result will use unsecured applications or fail to prevent less technical breach attempts.

Immediate Solutions

IT departments must work hard to educate ALL personnel about privacy laws and the methods that criminals use to gain intel. Employees should be granted only the minimum level of system access needed for their job responsibilities. Network access points must be secure. Typical best practices for remote access, encryption, and storage should be followed.

Healthcare security is a problem that is growing quickly, and treatment is desperately needed. For more discussion on securing patient data in smart, effective ways, contact ROI Networks today.

Locking Down WLAN

blog 1Security is the key word when it comes to company networks. Wireless networks are often at higher risk of breach than their wired counterparts, so added measures are typically required to defend them properly. Following are some best practices for defending the organization’s Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) that go above and beyond data encryption and multi-factor authentication.

Separate Networking

Creating a guest network that doesn’t intermingle with business applications is a smart, easy way to protect assets. There are few reasons that a visitor would require access to the core network, and those can be addressed on an as-needed basis. For all others, simple access to the Internet is completely adequate.

Router Security

When choosing configuration settings for the WLAN, the IT team should use WiFi Protected Access (WPA2) Personal or Enterprise versions for optimal protection. WPA2 Enterprise is preferred over the Personal option because of its advanced authentication settings. Be sure that the physical hardware is secured in some way. Many devices are designed in such a way that they can actually be locked down after they are mounted to prevent theft.

Signal Boundaries

A potential danger on a WLAN is an intruder hopping onto the WiFi from outside of the building or attempting to interrupt services. The WiFi should be strong enough for employees to efficiently perform work functions, but ideally should not extend past the boundaries of the building or the risk of unauthorized use or disruption increases significantly. Special termination equipment can be used to contain the signal within the four walls of the facility.

Management Tools

In today’s world of bring your own device (BYOD) programs, managing the myriad of connections and users accessing the company network is a challenge. The company enjoys the cost savings of not having to provide mobile equipment, but must also handle the complication of securing employees’ personal devices.

Mobile Device and WLAN management tools are essential to the organization’s security program. These applications can detect intrusion, unauthorized access points, or rogue users attempting to break into the network. Devices can be decommissioned quickly and easily in case of theft or compromise. Intrusion prevention will help protect against floods and spoofing efforts.

Proper Planning for Legacy Devices

Higher cost equipment like printers and scanners aren’t always feasible to replace when more modern functionality is introduced to the market. In cases of older durable devices such as these, there may be an element of backward compatibility with the WLAN that must be accommodated. Segregating these connections onto a separate network that does not interact with company data will help manage this situation effectively.

Effective WLAN management is crucial to the security of company applications and data. Creating a comprehensive wireless strategy that encompasses all of the above points is a sound start to defending the organization’s network. To discuss other ways to protect company technical assets, contact us today.