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Balancing Automation With Security

Automation helps in enhancing the productivity of a company by streamlining the processes. Technological advancements have helped companies in automating routine tasks for better management of time and resources. Undoubtedly, automation seems like a lucrative option and a large number of companies are grasping the opportunity. However, it has some security risks that should be taken into consideration before incorporating automation into your operations.

  • If your business process makes use of IoT enabled devices for data collection and process execution, a through security audit is recommended. It is also important to make sure there are no vulnerabilities in the internet or LAN connection that may install Trojans or malware in the system.
  • When automating your company’s payment process, it may be a risk to provide access to multiple people. If multiple employees are authorized to set up and verify payments, the chances of insider threats may increase.
  • Relying excessively on automated tools is another security risk for your business. Periodic manual checks to correlate automated process findings should be conducted.
  • Like other software, ignoring regular updates of automation software may open a back door for cyber attackers.

Once you understand the risks associated with automation, here are some ways to help you balance automation with security:

  • Set Security As A Priority: As the automation market is growing, the service providers have a zeal to launch the latest solutions at a higher pace than their competitors. This may lead to ignorance of security measures during the beta phase of development. Thus, make it a point to ask the automation provider about the built-in security measures. Also, you may consider a trial period to test if the products match your security standard.
  • Think Before Scaling Up: Investing in automation for the sake of keeping up with the trend may lead to the obliviousness of security measures. Thus, before you invest in automation, you should consider the need and purpose. Also, pay attention to your system and infrastructure security before scaling up the automation operations.
  • Regular Updates: Outdated software has vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers and may lead to cybersecurity breaches. So, it is important to be aware of software updates provided by your automation service provider.
  • Automate Cybersecurity: Incorporating automation in your cybersecurity strategies can help in improving your security protocol by offering features such as better threat detection, data correlation, etc.
  • Training: Before incorporating automation in your operations, train your employees to train them on ways to use the automation tools while considering security protocols.

We, at Centex Technologies, provide state-of-the-art IT security solutions for businesses. For more information on securely incorporating automation tools into your work processes, call us at (972) 375 - 9654.

Cybersecurity Practices For Small-Medium Size Businesses


Small-medium size businesses (SMBs) pose as an easy target to the cyber criminals. The reason behind an increased number of crimes against SMBs is that majority of cyber-attacks have an underlying motive of stealing personal data for identity theft and credit card fraud. Since SMB networks tend to be less secure, it becomes easier for the hackers to launch a breach successfully.

As there is an alarming increase in breach incidents, it has become important for SMB owners to pay more attention to cybersecurity. Some cybersecurity practices that SMBs should adopt are:

Document Your Cybersecurity Policies: It is important to document the cybersecurity policies, installed updates, analysis reports, etc. SMBs can make use of online planning guides to initiate the documentation process. Also, many portals offer online training, tips and checklists related to prevailing cybersecurity trends. This is an important step for SMBs to keep a track of their cybersecurity protocols.

Educate Your Employees: As the cyber-attacks are becoming more complex, the cybersecurity policies are also evolving. In addition to regularly updating the protocols, SMBs should define internet use guidelines and establish consequences of cybersecurity violations. The employees that have access to the network should be thoroughly educated about these updates and guidelines. They should be properly trained on security policies and ways to detect malware or infection.

Firewall: Make sure that your employees should use a firewall when accessing business network in office or at home. Firewalls act as fist line of defense against cyber-attacks targeted to access sensitive data. For an additional line of defense, SMBs should consider installing internal firewalls in addition to external firewall.

Mobile Device Security: As the BYOD culture is gaining popularity, most employees prefer using their own mobile devices to access business network and sensitive data. Since employees tend to download numerous applications or software on their mobile devices, they pose as a threat by accidentally downloading malware. A hacker can compromise the mobile device and gain access to the sensitive business data. Thus, educate your employees on the requirement to encrypt their data, install trusted security apps and password protect their devices.

Password Policies: Teach your employees to use strong passwords. You can ensure this by setting well-defined password policies for network access. Also, it is advisable for SMBs to use multi-factor authentication for granting network access to the employees and consumers. SMB owners can also lay out the policy that requires employees to change their passwords after a few months.

Data Backup: Invest in off-shore backup plans to ensure data retrieval in case of any disaster or data loss. Make it a point to back up the data at regular intervals. If possible, consider using automatic data backup settings.

 For more information about cybersecurity practices for SMBs, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.

Reasons Why Companies Fail In Securing Data

      

Companies accumulate large amount of data every year. The data may include important information like trade secrets, customer information, client database, product/service information, marketing strategies, etc. It is important for the companies to keep this data secured to prevent financial, trade and reputation loss. However, an increasing rate of data breach incidents indicate that most companies fail to secure their data.

Here are some common mistakes that the enterprises make leading to loss of data:

  • Lack of Security Testing: New security features are launched at regular intervals. While it is recommended that businesses should update their security features with newer versions; the switch should be made after proper testing. The companies make the mistake of skipping the beta phase of testing (a testing phase where vulnerabilities of a new security feature are detected and rectified by the technical team of organization). Implementing any new security feature without thorough testing puts the business data at the risk because hackers get the chance to exploit the vulnerabilities and launch a data breach.
  • Forgetting To Map Data: Data movement is an essential component for managing the operations of any business. As the use of online resources is increasing, data movement forms the basis of marketing/ sales strategies, collaborative meeting of on-shore & off-shore employees, process handling between different teams, etc. As the data is regularly moving, it becomes important to keep a track of it. Mapping data is the process of marking the origin, journey and destination of data flow. It also involves keeping a track of every person who interacts with the data, and the changes made to it. This helps the data monitoring team to detect data handling patterns and recognize unexpected interactions at an early stage. However, companies usually commit the mistake of neglecting this important process.
  • Relying Solely On Anti-Virus: Although it is important to install anti-virus software into the computer systems of the organization to detect the malware; it should not be treated as the backbone of the cybersecurity strategies of the organization. Businesses make the mistake of relying solely on anti-virus software instead of installing other security measures that can detect and flag potentially malicious incoming data before it enters the network.
  • Using Outdated Versions Of Security Networks: When considering security networks, companies have to pay attention to three aspects namely security software, security hardware and internal network of company’s systems. Companies often update one or two of these aspects which leaves them at the risk of improper integration of security networks. The outdated versions lead to vulnerabilities in the system which can be exploited by hackers.

It is advisable for the businesses to focus on proper cybersecurity strategies to prevent data breach instances.

For more information about ways to secure data, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.

 

Watering Hole Attack

A watering hole attack is an opportunistic cyber security attack where the attacker targets a specific group of end users, usually an organization.

What Does ‘Watering Hole Attack’ Mean?

The attack gets its name from a wildlife predatory tactic. Many predators in a forest lurk around a watering hole or an oasis to wait for their prey. As the prey comes to drink water from the oasis, the predator grabs the opportunity to attack. The cyber-attack follows a similar approach and is thus named as ‘Watering Hole Attack’.

How Is The ‘Watering Hole Attack’ Executed?

For executing the attack, hacker traps a single user to gain access to a corporation’s server. The attack is executed in a stepwise process:

  • Finding The Waterhole: The attackers begin the process by finding the waterhole. They conduct thorough research and observe their target user to find out the website that is frequently visited by him. This website acts as the waterhole.
  • Compromising The Website: Once the attackers identify the frequently visited website, they look for existing vulnerabilities in the website. They inject malicious JavaScript or HTML code in the ads or banners displayed on the website. When the end user accesses the compromised website, this code redirects him to a separate site where the malware is hosted.
  • Infecting the server: When targeted user accesses the site, a script containing the malware is automatically downloaded on the user’s system. This malware collects personal information from user’s device and sends it to the C&C server. In some cases, the malware script may allow complete access of the victim’s system to the attacker. The infection is then spread across other systems on the organization’s server.

Avoiding ‘Watering Hole Attack’

In order to increase the impact of an attack, hackers choose trusted websites for launching the infection. Also, they make use of zero-day exploits for infesting these websites. This makes it difficult for traditional tools like antivirus to detect these attacks at an early stage. Thus, employing preventive measures is the best way to keep yourself safe from Watering Hole Attacks.

  • Keep your system updated with latest software patches.
  • Configure firewalls & other network security protocols.
  • Monitor the popular websites visited by your employees to ensure that these sites are not infested with any malware.
  • Regularly monitor your organization’s websites to detect any malware at its earliest stage.
  • Use browser’s private settings and VPN services to hide your online activities.
  • Configure your security tools to keep users notified about compromised websites.
  • Educate your employees about ‘Watering Hole Attacks’ and ways to avoid them.

For more information on Watering Hole Attack, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.

Cyber Security For E-commerce Portals

In simple words, an E-commerce website is an online portal that facilitates the exchange of goods (or services) through transfer of information & funds over internet. Common examples of E-commerce websites are shopping portals, ticket booking websites, auction websites, music portals, etc.

Need For Data Security In E-commerce:

E-commerce operations involve exchange of user’s data like payment details, delivery address, contact information, etc. If there is an instance of data leak, the users can become victims of serious financial frauds, privacy violations and identity thefts. This makes it vital for e-commerce portals to keep the data secure through advanced cyber security solutions.

Below are a few most common security measures that e-commerce portal should adopt:

Choose The E-Commerce Hosting Service Wisely: The hosting service plays an important role in keeping the website secure. Following are some factors that should be considered while choosing a hosting service for an e-commerce portal:

  • The hosting company should have a strong cyber security policy and should deploy required solutions to keep the servers safe.
  • Hosting server should be configured by keeping in mind the security level desired. The configuration should allow advanced cyber security solutions to work well without compromising the performance of the portal.
  • The hosting provider should have a good backup management.
  • The hosting server company should provide technical support 24/7.

Use HTTPS: It is recommended to buy SSL certificate and move your E-commerce website to HTTPS. SSL or Secure Sockets Layer encrypts the traffic and creates a secure layer between user’s browser and your server to prevent data breach by hackers.

Secure User Information: An important aspect is to keep user login information secure as hackers tend to steal it. Also, it may help to have unique password requirements like using a combination of alphabets, numerical values and special characters.

Store Selective Information: It is understandably important to store the data required to contact customers or plan your marketing strategies. However, avoid storing data that is not required. Also, it is advisable that E-commerce websites should not store sensitive user data like credit card details.

Audit Your Website: Regularly audit your E-commerce platform to keep a check on vulnerabilities. Also, keep an eye for security updates and patch up your settings accordingly. It is important to have a stringent security policy and update it on regular intervals as new threats arise.

For more information on cyber security solutions for E-commerce portals, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.