5 Ways Cybersecurity has changed in 2020

Image by VIN JD from Pixabay

The pandemic has created immense opportunity for cyber attacks.  Cybercrime has increased exponentially in 2020 and some estimate the global cost at nearly 1 Trillion dollars.  The landscape has changed.  The increased opportunity has led to increased attacker activity, which in turn leads to advances in technology and techniques used for attacks.

Here’s why:

  1. IT environments have exposed more vulnerabilities than ever before.  Many businesses moved to enable remote work in a hurry, while at the same time the economy was sliding off a cliff.  That means most did it in a hurry and on the cheap, failing to give security the attention it deserved.
  2. IT staff are now dealing with an exponential increase in home users.  Employees working in remote locations who are often using their own computers, software and networks that are not controlled by the business or any of their normal security tools like firewalls, antivirus and other endpoint security applications or policies.
  3. Many organizations have made a rapid move to cloud-based technologies, like Office 365 or Windows Azure, to better facilitate a distributed workforce.  Many assume that these services are inherently secure because the service provider is responsible.  However, cloud-based services are not necessarily more secure and while the service provider is certainly providing a basic level of security there are almost certainly some vulnerabilities and/or gaps. 
  4. With people working at home and services moving to the cloud, your data is being scattered all over.  That creates holes in your backup strategy – which is often your last line of defence in a cyber attack.
  5. In many cases the worst part is that you may never know you’ve been attacked, or what they gained access to because there is no elevated security monitoring or response plan in place.  The advanced techniques and technology in use now can often go undetected for months, or never found at all.

The biggest risk of all is IT staff and service providers that are not plugged in to these issues or doing anything about them.  If you have not had a conversation in the last 6 months with the person or organization responsible for your technology in the last 6 months about increased cybersecurity risks, then your business is exposed.  There are strategies and technology that can help mitigate these risks but if no one is aware and doing something about it, they can’t help you.

The winds of change are upon us

Seemingly almost overnight the trend towards remote work moved to light speed. Out of necessity, businesses around the world who have resisted this as an option for their employees are now making it mandatory. They are rushing to get themselves equipped to do so, and our team at OptiNet has been working tirelessly to help our customers do just that.

If you run a business who is dealing with this issue, we can help. We specialize in communications and technology services designed to facilitate the ability to connect people across great distances and allow them to work together.

If your business is struggling with this transition we have a cloud-based solution that can help bring you up to speed, including integration with Microsoft Teams if you are already using that. In order to try and support businesses during the pandemic we are offering:

  1. Free installation
  2. Free porting
  3. Free conferencing
  4. Free handsets
  5. Free services until May

For most small business with straightforward requirements implementation can be completed fairly quickly.

We can also help with IT services to get your network and users set up to work remotely, along with ongoing support if that is required. This includes network redundancy, remote backup, server/desktop support, Office 365, Teams, as well as assistance with business continuity solutions.

We’re here to help your business. Reach out to us at sales@optinet.ca or 604-288-1300.

3 Ways to include your phone system in your disaster recovery plan

(Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay)
(Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay)

It’s easier than ever to include your UC system in your DR plan and considering how tightly integrated it is into many businesses now, it should be.  In the past, phone systems were hard-wired and left few options for DR.  However, with newer technology there are plenty of options to consider so you can make sure interactions with your customers are still possible during a disaster.  Here are 3 ways you can include communications in your DR strategy:

Cloud
A cloud voice system is separate from your physical location and won’t likely be affected by a local disaster.  Each extension can remain available on a mobile app, or you can take your handset anywhere with an internet connection and it will still work.  If your main office goes offline your branch office and remote users will be completely unaffected.  Your customers won’t even know anything is happening.  You just need to have a plan and educate your employees on it.  It is prudent, however, to make sure your cloud provider has their own DR plan.

Virtualization
UC is really now just another application in your environment.  Most organizations already have virtualization technology to support the rest of their IT, so your phone system can simply be incorporated into it.  Virtualization removes your dependence on proprietary phone system hardware, and takes advantage of the scalability, redundancy, and portability of virtual machines.  In this case you must make sure your virtual infrastructure is part of your DR plan, but as long as it remains available so will your phone system.  Make sure you consider your dial-tone – if you’re using a PRI you’ll need one in the backup location.  If you use SIP, make sure it’s configured to recognize the backup location.

SIP Trunking
SIP replaces the use of a PRI or analog telephone lines for dial tone for an on-premise system.  It has significantly more flexibility than older technology and increases your phone system’s resiliency.  Since it is internet-based, it can be accessed from anywhere if it is configured to recognize the location.  Combined with a virtual infrastructure you can make your system portable, allowing you to start up in an alternate location without having to pay for a second PRI there.