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Happy New Year from Cornerstone Business Solutions

Posted on 15th January, 2020

With the new year comes lots of new exciting prospects and opportunities. The area is booming, everyone is upbeat and positive and there are lots of projects that are improving the Tees Valley as a place to live and work.

However, there are lots of challenges facing businesses as well. Any company that utilises technology, which will be pretty much everyone, should be aware that as of yesterday (14th of January), certain Microsoft Operating Systems and applications, are no longer supported, which can leave networks vulnerable and non compliant.

Your business, like most others, relies on Microsoft software every day. It’s the software you use the most – for email, documents, to run your company’s server, and of course to run the PCs themselves. But there’s a problem.

Microsoft has decided to remove support for some of its older products.

What does that mean? Will it just stop working? No, it will carry on working, but it won’t be supported by Microsoft. This means that if the software breaks or is compromised, there will be no patches or updates to fix it. Any vulnerabilities exploited by Cyber Criminals will remain vulnerable and will not have solutions released via updates. This is why end of life software like this becomes a keen target for hackers. They will find loopholes and ways to use the software to get into your network or will use Malware to steel money or data from you. And no one will stop them.

End of life software creates three major problems for your business

  • Problem 1, when it breaks it will stay broken
  • Problem 2, you’ll become a keen target for clever hackers
  • Problem 3, your business will no longer be GDPR compliant

The answer lies in the R’s

  • Review; organise an audit review of all of your software
  • Replace; Some of the software, such as the Office suite, can be replaced quickly and easily. But larger upgrades or replacements take time and need to book in to ensure that they work with any other software that you use. We support hundreds of businesses and have spent the last seven or eight months upgrading networks to ensure that they were not at risk once January 14th came. So, although that date is here, if you have not looked at legacy software on your network, sooner is better than later!

Once you have upgraded and you are using current OS versions, the next step is to make sure that you are deploying the correct policies, practices and security software to continue protecting your business.

Cyber threats are a daily problem for businesses of all sizes. Everyone knows the risks, but despite all the

news reports and constant warnings, trends demonstrate a huge hike in data breaches and hacks over recent years. The cost of Cyber Crime was $11 trillion last year!

No one would even think about installing a PC without AntiVirus, however, this alone is no longer enough.

A robust spam filter is a must! 96% of all encryption and ransomware attacks are delivered via email. This is the first step to ensuring that as few threats as possible even get as far as your inbox (however, nothing is 100% effective at keeping all threats out).

Phishing emails are getting so much more advanced and are becoming very difficult for the spam solution to detect, or for the user to notice. For any that do get through, and attachments are opened or links clicked, we would advise having an Antimalware product to again reduce the number of successful attacks.

Not everything is a new piece of software that you need or a cost, there are several steps you can take to make your network more successful that are just good practice, such as:

  • Using complex passwords
  • Changing passwords regularly
  • Not using the same password that you do for every account
  • Two Factor Authentication

Most of the above are tweaks that you can make with your existing solutions.

A good backup is essential as none of these solutions can guarantee that no threats are successful in getting on to your network. If your network is compromised, the only 100% sure way of a full data recovery is a robust backup solution. The ideal solution is an Offsite Backup as these are not as vulnerable as a backup device that is installed on the network, if the network has been compromised.

There are lots more solutions and practices that you can put in place, almost as many as the amount of threats out there, so if you are confused about what level of security you need, or by all of the jargon and would like a chat, feel free to get in touch with Cornerstone.

Safe searching!

Chris Bibby, Sales Director, Cornerstone Business Solutions

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