Microsoft recently announced the re-branding of its Office 365 business plans. Office 365 is now Microsoft 365. While the name change may cause some confusion, the subscription packages will remain the same. Here is the breakdown:
Office 365 Business Essentials is now Microsoft 365 Business Basic.
Office 365 Business Premium is now Microsoft 365 Business Standard.
Microsoft 365 Business is now Microsoft 365 Business Premium.
Office 365 Business and Office 365 ProPlus are now both Microsoft 365 Apps.
The new naming convention reflects Microsoft’s strategy of providing one single complete productivity platform for their customers. Microsoft states, “We want our products to reflect the range of features and benefits in the subscription.” This re-branding was designed to help customers quickly find the plan they need. However, the new naming convention can be confusing when you try to connect prior names to their respective new names. It may be more efficient to just focus on whether your current subscription for office applications meets you and your company’s needs, regardless of the subscription’s name.
People are increasingly relying on cloud storage for both personal and professional information because of the various benefits it provides. However, using the cloud for data storage does not negate the necessity to back up your most important information in other locations. Cloud storage has its benefits: flexibility, high security, and the ability to access it anytime from multiple different devices. In many ways, the cloud is comparatively safer than other types of data storage.
Should I Back Up My Cloud?
Although there are many advantages to the cloud as a data storage solution, you also face certain risks, some of which can be mitigated by backing up your most vital data. Here are a few reasons why having local copies of important information is a wise idea:
1. Human Error and Syncing Issues
Although your data is generally safe when it’s in the cloud, a technical issue with a service could cause your data to be erased. You also can accidentally overwrite or erase critical data, which would be a big misfortune if you didn’t have the information backed up locally. When you’re switching service providers, there also is a risk of data getting lost in the transition.
2. Cybersecurity Breaches
Cyber threats are an evolving yet always present problem in the digital age. If you are the victim of a data breach or malware attack, you could lose your data or have to pay a steep price to recover it. According to a study by the Ponemon Institute, the average cost incurred by a business for each stolen or lost record is $158. With local backups, your company is more resilient and can return to business as usual quickly and efficiently after a cyberattack.
3. Service Crashes
Although highly unlikely, a service may experience a problem and erase your data, which is what happened in 2009 with Microsoft’s Sidekick servers when roughly 800,000 users lost access to their personal data. If the services you use crash or are temporarily interrupted, your access to mission-critical data becomes restricted, which can disrupt the flow of your business, negatively impact your clients and cost you time and money.
How to Back Up Your Cloud
If there is data you’ve been compiling over the years or that is critical for personal or business reasons, you shouldn’t rely solely on the cloud to keep your data safe. It’s equally important to have local backups of this data.
The Google Takeout page allows you to download your data from numerous Google services, such as Drive, Contacts, Google+, and YouTube. You can also export and download your calendars from the Google Calendar website on the Settings screen. LastPass is a smart solution for exporting your passwords and notes as an encrypted file.
Certain cloud platforms, like Azure, have internal backup and data recovery systems, and they provide complete user control when it comes to how and where backed-up data is stored.
These are a couple of examples of services that can help businesses in the southwest locate and create a local copy of your most important data. You can also get recommendations and assistance from a company that provides IT and business tech solutions, such as Integrated Axis Technology Group (IA).
IA is the go-to firm in Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona, for boosting the cybersecurity protocol of your business and ensuring your data is preserved in case of human error, malicious attacks by hackers, and technical failure.
With a potential pandemic sweeping the globe, businesses, educational institutions, and other organizations are beginning to test the strength of their continuity planning—or lack thereof. And in today’s tech-focused society, a company’s ability to keep things humming along during quarantine or other sudden disruption largely depends on its data services. Learn why business continuity services are so essential and how Integrated Axis Technology Group can help organizations meet their continuity goals.
What is Business Continuity Planning?
Business continuity planning allows businesses to seamlessly adjust to unexpected events by protecting and maintaining crucial data and systems. These plans can encompass everything from a brief power outage to a wildfire evacuation to a terrorist attack. By creating a plan that can adapt to a variety of different variables, businesses will be able to minimize shutdowns or supply chain issues that can cause significant disruptions.
Many business continuity plans depend on the cloud—both to back up crucial documents and programs and to provide remote workers the ability to work from home. A business continuity plan can be as detailed or as simple as an organization would like, but in general, the more detail, the better. The best continuity plans have concrete, clearly-communicated benchmarks, and standards to ensure that everyone operating within the plan is on the same page.
Business continuity plans should be tested regularly. The last thing any organization wants is to discover a major fault in their disaster planning (or data breach) when it matters most. These tests can be as simple as a quarterly work-from-home day to ensure that all key personnel has the infrastructure to log in and perform their routine tasks no matter where they’re located.
How Can Organizations Maintain Cybersecurity During a Disruptive Event?
There are a few things that businesses can do to create a secure, reliable continuity plan.
First is to identify and prioritize the key, core business functions, and time-sensitive tasks—the types of tasks that are necessary to keep things running. Next, you’ll want to lay out the steps required to recover core functionality, like setting up employees with a VPN, transferring processes to an off-site server, or assigning workers to retrieve certain items from headquarters.
You’ll also want to name a continuity team: managers, directors, security officers, IT personnel, and others who can strategize and create plans that minimize business disruption. These plans should be tested and tweaked regularly, incorporating suggestions and adapting to changes in the logistical landscape.
Finally, it’s a good idea to distill this information down to a simple checklist or flow chart that everyone can use for reference. From emergency contact numbers and email addresses to an index that helps employees determine where specific information is stored, these “cheat sheets” can be incredibly useful.
Throughout this process, keeping your data secure is the key to emerging unscathed. If you’re wondering whether your own business’s continuity planning could use some work, look no further than Tucson’s Integrated Axis Technology Group. Integrated Axis offers backup and disaster recovery services that can protect against malware, hackers, and other threats to your business.
Comments Off on Business Tech | The Risks of Email Compromise
We’ve talked at length before about email security in the business world, but this issue cannot be understated. According to AIG (one of the insurance companies that cover business losses due to cyber risks), the largest threat for businesses today are email breaches. Compromised emails cause more overall damage than ransomware and even data breaches by hackers. Why are scammers hitting business email accounts so hard? If you understand the possible motives for email compromise, you’re more likely to take the proper precautions on all communication avenues.
Email Compromise Motives
Most business professionals are well versed in phishing schemes and outright hacking. The motive is to gain access to sensitive data. The email compromises we see work a little differently. Often these scams aren’t about getting data or launching a ransomware attack (though those types of attacks still happen and you should have security protocol in place for those, as well). Often, email compromise is about a one-time theft of money. In some cases, the scammer may come back for payment more than once, if they’re sure that the target isn’t already aware of the scam.
In these attacks, the scammers have inside knowledge about the target. They may have gained access to email accounts, which means that they can read through all sent and received emails to gain a picture of current projects, vendors, and colleagues that the target deals with routinely. The email account that they’ve compromised is also not necessarily the one they target to send fraudulent requests to. That’s what makes this type of scam so hard to identify and guard against. If you’ve followed all best practices and are confident your own account is secure, you might be less wary about the emails you receive from trusted sources — like your boss or vendor.
Take this, for example: a hacker compromises the email account of someone in your company. They’ve read through and figured out which vendors are being used for current projects. They can also do some research online to find all the players in your company. Then they would go about setting up fake email and payment accounts. Once they have all of that in place, they might send you a fraudulent invoice with payment details. Or they might send an email that appears to be from your superior or even the head of the company, instructing you to send payment to a vendor. The payment, of course, would go to the hackers. These scams often look authentic and use proper English. There’s very little to differentiate them from legitimate correspondence. And major companies with excellent security protocols have still fallen prey to these types of attacks. The best approach is to not pay for anything that you didn’t have scheduled, at least not without verifying the request directly.
Integrated Axis | Your Cyber Security Expert in the Southwest
If you’re looking for a company to build your strategy for email security in the Tucson and Phoenix area, contact Integrated Axis today. Our experienced staff can assess your process and deliver the exact IT services you need.