Archive for the ‘Security’ Category

Mobile Security Myths – Don’t Fall for Them

Mobility is the name of the game. Mobility is the frontier upon which the enterprise tech battles of the present and future are being fought. It’s estimated that enterprise mobility can help companies get as many as 240 hours of additional productive hours per employee per year. However, all is not well with the enterprise mobility world. At least, that’s what the myth spreaders will want you to believe.

 

 

Agreed, there are concrete mobile-specific security risks faced by enterprises. But the question is, at what point does the line between manageable risks and ambiguous myths become blurred? We’re here to demarcate these lines for you. Read on to get an understanding of the most common mobile security myths doing the rounds of cybersphere. More importantly, remember them so that skeptical arguments based on these myths don’t succeed in clouding your vision of enterprise mobility.

 

Mobile Data Encryption is Not Necessary

Well, a few years ago, when mobile devices were merely used as thin clients. In those times, mobile devices were not exactly meant for heavy data upkeep and transfers, and hence, mobile data encryption was an unnecessary addition to the entire security and maintenance task list. Today, it’s a different scenario.

Field personnel from leading enterprises, for example, use mobile devices all the day to access, edit and approve data. Price lists to customer signature images, media content to spreadsheets – the range of data and content formats used by enterprise employee on their mobiles is vast. Often, when the applications they use for data exchange are cloud-based, the data is encrypted by the application. However, for data exchange across emails and instant messengers, encryption is a must.

 

Mobile Security Audits are not for everyone

That’s totally untrue. For any enterprise that uses a fair amount of mobile devices in its IT ecosystem, it’s important to take care of mobile security audits. Such audits are ideally conducted biannually, because of the breakneck speed at which mobile technology is advancing. A mobile security audit must encompass:

  • All downloads and uploads of data using mobile devices
  • Applications logs on mobile devices registered with the enterprise Mobile Data Management (MDM) tools.
  • Employee mobile device usage practices while in field
  • Security methods and means used in the device

Contrary to popular belief, enterprises need mobile security audits to extract valuable insights about improving the mobile security strategy, instead of depending on MDM tools for the same.

 

Mobile Devices Are Inherently Less Secure Than Desktops

Well, there’s nothing inherent to mobile devices that make them more vulnerable to information security breaches than desktops. A key difference, however, is that mobile devices are always connected to the Internet. Also, a field personnel’s mobile device will be connected to networks other than the one provided by the company owned SIM card (such as public cafes, partner premise Wi-Fi, etc.). This could compromise the mobile device’s security.

However, because it’s an external factor, we can’t really deem mobile devices as less secure than desktops. In fact, when mobile phones mostly use cloud-based data, they’re actually more secure because all the data protection capabilities of the cloud vendor come to the fore. Desktops, on the other hand, store data in hard disks which are more vulnerable. Also, with mobile devices, it’s easier to manage data remotely in case the device is lost or misplaced, as compared to a PC.

 

Patching Mobile Devices with Latest Security Releases is Difficult

Patching is recommended as the single most effective best practice to keep malware and ransomware at bay. Patching, in fact, is a key aspect of wholesome enterprise device security strategy for cybersecurity teams.

It’s suggested that patching management on mobile devices is challenging. That’s because these devices are only intermittently available within the enterprise network. Secondly, the number of mobile devices in a mobility-focused enterprise grows so quickly that IT can always find itself chasing lofty patching goals, without actually achieving them.

In reality, IT security teams need to treat the mobile patching issue as a challenge that they need to meet. With centralized patching policies, focus on user education (and hence improving user initiated patching requests), and regular audits, IT can easily cover the extra mile.

 

BYOD Means Taking it Easy on Security

That’s a common misconception. Because most constraints on user experiences are mostly linked to the enterprise’s security policies, it also leads to users associating ‘ease of use’ and unconstrained user experiences with an assumed stance of relaxation and leniency in terms of IT security. However, the truth is that cybersecurity teams have to work in tandem with the mobility project team so that BYOD can be implemented securely in an enterprise. The flexibility of using one’s own mobile phone for business purposes helps significantly improve user experience, even though that is not linked with any corresponding removal of security provisions.

 

Allow What’s Necessary, Block The Rest – It Can Work For Mobile Too

 

Time and again, surveys have showcased how restrictive BYOD practices can be counterproductive to the whole purpose of mobility. At its center is the idea of enabling employees to work from remote locations and not be tied to their office desks to be able to get work done. Now whereas a ‘allow what’s indispensable and block the rest’ security philosophy can be sustained for a structured office desktop environment, the same is not true for mobile devices. Unless there are concrete and known security risks associated with personal mailbox apps, popular games, and IM apps, enterprise security would do well to not block them. At the very least, there must be an easy and quick mechanism for getting applications approved for mobile use.

 

Concluding Remarks

Enterprise mobility is a key success enabler and productivity enhancer for the modern enterprise. The path to mobility is challenging. IT managers and leaders, hence, need to make sure that common misconceptions and myths are not able to inflate the challenges in any way.

 

Author: Rahul Sharma

Here’s What MSPs Want Their Clients to Understand About IT Security

Cybersecurity was once a considerably unique discipline. Vendors specializing in security services were more than equipped to handle the prevalent digital threats. Managed service providers (MSPs), specializing in other kinds of services, relied on the security folks to devise and implement measures to keep networks and data safe from constant cyber threats and hackers.

 

Unfortunately, the situation has changed considerably over the years. Now, digital attacks make the news almost every other day, and every aspect of your infrastructure or application is at risk. No wonder security has become a pressing concern for every MSP. To combat cyber-crime and prevent any breaches, employees, executives, and IT personnel need to team up and create a solid communication strategy.

 

Growing Area of Concern

As the number of electronic devices and gadgets worldwide increases, we are becoming always-connected. So, unlike the past, when the burden of cybersecurity fell squarely on the shoulders of the IT department, the responsibility is now shared and discussed at the executive levels. Pay attention to what is being discussed in a boardroom right now, and you’ll notice that it is all about cyber incidents, security questions, and data breaches. So, cybersecurity has gradually become a key concern for companies and it is being prioritized accordingly. Unfortunately, not all organizations have successfully managed to translate the digital threats into credible business concerns. As a result, there are plenty of businesses that have no idea how to proceed.

 

Impact on the Structure of the Company

 

 

Cybersecurity comes with a host of challenges and issues, all of which crop up during your daily discussions at work or home. So do the measures adopted to safeguard computer systems worldwide against unauthorized attack or access. But media headlines appear to highlight the newest data breaches, which expose the leak of the confidential details of millions of customers to the public. These circumstances often cause market executives to be fired from their work. Businesses also get harmed by this mishap and notice a rapid drop in the value of their stock market. They are required to pay a specified “ransom” to the hijackers to access their information once more. For smaller companies, however, a sudden hack could very well threaten their existence as a business.

 

All Is Not as Safe as It Seems

Businesses tend to spend billions of dollars every year on advanced technology. This new equipment is meant to preserve the safety of important information and data, and deter malicious hackers and insiders from their attempts to bypass security measures and swipe data without a second thought. Unfortunately, most of the cybersecurity breaches occur as a result of human actions or errors. Also, people seem to be completely unaware of what they have done until it is too late. So, if you thought that protecting vital details or your identity through the use of technology was enough, think again. You will always be targeted by hackers into spilling valuable secrets unknowingly. Through a method known as social engineering, they target the weakest link in the cybersecurity spectrum – humans and exploit them to find loopholes and other entry points. Thus, it is a no-brainer that both technology and people work better together.

 

What Can You Do?

Now that the world is always connected, and your private details of organizations and individuals are susceptible to misuse and exposure, everyone must focus on cybersecurity. We must all work together in harmony for technology to easily identify suspicious activity and assess the threat level. When a malicious threat actor or hackers steal classified information, they do so by transcending the boundaries of gender, age, race, nationality, beliefs, or culture. Remember, your digital footprint, as well as your computer, is carefully evaluated whenever an opportunity presents itself, mostly for economic gain. Only by working as a team can employees, executives, and IT develop an effective communication strategy for beating cybercrime and preventing further victimization.

 

Understand the Human Error

Most often, it is people who are targeted by hackers and other malicious online entities. Ironically, it is the same people who are often responsible for lapses in cybersecurity. The problem is, our trusting nature. Hackers take advantage of this trust and use our willingness to cooperate and curiosity to get us to “click on the link” in personal or business emails.  But the moment you clicked on a bad link, you might have unknowingly downloaded a virus or malware into your system. And if you’re one of the unlucky few, you might be the victim of a ransomware attack, where all your data is locked up, and unless you pay a certain amount, you will never be able to access the data again. At other times, the downloaded malware may unknowingly gather sensitive information, like passwords and credentials, so it can exploit them later.

 

So, even if these actions are accidental, the outcome can considerably harm your company, your community, your family, or yourself. Until you learn to be suspicious of too-good-to-be-true emails or shady links online, malicious insiders will continue to take you for a ride.

 

What Clients Should Change or Do Differently

Before you log onto the Internet the next time, whether at home or work, think before you connect. You need to adopt a balanced approach so that the cybersecurity threats to your wellbeing as well as your business are minimized. Find the middle ground between technology and people. Try following these eight tips on what clients should do to maintain the efficiency and safety of their organization and stop cyber attacks at the same time:

  • Teach employees, partners, and clients about the basics of cybersecurity.
  • Never forget to make backups of vital business data.
  • Adopt a people-focused approach to cybersecurity.
  • Make simplicity and ease of use a priority.
  • Install password manager software to boost password security and protect your accounts.
  • Use two-factor authentication for sensitive accounts and emails.
  • Update software regularly and scan your system.
  • Know what you are clicking on.
  • Use encryption.

 

Concluding Remarks

MSPs must familiarize their clients with all the common cybersecurity errors and work with them to strengthen their systems so that no data is lost or stolen by hackers. The more informed the client is, the better they will be able to protect their personal information.

Identifying The Top 10 Most Common Database Security Vulnerabilities

 

Cyber networks are the 21st Century’s principle attack fronts. Digital warfare is increasingly gaining prominence, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. From tampering with elections to attacking businesses and personal accounts, attackers are leaving nothing untouched.

Currently, hackers are targeting systems every 39 seconds, affecting a third of Americans each year. And the risk is consistently growing with each network field expansion. By 2020, there will be 200 billion connected devices- translating to countless vantage points for perpetrators. This will push annual damages to $6 trillion, up from $3 trillion in 2015.

While there are multiple areas to attack in an organization, cybercriminals are particularly fond of going for the database. That’s where the bulk of sensitive information like corporate secrets, intellectual property, and financial records, is usually locked away. Generally, the higher the sensitivity, the more the profit hackers stand to make from the data.

Due to such imminent threats, the U.S. government is constantly reviewing its cybersecurity spending every year for improved protection. Unfortunately, that’s not the case when it comes to other organizations. Despite 54% of enterprises having experienced successful attacks, only 38% believe that they are prepared to protect themselves against a sophisticated attack.

So we’ll attempt to reduce the gap by walking you through 10 of the most common vulnerabilities that attackers might capitalize on to successfully infiltrate your database:

  1. Deployment Failures

Deployment is a complex process because of the multiple variables and steps involved. In addition to comprehensively assessing IT needs, enterprises should systematically deploy various components whose architecture integrates with standard processes, then adequately review and test the entire system.

 

Since it’s a challenging process, it’s acceptable to make errors or omissions. Of course, these should be identified and mitigated at the review and text stage. But, some IT teams fail to conduct comprehensive checks. Any resultant unresolved problem becomes a vulnerability that could ultimately be used by attackers.

 

  1. Poor Password Management

The password is essentially the main key to the entire system and all its files. But, surprisingly, 67% of passwords scored poorly on a typical test. 33% were rated “good”, and none could meet “very good” standards. Even more shocking is the fact that 18% of the individuals surveyed reuse the same password on multiple platforms for easy remembrance; while 39% write it down on a piece of paper; and 10% chose to secure it in a computer file.

 

If perpetrators fail to guess correctly, they might as well access the passwords from unsecured computer files, or simply stumble upon papers with password details.

 

  1. Excessive User Privileges

It’s common for system administrators to grant other employees excessive database privileges that exceed the requirements of their job functions. Unfortunately, this increases overall risk because some workers may eventually abuse their permissions, and consequently trigger potentially detrimental data breaches.

 

If the job functions of respective users are not clear, CIOs should link up with their human resource departments to establish distinct clearance levels.

 

  1. Lack of Segregation

Leveraging a holistic and centralized database simplifies the whole integration process. But taking a literal approach results in a unilateral database that is fully accessible by not only the administrator and employees but also third-party contractors.

 

Even in a centralized database, files should be systematically segregated according to their sensitivity. The sensitive data sets should be adequately secured in a vault-like sub-sector of the database, accessible only by cleared parties.

 

  1. Missing Patches

According to the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report, 5,000 to 6,000 new vulnerabilities are emerging on an annual basis. That translates to at least 15 every day, all principally targeting system weaknesses. Software vendors subsequently respond with patches. But database administrators are often too busy to keep up with all the releases.

 

The longer a database runs with missing patches, the more susceptible it is to developing malware. If manual updates are proving to be a bit too cumbersome, enable auto updates across the board.

 

  1. Poor Audit Trail

Maintaining appropriate database audit details has always been important not only for compliance but also for security purposes. But many enterprises are leaving it off at the compliance level.

 

The resultant inability to comprehensively monitor data across the board represents serious vulnerabilities at many levels. Even something as simple as fraudulent activity cannot be detected in time to contain a breach.

 

  1. Inadequate Database Backups

A breach can be bad. But data loss is potentially catastrophic. As a matter of fact, 43% of enterprises that experience this never re-open, and 51% eventually collapse after two years. But despite this fact, many enterprises are still running inadequately backed up servers.

 

A good backup architecture encompasses primary, secondary and tertiary backup strategies that are repeatedly tested. It should also provide multiple restore points and real-time auto-updates.

 

  1. Unencrypted Data

While encryption has become standard during the data transmission process, some enterprises are still yet to implement the same for information held within their databases. Hackers love this because they are able to easily use stolen data in its rawest form.

 

  1. The Human Factor

Although malware is progressively getting sophisticated, human error is behind more than two-thirds of data breaches. And it’s expected to be the leading cause for the long haul, especially since enterprises are yet to implement sufficiently tight policies to protect their databases. While such a measure does not completely eliminate the risk, it will increasingly reduce vulnerabilities emanating from human errors.

 

  1. Database Management Inconsistencies

Overall, the lack of consistent database management continues to collectively contribute to all these system vulnerabilities. Database developers and system administrators, therefore, should have a consistent methodology of managing their databases to minimize vulnerabilities, prevent attacks, detect infiltrations, and contain breaches.

Conclusion

All things considered, a stable and secure database should mirror FileCloud’s efforts at maintaining risk-free servers. Get in touch with us to learn more about the features that make us industry leaders in data security.

 

 

Author: Davis Porter

Top 10 Cloud Security Threats In 2018 And How To Avert Them

 

2017 has seen a plague of cyber-attacks- from ransomware shutting down hospitals in Europe, to Equifax data breach, and malware targeting established brands like FedEx. By mid-year alone, the number of attacks in the U.S. had risen by 29% compared to the same time in the previous year. According to the Identity Theft and Resource Source, the organization that had tracked them, more attacks were expected at a growth rate of 37% per year.

Sadly, they were right. As a matter of fact, their prediction turned out to be barely an underestimation. By the end of the year, they had recorded a drastic upturn of 44.7% growth rate compared to 2016. Undoubtedly an all-time high.

If you assume that that must have been the hardest 12 months for cybersecurity, wait until we are done with 2018. According to the Information Security Forum (ISF), the data security organization that had predicted an increase in the number of data breaches in 2017, 2018 will be another painfully dire year. The number and impact of security attacks are expected to rise again over the next couple of months.

The year is also expected to be very thrilling for cloud computing, as more enterprises continue expanding their computing frameworks to the cloud. As a result, the volume of sensitive data in cloud servers is expected to expand at an exponential rate. And that translates to increased vulnerabilities and targets for cyber attackers.

But contrary to popular belief, method and scale of attack will not be changing drastically any time soon. IT professionals are already aware of 99% of the vulnerabilities that will continue to be exploited through to 2020.

So to help you tighten your defenses in the cloud, here are the top 10 threats we expect through 2018.

 

  1. Data Leak

The average cost of a data breach, going by figures published by Ponemon Institute, currently stands at $3.62 million. Hackers continue to target cloud servers they think have valuable information they could use. And unfortunately, many of them might turn out to be lucky due to vulnerabilities even as simple as private data shared on public domains.

In addition to defining and implementing strict data policies, organizations should invest in data security tech like firewalls plus network management solutions. Most importantly, they should only leverage proven cloud solutions with state-of-the-art security features.

 

  1. Data Loss

A data leak might be unfortunate, but not as much as data loss. While the former mostly occurs when your cloud server is successfully infiltrated, the latter is mostly caused by natural and artificial disasters. When you think you have all your enterprise data intact, it vanishes completely after physical destruction of the servers.

It’s difficult to predict natural disasters. So, to avoid going out of business due to data loss, implement a multi-layered backup system that consistently runs in real time.

 

  1. Insider Attacks

Netwrix conducted an IT Risks Survey and established that many enterprises are still experiencing difficulty gaining comprehensive visibility into their IT systems. They consequently remain vulnerable to data security threats emanating from both authorized and unauthorized users. Such an attack could be potentially detrimental since users can easily access even the most sensitive information.

Organizations should, therefore, implement strict user policies, plus effective administrative measures to track and maintain visibility to all user activities.

 

  1. Crime-as-a-Service

Cybercrime has developed to a level that malicious individuals can now hire hackers to target organizations. The ISF predicts an escalation of this in 2018, as hackers continue to access infiltration tools through the web, and criminal organizations develop complex hierarchies.

Since this mostly targets intellectual property and trade secrets, enterprises should encrypt data both at rest and during transmission.

 

  1. Human Error

The human factor continues to be the weakest element in cloud security. Your organization’s cloud users might, for instance, mistakenly share that extremely sensitive information you’ve been trying to secure from hackers. Unfortunately, this risk multiplies with every user added to the network.

In addition to strict user privilege management, organizations should invest in IT training to teach employees on cloud use, potential threats, and data handling.

 

  1. AI Weaponization

Researchers and information securities have been leveraging neural networks, machine-learning strategies, and other artificial intelligence tools to assess attacks and develop corresponding data security models. The downside to this is the fact that hackers will also use the same tools to analyze cloud vulnerabilities, and launch systematic attacks.

Since this threat is increasingly dynamic, it requires an equally multilayered system of data security strategies to prevent attacks from multiple vantage points.

 

  1. IoT Challenge

Enterprises are exceedingly capitalizing on the cloud to facilitate remote file sharing and access. But this introduces the threat of BYOD devices, which could serve as entry points for malware.

CIOs should, therefore, prioritize not only on server security but also device security. All devices allowed to access enterprise networks should be thoroughly scanned, and adequately tracked.

 

  1. Account Hijacking

If perpetrators figure out user credentials, they could easily gain access to the corresponding cloud account, hijack it, then manipulate data, eavesdrop on ongoing activities, and tamper with business processes.

In addition to closely protecting user credentials, accounts should come with multi-factor authentication, and the ability to regain control in the event of a hijack.

 

  1. Denial Of Service

By forcing cloud services to consume an excessive amount of system resources like network bandwidth, disk space, or processor, attackers continue to clock out legitimate users from server access.

An adequately updated antivirus and infiltration detection system should be able to pick up such an attempt, while a firewall will block off subsequent data transfer.

 

  1. Insecure APIs

Cloud services continue to provide access to third-party software and APIs, which facilitate collaboration and improve service delivery. But some of these APIs come with vulnerabilities that hackers are able to take advantage of to access the primary data.

This requires CIOs to comprehensively review and vet all third-party services before proceeding with subscriptions.

 

Conclusion
All factors considered none of these aversion measures would be effective on a cloud service that’s poorly secured. So get in touch with us today to learn more about the world’s most secure Enterprise File Sharing Solution.

 

 

Author: Davis Porter

10 Ways To Minimize Enterprise File Sharing Risks

 

 

If RightScale’s report on the state of the cloud in 2017 is anything to go by, the year 2016- for the first time in recent years- saw other cloud concerns surpass security. 32% of the IT professionals surveyed were particularly worried about the lack of relevant resources/expertise, compared to 29% who still considered security as the primary problem.

A year later, in 2017, concerns surrounding security went down further, and so did other worries. Now tying with managing cloud costs and lack of resources/expertise, cloud security is still a concern among 25% the professionals.

The significant reduction is evidently due to substantially improved cloud security systems coupled with fewer reports of large-scale data breaches. That notwithstanding, a quarter of IT experts are still worried about security, and that’s a considerably large portion.

According to a 2017 study by IBM and Ponemon on the cost of data breaches, they have every reason to be concerned. The average organizational, per capita data breach costs, are now at an all-time high of $225. Consequently marking a growth rate of 61% in just 10 years, primarily due to the fact that many organizations are exceedingly integrating their core processes into the cloud.

All things considered, you stand to potentially lose quite a lot now if your enterprise file sharing system was infiltrated. Data security is therefore critically important, more than ever before. But, unfortunately, organizations are not doing enough to enforce it, considering the bulk of security incidences are now emanating from enterprise-side vulnerabilities.

While service providers are progressively implementing superior security features, ultimate data safety is not possible without equally effectual measures by users. Here are 10 ways you can minimize enterprise file sharing security risks:

 

  1. Avoid EFSS Without Exclusive Data Control

Most of the other security measures are pretty pointless if you don’t have exclusive control over your organization’s data. Unfortunately, some enterprises are still going for free solutions, which for a long time, have been known to retain some of the data control rights.

 

Going with free solutions may be advisable in some special circumstances like trials. But not for organization-critical processes and sensitive data. You should rather opt for a paid EFSS system that grants you exclusive data control privileges.

 

  1. Go Private

To further enforce data control, you should consider keeping files in-house by choosing private over public EFSS. 72% of organizations are already within this bracket, mostly because of entirely exclusive data privileges.

 

If this proves to be too costly or resource-heavy, you could alternatively keep sensitive data within a much smaller private cloud setup, while leveraging a public EFSS. As a matter of fact, such a hybrid framework is currently the most popular, with 85% of enterprises.

 

  1. Set System Permissions

The more the number of people with unrestricted access to a system, the higher the number of potential vulnerability sources. So keep your system closely knit by managing network activities and system permissions.

 

Users’ system credentials should be managed according to their corresponding job duties and security clearance levels.

 

  1. Manage With Strong Passwords

81% of the hacking-related data breaches in 2017 occurred after attackers capitalized on stolen/weak system passwords. And this should not be surprising, considering “123456” is currently the most common password.

 

A simple password is easy to recall, but it’s also susceptible to hacking. So secure your EFSS system with a complex one, then back it up in an offline server just in case you forget.

 

  1. Manage Mobile Endpoint Devices

While system access through mobile devices can boost employee productivity by up to 9 hours per week, end-point gadgets will always be a major threat to your enterprise file sharing system.

 

Since it wouldn’t be advisable to completely eliminate them, consider implementing mobile device management solutions, and enforcing acceptable use policies.

 

  1. Implement File Security Management Tracking

File management system tracking would excellently supplement your use policies and device management solutions. In addition to controlling overall data usage, you’ll be able to manage additions and exceptions, plus track and report adherence to existing policies.

 

This will not only help you minimize potential vantage points for data leakage, but also identify vulnerabilities before they eventually develop into full-blown attacks.

 

  1. Run Real-Time System Scans

If your firewall is breached, the best case scenario would be reacting to contain the threat as soon as possible. But sadly, it takes enterprises an average of 201 days to identify a breach, and 70 more to contain it.

 

One of the most reliable ways to mitigate this is implementing a full-scale antimalware solution that comprehensively scans the system in real-time. It should subsequently not only prevent attacks but also raise alarm in case one is detected.

 

  1. Train Users Adequately

24% of data breaches are caused by human error. A good example of one is when military contractors mistakenly shared President Obama’s classified security blueprints of Marine One.

 

It’s impossible to completely secure your files against such occurrences. But you can substantially minimize the number of potential incidences by adequately training all the users on system usage, plus corresponding protocols.

 

  1. Implement Comprehensive Encryption Protocols

Even when you comprehensively implement security measures to protect enterprise file sharing, you still have to be prepared for a possible attack. And a great way to do this is making data useless to hackers through encryption.

 

While encryption during transfer is pretty standard by now, some organizations are still yet to implement device and server encryption. This should also be a priority since enterprise data can still be accessed at rest.

 

  1. Use certified EFSS Providers

By now, all EFSS service providers acknowledge that security is still a primary concern among their consumers. Consequently, they all market themselves as impenetrable systems- including ones with comparatively weak security features.

 

Of course, this can be confusing at times, but thanks to industry certification, there’s a way to separate the wheat from the chaff. So focus only on certified service providers that comply with set security standards.

That said, it’s critically important to leverage a proven solution you can trust. Get in touch with us at Filecloud and let us help you set up a super secure enterprise file sharing system.

 

 

Author: Davis Porter

International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) Compliance in the Cloud

 

 

ITAR was enacted in 1976 to control the export of defense-related articles and services. It stipulates that non-US persons are not allowed to have logical or physical access to articles modulated by International Traffic in Arms Regulations; which is administered by the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls – DDTC, a sub-division of the State Department. The articles covered by ITAR are listed on the United States Munitions List – USML, and generally, encompass any technology that is specifically designed or intended for military end-use. ITAR was also contrived to govern the import and export of any related technical data that consists of describes, supports, or accompanies the actual exported service or goods unless exemptions or special authorization is created.

The goal of ITAR is to prevent the transfer or disclosure of sensitive information, typically related to national security and defense, to a foreign national. In most cases, non-compliance usually translates to the loss of assets and professional reputation. However, with ITAR, lives may possibly be at stake. This is why the International Traffic in Arms Regulations is a strictly enforced United States government regulation and carries some of the most austere criminal and civil penalties that not business or individual would want to be on the receiving end of.

ITAR is not applicable to information that is already available in the public domain, or that is commonly taught in school under general scientific, engineering or mathematical principles.

Who is required to be ITAR compliant?

The law essentially applies to defense contractors who manufacture or export services, items or other information on the United States Munitions List. However, any company that is in the supply chain for such items must make ITAR compliance a priority. ITAR has a fairly complicated set of requirements, and since the repercussions of non-compliance are severe, companies should not hesitate to seek legal clarifications of their obligations if they even suspect the regulation applies to them – better safe than sorry. The vague categories of the USML make it difficult to intelligibly understand what exactly falls under the purview of military equipment.

The list is inclusive of most technology used for spaceflight, along with a vast range of technical data such as product blueprints, software and aircraft technology. Most of these items were initially developed for military purposes but were later on adapted for mainstream purposes – in aviation, maritime, computer security, navigation, electronics and other industries. It is crucial for firms that offer products and services to government consumers to fully grasp this distinction, to avoid expensive legal violations. ITAR may also likely impact large commercial enterprises, universities, research labs, and other institutions who are not directly involved in the defense industry.

The Repercussions of Non-compliance

Violating ITAR could lead to both criminal and civil penalties. The imposed fines are virtually unlimited – typically, organizations are prosecuted for hundreds of violations at once. The penalties for ITAR violations, both criminal and civil, are substantial. Criminal penalties may include fines of up to a million dollars per violation and 10 years’ imprisonment while civil fines can be as high as half a million dollars per violation. Failure to comply with ITAR may also damage an organizations reputation and ability to conduct business. The State Department maintains publicly available records of all penalties and violations dating back to 1978. Organizations and individuals run the risk of being completely debarred from exporting defense-related services and items.

Challenges in the Cloud

ITAR compliance and the adoption of cloud platforms presents unique challenges. Uploading technical data to the cloud carries with it a huge risk of penalties and violations. There are a lot of questions in regards to whether or not regulated technical data can be stored in a public cloud. The intrinsic quandary in that cloud vendors use distributed and shared resources that will likely cross national borders, and this dispensation of resources is not entirely transparent to the end-user. Data back-up and replication are common security measures when sharing files and collaborating via the cloud, but they can inadvertently lead to unlicensed exports in the event data is sent to servers located outside the United States. Once technical data goes beyond U.S borders, the risk of non-US persons having access to it increases exponentially.

In 2016 for example, Microwave Engineering Cooperation settled an ITAR violation with the State Department after technical data related to a defense article was exported to a foreign person without authorization. So if giving a foreign person access to technical data, or placing it on a server in a foreign nation is deemed and export. What guidance does ITAR give to ensure the entire process is done in a legal manner? Or is cloud storage simply off the table?

The State Department maintains that technical data can be stored on servers outside the U.S, provided that the of the ITAR license exemption conditions are met, and adequate measures are taken to obviate non-US individuals from accessing technical data. In most cases, the measure typically involves ensuring that any data sent to a server beyond U.S borders, or that is potentially accessible by a foreign person within or outside the U.S has to be properly encrypted. It is important to note that by law, cloud providers aren’t considered exporters of data, however, your organization might be. So the burden of ensuring ITAR compliance when handling technical data falls squarely on the people within the organization. Organizations dealing with defense-related articles in any capacity have to exercise extreme caution when using any commercial file sharing and sync service.

 

Author: Gabriel Lando

Cloud Security Threats That Will Keep CISOs Busy in 2018

 

As cloud computing continues to strengthen its hold over enterprise IT services market, the concerns around organizational readiness to address the growing security challenges also keep on escalating. Invariably, the shared and on-demand nature of cloud services gives way to security risks. Whether it’s a general expansion in the exposed threat surface area, or some very specific cloud computing-related security issues – 2018 will definitely require that enterprise use the services of their CISOs to manage the growing risks. In this guide, we’ve covered the most pressing of these concerns for you to understand and plan your enterprise’s cloud security strategy around.

Lack of Understanding of Shared Security Responsibilities

One of the major problems that hit CISOs hard is the realization that their cloud service provider is not exactly 100% responsible for the complete security of the workload. Enterprises believe that since their workloads are being managed in the cloud, they can simply forget the security aspects of the same. The truth, however, is that cloud service providers are not responsible or under any obligation for ensuring the security of the workload beyond what the contract mentions. Data retention, backup, security, and resilience – all come in the purview of the enterprise’s responsibility for cloud security, and not that of the vendor. CISOs would do well to understand the cloud service vendor’s model of shared security responsibility. Almost always, companies need to implement extended and additional security measures to secure their cloud data.

Insiders with Malicious Intents

All it takes is a disgruntled employee to bring down the IT systems of an enterprise; that’s sad but true. Because the average enterprise has more than a few cloud computing service vendors, it also means your employees have that many cloud-based applications to manage their work around. Single sign-on is a practical option for companies. However, it also means that malicious insiders can use their position to access and mess up applications.

To make sure that their cloud apps remain secure, enterprises need to invest in access and identity management processes and capabilities. Also, they need to work with cloud vendors to implement behavior analysis based alert mechanisms. These mechanisms can identify suspicious user behavior and trigger alerts, apart from blocking access upon detection.

Failure in Due Diligence while Hiring and Onboarding New Cloud Service Vendors

More and more business applications are now being delivered via the cloud. This obviously means that IT managers will find themselves in boardrooms, being pitched dozens of cloud solutions.

Here, due diligence could be a deal maker or breaker as far as the success of the enterprise-vendor relationship goes. CISOs have a very clear role to play here and must be closely associated with the IT vendor onboarding process. Now is the perfect time to start working on building a thorough checklist of pre-requisites that vendors must meet to qualify for your company’s business. CISOs also must work along with their counterparts from active vendors to ensure the right fit among systems from both sides.

A missed step in the due diligence before signing off a contract with a cloud vendor could come back to haunt your company very soon.

Human Errors

Though enterprises strive to make their IT and business applications immune against user errors, the risks remain real. Also, users of cloud-based applications are always on the radar of cybercriminals. CISOs have to ask themselves – are the end users sufficiently secure against phishing and social engineering attacks?

To make sure that a naive employee doesn’t end up being the cause of an application outage, CISOs need to lead IT efforts towards improving the cybersecurity knowledge of end users.

Insecure Application Programmer Interfaces

Application programmer interfaces (APIs) are key enablers of integration of cloud services with all kinds of on-premise and third-party applications that a business uses. In the very recent past, there’s been a lot of focus on delivering advanced APIs to enterprises to enable them to self-service requests. APIs are also the system components where monitoring, management, and provisioning can be managed by users.

In 2018, it’s expected that the range and capabilities of APIs will expand, bringing more enterprise IT consultants and technicians within the purview of API relevant user groups. This, however, must be done with close oversight of the CISO or one of his/her close aides. The reason – APIs invariably become contribute to the threat surface area of enterprise cloud infrastructure. Companies need specific additional measures to prevent deliberate or accidental attempts to circumvent policies.

Account Hijacking

Though account hijacking is not something specifically associated with cloud computing, it’s certain that cloud computing does add a lot to the threat surface area. The reason is that cloud services are accessed via user accounts, and each new account becomes a risk variable in the cloud security equation. If hackers are able to hijack a user account, they can use the credentials to:

  • Record transaction information
  • Manipulate data
  • Eavesdrop on business communications
  • Redirect users to suspicious websites
  • Execute advanced phishing attacks on hundreds of owners of similar accounts
  • Access critical cloud computing settings and configurations
  • Block legitimate access requests
  • Return false information to data requests

Advanced Persistent Threats

Like a parasite, some cyber attacks persist for long duration, attempting to infiltrate target systems and establish a stronghold within the IT processes and workloads of the victim systems. The worse part of APT attacks is that they stealthily grow aware of evolving security measures and can alter their responses accordingly. Once APTs become a part of a system, they can move laterally and start stealing information from cloud workloads.

Concluding Remarks

As more data and more applications move to the cloud, the role of the enterprise CISO in ensuring security becomes crucial. 2018 will throw all kind of security challenges at enterprises, particularly related to cloud infrastructure. The threats mentioned in this guide are the ones that warrant the CISO’s attention.

Personal Data Breach Response Under GDPR

personal data breach

Data security is at the heart of the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It sets strict obligations on data controllers and processors in matters pertaining data security while concurrently providing guidance on the best data security practices. And for the first time, the GDPR will introduce specific breach notification guidelines. With only a few months to go until the new regulations come into effect, businesses should begin focusing on data security. Not just because of the costs and reputational damage a personal data breach can lead to; but also because under the GDPR, a new data breach notification regime will be applied to statute the reporting of certain data breaches to affected individuals and data protection authorities.

What Constitutes a Personal Data Breach Under GDPR?

GDPR describes A personal data breach as – a security breach that leads to the unlawful or accidental loss, destruction, alteration, or unauthorized disclosure of personal data stored, processed or transmitted. A personal data breach is by all means a security incident; however, not all security incidents require the same strict reporting regulations as a personal data breach. Despite the broad definition, it is not unusual in data security laws that require breach reporting. HIPAA, for example, makes the same distinctions at the federal level for medical data. It aims to prevent data protection regulators from being overwhelmed with breach reports.

By limiting breach notifications to personal data (EU speak for personally identifiable information – PII), incidents that solely involve the loss of company data/ intellectual property will not have to be reported. The threshold to establish whether an incident has to be reported to a data protection authority is dependent on the risk it poses to the individuals involved. High risk situations are those that can potentially lead to the significant detrimental suffering – for example, financial loss, discrimination, damage to reputation or any other significant social or economic disadvantage.

…it should be quickly established whether a personal data breach has occurred and to promptly notify the supervisory authority and the data subject.

– Recital 87, GDPR

If an organization is uncertain about who has been affected, the data protection authority can advise and, in certain situations, instruct them to immediately contact the individuals affected is the security breach is deemed to be high risk.

What Does The GDPR Require You to Do?

Under GDPR, the roles and responsibilities of processors and data controllers have been separated. Controllers are obliged to only engage processors who are capable of providing sufficient assurances to implement appropriate organizational and technical measures to protect the rights of data subjects. In the event of a data breach that affects the rights and freedoms of said data subjects, the organization should report it, without any delay and, where practicable, within 72 hours of becoming aware of it.

The data processor is mandated to notify the controller the moment a breach is discovered, but has no other reporting or notification obligation under the GDPR. However, the 72-hour deadline begins the moment the processor becomes aware of the data breach, not when the controller is notified of the breach. A breach notification to a data protection authority has to at least:

  1. Have a description of the nature of the breach, which includes the categories and number of data subjects affected.
  2. Contain the data protection officer’s (DPO) contact information.
  3. Have a description of the possible ramifications of the breach.
  4. Have a description of steps the controller will take to mitigate the effect of the breach.

The information can be provided in phases if it is not available all at once.
If the controller determines that the personal data breach can potentially put the right and freedoms of individuals at risk, it has to communicate any information regarding the breach to the data subjects without undue delay. The communication should plainly and clearly describe the nature of the personal data breach and at least:

  1. Contain the DPO’s contact details or a relevant contact point.
  2. Have a description of the possible ramifications of the breach.
  3. Have a description of measures proposed or taken to mitigate or address the effects of the breach.

The only exception in this case is if the personal data has been encrypted, and the decryption key has not been compromised, then there is not need for the controller to notify the data subject.

The most ideal way for companies to handle this GDPR obligation is to not only minimize breaches, but also, establish policies that facilitate risk assessment and demonstrates compliance.

The GDPR stipulates that all the records pertaining the personal data breach, regardless of whether the breach needs to be reported or not. Said records have to contain the details of the breach, any consequences and effects, and the follow up actions taken to remedy the situation.

Should Ransomware Attacks Be Reported?

Ransomware typically involves the ‘hijacking’ of cooperate data via encryption and payment is demanded in order to decrypt the ransomed data. Under GDPR, Ransomware attacks may be categorized as a security incident but it does not necessarily cross the threshold of a personal data breach. A Ransomware attack would only be considered a personal data breach if there is a back up but the outage directly impacts user’s freedoms and rights, or if there is no back up at all. Ideally, a Ransomware attack where the ransomed data can be quickly recovered does not have to be reported.

What Are the Consequences of Non-Compliance?

A failure to comply with the GDPR’s breach reporting requirements will not only result in negative PR, constant scrutiny, and possibly loss of business; but will also attract an administrative fine of up to € 10 million or up to two percent of the total global annual turnover of the preceding financial year. Additionally, failure to to notify the supervising authority may be indicative of systematic security failures. The would show an additional breach of GDPR and attract more fines. The GDPR does have a list of factors the supervising authority should consider when imposing fine; chief among them being the degree of co-operation by the data controller with protection authority.

In Closing

Data breach notification laws have already been firmly established in the U.S. These laws are designed to push organizations to improve their efforts in the detection and deterrence of data breaches. The regulators intentions are not to punish but to establish a trustful business environment by equipping organizations to deal with with security issues.

Author: Gabriel Lando

image courtesy of freepik

FileCloud Announces Integration With Duo – Enhances the Security With 2FA

 

You’ve probably been investigating 2-Factor Authentication (2FA) more recently. With each new data breach in the news, you increasingly realize that security doesn’t end with strong passwords.

Two Factor Authentication,  also known as 2FA,  is a two-step verification method that requires a username/password and the second method of verification. Duo is a cloud-based SaaS service that can authorize 2FA across any organization. Duo simplifies the management of end users and their 2FA devices.This support allows FileCloud 2FA management via DUO for clients who already use DUO to manage their other enterprise applications.

FileCloud is trusted by 1,000s of organizations to store critical files and data. Since FileCloud deals with mission-critical business data, we consider security as the most important vector. FileCloud already offers 2FA through Google and mail authentication. With our new version of FileCloud, you can integrate with Duo to offer 2FA and enhance the security when users access FileCloud.  Duo adds an extra layer of protection to your FileCloud account.  Once enabled, FileCloud will require a passcode in addition to your user id/password whenever you log in to FileCloud.

What is 2FA?

2FA adds an extra layer of protection to user logins by combining the use of “something you know” (your login credentials and password) and “something you possess” (One Time Passcode).  Many consumer emails and online banking applications now incorporate this additional layer of account security. For most applications using 2FA, it is most common for users to retrieve a passcode from their cell phone, smartphone,  or another smart device in order to access their account.

While SSO is convenient for users, it presents new security challenges. If a user’s primary password is compromised, attackers may be able to gain access to multiple resources. In addition, as sensitive information makes its way to cloud-hosted services, it is even more important to secure access by implementing two-factor authentication.

Are text-based 2FAs enough?

The problem with 2FA is that often a distinction isn’t made between SMS-based 2FA, which sends a code to the user via text, and 2FA that requires a user to respond to a push verification sent to a specific physical device.

Text-based 2FA spreads out the potential attack surface. Instead of a code being sent to one place — like a purpose-built smartphone app or a separate authenticator device — it’s distributed throughout a set of services that might have their own vulnerabilities. A true two-factor authentication, the good kind, sends a verification prompt to one place: the device you’re holding in your hand.

Duo Security and how it works with FileCloud

We know that the most effective security solution is one your users actually use. Duo is an industry leader that provides users with multiple options to gain access to their account using 2FA. Duo’s 2FA solution only requires our users to carry one device – their phone, with the Duo Mobile app, installed. Duo Mobile is available for iPhones, Androids and more. Duo makes it very simple to protect many different apps due to their Auth API – as long as the apps support Duo. Once you have an Enterprise Plan of Duo, you can protect any sign-in process of on-premises and cloud apps.

FileCloud can be set up to use Duo security service to perform 2FA. After integrating Duo with FileCloud, users will need to install Duo app on their smart device which will provide them with the passcode. Users will, therefore, require using their ID, password and the passcode generated to log in to their FileCloud account. With this added security, your employees can collaborate and store files in this encrypted cloud drive, share data securely within the network or with outsiders, and much more.With the additional Duo 2FA enabled, your business data is protected at the highest possible security level with FileCloud.

Here’s how you can integrate Duo with FileCloud

  1. Add Duo Auth API

Get integration key, secret key, and API hostname using Duo -> https://duo.com/docs/authapi

Enter the information Admin Portal→ Settings→ Misc→Duo Security Tab under Auth API Security Settings and save.

  1. ADD Duo Admin API

Follow instructions at https://duo.com/docs/adminapi to get the integration key, secret key, and API hostname

Ensure it has the “Grant read resource” permission

Enter the information Admin Portal → Settings→ Misc→Duo Security Tab under Admin API Security Settings and save

 

  1. Open the Policies tab and select the policy (select the Global policy if 2FA needs to be default)
  2. Open the 2FA tab of the Policy
  3. Select “YES” to Enable Two Factor Authentication
  4. Select “Duo Security” for Two Factor Authentication Mechanism and save the policy

 

When users want to log into the VPN, it receives a request. The VPN communicates with Duo, which sends a request to the mobile device of the user – the second factor. When the user confirms on the second device, Duo communicates back to the VPN and only then the user is allowed access the network.

To know more about this feature and to learn how to integrate that with your FileCloud account, Click here 

Personal Data, PII and GDPR Compliance

GDPR

 

The countdown for the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will go into full effect in May 2018, is coming to a close. GDPR aims to solidify the data privacy rights of EU residents and the requirements on organizations that handle customer data. It introduces stern fines for data breaches and non-compliance while giving people a voice in matters that concern their data. It will also homogenize data protection rules throughout the EU. The current legislation, the EU Data Protection Directive was enacted in 1995, before cloud technology developed innovative ways of exploiting data; GDPR aims to address that. By enacting strict regulations and stiffer penalties the EU hopes to boost trust within a growing digital economy.

Despite the fact that GDPR came into force on 24th May 2016, organizations and enterprises still have until the 25th of May 2018 to fully comply with the new regulation. A snap survey of 170 cybersecurity pros by Imperva revealed that While a vast majority of IT security professionals are fully aware of GDPR, less than 50 percent of them are getting everything set for its arrival. It went on to conclude that only 43 percent are accessing the impact GDPR will have on their company and adjusting their practices to comply with data protection legislation. Even though most of the respondents we based in the United States, they are still likely to be hit by GDPR if they solicit and/or retain (even through a third party) EU residents’ personal data.

Remaining compliant with GDPR demands, among several other things, a good understanding of what constitutes ‘personal data’ and how it differs from ‘personal identifiable information’ or PII.

What is Personal Data In the GDPR Context?

The EU’s definition of personal data in GDPR is markedly broad, more so than current or past personal data protection. Personal data is defined as data about an identifiable or identified individual, either indirectly or directly. It is now inclusive of any information that relates to a specific person, whether the data is professional, public or private in nature. To mirror the various types of data organizations currently collect about users, online identifiers like IP addresses have been categorized as personal data. Other data such as transaction histories, lifestyle preferences, photographs and even social media posts are potentially classified as personal data under GDPR. Recital 26 states:

To determine whether a natural person is identifiable, account should be taken of all the means reasonably likely to be used, such as singling out, either by the controller or by another person to identify the natural person directly or indirectly. To ascertain whether means are reasonably likely to be used to identify the natural person, account should be taken of all objective factors, such as the costs of and the amount of time required for identification, taking into consideration the available technology at the time of the processing and technological developments.

This personal data term directly applies to all the 28 states in the European Economic Area (EEA)

Is Personally Identifiable Information (PII) the Same as Personal Data?

The term ‘Personally Identifiable Information’ doesn’t appear anywhere in the GDPR; however, it does have a definite meaning in US privacy law. Therefore the term in itself is likely to cause confusion to anyone seeking to comply with GDPR. For a concept that has become ubiquitous in both technological and legal colloquy, PII is surprisingly hard to define. In a nutshell, PII refers to any information that can be used to distinguish one individual from another. This includes any information that can be used to re-identify anonymous data. This can solely refer to data that is regularly used to authenticate/identify an individual, this may be averse to information that violates the privacy of on individual, that is, reveal sensitive information regarding someone. The US interpretation of the term is undeniably incongruous with what is relevant for a proper GDPR assessment since it pre-selects a set of identifying traits.

To put it bluntly, all PII can be considered personal data but not all personal data is Personally Identifiable Information. Developing a solid GDPR compliance program demands that IT architects and marketers move beyond the restricted scope of PII to examine the full spectrum of personal data as defined by the EU.

Handling Personal Data in Accordance With GDPR

The first step to GDPR compliance in matters pertaining personal data is undoubtedly the risk assessment of how existing data is being stored and accessed, the level of risk attached to it, and whether it contains any PII. The data might be stored on server file systems, databases or even on an end user’s physical storage or cache. Becoming GDPR compliant will mean that you are not only protecting more data types in the future but will also involve dissipating more effort in the identification of existing data that initially wasn’t considered personal data. It is important to note that you cannot limit your scope to the data you hold as if it were a closed system. Nowadays, people typically interact with interconnected systems, and GDPR mirrors that. In such scenarios, organizations should focus outward, and infer who in their ecosystem can connect with an attribute to another, from the multiple varying paths to re-identification within their ecosystem.

Additionally, GDPR requires that a document ‘opt-in’ consent must be provided by each individual. The consent has to explicitly pinpoint the data collected, how it is going to be used and how long it will be retained. Organizations also have to provide participants with an option to remove their consent at any given time and request their personal data be permanently deleted. Participants should have the ability to get factual errors amended, and even request their personal data for review and use.

FileCloud Can Help You Comply With GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation sets a new standard in the protection of personal data. Its efforts aim to grant data subjects more control over their data while ensuring the transparency of operations. FileCloud provides a set of simple features that can help organizations meet GDPR requirements.

Click here for more information.

Author: Gabriel Lando

Image courtesy of freepik.com