One of the key pieces of advice passed out by cyber security experts in recent years has been to use a password manager.
Businesses require strong, unique passwords for each online service and piece of software they use, but remembering each of these passwords is a difficult task, especially if numerous people have access to the same system – hence the password manager recommendation.
But are password managers truly safe to use? The recent security flaw discovered by LastPass – one of the leading password manager providers – allowed hackers to steal passwords, while another manager, 1Password, has previously been criticised for allowing user bookmarks to be leaked.
Don’t use ‘browser-based managers’
Although password managers are still a preferable solution to physically writing down passwords or – God forbid – using the same master password for everything, Sean Cassidy of Defense Storm has suggested that it’s time to leave password managers operated through browser extensions behind.
“Browser-based password manager extensions should no longer be used because they are fundamentally risky and have the potential to have all of your credentials stolen without your knowledge by a random malicious website you visit or by malicious advertising.”
Generally, the advice is that software-based password managers are still safe, but only if you take measures to ensure you go with the right one.
“In this day and age we have so many passwords and they need to be strong so you can’t remember them,” said Professor Alan Woodward, a cyber security expert who offered some advice on choosing a password manager.
“I tend to look at the record of how they’ve dealt with security incidents in the past. It’s almost inevitable that there will be problems, but how they respond to their users is important. It’s a bit like a courier losing your package: it happens, but it’s how they deal with it that matters.”
Prioritise companies who are open about any problems they may have experienced and who take steps to fix issues; LastPass quickly raised the alarm upon discovery and implemented measures to stop something similar happening in future.
A further tip delivered by Woodward is to turn on two-factor authentication, which requires another step to access the account – a common one is for the user to provide an answer to a question that is personal to them.
Despite recent events, business owners are still advised to use password managers to safeguard their personal and their customers’ personal data, but to be careful when doing so – don’t just assume that protection is iron-clad. If you would like to implement two-factor authentication or for more information on cyber security, contact an IT support specialist such as Nimbus today.
Information security by Ervins Strauhmanis licensed under Creative commons 4
If you are a small retailer looking for help on protecting your business – and your customers – from the threat of cyber crime, then you’ll be interested in a new cyber security toolkit developed by the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
The trade body for the UK retail industry has published the Cyber Security Toolkit, designed to give retailers practical guidance on putting adequate cyber security management plans in place and having robust strategies to put into action should a security breach take place.
Today, more than half of all retail fraud (53 percent) is conducted online and online retail sales are growing by 10 percent to 15 percent every year. With one in every four pounds now spent online, the retail industry is one that is being increasingly targeted by cyber criminals, who are using sophisticated means of attack, including crimes like ‘doxing’, ‘whaling’ and ‘spoofing’.
The Cyber Security Toolkit will help retailers keep customer data safe, set up and implement a cyber security plan, share information safely and create an incident response plan. The pack also gives guidance on preparing, responding, recovering and reviewing cyber attacks.
Dr Ian levy, technical director at the recently opened National Cyber Security Centre, said the UK retail sector is “vital” to the country’s economic wellbeing.
“The NCSC is delighted to be working with the BRC in finding innovative ways to make the UK a safe place for citizens, eCommerce, small businesses and large chains to do retail business online.
“We are committed to giving individuals and businesses of all sizes confidence to deliver success in our increasingly digitalised economy, and we’re pleased to support the development of this toolkit,” Dr Levy added.
Hugo Rosemont, policy adviser on crime and security at the BRC, added that the toolkit would help retailers “stay ahead” of the ever-evolving threats posed by cyber crime.
Nimbus CS offer a diverse range of IT services right across the UK. We’ve extensive experience in our field, with a team of friendly experts on hand to help at all times. Whether it’s IT support, cloud solutions, hosted exchange services or support with offsite back-up, we’re the ones to come to. Get in touch today to discuss your requirements.
Cyber by visually_conscious licensed under Creative commons 4
Many organisations from huge corporate entities to small businesses are turning to the Cloud and its many advantages for their data storage requirements.
Here are a few of the many advantages the Cloud has over traditional on-site computing.
It’s expensive to purchase, use, maintain and upgrade traditional desktop software, especially if you have multiple users across a sizeable organisation. The Cloud is a much more cost-effective option; choose from one-off payment options, pay-as-you-go, and other scalable alternatives to save your business a fortune in the long term.
2. Unlimited storage capability
Cloud providers can offer virtually unlimited data storage space. This means that you don’t have to worry about increasing your own on-site storage facility, which saves you money and hassle.
3. Backup and recovery
Cloud storage providers will also back up your data for you and, if necessary, restore it in the event of a problem. This is one less thing for you to worry about and you don’t have the risk of loss of data due to theft of computer equipment or a fire in your premises, for example.
4. Flexibility of software integration
Upgrades and bug fixes to software you have purchased through the Cloud are usually automatic and free of charge under your contract with the provider. You can customise your preferences too and cherry-pick the options which best suit your business needs. This means that you’ll never be stuck with out-of-date software that doesn’t do what you need it to.
5. Easy access
The Cloud allows you to access your information from anywhere, provided you have an internet connection. This is great if you travel a lot with your business or spend time working abroad.
6. Quick deployment
This is a great trick. Depending on what you opt for, your whole setup can be fully functional and working within a matter of minutes, much quicker than having to physically set up a traditional software suite across multiple users.
The smart choice for SMEs
Cloud computing is certainly the way forward for small to medium-sized businesses and does offer many advantages. Perhaps it’s time that your business moved its data storage over to the Cloud? Contact Nimbus CS today for more advice on our business IT support services.