For many of us, summer symbolizes vacations and relaxation. As you take advantage of the summer weather, don’t relax your security workflows. Attackers see summer as an opportunity. While traveling or on vacation, users are more likely to access company data remotely, which makes them targets for attackers.

Cyberattacks are not the only threats in the summer months. Storms and power outages can cause loss of productivity and data, therefore, causing a decline in revenue. Don’t get burned by these summer risks. Prioritize planning and stay committed to your security workflows and disaster response plans.

Rising Attacks

When users are more distributed, it creates vulnerabilities. Here are a few ways that attackers take advantage of a distributed workforce:

  • Using social engineering techniques to gain credentials or data.
  • Creating imposter websites that harbor malicious content.
  • Taking advantage of weaknesses at your endpoints.

Phishing Emails

Perhaps you receive an email from a colleague who is out of the office on PTO. Your colleague’s email urgently requests that you send the company credit card information. The email explains that they did not bring the card out of fear of losing it during their vacation in Bermuda. The email seems legitimate as your colleague is currently in Bermuda, so you respond. Unfortunately, this is an example of a phishing email. An attacker spent time researching your colleague and was aware of their trip and current location. The attacker used these details to pose as your colleague and request sensitive information.

Attackers use impersonation tactics to gain information or money. Phishing emails have become more sophisticated as attackers diligently do their homework. They comb through social media accounts and other publicly available data for relevant facts. They use these facts in emails to gain the user’s trust. In some cases, attackers have already compromised a company email account and are using it to gather information or obtain additional access.

According to Knowbe4’s 2020 Phishing by Industry Benchmarking Report, “industry-wide 37.9% of untrained users will fail a phishing test.” With little or no security awareness training, more than a third of users are likely to respond to an attacker’s email.

Malicious Domains

Have you ever tried to visit a popular URL only to find that it looks a little odd? Perhaps the branding seems different, or you notice a few typos. Attackers purchase commonly mistyped domain names hoping that users mistake it for the real website. By visiting a malicious website and clicking on embedded links, your device and company network can become compromised.

While you’re on vacation, a colleague tries to help out by ordering office supplies (a task you usually complete). They mistype the supply company’s URL and end up on an imposter site. They don’t realize their mistake and proceed to checkout using the company credit card. In this example, an attacker would have acquired the company’s contact and financial information.

Guarding Endpoints

As you access data remotely, while working from home or on PTO, your device becomes a point of interest for attackers. “70% of all successful network breaches start on endpoint devices.”, according to csoonline.com, who cites data from IDC. Attackers try to exploit endpoint weaknesses like outdated and unpatched systems. Through these vulnerabilities, an attacker can access and encrypt company resources.

A Different Kind of SPF

Businesses need to review their security protection factors. Review your infrastructure, policies, and procedures regularly to address evolving security threats and compliance standards. Refresh your processes as your business adds new systems and technology. Security and compliance are a community effort, remind users to avoid taking shortcuts, like sharing credentials for convenience. You have approval processes and security procedures for a reason.

Email Security

Increase your email security by implementing solutions that block threats and detect malicious content and links within emails. Some solutions even have features to isolate compromised accounts to prevent them from sending emails.

Security awareness training lowers a user’s risk of engaging in a malicious email. Educating users will help them notice details like typos and unusual requests. After training, users can identify the warning signs of a potential threat.

DNS/Web Filtering

To avoid landing on imposter websites, use a Domain Name System (DNS)/web filtering service. DNS filtering prevents users from accessing potentially malicious domains. You can also customize the content filters, so specific URLs or content types are blocked, e.g., social media sites.

Endpoint Detection and Response

Endpoint detection and response platforms are a must for companies with remote users. EDR platforms monitor network traffic and use machine learning to identify potential threats. Platforms provide real-time alerts to your IT team, allowing them to respond to incidents quickly. Other EDR benefits can include incident logging and threat isolation. To fully utilized an EDR platform, your business needs an IT expert who can interpret and respond to alerts. Managed service providers, like Coretelligent, can work with you to create a comprehensive security plan.

Disasters and Outages

Cyberattacks are not the only summer obstacle; storms and power outages also cause problems for businesses. System failures and poor pre-planning can lead to loss of data and productivity.

In the summer, temperatures rise, and we consume more electricity. Overheating can cause system failures and power outages. Summer storms can damage buildings, hardware, and power lines, which also lead to failures and outages.

Benefits of the Cloud

Having only on-premise servers when a disaster strikes could mean trouble. Consider moving to a hybrid, private, or public cloud option. The cloud offers geo-diverse backups and redundancy, meaning that even if one location goes down, your business is still operational.

Redundant Power Supply

Downtime results in lost revenue. Make sure your critical systems have a redundant power supply. A redundant power supply has multiple sources of power, which means it can keep functioning even if one source fails.

The key to business continuity and resiliency during the summer months is pre-planning.

Continuity and Resiliency

You should review systems and plans on a quarterly or semi-annual basis. Does your business know what systems are critical for operations? Are you aware of what steps to take if you experience a breach, disaster, or failure? Create a business continuity plan (BCP) to address the specific steps required to remain operational. Your business should pressure test your BCP, and complete practice runs with users. Providing education to your users will increase the success of your BCP.

Make an Asset Inventory

Identifying critical systems and creating detailed maintenance procedures is essential to business continuity. Create an inventory detailing all data and systems, including backups. Be sure to include the locations of your data. This information will help you remain operational, secure, and compliant, even if you experience a disaster.

Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan

Backups do not equal a disaster recovery plan, but they are a vital component. Your company should perform regular backups and test these backups to ensure they work properly. Daily backups and testing are not only a good practice but also required to meet some compliance standards.

A comprehensive backup and disaster recovery (BDR) plan consists of detailed policies and procedures that happen before, during, and after a disaster or incident. A BDR plan will include information like:

  • An asset inventory list which notes critical systems and asset locations.
  • A communications plan.
  • Definitions of roles and responsibilities for those in your business, your vendors, and managed service provider.
  • Procedures for continuing operations, e.g., remote work or alternate worksite.
  • Procedures for maintaining security and compliance.

Solutions that Work While You’re on Vacation

Don’t relax your security and BDR plans during the summer months. Balancing business initiatives with security and technology can seem challenging, but Coretelligent can help. We provide white glove, fully managed, and co-managed IT services to highly regulated industries like financial services and life sciences. Our comprehensive security and back up and disaster recovery solutions work for you around the clock so you can have peace of mind. To learn how Coretelligent can help your business, contact us at 855-841-5888 or via email to info@coretelligent.com.

Learn more about our solutions related to this article: CoreArmor for security and compliance, CoreCloud our private cloud solution, and CoreBDR for quality backups and disaster recovery.

Read our whitepaper, The ABCs of Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR), to learn more about creating a BDR plan.

When creating a home office, it’s typical to make decisions like which room has the best light or which side of the desk should the printer sit on. It may be harder to decide what technology would improve your home office. Browsing protection, VPN services, and mesh Wifi are simple upgrades that can create a private, more productive, and secure experience working from home.

Browsing Protection

Most of our workday involves using a web browser such as Chrome, Firefox, or Safari. During our web activities, we are at risk of exposure to unwanted ads, ransomware, or hijacking. You can make web browsing a safer experience by using search engines or implementing browser extensions that block popup windows, prevent tracking, and enforce secure connections. Browser extensions are easy to install and add features to your browser.

Search Engines & Extensions

Have you ever been blocked from accessing websites like YouTube or Facebook while at work? This block happens via Domain Name System (DNS)/Web filtering. DNS filtering prevents you from accessing potentially harmful websites or inappropriate content. There are free and inexpensive services that offer customizable content filtering, which is useful for preventing kids from accessing specific websites or adult content.

It’s not uncommon for attackers to purchase commonly mistyped domain names. Their goal is to impersonate the website you were trying to access and encourage you to click on a malicious piece of content. DNS filtering has built-in protection that prevents you from accessing malicious domains.

DNS/Web Filtering Apps & Services

Anonymization & Encryption

Using Virtual Private Network (VPN) services on laptops and mobile devices keeps your web browsing traffic private and protected. A VPN creates a secure tunnel that encrypts your information so that it’s hidden as it travels. This tunnel makes it harder for attackers to see and access your data. VPNs are essential when accessing sensitive information like personal identifiable information (PII) or protected health information (PHI). VPN services are typically subscription-based and provide continuous or on-demand use.

VPN Services

Internet Connectivity

Are you experiencing intermittent Wifi coverage or slow speeds at your home office? Mesh Wifi systems can improve the strength and range of your connectivity. Depending on where you can place your modem and router, the Wifi signal may need to travel through several floors or walls, which degrades the signal quality. Mesh Wifi systems have one powerful device that connects to your modem or router. That device broadcasts a signal to smaller wireless devices, which act as repeaters by rebroadcasting the original signal. By repeating the signal, your Wifi increases in range and quality. Placing a repeater near your deck makes a backyard home office possible.

Mesh Wifi Vendors

Is your company experiencing challenges with a remote work environment? Coretelligent provides industry-leading IT solutions that keep your business mobile, flexible, secure, and in compliance. If you have questions about how to configure secure remote work solutions for your company, contact the experts at Coretelligent at 855-841-5888 or via email to info@coretelligent.com to schedule your complimentary initial consultation.

You may also be interested in our blog on BYOD: Supporting Home Devices.

Ransomware attacks are on the rise for financial services according to the ransomware alert released by SEC’s OCIE. OCIE noted that the sophistication of attacks on SEC registrants has increased. Ransomware is a type of malware. Attackers use malware to gain access to your organization’s systems or data. Once they have access, they lock you out by encrypting your data. The attacker will demand that your business pay a ransom for the return of control. In some cases, attackers may threaten to publish sensitive data if payment is not made.

The results of a ransomware attack are devastating. It can take years to recover from an attack if your company survives at all. Smaller businesses often don’t have the funds to pay the ransom and ultimately choose to close their business. Many organizations quietly pay the ransom, but that doesn’t guarantee the safe return of your data. In addition to the price of the ransom, there are legal fees and other costs associated with damage control. Although significant, the financial costs are only a portion of the damage that ransomware causes. Once you’ve experienced a breach, it isn’t easy to regain your reputation and trust.

Below are some steps that your business can take to improve your cybersecurity posture and minimize the effects of a ransomware attack.

Risk Assessment

Identifying and addressing your vulnerabilities is one of the first steps in increasing your cybersecurity posture. Running regular vulnerability scans will determine if your system has weaknesses that can be exploited by attackers. Common vulnerabilities include missing security updates and misconfigured systems.

Penetration testing is another way to measure your company’s weaknesses. During a penetration test, your IT partner will simulate the behaviors of an attacker by using strategies such as phishing. The test will identify gaps in your systems, risky user behavior, and the types of cyberattacks most likely to breach your organization.

Perimeter Security

A remote work environment is becoming the new normal, which means perimeter security is even more essential to preventing ransomware attacks. Perimeter security is no longer confined to just the office. Now perimeter security extends to managing endpoints and users’ home networks. Users are connecting to your company network from multiple devices, including personal devices. Your business needs to control, monitor, and inspect all outgoing and incoming network traffic to maintain perimeter security. The following solutions increase network security:

Endpoint Detection and Response

For many businesses, personal devices are becoming another entry-point to corporate data. An endpoint detection and response (EDR) solution allows your IT team to monitor activities at every endpoint in real-time. An EDR can analyze data and notify your IT team if there are potential threats, allowing your company to respond proactively to potential risks.

Virtual Private Network

The internet is one of our most valuable tools, but unfortunately, attackers look for vulnerabilities as we use the internet. A virtual private network (VPN) allows your business to maintain security and privacy. A VPN creates a secure tunnel for your information to travel from your device to its destination, making it more difficult for attackers to read or access your data as it travels to and from each point.

Firewalls & Intrusion Detection Systems

Firewalls and intrusion detection systems (IDS) provide network security by analyzing incoming and outgoing traffic. Firewalls block and limit the traffic that seems malicious. Intrusion detection systems notify your IT team if they detect activities that pose a threat. Smaller companies may want to consider replacing users’ home routers with more secure single office/home office firewalls.

Email Security

Email is a vital component of business functions. Email contains highly sensitive information about your company and partnerships. If your email were to stop due to a ransomware attack, so would your business. Email security solutions add security by preventing incoming emails that contain spam, phishing, and malware. This solution also allows you to share emails with sensitive information more securely.

Active Monitoring

If you’re not actively monitoring your IT infrastructure, attacks can go undetected for months. A security information and event management (SIEM) platform can identify and aggregate incidents and events that may be harmful to your IT infrastructure like a ransomware attempt. To fully benefit from a SIEM platform, you need a dedicated team actively monitoring your IT infrastructure. Active monitoring allows your IT team to respond in real-time to any potential threats or attacks.

Security Awareness Training

Education is a critical component of cybersecurity. Risky user behavior is one of the top risk factors for your cybersecurity posture. Human behavior is often predictable, which is why attackers find it so easy to exploit. Common user vulnerabilities include weak passwords, clicking on dangerous links, responding to phishing emails, and not running necessary updates.

Security awareness training teaches users cybersecurity strategies like how to identify malicious links and emails, how to create strong passwords, how to set up automatic updates, and protocols for notifying IT of suspicious content or activities.

Policies & Response Plans

Clearly defined policies and procedures are the foundation of good cybersecurity posture. Your business should address the following when creating policies and procedures:

Response Plans

Identify multiple scenarios that could affect your business continuity. Create a response plan for each situation. Remember to update your plans as your business grows.

Notification Plan

If someone discovers a threat or breach, they should know who to notify in your organization. Create specific protocols for what to do and who to tell when someone notices a cybersecurity incident. Make sure you include all necessary stakeholders (e.g., executive management, legal team, or compliance) Keep in mind, many compliance standards have specific guidelines on the time frame for notifying stakeholders.

Access Management

Properly structured user roles and permissions are the difference between an attacker having access to one folder or all company data. Access management refers to user rights and the controls that manage the levels of access to organizational information and systems. To improve security include the following in your policies and procedures:

  • Require users to have strong passwords.
  • Schedule regular password updates.
  • Use multi-factor authentication (MFA). MFA requires a password and at least one additional form of authentication, such as an application or code via text message.
  • Limit user access to the minimum necessary to complete their required tasks.
  • Immediately update privileges for personnel changes, e.g., terminations and transfers.

Business Continuity

Unfortunately, as attackers become more sophisticated in their attacks, a breach is less about if and more about when. Proactively creating business resiliency plans and procedures will help your business maintain continuity during or after a ransomware attack. Without a resiliency plan, your business could experience downtime, loss of revenue, or worse.

Backups

Setup automatic daily backups. You can increase the backup frequency depending on your business needs. Cloud-based backups provide geo-diverse redundancy, which ensures that your business has access to essential data if you experience a failure or attack.

Disaster Recovery Plan

A disaster recovery plan includes the processes needed to keep your business running in the event of an attack or failure. Start by keeping an up-to-date inventory of all your data, including storage locations. Note some compliance standards require an asset inventory. If you are locked out of your primary system, having redundancy allows you to switch to another system temporarily. Most importantly, don’t just have a plan, test it. You don’t want to discover the gaps in your disaster recovery plan while a breach is occurring.

Cybersecurity can be complicated and overwhelming, but you don’t have to do it alone. Cortelligent is focused on keeping your business secure and aligned with compliance standards so you can focus on what really matters. Coretelligent has years of experience working with clients in financial services to increase their cybersecurity posture. Contact us at 855-841-5888 or via email info@coretelligent.com to learn more about CoreArmor, our comprehensive cybersecurity solution, and CoreBDR, our backup and disaster recovery solution.

For more information about access management read our blog, The Importance of Access Rights and Controls to Cybersecurity.

Earlier this year, SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) generated a report on Cybersecurity and Resilience Observations. The report addresses seven critical areas for planning your cybersecurity and resiliency strategies, one of those areas being access rights and controls.

Access rights refer to the information and resources that a user has access to and how they can interact with that information– such as viewing or modifying content. Access controls look to verify a person’s identity (authentication) and if they have permissions to do a specific activity (authorization). If your ID card gives you access to particular rooms in a building, those are your access rights. If a security panel requires facial recognition to enter a room, it’s verifying your identity and level of access to that room. This is an example of access control. Imagine what would happen if you lost your ID card which had access to an entire building. What would happen if someone used your ID card to impersonate you? These are the types of vulnerabilities that attackers prey on digitally.

Defining Rights and Reducing Damage

Human error can be costly when it relates to cybersecurity. According to Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report, popular methods used for causing a breach were stolen credentials at 29% and phishing at 32%. Phishing is when an attacker uses social engineering to obtain information about someone. An example would be sending you an email impersonating your bank. The email may ask for you to confirm data like your social security number or date of birth. Attackers are becoming more sophisticated, so these emails often seem authentic. Once attackers have a user’s personal information, their goal is to get as much data as they can, as quickly as possible.

It’s best practice for user rights to follow the rule of least privilege. Having minimal access means a user can only access the data and resources required to do their job. By minimizing user rights, an attacker with stolen credentials has access to a limited amount of information. For users who need access to many databases, create separate accounts to segment access.

When defining access rights, you should ask the following questions:

  • What rights do users need to perform their job?
  • Who is granting and approving these rights?

Systems and Procedures

It’s not enough to minimize user access. Controls need to be in place to verify user identity and prevent unauthorized users from accomplishing tasks. Configuring access controls should start with policy that is backed by leadership. Policies need to be dynamic and reviewed often. With working from home becoming the new normal, there are more devices and new types of technology connecting to your business. If technology changes, so should your policies.

Implement access management procedures that minimize risk:

  • Periodically recertify users. Maybe their access needs have changed.
  • Enforce scheduled password updates. Require passwords to be strong.
  • Use multi-factor authentication (MFA), such as sending a code via text message.
  • Be aware of personnel changes and revoke credentials immediately.

Monitoring and Prevention

It’s essential to have a monitoring system in place to detect unusual activity. With advancements in technology, content governance solutions can use artificial intelligence and machine learning to monitor user behavior and learn from it. If a user doesn’t typically try to access information from Boston, the system can flag this activity and notify your IT team.

Compliance

In the event of a breach, you will need to prove what measures were in place to prevent the attack. Auditors will want to know each step that was taken before, during, and after the breach. No solution can guarantee a breach won’t happen, but having the right combination of policies, access rights and controls, technology, and industry experts can reduce the amount of damage.

At Coretelligent, we provide comprehensive solutions to mitigate cybersecurity and compliance risk. See how our CoreArmor solution can help lower your cybersecurity risk and increase your peace of mind. Contact us at 855-841-5888 or via email to info@coretelligent.com for a complimentary initial consultation.

Whether we like it or not, remote working is here to stay. During the last few months, many organizations struggled to get up and running. Still, those who had policies and technology focused on mobility and flexibility experienced a smoother transition to a remote environment. Companies like Twitter even decided to make working from home a permanent option for employees. Unfortunately, not every organization prioritized this model. For many, there were more questions than answers. Where do we begin? How long will it take to get 200 employees up and running? Are we still protected?

Making things more complicated, most employees will be using personal devices for business activities, otherwise known as BYOD – Bring Your Own Device. This concept can cause fear for the organization and its employees. Both are wondering what vulnerabilities exist for their data and property. The foundation for addressing these concerns is policy. Merely writing a policy isn’t enough. Policies need to be actively communicated, not just in a pdf on the company intranet. Once everyone is on the same page about security and access, they can start enjoying the benefits of BYOD.

Establish Policies that Maintain Balance

You should know the risks of having employees use home devices, but don’t let it stop forward progress. According to Dell, 45% of workers believe that using a personal device for work activities would increase their productivity. Since users are already familiar with the technology on their personal devices, there is a low learning curve, which increases efficiency. In some cases, BYOD can reduce costs. Your policies should address the following to minimize the risk of BYOD:

  • Updating Technology & Software | We don’t like to admit it, but many of us are guilty of not updating our personal devices. Sometimes we have gigabytes of photos of our kids, pets, and food and so we just don’t run that update. Running legacy platforms puts users more at risk for cyber-attacks. It’s essential only to allow access to users whose technology and software meet the minimum criteria. Still, running the previous operating system? No access.
  • Endpoint Detection and Response Platforms | A home device becomes a new endpoint for attackers to target. An EDR allows IT teams to monitor what is happening on the network and at the endpoint, a personal device. The IT team gets notified if there is any suspicious activity, which allows them to investigate a potential threat proactively.
  • MDM Solutions | Mobile Device Management solutions allow organizations to have control over personal devices. IT teams can monitor and secure sensitive information, run software updates, administer compliance, and even locate a lost device. MDM solutions can create anxiety for employees because IT will have the ability to wipe their personal devices. Being upfront and explaining how employee data is being monitored and protected will reduce anxiety.
  • Employee Termination | When an employee leaves, they should no longer have access to company resources. Be clear about when access will stop and what data they need to delete. If you have an MDM solution in place, let employees know what they can expect and when.

Despite taking the appropriate precautions, there is no guarantee that you won’t become a victim of a successful cyber-attack. All organizations should consider cyber liability insurance. Dedicated cybersecurity insurance can reduce some of the costs associated with a breach. Make sure the level of coverage you choose works for your organization.

Communication and Training is Key

Policies are only useful if people understand them. Have multiple opportunities for training like during onboarding and every few months. Leave room for questions so that you can address concerns, and verify that the information presented was understood.
Communicate clearly and often. Technology changes constantly, so you should make employees aware of any changes to processes, upcoming software updates, or potential risks. Awareness will empower them to work with you for a more secure and efficient remote work environment.

Using Technology to Implement Policy

Once your policies are in place, you will need the right technology to implement them. Working with an IT partner like a managed services provider can decrease some of the stress associated with BYOD and remote work. MSPs offer managed or co-managed IT solutions that ensure your employees’ personal devices are secure and up to date. They can advise you on solutions like:

  • Cybersecurity | Working from home and BYOD bring additional vulnerabilities to your business assets. Having cybersecurity solutions in place is imperative. These solutions allow your IT team to monitor activity on your network and at endpoints. Empowered with information, they can respond to potential threats before they turn into a breach.
  • Cloud Management | Cloud-based solutions provide mobility and flexibility for businesses. Companies can access their data, files, and applications from anywhere and, in some cases, on any device. The cloud offers scalability so it can continuously meet business needs as you grow.
  • Backup and Disaster Recovery | Having backups is not only smart but also a requirement from most regulating agencies. BDR solutions ensure business continuity and resiliency through retention and replication.

Need help getting started? At Coretelligent, we have years of experience with highly regulated organizations in financial services, life sciences, among others. Our focus is on providing you with a strategic IT roadmap and industry-leading IT solutions that keep your business mobile, flexible, secure, and in compliance. Contact our team at 855-841-5888 or via email to info@coretelligent.com to learn more about how our IT solutions can protect your business and employees as you adjust to BYOD and working from home.

Life sciences companies are being beset with difficulties on all sides: strict compliance standards, rising demands of patients, and cybersecurity and data privacy requirements. Keeping pace with change and global standards is a core requirement for effective operations, allowing companies to successfully pursue their core missions to serve patients and stakeholders. It’s vital to find a mix of technology and process-based solutions that will allow your life sciences company to be flexible enough to meet evolving needs while still retaining compliance with all government regulations. IT teams are systematically working through complex compliance standards while attempting to streamline operations and identify, analyze, and eliminate compliance risk — without shifting too many resources or attention away from innovation.

Multiple Priorities Can Cause Conflict Between Teams

It’s not unusual for your teams to be pulled in many different directions, attempting to split time between exciting new projects and maintaining a secure and compliant infrastructure. When it comes to priorities, there is an ongoing balancing act that occurs between technical professionals and the rest of the organization that can often result in negative feelings between colleagues. Working with an IT managed services provider to implement strict compliance structures for your technology solutions can help smooth relationships between teams and keep your important research or productivity projects moving forward at a rapid clip.

Establishing a Foundation of IT Compliance is a Top Priority

Establishing a foundation of compliance begins with aligning with global laws, industry best practices and regional codes — all coming together to help guide your life sciences company’s day-to-day operations. Designating compliance officers, defining operational standards, and training are often highly regulated and audited by external bodies. While it takes a great deal of one-time effort to define best practices and principles for your technical staff, there is an element of ongoing review that is also needed to ensure that your internal teams are maintaining high standards of quality. Simply setting best-practices in place is rarely enough for regulators; instead, companies are finding themselves mired in long-term groupings of additional steps that can add significant cost and time to each operational process. One of the best ways to reduce the variances between processes and introduce greater efficiency is to translate repeatable tasks into a technical solution that can be tested and trusted to meet the regulatory requirements of all governing bodies.

Managed IT Solutions Can Simplify Compliance During Shifting Conditions

“Business as usual” doesn’t seem to exist and current conditions that include social distancing and remote work are unlikely to disappear in the near future. Instead, all companies must adjust to a new normal and that often means finding ways to collaborate remotely. When you consider the volume of information that must be shared within a life sciences organization and the expanded compliance requirements, keeping your IT solutions and data assets secure becomes an even more troubling conundrum. It’s difficult to know when — or if — distancing standards will be relaxed, but current conditions dictate that teams are often distributed geographically. This doesn’t change the security or compliance requirements for your daily tasks but can create additional operational challenges for IT teams. Meeting regulatory standards is often a requirement of doing business with certain partners, making it extremely important to have access to technical professionals that are well-versed in the compliance requirements for your sector.

As an innovator in the technical field for life sciences organizations, the professionals at Coretelligent are well-versed in the current and upcoming challenges for this highly-regulated sector. Our teams are continually reviewing the latest cybersecurity standards and compliance protocols — finding and deploying best-practices for our clients. We understand how to maintain balance within your technology platforms to encourage rapid growth while still retaining full compliance with rigid regulatory standards. The Coretelligent team can provide your life sciences firm with the secure, reliable and compliant IT standards that you need to be successful. For a complimentary initial consultation, contact us at 855-841-5888 or via email to info@coretelligent.com.

When an incident occurs, your team immediately shifts into overdrive. However, are you confident that each action they are taking contributes to getting your operations back online as swiftly as possible? It’s all too easy to get caught up in panic mode, thinking about all of the systems that need to be restored or quickly shifted with revised processes. Having a robust cloud solution might guarantee that your data storage is safe, but that doesn’t bring your operations back online in the event of a major cybersecurity incident or another type of disaster. When you bring together a robust backup disaster recovery process with your cloud solutions, you are ensuring that your business operations can be efficiently restored when you need them. This takes your resilience a step beyond data recovery and ensures that your digital assets have greater availability over time.

Enhanced Security Standards for Cloud Solutions

It’s not unusual to have questions around cloud security, particularly as you’re considering shifting operations from on-premise to the cloud. While the fundamental infrastructure of most cloud solutions are secure, there are often required steps that must be taken by customers or IT service providers to ensure the long-term security of the applications and data structures that are stored within the cloud. Gartner recently estimated that up to 99% of cloud-based security breaches will be caused by such vague issues as “misconfigured databases” or other preventable security failures. When you combine advanced backup disaster recovery (BDR) with cloud-based solutions, you’re defining a more active strategy that will help protect your organization in the future.

Creating IT Resilience in a Cloud-Based World

Simply shifting your strategies to cloud-based storage and business applications is not enough to ensure business continuity. Instead, your internal team and external IT partners will need to form a cohesive and comprehensive strategy that pulls together operations throughout your organization for BDR. Data recovery is often considered a “first step” in disaster and recovery scenarios, but this will never be enough to reboot your operations after a cyberattack or other disaster incident. Leading BDR and cloud vendors recommend a three-tiered approach that includes:

  • Maximize cross-infrastructure tools for resilience. With many companies shifting some or all of their operations to the cloud, there are still significant amounts of information and processing accomplished on-premise. Knitting together these two storage and application strategies is a vital component of IT resilience.
  • Prioritize testing and compliance. Having the right standards in place “in theory” will not help your organization be successful during and after an expanded incident. Your team needs to be well-versed on the specific processes to launch — and when they should be launched — as well as ensuring that team members are clear on communication standards and practices.
  • Invest in staff training. Few activities are performed in a void, which is why staff training and testing are of the utmost importance. Staff members that are clear and confident in their roles are much more likely to be successful and help reduce the amount of downtime experienced by your organization.

Putting strategies and processes in place for BDR can help reduce the amount of IT downtime your company experiences. With per-minute costs for IT downtime soaring up above $5,600 for a small business, reducing downtime is a crucial aspect of your IT planning strategies.

Creating a secure, reliable, and compliant infrastructure for your business requires concerted and ongoing effort on the part of your internal IT team and your external technology partners. The professionals at Coretelligent are well-versed in the complexities facing life sciencesfinancial services and other companies with rigorous standards for their technology infrastructure. Each of our IT, project management, and support experts are dedicated to ensuring your business success by creating robust security strategies using industry-leading solutions. Contact our team at 855-841-5888 or via email to info@coretelligent.com to learn more about how our backup, disaster and recovery solutions support a more secure infrastructure in the cloud.

Even with all of the available technology solutions, one of the biggest challenges you will continue to hear from technical teams is lack of time. Everything from upgrading current platforms to researching new solutions requires dedicated focus, and the ability to shut out all by-the-minute frustrations and do the work required to move your organization into the future. It’s not surprising to find that many business professionals feel as though they are being shut down by IT teams and attempt to “go rogue” — something that would be less likely to happen if IT teams are able to meet their needs more quickly.

Critical security alerts are also falling behind, with Cisco recently noting that companies admitted that 44% of their reported security alerts are not fully researched and may not receive remediation. As the cost of cybercrime around the world rises into the trillions and companies look to IT for differentiation, it’s clear that something in the traditional business model that includes standalone internal IT teams simply must change. Working with a trusted and reliable outsourced IT provider offers a way for internal teams to retain control of their solutions while offering ways to expand the reach of technology to support new and unique business models.

  1. Help Team Members Focus on What Matters the Most

Time and resources are always a constraint for businesses, so how do you choose where to focus your efforts and attention? Technology is ever-changing, and it can be extremely difficult for small teams to find the time to keep new projects moving forward and support a complex IT infrastructure. When you work with an outsourced IT services provider, your internal teams suddenly gain hours each day — time that isn’t spent tracking down passwords, freeing up storage solutions, administering software and more. This helps boost the focus for your over-leveraged technical teams, allowing productivity to skyrocket on these critical innovations your business requires.

  1. Gain Access to Enterprise-Scale Solutions

It’s easy to envy enterprises with their near-unlimited resources, extensive IT budgets and expansive technology teams. Fortunately, IT managed services providers are able to provide you many of the same resources used by these larger companies without the upfront investment or ongoing costs that are usually required. Since an outsourced IT company works with many different clients, they can often afford to provide you with enterprise-scale solutions for network infrastructure, VoIP calls, data storage and cybersecurity. Plus, you’re not tasking internal teams with learning yet another software platform — instead, you are relying on a trusted partner to administer these solutions using ever-changing industry best practices.

  1. Enhance Your Cybersecurity Profile

Government technology leaders agree: cybersecurity is on the rise and your company has never been at greater risk. Companies of all sizes are vulnerable to attacks, with ransomware payments rising nearly 13% in the 3rd quarter of 2019 alone. Without a robust and multi-layered approach to security, you are putting your company in a dangerous situation. Remediation after an attack is extremely costly, with companies citing losses of millions of dollars per data breach for remediation, customer notifications, lost revenue and more. Having access to the enterprise-scale tools and information you need to maintain business operations is a mission-critical endeavor for organizations — particularly those in the life sciences, financial services or other high-touch, fast-moving businesses.

  1. Empower Business Teams with Rapid Problem Resolution

When your business teams are confident that their problems can be quickly resolved, they are able to reduce their stress levels and the time spent on stressing over any technical issues. Having the least amount of uncertainty in your business processes can cause teams to fall into a low period in terms of activity, particularly in complex projects with many moving parts. Outsourcing your IT help desk support provides the peace of mind your teams need to know that any reported problems can be quickly resolved — allowing teams to maintain their forward momentum on important projects.

  1. Improve Your Customer Experience

Are your customers citing issues such as slow response times to customer service inquiries, the latency on your websites or other problems that can be tied back to your network operations or data storage solutions? Having a single point of contact for your IT infrastructure and help desk solutions helps aggregate these issues and allow them to bubble up for quick remediation. Your customers will appreciate the ability to rapidly access their information and your services, and reward your company with additional revenue and improved reviews. Customers are unwilling to wait for information or service answers for more than a few minutes. Don’t frustrate your clients and your staff with slow-moving networks that don’t offer the optimal experience.

Pulling together all of the various aspects of your IT solutions often requires working with several different service providers, but that’s not the case when you partner with Coretelligent. Our deep experience in a wide range of industries allows us to leverage cross-functional knowledge to provide the smooth and exceptional IT support that your company deserves. Contact our team of IT and business experts at 855-841-5888 or via email to info@coretelligent.com to schedule your complimentary initial consultation.

Professional service organizations come in all shapes and sizes: from the smallest law firm or accountancy to multi-billion dollar biotech firms in the life sciences sector. While the companies seem quite different at first blush, they often share a common challenge: finding the right IT support that allows the professionals to focus on their core competencies. Forward progress happens when experts are able to intensify their dedication to honing their craft — and all the extra time wasted rebuilding a server or creating new network profiles as a part-time IT technician takes away from productive time. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for smaller companies to command the resources needed to support the robust technology needs of a growing business. This is one of the reasons why so many professional service organizations are turning to technical experts to help solve their operations infrastructure crisis.

Smooth Operations Boost Forward Progress

It’s nearly impossible to be fully committed to your work when you are continually interrupted by small frustrations such as missing files, slow networks and even major problems such as a security breach. Knowledge workers need to be able to commit their time and intellect to solving big problems, but that is nearly impossible when your IT infrastructure is not up to par. Creating a seamless base for your operations requires a deep level of knowledge of current technology trends as well as the enterprise-grade platforms that will help protect your client information and any proprietary details that are being stored within your business systems. Without smooth operations forming a foundation for your professional services firm, the road to success will be needlessly twisted and bumpy.

Tightly Manage Internal Compliance and Control

Regulatory compliance can be extremely complicated, particularly when you’re working outside a single state or internationally. Nearly every industry has some sort of regulatory body in charge of ensuring you are meeting minimum standards and requirements for data storage and privacy, quality of work, financial handling procedures, medical information management and more. As your organization evolves, are you confident that your current processes are meeting the changing regulatory standards? If not, it may be most efficient to gain assistance from IT experts who are familiar with the requirements and can help implement them into your operational processes and procedures. There is a growing need for regulatory technology, and with requirements changing on a near-daily basis, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your company is fully compliant with these standards. Failure to comply with regulations can have significant penalties — up to and including criminal litigation, extensive fines or even imprisonment in the most extreme cases.

Finding the Right Technical Talent in a Tight Market

Even with the recent COVID-19 crisis resulting in millions of Americans being furloughed or losing their positions, there are still significant gaps in finding (and affording!) the technical talent needed for a professional organization. Diversification is crucial when you’re not able to bring multiple technical professionals onboard to specialize, and you will assuredly lose depth of knowledge in this situation. Finding the right individuals who are willing and able to support a growing professional services firm is a challenge that few of these entities have time for, particularly when you consider the growing skills gap in technology.

When you make decisions based on a solid IT strategy, you can be confident that your business is headed in the right direction. The team at Coretelligent works relentlessly to ensure that your company has the tools and information needed to remain competitive in an ever-changing marketplace. Contact the Coretelligent experts at 855-841-5888 or via email to info@coretelligent.com to schedule a complimentary initial consultation. From multi-faceted security and compliance protocols to advanced cloud management platforms and disaster recovery, we invest heavily in emerging technology to provide your business with the best solutions on the market.

The past few years have been vibrant ones for life sciences organizations, with nearly 100 IPOs per year fueling significant growth and changes in the sector. The refinement of data-driven technologies, machine learning and AI is creating a perfect environment for growth and revolutionary change that only shows signs of accelerating in the future. While many of these organizations quickly expand beyond expectations, most had humble origins that required a startup mentality before significant advances were made with approved funding. Here are a few of the IT solutions from Coretelligent that will support your life sciences organization at each stage of your expansion from inception to IPO.

Creating Affordable, Scalable Solutions for Life Science Organizations

Few companies have thousands of individuals and multiple locations from inception. It takes time to create a complex ecosystem, but it’s vital that you begin an organization with the correct building blocks or you will quickly find your company hitting technical roadblocks. Having an idea of the potential scale of your organization and sharing that information with your IT managed services provider and technical staff allows them to define the robust and scalable infrastructure that will support smooth growth over time while protecting the important intellectual property that will eventually be stored and utilized within your life sciences entity. With the increased competition in the marketplace and the appealing nature of life sciences organizations for cybercriminals, maintaining high levels of security is an important start to your success.

Establishing Office Setup and Relocation

There’s much more involved with creating a secure and well-structured business environment than simply running cords to connect a network. Structured cabling offers the grid capabilities for upgrade and changes that will help provide a springboard for growth for your organization. During this crucial phase of your early operations, the decisions that you make can have a profound impact on how quickly you are able to scale as well as the costs associated with making changes in the future. When you involve knowledgeable IT professionals early in the process, you’re able to gain the peace of mind knowing that your infrastructure can stand the added pressure and complexity over time. Having secure wired and WiFi connections throughout your space will help boost efficiency over time, particularly when you consider the heavy data demands of a life sciences organization.

Defining Highly Secure, Cloud-based Solutions

Secure and convenient access to information can be a differentiating factor for many organizations, something that is particularly true for life sciences companies where real-time data and immediate analyses are often daily requirements. Human-machine collaboration will grow in importance over time as technology evolves, creating a compelling need for data that is always up-to-date and accurate. Cloud-based solutions for data storage and business applications help ensure that sensitive information is fully protected and accessible, tightening the connections between data and applications while maintaining exceptional levels of protection for individuals and intellectual property.

With a solid background in supporting growing life science organizations, the experts at Coretelligent have the knowledge and experience required to help make your firm a success. Our team of technical and business professionals will support each stage of your journey from inception to IPO, ensuring that you have the solutions and support needed to fuel your growth. Contact the technical and business professionals at Coretelligent at 855-841-5888 or email info@coretelligent.com to schedule your complimentary initial consultation.