St. Louis Cybersecurity: Viking Style

Happy Halloween! Axes and swords aren’t enough to keep your network safe these days. It takes a lot to fight for your network security, so Mark and Amy came prepared in their best Viking garb this Halloween to flaunt their St. Louis IT consulting muscles. Don’t worry! They have more than battle axes in their armory to combat the cybersecurity threats your company faces. And if anything is too hard for them, BB-8 is right there to help them out.

Let us fight for your IT security! Call the St. Louis IT experts at Anderson Technologies today at 314.394.3001.

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Our IT Company Rings the Bell for Small Business

Last week we filmed our video submission for the Morning Bell for Small Business campaign to honor our IT company and the many businesses we help to achieve IT goals. Sponsored by Chase for Business, the Morning Bell celebrates small businesses across America, and each day a different business is featured.

Each business has their own bell and their own unique way of ringing it, but only we will be ringing a 108-year-old bell hand-cast in London at the same foundry as Big Ben and the Liberty Bell. Originally a present from Mark to Amy on their 25th anniversary, this bell is the perfect symbol not only for this campaign but for the IT company they’ve built together.

View our video submission above and be sure to check out our blooper reel at the end of this post!

Casting the Anderson Bell

To begin the story behind this amazing anniversary present, we have to take you back to when it was first cast in 1908 at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, the oldest manufacturing company in Britain, established in 1570. Originally commissioned for a parish church in Norfolk, England, the bell is tuned to an F note and bears the inscription “We praise Thee, O God.”

It’s in the making of the bell that we find its meaningful significance. As Mark explained at their wedding anniversary, “A bell that’s made out of proper bell metal, not just brass, consists of two complementary metals forged together. One is copper and one is tin. When these two metals are combined in the furnace and turned into a bell, the properties of the new alloy allow it to be a little bit soft, have a very mellow wonderful tone, and makes it last forever. Literally if you kept a bell outside for eternity, it would stay the shape of a bell while developing a beautiful patina. If you just had a pure copper bell, it would sound horrible and would be too soft. If you had a pure tin bell, it would sound horrible and would be too brittle, and if you struck the bell, it would shatter. But the two metals combined—some softness, some brittleness—together they make this wonderful object.”

Making Anderson Technologies

Like this everlasting bell, our company remains steadfast in large part to its many complementary strengths. Each trait and each team member helps make our IT company successful. When Mark has a well-researched idea for the future, Amy finds the practical course to accomplish it. When Amy is driven to deliver in a timely manner, Mark makes sure the company’s work not only meets the client’s expectations but is done to the very highest standards.

Differing backgrounds, Mark in system and network administration and Amy in software development and project management, create effective collaboration. It’s what turned Anderson Technologies from an idea started in a spare bedroom into the company it is today. Together Mark and Amy, along with a talented team, are dedicated to providing effective solutions to clients through honesty, integrity, and the technical knowledge needed to solve your IT challenges.

We love the opportunity to ring our bell, and we invite other small businesses to do the same. If you submit a video, let us know so we can celebrate your small business, too.

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Video Bloopers

Enjoy these funny outtakes of our filming efforts late on a Friday!

Quotables: Surviving a Ransomware Attack (Inc. Magazine)

We’re proud of Mark Anderson’s recent expert IT consulting advice for an Inc. Magazine article about ransomware!  Mark provides Inc. readers with tips on how businesses can protect themselves from increasingly tricky attempts by criminals to infiltrate business-critical files.

Read the full article on Inc.’s website:

http://www.inc.com/carbonite/surviving-a-ransomware-attack.html

Are you in need of expert IT consulting?  Anderson Technologies is a St. Louis IT consulting firm that specializes in system administration for small businesses.  Let us help you today!  Give us a call at 314.394.3001 or email us at info@andersontech.com.

What are Quotables?  This is a category in our posts to highlight any professional publications that benefit from our expert IT consulting advice and quote us in articles for their readers. 

The Single Biggest Threat to Small Business Security: Zero-Day Threats

If you don’t know something exists, it’s hard to protect against it. Therein lies the challenge of zero-day threats, the technical term for cyber threats that capitalize on previously unidentified software vulnerabilities.

Developers in all industries are skilled at creating “patches” of code to correct vulnerabilities in their software once they’ve been identified, but cyber criminals are relentless in searching out new vulnerabilities and quick to pounce when they find one. The time between a hacker spotting a weakness and the software developer releasing a fix is when businesses are most susceptible to zero-day threats. During this period, cyber criminals seek to capitalize on the vulnerability by writing malware and distributing it via websites and emails that include fraudulent links or attachments. Even after cybersecurity firms identify an exploit and create a patch, a business could still fall victim before the software is updated.

Cyber Crime Targeting Small Businesses Is Increasing Rapidly

Zero-day threats are on the rise. In 2015, the number of identified zero-day vulnerabilities more than doubled to 54, a 125 percent increase from 2014, according to the 2016 Internet Security Threat Report by Symantec. That’s an average of more than one new threat per week.

Large enterprises are at the greatest risk, but small businesses are increasingly targeted. In 2015, 43 percent of cybercrimes targeted small businesses. The consequences of an attack can vary, but they typically include disruption in business operations, identity theft (when attackers gain access to confidential information), financial loss, and compromised or destroyed data.

Although it’s impossible to completely eliminate the threat posed by hackers, there are steps every small business should take to increase overall digital health and protect against zero-day threats.

  1. Install, maintain, and monitor an industrial-grade firewall.
  2. Use professional-grade anti-malware software on all devices attached to your network.
  3. Keep all computer systems updated with the latest security patches.
  4. Create strong passwords and change them regularly.
  5. Limit administrative rights on computers to necessary users.
  6. Educate your team about opening unknown or suspicious emails.

That last point is important. Often cyber attacks are waged by sending phishing emails to employees. Phishing tricks a recipient into downloading an attachment, clicking a fraudulent link, or sharing confidential information, such as a bank password. Phishing has evolved into spear-phishing, a more targeted and often convincing approach in which the sender pretends to be someone in the recipient’s life, such as a trusted colleague, vendor, or client. Last year, spear-phishing emails targeting employees increased by 55 percent, according to the Internet Security Threat Report.

A Key To Small Business Cybersecurity: The Thorough Backup

Backing up business-critical files regularly is a vital step in keeping your business secure, especially since ransomware attacks are on the rise. In this type of attack, perpetrators hold a business’s computer system hostage until a monetary sum is paid.

Sometimes ransomware threats can live undetected within a system for days, weeks, or even months. The longer they exist in the host environment, the more valuable they become to the perpetrator, who now has even more data to use as collateral.

However, it’s hard for cyber criminals to hold your business hostage if you have an ironclad backup system. Instead, you can work with your IT partner to wipe the system clean and start fresh from your last backup. Just be sure the backup files are severed from your network so they can’t be compromised, and routinely test your ability to effectively restore them.

Maintaining your small business’s cybersecurity is a full-time job, made all the more challenging by zero-day threats. By adopting cybersecurity best practices, you’ll decrease your business’s likelihood of falling victim to an attack. And if a determined hacker does make it into your network, you’ll have a much easier time recovering and mitigating damage costs if you have a properly configured backup system in place.

Do you have the right backup system for your business? Give Anderson Technologies a call today at 314.394.3001 to discuss backup processes and to work together to devise a plan for protecting against zero-day threats.