Ensuring HIPAA Compliance With A Risk Analysis

Risk Analysis Blog

While you hear about the occasional breach of Protected Health Information (PHI) from large organizations, smaller medical offices often believe they are safe from a breach due to their size. When it comes to cybercrime, that is no longer the case. In fact, over three million patient records were compromised in 2017 across the medical industry, and small practices were breached, hacked, and ransomed just like the larger healthcare organizations. 

 

A GROWING TREND

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) shows there is an upward trend in data breaches since they first published summaries of healthcare data breaches in 2009. Between 2009 and 2018, there have been 2,546 data breaches that involve more than 500 patient records. These breaches have resulted in the exposure of 189,945,874 patient records, which is more than 59% of the population of the United States.

The loss or theft of PHI were the top causes of data breaches from 2009 and 2015. These breaches could easily be prevented with device encryption, strong physical safeguard policies, along with annual staff training. The current statistics show that hacking/IT incidents have been the top causes of data breaches, which is why it’s important to discuss conducting a risk analysis with your IT team.

 

WHAT IS A RISK ANALYSIS?

In an effort to prevent these breaches of PHI, the HIPAA Security Rule requires that all covered entities must perform a risk analysis and implement a risk management plan.  This regulation is outlined in 164.308(a)(1)(ii)(A) “Conduct an accurate and thorough assessment of the potential risks and vulnerabilities to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronic protected health information held by the [organization]”.

A completed risk analysis will provide your practice with a detailed understanding of the risks to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of ePHI within your organization. A risk analysis also helps practices assess and mitigate risks to the security of PHI.

 

COMPONENTS OF A RISK ANALYSIS 

A risk analysis contains a detailed look at an organizations administrative, physical, and technical security measures utilized to protect PHI.

  • Administrative Safeguards: includes an organizations' current policies and procedures used to protect PHI. This includes current security-related policies and procedures, a contingency plan, staff training policies and procedures, Business Associate Agreements, and user access to ePHI.
  • Physical Safeguards: are current controls that limit access to PHI such as the facility security plan, visitor controls, media disposal, and remote access procedures.
  • Technical Safeguards: includes password and inactivity timeout settings, data storage, backup plans, and disaster recovery procedures along with encryption for PHI when necessary.

 

GOALS OF A RISK ANALYSIS

  • Identify how and where PHI is stored or sent: During a risk analysis, practices must determine where ePHI is stored, received, maintained or transmitted, and should also maintain documentation of this inventory.
  • Identify threats and vulnerabilities: Practices also must identify potential threats and vulnerabilities within their organization whether those threats are from internal sources such as untrained employees, environmental such as a flood or fires, or an adversarial threat such as a hacker trying to access PHI.
  • Determine likelihood, impact, and risk level: Once vulnerabilities are identified, practices must determine the likelihood and level of impact from each identified threat by considering how many people may be affected as well as what data will be affected. The risk level is determined by taking into account the likelihood and impact levels of each vulnerability.
  • Implement security measures: Practices will then need to implement reasonable security measures to protect PHI from those identified threats. The HIPAA Security Rule allows practices to tailor security polices, procedures, and technologies for safeguarding PHI based on the size, complexity, and capabilities of the practice, as well as technical, hardware, and software infrastructure.

 

WHY COMPLETE A RISK ANALYSIS?

A completed Risk Analysis will help your practice identify vulnerabilities within your organization that could lead to a data breach or loss of PHI at some level. This assessment is the first step to ensuring compliance with the HIPAA Security Rule, attesting to government incentive programs, and ensuring security of PHI within your organization.

Don’t allow your organization to fall behind, complete a risk analysis today to ensure your organization is not only compliant, but safe as well.

 

Five Nines Case Study: Click below to discover how Five Nines has been able to provide 24-hour support, improve the IT infrastructure, and find the right solutions for a critical access hospital in rural Nebraska.
Case Study: Supporting A Rural NE Hospital

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Cindy B1 - Copy

Cindy Beach

Healthcare Consultant 

As the Five Nines Healthcare Consultant, Cindy is responsible for helping partners complete security assessments and provides HIPAA compliance expertise to Five Nines partners and staff.

Facts About Me

- My first car was a 1988 Buick Skylark.

- I am definitely a dog person! At one time, we had 25 German Short-Haired Pointers at our kennel.

- My favorite pizza topping is pineapple! I know that will spark a debate with the Five Nines staff.

- My first real job was a waitress at our local drive-in. I can still make a pretty great ice cream cone!

- The longest road trip I have ever been on was 22 hours. My husband and I drove to Orlando, Florida for our honeymoon and it rained the whole time!

 

 

 

Topics: Security, Healthcare, HIPAA, Compliance

Why Businesses Need Multi-Factor Authentication

Untitled design-7

Typing in a simple username and password is no longer enough to protect your data in the business technology world, which is why multi-factor authentication is such an important security measure. The cybercrime industry is after our most vulnerable information, and businesses are now forced to fight back with stronger cybersecurity practices.

According to the Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report, 81% of confirmed breaches involve weak, default, or stolen passwords. Multi-factor authentication is something that will benefit both your users and your organization. 

WHAT IS IT?

According to Yubico, there are plenty of opportunities available for hackers to take advantage of, as 55% of users do not use any form of multi-factor authentication at work.  While it is good to have a strong password, taking extra precautions is always recommended. When using multi-factor authentication, a user is only granted access into an account after completing extra steps to confirm that it is indeed their account. For example, if you are trying to access your email, instead of only entering your password for access, you may also receive a push notification on your mobile device to confirm that it's actually you. If the information doesn't match up, you don't receive access to the account.

How else does multi-factor authentication protect your personal information? If a hacker attempts to gain access to your account, you should receive a notification of some sort to complete the second step of logging in. If you are not attempting to access your account, and you are alerted by a notification, that is an immediate sign that someone could be trying to hack you. From there, you will have the ability to respond immediately by changing your passwords and contacting your IT provider. 

YOU HAVE OPTIONS

While any form of multi-factor authentication is a good start, here are some options you can consider:

  • Any multi-factor authentication that requires an SMS, email, or voice call with one-time codes.
  • "Push" prompts where users receive a notification on another device with an "approve" button as a way to confirm it is really them attempting to access their account.
  • Universal 2-factor security keys users can plug directly into their computer to confirm access.

A strong security tip is to ensure your accounts are protected with strong, unique passwords and the best multi-factor option you can reasonably use. There are plenty of multi-factor authentication platforms out there, so it's important to consult your IT team on an option that works best for your business. While you can make multi-factor authentication an optional security setting, many businesses decide to make this extra step required to ensure they are following the strongest security practices.

Want to learn more about how you can take your cybersecurity to the next level? Sit back, grab some popcorn, and watch this FREE Five Nines Power Hour Webinar: A Layered Approach To Cybersecurity.

Click Here To Watch The Webinar

Topics: Security, Cybersecurity, Multi-Factor Authentication

What Makes Cylance An Impactful CyberSecurity Solution

Cylance

Cybercrime is a real threat to all businesses, SMB's included. Statistics are only showing an increase in cyberattack methods, and successful attacks result in a significant loss of productivity and data. We want to show you why we stand by Cylance for Five Nines and our partners.

 

THE BASICS

Before diving into what Cylance is, it's important to understand what the software is protecting you from.

Malware: software that is intended to damage or disable computers and computer systems.

Ransomware: a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.

Since 2013, there has been a significant increase in malware and ransomware. In fact, since 2014 there have been over 120 million new malicious programs per year, and ransomware attacks have increased over 97% in the last two years. According to Symantec, 1 in 13 web requests lead to malware, up 3% from 2016. These statistics show that cybersecurity threats are at an all time high, which is why having the right tools in place to keep your organization protected is so important.

Want to jump straight to our free in-depth webinar about all things Cylance? Click here. 

 

WHAT IS CYLANCE

Cylance is a tool that prevents cyberattacks with artificial intelligence (AI). Artificial intelligence is the development of computer systems where systems are able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence. Cylance is able to do this through machine learning, an application of AI that provides systems the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed.

Cylance began in 2012, and has over 6,000 global customers, as well as over 10 million endpoints, and those numbers are growing each day. Cylance developed predictive endpoint threat prevention, which allows the software to predict, and then block cyber attacks on the endpoint in real time using pre-execution AI algorithms. They have an extremely high success rate at 99%+. Cylance also doesn't need a cloud connection to stop malware, as it can still do its' job without an internet connection, making it a one-of-a-kind product in the industry.

 

WHY COMPANIES CHOOSE CYLANCE

There are several reasons why Five Nines and other companies choose to utilize Cylance.

Effectiveness. Cylance is an extremely effective program with 99.7% effectiveness against all known malware.

Simplicity. Cylance is also very simple to manage, companies don't have to spend a lot of time managing it once it is set up within their environment, yet it increases ROI up to 250%.

Performance. Cylance only has a 1-2% impact to CPU, therefore user systems run faster, hardware lifespans are extended, and network bandwidth is reduced.

Cybercrime is a real threat, but protecting your business doesn't have to be guesswork. If Cylance is something that interests you, and you would like to see it in action while learning about how to apply it to your own business, our Power Hour might be a great resource for you. While the information above is a great overview, it may be more impactful to see exactly how Cylance works. 

Click below to access our free webinar, Cylance - Proactive Protection For Your Business, and tune in as one of our engineers provides in-depth information on Cylance while taking you through a series of demonstrations where you can see the software in action.

Click Here To Watch The Webinar

Topics: Security, Cybersecurity, Webinars, Cylance

What Are Botnets & What Do You Need To Know?

Botnets Blog

A new technological threat has been increasing in popularity and strength in recent years - botnets. These are not the kind of botnets that productively crawl search engines to provide you with the best search results, these botnets are malicious and have the potential to hijack your computer.

Here's what you need to know about botnets:

WHAT ARE THEY?

Botnets are controlled by an administrator, meant to either crawl the internet or directly hack into your computer. These botnets are highly illegal, and are typically used for the purpose of making money or stealing data. Once a botnet hacks into your device, it runs in the background of your computer as your device gets added to a network of other computers that have been attacked. Your computer then waits on commands from the botnet administrator. Some of these commands include emailing spam to a significant number of users, shutting down websites, generating fake website traffic for financial gain, or generating "pop-ups" that entice users to pay a fee to get a botnet off of their computer. Botnets are not decreasing in popularity, as Fortinet found 268 unique botnets through their data so far in 2018, which is a 3% increase from their last study.

Related: Be Prepared to Fight Cybercrime with User Training 

WHAT ARE THE RISKS?

The initial risk of your computer being hijacked by a botnet is that it can run in the background and remain undetected for a significant amount of time. During this time, other risks include the loss of money, access to your data, stolen passwords, and potentially complete control of your device. According to the 2018 Fortinet study, 58% of botnet infections last one day. That may not seem like a long period of time, but 24 hours is all it takes for your organizational data to be compromised.

HOW WILL YOU KNOW IF YOU'VE BEEN INFECTED?

Botnets are usually very hard to detect - occasionally an antivirus software may pick up on botnet activity, but they are typically designed to fly under the radar. If your computer has been infected with a botnet and added to a large network, your device may start to consistently run slowly. If you are worried about whether or not your device has been infected, or if a website you want to view has malicious content, visit this Fortinet Web Filter Lookup as a resource.

Related: Cylance - Proactive Protection for Your Business

PROTECTING YOUR BUSINESS

There are several precautions you can take to avoid getting infected by a botnet. First of all, be sure that your computer operating systems are updated as soon as new updates are available. Botnets are often installed within the flaws of your operating system, so staying on top of updates could protect your system later on. Ensure you have implemented security software that can provide proactive protection for your business. It's also important to be weary of clicking on suspicious website links or attachments, especially from emails that don't seem right.

For the tell-tale signs of what NOT to click on, click here. 

Download The Social Engineering Red Flags Flier

Malicious botnets are consistently searching for easy targets. Make sure you keep your devices updated, educate your team on what suspicious links and attachments look like, and pay attention to whether or not your device begins to run slowly. Consult your IT team if you feel uneasy about your computer being compromised. It's always better to be safe than sorry and to becoming an easy target for botnets.

Topics: Security, Threat Landscape, Cybersecurity, Botnets

Don't Be The Next Big Catch: Register For Your .Bank Domain

 BANK

.BANK is not just another way to change up your domain name, it's a proactive and protective measure put in place to give you peace of mind that your customers are protected. Phishing in the financial industry is all too common, as it is the #1 cyberattack and starting point of most breaches. This reason alone is why .BANK domains are so important to implement.

If you'd like to skip straight to a downloadable flier that further explains how .BANK protects your customers, click here.

Not convinced yet or want more information? Here's why you should register for a .BANK domain:

VERIFICATION

Having a .BANK domain provides extra verification for your organization, as only verified members of the global banking community are approved for these domain names. These domain names make it easy for your customers to distinguish authentic emails or communications from your financial organization in comparison to a phishing attempt.

According to Kaspersky Lab, in 2017 the share of financial phishing increased from 47% to 54% of all phishing detections, which is a record-breaking high for financial phishing. You want your customers to confidently recognize and communicate with your organization, and without a .BANK domain nothing is promised. Anyone can register for a generic domain such as .COM or .NET, but only legitimate financial organizations can register for a .BANK domain name.

Related: What is Phishing?

EXTRA SECURITY MEASURES

Kaspersky Lab also found that more than every 4th attempt to load a phishing page was related to banking phishing. Financial organizations are the "big catches" when it comes to phishing, which is why extra security measures must be taken. These special domains include those extra security measures, from further authentication, to an increased level of encryption, to abuse monitoring and compliance enforcement so that only verified financial organizations can utilize .BANK domains.

Further authentication is just another road block in recognizing and stopping malicious attempts to steal personal information. If your customers see something linked to a .BANK domain, they know they can trust it. An increased level of encryption will help to drastically decrease the chance that customers are redirected to sites disguised as your own that could steal their account information. .BANK domains also come with compliance and requirements to maintain a strong level of security, so financial institutions must allocate a point of contact from their organization to help continue to verify their organization.

Related: Fight Cybercrime With User Awareness Training

.BANK domains play a huge role in preventing cybercrime in the financial industry. Phishing attempts are becoming more and more common, and financial institutions are the big catches. With the security, verification processes, and requirements of obtaining a .BANK domain, you can ensure your customers that anything from your domain name can be trusted and that their data is safe with you.

 

For more information on how .BANK protects your customers through verification, domain name integrity/domain name system security extensions, and strong encryption, click below.

Click here: Protecting Your Customers With .Bank

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Topics: Security, Outsourced IT, Phishing, Cybersecurity, Financial

Spam Filtering: Why It's Important And How It Works

SPAM

Once spam hits your email inbox, you become a target. When it comes to technology, humans tend to be the weakest link in most IT security situations. Attackers will constantly try to trick them, manipulating users to click on things that they shouldn't through a variety of methods. Oftentimes, these "tricks" are via email, as email platforms can target a very large number of people and is a very "budget-friendly" attack. If users happen to click the wrong thing within the spam email, bullseye, internal data then becomes exposed.

Since email is commonly used as a way to exploit users and their data, spam filtering has grown in importance and relevance. Organizations must utilize a spam filter to reduce the risk of users clicking on something they shouldn't, in turn keeping their internal data shielded from a cyber attack.


Related: What is Phishing?

HERE'S HOW IT WORKS

Spam filtering uses a filtering solution within your email run by a set of procedures that help determine which incoming emails are spam and which are safe for the user to open. According to Spamhaus, the United States is ranked #1 among which countries have the most live spam issues. Spam is getting sent to users, and it's getting sent a lot.

The main types of filtering analyzes the source of the email, whether the source of the email has had any complaints or has ever been blacklisted, the content of the email, and subscriber engagement. All of this is tracked and sorted before hitting a users' inbox. Spam filtering solutions can be hosted in several ways to support organizations, whether it's through a cloud service, on-premise technology, or software installed on organizational computers that can collaborate with email platforms. 

WHY IT'S IMPORTANT

Implementing spam filtering is extremely important for any organization. Not only does spam filtering help keep garbage out of email inboxes, it helps with the quality of life of business emails because they run smoothly and are only used for their desired purpose. Spam filtering is essentially an anti-malware tool, as many attacks through email are trying to trick users to click on a malicious attachment, asking them to supply their credentials, and much more.

Related: Be Prepared to Fight Cybercrime With User Training

According to Radicati Research Group Inc., email spam costs businesses up to $20.5 billion each year, and that number will only continue to rise. Spam filtering prevents these spam messages from ever entering an inbox in the first place, keeping organizations from adding to the growing statistic of lost revenue.

Graymail. Another important aspect of spam filtering is the ability to eliminate "graymail" from user inboxes as well. Graymail is an email that a user has previously opted to receive, but doesn't really want or need in their inbox. Graymail isn't considered spam, as these emails aren't used to infiltrate an organization. What is considered graymail is determined by the actions of the user over time, and spam filtering platforms will pick up on that to determine what is or is not wanted within an inbox. A good spam filtering platform lets users adjust to block a lot of graymail, rather than having to manually unsubscribe from every single one.

PROOFPOINT

According to Proofpoint, 40% of organizations targeted by email fraud received between 10 and 50 attacks in the beginning of 2018, and the number of companies receiving more than 50 attacks rose by 20% in comparison to 2017. Five Nines has utilized Proofpoint as its' spam filtering platform for a couple different reasons.

First, Proofpoint is hosted as a spam filtering cloud service, this is preferred as inboxes get filtered before getting inside the Five Nines or client networks, which cuts down on malicious traffic immensely. Because spam and email attacks are constantly evolving, the threat response must continuously evolve as well, which is why Proofpoint spends a lot of time and money improving their spam filtering platform continuously.

Without spam filters, an organization's email setup wouldn't function properly, and internal data would have a higher risk of exposure to a cyber-attack. Consult with an IT team about properly implementing a spam filtering system for the well-being of your organizational email system, the safety of your data, and the peace of mind of your users.

 To learn more about the red flags users should watch for when navigating their email inbox through a free downloadable graphic, click below.

Download The Social Engineering Red Flags Flier

Topics: Security, Phishing, Cybersecurity, Spam Filtering

A Layered Approach To Cybersecurity

Layered Approach Webinar

We've talked about software that proactively protects your business from cyber attacks, and how to train your staff to spot phishing attempts. Now, it's time to focus on the advancement of your cybersecurity protection.

In this webinar, we will discuss how you can take your cybersecurity to the next level by adding Cisco Umbrella and the Five Nines Cyber-Security Operations Center to your IT environment, for a well-rounded, protection-focused approach. 

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN:

  • Why cybersecurity requires a layered approach
  • Tools that will provide your IT environment with a layered cybersecurity approach 
  • What the Five Nines Cyber-Security Operations Center entails

 

Presenter: 

Jarrod Daake: Project Engineer at Five Nines

Sit back, grab some popcorn, and watch this FREE Five Nines Power Hour Webinar: A Layered Approach To Cybersecurity.

Watch the Webinar

 

Topics: Security, Managed IT Services, Cybersecurity, Webinars

What Are Password Managers And Why Are They Important

PASSWORD SAFETY-1First, take a moment to test how secure one of your top-of-mind passwords really is by clicking this link:

https://lastpass.com/howsecure.php

Did the test tell you that you needed a stronger password? Did it tell you that your password is strong enough? Do you use that same strong password for everything?

When users have to make up a password, two strategies are typically used:

  1. They use a password that is simple and easy to remember.
  2. They use one strong password for every single account. 

These strategies are good in theory, but bad when it comes to security purposes, which is why password managers are highly recommended to break the cycle of bad password practices.

It's something everyone does several times a day - typing in a password. And for 92% of people surveyed by SecureAuth Corp. and Wakefield Research, the SAME passwords are being typed in for all of their accounts. While this may seem like the easiest solution to consistent password annoyances, this type of online behavior leads to the 91% of Americans who have experienced an online breach at some point in their life. See the correlation?

According to LastPass, passwords are the key to our digital lives, and users often forget the importance of passwords because of the "inconvenience" they may cause when trying to do things online. The importance of the information that is kept online is worth going the extra mile to protect, which is why we recommend the use of password managers to ensure your organization and its' employees are maintaining secure online habits.

WHY PASSWORD MANAGERS

Having one strong password simply isn't good enough anymore with the current technological landscape.

Over time, users have gradually become connected to more and more accounts that require passwords, which generated the habit of users wanting to use one password for everything to avoid getting locked out of accounts. While it may be habitual to input the same password for everything, the increased amount of data breaches that are seen in the media have made it apparent that it's best to have a unique password for every account that requires one, to ensure overall account security.

That's where password managers such as LastPass or 1Password come into play. These applications assist users in organizing and safely storing all of their different passwords. Gone are the days of putting pen to paper and storing sticky notes around your desk with all of your passwords on it, now all passwords can be easily accessed and found in one application. When logging into an account, all you have to do is retrieve your password for that account if it's not memorized from your password manager. An extra 15-30 second step that can save you time and money in the long run. Not to mention, your accounts are way more secured as a result. 

WEAK PASSWORD TESTS

Ensuring your employees are maintaining a high standard of strong passwords is also necessary in keeping your organization protected. Five Nines conducts tests internally to monitor all user passwords for any potential vulnerabilities. These tests are similar to the one you took above, but on an organizational scale. Conducting these tests not only provides peace of mind that employee passwords are secure, it also holds employees accountable in keeping password safety top of mind. These tests are conducted along with the use of password managers for an extra boost of security.

Maintaining high security of your IT environment requires time, money, and extra effort. Compromising internal files and data due to poor password practices simply isn't worth it. Take the time to set up a password manager account, encourage fellow employees to do the same, and take the extra few seconds to  avoid a security breach.

It's worth it, we promise.

It's always best to be prepared for the worst to keep your organization at its' best. Click below for a free Ransomware Rescue Guide to have on hand that will guide your team through the initial steps of a potential ransomware attack if you ever experience one.

Click Here For Your Free Ransomware Rescue Guide

 

Topics: Security, Threat Landscape, Cybersecurity

The Importance Of Securing Your Wi-Fi

SECURE WI-FI

Wi-Fi. It's a symbol that everyone recognizes, a term that most people are familiar with, yet many business Wi-Fi networks are left unprotected and exposed. Securing your Wi-Fi is more than the avoidance of a slower connection, it is an integral part of being proactive in protecting entire internal networks.

SECURED VS. UNSECURED

If Wi-Fi is unsecured, anyone can access it. The purpose of secured Wi-Fi is that it is only allotted for individuals who have been granted access. If the Wi-Fi is not secure, many individuals have no problem taking advantage of the connection or the information that comes with it. According to a study conducted by Symantec, 25% of individuals surveyed have accessed a Wi-Fi network without the owner's permission, and 8% admitted to guessing or hacking the password. Once someone is connected to an organization's Wi-Fi connection, there is a greater chance that they can gain access to an internal network.

IMPLEMENTATION

In terms of implementation, organizations can increase Wi-Fi security by using a strong password users must type in to access the Wi-Fi. For even more security, businesses can keep Wi-Fi traffic and their internal network separate. That way, even if someone happens to connect to the secured Wi-Fi, they won't have access to internal data. Another protective measure that is highly recommended is implementing a separate Wi-Fi network for internal staff and anyone the organization wants to give access, while having a separate guest wireless network for visitors.

WHY IT'S IMPORTANT

If Wi-Fi isn't secured, someone could accidentally or maliciously access an organization's internal network. Once within an internal network, malicious access could result in stolen data, the shutdown of devices, encryption of data that the organization would have to pay to get unencrypted, inputting keyloggers on the network to steal users' passwords, and the list goes on. These vulnerabilities can be extremely costly, which is why taking the extra step to secure your organization's Wi-Fi network is important to protect the business at large and its' users.

Wi-Fi security goes beyond a slow connection, it's about decreasing a huge security risk that could lead to a loss of time, money, and confidential data. If you are unsure about the security of your Wi-Fi network, contact an IT team today to ensure the protection of your technology and information. It can make the difference in regards to the protection of your network.

Your Wi-Fi network can be compromised, but so can your mobile devices. Educate yourself and your team about several signs that will tell you whether or not your mobile device has been hacked by clicking below.

Click Here For Hand-Held Hacking Facts

Topics: Security, Cybersecurity, Business Continuity, Wi-Fi

How To Combat Organizational Downtime

ORGANIZATIONAL-1

When it comes to workplace technology, the possibility of downtime is very real and has lasting impacts for organizations who experience it. Downtime is idle time within a business when systems are unavailable, and it is commonly applied to networks and servers. Common causes of downtime are outages, a breach in security of an IT environment, or other system failures.

We'd like to tell you why downtime is a relevant aspect to focus on when it comes to your IT environment, what you can do to focus on uptime, and how to be prepared if downtime strikes.

PAST DOWNTIME

It's all about prevention and detection. According to Cisco's 2017 Security Capabilities Benchmark Study, four in ten companies have suffered an attack that caused them to lose substantial business opportunities. Downtime is not just about losing revenue, studies have shown if downtime isn't handled the right way, it can negatively affect client relationships as well. Preventing downtime is key to business success, which is why you must shift your focus to the present condition of your current IT environment.

WHAT TO DO IN THE PRESENT

It's time to focus on uptime. We recommend implementing a change management process, which is a process you put any IT environment change through to ensure that you're looking through a holistic lens when implementing new technical pieces. It helps you ask the right questions, such as analyzing whether certain departments will be impacted or not. Planning ahead prior to changes in your technical environment will help to avoid disruption.

Consistently tracking and implementing hardware refresh cycles is also an important way to increase uptime. Just because your business technology is still working, doesn't mean you're not putting your organization at significant risk of failure and downtime by not proactively replacing hardware prior to an issue.

THE FUTURE OF YOUR IT: PREPARATION

Expect the unexpected before it's too late. While focusing on uptime, your organization must also be prepared for the inevitable: potential downtime. Taking the time to carefully draft out a disaster recovery plan that will provide a smooth transition from downtime back to production will be a tool you will rely on in the case of an emergency. What are your options for data backup? How will you prioritize hardware and software reinstallation? Who will collaborate with your clients and vendors?

The past, present, and future of your downtime will derive from how proactive your organization is willing to be to achieve the highest levels of uptime. Potentially consider developing a Life Cycle Management Plan to hold your team accountable. If you're prepared you will place trust in your equipment, trust in your team, and trust in your processes. Peace of mind is worth the preparation.

There is a Five Nines Difference in combating organizational downtime. To learn more about the service model that sets us apart, click below for our free download.

Click Here For More Information on The Five Nines Difference

Topics: Security, Outsourced IT, Cybersecurity, Business Continuity