The Internet of (all) Things?

IoT leaks top the list of cyber threats to small- and medium-sized businesses in 2018

 

Technology is more accessible than ever and can control everything from your business transactions to the lighting in your home, but all of this interconnectivity comes with a risk. Hackers are becoming bolder by the day, and they don’t discriminate who they are attacking based on the size, industry, or location. The only thing they care about is the Internet of Things (IoT)—a term that encompasses all devices and objects that are connected to the internet—and the plethora of digital intelligence it contains.

As a managed IT service provider, amshot takes pride in protecting our clients from hackers. In the past, we have blogged about the necessity of cybersecurity and some steps that can be taken to protect your business data, but today we’re breaking down the single largest threat to small- and medium-sized businesses in 2018.

CONNECTING THE DEVICES

We mentioned that the Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the billions of devices worldwide that are connected to the   internet,but let’s explore the scope of this definition and what an IoT leak could mean for a business.

There is no limit to what could be considered a part of the IoT because any object that can be connected to the internet is considered an IoT device. Here are a few examples of commonly used personal IoT devices: GPS, pacemakers, web cameras, Amazon’s Echo, and home security systems. With wireless networks and cheap processors readily available, the digital and physical worlds continue to mesh. The IoT is already huge, and getting bigger, but why should you care?

An IoT leak could be disastrous for any business. Since these devices, especially in businesses, are interconnected and share data amongst themselves, access to one would mean easy access to any affiliated devices. Furthermore, once inside an IoT device, hackers can easily install malware and take control of the entire system.

No matter the type of breach, the financial costs are high and reputation impacts are long-lasting to any business. The best way to stay ahead of these cyber threats is to be aware of how they can occur and take steps to protect your business. Don’t worry, we will walk you through both.

WORLDWIDE WEB OF HACKERS

The internet has provided us with live updates, real-time data collection, immediate international communication, instant access to a multitude of information, and hackers. Many small- to medium-sized businesses have trouble seeing themselves as a target to these cyber criminals, thinking, what could they possibly want from me?—but that’s precisely what makes them easy targets.

While the Internet of Things was initially most appealing to business and manufacturing with its machine-to-machine (M2M) applications, nowadays, IoT devices are being used in almost every industry. However, these devices lack built-in security and can leave a digital backdoor open. Hackers prey on IoT devices because they can locate them through automated programs and can usually gain access by using default admin credentials.

To deter these types of cyber attacks, we recommend a few things.

  1. Change the password(s) on any new devices immediately after setup.
  2. Make sure all admin and user settings are updated and that no default credentials can be used.
  3. Finally, if you would like a second opinion on your cybersecurity, contact us to arrange a free consultation.

On Cloud 9.0

The ins, outs, and next big trends in cloud technology

 

Just 25 years ago, floppy disks were the standard for data storage and any self-respecting tech professional had tons of them in various colors. Now, it’s all about the cloud. We use it at home, we use it at work, and we use it on the go. Cloud technology has streamlined businesses by providing access to new capabilities at the click of a mouse and increasing server efficiency, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Because amshot utilizes cloud technology all the time in our office and while executing services, we decided to take an in-depth look at all aspects of the cloud and where it’s heading.


“Nobody understands the cloud, it’s a mystery!” – Jason Segel


The idea of the cloud is abstract, to say the least. You can’t see it and you can’t touch it, but it somehow has seemingly endless amounts of storage and can be accessed anywhere. Generally speaking, everyone knows it exists, but most typically have no idea what it is or what it does.

So, let’s start with the basics.

  1. The cloud got its name because, historically, when a diagram was drawn that included the internet, it was typically represented by a fluffy amorphous shape that closely resembled—you guessed it—a cloud.
  2. The technical definition of cloud computing is: The virtualization and central management of data center resources as software-defined pools.
  3. The most common uses of the cloud include, but are not limited to: data storage, app/service creation, website hosting, media streaming, software delivery, and data analysis.
  4. There are three main types of cloud services:
    • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): Basic cloud computing services. For a set fee, IT infrastructure (servers, storage, networks, etc.) is rented from a provider on a pay-as-you-go basis.
    • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): Geared towards software development. Provides on-demand access to the resources needed to quickly develop, test, launch, and maintain software without IT infrastructure to worry about.
    • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): Used to deliver/maintain software applications over the internet. Typically highly customizable apps, with some of the most notable examples being Google’s G Suite and Office 365.
  5. There are three types of cloud deployment:
    • Public: Owned and operated by a third party. Account and services access is done via web browser (i.e. Google’s AppEngine, Windows Azure Services Platform)
    • Private: Owned by one business/organization. Third party providers can still be paid to host these private clouds, but all private clouds are on private networks.
    • Hybrid: Combination of a public and a private cloud that utilizes technology to share data and software applications between the two. Provides businesses with more flexibility.

Cloudy with a Chance of Multi-Clouds

With so many uses and applications, it’s hard to believe that cloud technology can evolve any further—but we thought the same thing about telephones when the original iPhone was released.

The future of this technology is in multi-clouds. Not to be confused with hybrid clouds who mesh public and private clouds, multi-clouds computing is made up of two or more public clouds that typically span multiple vendors. This strategy is being adopted as a management strategy to enhance business innovation and to avoid putting all of the eggs into one public cloud’s basket.

Innovation, efficiency, and flexibility are the driving factors behind the multi-cloud movement. By utilizing a mix of several public clouds, companies have the ability to strategically implement different cloud technology for different internal departments based on their individual needs. The optimization of a multi-cloud environment requires strategy and coordination, but with the right team, can visibly affect business results.

If your company’s cloud technology and IT services could use a facelift, or if you’re just getting started with the cloud and need some guidance, schedule your free consultation with amshot to see how we can help your business transform results with technology.

 

Bytes Over Barrels: Cybersecurity in Oil and Gas

Cybersecurity in the Oil & Gas Industry

 

With hackers becoming bolder and more destructive, many industries have taken steps to better secure their business information. However, the oil and gas industry remains arguably the most vulnerable to cyber attacks—or at least one of the most heavily targeted. Granted, this industry has not experienced a crippling data breach yet, but that does not mean they are not at risk. As the industry becomes increasingly digital and interconnected, the need for strong cybersecurity also grows.

amshot has a specialized focus on managed IT services and software development for the oil and gas industry. Our extensive knowledge of this industry has led to the development of a unique and effective approach. In this week’s blog, we’ll share our breakdown of cybersecurity in the oil and gas industry and why it’s crucial for businesses to be prepared.

THE RIPPLE EFFECT

In the past, the remote operations and intricate data structures provided a natural defense against cyber attacks. When cyberterrorism was the ultimate goal, there was a general consensus that hackers weren’t targeting oil and gas data. However, hackers are constantly evolving, and so are their strategies. Today, many hackers are profit-focused with strategies like disrupting operations, espionage, and stealing sensitive field data.

The oil and gas industry can be slow to adopt technological advancement. In fact, many companies are utilizing outdated software and systems leaving them vulnerable to attack— even though one of the unique aspects of the oil and gas industry is the potential magnitude of a data breach. Imagine a hacker was able to access operational technology for wells. With that data, an entire company could be shut down, and a breach of operational technology would have a ripple effect throughout the industry. The scariest part? A study was conducted to evaluate how the industry is addressing security risks to operational technology and an average of 46 percent of cyber attacks went undetected.

MISSION IMPENETRABLE

It’s no longer a question of if a data breach will occur in oil and gas, it’s simply a matter of when. Significant technology developments have been made to increase efficiency in operations, data collection, and exploration. Now, these advancements provide companies with the time to focus on protecting their assets. Cybersecurity has been put on a backburner for the oil and gas industry, but it’s time to make it a priority—and amshot can help.

A comprehensive cybersecurity plan begins with assessing the risks and vulnerabilities of your company. Then, potential risks can be prioritized and crisis management plans created. While these initial steps allow you to prepare responses for a data breach, consulting with IT professionals is a necessity in this industry. The interconnectedness of industry practices requires network security, data encryption, and vigilant monitoring. By establishing a data breach response plan and secure IT practices, the risk of cyber attacks is significantly reduced.

If your company does not utilize managed IT services, schedule a free consultation with amshot and discover how our specialized approach to oil and gas cybersecurity can help you.