Importance of Cybersecurity and How to Set Strong Passwords

Importance of Cybersecurity and How to Set Strong Passwords

Given our ever-increasing dependence on digital technologies and the internet for our day-to-day operations, it only follows that cybersecurity is becoming more crucial as well. In this article, our IT solutions experts will discuss the significance of cybersecurity solutions and provide tips on setting stronger secure passwords.

What Is Cybersecurity and What Solutions Can We Implement to Keep Our Systems Safe?

Cybersecurity is a collective term for the practices implemented and technologies (software and hardware) used to protect computers, networks, and digital information from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction.

Examples of practices implemented to improve cybersecurity are: a) setting strong passwords that are not susceptible to brute force attacks, b) using different passwords for different accounts (to limit damage in case of a breach), and c) not storing passwords in obvious places (basic password protection). Familiarizing individuals that use computer systems to recognize signs (social engineering techniques used to carry out a fraud) of cyberattacks such as Phishing and Spoofed Websites is also an important aspect of cybersecurity training.

On the other hand, cybersecurity solutions implemented through existing technologies involve the use of multi-factor authentication, machine learning to detect suspicious activity, data encryption, and password strength assessment, among others. The IT solutions mentioned above are just some of the cybersecurity measures integrated into the Microsoft Office 365 suite of applications and programs.

Cybersecurity Tips: How to Set a Strong Password

Here are some tips from our Cybersecurity solutions experts on how you can set a strong password.

  • Use a long password – A longer password is harder to crack than a short one, you should opt to elect a password that is at least 12 characters long.
  • Use a mix of characters – Mixing uppercase and lowercase letters with numbers and special characters will make your password more resistant to a brute force attack. This, in conjunction with the first tip, is the core of most cybersecurity measures around password protection. 
  • Avoid using personal information – Do not use personal information such as names, addresses, or birthdays as passwords as this information are easy to obtain by doing a google search of your name.
  • Avoid using common words and phrases – The usual suspects for these common words are ‘password’, ‘123456’, ‘qwerty’, ‘secret’ and other variations of these. These words are the first ones a hacker will attempt when doing a brute force attack. A quick google search of ‘passwords to avoid’ will result in a list of passwords that you should not use.
  • Use different passwords for different accounts – This doesn’t make your password stronger but it prevents multiple security breaches should your one password become cracked.
  • Use a password manager - The complicated thing with passwords is that they should be complex enough to resist brute force attacks and yet can still be easily remembered by its users. To remedy this conundrum,  consider using a password manager to generate and store strong, unique passwords for all of your accounts.

Make Sure Your Cybersecurity Solutions Are in Tip-Top Shape

The cybersecurity measures we have discussed above are just some broad strokes of cybersecurity solutions that you can easily implement for a degree of protection. However, personalized corporate cybersecurity solutions are still best to ensure your IT systems are fully protected. When it comes to IT solutions that are bespoke, easy to use, and responsive to your business’ needs, you should work with a trusted IT solutions company such as BHT solutions. Call us now and schedule a free 1-hour consultation. Help us make technology work for you.

Office 365 as a Cybersecurity Measure

Office 365 as a Cybersecurity Measure

Microsoft Office 365 is a subscription-based online version of the Microsoft Office software suite. Subscription to this versus grants access to various applications used for computing such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, as well as other cloud-sharing platforms such as OneDrive and SharePoint. Office 365 allows its users to access and edit documents from anywhere. Here at BHT Solutions, we believe in making technology work for you and letting it transform your workflow for the better. In this article, our cybersecurity solutions expert shall discuss the cybersecurity measures integrated into Office 365 and provide tips on how to make the most out of these IT solutions.

Office 365 Cybersecurity Protections That Are in Place

The most common type of attacks that cybersecurity measures and IT solutions aim to counter are Phishing and Identity Theft. Phishing attacks aim to obtain sensitive information such as passwords, credit card and banking details, PIN numbers, and OTP (one-time PIN) numbers from unsuspicious individuals by posing as legitimate entities.

In order to prevent these attacks, Office 365 has implemented the following IT solutions to bolster other cybersecurity measures that are already in place.

  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) – MFA provides an additional layer of protection by requiring other evidence (factors) in order to gain access to an application or website. The goal of an MFA is to provide an additional check in case the password is compromised.
  • Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) – Azure AD simplifies logging in by implementing single sign-on for its user without compromising security by requiring MFA and the use of strong passwords. Azure AD detects and blocks known weak passwords.
  • Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) – ATP—which was renamed to Microsoft Defender 365 in September 2022—employs machine-learning to detect and block emails likely to contain malicious attachments and links usually used for phishing attacks.
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP) - DLP scans messages, files, and other documents and identifies and protects sensitive information. Users can easily configure the policies that will apply to these identified sensitive information as to what can and cannot be done with the said data. The most common types of sensitive information screened by DLP are credit card numbers, insurance numbers, social security numbers, and other personally-identifiable information.
  • Best-in-class Data Encryption – Data transmitted from clients to the cloud via OneDrive and SharePoint employs best-in-class encryption, ensuring that your data is protected as they are routed through their data centers.

Avail Office 365 from Your Trusted IT Solutions Experts

The cybersecurity solutions mentioned above are just some of the features Office 365 has integrated to prevent cybersecurity attacks. Should you wish to make the shift then BHT Solutions is at your service. We recognize that our industry is one that is built on trust and as such we have cultivated that trust through our commitment to excellence, employing user-centric designs that are easy to use, and unparalleled communication and experienced support. Give us a call for your free consultation.

Understanding Cloud Migration for Businesses

Understanding Cloud Migration for Businesses

Cloud migration is the process of moving data storage, processes, computing, and all other business functions crucial to the functioning of an organization from a physical infrastructure to a cloud computing environment. The COVID pandemic of 2019 may very well be the greatest recent impetus that convinced businesses to look into remote working arrangements and cloud computing. Because this shift is facilitated by and made possible through a system of online IT solutions, ensuring that an organization’s cloud computing system is secure through tailor-fit Houston cybersecurity solutions is a necessity. In this article, our corporate cybersecurity shall discuss how businesses are migrating to cloud computing and its implications on the importance of cybersecurity solutions.

Houston Cybersecurity Solutions and Cloud Computing

Understanding cloud computing from an IT solutions perspective is necessary for us to fully grasp cloud migration. The term cloud simply refers to data and processes that you can access from anywhere. Examples of these are word processing documents accessible through the internet such as google documents or Microsoft word files shared through email. Another example of cloud computing functions that we have also started to adopt as Houston cybersecurity solutions are online payment schemes and online money transfer such as PayPal and your bank's online money transfer functions. For contrast, the non-cloud or ‘on-premises’ counterparts of the functions we have discussed above are physical documents (e.g. memos, printed documents) and in-person payment systems (e.g. over-the-counter bank deposits, physical money transfer services, bank checks).

Houston Cybersecurity Solutions: What Is Cloud Migration?

The functions we have discussed above are just some of the processes utilizing cloud computing that individuals use in their daily lives. In the case of businesses or large organizations, other computing functions they utilize may include increased data storage or computer processing. There are businesses that operate by generating vast amounts of data that require additional storage and considerable computing power. These organizations usually set up a physical in-house computer server system. In order to access these data storage and computing power, one has to physically connect to the computer server system. Therefore, cloud migration is simply moving these processes from an on-premises infrastructure to the cloud.

Houston Cybersecurity Solutions Is Now More Important Than Ever

When business processes are migrated to the cloud, a sound corporate cybersecurity regime that is in place becomes a necessity. In this regard, BHT Solutions can help you transform your workflow by providing user-centric IT solutions that can facilitate your shift to cloud computing. They take the time to understand what you need to achieve your business goals in order to come up with Houston cybersecurity solutions that are user-centric, easy to use, and tailor-fit to your business’ needs. Call us now to avail of our free, non-committal, 1-hour consultation.

Understanding Blockchain: Proof of Stake

Understanding Blockchain: Proof of Stake

In September 2022, Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, shifted from a proof of work (PoW) consensus mechanism to a proof of stake (PoS) protocol for its blockchain network. In this article, our cybersecurity solutions experts will discuss PoS and how it differs from PoW and how it intends to address the emerging problems of a network running on a PoW protocol.

Houston Cybersecurity Solutions: Proof of Work and Wasteful Energy Consumption

We have discussed Proof of Work in this article, a protocol that allows independent participants in a network to achieve a consensus on the current state of the blockchain ledger. For cryptocurrencies, the ledger itself is the currency as it tracks the number of tokens each participant in the network has. Transactions within the network are validated by block miners racing to compute a random number and are rewarded with tokens.

PoW is an elegant IT solution that utilizes cryptography to independently maintain its blockchain ledgers without a central authority. However, one of the issues associated with a PoW model is the staggering amount of energy it requires for computational work. The complexity of the random number changes such that regardless of the aggregate computational power of the network it should take the network an average of 10 minutes to validate a block.

As the number of miners in the network grows, the complexity of the random number also increases, which prompts miners to expand computing power (they want to guess the random number first and get rewarded) and by extension greatly increasing energy consumption.

According to the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance, Bitcoin currently consumes 110 Terawatt Hours per year, the average energy consumption of small countries like Malaysia or Sweden. While Proof of Work is a brilliant Houston cybersecurity solution that allows independent participants to come up with a decentralized consensus, it may not be ecologically sustainable as it scales.

Proof of Stake, a Greener Houston Cybersecurity Solution?

The PoS protocol completely eschews extremely complicated computational work as a cybersecurity solution. Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum, envisions a future where even smartphones can perform the required computational work for validating the transactions in their network.

As with a PoW mechanism, the chosen validator is awarded with tokens when they validate a block. In order for participants to become block validators, they have to stake cryptocurrency tokens. The chance of being chosen as a validator is proportional to the number of tokens staked. Some models also factor in the length of time prospective validators have staked their tokens which increases their chances of being chosen.

You may be wondering, what stops a validator from adding fraudulent additional tokens to their ledger or doing a bad job at confirming transactions. Participants of networks operating under a PoS algorithm have a mechanism where they can easily check the validated transactions and if a validation turns out to be faulty then the validator stands to lose a portion, if not all, of the tokens they have staked.

Additionally, it is in the interest of those who have staked a large amount of the token to ensure that people believe in the stability of their cryptocurrency. A loss of trust in the network would ultimately result in a massive sell-off, devaluing their tokens.

Understanding Blockchain Technology with Your Trusted Houston Cybersecurity Solutions Experts

Whether you are currently utilizing blockchain technology use-cases, a cryptocurrency financial speculator and investor, or a blockchain technology non-believer, it seems that the technology is still innovating and is here to stay. As part of our commitment to making technology work for you, BHT Solutions aims to provide digestible information on the newest innovations on information technology for our clients.

If you have any concerns regarding your current IT solutions then look no further. Here in BHT Solutions, we love to make a positive impact by providing solutions that can efficiently and effectively resolve our clients’ IT dilemmas. Call us now and make technology work for you.

How to Keep Your Online Accounts Secure

How to Keep Your Online Accounts Secure

Cybersecurity attacks are on the rise alongside our increasing dependence on computing technology to facilitate our daily lives. While these cyberattacks have been increasing in frequency and complexity such as phishing and identity theft, there are Houston cybersecurity solutions that we can easily implement to keep our online accounts safe. In this article, our IT solutions expert will discuss two methods you can easily implement as well as breakdown and analyze a common phishing attack. This is part of our commitment as a company to make technology work for you by making you less susceptible to cybersecurity attacks.

Houston Cybersecurity Solution: Use Multiple Unique Passwords

Aside from ensuring that your passwords are strong, another layer of protection can be added by using multiple unique passwords for different online accounts. This approach limits the exposure of your online accounts should hackers, possibly through a phishing attempt, obtain an username and password pairing from one of your accounts. There are several dependable Houston cybersecurity solution applications such as password managers that are free to use that will store all your unique passwords should you decide to go implement this approach.

Another compromise, which is easier to implement is to use a tiered-password system where accounts of roughly the same level of security sensitivity have the same password. For example, social media accounts and secondary emails have the same password while business email accounts and primary personal emails have a separate distinct password. By the same virtue, all banking and money-related online accounts should also have a different password.

Houston Cybersecurity Solution: Setup Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) and Know How to Use Them Properly

This entry highlights how people should treat their One-Time Passwords (OTPs), one of the most frequently-used MFA. Users should treat their OTPs the same way they safeguard their passwords. If an OTP was sent to your phone without your initiation, then your account is probably under attack.

Another common phishing scam facilitated by social engineering is when a hacker calls you and pretends to be a representative from your bank and claims that someone is currently attempting to access your online bank account. They will then claim that they need to verify your identity and in order to do that they will send an OTP to the number registered in their records (what’s really happening is that they obtained your username and password combination but were trumped by your OTP.) The phishing attack is completed when you provide them your OTP. Our Houston cyber security solutions expert suggests watching out for this type of phishing attacks as well as its variations. 

In this scenario, we need to keep in mind the following things:

  • Bank representatives will NEVER ask for your password or OTP in a call or even in a face-to-face transaction.
  • If there is a suspected security breach, the priority is to freeze the account and undergo a stringent reactivation process. The hassle of doing a reactivation is a pain point that hackers usually utilize to pressure you into providing your OTP.
  • Do not panic. If your gut tells you that something is not normal with the interaction you can always drop the call and dial your bank’s customer service hotline.

If you want to learn more about Multi-Factor Authentication as an effective Houston cybersecurity solution, we have an in-depth discussion of it in this FAQ.

Keep Up to Date with Common Cyber Attacks by Subscribing to Your Trusted Houston Cybersecurity Solutions Experts

We have to remember that in all cyberattack attempts, the user is also a failure point that hackers can exploit. That is why some phishing attempts are crude but effective because of the social engineering techniques they are employing. The only way we can keep these attacks in check is by educating ourselves and our employees. Here in BHT Solutions, this is part of our commitment to making a positive impact for others in the fields of Information Technology and Cybersecurity. Should you need help with your IT solutions, look no further than BHT Solutions. We are here to solve your IT dilemmas with IT solutions that are user-centric and easy to use. Call us now and schedule your free 1-hour consultation.

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