Let’s face it, most of us make New Year resolutions that we usually end up abandoning before the end of January. Why? We like to think it’s because the commitments aren’t grounded in what we call “Purpose Driven Goals.”
Finding your purpose – also known as the driving force or what resonates with your core values – can be incredibly difficult to identify. Maybe providing for your family, protecting the environment, or serving your community in a meaningful way is the most important thing to you. Those are all noble purposes, but how can they drive seemingly unrelated goals?
How can you weave the one thing that is most important to you into the things you say you want to improve?
Remember, there may be several core values that you identify with (below), but there’s only one that drives you… day after day, year after year. We’ll let you ponder that for a moment.
In the meantime, we are a cyber security firm, so clearly protecting SMBs is a core driver for us. But why do we find meaning in this?
At his core, Adaptive’s fearless leader, Brett Gallant, values “service.” Defined as: The occupation or function of serving; contribution to the welfare of others; a helpful act. Simply stated, service-driven people put others above themselves. They make decisions and take actions to benefit others. In short, service is sacrifice.
Need some evidence that service is a core value for Brett? Not only does he serve the business community, he also helped to establish BPSA – a Traditional Scouting group based in Miramichi. He is an active member of the Rotary Club of Chatham, a board director for the CBDC, he volunteers at his church, and he’s recently made sizeable donations to Camp Sheldrake, Miramichi Ground Search and Rescue, and “99.3 – The River’s” Annual Turkey Drive.
Did we mention that he’s also the father of five children? He’s a giver, no doubt about it.
For now, let’s focus on Brett’s commitment to protecting and serving the professional community, and why it’s so important in the current business environment…
According to an article by strongdm, they wrote, “Cyberattacks against small businesses have been on the rise in recent years. Despite the attitude among many small business owners that hackers only go after behemoths, smaller companies make increasingly attractive prey. In fact, certain types of attacks –social engineering attacks, like phishing, for example– are much more commonly aimed at small businesses.
Cybercriminals assume that weaker security measures will make small businesses easier to crack than larger enterprises. Small businesses are generally not financially prepared for an attack. For many smaller companies, a successful cyberattack may even put them out of business.
Slowly, small businesses are waking up to the reality that they are targets, just like larger companies. They are increasingly strengthening their security posture with tools and practices that minimize their risk of being breached.
A lot of small businesses remain in ostrich mode when it comes to cyber threats. They do not realize that hackers have their sights set on them and are aware of their faulty defenses. However, a growing number of small businesses are paying attention and doing what they must to fortify their data and prevent huge losses. More and more of them realize they cannot afford a successful attack and need to have adequate defense and response strategies in place. There is no reason not to take action since strong, cost-effective protection is possible even for businesses with modest IT budgets.”
How to Commit to New Year’s Resolutions (an Example)
As we’ve mentioned, it’s imperative to link your external goals to a core internal purpose; thereby creating “Purpose Driven Goals.”
Here’s a great example of a purpose-driven goal… for many, many years, a friend of ours wanted to lose weight, learn Spanish, and become more social. But, committing to it sounded exhausting. Mainly, because the most important thing to her was preserving her mental acuity.
Why this strange fixation on the health of her brain? Her mother was only 47 years old when she started showing signs of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, and, because her mother was physically healthy, she lived with dementia for an astounding 23 years.
Watching her mother slowly, cruelly lose her mind had a tremendous impact on our friend. So, she spent all day, every day challenging her intellect: reading, writing, working, creating, and playing online games. As an introvert, she was perfectly happy staying home and working on her mental health.
Only, she wasn’t happy. Not only had she gained nearly thirty pounds, but she’d also made no friends since moving abroad, and her Spanish-speaking skills tested as only 18% fluent.
One day, she read something online that said resolutions would have greater success if they resonated with a core value. In this case, how could exercising, learning the local language, and being more social elevate the one thing that she valued more than anything… her mental acuity?
The short answer is… Physical activity boosts brain health, learning a second language can develop new areas of your mind, and socializing can stimulate memory, strengthen neural networks, and slow cognitive decline.
Again, it took our friend a LONG time to identify her biggest motivator… fear. Fear of suffering the same fate as her mother. Or, stated another way… our friend’s core motivator was self-preservation.
Once identified, she just needed to reframe the deeper purpose of her goals. She didn’t just want to be thin, bi-lingual, and well-connected. She wanted to live a long, healthy life. She wanted her adult children to see her as a force of nature, which wouldn’t happen if she neglected her body and spirit.
We’re happy to report that a year after she had this epiphany, our friend is happy, healthy, connected to the community, and well on her way to becoming fluent in Spanish.
Money, Money, Money
One thing that most people value is money. It’s not the money itself that people value, rather what money provides or represents. It could mean security, independence, peace of mind, etc. The point is, we all need money to survive and thrive.
Why is a cyber security firm talking about money? Because, in the event of a cyber attack, SMBs can lose everything. And, this doesn’t just affect owners (and their families). It affects employees (and their families), clients, vendors, and the community as a whole.
Let’s talk about a few New Year Cyber Resolutions you can initiate to protect the SMB you own or work for. (Remember cyber security is EVERYone’s responsibility.)
5 Technology Resolutions For The New Year
In an article by LincolnIT, they wrote, “As 2023 approaches, we’d like to reflect on the past year by celebrating our successes, learning from our challenges, and looking ahead to 2023 with measurable goals in mind. Many of us set New Year’s resolutions in our personal lives, so why not set technology resolutions? Without a doubt, cybersecurity has remained top of mind in 2022 and will continue to be an important issue as we move into 2023. BeyondTrust published its list of top cybersecurity trends to note, and many similar themes are predicted to show up in 2023 such as ransomware, malware, and compliance issues.
Now is the time to commit to technology resolutions that will improve your productivity, protect your devices, and keep you safer online. Continue reading to learn our top five technology resolutions for the new year.
1. Maintain Strong Password Policies
Gone are the days of using a simple password to protect your account — that leaves your account exposed to hackers and easily compromised. In fact, Watchguard found that weak or stolen passwords attributed to 81% of data breaches. Here are a few simple tips to maintain strong passwords:
- Utilize strong passphrases: Create passphrases by combining a few words from a favorite song, quote, or phrase. Use a combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Use a unique password for each account: Vary your passwords for each of your accounts to increase security. If you use the same password for multiple accounts, cybercriminals will have an easier chance of gaining access.
- Utilize a secure password manager: Easily remember all of your passwords with a trusted password manager. Tools like Dashlane, Keeper, and LastPass are trusted applications.
2. Clean Up Your Data
Did you know that January has been named “Clean Up Your Computer Month”? It’s the perfect time of year to organize your files on your desktop and in the cloud, organize your email, remove what you no longer need, and clear old software and applications. Arvig offers several helpful tips to jumpstart your organization process.
One important aspect of data clean-up is data back-up. Once you have determined what data you’d like to keep, ensure you have the right technology in place to back it up properly and securely.
3. Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) requires you to provide verification factors to access your accounts. Rather than simply entering your username and password, it will prompt you to use a PIN, a confirmation on your smartphone, or even a fingerprint.
MFA stops a large number of cyberattacks from occurring, but it’s not 100% foolproof. The best security strategy is a multi-layered, multi-faceted one with many different cybersecurity risk mitigation tools such as managed firewall systems, data backups, encryption, and more.
4. Continue Cybersecurity Awareness Training
The human element of your cybersecurity strategy must never be overlooked. With human error being the top cause of data breaches, it’s important to protect your team and give them the education they need to confidently identify cybercrimes before they occur.
Training will vary depending on your business needs and risks. It may include reviewing the latest security trends for your company, running through practice phishing scenarios, or evaluating your team’s knowledge through regular testing. Above all, training should be engaging and consistent – and it can be easily executed by working with a trusted IT partner.
Here are a few topic suggestions to get you thinking.
5. Update and Care For Your Devices
Technology is an investment, and like any investment, it’s important to take good care of your devices. Simple things like protecting your devices with cases, regularly cleaning your devices, and avoiding eating and/or drinking around your devices will help them last.
Internal protection is equally important, too. Regularly update your devices, software, and applications, or consider turning on automatic updates to make this process seamless. The Pro Tech Guy reminds us about why regular updates are so important: “Software updates not only improve the performance of your device; they contain critical patches that help to keep your business safe from malware and viruses. If these patches aren’t applied quickly, a cybercriminal could exploit them and access your network.”
Let’s be honest, this is the most basic cyber security list we’ve ever seen. If you aren’t already doing these things you’ve most likely already been attacked, you just don’t know it yet. So, it’s time to up the Cyber Resolution game…
Here are some additional tips from CDW, “Even among IT professionals who ought to know better, investing in new cybersecurity solutions is often a bit like buying life insurance. It’s something people know they ought to do but often put off, in part because they don’t want to think about the threats that make the purchase a necessity.
As we round the corner into a new year, we’re starting to see more organizations finally adopt underused cybersecurity tools that have been around for a while, as well as some emerging solutions. Here are six cybersecurity trends that I see building steam in 2023.
1. Security for Cloud Environments
As organizations continue to increase their volume of cloud-native production workloads, business and IT leaders are beginning to ask more questions about how they can adequately protect their data in these environments. Stakeholders are looking toward solutions that tie together their on-premises and public cloud environments and provide the same data protection capabilities, regardless of where applications and data are housed.
2. Multifactor Authentication and Strong Encryption
This is one of those “we’re still talking about this?” topics. Unfortunately, the answer is yes, we still need to talk about this. Multifactor authentication and strong data encryption of at least 256-bit AES is a simple, affordable way to thwart a large portion of attacks aimed at compromising and exploiting user credentials. Yet, according to some estimates, only about 1 in 10 organizations currently uses MFA and strong encryption for both on-premises, in-flight and in-cloud data storage and protection. As ransomware and other cyberthreats continue to grow in the coming year, I expect MFA adoption will increase as a best practice.
3. Anomaly Detection
In contrast to MFA and strong data encryption — both well-established but underutilized cybersecurity tools — anomaly detection is an emerging capability. By working with metadata, anomaly detection tools can help organizations discover suspicious behavior that might otherwise go unnoticed, and then identify the initial source and scope of infection. Two years ago, these tools didn’t exist, but I expect more organizations will adopt them as cybersecurity stakeholders see how powerful they can be in determining indicators of compromise during root cause investigations and highlighting initial infection points to assist with recovery of clean data.
4. Data Immutability and Indelibility
These two terms are often mistakenly used interchangeably; in fact, they’re distinct concepts. Immutable data typically refers to data that cannot be altered, whereas indelible data is information that cannot be deleted. While most traditional databases store data in a mutable format that allows the database to overwrite old data when new data is available, organizations are now turning to solutions that offer data immutability and indelibility to safeguard data stores from hackers.
5. Endpoint Detection and Response
Traditional anti-virus isn’t cutting it anymore, and IT leaders are increasingly adopting endpoint detection and response tools to take its place. EDR solutions typically feature endpoint active-threat detection and alerting, incident investigation, incident containment and incident response.
6. Disaster Recovery as a Service
The dramatic rise in cyberattacks in recent years has caused IT leaders to rethink their approach to disaster recovery. Even in high-availability, redundant environments that work well in the case of a natural disaster, threats like ransomware might be lurking in the secondary environment, preventing organizations from recovering downed systems. As a result, clean backups have become a more important part of DR, and many organizations are turning to Disaster Recovery as a Service, or DraaS, in a physically or logically separated vault service.”
In short, cyber security is a must-do item on your resolution list. Why? Because the business that you own, or work for, is responsible for your livelihood. Without your SMB, countless lives will be affected. Everyone working for (or with) your business needs an in-depth understanding of cyber security.
Just one wrong click, one visit to an unsecured website, or one overused password can bring an SMB to its knees.
So, no matter what your personal New Year’s Resolutions are, make sure they are grounded in Purpose-Driven Goals. By this time next year, you will be shocked by how much you’ve achieved!
At Adaptive Office Solutions, cybersecurity is our specialty. We keep cybercrimes at bay by using analysis, forensics, and reverse engineering to prevent malware attempts and patch vulnerability issues. By making an investment in multilayered cybersecurity, you can leverage our expertise to boost your defenses, mitigate risks, and protect your data with next-gen IT security solutions.
Every single device that connects to the internet poses a cyber security threat, including that innocent-looking smartwatch you’re wearing. Adaptive’s wide range of experience and certifications fills the gaps in your business’s IT infrastructure and dramatically increases the effectiveness of your cybersecurity posture.
Using our proactive cybersecurity management, cutting-edge network security tools, and comprehensive business IT solutions you can lower your costs through systems that are running at their prime; creating greater efficiency and preventing data loss and costly downtime. With Adaptive Office Solutions by your side, we’ll help you navigate the complexities of cybersecurity so you can achieve business success without worrying about online threats.
To schedule a Cyber Security Risk Review, call the Adaptive Office Solutions’ hotline at 506-624-9480 or email us at email@example.com