What is IT migration?

migration-informatique

Are you wondering what IT migration is? The short answer is moving data or software from one computer system (source) to another (target).

In this article, Group SL’s team of specialists in managed IT services presents the different types of migration that organizations can undergo, as well as the steps to a successful IT migration project.

Types of IT migration

IT migration can take different forms, all with different objectives. Knowing the issues linked to each of them will give you a better understanding of the concept of migration.

Here are the four most common types of enterprise IT migration.

Data migration

Data migration is the movement of data from one storage system to another. It is often done as part of an upgrade to increase storage capacity, improve performance or add new features. For example, in recent years, many companies have moved from on-premises data storage to cloud storage.

Every data migration is unique because the type and amount of data involved varies with each migration. In addition, the timeframe for migration and the cybersecurity strategy will differ depending on the organization whose data is being migrated.

Application migration

In the context of IT migration, an application is the structure in which data is stored. When an organization decides to change its database system, it must transfer all the configurations of the original application as well as its operating systems and management tools.

Here are four examples of application migration approaches:

  • Rehosting
  • Refactoring
  • Replatforming
  • Removal or replacement

These approaches facilitate the transition from one environment to another without damaging the quality of the data contained therein.

Operating system migration

A migration between operating systems is the movement of a computer system managed with a certain operating system to a different operating system.

This type of migration is useful when a company wants to move to a newer version of its operating system (a new version of Windows for example) or to change its operating system altogether (from Windows to Linux for example).

Those considering a migration between operating systems should be aware that it takes some IT project management expertise to ensure a smooth migration. Changing operating systems can cause downtime, application incompatibility and loss of configuration data.

Cloud migration

Cloud migration is the movement of IT systems located in “traditional” data centers to cloud environments, or from one cloud environment to another.

This type of migration sometimes involves the creation of a hybrid cloud that allows the various applications and data useful to an organization to be spread across multiple IT infrastructures.

In general, moving to hosted cloud solutions allows organizations to take advantage of greater scalability, employee mobility and data security.

Steps to a successful data migration project

Without a clear strategy, a migration process can cause many problems such as costly downtime, corrupted, lost or misplaced files, compatibility issues, and more.

Follow the 7 steps outlined below and the migration of data or applications from a source system to a target system is much more likely to go smoothly.

1 – Identify the format, location and sensitivity of the data to be migrated

Before starting a migration process, it is important to identify the data to be migrated, its format, its location and the format it should be in after migration.

This pre-planning stage is used, among other things, to identify risks that will need to be considered prior to the transfer and to put in place security measures that will need to be taken during the migration of sensitive or confidential data.

2 – Migration project scoping

Once the inventory of data to be moved as part of the migration is completed, it is much easier to estimate the scope of the project and its cost. This step is about defining the scope of the data migration and estimating the resources required to complete it.

As part of this second step, an advanced analysis of the source and target systems and the identification of current operations that will be impacted by the migration is also important. This will help establish flexible timelines for the project.

3 – Backup of all data

Prior to migration, make sure that all the data that will be moved is backed up. If problems occur during the migration (corrupted, incomplete or missing files for example), the error can be corrected by restoring the data to its original state.

4 – Find the staff and IT tools needed for the migration

Data migration can be a complex task, especially when it involves a large number of files or sensitive information. That’s why many organizations outsource their data migrations to IT outsourcing companies rather than to their internal IT department.

Before a migration, a company should therefore ask itself if its IT team has the skills, equipment, tools and time to accomplish the project within the given timeframe.

5 – Execution of the migration plan

Once the migration plan has been agreed upon by all project stakeholders, the extraction of all data from the source system to be migrated to the target system can begin. This is the actual migration.

During this step, ensure that the correct system permissions are applied to allow for a successful data migration. It is also recommended to verify that this data is cleaned to protect the target system and then converted to the proper format for transfer. Following this, the cleaned and de-duplicated data should be loaded into the target system’s data migration rules and map.

Any data migration should be closely monitored by an IT specialist to identify and resolve any issues that arise.

6 – Test the new system

Once the migration is complete, ensure that there are no connectivity issues between the source and target systems. The goal is to confirm that all migrated data is intact, secure and in the right place. There are various system, volume, web application, batch application and unit tests that can be used to check this.

7 – Monitoring and maintenance

Once the migration is complete, a full system and data quality audit should be performed to validate that everything is in order. If errors such as missing, incomplete or corrupted data are found, simply restore these files from the backup (performed in step 3).

Groupe SL: your best resource for IT migration

In conclusion, regardless of the type of IT migration to be carried out, this process involves risks and requires a great deal of expertise and attention to detail. If you are planning to make changes to your corporate IT infrastructure that involve a migration, you should seek advice from industry experts.

Are you ready to get started? Contact us and we can discuss your needs and propose solutions that are 100% adapted to your organization.

How can your cloud provider help you improve your data security?

fournisseur-infonuagique

Cloud computing is a breakthrough for many companies, bringing flexibility and cost savings. For example, it reduces the need for physical networks and allows for more remote work.

But as with any major change in the IT industry, cloud computing presents a multitude of new security risks to IT infrastructures and organizational data.

In this article, our IT outsourcing experts share 3 ways your cloud provider can help you protect your sensitive data.

Facilitating the integration of your multiple IT security devices

Like many Quebec companies, have you purchased a number of security devices to better protect your sensitive data stored in the cloud? That’s already a good start! But did you know that your cloud provider can help you get the most out of them by integrating them?

Integrating your compatible cybersecurity tools means that they will no longer work independently. They will instead be interconnected, allowing them to share threat data and work together to counter different types of cyberattacks.

This will provide you with increased overall protection that is much better suited to cloud infrastructure.

Automating cybersecurity processes

The techniques used by hackers and cybercriminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated. For the most skilled of hackers, it only takes a few seconds to get hold of sensitive data or cause computer breakdowns once they have gained access to a network.

In order to increase their level of protection against such rapid attackers, companies can ask their cloud provider to automate certain security processes. This way, an attack will automatically trigger a series of data and equipment protection measures, which will greatly limit the amount of damage that a hacker can cause.

Automated cybersecurity measures will also make it easier for your cloud service providers to do their jobs. They will no longer have to target infected devices, find and destroy malware and implement protections across the entire IT environment in a very limited amount of time during an attack. Everything will be done automatically!

The benefit of a unified management system

To ensure the security of your ever-changing cloud infrastructure and privacy policies, you need a unified management system that centralizes data, access, configuration and policy coordination.

A unified management system implemented by your cloud provider will allow your IT department to relay and correlate threat information, enforce privacy policies consistently and make changes wherever they are needed in a single action.

Enjoy the benefits of totally secure cloud computing with the support of Groupe SL

In conclusion, cloud computing offers many advantages to businesses. However, its implementation and use should always be coupled with a reassessment of cybersecurity needs by IT security specialists. Otherwise, the benefits of the cloud could quickly be overshadowed by privacy issues arising from a lack of protection.

If you are looking for a partner who is equally at ease with cloud computing and cybersecurity for your company, contact our team! We will be able to determine your needs and recommend customized solutions.

How to determine your company’s IT budget

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IT budgets vary greatly depending on the industry.

That being said, most companies are investing more and more resources in their IT infrastructure because it has become a vital aspect of their operations and growth.

A company’s IT budget has a direct impact on its performance. That’s why it’s important to make the right decisions when it comes to determining how much to invest in IT equipment and services.

In this article, find out how to determine your company’s IT budget, with examples and explanations from our IT outsourcing specialists.

IT budget: IT spending varies by industry

For some industries, reliance on IT tools has increased dramatically over the past few decades. For example, finance, accounting and telecommunications have all experienced a major digital transformation. These are the types of industries that now spend the most on IT.

Companies in these sectors have little choice but to invest more of their revenue in their IT department.

Here is a table to give you an idea of the percentage of revenue companies in different industries are investing in IT (the examples given are an approximation).

Industry % of revenue invested in IT
Finance 9%
Telecommunications 5.5%
Consulting and services, IT 4.5%
Insurance, electronics, healthcare, transportation 3.5%
Automotive, consumer goods, chemicals, energy 2%
Construction, distribution 1%

 

Breakdown of IT spending

As you can see, banks generally spend much more on IT services than manufacturing or construction companies do.

However, determining a company’s IT budget isn’t just a question of figuring out how much to spend in total. It also involves deciding how to allocate the funds most effectively.

Several factors such as the state of your equipment (computers, servers, software, etc.) and your strategic objectives (automating tasks, enabling work from home, transitioning to cloud computing, etc.) should be taken into account in order to invest the right amounts in the right places.

Here are the different types of expenses that can be included in an IT budget and a typical example of how the funds may be allocated:

Types of expenses % of the IT budget
IT infrastructure

(Equipment, hosting, etc.)

34%
Staff

(Internal, external, etc.)

31%
Software

(Acquisition, subscriptions, etc.)

20%
Other 15%

 

Pitfalls to avoid when developing an IT budget

The number one pitfall to avoid when developing an IT budget is the temptation to save money by underspending on equipment or technical support. This impulse can actually cost more in the long term.

For example, inexpensive computers can have a multitude of problems such as short lifespans, limited warranties, and incompatibility with certain operating systems. When all of this is considered, they may end up costing more than you think.

Even if you invest in top-quality equipment, you will need experienced people to manage your IT infrastructure in order to get the most out of it. These professionals take care of security and technical updates, fix problems, configure systems, manage users and set up online backups. Technical support is an essential aspect of IT that must not be neglected!

Groupe SL can help you determine your IT budget

Determining a company’s IT budget is not to be taken lightly. Professionals who have in-depth knowledge of business computing, such as our strategic IT services specialists, can help you make the right decisions.

Group SL can help you implement an IT strategy that will support your business development and be a real asset to your organization. Contact us today!

What is workspace virtualization?

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Have you heard of the concept of workspace virtualization, but don’t know exactly what it is and how it can benefit your business?

Rest assured, Groupe SL’s team of IT outsourcing specialists is here to provide you with the answers you are looking for.

Virtual workspace definition

A virtual workspace is a workplace where employees are connected to each other via digital tools, no matter where they are physically located.

Users in a virtual workspace bridge the physical distance between them with a set of computing tools designed to support close communication and collaboration. These tools often consist of software that uses cloud computing to make various virtual desktops and business applications (like those found in the Microsoft 365 service) accessible from a data center.

A virtual workspace therefore simulates a real-world physical office.

An example to help understand workspace virtualization

For a better understanding of the concept of workspace virtualization, here is a more concrete example.

Rather than having to install all business software on a new employee’s computer, the employee could simply connect to the Internet with their personal device to access the company’s cloud-based data center. From there, the employee will have quick and easy access to all of their published, SaaS and mobile applications via a single, secure unified workspace.

Workspace virtualization therefore allows the operating systems, applications and data of the underlying hardware of a computing device to be ignored, which simplifies IT infrastructure management.

The benefits of enterprise desktop virtualization

Now that you have a better idea of what workspace virtualization is, you may be starting to realize the full potential of implementing it in your business.

Better data security

When a workspace is virtualized, data and applications never leave the data center.

For a company that works with sensitive data and confidential information, desktop virtualization can therefore reduce the risk of data loss at the terminal level, thanks in particular to an online backup.

Furthermore, it is much easier to implement security measures like two-factor authentication with a virtual workspace.

Assured compliance

Many companies have to meet stringent requirements in order to operate in full compliance.

Compliance may require a company to update each employee’s computer, which is a daunting task for organizations with dozens or hundreds of employees.

With desktop virtualization and hosted cloud solutions, cloud software updates will ensure that employees are working with compliant software.

Reduced workspace costs

A virtual workspace eliminates the need to provide employees with a physical workspace.

Companies that rely on this technology could save significant amounts of money in rent, heating, insurance and security costs, to name a few.

Similarly, desktop virtualization is a good way to make more room for remote work without compromising productivity. Not to mention that it could allow you to hire candidates from anywhere in the world.

Groupe SL helps you get the most out of your virtual workspace

In conclusion, workspace virtualization is a fairly abstract concept, but the benefits are tangible for companies that decide to implement it.

If you’d like to speak with workspace virtualization experts to find out if and how your organization could benefit, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We can develop a deployment plan tailored to your organization if you decide to make the move.

Azure AD: a tool to lighten the IT department’s workload

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As companies leave the office behind and start prioritizing remote work, their IT departments are faced with new challenges. One of the biggest difficulties to resolve is remote access to IT resources.

In this article, our IT outsourcing services specialists explain how Azure AD can help you better manage remote access to your cloud resources such as Microsoft 365. They also present two other tools that can help you manage your IT infrastructure while your employees are working from home.

What is Azure AD?

Azure Active Directory, or Azure AD for short, is an identity and access management (IAM) program that is hosted on the Microsoft public cloud. It includes a variety of features and services to help companies better manage access to their IT resources, particularly those that are cloud-based.

This service is much more powerful than a local Active Directory, because it gives organizations the ability to implement cybersecurity and monitoring features more easily and at a lower cost.

Azure AD: advantages for companies

With Azure AD, users can sign in to all local and cloud-based web applications with the same authentication. The program is compatible with multiple platforms and devices, and can be integrated with all Microsoft 365 software.

With Azure AD, companies can implement multi-factor authentication, manage passwords and self-service groups, automatically control access, add devices, and monitor the use of critical applications.

Azure AD lightens the load on IT departments by facilitating access and automating certain tasks. It also secures access to companies’ sensitive data.

Intune and Autopilot: two programs that complement Azure AD

If your goal is to reduce the amount of time your IT department spends on configuration for new computers and users, you may want to consider Intune and Autopilot, two programs that complement Azure AD well.

Intune: a cloud service for managing mobile devices and applications

Intune is a cloud-based software that handles mobile and non-mobile device configuration, software deployment, update management and compliance.

With this tool, your employees can use their personal mobile devices at work without the risk of confidential data breaches. Intune protects your organization’s data by isolating it from the user’s personal data and requiring authentication before performing certain operations.

Intune also provides other convenient features for administrators:

  • Inventory of the devices that access the company’s IT resources
  • Configuring devices to meet current security and integrity standards
  • Deleting company data when a device is lost or stolen
  • And more

Windows Autopilot: ideal for pre-configuring new devices

Windows Autopilot is a collection of technologies used to pre-configure new Windows PCs for professional use. IT departments can also use Autopilot to reset, repurpose and recover devices more quickly and easily.

With Autopilot, users who receive a new device can connect to a network and start working in just a few simple steps. All the IT department needs to do is verify the employee’s credentials, saving the IT infrastructure manager considerable time and effort.

Groupe SL is your best resource for more information about Azure AD, Intune and Autopilot

If your company wants to encourage employees to work from home without making things more difficult for the IT department, Azure AD, Intune and Autopilot can help. In addition to automating as many tasks as possible, these tools will make your infrastructure more accessible and secure.

If you want to find out more about these tools or implement them at your company, contact our team today! We will be able to provide you with customized deployment support.

Cybersecurity tips for law firms and legal professionals

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Legal professionals collect and store a vast amount of sensitive data about their clients and their activities. As a result, the computer systems at law firms typically contain a wealth of information that should never be disclosed or fall into the hands of people with nefarious motives.

Since a good deal of this confidential data is protected by law, law firms would be well advised to make cybersecurity a priority.

Not sure where to start reinforcing the security of your IT infrastructure and protecting your data? Not to worry, our managed IT services and cloud solutions specialists have decided to share a few of their best cybersecurity tips for the legal field.

Secure your network access

If you don’t take steps to secure your law firm’s network, cybercriminals will have easy access. Use antivirus software, firewalls, malware scanners and any other technology you can to keep your network secure.

It’s also a good idea to use two-factor authentication to limit access to your databases and applications. This requires every user to provide two pieces of proof that they are authorized to access the network. Two-factor authentication is much harder for cyberattackers to bypass than just a password.

If possible, consult an experienced IT outsourcing company for advice on the best strategies and tools you can use to ensure that your network is well protected against cyberattacks.

Encrypt your communications and sensitive data

Stolen laptops and intercepted business communications are major causes of confidential information leaks, particularly in the legal field. Encryption is a relatively simple and effective cybersecurity strategy that can protect your sensitive data in such situations.

Encryption essentially involves translating data stored in an email, local hard drive, web browser or cloud application into a secret code that then requires a key or password to decrypt. If a stolen computer or device is encrypted, the thief will not be able to access the information it contains without the encryption key.

Consider cloud storage

In many cases, the cloud offers better security than in-house IT hardware and software when it comes to protecting sensitive data.

Consider moving your operations to the cloud to increase your security. If you aren’t sure, an IT outsourcing company can help you decide whether the cloud is the best option for you and implement an online backup strategy.

Keep track of the mobile devices you use for work

Although BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies have several advantages, they are risky for law firms unless proper security measures are taken. Many firms have sensitive data stolen because they secure their networks and computer systems at the office but are less careful with mobile devices that get used for work.

Every employee and partner who regularly accesses your network or database should take steps to protect their phone, laptop, tablet and any other mobile device they use for work. These devices should always be protected by a strong password and equipped with the appropriate security software, particularly for staff who work remotely.

Educate your staff about the importance of cybersecurity

Don’t just assume that all of your employees and partners know how to identify and defend against cybersecurity threats. Create an open dialogue on the subject and keep your colleagues informed in order to avoid accidental user errors and promote best practices in data security.

You should also provide each new hire with up-to-date cybersecurity training.

Make a business continuity plan

Even the most secure law firms remain susceptible to data breaches, disasters and IT equipment failure that can result in the loss of confidential information. Law firms must prepare for the worst by establishing a business continuity plan.

The purpose of a business continuity plan is to maintain essential operations during a crisis, or at least restore them as quickly as possible. The plan is essential in order to handle security breaches in a way that causes the least disruption to business operations.

Lawyers can rely on Groupe SL to protect their sensitive data

Cybersecurity and data protection should be top priorities for legal professionals, because they are in possession of information that must remain confidential. Thankfully, there are many ways law firms can reinforce the security and reliability of their IT infrastructure.

If you are looking for a cybersecurity partner to protect your business from threats that could cause sensitive data leaks, contact our team! We will be able to assess your needs and provide you with customized solutions.

The importance of data protection in the accounting industry

protection-donnees-comptables

Currently, more than 75% of Canadian businesses are concerned about an increase in cyberattacks, but less than half are planning to increase their security budget for data protection and compliance.

These companies are risking a lot by putting off implementing cybersecurity solutions, because failing to protect sensitive data can result in significant fines and penalties and erode the trust of customers and partners.

Accounting firms possess a large amount of sensitive data and confidential information. As such, they need to be very well prepared to face cybercriminals.

In this article, our IT infrastructure management specialists explain the importance of data protection in the accounting industry and suggest ways to reinforce it.

The potential consequences of sensitive data breaches for accounting firms

For companies in the accounting industry, data protection is not only a matter of ethics, but also a matter of compliance. Accounting firms that do not meet the authorities’ data protection requirements will face repercussions.

For example, under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), accounting firms can be fined $100,000 for improperly reporting a privacy breach.

Accounting firms can also be fined up to $10,000,000 for unsolicited commercial messages containing malware under Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL).

Accounting firms around the world can also face penalties of more than $60,000,000 if they violate the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by mishandling EU residents’ personal information.

Cyber threats (malware, phishing, ransomware, etc.) continue to present new risks. Since the Digital Privacy Act has expanded companies’ responsibilities under PIPEDA to include the obligation to report data breaches, repercussions for non-compliance may include litigation in addition to the fines mentioned above.

How can accounting firms improve their data protection?

There are a number of strategies accounting firms can put in place to prevent sensitive data leaks, detect security breaches and report them to the Privacy Commissioner and those affected in an expedient manner.

Detection and surveillance

Canadian accounting firms can increase their IT system monitoring in order to detect security incidents as early as possible and address them quickly. Here are some examples of monitoring methods:

Outsource IT infrastructure monitoring

Most IT support companies today offer professional services for monitoring network hardware, devices and applications and keeping them secure.

Managed IT service providers small and large can assist or even replace an accounting firm’s IT department. By outsourcing these tasks, accounting firms can free up internal resources to focus on day-to-day operations while cybersecurity specialists stand guard.

Implement multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a secure authentication method that requires users to provide at least two pieces of evidence in order to access a program, function or confidential accounting information.

This cybersecurity strategy provides a higher level of data protection than single-factor authentication (SFA) methods, where the user only has to provide one piece of information, such as a password or access code.

By requiring several separate authentication factors, MFA makes it more difficult for cybercriminals to impersonate an authorized user and gain access to computers, online backups and other sensitive resources. Even if hackers obtain a password, they won’t have the second element required to gain access.

Install effective antivirus software

Antivirus software continuously scans computer memory for malware and automatically removes it. It provides centralized control and a way to monitor the entirety of an accounting firm’s network.

Antivirus software can give even SMEs the ability to manage their security in a centralized way. The best tools also offer protection against ransomware, keyloggers and rootkits in order to prevent and detect some of the types of attacks that can be most damaging to businesses.

Training employees and raising awareness

Studies have shown that 95% of cybersecurity breaches are the result of human error. That’s why it’s important for accounting firms to educate their employees on the importance of data security.

It may also be prudent to train accountants to develop work habits that do not expose confidential information unnecessarily. This is particularly important for employees who work remotely.

Accounting firms can rely on Groupe SL to protect their sensitive data

In conclusion, cybersecurity and data protection are vital for accounting firms, because cyberattacks can expose them to severe financial penalties and damage their reputation. Accounting firms should therefore implement effective cybersecurity measures and make sure that their staff is aware of the issue.

If you need assistance protecting your accounting firm from cyber threats that could cause sensitive data breaches, contact our team of cybersecurity specialists! We can discuss your situation and provide you with solutions that are tailored to your needs.

Why conduct a penetration test?

pourquoi-test-intrusion-informatique

As cybersecurity strategies evolve, hacking methods do too. That means that it’s possible for hackers to be one step ahead of the IT security measures companies put in place.

That’s why even companies that adhere strictly to the best practices in IT security guidelines can be vulnerable to certain types of cyberattacks.

Companies that want to protect their IT infrastructure even more effectively can conduct a penetration test, a strategy that complements the IT security audit.

In this article, our managed IT services specialists will discuss the subject in depth.

What is a penetration test?

A penetration test, sometimes called a pen test, is a simulated cyberattack against a computer system carried out by a cyber security specialist to identify vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers. The test can target all networks, applications, devices and physical security components.

Penetration tests can use real-world scenarios to show companies how their current defenses would perform in the face of a large-scale cyberattack and whether they could ensure business continuity in such a situation.

Types of penetration tests

A cyber security consultant can use a variety of penetration strategies to simulate a real attack by a hacker:

Black box

This strategy simulates an attack by a hacker who has no information about the company, network or server. With only the name of the company as data, the technician will try to find security flaws. This type of hacker is “flying blind.”

Grey box

In a grey box test, the attacker uses a user account to try to infiltrate the targeted system. This type of attacker already has access to a certain amount of information that is useful for penetrating the IT infrastructure.

White box

The third strategy simulates the type of cyberattack companies dread most. In this simulation, the hacker already has all the information they need to hack into a company’s computer system thanks to surveillance, third-party information or spyware.

Why should companies conduct penetration tests?

Penetration tests help companies assess the overall security of their IT infrastructure. Testing the infrastructure is important because the company’s security protocols may be strong in one area but lacking in another.

Penetration tests will highlight any vulnerabilities in the various layers of the company’s security system and will give the experts the information they need to resolve the flaws before they become critical liabilities.

More specifically, penetration tests enable companies to:

  • Check the effectiveness of current security controls: customers receive an assessment of the overall security of the physical, network and application layers of their IT infrastructure.
  • Expose real vulnerabilities: companies find out which parts of their system are most vulnerable to being hacked.
  • Ensure compliance: after the test, companies can check whether they are in compliance with the standards in place to protect the security of data and personal information.
  • Strengthen the security posture: companies can establish priorities and reduce vulnerability with the help of a security program developed based on the test results.

When is the best time to conduct a penetration test?

The high cost of a cyber attack and the potential data loss involved means that no company should wait for a real attack to occur before going on the offensive. It’s best to be proactive when it comes to IT security and conduct penetration tests on a regular basis.

Changes to your IT infrastructure can also affect security. It’s prudent to conduct a penetration test after changes such as:

  • Installing new equipment
  • Launching an application
  • A major update
  • Changes to relevant regulations

Groupe SL: your resource for IT security in Quebec

In conclusion, a penetration test is an excellent way to identify weaknesses in your IT security plan and determine what improvements need to be made to avoid falling victim to hackers.

Contact our experienced team to conduct a penetration test on your IT infrastructure. After the test, we can offer you a complete IT security plan and the best tools on the market to reinforce your protection.

What are the IT security risks for remote workers?

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Employers are currently adapting as best they can to the COVID-19 crisis by allowing remote work, or even making it mandatory.

However, although remote working was already increasingly common even before the arrival of the coronavirus, it poses its own unique cyber security problems.

In this article, our IT outsourcing specialists present various IT security risks for remote workers as well as ways to improve corporate cybersecurity related to these issues.

Companies need to strengthen their remote access policies

Remote access needs and practices are changing for all workers who use hardware, especially remote workers who rely on cloud hosting solutions.

Unfortunately, many business owners overlook the importance of having a strict remote access and identification policy. Yet professional management of remote access to IT resources is more essential than ever to prevent serious problems such as identity theft and loss of sensitive data.

IT and cyber security professionals can assess the security risks that organizations face and develop customized protocols to minimize those risks. This is one of the main reasons to perform an IT security audit.

Risks of using personal computer equipment

In recent years, a growing number of employers have adopted “bring-your-own-device” (BYOD) policies, which have allowed them to reduce their spending on computer equipment. In addition, with the rise in popularity of telecommuting in the COVID-19 era, an even greater number of employees are using their personal computers or their own mobile devices to perform their tasks.

However, what may seem like a good way to save money can also adversely impact the cybersecurity of a company’s IT infrastructure. Unlike personal devices, most computer equipment provided by employers meets minimum security standards. These computers, tablets and other devices are designed to operate within a corporate network. Their software has been optimized to meet the specific needs of the individual user in the corporate environment. The introduction of personal devices into a company’s IT environment therefore adds a new layer of risk to security considerations.

Personal devices should therefore be systematically checked by the employer’s IT department before being used for remote working. Mobile device management (MDM) applications can also allow companies to create secure access to data and perform remote lockouts or erasures in the event that devices are lost or stolen.

Lack of security in some wireless networks

Today’s hackers are highly effective at seizing valuable data and information when workers use an unsecured connection. To reduce the vulnerabilities associated with unsecured residential and commercial Wi-Fi networks, employers can implement a variety of strategies:

  • Prohibit the use of unsecured wireless connections
  • Use geolocation to limit the locations from which enterprise networks can be accessed
  • Set up and require the use of a VPN for remote work

VPNs are perhaps the least complicated to implement and enforce, since these networks don’t have the potential to compromise employee privacy and don’t limit where remote employees can work. Trusted VPNs provide end-to-end data encryption and protect IP addresses to increase the security of all types of connections.

Don’t let your remote workers jeopardize the security of your IT infrastructure

There you have it, you now know 3 of the most important IT security risks associated with the need to work from home. However, even the biggest problems have solutions. Now that you know your enemy, you need to fight it.

If you are looking for an ally that will help you secure your IT infrastructure, Groupe SL can offer you a complete cybersecurity plan as well as the best tools available on the market to reinforce your level of protection.

Contact us now and enjoy the benefits of remote working without fear of being a victim of cyber fraud!

Why is two-factor authentication recommended to protect your corporate communications?

authentification-2-facteurs

To adapt to the global pandemic and continue to operate while complying with government guidelines, many companies have turned to working from home. In doing so, a tremendous amount of information is now exchanged online.

Unfortunately, many organizations are not aware that their business communications are not secure enough. Many still rely on standard security procedures requiring only a simple username or password, which are no longer sufficient to guarantee the confidentiality of online exchanges. They are therefore vulnerable to theft of confidential information and sensitive data by cybercriminals.

For a better level of corporate communications protection, new user identification strategies have therefore been developed. Among these, two-factor authentication is undoubtedly one of the most effective and easy to implement.

In this article, our cybersecurity specialists explain this computer protection measure and how it is useful for companies that allow working from home.

What is two-factor authentication?

Two-factor authentication, also called 2FA, is a secure computer access process in which the user must provide two pieces of evidence in order to be authorized to access a program, feature or file.

This strategy therefore provides a higher level of protection than single-factor authentication (SFA) methods, where the user only has to provide a single piece of information, such as a password or access code.

Different types of identification factors that may be required during an access request

There are several types of identification factors that may be requested during an access attempt. This creates unique combinations that cybercriminals cannot duplicate.

Knowledge factors

This is information that only the user should know. Passwords and personal identification numbers (PINs) fall into this category.

Possession factors

This is an object that the user should have with them at the time of the access request. It may be a magnetic token or a security card, for example.

Biometric authentication

This identification factor relies on the fact that each user has unique physical characteristics such as fingerprints or retina shape. Facial recognition is based on biometric factors.

Location verification

Location verification requires the user to be in a particular location. The user will not be able to log in if they are outside the geographic area where they should be. The origin of an access request can be known based on geolocation information such as an IP address.

How does two-factor authentication protect your business communications?

When working from home, a lot of confidential information circulates online and a large amount of it must be accessible to remote workers. Many organizations also rely on cloud hosting solutions to increase employee mobility.

A hacker who succeeds in pretending to be an employee and accesses a company’s computer resources could therefore easily seize data of great value to the organization (plans, formulas, research, creations) or cause system failures that result in operational shutdowns.

By requiring a second form of identification, two-factor authentication reduces the likelihood that a cybercriminal could impersonate a user and gain access to your computers, online backups, accounts or other sensitive resources. Even if a fraudster has been able to get his hands on your password, he won’t have the second element required to authenticate.

You also protect your customers by using 2FA

A computer attack can also have a direct impact on your company’s results if it causes a customer data breach. Worse yet, it can lead to a loss of credibility and make you lose their trust and loyalty.

A company’s effective IT infrastructure management therefore needs to include cyber security strategies for a high level of confidentiality and computer data security, such as two-factor authentication.

2FA on transactional sites

On a transactional site where customers need to enter sensitive information such as credit card numbers, two-factor authentication provides an additional layer of protection that enhances website and transaction security.

By creating a reassuring experience, businesses increase their ability to create seamless customer interactions.

Groupe SL helps you secure your communications and IT infrastructure

In summary, two-factor authentication is a very effective cyber security strategy for restricting access to your computer resources and sensitive information to authorized individuals. In a remote work context, it can make your communications more secure and even reassure your customers. You should therefore consider integrating it into your existing protections.

At Groupe SL, we can perform an IT security audit to identify security vulnerabilities in your IT system and determine if you should use 2FA. Based on this audit, we will also be able to offer customized solutions to strengthen your protection against threats such as viruses and hackers.