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4 Proven Ways to Mitigate the Costs of a Data Breach

No business wants to suffer a data breach. But unfortunately, in today’s environment, it’s difficult to completely avoid them. Approximately 83% of organizations have experienced more than one data breach. (IBM Security 2022 Cost of a Data Breach Report) These breaches hurt businesses in many ways. First, there is the immediate cost of remediating the breach. Then, there are the lost productivity costs. You can add lost business on top of that, and lost customer trust. A business could also have extensive legal costs associated with a breach. According to IBM Security’s report, the cost of a data breach climbed again in 2022. The global cost of one breach is now $4.35 million, up 2.6% from last year. If your business is in the U.S., the cost rises to $9.44 million. In Canada, the average data breach costs companies $5.64 million. Costs for smaller companies tend to be a little lower. But breaches are often more devastating to SMBs. They don’t have the same resources that larger companies do to offset all those costs. It’s estimated that 60% of small companies go out of business within six months of a cybersecurity breach. Companies don’t need to resign themselves to the impending doom of a data breach. There are some proven tactics they can take to mitigate the costs. These cybersecurity practices can limit the damage of a cyberattack. All these findings come from the IBM Security report. They include hard facts on the benefits of bolstering your cybersecurity strategy.

Cybersecurity Tactics to Reduce the Impact of a Breach

Use a Hybrid Cloud Approach

Graph from: IBM Security/Ponemon Institute 2022 Cost of a Data Breach Report

Most organizations use the cloud for data storage and business processes. Researchers found that 45% of all data breaches happen in the cloud. But all cloud strategies are not created equally. Breaches in the public cloud cost significantly more than those in a hybrid cloud. What is a hybrid cloud? It means that some data and processes are in a public cloud, and some are in a private cloud environment. What some may find surprising is that using a hybrid cloud approach was also better than a private cloud. Graph from: IBM Security/Ponemon Institute 2022 Cost of a Data Breach Report

Put in Place an Incident Response Plan & Practice It

You don’t need to be a large enterprise to create an incident response (IR) plan. The IR plan is simply a set of instructions. It’s for employees to follow should any number of cybersecurity incidents occur. Here is an example. In the case of ransomware, the first step should be disconnecting the infected device. IR plans improve the speed and effectiveness of a response in the face of a security crisis. Having a practiced incident response plan reduces the cost of a data breach. It lowers it by an average of $2.66 million per incident.

Adopt a Zero Trust Security Approach

Zero trust is a collection of security protocols that work together to fortify a network. An example of a few of these are:

• Multi-factor authentication

• Application safelisting

• Contextual user authentication

Approximately 79% of critical infrastructure organizations haven’t adopted zero trust. Doing so can significantly reduce data breach costs. Organizations that don’t deploy zero trust tactics pay about $1 million more per data breach.

Use Tools with Security AI & Automation

Using the right security tools can make a big difference in the cost incurred during a data breach. Using tools that deploy security AI and automation brought the biggest cost savings. Data breach expense lowered by 65.2% thanks to security AI and automation solutions. These types of solutions include tools like advanced threat protection (ATP). They can also include applications that hunt out threats and automate the response.

How to Get Started Improving Your Cyber Resilience

Many of these ways to lower data breach costs are simply best practices. You can get started by taking them one at a time and rolling out upgrades to your cybersecurity strategy. Working with a trusted IT provider, put together a roadmap. Address the “low-hanging fruit” first. Then, move on to longer-term projects. As an example, “low-hanging fruit” would be putting multi-factor authentication in place. It’s low-cost and easy to put in place. It also significantly reduces the risk of a cloud breach. A longer-term project might be creating an incident response plan. Then, you would set up a schedule to have your team drill on the plan regularly. During those drills, you could work out any kinks.

Need Help Improving Your Security & Reducing Risk?

Working with a trusted IT partner takes a lot of the security burden off your shoulders. Give us a call today to schedule a chat about a cybersecurity roadmap.



Article used with permission from The Technology Press.

The Top 5 IT Challenges Facing Manufacturers and How to Overcome Them

Manufacturing is at the heart of any thriving economy, and the current economic environment pushes manufacturers to create a more digital and data-driven workforce. Manufacturing is a vital industry, and it’s no surprise that IT challenges continue to keep manufacturers vigilant. Manufacturing companies face a unique set of IT challenges.

From data migrations and cybersecurity breaches to workforce automation and machine learning, manufacturers’ challenges are vast and varied. However, competing as a manufacturer in an increasingly global market may be challenging. Adopting new technology is one strategy to gain an advantage and maintain market share. But what other strategies are there for these manufacturing IT challenges?

Challenge #1: Increasing Cybersecurity

With the increased usage of technical improvements, manufacturing business owners must be aware that cyberattackers mainly target their businesses. In 2021, the manufacturing industry experienced over 23% of total cyberattacks worldwide. The manufacturing sector experienced the highest share of cyberattacks — more than the finance and insurance sectors.

Furthermore, the Engineering Employers’ Federation (EEF) states that more than 45% of manufacturing businesses have experienced cybersecurity problems. The first step toward developing a cybersecurity solution is learning about commonly used cyberattacks in the manufacturing industry:

  • Phishing attacks: This attack occurs via malicious email attachments or targets visiting fake websites, corrupting browser settings and using business data for financial gain. A virus discovers vulnerabilities in systems and sends information to attackers.
  • Ransomware: This software encrypts files on a network and renders them inoperable until hackers’ demands are satisfied. These attackers may threaten to sell or disclose essential data if a ransom is not paid. Ransomware also renders the company’s network inoperable. Downtime places such a hardship on manufacturing organizations, making this strategy highly successful.
  • Supply chain attacks: This attack damages one link in a company’s supply chain that can have massive repercussions. Hackers can access big corporations through weak points in their partners’ and suppliers’ systems. These attacks are double-edged swords. If a major firm is forced to shut down operations, any company it supplies is equally impacted within days of the first attack.
  • IP theft: Manufacturing companies own intellectual property (IP) that distinguishes their products or services. As attackers discover new techniques to infiltrate a network undetected, the risks of possible IP theft increase. Hackers can silently harvest the required information and exit the system undiscovered. This might result in stolen or changed data.

The following techniques can help companies become more aware of potential hazards, identify possibly harmful conduct and avoid manufacturing IT cybersecurity problems:

  • Educate all personnel about the dangers of cybercrime and how to identify possible threats.
  • Implement password policies that require strong passwords and two-factor authentication where possible.
  • Apply all updates and patches for relevant software as soon as they become available.
  • Updated methods to manage backups of company data.
  • Inform staff about the risks of accessing attachments from unknown sources.

Challenge #2: Integration of New Technologies

Smart manufacturing uses internet-connected technology to track the manufacturing process. This enables machines to interact with one another through the internet and collaborate to reduce mistakes and enhance plant workflow. Smart manufacturing also aids in the identification of better prospects for automated operations and the use of data analytics to improve and optimize the overall production process.

Some current technologies and solutions in the smart manufacturing environment include automation and robots, predictive analytics and artificial intelligence (AI). Manufacturers must be innovative in incorporating new technology to flourish in increasingly competitive markets. This is quite a challenge due to the rate at which technology continuously advances.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is another challenge on its own. Manufacturing hardware is increasingly being linked to the internet. However, these technologies are particularly prone to hackers. Networks must be configured to be functional, reliable and secure to keep IoT devices safe.

Here are a few strategies a company can implement to overcome these manufacturing IT problems:

  • Research and testing: Strive to do thorough research and testing on new technologies that can improve manufacturing processes. Each company is different and requires specific AI software or robotics that suits its needs. Performing proper tests and evaluating the collaboration between these new technologies and existing operations are crucial to its successful implementation.
  • Work with partners: To overcome the various challenges, working with experienced partners in the industry is best. They may provide valuable insights into successfully integrating new technologies, especially in the manufacturing industry.
  • Provide employee training: Businesses must include their employees and make change management simple for them if they want to enhance the manufacturing process through new technologies. One approach is to provide a consolidated location for information that offers continuous employee training through videos, manuals and other training materials together with standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Challenge #3: Managing Data and Analytics

Manufacturers may find it challenging to analyze their data to develop insights. Today’s technology platforms constantly generate data on supply networks, manufacturing lines and employee performances. Massive volumes of data are available to manufacturers.

Forecasting product demand and inventory management are two major areas where data analysis may be beneficial. External factors influence product demand, such as currency exchange rates, current market trends and supply chain pricing. To maximize manufacturing, data from various sources must be readily available, accurately collected and stored and well managed.

Companies can start overcoming these IT challenges in manufacturing by following these strategies:

  • Implement a DMS: Implementing a robust data management system (DMS) will help the manufacturer’s overall data accessibility and management. Manufacturers can define their infrastructure strategy, choose their data collection method and keep everything organized and optimized.
  • Data analysis training: Training personnel on data analysis is a valuable skill that can benefit the firm. Data analytics is a science and an art. It’s a complex field where some businesses need to hire specialists. Providing data analysis training to employees may help them better understand the intricacies of data.
  • Partnering with experts: Partnering with data experts helps manufacturers analyze, design, facilitate and complete duties associated with developing their data and information architecture. Experts provide reusable standards, rules, design patterns and settings to evolve data and information infrastructure across whole companies.

Challenge #4: Maintaining Uptime

This is an age-old manufacturing IT dilemma. Downtime, particularly unscheduled downtime, is detrimental to profits. The average hourly cost of server downtime worldwide was between $301,000 and $400,000 in 2020. There’s no doubt that unexpected downtime is expensive. It remains an ongoing and severe problem regardless of the precise cost per industry. IT system reliability is critical to avoiding downtime.

Try to implement a few other strategies to handle these manufacturing IT challenges:

  • Perform routine maintenance: Maintain your systems regularly to keep them operating at their best. This involves scheduling scans and deploying security fixes in your IT infrastructure to address software vulnerabilities before hacks occur.
  • Plan ahead: Prepare a plan and a timetable for system upgrades to keep hardware and software up to date.
  • Test backups: Develop backup and restoration procedures with the appropriate resources and test them regularly to ensure flawless business continuity. Testing your backups can provide you peace of mind that you can restore your data in an emergency.

Challenge #5: Staying Competitive in a Rapidly Changing Market

Being in the manufacturing industry today requires companies to be agile to stay competitive in a rapidly changing market due to the growing rate of technological development. Manufacturers must be able to react to shifting market needs and technological advancements swiftly. This is challenging since conventional manufacturing lines were frequently highly tailored for specific applications.

Integrating older systems with cutting-edge applications and platforms to increase production quality and efficiency can be challenging. It can also be difficult to develop production processes that can adjust fast as data changes.

Some strategies to overcome these challenges include the following:

  • Stay up-to-date: Staying updated with the most recent market trends and adopting new technology can provide a competitive advantage over the competition. A business owner who can successfully understand and apply the most recent technological advancements can stay ahead of the competition.
  • Invest in research and development: To stay up-to-date with the latest news, trends and developments, manufacturers must invest in proper research and development of new technological advancements.
  • Remain adaptable: From research and planning comes action. Manufacturers must remain agile and adaptable to changes in the industry — specifically if they can benefit from it. Change is unavoidable.

Outsource Your IT Support With Morefield

Position your manufacturing firm ahead of its competition and implement strategies that overcome these top five IT challenges. Businesses may only function with proper IT assistance, making the selection of IT service providers critical. Outsourcing your IT support may be more cost-effective than building an in-house IT team from scratch.

Morefield is a leading provider of corporate technology solutions. We assist enterprises in integrating and improving their technologies, streamlining their corporate technology with unmatched customer care. Our professionals will build and maintain every aspect of your network for integrated solutions that maximize productivity in your business.

Contact us online, and we’ll respond to your request promptly.


What Is Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) and Why It’s Important

[4 min. read]

Secure access service edge (SASE) is helpful for many companies considering digital transformation. If you’re looking for a way to upgrade your network security, SASE may be right for your organization.

This post will define SASE, explain how it works and detail the benefits it can bring your company.

What Is SASE?

Experts simply define SASE as a cloud-native security framework that blends wide area network (WAN) features with cloud security technologies to build secure connections between users and your internal network.

SASE — pronounced like “sassy” — combines various network security technologies into one comprehensive solution. This solution enables more efficient remote work and simplifies your tech stack, key steps toward a successful digital transformation.

It’s important to distinguish SASE from other forms of edge computing. SASE is often mistaken for security service edge (SSE), which is a SASE subcategory that focuses on security services.

How Does SASE Work?

SASE works by inspecting user traffic at a security enforcement point near them, which shifts the focus off your data center and onto your users. This change makes connecting to your applications and services safer and more efficient.

Rather than forwarding web traffic all the way to your data center and back, SASE sends user connections to a nearby enforcement point for inspection. Once approved, the user can securely connect to the destination.

In contrast, legacy system security checks take place in on-premises firewall hardware. While this model works well for in-house teams, it’s inefficient for remote and distributed users. And as people begin working from home more often, companies must find new ways to improve the remote user experience to stay competitive.

Essentially, SASE checks your user or system where they are instead of waiting for their connection to reach your network.

Breaking Down the SASE Model

The SASE architecture consists of six key components. Each component is essential to the SASE model and enables a secure connection.

1. Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN)

An SD-WAN network is an overlay network, which means that it is constructed on top of another network’s infrastructure. This virtual architecture eliminates the constraints of a physical network, which allows it to provide extra networking flexibility and optimize the user experience.

In SASE, the SD-WAN maps the most efficient route to the destination data center, cloud application or internet server from the user’s device. This function enables you to quickly deploy new applications and services while managing uniform policy across various locations.

2. Secure Web Gateway (SWG)

As the intermediate stop between your users and your network, the SWG prevents unsecured access to your network. When users attempt to access your applications, the SWG inspects their requests against your company policy to prevent malicious entities from reaching your internal network.

This boundary shields both your users and your network from cyber threats such as web-transmitted viruses, vulnerable websites and malware.

3. Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)

A CASB is a cloud-based security enforcement point located between your users and your network that ensures safe access to your internal applications and services. It also works for any SaaS applications you use.

CASBs include various types of enforcement, including:

  • Single sign-on (SSO)
  • Tokenization
  • Encryption
  • Device profiling
  • Credential mapping
  • Malware detection
  • Logging

4. Firewall as a Service (FWaaS)

A FWaaS solution replaces physical firewall hardware with a cloud-based version. These solutions provide your network with advanced next-generation firewall (NGFW) capabilities and access controls such as:

  • Advanced threat protection
  • Domain name system (DNS) security
  • URL filtering
  • Intrusion prevention systems (IPS)

5. Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA)

ZTNA is a critical part of SASE architecture. As the name implies, it does not trust any user — the ZTNA framework requires constant authorization, authentication and validation of all users before granting access to any of your applications or data.

This framework enables remote users to connect securely to your applications without needing to be on your network, which protects them from exposure to the internet at large.

6. Centralized Management

The ability to manage all these components from one central console streamlines your tech stack and improves visibility, eliminating many of the challenges that come with legacy architecture. A unified management console also enables you to deliver consistent connectivity across your organization regardless of your users’ physical locations.

Pros and Cons of SASE

Understanding the potential benefits and downsides of SASE architecture can help you determine whether it is a good fit for your company.

Benefits of SASE

Here are some of the primary benefits of implementing a SASE framework:

  • Simplified networks: Unlike virtual private networks (VPNs), SASE solutions do not require users to download additional software to connect to your network. This simplifies the connection process and reduces your IT costs.
  • Reduced cybersecurity costs: When you can streamline your tech stack, you can save money on security solutions. For example, a FWaaS eliminates the need for physical firewall hardware, expanding your security system’s reach and reducing infrastructure costs.
  • Seamless user experience: As a cloud-based solution, SASE manages connections at key exchange points in real-time. This capability optimizes connections and minimizes latency, providing a superior user experience to VPNs. This is especially true for multi-cloud environments.
  • Decreased risk: SASE is a cloud-native framework, so it’s more capable of addressing new challenges as computing becomes increasingly distributed.
  • Scalability: Cloud-native solutions are highly scalable, so they can quickly scale to meet increasing demand as your business grows.

Cons of SASE

As with any technological solution, other solutions fit certain use cases better than SASE. Here are some examples:

  • Complex integration: If you plan to use tools from multiple different manufacturers, trying to connect them all under the SASE umbrella can introduce new complexities into the system.
  • New technology: Because the SASE framework is fairly new, some of its components are still developing. Some companies find themselves running into unexpected limitations in certain areas. For example, SASE can only integrate existing technologies at the moment.
  • Limited IT options: Because SASE creates a unified solution, it limits a company’s ability to source solutions from multiple vendors, which may be a disadvantage for some organizations.
  • Learning curve: Implementing a SASE framework may require you to reskill or upskill your existing IT team, which can cost you significant effort, money and time up front.

Discussing your needs with a well-established IT consulting firm can help you determine whether SASE is right for your company.

Contact Morefield for More Information

SASE can help drive your business toward digital transformation and simplify your security tech stack when implemented properly. If you’re considering adopting a SASE framework, the experts at Morefield are here to help.

We help organizations in various industries integrate and enhance their technology to boost productivity and efficiency. Whether you’re looking for an individual product to add to your existing system or a fully integrated solution, we can help you find the right technologies to meet your organization’s unique needs.

With more than 70 years of experience in IT, you can count on Morefield to provide unparalleled service and expertise. Contact our team today for more information about our technology services.

Morefield MSP Newsletter November 2022


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Morefield Achieves Cisco Gold Provider Status

Only MSP in Pennsylvania to hold Powered Service designations in three Cisco Meraki specialties

October 24, 2022 (Camp Hill, PA) – Morefield, a Managed Service Provider and technology company, proudly announces it earned the designation of Cisco Gold Provider, with capabilities in three Cisco Powered Services: Meraki Access, Meraki SD-WAN, and Meraki Security.

Morefield earned the Cisco’s Gold level designation, after a rigorous review of their capabilities of enhanced support throughout their managed services practice. Cisco evaluated Morefield on its ability to meet specific metrics and key performance Indicators (KPIs) around expertise in delivering best in class solutions for clients. The solutions include Cisco’s Meraki offerings, end-to-end client incident management and process, and exceptional client satisfaction. Cisco’s Gold Provider audit verifies these deliverables ensuring reliability, security, and support throughout the company including, technical support, sales, marketing, project management, accounting, human resources, and leadership.

“We are excited and proud of our team on this great achievement. We are continuously looking for ways to grow our MSP practice to provide our clients the best technology solutions that manage risk and accelerate digital transformation within their organizations,” remarked Wes Kelly, President of Morefield. “Cisco’s portfolio provides services and solutions for flexible and dynamic infrastructures that can evolve with the needs of our clients. I’m proud of our talented team for achieving this level of recognition by Cisco so that we can take our clients to the next level of service and solutions.”

As a Cisco Gold Provider, Morefield is at the highest level of knowledge and skills required to implement Cisco solutions. Morefield has been a Cisco partner for over 25 years. In addition to Gold Provider status, the company is a Premier Integrator and holds specializations in Cisco Advanced Collaboration Architecture, Cisco Webex Calling, and Cisco Webex Contact Center.

Morefield is the only Gold Provider in Pennsylvania to hold Powered Service designations in these three Meraki specialties. There are less than ten companies nation-wide that hold Cisco Gold Provider role with Power Services credentials in Meraki Access, Meraki SD-WAN, and Meraki Security.


Cisco Gold Provider Status Official Press Release

Briana Carr
Morefield Marketing Manager

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