The Departments Most Likely to Lead to a Data Breach

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, January 18th 2018 — Categories: Security

You’ve shored up your cloud security defenses with round-the-clock monitoring, IPS/IDS, all the latest patches (even for Spectre and Meltdown). You feel pretty secure.

But what about your employees? Especially those outside of the IT department? Have they been trained in security measures beyond how to create a strong password?

A holistic approach to security goes beyond the usual attack vectors. You might actually be less likely to suffer a breach from an external hack coming in via OS or network vulnerabilities. In fact, insider threats, whether intentionally malicious or simply due to lack of training and awareness, make up a significant portion of security breaches.

Here are the departments most likely to cause an internal breach, why insider threats are so serious, and how you can help mitigate them.

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Spectre and Meltdown: What We’ve Done to Secure the gBlock Cloud

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Friday, January 12th 2018 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Data Center Design, Microsoft, Security

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or aren’t in the IT field at all, by now you’ve likely heard about the widespread Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities affecting an enormous swath of processors manufactured by Intel and AMD, the industry leaders, leading to security vulnerabilities and performance problems.

Green House Data staff have been hard at work patching systems as fixes have come available this week. Here’s a quick summary of the vulnerabilities, their effects on cloud and general computing performance, and what we’ve done to fix them so far. We also provide a few links for users who need to patch their own operating systems or investigate further.

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Maintaining Compliance is an Ongoing Process

Written by Art Salazar on Wednesday, September 6th 2017 — Categories: HIPAA Compliance, Security

You did it — you passed your PCI (or SOX, HIPAA, GLB, etc) audit! But the work isn’t over. A recent Verizon study found that most companies fall out of PCI compliance after just nine months. And it doesn’t stop with PCI, either. Many companies work hard around audit time to ensure they can report compliance for the audit period and advertise their security, only to falter once the audit is complete.

For PCI, that also means being able to continue doing business with credit card companies. For other standards like HIPAA and SOX, it means avoiding hefty fines and legal consequences.

Unfortunately, simply checking the compliance boxes doesn’t mean you’re safe for the foreseeable future. You need to maintain compliance at all times throughout the year, not just when the auditors are knocking on your door.

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The IT Perimeter/Network Security Assessment Checklist

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Friday, August 25th 2017 — Categories: Networking and Fiber, Security

With proliferating security tools, in addition to more systems and users taking advantage of cloud resources, IT perimeter security is feels more difficult to enforce with each passing day.

Use this checklist to quickly cover your IT perimeter and network security protocols and make sure nothing is slipping through the cracks.

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Everything You Know About Passwords is a Lie

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, August 10th 2017 — Categories: Security

Well, maybe not quite everything.

You still need a strong — and long — password. And you still want unique passwords for each of your credentials.

But you don’t need to add any special characters or numbers, at least if you don’t want to. And you don’t need to change your password every month, or every week, or every day (even if it feels like the IT department is making you change it that often).

Here’s why experts are no longer recommending passwords like k1TTyc@7z or @ppl3Be3s — and what they say you should be using instead.

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Should You Allow Windows Users to Have Administrative Rights?

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, July 6th 2017 — Categories: Security

Allowing your users administrative rights under their Windows desktop certainly makes their life easier, but it can cause significant headaches for your sysadmins — and it also opens up a wide variety of vulnerabilities.

A recent study from security vendor Avecto found that 94% of critical vulnerabilities announced by Microsoft could be mitigated by simply removing administrative rights. These vulnerabilities range from phishing attacks that can hijack the system via applications like Microsoft Word to packets that are specially crafted to hit Windows Server. In most cases, they can be leveraged to remotely execute code and take control of the PC, potentially accessing sensitive data and applications deeper within the network.

Many modern workplaces allow users more leeway over the configuration of their workstations, as computer-savvy employees are often more productive when they have applications set up the way they want. But with shutting down admin rights proving to be a relatively easy and strong method of eliminating vulnerabilities, should you risk enabling them?

The answer is probably not...with some caveats.

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2017 Changes to SSAE and SOC Accreditations for Data Centers and Cloud Providers

Written by Art Salazar on Thursday, June 29th 2017 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Security

Two of the most common audit standards for data center and cloud service providers are SOC 1 and SOC 2, with the SSAE 16 Type II control containing both of them. These standards are created by the Auditing Standards Board (ASB) of the American Institute of CPAs in order to assure the customers of service providers that controls around services are operating securely and effectively.

Every so often, ASB revises these standards. In 2017, the SSAE 16 (which stands for Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements — yes, these audits are frequently a mouthful) has been replaced by SSAE 18 for all audits dated May 1st and later.

Let’s take a look at why data centers and cloud providers certify under SOC 1, SOC 2, and SSAE — and see how the SSAE 18 changes might impact them in 2017.

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The Ten Zones of Enterprise Cloud Security

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, June 15th 2017 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Security

Juggling security in the cloud can seem like an insurmountable task, especially when hybrid cloud and multicloud environments come into play. While your cloud service provider (CSP) can help manage some layers of cloud security, you’ll still be left with management of at least your users and data, if not your application layer.

One way to help keep track of all the security vectors within your organization is to divide them into these ten zones of enterprise cloud security. Any cloud security policy should cover each of these areas. You can also assign a single engineer or administrator to have ownership over each zone.

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Security and Compliance Are Different Areas of Risk Mitigation

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Monday, April 10th 2017 — Categories: HIPAA Compliance, Security

While many organizations combine Security and Compliance under a single banner, and there is nothing inherently wrong with having a Chief Security and Compliance Officer or managing risk mitigation under a single umbrella, the fact is that compliance and security measures are two overlapping but inherently different practices of information security.

Compliance standards often change quickly and require quite a bit of work to ensure enforcement across an entire organization. Audit trails, regulator inspections, minimum mandates…they have to be tracked and adhered to 24/7. But meeting compliance standards often puts blinders on a security administrator.

Simply meeting a compliance measure — or even four or five — does not mean that your infrastructure is up to snuff with security best practices. Nor does following industry standards of security guarantee that you’ll meet your next compliance audit.

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Don’t Take the Bait! Avoid Phishing Scams with Tips from the GSC

Written by Andrew Long on Tuesday, March 28th 2017 — Categories: Security

Have you ever received an email from Amazon, PayPal, Blizzard, or another trusted organization saying they need you to verify your information? What about emails from a Nigerian Prince? Or maybe you’ve been the lucky winner of an iPad and you just have to send them your name, date of birth, Credit Card number, social security number, mother’s maiden name, and the blood of your firstborn child.

These phishing scams are an ever increasing and (to those who know what they are looking for) blatantly obvious attempt to steal your Personally Identifiable information (PII). The scary part is that according to Google, they are effective 45% of the time.

Read on to learn how to avoid phishing scams.

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