With the New Year coming at us fast and furious, most business owners are scrambling to get through the holidays, tie up loose ends for 2021, and prepare for the upcoming tax season. What may get overlooked in the shuffle is the need for an updated IT assessment as we head into 2022.

Why does every business need an IT assessment to start the year ahead off on the right foot? Cybercrime is on the rise, businesses of all sizes are being attacked more often at a greater cost, and the threat landscape is always changing. To keep pace, businesses need to have an annual IT assessment by an independent third-party provider such as ORAM Corporate Advisors.

Through an annual IT assessment, one can uncover their organization’s current liability leaks, ensure that email systems are protected, and double-check that all security is up to par. Everything from the firewall and antivirus software to cloud storage and backup for your network is checked through an IT assessment. Additionally, you get a frank and honest discussion about your company’s best next step solutions for cybersecurity and how to implement them affordably.

Cybersecurity Specific to Each Business

Like fingerprints, each business is unique. Every organization has its own needs, policies and procedures, and staff. Each also has its own challenges and advantages. An annual IT assessment takes an independent look at every business to identify where things are working and where things need improvement.

An annual IT assessment will provide you with feedback on where your company is covered and where it lacks security protections. The third-party provider conducting your assessment can provide a list of things that should be done immediately to address any security concerns and a “wish list” of things that need to be taken care of as soon as possible. Implementing these recommendations can make the difference between experiencing a hack and protecting your business reputation, clients, staff, and livelihood.

Multifactor Authentication

Any third-party IT and cybersecurity provider worth their salt will ensure that your business has implemented multifactor authentication. Yes, it’s an extra step when logging in, but it’s well worth it in the added security it provides.

Your annual IT assessment will check that your company has implemented multifactor authentication for email logins, bank accounts, and more. Even your cell phone account should have multifactor authentication. It’s really amazing how much damage a bad actor can cause with accessibility to your accounts.

Passwords and Password Management

Another thing an IT assessment will look at is the complexity of passwords used by the business leadership, staff, partners, vendors, and clients. Logging in to any part of your network should require a unique login for each individual and a complex password that isn’t used anywhere else.

Today’s passwords call for uppercase and lowercase letters, numerals, and special characters with at least eight to 10 characters. There are software programs called password generators, which double as password managers. These programs, including LastPass, Keeper, or NordPass, can assist you with crafting complex passwords. You should only use a password once and only for one program or platform. Reusing passwords in multiple programs, applications, or platforms can lead to greater risk.

If a cybercriminal uncovers a password that works for one program, they will try it in others to see what they can access. Keeping track of multiple passwords can become a management nightmare which is where a password manager such as those mentioned above is helpful. What’s even better is that most third-party providers can get you such software at a better rate than you could independently for these software programs since they typically work closely with manufacturers that cut them a special deal.

Auditing Email

Another key component of a thorough IT assessment will look at is your email. Is there an audit log on your email? For example, if your business uses Office 365, an email audit log will help you see what is coming in, going out, and notify you of suspicious activity. It can even point out where a breach originated if one does occur by finding the IP address of the computer used to access a compromised account.

The audit log keeps records of your email regarding who has accessed the system and what operations someone has performed. An audit log of your email can also determine who set up email forwarding for a mailbox and if a user deleted email items in their mailbox. This is a tool that is useful for maintaining security within your email system and recovering lost data in the event of a cyber event.

Dark Web Analysis

Not all, but some third-party providers such as ORAM are now also offering Dark Web Analysis as part of their IT assessments. This is important because a Dark Web Analysis will examine the Dark Web, the ugly underbelly of the internet, for your personal and business information. When conducting an IT assessment, ORAM also looks at your personal information and your business as a whole to ensure that logins, passwords, and other private information aren’t being sold on the Dark Web. You will be notified of information found on the Dark Web that could compromise you or your business.

More Bang, Less Buck

In addition to the pieces mentioned above, a solid IT assessment will also provide the following to your business:

  • A data risk analysis
  • A look at your business’s digital presence online
  • Examination of third-party email scanning before it hits your inbox
  • Identification of layers of security your business has in place and what’s missing
  • Explanation of the changing cybersecurity and threat landscape

Furthermore, a strong IT assessment will audit your business for antivirus, backup, and more. It will include an examination of your file structure and share points to ensure everything is properly secured and make recommendations for patching up any weak points. Your annual IT assessment should include a data deep dive along with looking at your business as a whole entity down to the individuals who work there in order to build the best security bubble possible.

Security Training

ORAM Corporate Advisors recently hosted a free cybersecurity training for businesses online. This free training was recorded and is available online for viewing at your leisure. We highly recommend that you take a look at it to gain more insight into the current cybersecurity threats businesses are facing, the cost, and the steps you can take to shore up your business security.

If you are interested in having an IT assessment conducted for your business, ORAM Corporate Advisors is currently offering free, 30-minute assessments. There is no obligation to have an assessment conducted and it will only take a short amount of time. This opportunity for a free IT assessment may end up being the best investment your business makes for the year ahead.

Slots for these free IT assessments are filling up fast. To schedule your free, no-obligation, 30-minute IT assessment by ORAM Corporate Advisors, visit https://oram.as.me/CyberSecurity now or call (617) 933-5060. Longer, more in-depth IT assessments are also available. No business is too big or too small to be secure in 2022!