Defense in Depth: Why Layered Security is Always the Best Approach

Imagine living in a house with quality locks, a fire extinguisher, a doorbell camera, and a well-thought-out plan for emergencies. Would that make you feel secure? Probably so, but what if the electricity went out for three weeks in February. You would have liked to have a generator at that point, right?

Covering your security bases requires a layered approach. The same idea pertains to anything you want to protect, including your technology and data. Unfortunately, people can make the mistake of thinking that cybersecurity means protecting certain things from specific vulnerabilities. For instance, it’s a common perception that cybersecurity is a process that protects us from hackers specifically. While it is true that cybercriminals are indeed an enemy of security, they’re only one piece of the puzzle.

Antivirus protection is important, but it won’t protect your computers from insider threats. Email filtering won’t detect malicious changes to the Windows operating system. This is why we hear about so many different cybersecurity products and services. There is no single tool for every job. Some come in the form of software while others are a team-based service like incident response. Processes and procedures like staff education and disaster recovery planning are yet another approach.

There is never a wrong time to start planning your layered security approach. As a client of PCS, you can be sure you will always have access to the top tools. We will discuss some of these options here.

Our software approach leverages the most cutting-edge products and services available:

Huntress – Managed Detection and Response
Huntress combines a powerful managed detection and response (MDR) platform with a team of human threat hunters—so you can protect your business from today’s
determined cybercriminals.

Barracuda – Email Security Gateway
The world’s most comprehensive email protection made radically easy. Barracuda Email Security Gateway protects against inbound malware, spam, phishing, and Denial of Service attacks. Their powerful and customizable policies offer strong control over inbound email messages.

Barracuda – PhishLine
PhishLine offers email phishing continuous simulation and training. Most of us know by now about this cruel trick involving a hacker who impersonates a trusted sender. Not all of us, however, are aware of all the ways it can happen to us. Arming your employees with strong mindfulness against email threats is one of the best tools you can offer them.

DUO – Multi-factor Authentication
There isn’t an easier way to use multi-factor authentication than to use DUO. Designed for the modern workforce and backed by a zero-trust philosophy, Duo is Cisco’s user-friendly, scalable access security platform that keeps your business ahead of ever-changing security threats.

ThreatLocker – Zero Trust Security
ThreatLocker zero trust platform protects against every kind of malware that traditional antivirus programs do, but we go much further. Many kinds of cyberattacks are resistant or immune to antivirus, but not ThreatLocker.

Our team’s approach to cybersecurity starts with the support technicians who help to keep your systems up to date with security patches and functionality. Believe it or not, poorly maintained technology is considered a cybersecurity threat. As users grow tired of complications with their machines, they tend to skip over security protocols they consider just one more layer.

PCS Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT)
If the unthinkable happens, PCS CIRT can help you navigate breach recovery. Our Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) offers a team of technicians experienced in quick deployment for short-duration projects. Our team can be your boots on the ground or augment your existing IT staff.

PCS CIRT offers:
• Customized breach response
• Desktop recovery services
• Scalable team sizes
• Desktop and laptop reimaging
• Antivirus utility deployment
• Infected file detection and mitigation
• Local user file backup and restoration
• Travel-ready rapid response
• 24/7 availability

In addition to all the great products and services PCS offers to help keep your business safe, we also have the best allies. Our cybersecurity partner CYBIR is the fusion of proactive Cyber Security solutions and reactive Incident Response expertise. Should you be in need of post-breach assistance, litigation support, or data recovery, CYBIR’s industry and court-recognized forensics experts are available at a moment’s notice.

The many layers of cybersecurity can be a head-spinning lesson in itself. This is why it’s important to have a trusted partner that can help you protect your business and yourself. At the end of the day, any layer of security is a step in the right direction, but don’t be fooled into thinking that you are covered because you are covered from some angles. Check-in with PCS and we will help you most secure plan possible.

For more cybersecurity info or an evaluation and quote, visit our Cybersecurity Protection page.

Trick or Treat! – Cyber Security Awareness At Your Door

Halloween is right around the corner!
October is also Cyber Security Awareness Month and we’re here to review some tips to keep your information safe.

Don’t Click Spooky Links From Strangers

We’re taught to never take candy from strangers, so opening links from an unknown source can be just as dangerous! Phishing scams are designed to make their victims believe they are interacting with a trusted website/user. Once the hacker gains the users trust, they will attempt to collect login credentials, financial data, or account information. This could cause a data breach and could affect you and your companies data.

Rather than opening untrusted emails or links, try to verify the information by looking it up to see if there is a website associated with it. You may also want to try phishing training within your company to ensure that your employees understand what a phishing attack looks like.

Chase Away The Lurking Monsters

Unlike Halloween monsters that go away after the holiday is over, online monsters can infiltrate your computer for months without being noticed. Using your computer on a public Wi-Fi can leave your computer vulnerable and easier to attack your data.

It is important to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) while using a public network to keep your information secure and encrypt traffic between your devices on public, unsecured network.

Using A Strong Password Will Protect Your Candy

Protecting your candy on Halloween night from bullies or your older sibling is crucial. It is also crucial to have a strong password and maintaining it. Having a strong and secure password will keep your information safe, but changing it every 60-90 days will continue to keep hackers away from your data. Your password should include: upper and lowercase letters, numbers, symbols, and punctuation.

It is important as well to have different passwords for all of your accounts.

Don’t forget a password manager! Password manager is a program that allows users to store, generate, and manage their passwords for local applications and online services. It assists in generating and retrieving complicated passwords, storing the passwords in an encrypted database or calculating them on demand.

Garlic Will Keep The Vampires Away

A great way to keep vampires away is to have garlic around your neck. Keeping hackers away starts with having Multi-Factor Authentication.

Multi-Factor Authentication is a security technology that requires multiple methods of authentication from independent categories of credentials to verify a user’s identity for a login or other transaction. Having that extra layer of protection will allow your data to be protected while making it difficult for any malicious attacks to happen.

Don’t get the monsters compromise your data!

For more information, contact PCS!

Apple Announcement Recap From October 18

Apple has made another announcement this year!
From it’s MacBook Pro line, to new AirPods, and finishing with new colors for its HomePod Mini!
We’re here to go over everything that Apple announced on 10/18.

MacBook Pro

The MacBook Pro has gotten it’s biggest update in years. Apple announced it’s new generation of computers: MacBook Pro 14- and 16-inch powered by it’s new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. Apple says these new chips are much faster and may go further as to replace the “Pro” performance computers powered by Intel chips. They removed the touch bar, but they are bringing back the HDMI port, and SD card slot, and a MagSafe connector. It will have 3 Thunderbolt 4 ports and also a headphone jack.

The M1 Pro chip is said by Apple to be “scary fast.” It has up to 10-core CPU, up to 32GB of unified memory, up to 16-core GPU (Graphical Processing Unit), up to 200GB/s memory bandwidth, up to 20 streams of 4K ProRes video playback, and support for two external displays. Both the 14-inch and the 16-inch can support the M1 Pro chip.

Apple has said that the M1 Max chip is “scary fastest.” Being as fast as it is, it has 10-core CPU, up to 32-core GPU (Graphical Processing Unit), up to 400GB/s memory bandwidth, support for four external displays, and up to 7 streams of 8K ProRes video playback. Both the 14-inch and the 16-inch can support the M1 Max chip.

The 14-inch MacBook Pro has up to 17 hours of video playback and 11 hours of wireless web browsing. The 16-inch MacBook Pro has up to 21 hours of video playback and 14 hours of wireless web browsing. Both MacBook models are also 8TB of storage.

The MacBook Pro lines are less than 4 mm thin, has custom optical films and diffusers (7 films and diffusers mixed), and the cameras are 1080p HD! The cameras are double the resolution and uses a lens with a wider  aperture that lets in more light.

The 14-inch MacBook Pro has a 14.2″ Liquid Retina XDR display. The 16-inch MacBook Pro has a 16.2″ Liquid Retina XDR display.

Apple has even upgraded their keyboards on the new computers. Removing the Touch Bar allowed Apple to bring in a full-height function key row to the Macbook Pro. There are shortcuts now for Spotlight, Siri, Dictation, and Do Not Disturb. They also made Touch ID have a new, tactical ring that guides your finger for a fast, easy, secure way to unlock your Mac.

The Macbook Pro 14-inch model starts at $1,999.00 and the 16-inch starts at $2,499.00. 

AirPods (3rd generation)


Apple released it’s new line of AirPods that were redesigned to look similarly to the AirPod Pros. The AirPod 3rd generation has up to 6 hours of listening time with one charge and up to 30 hours of total listening time with this case.

Here are a few new features for the AirPods 3rd generation:

  • Spatial audio with dynamic head tracing.
  • Sweat and water resistant.
  • MagSafe, wireless, and Lightning charging.
  • Pitch-Perfect Control – You can press to play, pause, and skip through songs, or answer and end calls.

The AirPods 3rd generation is $179.00.

HomePod Mini

The new HomePod Mini‘s that were released in 2020 will now have different colors to add to the collection! The new colors are Blue, Yellow, and Orange.
All functions remain the same as far as the HomePod Mini is concerned.

The HomePod Mini’s still are $99.00. 

 

Cyber Security – It’s Not A Choice Anymore … It’s Necessary!

Malicious attacks have spiked throughout the years and cyber security has been discussed in so many ways.
Throughout the pandemic and employees working from home, companies have been targeted and attacked with many different methods.
Hackers don’t take a day off, so we’re here to help you stay protected.

Malicious Attacks – How Often Do They Happen?


According to Embroker, in 2021 cyber attacks happen every 11 seconds. That has increased through time, but it will continue to rise through time. It was said that in  2020, 155.8 million individuals were affected by data exposures …

Impact and Severity of Cyber Attacks

Cyber attacks can impact businesses and organizations in many ways – from minor disruptions to financial losses. Every consequence leads has some form of cost. Malicious attacks can impact your business weeks, if not months later.

Your business may suffer in these areas:
Financial losses
Loss of productivity
Reputation damage
Legal liability
Business continuity problems

Costs of Cybercrime

According to the FBI, the cost of cybercrime in the US was $3.5 billion in 2019, as stated by Colbalt. The cost could be much higher if it remains unnoticed. In 2020, the average business cost of a cyberattack is $3.86 million and it takes over 200 days to detect the breach (IBM). Statistics show that cyberattacks projected to hit $6 trillion in annual loss in 2021, which has doubled since 2015. (Cybersecurity Ventures).
Cybercrimes can cost enough to shut down small businesses if it remains unnoticeable or the malicious attacks are not safely resolved.  The average ransom demand is over $100,000, which continues to grow over time. Over a third of all companies attacked with a ransomware attack, end up paying that price, resulting, on average, in a 16-day downtime for the attacked firm. The percentage and increase of cost continues to rise through the years as hackers continue to learn and grow.

How To Prevent Malicious Attacks

Here at PCS, we help you with all your cyber security needs. With Managed Endpoint Protection/Next Generation Antivirus, Advanced E-mail Security/Phishing Training, and Multi-factor Authentication, it would be a challenge for malicious attacks to happen.

For more information or to make sure your company is protected, contact PCS!

Microsoft Confirms Windows 11 – Everything You Need To Know

Microsoft has FINALLY released their newest version of Windows … Windows 11! Also knows as “the Windows that brings you closer to the things you love” as Panos Panay, Microsoft’s chief product officer said.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said “Today marks a major milestone in the history of Windows, It’s the beginning of a new generation.”
We’re here to give you the break down on what to expect.

Windows 11 Coming This Fall

Microsoft announced that Windows 11 will begin shipping to customers this fall, and Windows Insiders can begin testing a preview of it this week.  Windows 11 will be a free upgrade for Windows 10 users, as long as your current PC is compatible with Windows 11’s new system requirements.

These requirements include:

  • A modern 64-bit processor
  • 1Ghz clock speed
  • 2 cores
  • 64GB drive
  • 4GB RAM
  • UEFI, Secure Book capable & TPM 2.0
  • 9-inch display with 1366×768 resolution
  • DirectX 12 compatible graphics / WDDM 2.x

Display Features

  • Rounded corners
  • New desktop wallpaper
  • Centered start menu featuring applications and “recommended” files such as Word and Excel documents, along with a search box.  The new Start menu drops the Live Tiles that were originally introduced with Windows 8 and opts for more of the typical launcher you’d find in Chrome OS or Android
  • The Windows icon has also been spruced up to be a simple square with four equal-sized panes
  • Windows Widgets: containing news, weather and other information.  The Widgets feature uses artificial intelligence to offer personalized content and it can be shown on the entirety of the screen with a swipe from left to right
  • More performance in browsing the internet in Microsoft’s Edge browser, which will enable longer battery life
  • Updates will be 40% smaller
  • Snap Layouts – allows you to quickly snap apps into the various modes that Windows 11 supports
  • Revamped app store – Panay described as

Microsoft Teams Update

Microsoft Teams, the company’s videoconferencing and chat software, is getting a big update to make it more like a systemwide messaging app. Microsoft revealed an interface that puts chats in standalone windows.  Your frequent contacts will now appear as a pop-up on the start bar. Teams is also getting more videoconferencing features and it appears easier to jump right into a video call.  Similarly to using Facetime or iMessage on a Mac.

Supporting Android Apps From Amazon’s App Store

Android apps will now be supported using the Amazon App Store! Popular apps that people already use on their phones will be available right on the desktop, in the Start menu and more. It is similar to Apple products that support iPhone and iPad apps. However, the Amazon App Store doesn’t offer Google’s popular Android apps like Gmail, Maps and other Google services.  You will need to sign in to your Amazon account to download those apps.

 

We’ll report as more details unfold!

Image VS File-Based Backups … The Great Debate!

Image-based backups VS file based back-ups are tricky. 

Knowing when you should use which is even harder.
Knowing what is best for you comes down to what kind of information you are looking to save and back-up.
Let’s go over the difference and what would be best for you and your company.
The main question is … What are you looking to recover?

Difference Between Image VS File-Based Backup’s

Image-based backups preserve a copy of a machine’s operating system. That includes system state and application configurations, as well as the data associated with that machine.  It’s basically an image of your entire operating system including files, executive programs, and OS configurations.  It works best if it is necessary to bac k up a VMware or Hyper-V virtual machine. This is very simple to configure type of backup where you just select an entire drive, partition, or an entire machine, which typically backs up the entire selection you have selected.

File-based backups will back up each file on your PC.  It will save the files, but not the applications that created them. If you did not setup your file backup to save “all” the documents on your machine, then you won’t be able to restore them. It is reasonable when it is necessary to copy separate files so that they can be recovered to any other system. File backups basically come down to you selecting some files and folders that you want to back up and then where you want those file level backups to go.


File-based backups are usually more flexible way to doing backups, scheduling, and are normally smaller backups.

Image-based backups are usually better in disaster scenarios when an entire system restore is required.

What Type of Backup is Recommended?

Now that we have established the difference between the two, the major question stands … Which one is recommended? Both is adequate when having back-ups.

A good backup setup would usually include:
1. An image backup once a month.
2. A full file level backup once a week.
3. A differential file level backup every day other than the full backup day.

This type of schedule will most often help give you an easy and quick way to get files and folders back.  Having extra backup to be able to recover any and all files will be a huge impact to your business information.

 

Need help backing up your computer? Don’t know where to start? Contact PCS and we can help!

Enhance Your Cyber Security!

Technology is a huge part of today’s society!

Smaller business are not flying under the radar anymore.

Smaller businesses are actually targeted MORE because they are usually less protected than larger companies, making it an easier way to scam.  Hackers now are finding new and innovated ways to bypass these systems and invade SMB networks.

With having all your information with just a click of a mouse, it can be difficult to keep all your important information hidden. Hackers THRIVE on that.

Everyone talks about different antiviruses and cyber safety, but everyone needs that extra protection to make sure their information is not being compromised throughout the process!

We are here to show you a strong and effective way to save your data and help protect your company against hackers.

Huntress is the company that is one step ahead of the hackers!  Traditional IT security tools like antivirus and firewalls are more focused on prevention.  If a hacker breaks down that front door (antivirus/firewall), they don’t have to worry about any other security issues and can get any information needed. Antivirus tools are no longer enough for these horrible attacks and it’s time to take charge of your information.  Huntress is the key!

To protect clients, Huntress offers a Managed Detection and Response (MDR) solution as part of their security service. It is an additional protective layer that specifically looks at hidden threats and silent indicators of compromise that other tools miss.

This is how MDR Works:

With Antivirus and Managed Detection and Response, you will have all your ground covered and your company will continue to stay safe.

 

Hackers have upgraded their systems. It’s time to upgrade yours!

 

Contact PCS for more information about Huntress!