17 Nov

How to Keep Business Data Secure While Working Remotely

We can all agree 2020 has not been the year we had hoped for last December. Far from it!

From the way we live our daily lives, to the way we shop for groceries or do our jobs, everything has been disrupted. As more and more businesses move their employees towards remote work, online security is becoming an ever-growing concern.

What started out of necessity is turning into a new business model. And this has been the trend for years now.

According to an analysis performed by FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics (GWA), a research and consulting firm based in San Diego, California, between 2005 and 2017, there has been a 159% growth in remote work.

Remote Work Growth
Source: “Remote Work Statistics: Shifting Norms and Expectations”, February 2020, accessed November 9, 2020 at www.flexjobs.com

This trend has accelerated even more as a result of Covid-19.

According to a recent survey by the Global Workplace Analytics (GWA) and Iometrics, a workplace services firm based in Irvine, California, work from home during Covid-19 has increased from 31% to 88%.

Remote Work Growth
Source: Global Work-from-Home Experience Survey, 2020, Accessed November 9, 2020, at www.globalworkplaceanalytics.com © 2020 Iometrics and Global Workplace Analytics

Here at SoftSys Hosting many of our employees work remotely as well. I myself have been working remotely for 10+ years now. While more and more businesses are making the shift towards remote work, we are also seeing concerning increases in online security threats.

With this in mind, we have compiled a list of seven tips you should follow to keep your data secure while working remotely.

7 TIPS TO IMPROVE THE SECURITY OF YOUR DATA WHILE WORKING REMOTELY

ONLINE SECURITY TIP #1: HAVE A CYBERSECURITY POLICY IN PLACE

If you are a business owner, you need to have a data security policy for your organization. Your cybersecurity policy should provide you and your employees’ guidelines on how to keep your data and your customers’ data secure. It should also provide recommendations on how to manage cybersecurity risks.

A good place to start is the National’s Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework which includes best practices to help businesses manage cybersecurity risks. The framework has been used by 30% of US organizations, according to Gartner, and the usage was projected to increase to 50% by 2020.

Cybersecurity Framework
Source: Cybersecurity Framework, NIST 2015, Accessed November 10, 2020, at www.nist.gov | Image Credit: Natasha Hanacek/NIST

The Cybersecurity Framework consists of five high-level functions that are applicable to risk management in general, including cybersecurity risks. The five core functions depicted are: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover.

Start by assessing your organization’s ability to maintain data security. What data is being collected in your company, how are your data stored by your employees (on local devices, on internal company systems, in the cloud, etc.)?

Ensure that your employees are following workplace security policies. There are some self-evident rules that should be followed in any company (don’t use your work computer to access sites unrelated to your work) but you need to state them in a documented cybersecurity policy.

Once you have documented the policy, share it across your entire organization, and make sure your employees understand and comply with the rules.

ONLINE SECURITY TIP #2: SECURE YOUR WEBSITE WITH AN SSL CERTIFICATE

A Secure Socket Layer certificate (SSL certificate) does exactly that! It will encrypt, or conceal if you will, your data from hackers and bad actors. It’s basically a small data file that will digitally bind an encrypted key to a company’s details.  

In addition to encrypting data between your browser and the end server, the SSL certificate will also authenticate the server. In other words, it makes sure that your information is shared with the correct server hosting the website and not with a hacker who tries to steal your information.

While there are some free SSL certificates, such as Let’s Encrypt, we generally recommend a commercial SSL for any website that collects sensitive information. There are several reasons for that, but one good reason is free SSL certificates such as Let’s Encrypt offers no warranty if something goes wrong. All commercial brands will include a warranty. The vetting performed for a commercial SSL is also much more stringent.

At SoftSys Hosting we offer several trusted SSL certificate brands including Comodo, GeoTrust, Symantec and more.

Bottom line, if you collect sensitive information on your website, make sure to protect your customers’ data by using a trusted SSL certificate. By the same token, pay attention what website you and your employees are accessing. These days most browsers will show a warning if a website is not HTTPS secure.

ONLINE SECURITY TIP #3: USE STRONG PASSWORDS

Most of us dread setting up a password. We have so many of them and often times, out of convenience, we tend to either use a common word for a password (like our pet’s name) or use the same password for multiple systems.

According to a study performed by Digital Guardian on password security habits, 10.8% of the responders reuse the same password across all their accounts.

Source: Uncovering Password Habits: Are Users’ Password Security Habits Improving? (Infographic), 2020, Accessed November 11, 2020 at digitalguardian.com

However, I’ve heard of numerous cases where online systems were hacked due to weak passwords. According to a 2020 research by PreciseSecurity.com, 30% of ransomware infections in 2019 were caused by weak passwords.

I myself have been the victim of this when a hacker got into my Netflix account and changed my password. I guess the need to binge-watch Netflix can drive people to do strange things??  Luckily, I was able to fix that issue within minutes and none of my data was stolen.

I got lucky that time. Lesson learned!

Both NIST and the FBI recommend using passphrases over passwords for enhanced security.

“A passphrase is a memorized secret consisting of a sequence of words or other text that a claimant uses to authenticate their identity. A passphrase is similar to a password in usage but is generally longer for added security.” NIST Special Publication 800-63 Revision 3, Digital Identity Guidelines

As a business you need to ensure your employees use passphrases or long passwords with at least 8 characters in length, when accessing your systems. And if you have a lot of passwords, like I do, you might want to use a password manager. Some examples of password managers are 1Password, KeePass and BitWarden.

ONLINE SECURITY TIP #4: AVOID CONNECTING TO PUBLIC WI-FI

You can work remotely from anywhere if you have a quiet place and a good internet connection. Access to public Wi-Fi has been an enormous aid to remote employees these days. You can find free public Wi-Fi in coffee shops, restaurants, hotels, sometimes even in outdoor public spaces. But the truth is they’re not always secure. Sometimes though you might have to travel for work, and you might not have any other options but to use a public Wi-Fi.

In those cases, try to avoid Wi-Fi networks that don’t require a Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) or WPA2 password. Between the two WPA2 is more secure. You should also ensure that you have logged out from your systems when you finish working.

If you regularly use public Wi-Fi you can have a secure connection, even when using public Wi-Fi, by using a VPN service. A VPN can be configured in multiple ways. One popular way to configure a secure VPN service is as a Remote Client VPN (also known as Remote Access VPN).

This type of VPN configuration will encrypt traffic between your local device and the system/business software that you are accessing. Note that a Remote Client VPN won’t encrypt everything that you access through your computer. Only those specific systems for which the VPN has been configured will be secured.

The VPN will create a secure tunnel all the way, regardless of what Wi-Fi connection you are using.

There are multiple popular VPN solutions like SiteLock VPN, VyOS, Vyatta, OPNSense, and more.

SoftSys Hosting customers can activate a high-speed secure VPN with military-grade encryption. Using our high-speed VPN solution you will be able to:

  • hide your IP for secure anonymous browsing.
  • access blocked websites in 40+ countries.
  • protect your data when using public Wi-Fi.
  • watch streaming services anywhere & more.

Be aware though that some VPN providers might be the target of cyberattacks themselves. That is the case with unpatched Pulse Secure VPN servers who have been the target of malicious attacks.

ONLINE SECURITY TIP #5: KEEP YOUR COMPUTER SECURE

In today’s technological world we use our computers, laptops, smart phones every single day. In fact, what are you doing right now?

Most of us store work-related information on our local devices: client proposals, website descriptions, accounting information, login credentials, you name it! Hackers, scammers and other bad actors are becoming more and more clever these days. It’s almost as if their only purpose in life is to find new ways to steal your data.

From malware and ransomware to spyware, hackers will try anything to get their hands on your credit/debit cards, PayPal accounts, and other sensitive information.

According to a survey by Positive Technologies in the last quarter of 2019 credit/debit card information made up 32% of all information stolen. In other words, one-third of the information stolen by hackers was payment card information!

Source: Cybersecurity threatscape: Q4 2019, Figure 1. Attackers’ motives, Accessed November 11, 2020, at www.ptsecurity.com

What can you do to prevent hackers from gaining access to your sensitive data? Start with an antivirus. Some popular antivirus solutions are Malwarebytes, Avast, and Bitdefender.  You should set up regular automatic full system scans using a reliable antivirus solution.

But an antivirus is not enough! It will not protect your computer against malware and other types of malware attacks. You need a solution that’s specifically designed for that.

At SoftSys Hosting we have partnered with Acronis to bring you Acronis Cyber Protect, a security solution that integrates backups, disaster recovery, a next-generation anti-malware and cybersecurity into one single affordable and easy-to-use solution. The Acronis Cyber Protect solution can be enabled on any local computer, mobile device (Android/iOS), Virtual Machine, cPanel/Plesk Web Hosting Servers and more.

Lastly, when thinking about the security of your local computers you should make sure all your software is up to date. Software vendors often time include critical security patches when releasing a new software version. If you use software that’s no longer supported or End of Life (EOL) as it is often called, you are only increasing the risk of getting hacked.

ONLINE SECURITY TIP #6: BEWARE OF SOCIAL ENGINEERING ATTACKS

A social engineering attack is a type of email that aims to manipulate users into giving up sensitive information like passwords or bank account information. It typically aims to create a sense of urgency, fear, or manipulate emotions, and prompts the user to take some sort of action. This action could be clicking on a link or downloading a file on your computer.  

Two common types of social engineering attacks are:

1. Phishing – where the attacker pretends to be a legitimate business, like your bank or a popular retailer.

The term “phishing” was first used on January 2, 1996, and it’s an analogy to the popular sport of “fishing” because the attackers try to “lure” users into disclosing sensitive information. Since Covid-19 phishing emails have been on the rise as well.

In April 2020 Google disclosed that they’ve blocked over 18 million phishing emails and malware per day!

2. Email spoofing – is similar to phishing, except the attacker will “spoof” the email header. The email could appear to be from your bank, except the email domain will not be the bank’s email domain. In other words, the sender’s email will not match the sender’s name.

The Ohio Graydon-Toole Group has a great comparison between the two.

As a rule of thumb, your bank will never ask you to provide sensitive information via email. Most of these bad actors also have a lot of grammar errors, so pay attention! Most importantly you can configure an anti-phishing solution. If you use a commercial email service such as Microsoft 365 (formerly known as Office 365) there are multiple solutions available including Microsoft Office Advanced Threat Protection (ATP).

ONLINE SECURITY TIP #7: ALWAYS HAVE A BACKUP PLAN

You should always have at least one backup of your critical data! I cannot reiterate enough how important this is.

Most of us live hectic lives. There are so many things on our daily to-do lists, we often time forget (or ignore) the really important ones. Having an automated backup solution is not something that should be taken lightly!

But I never had a backup before and nothing happened! Why should I get one now!?

I’ve read about and seen countless cases of people losing their data and they would give ANYTHING to get it back. There are some fortunate cases, where they might find an old backup amongst their files, but I’ve also seen situations where everything has been lost.

If you get so unlucky to fall victim to a ransomware attack you might lose years’ worth of work if you don’t have a backup.

At SoftSys Hosting we offer Acronis Cyber Backup both as a standalone solution or bundled with our managed service package. Acronis Cyber Backup is a trusted backup and recovery solution that allows you to configure automated backups with an hourly/daily/weekly/monthly retention. And because backups are incremental you can take more backups without running the usage/costs high.

If you are interested in a managed backup solution, contact [email protected].

05 Nov

Introducing Customer Support System as a Service: An Enterprise-Grade Customer Service Solution to Fuel Your Business Growth

Customer Support System As a Service

We are thrilled to announce the availability of an affordable, enterprise-grade customer support system with complete data-privacy for your organization.  

As a 24/7 business with customers all over the world, we understand first-hand the importance of a reliable help-desk solution. 

We’ve been using multiple customer support software for the past 14+ years. We know a thing or two about what benefits should it deliver to your business and your customers. 

There’s an extensive list of features a help desk solution should have. But we have found these seven customer support system features to be an absolute must-have: 

  1. It should provide a shared and unified inbox. 
  2. It should allow you to measure customer satisfaction.
  3. It should have good performance reporting. 
  4. It should allow customers to help themselves (aka support a knowledgebase).
  5. It should be easy to set up or migrate to. 
  6. It should provide privacy for your data and your customers’ data.  

With these in mind, we have bundled a reliable customer support software, powered by SupportPal with our scalable and fully managed cloud environment, to address all your needs and more.

Oh! And by the way, we are using this solution ourselves internally.  

That’s right!  

We would not try to preach you anything we haven’t used ourselves first. If you are a SoftSys Hosting customer, you have already seen the customer-facing side of the help desk software.  

HOW YOU CAN GROW YOUR BUSINESS FASTER WITH SOFTSYS HOSTING 

Our Customer Support System as a Service delivers the following benefits:  

  • Enterprise-grade help desk software  
  • Reliable, scalable & fully managed cloud environment  
  • 24/7 Monitoring of your environment’s availability 
  • Daily backups of your cloud environment with multi-day retention period 
  • Affordable pricing 

WHAT MAKES OUR CUSTOMER SUPPORT SOLUTION BETTER THAN OTHERS? 

Three key aspects:

1. Data Privacy – You have complete control over your data. 

2. Private Server – Your help desk system is hosted on a private server, not shared with any other customers. 

3. Transparent Billing – there are no “per user” charges or any other limitations on the number of support requests. Start for as low as $75per month. 

Let’s look at the features included with the help desk software solution. 

HELP DESK SOFTWARE FEATURES & BENEFITS

Keep All Messages in One Place With a Unified Inbox

Deliver excellent customer service across multiple channels with a unified inbox: 

  •  Get requests through Web forms, API, Email, Facebook, Twitter or Help widgets. 
  •  Automatically convert support requests from multiple support channels into tickets. 

Group Tickets Together With Multiple Filters and Tags

Easily organize your tickets with the use of filters, priorities, tags, and more. Recognize important conversations or prospects right away! 

Customer Support System

Enhance Team Collaboration  

  • Create department groups and operator roles for easier communication across departments. 
  • Manage all customer conversations in one place with a shared inbox for each department 
  • Avoid agent collision by seeing in real-time if another agent is looking or replying to a ticket 
  • Add private ticket notes and internal messages. 

Support Multiple Brands With One Installation

  • Increase efficiency by supporting multiple brands with a single help desk installation.  
  • Customize the look (colors, logo) for each brand according to its needs.  
  • Increase brand recognition with custom domains and email signatures. 

Offer Multilingual Support

Support you customers in their own language! 

Create translations for your own text (knowledgebase and email templates). The software will display the correct version will be displayed to the user automatically, based on their selected language. 

Increase Productivity With Automated Tools and Tasks

  • Create canned responses to common ticket replies  
  • Run multiple actions on tickets with a one-click or automated macro 
  • Create follow-ups with multiple actions 
  • Set escalation rules on overdue tickets  

Manage Customers Efficiently

  • Create ‘organizations’ for customer accounts. 
  • Add users with multiple email domains to an organization. 
  • View ticket history for your customers individually or at the organization level. 

Support Your Customers the Way They Need It

  • Set priorities for customer tickets  
  • Help your customers find answers easily by creating an online library of information (Knowledgebase, FAQ, Policies, etc.

Always Know What Your Customers Are Thinking 

  • Allow customers to comment on, or rate your articles 
  • Gain insightful feedback from customers with feedback forms on tickets 
Customer Service Software

Use Data to Improve Performance and Customer Service

A powerful reporting dashboard allows you to track staff performance and customer activity, gain insights into customer feedback and ratings, and more. Improve the performance of your staff by knowing: 

  • What are the busiest times, days, or months? Do you need more staff on some days?  
  • What types of requests are more frequent? Create canned responses to improve response time. 
  • Which support channels do your customers use? 
  • Learn which user guides or articles are helpful to customers and which need to be improved.  
  • How are your customers rating your support? What kind of feedback they provide?  
  • And more. 

Make It Your Own! 

Customize the help desk system to match your company’s look and feel. Built your own custom plugins or use our available plugins and integration:  

Available Plugins: Blesta, Slack, Time Tracking, WHMCS, WooCommerce.
Existing Integrations: Blesta, LDAP, SAML, TrackingTime, WHMCS, Zapier.

All things aside, our goal is to help your business succeed!  

You know that saying? Happy clients, happy us! 

A reliable and easy to use customer service software will improve the performance of your staff. But more importantly, it will help improve the relationship with your customers.  

We went through a lot of information, I know!

But if you’re only going to remember a few things from this blog post, remember these five takeaways on how to deliver excellent customer service through your help desk software. 

TOP FIVE TAKEAWAYS TO DELIVER EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE

  1. Manage all your customer conversations from one place with a unified inbox 
  1. Enhance customer service with the use of ticket tags, follow-ups, and priorities 
  1. Help your customers get information or learn about your service on-demand with an external knowledgebase, FAQ, or blog 
  1. Get input from your customers with feedback forms and article comments 
  1. Use built-in reporting tools to improve performance and customer satisfaction  

LET’S TALK MONEY – HOW MUCH DOES IT COST AND WHAT’S INCLUDED 

The service starts for as low as $75 a month. There are no hidden fees, user caps or limitations on the amounts of tickets.  

The $75 fee includes: 

  • Managed cloud environment with complete data privacy 
  • Your SupportPal help desk software license 
  • Installation of your help desk software 
  • Daily managed backups of your cloud environment 
  • 24/7 availability monitoring of your cloud environment 

If you are looking to do a self-migration there’s a migration script included with the help desk software.  

The following migrations are supported with the migration script: 

  • ArcticDesk v1.3.3 
  • Blesta v4 
  • Freshdesk 
  • Kayako v4 
  • Quest K1000 
  • Sirportly v5 
  • WHMCS v7 
  • Zendesk 

Are You Ready for an Affordable, Enterprise-Grade Customer Support Solution with Complete Data-Privacy?

Click to button below to schedule a free consultation and demo today!

ABOUT SOFTSYS HOSTING

SoftSys Hosting was born in 2006 when President Ruchir Shastri, back then a web developer, wanted to help software developers by offering them free of inexpensive hosting.  

Since 2007 we provide a complete suite of web hosting and related business services from our 4 datacenter locations: Denver, Chicago, London & Singapore. 

Our primary goal is to help your business succeed. When you’re doing great, so are we! 

With a team of 24×7 in-house experienced sys admins we can take care of your entire IT requirements so that you can focus on growing your business.  

But don’t just take our word for it! See for yourself what our customers are saying about SoftSys Hosting support and services: 

Customer Testimonial
SoftSys Hosting Review
Customer Feedback

If you are looking for a great customer service software or web hosting services, please get in touch. We’d love to learn more about your business and provide solutions that will empower your team to accelerate growth. 

Contact us at [email protected] or +1-862-214-2255 (Ext 3). 

21 Oct

Increase the Security of Your Linux Servers With BitNinja Server Security

We are pleased to announce that we have partnered with BitNinja to bring you the ultimate server protection against WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal infections. 

The BitNinja server security solution has been around since 2014. It started as an in-house project when its CEO George Egri wanted to protect their own hosting company against malicious threats and cyberattacks. Today the company protects over 20.000 servers worldwide and their WAF has blocked over 40 million HTTP attacks.  

What Is BitNinja and How Can It Take Your Server Security to the Next Level?  

Security breaches can put your business at risk. Stolen databases, password hacks, malware, SQL injections, malicious scripts that can change your user’s passwords and gain access to your user’s accounts, you name it!   

Today’s digital world is full of security threats that can impact your business’ revenue and reputation.   

BitNinja server security helps you maintain a successful business by taking 100% responsibility of keeping your Linux server clean.  

“We were in search of an enterprise-grade security tool to provide all-round protection to our customers’ business servers. BitNinja turned out to be the perfect partner to help us address the ever-growing security vulnerabilities and hacks. We tune and tweak BitNinja based on our customers’ specific requirements and we are happy to say it has provided 100% protection! We are beyond excited to have partnered with BitNinja!” Ruchir Shastri, President & Founder @ SoftSys Hosting 

BitNinja Will Significantly Increase the Security of Your Websites! 

Here’s how BitNinja can help: it’s an all-in-one security solution that provides one of the BEST server security defenses available on the market today!  It’s supported on all popular Linux distributions (CentOS, Debian, Ubuntu, etc.) and requires zero changes to your server.  

Backed by machine learning technology that adapts to the latest threats, BitNinja combines a set of integrated defense modules into a single security suite that provides complete protection at the application layer, prevents your server from becoming part of a botnet, and protects you from incoming and outgoing DoS and DDoS attacks.  

Being a layered security system, BitNinja blocks server attacks at any threat level automatically, allowing you to protect your websites from unforeseen security threats and focusing on growing your business.   

Server Security

Easy to install and use BitNinja offers the following benefits:  

  • Improves your server’s load. 
  • Reduces spam. 
  • Protects your web application. 
  • Scans your web files for malware. 
  • Protects yourself from viruses (including email-based viruses). 
  • Detects and blocks port-scans. 
  • Protects yourself from Distributed Blacklists such as DNSBL. 
  • Proactively monitors malicious scripts & more. 

Protect Your Business and Customers from Security Breaches. Get Started with BitNinja Server Security Solution Today!

Achieve system stability and reduce the server load by activating the BitNinja proactive security defense shield and fixing your IP reputation for good.

The BitNinja security solution is available to SoftSys Hosting customers who own a Linux based VPS (fully managed or unmanaged) or a Linux-based dedicated server.  

The service can be added to a new or existing VPS account for as low as $16 USD per month. To help you get started we offer a 7-day free trial with full functionality. During this period, you can test it and see doing its magic. To get started with your free trial, please contact us at [email protected].

Once the service is activated, our team will install BitNinja on your server and provide you access to a dedicated dashboard where you can configure and manage your server’s security.

Secure Linux Server

If you’re not a SoftSys Hosting customer, and want to protect your business from hacks, data theft, IP blacklisting & more get in touch with us as well.

We’d love to help keep your business secure and profitable!