Thanks to everyone who attended our Taste of Technology event in Oakbrook last week! With sessions and food at four different locations, attendees were able to bolster their understanding of the cybersecurity landscape and the tools available to protect small and midsized businesses. We spent the afternoon finding out what technology vendors such as Microsoft, Webroot, Citrix, and Cisco-Meraki have to offer, and how Peters & Associates can help to implement them in your business.

Microsoft provided attendees with a device bar, to get hands-on with their most popular products running the newest version of Windows 10. Dave Fratantoni from Microsoft then illustrated some easy ways to get the most out of security in Windows 10. The presentation included things like ensuring Windows Defender is running unimpeded and explaining Bitlocker’s ability to lock down a device.

Webroot’s Andrew Bagnato gave a comprehensive (and a bit bleak!) examination of the threat landscape facing small businesses today. Staying ahead of bad actors is getting even more difficult. The main point of exploitation continues to be user error. 80% of hacking related breaches leveraged either stolen passwords and/or weak or guessable passwords. Some hackers do this with Phishing attacks, which have become so refined, the vast majority last for less than 24 hours. 55% of SMBs experienced a cyber-attack in the past year. That’s pretty scary. Know what’s worse? 6 in 10 small businesses go out of business within six months of a cyberattack. Your preparation for cyber-attacks is just as important as your protections against them.

Cisco-Meraki offers an elegant, full stack solution that addresses many of the problem security areas for businesses. With a “single-pane of glass” approach to all your technology challenges, Meraki has given Cisco a reliable way to serve its customers post-cloud revolution. One of the most innovative offerings is the MX line of security cameras. These, like all Meraki products, can be controlled and reviewed through the console’s online portal. An additional feature, which reduces the time it takes to review footage, adds unique value. It allows you to quickly find a security event without reviewing hours of footage by prioritizing timeframes with unusual activity.

The Citrix presentation, exploring their workspace services, was given by Chris Wernick. This was the most technical presentation, with a deep dive into why Citrix’s cloud workstations are a great solution for companies worried about disruption and security events. Because Citrix only hosts workstations, it is not privy to any of your sensitive information. This helps to secure your business. Not only will Citrix be unable to access your data, but it ensures that your corporate assets are not living on your employee’s hardware. This allows for remote access, with an eye on security as well as reliability. Chris described a demonstration where the cord for Skype session was cut on a Citrix device, and Citrix’s backup procedures ensured no disruptions in the video feed.

Peters & Associates’ presentation integrated all these technologies and delivered attendees some actionable strategies and solutions. These include developing an incident response plan, instituting security awareness training, and deploying multi-factor authentication. Additionally, deep dives into the Office environment were available with our Office 365 Health Check and Office 365 Weekly Security Audit. One strategy which every vendor mentioned was securing a managed service partner focused on security. This can allow small businesses to trust that their corporate information is secure, without hiring employees with those specific skills. Check out the slides for this event.

We really appreciate everyone who participates in events like these! There is no substitute for face-to-face interaction. Still, we try to offer constant thought leadership around cybersecurity and general IT through our blog and our webinars, so bookmark them to stay updated on the tech landscape. If you would like to set up a meeting to discuss anything presented at the Taste of Technology event or just to assess your security preparedness, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at info@peters.com or call 630 832 0075 today.