We can see that there are a lot of IT security warnings published in the press regarding the abuse of Exchange Server Vulnerabilities. Read all about the solutions to protect your company.

In a world where cyberattacks take place on a daily basis, data protection has never been more important. In this blog we give you an overview of some actions you can already take to protect your personal and work information.

In a world where cyberattacks take place on a daily basis, data protection has never been more important. In this blog we give you an overview of some actions you can already take to protect your business information.

The last few months we have all been working massively from home and it doesn’t look like the current situation will change immediately. What we saw was that some of the companies were easily adapting to this new way of working, but that other companies were less prepared for this, and that the changes required greater efforts.

The shift from office- to homeworking as the norm is not only bringing changes at this time but will undoubtedly determine our future. In this blog, we therefore discuss five trends that are already becoming more and more common or that will appear in the work field in the near future.

1. CLOUD COMPUTING

With the implementation of a digital workplace within your company you are ready for the future. By migrating to the Cloud, you can remotely manage different devices and ensure that employees have access to the necessary software and applications whenever and wherever they want.Due to Cloud solutions, data will be stored and secured virtually in the cloud instead of locally.

Companies often take their first steps into the Cloud by implementing a digital workplace. This often opens doors within the company to migrate other aspects to the Cloud. A choice can be made between the Public, Private and Hybrid Cloud depending on the business needs. You can read the difference between these Cloud solutions here.

Cloud Solutions

2. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the integration of human intelligence into artefacts or devices/objects. The goal is to create devices that are able to act the exact same way as a human when they encounter the same situation. This process is often a matter of ‘trial & error’ with the aim of approaching reality as closely as possible and constantly improving and updating the processes.

The AI principle is not new and is already being used for countless processes today. An example we are all familiar with is updating smartphones and laptops in order to constantly improve their performance.

In the business world AI allows us to evaluate and further optimize the used processes. This is often in combination with automation processes because AI teaches us where things can be done better and faster. Computer-controlled operations often offer a solution here. Some people fear that this shift will cost their job but there are also people in favor who say that they can use the gained time for strategic thinking, experimenting with new innovations, updates,…

Artificial Intelligence

3. AUGMENTED & VIRTUAL REALITY

With Augmented Reality (AR), an extra layer is added to reality via the (smartphone) camera. The camera displays extra computer-generated information on the screen and there are also differences here. For example, the extra layer can also add some extra textual information or can display whole animations with audio and vibrancies. 

Virtual Reality (VR) is actually the opposite of Augmented Reality. A VR headset ensures that you’re cut off from reality and that you are immersed in a fictional world.

Augmented and Virtual Reality are both on the rise in the business world, although this is mainly sector-specific. For example, architects can create entire building tours by using virtual reality glasses or can add extra elements to a building using AR. At the beginning of the lockdown, we also saw new initiatives such as fictitious meeting rooms to increase the sense of togetherness between the employees.

4. 5G

Anyone who has followed the news over the past few months has probably seen 5G pass by several times. As with other changes, there are supporters and opponents. Still, 5G is a fact and will make an appearance in the (near) future. It promises to be even faster than the mobile internet we are already used to today. For employees who regularly use their cell phone for work-related purposes, this means a wider and faster range.

5G

5. EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE

Employee Eperience resembles to User Experience and puts the needs and requirements of the users, in this case the employees, first. Because the Digital Workplace should enable employees to work from anywhere at any time, it is important to start from this point of view.

The implementation is therefore more than providing some new technologies. It requires a holistic approach in which the right accents must be placed from the start. In addition to accessibility and user-friendliness, sufficient attention must also be paid to performance and security in order to secure all data. Ideally, you should just roll out a test environment to a few people in order to improve any shortcomings before implementing the digital workplace for the entire company.

Employee Experience

Are you also considering implementing a digital workplace within your company? We will be happy to advise you about the different functionalities and infrastructure that best suits your business needs.

Cyber attacks are more and more common and hackers continue to invent new, innovative techniques leaving companies with a constant fear of being attacked. That’s why they invest a lot of resources to protect their company and their self against possible attacks. Don’t get us wrong, this is a good start, but it’s not everything. For example, have you ever thought about offering your employees an (online) cyber security awareness training? No? Then be sure to read on, we will tell you why you should consider to invest in them!

Employees are your best defense or your weakest link

It may surprise you, but employees are often the cause that hackers can strike. As a matter of fact they leave the door right open to welcome them. This can happen in various ways think about a weak password, an unsecured network connection, unguarded smartphone or laptop,… This does not mean that there are bad intentions involved, but that these individuals are not aware of the potential dangers that these actions may cause.

Go for an understandable IT Security Policy and frequent training

The security of the company and safeguarding the personal and/or business confidential information is everyone’s responsibility. With the help of an IT security policy you can inform everyone about the possible dangers and how to respond to them in a proper way.  Because not everyone has a technical background, it is important that you remove the jargon from your communication as much as possible. In addition, it is important that this is a dynamic document and is constantly updated with new trends and developments. Deliver this document to your current team and all new employees.

We probably don’t have to tell you, but it’s naive to think that everyone will read the policy you’ve invested so hard in. So choose to organize an IT security training on a regular basis with some relevant topics at that moment. Moreover, an interactive training is better for remembering things. You can set targets and optionally include an incentive to stimulate employees.

What should certainly be covered in the policy and training courses

  1. Different types of threats

    It goes without saying that employees first need to know what to look out for before they can take action. Therefore, start with an overview of the most common cyber attacks such as phishing, spam, ransomware and malware. In addition, provide regular training that focuses on new, innovative attacks. This way everyone stays up-to-date and you keep yourself and your team sharp!

  2. The importance of a secure internet connection

    Some of us may have already done it.. connecting to an unsecured Wi-Fi network without knowing that this may be dangerous. Hackers take advantage of people’s need to check their social media, mails, WhatsApp messages,… online and therefore create public, unsecure connections. Their goal is to seduce people to enter their data, sometimes they even imitate the names of legit organizations to appear more reliable. We therefore advise you to encourage your employees to never use an unsecured network unless it’s really an emergency!

    free wifi

  3. How to choose a secure password

    All too often people choose a simple password that they can remember and use it for different accounts. In addition, this password is not regularly replaced even though it is crucial to protect yourself against hackers. Give your employees tips on choosing a strong password or strong passphrase and introduce them to password managers.

    Secure password

  4. Safe habits on the internet

    Anno 2020 everyone surfs the internet on a daily basis, so it is important to maintain safe surfing behavior. Be cautious when websites ask you to enter your personal information and ensure that all the necessary programs are up to date. Why? Updates often correct or even remove weaknesses from a previous version.

    Safe surfing behavior

  5. Be cautious, also offline

    Besides the internet, it is also important to be on your guard offline in the daily life. Therefore, make sure that you shield the password of your smartphone and bank card. Be also aware that no one is looking over your shoulder. Last but not least, always keep other data carriers such as your identity card and driver’s license in a safe place and immediately go to the police if you notice that you have lost them.

    Money transaction

Conclusion

In addition to these common hacking techniques, hackers invent new techniques on a regularly basis. Therefore, keep an eye on trends and organize a periodic update session to discuss these in detail and clarify them by means of concrete examples.

Frederik is a freelancer and has been working at ePact for three years now and is a full member of our team. Over the years, he has built up an extensive know-how and expertise in IT security, which he can now use to help our customers.

Who are you as a person?

I have been a technician at heart since I was a little child and I have developed a strong technical brain in the meantime. How? I was born with dyslexia and you may think that this is a strange combination, but it certainly is not.

When you grow up with dyslexia, they teach you all sorts of ‘tricks’ so that you can evolve in the most normal way possible measured by your peers and society. Summarizing (long) texts into shorter chunks of text is one of them. This is how I learned to get to the bottom of an issue at a very young age.

Even today this still comes in handy. I know exactly which questions I want and need to ask in order to be able to identify the needs of a client. Once I have this clear, I can provide the right solution(s) and implement them.

How did you end up at ePact?

When I started at ePact, I had already been in the cyber security sector for 15 years. I got my know-how and expertise from HP, McAfee en Trend Micro. These years have been a real training ground for me and the proverb ‘by doing one learns’ was (and still is) applicable to me.

Trend Micro is also one of the security partners of ePact. In other words: I’ve worked for years at the source of solutions that ePact implements for its customers today. You may guess it, through them I ended up at ePact because they advised me to increase the level of expertise in the Trend Micro products. A great opportunity if you ask me! And here we are, it turned out to be a good decision because three years later you can still find me here.

What does your security job look like today?

On the website you will find the title ‘Datacenter and Security Architect’, but what does this mean exactly? Well, at our customers I regularly perform security audits and health checks of their IT infrastructure. On the basis of these results, I set up an improvement plan. The choice to implement one or more suggestions lies with the customer, but of course we recommend them to do so in order to optimize their business.

Within the team I am also a coach for my (younger) colleagues. I want to help them get to the level of security expert. How? On the basis of practical training and by being their point of contact. I give junior and medior profiles the opportunity to walk along during an implementation and allow them to gain (their own) experiences.

Through this working method I want to make the difference between an amateur and a professional. My door is always open to them, but on the other hand I also learn from them every day and that is what makes it so much fun!

To conclude, how would you define the team spirit at ePact?

The atmosphere is very positive minded. We don’t see problems, but solutions. We don’t see a ‘heavy’ cost as a cost either, but as an investment that we will earn back double in a few years’ time. Other companies often set their targets on a quarterly basis, but at ePact we have a three-year plan worked out to perfection. This ensures that the pressure is less high and that young professionals have the opportunity to become experts at their own pace. I’ve never experienced this anywhere else, but I find this very positive.

There are also a lot of initiatives to improve the team spirit within the team. Every month we hold a team meeting followed by a fun side activity and this is always very fun. Although the side activity is not mandatory, almost everyone is always present. As if this is not enough, every year we also go on an extended weekend as a teambuilding to keep a positive atmosphere between colleagues!

Would you like to be part of our motivated team after reading this blog? Send an email to info@epact.be and maybe you’ll be our new colleague soon!

Data is the new gold and we must protect it at all costs and times. But how can you protect your data during a pandemic or (technological) crisis? Invest in a solid business continuity plan, we promise that it will help you when unexpected events cause a disruption on your computer systems.

What is a business continuity plan (BCP)?

Business continuity means having a plan to deal with difficult, unpredictable situations. In other words, it keeps your company going no matter the situation it’s dealing with. You might think that you have a smaller company and there is nothing that can or nobody that wants to harm your business, but that’s wrong. It’s wrong to think that your company or business isn’t vulnerable to any kinds of threats. We don’t say that the risk is the same across all companies or sectors, but there are potential threats everywhere.

The importance of in-depth threat analysis

That’s why a solid business continuity plan always starts with a threat analysis, as with any other plan for that matter. Define potential threats for your company to know how you can keep going under any changing circumstances! When you have a clear overview, you can start with finding ways to prevent or mitigate these threats.

Changing environmental conditions and the impact on your business

As not everything is predictable and hackers are finding new ways to intrude businesses every day, you’ll want to invest in good back up systems and disaster recovery. It might be considered a subset of business continuity and focuses on the technology systems supporting critical business functions. Disaster recovery is a form of ‘insurance’ that you as a company may need to use once every ten years.

Two common and actual disruptors of your business as usual

Coronavirus aka Global Pandemics

Luckily for most businesses a pandemic is not very common, but unfortunately many countries and companies were recently affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic, also known as Coronavirus pandemic. We speak of an epidemic when a numerous amount of people has been infected with a disease that has spread across a large region.

During the COVID-10 lockdown a lot of employees were/are forced to work from home and many companies were/are still not ready for remote working. You have to know how you will be communicating with your team during a crisis and how they will get access to all the needed applications to do their job.

More info:

Cybercriminals and cybersecurity

As we mentioned in the beginning of this blog: data is the new gold and we must protect it at all costs and times. But did you know that cyber attacks happen every single day and that a company is attacked an average of 288 times a week? (Facts provided by Check Point Software Technologies)

Cyber attacks are assaults caused by cyber criminals using one or more computers against a single or multiple computers or networks. Cyber criminals or hackers use different types of attacks (Phishing mails, DDoS attacks, man-in-the middle attacks,…) and are finding new, innovative ways to strike every day.

As you’re never fully prepared or protected against cyber attacks we absolutely recommend you to have a decent backup system and regularly make backups of your data. In this way you can recover your personal or professional data when an attack takes place instead of losing it.

Our solutions: Continuity as a Service (CaaS)

We help you to protect your business against attacks, losses, theft and downtime. We create backups of all your workloads, which can be stored in any possible scenario. You have the certainty of a rapid and reliable recovery of individual files, complete virtual machines and applications.

Want to know more? Contact us for more info!

In the year 2020, the Cloud has become an indispensable part of the business world. We therefore see that many companies have already made the step to the private, public or hybrid cloud and that others have put this item at the top of their agenda, ready to be implemented. Do you belong to the last group and do you need one last push to convince yourself? Then be sure to read on, we have listed a few benefits especially for you!

  1. Flexibility

    In our personal opinion, this is one of the biggest advantages of the Cloud. As a business manager, you never know what the future will bring for you. Will there be growth or will you be forced to downsize? When all your data and applications are on premise, it will be difficult to deal with these changing circumstances. The Cloud on the other hand, is flexible so you can easily increase or decrease capacity.  

  2. Cost shift

    Because with Cloud Services you only pay for what you use, we see a cost shift when migrating from on premise to the cloud. With on premise storage you have both CAPEX and OPEX costs and with cloud storage you’ll primarily have OPEX costs.

    CAPEX-kosten

    CAPital EXpenditures or CAPEX cost refers to the cost of developing or delivering non-consumable parts of a product or service. In other words, it is something that is purchased once-only such as:

    – Physical servers
    – Routers
    – Physical storage space
    – Cooling systems
    – …

    OPEX-kosten

    OPerating EXpenses (operating expenses) or OPEX costs indicate the recurring costs that a company incurs in providing services or products such as:

    – Electricity
    – Internet
    – Hardware maintenance
    – Personnel costs
    – …

    So be sure to take the above-mentioned things into account when you make a cost calculation for your company.

  3. Automatisation

    Automation is a logical consequence when you choose for a Cloud strategy within your company. It ensures that processes can be modernized and that data will be used in an optimal way. Automation allows the IT department to take advantage of ‘gained’ time, which they can use to add extra value and gives them the opportunity to anticipate to new developments in a timely manner. As a company you should therefore not consider automation as ‘something that steals the work away from your people’, but as ‘something that supports your people and relieves them of routine work‘.

  4. Scalability

    We already mentioned it briefly: the Cloud offers you as a company the possibility to upscale or downscale whenever you want. Unlike on premise storage, you don’t have to wonder whether your storage is too big or too small because it adapts to your needs at that particular moment. The shift to the Cloud also has benefits for smaller businesses. They benefit from this new infrastructure thanks to the ‘you only pay for what you use’ principle.

  5. Security

    Security is one of the most common concerns we hear from customers when they consider migrating to the Cloud. However, we would like to emphasize that this is not necessary because every Cloud Provider has a team of experts that is dedicated to monitoring new trends and developments within cybersecurity on a daily basis. In other words: because they specialize in this matter and have different clients at their disposal, they can dedicate far more time and money to this than you as a company ever could. Of course, there is never a 100% guarantee that no cyber attack will take place, but the chances are way smaller.

  6. Disaster Recovery

    Data is the new gold and must be guaranteed with the required security. So we don’t have to tell you that it’s no superfluous luxury to bet on data continuity within your company and let the Cloud be perfect for this purpose! Why? Because its reliability and scalability is fully up to date and restoring your data and servers after an incident can be done in no time. In this way you can limit the downtime of your business and get back to work quickly!

Do you want to make the leap to the Cloud yourself? Would you like additional information? Don’t hesitate to contact us. Together with you, we will go through all the possibilities of the (hybrid) cloud and see how we can best handle the migration within your company.

As the name itself says, identity theft is about stealing someone’s identity. It is often thought that this is something that can only happen to wealthy people but that’s not true. Because identity theft is one of the fastest growing crime problems, we as security experts like to pay attention to this in a blog!

Identity theft occurs in various forms and in most cases you will be left behind with damage to your finances, reputation and/or livelihood. That’s why it’s important for you to know what it is and even more important: what you can do to prevent it.

5 different forms of identity theft

  1. Financial Identity theft

    This is often the first form of identity theft that is thought of. Not so surprising since ‘money‘ is very often the motive to take over someone’s identity.

    When you think of identity theft, you may immediately think of looting someone’s bank accounts and/or credit cards. However, a lot of other things are possible when hackers have enough personal information.

    For example, they can apply for credit cards or loans in your name. You can imagine that this can have major consequences for someone’s financial situation.

  2. Medical Identity theft

    Hereby your identity will be taken over with the aim to obtain free health care, treatments or medication in your name. Another purpose may be to obtain reimbursements of, for example, a false hospital admission.

    In addition to financial consequences, this can also have consequences for your health, for example a wrong diagnosis or the wrong healthcare as a result of incorrect medical information.

  3. Criminal Identity theft

    When someone commits a crime and discloses your personal information in the event of an arrest or detention, this falls under criminal identity theft.

    This can have consequences for you as a victim in the form of a criminal record, problems finding a job or law enforcement.

  4. Social security theft

    Did you notice that you lost your social security card? Then report this to the local police as soon as possible and make sure you get a replacement card. 

    The loss can have major consequences. People with bad intentions can use this card to obtain a lot of personal information and use your identity to apply for loans or credit cards in your name.

  5. Synthetic identity theft

    Contrary to the other forms of identity theft, a new identity is composed by using the personal data of multiple victims

    Each time it concerns a person whose credit is stolen and the personal data of someone else. The new identity allows hackers to apply for loans or credit cards, make use of services,…

How do criminals obtain the necessary information for identity theft?

Due to computers hackers can obtain your personal information in both traditional and innovative ways: 

  • Physical cards on which personal data can be retrieved.
  • Documents with personal data in the garbage.
  • Personal data on the hard disk of old devices.
  • Personal data on social media or on the internet.
  • Phishing mails.

How do you protect your personal data against identity theft?

  • Monitor your accounts and transactions
  • Make sure that the data on your smartphone is secure, but also make sure you have your physical maps with personal data on them.
  • Watch out for phishing mails
  • Provide strong passwords
  • Shop smart online
  • Last but not least: Freeze accounts so that you always have to identify yourself by a date of birth, social security number or other personal information that only you can know.

Would you like more information on how to protect your employees’ personal information, confidential documents, old hard drives or other information within your company? Our subsidiary ShieldIT specializes in security and is happy to help you with this. Please contact us for more information.

As with many other companies, the last few weeks were hectic. We had to adapt to the new ‘homework situation’ and at the same time we had to keep up with our business. We probably don’t have to tell anyone, but of course the corona crisis caused a huge increase in demand for digital workplaces.

No sooner said than done. We’ve helped a lot of companies over the past few weeks so that their employees can now work from home carefree. But what is actually required to implement a digital workplace?

More than you might think at first glance, it takes more than a working computer and a stable WiFi connection!

In order to be able to meet the increased demand, we asked ourselves how we could help our customers as quickly and effectively as possible. Of course, we want to implement a good, digital workplace without compromising the user-friendliness and safety standards they have to meet.

We created the flow below, which still works well for us until today.

Our starting point is of course the current situation of your company. Are company laptops already available for your employees or do they use their own private laptops? This will determine the further steps we will take during implementation.

Traject 1: Company-owned device

Your company already provides all employees with company-owned devices. We help you to increase the Security policy so that all employees have access to all necessary work files and applications in an efficient and secure way. 

Think for example of remote secure access, MFA or Privileged Access for external suppliers. 

Traject 2: Bring-your-own device

Your company has a bring-your-own device policy which makes it more difficult for us as an external party to manage all the different devices. To solve this problem we use Workspace ONE from VMware.

Workspace ONE, what is it:

Workspace ONE is an intelligence-driven digital workspace platform. It delivers and manages every possible application on every device through the integration of access control, application management and endpoint management on multiple platforms.

This makes it easy for the end user (your employees) because all the needed applications are collected at one point in the form of a ‘portal’. As a result, only one login is required and therefore the security increases.

On top of that, as a company, you maintain control over which applications are accessible and what is possible. A win-win situation.

Workspace ONE, which steps do we take during the implementation:

  1. Together with you we make an overview of all the applications and filesyour employees need to do their jobs remotely.
  2. We determine the platformand then calculate how much performance and capacity we need and where we are going to source it from.
  3. Once the 2 steps above have been completed and the image is ready in the platform, we can start testing. We always do this with the most critical and objective users.
  4. Once the test users are convinced, theimplementation for all the other users can start!

Are you planning to implement a digital workspace at your company? Get in touch, we’re happy to guide you through all the possibilities in order to find the remote workplace which fits your business needs perfectly! Because one thing’s for sure, working remotely will become the new normal.