Denial-of-service attacks on VoIP systems

When most of us think of cyberthreats, we think of viruses, Trojans, and ransomware. Unfortunately, those aren’t the only ones to look out for. One of the biggest threats to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems are denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, so if you have a VoIP system, you better read on.

Denial-of-service attacks

The end goal of any DoS attack is to overwhelm a system with so many requests that the system is eventually forced to shut down. Telephony DoS (TDoS) attack is a subcategory leveled at VoIP systems. Alarmingly, this attack is commonly used against hospitals and 911 phone lines. Much like ransomware, some TDoS attackers even demand a ransom to halt the attack. They take advantage of cryptocurrencies and caller-ID spoofing to make it incredibly difficult to identify attackers.

TDoS attacks generally employ fewer resources than the DoS attacks that are designed to cripple IT systems such as networks, servers, and software. At its most basic, all that a TDoS attack requires is an automated phone dialer that calls a target phone number and hangs up — over and over. That very simple strategy can stop anyone else from getting through the line.

What organizations need to do

Counterintuitive as it might sound, locking down your VoIP system with complicated and unnecessary security measures will ultimately do more harm than good. Most businesses can’t operate if they can’t communicate with their customers.

Although VoIP may be a digital resource similar to your other IT systems, the very nature of phone lines makes it impossible to hide them behind firewalls and other protections. However, there are new solutions that offer protection to VoIP systems. There are now new security protocols that can protect your communication infrastructure against those who try to use force to gain access to your directory information. These protocols can also identify, reroute, and filter calls coming from known attackers.

If you’re experiencing any abnormalities with your VoIP system, or if you want to deploy the most up-to-date solution that the market has to offer, our expert staff is ready to help you at the drop of a hat — just call today.

Posted in General Articles C, VoIP | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

Why telephony and VoIP attacks continue

Hackers will never stop looking for new ways to hurt your business. One way is through launching denial-of-service (DoS) attacks on Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems. Read on for a complete rundown of this cyberthreat.

Denial-of-service attacks

The end goal of any DoS attack is to overwhelm a system with so many requests that the system is eventually forced to shut down. Telephony DoS (TDoS) attack is a subcategory leveled at VoIP systems. Alarmingly, this attack is commonly used against hospitals and 911 phone lines. Much like ransomware, some TDoS attackers even demand a ransom to halt the attack. They take advantage of cryptocurrencies and caller-ID spoofing to make it incredibly difficult to identify attackers.

TDoS attacks generally employ fewer resources than the DoS attacks that are designed to cripple IT systems such as networks, servers, and software. At its most basic, all that a TDoS attack requires is an automated phone dialer that calls a target phone number and hangs up — over and over. That very simple strategy can stop anyone else from getting through the line.

What organizations need to do

Counterintuitive as it might sound, locking down your VoIP system with complicated and unnecessary security measures will ultimately do more harm than good. Most businesses can’t operate if they can’t communicate with their customers.

Although VoIP may be a digital resource similar to your other IT systems, the very nature of phone lines makes it impossible to hide them behind firewalls and other protections. However, there are new solutions that offer protection to VoIP systems. There are now new security protocols that can protect your communication infrastructure against those who try to use force to gain access to your directory information. These protocols can also identify, reroute, and filter calls coming from known attackers.

If you’re experiencing any abnormalities with your VoIP system, or if you want to deploy the most up-to-date solution that the market has to offer, our expert staff is ready to help you at the drop of a hat — just call today.

Posted in General Articles B, VoIP | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

TDoS: An attack on VoIP systems

Denial-of-service (DoS) attacks are nothing new. But most businesses have no idea how to prevent this type of attack on their Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system. If you’re one of those businesses, we have everything you need to know right here.

Denial-of-service attacks

The end goal of any DoS attack is to overwhelm a system with so many requests that the system is eventually forced to shut down. Telephony DoS (TDoS) attack is a subcategory leveled at VoIP systems. Alarmingly, this attack is commonly used against hospitals and 911 phone lines. Much like ransomware, some TDoS attackers even demand a ransom to halt the attack. They take advantage of cryptocurrencies and caller-ID spoofing to make it incredibly difficult to identify attackers.

TDoS attacks generally employ fewer resources than the DoS attacks that are designed to cripple IT systems such as networks, servers, and software. At its most basic, all that a TDoS attack requires is an automated phone dialer that calls a target phone number and hangs up — over and over. That very simple strategy can stop anyone else from getting through the line.

What organizations need to do

Counterintuitive as it might sound, locking down your VoIP system with complicated and unnecessary security measures will ultimately do more harm than good. Most businesses can’t operate if they can’t communicate with their customers.

Although VoIP may be a digital resource similar to your other IT systems, the very nature of phone lines makes it impossible to hide them behind firewalls and other protections. However, there are new solutions that offer protection to VoIP systems. There are now new security protocols that can protect your communication infrastructure against those who try to use force to gain access to your directory information. These protocols can also identify, reroute, and filter calls coming from known attackers.

If you’re experiencing any abnormalities with your VoIP system, or if you want to deploy the most up-to-date solution that the market has to offer, our expert staff is ready to help you at the drop of a hat — just call today.

Posted in General Articles A, VoIP | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

Power BI’s predictive forecasting

The phrase “make your own luck” is thrown around a lot by many successful business people, but what does it actually mean? Part of it means not being a victim of circumstances but rather using these to gain better circumstances over time. To help you prepare for future challenges and opportunities, Office 365 has predictive forecasting: Power BI’s powerful business analytics tool.

Predictive forecasting uses a variety of statistical techniques, such as modeling and data mining, to analyze current and historical facts to make predictions about the future.
The predictive forecasting function of Office 365 provides users with the skills to generate reports, interactive charts, and 3D visualizations of business performance.

Its built-in predictive forecasting models can automatically detect seasonality in the data, though users can override this by applying a non-seasonal algorithm if they so desire. It also enables users to see how results are affected by adjusting the parameters of the time or confidence interval assigned to be analyzed. Simply put, users can perform advanced forecasting without the complexity that usually accompanies these kinds of processes.

Power BI’s predictive forecasting can also help fill in gaps with data. Power View, an interactive data exploration and presentation tool, fills in missing values from a data set before carrying out a forecast for a more accurate result.

Get started with forecasting by doing following:

  1. Simply upload a workbook with a Power View time series line chart to Power BI for Office 365.
  2. Open the file in Power BI.
  3. Click on the forecast arrow or drag the forecast dot in the line chart and you’ll see forecasting parameters appear in the analysis pane to the right of your report. To get your forecast or projection, configure the parameters:
    1. Forecast Length – This lets you look as far into the future as you wish, be it in days, months, or years.
    2. Confidence Interval – This parameter allows you to indicate the probability of how close predicted values will be to the eventual actual numbers, e.g., you can be 80% certain that actual sales figures next year will be within the range of your forecast.
    3. Ignore Last – Outliers in datasets can distort averages and forecasts. For instance, you want to look into sales for the past 12 months, but you know that the data of every month goes through adjustments before being locked in. With Ignore Last, you can take out data from the most recent month if the numbers haven’t been adjusted yet.
    4. Seasonality – A dataset is said to exhibit seasonality when a pattern can be discerned when looking at values over cycles of time. If you anticipate seasonality in a particular workbook, you can specify if it is monthly, quarterly, or yearly.

Predictive forecasting, if used properly, can immensely help with the overall strategic planning, market penetration, and operation of your business.

Looking to learn more about Office 365 and its features? Call us today for a chat.

Posted in General Articles C, Office | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Predictive forecasting in Office 365’s Power BI

People have always been intrigued by what the future holds. Seers use crystal balls and tarot cards, but business managers such as yourself need a tool that’s based purely on science. If you’re an Office 365 subscriber, you now have Power BI’s predictive forecasting at your disposal.

Predictive forecasting uses a variety of statistical techniques, such as modeling and data mining, to analyze current and historical facts to make predictions about the future.
The predictive forecasting function of Office 365 provides users with the skills to generate reports, interactive charts, and 3D visualizations of business performance.

Its built-in predictive forecasting models can automatically detect seasonality in the data, though users can override this by applying a non-seasonal algorithm if they so desire. It also enables users to see how results are affected by adjusting the parameters of the time or confidence interval assigned to be analyzed. Simply put, users can perform advanced forecasting without the complexity that usually accompanies these kinds of processes.

Power BI’s predictive forecasting can also help fill in gaps with data. Power View, an interactive data exploration and presentation tool, fills in missing values from a data set before carrying out a forecast for a more accurate result.

Get started with forecasting by doing following:

  1. Simply upload a workbook with a Power View time series line chart to Power BI for Office 365.
  2. Open the file in Power BI.
  3. Click on the forecast arrow or drag the forecast dot in the line chart and you’ll see forecasting parameters appear in the analysis pane to the right of your report. To get your forecast or projection, configure the parameters:
    1. Forecast Length – This lets you look as far into the future as you wish, be it in days, months, or years.
    2. Confidence Interval – This parameter allows you to indicate the probability of how close predicted values will be to the eventual actual numbers, e.g., you can be 80% certain that actual sales figures next year will be within the range of your forecast.
    3. Ignore Last – Outliers in datasets can distort averages and forecasts. For instance, you want to look into sales for the past 12 months, but you know that the data of every month goes through adjustments before being locked in. With Ignore Last, you can take out data from the most recent month if the numbers haven’t been adjusted yet.
    4. Seasonality – A dataset is said to exhibit seasonality when a pattern can be discerned when looking at values over cycles of time. If you anticipate seasonality in a particular workbook, you can specify if it is monthly, quarterly, or yearly.

Predictive forecasting, if used properly, can immensely help with the overall strategic planning, market penetration, and operation of your business.

Looking to learn more about Office 365 and its features? Call us today for a chat.

Posted in General Articles B, Office | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Office 365 feature highlight: Predictive forecasting

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an application with features that can help predict and identify risks and opportunities for your business products or services? Microsoft has turned this concept into reality with Office 365 Power BI’s predictive forecasting. Familiarize yourself with what predictive forecasting is and how it can help your business.

Predictive forecasting uses a variety of statistical techniques, such as modeling and data mining, to analyze current and historical facts to make predictions about the future.
The predictive forecasting function of Office 365 provides users with the skills to generate reports, interactive charts, and 3D visualizations of business performance.

Its built-in predictive forecasting models can automatically detect seasonality in the data, though users can override this by applying a non-seasonal algorithm if they so desire. It also enables users to see how results are affected by adjusting the parameters of the time or confidence interval assigned to be analyzed. Simply put, users can perform advanced forecasting without the complexity that usually accompanies these kinds of processes.

Power BI’s predictive forecasting can also help fill in gaps with data. Power View, an interactive data exploration and presentation tool, fills in missing values from a data set before carrying out a forecast for a more accurate result.

Get started with forecasting by doing following:

  1. Simply upload a workbook with a Power View time series line chart to Power BI for Office 365.
  2. Open the file in Power BI.
  3. Click on the forecast arrow or drag the forecast dot in the line chart and you’ll see forecasting parameters appear in the analysis pane to the right of your report. To get your forecast or projection, configure the parameters:
    1. Forecast Length – This lets you look as far into the future as you wish, be it in days, months, or years.
    2. Confidence Interval – This parameter allows you to indicate the probability of how close predicted values will be to the eventual actual numbers, e.g., you can be 80% certain that actual sales figures next year will be within the range of your forecast.
    3. Ignore Last – Outliers in datasets can distort averages and forecasts. For instance, you want to look into sales for the past 12 months, but you know that the data of every month goes through adjustments before being locked in. With Ignore Last, you can take out data from the most recent month if the numbers haven’t been adjusted yet.
    4. Seasonality – A dataset is said to exhibit seasonality when a pattern can be discerned when looking at values over cycles of time. If you anticipate seasonality in a particular workbook, you can specify if it is monthly, quarterly, or yearly.

Predictive forecasting, if used properly, can immensely help with the overall strategic planning, market penetration, and operation of your business.

Looking to learn more about Office 365 and its features? Call us today for a chat.

Posted in General Articles A, Office | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Protect your business data in the cloud

Though touted for its increased security, the cloud isn’t 100% safe from data breaches. A small- and medium-sized business has to be proactive with data security, even in the cloud, or it risks costs tied to lost business, damaged reputation, and regulatory fines. Make sure you’re securing your business data in the cloud with the following steps.

The cloud opens up some great benefits for businesses and is here to stay. However, as with all technology advancements, you need to also be aware of its vulnerabilities and security issues. If you want to proactively prevent data security breaches in the cloud, then here are five tips to follow:

Know your cloud apps:

Get a comprehensive view of the business readiness of apps. Ask questions like: Which ones render you more or less prone to a breach? Does an app encrypt data stored on the service? Does it separate your data from that of others to limit exposure when another tenant has a breach?

Migrate users to high-quality apps:

Cloud-switching costs are low, which means that you can always migrate apps that best suit your needs. If you find ones that don’t fit your criteria, take the time to talk to your vendor or switch. Now more than ever, you have choices.

Find out where your data is going:

Take a look at your data in the cloud. Review uploads, downloads, and data at rest in apps to get a handle on whether you have potential personally identifiable information (PII), or whether you simply have unencrypted confidential data in or moving to cloud apps. You wouldn’t want cloud and data breaches with this critical data.

Look at user activities:

It’s important to understand not only what apps you use but the user activity of your data. Ask yourself: From which apps are people sharing content? Does the app enable sharing? Knowing who’s sharing what and with whom will help you understand what policies to best employ.

Mitigate risk through granular policy:

Start with your business-critical apps and enforce policies that matter to your organization in the context of a breach. For example, block the upload of information covered by certain privacy acts, block the download of PII from HR apps, or temporarily block access to vulnerable apps.

The key to preventing a data security breach in the cloud lies in careful attention to your cloud applications and user activity. Analyzing your apps and looking into user activities might be time-consuming, but the minimization of cloud and data security breaches makes this task worthwhile. Looking to learn more about today’s security? Contact us and let us manage and minimize your risks.

Posted in General Articles C, Web & Cloud | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

Simple steps to protect data in the cloud

No business wants a data breach. According to IBM’s 2019 Cost of a Data Breach Report, a single data breach can cost organizations $3.92 million on average. If you plan to migrate your organization’s data to the cloud or if it’s already there, you may think that your data is now safe from data breaches. That couldn’t be further than the truth. Take a proactive stance in mitigating data breaches by following these simple steps.

The cloud opens up some great benefits for businesses and is here to stay. However, as with all technology advancements, you need to also be aware of its vulnerabilities and security issues. If you want to proactively prevent data security breaches in the cloud, then here are five tips to follow:

Know your cloud apps:

Get a comprehensive view of the business readiness of apps. Ask questions like: Which ones render you more or less prone to a breach? Does an app encrypt data stored on the service? Does it separate your data from that of others to limit exposure when another tenant has a breach?

Migrate users to high-quality apps:

Cloud-switching costs are low, which means that you can always migrate apps that best suit your needs. If you find ones that don’t fit your criteria, take the time to talk to your vendor or switch. Now more than ever, you have choices.

Find out where your data is going:

Take a look at your data in the cloud. Review uploads, downloads, and data at rest in apps to get a handle on whether you have potential personally identifiable information (PII), or whether you simply have unencrypted confidential data in or moving to cloud apps. You wouldn’t want cloud and data breaches with this critical data.

Look at user activities:

It’s important to understand not only what apps you use but the user activity of your data. Ask yourself: From which apps are people sharing content? Does the app enable sharing? Knowing who’s sharing what and with whom will help you understand what policies to best employ.

Mitigate risk through granular policy:

Start with your business-critical apps and enforce policies that matter to your organization in the context of a breach. For example, block the upload of information covered by certain privacy acts, block the download of PII from HR apps, or temporarily block access to vulnerable apps.

The key to preventing a data security breach in the cloud lies in careful attention to your cloud applications and user activity. Analyzing your apps and looking into user activities might be time-consuming, but the minimization of cloud and data security breaches makes this task worthwhile. Looking to learn more about today’s security? Contact us and let us manage and minimize your risks.

Posted in General Articles B, Web & Cloud | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

Secure your data in the cloud

Data breaches are a common occurrence in today’s business environment. While many businesses have turned to cloud apps for better productivity, scalability, and savings, some worry that the cloud is more vulnerable to data breaches than an on-premises data center. The truth is that any computing environment is vulnerable if you don’t take steps to prevent a data security breach. Here are simple steps to protect your data in the cloud.

The cloud opens up some great benefits for businesses and is here to stay. However, as with all technology advancements, you need to also be aware of its vulnerabilities and security issues. If you want to proactively prevent data security breaches in the cloud, then here are five tips to follow:

Know your cloud apps:

Get a comprehensive view of the business readiness of apps. Ask questions like: Which ones render you more or less prone to a breach? Does an app encrypt data stored on the service? Does it separate your data from that of others to limit exposure when another tenant has a breach?

Migrate users to high-quality apps:

Cloud-switching costs are low, which means that you can always migrate apps that best suit your needs. If you find ones that don’t fit your criteria, take the time to talk to your vendor or switch. Now more than ever, you have choices.

Find out where your data is going:

Take a look at your data in the cloud. Review uploads, downloads, and data at rest in apps to get a handle on whether you have potential personally identifiable information (PII), or whether you simply have unencrypted confidential data in or moving to cloud apps. You wouldn’t want cloud and data breaches with this critical data.

Look at user activities:

It’s important to understand not only what apps you use but the user activity of your data. Ask yourself: From which apps are people sharing content? Does the app enable sharing? Knowing who’s sharing what and with whom will help you understand what policies to best employ.

Mitigate risk through granular policy:

Start with your business-critical apps and enforce policies that matter to your organization in the context of a breach. For example, block the upload of information covered by certain privacy acts, block the download of PII from HR apps, or temporarily block access to vulnerable apps.

The key to preventing a data security breach in the cloud lies in careful attention to your cloud applications and user activity. Analyzing your apps and looking into user activities might be time-consuming, but the minimization of cloud and data security breaches makes this task worthwhile. Looking to learn more about today’s security? Contact us and let us manage and minimize your risks.

Posted in General Articles A, Web & Cloud | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

Why BI is for everyone

If you’ve managed to convince yourself that only large enterprises have the money to take advantage of Business Intelligence (BI), then think again. In the past, companies needed to hire expensive experts to really delve into BI. But these days, there is a range of affordable self-service tools that will allow small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to make use of BI. What’s more, your SMB creates and holds much more data than you realize, which means you can start using BI for your business.

You’ve already got the data you need

It’s easy to underestimate the amount of data your SMB already has at its disposal. In every area of your business, from finance and sales to customer relations and website management, the software packages you use to simplify your everyday operations are packed with reams of information that most of us don’t even think twice about. By talking to key stakeholders in your organization’s various departments, you can get an idea of the kind of data you already have, how it’s generated, and where it’s stored. You can then start to think about using BI tools to transform that information into meaningful business insights that will inform your decision-making. No need for you to invest in time-consuming data generation from scratch!

Self-service BI tools are plentiful — and affordable

The emergence of self-service BI puts useful business analytics within reach of smaller business owners who lack the fancy-pants budgets of larger corporations. In fact, there are numerous self-service BI tools that you can use to get started in this area without even spending a dime. Microsoft Power BI is a powerful application that’s pleasingly user-friendly, and most businesses will find the functions they need in the free version. Zoho Analytics has a low entry-level cost, too, and the slightly pricier yet still affordable Tableau is another option that’s worth exploring.

It’s easy to get started

BI is an intimidating term, especially for the average business owner. But by taking small steps, it’s easy for anyone to get started — and before you know it, you’ll be enjoying the benefits of having data-driven, intelligence-based insights that will enable you to make better business decisions.

Most self-service BI tools come with built-in suggestions for reports that businesses commonly run and find useful. Other worthwhile statistics to explore include the percentage of your clients who cancel within a set period, website landing pages that generate the longest visits, your most profitable individual products or services, the days or months in which you generate your highest revenues, and which of your clients bring in the most revenue and profit.

Truly harnessing data is the future of the business world — it’s how companies like yours can make smarter decisions that increase efficiency and profitability. And having self-service tools available means SMBs no longer need a crazy budget to be able to afford the benefits of BI. To find out more about putting in place the tools that can help you do smarter business, just give us a call.

Posted in Business, General Articles C | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments closed
  • Internet Presence Management for Small Business Owners

    pronto logoFull-service, pay-as-you-go all inclusive websites, from design and content to SEO and social media management for one low monthly price.

    Learn more about our small business online marketing services.