It seems that everything we use these days requires a password. authentication From email and social media accounts to everything in between, we always need a password to gain access.  But it isn’t as simple as just coming up with one password and using it for everything. At least, it would be best if you weren’t doing that…Authentication

Using one password over and over for all of your accounts is incredibly riskyIf one account has been compromised and you use that same password for everything, then all of your accounts have effectively been compromised.

That’s why cybersecurity professionals have created a thing called multi-factor authentication (MFA)— and in this post, we’re here to tell you all about it.

The Reality of Weak Passwords

Be honest— have you ever created a less-than-secure password? Chances are, you have, even if you didn’t realize it. You probably even use it over and over again across numerous accounts or some slightly altered variation of it.

After all, creating a unique password for hundreds of online accounts makes it difficult to remember them all— and people create weak passwords as a result.

The problem is… since nobody wants to forget their passwords, many passwords contain easy-to-remember pieces such as family member names, pet names and important dates. A major “no-no” for proper password protection!

Through open-source intelligence gathering, attackers called social engineers can find information about you online, creating a breadcrumb trail to guess your passwordThis is just one of the reasons that passwords are easy to crack these days. Another reason is the existence of password cracking tools that allow attackers to try hundreds or thousands of passwords in a matter of minutes.

Related:- The Biggest Web Security Threats to Watch Out for in 2021

What is Multi-Factor Authentication & How Exactly Does it Work?

In an MFA environment, a password alone is not enough to gain access. The password may still be needed, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle. Along with the password, additional factors are required to prove that the individual is authorized to have access.

Multi-factor authentication is a method for authenticating in which a user must provide two or more factors for verification.

When having multiple lines of defense in place for gaining access, true MFA requires that the factors used to gain access are not the same type of factor.

The 5 Main Types of Multi-Factor Authentication

1. Knowledge (Something you know)

Knowing a password. While often used as the only means of verification, passwords can be used as a second line of defense— required after a first form of authentication.

Knowing a passphrase. In our blog on password tips, we explain more about what this means. It’s often a string of words that form a sentence or phrase, using variances in characters and capitalization for extra protection, like “Be The Change That Y0u W!sh To See !n The W0rld.”

Knowing a passcode. This could be a string of numbers like “5928312” that you have memorized to get in.

Knowing the answer to a security question. Though with the right social engineering know-how, can be easily guessed if the right questions aren’t asked. Questions like “Where you went to high school,” for example, could be found on someone’s LinkedIn page by almost anyone.

2. Possession (Something you have)

The possession type refers to anything that you have on you.

  • Mobile devices
  • Key fobs
  • Access badges
  • Security tokens
  • Etc.

3. Inheritance (Something you are)

Inheritance-based factor types generally refer to biometrics.

  • Fingerprint scans
  • Iris or retina scans
  • Voice recognition

While knowledge, possession and inheritance are the three most commonly used MFA factors, the following two are also worth mentioning:

4. Behavioral (Something you do)

Computers and other devices can detect patterns in the way that we behave as humans. For example, a computer may be able to tell us apart from another person based on patterns in our typing. Although it is far rarer, behavioral factors have been used in MFA environments.

5. Location (Somewhere you are)

Location is another factor that is sometimes used to help authenticate a user. For example, if you are supposed to be logging into an account from New York, but the device sees that you are logging in from Tokyo, it may block access.

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A Few Examples of MFA

  1. To log into her corporate computer, Jane must first plug in a USB security token to her system (something she has). Upon plugging in the token, she must enter her password (something she knows) on the screen. The system checks to verify that Jane is, in fact, in the corporate office (somewhere she is). Finally, Jane is given access to her computer.
  2. Marcus is attempting to log into his bank account. After entering his username, the bank sends a text message to his phone (something he has) with a unique one-time code. After entering the code, Marcus answers several security questions (something he knows) before gaining access to his banking information.
  3. Isabella is entering a secure facility. To enter the facility, she must swipe her access badge (something she has). After swiping her badge, she then scans her fingerprint (something she is) before giving access to the facility.

Why Every Organization Needs MFA

Company assets are valuable and must be protected at all costs. Passwords simply don’t cut it. Strong password hygiene and MFA are only one part of your security equation.

In 2015, Gartner predicted that “Cloud computing will promote the growth of centrally coordinated applications that can be delivered to any device”. The cloud adoption rate in 2015 was 38% as opposed to 29% in 2014. Fast forward five years, in 2020, about 86% of the companies were using cloud. You can attribute this growth to the demand for innovation and the need to improve productivity exponentially, but constantly evolving use cases are also an important factor. Cloud has completely changed the IT industry landscape and with it the organizations that rely on information technology. Legacy systems based on monolithic software architecture have become obsolete and organizations need to have a service oriented approach while developing software. Microservices architecture has emerged as a savior for organizations that were experiencing stagnation and losing revenue. Microservices coupled with Containers, Continuous Delivery and DevOps has taken organizations a step further by fostering innovation and ridiculously shortening the time-to-market of products. Cloud-Native Application Development has helped organizations build applications at the speed of their businesses and has contributed to their growth exponentially.

Cloud

Product development in the old days usually meant following the waterfall approach and designing software without considering the customers. But the cut throat competition in the industry has provided the organizations onus to adopt goals oriented approaches that increase their business value and ultimately their market share. Agile development, DevOps, and Design Thinking have revolutionized the way products are developed. Design thinking’s user-centric approach, Agile’s focus on responding quickly to customer feedback, and DevOps’s insistence on promoting fast feedback help build impactful products and decrease the product cycle time. When organizations couple these approaches with cloud technology, they reduce cost and capabilities such as scalability and faster time-to-market to scale impactful ideas.

While Cloud technology is clearly a winning element for a lot of businesses, there are a few caveats organizations must be aware before adopting them. This blog is meant to educate the decision makers of companies about the do’s and don’ts of product development on cloud. Let us discuss the things organizations must not do so that we can end this blog on a positive note.

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Things “not” to do

Mimicking the on-premise model: Adding more servers to the cluster does not impart scalability or stability to the application. Cloud applications are more secure than on-premise applications and extra security measures will only add redundancy.

Ignoring Downtime: Server outages can prove disastrous for the business. Server connectivity is important for uninterrupted performance of the application. So it is important to avoid server outages altogether.

Skipping Documentation: Documenting everything will give your team a chance to rethink the development process. It gives developers a clear image of the application’s limitations and helps them plan for future development. Skipping this might lead to complexities in the future.

Migrating En Masse: Migrating all your applications to the cloud for the sake of migrating is unnecessary. Not all applications are suited for the cloud. Organizations that do a return on investment analysis before migrating will find that only a few applications are enough to be migrated.

Underfunding: Cutting costs on cloud migration might prove disastrous in the long run. Migrating to the cloud will add business value to the company and hence it is in their interest to do a cost analysis and ensure that the migration is done well.

Related:- The Biggest Web Security Threats to Watch Out for in 2021

Things to do

Aim for the least amount of responsibility: Choosing SaaS, PaaS or IaaS will allow you to share management of services such as middleware, Servers, Applications and Data with third parties. This will save you time, resources and space.

Separate data from the application: Storing the data on your application will compromise its security and slow down its performance. Decoupling the data and the application will make it faster and more secure.

Implement Cloud Application Best Practices: It is important to establish time tested approaches and architectural guidelines. Organizations must keep it simple and avoid taking on additional responsibilities. This is why it is wise to choose SaaS, PaaS or IaaS. Adopting approaches like Agile and DevOps will reduce the product life cycle and enables frequent deliveries.

Futureproofing: As your business grows, scaling will become inevitable. Unsuitable platforms and bad programming will make it difficult to scale up. So it is better to futureproof the applications during the initial stages of development itself.

Have a cloud focused vision for the architecture: The cloud journey doesn’t stop once you migrate to the cloud. You need to decide upon the resources for taking up the responsibility for billing, subscription and consumption.

The zero-day exploitation of Microsoft Exchange Servers has been all over the news, and many users who haven’t updated the software with the latest patch are in for a potential breach. However, a zero-day attack is only one of the attack vectors cybercriminals use – and it isn’t the most frequent web security threat either.Web Security

With online shopping gathering popularity, eCommerce sites have become common targets to cybercriminals. Furthermore, by analyzing the cyber attack data from last year, you can estimate how the security threats will pan out this year and prepare your sites with security measures to mitigate risks.

Let’s take a closer look at the main security threats in 2020 and learn how to protect your site in 2021.

eCommerce Cyber Attack Trends

There’s no doubt that the global pandemic fueled the growth of eCommerce. Research shows that online shopping grew by over 30% in 2020 compared to the previous year. Furthermore, estimates show that online shopping in the US will reach 19.2% of total retail sales by 2024, compared to 14.4% in 2020.

With their growing popularity, online stores are also targeted more by cybercriminals looking to extract data, gain access to accounts, or render your site offline altogether. You should also consider that these assailants aren’t only targeting large corporations or high-traffic websites. Business websites, small online stores, and blogs are also chosen as targets because of more relaxed security measures.

However, knowing the latest trends can help you stay aware and be proactive in implementing tighter security controls. More thorough website defense methods can discourage cybercriminals from targeting and attacking your site altogether.

The Rise of Credential Stuffing in eCommerce

In essence, credential stuffing attacks mainly use compromised login information to access users’ accounts. With a successful attempt, assailants can get their hands on sensitive data such as bank details, home addresses, phone numbers, and other information. The acquired data can then be used in other cybercrimes or sold on the dark web.

Research conducted by Akamai found that from July 2018 to June 2020, there were over 62 billion credential stuffing attacks that targeted the retail, travel, and hospitality industries. Furthermore, more than 90% of these attacks targeted the retail sector alone. It’s also worth mentioning that the majority of targeted online stores were in the US.

The login credentials that cybercriminals use to launch this type of attack mainly come from data breaches, where the data-packet was either bought on the dark web or acquired first-hand by the assailants.

Here are some of the most significant data breaches from last year:

  • MGM Resorts International data breach – over 142 million guest records compromised
  • Marriott International data breach – 5.2 million guest records compromised
  • Zoom data breach – 500,000 unique username and password combinations leaked

Since Internet users tend to reuse the login combinations on other sites, the probability of a successful account takeover is more likely to happen.

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SQL Injection – The Most Popular Attack Vector of 2020

Cybercriminals use various attack vectors to target a previously identified site vulnerability. With the majority of sites and online stores using the same core structures, it makes targeting them with particular vectors quite efficient.

According to Akamai’s research, the most popular attack vectors against retail, travel, and hospitality industries were SQL Injection (SQLi) and Local File Inclusion (LFI), with 79% and 14%, respectively. Together, both of these attack vectors reached almost 93% of the total vectors used.

An SQLi attack occurs over a data input to execute predefined SQL commands; an LFI attack occurs when a site accepts file uploads without proper validation. In broad terms, both are related to the user’s input data as a vulnerability that cybercriminals can exploit.

Larger Distributed Denial of Service Attacks on eCommerce

A successful DDoS attack aims to overwhelm the site’s server with requests and traffic to disable it and take the site offline. While a DDoS attack can be used primarily to take down a site, criminals can also use this method in combination with other attack vectors. Furthermore, on top of regular websites, databases, and online stores, cybercriminals also target website hosting companies due to their extensive archive of information.

Recent trends show that DDoS attacks are becoming more sophisticated and targeting multiple vulnerabilities at once. Netscout found an increase of 2,815% from 2017 to 2020 in attacks using 15 or more attack vectors. The most commonly used angles were ones that targeted CLDAP and DNS protocols.

DDoS attacks are also getting more extensive and prolonged compared with previous years. In February last year, Amazon Web Services (AWS) reported that they mitigated the largest DDoS attack they’ve ever received, which was about 44% larger than any other attack previously blocked. While most DDoS attacks remained under 1 Tbps, the one AWS reported reached a peak volume of 2.3 Tbps.

The majority of 2020 DDoS attacks targeted the entertainment sector (39.6%), but the third most attacked sector was the online retail industry which received more than 14% of the total DDoS attacks. With the increase of online shopping’s popularity, more cybercriminals started eyeing eCommerce sites as well.

How to Protect Your Site Against Web Security Threats in 2021 and Beyond

Following the trends from last year, we know that protecting your site against the most common attacks is of utmost importance. Furthermore, these trends give us a good idea of what we’re up against and how we should approach securing our site against potential threats.

Hosting your site on your own servers puts you in charge of all security measures. However, if you use a hosting service, take inventory of the provided security methods. A study of over 35 different web hosting services found that not all hosting companies offer the same web security coverage. You can find hosts that only provide you with an SSL/TLS certificate, while some offer DDoS mitigation, security monitoring, and other cybersecurity elements. So, make sure to pick the most security-minded service or bolster up the threat mitigation with additional methods.

Still, even with the default security measures, it’s best to assess the threat level and use further means to mitigate additional risks of a potential breach or an attack. So, let’s look at how you can protect your site this year and which security measures you definitely want to have in place.

How to protect against brute force and credential stuffing attacks

The main goal for brute force and credential stuffing attacks is to access a site’s user or admin account. While a brute force attack method primarily relies on the assailant trying to guess the password, a credential stuffing attack uses a database of information previously acquired.

The most straightforward defense against these types of attacks is creating a unique and strong password. Furthermore, using a robust authentication process also mitigates the risk of a compromised account as the cybercriminals must get access to multiple pieces of information or even a physical device to complete the attack successfully. Also, consider a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) platform that allows you to fine-tune users’ permissions, define user roles, and assign privileges to mitigate the risk of a possible data breach making the whole codebase and database vulnerable.

While a compromised user account poses a security risk to the user’s data and sensitive information, a compromised admin account can do even more damage. On top of straightforward solutions, you can further mitigate the risk by implementing a physical element to the login process, such as a token or smart card. The requirement of a physical object’s presence during login and account usage makes it near impossible for cybercriminals to gain access to accounts and unlock a computer or other hardware.

Related:- Debunking 5 Major Cybersecurity Misconceptions

How to protect against injection attacks

Among the various injection attack vectors, SQLi is the most used option by cybercriminals. It targets the vulnerabilities and loopholes of the SQL-based code. The assailant can then insert a piece of code within the codebase that compromises data security or even gives admin-level access to the criminal.

The risk mitigation for injection attacks starts from the sanitation process of your codebase. Using parameterized statements, Object Relational Mapping (ORM) frameworks, and sanitizing user inputs are a few suggestions that lead to avoiding an SQLi attack.

Furthermore, using a multi-factor authentication process is also helpful. When using this security element together with privilege limitations, you can further mitigate risks of widespread damage in case of a successful injection attack.

How to protect against DDoS attacks

DDoS attacks cause a considerable traffic load for your servers in an attempt to render them offline and not process any other requests. However, cybercriminals can use this type of attack as a precursor to breach additional defense mechanisms that are also vulnerable during a DDoS attack.

Since DDoS attacks aim to overwhelm a server, the best defense is to use a load balancer so when an attack occurs, additional resources can be directed to the site helping it remain functional. You can also mitigate risks by choosing a website hosting service that offers scalable resources in case your site experiences more traffic. Finally, you can use a Content Delivery Network (CDN), which also helps spread your resources around, so your site is less affected by an attack.

Due to the DDoS attack’s nature to potentially cover up additional breaches, you can bolster your security further by using a Web Application Firewall (WAF). The most common attack vectors covered up by a DDoS attack are injection attacks and Cross-Site Scripting (XSS). A WAF can help protect your servers against both attack vectors, so even if a DDoS attack is successful, they still need to bypass the firewall as well.

Why It’s Important to Act Now

Website and online stores suffer from cyber attacks every day, and in this article we’ve covered some of the most used vectors by cybercriminals. By strengthening your site’s security based on last year’s cyber attack trends, you can reduce your chances of being targeted and suffering a successful breach.

You don’t have to be a cybersecurity expert to increase your site’s security either. Creating stronger passwords, using a multi-factor authenticator, keeping your codebase sanitized, using a load balancer and a CDN, and utilizing firewalls are some of the most straightforward steps towards keeping your site secure.

Start by taking inventory of your current security measures and identifying potential areas that might create a risk. You can then systematically eliminate those risks based on the most common threats and continue bolstering your defenses against even the more sophisticated attack vectors.

Machine learning is a subset of artificial intelligence that allows an algorithm, software or a system to learn and adjust without being specifically programmed to do so.  ML typically uses data or observations to train a computer model wherein different patterns in the data (combined with actual and predicted outcomes) are analyzed and used to improve how the technology functions.

Machine Learning

Machine Learning (ML) models, based on algorithms, are great at analyzing trends, spotting anomalies, and deriving predictive insights within massive data sets. These powerful functionalities make it an ideal solution to address some of the main challenges of the supply chain industry.

5 Top Benefits Of Machine Learning In Logistics

1. Accurate Demand Forecasting

Anticipatory Logistics is no longer a figment of the imagination. Artificial Intelligence in logistics have the ability to evaluate thousands of disparate data sets and then recommend actions or even be programmed to act on the findings. From optimizing carrier selection, fixing on pricing and improving routing, Machine Learning can do it all. For example, traditional models looked only at intrinsic data but machine learning in logistics industry can dig much deeper than traditional correlations. It includes dynamic variables like weather, GPS systems, social media feeds as well as daily lane patterns. These algorithms can self-evolve over time and can keep finding more patterns and insights to remove inefficiencies.

Demand forecasting is an essential prerequisite for profits since cash can be tied up in stocks. The less time that inventory sits in a warehouse the less you spend. Knowing what the end customer can want at any given time or the ability to forecast multiple scenarios can improve supply chain agility. DHL has a predictive analytic model that uses over 58 variables. This is used to help freight forwarders know a week in advance whether average freight times can rise or fall and create contingency plans. By knowing what the trends in the market are, they can quickly move vehicles to areas with more demand and save operational costs.

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2. Cutting down on fuel costs

Logistics is a business where cutting down on a mile per vehicle each day can see savings of millions a year. Companies like UPS have actively used technology to drive their global logistics networks. One of these technologies is ORION (On-Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation). All UPS vehicles have systems and sensors that continually capture data. This feeds algorithms that in turn plan and optimize routes taken by UPS drivers. The millions of miles cut through optimized delivery routes is why ORION has become the standard to emulate.

Surprisingly, the most important insight provided by ORION was that the shortest routes are not necessarily the best. This supports the fact that AI can solve problems we didn’t even know existed. Turning left in countries with right-hand traffic and vice versa raises the ante on accidents as the driver is going against on-coming traffic. Waiting to turn also burns fuel needlessly. With this simple change, UPS burns 10 million gallons less fuel while delivering 350,000 more packages annually.

3. Predicting Price of a Load

There are over 500,00 trucking companies in the United States alone. Shipping a truckload from Chicago to Los Angeles will not cost the same as shipping from Los Angeles to Chicago. Prices change from season to season and from day to day. Price predictions are therefor the biggest challenge. Human experts are usually responsible for fixing prices based on their deep domain expertise. Yet this takes time and can only be learned by experience.

Machine Learning in Logistics are now removing the guesswork. They evaluate historical freight data along with concurrent data such as traffic and weather conditions to fix a fair price. Freight brokers can also use predictive models to run carrier analytics to find which carrier has moved what kind of product at what price. Choosing a carrier can thus become easier by matching freight to route and price.

Related:- 4 Ways Managed Services Improve Cyber Security

4. Robotics in Ware House Management

AI and Machine Learning for logistics bring up the world of robotics. Warehouse robots are no longer futuristic technology, there are already being used to track, locate and move inventory within a physical space. Robots have deep learning built into them, they have been trained using ML data capture  including computer vision to make autonomous decisions that cut down on time.

Tractica Research predicts that by 2022 most major players would have adopted warehousing and logistics robots. Sales are expected to reach a record of 30.8 billion dollars. British online grocer, Orcado has built a fully automated warehouse that uses space intelligently. The robotic machinery sorts and stores products with rarely ordered items in the bottom tiers. This ensures minimal time is required to sort orders and can clear 65,000 orders in just a week. Such flexible, scalable, robotic solutions will soon be a standard infrastructure, necessary to keep up with modern needs.

5. Autonomous Vehicles

Self-driving cars or autonomous cars from Tesla to Google to Uber are foreseeing the future for logistic carriers. Existing laws prevent drivers from driving for more than 11 hours without an 8-hour break. Autonomous vehicles will increase time on the road, increasing delivery volumes while cutting costs by 25%.

While driverless trucks might still not yet be here, machine learning is already setting the way to that goal. Automated systems like lane-assist, highway autopilot and assisted braking features are making long-haul driving easier. These driving systems are also using ML based data capture to provide  information for multiple trucks to drive in formations that cut down on fuel usage. Completely controlled through computer-driven communications, it reduces fuel by 4.5% for the lead truck and up to 10 % for trucks following.

Cybersecurity preparedness is essential with the ever-evolving threat landscape we are currently living in. Given that it is no longer a matter of “if” you will experience a cybersecurity incident, but “when”, establishing a baseline and having a detailed cybersecurity plan in place is crucial to every business. However, despite increased focus and awareness on cyberthreats, several myths and misconceptions regarding cybersecurity continues to prevent businesses from protecting themselves effectively.

Cybersecurity

Below are Verity IT’s top 5 cybersecurity misconceptions that are vital to challenge.

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  1. Cybersecurity Is the Responsibility of the IT Department

Of course, your IT department or Managed IT Service provider plays a HUGE role in managing the cybersecurity of your business. However, you should never rely on them for complete cyber protection. Real cybersecurity preparedness is the responsibility of every single employee in your organization. Considering 63% of professionals report they don’t have enough security training to keep up with risks, Security Awareness Training is crucial for all businesses. With the rate of learning falling behind the pace of technology change, employee security education remains one of the most critical layers of security defense available to your organization today.

  1. We Haven’t Experienced a Cyberattack, So Our Security Posture Is Strong

Cyberthreats are constantly evolving in sophistication and complexity, and organizations need to continuously strive for cybersecurity. It’s merely impossible to achieve complete security but it’s important to have a strategic security posture help you detect an attack. An effective plan can mean the difference between a quick recovery and a serious blow to a company’s reputation.

  1. My Insurance Covers Cybersecurity Incidents

Another important item to check on is whether or not your general liability insurance covers cyber breaches. Many standard insurance policies do not cover cyber incidents or data breaches at all. We also recommend Dark Web Monitoring to help identify any compromised business credentials as a result of another organization’s data breach.

Related:- 4 Ways Managed Services Improve Cyber Security

  1. We Have Invested in Security Tools, So We Are Safe

Many businesses believe that if they invest in expensive security tools and solutions — they can build an invincible shield between their network and cybercriminals. Don’t get us wrong, sophisticated cybersecurity solutions are an essential part of keeping your business secure, but it will not protect you from everything. Security tools and solutions are only 100% effective if they are appropriately configured, monitored, maintained and integrated with overall security operations.

  1. Compliance Is Enough

 Simply complying with industry standards does not equal a robust cybersecurity strategy for your business. Although compliance is a crucial component of any security system, vulnerabilities and threats keep evolving which can only be managed through updating your cybersecurity practices consistently. This means going far beyond what your industry regulations are asking for.

One of the main issues with a compliance-based cybersecurity mindset is this that compliance is only a basic foundation – even most regulators will admit that the requirements imposed by security regulations are a bare minimum standard. An organization that has not taken the steps to move beyond compliance regulations has not seriously considered the responsibility it bears to its business and its clients!

Business life in 2020 has experienced a perfect storm of cyber security threats. Remote work expands the attack surface. Meanwhile, cyber criminals grow increasingly sophisticated, while a shortage of cyber security professionals leaves many businesses without adequate protection. cyber security

Fortunately, managed services improve cyber security in several critical areas.

Expertise at Your Fingertips

In late 2019, (ISC)2, a major nonprofit organization of cyber security professionals, conducted a study of the cyber security workforce. The study showed that the skills gap continues to widen. In fact, to adequately meet the data security needs of American organizations, the cyber security workforce would need to increase by 62 percent.

That means that as security threats increase, organizations find themselves without adequate resources to protect critical data assets. Increasingly, businesses turn to managed services providers (MSPs) to fill that skills gap. With managed services, businesses of all sizes can access the expertise of certified, experienced analysts and engineers.

Furthermore, because cyber security represents a significant focus for MSPs, they stay up to date on the latest trends, tools and threats. Thus, managed services improve cyber security by analyzing your organization’s needs and applying the right combination of skills and tools.

Related:- Easily Host Your VPN on a HostDime Cloud Server

Proactive, 24/7 Monitoring

Another significant way that managed services improve cyber security involves system monitoring. A reputable MSP will provide monitoring not just during business hours, but 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Using machine learning, for instance, your MSP can identify unusual activity and proactively address issues even before a breach occurs.

Monitoring can include both your network and your cloud infrastructure, thus addressing the numerous data access points. Additionally, many providers offer automated compliance monitoring. With privacy and security regulations affecting industries across the board, compliance monitoring saves countless headaches and protects your business reputation.

Vulnerability Identification and Remediation

The MSP typically conducts risk assessments to determine the state of your organization’s cyber security and make recommendations. In the process, they will likely conduct vulnerability scans and penetration testing.

A vulnerability scan often uses automated tools to identify weaknesses in the perimeter, places where unauthorized persons could enter the system. Penetration testing goes further. Essentially, a penetration test simulates an actual cyber-attack, with a skilled tester acting like a hacker to try and exploit weaknesses.

Some regulations require vulnerability scans and penetration testing on a regular basis. Whether required or not, they form an essential part of a comprehensive cyber security strategy.

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User Education

The human factor remains an often overlooked weak link in data security. For example, one employee may click a link in an email, unwittingly downloading malware. Another responds to a seemingly urgent, but fraudulent, phishing email. Many use weak and easily exploited passwords or store password lists in files on the network.

One service many MSPs offer involves providing security training for your staff. Regular, focused user education reminds employees of security best practices. And when you back up that education with automated policies for passwords, email and file sharing, you strengthen your security posture. MSPs help with policy implementation, as well.

Discover How Managed Services Improve Cyber Security

For nearly twenty years, His helped organizations of all sizes secure their critical data assets. Proactive network monitoring, email security and comprehensive threat detection are just a few of the ways eMazzanti’s award-winning managed services improve cyber security.

Customizable security offerings also include services such as dark web monitoring, patch management, web filtering and predictive security. More security professionals conduct a risk assessment and work closely with you to implement a comprehensive cyber security strategy that meets your specific needs and budget.

A virtual private network (VPN) is a private network that lets you connect to the web and keeps your network traffic secure. When combined with HTTPS connections, this configuration allows for shielded wireless logins and transactions. VPNs also hide your location, helping circumvent geographical restrictions and censorship. Think of a VPN as unlocking your Internet freedom.

If that appeals to you, adding a VPN to your server is a no-brainer. However, setting up and configuring a VPN can be time consuming and complicated.

Host

Luckily for us all, the HostDime Cloud simplifies the process of deploying a VPN. In the following tutorial, we’ll show you how to get OpenVPN up and running on our Cloud. OpenVPN is an open sourced, fully featured VPN solution that accommodates many configurations.

Once you have OpenVPN installed, you can then add your favorite VPN client. Some popular ones include ExpressVPN, NordVPN, PrivateVPN, IPVanish, and VPNArea.

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How to Set Up Your Own VPN on a HostDime Cloud Server

  1. Log into our Cloud platform from your HostDime CORE account.
  2. Create a new Cloud virtual machine and when asked to select a template, choose CentOS from the options on the left and then select Centos 8 w/ OpenVPN as the template and continue setting up the virtual machine as normal.
  3. Once your new Cloud virtual machine is running, log in via SSH as the root user and run. the following command to finish setting up your new VPN:
  4. You will be asked a few questions in order to finish the VPN setup process. When in doubt of what to chose, you can accept the defaults that appear in square brackets:
  5. Once the VPN is running, you need to connect to it to make certain it is working properly. Connect to the VPN with the .ovpn file provided using the main IP address (if none was specified it use the main IP of the virtual machine on which it is running). Use a VPN client that supports OpenVPN. We listed some of our favorites above.
  6. On Windows you can download the latest official OpenVPN client software here: https://openvpn.net/client-connect-vpn-for-windows/ You would place the file in C:\Users\$USER\OpenVPN\config and right click the application and click connect. It will read from your ovpn file and connect automatically.
  7. If you use macOS, you can download the latest official OpenVPN client software here: https://openvpn.net/client-connect-vpn-for-mac-os/ or you can use the free Tunnelblick application: https://www.tunnelblick.net
  8. There are OpenVPN compatible mobile VPN applications available for iOS and Android.

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Enjoy your new VPN hosted on HostDime’s Cloud!

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Is “conversational commerce” the next big improvement in online shopping? I hope so. I’m closely following the success of the new Octane AI conversational commerce app. It was announced this week along with convincing data on significant sales increases it generated by actual users. conversational

It works with Shopify, the shopping cart platform used by half a million eCommerce sites.

Related:- The Cost To Develop A Blockchain-Based App Platform

Not replace … enhance

“We are not trying to replace ecommerce websites or apps, said Octane AI CEO Matt Schlicht. “Instead we make them measurably more profitable and effective. Our new app dramatically improves the customer experience on online stores. We combine them with an automated concierge, and we have the numbers to prove it.” Those numbers, by the way …

Stores in the Octane AI private beta, including VerClare Boutique, Pure Cycles, Apt2B, Pearl Paradise, Filly Flair, Sweat Tailor, and Epic Rights, on average had 1 out of 9 Messenger messages sent convert into a sale, over 75 percent open rates on messages sent to customers, and recovered twice as much abandoned cart revenue. Stores in the private beta have made over $750,000 in new revenue.

“Conversation is actually one of the most natural and oldest ways to shop,” Octane AI VP Product Megan Berry told me. “What’s amazing about conversational commerce is the ability to do that at scale through messenger apps and chat. All of your customers can get personalized, instant attention with the help of messenger, automation and artificial intelligence.”

Related:- Helping enterprises improve team engagement

Messenger marketing for ecommerce

How does it work? CMO Ben Parr adds, “Octane AI is a bot concierge for your store that lives on Facebook Messenger. An Octane AI bot answers customer questions, recovers abandoned carts, and increases sales automatically — their customers see a 7 to 25 percent increase in sales on average. Imagine talking to a store on Messenger and automatically getting product recommendations, shipping notifications, and all of your questions answered. They are leaders in conversational commerce — using conversation, messaging apps, and voice platforms like Alexa to improve the shopping experience.”

The Octane AI website links to specific case studies with detailed numbers. VerClare Boutique founder Cristina Vercler says the app increased her business’s monthly sales by 14%. Pure Cycles founder Jordan Schau said “Octane AI has enabled us to talk to over 10,000 of our customers and has grown our revenue online by about 14%.” And there are more real numbers on the website at octaneai.com.

For the record, I don’t do paid commercial endorsements on this blog. I never have. Occasionally I promote my own books and software, but even that is only a handful of posts among more than 1,800 posts here. Octane AI is special because the Megan Berry I quote above, VP Product, is my daughter. I’ve also known and respected co-founder Ben Parr for years. And as of last year, I am also an investor. So that’s bias, and I’m proud of it.

Enterprises have continued to work in the remote work model and will mostly continue to do so until the pandemic is completely eliminated. The work from home model, however, resulted in distorted communication. CIOs believe that if this model has to continue, it is vital to develop measures for seamless communications between teams and their managers.

Enterprises

Managers need to follow modified processes to better team dynamics, boost employee engagement, and assure them that their voices will be heard clearly.

Paying attention

While micromanagement is not advisable, too much leniency where the employees are left wondering about their role or the role of the leadership is not advisable either. A regular one-on-one meeting where the personnel have undivided attention is a foolproof way to ensure that leaders have time with each direct report.

Read More: Minimize Cloud Wastage in Today’s Hybrid World

Conducting skip-level meetings

CIOs acknowledge that having one-on-one meetings with direct reports is critical, but they are not enough, in organizations with a complex structure. The skip level meetings allow leaders to skip over a manager to communicate with an individual contributor directly. Traditionally skip-level meetings need to be shorter (15 minutes or so) and less regular than one-on-one meetings. CIOs believe that skip-level meetings allow them to learn new aspects about the team members and detect multiple opportunities to serve the clients and go ahead in their careers.

The skip-level meeting allows leaders to organize their teams to ensure that they have diverse skillsets that are complementary to one another inside a business function. This gives clear data on where CIOs should go if impromptu business requirements come up.

CIOs say that it’s crucial that direct reports be given a heads up before the skip-level meetings are initiated. If such meetings are initiated without informing the team leaders first, they risk damaging the trust built up over the years with them.

One major element to be wary of is that C-suite leaders should avoid appearing favoring one particular contributor at all times and taking for granted their direct reports.

Acknowledging and building relationships

Enterprise leaders believe that it’s vital to be aware of the types of employees they work with. To be respectful of people who would rather receive a “Thank you” or “Great job” than be given stock options or a raise.

As C-suite leaders, they are expected to invest time in building relationships with every team member via one-on-one and other communications. Relationship building helps them understand what kind of an acknowledgment each employee answers to and then ensure to offer it.

Read More:- The Cost To Develop A Blockchain-Based App Platform

Providing authentic feedback

CIOs feel that it should always be authentic when positive feedback is provided; this includes either constructive or positive feedback. When the desired result is not achieved, it is vital to inform the team constructively.

It is better when feedback is provided at the earliest after an event or a situation as possible. CIOs should ensure to unambiguously point out the behavior or action in question and provide the scenario of any potential failure. It eliminates ambiguity and trains the team members to engage in targeted improvements. A one-on-one meeting is an excellent scenario to provide feedback at.

Boosting team engagement

Leaders say that paying attention to the responsibilities of the teams and developing skill sets via both skip-level meetings and one-on-ones with direct reports is helpful. Their accomplishments should be acknowledged in a manner that is unique to them and bosses should ensure they provide authentic feedback. A leader should remember to be a multiplier and start with scheduling regular one-on-one meetings with the team.

Blockchain technology is one of the most trending technologies these days and is used for more than just economic transactions. Blockchain tech can transform the traditional ways to do business and transact with each other. The term Digital transformation perfectly blends into the definition of blockchain.
Blockchain represents the decentralized network essential these days, and companies do not want to let this go. Businesses seek a top mobile app development company with several years of experience in building the blockchain app according to their needs. But the question is: how much does it cost to build a blockchain-based app platform?
Platform
The cost to develop a blockchain-based app depends on multiple factors, including app features, blockchain type, complexity, a blockchain platform, and other tech stacks. Considering numerous factors, examples, & numbers, we have evaluated the cost of blockchain-based app platforms.
In this blog, we will look at the various factors that should be considered to estimate a blockchain app’s cost.
– Process or Phrases
– Complexity
– Development Resources
We will look into each one by one. Let’s begin!
Cost Determination of Blockchain-based App
1. Process / Phrases

Cost of blockchain implementation is invested in various activities or phrases of the project, including:
– Design: System Blueprint, UI/UI design including wireframes, low-fidelity designs with app flow & high-fidelity designs with a mock-up.
– Development: Coding & Testing
– Deployment: Deployment on DevOps, Cloud Platforms, and Delivery
– Migration: Moving the current solution to the Blockchain platform
– Maintenance: Maintaining new updates & testing if the app runs seamlessly on each OS release.
– Upgrade: New features, Modifications in Smart Contracts
– 3-rd Party Tools: Hosting, Storage, Collaboration, Notification System
Blockchain-based platforms also incur other costs, such as a developer paying some fee to deploy a contract on the blockchain.
Below are a few third-party tools that blockchain apps might use:
– Bug tracking tools like Instabug & Bugsee: Collecting and reporting live bugs
– Amazon web services: Computing, storage, and delivery
– Analytics with Mixpanel: Analytics of funnel, insights, data, and reporting
– Notification services like AmazonSNS: facilitating notifications inside the app
Project Management Cost
For instance, applying an agile method to execute frequent meetings or daily scrums, track the existing sprint, testing, bugs, timeline, and deliverables. And using tools like Jira and Trello to enable the agile technique. The cost of using such tools can also contribute to the cost of blockchain. For example, using the Jira tool to deliver action items to customers & track the internal team’s progress.
Continuous Integration
It is essential to preserve a pipeline of quality code. Every developer must write code and conform to a standard code depository to ensure that it works seamlessly with everyone else’s code. The correct way to check this is by using an automated process. The source code can be handled with tools like Github and Bitbucket. These tools also contribute to the blockchain-app cost.
Maintenance
Since this tech is still new in the market, and new platforms are entering the market each day, the apps can be converted to different platforms based on their flexibility, scalability, and confidentiality. Moreover, every year Google, Apple, and various blockchain platforms release new OS updates. This calls for a maintenance cost of 15-20% of the overall project cost, and it could differ based on the complexity.
2. Complexity
The cost of blockchain depends on the complexity of your app, and the complexity depends on multiple factors.
We have segregated the blockchain app into 3 categories based on their complexity:
Low-Complexity Blockchain Apps
– Basic Smart Contract Development App
– Payment apps developed with current cryptocurrencies
Medium-Complexity Blockchain Apps
– Semi-decentralized apps
– dApps developed on blockchain platforms such as Hyperledger, EOS, Ethereum, Fabric/Sawtooth, and more
High-Complexity Blockchain Apps
– Developing a blockchain platform from the start
– Creating an entire decentralized network
3. Development Resources

The cost of recruiting a team for app development is a significant contribution to the estimated cost. Salaries to the software developers are the main expense, but other imp factors include vacations, incentive compensation, benefits, holidays, and payroll taxes.
There are several ways to develop a blockchain app, and some of them are as follows:
– Developing a blockchain-based app with an in-house team
– Recruiting a freelancer for a blockchain-based app platform
– Recruiting an agency to develop a blockchain-based app
In-House Team
Maintaining an in-house team of blockchain developers seems complicated only cuz’ of monetary factors. However, digging deeper, you will know there are plenty of issues. Although, you will have a dedicated team who will be on their toes if any problems arise. You will have complete control over your blockchain development and manage the team’s expenses, including their incentives, vacations, workspace, and more.
Since blockchain is still nascent, there is a lack of experienced developers in the market. The average pay of a blockchain developer is $150k annually. It can be more expensive to recruit an in-house team than outsourcing a blockchain development company.
Freelancers
Hiring freelancers can be the least costly for blockchain app development; however, 80% of businesses face problems like their availability, quality, response time, and more. You can recruit a freelancer if your project is small because the risk factor rises with the project scope.
Agency
Any blockchain specialized agency can be the best option. Agencies serve as a full-time service provider and are experienced in the app development practices like Agile & DevOps. The cost of a blockchain app is lower than the in-house team. Sign a contract before starting to work on your project, which includes deliverables with particular timelines. Hence, you can count on them for your core business competencies.