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27marAll DayCoronavirus : Business Continuity & remote working requires Cybersecurity

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In the context of the coronavirus pandemic, remote working has become the most widely implemented action to enable business continuity in our growingly service-oriented world. In consequence, the enterprises are opening more doors, tunnels and vulnerabilities to enable the information flow between the corporate datacenter and remote workers.

During this difficult period where enterprises are mainly focused on their survival, and where security is considered as a low priority topic, the frequency of cyber-attacks exploiting various vulnerabilities is increasing at an exponential rate. These attacks, coupled with the capacity limits of national, regional and worldwide technical infrastructures are seriously shaking the fundamentals of security in terms of information confidentiality, integrity and business continuity.

More than ever, the convergence of Business Continuity and Information Security is becoming a must to implement, in order to reduce the financial, operational, legal and reputational impacts of the cyber-threats.

ACTAGIS, was interviewed on this subject by RTS on March 27, 2020.

 

Willing to share its expertise, ACTAGIS proposes some key security recommendations for remote working that will help you to strengthen the continuity of your activities.

1. Set up a crisis management organization (a manager and if possible, a team) that can identify, prioritize and coordinate the necessary actions for the business continuity including the remote working plan.

2. Identify and focus on the most critical key processes of your enterprise and allocate to them the needed resources (human, material and financial).

3. Develop and implement the “Information Technology Disaster Recovery Plan”

4. Establish security policies & guidelines to facilitate the usage of technological solutions.

5. Empower your remote workers with on-line awareness & training sessions for security & remote working best practices in order to mitigate the cyber-risks relative to videoconferencing-bombing, corona-phishing, shared Wi-Fi…

6. Facilitate the activation of high-performance network connections for the enterprise premises and remote workers.

7. Provision sufficient capacity and implement adequate security for your IT infrastructure (software & hardware) that can scale and support an important number of simultaneous encrypted connections & access.

8. Provide secured corporate laptops (encrypted, hardened, using 2 authentication factors…) to enable a professional working environment.

9. Promote remote screen sharing and low definition video streaming enabling your staff to focus on the essential information without saturating network capacity.

 

Contact ACTAGIS for further recommendations, training and consulting services.

Take care of yourself and your family,
Jeff Primus

 

Author : Jeff Primus: Founder, CEO & Senior Consultant, has over 25 years of experience within information systems governance, cyber security and business continuity. Jeff, as an expert of the subject, actively implements ISO 22301 and ISO 27001 compliant Business Continuity & Security Management Systems for the public sector, SMSs and multinational companies in Switzerland, Europe and the Middle East. As a lead lecturer he teaches Security, Governance and Business Continuity topics at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, University of Geneva and HES-SO-Valais.

© 2020 Jeff Primus, ACTAGIS

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All Day (Friday)

29febAll DayCoronavirus is Seriously Impacting Businesses

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Boosted by accelerated global exchanges, the Coronavirus is spreading very rapidly, with large scale effects also in Europe and Switzerland. Thanks to the widely developed healthcare system in these zones, we can imagine that the propagation of the virus will be decelerated. But, in the meantime, businesses have already begun to suffer from the pandemic situation. Experts in macroeconomy predict the gross domestic product (GDP) of the European zone to fall due to the direct and indirect impacts caused by the Coronavirus.

 

Business Continuity & the Coronavirus

Even if the Business Continuity Plan (BCP) should naturally be embedded in a normal business practice, most of the time only large enterprises have implemented it at a companywide level, leaving the small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) unprepared for such pandemic situations. According to the official 2019 statistics published by the Swiss government, 99% of economic power is based on SMEs, making the vast majority of businesses highly vulnerable to the Coronavirus.

In the context of such a pandemic crisis, SMEs should be prepared to cope with the major disruptions related to the availability of human resources, supply chains, market demands for products and services, business travel, treasury and cash-flow. Failure to activate prepared solutions for such scenarios can have major consequences for the enterprises’ survival.

ACTAGIS provides below a helpful guide for a pandemic plan that SMEs can apply in order to get ready, by implementing adequate measures enabling their continuity in the case of a pandemic situation.

 

Jeff Primus, CEO of ACTAGIS, was interviewed on this subject by CNN-Money on February 26, 2020 (click for video)

Pandemic Plan (BCP) for Enterprises

Plan

  • Define and assign responsibilities.
  • Establish communication channels with the authorities and your key suppliers.
  • Identify the key business processes that enable your key products and services.
  • Set criteria and thresholds for the activation of the BCP.

Analyze

  • Identify the risks, associated vulnerabilities and impacts applying to your company.
  • Prioritize your key processes on which the enterprise will focus its continuity efforts.

Implement, Train & Test

  • Develop step-by-step plans with detailed activities and their stakeholders, considering the impacts generated by employees’ absences, information systems and cybersecurity requirements, teleworking conditions, supply chain disruptions, variation in market demands, traveling issues, financial constraints, chains of dependencies.
  • Enhance the plans by considering alternate solutions and insurance coverage.
  • Develop and implement the “Information Technology Disaster Recovery Plan” (IT-DRP).
  • Establish processes for employee welfare and repatriation from overseas.
  • Deliver awareness and Training Sessions.
  • Construct internal and external communication plans including also the emergency situations.
  • Develop policies to be applied companywide.
  • Test your plans.

Respond if your Enterprise is hit by Coronavirus

  • Apply the hygiene advice recommended by the healthcare authorities and experts and provide the adequate facilities and material.
  • Reduce travels and face-to-face contacts with various stakeholders (suppliers, customers) located in specific geographical regions.
  • Activate the Information Technology Disaster Recovery Plan.
  • Monitor the virus symptoms and activate the homeworking, teleworking plan in order to contain the pandemic propagation.

 

Author: Jeff Primus: Founder, CEO & Senior Consultant, has over 25 years of experience in information systems governance, cyber security and business continuity. Jeff, as an expert of the subject, actively implements ISO 22301 and ISO 27001 compliant Business Continuity & Security Management Systems for the public sector, SMEs and multinational companies in Switzerland, Europe and the Middle East. As a lead lecturer, he teaches Security, Governance and Business Continuity topics at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, University of Geneva and HES-SO-Valais.

 

© 2020 Jeff Primus, ACTAGIS

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All Day (Saturday)

01sepAll Day30ACTAGIS is PECB Europe Partner of the Month – September 2018

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september 1 (Saturday) - 30 (Sunday)

12febAll DayData theft of 800’000 Swisscom customers

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What are the risks that they do not disclose?

Switzerland is not spared, and this type of theft does not only happen to others. It is important to remember that the number of cases of data piracy continues to increase and that the Swisscom case represents only a modest event compared to the billions of personal data compromised via the accounts of Yahoo, MySpace, Ebay , LinkedIn, Dropbox.

As a customer or user, should we worry, since the data stolen from Swisscom is not considered sensitive? The answer is unfortunately yes, since the stolen phone numbers and names are now most likely accessible on the darknet. They attract the greed of a multitude of malicious actors who are willing to exploit them for illicit purposes .

(The video doesn’t start? There is an issue with the RTS streaming. 
Workaround: after hitting “play”, click on the timeline, just right of the dot, say at 0:02, and it will play normally.)

Jeff Primus, CEO of ACTAGIS, was interviewed on this subject for the “19h30” of the RTS on February 7, 2018.

The risks associated with this type of data theft are far from negligible and are not limited to receiving unwanted advertising calls. In reality, several scenarios of attacks remain entirely possible. For example, using “social engineering” methods, it is very easy for a malicious entity to use the stolen data to subtly obtain other more sensitive information. In other cases, the attacker will be able to exploit the stolen data by using a messaging or IP telephony application, in order to discover the vulnerabilities of the users.

By unveiling, early February 2018, that it was the victim of a piracy of its customers’ information at the end of 2017, Swisscom is probably at the top of the list for this type of incident in Switzerland. So why did Swisscom wait 4 months before announcing these facts to the general public? So far, we do not have a satisfactory explanation from Swisscom, but we think they should have warned the victims of this hacking without such a lengthy delay.

With the new European GDPR (General Data Protection) Act and the Swiss Data Protection Act, the situation for Swiss companies could quickly change. For example, the GDPR will require Swiss companies processing European citizens’ data to apply preventive, detective, and corrective security measures and to rapidly announce this type of incident to stakeholders.

In the event of a breach of the regulations, the company in question could pay a fine of up to 4% of international revenu. That should get companies thinking, if they haven’t yet found the motivation to devote a reasonable security budget for the products and services they offer their customers.

© 2018 Jeff Primus, ACTAGIS

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All Day (Monday)

18octAll DayACTAGIS is now a PECB SILVER PARTNER

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PECB & ACTAGIS are pleased to announce the accomplishment of a new partnership level. This step is a result of a strong commitment of both companies to share their expertise and offerings with the market in order to bring the best of breed ISO 27001 / ISO 27005 / ISO 9001 / ISO 22301 / ISO 31000 / ISO 20000 / GDPR courses.

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All Day (Wednesday)

17mayAll DayWannacry ransomware attack

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Wannacry ransomware attack

The Wannacry ransomware attack proved us again how the human factor coupled with the vulnerabilities inherent to the information systems can cause tremendous damage to the worldwide digital economy.

The schema used is not revolutionary and is based on a conjunction of known techniques.

  1. Exploiting a vulnerability that has been discovered but not patched by the software or hardware vendor
  2. Using the human factor weakness to activate the malware on the operating system
  3. Having access to the low level system instructions that enables the total encryption of the data stored on the system.
  4. Using worms to facilitate the light speed propagation of the attack on the network of the victims
  5. Using the darknet mechanisms in order to receive the ransom via bitcoin

With the scenario described above, the victims are, in the vast majority of cases, disarmed, especially if they were not prepared via security awareness campaigns and if the CIO and CSO did not implement adequate preventive, detective and corrective controls.


Jeff Primus, CEO of ACTAGIS, was interviewed on this subject for the show “Toutes Taxes Comprises”, aired on the RTS on 15 May 2017 (in French).

Since the beginning of the attack more than 150 countries have been hit by Wannacry and the damages to the worldwide economy can easily estimated to billions of dollars, if we consider the business interruptions caused to thousands of companies worldwide.

In order to reduce the probability and the impact of such events, companies should reinforce the awareness level of their users and patch their systems in a frequent and systematic way. Last but not least, a well designed and implemented business continuity architecture, would permit the enterprises and users to recover their information systems and data to a coherent state, as they were just before the attack.

Wannacry screen seen by the victims of the cyber-attack.

We should all be reminded that we are in a field where never ending battleswill probably continue forcing us to be better and better prepared for the future evolutions of more and more sophisticated threats.

The human factor will always be the biggest vulnerability that the attackers will exploit. And the major area where security can be improved.

©2017 Jeff Primus, ACTAGIS

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All Day (Wednesday)

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