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Installing Patches Immediately Helps Protect Your Organization from Cyber Vulnerabilities

Cyber criminals often exploit known or not yet known vulnerabilities of the Operating System and/or other critical systems, such as a web server or a database, in order to penetrate your network/systems. In the recent WannaCry attack, hackers exploited the Microsoft Windows Server Message Block protocol and encrypted data demanding ransomware. There was a patch that Microsoft had provided but thousands of systems around the world had not yet installed the security update. National Cyber-security awareness month

In honor of October being Cyber-security awareness month, AAFCPAs would like to take this moment to remind our clients again of the critical importance of taking measures to protect against malicious cyber-attacks. 

What can you do to minimize your vulnerabilities? 

  • Have desktops/workstations on auto download / auto install mode so the latest patches are automatically installed on the system.
  • Schedule regular maintenance windows to apply patches, combined with “emergency” downtimes when critical patches need to be applied as soon as possible. Additionally, consider investing in a high availability system, i.e. two systems running parallel, which would allow you to apply patches easier with minimal down-time.
  • Regular maintenance should also include infrastructure systems, including: firewalls, routers, switches, printers, etc. These systems need patching as well because they are part of your network, and provide opportunities for exploitation.
  • Run regular, annual at a minimum, vulnerability tests which can help identify your risks.
  • Be aware of the latest vulnerabilities. You may subscribe to information services such as https://www.us-cert.gov/, an official website of the Department of Homeland Security, and managed by the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team.

AAFCPAs advises clients to take a disciplined approach to cyber-security in order to better guard against, and minimize your organization’s risk of becoming a victim. Patching is one tool making it harder for hackers to penetrate your environment and steal your data.

To schedule a cyber-security assessment, or for specific advice on how to best protect your organization against cyber-attacks, please contact James Jumes at 774.512.4062, jjumes@nullaafcpa.com, Vassilis Kontoglis at 774.512.4069, vkontoglis@nullaafcpa.com or your AAFCPAs partner.

 

About the Authors

James Jumes
James joined AAFCPAs in 2013 to lead the Business Advisory Services practice. He has more than 25 years of experience working with information technology systems and diverse business operational processes. James is highly experienced in IT controls and assurance, SOX 404, and Service Organization Control (SOC) reports: SOC 1 (SSAE 18), SOC 2, SOC 2+ and 3 attestation reporting.  James developed a unique methodology to delivering SOC reporting services, and he is an AICPA-approved Peer Review SOC Specialist, assisting peer review teams to review SOC 1, 2, 2+ and 3 engagements. He is a HITRUST Certified Common Security Framework (CSF) Practitioner, providing HITRUST CSF self-assessment consulting, or SOC 2 + HITRUST for assessing against the evolving compliance landscape shaped by HITECH, HIPAA, CMS and various other federal, state and business requirements.
Vassilis Kontoglis
Vassilis is a highly-skilled IT professional with proven expertise in: business process improvement and change management, information systems gap analyses, cyber security and IT risk assessments, systems selection & implementation, IT auditing, and special attestation reporting (SSAE 18 and SOC 2). Vassilis performs comprehensive and thorough reviews of technology systems and environments, and advises clients on how to use technology to best achieve business goals and objectives.  He elicits input from stakeholders at all levels of the organizational hierarchy in order to thoroughly evaluate business performance across functional boundaries.  He analyzes current and potential business and IT processes to identify clear opportunities for improvement, which may include streamlining and automation, productivity increases, strategic alignment and cost reductions.