Partnering for a Secure Future: How Local and State Governments Can Implement the US National Cybersecurity Strategy

On March 2, the Biden-Harris Administration released a National Cybersecurity Strategy aimed at securing a safe and secure digital ecosystem for all Americans that aligns with American values. The strategy involves fundamental shifts in how roles, responsibilities, and resources are allocated in cyberspace, including shifting the burden of cybersecurity away from individuals, small businesses, and local governments onto organizations that are best positioned to reduce risks for all of us. 


The National Cybersecurity Strategy is centered around five key pillars that aim to strengthen cybersecurity and encourage collaboration. These pillars include the defense of critical infrastructure, the dismantling of cyber criminals, the shaping of market forces to promote security and resilience, investment in a resilient future, and the forging of international partnerships. The strategy strives to ensure the privacy and security of personal data, reduce technical vulnerabilities, prioritize cybersecurity research and development, and establish joint preparedness and response with international partners. The Office of the National Cyber Director is spearheading the implementation of this strategy.

The Pillars 

Pillar 1 – Defend Critical Infrastructure: The National Cybersecurity Strategy aims to make critical infrastructure and essential services more available and resilient by expanding minimum cybersecurity requirements in key sectors. The strategy also aims to reduce the burden of compliance by harmonizing regulations, facilitating public-private collaboration, and modernizing federal networks while updating incident response policy.


Pillar 2 – Disrupt & Dismantle Threat Actors: The National Cybersecurity Strategy aims to render malicious cyber actors incapable of threatening national security or public safety by leveraging all instruments of national power. The strategy aims to use all national power tools to disrupt adversaries, including working with private companies in scalable ways to achieve this goal.


Additionally, the strategy focuses on addressing the ransomware threat by implementing a comprehensive Federal approach and working in collaboration with international partners to tackle the issue.


Pillar 3 – Shape Market Forces to Drive Security & Resilience: The National Cybersecurity Strategy has a focus on shaping market forces to drive security and resilience in the digital ecosystem. The strategy aims to place responsibility on those who can best reduce risk and shift the consequences of poor cybersecurity away from the most vulnerable in order to make the digital ecosystem more trustworthy. 


The strategy wants to achieve this by protecting people’s privacy and security, making software safer, and using government funding to support secure and long-lasting infrastructure. By implementing these measures, The National Cybersecurity Strategy intends to create a more secure and trustworthy digital ecosystem for everyone.


Pillar 4 – Invest in a Resilient Future: To foster a resilient future, The National Cybersecurity Strategy plans to make strategic investments and coordinate collaborative action. The aim is for the US to lead the world in the innovation of secure and resilient next-generation technologies and infrastructure. This includes reducing systemic technical vulnerabilities in the foundation of the Internet and across the digital ecosystem while making it more resilient against transnational digital repression. 


Moreover, the strategy gives precedence to research and development in cybersecurity for emerging technologies like post-quantum encryption, digital identity solutions, and sustainable energy infrastructure. The strategy also focuses on developing a diverse and robust national cyber workforce.


Pillar 5 – Forge International Partnerships to Pursue Shared Goals: To pursue shared goals and promote responsible state behavior in cyberspace, The National Cybersecurity Strategy  seeks to forge international partnerships. The strategy’s objective is to discourage irresponsible behavior in the digital world by making it expensive and unpopular. It also aims to work with other countries that have similar goals to address threats to the digital ecosystem. This will involve preparing together, responding to threats together, and imposing costs on those who behave irresponsibly.


Moreover, the United States wants to enhance the ability of its partners to protect themselves against cyber threats, both in normal situations and during emergencies. Lastly, the US plans to collaborate with its allies and partners to create dependable and safe global supply chains for information, communication, operational technology products, and services.

Implementing the National Cybersecurity Strategy at the Local Level 

Local and state governments can look to the Biden cybersecurity strategy as a model for implementing similar measures at the local level. The strategy presents a complete plan for improving cybersecurity and resilience in essential services and critical infrastructure, safeguarding the privacy and security of personal data, and developing international collaborations to achieve common objectives.


One of the primary pillars of the strategy is focused on defending critical infrastructure. This involves establishing minimum cybersecurity requirements for critical sectors, enabling public-private collaboration, and modernizing federal networks. Local and state governments can take similar actions to safeguard critical infrastructure within their jurisdictions. This may include collaborating with private sector partners to establish minimum cybersecurity standards and developing incident response plans to quickly respond to potential cyber threats.


Investing in a resilient future is another essential aspect of the strategy. This includes reducing technical vulnerabilities, prioritizing research and development in cybersecurity, and building a strong and diverse cyber workforce. Local and state governments can follow this lead by emphasizing cybersecurity research and development, investing in secure and durable next-generation technologies and infrastructure, and creating programs to attract and develop cyber talent.


By adopting measures based on the Biden cybersecurity strategy, local and state governments can strengthen their cybersecurity and resilience, and help contribute to a safer and more secure digital ecosystem.

Partnering with vTECH io for Local and State Governments’ Cybersecurity Needs

To summarize, the Biden-Harris Administration unveiled the National Cybersecurity Strategy with five pillars to ensure digital security. These pillars assign new responsibilities, roles, and resources to safeguard critical infrastructure, discourage cybercrime, prioritize security, invest in the future, and establish global partnerships. Local governments can adopt this model to enhance cybersecurity and create a safer digital environment. 


At vTECH io, We understand the unique challenges that local and state governments face when it comes to cybersecurity, and we are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to develop tailored solutions that meet your specific needs. Our expert team can help you create cybersecurity measures based on the latest and most effective cybersecurity strategies. To contact us simply click here, fill out the form, and you will be one step closer to creating a secure environment for your organization. 


Balancing Convenience and Security: Navigating the Risks of Using AI Chatbots

As the world continues to embrace artificial intelligence, natural language processing technologies like ChatGPT are becoming increasingly popular. ChatGPT and other chatbots offer a convenient and effective way to communicate with businesses, educational institutions, and even friends and family. These chatbots use natural language processing (NLP) technology to understand and respond to human language. They can be used for customer service, sales and marketing, personal assistants, entertainment, education, healthcare, and banking. Overall, chatbots enhance efficiency, customer service, and user experience across a range of industries and applications.


While AI chatbots offer many benefits, including increased efficiency and convenience, they also come with a set of security risks that users need to be aware of. By understanding these risks and taking appropriate measures to mitigate them, we can enjoy the benefits of chatbots while keeping our data and privacy safe.

Vulnerabilities Associated with Chatbots 

Businesses that implement chatbots online face several vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers. For example, there is a lack of encryption when customers communicate with the chatbot or when the chatbot communicates with backend databases. Without encryption, any sensitive data that is transmitted during these interactions is at risk of being intercepted and stolen by a hacker.


Another vulnerability is insufficient protocols and training for employees who interact with the chatbot. An employee’s lack of awareness can lead to unintentionally exposing a backdoor or directly exposing private data. For example, an employee may inadvertently give away sensitive information or download malware, leading to a data breach.


Vulnerabilities in the hosting platform used by the website, chatbot tool, and/or databases that connect to these components also pose a significant risk. Hackers can exploit weaknesses in these components to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data, leading to financial loss and damage to brand reputation.


To prevent these vulnerabilities from being exploited by cyber actors, businesses should consistently test and look for flaws, patching them when found. The implementation of secure coding practices and the use of encryption is crucial to securing online systems. Employees should also be trained in proper security protocols to reduce the risk of unintentional exposure. By taking these precautions, businesses can reduce the risk of a data breach and ensure the safety of their sensitive data.

Privacy Concerns 

With ChatGPT specifically, the potential for privacy violations is a significant security risk. When you engage in a conversation with ChatGPT, you are essentially sharing personal information with a computer system. This information could include one’s name, age, gender, location, and even sensitive data like your credit card number or social security number.


While reputable companies that use ChatGPT typically have robust privacy policies in place, it is important to note that not all companies may prioritize the user’s privacy in the same way. In some cases, companies may be collecting data from ChatGPT conversations to build profiles on users or to sell to third-party advertisers. This data may include sensitive information that one may not want to be shared without consent.


Therefore, it is essential to be mindful of the type of information shared during conversations with ChatGPT. Always avoid sharing sensitive data unless the company has taken appropriate security measures to protect such data. Before sharing any sensitive information, it is a good idea to check the company’s privacy policy to understand how they collect, use, and protect your data. Additionally, it is important to use strong passwords and two-factor authentication when communicating sensitive information to protect from potential privacy violations.


It is also important to note that ChatGPT conversations are not always private. In some cases, the conversations may be monitored by humans to improve the system’s performance or for quality control purposes. Therefore, it is always a good idea to assume that conversations with ChatGPT are not completely private and to be mindful of the information that is being shared.

Cybersecurity Threats 

Cybersecurity threats are a major area of concern, particularly with AI chatbots. These risks include the use of enhanced phishing content that can be difficult to detect, insufficient safeguards that allow inexperienced attackers to use malicious code, and the potential for hackers to hijack chatbot tools and direct people to malicious sites. Additionally, there may be unknown parameters for how conversational AI tools can be used in a licensed form, leading to legal liabilities.


To mitigate these risks, businesses should implement appropriate safeguards and protocols to minimize the risk of cyber attacks. This includes ensuring the chatbot uses encrypted communication with databases and the use of appropriate training for employees. By taking these steps, businesses can benefit from the many advantages of AI tools while safeguarding their operations and protecting their customers.

How vTECH Can Help Secure Your Chatbot System and Protect Your Business

AI chatbots like ChatGPT are rapidly gaining popularity due to their ability to provide convenient and efficient communication in various industries and applications. However, with the benefits come potential security risks that must be addressed. Vulnerabilities in encryption, employee training, and hosting platforms can expose sensitive data to hackers. Privacy concerns also arise with the potential for data collection and sharing by companies using chatbots. 


Cybersecurity threats, such as phishing attacks and malicious code, also need to be mitigated. Businesses must implement appropriate security measures and protocols to ensure the safety of their sensitive data and customers. With proper precautions, AI chatbots can continue to enhance efficiency and user experience while maintaining security and privacy.


If you are a business owner who is utilizing chatbots for customer service or other purposes, it is important to prioritize the security of your customer’s data and your business operations.  At vTECH, we offer a range of services that can help you secure your chatbots and other online systems. We can help you identify and address vulnerabilities in your hosting platform and communication channels, implement secure coding practices, and train your employees in proper security protocols. By working with us, you can reduce the risk of a data breach and ensure the safety of your sensitive data. Contact us today to learn more about our cybersecurity solutions and how they can help you keep your business secure while using chatbots.


Chat GPT and IT Professionals: Empowering Teams to Work Smarter, Not Harder

ChatGPT is a new AI-powered writing companion recently released for public use by OpenAI. This language model is trained to generate human-like text based on a given prompt or context. As one of the most advanced natural language processing models available today, ChatGPT is an incredible tool for professionals looking to improve efficiency on some of their daily tasks.

According to OpenAI, ChatGPT can interact with users conversationally, making it possible for the model to answer follow-up questions, admit mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate requests. With these advanced capabilities, ChatGPT can be a great asset to IT professionals looking to improve troubleshooting, enhance customer service and aid in writing technical documents.


While ChatGPT still has its limitations, its widespread recognition and continued improvements suggest that it has the potential to revolutionize the way professionals work. By leveraging the power of ChatGPT, IT professionals can streamline their day-to-day tasks, improve productivity, reduce errors, and enhance the quality of their work.

Improved Troubleshooting

One significant benefit of ChatGPT for IT professionals is its ability to help with troubleshooting. ChatGPT can be trained on large amounts of data, including previous support tickets, chat logs, and other troubleshooting resources. With this training, ChatGPT can quickly analyze the symptoms of a problem and provide potential solutions or recommend further steps to take.

This can be particularly useful in situations where the IT professional is dealing with a complex issue that requires a deep understanding of the system. With ChatGPT’s ability to process vast amounts of information quickly, IT professionals can save time and get to the root of the problem faster.

Automating Routine Tasks

As a language model, ChatGPT can be programmed to perform routine tasks at set intervals through the use of scripts. This means that IT professionals can create scripts that automate tasks such as software updates, backups, or system maintenance, and then program ChatGPT to execute these scripts at specific intervals. By doing so, they can reduce the risk of human error and ensure that these tasks are performed consistently and on schedule.

Scripts are sets of instructions that can be executed automatically by ChatGPT. They are written in a specific programming language, and they can be customized to perform a wide range of tasks. For example, a script could be written to update a specific software application regularly. The script would contain the instructions for downloading the update, installing it, and testing the application to ensure that it is functioning correctly. This process could be set to run automatically at a specific time or interval, ensuring that the application is always up to date.

Another example of a script that could be programmed into ChatGPT is a backup script. This script would contain the instructions for backing up important data, such as files or databases, to a remote location. The script could be set to run automatically at regular intervals, ensuring that critical data is always backed up and secure.

In addition to software updates and backups, ChatGPT can be programmed to perform other routine tasks, such as system maintenance. This could include tasks such as disk defragmentation, file cleanup, or system scans for malware. By automating these tasks, IT professionals can free up their time to focus on more complex issues, while ensuring that routine maintenance tasks are still being performed regularly.

Overall, the use of scripts and automation with ChatGPT can be a powerful tool for IT professionals. It can help to reduce the risk of human error, ensure that routine tasks are performed consistently, and free up time for more complex tasks. With the right programming skills and knowledge, IT professionals can create custom scripts that can be executed automatically by ChatGPT, making their work more efficient and effective.

Improved Communication   

Effective communication is essential for any IT professional working in a team or with stakeholders. However, communication barriers can arise due to language differences, technical jargon, and different levels of technical expertise. ChatGPT can help overcome these barriers and improve communication.

IT professionals often need to communicate complex technical information to stakeholders who may not have the same level of technical expertise. ChatGPT can summarize technical information into simple and easy-to-understand language, making it easier for other team members to understand the technical details and make informed decisions.

Writing effective messages or emails can be time-consuming and challenging. ChatGPT can assist in drafting messages or emails by suggesting appropriate phrases, checking grammar and spelling, and ensuring the message is clear and concise. This can save IT professionals time and improve the effectiveness of their communication.

Overall, ChatGPT can help IT professionals improve communication with team members and stakeholders by summarizing technical information and assisting in drafting messages or emails. This can help reduce miscommunications and improve collaboration within teams, ultimately leading to increased productivity.

Improved Customer Service

ChatGPT is a powerful tool for automating customer service interactions. By providing automated responses to common customer inquiries, ChatGPT can save businesses time and resources that would otherwise be spent on handling repetitive customer tickets.

To achieve this, ChatGPT can be integrated into a chat interface on a website or app, allowing customers to interact with the chatbot in real-time. As customers ask questions or make requests, ChatGPT uses its natural language processing capabilities to generate appropriate responses. Moreover, ChatGPT can be trained on a dataset of customer interactions to improve its understanding of specific inquiries and responses. This allows it to provide more accurate and relevant responses over time.

ChatGPT can also generate answers to specific questions or provide a conversation flow with the customer. For example, a customer might ask for help with a specific product or service, and ChatGPT can provide detailed information or walk the customer through a step-by-step process. Additionally, ChatGPT can assist with customer onboarding, providing relevant information and answering any questions a customer might have.

ChatGPT can improve customer satisfaction, reduce response times, and lower costs associated with customer support. With the increasing adoption of AI-powered chatbots, it’s likely that ChatGPT and other similar technologies will become even more prevalent in the customer service industry.

Optimizing ChatGPT with vTECH io 

ChatGPT has a large number of benefits for IT professionals to take advantage of. The tool’s ability to interact with users conversationally, its natural language processing capabilities, and its machine learning algorithms make it a valuable asset to any enterprise. As ChatGPT continues to improve with time, it will undoubtedly become an even more valuable tool for professionals across all industries.

At vTECH io, we want to equip you with the best optimization solutions. However, with so many benefits and ways to use this new AI, it can feel overwhelming to figure out how to optimize ChatGPT for your business or organization. Contact vTECH io today to learn more about how we can help you optimize ChatGPT for your business.


What Recent Apple Vulnerabilities Teach Us About the Importance of Cybersecurity

Apple has long been lauded for its strong security measures and reputation for protecting user data. However, recent vulnerabilities discovered in Apple products have highlighted the need for increased vigilance and awareness when it comes to online security. The discovery of these vulnerabilities in high-profile products like iMessage, Safari, and iOS has raised concerns about the ability of companies to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to cybersecurity. 


As technology continues to advance, it is becoming increasingly clear that cybersecurity must be a top priority for both individuals and companies. These vulnerabilities can occur with any number of products. Since Apple is a prolific tech brand for everyday users, it’s important to be aware of the vulnerabilities and how to patch them.

Apple Vulnerabilities 

The recent security flaw discovered on many Apple products was a serious issue as it allowed hackers to gain full control of a user’s device. The vulnerability was found at the core of the device, meaning it was deeply embedded in the operating system, and affected several Apple products, including iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers. Hackers could use this flaw to embed malware into the core of the device, giving them full administrative access without the user’s knowledge. This access could allow them to obtain sensitive information such as location, pictures, and other personal data.


Apple quickly responded to the issue and urged everyone to update their device software as soon as possible. This is a crucial step in keeping devices secure, as software updates often contain patches for known security vulnerabilities. Apple also recommended turning on automatic updates in the settings app on devices. This allows devices to automatically update when a security breach is found or when a new version of iOS is released, providing users with the latest security features and protections.


The recent vulnerability discovered in Apple products highlights the importance of staying vigilant and taking necessary steps to protect personal devices. Regular software updates, strong passwords, and safe browsing habits can go a long way in keeping devices secure and protecting personal information.

Importance of Timely Software Updates

Software updates play a critical role in preventing vulnerabilities and protecting users from cyber attacks. Updates often include patches that address security vulnerabilities, which can be exploited by malicious actors to gain unauthorized access to user data or take control of their devices.


Prompt updating provides numerous benefits, including improved security, bug fixes, and new features. By installing updates as soon as they become available, users can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to cyber-attacks and ensure that the device is operating efficiently.


In addition to installing software updates, users should also exercise caution when using their devices, avoid clicking on suspicious links or downloading unknown files, and regularly back up their data to prevent data loss. By following these best practices, users can enjoy the benefits of their devices while minimizing the risk of falling victim to cyber-attacks.

New Security Features for Apple 

Apple released an article outlining the new security updates for their products. Apple has introduced three new advanced security features aimed at protecting user data in the cloud, including iMessage Contact Key Verification, Security Keys for Apple ID, and Advanced Data Protection for iCloud. iMessage Contact Key Verification provides an additional layer of security for users who might be targeted by highly sophisticated cyberattacks, while Security Keys strengthens Apple’s two-factor authentication by requiring a physical security key used as one of the two factors. Advanced-Data Protection for iCloud offers end-to-end encryption for most sensitive iCloud data, including iCloud Backup, Notes, and Photos. 


These new features add to Apple’s suite of other protections that increase the security of these products. Although Apple does a great job at patching vulnerabilities in its products, it doesn’t eradicate the threats altogether.

Keep Your Devices Secure with vTECH io

The recent vulnerabilities in Apple products serve as an important reminder of the importance of staying informed and vigilant when it comes to cybersecurity. While Apple has released patches to address these vulnerabilities, users must take proactive steps to protect themselves from cyber-attacks.


By keeping devices up to date with the latest software updates and practicing safe browsing habits, users can significantly reduce the risk of a cybersecurity breach. It is also essential to regularly back up their data to prevent data loss in the event of an attack.


As technology continues to evolve, so do the tactics used by cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities. Therefore, it is crucial for users to stay informed about the latest threats and take steps to protect themselves and their devices.


We encourage readers to take action to protect themselves by installing the latest software updates, using strong passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, and practicing safe browsing habits. By doing so, you can stay one step ahead of cyber criminals and enjoy the benefits of your devices without putting their sensitive data at risk.


At vTECH io, we are here to help you make sure your business or organization stays secure. The reality is, these vulnerabilities are not unique to Apple products. Any number of devices could have undetected vulnerabilities. 

We want to make sure your devices are secure and patched regularly. At vTECH io, we can manage your patches and updates and provide solutions that do the same. To protect your devices from vulnerabilities, all you have to do is click here, fill out a contact form, and we will connect with you. We look forward to creating a more secure environment for your business.



Dell’s Technology Recycle Program: A Step Towards Responsible Corporate Citizenship and Sustainable Mining Practices in Africa

As industry leaders, we have a responsibility to uphold best practices when it comes to environmental sustainability and standing up for those in need. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an integral part of making sure your organization is upholding sustainable and moral business practices. 

An easy way to implement a CSR program is by taking advantage of Dell’s technology recycling program. This program makes it easy to recycle used devices. Beyond the convenience factor, the program also serves a much greater purpose – addressing the issue of coltan mining and promoting sustainable practices. Unfortunately, some of the minerals used in our everyday technology cause serious damage to the sociopolitical and environmental climate of the regions they are mined in. 

Coltan is a mineral used in almost all electronic devices, and much of it comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where mining is associated with hazardous working conditions and habitat loss. By recycling old devices, we can reduce the demand for new coltan and help the environment. Dell’s buyback program provides an opportunity for individuals to contribute towards sustainable mining practices while earning credit for their old devices.

In this article, we will explore the ethical and environmental issues associated with coltan mining and how Dell’s technology recycling program can reduce the demand for coltan.

Sociopolitical Impact 

For many years, mining and the illegal trade of minerals have caused significant social and environmental turmoil in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Coltan, an essential mineral used in modern electronics, has become a prime target for criminal networks. According to a recent study, research exposed an organized crime network involved in the production and supply chain of coltan, including its links to legitimate businesses in developed economies.

The results of this study found as the demand for 5G technology increases, so does the demand for coltan. However, much of the coltan produced by artisanal mining remains unregulated due to the government’s inability to access remote mines. This has led to the growth of coltan smuggling enabled by state collusion and corruption. 

Since many of these mines are unregulated, young people are exploited for mining. According to the Institute for Security Studies, More than 40,000 child and teenage miners extract a significant portion of the country’s coltan, often coming from remote villages and towns in Kivu where they drop out of school or have never had the opportunity to attend. Due to the informal nature of the extractive sector, children are attracted to the sector as a source of cheap labor. 

These vulnerable children work in dangerous conditions as washers, diggers, and petty smugglers selling coltan for low prices in nearby towns along the borders of Burundi, Rwanda, and Uganda. They face harassment, abuse, and poor health, including exposure to Radon, a radioactive substance linked to coltan, and lung cancer. Despite being underage, they are subjected to adult work in hazardous environments.

Environmental Impact 

Coltan mining has caused significant damage to the environment as well. The population of Grauer’s gorilla in the Congo has declined by 77% over the last two decades and this decline has been attributed to the illegal mining of coltan in the region by artisanal miners. The mining itself doesn’t seem to be wiping out the gorillas. It is due to the number of people setting up camp and needing meat. Hunters will join these camps and hunt anything in the surrounding areas to sell, reducing the gorilla population and harming local ecosystems. 

The Democratic Republic of Congo is a country that has been plagued by conflict and political instability for many years. Due to ongoing conflicts, travel to certain regions of the country can be extremely dangerous, particularly in areas where armed groups operate. The US Department of State has a Level 3 Travel Advisory in place for the DRC, which advises to people reconsider travel or not travel at all to the country due to the risk of violent crime, armed conflict, and kidnapping. 

This travel advisory presents a significant challenge for organizations that are trying to implement conservation efforts in the DRC. Such efforts require extensive on-the-ground work and engagement with local communities, which can be difficult or impossible to achieve in areas where it is too dangerous to travel. Additionally, the risk of violence and insecurity can pose a significant threat to the safety of conservation workers and volunteers, further hindering conservation efforts in the region.

Dell Trade In Recycling Program 

Learning that everyday items we use have a negative impact on people and the environment can be quite daunting. However, industry leaders such as Dell are stepping up and implementing initiatives aimed at reducing the demand for Coltan and you can follow suit. 

Dell’s Trade In program is an easy way for anyone to help decrease the negative impact of coltan mining in the Congo. Dell Trade In is a program that allows customers to receive credit towards their next Dell purchase by trading in eligible electronic devices such as computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones, smartwatches, and monitors.

Once the device is received at the processing facility, it undergoes a thorough inspection to ensure it functions properly and is professionally sanitized of all data. Depending on the results of the inspection, the device could be resold, used for repairs, or recycled through a certified program. This program is an effective and easy way to help protect the environment and decrease the demand for Coltan. 

Here is how it works: 


Making a Difference 

As industry leaders, it is our responsibility to prioritize environmental sustainability and ethical business practices. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is crucial in ensuring that our organizations are upholding these values. Dell’s technology recycling program is an excellent way to implement a CSR program, as it not only makes it easy to recycle used devices but also contributes to reducing the demand for coltan, a mineral that is often mined in hazardous conditions and contributes to environmental damage. 

Coltan mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo has had significant sociopolitical and environmental impacts, including the exploitation of children for labor and deforestation. By participating in Dell’s Trade In program, we can help contribute to more sustainable mining practices and a more sustainable future. Let’s make a sustainable difference by recycling our devices.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the Dell Trade In program, please connect with our team at vTECH io


Creating a Culture of Cybersecurity: The Importance of Acceptable Use Policies

An organization’s network is a critical aspect of its operations and it is essential to ensure that it is used in an appropriate and secure manner. One way to accomplish this is by implementing Acceptable Use Policies (AUPs) for employees and guests who have access to the network.


AUPs are a set of rules and regulations that outline what is considered appropriate and inappropriate use of the organization’s network and resources. They are designed to protect the organization’s assets and reputation while also ensuring that employees and guests are able to work and access resources productively and efficiently. 


Many organizations have strict compliance requirements depending on the kind of data they have access to. These Acceptable Use Policies help protect the organization against a lawsuit in the case of a negligent employee. If an employee leaks sensitive data or visits an illegal site that introduces malware, the organization can be prone to lawsuits. If an acceptable use policy is in place, the organization can pursue legal action against the employee for violating the AUP. 


When developing AUPs, organizations should consider a variety of factors, including the organization’s mission and values, the type of data and resources on the network, and the security and compliance requirements of the organization. 


Creating Acceptable Use Policies is a great way to protect your organization and mitigate risk. Having a clear code of conduct will keep the entire organization on the same page regarding keeping the network secure and protecting sensitive data. 

What to Consider When Writing Your AUPs

Creating a culture of cybersecurity starts with crafting well-thought-out Acceptable Use policies tailored for your organization. There are several key elements that organizations should consider when developing their AUPs. To mitigate risk, it is important to clearly communicate what online activities are prohibited on the network. Prohibited activities may include sharing copyrighted materials and accessing inappropriate or offensive content. 


The security of the network should also be considered when creating Acceptable Use Policies. Organizations should require employees and guests to follow best practices for maintaining the network’s security, such as using strong passwords, keeping software up-to-date, and reporting any suspicious activity. Organizations should also ensure that employees and guests are aware of their responsibilities regarding the protection of sensitive data and personal information.


Some industries have strict compliance requirements when it comes to managing sensitive data. Organizations should make certain that employees and guests are aware of these compliance requirements that apply to the organization and its network. This should be strongly considered when creating Acceptable Use Policies. 


Another key element to keep in mind is personal device usage. Now that companies have employees working remotely or bringing their own devices to work, there should be clear guidelines around personal device usage. Social media may also fall into this category. It can be a useful marketing tool, but can also lead to phishing scams and be a major distraction. Both personal device usage and social media guidelines may be broad, but should certainly be considered when creating Acceptable Use Policies. 


Finally, Organizations should outline the consequences for violating AUPs, including disciplinary action and possible termination of access to the network. Clarity is your friend when it comes to these policies. That way, no employees find a “grey area” which puts the entire network at risk. With that being said, there should be regular training on AUPs for employees and guests who have access to the network to make sure that they understand their responsibilities.


How to Enforce Your AUPs 

Acceptable Use Policies are only effective if properly enforced. A great way to enforce AUPs is to make sure they are easily understandable. They should be written with the employee in mind. Make sure the expectations are clearly communicated and relevant to your industry. 


AUPs should be easily accessible and located in places like the employee handbook. It might also be a good idea to have physical copies in common areas if your organization has a physical location. Make sure that they are updated and reviewed by employees often and that they are clearly understood before employees sign that they have read them. These policies should be communicated during the onboarding process for new employees and reviewed during staff meetings when necessary. 


Again, clarity is your friend when it comes to Acceptable Use Policies. Create space for employees to ask questions and gain further clarity on the why behind the policies they may not like or understand. 

Concluding Thoughts 

In conclusion, Acceptable Use Policies play a vital role in maintaining the security and integrity of an organization’s network. Organizations should develop AUPs tailored to their specific needs and provide regular training to ensure that employees and guests are aware of their responsibilities when using the network. By doing so, organizations can ensure that their network is used in a safe, efficient, and compliant manner. 


The best way to ensure your AUPs are right for your organization is to partner with our experts at vTECH io. You can purchase CISO hours from us and our experts can customize an agreement for your business.  Our vTECH io experts can help you determine if you have included the proper elements in your policies and help you revise and update older policies. The hours never expire so you only have to use the hours when you need them. 


To hire an expert from vTECH io, all you have to do is click here, fill out the form, and we will be in touch. We look forward to working with you. 



Technology Trends in 2023: Hybrid Multicloud

The new year launches an era of incredible business transformation. The shift from on-premise to the cloud is projected to be a significant technology trend this year. Hybrid and multicloud have a large number of benefits, making them popular initiatives for businesses and organizations seeking to transition their business digitally. 


Many companies have a physical infrastructure of servers, routers, etc. On-prem infrastructure provides companies with direct control of security, costs, and management. This allows for more control and independence. Additionally, many industries require specific data security compliance rules that they need to adhere to. Governments, medical facilities, and other companies and organizations with sensitive data have to conform to specific regulations on where and how they store this data. An on-prem infrastructure would allow them to meet those regulations. 


On the other hand, cloud computing is a way for people to use infrastructure and applications through the internet as opposed to installing them on-site. This is hosted by a remote data center managed by a cloud service provider, often through a subscription model. Renting a server from a cloud provider can decrease the costs of maintenance and increase scalability. Now, many companies are updating legacy applications and building new ones to optimize cloud-native technologies.


Many businesses are moving to a hybrid multicloud platform that marries on-prem infrastructure with more than one public cloud server. Hybrid and multicloud can be used together or separately depending on a company’s size and needs. However, a claim can be made that using a hybrid multicloud platform would give the modern business or organization a competitive advantage. 

What is Hybrid Cloud? 

Hybrid cloud platforms use a public cloud and a private cloud with on-prem infrastructure.  A private cloud is a cloud designated to one organization. This can be hosted by the organization on-site or a third-party service. It provides the security of an on-prem infrastructure with the benefits of cloud computing. A public cloud is a platform that is owned by a third-party service like AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. It is accessed via the internet and shared by other organizations. It is often used for web-based emails, office applications, and storage. 


Using a hybrid cloud allows for data and applications to move between the public and private cloud environments. This results in a unified distributed computing environment, allowing scalability for legacy and cloud-native workloads. This initiative is great for companies and organizations that have to consider security and regulatory compliance. Companies can use the private cloud for sensitive data and regulated workloads and the less expensive public cloud for everything else.


A hybrid cloud model enables scalability by using public cloud computing and storage to respond to unplanned spikes in traffic. This keeps the extra traffic from impacting the private cloud. This model also makes it easier to adopt new software-as-a-service solutions and integrate them into current applications. Another benefit of the hybrid cloud is improving user experiences with legacy applications by using public cloud services. Other benefits include better efficiency and improved regulatory compliance and security.


The benefits of hybrid cloud computing make it easy to see how this has become a trending technology. It is a great place to start for businesses that are transforming digitally for smooth data migration before a full-scale shift. The hybrid cloud is ideal for the enterprise looking for more flexibility, efficiency, and optimization.

What is Multicloud? 

A multicloud platform is the use of two or more public clouds. The beauty of a multicloud platform is it can be deployed across data centers internationally, making it an ideal technology for scaling. This can also be beneficial for businesses that have remote workers across the world. They can access applications without being on-site. Additionally, companies have the same applications on different clouds which means if one cloud service goes down, employees can carry on working from the other cloud. 


Multucloud can be used to optimize services depending on business or organization needs. Each public server may excel in a specific service and a business can use the best capabilities from each server, optimizing its performance. This also offers flexibility in choosing the right public cloud service provider based on price, security compliances, location, etc. Multicloud also enables the user to easily adopt new and better technologies from vendors as they merge or as needed. 


Many businesses and organizations that use multicloud have a multicloud management platform that helps manage any challenges that may come up from multiple clouds. Multicloud provides a lot of benefits but combined with a hybrid cloud, businesses and organizations could achieve greater efficiency and optimization. 

Implementing a Hybrid Multicloud Platform 

The benefits of multicloud compound with the benefits of hybrid cloud, making it an ideal duo. Businesses and organizations can take advantage of the great benefits of both platforms, increasing their security, optimizing applications, decreasing costs of on-prem infrastructure management, and increasing flexibility and deployment. 


Implementing both cloud initiatives is a great way to transition your business digitally. It is vital making sure that the current infrastructure can support integration. The best way to ensure compatibility is to partner with experts who can help your business or organization move from on-prem to hybrid multicloud. 


vTECH io has a group of engineers who can come in and evaluate your current infrastructure to help create a custom plan to move you from on-prem to the cloud. To partner with one of our expert engineers, all you have to do is click here. Taking advantage of all cloud computing has to offer the enterprise is a great way to gain a competitive advantage in 2023. 


Top Cyber Attacks that Businesses Face: Pre-Existing Malware Infection & Brute Force

Protecting businesses against cyber threats is much easier when we are aware of the potential risks. At vTECH io, we conducted a study to determine which cyber attacks businesses face the most. We found that 41% occur due to vulnerabilities in internet-facing devices, 38% happen through malicious emails, 5% of attacks happen through stolen credentials, 3% due to an insider threat, 5% due to a third-party threat, 3% of cyber attacks happen from pre-existing malware, and 5% happen from brute force. 


Over the past several articles on this topic, we have found that cybercriminals are increasingly creative. Businesses have become more vulnerable as their employees work remotely and they increase the number of devices they use to do business. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, also known as CISA, states, “As Americans become more reliant on modern technology, we also become more vulnerable to cyberattacks such as corporate security breaches, spear phishing, and social media fraud.” This article will discuss the final two top cyber attacks that businesses face, pre-existing malware and brute force.

Thankfully, it is not all doom and gloom. Our advanced technology also includes higher security measures, testing for vulnerabilities with AI, and advanced antivirus software. We are still in the information age with access to knowledge at our fingertips. We can prevent cyber attacks, mitigate risk, and train our employees for a more secure business network. Beginning with education on the threats at hand is the perfect place to start. 

Pre-Existing Malware Infection

One of the top ways businesses can experience a cyber attack is through a pre-existing malware infection. Malware, also known as malicious software, is any program or code designed to harm a system, network, or device. Malware affects a device the same way a virus would affect a person. It spreads throughout our system and wreaks havoc wherever it goes, slowing operations down. The malware may seek to control or stop an operating system completely to reduce productivity. 


A malware infection can be used to steal, encrypt, or delete data. It may also be used to change or control computer functions and see computer activity without the knowledge or permission of the user. This is often for monetary gain. 


Examples of how malware can enter a device include emails, downloading attachments, and visiting websites that have been hacked. Malware can also enter a device through illegal streaming services. 


Some signs a device is infected include: 


  • Devices running slowly;
  • Pop-up ads unexpectedly coming across the screen, also known as adware; 
  • System crashes; 
  • Browsing settings change; and
  • The antivirus software stops working.


To prevent malware infection, a user can keep software updated, be cognitive of emails and attachments, and use an email service that protects against malicious emails. A user may also be cognitive of the websites being browsed and avoid streaming pirated media or visiting sites that allow this. 


Getting rid of a current malware infection may need different methods depending on the kind of malware and device. However, any user can download antivirus software, run a virus scan, and remove infected files. Users should also practice safe internet habits and run consistent testing on devices to catch anything the antivirus software might miss.

Brute Force

The second type of threat is a brute force cyberattack. This is when a hacker tries to access an account by guessing credentials without software. A hacker will use trial-and-error to guess login information until they get it correct. Once a hacker has access to an account or device, they can use the access for monetary gain, to steal sensitive data, to infect malware, or to bring harm to a company’s brand. 


CISA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) found in cases of cyber-attacks through brute force victims used single sign-on (SSO) authentication which only needs one set of credentials. These victims also lacked multifactor authentication, had easy-to-guess passwords and used inbox synchronization. These commonalities give us an insight into how to prevent a brute force attack in the future. 


To protect against a brute force attack, create strong passwords, more than 10 characters, with capitals, lowercase, numbers, and symbols. Additionally, store passwords safely using a password manager. CISA  recommends using multi-factor authentication (MFA) and reviewing MFA settings to make sure it covers all internet-facing protocols. Employee training on proper password etiquette and storage will help reduce the opportunity of a threat as well. 

How to Protect Your Business 

With so many ways for a cybercriminal to pose a threat, it can seem daunting and quite intimidating to protect your business. At v TECH io, we are equipped to help you find the best solutions to enhance your cybersecurity. We offer training and testing to make sure your staff can identify risks and avoid making costly mistakes. 


To gain access to our experts, you can purchase a block of hours with vCyberGuard, our cybersecurity platform. These hours can be used for security projects, consulting, training, incident response, and more. They never expire, so you can use the hours as needed. 


To partner with v TECH io, click here and fill out the contact form. We will get in touch and start working on protecting your business today. Feel confident that your sensitive data is secure and rest assured knowing v TECH io is here to help. 


Top Cyber Attacks that Businesses Face: Stolen Credentials, Insider Threats, & Third-Party Threats

Cyber threats come in all shapes and sizes. Some may seem obvious and others can slip right under the radar. Either way, the first step to securing the enterprise is becoming educated on cyber attacks that threaten businesses.

At vTECH io, we have found the top cyber attacks that businesses face. Vulnerabilities in internet-facing devices and malicious emails make up 79% of the top cyber attacks that confront businesses. The other 21% of top cyber attacks include stolen credentials (5%), insider threats (3%), third-party threats (5%), pre-existing malware infections (3%), and brute force threats (5%). This article will cover stolen credentials, insider, and third-party threats.

Even though these threats make up a smaller percentage, they are still some of the top threats businesses face regarding cybersecurity. Each unprotected threat can cause a loss of money, customers, and brand reputation. Vigilance and proactiveness are essential to mitigating the risk of a cyberattack.

Stolen Credentials

Cyber attacks can happen when a cyber actor successfully steals system credentials from an employee. This often occurs through phishing, where an email is sent to an employee that looks legitimate but comes from a hacker. The cyber actor may convince an employee to share their credentials through email by threatening to shut down their account.

Attackers may also target corporate leaders. Corporate credential theft is more strategic. Cybercriminals will look through social media accounts like LinkedIn and find users who have credentials that will grant access to high-value data. The attackers use realistic websites and emails to deceive executive leaders into sharing their credentials.

Once credentials are stolen, attackers may use them in different ways. The credentials can be used to gain access to sensitive data. This can lead to ransomware when a cybercriminal steals data and holds it until a ransom is paid. They may also release malware into the systems to shut down or slow operations. Some cybercriminals may sell the credentials for monetary gain.

Since the hacker will use the stolen credentials to access data, it is challenging to spot when this occurs. Similarly, phishing attempts can be challenging to differentiate from a legitimate source. Preventing the threat from happening in the first place is the best form of protection.

To protect against someone stealing credentials, businesses can implement a policy-based, multi-factor authentication process for the network. Training employees on cybersecurity hygiene is also imperative to preventing a cyberattack. It is wise to run phishing attempts and educate employees on red flags to watch out for regarding emails. Implementing these protection strategies will safeguard the enterprise against future threats.

Insider Threat

In some cases, educating employees isn’t helpful when they are the ones posing the threat. An insider is a trusted individual who has access to an organization’s resources. The Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) describes an insider threat as when, “an insider will use his or her authorized access, wittingly or unwittingly, to harm the Department’s mission, resources, personnel, facilities, information, equipment, networks, or systems.” This can manifest in several different ways, one being a cyberattack.

An insider may be motivated to inflict a cyber attack for monetary gain or by “getting even” with their company. Whatever their motivation, they can cause harm by leaking sensitive information, stealing proprietary data or intellectual property, stopping business operations, inserting malware, damaging networks, and much more.

It is challenging to protect the network from an attack when the threats seem invisible and can easily go unnoticed. To protect the enterprise from an insider threat, it is important to implement a mitigation plan. CISA has a robust guide on creating this plan called the Insider Threat Mitigation Guide. They outline clear actions to take to proactively protect the enterprise and reduce the risk of a future threat.

Third-Party Threat

Threats coming from trusted people are sometimes more challenging to spot and more expensive to remediate. Unfortunately, cybercriminals are always looking for new ways to exploit businesses, even through their extended partnerships. Businesses have to be aware of the cybersecurity measures their vendors use as well as their own.

A third-party threat can happen from a contractor or vendor who is not an employee of an organization but has some authorized access to organization resources.

A third-party threat happens when a hacker finds third-party credentials for a business, often through phishing. The hacker can easily break through firewalls and access sensitive data.  These threats can be directly targeted or caused indirectly by vulnerabilities in the third party’s network.

To avoid a third-party threat, the first step is to ensure that all vendors use cybersecurity plans and best practices. Third parties should use regular penetration testing and social engineering testing. These tests should be documented and vulnerabilities should be remediated. Third parties should be regularly training their employees as well.

It is also advised to include a requirement to be notified when a data breach happens in the contract with vendors. Additionally, it is important to set cybersecurity expectations and requirements with all third-party vendors and contractors. Third-party vendors should comply with these safety measures to protect themselves and the businesses they work with.

vTECH io Can Help Protect Your Business

Cybersecurity threats confront businesses from all angles. With so many different threats, it is essential to determine the best security solution for your business.

vTECH io is here to partner with your business to help you safeguard against cyberattacks. Using Advanced AI technology, we can conduct customized spear phishing attempts and determine if your employees are your first line of defense against a cyber-attack or your weakest link.

We can also help you determine the best security solutions for your business size and needs. Our on-call experts are happy to assist you. To partner with vTECH io all you have to do is click here, fill out the form, and we will take it from there.


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