Top 5 Cybersecurity Tips for West Michigan Businesses

Top 5 Cybersecurity Tips for West Michigan Businesses

Our top five tips for your safety…

If you own or work for a small-to-medium sized business in West Michigan, you need to read this article.

It shows you our top 5 cybersecurity tips.

…and you’re going to want to understand what they are and why they’re important for your own peace of mind.

1. Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA) enhances account security by requiring users to verify their identity using multiple methods
  • Verification methods include passwords, fingerprints, or one-time codes sent to mobile devices
  • Enabling MFA can greatly decrease the risk of unauthorized access, even if login details are compromised
  • We recommend that Michigan businesses implement MFA, particularly for critical systems and sensitive accounts

2. Implement Vulnerability Scanning and Management

  • Regular vulnerability scans are crucial for finding weaknesses in network and software
  • However, scanning alone isn’t sufficient
  • Implement a comprehensive vulnerability management system (we can help!)
  • Go beyond identification to proactive management and resolution
  • Continuous monitoring and addressing vulnerabilities help stay ahead of cyber threats
  • Prevent potential breaches before they happen

3. Prioritize Cybersecurity Training and Awareness

  • Employees are a major vulnerability in organizations
  • Human errors like clicking on malicious (bad) links or falling for phishing scams can lead to cyber attacks
  • To reduce this risk, we stress the importance of cybersecurity training for all employees
  • Training educates staff about common threats, data security best practices, and recognizing suspicious activity
  • Empowering employees turns them into the first line of defense

4. Implement Immutable Backups

  • Data backup is crucial, but having backups alone might not be enough against advanced cyber threats
  • We suggest using immutable backups, stored on a computer inaccessible via the network (we refer to this as “air-gapped”)
  • This ensures that if your network is compromised, your backups stay secure and intact
  • It’s essential to store backups in multiple locations, including local and cloud storage, for redundancy and accessibility during emergencies

5. Invest in Cyber Insurance

  • Cyber insurance is vital for reducing the financial impact of cyber attacks
  • It covers expenses like legal fees, notification costs, and damages to third parties resulting from data breaches
  • Small businesses can transfer some risk to the insurance provider by investing in cyber insurance
  • This provides peace of mind and financial protection in case of a breach
The Impact of AI on Phishing in IT Security

The Impact of AI on Phishing in IT Security

AI Phishing Attacks

In the ever-changing landscape of information technology (IT), artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a game-changer, transforming various aspects of cybersecurity. 

One significant area where AI has both amplified and combated threats is phishing attacks. Let’s explore the effects of AI phishing attacks in the world of IT. 

1. Sophistication of Phishing Attacks: AI has empowered cybercriminals to create highly sophisticated and personalized phishing campaigns. Attackers can analyze vast amounts of data to craft convincing messages that target specific individuals or organizations. This level of personalization significantly increases the success rate of phishing attempts.

2. Automated Phishing Campaigns: AI enables cybercriminals to automate phishing campaigns on a massive scale. With minimal effort, attackers can target many users simultaneously, increasing their chances of finding vulnerable targets. Automated phishing kits powered by AI have become readily available on the dark web, allowing even non-technical criminals to launch sophisticated attacks.

3. Early Detection and Prevention: On the flip side, AI is also playing a crucial role in detecting and preventing phishing attacks. By continuously learning from previous attacks, AI-driven systems can adapt and stay one step ahead of evolving phishing techniques.

4. Reduced False Positives: AI-driven anti-phishing solutions help reduce the false positives that traditional systems often generate. By accurately distinguishing between legitimate emails and phishing attempts, AI contributes to a more efficient and streamlined security process, enabling IT teams to focus on actual threats.

5. Enhanced Incident Response: If a phishing attack does succeed, AI can quickly identify affected systems, assess the damage, and aid in mitigating the consequences.

In conclusion, AI has introduced both challenges and opportunities in the fight against phishing attacks in the IT world. While cybercriminals leverage AI to create more sophisticated and widespread threats, security professionals are also leveraging AI’s capabilities to detect and prevent these attacks more effectively. To stay ahead in this relentless battle, organizations must embrace AI-driven cybersecurity solutions while ensuring continuous education and training to empower their workforce against evolving phishing tactics.

What’s Cybersecurity Insurance?

What’s Cybersecurity Insurance?

Cybersecurity insurance is a new, emerging industry. Companies that purchase cybersecurity insurance today are considered early adopters. 

Cyber insurance policies help cover the financial losses that result from cyber events and incidents. In addition, cyber-risk coverage helps with the costs associated with remediation. It also includes payments for the legal assistance, investigators, crisis communicators, and customer credits or refunds. 

More or less, it insures potential losses due to cyber attacks.

Do I need cyber insurance?

Any business that creates, stores, and manages electronic data online can benefit from cyber insurance. Some examples include: customer contracts or credit card numbers.

That means, using Google Drive, online servers, or performing transactional data between businesses can be helped/benefitted from cyber insurance. 

What does it cover?

• meeting extortion demands from a ransomware attack
• notifying customers when a security breach has occurred
• paying legal fees levied as a result of privacy violations
• hiring experts to recover compromised data
• restoring identities of customers whose personal identifiable information was compromised
• recovering data that has been altered or stolen
• repairing or replacing damaged or compromised computers systems

What it doesn’t cover?

• cyber events initiated and caused by employees or insiders
• failure to correct a known vulnerability, such as a company that knows that a vulnerability exists, fails to address it and is then compromised from that vulnerability
• the cost to improve technology systems, including security hardening in systems or applications

What are my next steps?

First of all, contact us to get started. From there, we’ll show you how to remain safe and proactive from any cyber attack. 

Security vs. Compliance: What’s the Difference?

Security vs. Compliance: What’s the Difference?

Business data security and protection has never been this important! Especially in this dispensation of fast digital transformation.

On one hand, advanced technology has got businesses running more smoothly and increasing their conversion rates. However, on the negative side, cybersecurity threats have also grown in sophistication, thanks to the same cutting-edge technology, which cybercriminals are taking advantage of. The result is the need for heightened IT security by businesses and strict IT compliance requirements by regulatory bodies.

But is security just another name for compliance? Is your business secure after you have all those boxes ticked in the compliance document? Let’s explore each and help you remove the blurry line between both.


In a nutshell, it’s the processes and controls involved to ensure your data, systems, and networks are masked against cyber breaches. Generally, security encompasses:

  • Data: Your data storage and transmission media are critical. Every business should have data loss and recovery plans, such as cloud backups. Additionally, proactive network monitoring should ensure that no criminals intercept the data while in transit.
  • Systems: Your systems should be physically protected and, more importantly, digitally protected against malware and attacks. This can be achieved through constant software updates or patching. And regular/automatic system scans to detect an infection/breach early. Besides, as more businesses adopt BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) at the workplace, you should ensure that those personal devices accessing the company network are free from malware or security vulnerabilities.
  • Users: From phishing to reckless errors, users play a crucial role in determining whether your business is secure or not. That is why you should conduct frequent user training about security and ways to prevent attacks.


Compliance comes into play when third-party regulatory/governmental bodies are involved. Typically, compliance seeks to ensure that your business has implemented the irreducible minimums of various security standards such as HIPAA, GDPR, or PCI. Compliance aims to meet:

  • Industry regulations
  • Security frameworks
  • Government policies
  • Client contractual terms


Both. For you to be successful in business, you’ll need to both secure your business and comply with third-party regulatory or contractual guidelines. For instance, to get a DOD contract, you’ll need to comply with CMMC standards that apply to that contract. On the other hand, if you experience a breach due to weak security, you risk the loss of critical business data, revenue, and reputation damage, even if you’re compliant.

In summary, security:

  • Is done for your own sake while compliance seeks to satisfy a third party’s requirements.
  • Seeks to protect your digital assets through risk assessment, monitoring, and mitigation, but business needs drive the need for compliance.
  • Should be frequently maintained, whereas compliance is a one-time event and is complete once the regulatory body is satisfied.

To conclude everything, IT security is the practice of executing adequate technical controls to defend your systems and networks against cybersecurity threats, while compliance is applying these practices to meet third-party regulatory or contractual requirements.


Whether you’re looking to solidify your security or meet a new compliance threshold, you’ll need a good IT team to implement the required security measures. However, building an effective in-house IT team is not easy, not to mention how costly that may be. Therefore, seeking a managed security solution, such as ICS Data, is wise, practical, and cost-effective, especially for SMEs. Get in touch to get started.

Top Cyberattacks in 2021

Top Cyberattacks in 2021



One of the top cyberattacks right now comes from bad actors attempting to impersonate your co-workers and employers. If you’re suspicious of a scammer, don’t reply! They’ll do anything they can to trick you into believing that you’re talking to someone you know and trust, through email and web threats.

Emails contain information that a lot of people don’t pay close attention to. One specific item is the “From” email address. Anther is the email address communicating with your email server where to send your “Reply” to. Both of these can be entirely different, and can alter the state of the “From” field to fool you.

Fortunately, MailShield and The Email Laundry protect you from impersonation attempts where the scammer actually uses the email address they are impersonating in the From field. An example of what that might look like is My Boss<></>. When you click Reply, it gets sent to the hidden Reply-To item.

Tip! If you create a new email and type in the To field, it will go to your boss!

Slightly less dangerous is when they don’t hide their sending address, such as My Boss<></>If you receive an email from a coworker that just doesn’t seem right, look for that give away!


Phishing is a very wide spread threat today. There are many types including spear phishing and whaling. Phishing attacks take many forms, but most of them involve posing as someone you know and trust. This can be a person or a company.

A common form of this is an email that claims to be from your server administrator stating that you have emails being held and to click a link and log in to claim them. When you click the link, you may be taken to a site that is made to look like the one you expect and be prompted to log in. You will have just given away your email password.

There are a number of account types that are targeted in this way. Imagine if your bank sends you an email saying click here to handle this urgent matter! You might think, “Uh Oh! I better do it right away!”. This is how your accounts can become compromised. Don’t trust the link, and don’t trust the button!


Spear phishing is targeted phishing. This is when a specific individual, or a whole company, is targeted by phishing emails. Generally, the bad actors will start by obtaining as much information from the company’s website as they can. This includes any email addresses listed, as well as the names of any contacts that arelisted on the site. Once this is done, they often implement spoofing techniques.


Whaling is the term used when the phishing methods are targeting the senior executives and other high profile targets. It is a specialized form of spear phishing. Generally, once the scammers have obtained enough information about a company, they will pose as the CEO and request a purchase, or a funds transfer. Usually, the purchase will be some kind of gift card and they will ask for the numbers once the purchase has been made.


There are some basics things that will help keep you safe from many, if not all, email threats. The first is to utilize an anti-spam service. There are some habits that you should get into that will also help keep you safe.


  • Remember the From field of an email doesn’t always show who actually sent it or who will get the Reply!
  • Remember the Reply-To hidden item? Click New or Compose instead of Reply if you are suspicious. Then you know who you are sending to!
  • If anything about an email seems out of place, be suspicious!
  • If a known and trusted contact sends an attachment or shares a document that seems unusual, DON’T OPEN IT! Find an alternative method to confirm they sent it. Phone or face to face is best.
  • Only use the method of logging in to online accounts that you normally use. If there is an issue, there should be a notification waiting for you. If you get an email saying there is an issue with your account, don’t click the link.
  • Set up multi-factor authentication (MFA) when possible! MFA makes logging a little more of a hassle but the security benefit is enormous!


  • Establish policies! Set and follow rules on fund transfer and purchase requests via email. Phone or face to face confirmation is best, but even clicking New can help here. Except if the requesting email address was compromised…
  • Establish protocols. When you begin doing business with another company ask them if, and how, they send documents via email. Include
    • Is it an attachment? Or a shared online document?
    • What type of document?
    • What email address will it arrive from?
    • Are they sent on a schedule?



There are two ways you might be targeted by a phone scam. You might get a call from someone claiming to be a Tech working for Microsoft, or perhaps another well known maker of software. The Tech will then tell you they have detected that there is a problem with your computer and that you need to give them remote access to fix it. Hang up!

You may also suddenly receive a pop up while browsing the internet. The pop up will claim that a virus, or other “Urgent” problem has been detected and you will be urged to call a number provided so that you can be assisted.

The results of allowing a remote connection are usually, but not limited to:

  • Installation of malicious software that can steal sensitive data. This includes passwords, credit card information, email information, and any other confidential information stored on your device.
  • Permanent lock out from your device making future data access impossible without reinstalling the operating system. Worse yet, they may encrypt the data.
  • Inevitably, they will charge exorbitant amounts to “fix” the problems that they just caused.

The pop up may sometimes lock up your browser and prevent you from closing the page. In this case, you can:

1. Press CTRL , ALT , and the DELETE keys on your keyboard.

2. Select ‘Task Manager’

3. You will see a list of running applications. Select the browser you are using and press the DELETE key, or click the ‘End Task’ button.