Manage Family Sharing Cyber-Security Requires a Multi-Layered Approach

The internet has become a primary conduit for cyber-attack activities, with hackers channeling threats through social-engineering attacks and even using legitimate websites, meaning that more people are at greater risk than ever before. Financial fraud, phishing, malware, man-in-the-middle, man-in-the-browser and man-in-the-mobile attacks continually result in huge losses for consumers and companies alike. This has prompted the cyber security technology market to flourish and make significant strides in revenue. However, it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that the end goal is to protect as many end users as possible.The criminals target end users to make money, and as cyber security providers, we need to protect consumers and companies from these targeted attacks. To successfully thwart attacks, a multi-layered approach to security is best. A multi-layered approach can be tailored to different levels of security. Not every asset needs to be completely secure; instead, only the most business critical assets, such as proprietary and confidential information, can be protected by the most restricted settings. If one system fails, there are other systems functioning. By using multiple systems to mitigate damage, the organization can ensure that even if one (or multiple) systems fail, the system itself is still protected.


There are many niche solutions – and threats. Organizations today often need to maintain multiple cyber security applications, such as antivirus programs, anti-spyware programs, and anti-malware programs.Typical multi-layer approach involves five areas: physical, network, computer, application and device.Physical Security – It seems obvious that physical security would be an important layer in a defense-in-depth strategy, but don’t take it for granted. Guards, gates, locks, port block-outs, and key cards all help keep people away from systems that shouldn’t touch or alter. In addition, the lines between the physical security systems and information systems are blurring as physical access can be tied to information access.Network Security – An essential part of a plant’s information fabric, network security should be equipped with firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDS/IPS), and general networking equipment such as switches and routers configured with their security features enabled. Zones establish domains of trust for security access and smaller local area networks (LANs) to shape and manage network traffic. A demilitarized zone between the industrial plant floor or space and the IT and corporate offices allows data and services to be shared securely.Computer Hardening – Well known (and published) software vulnerabilities are the number one way that intruders gain access to automation systems. Examples of Computer Hardening include the use of:

Antivirus software

Application white-listing

Host intrusion-detection systems (HIDS) and other endpoint security solutions

Removal of unused applications, protocols and services

Closing unnecessary ports

Computers on the plant floor (like the HMI or industrial computer) are susceptible to malware cyber risks including viruses and Trojans. Software patching practices can work in concert with these hardening techniques to help further address computer risks. Follow these guidelines to help reduce risk:

Disable software automatic updating services on PCs

Inventory target computers for applications, and software versions and revisions

Subscribe to and monitor vendor patch qualification services for patch compatibility

Obtain product patches and software upgrades directly from the vendor

Pre-test all patches on non-operational, non-mission critical systems

Schedule the application of patches and upgrades and plan for contingencies

Application Security – This refers infusing industrial control system applications with good security practices, such as a Role Based Access Control System, which locks down access to critical process functions, force username/password logins, combinations, etc.

Device Hardening – Changing the default configuration of an embedded device out-of-the-box can make it more secure. The default security settings of PLCs, PACs, routers, switches, firewalls and other embedded devices will differ based on class and type, which subsequently changes the amount of work required to harden a particular device. But remember, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

An IT MSP can aid an organization in transitioning towards a defense in depth strategy in three major ways. IT MSPs are able to chart a course for the organization, so that they can better transition to this type of strategy without business disruption. IT MSPs can also identify the best technology, using their advanced knowledge of current cyber security measures and the threats that the organization is most likely to face. Finally, IT MSPs can leverage the power of cloud solutions to provide a defense in depth strategy that isn’t going to utilize more resources than the organization has access to. Without cloud-based infrastructure, most defense-in-depth strategies would be prohibitively expensive in terms of infrastructure and resource costs.

Key Factors to Consider When Buying a Travel and Tour Franchise

If you are considering investing in a travel and tour franchise, it is likely that you have many questions. For many people, the idea of setting their own business can be incredibly daunting experience, but also one of the most liberating experiences of their lives. In this article, we will look at some of key considerations which you should factor in when making this decision.

The travel and tourism industry is literally booming globally – now contributing over two trillion pounds to the economy. More and more people are thinking about how they can get involved in the travel and tourism industry, recognising the explosive and exponential growth. Starting your own travel business from scratch is one option that people often consider, however starting without a network of contacts or even a base starting point can be extremely tricky. A huge number of start ups will fail within 12 months, so always try to avoid this pitfall.

The more popular market to success within the travel industry is the travel, or tour franchise market. What this essentially means is instead of setting up a travel business from the beginning, you can buy a travel franchise which actually gives you a firm starting point to begin your business. There are quite a few travel franchise businesses online, however there are probably only a couple of established businesses. If you do choose to purchase a tour franchise, make sure to do your research and pick the franchise company which is the best fit for you.

So what can you expect in terms of support when you buy a travel franchise? When buying a franchise, there are always different levels of support. Think of this a three-tiered membership: platinum, silver and gold. The more initial investment that you are willing to put up, means the greater level of support and guidance that you are likely to receive. Nonetheless, there are some common levels of support which you should expect from all travel franchises.

The first thing you should expect is a fully comprehensive training or induction programme. Lots of franchise operators will actually offer a residential training course, so this is likely to be an intensive course over a number of days or weeks. This can be a great opportunity to spend significant time with the franchise tour operators and really pick their brains, whilst trying to soak up an incredible amount of information.

It is also likely that they will be inducting a number of other new franchisees at the same time. This is also a fantastic opportunity to meet some like minded people who are also at the beginning of the same journey that you are on. If you can take the opportunity to spend time with them and get to know their motivations behind setting up a new franchise, you can increase your knowledge but also begin to build up your travel network. In the travel industry in particular, your network and who you know can really be a determining factor in how well you do.

You can also expect some of the more practical tools for setting up a new franchise. This might include a laptop, hopefully pre-loaded with any specialist software and templates that you might need. This may not always be included as a standard support tool, so you should always try to make sure that you fully understand everything that is being provided. A functional website, which is branded towards your company name and logo, is also something which you expect.

Finally, you might also receive some branding materials, such as leaflets, tri-folds and business cards. Remember when you meet potential clients, handing them a business card can be a great way to exchange your details with them and keep in touch.