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Same Problem, Different Drivers: 2019 is Breaking Records for Data Breaches

Some types of cyber threats run together in many people’s minds. However, the question of what is a data breach versus a different type of cyber incident is pretty clear.

Data breaches have become a daily occurrence. Many organizations collect massive amounts of data about their customers and fail to properly secure these collections. Since this data is valuable on the black market, cybercriminals take advantage of these weak protections to steal sensitive data.

It probably should not come as a surprise that the threat of the data breach is not only ongoing but growing. Organizations still have the same vast collections of sensitive data, and it is only becoming more valuable. However, while the growth of the number of data breaches and exposed records in 2019 is to be expected, the drivers behind the exposure of sensitive data may be less so.

The Threat of the Data Breach

Data breaches have entered the public consciousness as one of the biggest cybersecurity threats in existence. They probably would have the top spot unopposed if it wasn’t for the very visible and personal threat of ransomware.

For many organizations, preventing a data breach is one of their highest cybersecurity priorities. With the passage of new data privacy laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and dozens of others, being the victim of a data breach can be extremely costly for an organization. This has created some odd incentives in cybersecurity efforts like bug bounty programs, where extremely common threats like cross-site scripting (XSS) that don’t often result in data breaches are assigned much lower bounties than rarer threats that could result in a major, public breach.

Protecting against data breaches is difficult because they can be performed in so many ways. A common cause of a data breach is misconfigured security settings in the cloud, where a “public” data store is fully accessible to anyone who can learn the URL. Data breaches are also commonly caused by exploitation of web application vulnerabilities (including XSS) that take advantage of the fact that these web apps often have direct access to back-end databases containing user account information.

Organizations attempting to protect themselves from the threat of data breaches must struggle with the fact that a data breach can be very profitable for an attacker and is difficult to defend against due to the wide range of possible attack vectors. Since the majority of organizations lack the level of technical knowledge and expertise held by many cybercriminals, and the identification of vulnerabilities that can be used in data breaches can be performed in an automated fashion, it shouldn’t be surprising that the number of data breaches is growing.

Data Breaches Continue Growing

2019 is a bad year for data breaches. In the first nine months of 2019, there were a total of 5,183 different data breaches with 7.9 billion records exposed. This represents a significant growth in both the number and impact of data breaches compared to the same period in 2018. The number of breaches has grown by 33%, and the total number of breached records is 12% higher.

Interestingly, the drivers between the number of breaches and the volume of breached records differ. Unsurprisingly, cybercriminals were responsible for the majority of data breaches; however, they don’t account for the majority of breached records.

Accidental data leaks, like those caused by misconfiguration of cloud services security settings, have caused over 6 billion records to be exposed in the first three quarters of 2019. This number is calculated based upon the number of insecure cloud data repositories that have been discovered and reported. However, the true amount of data exposed on these cloud deployments is likely much higher, and the nature of the cloud means that organizations with insecure cloud resources may not even be aware if they have been accessed by unauthorized parties.

How to Protect Sensitive Data

Data breaches can be carried off in a wide variety of different ways. Many of them are intentional actions by cybercriminals attempting to gain access to sensitive data for their own use or for resale on the black market. However, others occur without malicious intent as companies accidentally expose their own data due to negligence or a lack of understanding of how to secure new environments like the cloud.

Protecting against data breaches requires the ability to identify and monitor repositories of sensitive data through the organization’s environment. While the organization’s main databases may be well-protected, unforeseen circumstances can cause sensitive data to be stored in unprotected repositories.

Data may be migrated to the cloud to fulfill business needs, but without the oversight of the organization’s IT and security teams. Sensitive data may be needed to test software under development and be copied to a database within the development environment. The organization may have backup systems in place to protect against ransomware but inadequately protect those backups.

These unofficial data repositories are a favorite target of hackers since they lack the defenses of the main database. Protecting against data breaches requires visibility and security into all of an organization’s sensitive data, wherever it may be located.

5 Invaluable Tools to Measure Your Social Marketing Results

5 Invaluable Tools to Measure Your Social Marketing Results

Today, social media is an integral component of any marketer’s arsenal. Unfortunately, there are just too many social media tools and so many measurable metrics that it actually sounds worse than rocket science to the small business owner social media novice. You need to know which social media metrics really matter, and for that you’ll need to better organize your campaign.

This is unfortunate because all the research points to a massive increase in social media spending over the next five years. Does this mean that people are pouring money into an area they don’t understand fully? It seems that way. In fact, a recent survey by CMO established that only 15% of marketers can quantitatively demonstrate the impact of social media spending.

A few years ago, over a third of marketers were blaming poor quality tools for their inability to show the relationship between revenue and social media activity. But, the same doesn’t hold true today. Several companies have developed advanced social media tools that are able to show the relationship between bottom line and social media spending. The following are five of the best social media tools to measure marketing results.

  1. Cyfe

Cyfe is the complete business management platform to manage every part of your business, Social media being one part of it. Networks, schedule messages, publish content, engage with your audience and measure ROI from an all-in-one dashboard. If you manage multiple social networks, Cyfe is definitely a tool you want to check out. You can publish posts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and blogging sites, all from a single compose box in addition to scheduling posts in advance with photos or videos attached. The tool even shortens the links for you.

  1. Simply Measured

Simply measured prides itself in helping marketers understand their audience’s, interests, influence, interactions, and intent. It’s “listening” features allow you to identify influencers, understand your target audience, and analyze emerging topics of conversation to strategically drive brand awareness. With its social analytics features, you can discover insights to plan and execute your social strategy as well as benchmark your performance against competitors, across channels. Its content share tracking feature allows you to understand which content resonates with your audience by seeing which URLs they share on social, both publicly and privately. Finally, Simply Measured offers excellent conversion tracking. Driving full-funnel impact from social and content marketing means tracking your social content all the way to the point of conversion.

  1. Qualia

With Qualia, you have power at your fingertips to harness the signals of consumer intent. Their proprietary IQ Decision Engine demystifies intent signals to compile audience sets that are primed for influence. Using 70% unique signals, Qualia enables you to reach potential customers in the middle of the purchase cycle where social and other signals identify consumers who have declared their intent to make a purchase decision.

  1. Union Metrics

Union Metrics provides you with the social marketing intelligence you need to reach your audience and build your business. It provides the must-have analytics every marketing team requires to craft a winning social strategy and inform day-to-day execution on social media. This includes solutions to meet all your social analytics needs, such as:

  • Measuring and optimizing your impact on social media to more effectively expand your reach
  • Tracking social campaigns to improving performance and generating beautiful reports to share with stakeholders
  • Analyzing brand and industry conversations in real time, to identify key content and influencers
  • Staying ahead of the competition by analyzing their social activity and measuring their share of voice
  • Combining powerful queries and historical data to uncover audiences, finding relevant content, and planning campaigns
  1. Trackur

Trackur offers full monitoring of all social media and mainstream news, including Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and hundreds more. Executive insights include trends, keyword discovery, automated sentiment analysis and influence scoring. Trackur is also one of the few tools that allow you to fully white label your dashboard with your URL, logo, and color scheme provided you purchase the Ultimate plan. If you are one of those people that don’t have time for complicated social media monitoring tools, Trackur comes with executive dashboards, alternatively, you can dive deeper into mentions about your brand. With Trackur’s social media monitoring software, you don’t have to download an app for your different devices or wait for developer updates. Your dashboard works on your desktop, laptop, tablet or phone and even your Smart TV.
Conclusion

So there you have it. Find out the tool that most suits your needs and begin measuring your social marketing results. Success in business hinges on actionable insights and nothing beats these tools at providing you with the information you need to make smart decisions.

How To Send Texts From Your Pc

How To Send Texts From Your Pc

When working at your PC, it can be distracting to turn your attention away from whatever you’re doing to focus on another device. The scale changes; the keyboard and display are smaller. If you’re at work the distraction can prove costly.

Thanks to the MightyText Android app, a free download from the Google Play store, and its associated web service, you can send text messages – and manage several conversations at once – in your browser, making it easy to switch to and minimise without having to pick up your Android device. This is an unmissable service. You haven’t truly sent a text message until you’ve used your PC keyboard. Here’s four straightforward steps to follow in order to get the MightyText service up and running across your different devices.

  1. Install MightyText

In Google Play, search for MightyText. Two apps are available, one for smartphones and another for tablets. With the app installed, launch and tap Complete Setup. If you use multiple Google accounts on your smartphone, ensure you select the right option first.

  1. Complete Connection

After being prompted to confirm the Google App Engine permission request, you’ll be given the URL for your desktop browser. When you visit mightytext.net/app, ensure the Google account matching the one on your phone is selected and click Allow to access the service.

  1. Send New Messages

Within the MightyText webpage you can create new messages, reply to existing threads and also view your contacts. Two views are available, Classic and Power, with the latter enabling you to chat with multiple contacts simultaneously in a single browser window.

  1. Manage History

The Settings page enables you to specify how long messages should be kept, your default view and notifications options. For hands-free Zen, you can even remotely instruct your phone to call specific contacts – make sure your handset is close by so you can chat!

Don’t Email Links To Yourself Or Sync Via Evernote – Send Them To Android With Chrome To Phone

Send From Desktop To Phone

  1. Begin by installing the Chrome to Phone app from the Play store and its companion extension for the Chrome browser. Sign in to each using the same Google username and password.
  2. The Chrome to Phone button on your browser toolbar will send the current webpage instantly to your smartphone. You can also send links by right-clicking and selecting Chrome to Phone.
  3. Shared webpages can be set to launch automatically or be manually opened via the history page on the Chrome to Phone application. Set your app preferences via the Menu>Settings action.