IT Forensics in the Cloud

In 2013, 7 percent of U.S. based organizations reported a loss of $1 million or more, while 19 percent of organizations in the U.S. reported a loss of $50,000 or more, all stemming from the mishandling of computer network information either intentionally by cyber criminals or inadvertently by unsuspecting employees. When this happens, IT security, managers and department staff are then left with the daunting task of locating the source of the problem, which is often time-consuming and costly, especially in instances where financial loss has occurred due to data breach or theft.

Certain cloud-based technologies streamline processes for IT departments that can prevent assets from being compromised, and aid in locating equipment or software issues in an efficient and cost-effective fashion. These cloud-based systems improve on the following factors that routinely plague IT departments:

1. Time-consuming software distribution.

2. Inadequate accounting systems for hardware and software equipment.

3. Incorrect updates to software and security patches.

4. Attempts to digitally disguise theft and data breaches.

Leading cloud-based IT solutions implement digital forensics in IT systems management in four areas for optimal benefits.Automatic Software Installation

Unapproved software installs are extremely common, especially among businesses who have remote workers or employees. Anyone with administrative level privileges can install unauthorized software without approval.

New technologies enable IT managers to easily identify the installed software, when it was installed, and who signed in to the system to use the unauthorized software. Micro responders communicate with the cloud instance enabling IT managers to manage devices outside the network regardless of location.Tracking Equipment Inventory

There are several reasons why equipment would not be in one central, physical location in an organization at a given time. Software and hardware equipment may be out for repair, or an employee could be working from home. If equipment is illegally obtained, it can be difficult for IT managers to know exactly where the equipment is and if it is in use.

With today’s leading cloud management solutions, IT managers are able to access information regarding when the software was last used, last seen, and which user accessed the software or equipment. Unique micro responders allow you to access the history of what’s happened in the system. This information directs IT managers to find the physical location of the equipment.Patch Management

Installing or updating incorrect software can slow down a PC’s performance, making it difficult for users to complete tasks in a timely manner. This is one of the most common issues PC users face, and it ultimately leads to numerous calls to the IT department to determine what can be done to fix it. Typically, the conversation begins with, “My computer is running slow and I don’t know why.” Often, the customer will not recall who completed an incorrect software update or when this occurred. It’s a nuisance for a customer who has a full day of work-related tasks to try and remember the last time software was updated.With cloud management solutions, the IT manager can easily and remotely remove an incorrect update without having to question the customer. Also, integrated cloud-based IT patch management systems allow for automated updates to software to help users avoid making an incorrect update in the future. This can virtually eliminate the software update as an issue if the customer calls again and says, “My computer is running slow and I don’t know why.”

IT Inventory and Reporting

Whenever a device’s disk encryption is altered for any reason, this can cause panic for IT managers and especially IT security managers. Encryption changes can attempt to cover up a data breach or expose an organizations data, risks that very quickly make them vulnerable to cyberattacks. IT departments need to have a system in place that is quick and discreet in order to limit any further loss.

With cloud management system-based forensics, users are able to locate who changed the disk encryption and secure any information that may be compromised by the data breach. This is a case where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure, and having a cloud-based IT management system already in place can prevent IT asset loss.

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