Data Protection a Priority 365 Days a Year

In today’s world, with growing threats to organizations and customer data, IT pros need to remain vigilant and ensure that everyone in the business, from the CEO through to the administrative team, is educated on the importance of data protection, 365 days of the year.

With more than a billion customers affected by corporate data breaches in 2018, data protection needs to be a priority for organizations 365 days of the year. Four points IT pros continuously consider so that company’s and its customer’s data remain secure are:

Data-driven forensics are essential

IT professionals are their organizations’ undercover detectives. They have to stay on top of what’s normal and the direction of travel for data flowing throughout the business. Even for something as innocuous as an increase or drop in traffic, IT professionals need to ask themselves, why has this happened? Could this be a risk to the business? Should I look into this in more detail?

Patch, patch, and patch

Over the last couple of years, large-scale, global attacks such as WannaCry pointed to the need for something as simple as a routine patch test. IT pros need to be rolling out tests regularly. Sure, patches are thought of as a protective measure, but if they aren’t installed and rolled out frequently, this can be the same as having a massive sign hanging over your organization showing cyber-criminals exactly where to hit so it hurts the most.

The cost of downtime vs. the cost of staying down

In today’s ‘always-on’ world, downtime is not an option. Applications and servers need to be online 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and 100% available, to avoid unhappy customers and potential lost revenue. Otherwise, the resulting downtime can be costly, but the key thing to remember is that with routine testing and upgrades, we’re talking about losing a few hours through a process that’s entirely within the organization’s control and that can be arranged at a time that causes the least disruption. Compare this to the sheer impact a business would experience in the face of a data breach—it’s always worth taking a moment to consider this alternative.

Humans are targeted as often as machines

While you might have the best security strategy in place and on file, none of this matters if you cannot effectively educate the entire organization on best practices. If certain business departments or individuals aren’t abiding by the basics, then the whole company may as well be opening the front door to hackers. IT pros must insure all other departments not only understand what the policies are but why they exist and the consequences for breaking them.

Security has no day off, and with these considerations looming ahead for IT professionals in 2019, the role of monitoring tools will become ever more important in anticipating vulnerabilities, detecting threats, and spotting anomalies. Establishing best practices when it comes to monitoring will help IT pros be the eyes and ears behind the screens, safeguarding organizations from attack.

Dangerous New Attack Techniques & How to Counter Them

RSA Conference 2019 addressed the most dangerous attack techniques facing organizations and individuals today. There are two specific attack vectors that are increasing. First is the manipulation of the DNS infrastructure associated with specific enterprises. Hackers are using credentials that they have compromised in the normal course of business. Bad guys are logging into DNS and name registrars and manipulating the DNS records there. Emails destined for your organizations are actually being redirected to them.

The second attack vector is domain fronting, a technique that obscures where the attacker is located. However, that’s just the start, he said, as many of these attackers are disappearing into the cloud and acting as a trusted cloud provider.

Heather Mahalik, revealed how easily anyone can be targeted in individualized attacks. If someone wants to get your information, it can be easily tracked in the cloud. “The lazier we get as humans, the better the glimpse into our lives for everyone else.” Information that is in one cloud is being shared in other clouds, making it available to bad guys who want it.

Johannes Ullrich, returned to the DNS problem; it is an issue of privacy versus security. If a bad guy intercepts your traffic, they know a lot about you, so you want to go to something more private. HTTPS seems like the optimum solution, but HTTPS makes it more difficult for security staff to monitor logs that would otherwise find anomalies in the traffic.

There has been a rise in CPU flaws. Hackers are taking advantage of the flaws in these features to attack your system.

The solution? There needs to be an increase in the use of MFA to make it more difficult for outsiders to gain access to your networks, your clouds, your servers or your private information.


source:  InfoSecurity

C-Forward Named as Top National Managed Service Provider


Dale Silver


C-Forward Named as Top National Managed Service Provider (MSP)
Also Celebrating our 20th year of IT Services

Covington, KY: Local IT experts, C-Forward has been recognized as one of the Top 250 IT Companies in America by CRN.  This marks the fifth straight year that C-Forward has made this prestigious list.  CRN’s 2019 recognizes North American IT solution providers that have cutting-edge approaches to managed services.  The MSP Pioneer 250 have largely built their business model around providing managed services to the SMB market.

A Managed Service Provider (MSP)  is a company that remotely manages a customer’s IT infrastructure and/or end-user systems, typically on a proactive basis and under a subscription model.

The following are direct links to The Channel Co. CRN MSP Awards for 2019:

About C-Foward: Founded in 1999, C-Forward, Inc. is a company that provides Information Technology consulting services to businesses in all market segments.  C-Forward is celebrating our 20th year as a leader in IT and Managed Services. We are network administrators. We install, configure, and support a variety of computers and computer related software and equipment. Anything that touches a computer network we support. PCs, servers, firewalls, switches, and all the related software. C-Forward employs professionals that share a vision of providing quality IT solutions to their customers.

Whether it is an emergency support call, specific product implementation or project, or ongoing support, C-Forward is dedicated to helping companies “look forward” to the future.


5 West 5th Street Covington, KY 41011


Taking Control of Your Security in the Office

It’s Everyone’s Job to Ensure Online Safety at Work

Whether your company stores data in the cloud, permits the use of social media on its networks or promotes BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies, our online personal and business habits are merging.

Being more digitally connected means having more online accounts to log into and more passwords to remember. Some employees manage as many as 191 passwords at work! It’s no secret that weak passwords are a leading security threat, and bad password habits are far too common. Our recent Psychology of Passwords report, which surveyed 2,000 adults, ages 25 to 60 who have at least one online account, found that nearly 50 percent of people use the same passwords for personal and work accounts. Another report which analyzed 43,000 organizations using LastPass as their business password manager found that on average, any given employee now shares about six passwords with coworkers.

Clearly, mixing weak personal and work online practices can create a dangerous cocktail, but who’s responsible for changing those habits? While the responsibility for keeping a business secure typically falls on the shoulders of IT administrators and other designated security professionals, when it comes to basic practices like having strong passwords, it truly is a shared responsibility. We can’t rely on IT to track everyone’s security habits, particularly in large organizations.

We as employees are the first line of defense when it comes to our organization’s security and have a responsibility to do our part in keeping our company safe, such as spotting and reporting a phishing attempt to the IT team or using strong and unique passwords at work.

Here are a few easy steps you can take to protect the information of your company, your colleagues and clients and, of course, yourself:

Translate your security-conscious views into action

When it comes to basic security practices, awareness is not always the issue – it’s action. For example, our research found that 91 percent of people recognize that using the same or similar passwords for multiple logins is a security risk, but 58 percent still mostly or always use the same password. Additionally, whether we want to admit it or not, people are still writing passwords on sticky notes and logging on to public Wi-Fi – all things that are not secure online habits. There’s no time like the present to put into action the steps you know will keep you and your company most secure.

Create unique passwords for all of your accounts

Every password-protected account is an entry point to your company’s private data. As mentioned above, far too many people use the same passwords for work and personal accounts. It’s critical that passwords are complex and unique for each of your accounts. Otherwise, you’re just low-hanging fruit for hackers. Gaining access to your credentials because you’ve reused the same password everywhere provides hackers with an entry point to attack not only your accounts but also your company. We understand how strong the fear of forgetting a password is – but a simple tool like a password manager can help, both in generating strong, unique passwords for each of your accounts and safely storing them in a secure vault.

Be wary of emails

Always be sure to pay attention to emails you receive and the email address they come from, even if it looks like it’s come from a person or company you know. If you are sent an attachment that seems strange or there’s a link you weren’t expecting, don’t open or click on it. It’s best to reach out to the sender directly and confirm he/she meant to share those files. If you suspect a phishing attempt, report it to your IT department so they can address the potential threat as soon as possible. Also, never let personal credentials like passwords sit in your inbox, even if they’re in a draft.

Sharing is not always caring

It’s inevitable that people share passwords with others at work and do so in a way that’s unsafe and inefficient. Even if your company has one account for an analytics service or news site subscription, everyone should create their own password. If there is an extenuating circumstance requiring the one-time sharing of a password, do it through an encrypted service like a password manager and change your password after the person has accessed what they need.

As our offices become more digitally connected and technologically sophisticated, so too, do cybercriminals. Improving our online security, both at home and in the workplace, doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Take it one step at a time, starting with what you use the most – passwords!

source:  Stay Safe Online

IT Support Is Vital For Business

Every successful business in today’s day and age has a division that is largely technology based. No matter what product you sell, you likely have a sales or marketing team that attempts to reach out to customers through the internet. That’s why IT support for business is truly essential. Something will go wrong at some point, that’s just the nature of technology. Nothing is perfect. Do you have the expertise to make substantial repairs to your network if something goes haywire? Even if you do, you are busy running your business. Hiring a third-party IT support team will help take some of the weight off your shoulders.

Here are some more reasons why IT support for business is crucial:

IT Keeps Your Business Secure

Cybersecurity is a major issue in the business world today. It is likely that you are vulnerable to financial attacks, no matter how big or small your business is. A crack IT team will be able to install safeguards against such attacks, especially viruses. These safeguards can potentially save your business. IT professionals are trained to implement security measures that you may not be familiar with. There are many other ways that your company could be vulnerable. Don’t wait until it’s too late to protect yourself.

IT Helps Organize Your Information

Businesses typically have thousands of files stored on their computers. Managing these files can be an impossible chore, especially if you are not a computer expert. IT professionals can help you organize all your essential data, so you know exactly where to find it when you need it. They can also manage your customers’ data, such as client profiles and payment information. Every successful company needs a sophisticated database of information to survive. Otherwise, you might get lost among the competition. An IT team has the knowledge to help your business run more efficiently, leaving you more time to worry about making money and staying profitable.

IT Support for Business Is Essential to Customer Service

Depending on your product, you may get a barrage of calls from customers who need technical help. Without the knowledge, it will be impossible to solve their problems quickly. IT professionals deal with customers every day. They understand how to translate their vast technical knowledge into layman’s terms, and they do so elegantly. Your business rises or falls based on whether or not your customers are happy. An IT team can provide you with customer assistance around the clock, ensuring that they are satisfied with your products or services.

What IT Brings

The reality is that an IT team brings years of experience to your business that you may not be able to provide on your own. IT support for business is more important than ever, as valuable information becomes digitized and electronic transactions become more ubiquitous. They serve to make sure the technological side of your business is running smoothly so you can focus on everything else.

We are here to support you. Contact Us Now to see how our IT Team can help your business.

Q&A with Brian Ruschman, President of C-Forward, Inc.

Q&A with Brian Ruschman, President of C-Forward, Inc.

C-Forward is a top Tier Managed Services Provider for Manufacturers and Non-Profits monitoring and managing a customer’s Computer Network 24/7, Cloud Computing and Data Security while Implementing IT Solutions.

CEOCFO: Mr. Ruschman, according to your site, C-Forward prides itself on being a top tier managed services provider. How so? What is a top tier provider in your eyes?
Mr. Ruschman: Top tier means providing great customer support, being available when our clients need us. We are a 24/7 company with many clients in manufacturing as well as those operating twenty-four hour businesses. Our ability to proactively support them even in off hours makes us top tier. We have several types of software that are configured to alert and monitor so can we find issues before they become big problems. Usually around the security realm, we have eight or nine tools that we use and always upgrade and change. Making sure a firewall is configured correctly, antivirus is updated and malicious emails don’t make it to a user’s inbox is the first step. More importantly we have found that training users on being aware of incoming email and to question messages and attachments or links is the most important thing to prevent downloading viruses.

CEOCFO: How do you train someone not to fall back on old habits? How do you train someone to not click on everything and not instinctively click when you see something scary?
Mr. Ruschman: We educate on what malicious software that hackers employ and the newest tricks that are being used. If you do not think you have a UPS package coming to you or if you do not do business with a certain company, or if the FBI or IRS has randomly contacted you, chances are, it is not a legitimate request. We deploy software for our clients that sends fake Emails and reports back who clicks on the links. The purpose is to discover the habitual offenders who aren’t stopping to think before clicking on an attachment. In an organization with 100 people, if we have three or four people that click on every one of those fake messages that we send them, we have a pretty good idea of who needs training. It is not 100% guaranteed but we really do focus on training those specific people about why something they clicked on was a malicious email and how it can cause infections to be downloaded onto the network.

CEOCFO: You mentioned manufacturing companies and 24/7 businesses. Was that a focus from day one or did it develop opportunistically for those types of businesses?
Mr. Ruschman: It developed opportunistically. We still do not focus on any one vertical. We have earned a great deal of our business by word of mouth referrals. We supply great support and solutions for a company in manufacturing as well as in the non-profit world. These CEO’s and Executive Directors then talk to their friends who are in the same industry. We were founded 20 years ago by our Chairman of the Board, Brent Cooper, with a philanthropic mindset. Naturally, we were a great fit to non-profit organizations, who are prominent in the community. We supported their organizations internal network and, in turn, also supported their fundraising efforts by giving back to the community. We provided terrific support and our name got out in the community. Our clients tend to tell their friends and their friends begin to work with us. We have historically done very little marketing outside of sponsoring our clients’ events.

CEOCFO: What is your geographic range?
Mr. Ruschman: We support clients nationally. Our local headquarters are in Covington which supports Greater Cincinnati and then an office in Lexington supporting Central Kentucky. Some clients have their headquarters in Cincinnati but we support their branch offices in other states as far as Texas, Florida and New Jersey. However, ninety percent of our business is within the greater Cincinnati area but is continually growing in Lexington and Louisville.

CEOCFO: Do you do much on premise these days?
Mr. Ruschman: Almost all work that we do on premise at this point is proactive work. We visit our clients at least once a quarter (sometimes once a month) and review their infrastructure, making sure things in the networking closets and all onsite hardware is operational and running well. A good deal of our work is done remotely. We have one employee that does 100% of her job from Baltimore. When our Lexington technicians are not going on site to clients in central Kentucky, they are assisting clients that reside closer to Covington. We open, work on and close 60-70% of our tickets proactively, without involving our client at all. For example, we may get an alert that a backup didn’t complete successfully. We would work the solution and fix it without our client ever knowing that it failed. There are a lot of tools now that were not available three years ago that allow us to do that. Our client gets a notification that a ticket was open and then closed with notes on what we fixed, but other than that, they do not even know that we worked on it.

CEOCFO: Do many of your clients want to know what you are doing; do they care as long as everything is running well/?
Mr. Ruschman: They typically do not care. We promote ourselves as their IT department. We are going to be proactive and stay on top of things. We want our client’s IT to be an afterthought, we want computers to work and we want them to be able to do their job. Our goal is not to spend hours on the phone with clients trying to fix an issue. We have proactive software in place to avoid that situation. We put duplication efforts in place for firewalls and routers and with multiple datacenters for backup.

CEOCFO: How do you stay on top and ahead of the curve on things like security? How do you know what is right for any given customer?
Mr. Ruschman: You have to stay on top of it because it changes all the time. I go to five or six conferences a year to learn about the solutions that are available and I learn from different software vendors on their newest updates. When I return, our management team and I go over what we have and we determine if a different, newer solution would be a better fit for what we need to accomplish. Allowing us to be more proactive and security-focused is normally what would have us make a change to a new product. We are a Managed Services Provider, we have a security package and our clients use all services that we offer. We do not granularly offer them certain things. It helps our technicians know what is in place and we use the same tools for all 150 of our clients right now. It has streamlined everything that we do.

CEOCFO: What has changed at C-Forward since you became president in August?
Mr. Ruschman: I have focused on streamlining our efforts to be a complete Managed Services Provider. We have eliminated or upgraded existing clients and situations that were not very successful for us. We want our clients to be happy and we discovered that the unhappy clients were the ones that still utilized us at an hourly rate and called us when they had issues. They were not getting proactive support, not using the tools that we recommend and they were not on our managed services plan. One big change is that we no longer offer hourly rates or block time. We had to realize that our model was not going to work for everybody, but we promote how they can now budget and know exactly what they are going to spend each month. Our clients had to decide what was best for their business. It is my job to sell the value in having a 24/7 reliable helpdesk to work on their network and finding issues before they become big problems; allowing their workforce to continue their jobs with little to no downtime. It is a business decision on their end and on our end. Some clients stayed and others left but it was handled professionally so there were no breaks in service for anyone.

CEOCFO: Are you doing things like cabling and offering staffing for all of your clients or is that as requested?
Mr. Ruschman: We employ cabling specialists in-house and have many projects going on right now with new and old construction. Projects range from one or two new cables to large, new buildings that may involve hundreds of hours to complete. There are some clients that we provide staffing for eight hours a day onsite. That is an option for some larger companies that need the onsite presence and knowledge of an IT team.

CEOCFO: What do you look for in your people?
Mr. Ruschman: You have to have personality. In our field, being able to have a discussion with someone who is not technical and being able to relay information so people can understand it, is very important. Technicians can sometimes do that and sometimes they can’t. The other important attribute is to have a proactive mindset of support; being able to make suggestions when a light is blinking red and not just ignoring it for the next guy. Walking into a building, fixing the issue and leaving does not cut it. We have “proactive” in our tagline for a reason and that is why. We stress that it is important to “see something and say something.”

CEOCFO: What is next for C-Forward?
Mr. Ruschman: It is expansion into new cities. We expanded into Lexington last year and currently have six clients with three employees. Coincidentally, all of the clients in Lexington also have offices in Louisville, so that will be our next move. Dayton and Columbus also make sense. Up until now, we have never grown by acquisition and I envision that to remain the same. We have had slow and steady growth over twenty years and we intend to maintain that. We are at a point now where we are very confident in what we are selling and where we are going. It took us some time to get here, but the management team has worked together over the last four or five years with a franchise-type mentality. Anyone we trust would be able to open an office by mirroring our current operations. We have studied and researched as to why we do what we do and I think expanding for those reasons is going to be a lot simpler in the future.

Source: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine

C-Forward Manager receiving NKY Chamber Award

C-Forward is proud to congratulate Dale Silver on being selected as the NKY Chamber’s 2015 Pieschel Award winner. The Walter L. Pieschel Award is named in memory of the Northern Kentucky Chamber’s first volunteer leader.

The award recognizes an individual Chamber member who exemplifies outstanding service to the Chamber for the past 12 months.

Brent Cooper, C-Forward’s President and past Chair of the NKY Chamber Board, said, “This is a tremendous & well deserved honor for Dale. She continues to serve the NKY Chamber, and the community at large, in so many ways. She is caring, hard working, and wants to make a positive difference for our community. That’s who she is. For over 25 years she’s been helping lead the way. I feel so blessed to get to work with her, and I’m just thrilled she’s being honored.”

Dale has enjoyed representing the NKY Chamber since 1993 on numerous boards.

Most notably, the Board of Directors Executive Committee, Leadership NKY, and the Women’s Initiative. She is also extremely involved in the community, representing the Rosie Reds, Hoxworth Blood Center and Covington Business Council. Her motto “Be truly passionate about the cause you are involved with, as the organization’s success is the ultimate reward.”

Dale will be honored at the NKY Chamber’s Annual Dinner on Thursday, September 17th being held at the NKY Convention Center.

Please join our C-Forward employees and customers in congratulating Dale on this tremendous honor.