From a thief’s perspective, stealing electronic data is the best type of crime there is – it’s easy to transport, there’s almost no risk of violence and you can steal from people who are across the globe from you. All you need is their password – – with it, you can log into their email and send messages as the CEO to the accounting department to have them wire money to your account. You can also remote into the network as the administrator and steal the company’s data to sell it on the black market or just encrypt it to sell it back to them (see our earlier post on ransomware). You just need the password. Read more
It used to be that the only option for robust email services (i.e. Microsoft Exchange – – it really is the gold standard of email servers) was to buy a server, figure out the Exchange software licensing and hire someone to set it all up and provide the ongoing maintenance. Luckily, those days are behind us and there are several options that are powerful, reliable and affordable. Let’s review the pros and cons of the most common solutions. Read more
People are used to buying their IT support on a “pay as you go” basis – – you need 3 hours of support to fix an issue, you pay for 3 hours of consulting time. Seems pretty reasonable to me. But, for many companies, it’s actually a very expensive and inefficient way of getting your IT support. Here are just some of the possible issues with paying for support by the hour: Read more
Many of the posts on this blog have been about cloud services and that’s because so many of our clients are looking at migrating their IT infrastructure (their shared files, backups, email, applications and many times their whole desktop experience) to the cloud. But how do you know if it’s a good fit for your business? If you do decide to move to the cloud, do you have to move everything? While for many people, a full cloud migration is the right way to go but there are also ways to take advantage of the cloud without giving up the functionality or control that you may require onsite. When we work with our clients, we walk through all of the necessary items to determine what parts of the cloud (if any) are right fit.
There have been several high-profile cases recently about organizations being hit by ransomware and having to pay the criminal hackers money to regain access to their data. Here are just a few of the most recent cases: a hospital in Kentucky, a hospital in Hollywood, a school in New Jersey, and a school in South Carolina. But what is this “ransomware” stuff, why is it so effective and, most importantly, how can you protect you and your company from it? Read more
A lot of businesses are making the move to the cloud with the logic of “why pay for servers, licenses, power redundancy, backups and support when I can just move to the cloud?” For some businesses, moving just your files to the cloud is the right answer (for example, if you don’t have any applications that you share, such as QuickBooks or time tracking software) and there are appropriate file-sharing services that cater to business needs but more on that in another post. But many businesses like the idea of moving their whole infrastructure, shared applications and all, to the cloud. With this option, your infrastructure becomes much more simplified and your IT expenses become very predictable – – and you get the added bonus of anytime, anywhere any device access to the stuff that runs your business. Done right, this creates a truly “worry-free” IT infrastructure.
So many times when we meet with new clients and we audit their network health and we get to the “How are you backing up your data?” question, the person in charge of the server will look up with a big smile and point out how they back up every night (like they were told to do) and how they switch their backup disks every day (“and see, we know that tapes are bad so we use USB disk drives”). And then they look at me expectantly and wait for me to tell them that their backup situation is all set. But, sadly, that’s when I have to (gently) burst their bubble and point out the flaws in their plan.
You buy a car and you regularly change the oil and take it in for its mileage-appropriate checkups. Why? Because you don’t want it to die on you on the highway on the way to closing your biggest deal. Well, the same is true for your IT infrastructure – – your servers, desktops, firewalls, switches, wireless access points, etc. – – they all need regular maintenance or they will, per Mr. Murphy and his law, break down at the most inopportune moments.
If you look at all of the high-profile information security incidents over recent years, they have one thing in common – – the breach occurred because of human error. Gone are the days when the attackers brute force their way through the external firewalls and protective systems using advanced “hacking” techniques. It is much easier for the bad guys to just get someone at the victim company to click on a link that contains some malware that exploits a known vulnerability and bang – – they are on the company’s network with control over at least one computer. And, once they have that access, it’s a relatively short, simple walk to having administrative control over many or all of the computers on that network.