Jeff Babb

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  • Registered On :2015-06-28 06:38:44
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Much like layering clothing to protect yourself from the elements, computer systems need layers of protection to keep them safe from attackers. In the day of Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs), new malware created by the day, and ransom ware such as CryptoWall, small businesses need to be much more vigilant in protecting valuable company resources from viruses, malware, botnets, hackers, and other threats. This can no longer be accomplished by just getting an antivirus solution from your local big box store. This must be handled with layered security, including such devices as;

 

  1. Netswat Safe Browsing – The first line of defense for blocking dangerous websites, botnet blocking, and preventing malware from leaking data to the internet.
  2. Unified Threat Management (UTM) Appliances – Your second line of defense for real-time scanning of incoming data for viruses and known threats.
  3. Antivirus – The last line of defense for your computer system. If a threat makes it through the first two layers, it can be picked up and removed by your Antivirus solution.
  4. And of course, vigilant monitoring of all the above.

 

Utilizing the proper layered security approach will cut downtime of resources, speed up company resources, and save you, as the business owner, from costly data corruption or theft. At Netswat we simplify this greatly by including it all in our Diamond support package, so you as the business owner don’t have to worry about system security. We believe doing so will cut support costs and increase employee productivity, as well as giving your business the best line of defense on the market for protecting all of your computer resources.

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Password managers aren’t exactly a new idea, but in recent years their popularity has increased dramatically as everyone creates an ever expanding amount of online profiles, and accounts across the internet. These days it’s not uncommon for a person to have dozens of logins that enable access to financial institutions, online stores, and social media sites and etc.

Password managers promise to help manage the plethora of data by keeping it in one place as well as generating strong passwords to accompany each login. All you have to do is remember the master password, and the password manager will do the rest.

But what happens if the password manager suffers a security breach?

That’s exactly what happened last month to LastPass, a popular, cross-platform password manager. It’s bad enough when one of your accounts is compromised, so i am sure you can imagine the conern from everyone when LastPass announced they had been the victim of a hack that exposed users’ email addresses, encrypted passwords, and cleartext reminder hints.

Single Point of Failure

Password managers can be some of the biggest targets for hacks on the internet, because if someone is able to breach one enough then they have thousands, potentially millions of people’s “digital keys” and can take over their online lives.

Security conscious companies will require employees to change their passwords every 90-120 days, and strong passwords are strictly enforced. Not allowing users to reuse any of the last 10 passwords, So many employees of those companies just write down their password on a Post it note and stick it to their monitor, or under their keyboard.

But are Password Managers Safe?

Probably so, if used correctly. They are definitely safer than many of the so-called crafty places people come up with to hide their password near their desks.

I’ve personally used LastPass across multiple devices for a number of years, and if you’re considering using any password manager i would strongly encourage you to heed the following advice:

  1. Make sure you’re operating a virus and malware-free computer. Keep your Ant-Virus updated and don’t click on suspect links.
  2. This one is critical, Enable multi-factor authentication, this gives you another strong layer of security in the event of a security breach.
  3. Secure your mobile devices with passwords, PINs, or pattern locks.
  4. Memorize a strong master password(the longer, the better, complexity doesn’t actually matter much) for the password manager.
  5. Your password manager login should timeout after minutes of inactivity.

What have been your experiences with password managers? Have they made your life easier?

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Every three years. I know some IT professionals will say servers last longer, and some do. However, after the third year of ownership, the cost of supporting a server start to escalate dramatically. According to IDC, starting in the fourth year, support costs increase by approximately 40%. By year five, that has swelled to 200%. Hold on to the server for seven years and support costs hit a mind boggling 400%. At that point you’ve become more of a firefighter than a business owner!

That means that the ideal time to replace your server is  before the increase in support costs in year three. Additionally, many business owners replace a new server at that time because the warranty expired on the old equipment, and continually purchasing extended warranties on top of the escalating support costs is very expensive.

Your company’s server may be humming along just fine, and I hope that’s the case. A server crash can be catastrophic to a business; a scenario best avoided for both your IT professional and your business. Replacing a running server is always preferable to replacing one that’s crashed, as a crashed server involves many more hours of labor and, potentially, even loss of data.

Non-Supported Operating System
Next month, Microsoft will pull the plug on support for Windows Server 2003. This means that it will stop receiving critical security updates, and that it’s probably time to replace your server’s hardware as well. This effectively nixes two problems before they can affect your business. It gives you an opportunity to move to modern, more efficient, and more powerful hardware.

Slow Performance
Slow performance can be difficult to define. Many employees learn to work around general “slowness.” Your server may be running reliably, but it may not be running optimally. This is where we help determine if a replacement is needed, or just a quick upgrade.

Conclusion
Your servers are the backbone of your company’s IT infrastructure. It’s wise to have a replacement plan for each one, so that you’re not scrambling to justify a surprise replacement cost when it crashes. You can help your company make wise decisions by remembering the inherent risk in forcing a server to perform critical functions well past their life cycle.

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