The Best Business Benefits of Cloud IT Solutions

the best business benefits of cloud it solutions
Migrating to cloud IT solutions can make your business safer, more future-proof, and more productive. Here are the best business benefits of the service:

Business Continuity

What happens to your business if you get hit by a snow storm in the winter or a hurricane in the summer? With cloud IT solutions, the answer is: not much.

Off-site backups are a great thing. They insure your business against physical harm in case something ever happens to your office. You can more or less remove business downtime from the equation.

Modern Security to Protect Against Modern Hackers

You need current technology to protect your business against current attacks. With cloud IT solutions, you’ll protect your business against data breach now and in the coming years. As the attacks become more sophisticated, so will the technology behind your service.

Flexibility Moving Forward

Who knows how much storage you’ll need in a few years? Alternatively, many businesses experience busy seasons in the summer or winter. With cloud IT solutions, you can always scale your plan up or down so you’re paying for just the right amount of storage. As your needs change, you can update your plan.

Mobile Employees

If your employees spend a lot of time out of the office, then you can let them access their files with cloud IT solutions. This also opens the door to who you can hire, since employees will essentially be able to work from home.

Collaboration

By storing your files and data on the cloud, you can make it easier for employees to collaborate. In general, the more employees work together, the bigger the projects they can complete. Cloud IT solutions make collaboration easy and practical.

Environmentally Friendly

Forget about buying traditional servers that take up lots of physical space. You can reduce your carbon footprint by getting cloud IT solutions and losing your servers. Prospective customers will appreciate your decision to protect the environment.

Cost Savings

Economies of scale make cloud IT solutions relatively cost-effective. This is the same reason why car manufacturers can produce affordable vehicles while it would cost a fortune to put one together yourself. Let the cloud services provider focus on IT while you invest in your core operations.

For more information about the benefits of cloud IT solutions, contact us today.

Protect Your Organization From the Risk of Default Configurations

protect your organization from the risk of default configurations

Default Configurations

Preventing information security incidents requires application of proper best practice cybersecurity configurations. Applying best practice configurations at the network infrastructure, system, service and application levels can even protect your organization and thwart information security threats not yet in existence by substantially decreasing the organization’s cyber security attack surface. Cyber-criminals tend to look for common configuration oversights that render organizations easy prey for cyber attacks. If systems within your organization support the following configurations, potential for an information security breach is quite high.

One common configuration error that renders organizations an easy target is system deployment with factory default configurations enabled. When experienced hackers perform reconnaissance on potential victims, they often use search engines to identify systems within the victim organization that run default configurations. If a system runs default settings, attackers simply lookup the default account username and password of the system, log in to the system, and then use the compromised system to gain unauthorized access to other systems within the organization. Since the compromised system is usually a trusted component of the organization’s network, it is often trivial for the attackers to gain access to other, more critical systems within the organization.

Another configuration best practice example that is often overlooked is granting system user account permissions only to the resources necessary and required for the user to perform their duties within the organization. Too often, user accounts possess administrator permissions to the workstation because this configuration enables the user to install and uninstall software, updates, and change configurations as needed to perform their work. However, if an attacker (or malware) gains access to an account with administrator permissions, the attacker then has full access to install malware and remote access services on the compromised system, then using the compromised system to attack other systems throughout the organization.

Contact us today for a security assessment of the information system configurations within your company to reduce the organization’s attack surface and risk exposure.

Have You Tested Your Disaster Recovery Plan? Here Is Why You Should

outsourced computer support for your business disaster recovery

A recent article from Forbes that’s well-worth reading lists five major ways businesses perform poorly on IT disaster recovery plans. Second on the list is the failure to test disaster recovery plans.

Why is Testing Necessary?

Without testing the disaster recovery plans measures you’ve come up with for your computer systems, your plan remains mostly theoretical. On paper, it looks as if it could work, but you can’t know with a reasonable degree of certainty. You’re not sure if your disaster recovery solutions will truly provide you with protection from lost data and give you the ability to minimize downtime. Your employees may not know what they’re supposed to do; without testing, the tasks they’re assigned to undertake could remain abstract to them.

Testing also helps you catch unforeseen difficulties or situations you didn’t expect. For instance, maybe your disaster recovery plans haven’t anticipated a lack of reliable communication channels between employees in the aftermath of a disaster. You don’t want to get caught unprepared.

What are Some Good Practices for Running Tests?

Whenever your IT or business environment undergoes notable changes, it’s a good idea to run a test. For example, if you switch to new kinds of software, upgrade your hardware, or add new devices to your network, it’s important to determine how these changes will affect your disaster recovery plans.

Granted, it’s not possible to frequently run full-scale tests on your entire system. You may wind up implementing changes to your IT set-up and not get a chance to conduct a full test until weeks or months later. However, even if you can’t always run a full-scale test, there are other options. You can conduct partial tests that don’t involve your entire system; you can look at specific issues, such as whether certain critical data backups are complete and timely. You’re also encouraged to use monitoring apps that pinpoint areas of vulnerability as your system changes.

For further advice and assistance, please contact us.

We will work with you not only to come up with a powerful disaster recovery plan, but also to check that it will truly support your company when you need it.

Computer Tip of the Day: Password Complexity is Essential For Your Organization’s Application Security

computer tip of the day password complexity is essential for your organization application security

Passwords are the most common method (along with user accounts) for authenticating a person in order to identify them as someone allowed access to the system and company network. This is especially true within networks where multiple platforms exist (such as Windows, Linux and Apple iOS) because not all systems support more advanced authentication devices. Password complexity offers a very simple method of identification by requiring the user to provide only something that they know, in this case a “secret” known only to the user and the system to which they are authenticating. However, several factors now make passwords a very weak method of protecting systems from unauthorized access.

Password complexity

First, attackers can break passwords with enough time and the right tools. Today’s faster processors enable malicious attackers to crack passwords (even those with strong encryption) in hours or even minutes, depending upon the nature of the password. While this is more of a technology vulnerability, it is important to mention because of the next point. In order to prevent successful password cracking, administrators can enforce password complexity rules. These rules, when configured on systems, force users to create passwords that meet specific constraints designed to ensure that passwords cannot be cracked within a short period of time.

Rules typically include length of password (over 12 characters), and require passwords to include one or more numbers, special characters, lowercase letters and upper case letters. The problem with passwords and personnel is that complex passwords are difficult to remember. For this reason employees will write down the passwords (which may eventually be found by others) or create passwords that, in spite of the complexity rules, certain password cracking software such as “John the Ripper” can break by using familiar names, repeat characters, phone numbers, the address of the company, or other human predictable password choices.

John the Ripper and other similar password cracking software packages able to break passwords faster because they support the use of (human predictable) password lists that the software can try first before proceeding into brute force cracking mode (essentially guessing at high-speed). Through the use of such lists, password cracking time is greatly reduced unless additional password complexity rules (such as disallowing use of dictionary words) are strictly enforced.

Of course password complexity rules do not prevent users from writing down their passwords, eventually retrievable through “dumpster diving” if and when the paper containing their passwords ends up in the trash bin.

Contact us today for help establishing, implementing and maintaining a company-wide password complexity policy that secures your applications and systems.

 

Computer Tip of the Day: Signs That You May Need Virus Removal

computer tip of the day signs that you may need virus removal

Keeping your computer running properly requires a certain amount of maintenance and upkeep as you will want to ensure that all of its software is up to date, and that your computer is running as efficiently as possible. However, another important aspect of computer maintenance is knowing when you are in need of virus removal. Viruses, spyware, and malware can cause severe damage to your computer, and it is then important that you have your computer repaired at the first sign of trouble to have these harmful infections removed. Here are a few signs you can lookout for indicated that your computer may be in need of virus removal.

virus removal

Your Computer Is Painstakingly Slow

One of the clearest signs of problems with your computer is if your computer suddenly starts operating much slower than it used to. While it is true that computers will slow down over time, this should not happen overnight. If this occurs, it is likely that a virus, or some of other problem is causing this lagging, and that your computer will need to be professionally repaired.

Many Pop-ups

Seeing a great number of pop-ups on your computer, whether your internet browser is open or not, is a clear sign that there is malicious software on your computer. Spyware in particular can use your computer’s internet connection to create these false advertisements on your computer. If you have suddenly noticed an increase in the number of pop-ups you encounter, or you begin encountering them when you never have before, then your computer likely needs repair.

These are a few of the most common indicators that your computer has been infected by some kind of harmful software, and is in need of professional attention. Contact us to learn more about how you will know when you are in need of professional virus removal.