We all have heard that the cloud is supposed to save us time and money, but are we sacrificing data security, and protection by migrating our servers to the cloud? The short answer is, it depends. There seems to be a new hosting provider on the market every day promising low prices, highest levels of uptime, and secure data protection all in a public cloud, hybrid cloud, or private cloud configuration. Before you get all caught up in the marketing departments attempt to promise you the world, you really need to do some homework before you trust your company’s data to some guy in a basement. So what do you need to look for? Continue reading →
If there is one service or application that is ready to be moved to the cloud, it’s e-mail. E-mail is something that is accessed from all over the world, and does not require low latency and high bandwidth connections to the datacenter in order to have great performance unlike other thick client applications such as traditional ERP systems, EHR systems etc. E-mail is usually considered a mission critical application to most businesses, as it’s their primary method of communication with employees and clients. Most businesses host this application on a single server with many points of failure including power and internet. In addition to having many single points of failure, IT must now support this e-mail application locally, upgrade the hardware and software version of Exchange every few years, all costing you the business owner time and money. In this article, I’d like to outline the cost savings of moving your e-mail to a cloud provider, specifically Microsoft Office 365 and how doing so will make you and your employees more efficient. Continue reading →
By now, you’ve all probably heard the term “cloud computing”, (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS etc). Depending on who you ask, cloud computing can mean many different things. It can mean “moving your server infrastructure from your on-premise server closet (or the corner of your office ) to a highly secure, geo-redundant datacenter where you pay someone to host the underlying hardware for you”, or it can also mean a “pay as you go service where you only pay for what computing resources you consume, giving you the ability to scale up or scale down as needed minimizing your capital expense.” Whatever your definition of cloud is, it is here to stay and is changing the way we think about IT. So what does this mean for today’s managed IT service provider?
Remote Desktop Services is a great way to provide remote access to employees who travel, or it can even be used as a primary use of computing using thin clients. When you have multiple employees connecting to a remote desktop server, you will need to take the appropriate steps to secure the environment, just like you would a normal workstation . This includes but not limited to installing anti-virus , limiting the ability to install software without administrative privileges, as well as accessing areas of the system they shouldn’t be able to. In this article, we will specifically talk about how to lock down your RDS session using group policy, WITHOUT having that GPO apply to the employees regular workstation. Continue reading →
If your an systems admin for a network and responsible for the overall security of your environment, then I’m sure at one point in your career you’ve heard “I don’t know how I got this virus, I just went to MSN.com and POOF! Porn pop-ups starting appearing” If so, it may be a sign that you have users that like to stroll around sites that they probably shouldn’t visit during normal business hours. If that’s the case, then it may be time to look into implementing some type of web content filter in the environment that will block access to these types of sites. In my experience, this is a very simple task with Watchguard XTM firewalls and will give you some great visibility into your network that you normally wouldn’t get with other firewalls right out of the box. So what’s involved? Continue reading →
In today’s world, there is no such thing as “too much security”. OK, maybe there is but taking a few extra precautionary measures to protect sensitive data helps me sleep a little better at night. I don’t know about you, but I keep A LOT of data stored locally on my laptop. Granted I back it up frequently, but what would happen if I left my laptop at a clients site, or if it was stolen? Anyone with a password cracking utility can easily get past my Windows credentials and access my data, or even take my hard drive out of the laptop, and attach it as a external disk to their personal laptop. So how do you prevent this from happening? Simple. Continue reading →
Disaster recovery is often an area that doesn’t get as much planning and attention as it should. Most IT departments and smaller outsourcing firms are so busy constantly putting out fires, that the process of actually testing if the data can be recovered almost never happens. Another problem I see often is that the business owner usually has a completely different set of RPO’s (recovery point objectives) and RTO’s (Recovery Time Objectives) in mind than IT has. For most companies, the days of just doing 1 backup at the end of the business day just doesn’t cut it anymore. Staff expect their data to always be accessible, and when something happens to it, they expect to get a recent copy back fast. So what does all this mean, and what should you do as a business owner to make sure your companies most valuable asset (your data) is protected and recoverable when you need it most?