Category Archives: IT Security
With all the hype around Cloud Computing we feel it is important that we combat the concerns and criticisms raised around the subject. As with every product, there are good versions and bad versions of cloud computing, this is why it has received some negative feedback with regard to the security of data. However, as IT professionals we are able to provide expert knowledge in the field due to our hefty investment into our full platform cloud solution.
When it comes to your data security, the question is where exactly is this data and how can your ensure that it is secure? Recently, there has been much debate over the storage of data offshore in relation to the USA Patriot Act.
What is the USA Patriot Act and how does it affect cloud computing in the UK?
The Act was set up in 2001 as a response to the terrorist attacks of September 11th which reduced the daily freedoms of the American public and also allows for America to access data from the EU. The concern is that businesses using large cloud providers such as Microsoft, are storing their data in datacentres offshore which will not be entirely secure because of this Act. The grey area is around the storage of the data with an American owned company. If you enter into a contract directly with a US company, without going through a local UK subsidiary, your data then lies directly under US law. Therefore, if you are a UK business moving your data to the cloud it may well be important to ensure that your cloud provider bases their datacentres in the UK.
At Netmetix… We have dual datacentres that are based in the Derbyshire area – which we allow our customers to go and visit and be assured that it is secure and local. If the provider has dual datacentres, this means that there are two backups of the data; therefore if something catastrophic happened to one, there would always be the other one. Other attributes to our datacentre ensuring 100% security include:
- Full perimeter security with internal & external CCTV
- Photo ID swipe card entry system
- UPS & diesel generator power backup
- Dual Gbit Internet connections
- Enterprise level Cisco firewalls
Cloudmetix is our fully managed and supported cloud solution which offers you Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) integrated with Software as a Service (SaaS). The data from all of our Cloud customers is stored in the fully secure datacentre mentioned above.
If you would like to learn more about Cloudmetix and our secure local datacentres for your business then please contact us on 024 76 408100
As experts in IT security, we know more than most the kinds of things that can cause you to have a system meltdown. Misplaced passwords, foolish downloading and lazy maintenance can lead to someone hacking into your IT system and causing some real long-lasting damage. Of course, we are not all security experts and many put their security at risk without even realising it, which is why we have compiled this top ten list of things to avoid in order to keep your IT network secure and confidential.
You don’t say, huh? It may seem obvious but common sense can often be overlooked when using an IT system that you have used so much you have begun to take for granted. Be careful what you are clicking, think about what you are doing and don’t assume that everything you do on your system can be quickly undone. If making any changes make sure you can easily revert back to the old operational commands of the network in case anything goes wrong.
9. Turn off automatic updates
Aren’t they annoying? Whenever your computer tells you it is time to install automatic updates, you die a little death inside and prepare yourself for hours of seemingly pointless installations. Contrary to popular belief, automatic updates are useful. In fact, without them, you can be susceptible to contracting malware. Get a virus in your system and your IT network is rendered useless – not all viruses can be picked up by anti-virus software!
8. Insert any kind of stored data into your drivers
USB sticks and CD ROMS can, and probably will, be inserted into all manner of computers and therefore could have contracted all sorts of viruses that once installed, could destroy your IT system. Only use data sources from trusted people or invest in some device scanning software to make sure everything you put in your computer is safe to explore.
7. Save just one copy of everything
We are all busy these days so saving multiple copies of work and transferring it onto a number of portable devices can take up far too much of your time. Fail to backup data in this way though, and should your IT system become breached and your data lost, you would spend just as much time doing all your work again. By keeping backed up data in a different location to your normal office network, like our backup software does, you can be sure that even if it is lost, it can be easily restored. Our Managed Backup service takes all the effort out of ensuring you have accurate and up to dates backups of your critical business data.
6. Download too much freeware
Free stuff is great isn’t it? Not when it is installing malware, creating system conflicts and crashes it isn’t. It can be easy to replace official software with free, open source alternatives but a lot of the time you are getting what you pay for – unofficial solutions that frequently carry security threats. Be careful what you download for free or if possible, only purchase official licensed software.
5. Open every single email you receive
You have thousands of emails in your inbox but you are not as popular as you may think. Many of these emails are likely to be spam. Clicking on unsolicited content or opening emails from people you don’t know could lead you to download malware to your system, effectively shutting the whole thing down. Our Managed Anti-Spam service will filter out the vast majority of unsolicited spam and remove all viruses and malware before it gets anywhere near your computers.
4. Ignore your capacity
Set a reminder for when your anti-virus runs out and make sure you stay on top of how much space you have left within your IT system. There is nothing worse than being over your data allowance and experiencing computer systems that slow and clogged up. As your hard drive gets closer to filling up, your computer will have to spend much more time trying to find spaces to save your files, which will drastically slow down everything it does.
3. Knowingly surf the web unprotected
There’s always that space of time between when your anti virus programme expires and when you update it. You may spend a few days looking for a better deal or could even forget to update it. Make sure you update your anti virus as soon as possible and never surf the web without an up to date working antivirus – it would be sod’s law that you would contract a virus during this blip. Our Managed Anti-Virus service is always kept up to date to provide optimum protection and can be auto-deployed across your entire network.
2. Post your personal details online
It can be easy to put too much online. Whether sending a quick email or posting on a forum, contact details can be easily leaked without you actually realising the security risks. Make sure you think about the information you give out online – stray information can be easily picked up by hackers and used to their advantage. Remember, if you wouldn’t hand the information to a total stranger, don’t post it online.
1. Be too relaxed over who has access to your computer system
A relaxed boss is a good thing but one that is too relaxed to regularly maintain and update the control panel to their IT systems access panel is a risky thing. Think about which employees you are giving access to your IT system and make sure that when an employee leaves, they are instantly withdrawn access and passwords are changed. There is nothing worse than a vexed ex-employee hacking into company data and causing destruction.
2012 is already cybercrime’s HELL YEAR – as reported by Fast Company
Visitors to the Birmingham City Council website last week found themselves unable to check council tax payments, find out about council meetings and check library opening times as the website was taken offline as a defensive measure against online hackers. A group of unknown hackers outside of the UK attempted to hack into the council’s £2.8 million state-of-the-art website and breach the private details of all city residents.
In the same week, BBC’s Inside Out programme asked students at Coventry University’s ethical hacking class to hack into the private details of former boxer Richie Woodhall, through which they easily obtained his full name, date of birth, educational achievements and more crucially, his internet protocol address through which viruses and malware could be spread. All this at the time the UK embraced Internet Safety Day (February 7), a nationwide campaign designed to promote safer use of online technology throughout the world.
The threat of hacking has never really gone away since last year’s widely reported hacks on the Sony Playstation Network, blogging platform WordPress and Facebook but these latest events highlight the danger of hacking as a regional worry for local businesses as well as one that can affect larger corporations.
Falling victim to hacking can not only cause your business stress and worry but can also impact on your working hours as you spend days, weeks or even months looking for the most effective way to restore and protect your IT systems. Cybercrime is estimated to cost £1 trillion a year worldwide and £27 billion in the UK alone so it is no surprise that the latest Chamber of Commerce investigation into business crime found that firms in the region were losing more than £7,000 a year due to hacking and cybercrime.
There are many ways that we can protect your IT systems from the threat of hacking and our managed services include 24/7 monitored anti-spam and anti-virus software, email management services, data leakage protection, backup and replication services and multiple quarantine management. You can pick a bespoke security package to suit you to ensure that it is right for the line of business you work in or alternatively you could adopt our Cloudmetix cloud computing solution that will look after all areas of concern.
Cloudmetix contains software as a service and offers built-in protection against all hacking attempts and data threats. Cloudmetix eliminates the time spent constantly updating your anti-virus, searching for the right software on which to store data and the expense paid when it all goes wrong. With data replicated and stored at an offline location as well as anti-virus and anti-spam software running around the clock, you can be sure that with Cloudmetix or our individual managed services, your business data is protected and safe from online attacks and you can get on with the day to day concerns of running your business, leaving the technical issues to us!
Find out more about Cloudmetix at www.cloudmetix.net or follow us on twitter @cloudmetix to see for yourself how we are helping fellow businesses stay protected against the constant threat of hacking.
Cyber security is currently a hot topic and representatives from 60 nations have come together in London to fight back against the dangerously high levels of cyber crime threats across the world.
Mr Cameron spoke about Britain’s individual approach to the issue. He said: “Britain will shortly set out a new approach for better online security, crime prevention and public awareness. But a cross-border problem needs cross-border solutions, which is why the world needs to act together.”
This conference follows on from our recent blog addressing the ‘disturbing’ number of cyber attacks that have been attempted upon the UK. (http://ow.ly/7gnru)
Cyber crime is estimated to cost £1 trillion a year worldwide and £27 billion in the UK alone. David Cameron pointed out that it costs as little as 69p to buy someone’s credit card information online – the same price as a song on iTunes. This highlights the level of access that the hackers are able to obtain in order to distribute such valuable information at such a low price. Business owners from across the spectrum should use this as an indication to pay distinct attention to the security of the company’s data, as just one breach could destroy a business entirely.
The conference addressed the fact that highly sophisticated hacking techniques are being employed which even challenge the level of advanced secure Government data, therefore small to medium businesses need to ensure they have professional IT experts monitoring their own IT security.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague warned that creating an international safe cyberspace is one of the biggest challenges we have come across to date and Britain has prioritised cyber attacks as a tier one threat.
Professor Ross Anderson from Cambridge University told the conference how there is a 1 in 20 risk that any given computer is sending out spam without the owner’s knowledge. On suggesting a solution for the over-riding issue of cyber crime Professor Anderson said: “If you want to defend against this kind of threat it’s not enough to just shoot a few crocodiles, you have to drain the swamp.”
At Netmetix, we can provide a team of IT experts who are constantly updating their knowledge in the field, alongside some advanced security solutions for your business. We can help your business to combat the threats of cyber crime effectively. Just visit www.netmetix.net to see what we can offer!
The reports in the media yesterday that there have been a “disturbing” number of cyber attacks upon the UK re-enforces our message that all businesses need to pay more attention to their IT security. With much of our business and personal information co-existing electronically these days, it comes as no surprise that hackers continue to attempt to access this data illegally.
Lobbanm illustrated the threatening effect it has on the UK economy by saying: “I can attest to attempts to steal British ideas and designs in the IT, technology, defence, engineering and energy sectors, as well as other industries, in order to gain commercial advantage or to profit from secret knowledge of contractual arrangements. Such intellectual property theft doesn’t just cost the companies concerned; it represents an attack on the UK’s continued economic wellbeing.”
The Ministry of Defence has countered more than 1,000 online attacks in the last year from cyber criminals and foreign intelligence services. These attempted hacks highlight the vulnerability of any IT system, making it absolutely essential that regular IT audits are carried out within your organisation to ensure all systems are protected. New threats emerge all the time; therefore you could be put at risk any time.
Netmetix also provides a range of IT security solutions designed to ensure business continuity. It’s important to have IT security plan in place before a cyber attack occurs and we can help with the following solutions:
- Anti-spam and anti-virus services
- Email anti-virus and email management services
- Data leakage protection
- Multiple quarantine management
Another option to warrant secure IT systems is to move your business IT systems online into a cloud platform which offers Software as a Service and inbuilt protection. Our cloud service, Cloudmetix, offers complete IT security by taking away the need to worry about data storage and security, back-ups, software upgrades and anti-virus and anti-malware software. Find out more at http://www.cloudmetix.net/
Isn’t it time to take your IT security seriously? If you’re business is subjected to a cyber attack what would it cost you?
Hacking has hit the headlines recently with the attack on Sony’s systems, and the personal information of millions of its customers being compromised. It has sent a shockwave through the IT sector, and has brought this issue to the attention of consumers; many of whom thought their information was safe in the hands of a corporation the size of Sony.
Recent research suggests that more than half of business executives believe external threats pose more of a problem than internal ones. Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) are a growing concern among business leaders.
Smaller companies need to pay heed to the warnings signs that this sends out. Breaches in IT security are a threat to every business with any level of IT infrastructure that has access to the Internet, including intranets, extranets, remote working, and so on. For example, we recently worked with a company where someone had hacked into the server via a commonly used network port. They had installed a hacking tool that would then probe further external addresses for weaknesses and reinstall itself on those sites. With each successful attack, the tool would record the details of the network breached. On further investigation we found all the records with lists of IP addresses, usernames and passwords of all networks that had been accessed. Whilst the consequences may have been very serious, simple measures could have prevented all of these particular attacks from happening in the first place. In this instance, we alerted the company to the breach and helped them to protect their systems from future breaches and cyber attacks.
This incident and the Sony security breach highlights what is an increasingly worrying trend with hackers and spammers becoming ever more sophisticated and devious in how they manage to get around firewalls, anti-virus software and malware blocking software. Often the attacks are covert and a computer user is not aware of the attack until a seemingly innocent file is executed; allowing entry to hackers and viruses by the back door. Removable drives add to the potential threats, especially where there is no policy within a business guarding against the use of memory sticks and other removable drives and where these can be used. And this is without addressing the issues of data security and leakage (which is the subject for another blog in itself)!
So, what can you do to protect your small business IT systems? What you must remember is that the software and systems to beat IT security breaches are also becoming increasingly sophisticated, and with some forethought, planning and early action you can protect your IT, and keep it safe from future potential threats. This will ensure that you guard against network downtime, ensure business continuity and protect your corporate brand.
There are a number of key things a business can do to guard against threats. This includes keeping operating system and web browser software up to date with software patches and updates, installing a hardware firewall, investing in good quality anti-virus software. Likewise, using a reputable Internet-based spam filtering service and a good quality email filtering software are good starting points to stay protected.
Netmetix is celebrating its tenth year in the IT industry. We’ve seen many changes in that time, and also helped many businesses to protect themselves against security breaches and threats. The peace of mind we have provided our clients is invaluable.
There are simply too many areas to look at in depth in one blog, but for an overview of how you can protect yourself against IT threats, you can download our new ebook ‘What’s Bugging You: An introductory guide to IT security to protect your business’. Our book is aimed at giving businesses an insight into network security and what measures to take to avoid being harmed by the hackers.