Benefits of Outsourcing Your Security Operations.

Outsourcing IT Security Operations

A Security Operations Center (SOC) is a centralized unit that deals with security issues on an organizational level. The primary goal of a SOC is to prevent, detect, respond to, and mitigate cybersecurity threats. 

Key Benefits of Security Operations Center

Proactive Threat Detection

SOC monitors networks and systems in real-time, allowing for the early detection of security incidents and potential threats before they can cause significant damage.

Incident Response

SOC teams are trained to respond swiftly and effectively to security incidents. This includes investigating the nature and scope of incidents, implementing containment measures, and developing strategies for eradication and recovery.

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Continuous Monitoring

SOC provides 24/7 monitoring of an organization’s IT environment, ensuring that security threats are identified and addressed promptly, regardless of the time of day.

Enhanced Incident Investigation

SOC analysts use advanced tools and techniques to investigate security incidents thoroughly. This helps in understanding the root causes of incidents and developing strategies to prevent future occurrences.

Threat Intelligence Integration

SOC leverages threat intelligence to stay informed about the latest cyber threats, attack vectors, and vulnerabilities. This knowledge helps organizations proactively defend against evolving threats.

Automation and Orchestration

Many SOCs use automation tools to streamline routine tasks, allowing human analysts to focus on more complex and strategic activities. Automation can significantly improve response times.

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Centralized Security Management 

SOC centralizes security monitoring and management, providing a holistic view of an organization’s security posture. This centralized approach allows for better coordination and communication among security teams.

Compliance Management

For organizations subject to regulatory requirements, a SOC helps ensure compliance with data protection laws and industry-specific regulations by continuously monitoring and managing security controls. 

Reduced Downtime and Impact

Timely detection and response to security incidents minimize the potential impact on business operations, reducing downtime and financial losses.

Skill and Expertise

SOC personnel are highly trained and skilled in cybersecurity. Their expertise is essential for effectively navigating the complex landscape of modern cyber threats.

Security Awareness and Training

SOC teams often play a role in enhancing overall security awareness within an organization. This includes providing training to employees, promoting good security hygiene, and fostering a culture of cybersecurity.

Customized Security Solutions

SOCs can tailor their approach to address the specific needs and vulnerabilities of an organization. This customization ensures that security measures align with the business goals and risk tolerance of the organization.

 

Threat Hunting

SOC teams engage in proactive threat hunting activities, actively seeking out potential threats that may have evaded automated detection. This proactive approach allows for the identification of sophisticated and targeted attacks.

 

Data Loss Prevention

A SOC helps safeguard sensitive data by implementing and monitoring data loss prevention (DLP) measures. This includes tracking and preventing unauthorized access, sharing, or exfiltration of critical information.

Forensic Analysis

SOC analysts conduct forensic analysis to understand the full scope of security incidents. This involves reconstructing events, gathering evidence, and preserving data integrity for legal and investigative purposes.

Security Awareness Programs

SOCs often play a role in developing and executing security awareness programs. These programs educate employees about the latest cybersecurity threats, social engineering tactics, and best practices for maintaining a secure work environment.

Collaboration with External Entities

SOC teams collaborate with external entities such as threat intelligence providers, law enforcement agencies, and industry peers. This collaboration enhances the SOC’s ability to stay ahead of emerging threats and share information about potential risks.

Performance Metrics and Reporting

SOCs track and report on key performance metrics related to security incidents, response times, and overall threat landscape. These metrics help organizations assess the effectiveness of their security measures and make informed decisions for improvement.

Scalability

As an organization grows, a SOC can scale its operations to accommodate increased security demands. This scalability ensures that the security infrastructure remains robust and adaptive to the evolving threat landscape.

Technology Integration 

SOCs integrate with various security technologies, such as intrusion detection systems, firewalls, and endpoint protection solutions. This integration allows for a unified and coordinated defense against a wide range of cyber threats.

Continuous Improvement 

SOCs engage in continuous improvement processes, reviewing and updating security policies, procedures, and incident response plans. This ensures that the organization remains resilient and can adapt to emerging threats effectively.

Risk Management

SOCs contribute to the organization’s overall risk management strategy by identifying and prioritizing security risks. This information helps leadership make informed decisions about resource allocation and risk mitigation strategies.

Regulatory Compliance Assurance

For organizations subject to industry-specific regulations, SOCs play a vital role in ensuring compliance. By monitoring and enforcing security controls, SOCs help organizations meet the requirements of data protection laws and industry standards.

The Benefits of Outsourcing IT Security Operations

In the fast-paced and dynamic landscape of today’s digital age, organizations face unprecedented challenges in safeguarding their sensitive data and critical assets. As cyber threats continue to evolve, many businesses are turning to outsourcing as a strategic approach to enhance their IT security operations. 
 
This approach offers a myriad of benefits, providing a cost-effective and efficient solution to address the complexities of modern cybersecurity. In this article, we’ll explore the advantages of outsourcing IT security operations.
 
  1. Expertise and Specialization: Outsourcing IT security operations allows businesses to tap into the expertise of dedicated professionals who specialize in cybersecurity. These specialists possess up-to-date knowledge of the latest threats, vulnerabilities, and technologies, enabling them to implement robust security measures and stay ahead of potential risks. This level of specialization is often challenging for in-house teams to achieve, as cybersecurity requires constant learning and adaptation to emerging threats.

  2. Cost Savings: Building and maintaining an in-house IT security team involves significant costs, including recruitment, training, salaries, and ongoing professional development. Outsourcing provides a cost-effective alternative, allowing organizations to access high-level expertise without the overhead expenses associated with a full-time internal team. Moreover, outsourcing agreements often involve predictable, fixed costs, making it easier for businesses to budget and plan for their cybersecurity needs.

  3. 24/7 Monitoring and Incident Response: Cyber threats can strike at any time, and a delayed response can lead to severe consequences. Outsourcing IT security operations typically includes around-the-clock monitoring and rapid incident response capabilities. This ensures that any security incidents or breaches are detected and addressed promptly, minimizing the potential impact on the organization.

  4. Access to Cutting-Edge Technology: Cybersecurity technology is evolving rapidly, and keeping up with the latest tools and solutions is crucial for effective defense. Outsourcing providers invest heavily in state-of-the-art security technologies and infrastructure, ensuring that their clients benefit from the latest advancements without having to bear the associated costs. This access to cutting-edge technology enhances an organization’s security posture and resilience.

  5. Focus on Core Competencies: Outsourcing IT security operations allows organizations to concentrate on their core competencies and strategic objectives. By entrusting cybersecurity responsibilities to external experts, internal teams can focus on activities that directly contribute to the organization’s growth and success. This streamlined approach enables businesses to allocate resources more efficiently and enhance overall operational effectiveness.

  6. Scalability and Flexibility: The dynamic nature of business operations requires a scalable and flexible approach to cybersecurity. Outsourcing providers can easily adapt to the changing needs and size of an organization, providing scalable solutions that align with business growth or contraction. This flexibility is particularly beneficial for businesses experiencing seasonal fluctuations or rapid expansion.

  7. Regulatory Compliance: Outsourcing IT security operations helps organizations navigate the complex landscape of regulatory requirements and compliance standards. Many outsourcing providers have extensive experience in adhering to industry-specific regulations and can assist businesses in meeting compliance obligations. This not only reduces the risk of legal consequences but also instills confidence in customers and partners regarding the organization’s commitment to data protection.

What to Look for in a Managed IT Security Operations Provider

 

Managing cybersecurity in-house can be challenging, prompting many organizations to turn to managed IT security operations providers. Choosing the right provider is a crucial decision that can significantly impact an organization’s overall security posture. In this article, we’ll explore key factors to consider when selecting a managed IT security operations provider.

  1. Expertise and Specialization: The cornerstone of a reliable managed IT security operations provider is a team of experts with deep expertise and specialization in cybersecurity. Look for providers with a proven track record, certifications, and a commitment to ongoing training. Specialized knowledge allows the provider to stay abreast of the latest threats, vulnerabilities, and industry best practices, ensuring a proactive and effective approach to security.

  2. Comprehensive Security Services: A reputable provider should offer a comprehensive suite of security services that align with your organization’s needs. This may include threat detection and response, vulnerability assessments, penetration testing, security awareness training, and compliance management. Assess your organization’s specific requirements and ensure the provider can deliver a tailored and holistic security solution.

  3. Proactive Threat Detection and Response: An effective managed IT security operations provider should have advanced capabilities for proactive threat detection and rapid incident response. This includes 24/7 monitoring of networks and systems, as well as the ability to swiftly identify and mitigate security incidents. Look for providers with a proven history of quick and efficient responses to minimize potential damage in the event of a security breach.

  4. Scalability and Flexibility: Business environments are dynamic, and security needs can change rapidly. A capable provider should offer scalable solutions that can adapt to the size and requirements of your organization. Whether you are a small startup or a large enterprise, the provider should be able to scale their services accordingly. Additionally, flexibility in service offerings allows you to tailor the security strategy to meet the specific demands of your industry and business model.

  5. Compliance Expertise: Different industries have specific regulatory requirements and compliance standards. A reliable managed IT security operations provider should be well-versed in these regulations and possess the expertise to ensure your organization remains compliant. Whether it’s GDPR, HIPAA, or industry-specific standards, the provider should be capable of guiding your organization through the intricacies of compliance.

  6. Transparent Reporting and Communication: Clear communication is essential in cybersecurity. A trustworthy provider should offer transparent reporting on security incidents, vulnerabilities, and overall system health. Regular updates and communication channels that facilitate a collaborative relationship are crucial for maintaining a strong security posture.

  7. Technology Stack and Innovation: Assess the provider’s technology stack and ensure it aligns with the latest cybersecurity advancements. A provider that invests in cutting-edge technologies and innovation demonstrates a commitment to staying ahead of evolving threats. Additionally, inquire about the provider’s ability to integrate with your existing IT infrastructure seamlessly.

  8. Proven Track Record and References: Evaluate the provider’s track record by seeking references, case studies, and client testimonials. A history of successful implementations and positive feedback from other clients is a strong indicator of the provider’s reliability and capability.

  9. Cost Structure and Value for Money: While cost is a significant factor, it’s important to consider the overall value for money. A provider with a transparent and reasonable pricing structure that aligns with the scope of services and your organization’s budget constraints is key. Avoid providers that offer pricing that seems too good to be true, as it may indicate a lack of necessary expertise or comprehensive services.

  10. Cyber Insurance and Liability: Inquire about the provider’s cyber insurance coverage and liability policies. Understanding the extent of their insurance coverage provides insight into their confidence in the security measures they implement. This can be an added layer of assurance for your organization in the event of a security incident.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, a Security Operations Center is a crucial component of a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, providing organizations with the capabilities needed to detect, respond to, and mitigate security threats effectively. It is a multifaceted asset that goes beyond incident response, offering a comprehensive and adaptive approach to cybersecurity. Its integration into an organization’s overall strategy enhances resilience, reduces risk, and provides a proactive defense against the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats.

Outsourcing IT security operations offers a strategic and cost-effective approach to addressing the ever-evolving challenges of cybersecurity. By leveraging the expertise of specialized providers, organizations can enhance their security posture, reduce costs, and focus on their core business objectives. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, outsourcing remains a valuable tool in the arsenal of businesses seeking to fortify their defenses against an increasingly sophisticated array of cyber threat

Choosing a managed IT security operations provider is a strategic decision that requires careful consideration of the provider’s expertise, services, and overall approach to cybersecurity. By thoroughly evaluating these key factors, organizations can make informed decisions that contribute to a robust and resilient security posture in an increasingly challenging digital landscape.

Abtech Technologies is a leading managed IT security provider, with a wealth of expertise and experience in Cyber Security and Managed Services. If you would like to set up a call with one of our specialists, please Click Here.

 

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When really is  “the end” in OEM End-of-Service-Life?

No doubt you’ve had considerable experience with OEM support ending on your IT equipment over the years. If you’re experiencing this for the first time, it might incite a bit of minor panic since you’ve perhaps relied on this support for a while. Original equipment manufacturers frequently want to move on from legacy support because they want to build their own future.

In many ways, OEM support ending after two or more years is a symbiotic process, if by force. They’re essentially weaning you off OEM support reliance so you can benefit from third-party maintenance.

Going with a third-party maintenance plan isn’t a bad transition for various reasons, though you’ll want to know when it’s appropriate. It’s better to transition before your OEM support ends so you won’t have to scramble to find something suitable.

Declining Value in OEM Support Agreements

For some IT equipment, it’s sometimes possible to enter a longer OEM support agreement than others. Often, they’ll allow you to enjoy several years of support and then extend to a limited point through contract renewals.

Maybe you’re doing this now. Regardless, it’s worth noting as each year ensues, you’re receiving less support value. Since many IT manufacturers want to move forward to provide new technologies you’ll want to buy, they don’t waste time with an entire decade or more of support privileges.

When you start losing OEM support value, it could place you in jeopardy if you have a serious IT issue arise. An emergency might come up and you’ll realize the 24/7 support you once enjoyed is now extremely limited or non-existent.

If you find yourself in a tech emergency on a weekend or holiday, you’re basically left on your own to find technical help.

This is why you’re better off switching to third-party maintenance before your OEM support starts to degrade in quality.

The Growth of Third-Party Maintenance

Dissatisfaction with OEM support is one of the main reasons companies switch to third-party maintenance recently. According to statistics, 75% of companies make this switch because OEM support didn’t help with changing business requirements.

Data like this shows why maintenance from outside sources has rapid growth in IT departments worldwide.

When you find a new maintenance team, you’re going to discover they give you far more benefits than if sticking long-term with the OEM process.

Costs and Customization

It’s going to cost less hiring a third-party maintenance company because you’re basically outsourcing much of the technical help. They already have a dedicated team that’s going to monitor your IT equipment and even provide remote support when needed. In many cases, this means using pre-owned equipment, despite many businesses preferring this to save money.

You’re also giving yourself far more freedom. OEM support systems frequently prevent you from using your network for the entirety of its useful life. Now you can, including adding things to it the original manufacturer didn’t allow.

Better IT Management

Keep in mind you’re going to receive excellent IT management going through a third-party source. Many of these maintenance companies offer IT advisors, something you wouldn’t find with the OEM.

Through your advisor, they’ll guide you through any upgrades you want to do, the best equipment to use, and how much money you should spend.

With the new trend being decoupling hardware and software to extend the tech life cycle, a new IT paradigm is already here. Keeping costs under control is obviously a major hurdle for all companies. Now you can stop playing risk, especially when relying on security technology.

Visit us at Abtech Technologies to ask about our security products to augment business continuity and compliance.

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Prevent, Protect and Mitigate Cyber Attacks

Prevent, Protect and Mitigate Cyber Attacks

An anatomy of a real attack

  1. User targeted by spam email.
  2. User engaged with hacker and their local laptop was compromised.
  3. The hacker then used the VPN connection on the laptop to access the corporate network.
  4. With access to the network the hacker started a network discovery sweep.
  5. One spreadsheet with admin credentials was found.
  6. Ransomware was deployed and in less than 20min the entire network was encrypted.
  7. The company did not have an effective backup plan an it too 2 weeks for them to get back to 80% of production.
  8. As of 2 months after the attack they are only at 90%

Signs of unauthorized access attempts on your computer systems.
The hackers target individuals who may hold confidential company information. Then, they contact them via text messages or emails containing executable malware or links, by posing as someone of a familiar identity. If these links are clicked on, the hackers could gain substantial access to the victim’s network and data.

What will an attack look like?

Identifying the malware, phishing, spyware, trojans and viruses.

Presuming the cybercriminals are successful, the target company may experience:

  • Malware infections: Bitcoin mining, Keystroke loggers or Identity theft.
  • Data theft/high jacking.
  • Ransomware.

How to prevent the attack?

Preventing a cyber attack and saving your data and network. People need to be educated about this threat, and strong awareness needs to be spread throughout the organization. Companies need a Defense in Depth approach to a security architecture that is multilayered and spans all networks, endpoints, mobile devices, and the cloud. These are the measures recommended to ensure maximum safety:

Basic IT Security Measures

  • Phishing and password training
  • Proofpoint email protection
  • Datto RMM anti-Ransomware
  • CyberHawk
  • KnowBe4
  • End point Security Software
  • Web Application Firewall
  • Botnet protection
  • Latest updates from vendors
  • Identify all attack vector

High End Security Measures

  • Additional Security Measures: Bi-Annual Penetration testing, Internal Vulnerability Scans, Annual Information Security Audit and Compliance audit readness
  • Intrusion Prevention System
  • Cyber Insurance
  • StorTrust: Cloud Backup and Disaster Recovery: Allows data to be stored offsite and be restored should an accidental deletion, a failed software upgrade, database corruption or ransomware occur.
  • Stortrust Immutable Backup: Immutable backups are air-gapped and cannot be affected by ransomware originating from a client site.

We protect your data and your business. With our service, file and systems can be recovered instantly from a local appliance. If disaster strikes, we can spin your critical systems up in our cloud so your business can keep running. We include an annual DR test, sou you can relax, knowing we will be there when you need us.

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Everyday tips that help you identify a phishing attempt

Phishing is one of the most common types of cyberattacks aimed at stealing your money or identity by means of obtaining your personal information and using it to access your accounts. This type of cybercrime is present on all popular communication media, ranging from social networks all the way to emails, phone calls or even text messages. Cybercriminals are usually impersonating reputable companies, attorney offices and even family members. They are trying to gain credibility and trick you into revealing sensitive information that can give them access to your financials. This is usually done through a link to a phishing website, a copy of a bank website or online store, which will ask for your banking of credit card information.

How to identify a phishing attempt?

At its roots, phishing is a means to collect your data, so be wary of any requests for personal information. Here are a few helpful tips for guarding yourself against online phishing:
  • Email domain address. Check the sender’s email domain. If the email is not coming from a known email provider (such Gmail, Outlook, or Yahoo Mail) or from an organizational domain that you know, then the email might be spam.
  • Spelling and grammar. Organizations and professional contractors care about the outlook and quality of their communication; therefore, email messages will always be spell checked and proofread. Spelling issues of any kind are a good indicator that the message you have received is a phishing attempt to extract your personal information.
  • A tone of urgency. When phishing, cybercriminals are trying to draw your attention away from the minor details that might expose them, so they are using a tone of urgency or even threats to draw the receiver’s attention away. The email or message will say to click on a link or to open an attachment immediately in order to claim an award, or even urge you to make a payment for avoiding penalties. This type of urgency is always a red flag for a phishing attempt.
  • New or unexpected messages. A message received out of the blue from someone you don’t know is a good candidate for a phishing attempt. There are also times when the message can be genuine, but more often than not, these types of messages are intended by cybercriminals to collect your information. Always examine carefully messages received from a first-time sender and make sure that the message is genuine before sending out a reply.
  • Suspicious links. Be wary of any links you receive in an unexpected email. Links can be deceiving, and while the text of the link points to a real organization, the URL behind the link could point out to a phishing page meant to steal your information. A quick way to check if a link is genuine is to hover your mouse over the text of the link. If the text of the link doesn’t match the real web address display under the mouse cursor, then the link is leading to a phishing page.
  • Unexpected attachments. Also be wary of any kind of attachments that you were not informed of beforehand. Attachments can contain viruses or malware targeting your data, that cybercriminals can then use to access your finances or other valuable resources.
One way to avoid phishing attempts is to contact the sender of the email by phone or to speak to them directly. This way, you can ensure that the message or email is genuine, and any links or attachments provided are safe to use. A better way is to contact the IT security specialist of your organization and get their expert opinion, especially if the email sender is unreachable through other means. As an IT support and security provider, Abtech offers a wide range of resources meant to help you mitigate any phishing or ransomware threats. Here are a few of Abtech’s services, expertly tailored to battle phishing and other similar security threats:
  • Endpoint Security Software, such as ESET or Capture Client.
  • Email Security and Spam Filters, such as Proofpoint Essentials.
  • KnowBe4 Security Awareness testing and training.
  • Datto Ransomware Protection.
  • Internal Vulnerability scans and mitigation.
  • Cloud backup and disaster recovery (Stortrust).
We protect your data and your business. Abtech offers a range of services aimed at protecting you and your users from cyber attacks. If you would like to know more, please click here or reach out to info@abtechtechnologies.com
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6 common items that help identify a phishing attempt

What is Phishing?

Phishing is a cybercrime in which a target or targets are contacted by email, telephone, or text message by someone posing as a legitimate institution to lure individuals into providing sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, banking and credit card details, and passwords. Generally, emails sent as phishing attempts are masked so they appear to be sent by the business, person, or institution who is known by the recipient.

Here are 6 common items that help identify a phishing attempt:

  1. Is the message sent from a public email domain, such as Gmail?
  2. Check the email address. Does the email address match the email address of the sender? Example: Bob – Bob@exxon.com, but shows Bob – bob@gmail.com.
  3. The email domain name is misspelled. (exxon.com is Exxan.com)
  4. The body of the email is poorly written with misspellings, bad grammar, or poor word choice. (However, be careful, the cybercriminal’s grammar is improving)
  5. The message includes attachments or links that are suspicious. The link says it goes to one place but when you hover over it is shows another URL.
  6. The message creates a sense of urgency, such as please change your password or look at this document ASAP.

If you ever have a question about an email and if it is legitimate, you have options: contact the sender via telephone and confirm or ask Abtech and we will provide an expert opinion. And please remember that as a client of Abtech, you have access to resources to mitigate Phishing and Ransomware attacks. Here are a few examples. Your company may already be utilizing some or all of these:

  • Endpoint Security Software such as ESET or Capture Client
  • Email Security and Spam Filer – Abtech Recommends Proofpoint Essentials
  • KnowBe4 Security Awareness testing and training
  • Datto Ransomware Protection
  • Cyberhawk Internal Threat Detection
  • Internal Vulnerability scans and mitigation
  • Cloud backup and disaster recovery (Stortrust)

Abtech offers a range of services aimed at protecting you and your users from cyber attacks.

If you would like to know more, please click here or reach out to info@abtechtechnologies.com

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Top 5 Security Products and Services for IT Businesses

Top 5 Security Products and Services for IT Businesses

Security is always an important concept to consider for IT businesses. They are dealing with large volumes of sensitive information that is targeted by hackers and other malicious actors both inside and outside of the firm. Depending on the business, the value of this data could be millions of dollars or more. Spending to protect it is imperative as insurance against this loss. There are 5 products that are most important.

Vulnerability Assessment
All IT businesses need to be aware of the potential threats to their network. Without the initial understanding of the obvious and not so obvious threats, you will not know how to defend yourself. A vulnerability assessment determines all of the threats both outside and inside the network. At that point, a risk assessment report is created to highlight all of the potential issues and how they may be resolved. Companies use an end-to-end, point to point vulnerability assessment to get at their root risks.

In fact, certain organizations are required to conduct a vulnerability assessment. That includes publicly listed companies and also those medical companies that must comply with HIPAA requirements.

Penetration Testing
A Pen Test usually follows a vulnerability assessment. It includes a harmless payload that mimics a virus to attempt to infiltrate and disrupt a network. The payload acts in the same way a virus does to exploit vulnerabilities but does not actually cause any harm. This tests may identify problems that were not apparent in the risk assessment. This takes a little more time than the risk assessment but produces valuable insight from a real live test.

Malware Training
No matter how much software and equipment you purchase, there is always the more prosaic ways to infiltrate a network. By tricking an employee into voluntary downloading a malicious virus, a hacker can cause enormous damage. This was the case in the hacking of Sean Podesta (Hillary Clinton’s chief advisor) and possibly also of Sony Pictures.

To avoid falling victim to these programs, employees should undergo extensive training sessions to learn about phishing, web links, public wifi and other potential vulnerabilities. Companies must establish strong programs to create a culture of safety.

Back-up Data
Managed cloud services providers must protect data from being wiped by malicious attackers. While excellent firewalls and anti-virus software does some of the work, keeping segregated data centers is another crucial tool. Cloud data has the advantage that it can be held in multiple locations, not simply in the hardware of the employees on site. For that reason, skilled cloud service providers can keep data in different locations so that even if the hacker is successful in infiltrating one storage center, they will need a new set of approvals to access the other one. Even better, if the first server is attacked, the other ones may automatically shut down to prevent further disaster.

Anti-Virus Software
Of course, the old stand-by is having anti-virus software installed on every computer, in the network and in the data center. Large companies such as McAffee, Kaspersky and Norton have successfully attracted large and small clients around the world. They keep a running tab on malicious software and quickly work to prevent them from damaging the hosts.

Corporate policy at virtually every large company in America instructs employees to keep their anti-virus software up to date. In fact, IT departments usually install and update these programs on the computers themselves. Without it, companies would be much more vulnerable.

Abtech Technologies provides a range of products and services to help IT businesses protect themselves. The company has helped large and small companies all the way to Fortune 500 firms to upgrade their defenses and protect themselves from hackers. For more information, please contact us.

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Advantages of Cloud Computing Features

Advantages of Cloud Computing Features

Abtech
In recent years, the cloud computing world has evolved to provide almost everything for your business “as-a-service” and does it for a relatively low monthly fee. Cloud computing features also include converged infrastructure and solid state drives. Read on for tips on these features that may prove advantageous for your business.

As-a-Service. The list of cloud offerings as-a-Service grows each year. We encourage you to carefully review the various as-a-service cloud services available from cloud service providers. Do not commit to any cloud service that cannot handle your data securely and does not operate in the way that you want to operate. You will want to explore the providers’ responses to any data security questions before committing to a specific cloud provider to ensure that you make the best choice. If the provider cannot answer your questions to your satisfaction, do not buy the service.

  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is probably the most ubiquitous of the cloud offerings. SaaS permits some choices within the software features offered, however, customers cannot customize the underlying code. If your business requires extensive changes to the SaaS code, you probably won’t get them — which is not such a bad thing. After all, you wouldn’t want the shared cloud code to include changes that you expected would give you a leg up over your competition. Any code change accepted by the cloud provider will be available to all who use the SaaS. That’s how as-a-service offerings work. The cloud provider makes client requested changes at one time and every customer gets to take advantage of the changes.
  • Database-as-a-Service. DB-as-a-Service is, at its core, a sub-specialty of the software-as-a-service model. It is a managed service that provides access to a cloud database that the DBaaS customer uses with cloud applications and their own data. All the administration and management of the database stays with the cloud provider so all the customer has to do is use its database. Businesses that want to retain more control over the database can do so under optional features. Cloud providers base payment on the features used and the amount of storage capacity the database requires. Some DB systems do not support compression or table partitions so it is imperative that you understand what your existing system can do and what your business requires from its database before you commit to DBaaS.
  • Identity-as-a-Service. ID-as-a-Service is an infrastructure for authentication that resides in the cloud. It is a way of managing identity that includes all of the things we’ve come to appreciate about services in the cloud, such as smaller on-site infrastructure; easy management; and a range of integration options. IDaaS is popular with smaller organizations or large organizations with satellite locations who do not have the expertise in-house to have strong identity architecture. Such businesses move identity security to the cloud believing that the cloud provider is an expert in the field. ID-as-a-Service raises questions of regulatory compliance, auditing, and how the ID cloud provider will handle disclosures of sensitive customer information. Since this is an evolving area, do not count on the law to demand cloud provider surety against disclosure of sensitive information. Do your due diligence review.

Converged Infrastructure. The term converged infrastructure refers to the process of grouping various information technology (IT) elements together into one computing package. The packaged IT elements act more efficiently than the elements would if acting independently. These elements may include servers, network management, infrastructure management software, and data storage devices. Converged infrastructure approaches data center management in a way that looks to decrease incompatibility issues among all these elements.

Converged Infrastructure provides advantages over the traditional silo approach to computing. Converged Infrastructure allows networks to handle Big Data more efficiently through a single, IT management system which integrates the various components.

Solid State Drives. Traditional computers have spinning hard drives (HDD) for storage. Designers developed Solid State Drives (SSD) originally for ultra mobile devices. Today, you can choose to have SSD for your operating system and HDD for other purposes.

SSDs have no moving parts so they fly in the face of what we traditionally think of as “hard drives”. The term refers to storage devices that save data on solid-state flash memory drives. Solid-state means the devices use solid semi-conductor (instead of electron tube) memory stored on a flash drive that uses integrated circuits rather than magnetic or optical media to store data.

SSD advantages are lower random access and read latency (think, wasted time) than traditional hard drives which gives SSDs higher input/output efficiency. It also means they are the best option for workloads that involve heavy read. Servers, laptops, and applications that deliver in real-time benefit from the SSD’s ability to read directly from a specific SSD cell. The final takeaway is that SSDs are many times faster than electromechanical disc drives.

Database-as-a-Service. DB-as-a-Service is, at its core, a sub-specialty of the software-as-a-service model. It is a managed service that provides access to a cloud database that the DBaaS customer uses with cloud applications and their own data. All the administration and management of the database stays with the cloud provider so all the customer has to do is use its database. Businesses that want to retain more control over the database can do so under optional features. Cloud providers base payment on the features used and the amount of storage capacity the database requires. Some DB systems do not support compression or table partitions so it is imperative that you understand what your existing system can do and what your business requires from its database before you commit to DBaaS.
Identity-as-a-Service. ID-as-a-Service is an infrastructure for authentication that resides in the cloud. It is a way of managing identity that includes all of the things we’ve come to appreciate about services in the cloud, such as smaller on-site infrastructure; easy management; and a range of integration options. IDaaS is popular with smaller organizations or large organizations with satellite locations who do not have the expertise in-house to have strong identity architecture. Such businesses move identity security to the cloud believing that the cloud provider is an expert in the field. ID-as-a-Service raises questions of regulatory compliance, auditing, and how the ID cloud provider will handle disclosures of sensitive customer information. Since this is an evolving area, do not count on the law to demand cloud provider surety against disclosure of sensitive information. Do your due diligence review.Converged Infrastructure. The term converged infrastructure refers to the process of grouping various information technology (IT) elements together into one computing package. The packaged IT elements act more efficiently than the elements would if acting independently. These elements may include servers, network management, infrastructure management software, and data storage devices. Converged infrastructure approaches data center management in a way that looks to decrease incompatibility issues among all these elements.

Converged Infrastructure provides advantages over the traditional silo approach to computing. Converged Infrastructure allows networks to handle Big Data more efficiently through a single, IT management system which integrates the various components.

Solid State Drives. Traditional computers have spinning hard drives (HDD) for storage. Designers developed Solid State Drives (SSD) originally for ultra mobile devices. Today, you can choose to have SSD for your operating system and HDD for other purposes.

SSDs have no moving parts so they fly in the face of what we traditionally think of as “hard drives”. The term refers to storage devices that save data on solid-state flash memory drives. Solid-state means the devices use solid semi-conductor (instead of electron tube) memory stored on a flash drive that uses integrated circuits rather than magnetic or optical media to store data.

SSD advantages are lower random access and read latency (think, wasted time) than traditional hard drives which gives SSDs higher input/output efficiency. It also means they are the best option for workloads that involve heavy read. Servers, laptops, and applications that deliver in real-time benefit from the SSD’s ability to read directly from a specific SSD cell. The final takeaway is that SSDs are many times faster than electromechanical disc drives.

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Cyber Security For Remote Workers

Cyber Security For Remote Workers

Every single aspect of human life has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic that has taken over the World in ways nobody could have ever imagined. One of the biggest changes on the professional front is the practice of working remotely which is now becoming a routine for the majority of US workers. Before the Corona Virus breakdown, working from home was a luxury that only around 7% of the population had access to. However, this is not the case anymore. A survey by a signal boosters company, based in California, revealed that approximately 85 million Americans have been working at home due to the lockdown across the country. Whilst many see this as a positive step, one of the negative results is that security breaches have increased. Users and IT providers need to be aware of this and take steps to prevent it where possible. Below are some of the tips that can be used by the employees to safeguard their data from cyber-attacks.
NETWORK SECURITY
  • Use VPN (Virtual Private Network) – VPN will let the employees connect to the organization’s internal network. This will not only prevent attacks on remote locations but also tail off the traffic on public networks.
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi – Public Wi-Fi services are not secured internet connections to be used for work devices.
  • Secure personal Wi-Fi network – The passwords of the personal Wi-Fi network of the employee needs to be strong. Easily predictable passwords such as mobile numbers, date of birth, or one’s name need to be avoided.
  • Filter out internal network access – Depending on the requirement of the work role, employers may filter out the employees who need access to the complete internal network of the organizations and those who need minimum access.
  • Authorize users – The cloud applications used by the workers has to be made more secure with the help of multifactor authentication.
PHISHING
  • Unauthorized emails from healthcare officials – The scammers take advantage of the agitation caused due to Coronavirus and send fake emails posing as government agencies asking people to download malware. This may lead to giving away one’s credentials.
  • Suspicious emails from a colleague – Any emails from a colleague asking for any unexpected personal details need to be cross-checked via a phone call.
  • Tempting links or file attachments – Employees need to be wary of any links that look interesting or the file attachments that are sent by unknown or distrustful email addresses.
PERSONAL AND WORK DEVICES
  • Provide corporate equipment – To avoid any breaches to the company data, providing the employee with a machine from the organization is advisable.
  • Anti-virus when using a personal machine – If the employee is using a personal laptop or computer to log-in to the network, he/she may have to make sure that updated anti-virus software is installed on the machine.
  • No personal use policy – Accessing any website or application via the machine used for office work should be avoided. This also includes keeping the devices away from the kids at home.
  • Personal email access – Employers should ask their workers to NOT use their personal email address even in case of emergency as those cannot be monitored and kept safe by the IT department of an organization.

VIRTUAL MEETINGS
  • Review audio & video settings – Before starting any official conference calls, the employee should be directed to review all the settings related to the meeting to make sure that there are no unnecessary features enabled.
  • Monitor attendees list – The host of the meeting is advised to scan through the attendee list before the meeting starts and at the end of the call. Examining the list during the call would be a good practice to affirm that no unknown participant has joined the meeting at any point.
  • Additional passwords – The employees may be provided with an additional password separately that can be used while joining the web meeting.
  • Avoid the use of social media to coordinate – The employer needs to ensure that the meeting URLs or passwords must not be shared via any of the social media platforms.
***These protocols need to be reviewed by the employer periodically to ensure that the employees are following them unfailingly. By following some of these basic precautionary measures, the security of the company’s confidential and sensitive information can be prevented from getting compromised.
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An employee opens an email virus. Read what happens & see a timeline of events [Infographic]

An employee opens an email virus. Read what happens & see a timeline of events [Infographic]

Curious how a backup and disaster recovery (BDR) service can be really helpful? Here’s a real-life example: 

One of our managed services customers recently experienced a ransomware attack. A member of staff was sent an email with a virus attached to it. This is a widely used piece of ransomware, which encrypts the files on the computer it infects and any directories on other systems it has access to.

The email looked genuine and was addressed personally to that staff member by name, so he opened it. Immediately his system was encrypted. The virus also encrypted the company file server so none of the users could access their data. Everything ground to a halt.

Shortly after a ransom request arrived in the user’s inbox asking for a sizeable amount to be paid in bitcoins. The CEO and CFO were alerted and, after a short period of mild panic and discussion, they called Abtech for advice.

Fortunately, they were signed up to our StorTrust Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) services. The service uses Quest Rapid Recovery software that is configured to take snapshots of their systems every 30 minutes (it can take Snapshots every 5 minutes, but this customer preferred every 30). The data is then replicated to our StorTrust cloud data center in Nevada, for disaster recovery purposes.

The StorTrust engineer checked the logs and found that the last good backup happened 5 minutes before the ransomware attack. This meant that we would be able to recover the data to a clean file server and the client would only lose 5 minutes’ worth of data.

The client agreed and we restored their infected server from a clean backup. The user’s system was also reimaged and data restored from the backup. The whole process took less than an hour and no ransom was paid.

If the infection had been more widespread, we would have elected to spin up their critical systems in our cloud, using the replicated good backup, so their users could continue working, while we cleaned and restored all their infected systems.

If you want to know more, please give us a call or download our ebooks on Disaster Planning and How to Deal with a Ransomware Attack

Background (3)

Are Your Servers Feeling Unloved?

It isn’t fashionable to talk about servers anymore, especially old ones. All the talk is around Cloud Applications, DevOps and Hyperconverged Infrastructure.

But wait!

What is keeping your critical business processes running? What is hosting that ERP software application or that Oracle database that’s allowing you to get your stuff out to customers on time, that’s making sure your invoices go out promptly?