Countdown to Microsoft Windows Server 2003 End of Support

By Microsoft’s calculations there are still millions of machines running on Windows Server 2003. Over a decade old, the successful server operating system will retire on the 14th July 2015 where, Microsoft will terminate the support for it.

The server will not suddenly stop working, users will still be able to access the resources they require but, staying on the platform can be risky, costly and cause compliance issues for businesses.

See what the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 end of support could mean for your business in our short video:-

If you would like more information or advice on Windows Server 2003 migrations and upgrades, get in touch, we will be happy to help.

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Cyber Security – How aware are you of the growing risk?

Majority of business now have their data stored within a network and its availability will determine productivity, so one cannot afford to take the view ‘it would never happen to me’ as in a recent PWC study 87% of SME’s and 97% of large corporations experienced a form of security breach last year! So, why in a recent BT study it showed that only 17% of UK businesses class it as a main IT priority compared to 41% in the US?

Data breaches can have huge implications such as financial losses to damages to brand reputation. For example in the PWC report states the average cost of a breach to a SME is £35k – £65k and to a large corporation it is £450k – £850k!

Financial losses such as these will undoubtedly disrupt cash flow and create a dent in the company finances, causing a knock-on-effects on operations. So with consequences such as this, why are only a small amount of UK businesses worried about Cyber Security and have it as a priority, could it be the lack of knowledge on the topic?

It is a common belief that data breaches are from external threats but, it has been suggested employees often play a key role in breaches – like the PWC report states ‘serious security breaches are often due to multiple failures in technology, processes and people’.

This is further reinforced by Avecto recent article suggesting ‘that removing admin rights would mitigate 96% of critical vulnerabilities affecting Windows operating systems, 91% of critical vulnerabilities affecting Microsoft Office and 100% of vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer.’

This highlights the value of educating employees on security procedures that need to be followed and what the implications are if they are not. It also shows by having the correct privileges or admin rights in place for each user depending on their job role can make a significant difference in safeguarding the IT network.

When facing Cyber Security an attitude of safeguarding and it might happen to me is required. By being proactive to maintain a secure IT network environment, a need for continuous monitoring and amendments and most importantly educate employees on cyber security.

For more information or advice on IT security please contact us

Windows XP – not long to go until…

From April 8th 2014 the support for Microsoft Windows XP will be ending. So it is nearly time to say goodbye to the popular decade-old operating system.

The end of support means, users will no longer receive anymore security updates. This will lead to security and privacy implications that can significantly impact businesses – without the updates systems may be vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware and other malicious software.

If using an unsupported operating system, other software and hardware products on the system may also not be support by the vendors either. It will also make it difficult to purchase new software and hardware for the retired Window XP operating system.

Due to the lack of updates, supporting software and hardware, it could lead to users experiencing an increase of downtime and business disruption. To discuss the implications of the end of support for Windows XP in more detail or help with upgrading please contact us today.

Take control with Endpoint Security

An IT network may have a Next Generation Firewall(s) in place to help keep out the malicious attacks but, it is advisable to have a layered approach to IT network security, like adding a layer of endpoint security.

Similar to Next Generation Firewalls, ‘Endpoint Security’ is an enhancement of traditional anti-virus as it is an all-in-one security suite where it will protect user devices (endpoints) on the network from viruses, worms, malware and offer security enforcement features and much, much more. Whereas anti-virus is designed simply too detect and destroy viruses and worms.

Why Endpoint? I hear you ask – Advances in technology has led to the changes in the corporate network demands i.e. increase usage of social media and employees working remotely, through the internet or different devices. So, it is becoming a critical element for corporations because it offers that extra layer of security by protecting the end-user devices and offer more control for the IT administrators to the IT network.

Some of the Advantages of Endpoint Security:-

  • Provides Security and Protection for devices
  • Central Management Control Console
  • Ability to Set and Enforce Security Policies
  • Web Content Control
  • Application Control
  • Email Protection and Encryption
  • Mobile Security
  • Anti-Virus and Malware
  • Etc.

But, you need to keep in mind ‘Endpoint Security suites’ features will vary depending on the brand. So, businesses need to decide which are the most important features and evaluate the different Endpoint offerings before deployment.

For advise on Endpoint Security Suites, contact us today.

Considerations when Implementing Security on your IT Network: Business of Cybercrime Series – Part 3

The lack of adequate protection and defences on an IT network would make a business vulnerable to hacking and the implications can be damaging, often the damage is dependent on what mood the hacker is in and what devastation they would like to cause.

Effects from a hacking can disrupt business operations, causing downtime, corrupt data, affect brand perception and reputation. Being a victim of cybercrime can also mean the business breaches the data protection act or experience compliance breaches.

With technology moving so quickly within the IT market, there are a number of methods and products to choose from – the key is to choose what is right for your network.

You need to consider:-

  • What type of IT infrastructure does the business have? Virtual or Physical?
  • What are your data requirements?
  • What would you consider to be your critical data or programs?
  • What security is currently implemented on your network?

Rule of thumb is a full assessment of the current security situation and the condition of the infrastructure is necessary, in order to help determine what is the right solution for your business.  After the assessment, you can then decide on which method or security brand would be most suitable.

3 methods of protection:-

Anti-Virus

Is software to help defend you against viruses and other malware threats including Trojans, worms and sometimes spyware; however, the level of protection provided by the anti-virus is dependent on the one you choose.  Well-known brands include Sophos, Symantec and Kaspersky.

Firewall

A firewall helps to prevent unauthorized access to a computer or a network, there are two types ‘network firewall’ and ‘client firewall’.

A network firewall is installed on the boundary between two networks, normally located between the internet and a company network – it can be either a device or software running on a computer that acts as a gateway to the company network.  Whereas, a client firewall is when software is installed and runs on an end users computer, protecting only that particular computer.  Well-known network firewall brands include SonicWall and Watchguard.

Encryption

This secures your data by encrypting your desktops, laptops, emails, USB’s files and other devices; it prevents unauthorized access where the information can only be accessed by entering an encryption key or password.

For an IT network it is advisable to have at least Firewalls and Anti-Virus software installed. For businesses that uses mobile devices and have a mobile workforce who carry business data around, encryption is recommended. For example, 2-factor authentication can be implemented on business mobile phones, to ensure if the phone was lost or stolen it will help prevent others using it because it is a secure method that seeks to decrease the probability that the user is presenting false evidence of its identity. Well-known 2-factor authentication brands include Cryptocard and Vasco.

Other ways of encryption includes installing a type of software on a device where data is automatically encrypted, email encryption and manual encryption where the user chooses what data requires encoding.

So, regardless of the size of the organisation security is necessary for protection as data is a key asset and is also valuable in the wrong hands.

When it comes to cybercrime business should not think it ‘will never happen to me’, ‘My data isn’t worth the hassle’ but, the truth is, cybercrime criminals do not discriminate, if you have business data you can potentially be a target.

For more information on how to protect your business data please feel free to contact us.