Anti-Virus – Do we still need it or is it doomed?

With the advancements in technology the threat landscape is evolving too.

Malicious software is becoming harder to detect and remove – it is also starting to affect a wider range of devices because of the ‘Internet of Things’. There has been some cases that advance malicious software can even bypass the anti-virus software by changing its code!

In some ways there is truth behind what Brian Dye, senior vice president of Symantec famously said a few months ago ‘Antivirus is dead’ and it is ‘doomed to failure’ because Anti-Virus relies on a signature database to block out malicious behaviours so, if a particular piece of malicious code has never been seen before – you will probably be a victim to it.

However AV is not completely doomed as Eugene Kaspersky quite rightly said, it is still ‘very much alive and kicking’ because as threats evolved so has the traditional AV. It is about choosing a product that has a database that is continuously updated and have a good feature set.

Many vendors are now reinventing AV and changing it to ‘Endpoint Security’ which offers a wider range of features from your standard things like Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware and Anti-Malware but, include features like application control, mobile device security, encryption and rule-based system behaviour blocking.

However security has become more complex and just because AV or ‘Endpoint Security’ has more features, we cannot just relying on it to be the sole system defences, it is not viable anymore. It will not provide an adequate level of protection for a modern day complex network.

Networks have developed into complex environments with multiple layers and a range of devices connected so, a layered approach to network security is key because it helps protect the different level within the infrastructure.

AV should just be seen as the first line of defence only, its aim is to protect users from things like spam emails, malicious attachments and websites. Occasionally some will get through but this approach is more secure and safer. Always keep in mind there is no 100% defence against the malicious cyber-attacks because the variables are always changing. Continuously network monitoring is also key to catching any abnormal behaviour.

For more information on network security please feel free to contact us on 0845 603 5552 or info@netshield.eu

VoIP, Voice over Internet Protocol – What? How? Why?

VoIP NetshieldVoice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) also known as Internet Telephony, IP Telephony, Voice over broadband and Voice over Network; it is a technology that allows calls to be made over the internet or a computer network.

VoIP is not a brand new technology but it is gaining more popularity due to the general movement towards cloud technology, improvements in the speed and reliability of internet connectivity and the trend of workforce mobility.

How VoIP works

Traditional landline phones operate through a Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and you can gain access to it through the telephone sockets. These networks use circuit switching – when a call is made, these circuits change within the exchange in order to connect the caller and the receiver.

Whereas, VoIP calls are made over the internet and use the method of packet switching – when making a call the data is broken up into data packets, transported across the network and reassembled when it reaches the receiver.

Why VoIP? The Benefits

With the vast improvements of internet connectivity and the decrease in prices since 10 years ago, VoIP is becoming a feasible option for businesses today.

To deploy a traditional telephone system a high capital outlay is needed because of the number of components required i.e. buying a phone system, business line rental, maintenance contracts, hardware costs and pay for software upgrades.

Whereas, VoIP systems compared to traditional telephone systems has minimal capital expense i.e. the purchase of IP enabled phones and internet connection. But, it is also simple to administer and user friendly because it uses the power of the cloud technology.

A VoIP system can provide businesses with an integration of both office and mobile devices, allowing employees to have an office phone that can ‘go anywhere’, making it ideal for those who work remotely and for companies that have hot desking. This flexibility can help increase efficiencies and productivity as users can easily manage and receive calls. It can also be scaled up and down when required, offering future proofing capabilities.

For more information on VoIP or advice whether to switch contact us today.

Upgrading your Business Broadband? But which one?

Connectivity is becoming a necessity for organisations with many needing faster and more reliable service to ensure business continuity. For commercial broadband buyers there are many to choose from and each will have their advantages and disadvantages.

ADSL 2+

Popular choice, as it uses the same infrastructure as standard ADSL connections but, it can provide up to 3 times greater connection speeds. However, the actual speeds you’ll get depends on the distance between the premise and the exchange.

Fibre to the Premise (FTTP)

Is considered as one of the fastest options because it involves running a cable from a nearby exchange straight to your business premises. Installation costs are subject to survey, as the ISP need to assess how much digging will be involved to connect the premise to the exchange. It takes on average 3 months to install and it is not available everywhere.

Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC)

Similar to FTTP this is where a cable is running from a nearby cabinet to the premise and it is not available everywhere. It is considered to be a solution that is a cross between copper broadband and Ethernet First Mile.

Fibre on Demand

Also known as FTTP On Demand enable customers to access speeds up to 330Mbps by extending a fibre-optic broadband connection from the nearest cabinet to the premise.

Ethernet First Mile (EFM)

One of the lower-cost lease line options. Instead of using fibre, it uses existing copper lines to connect the business premise to the local exchange – making it more cost-efficient and faster to install. It is a contented service but, you will receive the same upload and download speeds unlike ADSL.

Microwave

Is a way of transmitting information by using electromagnetic waves and it is widely used for point-to-point communication. It has a small wavelength, with high frequency and the antennas are pointed directly at the receiving antenna. Due to the high frequency it has a large capacity to carry data but, this technology is limited when there are hills and mountains in the line of sight because the waves cannot pass through.

Leased Line – Ethernet

It is a private line that permanently connects two locations; either Internet Leased Line a connection between a service provider and a customer or a ‘Point-to-Point Leased Line’ which is a connection between two customer sites. It is an uncontended connection, offering the same upload and download speeds, making it a reliable and stable connection. Dedicated Ethernet leased lines also comes with a Service Level Agreement.

To help improve connections for businesses and support economic growth the UK Government is currently running a Connection Voucher scheme across the UK. The scheme offers ‘connection vouchers’ worth up to £3000 to help SMEs, Charities and Social Enterprises towards improving or upgrading their current broadband connectivity.

By upgrading broadband connections companies can benefit from improve reliability, increase productivity, enhanced communication with stakeholders and better service speeds. For more help on choosing your business broadband please feel free to contact Netshield today.

Could being sociable online be dangerous to businesses?

‘Social Engineering is the technique of manipulating people into performing actions to divulge sensitive or confidential information’ – Cyber Security Guide 2013

 

Social media has grown considerably in recent years, not only it is a tool individuals use to interact, create, share or exchange information, it is also increasingly important fsocial mediaor businesses to have a social presence.

However, being sociable online can come at a cost, it can be a security risk otherwise known as ‘Social Engineering’ – ‘a non-technical intrusion that is reliant on human interaction and tends to involve trickery, causing individuals to break usual security protocols’.

Social Engineering is heavily reliant on personal information and social media is a goldmine for Social Engineers looking to do harm. It relies on individuals being careless with their information and the results can be harmful to individuals as well as businesses.

Many Viruses, Phishing and Malware email attacks are now are prime Social Engineering examples. This is because they are getting more personalised and often you have to look at it twice before you realise it is not legitimate. Like CryptoLocker that disguised itself as a delivery note from popular courier companies or phishing emails disguising themselves as well-known banks.

social engineeringSocial Engineers also take advantage of individuals natural inclination to choose passwords that are meaningful to them and using them for a number of logins. By using meaningful passwords, paired with personal information gained from peoples online presence – it can make them easy to guess. By uploading photos of your pet, comments about a restaurant or your daily activities, it can be used by a hacker to build a picture of you.

‘12% of social media users say someone has hacked into their social network account and pretended to be them according to the 2013 Norton Report’

It is not about censuring online activity but, individuals and businesses need to understand how valuable information is, how it can be used against us and how we should take precautions to minimise the risk of social engineering.

For more information on how to defend against Social Engineering contact one of our Netshield consultants today on 0845 603 5552.

Countdown has begun…Bye Bye Windows Server 2003

Windows Server 2003

Nearly time to say goodbye to Windows Server 2003…

The support for Windows Server 2003 will be ending on 14th July 2015 and with the discontinuation of SBS it seems Microsoft customers have to go down the Office365 or Windows Server 2012 route. With the end of support in less than 12 months, companies need to pick a path because staying with Server 2003 is not a good idea.

The main issue with staying with Windows Server 2003 or any out of support product is the fact bug fixes will stop and you will not receive anymore updates and patches. This means any new Server 2003 vulnerabilities will not be addresses, which could become a massive security risk.

To protect the network more investment of time and money will be needed to strengthen the security of the network i.e. intrusion detection and upgrading firewalls. So, in the long run moving to Windows Server 2012 might be more cost-efficient.

For some sectors running unsupported products it may mean the IT network will not meet the necessary legal and regulatory requirements. The outdated product on the network can also become unstable, cause increased downtime and a decrease in productivity.

There are really 3 main options for those who are currently on Windows Server 2003: stick with it, perform an upgrade on the existing hardware or migrate and upgrade – which could be the best option if the current hardware is several years old.

For upgrades, migrations planning and deployment as well as proactive IT services information and advice please contact us today on 0845 603 5552.