What Has Your Backup Done For You Lately?

What Has Your Backup Done For You Lately? Businesses of all sizes rely on their data more than ever before. What’s more, businesses have more data to protect and backups to store than ever. Critical files, customer data, email archives and other application data run our world. It’s not a bad idea to backup that data to a local drive or tape. In the case of a true disaster, such as an earthquake or fire your local backup may not be enough. By using online or remote backup, you can store your data securely in an offsite location and have it available in a disaster recovery scenario. Also, with cloud computing, companies large and small, can now affordably backup data offsite. When you evaluate a remote backup solution here are a few things to consider: Is My Data Secure? When you think about moving your data backup offsite most business owners think about security first. While backup vendors take data security seriously, their approach may vary for how your data is protected. Data storage in a private cloud may add an additional physical layer of security by dedicating hardware to your individual needs. A private cloud solution may drive the cost up and may be more than you need. Public cloud storage may use a virtual environment to store your data, making it more affordable. However, a public cloud solution may not comply with your industry regulations for data security. It is important you understand your security needs and priorities to find the best remote backup solution for your business. How Long Does It Take To Recover? When you...

Cloud Computing: Your Pre Flight Check List

Cloud Computing: Your Pre Flight Checklist Cloud computing is more than a passing trend. Cloud computing is a way for small to medium businesses (SMBs) to tap enterprise class applications and infrastructure that once only large companies could afford. Cloud Computing allows SMBs to share the overhead for data center security, bandwidth, monitoring and management. Small to medium businesses share cloud based Software as a Service (SaaS) applications and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) without having to invest in capital intensive projects. If you are considering a move to the cloud, here is a pre flight checklist to consider. Public Cloud vs. Private Cloud With cloud computing you are moving your data and computer processing to a location other than your own. The cloud location may be shared (i.e. public cloud) or dedicated environment (private cloud). The trade off for private cloud versus public cloud is that the private cloud will be more expensive due to cost for additional security. In most cases the public cloud is more secure than your own office or business. What’s more, by sharing these resources with other companies you also may save money in the long run. While sensitive data, such as, financial records, may be more secure in the cloud, you may have regulatory requirements that prevent you from sharing common resources such as CPUs, racks or cages to store your data in a public cloud If you have compliance issues that require extra physical security, consider a private cloud solution. Cloud Migration Consideration To move to a cloud based application including SaaS, take the time to consider what data you need...

Is Your Network Safer Than The Titanic?

One hundred years ago the ship, called “unsinkable” had its hull breached by an iceberg and caused the death of over 1500 passengers. You may think your network is “invincible” like the Titanic, however, your network security policies may cause vulnerability putting your IT assets and critical data at risk. Here are several steps you can take to avoid compromising your network security: WiFi Access WiFi technology makes it easy for you to network your computers. Your WiFi signal may broadcast beyond the physical security of your office allowing uninvited visitors to access your network and compromise your network security and compliance policies. Make sure your WiFi network connections are password protected and securely encrypted. Also, consider turning off your WiFi during non business hours. By the way, wireless technology (the telegraph) saved the lives of hundreds of passengers on the Titanic. Thumb Drives and USB Drives Sharing data through thumb drives or USB drives may allow unintended computer viruses and malicious software, also known as malware, transfer from other non secure computers and enter the perimeter of your secure network. For this reason, some network administrators set strict IT policies that prevent thumb drives from being used on any office computer. There are plenty of secure services available for files sharing between computers (e.g. remote backup and remote control software). Ask your IT support professional about your policy for using USB drives and thumb drives and the impact they may have on your network security. Security Patches Operating System and Application Security patches are designed to keep your network secure. Your network security is as vulnerable as its’...

Why you should audit your network.

Do you know what’s connected to your network? If not, you should! Auditing your network and creating an inventory of your IT assets catalogs all devices connected to your network including PCs, laptops, printers, routers and switches. In some cases, assets discovered may even be unauthorized. By scanning and discovering all connected devices, your IT team can quickly perform a hardware and software audit. This helps ensure compliance with network policy, software licensing compliance, and compliance with industry regulatory requirements, such as, HIPPA. What’s more, having asset data cataloged, including hardware and software profiles, helps remote support technicians troubleshoot when things go wrong. What can you do with network audit data? Check your firewall’s security settings to make sure you are protected from the latest hacker attacks, worms, and viruses. Scan and remove spyware that is secretly stealing your company’s bandwidth, jeopardizing the speed of your computer system, and embezzling confidential information about you, your employees, and your business. Check your network’s backup system to ensure it is working properly and accurately backing up all of the critical files and information you never want to lose. Verify that you have the most up-to-date security patches installed properly; miss one critical update and you’re a “sitting duck.” Identify unstable PCs that may operate slowly. Search for all items meeting a criteria in summary and detail. For example, to determine how many machines use windows 7 with 4 megs of RAM to see if they are eligible for an O/S migration. Determine which devices may be out of software license compliance. Summarize warranty information for which devices are covered and which...

Sometimes it is easy being green.

Today is St. Patrick’s Day. Everybody is Irish for 24 hours and the color green is top of mind. Green Computing or sustainable computing is a way to use your IT Assets such as computers, printers, monitors, servers, routers and storage devices efficiently, effectively and with minimal impact on the environment. Here are a few ideas to keep to practice green and sustainable computing: Turn them off when you don’t use them. For desktops and laptops consider turning them off when you are done for the day. Leaving them on at night can increase power consumption. Besides, your PC could use a reboot now and then anyway. However, be sure you speak with your backup and network administrator about IT policies for systems maintenance. Your systems may have a daily backup scheduled after hours. In addition, software and operating system updates may occur after hours as well. Some “managed” desktops, laptops and servers are smart enough to power up for routine systems maintenance. Check your IT policies first to make sure it is OK to turn them off at night. Buy Energy Star computer equipment. Energy Start is a low carbon IT campaign to help reduce energy consumed by computer equipment. When you buy new computers make sure they are Energy Star Compliant. If you have older equipment you may factor in power savings as part of your return on investment (ROI) for your new systems. Consider this, an Energy Star computer can save up to $50 annual in power. Not only to you save some “green” by buying Energy Star Computers, but, by minimizing your carbon footprint you...
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