Monthly Archives: May 2017

INET Dynamics

The Aftermath of WannaCry: Now What?

 

Tags:

 

For i-Net Dynamics by Paris

Patch Management and Cyber Security

It is difficult to overcome the pain of being hit by Ransomware – WannaCry, knowing that there was a way to avoid the whole incident altogether. The breach occurred because of a convenient exploitation of a Windows OS vulnerability by the cyber robber, which was updated by Microsoft two months ago. However, out of this tragic event that affected hundred thousands of devices all over the world, it did one good thing – increase the awareness of Patch Management.

There are many reasons why companies find it challenging to keep operating systems and applications up to date with one of it being time consuming. For more traditional companies, the IT person usually attends to each of the company’s many devices to carry out patching. More sizable companies usually have a bigger IT department, but with a large company, their roles and responsibilities multiply as well.  Considering all the tasks included in the job role of a IT Security personnel, patch management is probably not a priority in their daily operations.

Knowing the public’s challenge in keeping software current, IT companies have long been releasing patching tools to assist clients in completing this crucial business process. Having being awarded a 5-star rating in The Channel Company’s CRN seven years in a row, SolarWinds N-central provides a comprehensive and flexible patching tool that is suitable for all organizations.

A Powerful Patching Tool 

Patch Management and IT Managed Services

N-central is a monitoring software that enables a preventative as well as proactive approach to IT Managed Services and one of the many features of N-central is the Patch Manager.

N-Central’s Patch Manager is designed to provide full control and access when updating multiple (a few thousands) of endpoints and servers. The tool allows companies to preschedule patch deployments, which assists to reduce interruptions to employees. For example, a new OS update could be scheduled to be first installed for finance department and followed by marketing department to prevent business disruptions. By using this Patch Manager, companies can proactively keep their systems network secured and healthy, regardless of the number of IT devices. 

Patch Manager can patch all of the devices with the press of a single button” – N-central

I-Net Dynamics has been a trusted partner of N-central for several years now, ever since we discovered how powerful the N- Central’s Patch Manager tool can be in running an efficient IT environment. By bundling N-central’s smart features with our top-notch IT managed services, we have entered a new age of Patch Management:

  • Automated system patching to automate the process for certain class of patches for selected groups of servers, workstation and network devices
  • Advanced Scheduling of patching to minimize downtime
  • Third-party support patches deployment inclusive of third-party applications
  • Reporting to keep companies up to date of multiple patch status
  • 24/7 monitoring to ensure all the critical patching are successful
  • Unlimited remote and onsite support from our team of friendly experienced professionals

While N-central provides a powerful patching tool, it is but a small portion of a complete monitoring solutions that can assists in increasing your business productivity. To understand more about this award winning software and how it can benefit your organization, please contact us here.

To understand more about other I-Net Dynamics services that can support you in Cyber Security, please download our brochure here.

Read our previous blog here to find out how you can take a stance against ransom-ware.

All Photo Credits to SolarWinds

INET Dynamics

Taking a Stance against Ransomware: Want Fight WannaCry?

 

Categories: General, Ransomware
Tags:

 

Global Cyber Attack

Affecting organisations in over 150 countries, causing up to 4 billion dollars of financial damage, the Global Cyber Attack that took over 300,000 devices over the course of a single weekend – WannaCry caused great panic on May 12.

A devastating type of Trojan virus – the term Ransomware, was made famous in a blink of an eye after bringing down the Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) and many other organizations. Last year in 2016, a similar ransomware virus in 2016 causing 1.6 billion dollars worldwide in 2016 also hit organisations by holding hostage of important personal or sensitive business files and demands for an amount of money (an average of $300) within a short period of time to regain the access to encrypted files.

Why Me?

The attack is believed to aim at a mass audience rather than a targeted group of victims. However, ransomware – WannaCry have thought of all types of files to encrypt, they are inclusive of the most important and common filetypes – .zip, .avi, .doc, .docx, .mp3, .mp4, .png, .ppt, .xls, .wmv. etc.  You can accidentally put yourself, or your company at risk by clicking unreliable links, or downloading files from phishing emails.

Are We Safe Now?

It depends.

The good news is antivirus companies and cybersecurity professionals all over the world are working hard to find a way to decrypt the affected devices without paying any bitcoins to attackers. However, there has been no confirmation on a solution for WannaCry yet.

Nonetheless, there are still ways to keep you and your business safe. And one of them is to practice frequent or daily backups. Daily data backups are crucial to ensuring you always have a copy of data to fall back on in case of any attacks, that is unless you have the IT expertise of Marcus Hutchins, the 22-year-old security researcher who slowed down the spread of the virus by being a curious person. (Refer to his story of “How to Accidentally Stop a Global Cyber Attacks”)

However, if you are amongst those who has not been “wannacri-ed” yet and do not have a IT security expert working for you, we have developed a checklist for you to check against to protect you and your business against ransomware.

 

FIRST – Ask Yourself These Questions:

  • Do I have a most updated version of Windows?
  • Do I have an antivirus software and is it the latest version?
  • Is this link trustworthy?
  • Is this email from the right person that I think it is? (some phishing emails use the names or source you are familiar with – eg. your client’s name, Microsoft)
  • Do I have 3 copies of data backup that is stored outside of the original device?

SECOND – Update Your Software

A few months before the historical May 12, Microsoft released a Windows patch that can protect windows devices from being affected by Ransomware. Thanks to #teamGates, a huge number of devices who had installed the latest security updates, stayed safe from the attack.

Don’t stop at Windows, please extend your prompt action to iOS and Linux devices because Ransomware is evolving every day and your IT environment should always stay a few steps ahead. Same goes to other softwares, such as Antivirus.

THIRD – Backup and Test Your Data Backup 

The importance of doing and testing data backups to ensure they work well can never be stressed enough. Recently we released a post on this matter (Refer to link here) and we will continue to discuss in the near future as it is crucial that you understand the importance of the act of data backups.

While most individuals and organisations have a data backup solution running by now, that is not all. The next question to ask is, when was the last time you did a test on your data backup solution?  In a survey conducted by Storage Magazine showed that even at least 66% of companies surveyed tests heir backups, 77% found their tape backups failed to restore. This shows that though your data backup might be successful, the data being backed up might not work when needed the most, hence, you should never take the risk of waiting to find out and test it on the spot after backup.  

As discussed above, there are IT experts spending a lot of effort in controlling the damage of WannaCry and more importantly, preventing such reoccurrences of ransomware. Besides releasing Windows updates, Microsoft is currently also promoting an Office 365 add-on – Advanced Thread Protection (ATP), which helps to run files and links on a separate virtual machine before opening the access to your device.

If you or your company #WannaFight against this cyber-attack, please consider the three steps above, and reach out for support when required.

For more information about Backup Solutions please click here.

If you want to know more about Microsoft Updates and Office 365 Advanced Thread Protection mentioned above, please contact us here.

INET Dynamics

Avoiding the Consequences of Hard Drive Failures for Businesses

 

Categories: IT Managed Services
Tags:

 

By Paris for I-Net Dynamics

The consequences of a hard disk crash can be difficult to bear for your business, server hard drives are where you hold all your important data, and any damage to it can put your business at risk. Studies have shown that the risk of hard drive failure rates can be as high as 14%, unlike the typical 2% – 3% that are being promoted.

Offsite Backup

The reasons for a hard drive failure can range from hardware issues to human errors. Once a hard drive has failed, it can be extremely difficult, expensive and time-consuming to recover the lost data. And in some unfortunate situations, the data may not be recoverable at all. In most cases, only a small portion of data will be lost, however, what can be recovered and what is lost are totally beyond control.

From a business point of view, any type of hard drive failure can be financially damaging or worse, bankrupting. Critical business data loss such as customer information, financial transactions, and sales data can take months to recover from. Take financial data as an example: without a healthy hard drive, the accounting department would have to manually record multiple day-to-day transactions and after the system is back up (usually after a few months), have key them into the system all over again manually which might increase the chances of human error, overlap in data and is extremely time consuming,

Many companies often struggle with a dilemma upon hard disk failure – to buy a new system, or to wait for the old ones to be recovered?  Whichever option is taken, business still must absorb the opportunity costs during the long wait time and possibly additional expenses associated with recovery of data or purchase of new hard disk.

Fortunately, there are still ways for companies to save themselves from being in any of the situation above – keeping a healthy hard drive environment and having sufficient data backup solutions.

Data Backup Solutions 

It should be common place for companies to ensure all its important data are backed up constantly lest anything happens to the physical hard disks. One of the most common backup strategy is “3-2-1”. The name directly reminds you that any business needs at least 3 copies of data, 2 onsite but on different machines, and 1 offsite copy.

While this strategy is well known, it is sadly not widely used. Throughout our time in this industry, we have come across several businesses that had to suffer losses because their data backup were on the same server. And before they could apply the “3-2-1” strategy, they had to painfully send their hard drives away for recovery.

Hard Drive Monitoring 

Having 3 copies of backup is essential to protect business in the event of hard drive failure. However, besides having enough data backups, there is another layer of prevention that companies can use.  Companies can, instead of only focusing on preventive measures (making sure to use the 3-2-1 strategy when backing up), also implement proactive measures to data backup.

The N-able monitoring software tools can help businesses prevent hard drive crashes by informing you of your hard-disks’ health status and inform you of any issues in advance. With the ability to notify you when the drive is almost full, or when the warranty is expired, for instance, this monitoring tool allows companies to proactively act before anything happens.

The consequences of a Hard disk crash are countless and can be devastating to anyone who is not prepared.  Don’t take chances and turn your business into statistics, start backing up your data and monitor your hard drive today.

Click here for more information about i-Net’s proactive IT Managed Services, or here for our Offsite Backup Solutions. 

INET Dynamics
Managed services singapore

Proactive IT Managed Services: A new approach to replace the traditional break-fix IT support

 

Categories: General
Tags:

 

By Paris

Like the title suggests, the proactive IT managed services approach includes remote monitoring and preventative maintenance as well as other services that minimize the occurrences and duration of failures. Utilizing proactive approach to manage IT needs is an emerging trend amongst firms as they realize the importance of having preventive measures instead of relying solely on the Break-Fix approach. As compared to the reactive approach most companies take on, preventive actions help to monitor and predict any potential IT crisis much earlier in advance, hence, preventing a crisis from happening by rectifying the issue before it can happen.

 

Peace of Mind:

Staying true to our preventive approach of our managed service, you never have to worry about a system breakdown with us monitoring your systems 24/7 and issue avoidance service from our experienced IT experts.

Increased Productivity:

By predicting a system breakdown and fixing the issue before it occurs, the chances of a system failure are slim which means your employees no longer have to wait long hours for IT support to arrive on the scene.

Transparency:

We understand how important it is to know what is happening with your system from time to time and relay that information to the management team. As such, monthly reports are produced to keep you and your team updated.

Cost Effectiveness:

By preventing issues from happening and accelerating recovery the total cost of owning your system is significantly reduced in the long term.

Proactive and preventative IT support means that you can focus more on growing your business and less time on worrying about downtime. With over 10 years of experience in supporting thousands of users in the region, i-Net Dynamics provides business enablement through complete monitoring, maintenance, support and management of your systems.

If you would like to find out more about our IT Managed Services or other offerings such as Cloud Computing, please contact us here.

I -Net Dynamics is now an acknowledged ERP application management, IT managed services and cloud services provider in Singapore with over 10 years of experience and over 200 customers in the APAC area.