Helping clients manage their technology for over 30 years.

IT Security in 2014: Challenges and More Challenges

Glass chess pieces

Information technology has become a business essential. We’ve reached the point where our ability to thrive and succeed depends on key software apps and the technology (wherever it may be) that runs them, our access-from-anywhere to the Internet, and our ability to gather and analyze troves of digitized data.

The easiest targets
So important are these capabilities that we often put them into use before we’ve figured out the myriad of ways they’re vulnerable to those with malicious intent. And while smaller enterprises used to be able to escape the worst of these vulnerabilities simply by slipping beneath cybercriminals’ radar, those days are gone.  Continue reading

What Secure, Enterprise-Grade File Sharing/Syncing Looks Like

Small glimpse of Secure VPN diagram

As I detailed in my last post, file sharing/syncing is quickly transforming how, where and when we work by making our apps and data available and usable on any Internet-connected device. Even if your organization doesn’t have an enterprise-grade file sharing/syncing capability in place, odds are your employees have attempted to make their lives easier by implementing their own consumer-grade alternatives. Continue reading

How Big is The BYOD File-Sharing Target on Your Corporate Back?

Colored files with arrows to and from the Cloud.

If yours is like most businesses these days, many of your employees use their own smartphones, tablets and/or laptops to do their jobs — and the numbers are climbing fast as more people go mobile. Pew Research Center reports that as of May 2013, 56% of American adults have a smartphone and as of September 2013, 35% own a tablet.

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10 Information Security Best Practices You Can be Thankful For

If you’ve gotten this far through 2013 without an information security breach, count yourself fortunate. According to a recent survey by PwC, CIO magazine, and CSO magazine, security incidents have increased 25% over the last year. The financial costs of these incidents have climbed, too — by 18%.

The PwC/CIO/CSO survey points to three culprits: new hacker strategies, the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend and cloud computing. And it warns that too many organizations have not changed their security stances, leaving themselves dangerously vulnerable to new kinds of threats.

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Application vulnerabilities: Closer than you think

graph showing application vulnerabilities. small version has no labels.

Consider: Last year, according to Verizon, 54% of data breaches began as attacks on web applications, and for years one type of attack — SQL injection — has been the means by which 83% of stolen records were extracted. Meanwhile, says Gartner, 25% of all DDOS attacks this year will be application-based, and an increasing portion of these attacks may actually be diversions in which the bad guys use remotely accessible malware to target user accounts (for personal data or, in the case of financial institutions, for money).
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Cloud Computing best practice: Always monitor your Cloud services

In order to know whether your Cloud provider is meeting the performance and availability parameters set out in your service-level agreement (SLA), you have to be able to monitor your Cloud services.

While you might not need or care to see detailed reports about the performance of your provider’s various infrastructure elements (VMs, storage, etc.), since this information doesn’t really provide a sufficient view into overall Cloud performance, you can and should seek information from your provider regarding application and/or workload performance.

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Cloud Computing best practice: Use your Cloud SLA to get what you really need

clipboardChecklist

Do not — I say again, do not give your Cloud service-level agreement (SLA) short shrift. Your Cloud SLA is how you make sure you get what you want and pay only for what you get.

It’s not uncommon, however, to find yourself with an assortment of Cloud SLAs — one for each service your business subscribes to. Happily, the right Cloud SLA will enable you to bundle all your Cloud services into a single monthly OpEx payment.

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Cloud Computing best practice: 4 security must-dos

Cloud on blue background with a lock in front. To illustrate Cloud Managed Services and Security services from Quest.

Your Cloud provider isn’t the only one with responsibility for the security of the information and applications your enterprise depends on. When it comes to security in the Cloud, it’s a collaboration between provider and customer.

After all, there are limits to a Cloud provider’s reach. For instance, if your employees use compromised web browsers to access data in the Cloud, your provider cannot be blamed.

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Cloud Computing best practice: Evaluate Cloud provider security with these 7 questions

Person writing on glass the words good, better, best. The word best is circled.

Unless you’re an expert in security issues, doing proper Cloud provider due diligence can be daunting. Yet it’s essential, given the importance of your business’s data and applications.

So I offer seven questions for you to ask of every Cloud provider you’re considering. Pay attention to the answers you get and don’t hesitate to demand drilldown details. Remember: You’re contemplating putting at least some of the data and apps your business relies on into this provider’s Cloud environment.
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Do your Cloud provider due diligence

Checklist with a cloud on it.

Whether or not we give it much explicit thought, we all do at least some due diligence every time we buy something.

When it comes to Cloud services, due diligence ought to be done explicitly and with forethought — because getting out from under a bad Cloud choice can be onerous. It’s worth your while to choose well in the first place.

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