Posts Tagged: ‘security’

Danger Ahead If You Are Still Using Microsoft Server 2003!

upgradeOn July 14, 2015, Microsoft ended support for their popular Server 2003 product range. The original Server 2003, the Small Business Server and updated Windows Server 2003 R2 are included in this end of support process. These Microsoft products support file and printer sharing, centralized desktop application deployment and secure Internet connectivity. Each of these products were aimed towards the small to medium-sized businesses.

Since Microsoft ended its support for Server 2003, they will no longer provide software patches or issue security updates. This is the case for any version of Server 2003. Continued use of Server 2003 constitutes operating your business on a dangerously outdated piece of equipment. It is no longer serviced and the manufacturer no longer provides parts for this product. You are putting yourself and your business in jeopardy if you continue to use this product and the risks will only escalate over time.

Why Would Anyone Continue to Use Server 2003?

Do you understand the risks of continuing to use Server 2003? Geeks On Call encourages you should take this situation seriously or your business could be negatively impacted resulting in significant consequences. You should consider the following information as you make your Server 2003 migration plan.

  • Compliance Issues: Continuing to use a non-supported software can result in compliance issues leading to the suspension of certifications. Your business can be seriously impacted via public notification of the organization’s inability to securely maintain its computer systems. This situation places customer information at risk and creates compliance problems for your business. This is turn will lead to legal issues that can seriously damage your business’ reputation. Is it worth it?
  • Security Risks: Security threats to your business should be one of your biggest concerns. Without the security provided by an updated operating system, both your personal and business data is vulnerable to spyware and harmful viruses. It’s very likely that malicious viruses will be unleashed when Server 2003 is no longer supported by Microsoft.
  • Upgrade Expenses: Everyone worries about costs and expenses. If you think an upgrade will be too expensive, then we suggest you think again. Most likely, the upgrade will cost less than the problems that will arise if you don’t upgrade.

What Are The Alternatives to Server 2003?

  • Office 365 –Microsoft offers a cloud hosted version of much of the server software product. Additionally, it can function with the full range of Office software that includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Email Outlook. Plus, if you subscribe via a monthly service structure you can avoid purchasing new hardware and also minimize on site running costs. These costs include rent, security, electricity and air conditioning.  A smooth migration to Office 365 requires professional technical management and ongoing administration, but IT support can more easily be outsourced.
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 – Windows Server 2012 R2 delivers a long list of improvements compared to Windows Server 2003. It’s a steep learning curve to move directly from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2012 R2. Users are advised not to make an interim upgrade to Windows Server 2008. Back in January 2015, that product was also removed from mainstream support. That isn’t a solution.
  • Microsoft Azure –Microsoft developed Azure for IT integrators to host their server infrastructure centrally and control locally. Then software applications can be deployed and more easily managed on an individual basis.

Geeks On Call advises you to take this situation very seriously. If you need help developing a migration plan, Geeks On Call’s technology professionals are here to help.

Are You Protecting Your Data from Cybercriminals?

Posting Date: 12/16/2014  |   Filed Under: Internet, Security, Tips  |   No Comments
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cybercrime

Do you remember when JP Morgan Chase was hacked earlier this year? Maybe you remember it vividly because you were one of the 76 million customers affected by this enormous data breach? The theft of digital information has actually exceeded physical theft.

Big retailers and financial institutions are continuously fortifying their networks against cyber attackers. As a result, smaller businesses are increasingly becoming the targets of cybercriminals and hackers. Why? Because smaller businesses are typically less prepared in the fight against cybercrime.

If you are the owner of a small business or are self-employed, Geeks On Call recommends that you safeguard your data with following tips:

 

  • Cybersecurity Awareness: When it comes to protecting yourself or your business, education and training is your first line of defense. Get informed and establish a plan. Follow appropriate internet safety guidelines while on the job or at home.

 

  • Clean Machines: Upgrade to the newest operating system, web browser and security software to guard against malware and viruses. Use a firewall software that prevents outsiders from accessing your network

 

  • Passwords and Authentication: Use unique passwords and change your passwords every three months. For greater security, use multi-factor authentication because it requires additional information to gain entry. If you work with vendors that are handling your business data, ask if they use multi-factor authentication. If not, you might want to find a vendor that does.

 

  • Secure Your Wi-Fi Network: A major misconception is that by simply having a router on your network this will provide the protection you need.  Without a password on the router, it is like putting a door on your office but not locking it.

 

  • Financial Transactions: Use encryption software to protect your business’ financial accounts, personnel files, product information and other highly sensitive data. Also, don’t surf the internet from the computer you use to process payments.

 

  • Mobile Devices: Require employees or other users to password protect their mobile devices, encrypt their data and install security apps to prevent cyber criminals from stealing information while the device is on a public network.

 

Geeks On Call can help you defend your business and home computers against cybercrime by strengthening your network and using security solutions. Give your local Geeks On Call office a call and one of their technology professionals will be happy to help you.

Why you should upgrade from XP today!

Posting Date: 02/17/2014  |   Filed Under: Consoles, Internet, Security, Technology  |   No Comments
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October Newsletter: Is Your Business Prepared to Fight Cyber Crime?

Posting Date: 10/24/2013  |   Filed Under: Security, Tips  |   No Comments
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October is Cyber Security Awareness Month. This annual event is sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security in cooperation with National Cyber Security Alliance and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center. The aim of Cyber Security Awareness Month is to inform and educate all levels of our government, the private business sector and the general public about issues of safety and security in our cyber environment. Their tag line says it all: Stop. Think. Connect.

What does “cyber environment” actually mean? We can interchange that term with others such as information technology, computer networks, Internet, digital, wired and virtual. It’s the non-physical terrain created by computer systems that is keeping us more interconnected than ever before. The average American spends over five hours a day in online activities related to jobs, education, e-mail, mobile banking, health care, online shopping, travel, entertainment and social media communications. All of this digital convenience also presents a wide range of threats, dangers and responsibilities. Especially with more information shared via Smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, we need to be increasingly vigilant about the security of our personal data.

Upgrade or Your Business Might Face the Consequences of Security and Compliance Issues

The Dangers of Cyber Crimes

For individuals, the ever-present danger of cyber crimes includes hacker theft of confidential information, money, credit, banking and even medical information. This type of crime often results in personal identity theft. Other facets of cyber crime include online bullying and stalking that can affect your children. Malicious business scams are probably the most common. The threats to businesses include the loss of intellectual property, stolen client data or harm to the business’ computer network. The statistics on cyber crime are sobering. In 2013, online scams had increased by 355%. Cyber attacks on small businesses had increased by 18% over the past two years, with over 60% of these targeted businesses closing their doors within six months.

How to Protect Yourself, Your Family and Your Business from Cyber Crime

How to Protect Yourself, Your Family and Your Business from Cyber Crime

In both our professional and private lives, each of us needs to assume responsibility for our online activities. These responsibilities involve a combination of equipment maintenance and software updates coupled with appropriate online behavior and a constant vigilance against criminal activities. We suggest that you start with this brief checklist:

  • Maintain a Clean Machine by running the most recent operating system, security software, apps and web browser as a defense against online threats such as viruses and malware.
  • Firewalls and Encryption should be in use by businesses to secure their internet connection. Educate employees about passwords and internet security guidelines.
  • Spam and Phishing are hazards you can avoid. Don’t open e-mailed attachments from strangers and never click on unknown links contained within e-mails. Enable the filters on your e-mail programs to screen for spam. Beware of messages indicating upgrades, technical updates and special offers. These tactics are no longer limited to e-mail, so be vigilant when on social networking sites.
  • Backup Your Computer and Mobile Device in the event that your equipment is physically stolen or lost. You might have lost the device, but the data is preserved by the backup system. The theft of smartphones has become a major crime. Be aware of where your smartphone is at all times. If your phone is missing, consider using locator apps and you can even use a remote wipe to clear information from your missing phone.
  • Secure Your Device by activating the key-lock feature and using a passcode. A particularly complex password is suggested. Change your passwords periodically.
  • Safeguard Your Personal Information when using unsecured, public connection by avoiding apps or websites that require your password. These are the types of connections accessed in airports, hotels, coffee shops and libraries. You might want to reconsider doing your online banking in an airport.
  • Manage Your Social Network Privacy by reviewing the latest changes to privacy settings and be sure you are using these settings properly. Think twice about what you are posting on these sites – more people might see this than you think. Educate your children about social media behaviors. Hide your e-mail address from online profiles.
  • Disposal of Older Computers is another source for the theft of data. Remember when you delete files, the information is not actually erased. The hard drive should be overwritten, degaussed or physically destroyed. Never dispose of a computer that hasn’t been secured. Your information could end up in the hands of a criminal.

 

Geeks On Call Can Help Your Business with Cyber Security

Geeks On Call Can Help Your Business with Cyber Security

Geeks On Call is proud to be a Champion of National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Our entire team supports their mission throughout the year. Geeks On Call can do an assessment of your business’ computer network. We can also provide recommendations for establishing a strategic approach to cyber security and assist you with a variety of solutions to reduce the risk of a security breach.

We strongly encourage you to prepare your business for the threat of a cyber security crime.
Call your local Geeks On Call office today.