Vendor Management: The Balrog

Any business owner can attest to is dealing with multiple vendors is a business in of itself. From cellular carriers, internet providers, construction companies, telephone and more, each one has their own language and each one has their own methodology.

This situation happened, and this is why right after our client signed up for our Managed IT Services plan which included vendor management:

The Client’s Story

The client is a logistics company based in Massachusetts is part of an isolated transportation park. A few companies, but nothing massive. They are quite busy at times and this time is especially busy due to the three day memorial day weekend. So basically everybody is moving as fast as possible to get done early and go home, and that is where the trouble begins.

A truck entering the loading facility was going too fast and clipped the service pole of the facility, breaking the line for internet and telephone for the other occupants.

  • The client decided to call the ISP themselves and report that a line was “down.” Mistake 1.
  • Told them it was no big deal and to go out today please. Mistake 2.

Friday being the start of the holiday, no rush was put in and no need to rush since the facility began shutting down and so forth.

The Following Week

Tuesday comes and goes, expecting the technician, nope.

Wednesday comes and they finally call us. A lot of missteps occurred causing not only our client to be down, but other tenants. Come to find out the client conveyed that the line was down, as in a saggy line, therefor no rush. Apparently it was treated like a small issue and not an outage.

Then We Stepped In

We contacted their ISP and we were able to get a truck rolled within an hour, their lines repaired and all the tenants fully operational.

Sometimes miscommunication can easily create havoc without understanding the lingo vendors need. Vendor management might seem like a small thing, but having an IT provider who has the experience and connection in the field allows you to get the most out of your resources, from internet landlines to software suites. Avoid that broken link in your chain. Want to learn more? Drop us a line.

Dispelling Ransomware Myths

Ransomware is the new underground economy.

In the last few years, a new breed of exploit has arrived on the scene, called Ransomware. Basically, what it does is encrypts all your files, demands bitcoins or some other crypto currency and waits. It usually has a timer giving you a couple of days to setup an account, transfer the funds and when done they usually send you the decryption codes.

Why Does This Happen: Money, Greed, and a Lack of Patching

A majority of infections are from “drive-by” downloads. You go to a website, or to an obscure search engine and a virus writer has purchased an AD on that page or engine. In the coding, it displays to the search engine something different than what others see to avoid detection. When you go to that page, it runs a JavaScript with usually a zero-day exploit and tries to inject itself in your computer, and you don’t have to do anything for it to come in. It tests the weaknesses of your java, shockwave, HTML interpreter or other system weakness and exploits it.

What is a “Crypto Currency”?

Years ago (and there is some disagreement how it was developed), a new type of currency was developed. It was named “BitCoin”. Bitcoins are computer generated slices of encrypted code that utilizes each other to generate a code when it considered a currency. You can slice and dice up this code to pay other people, bundle up all the bitcoins or be able to send money to anyone else on the planet. It is extremely fast, easy to use and no one government controls it. It also has some drawbacks: enter in the wrong bitcoins address and it is gone, never to come back.

My Files are Encrypted. What do I do?

Most people don’t think anything of the popup that they receive when the initial demand for payment is made until they go to launch a program or access a file. That is when people begin to panic. Word, Excel, PDF’s and more are locked down solid. They want their bitcoins and your data is being held hostage to deliver them. The virus is smart, so it disabled system restore and in some cases deleted backups in the process.

I’ll Call the Police, They’ll Help!

Nope. The people who develop these ransomware viruses are overseas and they use the highest encryption they can get their hands on. Usually, 4096 bit+ RSA multi-key crypto keys and they are extremely hard to break if you’re not a major super power. FBI, NSA, DHS and the local police have no tools to help you. These writers specifically target small business owners, hospitals, and smaller targets so the governments do not get involved. If they targeted larger, then something would be done. The best thing is just to NOT get infected to begin with by utilizing a terrific antivirus, patching, and maintenance program and being proactive in your security.

Patching Your Computer

If you see a leak in a dam, you patch it right? Why not your computer?

Many people avoid patches, and yes, there are many. From Windows updates to Office updates, Adobe Reader, Shockwave, Firefox, Google Chrome and more it requires you to keep on top of them. Why? Anyone of them can be a vector to enter into your computer and you should be patched. At Triton Technologies, we have an excellent patching system in place for our clients and networks. We update once a day for workstations, weekly for servers, and hourly for 3rd party software such as Adobe, Google and more. It pretty much KILLS the ransomware even before it has a chance to come in.

I Have a Firewall, I Don’t Need to Patch All the Time!

Nope, the firewall is just another line of defense, but it shouldn’t be your only defense. You need to have a proper maintenance program in place, security protocols in place, anti-virus that is up to date and more. Just relying on a single piece of technology for a total system defense is not only bad for data security, it could potentially bankrupt your business. If you’ve got any of these concerns, or are recovering from a ransomware attack: contact us. We can help you get your system back up and backed up, and make sure it never happens again.

Website Defense: Is It That Important?

Why is your web site defense strategy important? It is what people see, it’s what your customers see and it shows what kind of company you are when it comes to security. If your website gets hacked, it shows to potential clients that you are not serious about your internet security and you are a potential risk.

Defense One: SSL Certificate

Business owners need to secure their website using a number of techniques. The first and foremost we extremely recommend is getting an SSL certificate. SSL certs are cheap, and the cheapest is $9.99 a year from NameCheap.com and all the way up to $300 wild card from GoDaddy. These are imperative and the standard in which we recommend. Not only because it secures the site from unencrypted communication, but also it increases your search rankings when it comes to search engines.

Defense Two: Website Firewall

Second, we recommend Securi Firewall: it is a WordPress plugin that scans your files for infections, and secures your site from penetration and brute force attacks from login attempts.

Defense Three: Responsive Host

Third, we recommend an excellent responsive host. We have tried GoDaddy, Blue Host, Host Gator and more, but we have recommended and continue to use Liquid Web. Their tech support and 24 technical support is spot on. Coming from an IT company, I can assure you that their always ready group is excellent and the access to the root of your own hosting is spectacular when it comes to getting things done.

At the end of the day, your website is your public face and you need to protect it as well as your internal network. Get excellent hosting, watch, monitor and tweak it to keep it secure and always operational. And it doesn’t hurt to have proactive IT in your corner too.

Data Breach: Barbarians at the Gate

In the yesteryear of IT technology in order to have a data breach you needed to have incompetence and an angry person. Data networks were isolated or tightly controlled not because of security but because the technology to link them together is very complex and outside the budgets of most businesses.

Those years of safety by lack of access are gone, long gone.

Why Everyone Wants Your Data

Doctors, lawyers, tax offices and more are interconnected and they are looking for your data. A majority of businesses are on the internet in one form or the other. From basic email to full blown enterprises that live and die on the internet. These businesses and organizations collect your information: store it, use it, market to you or your business and generally keep it for very long periods of time. This type of information is not only valuable for their business but anyone who wants to steal that information for identity theft or to steal your banking information.

How They Get Into Your Network

When your computer is on the internet it is exposed. From your website to your router and or to your wifi, it is a vector to enter your network.

Many hackers use a broadsword when scanning a network looking for anything that responds. If it pings, it is alive and they will focus all their energy looking for weaknesses. Port scanning, exploit detection and exploitation, to man in the middle attacks to full on brute force attacks. What businesses need is a great firewall, excellent antivirus and someone to constantly look over their shoulder to make sure what they are doing is safe and secure.

That is why businesses need to monitor what they are doing, how they are doing it and what manner they do it in.

Why a Managed IT Provider?

Why should a business chose a managed IT provider over a traditional break-fix?

Simple: Money

With a managed IT provider you get more than a body that fixes stuff when things break: they make sure they don’t break. As anyone who’s owned a car, you perform maintenance, change the oil, rotate the tires and more because it costs more when the vehicle completely falls apart, so you do preventative maintenance. As with cars, so with computers. You defrag, install updates, install patches, clean out the temp files, and more to keep your computer running in top shape.

“But I can do those things myself?” Not really. At Triton Technologies, we not only do those, but more. From constant monitoring, constantly watching and taking minor corrective action we can avert a major disaster down the line. Small changes far in advance can keep your system from even remotely encountering a problem which can cost you thousands.

Saving Money: How?

Triton Technologies does fixed pricing, how many users you have, times the cost per user, and that’s your price. Everything from onsite, remote, software, antivirus and more are included, all of it. If you were to hire a person you would have to pay their salary, plus 30%+ average in benefits and payroll taxes and you haven’t even got them into the network yet. You then have to purchase antivirus, backup, monitoring and more. You literally spend almost twice their salary to get even started.

With Managed IT you get all those services bundled together saving your organization thousands a month, with a team of people always on call, never going on vacation and simplifying your IT needs.

Each organization is unique, but the IT demands are the same. They want easy, cost effective stable networks and that is what Managed IT can deliver.

Apple Wins the PR Battle, but Loses the War

But Once Again, No Technology Is Really Secure…The FBI Has Managed to Break Through Apples iPhone Security.

Did you doubt they could? Did you think the iPhone could really stand up to this? If you did, you need to know more about security. Good security means fast detection and real-time response. The front door can always be broken into.

Should Apple Have Folded?

Security is a funny thing. If Apple had given in, case law would have been established. Any future crime could have forced the developer to change the code, create a backdoor, or make things less secure. I know there are many people saying this isn’t true, but most of them can’t claim any security expertise. I haven’t met one serious security expert who disagrees with me – although I’m sure there are some.

Since Security Was Broken…

On the other hand, security can always be broken into…that’s why there’s a huge opportunity for every technology company right now. If you take on security there’s new business out there. We have a problem. If the FBI gained access (or some of their third party contractors), the bad guys can do it too.