Category: Business

08 Jan 2018

How Long Can You Afford?

So much has changed… I recall sitting down with one of our long-time clients and describing the USB backup concept using two USB drives and swapping them out weekly. I explained that the drives would cost less than $100 a piece and there was no monthly fee. Simple and effective (back then.)

I was surprised when he told me that he couldn’t afford it! Really? He had been pounding away on his calculator (yes, he IS a CPA) and confidently knew that his firm could not afford to lose a week’s worth of data. This man knows his business and his profit structure. Few do. We reworked his backup strategy to accommodate his needs. Fast forward a decade or more… The issue now is not whether we have a current backup. The data is no longer the issue. Today we need to reconstruct the environment. Having the QuickBooks data is worthless without a QuickBooks server… Having the SoftPro data is useless without the SoftPro server…

The experts call this concept Maximum Tolerable Downtime (MTD). These experts believe that the threats out there today are inevitable. Whether it’s data theft, misuse, ransomware or failure, it’s going to happen sooner or later. We have our vulnerability scans on sale during 2018 Q1. Cisco did a study in 2016 of how long you can expect your business to be down, in the event of a breach. Odds are you’ll be down for a day…

We view your backup strategy in three phases:

First is data backup. Almost inconsequential now. Our ability to restore a single file or folder of data quickly and easily. The backup window describes how long between each backup. The restore window is more important. It defines how long it would take to restore all of the backed up data. In the case of an encryption virus, this can be a long time.

Second is business continuity. How long can your business be down before losses or reputation damage is irreparable? Mirrored servers and hourly backups allow us to provide near immediate fail-over for your business.

Finally, disaster recovery provides for a complete replacement of your office infrastructure to keep your business going while replacements are made.

Each of these incremental steps have a cost. It’s like buying insurance for your business (a question we often receive) and how much it’s worth. There’s no right or wrong answer, it’s an individual decision, with which you must live. Let’s have an informed conversation about it. Call the Help Desk and choose option 2 for Wise Counsel, or email admin@quo.cc to get a quote.

08 Jan 2018

It’s All About Security

Everybody and every publication is finally pushing the need for tighter security. What’s lacking in much of what you read is the balance necessary between security and usability. If we make the network so secure that our teams can’t get any work done, it’s useless.

This year, Quo Vadis will be encouraging our clients to embrace Microsoft’s Password Guidance. Many of you may be reading in your own trade journals about the idea of passwords with no expiration. We agree! Our goal is password diversity to provide the best security. Today’s general password policies actually do the opposite of our intended goal.

A University of North Carolina study found 17% of new passwords could be guessed in five tries or less, given the old password. And almost 50% could be guessed in a few seconds of un-throttled guessing! So much for diversity.

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is crucial to the security plans of the future. By way of reminder, two-factor authentication uses two out of three factors to confirm your identity.

  1. Something you know (like your password)
  2. Something you have (like your mobile phone)
  3. Something you are (like your face or fingerprint)

I use 2FA for my Amazon account, my online banking, my email, remote access… everything I can. You should too!

Here are our recommendations to move forward.

  1. Don’t use your business credentials outside work.
  2. Use two-factor authentication whenever possible.
  3. Use biometrics whenever possible.
  4. Invest in a password manager.
  5. Don’t store passwords in your browser.
  6. Don’t reuse passwords!
  7. Keep your operating system and application software updated. (We can do this for you.)

 

We will be reaching out to you shortly to remove your password expirations.

15 Jul 2016

Windows 10 for free?

Windows 10: Quo Vadis strongly recommends a Windows 10 upgrade (if you haven’t already!) – especially in the next 2 weeks while it’s still free!

Remember, Windows 7 is 7 years old, Windows 8 is 5 years old, and Windows 10 is already 2 years old!

Steps to upgrade: Confirm with your mission-critical software vendors that they support Windows 10. If they do, then make a good backup of your data, and upgrade just one computer. Any speed-bumps can be worked out before you upgrade the rest of your office.

Generally, if your workstation will run Windows 7 or 8 comfortably, it’ll run 10 just fine.

Fun fact: Windows 10 includes Microsoft Edge – a built-from-the-ground-up new browser from Microsoft. It has extremely low power consumption, and is currently the only web browser than can stream 1080p.

10 Jun 2016

Ransomware

If you’ve been following our Facebook page or scrolling through the tech news, you’ll know that Ransomware is running rampant through the business community. For those not ‘in the know’, there are a few common families of the malicious software often dubbed the Locky virus. Don’t let the pleasant sounding ring of Locky fool you. This virus is extremely effective at disrupting businesses by encrypting data as securely as banks do. Upon completion of its mission, the virus then informs you that it has locked your files and allows you to purchase the decryption key for a large sum of money.

The business model has worked and ransomware campaigns are becoming more and more popular, targeting businesses in wealthy countries. The virus has gone through several evolutions and continuously adapts to increase efficaciousness. There is presently no AntiVirus endpoint protection software capable of detecting the presence of Locky on your system. The detection occurs when you attempt to access a file…and can’t. Concerned? You should be.

We’ve helped approximately 20% of our clients recover from the aftermath of these ransomware attacks.  However, you should educate yourself and your staff. Start implementing the following practices to mitigate the effects of an infection:

  • Regular Backups: There are three ways address your encrypted files: (1) Pay the thieves for the decryption, (2) Forget about the data and move on, or (3) Restore your files to the last backup.  If you would like to discuss your current backup strategy, let us know.
  • DON’T enable macros in a document received through email: Microsoft deliberately turned off auto-execution of macros by default many years ago as a security measure. A lot of malware infections rely on persuading you to turn macros back on, so don’t do it!
  • DON’T open attachments or links from unsolicited emails, even if it is from someone you know. It could be that their email account was compromised and the crooks are using it to entice you to open the document.
  • Avoid Mapped Drives: Microsoft no longer recommends using mapped drives and neither do we.  Right now, the only path the virus has to your server is through your mapped drives.  In the image below, you can see that there is a mapped Q drive to QVTools highlighted in blue.  This allows a path for the virus to the server.  The better method is to make a shortcut under the Favorites section (highlighted in yellow).  It may be that you have programs which require mapped drives.  Please let us know if you need any help implementing these changes.
10 Jun 2016

Who’s Using Up The Bandwidth?

We have received many questions about analyzing internet usage. Now, with SonicWALL Analyzer Software we have the ability to give you detailed reports.

The SonicWALL Analyzer is a traffic analytics and reporting tool that provides real-time and historical insight into the health, performance and security of the network.
Organizations of all sizes benefit from enhanced employee productivity, optimized network bandwidth utilization and increased security awareness.With the SonicWALL Analyzer you will receive reports on firewall threats, bandwidth usage statistics, and application traffic analysis, providing visibility into employee productivity and suspicious network activity.

It tracks individual user activities locally or on remote network sites to provide even greater insight into traffic usage across the entire network and, more specifically, application usage, web sites visited, backup activity and VPN connections per user.

The Analytics offer granular reporting on specific types of attacks or intrusion attempts and the source address of the attack to enable administrators to react quickly to incoming threats.

For companies that are subject to audit or simply want to keep an eye on their employees and maintain a secure environment, we strongly recommend this software.

Interested? Good timing. SonicWALL Analyzer Software is on sale in June for just $99 (normally $125)!

GET IT NOW