Why Should Businesses use Managed Service Providers?

What are Managed Services? Managed services let you offload specific IT operations to an external organization known as a Managed Services Provider. The managed service provider (MSP) assumes ongoing responsibility for monitoring, managing and/or problem resolution for selected IT systems and functions on your behalf. These services are typically customized based upon your needs, budget and vulnerabilities. Managed services providers can offer services such as alerts, security, patch management, data backup and recovery for various client devices: servers, desktops, laptops, storage systems, routers, switches and even applications. Some even manage your connectivity to the world by working on your behalf with ISP’s when there is an internet outage or slow bandwidth. This saves time and money from having valuable internal resources working on the issue, particularly if that isn’t their primary field of expertise. In short, offloading routine infrastructure management to an experienced MSP keeps your IT infrastructure running smoothly, alerts you if there are warnings signs that could lead to hardware failures and frees up your internal people to focus on running your business. Managed service providers usually price their services on a subscription basis. Depending on the services they provide, pricing is usually based on the number of devices, with different packages priced at different levels. Some provide valuable customer support onsite when required. Basic services often start with a monitoring service, which notifies you of problems, which you resolve on your own. At the upper end of the spectrum, service providers offer fully managed services that cover everything from alerts through problem resolution. Typically, they perform an initial assessment of your current IT environment and management...

CryptoLocker Virus Holds Businesses Hostage

Imagine you come home to find an extra lock on all your doors, bars on your windows and the garage door is bolted shut. There’s a sign saying you’ve been locked out of your house until you pay a ransom. There’s no way around these locks and nothing can cut the material they’re made from. This is very much what it’s like to be infected by the CryptoLocker virus. You can see all of your possessions but using them is out of reach. CryptoLocker, categorized as a ransomware Trojan has become one of the most historically devastating viruses to hit the internet. Believed to have started on the 5th of September, 2013. CryptoLocker typically comes through as an email attachment, commonly disguised as a legitimate business email. Crypto has also piggy backed on other viruses, the Gameover ZeuS and botnet Trojans. Some have found infected Java code and flash banner ads on sites. Crypto has a great deal many ways to infect an unsuspecting machine. What does Crypto do exactly? Crypto gains access to a computer operating in a windows environment as mentioned above. Once on a computer it will encrypt certain types of files stored on a local hard drive and mapped network drives the user has access to. This is important to know because one impacted computer can affect the data of all other computers on the network and put your whole business at risk! The encryption uses 2048-bit RASA public-key cryptography, the private key needed for decryption is generated and stored on the malware controller’s servers. They commonly use a slew of proxies to help hide...

The New Normal for Law Firms and Their Data

Eagle Network Solutions recently co-authored an article in Legal Link Magazine. Rapid and dramatic changes in technology are continuing to challenge businesses of all kinds, including those of attorneys and other professionals. According to the article,” The New Normal: The Challenges Facing the Legal Profession,” the second greatest challenge facing the legal industry is the growth of technology in the legal field. “These advances increase the pace of practice and client expectations, forcing lawyers to adapt or face extinction. Understanding and implementing new technologies are difficult and time-consuming for lawyers. Clients are often ahead of lawyers in implementing new technologies; they have increased access to legal information, much of it readily available on the Internet.” “Time is money,” according to an old adage, and most lawyers use their time and money on technology as it pertains to choosing billing software vs time management software, avoiding irregularities when using social media, and trying to navigate new legal advertising paradigms. However the security and safety of a practice’s own data as well as the maintenance of client’s personal and confidential information is often last on the list of priorities when it should be first. Client confidentiality, attorney liability, and technology security need to be paramount when considering what programs and technology services you use and how you utilize technology for your practice. More than questioning whether your internal software and/or cloud based programs for client records, billing, and receipts correctly capture and deliver client information, you need to constantly ask yourself the following questions: Is client information secure and how secure is it? Is internal as well as external information, including...

Tech Tip:   Opening an attachment from an unknown source.

Dealing with email attachments can be a little daunting at first. There are countless stories on the web of malicious attachments stealing data, bogging down PCs, holding your data hostage for money and even ruining them completely. It is imperative that these attachments and perhaps even the entire email are not opened to prevent this from happening. Here are a few pieces of information regarding attachments: Viruses can attach themselves to nearly any file, or even disguise themselves as a certain file type. Most email Viruses don’t need to be forwarded. They scan your address book and automatically send out the infected message to everyone possible. What to do: Keep your Antivirus and system updates in check. Many Viruses exploit bugs and other issues in software. Regularly updating your system keeps you in check with the latest Windows patches and updating your antivirus makes sure you have the latest definitions installed, helping prevent infections from newer and more advanced infections. Manually scanning your attachment is also a possibility. After saving it onto your desktop (or wherever else), open up your antivirus software and scan the individual file. If the file is clean, feel free to open up. Please keep in mind that if your antivirus is not up to date, this may not be the most effective way to proceed. Your email may not come from where you think it is. It is relatively easy to use a different “From” address when sending an email. For example, you may think an email is coming from “Bill Gates” when in reality it is coming from “Steve Jobs” disguised as “Bill...

Service Alert: CyptoLocker Virus

Imagine your laptop being held hostage and you have 72 hours to pay a ransom in order to see your files again? How would this impact you? How would it disrupt your business day or that of your team? I do not often send out blast emails to our customers, but I wanted to make you aware of a particularly destructive virus making its way through the internet. The virus is most commonly called CryptoLocker and there are several versions of it. Please forward this to your entire organization or technical contact at your company. This communication is only being sent to primary contacts. The CryptoLocker virus first made an appearance in early September 2013 and is a “ransomware” virus, meaning that it will not release your computer until the ransom is paid. This payment ranges from $300 to $700 or more. We first became aware of it 3 weeks ago when a colleague informed us it hit one of their sites in Wisconsin. To this day, their network is only limping along having experienced a significant loss of data. It struck closer to home last week when one of our clients was hit and we are still working through it. At this time, it cannot be removed. The virus usually comes attached to an email and is disguised as a PDF document, but it is actually an executable file that delivers a virus payload to the computer. It immediately encrypts files on the computer and any files that this computer has access to, such as server shared folders, making them useless to the rest of the users. Only...