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AndroPedia Tech Library
As part of our service, it is important to keep our client-partners well informed on IT developments, news, and best practices. Here is just a sampling of typical items from our AndroPediaSM library archive:
5 Critical Components Any Professional Disaster Recovery Plan Must Have Jul 03, 2017
We hear a whole lot about ransomware and cyber criminals these days. Andromeda helps our clients combat most data breaches with multi-tiered security solutions and employee training. But, every business is still vulnerable to incident. That is why a full proof and dependable Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity plan is an essential. Before you hit the world wide web searching for DR solutions and backup plans, take a look at these 5 critical components any professional disaster recovery plan must have.
Your disaster recovery plan should consider appropriate business continuity variables.
Disasters happen; they come in many shapes and sizes. Server crashes, accidental file deletion, physical disasters such as fire or flood and the increasingly common ransomware or malware infection are all scenarios.
You must ask two important questions yourself in regards to business continuity:
- How much time can pass between recovery points, ie: how much data can you afford to lose; this is commonly known in Business Continuity as RPO – Recovery Point Objective
- How much time can pass between the disaster and recovery, ie: how much time can you afford to lose; this is commonly known in Business Continuity as RTO – Recovery Time Objective
Ideally, your RPO and RTO are as low as possible.
A good Disaster Recovery Plan will consider these factors and have various options for restoring files, folders or even whole servers. On top of that, it is important that these options take into account minimalizing data loss and interruption.
Data should be stored both locally and offsite.
Many people have an easy time seeing the value in the offsite backup. Whether that’s tape drives taken offsite daily, external USB drives treated the same, or data sent to the cloud for storage, it carries with it a feeling of great comfort knowing that “if the building burns down” the data is still safe.
What few realize is what we mean when we speak about downtime, for incidents that are not quite as catastrophic as a burning building. In those cases, it can take an unacceptable amount of time to get your hands on that offsite backup or to download an entire server from the cloud.
With a Disaster Recovery Plan option that offers backups both locally and offsite (cloud based), you are able to restore large quantities of files and entire server images quickly. Your onsite device should also have the capability to virtualize as a temporary server in the event your main server crashes.
Find a disaster recovery plan option that provides multiple restore options
When you think about restoring from a disaster, you may believe that so long as you have a version of your data somewhere, you are secure. In reality though, your recovery time objective can be greatly impacted by the different options available to you after a disaster. A disaster recovery plan with multiple options for virtualization, restoration and data access is an absolute must.
You may have heard the term “virtualization” before. Being able to virtualize your server either on a physical device at your location or in the cloud simply means that you have a temporary solution that will keep your business up and running while you resolve whatever issue corrupted your data, server or situation in the first place.
A catastrophic hardware failure can put your business down for hours, sometimes days. Rushing that process up can incur huge costs as well: rush delivery, emergency dispatch etc. In the event of a hardware failure, a virtual copy of your last backup can be spun up. Once completed, you can resume working swiftly. This quick recovery allows you to deal with hardware replacements, scheduling and budgets in an organized fashion.
A top tier solution will provide you with onsite virtualization and an option to virtualize in the cloud. Cloud virtualization is not as quick and can produce some lag time. Nonetheless, in the event your backups are stolen or disaster strikes your building (fire, flood etc.) – the ability to spin up and virtualize data from the cloud means that your business is not at a standstill.
Find out what type of support a vendor provides for disaster recovery plans.
Your company does not want to struggle to get their files restored. You can’t wait hours and hours to restore a file you accidentally deleted. Don’t wait for hours to hear back on the status of a data restore. Your IT partner should understand the solution they are providing and be able to work with you directly. Cut out the intermediary. Ensure your vendor monitors all the warranties, all the software support calls, and all monitoring; ensuring your backups are humming all day every day – as they should be.
Don’t trust just any business continuity or disaster recovery plan solution.
There are literally hundreds of options out there for Disaster Recovery. A quick Google search will give you pages of results. Comparing them is mind numbing, and if we are being honest . . . who takes the time to do all that? Your first step is to find an IT partner that you trust. Check their references. See if they have case studies to show how a disaster recovery functions with the product. Ask for a demonstration of the product. This is serious stuff and you need to trust the hands maintaining and protecting your data.
The post 5 Critical Components Any Professional Disaster Recovery Plan Must Have appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.How to Spot Phishing Scams and Stop Cyber-Criminals from Stealing Your Data Apr 27, 2018
Cyber-Security is a big topic in the news. New businesses fall victim to hackers and cyber criminals daily.
Even high quality security programs and protocols can fall victim to cyber-bullies without proper employee training, awareness and attention to detail.
We believe education is one of the best defenses against cyber criminals.
With that in mind, we want to provide some valuable tips for spotting and avoiding one of the most popular scams/tactics cyber-criminals use against you: the Phishing Scam.
Email is essential to your business and every day communication. It is also one of the prime spaces hackers focus on to steal your information and sneak into your network.
This is because it is SO much easier to get a person to click on a link, input account info or download a corrupt file via an email scam than many other hacker strategies.
You’ve probably heard this but it’s true – “There’s one person in every office that will click on anything.”
Hopefully that person isn’t you!
But – with the information below, you’ll learn how to spot these scams and some strategies to avoid them altogether.
Phishing Scams 101
What are some of the Goals of Phishing Scams?
- Steal Sensitive Personal Info – Credit Card Info, Account Login Info, Personally Identifiable Information (SSN, Birth Date etc.)
- Gain control of your computer or network
- Install malware or other computer viruses
How do cyber-criminals convince you to fall for their plans?
- Deliver file attachments with harmful software enclosed – viruses/malware/keystroke loggers
- Trick you into clicking on bad websites that secretly infect your PC with viruses etc.
- Convincing you to give them username info and password info to desired accounts
Things you should look out for to spot and prevent Phishing Scams
- Make sure that the “reply to” email address matches the sent address
- Any message that creates a sense of urgency – especially regarding login info
- Any message that requests sensitive data
- Questionable links or links that don’t match the anticipated site/source
- Random social media messages asking you to click a link to see a video or receive specific info
Keep in mind and remember that legitimate companies won’t email you asking for passwords, sensitive info (social security numbers) or other sensitive data via email.
Sample Phishing Scams Explained:
- The ‘From’ email address is suspicious
- ‘From’ and ‘Reply-To’ are different and both are suspicious again
- When you hover over the ‘Restore Access’ button there is a link that doesn’t match any Microsoft destinations
- Bad sender domain
- Suspicious Subject & Content – generic name and sense of urgency to give up account info
- Bad grammar
- Suspicious link if you hover over the masked link.
- Bad domain in ‘From’ section – email@example.com
- Generic Greeting
- Bad link redirect
- Sense of Urgency in message to get your account info
Response Strategies/Protocols for suspected phishing emails:
In the office it is important to have conversations with employees and make sure everyone knows what to do if they suspect a bad email.
- We recommend alerting your IT partner or IT staff members of the issue.
- NEVER click any links you think are suspicious.
- If you are unsure of an email you can always contact the related company direct. For example, with respect to any of the above emails you can always go directly to their official page, grab contact info and call/contact support to confirm that the email is real.
- NEVER use contact info in a suspicious email to figure out whether it is real or not. Criminals put fake phone numbers and contact info in their messages so of course they will tell you that the email is real.
- Hold regular cyber security and data security training in your office to make sure employees are up to speed on the latest techniques/red flags.
The post How to Spot Phishing Scams and Stop Cyber-Criminals from Stealing Your Data appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.FBI Advises Users To Reboot Their Routers Jun 11, 2018
Cisco's Talos Security Team has identified a new threat, and it's a nasty one impacting more than half a million consumer-grade routers in the US.� According to the Talos Team's report, the new malware is impacting a broad cross-section of routers made by TP-Link, QNAP, Netgear, Mikrotik, and Linksys.
Known as "VPNFilter," the malware currently infecting routers appears to be the first stage in a multi-phase attack, with the first segment allowing the hackers to collect a wide range of communications data and slave the device to launch attacks on others.� The code also contains a kill command that allows the hackers to destroy the device at will.
As of now, the FBI has already taken swift action and has seized a domain used by the hackers as a means to deliver the later stages of the attack. They report that the primary and secondary means of further infection have been dismantled.� They also report, however, that the hackers still have a fallback method of infection, which relies on sending "poisoned" data packets to each infected device.
Based on an evaluation of the code and the presence of redundant mechanisms for delivering the later stages of the infection, the code has been traced to a Russian hacking group with deep ties to the Russian government.� The group is known by a variety of names, including Fancy Bear, Sofacy, APT 28, and Pawn Storm.
On the heels of seizing the domain, the FBI released a statement that includes:
"The FBI recommends any owner of small office and home office routers reboot the devices to temporarily disrupt the malware and aid the potential identification of infected devices.� Owners are advised to consider disabling remote management settings on devices and secure with strong passwords and encryption when enabled.� Network devices should be upgraded to the latest available versions of firmware."