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Managed IT Services

How Antivirus Programs Fail to Stop New Malware Threats

A recent survey showed that respondents under the age of 35 had been the target of phishing scams.  This is a clear indication of how hackers who are trying to obtain personal financial information.   Back in 2002 there were an estimated 17 million known good files and 2 million bad ones.  By 2012, there were 40 million known good files and 80 million bad ones.  According to industry experts, conventional security measures such as anti-virus software can no longer protect users against malware and other threats. 

Malware threat growing as the main driver of this shift is cybercrime.

In the past, malware was often the work of malicious individuals or pranksters looking for recognition of their coding prowess.  But nowadays they are perpetrated almost entirely by organized crime.

Hackers look for ways to install malware on your computer for the purpose of stealing your passwords, credit card numbers and banking information, which they can sell to other criminals.  Cybercrime is estimated to be a $3 billion US industry.  One of the reasons malware is such a widespread problem is that it has become harder for consumers to detect.

There are a number of ways hackers can get into your computer, but nowadays, a lot of it is accomplished by “social engineering.” For example, you may get an email or even a phone call that appears to be from a bank or a tech support representative asking you to open an email attachment or to click through to an infected website.

The problem with anti-virus software is that it is reactive in nature which means that it responds to specific malware after it has been distributed.  Should a malware writer change a few lines of code, however, that anti-virus solution suddenly becomes obsolete.

It’s the sheer number of malware variations that makes it impossible for anti-virus software to effectively combat the problem.

While anti-virus software is not foolproof, it is a first line of defence.  It does not stop someone who is motivated but it does force them to put a little bit of effort in and it does mean you are not quite as easy of a target.

In recent years, hackers have are posing online as anti-virus companies with legitimate-looking websites and finding victims by ironically playing on their fear of malware. They offer “virus scans” that are actually malware.

Given these overwhelming threats, “whitelisting” can keep web surfers safe.  The principle is similar to verified accounts on Twitter, which was a response to the proliferation of bogus accounts. Rather than identifying all the fake accounts, Twitter’s verification process simply certifies the legitimate one.

Whitelisting has been around for more than a decade but only a few companies offer it right now.  The way it works is that anytime you surf the web, the whitelist prompt appears in your browser. If you go to a website that has been penetrated by hackers, the browser pops up a stern warning telling you not to proceed to the site.  Whitelisting would keep a list of good sites on your workstation and in the cloud.

We are unable to stop every attack but our actively managed toolset has enabled us to put policies into place that can prevent such attacks.  First line of defense such as corporate messaging spam and virus filter, firewall with active security and content filtering licences and managed anti-virus and malware protection.

 

365 iT SOLUTIONS is a leading IT consulting firm in Toronto. We provide industry leading Managed IT ServicesIT Support ServicesIT Outsourcing ServicesTech Support Services and Cloud Services.

Take advantage of our Complimentary Network and Security Assessment by 365itSolutions.com

Welcome to Worry-Free iT!

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Industry Insights IT Security Managed IT Services

How to Create an IT Disaster Recovery Plan?

There have been constant headlines regarding disaster within organizations however small business still are wary about investment in business continuity and disaster recovery.  In a recent survey, data that showed the number of companies with disaster recovery plans declined 50 percent year-over-year in 2013.  On top of that, only a fraction of those with plans actually test them, so the number of businesses with strong recovery capabilities is limited.

Why so many unprepared companies? 

1. Time – Planning is complex, and many businesses simply can’t afford to spend the time and money.

2. Money – Many businesses are unsure about spending money on disaster recovery when the ROI is not obvious.

3. Value – Businesses still don’t quite understand their dependency on technology.

How our IT support team creates a Disaster Recovery Plan?

  • Meet with management and establish the scope of the disaster recovery plan
  • Gather all relevant network information including infrastructure layout
  • Identify what management perceives as the most serious threats to the IT infrastructure
  • Identify what management perceives as the most serious vulnerabilities to the IT infrastructure
  • Review previous history of outages and disruptions and how they were handled
  • Identify what management perceives as the most critical IT assets
  • Determine the maximum outage time management can accept if the identified IT assets are unavailable
  • Identify the operational procedures currently used to respond to critical outages
  • Determine when these procedures were last tested to validate their appropriateness.

Once all information is compiled, all information should be put into a gap analysis report that identifies what is currently done versus what ought to be done.  This will include recommendations on how to achieve the required level of preparedness, and estimated investment required.

How can a Managed IT Services (MSP) provider help?

Managed IT Services (MSP) providers will perform backup monitoring of your local and Cloud as your trusted partner.  Ultimately, the disaster recovery pains are challenge for clients including time and money.  But the right partnerships can alleviate these pains, and as a result, make your disaster recovery plans all the more effective.

 

 

365 iT SOLUTIONS is a leading IT consulting firm in Toronto. We provide industry leading Managed IT ServicesIT Support ServicesIT Outsourcing ServicesTech Support Services and Cloud Services.

Take advantage of our Complimentary Network and Security Assessment by 365itSolutions.com

Welcome to Worry-Free iT!

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Industry Insights IT Solutions Managed IT Services

How to Protect Yourself from Ransomware CryptoLocker

The principle of Ransomware is simple. Usually it sneaks into a system disguised as an email attachment and, if opened, then proceeds to encrypt the files on your machine. When this has completed the virus deletes itself and tells the user that their data has been taken hostage and will only be released if they pay the demanded ransom for a key.

Now it’s back and this time the encryption is rock solid.

CryptoLocker is the latest Ransomware virus to strike unsuspecting users, and so far it’s proven impossible to crack. What’s more, it doesn’t just take all the data on your hard drive, it also searches for files on all drives and in all folders it can access from your computer: including workgroup shared files, servers, and more. Anything within its reach it encrypts.  Essentially the more privileged your account is, the worse the overall damage will be.

The removal of the virus itself is of little use to the victim, and shutting down the server that holds the key will only result in the loss of the decryption tool, plus this is difficult because the servers switch location on a weekly basis. So most people who suffer a CryptoLocker attack are given the simple advice of either paying the ransom or losing the data, but like in any hostage situation you can never guarantee that the criminals will honour their terms.

How to protect yourself from a Ransomware CryptoLocker attack?

Always perform regular full backups of your valuable data and then remove the drive from your computer, preferably storing it off-site.  Most people and organizations maintain a local and offsite backup therefore protecting all data and using a proper disaster recovery plan.  The most important step is to never, ever open a file or link in an email or on a social website unless you are sure it was deliberately sent by the person themselves.  It may seem interesting at the time, but the results can catastrophic.

We are unable to stop every attack but our actively managed toolset has enabled us to put policies into place that can prevent such attacks.  First line of defense such as corporate messaging spam and virus filter, firewall with active security and content filtering licences and managed anti-virus and malware protection.

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365 iT SOLUTIONS is a leading IT consulting firm in Toronto. We provide industry leading Managed IT ServicesIT Support ServicesIT Outsourcing ServicesTech Support Services and Cloud Services.

Take advantage of our Complimentary Network and Security Assessment by 365itSolutions.com

Welcome to Worry-Free iT!

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Industry Insights IT Solutions Managed IT Services

What is Cloud Services and Cloud Storage?

What is the Cloud?

Cloud computing takes a lot of the cost and stress out of sharing your applications, websites, files, etc. with others. Our Cloud Services incur all of the costs associated with buying and maintaining the hardware, leaving you to focus on the core needs of your business, and freeing up your time and money.  Pay for what you use as we provide a large amount of physical resources.

Cloud computing is so versatile that it can be used for anything from a single cloud server, to a whole set of hardware resources.  You choose how much memory, hard disk space, bandwidth, and CPU power you need and if you run out there is always more waiting.  If there is a hardware failure virtual servers are automatically moved to another host in the cloud and brought back online within a few seconds meaning downtime will be a thing of the past. Also, our easy to navigate control panel gives you instant access to backup and restore for all of your virtual servers from anywhere with internet access.

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365 iT SOLUTIONS is a leading IT consulting firm in Toronto. We provide industry leading Managed IT ServicesIT Support ServicesIT Outsourcing ServicesTech Support Services and Cloud Services.

Take advantage of our Complimentary Network and Security Assessment by 365itSolutions.com

Welcome to Worry-Free iT!

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Industry Insights IT Solutions Managed IT Services

Top 10 Questions When Hiring a Managed IT Services Provider

Q. Are the phones live or do you always have to leave a voice mail and wait for someone to call you back?

A. 365 iT SOLUTIONS is live on the phones.  Our Managed IT Services are proactively monitored 24/7.

Q. Are they offering a guaranteed response time (SLA) to all IT Support issues?

A. We offer guaranteed response times for all our Managed IT Services clients.

Q. Are they consistently and proactively offer new ways to improve your network infrastructure?

A. We review our client networks every six months to look for new ways to help improve their network operations.

Q. Do they provide detailed invoices that clearly explain what you are paying for?

A. We provide detailed billing invoices that show what work was done during the billing period.

Q. Do they carry proper errors and omissions insurance as well as WSIB?

A.  Our company carries proper insurance as well as proper WSIB clearance.

Q. Do they guarantee to complete projects on time and on budget?

A. We offer project guarantees on all projects therefore it is fixed priced and guaranteed.

Q. Do they monitor your network 24/7 to keep the network running securely?

A. We monitor all Managed IT Services Client networks 24/7 ensuring up time and secure.

Q. Do they have a team of technicians on staff that are familiar with your network?

A. We have a professional team with all client networks documented in our Management Software.

365 iT SOLUTIONS is a leading IT consulting firm in Toronto. We provide industry leading Managed IT ServicesIT Support ServicesIT Outsourcing ServicesTech Support Services and Cloud Services.

Take advantage of our Complimentary Network and Security Assessment by 365itSolutions.com

Welcome to Worry-Free iT!

 

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Industry Insights IT Solutions Managed IT Services

Legal and Accounting Firms Top Technology Issues

Technology changes every day, how does your firm stay up-to-date? Maintaining and implementing these four issues will significantly lessen the amount of time and money spent on technology issues as well as increase legal or accounting firm productivity.

Security & Privacy

All legal and accounting firms deal with sensitive materials. Security should be at the top of this list every year. These sensitive materials are being shared more than ever through Cloud storage systems and mobile devices such as Smartphones, Tablets, etc. The threat of these materials being misused is higher than ever, and something that every firm must be aware of when implementing new technologies.

Technology Implementation

Technology is always changing and change has always been difficult for firms and employees. For some employees more than others, it can cause frustration and bring negative energy into the workplace. Managers must keep technological initiatives in line with organizational goals as well as reducing stress levels on staff and seamless implementation. The motivation behind all initiatives must also be communicated well. Let your employees know why the new technology is being implemented, how it fits in with the goals of the firm, and how it will make their jobs easier.

Happy Employees = Productive Employees

Return on Investment

There is technology these days that can do anything. The question is which one is right for your organization. Many new technologies such as Cloud Computing and Smartphones allow firms to access, use, and manage information instantaneously from any location in the world. The challenge is to find the ones that are worth the investment. Go for proven technologies over new ones, and always stay within the budget when it comes to technology implementation.

Managing Service Providers

Firms are looking for companies to be an active partner in solving their issues. This requires investments in technology and the willingness to think long term, and to build the relationships needed to win trust and support. It is extremely important to pursue the most reliable providers of any service, whether it be Cloud Computing or Security systems. Though they might be more expensive than the less reliable providers, the potential problems including fraud and loss of  information that can stem from an unreliable provider outweigh their cost savings. Our agreement outline all terms and conditions of the service as well as how flexible the contract including no long-term agreement.

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365 iT SOLUTIONS is a leading IT consulting firm in Toronto. We provide industry leading Managed IT ServicesIT Support ServicesIT Outsourcing ServicesTech Support Services and Cloud Services.

Take advantage of our Complimentary Network and Security Assessment by 365itSolutions.com

Welcome to Worry-Free iT!

Categories
Industry Insights IT Solutions Managed IT Services

365 iT SOLUTIONS New Website Announcement

365 iT SOLUTIONS is pleased to announce the release of our new website, designed with a fresh new look and user- friendly navigation, updated with the latest information about our products and services.

“Technology changes daily and the 365 iT SOLUTIONS team has helped use the latest technology to ensure maximum network uptime. By using their proactive managed IT services, they have ensured that our network is secure and our employees have access to a team of technical support team in a prompt and effective manner.”

365 iT SOLUTIONS is a leading IT consulting firm in Toronto. We provide industry leading Managed IT ServicesIT Support ServicesIT Outsourcing ServicesTech Support Services and Cloud Services.

Take advantage of our Complimentary Network and Security Assessment by 365itSolutions.com

365 iT SOLUTIONS visit us on Google+LinkedInFacebookTwitter and YouTube.

Welcome to Worry-Free iT!