Archive for December, 2015

17 Dec 2015

Backups versus Intelligent Business Continuity

Traditional backup methods, such as tape, disk, or online only, are no longer sufficient. In fact, leading edge business owners are finding them unacceptable, due to their inability to recover data quickly and mitigate downtime. Technological innovations have established a comprehensive new standard, Intelligent Business Continuity (IBC). Only an IBC solution will ensure data protection, data security, instant recovery, mitigate downtime and ensure continuity.

Traditional Backup

  1. Can take weeks to recover data after a disaster occurs, if the data is recoverable
  2. High risk of failure due to heavy manual administration: 58% of downtime is due to human error
  3. Difficult to test if a backup is working properly
  4. Time consuming and expensive to make a copy of, and store, backups in multiple locations. 61% of SMBs still ship tapes to an off-site location
  5. Backup speeds are slower
  6. Difficult to prioritize important data, files and applications
  7. Physical to virtual conversions can be time consuming and have a high failure rate
  8. Data and backups are at risk when based in only one location, either local OR in the cloud
  9. Limited options for encrypting data, may not pass industry regulations (i.e., HIPAA, SOX)
  10. Tape failure rates can exceed 50%
  11. Potential for theft of loss of media
  12. Perceived cost savings are deceiving–average cost of downtime is $163,674 per hour

Intelligent Business Continuity

  1. Downtime after a disaster is reduced to hours, minutes, or even seconds
  2. Fully automated backup process—very little manual management required
  3. Automated screenshots are taken of each image-based backup, to verify a successful backup
  4. Each image-based backup is automatically saved in multiple loca- tions for redundancy; local appliance and secure data centers
  5. Quick and efficient transfer of files to off-site data centers, even with low bandwidth or busy networks
  6. Critical data can be prioritized, to be transferred offsite first
  7. Instant virtualization in mere seconds, due to both proprietary tech- nology and already saved VMDKs
  8. Avoid risk of downtime from a local disaster, as backups are stored in both local device AND secure cloud
  9. AES 256 and SSL key-based encryption ensures data is safe both at rest and in transit, to meet industry regulations (ie. HIPAA, SOX)
  10. Minimal risk of corrupted backups or data loss
  11. Off-site backups stored in SSAE16 Type II data centers, ensuring security
  12. The ability to keep your business running in the event of disaster has immeasurable value

SisAdmin offers a variety of intelligent business continuity systems, including Datto and ShadowProtect. Give us a call at 425-482-1919 for more information!

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10 Dec 2015

3 Easy Steps to Improve Your Battery Life

Here are some tips to make your laptop battery life last longer:

battery

  1. Make sure you unplug you laptop when it is charged. In some cases, overcharging can damage the battery. According to the Battery University, a battery will give you 300 to 500 full discharge cycles or charges, and overcharging can significantly reduce the number of charges a battery is able to produce. Furthermore, Battery University recommends ideally using your laptop between 40% and 80% percent battery life to get the most life out of the battery.
  2. The number one battery drain is the screen brightness, and that goes for any device, including your cell phone. Search for “Power Options” on your machine, and make adjustments. Keep that backlight to a minimum and extend your battery life. While you are in the area of adjusting power settings, you can tell your laptop when to hibernate and sleep. When your machine is not charging or in use, adjust the settings to have the display turn off or dim.
  3. Keeping the vents clear on your laptop will improve your battery life. It is bad practice to set your laptop on a pillow, couch cushion, mattress, or anything soft that hinders airflow. The vents under your laptop will end up drawing up debris and the fans get congested, which in turn makes your machine work harder than it needs to. This will drain your battery very quickly, and over time could do some damage. If your laptop starts to feel very hot or makes a loud buzzing, move it to a hard surface immediately.
10 Dec 2015

Online Security – How Can I Stay Safe?

cyber security

You are sitting at a neighborhood bistro waiting on a friend. They are running late, and so you decide to take advantage of the free Wi-Fi and surf the net on your phone. As you scroll through your emails, you remember you need to pay some bills online and figure now is a perfect time. You log on to your bank and proceed to transfer those funds.

Sound like a familiar scenario? Many people do it every day. While it is a part of daily life, we need to be cautious and know the risks, or you could find your information stolen and vulnerable. How can we protect ourselves, and what can we do to keep our personal information safe?

It is important to make sure you are hooking up to a network that is secure. Their network can be configured to track data going out and being received. Public connections are often unsecured and leave your machine open to outsiders. Be cautious when using free Wi-Fi.

When shopping online, make sure you stick with reputable sites that you know to be legit, such as Amazon or Nordstrom. To ensure that you are on a secure, encrypted part of the webpage, make sure that during checkout you divert your attention to the top of your browser. There should be a padlock symbol or the abbreviation ‘https’ in the address bar at the top of your browser when finalizing your purchases. As always, monitor your banking statements for fraudulent or suspicious activity.

Make sure that you do not click on anything where the source seems suspicious. If a window pops up, do not click on it, and immediately close it. If you received an email from an unknown source, do not follow any links within it.

Another issue to touch on to keep your information safe is password security and keeping your machines locked. When selecting a password, it is better to be complex. They should contain a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as numbers and symbols. They should be different for each site.  Finally, lock your machine up when it is not in use. This includes laptops, desktops, tablets and phones. A pin or password is ideal, as it is your first line of defense against someone trying to steal information.

02 Dec 2015

Virus Alert: Major Banking Site Redirect + Phishing

Our engineers have reported a Trojan virus that’s floating around that’s utilizing a new phishing tactic that’s worthy of passing along to you.  Internet crooks and scammers are extremely active this time of year due to the massive number of online shopping transactions and they’re constantly coming up with ways to steal your financial information.  Here’s how this particular scenario unfolds:

  1. If your antivirus protection application is out of date, antivirus definitions are out of date, or the antivirus vendor has not included protections against this virus and\or its variants in their most recent definitions release, your machine may be infected by a Trojan virus that allows for this exploit.
  2. You browse to your bank account (this virus is applicable to most major banks).   You put in your username and password and everything appears to work as usual.
  3. If your machine is infected with this virus, the screen may spin for a few seconds or go white for a short period of time, the URL stays the same (your address bar gives the appearance that you’re still on yourbank.com) then suddenly, a box comes up saying your account has had some strange activity and they are forcing you to verify who you are.  The page prompts you for personal financial information such as your debit card number, expiration, 3 digit code, PIN or other security questions.  If you were to enter these and click next, it would say ‘thank you’ and take you to the screen for your bank like nothing ever happened when in reality, you just sent all of the personal financial information that you just entered to the bad guys.

This is a sophisticated scam called a “man-in-the-middle” attack.  The technical trickery that is happening in the background is re-routing of DNS over SSL AFTER you type in your pertinent log-in details, which then attempts to phish you for your credit card information.

Please remain diligent when faced with these crafty methods thieves utilize to phish for your personal financial information.  Asking for your personal financial information should always raise a red flag as legitimate financial institutions do not ask for your account numbers, credit\debit card numbers, PIN or Social Security Number to verify your identity.

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