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The OFFICIAL end of Windows 7

I wanted to take a moment and comment on some recent news regarding Microsoft Windows and security.

Two important events happened on Tuesday, January 14, 2020:

  1. Microsoft released a security update for Windows regarding a flaw found in the operating system discovered by the NSA.  As you are probably already aware, this kind of thing happens all the time.  As new flaws are discovered, Microsoft releases patches to fix the issue.  We support this effort by making sure that patches are applied on a regular basis for our clients who receive patch management as part of their Managed IT Services agreement with us.

  2. The official End of Life of Windows 7 happened on January 14, 2020.  This means that the patch released on Tuesday was the last major security update for the Windows 7 operating system, according to Microsoft. 
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Cyber Concerns Surrounding Current Events

As a Managed IT Services Provider, we consider it our responsibility to provide information on factors that could potentially impact organization's technology, and as a result, their businesses. 

Due to recent international events, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) of the US Department of Homeland Security has issued an alert (AA20-006A) about potential cyber-threats.  

While we do not feel there is a need to be alarmed at this time, there is reason to believe that there could be retaliatory cyber-attacks against the US Government, private businesses, critical infrastructure, academia, and so on.  

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Malware in the Cloud: Protecting Yourself Based on Your Cloud Environment

*As featured on Tripwire.com - January 7, 2020

In some ways, the cloud has made security management easier, as many cloud providers have taken the responsibilities traditionally associated with local server management out of your hands. But in other ways, the security management conversation has become more confusing for decision makers, as “cloud” is a very broadly defined term and could speak to a variety of different technology ecosystems with their own security considerations. To top it off, many of the people who must ultimately make the decision about what kind of cloud solution is being utilized by their business don’t necessarily understand the security management ramifications of that decision.

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Revisiting The Concepts of Disaster Recovery and Risk as Organizations Move Their Infrastructure To The Cloud

*As featured on Tripwire.com - October 17, 2019

The calculus for disaster recovery and risk management is changing. Most small businesses within the past decade would often keep many of their critical technology assets locally, perhaps in a server closet, or a centralized data center for multiple offices. They built their own “vault” of applications, databases, email, files, etc., often on a few physical servers they would be wholly responsible for maintaining and eventually upgrading or replacing. Most of them would care enough about these technology and data assets to invest significant sums in redundant servers, quick recovery backups and imaging solutions, security hardware/software as well as the physical infrastructure to support these products like power and air conditioning.

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Back to School Cyber-Security

*As featured on WJLA ABC7, August 13, 2019

Online and device security may not be the first thing that comes to mind with the new school year, but more and more middle school, high school and college students have mobile devices, laptops, and study online. Children are increasingly becoming heavy targets for cyber-crime and so it is more important than ever that students protect their digital lives as much as adults.

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Moving to the Cloud and How You Shift Your Security Management Strategy

*As featured on Tripwire.com - August 4, 2019

As someone who has worked for their entire career in the Managed Network Services space, if I had to pick out, over the past five years, two of the most impactful shifts in managing technology, it would be a shift from traditional, in-house servers to solutions where 3rd parties build “clouds” to provide similar business functions as well as the increased pressure on organizations to have comprehensive cyber-security strategies as threats become more significant. While some might want to call these things “trends,” I don’t think either is going to come out of focus or take a 180 degree turn anytime soon.

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Shield your devices from hackers with these travel tips

*As featured on Good Morning Washington(ABC7), July 23, 2019

DP Solutions Director of Strategic Operations, Ben Schmerler, visited Good Morning Washington to offer some helpful tips on how travelers can keep their data and devices safe this summer.

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Placing a value on your data and accounts

When making decisions about what technology to use, whether it be security, mobility, or anything really, I recommend that you first take a step back and determine the value of what you are trying to manage.

It is very easy to just implement technology (or avoid it) in order to make something functional.  But really you need to go back and remember why you are using technology in the first place.  The investments you make in technology should correlate to what you value in the technology itself. 

In our own lives, we make consumer decisions about things like health care, schools, homes, cars, and so on based on what they represent to us.  Think of your accounts/data the same way you might think of a car.  Maybe your first car was a beater, so you didn’t care that much about it. You didn’t invest in a new stereo, or a paint job, or whatever.  But when you finally got that classic sports car that you enjoy (and spent a lot of money to get) all of a sudden investments in things like collision insurance, nice wheels, and premium gasoline start to make a lot of sense.

So maybe it isn’t necessary to implement Multi Factor Authentication on a website you go to just to read the headlines of the day, but that same Multi Factor Authentication is a no-brainer decision on your personal online banking account.

Contact us if you would like help in planning suitable technology solutions for your organization.

  Ben Schmerler | Senior IT Risk Advisor

DP Solutions
9160 Red Branch Road, Suite W-1  |  Columbia, MD 21045
410.720.3300 x106 (Baltimore)  |  301.858.5609 x106 (Washington)
410.992.3559 (Fax)  |  www.dpsolutions.com

 

 

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Not all backups are created equal

Privacy and security are important to your organization, but they’re even more important to those whom you serve. Nearly 75% of Americans feel it is “extremely” or “very” important that the companies they work with keep their information secured and have easy-to-understand explanations of what, how, and why information is shared. Rule of thumb: If you collect it, protect it

Here are a few tips for protecting information:  

  1. Follow all reasonable measures to protect every piece of information you have about your client or customer.

  2. Have policies enforced that prohibit unauthorized access to those who do not have a need to see it. 

  3. Consider whether you really need that information in the first place, and the liability associated with holding it.  Compliance concerns may make you rethink if you really need to store that sensitive data in the first place.

  4. Be open about how you use information that your clients give you. Clearly communicate any practices and processes, and use this as an opportunity to set your organization apart by demonstrating that you implement proper security and risk management standards.

Contact us to learn more.

  Ben Schmerler | Senior IT Risk Advisor

DP Solutions
9160 Red Branch Road, Suite W-1  |  Columbia, MD 21045
410.720.3300 x106 (Baltimore)  |  301.858.5609 x106 (Washington)
410.992.3559 (Fax)  |  www.dpsolutions.com

 

 

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The clock is ticking on Windows 7

Windows 7 proved over the years to be a reliable and stable operating system, and even as new versions like Windows 8 came to market, Windows 7 stuck around.  Even as Windows 10 finds greater market penetration and higher customer satisfaction than Windows 8, we still see many users continue to use Windows 7.  That’s understandable.

But unfortunately, extended support on Windows 7 ends in January 2020, which means if your organization is using Windows 7, you have less than a year to prepare for an upgrade.

Losing support on Windows 7 is a big deal.  It creates a major potential risk for exploitation, because every day that Windows 7 remains after support ends, more flaws will be discovered that Microsoft simply will no longer attempt to fix.  You put your organization at risk if you leave it in place after support ends.

Fortunately, the upgrade path to Windows 10 is usually not as challenging as previous upgrades, and we have time to plan this out.  

Contact us today so we can figure out how this might impact you and come up with a plan.

  Ben Schmerler | Senior IT Risk Advisor

DP Solutions
9160 Red Branch Road, Suite W-1  |  Columbia, MD 21045
410.720.3300 x106 (Baltimore)  |  301.858.5609 x106 (Washington)
410.992.3559 (Fax)  |  www.dpsolutions.com

 

 

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