Posts tagged "threat"

Disaster Readiness

Disaster Readiness: Are You Prepared?

May 16th, 2018 Posted by Best Practices, Cloud, Data, Desktop, Disaster, Hosted Services, Services 0 thoughts on “Disaster Readiness: Are You Prepared?”

Fire is a Real Threat

On Sunday, May 21, 2017 a fire engulfed 1111 Camino del Rio in Durango, CO.  This location was the former home of Think Network Technologies.

Disasters are real and business owners should have a disaster readiness plan in place to continue business operations during and after a disaster. There is no time like the present to review and/or implement data backup, disaster recovery and business continuity plans. So what can you do to ensure you’re prepared before disaster strikes?

First, it’s important to understand the definition of data backup, disaster recovery and business continuity and how they relate to business processes. Data backup, disaster recovery and business continuity are used interchangeably are different, but equally important and interconnected facets to protecting your business. Second, it’s important to employ an IT partner to develop a comprehensive strategy and plans that fit your business.

What is “Data Backup”?

Data backup is the process of creating copies of your important data and storing in another location that would not be affected by the same factors that could affect your primary copy of data.

Some things to keep in mind:

  1. Your backups should include all important business data.
  2. At least one up-to-date copy should be stored off-site.
  3. Backups should be monitored regularly to make sure they are working properly.
  4. Restoration tests should be conducted regularly to make sure data can be recovered from the backups when needed.
  5. Periodic reviews should be made to ensure that all critical data is being backed up. A set-it-and-forget-it approach can lead to future important data not being backed up.

What is “Disaster Recovery”?

Disaster recovery is the concept and strategy for recovering key IT systems and processes in a timely manner in the event of some form of disruption to these systems.  It’s critical to have a plan for how to use data backups in the event of a server failure or physical destruction of property, e.g. fire or flood.

What is “Business Continuity”?

Business continuity is the plan and processes that a business has in place to to continue business while key IT systems are unavailable or are being recovered. While disaster recovery is focused on how to recover key IT systems and business processes, business continuity is the plan for how to continue business operations while IT systems and data are being recovered. A business continuity plan should answer the following key questions:

  1. What people, equipment, resources, and information need to be available so that business can continue without key IT systems?
  2. What steps can be taken to manually complete normal, day-to-day business processes with impaired IT systems or completely unavailable IT systems?

We Can Help…

As you can see from the above, data backup, disaster recovery and business continuity are equally important. Having one of these processes without the others, is like having a car with seat belts but no brakes. Having strategies for backups, disaster recovery and a business continuity in place can help protect your business during and after a disaster.

Think Network Technologies can help you develop strategies tailored to your business, systems, and processes.  We can also help execute these strategies if and when disaster strikes.

For more information about this topic and how we can support your business, contact us.

Ask the Engineer – Online or Desktop?

July 19th, 2017 Posted by Best Practices, Cloud, Data, Desktop, Disaster, Internet, Networks, Newsletters, Security 2 thoughts on “Ask the Engineer – Online or Desktop?”

In our last newsletter, we asked our readers about what topics they had the most questions about and we shared those questions with our technical team.  This month is about online bookkeeping programs.

Reader Question:  Online bookkeeping programs – how secure are they? What is the probability of someone hacking into your personal or business information through them vs. the probability of a desktop bookkeeping solution? Are there minimum security requirements across the board for online bookkeeping providers and, if so, are they realistic and effective at protecting information?

Ask the Engineer Response:

Software that you run online or through your desktop is vulnerable to security threats, so the real question is, “Is online software more secure than desktop software”?

For most SMBs, the answer is yes.  To understand why, we’ve compiled some information about all the vulnerabilities of using software.

 

Desktop Software:

Desktop software vulnerabilities are all located in one place, on your desktop or laptop. This is your point of access for everything; the point of storage for your accounting software, your data files, and your point of connection to the internet.

Sadly, many businesses don’t realize the importance of security. From technical measures such as anti-virus and firewalls to physical means such as locked doors and anti-theft cable solutions. Businesses also spend little or no time/money on educating their staff about best security practices.

Your office computer is faced with a greater range of internet-based attacks than online software would. Keep in mind that it is also much more susceptible to physical dangers such as fire, flood or theft.

If an emergency does happen, do you have a game plan to restore your software? Probably not, according to most SMBs. Backup is treated as an afterthought for many businesses, but this process could save you many hours or days when you need to return to full operation. Check out our other article to read more about backups, disaster recovery, and business continuity – Fire is a Real Threat.

 

Online Software:

Online software points of vulnerability are shared between the vendor and the user. It is still the user’s responsibility to secure the point of access while viewing the software though.

The good news is that the storage of the accounting software and the data file is not the user’s responsibility, but the vendor’s. These software companies have enterprise grade data centers with highly advanced defenses that run your online software.

Behind the scenes at one of these data centers would make any SMB server room look like a kid’s playroom.  The facility would be protected by guards while access would be regulated by key cards, fingerprint recognition, and iris scanners. There would also be a physical protection system that would include firefighting defenses, generators in case of blackouts, and flood resistant areas.

These data centers would have numerous, lightning fast high-speed internet connections. Their networks would be protected around the clock by current security technologies with a team of IT security specialists.

Online software companies store your data on the same server as hundreds of other businesses, so there is also security in anonymity.  If a server fails it can automatically push your data onto another server. You can imagine the detailed backup procedures that these companies have in case a software bug causes a crash. The best known online software programs only have several hours of downtime in a whole year.

No matter what the threat is, going with online software is usually a safer bet than a desktop program. Hackers are intelligent and have sophisticated methods for penetrating files.  They have two main ways of hacking into online software from the user’s computer. One is a password guessing program that cycles through billions of sequences until they get a match. Otherwise, they nose around on a network until they can grab a password that passes between the desktop and the data center.  The most successful forms of hacking have nothing to do with online software itself. The weakest link in the chain is usually the user.

But, these advanced attacks are practically impossible against online accounting software that’s distributed by mainstream vendors.

You can minimize the risk of a breach by:

  • Using a complicated password and keeping it somewhere secure.
  • A password manager is great for storing difficult passwords.
  • You should never, ever reveal your password. If someone asks, there’s a good chance they don’t have the best intentions.
  • Don’t use public computers, stick with your own laptop or computer.
  • As tempting as it is, don’t use public wifi networks. These public wifi networks can be compromised.

For more information, please contact our engineers at 888-98-THINK.

CONTACT US

888.98.THINK
970.247.1885
3067 Main Ave. Durango, CO

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