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Ok, NOW we should start to worry a little about XP

05-19-2014
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We've been asked a lot lately about the well-publicized end of support for Windows XP. Our answer was:

  1. If you still have a Windows XP machine, it's probably a good indicator that it's 5+ years old and ready for replacement anyway.
  2. There may or may not be any security vulnerabilities related to staying on XP; we just don't know yet.

Well, now we know a little more about those vulnerabilities.

Microsoft has released this Security Bulletin indicating that there is a fairly serious venerability in Internet Explorer. On May 13th, Microsoft released a patch to address these issues, but did NOT provide this patch for Windows XP.

So what to do? If you are running Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8, be sure to install all of your Windows updates. See here for more info on how to do that.

If you are running Windows XP, your best option is to use an alternate browser like Firefox or Chrome, neither of which is vulnerable to this attack.

So don't panic, just take a few, smart steps, and seriously consider upgrading that XP machine. It's time!


Are You Secure in the Cloud?

08-01-2013

Anyone who reads this blog (or follows us on Twitter or Facebook) knows that we’re big fans of cloud computing, and many of our business customers are enjoying the many benefits of cloud technology.

People ask us all the time “is Cloud Computing secure?” and our answer is a resounding “it depends.”

Many of the most popular consumer cloud storage applications (Dropbox, SkyDrive, Google Drive) are less than ideal for storing sensitive data, with Dropbox experiencing a number of well publicized security issues in the past year.

We don’t any of these concerns should rule out the use of these services by the average user, and they can be a great way to save, protect, and share files and data.  

But, we would certainly think twice before storing any sensitive information such as credit card, bank, or personal data. And, as with any online service, be sure to use a strong and complex password.

Business owners: cloud computing can offer numerous financial and operational benefits, but be sure to work with an experienced IT professional to design your cloud solution.



BYOD

05-31-2013

It might sound like a strange dinner party at first blush, but bring your own device BYOD is a growing trend for business IT. 

It used to be that IT departments would drive technology, but that’s changed drastically since the release of more powerful personal devices like the iPhone, iPad, Android, and even Kindle products.  Users are now getting the cutting edge devices on their own, and they want to bring them to work.

Employees used to be “stuck” with whatever laptop or mobile device that was provided by their company, but now they are happily spending their hard earned money on whichever device they prefer.

This can be of great benefit to their employers, who are reaping the cost savings of having 53% of their employees carry the costs of their own devices.

Business owners thinking of their own BYOD policy should be aware of concerns around security acceptable use, especially companies that fall under compliance mandates.

Small businesses should work with experienced IT professionals to establish guidelines and policies around how company data is available on company devices.

Are you using your own device at work?  Tweet us the answer @ccptech


Getting Clear on the Cloud

04-22-2013

Anyone who pays any attention to technology knows that the buzzword of the past 3-4 years has been “Cloud.”

Still, a lot of folks are still a little hazy on what exactly Cloud Computing is, so let’s try to take a look at it in some plain,everyday language.

Cloud computing is simply accessing computing resources on an as-needed basis using a connection like the internet. 

For example, how many of you run a giant email server in your basement in order to provide email addresses to you and your family? 

I’m guessing none.

That’s because services like Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc. provide excellent email services, often for free. These providers ARE running giant email servers (not in their basements,we hope) that you can access with even the simplest of internet connections.

That’s cloud computing.

Many of you are also using cloud computing to store pictures(Picasa, Photobucket), videos (YouTube), music (Amazon Cloud Player, iTunes),and files (Dropbox, SkyDrive).

Starting to make sense? Whenever you are accessing some sort of data or service via the internet, chances are you are using cloud computing.

The benefits of cloud computing can be even more profound for businesses.  The cloud can offer a significant improvement to your bottom line by changing the way you invest and pay for technology.  (Business owners,feel free to reach out to talk about this some more.)

We hope your understanding of cloud computing is a little brighter.

Tweet us your thoughts on the cloud @ccptech, or feel freeto email us at [email protected].


Blech!

03-29-2013

Viruses.  Worms. Trojans. Phishing.

The names sound pretty awful, and so can be the headaches they will cause should your network become infected with what we like to call “malware.”

There are a few simple steps that everyone should take in order to secure their computers and network, whether you’re just a home user or especially if you’re responsible for a business or organization:

·Anti-virus(A/V) – Be sure that anti-virus software is installed on every computer you own.  There are many A/V vendors out there, and most of them are very good. Home users can research using sites like CNET (cnet.com) and ZDNet(zdnet.com) to find the software that’s the best fit for them.

Business and organizations should work with their IT professionals to find a good, network based anti-virus solution that can be centrally managed.  Inboth cases, be sure that your virus definitions stay updated, and that the system is set to scan every day. (Tip: leave your computer turned on and setthe scan to occur overnight.)

·Secure your wireless– Be sure to secure your wireless access points with WPA2 security and use a complex passkey.  Most home wireless routers offer an easy-to-use wizard for initial setup.

Businesses should work with their IT professionals to access their wireless security needs and provide for things like secure guest access.

·Passwords– An oft overlooked but important component of your network security.  Use complex passwords and change them every 30-60 days.  DON’T leave your passwords on a sticky note above your desk or under your keyboard.

Managers, work with your IT team to set policies on your network regarding user passwords.

·Behavior– The most vulnerable element of network security is the person sitting in front of the computer.  Don’t click on links in email messages unless you’re positive of the identity of the sender.  Don’t (never, ever!) reply to an email requesting sensitive information such as passwords or credit card information.

Feel free to tweet us your questions @ccptech or email us at [email protected]. We’d be happy to hear from you!


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