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Are You Protected? 8 Steps to Combat Cyber Threats

If it’s connected, it’s an access point that can be infiltrated.

And any digital device that is connected to your network, is at risk. Last week, CTO Paul Mako, addressed how cybersecurity threats can be detected from the network at the Denver Biz Tech Expo. Today, your business can reduce downtime from these threats by implementing protocols at all access points that are connected to your network. It’s not just computers or it’s users that may impact business security. It’s any digital device that is connected to the network. Building systems or AI devices are just the tips of the ice burg.

Remaining educated on the latest cyber threats is the first step in improving your security processes and combating these malicious attacks. By keeping all of your system hardware and software up-to-date, actively monitoring your network usage, and utilizing the internet security measures that anti-malware and anti-virus solutions provide, you can ensure that your business is ready to battle whatever cybersecurity threat that may be lurking.

Common Cyber Threats

Phishing attacks, DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks, and APT (Advanced Persistent Threats) attacks are some of the more common cyber attacks that are being used against businesses today. Training administrators and users to be cautious when reading and opening all emails, and utilizing web application firewalls are great tools to use against these attacks as they give you more control over your web traffic while recognizing malicious exploits.

 Lock It Up

Because we’re a team of network people, it’s important to note that we feel the best defense model against any kind of threat begins at the network. Despite that, there are precautions you can implement to lock down your business in the event of a hack or threat. This includes locking down your processes, securing your transactions, then securing all of the access points. Last, but definitely NOT least, train your staff.

Recently, the FBI released an article on Defending Against Payroll Phishing Scams. Below, we’ve listed out some of their strategies businesses can use to avoid them.

Defending Against Cybersecurity Scams and/or Threats Checklist:

  1. Be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls, visits, or email messages from individuals asking about employees or other internal information. If unknown individual claims to be from a legitimate organization, try to verify his or her identity directly with the company.
  2. Do not provide personal information or information about your organization, including its structure or networks, unless you are certain of a person’s authority to have the information.
  3. Do not reveal personal or financial information in an email, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information. This includes following links sent an email.
  4. Don’t send sensitive information over the Internet before checking a website’s security.
  5. Pay attention to the URL of a website. Malicious websites may look identical to a legitimate site, but the URL may use a variation in spelling or a different domain (e.g., .com vs. .net).
  6. If you are unsure whether an email request is legitimate, try to verify it by contacting the company directly. Do not use the contact information provided on a website connected to the request; instead, check previous statements for contact information.
  7. Install and maintain anti-virus software, firewalls, and email filters to reduce some of this traffic.
  8. Take advantage of any anti-phishing features offered by your email client and web browser.

 

Cloud Application Management: 7 Useful Tools

Cloud system management is likely to become more challenging for cloud businesses in the upcoming months and years. Despite the various issues associated with cloud management, businesses – big or small, are adopting cloud-based systems at an enormous rate. Cloud applications have made life easier and given the real-time phenomenon that fosters enhanced collaboration and the work-from-anywhere model. Though end-user accessibility may be simple, monitoring cloud applications from an IT perspective is still complex. Below, we explain those complexities and what makes each of them a daunting task.  

Silo Management Anyone? 

Given the divided control onto the cloud services, it has become quite challenging for IT staff in any business to manage the cloud in its entirety. In addition to the cloud management systems that are set to deploy in silos, the various management tools in the market make it even more appalling to handle. Cloud management tools from renowned vendors such as IBM, Microsoft, and HP are flooding the market, but are usually specific to particular hardware. Similar to a mousetrap, you can’t buy one without adapting to the other. However, workload in case of the cloud applications is not tied to a specific device, which makes deployment of such management tools a complicated and tedious process.   

The complexity of Public Cloud  

Moreover, public cloud vendors have provided a range of their management tools and options, to manage the services extended through their cloud. The limitation here is that these tools are usually specific to a platform, making cloud application system management more complicated. Tools specific to cloud management are also on the rise, making overall management manifold and expensive at the same time.  The notion of cloud managed services being a cheap alternative has remained a myth to date, especially when it comes to cloud application management.   

Keeping Up With Change 

Cloud application management can be worked out if businesses learn to embrace this increasing commotion in the industry. If a company deals with multiple cloud applications, the first step to accepting the change will be identifying each application and its respective management requirements and tools. Once your MSP or IT department investigates their requirements, your staff has to make sure that the business opts for these variable tools. It is crucial for companies to keep up with emerging management tools in the market and work with these to take control of cloud management.  

Despite these three difficult hurdles, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Based on current cloud monitoring tools, we’ve compiled a list of useful management products that can come in handy. Some are full-stack enterprise solutions whereas others are specialized tools for companies of all sizes.  

To help isolate your needs, we tagged them for easy identification by the following keywords: 

  1. Enterprise 
  1. SMB (Small/Medium Size Business) 
  1. APM (Application Performance Monitoring) 
  1. SaaS (Monitoring tools like Office365 and Salesforce) 
  1. Infrastructure (Cloud, Virtual, and Physical) 
  1. Network 
  1. Platform 
  1. Microservices 
  1. Security 
  1. Microsoft (Specialized) 
  1. Google (Specialized) 
  1. Amazon (Specialized) 

Cloud Monitoring Tools 

  • Microsoft Cloud Monitoring  Using Azure to run your web apps? Microsoft may be the right solution for you. Microsoft provides an in-depth snapshot of your web application performance by providing log analysis, application monitoring, and security alerts. 

TAGS: Enterprise, SMB, APM, SaaS, Infrastructure, Network, Platform, Microservices, Security, and Microsoft. 

  • CA Technologies  – CA Tech offers an enterprise-level, full-stack monitoring, and management solution for businesses with public, private, or hybrid clouds. Making it an easy one-stop-shop for administrators. Their tools can help you do everything from monitor user experiences on your web app, to securing and scaling your operations. 

TAGS: Enterprise, APM, SaaS, Infrastructure, Network, Platform, Microservices, and Security. 

  1. VMware Hyperic – This management system monitors your infrastructure; both the physical and virtual forms, as well as provides monitoring for your OS, middleware, and web apps. The dashboard and reporting features maintain SLA-compliance levels and send alerts when they are close to being breached. Additionally, Dell, one of the leading server virtualization companies in VMware, owns it. 

TAGS: Enterprise, APM, Infrastructure, Platform, Microservices, and Security. 

  • AppNeta  – Earned the spotlight as the highest rated Network Performance Monitoring tool by Gartner, in 2017.  This savvy resource not only works across all cloud platforms, it also gives you insight into resource usage, app delivery, and user experience.  

TAGS: Enterprise, SMB, APM, SaaS, Infrastructure, and Network. 

  • Amazon CloudWatch – If you’re on AWS then Amazon CloudWatch is your best option. Their management system gives you the ability to monitor application metrics, log files, and quickly react to changes in your AWS resources. 

TAGS: Enterprise, SMB, Platform, Security, and Amazon 

  • Redgate  – If your teams use SQL Server, .NET, or Azure then this may be the right monitoring tool for you. Redgate’s specialty focuses on developing better apps. From SQL Monitor to .NET Profilers, to their Azure migration services, they are a one-stop shop for Microsoft stacks. 

TAGS: Enterprise, SMB, Platform, and Microsoft. 

  • Stackdriver  – Native to Google Cloud products, Stackdriver provides monitoring, logging, and logistics for apps on both Google Cloud and AWS. Its full-stack provisioning insights allow you aggregate all data across cloud platforms. 

TAGS: Enterprise, SMB, APM, SaaS, Platform, Security, Google, and Amazon. 

 

If companies are looking to enhance their cloud application management capabilities, it is mandatory that they embrace any and all changes being introduced in the market and develop disciplined management tools for their multiple cloud applications.  Given the 7 choices to select from above, we hope you’ve found this article useful.

For additional help with managing your systems check out our Managed Network Service options. 

COLOCATION: LOOKING BEYOND COST

According to IDG, “41% of organizations stated that they plan to move their entire data center within a multi-tenant environment (also called a colocation facility) in the next 12 months.”

If you’re one of the many businesses on the verge of making the switch, I’m guessing you’re price shopping.

For most IT department heads, working within a set budget can be accomplished quickly. The short end of the stick with this process is that you miss out on the bigger goal for your business, like security, hardware, accessibility, connectivity, and support. All of which are essential when considering colocation services. Additional cornerstone items to consider are scalability, expertise, and uptime SLAs. Here’s why:

Security
Access to the data center should be controlled and monitored using security access cards, traps, visual identification checkpoints, and biometric fingerprint scanning. Additionally, the facility should be staffed 24×7 with security to monitor the physical entire facility.

Expertise
In the event of a problem, technical support should be available to you via email or phone at all times; twenty-four hours, seven days a week, all year round.

Uptime SLAs
Downtime is more expensive than ever, both regarding revenue and reputation. Colocation providers offer built-in redundancies across systems and applications ensuring 100% uptime SLAs.

Since we’re all about the transparency, below is our top 10 frequently asked questions… They may help you out!

  1. How long have you been in business selling colocation? 
    • 2001 (16+yrs)
  2. What is your minimum colocation arrangement (per U, ¼ rack, etc)?
    • 1/3 rack
  3. Do you offer managed colocation manage a client owned server?
    • Yes
  4. Do you offer managed services for colocation clients (i.e. tape backup, firewall, load balancing, etc.)?
    • Yes
  5. Do you offer 24×7 client access?
    • Yes
  6. Is your data center(s) SSAE 16 compliant?
    • Yes
  7. What bandwidth providers are available at your data center(s)?
    • L3, GTT CL , XO
  8. What is your bottom colo price point?
    • $125.00
  9. Do you offer roof rights at any of your data centers?
    • Yes
  10. What operating systems do you support?
    • Lynix and Windows

To learn more about colocation or our managed services, click here.

Connectivity – Cloud Solutions for the Enterprise Environment

Connectivity.

Defined its meaning refers to the quality, state, or capability of being connected to a computer or series of computers.

That’s fine and dandy when placed in a dictionary reference, but in the IT world, it’s SO much more than that. The complexities involve connecting your computers to the Internet, your Internet to servers, your servers to the cloud, and your cloud provider to all of the applications your business requires to operate. And that’s a very basic representation of the details.

But even in a basic representation, you can see just how deep the rabbit hole can get.

As cloud services progress, enterprises are accessing the benefits of multiple service providers via one connectivity strategy. Cloud connectivity plays a significant part as more companies opt for cloud services to solve their business data needs. Enterprises looking to optimize their applications can combine their cloud service of choice into one solution – a hybrid cloud.

It’s like a common public or private cloud, but so much better!

In short, here’s why:

Hybrid cloud offerings merge data center services, cloud access, and managed services into one simplified, fully optimized solution.

If you can’t beat them, join them.

According to the 2017 State of the Cloud Survey, 67 percent of enterprises are already participating in one, and the number is set to increase in the upcoming years. Enterprises already working with cloud service providers can quickly make the shift to a hybrid ecosystem by engaging in a hybrid cloud strategy.

Here’s how.

Your cloud provider’s performance is only as good as your connectivity solution. So, if we were to place you in the driver’s seat wouldn’t it make life a whole lot easier to combine all of your services into one unified solution?

We certainly think so.

That’s why Massive offers the Cloud Exchange Connect. You can extend your WAN from any location to include the cloud platform of your choice or a registered cloud provider from our marketplace. Our advanced high-performance connections are secure and dedicated to you. Meaning, your business-critical data stays secure because it’s all routed through a private network.

Similar to a typical hybrid cloud, the MASSIVE Cloud Exchange Connect Includes:

  • Private secure connections directly to Cloud Platforms and SaaS providers (Speeds from 10 Mbps to 10Gbps).
  • 10 Gig private network transport with predictive routing to avoid Internet bottlenecks and network slow down.
  • Faster speeds, less latency, much better security
  • Premium-Blended Internet.
  • Global availability and multiple configuration options.
  • And any Managed Services you need to be monitored around the clock.

Making it an optimal choice when your IT Team begins researching their options for a cloud solution. To learn more about our Cloud Exchange Connect Services, click here!

Colocation – On-Demand Scalability

To colo, or not to colo? That is the question.

There are many reasons why a business would select a colocation facility over building its own data center. Between management, monitoring, and automation tools – cost is definitely at the front of the line. As a result, colos work well with cloud service providers. In turn, their popularity has expanded to organizations that don’t have enough IT staff or the capital to keep up with it.

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