Warning Signs It’s Time for A Server Upgrade

Warning Signs It’s Time for A Server Upgrade

IT departments are always under constant constraints to do more with less when it comes to the budget allotted to them. When it comes to server upgrades, businesses often side with keeping their servers running as long as they can. Sometimes even risk keeping an outdated server going for longer than it should.  The older a server is, the more likely it is to fail resulting in loss of productivity.

With new technology and new advancement new servers are more reliable, help increase productivity, reduce running costs and are more admin friendly.  New servers might be more cost friendly than keeping an old server going over the long run.

When should a business consider upgrading their servers? Here are some reasons to consider when upgrading the server.

1.  Speed of the server: If the server is running very slow, and downloads are painfully slow, opening files takes what seems to be forever to open. When the server slows down to a crawl this can become time consuming for the business and as a result the server now affects the productivity. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the processor and disk usage if it exceeds 75% it is time to consider an upgrade.

2.  An attention seeking server: There is nothing worse than a needy server which requires you to continuously put out fires and troubleshoot issues all in an effort to just keep the server going. If time that should be spent elsewhere is being spent on the server all in the sake of keep the server running than it might be a good time to upgrade the server.

3.  Server is making excessive noise: A noisy server is a good indicator of impending failure.  Usually noise is attributed to the wear and tear of the moving parts of the server.  If the noise has increased over time it may be a good idea to start looking for replacement parts or think about replacing the server.

4.  Server is running out of space: When you start running low on free disk space or RAM, there is only one solution to this and that is when you will need to upgrade the server. Taking on more staff, installing more applications or a software upgrade will all require more storage and memory capacity. Depending on your server’s specifications, you may be able to simply upgrade the server’s existing RAM and hard drives. If this isn’t an option or if it would only be an interim solution, it might be wiser to upgrade to a server that can provide the capacity you need to accommodate future growth instead.

5.  The warrant has expired on the server: You no longer have the protection of the original manufacturer warranty which means that someone else needs to step in and help should a problem arise with the server’s hardware or software. If you don’t have qualified support staff in-house, there’s the expense of calling someone in to troubleshoot server problems. Even if you do, chances are you’ll need to replace or upgrade failed parts. Either that or you might consider upgrading the server’s warranty if they still offer that option for the server. 

6.  Server end of life: There is a good chance the option of extending the warranty may not be an option if the server is at the end of life. End of life means updates, services and extended warranty for that particular server will no longer be available as it will be deemed obsolete by the manufacturer.  Without the necessary updates if you continue to use the server will leave the server susceptible to possible security issues.  Without services you will have to find a tech to service the server and that can get costly and there is no warranty either for your protection.

7.  Cost of keeping the server running: With new technology and advancements servers are become more efficient to run.  Keeping an older server running may not feasible. The old servers tend to use more electricity to power it.  Keeping the room cooler to prevent overheating uses more energy, and maintenance cost to keep the server working increase as well.  If the server is using up man power and constantly requiring parts to keep it going then it may be time to consider upgrading.

8.  How critical is the server for your operation: This might be the most important reason to upgrade your server. If your business relies on the server to host critical functions, then there is no way you can afford to let the server go down. Business continuity is important and it might be a good idea to look to upgrade the server every three to four years because server failure is not an option afforded to the business at hand. 

Upgrading a Server can be costly but it has its benefits as well.  If you are in the market for an upgrade or want an assessment of the current server or servers that you have contact Customized Computer Services, Inc (CCSI) at (817) 459-4000. CCSI has been providing services to the Dallas-Fort Worth area for over 30 years.

Training Employees to Detect Potential Cyber Security Threats

Training Employees to Detect Potential Cyber Security Threats

Cybersecurity is a vital aspect of business.  Cyberattacks happen in many different ways it can be some hacker forcing their way through a security wall or exploiting a piece of software, many cybersecurity breaches occur when employees inadvertently allow an attacker in. In most cases, the employee is oblivious of their part in the attack. Employees can be a company’s weakest link in cyber security and yet can also be the biggest asset.  The best way to keep your company’s data safe is to teach your staff to avoid potentially risky behaviors and to know what to do in case of an attack.

Educate Employees on Data Security

If employees know how to recognize data threats, scams and other malicious cyber menaces, they are better employees. Ongoing cyber education helps to build a more responsible organization and gives employees the insight to know how to avoid potential security threats.

Consistent Training is Key

Cybersecurity training and information should be shared on a consistent basis. Monthly emails or videos are a great way to keep the training going. Occasional training, including informal trainings before shifts, can keep the awareness up without requiring you to subject your employees to long, tedious seminars about cyber security.

Additionally, keeping a line of communication open is important. Having a phone number that people can call with questions or if there’s an incident can reduce problems and improve response time.

Cyber Security is Everybody’s Responsibility

Making sure that everyone who has access to the company network is in on the cyber security training will help to ensure that each employee recognizes their responsibility. Everyone in the company is vulnerable, but everyone is also capable of improving cyber security as well, simply by being trained and vigilant.

With new cyber threats occurring on daily basis it is easy to lose sight of cyber security as a company goal. It is important that management reinforce consistently the message of data security and keep the employees vigil to threats. Employees should know and be made aware of the following.

Breach fatigue:

Breach fatigue is the slow cultural acceptance and normalization of data breaches. This isn’t surprising, given the almost daily news reports of new data breaches. Data breach fatigue is a real and dangerous problem because it could lead to your employees being less inclined to follow the right protocols. Luckily, there are steps you can take to fight breach fatigue. Work to change workplace attitudes around data security by frequently reminding employees about the potential dangers.

Passwords best practices:

Although having strong passwords is a relatively low-tech method of security, it is one of the most fundamental and practical ways to enhance cybersecurity. Unfortunately, this is also one of the least practiced security measures according to the Center for Internet Security.

The good news is that creating good passwords isn’t difficult and they can go a long way in securing your system. With a few quick guidelines, your employees can make sure their passwords are good enough to protect your business from the risk of a data breach.

Phishing:

Phishing is a malicious attack that tries to trick individuals into providing sensitive information like passwords or account details. These attacks usually come via email enticing you to click external links which contain malware. They can also occur via social media, text messaging and even through phone calls.

What makes phishing so dangerous is that most people don’t realize they’re being attacked. The large volume of messages sent usually leads to somebody getting caught.

Spear phishing:

Spear phishing is a more dangerous form of regular phishing because it targets a specific user. These emails use private information to pose as someone in your email list or as an organization you may be familiar with. This way they seem more trustworthy. To avoid these attacks, train your employees to always be suspicious of emails that ask you to click a link or provide specific information. Be aware of emails that have poor spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

Ransomware:

Ransomware is a form of malware that blocks access to your computer or data until a ransom is paid. These types of attacks tend to make headlines for extracting billions of dollars from businesses. Department of Homeland Security reports an increase in ransomware attacks and notes that data recovery isn’t always guaranteed. The best ways to reduce your risk of ransomware attacks is to train your employees to recognize the signs of a ransomware attack such as files that won’t open, missing file extensions or lock screens.

Training employees on cybersecurity is essential in todays business world, according to The State of IT Security for 2019, found that email security training and employee training were heart of the problems faced by IT security professionals. Over 30% of the employees were not aware of what phishing or malware was according to survey done by Wombat Securities Technologies.  According to the FBI June 14, 2016, Business Email Compromise has accounted for over $3 billion of loss.

Take the first step in protecting your business against cyber threats contact Customized Computer Services Inc. (CCSI), we work with our clients to develop protocols for best practice and educate their employees on possible cyber threats.  CCSI has been serving the DFW area for 30 years.

Office 365 Phishing Scam Targeting Admins

Office 365 Phishing Scam Targeting Admins

There has been a recent phishing scam that is out there that is geared to compromise Administrators.  Usually when we think of phishing scams, we think it is to get employees to enter or divulge information that sets the system to be infiltrated by scammers.  The recent Microsoft 365 phishing scam targets at the administrator level.  Phishers targeting admins are becoming more popular due to the greater range of attacks that can be conducted through an admin account. With admin credentials, attackers can potentially create new accounts under an organization’s domain, send mail as other users, and read others user’s email.

How does the Office 365 phishing scam work?  To gain access to an administrator’s account, phishers have started creating campaigns that are disguised as Office 365 admin alerts. These alerts will typically be about a time-sensitive issues that requires an admins immediate attention such as an issue with the mail service or unauthorized access being discovered.

An example of a fake alert found by BleepingComputer is one that states an organization’s Office 365 licenses have expired. The mail then proceeds to tell the user to login to the Office 365 Admin Center in order to check their payment information.

How to avoid this type of phishing scams: Most Administrators are wise to any Phishing scams and usually the Administrators that are well aware won’t fall for this scam so easily. If the administrator is a novice or if there is an unqualified administrator the chances of the phishing scam working are increased.  Some Businesses have an administrator who knows a little bit about computers taking care of their IT and that can be a dangerous scenario for the business. Her are some ways to avoid Office 365 phishing scams according to Help Net Security;

  1. Enable multi factor authentication on all accounts.
  2. Disable the IMAP protocol on all mailboxes in your environment.
  3. Provide administrators two different Office365 accounts, one for daily use associated with their user account that does NOT have administrator privileges and one specifically for performing administrator functions.
  4. Do not have a mailbox associated with any administrator accounts.
  5. Be aware that the actual Office365 portal domain is microsoftonline.com not windows.net.

 Contact us at Customized Computer Services, Inc. (CCSI).  CCSI has been serving the Dallas-Fort Worth area for 30 years.  We specialize in helping our clients deal with possible phishing scams and other IT issues that may come their way.

Logitech Wireless USB Receiver Updates

Logitech Wireless USB Receiver Updates

If you purchase or have a Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse. It comes with a wireless USB receiver which allows the keyboard and mouse to connect to your computer.

We rarely if ever give our wireless mouse and keyboard much thought, but what if I were to tell you that there are updates to the Logitech USB receiver.  What would be the reason to update the dongle? The reason for the update is that the wireless USB is susceptible to a hack which was reported as early as 2016 and it was referred to as “MouseJack”.  Since then Logitech has issued a patch to fix the vulnerability.  Even though Logitech has a patch to fix the issue to this date Logitech continues to ship the dongle without the updated patch. Logitech never recalled any products after the original hack.

Many other products that perform the same function as the Logitech USB, they are also susceptible to be hacked, Logitech is not the only one that is affected by a security vulnerability.  Products that use the same chipset and firmware Dell, HP, Lenovo and Microsoft are susceptible to be hacked.  Logitech allows users to update the firmware on the Logitech website.

Customized Computer Services, Inc. is a Managed IT Service Provider, we have been serving the Dallas-Fort Worth Area for 29 years.  Contact us to find out how we can help your business stay one step ahead with your IT.

“Software Update Available” Don’t Put It Off

“Software Update Available” Don’t Put It Off

You get an alert “Software update is available” while working on your computer or scanning through your phone.  You are in the middle of something very important that can’t wait. You put the alert off only to be forgotten.  Believe it or not it has happened to the best of us, not just the average home PC user, but to Fortune 500 companies. Just what are these updates, why do we even need them.  The computer is running fine, why do I want to update and make the computer possibly run worse.  If you are put off by updates and the time it consumes to install, just think of what the worst possible outcome might be. Some of you might remember Equifax which is known for credit reporting.  Equifax suffered a massive preventable data breach affecting over 143 Million people.  The company had failed to update its software, the update which had the patches that would have prevent the massive data hack was available almost 2 months prior to the data breach.  Now that you know the importance of the updates lets look at other reason why updates are necessary and important to keep up to date.

Protecting your information from Security threats: The main reason anyone does software updates is making sure you are protected against the latest cyber threat.  Cyber criminals are always looking for new ways to infiltrate software programming and once they do they can get to any information available to them.  Updates are usually in response to the latest threats out there and it’s a good idea to be up to date.

Updates can help protect you documents: Without updates you leave yourself vulnerable to Malware. Some types of Malware can clean out your documents and transmit the documents to a remote location.  Ransomware has accounted for huge loss of data, this is when a cyber criminal gets access to your data and basically locks you out from accessing the data. The data is held hostage until payment is made for its release.

New features are added through updates: Updates are not just to protect you from the doom and gloom of data breach or security threats. There are other aspects to updates positive ones that help you make the end user experience much better.  Updates are created at time to get glitches that might occur with the current software and remedy it, other improvements can be functionality.  Updates can improve the stability of the software.

It is a very good idea to make sure you have updates on auto, cyber criminals are known to disable automatic updates, it is good practice to make sure your auto update is enabled or if you do not have auto update on your device make it a habit to check when new updates are available and update.

The importance of updating your software cannot be stressed enough.  Updates can take up time but updates can be scheduled and run when you are not using your computer or phone.  This will ensure that you are protected as well as have a better user experience. Customized Computer Services, Inc. (CCSI) has been serving the Dallas-Fort Worth area for over 29 years providing computer, printer and Managed IT services.  Contact us and find out how we can help your business.