Protect your business from ransomware

It seems like everywhere I go this week people are talking about “the worm”. From my Dentist to baseball practice, everyone wants to know how to be protected. If you’ve been out of the loop, last Friday, May 12, unknown hackers carried out one of the biggest cyberattacks to date, spreading of the worm dubbed WannaCry, a “ransomware” that locked up more than 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries. This attack, spread via email, was allegedly stolen from the National Security Agency and it only affects Microsoft Windows systems. Once WannaCry enters a PC or Server, it locks all the files. The attack is particularly dangerous for businesses, as it takes just one employee for the attack to spread in the entire network, without any user interaction. The hackers then asked users to pay hundreds of dollars in ransom to unlock their data.

Our best advice… first, stay skeptical of any unknown or unexpected email and attachments. Education for you and your team is the best first step.

Next, make sure your servers and computers all have the latest updates. The good news on this particular ransomware is that Microsoft has provided a security update that provides protection against this potential attack. If you use their free anti-virus software and have Windows Update enabled, you should be protected. However, if your patching is inconsistent or if you have outdated operating systems, you likely have computers that are vulnerable. Microsoft has taken the “highly unusual” step to provide public patches for Windows operating systems that are in custom support only. This includes specific fixes for Windows XP, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2003.

Lastly, make sure you have implemented a data back-up and recovery plan to maintain copies of your data in a separate and secure location. Backup copies of sensitive data should not be readily accessible from local networks. Test your backups regularly to ensure they work correctly upon use.

So what do you do if you already clicked on a suspicious email? If an attack is suspected or detected in its early stages, unplug and shut down the infected computer. The attack is likely going to warn you not to “disconnect from the Internet or turn off the computer – don’t listen! Unplugging your computer may save some of your files. If you suspect that the attack has been downloaded, remove the infected computer from the network immediately and seek assistance.

Luckily, WannaCry was stopped by a security researcher who found the malware connected to a specific domain that wasn’t registered. He bought the domain for $10, and that effectively activated a kill switch and ended the spread of WannaCry. Nevertheless, we may not have seen the end of WannaCry, we’ve already heard rumblings of variants of WannaCry beginning to make the rounds. Stay vigilant, make sure your patches are updated and call for help if you need it!

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The Datotel Risk Assessment Methodology

Risk assessments come in many forms, but the underlying purpose is to identify and document known risks to a given process or system and identify the consequences if that risk were to occur. With the risks both identified and quantified, an organizational response can be developed to either mitigate the risk from materializing in the first place or proactively putting solutions in place to minimize the negative impact should it occur.

At Datotel, we help our clients through this process of collating the known risks that are typically only found in the heads of their employees and distilling them into a documented form. Once documented, it’s much easier for the organization to address the risk and put plans in place to address them in a proactive manner. We focus predominantly on the data, systems and infrastructure itself to ensure security, confidentiality, data integrity, privacy and availability.

The goals of this process is to place the organization in a more proactive position to manage their risks and minimize their financial and reputation loss to the organization. Of course, this isn’t just a once and done exercise, but rather a methodology that produces ongoing deliverables to be executed to upon a given schedule.

For more information on our approach to risk assessments and how to conduct one at your organization, please contact us.

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New Look. New Logo!

Here at Datotel and the Globe Building, we’ve recently completed some updates that we’re excited to share with you. First, we are excited to share with you the revamped Datotel logo. As our company has evolved and grown over the last decade, we came to realize that the symbolism that represented us in 2004 is not the same that represents us today. So we re-imagined our visual statement with an identity that is sophisticated, hip and modern. At first glance, you may just see Datotel with a funky “E”, but to us it represents power, growth, energy, cloud, colocation and so much more.

2016-datotel-logo_color

When you next visit the Globe Building, you’ll certainly note some of the more cosmetic modernization. From the improved garage lighting and the new parking space layout through to the updated elevator finishes. Likewise, gone are the tiles on the 3rd floor, replaced with the original concrete floor. Modernized and polished to a very hip, cool and shiny finish. We’re glad to have you check out our new look as you come to visit our offices.

But, for as cool as the lobby, floor and lighting are, what’s more important are the items you may not see on every visit. Such as the upgrades in physical security and access control. The common areas and stairwells now have new cage doors and automated access control has been put in place for an additional layer of security and compliance.

The last improvement is one that we are most excited to share. Our building garage has always been available 24×7, but the new automated badge based entry system will allow a more streamlined access for our clients in off hours. No longer will you need to call our NOC for entry after business hours, the secure door will open with your Datotel Security Badge. And I must add that the aesthetics of the new entry ways are now in keeping with the modern look of the building lobby that was updated earlier in the year.

Of course the easiest way to see the improvements are to come and see them in person. We’d love to give you a tour and show you around the building.

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Working at the speed of business – an agile philosophy

A common challenge for IT departments in today’s business environment is keeping up with the demands of the business. How can we ensure that our client’s data is protected and systems are reliable and available? All the while implementing modifications and upgraded environments in a time frame that doesn’t slow the business down.

To help to address this challenge at Datotel, we’ve adopted an agile philosophy called the Scrum methodology. Scrum is an approach defined by set roles, responsibilities and recurring meetings that don’t change. Through an iterative process focused around sprints, which normally last around two weeks, the Scrum team delivers on defined set of project outcomes on a regular basis.

While initially conceived for the software development industry, we’ve found that the agile methodology behind Scrum applies equally as well to both the project and operational aspects of what we do at Datotel. The general principles of the Scrum methodology are:

  1. Customer satisfaction is the highest priority.
  2. Open to changing requirements, at all stages of the project.
  3. Faster turn-around.
  4. Built on a foundation of teamwork
  5. Full leadership support to provide the team with the environment and support they need to get the job done.
  6. Conveying information to and within a development team via face-to-face conversation.
  7. Measuring progress through working environments and deliverable delivery.
  8. Maintaining a constant pace indefinitely, the Scrum process promotes sustainable development.
  9. Around-the-clock attention to technical excellence and good design.
  10. Ease, the art of “working smarter” is essential.
  11. Self-organizing teams, the best solutions, requirements and designs emerge from this structure.
  12. Adjusting behavior at regular intervals. The team can then reflect on how to become more effective, and fine-tune accordingly.

Ultimately, by using Scrum, we are able to provide our clients:

  • Faster implementation
  • More efficient delivery mechanism
  • Flexibility with regards to change requirements
  • Earlier deployment for parts of the solution
  • Finding problems/blockers early so we can tackle them sooner
Posted in Company Info, General, Managed Services, Metrics, Service Level Agreements | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment
  • Protect your business from ransomware:

    It seems like everywhere I go this week people are talking about “the worm”. From my Dentist to baseball practice, everyone wants to know how to be protected. If you’ve been out of the loop, last Friday, May 12, unknown … Continue reading

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