Why Private Cloud Computing

Benefits of Private Cloud Computing.

Many people are familiar with cloud computing and understand that it comes with lots of benefits Private Cloud Services - IT Support Londonin terms of flexibility, scalability and time to market. However, there are also problems with public cloud services like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, which make them unsuitable for certain tasks and organisations.

Two of the key concerns are related to security and data residency. In particularly, there are legal considerations to be made about where your data is being stored, as some types of data are not allowed to leave the UK or the EU, and with public cloud services it is not always easy to guarantee this.

The compromise is an internal “private cloud” where you own the infrastructure yourself, but run it in the same cloud style model.

Key Benefits of Private cloud

The private cloud approach lets you retain many of the benefits of a public cloud, but without the other concerns. Some of the key benefits of private cloud computing includes:

  • Improved security – When building a private cloud you are no longer depending on the security protocols of a third party cloud provider, and therefore have the ability to set the security of each component to the level you require. This can include everything from the choice of firewalls and anti-virus, to the physical locks on the door of the data centre, depending on how much of the end to end infrastructure you want to own and operate.
  • Better Stability and Disaster recovery – A private cloud of pooled virtual server resources, means that problems with individual nodes on the network effectively become irrelevant, as server resources can be shifted between machines. This allows you to achieve excellent redundancy, keeping your data and systems safe and operational for as long as possible.
  • Higher Efficiency – Using virtual servers on a private cloud allows you to achieve far higher utilisation rates that you could otherwise, meaning that you are getting the most from your hardware investment. You also have far greater control over how and when you scale the environment up or down, for example test environments can be switched off if they are not being used.
  • Greater flexibility and time to market – With a private cloud you can spin up new server environments in a matter of minutes, enabling you to get new products and services to market really quickly. You don’t have to wait on procurement to order new hardware at the start of each project, saving precious time and money. On the flip side, you also have the flexibility to switch off servers easily if they are not being used.

Private Cloud Implementation Expertise

If you are interested in utilising cloud computing but are concerned by certain aspects of the public cloud model, a privately hosted cloud could be the perfect option for you.

But private doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to run it yourself, with many IT services companies offering to build and operate a private cloud environment on your premises. This further enhances the benefits of the model, as you don’t have to fill the skills gap to run such a service, or support it on a daily basis.

If you would like to know how Private Cloud can benefit you click here or call : 0844 770 0199

Antivirus Review

Review your Anti-Virus Software to Protect your Systems

It is widely agreed that the threat of cybercrime has increased dramatically over recent years, with businesses and individuals falling victim to online attacks more and more.

Despite this, many people have still not taken the simple step of installing antivirus software to help protect their personal data and systems.

Getting started with Antivirus software

The core purpose of antivirus programs is to detect malicious software on your machine and to safely incubate it, before permanently deleting it. But depending on the specific application they can also protect you in other ways such as detecting and blocking suspicious URLs when you are browsing the internet.

The software works by constantly running in the background, scanning files and applications. Before you open a program your antivirus application will check it against a list of known viruses to see if it is safe to open.

If the application looks in anyway suspicious you will usually get a pop up warning you of the potential virus and asking you to confirm if you would still like to open it.

Most applications will cover the full range of harmful code such as malware, ransomware and other types of computer virus.

Popular Antivirus solutions

There are many different antivirus solutions available today, including a wide range of free tools that you can easily download.

Some of the most popular antivirus tools include:

  • Windows Defender – Previously known as Microsoft Security Essentials, this software is built into Windows 10 and is therefore the default choice for many. It is free to install, with free updates.
  • Norton – Norton offers a range of paid antivirus packages, starting from single machines and scaling up to many different devices. Many of the packages also give you access to an expert from Norton to help protect your devices.
  • McAfee – McAfee is generally regarded as the world’s largest security technology company, offering solutions to both individuals and businesses. They offer a wide range of packages on an annual subscription basis, which also include a money back guarantee if they fail to remove viruses from your machine.

This software is simple to install and set up for individual users, but business users would benefit from speaking to IT professionals for guidance on the most comprehensive and cost effective way to protect their systems as part of a company wide security strategy.

Ensure that your antivirus software is up to date

Simply installing antivirus software in the first place is not enough, in order to get the best results and ensure you are fully protected it is essential that you update your software regularly. Cyber criminals are constantly looking of new ways to exploit systems, and likewise software providers are always looking for ways to make their solutions more secure.

Most antivirus packages will automatically look for updates each time you connect to the internet, but you will sometimes be prompted to restart your machine in order for the changes to take effect.

Cyber Security Threats

Are You Taking The Cyber Security Threat Seriously?

The threat of cyber-attacks has been talked about with increasing frequency in the media over the past few years, and recent incidents have brought to light how real this threat is. In May 2017, the WannaCry ransomware attack disrupted computer systems around the globe, and a similar style attack was announced at the end of June, impacting sites such as the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

Despite the fact that these attacks were over a month apart, many companies still seem to have been caught off guard, suggesting that they failed to take necessary precautions.

This is indicative of a problem within cyber security circles. Even when the threat is well known, people often don’t think that it will happen to them, and put off making the strategic decisions about how best to protect their systems.

Is Cyber Security just a “nice to have”?

Although companies are increasingly aware of the risks they are exposed to, when it comes to justifying investment in security, it can be very difficult to get the business case through. Investment prioritisation exercises tend to favour revenue generating initiatives, without fully appreciating that a cyber threat could cripple the business entirely.

One method to help raise the profile and importance of cyber security is to look at the types of attacks that could occur and consider the impact each will have on your business.

For example:

  • You are hit by a ransomware attack that downs your systems and prevents you trading. What is the cost to your business if you can’t trade for even one day? How many days could you survive without trading while you tried to fix the problem?
  • Your customer data is stolen by hackers. Could your brand survive the reputation damage and legal fines for not properly securing customer data? How long would it take you to regain customers trust?

The Likelihood of a Cyber Attack

Calculating the likelihood of a cyber security threat occurring is difficult, but understanding the devastating effect they can have on your business helps to justify the comparatively small investment you would need to make in cyber security to help prevent them occurring.
Going a step further and looking at the exposure of each of your individual systems will enable you to decide which risks you want to mitigate, and which you are happy to live with.

If you don’t have the expertise in house to carry out this analysis, it is worth getting a security audit from an external provider. An independent review of your systems could also help to support your business case for investment in cyber security initiatives.

Create a response plan in advance

Whatever level of cyber security you decide to opt for, it is worth crafting a response plan should the worst occur.

Many companies have been praised for how swiftly they shut off corporate email in the wake of the WannaCry attack to stop the virus spreading. If you know what steps to take in advance and act quickly, it can make a huge difference to the outcome of the attack.

Cyber Security – Understanding the Threat of Cyber Attacks

Cyber Attacks

The recent randsomware cyber attack brought to light the damage that can be done by hackers targeting vulnerable IT systems. While the NHS has received a lot of attention in the press, this attack in fact impacted organisations and individuals around the world.

A 2017 survey by the British Chambers of Commerce revealed that 20% of UK businesses have fallen victim to a cyber-attack in the past year.

While larger companies and well-known brands are the most likely to be targeted, small businesses are also under threat. 18% of small companies (with fewer than 99 employees) also found themselves hacked in the past 12 months.

Before taking the necessary precautionary steps to protect your website, your data and your business, it is worth investing some time to educate yourself as to the types of attacks that you could be exposed to.

Some of the most common cyber attacks include:

  • DDoS attacks –

    Distributed denial of service attacks prevent real customers from using your website or service, by flooding you with traffic from multiple different sources.

  • Malware –

    Malicious Software, or Malware, includes a number of different types, all of which are intended to disrupt normal computer operations. Specific examples include:

    • Adware – Displays unwanted adverts to users, with users often being inundated with pop up ads.
    • Spyware – Tracks usage information and sends it to third parties
    • Randsomware – Blocks access to the data on your machine until you agree to pay a randsom to unlock it.
  • Phishing –

    Phishing attacks can include emails, websites or even phone calls, where hackers impersonate trusted organisations to try to convince you to hand over personal information, or install suspicious software on your machine. For example, you may receive an email that appears to be from your bank, asking you to reset your password. This could then redirect you to a site where you would input your password and other personal data that could be used to access your accounts.

  • Password attacks and credential reuse –

    Phishing is just one way hackers can steal your passwords. Other techniques include brute force password attacks, which involve using automated software programs to try to guess your password. As many people use the same password on multiple sites, once they have your password, hackers will try to compromise and steal data from other sites using the same log in details.

  • Man in the middle –

    This type of attack occurs when a hacker positions themselves between two people or systems communicating over a network. This allows them to intercept data that is being transferred between the two parties, without either side knowing. Conversations that were meant to be private are at risk of MITM attacks, as are sites that require users to login, as the log in data can be compromised.

Protecting Yourself from a Cyber Attack

By working with security experts to understand which type cyber attack you are most exposed to, you can build a secure and effective strategy to help keep cyber criminals at bay.

Though some businesses may see cyber security as an unwanted and unnecessary cost, the true cost to your business of a full cyber attack will be far greater if you fail to take sufficient precautionary action.

See this blog on How to Prevent Cyber Attacks  or for more information and advice Contact Us: 0844 770 0199

How To Prevent Cyber Attacks

How Businesses Can Prevent Cyber Attacks.

Cyber security has become a key focus area for IT leaders over recent years, with many now citing it as their primary concern. The increased reliance on information technology to run our businesses, coupled with the rise in external threats, means that failing to properly protect your systems could be extremely costly.

For companies in the public eye, the immediate damage to systems is greatly overshadowed by the impact to the company’s reputation in the wake of a data breach.

Thankfully, as cyber security has matured, experts have developed a multitude of tactics to detect suspicious activity and prevent further damage being caused.

Measures to Prevent Cyber Attacks

  • Firewall – Firewalls act as a barrier between your network and the external world, giving you the opportunity to monitor incoming and outgoing traffic. For additional security, many companies are now looking to dual layer firewalls, increasing the difficulty for criminals to find their way in.
  • Intrusion prevention and detection – Intrusion detection systems monitor network traffic and look for suspicions and malicious activity. This information is then logged and used to alert the necessary people so that appropriate action can be taken. Prevention systems go beyond this, proactively blocking traffic that looks to be suspicious.
  • Antivirus – Antivirus software detects and prevents systems from the harmful effects of viruses and other types of malware such as key loggers, Trojan horses, spyware and adware.

Cyber Security Hygene

While external attacks pose the greatest threat, often it is the behaviour of internal users and hygiene of internal systems that allow these attackers to get a foothold on your network. Under the broader cyber security umbrella there are several things you can directly control that will make it more difficult for intrusion to occur in the first place.

  • Access management – Staying on top of access management ensures that access privileges are assigned to users at the correct level. Limiting the number of users with administrator access prevents further damage if usernames and passwords become compromised.
  • URL filtering – Controlling and filtering the content that can be accessed on the internet helps to limit exposure to sources that could potentially be harmful.
  • Data leakage prevention – Data filters can be used to recognise particular data types such as credit card numbers or account numbers, and prompt users before this information can be emailed outside the organisation.

Cyber Security Technology

Technology to prevent cyber attacks has come a long way, but it is still important to educate users as to the role they have to play in protecting the organisation.

Creating a culture where internal users are aware of the dangers of cyber attacks, and the damage that can be caused by clicking suspicious links or downloading suspect files is a key part of keeping hackers at bay.