Cloud Services

 

Cloud_Computing

The Network Division utilizes the Cloud when it is the best solution.  For many things Cloud solutions are wonderful, but for many they are not.

If you need rapid scaling and geographical diversity, the cloud may be the way to go.  But remember, the cloud is really just someone else’s server, it’s not magic!

Cloud-based solutions provide:

  1. Redundancy – When there is a hardware (RAM, CPU, motherboard etc.) failure in a server, it will route traffic to a backup server.
  2. Scalability – In Cloud servers, you can increase/decrease resources (RAM, CPU, storage etc.) anytime as you see fit.
  3. 100% Uptime – Whatever application, files, images, videos are there on the Cloud, they’re all accessible all the time.
  4. Hosting – Your business website needs to be stored somewhere and be accessible to other computers. Hosting allows you to use another’s rack space to accomplish this.

 

The benefits for business are:

 

  1. Data protection
  2. Regulatory compliance and data residency requirements
  3. Scalability and flexibility
  4. Cost efficiencies
  5. Access to data anytime, anywhere.

 

Sometimes cloud solutions are not the way. Depending on your company’s requirements, you may notice connection issues or network latency. Additionally, given enough operating capital, you may be able to save your business a lot of money down the road by creating your own business network.

What’s best for your organization?  Let the team at 2-Way’s Network Division help create and execute a road map for the IT solution that’s best for your business. Give them a call (603-431-6288) or send an email to NetworkSolutions@2-way.biz.

SAU17 Surveillance Upgrade

Hikvision

The Network Division of 2-Way Communications is assisting Sanborn Regional School District with a surveillance system upgrade.

The district is composed of two elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school. The objective of the project is to expand the current surveillance system by replacing old and installing new surveillance cameras along with supporting hardware and software.

Over the past four weeks 2-Way teams have pulled approximately 20,000 feet of cable throughout the four schools in preparation for the camera install. Within the next four weeks approximately 100 new cameras will be mounted and hardwired to recorders. The project is scheduled to be completed before the new school year begins.

As noted above, the camera installation process has begun. Here’s Chuck doing some high work …Chuck_Surveillance

Stay tuned ….. there’s more to come …

Achievable Security

cyber-crime

Personal on-line security is obviously  needed, and I’m sure you’ve been meaning to clean up some things up for awhile. On a daily basis spamming, phishing, man-in-the-middle attacks, and ransom ware pose serious threats. Passwords continue to leak in rather large corporate breaches, and people own more and more devices that can be compromised. Do you sometimes feel like you’re tightrope walking without a net?

The overwhelming challenge of protecting yourself is only apparent, and is not reason to give up on security. It’s true that adding more internet security does require some work. Note the operational term here is “some”. It’s a relative word. So do it!

The first step is to check off the really simple tasks that only take a few minutes, noted in a prior blog post. Once you’ve got that baseline set, read on for the slightly more time-consuming tasks. Do one, do all … Do it for yourself, then generate some positive personal karma and do it for your relatives or a friend, too.

Set Up a Password Manager

The nice thing about setting up a password manager is that once you put in the time to get it up and running it will genuinely make your life easier beyond just improving your security. You won’t have to go through password resets all the time, risk being locked out of accounts after too many failed entry attempts, or need to stretch your brain with complicated password mnemonics. Everything will just be there behind one long and strong master password. Once you get going it easily becomes part of the daily routine, and you’ll eventually you’ll wake up one morning and realize that you’ve had your password manager for years. Promise!

Enable Two-Factor Authentication

This measure, which usually requires you to enter temporary codes sent to or generated on your phone along with your regular password, helps protect you from attack if your passwords fail. Not all services have two-factor authentication, and many that do call it by similar but confusing names. Setting it up for important accounts, though, provides another defense layer.

Make Backups

This is such an obviously great idea that the point will not be belabored here. Whether you’re storing backups locally on a hard drive or in the cloud, you can add an additional layer of protection by encrypting your data and password protecting it before doing the backup. With this in place your data has increased defense even if your cloud provider is hacked or your external hard drive is lost/stolen.

Know How to Use a VPN

Once you are connected to the internet, VPNs create an encrypted connection between your device and a secure server. With this connection in place you can browse and use the internet, protected from eavesdropping. All you need to do to use the VPN day to day is log in through a “VPN client,” an application or web portal. If you’re doing something sensitive or browsing on unprotected public Wi-Fi, like at a coffee shop, turning on your VPN helps ensure that the data you send and receive is encrypted and can’t be spied on.

Use End-to-End Encrypted Chat App

Apps with full end-to-end encryption are safe from prying eyes, whomever they may be. By convincing your friends and family to switch to chat apps like WhatsApp and Signal, you reduce the chance that your communications will be intercepted. As with password managers or anything else, there is never a guarantee of perfect security, but taking the step to use services that place a high priority on security is better than not doing it.

For the average person who’s just looking to make some positive changes, adding these five precautions to your digital life will make a significant difference in the quality of your defense, and your ability to recover from common attacks.

Watch a Google video: Does two-factor authentication protect me from hackers?

The 3CX Phone System

Small-business-phone-systemThe 3CX Phone System for Windows is a software based phone system for Windows that works with a wide array of phones, SIP trunks and VoIP Gateways to provide a full PBX solution. It does so without the inflated cost and management headaches of an ‘old style’ PBX.

3CX includes clients for smartphones and laptops that allow employees to use their office extension from anywhere, making it seem as if they were in the office. Not only are all calls to the office free of charge, but employees can leverage one single number and make a professional impression.

Because 3CX runs on Windows, it is easily installed and managed. It’s preconfigured to work with popular IP Phones, VoIP Gateways and SIP trunks, so no hassle of having to configure and manage those devices.
With 3CX, companies can reduce their telephone costs by up to 80%. With the CRM integration agents get a customer name rather than a number, and the ability to make outbound calls from a CRM customer page.

To summarize, with 3CX, you can:

Take your extension everywhere you go
All calls are free of charge – slash your mobile phone bills
Increase productivity – work from anywhere
Know who’s calling with CRM integration – increase customer satisfaction

Contact 2-way Communications Services Network Division for more information, or to set up a free trial. Give them a call (603-431-6288) or send an email to NetworkSolutions@2-way.biz.

Remote Managed Service

network_rms

Maybe it’s the sometimes rude, hard-to-understand IT support guy. Maybe it’s the variable costs associated with a break-fix support model. Maybe your IT guy closed his doors and just disappeared.

Working with local Seacoast companies and town offices, we understand your day-to-day operations provide enough of a challenge. You don’t have time to deal with these scenarios. We can help – our customers spend more time on core business and 20 – 45% less on IT costs.

Chris

A managed services provider (MSP) offers management and support of IT network-based services, applications and equipment. A reliable MSP allows business owners and employees to focus on their core functions and not spend valuable time trying to learn enough to take the place of an IT professional.

The Network Division of 2-Way Communications Service provides proactive IT managed services using a remote monitoring and management (RMM) system. This platform allows us to continually monitor the health and performance of your IT network—without any kind of disruption to your employees’ activities.

 

Our robust RMM platform supports early detection and remediation of issues before they cause downtime or data loss. We will also generate regular reports that provide insight into your IT system, including the business value and services being received, which will help you plan and budget for future IT expenses.

Remote monitoring and management works because an RMM tool conducts oversight of your network and IT assets 24/7. When necessary the RMM tool alerts your MSP to a potential issue or an issue about to occur; a centralized dashboard allows for remote diagnosis and remediation of the issue by the appropriate technician—without disruption to your business flow!

You can trust us to deliver the level of managed services your business needs to ensure a stable and secure IT environment. Our proactive services model will eliminate business disruptions and give you peace of mind knowing that your networks are always secure and operational with no surprises or unexpected expenses.

Is it time to get back to business and let an experienced team take care of your IT? Call the Network Division at 2-Way Communications Services (800-441-6288 x 1746) or send an email to Networksolutions@2-way.biz .  They’ll help you develop, implement, and execute a plan that best fits your company’s needs.

Josh

Steganography 101

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Steganography is the practice of hiding secret messages in otherwise non-secret mediums. It has been used in various ways for years – writing Revolutionary War messages in invisible ink, as an example. In the digital world, even something as benign as an image may be stealthily encoded with information. As an example, the pixel values, brightness, and filter settings can be manipulated by a hacker using a secret code to embed a message.

Through this technique hackers are deceiving internet users and smuggling malicious payloads past security scanners and firewalls. Steganography’s goal is to hide the fact that the content exists at all by embedding it in something else. The hidden code can then be used in all sorts of malicious attacks.

Various reports indicate that steganography is being used more than ever … although it is possible that the good guys are just getting better at detecting it. Steganography is being detected not only in sophisticated hacks, but in the attacks of low-level cyber criminals as well: malvertising; phishing; and malware distribution. This may be in part to the sale of steganographic instructions, allowing the technique to trickle down to the bad guys who may not have thought of a particular attack.

For individuals and small businesses, the way to protect yourself from steganographic attacks is to continuously work on security overall. Whether a phishing or a malvertising attack incorporates steganography or not, it still requires you to click on a link or download a file. If you’re aware of these types of attacks, looking out for them, and securing your accounts with protections like two-factor authentication, you’ll reduce your risk and have defenses in place if you are attacked.

Overwhelming, isn’t it? The Network Division at 2-Way communications can help. We’ll provide you with the integrated Security Awareness Training and Simulated Phishing platform used by more than 8,000 customers nation-wide. Contact The Network Division for more information or to set an appointment today. Give them a call (603-431-6288) or send an email to NetworkSolutions@2-Way.biz.

New Ransomware in the wild

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It should be obvious to all that hackers and cybercriminals are becoming more innovative and stealthy seemingly every day. New forms of cybercrime are regularly discovered, and, no surprise here, the cyber criminal’s techniques are more clandestine, coming with a myriad of attack vectors with low detection rates.
I read an article in The Hacker News regarding a new fileless ransomware with code injection ability. The article went into detail about the ransomware and how it infected enterprise servers and endpoints. The most important part of the article for me, though, was the section entitled “Ways to Protect Against Ransomware Attacks”. The entire article is here.
The three most important items on the list of to-dos for the SMB owner, or town admin organization were:

1. Keeping your system and network up-to-date.
2. Backing up your data regularly.
3. Adopting a cyber security-aware workforce.

If you haven’t gotten started on this yet, or have but feel you could protect yourself better with professional help, call the Network Division at 2-Way Communications Services (800-441-6288 x1746). Their remote manages services and security awareness training will help keep your organization’s network safe.