Tag Archives: SMB

Brian-A-Jackson1

On a weekly basis there are now articles regarding a big brand company which has been hacked, these usually relate to what data has been lost, how they are notifying those affected and what they are going to be doing to prevent this from happening again.

So how do you prevent it from happening in the first place?

From experience I can see that if a hacker wants to get details from somewhere they will take the easiest target, the ‘Low Hanging Fruit’ as they say, in ensuring your company has some basic security principles in place can help mitigate this.

So how do you ensure you are not the ‘Low Hanging Fruit’

Simple measures can be taken within your environment to help secure it. As a basic level you should be meeting the following guide - CyberEssentials Requirements

This sets out some advice regarding Firewalls, User access control, Passwords, Malware protection and Patch management.

Once you have met the standards given within this document you should be looking to increase the security standards within your organisation. The most effective we have found is the use of education, once educated your staff will be able to react to the threats quicker and reduce the risks to your company.

Microsoft
We’re encouraging our reseller partners to keep on selling Windows

According to TrustedReviews the date for Microsoft to launch Windows 8 has been set for 26 October 2012. This could lead some businesses to delay or considering delaying the purchase of new PCs or operating systems. To combat this, Microsoft is offering a deal which means end-user customers who buy Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional or Ultimate between 2 June 2012 and 31 Jan 2013 can upgrade to Windows 8 for just £15.00. An upgrade can cost between £100-£150 normally, so this is a great offer. To access the offer, customers should visit: http://windowsupgradeoffer.com/en-GB.

We’re encouraging our reseller partners to keep on selling Windows, we can’t see any reason to hold back, but if you have other views, we’d love to hear from you. Comment below.

When you’re speaking to customers, what password advice are you sharing? What software are you recommending to keep devices and content secure?

Our colleague Tom Colvin from Conseal Security wrote a blog post a few months back called How Random. He suggests that humans are quite ‘random’ in their thought processes and actions – complicated perhaps. By contrast computers are well, not ‘random’. It stands to reason then that humans should be able to generate passwords that are harder to crack, but actually it is easier to guess a human password than a machine-generated password.

When choosing passwords, humans it would seem have a habit of gravitating towards dictionary based words, which are more guessable – especially when the most common starting letter in English language is ‘T’ which is invariably followed by a vowel. In fact, Tom’s blog post suggests that for an 8-character password chosen from an "alphabet" of 94 characters, you'll most likely guess the password within 218 attempts. By contrast, an 8-character random computer-generated password is 23 thousand million times harder to guess.

Read Tom’s full post here - it’s full of other useful facts and stats. Now, I know this is an old routine, but feel free to share any horror stories – are you still seeing password post-it notes on PC screens? When you’re speaking to customers, what password advice are you sharing?  What software are you recommending to keep devices and content secure? Are you investigating device security as a potential managed service line?

I wanted to share the news that Microsoft plans significant price increases for Open and Open Value licensing from July - these are licensing options for small and midsize organisations. All orders invoiced on or after 1st July 2012 will be at the new pricing, with no exceptions.

I understand the price increase is driven by a need to “re-align” UK pricing with European pricing, a disparity which has developed as a result of ongoing currency differences between Euro and Non Euro currencies.

This does not currently affect SPLA pricing, which according to ChannelPro in an article last month will not see price increases until January 2013.

The price increase will apply to the whole UK channel, and I understanding that it will be a 1.7 per cent increase for Open and 25.9 per cent increase for Open Value and Open Value Subscription.

For resellers working with us, it is essential that any outstanding quotes, or quotes we issue during June, are closed before Friday 29th June to benefit from current pricing.

The July pricelist has not yet been released, but our systems will be updated as soon as it is.

disaster recovery for SMBs
With consultancy and support from distribution, it becomes possible for anyone in the channel to become an MSP, handling disaster recovery on behalf of the end-user client simply by using the right vendor products

Last week StorageCraft announced a partnership with Intel to offer a backup and recovery “appliance” for Intel’s Hybrid Cloud platform. The Platform involves a customer owned, on-premise server, tied to the cloud, with business applications provided and billed by Intel. The new appliance will be offered and supported by channel partners including Managed Service Providers (MSP), giving them a business continuity and disaster recovery solution for their small-to-medium-business (SMB) clients.

This got me thinking about the importance of disaster recovery for SMBs and the opportunities for the channel. Almost every small business today uses IT and in many cases, this is critical to the smooth running, profitability and ongoing viability of the business. Losing front line services because of IT failure can be devastating. This is not just scare mongering; some services simply cannot be done without. Accordingly to a 2011 survey by Internet security firm Symantec, the median cost of downtime for an SMB is almost £8,000 per day.

Rapid recovery in the event of a disaster is essential. All businesses including small business need to be prepared (after all, disasters don’t just strike big firms). I am now seeing positive signs that SMBs recognize the need to prepare for loss of mission critical IT systems. And as these systems are becoming more complex, the shift is towards simplifying the restore by not only backing up the Office documents and emails, but also the operating system, applications, and PC profiles, using an image backup.

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