Backing up Data on a Small Network: Dos and Don’ts

Backing up your data is important, and handling data on a small network presents unique challenges. Rather than try to handle a small network in a way that isn’t custom tailored to your needs, it’s better to put together a customized protocol. When you’re planning out the data backup on your small network, keep the follows dos and don’ts in mind. This advice will help save you a lot of headaches in the long run.

Do: Thoroughly Analyze your Network

Before you get started, you first need to analyze your network and decide exactly where the important data is. You should identify what data is important enough to be backed up, which computers create the most important data, and where this data is stored. This will allow you to quickly identify what areas need to be backed up regularly and what areas you can leave under the supervision of individual employees. Many small businesses try making a backup of everything on the network and either run out of space or wind up with a situation where they can't quickly identify the most important files that they need access to. Analyzing the network beforehand will avoid this problem.


Guide to Virtual Private Networks

Imagine leaving your home wearing a clearly legible sign around your neck that provides all of your most important and private information: your name, address, contact information, banking and other financial data, all of your shopping habits, places you frequent and what you do while you are there. Most of us would not want to share this information with complete strangers, for many obvious reasons. This data can put you at risk in any number of ways, including potential theft and physical harm. Yet, that is exactly what many people do every time they use internet.

When individuals and businesses use the internet without encryption they leave all of their information out in the open, and put themselves at great risk. A virtual private network (VPN) can ensure the security of your connections and your most important information. A VPN utilizes a public network (most commonly the Internet) to link distant sites or users. In the past computers had to be connected via hardwiring. A VPN uses "virtual" connections directed through the Internet from the individual or organization’s private network to the distant site or employee location.
There are several advantages to using a VPN. As shown above, a VPN can be used to establish a secure connection to a remote network using the Internet. Many businesses use VPNs to enable employees to access to files, software, hardware, and other company resources. Individual users can also utilize a VPN to safely access their secure home network from a remote location.

VPNs are extremely useful to organizations that need to securely connect several networks. As a result, businesses of nearly every size depend on a VPN to connect and share servers and other assets between multiple locations around the world. Individuals can also utilize a VPN to connect their home or additional networks for personal use.


A Brief Overview of the Windows Built In Firewall

Windows has had a built in firewall since Windows XP, and maintained that feature during transitions to Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. The goal of the firewall is to enhance security for users, particularly those who are not thoroughly experienced with potential online hazards. Some more advanced users consider the Windows firewall to be a bit too cumbersome. This guide will give you a quick rundown on the firewall and when it should and should not be used.

Different Version of the Built In Firewall

The Windows built in firewall has seen steady evolution since it began in XP. In a base install of Windows XP, the firewall blocks only inbound connections that have not been initiated by your computer, and the setting is turned off by default. Service Pack 2, however, turns on the firewall default and also gives administrators group control over the firewall. Vista saw additional filters put on the firewall, and Windows 7 and 8 have worked to provide the user with more control over what information you allow. This includes being able to designate different connections as either a home network, a work network, or a public network.


7 Tips to Secure Your Network

The Internet has created a vast network for business that has improved communications and operations exponentially. Unfortunately, the Internet has also created a new environment primed for security threats and cybercrime. A network attack can result in consequences that may range from being mildly troublesome to completely debilitating. Businesses have faced the loss of important data, privacy violations, and hours or sometimes days, of network downtime.

Regardless of your company’s size and the kind of business it performs, you face several inherent threats to your network security. There are hackers who develop botnets and other automated scanning techniques that are focused on finding holes in your network security to exploit. From within, companies have faced security threats at the hands of disgruntled, unaware and even nosy employees. However, businesses that take a holistic approach to their network security can easily overcome these threats and successfully protect their most important information and operations.


Potential Storms on the Cloud

Cloud computing, the delivery of computer hardware and software services over the internet, is being hailed as THE solution for many business IT challenges. There are many advantages to Cloud computing, including data storage, mobile access, potential savings in system hardware and more. However, there are many disadvantages to Cloud computing as well. Depending on your needs, the best solution for your business may be to stick with a more traditional product delivery. Before you throw caution to the winds and dedicate your IT needs to the Cloud, it is important to understand the weaknesses of the Cloud and how these may affect your business.

Weather Delays and Storm Outages

The first link in your connection to the Cloud relies on your Internet service. The second link in your connection to the Cloud relies on the servers of your Cloud service provider. Therefore, one of the biggest weaknesses of the cloud is the inevitability of a Cloud server going down or your internet connection failing. It’s really not a matter of “if” it will happen, because it will. Instead, you must focus your concern on how often will it happen. In both cases, you will not be able to access the programs, processes and information that are delivered over the Cloud. This will result in interruptions that can easily translate into lost revenues, employee downtime, project delays, and other cost increasing outcomes.


RATs Pest Control

Throughout history, rats have been regarded as filthy vermin responsible for damaging property, destroying food, and spreading parasites and diseases that have caused great devastation. At the slightest sign of a rat infestation, most people act immediately to eliminate the invading pests and prevent future intrusion, damage and risk.

Remote Administration Tools (RATs), like their namesake, often cause great damage. RATs are potentially harmful software created with the intent of providing an undetected operator unauthorized access and control of a remote system. Unlike many desktop sharing and remote administration systems that have been developed for legitimate, authorized and legal use, "RAT" software is commonly used for malicious, illegal activity.

RAT Infestation

RAT software is generally installed covertly and used without the victim's knowledge. The malicious software is intentionally designed to hide its presence and operation from the victim and from the host computer’s security software, and in many cases may be fully undetectable. In order to install a RAT program, a RAT controller must somehow get his victim’s IP address, or infect the victim’s computer with a disguised RAT trojan file.

RAT controllers stalk their victims on the internet, frequently using social media channels and chat rooms where they share their malware with unsuspecting victims. They also disguise their files as popular programs, music or movie files and embed them in file sharing networks, Peer-to-Peer Software and free internet downloads. After the malware has been downloaded onto the victim’s computer it will clandestinely install itself and may also disable or delete antivirus and firewall software, rendering the victim and their computer completely defenseless.



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