data

Stability Sense

Introduction

Imagine losing $100,000,000 in revenue in two days: 1/10th of a billion dollars gone in two business days. This was the reality for Delta Airlines in September of 2016, when a loss of power shut down many of their servers, causing thousands of flight delays.  Everyone enjoys using the term “crash” when referring to basic program and process failures, but do not often convey the impact that crashes can have on a company. Expanding on this; companies that are not prepared with backups and continuity solutions are risking hemorrhaging resources like money and time the entire time their network is down.

“Crash” Course

One of the contributing factors to “crash” being such an overused term is that fact that a crash can be caused by many different things, and can come from both internal and external sources. A crash is, at its’ basics; an unwanted and sudden shutdown or cessation of function by a program or process. This can be cause by many different core issues, but amongst the most common would be information overload and hardware failure. Information overload is when too much information is attempted to be processed by the program or process and consequently the demand exceeds the capability of the software, causing a crash. Hardware crashes are more diverse, being caused by a variety of physical or mechanical failures that can cause the software logic to conflict with itself or trigger emergency shutdown procedures within the program itself. These can be caused by simple pre-existing conditions within the computer such as trying to run a program that has higher demands than your network can meet. However not all process and program failures stem from crashes; the recent “WannaCry” malware if present, can lock your files away, threatening their deletion for ransom, leading to a similar situation as a crash.

Why does network stability/continuity matter?

What truly makes a crash dangerous is its’ potential to “go down with the ship”. It is possible that on a computer network, if a key component or program fails and crashes, it could take the network with it; one server crashing has the capability to make a network unusable from a business perspective, costing time, and a large sum of money. As previously mentioned, in September, 2016, Delta Airlines had a physical hardware failure that caused a power outage at their Atlanta facility. Not all the servers within had backup which led to a massive data loss.  This caused flights to be delayed, which meant that flight crews went overtime and had to clock out as per federal limitations, meaning flights were delayed even longer to replace flight crews, which meant passengers were in some case waiting days for their flights. Vouchers were offered to appease many of these passengers, but by time all had been said and done, Delta reported they lost over $100,000,000 in revenue all within a few days.

How can I protect my data?

The act of protecting your sensitive data from these situations is often referred to as “data continuity” or “business continuity”. The idea is that if the worst should come and your data is the victim of a crash or attack, it can be recovered quickly and effectively. There are a few ways to go about this, from keeping up-to-date backups, to having copies of your data present at off-site or off-network locations that wouldn’t be affected. However, as usual, we at Micro Systems have a few ideas to get you started, so give your friendly wizards a call.

 

 

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Thursday, May 18th, 2017 Back to basics, Cybersecurity, Internet No Comments

Stop the Inavsion of the Data Snatchers!

Introduction

Have you ever seen an action movie involving “hacking”? The one where the hero must figure out some sort of visual graphic interface puzzle to break into the plot device to save the day? Obviously this is more than a little misrepresentative of how such things work. I personally liken it to a sort of crossword puzzle. You have many points you can start at, and as you go and find information, the more information is revealed through what you already know. In this way, when someone attempts to break into networks that are not theirs, they have what are referred to as points of ingress. These are the “entrances” people can use to enter your network and start doing the things bad people do in others’ networks.

So logic dictates the best way to stop this from happening is to block these points of ingress; if there is no entrance, they cannot enter. This is the objective of many anti-malware programs and firewalls, but no network is ironclad. There are many “entrances” you might not have heard of. These can include:

 

  • Telnet
  • SSH (SecureShell)
  • Internet Port 80
  • Internet Port 443 (Https webpages you see commonly)
  • E-mail SMTP Port 25
  • E-mail alternate SMTP Port 587
  • E-mail POP Port 110
  • Remote Desktop port 3389
  • PPTP Tunneling Protocol port 1723
  • SQL port 1433 and 1434

 

These may seem complex and numerous, but most of these are simple things one might expect. Things such as internet webpages, E-mail, and remote desktop services, are points of ingress many people are familiar with. However, most people don’t think of telephone networks when they think of “hacking” and data theft, yet it is just as much a weak point in network security as an online webpage.

As always, Micro Systems Management is committed to providing the best data security services we can offer to our clients. If you have any questions regarding this topic, ask about our upcoming event on the 30th where our own Randy Zinn talks more in depth on the subject. And as always if you have questions about your network and what Micro Systems Management can do to make it safe – give your friendly IT wizards a call!

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Monday, March 27th, 2017 Cybersecurity, General, Internet No Comments
 

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