March 19, 2013
Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks are becoming a threat across a growing number of verticals. How can you defend your business from attack?
Over the last few years, DDoS attacks have been on the rise. In fact, just in the last two months, United Federal Credit Union (UFCU) and Patelco Credit Union have experienced significant downtime twice due to denial-of-service attacks on their servers.
As some of you may already know, a DoS attack or distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack involves a concerted attempt to make a machine or network resource unavailable to its intended users by flooding a target with an enormous amount of traffic.
What are the symptoms of a DDoS attack?
According to the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), the symptoms of a DDoS attack include:
- Unusually slow network performance
- Unavailability of a particular website
- Inability to access any website
- Dramatic increase in the number of spam emails received
- Disconnection of a wireless or wired internet connection
What can be done to mitigate DDoS attacks?
In many cases, DDoS attacks can be mitigated effectively by introducing specific pieces of code to a business’s ASA (Firewall) configurations. These pieces of code, if properly implemented, can significantly reduce the chances of a DDoS attack being successful.
AMRCONs current firewall configurations are the result of years of experience and testing. Therefore, many of the countries that generally conduct DoS attacks have been addressed in our current configurations.
If you’re concerned your business may be at risk of a DoS attack, we would recommend filling out this form for a free network audit. Our highly trained technicians will review the firewalls you have in place and make any suggestions that would improve your security.
March 14, 2013
Thank you to St. Catherine’s Pre-School in Holmdel, NJ for this heartfelt letter. We’re glad we could lend a hand.
February 8, 2013
In preparation for the blizzard scheduled to hit the Northeastern United States today, you should take precautionary steps, especially if your business has experienced past flooding.
These steps include powering down your equipment and placing computer devices on top of your desk, for example.
For more preparedness steps, if you need help with your server room, or if you would simply like to discuss your individual preparation requirements, please feel free to call us. Our staff will be available for consultation.
If you are in the AMRCON ODScloud the following precautionary steps have been taken for that environment:
- Gen Set Testing – Generators were tested 2/5/13
- Fuel levels are sufficient
- Procedures reviewed for emergency transfer to generator
- Support vendors on standby
Our staff will be operating before, during, and after the storm and may be reached by calling 732-705-5057 (option 9 if you are calling outside business hours of 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. M-F).
As a courtesy, we will be suspending the after-hours surcharge for telephone consultation should you need to call us this weekend.
Most importantly, we hope you and your families remain safe during the storm.
December 28, 2012
Support for Windows XP and Office 2003 is officially ending in April 2014. Are you prepared for the transition?
As of April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer be providing any public support for Windows XP SP3 or Office 2003. This means no more security patches, non-security hotfixes, or incident support.
Running Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 after Microsoft’s end of support date exposes your business to a number of potential security and compliance risks. Unsupported environments are more vulnerable to security attacks, which could lead to an officially recognized control failure, a suspension of certificates, and a public notification of your business’s inability to maintain its customer information.
What are my options?
- Your best option, with the highest return on investment, is to upgrade to a modern PC with Windows 7 Enterprise and Office 2010. This move will allow for higher productivity and enhanced PC security and management. The IT consultants at AMRCON can help you with the migration and deployment process to ensure the transition is smooth and successful. Contact us to learn more.
- If, for any reason, you decide to stay with Windows XP SP3 or Office 2003, you will have an option to purchase a Custom Support package. However, the cost of a Custom Support package is significantly higher than regular support, and costs will most likely rise annually.
AMRCON can work with you to upgrade your PCs and software to compete in today’s increasingly technology-dependent business environment. Request a Free Network Audit or contact AMRCON directly to learn more about transitioning your business away from Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 before the April 2014 cutoff date.
December 3, 2012
Did your business experience significant downtime in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and the nor’easter? AMRCON has the solution your business needs.
Beginning December 1st, AMRCON will offer a brand new product line to its clients—ODScloud.
ODScloud is a robust cloud-based solution living on the IO backbone, the leading provider of next-generation modular data center technology and services.
We have implemented a variety of products to help our clients take advantage of what the cloud has to offer, including:
- Private cloud living space for all of your cloud-based solutions
- Hosted virtual desktop replacement
- Hosted applications
- Hosted virtual servers
ODScloud combined with a personalized Disaster Recovery Plan will ensure that your business is prepared for any future interruptions. Clients that followed our recommendations or who have had AMRCON design a Disaster Recovery Plan for their business did not experience downtime during Hurricane Sandy.
From redundancy and scalability to worry free outsourcing of your business infrastructure, AMRCON will make sure you’ll never need to buy another server again. Fill out our Free Network Audit request form or contact AMRCON directly to learn more about this exciting new offering.
November 2, 2012
An important announcement for our clients in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
AMRCON’s disaster recovery plan was initiated when power was lost on Monday. We experienced minimal downtime and were back online in a matter of minutes, providing support to those networks that are still online and safely shutting down networks that were depleting battery levels.
We have been in emergency mode with 3 x 8 hour shifts since the storm. Recovery plans were quickly initiated for those clients with plans in place, and we’ve been able to provide options to those without full failure tolerant plans.
We’re here to discuss your options and ready to safely bring your networks online as we get power back.
Know that your peace of mind is a call away: 732-705-5057
October 29, 2012
Attention all clients and friends of AMRCON:
During this time of disaster, we request that only emergency related tickets be opened. Tickets will only be accepted via telephone by calling 732-705-5057. We thank you for your cooperation and hope that everyone is safe.
Here is some information to help you with your emergency preparedness planning:
For our clients and friends – please take precautionary steps, especially if your business has experienced past flooding. These steps may include powering down your equipment and placing computer devices on top of your desk.
Our staff will be operating before, during and after the storm and may be reached by calling 732-705-5057 (option 9 if you are calling outside business hours).
Please take all precautions to ensure the personal safety of you and your staff.
October 1, 2012
AMRCON’s newly announced partnership with IO Data Centers in New Jersey will result in a higher level of service, performance and efficiency for its clients.
AMRCON, New Jersey’s premiere managed services provider and trusted Information Technology advisor, announced today that they have been awarded a partnership with IO, the leading provider of next-generation modular data center technology and services.
As part of the agreement, AMRCON will open operations within IO’s enterprise-class data center in New Jersey, utilizing IOs state-of-the-art infrastructure technology to provide its current clients with a higher level of service, performance and efficiency.
AMRCON’s hands on presence within IO’s Tier III certified facility equates to a faster response time and enhanced monitoring, eliminating the lag time that can result when operating through an outside vendor.
This partnership will also open AMRCON’s doors to larger companies that are seeking to benefit from IO’s advanced hardware and software solutions but that don’t meet the minimum requirement for purchasing their own infrastructure real estate within the facility.
In the future, AMRCON plans to open an additional operation within IO’s Ohio data center, making it possible for AMRCON to offer colocation services and enhanced business continuity to larger or expanding enterprises.
IO designs, engineers and delivers data center infrastructure for the world’s largest enterprises, governments and service providers.
IO owns and operates data centers for hundreds of customers and leveraged this experience to build a next-generation enterprise-class infrastructure that can be delivered as Data Center as a Service and rapidly deployed as a product to customer sites anywhere in the world.
IO developed the first data center infrastructure operating system, IO OS, to provide the intelligent control needed to maximize utilization, resiliency and energy efficiency.
IO is a privately held company headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona. For more information about IO, visit io.com.
September 18, 2012
Even the best, most complex, most unique passwords don’t always work. But it’s not the password’s fault.
Passwords have become a ubiquitous part of modern life. According to a study of Web users by Microsoft Research in 2007, the average user manages 6.5 passwords across 25 separate accounts and types an average of 8 passwords per day.
With all those passwords rolling around in our heads, it’s not surprising that problems arise. Here are four reasons why passwords don’t work.
They’re hard to remember.
It’s easy to see why a password like “I6apf!Ttg,I97t.%” is better than “123456″. Good passwords are complex. So naturally they’re hard to remember. Unfortunately, this simple truth is the root of why even good passwords sometimes fail.
They get reused.
It seems like every service these days requires a password. Not surprisingly, users tend to reuse passwords to simplify the process. But when you start using the same password for sensitive accounts like online banking, your setting yourself up for trouble.
They’re easily set to “autofill.”
Every major internet browser and many websites offer some sort of “autofill” feature for passwords. While this may make the user’s experience more enjoyable, it can make their computer vulnerable to attack.
They get written down.
With all these passwords to remember, finding a secure way to store them can be a real challenge, so many users simply write them down. But, by writing them down, you’re risking having them turn up in the wrong person’s hands.
So, if you can’t write them down, reuse them, or click “autofill,” what are you to do? How can you store your most sensitive passwords without leaving them vulnerable to attack?
The best way that we know of to create a secure password without having to write it down is easier than you might think. All you have to do is use it in a sentence. Confused? Check out our blog post on creating a secure password (that you can remember!).
If you’re worried your network is not as secure as it should be, fill out our form for a Free Network Audit. We’ll help you identify any chinks in your armor.
September 10, 2012
Hackers are increasingly targeting small businesses with vulnerable networks. Is your business safe?
Photo Credit: Diego3336 (Creative Commons)
Two recent reports published by Verizon and Symantec have pointed to a rise in the percentage of security attacks on small businesses with vulnerable networks.
According to Verizon’s recently published Data Breach Investigation Report, nearly three-quarters of data breaches analyzed in 2011 involved small businesses.
The report examined 855 data breaches from around the world and found that 97% of the crimes against small businesses could have been avoided through simple or intermediate security controls.
Another report published by Symantec found that more than a third of data breaches analyzed in the first six months of 2012 involved targeted attacks on small businesses with fewer than 250 employees.
That’s double the percentage of targeted attacks on small businesses Symantec found in the end of 2011.
While large companies with more than 250,000 employees are still their top targets, hackers are increasingly turning to small businesses because they see them as weak links in a chain leading toward their larger business partners.
“They [small businesses] are not as prepared, because they don’t think they have to be, and that’s left them vulnerable,” Kevin Haley, director of Symantec’s Security Response unit, recently said.
For businesses that handle sensitive information like patient records or financial data, it’s especially important to take measures to fend off cyber attacks.
Many of the small business data breaches in 2011 could have been avoided simply by following basic best practices.
If you’re worried your data could be at risk, fill out this form for a free network audit from AMRCON. We’ll help you identify the weak points in your network.