Ransomware Attack Prevention: Backup Your Data!

 

What is your companies backup plan in case of a disaster? In recent events, reports have emerged that a type of malware, otherwise known as Ransomware, limits users from accessing their system or personal files. Ransomware typically spreads through phishing emails and spreads onto the network affecting multiple computers. Such a disaster can render a companies device useless and data unrecoverable. With a backup plan in place your company can ensure that your data is secured and easily recoverable.

Cloud backups are a great method to ensure your data is secured. A benefit to having a cloud backup is keeping your data off of your network and stored in a secure location. Hardware failure isn’t a problem in having a cloud backup and only requires internet connectivity in order to upload data from a network onto the cloud backup. In the case your companies data is compromised it can be readily recoverable through the cloud backup.

How about keeping a backup onsite? While a cloud backup may not always be a viable option you can always backup your data onsite using an external hard drive. An onsite method of protecting your data against ransomware is creating a backup plan with hard drive swaps. This means swapping the external backup hard drive on a weekly basis. Doing so can prevent the hard drive from being infected with malware, possible data loss and prevent backup data from being compromised. In which case, it also enables a higher level of data integrity and enforces an additional layer of protection.

 

Is your company data safe from Ransomware? Contact Kitsap Networking for a backup evaluation at (360)-516-6741.

Static IP vs Dynamic IP

An IP address is uniquely assigned to each device on the network. Much like a street address is used in order to determine where a package is going, an IP address determines where a packet is sent.

So how does an IP address work with a static and dynamic IP and how do they differ? When you add a computer to a network they are given each their own IP address to which they can be identified on the network.

If a device is assigned a static IP address, the address will not be changed. Often Web and FTP servers use a static IP address as it promotes a reliable method to reach an assigned host name. Some benefits of using a static IP address include faster download/upload speeds in comparison to dynamic IPs, and geolocation accuracy.

A dynamic IP address is automatically assigned by the network and usually changes. Benefits of using a dynamic IP include: Security, costs and fast networking configuration. Using a dynamic IP address can prove immensely beneficial where you have a large LAN network. In order to configure a dynamic IP automatically it requires a DHCP server to obtain your IP address. The DHCP configures the IP address automatically which overall saves on time by not having to configure each computer manually.

How can I check to see if I have a static or dynamic IP on Windows?

If you are on a PC, open the command prompt and type the command “ipconfig /all” without the quotations and hit enter. Next to the DHCP enabled there will be a “Yes” or “No” depending upon the static or dynamic IP configuration. A “Yes” means you are using a dynamic IP address and a “No” means you have a static IP address.

Having trouble with your network? Contact Kitsap Networking for many of our troubleshooting services at (360)-516-6741.

SSL for Secure Web Browsing

Phishing is one of the fastest growing threats on the internet and has become popular among hackers due to its effective method to get access to confidential user information. SSL, which stands for Secure Sockets Layer, is the standard base for implementing a secure and encrypted link between devices. The importance of SSL is that information you send on the internet is sent between computer to computer until it arrives to its destination server. SSL ensures that all data transferred between the web server and browser remains confidential. This popular method of encryption is used by millions of websites in order to protect online transactions.

How can you tell if a website SSL Certified?
Before giving your information to a website you should always check to make sure it is secure. A method of doing that is to check the SSL Certificate. If the url of a website begins with “https” instead of “http” then it means the site is using a secured SSL certificate.

For more information on SSL for secure web browsing please contact Kitsap Networking at (360)-516-6741.

Spotting a Suspicious Email

A cyber criminal can send fake emails that appear to be coming from someone you know. These suspicious emails that may look like they are from a valid sender are known as phishing expedition attacks. Victims from these so called “phishing expedition” attacks are tricked into giving out personal information or accessing malicious websites that can infect their devices.

So how do you prevent a phishing expedition attack? If you recieve a suspicious email requesting for important information you should always verify the message for authenticity. For best security practices, if the message appears to be suspicious you should give a call to that person to verify it was them who actually sent it. Banks or investment companies will never ask for sensitive information via email.

For more information on protecting yourself against suspicious emails and how to spot them vist kitsapnetworking.com/blog/. For our IT services please contact Kitsap Networking at (360)-516-6741.

How to Repair Microsoft Office

 

Is your Microsoft Office program giving you trouble? Whenever a faulty driver, incompatible software or corrupted file occurs within a Microsoft Office program it causes the application to shut down or crash until you resolve the root cause of the issue.

In which case, an Office 365 application is corrupt or missing you can try to run it using safe mode. What safe mode does is that it disables add-ins, prevents faulty drivers and incompatible software from loading.

To run a Microsoft office application in safe mode:
1. Press Windows Key + R simultatneously. A run dialog box will open to where you can input the following commands.
2. Use any of the following commands to run an office program in Safe Mode:
winword /safe
excel /safe
powerpoint /safe
mspub /safe
visio /safe

While this may act as a short-term repair method, it allows you to gain access to an Office application to disable add-ins that may affect Microsoft Office.

Running an office repair installation can assist in fixing missing or corrupted components.

To run a office repair installation:
1. Press Windows Key + X.
2. Select Programs and Features.
3. Scroll down and select Microsoft Office 365.
4. Right-click the program entry; choose Repair.

Are you having trouble with Microsoft Office? Contact Kitsap Networking for many of our troubleshooting services at (360)-516-6741.

5 Tips for Computer Cleanup

Is your computer running slow, out of space, or cluttered with apps and junk files you don’t use? It might be time for a computer cleanup. A digital cleanup can assist you computer in performance and responsiveness. Some tips to increase performance and enhance your computer include:

1. Remove Old Files & Programs
As your PC ages, the hard drive may begin to fill up lose space and possibly run slower. Removing old programs helps to free up space. Programs can be removed in the Windows Add or Remove Programs application. Another place to check is your temporary files or download folder. Typically these folders are filled with duplicate files, installer applications and files that are no longer being used. Its good practice to access these folders and remove files that are no longer needed.

2. Defragment your Hard Drive
By defragementing your computer the operating system removes gaps in the data of your hard drive, moving them closer to the middle of the disc. This in turn makes the hard drive quicker and increases the performance of your computer. Although, it is an important reminder that this type of technology does not apply to SSD drives.

3. Remove Programs from Startup
To increase performance another method can be to remove programs used during startup. This can be done in the task manager.

From the task manager you can disable any apps that are programmed to run upon startup. By disabling certain applications from booting it can increase the performance.

4. Cleaning your Desktop
Its always great to have shortcuts. They provide convenience in event you would like to locate a file. Although, one of the simplest methods to clean your computer is by removing files from your desktop. Creating folders and allocating files into them can immediately reduce the amount of clutter on your desktop.

5. Recycle
Emptying your trash bin removes files that are no longer needed. While deleting files from your recycling may permanently remove the files from your computer, it provides the hard drive with more space. If there is more items in the recycling bin it could mean there is a large amount of memory space waiting to be freed up.

For more tips and tricks on how to increase your computers performance check out our other blog posts. Contact Kitsap Networking Services for any of our tech services at (360)-516-6741.

Reasons Why Your Organization Should Switch to eFax

Many organization rely upon faxing to transmit important documents. Although with an increase of technology, functionality and convenience, many businesses are looking to switch to eFax to gain a competitive edge.

Some of the benefits of switching to an eFax system include:

Privacy

An eFax is delivered and secured to your email inbox with use of encryption. Logins to the eFax online portal are secured as well using a Transport Layer Security (TLS) connection that ensures confidentiality and security.

Save Money

An eFax system requires no additional fax lines and fax machine hardware. Therefore, it minimizes the amount of attendance bills and running costs associated. There is no need for a large fax machine to take up space in your office and no need to purchase ink, or repair equipment. Since virtual faxes use the internet there is no need to pay additional costs for a dedicated phone line.

Mobility

An eFax can be accessed from anywhere with internet connection. You can receive the faxes in your email by using your personal faxing number. The same goes for sending faxes, you can simply use the online fax portal to send your faxes. It’s that easy!

Are you interested in making a move to an eFax system? Contact Kitsap Networking Services at (360)-516-6741 for a consultation.

Create a Strong Password Policy

Using a strong password can deter potential hackers from accessing important data on your device. A strong password is the first line of defense in protecting yourself against potential unwanted access of your device. In most cases, a relatively easy password can be easily cracked. Some of these methods used to gain access include guessing your password, online dictionary attacks, offline dictionary attacks and offline brute force attacks. Each of these potential threats can be protected against by developing a strong password.

So, what makes a strong password?

A strong password is a combination of lowercase, uppercase letters, numbers and symbols. A strong password usually consists of 8 or more characters. It is usually combined with upper and lower-case letters with at least 1 numerical character or symbol. Each character added to your password increases its complexity, making it much harder to decode.

Is your organization in need of a strong password policy? Contact Kitsap Networking Services to get more information on how you can create a password policy fit to secure your organization.

Medical Data Backups

Electronic health records provide convenience and user-friendly application to your medical facility. In best practice it is ideal to prepare a backup in the case a EHR (electronic health record) failure occurs. Here are a few steps you can take to prepare your medical facility in the event a disaster occurs.

  • EHR Failures Do Occur

In most cases an EHR system is usually backup into a cloud system. Nonetheless, a cloud based system is not foolproof and mistakes do happen. Therefore, it’s just as important to keep a local backup in the event a failure does occur as well as an offsite backup, much like a cloud storage. In which case, a local backup also serves a useful purpose in the case a network is offline, and clients require assistance.

  • Keep Things Moving

Planning for the worst includes developing a plan to mitigate in the case failure occurs. With an onsite backup your data is stored on the premises. This allows for data to be accessed quickly without requiring a strong internet connection. In which case, onsite data can be protected using disaster protected storage devices, much like a DAS (Direct Attached Storage) or a NAS (Network Attached Storage). A remote backup also ensures that the data is secured in a separate location. Typically, in cloud storage the data is usually kept on multiple servers, so in the case one would stop working your data can still be retrieved without any issues.

  • Consider Recovery Methods

Having both an onsite and remote backup method decreases the risk of data loss. The best way to ensure that backups are consistent is to setup a backup schedule.  Some variables to consider are whether to fully backup your server or incrementally backup your server on a regular basis, what files, how often the backup takes place, where the data is going to be stored and ease of access.

It is recommended that electronic health records be backed up daily in order to maintain security of your records and comply with HIPAA regulations. For more information on backups, or disaster planning please contact Kitsap Networking Services.

Hard Drives, Backups & Failures

Are you at risk for hard drive failure? The hard drive is an integral piece of hardware that is used to store your data. Failure of your hard drive can cause your computer to halt and make the data inaccessible. In which case, it is important to practice backups and test the hard drive health.

What are signs of hard drive failure?

Symptoms

Source of Issue

How to Protect

System Failure: Is your computer failing or giving you errors? A bad sector on the hard drive is usually the source of issue. Although, system failures can also be caused by other hardware failure such as CPU or motherboard. · Backup your PC data.

· Run diagnostic on your PC.

· Clean your PC.

PC Slow Down: Is your computer taking longer to load software or has missing files? Slow computers are another sign of a bad sector on the hard drive. Missing or corrupt files can be caused by failing sections on the drive or a virus affecting the file system. · Keep virus software up to date and use routinely.

· Keep data backups up to date.

Failure to Detect Hard Drive: Is your computer not being able to read or detect your hard drive? An undetected hard drive can be caused by an unreliable power source, hard drive settings or a dead hard drive. · Plan for power outages.

· Established settings are consistent with hard drive.

 

If your PC experiences any of these symptoms it may require to be diagnosed to determine the possibility of a hard drive failure. A built-in feature offered by Windows to check the disk for file integrity is the “CHKDSK” system tool. Running this tool can fix logical file system errors and determine the status of hard disks.

Has your hard drive failed? Are you in need of recovering data or setting up a backup? At Kitsap Networking Services we offer MSP backups, hard drive recovery and hard drive swapping services. For more information please contact Kitsap Networking Services.