Schools Can Be Hacked – the Warnings, the Victims and Recommendations

In the past few years, the cases of schools and universities becoming victims and targets of ransomware are becoming far too common.  Recently news reports spanning worldwide are proliferating.  It seems strange that cybercriminals would dare go after the institutions that protect and educate our children – but they do. In some cases, the cyberattacks stem from former students bent on revenge (as was the case last year in a Japanese school district), but in most cases, it is not personal – cybercriminals gauge weakness in a network and just go after it.

Aside from straightforward ransomware, K-12 Schools have also drawn the attention of cybercriminals interested in identity theft. As children are less likely to apply for credit until college, the use of their identities for obtaining fraudulent credit can go undetected for years and thus becomes a valuable commodity in the black market.

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National Privacy Day Warns Organizations to Protect Client and Vendor Data 

 Every year, National Privacy Day underscores the importance of not just keeping one’s network and IT  infrastructure safe from cybercriminals, but also having “reasonable security measures” in place to protect the privacy of customers, employees, and vendors.  Developed by  StaySafeOnline.org, National Privacy Day falls in late January each year and reminds businesses that the privacy of others is a big responsibility.

The fact is, identity and corporate theft is still a stark reality that people in 2017 are going to have to face as cyber criminals ramp up their efforts to go after organizations that guard private information of others: whether the information is from a medical center that is storing thousands of patient records in its servers; a retail store with credit card information; or even a small business with a handful of clients, security experts warn that every organization needs to ramp up their IT security efforts in 2017.

The Ever-Evolving Next Generation Firewalls Must Evolve to Meet Today’s Threats

Today, one of the most powerful weapons in the fight against cybercrime is the next-generation firewall (NGFW).  Gartner coined the term over a decade ago and while the definition has remained mostly the same over the years, NGFWs have evolved to combat new threats which can plague data networks.

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The Emergence of the Ethical Hacker:  The New IT-Super Heroes

For years, the media has reported on the dangers of cybercrime.  As a matter of fact, it has been said that the likelihood of a business network being hacked is not a matter of “if” but of “when.”  Homeland Security Secretary, Jeh Johnson, even named cybersecurity as a top priority alongside counter-terrorism:

“We must face the reality that cyber intrusions and attacks in this country are increasingly sophisticated, from a range of increasingly capable actors …In this environment, we must be vigilant,” Secretary Johnson writes on the Department of Homeland Security website.

The High Price of a Cybersecurity Attack: Security Breaches Can Cost an Average of $38,000 for a Small Business

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No excuses.  Today, businesses have been warned – if they do not take the necessary precautions, the likelihood of having their network compromised or data and identities stolen, is not a matter of “if” but “when.”

Homeland Security declared October as National Cyber Security Awareness month, and in turn hopes to make everyone aware that while all businesses and private persons have vulnerabilities, the right approach and cybersecurity plan, can make a world of difference.

The SMB Technology Revolution: Remote Monitoring Helps SMBs to Have the Right IT Support

The SMB technology revolution is in full swing.  Today, more than ever, small to midsized business (SMBs) are finding that technologies once reserved for the deeper pockets of the enterprise, are now accessible and affordable.

For many businesses, the ability to have a cloud-based or on premise infrastructure with all the trimmings — from ample storage and security to applications that can help with the day to day operations — is now a reality. According to ZDNet: “(SMBs) have a seemingly …limitless set of digital options now available …to reach important goals: raise productivity, increase quality, and deliver on customer satisfaction, while also creating a highly competitive and rewarding workplace for our workforce.”

California Local Governments Realize Thousands in ROI after Implementing Point-to-Point Wireless

It is a fact of life that internet connectivity will be lost.  While many people have dreamt of having less connectivity from time to time (who hasn’t wanted to toss that over-used smart phone into the lake) – in reality, losing internet for even a couple of hours could pose serious ramifications.  On a local level, the government of Wasco, California, found out how difficult it can be after they lost their internet for several hours due to an errant driver and a telephone pole. On a more international level, we learned the consequences of such a loss when  Delta Airlines had a system-wide outage, stranding thousands of passengers and causing numerous cancellations.  Losing internet could also affect critical systems in hospitals, city traffic management systems and more.

It is fair to say, our dependence on the Internet is fairly absolute.

That is why having the right wireless infrastructure is so important.  Many municipalities like Wasco (and other cities in Kern County such as Tehachapi and Delano) are implementing a point-to-point (P2P) wireless infrastructure, which connects two locations using a wireless radio link.  This beautifully simple architecture includes a line-of-sight WiFi antenna that is placed on the tallest point in the town – allowing buildings to connect to each other.  In this case, P2P connected Wasco’s government buildings.RepaintedWascoWaterTower

How Virtualization Saved a Hospital from a Server Crash

th7255ZIKBIn the list of phrases that evoke trust, where does “limited warranty” fall? It’s right there with “I’ll get to it soon” and “gently used.” Some businesses only support you after you’ve invested a lot of money and even then only under certain circumstances.

We have a client who had seen plenty of limited warranties in previous IT purchases and had come to us to get an assessment of their network. That same week, this hospital had their primary domain controller server crash, which can be devastating when medical records are on the line. DiamondIT was there at all hours of the night to get them back up and running. We even loaned them equipment to tide them over.

Cloud Computing: A Failsafe Answer for California Schools’ Data Storage Needs

i-Disaster-RecoveryIt’s 1:00 PM on Tuesday, in the middle of a hot May day. The students of your Ventura County school had been sent home at 10:00 AM unexpectedly, as wildfires in the area took an unexpected turn with the wind and advanced towards the school district, which sat on the edge of a scrubby brushland. As the first of the flames break onto the school grounds, you’re on the phone with the data center three towns over where all of the school’s essential data is backed up at. You need the attendance records stored there to ensure that your role call accounted for all of the students; you also need to make sure the school’s fiscal information is safe and sound. Like over 25% of schools in America, your school stores extra copies of its computer files—from student records to the next fiscal year’s financial information—within 25 miles of the school site. They’re relaying to you that the wildfires are approaching their office as well and that they can’t guarantee that your school district’s critical data can remain safe and accessible for too much longer now.

The Road to Recovery: How the Cloud Gets You Back Online After a Disaster

i-Disaster-RecoveryPower outages aren’t fun, any way you slice it, but California summer power outages1…even worse. It’s a blisteringly hot day, with no reprieve in the evening, and you’re stuck—no A.C., no fans…and no work. As a business owner, it’s an interruption like this that can make the biggest impact. Despite what you may think, the disaster that will take your business offline isn’t likely to be a hurricane or flood, but rather a more common event like one of these power outages. To get back on your feet, whatever the disaster, you need a plan in place to quickly restore order in the event of an interruption. A sound disaster recovery solution is imperative when looking out for the future of your business.