The idea behind a layered security model is to protect systems from a broad range of attacks by using multiple strategies to be more effective. This model attempts to address problems with different kinds of hacking or phishing, denial of service attacks and other cyberattacks, as well as worms, viruses, malware and other kinds of more passive or indirect system invasions. While one layer may not have protected the user/network, there are several additional layers to pass through before a problem arises. We promote layered security in the following manner: Human, physical, network, endpoint, and data.
In a work environment we are trained to be trusting and helpful, for this reason hackers will try to trick employees into doing something that will compromise their personal or employer’s security. User education helps the human layer by teaching the employees how to identify scams, spot suspicious email, prevent social engineering tactics, and help provide an insight on how these attacks are delivered.
Physical security prevents unauthorized access to vital network components. Keyed locks, key fobs, or biometrics can be used to prevent outsiders from accessing your company’s hardware. When a malicious person has physical access to the network, they can do whatever they like from wiping data, to injecting a key logger to capture your passwords while they are entered.
Network security starts with your firewall. Besides properly configuring the device during deployment (updating default credentials), commercial next generation firewalls can enable additional services to protect your network. Services like intrusion prevention, antivirus, and web content filtering, and anomaly detection. These systems can locate and block any suspicious inbound and outbound activity on your network, users running applications that violate company policy, and even block known attacks based off their signature and/or behavior.
Endpoint security is becoming more complicated since employee owned devices are being used more for work today, fortunately technology today now allows greater control of company data. While all computers still need the basics like antivirus, web content filtering, and updates applied, additional measures can be taken such as hard drive encryption, application control, and data backups to safeguard the machine. Additionally, mobile devices can be remotely wiped when the device has been lost to safeguard company resources.
Our final layer is data security which includes user identification and access control. Since username and passwords are constantly compromised, additional security measures must be taken to prove the user’s identity. Strategies like multi-factor authentication requires not only the username and password but also an additional form verification like a text message code. Employee access can and should also be considered as internal threats like a disgruntled employee is also a possibility. Without considering data access control, everyone in the company could have the ability of looking at human resource or business financial information.
If you need additional layers implemented or just an evaluation to see how many layers of protection you have, please contact us for a free evaluation.
Office 365 is an umbrella name for the cloud services Microsoft provides. This includes Microsoft Exchange (Email), OneDrive (Cloud Storage), SharePoint (Cloud Collaboration), Office Suite (productivity software i.e. Word, Excel, Outlook), to name a few. Office 365 licenses can be purchased for multiple services bundled together, or independently such as software only or email only. The great part is that this service is also not limited just to businesses, so anyone can use the service.
Once the service has been set up, using the service is a simple as navigating to a web page just like your personal account at Google or Apple. When you log in, you’ll be able to see and use the services you’re subscribed to in the web browser. If you are using the Office suite, you can connect your programs to the service like Outlook or OneDrive if you prefer.
Office 365 is changing the traditional model of purchasing servers, plus licenses, and maintaining these machines. With servers starting around $14,000 for hardware and licensing, plus deployment costs, monthly power consumption, and maintenance, to receive a return on your investment would take quite some time. Since Office 365 is purchased as a subscription, you have lower upfront costs and the service can easily scale as you grow. Adding a new employee to the team is easy, you already have your fixed cost and can source a new license in minutes. On the other end, you can cancel at any time or remove users at any moment.
With Office 365 you can ensure your data will be available and secure as well. The service offers two factor authentication, multiple ways to recover data, and meets many national industry regulations for cloud computing. For these reasons and many others not mentioned, Viral-Technology highly recommends Office 365 to all our clients.
One of the first things to do after starting a new business is to purchase a domain name (business.com, business.net) from a domain provider such as GoDaddy. At this time these providers will take the opportunity to up-sell additional services like website hosting, email, etc. Below we will explain why we do not recommend GoDaddy’s Office 365 bundle no matter what the savings may be.
GoDaddy provides a version of Office 365 to its customers that integrates with their portal. While this is nice for a few things, it’s bad for everything else. Due to this integration, key security features like two factor authentication cannot be enabled since it does not integrate with GoDaddy’s portal. Two factor authentication provides the ability to text, email, or some other form of additional verification during log in. So even if your username and password is compromised, the additional code that is texted to you is required before gaining access.
GoDaddy’s Office 365 service will also charge you extra for features that are included in the traditional Office 365 service. In a normal Office 365 setup, messages addressed to Bob@domain.COM and Bob@domain.NET would reach the same user/inbox and Bob is considered as 1 billable user on both domains. With GoDaddy’s service, Bob@domain.COM will be configured and billed separately as Bob@domain.NET increasing your total monthly cost.
Another reason is service limitation. Subscribing to GoDaddy’s Office 365 service prevents you from entering the full featured administrator areas that are available in the traditional service. Making changes to your SharePoint site are not allowed and finding help documentation is almost non-existent since the articles all reference the non-GoDaddy version. Other administrator areas are limited as well like the Business Center Apps. This brings up the question: Is it worth the savings?
With the possibility of increasing costs as the business grows, the lack of security features, and limited abilities, we encourage any new or existing business that is considering Office 365 to contact us to discuss a full featured offering of the service to ensure you receive the best experience possible.
Email has been around for some time and has helped all users in many ways, but not all email is the same. Many businesses are familiar with MAPI (Exchange), but there are other variants of email such as POP and IMAP. While all systems send/receive email, POP and IMAP have many limitations versus a MAPI connection.
The first version of POP mail was developed in 1984, updated to POP2 in 1985, and the most recent version POP3 in 1988. The reason POP mail was created was because computers at the time had slow internet connections. The idea was to offer a simple way to download the message for offline viewing because of the connection speed. When you read your emails using a POP connection, it creates a local copy of the message on the computer and deletes the original message from the server. At this point the email(s) are isolated to that one computer/machine and cannot be accessed anywhere else. Additionally, POP email checks the server for new email in polling intervals (15 minutes, 30 minutes, etc.). These limitations prompted a new email connection to be created.
IMAP was created in 1986 with the major difference being that users could now view their messages from multiple devices. This was accomplished by leaving the messages on the email server until the user deleted the message(s). One major problem with connection type was mailbox storage size and when the limit was reached, the system prevented the user from sending/receiving new messages. At this point the user had to archive mail or POP the mail off the server down to their local machine to free up some space on the server. POP and IMAP both share the polling intervals to check for new email, thus creating the possibility of delaying a time sensitive email since it is dependent on the recipient's email polling interval.
Shortly after the development of POP and IMAP, Microsoft created MAPI (Exchange). This connection type allowed IMAP like connections not only for email but also for contacts, calendar events, tasks, and more. These additional features increased employee productivity in many ways. Calendar events reminded the user not only on their desktop, but also on a mobile device when configured. Sharing a calendar between users provided the ability for a receptionist to schedule appointments for an individual based on their availability. When entered into the system, a company's/user’s contacts (ie. vendors, clients, etc.) information would be available to the user on any device. Email delivery and other notifications are pushed using a MAPI connection. Push allowed new data on the server to be immediately pushed out to the user without delay.
The evolution of email has provided users more abilities than just sending/receiving emails. POP and IMAP connections are still popular today and are used with many free email services such as Yahoo.com and Gmail.com, and are even bundled in from some website providers when you purchase your domain. However, for most businesses the added features that an Exchange mailbox provides through a MAPI connection are a requirement to keep their business efficient and productive.
Viral-Technology recommends and offers an Exchange MAPI connection to all of our customers. With affordable options that are usually less than one user's business card costs for a year, even small organizations can utilize these services with technology from today. Contact us to discuss your options.