CATS Technology Blog
Welcome to the CATS Technology blog!
Our goal is to use this blog to discuss and share with you the topics that you need to know in order to get the most out of your IT services and support. Some of you may already be our clients while others may be considering switching your IT services provider or hiring an IT company for the first time. While we hope you’ll choose to work with CATS Technology Solutions Group, anyone interested in the latest trends and issues that effect your business as it relates to the technologies that run your business can benefit from reading and participating in this blog.
Some of the topics we will focus on in this blog include:
- Managed IT services
- IT consulting services
- EMR – Electronic Medical Records
- Server Virtualization services
- Microsoft server consulting
- Cloud computing services
Please check back often, comment and share when appropriate. And let us know if there’s a related topic you would like us to write about. You can contact us using the contact form on the right.
The UCLA health system notified 4.5 million patients on Friday that their protected health information had been compromised in one of the largest HIPAA breaches to date. UCLA first noticed suspicious activity on it’s network back in October of 2014, and has determined the breach to be made at some point in September, according to a statement by UCLA.
“We take this attack on our systems extremely seriously,” said James Atkinson, MD, interim associate vice chancellor and president of the UCLA Hospital System, in a July 17 statement. “We sincerely regret any impact this incident may have on those we serve.”
Among the data accessed by the attack were Social Security numbers, medical diagnoses, diseases, clinical procedures, test results, addresses, and dates of birth.
The announcement by UCLA marks the latest in a series of similar large-scale healthcare attacks. This past February nearly 80 million members and employees of Anthem BCBS had their personal data compromised, and in January 11 million members of Premera BCBS had theirs compromised as well.
“This should serve as yet another wake up call for those who haven’t gotten it yet,” healthcare security consultant Mac McMillan said after the Anthem breach in February. “Healthcare is a target.”
With CATS Guardian Managed Antivirus protection, you get enterprise-class protection of all network endpoints with 24×7 monitoring and management by our team of technicians. We make sure that your environment regularly receives all of the necessary updates so that we can verify that you are protected at all times!
You might be wondering what the big deal is about managed antivirus solutions, or why you couldn’t just use a retail antivirus product to protect your business. The truth is, these products are great for the home-user, or even the small business user with one or two computers and no central networking architecture. But when you are dealing with centrally administered networks and equipment, stored data, shared applications, etc. the risks become high, so you must be proactive, and have your finger on the pulse of your network at all times. Networked environments like the ones we manage, are higher-profile targets for hackers and malware developers, so the stakes are higher.
Here are the benefits to using an enterprise-class managed antivirus product for your business.
- Reduced network traffic and administration time.
Most AV definition files are just 1 or 2 MB, which is not a bad download size at all for a single machine to handle. But on a networked environment with a few servers and PCs, you could see how the data transfer gets exponentially larger. On top of that, stand-alone antivirus software require each computer to be directly connected to the internet. This means opening a port in your firewall (if you have one) for all machines and downloading the same data repeatedly. Not a smart, or secure decision.
- Continuous management.
With unmanaged solutions, many users turn the antivirus protection off because it can slow their computer down or because they believe their usage habits are not compromising security. Managed antivirus solutions usually can’t be uninstalled or turned off, meaning your systems are continually protected.
- Nominal cost.
Most managed antivirus solutions are offered as a monthly package, where companies pay per user. For some companies, this solution is more affordable per user than a non-managed solution. This is especially true if you have a high number of users and need to purchase multiple licenses.
- Across-the-board security.
With a managed service, your IT partner will make sure to install software on all your systems. This means that there should be the same program installed on your systems, and that the antivirus will be updated to ensure that systems are protected from new security threats that come along.
So, what’s the catch?
The first thing we look for with a premium product is catch. While the cost for a managed antivirus product is nominal, it’s true that the total rate can climb for very large organizations. This cost is usually still no more expensive than using unmanaged products on each device however. Even for those organizations conscious about their IT spending, consider the cost comparison between deploying a managed antivirus program, and the astronomical costs of having your entire network manually cleaned out in case of infection, and add to that the financial burden of lost or compromised data, disruption of workflow, and potential liability issues that can accompany data breaches. You’ll see quickly that no matter how you break it down, managed antivirus will save you money in the long-term!
When you should switch.
Simple. Now! For businesses with one or two computers, a managed antivirus shouldn’t be a pressing concern. But if you run an integrated IT environment with numerous machines and devices, fill out the form below and ask us for a quote on managed antivirus. There are a few technical requirements for deployment that most environments already have, like an always-on internet connection and current Operating System. We’d be happy to provide a no-cost assessment of your environment and let you know if managed antivirus protection is a viable choice for you.
Windows Updates causing server compatibility issues with Windows XP machines
As previously reported, Microsoft support for the Windows XP operating system has ended. Over the last few months, CATS Technology has encountered compatibility issues between Windows XP machines and various Windows servers as new server-side updates are released and applied.
UPDATE YOUR SYSTEM NOW
On April 8, 2014 Microsoft ended security updates and technical support for the Windows XP operating system. In order to maintain a safe and secure network, it is imperative that customers and partners migrate to a modern operating system such as Windows 7 or 8. Customers moving to a modern operating system will benefit from dramatically enhanced security, broad device choice for a mobile workforce, higher user productivity, and a lower total cost of ownership through improved management capabilities.
WINDOWS XP MACHINES ARE NO LONGER SAFE!
Windows XP machines are no longer considered protected. If some of your systems are still running Windows XP, contact CATS Technology to get your systems up to date. Keeping your systems updated is critical for the security of your data and for the life of the machine.
CONTACT CATS TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS GROUP
For any questions, please email CATS Technology at Support@CATSTechnology.com or call us at 732-204-7100.
Most people are aware by this point of the internet-wide security vulnerability known as ‘Heartbleed’, which effected many web applications which used OpenSSL technology. While there was great potential for serious breaches in security with Heartbleed, the actual damage was minimal. The reason that Heartbleed was so potentially serious, was because it provided a backdoor through which a malicious individual could easily intercept digital data that is supposed to be kept secure such as confidential records, passwords, and credit card and payment information. Luckily this was all fixed before there was any serious exploitation, and with a few strategic password changes, we’re back to life as usual.
So why are we not hearing the same hoopla about Windows XP?
In early April, Microsoft pulled the plug on the Windows XP operating system, which means that it will no longer be offering updates, security patches, etc. Don’t be fooled by the fact that your computer still powers up and runs, any machine still running XP presents a massive security risk. As malicious individuals in the hacker community know that the source code for Windows XP is now final, never to be changed, it gives them a still target, so to speak, on which they can hone their hacking skills and exploit vulnerabilities in the current, and final version of the software, knowing that none of the vulnerabilities will later be secured, as with an actively supported platform.
Why Windows XP is now a bigger threat than Heartbleed ever was.
Heartbleed was the discovery of a single vulnerability, on an otherwise strong, stable platform. When the vulnerability was discovered a patch was released immediately, mitigating most of the threat, and declaring null and void the work of those malicious individuals who spent all of that time searching for it. Post-patch OpenSSL technology is as reliable as ever, and the risk associated with use today remains low. Windows XP on the other hand, is a platform that going forward is perpetually at risk. There is no more proactive mitigation of threat taking place, and each day that passes with such a machine still in use, represents a greater risk than the day before.
Keep Your Data Safe – Talk to an IT Professional Today
In order to keep your data, and IT infrastructure safe, as well as save your business from the potential economic and non-economic costs involved with having a compromised network, talk to an IT professional today about upgrading your systems to newer, safer, more secure versions of Windows.
Beloved customers and colleagues,
You’ve probably heard it in the news. “Heartbleed” is the most severe internet threat in history. To summarize, Heartbleed is the name of a vulnerability discovered in certain versions of the open-source security product called OpenSSL. By utilizing the vulnerability, a hacker can gain access to a variety of sensitive data within a server that is utilizing one of the affected versions of OpenSSL.
At this time, there are no confirmed cases of this vulnerability being used for any malicious activity.
Internally, we have been running a variety of network vulnerability tests for our clients to ensure that their internal networks are secure.
Many of the most popular products in use by our clients have been confirmed as not being affected by the Heartbleed bug. This includes, but is not limited to SonicWALL devices and Microsoft IIS. While Cisco has confirmed that some of their services use OpenSSL, the public-facing interfaces of such devices have not been affected. In addition, CATS Technology has performed independent vulnerability scanning of the questioned devices and found no security risk.
While it may sound scary, the entire internet-facing community has been working diligently since its discovery to patch all affected systems. Many affected sites are also advising their users to change their passwords as a precaution. Click here to see a detailed list of many popular sites and the suggested action for each. Please note though that the link is not associated with CATS Technology and is not an all-inclusive list.
At CATS Technology, we remain committed to keeping your systems as safe and secure as possible. If you’re an UltimateCare subscriber, we are consistently keeping your antivirus and network firewall software up to date and proactively monitoring and maintaining your backup systems. While it is impossible to guarantee that no malware will make its way through a protected network, we are here for you to help reduce its likelihood as well as assist in recovery when needed. If you are not an UltimateCare subscriber, contact us for details on how we can help your business.
– The team at CATS Technology