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.
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
CATS Technology prides on providing proactive monitoring solutions and preventative system maintenance to our clients at an affordable price to include network security solutions, infrastructure support, hardware maintenance, software maintenance and other premium technical support. We support your customized systems and programs and provide a proven reduction in system downtime while protecting your data and safeguarding your business, all for an affordable monthly program fee.
Proactive Server Maintenance is a low cost way of making sure that the server systems you have are monitored, maintained and checked for issues on a regular basis. By having proactive, regular maintenance you avoid many of the most common reasons seen for systems failure.
Some of the tasks done in a proactive maintenance includes:
- Basic 24×7 Monitoring
- Windows Updates
- Security fixes
- Event Logs review and corrections
- Disk space review and cleaning
- Antivirus and Backup Validations and reconciliations
- Quarterly Object Recovery Test
- Automated Server Maintenance
- Quarterly Basic System Administrator Review
Thanks to our proactive support services which feature the Guardian, our new advanced alerting system, and speedy response time, you can rest assured that we will be notified of problems as soon as they occur and will respond accordingly.
Due to the perceived inconvenience of preventative maintenance, CATS Technology prefers to rely on scheduled maintenance to perform the required system maintenance in a time frame that disrupts other users as little as possible. Scheduled maintenance is ideal for actions like emptying temporary files, running defragmentation programs on hard discs, and clearing out server caches. CATS Technology professionals may not always be able to wait until scheduled maintenance to address particularly dire problems with a computer or server. When possible, however, the administrators will often allow minor issues to persist and simply be worked around until the scheduled maintenance can be completed, rather than interrupt the users that rely on the system.
As of April 8, 2014, Microsoft will be officially ending support of Windows XP. As the lifecycle for the popular OS comes to an end, it is important to understand what will be changing, and how this will effect your operations. For New Jersey medical practices who use EMR software specifically, it means that you need to know the effect an outdated operating system will have on your HIPAA compliance status.
What exactly happens when an OS or other software product reaches the end of a life-cycle?
Essentially, the product becomes ‘disowned’ by the company. In the case of XP, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates, non-security related hotfixes, free or paid support, or online technical content updates. Though ‘non-compliant’ may be too heavy a term to describe the effects of staying with XP, the continued use of XP machines can pose a real threat to system security. Once support is fully discontinued, machines will become increasingly vulnerable to attack and security breach due to the unavailability of security updates or patches.
Machines that go unpatched are highly susceptible to being compromised, and when attacked, can serve as a conduit to install malicious software, or ‘malware’ on a device or network. Once a particular device or network has been compromised, there are any number of possibilities as to what type of program, or virus can be installed, and to what information or data can be compromised, or even lost. Another major concern of using a non-supported OS is that third-party vendors and software manufacturers may also stop offering applications and updates for instances of their software running on an antiquated OS.
What you can do.
The best course of action to take if you are running Windows XP at this point, is to completely update your OS to Windows 7 or 8. More often than not, this will also require updating hardware as well, as many older systems are not up to spec to support the newer operating systems. A viable alternative when hardware upgrades are not an option, is to deploy Windows XP in a virtual environment, but this is only recommended if the EMR software vendor supports virtualization.
The head of the New Jersey office initially approached us because they were having a lot of problems with their IT system. They were down on a regular basis and were losing productivity and money. They had twenty computers and two servers, and were experiencing system failures and many other issues.
Advanced Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Institute is a large medical group with eight doctors and about fifty employees. When we were first contacted, they were forming the group from two separate practices in separate locations. They had an IT company handling their systems, but they were not getting things done quickly enough. Nor could it bring crucial new Electronic Medical Records (EMR) applications online. AOSMI called CATS to make the new application work and to combine the two locations…
Younan Properties owns and manages 34 Class A skyscrapers across the country, covering over 15 million square feet of commercial property valued at approximately 2 billion dollars. In 2006, they also owned a hotel in Dallas, TX, which they were trying to sell. Another IT firm had implemented a wireless guest services technology that was constantly failing. No one would buy the hotel unless this technology worked and guests were using it. The hotel management asked CATS to help bail them out.
Cedit is a small-to-medium-sized company that imports fruit from Italy, for sale in New Jersey. We met with the owner in 2007 when he was just starting the company. He wanted to use a custom software application called Famous to handle the importing logistics and sales and billing, and needed a complete set up of his IT systems. They basically had nothing.
Leon G. Silver is a wholesale insurance brokerage intermediary based in Cranford, New Jersey. They had been working with another IT company and felt they were being overcharged so they called CATS. We evaluated the situation and agreed that we could offer them improved, more cost-effective service. They were paying nearly $100 an hour more than what we proposed, so before we even began our work, we knew we would be able to save them nearly $3000 a month.
Stadium is an oil wrecker company that buys junked cars and sells the parts; they also accept donations of cars for charity tax write-offs. When they called CATS, they had nothing in the way of a cohesive IT system—no network, no structure, no file sharing, and no security.
I just want to take a moment to thank the crew at CATS Technology Solutions for the incredible IT solutions and support they have provided to our firm for the last two years. CATS Technology Group can be called upon for anything that is IT related and they always develop a well thought out solution for our practice.
Active Imprints is a small business that does custom printing on a variety of items, including shirts, pens, cups, etc. They are headquartered in Monmouth Junction, New Jersey, with an office in Long Beach Island. When we met with them, they had about 10 users, two servers, and a network that was failing on a daily basis. They were literally unable to work.
It is my pleasure to recommend CATS Technology for all your Integrated IT services. I have been working with CATS for the past six months, and I have seen significant changes to our services, systems and overall work practices by my staff.