Home » Blog » network

Category: network

Public Sector IT Security

NEPA Public Sector IT Security

Are you in a NEPA local or state government entity? Are you worried about audits and compliance? Have you been quoted some solution that you can’t afford?

Ask us about our NG firewall and endpoint solutions!

Our NG (next generation) firewall has an option that was designed specifically for state and local government compliance. There are public sector discounts for all the security packages.

Already have a system in place? We ofter a conversion service as well as system optimization service. The NG firewall device can be installed “inline” which means you may not have to replace all your current network hardware.

We will monitor these solutions for you via our MSP/MSSP packages. Monitoring is part of compliance rules!

Some of the key features of Untangled NG Firewall:

  • Helps meet compliance for FISMA, NERC, NIST, FIPS, and several other state and county rules
  • Unique and granular policies for specific departmental and user access
  • Firewall, Router, IPsec VPN, Advanced Antivirus, Intrusion Prevention and Phish Blocking
  • HTTPS/SSL traffic inspection
  • Active Directory/LDAP Integration
  • Prioritize network traffic for mission-critical applications
  • Layer 7 application awareness to identify all incoming application traffic regardless of port destination
  • Prevents network slowdowns caused by any individual or group of users and applications

Give us a call at 570-779-4018 so we can schedule your free consult!

 

Spring Cleaning For Your Computers!

Spring is in the air here in NEPA! April is right around the corner. It is starting to warm up. You can feel the power of the spring sun. I can’t wait until it is in full swing so we can open the windows and breath the fresh air. However, before that happens, you should take care of all your computer issues so that you aren’t stuck inside recovering from computer system problems!

 

Spring Cleaning For Your Computer Systems!

When was the last time your computers were physically cleaned inside? Dirt and dust can accumulate on fans and filters causing poor circulation and increased the average temperature inside the computer and laptop case. Heat is the enemy of computers. It can cause odd issues like the PC acting peculiar, programs closing unexpectedly, slow performance, and shorten the life of your computer hardware. It is one of the main causes of unexpected computer system failure.

How about the system software and Windows or Mac OS (operating system)? When was the last time you had a thorough checkup? You need to keep your PCs and servers up to date so that security holes can not be exploited. Reviewing your current security system to find out if there are any more steps you need to take is a great idea as well.

Does your network or wireless need any firmware patches, system updates? Or maybe it is time to consider an upgrade due to aging equipment.

Our Spring Cleaning Service

  • Internal Cleaning – Remove dirt and dust from filters, fans, and physical surfaces
  • System Update – Patch the windows or mac OS to the latest version
  • Software Update – Patch all software to the latest version
  • Security – Make sure your security system is up to date and working properly and review possible network security holes
  • Network and Wireless – Update to the last software and firmware and review for possible hardware upgrades
  • Battery Backup – Verify they are working properly and replace if needed
  • Software Backup – Verify your backup software is working, up to date, and review your disaster recovery plan
  • Storage Needs – Review the data and programs that you still use and remove the ones you don’t

Each customer is unique so the cost will depend on your system size and configuration. Please call (570) 779-4018 for a free estimate.

Our pricing information can be found on our service pages.

Take 20% OFF Spring Cleaning until April 7th!

Call (570) 779-4018 to schedule an appointment before they are all taken!

Spring Cleaning! Time to freshen up your computers!
Spring is on the way!! Our soon to be Tech deep in thought.

You can afford security in your business!

I hear it all the time. We are only 5 users. I can’t afford security. Why would someone try to hack into our firm? What we have works just fine.

Hopefully, you have never had to rely on your home or car insurance but there is a reason for it. Think of taking steps protect yourself from cyber criminals as insurance. It is MUCH more expensive to recover from an attack. Beyond the time spent for a professional to help you or paying the ransom, you may be liable for your employees and customers data.

You need security

You need security to protect you, your clients and your business.

The trend of malware being directly targeted at small business continues to grow. 2016 was the year of ransomware and 2017 is shaping up to be worse. Small business has the most to loose. You are the most likely to pay. You are becoming their favorite target.

You can do something about it!

Here is a sample quote for a five user single location office with a local file server. This assumes that there is a basic network, PCs and a server in place.

Some of the items in the list could be optional depending on your current office configuration.

pfSense® Security Appliance $225.00
Wireless Access Port AC $130.00
8 port “smart” switch $70.00
Miscelanous patch cables and parts $50.00
Install and security configuration $500.00
Total $975.00

Opt in for our Gold level service for $50 a month per workstation and $150 a month per server and receive:

  • 24/7 Network Monitoring
  • Daily Backup Monitoring
  • Patch Managment (Your systems, router, and programs always up to date)
  • Year-End Technology Review
  • Monthly Audit and Tune Up
  • Endpoint Software Included (Anti-virus and Anti-malware)
  • Cloud File Backup up to 250 GB
  • 4 hour Guaranteed Response
  • Next Business Day Guaranteed On-site
  • Hourly rate reduced 20%

 

This configuration would last years and you gain the following:

  • High-speed secure wireless with expandable coverage and a secure guest wireless and captive portal option
  • High-speed VOIP (Voice over IP) friendly router and firewall that is much faster, flexible and expandable than a consumer class option
  • Snort IPS/IDS (Intrusion Protection/Intrusion Detection) that can be custom configured
  • Multi-level malicious website protection and website content control
  • Endpoint Security from Avast and AVG
  • Easy to configure site-to-site and remote VPN configuration so you can access your files from home

This is just an example. Depending on your demands and how secure you want to be, we may need to modify this to fit your requirements.

Give us a call at 570-779-4018 to discuss your options!

 

5 Undeniable Reasons Your Business Is Ready for Professional Network

Way to go! Your business has grown at lightning speeds and you’ve been adding new workers and computers along the way. Now that you’re sure everything is on track to succeed, it’s time to level up your network to a robust, scalable setup.

Why? Here are the top 5 reasons to call in the networking professionals today:

Speed: They say time is money, but time spent waiting for a large file to transfer person-to-person or across a bottle-necked system is torture. As a small business this lost time was negligible, but as your business has grown, so has transfer time. While it may only be 5 minutes a day to start, with roughly 260 work days in a year, that 5 minutes a day turns into 21 hours. It all adds up. Unfortunately, the impact of this lost time reaches well beyond the time taken to pass a flash drive around the office or queue up downloads from the internet – it’s a break in workflow and concentration that can almost double the time off-task.

Efficiency: Almost every business requires employees to share digital files. Until now, you may have gotten by with a simple setup and minimal security, but as your workforce has grown, so has your network load. Each computer, storage drive and device adds further burdens onto your network, resulting in a slower transfer, errors, time off task, and even faster hardware failure. A professional network design will give your employees a central file storage location, with the added benefit of auto-saving and backups. No more losing hours of valuable effort or surprise file corruptions, just a scalable, secure server with smooth and efficient transfers.

Collaboration: Employees often need to work together on the same documents. Previously, this required them to take turns, waiting until someone else was finished before the file was available. With a modern network setup, collaboration becomes an organic, profitable way to work. Employees don’t even need to be in the same physical location, opening up opportunities for remote collaboration.

Confidentiality: Every business needs to keep a few secrets. Whether they’re trade secrets or accounting data, you have complete control over who sees what. Your network professional will be able to establish a setup that meets your business’ unique confidentiality needs. Perhaps you’ll have the CEO able to see everything, sales staff can only see sales data, and accounting can only see accounts. Set your access controls based on name, department, role or go further and require passwords for certain folders.

Flexibility: Expand your connection flexibility with wireless networking for employees who are required to roam within the building, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) for those working at home, or even docking ports for those who switch between locations. A professional network setup will always support the way your business works, both now and as you continue to grow.

Your business’ ability to securely share, store and transfer files will be one of the key contributors to continued growth. The speed, efficiency and flexibility you build into your processes now will save you time, money, and a whole lot of frustration. It’s time to celebrate how far your business has come by looking to the future, with a robust, scalable network that supports your vision.

Give us a call at 570-779-4018 to discuss your new network.

Get More From Your Firewall!

Simple to use and fast.

The Sophos XG Firewall combines instant visibility of key security areas with intuitive policy management, painless navigation, and blistering performance.

Security Heartbeat™

Advanced attacks are more coordinated than ever. Now your defenses are too. Our revolutionary Security Heartbeat™ lets your endpoint protection and firewall talk to each other. It’s a simple yet effective idea that means you get better protection against advanced threats and spend less time responding to incidents.

Powerful management and scalability

Sophos XG Firewall provides unprecedented visibility into your network, users, and applications right from an all new control center. You also get rich, on-box reporting as well as the option to add Sophos iView for centralized reporting across multiple firewalls.

  • Sophos Firewall Manager Centralized Management.
  • Sophos iView Centralized Reporting.
  • Clustering and Redundancy.
  • Flexible Deployment Options.

Optimized for the Enterprise

Sophos XG Firewall delivers the ultimate enterprise firewall performance, security, and control.

  • Fastpath packet optimization technology with up to 140 Gbps throughput.
  • Revolutionary Security Heartbeat™ for improved Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) and response.
  • Patented Layer-8 user identity control and visibility.
  • Unified App, Web, QoS, and IPS Policy simplifies management.
  • App risk factor and user threat quotient monitors risk levels.

Enterprise Quality Wireless at Small Business Prices

Does your small business need enterprise quality wireless at an affordable price? Why would you even want enterprise quality wireless? WLAN or wireless local area network is becoming more and more important to all businesses with the increased use of tablets, phones, and other network-enabled devices. You need to provide secure internet access for your employees and your customers and you need to keep that internet access separate from your business network. We offer some specialized configurations that can restrict usage level and website access as well.

Some of the features that may convince you to switch from that department store router:

  • Better Coverage — easy to add access points, band steering, airtime fairness
  • Higher Speed — Up to 1300 Mbps with AC pro access points
  • Increased Security — guest network, download speed control, multiple SSIDs, VLAN support
  • Reduced Interference — embedded technology rejects interference using specialized circuitry
  • Reporting and Monitoring — analyzing trouble devices, usage and coverage problems

Contact us and we will analyze your current wireless setup and recommend a solution.

enterprise quality wireless
UniFi® Wireless Access Point

Why you should ask us about pfSense…

The pfSense firewall is a high-performance platform for small business routing, VPN, IPS (intrusion protection), and firewall. It also has some other features that really lend itself to being a valuable addition to any small business environment. The hardware pfSense runs on is generally expandable and upgradable so it can grow with you and your business. Alternatively, you can install it on a retired PC unit with multiple network cards to save some upfront costs. It won’t be quite as fast as a newer unit, but it will do the job.

 

Features

Some of the top features:

  • Virtual Private Network (VPN) — You can setup VPN connections for your users, to your other locations or to your cloud services.
  • Reporting and Monitoring — Maintain historical information of usage and quality so you can understand what is going on with your system and understand what you might need to expand for future growth.
  • Multi-Wan — Need 100% up time or just want faster internet? Order internet from 2 local providers and split the service.
  • Captive Portal — Force authentication to your network for an extra layer of security
  • High Availability — Configure failover or synchronize to a spare router so you have minimal downtime if hardware fails.
  • Firewall — Advance firewall that allows for multiple levels of granular control including up to layer 7 (Application level) control which means you can filter things like OS version.
  • IPS/IDS — Packet level security via Snort or Suricata.
  • Traffic Shaping — make sure there is always enough bandwidth for important services like remote desktop or Citrix users.

Value

Since pfSense is based on FreeBSD, we can install some other interesting things on the router like the interface for our favorite Unifi wireless system. This essentially turns your router into a low-cost wireless concentrator which can save you even more money when you upgrade your wireless system.

The hardware is inexpensive compared to some of the other big brands. There is commercial support available. There aren’t any extra hidden fees for security and licensing. One user costs the same as fifty users. We can set up a support contract or a charge on per incident basis.  It is enterprise-level routing and security at small business prices.

pfSense - Logo

 

 

BYOD, "Apple, the Apple logo and iPhone are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries."

Do you allow BYOD at your workplace?

Do your SMB employees connect their personal devices to your wireless? Do you have policies implemented for bring-your-own-device (BYOD)? Do you let them browse whatever websites they want? Do they have full access to your business wireless?

If you gave out your wireless password to one of your employees, more than likely all of them have it. That most likely means a large number of devices have uncontrolled access to your network. Do you know what apps are installed? Do they have passwords? Are they rooted or jailbroken? Do they have antivirus and malware protection installed?

BYOD Security Risks

BYOD or “bring your own device” can mean a few different things. Sometimes it simply means allowing your employees access to your wireless with their personal devices (phone, tablet, laptop, etc). Sometimes it involves allowing the users direct access to your mail server or file sharing services. In any case, it presents a number of potential security threats that you may not even be aware of.

  • The devices may not be locked down with password protection. Anyone can pick up the device and gain access to your network or worse, your sensitive business email or data.
  • The devices may be “rooted” or “jailbroken” which could allow malicious software onto the devices and your network. This means a device with software looking to steal your data can be already lurking in your network and it could be on someones phone, not just their laptop.
  • The devices may not have up to date virus and malware protection. This can also provide a path for malicious software to be inside your network.
  • The devices may not be encrypted. If a device is stolen, data can be retrieved from a unencrypted device. This data could include passwords and access to VPNs.

BYOD Advantages

BYOD can provide some benefits to the workplace so sometimes it is worth putting the security and effort in to allow devices in your workplace.

  • Allowing your workers access to free wireless internet can make the workers more happy and thus more productive.
  • Allowing your workers to access company email and information via their personal device can enhance productivity. Not only will they be using a device and software that they are comfortable with, they will also have access to this information from outside the office.
  • Allowing BYOD could also save you money. You may not need to purchase a new laptop, tablet or phone for they new employee if they bring their own.

BYOD Disadvantages

BYOD also has some disadvantages that you must consider before investing the time and money to allow them into your workplace.

  • Your IT resource will have to manage the devices. Beyond the obvious cost, employees may be concerned with their personal privacy.
  • Your IT resource will need to stay up to date with devices, wireless and network security.
  • You may incur more licensing fees for each device that is attached to the system.
  • There is a chance your staff will be using the devices for personal use during work hours.

BYOD Solutions

There are multiple ways that BYOD can be configured in your environment. If you don’t want to bother with the more advanced issues, I strongly recommend implementing security guest/employee wireless that doesn’t have access to you main network. If possible, this guest network should be throttled to make sure they don’t use all of you business internet bandwidth. There are some cost-effective ways that this can be done.

To tackle the more advanced issues, you need to come up with a BYOD policy and enforce it. This will help determine what type of hardware and software you need to control your BYOD environment. This doesn’t always mean you have to spend boatloads of money. There are ways to be secure and productive without breaking the bank.

Cyber Security Review

Do you need a cyber security review? The simple answer is yes.cyber security

 

Bussiness of all sizes need to worry about cyber security. You have a responsibility to your employees and customers to protect their data. Beyond that, your business can be liable if you haven’t taken reasonable steps to secure your employees and customers data. If you haven’t already taken notice, insurance companies are now offering cyber security insurance to protect your company. Even these programs tend to have base security requirements that you need to meet and buying insurance isn’t all you should do.

 

These are some top cyber security points that you should be concerned about:

  • Keep all your software and systems updated
  • Update and monitor malware protection software on PCs, servers, and firewalls
  • Create an Internet access policy for your employees
  • Use strong passwords
  • Limit administrative access
  • Use VPNs for mobile access
  • Data encryption
  • Secure your static and mobile devices
  • Multi-location full system backups
  • Secure mobile connections
  • Network and wireless security
  • Cyber security insurance

 

Cyber security is a multi-tiered complex issue. You don’t have to figure it all out on your own. Contact us for help.

Do you need a network review?

network reviewDo you need a network review?

How is old is your router? You are not still using that old blue and gray Linksys BEFSR11/BEFSR41 with the 10BaseT WAN port to connect to your high-speed internet,  Right? On a good day that router will top out at 8Mbps. Since these days most internet service is above 8Mbps, you are limiting your speed right at the router.  At last check, my home connection was running around 115Mbps. This means that even a more recent 100Mbps router will slow my line down.

How about your primary switch? I hope it is a switch and not an old hub. Is it 100Mbps? Do you have a stack of switches connected by 100BaseTX? Can you benefit from a 1Gbps  upgrade? It may be beneficial to upgrade an older 1Gbps switch for a faster backbone. Moving to a layer 3 switch may allow you manage your network better and offer services like guest wi-fi via VLAN configuration.

How about your wi-fi?  802.11g is just 54Mbps on a good day. 802.11n and now 802.11ac have impressive speed and are much better at streaming content. Another significant reason to upgrade your WAP (Wireless access point) or Wireless router is to provide internet access to your customers or employees without compromising your company network. Even at home it is nice to allow your guests access to high-speed Internet but not worry if they device they are using is secure or not.

How about your network security?  Most older routers have very little to offer in the way of security. A simple firewall is no longer enough. You are not still using the default password, right? There are new forms of malware that hack routers and replace your DNS settings which can cause all types of security issues. Some new malware can hijack your router and use their resources in DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks.  Not only does this slow down your internet speed it can cause havoc to the target of the attack.

We can help you answer some of the questions.  Contact us and we would be glad to stop and give you a network review/site survey to determine if newer networking technology will help your business.