Last week we discussed the consequences of allowing your systems to pass their end of life and continuing to use them. One of the larger issues is the increased potential of malware on your machines. Not only can this affect your desktops, but it can spread to the whole network. With malware attacks not slowing down, is this really a chance you can afford to take?

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We’ve been talking a lot about how end of life can negatively impact commonly used servers and desktops, but did you know this can affect your email software as well? In addition to Server 2008 and Windows 7, Exchange 2010 will be ending their support in January of 2020, which means any updates and patches will cease for your email as well.

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Now that you know what EOL (end of life) means, let’s discuss what that means to your business. Previously mentioned in The Ping: End of Life, allowing end of life software on your network can leave you susceptible to malware and allow your company software to lose the ability to obtain updates and upgrades on either a server or desktop platform.

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With every Microsoft product you purchase there is a known EOL, or End of Life. Simply put, it’s an expiration date for your software or licensing. The most common reason is due to advancements and/or changes in technology that lead to your current purchases becoming obsolete. That is not to say that the software or devices that you recently purchased aren’t advanced for their current life cycle, but at one time we also believed that Windows 95 was so advanced we couldn’t imagine we would ever need a new operating system again. Fast forward to 2019 and we are 8 OS versions past Windows 95 with Windows 10.

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We’ve talked a lot about what you can do on a smaller scale to keep your home and personal IoT (Internet of Things) devices secure, but what about your home network? While it might not seem like it, your home has its own network infrastructure. Most people assume that if their network is up and running and they can connect to the internet, then everything is okay. Like your car, assuming that it is running fine is not the best way to handle it. You need to maintain your network and check up on it regularly. So you are probably asking, what exactly does that entail?

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It is probably safe to say that the majority of us carry around some type of smart device. Whether it is an iPhone, Galaxy, Pixel, Note, or Jitterbug, these devices play a huge role in our daily lives. We use these “phones” more for interacting with the internet than to talk, on the phone, to real live people. We routinely access almost all of our personal information including email, social media, and even confidential information such as banking or business from them. Not to mention our phones often act as the “remote control” that gives us the ability to control the smart devices in our IoT (Internet of Things) network (i.e. lightbulbs, garage doors, security systems, etc.). What’s true is that most of us have setup a screen unlock code or pattern to access our devices, apps, and data in an effort to secure our information. We also rarely let it out of our sight in order to feel like the information is safe, but that’s really not the case.

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With the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life a personal assistant surely would come in handy, right? While this may not be fiscally responsible, maybe a voice assistant would be. In our last article, The Ping: Voice Assistants, we discussed how a voice assistant can manage a lot of your needs. Things such as the weather for the day, the traffic to work and your grocery list. However, sometimes just managing your house is what you need the most help with. Are you aware that they can do that too and what they are really managing?

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2019 is here, and it is a special year for all concerned due to many Microsoft products going End of Life (EOL) in January of 2020. We’ve covered the whys of EOL in previous pings, so in this edition we would like to remind you of the importance of keeping your servers updated and workstations rebooted when prompted. We discussed this necessity in The Ping: Updates and Upgrades, and we encourage you to review it. Staying ahead of the game will help prevent down time from malware and slow systems or hardware crashes. This edition of “The Ping!” should answer any lingering questions about Microsoft’s EOL policy and dates.

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As the year draws to a close, we want to remind you of how important it is to stay diligent with your cybersecurity awareness training and security updates. This year, like years past, cybersecurity breaches have topped headline news and may have affected you personally. Let’s review some of the larger breaches and malware risks this year. These are security breaches that allowed someone or some group to access personal information, and they could even access some examples of how that information was used.

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Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS)

Criminal Justice Information Services, or CJIS, is a division of the FBI that provides criminal justice information needed to perform law enforcement duties. It “serve[s] as the focal point and central repository for criminal justice information services in the FBI.” – FBI. In Texas this information is disseminated via the DPS and includes details such as vehicle registration, criminal history, driver’s license, license plate, firearm, etc. Because this information is highly sensitive and needs to be protected, CJIS provides security compliance requirements and performs audits to ensure these requirements are being met. Below are just a few example requirements of the Security Policy…

  • Security Awareness Training
  • Perimeter Intrusion Detection
  • Advanced Authentication
  • Maintain Log History
  • Change Management
  • Device Encryption

Failing a single audit flags an agency as non-compliant. If compliance is not achieved, the agency can lose access to the information and tools needed to perform their duties.

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