Monthly Archive August 2009

ByDaniel Gottilla

IT Career Planning

Despite a rough economy, choosing a career in the IT field has never been a better idea. Not only is the field poised to grow over the next decade, but there are more options than ever before in temporary, part-time, or even overseas placement.

Whether you are starting out straight from college, or you have years of experience in the field, there are opportunities in information technology that will keep you operating at your best.

For College Graduates

One of the key components that college recruiters root into the brains of students is: NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK. It is all about who you know. Get your name out there by interning, volunteering, and working on related school projects. This will often help down the road when you are hunting for you suitable career.

You might also want to consider working with an IT staffing company to help build experience and diversify your resume. Because jobs are offered on a temporary and part-time basis, you can grow your skills and undergo training as you work out in the field.

For Experienced Professionals

Internet employment agencies have become a new wave for companies pursuing new faces because they broadly cover individuals rather than focusing on one group or area. These types of agencies also offer greater competition, and it is convenient to update your portfolio/profile as you expand your experience and skills.

Companies like Guidance Consulting also provide a helpful tool to use for IT information of any kind, including employment opportunities as well as “how-to” steps toward fulfilling IT needs in any industry. Because you are working with an established firm, you also get to make contacts with a wide network of individuals and professionals in information technology.

ByDaniel Gottilla

Understanding Security Breaches

An important part of a disaster recovery system is preparing for security breaches. A security breach is any intentional act on a network of any kind. Even though a company might survive a breach and successfully retrieve its ‘stolen’ information, the biggest problem of the entire disaster is that this information is no longer secure. In this case, the use of recovery tools is simply not enough to regain client’s trust – or even meet all federal guidelines.

This incident is similar to that of identity theft. The results can be disastrous to an individual regarding credit, stolen money, and the hassle of resolving it all. The same goes for a company. If this situation were to occur, a company’s reputation would be on the line as well as the threat of their security system.

So, how can you prevent this from happening again? How can you recover from the damage?

In order to secure companies after a major disaster like this, it’s best to first secure the software and hardware of the network. Make certain that all non-vulnerable areas (such as firewalls and verification servers) are secure. Secondly, make certain to involve an IT specialist. Although you are dealing with machinery and technology, specialized human monitoring could be the key to preventing these disasters from occuring again.

At the end of the day, the most important part of a company is its INFORMATION. That is the answer, nothing else. Without it there would be no profit, no clientele, no business. We use technology to protect technology but that is simply not enough. Without the proper specialist to operate the security system, resources are vulnerable and recovery tools are useless.

ByDaniel Gottilla

How to Outsmart Hackers

Hackers are a form of intelligent disease geared toward businesses. When it comes to IT infrastructure, the only way to outsmart hackers is to think like them. This is vital information to keep in mind while developing an IT team. Hackers may use any aspect of business vulnerability in order to gain a connection to the desired information. Social engineering is also a key method for these threatening individuals because of the information that they can potentially obtain.

If an IT team successfully secures a company’s system, than breaching into that network becomes more difficult for a hacker; unfortunately, these individuals are specialized in manipulating people to get the information they want. This is known as social engineering.

Techniques of social engineering to be aware of are:

  • Smooth-talking or flattering potential information holders
  • Suspiciously gaining trust
  • Manipulating employees to learn information on system operations
  • Impersonating authoritative personnel via phone or e-mail

Though these are difficult traits to identify, suspicious individuals asking for access to e-mail accounts or password changes (or any other task that should be operated by a system administrator) should be taken into consideration as a potential hacker. Simple solutions toward avoiding hackers include educating employees about hackers and their methods, securing private information by informing only qualified personnel, and implementing procedures for password protection that ensures no outside party gains access to it.

If employees are not properly trained to avoid a violation from a hacker, than the company becomes more vulnerable to these threatening individuals. Thinking like a hacker can result in keeping your business vulnerable and securing its most vital information.

ByDaniel Gottilla

How Important are Data Backups?

Preparing for an IT disaster should be an essential task for any company. The unthinkable can occur at any given time and in order to overcome such things, a system providing data backup is critical. Disasters such as power outages happen frequently and we cannot solely rely on our computers to save the information that we have faithfully store on them.

Data backup is the process of duplicating the information that the computer stores in order to restore vital information. There are two reasons why data backups are exceedingy helpful:

  1. In order to restore a dysfunctional computer after an incident
  2. In order to recover corrupt, deleted, or unsaved files

Guidance Consulting believes that, though data backups are the final state of defense in the event of a disaster, it is the most important component. Evidence has shown that if a company loses access to data for more than two days, that company is likely to close within a year. Information is a key factor toward building a business as well as stabilizing it.

Data backup requires a great amount of strategy and planning. It requires a time-consuming process that is vital toward its success. Without the essential steps toward developing a successful data recovery system, the well-being of a company could be at stake.

ByDaniel Gottilla

Hiring an IT Team

When hiring for any job, you search to find the most qualified applicant. The same goes for building the ideal IT team, only this task is more extensive, complicated, and rewarding. The ideal candidates must not only be well trained with experience and credentials, but also be skilled in creativity and individualism. When you have a goal to reach levels of high safety and security, you trust that the professionals providing this service are the reliable and proficient at building this system.

In building a business from the ground up, there is much time and money invested in creating the best possible professional environment; building clientele, staffing efficient and qualified employees, and choosing the right technical machinery and support. With all of this at stake, running the risk of not having the most suitable IT team could be catastrophic.

The right team should be focused on the following criteria:

  • How much experience and training you need for the team
  • Compose a flexible thinking team-members who will compose a system best for a certain business and their employees
  • Members who can successfully pass a background check
  • Trustworthy, creative and resourceful individuals who can compliment one another as a team.

IT staff teams are made up similar to how a successful business is. Each member is carefully analyzed in order to resourcefully use all of his or her IT skills efficiently. Hiring this particular team is worrisome because they will have access to all of a company’s important and confidential information. It is only good sense to use the most reliable tactics to build the team that is most suitable for individual businesses.

ByDaniel Gottilla

Getting to Know Guidance Consulting

It’s impossible to offer tips, advice, and information on the field of IT for too long without eventually feeling the need to make a formal introduction. That’s especially true for us here at Guidance Consulting, since our primary focus is on creating the kind of relationships that allow for collaboration and a true team environment.

So without further ado, we’d like to introduce you to our company and what we do.

The industry of information technology is growing rapidly throughout the professional world. Though this seems fit for most businesses, Guidance Consulting has abundant services that assist every type of business. Rather than the common technology queries and renovations, Guidance Consulting implements solutions that increase productivity.

Aside from the basic needs of IT, Guidance Consulting focuses on keeping a successful clientele doing what it is they do best by establishing network safety and providing them with professional growth. These businesses in turn earn the ability to expand in this growing IT environment and successfully become industrial leaders.

Among these services offered are:

  • Information Security Consulting
  • Enterprise System Monitoring
  • Contract Recruiting
  • Technology Staffing Solutions
  • Information Technology Outsourcing

The purpose of Guidance Consulting is to secure the safety of companies in order for them the keep their hard earned reputation. After all, a disaster in any area of life may occur at any time. We, as individuals, prepare for them by providing ourselves with medical insurance and practicing safety precautions. Businesses should be given the same protection as their downfall may be catastrophic, as well.

In order to introduce clients to efficient business tactics, Guidance Consulting provides all of these services and grants companies stabilization, progression, and expansion toward achieving all of their professional goals.

ByDaniel Gottilla

Information Security in the Movies

For most people, information technology is a not the stuff of action and heroics. Information security and the Internet bring to mind images of uptight computer programmers and tech support workers who know much more about your computer than you ever thought possible.

To be fair, there is quite a bit of room for intrigue in the world of information security; hackers have been able to do everything from fixing radio contests to stealing millions of dollars from cell phone providers. In most cases, however, the damages are more about spending time and money rebuilding a system that hit a few snags and slowed down the company email servers.

That’s probably why Hollywood portrayals of information technology tend to be a little far-fetched, if entertaining. From spies to fast-paced action, the big screen offers a number of ways to view IT in a new light. If you’re in the mood for some IT that doesn’t involve the workday, you might want to consider picking up one of the following “information security” films.

WarGames
Firewall
Hackers
The Net
Matrix
Sneakers
Tron
Johnny Mnemonic
Independence Day
Swordfish
Takedown
Pirates of Silicon Valley
Enemy of the State
Mission Impossible

ByDaniel Gottilla

When it Comes to Vulnerability Management, Variability is Key

If you’re implementing or considering implementing a vulnerability management plan through an IT support firm, one of the top things to look for is variability in the range of services. At its core, vulnerability management is all about putting a safety net underneath your system – and the wider you spread that net, the better your chances of catching anything that falls. That’s why we recommend that you never rely on just one type of vulnerability tool to provide you with all the security measures you need.

Of the types of tools available, the top ones include:

  • Vulnerability assessments and metrics, which provide quantifiable results on your existing applications and infrastructure. Only by determining where your weaknesses are and how important they are to your business can you address your problems with the ideal (and most cost-effective) approach.
  • Information security scans and penetration tests, which support vulnerability assessments by actually getting into the holes in your system. By simulating a hacker or virus attacking your system, you can determine where you need the most work.
  • Restorative measures and patches, which provide the repairs to those vulnerabilities identified during the preceding steps. Discovering weaknesses isn’t enough; you have to take steps to repair them.
  • Data and disaster recovery plans, which provide real-time results if the unthinkable occurs. While preventative measures are best, you also have to have the framework in place to deal with disasters after they occur.

Regardless of what type of business you’re in, it is the combination of all these that offers the maximum layer of protection. That’s why you should discuss comprehensive vulnerability management options with any IT company you’re considering. If they can’t provide one of these vital steps, you may be missing out on a key component of information security as a whole.

ByDaniel Gottilla

Information Security: When All the Planning in the World Isn’t Enough

No matter how proactive you are about your information security needs or how many walls of protection you have up against attackers, there will always be a level of threat. That’s because one of the biggest reasons hackers and malware are able to exploit so many businesses is that they make it a point to find new, innovative ways into even the most secure systems. Whether they’re doing it for the challenge or to exploit businesses known for their great security, the outcome is that all companies are in danger of being infiltrated by methods even the best IT professionals have never even considered.

Consider the following scenario:

A company does everything in its power to maintain a cutting-edge vulnerability management plan. Their IT department runs regular scans, patches the necessary holes, and does and annual overhaul of the entire system. They comply with all regulations for information security and have a great national reputation. However, a previously unknown weakness is exploited by a hacker, and all of their client information is now in the hands of identity thieves.

The problem with this scenario is not a lack of planning – the company did everything within its legal responsibilities to keep their system secure. However, what they didn’t do was prepare for zero-day exploits, which are those pesky new ways in that hackers and malware discover while you’re busy running your business.

That’s why the best vulnerability management plans are those that take zero-day exploits into account. By increasing the level of system monitoring and putting an emergency plan in place, you can minimize the damages that may occur when this sort of attack occurs. Businesses can also create a security infrastructure that makes it difficult for attackers to navigate the system or find the information they’re looking for once they are inside.

Because this kind of security planning can be more complicated and in-depth than what your IT staff is accustomed to (or able to fit into the workday), IT consultants are a great option. Not only can you put your security in the hands of someone whose sole job it is to protect your company, but you’re hiring a group of professionals who make it their priority to know what’s coming next on the hacking horizon.

ByDaniel Gottilla

IT Consultants Look at the Big Picture

If you’re a large corporation or a company with a strong technology focus, hiring an IT consultant might seem like a wasted expense. After all, you’ve got all the experience and training you need to implement an effective vulnerability management plan right on site.

However, one of the drawbacks of relying on your own expertise to tackle all your information security needs is that you often bypass one of the most important steps in vulnerability management: looking at the big picture.

Your business is an organic, flexible entity that grows and changes. Because IT provides much of the backbone of the business, it’s important that it remains organic and flexible, as well. Part of doing this means being able to assess what types of vulnerability issues pose a threat beyond the immediate and obvious security issues: you need to be able to make assessments based on the future of your organization and the nature of information technology as it stands both today and tomorrow.

For example, most businesses will prioritize vulnerability issues based on immediacy: which ones are the most important for safety issues right now. While this is going to be a good idea nine times out of ten, there are situations in which keeping all your focus in one area is going to adversely affect your business operations.

Most of the time, companies have to keep in mind such issues as federal compliance issues, threat relevance, business value, exploitability, and impact. Many of these issues can be found on the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) scale.

An IT consultant helps by creating a number of what-if scenarios for you. This way, instead of following a rote chart of immediacy, you’re keeping practical business solutions into mind. You can weight the pros and cons of all your options so that your resources are being put to use in the best way possible.