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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.

ByDaniel Gottilla

Tech Tip: Upgrade Your Policies and Procedures

So much about vulnerability management has to do with technology. From the hardware and software you use to the communications tools you rely on for remote employees, most information security measures address what you can do to make the technology safer. That’s why so many businesses rely on their IT departments and IT consultants to help them create and maintain their systems.

However, there is another aspect to vulnerability management that has little to do with the equipment you use: policy and procedure management. Considered the real “business” side of running a business, the policies and procedures you present to your employees are the backbone of your company. Your policies and procedures determine a standard for activity, morality, and business practices. They also provide a written resource for use across the board.

That’s why any good vulnerability management plan will include a look at your IT policies and procedures. When done correctly, this means you will address:

  • Employee rights and responsibilities
  • Data confidentiality issues
  • Personal computer best practices
  • Routine maintenance and repair
  • Workstation configuration
  • Risk management
  • Security procedures
  • Damage control

Putting these types of issues into writing and integrating them into company policy means that you have an additional layer of protection – especially when it comes to legal issues arising from federal information security standards.

After all, you can’t watch all your employees all the time, but by enforcing a general standard company-wide, you can ensure that you’re doing your best to cover all your bases when it comes to information security.

ByDaniel Gottilla

Vulnerability Management: Beyond Patching

Much of the time, businesses associate vulnerability management with patching and other types of IT repairs. To an extent, this is true; a large part of protecting your network against potential damages is to find the holes in your system and repair them.

However, patching is really only a temporary IT solution. Over time, continually relying on patches can start to wear on a system to the point where the solution becomes a problem of its own. It’s a lot like a favorite pair of jeans. One or two holes can be fixed with a needle and threat or funky patch, but there comes a point where your original pants are all but gone, and what you’re looking at is a collection of mismatched repair jobs.

There are a number of reasons why this might provide a strain on your system – and your bottom line.

  • Some patches aren’t adequate to fix an entire problem. They may provide an immediate solution, but without follow-through work, the hole might simply reappear.
  • Patches typically work for one issue only. You might be required to install several patches for several different holes; this is neither time-effective nor cost-effective in the long run.
  • Your entire system can be burdened by “over-patching.” Instead of one, streamlined system, you’re relying on a bulky system that may require additional time for processing data.
  • Relying on patches means you stop looking at the bigger picture – a good, well-working system. Instead of spending a few hours every week addressing problems on your out-of-date system, you could upgrade your network and let your system operate at its maximum potential.

System patches do have a time and a place in IT vulnerability management – they can secure your system and let you get back to the job you do best. However, if you find yourself spending more than a few hours a month addressing patches, or if your system hasn’t been upgraded (or checked by an IT professional) in a year, it might be time to readdress your vulnerability management plan.

ByDaniel Gottilla

I’ve Done an Information Security Scan. Now What?

Most companies already know that doing regular information security scans is good business. After all, by being proactive with your IT network, you can find weaknesses before they are exploited by hackers, malware, or simply overuse by legitimate customers. However, part of using information security scans effectively means doing more than getting that regular update: it also means doing something about it.

Vulnerability scanners and other information security scans have become a common part of almost any company that deals with technology and communication. Today’s most popular scans are faster, more accurate, and more effective at finding weaknesses than ever before – and they can be implemented by the most rudimentary IT staff.

However, one of the biggest problems with these information scans is that they only solve half of the problem. They are adept at discovering weaknesses and problems, and alerting you to them. They are not programmed to actually deal with these problems or even tell you how to go about doing it on your own.

That’s why any good vulnerability management plan will help you determine not only where your weaknesses are, but what you can do about them. For example, you will need to determine:

  • How important/dangerous are each of the scan findings and how to prioritize them accordingly.
  • What types of remediation strategies are available, and which ones are the best fit for you.
  • How to patch, reconfigure, or upgrade your network to “fix” the problems determined by the scan.
  • What the next steps are in keeping the system secure and up-to-date.

That’s why many companies turn to IT consultants or professional IT firms that specialize in vulnerability management for help. While it certainly is possible (and cost-effective) for companies to run their own information security scans, it can really help to have that professional guidance to make sure all the findings are addressed appropriately. In this way, information scanning is a lot like breaking a bone; while the x-ray technician may be great at discovering where the problem lies, you really want the doctor to set the bone. It’s the only way to heal properly and efficiently.