1) In 2013, 37 critical updates were released for Windows 2003. As of July 14, 2015, no new updates will be released for Windows Server 2003 and Windows Small Business Server 2003.
2) Unsupported products are more likely to be attacked by malicious parties, which may increase the cyber security risk to your business.
3) Payment processors may not do business with you if your payments are going through an unsupported server. Your business may not pass a business audit if you do not transition from unsupported software
4) An average security breach costs an SMB $50,000. Running unsupported software and old hardware can be more expensive than upgrading to a modern technology platform
5) Improved performance, simplified management, and more affordable storage choices.
Our July Client of the Month is Jackie Gregg, Controller at Control Chief, a manufacturer of industrial crane remote control and locomotive remote control solutions. We have had the pleasure of working with Jackie since the early days of Databranch and have enjoyed partnering with Control Chief for their IT needs since 2009. Our mission is to help our clients succeed through effective planning, implementation and management of their technology and as Jackie says in the video below, “What do I have? I have peace of mind. I can go on vacation for a week and know that my servers are going to run and my people are going to keep working. If there’s a problem all I have to do is pick up the phone and I’m going to have someone here onsite with the problem fixed and that’s well worth the price we pay you every month. Would I recommend Databranch? Highly.”
In honor of National Small Business Week, we are sharing our top three reasons small business should consider outsourcing their IT. Databranch has been serving small to medium sized businesses throughout Western New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania with their information technology needs since 1985.
1. Worry-Free IT
Small business owners wear many hats and so do their employees. Outsourcing your IT needs allows you to focus on what you do well, running your business. One reason many small businesses don’t prioritize IT is because they don’t have a large enough need to justify hiring a full-time IT staff member. When you work with Databranch to manage your technology infrastructure, you have access to our full engineering team with over 100 years of combined experience and certifications from the leading technology industry vendors. This means that when you have a problem, we fix it and your company’s “computer expert” no longer has to spend their valuable time addressing each user’s computer issues. You also don’t have to worry about your IT guy going on vacation, calling in sick, or managing their time because we always have someone available to address your issue during business hours and our service coordinator allocates just enough time to each engineer to efficiently solve your problems.
2. Predictable Costs
Outsourcing IT allows small businesses to budget for their technology expenses. Clients who have managed service contracts with Databranch know what their monthly fixed cost is and have found that partnering with us is more affordable than hiring an internal IT staff member. When organizations take a proactive approach to IT, there are fewer financial surprises because problems are addressed before they become disasters and hardware refreshes can be budgeted for.
3. Preventative Maintenance and Future Planning
The cornerstone of our managed service plans is proactive maintenance. This includes monitoring and alerts for all covered devices, Windows patching, and monthly server maintenance to optimize performance and maximize uptime. This proactive network monitoring has prevented costly downtime for our clients by identifying imminent operating system or hardware failures and allowing the issue to be addressed before it has impacted the functionality of the production systems. When businesses take a proactive approach to IT they are able to plan for the future instead of just reacting to immediate problems. Databranch helps our managed service clients prepare for the future with Quarterly Business Reviews. During these meetings we review our monthly maintenance reports, discuss any recent services or network changes, and have strategic technology planning conversations with our clients.This is especially beneficial for small businesses who often don’t have an internal technical resource.
Interested in learning more about how Databranch Managed Technical Services can help your small business? Click here to learn more or call our office (716-373-4467) to speak with a Databranch Account Manager.
Over the past few months we have had a few clients come to us with the same problem, their computer is locked and they can no longer access their important files or applications. Databranch has been able to help all but one recover their systems. The difference between the clients we could help and the one we could not is backup. This is why we emphasize the move to business continuity and our preferred solution, Datto, to all customers and prospects. It’s that important. When we have succeeded against this newest strain of malware, the victims have all had a recent, comprehensive backup to restore from.Below I will breakdown what ransomware is, ways to prevent it, and how to take back your computer if you happen to be hit.
What is Ransomware?
Malicious software (Malware) that infects your computer and restricts access until you pay a ransom to unlock it.
Common strains are CryptoLocker and CryptoWall
Signs That Your System has Been Infected
Any prompt asking you to pay money to decrypt your files. One common reason the attackers give for locking your machine is that you have done an illegal activity on your PC and are being fined by your local police force or the federal government. Always remember that these are false claims attempting to scare you into paying the ransom and that reputable organizations would never work in this manner.
Increase in pop-ups especially concerning your anti-virus or memory usage.
Sudden changes in your computer speed. If you turn on your computer one morning and it’s running much slower than the day before you should investigate what’s causing the changes.
Should I Pay the Ransom?
NO – There is no guarantee that paying the ransom will make the criminals hand over the key to your files and by paying you may be allowing them to gain greater access to your system and strengthen their attack.
How Can I Prevent Ransomware?
Have a business-class anti-virus installed and performing regular updates on your server and computers. We recommend Symantec Endpoint Protection Cloud Edition.
Keep all software up to date. Applying updates as soon as they become available is imperative to keeping the bad guys out. When you wait because you’re too busy or don’t want to deal with possible changes or a computer restart, you leave your network exposed because the most common reason patches are released is to fix security flaws in your programs.
Make sure your business has a firewall installed on your network and that it is turned on at all times. Having a firewall defending your network is a great first step to block out hackers and viruses. (Want Databranch to manage your anti-virus, Windows updates, and firewall? Click here to learn about our managed service offerings!)
Avoid clicking on any links or attachments from unknown senders. If you receive an email from someone you know and regularly communicate with and it looks suspicious, trust your gut and reach out to the sender before opening anything from them.
Be wary about what websites you visit and what software you download. Recently, ransomware has been found in advertisements on popular sites like Yahoo and oftentimes the “free” software you find online is riddled with malware.
Contact Databranch or your IT service provider. Ransomware is continually evolving and becoming more destructive. Databranch can help remove the malware from your system and restore your data from your most recent backup.
Have you experienced a ransomware attack? Share your story or ask any questions in the comments below!
Over the past year the tech world has been flooded with talk about Windows XP, which went out of support this past April. Recently, Microsoft has announced Windows Server 2003 will experience the same fate as XP and on July 14th, 2015 this highly used server operating system will no longer be supported.
The primary concern when a software product becomes end of life is security. Microsoft will no longer be creating or releasing updates for Server 2003 leaving your business vulnerable to security threats. In 2013 thirty-seven critical updates were released for Server 2003, without these patches you leave your network and company data exposed. If you’ve been watching the news lately you know hackers have been having some success, think Home Depot or Target. It is predicted these attacks will become even more prevalent as companies fail to upgrade outdated technology. As a business, you also need to be concerned about staying in compliance with your industries standards and regulations. Many times software that is no longer supported will not measure up.
The time to start planning your migration from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2012 is now. The first thing to do is determine how many, if any, instances of Server 2003 are being utilized in your current network set-up. Next, assess the upgrade path for all applications that are currently running on the Server 2003 operating system. We often find that business specific applications that are currently running on this older operating system will also need to be upgraded or replaced to be compatible on newer systems. Finally, allocate resources and budget for any necessary hardware upgrades that may need to be completed prior to transitioning to Windows Server 2012. It is likely that your business will need to upgrade your server infrastructure for the new operating system to run at its most effective levels.
The good news is we are still almost a year away from the end of support date but it’s important to start preparing soon. At Databranch, we have successfully migrated numerous customers from Windows Server 2003 to newer, supported operating systems. Our account managers are excited to work with you to create a migration plan for your business and are available to talk now. You can reach us at 716-373-4467, firstname.lastname@example.org, or click here to get started.
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