Who has What? Keeping a Tab on Your IT Assets

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Keeping track of IT assets is important for any business. It helps you know what you have and who is using it. It can also be an overwhelming and a time intensive task which causes it to be put on the back burner for many. Honestly, just finding and selecting a solution that fits your business needs can take a lot of effort.

There are several ways to go about keeping track of your assets: from a simple spreadsheet to a specialized software that tracks via bar codes. Usually the more features there are the more money you pay, which doesn’t always make sense for a small business. Manually managing a spreadsheet is cumbersome and can easily become out of date, but specialized solutions can be overkill and expensive.

Another option is a software agent that is installed on your workstations and servers. It only takes a moment to do and ties back into a management portal. One of the biggest advantages of this solution is the technical data and reporting that can be generated quickly; something bar code or spreadsheet systems can’t do. Want to know what computers have expired warranties? Which ones have an old version of Windows? This is invaluable when budgeting for IT expenditures and coming up with a proactive replacement plan.  Or from a performance standpoint, review trends to better optimize your equipment.

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Beyond the asset tracking and reporting functions, another key feature is proactive alerting of issues like low disk space, outdated antivirus, or stopped system services to name a few.

The examples above is just a taste of the what the tool can do and is one of the many things Everon can offer when supporting your IT needs. Give us a call today at 888-244-1748. We can help implement this tool for your business!

StageFright Exploit Awareness : What You Need to Know

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Do you think sending and receiving video text is risk free? Believe it or not, it is now as easy as getting a common computer virus. There is a new exploit called ‘stagefright’ that is sent via video within a text message. The virus uses the android process named ‘libStageFright’ (which is built into every android device) to steal information. Android Central states, “the gist is that a video sent via MMS (text message) could be theoretically used as an avenue of attack through the libStageFright mechanism (thus the “Stagefright” name), which helps Android process video files. Many text messaging apps — Google’s Hangouts app was specifically mentioned — automatically process that video so it’s ready for viewing as soon as you open the message, and so the attack theoretically could happen without you even knowing it.”

Since it is exploiting a function on the device, a high number of android devices are vulnerable, but for the most part, there is a built in defense on about 95 percent of all devices as long as they are using Android Version 4.0 or higher. This protection is called ‘Address Space Layout Randomization’ and allows for software to not store its data in the same places so finding data is random. This is not a perfect fix, but does help.

Some good news is that this was not discovered by hackers so many are not exploiting it. Many large cell phone providers, such as HTC, Motorola, and Google, are working to release patches and updates to fix this vulnerability.  There are also a few free detector apps that are available on Google Play that help detect vulnerabilities. You can install the StageFright Detector App here.

If you have any questions about virus vulnerabilities, give Everon a call at 888-244-1748. We’re happy to help!

Everon & Webroot Secure Anywhere

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Everon’s partner, ITSupport247, is now using a new antivirus provider called Webroot Secure Anywhere.  Webroot is based out of Colorado, in fact, Webroot is so close to our call center that we can see their building from where we sit (maybe they will let us take a tour someday!). Before the switch, Everon had been reviewing various antivirus software. After extensive research, and ultimately choosing Webroot Secure Anywhere as our official antivirus, we couldn’t be happier!

The management for most antiviruses for businesses take place in a centrally managed console on a server or workstation within the network, and all machines must report to that location. The centrally managed console is then the sole connection to the outside world where it will look for definition updates to the antivirus company’s servers. In most cases, if you are not constantly reviewing the console, ensuring it is up to date and pulling the definitions over on a daily basis, you could have issues. Most consoles work decent enough to allow their agents to pull definition updates from the Internet themselves in the event that the console is unavailable, however, you still have many variables that can go wrong. Did you update your notifications properly? Do you back up the local database that manages the console?

After rebuilding a few consoles from scratch due to database failures, I realized that if an antivirus builds their console into the cloud, that would make my life so much easier, and that is exactly what Webroot does. Webroot built the centrally managed consoles right in their collocation facilities, thus taking away a potentially huge point of failure for businesses.

Webroot allows setup within minutes, as you first determine how many seats you need. This is directly proportionate to how many machines you want to be protected with the antivirus. Once you determine that, you create custom groups for your company (you don’t want the same rules to apply for your servers as you do your desktops), and then you are ready to push the product out. Webroot gives you an easy to install link that you can simply run with no login required. It is built custom to your site, and will link the machine back to your site, with all of your rules intact. Notifications are easy as well. You don’t need to set up a custom SMTP server to route notification emails through, you simply choose what you want to be notified on, put in the email addresses in the appropriate locations, and you are done!

Webroot has made antivirus management easy and Everon is proud to provide it to our client base. The antivirus is even good at protecting its resources (which to be honest is probably the first thing you should be concerned with when choosing an antivirus). PCMag rated it one of the best antiviruses of 2015. One thing that is very important in the world of antiviruses is what type of imprint it makes on the machine. Some antiviruses have GBs of files used to manage itself and its definitions, or scans take multiple hours. Webroot is a very small, very light package with hardly any imprint to a machine. Its scans are quick and efficient, and reporting back into the console happens within minutes usually.

Webroot Secure Anywhere is a great antivirus! Give our engineers a call at 1-888-244-1748 to see if Webroot and Everon would be a good fit for your company.

Staying Modern with Technology

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Technology is everywhere today: in your car, pocket, on your wrist, running your business, etc.  It is always advancing to become faster, more efficient, and cheaper.  Inevitability, these things  become obsolete and raises the question of  when or if you should upgrade.  When it comes to IT infrastructure for your business, Everon recommends a 3-5 year life-cycle.  This is especially important for the core components that drive your business such as servers, network equipment (like firewalls), and workstations.

From time to time, we run across a business that is using a 5-10 year old servers, workstations, or network equipment.  The mentality of, “if it’s not broke, why fix it?” sometimes comes into play.  When equipment that is 5+ years old does break, it is out of support/warranty meaning that you will be shelling out more money then you normally would for an emergency solution while losing money paying idle employees or affecting services that customers pay you for.  It’s a huge gamble that shouldn’t be taken lightly, which is why proactive budgeting and replacement should be done.  While most people don’t replace equipment at the 3 year mark, it’s a good trigger to plan ahead for action in year 4 or 5 which is why I like the 3-5 year lifecycle rule of thumb.

If you’re a small business owner or decision maker for one,  do you have any IT infrastructure older than 5 years?  If you don’t have a replacement plan in place, why not?  Now with that, think about how often you replace your cell phone?  Most people seem to do this every 2-3 years at most.  It’s rare you see a flip phone nowadays so why would you want the technology that is critical to your business take the back seat?

Everon recommends periodic reviews on your equipment to ensure a warranty is in place or to catch any aging equipment that slipped through.  If you need any assistance, Everon can help put together a technology assessment to see where you infrastructure stands and where it should be going.  Give us a call today!  888-244-1748 www.everonit.com

Google and Mozilla Block Adobe Flash Plug-In

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Recent announcements in the Wall Street Journal revealed that Google and Mozilla disabled the Adobe Flash plugin on their respective browsers, Chrome and Firefox, after the discovery of multiple zero-day vulnerabilities in the software. According to the WSJ, “the moves came two days after Facebook‘s top security executive, Alex Stamos, publicly called for Adobe to discontinue Flash.” This movement seems to simulate Steve Job’s thoughts from back in April of 2010. Jobs penned a 1700 word letter explaining his refusal to allow Flash anywhere near Apple products due to increasing security flaws and other concerns.

So, what is Adobe Flash? According to Daily Mail, “Flash is one of the most ubiquitous and widely distributed pieces of software in the world”. It’s a software platform that is used to stream and view audio and video content inside of web pages; also referred to as Shockwave Flash. Because Flash is such a global software, odds are fairly high that you have Flash on your computer right now.

Since the zero-day vulnerabilities have erupted, experts say that most web browsers are looking to adopt  HTML5 in place of Adobe Flash to match Apple, Youtube,  and Vimeo.  The Business Insider states, “HTML5 is a core technology of the Internet and is becoming the coding language of choice for many developers when creating webpages and smartphone and tablet applications.”

Since Flash is not generally needed on computers, security experts are encouraging users to remove Flash to avoid potential risk. This is, of course, is solely based on the preference of users. Adobe alerted users, on July 14th, that patches have been issued for the vulnerabilities. The Wall Street Journal states that, “if Flash is updated, both Firefox and Chrome will allow it to run. Both companies said their browsers should automatically update to the new version of Flash.”

If you’d like to remove Adobe Flash from your computer, give Everon a call at 888-244-1748 or email us at help@everonit.com. We can help disable and remove this plug-in from your web browsers.