Over 10 Years Since 9/11…Cyber Attacks Are A National Risk

Attacking a country without physically crossing its borders, conflicts between countries being fought in cyberspace; sounds like a sci-fi drama, doesn’t it? Well, it’s time to wake up because security experts believe that this is going to happen for real. (And we can’t say this is going to be out of the blue because over the past few years, numerous attacks have been made targeting government and military networks and most of these attacks are believed to be the work of highly organized, well-funded, state-sponsored groups.)

It’s been a decade since the country first experienced the wave of the dreadful 9/11 attacks. Fast forward to 2011, the country faces a critical threat to its security from cyber attacks, says a new report by Bipartisan Policy Center.

The report, which was released last month by the bipartisan think tank’s National Security Preparedness Group (NSPG), explains the progress made by the public sector in implementing the security recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. Nine security recommendations that have yet to be implemented were discussed and the comments about cybersecurity were part of the discussion.

Highlighting concerns expressed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. intelligence community about terrorists using cyberspace to attack the country, the report warns that “the cyber threat to critical infrastructure systems — to electrical, financial, water, energy, food supply, military, and telecommunications networks — is grave.”

Should the terrorists hack into any one of these critical infrastructure systems, say the U.S. electric grid, it’s going to be – as the DHS officials put it – a “nightmare scenario” resulting in power being shut down across large sections of the country for several weeks. This clearly spells devastating effects on the society. We’re sure you’re aware of the crisis being faced in Japan owing to the disruption of power grids.

Established in 2007 by former Senate Majority leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole and George Mitchell, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) is a Washington-based think tank that gave rise to NSPG, a group that monitors the implementation of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations for beefing up national security following the terrorist attacks. According to NSPG, the government has made much progress in implementing most of the recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission. However, not all 41 recommendations have been implemented.

One such area that has seen little progress is the recommendation to increase the availability of radio spectrum for public safety purposes. Since incompatible and inadequate communications led to needless loss of life on 9/11, more radio spectrum for first responders had been suggested. This plan, however, has been gathering dust, thanks to a political fight over whether to allocate 10MHz of radio spectrum to first responders or to a commercial wireless bidder.

Likewise, the civil rights and privacy fronts have also seen little progress, said the report. Following the 9/11 attacks, surveillance activities and the use of tools such as National Security Letters to search for terrorists have greatly expanded. However, a recommendation for setting up a Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board with the executive branch of the federal government has yet to be fully implemented. No wonder the NSPG has given the implementation of this recommendation a failing mark!

As far as this report is concerned, it is undoubtedly going to trigger doubts in the security industry about the critical infrastructure targets’ preparedness for dealing with cyber attacks. However, as some believe, these threats aren’t being taken seriously enough within the government. Many government officials had shown similar skepticism toward the alarms that had sounded prior to the Sept. 11, 2001. The only thing to see now is if they are going to let history repeat itself yet again.

ASysTech provides robust Orlando IT Security services. Give us a call today to learn more.

Happy Columbus Day From Your Orlando IT Support Team

Are You Celebrating Columbus Day?
Do you know what day, Monday, October 10, 2011 is? Yes, it’s Thanksgiving Day in Canada, but more than that, it’s Columbus Day, a federal holiday in the United States where Americans celebrate the discovery of the New World of the Americas by Christopher Columbus. You know, if Christopher Columbus hadn’t been Italian, there might not even be a Columbus Day. Thanks to the Italians in New York City, we have this important day now. You see, it came about because they were the ones credited for organizing the first celebration of America being discovered all the way back in 1866, October 12th to be exact.
Are you celebrating Columbus Day this year? The Italians continued their observance of the day the following year — so in 1867 — as well as many more cities that picked up the practice and held parades, banquets, and dances. As a matter of fact, in San Francisco the Italians were recognized as calling the day “Columbus Day” on October 12, 1869.
The Americans aren’t the only ones that celebrate Columbus Day though. Take a look at this — Latin America celebrates Día de la Raza, the Bahamians celebrate Discovery Day, Spaniards celebrate Día de la Hispanidad and Fiesta Nacional and people in Uruguay celebrate Día de las Américas.
So just who was this guy Christopher Columbus? Picture these characteristics – perseverant, adventuresome, explorer, colonizer, navigator, handsome (hmmm, I don’t really know about that one), scholar, a pioneer, social climber, self-promoter, domineering and ruthless — the point is that we Americans have a lot of reasons to be grateful to Christopher Columbus. Without him, there would be no Columbus Day.
Just think; we all have just a little bit of Christopher Columbus in us because we have many of his same characteristics, don’t we? So are you celebrating Columbus Day?

What is the biggest security risk to your Orlando business?

What, according to you, is a company’s biggest security risk? Holes in the corporate network? Think again!

It’s you! With hacking attacks against companies getting bigger and high profile by the day (remember the breaches at Sony and Citigroup this year?), companies have learned to secure and strengthen their networks the hard way, which shifts the hackers’ attention to you, or the employees to be precise.

These days, hackers do not have to work so hard get into your company’s network; they can just make you do it for them! Employees, even well-intentioned ones, are exploited to gain access to company networks. In case you didn’t know, this is called social engineering where hackers manipulate people into divulging confidential information, often after completing thorough reconnaissance on their victims. Posting troves of information about yourself and your job online? Unless you want to become a victim, stop doing that right away.

Trust us; social engineering is on the rise these days with many people falling easily for it. Look at the results of a recent test conducted by KnowBe4, a firm that provides security-awareness training, if you don’t believe us. To find what percentage of a group of companies would be susceptible to phishing attacks, the firm had sent phishing emails to employees at 81 companies from a reputable and trusted server, 43% of which had one or more employee click on the link in the emails. The second test involved the use of unknown and untrusted servers (which were filtered out by many corporate email systems, by the way) but at least one person in 15% of the companies still clicked on the emails. You might ask what is one person compared to a thousand, but when it comes to malware, all it takes for the damage to be done is one person.

So, don’t forget to think long and hard before clicking on that link in your email or posting your info online!

Steve Jobs Dead At 56

Guest Blogger – Pam Lokker

Steven Paul Jobs, the computer tycoon of the computer industry is no longer with us, but his memory will last forever in the hearts and minds of Mac users, iPhone users, iPad users, and much more.

Steve Jobs was both a computer inventor and entrepreneur. Born in 1955 in San Francisco, California, his driving purpose was to develop products that were both functional and elegant; and he did just that which earned him the respect and honor of computer users everywhere.

It was just recently here in August of this year that Steve announced that he was resigning as CEO of Apple due to not being able to carry out his normal duties due to the ravages of pancreatic cancer. He also announced at that same time that he would remain as chairman of the board.

October 5, 2011, will long be remembered as a sad day. The family announced that Steve Jobs passed away peacefully in his sleep. As you go to Apple today, you will be met with a black and white picture of Steve in one of his contemplative poses that only he could do so well, along with his name and the years of both his birth and death. As you click on the photo, you are greeted with a moving obituary.

As you read Bill Gates’ statement on The Gates Notes, you come to realize how much Steve Jobs meant to fans, colleagues, competitors, and just anyone he came into contact with. “The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come. “For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.” – Bill Gates

We couldn’t agree more Mr. Gates. His effects will carry on for many, many years. We are very honored to have been graced with the incredible knowledge that he possessed. We are also very lucky to have been the recipients of the wonderful technological gadgets that he passed our way.

Rest peacefully, Steve Jobs; and thank you.

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Pam Lokker is a skillful writer and proficient virtual assistant. Borlok Virtual Assistants is the place to get global expert VA services with quality and on-time delivery.

Orlando IT Consulting Team Expands Microsoft Office 365 Knowledge With Recent Training

Continuing education in the Information Technology (IT) field is critical to keeping up with new and innovative releases of hardware and software as they appear in the marketplace. Leo Vieira, Systems Engineer at ASysTech, gained invaluable knowledge and expertise on Microsoft Office 365 deployment strategies during recent training that took place in Miami.

With the recent global release of Microsoft Office 365 by Microsoft, new learning opportunities for Information Technology (IT) specialists everywhere opened up. Such was the case with Leo Vieira, Systems Engineer at ASysTech, Inc.

Mr. Vieira jumped at the chance when training opened up in the last week of September for O365 Deployment Training for Partners. The 3-day workshop that was held in Miami was focused on Office 365 deployment capabilities. Leo Vieira gained an in-depth look into the planning, preparing and migrating phases of deployment for this latest software that includes the Microsoft Office suite of desktop applications and hosted versions of Microsoft’s Server products.

The intense training was centered around the two separate modules of gathering information and developing strategies for deploying Office 365 service offerings and successfully configuring Office 365 SharePoint and Lync, with plenty of time in between sessions to reflect and build upon the learning gained from the previous lectures and discussions.

As a Microsoft Office 365 partner, ASysTech is uniquely positioned to offer Orlando business IT support to small to medium-sized businesses who are contemplating switching to Microsoft Office 365. As the number of business owners and managers decide to make that all-important change-over, the call for qualified support will increase dramatically. This places Mr. Vieira at an advantage for sharing the knowledge and expertise he has gained from the deployment training. “The training has definitely been a worthwhile investment for ASysTech to make on my behalf,” said Leo Vieira. “For that, I thank management, in particular Rick Hardin, for making the decision to send me to the 3-day training.”

ASystech is a leading provider of managed services to small and medium-sized businesses at an economical price while providing exceptional quality. The company is well-known for offering the best IT services and tech support packages that Orlando and Central Florida businesses can utilize. As a matter of fact, they recently came out with a new trial invitation on Microsoft Office 365 for those business owners and managers that are interested

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About the Company: If your business can’t justify the expense of full-time IT staff, we provide the perfect solution: A managed IT services package, which provides you with access to our managed service provider specialists for all your IT needs.

To get your free consultation and find out how ASysTech can make your technology worry-free, call 407-647-7787 or contact us to see how more than 50 years of industry experience can benefit your business. We make I.T. work!

Managed IT Services Offers Orlando Business An Advantage

Technology Support Resellers make it easier for small and mid-sized businesses to monitor, manage and maintain their IT networks and equipment through managed services. By being involved as a third-party, technology Value Added Resellers (VARs) offer managed services for these businesses which provide a host of benefits for them- lower costs, increased available resources and reduced IT headcount are just a few of the benefits. But this is exactly what businesses have failed to understand and this is exactly the biggest barrier to VARs as they look to sell managed services to SMBs, says a study released by CIT Group, a provider of vendor financing solutions.

Out of more than 100 executives (at technology VARs and technology channel partners that sell to SMBs) who were surveyed, the research report, “Technology Channel Outlook: Are SMBs Ready to Embrace Managed Services” prepared in association with Forbes Insights found that 62 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that their customers do not understand the benefits of managed services. This consequently made 49 percent of those surveyed believe this lack of understanding is the leading barrier they face in trying to sell the benefits of managed services to SMBs. Overall cost (37 percent) and the desire of SMBs to maintain their own infrastructure (37 percent) followed as other hindrances.

Smaller companies see technology as a necessary expense, and not a strategic investment; this is what made 43 percent of the respondents believe reduced costs to be the most compelling benefit of managed services for SMBs. The ability to free up resources to focus on other aspects of the business (37 percent) came second while reduced IT headcount was held responsible by 33 percent of the respondents.

The survey also found that cloud-computing solutions is making it easier for VARs to sell managed services to SMBs. Two-thirds of respondents agreed that the popularity of the cloud has made it easier for them to sell managed services to SMBs, all thanks to the increasing familiarity of the customers with the concept of software as a service.

Which technologies will have the greatest impact among SMBs over the next two years? 51 percent of respondents answered this question with cloud computing, 21 percent answered it with tablets and smart phones got the support of 15 percent of the respondents. Fifty-two percent (52 percent) of respondents also believed that tablets would replace laptops for most executives and 24 percent believed that all applications and data storage would migrate to the cloud.

The study has found that managed services programs by VARs which clearly articulate the offering and quantify the impact for the SMB are the most successful. Likewise, SMBs also have much to gain from those services.

Are you looking for the best Orlando IT support available? Call ASysTech today to learn more.