Latest blog entries | West Virginia | Netranom https://www.netranom.com/blog Sun, 10 Dec 2017 21:00:12 -0500 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb How Technology Allows Fake News to Spread https://www.netranom.com/blog/how-technology-allows-fake-news-to-spread https://www.netranom.com/blog/how-technology-allows-fake-news-to-spread

In today’s political, social, and economic environment, information is more valuable than ever. However, this increased importance, paired with the speed that data can be dispersed via the Internet, has enabled many to use false information to manipulate the general public into agreeing with their views and acting upon them.

Fake News and You
Many researchers believe that cyber propaganda campaigns rely on three factors in order to succeed in their mission: the tools and services used, social networking, and the motivation behind the campaign in question. Without any of these elements, spreading fake news becomes almost impossible.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of resources out there that can be used to spread a fake news campaign.

For instance, the Dark Web can provide those attempting to spread their propaganda with the tools they need to do so, safe behind a veil of anonymity. Social media offers platforms that encourage sharing, allowing what could be an exponential spread of a story with little hands-on effort from those responsible. Finally, while the majority of fake news that has been heard of as of late has been politically motivated, it can just as easily be used to manipulate businesses. In addition to its use as a political tool, fake news and information warfare can be used to promote a company and increase or decrease its stock--both financially and where public opinion is concerned.

China’s Fake News Marketplace
One example of the effects that fake news can have on businesses is demonstrated in the Chinese marketplace. One content distribution service, Xiezuobang, charges a user based on where the article is to be published. Services like this are easy to abuse for one’s own purposes.

Furthermore, aided by systems that enable public opinions to be measured and modified, posts can be automatically posted to 3000 websites at a rate of 100 posts per minute.

In addition to these tactics, many Chinese social networks are filled with posts shared by influential users who have been paid to promote that particular content. Based on that user’s popularity, the price of their content sharing services goes up.

A Global Problem
Of course, these practices are present in more areas than just China. Researchers have been able to collect and compare disinformation campaigns from the US, Russia, and Middle Eastern countries, and have resultantly been able to identify trends in what tools are used and how these campaigns are shaped to each region.

No matter where you are located, you need to keep an eye out for misinformation and cyber propaganda online. Whether it's politically motivated, or intended to manipulate business and the market, fake news is divisive and only benefits those that spread it.

What’s your opinion of fake news? Do you feel that it’s a real problem, or is it being overblown? Sound off in the comments!

]]>
aanderson@netranom.com (Aaron Anderson) Netranom Blog Fri, 08 Dec 2017 08:30:09 -0500
Getting Back to Basics with Data Backup https://www.netranom.com/blog/getting-back-to-basics-with-data-backup https://www.netranom.com/blog/getting-back-to-basics-with-data-backup

It’s no industry secret that one of the most important pieces of IT any business should have is a data backup solution. However, this is like saying that every business should have a plant: the type of plant, and (by extension) the type of data backup, matters. You want a data backup that is more like a peace lily or a cactus, hardy and resilient, and less like a basil plant or orchid, high-maintenance and requiring very specific conditions to prosper.

In today’s blog, we’ll go over a few basic considerations to make if you want a data backup that you can trust.

Keep Your Backup Safe
Your backup is more than just an insurance policy for your business operations. In the case of a disaster or other cause of data loss, your backup essentially takes your business’ place, allowing you to recover more quickly with fewer consequences. This means that your backup needs to be kept safe. The first step to doing so is to make sure your data backup is stored separately from your primary data storage. After all, a backup that is damaged by the same disaster that damaged the original data is hardly worth maintaining. Cloud-based backups are especially effective at preserving your data in a major disaster.

Develop a Disaster Recovery Strategy
How quickly could your business return to full operation after undergoing a disaster? While establishing an off-site backup to preserve your data is a good start, you also need to have a plan in place that will allow you to put that data to use as quickly as possible. This is where it is useful to have a disaster recovery strategy, as it allows you to proactively prepare for circumstances that would otherwise lead to data loss and wasted time and productivity.

Make Sure Everything Works
Imagine what it would be like to go through the entire process of establishing an offsite backup, only to have it fail when you’re relying on it. Fortunately, this can be avoided through some simple tests to ensure that the backup works effectively. You’ll be happy you did if you ever find yourself in the position that you need to restore from a backup and it works.

If you can’t trust your data backup, it needs to be modified. Netranom can help. Reach out to us at (304) 562-4700.

]]>
aanderson@netranom.com (Aaron Anderson) Netranom Blog Wed, 06 Dec 2017 08:30:52 -0500
Battle of the Benefits: Break-Fix vs Managed IT https://www.netranom.com/blog/battle-of-the-benefits-break-fix-vs-managed-it https://www.netranom.com/blog/battle-of-the-benefits-break-fix-vs-managed-it

As a managed service provider, we’re naturally going to be a little biased when comparing the positives and negatives between an in-house IT team and an outsourced approach. However, each has its benefits in the right situations, and each can have its downsides. Today, we’ll discuss each to establish which is the better choice for your situation.

The In-House Team
One of the biggest benefits to relying on an in-house team to manage your technology is the fact that you can hand-pick the members of your team. As a result, you have some level of control over which aspects of your IT you want to prioritize for the benefit of your company. Having an in-house team also means you have staff right at your fingertips that you can direct at any time.

However, small to medium-sized businesses may encounter some difficulties when trying to maintain an in-house IT team. First and foremost, training your new staff members can be a difficult process without another experienced IT resource on staff to oversee the process. Furthermore, maintaining an internal IT team can be expensive, and if you want to hire experienced technicians who can tackle modern problems, it’s going to typically cost more.

A Managed IT Provider’s Team
One of the biggest advantages an MSP can provide to a business is predictability. When subscribed to an MSP’s services, a business will have its technology maintained and monitored for issues, all for a budgetable, fixed monthly fee. The MSP is also more likely to have kept up to speed with new technologies and solutions, gaining knowledge that they then pass on for your business’ benefit. Partnering with an MSP also gives you an improved means of expanding your business when the time comes, as instead of hiring a new internal staff member, your business just needs to scale accordingly.

The only issue with bringing in an MSP to handle your technology is the fact that you are relinquishing total control over your company’s IT to another company. As such, if you elect to utilize an MSP’s services, you will need to find an MSP that you can trust.

Netranom can be that MSP for you, should you find that a managed IT service provider better suits your company’s current and future needs. Call us at (304) 562-4700 for more information.

]]>
aanderson@netranom.com (Aaron Anderson) Netranom Blog Mon, 04 Dec 2017 08:30:17 -0500
Is Your Security Prepared to Stop a DDoS Attack? https://www.netranom.com/blog/is-your-security-prepared-to-stop-a-ddos-attack https://www.netranom.com/blog/is-your-security-prepared-to-stop-a-ddos-attack

If your business were to be struck by a Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS) attack, would it be able to recover in a timely manner? Do you have measures put into place to keep them from hampering your operations? While most organizations claim to have sufficient protection against these dangerous attacks, over half of them have simply proven to be ineffective against DDoS.

First, we’ll give a brief explanation of what a DDoS attack specifically entails. In its most basic form, a DDoS attack involves overloading your organization’s network with so much traffic that it can’t handle the strain. When this happens, access to critical information and services can be lost, hindering operations and causing downtime. This is the main damage dealer of a DDoS attack, and any business executive can see why. When time isn’t spent productively (like during downtime), it’s time and profits wasted.

According to a recent report from CDNetworks, an immense 88 percent of companies believe that they have adequate defenses against DDoS attacks. 69 percent of these companies have also suffered from a DDoS attack in the past twelve months, which should prompt any open-minded company into considering whether or not the measures taken are actually helping.

To give you an idea of just how much this protection is costing these organizations, let’s take a look at some other statistics. US companies tend to spend somewhere around $34,700/year on DDoS protection, while European countries spend around $29,000/year. With such a significant investment, why do DDoS mitigation attempts fall short of the desired goal, and what can be done to solve these issues?

Learning from these failures is the ideal approach to securing your organization from DDoS attacks, and 66 percent of organizations are already making plans to invest more heavily in DDoS attack prevention and mitigation over the next year. We’d like to ask you how you plan to protect your business from the threat of DDoS attacks against your network.

If you aren’t sure how to protect your organization from major threats like DDoS attacks, reach out to Netranom at (304) 562-4700.

]]>
aanderson@netranom.com (Aaron Anderson) Netranom Blog Fri, 01 Dec 2017 08:30:13 -0500
Tip of the week: Here Are Four Tools to Secure Your Business https://www.netranom.com/blog/tip-of-the-week-here-are-four-tools-to-secure-your-business https://www.netranom.com/blog/tip-of-the-week-here-are-four-tools-to-secure-your-business

Business security is a common issue for many small organizations with limited budgets, but it doesn’t have to be an issue. We’re here to help you master the seemingly endless threats and security problems that major vulnerabilities present to the small business environment, and it all starts out by understanding how even basic security solutions protect your organization.

We’ll discuss some of the most important security methods available for small businesses, beginning with preventative tactics like those found in a Unified Threat Management (UTM) tool. By effectively using a firewall, antivirus, spam protection, and content filter, you can minimize the damage done by cyber threats and prevent them entirely.

Firewalls
Imagine having a bouncer set at the point of entry for your organization’s network infrastructure. This bouncer turns away any harmful traffic that could potentially harbor threats or security issues. They also manage to keep any potential threats on the network from escaping to another part of your infrastructure, allowing for isolation and destruction without too much trouble. This is what a firewall does for your organization. While most PCs will come installed with a consumer-grade firewall, you don’t want to rely on this for your business’ infrastructure. It’s better to invest in an enterprise-grade firewall that can handle the heavy threats.

Antivirus
If a firewall is capable of keeping threats out of your infrastructure, the antivirus is designed to eliminate any potential issues that sneak past your defenses. An antivirus will scan for any suspicious activity on your network and identify possible malware, viruses, or worse on your infrastructure. It can then proceed to quarantine the threat or eradicate it entirely.

Spam Protection
How many messages do you get in your inbox that are either wasteful or threatening? If you don’t use any type of spam protection, this nuisance will continue to plague your organization and pose a threat to its integrity. Not only is spam a waste of time, but threats often find that it’s the preferred method of transportation from one system to the next. It’s easy to hide downloads of malicious files in email attachments or embedded links/images. A spam protection solution keeps these messages from reaching your email inbox in the first place, eliminating much of the threat it poses.

Content Filtering
Do you have problem employees who can’t seem to keep themselves away from social media websites while at work? One of the best ways to remedy this problem is by implementing a content filter, which can control access to specific sites for individual users. This solution is more commonly used to keep users off of sites that are detected to have viruses or malware associated with them, but why not try to get a little extra productivity out of your workers?

A UTM is a great solution that your business can certainly use to secure it from external and internal threats. To learn more, reach out to Netranom at (304) 562-4700.

]]>
aanderson@netranom.com (Aaron Anderson) Netranom Blog Wed, 29 Nov 2017 08:30:48 -0500