Friday, November 30, 2012

Kaspersky Internet Security, Special Ferrari Edition

Do you know the difference between a virus and a worm? What is a Trojan and how did you get it? These are just a couple of questions that you are never going to have to worry about again. Kaspersky Labs has released the Special Ferrari Edition of their internet security software. As you would know from reading this blog, Kaspersky have signed a deal with the Ferrari Formula 1 team as well as Fernando Alonso. They have their branding on the nose of the F1 car and in return can use the Ferrari branding on their product. I am not sure if it is any faster or more agile around the corners of your mother board, but it is a cool looking box.

Installation of the product was simple and quick. On first installation, it asked me to uninstall any other anti-virus software I was running. I had been using the free version of Avast up until then and tried to uninstall that. If you have ever tried to uninstall an anti-virus programme, you will know that it is not the easiest thing to do. Kaspersky Labs had that solved and managed to uninstall it for me on the second trying.

Once installed, a quick re-boot and I was up and running. There was a rather large update that needed to be done but isn't that the same with all new software these days? The application runs quietly in the background and protects you from most, if not all, internet risks.

I have had the programme installed for a week and so far it claims to have scanned over 1 million files. Those are files that I use every day, not a full scan, which is also just a simple click away. It has Network Attack Blocker, Anti-Spam as well as an Application Control; whatever that is. It all seems to be doing its job.
From the website:

Kaspersky Internet Security Special Ferrari Edition has a range of unique technologies that provide increased protection for your family. Keep your PC or Netbook free from harm with:
  • Real-time proactive protection against viruses and other malware
  • Safe Surf and Kaspersky Web Toolbar for online security
  • Best-in-class personal firewall for keeping hackers at bay
  • Identity protection with Virtual Keyboard and anti-phishing
  • Unique Safe Run mode for suspicious apps & websites
  • Advanced Parental Control with flexible settings
  • Smart anti-spam and anti-banner protection
  • Computer tune-up for better performance and protection
  • Rescue CD to restore previously infected PCs
  • Prescheduled automatic scans and updates
When I was in New York and met Eugene Kaspersky, he made a point of reminding the journalists gathered there that most computer hacks, attacks etc. are because of human error. It's all very well having the best security software, but if someone picks up the phone and asks for your password and you give it to them, then how are you going to blame the security software? There are evil people out there.

I loved how he calls them "black hats" and "white hats". White Hats are folks that keep on hacking, attacking and trying to access networks, but they don't do any malicious damage. They report their findings on public forums and companies can take action to protect themselves further. Black Hats are the dangerous ones. They hack, destroy and break. Those are the people that you need to look our for.

For now, I am trusting Kaspersky and a good dose of Internet paranoia. I will let you know how it goes.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Kaspersky Lab

“The world I’m living in, which is the security world, is becoming more and more complicated,” Eugene Kaspersky ominously informed us. One would imagine: his Russia-based antivirus company, Kaspersky Labs, essentially announced the new age of cyberwar with the 2010 suggestion that Stuxnet must’ve been built with nation-state support. The target–Iran’s nuclear facilities–made it clear that the U.S. was likely involved (a detail cinched by The New York Times earlier this year).
Mr. Kaspersky was in New York for the launch of a new ad campaign with the somewhat corny title of “Driving Toward Better Online Security,” starring Formula One driver Fernando Alonso. (Both men were outfitted in the appropriate shade of Ferrari fire-engine red.)
In person, Mr. Kaspersky comes off as unexpectedly jolly for an antivirus kingpin. That Wired profile had us expecting more of a bear-wrestling Hemingway character. And while he did devote a fair bit of time to waxing poetic about off-the-grid vacations in Russia’s remote, volcano-heavy Kamchatka peninsula, Mr. Kaspersky also peppered his points with laugh lines and pulled goofy faces. Even while admitting that yes, he’s a paranoid man, he still flashes a Chesire Cat grin.
One exchange during the Q&A period offered a concise example of the tenor of the afternoon.
Reporter, after a good quarter hour listening to Mr. Kaspersky talk about cyber dangers: “You paint these very negative pictures.” Mr. Kaspersky: “I’m paranoid!” Reporter: “Is there a positive?” Mr. Kaspersky, relishing the exchange: “Yes. I’m optimistic. We will survive. I don’t know how, but we will survive.”
After a Formula One-heavy press conference with Mr. Alonso–the highlight of which was the correspondent from Playboy Russia asking what he liked about Russian girls–Mr. Kaspersky and we tech journalists adjourned for a Q&A about online security.
The Woolworth Building peeking out over his shoulder, he opened with a brief overview of the history of hacking. Teens wreaking havoc for the fun of it gave way to cybercriminals. Now, the actors are more sophisticated: ”There are criminals, there are hacktivists, maybegovernment-sponsored guys,” he said, adding, ”The worst is now there are instances of what I call cyberterrorism.” Examples would be the 2007 Estonian Internet blackout and the recent Aramco attack.
“What to do?” he asked rhetorically, before answering his own question with a Bond villain-like chuckle: “Pray.”
Presumably he’d also like you to download Kaspersky antivirus software.
Kaspersky’s role in unraveling Stuxnet also raises the question of whether national maneuverings on the cyberfrontier create a conflict of interest for not just Kaspersky, but American firms like McAfee.
For his part, Mr. Kaspersky loudly denies any official connection to the Russian government, especially the FSB. It’s not as though his company intends to find out governments are behind these viruses. “The reality is when we find the new malware in the network or somebody sends us a sample, sometimes we recognize maybe they’re not criminals. Maybe they’re states,” he admitted. “But we detect it anyway,” said, comparing Kaspersky Labs to a metal detector that pings regardless whether it’s a policeman or a gangster wearing the gun.
“It’s a new game and still there are no rules of this game, and what we are doing is trying to establish these rules,” he said. In the meantime, he added, “I do my best to stop cyberweapons.”
And while Mr. Kaspersky expects cyber-spying will always be with us, cyberweapons, he believes, have a limited future. He told us that he believes nation-states will eventually ban them in some sort of international treaty, similar to the restrictions around nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. They’re just too unpredictable. He said he’d met with officials at Russia’s department for cybersecurity and been told they shared his opposition.
Asked about whether any nations were more likely to develop cyberweapons than others, he merely repeated a little tidbit he’d already shared: “Russian software engineers are the best. Condoleezza Rice said that.”
“I think when the Russian government comes with their message that, let’s make cyberweapons forbidden, that’s a good idea to follow,” he added.
Duly noted.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Soarsoft extends offering with Metalogix’s inclusion of Syntergy’s SharePoint solutions

Soarsoft Africa, a specialist in archive, migration, collaboration and messaging services, has extended its offering with Metalogix Software’s recent announcement of its purchase of Syntergy’s SharePoint solutions.  Metalogix will integrate Syntergy’s SharePoint products into its portfolio of SharePoint Content Lifecycle Management solutions.

Syntergy features the market leading SharePoint replication solution, Replicator for SharePoint, which is a web-based solution used to synchronise and manage business intelligence in real-time across multiple SharePoint environments.

Says Chris Hathaway, Director at Soarsoft Africa:  “The incorporation of Syntergy’s SharePoint solutions into the Metalogix stable is a very neat fit with the existing tools and will provide local businesses with the enhanced functionality that Syntergy’s solutions deliver, bolstering their SharePoint mobility and providing them with more choice in how they manage, move, store, archive and protect their SharePoint Content across networks.”

“By adding the leading SharePoint Replication solution to our Migration and Storage product lines, we are able to extend our range, reach and leadership in the SharePoint content mobility market segment.  This investment in SharePoint technology and talent achieves another milestone in our strategy to provide our customers a better way to enhance the use and performance of their Microsoft SharePoint platform investment,” says Steven Murphy, CEO, Metalogix. 

By utilising SharePoint replication, organisations with multiple SharePoint servers have uninterrupted access to content that enhances employee productivity and efficiency and improves company performance globally. Replicator for SharePoint provides for two-way data synchronisation by replicating content and settings back and forth between server farms, even if they are not identical.

“We believe that Metalogix will bring Syntergy’s breakthrough SharePoint technology to more clients,” says David Seaman, COO, Syntergy. “Replicator for SharePoint has become the leader in the SharePoint replication market and its ability to allow end users from around the world to work seamlessly on the same content will boost productivity for any organisation.”

Replicator for SharePoint is easy to install, transparent to end users and maintained through the SharePoint central administrator. The solution optimises SharePoint performance for growing SharePoint environments by preventing version control conflicts. Replicator for SharePoint allows administrators to create a highly available environment that is well-prepared for disaster recovery scenarios. Syntergy SharePoint solutions include Syntergy Connect for SharePoint, which provides the ability to visualise, monitor and manage the replicator-enabled SharePoint wide area farm environment.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

DCC introduces Verbatim's PinStripe Black USB flash drive - the colour for business this season

The uptake of mobility and the increasing requirement to share large files and information with colleagues and customers has created the need for smaller flash drives that feature higher storage capacities.  Distributor Drive Control Corporation (DCC) has the answer with Verbatim’s newly launched PinStripe Black 64 gigabyte (GB) 2.0 USB flash drive in environmentally friendly packaging.

The drive features a stylish black pinstripe look, with a push-pull mechanism for retracting and protecting the USB. This USB 2.0 flash drive is also USB 3.0 compatible.  This means you can use this flash drive with USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 host ports. Verbatim’s “More Green, Less Plastic” concept means the packaging is made of 90% less plastic, and is also tear resistant, so you know your choice is protecting the environment. Adding additional peace of mind is Verbatim’s two year warrantee on the flash drive.

Says Drika Wilkins, Verbatim Product Specialist at DCC: “Verbatim’s latest flash drive is small and discrete yet is able to store a significant amount of data, making it the ideal business tool for any meeting.”

The Verbatim PinStripe Black 64GB USB flash drive is available from selected resellers with an approximate recommended retail price: R 699.00 inclusive of V.A.T.

Slim, energy-efficient hard drive for Ultrabook devices

Western Digital has announced it is shipping the WD Scorpio Blue 7 mm hard drive, the latest addition to its mobile hard drive family and the 2.5-inch drive with the lowest power consumption on the market today. Specified to a best-in-class 400Gs shock tolerance, the new single-platter WD Scorpio Blue small form factor hard drives are available in 500 GB and 320 GB capacities and the drives’ compatibility with industry-standard 9.5 mm slots make them ideal storage options for mainstream notebooks as well as slimmer notebook and Ultrabook devices that require a 7 mm drive height.

“Consumers want thin and light personal computers, but the limited storage capacity of SSD-based notebooks forces them to pick and choose what files to bring from their library,” says Matt Rutledge, vice president and general manager for WD client storage products. “With the release of the new WD Scorpio Blue 7 mm mobile hard drives, WD is able to offer capacity, reliability and data-protection features combined with excellent power management all in a slim form factor perfect for thin and light notebooks.”

“These new drives enable users of Ultrabooks to upgrade their existing hard drives for additional capacity, without needing to replace their entire machine. They also provide a more eco efficient option with up to 20% energy savings. The Scorpio Blue drives ship standard with a two-year warranty for added peace of mind,” says Anamika Budree, WD Country Manager -WD South Africa.

Features of the new WD Scorpio Blue 7 mm hard drives include:
·         Low power consumption - Advanced power management features and algorithms optimise the way the drive seeks data, which significantly improves power consumption.
·         Shock Tolerance – WD’s ShockGuard technology, now increased to a best-in-market 400Gs shock specification, protects the drive mechanics and platter surfaces from shocks.
·         Cool and quiet - In a notebook drive, silence is golden. WD’s exclusive WhisperDrive technology enables quiet performance.
·         Reliable – WD’s SecurePark parks the recording heads off the disk surface during spin up, spin down, and when the drive is off. This ensures the recording head never touches the disk surface resulting in improved long term reliability due to less head wear, and improved non-operational shock tolerance.
·         Compatibility Tested - WD performs tests on hundreds of systems and a multitude of platforms in its FIT Lab and Mobile Compatibility Lab to give customers confidence that drives will work in specific systems.

“For the South African market, the availability of the WD Scorpio Blue increases the available WD range and gives users further options when selecting hard drives. It also offers local systems integrators greater opportunity to build, upgrade and repair Ultrabooks, a market which has historically been held back by limited component availability,” says Barber Brinkman, Western Digital Sales Manager Benelux and South Africa.

Price and Availability
The WD Scorpio Blue will be available from distributors Pinnacle Africa, Rectron and Drive Control Corporation from the last week of April 2012. The approximate retail price is R650,00 for 320GB and R800,00 for 500GB. Pricing is exclusive of V.A.T.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Outsourcing IT Management Mitigates Risk

While every good organisation has an IT management strategy, it is not always possible for an SME to employ several people with the skills required to effectively manage the various elements of an organisation’s IT. An outsourced IT model will mitigate risk from a lack of skills, threat of staff turnover and budget restrictions.
Having a supervisor is all well and good when there is a problem with a PC, but such an employee seldom has the skills to assist in other areas of IT. This is the challenge for most SMEs – their view of IT is very operational, meaning there is little long term strategy in place.

In other words, an SME may spend quite a bit of money getting the basics in place, but they will seldom have considered all aspects of their IT strategy. The goal is to empower SME customers to make the right IT decisions.

There are numerous areas within IT that need to be considered; everything from servers, to desktops to connectivity needs to be taken into account. In addition, other areas of concern include the company’s expansions plans, potential hardware replacement costs, taking care of software licensing and so on.

The outsourced provider should assist clients to determine what their IT requirements are, how to plan their Opex or Capex spend, how to understand the difference between core requirements and business-specific needs and how to get operational again in the case of a disaster. It is an imperative to work together to ensure that their IT works as an investment rather than a liability and will assist the business moving forward, rather than costing it money.

In my experience a number of SMEs make the decision to do it themselves simply because they don’t have the information available to help them in making the right decisions. However, the benefits of outsourcing should be plain – moving from a Capex model to an Opex-driven one; access to a large base of skills and resources; and handing the management and strategy of your IT to an expert are among the key motivating factors in this regard.

As part of an outsource model, the service provider will offer a holistic view of the customer’s entire IT strategy. So for example, the provider should ensure that the customer has an effective disaster recovery (DR) plan in place, which is something the SME itself doesn’t always properly consider.

Using some basic mathematics can show just how beneficial an outsource model can be. For example, an SME that has a 60-user site that needs server and desktop maintenance, hiring an entry-level engineer (at around R12-15 000 per month) and a more senior engineer (at around R20 000 per month) would mean a business would be spending approximately R30-35 000 per month for a basic set of resources.

For that sort of investment with an outsource provider, an SME could have access to a network, servers, telephony and desktops as core services, as well as access to a call centre for first line support. In addition, their licensing management, backup and DR strategies would all be taken care of and backed up by service level agreements (SLAs). It would also mean no worries around staff turnover and skills upgrades. And with a large pool of resources to call on, they would have access to a greater number of skills than they could reasonably expect to employ.

Going on your own can easily lead to uncontained costs, whereas an outsource service provider is focused on saving you money while also providing you with business flexibility, ease of maintenance and simplified management.

Ultimately the goal must be to assist the SME to them make the right decisions, based on the right information supplied by the outsourced provider. The aim is to help the SME think about the things they would otherwise never know to ask.

31st March 2012, World Backup Day

World Backup Day is not only a call to action for businesses to review their backup and security strategy but also a stark reminder of the value of business critical content.  WD, a leading hard drive manufacturer, urges Small Medium Businesses (SMBs) to put together their own backup plan using its top five tips.

So why is backup so important to SMBs? Data is not only intangible and irreplaceable without a backup copy, but it is probably also the single most valuable asset of your business. The question is not IF you will lose your data, but WHEN. Whether it is due to accidental deletion by an absent-minded employee, intentional vandalism by a rogue vendor with access to your network, or a massive attack of thousands of infected computers, losing your data is a business reality. The question is, can you get your data back—and how fast?

According to a study carried out by Price Waterhouse Coopers a single incident of data loss costs businesses an average of $10,000¹. Gartner also reveals that 25% of all PC users suffer from data loss each year and that 80% of businesses that suffer a major data loss or failure for more than 24 hours close within a year ². Not properly backing up your data can result in data loss that can have a detrimental impact on business:  damage to your brand, loss of customer trust, civil and/or criminal penalties, shareholder lawsuits, and more.

Says Anamika Budree, Western Digital Country Manager, South Africa: “Having a backup strategy is not only crucial for larger enterprises. Many small businesses don’t expect the worst case scenario of losing all their data through fire, flooding, cybercrime, corrupt data or damage to hard drives. The results can be devastating if this information cannot be retrieved.”

Whether they're personal or professional, digital content and important files are invaluable and often irreplaceable if lost or compromised. WD has put together some tips for SMBs that want to reduce the risk of data loss

1.       Keep your data and applications backed up
Often, businesses do not consider backing up their applications when they devise their backup solution. They back up the data files they create, but they often do not think to back up the installed software and operating system files. It is important to create an image of your servers and computers to make sure that the data, applications, and operating system can be completely and seamlessly recovered to their “pre-disaster” status.

2.       Point of recovery time – what lifespan of data is the most important?
Backup systems are quite flexible regarding how much historical data they can recover. Do you always need to recover the last six months of data? Is having the most recent weeks’ worth of data all you really need? The point of recovery date and time are an important consideration.

3.       Online or on site - you should not only backup the data locally, but also keep a copy in off-site storage to ensure faster data disaster recovery times.
You may want to also consider cloud services found on NAS drives like WD Sentinel which offers users the ability to connect to a "public cloud" storage provider, giving businesses an economical and integrated disaster recovery solution against earthquake, theft and fire or water damage. In the event of a natural or man-made disaster, an SMB could lose everything if its place of business were compromised. WD Sentinel also performs automatic daily backups so all of the files on up to 25 computers in your network are backed up and protected and offers complete data protection with built-in hardware and software redundancy for all of the connected devices in the network.

4.       Test. Test. Test - The only thing worse than not backing up your data is not properly backing up your data.
Imagine that a disaster strikes your neighborhood and all your business data is completely destroyed. If you go to recover your data and find out your backups are corrupted, the wrong files are backed up, or some other terrible scenario has occurred, what will you do? Test your backups to make sure that your data is properly backed up.

5.       Don’t forget your servers - Your business data is not just what’s in the “My Documents” folder
The data in your email server, application server, and any other servers you use (including your website and hosted data) must be backed up as well.

¹Price Waterhouse Cooper Study 2008: Information Security Survey
²Gartner Research Group