Archive for April, 2010

McAfee’s anti-virus update error – with hindsight, what was the IT administrator’s best course of action?

Posted in Connect Cardiff, Tewdric, nsuk on April 23rd, 2010 by KevinH – Comments Off

Friday thought by technical director, Kevin Herbert

Reflecting on Wednesday’s ‘problem security patch’,  we’ve been talking to a number of our clients about what, if anything, could have been done differently to prevent the issues that transpired; pc’s automatically shutting down and unable to reload.

There are two possible courses of action when receiving a new security update. Firstly, the IT administrator could roll it out straight away and deal with any issues that may occur.

Alternatively, the IT administrator could test it on a sample of PC’s – probably non-critical machines (and definitely not those of directors!). Once these prove to be ok (say allowing 24 hours), the update can be deployed across the rest of the company.

The downside to the latter option is that if that patch provided protection against a significant threat that actually manifests itself (often known as a Zero Day Attack), then most of the PC’s would not have been covered. The consequences should a virus infiltrate company data could be devastating and so always far outweigh any patch ‘blip’ that could occur.

So, even with the benefit of hindsight, deploying the security update was the right thing to do. I  want to add that this only applies to critical security patches and that sample testing for other types of releases e.g. operating systems, etc,  should still take place.

It’s rare that companies like McAfee make errors and the benefits of having critical updates most definitely compensate for any inconvenience.

Keeping your business flying high whilst the planes are grounded

Posted in Communic8, Connect Cardiff, Tewdric, nsuk on April 16th, 2010 by GilesP – Comments Off

Friday Thought by managing director Giles Phelps

OK, so the volcanic ash has provided me with a plethora of puns – but one thing is certain; business doesn’t have to come to a halt just because travel has been restricted.

If you aren’t yet up to speed on cloud computing then it’s scenarios like these that make the whole thing worthwhile. The ability to work from anywhere with all your applications becomes real competitive advantage as your staff can stay productive wherever they are.

And if face to face meetings is the issue, then today’s video conferencing solutions allow you to you keep your appointments, and even, give live presentations with crystal clear sound and vision.

Good IT systems are now becoming more than just ‘nice to have’ items as communications keep a business going.

Finance Directors should be looking at the total cost of ownership, the cost of contingency plans without these systems and the effect of low employee productivity during ‘Acts of God’ when looking at implementing new technology for a complete financial picture.

5 political changes that have already affected IT this year

Posted in Communic8, Connect Cardiff, Tewdric, nsuk on April 9th, 2010 by GilesP – Comments Off

Friday Thought by managing director, Giles Phelps.

1. Digital Economy Bill

Whilst the legistlation was rushed through Parliament this week, the wrangling in the House of Commons are still continuing (and probably will for some time).

Part of the Bill is designed to give power to copyright holders where their rights have been infringed online. However, under the rules, the onus has been placed on the Internet Service Providers to block access to infringing websites. Whilst Internet piracy is a major issue, perhaps the responsibility should be put upon the website hosters who have the ability to take down contravening websites.

2. Broadband Tax

This tax being brought under the Finance Bill was going to be charged at a rate of 50p per month on all fixed landlines. The annual collection of £6 was to help pay towards UK-wide fast broadband. However, the levy was scrapped in order to hurry the bill through Parliament this week.

3. Fines for loss of data

The ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) have been given greater powers of enforcement with fines of up to £500,000 for major data breaches. Their aim is to encourage businesses to impose better IT security measures when handling consumer data.

4. National Insurance increase

Announced in the March Budget, the tax is due to increase by 1% in 2011. Whilst this isn’t a massive increase, it will impact on employers and they may consider outsourcing resources instead of recruiting.

5. Carbon Reduction

This will only affect large corporate enterprises and factories at the moment who have energy bills greater than £0.5million per year. They are expected to show a reduction in their energy consumption. One way they could easily reduce it overnight is to outsource its IT services and, in particular, their servers.

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