Ransomware Attacks Ramp Up on State and Local Governments

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, August 28th 2019 — Categories: Security

Ransomware is a digital attack in which an executable or malicious link opened by an unsuspecting (and likely untrained) user installs a program that blocks access to applications, phone systems, and/or data until a ransom is paid. It’s been making the rounds for many years now. But only lately have hackers begun zeroing in on a specific vertical: state and local governments.

In 2019, over 22 governments have been affected by ransomware – and that number was prior to recent news breaking that an additional 22 small towns in Texas were all targeted in a single coordinated attack.

Over 200 state, county, or city government IT systems have been targeted in recent years. With thousands and thousands of cities and towns across America, that may seem like a drop in the bucket. But ransomware is becoming easier and easier to distribute and users continue fall victim; usually via phishing emails or web exploits that deliver malware without any user action outside of visiting an apparently innocuous site.

Why are governments becoming a preferred target for ransomware? And how can you improve your chances of avoiding or mitigating ransomware?

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Top Priorities for Securing Office 365

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, August 14th 2019 — Categories: O365, Security

Migrating e-mail and productivity apps to the cloud is a no brainer. Continuous updates, access from anywhere, no need to manage the supporting servers and associated hardware…the benefits are clear. As with any IT outsourcing, however, careful planning around security measures is essential. And with your O365 environment exposed to the public internet, security best practices are even more important.

While securing Office 365 is an ongoing effort, there are several top priorities that should be first to be addressed after your migration.

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Five Key Questions to Control Cloud Costs

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Friday, August 9th 2019 — Categories: Azure, Cloud Hosting, IT Modernization

With some organizations looking to move cloud workloads back on-premises to mitigate costs and regain control over their hardware and audit trails, you might be questioning cloud-first and cloud-only initiatives for infrastructure procurement.

After all, for years marketing pushed lower overall costs after migrating to the cloud. So what gives? Why are many cloud workloads ending up more expensive than their on-prem counterparts?

You've probably heard the old joke before that the cloud is “just someone else's data center.” That may have been true a decade ago, but no longer.

Forcing a cloud migration is not the key to savings. You must understand the business value, catalog and think deeply about the existing and desired state of your infrastructure, rearchitect your workloads, and adjust your workflow to this new paradigm. Here are the five key areas you need to plan things out.

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The Other IaaS: Insights as a Service

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, August 1st 2019 — Categories: IT Modernization

As you continue to adopt cloud technologies and pursue digital transformation, you’ll overhaul databases, migrate data to the cloud, and continue to connect more and more information gathering tools to your digital environment.

With unstructured data pooling rapidly in cloud object storage and structured data overwhelming your databases, you’ll wisely implement data management protocols that include long term archiving, encryption and security measures for sensitive data, and strategic use of various cloud and on premises storage methods to minimize costs.

But are you taking advantage of that data beyond how it used in the applications that gather and handle it? There are business insights to be gleaned and platforms like Power BI can help you make sense of it. If you don’t have time to learn a new platform or budget to hire a full time data analytics staff, you can instead find an Insights as a Service provider to help.

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Before Going Serverless, Be Aware of Limitations

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, July 25th 2019 — Categories: Azure, Cloud Hosting, DevOps, IT Modernization

Serverless functions (often referred to as Functions as a Service or FaaS) will no doubt continue to grow in popularity and remain a cornerstone of IT services for many years to come. However, they are simply another way of building, maintaining, and delivering IT systems. With that in mind, they naturally have disadvantages or situations in which they may not be the preferred technology to use. These are due both to the nature of serverless and how it is currently implemented by cloud service providers.

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