CT Link Managed Services Remotely Secures Client’s WFH setup

CT Link Managed Services Remotely Secures Client’s WFH setup

With the suddenness of the declaration of the ECQ, most companies were unable to give their workforce the tools that they may have needed to work effectively at home. This left many employees to find their own ways to complete the tasks that they do on a daily basis at home. Many of which ended up using their own devices and installing the apps from work or apps and connecting to thru the company VPN.

Client Challenges: Unsecured Personal Devices connecting to Corporate VPN

One of our customers from the Public Sector encountered this dilemma during the start of the ECQ. They have about 500 employees who need to Work From Home (WFH). They were unable to give all employees resources in which to accomplish their tasks so opted to allow employees to use their personal devices. However, the Infosec Team is concerned that malwares from the personal devices could enter thru the VPN connections.

Solution: CT Link Managed Endpoint Security

As a CT Link managed service customer, we deployed Trend Micro’s Worry-Free Business Security Services (WFBSS), which is a cloud-based Endpoint Security Solution. We provided the link for installing of Trend Micro Agents to end users and assisted them in deploying this on their endpoint devices.

As a cloud-based solution, we were able to be with them every step of the way during this process and helped with problems that occurred during installation of some devices while also monitoring the threats found by WFBSS. This has proved as an effective measure for them as presently WFBSS has detected over 3,000 suspicious and malicious activities from the endpoints.

Security as a Service

Having Managed Services for security helped our client worry less about the security from personal devices connecting into their network and freed up their time to concentrate on other important tasks at hand during the ECQ. This meant that we handled the troubleshooting of the installations of the endpoint devices and monitoring of malicious activities reported by WFBSS. This service is also not reserved for only enterprise accounts as our services are actually very beneficial as well to small and medium businesses that do not have their own dedicated IT team.  Below are a few key features in which you can expect to get when subscribed to our managed services:

  • Keep outside threats like malware from getting in and sensitive data from going out
  • Filtering potentially dangerous or inappropriate websites
  • Preventing phishing and social engineered attacks from getting to your users
  • As a cloud-based solution, support is done remotely
  • Supports WFH setups to ensure your network is safe
  • Ease of deployment with little to no IT skills required
  • Centralized monitoring through one dashboard accessible through the cloud

If you are interested in learning more about our CT Link managed services or WFBSS, contact your CT Link AM or reply to this email and we will get back to you as soon as possible!


Images were provided by Vecteezy (1,2,3,4,5)

ECQ Success Stories: CT Link Managed Services Remotely Sets up Audio Conferencing for Customer Board Meeting

ECQ Success Stories: CT Link Managed Services Remotely Sets up Audio Conferencing for Customer Board Meeting

Right now, there are little to no physical meetings happening due to the need for us to practice social distancing. This has caused a spike into companies looking to put their meetings in the virtual space where they can be safely conducted. To others, however, video conferencing is not feasible for various reasons.  One of our clients fell under one of those reasons.

Customer Challenge

With the extension of the ECQ, our client would not be able to carry out their scheduled board meeting at their office.  This meant that they needed to find an alternate way to carry out the meeting which was scheduled in four days. One consideration they had was to use Microsoft Teams video conferencing capabilities. However, the attendees were not tech savvy individuals and asked their team if it was possible to join the board meeting using landlines.

Our Solution: Set up Audio Conferencing on Microsoft Teams

As they are currently a CT Link Managed Services customer for Office 365, our team set up an audio-conferencing facility using our own tenant to let them try and see if this met their needs.

Within a few hours, the environment was ready and a dedicated bridging number was provided.  Our engineer taught the customer how to use the Audio Conferencing facility. They tested the facility the following day and confirmed that is what they needed, especially because it is easy for non-tech savvy individuals to connect. They only had to dial the bridging number on their landline phones and provide a conference ID for them to join the conference. With this, we recommended the most cost-effective subscription that needs to be added to their Office 365 tenant.

Upon confirmation by the customer on the availment of the additional subscription, the Audio Conferencing was set up in their Office 365 tenant. The board meeting was scheduled and was held using the Microsoft Teams Audio Conferencing Facility. A CT Link engineer was on standby on the day of the meeting to assist with any connection issues.

Audio vs Video

Although video conferencing is now steadily growing in popularity, audio conferencing still has many advantages over its video counterpart. One would be what our client encountered, it is easier for users to connect to and can hold more participants (up to 250 concurrent users).  It is as simple as dialing the number to the join the conference. 

Audio conferencing is also more viable to those who have limited access to the internet, whether it be due to remote locations where connectivity is limited or if the user is currently roaming. Quality of audio is also much better when done through audio conferencing, so if your meeting requires no video aspect, it is usually much better to hold it as an audio conference.

Microsoft Makes Teams Available for Everyone in Light of Covid-19

With the flexibility of Microsoft Teams, there are many ways to collaborate with your colleagues remotely during the ECQ. We have been working closely with many of our clients during the ECQ to set up their Microsoft Teams’ journey remotely. Whether their interest be in a free messaging app, a better tool to share documents, or even to set up video conferences, it has been helping many of our clients improve their operations and productivity.

If you would like to learn more about Microsoft Teams or if you would like to try it for yourself for free, please get in touch with your CT Link account manager or you can send an email to sales@ctlink.com.ph / marketing@ctlink.com.ph and we would be happy to help you!


Images were provided by FreePik (1, 2, 3, 4) and Vecteezy (1, 2, 3, 4)

ECQ Success Stories: CT Link Managed Services restores Client’s Web Services from Failed Physical Server

ECQ Success Stories: CT Link Managed Services restores Client’s Web Services from Failed Physical Server

Disruption to your business can happen without any notice. This was felt by everyone when the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) was suddenly implemented last March 2020. Companies were forced to adopt a Work From Home program where servers are expected to be always available even when unattended.

Client Challenge

A couple of days into the ECQ, one of CT Link’s customer’s web server became inaccessible. The server hosts the web portal of the company, which runs on a physical server. They have an appliance deployed on-site to back up some of the customer’s servers which are replicated to a private cloud to serve as a Disaster Recovery (DR) site. However, despite no one is in their Data Center, they must bring the web portal back up running as soon as possible, without anyone going on-site.

Our Solution: CT Link’s Managed DR as a Service

With a subscription to CT Link’s Managed DR as a Service, a teleworking CT Link Engineer was assigned to the case after the customer contacted CT Link Customer Service. By accessing the BCDR Orchestrator, a working backup from the previous night was identified. However, with the physical server not accessible remotely, how can the back-up be restored to the original server?

CT Link’s Managed DR as a Service used a two-part solution:

Restore Even Before Repairing via Local Virtualization

The on-prem appliance being used for CT Link’s Managed DR as a Service has a capability called local virtualization which allows the appliance to host virtual machines restored from the backups. This feature was used to restore the most recent backup of the web portal into the appliance. This enabled the web portal to be accessible to users once again. The web portal was hosted on the backup appliance for 4 weeks until the systems administrator was able to visit the Data Center.

Easily Move Over to a New Physical Server via Bare Metal Restoration (BMR)

Once the systems administrator was able to replace the physical server, the web portal had to be moved back from the backup appliance into the physical server. Manually reinstalling the operating system, installing the web server software and patching and hardening the server would take a couple of days.

Instead of reinstalling the operating environment, CT Link engineer used the Bare Metal Restoration technique to quickly restore from the backup appliance into the new server. Bare Metal Restoration removes the need to reinstall the OS or applications prior to restoration, making the transition smooth and easy.

Commendation

Customer sent a commendation to the engineer assigned to their case, for having their web portal back up running and accessible in just two hours after contact. Having seen the benefits of CT Link’s Managed DR as a Service, the customer is now considering enrolling more servers into this service.

Keeping BCDR in mind

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plans are investments into keeping your operations running. Our client experienced this first hand, having faced two disruptions simultaneously from the ECQ and having their server go down when no one could service it physically. However, they came out of this ordeal with minimal downtime, reaping the benefits of their investments.

If you are interested in learning more about CT Link Managed Services, you may email us at sales@ctlink.com.ph / marketing@ctlink.com.ph.


Images were provided by Vecteezy and Freepik

Working Amid Enhanced Quarantine: Protect your Business from Disruptions and Keep Workforce Productivity

Working Amid Enhanced Quarantine: Protect your Business from Disruptions and Keep Workforce Productivity

With the Covid-19 impacting almost everyone, companies are reviewing their business continuity strategy during this unplanned disruption. To keep the business up and running, organizations must take a more comprehensive approach encompassing both organizational measures and technologies to minimize disruption, maintain security, and support uninterrupted productivity for users and teams. Best practices for a complete business continuity strategy should address business continuity team structure, business continuity planning, disaster recovery and business continuity testing, crisis communications, and employee safety and awareness programs.

Providing users with the experience they need, a secure digital workspace can grant seamless access to business apps and data on any device, over any network, hosted on-premises or in a public cloud. Contextual awareness allows just the right balance of security and flexibility for their current situation, without compromising corporate resources. Analytics and insights help IT maintain security, compliance, and threat protection wherever and however people work.

With Citrix, companies can be protected from consequences such as financial loss, damaged reputation, weakened customer and partner relationships, and lost productivity. The same secure digital workspace technology lets people connect with apps and data in both routine operations and emergency situations, using any device, network, or cloud. This makes it simple for people to do whatever their priorities dictate – whether to continue working normally, perform new tasks required by the event, or focus on the needs of their families and themselves, then resume work as circumstances allow.

Below are some ways that Citrix can help you improve your BC efforts:

Secure Access from Anywhere on Any Device

Allow your workforce to access their workspace from anywhere on any device using whatever available connection.

Data Stays in the Data Center

Through application virtualization, data is managed and stays in your data center. It also gives your IT the ability to limit user’s access to your network as well.

Provide IT Help Desk Support to WFH Users

Give your IT team full visibility, so that they can provide real-time analytics and resolve issues faster. Connect to your user’s session to help them resolve their IT issues.


To learn more about Ctirix’s solutions, you may send an email to sales@ctlink.com.ph or marketing@ctlink.com.ph!

Security Advisory: Malicious Attacks using COVID 19 are becoming more widespread

Security Advisory: Malicious Attacks using COVID 19 are becoming more widespread

Due to recent events, many of us have had to do significant life changes be it personal or work related. This has affected many of us globally and even created a trend that many are using to their advantage, such as people making profit off shipping masks to other countries. So, it comes to no surprise that many cyber criminals are also using this to their advantage. According to Trend Micro, there has been a surge of malicious attacks being detected that have been using the COVID 19 as a lure to infect unsuspecting users.

From the duration of January 1, 2020 – March 27, 2020, Trend Micro’s Smart Protection Network blocked more than 300,000 threats using the COVID 19. They found that 65% of the attacks were in the form of spam emails while other 35% were malware related or malicious URLs. Around 56% of malicious URLs are phishing attacks, so making sure your workforce is properly educated on how to spot these attacks is crucial in keeping your company safe. Around 80,000 files used in spam that had the keyword COVID were mostly Trojan files, the others were in different malware families, only a handful were ransomware related.

Defending your Workforce from COVID related threats

Below are a few tips in which your workforce can follow to help minimize the risk of falling for COVID related scams:

Use a company device for remote work if possible

If possible, use company issued devices. Personal devices may not have as much security controls then company owned devices. Do not use company devices for anything unrelated to work.

Prepare a backup solution at home

Preparing a backup with what you have on hand (USBs, external hard drives, etc.) is better than not preparing in case anything goes wrong.

Be wary of online scams

Unfortunately, there will be people using this crisis to scam or make money of people who are currently on high alert. Let us remember to always be vigilant and look out for suspicious emails or URLs, especially if they are unverified and currently using COVID in their filename or URL.

For those who wish to add more security to their current mobile workforce, Trend Micro’s Smart Protection suite and Worry-Free Business Security can help you detect and block these malicious threats.

As an added layer of defense, Trend Micro™ Email Security thwarts spam and other email attacks. The protection it provides is constantly updated, ensuring that the system is safeguarded from both old and new attacks involving spam, BEC, and ransomware.


To learn more about how to better protect your workforce with Trend Micro solutions, you can send an email to marketing@ctlink.com.ph and we would be happy to answer your inquiries!

Five tips from Microsoft Detection and Response Team to minimize Advanced Persistent Threats

Five tips from Microsoft Detection and Response Team to minimize Advanced Persistent Threats

Microsoft’s Detection and Response Team (DART), in an effort to encourage the use of better security practices, is planning on sharing its experiences wit customers to let others know the methods of hackers.  One particular customer story just shows how some organizations are still lax when it comes to security as they had 6 different groups hacking their network in the same time period.

In the first report that they gave, there was details of an advanced persistent threat (APT) that was able to steal administrator credentials to steal sensitive data.  This attack persisted for 243 days, this was when DART was called in to help the customer.

One thing to note, this attack could have been prevented if a multi-factor authentication (MFA) was in place.  Microsoft says that almost 99.9% of compromised accounts do not use MFA, and only 11% of enterprise accounts use MFA.

When DART was in the process of removing the attacker on the system, that was when it discovered the other 5 intruders within the network.  The attackers were not coordinating the attack together, the main attacker used a password-spraying attack to get the credentials of the Office 365 admin.  They then searched the mailboxes for confidential emails that contained intellectual property in certain markets.

The company tried its best to resolve the attack in the first month, but then needed to call in an incident-response vendor to help.  It proved to become a lengthy investigation and after 7 months, Microsoft’s DART was called to help with the investigation.  They were able to eject the threat on the day they were assigned the task.

Below are a few Microsoft recommended ways in which to avoid the risk of APT attacks:

  • Enabling MFA
  • Removing legacy authentication
  • Giving enough training to first responders
  • Logging events properly with a security, information and event management product
  • Recognizing attackers use legitimate administrative and security tools to probe targets

To learn more about how you can keep your systems safe from APT attacks or other major attacks like ransomware, you can contact us at 8893 9515 or email us at sales@ctlink.com.ph and we would be happy to help you!

CT Link is Here to Support You!

CT Link is Here to Support You!

To all Our Valued Clients:

With the announcement regarding work suspension, we assure you that we are still here to support you in case you need help. For any concerns, just contact your CT Link Account Manager, or send an email to support@ctlink.com.ph. We will be more than glad to continue assisting you remotely during this “enhanced community quarantine” period.

Thank you for your understanding. Let us all remember to follow the safety guidelines to help stop the spreading of this virus.

Stay safe and stay healthy!

Best regards,

Your CT Link Family

Financial Services: Adding Business Continuity to your Bottom Line

Financial Services: Adding Business Continuity to your Bottom Line

Financial firms have the task of making sure that their clients are making the most of their fiscal decisions.  From services such as accounting, hedge fund management, and stock investments, your clients put their trust in you to handle their funds and ensure confidentiality.  Once that trust is gone, you will most likely lose that client for life.  Therefore, maintaining that trust is important in the financial industry.  So how do you ensure that their data is safe?  Do you have plans just in case your clients are unable to retrieve information or make withdrawals?  How about if their identity was stolen and you were are unable to access their data that would help stop it?

Downtime is one of the causes that hampers the industries performance, and this does not just apply to downtime caused by natural disasters.  The other and more recent causes of downtime from data loss come in the form of cyber attacks and malware like ransomware.  These are the kind of situation that your company should try to avoid at all costs as this can not only ruin the trust from the said client, it could also affect your future prospects.

A False Sense of Security

While you may be taking some precautions, such as securing and backing up your sensitive data, sometimes that’s not enough. There is a common misconception that data is safe if backed up once a day, but this outdated practice is no longer sufficient for several reasons:

  • If you forget to perform the backup or the backup process fails, you’re not protected.
  • If you only back up your files once a day, you’re left vulnerable to the loss of an entire day’s work.
  • If you don’t properly validate your backup files, you could be in for an unpleasant surprise when you try to use those files to restore your company’s operations.
  • If you only back up your files on-site, you could lose them too, leaving you with no way to meet client requests.
  • If you only back up your raw data, rather than all your application and server configuration files, it could take several days to restore your practice —because you will also have to rebuild your servers, operating systems, applications, etc.

Below are a few best practices your company should follow to start the most basic of ways you can protect your data:

  • Outsource your company’s IT needs to an expert who has experience in the financial industry.
  • Don’t sacrifice quality to save money when purchasing hardware. It will benefit you (and your bottom line) to have strong technology in the long run.
  • Perform timely hardware and software updates, maintenance and backups.
  • Establish, review and maintain system security of all practice technology.

The Better Way: Business Continuity

Although best practices are good to follow, it won’t give you that extra layer of insurance that you would like to have when handling with a lot of confidential and important data.  This is where a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR) solution comes in to help you with your backup and disaster recovery.  It will help you protect your data whether it is on-prem or in the cloud and even help backup data in your SaaS applications.  While still being able to help you restore your data in case of unforeseen incidents.

When a business faces an incident in which their systems are majorly affected, whether it be natural disasters or a man-made, a strong BCDR solution can help you get back online in minutes.

When leveraging hybrid solutions as well, can ensure that your restore time will be quicker as using local storage exclusively can cause issues if the area it was stored was also affected by the disaster.

Going full cloud is also be slow as well due to bandwidth issues that will pop up as you try to bring back all the hundreds of GB back to your system. A hybrid model works to alleviate the vulnerabilities by implementing both processes to fill in the gaps. That’s intelligent business continuity.


To learn more you may contact us at 8893 9515 to learn more about BCDR solution or if you have any questions that you would like to clarify.

Office App: Your new Microsoft Office on the Go

Office App: Your new Microsoft Office on the Go

Most Microsoft Office users hardly use their phone to do their work, if ever they do its for revisions or small adjustments.  Users usually save majority of the work for when they can use a desktop, this should be expected as the mobile version, while handy, had a lot of limitations.  Microsoft took this as a challenge to better improve their mobile app so that you could use the app on the go to create majority of the content of your files, be it a document, a spreadsheet or even presentations.

Microsoft has announced on February 19, 2020 that the Office app is now generally available for use on both iOS and android for you to test and hopefully give more feedback.

The Office app delivers several key benefits including:

  • Combining Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in a way that simplifies the experience with fewer apps to download or switch between. It requires far less phone storage than installing individual apps while maintaining virtually all the capabilities of the existing mobile apps people already know and use.
  • Integrating our Lens technology to unlock the power of the camera with capabilities like converting images into editable Word and Excel documents, scanning PDFs, and capturing whiteboards with automatic digital enhancements to make the content easier to read.
  • Adding new functionality for common tasks people often encounter when working on a phone—things like making quick notes, signing PDFs, scanning QR codes, and transferring files between devices.

New features are also on the works that will hopefully help you do more content heavy work when using the Office App.  Below are the features that are currently being worked on and hopefully will be out on a future update:

Word Dictation— a feature where you can enable writing via voice while keeping all punctuation and symbols via a shortcut bar.

Excel Cards View— a feature in which excel rows will be displayed as easy to read and edit cards to better.

Outline to PowerPoint— a feature in which your powerpoint slide based on an outline you write will be automatically designed by powerpoint designer.


To learn more about Microsoft Office or any other Microsoft products, you may visit our product page or you can contact us directly at 8893 9515 and we would be happy to answer your inquiries.

You may also find the link for the Office app below for your respective devices:

Download for Android | Download for iOS

Malware in a X-Ray Machine Adds Tumors to the Test Results

Malware in a X-Ray Machine Adds Tumors to the Test Results

What Malware these days are getting more versatile in the way they do attacks.  Ransomware attacks were one-way people thought of new ways to use malicious programs to exhort money from unfortunate victims.  Other attacks are meant to exploit vulnerabilities to get into your system to steal your data.  Recently however, there has been a new kind of malware that was recently made that can alter your x-ray results and add fake tumors into you results.

Cyber Security researchers recently created malware that was so effective in adding fake lung tumors, it was able to fool 3 different radiologists.  It also has the capability of planting different kinds of false evidences for different signs of disease on the body such as brain tumors and other serious illness symptoms.  Researchers even stated that it could also tamper with actual positive results and make them seem like they are negative causing patients to be unable to get the treatment they may need.

Fortunately for us, this was just a security test executed by the security experts to show the medical community how vulnerable their security on the diagnostic machines are.

What does this mean for us?

With how easily our researchers were able to make these kinds of malware, it means that its just as easy for those will malicious intentions to do the same.  With these kinds of flaws prevalent in most healthcare diagnostic machines, there may be a day where we will be affected on en mass like when hospitals around the globe were hit by the ransomware attack, WannaCry.

Below are a few solutions you can consider if you would like to better safeguard your specialized equipment:

  • Exabeam UEBA for behavioral analytics (for detecting any abnormal and risky behavior by users, machines or other entities on the corporate network)
  • Trend Micro TippingPoint IPS is an appliance that can detect, and block network traffic associated with vulnerabilities being exploited by threat actors targeting Medical devices such as CT scan and MRIs.
  • Trend Micro Deep Discovery Inspector is an appliance that can detect malicious traffic including command-and-control communications that may be found within these networks and associated with a breach. Unusual traffic can also be identified.
  • Trend Micro Safelock for those medical devices running on Legacy Windows OS. It can be used for smart whitelisting protection that can keep the system still locked under maintenance, and just allow approved software to be updated.

To learn more about these solutions, you may contact us at 8893-9515 and we would be happy to answer any inquiries that you may have!