Tech Talk: Hyperconverged Infrastructure Benefits to Businesses

Hyperconverged Infrastructure Benefits to Businesses Header

Today’s technologies are enabling companies to operate their business in ways that would not have been possible a few years back. This, however, has created a lot more complexity within the traditional infrastructure and can drive the costs higher if not addressed. If your business has been experiencing this very issue, you might have come across the term Hyperconverged Infrastructure or HCI. But what exactly is HCI and how can it help your business?

What is HCI?

To know what HCI is, lets step back and first go through what we are familiar with, the traditional model of infrastructure. The traditional model uses three proprietary purpose-built hardware for computing, storage, and networking. They are separate from one another and usually have specialists from IT handling each aspect. The benefit of this is you can independently add-on per component when you need to scale without interrupting your business environment and applications requirements are easier to meet. However, the downsides are that it takes more space physically, businesses need to allocate more manpower, and costs can become cumbersome.

A converged infrastructure improves on the traditional model to address its shortcomings. By bringing all three components into one rack, you are able to monitor and control all three in a single window. Saving you physical space and the need for more manpower. However, since all three components are now in a single rack, it is not as easy to alter it when needed. A huge loss to the businesses ability to be flexible.

This is where HCI comes in to solve these problems. Instead of placing the three main components into one rack, it places onto one industry-standard x86 server. A hypervisor is used to manage all the servers used to create a cluster that governs your IT environment. Software-defined storage is also usually used to create an inexpensive way to manage storage throughout the cluster. It uses the local disks of the servers and allocates data throughout the cluster. This is a key method on how scaling is easily done in an HCI setup.  

HCI Benefits for Businesses

Simplicity – HCI frameworks are simple to manage and easy to deploy due to its node-based approach. Compared to the traditional model which can become complex as it is expanded with new applications and services. The unified and virtualized nature of HCI makes it simple to expand and to manage.

Cost Management – HCI environments costs are wholly dependent on your IT Teams. Convergence can also help reduce the time and cost required for software upgrades and hardware replacement due to built-in failover capabilities.

Scalability – You can think of HCI nodes as preconfigured building blocks. These blocks can be used by your IT team to easily scale resources up or down at anytime with little effort. However, there are limits to the number of nodes that can be added per cluster, and it needs to be in specific increments. The cloud may be able to scale indefinitely, but this also can lead to increased complexity.

Speed – HCI’s node based approached can significantly increase the deployment speed regardless of resource type. From storage to computing, networking or security, additional solutions can be integrated at anytime without the fear operational conflict with one another.

To learn more about HCI’s capabilities and benefits to your business, you can contact through marketing@ctlink.com.ph to learn more!

Tech Talk: What is Data Loss Prevention?

As we slowly emerge from the global pandemic, the transition to return to the office have been steadily happening. However, even as we return to the office, working remotely is something that will not be going away anytime soon. With many offices opting to implement a hybrid work setup, data will inevitably be move outside your network perimeter. This has again brought up the issue of Data Loss Prevention (DLP) within many companies in the Philippines.  

The term DLP has become a common way to refer to anything related to loss of data. However, data loss is more covered by backup or BCDR solution providers that can help you recover data.  Then what do DLP solution providers help solve and why is it finding relevancy now as hybrid work is becoming popular?

How DLP Solutions Protect your Data

Data breaches spiked up during the pandemic due to the fact that many were still adapting to remote work. However, it was not just because of the increase of cyber-attacks like phishing or ransomware, insider threats and user error were also leading causes. It was estimated in 2020, that 23% of data breaches was caused by company users (either by accident or maliciously). This is also why data compliance regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation Act of the European Union (GDPR) or the Philippine Data Privacy Act of 2012 (DPA) are becoming stricter and increasing their fines.

DLP solutions from Forcepoint help businesses comply with rapidly evolving regulations and help prevent the loss of data from insider threats. They do this through first identifying what data needs to be protected within the organization. An example of this would be banks protecting sensitive information like credit card numbers. By creating policies based on credit card number formats, the DLP solution can then filter and monitor files that go through it and see how they are being used. The DLP solution can then alert you once data containing sensitive information is either:

  • Being sent through an email
  • Copied to an unauthorized external hard drive
  • Uploaded to the Cloud
  • Being shared through a Web browser

DLP Solutions can also keep track of files that contain sensitive data is changed. If someone from inside the company renames a file with sensitive data before moving it from the above methods, the DLP solution can save that event. So in the case of misuse of data, your company has proof to show. Besides monitoring, DLP solutions can also prevent the loss or leakage of data through its policies so that accidental or malicious loss can be stopped before it happens.

To learn more about DLP solutions like Forcepoint, you may contact us at marketing@ctlink.com.ph to learn more!

Exclusive Workshop: Collaborate and Stay Secure with Microsoft 365 for Business!

When the pandemic hit, businesses all over the world had to scramble and adapt. Many small and medium-size businesses really struggled with these changes and did not know if they would be able to make it through. The “new normal” has demonstrated that in order to thrive, businesses need to invest in developing capabilities in key two areas:

  • Real-time collaboration
  • Security

Real-time collaboration was hard to maintain during the start of the pandemic as many did not have the means to work remotely. Those companies that were unable to adapt to the pandemic were not able to recover their business. As you know, Microsoft Office 365 was able to help many businesses collaborate in real time and keep the user performance high even during those uncertain times.

Security does not fall behind collaboration in terms of importance during the pandemic. The spike in malicious attacks at the start of 2020 caused many businesses to lose important business data. Although some businesses were able to recover, many did not. These attacks also cost businesses significant amount of profit over time as lost business opportunities were hard to recover.

Microsoft Office 365 Business Premium Workshop

Even as we are emerging from the pandemic, remote work setups are now more accepted, and we can expect to see it from businesses. Therefore, we should keep finding ways to improve the business processes with better and innovative ways. This is why we at CT Link are partnering with Crayon Philippines to create an exclusive workshop for some of our customers to learn more about the benefits of Office 365. With better real-time collaboration and security features, this workshop aims to show you how you can keep improving despite the ever-changing IT landscape.

Interested in learning how you can attend our next exclusive workshops? Inquire at marketing@ctlink.com.ph to learn more!

Backup and Recovery for your Hybrid Environment in the Philippines

Backing up data has always been something people or companies have ranked as a low priority need. However, when the need arises for backup and you and your company are not prepared, the result can be disastrous. Statistics show most small businesses do not recover from data loss and are forced to close while enterprises are estimated to lose $4,500 (or approximately PHP 200,000) per minute.

To make matters worse, data loss can now happen outside of the network perimeter. With the popularity of hybrid setups, users are now accessing data outside the network perimeter. Data is now being stored locally on their laptops or PCs out of convenience on their part. However, it also means you cannot control what happens to that data once it’s out of reach of your network control. This leaves your data vulnerable to loss if any unforeseen incident occurs such as ransomware attacks or hardware failures occur.

This where a cloud-based backup solution such as Datto Cloud Continuity can help.

Reliable Backup

With Datto Cloud Continuity, you are able to consistently backup your data no matter where your endpoint is. Whether you are moving between networks or turning off your device, Cloud Continuity pauses your progress in case of interruptions and automatically resumes once its connection is restored. This is especially helpful to users who are in a hybrid setup since users are switching between locations on a daily basis. Alerts are also generated in the case that your backup has failed to ensure that you can have a reliable backup once recovery is needed.

Simple and Easy Recovery

Whether its from a ransomware attack, lost or stolen device, or accidental deletion of a file, Datto Cloud Continuity can help you recover in a timely manner. Cloud Continuity allows you to easily restore individual files and folders through its image-based backup. You are able to go through different versions of your backup to find the files that were accidentally deleted or even lost due to hardware failure or corruption.

Using the same image-based backup, you are able to choose a file version in which your files were outside the infected date. Datto also will keep your files separate and quarantined in the event that ransomware was detected to ensure recovery. Stolen or lost PCs can also be restored through Datto with all the data and configurations the user had. This helps minimize the productivity loss of your users and ensures they can get back to work immediately.

To learn more about Datto’s Cloud Continuity or other backup or BCDR solutions, please contact us at marketing@ctlink.com.ph and we will be happy to help you!

Office 365 Tips for Improving Data Security

Microsoft Office 365 has become one of the most widely used collaboration tools for many businesses around the world. This is due to the familiarity, convenience, and functionality that the platform gives its users. The pandemic made it even more apparent when businesses had to close their offices and remote work was enforced globally. However, cyber criminals are aware of this and are actively looking for ways to exploit user ignorance for their gain.

Below are a few security tips to help you and your company improve your Office 365 security:

Enable Device Protection

Users of Office 365 will agree that one of the best features it has is its mobility. Being able to access your files, collaborate with others, and checking business emails on any device is incredibly convenient. However, this can lead to security risks in the long run if devices are not properly secured.

Microsoft Intune is a cloud-based service that focuses on mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM). It helps your organization properly manage and secure your users’ devices, whether or not they are using company devices or using their personal devices (BYOD). One example of its capabilities is preventing emails from being sent to people outside your organization. It also allows your corporate data to be secured even if they are on a personal device, keeping it isolated from personal data.

Microsoft Intune Capabilities

  • Option to be purely cloud or co-managed with configuration manager and Intune.
  • Customize rules for both personal and organization-owned devices when accessing corporate data and networks.
  • Protect your company information by controlling the way users access and share information.
  • Ensure security compliance for all devices and apps

Set up Email Security

Attackers usually take the path of least resistance when targeting your network which is usually your users. Phishing attacks have gone up since the pandemic since users are more vulnerable outside your network. Making use of the default Office 365 anti-phishing capabilities can help your company monitor and block known campaigns to lessen the risk of a breach. These functions can be enabled through the Microsoft Defender in the settings window.

If your company would like a complete email security solution for your Office 365 defense, Trend Micro Email Security for Office 365 can help. The Trend Micro solution uses an optimum blend of cross-generational threat techniques, like machine learning, sandbox analysis, data loss prevention (DLP), and other methods to stop all types of email threats.

Trend Micro Email Security Capabilities

  • Stops phishing and spam by examining email senders, analyzing email content and malicious URL
  • Protects against BEC by examining email behavior while allowing you to define priority users for BEC protection
  • Detects and blocks advanced threats using machine learning and sandbox analysis

Turn on Multifactor Authentication (MFA)

Enabling the MFA capabilities of Office 365 adds an additional layer of security to avoid data breaches. By verifying each user that requests for access, lessens the chance that any malicious attacker can get into your network. Office 365 MFA can be enabled for individual accounts or through policies for all users. Individual account option makes users go through authentication on their login while policy-based MFA can be customized based on the user’s role or permission levels. The policy-based option is not available on all licenses.

RSA SecurID is another option if you are looking to improve your MFA capabilities for Office 365. With a native Office 365 integration, you can better secure your network with a variety of different authentication methods. The below authentication methods are also available whether or not the user has internet access:

  • Hardware tokens
  • Soft tokens through the mobile app
  • Biometrics through the mobile app
  • Tokens received through Email or SMS

For further security form the RSA solution has machine learning for its authentication solution. However, it is not included in the basic edition.

Contact us at marketing@ctlink.com.ph to learn more on how you can better secure your Office 365 suite today!

Webinar: Defend, Backup, Recover for Office 365 and Google Workspaces

Today’s business environment has drastically changed from the past few years. Business data is not just within the business perimeter with the growth of remote work. Endpoints and SaaS platforms (such as Office 365 and Google Workspace) are now data points where critical data is being saved instead of servers in the office. Meaning traditional means of backup are not covering all bases of the business.

This change needs to be addressed in order to keep your business data protected. This is where Datto can help.

On Thursday, May 25 (10AM – 11AM), join us for an upcoming webinar Defend, Backup, Recover with Datto’s SaaS Defense and Protection for Office 365 and Google Workspace as we discuss how The Datto solution can help you improve your business’ data protection. In this 1-hour webinar, you’ll discover how Datto SaaS Defense and SaaS Protection provides an end-to-end security. You’ll hear from Shaun Witherden, Senior Channel Development Manager for Datto, to learn the following insights:

  • A brief look into the current IT landscape and the vulnerabilities that need to be addressed
  • The importance of a complete backup solution to ensuring the safety of your business-critical data
  • The future of trends of data with regards to back up after 2022

About the Speaker

Shaun Witherden, Senior Channel Development Manager for Datto.

Shaun run a successful MSP for 12 years, growing his business from 3 to 80+ staff, through lots of hard work and Merger and Acquisitions.  Shaun’s specialty is growing high performance service teams ensuing customers’ expectations are always met.

Register today and get a chance to win a Gaming chair and GC Vouchers at the end of the webinar!

Email marketing@ctlink.com.ph to learn more about how to register you and your company!

The New Office Environment: Hybrid Remote Work in 2022 and Beyond

Since the beginning of 2022, we have started to see some semblance of normalcy. Globally, people are now easing restrictions and many businesses are back to pre-pandemic standards. However, one thing that seems to be clear is that the attitude towards remote and hybrid work has changed.  

In the Philippines, the office culture has always leaned towards the traditional approach of going to an office from 8-5. Most hybrid or remote work setups were from jobs which were on a consultant or freelance basis. However, once the pandemic forced businesses to adapt, the mindset of many businesses changed to be more accepting of the concept.

Businesses need to be able to support hybrid or remote work to prepare for the coming years. Below are some concepts in which every business needs to consider to better support hybrid or remote work:

Elastic Work

“Elastic work” pertains to the concept of whether your users are at the office or working remotely, they should have the same experience. At the start of the pandemic, this was not a priority as most businesses just wanted to enable their users a way to work remotely. The priority now has shifted to ensuring their users have the same experience regardless of location. This means having good security, reduced friction when dealing with technology, and most importantly, being able to work how they want without hassle.

Going from Reactive to Proactive

Businesses who are proactive in their approach for hybrid try to improve their user’s security and experience before issues arise. The goal is not to log in remotely and see their desktops, but to improve that experience when they engage with their applications. By enabling your users with an overall good experience, it can also lead to applications that would provide your customers with a better experience overall. Whether it be through better productivity of your team or through applying your experience with users to your customer’s service.

Simple and Convenient

As the technology progresses, solutions can become more complex and hinder users. When preparing for your hybrid or remote work solution, you need to keep user experience in mind. Keeping it simple and intuitive will go a long way for both your users and customers. Enabling your workforce a way to work remotely won’t work if the process to do it is in itself confusing or restrictive. Finding the best balance between security and accessibility is key.

Creating a balance between your on-prem and hybrid/remote work users can be challenging. However, there are many solutions available that can help alleviate your concerns. Citrix Secure Private Access is a solution that can be considered to improve your remote work capabilities. As a Zero Trust Network Access security solution, provides your business with:

  • A VPN-less remote access solution that can support both modern and legacy applications
  • Flexibility on what device users can use to access your network anytime and anywhere while keeping your network secure
  • A way to verify and allow access only to authorized resources with functions such as Single Sign On (SSO), Multifactor Authentication (MFA), and browser-isolation

This leaves little to no chance for outsiders to get into your network while providing your users improved user experience. To learn more about the Citrix Solutions, Contact us at marketing@ctlink.com.ph today!

4 Tips On How To Prevent Ransomware

Below are 4 tips on how to prevent ransomware

  1. Brief your employees on IT security 
  2. Set up a data backup and recovery plan
  3. Secure your servers
  4. Implement zero trust

Ransomware is malware that is made to block access to a computer until a ransom is paid. This can be encountered through a variety of means, so it’s important to know how to prevent attacks. Otherwise, it could impact a business negatively — including disruption of operations, financial losses, and harm to reputation. This article will discuss some helpful tips on how to prevent ransomware. Keep on reading!

Brief Your Employees On IT Security

Email remains one of the lead delivery methods for all types of malware. In phishing emails, victims are tricked into clicking on malicious links and attachments that when downloaded or opened, will introduce ransomware into the system. This is one of the reasons why ransomware attacks occur. It only takes a momentary lapse in judgment for people to fall victim to a phishing link. 

Prevention is still better than cure, so it’s vital to train your employees when it comes to IT security. User training can significantly reduce the risk of infection, as long as your employees are trained to identify cyber threats — such as ransomware and phishing. 

To further improve email security, you can also consider using Trend Micro Deep Discovery Email Inspector. It comes with a ransomware detection and blocking feature, which uses advanced analysis techniques and custom sandboxing. This is important because ransomware should be blocked before it’s even delivered.

Set Up A Data Backup And Recovery Plan

Ransomware can prevent your employees from accessing your data and applications until a ransom is paid for. This can lead to temporary or permanent loss of your company’s data, cause a complete shutdown of your business operations, and end up with financial loss and damage to your company’s reputation. There’s also no guarantee that data would be returned or recovered once the ransom has been paid. 

Make it a priority to have backups of your organization’s most important data. This can help you recover from ransomware protection by giving you continuous access to your files and applications. You can restore the infected files to regain access to previously-compromised data.

Datto Workplace has a mechanism that can help you recover from a ransomware attack. With a Threat Detection and Management feature, you can not just detect ransomware infections, but also revert the infected files to their previous uninfected state.

Secure Your Servers

Ransomware attacks start in two ways. The more popular and common method is through phishing emails, where a victim is tricked to download an infected attachment or click on a malicious link. The other method takes place when a vulnerability in your network has been detected and exploited to insert ransomware. Once this is done, the malware encrypts the files on the system, drives, and network-connected devices.

To protect your servers from ransomware, you can rely on Trend Micro Deep Security. This solution offers anti-malware scanning to stop malware from attacking your server. With network security solutions and intrusion prevention, it can prevent your servers’ vulnerabilities from being misused — therefore stopping the potential installation of ransomware. It can also provide system security, so you can monitor system changes due to malware activity. 

Implement Zero Trust

Zero Trust is a type of security framework wherein all users inside and outside your organization’s network should be continuously authenticated and authorized before being granted access to resources. If implemented properly, it can help create a better security defense from ransomware attacks. 

One of the concepts of zero trust is the principle of least privilege. This means that you should only issue the bare minimum privileges that users need to perform their role. By restricting access, you can minimize the vectors of access for ransomware and limit the impact of a potential attack.

Zero trust also makes use of monitoring, detection, and threat inspection features to prevent ransomware attacks. Since zero trust is a long-term security approach that requires a change in mindset and commitment to implement, you can consider subscribing to a zero trust service.

Key Takeaway

By preventing you from accessing data and applications crucial to your business, ransomware can halt your operations and cause unexpected downtime. This can lead to more problems such as financial loss and damage to reputation. There’s no guarantee that your access will be granted once you pay for a ransom, so it’s important to reduce the risk of ransomware as much as possible. Follow the tips above to prevent this malware from creating problems within your organization.
If you want to learn more on how to prevent ransomware, you can send us a message here at CT Link. As an information technology solutions provider, we can help you find the right software that will match your requirements. We only partner with the best companies such as Trend Micro and Datto. We can also provide backup as a service, zero trust service, and email security service.

6 Tips On Preventing Business Email Compromise Attacks

Tips on preventing business email compromise attacks

What are some tips on preventing business email compromise attacks?

  1. Know the common BEC attack scenarios
  2. Enable multi-factor authentication for email accounts
  3. Be aware of email address changes
  4. Clarify suspicious requests
  5. Detect malicious email with the right software
  6. Avail of email security as a service

Business email compromise (BEC) is a type of cybercrime where an attacker hacks, spoofs, or impersonates a business email address to trick receivers that they’re receiving an email from a trusted source. BEC attacks are dangerous because they often lead to data theft and financial loss. Keep on reading to learn some tips on preventing business email compromise attacks.

Know The Common BEC Attack Scenarios

BEC attackers rely on social engineering techniques to trick their victims. Because of this, training can greatly help your employees. Proper training helps them become aware of the common attack scenarios, so they could take action immediately when it happens. Here are some examples to look out for:

  • Impersonation. BEC attackers will often impersonate a vendor, an executive of a company, or other authorized persons. You might notice that the domain name and email message seem legitimate because an attacker might have hacked their email account. But fund transfers are usually requested to be sent to the cybercriminal’s accounts.
  • Sense of urgency. Criminals posing to be executives or other authorized persons will create a false sense of urgency in their email messages, convincing unsuspecting individuals to provide fund transfers. This typically includes the demand for secrecy or a request to bypass security procedures.

Enable Multi-Factor Authentication For Email Accounts

To prevent email accounts from being easily hacked and taken over by criminals and used for BEC attacks, it’s vital to secure them in the first place. By enabling multi-factor authentication for email accounts, you can significantly reduce the chances of accounts being compromised.

Multi-factor authentication is a method of authenticating users by requiring them to provide two or more verification factors before they can access their account. Because other factors are needed in addition to a password, criminals will find it more difficult to infiltrate an account. Below are some examples of additional authentication factors:

  • Things you know (answer to a personal security question)
  • Things you have (a one-time password sent via text)
  • Things you are (fingerprint)

Be Aware Of Email Address Changes

BEC attacks can also happen through email spoofing. In a spoofing attack, the sender of the email can fake their display name and sender address to make the correspondence look like it came from a trusted person or company.

Another tactic is to create lookalike domains by using characters that can easily be confused. For example, @company.com and @cornpany.com will look similar at first glance. This will fool users which are too busy to pay attention. 

Because of these tactics, your employees need to be extra aware of email addresses. 

Clarify Suspicious Requests

Because BEC attacks can happen due to hacked accounts, it’s a good practice to also be skeptical when reading email messages. Think twice about granting a request for fund transfers or requests asking for sensitive details. 

For example, scammers sending emails from accounts of executives have a psychological advantage over the victims, which are often employees from the same company. When your employees receive these kinds of emails, it’s important to instruct them to think twice about whether it’s typical behavior for a CEO to send this kind of request. 

Employees should always request clarification for suspicious requests through other channels before authorizing transactions. One method is to pick up the phone and call to confirm first.

Detect Malicious Email With The Right Software

People can make mistakes, so it’s also crucial to add another layer of security by having the right software in place. Look for something that can specifically protect your organization from business email compromise like Trend Micro Email Security.

Trend Micro Email Security combines machine learning and expert rules to examine header and email content. It will analyze the behavior, intention, and authorship of the sender to protect you from BEC attacks. Aside from that, it can also prevent phishing and spam attacks.

Avail Of Email Security As A Service

Email is an important communication tool for your business, so it’s only right for you to invest in email security. With attackers targeting emails to steal confidential information and money, it’s now normal practice for companies to ensure proper protection from criminals.

But there are multiple steps that you must take to protect your email accounts. To make email security implementation easier, it’s beneficial to avail of email security as a service

From proposing a security architecture design to testing security policies, performing spoof attacks, using an updated threat database, and monitoring — CT Link will help you find the security solution built for your organization.

Key Takeaway

Email is a common attack vector that cybercriminals use to get what they want. It’s where BEC attacks, phishing, and other social engineering attacks occur. That’s why it’s important to invest in employee training, multi-factor authentication, and the right software to detect and block these attacks!

If you need more tips on preventing business email compromise attacks, you can send us a message here at CT Link! We can help you secure your email accounts, so you can ease your worries and focus on your actual work. For questions and inquiries, you can click here.

Webinar: Debunking Myths of Moving to the Cloud

The security landscape has changed in all industries due to the growth of remote work solutions. Cloud applications are helping many companies enable their workforce with its convenience and mobility. However, there are still many concerns across industries in the Philippines, especially with the public sector, with regards to the security risks.

Join us this coming April 26 from 10AM-11AM as Trend Micro and CT Link Systems, Inc. gives you an insider’s look on the current security trends this year and help remove some anxiety around myths the Philippine government sector may have about moving to the cloud.

Topic that will be tackled during the webinar:

  • Valuable tips on how to address potential problems that come with hybrid infrastructure networks.
  • Insight on how to prepare for the future, as more parts of your network move to the cloud.
  • Information on what to watch out for when balancing between your cloud and on-premises environment.
  • What is XDR and what is it’s relevance to the hybrid cloud

Register now and also get a chance to win grab vouchers and a Bose SoundLink Mini Speaker during our raffle at the end of the webinar!

Email us at marketing@ctlink.com.ph to find out how you can register for you and your team! Hurry as slots are limited!

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