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data security

Data Breaches in Healthcare – Damaged Confidence

In a world striving for better patient outcomes, the increased use of health technology and the adoption of wearables and the IoT – data breaches do little to instill confidence in patients or healthcare professionals.

PHI (Protected Healthcare Data) as the name suggests is “any information about health status, provision of health care, or payment for health care that can be linked to a specific individual. This can include any part of a patient’s medical record or payment history”.  You can therefore understand the importance of safeguarding this data, unlike a credit-card, it is very difficult to change you individual healthcare data in the event of a breach!

There is also a growing market for PHI and health data. You may ask why? Some estimate the price of a stolen health record can fetch $10, more than 10 x the price of a stolen credit card.  A recent data breach in the US saw the data of 39,000 patients disclosed through an E-mail Phishing Attack.

Dave Kennedy, an expert on healthcare security and CEO of TrustedSEC LLC said:

“As attackers discover new methods to make money, the healthcare industry is becoming a much riper target because of the ability to sell large batches of personal data for profit. Hospitals have low security, so it’s relatively easy for these hackers to get a large amount of personal data for medical fraud.”

There has been a surge in targeted phishing attacks against healthcare, with further phishing scams reportedly targeting some 80 million records.

As the use of IT, technology and IoT (Internet of Things) increases in healthcare – it is imperative, software vendors, device manufacturers, healthcare bodies and clinicians understand the risks, attack vectors and the security controls needed to safeguard patient data. The growing eco-system of players in the healthcare IT sectors is growing and along within their exposure to threats.

 

1 in 3 Businesses plan to run Windows 2003 after End Of Life (EOL)

In February 2015, Bit9 + Carbon Black surveyed over 500 enterprises to try and understand their plans for the upcoming Windows Server 2003 EOL deadline. The survey found many faced serious challenges trying to migrate key applications and that as many as 2.7 million servers would continue to run unsupported.

MTG have been working tirelessly with many businesses to migrate their systems to Windows 2012. This is often not a straight forward process; legacy applications, Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server and various other line of business applications are present or rely upon the Windows 2003 servers. The EOL date is not a surprise, but it does place many businesses under immense pressure.

The summarised findings include:

  • Roughly 1 in 3 enterprises plan to run WS2K3 after the July 14 deadline, leaving an estimated 2.7 million servers unprotected
  • More than half of enterprises did not know when Microsoft was ending support
  • 14 percent of enterprises do not yet have an upgrade plan for WS2K3

 

The findings are staggering, if not concerning. If your business is facing similar challenges or is worried about the looming EOL date – speak to MTG. We are working with numerous businesses in the Isle of Man and UK who are eager to migrate their core systems to a more recent, supported platform.

 

cyber security

Defence in Depth

In 1994, a new computer virus was released once every hour. By 2006, this had increased to one a minute. Now, there are 350 000 new samples every day¹

The team at MTG support and work within enterprise IT and network environments that encompass several thousand endpoints. Desktops and laptops running Windows make up the majority of this estate, with Windows Server powering the back office and business applications.  There is a growing number of clients who are using Macs and Linux, in the case of Linux – this is typically in their server or hosted environments. In all cases – there is a level of security to safeguard business systems.

The most common layered defense in the enterprise consists of the following controls:

  • Network Edge – Firewall. Secures the network edge. A mix of UTM/NGFW and traditional firewalls.
  • Inbound E-mail Anti-Spam and Anti-Virus. Scans all inbound e-mail for viruses, malware and spam.
  • Enterprise E-mail – Exchange Anti-Virus. Scans all internal e-mails and mail stores for viruses.
  • Server – Anti-Virus client (scans memory, files, processes)
  • Desktop – Anti-Virus client (scans memory, files, processes, Outlook, Office, Macros)

To the layman, this seems quite a comprehensive list of controls; securing the enterprise at multiple levels and checking for threats at different entry points.

However – we regularly speak to companies who employ many of these controls and yet they are still impacted by viruses and malware. These companies will use well known brand software, maintain up to date virus definitions and strictly control web-access, so what gives? With the advent of CryptoLocker and similar ransom-ware, some have suggested CyberCrime is responsible for this boom in malware. As the earlier quote alluded to, Kaspersky believe there are over 350k new virus samples every day – it makes you wonder whether traditional anti-virus can keep up!

From my perspective, I would say there have been two marked changes in the enterprise IT threat landscape. The first is the mobile workforce and the rapidly increasing and often unnoticed adoption of BYOD (bring your own device) in the enterprise. The second is the staggering onset and progression of new malware, viruses and similar exploits, many of which often go unnoticed by your typical anti-virus software.

In the next series of articles we will walk through the sort of systems your business should employ to eliminate risks, how to gain additional insight and visibility, and other ways your business can safeguard their data and key business systems.

We will focus on the following:

  1. Unified Threat Management (UTM) and Next Generation Firewalls (NGFW).
  2. Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS).
  3. Sandboxing.
  4. Inbound and Outbound e-mail anti-virus scanning, anti-spam filtering and mail archiving.
  5. Enterprise messaging anti-virus(e.g. Microsoft Exchange).
  6. Endpoint protection including anti-virus software, heuristics and best practices for desktop hardening.
  7. Risk and Policy Management which ensures continuous, enterprise-wide compliance and configuration checks against a defined baseline/best-practice.
  8. Change-Control (Manual and monitored).

MTG provide solutions to a variety of customers ranging from SMEs, enterprises and public sector organisations. We have a range of sector specific solutions focused on Financial Services (including FSA and FSC regulated companies), Healthcare and Biomed, and solutions for the hospitality industry. If your organisation would like to review their defence mechanisms or are facing a particular problem with security, please get in touch today.

¹ – Kaspersky Lab deputy director for global research and analysis Sergey Novikov

Android Security Report

Android is the most popular mobile device OS with over 52.8% market share (according to comScore)

Google have published their 2014 Android Security Report. The report outlines the improvements made to Android, its security architecture and the report includes statistics relating to vulnerabilities relating to the Android OS.

Key points include

  • Less than 0.15% of devices that only download from Google Play had potentially harmful applications (malware+adware+riskware)
  • Less than 1% of all devices had PHA
  • There are more infected devices in Russia
  • Rooting tools are most common in China (~4%)
  • On average, 0.5% of devices use rooting tools
  • There is a marked growth in ransomware

Fortinet have a blog post which echos this findings and overlays them against its own vulnerability analysis garnered through its Fortiguard network.

The report goes to show the importance of solutions such as BYOD (Bring your own device) and MDM (mobile device management). Despite an enterprise having robust perimeter security and firewalls, stringent windows update policies and anti-virus – an organisation can be exposed through mobile devices.

MTG’s range of security solutions include MDM, Firewalls and BYOD services that can enhance and strengthen an enterprise mobile strategy.

Datacentre

MTG facilitate the Isle of Man Government datacentre move

The Isle of Man Government has completed a migration of its core ICT systems from its internal datacentre environment to third party Isle of Man datacentres operated by Manx-Telecom and Netcetera respectively. ServiceTech (now MTG ServiceTech), working with their partners Unisys and EMC played a key role in the move, relocating 25 racks of critical ICT equipment without any disruption to users.

In the Government press release, Mark Lewin, Director of Government Technology Services commented

The process started in 2014 and the contract was awarded to Manx Telecom following an open procurement exercise. This migration marks the completion of many months of planning and is a testament to the professionalism and teamwork shown by a great number of staff and a range of suppliers including Manx Telecom, ServiceTech, Island Express, Unisys and EMC.

Steve Foulkes, Director of ServiceTech added:

A move of this size requires careful planning and this project in particular demanded a strong collaboration between all parties. The whole project team were focused on the timely and successful delivery of this project – which was achieved.

For nearly two decades ServiceTech has delivered IT and network solutions, boasting a national client base that includes financial services, e-gaming, biomed, service provider and public sector customers.

ServiceTech design, implement and support technology solutions from vendors including Dell, EMC, IBM, Microsoft, VMWare, Fortinet and Huawei. After-sales support and maintenance is a key consideration for any business, the ServiceTech solutions team includes factory trained and vendor certified consultants.

ServiceTech were recently strengthened following the appointment of Joe Hughes to the board. Joe joins the company at a time when they are seeing unprecedented demand for their enterprise IT and consultancy services. Joe has a background in software development, networks, enterprise IT and datacentre environments. He was previously managing director of the Isle of Man telecoms, internet and datacentre solutions provider Wi-Manx.

For more about datacentre solutions, please see our Solutions Page.


Since this article was first published ServiceTech joined the Manx Technology Group. First established in 1996 MTG has over 20 years’ experience of providing technical solutions to private and public sector industries. Today we provide technology products, consulting and support services in a single package. Through members and strategic partnerships, MTG has access to over 150 technical experts and a service footprint covering the UK, Isle of Man, Channel Islands and ROI.

Thinking about mining Bitcoin?

The Isle of Man has a growing reputation in Digital Currency circles. The topics of digital currency regulation, KYC and banking are widely discussed.  On a technical level, nobody questions the Isle of Man’s capabilities in regards to power and its world class datacentre environment.

We have spoken with a number of Digital Currency prospects who have contemplated setting up in the Island, and others who already have.

As you would expect, we occasionally speak with firms contemplating “Mining” digital currencies. There are several challenges; the cost and availability of power, cooling and connectivity – then the costs associated with datacentre space, never mind the challenges of high density compute (HPC).

For those interesting in seeing how it is does in China, look no further!

 

Datacentre

Isle of Man Datacentre Services

As an Island, the Isle of Man is unique in the fact it is home to six datacentres*.

This makes the Isle of Man the number one location for hosting your mission critical IT assets.

Each datacentre boasts high speed connectivity, resilient power, cooling and security systems. In alphabetical order (provider/datacentre):

  1. Continent8 – Isle of Man DC
  2. Domicilium – Ronaldsway
  3. Manx-Telecom – Douglas North
  4. Manx-Telecom – Greenhill 
  5. Netcetera – The Dataport
  6. Wi-Manx – Heywood House

* I would define a datacentre as a facility with in excess of 50 racks capacity. It must also have the typical infrastructure components (fire suppression, UPS, generators, security, etc). Many Isle of Man ISPs and network operators have Points of Presence but they are out of scope for this article.

You can view the specification and service offerings of each provider on their respective websites.

There is one underlying feature across all the datacentres, they all benefit from the Isle of Man’s robust power and communications infrastructure. The Isle of Man Government, known for its “can-do” approach to business, provides the right environment for E-business to flourish. It is no coincidence the Isle of Man is home to some of the world’s leading banks, financial services firms, e-gaming websites and digital currency startups.

A wealth of choice

The fact the Island has five datacentre operators (and six datacentres) provides the customer with a wealth of choice. It gives them the power to evaluate each operators technical and commercial proposition, whilst Cloud technology presents the opportunity to spread their solution across multiple datacentres, delivering unparalleled resilience.

Each datacentre (and operator) has their own particular strengths and USPs, and their own service portfolio and commercial model.

Typical services include:

  • Colocation (IaaS)
  • Dedicated Servers
  • Cloud and Virtualisation
  • Platform services (PaaS)
  • Online backup and DR
  • Managed services
  • Network connectivity, WAN services and IP Transit

Navigate the market

MTG have over a decade of experience working with clients who have opted to locate their infrastructure in the Island’s datacentres. Our customers include established Isle of Man businesses, alongside UK, European and international businesses.

Whether you have a new hosting requirement, or are contemplating a change in your existing hosting arrangements, ServiceTech can help. We can provide the following services:

  • Understanding your business, regulatory and technical requirements
  • Evaluating each vendor and hosting facility
  • Formulating a tender or RFP relating to your project
  • Approaching each vendor, arranging tours and commercial proposals
  • Evaluating bids and proposed solutions
  • Contract and solution management
  • Hardware procurement, technical build and ongoing service management

Our expertise in hosting, networking, telecoms and the Isle of Man market, all ensure you will benefit from our vast experience in this field.  Our experience extends to the following verticals; e-gaming, financial services, biomed, digital currencies, startups and energy companies. Our technical experience covers a broad range of scenarios including e-commerce platforms, VDI, private cloud, DR/BCP, replication and high density commute.

Speak to the Isle of Man datacentre experts

Contact MTG today to see how your business can benefit from our experience in the Isle of Man hosting market. Whether you want to review your existing arrangements for budgetary reasons or you want to evaluate your existing technical environment – we can help.

Call us on +44 1624 640400 or e-mail sales@mtg.im

Enterprise network

Why your business needs 10 Gigabit Ethernet

The rapid development of the modern enterprise network is nothing short of staggering. Even by today’s standards, 100Mbps and even 1Gbps are simply not up to scratch, there is now a move towards 10Gbps and 40Gbps networks.

To put that into context, 40Gbps is 4000x faster than 1997’s 10-Base-T network! You may ask what is driving the need for speed and the shift towards 10 Gigabit Ethernet (Also known as 10GE or 10Gbps).

What is driving the increase in speed?

We see two key areas driving the demand for ultra-high speed networks; Virtualisation (Cloud) and Big Data. What these two items have common is the need to transfer large amounts of data, in the shortest time possible. Legacy 100Mbps and even 1Gbps network simply cannot cope, hence the need for a bigger pipe – this is what 10Gbps provides.

As the computing power of servers improves and the sheer volume of data increases, the network must be improved to avoid a bottle necks

We have built and managed both service provider and enterprise networks, supporting e-commerce platforms, banks, media companies and financial services firms. In our experience, VMWare and the adoption of Storage Area Networks (SANS) are the biggest drivers.

How widespread is 10GE?

10 Gigabit Ethernet is growing at a rapid rate. A survey by Dell’ Oro is seeing a 40% growth of 10GE attach rates, year on year. It is predicted that by 2016, 10GE ports will be shipping more than their 1Gbps counterparts, whilst 100Mbps will be confined to the bin.

Upgrade to 10GE

 

Chances are, your business has a 100Mbps or 1Gbps access network, and a 1Gbps server or storage network. This is fine for traditional servers and IT functions, but not for modern day VMWare or Citrix virtualised environments. IT Managers and business owners should really be looking to upgrade their enterprise networks now, eliminating bottle necks and future proofing their business.

A recent survey of IT professionals found that both current requirements and future considerations were factors in adopting 10 GbE. The top five considerations were:

  • 43%: Server virtualization increases throughput requirements.
  • 42%: Current or anticipated data center traffic.
  • 41%: Costs have decreased to an acceptable level.
  • 36%: Data center consolidation is driving massive data center scale.
  • 35%: Current or future implementation of a private cloud in our data center.

These findings mirror what we are seeing with our customers.

How to upgrade?

Our team are experts in switched networks and we have first-hand experience across all major vendors. We can work with you to understand your business, your budget, your existing environment and learn to understand your future plans. These plans could consist of adding virtualisation workloads, a new SAN or replacing your aging enterprise network.

MTG are a Huawei partner, whose range of S5700 switches feature high density 1Gbps and 10Gbps ports – perfect for the modern day network. MTG are able to integrate these devices into your existing network environment, ensuring interoperability with any existing vendors (e.g. Cisco/HP/Juniper).

10GE is the new norm in enterprise networking and should be the minimum speed your business should be aiming for. If you would like to explore 10GE networking and learn how this can benefit your business, speak to MTG today. Call 01624 640400 or e-mail sales@mtg.im

 

 

 

Learner drivers of network world

Beware – the learner drivers of the network world

The enterprise network is the fundamental backbone of your business. Internet access, e-mail communication, phone calls, office applications and business systems all crucially rely on your business network. Servers, desktops, phones, cloud and storage all communicate through the network, so the importance of the network cannot be understated. For something so critical, why is this key element often overlooked by many enterprises? Read more

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