Software platform is an important consideration for data security #igaware #linuxsbs

Software companies can take one of two approaches to keep their software secure. They can keep their software code hidden, which is known as Security Through Obscurity or they can take an Open Software approach and release their software code for anyone to see.

Software companies such as Microsoft use Security Through Obscurity, whereas Igaware and others use Open Software.

Security Through Obscurity is the idea that by hiding your software code no one can find holes in it. It’s akin to burying your money under a tree. The only thing that makes it safe is no one knows it’s there.

The problem with this approach is that someone may find your tree. Microsoft’s tree was discovered by the US Government who documented vulnerabilities in Microsoft software through which they could access systems for the purposes of surveillance.  Unfortunately the vulnerabilities were leaked to the hacking community; 8000 documents via Wikileaks (https://wikileaks.org/ciav7p1/). The result was the global Wannacry Ransomware attack.

Now imagine putting your data behind a lock or combination, say in a safe. You should be able to put the safe on a street corner because what makes it secure is that no one can get inside it but you. Open software uses the principle that the code is visible to all, making it easier to identify and plug security vulnerabilities faster. It’s like having a team of world-wide experts constantly trying to crack the safe, and reinforcing it immediately a weaknesses is found. It ensures a safe that’s incredibly hard to crack.

So if you want to ensure your email and data is secure then have your data on a Linux software platform such as that used by the Igaware Linux Small Business Server. Your data is your crown jewels. Keep it safe!

Related articles

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Security_through_obscurity

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IT Support now please! #igaware #linuxsbs

Companies are so reliant on computer systems for communication and operations that any downtime is very costly and frustrating. IT systems are inherently complex so having access to timely support from technology vendors is critical, mission critical!

Igaware has differentiated itself from big US vendors, not only in the robustness of it’s underlying Linux Small Business Server software, but in it’s approach to support.

Igaware doesn’t do support tickets, on-line self help or self-serving SLAs, we just take calls and solve issues there and then. This is one reason why Igaware don’t tie customers into contracts; customers loyalty comes from the fact that Igaware is incredibly reliable and help is always at hand if there’s an issue. What more could customers want?

Not only is immediate access to support essential for customers, but it is also a revelation to IT resellers and consultants who recommend Igaware to their clients. Partnering with Igaware means any customer issues can be resolved with a call to Igaware in minutes. There’s no need to trawl Google for a solution, get put on hold with a large US vendor or shrug your shoulders and tell your customers ‘it’s out of my hands’. The end result is IT companies reselling Igaware can build a large loyal customer base without getting bogged down in stressful fire fighting.

Next time you are looking to upgrade your server, or recommend a server to others, just remember the last time you pressed ‘2 for support’ and then tore your hair out being put on hold for 30 minutes, and check out how the Igaware Linux Small Business Server can make life a lot less stressful.

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Service is Unavailable – is something you’ll never hear from Igaware

Last night, and continuing into today, hundreds of companies were unable to access their email, data and applications, as the data centre company UK Fast had a complete power failure – and their backup generators didn’t kick in.

Power has now been restored but thousands of servers take time to reboot so many customers are still waiting for the servers to come on stream.

Igaware Linux Small Business Server customers were unaffected 🙂

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Igaware Version 13.3.12 released #Igaware #linuxsbs

New in Version 13.3.12 [Dec 10 2017]
=======================================

* New Features and Improvements *

  • Updated the MySQL server to version 5.5 for all Kopano/ Zarafa sites.
  • Updated the automatic Mail Scanner email phishing scam whitelist and blacklist scripts.
  • Added a DNS blacklist lookup for the Anti-Spam Mail Scanner.
  • Updated Zarafa/ Kopano to newest version kopano-core 8.4.2
  • Updated Z-push ( Active sync components) to newest version 2.3.8
  • Update Kopano Webapp to version 8.4.0
  • New SSL VPN activity report added.
  • Activity reports now export to a file with a CSV extension. ( TAB delimited format).

* Fixes *

  • Several Config interface fixes.
  • Turned off the Kopano client update log. Too many log files created

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Cloud Computing – a legal minefield? #igaware #linuxsbs

Cloud computing involves handing over your data to a third party. This is called outsourcing and as with any outsourcing arrangement it comes with legal implications.

When outsourcing IT you no longer have control over your IT infrastructure and data, but you are still responsible for it. You have to check and understand your supplier contracts to ensure compliance with data protection and privacy laws, such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

Cloud providers are by and large US corporations. The laws that they have to comply with, regarding data and privacy, are based on US laws. You have to comply with EU/UK law.

Under US law, there is no right to privacy for your data in the cloud as it is deemed public. This is contrary to EU law where privacy is a human right. This means that having personal data in the Cloud may not be legal under GDPR.

US Cloud providers say they are committed to being GDPR compliant but being committed does not mean they are in fact compliant. And achieving and maintaining compliance is difficult as it is the US government that make the laws. The current US administration is focused on ‘America First’ so data privacy is seen as a barrier to tracking down terrorists and criminals.

Even where US companies have opened up EU data centres there are problems as the US government sees these as US subsidiaries.

Microsoft admitted as far back as 2011 that

‘We can hand over Office 365 data without your permission’

Unless US Cloud providers can protect the privacy of data in the UK and Europe in law, they are dead. And they are battling with their own government.

Even if you ignore the legalities of holding data in the cloud there are other issues too:

Contracts
US cloud vendors provide non-negotiable contracts that they can re-write at anytime – you have no control or influence. Your data is in their hands wholly on their terms. Any legal dispute will mean a trip to the US for you to undertake legal action.

Data Ownership
Legally data doesn’t exist. You have no rights to your data. You surrender your data to cloud providers. If your data is lost you have no legal protection whatsoever. You must have a local physical backup at all times. Not an easy thing if you have gigabytes of data off-site somewhere.

If you fall foul of terms of use, or your payment fails, then you may find access to your data and email is blocked. Your data can be held to ransom.

Business Continuity
If you fall out with your Cloud provider how will you move away from them and keep your IT running?

Cloud providers can increase prices and services can be withdrawn as they deem fit. If you find yourself in a situation where things aren’t working out then how do you exit and keep your business going?

An on-premise server with your data and email under your control is a big step to keeping your data private.

Related Articles

The Safest Place for your Data and Email is On-site

Why We Can No Longer Trust Microsoft

Why GDPR Compliance is Difficult in the Cloud

GDPR: Killing cloud quickly?

Risks of Outsourcing Your Data Center

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The safest place for your email and data is on-site #igaware #linuxsbs #GDPR

Your email and data are your crown jewels. If they are lost, stolen or corrupted there will likely be severe consequences for your operations and a hefty fine for breaching the General Data Protection Regulation (*GDPR).

The safest place for your email and data is under your control, on a dedicated security hardened server, protected by a PCI compliant firewall, managed by people you know and trust. This is the level of security Igaware offers.

The alternative is to outsource your IT and hand over your email and data to third party suppliers who, if they are US corporations, may not be GDPR compliant and therefore unable to legally supply you with IT services now and in the future.

Outsourcing has been a growing trend under the marketing banner of ‘Cloud Computing’ and has been heavily advertised by US corporations including Microsoft, Google, Rackspace and Amazon. These companies have used their marketing muscle to push cloud computing because it suits their business model, not because it is in customer interests. Microsoft has even gone as far as removing on-premise server options to force customers into the cloud.

The good news is that Igaware offers a wholly secure, robust and cost effective on-premise Linux Small Business Server. It includes a UTM firewall that ensures your data and email secured. And because Igaware is an on-premise server you know exactly where your data is and who has access to it. This means GDPR compliance is simplified and you can completely forget about the significant practical and legal issues faced by cloud users.

*GDPR comes into law in May 2018

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Cloud Warning #igaware #linuxsbs #GDPR

Any EU (including the UK) organisation using US cloud services (Microsoft 365, Google Apps, Amazon Web Services, Rackspace Hosting etc.) will have to find alternatives before GDPR kicks in next May.

https://kopano.com/kopano-documents/EU-US-Cloud-Privacy.pdf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiUYWIqsQ9Y&feature=youtu.be

The alternative is Igaware: www.igaware.com

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GDPR shock for Cloud users #igaware #linuxsbs #GDPR

In May 2018 new legislation comes into effect, across the EU & the UK, called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

In a nutshell, GDPR has been created to protect citizens from privacy and data breaches and applies to every organisation, regardless of size to ensure data is kept private.  Breaches of GDPR will result in fines of up to 4% of annual turnover.

Because US law is not compatible with EU law, US cloud companies cannot legally supply services to EU companies.

This means any organisation using US cloud services (Microsoft 365, Google Apps, Amazon Web Services, Rackspace Hosting) will have to find alternatives.

Stay tuned for more on this.

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Igaware Version 13.3.1 released #Igaware #linuxsbs

New in Version 13.3.1 [ Jun 28 2017] ========================================

* New Features and Improvements *

  • Installed a new version of Sophos AV software
  • Updated the OpenSSL libraries
  • Modified the Rsync backup server config’ To allow multiple entries
  • Security hardened the Mail Server to only allow high strength ciphers
  • Web activity report search function has been re-written. Can now use | to separate multiple websites and * for a wildcard
  • New Anti-Spam rule added (IGA_RDNS_SPFERR). Triggers on both no RDNS and an SPF error

* Fixes *

  • Fixed a bug with the Desktop vacation message. It didn’t work properly for non ADS accounts
  • Added the secure flag for HTTP cookies ( for PCI compliance)
  • Completely re-written the hardware sensors health monitoring. Using IMPI and legacy sensors data. The CPU temps and FAN speed will now be as accurate as possible. Tailored for each unique hardware platform.

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Cloud Computing – A Reality Check

Cloud Computing is where your data and applications are on a server that is in remote building and you access it over the Internet.

There are 2 cloud options:

Rented: Where you rent space and applications on someone else’s server.

Hosted: Where you have your own server hosted in someone else’s building.

Is it really practical?

If you don’t have an office, and all your staff work remotely then the fact is you have no-where to put a server.  You therefore have two options:

  • Buy a server and host it at someone else’s premises
  • Rent IT services running on some else’s server.

If you have an office, and most of your staff access your data from within the office it makes sense to hold your data locally for speed of access and security.

Pros of an On-Premise Server are:

  • Access to server by office staff even when broadband fails.
  • Fastest possible access speed to data and email
  • Data is secure. You know where your data is and you hold a physical backup.
  • If there’s an issue with your IT supplier; financial, contractual or whatever, your data is under your control.

Cons of an On-Premise Server:

  • Remote users can’t access data if office broadband fails.
  • Slow/congested broadband can make remote access to data slow.

Pros of the Cloud

  • Remote users can access data and email if office broadband fails.

Cons of a Rented Cloud

  • If broadband fails, office staff can’t access data.
  • Access speed is limited by local broadband connection.
  • Latency is an unavoidable issue accessing data over the Internet.
  • Internet usage is increased which can mean higher broadband costs or loss of service if ‘fair usage policy’ breached.
  • Users tend to store data on their local devices to negate latency and speed issues.
  • Increased cost of broadband to upgrade link to resolve slow connectivity (may not be available)
  • If hosted server fails you have no access to physical systems to resolve issues.
  • There is no option to backup locally and encrypt data.
  • Deleted files, emails cannot be easily retrieved from previous backups.
  • If service fails then downtime could be several hours as most cloud outages are serious.
  • Increasing costs as your data volume grows.
  • Migration is difficult and costly as all your email and data (hundreds of Gigabytes potentially) need to be transferred over the Internet. This normally take weeks and few organisations who are office based do this for this reason alone.
  • Your data isn’t held physically separate from other companies whose security policies could put your data at risk.

Pros and Cons of a hosted server are similar to the rented cloud only you can have the server hosted where you can get to it, you know where your data is and you can easily get a physical backup into your hands. It is also more secure as it isn’t on a hard disk shared with other companies.

The Cloud is rarely used for data because on-premise is more secure and makes data access and management easier.

Companies who have used exchange server for email, and are faced with high capital cost to upgrade email services on-site, often choose to use email in the cloud as this can be more cost effective for them. That said, managing exchange in the cloud has the same overhead to maintain security and administer as an on-premise server.

Support is another consideration. Cloud vendors provide support via a ticket system. You will no-longer be able to talk directly to someone who can immediately access you systems, diagnose and fix the issue.

What about Hybrid Cloud

To provide data access to remote staff if the office broadband fails, there is the option to synchronise data with a cloud storage provider. This is what’s known as a hybrid solution.

A hybrid solution would keep your data secure on your own local server giving fast access for local users, but also provide access to remote users to data if your Internet fails. Any changes on files remotely are synced back to the server. This is what’s known as a hybrid solution. This solution does provide access to data if office broadband is unreliable, but it isn’t as secure as holding data on-premise only.

Cloud providers frequently get hacked.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/08/31/dropbox-hackers-stole-70-million-passwords-and-email-addresses/

Conclusion

On-premise remains the most secure and practical solution for office based businesses, and using Igaware remains more cost effective than the cloud as all services and support are fully inclusive with no hidden extras.

Even with data moved off-site, if you still have a central office you will still require network security; firewalling, and web filtering, are included as part of the Igaware solution and these would still be required to protect your local network.

If remote connectivity is an issue then that is where attention should be focused. Users may not be setup correctly to access data. SSL VPN is a far more robust and secure method to access files rather than PPTP, which users may still be using. Or users can use webaccess to files on the server via https which is easily done by logging onto the Kopano Webapp or Deskapp.

If broadband is seems unreliable then get your network tested. Maybe there’s an issue with a network switch, a wireless access point, a router, or indeed the broadband itself. Maybe a second Internet connection should be considered so you can take advantage of the Igaware’s ability to failover to another connection if one fails. And with a second Internet connection, data load can be balanced across the two connections with one being reserved for remote users, and the other for local users.

Unless the cloud enables you to do something that you can’t do in your own office, then avoid it. It is unlikely to solve any issues, but is sure to give you lots of new ones.

Office 365 – Known Issues:

https://kb.wisc.edu/page.php?id=33784

Almost three quarters (71.4 per cent) of corporate Office 365 users have at least one compromised account each month.

https://telecomreseller.com/2017/01/17/son-of-a-beach-an-office-365-account-breach/

Igaware Cloud Options

 Where the cloud is the right solution .i.e. most staff work remotely, we can provide:

Hybrid Solution
Data can be synchronised to OwnCloud. Owncloud is compatible with Kopano  Groupware making files easily accessible via the web or deskapp, or via OwnCloud app on smart phones, tablets and desktop computers.

Hosted
Your Igaware Server can be hosted in our secure data centre.

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