Author Archives: Web Admin

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Perfecting Email Delivery

December 11, 2018
Web Admin
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Creating great email delivery systems

Perfecting email and its delivery is a challenge for many, but something all administrators should work toward for the betterment of the digital world.

If you are an email administrator and or just an IT professional for a small or even large business, probably one of your daily challenges is answering email questions or worse yet, fixing things when they break.

 

In the upcoming series, I will tackle some of these challenges and provide some lessons learned and some steps to perfecting the delivery of email.  The perfecting of email delivery is requires some delicate synchronization between our DNS server and your mail server.  This is where the majority of the information will focus, but we will cover a few lesser, but still important areas.  

When the series ends, your mail system should be able to provide you with mail delivery score of 10 out of 10.  

 

 

A draft table of contents:

  1. Importance of email and various email platforms
  2. Basic email and DNS configuration
  3. Great email clients and alternatives to microsoft outlook
  4. Advanced DNS configuration and the fight against spam/forgery
  5. Testing your Email and DNS configurations
  6. Benefiting  your world and mine.

I have my full time job at Covered Data promoting new business and overseeing the daily functions  However, I love to work on technical things and sharing some of the information I find along the way.  I will do my best to tackle one point of the TOC per week. 

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to use and or comment as you see fit.  I greatly appreciate feedback and love to learn from others.  Until next week………  sb

Linux Mint 19

December 1, 2018
Web Admin
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Quick update to the Linux Mint 19 beta post; LM 19 full version is simply outstanding. 

We are now running LM 19 on many of the PC at Covered Data and have seen its adoption by several clients we recently serviced.  Despite the past valid arguments that the linux desktop wasn’t ready, it is our position that 19 has clearly put the linux desktop in the arrived category.  

Our recent installs have been completed without a hitch and improved performance and reliability within our company.  The installations have been completed on both new and older machines.  Both installed easily and the detection of hardware and the needed drivers went without a incident. 

Installation of applications, libreOffice, evolution mail client, chromium (google chrome) and other mainstream software was easily completed.  LibreOffice in particular was easy and is equal to its paid for counter part Microsoft Office.  Our base suite of software is clean and as functional as its non-open source version.  Additionally, we really enjoyed saving hundreds of dollars in licensing cost by embracing the opensource philosophy.

Our overall effort was driven from the top and below is a picture of our CEO’s desktop running Linux Mint. 

Scott's Desktop

Scott’s (CEO) Linux Mint Desktop


In summation, our experience with the conversion to Linux Mint 19 has been very efficient, has gone smoothly, and has been completed without an issue.  We realize that our environment is going to be different from yours.  However, if you were considering upgrading or completely moving over to a performance based, reliable system, please give Linux Mint 19 first consideration. 

As always, we are here to help you plan, configure, and implement your technology needs and would love the opportunity to work with you.  Reach us at 702.430.1849 or submit a query on our contact page. 

LinuxMint 19 – Beta

June 26, 2018
Web Admin
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LinuxMint 19 beta Review

Fast interface, boots quickly, and is overall pretty incredible.

I have been running linuxmint 19 beta since it was released in the first week of June 2018 and love the new system.  I have it running on a old HP Pavillion with a quad core 2.0 mhz 6 gigs of ram machine.  I have it installed on a 1 tb solid state drive which obviously helps the performance.  However, while the performance far exceeds that of a previous Windows 10 install, the Linuxmint 19 install also exceeds that of LinuxMint 18.

Couple quick thoughts:

Interface:  Fabulous, fast, smooth, and very slick graphics and great performance.

Boot Time:  Seems to have greatly improved over the previous version 18

Updates:  The new update system is fast, very slick and refined.

Timeshift:  While a new feature and I haven’t used it extensively, it is a welcome addition and will easily compete with windows restore points.

Hot Corners:  Installed by default (might be on 18, not sure) and is very useful and smooth.  Easy to setup and it makes switching between virtual desktops extremely useful.

My overall experience with LinuxMint 19 has been fabulous and would easily recommend it to all windows to users with both new machines and older machine.  True, there are more native applications available for windows machines, but for 75 percent of the users in the world (my estimate) LinuxMint 19 has everything you need the the performance is absolutely worth it.

Top 6 Ransomware Defense Strategies

June 5, 2018
Web Admin
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TOP 6 RANSOMWARE DEFENSE STRATEGIES

  1. Train your Users and Test their Knowledge
    Since ransomware infections often come through links and attachments inside emails, or from a website
    or web application, train your users how to recognize phishing attacks and suspicious links and
    attachments. Training is only part of the story. Admins must also make sure to regularly test their users
    with simulated phishing attacks to ensure that your users have been properly conditioned to resist these
    attacks.
  2. Monitor your Network
    Diligently monitor your network by analyzing your logs, clearing out alerts, and processing potential
    threat feeds. If the infection is detected quickly and the workstation is disabled immediately, you can
    recover the data within 24 hours, and often in as quickly as five minutes. Organizations should constantly
    update the operating system and other software on their systems with the latest patches. Unpatched
    vulnerabilities in operating systems and software are a common entry point for malware.
  3. Maintain Robust Backup and Disaster Recovery
    The ultimate safety net for ransomware defense is a robust data protection and disaster recovery
    solution. Implement a backup strategy that fully supports organizations with multiple types of data, files,
    and systems to protect. Not all solutions are created equal, but enterprise-grade backup and disaster
    recovery solutions preserve a complete version history, which is crucial to being able to recover from any
    attack. 
  4. Commercial Grade Anti-Virus Protection
    The best way to steer clear of viruses and malware is to use an industry-leading anti-virus software
    solution. There are many types out there, and they don’t have to break the bank, but having a superior
    level of defense will go a long way. On your anti-virus software, enable the auto update, auto-protect, and
    personal firewall features to ensure you always have protection in the background that is continually
    updated.
  5. Lock Down Suspicious Email Attachments
    Organizations may also want to install advanced email spam filtering which will block email messages
    with attachments from suspicious sources. Admins can filter executable attachments in emails based on
    the file extensions (e.g., block emails sent with “.EXE” attachments). Admins should also disable macros
    embedded within attachments and re-enable the display to full file extensions which makes it way easier
    to spot suspicious files
  6. Have an Incident Response Plan
    How you’ve prepared will determine how quickly you are able to restore your company’s data and get
    systems functioning again. This starts with a well-designed plan that is understood by the entire team.
    Practice executing the plan to ensure you are able to get systems back online in the expected timeframe.
    The practice will also give your team the confidence to perform flawlessly when the need arises.

We have seen many examples of companies that have been infected by Ransomware and some that have lost all of their data, and a few that have been able to recover.  Those that recovered were lucky enough to have had a unattached backup copy somewhere.  It was a stale backup and 6 months old, but it was something.  A better answer to it would have been to adhered to the 6 defense strategies.

If you are in need of help getting your strategies in line, please give us a call at 702.430.1849.  You can also contact us by clicking here!

vlc image

VLC 3.0 Now Available

February 12, 2018
Web Admin
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Video Lan VLC 3.0 now available

The video lan VLC 3.0 is now available after a long 2 year developing and creation of improvements.  The famously free and extremely capable player that we have all come to love is now ready.  The new player now supports chromecast, activates hardware decoding by default and renders 4K&8K playback.

We have installed and tested the new features of VLC on some of our LinuxMint 18.3 laptops and must say we are pleased with the results.  The playback of Friday the 13th was flawless when we cast it to one of our Chromecast devices.

For a full list of the added features and the VLC page click here.

Congrats to the team at VideoLan for all of their hardwork.  All of us at Covered Data greatly appreciate your efforts.

Scott Barbour
Managing Partner

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Malwarebytes Gartner Visionary

February 12, 2018
Web Admin
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Malwarebytes recognized by Gartner as Visionary

Congrats to our Partner and friend Malwarebytes for being recognized by Gartner as a visionary in the world of antivirus and malware protection.  We of course, have known about the vision for many many years and really appreciate the protection that that vision provides our clients.  We work hand and hand on a daily basis to bring the very best of antivirus and malware protection to our client.  Malwarebytes is a major part of our arsenal.

DOWNLOAD OFFICIAL REPORT

 

40 percent

Traditional Antivirus Fails 40%

October 26, 2017
Web Admin
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New Research

Research provided to us by our partner and leading next-gen cybersecurity expert Malwarebytes, tells us that traditional AV vendors are missing the 40 percent of the time.  The detection’s seen on 10 million PCs, servers, and other devices, had one of the 4 top AV vendors software installed.  These statistic should be alarming to all of us.

The statistics from the study show us that relying solely on traditional vendors and methods of protecting your company’s network environment are not enough.  Malwarebytes endpoint protection is a premier expert at identifying, detecting, and re-mediating network devices from corporate networks.  It uses the latest in advanced heuristic and signature-less techniques to prevent damage before it occurs.

Partnering with the leading experts and consultants in the world is what Covered Data brings to the table when you talk with us about your solution needs.  In the world of cyber-security, our hands down choice is Malwarebytes.  Contact us to have a free no commitment discussion about this post or other security and networking requirements.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Scott
CEO, Managing Partner
702.430.1849
scott@covereddata.com

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End Point vs. Cloud Firewall

August 4, 2017
Web Admin
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Why Choose a Endpoint Server based Firewall

As users of the WordPress platform for running your web server, you are fully aware that your choice’s are numerous, with some better than others.  This is also the case when trying to decide what type of firewall to protect our assets with.  For the most part, your choices fall into two categories; 1.  Server Based (endpoint) (Wordfence, All In One WP Security&Firewall) 2. Cloud based (Cloud Fare)

Both have some attractive features, but the Covered Data recommendation is that you seriously consider the use of a server based endpoint firewall such as Wordfence.  This version runs directly on your server and is directly protecting your website.  So, whether or not the Bad Guy is attacking the IP address or the domain name, you have protection.  With a cloud based system your attacker doesn’t have to attack the name (http://www.mywebsite.com), but can just attack the actual IP address that this name is assigned to or your server address on the internet.  This is an inherent flaw in the cloud based systems.

There are many other features of the wordfence firewall, such as deep integration with user level permissions, integration with .htaccess files, etc.  The interface is easy, and in its default install does a wonderful job of providing protection of your websites.  The more advanced features can get confusing, but in some cases are a huge benefit.  Using the advanced features is something that you can contact Covered Data about.  We can setup, monitor, and manage that part of the firewall for you at incredibly low monthly rates (no contract).

We have been involved in installing wordpress sites, wordpress firewalls, and recovering websites, for many years and would love to work for you.  Give us a call.

 

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