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BNMC Blog

Bredy Network Management Corporation (BNMC) has been serving the Northeast area since 1988. BNMC works as a strategic business partner to provide organizations with proven design, implementation and support solutions.

This Built-In Tool in Windows 10 Can Make Screenshots Easier

This Built-In Tool in Windows 10 Can Make Screenshots Easier

Any business owner responsible for drafting documents to explain processes or procedures knows that images can aid in this goal, giving your users a way to fully understand where to click and what to do. For Windows 10 users, there is a great feature built right into the operating system that lets you take screenshots, and we’re not just talking about the Prt Sc key. In fact, this proposed solution is more dynamic than that key could ever be.

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The Key to Small Business Stability is Managed IT Services

The Key to Small Business Stability is Managed IT Services

Even though technology can provide some incredible returns on your investment, many businesses struggle with managing and maintaining it properly. Small businesses in particular have more restrictions placed on them compared to major enterprises, especially in regards to budget, workforce, or workspace. How can small businesses stay competitive against companies that have so many more resources available to them? Managed services is an ideal solution, and one that can at least alleviate some of the challenges that come from technology maintenance.

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Natural Disasters and Data Recovery Plans

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We don’t want to think about possible negative situations when it comes to our lives or our businesses. Planning for disasters means that we’re able to quickly recover from their consequences. In our previous blogs on data disaster recovery, we've covered how to plan for disasters and what types of disasters to consider when writing a data recovery plan. In this blog, we'll take a look at the main points as a refresher. 

The key elements of data recovery plans 

A good disaster recovery plan will have assigned roles and responsibilities to different team members in advance. Planning ahead should ensure there is no time wasted when a disaster occurs. Having clearly defined roles means that team members can get on with their tasks quickly to mitigate the effects of a disaster.  

Another important point is the identification of which assets are critical to operating the business. In a disaster, you need to know which things to protect and sort out first to enable business operations to continue. If someone spends too much time dealing with a puddle on the floor instead of dealing with customer calls, for example, your business could be in turmoil.  

Backing up data is a must for every business. You’re on a dangerous path if you don’t have a plan in place for regular data backups. After all, you can’t recover your data after a disaster if you haven’t backed it up. Businesses must also consider whether they need to back up their IT infrastructure using a ‘cold site’ (a basic version of their infrastructure off-premises) or a ‘hot site’ (up-to-date data backups). As you can guess, the more data you back up, the better off you’ll be. 

Types of disasters to plan for 

It’s difficult to plan for any eventuality; however, there are certain things that all businesses should consider.  

Disasters can include technological disasters like: 

Data breaches 

Hacking  

Ransomware 

Or natural disasters like: 

Earthquakes 

Tsunamis 

Volcanoes 

Flooding 

Tornados 

Pandemics 

The impacts of any of these disasters are huge. Essentially, they can result in a business completely folding. Depending on the type of disaster, there could be all sorts of consequences. For example, the loss of supply chains, loss of assets and buildings, loss of life or personnel, and the loss of data. Since these consequences can be disastrous, it’s important for all businesses, regardless of size, to have contingency plans for disasters. 

Planning for disasters 

Businesses need to have contingency plans for dealing with disasters of every possible type. Different companies will, of course, have different needs.  However, some things are necessary for all businesses to include in their data recovery strategy plan. These include data, insurance, finances, resources, personnel, technology, compliance requirements, and the supply chain. 

Types of disaster data recovery 

There are a variety of options when it comes to data recovery. Perhaps the simplest method is backup. Your data is stored on or off-premises, or both for extra safety. However, relying solely on data backup gives minimal protection for businesses. If there is no backup of the IT infrastructure as well, there could be even bigger issues.  

An effective data recovery plan needs strategies and procedures for backups. You should know who will perform the backups and how often they will be done. Those responsible for data backups must also work out the business’s recovery time. Calculate the amount of time the organization can be ‘down’ after a disaster and work from there. 

The data recovery strategy should be tested and updated continually to protect the business from new threats. In this way, the business will be able to navigate challenges successfully. Planning a response to a cyberattack ahead of time will make sure your team will know what to do. 

Final thoughts 

Whatever your business and size, the ultimate aim is to ensure you’re well protected and have plans in place for any type of disaster. If you’re struggling to finalize your plans or even start writing one, get in touch with us for a free consultation. 

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Make Sure You Properly Wipe Your Drives Before You Get Rid of Them

Make Sure You Properly Wipe Your Drives Before You Get Rid of Them

There comes a time when every good piece of technology needs to be replaced, whether it’s due to hardware failure or it’s simply obsolete. When this happens, it is critical that you take measures to safeguard data located on your old devices by properly deleting it. But before we get into that, let’s discuss some of the steps you want to take prior to deleting your data, as well as what the process entails.

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Why All Businesses Should Consider a VoIP Solution

Why All Businesses Should Consider a VoIP Solution

Owner who takes their craft seriously has a telephone solution of some sort, even if it is just your traditional landline. But what if we told you that there is a much more dynamic, more flexible solution that offers all of the same features without the headaches associated with landlines? A Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solution might be just what you need to revolutionize your communication infrastructure.

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Do You Have A Data Recovery Plan?

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You might be aware that disasters of varying types can have devastating consequences on businesses. The key to mitigating such occurrences is to have a data recovery strategy plan in place. This means that you have a structured and documented approach detailing how your organization can resume work quickly after an unforeseen disaster. This is an essential tool for your company's continuity plan and applies to all parts of the organization that is dependent on your IT infrastructure. This data recovery plan will help you resolve any data loss and will allow the recovery of your system’s functionality. This means that you can continue operating your business with minimal disruption. 

Types of Disasters to consider 

Potential disasters are plentiful. We’re not just talking about hacking and data breaches, but natural disasters too. Being able to handle disasters efficiently means there will be minimal impact financially. Having a data recovery strategy plan will allow you to ensure that all requirements for compliance are met. The plan will also provide a clear recovery roadmap. Here are some of the potential disasters that might affect your businesses: 

Building disaster (Fire, power outage, etc.) 

Communication failure (Due to data breach, hacking or natural disaster) 

Application failure (Outdated hardware, viruses, etc.) 

Datacenter disaster (Hacking, data breach, natural disaster) 

City disaster (Earthquake, tornado, flood, etc.) 

Regional disaster (Power grid outage, wildfires, etc.) 

National disaster (Epidemic) 

Multinational disaster (Pandemic, computer viruses, ransomware) 

You can see that this list covers lots of different types of disasters. It's worth noting, however, that it's not exhaustive. When making data recovery strategy plans, businesses need to consider their potential individual circumstances. If you’re based in the Midwest, for example, it’s very unlikely that your business will be affected by a volcanic eruption. But there are other natural disasters like floods or tornados that are more likely to happen. With that said, the 2010 Iceland volcanic eruption had repercussions worldwide, so you never know! 

Considerations for your Data Recovery Plan 

A data recovery strategy plan should begin at the business level. You need to determine what infrastructure is most important to your organization. The plan should implement an RTO (a recovery time objective), which describes how much time each application could be down for as a target.  

A data recovery strategy defines your business’s plan for incident response. To determine your optimal data recovery strategy, you must consider the following issues: 

Resources (both facilities and personnel) 

Finances 

Insurance  

Data 

Technology 

Risks 

Compliance requirements 

The supply chain 

How to write a Data Recovery Strategy Plan 

A business can start its plan by prioritizing a list of contacts and vital software programs so that the most important information is easily and quickly accessible.  

The data recovery plan should define each team member’s role and responsibilities in the recovery process. This is so there is no panic or time wasted should an unexpected disaster occur.  

There are many important points to write into a data recovery plan. These include: 

A policy statement or statement of intent. 

Specific tasks assigned to staff. 

Goals of the plan. 

Passwords and other authentication tools essential to data recovery. 

Geographical factors and risks appropriate to the local, regional or national area. 

Advice on dealing with the media. 

Legal and financial information with points of action. 

A history of the plan – and any amendments that have been made to it. 

As you can see, being prepared for these events is not difficult, but it will take some time. It is, however, very important that you take the time to complete it. You should also run through the plan in a mock rehearsal. That way you’ll find out if you’ve missed any steps or if there are gaps in your plan. 

The bottom line is, you want to be as prepared as possible for any disaster that causes data loss. After all, keeping your doors open when other’s can't sure makes you the popular choice over your competitors. 

If you need advice or want help to build your data recovery strategy plan, don’t hesitate to contact us. You can book a consultation at any time. 

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Consider the Ever-Present Cloud Complications

Consider the Ever-Present Cloud Complications

New technology solutions are not always easy to implement, and the cloud in particular opens up a ton of opportunities for both great successes and agonizing failures. If you do not take certain issues seriously during your cloud implementation process, you might find yourself on the wrong end of this spectrum. Let’s examine some of the common pitfalls that some businesses encounter when it comes to implementing cloud solutions.

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Turns Out Paying the Ransom for Ransomware is a Bad Idea, After All

Turns Out Paying the Ransom for Ransomware is a Bad Idea, After All

At this stage, you don’t need us to tell you that ransomware is bad. This threat has gone from being an emerging problem to one that is now sensationalized and commonplace in headlines and news stories around the world. According to a recent study, even organizations that do pay the ransom when they get infected by this threat are playing with fire.

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Revisiting the SolarWinds Hack

Revisiting the SolarWinds Hack

The 2020 hack of SolarWinds saw a major disruption of the supply chain for many organizations around the world, including the U.S. government, but a recent survey shows that these organizations have felt varying degrees of effects from the hack itself. Furthermore, many have taken the hack as evidence that further information sharing must occur if we are to ever take the fight to cyberthreats.

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Managed Services Represent Immense Opportunities for Small Businesses

Managed Services Represent Immense Opportunities for Small Businesses

For small businesses with a more limited budget and access to resources, technology management can be a major pain point. Fortunately for these small businesses, they have access to a tool that allows them to compete with larger organizations: managed IT services. A managed service provider can help a good small business become a great small business, and it all boils down to the way that technology is managed.

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How Natural Disasters, Breaches, and Hackers Affect Businesses Big and Small

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The success of a business is often attributed to the strong decisions of its management. Yet, that is not the entire story. Often, both failure and success can be determined by how a business deals with situations out of its control. A business may fail because it wasn’t prepared for an unexpected event. Conversely, another business might be able to survive a natural disaster simply because it had a plan in place for such an event. 

All businesses, whether large or small, have lots of potential threats. If one of these threats happens, it can have devastating consequences. According to ZDNet, the top three threats to society include cyberattacks, natural disasters, and extreme weather. Interestingly, they put cyberattacks on the same level of devastation as extreme weather and natural disasters. It is unfortunately true. The consequences of natural disasters, breaches, and hackers lead to threats to businesses and data loss. Since many businesses rely on connected services and the internet, the damage from cyberattacks can be huge. It's one of the biggest risks the world faces today.  

Types of natural disasters 

There are many types of natural disasters. All of them can affect businesses and data loss. Here are some examples of natural disasters: 

• Earthquake 

• Fire 

• Tsunami 

• Flooding or extreme precipitation 

• Hurricane, tornado, cyclone 

• Volcanoes 

• Lightning 

• Famine and drought 

• Landslide 

• Extreme temperature (heat or cold) 

• And, as we’ve seen, pandemics 

Impact of natural disasters 

Before we delve into exploring businesses and data loss from natural disasters, we can’t ignore the devastating results of these natural phenomena outside in general. According to Our World in Data, there are around 60,000 deaths from natural disasters worldwide. The deadliest of natural disasters is usually an earthquake. Typically, natural disasters affect poorer populations more heavily. This is often due to a lack of protective dwelling construction or adequate response to the event.  

How does disaster impact businesses?  

No one is ever 100% prepared for a disaster. Whether the disaster is an earthquake, tornado, or flood, an organization's plans can be thrown into disarray. There might be a breakdown in supply chains. Maybe employees are unable to reach the premises. Or there may be damage to the facilities, equipment, or the power or internet may be down. In any disaster, including the technological kind, a business will need to find ways to deal with the situation at hand. This is why it is important for all businesses, regardless of size, to have contingency plans for disasters. It should be a priority. 

How can businesses plan for natural disasters? 

Businesses should ensure they look at their entire operation and consider how a natural disaster might disrupt every branch. It’s not just about planning emergency evacuation routes or having emergency supplies. Businesses also need to consider things like how to contact employees if connections are down.  

Depending on the business type, an organization might also need to think about how to sort out their supply chain if they are unable to access the major transit routes due to natural disasters. Having an alternative plan if facilities can’t be used is a must for survival. 

Natural disasters, data breaches, and hackers for businesses, and data loss 

While we’re talking about disasters that affect businesses, we must also consider technological disasters like hackers and data breaches. These can have just as much of an impact on businesses and data loss. In some parts of the world, these events are more likely than a natural disaster. According to Forbes, hackers and cybercrime are more devastating to business operations than a Transit Strike, a Fire, and even Floods for small and medium-sized businesses.  

Final thoughts 

While we can’t prevent any of these disasters from causing problems for businesses and data loss, there are steps that we can take to reduce their impact. The main takeaway is to plan for all possible scenarios. For the impact of events to be reduced, there must be a detailed process in place.  

One solution is an on-site BDR (Backup, Disaster, Recovery) unit. A BDR automatically backs up all your data every 15 minutes. It is connected to an auxiliary power unit so it can back up everything when the power goes out. 

There are also Cloud solutions that backup your data safely, in multiple locations. This ensures that your data is always available, no matter what happens. 

If you have any questions about Backup solutions or would like to change the ways you are currently saving your data, contact us any time. As your Managed Service Provider, the safety of your data is our concern too. 

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Not Properly Managing Your Cloud Services Can Have Major Negative Impacts on Your Business

Not Properly Managing Your Cloud Services Can Have Major Negative Impacts on Your Business

The cloud is used quite often in the business world, but different organizations use it in different ways. Some might use it to support a remote workforce, whereas others might use it to get around the up-front capital expenses of purchasing software licenses through the use of “as a service” offerings. Regardless, the cloud is capable of solving countless problems for the modern business, but only when it is implemented in a calculated and intentional way.

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BNMC Cybersecurity update around Kaseya ransomware attack

As you probably heard in the news over the weekend, there was a large Cybersecurity attack against the Kaseya VSA remote monitoring and management system by Russian based REvil gang.  Kaseya VSA is a tool used by many Managed Service Providers (MSPs) similar to BNMC.  We wanted to reach out and let you know that neither BNMC nor our customers were affected by this attack.  BNMC utilizes N-Able N-Central for our remote monitoring and management and our systems were not affected.

BNMC is still very concerned about this attack and we are closely monitoring our existing systems as well as updates from both Kaseya and our other security vendors.  Our other system vendors, including N-Able, ConnectWise Manage and ITGlue have temporarily cut their systems ties with Kaseya in order to safe guard from any possible issues from this attack.

We will keep you updated if anything new develops with this Cybersecurity issue.  Please reach out and contact me with any questions or concerns.
 
Stay Safe,
Roger
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BNMC Cybersecurity update: Microsoft PrintNightmare Emergency Security Patch

BNMC is in the process of rolling out an emergency Microsoft Windows server security patch to all of our customers in response to address a critical flaw in the Windows Print Spooler service. The vulnerability, dubbed PrintNightmare, was revealed last week, after security researchers accidentally published proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit code. Microsoft has issued out-of-band security updates to address the flaw, and has rated it as critical as attackers can remotely execute code with system-level privileges on affected machines.


BNMC normally schedules all server patches during the customized maintenance window defined by each customer.  But, this security patch has a critical rating and needs to be applied ASAP.  As the Print Spooler service runs by default on Windows, Microsoft has had to issue patches for Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1, and a variety of supported versions of Windows 10. Microsoft has even taken the unusual step of issuing patches for Windows 7, which officially went out of support last year. Microsoft has not yet issued patches for Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2016, and Windows 10 Version 1607, though. Microsoft says “security updates for these versions of Windows will be released soon.”

It took Microsoft a couple of days to issue an alert about a 0-day affecting all supported versions of Windows. The PrintNightmare vulnerability allows attackers to use remote code execution, so bad actors could potentially install programs, modify data, and create new accounts with full admin rights.

“We recommend that you install these updates immediately,” says Microsoft. “The security updates released on and after July 6, 2021 contain protections for CVE-2021-1675 and the additional remote code execution exploit in the Windows Print Spooler service known as ‘PrintNightmare’, documented in CVE-2021-34527.”.  
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Consider These 4 Challenges When Implementing New Technology

Consider These 4 Challenges When Implementing New Technology

Some organizations are under the impression that they could keep operations moving without their IT infrastructure, but it would simply make doing business impossible. Therefore, it becomes critical to know when to invest in new technologies that can improve operations. Here are some of the critical considerations that any IT decision maker should keep at the top of their mind when looking into new technology for a business.

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Why is Disaster Data Recovery Important For Business?

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What does disaster data recovery mean? This term describes the method businesses use to regain access to stored information after a disruptive event. Any event, like a cyberattack, ransomware, a natural disaster, or even something new like the Covid-19 pandemic. When data is lost, businesses can employ a variety of methods for their disaster data recovery plan. 

How does disaster data recovery work? 

Disaster data recovery relies on the data being replicated in an off-site location that has not been affected by the outage. When a server goes down due to a cyberattack, equipment failure, or a natural disaster, businesses can recover their lost data from a backup location. When the data is backed up on the Cloud, businesses can access their data remotely so they can continue to operate. 

What are some key elements of effective disaster data recovery plans? 

We need a plan! A data recovery team will assign specialists to create, implement and manage the data recovery plan. Should a disaster occur, the data recovery team will facilitate communication with employees, customers, and vendors. 

Risk evaluations. An effective data recovery plan needs to assess all potential hazards. Depending on the type of disaster, the risk assessment will dictate what needs to happen for the business to resume operations. For example, if there were a cyberattack, what measures will the data recovery team use in response? A natural disaster will require a different response. 

Identification of critical assets. For a disaster data recovery plan to be effective, it needs to include a list of all assets. Vital resources, systems, and applications that are critical to the business are at the top of the list. Next, it’s important to have the steps that need to be implemented to recover the data. 

Backing up your data. An effective data recovery plan needs strategies and procedures for backups. You should know who will perform the backups and how often they will be done. Those responsible for data backups must also work out the business’s recovery time. Calculate the amount of time the organization can be ‘down’ after a disaster and work from there. 

Optimization and testing. The data recovery strategy should be tested and updated continually to protect the business from new threats. In this way, the business will be able to navigate challenges successfully. Planning a response to a cyberattack ahead of time will make sure your team will know what to do. 

Types of disaster data recovery 

There are a variety of options when it comes to data recovery. Perhaps the simplest method is backup. Your data is stored on or off-premises, or both for extra safety. However, relying solely on data backup gives minimal protection for businesses. If there is no backup of the IT infrastructure as well, there could be even bigger issues. For example, are your critical programs backed up as well? 

 Using DRaaS – Disaster Recovery as a Service 

DRaaS is another way in which businesses can protect their data and infrastructure in the event of a disaster. Your business’s computer processing happens on the DRaaS cloud infrastructure. This means that the business can continue to operate seamlessly, even if its servers are down. A DRaaS plan can be either a pay-per-use or a subscription model. A similar solution is Back UP as a Service. But this only backs up data and not infrastructure. 

Why is IT disaster recovery important? 

There exists no business that can ignore disaster data recovery. Having a plan in place for this means that businesses can protect themselves from closure. Most businesses can't even afford to close for one extra day. With a strategy in place for disaster data recovery, businesses will be able to get back to normal operations much more quickly. They might even be able to continue operating as normal. Why would anyone risk their business without a Backup Disaster Recovery plan? 

As your Managed Service Provider, we can assist you with your Backup Disaster Recovery (BDR) plan. You know how valuable your data is. Don’t run the risk of losing it! Contact us today and we can go over our data recovery solutions. 

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Tip of the Week: 3 Easy Tips for Microsoft Word

Tip of the Week: 3 Easy Tips for Microsoft Word

As one of the world’s most utilized word processors, Microsoft Word remains at the top because it provides organizations with the tools they need to be effective. Some of these features come in the form of keyboard shortcuts, templates, and save formatting, many of which are not known to employees. Here are some quick Word tips to help your employees be more effective with this software.

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Build a Knowledge Base for a Better Business

Build a Knowledge Base for a Better Business

One of the best ways you can improve operations is by building a knowledge base consisting of policies, procedures, and any other information that needs to be accessed by the people who work for your organization or utilize its services. It’s well-known that businesses that have well-documented policies and procedures have less difficulty bringing new talent on board, experience fewer operational problems, and provide great resources for employees, customers, and vendors. Let’s take a look at what goes into creating a successful working knowledge base.

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How Some Emails Get Flagged as Spam

How Some Emails Get Flagged as Spam

Spam filtering is great for keeping dangerous or wasteful messages from clogging up your inbox, but at the same time, there can be times when legitimate emails get flagged and sectioned off by accident. This is especially pertinent to business owners who do frequent outreach to vendors and valued customers. Here are some reasons your messages might get flagged as spam, as well as what you can do about it.

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Don’t Let Your Cloud Investments Go Awry

Don’t Let Your Cloud Investments Go Awry

The cloud is a common tool for businesses, but organizations tend to utilize it in different ways. Some use it to support a remote workforce, while others use it to avoid financing new hardware on a regular basis. Some even use it to fill in the gaps created by product and service demand. However your business uses the cloud, chances are that you will encounter issues if you do not take measures to adequately manage it.

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