Wednesday, 30 April 2014

New to VoIP? Here’s How it Makes Disaster Recovery Easy

We all pretty much think “it wont happen to me”, but when a disaster strikes - it can result in systems and communications failures, or network outages that affect part or all of a business's  resources.

Even severe weather phenomena have been known to cause power problems for facilities. What would you if this happened and suddenly shutdown your organisation? Or you had no access and use of data files on a PC, and/or a congestion of message traffic piling up in a network?

Do you have a plan that provides for recovery and restoration of data and systems?

Knowing that catastrophic events associated with flooding or extreme weather conditions can overwhelm communications grids and occur at any time, it makes sense to have a smart disaster preparedness plan, which includes a VoIP system. In such cases, having a disaster recovery plan (DRP) or back up-plan in place for IT-related infrastructure recovery, can really make the difference.

Having a backup solution ensures continuation of operations. Even power protection (to keep data and applications running smoothly) should really be part of that planning process.

Migrating to a Hosted VoIP-based system is usually extremely beneficial to a workplace for supporting converged or unified communications. Having a well-defined disaster recovery service with your service vendor can minimise system downtime and provide automatic recovery by automatically transferring over to another server. To facilitate recovery, the VoIP equipment carrier maintains backup copies of the system and database in secure areas. Not only are service providers able to ensure business continuity while another’s system is being recovered, their VoIP services can also help protect against threats from outside and inside the organisation as well.

It can be very easy to set up a DRP which then gives you complete peace of mind in the event of  something untoward happening.

Not only does VoIP provide DRP, but it signifies for businesses cheaper calling costs; provide for flexible working with employees being able to work from home, if they like, with colleagues being able to contact each other and share information and instructions even after disaster strikes.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Millions of broadband routers 'open to attack'

If you’re operating an SME business using domestic-grade equipment such as routers, then take heed, you may be vulnerable to attacks called Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) , as a result of not upgrading your hardware or updating security.

We’re sharing an article we found useful recently, published by USwitch.

A study carried out by IT analysts Nominum suggests that 24 million home broadband routers could be exposing both users and broadband providers to potentially participating in the attacks. Many of these routers form part of small businesses or practices.

In February alone, the analyst calculated that 5.3 million routers were used to generate attack traffic  - a figure it expects to continue increasing as older hardware is exploited.

DDoS attacks work by overloading a target server such as a website  with huge numbers of data requests from multiple internet connected computers. These are usually computers infected with Trojans or viruses that then become part of a botnet, but cybercriminals have recently begun  targeting home broadband routers, particularly older ones that are in need of upgrading, or which have insufficient security.

Due to the way in which hackers operate, it is possible to exploit routers without even hacking them, by imitating their target's IP address and receiving data from vulnerable devices, explained Sanjay Kapoor, Nominum’s CMO and SVP of Strategy.

He explained: "Existing in-place DDoS defenses do not work against today’s amplification attacks, which can be launched by any criminal who wants to achieve maximum damage with minimum effort. Even if ISPs employ best practices to protect their networks, they can still become victims, thanks to the inherent vulnerability in open DNS proxies."

As such, broadband providers need more effective protections built-in to DNS servers, claims Mr Kapoor, who pointed out that modern DNS servers can precisely target attack traffic without any impact on legitimate DNS traffic.

It comes as a report published by the Guardian indicated that 800,000 home routers belonging to UK customers such as BT and Virgin Media could be vulnerable to such an attack, though this figure is far lower than Nominum's estimations.

If you have any concerns of would like advice or guidance, then please get in touch with our team on 0800 877 8810.