Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Using an EMail Gateway Servce Protect Your Inbox

Today’s Landscape

  • The number of severe malware (virus, worm, phishing, adware, etc) keeps growing.
  • Some reports indicate the percentage of inbound email that is spam or malware easily exceeds 90%; some organizations even report that the spam-rate is more than 95%.
  • Small & medium-sized businesses need to spend less time on technology and more time on business issues.

How an Email Gateway Service Can Help

One strategy for preventing problems with email is to use an EMail Gateway Service. In essence, your domain’s configuration instructs external organizations to send your email to the “Gateway Service” which quarantines suspect messages and delivers only the “clean messages” to your mail server and inbox. The service quarantines the spam and kills the viruses.
How an EMail Gateway Works

Besides moving the potential threats farther away from your infrastructure, using a gateway service reduces the bandwidth consumption because only “clean” messages are delivered to your mail server.

Examples of Gateway Service Providers

Warning: Your old copier might “leak” sensitive information

Your old copier might “leak” sensitive information if you do not take proper precautions. The liability could be substantial if your business is subject to regulations like HIPAA, GLBA, etc.

PROBLEM: Hard drives in copiers retain data that could be sensitive.

Most digital copiers (especially those with a network scanner feature) use a hard drive to keep copies of information as it is processed. However, the data is rarely (if ever) deleted until more space is needed. And when it is deleted, there are still remnants of the old data.

If the local technician does repair work, or the copier is exchanged for a new one, the information on the drive could be extracted even though the business thinks the data is not accessible.

RESOLUTION: Enforce data wiping on drives.

Choose one of the following approaches:

  1. Retain the hard drive and send it to a service provider for a security wipe.
  2. Retain the hard drive and physically destroy it.
  3. Require the service provide to certify that it has done either #1 or #2 above.

You can watch the CBS Video or the CBS news article that provides more (& scary) background.

Terminology: What is Hosting

Frequently, I respond to questions about “hosting” and quickly find out that everyone has a different view on what is included or intended. Here are the terms and concepts as I see them.

  • Web Hosting – hosting a web-site. Frequently, this also provides for email and FTP hosting. It is important to know that web hosting can be separated from email hosting, application hosting, etc.
  • EMail Hosting – hosting the email traffic and user mailboxes. For smaller businesses, this is done on the same server and with the same account as the web hosting, but if the email traffic get larger or needs “groupware” features, the email hosting will be separated from the web hosting.
  • Dedicated Hosting – hosting on a server that it is totally dedicated to a single customer. For smaller sites with less traffic, this is usually not required unless the web application needs custom components or has special security concersn. A dedicated hosted server has a (at least one) unique IP address.
  • Shared Hosting – hosting of multiple web-sites on the same server. This is very typical for smaller sites. These site usually share the same IP address, and there is an extra fee for a unique IP address. A unique IP address would be required if an SSL Certificate is required (to use HTTPS instead of HTTP).
  • Virtual Private Servers – This is a combination of Dedicated and Shared hosting techniques. The hardware is shared by multiple customers, but each has a “virtual server” so that they can customize the software and/or resources. A VPS hosting has its on unique IP address.
  • Co-Lo Hosting – Co-Lo is short for “co-location”, meaning that the hosting company provides physical space and power, and the customer provides the servers and the management of the servers. Each physical space is (usually) physically locked so that one customer cannot access another customer’s equipment.
  • Cloud Hosting – This is a “virtual server” environment in which resources can be quickly and easily added. This is used frequently for hosting requirements that change frequently. With Cloud Hosting, the server administrators and add more processing power and/or bandwidth so that the site can handle more traffic.

Blog Manifesto – Why We’re Here

This will be a place for business and technical advice for folks in small and medium businesses, with the primary focus on how to make technology improve effectiveness.

While most of this will be developed over time while working with clients, I will be happy to allow other knowledgeable authors and bloggers to contribute. However, this is not a place for advertising — this is a place for honest advice and sharing.

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