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Read the latest tech briefs, insights, expertise, and news from the Thrive team.

5 Flavors of Microsoft SQL Data Encryption

EncryptionWith the constant drumbeat of security vulnerabilities and breaches in the news, protecting data is, or should be, on everybody’s mind. While we know that a firewall is essential to keeping the bad guys out, we’ve also learned that most data breaches happen from behind our firewalls. Good security defenses, then, are multi-tiered. Assuming that our firewalls and permission schemes will eventually be overcome or otherwise thwarted, an essential line of defense is strong data encryption.

For static files, such as a Microsoft Word or Excel document, drive or folder encryption is a viable option. However, SQL Server uses constantly active files with complex dependencies and interactions with other systems and applications. Therefore, the SQL service itself must implement an encryption scheme or schemes. Following is a quick comparison of the 5 kinds of encryption available within Microsoft SQL Server.

Benefits of Virtualization

TechVirtualization has been rising in popularity during the past few years due to its ability to provide a viable solution for companies to increase productivity while reducing IT infrastructure costs.  By switching to virtualization, companies have been able to control workloads in data centers while reducing energy consumption and IT infrastructure.

Before we discuss the specific benefits of switching to virtualization let’s first define what virtualization is and some of the reasons why more companies are making the change.

Meltdown & Spectre Follow-up

Meltdown Spectre

Image Credit TechCrunch

Over the last week, most of you have heard about the latest exploits that are potentially impacting your business, Meltdown and Spectre.  These particular exploits target a system’s CPU.  The news of this particular attack was initially reported to Intel and the broader IT community by a group of researchers, led by Google.  While this is a very real issue, there have not been any reports of it being used in a malicious manner as of yet.

Chipzilla Intel Flaw?

chipThere have been rumors in the wind that there could be an Intel chip flaw that affect Intel Processors built in the last 10 years.  Linux distributions have been frantically updating their code, but being very careful about why they are updating it.  The Register was able to find out that the bug allows programs to see some of the contents of the protected kernel memory. This area is protected because it could potentially hold information like logins, passwords, or other critical data.  In a worst-case scenario, your browsers JavaScript could read files in your memory, thus giving others access to your data. It is speculated that the bug is fairly significant since this is under such secrecy, Linux and Mac have released patches and we expect Microsoft to release patches shortly.

IT New Years Resolution #1

cloudProper Licensing for Microsoft Windows Server

Microsoft Windows Server licensing can be a confusing topic and the details change on occasion. As of the writing of this article, Microsoft had switched from processor socket licensing over to core-based licensing for Windows Servers and Application Servers (SQL for example). There are two licenses available: standard and datacenter. All cores in the physical hardware must be licensed and there is a minimum of 8 cores for both editions. The Standard edition license covers two Operating System Environments (OSEs) while the Datacenter edition covers as many virtual machines as can be run on that particular set of hardware. If running more than 2 VMs on a set of hardware then all the cores must be licensed again.

How Managed Firewalls Can Help Fill Compliance Gaps

FirewallFirewall management is a necessary but tedious and time-consuming effort. It also requires industry-specific expertise in order to avoid costly security breaches which can jeopardize compliance requirements.

Meeting compliance requirements for your specific industry can occupy a significant amount of your IT professional’s time. Additionally, it can be difficult to find an IT expert with the appropriate industry experience to ensure all of your compliance requirements are met and your network is protected against unauthorized access.

When you choose to manage firewalls in-house, this requires a resource-intensive effort since it involves device deployment and configuration, constant upgrades and security patching, in addition, to monitoring upgrades to ensure the appropriate controls are installed to meet necessary changes in business processes. Then the network traffic must be continually monitored for threats so these can be acted upon in a timely manner to avoid costly breaches.

Do you Know How to Spot a Scammer?

Do you know how to spot a malicious email or know if someone is trying to trick you into giving information on a phone call?  If you are technical and been around the block a bit, you are confidently saying yes right now.  You are also thinking that your end users need some help in this regard.   You are partially right.  Your end users do need some help.  Since I do a lot of phishing tests both internally and externally, I feel pretty confident saying that you or others on your technical team need some help too.

Benefits of IT Consulting

ConsultingAs technology increasingly becomes a driver of success in business, having some IT consulting done is a good way to help develop an IT roadmap and identify critical issues. A great number of organizations have been utilizing IT consulting services to give them an edge over their competitors. Many companies that offer IT consulting services also offer a wide range of IT services. This will allow many different services to be managed and developed with greater efficiency. IT consulting companies usually focus on the needs of your businesses. They are operating in almost every industry in the field of network infrastructure, and applications. 

Security Resolutions for 2018

Security ResolutionsAs the new year comes into focus, it’s time to look towards the security improvements your company can make for 2018.  It’s likely that you’ve run into more than a few situations where you thought “We should probably do that to improve our security.”  Whatever “that” is, its time to put it front and center for 2018.

After the attacks and breaches of 2017, the landscape has changed yet again.  Countermeasures that were seen as products all for the fortune 500 are now commonplace in all sizes of businesses.  It’s likely in 2018 that the actors who perpetrate their acts are going to step up their game and you should do.