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Martins 73-Mile Ultra Marathon In Support Of Forget Me Not Childrens Hospice
27/06/2017

Martin Page, the Managing Director of P2 Technologies, is taking part in the Kirklees Way Ultra Marathon on the 7th of July, raising money for Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice.

The challenge involves running a challenging 73 mile route that circles the Kirklees District with over 8,000 feet of elevation throughout the course. The route takes in the best of the landscape, scenery, history and heritage of the Upper Colne Valley. Runners get a chance to enjoy the peaceful and exposed moorland tops with the gritty, industrial towns and valleys.

The course takes runners across the Spen Valley, down towards Batley and Dewsbury before guiding runners across to Clayton West and the Holme Valley with the course ending in Marsden.

The race commences at 8pm on Friday the 7th July in Birchencliffe, Huddersfield, and runs through the night. Participants tackle the course unsupported and almost entirely off the beaten track. Most of the course is marked, but a basic navigational skills are a must. The entire course must be completed in under 21 hours.

Martin has chosen to raise money for the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice because of the amazing contribution they make to the local area. P2 Technologies are also proud members of the Forget Me Not 99 Business Club, and make regular donations to the charity.

The charity supports children who suffer from life shortening conditions, offering respite and support to both the children and their family members. Without the support of businesses, volunteers and kind donations from supporters, Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice is able to provide this crucial service for the people of Huddersfield and the surrounding areas.

You can follow Martin’s training log on Strava and can also donate to his Just Giving page here and help him meet his £500 target. 

How to Protect Your IoT Devices from Malware Designed to Destroy Them
16/06/2017

Hackers have unleashed a new kind of malware that cracks the weak passwords of Internet-connected devices and then damages their systems so badly the devices become useless, learn how to protect your devices from this threat.

Hackers have unleashed a new kind of malware that damages the systems of Internet of Things (IoT) devices so extensively the devices become useless. The malware has been dubbed BrickerBot because it turns these devices into little more than expensive bricks.

Security researchers are unsure why hackers are destroying IoT devices. What's not in question is the seriousness of this malware threat. To warn businesses about it the Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT), which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has issued a security alert.

A list of all the affected IoT devices is not yet available. The researchers who discovered BrickerBot note that the hackers targeted Linux-based devices that had their Telnet port open and exposed publicly on the Internet, these devices were running a specific toolkit called BusyBox.

The BrickerBot malware uses brute-force password-cracking attempts to gain access to Telnet accounts with default or weak passwords. Once inside a device it uses a series of Linux commands to destroy the device's basic system functions.

To protect your IoT devices from BrickerBot and similar malware ICS-CERT recommends several actions:

  • Change each device's default password to a unique strong one.
  • Disable Telnet access.
  • Make sure the devices do not directly connect to the Internet.
  • Place IoT devices behind firewalls, and isolate them from your business network.
  • Use a virtual private network (VPN) if remote access to the devices is required.

The bottom line is, if you use IoT devices you need to secure them just like you would secure any other device or machine in your IT environment.

The Pros and Cons of Moving Your Email Services to the Cloud
02/06/2017

Many businesses have moved their email services to Microsoft Office 365 or Google G Suite to reduce costs. If you are thinking about making a similar move, you should consider other factors besides the financial impact. Here are the main advantages and disadvantages to keep in mind.

Email is an essential communication tool for most businesses. While email services have traditionally been provided on-premises, an increasing number of companies are moving their email services to the cloud. Almost 60 percent of businesses worldwide now use either Microsoft Office 365 or Google G Suite, according to the Bitglass 2016 Cloud Adoption Report. Office 365 is deployed in 34.8 percent of organizations, while G Suite is used by 24.5 percent.

A key motivator for making the move, especially for small and midsize businesses is reducing costs, however if you are considering moving your business's email services to Office 365, G Suite, or another service provider you should weigh all the pros and cons.

The Advantages

Between 2015 and 2016, Office 365 and G Suite usage rose 11 percent, according to the Bitglass 2016 Cloud Adoption Report. The increase is largely due to the advantages that online email services offer, including:

  • A secure email environment: Storing data in the cloud is a relatively secure practice, according to experts. Cloud computing has matured to the point where there are now standards (e.g., ISO/IEC 27018) that service providers can follow to prove they are properly handling data in a secure manner.
  • Reduced capital expenditures and human resource costs: When companies use online email services they do not need to purchase servers or software licenses, inhouse staff can be deployed to manage other areas of IT.
  •  High reliability and availability: Most cloud-based email service providers have redundant systems to ensure their email services are highly reliable and available. For instance, both Office 365 and G Suite guarantee 99.9 percent uptime.
  • Built-in backups and archiving: Businesses that use online email services do not have to worry about backing up and archiving emails. The service providers automatically take care of these tasks. Backup files are stored off-site which is an important aspect of any disaster recovery plan.
  • Effortless scalability: With cloud-based email services companies only have to pay for the email services they currently need. If their business grows they simply need to contact their service provider to scale up their email services.

The Disadvantages

While using cloud-based email services has many advantages it is not without some drawbacks such as:

  • Data not managed and maintained by employees: When businesses host their own email services they get to select the employees responsible for managing and maintaining the email environment. With online email services the provider takes on these responsibilities and businesses have no control over who is working with their data.
  • No Internet, no email service: With cloud-based email services, no Internet service means employees cannot send or receive emails internally or externally. In contrast, with an on-premises email server, users can still send and receive emails internally (i.e., within the company's local area network) when the Internet goes down. External emails still cannot be sent or received though.
  • Some loss of control: When businesses use online email services, they lose control over some aspects of their email environment. For instance, they have limited control over where their data is being stored and when software upgrades are applied.
  • Fees add up: Over time the subscription fees for online email services add up. On top of the basic fee there is still an administrative cost for managing email mailboxes and configuration.

You Should Weigh the Pros and Cons

Whether moving your email services to the cloud makes sense for your business will depend on many factors including the number of employees, types of emails sent and received (e.g., whether they often contain sensitive data), and your IT environment. We can help you weigh the pros and cons based on your business's needs.

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