End of support for Windows 2003 – A view from Qube

March 30th, 2015

Microsoft have announced that they will be ceasing extended support of all instances of Windows 2003 on 14th July this year. There are around 24 million instances of Windows 2003 still being used worldwide and it has been predicted that at least 20% of these will continue to be run after the cut-off date. Companies are being strongly urged to migrate prior to the discontinuation of support as these servers will become more exposed to attack from hackers, as security patches and fixes will no longer be developed and available.

This comes at an unfortunate time, as some companies may still be undergoing the transitional period following last year’s discontinuation of Windows XP extended support. Whilst the situations are comparable a server upgrade is far more complicated than that of a desktop, with potentially greater ramifications.

Dependent on the amount of applications involved planning, testing and migrating to a new operating systems can be a complicated process which can take many months and man hours to complete. So it is understandable why some Businesses will make the decision to hold off migrating for as long as possible. However this can increase the risk of susceptibility to attacks, especially after manufacturer support has ceased. There is of course the option of paying a premium for extended support after the discontinuation of standard extended support; however this may be a very expensive option. Paul Kunert from ‘The Register’ writes:

“Talking to The Register, Gartner Vice President and distinguished analyst Carl Claunch, said the cost of tailored support on WS2003 will vary by customer, but will likely be up to three times more expensive.

“I don’t want to disclose specific numbers but I can say that it is pretty common to see that the aggregate cost for the client is in the seven digit range, so it is pretty expensive,” he told us.

Of course, customers who want to buy custom support need to already have a Premier Support Agreement, or to buy one if they don’t, which is another incrementally “substantial cost”, said Claunch. He estimates Microsoft will also want to see some evidence of migration plans before providing support.”

 

Furthermore this is not a long term alternative states Al Gillen of IDC in his whitepaper “Windows Server 2003: Why You Should Get Current” sponsored by Microsoft:

“Once extended support expires on July 14, 2015, all these support activities will be eliminated. Microsoft does offer for-fee custom contracts — which extend for a limited period beyond the termination of extended support — to customers that are actively working to migrate to a next generation product. This option is not for the faint of wallet and is intended only for organisations that are making a proactive effort to migrate off the product being supported beyond its normal life cycle. It is not intended to be an open-ended support offering to all customers to retain Windows Server 2003 installations in current deployments for the long term.”

The end of support of Windows 2003 is imminent, and those who don’t upgrade soon will face uncertainty and increased risk of Cybercrime, so act now, the clock is ticking.

Watch this space for more information from Qube regarding the Microsoft Windows 2003 situation, but to be sure you don’t miss any further updates you can find us at www.qubems.com, on Twitter @ http://bit.ly/18VOhuw or on LinkedIn @ http://linkd.in/1FuApEJ

February 2015 – Qube Managed Services achieves PCI-DSS v3 compliance.

March 19th, 2015

Qube Managed Services, a leading provider of Infrastructure Managed Services and Cloud Services, is proud to announce that we have been certified as a PCI-DSS v3 Level 1 (Physical) Service Provider.

 

Under our strategic intent to deliver safe secure business, Qube understands that customers and businesses are more than ever concerned and aware of potential security breaches that may lead to fraudulent use of their personal information including credit card data. PCI-DSS is an international standard that drives increased security for online payments, accounts and customer data, and Qube’s certification includes the security management of the physical site and all relevant policies and procedures.

 

Qube offer a whole range of solutions and services that drive ‘Safe. Secure. Business.’, for more information about these or this announcement please contact marketing@qubems.com or visit www.qubems.com

Keeping the wolf from the door…

January 20th, 2015

“Security in IT is like locking your house or car – it doesn’t stop the bad guys, but if it’s good enough they may move on to an easier target.”

 — Paul Herbka, Vice President South Seas Corporation

Everyone in touch with the modern world today has experienced a computer virus in one way or another. Whether that’s the annoyance of a chain e-mail circulating the office claiming to provide a once in a lifetime free holiday to Barbados, or something more sinister. From spam e-mails to Trojan viruses, they vary in severity, from simply being a nuisance to rendering a computer completely unusable – or in the most extreme cases ruining entire businesses.

Most viruses work through ‘elevating rights’ by exploiting a loophole in a computers’ coding, therefore giving the virus full rights and access to the computer. What happens next depends on the individual virus. The nature of viruses means if you work remotely or even save work documents onto a memory stick, with a view to work on them on an unprotected personal computer, prior to reloading them on to your work PC, you could be the cause of potentially irreparable damage to the business.

More complex viruses’ have the ability to latch onto an external device, such as a USB stick or portable hard drive. Once inside a company’s network they circulate through e-mails sent between co-workers. At this point the virus could begin to transmit highly sensitive data to an external location, and the cyber-criminal could use that as leverage for financial gain, or even just release the information publicly thereby destroying your businesses credibility, reputation and brand.

The simplest way to secure your computer is to install Anti-Virus software. This should be a must for every computer in a company, and it should be an employee’s duty to make sure any computer they use for work is also protected. The software operates through keeping database of virus ‘signatures’ (pieces of code that identify viruses) so when the user runs an Anti-Virus system scan, the software looks at every file on a computer and compares it to every virus in the database then reacts accordingly.

Experts believe there are currently more than 50,000 different viruses in existence, and around 200 new ones are currently discovered on a monthly basis, so failing to update your Anti-Virus can render it useless.

Get in touch with Qube on 020 7150 3800 or email sales@qubems.com for information on our full range of security services and professional insight on how to ensure your business is as secure as possible.

 

Qube is a managed services provider operating Datacentres on a global basis. We offer a broad range of IT services from simple co-location to fully managed virtual data centres always with a primary focus on IT security and compliance. We are independent and therefore able to provide the best solution for our customers yet partner with high performance vendors such as Hitachi, VMWare, IBM (Softlayer), Colt, Corero, and Level 3. Our highly experienced team offers Enterprise grade levels of IT management allowing you to focus on your core business safe in the knowledge that your IT environment is secure and compliant.

 

The danger presented by DDOS attacks

January 13th, 2015

‘One in ten of those surveyed admitted that an IT security breach would probably cost them their business. This must be addressed, and quickly!’

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Kirill Slavin, Kaspersky UK Managing Director

 

One of the most common and costly forms of cybercrime reported is the infamous DDOS attack. A factor in the popularity of DDOS attacks amongst criminals is due to the ease in which they are orchestrated. A DDOS attack consists of a server or firewall becoming overwhelmed by a flood of requests; and is considered successful once the server or firewall can no longer handle the sheer amount of traffic attempting to access it at once, resulting in a failure to function. This consequently slows response time or potentially shuts the device down completely.

This can cause a lot of downtime for a business’s websites and IT infrastructures, leading to an inevitable loss of revenue, brand reputation, customer satisfaction and clientele, the severity of which is dependent on how long the server or IT infrastructure is out of action for.

Historically cybercrime used to be an issue mainly for larger corporations with recognizable brand names, but the cybercriminal mind-set has shifted from targeting a specific victim to simply opportunism. No matter the size of your organization, if it’s unprotected and vulnerable, possibly due to old hardware or out of date or un-patched S/W, it could well be the victim of one of these attacks. As a real world example, if a car thief was roaming a car park it’s unlikely they’d attempt to steal the most expensive vehicle in the vicinity which probably has the highest levels of security, but look for an unlocked door or open window to prey upon, and this same attitude applies to cyber criminals.

The problem with most traditional DDOS preventative solutions is the inability to differentiate between a genuine request (good data) from a client accessing the infrastructure and an illegitimate one (bad data) sent by a hacker. It’s typical for the defending solution or IT support staff to recognize the infrastructure is experiencing an unusually high amount of traffic, redirects it to a ‘scrubbing’ zone to separate the good from the bad, and eventually start allowing the good traffic through. This process is time consuming; although the server hasn’t been rendered useless by the attack there is still unpreventable downtime.

As part of our end to end solution, Qube have partnered with Corero to provide an answer to this quandary. The ‘first line of defence’ box is a sophisticated non-intrusive anti-DDOS appliance, with the ability to put a stop to any related attacks on your infrastructure.

Click here for a short video on how it works

Qube Managed Services, working with Corero, can install this device into your infrastructure, it will provide a report on all unwanted traffic that is at this moment potentially slowing your service down and searching your environment for vulnerable elements, moreover this service is free of charge and no obligation!

 

Qube is a managed services provider operating Datacentres on a global basis. We offer a broad range of IT services from simple co-location to fully managed virtual data centres always with a primary focus on IT security and compliance. We are independent and therefore able to provide the best solution for our customers yet partner with high performance vendors such as Hitachi, VMWare, IBM (Softlayer), Colt, Corero, and Level 3. Our highly experienced team offers Enterprise grade levels of IT management allowing you to focus on your core business safe in the knowledge that your IT environment is secure and compliant.

The changing landscape of cybercrime

January 6th, 2015

“The UK is increasingly dependent on computers and the internet, but the very open nature of the digital network makes it vulnerable”

Ideas and Innovation, HM Government

The most common mistake made in preventing cybercrime is simply ignoring it.

More data has been created in the last 2 years than in the history of mankind combined, and 2015 alone will top the last few years. The world has moved into a digital age and with this new, exciting era comes with a whole host of new challenges to overcome – the latest and greatest being cybercrime.

“Why would I be a target? My business isn’t large enough to attract that kind of attention” is the attitude most people have towards this ever growing threat, and it isn’t hard to understand why. A few short years ago that statement may have been completely justifiable, with cyber criminals tending to focus on larger corporations and brand names.

Unfortunately, that is no longer the case. Criminals are now targeting weakness, rather than size, preying on opportunity. The sheer volume of cybercrime has risen hugely in recent years, and will only continue to grow exponentially with criminals utilizing adaptive and ever changing tactics and software in order to force businesses to pay large ransoms.

The recent increase is down to a multitude of reasons. One of the largest contributing factors being cybercrime accessibility. Committing cybercrime is a far simpler feat than robbing your local bank, and the dangers are minimal in comparison. Furthermore it isn’t solely the actions of organized criminals, terrorist organizations or highly trained experienced software engineers anymore (though they are still a very prevalent problem). Tech savvy teenagers set up with a computer anywhere in the world can and do cause serious problems whilst maintaining anonymity. There’s a variety of potential perpetrators with differing reasons as to why they would commit cybercrime.

Due to the huge scope and volume of modern cybercrime, it is obvious that at this point the only way to ensure your business is protected is through preventative measures. For every criminal caught and brought to justice, another three are learning the intricacies of hacking, DDOS attacks and digital blackmail.

Fortunately there is a whole host of solutions designed specifically with combatting this issue directly, with focuses on specific areas such as phishing scams, DDOS prevention and anti-viral software and over the coming weeks I shall be identifying some of these solutions, going into more depth into certain forms of cybercrime and the ever evolving answer to these threats.

It is in your own and your companies best interests to pay the upmost attention to the very serious threats to the digital world, ever present and looking for the slightest weakness to prey upon. You could be the next victim.

December 2014 – Qube Ranked #1 on NetCraft Again!

January 5th, 2015

NetCraft independently measures and makes available the response times of leading worldwide hosting providers’ sites. The performance measurements are made at fifteen minute intervals from separate points around the internet, and averages are calculated over the immediately preceding 24 hour period.

Qube has been ranked #1 by Netcraft 13 times since recording started in April 2010.

We have also been ranked #2 on 5 occasions, and #3 on 4 occasions

  • 8th         QUBE AVERAGE GLOBAL RANKING SINCE APRIL 2010
  • 32%        PERCENTAGE GLOBAL RANKING IN TOP 3 HOSTING PROVIDERS

Netcraft quoted; “Qube Managed Services had the most reliable hosting company website in December, with just two failed requests. London-based Qube has been in the top 10 for all but one month in 2014, and reached first place six times. Qube offers a range of managed services, including colocation, cloud hosting and dedicated servers. It has data centres in London, New York and Zurich and focuses on providing reliable and high-quality solutions to its clients.”

DC Tales: Christmas 2014!

December 15th, 2014

http://bit.ly/DCTales  – Latest adventure from the Data Centre!

It’s true! Installation, network monitoring, de-installation of a Corero Defence unit together with an expert report highlighting your vulnerabilities – all free of charge and with no obligation!
Contact Qube on 020 7150 3800 or email sales@qubems.com

November 2014 – Qube Ranked #1 on NetCraft Again!

December 2nd, 2014

NetCraft independently measures and makes available the response times of leading worldwide hosting providers’ sites. The performance measurements are made at fifteen minute intervals from separate points around the internet, and averages are calculated over the immediately preceding 24 hour period.

Qube has been ranked #1 by Netcraft 12 times since recording started in April 2010.

We have also been ranked #2 on 5 occasions, and #3 on 4 occasions

  • 8th         QUBE AVERAGE GLOBAL RANKING SINCE APRIL 2010
  • 34%        PERCENTAGE GLOBAL RANKING IN TOP 3 HOSTING PROVIDERS

Netcraft quoted; “Qube had the most reliable hosting company site in November, with only one failed request. London-based Qube has performed remarkably well so far this year, fitting in with its vision to be the most reliable and trusted managed hosting company in the industry. As well as coming first five times so far this year, Qube also narrowly missed out on another first place in January.”

September 2014 – Qube Ranked #1 on NetCraft Again!

October 1st, 2014

Netcraft independently measures and makes available the response times of leading worldwide hosting providers’ sites. The performance measurements are made at fifteen minute intervals from separate points around the internet, and averages are calculated over the immediately preceding 24 hour period.

Qube has been ranked #1 by Netcraft 11 times since recording started in April 2010.

We have also been ranked #2 on 4 occasions, and #3 on 4 occasions

  • 8th         QUBE AVERAGE GLOBAL RANKING SINCE APRIL 2010
  • 42%        PERCENTAGE GLOBAL RANKING IN TOP 3 HOSTING PROVIDERS

Netcraft quoted; “Qube had the most reliable hosting company site in September, with only one failed request. London-based Qube has performed remarkably well so far this year, fitting in with its vision to be the most reliable and trusted managed hosting company in the industry. As well as coming first four times so far this year, Qube also narrowly missed out on another first place in January.”

May 2014 – Qube Ranked #1 on Netcraft Again!

June 5th, 2014

Netcraft independently measures and makes available the response times of leading worldwide hosting providers’ sites. The performance measurements are made at fifteen minute intervals from separate points around the internet, and averages are calculated over the immediately preceding 24 hour period.

Qube has been ranked #1 by Netcraft 10 times since recording started in April 2010.

We have also been ranked #2 on 4 occasions, and #3 on 4 occasions

  • 9th         QUBE AVERAGE GLOBAL RANKING SINCE APRIL 2010
  • 35%        PERCENTAGE GLOBAL RANKING IN TOP 3 HOSTING PROVIDERS

Netcraft quoted; “Qube had the most reliable hosting company site in May, with only one failed request. London-based Qube has performed remarkably well so far this year, fitting in with its vision to be the most reliable and trusted managed hosting company in the industry. As well as coming first three times so far this year, Qube also narrowly missed out on another first place in January.”