Connecticut’s Department of Labor hosted a breakfast seminar entitled, “Cyber Security- What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You” on Thursday February 21st at their office in Wethersfield. The seminar was attended by professionals from the healthcare, banking, legal, construction, IT services and government industry sectors.

Capital Community College Assistant Professor of Networking and Cybersecurity, Saaid Elhadad, was the featured speaker. The three hour session flew by as Professor Elhadad offered suggestions about everything from best practices in setting up firewalls to whether you should accept a free USB drive from a trade show … you shouldn’t.

Professor Elhadad recommended implementing a layered approach to achieve the best protection. To architect the most resilient cyber security, organizations should install separate modems, firewalls, and wireless access points. Each of these devices have their own cyber security capabilities. The collective effect of this multi-layer approach is a much higher level of protection than depending on a single multi-function device.

There were many other pointers, including:

  • Use two different browsers; one for general use and one for more secure financial transactions
  • Wireless communications, when implemented properly, is more secure than wireline
  • Use a Password Manager; Don’t rely on your browser to automatically insert passwords
  • Check https://haveibeenpawned.com to see if your information is exposed on the Dark Web
  • Don’t trust WiFi connections at public locations — Configure a HotSpot with your phone instead
  • Implementing the Professor’s recommendations will reduce exposure by 80% but you still need proper data backup. The only protection against Ransomware is to have adequate backup

Thanks to Mark Stankiewicz and the team from the Office of Workforce Competitiveness at the Connecticut Department of Labor for putting this great seminar together. The only problem with the event was that there was not enough time to cover all the material Professor Elhadad had prepared and to answer the many questions from the audience, even after 3 hours!

The good news is Mark said they will look into scheduling a follow up session. Keep your eyes open for that as it will certainly be worth attending.

Considering whether to build or expand your data center or relocate your IT systems to a colocation facility? In almost all cases, colocation is the better choice; especially for small to medium requirements. One reason is the cost and major capital expenditures required to build out a data center – even if only for a few cabinets – and to ensure it is secure.

Here’s what’s necessary:

  • Redundant Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS)
  • Redundant fuel powered Generators
  • Redundant Air Conditioning systems
  • Fire Suppression systems
  • 24/7 Security Systems with Video Monitoring
  • Network Switching Systems, Power Distribution Units, Cabling Systems
  • Monitoring and Alert Systems
  • Multiple Internet carriers (for redundancy)
  • Knowledgeable personnel to operate the data center
  • Certifications for the data center such as SSAE-18 (SOC 1 Type 2)

There are additional considerations for companies located in Connecticut that make the colocation case even more compelling:

 

Conditions In CT Impact on Data Center Build/Colo Decision Favors
Cost of living is very high Hard to hire and retain IT infrastructure experts Colo
Many financial services cos Targeted by cyber criminals, need top security Colo
Real Estate very expensive To Build, cost is higher, ROI longer Colo
Compliance Requirements Require secure facilities with proper certifications Colo