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Over the weekend, Microsoft publicly released information pertaining to a security vulnerability in Internet Explorer 6, Internet Explorer 7, Internet Explorer 8, Internet Explorer 9, Internet Explorer 10, and Internet Explorer 11.   The vulnerability would allow an attacker to host a website that contains a webpage that is used to exploit this vulnerability.

In addition, compromised websites and websites that accept or host user-provided content or advertisements could contain specially crafted content that could exploit this vulnerability. In all cases, however, an attacker has no way to force users to visit these websites. Instead, an attacker would have to convince users to visit the website, typically by getting them to click a link in an email message or Instant Messenger message that takes users to the attacker's website.   

Given that there are some fairly easy work around’s for this vulnerability we see this as a lower risk vulnerability, but a widespread and a vulnerability none the less,  if your organization is highly risk adverse we can discuss with you steps we can take to mitigate the vulnerability before it is patched.  Workarounds are listed below. 

    1. Use a Browser other than Internet explorer until Microsoft issues a patch. Chrome and Firefox are good alternatives. 
    2. Be careful with and aware of the links you are clicking on.  If an email looks suspicious it probably is and don’t click the links.  Be careful of the sites you visit.  The easiest way to stop anything like this is with the end user. 
    3. Implement other workarounds found in the Microsoft security advisory for this vulnerability found here. https://technet.microsoft.com/en-US/library/security/2963983 Some of these are more intrusive than others to the end user. 

If you have questions or concerns, please let Sovran know as we are happy to assist and discuss this with you further, and implement some of the more in depth workarounds if needed for your environment.

 

March 6, 2014: Sovran, Inc has surfaced on Nine Lives Media’s seventh-annual MSPmentor 501 Global Edition, a distinguished list and report identifying the world's top 501 managed service providers (MSPs).

“Sovran is proud to have been recognized as one of the world’s top MSP’s.  This is a testament to our employee achievements and ultimately our client satisfaction.”  said Brian Arneson, President/CEO, Sovran.  “We are deeply committed to serving our clients in an exceptional way.”

 

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Getting to Know You...

 

Name: Shonn Twight

Title: Systems Engineer

Tenure with Sovran: Since June 2008

Current Role: I rarely have two days the same. Some things that I do commonly, however, are my visits with Sovran's clients. During those visits I check on a wide array of items (the specific list depends on the client in question) to make sure that things are running correctly. I also make sure to check in with people at the client site. There are always things that people will ask me to look at if they see me that they will rarely bother to call in about.
All in all, a lot of my time (probably majority) is spent trying to find things that are not working and then make them work.

Favorite client experience: I have been involved with a couple of client moves (one location to another). They have all been experiences that  I have really enjoyed, seeing all of the equipment moved into a room designed specifically for the equipment, it is always exciting and rewarding.

Explosive increases in the quantity of data in digital format (i.e., email, faxes, application data, documents, and media files) is fueling small businesses and large enterprises to need data storage and backup technology like no other time in the history of the electronic age. Despite a sharp increase in affordability and availability of automated backup systems, many businesses still rely on unsecure tape devices to backup and restore vital information.

 

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One of the most frequent discussions we have with our clients is the need for a good backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity plan. The conversation usually starts with the question: “How long could your business survive without its data?” Gartner Group states that 43 percent of companies were immediately put out of business by a “major loss” of computer records, and another 51 percent permanently closed their doors within two years; that is a 6% survival rate.

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Sovran is pleased to announce Total Care Managed Agreements will receive unlimited, no-cost, instructor led training classes from our partner New Horizons Minnesota, to provide training to our clients who are IT professionals and end users alike. This is in addition to the features included such as proactive support, reactive support, system administration and technology consulting.

New Horizons is the world’s largest independent IT training company that delivers a full range of technology and business skills training from basic application and desktop productivity tools to complex IT systems. As a learning solutions provider for many of the industry’s top vendors, such as Microsoft, Cisco and VMware, New Horizons Minnesota is positioned to offer the latest authorized curriculum delivered by certified instructors to keep you on the cutting edge of technology.

Choose from a variety of classes, levels and learning modalities offered in Eagan or at a remote location. Learn at a pace that best fits you with Traditional Instructor Led Training or Online Live. Classes include Microsoft Applications, Project, Visio, SharePoint, and Adobe CS6 Suite.

Click here to view the classes available to Managed Services Clients

“As part of Sovran’s vision to provide the ultimate client experience, it’s important that we help our clients ‘upgrade’ their employees to be more productive and effective in their roles.” states Lisa Loken, Sovran’s CEO. “We value our clients and wanted to offer an additional benefit that no other managed services provider can match. We all benefit from the use of the latest technology and features, but in order to maximize its use, training is a key ingredient.”

Contact your solutions consultant today for more information!

With the recent revelation that Target’s Credit Card data was compromised, I felt it important to discuss a few things you and your company can do to ensure your data and your client’s data are safe. In addition, Sovran can help implement the measures outlined below.  (We include this for all of our Managed Services clients.)

  1. Don’t “share” your passwords.  Passwords can be shared in many ways. The obvious one is telling people your password.  The other ways are leaving them written on a post-it note on your monitor, underneath your keyboard, or on your white board.  In addition, don’t share your password between accounts.  In other words, don’t use a “master” password for every device, service, online account, and email account you use.  It makes it more difficult to remember them, but it’s a simple way to ensure your data (and identity) is protected.

  2. Make sure you utilize enterprise-level network protection.  While it’s true that any firewall is better than no firewall, the more sensitive the data you have, the stronger firewall you need. Your firewall also needs to be updated with the latest firmware to protect you and your business from any new or emerging threats.

  3. If you are subject to any regulations, such as PCI Compliance, you must also be able to provide Intrusion Detection and Prevention.  These services watch your perimeter defenses for exploit indicators and policy violations.

  4. Ensuring your anti-malware (virus, spam, and others) software is installed and up to date is critical: as they say, the best offence is a good defense. Intrusive and “scary” problems start with a virus being deployed on your network that creates an opening for other malicious activity.  

  5. Anytime you deal with sensitive data, it’s important to have a robust Security Incident Plan.  The question is not “if” someone will get on your network: it’s “when.”  When it happens, you need to be prepared to take action, including who will coordinate response, appropriate (and required) notifications, and follow-up security measures.

These are just a few quick tips to help as you may be wondering if your data and your company’s safe and secure.  If you have any questions, there are many forms of security audits that can be performed to give you peace of mind, including an easy penetration test to a full-scale security audit completed by an authorized security firm.

Have a wonderful (and safe) holiday season.

 

If you have any questions please feel free to contact Sovran at 651-686-0515.  You may also contact your sales consultant directly.

 

winxpIf you aren’t aware, Microsoft is pulling the plug on some of its software in the next few months. These include Microsoft XP, Windows Server 2003, and Office 2003.

I had many debates with a particular client about why we had to go through the process of relearning things in Microsoft Office every few years, why they removed different obscure components that he used “ALL THE TIME”, and why they forced users to buy new hardware (printers, computers, etc.) when it was all just perfectly setup to work!

(Sound familiar?)

 

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Sovran Launches a New Web site!

Sovran announces its new Web site layout and template.lifehack-web

In late October Sovran launched a new Web site layout that is more user friendly to our online guests. There are many similar features from our previous site but some much needed improvements for our online users that we think will be a big hit. See below pictures some of the great new features and functionalities of our site.

Menu Page

We have redesigned our menu page that will allow for easier use when browsing our content.

sovran website banner

Login

There is a "login" function at the top of the page that will give users access to more content as well as make the purchasing process and service ticket process easier for clients to monitor. If you would like to take advantage of this feature and do not have an account with us you are able to request one through the link below the sign in box.

log in drop down on site

Free Consult

You also have the opportunity to request a free consultation with one of our experience consultants.

free consult on site

White Paper

We have case studies and white papers available for downoad. Below showcases the Managed Services white paper we have available for download on our homepage. If you are looking for case studies look in the "About Us" drop down.

free white paper on site

Sovran launches new website!

Sovran is proud to announce the launch of our new website at http://www.sovran.com/. The goal of the new website is to make it easier for our existing clients to submit and manage support requests, and provide more information about our services for prospective clients.

Our current clients who can access our ticket client portal can now use their email and password to log into the site to make filling out forms easier, access special content, and gain access to our ticketing system.

We'd also like to welcome everybody to our blog, and we encourage you to leave comments.

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