DDoS Attack Protection

DDoSimgWhen most people hear the term hacker, they think of a cyber-thief who breaks into a secure system to steal sensitive data. Hackers like this certainly do exist, of course, and they pose a continual threat to web-based systems, but hackers also commonly engage in cyber-attacks against specific websites or systems for the sole purpose of disrupting service. In fact, according to the Verisign/Merril Research Group, one third of all Internet downtime is attributable to these types of attacks, which are known as distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. These attacks can be very disruptive and disabling without the proper security measures in place.

 

Distributed Denial of Service Attacks (DDoS)

A distributed denial of service attack happens when a hacker overwhelms a single target with more traffic than it can handle. The target can be a website, email server, or even critical network infrastructure. This attack causes disruption to everyone trying to access the resources and has the potential to impact other customers on or between the network links of the destination target. This can cause tremendous latency and packet loss for all involved.

Hackers accomplish this by taking control of hundreds or thousands of computers through malware. Links to malware installers are spammed across the Internet, and unsuspecting users who click on infected links in emails or social networks download these malicious programs. This network of infected computers, referred to as a “botnet”, can then be controlled by a single user who can overload any target, large or small. Once the links are full, other users are prevented from accessing the target resource, leaving it, in effect, “down.”

Security Measures You Can Trust

Fortunately, we are not helpless in this fight. Data102 has mitigation systems in place to protect our customers from DDoS attacks. Currently, we monitor all network packet flows that come into our network and analyze the data in real time. If an attack pattern is detected, the IP addresses are “black holed” or redirected away from the intended site into a temporary null route.  Just like the monitoring and analysis, this routing redirection happens in real-time, and is pushed to our upstream carriers to further secure our links from saturation.

Data102 has years of experience dealing with DDoS attacks. The layers of protection we have in place keep our customers up and running safely. Give us a call to find out more about our colocation and managed hosting services.

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The War Against Toll Fraud – VoIP Protection

VoIP_Toll_FraudVoice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has become the preferred voice solution for many businesses around the globe. According to some estimates, over a billion people will soon be using VoIP platforms for personal and business calls. This growth has happened because VoIP is a cost-effective, feature-rich platform, which makes it ideal for businesses, especially. Like all digital services, though, there can be security issues.

What You Need to Know about VoIP

VoIP’s greatest strength—that it’s a digital, cloud-based phone and data service—can lead to security issues that aren’t a problem with traditional phone lines. VoIP communicates on port 5060, which is used extensively for many purposes. Hackers know this and can tap into a VoIP system to access handsets and make international calls, which is referred to as international toll fraud. This can cost an unsuspecting business a lot of money and service complications.

To break into a VoIP system, hackers will send bulk invites out, targeting handsets. Because they don’t know what extensions are active on a given phone system, they have to try thousands of combinations. When they find one that’s active, they hack the password and gain full access to phone service, voicemail, and any other services available to an authorized user.

This invasion can be stopped, however.

Data102’s Arsenal of Mitigation

At Data102, we have an array of monitors and controls in place to keep your VoIP system fully functional and free of unwanted traffic. We monitor invites, and when something suspicious is suspected, our controls will automatically lock down the IPs to keep your phones safe. These monitors can be checked in real time and take automatic action when necessary.

When hackers are trying to break in, speed is vital. A third party IT company could take hours to respond to the issue, if they catch it at all. At Data102, our controls ensure that attacks will be prevented so you aren’t left trying to pick up the pieces after the fact.

Contact us to learn more about the security measures we have in place to keep all of our clients’ data safe.

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Harness the Cloud with Virtual Private Servers

The Cloud“The cloud” is a term being thrown around a lot these days, and for good reason. But many people really don’t understand exactly what “the cloud” is or how it affects them or their business. Though as cloud technology develops, it creates more and more opportunities for innovation and can ultimately lead to greater productivity and profits for your business.

What is “The Cloud”?

Basically, the cloud is a general term for the systems in place that allow individual users or companies to store files on a hosted server instead of a single computer. A basic example is Google Drive or Dropbox, which allow you to store a certain number of gigabytes for free on a server, which you can then access from any computer or mobile device with Internet access. The concept is simple, but the applications are leading to innovations that will dramatically change the digital landscape. More recently, applications and even entire servers have been added to the list of services cloud computing can provide.

Virtual Private Servers

Virtual private servers (VPS) harness the power of the cloud to provide a more affordable option for companies that don’t want the startup costs, maintenance, or service hassles that come with running their own servers. A virtual private server runs on a physical server owned and maintained by a provider, like Data102, and functions just like a regular server.

Thanks to new advances in virtualization, a VPS server can run multiple operating systems and software simultaneously. Businesses still have full access to their own software and manage their side of the server while Data102 takes care of the hardware.

The VPS solution has a number of benefits for small businesses, specifically:

  • Affordability
  • Scalability
  • Simplified disaster recovery
  • High availability
  • No external maintenance
  • Double network redundancy
  • Seamless integration with collocated servers, voice, backup systems, and firewalls
  • Website management through the Ops portal

VPS Hosting with Data102

Data102 is southern Colorado’s leading VPS provider. We use only state-of-the-art hardware featuring 15k SAS high performance SANs, and we guarantee high availability and exceptional customer service. Our advanced cooling system and backup protocols ensure that you will operate at peak performance able to withstand any major outage.

We offer customized VPS packages to meet our customers’ needs and budgets. Our IT professionals can help you determine if a VPS is the right solution for your business. You could save money and improve efficiency using the VPS solution.

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Importance of Password Policy

password policyOne of the defining attributes of computer security is the principle of multifactor authentication, which boils down to three basic concepts: something you know, something you are, and something you have.

Something You Know – a password, a pin number, a code

Something You Are – retina scan, finger prints, DNA

Something You Have – a smart card, a USB token, a magnetic strip card

A system with all three methods of authentication is thought to be fairly secure as far as logins are concerned, but the downside is that most systems don’t use multifactor authentication. Most organizations rely very heavily on passwords for authentication because they are the easiest to deploy and the most affordable. Biometric scanners like read retina and fingerprint data can be unbelievably expensive and typically require the user to be on location to work. Smart cards, USB tokens, and magnetic cards can all be misplaced and/or stolen. This leaves passwords and the like as the most cost and time effective way to authenticate with a system, so long as the user doesn’t keep theirs on a sticky note under their keyboard.

Passwords have been a contentious subject for many different groups and for good reason. As the single point of failure for user authentication, no one can agree on how complex or simple a password should be. Should a password consist of uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and special characters? Should it be several random words jumbled together? The Internet has many things to say about this and the results are often hilarious.

No matter what side of the tracks your opinion lies on, there is but one truth to passwords and their weaknesses: When your password gets cracked it will be by a machine not a person. What I mean by that is that the likelihood of a random person on the Internet stumbling across your account and guessing at the password until they gain entry is slow, inefficient, and quite frankly a waste of their time. Hackers will instead use a database of password hashes and algorithms to crack many passwords at the same time, and they are fast. However, there is an easier method of access which trumps programmatic password cracking in required effort and speed, which is simply to crawl the Internet for systems and devices that are still using their factory default password, i.e. admin/admin.

A story broke news in late 2013 about a family who awoke in the night from the sound of an intruder that turned out to be someone accessing their daughter’s IP-based webcam. The portion of the story that the media carefully left out was that the parents were negligent in setting up their webcam and left the webcam out on the Internet with defaulted passwords, not knowing that factory passwords are publicly accessible. PROTIP: They very much are. Even more likely is that their router was defaulted as well and accepting traffic from the Internet on all ports. This is equivalent to leaving the front door to your house open 24/7 because it makes it easier for you to get in and out. So the short answer to the question of what criteria to base your password policy off of is simply put, “Don’t be those guys.”

Our knowledgable technicians here at Colorado’s top data center, Data102, have some of their own helpful tips for choosing the optimal password. There are a few hard and fast rules to live by when creating passwords that will keep a user safe from unauthorized access across the board:

  • Though maximum complexity isn’t necessary, avoid using any words that reference your personal life in any way. Like real-life intruders, malicious users on the Internet do their homework too.
  • Still though, make your passwords as complex as you can remember.
  • Change your passwords every 1-3 months.
  • Use different passwords for all of your online profiles. A single common password becomes a single point of failure. There is a huge difference between someone accessing old e-mail and having their way with your bank account.
  • If you have trouble with any of these, enlist a password manager to do the heavy lifting for you. Password managers are a godsend for system administrators or just those with a horrible short-term memory.
  • Even if you believe your newly created password is safe, our experts would still suggest you get some AntiSpam protection solutions in place for your email accounts. DirectMX, for an example, provides yet another thick locked gate for intruders to try to break down if hacking your email account is something on their to-do list. Don’t make the hacking process easy for bad guys, add another lock and key situation to the mix with AntiSpam filters.
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Leading Colorado Springs Datacenter’s Security Controls Independently Certified

SSAE16 Type 2

Data102, LLC. Achieves Examination in Conformity with Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) No. 16 Type II Certification after Extensive Audit

ssae-type-2Recently, A-lign CPAs of Tampa, FL, an independent auditing agency, certified that Data102 – Southern Colorado’s premiere, privately held data center—was compliant with Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) Number 16, after completing a Type II report. After achieving compliance with SSAE standards in October of 2012, Data102 has maintained the highest standard of controls over its colocation services, and executed them throughout 2013 without exception.

In response to this achievement, Travis Taylor, VP of Business Development for Data102, said, “It’s been over a year since our initial audit, and we’ve succeeded at implementing and maintaining our security and operational controls, proving to our customers that we live up to the rigorous standards required for a Type II certification.”

The SSAE 16 certification is recognized by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as an acceptable verification of an organization’s internal security controls and procedures and is thus widely respected. Compliance is determined by an independent auditing agency that performs a thorough examination of control objectives, procedures, and safeguards, which include controls over information technology and infrastructure. Data102 has continued to implement and maintain strict security controls at itsColorado datacenter, which has now been independently certified according to SSAE standards.

At a time when more and more sensitive data is stored at data centers, Data102’s customers continue to have assurance that their data center is taking every possible precaution to keep them safe. Both the Type I and Type II reports are accessible and show Data102’s established controls and their effectiveness as reported by the auditors:

  • Type I provides a description of controls at a specific and particular point in time;
  • Type II includes this description and provides details regarding the testing of controls over a given period. With a Type II report, customers will be able to determine that these controls were in operation, satisfactorily designed, and operating productively for the duration of the testing period.

Randal Kohutek, VP of Operations, added, “I’m proud that our team has met the requirements to obtain SSAE16 Type II certification, and am glad that we bring this high level of execution to our clients.”

About Data102 LLC
Data102, LLC is a Colorado Springs data center and IT services provider. They offer a breadth of services includingcolocation, bandwidth, last mile Internet, Voice over IP (VoIP), virtualization, cloud servers, managed firewalls and website hosting. For more information about Data102 LLC, visit us at data102.com

 

View this press release at prweb.com

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SPAM Protection – Is It Necessary?

spam-protectionUnfortunately, spam is still a constant source of frustration for individuals and companies that rely on email to do business. In an article in Wired, Gmail spam expert Brad Taylor explained the problem: “It costs $3,000 to rent a botnet and send out 100 million messages … It takes only 30 Viagra orders to pay for that.”

The article adds that as long as even a small percentage of people actually buy something from a spam ad—which they do—we will all keep getting non-stop spam in our inbox. While most spam is easy to identify, much of it is cleverly disguised as harmless email. A link in such an email may lead an unsuspecting user to pornographic sites or viruses.

For this reason, spam protection is absolutely necessary in order for businesses or individuals to avoid needless and potentially costly distractions in their email accounts.

What can be done? There are a number of anti-spam solutions that are available to consumers. One solution is a spam filtering service for email, which will monitor all incoming email to detect and prevent spam from getting into your Inbox. A similar service is a filtration system that is devoted to preventing viruses from attacking a computer and any networks to which it is connected.

“Store and forward” is another great way to avoid problems if a mail server or network goes down. This service will store your email on a local server for up to five days if the destination server is unavailable. Email recipients will appreciate a “smart relay host” service to ensure that they are not sending family members, friends, or businesses spam or viruses.

The fact of the matter is most email addresses receive spam every day. Over time, spammers have become better at disguising spam to look like legitimate emails. Users who accidentally click on a link in a spam email could be putting not just their own computer at risk but even those in the local network. If computers in a network become infected, it can cost a business a lot of money in repairs and productivity.

An established and reliable antispam solution for these and other problems is DirectMX by Data102. Data102 understands the best way to protect customers from malicious email and offers a dependable spam filtering service and other effective spam solutions. Take a look at our anti-spam solutions page for more information.

Spam protection can provide people and businesses the peace of mind that they need when they are checking email accounts. If you want to secure your network, contact Data102 and let us discuss the array of solutions we have to offer.

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Data102 Turns Up Peering With CoreSite’s Any2 Exchange

Any2 Exchange Logo

The Colorado Springs datacenter announces direct peering with Any2, the second largest Internet peering exchange in the USA and the largest Internet exchange on the west coast. Peering, or connecting separate networks in order to exchange IP traffic, will increase traffic capacity, routing control and overall performance and efficiency

any2-exchange-77603521“Data102’s decision to peer with Any2 in Los Angeles is going to yield benefits for the clients at our Colorado Springs datacenter,” states Randal Kohutek, Operations Director at Data102, “by peering with Any2, Data102’s network will be faster and more stable, improving latency and fault tolerance.”

Peering, in the realm of computer networking, is when a connection is established between administratively separate networks. The purpose of peering is to exchange IP traffic between those networks. Peering benefits both companies involved in the interconnection, as it increases the routing control. Moreover, the users of each network participating in the exchange will benefit since peering increases a network’s capacity and increases overall performance, decreasing the amount of network hops for a direct connection to more routes.

Colorado datacenter Data102 is peering with Any2, the largest Internet Exchange on the west coast and the second largest Internet peering exchange in the United States. Any2 is a layer 2, IPv6-supporting, physical network switch that streamlines the exchange of Internet traffic between Internet service providers (ISPs) and content networks. Any2 is owned and operated by CoreSite and has over 200 participants locally and internationally.

Data102 is dedicated to providing an outstanding level of service, which is why, in addition to peering, power and cooling are combined with top-rated technology in order to drive both of the Data102 datacenters. Data102’s Colorado colocation is designed to further fulfill business IT needs, implementing a fast and reliable network that is up and running at least 99.999 percent of the time.

In addition to a fast and stable network aided by peering with CoreSite’s Any2 switch, Data102 remains up-to-date with frequent technical upgrades, and offers a range of IT products and services for various businesses throughout Colorado and beyond.

ABOUT DATA102
Data102 is a Colorado Springs IT services provider and datacenter. The company is proud to be able to offer products and services such as managed firewalls, hosting, collocation and bandwidth. The team at Data102 is proud to be able to deliver affordability, reliability and flexibility, as well as an unparalleled level of customer service. For more information about Data102 LLC, visit data102.com.

 

View this press release at prweb.com

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Data102 – Southern Colorado’s Largest Public Colocation Service Provider Partners with Roaring Penguin to Permanently CAN Spam

Roaring Penguin Logo

New case study: Roaring Penguin’s CanIt anti-spam solution. Data102’s search for an intelligent and easy-to-use email filter is over!

roaring_penguinBased out of Colorado Springs, Data102 has worked steadily to become Colorado’s most reliable public provider of Colocation Services and bandwidth serving thousands of customers across the United States. At its two SSAE16 compliant datacenters, Data102 is able to boast better than 99.999% uptime.

To maintain numbers like that it only makes sense that Director of Business Development Travis Taylor and his team would battle spam the same way they have built their business: by focusing on reliability, expertise, quality and innovation.

Who says Penguins aren’t pretty?

Previously, Data102 used an internally fabricated platform to weed out spam but as business grew they realized it would be more efficient to leverage a commercially developed solution.

Some research turned up Roaring Penguin and the CanIt-Domain-PRO antispam solution. As Travis, Randal and their engineers considered the CanIt solution they developed a dialogue with the team at Roaring Penguin. Says Randal, “We could see from the specs that there were a lot of very smart features but it was in talking to them that we realized they were ‘Technology people’, like us.”

The implementation of CanIt-Domain-PRO at Data102 commenced internally and externally at the same time. Says Randal, “We use the same platform as our customers — we believe in taking our own medicine.” One of the advantages of this philosophy is that it allowed the team at Data102 to find and correct unexpected hiccups immediately. This combined with Roaring Penguin’s dedication to after-sale customer support meant that Data102 has been able to expand the application of CanIt-Domain-PRO beyond an initial two-server installation to the current six-server system plus a dedicated outbound email scanner and redundant databases “without skipping a beat and while entirely live and in production,” continues Randal.

Roaring Penguin’s focus on working WITH customers allows for higher customer satisfaction all around!

Travis and Randal have been very happy with the CanIt results so far. Randal is thrilled that, since they rolled out CanIt, the support crew hasn’t had a single spam-related support ticket. Randal says, “Right now we’re processing 130k to 160k emails per day and we’re sure we could do ten times that amount without changing a thing.”

Travis’s review is even more glowing, “The only thing previous products did for us consistently was crash. CanIt-Domain-PRO offers all kinds of killer features but the ease and power of the delegation and permission options is truly our silver bullet to block spam.”

Preserve Your Brand Integrity

Data102 was able to theme its implementation of CanIt-Domain-PRO (branded as directMX) to match its corporate branding and colors.

A Family Thing

As a rapidly growing company, Data102 offers various managed service options to its data center customers. Small and medium sized businesses as well as residential customers looking for Data102 style support, expertise and service are increasingly turning to partner company Simpleworks (simpleworksit.com), a full service MSP offering everything from in 24/7 tech support to VoIP services — and of course utilizing CanIt-Domain-PRO.

“Roaring Penguin speaks the same language as its customers. CanItDomainPRO is designed by Technology people for Technology people.” -Randal Kohutek, Director of Network Operations, Data102.

About Data102

  • Type: Hosting Solutions provider.
  • Infrastructure: Two SSAE16 compliant data centers.
  • Speed: 4 X 1Gbps and 1 X 10Gbps incoming data pipes from 5 different reliable suppliers help guarantee and maintain customer up-time.

Email Environment and Use

  • Dell Servers.
  • CanIt-Domain-PRO antispam filter branded as “directMX

CanIt Results

  • Process 130-160k emails per day.
  • 80% of spam stopped while using CanIt’s basic settings 97% success rate in identifying spam.
  • Saves support staff hours.
  • Thorough anti-spam control for all clients and staff.
  • Minimal administrative involvement is required.

“Roaring Penguin speaks the same language as its customers. CanItDomainPRO is designed by Technology people for Technology people.” Randal Kohutek, Director of Network Operations, Data102.

About Roaring Penguin

Roaring Penguin Software Inc.:

The e-mail filtering experts. We are committed to providing intelligent, cost-effective solutions to Web Hosts, ISPs, enterprises, and campuses. Our acclaimed mail-filtering and networking products include MIMEDefang e-mail inspection software and CanIt enterprise anti-spam solutions. Red Hat 8, 9 and RHEL are Tier-1 platforms for CanIt.http://www.roaringpenguin.com

 

View this press release at prweb.com

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SAS70 & SSAE16 Compliant Datacenter

datacenterAs the recent Target hacking demonstrated, it is vital for private information to stay that way. For Data102 and other datacenters that house large amounts of private and sensitive information, it is crucial to maintain appropriate controls and security, as well as to be able to deliver such reassurance to clients.

To give customers peace of mind, there are a number of standards that have been implemented to ensure that a datacenter can be trusted; these are outlined in the Statement on Auditing Standards No.70 (SAS70) and the Statement for Standards for Attestation Engagements No. 16 (SSAE16).

A service organization or service provider that is SAS70 and SSAE16 compliant is showing that they have been through a thorough audit examination and that control objectives and control activities—which typically include controls over information technology and corresponding processes—as well as safeguards have all been demonstrated to be adequate and effective.

Though SAS70 is a widely recognized auditing standard, it does not provide a list of pre-determined criteria; auditors must still follow standards set by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) for fieldwork, quality control, and reporting. So, as of June 15, 2011, SSAE16 was created by AICPA with the goal of upgrading the US service organization’s standard of reporting so that it adheres with the new International Service Organization standard (ISAE3402). Since then, SSAE16 has managed to replace SAS70 as the top guide for reporting on service organizations.

A compliant datacenter provides a measure of benefits and value to its customers. They can retrieve reports and thus obtain valuable knowledge regarding the established controls and the effectiveness of those controls, which are known as Service Auditor’s Reports. There are two types of these reports:

  • Type 1 provides a description of controls at a specific and particular point;
  • Type 2 includes this description and provides details regarding the testing of controls over a period of six months. With a Type 2 report, customers can also determine whether these controls were in operation, satisfactorily designed, and operating productively. Without this report, there will be an assortment of requests for an audit and multiple visits can put a strain on resources. With a Service Auditor’s Report, customers and their auditors have access to the same information, which should be satisfactory to both parties.

A SAS70 & SSAE16 compliant datacenter proves a lot by having these examinations made. It sets itself apart from its peers by showing the installation of control objectives and adequately designed control activities. If customers use a datacenter that is not SAS70 & SSAE16 compliant, they will have to arrange for an auditor to pay a visit to that organization to examine its controls and operations, an action that will likely cost the customer money. More than that, though, you can be sure that a datacenter that is compliant, like Data102, can be trusted with your data.

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Colorado Springs Datacenter Completes SSAE 16 Reporting

SSAE 16

Data102 LLC Completes Examination in Conformity with Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) No. 16, Reporting on Controls at a Service Organization

SSAE16Data102 LLC, a Colorado Springs datacenter and IT services provider, today announced that it has recently completed its examination in conformity with Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) No. 16, Reporting on Controls at a Service Organization as of October 31st, 2012 that was performed by an independent accounting and auditing firm.

Completion of the SSAE 16 Type I examination indicates that selected Data102 processes, procedures and controls have been formally evaluated and tested as of a given date by an independent accounting and auditing firm. The examination included the company’s controls related to its colocation services.

SSAE 16 is designated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as an acceptable method for a user entity’s management to obtain assurance about service organization internal controls without conducting additional assessments. In addition, the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 make SSAE 16 reports even more important to the process of reporting on effective internal controls by public companies.

A SSAE 16 examination is widely recognized, because it represents that a service organization has been through an evaluation of their control activities as they relate to an audit of the financial statements of its customers. A Type I report includes the service organization’s system description and the design of the service organization’s controls.

“We are very excited to be able to offer our customers a policy-driven, process-oriented service that has been vetted to meet stringent SEC standards, while continuing to provide strong value,” said Travis Taylor, Director of Business Development. He added “this endorsement is not easy to get, and we are pleased to pass on the benefits of SSAE16 certification to our existing and future customers.”

About Data102 LLC
Data102, LLC is a Colorado Springs datacenter and IT services provider. They offer a breadth of services including colocation, bandwidth, last mile Internet and Voice over IP, virtualization, managed firewalls and hosting. For more information about Data102 LLC, visit: http://www.data102.com

View this press release at prweb.com

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