Your Latest Security Risk
Today, July 14, 2015, Microsoft officially ends support for Windows Server 2003. If you have one or more servers in your business, there is a very good chance you are running Windows Server 2003 somewhere. If not, you are still not off the hook, because there is a very good chance one or more of your vendors are running 2003 servers in their environment.
Even if you do not have servers, there is a good chance you have some additional risk to your business and your clients today.
If you don’t have servers, you should:
Reach out to any vendors that you use (in particular those that might take credit card or other personally identifiable information) and ask them about their servers. Also, read below on desktop risks.
If you have servers:
Talk to your IT leader and ensure your leader has a clear plan with timelines to transition these servers (ideally they’ve already transitioned them). Ensure that your IT leader asserts your firewall is up-to-date and configured properly to reduce the security risk for Windows 2003 as well as overall. It’s normal to have a few servers lingering around after a deadline, but most should not linger long.
There are instances where very old software is running on unsupported servers that needs to be kept as is. In these cases, it is important that the machines running unsupported software be “walled” so that they can only be accessed by allowed machines. Most importantly, they should never be allowed to connect to the Internet in any way.
Security is a boring topic and rarely provides benefits to a business other than preventing bad things from happening. In our industry, security issues are constantly overlooked in favor of marketing efforts. Issues like Windows 2003 servers losing support, are critical to address because they become a favorite target for hackers who can scan to find unsupported servers.
Servers are a bigger risk because they tend to contain more sensitive data on a larger scale. Yet, so many people are at risk at the laptop or desktop workstation that needs to be addressed. Here are the top easy things to reduce your security risks for your workstation:
- Ensure automatic updating is on and working. Learn more at http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/turn-automatic-updating-on-off#turn-automatic-updating-on-off=windows-8
- Never, never, never email credit card information.
- Never, never, never store credit card information.
- Ensure you have proper anti-virus and anti-malware installed (Windows users).
I’m often asked for my favorite AV products. I like www.webroot.com, but my help desk staff (and I listen to them because they are supporting sales partners all day) prefers www.bitdefender.com.
On the off chance you are still running Windows XP, take advantage of the free upgrade to Windows 10 or buy a new machine as soon as it is available (most likely sometime in August 2015).
E Dale Denham Author's page Dale is a business leader who is best known for providing business-focused I.T. leadership. He believes technology is not limited to increasing efficiency, but is essential to driving revenue. Dale strongly believes having great people is the critical ingredient to success no matter how great your technology might be.Known to many in the promotional products industry as a leading technologist, Dale is using his mix of business and technology to help drive the industry forward. One of the leaders and founders of the PromoStandards effort, Dale and others are working hard to address industry inefficiencies. Dale also is a board member of PPAI through 2018.Follow Dale on Twitter @daledenham or connect with him on LinkedIn via http://www.linkedin.com/in/daledenham.