How to Prevent the End of the World with Managed IT Services for Small Businesses

On July 8, 2015, United Airlines, the New York Stock Exchange, and the Wall Street Journal all suffered massive network outages. Though the results of these outages certainly weren’t disastrous—United grounded some planes, the NYSE halted trading, and WSJ subscribers were unable to read the news—all three of them going down at the same time sent Americans into a panic.

Tweets throughout the day swung back and forth between conspiracy theories and tongue-in-cheek jokes, but many people feared that the outages were a result of cyberattacks, that our digital infrastructure was about to crash, and that it was, essentially, the end of our world.

Apparently, America is pretty stressed about cyberattacks.


What Actually Happened on July 8, 2015

As it turned out, the three outages weren’t connected and there was no evidence of hacking. All three company’s computer systems had been brought down due to simple bugs in their software, and it was a coincidence that all the bugs acted up that very day.

Of course, the bugs were identified and fixed quickly. However, since the systems they run on are so complex, no one can confidently say that those three systems or perhaps more important systems won’t crash in the future. And now we have Spectre and Meltdown to worry about.

In essence, our main takeaway from that day is that our modern technology is so complex that no one on the planet fully understands it. Because no one understands our software fully, no one is quite sure where the bugs are lurking.

The bad news: Cybercriminals can use those hidden bugs to get into your system.

The good news: Managed IT services for small businesses can help you protect your complex software.


With All This Complexity, How Can Any System Be Fully Secure?

The recent increase in cyberattacks show that criminals have been finding and exploiting more bugs lately– and they’re exploiting them faster.

You’ve probably run across news articles about Patch Tuesday and you’ve probably heard of Zero Day Exploits too, but you may not know what these have to do with the ongoing security of your business computers and networks.

  • Patch Tuesday is the monthly or bi-monthly event in which Microsoft developers release patches for known vulnerabilities. In 2017, the RAND Corporation determined that hackers could release fully functioning malware within 22 days of a vulnerability being discovered, which means today’s developers must race the clock to deliver fixeas before cybercriminals can release malware. Cybercriminals are getting faster though, which is why there’s also been a 167% increase in…
  • Zero Day Exploits which are a specific category of malware that’s released by cybercriminals on the day a bug is discovered. Often, the malware attack is what brings this bug to light, which means an attack exists long before a patch is created.

To be honest, the lag time between discovery and patching means that no computer system can ever be fully secured all the time – but there is a way your business can prevent approximately 99% of attacks with ease: Keep your software and systems up to date.

Some of the biggest ransomware attacks in the past few years have taken advantage of unpatched software bugs, and since the FBI reports that ransomware attacks are on the rise, you’ll want to pay attention to those patch releases.

But that’s just one part of the equation. Sometimes patching isn’t enough. To fight against unpatchableZero Day Exploits, you’ll also have to back up your systems regularly. A good rule of thumb is to try to back up your entire network every 5 minutes so that if the worst happens and you are attacked, you’ll only lose 5 minutes of data.


Prevent the End of Your World with Managed IT Services for Small Business

Does patching and backup sound like a hassle? It doesn’t have to be. It’s easy to keep your software and systems up to date and backed up when you outsource the work to a company that takes care of managed IT services for small businesses.

With Interplay on your side, you’ll have reliable and affordable help for securing your system with around-the-clock network monitoring, patching, and software upgrades with tested backups that are performed as often as every 5 minutes.

Plus, with Interplay, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing that you’re working with one of the oldest and most established managed service providers right here in the Seattle area.

Find out about our fixed-fee IT management services, business continuity services, and additional managed IT services for small businesses when you contact Interplay for a free quote.