Author: leeshanok

LeeShanok IT News: Monsoon Season 2021

LeeShanok IT News
Monsoon Season 2021


After last summer’s excessive heat & lack of rain, this summer’s Monsoon season may seem low priority. But these storms are unpredictable due to multi-year patterns and they can be ferocious. Micro-bursts can quickly dump inches of rain and cause localized flooding. Each June you should handle any deferred maintenance around your server room and any floors and the rooftop above it.

Monsoon Storms can cause…

  • Shorts and Damage from WATER
  • POWER Surges and Outages
  • Failure from Excessive HEAT

WATERWater can enter your server room through gaps between floor, walls, and ceiling, and around conduit & cable entries and terminations. Water follows cables into rack-mounted and free-standing devices, then pools inside chassis and at low points on the floor. Being a good electrical conductor with little resistance, water lets big current flow where it shouldn’t, zapping devices in it’s path. Many solders pastes, flux, and copper traces tend to corrode when water is introduced to a PCB. Below is a server rack with water soaked flooring. The second image shows plastic sheeting used to direct water away from racks.


Water Prevention Tips for Server Room

  • Avoid server room locations in basements or near exterior walls or “wet walls” with attached pipes.
  • Mount equipment in rack, raised off floor.
  • Install fire-suppression system (FM200) that is not water based.
  • Keep a roll of sheet plastic, duct tape, and tube of silicone sealer handy.
  • Silicone-seal gaps/holes in walls, floor, ceiling, hard-ceiling above drop ceiling.
  • Consider a water detection system in server room that sends alerts.
  • Send maintenance staff onto roof to patch holes and seams above server room.
  • Replace water and foam fire extinguishers with Class C rated models using HaloCarbon, FE-36, Halon 1211 or C02, none of which leave liquid or residue.
  • Cap off water-based sprinkler heads in server room, but check with your local fire department for regulations.

POWER Spikes, shorts, brown-outs and outages are common during fierce Monsoon storms. These cause unplanned shutdowns, can damage electronics, destroy data and cause extended downtime for a business. Often caused by lightning strikes or downed power lines, these can also be caused by electricity shorting through water paths, and when networking devices fail they can send power surges through connected cables, frying devices and power strips along the way.

Tips to Avoid Power Issues

  • Label all cables and cable-bundles in server rooms, and label all circuits in breaker box.
  • Don’t waste money on cheap Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS battery backups). Rather budget and select a model based on it’s quality and available power in VA. Available power should exceed the sum of power required by all devices to be plugged in.
  • Inspect the health of batteries inside UPS devices using their front display or dashboard, and replace batteries nearing end of life, especially this time of year. Most UPS batteries can be hot-swapped, avoiding shutdown of attached devices.
  • Make sure all server racks have a ground wire attached to building and earth ground, and make sure metal conduits that hold data cabling are also grounded.

HEAT Monsoon storms are accompanied by excessive heat. As ambient air temperature rises, so does the temperature inside and around electronic devices.

Most electronic components have temperature sensors that send alerts when limits are exceeded, and some can initiate graceful shutdowns to avoid damage. The best prevention is adequate flow of 64 – 81 deg F air around and inside devices.

ASHRAE recommends server room air temperature range of 64 – 81 deg F (see https://tc0909.ashraetcs.org/documents/ASHRAE_TC0909_Power_White_Paper_22_June_2016_REVISED.pdf)

Using a handheld infrared monitor will identify hot devices and allow you to place small directional fans near those devices for a temporary cooling boost. A thermometer can also tell you the ambient air temperature inside your server room. With electronic devices, the Mean Time Between Failures decreases as temperature increases. Even a 10 degree rise can reduce expected lifespan of some devices by half.

Airflow restrictions can occur from accumulated dust & debris around device air vents and from devices placed too close together, and will compound any rise in ambient air temperature. Visually inspecting racks and air vents of mounted devices can identify where dust and debris are accumulating so you can arrange periodic cleanings.

Following last summer’s dry spell, it would be nice to have a more active Monsoon season this year. It is important to perform routine maintenance before the storms hit, so that your business operations are not impacted by vulnerabilities that could have been patched in time.

Contact LeeShanok to discuss your situation and see how we can help you prepare.

Your technology Partner,

The LeeShanok Team

Phoenix: 602-277-5757 | Tucson 520-888-9122 | itsupport@leeshanok.com

LeeShanok IT News: IT Security Webinars – Summer 2021

LeeShanok IT News
IT Security Webinars – Summer 2021


Ransomware attacks are on the rise that target infrastructure, supply chain, and public transportation providers to extract $ from companies worldwide. Some of the breaches will occur due to “common workers” at these firms clicking a link or opening an attachment in a phishing email message. But there are many other aspects of our digital lives that leave us and our companies vulnerable.

These and other risks target common workers and the devices we use each day. According to Malwarebytes, employees are a vital link in a firm’s digital IT security strategy, and they need periodic security awareness training to strengthen the human firewall. This is critical, as many will continue working in-office & remotely while connecting to company and on-line resources using personal and company-owned devices.

We have split our mainstream webinar course into two 40 minute on-line workshops. The content in each is self-standing, but attending both A & B will provide you the complete training curriculum. Certificates of Completion for you and/or your firm are available on request.

  • IT Security 101 A for the Common Worker
  • Wednesday, June 9, 2021
  • 11:00 AM – 11:40 AM
  • Register

  • IT Security 101 B for the Common Worker
  • Wednesday, July 14, 2021
  • 11:00 AM – 11:40 AM
  • Register

These events are free, but don’t let that fool you. We continuously update our workshops to keep pace with newly discovered risks, and we have assisted many firms in passing compliance audits where security awareness training was a requirement.

Got new staff? These workshops should be required training for new employees.

As always, please contact us with any ideas, questions or concerns.

Your technology Partner,

The LeeShanok Team

Phoenix: 602-277-5757 | Tucson 520-888-9122 | itsupport@leeshanok.com

LeeShanok IT News – Mobile Device Management

LeeShanok IT News
Mobile Device Management


Mobile devices are everywhere these days. Employees use personal and company phones & laptops in the office and away, connecting via cellular and also wirelessly from home, the office, and public wifi hotspots. Losing a device can allow the “finder” access to secure domains and accounts, company and personal data, contacts, email accounts, and accounts at various web sites.

Many devices also contain stored credentials saved in web browsers for accessing apps and accounts. If a screen lock PIN isn’t used, there’s virtually nothing to stop unauthorized access. Even if a PIN is enabled, many online tips and mobile experts can easily bypass a simple PIN screen lock.

Enter the world of Mobile Device Management (MDM), providing access to & control of your phone even when it’s missing. MDM’s can enforce security policies such as identity management, time-out to screen lock, find my phone, selective wiping of data, or complete wiping of phone.

Mobile Device Managers

MDM’s provide you control over the security of your mobile devices from a central dashboard.  See current reviews https://www.pcmag.com/picks/the-best-mobile-device-management-mdm-solutions

Cisco’s Meraki Firewalls include a sophisticated MDM in their cloud management account, included with your Meraki subscription.  https://meraki.cisco.com/products/systems-manager/

Microsoft’s Intune software can be added to a company’s Microsoft 365 account or Azure environment, enforcing security policies and securing access to proprietary data in case of loss.  https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/mem/intune/fundamentals/what-is-intune

Apple mobile devices can be enrolled and managed by Apple’s Device Management, and Apple devices can be managed by most other MDM’s as well as the owner’s iCloud Account. https://support.apple.com/guide/mdm/mdm-overview-mdmbf9e668/web

For Apple device users, you should make sure you can log in to your iCloud account without using your Apple device. That way, you can authenticate into your iCloud account in case the primary device is missing.


To see your devices online from iCloud, see https://support.apple.com/guide/icloud/see-your-devices-that-use-icloud-mm25565a6496/1.0/icloud/1.0

Practice Handling a Lost Mobile Device before you need to

One of the best preparations is to practice while you still have the device in hand. If it proves difficult, we recommend you seek help and take notes. Store those notes in a Password Manager account, or in a locked file cabinet, making sure it’s available when needed with all the necessary information.

Another wise preparation is to begin using a Password Manager to securely store passwords and notes, providing access from any device even when the primary device is lost. See our newsletter repository for previous articles on Password Managers & Storing Passwords in Web Browsers.

As always, contact our team at LeeShanok to discuss your company or individual situation and receive sound advice and best practices.

Your technology Partner,

The LeeShanok Team

Phoenix: 602-277-5757 | Tucson 520-888-9122 | itsupport@leeshanok.com

LeeShanok IT News: Microsoft 365 Outage Resolved

LeeShanok IT News
Microsoft 365 Outage Resolved


Tuesday afternoon (May 11), Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) experienced outages throughout Arizona and much of the world. When that issue was resolved, a secondary issue emerged where the body of an email message did not display or only partially displayed. Our team tried various workarounds, such as Quick Repair of Microsoft 365 Apps, re-starting Outlook email clients, and re-starting Exchange Servers. Nothing worked with most Outlook clients as the issue was on Microsoft’s Cloud side.Yesterday afternoon, our team discovered we could successfully access email by connecting through the Outlook Web App (web browser based) and with Outlook Mobile on Android and iPhone/iPad.The issue has been resolved this morning, however you may need to restart your Outlook client to resolve it at your desk. It’s a good time to describe these other methods to access your Microsoft 365 email account when your Outlook desktop software isn’t working.

 

Outlook Web App (OWA)

If you use Microsoft 365 for your email environment, you can connect to it using a Web Browser (Edge, Chrome, Firefox). In most cases, if your email is “john@xyzcompany.com“, point your Web Browser to “https://mail.xyzcompany.com“, and log in with your email address and password. If you have 2-Factor Authentication set up, a push request will be sent to your mobile device, or your 2FA app on mobile device can generate a code you type in to the login screen in your Web Browser. The Outlook Web App has fewer features compared with the desktop app, but it also has Calendar and Contacts and is very functional. It’s worthwhile learning how to use this connection method.

 

Outlook Mobile App (Android, iPhone)
The Outlook Mobile App is available in Google Play Store for Android, and Apple Store for iPhone and iPad, and both are FREE for installing on mobile devices. In your store, search for “Outlook” and download the “Microsoft Outlook” app. The mobile app is free and can be connected to your Microsoft 365 email account. This mobile app continued to work through yesterday’s 2nd issue, where Outlook for the desktop PC stopped displaying messages. Contact LeeShanok’s team for assistance connecting Outlook Mobile to your Microsoft 365 email account.

Your technology Partner,

The LeeShanok Team

Phoenix: 602-277-5757 | Tucson 520-888-9122 | itsupport@leeshanok.com

LeeShanok IT News: Update Software in Cisco Devices

LeeShanok IT News
Update Software in Cisco Devices


Cisco has released security updates for more than 20 of its products. Many of these updates are deemed critical. An attacker could use these vulnerabilities to take control of devices in your firm’s infrastructure, then gain access to your network and data.

What You Can Do

Apply the security patches recommended by Cisco. https://tools.cisco.com/security/center/publicationListing.x

Too busy to keep up with regular security updates and patching requirements?
LeeShanok can help by ensuring all your device firmware & software programs are updated and security patches released by the manufacturers are applied as soon as they are available! Contact us to learn more!

LeeShanok’s is a Premier Partner with Cisco Systems.

Clients protected by our Managed or Hosted Plans can rest easy. We will be identifying affected devices in your infrastructure, and scheduling tickets to apply patches. Labor for these clients is fully covered. Contact us to learn more about available plans.

Your technology Partner,

The LeeShanok Team

Phoenix: 602-277-5757 | Tucson 520-888-9122 | itsupport@leeshanok.com