The Best New Years Resolutions for IT Departments in 2024


As we bid farewell to another year, it's the perfect time to reflect on the past and set our sights on the future. For IT departments, embracing the new year often involves reevaluating strategies, streamlining processes, and leveraging innovative solutions.

As a passionate team of IT experts that champion all the ways in which bolstering IT can benefit businesses everywhere, we're so excited to guide you through some New Year resolutions that can revitalize your IT approach and bring success in 2024.


AI Integration for IT Advancement

Resolution: Embrace the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) in our IT operations to enhance efficiency and decision-making processes.

Why: AI technologies, such as machine learning and predictive analytics, can revolutionize how we manage and optimize IT resources. By leveraging AI, we can automate routine tasks, gain insights from data, and make proactive decisions that contribute to the overall success of our IT initiatives.


Automation for Streamlined Operations

Resolution: Embrace automation to streamline repetitive tasks and enhance operational efficiency.

Why: Automation can significantly reduce manual efforts, minimize errors, and accelerate processes. By identifying opportunities for automation in routine tasks, we can free up valuable time for our IT teams to focus on more strategic initiatives, leading to a more agile and responsive IT environment.


Embrace Cloud Optimization

Resolution: In 2024, commit to optimizing our cloud infrastructure for efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Why: Cloud technology is dynamic and ever evolving. Ensuring that our cloud services are optimized will enhance performance, reduce costs, and allow us to take full advantage of the latest features.


Enhance Cybersecurity Measures

Resolution: Strengthen our cybersecurity posture to safeguard against evolving threats.

Why: As cyber threats become more sophisticated, prioritizing cybersecurity is crucial. Implementing robust measures, such as regular security audits and employee training, will fortify our defenses.


Implement Proactive Monitoring

Resolution: Transition to proactive monitoring for early issue detection and swift resolution.

Why: Reactive approaches can lead to downtime and disruptions. Proactive monitoring ensures that potential issues are identified and addressed before they impact operations.


Upgrade Legacy Systems

Resolution: Develop a plan to systematically upgrade legacy systems to modern, efficient solutions.

Why: Outdated systems pose security risks and hinder performance. Upgrading to the latest technologies ensures we stay competitive, secure, and aligned with industry standards.


Optimize IT Budgets

Resolution: Conduct a thorough review of IT budgets to identify cost-saving opportunities without compromising performance.

Why: Efficient budget allocation is essential for achieving business objectives. Identifying and eliminating unnecessary expenses will optimize our IT spend.

Interested in learning more? Check out our blog on Software Sprawl.


Promote Collaboration Tools

Resolution: Implement or enhance collaboration tools to boost team productivity.

Why: Effective communication and collaboration are cornerstones of success. Integrating advanced collaboration tools will empower our teams to work seamlessly, irrespective of location.

You can learn more by reading our blog on Microsoft viva or click here to see all of the powerful collaboration tools and services we offer to amplify your team’s engagement and productivity.


Invest in Employee Training

Resolution: Prioritize ongoing training to keep our IT teams well-versed in the latest technologies.

Why: The tech landscape evolves rapidly. Investing in continuous training ensures that our teams are equipped with the skills needed to navigate emerging trends.

Here are some resources for internal training:

You can also access our past webinars for expert walkthrough on various tools and technologies that all IT teams should know.


Explore New Microsoft Solutions

Resolution: Stay abreast of the latest Microsoft solutions and integrate them into our IT ecosystem.

Why: Microsoft offers a suite of powerful solutions. Regularly exploring and adopting new tools can enhance productivity and keep us at the forefront of technological innovation.

Learn more about Microsoft tools and services that you can access through our trusted team.

As we step into 2024, let's embark on a journey of IT excellence. These resolutions serve as a roadmap for a successful and technologically advanced year. If you're ready to turn these resolutions into reality, our team at Managed Solution is here to support you every step of the way. Here's to a year of innovation, efficiency, and IT success!


More Resources


In today's digitally driven world, businesses face ever-increasing cyber threats that can compromise sensitive data, disrupt operations, and damage their reputation and credibility. While many organizations invest heavily in robust cybersecurity measures, they often overlook one critical component: training their end users.


End users, whether they be employees or customers, are the first line of defense against cyber threats -- which is why proper training and awareness is so imperative. A popular platform for this exact endeavor, KnowBe4, understands that strengthening end-users’ awareness and safety precautions is key for fortifying a business’ security posture.


KnowBe4 was founded in 2010 by Stu Sjouwerman, a cybersecurity expert with over 30 years of experience in the industry. Since its inception, the platform has helped thousands of organizations improve their security posture and protect against cyber threats.


In this blog, we will discuss the importance of security awareness training and phishing simulations, and how, with these tools and tactics, KnowBe4 can help organizations set their end-users up for success and achieve their security goals.


The Importance of Security Awareness Training


In today's digital age, cyber threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated and frequent. Hackers are constantly looking for new ways to exploit vulnerabilities in an organization's security system, and one of the most effective ways to do this is through social engineering.


Social engineering is the use of psychological manipulation to trick people into divulging sensitive information or performing actions that compromise security. Security awareness training is essential for organizations to protect themselves against these specific types of attacks.


By educating employees on how to identify and respond to potential security threats, organizations can reduce the likelihood of successful attacks and mitigate the damage caused by any breaches that do occur.


Security awareness training should cover a range of topics, including:



Phishing is the most common form of social engineering attack, and it involves sending fraudulent emails that appear to be from a legitimate source to trick users into clicking on a malicious link or downloading malware. Employees should thoroughly understand how to identify phishing emails and how to navigate an attempted attack properly.


Password Security

Weak passwords are a major security vulnerability. That is making sure employees understand the importance of strong passwords, and how to create them and keep them secure should be a priority.


Mobile Device Security

With the rise of remote work, mobile devices have become an increasingly larger target for cyber criminals. Helping employees secure their mobile devices and use them safely is instrumental for keeping both their personal and professional data safe.


Social Media Security

Today, we’re seeing social media platforms become goldmine of personal information for cyber criminals. All employees, and especially those who have access to a company’s social platform accounts, should be taught how to use social media in a safe and secure way.


The Importance of Phishing Simulations


We mentioned the importance of training for phishing attacks. One great way to counter these kinds of threats is with phishing simulations. Phishing simulations are mock phishing attacks that are used to test an organization's security awareness training program.


By simulating real-world phishing attacks, organizations can identify areas where employees need additional training and improve their overall security posture. Phishing simulations should be designed to be realistic and challenging, and they should be conducted on a regular basis to ensure that employees remain vigilant and up to date with the latest threats.


The Impact of Security Awareness Training and Simulations for End Users


Let’s take a look at the specific impact of this training and why it is so beneficial for both individual employees and organizations at large.


Heightened Awareness and Vigilance

End users are the biggest target for various cyberattacks. Educating users about the latest tactics used by cybercriminals helps them remain vigilant and empowers them to make informed decisions when encountering potential risks.


Mitigating Human Error

Human error is a leading cause of security breaches. This is because end users, often unknowingly, engage in risky behaviors like clicking on malicious links or downloading suspicious attachments.


Through comprehensive cybersecurity training, businesses can teach their workforce how to recognize these risks, adopt safer practices, and minimize human error. In doing so, organizations can significantly reduce the likelihood of successful cyberattacks and subsequent data breaches.


Safeguarding Customer Data

Organizations entrusted with customer data bear a responsibility to protect it from unauthorized access. Training end users, particularly employees who handle customer information, reinforces the importance of data security and the potential consequences of mishandling sensitive data.


This benefit not only lends protection of the organization’s data in and of itself, but also to the reputation and credibility of said organization as well. By educating employees on data protection best practices through regular training, businesses can create a culture of security that safeguards customer data.


Strengthening Incident Response

Effective cybersecurity training not only focuses on preventing attacks but also prepares end users to respond appropriately in the event of a breach. Training programs can include guidance on incident reporting procedures, recognizing signs of a breach, and immediate response actions.


When end users are adequately trained and given the proper tools, they become an integral part of the incident response process, allowing organizations to mitigate the impact of an attack swiftly and effectively.


Reinforcing Regulatory Compliance

Compliance with industry-specific regulations and data protection laws is essential for businesses operating in today's legal landscape. Training end users on the relevant regulatory requirements --especially in an engaging and interesting way -- ensures that they understand their obligations and the potential consequences of non-compliance.


By integrating compliance-focused training that actually engages end users into cybersecurity programs, organizations can greatly reduce the risk of regulatory penalties and reputational damage resulting from data breaches and compliancy issues.


Fostering a Culture of Security

Cybersecurity is not solely an IT department's responsibility; it is a shared responsibility across the entire organization. By training end users in a continuous way, businesses foster a culture of security where every individual understands their role in protecting sensitive information.


This culture shift ensures that cybersecurity becomes ingrained in daily routines, leading to a proactive and vigilant approach towards potential threats.


How KnowBe4 Can Help


KnowBe4 offers a comprehensive security awareness training and phishing simulation solution. The platform helps organizations of all sizes improve their security posture and even incorporates AI. There are a range of features and tools included that make security awareness training and phishing simulations easy, engaging, and effective.


Here are some of the key features of the KnowBe4 platform:


Pre-built training content

With KnowBe4’s pre-built training content, you’re able to provide your organization with a multitude of resources and training on a variety of security awareness topics. This content is available in multiple formats including videos, interactive modules, and quizzes. It can also be customized to meet the specific needs of each organization.


Phishing simulation templates

KnowBe4 offers a range of phishing simulation templates that mimic real-world phishing attacks. These templates can be customized to fit the specific needs of your organization. They can also include a range of different scenarios and attack types.


Reporting and analytics

KnowBe4's platform includes robust reporting and analytics tools. These tools provide organizations with detailed insights into the effectiveness of their security awareness training program. Track employee progress, identify areas where additional training is needed, and measure the overall effectiveness of the program.


Automated campaigns

Access KnowBe4's automated campaigns! These campaigns enable advanced scheduling to ensure that employees receive regular training. This allows your team to stay engaged and maintain their level of security awareness so that they’re always ready.

Knowbe4 security. Knowbe4 security.

Continuous Education

This powerful platform provides ongoing security education and awareness to end users. This is essential in a rapidly changing threat landscape, where new threats and attack methods are constantly emerging.


We're living in an era where cyber threats are prevalent and evolving at rapid speed. Businesses cannot afford to overlook the importance of training their end users. By investing in comprehensive training programs, organizations empower their employees and customers to be proactive in identifying and mitigating risks.


This is because effective training enhances awareness, reduces human error, protects customer data, strengthens incident response capabilities, and ensures compliance. Ultimately, training end users becomes an invaluable asset in fortifying an organization's overall cybersecurity posture.


KnowBe4's platform helps businesses create a culture of security and end user empowerment. Contact us here to learn more about implementing this invaluable resource into your cybersecurity strategy today!

KnowBe4 Security.  

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Steven has over 20 years of nanotechnology experience beginning with his graduate work at Rice University where he discovered a method of fabricating gold nanoshells. This discovery led to the formation of Nanospectra Biosciences where the gold nanoshells are in clinical trials as a cancer therapy. In 2004 he founded nanoComposix to accelerate the commercialization of products based on precisely engineered and highly characterized nanoparticles. Steven has 10 issued patents and over 40 papers in the area of nanotechnology.

What is nanotechnology? 

Nanotechnology is the study and the application of really small things. What's exciting about nanotechnology is that it's not just about making things smaller, it’s that at the nanoscale materials are different, allowing for the production of products with amazing new properties.

How did nanotechnology become your passion?

When I graduated from university in Canada, Rice University had one of the first nanotechnology degree programs, so it was an opportunity to explore something that was new and different. I spent five years in an exciting and innovative lab that used lasers and surface science tools to explore the fundamental properties of nanomaterials and their applications. The materials we were studying had novel and unusual properties and I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to create useful products. After graduating from Rice, I went to a small company here in San Diego, learned how to leverage government grants and different small business programs to fund commercialization projects and then started nanoComposix 15 years ago.

What is nanoComposix’ primary mission?

The primary mission of nanoComposix is to help people leverage the unique and important properties of nanomaterials into commercial products. We've had many successes and failures so that we can help our customers determine if they have a good idea. If so, we can help guide them through the process of completing the research and development, make the materials in a consistent and reliable way, and importantly, scale up production to make the particles at a cost point that's going to be commercially viable. Once these tasks are complete, the materials can be integrated into a final product that will have a high probability of commercial success.

Who are your main customers?

Our customers are from both the R&D community (universities, government labs, corporate research) and companies that want to bring a nano-enabled material to market. By using our particles as building blocks they don’t have to make all of the different component nanoparticles themselves; we can provide precisely engineered particles in terms of size, shape and surface and, most importantly, we extensively characterize them. Once they have that combination of particles and information, they can create something new with their ideas.

What kind of innovation are your products bringing to the market? 

A lot of our products take advantage of the unusual properties of gold and silver at the nanoscale.  Very small particles of gold and silver act as nanoscale antennas – they strongly interact with light.  The color of these particles is a function of their size and shape.  Small gold spheres will be ruby red in color like a glass of wine.  Small silver spheres will be bright yellow.

One example where these particles are used is in lateral flow assays. The most common example of this is a drug store based pregnancy test.  In this test, you will typically see one or two red lines.  If you see two lines you’re pregnant.  If you just see one line then you’re not.  The red color comes from 40 nm diameter gold nanoparticles with an antibody attached to the particle surface.  It’s probably the most common nanotechnology application that nobody knew was nano. We’re developing a wide range of lateral flow tests for applications that range from early cancer detection to diagnosis of neglected tropical diseases.  For example, we're making a test for military use to see if a soldier has been exposed to a dangerous chemical in the field.  This test looks at heart, liver and kidney biomarkers to see if the solider needs medical attention. Other nanoparticle applications that we’re currently helping with include topical therapeutics for the treatment of acne, photothermal treatments of cancer, and cures for common allergies.

Where do we use nanotechnology in our everyday lives, and are not even aware of it? 

Many televisions incorporate nanoparticles into their screens to produce more vibrant colors.  The increased color depth of reds, blues and greens is made possible by quantum dot nanoparticles. Computer chips and electronics include various nanotechnologies that range from the processors themselves to the adhesives and other components used to build electronics.  In the medical space, nanomedicine allows for the precision delivery of drugs to certain organs and the controlled release of drugs over time to reduce the frequency of doctor’s visits.

How could nanotechnology serve us even better? What are some future uses? 

Personal, immediate, inexpensive home based diagnostic tests are rapidly being developed.  For example, if you have chest pain it could be a muscle cramp or a precursor to something more serious, perhaps a heart attack. Typically, you would have to find a clinic, get a blood test and wait a couple of days to hear an answer,  but if you have a test in your bathroom that costs just a couple dollars, you can take a saliva sample, apply it to the test, and, in a few minutes, get a result that can be analyzed and interpreted by your cell phone.  Bringing inexpensive, quantitative, quick and easy to perform tests into the home is going to revolutionize how we diagnose and treat disease.

Another example is our work with Drugs and Diagnostics for Tropical Diseases ( on coendemic diseases that can be treated with an inexpensive drug. The problem is that if you're infected with multiple diseases at the same time and you take the drug, you can have severe consequences. If there was a simple test that determined which diseases you were infected with and what drug to safely take, then there is an $1 solution to solving an array of horrific diseases.  DDTD has delivered tens of thousands of tests to Africa, and they're being evaluated in clinical trials to understand how to use these diagnostics to finally address loiasis, onchocerciasis (river blindness), lymphatic  filariasis, buruli ulcer and other diseases that don't belong in this century and should be eradicated.

We’re also working with a company that has developed a novel acne treatment.  They apply nanoparticles that strongly absorb light to the skin and use a massager to send the particles into the acne lesion.  When you shine a laser on the skin, the laser penetrates through the skin, gets absorbed by the particles, and heats the particles. This local heating is a non-chemical way of damaging or ablating cells.  For the acne treatment, if the number of cells in the sebaceous gland (which is responsible for oil production) can be reduced, your acne lesion will clear.

There's a compliment to the acne technology in the cancer space. Instead using radiation and chemotherapy that have harmful side effects, nanoparticles can be injected to the tumor sites and irradiated with a laser.  Just heat (no chemicals) ablate the cancer cells and prostate cancer patients are walking out of the clinic the same day with no side effects. Nanoparticles are also useful for delivering drugs.  Chemotherapy is a sledgehammer approach to cancer. Let's poison ourselves just to the limit that we can stand, and then hopefully it gets the tumor. It would be so much better if we could send the chemical that we want right to the tumor location, reduce the dose by a factor of 10, have all the side effects go away, and still have effective treatment. That's the promise, and while it takes a long time to safely bring it to market, many nano enabled therapies will soon be available.

If lateral flow tests are simple and not costly, how come their use is not more common?

Lateral flow tests aren't new. They've been around for 20 years.  Our innovation was to develop more sensitive reporter particles that allow for lateral flow tests to be more widely used.  We went back and re-engineered the particle, so instead of gold spheres, we made a nanoshell which is like a golden eggshell; a glass core that is coated with a very thin shell of gold.  By controlling the size of the core and the thickness of the shell, we can create different colors and increase the sensitivity of diagnostic tests.  Combining mobile cell phone technology with these new, high sensitivity tests offers the promise of a quantitative diagnostic laboratory in your home.

What was your biggest breakthrough in commercializing nanotechnology?

Our breakthrough is the ability to produce nanoparticles with exquisite control over their size, shape, and surface at a commercially viable price.  Rods, shells, cubes, plate, and wire shaped nanoparticles with different surfaces are provided to innovators and inventors so that they can modify, combine, and augment the materials for use in commercial applications.  We are also focused on reducing cost.  Gold and silver nanoparticles have special properties but these materials are expensive.  Our challenge is to find a balance between function, price, performance and scalability in order to get to commercial markets.  We’ve had a lot of success achieving this balance in medical device and nanomedicine markets.

What is your next challenge?

It's been 15 years since we started the company, but a lot of that work has been foundational to build a library of nanomaterials, develop relationships and scale manufacturing.  Our next step is to leverage these capabilities to bring more high impact nano-enabled products to market.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="20px"][grve_callout title="Tech Spotlight Interviews" heading_tag="h4" button_text="Learn More" button_link="|||"]IT is a journey, not a destination. We want to hear about YOUR journey!
Are you a technology innovator or enthusiast?
We would love to highlight you in the next edition of our Tech Spotlight.[/grve_callout][/vc_column][/vc_row]

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Lillian Maestas has more than twenty-five years hands-on experience in software engineering, project development, management and business development. She has led large software projects in integrated product team environments and has managed design and development of advanced commercial and military information systems.

Knowledge Made Solutions Inc was founded in 2008 in San Diego, CA. It is a Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB) providing high quality Engineering Services to the US Government and Commercial Contractors. They specialize in Software and System Engineering Services and related disciplines including Software Application Development, Hardware Software Integration, Technical Project Management, Test Engineering, Quality Assurance, Configuration Management, Information Assurance and Technical Writing.

Your interest in computer science goes back into your college days. What sparked the interest?

I was a typical student in high school, I didn't know what I wanted to do for a career. I sought the advice of my student counselor and she said, “Well, you're good at math, what about computer science?” I said, “What's that?” She said, “Well, it's a new field that's just starting,” and “Since you're good at math, I think it can be a good fit for you.” So, I said, “Okay.”

It was challenging in several ways. One, my computer science classes had only two or three females to start, and then after four, five weeks they would drop out, and I'd be the only female. Where in high school I predominately studied with females, I had the challenge to ask the males if I could join their study group. As well the professors were all male. Two, the subject itself was a challenge, but I just kept at it, because I found it interesting. This is when the computers, they call them the mainframes, were large and you would write your program on punch cards. Each statement of your program would be on a card so you ended up with a stack of cards for the entire program. I remember I put the card deck in my car and while driving home I braked too fast, and the cards went flying. I had to retype the program to get the cards in the right order. This meant I had to find a time slot opening in the lab to retype the program. I learned quickly to put a rubber band around my cards.

What made you stay in computer science?

Directly out of college I worked for General Dynamics in a field service position in Nevada developing software, again I was the only female on this project. We were tracking military exercises and we'd replay the results of their exercises of who killed who in a debrief center. I did the software development for that. We also tracked the first launch of the Tomahawk cruise missile. They launched it off the coast in the Pacific and it made its way all the way to Tonopah Test Range where we were working, and hit its target right on. I found doing the software development for this exciting and fun.

How you support women in STEM?

Since I do business development and also look for the resources to fill positions for Knowledge Made Solutions I definitely look for and support hiring women that are qualified.

I'm also a volunteer and STEM Chair with NDIA, National Defense Industrial Association. About 10 years ago, we recognized the shortage in the STEM educated workforce, both male and female and got involved doing outreach to students to get them interested in STEM and IT. In the beginning I noticed only males showing up to our outreach events, that's when one of my goals became to get girls to attend and for the Cyber cup event to get an all girls team. And we made it happen in one year.

What opportunities are there for women in cyber security?

There are many opportunities for women, many are technical but there's many other aspects to the cybersecurity field, so you don't necessarily have to be an engineer designing hardware, circuits or software. For example, behavioral analyst who determine why and what drives hackers are needed to provide this information to others who can put technical controls in place to monitor for suspicious behaviors based on patterns. Or lawyers, who are knowledgeable in cybersecurity policies. I'm definitely seeing more women entering this field, I see them at Cybersecurity meetings, and I love the encouragement from our male colleagues in supporting women. I see a lot of that, which is awesome.

What is the mission of Knowledge Made Solutions? 

We're a veteran owned small business that provides engineering and high-tech services to the Department of Defense. Our mission is to provide excellent engineering in software, systems engineering, and cybersecurity.

How do you contribute to that mission? 

I look for opportunities that are good fit for the company, meaning IT and engineering tasks where our experience and expertise can provide best of breed solutions and services. I also look at teaming relationships with other companies where we can complement their team with our expertise or they complement us.

How have cyber-attacks changed over time?

Going back to the 80s and the 90s, the cyber incidences were not very frequent. Now we're hearing about significant attacks every month, actually cyber security incidences are happening every minute. That's the big difference that I've seen. Also, hackers now want a ransom for return of your information. It’s not so much that they want that information, but knowing you do they hold it up for ransom. Where early on hackers actually wanted the secret or proprietary information they stole, such as designs, algorithms, etc.

How will cyber-attacks evolve in the future?

Medical devices are an interesting area. What's the purpose to hack into somebody's medical device? Probably not to get secrets, but to do harm if you don't pay them.

What are 3 steps every company should take to protect themselves against cyber-attacks? 

The first one is to do an assessment of your IT and your data. Know what you have. Step two, determine what controls are needed. You need to start setting your priorities, putting more controls in place is good, but you might not be able to do it all at once. So you prioritize. Third step is the awareness. A lot of breaches happen because employees are not aware that their actions open up ways for hackers to get in.

What is SoCal Cyber Cup?

SoCal Cyber Cup is a Cybersecurity challenge for middle school and high school students. They get paired with a mentor from DOD industry and government to work on different cybersecurity challenges for 6 months. The kids are exposed to threats and vulnerabilities and work with the latest technologies to find, remove and recover within what we call a cyber range. A safe place that won’t create real problems while they learn. This year we had the Cyber Range in the cloud. This also allows us to reach a larger group of kids. We've had kids return for all four of their high school years to participate in the cyber cup challenge and after they come back as mentors and sponsors. We’ve also seen several kids get very good positions at local companies based on the experience and knowledge they gained through the cyber cup challenge.


What is your next challenge?

I want to see more kids from underserved areas get involved in STEM and the SoCal Cyber Cup to show them the opportunity this filed offers for their future. Recently NDIA is participating in a program called “STEM in your backyard", we go out to schools in underserved areas and talk to kids about STEM. Our goal is to have 50% of teams from these areas at our next SoCal Cyber Cup.


Read more interviews like this:[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="20px"][grve_callout title="Tech Spotlight Interviews" heading_tag="h4" button_text="Learn More" button_link="|||"]IT is a journey, not a destination. We want to hear about YOUR journey!
Are you a technology innovator or enthusiast?
We would love to highlight you in the next edition of our Tech Spotlight.[/grve_callout][/vc_column][/vc_row]

As the internet is becoming a dominating force around the world and computer networks are growing in size and complexity, data integrity is also an ever-growing concern that organizations need to consider. Network security is a critical aspect for businesses, no matter the size.

And while no network is entirely immune to cyber-attacks, a stable and efficient security system is critical in protecting client data. It is especially true for organizations operating in the healthcare and financial sectors but also applies to other industries as well. Good network security will help protect businesses from data theft, sabotage, ransomware, spyware, malware, etc.

So, how can you tell if your network is secure and what can you do to improve the situation?

Cybersecurity Training

Arguably, one of the most vulnerable parts of any network is the users that operate on it - namely you and your employees. The overwhelming number of cyber-attacks that manage to pass through the nets do not involve any fancy coding but are the result of successful phishing.

Phishing is nothing more than the fraudulent attempt by hackers to obtain sensitive information (passwords, usernames, financial or medical information, etc.) by posing as credible and trustworthy entities via electronic forms of communication. These can take the form of official-looking emails, pop-ups, text messages, lookalike websites, etc.

The best way to counteract this problem is via a comprehensive training program that educates staff members on how to recognize and avoid these phishing tactics, in the first place. Also keep in mind that a whopping 41% of such attacks originate from third-parties such as contractors, vendors, suppliers, etc.


The importance of passwords in network security cannot be overstated. Nevertheless, many users see them as a nuisance and regularly use the same password across different systems. Not only that, but the same password is sometimes used for personal use. It further increases the risk of it being discovered, rendering your security protocols useless.

It means that, if hackers manage to get their hands on one password, your whole network may be compromised. Always keep different usernames and passwords for laptops and servers, as well.

The Updates Arms Race 

An antivirus will help protect your data from being infected once a virus or malicious software has made it into your network. Firewalls, on the other hand, will keep these from entering, in the first place. Always keep these systems and your servers updated as hackers will always upgrade their malware to bypass protective software.

Scripting Your Login Process

One measure of detecting the onset of a network infection is by keeping track of when users log in or off their work accounts. Unfortunately, this is only a somewhat reliable procedure. A better one is to script in your login process. The idea behind this procedure is the same, but it's much more efficient.

The Default Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) Port

If you are using Windows, the chances are that you're also using the default Remote Desktop Protocol port. Cybercriminals will take advantage of this and will employ a multitude of tools to hack their way and scan for exposed endpoints. The easiest solution here is to change that RDP port to something unused.


Having a secure network may seem like a daunting challenge, but it is necessary to keep your business and your data safe from cybercriminals. These steps presented here will help you minimize that risk. If you need any help, however, Managed Solution is at your service. Contact us to find out how we can assist you.

When it comes to all things cyber, this past year was an interesting one for cybersecurity trends. From a security perspective, there were many security breaches, with the most recent one being the data breach of the Marriott Hotel group. Some of the major themes were also the blurring of lines between cyber and physical security, industry consolidation, and new AI cybersecurity tools. Public and regulatory awareness of data privacy as a critical concern and issue was raised due to seemingly unceasing scandals related to consumer privacy.

Cybersecurity experts will continue to address these topics, and some trends will dominate the cybersecurity sector in 2019.

Cybersecurity and Physical Security Will Continue to Merge

In the world of IoT (Internet of Things), everything is connected. With so many connected devices, the division between cyber and physical security is getting more and more blurred, as well as between the CEOs, CIOs, and CTOs. Concerning sophistication, physical security is a lot behind cybersecurity. However, organizations are working to unite the two together. The range of threats across both areas is becoming more extensive, so we should expect more crossover to happen during 2019.

Increased Implementation of AI

The human element can detect and react to a cyber breach, but not as fast as a machine could. With the growing range and number of threats, it’s clear that leveraging the power of AI is necessary. Some major companies have announced their AI-based security solutions in 2018, such as Alphabet’s Chronicle and Palo Alto Networks’ Magnifier. The AI-based security analytics that enterprises have deployed since 2017 aren’t pure-play solutions. What AI adds to these existing technologies is analytical strength. All in all, AI will continue to grow in the cybersecurity segment as it will in general (at the corporate level).

More Challenging Breaches

When the defense gets better and stronger, cybercriminals keep finding new and more devious ways to use malicious code. For example, experts discovered another variant of ransomware that turns victims into attackers. By offering a pyramid scheme-style discount, the victim passes on the malware link to two or more people. When they install it and pay, the first victim has their files decrypted for free.

Increase in Regionalization

There will be more cybersecurity regionalization, and Brexit prompts that increase. Today, foreign governments are suspicious of each other’s cybersecurity solutions, especially after recent scandals of China’s HTC and Huawei, and Russia’s Kaspersky Lab. That’s why we might expect more regional cybersecurity solutions and companies appear around the globe. In the U.S., there are clusters of security firm activity that focus on building robust cybersecurity innovation centers.

Biometric Identification

Passwords are a vulnerability, which is an issue that cybersecurity innovators are aiming to replace with biometrics. The iPhone X has Face ID for facial recognition, while MasterCard announced that all their users would be able to identify themselves with biometrics by April 2019.

More Consolidation

There has been a lot of consolidation within the cybersecurity industry. Splunk acquired Phantom Cyber, AT&T bought AlienVault, and BlackBerry bought Cylance. According to ESG research, about 53% of companies with more than 1,000 employees “currently have three or more different endpoint security products deployed across its network.” As this leaves a lot of waste, the number of solution providers will decrease in the following year as large companies will continue to add startup tech to their portfolios to create a broader product family offering.

Digital transformation and innovative solutions in the cybersecurity industry is helping organizations in keeping their networks safe. However, cybercriminals are getting smarter and more dangerous. That’s why every enterprise needs to stay on top of the current trends and know the future predictions regarding cybersecurity. They should understand how digital transformation remakes their business, as well as what threats are introduced by new platforms, technologies, and partners to gain more control and be able to detect and respond to threats fasters.

Reach out to Managed Solution to find out how we can help you improve your IT security and prevent a data breach.



The Threat Landscape is Changing

The threat landscape has evolved dramatically in recent years. It seems every day we hear another headline about an organization getting breached. We’ve responded by changing the architecture of Windows 10 so that we’re not just building bigger walls against these attacks; we’re locking the criminals out. Windows 10 provides a comprehensive set of protections against modern security threats. The average cost of a data breach per incident is $3,500,000 (2014 Cost of Data Breach: Global Analysis. Ponemon Institute, 2014.) According to a recent survey of CIOs, security spending is increasing at double the rate of overall investment.

Identity Protection

  • 75% of individuals use only three or four passwords across all of their accounts.
  • Passwords are not secure. Others can access your corporate network by pretending to be you.
The solution: Windows 10 introduces an alternative to passwords with Microsoft Passport and Windows Hello.

Information Protection

  • 57% of us have sent data to the wrong person.
  • 87% of senior managers have leaked corporate data to unmanaged personal locations.
Solution: Windows 10 provides Enterprise Data Protection, now at the file level, to help ensure corporate data isn’t accidentally or intentionally leaked to unauthorized users or locations.

Device Protection

  • An attacker can go over 200 days undetected in your environment, now that people are bringing their own devices to work—that’s scary.
Solution: Windows 10 offers Trusted Boot to help ensure that a genuine version of Windows starts first on your device, preventing attackers from evading detection.

Online Protection

  • More than 300,000 new malicious files are are being created every day and spread through the Internet.
Solution: Windows 10 Device Guard completely locks down your device, so you can run only trusted applications, scripts, and more.

It’s time to take action to protect your business.

By deploying the security features in Windows 10, you can outmaneuver today’s cybercriminals and neutralize their destructive tactics before they’ve even begun.
Contact Managed Solution to schedule a Network & System Assessment to build the most strategic architecture around your systems and networks. 858-429-3084



Meltdown and Spectre: Current Status 01/12/2018

By Robert Meyers and Sean Andrews
The vulnerabilities known as Meltdown or Spectre are new vulnerabilities announced last week to the world at large.  They are based on a process called speculative execution which is a technique that became popular in the mid-nineties to improve processor performance. 
In most cases, these vulnerabilities don’t allow an external unauthorized party to gain access to a system, although it could allow a party that has access to the system to access unauthorized data.  However, this is the current state.  These vulnerabilities are typically weaponized into malicious websites and malware.  At that point these vulnerabilities will become significantly more dangerous.  These at that point we can expect these exploits to be used to recover all information in memory (including passwords and tokens) as well as inject commands into the computers processor. 
As your technology partner we are working on building a strategy to aid in defending our clients.  Currently that is mainly still in testing, the same as ever other provider.  We wanted to update you with current findings. 

Windows Workstations 

On average current machines will see around six percent performance degradation on average from the Microsoft patches.  However, there is a complication around anti-virus and anti-malware platforms which is currently be worked on.  This complication causes boot issues and crashing.  Additionally, the patches currently have a similar impact when deployed to AMD based machines, there are similar issues.  As it is common to have more than one anti-virus Microsoft and the anti-virus and anti-malware providers are working on a solution.  Additionally, a new patch attempt by Intel is causing random reboots and is simply not recommended for production.  Please note that older systems will have increasing impact from the patching.  Our current recommendation and practice is to test and monitor.  These solutions are not yet ready for wide spread production without a level of predictable instability and should be limited to administrative systems on demand.  

Mac Workstations 

Currently only High Sierra from Apple is being updated.  There are no currently reported errors from our or our partners testing that we have seen. As such, we are agreeing with the Apple recommendation on deploying the upgrade to any Macs to High Sierra (10.13.2 supplemental update) and patch.  There is a performance impact, however in testing it has appeared stable and between 1% and 6% performance degradation. 


We are currently waiting on updates from most software vendors, however Chrome should be updated on Jan 23 (as currently advised), however they have a recommendation to help mitigate part of Spectre.  IBM will start rolling out some fixes in February, although there is limited information so far released.  Microsoft currently has a series of patches for Internet Explorer, Edge and SQL.  Due to the instability being seen, our current strategy is to only deploy these to administrative systems. 

Anti-Virus / Anti-Malware 

We have confirmed that one of our partner’s Webroot SecureAnywhere 9.0.18.xx is compatible with the Microsoft patches, however it does require that a registry key is set before being deployed.  There is a version being developed that will place and manage this registry key (a part of a Windows Computer’s DNA) automatically, and we recommend waiting for this.   
Microsoft currently deploys Windows Defender Antivirus, System Center Endpoint Protection, and Microsoft Security Essentials that are compatible with the January 2018 security updates and have set the required registry key.   
Currently there are versions of Avast, Avira, AVG, ESET, F-Secure, BitDefender, Kaspersky, Sophos, Malwarebytes, and Symantec that are declaring as compatible and deploying the required registry key as per Microsoft’s guidelines.  However, please note that Microsoft has published that future updates will require the registry key is set.  As always, our recommendation is to maintain a system under protection.  However, version changes will need to be managed. 


Performance on servers can be critical, and the Microsoft and Linux patches that have been released are showing very large performance degradation.  Often averaging 30% degradation once patched.  As such a strategy is being reviewed for server protection although please note that as long as there is no browsing or general use of a server, there are less attach vectors.  Patches are being refined and alternative strategies are being reviewed including isolation.  We are working with partners and monitoring the industry recommendations. 

Cloud Providers 

Azure, AWS and Google have been deploying mitigation.  At this time other SaaS and IaaS providers are working on independent strategies.  We are monitoring this situation. 

Firmware Updates 

Most systems will need to install both operating system and hardware/firmware updates for all available protections.  Intel has committed to releasing updates to more than 90% of processor products by 1/15.  AMD is making firmware updates available for Ryzen and EPYC owners this week, and the company is planning to update older processors “over the coming weeks.”  These updates are given to the hardware manufacturers who then have to make the bios updates for each system.  Expect newer and higher volume systems to have firmware updates available first.  See Additional resources of this Microsoft Article for links to OEM Device Manufacturers.  Please note that we are waiting for more feedback from testing and community results for future planning before making full recommendations for firmware. 


The community has identified issues with some of the patches deployed by WSUS, and SCCM which utilizes WSUS, are not showing up as available to install on some systems.  The patches will show up as Installed / Not Applicable.  These systems have the Anti-Virus registry key in place.  Even bypassing WSUS and scanning directly from Microsoft will not show the patches as needed.  This TechNet forums post documents the issues the community is having.  If the issue really is the requirement of older parent patches being installed then we expect the patches will be re-released to address this.  Our strategy and recommendation at this point is to delay patching and wait for more information at this time. 

Red Hat 
Linux Mint 
Mobile News 



Managed Solution customers that do not have a managed service agreement could contact their account executive to discuss further details.

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