Archive for April, 2017

Facebook, Microsoft and Adobe! April Security Update with Amy Krohn

Veracity Consulting’s Vice President of Technology, Amy Krohn delivers the following recap of the cybersecurity happenings for April 2017.

VMware released patches for its vCenter Server product to address a critical remote code execution flaw that exists due to the use of a vulnerable third-party component. The vulnerabilities can be exploited for denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, remote code execution, and to obtain sensitive data. The security hole affects vCenter Server 6.0 and 6.5; version 5.5 or other VMware products are not impacted. VMware has advised users to apply the 6.5c and 6.0U3b patches to address the vulnerability.

Facebook on Friday, April 14, 2017, said it disrupted an international fake account operation that was firing off inauthentic “likes” and bogus comments to win friends it would then spam. Under pressure to stem the spread of “fake news,” Facebook has taken a series of steps including making it easier to report such posts and harder to earn money from them. Facebook said the campaign aimed to trick people into connecting as friends they would later target with spam.

Microsoft Patches Office, IE Flaws Exploited in Attacks. Microsoft’s security updates for April 2017 address more than 40 critical, important, and moderately severe vulnerabilities, including three zero-day flaws that have been exploited in attacks. If you are an Office and IE user, please update your applications.

Adobe patches have 60 vulnerabilities  across several products. Security updates by Adobe inform patch users of nearly 60 vulnerabilities across several of the company’s products. The Acrobat and Reader updates address 47 flaws, including many that could lead to simple code execution. Please be sure to accept this update.

Good-bye Microsoft Vista!  Microsoft Kills Support for Windows Vista this month. Now that support has ended, Windows Vista will continue to work as before, only that it will become increasingly vulnerable to security risks and malware. It’s time to upgrade!

About Veracity Consulting

Veracity Consulting is a Kansas City-based technology firm with a reputation of implementing and managing IT solutions and business strategies. Our mission is to change the complex world of technology into a more efficient and profitable solution for businesses and communities. We use a collaborative approach with our clients to create and implement viable and relevant solutions.

We offer a comprehensive range of commercial and government solutions in the areas of Program Management, Data Management and Analytics, Strategy and Architecture, Managed Infrastructure, and Security.

About Amy Krohn

Amy Krohn has served as a leader in the technology industry for over 20 years.  Her areas of expertise include leading organizations and companies in executive leadership, strategic planning, enterprise architecture, as a mentor, leadership development, organizational change management, delivery management, vendor management, service management, and process improvements.  Amy currently serves as Veracity Consulting’s Vice President of Technology.

3 Benefits of Database-as-a-Service

What is Database-as-a-Service?

Databases are the foundation of today’s business.  Why?  Data drives business and finance.  Organizations have been analyzing their data for several decades in an effort make intelligent decisions and increase ROI. Big Data helps to increase you business speed to market, better engage with customers, and analyze their  consumer markets.  This brings about challenges to your resource strapped technology team.

IT must be agile about infrastructure and business critical applications, especially databases.  How can technology teams rapidly respond to demands for “real-time” environments, while watching the bottom line? Its called Database-as-a-Service. An easy solution that will allow technology service to grow and contract as necessary.  Avoid poor resource utilization of existing hardware and uncontrolled infrastructure and spending growth, by utilizing this new resource.

With the expansion of “Big Data” and Analytics growth, a traditional, manual approach to database management is quickly becoming obsolete. There is a different approach that will allow for automation. This works in you favor to reduce  equipment costs yet provides you with the ability to respond to the business needs.

Cloud and Database as a Service (DBaaS) are two concepts that technology leaders are considering to modernize their data infrastructure. How can this new concept of Database as a Service help your business grow?

Three Ways DBaaS Can Help Your Business:

  1. Database as a Service will allow you to Virtualize Your Infrastructure.  You know that virtualization can increase your flexibility and scalability. This adds up to cost savings or ROI.  Your technology team can stand up environments and deployed faster. You will have access to better performance because you will be using newer technology.  Overall your IT costs will be driven down since you will only use what you need.
  2. DaaS Helps Your Company Automate.  Using any kind of  SaaS allows you to automate processes since these services go hand and hand with your DevOps teams.  By automating you will increase your infrastructure stability (including database).  This only helps with improve compliance.  By automating you are also reinforcing standards and time-to-market.
  3. Your Infrastructure Becomes Standardized.  When you set up individual databases IT teams always run the risk of dealing with different versions and configuration of databases.  This makes managing and administrating a database a nightmare.  By implementing SaaS, administrators standardize ensure that best practices are followed. This makes administering the databases easier and less time consuming.

About Veracity Consulting

Veracity Consulting is a Kansas City-based technology firm with a reputation of implementing and managing IT solutions and business strategies. Our mission is to change the complex world of technology into a more efficient and profitable solution for businesses and communities. We use a collaborative approach with our clients to create and implement viable and relevant solutions.  We offer a comprehensive range of commercial and government solutions in the areas of Program Management, Data Management and Analytics, Strategy and Architecture, Managed Infrastructure, and Cybersecurity

IRS Scammers are Working Overtime During Tax Season!

Amy_Krohn

Amy Krohn, Veracity’s VP of Technology

Protect Yourself From Scammers During This Tax Season and Everyday!

There is a new phone scam working in Kansas City and around the country. The Internal Revenue Service reports impostors are calling people and demanding immediate payment.  In many cases threatened jail-time or deportation.  How do I know this?  I came home to a a crying family member being threatened by these villains demanding payment.

Tax season is stressful. IRS scammers only add to your anxiety, through phone calls and emails.  They will try to convince victims they owe money.  The more the public is educated about the security risks and what to look for, better prepared we will be to fend off these impostors.   As a professional in Infrastructure and Security, its my job to take care of educating my clients about security on a greater scale.  But when the issue hits home or when I hear of the elderly, who are perhaps not as tech-savvy, being taken advantage of, I feel its my duty to step forward to help.  Below are some helpful “rules” from the IRS to know about the IRS calling you at home.

Five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do.

Any one of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam. The IRS will never:

  1. Call to demand immediate payment, nor will we call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill..
  2. Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  3. Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  4. Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  5. Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

When these scammers call, simply hang-up.   They will more than likely call again and you should hang up again.  Report the phone number to the IRS.   Your best defense is to not give out any piece of information to them.  And never give out your social security number,  license, passport information, address, or children’s information.  For more information on the IRS scams and what you can do go visit  www.justice.gov/tax or www.irs.gov .

About Veracity Consulting

Veracity Consulting is a Kansas City-based technology firm with a reputation of implementing and managing IT solutions and business strategies. Our mission is to change the complex world of technology into a more efficient and profitable solution for businesses and communities. We use a collaborative approach with our clients to create and implement viable and relevant solutions.

We offer a comprehensive range of commercial and government solutions in the areas of Program Management, Data Management and Analytics, Strategy and Architecture, Managed Infrastructure, and Security.

About Amy Krohn

Amy Krohn has served as a leader in the technology industry for over 20 years.  Her areas of expertise include leading organizations and companies in executive leadership, strategic planning, enterprise architecture, as a mentor, leadership development, organizational change management, delivery management, vendor management, service management, and process improvements.  Amy currently serves as Veracity Consulting’s Vice President of Technology.

The IOT Data Challenge

What is the IoT?

It is truly remarkable how many devices generate data today in our internet-connected world. As users, we now consume and generate less data than sensors and internet devices––the network known as the Internet of Things (IoT). That means our “things” know more than we do about us.

The IoT operates at machine-scale, by dealing with machine-to-machine generated data. This machine-generated data creates discrete observations at very high signal rates (1,000s of messages/sec). Add to this the complexity that the sensor data values rarely change (e.g., temperature operates within an acceptably small range). However, when the values do change, the ramifications––the changes––will likely be important.

To support real-time edge analytics, we need to provide detailed data that can flag observations of concern, but doesn’t overwhelm the ability to get meaningful data back to the data lake for more broad-based, strategic analysis.

IoT data is useful when it’s in a streaming pipeline, but it’s even more useful when you store it and enable historical data along with what is happening in the moment. Having a storage solution that enables a tiered, holistic approach allows data to have a “lifespan” for access and malleability. This kind of flexibility is needed because IoT data can be out of order or even delayed.

With multiple handoff points you’ll need to ensure that you secure and maintain consistency of that data for a clean chain-of-custody on the information. Finally, don’t just view IoT as the means to an end for near-term decision making. Keep in mind that the data being generated may need to live for long periods of time, and your corporate data handling and data retention policies may need to be aligned to the new reality of this type of data. It is a whole new world in IoT and the data old rules may not cleanly apply.

About Veracity Consulting

Veracity Consulting is a Kansas City-based technology firm with a reputation of implementing and managing IT solutions and business strategies. Our mission is to change the complex world of technology into a more efficient and profitable solution for businesses and
communities. We use a collaborative approach with our clients to create and implement viable and relevant solutions.

We offer a comprehensive range of commercial and government solutions in the areas of Program Management, Data Services,
Enterprise Architecture, Managed Infrastructure, Security, and Web Services.