March 2011
In this issue

Why Social Media Is A Must

7 Things to Know About
Virus Writers

Is a Private Cloud Heaven-Sent For Your Business?

How to Bullet-Proof Your Data

Business Continuity Tip
How to Bullet-Proof Your Data
By Brian Renter, President,
Universal Information Systems

A recent study of companies experiencing a “major loss” of computer records discovered that 43 percent never reopened, 51 percent closed within two years of the loss, and a mere 6 percent survived over the long-term. For small and medium-sized businesses in particular, these statistics suggest the importance of creating a Business Continuity Planning (BCP) strategy grounded in a robust Backup and Disaster Recovery solution.

Unlike enterprises, many smaller companies and organizations cannot afford optimal in-house strategies and solutions for their Business Continuity Planning. Consequently, these companies are at a high risk of being put out of business due to any major loss of data. Loss of data could mean emails lost, accounting data lost, patient or client files lost, company records lost, client legal records or orders lost, etc.

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Continuity Tip
It's Not Me. It's You.

Risk assessment is a critical element in any business continuity plan. When assessing risk, most companies instinctively think of the large scale disasters: Hurricanes, Floods, Terrorism, Ice Storms. But in most cases, the real risks surround us.

Ask yourself, who else occupies your building? Is there an office above you? Who is below you? Is your office near a government building? Is your building secure, or can anyone walk in off the street?

These seem like obvious questions, but in many cases, disasters that directly affect a fellow tenant can indirectly cripple your business.

Just for Laughs

Quote for Today

A pessimist is one who feels bad
when he feels good for fear he'll feel worse when he feels better.

Find Out Why Social Media Is A Must for SMBs
used with permission from the HP Small & Medium Business Site

Let's start with the bottom line: If you're not participating in social media, your business is missing out. You no longer have any excuses ("I'm too busy" or "It's overwhelming"), it's time to get engaged.

In a recent survey by ROI Research reported in MediaPost, 40 percent of those surveyed use social sites to connect with brands and products. Thirty-seven percent learned about a new product or service from a social networking site, and 32 percent use social networks to recommend products or services to friends.

And it's not just consumers. In a recent study conducted by, more than half of small-business owners reported using social media sites to gather information about companies, products and prospects before buying or doing business with them.

The social networks are effective sales tools as well. According to the Inbound Marketing Report, 41 percent of Twitter and LinkedIn users, 44 percent of Facebook users and 46 percent of businesses with a company blog say they acquired customers through those channels.

Obviously it's time to jump on the social media bandwagon. Are you ready? Here's a quick overview.

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7 Things to Know about Virus Writers
by Monte Embysk
reprinted with permission from the Microsoft Small Business Center

I spend a growing percentage of my time getting rid of unwanted e-mails that contain viruses. If I open one of them, it potentially could overwrite files and disable my antivirus software.

What exactly is in the heads of these virus writers? Anything?

I took my inquiry to Sarah Gordon, an expert on the psychology of hackers and virus writers. She did her best to answer an overly broad question. Gordon is a senior research fellow at Symantec's security response unit, and previously was a researcher for the antivirus research and development team at IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center.

She meets face-to-face with hackers and virus writers on occasion, to understand why they do what they do, and conducts research at international hacker conferences such as DEF CON. To see Gordon's background and some of her research papers, visit her Web site at

She'll tell you right away that hackers -- people who devise ways to break into networks -- are a different animal than virus writers, and in most cases, more advanced. Virus writers are generally younger (some as young as 10 or 11 years old), on a lower rung of the underground tech strata and not always aware of the damage that could incur. Also, she stresses, except in a few states, writing damaging viruses isn't against the law.

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Is a Private Cloud Heaven-Sent For Your Business?
used with permission from the Microsoft Small Business Center

Back in 1965 when the Rolling Stones told us to get off their cloud, they may have been talking about teenage alienation. Today, however, getting off of someone else's cloud could very well be the theme of many midsize companies as they rush to develop their own private cloud.

Whether you're an IT professional or a business manager, if you work at a midsize company that hasn't already made the leap to the cloud, you're probably considering it. Maybe you're hesitating because of worries about the security of customer information in the public cloud. Perhaps you can't tolerate the idea of abandoning all the costly hardware investments in your own datacenter. Or possibly you want to follow a hybrid approach, using the public cloud for some of your computing needs but retaining key IT functions on premise. If one or more those concerns apply to your situation, then you may want to consider deploying a private cloud environment.

Worries about security are keeping some firms from embracing the public cloud. The idea that your customers' bank records or credit card numbers reside on a third-party server-a sever that you share with many other companies-is reason enough for some companies to eschew the public cloud. While experts offer reassurances that reputable third-party hosting services are security enhanced, many companies remain wary.

Investments in an existing proprietary datacenter are another concern. If your company has sunk considerable money into building up a robust IT installation, there's an understandable reluctance to simply write off the investment and turn to the public cloud. This is particularly true if you've built a datacenter to handle your current peak loads, which means you have excess capacity during normal operations. It's doubly painful to think about writing off such expenditures.

Enter the private cloud, which provides the advantages of cloud infrastructure-dynamically assigning resources as needed, thus offering elasticity, flexibility, and lowered IT overhead-along with the additional control and customization associated with using resources that are dedicated to your organization.

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Idealogical Systems Inc.
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