Blogs

An informative blog, where Trident Computer Services staff write about the technology that excites them, innovative solutions they have come across, and the ways they are helping people innovate!

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Katie's Vlog | Happiness Is...

WATCH | Katie Bentley, CEO of Trident Computers talks about creating a culture of happiness for her customers and employees in 2017

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Top 10 Web Application Vulnerabilities

In a recent survey conducted across multiple industries in the United States it was found that over 50% of organisations had at least one serious vulnerability every single day of the year (White Hat Security, 2015)!

Web applications have enabled organisations to build stronger relationships with their customers, suppliers and stakeholders however it has created another avenue for critical data to be exposed. A vulnerable web application can bring serious risk for your entire database of sensitive information – it can also turn your website into a launching site for further criminal activity such as hosting phishing or illegal content transfers.

To understand the complex nature of Web Application vulnerabilities we have summarised the top 10 risks to your web applications and the effects a breach can have to you and your customers.

1. Injection Flaws

When there are injection flaws an attacker can access back-end database information. All data, including sensitive client and partner information, could be stolen, modified or deleted. Injection can sometimes lead to complete host takeover. 

2. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) 

An attacker can execute scripts in a victim’s browser to hijack user sessions, deface web sites, insert hostile content, redirect users, hijack the user’s browser using malware, etc. 

3. Broken Authentication & Session Management 

Attackers are able to compromise passwords, keys, session tokens, or exploit other implementation flaws to impersonate users. This type of vulnerability may allow some or even all accounts to be attacked. Once successful, the attacker can do anything the victim could do. Privileged accounts are frequently targeted.

75% of cyber-attacks such as ransomware occur at web application level

4. Insecure Direct Object Reference 

Applications don’t always verify if the user is authorised for the target object. Without an access control check or other protection, attackers can manipulate references to access unauthorised data. 

5. Cross-Site Request Forgery 

This type of vulnerability allows the attacker to force the victim’s browser to generate requests that appear to be legitimate requests from the victim. This type of attack could result in a transfer of funds, changing a password, or purchasing an item in the user's context. 

6. Security Misconfiguration 

Such flaws frequently give attackers unauthorised access to some system data or functionality. Occasionally, such flaws result in a complete system compromise. Your system could be completely compromised without you knowing it. All of your data could be stolen or modified slowly over time, leading to a costly recovery process. 

7. Insecure Cryptographic Storage

This type of vulnerability may compromise all data that should have been encrypted. Typically this information includes sensitive data such as health records, credentials, personal data, credit cards, etc. Impacts include loss of trust, reputation and legal liability issues. 

8. Failure to Restrict URL 

Applications are not always protecting page requests properly. Sometimes URL protection is managed via configuration, and the system is misconfigured.  

Occasionally developers may forget to include the proper code checks.  Such vulnerabilities provide hackers the opportunity to forcefully browse and access pages past the login page. 

9. Insufficient Transport Layer Protection  

An attacker can expose an individual user’s data leading to account theft. If an admin account was compromised, the entire site could be exposed. Poor SSL setup can also facilitate phishing and MITM attacks.

10. Invalidated Redirects and Forwards 

Such redirects may attempt to install malware or trick victims into disclosing passwords or other sensitive information. This type of vulnerability can result in major exploitation of sensitive information leading to a strong distrust of your web applications by users.


 Recent research shows that 75% of cyber-attacks such as ransomware occur at web application level, proving that ensuring web app security is crucial for business continuity and safety.  

Trident Computer Services have developed the Web Application Security Test to ensure the web becomes a more secure environment for administrators and users.  The test identifies security vulnerabilities and exploitable elements residing within web applications that could be used to affect the confidentiality, availability or integrity of information.


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5 Great Tips To Strengthen Your Web Security


Data is valuable, protect it!




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5 Great Tips To Strengthen Your Web Security

The preferred method for attacking businesses' online assets is via their web applications. According to a study released last year by HP, 69% of web applications scanned by the company had at least one SQL injection error, and 42% contained a cross-site scripting vulnerability. A White Hat Security Report discovered 50% of Education web sites and 47% of Healthcare websites are always vulnerable (vulnerable on every single day of the year). 

Web application vulnerabilities continue to be a significant problem. Depending on the specific circumstances, these vulnerabilities could cause significant problems for the companies that have not remediated them, up to and including the theft of critical business data or personally identifiable information, web site defacement, or denial of service.

While this list could go on and on, here are five great tips from our IT Security Engineer Rajitha Udayanga on how to strengthen your web application security and minimise your risk of a data breach:

1. Get Patched Up!

Keep your servers and software patched and up-to-date, last year we saw a string of security breaches stemming from the same problem: Unpatched versions of the ColdFusion application server software. With web application security, every little vulnerability opens the door for a security breach. You might build impenetrable applications but if you put those applications on an unpatched server, your data is still vulnerable.

2. Trust, But Verify User Input

While this advice might sound obvious, there’s a very good reason why it’s included: Despite the repeated warnings over the years, these types of attacks still happen far too often. Developers still aren’t properly validating user input, leaving their data wide open to attackers. The good news: frameworks for protecting against these attacks are improving. 

3. Use a Security-Focused Quality Assurance (QA) Process

 When testing new web applications, what do you check for? In most cases, testers looks for bugs in the interface and ensure the application does what it’s supposed to do. But, is that enough? Your QA process should also ask this question: Does the application do anything it’s not supposed to do? 

Security is a problem that will keep growing if not made a priority.  

It’s a problem that can compromise your customer’s sensitive data and cause irreparable damage to your company’s reputation.

4. Make Security Part Of The Organisation 

Shortly after the USA Healthcare.gov website went public, a “white hat” hacker discovered that security was never properly built into the site. It was composed of multiple insecure pieces that left user data wide open to attackers. Now, while most schools and organisations aren’t creating applications on this scale, it brings up an important point. Security should never be an afterthought. It can’t be something that’s added after the application is built. It should be a critical component of the entire development process, as well as the organisation as a whole.  

5. Test Your Website For Vulnerabilities 

It is important to regularly perform web security assessment to check for website and server vulnerabilities. Web security assessment should be performed on a schedule, and after any change or addition to your web components. Developing a relationship with a firm that provides security services can be a lifesaver when it comes to protecting your website. While the small things can be taken care of on your own, there are many security measures that should be handled by an expert. Companies providing security services can regularly assess your website for vulnerabilities, perform full website security audits, monitor for malicious activity, and be on hand whenever repair is needed.


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Prevent Ransomware This Christmas Period

There’s nothing worse in the field of technology than having a criminal in control of your network. When a ransomware attack occurs, it can easily elevate from a potential data loss to potential identity theft to a data breach in the form of extortion. Many various types of ransomware such as Cryptolocker are on the rise across the web with criminals netting over $150 million a year. These email scams are very cleaver, and while antivirus products help prevent these incidents, they are not infallible, and so to avoid being a victim to the scam we must all be vigilant and be aware of what to look for.

Threat Description
Be wary of emails coming in from unknown sources that claim to be originating from the following but not limited to AusPost, ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank and Federal Police. The hoax email appears legitimate as it is presented in a professional layout from email address that appear official and incorporates the company logo. The emails in fact contain a payload of a very dangerous virus/Trojan links that if clicked will download and install a program that encrypts data on all your computing devices including but not limited to your desktop or laptop computers, server storage, cloud storage if you have installed Dropbox or Onedrive on your local computer. 

The ransomware will also installs "helpful" files in each folder that direct the user to pay a ransom to have the encryption removed.

Example:

While these threats can be extremely serious, there are a number of actions you can take to reduce the risk of attack and improve the overall security of your organisation.
 


If you have received an email of this type and have clicked on any links or attachments, please contact Trident immediately on 1300 784 774.


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A Multi-Site Milestone For Our Project Management Team

2016 has been a year of challenge, triumph and learning for the Project Management (PM) team at Trident Computer Services.  The team has completed approximately 75 projects to date so far this year with projects ranging from low to high complexity, covering a wide spectrum of infrastructure projects, including server refresh, network optimisation, telephony , relocation and application  migration.

 

Trident’s PM team has been involved in eighty-five clients within the education, health and commercial sectors. Some of our education customers include Caulfield Grammar School, Melbourne Grammar School, Loreto Mandeville Hall Toorak and Knox Grammar School. In the health sector Trident assists Mckenzie Aged Care and Alzheimer’s Australia with ICT solutions. Businesses Trident had performed work for include Shine On and Point Trading.

The Trident PM office has had many  success stories in running high complexity projects, which usually involves multiple contractors, multiple sites, and a large number of project stakeholders. Projects as complex as these demand meticulous planning, good issue and risk management, and above all, top-notch communication.

"This project was a milestone as it was the first voice system for deployment, involving more than 300 phones over three campuses - Caulfield Grammar, Malvern Campus and Wheelers Hill."

One particularly large project the PM team delivered this year was completed in conjunction with Caulfield Grammar School where the PM team managed the implementation of their new Cisco voice system. This project was particularly of note because it was the first voice system project for a large scale deployment incorporating more than 200 phones. Previously Trident would have relied on external contractors for a project this complex, however this project was a milestone as it involved more than 300 phones over three different campuses (Caulfield Grammar, Malvern Campus and Wheelers Hill). Since the completion of this project in January 2016, the success of this project has also generated more business in the area of voice systems with Trident completing an additional four voice projects this year.

Underpinning the PM team at Trident Computer Services is the fundamental desire to meet the needs of the client, by ensuring stakeholders are regularly updated of a project’s progress throughout the duration.

 

 

 

Steve Tan

Director - Project Management Office
Trident Computer Services
e: stan@neptuneservices.com.au

 

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Trident And Philanthropy

Over my working life, I’ve had the privilege of working for a number of organisations that have held “pillars”, “foundations” or “principles” on which they operate. For some companies, these pillars have been present in everything they do, and for others they were certainly present, but to differing degrees. But when a company states “Philanthropy” as one of the five pillars of its organisation, I think it’s worth examining what that really means! How does a company be Philanthropic? What does that mean and how do they go about holding that at the core of their business?

At Trident Computer Services (sub in Trident Health), Philanthropy is listed as its newest pillar, something they publish widely and proudly on their emails, newsletter, brochures and website. So I thought I’d find out what they were actually doing, and what the impact was. What I found was that charity and Philanthropy were being role modelled from the top down!

Back in June I wrote a quick article “Katie Bentley named as an Ambassador for the St Kilda Gatehouse” which gave some detail about Katie’s work with a local charity organisation. Trident is supporting the organisation in so many ways, including being a drop-off location for donations that are promoted in every newsletter and at Trident events.

Geoff Bentley has also been active on the Philanthropy front, organizing a local event aimed at supporting local charities in 2010. Now known as “The Brighton lunch”, this large scale event a pivotal fund raising event for many local charities. The 2016 Brighton Lunch raised $113,000 for the Will Murray Foundation, Luke Batty Foundation and Rotary Brighton

Geoff was awarded The Paul Harris Fellow award in 2014 which acknowledges individuals who arrange substantial contributions to The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. This was in recognition of his work in organising The Brighton Lunch.

Geoff is regularly asked to assist in arranging charity events and devotes some of his time to assisting charities. He is currently arranging events for The Susan Alberti Foundation and the John Ilhan Foundation, and has been involved in helping to supply repurposed laptops to the Foundation for Water and Education in Cambodia

"Supporting the local community is important to me.  I want my children, and my staff, to see what we are able to achieve for others."

Assisting charitable organizations in his local community is important to Geoff.  “I have been very lucky in my working life to be able to now assist others in my community.  Supporting the local community is important to me.  I want my children, and my staff, to see what we are able to achieve for others.  I have been lucky enough to include my family and my staff in many of these events.  Our last event was one of my favourites – supporting local bayside boy Will Murray in his quest to lead a fulfilling life as a recent paraplegic was an inspirational driving factor for me and my team.”

With Trident’s leadership so active in working with charities, it’s little surprise that other staff are doing likewise. A few examples of Trident staff devoting time to Philanthropy are:

  • Technology Innovator Stuart Wilson has been working with MITS (Supporting the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School)

  • Chief Innovation Officer Nathan Burgess works to support the Cambodia Kids Foundation and has led several groups to work in rural areas of Cambodia

  • Technology Innovator Steve Comerford supports Amnesty International, and sponsors two children in Guatemala through World Vision

  • Systems Engineer Sudin Shrestha in involved in supporting NepalAma which helps education for needy and underprivileged Nepalese kids

  • Service Delivery Manager Michael Elphinstone is heavily involved in Melbourne Life Christian Church

 

Charities listed in this article:

 

 

 

Nathan Burgess

Lead Marketing Innovator
Trident Computer Services
e: nburgess@trident.com.au

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Data Is Valuable, Protect It!

While banks and financial institutions have a lot to lose financially, people tend to forget how much Personal Identifiable Information (PII) smaller organisations hold and just how valuable that is! Think of all the PII a school holds on its staff, students, parents, past students, creditors and the wider community!

What do we have of Value?

                   

Over recent months, we are seeing examples in the United States where schools and small businesses are being hit with ransomware and crypto-lockers, and if you look at who suffers the consequences of a breach like this, it’s not just the organisation, but potentially everyone connected to that organisation. Recent incidents highlight that security leaks can happen and can damage the reputation and security of an organisation. Security breaches aren’t necessarily about breaking a system or bringing down a network these days, it’s more about gaining information or opening a door to your information as it is the most valuable asset you have!

"Security breaches aren’t necessarily about breaking a system or bringing down a network these days, it’s more about gaining information"

Times, they are a changin’

People think that hackers are the only people who will pose a risk to their organisation, but the Threat Landscape is so different now that hackers are such a small part. With the prevalence of state support groups, cyber terrorist, insider attacks, and now ransomware, external hacking is only a small part of the risk.

Across all industries, we are now seeing attacks from within an organisation being more prevalent than ones from outside. Recent statistics show that the internal security risk is more prevalent, not because of malicious intent, but because companies now allow staff to bring their own device to work (BYOD). While BYOD can reduce device cost, and empower employees to choose a device that suits the way they work, these devices are more difficult to secure and open up an organisation to internal threats. It’s hard to say to an employee that ‘just because we trust you, doesn’t mean we trust your device,’ but it’s never been more true! Any infection their BOYD has, creates the potential to compromise your organisation’s IT security.

Every organisation needs a Security Audit, Vulnerability Assessment and/or a Penetration Test to evaluate their risk. These measures will identify holes you didn’t know about, or highlight things you have missed, it’s information that is vital to improving your security controls. If you are never tested, how are you to actually know?”

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Parents Urged To Talk To Children About Online Safety

Australian parents are being urged to talk to their children about how to stay safe online and the importance of respectful relationships.

The Australian Federal Police including the police service in the Australian Capital Territory, as well as police services in the Northern Territory, New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania, say it is ‘critical that for parents, caregivers and teachers to talk to their children about the importance of respectful relationships, both on and offline’.

The law enforcement agencies issued the statement after advising that a website encouraging users to upload explicit images of young women had re-emerged online.

The police services were working with government agencies, including the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner, and international law enforcement bodies, to evaluate the offshore website and determine the appropriate course of action.

‘We must work together to educate and empower young people to use technology safely and responsibly,’

Giving young people strategies to say ‘no’ to inappropriate requests or to report suspicious behaviour are paramount to keeping them safe from harm.’

The police advised that the national ThinkUKnow cyber safety education program was focused on preventing children from being groomed or mistreated online.

‘For more information and to book a free cyber safety presentation, visit www.thinkuknow.org.au.




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Queensland, Where Trident Shines

My first 12 months working for Trident Computer Services in Queensland has been the most amazing adventure! I have learnt a lot; not failed, but learnt a lot and continue to do so every day.  I have had many supporters and mentors which has been super crucial to my personal and business success and I’ve had my doubters which helps me drive harder to succeed in everything I do.

Throughout this time I have learnt it is vital to back yourself, to listen to your customers and show them what is possible… it allows you to open them to the real world of possibilities!

I believe I have always pushed the boundaries in a smart way. When you are tasked with introducing a highly respected existing business into a new state it gives you the opportunity to not only start with a blank canvas but a whole new opportunity to do what I believe in

"To grow a new business has been hard work: no office, no customer base and the whole of Queensland as your opportunity."

The Early Days

In the early days I spent many days in my car, cold calling customers just to get started. While this was very time consuming, in the long run it provided a good potential customer base and let me meet and talk to a wide range of people working in diverse companies and schools.

While I could work from home I found this doesn’t always work. I lacked a routine… and yes I love routine. So I set myself a schedule to be at a café first thing every morning to start the day; I call this 10 before 10.  I learnt this many years ago and use this as my golden rule… 10 customer contacts every day before 10am, whether by phone, e-mail or face to face meeting.  This gets my day off to a great start and makes every day a productive one. I found some really inspirational mentors and friends and they have given me the confidence to step out of my comfort zone and do what I believe I do best; partner with my customers and disrupt their thinking.

"One of the things I love about Queensland is its diversity, the people are so different, so welcoming, and so happy to share their experiences! "

I met some amazing people in those early days, Adam from Victory College, Mack from McDonald Jones, who have developed into fantastic partners.

And Now…

Over the last 12 months Trident QLD has found its space in the market. We are growing locally in staff numbers; we still do not have an office; and we are loving the freedom.  I spend a lot of time with our amazing customers, getting to know their current and future requirements and now we have a business that has a great foundation on which to grow further.

Our customers are enjoying the personal touch and the customized service we provide; we have been free to show customers new technologies and transform their IT teams from a cost centre to innovative think centres for their business.

"Our customers are enjoying the personal touch and the customized service we provide."

We’ve introduced Simplivity Hyperconverged Infrastructure to Vale and others, and are helping them reduce costs and achieve excellent performance from their core infrastructure. Mt St Michaels College and Oakleigh State School have embraced our 3D printing products, and are positioning themselves as leaders in STEM education. It’s amazing to be involved organisations that are embracing innovation – something Trident is all about!

In summary

IT is full of change, some people embrace that change, while some cling to the old ways, but I’m privileged to work for a company that is heading into the future delivering real, innovative solutions for businesses! Trident QLD has climbed the first hill; now we are ready to climb again. I scare myself on what we have been able to achieve and I am as hungry as ever to succeed and, with a big smile, cannot wait for the next successful 12 months.

 

 

Matthew Marris
Technology Innovator
Trident Computer Services
e: mmarris@trident.com.au

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The 2016 Trident Education Conference - Move Fast And Shake Things

Over the last 8 years, I’ve been to 7 Trident Education Conferences as a delegate, and it was the one non-negotiable in my PL budget for myself and my Head of Technical Services, Greg Bell. The only one I’ve missed was when it clashed with a National Hockey tournament.

This year was a little different as over the last 12 months things have certainly moved fast for me… and for the first time, 2016 saw me on the other side of the conference, working within the talented team at Trident that plan and organise what is well regarded as the premiere conference for IT decision makers.

This year’s theme was “Move Fast and Shake Things”, a topic that has proved to be very apt for most of the delegates, and as I spent time talking to people over the three days of the event, I heard many stories of how our schools are moving fast, being moved, shaking things up, or being shaken!

Try as I might, I’m not going to be able to relate to you just what makes this conference such a key event on the calendar of so many IT Managers and Directors; some say it’s the outstanding presentations, the valuable networking, the way delegates are always challenged to think outside the box… some say it’s just “the vibe”!

Rather than try to summarise the whole conference, I’ve picked out my top 5 Conference Highlights, a very difficult thing to do with such an outstanding program, but here they are:

Top 5 Highlights - 2016 Trident Education Conference

#5 Presentations from our delegates, Ben Ryder, Andrew Stuart, Luke Turner and Rob Flavell

Covering topics from innovation, audits, penetration testing and trends in teaching and learning, our delegates always deliver riveting stories and examples of IT within their Schools. This year was no exception, and the conversation and questions that resulted from these key presentations were fantastic! Massive thanks to them all for agreeing to share their stories!

#4 Ray Fleming – “Wearable Technology, the Internet of Things and the Future”

When it comes to presentations that captivate, entertain and inform, Ray is a master! This year he focussed on connected everything, from cows to kids to classrooms and what the Internet of Things could mean to the way we work, learn and live. As always, Ray’s concepts were backed with facts and stats and real world examples of how a wide range of sectors are “Moving fast and shaking things!”

#3 6x5 Well Shaken!

Challenging six delegates to present to the conference for 5 minutes each on how they have “moved fast” or “Shaken things” or both was bound to prove two things: that 5 minutes is nowhere enough time, and that our Schools are full of amazing innovation!
We heard from:

  • Lucy Barrow, eLearning Developer at the City of Ballarat, who offered a unique, post-school perspective on how important it is to shake things in education.
  • Brett Graham, Head of Technology and Innovation at Flinders Christian Community College spoke about “Confluence” and how it’s shaking up IT support and delivering information directly to staff and students.
  • Steven Archibald, Information, Communication and Technology Manager at Carey Grammar presented about the amazing new facility at Carey and how that is shaking traditional IT and Education.
  • Chris Topp, Director of IT at Luther College presented the Luther College App, and how this innovative solution is keeping parents and students informed.
  • Diana Murase, ICT Manager at Kardinia International College talked about the challenges of self-examination and reflection that changes in leadership can produce.
  • Janet Smith, Director of Technology at MLC on how data is being used at MLC to better inform their school community.

#2 Tour of the Geelong Library and Heritage Centre.

The Trident Education Conference for 2016 “Move Fast and Shake Things” commenced with a tour of the new Geelong Library and Heritage Centre. Lead by the Manager of Digital Services, Gerrard Daniels, the conference delegates were treated to a special tour of the facilities from top to bottom of the new centre. From the top most floor with panoramic views of Geelong with its cutting-edge AV infrastructure; through the dedicated Heritage Centre space with technology to assist researchers through to the many and varied library spaces; the tour identified a wide range of integrated technology that would be more than applicable in schools.
A wonderful space that was the perfect exciting and thought-provoking start to the Trident Conference for 2016.

#1 Keynote, Dr Simon Eassom– “Cognitive Computing and the Future of Education: From Hype to Insight”

Topping out my top 5 would have to be the opening keynote of the 2016 conference by Dr Simon Eassom. His presentation focussed on digital transformation and how the world and therefore education, is moving fast. This insightful presentation challenged our delegate’s perception on how technology is impacting the future of education and work and the opportunities it presents for re-thinking how we educate and what we’re educating for. His keynote left many delegates with more questions than answers, and remained the topic of conversation throughout the rest of the conference!

And I could go on… the spectacular Gala Dinner, presentations by disruptive technologies like Simplivity, Aruba HPE, VIVI, Toshiba and Lenovo, or the gripping presentation from Andie Patchett about the St Kilda Gatehouse (http://www.stkildagatehouse.org.au/), or the time spent discussing innovation with our sponsors…
In all, the 2016 Trident Education Conference proved once again to be an outstanding event for the key IT decision makers in Schools. If you missed this year, you’ll have to wait 11.5 months for the next one, but I know that everyone who attended this year eagerly awaiting what the 2017 conference will bring!

 

Nathan Burgess

Lead Marketing Innovator
Trident Computer Services
e: nburgess@trident.com.au

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Katie's Blog | Conference Recap

Two weeks ago we held our annual Trident Education conference. Our theme of "Move Fast and Shake Things 2016" proved to be one which allowed many delegates to share how they have shaken, been shaken, moved fast or failed fast over the last 12 months.

At Trident, we embrace the notion of failing fast through trying innovative ideas. We believe that it is impossible to run a business without failing at something every once in a while, unless we live so cautiously that we fail to innovate at all. As the old rules of business crumble - we make up our own rules based on our company pillars - People/ Integrity/ Longevity/ Trust/ Philanthropy. We could almost add moving fast as another pillar as we understand that the satisfied need ceases to motivate. This desire to move fast comes from 32 years of experience - our experience comes from bad judgment and good judgment comes from our experience.

The Dollar Shave Club

An inspiring recent example of moving fast and shaking things is The Dollar Shave Club, essentially a managed service for beards and moustaches! Through offering consumers the chance to purchase online for a small monthly fee, male faces all over the world are trim and neat for only a few dollars a month. Their innovative and quirky advertising, makes us want them to succeed over the Goliath's of the shaving industry. They have now expanded into wet wipes toilet paper aptly named One Wipe Charlie. The internet, mass transportation and globalisation enabled the club to recently sell for over 1 billion US dollars after only 5 years. 

The club proved it was possible to leverage technology, transportation systems and globalization to disrupt the industry and produce a valuable and disruptive organization. The Shave Club used Amazon Web Services, and shows us that manufacturing now is just as much a line item as is a distribution apparatus. This is the business strategy of many other disruptive companies, including Airbnb and Uber who would never have been possible without a number of inventions including the internet, the smartphone and location tracking technology.


Rethinking Industry

 

At our Trident Education Conference, IBM futurist, Dr Simon Eassom spoke of how 3D printing was going to change the manufacturing industry. 3D printing has been around for decades, better known as additive manufacturing (building an object layer by layer). Today we sell a range of consumer friendly 3D printers with reduced footprints, different materials and new techniques. Technology has developed to the point where we are rethinking industry. 

The next industrial revolution is opening up manufacturing to the whole world - where everyone can participate in the process. This democratization idea will be similar to the early IT journey - from enormous mainframes in the hands of a few, to minuscule devices in suit pockets. Desktop 3D printing manufacturing technology can be done at home, the office, a hospital or a school, bringing manufacturing to non-manufacturers the way PCs brought computing to non-traditional environments. Soon it may be possible for the military to print replacement parts right on the battlefield instead of having to rely on limited spares and supply.

Moving fast and shaking things has never been more important, or more interesting. It is a joyful privilege to lead a dynamic and disruptive IT organization into this next industrial wave.



 

 Kaite Bentley
Chief Executive Innovator
Trident Computer Services

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Rethinking IT Security

For many years’ companies have been focussed on the security required to protect their IT investment and their data. Companies have installed firewalls and Anti-virus solutions and many would be quite confident that they have a good level of security in place. Unfortunately, today’s threat landscape has changed so rapidly and is now so broad, that just having a firewall is no longer enough.

Rajitha Udayanga, Security Engineer

To gain a better insight into IT security and the threats posed to a company today, I spoke to Rajitha Udayanga, Security Engineer within the Trident Computer Services group. Rajitha is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional with over 13 years of experience in IT, Network and Data Security. He specialises in a wide range of IT security areas, such as Data Network Security Implantation, Data Network Design and Implementation, Information Security Audits, Information Security Management Risk, Cyber Security Incident Management and Response, IT Forensics.

Rajitha said, “It is extremely difficult to achieve 100% security, you can get close, but you need layered security to achieve anything close to it.

Many organisations forget that people will always be a factor. IT Security professionals have a saying, ‘There is no security, without U’, and it’s very true. Technical controls are only one aspect of your security, most organisations forget that human resource security is just as important.

“True IT Security is a collective effort between people and technology, that way we can reduce risk. But understand, it is extremely difficult to remove risk completely. You can certainly reduce it to acceptable levels, but you cannot remove it completely. Take, for example, the recent successful hacking of the FBI and NASA. They have multi-layered security controls yet were still able to be compromised.”

"There is no security, without U"

Why have things changed so much?

When asked why things have changed so much, Rajitha told me, “People think that hackers are the only people who will pose a risk to their organisation, but the Threat Landscape is so different now that hackers are such a small part. With the prevalence of state support groups, cyber terrorist, insider attacks, and now ransomware, external hacking is only a small part of the risk.

Across all industries, we are now seeing attacks from within an organisation being more prevalent than ones from outside. Recent statistics show that the internal security risk is more prevalent, not because of malicious intent, but because companies now allow staff to bring their own device to work (BYOD). While BYOD can reduce device cost, and empower employees to choose a device that suits the way they work, these devices are more difficult to secure and open up an organisation to internal threats. It’s hard to say to an employee that ‘just because we trust you, doesn’t mean we trust your device,’ but it’s never been more true! Any infection their BOYD has, creates the potential to compromise your organisation’s IT security.”

"Just because we trust you, doesn’t mean we trust your device"

Across all industries, we are now seeing attacks from within an organisation being more prevalent than ones from outside. Recent statistics show that the internal security risk is more prevalent, not because of malicious intent, but because companies now allow staff to bring their own device to work (BYOD). While BYOD can reduce device cost, and empower employees to choose a device that suits the way they work, these devices are more difficult to secure and open up an organisation to internal threats. It’s hard to say to an employee that ‘just because we trust you, doesn’t mean we trust your device,’ but it’s never been more true! Any infection their BOYD has, creates the potential to compromise your organisation’s IT security.”

We're not in finance, so what do we have of value?

Having worked in the education and corporate sectors for many years, I’ve heard many colleagues say that as their School or Company is small, or that since they aren’t dealing in finance etc., that they won’t be a target, but Rajitha’s perspective on that was quite different. “While banks and financial institutions have a lot to lose financially, people tend to forget how much Personal Identifiable Information (PII) smaller organisations hold and just how valuable that is! Think of all the PII a school holds on its staff, present and past students, parents and community!

We are seeing examples in the United States where health care providers are being hit with ransomware and crypto-lockers, and if you look at who suffers the consequences of a breach like this, it’s not just the organisation, but potentially everyone connected to that organisation. Recent incidents highlight that security leaks can happen and can damage the reputation and security of an organisation. Security breaches aren’t necessarily about breaking a system or bringing down a network these days, it’s more about gaining information or opening a door to your information as it is the most valuable asset you have!”

Words of Wisdom!

When asked to give me his most important ‘words of wisdom’ about IT Security, Raj told me he had two:

“You have to remember that the security professionals are playing catch-up, always working on the new holes as they arise. Hackers are on their own timelines, exploring new potentials – they have plenty of time to come up with new threats, and many hackers caught by law are under 20. They are students!”

And

“Every organisation needs a Security Audit or Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Test to evaluate their risk. While it may show you holes you didn’t know about, or highlight things you have missed, that information is vital to improving your security controls. If you are never tested, how are you to actually know?”

 

Details on Rajitha Udayanga

Rajitha has recently joined the Trident Computer Services group, bringing over 13 years of experience in IT, Network and Data Security to the organisation. Rajitha has a strong technical background in Network, Systems Integration and Network Security and is constantly working to improve performance and outcomes for his clients.
He has worked across various industry sectors (e.g., banking, financial services, service providing, telecommunication and education) with large organisations designing, implementing and reviewing security solutions as well as security and risk management frameworks.
Rajitha specialises in:

  • Data Network Security
  • Implantation Data Network Design
  • Implementation Information Security Audits
  • Business Continuity Planning and Audits
  • Information Security Management
  • Risk Management
  • Compliances
  • Cyber Security Incident Management
  • and Response IT Forensic.

He holds certifications in:

  • CISSP (ID # 317851)
  • C|EH (ID # ECC48949222183)
  • ISO 22301:2012 Lead Auditor (ID #BSI9912901)
  • ISO 27001:2013 Lead Implementer (ID # BSI9912912)

 

 

Nathan Burgess

Lead Marketing Innovator
Trident Computer Services
e: nburgess@trident.com.au

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Symantec Vulnerabilities Uncovered

Over the last week, the focus of IT professionals has been drawn towards Symantec, as details were released regarding more than two dozen vulnerabilities in its anti-virus software, many of which have been listed as "high" severity. The vulnerabilities cover most of the company's consumer and enterprise products, and some will need to be manually updated by partners or customers to remediate the issues.

Is it really that bad?

Out of the vulnerabilities that have been uncovered in 25 of Symantec's products, most are listed as "high" severity vulnerabilities. This is because the vulnerabilities are fairly easy to exploit, and from there hackers could compromise an entire enterprise fleet using a vulnerability like this," said Tavis Ormandy, a researcher with Google's Project Zero that helped discover the vulnerabilities.
"These vulnerabilities are as bad as it gets," Ormandy said "They don't require any user interaction, they affect the default configuration, and the software runs at the highest privilege levels possible. In certain cases on Windows, vulnerable code is even loaded into the kernel, resulting in remote kernel memory corruption."

The vulnerabilities centre mostly around the tool Symantec uses to unpack compressed executables, a tool that is run in the kernel. Ormandy used odd-sized records, which were incorrectly rounded up by the system, to create a buffer overflow. This could be triggered by something as simple as emailing a file or link to a victim, without the need for them to open it, because Symantec uses a filter driver to intercept all system I/O, Ormandy said.

Symantec said in its advisory that it is not aware of any of the vulnerabilities being exploited.

"90% of Trident customers trust Sophos to keep them secure. Perhaps the time has finally come to switch to Sophos."

What products are affected?

An extensive number of products are affected because Symantec uses the same core engine across many products, including its consumer and enterprise lines. According to an advisory posted by Symantec, the affected enterprise products include:
Advanced Threat Protection, Symantec Data Center Security:Server (SDCS:S), Symantec Web Security .Cloud, Email Security Server .Cloud (ESS), Symantec Web Gateway, Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP), Symantec Endpoint Protection for Mac (SEP for Mac), Symantec Endpoint Protection for Linux (SEP for Linux), Symantec Protection Engine (SPE), Symantec Protection for SharePoint Servers (SPSS), Symantec Mail Security for Microsoft Exchange (SMSMSE), Symantec Mail Security for Domino (SMSDOM), CSAPI, Symantec Message Gateway (SMG) and Symantec Message Gateway for Service Providers (SMG-SP).

The vulnerabilities also affected nine of the company's consumer Norton products.

Is there a fix yet?

Symantec has "verified these issues and addressed them in product updates, to fully mitigate the identified vulnerabilities”, Symantec recommends applying the required patches to the affected products as soon as possible. This is the only means to ensure that installed products cannot be exploited," the advisory said.

What does Trident Recommend?

For over 10  years, Trident has been recommending Sophos anti-virus and endpoint protection solutions. Whilst no security vendor claims 100% protection, we've assessed many products over the years and every time Sophos ends up ahead in pricing, protection and support – that’s why it’s the only endpoint protection solution we offer! They also do email, antivirus and anti spam solutions and with the recent acquisition of Cyberroam their UTM Firewall solutions provide world class protection.
It’s time to talk Sophos with us and take away the risk and complexity of your firewall, anti-virus, endpoint and email protection. 

 

There’s a few resources available for you to read over:

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Time To Move Fast And Shake Things

As a school Director of ICT, I was lucky enough to attend many IT and educational technology conferences over the years. Many were lavish affairs, sometimes with thousands of delegates and international speakers. But without doubt my favourite event of the year was always the Trident Education Conference. 

A smaller more boutique conference, Trident’s event always provided the perfect balance of inspirational speakers, peer stories from the coal-face, vendor product demos, and networking, all in amazing venues. And not forgetting the opportunity to relax with a glass of wine or two in the evening! 

My first Trident Education Conference was in 2009, when Trident was a new company to me, co-hosted by Melbourne Grammar School and Xavier College, though I was just a day visitor. The next year was held Moonah Links on the Mornington Peninsula and from then on I was hooked! 

In 2013 I joined Trident as an Account Manager and was immediately involved in the organisation of Cultivate 2013 at Werribee Mansions, where we intended to explore the changing role of the school IT Manager. After a visit to Westbourne Grammar School, we prepared to kick off the conference proper on Thursday morning. Katie Bentley was scheduled to introduce the day at 9.00am, but at 8.59am she turned to me and said “Gav, you can introduce this!” Thanks Katie! From that moment I resolved to be prepared. 

In 2014 we visited Eltham College on the way to the Blairgownie Estate in the beautiful Yarra Valley. Last year we visited Kardinia International College in Geelong before hosting our largest ever conference at the RACV Torquay resort. Even though it was our largest, we still managed to retain the friendly cosy atmosphere associated with the Trident family ethos. Though on the Thursday night, I’m not sure that we kept it classy!

This July we intend to Move Fast and Shake Things when we return again to the RACV Torquay resort with it’s amazing architecture and beautiful views over the golf course and ocean beyond. We break tradition on the Wednesday by not visiting a school first. This year we meet at the new Geelong Library. This stunning building shows the future of Libraries are more than just borrowing books, with a focus on high-end technology to drive research and exploration. 

The conference opens, as usual, on Thursday morning with an exciting program of speakers - all movers and shakers. Dr Simon Eassom from IBM kicks off the conference as keynote speaker and will tell us about ‘Cognitive Computing and the Future of Education’. Highlights of the day for me will be the '7x5 Well Shaken' session, where 7 members of our community will spend 5 minutes explaining how they move fast and shake things, and the HP Sprout demo. And then an opportunity to wind down, or up, with the Conference Gala Dinner in the evening. Many are already asking what outfit Martin Corden will be wearing this year, following previous outings as Santa Claus and various dresses! 

"Places are filling up fast so I encourage anyone who hasn’t yet registered to visit our conference website, check out the program and put your name down."

On Friday we welcome back Ray Fleming from Microsoft to talk about 'Wearable Technology, IOT and the Future', and close out the conference with Ben Ryder 'Shaking it up at Trinity Grammar School'. 

Once again the conference MC is a likeable Englishman who will do his best to introduce and wrap up each day, keep the sessions moving on time, and fill the gaps between speakers, but most importantly keep Martin in check! 

Places are filling up fast so I encourage anyone who hasn’t yet registered to visit our conference website, check out the program and put your name down. We look forward to seeing you there.

 

  Gavin May

Technology Innovator
Trident Computer Services
e: GMay@trident.com.au

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Katie Bentley Named As An Ambassador For The St Kilda Gatehouse

I am very excited to officially become an Ambassador for the St Kilda Gatehouse. The Gatehouse is a not for profit Christian organization which works alongside those involved in street based sex work or affected by commercial sexual exploitation as a result of hardship.

Through providing a place of belonging and engagement Gatehouse helps individuals address issues such as family violence, drug addiction, homelessness, poverty, mental health and social isolation. It is a place where individuals feel valued and important. For many who come from challenging backgrounds it is a source of dignity and hope. I have wanted to work with the Gatehouse for many years and felt that 2016 would be a good time for me with my family starting to grow older. I want to teach my children, and potentially inspire my staff, about principals of compassion and empathy.

"The St Kilda Gatehouse is a place where individuals feel valued and important. For many who come from challenging backgrounds it is a source of dignity and hope."

After completing my law degree, it was obvious I was never going to be a very good lawyer as I was more interested in how the individual was going to prepare to lead a more fulfilling life. Working with marginalized women in my local community is important to me. I believe it will help my family and my organization promote a culture of joy in 2016.

  Katie Bentley

Chief Executive Innovator
Trident Computer Services
e: kbentley@trident.com.au

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Supporting The Melbourne Indigenous Transition School

During the early months of 2015, the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School (MITS) approached Trident Computer Services looking for a partner to assist them with setting up a ground breaking transition school for indigenous students. Being an ambitious and innovative plan idea to develop a transition education and home stay program for regional indigenous students it was certainly something that Trident was keen to be involved in. The School would provide a home and academic program as a bridge for indigenous students coming to Melbourne for scholarships or to attend city schools.

Trident CEO, Katie Bentley, invited me to be a part of this exciting project on behalf of Trident Computer Services as MITS they canvassed the local community for support. For me, it was the opportunity to become involved in a project where I could make a real difference, not only assisting them in sourcing IT equipment and solutions, but also to get back to my grass roots of working in a school and also possibly provide the opportunity to mentor others further down the track.

With the official opening of MITS at the end of June 2016, I’ve had a chance to reflect on just what we’ve been able to see them achieve with the help of many benefactors (including us). The School now has a housing base in Richmond and a classroom facility based at the Richmond Football club. The house has Meraki wireless access points providing connectivity for staff and students. I have also had the opportunity to do some hands-on work setting the staff and students up with laptops provided as part of a  sponsorship arrangement with Lenovo.

With the generous assistance of CISCO MITS has taken delivery of a number of video endpoints that will be setup to provide a video conference solution to link the two sites as well as providing dial-in capability for the students to communicate and stay in touch with family and other people across the country.

"It’s an exciting time to be involved in a project like MITS, and I’d encourage others to seek out worthwhile organisations that need support."

The project is far from complete, and I’m excited about where it will head next! Over 2016 we’ll be examining how other technologies could be integrated into the school to provide students with exposure to the kinds of technology they will be using when they go off to other schools. It’s an exciting time to be involved in a project like MITS, and I’d encourage others to seek out worthwhile organisations that need support.

  Stuart Wilson

Technology Innovator
Trident Computer Services
e: swilson@trident.com.au

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IT Plays A Significant Role In Every Organisation

IT is the agent of productivity and most organisations now rely on IT systems to run smoothly. Employees need effective information technology systems to achieve business outcomes, to transact and interact with customers - every organisation needs to know if they are getting the most out of their IT system. Your business depends on its IT systems day in and day out. You know exactly what you are using and why you are using it. You have strong business intelligence and you have an understanding of how IT is solving problems and creating business value. Right?

Which brings me to a meeting I had with an organisation last week. The meeting was productive and interactive but one thing was clear. The key stakeholders in the organisation had no idea what IT systems were been used, the functionality that the systems provided neither were they aware of the serviceability and support of those systems. They had no idea!

I’m a realist. I understand that seemingly from day to day, systems change, new technologies develop and keeping abreast of technology developments can be seen as costly and time consuming, I know that sometimes technology is complex. I understand that renewing technology can sometimes seem like an unnecessary expense. But what I’m talking about here is an organisation that didn’t know what IT systems they were using at all. They didn’t know what hardware was in place, what their current software levels were, what license agreements or support contracts they had in place – the key stakeholders in the business were running blind from an IT perspective. As shocking of a situation that was for me, what’s more alarming is that this company is not alone.

Simply, not having an IT strategy and being unaware of what IT infrastructure is in place is a recipe for disaster. How can any business make an informed decision on their technology requirements if they don’t know what they are currently using? 

A 2015 study by Veeam showed that on average Australian companies have 9 IT outages a year. A 2014 survey by CA technologies found that small enterprises lost, on average, over $55,000 in revenue due to IT failures and downtime. So whilst IT can be used to solve business issues and drive innovation it also represents a major risk for organisations.

How can an organisation manage risk and guarantee performance if their current infrastructure isn’t documented and correctly maintained? How can an organisation understand where to invest and how to use IT to address business problems if you don’t have a starting point? An organisation can choose from a variety of fundamentally different approaches to IT depending on its culture, strategy, and structure. But good IT governance needs to be in place in any organisation.

If you don’t know what IT systems your organisation is using, if your current systems aren’t documented and maintained and if you don’t have an IT strategy then you should be very worried about the success of your organisation. It seems clear to me that IT is fundamental to the success of modern organisations. It shouldn’t be forgotten or treated as an afterthought.

For further details on how your organisation can benefit from gaining an insight into your IT Systems, get in touch with Steve or the staff at Trident today. We’ll be more than happy to discuss how Trident can help you.

  Steve Comerford

Technology Innovator
Trident Computer Services
e: scomerford@trident.com.au

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Commonwealth Bank Innovation Lab Tour

As many of our readers will know, innovation is at the heart of the Trident Computer Services business. We pride ourselves on our ability to help our customers innovate, to bring innovative products to our customers, to help schools use technology in innovative ways, and in turn, help their businesses innovate in their markets.

On Wednesday the 26th of May, a small group of Trident staff and customers were invited to attend the Commonwealth Bank's touring Innovation Lab. A condensed version of their Sydney based innovation lab, the tour offered to expose us to a wide range of technologies, concepts and processes that can help organizations to innovate.

Rather than give you a full run down of the entire tour, I thought I'd write my "Top 5 take-aways" from the tour. A list of things that I want to find out more about, try myself, or discuss further with my colleagues.

Commonwealth Bank's touring Innovation Lab - Top 5 take-aways

1. Design Thinking

A key part of the tour revolved about exposing participants to the Design Thinking and Human Centered Design frameworks. While I knew of both of these, my interest was re-ignited after hearing how the Commonwealth Bank are using the process to develop and refine their products and services, and how they are helping other businesses to do the same. I suggest doing some research on it yourself. https://www.ideo.org/tools has some interesting tools to take a look at.

 

2. Fail Early, Fail Often

The above slogan was plastered around the tour space and we were reminded that if you truly want to innovate, you have to be prepared to fail, and possibly fail often - but, if you fail early, the opportunity to learn from that failure and address it and refine your idea gives the final outcome so much more. I know this is a philosophy held by many of the Schools that we work with - but I was reminded that it's not just something we should teach our children.

3. The Rate of Change

Whether it was a concept that the Innovation Lab wanted us to take away, I was certainly struck by the rate of change that the Commonwealth bank, and banking in general, has gone through. Seeing the old and new technology together, remembering pre-Internet days of phone banking and being shown the concepts and technology behind "BlockChain" and BitCoin certainly brought home how fast things change.

 

4. Big Data

An interesting "interactive wall" showing the analysis of Commonwealth Bank customer and merchant data was amazing. To be able to look at your suburb and see the spending of customers in that area against national averages was very interesting. It was only a glimpse of what big data can offer, but as organizations begin to collect and analyse their data in more meaningful ways, I can't help but wonder how our customers will use technology and data to better shape their organizations, teach their students and help their communities.

5. The potential of our colleagues

Perhaps the biggest point of impact for me was standing amongst a small group of IT Professionals from some of our schools and listening to them talk about how they are already beginning, or have been using for some time, many of the technologies and concepts we were being exposed to. I walked away with a firm impression that the knowledge and experiences of our peers is so valuable, and something we should definitely tap into! Bring on our Education Conference, a perfect opportunity to network and connect with these amazing people. [Click here to find out more]

 

If you would like to know more about the Innovation Lab or any of the ideas above, contact Nathan or any of the Technology Innovators at Trident.

 

Nathan Burgess

Lead Marketing Innovator
Trident Computer Services
e: nburgess@trident.com.au

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Vmware Line-Up Changes – Limited Time Discount Upgrade Offer

VMWare has recently announced changes to their core virtualisation products that will simplify the product offerings for their users. The main changes see a reduction in the number of product variations available in their key virtualisation product, vSphere.

VMWare’s new line-up:

  • VMware vSphere Standard,
  • VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus
  • VMware vSphere with Operations Management Enterprise Plus.

Retired products:

  • VMware vSphere Enterprise,
  • VMware vSphere with Operations Management Standard
  • VMware vSphere with Operations Management Enterprise

There are a few changes to what’s included in the products, the most notable is that all VMware vCenter Server Standard customers will now receive vRealize Log Insight for vCenter Server. The new offering will provide 25 Operating System Instances (OSIs) of vRealize Log Insight limited to monitoring logs from VMware vCenter Server, VMware vSphere and VMware vRealize Log Insight.

There are a few pricing changes as well, but it’s important to note that VMWare are offering a limited time discounted upgrade off from VMware vSphere Enterprise to VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus for current customers. This offer is valid until 25th June 2016.

"VMWare are offering a limited time discounted upgrade off from VMware vSphere Enterprise to VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus for current customers."

Customers can still buy vSphere Enterprise and the other discontinued vSphere versions until June 30, 2016, and the products will be supported until scheduled end-of-life dates in the year 2020.

To find out more about the changes, or to get more information about the limited offer, please contact Martin or any of the Trident Technology Innovators or read this FAQ.

  Martin Corden

Technology Innovator
Trident Computer Services
e: MCorden@trident.com.au

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IP Security Cameras In Schools – 5 Things You May Not Have Thought About

For the past 10 years I’ve been having discussions with many schools about using IP based security cameras in a large number of varied environments. Throughout this time I’ve come across a number of things that school’s maybe haven’t considered, or have incorrectly believed about the technology.
To help, those of you thinking about deploying Security Cameras, I’ve complied my top “5 things you may not have thought about” in relation to this technology. Irrespective of where you are with security cameras, I think there’s something for everyone in the list below:

1. Who's watching your facilities when you aren't around?

Often schools have alarm systems that protect the internals of buildings, but who is watching the exterior of your facilities. Much of today’s vandalism in schools takes place outside buildings, and while you could employ a security guard to patrol the grounds, they can only cover one area at a time. Schools often forget to think about external damage, theft, unauthorised access and vagrancy when they are thinking about security and how security cameras can enhance their overall campus security plans.

2. Cameras are a deterrent.

Most people are less likely to do things when they know they are being recorded, so a security camera solution that is well advertised around a facility actually lowers the security risk.

3. Duty of care for your staff and students.

Every school has a responsibility to provide a duty of care to its staff and students. Security cameras can definitely help with that. Most Schools think it’s about someone monitoring the cameras behind a huge back of monitors like you see on the movies. In reality, it’s not like that at all. Modern camera systems allow you to quickly retrieve specific footage historically, so it becomes easy to corroborate the stories you are being told. Security footage helps remove the personal perspective from stories by having a clear record of what happened around your school. I’ve heard many stories of school yard incidents that have been able to be sorted out based on the footage.

4. You get what you pay for.

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard “I can get a cheap system from the electronics store down the road and install it myself” I would be a very happy man! Like many things in life, with security cameras, you get what you pay for. You can’t expect to get the features and quality from a system that isn’t designed to provide it.
Perhaps the best piece of advice I can offer here is that when it comes to security cameras, you need to undertake a detailed discovery of the area needing to be covered. That way you get the right cameras in the right locations. You don’t always need the high resolution cameras if you are choosing specific cameras to undertake specify tasks.

"Like many things in life, with security cameras, you get what you pay for. You can’t expect to get the features and quality from a system that isn’t designed to provide it."

5. You can use them for education.

Most schools forget that once you have a modern camera system installed in your school you can begin to utilise them for a huge range of uses in education and publicity. For example:

    • Schools are installing them into teaching spaces to record science practicals and demonstrations during lesson time and then provide afterhours security.
    • You can connect to the live stream and broadcast a sporting event or performance to your community.
    • Capture a time-lapse of a building project or facility upgrade to show on your website or at the grand opening.

If you’d like to know more about IP based security camera systems and how they can assist your school in becoming more secure, increase your duty of care level or provide you with innovative ways to enhance the teaching and learning for your students, contact Stuart or a member of the Trident team today!

  Stuart Wilson

Technology Innovator
Trident Computer Services
e: swilson@trident.com.au

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Brighton Baths Health Club Case Study

A week ago I had the opportunity to interview Matthew Paynter from the Brighton Baths Health Club to hear about their business and the work that Trident Computer Services and Neptune managed services had been doing with them. The technical staff around the office had been chatting about the project, and how they dealt with some of the challenges that a could migration can pose, so I was keen to have the opportunity to talk with Matthew.

Over the years, I've had a significant amount to do with Health clubs, fitness centres, elite athletes and personal trainers, but throughout the interview I couldn't help to feel that something was different about Brighton Baths Health Club. I'm not sure if it was the idea of a 135 year old iconic venue maintaining a firm grasp on it's heritage of "icebergers" and steam rooms while moving rapidly into the modern era, or the passion with which Matthew spoke of their philosophy of being more than fitness – a health club that values lifestyle and wellbeing, health and fitness, as well as relaxation and rejuvenation.

What ever it was, I thoroughly enjoyed to opportunity to interview Matthew, and I think the case study available here, is certainly well worth a read.

  Nathan Burgess

Lead Marketing Innovator
Trident Computer Services
e: nburgess@trident.com.au

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Ivanhoe Grammar, A Case Study In The Making

Recently I had the privilege of interviewing Winston Mattson from Ivanhoe Grammar during the process of writing a case study about the partnership between Ivanhoe Grammar and Trident Computer services.

As someone who has been working in the education sector for over 22 years, I always find it an amazing experience to talk to passionate people about the work they are doing, especially in schools where the main focus is changing student’s lives.

What grabbed me the most is how Mattson talked about his School and the work his team was doing at Ivanhoe. It wasn’t a conversation about gigabytes and flashing lights, but rather a conversation about how Mattson and his staff are enabling a deeper, richer education through the use of technology.

The full case study can be found here [Click to view] and is well worth a read for anyone working in the education sector.

  Nathan Burgess

Lead Marketing Innovator
Trident Computer Services
e: nburgess@trident.com.au

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The First Line Of Defence In Electronic Security

The effective management of passwords is the first line of defence in the electronic security of any organisation. 

Benefits of a Password Procedure

  • Appropriate access for all staff;
  • Effective identity management and access auditing;
  • Preservation and protection of personal information entrusted to your care;
  • Protection of YOUR personal information.

Best Practices/Recommendations

When creating a password procedure, it is important to consider elements that can be enforced through software security settings. Items such as the minimum length of a password and expiry cycle for passwords are typically set through system software. 

Another important consideration when developing a password procedure is password retention. Even with the best procedures in place, passwords will be shared or otherwise become known over time, weakening security, so it is necessary to change them on a regular basis. Most systems allow the system administrator to set a parameter which causes passwords to expire and requires them to be reset by the user. This parameter is typically set for anywhere from 30 days to 90 days. Password expiry does add some additional workload for technical staff as users often forget their new passwords and need support to change them. This is where Trident Health can assist and provide easy to use solutions like Managed Password Protection. 

Best Practice When Creating a Password

  • Length of password - Passwords should be a minimum of six characters.
  • Mixed characters - Passwords should contain at least one of the following: upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters (@#$!% etc);
  • Password retention - Passwords should be reset on a regular basis and should expire after a set length of time. This can vary from 30 days to 60 days to 90 days;
  • Histories - Password histories should be maintained and set so that users cannot use the same password twice within a defined period. 

 


User Education

For the users’ protection, passwords created should be difficult to guess. The following points provide some guidance
on best practices for creating a password:

  • The password should not be the same as the username, even with a number or symbol added;
  • Passwords should not contain personal information such as street number or name, company name, date of birth, etc;
  • Passwords should never contain names of family members, pets, friends, or co-workers;
  • Passwords shouldn’t be a common phrase followed by a digit that is changed when the password expires.

Users should always follow these principles:

  • Do not share passwords with anyone. If there is an issue that requires you to do so, remember to change the password immediately after the issue has been resolved;
  • Never use the same password for work accounts as the one you have for personal use (banking, etc.);
  • Do not write down passwords or include them in an email;
  • Do not store passwords electronically unless they are encrypted;
  • Never use the “Remember Password” feature on any systems; this option should be disabled in systems where technically feasible.

Conclusion

There are many things to consider when developing a password procedure. Strict password procedures ensure greater security but require more user support and may result in a low compliance rate. Very relaxed password policies will likely result in higher compliance by users but may not provide adequate protection.

The key to an effective password procedure is to define a balance between the security needs of your organisation and its culture and to follow the guidelines defined.

For further details on how to secure your organisations IT security give Trident a call today. We will provide personalised and proven security measures to give you peace of mind.

 

  Domenic Lucarelli 
Senior Account Manager
Trident Health
e: DLucarelli@trident.com.au
   

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Hyperconverged Infrastructure – 5 Things You Need To Know

In the world of technology, things move fast and for people working in the technology sector this rate of change has only increased over the last few years. For someone whose focus is working with clients to help them innovate their businesses I find myself often viewing or being presented with new and emerging technologies that are presented as something that will have a big effect, or make waves. Recently, I’ve been examining Hyperconverged Infrastructure, as it too is touted as a new and emerging sector that has the potential to change the way we view Data Centre infrastructure. For those of you that have yet to come across Hyperconverged Infrastructure I’ll provide you with a brief summary, and then focus on the 5 key things you need to know about this new technology.

What is Hyperconverged Infrastructure?

Hyperconverged Infrastructure is currently regarded as “the next big thing” in Data centre Infrastructure, offering the dream of dramatically simplified Virtual Infrastructure delivered via scale out architecture, along the lines of the technology used by the pioneers of the massive data centres like Google and Amazon.
Hyperconverged Infrastructure turns traditional large virtualised Infrastructure on its head by consolidating both compute and storage into a single node, (a traditional x86 server). It simplifies the legacy stack by negating the need for shared storage (i.e. a SAN or NAS) and then natively replicating data across the nodes. This enables the Data Centre to continue to have VMWare HA without the need for SAN/NAS fibre channel fabric etc. and all the complexity that this involves.
One of the biggest benefits of Hyperconverged Infrastructure is that the technology enables full DR by simply deploying addition nodes in another location. Hyperconverged Infrastructure also has the potential to massively lower operational expense and potentially lower capital expense, especially when being deployed in a distributed, multi-site environment.

5 things you need to know about Hyperconverged Infrastructure

1. Hyperconverged Infrastructure can simplify management of infrastructure

One of the great advantages of Hyperconverged Infrastructure is that it simplifies some of the key areas of difficulty with traditional Infrastructure. It offers simplified management and simplified expansion of your infrastructure which ultimately can reduce your reliance on specialist skills and help drive a reduction in operational expense. Management is also simplified as many Hyperconverged Infrastructure solutions are provided in a single box, by a single vendor. No more mismatch of technology between compute, switch and storage!

2. Hyperconverged Infrastructure can provide a performance boost

Hyperconverged Infrastructure has the ability to provide your data centre with significant performance increases through the technology inherent in the solution. Perhaps the most significant is the reduction of IOPs via compression and dedupe and also that SSDs are mandatory in the solution.

3. Hyperconverged Infrastructure has the ability to Scale

Hyperconverged Infrastructure has the key ability to easily scale out to meet the growing demands of an organisation. Extra compute and storage can be added by simply adding an extra node to the environment.

4. Hyperconverged Infrastructure doesn’t always solve Backup 

An area that hasn’t been fully explored is how Hyperconverged Infrastructure deals with the granular recovery of data and long term retention of backups. As these needs can be very dependant the organisation’s requirements, the technology may need other backup mechanisms to ensure compliance.

5. Hyperconverged Infrastructure does cost

As with all technology, there is a cost to the solutions, and Hyperconverged Infrastructure can seem a little pricey compared with a traditional solution, however, the cost benefit kicks in when you need to expand your nodes over multiple sites and for multiple purposes. If you have a requirement for incorporating disaster recovery or business continuity into your site, a Hyperconverged Infrastructure solution becomes a far more cost effective option.

For further details on how your organisation can benefit from Hyperconverged Infrastructure, get in touch with Martin or the staff at Trident today. We’ll be more than happy to discuss this technology and how it could drive performance and cost reduction for you.

  Martin Corden

Technology Innovator
Trident Computer Services
e: MCorden@trident.com.au