The Heartbleed Bug – What You Need To Know

by Joe Iwanowski, April 11th, 2014 in Apps, Data Center, Hosting, Security, Servers

heartbleedIf you’ve been online or watched TV over the past 24 hours, you’ve likely heard something about the “Heartbleed Bug”. The Heartbleed Bug is a serious vulnerability in the popular OpenSSL cryptographic software library. This weakness allows stealing the information protected, under normal conditions, by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the Internet.

And while it may seem like it’s time to panic, it’s not. It’s just time to be vigilant. By some estimates, this bug could affect around two-thirds of web servers and it could affect sites you log into — email, social networks, even a VPN you might use for work. Here are some recommendations to consider:

For businesses:
1. CHECK VULNERABILITY: You can easily check whether your website, apps or any products use OpenSSL and whether they are vulnerable to the attack. Use to run the check.
2. REGENERATE KEYS: Regenerate all private keys that your site uses whether or not vulnerability has been detected.
3. UPDATE OpenSSL: Update to the latest version (1.0.1g or above) which fixes the defect.
4. RESET PASSWORDS: Consider resetting end-user passwords that may have been visible in a compromised server memory.
5. REVIEW TECHNCIAL Q&A: Take a look at the more technical Q&A at If you have further questions about the bug or how to remediate it feel free to contact DSS.

For consumers:
CHANGE PASSWORDS: Be on the lookout for any notices from the vendors you use. If a vendor has communicated that their customers should change their passwords, users should do so.
AVOID PHISHING EMAILS: Pay attention to details to avoid potential phishing emails from attackers asking you to update your password. You can always avoid going to an impersonated website by using the official site domain.
USE REPUTABLE WEBSITES: Be wary of sites you’re not familiar with or haven’t been to before and stick to reputable websites and services. They are most likely to have immediately addressed the vulnerability.
AVOID SHARED WIFI: Whenever possible avoid shared WiFi since attackers have their best access to your communications when you’re sharing a network with them.
MONITOR PERSONAL INFO: Regularly monitor your bank and credit card statements and be sure to check for any unusual transactions. Contact your provider if anything looks out of the ordinary.

If you still have questions and want help understanding the Heartbleed Bug, feel free to contact DSS.

5 Benefits of Managed Hosting for Small Business

by Jack Gesualdi, March 31st, 2014 in Data Center, Hosting

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As a small business owner, you’re not only looking for ways to bring in new business and increase profits, but also ways to save money and improve efficiency. While there are plenty of ways to go about this, such as by going paperless and leasing equipment, have you considered the amount of money invested in managing your servers and the amount of time you spend trying to solve or fix any issues you come across?

These days, web hosting is a necessity. After all, your website is your online identity and serves as your profile for customers to help them learn about your business. It simply isn’t possible to run a successful business without a website. But managing it and ensuring it’s up to date and easy for customer to access can be time consuming and money may be tight.

To help solve this issue, you should look into managed hosting.

What is managed hosting?
Simply put, managed hosting means the hosting provider takes care of all of your server-related issues. As a leading provider of managed hosting solutions, at Distributed Systems Services we provide the hardware your business needs and the time you don’t have to manage your systems for you.

Benefits of managed hosting for your small business:

1. Save time and money
We offer an array of services designed to help reduce your total administration costs all the while improving efficiency. When it comes to business, time is money. With managed hosting, you can spend less time on managing the server and more time focusing on growing your business.

2. Increase operational efficiencies
In order to stay competitive, businesses should look for ways to boost operational efficiency.  Managed hosting makes it easy as we take care all of the work for you so you don’t need to.

3. Strengthen IT security
Small businesses have a lot of security concerns and managing your IT infrastructure in-house with limited staff and time may not always be the best way to manage these concerns. Managed hosting takes care of these concerns with a well-protected data center.

4. Customize for your business needs
Understandably, every business has its own individual needs. Managed hosting solutions are not a “one size fits all.” You can get a solution customized to suit your business needs. This is especially beneficial if you are working around a tight budget and can choose a service that fits both your needs and your budget.

5. Focus on your business and its success.
You have a business to manage and grow. While your web hosting is crucial to maintain your website, you can avoid focusing so much attention on your web hosting and spend more time and energy looking for ways to help your business succeed.

Image: Shutterstock

Top 10 Benefits of Managed Hosting for Education

by Jack Gesualdi, March 28th, 2014 in CTO



As technology continues to advance, schools technological needs also grow. For example, while many schools today provide students with computers, most are replying on computers that are more than six years old due to the lack of funds to afford newer systems.

It’s important schools utilize more up-to-date technology to help provide a better and safer learning environment for students and teachers alike. Computer-aided learning has certainly demonstrated itself to be effective in teaching students. But the pressure to deliver cutting-edge technology toprovide students with an accessible academic environment that is secure and stable can often times be challenging. With tight budgets and regulations to follow, how can schools keep their academic systems safe and secure?


To help you better understand the advantages associated with managed hosting, below is a top ten list of the benefits of utilizing managed hosting for education systems.


1. Save time, money and resources.  Our managed hosting solutions are designed and built to your specification to deliver the performance you need and at a price you can afford.


2. Enjoy peace of mind with a reliable and secure physical environment.


3. Customize your hardware needs based upon your project requirements.


4. No need for support personnel onsite all of the time. We monitor and manage your system 24/7 to ensure it’s performing as it should.


5. If you need support, our highly energetic IT service desk team is available 24/7 to answer your questions or concerns. Give us a call or contact us at any time.


6. We keep you informed and send notification when something suspicious, such as a data breach, appears, so you know we’re really keeping an eye on things!


7. You don’t have to understand troubleshooting, patching, monitoring or backup and the other technology terms involved.


8. Because managed hosting solutions aren’t “one size fits all,” you will have a specialized solution to meet your company’s specific needs.


9. Ensure your data is available when you need it with disaster recovery. From research projects to donations and grants, there is an array of financial information schools obtain.


10. Provide students with a solid and updated education. After all, isn’t that your mission? Focus on education and let us work on the IT and technology aspects.


At Distributed Systems Services we provide effective and efficient data center solutions designed to meet your needs. Managed hosting offers an array of advantages for organizations of all kinds, and is optimized for your specific organization. Start utilizing the benefits that it offers today.


Image: Shutterstock


How to Hire a Tech Firm That Fits Your Needs

by Jack Gesualdi, March 27th, 2014 in Data Center, Data Center & Corporate

More and more companies are turning to outside IT firms to meet their server and hosting needs. They do so for many reasons; for instance, some companies don’t have the physical space to dedicate to larger servers, while others don’t have the expense budget to hire an IT support team. Whatever the reason for using an outside IT firm, there are things you need to know when considering data center companies.

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  • One-on-One Support – In order to meet your company’s needs, you should work with a firm that makes you feel like you’re a priority. Select a company that is going to be able to provide you with your own point of contact. This technician should become familiar with how your company operates and what you expect from them. By working with one technician, you’re able to get better and quicker service because the person will be accustomed to your equipment and environment. When one person is responsible for addressing your needs and concerns, it’ll be easy to reach out to determine the status of a particular problem or project.
  • Reputation is Everything – Before selecting a data center company, talk to other business owners you know and see who they are using for their IT needs. You can also use the Internet to find reviews on the data center companies you are considering. A company’s reputation speaks volumes about how they operate and deliver, so avoid those that have a reputation of being unreliable or hard to work with.
  • Consider Small and Local – In some cases, working with a smaller, local company is a great way to have all your needs met. When you work with a local business, they may be helpful in the event of an extreme emergency. Local companies are able to come out to address issues on a regular basis, and sometimes nothing beats working with someone face-to-face.

Before considering data center companies for your IT needs, it’s important to know what your needs are.  If you’re struggling when it comes to IT issues, you may want to select a company able to help you understand the easily overwhelming world of technology. Once you know what your requirements are, make sure to select a company that will provide you with the best and fastest services.


5 Things Every Small Business Needs to Succeed

by Jack Gesualdi, March 26th, 2014 in Data Center, Hosting

5 Things Every Small Business Needs to Succeed

It’s the American dream to own your own company and be your own boss. Many people get tired of working for someone else and hope to go out on their own. Although it’s possible to be successful as a small business, it is sometimes difficult and there is no assurance of profit and success. In order to be victorious in the cutthroat business world, companies need these five important things:

Managed Hosting Solution – A small business’s data is one of the most valuable assets they have. Unfortunately, there is not enough time in the day for owners to deal with the technical aspects of their business and, as a result, they need to reach out to data center hosting companies for help. Using an outside vendor for these services allows small business owners to do what they do best, run their company. Too often, small businesses take it upon themselves to handle information technology and it ends in disaster. Don’t make the mistake of putting your precious data on the line! As your company grows, you may be able to afford a full-time IT technician to keep your hosting in house but, for now, it’s best to leave the job to someone else.

Money – Although this may seem like a given, many small business owners don’t put enough focuson money management. Starting a business requires lots of funding and incurs many hidden costs. Know what your options are in terms of loans and lines of credit so you are always prepared.

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Reliable Employees – You are probably not going to be able to run your business on your own. As a result of this, you need to make sure you are hiring the best people for the jobs you need to fill. You cannot be successful without having a strong team behind you, so take the time you need to select the best, most qualified people to work with you.

Physical Necessities – In order for any business to operate successfully, owners need to know which tools and equipment arenecessary. The list is specific to each small business, but it may include things like telephones, computers, furniture, and marketing materials. Without these things, your small business cannot operate.

Support Team – Starting and running a small business is going to be one of the most stressful things you do in life. To be able to remain optimistic and realistic, it’s important to make sure that you have smart, rational people you can lean on and talk to. Without personal cheerleaders (as well as thinkers), the journey may seem impossible at times.

To be successful, it’s important to go into business with a strong plan. Be sure to address things like what your managed hosting solution for your data will be. It’s also crucial to have the funds and the best people to help you in all your endeavors.

Protect Your Small Business Data

by Jack Gesualdi, March 25th, 2014 in Backup/Restore

As a small business, your data is extremely important to you. But what would you do if you lost it all? More and more businesses are realizing that without their data, they would be unable to operate and, therefore, would not make any money. Since going without profit isn’t an option for many smaller operations, companies are beginning to explore ways to protect their data. Here are some tips for how to protect your business.

Keyword: Recoverable!  Your data needs to be backed up. Companies have a variety of ways to back up their information, but they don’t often choose the easiest option. Older technologies forced companies to store data on tapes or CDs. In the event of a loss, this inefficient method could take days to recover everything. Choosing data center solutions means the process will be a lot quicker — your information can be there basically as soon as the power is.

Work with the Right People.  Many small businesses rely on a vendor to handle all of their data issues because they are not big enough to need (or be able to afford) their own technicians. Since a data vendor will be working with your most prized possession, your information, it’s important to select a reliable and efficient company. Talk to other small businesses about who they use for their data solutions and interview the companies. It’s important to talk to several companies so that you can make an educated decision on whom to go with.

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Mother Nature Proof Your Data.  Mother Nature can be fierce and destructive. To truly protect your data, you need to consider what you will do in the event of a storm, earthquake, fire, or flood. Any of these forces of nature can obliterate a small business and all its data if the company is not prepared. To prevent the unimaginable, choose data center solutions to help your small business function in the wake of an event. Data stored remotely can be recovered; data stored on site could be gone forever.

Small businesses typically don’t have the funds to recover from a total data loss. Securing data should be the top priority of a small business, so that they can go on as usual no matter what the challenge!