Network Improvements

On Sunday we arranged Updata failing over all internet traffic to the LD5 data centre with the plan being to leave it like this throughout the Monday. We wanted to make sure that the network could cope in this failed over state during the working day. We proceeded with this and Updata failed back to the both data centres on Monday evening. We had previously failed over all traffic to LD4 in May and one routing issue aside, performance didn’t suffer. With this in mind, we decided to test the network with traffic all going through LD5. The previous test had proved that there should be no capacity issues, however we wanted to make sure that there were no network routing problems either. I am pleased to announce that all went well and neither myself of the Service Desk and received any reports of internet performance issues. As far as I can tell no one knew this change had happened so with this mind, we are once again very confident that the network is as resilient as ever. We remain optimistic the recent problems are now a thing of the past. If anyone wishes to discuss this please get in touch.

Thanks,

Kevin Crawley
(kevin.crawley@hertsforlearning.co.uk)

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Video Conferencing

Due to the ongoing work to increase the resilience of the HICS network, video conferencing services will be unavailable on Monday 14th July. We apologise for any inconvenience. If you wish to discuss this further please contact me: kevin.crawley@hertsforlearning.co.uk

Thanks

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The Service Desk

I thought it may be of interest to give you some information regarding our Service Desk Team and the work that they carry out behind the scenes.

During the Spring term, Steve, Sharon, Elaine and Michael received 1909 telephone calls from HICS customers along with an additional 106 enquiries via email and our online Case Log portal. 85% of these calls were answered within between 5 – 20 seconds and resolution times stayed consistently high throughout the term.  In addition to these cases, our networking monitoring system, Solarwinds initiated a further 1421 cases which enabled the team to proactively investigate any potential problems such as packet loss, or loss of service, with customers occasionally receiving a telephone call from the team, before they were aware there was a problem!

As well as the day to day enquiries, each team member spends time looking after their own areas of specialism such as Transparent Proxies, Filtering, Firewalls, and IP Ranges, ensuring that they are completely up to date with all of the latest information, then sharing this knowledge with their colleagues on the Service Desk.

Reports are sent over to me at the end of every month from the Service Desk Manager for me to analyse. We also reguarly have meetings to discuss performance.

As always, we strive to provide a service which meets the needs of HICS customers, but we always welcome any suggestions for improvement that you may have.  Please contact me at kevin.crawley@hertsforlearning.co.uk  or complete our customer survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SDS-Gen if you have anything you would like to feed back to us.

Thanks,

Kev

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GoZeus

You may be interested to see the Updata Information Note on the GoZeus malicious malware, if so see below. It explains what it is and how Updata have mitigated any risks.

GoZeuS – Information Assurance Note

1. Introduction

On 4th June 2014 the National Crime Agency (NCA) along with other agencies issued advice that urged members of the public to protect themselves against powerful malicious software (malware), which may be costing UK computer users millions of pounds.Updata wanted to make you aware of the information and advice provided and to indicate how Updata has responded.

2. Background

The NCA guidance has been prepared primarily for the public and small businesses, as they are more likely to have out-of-date or unpatched software, but the information and advice given is relevant for all organisations. NCA believes that the action it has taken to combat the threat will create a unique, two-week opportunity for you to check, rid and safeguard yourself from this malware.

The NCA advice can be found at http://www.getsafeonline.org/nca.

2.1.What is the threat?

The threat is targeted at computers running any version of the Windows operating system, including Windows running as a virtual machine on an Apple Mac, any server running Windows and Windows embedded. It relates to two distinct but associated forms of malware, known as GOZeus (also known as Gameover Zeus or P2PZeus) and CryptoLocker, both of which could cause significant damage. This malicious software searches the infected system for files that may contain financial or other sensitive information and steals them.

The NCA has estimated that around 15,000 computers may currently be infected in the UK. Worldwide, it runs into the millions. If your systems do not run Windows, this does not affect you – but other problems might, so follow normal Information Security advice.

3. Updata Response

Updata took this alert very seriously – a review was instigated of all internal systems and customer provided services. We can confirm that all services were not affected by the malware highlighted. Updata’s existing Anti-Virus systems already had profiles that included detection the relevant malware – all servers were identified as unaffected.

GoZeuS – Information Assurance Note

4. Advice to Customers

Customers are recommended to read and follow he advice contained in the NCA alert.

Following normal Information Security steps should reduce the chances of infections:
• Use and maintain anti-virus or anti-malware tools
• Change passwords now and on a regular basis
• Keep operating systems and application software up-to-date with security patches
• Use legitimate malware removal tools to check for and eliminate an infection

Customers should decide whether they should disseminate the NCA alert to their local user communities.

If customers do detect anomalous behaviour, please contact sitss.internet@lea.herts.sch.uk

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FTP problem?

We have received a few reports that FTP may be being problematic. Updata have looked at this and it appears traffic is still going out through the firewall. Updata are continuing to investgate. I’ll update this post.. Thanks

 

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