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Why is Network Security so important?

Securing the data on your network may not seem very important to you until you lose your data or the privacy of your data content because you have no security on your network. 

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TBNG Consulting Business Driver: FTG Financial

When TBNG Consulting established our business idea back in 2002, our team needed some strategic guidance and oversight from a business professional.  Specifically, we sought someone to provide both fiscal and organizational analysis to validate our business models and lead our road-map discussions.  Irrespective of your industry, it is crucial to obtain such third party input to help keep the management team focused and business models refined.  Enter Gary Mullin at FTG Financial, LLC.

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How to Create an Archive folder in MS Outlook

An inbox crammed with emails is incredibly stressful. Each email is like a monkey on your back, albeit a small one. After a while, it can build up, and before you know it, you're overloaded but some of these emails are very important and you don’t want to just delete them.

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How to make Android Phones BYOT compliant

Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) means an massive influx of mobile devices, such as Droids, iPhones, Kindles, iPads, iTouch, Nexus, Surface and just about any other Internet Protocol apparatus at student can put in his or her book bag.  BYOT adds several capacity concerns to network but also contributes to some lesser known issues regarding DNS and DHCP.

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How to Downgrade Windows 8 to Windows 7 Without Breaking the Bank

photo credit: mendhak via
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Education BYOT and Wide Area Ethernet Networks

Bring Your Own Technology [“BYOT”] means an massive influx of mobile devices, such as Droids, iPhones, Kindles, iPads, iTouch, Nexus, Surface and just about any other Internet Protocol apparatus at student can put in his or her book bag.

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Service Desk Importance

What is a Service Desk and why is it important is what you might be thinking of when you are thinking of your company and what expenses that you will be occurring to run it. Is your Service Desk or Helpdesk as important as say the phone system your company uses?

A Service Desk understands that information offers companies strategic advantages and it ensures proper mechanisms are in place for the data to be analyzed, produced and distributed seamlessly. The Service Desk is the first contact in an organization for any and all IT questions.

Another definition of Service Desk is a center that provides a Single Point of Contact between a company’s customers, employees and business partners. The Service Desk is designed to optimize services on behalf of the business and oversee IT functions. Thus, a Service Desk does more than making sure IT services are being delivered at that moment, it manages the various lifecycles of software packages used to provide critical information.

The Service Desk allows companies to be less dependent on specific technology and enables them to easily connect with business partners by focusing on processes. By switching the IT focus on processes the infrastructure delivers value add to the corporate users and customers. Once the services and processes are defined, the Service Desk monitors them and the company focuses on its strategic and tactical business plan.

A good Service Desk improves a company’s customer satisfaction by allowing the company to implement their business plan. A good Service Desk improves a company’s satisfaction by managing IT costs. A good Service Desk communicates effectively and efficiently with each end user. There are many more things a good Service Desk does well; it is the next step in allowing your company to focus specifically on your business plan.

Should you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact TBNG Consulting at contact@tbngconsulting.com or at 855-512-4817.
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Fortigate OS SSL Deep-Scan Feature provides secure remote access

The advent of Secure Socket Layer (SSL) functionality on Fortinet Fortigate’s UTM appliance is becoming the de facto method of providing secure remote access for end users. In the latest version of Fortinet’s Fortigate OS MR 5.0.1, a new SSL/SSH inspection option has been added to include all SSL protocols. By default, this protocol status in SSL/SSH inspection will be disabled for the SSL protocols. Therefore, you will need to enable SSL/SSH inspection when this feature set is required.

Prior to the 5.0.1 software update the following parameters were either configured or optional:

1) The antivirus, web filter, and anti-spam profiles had separate protocol settings for the SSL and non-SSL protocols.

2) For HTTPS deep-scanning to be done, deep-scan needed to be enabled for HTTPS in the UTM proxy options.

With the new 5.0.1 firmware upgrade the following features are configurable:

1) The settings for the SSL protocols in the antivirus, web filter, and antis-pam profiles have been removed. Instead, the non-SSL options will apply to both the SSL and non-SSL versions of each protocol.

2) The SSL/SSH inspection options now includes an enable/disable option for each protocol. This is used to control which protocols are scanned and which SSL enabled protocols are decrypted.

To use HTTPS non-deep (SSL handshake) inspection, HTTPS needs to be enabled in the SSL/SSH inspection options. A web filter profile with https-url-scan enabled needs to be applied in the firewall policy with the SSL/SSH inspection options. The web filter profile option changes the inspection mode to non-deep scan. AV will not be performed if this option is enabled. The web filter profile option does not apply if SSL inspect-all is enabled in the SSL/SSH inspection options.

Should you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact TBNG Consulting at contact@tbngconsulting.com or at 855-512-4817.
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Why are Backups Important

Computers have become a main part of all our lives. They faithfully memorialize our life events such as weddings, births and interesting vacation pictures. It stores our company's books, and the ceaseless emails we get and send.  But, unless you back it up, all that data can be gone in a flash of lightning!

Computers themselves are becoming more a more reliable; however, system drives still fail without a decent warning. One minute you are working on a key project and the next minute it is toast!  Other dreaded occurrences are viruses that can corrupt data and bog down your desktop. In case of a drive failure it could become expensive or impossible to retrieve your data and when you have a virus most technicians will advise you to wipe your hard drive clean and reinstall everything.

Being responsible and backing up your data can give you self-confidence as well improve customer satisfaction and confidence. Both employees and customers will be grateful for the peace of mind that comes with the protection of a backup. You could consider this an investment for your business. Think about   amount of money and grief it can save the very first time it needs to be used and saves the day!  Backing up your records is just one Information Technology benefit any business can enjoy. Another feature of some backup systems is the capability of sorting and organizing backup data. This allows you to easily refer to and restore original files and programs that have been deleted or misplaced as a result of human error.

Having a total system and data protection backup solution that combines ease-of-use with robust performance, allows you to perform fast backup and recovery jobs, protects your desktops, laptops, and protects your networked systems against various types of threats such as system failure, human error, and disasters.

Should you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact TBNG Consulting at contact@tbngconsulting.com or at 855-512-4817.
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YouTube EDU Fortigate Configuration

YouTube EDU provides a rich resource for education specific videos. For years, educators seeking access to YouTube.com were typically blocked by district web filters due to the bulk of non-educational and sometimes risky content. YouTube EDU overcomes this obstacle and is now a wonderful tool for instructors.

Fortinet Fortigate appliances provide excellent Unified Threat Management (UTM) for all types of network environments. Fortigate appliances provide network administrators a wide range of security technologies including intelligent filtering for YouTube EDU content. This YouTube EDU feature is currently available via the current MR 5.0 code release. Specifically, this feature is an option located within the protection profile, similar to forcing “safe search” for search engines. Technically, this device re-writes the header going out to include a special string of characters that is specific to your YouTube EDU account.

As with any new feature or option, our engineering team has determined that this type of advanced content filtering works very well when browsing on non-secured HTTP related traffic, e.g. http://youtube.com or http://www.youtube.com.

The challenge is that when end-users access a secure HTTP version of these websites, the filtering engine does not work as expected (for the moment at least). We learned that other dedicated web filters (i.e. Barracuda Web Filter) can overcome this hurdle. Thus, a simple yet effect work around was immediately needed to keep within the approved Internet usage policy dictated by various private and public school systems.

So, here are two (2) techniques that you can deploy on your Fortigate appliance (via the protection profile) that allows you to block https:// sites two different ways.

First, a couple of reference points:

1) URL inspection – this looks at the CN name in the certificate, but since Google owns YouTube, the certificate is the wildcard *google.com certificate.

2) Enable https deep scanning; works great but throws a certificate error on EVERY https site you visit – very annoying to say the least. Alas, you might in theory, export the certificate from the Fortigate and install it on all the machines, but I suspect this is a non-starter for most.

So, in order to overcome these shortcomings, you might consider the following configuration tips:

1) Allow all YouTube.com sites, wide open. If you block streaming media, add YouTube.com to a custom category. Then allow the custom category in the protection profile.

2) Configure YouTube EDU with header redirect (also in the protection profile, located in the web filtering section). Ideally, this should solve your YouTube EDU problem for http://youtube.com, but not for the secured https://youtube.com URL.

3) Next, create a firewall rule at the top of your rules set that DENIES https traffic to youtube.com. Since the underlying IP addresses change, you need to incorporate FQDN rule (instead of IP address) to block the following:

a) youtube.com

b) youtube-ui.l.google.com

Should you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact TBNG Consulting at contact@tbngconsulting.com or at 855-512-4817
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