Patch Management with Compass Computing

A “patch” by its common definition is something used to mend or strengthen a weak point. Similarly, a software patch can be used to repair a security vulnerability, or to fix a bug and improve the performance of a piece of software. A piece of code, or a “patch” can be installed into your software to make corrections.

Hundreds of patches are released each month. Have you ever installed an update only to have it fix one thing but create other bugs in your software that didn’t exist before? How do you know which patches to install and which to ignore?  Incorrect patches installed out of order can lead to damaged software or loss of data. 

Most software will be used for many years, while the user environment is constantly changing. This can change compatibility and introduce new security issues which were not originally a problem. Whatever the source, problems can be found in any piece of software, and patches must be used to address them.

The benefits of Patch Management to you:

·         A patch management plan can help your business keep its programs up to date and secure, without risking the downloading of perilous software by its staff.

·         Helps avoid the downloading of poorly designed patches which may introduce new problems.

·         Help keep malware from exploiting your computer systems. Most successful computer attacks and hacks involve the use of known vulnerabilities for which patches exist.

Keeping ahead of and quickly installing patches before would-be hackers know about the weak points and take advantage of them isn’t easy. In today’s complex computing environment, it’s a never-ending cycle. With patch management you’ll be ahead of the game, protected from vulnerabilities that could slow down your business.

Contact us to find out how our Patch Management service can work for you. 

Superior Backup Services

Your data is priceless. How much of it can you afford to lose? How much of your company’s valuable time can you lose in order to get up and running again? One day? Three?

While every company has different specific needs, everyone needs a good backup solution. All computer systems are now vulnerable, as even with the best available perimeter defense, hackers are finding ways to get through. It only takes one click on a phishing email by an unawares employee to let the bad guys in to the most well-protected system.

Major insurance companies, retail chains and a movie studio have lost millions related to cyber-attacks within the past year. Recently a large Los Angeles hospital had to pay $18,000 to get their data back when it was hacked and held hostage.  Their only missing ingredient, which could have avoided the catastrophe, was having the right backups system in place. If they’d had them, they could have laughed in the face of those hackers and restored data from their own backups immediately, without all of the lost money and time.  They also would have avoided contributing to a multi-million dollar data terrorism industry.

Using our new backup technology:

·         We can have your systems up and running in 30 minutes or less, even in the case of total data loss due to a virus attack.

·         There is no longer any need to take backup drives home with you to ensure that a copy remains safe. Our backups work directly with the servers in our data center so that we always have a full copy of your backup saved exterior to your office.

·         Backups are automated – never have to think about them again, and rest assured that your company’s data is secure and will be there for you should you ever need it.

Your best defense is being prepared to get back on your feet with limited lost production time. Our new backup technology captures your network in its entirety, allowing you to replace your data and be fully functional again – fast. The most common backups currently used will save your data – but will not back up program files, database files or system files. Programs may need to be reinstalled and the data linked together again. You may also then need to re-create any new data lost since your last backup. The process of putting the pieces back together and regaining your functionality once lost could take one day to a full week, depending on the number of workstations affected by virus attack and the amount of data to be restored.

Can you really afford to have your office staff shut down and unable to work while waiting for your systems to be restored?

Real protection is the ability to render any virus attack harmless – so that even if you lost everything, you would be able to get your data fully restored and your employees back in action in the shortest possible amount of time, at the least expense to you.

Contact us to discuss how we can help you make restoring lost data as painless as technology will allow.

Remote Monitoring and Management - RMM

How many times has your work been interrupted by computer issues?

We at Compass Computing are now offering Remote Monitoring and Management, also known as “RMM”. With these tools in place, many computer issues can be solved for you with no IT guy needing to move you from your chair or interrupt your work.

What does RMM do?

·         Reduces your costs by making us work more efficiently and proactively for you.

·         Allows for the repair of many issues remotely, without interrupting your work day.

·         Monitors server and workstation health. Allows us to see what is happening with your backups, server health and hardware, keeping us ahead of potential problems.

·         Scheduled maintenance tasks can be automated, ensuring that nothing is missed.

·         Provides for active, ongoing maintenance, including installing software and OS updates, defragmenting hard disks, updating antivirus software, and so on - keeping your computers working smoothly.

Our RMM service provides you with peace of mind, and provides us with the ability to keep your machines maintained and up-to-date, proactively staying ahead of issues and resolving them before there is any negative impact to your business.

Contact Compass Computing for a quote, and to find out how RMM can help streamline your business. 

New Services From Compass Computing


We at Compass Computing are offering a new set of services, using the latest technology to help your business run more smoothly. With these new services, we can help you proactively stay ahead of the problems that commonly plague computer systems, addressing them before there is a negative impact to your business. Click the links below to learn how to make managing your computer systems as painless as technology will allow.

SUPERIOR BACKUPS – Using the latest backup technology we can give you secure, automated, off-site backups, that will have your systems up and running faster than ever before possible, even in the case of total data loss due to a virus attack.  (make this a link to the article on backups.

PATCH MANAGEMENT – With our Patch Management plan, we can help keep your computer programs up to date and secure, keeping you free of worry that the “updates” you or your staff might download will actually slow you down. (make this a link to the article on Patch management)

REMOTE MONITORING AND MANAGEMENT – Using our Remote Monitoring and Management or RMM service, we can keep your computers working smoothly by addressing issues before they become a problem for you, and we can do this remotely, without interruptions to your workflow. (make this a link to the article on RMM)

We can offer you a managed service plan which includes services to address all of these, or offer them individually, to best suit your needs. Contact us to see how these new services can be integrated with your existing service plan.

Detect computer network issues before they become $$$ disasters

As the owner of a small or mid-sized business, you are probably accustomed to calling in your IT repair person when something goes wrong with your network. In some cases, this kind of scenario may involve loss of data and, perhaps worst of all, some loss of reputation with clients or customers. 

If it turns out to be something really serious, it may require hours to diagnose and repair, which means downtime and lost production—the longer it's down, the more it costs you.  

Maximize network health, minimize breakdowns  

Managed IT Services is the solution to the endless cycle of “sudden” network failures,  emergency break-fix calls and the inevitable lost production time.  

With Managed IT, Compass Computing monitors the ongoing health of your IT systems, with a range of regular preventative maintenance actions, issue detection & alerts and on-site support—customized to your system's exact needs.  

You get a smooth-running IT system and no Monday morning surprises.  

Take care of business

 What if someone were looking out for your system's overall health 24/7/365:  

  • Updating security, antivirus and other software (patch management);
  • Ensuring successful routine back-ups;
  • Monitoring the status of your processor(s), memory and storage;
  • Providing real-time support;
  • Checking performance and condition of hardware;
  • Providing routine IT health and services reports?

 Your answer would probably be: “I could put more attention on running and expanding my business.” And you would be right!

Stabilize your network and your costs

On top of that, Managed IT Services is a fixed cost. Choose which services you need. Don't pay for what you don't need. It's far less expensive than hiring a full-time IT manager but you still get a similar level of proactive service. And your price stays the same, even if your service requirements increase from time to time.  

You will experience the dual relief of having stable and predictable network uptime and functionality, along with stable and predictable IT service costs. 

A closer look at Managed IT Services

Managed IT is not “one-size-fits-all.” It's a wide range of services tailored to your exact network needs. In our upcoming newsletters, we will put a magnifying glass to some of these services so that you get a more complete understanding of the value of Managed IT Services: 

  • Backup management 
  • Server management 
  • Security administration 
  • Patch management  
  • Virus protection 
  • Email management 
  • Asset & inventory management 
  • Real-time support    

But you don't have to wait until then to find out more. Call Compass right now and we will be happy to make an appointment to answer your questions about Managed IT Services and how it can specifically benefit your business. 

Matthew Meltzer
Compass Computing, Inc.

© 2015 Compass Computing, Inc.  ALL Rights Reserved.

Reliable Backups: As easy as 3-2-1

The 3-2-1 Backup: (3) Have at least three copies of your data; (2) Store the copies on two different media; (1) Keep one backup copy offsite.

The 3-2-1 Backup: (3) Have at least three copies of your data; (2) Store the copies on two different media; (1) Keep one backup copy offsite.

The "3-2-1 Data Backup Rule"

This rule was popularized by noted photographer Peter Krogh, who wrote of two groups of people: those who have already had a storage failure and those who will have one in the future. While we wouldn't go so far as to insist on the inevitability of the latter, we nonetheless maintain that 3-2-1 is the most sound backup strategy.  
If you maintain three copies of your data all at the same location, all are susceptible to loss in the event of a catastrophe (fire, earthquake, etc.) hence, a copy should be maintained elsewhere.

There has been a lot of talk the last five or so years about “migrating to the cloud” and the benefits in terms of solutions that grow with your business, cheap storage and data recovery. And it's true. Depending on the needs of the client, there are benefits to be found in nearly every computing situation, including the cloud.  But when it comes to true security for your data, no “latest greatest thing” can substitute for a sound back-up strategy (see sidebar).

What is your Recovery Time Objective?

What is the cost of losing your data - for an hour, for a day or even more?  In the event of a catastrophe, how long can you afford to have your employees sitting around? Customers waiting? Data inaccessible while it is being restored from a backup?  The loss can be enormous, not only in terms of production but in terms of your company's reputation. These, as well as other factors, determine a company's Recovery Time Objective.

A Case in Point

The following story details the actual case of a business which recently came to us for disaster recovery, and shows why reliance on the cloud alone for backup can - and did - compound an already bad situation. The names have been changed to protect the unprotected.

The Blank Garage (TBG) manufactures garage door hardware, with approximately 170 employees in several locations in the U.S. They had been using one of the better known online backup services as primary backup for their Microsoft Exchange server; 126+ gigabytes of email data were stored up in "the cloud".

On Thursday, July 31, 2014, TBG experienced a serious disaster: all Exchange data was lost locally and email communication to and from TBG's customers and between company offices had been severed. The clock began ticking away at so many dollars per second.  

The obvious response to such a scenario would be “Data backed up in the cloud > download backed-up data to local server > Voila! Back in business!”   Sounds simple, but it was not going to happen that easily. 
Compass Computing was called in to help rebuild TBG's server and recover their 126 gigs of data. Over the next 24 hours, it became evident that it was not going to be a quick fix. The download of the backup alone was a 15-18 hour proposition, assuming the first attempt was successful, which it wasn't. And even if it had succeeded, there was no guarantee from the online backup service that the backup software they were using would be able to restore the information. 
In the end, after rebuilding the server from scratch, Compass initiated an alternate means of recovery but even then, not all of TBG's data was recoverable.  The costs in terms of lost productivity went into the tens of thousands of dollars. That, in addition to the costs of disaster recovery, made reliance solely on a cloud-based system very risky and very expensive.

Had TBG had a proper 3-2-1 Backup system in place, they probably would have been able to fully recover from the failure in less than hour, beating their Recovery Time Objective, and with no significant production losses.
To be fair, there are scenarios when using a cloud backup service alone is sensible, such as home users or employees working in the field, but enterprise data is not among them.

The 3-2-1 rule, which could include the cloud as a supplemental backup, is the most logical and failsafe backup strategy we've seen.

Affordable 3-2-1 Solutions 

In the middle of 2014, Compass began researching a backup solution that when implemented properly could, in the event of a catastrophe, have your data restored and your company back in business, not in days.....but in minutes.

It is a technology designed to fix problems such as the above, fully covers the 3-2-1 backup protocol, and has begun replacing antiquated backup products such as tape drives and other slow media.  Imagine completing your daily backups in a fraction of the time overnight backup systems usually require. 

By implementing such solutions proactively, Compass helps you minimize the impact of the unforeseen on your business.  If you are a client and you haven't already been moved over to the new backup solution, please contact me to talk about how we can protect your business from these risks.


Matthew Meltzer
Compass Computing, Inc.