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Best Free IT Solutions


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#1 green94337

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 10:00 PM

Hello Everybody!
 
 
I am a young computer geek who ended up with the awkward task of taking over the IT Security management from an outdated employee who still touts ZoneAlarm and Spybot as the #1 Most Necessary Defence against crackers.
 
Perhaps you see my dilemma, and the humor of it all.
 
I also was unceremoniously delegated the title Chief Technology Officer of a Funeral Home holding LLC. At least there I'm building everything virtually from scratch.
 
I already have MBAM Free, ZA Free Firewall, Spybot, CCleaner and Defraggler installed. Seems I'm forgetting something. Oh well.
 
What I'm here for is general recommendations for what I should put on these computers in order to keep them in shape. I could invest hours of research, like I did for those mentioned above, or I could ask all of you professional geeks for your opinion. I do ask that if you recommend X Program for Y Task, please explain why I should use X over Z program. Catch my drift?
 
This is not a repeat of best freeware application topic.
 
Also, I need to know how to make my own bootable disc that contains an operating system that will run my final list of programs outside of an infected OS, and what bootable antimalware discs are best, and how to make an all in one installer and updater for the programs i wish to reside permanently on that PC's HDD.
 
Thank you for taking the time to stop by!

Edit: Moved topic from Windows 7 to the more appropriate forum.~ Animal

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#2 cat1092

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 10:17 PM

green94337, Welcome to BC Forums! :)

 

Congrats on your promotion!

 

There is one question that I have of you in regards to your topic.

 

 

Also, I need to know how to make my own bootable disc that contains an operating system that will run my final list of programs outside of an infected OS

 

Do you mean a Windows OS? If so, the only option that I can think of would be to have Windows 8.1 Enterprise. With that, a Windows To Go USB Flash drive can be created. However it's costly.

 

Other than that option, you would need to choose a Linux OS as a portable one & that may or may not run your needed apps, though it's possible with the optional WINE app. This isn't something that I can get into mass detail about in a Windows 7 section, simply put, it would allow you to run some Windows software on Linux.

 

The best way to deal with infections is to have a quality active AV & AM app & run backups daily, considering this computer is for business use. That way, you can be up & running in a short time with minimal data loss.

 

Cat


Edited by cat1092, 18 June 2014 - 10:18 PM.

Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 


#3 noknojon

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 11:35 PM

Hey green -

 

Now list a "decent Active Antivirus". MBAM Free is a Clean-up tool for after you have been infected.

Throw these, "ZA Free Firewall, Spybot" and go for current decent Active programs.

 

ZA will give you head (and heart) aches most of the time and Spybot is almost over the hill.

 

Almost any other Active Antivirus and Antimalware programs are better than these "old reliables"

 

You need to take charge and print out a topic on CryptoLocker, and a few others.

Then tell them you NEED new programs to keep their system safe from the next 5 years of terror that is here NOW -

 

Sorry for the hard sell, but you need to take charge if you are in charge ........



#4 JohnnyJammer

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 11:45 PM

I would use something like gfi vipre, or eset. You can deploy and manage all nodes from a web interface which resides on the management server.

Dont bother with ccleaner and defraggler on corperate machines becasue win7 already has scheduled tasks to do this anyway by defauly called System maintenance.

As far as the rest goes, you will need to learn GPO's and Security Policies. Make passwords hard, dont give peopel admin rights ever.

Create policies for locking people out after bad password attaempts etc, dont allow them to install addons, themes anything.

 

DesktopCenteral allows for ^ 50 nodes to install and manage, this can be handy for inventory and finding out who plugged in what USB, also has the ability to patch systems like WSUS or deploy software through scripts.



#5 cat1092

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 01:47 AM

 

This is not a repeat of best freeware application topic.

Being that you're now in charge of IT Security, I'd cretainly hope not!

 

It's like this, the type of business you're in is far from a charity one. The services offered are costly & likely very profitable.

 

You're in charge of a department, then I take it that you have some type of budget to work with. It doesn't cost a fortune to properly mainatin, secure & backup the computers at your place of business. Of course, business editions of some software costs a little more than what home users, however it's not going to break the business to spend the money, They'll probably pass the cost on.

 

Daily or non-stop backup software will be just as important as security here, as to brands, there's Acronis, Macrium, EaseUS Todo & others. Plus hard drives to perform backups to. For a business, you're going to need something larger than the typical 1TB ones that many home users relies on, something like a couple of WD 4TB ones. Running a business, it's best to have two rather than one (in the event of failure) & at the same time go for capacity the first time, it'll save money later. These can be found on promo at Newegg, just sign up for promos.

 

There's many brands of security to choose from, including one Free one (MSE), this can be used on up to 10 computers in a small business, however you're going to need an anti-malware app to run alogside it, such as Malwarebytes, the Premium version, not the free one.

 

My suggestion as to a Firewall would be one such as Emsifoft Online Armor. It costs more at first, then you'll receive discounts with yearly renewals.

 

You may also wish to obtain a Hardware Firewall, or a commercial wireless router with one built in.

 

Being that these are business computers, some of the software that one would install on the home ones would be best left off (or disabled) from these to reduce the chance of infections. Windows 7 is a rouust OS & there's many inbuilt tools to control computer usage, content that can be viewed, defrag & disk cleanup, even a backup solution that will suffice until you can get a professional one. Provided again, that you run it daily & don't skip any days of backup, one failure can be costly when data is lost.

 

The EULA's as to for profit use likely differs from home usage, meaning that many of the free choices aren't supposed to be used.

 

This should be enough to get you headed in the right direction.

 

Cat


Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 


#6 palerider2

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 02:57 AM

Would it fundamentally restrict business operations if you implemented any of these policies ?

i) internet access was removed completely

ii) internet access was only available on standalone PCs

iii) internet access plus your local email was on a separate network to everythng else that you run

 

Just some outside-the-box questions.

 

If you can separate what's business critical from potentially-infected internet-connected PCs, that's a great prevention policy.

 

Good luck in your new job !



#7 green94337

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 05:28 AM

Hey everyone,
Thanks for all the responses so far!

#1. All of the businesses that I am employed by, other than my own, are in the funeral industry. This requires 24-7 internet access on some machines, but not all. Basically, I am going to implement a no-install, no-porn, no-junk policy for any machine that has the remotest chance of logging onto any network resources. I also don't, though I should, have a budget. I basically have a boss who knows nothing, as far as I know, about computers, and only will see my endeavors to spend his money. That's why I'm trying to get away on the cheap.

#8 quietman7

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 05:37 AM


You can eliminate Spybot since you are using Malwarebytes which is far more effective. ZA Free Firewall can be removed on Windows 7 and above...just use Windows built in Firewall.

CryptoPrevent can be used to lock down any Windows OS to prevent infection by the Cryptolocker ransomware which encrypts personal files and then offers decryption for a paid ransom. CryptoPrevent artificially implants hundreds of group policy object rules into the registry in order to block executables (*.exe, *.com *.scr and *.pif) and fake file extension executables in certain locations (i.e. %AppData%, %LocalAppData%, Recycle Bin) from running. This allows it to stop other malicious files in addition to Crypotolocker. You can also use Command Line Parameters and manually whitelist individual items or automatically whitelist all .exe files currently found in the locations that would be blocked. The changes can be reversed by re-running the tool and selecting Undo, then rebooting. The free version of CryptoPrevent permits manually checking for updates. CryptoPrevent Premium (a one-time charge) keeps CryptoPrevent up-to-date automatically with free updates for life and can be used on all your home computers. CryptoPrevent's home page explains the User Interface, Prevention Methodology, Whitelisting, Scripting and includes a section on Questions and Answers.

HitmanPro.Alert with CryptoGuard
HitmanPro.Alert
CryptoGuard prevents your files from being taken hostage

There is an entire topic devoted to HitmanPro.Alert with CryptoGuard where erikloman, the Authorized SurfRight Rep. posts updates and answers questions.

BTW, no amount of security software is going to defend against today's sophisticated malware writers for those who do not practice safe computing and stay informed. It has been proven time and again that the user is a more substantial factor in security than the architecture of the operating system or installed protection software. Thus you are going to need to educate your users with best practices including backing up their data as noted by cat1092.
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#9 technonymous

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 05:49 AM

I would start with a network audit.



#10 green94337

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 09:18 AM

Could anyone give me pointers to tutorials that would educate me on how to use group policy? Is it available on Win7 Home Premium?



#11 quietman7

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 11:42 AM



Windows 7 Home Premium, Home Basic and Starter do not include the Group Policy Editor feature.


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#12 cat1092

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 12:15 PM

Could anyone give me pointers to tutorials that would educate me on how to use group policy? Is it available on Win7 Home Premium?

For a cost of around $100, through the Start Menu, there's a Windows Anytime Upgrade option. Choose this, you'll be linked to the MS Store. From there, you can purchase a key for Professional, it'll be emailed to you in a matter of a couple of minutes. This is how I've updated all of my Windows 7 Home Premium installs to Pro.

 

Go back to that option & enter the key that you purchased in the provided space. No reinstall required & no files lost, in 10 minutes or less, you'll be updated to Pro. The key files are there in all Windows 7 consumer versions, you simply need that key to unlock these with. For a business, it's recommended to be running Pro over Home Premium, for the reason you asked above & more.

 

Once you do this, it's imperative to backup the OS, to prevent from having to redo the procedure in case you'll need to recover from backup.

 

For more details:

 

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/help/videos/upgrade-to-another-edition-of-windows-7-by-using-windows-anytime-upgrade

 

Cat


Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 


#13 Kilroy

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 02:06 PM

It does not look like this has been addressed yet, free software is not always free for commercial use.

 

CCleaner has a business version, so I'm guessing that the free version is only for personal use.  The same applies for the Zone Alarm, paragraph 2.1.  I'm not going to go through the rest of your software, but you should get the idea.

 

BSA can give you an idea of how much not paying for the correct license can cost a company.

 

In a corporate environment you want to reload a machine, not clean it.  Once a machine has been compromised you can no longer trust any information it gives you.  Normally you can back up the user's data as most threats these days do not infect user data, instead they encrypt it.

 

Encrypting malware now means that everything should be stored on the network and backed up following the 3-2-1 Backup Rule

 

3 Copies of the data

2 Different media types

1 Offsite copy

 

Backup rotation scheme will depend on how long you need to be able to retrieve the data.

 

Your main security is not allowing the users to get into trouble.  All users should run with limited accounts.  Users should receive "basic training" regarding security and tested on a semi regular basis.  Most users will find that basic security is just common sense.



#14 green94337

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 03:10 PM

Now that was a good explanation of system backups. Thanks kilroy. Cat1092, thank you also. I currently am running all Home Premium installations. Would RealVNC provide the same good service as Teamviewer? I need a good remote access system so I can sit at my desk at home in my room and manage 15 to 20 computers at once.

#15 cat1092

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 06:24 PM

Well, that knocks MSE out of the picture, according to the EULA that's publicly posted, it can be used on to to 10 computers within a small business. Only if half of these 15-20 computers has a different IP address would this be allowed. If Windows 8 was the OS, being that Windows Defender is built in, this limit of 10 PC's doesn't apply.

 

The inbuilt Windows Defender that Windows 7 & Vista has can be used to scan for adware & spyware, it's a component of the OS, unlike MSE, which has to be installed. This is one Free option, as you have asked for, that you can use, plus any of the inbuilt software, such as backup, again, I can only recommend that backup app as a short term solution.

 

Microsoft has solutions for businesses of all types & sizes, you may want to give the folks a call.

 

http://smallbusiness.support.microsoft.com/en-US/contact

 

As to free software for IT usage, there's EULA's to many of the popular ones, most all mandates home use only, a few allows for non-profit however permission must be requested & approved. To be honest, as I stated before, these computers likely doesn't need a lot of extra software & some may not even need to be connected to outgoing Internet for security purposes (internal network only). That would depend on what a given computer is used for.

 

Kilroy brings up an excellent point, having a backup copy offsite, this could be in your home, however you would need permissions from your employer to do this. I would think that if they trusted you to this task, then should be open to options you suggest. You are a part of the management team & as such should be considered a trusted partner.

 

Sounds as though the one in the position before you has left one huge mess behind, I've been there myself, though not in the same capacity or line of employment, once was transferred to another distribution center for a couple of months to bring things in line with company standard policies. The prior operations manager just let everything, including employee moral & discipline, go down the drain. These were the assignments I disliked the most, mainly due to having to be away from home all week.

 

All part of a day's work.....who knows, one day you may be chosen to run the whole place. This is your moment, came at a younger age than for me, make the most of it to secure a great future for yourself.

 

We're here when you need us, so don't hesitate to stop in for advice or assistance, you'll likely need more. Our advise is on the house.

 

Cat


Edited by cat1092, 19 June 2014 - 06:24 PM.

Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 





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