PSA – Windows 7 and 2008 support ends January 2020 + What’s new at Castema

PSA – Windows 7 and 2008 support ends January 2020 + What’s new at Castema

Dan Bremner, President, Castema Technology Services, Inc.

For this month’s post, I thought it might be useful to do a round-up of things we’ve been working on over the past few months. I’ve written about some of these concepts before but I haven’t focused on what we’re doing with them here at Castema.


The End is Near (for Windows 7 & Server 2008 support)

Public Service Announcement: There are a few of you still out there running Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 (including 2008 R2). But come January of 2020, Microsoft will no longer release patches for any issues that are found, including security flaws. When that happens, those platforms become a hacker’s playground. Every day is “zero day” because no matter what sort of exploits they find against Windows 7 or 2008, they will always work and never be patched. Make it a priority to replace or upgrade those computers before the end of the year.

Now onto some of “What’s New at Castema”…

Cloud to Cloud Backup

When your data is in the cloud (including your Office 365 mailbox), there can be a sense of invulnerability in thinking that you don’t have to worry about backups. As I wrote about in this article, that’s not a good assumption. Best practices for data backups and security are still important, no matter where the data lives. There are plenty of situations where having control of your own backup copies of your company’s Email, SharePoint, OneDrive, and Teams information can be a lifesaver (or at least a job or business saver). Castema offers a Cloud-to-Cloud Backup service for our customers who are using Office 365, whether for email only, or for much more.

Managed Email Signatures

For businesses that care about their brand, it can be maddening to enforce consistency in email signatures among staff members, across different computers, and especially when using mobile devices. By design and default, signatures are specific to each individual mail program. We’ve recently introduced a service that makes managing signatures easy. Email signatures are inserted into the message from the server after hitting “Send.” It doesn’t matter whether it’s sent from a phone, a computer, or the web, they all look the same, and they are consistent across the company. It’s also easy to add marketing messages into a signature to promote upcoming events, enforce a standard disclaimer, set different signatures by department, and many other powerful tools.

Cloud File Backup

This isn’t a new service, we’ve offered it for quite a while, but I’m including it to help explain the difference between this and the next item. Cloud File Backup is a continuous, near-real-time backup that watches for changed files on a server or PC, and automatically writes changes as they happen to a cloud backup storage. It keeps previous versions, so it’s possible to go back to what a file looked like yesterday, last week, last month, or last year for all files protected by this service. It’s an important part of any disaster recovery plan (especially since it backs up throughout the day!) but it isn’t the whole plan. Because it backs up individual files one by one, it can’t be used to completely recover a server, a so-called “bare metal restore” in the event of a failure. For that you need…

Cloud Image Backup

We are in the process of rolling out a significant upgrade to the core of our Managed Backup Service that has proven very reliable for many years. The core of that service is taking a disk image, a “snapshot” of the server hard drive and copying it to local network storage, where it is available for fast recovery to new hardware or to a virtual machine in case of a server failure. The new upgrade will bring a cloud-enablement option, meaning that the image backup can also be replicated to a cloud storage location. That will bring extra peace of mind, knowing that even if something happens at the server's location, such as theft, fire, flood, which destroys not only the server but the backup storage, we’ll be able to recover the server intact from the cloud backup. We’ll be contacting our existing clients very soon as we roll out this exciting enhancement.

Office 365 EMS MFA

How many acronyms can I fit in a heading, right? EMS is Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility + Security offering (probably the topic of a future article in itself) which sits on top of Office 365 and adds additional security features, as the name suggests. One of those features is MFA, or Multi-Factor Authentication. I wrote about that, and why it’s important in this article late last year. Identity Management is the key to security in the Modern Workplace. As we see more and more companies being victimized by a compromised password, the need for this becomes more apparent. Effective use of MFA ensures that a hacker needs more than just your password to gain access to your company’s information. Passwords are too often the weakest link in an organization’s security strategy, and MFA helps to strengthen that link.

Modernize Your IT Strategy in 2019

The above product offerings are only a part of some of the modernization projects we are working on for our clients in 2019. They’re all relatively easy to implement and won’t break the bank, but they can dramatically decrease your risk, or in the case of Managed Signatures, enhance your professional appearance. If you want to learn more about any of the above, or if your current IT provider isn’t talking to you about how to bring your business into the world of the Modern Workplace, I would love to hear from you. Drop me an email or give me a call. Thanks for reading!