pen testing

IT Penetration Testing for Small Business

What Is Penetration Testing?

At its core, penetration testing (often called “pen testing”) is ethical hacking. In this process, a company hires security professionals to simulate an attack on their systems. The goal is to identify vulnerabilities that malicious actors could exploit. Unlike dealing with a real data breach, where the aftermath can be costly and damaging, penetration testing allows businesses to proactively address security weaknesses.


Why Do Small Businesses Need Penetration Testing?

  1. Risk Mitigation: Small businesses face the same cyber threats as larger enterprises but often lack the resources for robust security measures. Penetration testing helps identify vulnerabilities before they are exploited, reducing the risk of data breaches and financial losses.
  2. Compliance Requirements: Many industries have compliance standards (such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, or GDPR) that mandate regular security assessments. Penetration testing ensures compliance and helps avoid penalties.
  3. Protecting Sensitive Data: Small businesses handle customer data, financial records, and intellectual property. A breach could lead to reputational damage, legal issues, and financial setbacks.
  4. Business Continuity: A successful cyberattack can disrupt operations, leading to downtime, lost revenue, and customer dissatisfaction. Penetration testing helps maintain business continuity.


What Type of Small Businesses Benefit Most?

All small businesses can benefit from penetration testing, but certain factors make it especially crucial:

  • E-commerce Businesses: These handle sensitive customer information and online transactions.
  • Startups: Early-stage companies need to secure their digital assets from the outset.
  • Service Providers: Businesses offering services (such as healthcare providers or law firms) must safeguard client data.
  • Financial Institutions: Banks, credit unions, and fintech startups deal with financial data and must prioritize security.


Choosing What to Test

Small businesses should focus on critical assets, such as:

  • Web Applications: These are common targets for attacks.
  • Network Infrastructure: Assess vulnerabilities in routers, firewalls, and switches.
  • Mobile Apps: As mobile usage grows, securing apps is essential.
  • Cloud Services: A common misconception is that IT services in the cloud are automatically protected. This is not always the case and cloud services need to be tested as data may be accessed from anywhere in the world.


Types of Penetration Tests

  1. External Tests: Simulate attacks from outside the organization.
  2. Internal Tests: Assess vulnerabilities within the network.
  3. Web Application Tests: Focus on web apps and APIs.
  4. Wireless Tests: Evaluate Wi-Fi security.
  5. Social Engineering Tests: Assess human vulnerabilities.


Cost of Penetration Testing for Small Business

The cost varies based on factors like scope, complexity, and the provider. However, consider it an investment in your business’s security. The expense is dwarfed by the potential consequences of a successful cyberattack.

Remember, penetration testing is not a luxury—it’s a necessity for safeguarding your business in today’s cyber-threat landscape. Implementing a robust testing process can prevent costly breaches and protect your reputation.

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Microsoft Copilot

Exploring Microsoft Copilot for Business

In recent years, the technology landscape has witnessed a surge in advancements that are reshaping the way businesses operate. One such innovation that has garnered attention is Microsoft Copilot. Launched as a collaborative coding tool, Microsoft Copilot is now making waves in the business world, promising to revolutionize productivity and streamline development processes. In this article, we’ll delve into the current state of Microsoft Copilot for business and explore its potential impact on the way teams collaborate and create.

What is Microsoft Copilot?

Microsoft Copilot is an AI-powered code completion tool developed by GitHub in collaboration with OpenAI. It is built on OpenAI’s GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) language model, specifically GPT-3.5. Copilot’s primary function is to assist developers by suggesting whole lines or blocks of code as they write, significantly speeding up the coding process and reducing errors.

Key Features:

  1. Intelligent Code Suggestions: Copilot analyzes the code being written in real-time and provides contextually relevant suggestions. This feature not only accelerates the coding process but also helps less experienced developers learn from best practices.
  2. Support for Multiple Programming Languages: Microsoft Copilot supports a wide array of programming languages, making it versatile and suitable for diverse development projects. Whether it’s Python, JavaScript, Java, or others, Copilot aims to be an all-encompassing tool for developers.
  3. Seamless Integration with Visual Studio Code: Integration with Visual Studio Code, one of the most popular integrated development environments (IDEs), enhances Copilot’s accessibility. This means developers can leverage its capabilities within a familiar environment, leading to a smoother and more intuitive coding experience.
  4. Collaborative Coding: Copilot supports collaboration between developers, allowing teams to work on code collectively. This feature is particularly valuable in fostering a collaborative environment, enabling faster development cycles and better code quality.
  5. Learning and Adaptation: As developers use Microsoft Copilot, the tool learns from the coding patterns and preferences of individual users. Over time, it adapts to the unique coding style of each developer, providing increasingly accurate and personalized code suggestions.

Current State of Microsoft Copilot for Business

As of the latest updates, Microsoft Copilot has gained traction in the business world, with many development teams incorporating it into their workflows. The tool is particularly beneficial for:

  1. Accelerating Development Cycles: Microsoft Copilot significantly speeds up the coding process, enabling developers to write code more efficiently. This acceleration translates into faster development cycles, allowing businesses to bring products and features to market more quickly.
  2. Enhancing Code Quality: The intelligent code suggestions offered by Copilot contribute to improved code quality. By suggesting best practices and identifying potential issues, the tool helps reduce bugs and errors, leading to more robust and reliable software.
  3. Facilitating Learning and Onboarding: Copilot’s ability to provide contextually relevant suggestions and learn from user behavior makes it a valuable tool for learning and onboarding new team members. Less experienced developers can benefit from the tool’s guidance, accelerating their learning curve.
  4. Promoting Collaboration: The collaborative coding feature fosters teamwork, allowing multiple developers to work on the same codebase seamlessly. This collaborative aspect is especially valuable for distributed teams working across different locations.

Challenges and Future Outlook

While Microsoft Copilot has received positive feedback for its capabilities, there are challenges and considerations. Some concerns revolve around potential code security issues, as the tool generates code based on the patterns it has learned. It is crucial for businesses to implement proper security measures and conduct thorough code reviews.

Looking ahead, Microsoft is likely to refine and enhance Copilot further, addressing any issues and expanding its capabilities. The tool’s success in the business realm will depend on its ability to adapt to the evolving needs of development teams and its continued integration with popular IDEs.


Microsoft Copilot represents a significant leap forward in the world of coding and development. Its ability to accelerate coding, enhance collaboration, and improve code quality makes it a valuable asset for businesses aiming to stay competitive in the rapidly evolving tech landscape. As more teams adopt this AI-powered coding tool, it is poised to become an integral part of the modern development toolkit, shaping the way software is created and maintained.

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Google Domains to Shut Down, Sold to Squarespace

Google has announced that it is shutting down its domain registrar business, Google Domains. The service will be winding down following a transition period, with Squarespace taking over the business and assets.

A history of shutting down good projects

The announcement came as a surprise to many, as Google Domains had only recently exited beta in March 2022. The service was well-received by users, offering a simple and affordable way to register and manage domains.

To others, this may not be a surprise. Google has a long history or coming our with a great product, then shutting it down. Projects include Google+, Google Reader, Google Wave, Google Glass, Google Allo, and the list goes on an on.

In a blog post, Google said that the decision to shut down Google Domains was made “as part of our efforts to sharpen our focus.” The company said that it would continue to offer domain registration through its other products, such as Google Workspace and Google Cloud Platform.

Squarespace, which provides website building and hosting services, said that it was “excited” to acquire Google Domains. The company said that it would integrate Google Domains into its own platform, making it easier for users to register and manage domains.

The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter of 2023. Once the acquisition is complete, Google Domains customers will be migrated to Squarespace.

What does this mean for Google Domains customers?

Google Domains customers will need to take action to ensure that their domains are migrated to Squarespace. Google will provide more information about the migration process in the coming months.

In the meantime, customers can continue to use Google Domains as usual. Their domains will remain active until the migration is complete.

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Using Nagios XI to Monitor More Than Servers and Network Devices

Nagios XI is a powerful network monitoring tool that is typically used to monitor servers, applications, and network devices. However, Nagios XI can also be used for a number of unusual purposes. Here are a few examples:

  • Monitoring physical security: Nagios XI can be used to monitor physical security devices, such as door locks, motion sensors, and fire alarms. This can be helpful for organizations that want to ensure the safety of their employees and property.
  • Monitoring environmental conditions: Nagios XI can be used to monitor environmental conditions, such as temperature, humidity, and air quality. This can be helpful for organizations that need to ensure that their facilities are operating in a safe and comfortable environment.
  • Monitoring employee productivity: Nagios XI can be used to monitor employee productivity. This can be done by tracking the amount of time that employees spend on certain websites or applications. This information can then be used to identify areas where employees are wasting time and make changes to improve productivity.
  • Monitoring customer satisfaction: Nagios XI can be used to monitor customer satisfaction. This can be done by tracking the number of customer complaints and the time it takes to resolve them. This information can then be used to identify areas where customer service can be improved.

These are just a few examples of outside the box ways to use Nagios XI. If you have a creative mind, there are probably many other ways that you can use Nagios XI to improve your organization’s operations.

Here are some additional tips for using Nagios XI:

  • Be creative: Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when you’re using Nagios XI. If you can think of a way to use Nagios XI to improve your organization’s operations, then go for it!
  • Get help: If you’re not sure how to use Nagios XI in a particular way, there are plenty of resources available to help you. MCS can provide implementation help for writing custom plugins.
  • Have fun: Nagios XI is a powerful tool, but it doesn’t have to be all work and no play. If you can find ways to use Nagios XI to make your job easier or more enjoyable, then that’s a win-win!
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Small Business Cyber Security Can’t be Ignored

In today’s climate of cyber threats, small business cyber security has become more important than ever. With the rise of technology and the increasing reliance on cloud platforms for business operations, small businesses are no exception to this rule. In fact, they are even more vulnerable to cyber attacks due to their limited resources and knowledge of cybersecurity. Therefore, it is crucial for small businesses to understand the importance of cybersecurity and take appropriate measures to safeguard their operations.

One of the biggest reasons why small businesses need to prioritize cybersecurity is the threat of data breaches. Cyber criminals are constantly looking for ways to steal sensitive information such as customer data, financial records, and intellectual property. If a small business falls victim to a data breach, it can have a devastating impact on their reputation and bottom line.


Another reason why small businesses need to prioritize cybersecurity is the growing prevalence of ransomware attacks. Ransomware is a type of malware that locks a business’s files and demands a ransom payment to release them. Ransomware attacks have become increasingly common in recent years. For small businesses, the impact can be particularly severe as they often lack the resources to recover from an attack.


Moreover, small businesses are more vulnerable to phishing attacks, which are designed to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information such as passwords or bank details. These attacks are often carried out through email, and small businesses are particularly susceptible to them because they may not have the resources or knowledge to identify and prevent them.

Legal Issues

In addition to the potential financial and reputational damage, cyber attacks can also have legal consequences. Small businesses are subject to a range of regulations and legal requirements regarding data protection and privacy. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines and legal action, which can be costly and time-consuming.

Therefore, it is essential to take proactive steps to protect themselves from cyber attacks. This includes implementing robust cybersecurity measures such as firewalls, antivirus software, and regular data backups. Small businesses should also provide training to their employees on how to identify and prevent cyber attacks. They should establish clear protocols for responding to security incidents.

In conclusion, small business cyber security is crucial. The risk of cyber attacks is increasing, and small businesses are particularly vulnerable. Therefore, small businesses need to prioritize cybersecurity and take appropriate measures to protect themselves from the potentially devastating consequences of cyber attacks. By doing so, they can safeguard their operations, reputation, and financial stability in the long term.

Contact MCS to learn more about how our managed small business cyber security offering can get your business secured and put your mind at ease.

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Manually Install Nagios XI on Linux, the Easy Way

Installing Nagios XI has one the easiest setups around. While Nagios XI is not officially offered through standard repositories, the process is still so easy. In many cases, when we are starting fresh with a brand new Nagios installation for a customer, our engineers will use the .ova image. This is quick and easy but offers fewer options. When the VMware image is not ideal, we use the method below to manually install Nagios XI on Linux.

    1. Install your preferred Linux OS. Nagios XI is officially supported on CentOS, RHEL, Debian, Ubuntu, and Oracle Linux. We recommend a minimum install with no GUI to optimize performance and decrease your security footprint.
    2. Once your OS is installed, go ahead and make sure it has Internet access and run a full update using yum or apt-get. Restart.
    3. Run this command as root/superuser (you may have to install curl depending on how minimal your install was)
      curl | shThis script will automatically download and install the latest version. Grab a cup of coffee, this will take several minutes.
    4. Once the wall of streaming text stops you should be greeted with a message telling you what URL to use to continue your setup.


Finish Up your Manual Nagios XI Installation via Browser

Now, you can use a web browser to set the Nagios Admin username and password. You can also install a license, activate a free trial, or go straight into the free 7 host mode. Many large organizations we have worked with will have a customized base image of Linux they deploy with custom login servers, security settings, and integrations built-in. This type of customization will work with Nagios but we always recommend that the base OS be as minimal as possible. Custom firewall rules and other security settings may not work without extra configuration.

If your organization would like expert assistance with your Nagios XI deployment, contact MCS for a free quote. We can assist with projects of all sizes. Our Nagios experts can help you manually install Nagios right the first time.

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Nagios consultant

4 Benefits of Using A Professional Consultant When Getting Started With Nagios XI

Modern networks have become so advanced over the years that it’s almost impossible to keep track of issues without software.
It’s mind-boggling how many different types of devices now make up contemporary networks.
However, when it comes to open-source network monitoring tools, companies worldwide turn to Nagios.
Nagios keeps an eye on network issues while also helping you gain extensive insight with enterprise-class network monitoring, alerts, and analysis.
But did you know that you can make your life much easier by hiring a professional Nagios consultant?
Curious to know how? Then keep reading to find out the benefits of hiring one to get started with Nagios XI!

1. Save Money with a Nagios Consultant

If you want to look at the big picture and save valuable money, consider getting in touch with a professional who knows what they are doing.
But how does that work?
Well, the math is simple.
Hiring an expert Nagios consultant will reduce the number of man-hours and ultimately cost you less.
So, rather than watching your current IT department—which may not have much experience with network monitoring software—go around in circles, reach out to a professional.  Experts can work on the project with precision without wasting time.

2. Ensure Precision

Your organization needs to ensure it is following the best practices when setting up network monitoring to make software maintenance as efficient as possible.
Aspects such as notifications, accessing dashboards, and adding and removing hosts and services should be set up properly, so network monitoring is carried out without any issues.
For instance, timely and accurate notification delivery is crucial to preventing system failures.
Therefore, hiring a professional will guarantee that your Nagios XI installation is done accurately and following best practices the first time.

3. Get Quality Training & Management

A professional Nagios consultant will provide training to your staff, ensuring they are well-equipped to deal with issues.
This way, you will have the surety of documentation and training to hand off the project to your team – regardless of whether the consultants build your organization’s whole monitoring infrastructure from scratch or collaborates with your current IT department.

4. Get Up & Running Without Wasting Time & Energy

Setting up Nagios IX in your organization is a fairly complicated task, and hiring a Nagios consultant to perform it is always a good idea to ensure it is done right.
So, if you need to start your project off on the right foot, reach out to experts who will install Nagios and work with your team to set up the foundation needed for a successful Nagios implementation.

The Gist

Nagios is renowned as the best tool for various server monitoring tasks.
If your company is looking for a professional Nagios Core or XI consultant when starting Nagios XI deployment, feel free to reach out to MCS.
Our competent experts will work with you and your team to install, implement, and manage Nagios products.

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Internet Explorer End of Life

Internet Explorer End of Life is Finally Here

While some may be sad to see the Internet Explorer End of Life, fortunately, there are alternatives to Internet Explorer, so most users needn’t worry about losing access to Microsoft’s online services. There are many benefits to using a new browser instead. The latest version is called Microsoft Edge, and its Chromium-based architecture aims to rival Google Chrome and offer a friendlier user interface on touch-supporting PCs. Luckily, there’s a way to accommodate those users who still need to use Internet Explorer.

Microsoft Edge

The usage share of Internet Explorer is quite small, with less than 5.5 percent of the market. Microsoft doesn’t publish official numbers, but third-party stats put it at 5.21 percent. In addition to this, Edge is already the default browser for Windows 11, and most home users have already switched to it.

Microsoft is phasing out Internet Explorer, with its last major version ending on June 15, 2022. Users of the browser should migrate to the latest version of Microsoft Edge, which has been optimized for security and speed. In addition to speed and security, Microsoft Edge also works with legacy applications.

While Internet Explorer End of Life is here now, Microsoft will still support its browser in Edge until 2029. Users of the IE11 desktop application will continue to be redirected to Microsoft Edge. To make the transition to the new browser easier, Microsoft is keeping a legacy browser mode available for Edge.

Built-in Internet Explorer Mode

Considering moving to Microsoft Edge after internet explorer end of life? If so, you’ll be moving to a new, improved browser that supports legacy web browsers. Microsoft Edge is much faster than IE and more secure but still supports legacy browsers. It even has an IE mode that allows you to use older IE websites.
When it is retired by its creators, Internet Explorer will be redirected to Microsoft’s Edge browser, and it will no longer be available on newer versions of Windows. Microsoft Edge comes with IE mode, which you can manually enable or disable, so you can continue to access legacy Internet Explorer sites and apps. You can set it up in the Getting Started guide, and consumers can enable it themselves.

What Does Microsoft Say about Internet Explorer End of Life?

“The good news: you probably already have it on your device. Search for “Microsoft Edge” using the Windows 10 search box or look for the icon (see the top of this article). If you don’t have it, you can easily download it here. We’ve also aimed to simplify the upgrade to Microsoft Edge; once you’ve opted to move to Microsoft Edge, it’s easy to bring over your passwords, favorites, and other browsing data from Internet Explorer in a few clicks. And if you run into a site that needs Internet Explorer to open, Microsoft Edge has Internet Explorer mode built-in so you can still access it,”

Bottom Line

While IE11 is being phased out, developers and users should prepare now for the transition to Microsoft Edge. Although the transition from IE11 to Edge may seem daunting, it will be done gradually and according to industry best practices. And because Microsoft has said it will end support for Internet Explorer in 2022, it’s worth preparing for it. After all, it is faster, safer, and compatible with legacy apps and sites.

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