Cassells Consulting

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CC Consulting is a local Houston Based Company that has been providing Information Technology (IT) services to local businesses since 2005.  We keep your organization's IT operations running.  Supporting many different types of industries, we offer multiple choices of IT Support Plans that are attractive for any sized organization.  CC Consulting makes technology work for you, so you can focus on growing your business.  

Please look at our Business Services

For that individual touch our Personal / Home Services Page

Or your can contact us here

Backup internet connections

How important is your internet connection for your business and personal life? If you’re anything like me, you business comes to a standstill when you loose your internet connection. You can’t telework, you can’t process payments you can’t even check the weather! If your like me internet access is not just important its a necessity to keep your business going. So what do I do to keep things running..

First, I have two internet providers! I have a cable provider for my primary internet access (60/5) and I have DSL (7/.8) for my backup internet connection. DSL in my area is $20 a month which I consider a small price to pay for always on, unlimited internet access. If the internet goes down, what is your time worth? Okay, Okay DSL isn’t fast but its better than nothing and it has no data caps.

Think your cell phone is a good backup internet connection? Have you ever experienced a widespread internet outage? When Comcast goes down in our area forget using your hotspot, everyone crowds onto the LTE networks here and overwhelms them. You end up finding you have no data here either.

What do I need to have 2 internet providers, besides their equipment? You need a router that can load balance or fail-over between the two connections like I do. I use the unifi security gateway to provide automatic fail over so I don’t have to be at the office to keep the internet going.

Have more questions about setting up dual internet connections from 2 separate providers, give us a call.

Ransom Ware

What is Ransom Ware? 

Ransom Ware is a new technique cyber criminals have been using to make money by holding your data hostage.  The most common way that these criminals infect your computer is by spoofing an e-mail from a know client of your business with an invoice as an attachment.  The invoice contains and infected PDF or document that silently infects your computer with the virus.  Once infected the virus encrypts every file on your computer, pictures, Quickbooks files, documents you name it.  It does it on any shared drive, usb drive, and any computer with an open share.  Once down pops up a window on your computer demanding thousands of dollars in bitcoins.

Ransom Ware has become an increasing menace in the Houston area.  I was out to dinner recently with some security experts and they informed me that according to the FBI the Houston area has become the most targeted region in the country for Ransom ware.  

So what can be done to protect yourself from Ransom ware?

1) A good cloud backup, once the files are encrypted there is no way to recover them without paying the ransom, unless you have a good backup

2) Good anti-virus software

3) No open shares on your network, everything should be password protected

4) A program to filter web traffic and e-mail to block infected files something like Malwarebytes or Barracuda

Best Backup Practices

In this day in age our lives have become increasingly digital.  Your un-replaceable photos, your taxes and business records, payroll, banking information, client records, business documents, it's all on your computer. Everyone knows they should have a backup of their data right?  If you're manually copying your files over to your USB drive you should be good right?  Well Kind of...

You see the problem with only backing up to your external HD is that your data is still vulnerable to fire, viruses, theft, storms, lightening/surges, etc.  By having only 1 backup located in the same place as your prime source you really are only protected against accidental deletion of the occasional computer crash.  There are so many other events that you're not protected against that could result in a complete loss of your data.   

You need to plan for redundancy.  

Most experts recommend the 3-2-1 backup for valuable data.  1 Local backup for your data that allows rapid recovery of your system.  2 A cloud backup at a remote location, odds are low that a natural disaster affecting your computers here would affect the cloud.  3 a permanent archive on CD/DVD archive grade disks possibly stored in a safety deposit box.  Having 3 backups of your most valuable data will ensure that at least one copy survives any scenario!  


CC Consulting now has a trouble ticket system

CC Consulting is pleased to announce that we have launched our new trouble ticket system.  You can access the system at any time by clicking on the navigation bar Trouble Ticket.  Not only will you be able to enter trouble tickets you'll be able to see the current real time status of your ticket.  This allows us to ensure our customers are always aware of what is happening with their issues.  Please try it now

Beyond the headlines of, ‘Staggering’ data breach of 1.2B usernames and passwords could worsen

Many of you have heard the following 

"The massive data breach revealed this week could be even worse than initially feared, warns a cybersecurity expert.

Citing records discovered by security specialist Hold Security, The New York Times reported on Tuesday that a Russian crime ring has managed to gain access to more than a billion stolen Internet credentials. The stolen credentials include 1.2 billion password and username combinations and more than 500 million email addresses, according to Hold Security, which describes the breach as potentially the largest ever."

But what is the real story here?  

Hackers in order to crack other passwords need lists of words that mimic the passwords people actually used.  With this hack, hackers now have a list of passwords picked by actual people.  This will make it significantly easier in the future for hackers to crack user passwords.

Good reading on how to become a password cracker.

So the question I ask now have passwords become obsolete?  Especially in light of how easy it will become to crack passwords?  Leave your opinion in the comments section below.


Apple to hold iPhone event on September 9th

Has your older iPhone's battery been loosing strength, or do you want more speed, you wait will soon be over.  

Apple will launch its next-generation iPhone 6 at an event on Tuesday, September 9, reports Re/code. The company has reportedly scheduled a big media event for that date and in the past, September has been a month reserved for the introduction of new iPhones. 

Following the September 9 introduction, the iPhone 6 will likely be available to customers on a corresponding Friday roughly a week and a half later, possibly September 19. 

Apple's iPhone 6 launch event will see the debut of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6, which is expected to include a thinner, lighter chassis with an iPod-touch style design along with an A8 processor and an improved camera. The event may also see the introduction of the 5.5-inch iPhone 6, which is said to be experiencing production issues and may ship to customers somewhat later than the 4.7-inch iPhone 6, in late 2014 or early 2015. 

Re/code, composed of the former AllThingsD team, has a perfect track record when it comes to launch date reports. The site has also suggested Apple is aiming to introduce the iWatch at an October event. 

The Wall Street Journal has confirmed Re/code's report, with a source pointing towards a September 9 debut date for the iPhone 6. Bloomberg has confirmed the September 9 event date as well. 

4K Youtube video playback

Have you noticed the increasing amount of "4K" content available on YouTube?  If you're like me your just getting into the 4K video arena on your computer.  I just wanted to share a tip with everyone to make their 4K video experiences better.  

I have been using Chrome as my primary browser but when I play back 4K YouTube video content its clear that the sounds don't synch with the video and I'm dropping lots of frames.  ITs not that I have a slow computer 2xRadeon 280X's in SLI and a i7-L5639 CPU (hexacore).  I also noticed that Internet Explorer also plays back the video perfectly.  What's up with Chrome?  

It turns out that you can fix the Chrome Browser playback problems by going into settings->advanced settings->un use hardware acceleration when available.  This makes 4K YouTube video playback flawlessly on a Chrome browser.  

Crypto Currency GPU Mining Dead?

Have you heard about Crypto Currency Mining and want to get on the action and mine BitCoin, Litecoin, or one of the numerous other coins you've heard of?  At this point dear reader my best advice would be to buy the coins directly.  Given the rising mining difficulty and the ever-climbing scale of hardware, it’s no surprise that some miners simply can’t make a profit.

A long-running thread on Bitcoin Talk on the topic of shutting down received some recent activity, with several members telling their stories about how they manage to stay open – or finally close their doors and hang up the ASICs, as it were. Some users said that despite their best efforts, keeping the machinery running just didn’t keep up with the electrical costs.

The conversation focused, in part, on whether or not mining profitability for hobby-scale miners will continue. With margins as tight as they are, some users mused that they won’t be able to stay in business if the price of bitcoin continues to fluctuate in the $500-$600 range. Others said that they continue to mine even  if they spend more on electricity than they make in bitcoin, citing the hope that the digital currency will grow rapidly in value in the months and years ahead.

One forum member commented that, in spite of shutting down, they didn’t have any bad feeling about their prior investments or the prospect of getting involved again one day.

He said:

“Have fun. It is for fun. I paid off the miners and then some with the earnings, and will see what happens to it. Maybe I will buy another miner or miners at some point.”