Tag Archives: patch management

PCMatic Support Poor at Best

PCMatic Support Poor at Best – email only

PCMatic Support Poor at Best, when you have an issue they have no user forum, no real knowledge base to query, no on-line chat, nor a tech support phone number.

We tried the Pro version of PCMatic and found it an interesting solution to the protection arena.

When we had a problem with another program and added to the white list. That did not make any difference.  That we found strange.  Let me explain.

PCMatic Support

PCMatic Support should implement polices on Patch Management, version control, and service desk support.

We could install the other program (DriverSupport.com) and add it to the white list. All went well until a reboot was required. PCMatic just REMOVED the whitelisted program. We sent 3 help requests that respond with ROBOTIC canned answers that do not answer the question of how to get around the issue.

There is NO link to a follow-up area, there is NO phone number listed of who I can talk to, and there is NO user forum where I can ask if another user has solved the problem. The only solution that I have is to request a refund.

This is the WORST customer service we have seen yet in the virus protection arena. PcMactic prides itself as being all U.S. made and suppported. They might as well be in India, at least there someone will talk to you.

AVOID THIS PRODUCT IT IS NOT WORTH THE TIME TO MAKE IT WORK. They should spend more on technical support and less on TV ads

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Top 10 Disaster Recovery Best Practices

Top 10 Disaster Recovery Best Practices every organization needs to follow

Disaster Recovery Plan

DR / BC planning requires a robust program that is constantly updated and monitored

Top 10 Disaster Recovery Best Practices as defined by over three decades of DR and BC practice by Janco Associates.  Experience is based on having operated in earthquake zones, hurricanes, and terrorist attacks.

Janco’s principles created the Disaster Recovery Plan that was implemented by Merrill Lynch (ML) on 911.  The plan was activated within minutes of the attack and only 52 seconds of transactions were lost.  The top 10 best practices that are followed in all DR/BC plans that have been created by us are.

  1. Focus on operations – people and process that drive the enterprise are the primary issues that DR and BC are controllable. Implementing a planning and recovery environment is an ideal time to define an approach based on best practices that address the process and people issues effectively.  In the case of ML the plan was activated in the computer room while the CIO was on a plane over the Atlantic.
  2. Have at least one recovery site in place – Before an event there need to be plans in place for not only operation of computer but also for location of operations staff. Cloud managed computer operations can work when a disaster is in a limited ares.  However it is is wide ranged like a hurricane the issues can be problematic.
  3. Train everyone on how to execute the DR and BC – People are the front line when it comes to supporting the enterprise. A staff that has not been properly trained in the use of the DR and BC when an event occurs will we hindrance. Everyone must have the knowledge and skills to provide the right support. The primary focus is to reduce downtime, it also delivers better performance and a faster ROI through better and wiser use of IT assets.
  4. Have a clear definition for declaring when a disaster or business interruption occurs that will set the DR and BC process into motion – There needs to be a clear processes for allocating resources based on their criticality and availability requirements. This will define the “rules of the road” for who does what and when while minimizing the factors that can negatively impact enterprise operations.
  5. Integrate DRP and BCP with change management – Changes are inevitable in any sizable environment. It is difficult to keep up with the flood of new applications, technologies, and new tools. That is why it is essential to design, implement, and continuously improve change and configuration management processes.
  6. Focus on addressing issues BEFORE they impact the enterprise – When you are aiming to operate at the speed of business, after-the-fact fixes do not make the grade. These days, you need to anticipate trouble and head it off before it happens. It is important to identify risks across people, process, and technology so that appropriate countermeasures can be implemented. You should also make sure that vendors provide an appropriate level of support including proactive features such as critical patch analysis and change management support.
  7. Have an Incident Communications Plan in place – The incident communication plan should cover all interested parties from customers to employees and investors.
  8. Validate that all technology is properly installed and configured right from the start – a technology solution that is properly implemented in terms of its hardware, firmware, and software will dramatically reduce problems and downtime in the future. Proper initial configuration can also save time and reduce issues with upgrades, hot patches, and other changes.
  9. Monitor the processes and people to know what critical – many of today’s enterprises are experiencing a capacity crisis as they reach the limits of reduced budgets, older facilities and legacy infrastructures. Space is tight. Power and cooling resources are over-burdened. Implementing new solutions in inefficient environments may limit their ability to recover from an event. An assessment that examines and analyzes the enterprises environment’s capabilities and requirements can provide valuable information to help improve efficiency.
  10. Test often – a DR BC plan is not a static document.  Things change and new individuals are involved as staff changes.

Disaster Recovery Plan Template DRP Sample DRP Template

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AnyConnect Windows 10

AnyConnect Windows 10 Fail

AnyConnect Windows 10 fails with the newest version of the VPN client software.  After a windows update we encountered a problem when we wanted to connect to our VPN.

Patch Management and Version Control Policy

Patch management and version control policy needs to be reviewed in light of issues like AnyConnect Windows 10 failure.

The symptoms were the service was running on the client  PC (Windows 10 Pro 64 bit) and when we went to run AnyConnect, the hour class would appear but we did not get the dialog to connect to the firewall.  We also noticed there was a Microsoft update that occurred since the last time we used the program.

Based on suggestions from our provider, we uninstalled the current version the program, rebooted the client and reinstalled the current version.  The same problem occurred as before. We searched the internet, including Cisco’s trouble shooting suggestions. We found no solution, rather we see that there were a number of instances where AnyConnect Windows 10 failed.

The  problem did not exist before the update by windows.  We then did the following to fix the problem.

  • Uninstalled the current version of the program
  • Rebooted the client with a power on and off
  • Installed a prior version that worked on the client
  • Ran the program and the dialog to set up the connection came up
  • The program did an automatic update to the current version
  • AnyConnect then worked

What caused the problem

We think that with the Microsoft update some registry entry or other setting was altered or removed. The re-installation of the program with the current version did not correct the issue.  When we installed an earlier version the setting was correctly added or modified.

Lessons Learned

As a best practice, versions of programs and updates should be saved. With the constant updates by both hardware and software vendors the chance of a similar problem  occurring are high. When it is time to solve a problem,  the vendors often lack easily obtainable solutions. In our case when we talked to our providers help desk, their repsonse was that was an interesting problem and they would communicate it to Cisco if they saw several customers with the same problem.  Ergo Cisco does not know the problem exists so they will not fix the offending software.

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