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Time to boost your immune system

Ugh. It’s that time of year again. Here I am, into my fifth decade on this planet and I still have that sinking feeling at the beginning of September. You know what I mean? Summer’s over: stop messing about with your holidays, frivolity and barbecues, put down that mojito and get back to school. The already slim chances of decent, warm weather become more emaciated from here on in. The days get shorter. Everything gets greyer. Doom. Gloom.

I guess Autumn’s not a bad time of year – the burnished golden trees, ripening fruit in the orchards and all that. But it is Back To School time, and as our delightful progeny trot off back to their classes there’s something else we can all look forward to: a fresh strain of our dear old friend, the Common Cold.

Yes, off we’ve spread around the world like popcorn out of a pan over the summer and the bugs come bounding back with us just in time to go rattling through the entire population as they’re stirred into the cauldron of packed assemblies and classrooms before being delivered back to us to thrive in our cosy, centrally-heated dwellings.

And so it is that every so often, our immune systems get a workout. We stock up on Kleenex, Lemsip and Strepsils, snivel apologies for involuntary spasms and spend much of our time making or receiving accusations of Man Flu, depending on gender. But suffer them we do. Then I’m reminded of that other piece of autumnal nostalgia: Readybrek adverts. The one where the kid eats a bowl of what is basically oat-based wallpaper paste, but leaves the house protected by the orange glow of a magical dragon – and is apparently protected by this golden armour as he bounds off happily to school.

Ah, the outrageous claims of those old adverts, eh? Those were the days. Of course, these days, we have other kinds of viruses to worry about. Our ever-increasing number and variety of technological devices, all trotting off across the web every few seconds to consort with who-knows-whom and get up to things that’d make an Sinclair Spectrum blush, are just as likely to come back infected as our dear offspring as they pour forth daily at half three.

We can load up the immune systems on our devices to help fight off these infections as they arrive, but wouldn’t it be great if there were also that Readybrek for them, that stopped infections getting anywhere near us, or kept our key data nice and distant from attack? What if we could protect ourselves by evolving our defences to make them less vulnerable? Well, we might just have skipped Autumn and Christmas has come early, because we have some new lines that do just that.

OpenDNS has long been a free service the web-savvy internet user has gone to to improve connectivity with the web and to speed up site access, but they’ve been busy beefing up the enterprise security aspect of their offering. Businesses can now opt for OpenDNS Umbrella, a solution that blocks not only malware, botnets and phishing over any port, protocol or app, but also advanced attacks before they can cause damage. OpenDNS uses machine learning to automate protection keeps itself up-to-date without admin intervention. It’s simple to implement too. You simply use the OpenDNS IP addresses for your devices and their protection starts before responses get to your network, just like the Readybrek ad. You can almost see the orange glow.

And then there’s Thycotic – solutions to make controlling your myriad business passwords painless and secure. Most businesses have at least some level of password storage in shared documents of plain text, and even more have a fully-manual and uncontrolled system of password management for documents, servers and users. This means that passwords are vulnerable to exposure, unlikely to change, often throughout the lifetime of the items they are protecting, and therefore do not evolve away from threats to their security. Thycotic provides a service to boost your company’s immune system, by making changing and distributing passwords regular and secure across a wide range of your business’ devices and documents. As your employees change and move, so can your passwords. Which can ‘elp you breaze more easily.

So it’s not all doom and gloom, just because we’re on the downward slide into Winter (in the Northern Hemisphere, at least). There are ways to use security solutions to protect your business from the illnesses out there. Whatever; I’m off to stuff a box with shredded newspaper and sleep in it until Spring. See you in 2016.