Securing Your Content Management Website

Important Tips and a SiteVision Option

[image source_type=”attachment_id” source_value=”5602″ align=”left” size=”small”]Websites are generally built to display information in the form of content, and in the last decade managing that content has become much easier due to the widespread use of a Content Management System often abbreviated as “CMS”.

The most popular CMS by far is WordPress, with an impressive 60.1% of the CMS market share. With widespread popularity comes vulnerability, and many WordPress sites are susceptible to attack due to running outdated, unsupported versions of the WordPress software. It’s also worth noting the 50 most downloaded plugins for WordPress in 2013 were also vulnerable to attacks such as SQL injections and Cross-site scripting (XSS).

These issues are not unique to WordPress.  All CMSs are susceptible to security risks, and it’s equally important to maintain updates no matter what your platform

The purpose of this article, however, is not to persuade you to abandon WordPress or other CMS Systems.  In fact, we use WordPress every day, and chances are you’re reading this on a WordPress-based website.  Our intent is to point out security risks, but more importantly to discuss solutions – updates!

Your operating system, software, smartphone, and maybe even your car need updates in order to function at their highest capacity. Software and firmware are often made up of a constantly evolving library of code, and developers are constantly improving those libraries by fixing bugs and vulnerabilities.  Updating the WordPress software just once monthly can greatly reduce your site’s chances of falling prey to malicious hackers.

5-Point Plan for Successful, Secure CMS Hosting

  •  Solid, secure hosting.
  •  Monthly audits of all sites to confirm software is current
  •  Monthly updates for sites running on outdated software.
  •  Research all plugins for security issues.
  •  Check all plugins during monthly audits and update all that are outdated, along with CMS software.

As mentioned earlier, plugins, and even themes can be a security risk mostly due to insecure coding practices opening up vulnerabilities in even the most up- to-date WordPress installation.  This makes it equally important to vet each before installation and to maintain updates regularly. Unfortunately many themes and plugins can be quite buggy after updating the WordPress software,  which leads many to use outdated software.

A SiteVison CMS Update Management Option:

Here at SiteVision, we host and maintain sites based on a variety of CMS platforms – Mura, Joomla, Drupal, WordPress and many more.  Some of our users feel uncomfortable updating their CMS software, patches and updates internally. Additionally, some simply don’t have the resources or time.

SiteVision is proud to offer a CMS Management Option.  We perform monthly audits, updates on all CMS software, plugins and themes, to ensure that the hosting solution we’re offering is custom tailored to your specific needs. Again, this is not WordPress specific, there are many CMS options that have unique features for your unique needs.  Just email us, or give us a call for additional information.

 

Town of Culpeper, VA Launches New Online GIS System By SiteVision, Inc.

Roanoke, VA January 18, 2014: The Town of Culpeper, VA has formally launched its new online GIS System (http://townofculpeperva.gisbrowser.com).  SiteVision, Inc. (http://www.sitevision.com) is providing the new GIS system as software as a service (SAAS) under a Commonwealth of Virginia Hosting Contract which is available to all public agencies (local, regional, state), and to other states as well.  SiteVision developed the site to be cross-platform compatible and accessible via mobile devices.

Culpeper, VA GIS System by SiteVisionPrior to selecting SiteVision, Inc. as its SaaS/hosting vendor, The Town of Culpeper GIS and IT Department surveyed the needs of its residents and system stakeholders.  The Town then outlined the necessary and most requested mapping functions, layers, data sources, reports, tools, etc. to be required in their new online GIS system.   

SiteVision first began working with the Town to help establish CAD and GIS data interoperability standards, maintenance procedures, and to create and test related Internet map services.  These initial tasks\services were contracted by the Town to SiteVision, Inc. through the Commonwealth of Virginia’s IT Contingent Labor Contract.

The Town of Culpeper’s new system utilizes more than 30 map services from several sources including SiteVision, Inc., the Town of Culpeper, Culpeper County, Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI), and the Commonwealth of Virginia.   The Town maintains all of their own GIS and CAD data and uploads their data updates to the new online GIS system at least once a month. 

CulpepperGIS_system2Users may query and access real estate tax and assessment database record(s) and related tax map parcels, download property cards, and view points of Interest (Police, Fire, Schools, etc.) with notes and links to more information.   The user can draw and measure features on the map, locate GPS points or coordinates, and save, copy or print a custom map.  The system also allows users to download reports and tables in Adobe or MS Excel format. 

Culpeper VA GIS 3“We tried to incorporate the most requested new features into the project,” said GIS coordinator Autumn Fitch. “The biggest thing is that it is cross compatible with so many browsers.”  –Star Exponent, Posted: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 12:15 am | Updated: 6:29 am, Tue Nov 12, 2013. 

The overall project stayed within the existing GIS budget with no additional costs to taxpayers, according to the town. –Star Exponent, Posted: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 12:15 am | Updated: 6:29 am, Tue Nov 12, 2013. 

Daniel Shaffer, Director, Geospatial Division for SiteVision, added “With today’s economy, many public agencies are stuck in legacy online GIS systems with no foreseeable way out.  Our SaaS plans allow public agencies to migrate to the latest systems while spending little to no upfront fees or costs. The agency pays for the SaaS service on a flexible monthly, quarterly or yearly schedule.” 

“It was a privilege working with the Town of Culpeper,” said Patrick Maddox, CEO of SiteVision.  “They did a careful assessment of their needs and were highly professional to work with.  The result is an outstanding GIS system designed with the most recent features available.”  

SiteVision, Inc. (www.sitevision.com) is an Internet application development, consulting, design and hosting firm providing solutions for a broad spectrum of markets and industries, as well as for state, federal and international entities. Expertise includes custom, back-end dynamic applications, consulting to achieve unique goals, geographic information systems (GIS), content management systems, hosting services including, map and GIS application hosting, as well as custom and dedicated hosting solutions.  

SiteVision, Inc. participates in, or is available through, the following state and federal contracting vehicles: 

 The firm has its home office in Roanoke, VA, with sales offices in Charlottesville, VA and Miami, FL. 

 

January, 2014 News & Tips

News & Views

CES LogoAs the biggest, splashiest,  electronic show on earth gets underway (CES), “whatup,” as the saying goes.  We think it’s safe to say – smart everything.  Just about everything you use will get smarter, well, at the very least, get a chipset to do stuff you really need,  or stuff you don’t, but think you do.

From the kitchen to your car, to your home heating and lighting, not to mention your health – it’s all up for streaming, talking, doing, thinking, suggesting, monitoring – well, you get the idea.  Our “stuff” may soon be smarter than we are, so we’ll undoubtedly need a smart device sooner, rather than later, to decode all the smart stuff around us.

What’s not up – is likely to be devices we have forever taken for granted:

  • Hard disk drives  vs. solid state drives.  Think 200 MBps per second vs. 550 MBps or better.
  • Traditional keyboards and mice vs. voice, hand, and touch technologies
  • DVD, CD Formats –  Think Netflix, Amazon and other streaming protocols
  • Pocket Cameras  vs. your smartphoneSony UHD 4K TV

So What is up? This is one, big, fun show, and according to most we’ll see:

  • 4K TV’s  at 60 fps  Big.  Beautiful.  Expensive.  Even curved.  Shown, Sony’s 84″ UHD TV.
  • Wearables.  Anything you can imagine.
  • 3D Printers vs. 3D printers.  A huge potential for manufacturing, but will consumers buy into the concept?
  • 2-in-1, All-in-One computing devices.  As the traditional desktop morphs into various iterations, we’ll probably see refinements to the current  tablet-laptop iterations,  as well as all in one’s that can go from room-to- room un-tethered.  These devices don’t seem so much “new,” as innovative attempts to define what future computing will or should be.

And lot’s More! In fact everything you can fit in about two million square feet and show to about 150K people!

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win8.1_logoMicrosoft Says Upgrade – Or Else!

Microsoft warns customers to update their 8.1 preview to Windows 8.1 final or face ruin.

“Thank you for using Windows 8.1 Preview. The preview is no longer available for download, and the license for it expires January 15, 2014. If you have not yet installed the final version of Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1, you should do so now. If you are still running Windows 8.1 Preview, you’ll see the following notification every time you sign in. After January 15, 2014, your PC will also restart every 2 hours and you will lose any unsaved data.”

Gee, thanks, Microsoft.

InfoWorld also informs that while neither Windows Vista nor XP are designed to be upgraded to Windows 8.1, users can instead take a circuitous path — first to Windows 8, from which they can update to 8.1 via the Windows Store — or follow the steps outlined on this Microsoft support page.

Even those who formerly relied on Windows 8 and experimented with the 8.1 Preview have work to do after an update to the final. “Note that you will have to reinstall all of your applications (desktop or modern) after doing this,” Microsoft said.

More information on updating from the beta to the final of Windows 8.1 can be found on Microsoft’s website. A Windows 8.1 update FAQ is also available.

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MaskMe_Logo

Mask Me:  Ninja Protection for Online Sharing

We touched on this offering recently, but in view of “gi-normous” online data breaches lately – we think it’s an application worth revisiting.

So what does MaskMe do?  According to Abine, and put simply, it prevents you from sharing your personal information while letting you browse and shop online without having to give out your real email address, phone number, or credit card number.

According to a thorough review at Cnet, Abine’s new MaskMe browser add-on and mobile app, promises that you can use the Web while avoiding the data stalkers and  by preventing you from giving out your contact info in the first place.

The author of the review, Seth Rosenthal, calls it “one of the most vigorous attempts so far to protect people’s identities, and in a week of testing, it appears to be nearly flawless.”
At it’s heart,  MaskMe is an add-on for Firefox (Win & Mac) and Chrome (Win & Mac) that creates and manages dummy accounts for your e-mail address, phone number, credit card, and Web site log-ins. For Cnet’s full review go here, or visit Abine’s website

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turtleQuick Tips For Slow-Running Computers

From news.com.au, some classic, but oft forgotten tips to get your computer running faster.  See complete how-to details here

 

  • Uninstall unused programs
  • Delete Temporary Files
  • Get a Solid State Drive!
  • Get More Ram
  • Defragment and Clean-up
  • Stop Unnecessary Start-Up Programs

 

Why SiteVision?

We’re your advocate. SiteVision has been providing web development and hosting services to government agencies and non-profit organizations for over 20 years. We understand how overwhelming it can be to seek out a reliable solution for you website, custom application, and hosting needs.

At SiteVision we are passionate about creating solutions for customers that make their life better. We excel at understanding your business process and developing an application that is easy to learn and operate. We will always be fair, knowledgeable, honest, and professional.