Posts in Communication

The Inevitable eMail Scam

February 25th, 2019 Posted by Best Practices, Communication, Data, Desktop, Disaster, Hackers, Security, Services 0 thoughts on “The Inevitable eMail Scam”

Some things in life are guaranteed to happen, like death, taxes, and email scams. The email scams get more creative as time goes by.

One of the latest email scams going around has a particularly devious set up.

Targets of this scam receive an email from what looks like their own email address, as if you’d sent an email to yourself. This is strange enough to ring alarm bells, but it gets more alarming when you read the content of the email. The scammer claims to have installed programs on your computer that tracked all your information (including accounts, passwords, and contact lists) as well as recording you via your own webcam. Then the inevitable threat: pay $1,000 in bitcoin to the scammer within 48 hours, or everyone on your contact list will receive compromising personal information and video of you.

The language in the email is much coarser than that, but you get the idea. And it is a scam. This person didn’t send the email from your account, no matter what it looks like. And they don’t have access to your personal information or your webcam. There’s nothing to ransom; they’re just hoping to scare you badly enough to get you to pay them.

What You Can Do

Getting a good filter will help keep a lot of the junk from ever reaching your inbox.

Staying aware of the latest types of scams will help you be aware of what could come your way.

And always, always take a minute to think through and, if necessary, research anything that looks suspicious. A quick Google search can show you if others have encountered a similar situation.

If you want to do more to protect your email but aren’t sure where to start, our engineers would be happy to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about what you can do to protect yourself and your business.

Windows 7 & Windows Server 2008 r2 Are On Their Way Out

February 14th, 2019 Posted by Best Practices, collaboration, Communication, Data, Desktop, Devices, Disaster, Hackers, Managed Service Provider, Security, Services, Windows 7 0 thoughts on “Windows 7 & Windows Server 2008 r2 Are On Their Way Out”

All good things come to an end, and that includes operating systems. This time around it’s Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 r2. As of January 14, 2020, Microsoft will no longer be providing security updates for these systems. This means that any devices running on these operating systems will become vulnerable to security threats after January 14, 2020.

What You Can Do

We encourage you to begin planning for the upgrade of these devices to a newer, more secure operating system. The sooner you start this process, the easier it will be to ensure that you can:

  1. Have time to determine the most beneficial IT solutions for your business.
  2. Work in the transition period during a more convenient time for you and your staff.
  3. Plan for the expense of the upgrade.

What You Don’t Want to Do

Put it off until the last minute. Something this vital to your business operations and security isn’t something you want to rush or push to the side.

We’re Happy to Help

Here at Think our engineers are ready to help you find the best IT solutions for your business. And with their extensive experience and knowledge, they can help make the transition as smooth and convenient as possible for your business and your staff. To schedule a consultation with a Think engineer, contact us today.

For more information from Microsoft, you can read their information page here.

blog header image engineer's week

Celebrating Engineer’s Week

February 12th, 2019 Posted by Best Practices, byod, collaboration, Communication, Community, Managed Service Provider, Services 0 thoughts on “Celebrating Engineer’s Week”

Engineer’s Week is February 17th – 23rd, and here at Think we’re pretty excited. In part, because engineering is a huge part of what we do and who we are, but also because engineering is amazing. This is the perfect chance to shine the spotlight on some of the wonderful things engineering has helped us accomplish as well as recognize the dedicated engineers who’ve made them possible, throughout the world and here at Think.

When most people think of engineering, their minds go to fantastic bridges and skyscrapers, which makes sense. Structural engineering makes a splash, because we get to see and use bridges and buildings.

But we have some pretty amazing engineering feats happening right here at Think as well, and some pretty amazing engineers making them happen.

Dan Palmer, Network Engineer, recently received Cisco Certification CICD-Implementing Cisco Collaboration Devices.  By obtaining this certification he has demonstrated knowledge of administrator and end-user interfaces, telephony and mobility features, and Cisco UC solutions maintenance.  This means that he’s ready to help businesses take advantage of systems that facilitate unified communication in offices large and small, from VoIP voice services, visual voicemail, instant messaging, chat, and presence.  Dan sought out this certification because it’s important to him (and to all of us at Think) to provide the best possible support for our customers in all the services we offer. He’s currently working with a new client to set up the communication services that will support their business’s needs and help make communication easy and efficient. Dan is dedicated to doing what it takes to provide the experience our customers are looking for, and we’re happy to celebrate him and all he does.

Some of Dan’s favorite engineering marvels are The Hubble Telescope and NASA’s Voyager. Honestly, it doesn’t get much cooler than seeing galaxies that are billions of light years away and visiting distant parts of our solar system.

Darrell Brooks, Director of Network Infrastructure, recently earned his certification as an Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). This is one of the most highly regarded certifications in this area, and it allows Darrell to help businesses take care of their security from a business perspective as well as a technological perspective. This is a vital step in information security, because even the most advanced technological security solutions can be undermined by inefficient or incomplete policies and procedures. And all the best intentions in the world can’t compete with well-trained and educated employees.

Darrell chose to pursue this certification because it was important to him to have a more complete skill set that allows him to support our clients on multiple levels. Every business, no matter the size, needs information security. And every business has the opportunity to create policies and procedures that will keep the core of their business secure, stable, and successful regardless of the ways technology and technological threats evolve.

One of Darrell’s favorite engineering marvels is the Internet, because it allows us to access knowledge that wouldn’t have been available in the past. Want to see the pyramids? You can do it from your living room. Need to do a home repair project, but don’t know how? There are videos for that.

To Dan, Darrell, and all of the engineers of the world, we want to extend our thanks. You’ve made the world a better place for so many people and in so many different ways. It doesn’t get any more worthy of celebration than that.

Phishing

How to Avoid a Phishing Attack

July 10th, 2018 Posted by Best Practices, Cloud, Communication, Devices, Internet, Security 2 thoughts on “How to Avoid a Phishing Attack”

90% of Data Breaches Involve a Phishing Attack

First things first – what is phishing? Phishing is an email technique used to fraudulently obtain sensitive information. Phishing emails are designed to look like they’re from a brand or institution you trust. They typically prompt you to download malware (malicious software), click on a link that redirects you to a malicious website or enter personal information. This can enable hackers to steal your identity, breach your employer’s systems, and more. The best way to defend yourself against phishing attacks is to identify phony emails before you click on them.

5 Tips for Identifying Phishing Emails

  1. Who’s the real sender? – Make sure the organization’s name in the “From” field matches the address between the brackets. Watch out for addresses that contain typos in the organization name (think amaz0n.com).
    Phishing - Who's the real sender?
  2. Check the salutation – If you do business with an organization, the first line of the email should contain your name. Don’t trust impersonal introductions like “Dear Customer.”
    Phishing - Check the salutation
  3. Use your mouse hover – Hover over an email link to see the full URL it will direct you to. Do not click the link – just hover. If the address isn’t where you’d expect it to go, don’t click it. Check all the links – if the URLs are all the same, it’s likely a phishing email.
    Phishing - Who's the real sender?
  4. What’s in the footer? – The footer of any legitimate email should contain, at minimum, a physical address for the brand or institution and an unsubscribe button. If either of these items are missing, it’s probably fake.
    Phishing - What's in the footer?
  5. Look for other content clues – Does the content have spelling and grammar errors, ask for personal or sensitive information, convey a high sense of urgency and/or privacy, offer incentives through threat or reward, or contain links or attachments? These are all clues pointing toward a phishing email.

When in Doubt, Delete

If something seems off, delete the email. If it’s not fake, the sender will contact you another way or send the message again.

We Can Help…

Think Network Technologies offers IT Consulting services to can help your organization keep systems and information secure. For more information about this topic and how we can support your business, contact us.

Source: Webroot Inc.

Server

Rising Temperatures, Rising Server Threats

June 13th, 2018 Posted by Best Practices, Cloud, Communication, Devices, Internet, Security 0 thoughts on “Rising Temperatures, Rising Server Threats”

Why is it important to monitor server room temperatures?

With temperatures on the rise, server threats also increase. When servers overheat they can shut down. Whether you’re running a huge data center or a server room with just a few servers it is important to monitor room temperature to prevent downtime, loss of productivity and ultimately loss of revenue for your business.

Monitoring your servers’ temperature information is a starting point. However, monitoring the room temperature is a more proactive approach and will add another layer of security to ensure your server never reaches high temperatures. Monitoring the room temperature will provide an early indication if something is wrong, so you have enough time to react early and avoid serious problems.

5 benefits of monitoring server room temperature

  1. Prevent downtime – Temperature monitoring sensors and software will allow you to configure alerts that notify key personnel via email or text message if and when temperatures reach predefined thresholds so that someone can take action. Excessive temperature is one of the leading causes for having to replace hardware, and in most cases, it is easily prevented.
  2. Ensure efficient airflow inlet and exhaust – Placing temperature sensors on the front and back of your server racks will allow you to measure the temperature of the air going in and coming out of your servers. This is important to know to make sure cold airflow is not being mixed with hot air circulating in the room, as well as to ensure hot air exhaust from your servers is within the proper ranges. Airflow sensors can monitor the presence of airflow into your server room and will alert you if it stops.
  3. Reduce power consumption and increase energy efficiency – If you are actively monitoring the temperature in your server room, you should be able to identify trends and baselines. This data should indicate if your AC unit is able to keep up with the load and if there are cost savings to be had. Many times, room temperature will be set lower than necessary to compensate for not knowing exactly how effectively your servers are being cooled.
  4. Server room planning and scaling – Using the data collected from your temperature monitoring sensors, you will have insight into the cooling loads and airflow distribution of your current layout. You can use these insights to plan for the additional heat load of adding new equipment and how to maintain a proper layout for best airflow.
  5. Extend the life of your equipment – Last but not least, maintaining the proper server room temperature range will help extend the lifespan of your equipment by preventing excessive temperatures going unnoticed and causing unnecessary wear on your equipment. Short spikes of excessive temperatures can reduce reliability and can lead to hardware failure months later.

How do you monitor your server room temperature?

There are many vendors that offer physical sensors for measuring not only temperature, but also humidity, power, flooding and more. Think Network Technologies can help your business implement a server temperature monitoring solution. Contact us today to learn more.

Sources: enviromon.net, Paessler Blog

business email phone encryption

Encryption for Email and Phone Security

January 4th, 2018 Posted by Best Practices, Cloud, Communication, VoIP 0 thoughts on “Encryption for Email and Phone Security”

To Encrypt or Not to Encrypt:

What is email encryption? Why would you use it? What about security for your business phones? Are you protecting sensitive data?

Today I want to jump into a topic that most of Think’s competitors seem to be missing. I walk into businesses every day that are not taking the necessary steps to protect patient, client, customer, and employee information. Email encryption is a simple a la cart service that Think Network Technologies provides.

HIPAA, PCI Compliance, and Email Encryption

Why does it take the urgency of regulatory requirements (HIPAA Compliance, PCI Compliance, or other laws) to get a company to purchase a product that is a socially and ethically responsible business practice? Encrypted communication should be a standard piece of every company’s infrastructure in 2018.

This topic came to light for me recently when I had a lawyer I was working with on a project send me an email. It was addressed from johnsmith@gmail.com. (Names have been changed to conserve the privacy of individuals in this story.) I was in disbelief and appalled that an attorney was utilizing a Gmail account, so I decided to look into whether or not it was even legal.

What I found was that it does not comply with the new American Bar Association guidelines, and in some cases can actually be a breach of attorney-client confidentiality. Take a moment to consider your own methods. How do you handle potentially sensitive information? Are you sending personal health information over an insecure connection? Are your client phone calls secure?

encryption email phoneVOIP and Phone Encryption

The key to ensuring secure voice communication is to use VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol). Even using VOIP it is very important to understand the difference between transport encryption, and end to end encryption. Popular services like Skype and Google Voice can’t guarantee compliance and privacy. They may be cheap and easy to use, but you need to consider the consequences of having those communications intercepted. Would the cost of a privacy breach be worth the “convenience” of using a free service?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has created a simple and short guide detailing secure communications. You can read the details here. No time for that? It’s okay, because we have you covered.

Secure Communications Solutions

Think Network Technologies has a full suite of cost-effective solutions for health care providers, legal firms, manufacturing, financial organizations, and many other companies who are mandated to utilize encrypted communications. We also have options for our clients who want to be responsible when sending client, employee, and confidential information via email. Let Think Network Technologies secure your communications today with our Secure Communications Suite of products.

Get in Touch!

Are you not sure whether you are in compliance? Are you interested in an audit of your business practices? Call or email today for a consultation.

Cisco Spark Demos

September 13th, 2017 Posted by Best Practices, Communication, Data, Devices, Networks, Newsletters 0 thoughts on “Cisco Spark Demos”

Communication is about more than simply being able to dial or send a message to employees or partners. It’s about being able to message, meet, and call instantly in a way that strengthens relationships and increases productivity.

And now communication needs to be agile. Mobile. Collaborative. All thanks to mobile devices and evolving innovations in infrastructure and applications for voice, video, messaging, and content sharing. The Cisco Spark service makes instant communications and live meetings possible through a deeply integrated set of industry-leading communications tools for an unmatched collaboration experience—that only the Cisco cloud can deliver.

Message. Meet. Call.

With the Cisco Spark solution, you can:

Message: Business messaging lets you prepare, share, and iterate on content. Enjoy 1:1 and team messaging in virtual rooms with persistent content and context for team interactions. Cisco Spark services break down communication barriers and make it incredibly simple to work with anyone.

Meet: Connect teams and meet customers easily with the added benefits of messaging and content sharing before, during, and after the meeting. It’s easy to schedule or join a meeting at the main office, a branch office, at home, on the road, or from a room-based video system. Every meeting is video-centric. Users shouldn’t have to think about what type of conferencing they need before scheduling; after all, it’s just a meeting.

Call: The service enables voice and video communications via mobile, desktop, and room-based devices. Simply connect your existing PSTN1 services to Spark to enjoy one-touch directory dialing and join meetings from anywhere on any device. Mobile users get features such as single number reach, single voicemail service, video services, and the ability to seamlessly move between devices during a call.

 

Designed for the Way You Do Business

The Cisco Spark service delivers a powerful set of communications services for all the ways you need to communicate. Maybe you’re a startup business with an ad hoc solution, or you have an outdated key system or PBX and want to upgrade. Perhaps you’ve already made the move to IP or deployed a cloud-based service and want to expand your capabilities even further. Cisco Spark will take your communications to the next level by providing the benefits of a complete business collaboration service for everyone in your company: one service, one experience, for everyone.

 

The Next Step

To learn more about how the Cisco Spark service can transform your communications, please contact the Think specialists to schedule a demo! Contact our sales team at sales@thinknettech.com if you would like to schedule or hear more about the Cisco Spark Board.

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