Posts in Community

Butterfly Code Mural

Think Spearheads Mural to Beautify North Main

October 31st, 2018 Posted by Cloud, Community, Managed Service Provider, Press Release 0 thoughts on “Think Spearheads Mural to Beautify North Main”

Think partnered with artist Mariah Kaminsky and Mountain Middle School students to complete a mural, titled “Butterfly Code”, on the alley wall behind Think at 3067 Main Avenue in Durango in an effort to beautify the North Main neighborhood. Think was awarded the City of Durango’s Durango Creates! grant in September, which provided funding for the mural.

The mural, which spans the entire alley-facing wall of Think’s headquarters, measuring roughly 20’x25’, features two butterflies in a blue sky with clouds. The butterflies represent change. The wings of one butterfly depict circuit board patterns and the wings of the other butterfly display binary code, long strings of zeros and ones. The clouds symbolize “cloud technology” and the movement toward cloud technology in the future.

Butterfly Code Mural

“The imagery shows the harmony between technology and nature – a nod to our business as a technology company and our commitment to the environment and community. While the two can seem to be at odds with one another, Think promotes getting outdoors and a healthy work-life balance,” said Melissa Glick, Think CEO.

The “Butterfly Code” mural was completed October 26th and an informal unveiling celebration took place October 30th with the City of Durango Public Art Commission, Mariah Kaminsky, Mountain Middle School, and other businesses and community members in the North Main neighborhood.

Butterfly Code Mural

“The alley sees significant pedestrian traffic, including many students from Mountain Middle School who will enjoy the artwork. We hope the mural will bring more visitors to North Main and boost the economy as a result. We are thrilled to participate in cleaning up the neighborhood,” Glick said.

Think Network Technologies is an award-winning IT solutions provider based in Durango, CO and servicing the Four Corners, specializing in managed services, enterprise solutions, cloud solutions, and IT consulting. Since 2003, our local, family-owned business has become the outsourced IT department and trusted adviser for over 100 businesses. With offices throughout the Southwest, Think is strategically positioned to serve the Four Corners region.

Photo credit: Mariah Kaminsky & Mountain Middle School

Network Security

Layer Your Security Like a Bean Dip

October 11th, 2018 Posted by Cloud, Community, Data, Desktop, Hosted Services, Managed Service Provider, Services, Staff 0 thoughts on “Layer Your Security Like a Bean Dip”

What is Network Security?

Network security is any activity designed to protect the usability and integrity of your network and data. It includes both hardware and software technologies. Effective network security manages access to the network and targets a variety of threats to stop them from entering or spreading on your network.

The Layered Approach

Like a bean dip, your security should be layered. Network security combines multiple layers of defenses at the edge and in the network. Each network security layer implements policies and controls. Authorized users gain access to network resources, but hackers are blocked from carrying out threats.

The layered security approach is a simple concept: the more hoops a hacker has to jump through, the less likely they are to be successful. The trick is to create a layered bean dip with the right consistency so your chip doesn’t break off. In other words, while you want hackers to have a hard time breaking into your systems, you want to keep your security simple and seamless for users.

6 Layers of Security

1) Response Plan – The first layer, the foundation, is the response plan. In the event of a breach, having a clear response plan in place will help ensure that you address all of the necessary pieces of remediation. Without a plan, you are more likely to miss something as you hastily try to patch holes, leaving your company still vulnerable.

2) Monitoring & Alerting – The second layer is monitoring and alerting. Monitors to help ensure complete coverage of a solution and the networks on which it runs and alerts help ensure that system failures and other issues are dealt with quickly. Without monitoring and alerting, you may never know a hacker has infiltrated your system.

3) Data Encryption & User Permissions – The third layer is like the lettuce and tomato – two ingredients that combine to make one layer. Data is most likely the most important piece of your business, so data encryption and user permissions are essential layers of security.

4) Applications – Data lives within applications, so naturally this is the next layer of security. Ensuring access to applications is accurate and limited, in addition to practicing secure coding methods will help protect your application layer.

5) Operating System – Applications are usually accessed from a desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile device – so it’s important to make sure these devices are secure. Antivirus software, security policies and patching add security to operating systems.

6) Network – The last layer is the network. Setting up firewalls, intrusion detection systems and user authentication technologies are a few ways to protect your network from potential hackers.

The Bottom Line

Layers of security make your network safer. The better you layer your approach, the safer your network will be.

We Can Help

You need to work with someone who is keeping their eye on the shifting technology landscape – it’s worth working with a trusted adviser to navigate the options, especially when money is a consideration.

Think Network Technologies offers a variety of IT solutions and services. For more information about how we can optimize network security and support your business, contact us.

Why Outsource?

Why You Should Outsource Your IT Support

September 13th, 2018 Posted by Cloud, Community, Data, Desktop, Hosted Services, Managed Service Provider, Services, Staff 0 thoughts on “Why You Should Outsource Your IT Support”

Why Outsource?

Virtually everything is connected to data. How your business manages data continues to gain importance – as technologies evolve and become more sophisticated it is imperative for your business to have a strong grasp on its IT strategy. However, for many small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) it is not practical to manage IT efforts in house. There are several key benefits to outsourcing IT support.

7 Reasons to Outsource IT Support

  1. Reduce IT Costs – Qualified, full-time, in-house IT professionals are expensive. The number one reason to outsource your company’s IT support is to lower costs. By outsourcing, you can spend less money on full-time resources and focus your budget on specific IT needs and projects.
  2. Free Up Internal Resources – By outsourcing IT support to a third-party provider, you can free up internal resources allowing them to focus on the growth of the business while your outsourced team focuses on technology.
  3. Compete with Larger Businesses – Resource and budget limitations often prevent SMBs from having an effective, in-house IT team, making it nearly impossible to compete with large businesses that have the budget to maintain their own IT services and systems. By outsourcing your company’s IT to qualified IT professionals, you can create a more even playing field.
  4. Reduce Your Risk – When you shift your IT to a third-party provider, you offload some the infrastructural risk that comes with it. When you share the risk, your company can become more agile, dynamic, and flexible, which will help you deliver a better product/service in the long-run.
  5. Offload Compliance & Security – Outsourced IT support will handle compliance and security tasks, so you won’t have to worry about things like keeping your firewall up to date or whether or not your workstations have been audited for compliance and security. A qualified Managed Service Provider (MSP) will minimize the risks associated with maintaining sensitive data for your business.
  6. Access Top-Level Experts – Most SMBs don’t have the budget to hire a panel of IT experts to guide you through the changing world of big data. When you outsource your IT support, you gain access to highly qualified and certified engineers that will help your company stay competitive.
  7. Get 24/7 Support – Outsourced IT support can provide after-hours, weekend and holiday emergency technical support, taking the stress and responsibility off of your team if something goes wrong. Technology should function effectively 24/7 – working with an outsourced team can provide peace of mind.

Immediate & Long-Term Benefits

By partnering with an IT team, your business can reap immediate and long-term benefits. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of outsourcing your company’s IT needs. Think of both short term and long-term goals, needs and considerations. However, there are more reasons now than ever to outsource your company’s IT needs.

We Can Help

Think Network Technologies offers a variety of IT solutions and services. For more information about how we can support your business, contact us.

IT Budget

It’s Budget Planning Season

September 13th, 2018 Posted by Cloud, Community, Data, Desktop, Hosted Services, Managed Service Provider, Services, Staff 0 thoughts on “It’s Budget Planning Season”

Q4 is Just Around the Corner

With Q4 just around the corner, it’s time to implement this year’s remaining IT projects and start planning your IT budget for next year.

Now is a good time to communicate and gain consensus for next year’s IT budget and strategy. IT projects are more easily justified at budgeting time when everyone knows their purpose, impact and objectives than if budget season is the first time anyone hears of it.

If you don’t already have an IT strategy, use the budgeting period as an opportunity to develop a strategy that’s presented immediately before your budget. If you have a cohesive and well-conceived plan, the money to execute that plan is less likely to be questioned. Anticipate capabilities that will be affected if you are required to make significant reductions to your IT budget.

Where to Focus Your IT Budget

As you plan for next year, here are 10 budget must-haves for many IT departments:

  1. Extra licensing fees – When new employees come through the doors, it’s important to be ready with the tools for them to get the job done, including extra licensing fees. This should cover productivity software, antivirus/malware (if you run a Windows platform), Exchange licenses (again, if you run a Windows platform), and any other piece of software necessary for business operations.
  2. Emergency hardware replacement – No matter how careful you are, no matter how well you’ve evaluated, deployed and administered your company’s hardware, it will eventually need to be replaced. Hardware replacement can be expensive and it’s important to have an emergency fund wrapped into your budget.
  3. Mobile technology – Mobile technology continues to become increasingly important. You should allocate a portion of your budget to cover mobile, if you haven’t already done so. This might be in the form of covering the cost of devices or data plans.
  4. Upgrades – Software and hardware need to be frequently upgraded. If you’re running outdated versions of your productivity software or outdated hardware, it’s a good idea to consider upgrading. Make sure your IT budget is prepared to upgrade software and hardware when necessary.
  5. Staffing needs – If your business expects to grow so much that you have to expand your IT staff, you will want to be prepared. Think can help with outsourced IT needs to help save money for your business.
  6. Cloud solutions – Cloud solutions can be in the form of a third-party solution or an onsite cloud solution. Either way, you will need room in your budget not only to deploy new cloud solutions, but also to expand existing cloud solutions.
  7. Software – Beyond purchasing updates for existing software, at some point you’re going to need to purchase new software or SaaS (software-as-a-service). New software will ultimately help your staff become more productive.
  8. Training – Technology is constantly evolving and tech standards from five or 10 years ago may no longer be relevant. Proper technology training could be imperative to keeping your company’s data secure.
  9. Data pipe – Who pays for your connection to the internet? Who pays for the failover connection? Who is responsible for the cost when your connection needs an upgrade? The answer to those questions is most likely “Your budget.” If your business depends upon an internet connection, you need a backup, even if it’s significantly slower.
  10. Data protection solution – Your business needs to have a solid, reliable backup solution deployed so that, should disaster strike, you can recover. Even if you happen to roll your own backup, you will still need to ensure that the backup hardware you use is always in working order and that there is a secure location to house the rotating drives.

Use IT or Lose IT

Now is the time to use your IT budget for remaining projects. If you’re not sure where to use your funds, take another look at the list above.

Or get in touch and our expertly trained engineers can discuss the best IT strategy for your business. We’re passionate about helping your business succeed!

Internet of Things

Buzzword Breakdown: “Internet of Things”

August 10th, 2018 Posted by Cloud, Community, Data, Desktop, Hosted Services, Managed Service Provider, Services, Staff 0 thoughts on “Buzzword Breakdown: “Internet of Things””

What is the “Internet of Things”?

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the connection of devices that send and receive data through the Internet. Any stand-alone internet-connected device that can be monitored and/or controlled from a remote location is considered an IoT device.

Cars, appliances, lighting, fitness trackers, healthcare and home security can all be connected through the IoT since they contain sensing devices that talk to other machines and trigger additional actions. As smaller, more powerful chips are developed and integrated into devices, the IoT will continue to grow.

Internet of Things
There are 7 main IoT characteristics:

  1. Connectivity – Devices and sensors need to be connected to an item, to each other, actuators, a process and to the Internet or another network to be part of the IoT.
  2. Things – A connected device is only an IoT connected device when “things” (i.e., endpoints) are uniquely addressable, using an IP address or Uniform Resource Identifier.
  3. Data – Data is the glue of the IoT; the first step towards action and intelligence.
  4. Communication – Devices get connected so they can communicate data and this data can be analyzed.
  5. Intelligence – Intelligence is the ability of IoT devices to gather data analytics.
  6. Action – This can be manual action, decision-making or automation.
  7. Ecosystem – The place of the IoT from the perspective of other technologies, communities, goals and the picture in which the IoT fits.

The Internet of Things is Not a “Thing”

The IoT consists of many devices, but also an ecosystem of related processes and other technologies. The IoT includes the hardware, software, connectivity and communication protocols, middleware and much more. The IoT also encompasses many processes and technologies, including big data, analytics, cloud, edge computing or fog computing, IoT platform software, IoT gateways, and more.

Security & Privacy

As devices become more connected within the IoT, security and privacy are a primary concern. Despite these concerns, IoT adoption continues to grow. In fact, smart speaker adoption in the U.S. grew 54% from December 2017 to February 2018, according to a 2018 comScore survey.

4 Tips to make your IoT more secure:

  1. Evaluate your security settings – Examine the settings, especially security settings, and select options that meet your needs without putting you at increased risk. If you install a new version of software or if you become aware of something that might affect your device, reevaluate your settings.
  2. Ensure your software if up-to-date – Patches are software updates that fix a particular issue or vulnerability within your device’s software. Make sure to apply relevant patches as soon as possible to protect your devices.
  3. Connect carefully – When a device is connected to the Internet, it’s also connected to millions of other computers, which could allow attackers access to the device. Consider whether continuous connectivity to the Internet is needed.
  4. Use strong passwords – Some Internet-enabled devices are configured with default passwords to simplify setup. These default passwords can be easily found online, providing limited protection. Choose strong passwords to help secure your device.

Questions?

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.

Sources: US-CERT, Business Insider, i-SCOOP

Newest Team Members

A Look Behind the Scenes

July 19th, 2018 Posted by Cloud, Community, Data, Desktop, Hosted Services, Managed Service Provider, Services, Staff 0 thoughts on “A Look Behind the Scenes”

Meet the Team Members Who Run the Show!

At Think, our close-knit team members work in harmony with our innovative business solutions to fuel success. In order to take care of our business we must first take care of our employees and we believe that fostering a positive culture in the workplace will extend to positive interactions with our clients. We work hard and we play hard – we like to have fun!

We truly value our employees and it goes without saying that we also value our employees’ families – they are the force and support behind our talented team. That said, we want to introduce the Think team members that really run the show – our employees’ pets! If you stop by our office, you might even see some of them taking care of “business”…

Think Org Chart
STEM Education

Think Makes a Difference in STEM Education

May 16th, 2018 Posted by Community, Hour of Code 0 thoughts on “Think Makes a Difference in STEM Education”

Durango, Colo., May 16, 2018 – Think Network Technologies (Think) partnered with Mountain Middle School to sponsor materials for two week-long computer programming education sessions, “intersessions”, the week of May 7-11, 2018.

Think’s intersessions partnership with Mountain Middle School stemmed from a previous partnership in December 2017 to execute the Hour of Code. The Hour of Code is a global educational event designed to demystify “code”, to show that anyone can learn code, and to broaden kids’ interest in computer science. As a result of Think’s support in December, Mountain Middle was able to provide its students with Sphero robots and Raspberry Pi single-board computers that can be re-used for additional educational projects in the future.

“As a technology company and as members of the community, we at Think feel a responsibility to motivate and enable children to learn STEM because it helps nurture problem-solving skills, logic and creativity. We are excited about this learning opportunity for the Mountain Middle School students, but more importantly that the students are excited about learning technology. We believe that small efforts like ours can have big impacts. Going forward we hope even more schools will catch on and provide STEM education resources,” said Melissa Glick, CEO of Think.

STEM education is a national issue. There is a disconnect between the number of STEM jobs available and the number of STEM-educated candidates. Currently there are over 520,000 open computing jobs in the United States, but less than 50,000 computer science students graduated into the workforce in 2017 – the issue is getting worse every year. Computer science graduates enjoy the second-highest starting salary and the highest full-time employment rate (76%) within six months of graduation, yet there aren’t enough qualified candidates to fill open positions.

Think Network Technologies is an award-winning, full-service IT company based in Durango, Colo. and servicing the Four Corners, providing managed services, premise and cloud solutions, integrated communications, and IT consulting for businesses. For more information on the Hour of Code, click here. For coverage from The Durango Herald, click here.

For more information about this topic, please email us.

CRN Women of the Channel 2018

Melissa Glick Named to CRN Women of the Channel 2018 List

May 16th, 2018 Posted by Awards, Best Practices, Community, telecom 0 thoughts on “Melissa Glick Named to CRN Women of the Channel 2018 List”

Durango, Colo., May 15, 2018 – CRN, a brand of The Channel Company, announced yesterday Melissa Glick, CEO of Think Network Technologies has been named to its prestigious CRN Women of the Channel 2018 list. The executives who comprise this annual list span the IT channel, representing vendors, distributors, solution providers and other organizations that figure prominently in the channel ecosystem. Each is recognized for her outstanding leadership, vision and unique role in driving channel growth and innovation.

CRN editors select the Women of the Channel honorees based on their professional accomplishments, demonstrated expertise and ongoing dedication to the IT channel.

Glick is CEO and Co-Owner of Think. Her 20+ year career includes work across diverse industries including marketing, real estate, and now IT management. Working her way up from receptionist to CEO is a dream fulfilled. Glick attributes her success to a combination of hard work, perseverance and perfect timing. Glick is also Co-Founder of the Professional Women’s Network of Durango. Glick was moved to make a change in her community, so she took action. Four years later, the organization has 350 members and has produced over 48 events with one mission in mind; empowering women to rise and achieve more together. Always building her professional skills, Glick credits past mentors as well as family, in providing her with solid values and strong business acumen.

“This accomplished group of leaders is steadily guiding the IT channel into a prosperous new era of services-led business models and deep, strategic partnerships,” said Bob Skelley, CEO of The Channel Company. “CRN’s 2018 Women of the Channel list honors executives who are driving channel progress through a number of achievements—exemplary partner programs, innovative product development and marketing, effective team-building, visionary leadership and accelerated sales growth—as well as advocacy for the next generation of women channel executives.”

“It is an honor to be recognized amongst other female industry executives. I hope to inspire other women to make a difference in the technology industry going forward,” said Glick.

The 2018 Women of the Channel list will be featured in the June issue of CRN Magazine and online here.

Think Network Technologies is an award-winning, full-service IT company based in Durango, Colo. and servicing the Four Corners, providing managed services, premise and cloud solutions, integrated communications, and IT consulting for businesses.

For more information about this topic, please email us.

Think End Of Summer BBQ Party!

September 13th, 2017 Posted by Community, Newsletters, Staff 0 thoughts on “Think End Of Summer BBQ Party!”

As a special thank you to our staff and clients we hosted an “End of Summer BBQ Party” that also celebrated the opening of our new help desk center.

Things weren’t looking so great an hour before the party. The forecast said 20% chance of rain, but you know how that goes. It was dumping at 3pm and it didn’t seem like it was going to let up. Fortunately, it did let up and the sun came out just in time for the guests to arrive.

We fired up the grill with burgers and hot dogs and people were already hitting up the keg (you can’t help it when it’s full of Mexican Lager)! Kids are usually left to entertain themselves at events like this, but our staff planned ahead just for them. We had a ton of games along with some fun gifts to bring back home and there was even a piñata! All the kids took turns… even some of the grown-ups did! Finally, one of the kiddos managed to knock it down and he showed no mercy since this piñata seemed unbreakable for everyone.

Thanks for joining us! Let’s do it again sometime!

Want to take a tour of our new facility? Go here to check it out!

Tech is Changing the Way Our Kids Learn

September 13th, 2017 Posted by Best Practices, Cloud, Community, Data, Networks, Newsletters 0 thoughts on “Tech is Changing the Way Our Kids Learn”

Digital technology is revolutionizing many parts of our lives, whether it’s communications, transport, entertainment, personal finance or even shopping.

Education is no different, with advancements in digital tech transforming the way students learn in schools around the world.

While Chromebooks have become commonplace in many classrooms, there is a range of other cutting-edge technologies that also have the capacity to radically alter the way schoolchildren learn.

 

Virtual Reality in the Classroom

Virtual reality (VR) is tipped to be a breakthrough technology in the entertainment industry, but it’s also forecast to have a big impact on education.

That’s because the release of relatively low-cost VR headsets has enabled teachers to create unique and interactive 3D environments that can bring classroom lessons to life.

For schools, one major application of VR is that it allows teachers to transport students to locations where they are studying, including for a diverse range of subjects such as history, geography, and science.

VR also has particular utility for science subjects, since VR can make difficult concepts comprehensible via its unique visual and immersive qualities.

However, like any disruptive technology, there remain barriers to VR becoming an everyday fixture in classrooms, with one of the largest being its relative unfamiliarity to students and teachers.

 

More 3D Printing in Schools

3D printing, which turns digital 3D models into solid objects, is another emerging technology touted as having a bright future at schools across the globe.

In particular, 3D printing has the potential to assist teachers by providing them with 3D visual aids to illustrate complicated concepts, improve interactive learning and boost class engagement.

It also has applications in design, fashion, and engineering faculties within schools, particularly since those industries are already making use of – and being impacted by – the exciting technology.

Like many cutting-edge technologies, 3D printing faces challenges before it becomes an accepted part of classrooms. Likely obstacles include justifying the return on investment, managing access to a limited resource and incorporating 3D printing projects into the classroom.

 

Cloud Computing and Smarter Classrooms

In addition to VR and 3D printing, cloud computing is on the rise within classrooms. The practice involves storing and accessing data over the internet, instead of via a local hard drive.

Cloud computing has several positive educational outcomes because it cuts IT costs, increases accessibility and fosters collaboration between students.

It has become popular with teachers and students, especially in science, social studies, and languages fields, where the sharing of information between students over the internet is important.

Meanwhile, schools have adopted interactive, or “Cisco Spark”, boards in the classroom in recent years. These interactive tools usually include touch-sensitive screens, making them ideal for children. The boards can also be linked to tablet devices and computers.

Already used in many developed nations, proponents of this technology say it leads to a more interactive class environment, with a teacher able to build a lesson plan into the board’s software, while children can rewatch the lesson at home. It’s a long way from blackboards and chalk.

Let the Think specialists help you and your company! Please contact our sales team at sales@thinknettech.com if you would like our recommendations or a quote.

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