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ColoradoBiz Top 250 Private Companies 2018

Think Ranked Among Top 250 Private Companies in Colorado

December 10th, 2018 Posted by Awards, Best Practices, Staff 0 thoughts on “Think Ranked Among Top 250 Private Companies in Colorado”

Think Network Technologies has been named one of the Top 250 Private Companies on ColoradoBiz magazine’s 2018 list, coming in at number 223. Think was last recognized on the Top 250 Private Companies list in 2015. We are proud to represent the Four Corners and the IT sector, and are grateful to our customers and employees for making our success possible.

Think Network Technologies’ commitment to customer service combined with technical expertise and product knowledge allow us to deliver the technology solutions our clients need. We invest in training and certification not only so that we can provide our clients with the best service possible, but also because we care about our employees. We have been honored with CRN’s Tech Elite 250 award for two consecutive years, a list recognizing North American IT solution providers that have earned the highest number of advanced technical certifications from leading technology suppliers, scaled to company size. Top of the line training allows us to provide top of the line service. We have proven our ability to streamline IT and telecom solutions, improving efficiency and ultimately saving money for our clients. Our 2018 receipt of the Channel Partners 360⁰ Award, an exclusive honor received by only 25 U.S. companies, is testament that we use technology solutions to create business value for our customers.

Think has received various additional awards and recognition for our commitment to excellence that can be viewed here.

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
brian skiing

Brian Turner Joins Help Desk

December 27th, 2017 Posted by Staff 0 thoughts on “Brian Turner Joins Help Desk”

Think is excited to welcome another fantastic team member! Introducing our newest Help Desk Specialist, Brian Turner!

Quick Questions with Brian

I know Brian’s busy helping Think customers with tech support questions, so I just took a minute to ask him a few quick questions.

Background in technology and IT support

Brian has 10+ yrs of experience in customer service and IT support. He also has an Associates Degree of Applied Science in Network Engineering.

Brian’s role at Think

Brian’s title is Help Desk Specialist, which means he provides help desk phone support, complete scheduling of resources, service ticket creation, and overall Level 1 technical support for our customers. In short, he brings additional awesomeness to Think South!

brian's dog

Life outside the office

Brian and his family moved to Durango from Birmingham, Alabama, in September 2016. They have been married for 12 years and have a 12 year old daughter. I asked him a few fun questions…

What do you miss about being a kid? – Indulging in all the candy, and the innocence of everything. Most adults are too uptight and too serious

What’s your favorite outdoor activity? – Snowboarding

What would you do if you won the lottery? – I would buy a house in Durango, because the rent is too damn high?, OR, I would pay off my debt and buy a house in the big mountains.

We’re excited to have Brian on our crew. If you have a tech support question, give us a call and you might get to talk to him!

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!

How Secure Is Your BYOD Policy?

August 8th, 2017 Posted by Best Practices, byod, Data, Devices, Networks, Newsletters, Phone, Security, Staff 0 thoughts on “How Secure Is Your BYOD Policy?”

It only takes one unsecured device that’s plugged into your network to lead to a network breach. That’s why it’s so important to have a bring your own device (BYOD) policy.

BYOD has its pros and cons, and organizations that already have a policy in place or are contemplating implementing one need to tick some boxes to make sure it runs as smoothly and securely as possible.

 

The Upside

BYOD has obvious advantages for staff who like the convenience and familiarity of working on their own devices. It could also lead to productivity gains, as users have an affinity for their own personal devices and how they use them.

Personal laptops, tablets and smartphones are usually more cutting edge, given that companies often don’t update their desktops for years on end. BYOD also allows staff to carry only one or two devices around with them, rather than different ones for work and personal use.

BYOD policies can save organizations money, as they don’t have to spend as much on their IT hardware while allowing workers increased mobility.

 

The Downside

Having said that, BYOD practices are not free from security concerns. More and more mobile devices provide greater scope for ways to breach a company’s IT infrastructure.

Some employees may not be as stringent as they should be about the information they bring home that could be highly sensitive or confidential. Once they take it out of the office, there’s nothing stopping them from sharing it across devices, networks, emails or even showing it to their family and friends.

Disgruntled employees about to walk out the door pose an even bigger threat. If they are leaving to work for a competitor, BYOD makes it easier for them to take intellectual property with them. Alternatively, if an employee uses a smartphone to access the company network then loses it or it’s stolen, an unauthorized person could retrieve unsecured data on the device. Staff can also sell their devices or give them away and forget to wipe company data beforehand.

 

And the Essentials

A good BYOD policy should contain two critical components: an application or software program for managing the devices connected to your organization’s networks, and a written agreement that clearly states the responsibilities of employers and staff.

For example, IT departments wishing to monitor the use of personal devices must ensure that they only monitor activities that access company information.

Software developers and device manufacturers are constantly releasing security patches and updates for threats such as viruses and malware. BYOD policies should have the necessary processes in place to automatically apply those patches across all the agreed BYOD devices.

Additionally, organizations can simplify the whole process by limiting the number or make of devices allowed in their BYOD programs and the systems they have to support. Supporting a broad range of devices could become an administrative nightmare.

The IT department should also have permission to remotely wipe the device if it’s lost, the employee leaves or if it detects a data breach, virus or any other threat to its infrastructure.

BYOD should satisfy employees and management alike, as long as there’s a clear understanding of everyone’s responsibilities. Before settling on the best BYOD policy for your organization, it’s worth getting input from HR, IT, finance, legal and anyone else who has a stake in the matter.

 

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.

Volunteering at “Keys to High School Success” Girls Conference

June 6th, 2017 Posted by Awards, Best Practices, Cloud, Community, Data, Desktop, Hosted Services, Services, Staff 0 thoughts on “Volunteering at “Keys to High School Success” Girls Conference”

On May 4th, the Women’s Resource Center hosted the 17th annual “Keys to High School Success” girls conference. Think Network Technologies volunteered to support this inspirational event by mentoring these young minds.

 

 

Lori Thibeaux connected with the 8th-grade girls to help them prepare for the transition and challenges of high school. The conference addressed topics such as media literacy, personal safety, career and life choices, interpersonal relationships and bullying intervention techniques. It also encourages for these young women to embrace their intelligence, strength and body image. The program also incorporates a separate conference for 8th-grade boys on the same day.

“Each adult volunteer was paired with an upper-class high school student volunteer.  Our duties were to get our assigned student group to their presentations and lunch,” says Lori, a Systems Administrator for Think. “We also got to participate a little in the activities they had each group perform.  It is such a great program put on by WRC for middle school girls going into high school.  I had a great day.”

 

 

About 250 girls and 315 boys attended the “Keys to High School Success” conferences at Fort Lewis College. Durango School District 9-R, the Women’s Resource Center, the ManKind Project and the Sexual Assault Services Organization coordinated the event. WRC would like to offer a program to all 5th-grade students in La Plata County to help them transition into middle school.

 

Help support the Women’s Resource Center by attending “Men Who Grill” on June 10th at Buckley Park! This is Durango’s summer kick-off party! Enjoy a variety of grilled creations by local participants! There will be live music and beer from Steamworks! Get your tickets right now by following the link – Men Who Grill.

 

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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