Posts tagged "backup"

Disaster Readiness

Disaster Readiness: Are You Prepared?

May 16th, 2018 Posted by Best Practices, Cloud, Data, Desktop, Disaster, Hosted Services, Services 0 thoughts on “Disaster Readiness: Are You Prepared?”

Fire is a Real Threat

On Sunday, May 21, 2017 a fire engulfed 1111 Camino del Rio in Durango, CO.  This location was the former home of Think Network Technologies.

Last summer’s Camino del Rio fire in Durango and Western Excelsior fire in Mancos, in addition to other potential disasters, there is no time like the present to review and/or implement data backup, disaster recovery and business continuity plans. Disasters are real and business owners should have a disaster readiness plan in place to continue business operations during and after a disaster.  So what can you do to ensure you’re prepared before disaster strikes?

First, it’s important to understand the definition of data backup, disaster recovery and business continuity and how they relate to business processes. Data backup, disaster recovery and business continuity are used interchangeably are different, but equally important and interconnected facets to protecting your business. Second, it’s important to employ an IT partner to develop a comprehensive strategy and plans that fit your business.

What is “Data Backup”?

Data backup is the process of creating copies of your important data and storing in another location that would not be affected by the same factors that could affect your primary copy of data.

Some things to keep in mind:

  1. Your backups should include all important business data.
  2. At least one up-to-date copy should be stored off-site.
  3. Backups should be monitored regularly to make sure they are working properly.
  4. Restoration tests should be conducted regularly to make sure data can be recovered from the backups when needed.
  5. Periodic reviews should be made to ensure that all critical data is being backed up. A set-it-and-forget-it approach can lead to future important data not being backed up.

What is “Disaster Recovery”?

Disaster recovery is the concept and strategy for recovering key IT systems and processes in a timely manner in the event of some form of disruption to these systems.  It’s critical to have a plan for how to use data backups in the event of a server failure or physical destruction of property, e.g. fire or flood.

What is “Business Continuity”?

Business continuity is the plan and processes that a business has in place to to continue business while key IT systems are unavailable or are being recovered. While disaster recovery is focused on how to recover key IT systems and business processes, business continuity is the plan for how to continue business operations while IT systems and data are being recovered. A business continuity plan should answer the following key questions:

  1. What people, equipment, resources, and information need to be available so that business can continue without key IT systems?
  2. What steps can be taken to manually complete normal, day-to-day business processes with impaired IT systems or completely unavailable IT systems?

We Can Help…

As you can see from the above, data backup, disaster recovery and business continuity are equally important. Having one of these processes without the others, is like having a car with seat belts but no brakes. Having strategies for backups, disaster recovery and a business continuity in place can help protect your business during and after a disaster.

Think Network Technologies can help you develop strategies tailored to your business, systems, and processes.  We can also help execute these strategies if and when disaster strikes.

For more information about this topic and how we can support your business, contact us.

compliance security

Security and Compliance Solutions

January 24th, 2018 Posted by Best Practices, Cloud, Phone 0 thoughts on “Security and Compliance Solutions”

Solutions for Law Firms and Legal Service Providers

Think’s cloud services (T-Cloud) deliver essential IT services that maximize cost-efficiency and productivity for your team while offering the highest levels of privacy and security to protect your firm’s clients.

law firm IT services Audited security controls including SOC 2 Type II Mobile device management to protect data Admin tools to streamline IT management and security Reliability and support with a 99.999% uptime guarantee

Legal services firms are under intense pressure to offer services that are innovative and agile in the face of tough competition. Clients expect superlative responsiveness, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. Our Compliance and Security plan includes high security email, file sharing, and web application security tools that increase productivity, project a high degree of technical competence, and conform to the security or regulatory requirements of clients.

Start with our Compliance and Security Plan

Our Compliance and Security plan services include security and privacy controls to protect attorney-client confidentiality and help to support client industry regulations, including finance and healthcare.

hosted exchangeHosted Exchange
Get business-grade, fully mobile email, calendar, and contacts for your attorneys and staff.

hosted emailEmail Protection
Tools that help you eliminate spam and viruses before they reach your users’ inboxes. Includes advanced spam and virus protection, company-wide white and black lists, and 24/7 threat monitoring.

ConnectID® single sign-on and identity management
Provide secure, easy-to-manage access to your web–based calendaring and docketing, conflict checking, document management, and legal research applications. Secure your cloud apps with 2FA, the strongest industry-standard authentication protocol.

pc backup servicePC Backup
Make sure your staff can recover quickly from hard drive failures and lost or stolen laptops.

email encryptionEmail Encryption
Protect against data leaks by automatically encrypting email containing privileged client information. Enforce compliance based on policies and rules that you define.

email archiving serviceEmail Archiving
Archive your email correspondence automatically and securely with encryption. Get tamper-proof, searchable records for auditing, compliance, and internal governance purposes.

share sync cloud serviceShareSync® file sync and share
Access and collaborate securely on discovery, client, and project files from anywhere, on any device, with at-rest and in-transit encryption. Manage research and discovery files and folders for staff and clients with strict access controls, even in a virtual office environment.

Add These Services to Enhance Your Solution

business phone serviceHosted PBX
Experience enterprise-grade phone service with conference calling and automatic call forwarding. Use the softphone mobile app to dial from a mobile device as if you were sitting at your desk.

business cloud serviceShareSync® 10GB Capacity
With upgraded storage, you will not need to worry about running out of room, whether you’re gathering large documents for discovery, or maintaining a library of research or case files.

Skype® for Business Enterprise
Instantly convert a chat into a conversation or video for richer, more productive project discussions. Share screens to collaborate quickly on proposals.

Security and Reliability that go Above and Beyond the Competition

IT security servicePrivacy and security to support confidential attorney-client communications.
• Annual SOC 2 Type II audits.
• A dedicated, full-time technical staff certified in information security.
• Full coverage of all aspects of security, including log and event monitoring, incident response, managing intrusion protection systems (both host and network), perimeter defense, service and architecture testing, and source code reviews.

uptime guaranteeReliability and support you can count on.
• With the T-Cloud 99.999% uptime guarantee, you can access your cloud services when needed, staying connected and productive.
• Receive 24/7 phone and chat support any time you need expert help.

IT admin toolsAdmin tools to streamline IT management and security.
• Centralized control over users and services, with granular configurability.
• Administrators can quickly provision,
de-provision and configure security controls, and delegate
setup and management to non-specialized staff.
• Single sign-on technology that comes with all Think’s applications safeguards sensitive financial and customer data and web-based applications.

business mobile device managementMobile device management and security.
• Purposefully built to protect data wherever it is accessed.
• Our email system includes mobile security controls and policy enforcement for the administrator, including remote wipe for employees with mobile devices.

Get started protecting your firm and your clients with strong compliance and security solutions. Contact Think to begin the conversation.

Business IT Solutions: T-Cloud

December 19th, 2017 Posted by Cloud, Phone, Services 0 thoughts on “Business IT Solutions: T-Cloud”

The world of business IT solutions can be complicated. Not only are there many services to think about, but there are dozens of options for each service. Of course, it’s great to have so many things to choose from, but it can be overwhelming. That’s where T-Cloud can make a big difference for your business.

T-Cloud Includes 20+ IT Services

Every business needs phones, email, computers, data storage, and information security. Think’s T-Cloud suite of services has those covered, and we do it in an easily managed package. Here are some of our most popular business IT solutions.

Managed Services

Your business needs technology solutions, but you may not need or want a full IT department. Think can manage your IT needs for you, from software updates to server backups. We can take care of your technology, so you can focus on the core of your business.

Hosted Exchange

Microsoft® Exchange is the world’s leading platform for unifying a business’s email, calendar and contacts. More than 470 million mailboxes worldwide leverage Exchange to communicate, collaborate and compete at a Fortune 500 level. With Hosted Exchange, your Exchange server is installed and managed in the cloud, as a service, with no fees upfront. You get all the functionality of Exchange with none of the overhead.

With Hosted Exchange you’ll enjoy:

  • Free migration performed by our experts
  • 24/7 support with typical hold times of <60 seconds
  • 99.999% uptime guarantee

Hosted PBX

Hosted PBX is a complete business communications system and service. With over 40 calling features, Hosted PBX delivers Fortune 500 style capabilities to small and mid-sized businesses. This powerful cloud-based phones system uses a company’s existing data connection and wiring. Best of all, onsite PBX hardware is not required!

With Hosted PBX you’ll enjoy:

  • Savings up to 50% on your phone bill
  • Rich, enterprise-grade calling features
  • A powerful web-based control panel
  • 24/7 support and a 99.999% uptime guarantee

ShareSync®

ShareSync is a 2-in-1 solution that makes backup and file sharing easy to use and secure. With ShareSync, users can back up their files to a powerful enterprise-class data center with a 99.999% uptime guarantee and file redundancy while having the added benefits of file sharing and collaboration.

With ShareSync®, you’ll enjoy:

  • Real-time backup & sync for PCs and Mac®
  • Simple and secure file sharing with colleagues and customers
  • Access to files from any device
  • Leading data encryption and protection to ensure security

Encrypted Email

Encrypted Email automatically filters and scans your emails to help protect your company against data loss. It also helps you comply with HIPAA, SOX, GLBA, California’s Security Breach Notification Act, the Massachusetts Encryption Law and more.

With our email encryption, you get:

  • Content filtering and scanning of outbound email
  • Centralized control over policies
  • Reduced risk of confidential data loss
  • Improved facilitation of compliance with regulations

Data Backup and Recovery

What would happen if you lost all of your digital information? Even if you are backing up all of your data onto a server, there is still a chance that the data can be lost. To truly back up your data, you must move it offsite. We provide physical and cloud storage solutions that make it safer and easier to restore information in case of a disaster. This data is also made available via applications or direct secure URL for realtime remote data access.

Compliance Consulting

Our expert network engineers and systems administrators have the training and experience to serve as your virtual Chief Technology Officer. If your business deals with regulatory requirements, such as HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, or PCI, Think can help make sure your business IT solutions meet the requirements of those laws.

Call for a consultation (888-98-THINK) or contact us when you need recommendations, audit or budget planning.

Ask the Engineer – Online or Desktop?

July 19th, 2017 Posted by Best Practices, Cloud, Data, Desktop, Disaster, Internet, Networks, Newsletters, Security 2 thoughts on “Ask the Engineer – Online or Desktop?”

In our last newsletter, we asked our readers about what topics they had the most questions about and we shared those questions with our technical team.  This month is about online bookkeeping programs.

Reader Question:  Online bookkeeping programs – how secure are they? What is the probability of someone hacking into your personal or business information through them vs. the probability of a desktop bookkeeping solution? Are there minimum security requirements across the board for online bookkeeping providers and, if so, are they realistic and effective at protecting information?

Ask the Engineer Response:

Software that you run online or through your desktop is vulnerable to security threats, so the real question is, “Is online software more secure than desktop software”?

For most SMBs, the answer is yes.  To understand why, we’ve compiled some information about all the vulnerabilities of using software.

 

Desktop Software:

Desktop software vulnerabilities are all located in one place, on your desktop or laptop. This is your point of access for everything; the point of storage for your accounting software, your data files, and your point of connection to the internet.

Sadly, many businesses don’t realize the importance of security. From technical measures such as anti-virus and firewalls to physical means such as locked doors and anti-theft cable solutions. Businesses also spend little or no time/money on educating their staff about best security practices.

Your office computer is faced with a greater range of internet-based attacks than online software would. Keep in mind that it is also much more susceptible to physical dangers such as fire, flood or theft.

If an emergency does happen, do you have a game plan to restore your software? Probably not, according to most SMBs. Backup is treated as an afterthought for many businesses, but this process could save you many hours or days when you need to return to full operation. Check out our other article to read more about backups, disaster recovery, and business continuity – Fire is a Real Threat.

 

Online Software:

Online software points of vulnerability are shared between the vendor and the user. It is still the user’s responsibility to secure the point of access while viewing the software though.

The good news is that the storage of the accounting software and the data file is not the user’s responsibility, but the vendor’s. These software companies have enterprise grade data centers with highly advanced defenses that run your online software.

Behind the scenes at one of these data centers would make any SMB server room look like a kid’s playroom.  The facility would be protected by guards while access would be regulated by key cards, fingerprint recognition, and iris scanners. There would also be a physical protection system that would include firefighting defenses, generators in case of blackouts, and flood resistant areas.

These data centers would have numerous, lightning fast high-speed internet connections. Their networks would be protected around the clock by current security technologies with a team of IT security specialists.

Online software companies store your data on the same server as hundreds of other businesses, so there is also security in anonymity.  If a server fails it can automatically push your data onto another server. You can imagine the detailed backup procedures that these companies have in case a software bug causes a crash. The best known online software programs only have several hours of downtime in a whole year.

No matter what the threat is, going with online software is usually a safer bet than a desktop program. Hackers are intelligent and have sophisticated methods for penetrating files.  They have two main ways of hacking into online software from the user’s computer. One is a password guessing program that cycles through billions of sequences until they get a match. Otherwise, they nose around on a network until they can grab a password that passes between the desktop and the data center.  The most successful forms of hacking have nothing to do with online software itself. The weakest link in the chain is usually the user.

But, these advanced attacks are practically impossible against online accounting software that’s distributed by mainstream vendors.

You can minimize the risk of a breach by:

  • Using a complicated password and keeping it somewhere secure.
  • A password manager is great for storing difficult passwords.
  • You should never, ever reveal your password. If someone asks, there’s a good chance they don’t have the best intentions.
  • Don’t use public computers, stick with your own laptop or computer.
  • As tempting as it is, don’t use public wifi networks. These public wifi networks can be compromised.

For more information, please contact our engineers at 888-98-THINK.

Top 100 Woman-Owned Companies in CO

July 6th, 2017 Posted by Awards, Best Practices, Cloud, Data, Desktop, Hosted Services, Managed Service Provider, Services 0 thoughts on “Top 100 Woman-Owned Companies in CO”

Durango, CO – Think Network Technologies ranked 91 on ColoradoBIZ magazine’s Top 100 Woman-Owned Companies this year. Melissa Glick is CEO/Co-Owner of Think, an IT consultant and network integrator.

“The women led companies on this list bring innovative products and services to the market, create jobs, drive economic growth and provide for families and communities,” says Melissa Glick, CEO of Think. “My hope is that recognizing women for their contributions will help to close the gender gap and inspire more women to be bold and courageous and to stop underestimating their professional capabilities.”

“Women in Colorado are making an impact in every industry, enterprise and workplace role imaginable. They are CEOs, startup founders, strategists and irreplaceable employees who not only are instrumental in their own organization’s success; through their daily actions and achievements they set a precedent of possibilities for the next generation of women in business to build upon.” – ColoradoBIZ magazine

 

To start the conversation, call (970)247-1885 or e-mail sales@thinknettech.com .

Think Ranked as Top 501 MSPs

June 19th, 2017 Posted by Awards, Best Practices, Cloud, Data, Desktop, Hosted Services, Managed Service Provider, Services 0 thoughts on “Think Ranked as Top 501 MSPs”

June 19, 2017: Think Network Technologies (Think) ranks among the world’s most progressive 501 Managed Service Providers (MSPs), according to MSPmentor’s 10th-annual MSP 501 Worldwide Company Rankings. The top MSP 501 companies ranked this year include organizations from around the world and from diverse technology and business backgrounds. Collectively, they amassed $14.48 billion in total revenue (based on 2016 results), up more than 15 percent from a year earlier.

The complete 2017 MSP 501 list is available at MSPmentor.net. In addition to honoring Think, this year’s MSP 501 list and study showcases the top ranked MSPs worldwide. Over the next few weeks, MSPmentor will unveil additional lists showcasing:

  • The top MSPs in Europe, Middle East and Africa
  • The top MSPs in Asia, Australia and New Zealand
  • The top Small Business MSPs’ list, comprised of organizations with 10 or fewer employees
  • The top vertical markets pursued by MSP 501 companies
  • The leading tools they leverage to run their businesses
  • And the top technologies they provide to customers

 

“Think is honored to be included on this prestigious list of the most progressive MSPs,” says Melissa Glick, CEO of Think. “Our team works extremely hard, shows passion and dedication, and it is great to be acknowledged by our industry for our efforts.  We will continue to offer innovative technology solutions to our customers and are excited about the positive impact we have on their business operations.”

“On behalf of MSPmentor, I would like to congratulate Think for its recognition as an MSP 501 honoree,” said Aldrin Brown, Editor in Chief, MSPmentor. “The managed service provider market is evolving at a rapid pace and the companies showcased on the 2017 MSP 501 list represent the most agile, flexible and innovative organizations in the industry.”

The 2017 MSP 501 list is based on data collected by MSPmentor and its partner, Clarity Channel Advisors. Data was collected online from Feb. 16 through May 15, 2017. The MSP 501 list recognizes top managed service providers based on metrics including recurring revenue, growth and other factors.

 

About Think Network Technologies

Think Network Technologies is a provider of on-premises and cloud solutions for both the private and public sector.  Think excels at delivering technology solutions that optimize productivity, strengthen customer relationships, enhance data sharing and drive profitability.  Since 2002, the family-owned business has become the outsourced IT department and trusted advisor for hundreds of businesses.  With offices in Durango(CO), Denver(CO), Farmington(NM) and Scottsdale(AZ), Think is strategically aligned to better serve the greater Four Corners region.

www.thinknettech.com

Copyright ©2017. Think Network Technologies, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

About Penton Technology’s Channel Brands

Penton Technology’s channel brands define emerging IT markets and disrupt established IT markets. They are a division of Informa. The channel brands include: MSPmentor (www.MSPmentor.net), The VAR Guy (www.TheVARguy.com), Talkin’ Cloud (www.TalkinCloud.com), the WHIR (http://www.thewhir.com) and WebHostingTalk (http://webhostingtalk.com).

 

About Informa

Penton Technology, Think Tank, MSPmentor, The VAR Guy, Talkin’ Cloud, the WHIR, WebHostingTalk, Channel Partners Online, Channel Partners Conference & Expo and Channel Partners Evolution are part of Informa, the international business intelligence, academic publishing, knowledge and events group. Informa serves commercial, professional and academic communities, helping them connect and learn, and creating and providing access to content and intelligence that helps people and businesses work smarter and make better decisions faster.

Informa has over 7,500 colleagues in more than 20 countries and a presence in all major geographies. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a member of the FTSE 100.

To start the conversation, call (970)247-1885 or e-mail sales@thinknettech.com .

Think IT Town Hall Helps Locals with Tech Advice

March 17th, 2017 Posted by Best Practices, Community, Data, Desktop, Devices, Hosted Services, Internet, Microsoft, Networks, Newsletters, Operating System, Security, Services 1 thought on “Think IT Town Hall Helps Locals with Tech Advice”

Matt Glick and Prudencio Dimas from Think have over three decades of experience in the IT world working side by side with organizations, both large and small, to understand and resolve ongoing IT challenges.  Their understanding of network infrastructure, design and implementation was offered to participants of the TechKnowledge 2017 Conference in a Town Hall forum.  Topics such as servers, backups, disaster recovery, cloud storage, Office 365, virus protection, malware, ransomware, and security best practices were all discussed.  Matt and Prudencio fielded a range of questions but it was obvious what was the most concerning topic among the group.

Ransomware and backups.

The duo talked about best practices when it comes to backups and ransomware for almost an hour with the group. It was a very productive session and their favorite question came from Diana Murray, Manager for ASAP Accounting & Payroll, Inc.  Ms. Murray asked “What are the three most important elements of IT when talking about small business?”  We thought we would summarize their answers below.

1. A layered approach to security:

Matt brought up an older Blog post Think published entitled “Is Your Security Layered Like Your Bean Dip?”  It says you should layer your security like a seven-layer bean dip.  Just one layer at the bottom, and it just not as enticing.  But when you get all those layers, working together, it’s an explosion of excellence!  And even more important, the layered security approach tells us the more hoops a hacker has to jump through, the less likely they are to be successful.

2. Backups are key:

Matt posed a few questions business owners should consider when it comes to their backups.  What kind of backup you have is just as important as what is being backed up.  Is it file level backup?  Do you have a full image?  And, what is your expectation of downtime in the event that you do deal with a server crash?  And, he reminded everyone there to be realists.  Emergencies happen.  So, anticipate that they will happen and be prepared.  Practice.  Exercise your backup recovery process; test and retest it, so you have time to work out the kinks.

3. Standardization:

Prudencio explained IT standardization is a strategy for minimizing IT costs within an organization by keeping hardware and software as consistent as possible and reducing the number of tools you have that address the same basic need. It may take the form of ensuring that every computer has the same operating system, or of purchasing hardware in bulk so that every PC in your office is the same make and model. By streamlining your IT infrastructure, you can simplify decision­ making and minimize purchasing and maintenance costs.

Thank you to the Chamber of Commerce for organizing this event for our community and for asking Think to be involved.

Tech Knowledge Conference 2017

February 22nd, 2017 Posted by Best Practices, Community, Data, Desktop, Devices, Hosted Services, Internet, Microsoft, Networks, Newsletters, Operating System, Security, Services 0 thoughts on “Tech Knowledge Conference 2017”

The Durango Chamber of Commerce will host its 3rd Annual Tech Conference on Wednesday, March 15th at the DoubleTree Hotel featuring keynote speaker Jeff Walker.

There will be a variety of breakout sessions throughout the day which include topics about cyber security, email marketing, makerspace, web policies, digital marketing, facebook marketing, hackathon, and much more. Think Network Technologies is a sponsor for the Tech Conference, but they will also be a presenter for one of the breakout sessions.

Matt Glick(CTO) and Prudencio Dimas(Solutions Architect) will be holding an “IT Town Hall” on March 15th from 2:30 – 3:20p in the Silverton/Purgatory room at the DoubleTree Hotel. You’ll be able to ask Think’s senior engineers all your business tech questions about servers, backups, disaster recovery, cloud storage, Office 365, virus protection, malware, ransomware, security best practices, and IT policies.

As CTO of Think Network Technologies, Matt manages network operations, business development and provides guidance to the technical team.  He brings more than 18 years of experience delivering technology solutions to regional private and public sector accounts. Matt has a Bachelor’s of Science in Sociology and Environmental Science from Fort Lewis College.  He started his career in Seattle, where he worked for a corporate consulting company and got his start in systems administration.  He pursued further education at Colorado Mountain College for Microsoft Server OS, Directory Services and Architecture; completing MCSE, MCSA and MCP certifications.  He also completed the Cisco CCNA, CCDA and CCNP certification coursework while being employed as a network administrator for a school district in Roaring Fork Valley, CO.  In 2002, Matt returned to Durango to start his own venture, thus the inception of Think Network Technologies.  His understanding of network infrastructure, design and implementation has benefited Think’s customers in finding solutions to fit the business requirements in both smaller and larger environments.

As a Solutions Architect at Think, Prudencio plays a role in nearly all phases of the IT service delivery life cycle, from the initial consultation and needs assessment, to implementation and ongoing solution support. Prudencio got his start as an intern while earning an Associate’s Degree in Information Technology. Prudencio is well rounded with experience ranging from small computer repair shops to networks of five thousand plus endpoints.  His primary focus is on windows systems administration and he carries certifications in Microsoft and Cisco technologies. In 2012, Prudencio left the IT world behind for 6 months of world travel. When he returned, an opportunity with Think brought him to Durango where he works side by side with businesses large and small to understand and resolve ongoing IT challenges.

Please contact Think’s IT specialists at sales@thinknettech.com if you have any questions or concerns.

10 trends to watch for in 2017

10 trends to watch for in 2017

January 5th, 2017 Posted by Best Practices, Data, Desktop, Devices, Newsletters, Operating System, Security, Services 0 thoughts on “10 trends to watch for in 2017”

Smart machines are getting smarter, and a new IT reality has dawned.

The machines are rising. Artificial intelligence (AI) has proven it’ll be no fun at a party, having taken down the world’s best player at the difficult strategy game Go. If that makes you anxious, good news: virtual reality (VR) is being used by doctors to help patients with anxiety. We live in interesting times, so what’s going to be especially interesting to watch this year?

so what’s going to be especially interesting to watch this year

So what’s going to be especially interesting to watch this year

 

1. Security concerns increase

The only novelty in this prediction is where the danger is coming from: increased reliance on IoT means more breaches of security and privacy.

2. AI and consumer experience

Even big players are only scratching the surface when it comes to using machine-learning to improve customer service. Look for:

  • Much more personalized customer interaction
  • More social presence
  • Immediate answers to consumer queries

3. Better cross-browser compatibility

Less sexy than AI but fundamental, W3C (world wide web consortium) specification, and (maybe) better JavaScript libraries could see cross-browser compatibility issues become a thing of the past. Good news if your business does business online.

4. Increased VR activity

Who doesn’t want to be in VR when it’s new and shiny and has applications as far-ranging as therapy and gaming? Microsoft, Facebook, and Google have put a waterfall of money into VR, but it’s the startups you want to watch. Will VR be the cornerstone of the next Microsoft or Apple?

5. Mobile grows

By 2020, 70% of the world’s population will have a smartphone. If you’re still asking mobile browsers to pinch and squeeze, it’s time to act.

By 2020, 70% of the world’s population will have a smartphone

By 2020, 70% of the world’s population will have a smartphone

6. No more money for IT

You can watch the rise of AI and VR, but this might not be the year you get to invest in them. Spiceworks, a network of IT professionals, -has surveyed the IT world and confirmed that IT budgets will be flat (or down) in 2017, and they’re not expecting to take on new employees, either.

7. Laptops eating desktops’ narrow lead

Consumers have long bought more laptops than desktops. Now, companies are budgeting more for laptops, bringing the budgets for both to par according to Spiceworks’ network data and surveys.

8. Windows 10 business adoption to exceed 70%

Over 10 weeks in 2015, 11% of organizations said yes to Microsoft’s offer of a free Windows 10 upgrade. By halfway through last year, 40% were onboard. The trend line suggests 73% of organizations will be using Windows 10 by July.

9. “Cloud first” strategies will drive adoption of Windows Server 2016

Windows Server 2016 offers improved virtualization features, better security, more advanced software-defined storage functionality, and better integration with popular cloud services. That will drive adoption, although it won’t be until Windows Server 2008 reaches end-of-life in 2020 that its successor will dominate.

10. Don’t hold your breath for OS upgrades

Flat budgets will mean delays in upgrading operating systems. More than half of businesses are running at least one copy of Windows XP somewhere, despite it reaching end-of-life in 2014.

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.

Start the year on a secure note

Start the Year on a Secure Note

January 5th, 2017 Posted by Best Practices, Data, Desktop, Devices, Newsletters, Operating System, Security, Services 0 thoughts on “Start the Year on a Secure Note”

9 hardware and software vulnerabilities you should address now.

Research from Spiceworks, a network of IT professionals, highlighted more than 70% of respondents rated security as their top concern for 2017. Here are nine things that should be keeping you up at night…

70% of respondents rated security as their top concern

70% of respondents rated security as their top concern

 

Aging hardware

Sure, software is the greater risk, but many hardware vulnerabilities are software-based. Older equipment is often without built-in security features like:

  • Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) with Secure Boot
  • Self-healing basic input/output system (BIOS)
  • Pre-boot authentication (PBA)
  • Self-encrypting drives

That’s why you should be auditing and planning to remove:

  • Computers with conventional BIOS, because they can’t run Secure Boot, which helps to prevent malware loading during the boot process.
  • Computers without pre-boot authentication or a trusted platform module (TPM), which stop the operating system from loading until the user enters authentication information, such as a password.
  • Old routers, which can have serious vulnerabilities.
  • Drives that don’t self-encrypt. Self-encrypting drives (SEDs) need a password (in addition to the OS login password), and the technology automatically encrypts and decrypts data on the drive.

On a side note, old drives leave you vulnerable in another way: you could lose data when they fail, which they will.

you could lose data when they fail, which they will

You could lose data when they fail, which they will

Tired software

Getting your hardware straight will almost always involve spending money, but fixing up software could be as simple as running those free updates you never got around to. Here’s what to look at:

  • Unpatched or out-of-date operating systems: Windows XP has been beyond its support period for nearly three years but is still running all over the world despite there being no updates, no technical assistance, and limited efficacy with anti-virus. And old operating systems always have fewer security features than new ones.
  • Unpatched or out-of-date productivity software: It’s highly risky to run unpatched versions of Microsoft Office, especially older versions like Office 2002, Office 2003, and Office 2007. They can give a hacker access to the rest of a system, with particularly catastrophic consequences if the user has administrative privileges.
  • Legacy custom applications: If running an old version of Office is a risk, imagine the danger of running legacy custom software, particularly if you’re no longer doing business with the vendor (or the vendor is no longer in business). When your legacy software was being coded, the vendor probably wasn’t thinking of the sort of security attacks that are common today.
  • Unpatched web browsers: No browser is entirely free of security vulnerabilities. Common vulnerabilities include URL spoofing, cross-site scripting, injection attacks, exploitable viruses, buffer overflow, ActiveX exploits, and many more. Always, always run the most recent version.
  • Out-of-date plug-ins: Everybody loves a plug-in, but they have a high potential for disaster, especially if you’re not running the latest versions.

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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