Posts tagged "business"

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

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

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

What You Can Do

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

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

What You Don’t Want to Do

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

We’re Happy to Help

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

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

blog header image engineer's week

Celebrating Engineer’s Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

relationship issues blog post header

Relationship Problems: 5 Ways Your Outdated Tech is Getting Between You and Your Staff

February 12th, 2019 Posted by Best Practices, byod, collaboration, Desktop, Internet, Managed Service Provider, Services 0 thoughts on “Relationship Problems: 5 Ways Your Outdated Tech is Getting Between You and Your Staff”

Technology exists to make our lives easier, our work more efficient, and our businesses more productive. It’s the perfect marriage of need and solution. At least it’s perfect until these 5 issues start causing downtime that interferes with your staff and their ability to do their jobs. Are any of these outdated tech issues getting between you and your staff?

1. Low Bandwidth: Nothing is quite as frustrating as waiting for a slow internet connection. Whether it’s downloading files or folders, accessing a database, or waiting on that important email, low bandwidth can make simple business functions torture for your staff. This can lead to everything from frustration to high turn-over, and both of those will impact your bottom line. Create an easy and enjoyable experience as well as an efficient work day for your staff by ensuring that your hardware and network are set up for optimum speeds.

2. Security Issues: Your staff is responsible for handling information that is vital to your business every single day. It’s important that this happens in a safe and productive way. In a digital age this means up to date firewalls, backups, security patches, and policies to ensure that your staff can do their jobs without worrying about an outside threat. Because losing data or getting hacked could cost you far more than just money; it could cost you your business.

3. Outdated Hardware: Old hardware can be the source of all kinds of issues, from overheating components that can fry entire systems to outdated software that leaves your system wide open to digital attacks. The good news is basic maintenance and regular upgrades are a lot easier and less costly than dealing with aging hardware and band-aid fixes. And your staff will be able to focus on their tasks instead of spending their time troubleshooting themselves or with technical support.

4. Inefficient Solutions: Sometimes the biggest problem a business has is not knowing what the best solution is for their IT needs. There are multiple options for every kind of hardware and software need, and choosing the wrong one will slow you down and ultimately cost you. Is cloud the right solution? How advanced is your antivirus? What is the best firewall? Do you have the IT policies and procedures in place that will ensure the security and success of your business? Knowing the right direction for your business will ensure that your staff is as productive as possible.

5. User Error: All the high-end technology in the world can’t save you from an employee who isn’t prepared to use it correctly. This can be devastating when there’s a security breach or a network outage because an employee misplaced a password or deleted the wrong setting. Taking the time to properly educate and train your staff on the digital aspects of your company will not only save you trouble, it will give your business an important edge. We always recommend a business have an IT policy and properly train employees on the BYOD culture. This will give your staff the peace of mind that comes with knowing they’re doing the right thing the right way.

Did a few of these sound a little too familiar? The good news is everything on this list is easy to address, which makes for a happier and more productive workplace. Who doesn’t want that?

Are you ready to get your relationship with technology back on track, but don’t know how? Think’s engineers are highly trained and certified to assist with all of your business technology needs. Contact us for a consultation.

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!

ColoradoBiz Top Company Finalist

Think Selected as 1 of 3 Technology Top Company Finalists in Colorado

August 30th, 2018 Posted by Awards, Best Practices, Cloud, Data, Desktop, Hosted Services, Managed Service Provider, Services 0 thoughts on “Think Selected as 1 of 3 Technology Top Company Finalists in Colorado”

Durango, Colo., August 30, 2018 – Think Network Technologies (Think) was recognized as one of three technology finalists on ColoradoBiz magazine’s 2018 Top Company list. The full Top Company finalist list consists of 42 Colorado-based businesses across 14 industries. Think was the only Durango-based finalist in 2018.

ColoradoBiz magazine’s annual Top Company Awards represent statewide businesses that have earned their way to the peak of performance. It’s not about perfection – progress is the name of the game for these companies.

A selection panel of 11 business leaders and community stakeholders convened in mid-June to bring the list of hundreds of applicants down to 42 finalists. Candidates were judged on financial performance, community involvement, outstanding achievement and other intangibles.

One finalist from each of the 14 categories was selected as a winner at the 2018 Top Company Awards, which took place Wednesday, Aug. 29. The 2018 technology category winner was Mobile Solutions.

“It’s a huge honor and achievement for Think to be in the pool with the other finalists. Congratulations to the other two Colorado technology companies that made the list this year – DISH Network and Mobile Solutions. In addition to operational success, our dedication to our employees and the community sets Think apart,” commented Melissa Glick, CEO at Think.

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.

For more information about this topic, please email us.

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

Channel Futures MSP 501 2018 Winner

Think Ranked Among Top 501 Global MSPs

August 8th, 2018 Posted by Awards, Best Practices, Cloud, Data, Desktop, Hosted Services, Managed Service Provider, Services 0 thoughts on “Think Ranked Among Top 501 Global MSPs”

Durango, Colo., August 8, 2018 – Think Network Technologies (Think) ranks among the world’s 501 most strategic and innovative managed service providers (MSPs), according to Channel Future’s 11th-annual MSP 501 Worldwide Company Rankings.

The MSP 501 is the first, largest and most comprehensive ranking of managed service providers worldwide. This year, Channel Futures received a record number of submissions from companies in Europe, Asia, South America, and beyond. Channel Futures teamed with Clarity Channel Advisors to evaluate these progressive and forward-leaning companies. MSP’s revenue figures are weighted according to how well the applicant’s business strategy anticipates trends in the fast-evolving channel ecosystem.

“We are proud to be recognized amongst other outstanding MSPs throughout the world. This honor is a testament to the expertise, hard work, loyalty, and dedication of our team,” commented Melissa Glick, Think CEO.

“This year’s applicant pool was the largest and most diverse in the history of the survey, and our winners represent the health and progressivity of the managed services market,” says Kris Blackmon, Channel Futures content director and editor of the MSP 501. “They’re growing their revenue, expanding their customer influence and exploring new technology that will propel them for years to come.”

The 2018 MSP 501 list is based on data collected by Channel Futures and its sister site, Channel Partners. Data was collected online from Feb. 28 through May 31, 2018. The MSP 501 list recognizes top managed service providers based on metrics including recurring revenue, growth and other factors. The complete 2018 MSP 501 list can be viewed online here.

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.

For more information about this topic, please email us.

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

CONTACT US

888.98.THINK
970.247.1885
3067 Main Ave. Durango, CO
101 W. Main St. Farmington, NM
7483 E. Visao Dr. Scottsdale, AZ
5700 Washington St. Denver, CO

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