Posts tagged "cloud"

Tech is Changing the Way Our Kids Learn

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

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

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

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

 

Virtual Reality in the Classroom

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

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

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

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

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

 

More 3D Printing in Schools

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

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

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

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

 

Cloud Computing and Smarter Classrooms

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

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

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

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

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

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

T-Cloud Hosted VoIP

March 17th, 2017 Posted by Cloud, Hosted Services, Newsletters, Phone, VoIP 0 thoughts on “T-Cloud Hosted VoIP”

Reduce IT Costs with T-Cloud VoIP Hosted Phones

The business environment in today’s world is always changing. New technologies, developing consumer behaviors, and a wavering economy accentuate this fact. Continual change introduces real and constant challenges for businesses of all sizes, so flexibility is crucial. But flexibility is more than a management mindset. Your infrastructure needs to be flexible too and that includes your phone system. A flexible VoIP phone system should cover and form to fit your current and future needs.

Project a Big-Company Image

With enterprise features like auto attendant, music on-hold, hunt groups and much more!

Cut Your Monthly Phone Bill In Half

Reap enormous savings while improving call quality, reliability and employee productivity.

Benefit Your Business

No software costs. Unlimited local and long-distance calling. 99.9% up-time. Fixed & predictable monthly bill. Starting at $25 per month, per user.

On the Go (ADV Feature)

Using Cisco Jabber, connect iOS and Android Devices to your phone system for the ultimate mobile experience.

Unify Your Employees

Join everyone together wherever they are – at the office, at home or on the road!

Cloud Infrastructure

Managed on our secured Data Center.

Email Integration

Your system will send voicemails to email for easy sharing.

Increase Your Productivity

  • Call Management & Routing
  • Automated Attendant
  • Hunt Groups
  • Visual Voicemail
  • Instant Messaging & Presence
  • Video Conferencing
  • Music on Hold
  • Voicemail to Email

Let’s Get Started!

Call us at 1-888-98-THINK or email us at sales@thinknettech.com. We will answer your questions and prepare a personalized quote for your business.

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.

No more passwords in 2017?

December 8th, 2016 Posted by Best Practices, Data, Devices, Hosted Services, Internet, Newsletters, Security, Services 0 thoughts on “No more passwords in 2017?”
Yahoo!’s disclosure that hackers might have vacuumed up the passwords of as many as half a billion users lit the floodlights on two gaping issues in IT:

  1. Passwords run out of steam well before they cross the goal line of today’s security needs
  2. Sometimes you don’t even know they’re gone, which means you’re vulnerable without realizing it

Wakefield Research recently surveyed IT decision makers and found out that 69% will probably do away with passwords completely in the next five years.

The finding of the report wasn’t surprising, nor were the insights that IT professionals are despairing of evergreen problems:

  • Users “securing” their accounts with passwords a child could guess, let alone a script kiddie driving any of a dozen tools available for free download
  • Users recycling the same password for different accounts so that one crack exposes many systems. And it’s especially galling for IT when the breach of its system is the result of a breakdown of a system beyond its control, such as all the systems now at risk because Yahoo! customers used the same password for Yahoo! as for their work access.

Time and place a user is requesting access and deciding if it’s in keeping with that person’s usual behavior

(more…)

10 Essential Steps To Protect Your Data

November 17th, 2016 Posted by Best Practices, Data, Devices, Hosted Services, Internet, Newsletters, Security, Services 0 thoughts on “10 Essential Steps To Protect Your Data”
There are various ways to calculate the cost of losing work stored on computers. Perhaps the easiest way to get a gut feel for the cost is to think for a moment about how long it would take to replace lost work. How many people would have to spend how many days to create everything from scratch?

Here is a simple 10-step plan for making sure they do not have to.

1. Have a strategy

You will not know what approach is right for you until you have answered these questions:

  1. How long can you go without the lost data?
  2. Will you be making full backups or incremental or differential backups?
  3. How quickly will you need data restored?
  4. What devices will you use?
  5. How secure do your backups need to be?
  6. How long do you need to keep the data for?

How much can you afford to lose?

(more…)

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