Posts tagged "data"

Two-Factor Authentication: Secure, Simple, Inexpensive

July 15th, 2019 Posted by Best Practices, Data, Disaster, Hackers, Security, Staff 0 thoughts on “Two-Factor Authentication: Secure, Simple, Inexpensive”

“I don’t believe there is any single item that is more cost effective at improving security for public facing services than two-factor authentication.  This is why most Internet banking and other sensitive websites are requiring this nowadays.” – Darrell Brooks, Director of Infrastructure at Think

Even the strongest password may not be enough to protect your sensitive data. Luckily, two-factor authentication (2FA) is here to help.

Two-factor authentication adds an extra level of security to your basic login process. Think of it like this: Having 2FA required for your account login is like having a deadbolt and a keycode for your front door. That way if you lost your key, you would still be protected by the keycode. Or if someone overheard your keycode, you would still have the deadbolt in place.

Just as you would require both the keycode and the physical key to get into your front door, you would also require two different factors to access an account secured with 2FA.

There are three categories used for two-factor authentication:

  1. A thing you know (like a password or keycode)
  2. A thing you have (like a keycard or a mobile phone)
  3. A thing you are (like a fingerprint)

Your two factors should come from two different categories. This is often a password and an auto-generated PIN number that has been sent to you through a text or an app.

Many (if not most) people are guilty of using weak passwords or duplicating passwords for different accounts. This probably includes your employees. Adding 2FA to your security is a simple, easy, and inexpensive way to tighten security for your business.

Take a look at the different two-factor authentication apps available online, or contact Think to discuss options for your business needs. In the end, the one you will use will depend on the kind of deployment that you desire and the structure of your organization.

Successful IT Transitions Need These 5 Components

July 12th, 2019 Posted by Best Practices, Cloud, Communication, Data, Security, Staff 0 thoughts on “Successful IT Transitions Need These 5 Components”

Change is easy to get excited about and easy to get started, but it’s tough to follow through and keep the momentum going. Especially when it feels like there’s no end in sight, as can happen with IT projects if you’re not careful. But it doesn’t have to be an endless slog. If you build these 5 components into your IT transition, the entire process will be much smoother and more successful from beginning to end.

1. A tracking system – a simple list of major goals and initiatives, refer to it often (especially if you’re thinking about adding anything), and check off progress as you go. This helps to keep the direction clear, make the steps and goals feel attainable, and makes progress easy to see. All of these will make it easier for your staff to maintain motivation and momentum.

2. Clear communication – When people don’t understand what they’re doing or why, they lose focus, motivation, and enthusiasm. So, make all communications regarding the transition as transparent and simple as possible. Lose the tech jargon and talk about the benefits, challenges, and goals in a way that everyone can understand.

3. Available support personnel – It’s likely that there will be a handful of people in your organization who are always in demand during any IT transition. They’re the ones who always seem to know what’s going on and how to fix it. It’s essential that these people be free to work on higher level issues, while anything else is delegated to employees with less expertise and/or less demand on their skills and time. This will help the transition move more quickly and smoothly while encouraging less experienced staff to learn and take on new responsibility.

4. Clear transitions and expectations – make sure that your employees know when and how to transition from doing things the “old way” to adopting your new solutions and processes. Whether this is an entirely new role or just a new approach, you can cut down on confusion, frustration, and unnecessary delays by ensuring that everyone knows what to do and when to do it.

5. Data-based targets – It’s important to both morale and progress that you and your team can identify what “done” is for any given stage or goal in the transition. This gives you a framework to discuss their progress and direction, and it gives them a definite path to follow.

7 Tips for Training Tech-Savvy Employees

June 6th, 2019 Posted by Best Practices, collaboration, Communication, Staff 0 thoughts on “7 Tips for Training Tech-Savvy Employees”

Updating your technology on a regular basis is an important part of keeping your employees productive and efficient as well as protecting your company from cyber security threats. But keeping employees up to date on how to use all this new tech can be a challenge. Here are 7 tips to help you train more tech savvy employees and keep your business moving forward.

  • Know why –Most people resist change. It’s just human nature. But if you can explain WHY it’s worth their time and effort to learn and use this new tech, you’ll find your employees will be a lot more cooperative. And maybe even excited.
  • Recruit inside– Some employees will naturally be more apt and more interested in the new tech. Recruit them to help you train the others. This will help bridge the knowledge gap as well as getting everyone involved on the project together.
  • Get hands-on –As often as possible, have your employees learn by doing. The more engaged they are, the more likely they are to retain the information.
  • Documentation –Ever wish there was a manual for that? So do your employees. Give them written instructions (preferably with screenshots) whenever possible. This will help them learn more quickly and provide a handy reference guide for later.
  • Keep it small –Breaking your employees into smaller groups for tech training gives them more opportunities to ask questions and engage with the instructor, helping them learn more quickly.
  • Everyone is different –Some employees will pick up the new tech and run with it right away, but others will require more time and effort to get them going. Be prepared for differing rates of progress and be patient.
  • Get their thoughts –Your employees can provide you will valuable feedback on the learning process and how the new tech is impacting the company, if you ask and are open to listening. Do this during the transition and afterwards to help keep tabs on the bigger picture.

Melissa Glick Named to CRN Women of the Channel 2019 List

May 20th, 2019 Posted by Awards, Community, Press Release, Staff 0 thoughts on “Melissa Glick Named to CRN Women of the Channel 2019 List”

Durango, CO, May 20, 2019 – CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, has named Melissa Glick, CEO of Think Network Technologies, to its prestigious 2019 Women of the Channel list. The leaders on this annual list are from all areas of the IT channel ecosystem; representing technology suppliers, distributors, solution providers, and other IT organizations. Each is recognized for her contributions to channel advocacy, channel growth and visionary leadership.

CRN editors choose the list from a multitude of channel leadership applicants and select the final honorees based on their professional accomplishments, demonstrated expertise, and ongoing dedication to the IT channel.

“CRN’s 2019 Women of the Channel list honors influential leaders who are accelerating channel growth through mutually-beneficial partnerships, incredible leadership, strategic vision, and unique contributions in their field,” said Bob Skelley, CEO of The Channel Company. “This accomplished group of leaders is driving channel success and we are proud to honor their achievements.”

“It’s an honor to be included in such an accomplished group of women,” said Glick “Technology is such an influential and important field, and it’s encouraging to see so much positive growth and change happening from year to year.”

The 2019 Women of the Channel list will be featured in the June issue of CRN Magazine and online at www.CRN.com/WOTC.

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

Is your business being targeted?

May 8th, 2019 Posted by Best Practices, Hackers, Security 0 thoughts on “Is your business being targeted?”

Two members of our staff and 3 of our clients were targeted by this phishing scam last month. You should know about it.

 

Have you seen the latest email phishing scam?

It looks like a quick email from your boss. They’re in a meeting and can’t talk, but could you stop and pick up some gift cards?

If you reply saying you will get the cards, the next email says to pick up $1,800 of Walmart gift cards and just take a picture of the numbers on the back of the card and email them back.

Which is where they really get you. Once you’ve sent the scammers the numbers on the back of the card, they have access to the money. And you have no way to get it back.

This scam is designed to take advantage of the fast-paced and informal nature of a lot of business communication. As well as the trust we place in our superiors. Two of the employees here at Think were targeted by this phishing attempt. A combination of cybersecurity knowledge and a good email filter helped ensure that neither of them fell for the scam. But others haven’t been so fortunate.

You can protect your business and your employees from phishing attempts with a few simple steps:

  1. Education – talk to your staff about what phishing is and what to watch for.
  2. Awareness – make sure your staff is looking at the sender and the contents of an email closely before clicking on links or replying.
  3. Protection – a good email filter will flag emails from outside senders, helping your employees identify untrustworthy sources more easily.

Phishing is one of the leading cybersecurity vulnerabilities for a business. Take steps to protect your business and don’t get caught!

5 Reasons Your Business Needs a Backup and Recovery Plan

May 6th, 2019 Posted by Best Practices, byod, Cloud, Data, Disaster, Hackers, Security, Staff 0 thoughts on “5 Reasons Your Business Needs a Backup and Recovery Plan”

If you lost all your business data today, how long would it take for your business to recover? What steps would you take to get everything up and running again? How would it impact you financially? Knowing the answers to these questions is all part of being prepared. Just like having a back up and recovery plan. Here is some more compelling evidence that this is a necessary part of any business today:

1. Data is Easy to Lose – not just major events, a lot of it is human error. This is especially true in a BYOD culture where you may have business data being stored on personal laptops or in personal cloud accounts of your employees.

2. Cyber Attacks Keep Coming – the average cost of an attack for a company with 10 – 24 employees is over $38,000, and it just goes up from there. It doesn’t matter what type of business or the size, hackers will target anything they can profit from.

3. Downtime – loss of data can bring your entire business to a grinding halt. And if that data can’t be recovered, it takes even more time to replace (if that’s even an option).

4. Irreplaceable Data – some documents or files are truly invaluable. Everything from client lists and research to files on upcoming projects. If all that disappeared in one day, where would your business be?

5. Reputation – do you hold any sensitive or personal data on for your clients or customers? Or data that your clients will need to access in the future, like health care records or financial information. How would telling them it was all gone impact your relationship with them? Or your reputation in the business community?

A variety of back up and recovery options are available and can be customized to suit your business. Contact one of our engineers today if you would like to learn more about your options or get an expert’s perspective on developing your own backup and recovery plan.

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.

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