My fascination with Drones began when our military started using them as an effective tool to fight extremists without risking the lives of military personnel by providing both surveillance and airstrikes. I never imagined how many other cool uses we would develop for these unmanned remote controlled aircrafts. From Amazon and Google developing drones for delivering packages to innovative filming and capturing imagery from the sky, the future is endless for these rapidly developing devices. Edd Gent of livescience wrote a fascinating article on the future of drones and all the uses currently being developed for these flying machines.
As a managed services provider we are always looking for the best solutions to include in Intuition, our managed services product. We combine industry leading solutions with our expertise in order to deliver the best product possible to our customers. When looking at a vendor and their solution we look at performance, dependability, features, costs and support. One of our favorite solution providers is Mimecast and their email filtering, security, continuity and archiving solution. Your business depends heavily on your email including having access to your email from any device, anywhere at any time. The Mimecast solution helps us deliver on this key business priority – email.
Gartner placed Mimecast highest in the Leaders quadrant for “ability to execute,” we believe, based on Mimecast’s technical expertise, customer support, search and discovery performance, ease of use and administrative and compliance experience.
Customers rely on Mimecast’s cloud-based EIA technology to archive troves of critical email, file and Lync IM information. With Mimecast, customers get:
- A 7-second search SLA for employees to find archived information fast
- Automated mailbox size and retention management
- Comprehensive support for compliance, e-discovery and litigation
- Access to archives from any device, anywhere
Please read more about Mimecast and their extremely favorable ranking by Gartner: Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving.
Summary: Enterprise information archiving offers organizations solutions for compliance and discovery, while reducing overall storage costs. To aid IT leaders, Gartner evaluates vendors offering products and services that provide archiving for email, social media, files and other content types.
If you are looking for tips on the newest trends in technology for business, don’t miss the Denver Biz Tech Expo this Thursday, October 15 at Wings Over the Rockies Museum from 9 am – 3:30 pm:
www.denverbiztechexpo.com Over 50 Top Technology Companies will be exhibiting cloud, hardware, software and service solutions. Nine industry experts and four impressive panels will speak and discuss data, security, cloud, mobility, women in technology, business continuity, the economy and many other fascinating topics to help you and your business. Come join over 1,000 Colorado business professionals from over 600 Colorado companies–including C-Level executives, VPs, Directors, Managers, Owners, IT Staff, Operations, etc. across every industry, Gov/Ed, SMB, and Enterprise.
Use this CODE to receive a complimentary VIP Ticket: “PRN”
Register here. The VIP Code expires at noon on Wednesday and will not work manually at the Expo.
New tech products are coming out every day so it’s challenging keeping up. Here are a few I’ve seen that I think are game changers and worth looking at.
iCam HD Pro Security Camera – The home security market is blowing up with new products including this innovative home security camera featuring full HD video, object tracking, night vision, multi-viewing, and 360° of rotation with panning and tilting giving the user complete control over their home anywhere. They also include cloud storage, 24 hour cloud support, two-way audio and a robust app including picture alerts providing a snapshot pop up on your smart phone if motion or audio sensors are triggered. You can find more information here: http://2015-ces.silk.co/page/iCam-HD-Pro
Swiftpoint GT – the world’s first mouse that allows touch gestures with a natural finger and wrist action without having to touch the screen – in fact, you don’t need a touchscreen at all! This dramatically improves productivity in Microsoft Word and Excel, as well as other office and content creation applications. The GT was designed to operate on your laptop next to your touchpad so it’s easy to use on planes, trains, or anywhere. It’s designed to be gripped like a pen thereby reducing fatigue and improving ergonomics. You can find more information here: http://www.swiftpoint.com/
AMPL smart backpack – Touted as the “World’s Smartest Backpack” this product intelligently charges, protects and monitors all your Mobile devices including laptops, tablets, and smartphones. The backpack includes expansion batteries and a USB port in every pocket and special pockets for all your devices including innovative shock absorbers and water-resistant coating providing additional protection. It also comes with a Smart Control app which allow you to monitor and control charging all your devices without ever opening a zipper. As much as I travel I know this will be on my Xmas list. You can find more information here: http://ampl-labs.com/
Adidas Smart Ball – has built-in sensors to measure kick power, spin, strike and trajectory plus an app with coaching tips based on the data collected. I see smart balls coming in every sport and providing coaches and players with valuable data on how to improve. You gotta believe basketball, football, baseball, hockey, volleyball, etc. are all next… You can find more information here: http://micoach.adidas.com/smartball/
Editor’s note: “As a trusted and valuable partner of Platte River Networks, we asked Matt Edgar of Community First Commercial Real Estate to write this article for our July newsletter. We have seen many of our clients make mistakes and have issues with their search for office space and the overall leasing process. We reached out to Matt so he could provide his insight and expertise in the hopes of educating our clients and hopefully helping them with this sometimes difficult and time consuming process. Please read and hopefully learn…”
You’ve decide to pull the trigger, and upgrade your office digs by relocating your office. A move looms on the horizon…how will it impact your business? “Will my customers still be able to find me?” you wonder, among other worries.
Moving is a hassle, let’s face it. But you can make it less of a hassle if you avoid some of the following pitfalls. Here are the most common moving mistakes, and how to avoid them:
Mistake #1: Not allowing enough time.
This is a big one. Procrastination is likely the most common trap that companies fall into, resulting in moving headaches. Not allowing ample time to plan and execute an office move leaves everyone scrambling, causing undo stress, dropped balls, and major headaches. You should start planning your move at least 3 months in advance; scheduling movers, notifying your IT providers, and getting your new collateral ready to go so customers know where to find you and how to reach you.
Solution: Start planning your move 3 months out.
Mistake #2: Not having a moving checklist.
Think a move is as simple as calling a moving company a few days out, and having them pick up your stuff from Location A, and setting it up at Location B? Think again. You should have a comprehensive moving checklist, detailing and assigning each task, and including a timeline and check box to mark off when completed. Without a thorough list, “minor” issues slip through the cracks, and become major headaches. Did you check the loading dock schedules? Do you have access to the building demarc so your telecom vender (hopefully you remembered to call your IT provider) can gain access? Did you remember to call your filtered water provider to let them know you’re moving? Some items are more important than others, but the process will be less painless if your office broker can provide you a moving checklist.
Solution: Get a moving checklist from your Tenant Rep Broker, or create one yourself.
Mistake #3: Not assigning a single point of contact to coordinate the move.
Your office won’t move itself. You need to designate a single point of contact, whether it’s yourself, or your office manager, or your business partner. Someone needs to be responsible for following the checklist and making sure action items are checked off well in advance. In particular, make sure major items of importance like scheduling a moving company, notifying property managers of your move at both locations, making sure you have updated certificates of
insurance naming your old and new landlord, and your moving company, as additional insured parties on the certificate, etc., are handled first. It goes without saying that hopefully you already had your IT guru check to make sure that the voice/ data providers you need are available in the new building, and that your service move or port has been scheduled to commence at a minimally disruptive time, like in the late afternoon or evening to avoid downtime. Weekly meetings with your single point of contact ensure you keep the move manager on task.
Solution: Assign a single point of contact for move coordination, and have weekly meetings to stay on track.
Like anything, moving is a process. Allow ample time, create a roadmap, and stay on course to allow for a smooth move.
TENANT REPRESENTATION/ CORPORATE SERVICES
COMMUNITY FIRST COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE OFFICE: 303.447.6880
50 S. STEELE ST – STE 250-
DENVER CO 80209 MATT.EDGAR@COMMUNITYFIRSTCOMMERCIAL.COM
1. Business Class UTM Firewall
Businesses today are faced with more applications, more devices, more threats, more users and more traffic than ever before. Businesses are becoming more dependent on high-speed Internet connections to connect offices, store data, and use cloud computing to manage customer relationships, billing, and office productivity. The more connected your business becomes, the more important it is that the data stored inside your network protects from those outside your business such as cyber criminals. You also need protection from security breaches, employee error or misconduct from the inside of your organization.
A business class firewall provides all these levels of necessary corporate security and protection.
Many small businesses lack a robust firewall that can protect them from these external threats. Instead, they use free firewall software that offers minimal protection such as Windows PC firewalls, bundled carrier based firewall software included with your router provided by carriers such as CenturyLink or Comcast, or an out dated firewall lacking Unified Threat Protection and other current advanced security features. Such solutions don’t offer much protection from sophisticated threats so it makes sense to upgrade to a true business class firewall; such as Fortinet’s FortiGate line of firewalls.
Even if you have a firewall it may not give complete protection if you don’t have qualified people monitoring and managing it. The best device on the market will become less effective over time without upkeep. A business class firewall keeps your data safe by ensuring that threat definitions and firmware are up to date, backups are kept, and the system monitors 24-7-365. Most business class firewalls today provide Unified Threat Management and bandwidth fail over features as well.
2. Endpoint Security with Zero Day Protection
The ever increasing volume, speed, and sophistication of cyber-attacks require a move beyond traditional web security. Today’s cyber criminals are launching targeted malware that is designed to infiltrate defenses through multiple entry points of networks and endpoints. Companies need smarter cybersecurity that’s as dynamic and intelligent as the attacks it defends against, that can keep ahead of the proliferation of today’s threats, and that protects against new threats that may only live in the wild for hours or minutes.
Free Anti-virus and many paid endpoint security solutions do not have zero day protection against the ever changing threats. We recommend Webroot’s SecureAnywhere Business Endpoint Protection; which includes:
- Advanced Offline Protection Against Zero-Day & Highly Adaptive Threats
- No Conflicts with Existing Security or Endpoint Software
- Complete User Agent Policy Controls & Protection
- Browser Identity & Privacy Shield
- Devices Managed through Single, Intuitive, Web-Based Management Console
3. Enterprise Email Management and Security
Many threats come into your company through email and can then leave your company via email and deliver those threats to your customers and contacts. We recommend using a cloud based email security provider so your email is cleaned before it hits your exchange server or hosted exchange. We recommend the vendor Mimecast who provide an always-on, cloud-based email security solution that reduces the complexity of protecting your organization from malware, spam and data leakage. Their service delivers robust 100% anti-virus and 99% anti-spam service levels, with 0.0001% spam false positives. They also have email continuity built into the same solutions so if your exchange server or hosted exchange goes down, you still can send and receive email. Mimecast has added features such as encryption and archiving as well. Encryption is becoming a necessity for every business.
4. User Training
Many threats and attacks can be avoided as long as your employees have proper training.
Train your staff to:
- Be wary of opening any email attachment. Even when you know the sender, it’s entirely possible that their efforts to prevent attacks weren’t adequate and that a threat has infected their system, only to be passed on to you through some innocuous-seeming email. If you are the slightest bit unsure, contact the sender to verify that they meant to send the attachment.
- File sharing is another common source of contracting computer threats. Be sure you are downloading clean material. The best way to do this is to resort to legitimate sites that have pre-screened files for you.
- Use common sense and trust your gut feelings about any site, email or software that arouses suspicion. More often than not, your instincts are an excellent guide.
- Be careful when loading external media such as flash drives without scanning them, and know who is using the computers on your network.
- When using social networking sites such as Facebook, be careful about clicking any links that look suspicious.
5. Company Policy
You need to have a solid employee technology policy in place, in writing, that your employees read and sign. You should go over the policy with any new hires. If you do not have one in place, provide User Training above and have them sign it at that time. Treat IT security policy like a contract and include:
- Define what employee can and can’t do on company PCs and/or mobile devices accessing your network.
- Educate about email, internet and social media best practices to avoid phishing, spam, malware and other threats.
- Provide your employees with access to your IT provider or dedicated staff for any questions or concerns.
- Enforce the consequences of not following policies (be careful, many infractions are accidental which is why you need to train your employees).
If you have any questions or concerns regarding how to better secure your business, please do not hesitate to contact Platte River Networks for immediate expertise and assistance:
303-355-1941 or firstname.lastname@example.org
I want to make everyone aware of another new Russian ransomware strain called “Fessleak”. It is a new version that puts its code on system memory and not on the hard drives, meaning that antivirus does not pick it up. Very scary.
This new threat is hidden in malicious ads on popular websites. The hackers display these ads through legit ad networks. End-users visit a major site like Huffington Post, CBS Sports, or Match.com and check out an ad by clicking on it. Clicking that one link is enough to get confronted with a full screen that announces all assets on the computer or worse company network have been encrypted. They are effectively looking for a Bitcoin ransom.
In order to prepare for this and other malicious attacks, we recommend the following…
- Offsite Backups are key – and historical ones in case the current one is compromised. We recommend true business continuity so if the attack occurs you can be back up quick.
- Patch the Operating System and third party apps as soon as possible.
- Invest in a new Security Device with UTM Unified Threat Manager (most business class firewalls come with it standard) and/or a good Proxy to block ads centrally rather than machine by machine. (If you are off the network (at home), you should use an AdBlocker plugin for each browser.
- Pay for a VTA – Vulnerability Threat Assessment so a certified Security company can assess your current environment for weaknesses and holes and recommend immediate solutions to protect you and your business.
- And most important-Awareness! Educate your employees on what to look for, to avoid, and how to perform safe computer behavior.
Be careful out there!
Businesses are becoming more dependent on high-speed Internet connections to connect offices, store data, and use cloud computing to manage customer relationships, billing, and office productivity. The more connected your business becomes, the more important it is that the data stored inside your network protects from those outside your business such as cyber criminals.
Many small businesses lack a robust firewall that can protect them from these external threats. Instead, they use free firewall software that offers minimal protection such as Windows PC firewalls or bundled carrier based firewall software included with your router provided by carriers such as CenturyLink or Comcast. Such solutions don’t offer much protection from sophisticated threats so it makes sense to upgrade to a true business class firewall.
Even if you have a firewall it may not give complete protection if you don’t have qualified people monitoring and managing it. The best device on the market will become less effective over time without upkeep. A business class firewall keeps your data safe by ensuring that threat definitions and firmware are up to date, backups are kept, and the system monitors 24-7-365. Most business class firewalls today give Unified Threat Management and bandwidth fail over features as well.
Here are five reasons small businesses are better off with a managed firewall service:
- IT is not your core business. You probably got in to business to do something unrelated to network security and aren’t an expert in managing security systems. Sure, you could hire someone to support your IT, but at the cost of diverting valuable time and money from providing the product or service you got into business for. Hiring a professional IT company/managed services provider that is certified with a business class firewall provider is a must!
- Consulting labor is expensive. Without a managed service or full-time staff, you’ll undoubtedly need to hire a consultant to configure your firewall at $150 per hour or more. Then, when something goes wrong or a configuration needs changed, you’ll have added bills at $150 an hour – and the new consultant will spend at least an hour or two figuring out what your last consultant did. Your managed services provider has certified engineers to manage and support your business class firewall.
- Failure of your network security would be a disaster – You need a recovery plan. Like all hardware, firewalls occasionally break. It’s important to have a plan to restore connectivity quickly and securely if that happens. If you’re not using a service, who makes sure your router configurations are backed up, secures a timely replacement from the manufacturer and makes sure the is configured and installed?
- Some threats come from inside your business. Social media, gaming, and online video can drain employee productivity and on the bandwidth your business needs and may expose you to viruses. Properly configured URL filtering and application control can help you manage these internal threats to security and productivity.
- Security threats evolve daily. New viruses, worms, and malicious attacks are created every day to exploit weaknesses in networks and steal your business’ confidential data. With a managed firewall service, professional network security personnel keep your security device up to date with the latest firmware and threat definitions to keep your network secure.
Wikipedia has an entry that starts with jargon, but it contains some great information, like:
“The primary impact of consumerization is that it is forcing businesses, especially large enterprises, to rethink the way they procure and manage IT equipment and services.”
We couldn’t agree more. Small businesses will often look to larger competitors to see what they should be doing, but sometimes it’s the other way around. The electronics that we carry around with us are cutting edge. Many of us replace our phones and buy new gadgets yearly. As a result, consumers are starting to drive business technologies. Cloud services made for consumers can address business needs like video-conferencing, digital imaging, business collaboration, sales force support, and systems backup.
The Right Way to Consumerize Your IT
For the last few years, big businesses with enterprise class networks have had a hard time maintaining security and compliance while keeping up with the latest trends in consumer technology. Many have reacted by locking personal devices out of the network until new policies, procedures and infrastructure can be developed. Meanwhile, their smaller competitors experienced a big jump in productivity. Without the heavy burden of an enterprise IT network, small businesses are busy working on any device, and they could be anywhere with an internet connection.
Consumerization enables alternative approaches to business efficiency, but concerns remain. According to the 2011 Trend Micro Consumerization Report:
“Security (64%) and data loss (59%) remain top concerns for most companies allowing employees to bring their personal devices in the workplace.”
Since then, the industry has been hard at work, developing ways to safely and securely sign-on to enterprise networks using any device with an internet connection. They need:
- Secure, single sign-on
- Remote access
- Remote management
- Endpoint security
- Exchange and Office interoperability
Over 75% of companies surveyed in the United States allow individuals to use some of their personal devices for work. We are significantly ahead of the curve compared to other countries. With widespread adoption, best practices are clearly established. If you would like to safely transition into a consumerized network, we can help.
In 2011, Microsoft Office 365 launched to mixed reviews. Under pressure from Google and Apple to get into the cloud office, Microsoft threw their hat in the ring and some early adopters were disappointed with the results. As Infoworld pointed out, a big weak point was in transitioning from other Microsoft solutions like Sharepoint to the cloud with Office 365:
“Those of you who are waiting patiently for Microsoft to move you from its old hosted server setup, BPOS, to its new and improved Office 365, still have a way to go — perhaps a very long way.”
The cloud offers a variety of advantages over a desktop solution, such as always up to date office applications and files anywhere, such as a PC, Mac, and mobile devices, but Office 365 came with high expectations. The future of Office wasn’t allowed to lack anything that you could do on the desktop version of Office without getting criticism. For the marketplace to embrace Office 365, Microsoft had to improve all of their weak points.
Three years later, we are happy to report that Office 365 has arrived as a mature Office solution. It is now as capable as the older desktop version while also providing the advantages of a cloud solution.
Transitioning to Office 365
Since Office is now a fully developed product, the next problem Microsoft tackled was in transitioning businesses from the desktop environment to the cloud. Those who need enterprise solutions have the resources to work out problems, but now everyone has a viable transition to a cloud based office solution:
“SkyKick is a new kind of migration application that makes it fast, safe, & easy to migrate businesses to Office 365. SkyKick is designed to address the wide variety of migration scenarios that exist across the SMB (1-250 employee) landscape. We understand that every small and medium sized business email environment is unique. That’s why we designed the SkyKick application — to handle thousands of different migration scenarios, personalized for every business situation.”
With the use of SkyKick, businesses shouldn’t have reservations about the transition to the cloud. We are comfortable in recommending Office 365 to clients after years of deployment and testing.