Turning Off the Technology: How a tech unplugs

Standard

 

Being a tech is hard on the mind and the body.  A majority of the job keeps you connected the computer for a large portion of your day. Whether it is working issues or researching more about an industry that is ever-changing and evolving every week, being so connected is a blessing and a curse. Keeping up with technology is like trying to win a marathon on a treadmill.  You are definitely making progress on improving yourself, but it is a race that has no end.  Living in world full of social media websites, blogs from all your favorite personalities, or just finding that next cat video to share with your office, it can easily turn from a way to pass the time into a routine that you don’t even know you have.

Until you miss a few days.

I often find it beneficial to “disconnect,” a term I mean to be synonymous with turning off your gadgets, disconnecting from the internet, and looking out a window instead of a pc monitor.  Otherwise, eventually, you will get burned out.

295545_4185251850058_881627169_n

I enjoy hiking, camping, and just working up a sweat in the mountains.  My personal disconnect is going backpacking.  Backpacking is essentially just planning a hike that will take days, weeks, or even months to finish.  I am still very new to it, but it is quickly turning into a well-looked-forward-to event every year.

10300501_10202678068653039_7052591257783553111_n

James, standing – third from left, with fellow hikers on a 4-day/25-mile/tech-free hike in July 2014. The only electronics they bring on these trips are a gps and walkie talkie for emergencies and a flashlight.

Ironically, the guys I plan the trip with are also in tech fields. They are just as eager to wander around in the woods as I am. There is just something about staring at the stars from the tops of mountains that can really re-align you. Looking around at the world (instead of at your mobile every minute to check your emails, text, and notification) is jarring and strange at first for the tech junkie, but a few days into it you could care less.

905870_758170720872722_1130652209434083690_o

That is just my way of disconnecting.  Yours doesn’t have to be as drastic, by any means.  Small things count, too. Plan to take a walk or run around a lake once a week, maybe even  twice a month have a “No Power” family day where you turn off the mobiles, televisions, computer and play board games.  Reclaim your imagination!

429964_4185260690279_857830722_n

Spotlight on Small Business Week: End-of-support product alert! (And why this matters to you)

Standard

 

software cemeteryThere are a few products out there which have reached “end-of-support.” What this means is that the software companies who created them will no longer provide updates. Or support. Without those updates, the user is at both a security risk and a risk for future conflicts with other programs.

And without support…?

Well, we will try to help you, from our end, of course. But we’re limited without the updates. And we really don’t like having you in a security risk position, if that becomes the case.

Microsoft’s Outlook 2003, Exchange 2003, Windows XP, and Exchange 2010/
Service Pack 2 all had their end-of-support in April of 2014. Looking ahead, Dell’s Sonicwall Firewall TZ 180 Series will have its end-of-support on July 1 of this year, and Microsoft’s Server 2003 (different from Exchange 2003) will end in July 2015. This is obviously by no means a complete list of recent or upcoming end-of-support products. It’s a good idea to visit the websites for the software your company uses, in order to determine what your own risks are.

When end-of-support is approaching, it’s smart to make room in your budget to upgrade your software. It’s important that you know your product expiration dates. If you’re unsure, we at Everon can help you with that. We will advise you on the proper upgrade to make for your company, and we can then implement the upgrade — whether it’s through an onsite visit, or via remote to your computer — to ensure a smooth transition.

small business week special-2To request a FREE quote to upgrade your company’s end-of-support software, contact us at  info@everonit.com and put “Free end-of-support quote” in the subject line. Or call us at 888-244-1748.

We’re here for you.

 

 

Spotlight on Small Business Week: Do you backup your data?

Standard

 

In today’s world, technology is a key aspect to all parts of your business. From accounting and management to day-to-day communication, more and more parts of your business are performed solely on computers. Companies must take advantage of today’s technology to stay competitive.

TDP sidebarEmail is the preferred method of communication and computers are integral for executing transactions and storing valuable data. With the importance of computers and technology, it is critical that every organization has a complete solution to deal with the threat of data loss. In the past, companies have backed up their data using magnetic tapes, which were then typically stored offsite. While a usable method for incrementally backing up data offsite, this process is tedious and timeconsuming. For small businesses without a dedicated IT staff, maintaining an up-to-date tape library can be easily overlooked and can result in permanent data loss.

Small to medium businesses can suffer severe repercussions if their critical data is not securely backed up at an off-site location. A fire, power surge, hardware failure, or even basic operator error can wipe out years of data. According to IDC (a leading market research firm), less than 40% of all small to medium size businesses properly and regularly back up their data. These businesses cannot afford to lose time attempting to rebuild their lost, vital information. In order to prevent such a situation from happening, it is imperative that an off-site storage system be used, providing secure copies of all data.

Off-site backup devices ensure that if physical disaster (fire, flood, theft, etc.) were to strike your data center and/or office, all lost information could be retrieved from the off-site location. Most off-site backup options use the Internet to transfer data back to the business location. It can take weeks, or even months, to download all of a company’s data from the web. With Total Data Protection™ from Everon, we can get you running virtually from the cloud while a new device is shipped out, already loaded with your otherwise-lost data. This allows businesses to recover multiple terabytes of information in a matter of a day or two, which would be nearly impossible through Internet transfer.

To quickly recover from hardware failures, viruses, or accidental deletion, it is important to have an on-site backup in addition to the off-site copy. This backup allows businesses to quickly recover from data loss due to common causes. When creating a business continuity plan, it’s important to take both on-site and off-site backup into consideration. When it comes to keeping your information backed up, Total Data Protection™ Backup offers an affordable and easy total solution.

Total Data Protection™ provides a simple, secure, and automatic method for both on-site and off-site data storage in one simple and easy to use device. Each Total Data Protection™ solution is a specifically designed Network Attached Storage (NAS) device operating as a secure location to backup files. The device creates an encrypted copy of all files stored at the on-site location at dual secure data centers located on the east and west US coasts. In the event of accidental deletion, files can quickly be restored to the device. If the Total Data Protection™ device is ever damaged or destroyed, a new device with all data and settings from the original unit is overnight shipped to your location, providing rapid recovery.

Everon’s Total Data Protection™ solution ensures your vital information is always safe and secure, making the once painful chore of on and offsite data backup easy and reliable.

small business week special-2To request FREE information about Everon’s Total Data Protection, or to request a FREE assessment of what TDP would cost for your company, contact us at  info@everonit.com and put “Free TDP Info” in the subject line. Or call us at 888-244-1748.

We’re here for you.

Spotlight on Small Business Week: Start with your Password

Standard

 

To remain secure, start with using password best practices.

  • Length: 8-12 characters at minimum, but 16-18 are even better.
  • lockCombination: Your password should include a mixture of letters (uppercase and lowercase), symbols and numbers.
  • Keep them random: Use a random combination of the above, making sure to stay away from birthdays and family names.
  • Change them regularly:  Change your passwords frequently (at least every 60 days)
  • Log-out: Be sure to log-out of your session once you are complete. Do not leave any room for someone to access your network under your name.

Password Mistakes

  • Do not use your birth, graduation, or anniversary dates for your number combinations.
  • Do not use your children’s’ names, close friends’ and family names, or pet’s name for your letter combination.
  • Do not have any variations of the following passwords as these are the most popular: “password,” “123456,” “12345678,” “abc123,” “qwerty,” “monkey,” “letmein,” “dragon,” and “111111.”
  • Do not have your account automatically logged-in on your phone. Mobile security is key to protecting your passwords.
  • Do not keep your password hints on sticky notes, near your desk or anywhere that can be seen.

small business week specialFor more information on password security, check out this Jan. 2014 article by Wah Lee, Everon’s Principal Project Engineer.

To request a FREE Security Bulletin Update, contact us at  info@everonit.com  and put “Free Security Tips” in the subject line.

 

Passwords and Encryption: How to easily protect your files and folders

Standard

 

In a business environment our data is our lifeline. Whether it is transactions, logs, data collection, or spreadsheets, making sure our information is protected is paramount. Below are a few of my favorite easy and secure ways to keep peace of mind.

Excel/Word/PowerPoint

In the two latest builds of the popular Microsoft Office suite, 2010 and 2013, there is a built-in password protection tool for the three most-used applications: Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. When initially creating the document/spreadsheet select “File” on the top tab and select “Info” on the left-hand sidebar. There will be an option to protect the document (“Protect Workbook”).

BLOG9-1

Then select the option to “Encrypt with Password”

BLOG9-2

Simple as that!

AxCrypt

AxCrypt is a very powerful tool used for encrypting single files. One downside is that the application needs to be installed on the PC receiving the file in order to decrypt it. However, the process is very easy. Once installed, simply right-click on the file you wish to encrypt using AES 128-bit and select AxCrypt > Encrypt.

BLOG9-7

 

 

Type the desired password you wish to use to decrypt the file and press ok. All done!

 

 

 

NOTE: There are NO BACKDOORS into AxCrypt. If you forget your passphrase, your documents are likely to be irretrievably lost. Write it down, or print it, and keep it in a safe place!

7-zip

If you have ever worked with .ZIP files you have most likely used 7-zip at some point. 7-Zip is a cabinet file manager. One unique feature of 7-zip is that has the ability to create a .ZIP file that is also encrypted. The process is very easy: just highlight the files you wish to “Zip up” and right click on one of them. Then select 7-zip > Add to archive.

BLOG9-6

 

 

From here, type the desired password in the Encryption section. It is very important here to select the AES-256 Encryption method. This uses the industry standard encryption protocols rather than the proprietary ZipCrypto method.

 

Data protection is key in this competitive world. Protect your data, protect your future!