Join Us! For our bimonthly Educational Series Workshop- Business Productivity

Each workshop focuses on technology that impacts your business the most.  Through this online workshop, you will get a chance to interact with other business owners and executives, and have direct access to our top engineers.  AND we will buy a “virtual” lunch through GRUB HUB!

 

Business Productivity

Welcome to 2021 and the “New Normal”

2020 taught us many things, including the need to connect to our coworkers, clients and teams in disperse environments.

This interactive demo of the Microsoft 365 environment will:

          • Increasing productivity for you employees both in the office and WFH (Work from Home)
          • Helping teams communicate and collaborate better
          • Consolidating all your data and communications onto a single, integrated platform

Thursday August 12th

12:30–1:30 MT

Register HERE:

Workshop Registration

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Q&A with Tracy Huntzinger

Q: What helped you decide to found/become an owner of Optimum Networking?

A: When I was working for a former employer (CH2MHill), I was in a meeting with all the regional coordinators from across the country. Every office had someone who took care of servers and systems. A company came into the meeting and said: “Hey, we can outsource that for you. We can do all of the same things your internal people are doing, and you don’t need the staff.” I thought “That can’t be very beneficial financially, because that company needs to make a profit.” Basically, they are just going to hire our people and mark up the price, so what is the real benefit there? I could not even believe they were having the conversation with them. Then the outsource engineer said to our CIO “we can outsource all your networking too”. I was the Network Manager. I looked over at our CIO at that point, and he quickly said, “no, no, no….” It was at that point I decided that when it came down to it, I wanted to be the outsourcer, not the outsourced.

That is what got me moving. I always wanted to run a business and I thought: “this is my chance”.

 

Q: What role did meeting Joe Turnbough play?

A: It was very important. Meeting Joe was a very interesting story. The management asked me if I wanted to interview Joe to be my assistant, and I said “no”. I was in on a previous interview, and they did not listen to my feedback. I told them that the person was not truthful with their resume. It turned out, that person did not work out. So, with Joe’s interview, I told them to go ahead and hire him and I would do my best to work through it. They hired Joe, and I don’t know what they told him about me, but he thought I would be very hard to work with. When he started, I introduced myself and shook his hand. He was surprised because he had already painted a picture in his mind of the type of person I was going to be. We started talking about hobbies, common interests and that we both wanted to start a business. We became friends within the first five minutes, and I could tell right away that this was someone I could go into business with. I could tell he was serious. It wasn’t a month or two later when I finally said, “let’s do it”, and he said “OK”. We went to dinner that night and we talked about how we would pull it off. We shook hands and that was it. We didn’t have a legal agreement drawn up between us for the first 15 years of building the business.

 

Q: As an owner of Optimum, what are you most proud of? 

A: I’m most proud of the tenacity and perseverance we have to keep going. For a lot of people, when things get rough, they want to walk away. There were a lot of stressful times, but Joe and I both dug deep and said, “we can’t do that”. When we started, I was married, and we did not have a family. Now, 26 years later, I’ve raised 22-, 20- and 17-year-old children, and they get to see that I stuck with something in hard times and good times. Hopefully, that is a lesson for them. I’m proud that I’ve created a legacy of sticking it out.

 

Q: What are some of your favorite memories over the years?

A: Joe and I are friends, so we’ve done things personally as well. One time Joe and I took our wives on a “mystery trip” through American Airlines. You just show up and you don’t know where you are going. There were many possible destinations: LA, Vegas, Orlando, but the one place we hoped it would not be was…Tulsa, Oklahoma. Of course, we ended up going to Tulsa, Oklahoma. We made the best of it and still had a lot of fun. We’ve taken many motorcycle rides and airplane trips through the years. We have shared business success when you win a big client or land a big project. There are a lot of great memories, and sometimes Joe and will sit and laugh with each other. It is a good thing we can laugh because sometimes things are funny now but, at the time, they were not so funny. It is powerful to be able to look back at some of the more challenging times and know that we have learned from them.

 

Q: You’ve been doing this a long time. What keeps you fresh and “in the game”:

A: Our perseverance and tenacity to succeed over 26 years creates energy and momentum towards the future. For many years, I’m the last one out before the Christmas Holiday. As I’m shutting things down, I look around and it surprises me every time what we have built here. I’m thrilled to look at this, and then I think “it could be so much better”. That’s what makes me want to keep going. When you start building a house, you don’t stop before the roof is on. Once the roof is on, you don’t stop there either. You are always building and improving. There is no end to where we can go with this company. The sky is the limit!  

  

Q: At company meetings, you often say “This is the best team we ever had” and you always mean it sincerely. Does this mindset help keep you fresh?

A: Yes, because we are always reinventing ourselves. We are getting better. The company is getting better. The team is getting better. The clients are getting better. Technology is getting better. Twenty-six years ago, there was no such thing as a Managed Service Provider (MSP). It was much harder to manage workstations and servers remotely like we do today. So, every year the technology allows us to improve. Back then, there were not many people in IT. Now there are many people, and it is much more competitive. When you look at some of the people we hire, you say “wow, you can do that?”. Looking at what we have done here at Optimum is phenomenal. That is why we are always getting better. We are more diverse and more skilled and more educated than ever before. We just keep getting better.

  

Q: What is one thing that clients need to know about Optimum Networking:

A: Perseverance! We don’t give up. That can be translated in a lot of ways. We don’t give up in business, and when a client has a problem, we keep going until we find a solution for them. We always say in meetings that we care, and we care so much that we never give up. You can care all you want, but that does not always mean that you never give up. There is something in my DNA, and Brett and Joe’s DNA that does not quit. We don’t know how to quit. One of the worst things for me is when I feel like we are at the end of the road, and I don’t know how we are going to get through this. At these times we all get creative and always find a way to get through. That keeps us going and keeps us fresh, knowing there is always a solution within our team. We just never give up!

Cyber Security Data Protection Business Technology Privacy concept

Cyber Security

Optimum Networking Cybersecurity Blog 2021

Much has been communicated about cybersecurity over the past several years.  Blogs, whitepapers, workshops, and entire conferences have been dedicated to this subject. The information ranges from highly technical to alarmist “scare tactics”.  This blog will strive to deliver the information in layman terms and realistic threat parameters. The question remains for the small to mid-sized business owner: “what reasonable steps do I need to take to protect my employees and clients?”

The answer to this question varies greatly, depending on your industry, regulatory requirements, how much personal information (PI) you handle.  The proprietary nature of your business is also a factor.

ALL businesses, including yours, must address these key areas:

  • Awareness
  • Layered Security
  • Backups
  • Cyber Liability coverage

Awareness:

Cyber threat awareness is the most basic element, and it can be the most overlooked.  You as a business owner may be very conscious of the threats out there, but what about you employees? Your vendors? Even your clients?  We know that human error is the #1 cause of all security breaches.  Think of it this way: you could spend thousands of dollars on the most secure vault in the world, and it will not do any good if someone leaves it open or puts the combination on a sticky note next to it.  You educate your employees about many things from customer service to company policies. Cybersecurity awareness training may be the most critical point you address today.

It is also incumbent on you as a business owner to understand the regulatory requirements of your industry.  Whether it be HIPAA for health care companies or CMMC for DoD related industries, you and your security provider must be to be up to date on the ever-shifting rules and regulations and be prepared for reviews and security related audits.

Layered Security:

You, as a business owner, might be looking for the “magic bullet” to address all their cybersecurity needs.  You may say “I have a firewall”, or “we have installed antivirus”. “Isn’t that enough?”  The truth is that unless you have a multi-tiered approach that fits your business and how it operates, you probably need to do more.  Here are some points important to consider:

Is your firewall considered “next-gen”? Is it up to date on current threats, policies and patches?  If it is five or more years old, chances are it is not. Firewalls require constant policy updates and patches to remain secure. Monitoring the firewall on an ongoing basis is also critical. Despite this, a firewall is helpless to protect employees working from home or remote locations. If these employees are breached, the bad guys can use them to bypass your firewall and violate your most valuable digital assets.

Antivirus is also a necessary layer of protection; however, unless it is updated and monitored on an ongoing basis, it will not stop an attack. Additional layers of desktop protection are available including DNS protection, malware scanning and detection, internal monitoring, and most important Multifactor Authentication (MFA). We’ve all experienced MFA when we log into a secure site online and the system sends a code to our mobile device.  Some consider this an inconvenience while others see this as important protection from a cyber-breach. MFA tools are available for all business and are an essential layer to your cybersecurity platform.

Backups:

The need for secured, monitored, offsite backups has always been a reality. Hardware has a risk of failing.  Systems age and can experience failure. Environmental hazards come into play. Human error occurs with alarming regularity.

Now, with additional cyber threats, backups have become even more critical. A ransomware attack—a hacker’s tactic of locking down systems and demanding payment–can be thwarted with a proper backup strategy. At minimum, a local backup is needed. This backup needs to be replicated offsite and the process needs to be monitored and tested on a regular basis.  For more information about backups and data recovery options, click HERE for a previous Optimum Networking Blog Entry.

Cyber Liability Coverage:

Cyber liability coverage is another basic requirement.  If you are in business, your facility, your equipment and even your key employees should be insured against a natural disaster.  Why? Because if you lost any of these things, or any of them were damaged for a considerable amount of time, you could lose your business.

The same is true, and even more critical for your information systems.  Your business relies on them, and they are not only under the same threat of natural disaster, but they are also under relentless attack (see the cyber threat awareness section).  Please contact your business insurance provider to make sure you are covered, and if you still have questions, we can put you in touch with experts who can help.

Awareness, layered security, backups, and cyber liability. This may seem overwhelming, but rest assured, we’ve got you covered.  The cybersecurity plan offered by Optimum Networking covers cybersecurity awareness training and layered security. It also includes secured, monitored backups.  You will find that this protection will help reduce the cost of cyber liability insurance.  Someday soon, services like this may be required for all business to qualify cyber liability insurance.

Please remember that you are not in this alone.  Click HERE (Please provide link to Free Network Assessment Form) for a free network assessment or call/email us at sales@optimumnetworking.com 720-248-3580 x2.

Thank you.

Get your History

Ever forget what you used your cut (Ctr. V) copy (Ctr. C) for? Now you can get a history.

Press Windows Key and “V” simultaneously. This will give you a history of your clipboard, and show you everything you’ve recently placed on your clipboard.

Check it out!

Expand Your Desktop

Windows 10 allows users to expand their desktop by using additional desktops.

expand-desktop

Click on the icon to the right of the search bar, what looks like stacked boxes. This is the Task View.

At the top of the Task View screen, select New Desktop.

Once there are multiple desktops, they can be cycled through by holding the Ctrl+Win Key and pressing the Right or Left arrow keys.

Owner Interview

Joe Turnbough:

  1. What helped you decide to found/become an owner of Optimum Networking?

I decided to found Optimum Networking because I always wanted to become an entrepreneur. When I was a Marine, I used to build PCs and sell them on base to various other Marines. I really enjoyed doing this and I kind of had a bug for it. I realized when I got out of the Marines that bug never left me. I started working in computer engineering at CH2MHill as my first civilian job.  Shortly after this, I met Tracy Huntzinger who also had the entrepreneurial bug. He and I decided to start Optimum Networking and get into the IT business. Information Technology and business have always been a passion of mine. Coupling those things together seemed like the right thing to do.

  1. As an owner of Optimum, what are you most proud of?

I am most proud of the company we have built over the past 26 years. We started with hardly any capital, and we’ve been able to build up a great team of professionals. We have a great culture here; it is like a family where each of us cares about everyone else.  We get along very well, and work hard to provide tons of value for our clients. That’s what I’m most proud of.

  1. What are some of your favorite memories over the years?

My favorite memories center around the toughest challenges we’ve taken on. We have managed several mergers and acquisitions (for our clients). We recently had a client who purchased assets from another company. We had to untangle all of those assets and develop a solid design.  This design introduced new pieces, integrated old pieces, migrated all the data and got them up and running in their new environment.  There was a contract and budget we needed to work with called a Transition Service Agreement (TSA).  This required us to get the systems up and running within 90-120 days. We were up to this challenge and completed the work within that time frame.  We were nimble enough to work through this challenge and we had enough knowledge and experience to pull it off without a hitch. This is one of the things I’m most proud of.

  1. You’ve been doing this a long time. What keeps you fresh and “in the game?”

One of the things that keeps me fresh is looking at all the new technologies and tools out there.  Staying up to date with technology will always keep us sharp. To accomplish this, I joined a peer advisory group a couple of years ago. This allows me to sit down with other professionals across the United States that are also in the MSP (Managed Service Provider) space.  We openly talk about technology that work well and technology that do not work well.  We discuss different tools we’ve tried that are beneficial or not so beneficial. This helps us  focus on what it is most important, and validates what we are doing well or not so well. Also, it helps identify where we should be in the long term. It makes us work on the business instead of in the business.  If I wasn’t in a peer advisory group, I would be limited to working tactically inside the business. This forces me to step away and gives me a 30,000-foot view. This provides a better angle to work “on” instead “in” the business.

  1. If current or future clients need to know one thing about Optimum, what would it be?

I would say it is the “care factor”. We absolutely care about our clients and we really want to partner with them. We want our clients to know that Optimum is not just another vender. We are part of their IT team and we bring a lot of value and experience to the table. We have invested a lot of time and resources into our tools and the processes we deploy. I would like our clients to know that we are a partner with them, and we care about their technology strategy, data, information and business as much as they do.

Service Tag

If a user needs the service tag (serial number) of a device, yes they can flip over the device and read the sticker. But what if the sticker is faded or missing? Or what if the device is buried on a desk? Or what if the technician is just not crazy about flipping over a chassis to read tiny characters?

  • Open a PowerShell window (does not need to be admin)
    serial number
hostname

Hostname Directory

Often when working with users, the need may arise to have the name of the computer (hostname). Users may not know where to find the name of the computer easily. This is a simple function to paste the hostname on the taskbar, which can also be used as a directory to store commonly used files or tools.

  1. Open a PowerShell window (does not need to be admin)
  2. Enter the following commands:

    • This sets the variable “dirName” with the path to the folder to create. The Env:ComputerName is an environmental variable which pulls the NetBIOS name.
    • The second command is a conditional statement that checks the filepath for a directory with a name that matches with the name set in the previous command. If there is no directory found, one is created.
  3. To paste it to the taskbar, right click on the taskbar >> select Toolbars (at the top) >> New Toolbar >> navigate to the directory just created, select it, and click Select Folder.
  4. The directory will be saved as a supplementary toolbar on the taskbar.
  5. To access the directory and save files there, right-click on the name (ON-ROC-LT30) and select Open Folder. That will open a File Explorer instance and allow the user to save files there.
  6. The name of the directory will not be automatically updated if the name of the computer is changed, the whole process would need to be run again.
Battery Report

Battery Report

When troubleshooting a battery or charging issue on a laptop, it can be helpful to have a report on the health of the battery itself. This can help determine if the failing component is the battery or the power brick.

  1. Open Command Prompt (does not need to be admin)
    • WinKey + R >> type “cmd”
  2. Enter command

  1. The command will create a Battery Life Report and save it to C:\Users\<username>\battery-report.html.
  2. If the battery is fully discharged and cannot hold a charge any longer, the report will indicate that.

Tech Tip – Use Taskbar Settings to Configure the Taskbar to Show all Icons in the Notification Area

Here’s a good tip for the savvy computer user.  Use Taskbar Settings to configure the Taskbar to Show all Icons in the Notification Area.

The Icons displayed on the Taskbar are not static, they change over time to reflect the current status of the associated applications.  So if you let Windows Hide some of these Icons, which is the default setting, then you will potentially miss when an application tries to alert you to an issue via the taskbar icon.

Here’s how my taskbar looks with the default settings…

If I click on the ^(caret symbol) above I will see that Windows has hidden a lot of information from me.

All of those icons are associated with programs currently running on my computer, and do you see how some have green dots by them?  Well those green dots can become red dots, indicating there is a problem, or some other status.  If the icons are hidden, we will completely miss that there is an issue that should likely be addressed.

So I think it is important to have full visibility into these icons.  To do this, right click on the taskbar and go to Taskbar Settings.

Scroll down to the Notification area, and click on “Select which icons appear on the taskbar.”

Turn on “Always show all icons in the notification area”

Voila!  Now all of the notification icons will be at a glance away in your taskbar and you will be the better informed computer user that has taken proactive steps to improving their computing experience!

Congratulations!

-John