Join Us! For our bimonthly Educational Series Workshop-Cybersecurity

Each online 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!

 

Cyber Security

ARE YOU SECURE?

Are Your Employees Secure?

Are Your Customers Secure?

Is your Data Secure?

HOW SECURE IS YOUR IT PROVIDER?

Having answers to these questions is imperative for today’s business owners and professionals.

Join us for answers

Thursday May 27th

12:30 – 1:30 Mountain Time

Register HERE:

Workshop Registration

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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

Optimum Networking is Smiling Back at YOU!

Technical support is at the core of what we do at Optimum Networking.  We utilize the latest technologies, the best tools and best of breed hardware and hosted platforms.

When it comes right down to it, technical support is not only about technology.  It is about people supporting people. As a business owner, you want to be assured that in your company’s darkest IT hour, your IT support team will not only be competent and efficient, but they will also genuinely care about resolving your problem.

 

Optimum Networking is built around our Support Desk. The talented engineers on this team are broken into pods, each of which support a dedicated client list.  Engineers are trained to raise their hands if they are not able to resolve an issue quickly and ask their team members for support.  Our Support Desk hours are Monday-Friday 6AM-6PM with the on-call engineers filling in evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Our Support Desk engineers are handpicked for both their technical and people skills, and we implement ongoing training in both areas. They are also full-time employees.  We do not outsource our Support Desk offshore or to a generic call center. Because we do not outsource, we maintain the highest level of quality and the fastest communication to resolve some of the trickiest technical calls. Quality local support for our valued clients is our top priority when it comes to Support Desk services.

 

To ensure that our team is meeting and exceeding our goal of service excellence, we listen to our clients through the Smile Back Program.  Smile back is a tool we implemented in March of 2016.  Since then, we have been encouraging our clients to give us feedback on each service ticket we work on with them.  The results have demonstrated our commitment to excellence.

A recent report showed that our response rate for this program is at 65.5%.  That number is remarkable, if you consider how busy our clients are on a day-to-day basis. Despite this, they take the time to give our team the feedback it needs to continually improve.

 

And how did our team do?  The same report revealed that our positive responses are at 97.7 percent, 2.7 percent above the industry benchmark.  We also revived many positive comments like:

“Jim was so, so professional, smart pleasant and problem solved our long-winded problem until it was completed. The next day Ryan followed up to make sure we were happy”

“Miriam had an idea of what the problem was and quickly resolved the issue!  Thank you!!

“Nate was very helpful in resolving my issue and explaining why it happened and what to do if I experience it again. He was kind and courteous!”

And these are just a few of many.

 

The men and women on the Support Desk work hard to resolve our clients’ issues, so this type of feedback really makes their day.

Of course, nobody is perfect. We need to hear from our clients even when things are not going well.  In these cases, we have our Support Desk Manger and Account Managers who quickly follow-up to resolve any outstanding issues.

With our dedicated team, best of breed technologies, Smile Back program and dedicated Account Managers, Optimum Networking stays focused on what is most important—People supporting People.