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Keep Your Business Secure With Advanced Malware Protection

Monday, October 24, 2016
Does your business struggle to find a solution that can effectively address the full lifecycle of advanced malware? Effective protection needs to combine incident response and remediation against the latest threats without breaking the budget or sacrificing efficiency. Part of the challenge comes from a lack of continuity and intelligence between detection, blocking, response, and remediation.


Often, this lack of intelligence can leave you unaware of the full extent and depth of a security breach or virus outbreak, which means remediation efforts could begin well after the attack. In addition, the root cause could be missed, leading to an endless cycle of reinfection.

As a result, security professionals are often left wondering:
● What was the method and point of entry?
● What systems were affected?
● What did the threat do?
● Can we stop the threat and eliminate the root cause?
● How do we recover from the attack?
● How do we prevent it from happening again?

In an effort to combat today's sophisticated malware, Cisco has designed a system to protect you before, during, and after a security attack or virus threat. Cisco® Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) for Endpoints provides the level of protection you need to stop advanced threats missed by other security layers. This intelligent, enterprise-class advanced malware analysis and protection solution uses big data, continuous analysis, and advanced analytics to detect, track, analyze, control, and block advanced malware outbreaks across all endpoints: Windows PCs, Macs, Linux, mobile devices, virtual systems, in the network, and on email and web security appliances so that you can take control of an attack, before it causes damage.

Features include:
- Enhanced threat defense: protection against millions of malicious files
- Rapid detection: automatic alerts for malware detection
- Ease of Management: enable AMP with 2 clicks
- Visibility: view threat data across multiple sites

If you want to learn more about this robust security and malware protection device, contact us today and we'd be happy to demo the product for you.

Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security :: Empowering Employees + Protecting Data

Thursday, October 06, 2016
What if an employee wants to use a personal device for work, or if a business tries to reduce expenses by having employees use their own devices instead of purchasing devices for them? How do employees keep the personal and professional aspects separate?



Figuring out how your business should approach the bring your own device (BYOD) revolution can be challenging as data is no longer stored on premise and employees are working from anywhere. As businesses are beginning to allow BYOD – it’s important to increase the awareness among employees. But, it’s equally important to make sure your business is fully protected and ready to support mobility.

53% of U.S. companies have no formal BYOD policy for security*. This figure should be shocking considering unsecured company data can cost millions in lost time, research, regulatory fines, or litigation settlements. But, protecting your information shouldn’t make it harder for workers to get their jobs done.

Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) helps reduce security risks and enables workers to be more productive with features like:

Bottom line: EMS keeps employees productive on their favorite apps and devices—and company data protected.

Only Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security provides protection, detection, response across user identity, device, application and file content. No other solution provides this comprehensive range of security. It supports all types of devices (not just those running Microsoft operating systems) and unlike others, this solution works both inside and outside organizational walls, that is, on-premises and in the cloud. Moreover, Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security technologies allow companies to manage applications and devices without having to “lock them down” in a way that frustrates employees.

If you’re interested in learning more about this solution – give us a call at 616.837.6930 or email us

* source: Champions Solutions Group

Andrew Smith :: Director of Technical Services

Thursday, October 06, 2016
People profiles give you a chance to meet our staff - the folks you may deal with on a regular basis here at IT Resource.

Official Title: Director, Technical Services

What information technology certifications do you hold? Most recently I am refreshing my VMware certificates, and have completed PassPortal and Zerto. I am also ITIL certified and hold several older certifications from a variety of different technologies and methodologies.

When did you start working at IT Resource? I began working for IT Resource on November 16, 2015.

Tell us something your colleagues don't know about you. I have a lot of weird hobbies. Until a few years ago I rarely slept more than a few hours a night so I kept myself busy with a whole lotta different stuff.

What's the most interesting job you've ever had that was not IT related? As a side job I was a photographer that created copy for calendars with local businesses in Lexington, KY. It allowed me to meet a variety of people and see things from many different points of view. I still take photos daily and share them online.

What was the last book you read? I read voraciously. The last book I read was “the Ninth Step” by Mark Dawson. I like just about everything and read a lot of Indie authors.

What's one thing you can't live without? Besides food and water, passion. I think every day you should be passionate about what you do and your life, and approach everything from a positive point of view first.

If you could meet one famous person, dead or alive, who would it be? If I could meet one person it would be Bruce Lee. His views on being positive and his book “Striking Thoughts” are truly awe inspiring.

What's your favorite movie of all time? My favorite movie of all time is tough, I would say either “People will Talk” or “Aliens”. (Talk about two sides of a coin)

What's the best place you've ever travelled to? The best place I have travelled to is probably Ireland. If you're ever there try to stay at the Clontarf Castle. The area was amazing in downtown Dublin with lots of things to do. The fun part is some of the food is amazing, including a pastry I had close to the castle that was a solid cookie with cream that melted as you ate it.

What do you consider to be your greatest success or proudest moment in life so far? I have done a lot of things that make me feel proud, from writing to creating but my greatest success will always be my children. I am proud of each and every one for their accomplishments and their lives so far.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received? I've received a lot of good advice. I consider one of the better items given to me was to listen so you can learn something new every day.

When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to work in robotics when I was younger. I'm still fascinated by AI and robotics and play with it from time to time. I still try to get in on new AI all the time.

Increase Network Security For Your Business

Wednesday, October 05, 2016
If your business walls could talk, what type of information would they share? Think about the pertinent records, documents, personal files and access to loads of other information that are stored internally. If everything was compromised, the time and money spent trying to put the pieces back together could be detrimental to your business. October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month so it's a good time freshen up your business security practices and make sure all your valuable information isn't hanging out there waiting for thieves to take it.

Here are five things you can do right now to secure various aspects of your business from mobile devices to your network. 

Erase Old Hard Drives
Before you toss out that old computer or copy machine, it's vital that you erase the hard drive completely (and that doesn't just mean dragging everything to the trash). An old computer or hard drive is a playground for identity and data thieves, leading to a potential security breach. In addition, some copy machines store documents on a hard drive for a period of time so be sure to double check before sending the old machine packing.

Use Secure Passwords
As a business owner you should consider implementing a password policy. While users might find it a hassle, it's far less inconvenient than dealing with a network security or data breach. Simple first steps include resetting all your passwords periodically. The longer you keep the same password, the more time an attacker has to access it. When was the last time you changed your passwords? Learn more about password security here.

Update your servers, software, and workstations
Operating system and software updates come out regularly, and oftentimes new barriers are put in place to help prevent hackers from getting in, making the updates critical. But, how often are you paying attention to these update notices? Whether your servers are running Windows, Linux, Mac, or some other operating system you need to make sure you've got the most recent update to help protect against vulnerabilities. Software and workstations are no exception. If your software is being handled in the cloud, your updates are applied automatically. But local programs and workstations need to have the security patches applied as soon as they are made available, to reduce the chances for security vulnerabilities. Learn about how our Remote Monitoring and Reporting service can apply updates for you so you can effortlessly manage risk.

Utilize a proper email filter
It's easier than ever to check your email anywhere - at your workstation, on your mobile device, or through a public wifi system. If those systems aren't protected you're opening the door to a potential security breach. In an effort to avoid spam, malware, and phishing attempts you must have the proper email security and protection services in place.

Set screensavers and timeouts on workstations
No one wants to believe a security breach took place right inside the building, but disgruntled workers and simple human error can wreak havoc on a business. A logged in but unattended workstation or device can be accessed and browsed for data, or documents can be left open. Consider requiring users to lock their workstations or devices when not in use, and require a password to unlock the system.

Cybersecurity Best Practices Series
Learn more about protecting yourself and your business from cybersecurity threats through diligent practices and continued education at ChoiceOne Bank's three part informational series, presented by IT Resource. We'll show you how to protect your business, employees and identity. To attend any of these events, get details and register here.

Goodbye Microsoft Windows 7 and 8.1

Monday, October 03, 2016
All good things must come to an end, and Windows products are no exception. The End of Sale (EOS) date for Windows 7 and 8.1 is October 31, 2016. This means any new laptops or desktops ordered after this date will be shipped with Windows 10.

Windows 10 is the best combination of the Windows you already know, plus a lot of great improvements you’ll love having. Technologies like InstantGo, which lets you boot up and resume quickly. Everything runs fast and smooth. And Windows 10 devices now have Battery Saver to automatically conserve power—so you can work longer and play harder. For total confidence, Windows 10 helps you stay up to date on the latest and greatest features and has more built-in security protections than ever to help keep your system safe.

Some of the best features of Microsoft Windows 10 include:
Use your laptop like a tablet - Tablet Mode delivers a smooth, touch-first experience on your tablet, 2-in-1 or touchscreen laptop. Apps scale smoothly and onscreen features adapt for easy navigation.

New emoji keyboard - 
The new emoji keyboard features a new font and categories of expressive and playful emoji, with more fidelity and skin tone options; available for 25 languages.

Dark mode themed apps - Instantly change your apps from light to dark mode – great for low-light conditions like working at night or on a plane.

Music controls in lock screen - If you have music playing when you lock your device, you can now control playback right from your lock screen to keep listening without missing a beat.

Safer and more secure - Windows 10 delivers more built-in security features and safer authentication. Always-enabled updates help keep your security current for the supported lifetime of your device.

Windows Hello - The password-free sign-in gives you the fastest way to unlock your Windows devices by using your face, fingerprint or companion device, it recognizes you – apart from anyone else. It’ll wave you in with a friendly hello, and even works on apps and Microsoft Edge websites.


Go beyond browsing - Microsoft Edge is the modern browser built for Windows 10. It’s more personal, responsive and all about getting things done online. Write directly on webpages, share your mark-ups with others, use extensions, and much more.

The best Windows ever for gaming - Play great new Xbox games on Windows 10 with the stunning performance of DirectX 12. Stay connected to your gaming community with the Xbox app, and play wherever you want with in-home streaming.
If you have any questions on Microsoft Windows 10, or the EOS of Windows 7.1 and 8, feel free to reach us at 616.837.6930 or via e-mail.

Cybersecurity Best Practices Business Series

Thursday, September 29, 2016
Protect yourself and your business through diligent practices and continued education. ChoiceOne Bank is hosting a three part informational series, presented by IT Resource, to help you learn to protect your business, employees and identity through cybersecurity best practices. Whether you and your employees participate in one class or all three topics, our goal is help you feel to prepared, protected and proactive.


SHIELDING YOUR NETWORK AND YOUR DATA
Wednesday, October 5, 5-6pm OR Thursday, October 6, 7:30-8:30am, RSVP below
In today's connected society, access to your information from anywhere at any time has become a necessity - whether from inside your office, remotely while out of the office or from a mobile device. The necessity of having your data available from anywhere increases the risks to your data geometrically and being proactive in protecting it has become more important than ever. In this 45-minute presentation we will cover how to ensure your entire network is properly shielded from threats both inside and outside.
We will cover:
  · How layering your security provides maximum protection
  · What the latest firewalls provide and how they can protect you
  · How Active Monitoring can prevent and detect intrusions and threats as they occur
  · How to easily protect yourself and devices whether inside or outside the office
  · Why Virtual Private Network (VPN) strategies are still important
  · Wireless strategies that secure and protect your information
Presented in common terms, we will help you understand the security threats that we all face and several high-level strategies to combat them in an ever changing, fully "networked" world.


SAFEGUARDING YOUR WORKPLACE
Thursday, November 3, 7:30-8:30am, RSVP below
Everyone seems to focus on technology to solve security risks, but how do you protect that technology from both inside and outside threats? How do you protect your desktop or notebook? Your email? Your business or personal data? In this 30-minute presentation we will focus on the common sense processes to safeguard your workplace from intrusion, loss, and other problems that will keep you from working in an efficient manner. Topics to be covered include:
  · Passwords
  · Email security
  · Mobile security
  · Social engineering
  · General physical security
Presented in common terms, we will help you understand the risks and provide a high-level guide to preparing your workspace to be safe, secure, and protected at all times.


RECOVERING FROM A SECURITY EVENT
Wednesday, December 7, 5-6pm OR Thursday, December 8, 7:30-8:30am, RSVP below
No one ever wants to be involved in a security event or have their data compromised, lost or destroyed. These events are disruptive to your business, can harm your company reputation and could have devastating financial costs. As much as we invest in the strategies of protecting and securing our information, we must also plan and be prepared for what to do if a security event occurs.
In this 45-minute presentation we will show how to prepare for the unpredictable, and with some simple tools, how to maintain your business functions and recover as quickly as possible. Topics to be covered include:
  · Strategies for business continuity planning
  · Strategies for backup and recovery
  · Ensuring your data is in a safe place
  · Dynamics of cloud computing
  · Communication do's and don'ts in the event of a breach or data compromise
Presented in common terms, our objective will be to ensure you understand that security events are a reality and you should be prepared to address common items quickly if such an event happens.

RSVP & DETAILS
Each of these series takes place at ChoiceOne Bank, 450 W. Muskegon, Kent City. To register for any of these events, click here and indicate which date you will be attending.

Lindsay Piotrowski is Helping IT Customers

Monday, August 29, 2016
Official Title: Customer Service Representative

What certifications do you hold? CW Dispatcher Degree through ConnectWise University

When did you start working at ITR? April 4th, 2016

Tell us something your colleagues don't know about you: I've been to every state in the US except for Hawaii and Alaska. I've also been to Mexico and Canada.

What's the most interesting job you've ever had that was not IT related? Barista at a coffee shop

What was the last book you read? Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

What's one thing you can't live without? Hugs. If I don’t have at least one good hug a day I get extremely sad.

If you could meet one famous person, dead or alive, who would it be? Abe Lincoln, just to see what he thought of society today.

What's your favorite movie of all time? Too many to choose from! I really liked Avatar and that seems to be the only one sticking right now.

What's the best place you've ever travelled to? This one is really tough to choose! I went to Mexico to see the ancient pyramids, Wyoming to see Devil’s Tower, and South Dakota to see Mt. Rushmore. The Mall of America in Minnesota was pretty awesome too!

What do you consider to be your proudest moment in life so far? Graduating number one in my class and receiving the principals award.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received? If you have time to lean you have time to clean. (If you have the leisure to think about it, you have the time to do it). Get everything you want done today because you don’t know if there will be a tomorrow.

When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up? A veterinarian

What's Your Password?

Thursday, August 18, 2016
What do the terms "password" and "123456" have in common? Year after year they're the two most common passwords used in the US. Football, baseball, and qwerty all make the top 10 list as well. Are you guilty of using any of these terms to secure your most important documents?

You may already be taking network security seriously (at at least think you are), but maybe it's time to take things to the next level with strong, easy-to-manage passwords.

Your business has always taken security seriously and been mindful of protecting your data. You’ve invested in firewalls, anti-virus programs, spam filtering, and backup/disaster recovery tools. But when is the last time you considered the first line of defense beyond all these security measures? Passwords are used to protect your systems, data, and online accounts; however, the difficulty of remembering strong passwords often puts people off when creating them. Instead many of us are guilty of using the same password for all of our accounts, which isn't a wise decision.

Why is password management important?
In a world where password hacking software can test up to 10 billion password combinations in seconds, entire businesses rely on the memory of different team members for critical account passwords, and anyone can learn how to crack a password through a simple YouTube video. Our password management service, PassPortal, makes it simple for you to use strong passwords while delivering the following benefits:
  • Ease of use: Staff members can easily reset their own Windows login passwords without needing to call the help-desk and wait for a response.
  • Enhanced productivity: Staff members will no longer waste time hunting for or trying to remember passwords.
  • Improved operational efficiency: Staff members will be able to consolidate website favorites/bookmarks across all computers using one click login tools.
  • Unsurpassed security: Staff members will use more complex passwords as opposed to easily remembered passwords – and each password will be unique, reducing the risk of a data breach.


To further enhance security and verify the identities of those accessing your passwords, our service also offers multi-factor authentication. This allows you to log on using an expiring one-time passcode that's sent via SMS, email or phone call to protect you from key loggers, over-the-shoulder peeking, and sticky notes.

Let our password management solution improve your organization's productivity and increase your security and operational efficiency. Give us a call today at 616.837.6930 or email us for more information.

Cars, Rock & Roll, and a Little Technology

Tuesday, August 16, 2016
This month marked the 26th annual Del Shannon Car show. Held in Coopersville, MI, Del Shannon's hometown, the show is a highlight of summer for many car enthusiasts. IT Resource was proud not only to be a sponsor but to once again provide volunteer services to ensure the show went smoothly. We assisted in the setup of a small wireless network and provided internet and database access to a series of iPads being used to register the cars in the show. This allowed for successful tracking and accounting, which is crucial, given there are upwards of 600 cars in the show each year.

Our team members, including IT specialists Greg Lundeberg and Leo Reap, deployed, set up, and configured a Meraki wireless solution for the show. Their services went above and beyond, including Greg being at the show at 4:00 am when the first cars started rolling in. Any time we can use our expertise and experience to help benefit our local community is time well spent.

The winner of the IT Resource trophy at last year's event

In spite of the morning's poor weather the group of volunteers did a great job moving cars through and getting them placed for judging in a timely manner. This is thanks in part to the technology measures that were put in place and to the car show’s effective planning. Hats off to everyone involved, including Greg. You all did a great job pulling everything together and the show was a huge success!

Benefits of SIP Trunking

Monday, August 08, 2016
When it comes to technology, you want to know the bottom line: How does this help my business and when will I see a return on my investment? Businesses today require more than simple independent phone and data lines to work efficiently and stay connected to your ever-growing mobile workforces. This is where SIP Trunking comes in. 

SIP Trunking is a scalable and flexible solution that allows you to streamline your communication costs and resources. SIP Trunking can be thought of as the virtual equivalent to T1 lines coming in from the phone company. Instead of calls coming through on a standard phone line connected by jacks and cables at your desk, they come through on your computer or mobile device.

Benefits of SIP Trunking
- No overlapping networks, reducing costs: You no longer need both a data and telephone voice network. With SIP trunking, one IP-based network provides multiple streaming capabilities.
- All calls are local: Reduce long distance (and some international) costs because calls are local with SIP trunking.
- Reduced telephony and upgrade costs: You don't need to purchase hardware or upgrade your service when you move from one E1/T1 to two. Instead, you simply increase your Internet bandwidth. No more hardware purchases, installation and maintenance costs.
- Eliminate 800 numbers: Local numbers can now be provided, no matter where your business is located.
- E911 Support for remote phones: Extend your savings across your entire enterprise with local E911 and local number portability.



We've teamed up with nexVortex, whose offices are located throughout the US (including one right in Grand Rapids), to provide the best solutions for your voice services. SIP Trunking offers the added functionality to make calls anywhere in the world, including toll free numbers, 911/E911 calls, and its portability makes it an ideal solution for all of your voice, data, and IP needs. If you have any questions on how you can begin saving valuable business resources with SIP Trunking, contact us today.