Tech App:  GroupMe!

One of the predicted popular apps for 2018 is GroupMe!  If you ever get tired of scrolling down your text messaging history to find that group message thread that you know you had….then maybe you want to try GroupMe! GroupMe is a mobile group messaging app owned by Microsoft.  It allows easy group communication.  Think of all the groups you are involved in…your family group, friend groups, work teams, project teams, school groups, civic groups…the list goes on.   It’s like a chat room for your small group.   GroupMe allows instant communication to that important group at your fingertips and the best part about GroupMe…it’s a free app! GroupMe has been around for some time now but it has recently been gaining popularity since it’s redesign of the application.  Fun features that GroupMe has in addition to chat is the ability to share pictures, videos, locations, events and emojis.  GroupMe also has like functionality built in so you can like messages, pictures, videos, etc. I recently found GroupMe to be beneficial when communicating amongst my work team of nine individuals that are located in several locations.  It allows ease of communication between our work group. Plus our group chat thread is readily available at a glance.  For personal use, I have found GroupMe to be beneficial when planning our summer vacation with a group of family members.  Family members have been able to share pictures, links and ideas with the group easily. One feature that I wish GroupMe had was group video chat.  How fun would that be? You can find GroupMe on all mobile platforms; Apple, Android and Windows. ...

What can ReadiTech do for you?

Today’s technology is ever-changing and keeping up with what’s new, how it can help or where it can it take your business may seem overwhelming.  Why not concentrate on what you love the most and let DRN’s ReadiTech team provide the benefit of experience and leadership to prepare your business for the future. Hi, this is Mary Lou Sundby, Business Account Representative for DRN and DRN ReadiTech. As a member of our sales team, we are committed to getting to know your business and creating tailored solutions, not just offering a “one-size-fits-all” package.  Our certified employees are well versed in the latest communications technology and are here to help or answer any questions you may have. Working with my customers and sharing products that can truly make a difference in the efficiency of their business or just allow them more time to concentrate on what they do best, is one of the most rewarding aspects of what I do.  Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life”.  What’s not to love about seeing someone smile! If you feel overwhelmed with the technology in your business, let’s make an appointment to review what the ReadiTech team can do for you.  Here’s just a quick overview of some of the services we offer businesses: Managed Services – Our robust remote monitoring and management platform supports early detection and remediation of issues before they cause downtime or date loss. ReadiHealth – provides a security analysis of your network ReadiRemote – remote monitoring and management for your business ReadiProtect – provides web guardian, online...

Protecting Yourself from Scams

It’s well-known now that there are many types of scams going around, from unsolicited phone calls to computer pop-ups. However, I recently ran into one that I hadn’t heard of yet… ReadiTech offers an antivirus package of Web Guardian, a product of Webroot. One of our customers received a call from someone claiming to be with Webroot. They told her that her computer was infected and had IP affiliations from other countries. The “Webroot” caller offered to clean up the computer and remove the unnecessary IP addresses. The customer agreed and let “Webroot” on her computer. She felt it wasn’t right but since they said they were with Webroot – her antivirus product, she reluctantly let them onto her computer. She felt it was OK as she was watching them the whole time and to her knowledge, they didn’t access her files. If someone calls and claims they are with your antivirus company, it should be OK to allow them full access, right? No. The scammer has ways to extract files without you even seeing it done. You never really know what information you let them acquire by allowing them access your device. Scary, right? Absolutely. Be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls, emails, and visits. It’s pertinent that you take the time to verify that the person that has contacted you is with the organization that they identify themselves with. If you have Web Guardian with ReadiTech, we are the only one who will be in contact with you if your computer has been infected. And even then, it’s OK to verify us!  Let us know that you’d like to...

Cyber Security: What is it and how can I protect myself

Hello, My name is David Malsam and I am the Senior Sales Account Executive/IT Analyst for our Aberdeen location. Cyber Security is defined as techniques, processes, and practices designed to protect networks, computers, programs and data from attack, damage, or unauthorized access. We have heard of data breaches from companies like Target, Equifax and Ebay. The thing to remember is that the bad guys don’t just target the big companies, smaller companies and many homes are just as susceptible to this threat. I have had the Cyber Security conversation with many people over the years, and whenever the topic comes up I can see dollar signs in the customer’s eyes. People are relieved to find out that they can protect themselves from the bulk of these attacks without it costing a penny, we just need to use a few simple techniques. Social Engineering is the most common type of Cyber Security attack, and it is also the easiest to prevent. Social Engineering is the act of trying to deceive or manipulate an individual into divulging information for fraudulent purposes. This attack can take many shapes. It can appear to be an email from FedEx with tracking information for a package that you didn’t order, or it can be an email with from a travel agency with an itinerary for an extravagant trip that you didn’t plan. Recently I have heard of many people getting a call from an agent that claims to be from Microsoft and they tell the user that their computer is infected and if the user would share their credit card number the agent will help...

Procrastination

Good morning from a frigid North Dakota.  Hoping you all had a very wonderful and safe Christmas and New Year’s.  Today I’m going to talk about procrastination and how it’s not always a very good decision. I’ve been selling Security, Surveillance, and Home Automation systems for almost 8 years now.  I’ve seen all the positive results that come from letting technology help us in our everyday lives.  Anywhere from helping the rancher avoid losing new born calves to keeping potential burglars from breaking into some of our finest eating and drinking establishments. I have installed cameras in my barn and around my yard and many times have reaped the benefits from having an extra set of eyes when I couldn’t be around.  I’ve used them during lambing, calving, and for seeing what exactly happened to the package that FedEx said they delivered to my house. Here’s where the problem comes in.  For years now I’ve pushed off installing the home security system in my house.  I’ve been as far as having the order in the system and ready to go, just to decide that I really didn’t need it quite yet.  After all, for years we didn’t even know where our house keys were lol.  Well, it finally caught up to me last week.  I came home from work and could swear that I heard water dripping from somewhere.  After opening the door to our basement, I found where the “dripping” sound was coming from.  Much to my dismay I was staring at 10” of water in my basement.  I’m sure you can all imagine how much fun it...

DRN University

Have you ever wondered how DRN employees gain the knowledge necessary to perform the work they do each day to better serve you, our valuable customers?  At DRN, we are proud to promote a learning environment.  Our Board of Directors understands the importance of training and invests in the education of DRN’s workforce. In cooperation with the Board, DRN’s Leadership Team is committed to employee development.  Various training opportunities and avenues are available.  Just as important, is commitment from employees to embrace the learning environment, take initiative, and transfer knowledge gained to their work.  Currently at DRN, six employees are enrolled in accredited colleges and/or universities working toward advanced degrees.  In the past month alone, several employees have obtained certifications specific to their roles including a Telecom Sales Certification, Microsoft Certification, Microsoft MCSA Server Certification, and a Certified Associate in Project Management Certification.  Close to 40% of DRN’s workforce holds certifications specific to their roles with others studying to pass exams in the short term.  Still, others attend workshops and conferences to stay up to date with the latest trends in technology and the industry. Internally, in addition to regular safety training, we offer training on our specific products and services utilizing vendors, consultants, or DRN subject matter experts.  Our Multi-Media Specialist, Pamela Henningsen, uses technology to conduct training for employees at headquarters and remote offices through online training sessions and tutorials saving travel time and increasing productivity. You might say we have our own DRN University.  The commitment from DRN’s Board, leadership team and employees to invest in training to better serve you is something we take seriously....

Calix 844E Wi-Fi Router

An average of seven active Wi-Fi connected devices per household is the reason there is a need to offer a Wi-Fi router that meets current Wi-Fi standards. Hardwired devices such as PC’S and desktop computers make up less than twenty five percent of total network traffic. While the internet speeds DRN offers are “Up To” those connections are generally consistent to the network interface device (NID) at the sides of homes. Some key factors that play a role in slowed internet speeds are the cable from the NID to the router. Even if the cable appears to look in good repair there can be anomalies that can and will produce problems relative to speed and performance on home networks. Cables should be tested and repaired or replaced even if there is the slightest of anomaly. Another factor and probably the most important is the type of router and its placement in the home. For optimal Wi-Fi performance and experience routers should be installed in areas where there is the least potential for signal interference. The Calix 844E Wi-Fi router is Gigabit service capable hardwired, it is 2.4 GHZ 802.11n and 5GHz 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The Calix 844E Wi-Fi router when connected to DRN’s fiber optic network gives DRN visibility into home Wi-Fi networks which can aid our Technical Assistance Group (TAG) in troubleshooting, enhancing, and repairing members home Wi-Fi networks. With a Calix 844E Wi-Fi router installed in members’ homes it will help DRN help our members have the best Wi-Fi internet experience possible. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Kent Schimke – Operations...

The Importance of Anti-Virus

We see and hear about it on the news all the time.  Somebodies system got hacked and private information was potentially stole, or people’s computers getting hacked and all their files and data getting encrypted.  Unfortunately, things like this are happening more than people know and hear about. I find it surprising that there are still so many systems out there that aren’t protected by an antivirus program. People always question why somebody would create these viruses and malicious software.  Lately I would say they are doing it for profit.  Either by encrypting data on your computer and telling you to pay for an encryption code to decrypt your files, or by Stealing passwords and other private information that would allow them to use your credit cards or purchase products through you online accounts.  Sometimes they even do it for their own personal amusement.  These viruses now days are very sophisticated.  One wrong click, something that only takes a second can completely compromise your machine. Anti-Virus programs are relatively cheap. For around $50 a year you can protect your data.  To me this is a no brainer for all time, and potentially life changing problems a virus could cause you. Imagine how much it would cost if your identity was stolen.  Don’t sit back and think this will never happen to me, or I don’t have anything a hacker would want.  Remember Hackers don’t discriminate!  Protect your connected devices.  If you need help or have questions about how to do this Call ReadiTech today.  We are here to help.   Andy Meyer – Network...

A Safer Holiday Season

All through the house, not a creature was stirring except for the mouse. The computer mouse that is! Yes, it is that time of year when people are busy online shopping and writing Christmas letters. As the number of days dwindle before Christmas, the hustle and bustle and perhaps even panic attacks increase! “I have only 15 days to find the perfect gift for that hard to buy for Aunt Ann.” After spending hours of visiting the local stores (because we all know how important it is to shop local first) and you still did not find the perfect gift. You decide to look online. Online shopping can be convenient as we can shop at all hours of the day and even in our PJ’s. However, there are some tips I would like to share with you to help minimize identity theft and credit card fraud. When making purchases, choose to use your credit card instead of a debit card. Credit cards offer protection from identity theft that debit cards don’t. Also dedicate one credit card for online purchases. Many website offer you the ability to save or store your credit card information on their servers to speed up the shopping experience. Although, it is definitely faster, I don’t recommend this. If you allow your information to be stored there, you are putting your personal information at risk. Take the time to input your personal and credit card information each time you make a purchase. Make sure you are shopping or purchasing items from a web store that offers secure shopping. Look for the small lock icon in the...

Talk To Me

Machine to machine (M2M) is a broad label that can be used to describe any technology that allows network devices to communicate without manual assistance of humans. Much of M2M today is used for remote monitoring. For example the Coke machine can tell the vendor what is needed for the next delivery or to tell the power and water company your meter readings. M2M uses Wi-Fi, cellular, RFID, to communicate to a software program to read the data and make decisions. Many of the devices today labeled as “smart” are using the M2M communication capabilities. Industrial robots are using the M2M communication to send errors for correction during production. Future endeavors of M2M is in the vehicle industry. What if your car knew about the car next to you and in front of you on the interstate? It would know when they get to close or brake hard and could react without you touching the brake. In fact the United States Department of Transportation announced this it is proposing a rule to require vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology in new cars. One problem with M2M as of now is there is no standard. Many vendors are creating proprietary communications between devices. Vendors will need to agree upon standards for device-to-device communications. With devices communicating on their own, they can tell you when to change the oil in your car, order food and help keep you safe on the road. What will machine-to-machine do for you in the future? Scott Young – Network/Server...