Invested in our Communities

DRN & ReadiTech are building a strong future by investing in our communities. Is your business involved in the communities it serves? Being involved in the community is a great way for any organization to build relationships and boost brand awareness. DRN and ReadiTech recognize the importance of being involved in and focused on the betterment of its communities. Since the cooperative was formed in 1950, community involvement has always been important. As a cooperative, our members are the community. Community involvement or our corporate social responsibility efforts range from donating money to nonprofits to implementing environmentally-friendly policies in the workplace.  Here are some ways that we give back: Civic & Commerce Medical Fire Departments & First Responders Parks & Rec Schools & Youth Activities Veteran Organizations Community Stores & Cafés Domestic Shelters Community Beautification and more! We also have employees who volunteer their time as coaches, city officials, fireman, first responders, youth advisors, and more. A couple of the highlights of employee led fundraisers: In 2016, DRN employees lead a fundraiser to raise $20,000 to provide a service dog for a North Dakota Veteran through Service Dogs For America. Every month employees deliver meals on wheels to senior citizens and this past Christmas employees made tie blankets to deliver to the meals on wheels clients. DRN and ReadiTech are proud to give back to the communities, members and clients that they serve. If you have a nonprofit organization that is looking for help with a project, submit a request letter of to marketing@drtel.com. “Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much” – Helen Keller...

Cybersecurity

It’s everyone’s job!  Whether you are a CEO of a large company, an educator at our local school, bank president, dietician, student, parent or marketing manager, its everyone’s job to ensure online safety at work and  home. And as the lines between our work and home become increasingly blurred it is even more important to make sure that smart cybersecurity is happening between the two. The headlines are filled with information and news about cybersecurity.  But what exactly is cybersecurity?   Cybersecurity is a very broad category that encompasses numerous hardware and software tools that can be applied on any level—personal or corporate devices or networks.  Tools commonly include antivirus software, software patches, firewalls, encryption and passwords.  Crystal Grueneich, DRN ReadiTech technical assistant, recently wrote a blog regarding a new product called Keeper, which is a password management tool offered by DRN ReadiTech. A recent news article in the Fargo Forum reported that Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler said a majority of parents in North Dakota “believe that (computer) coding and understanding of all the apps and devices we are using are as important to students as reading, writing and mathematics ” Baesler went on to say, “It’s truly about preparing students not for just jobs, but also preparing them for life.” North Dakota Governor Doug Bergum also recently announced the state’s participation in an online cybersecurity competition.  The 2019 Girls Go CyberStart program is a series of online challenges that allow students to act as cyber protection agents to solve cybersecurity-related puzzles and explore related topics as cryptography and digital forensics.  There is also a similar program for college students...

Time flies when you’re having fun!

My career has taken me to 9 different locations, in three states, over a 41- year span.  I have worked for two Corporations, a Commercial Company, a Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC), and DRN your Cooperative.  My first job coming out of NDSU was in central MN and part of my responsibilities were to visit 8 party line customers that were not being very nice to their neighbors. The message was “either you quit rubbering or you will be disconnected”.  My how things have changed over the years.  Internet is now the service of choice and DRN is offering GIG service via its 100% fiber network.  Well ahead of the national curve. Since April of 2013, I have had the privilege of working with a very dedicated Board of Directors and group of Employees.  Everyone here at DRN is focused on the Members. The Cooperative mentality has been our foundation for the past 68 years and will continue to be for the years to come.  DRN is one of the strongest Cooperatives in the nation. Let me repeat, IN THE NATION. I feel very good about my contribution these past 6 years to help to grow our members, employees, and company.  Looking back, our company wide toll-free calling was a big boost for our local economy.  The boards approval of free routers to improve the internet experience for our members along with 3 free digital boxes with our digital TV rollout was a sign of commitment to our members.  The boards aggressive capital credit payouts each year is yet another sign of the commitment to members. Our employees are...

Keeper

My name is Crystal Grueneich, and I am a Technical Support Analyst at DRN. Today we’re going to discuss Keeper. Different scenarios may pop into your head when you hear the word “keeper.” For example, as a mom, I’m usually the keeper of the snacks! The Keeper of the Stars is one of my favorite songs. I used to have a trapper keeper… But nonetheless, what about a password keeper? With everything we need to keep track of on a daily basis, what’s helping you keep track of your passwords? While it’s known we shouldn’t use the same password for everything, how do you keep track of which password you use for each of your accounts? Did you know that about 60% of people use the same password for everything? In 2020, the projected number of accounts per Internet user will be 207! Are you ready to remember 207 login and password combinations?! That’s where Keeper comes into play! Keeper is a software tool offered by DRN ReadiTech that helps you manage your passwords and login information. It is a safe and secure way to digitally encrypt and store all of your important passwords. Stop hackers and prevent data breaches by using strong passwords. You can easily generate a new strong password with special parameters you choose. Once you have imported/entered all of your websites and login information into the program, the only password you will need to remember going forward is your master password to log into Keeper. So easy! Between work and personal, I have so many passwords to keep track of. Keeper has been such a...

Hosted PBX

Many areas of IT and Technology in general are geared toward making your job easier and potentially saving you money at the same time.  But what about your phone system? It might feel like a necessary evil, a system that simply is what it is and will always cost more money and trouble than it’s worth. But that’s not true anymore. Traditional phone systems required the “brains” of the system to be placed at your location often filling up the wiring closet with large and unsightly equipment. That on-site PBX (Private Branch Exchange) controls all your call routing and dictates which feature set is available to you.  When you want to add a new feature or upgrade the existing firmware on your system it often requires an on-site visit by a technician who’s likely there as part of a lengthy and pricey maintenance contract, or an even pricier out of contract visit. That’s where Hosted PBX starts to differentiate itself.  What we mean by Hosted PBX is simply that the configurations all come from our Metaswitch here at DRN ReadiTech office.  To the customer this means that the only equipment that is onsite is a small switch in the wiring closet and the actual phones on the desks.  All the upgrades are taken care of behind the scenes automatically.  No need for a technician to come onsite and interrupt service at your location.  And because it comes right off our main switch you will have access to the entire gamut of features that are available now or will become available as technology changes. Here’s just a few of the...

DRN/ReadiTech Career Series

I’d like to spend a little time talking about careers at DRN/ReadiTech. Currently we have an opening for a customer care specialist at our headquarters in Ellendale.  The customer care specialist position is a vital role at any organization.  At DRN/ReadiTech, our customer care specialists pride themselves on providing our customers with a top-notch experience at every interaction.  Customer care specialists coordinate our customers’ experience in person and by phone by providing first level support and recommending a complete technology solution to fit their needs.  At DRN/ReadiTech, our team of customer care specialists work closely together to encourage, educate, and solve problems together making it easy to work with any of our specialists for a positive experience.  In a previous blog, you might have read about our values. Employees at DRN/ReadiTech embody our values – Respect, Accountability, Commitment, Service, and Teamwork.  Something unique our specialists are empowered to do is send a greeting card to a customer they have worked with that may be celebrating a special event or is just in need of a pick me up!  For more on why you want to work for us, refer to my previous blog, “Why do you want to work for us?” Do you have previous customer service/technical experience?  Do you enjoy working to improve customer satisfaction and quickly resolving customer requests?  Are you interested in further developing your abilities and growing with our team while interacting with customers each week?  If your answer is “yes” you might be interested in a customer care specialist position at DRN.  To review the complete job description here.  To apply, please submit a...

Is Sitting the New Smoking?

Sitting has been branded the “New Smoking” for the health risks it potentially causes.   I am not a doctor or medical research scientist.  But I do work in an environment that sitting most of the work day is more of the norm than I would like.  Sitting has been linked with cancer, back and neck pain, cardiovascular disease, obesity and many more conditions.  What are we to do to combat the “new smoking”. One thing I have incorporated into my workday is standing.  I use a standing desk to break up my day of sitting.  This has really improved my posture and how I work.  When I got my standing desk, I decided to stand as much as possible to fight the risks of sitting.  What I found was I forced myself to stand longer than I was comfortable and started to not use the standing desk.   I changed to standing in the morning when I got to work, for about an hour.  Then again when I returned from lunch.  This breaks up a day of sitting and works into the new posture of standing and working. If you start using a stand-up desk that is just one part of improving your lifestyle and health.  What you should be aiming at is to reduce continuous sitting.  Changing a few aspects at work can make a big difference.  We are all told to drink more water.  Doing so will make you get up and use the restroom, thus creating more steps in the day!   Smart watches and fitness trackers today will remind you to get up and get moving or...

Fire up your Firestick

Happy Holidays Everyone!  This is Tim Steinwand, Customer Experience Specialist here at DRN.  Hopefully you got everything you wanted for Christmas?  Hopefully some of the things were electronic gadgets that will make your life easier or more convenient.  Maybe one of the things was an Amazon Firestick from DRN from our latest promotion.  If so, I wanted to let you know of some of the really cool apps that you should add to your Firestick.  Since you have the hardware, getting all the apps you want to use in one place (such as a Firestick) keeps you from having to go to multiple boxes to view different things. If you have a Netflix subscription, the Netflix app is a necessity on the Firestick.  You can use the power of the Firestick’s Alexa function to search movies and TV series to find things very easily in the Netflix app. Tubi TV is a free app that you can add to the Firestick.  You do not have to have a subscription, and there are many movies and TV shows that are available on demand. Crackle is a free and legal streaming service that also offers a lot of classic content, as well as some newer shows. You Tube is a must to add to your Stick.  Music, documentaries, sports, some live streams, do-it-yourself videos.  All available freely on demand. Vivo – Spotify – TuneIn Radio – These 3 apps are a must for any music enthusiast.  Music Videos, Radio Stations, audio news and sports are yours with these 3 apps. Accuweather – Easy access to local and worldwide weather with just...