Why Everyone Should have a Firewall

The Internet can be a scary place.  You have probably heard the news about all the data that has been compromised from Facebook user accounts.  Even if you don’t use Facebook or social media of any kind you should still have a firewall.  It is important to know what the firewall can do and what it will not do. It is imperative to change the default password that the firewall has when it comes out of the box. A firewall protects your network from unwanted Internet traffic from coming inside your personal network.  Firewalls filter the information passed between your computer and the Internet which then either allows safe traffic through or blocks unsafe traffic.  For instance, a firewall will block unauthorized remote access to your computer. It will not block remote control apps used by technology companies or spammers that you give permission to remote control your computer.  Many scammers will have a pop up message that says your computer has been infected and to call a specific number.  Once you call they will ask to remote into your PC and do more damage and possibly steal information.  It is very important that you trust who you give remote access.  Some firewalls even have software built-in to allow them to act as content filters.  Content filters can protect you from specific file extensions, or specific website content or webpages which may be harmful. It is very important that you change the default password on your router or firewall.  Every model of firewall uses the same default username and password, which is very easy to obtain with a quick...

Your Personal Information is Safe With Us

No matter what you use for a news source, you hear or read about data breaches on a daily basis.  This past week, the news has been filled with stories about Facebook and how it allowed a third party data collection agency to gather and use information about its Facebook users. According to Breach Level Index, there have been 9,740,567,988 data records lost or stolen since 2013.  That equates to 59 records every second! In today’s world, it is not a matter of if a business or individual will be affected by a security breach but when. ReadiTech has several measures in place to protect the cooperatives data information as well as that of its customers.  And, we adopted a mindset that fundamentally changes the way we protect our organization.  This mindset is that cyber security is real and an ongoing project, one where we have to always be preparing for potential attacks and data breaches. Today, I would like to address how we use the data we collect from our customers. ReadiTech is compliant with the FCC rules and regulations regarding the collection of Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI).  Federal law allows us to use the information from your current records to market and advise you of new products and services that may satisfy your communication needs, unless you notify us otherwise. The information we collect or have access to regarding your services, address, phone numbers, date of birth, social security number, etc., is confidential.  Not only is it the law, but it also our duty to protect that information.  We do not share nor sell any of...

OPEN WIFI-Free is not safe

Everyone enjoys the open guest network provided by restaurants or other public locations.  Why not jump on and save your precious cell phone data? When you connect to your home Wi-Fi network using a passphrase the traffic between your phone, laptop, or tablet is encrypted.  What that means is even if your neighbor is within range of your Wi-Fi they cannot see the webpages you are viewing. The open nature of the guest network opens you and everyone using it to malicious activity by others.  Generally, these networks are unencrypted.   If you do not need to enter a passphrase to connect to the Wi-Fi most likely it is not encrypted.   Without encryption your wireless traffic is open to everyone to view.   You cannot see this traffic with eyes or special glasses.  Applications like Firesheep is an easy to use tool which allows snooping on open Wi-Fi networks.  There is also an advanced tool called Wireshark to capture and analyze wireless network traffic.  Websites that are available over https versus http will have encryption, as the ‘S” stands for Secure.  The browser extension HTTPS Everywhere can help with this by redirecting to encrypted pages. One of the ways attackers trick people is by using a honeypot network.  This is where they create an open Wi-Fi network that tricks people into thinking they are connected to a public Wi-Fi network.  It is actually their own network created to steal information from your device. Protect yourself by not doing online banking or accessing sensitive data on an open wi-fi network.  Use https pages only while using open Wi-Fi networks.  If you are...

Backup: Locally or The Cloud

Are you backing up your data? If not, you should start immediately. There are different forms of backup consisting of both local and cloud backup. Local backup is when you copy your data to a flash drive or an external hard drive, an onsite server or even a network attached storage device. This method of backup is usually more expensive up front but in the long run it pays for itself – call it insurance for your data. The other method is cloud backup. With this method you have a backup agent on your machine that talks to a datacenter somewhere that’s not onsite. This datacenter can be anywhere in the world where there is backup solution provider. This method is typically a monthly cost, depending on the size of data you are backing. To determine what backup solution to pick you should consider the importance of your data and if something was to go bad how fast will you need it. Best case scenario you combine both local backup and cloud backup to some capacity. For example, if you’re only backing up locally and your business was to catch on fire or even if someone broke in and took all your machines, how would you recover your important data? You can’t at that point.  However, if you backup all your data and machines in the cloud you’ll most likely be able to recover that information. If you leverage both methods you can back up everything locally and pick the data that’s important to the operation of your business to backup to the cloud. You’ll save more money and...

Blogging about blogging

There is a bit of irony when writing a blog post about why your business should be blogging.  The DRN ReadiTech blog has been active for nine months now and I hope that you have found some valuable information within our seventeen blog posts. As a business owner you may be asking yourself if you should have a blog or why you need a blog. Let’s take a moment to address some of the benefits of blogging. Drives traffic Anytime you can drive more traffic to your website is a plus, and while readers are on your blog they may venture to other pages on your website. Possibly resulting in a sale! Make search engines happy Search engines, such as Google, like websites that have changing and new material added to them. By having a blog and posting at least once a week you are satisfying search engine’s expectations. Establishes you as an expert in your field You know the goods and services you sell better than anyone else. Blogs also give your business a personable touch, making you more relatable to customers. Shareable material How did you find today’s blog post? Facebook? Twitter? LinkedIn? Practically everyone is on social media on one or more platforms. Blog posts are easy to share and re-share across all forms of social media, therefore your message is spread faster. Marketing A blog is a great way to share upcoming events or new releases. Build some suspense by giving a sneak peek into a new product. Use your blog as another gateway to market your business and goods. If you have been on the...

Not your average wi-fi

Picking a wi-fi option for your house to stream Netflix and look at Facebook is a tough decision, but what if you must connect 80 devices to it and need those devices to roam from classroom to classroom or office to office?  Picking a wi-fi option is sort of like trying to choose between a Lexus and a BMW.  Tons of options and features that all sound great, but how do you know what will be the best? My name is Josh Peldo and I’ve been with DRN and ReadiTech for 11 years. I’ve been helping businesses and schools with their technology needs for the past seven years.  If you’re looking for a new wi-fi option for your business or school, let me help you pick between that Lexus or BMW. In my experience with schools and businesses I’ve worked with many different vendors:  Cisco, Ruckus, Aruba, Fortinet, D-Link, Ubiquiti, and many others.  The one vendor that has risen to the top for me in the last three years is by far and away the Cisco Meraki.  The hardware has been solid and the best feature they offer is the cloud controller: no licensing issues, no controller firmware issues and best of all, a no-hassle portal to see all your devices and reports.  Meraki offers many different models of access points, network switches, routers, and even cameras. As far as wi-fi choices go, I feel like the Meraki offers you the most reliable, easy to use, and feature rich options.  A very popular feature has been content filtering.  Businesses or schools can offer a highly secure admin network alongside...

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. ...