Security Safety

From the desk of Josh Peldo – Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) & Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) We are constantly bombarded with news from around the world of security breaches, stolen data, and network hacking. Many people feel “it won’t happen to me,” but that isn’t true. It can be the local Dairy Queen, ND State College of Science in Wahpeton, or maybe one of the many local DRN customers that call in saying their accounts have been compromised. I can’t stress enough how likely it is that your data may be in jeopardy and to not take your security information lightly. If you were unaware, local Dairy Queens in Eastern North Dakota have recently been attacked by hackers. Malware called Backoff, accessed systems and hacked files that held customer names, payment card numbers, and expiration dates. NDSCS in Wahpeton discovered malware activity on computers that contained current and former students and employee’s personal information, Social Security numbers and mailing addresses. So much damage can be done now, with so little personal information, that it is worth going above and beyond to protect yourself. With a Social Security number and date of birth, hackers can use your information to forge an IRS Tax Return. The refund can be put on a gift card and then those hackers will use ATM’s to withdraw the cash from the forged tax return and make it nearly impossible to track them down. So what can you do to protect your network and your personal information? DRN Network/Server Analyst, Scott Young, discussed in the April ReadiTech Newsletter how a strong firewall can...

Network Assessment

From the desk of Kari Nishek – Certified Associate in Project Management Is your company’s network up to speed? DRN’s IT experts, the ReadiTech team, can provide your company with a FREE Network Assessment! So what is a network assessment? A Network Assessment gives our IT Analysts a clear look into your network infrastructure. It allows our analysts to identify equipment or software that needs to be upgraded and reviews performance issues. If network issues are identified, our IT analysts can provide solutions to resolve these issues and will ultimately optimize your network’s performance. DRN’s Network Assessment will help your organization to understand your network by: providing a network inventory analysis, identify network issues or concerns, create a network diagram and compile data to provide expert insight into your network’s performance. Our analysts will also help your company understand how your IT hardware and software work together. By having a network assessment performed, this exercise can assist your company with the information needed to  plan for network upgrades and future improvements. It can also save your company time and money by improving the performance and work-flow of your networks end user. Also, the outcome of a network assessment can be  beneficial in preparing upcoming budgets and planning for next year and future years to come. The ReadiTech team has experience with networks in the fields of education, healthcare, financial, retail,  manufacturing, agricultural, and more. For more information or for your FREE Network Assessment, please call the DRN ReadiTech team...

Cellular Repairs

From the desk of Tim Steinwand – Microsoft Certified IT Professional – Enterprise Desktop Administrator Here at DRN are always trying to keep as up to date as we can with the technology needs of our members. We had been getting quite a few inquiries to our computer repair department, requesting repairs on mobile devices, like tablets and cell phones. Since it became apparent that this was a need for our customers, we now have these services available. Two of our technicians, Brent Grueneich and Mike Ost, have recently completed cell phone and tablet training at the renowned Cellular Repair School in Phoenix, Arizona. While there, they learned all the latest techniques and  procedures in order to repair nearly any phone or tablet. They have been trained in screen and digitizer replacement, repair of the charge port and on/off button, headphone jack replacement, liquid damage repair, along with other repairs. We are conducting these repairs at our headquarters in Ellendale. One of the main repairs that people are requesting is cracked screen replacement. Since there are so many different devices on the market today, it is impossible for us to have screens on hand for all devices, but we are doing our best to have replacements for the most popular phones of today, including almost all iPhones and Samsung Galaxy’s. If you have a cracked screen and know the brand and model of your phone, you can call our Technical Assistance Group, at 344-5000, to find out if we have a replacement on hand for your phone. If we have the screen on hand, we can replace the screen usually...

New Technologies

From the desk of Josh Peldo – Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) & Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) A large part of my job is to research and develop new technologies. Technologies that sometimes have nothing to do with the plain old telephone systems which most people associate with DRN. With the increasing speeds and capabilities of the Internet, part of my role here at DRN is to find new ways to maximize those capabilities. Our Fiber Optic Internet connections, along with new technologies, will make their lives easier and better! One project that is gaining interest is in home automation or “smart home” applications. Schools, businesses, and homes are all good candidates for devices that add automation and increased functionality to their doors, locks, and lighting. We’ve installed a lot of automated locks that can be unlocked with a proximity card, a code, or even your phone. If you’re tired of carrying or losing your keys, or if you’d like to automate your locks to automatically lock or unlock depending on a schedule, we have different options that can work with almost any scenario. Something else that’s right around the corner is adding GPS tracking to your fleet, cars, or kids. It’s an easy install and an affordable way to track pretty much anything. It gives you up to date feeds on where your item is at, and it allows you to set up alerts to let you know things like when speed limits have been exceeded, or if a driver has gone too far away. Perfect for that crazy teenager that wants to go for a...

“Non-Support” of Windows XP by Microsoft

From the desk of Tim Steinwand – Microsoft Certified IT Professional – Enterprise Desktop Administrator We are now a month into the “Non-Support” of Windows XP by Microsoft. If you are still using XP for your business, you may be saying to yourself, “I haven’t had any problems yet. Why should I even think about upgrading to a new OS (Operating System)?” Well, here are a few reasons to consider a change sooner, rather than later. 1. Security – Microsoft is not working on any further security improvements to XP. Hackers are salivating over the prospect of millions of unprotected, outdated XP machines. If you are connected to the internet with your XP machines, there will be more malware and threats than ever, making it much more dangerous to surf. Newer OS’s like Windows 7 or 8 are much more prepared for the modern world of malware and viruses. You need to be thinking about the data your company holds, and how secure it needs to be. Don’t let yours fall prey to the hacker nation. 2. Speed, Reliability, and Costs – The average XP machine after a life span of 5 years in a business environment will be running at approximately 40% less productive than when it was first purchased. The older it is, the less powerful it is, and therefore the slower it runs. When taking account time needed to manage XP systems relating to items such as downtime, malware, and other maintenance, Windows 7 or 8 increases productivity by up to 7.8 additional hours per year per worker, with 83% less downtime and 86% less reboots. Over...

SonicWall™ – Network Security

From the desk of Scott Young – VMware Certified Professional 5 Network security can be a very broad subject. It can be as simple as changing your network password to as complicated as installing the latest network security appliances. Some ways we have been helping secure our managed services customers is by deploying Comprehensive Gateway Security Suite through SonicWall™ for monitoring and stopping unwanted access to local home and business networks. Wireless access points using security encryption keys and passphrases instead of open networks. Firewalls that are capable of web filtering to limit or stop users going to fraudulent web sites and limit exposure to corrupt downloads and spyware. Recently one of our ReadiTech customers with a SonicWall™ used the web filtering to discover unauthorized web site usage on his network during business hours. The Heartbleed vulnerability was recently in the news as it allowed would-be attackers to access data from SSL secured websites leaving no trace of the attack. Our ReadiTech customers running Microsoft servers were not affected by the Heartbleed flaw as they do not use the OpenSSL library. Do your part in protecting personal information by changing your online passwords regularly, not using the same password for multiple websites, and keep logon information in a secure...

Upgrade to a Newer Operating System

From the desk of Andrew Meyer – Microsoft Certified IT Professional – Enterprise Server Administrator Over the last few months we have been busy helping business customers who are still running Microsoft Windows XP operating system and Microsoft Office 2003, upgrade to a newer OS and office product. After April 8, 2014 Microsoft will no longer provide security up dates or technical support for these products. Which means PCs running Windows XP may be vulnerable and will no longer be considered protected against malware. We have also been busy providing support for our managed service customers. All the new devices and software programs available make it possible for us to help our customers upgrade old equipment and improve everyday work processes. When assisting customers with their new computer purchases, we tailor each machine to how they are going to be using it. We research to find the best deals then help the customer budget and plan for their new equipment needs making that time-consuming process worry free. Once the computer arrives, we install any applications, migrate data from their old computer and setup the new one so it is a smooth transition to the...