Are you cyber safe vigilant?

At the end of October, I attended a cyber security conference in Dallas, TX which brought together a national audience of telecommunications providers.  The purpose of the conference was to share ideas and collaborate with each other about how cyber security topics affect the telecommunications industry and to learn how to prepare to face associated cyber security threats being committed on networks today.  I was expecting to learn about some interesting cybercrime stories as well as a list of emerging threats and trends happening in the larger cyber world. The dark web was a popular topic and its always interesting to find out how much of our personal data is available for purchase through easy to use websites with Amazon like shopping experiences.  I was reminded of a reputable website, https://haveibeenpwned.com/, that can show whether your email account has been involved in a past data breach.  If your account has been compromised in a data breach that you were not aware of it (do not panic), you cannot change what has already happened.  Look through the summary and see what information was breached.  If you have questions, give DRN ReadiTech a call at 701-344-5000. It is sad, but it is only a matter of when, not if, you will fall victim to a data breach.  Something I did not expect to learn was how often cybercrimes are committed with technologies that we are very comfortable with and use daily, such as email (phishing), phone calls (vishing), SMiShing (SMS phishing or text messages), and cybercriminals physical impersonation of law enforcement.  Cybercriminals are bad actors that prey on our trust and...

Leaving Windows 7 Behind

If you love your Windows 7 computer and have been putting off taking the leap to Windows 10, you’re not alone.  According to the website netmarketshare.com, Windows 7 still has a 40.9% share of all desktop computers, while Windows 10 only has a 37.4% share.  Windows 10 was released about 3 years ago and while it has been steadily making gains, some people have been reluctant to let go of Windows 7. The worry about upgrading is understandable.  You may have older software that you use and might have concerns about its compatibility with a newer operating system.  Your PC might be older and might not meet the minimum recommended specifications to run Windows 10.  Or you may have heard rumors that Windows 10 has problems and just isn’t as good as Windows 7. While the first two are valid points to consider, the last one is not.  There are definite cosmetic changes between Windows 7 and Windows 10 but after a period of adjustment you will be able to navigate the new user interface just as well as you could the old one.  Microsoft is constantly testing Windows 10 and releasing feature updates, improvements, and bug fixes.  It is the best and most secure version of Windows that you can currently run.  The same cannot be said of Windows 7, which is the number one reason to consider an upgrade. Microsoft ended mainstream support of Windows 7 in 2015.  That means that they no longer release feature updates or bug fixes unless there is a security concern.  In January of 2020 they will end extended support of Windows...

Virtual Reality

I was first introduced to Virtual Reality (VR) about 2 years ago when my family and I took a trip to Minneapolis and spent a day at the Mall of America. My wife and daughter, who was 6 at the time, went shopping while my 5-year-old son and I wandered off to entertain ourselves. We made our way to the Microsoft store where my son immediately sat down at a gaming PC with Minecraft and three 24-inch monitors. He was in heaven! My attention was drawn to the 3 VR stations that they had setup within the store. I kept 1 eye on my son playing Minecraft and my other eye on the closest VR station watching people experience different things. Some people chose the Home Run Derby simulation, others tried their luck with virtual fishing, and some chose to be artistic by painting things in a virtual 3D space. Whenever somebody’s time was up, and they removed the headgear it was easy to see that these people had just experienced something in a new and exciting way. I immediately began to wonder what was possible with VR outside of the world of gaming. I will cover a few of the uses that I found most interesting. Travel: Soon you will be able to be virtually transported to many popular tourist destinations. Imagine clicking a button and finding yourself at the Rome Colosseum, the Louvre in Paris, or my personal favorite, Graceland! Sports: Many of the 2018 Winter Olympic events were filmed in 180 degrees and 360 degree VR. The NBA on TNT has also started a VR broadcast...

Road Time Thoughts

As I had a long drive home tonight I was trying to decide what cool technology news I should write my blog on.  My mind kept on wondering to something I have been thinking about for the last couple months.  How does ReadiTech differentiate and separate ourselves from all of our competitors?  I do believe competition is a good thing and it makes everybody better, and in my competitive spirit I believe competition is a better thing when you are winning.  The question now becomes; how do we win your business? I was at working a conference a couple months ago where we set up the ReadiTech booth to promote our managed service business. Directly across the room from us was a competitors’ booth.  As I was passing by their booth, I stopped and chatted with them. We talked about our service offerings, the tools that we use to support our customers and what new things we were trying.  They were very friendly and just so happen to offer same services as ReadiTech and use the same tools that we do. Ever since that moment I have been wondering how do we compete with a company three times our size, that has the same type of certifications, doing the same type of work, with the same tools that we are?  Spoiler alert, I still don’t have the answers, but I did pick up on a couple things since our conversation. I have been told by many customers how nice it is that when they call the office they get somebody on the phone that is ready to help them...

Virtualize Your World

Virtualization?  What is it? Why use it?  These are good questions to ask yourself and your business.  I am not talking about a virtual person or Bitmoji, but servers, desktops, switching and more. While many people think of this as a new technology.  Virtulization got its’ start with large mainframes decades ago, to avoid wasting expensive processing power, it really caught hold in the early 2000s. Before virtualization, servers would run one application on one server with one operating system.  The number of servers would grow depending on how many applications were needed.  This would lead to expensive hardware purchases and very little of the hardware resources used.  On average each server would only use 12 to 15 percent of its resources.   Leaving up to 85 percent of server resources completely unused. Virtualization is possible because of a software layer called a hypervisor.  The hypervisor is used to create “software containers” known as virtual machines (VM).  The virtual machines can be servers with different operation systems or desktops, such as Windows 10.  Every VM created on the hypervisor is separate and operate independently of each other.   Virtualization allows you to run more applications on fewer physical servers thus using resources effectively. In a nutshell virtualization takes the CPU, memory, network and storage of the physical hardware and shares it through the hypervisor to the virtual desktop or server. This technology also lends itself to other capabilities.   High availability, migrating VM’s from one host to another, adding memory and processing power all while the VM is running.  Backups can change from file and folders to having a complete image of...

Back 2 School

The day some dread, others look forward to as soon as the school supplies hit the retail store shelves.  Yes, it is Back to School time.  Time to discover.  Time to Learn.  Time to purchase notebooks, pencils, calculators, and more. Time to watch the next generation develop those life-long learning skills. One of those skills is learning how to conduct research. The Internet has made research easy compared to my high school days where we had to go to the library, search for books, journals, newspapers, and magazines looking for any information regarding a specific topic. So how do we find the information we are looking for on the Internet.  First, you must select which search engine you are going to use—Google, Bing, Yahoo, Ask.com, etc.  A search engine is a web-based tool that enables users to locate information via the World Wide Web. Google is the most popular and commonly used search engine.  Simply go to Google search and type a keyword, phrase or question.  You can even use the Internet to access resources and apps to help you study. To conduct research on the Internet, you need a device—computer, laptop, tablet or smart device.  If your back to school shopping list includes a new computer or laptop, please give ReadiTech a call.  Our technical support specialists can assist you with the purchasing of a new device that is just right for you and your family.  We can custom order machines.  ReadiTech also has laptops on hand for those who need a device immediately. A computer/device with Internet access is an awesome tool not only for students but...