Al's Monthly Newsletter- Jan 2017Al Toper, Director of Technical Services

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
Hello and welcome to the January STI Technical News and network status email. Attached to this email is the Network Status report for the month of December for your location. Please look at it carefully and email me any concerns or questions you have. If this is the first time you are seeing this email, you will find a section called NEWBIES at the bottom that will give you a basic understanding of the attached report.

I hope everyone had a great holiday season. It was very hectic around here. STI Managed Services had one of its busiest Decembers. We were dispatched to 13 offices that were brought down by Ransomware. These criminals are getting more and more creative. The average visit for an office taken down by Ransomware is roughly 24 hours of onsite tech time. Since the 24 hours is not continuous, some offices saw nearly a week of lost productivity. Please take my warnings seriously. The two main reasons for your office to be attacked are old and open Firewalls and the use of generic usernames with simple passwords. If anyone in your office uses ID’s such as User, User1, Remote, Remote1, etc. please contact us right away to let us know. Your network needs to be reconfigured. Also, remember never click on any links or attachments unless you are expecting them. Even if you are expecting one, click with care.

My apologies for not much new content in the newsletter. I had very little time to work on it with my end of year responsibilities.

Congratulations to Dr. Beinstock who was the winner of last month’s drawing. He won a nice Samsonite Messenger bag. See the Win!!! Section for this month’s drawing.

In this issue:
• Did you know?
• Privacy Screens
• Staff Changes
• Promotion – WIFI That Doesn’t Suck
• Battery Backup Everything
• Taking Away Old Equipment
• Referrals
• Phone Systems Available
• Win!!!



Did you know? - Some of the services that STI Managed Services offers.
Most customers know we are computer and network specialists. But there is so much more we do. As more and more of our world becomes interconnected, the knowledge of networking and security becomes critical. Many of today’s homes (door locks, thermostats, lights, etc.), cars, and countless everyday items come with an app so they can be controlled from your phone, PC, or tablet. It’s an Internet of Things (IoT) world. Here is a sample of services we provide customers:

We install virtual faxing solutions. The office fax machine goes the way of the typewriter. You can move the documents right to a folder on your PC. My favorite part. I don’t have to get up to send a fax. You also save trees. By sending faxes over the Internet, you no longer need to pay for the phone line and telco usage. In the end, it may cost you a few dollars of realized expense but the amount of labor, equipment supplies usage, and electricity will make up for it in unrealized expense. Also, staff can work on more important tasks.

We provide disaster recovery/business continuity planning. Many businesses do not think through what they would do in the case of a natural or unnatural disaster occurred. Many businesses have gone under not being prepared. There are many that were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy that never opened back up. There is nothing like having a manual when you’re under the stress of an emergency. STI has the tools to get you through this process. We’ve done it for us. With scripts that people must follow.

We install the latest technology in phone systems. See below the section called "Is it time for new phones in the office” for a description.

We are Cloud specialists. We transfer good candidate software and tools to the Cloud. As Certified Microsoft Cloud Champions, we install reliable, secure, and fairly priced O365. No more need for costly mail servers at the office. Rich features that can be added as needed. Such as secure email that is HIPAA compliant and meets or exceeds attorney legal requirements.

We also provide consulting services in many other areas of business. Many of them are free as they are part of your Managed Services contract. I.E., Site survey’s for building construction or relocations. We will help you find local vendors, cabling, electricians, and generator design and installation.


PRIVACY SCREENS – If privacy is important to you, I highly recommend a privacy screen. Privacy screens are a film that attaches to the front of your monitor to not allow prying eyes to see your screen. They will not allow viewing from any angle except straight on. This is great if you have confidential information that you work with and are stationed in an area that has the public passing nearby. A critical place to use one are at medical office front desks. Another use is if you work while traveling by airplane or train. There are many screens made. The cheaper ones will dim your screen and can be detrimental to your viewing. The better ones like 3M’s Gold screen do not affect straight on brightness and focus. These of course are more expensive but worth the added cost and can be reused as you buy new laptops and computer monitors. If you’d like more information and would like pricing, please reach out to hwsales@sticomputer.com.


STAFF CHANGES – Just a reminder to always let us know if you have new people coming to work for you or you may be parting company with. Let us know as soon as possible. People knowing passwords is the number one way the big companies and government have been hacked. Also, many of you had asked and I sent our exit checklist for when an employee leaves. I also made one for new employees. This helps you make sure your new employee is up and running on day one when they arrive. If you’d like a copy, please let me know and I will send you a copy in Word format so you can customize it for your own needs.


PROMOTION, WIFI That Doesn’t Suck – The company Ubiquity was started by an ex-Apple employee that wanted to work on WIFI technology. He has created some of the best, reliable wireless connectivity out there. We have a Ubiquity Pro Dual Band for $159 unit. You would compare this to Cisco, Aruba, and Ruckus. All which are over $400-500. If you use wifi around the office, this is the unit for you.



BATTERY BACKUP EVERYTHING – I know I leave this in here every month. It’s important. I have installed these all over my house to protect my electronics. I continue to recommend that you put a UPS on every workstation in your office. $50 to protect the critical tools in your office is a small investment compared to the damage and frustration that will occur later. Remember that the battery needs to be changed every 3 years. If you are not sure how old the battery is, give us a call and we will help you figure it out.


TAKING AWAY OLD EQUIPMENT – Repost: When we come and install computers at your office, we are usually asked what to do with the old units. We usually give you suggestions such as to give them to staff, family, etc. Sometimes, we’ll take them back to our office for you. With the new security rules, you are now asked to have the hard drives destroyed and a letter certifying that this was accomplished. We now offer this service. We charge $25 per hard drive. We will pull the drive and physically destroy it. We will then send you a letter that this was accomplished. This letter should be filed in your security analysis documentation.


REFERRALS – Please continue to think of us if you hear of a company needing IT services. Not only will we keep your reputation untarnished, we’ll pay you a nice referral. I can’t thank you enough for all the new friends we’ve made because of your kind words.
http://www.stimanagedservices.com/referral/


IS IT TIME FOR NEW PHONES AT THE OFFICE – As I’ve mentioned many times, STI installs and supports an excellent phone system. We work with a company called Jive. How can you not like the name? It’s is one of the highest rated systems available. Also very cost effective. This company is not like many of the other Cloud Hosted VOIP systems out there. They created their own from the ground up. Many of their competitors are companies that got into the Cloud phone system market by buying companies that had similar technology or outsourcing development to other countries. So even those companies have been around a long time, they are no further ahead and even behind the companies that have been around a much shorter time. If you’d like more information, I’d love to discuss it with you. Please contact me.


WIN!!!: This month, reply to this email and I will enter you for a chance to win one of two $60 restaurant gift certificates to the restaurant of your choice available through opentable.com. Make sure your name and office name are in the reply so there is no confusion. Good luck.


Please continue to supply us with feedback on our support and services. This helps us know whether we are doing a good job and how we can improve ourselves so that you, our customer, have the best experience possible. Remember that STI price matches most products and then discounts your maintenance contract so that you are always getting the best price when you buy from us. ITS NOT EVEN CLOSE.


On to the normal stuff.....I want everyone to continue to check their backup reports and to read them and make sure you understand them. Also, I would like for you to send me one of your backup tapes/disks at least once a year. PLEASE send me an email BEFORE sending it so that we can plan it out so that you get your tape/disk back before the next time it is needed.

SHORTCUT - One of the best ways of reaching the tech staff and having a record of that contact is to use email. If you just open up your email client and email questions and issues to HWSUPPORT@STICOMPUTER.COM it’s faster than having to logon to the website and clicking Contact Us. This is always the best way for non-emergency type issues and questions.

*** NEWBIES -The following are some of the items you should look for when reading the attached report - The main things that should interest you from the attached report is Internet Availability (should be above 95%). This will only show if you have a dedicated server. Also look at your server disk and memory usage. Should be below 85% used (memory may go a little higher than that but if you are not experiencing slowness, no worries. Microsoft SQL will attempt to grab as much memory as is available). If you're higher, say above 95% and we haven't been calling you, let me know. Also note the number of alerts we've gotten and how many tickets we've opened. It's been another busy month. Lastly, look at the patch history. These are the critical updates that are needed on your computers to keep them running in tip-top form. You may see some patches haven't applied yet. That may be okay. Check next month's report to see if they are still hanging out there. It may be that one of the people in the office keeps choosing not to allow them to run.

If at any time you would like additional information about the technology at your office, please make sure to let me know. I have the ability to provide you with a wide variety of reports and will help you understand them. If you are completely confused, please just send me an email and I will respond with answers to your specific questions.

Please remember never to hesitate to provide us with feedback. We can’t fix something if we don’t know there is a problem. Remember to like us on Facebook. STI Managed Services

As always, thank you for allowing us to serve you. Talk to you next month.
Al

Al Toper
Director - Technical Services
STI Computer Services, Inc
2700 Van Buren Ave.
Eagleville, PA 19403
610-650-9700 X1131
610-637-0475 (cell)
www.stimanagedservices.com (or www.stimsp.com for savings)
atoper@sticomputer.com