Archive for February, 2015

Digital Dark Age – Could It Happen?

Posted on: February 18th, 2015 by webadmin No Comments

What is a digital dark age?  Hollywood figured it out a long time ago.  Mad Max, Escape from New York, even Wall-E all address the “what if” scenario that has not yet happened.

But it might.  And, the act of playing through these “what if’s” is of interest.  What if we have no power?  What if we lose access permanently to the Internet?

The world has become increasingly dependent on a digital lifestyle.  How many, if any, physical photos do you have? Do you have any hard copies of your resume?  Think of the plethora of emails with important information or sentimental thoughts in them that you have never printed.

Vint Cerf, a “father” of the Internet and an execute of Google recently announced at a talk that we should consider making hard copies of our photos, as backwards compatibility of future software with the present software is not a given.

That means, print out your photos and make albums.

But let’s take it out of the personal realm, and into the professional.  Ask yourself, “how might a loss of access to the Internet, even if only for a month, impact me and my business?”

After all, the government thinks that our biggest vulnerability lies not in a physical attack on US soil but a cyber attack?

Are you protected against a loss of power for a day?  Do you have a plan to operate without Internet access?  TNT loves helping people ask these questions and sort out what their uncertainties mean to their businesses.  Contact us to begin the conversation.

Server and Storage Success Stories

Posted on: February 11th, 2015 by webadmin No Comments

Network virtualization is no longer really a question of ‘if’, but ‘when.’  Virtualization has been a growing trend in IT for years.  But experts see it becoming a trend in the data storage industry as well this year.

Virtualization helps companies increase efficiency and lower their total cost of ownership.  The Network Team has helped several companies with virtualization solutions. An effective virtualization solution starts with strong storage and servers.  TNT recommends HP servers and storage for all of our customers, regardless of size. Our engineers are highly experienced and certified in HP products, offering you skills that your internal staff won”t have, without the expense of having to hire them.

Below is a look at how we have used HP storage and server solutions to help two of our clients.

O’Mara Inc. is a family-owned textile company with over 200 employees in two states. Their business problem was their storage consisted of many physical devices taking up space in their main offices.  The Network Team used the power of HP Storage to consolidate storage into a server and SAN combination, allowing O’Mara to virtualize.  We used a Hyper V Cluster using HP servers and Citrix virtual desktops.  This freed up physical space for O’Mara and made storage management easier.

The Network Team also worked with a North Carolina county that was, to put it bluntly, a bit of a mess (as many enterprises are today).  They had hundreds of employees who were using operating systems that ranged from Windows XP through Windows 8, and everything in between.  The hardware ranged from brand new to nearly a decade old PC’s.  Anytime an issue would come up, the first thing IT had to do was figure out what system/hardware the employee was using.

The Network Team again went with an HP server and storage solution for a virtual desktop deployment.  This increased productivity by allowing employees to work from home.  IT also saved the county up to $6,000 a year they had been spending replacing and upgrading PC’s.

The Network Team has many more success stories of saving customers time, money and headaches with smart, scalable virtualization solutions.  Call us at 980-263-2865 or email us to find out how we can help you.

Anthem Data Breach: Actually, they did know that they got hacked

Posted on: February 5th, 2015 by Jeff Gaura No Comments

Perhaps you heard.  Another company got hacked.

You and I lost confidential information that someone promised to keep private.  Someone took in government money, and  didn’t do what they said they would.  So sorry.

This time, it was Anthem Inc., the second largest health insurer in the world, and it affected 80 million customers.  ABC news published both online and on TV about the Anthem data breach.

What is missing from this monologue is the real fundamental question you need to ask of your IT folks.

How long elapsed between when they learned about the breach, and YOU learned about the breach?  They lost your information and attempted to mitigate.  They involved their own political and legal engine to determine what all of this meant.  They notified authorities and eventually, you got notified.

Let’s go to the real world.  If someone breaks into your house, you know about it within literally seconds of going into your home.  In this case, there was an unpublished and undisclosed latency between when they found out and you found out.

Whether we like it or not, Internet based transaction information is on a collision course to become regulated, like the public airwaves, telephone communications, agriculture and food systems and military.

I don’t know which concerns me more: the government claiming that they know how to mitigate this by creating oversight and rules or the latency that we allow big companies to have when they lose our stuff.

Just don’t know which is worse.  It is like picking between a visit to the proctologist and eating black licorice.

Office 365, Lync, Yammer Integration Helps Improve Productivity

Posted on: February 4th, 2015 by webadmin No Comments

Improved Productivity!

Richer Collaboration!

Business Benefits!

I’ve written the buzzwords about Microsoft Office 365 many times.  In general, even though I am TNT’s Marketing Director, I am not a huge fan of buzzwords for buzzwords sake.  But when it comes to Office 365, I am eager to use them because they aren’t just fancy words. They really are true.

I genuinely believe Office 365 can improve productivity, give you and your employees richer collaboration, and offer many more business benefits.  I not only believe it, I know it’s true. I experience it every day with my job.

I’d like to take you through a recent project The Network Team is working on to highlight two of the features in Office 365 that, to put it plainly, just help you get more done, and get it done more efficiently.

The Project: Improve our Managed Services section of the website.

This involves meetings to discuss the current site content, suggest improvements, work individually on changes, and then coming back together to assess those changes. Like a growing number of organizations, TNT employees are spread out across the Charlotte area.

Microsoft Lync

We’ve written before (here, and here) about some of the capabilities of Lync, and shown you how well it integrates with Office 365.  We used Microsoft Lync to gather for the meeting. With Office 365, Lync integrates right into Exchange, so setting up the meeting was done with just a few clicks.

Microsoft Lync Integrated with Outlook

Lync also allowed Jeff Gaura, TNT president to share his desktop showing the current website.  Our team members in Kannapolis, Waxhaw and Monroe were all able to see the same thing at the same time.

 Yammer

You have several options for taking notes associated with the meeting in Office 365.  Right in the meeting invite, you can connect to One Note and take personal or shared notes.  However, for this meeting, we wanted the notes to be more of a living document that we could all come back to and comment on as work progressed or new ideas came up. For that reason, we chose Yammer as the repository of the notes.

Yammer Office 365

We created a new topic in Yammer and filed the notes there.

This has several distinct benefits:

1.  It keeps the notes and follow up comments out of everyone’s already over full email inbox.

2.  I don’t get dozens of ‘interruption emails’ whenever someone has a comment/reply to the conversation

3.  It’s a central repository everyone has access to. The rest of the company has access to this topic, so they can be kept up to date on the work we are doing.

Once the meeting ended, we could all reference the Yammer post to find out what our action items were.  For example, one of mine was create an information gathering form to link on the website.  Once I have completed that, I commented on the post that it was finished. This way, everyone can know at a moment’s notice where we all are in the project.  I can leave a reply and include an attachment to the form so others can comment on it.

Lync and Yammer are only two of many apps that make Office 365 a major productivity and collaboration booster. This post barely scratched the surface of the features in these apps.  The Network Team is hosting a series of free Office 365 Hands-On Labs in Charlotte and Raleigh. Register now and come see how Office 365 can power your business intelligence as well.