Archive for June, 2015

Employee Spotlight: IT Consultant Yan Greben

Posted on: June 26th, 2015 by webadmin No Comments

“My favorite story is probably the one about the first time I used R-Rated Content in trying to make a sale.”

Yan Greben’s path to becoming a TNT IT Consultant started pretty far from the IT world. He was born and raised in the Ukraine until he was 9 years old when his father, (TNT Senior Engineer Vitaliy Greben) moved the family to the US.

Yan is incredibly intelligent.  By 19 he was finishing up his junior year in college, majoring in Chemistry, when he realized that is not what he wanted to do. He changed his major to Business, and started working part-time with a technology company to earn money for college. It took a few more years, a move to Minnesota, the chance to play college football, a football career ending injury, marriage, move to North Carolina, then California, then back to North Carolina before Yan found his passion.

Oh, and he’s not yet 25 years old.

TNT’s Marketing Director Jessica Diehl sat down with Yan to learn more.

Once you got bitten by the IT bug, it took hold hard, right?

Yes. In some ways, even though I fought it, IT comes to me naturally. It’s an industry where you never stop learning. If you step away for a year you are hammered. Everything’s changed. I love that it changes and you have to keep up.  Learning is a passion of mine.

You currently holds sales certifications with Microsoft, Cisco, and HP, yet you are also working on your CCNA…which is not a typical certification for someone in sales.

I am the kind of guy who wants to know everything, the tiniest details. The whole world of IT fascinates me. That’s why I want to get my CCNA. I am buying a rack and some switches and planning to set up a lab environment at home to study and practice for the test… and to play around with in my spare time. I loved computers. Before I started working in IT, I built my own computer. Sometimes, I will play around with Windows 8, things like the storage and settings, and it’s fascinating because Windows 8 is so similar to Windows Server 2012 in look and feel.

While you enjoy working with a variety of industries, you feel a special pull to higher education institutions. Why is that?

I think in part just because I am drawn to the academic setting. But I also understand how the budgets work, (or don’t work!), at higher education institutions. I know their pain points and needs. While each institution is different, with different goals, most have this in common: they have to support hundreds to thousands of staff and students, usually with a very tiny staff and a seemingly always disappearing budget. They need simplicity of management, and yet also a robust solution. I enjoy helping them find solutions that fit those needs.

Which brings us to that R-Rated content story.

Yes. So I was working with a private college with 300 staff and 1,500 students at just one of their 4 locations. As a higher education institution, the school legally had to be compliant with filtering to ensure staff and students weren’t downloading illegal content (like child pornography). But they also felt a moral obligation to go above and beyond. Their policy forbids students from accessing any R-rated or pornographic sites.
They felt pretty secure with their current web filtering. And in fact, when we tried to reach several pornographic sites, it was blocked. However, their filtering was only blocking sites, not content. So I was able to show them how, within 15 seconds, I was able to access R-Rated content from a popular social media site. Their current solution only had site filtering, not content filters. I was able to show them the granular filtering options a Barracuda solution offered.

Yan has a wide understanding of the variety of solutions The Network Team offers, with a special interest in Cisco networking and voice. Give him a call, or reach out to him on LinkedIn to learn more about strengthening your network…or ask him about the time he literally had to read the computer screen to help a TNT Engineer who had been up for nearly 24 hours working to fix a network down.

Mitigating Cloud Security Concerns

Posted on: June 10th, 2015 by webadmin No Comments

According to a KPMG Report, 53% of respondents cite data loss and privacy risks as the most significant challenge when doing business in the cloud.

Three of the biggest concerns are:

  • Data Safety
  • Inside Attacks
  • Cloud-Jacking

Data Safety

Even as more and more enterprises are moving to the cloud, fears about the security of data linger.  It's an understandable concern.  Going to the cloud means putting your company and client data in the hands of another organization.  It's difficult to believe they will care about the security of your data more than you do.  That's why it is imperative that you thoroughly research any Cloud Service Provider (CSP) you are considering.

Don't just take the marketing material's word for it. Speak to your CSP. Find out what workloads they have moved to the cloud.  You may also want to ask why those workloads are on the cloud and why they have kept others on-prem.

It's best to move non-essential workloads to the Cloud first as a way to 'kick the tires.'  You can see how the security works.

Once you have moved workloads to the Cloud, there are some important steps you can take to make your data as secure as possible.  Any sensitive data (including client information and proprietary software) should be encrypted.  Microsoft Office 365 has new features rolled out this year that allow administrators to have full control of their encryption keys.

Inside Attacks

Organizations don't have to worry only about attacks from the outside.  Malicious insiders can compromise data as well.  This can be done intentionally or without the user's awareness.  As Cloud security gets tighter, hackers are going after end users more and more.

You can mitigate this risk to a degree by ensuring secure passwords that are changed regularly.  It's also important to issue granular security rights to end users.

Cloud-Jacking

Cloud-Jacking is when a hacker takes control of all or part of a Cloud infrastructure.  Again, this threat shows the need for organizations to protect the password to the Cloud.  Two factor authentication will also help increase security here.

Microsoft Office Apps Coming to More Devices

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

Your productivity outside of the office is about to get much easier.

Mobile-first, Cloud-first.  It's the way the world is heading.  Microsoft has been leading the way with that strategy over the past year.

It's latest step involves bringing Office apps to many more mobile devices. In May, Microsoft announced partnerships with 20 additional partners to allow Office apps to be pre-installed on Android devices.  There are now 31 total partners who will offer Android tablets pre-installed with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive and Skype.  Those companies include Samsung, Dell, LG, Sony, Positivo and more.

Sony plans to begin offering the apps on the Xperia Z4 by mid-summer.

Microsoft is further planning to improve your productivity by developing a Cortana app for iOS and Android.  Cortana is Microsoft's virtual assistant. The Cortana app will allow users to, among other things, set appointments, dictate emails, and search the web using speech commands.  The Cotana app for Android will come out this month, while the iPhone app will be released later this year.

Finally, the Phone Companion app for Windows 10 will help users connect devices, no matter the operating system.

Some exciting features include:

  • Automatically syncing photos from your phone to your Windows 10 PC Photos app
  • The ability to store and access music from OneDrive, and play the music anywhere from your phone
  • Work on Office documents from any device without having to move files around

Microsoft's passion to help make you more productive in and outside of the office is one of the many reasons TNT teams up with them.  Like us, Microsoft believes work is a thing you do, not a place you go.

Interested in learning more about Microsoft's productivity offers? Contact us to learn more about these and other features.

The Network Team