by: Jeff Gaura
“Practice what you preach!”
“Do what you say you were going to do!”
Here at TNT, we have standards. We want to live by them and be known for the standards that we spend our lives adhering to. I had lunch with a man yesterday who told me that he wanted to be known for being a hard worker and friendly to all he meets. Through his actions, he proved this to be true.
In the industry of IT, few do this; from manufacturers to partners to distributors of network security tools. We all make and sell solutions, yet seldom do we test them on ourselves before injecting the ideas about them on our prospects.
Yesterday, I took the time to setup, from scratch, one of the network security tools we offer; a Cisco 5506X Adaptive Security Appliance at our company offices. I could have asked one of TNT’s dynamite engineers to do this, but, as leader, I must be able to practice what I preach.
Within an hour, using only the command line, I was able to get the device working, with internal IP addressing and services, as well as external connectivity to the Internet, in place. All endpoints were sending and receiving information to the outside world, and I had updated the security policy internally as part of the deployment, with new passwords for console, telnet, etc, in place. However, at the end of the day, I could not get the VPN setup to work. I had to engage Vitaliy Greben, our CCIE to address that issue, and it took him more than an hour to sort out the problem and the fix. It turned out that Cisco’s forums listed that it was a known bug that the EZVPN technology that many of us in the networking field rely upon was not working, specifically, on that device, in the standard configuration that we use. Any sense of guilt that I had for not being able to figure that out went down the toilet once I heard it wasn’t about me or my knowledge.
Today, we are in production as a company with a new ASA. The new device uses much less power than the old one. After hitting Cisco’s data sheets and our local power company’s published rate sheets, I figured that the old device used $157 a year in power. The new one will use only $49 per year in juice. Considering that we anticipate the new one to run for 5 years, that is a savings of about half a grand. The device cost less than that!
Second, our demark point is quieter than it was just yesterday afternoon. Since all of our servers are at a data center, there is no sound of fans, etc. The only hum is the sound of the fluorescent lights.
Soon, we will be suggesting to all of you that you upgrade your network security tools. Now, we have “practice what you preach” experience to back it up.
There is a promo running through January 23, 2016 allowing for up to 50% off certain Cisco ASA’s. Contact one of our Account Executives to learn the details.
2015 was a unique year in the history of The Network Team. We’ve been shifting into a Managed IT Services company for a while now, but 2015 marked some big steps forward in that shift. We also had several staff members move on to new opportunities. But TNT really is a close-knit group of people, and we were glad to welcome everyone back, and bring in some brand new faces for this year’s Christmas party.
As always, Jeff and Linda Gaura hosted the dinner. TNT’s newest Account Executive Jeff Dulaney started just days before the party. Since we believe work is a thing you do, not a place you go, nearly all our employees work remotely. So, this was the first opportunity Jeff had to see the faces of his new co-workers. New Account Executive Randy Ross and his wife also got to meet nearly all the TNT team face to face as well. We all had the opportunity to reminisce with former engineer Gene Choquette and his wife, as they came back for the party.
TNT Engineer Vitaliy Greben has moved to California and is the most remote of our employees. So, we love any opportunity to see him in person and catch up.
The TNT Christmas party is also where president Jeff Gaura hands out awards. This year the awards went to:
Most Improved Employee: Joey Grissom. As Jeff mentioned in giving Joey the award, a huge factor in this decision was the fact that Joey has the highest customer satisfaction rating of all TNT employees. Joey comes from a Microsoft background, but has caught onto Managed IT Services and other technologies quickly, and is known by our clients for his communication skills and strong work ethic.
Salesperson the year: Dan Whitt. Dan is also the sales manager. He has stepped in to help with the sales load because of the staffing changes at TNT this year. Given his workload, this achievement is particularly impressive. However, Dan, always humble, gently warned the sales team to ‘never let me win again!’
Engineer of the year: Vitaliy Greben. Living on the west coast with most of his clients on the east coast means Vitaliy, or ‘V.’ works the oddest hours. But he does so diligently, professionally, and with every ounce of knowledge and experience you’d expect from a CCIE.
The party continued with team members sharing their thoughts on the year including Randy Ross’s gratefulness for how people have welcomed him, Vitaliy and Yan Greben’s appreciation of the fact that TNT is now a multi-generational company (the two are father and son), and several team members expressing their love of the support given to each other.
And, as happens each year, the party wrapped up with some fast and furious ping pong challenges… with TNT Engineer Justin Peatross pretty much dominating as usual.
Just in time for Christmas, hackers have launched a large-scale campaign targeting small and mid-sized businesses, according to Trend Micro. The new network security threat for small businesses attacks PoS devices through weaknesses in the corporate network. The criminals are going after any business with a PoS device, but seem to be focusing on Healthcare and retail industries.
Once in the PoS device, they are able to steal payment and credit card details from your customers. Oh yeah, and they pick up email and Facebook passwords on their way to the PoS device.
Here’s how it works:
- The hackers use tools that are readily available on the Internet to scan networks, looking for vulnerabilities. Those tools include port scanners, brute force password guessing tools, and SMTP scanners. Networks with weak password policies are easy targets.
- Once inside the network, the criminals use a second set of tools, including remote access tools, to penetrate the network further and gather information.
- Once they are familiar with the network, the hackers launch the attack on the PoS’s. They install a program that scans the system RAM for payment and card details. One of the tools they are using is the same one used in the 2013 Target attack.
- The hackers then gather the financial data off the PoS, releasing the network security threat for small businesses.
How can you protect your customer’s data?
There are some common sense best practices you can employ to protect your data from the network security threat for small businesses.
- Ensure your company has, and your employees are following, a strong password policy. Passwords should be created strong, and changed frequently.
- Consider 2-factor authentication to increase network security.
- Avoid purchasing and using big box store-equivalent technology. Instead, consider The Network Team’s Managed Security Service, Cisco Adaptive Security Appliances and Total Desktop Care with Helpdesk support.
With our tools, we know when the attack is happening and can remediate, saving your customer’s data, and your reputation. Contact us today to get a free 2-hour network assessment to see where the holes in your network are right now.
As is the case with most buzzwords, questions abound about what are Managed IT services. And for each person who asks, there are probably dozens of ways to answer that question. In fact, in a recent staff meeting, TNT president Jeff Gaura asked each employee to describe what we do. The flavor of each answer was different, but the basic idea behind what are managed It services remained the same.
To sum up “what are Managed IT Services” in a sentence, they are when you hand off your IT hassles and headaches to an outside vendor so you can focus on growing your business serving your customers.
Each different company has a variety of offerings under their “Managed Services” umbrella. Here’s a look at what you get when you sign up for Managed IT Services with The Network Team.
365 Days a year of 24X7 Coverage
The technology that undergirds your business doesn’t take vacations. But doesn’t it always seem to take a ‘break’ at the worst time? Email goes down Monday at 10AM. The boss can’t access his files at 8PM at night.
TNT Managed Services offer you 24X7, 365 Days a year support. Our Help Desk is accessible right away, whenever you need it for fast resolution to routine issues.
Proactive vs. Reactive
Because of the 24/7/365 coverage, TNT is often able to remediate an issue before you even know it exists, and before it becomes a larger, more serious issue. Our Managed Services are proactive, not reactive, meaning you experience far less downtime in the event of a technology issue. In the event of a network down, TNT’s average response time is 10 minutes!
Fixed Monthly Cost
Predictability is one of the most reassuring aspects of TNT Managed Services. A fixed, monthly fee ensures you support, monitoring, and resolution to IT issues. Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) mean our highly trained engineers can fix many issues quickly, from anywhere with the least amount of disruption to your workforce.
Do you know the warning signs for network health risks that could become more serious down the road? Our Managed Services also include regular network assessments where we discover potential issues and vulnerabilities. Then, our Engineers can work with you to come up with the best solution, before it’s too late.
Contact us now to get a free 2-hour network assessment and see if Managed Services from The Network Team can help your business grow.