Archive for the ‘Technology Trends’ Category

Cyber Security Predictions for 2017

Posted on: February 8th, 2017 by Jessica Diehl No Comments

2016 was the year of extortion, as ransomware was king, and a major challenge to cyber security.  Use of ransomware code jumped 400% between January and September.

We are already into February, and trends are already being reported by the big-name vendors, like Trend Micro.  Ransomware is expected to go up by another 25%.  Business Email Compromise (BEC) shall grow.  Well planned and targeted attacks ae being launched on devices that IT has the least invested in, like tablets and phones.  Adobe and Apple vulnerabilities are being discovered at an increasing rate, and their public announcement is undermining the user community that thinks that Apple products are better than Windows based products.  Adobe is publicly reporting more vulnerabilities than Microsoft, putting them in the same place as Apple.

Webcams designed to be a part of a security framework are being hacked.  The European Union is requiring companies to hire a data protection organization (DPO) or have one internally, but the end of 2016 showed that less than half of all enterprises had one.

Despite the best efforts of folks like TNT and internal IT departments, businesses haven’t adopted a strategy to meet these threats, head on.  Our recommendations remain:

  • Advanced anti-malware (beyond blacklisting)
  • Antispam and antiphishing at the Web and messaging gateways
  • Web reputation
  • Breach detection systems
  • Application control (whitelisting)
  • Content filtering
  • Vulnerability shielding
  • Mobile app reputation
  • Host- and network-based intrusion prevention
  • Host-based firewall protection

The criminals are getting more targeted and sophisticated with their tactics.  They are using social engineering to impersonate bosses, vendors, and clients in order to trick end users into clicking on malicious links and attachments.

Along with the recommendations mentioned above, security experts across the spectrum say businesses are not doing nearly enough employee training to help increase cyber security.

The Network team is hosting an informal, educational workshop Thursday, March 2, 2017 from 4:30 PM – 6:30PM to discuss cyber security. The event includes free drinks, appetizers and time to network as well as the workshop.  Seating is limited to 20 participants.  Click on the link below to learn more and register.Cyber Security Workshop

Post by: Jeff Gaura, President

2017 Technology Trends

Posted on: January 19th, 2017 by Jessica Diehl No Comments

As president, I am often indirectly asked to talk about the direction of IT/2017 technology trends….like I have insight into something that you don’t.

Sometimes, I do have insight, not because of my title, but we because and I read and talk to leaders in the IT leadership community.  Some trends that will continue to grow are:

  • Security will remain the pink elephant of 2017 technology trends. Many people will conclude that there is no problem for their business, because they have no evidence to prove them wrong.  When these people are proven wrong, it is often too late for them and often a long overdue indicator that leadership is out of touch.  Security requires more budget than ever to stay on top of.  Ransomware in 2017 should invoke a Tora, Tora, Tora response in all of our hearts and checkbooks.
  • Virtualization is still in the stone age. We have servers and desktop running virtual software.  We don’t have mobile phone and tablet OS running in VM, yet.  With most of the world using mobile devices to access the internet more than with wired devices, we have a lot of room for many vendors to come up with the “final answer” for virtualization.
  • Screens will be more and more important. We stare at 27” monitors for 9 to 10 hours a day, and watch TV on a 55” TV for an hour or two.  That shall continue to evolve with screen size tilting towards bigger work screens.
  • Online everything will continue to grow. A few years ago, swipe right meant nothing to anyone.  Ask a single person what swipe right means, and you will get a chuckle.  Ask a single person in your office now, if you don’t believe me.
  • The Internet of things will continue to impress. IP enabled Clothing will expand.  Safety issues will generate wide scale acceptance of IoT devices.
  • IT will move to the cloud at a faster and faster rate. Fear of “what if” will lose the battle to “its not my problem” thinking.  The hardware business for individual IT folks will contract.

There are many more 2017 technology trends that I could express and expand on.  That said, this list is already too long for anyone intelligent to address. Perhaps you can do a good job on one or two of these issues, but not all of them.

You need help addressing this stuff.  We can help you with this.  And it costs less than you think…so I think!

by: Jeff Gaura, President

TNT: Network IT Consultants, Educators, Teammates

Posted on: January 11th, 2017 by Jessica Diehl No Comments

As a team of professional network IT Consultants, TNT does a great job at education  It is perhaps the single greatest value we bring into the marketplace.  Over this last year, I enjoyed some wonderful teaching moments though speaking engagements both in small groups and large rooms, and online classroom tools like WebEx.

We asked folks who attended last year’s events to share with us what they would like to see in 2017.  We have taken their input and will be putting together a series of event choices for you.

For those who like after hours social events, we will continue our Tech Brews series that include heavy hor d’oeurvres, beer or wine and a presentation by our network IT consultants and demo at a Charlotte area brewery on something cool.  Our Deminar series is a quarterly webex on a topic of interest that can be readily communicated via online media.  These are the best option for our non-Central NC based customers who want education but can’t make it to the Charlotte area for a day trip.  All of these options have as a fundamental goal to teach you something and have you walking away with a different view of a technology.  We don’t use smoke and mirror strategies to make these into sales events.  These are about learning something new, in a safe environment, without sales pressure.

In addition, we have our travelling show and tell tools.  We have both a Microsoft and a Cisco cool-tool road show to share.   For nearly everyone, there is something “wow” about a Microsoft Customer Immersion experience.  TNT brings a pre-built company, frozen in time, and you get to take on the persona of one of the leaders in the company.  By taking on their role, you will get to see how the latest tools in the Office suite can create business insight unlike the tools of the past. The Cisco Spark show, the replacement path to traditional on-premise based voice and call processing, brings TNT’s cloud based communications platform to your business, even if only for an hour, so you can see how Spark can be used to keep your users out of email and working productively, instead.

TNT’s internal deployment of Spark includes a portability aspect that we anticipate others to find interesting.

Want to get on our schedule? Please engage us!  We have additional staff on board in 2017 whose mission is to keep you informed and engage you with these offers.  Expect calls from Eric Santos, asking you to join us in 2017.  Technology continues to grow and change lives.  Be a part of it.

Integrated Technology: Your Mechanic May Become an IT Expert

Posted on: December 16th, 2016 by Jessica Diehl No Comments

If you watch any TV at all (and I do during football season!), you probably are seeing a pattern within the automotive industry.  Manufacturers are attempting to differentiate themselves by showcasing the integrated technology integrated in their products.

We hear phrases and marketese that sounds like this:

  • built in Wi-Fi
  • smartphone aware cars
  • stickers on the vehicle highlighting the amount of on board storage (measured in Gigabytes)

With recent stories making the news about a phenomena called “car hacking” both the real world, in addition to the social world and the Hollywood world are making light that it is now possible to “hack” into a car, as there is now electronic information and integrated technology on board that is user based and not just device based.

These new features have formally been labelled as a cybersecurity risk as well as a public safety issue.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently took action to explore vehicle cybersecurity issues.  On October 28, 2016, NHTSA released a Request for Comment on its Cybersecurity Best Practices for Modern Vehicles report.

Cars are a high dollar item that are already part of a regulated industry.  They are charting the world of cyber regulation with no one to lead them.  Certainly, some deeper Internet of Things (iOT) issues will trickle from this study.

Will cars need Anti-virus?

What does a firewall in a car now mean?

How do we train the current servicing industry at car dealerships to review system logs for hacking attempts?

Will data that is encrypted in storage in a car be subject to the same export/import restrictions as other “software?”

Imagine this conversation.

“Hello, sir, I am calling to give you an update as to what we did on your car at the last scheduled maintenance.   We changed the oil and upgraded your AV to the latest version.  We changed both the cabin air filter and the engine oil filter, and we reset the logs on your firewall’s filters.  We added power steering fluid and updated the firmware in your power train sensors to the latest version.  You will need to come for upgrades again at 50,000 miles or sign this waiver given us access to perform the upgrades remotely.”

This is happening…it isn’t futuristic.