USF Partnership will bring Specialized Technology Training to recent Grads in Tampa Bay Area            It may be a surprise to you that Tampa Bay is now nationally ranked as one of the “hottest cities for tech jobs” according to a  new list put out by TIME Money . But despite this, the Bay Area needs help when it comes to expanding the technology knowledge of our up-and-coming workforce composed of recent grads. A recent partnership established between USF and Revature, a Virginia based IT talent company, seeks to supply this need for skilled workers by hiring, training, and placing grads nationally with Corporations in need of software engineering talent.    Consider Revature’s plan kind of like a 12-week, post-grad boot camp. Participants learn coding and soft skills, and work on real-word based projects. Going in, applicants agree to be relocated wherever they are placed, but local Companies such as WellCare and Accenture are getting in on the pool of talent as well. Revature has made big plans to hire, train and place nearly 1,500 new software engineers in the next few years and have estimated they will invest approximately 20 million dollars into expanding technology training for recent grads of the Florida State University System.  This partnership cannot come too soon as Tampa has experienced an  81% increase in technology related jobs  since last year. Public-private partnerships such as the one between Revature and USF are hoping to attract new companies to the area by providing what Revature’s chief marketing officer calls, “a predictable access to technology talent."  According to TIME, the hottest technology positions in the Tampa Bay area are:   Project Manager  Systems Administrator  Project Coordinator  Data Analyst  Network Engineer   Part of what makes Tampa so attractive for IT prospects looking to relocate is the ability to get a good salary in a growing industry while enjoying a rather low cost of living. This along with partnerships such as Revature’s will no doubt continue to attract more growing companies and recent grads to the area.  This push for new technology talent will continue as long as Tampa’s IT market is expanding. Companies looking for alternative places to do business will certainly be attracted to Tampa’s blooming economic environment and potential for growth. And this partnership between USF and Revature is just what the area needs to facilitate that growth.

USF Partnership will bring Specialized Technology Training to recent Grads in Tampa Bay Area

It may be a surprise to you that Tampa Bay is now nationally ranked as one of the “hottest cities for tech jobs” according to a new list put out by TIME Money. But despite this, the Bay Area needs help when it comes to expanding the technical knowledge of our up-and-coming workforce composed of recent grads. 

       Meltdown and Spectre Expose Fundamental Need for Proactive Security Strategy            Last week, a critical flaw in how our devices operate was exposed to the public. These weaknesses, now known as “Meltdown” and “Spectre” have revealed a loophole in the security structure of our devices; including computers, personal laptops and mobile devices alike. What’s even more frightening than that, however, is the fact that these structural flaws had previously gone undiscovered for two whole decades without being resolved. If flaws as critical as these can go unnoticed for so long, it’s only a matter of time before more insecurities are discovered and exploited.   A Data Breach in the small business space is no longer a question of if, but rather when it will happen. Nearly 50% of attacks are targeted towards small businesses because of the notorious lack of security strategies to protect against them. Nearly all recent attacks that have occurred could have been prevented with  proactive security strategies , such as implementing patches and updates as soon as they become available. At the very least, have a mitigation plan for a worst-case scenario data breach. 60% of small companies go out of business within six months of a cyber-attack because they have no plan for mitigation in place.  The Meltdown and Spectre weaknesses reveal a very scary realization for most companies. True and complete security is unattainable. Bugs in our systems are constantly being found and flaws as critical to internal structure such as Meltdown or Spectre will only continue to be discovered as technology advances. The key to creating stronger defenses within your company is to be on the offense when it comes to security. Active monitoring, diligent patch cycles, and periodic user training is critical to creating a secure environment. After all,  over half  of all data breaches are caused by user error, not malicious cyber-attacks.  Don’t fret, however, with a dedicated Managed Service Provider at your side, you need not worry about being on top of your company’s security at all times. Strong security strategies often include features such as:  ·         Perimeter protection and 24x7 monitoring  ·         Network security protocols  ·         Endpoint protection against Malware and Viruses  ·         Data retention policies  ·         Meticulous updating and patching schedules  As malicious attacks and technology continue to evolve, it is critical that we adapt our security practices to be proactive in preventing devastating breaches. The Meltdown and Spectre flaws are just another example of how new security weaknesses are being discovered and exploited every day. As your partner in Managed Services, it’s our job to make sure that these inevitabilities don’t affect your business. Find out more about our Infotect Consulting and Assistance Program (ICAP)  here.

Meltdown and Spectre Expose Fundamental Need for Proactive Security Strategy

Last week, a critical flaw in how our devices operate was exposed to the public. These weaknesses, now known as “Meltdown” and “Spectre” have revealed a loophole in the security structure of our devices; including computers, personal laptops and mobile devices alike. What’s even more frightening than that, however, is the fact that these structural flaws had previously gone undiscovered for two whole decades without being resolved. If flaws as critical as these can go unnoticed for so long, it’s only a matter of time before more insecurities are discovered and exploited. 

      Find Your Place at Infotect           Here at Infotect are committed to consistently exceeding our customers’ expectations of what they expect from their Managed Services Provider. As our Clients continue to grow, it is important that we grow with them to ensure we are meeting, and exceeding their expectations. Out of this need for growth, we are excited to announce that we will be adding positions to our team and starting the search for a candidate who holds our company values and fits well in our environment.  By providing dedicated roles for each of our Customers, we can customize our ICAP program to fit individual company goals and to ensure continued growth. Each of our Clients gets a Support Desk, a Network Engineer and a System Architect. We have decided to expand our existing Support and Network roles to continue providing exceptional service for our clients. Some of the ideal qualities we look for in candidates are:  •     Ability to stay calm and focused under pressure  •     Professional demeanor and appearance  •     Good written, oral and interpersonal communication skills  •     Self-motivated and open minded, with a desire to learn  •     Decision making: task assignment, priorities, and credibility  •     Quick thinker, creative problem solver  If you think you’d be a superior candidate or know somebody who has the qualities and experience we are looking for, position requirements and descriptions can be found at  InfotectDesign.com/careers . Once we receive your Resume and Contact Information, we will review your applicable skills and experience to see if there is a place for you at Infotect. If you don’t think one of our open positions describes your qualifications, send us your Resume anyway, we are always looking for individuals with dynamic experience to provide support and help expand our team.

Find Your Place at Infotect

Here at Infotect are committed to consistently exceeding our customers’ expectations of what they expect from their Managed Services Provider. As our Clients continue to grow, it is important that we grow with them to ensure we are meeting, and exceeding their expectations. Out of this need for growth, we are excited to announce that we will be adding positions to our team and starting the search for a candidate who holds our company values and fits well in our environment.

       Where was Your MSP during Irma?            This time it happened.  Every year we prepare clients with Disaster Recovery plans for the worst-case scenario. We never know when a disaster is going to strike, but this year it did. With nearly 7 million people and businesses without power, Hurricane Irma was one of the most powerful storms that Florida has ever seen. With excellent communication and proper planning however, all of our customers were up and running by the end of the week. Was your Managed Services Provider there for you before and after the storm?  Every year, we provide our clients with extensive knowledge of how to plan and recover from a disaster. From our annual Hurricane Preparedness webinar to our Client-wide Q & A conference calls, we ensure that our customers are confident in their disaster recovery plans from beginning to end.  And because we are constantly trying to improve, we polled our customers to see how well they felt their businesses were prepared for the storm and how well their disaster recovery plan was implemented.       

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


       Our results were outstanding. We were pleased to see that nearly all of our clients had a solid disaster recovery plan in place and had made their staff aware of it. Good communication of these plans is vital in the preparation of disasters. Through proper planning and recovery, our clients could return to normality quicker than most.     

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     100% of our clients received multiple forms of communication from us both in preparation and in recovery. They agreed that the efforts provided by Infotect before and after the storm made the difference in how successful their plan was.  In the face of possible destruction, it is easy to forget that we need to have a plan to protect our businesses and technology as much as our homes. After the storm it is always easier to see what could’ve been done differently and how well our plans were executed. At Infotect we strive to be proactive when it comes to disaster recovery, by ensuring that our customers are confident in their disaster recovery plans and prepared for anything.  What is your MSP willing to do for you?

Where was Your MSP during Irma?

Every year we prepare clients with Disaster Recovery plans for the worst-case scenario. We never know when a disaster is going to strike, but this year it did. With nearly 7 million people and businesses without power, Hurricane Irma was one of the most powerful storms that Florida has ever seen. With excellent communication and proper planning however, all of our customers were up and running by the end of the week. Was your Managed Services Provider there for you before and after the storm?

       Big News for Office 2013 – Newest Updates for Office            Have you heard about the newest updates for Office 365? Or that Microsoft will no longer be offering Office 2013 for Home, Business, and Students on PC for download from the Office 365 Portal or account pages? Don’t be concerned just yet, your Office 2013 service won’t cut off immediately, but standard support of Office 365 2013 will only continue through Spring 2018.   But why stick with Office 2013 if an update to the new and improved version of Office 2016 is free with an Office 365 subscription? If you haven’t noticed already, substantial changes have been made to improve Office 2016 to its full collaboration and ease of usability capacity. Here are some reasons why you should take advantage of these new updates now:    2016 is Built for Teamwork –  Tired of peer editing being a long and tedious process? Share your work in Word, Excel and PowerPoint while you’re working on it. Send an invite to share by email and view your fellow contributors’ edits in real time. Being on the same page has never been simpler (literally).   Easy Load Attachments -     Ever forget where you put that document that needs to be attached to your email? Introducing recent items from Excel; when you click the attach button, a list of your recent projects will drop down for easy attaching.   Smart Lookup –  Need to look something up on the web when working on a project? No problem, just highlight what you want to look up, right click, and choose “Smart Lookup”. Powered by Bing, Smart Lookup puts all the information on the web at your fingertips.   Easy Load Data –  Speaking of pulling information right from the web, Excel now provides an incredibly useful tool called “Get & Transform”. Use the Get & Transform feature to pull data right off a webpage and transform it into a useable Excel table. Creating this connection with information on the web also allows you to quickly update the table as data changes in real time.   Tell me -   Need to perform an action but aren’t sure what tool will do the job? Using the “Tell Me” feature, describe in your own words what needs to be done and Office will intelligently guide you through the process, tell you which tools to use and provide additional resources.   New Charts –  Excel, PowerPoint and Word all offer new chart types for you to visualize your information in innovative ways.  Treemap ,  Waterfall  and  Sunburst  are just a few of the new chart types you have with the 2016 update.   If you haven’t updated to the newest version of Microsoft Office 365 you’re missing out! The new features in the 2016 version make collaboration and usability easier than ever. These and more new updates are always made available by Microsoft and you can even sign up to be made an office insider; you see the newest features first, before anyone else.   Contact Us Today  for an easy update process!   Infotect Design Solutions, Inc.    (813) 630 – 2400  Sources:  https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Office-2013-and-Office-for-Mac-2011-are-no-longer-available-for-installation-with-an-Office-365-subscription-DE68FD95-553A-4C38-B1B5-E4205B96FC75

Big News for Office 2013 – Newest Updates for Office

Have you heard about the newest updates for Office 365? Or that Microsoft will no longer be offering Office 2013 for Home, Business, and Students on PC for download from the Office 365 Portal or account pages? Don’t be concerned just yet, your Office 2013 service won’t cut off immediately, but standard support of Office 365 2013 will only continue through Spring 2018.

      A Better Security Practice: Two Factor Authentication           The Heartbleed security bug in 2014 created widespread awareness about Internet credential vulnerabilities.  Certainly, changing your passwords regularly can help stop the information brokers who are selling your login information to the next hacker. However, a better option is using a second factor of authentication. Major service providers like Microsoft and Google fully support two-factor authentication.  WatchGuard explains how two-factor authentication (2FA) works with VPN clients. “When a user authenticates from the VPN client, the VPN client sends the username and password to the Firebox. The Firebox sends the username and password to the RADIUS server. If the user and password are valid, and if two-factor authentication is enabled for the user, the RADIUS server sends an access-challenge message to the Firebox to request the second factor. The Firebox uses information from the access-challenge to prompt the VPN client for the second authentication factor.”  However, two-factor authentication does have its difficulties. Certain assumptions are being made or benefits are implied that can mislead companies and consumers. There are several misconceptions about it that exist. Here are five common myths associated with two-factor authentication:   No. 1: If you have suffered a breach, turning on two-factor authentication for your users is a good quick fix.  The truth is that most sites cannot simply “turn on” two-factor authentication. Deployment of two-factor authentication requires several components in place at the same time.   No. 2: Two-factor authentication is not susceptible to common threats.  Two-factor authentication does improve security, but it is not perfect. Several factors can still make the system vulnerable.   No. 3: Two-factor authentication is synonymous with ‘incorporation of a second device’ and cannot be accomplished effectively on a single device.  The use of smartphones and similar personal devices make it more practical to load keying information in a manner that is tamper-resistant enough to provide a high degree of security.   No. 4: Most two-factor solutions are similar, with only minor differences in approach.  The past few years have brought considerable innovation to two-factor authentication. Many solutions involving SMS messages or other telephonic means are available. Others provide two-factor authentication using either a mobile application containing a cryptographic secret or through keying information stored in the user’s browser.   No. 5: Two-factor authentication is an annoying compliance requirement with little material benefit to the business.    While some businesses do treat two-factor authentication as only a compliance requirement, using a flexible authentication mechanism that requires two-factor authentication for higher risk transactions, while giving users the convenience of single-factor authentication for common, lower risk operations is a far better plan.  Two-factor authentication does improve  security , but it’s not the solution in all cases. Adopting the wrong two-factor authentication solution can be a burden that yields no real security benefit. Understanding your users and the security threats you face is the key to a successful two-factor authentication deployment.  Sources:   http://www.watchguard.com/help/docs/fireware/11/en-US/Content/en-US/mvpn/ssl/mvpn_ssl_auth_2-factor.html    https://www.wired.com/insights/2013/04/five-myths-of-two-factor-authentication-and-the-reality/

A Better Security Practice: Two Factor Authentication

The Heartbleed security bug in 2014 created widespread awareness about Internet credential vulnerabilities.  Certainly, changing your passwords regularly can help stop the information brokers who are selling your login information to the next hacker. However, a better option is using a second factor of authentication. Major service providers like Microsoft and Google fully support two-factor authentication.

      VoIP - Not Just From Your Phone Vendor Any Longer           IP-based phone solution providers come in all shapes and sizes. There is a plethora of business voice over IP (VoIP) solutions ranging from browser plug-ins and mobile apps to digital PBXs that can host thousands of concurrent calls. The cloud evolution has created a crowded and competitive marketplace.  PC Magazine lists OOMA, Google Voice, PhonePower, RCN, and Charter in the top 5 of the business choice awards for 2017.  VoIP is not solely from your phone vendor anymore.  In fact, the move to telephone over the Internet has made the understanding of networking more important.  A good provider needs to understand the considerations of traffic, firewalls and device connectivity.  Business solutions must ensure quality of service and reliability.  These are not traditional “phone vendor” strengths; however, your managed services partner can deliver!  Your Managed IT provider can coordinate your VoIP alongside your IT services.  Points to consider:  ·         Do you have both of those services being managed by the same provider?  ·         If not, what are the risks that exist when you have two different vendors trying to                       manage these integrated services?  ·         Did you build two networks for your phone system?  One built by each vendor?  ·         Who do you trust more to plan your next upgrade or lifecycle replacement?  Now consider 3 reasons why you should let your managed service provider manage your VoIP solution:   Network Security   The most significant benefit of having one provider is for your network security. You want to be sure that your entire IT infrastructure is secured. When two vendors are in the picture you can get different security strategies. This could create security holes and confusion. Bundling Managed IT and VoIP together by one provider gives you one point of control and accountability.   Effective Execution   In addition to security, you need an effective execution of your VoIP and your IT services. Designs need to include redundancy, backups, power protection and proper environments. These solutions typically share a common distribution or server room.  Your IT provider was probably the one who designed the original room and sourced the equipment.  Effective execution is something that can be achieved that much easier when these services are bundled.   Avoid Headaches   Multiple vendors on the same network infrastructure will inevitably lead to finger pointing. Hopefully you will not be caught in the middle and the vendor can responsibly solve the issues.  In the end, it may be hard to identify accountability.  Avoid the headaches and get both services managed by your IT provider.  The future of VoIP is a bright one. It simplifies many communications processes, lowers expenses, and adds convenience. Delivering greater flexibility and more features than ever, you will find VoIP on your telephony solution short-list if you have not already migrated.  Be sure to consider your managed services provider for your VoIP solution.

VoIP - Not Just From Your Phone Vendor Any Longer

IP-based phone solution providers come in all shapes and sizes. There is a plethora of business voice over IP (VoIP) solutions ranging from browser plug-ins and mobile apps to digital PBXs that can host thousands of concurrent calls. The cloud evolution has created a crowded and competitive marketplace.  

      IT Security: Follow Good Solutions with Good Policy           Providing reliable IT solutions from industry leading companies including Microsoft, WatchGuard, HP and others is important.  As the trusted IT provider for our clients, we deliver integrated solutions involving multiple manufacturers and products.  Our consulting services often accompany the solution.  Too often the process ends with an implementation that does not reflect the full potential of protection.  In the process of consulting, we will make recommendations that focus on best-practice security and protection of the customer environment. These recommendations need to translate to policy in the customer’s operation to deliver the final result.  This year is expected to show a continued increase of ransomware and other Internet “data attacks” that can leave a business helpless.  The end result of good security policy may be the determining factor in protecting your operation.  A typical scenario we encounter is during the implementation of a perimeter firewall.  Customers will perceive web proxy security (firewall filtering of web traffic) as a hindrance or inconvenience to their work.  They will decline our recommendations to use the proxy services which can block scripting and malicious site content.  This results in a good product followed by bad policy.  In a January posting, WatchGuard reported their results from surveying over 1,400 partners ( view ).  I interpret the results as an indicator many resellers face the same challenges in getting customers to adopt sound policies in their security strategy.  The survey showed 83% of resellers felt ransomware would be the prevalent concern of customers this year.  More startling is that 65% believe that some of their customers will pay for ransomware.  And, finally, 45% believe less than half of their customers have the proper resources in place to manage security alerts.  I believe this can be summarized by poor policy.  There are great security products in the market.  Our managed services program is based on 3 security principals: Network, EndPoint and Data.  Each of these areas requires top-down policy to support the capability of the tools we deploy in the customer environment.  If you want your resellers to respond more confidently about your security protection in the year ahead, listen carefully to their recommendations.  Most resellers are willing to educate customers on the features and benefits of security products.  The survey reported that nearly 80% of the resellers did not think their customers cared about the two leading types of network security products.  We have to take that as a challenge to educate and raise that awareness.  No one wants to be the next headline reporting years of data lost like a Texas Police Department ( view ).  Resellers, take the security conversation to your customers and translate the technology to good security policy.  Businesses, make the effort to understand the security options and think of protection in the layers relevant to your operation.

IT Security: Follow Good Solutions with Good Policy

Too often IT solutions end with an implementations that does not reflect the full potential of protection.  In the process of consulting, we will make recommendations that focus on best-practice security and protection of the customer environment. These recommendations need to translate to policy in the customer’s operation to deliver the final result. 

Focus on Your "Why"

By nature, we are drawn to strong, positive leaders. We love their enthusiasm, are inspired by their messages and influenced by their actions. They motivate us to go places that we would not have thought of going. What is it about these people that makes us subscribe to their emails, buy their books and trust their guidance? The answer is surprisingly simple: