Do you know how to keep your computer safe?

Thanks to the ongoing advancement in technology, the world is more connected than ever. From the various mobile devices such as Laptops, Tablets, Smart Phones, Digital Cameras, and In-Car Wi-Fi to the Desktops, Workstations and Servers we utilize both at home and in our places of business.
Hundreds of new viruses are written and released every day. Unfortunately, there is no 100% bulletproof remedy for any network. Although Antivirus applications, Firewalls and other security appliances will significantly help protect your network, it also comes down to Education, Behavior and Awareness to make a significant impact in protecting the infrastructure.
Anyone that uses a computer or device on a corporate network is also responsible for helping to maintain a secure environment.
What do all these devices have in common?
-Many of these devices are in an, “always on & always connected” state and without adequate protection and proper safety practices, these devices are in an elevated state of vulnerability.
-They’re a potential breeding ground for Viruses, Malware, Ransomware and other malicious attacks.

What is a Virus?
-A virus is a small program, application or script, that contains malicious code used without permission to self-replicate across your machine, modify data and therefore “infect” a given device. Due to this self-replication, a virus can spread rapidly infecting hundreds to thousands of files in a matter of seconds.
-One example of a virus is also classified as Ransomware. Once a machine becomes infected with this highly advanced and sophisticated virus, all user data is encrypted, rendering said data completely unusable and unrecoverable unless a ransom is paid and decryption key is provided. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that paying the ransom will restore your data to a useable state and in most cases, the data is completely destroyed and the machine must be wiped and rebuilt.

What are Viruses capable of?

While not all viruses are created equal, some are certainly more damaging than others. Here are just a few characteristics of a virus:
– Corruption of data
– Complete loss of data
– Stealing of cached information, such as usernames, passwords, banking information, etc. (identity theft)
– Attach to your personal and/or corporate address book, to send spam
– Spread to other machines and devices on the network, also resulting in corruption or total loss of data
– Significant amount of downtime, resulting in productivity and profit loss

What happens if I become infected?

Depending on the severity of the infection, many machines can be cleaned and returned to a normal, working state, without the need to wipe and rebuild. This
process can take several minutes to several hours depending on the extent of the infection. For highly infected machines, where system files, registry entries and other
data has been modified, the machines must be restored to a factory state to ensure the infection has been completely removed.

This can also take several hours to complete, depending on the degree of recovery and additional software that needs to be installed, as well as additional
configuration including joining the machine to the network, installing printers, configuring email, etc.

In more severe cases where multiple machines, including Servers, are infected, the recovery process can take several hours, to an entire day. There are many
variables that come into play when rebuilding a workstation, compared to restoring a Server from backups, which ultimately contributes to the total recovery time.
It is important to note, that even a single machine becoming infected can significantly and negatively impact overall productivity and more importantly,
profitability for the company.

How do I avoid becoming infected?

These are the most important steps you can follow to minimize risk as well as ensure you and your company remain productive and profitable while minimizing
downtime and added cost:

– Email
– If you don’t recognize the sender, DO NOT open the email under any circumstance.
– If you receive an expected or unexpected email from someone you know containing an attachment that when opened you receive any sort of alert, error, warning or notification, do not acknowledge the alert or click any buttons.
– Example: A Microsoft Word or Excel document, that prompts you to “Enable Macros” –Do Not  Enable-
– If you receive an email containing a link (in the body of the email) that you do not recognize or are not sure of, Do Not Click.
– If you receive an email with an attachment (Word, PDF, etc.) with a link embedded in that attachment, Do Not Click.
– If you receive an email with the subject line, “Invoice, USPS/UPS/FedEx Tracking Number, Order Number, Delivery Confirmation,” etc., Do Not Open.

– Websites
– Only visit known, good websites that you are familiar with.
– Avoid at all costs, any form of Adult or Torrent websites. Accessing these sites will expose your machine and the network you’re on to viruses and other malicious tasks.
– If you’re redirected to a different website than you intend to visit, close your web browser immediately. For example: You’re trying to visit, “msn.com” and are redirected to, “bestshoppingdeals.com”. This is a sign either a false link was clicked, a web address was misspelled or your machine is infected.
– When typing an address into the address or search bar, double check your spelling. Many malicious sites are based on commonly misspelled domains and can lead you to a malicious website causing your machine to become infected.
– Example: You type, “youutbe.com” and meant to type, “youtube.com”
– If you receive a pop-up while surfing the internet, do not acknowledge or click on any part of the pop-up. Many times these will advise you to download a piece of software to, “fix errors on your PC for free”, or “scan for viruses”, or ask you to “click here to claim your prize”. These are all scams attempting to entice you into vising a malicious site or spending $29.99 for a software download that will only cause more harm to your PC and your wallet. This is also known as “Scare-ware”.
– To close out of a website or pop-up that you’re unfamiliar with, Right Click the Task Bar > select Task Manager > Select the Application or Programs Tab > Select Internet Explorer, Firefox or Google Chrome > Select End Task

– Downloads
– Do not download or install 3rd party applications without permission from management or assistance from your IT provider.
– This will ensure that both the site and software are legitimate prior to download or installation.
– Unfortunately, many application installers will have other applications “bundled or attached” to the installation. This causes unwanted applications like toolbars, coupon printers and similar, to be installed without permission. Many times there is an option to opt-out of the bundled application installs, however this option is often well hidden.

– Passwords
– Use a strong password containing a combination of lowercase, uppercase, numbers and special characters that are a minimum of 8 characters in length.
– Never use a password that contains identifiable information about you that could be easily guessed by someone you know. For example: “Mary_1976” or “896MarcySt” or “Password1234” or “P@ssw0rd”
– Bizco is a proponent of the website http://correcthorsebatterystaple.net which helps you generate secure passwords.
– Change your password every 90 days.
– Never use the same password for multiple accounts.
– Example: Domain login credentials, banking accounts, personal email, etc. If an attacker has the credentials to access one site or device, they will likely try these elsewhere as well.
– Never store any login credentials or account information (via Excel, Word or Notepad), on your local machine.
– If your machine becomes infected, this information is fair game.

– Social Engineering
– If you receive a phone call from someone posing as “Microsoft”, “Apple” or “Google” etc., do not, under any circumstance, provide any information or give them access to your machine. Hang up immediately! This is becoming more common and unfortunately, many have fallen victim to not only their machines becoming infected, but their wallets being a few hundred dollars lighter. These types of callers will use scare tactics to lure you into providing personal information and gaining access to your machine.
– If you receive a call from anyone other than your primary IT provider (Bizco), offering any type of technical support services, do not under any circumstance, provide any information or give them access to your machine.

For more information call 402-323-4888 or email directsales@Bizco.com

By: James Dedrickson, Remote Engineer, Bizco Technologies

Why you’ll love the new Sharp AQUOS BOARD Interactive Display

Are you looking to make the change from analog to digital? We have the perfect seamless approach for you! There’s no denying the elite style the new Sharp AQUOS BOARD Interactive Display will bring to your office! Keeping your office and facility up to date can be challenging, but our experienced team of Audio Visual Designers and Project Managers are here to help you execute your dream plans!

Why is it the best?
• The interactive display seamlessly integrates with and leverages your existing infrastructure and software investments.
• It works great with your existing video conferencing and AV control systems.
• Directly annotate and save within PowerPoint without having to use or purchase a third party overlay or application.
• Up to 100 participants can view and participate in a presentation while in the same room or remotely through VPN using tablets, smartphones or computers.

With the Sharp AQUOS BOARD Interactive Display, you will have the top capabilities for your presentations. This is much more than your typical interactive white board. The highly responsive touch pens allow several people to write on the same touch screen at the same time, making collaboration a breeze. Partnered with the Sharp Touch Display Link Software, which enables multifaceted wireless communication, the AQUOS BOARD is the perfect tool of technology for you!
Interested in learning more? See the full details on why IT Professionals Love the Sharp AQUOS BOARD Interactive Display here! For more information feel free to call us at 402-323-4800 or email us at sales@Bizco.com.
By: Nate Wagner, Account Manager, Bizco Technologies

Natural disasters are not the main cause of data loss

People often think that it will be a weather related catastrophe that will bring down their network and cause data loss, however, a localized event is much more likely. In 2014, 88 percent of downtime was caused by isolated hardware failures or local power outages, not major destructive events such as fires and floods.

While you may think that you are immune from these issues, it is important to note that many businesses have a hard time recovering from the loss of income associated with a major data loss. In fact, according to the Red Cross, 40 percent of small businesses are so devastated after a major data loss that once they shut down, they never reopen.

My team can help you through a phased exploratory and developmental process to build your BCDR strategy. The outline shown here is a high level overview of our Bizco BCDR process. We look forward to the opportunity to come in and meet with you to discuss in more detail how the Bizco Team can help you protect your investments, employees and company with a BCDR plan tailored to your needs. Our goal at Bizco is to partner with you to evaluate your network and its vulnerabilities and then craft a unique BCDR (Business Continuity / Disaster Recovery) solution. Our preference is to focus on Business Continuity first, so that Disaster Recovery does not occur.

The Bizco BCDR Approach

Phase I–Complete BizAnalysis which would include reviewing all of your current equipment and processes to identify any weaknesses. Answering questions such as: Do you have redundancies in place for power outages? What type of on-going maintenance do you do to keep your network healthy and up and running? How will your employees work and keep the business running if they cannot get into the office?

Phase II–Complete a BizReview. During this meeting we would provide you with an overview of the findings from our analysis and provide solutions and timelines for suggested changes to insure your company is protected.

Phase III–Solution Implementation. After we have determined our plan we would work with you to communicate the integration of the new processes and technologies to your team. It is crucial that the entire organization is briefed on the new processes and how to react when a disaster incident occurs.

For more information call 402-323-4800 or email sales@bizco.com.

By: Brad Osborn, Service Manager, Bizco Technologies

Are your employees trained to avoid cybercrime?

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The estimated annual cost of cybercrime to the world economy in 2015 was $450 billion dollars. That is a staggering amount in losses. The most concerning aspect is that 90-95% of all successful cyber-attacks begin with a phishing email. It’s been estimated that around 156 million emails are sent each day, 16 million make it through the filters, and 800,000 of them are not only opened, but the phishing links are clicked, and out of those who clicked it is estimated that around 80,000 share compromising information. On top of this, each quarter some 250,000 new phishing URLs are identified.

 Whether it is for legal, audit, educational or security reasons, many organizations have enlisted security awareness training companies to help them reduce the risk of successful phishing attacks. With hundreds of millions of phishing emails being sent each day, it is an overwhelming endeavor on behalf of the defenders. Employees can be an effective line of defense if educated properly, and when data-driven analytics help direct appropriate training to the right audience.

 Utilizing security awareness training and phishing security tests can be a useful and effective tool to reduce unintentional insider threats. However, if robust metrics are not put in place to effectively gauge the click rate patterns from an employee perspective blind spots can be created. Meaningful phishing assessment metrics should go beyond the click rate, and understand human patterns relative to their job and work environment.

 The adage is true that the security systems have to win every time, the attacker only has to win once.

Contact Bizco today to set up awareness training for you team to avoid phishing attacks. Let us help you conquer cybercrime! Call 402.323.4828 for more information.

Subject Matter Expert Report: Nimble Storage

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Is your storage up to par?

By: Joe Heinzle, Senior Architect, Bizco Technologies

Storage demands in the modern business are growing faster than ever. Document imaging, photos, video and records retention are contributing to rapid storage consumption and inadequate storage performance impedes productivity.

What can it do for you?

  • Provides shared storage to leverage your multi-host virtual environment.
  • Predictive use algorithm speeds access to deliver near-SSD performance with low-cost SATA hard disk and make all-SSD systems even faster.
  • Compression and de-duplication technology reduces the storage footprint and reduce data-replication impact on networks.
  • Lowers TCO via upgradable hardware. No need to replace the entire systems as your storage needs grow.
  • InfoSight central management predicts and prevents issues that may lead to downtime. Measured 99.9999% uptime across the installed base.

A Nimble Storage Hybrid-SAN solution delivers high performance at a lower cost than any comparable traditional brute-force solution, even out-pacing solutions using all-SSD or high performance spinning disk to attain performance goals.

Nimble Storage leverages a combination of fast Solid State Disk (SSD) storage, data compression and low-cost SATA spinning disks to provide a hybrid solution that delivers performance comparable to systems using 100% SSD at a lower cost to all-SSD.

Adding more value to your business is 99.9999% uptime, data compression, data deduplication, hardware upgradability and InfoSight online support and management tools.

 

Nimble Storage also meets the needs of the large enterprise with all-SSD solutions and system expansion up to 3.5 petabytes of capacity while still delivering sub-millisecond access times.

 

Let Bizco Technologies’ engineering team assess your environment and recommend a storage solution that will meet your business needs. Contact us today at 402-323-4888, help@bizco.com or visit www.Bizco.com.

Panasonic Announces the NEW FZ-Q2 Semi-Rugged 2-in-1 Tablet

FZ-Q2

Panasonic introduces the FZ-Q2 the all-new 2-in-1 Toughpad, the latest addition to its industry leading Toughbook family. Panasonic, an industry leading manufacturer of mobile computing solutions that are purpose built for the way people work, the FZ-Q2 is purpose built from the inside out to provide the durability that mobile users need and Panasonic is known for.

This semi-rugged 12.5” tablet is the next generation product for the Toughpad FZ-Q1 tablet. Comes with the standard detachable keyboard, 4G connectivity and includes a field-serviceable solid-state drive )SSD) and battery to ensure the device has a long and stable life cycle. Designed for highly mobile field professionals where a consumer-grade device cannot deliver the durability or features needed for light duty field work.

The Q2 includes a shock-absorbing technology, a serviceable-battery, fan-less ridged-magnesium chassis design, three-year warranty and resistance to dust and dirt giving it durability and a low total cost of ownership. The Q2 tablet is the only one in its class with available 4G LTE multi carrier modem with satellite GPS-in. Unlike many customer grade tablets, the Q2 has integrated options for insertable or contactless SmartCard readers, a must have for many government and healthcare users.

“Our entire family of Toughbook products are engineered to meet the real world demands our customers face on a daily basis and in many of these environments, consumer devices simply fall short,” said Brian Rowley, Vice President of Marketing and Product Management, Panasonic System Communications Company of North America.“ With enterprise-grade features like a serviceable battery and 4G LTE connectivity, the Q2 delivers the features that users need and IT and finance operation managers appreciate, ensuring a longer product lifecycle and higher return on mobile computing investments.”

The FZ-Q2 2-in-1 combines advanced performance with a flexible form factor, equipped with the latest 6th Generation Intel Core m5 vPro processor, making it ideal for enterprise deployments. Features like dual band 4G LTE wireless ideal for field service and transportation applications that require reliable connectivity while retail customers can benefit from its rugged durability and desktop cradle solution for hybrid POS systems and back office environments. The FZ-Q2 can be safely sanitized with a disinfectant solution for home health and food service or inspection applications. Additionally, the Q2 is equipped with a unique HDMI-in feature for the cable industry and on-site diagnostics. Flexible form factor combined with true enterprise-grade features make the FZ-Q2 ideal for highly mobile jobs that demand a semi-rugged tablet.

The FZ-Q2 comes with a standard full sized backlit keyboard which is spill-resistant for easy completion of heavy data entry tasks and can easily be detached converting to a lightweight, portable tablet. The keyboard uses a direct (non-wireless) interface with the tablet to ensure reliable connectivity in a wide array of environments.

The Q2 built to withstand the daily wear and tear of any job, both in the office and out in the field. Powered by the latest Windows 10 Pro operating system, can withstand dust, drops and vibrations – the most common sources of damage or failure unlike the many delicately designed consumer tablets. The Q2 includes a field serviceable battery, significantly extending the economic life of the tablet, while consumer tables are not equipped with a replaceable battery, once their lifetime charging capability has been reached they are unusable.

Market Opportunities

The FZ-Q2, 2-in-1 tablet is fiercely positioned to go head-to-head against inadequate consumer tablets and 2-in-1 devices currently being used in the field. While other computer manufacturers frequently change their models, which can require IT departments to manage multiple hardware and software configurations and create more refresh cycles. Panasonic is constantly innovating to maintain a greater consistency among product models and life cycles. The end user will have fewer product repair issues, enterprise grade functionality and lower overall cost of ownership with the Toughpad Q2. The Toughpad FZ-Q2 ideal market opportunities with code enforcement, home healthcare services, auto dealerships, customer facing sales applications, transportation, in-home sales (i.e. home security systems companies) POS retail environments, architects, manufacturers, inspectors, aviation (electronic flight bag) small business applications and many more.

For more information on the new Panasonic Toughpad FZ-Q2 visit Toughonline.com or call 888-2B-TOUGH.

The Top 7 Benefits of Outsourcing your IT Department

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The main reason why small to medium-sized businesses outsource their information technology needs is frankly they want fewer headaches. Of course, this is oversimplified encapsulation of an extremely complex issue. When making the decision regarding whether or not to outsource your organization’s IT, you need to back it up with supporting evidence.

The complex environment of an IT department is made up of hardware, software, and computer networks that allow you to perform important business functions and work flows such as accounting and financial processes (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), email, and document creation.

The success of your company depends on being able to use these functions reliably and efficiently. For example, it is imperative for organizations to send and receive emails to communicate with clients, employees, partners and vendors – to fulfill product and service orders. How long can your business operate without such an important function? Additionally, you must be able to access customer information and financial data to run your business. And to protect these processes, there are many back-end functions that need to be performed including security, anti-virus protection, data backup & recovery, and server monitoring.

Is his large undertaking, feasible for a small to medium-sized business to totally take-on the tasks and responsibilities necessary to run its own IT department? Not without a sizeable commitment and investment in IT talent, infrastructure, money and time. Training IT staff, maintaining IT devices and keeping technology up-to-date are huge burdens for most small to medium-sized businesses.

Here is a list of the top seven benefits for outsourcing your IT department to an experienced and credentialed Managed Services Provider:

1. Control and Reduce Costs – When outsourcing your organization’s IT functions to a Managed Services Provider, you are can control costs by paying a set monthly fee, so you know what your expenditures are without fluctuation each month. You are also able to take advantage of their economies of scale, lower cost structures, and learned efficiencies and expertise. When you have your own IT department to fund and run, it can be extremely expensive. Qualified IT professionals must maintain their level of expertise as well as be adequately compensated.
Additionally, they offer cloud-hosted services where you can rent hardware such as servers, and even have them located offsite and monitored on a continual basis, which substantially lowers your total IT investment. All hardware has an “end-of-life” expiration for when its performance deteriorates, then fails and needs to be replaced. Cloud-hosted services allow you to control and predict these costs.

2. Focus on Your Business – Your organization may be a manufacturing, engineering, accounting, or construction firm, and that is your area of expertise, not information technology. Every company has limits to its resources, and a Managed Services Provider will let you redirect them from non-core activities toward activities that provide a greater return. Allowing a qualified Managed Services Provider to take care of your IT needs, frees up your resources to concentrate on areas that make you successful and grow your company.

3. Access to the Most Current Technology – A qualified Managed Services Provider brings world-class knowledge and experience to your organization on a continual basis, by highlighting new technologies and know-how that you may not have considered previously, as well as techniques and tools that you currently do not possess. Tried-and-true procedures and processes; documentation; and more structured methodologies are an example of such tools a Managed Services Provider can provide.

Continual testing, training and examinations are done constantly by the Managed Services Provider to keep their engineers up-to-date on the latest and greatest technologies. Managed Services Providers also bring a wide variety of IT professionals with different skills sets to take care of a number of situations. If you have your own IT staff, their skill set would be limited to their expertise and often times out of date.

4. 24/7/365 Monitoring of Your IT Environment – Even if you do have knowledgeable and qualified IT professionals on staff, with a limited number of staff, it would not be reasonable to have them monitor your IT environment every hour of the day, and every day of the year. Having a qualified Managed Services Provider that have the tools and staff to do this, and can foresee serious issues with your IT environment and can fix them before downtime occurs. They would be able to advise you on necessary future upgrades to avoid any future downtime. Are your servers more than three years old? Are you using an operating system that is no longer supported? A trusted Managed Services Provider can also take care of day-to-day tasks such as software updates and patches, anti-virus updates, data backups, and inventory auditing and control.
5. Minimize Risk – Having an experienced Managed Services Provider keep your day-to-day IT environment up-to-date easily and effortlessly by automating the process using specialized tools. They are responsible for verifying that backups are working, pushing out patches, and auditing inventory to minimize the risk of catastrophic occurrences.
They also take on the responsibility of being alerted of unpredictable circumstances such as backup and hardware failures, database corruptions, software crashes, and virus and spyware intrusions, acting quickly to prevent downtime. A limited in-house IT staff may not be able to respond and take care of the problem as quickly, leading to extended downtime, putting productivity at risk.
And with their expertise, you reduce the risk of making a wrong decision because of any lack of technical experience.
6. Strategic Consulting and Future IT Planning – With years of experience working with different companies and industries, as well as keeping current with the latest technology, a qualified Managed Services Provider will advise companies on their future IT requirements. This is done by evaluating the company’s growth and accompanying IT needs, whether the company plans to move or expand, or enter into new markets.
Technology is constantly changing, and it is difficult to ascertain what a company will need in the future and how those needs will translate into dollars. By partnering with a Managed Services Provider, uncertainties become more predictable.
7. Increased Productivity – Because of all of the above benefits, your organization will be able to lower its costs and focus on its core competencies. Having a qualified Managed Services Provider predict, prevent and quickly respond to serious issues that lead to catastrophic failures and extended downtime. Moreover, you will be using the most current technology that enhances your success and makes you more competitive. With first-class technology, you can streamline processes and make them more efficient and productive, and your company will also be able to take advantage of opportunities more quickly.
If you are considering partnering with a Managed Services Provider to take care of your IT needs, contact Bizco Technologies. We provide managed IT services to several companies with offices in Lincoln, Omaha, NE and Clearwater, FL. For more information visit our website Bizco.com or  call 402-323-4800 or  email sales@bizco.com.