The Worst Cyber Attacks in History (So Far) and What We Can Learn

In 2017, the world experienced some of the largest and most dangerous cyber attacks in recent history.

The numbers are staggering: 

  • 143,000 million: the number of consumers affected by Equifax breach.
  • 3 billion: the number of people whose Yahoo email accounts were reportedly compromised. While the Yahoo! breaches occurred in 2013 and 2014, Yahoo! only disclosed the 3 billion number in October of 2017.

Top 10 IT Budgeting Tips for SoCal Businesses in 2018

As we head towards the fourth quarter, budgets are top of mind, especially in the tech forward state of California. Technology innovation continues to evolve, and as you set growth goals for 2018, it’s imperative to adjust your IT budget accordingly.

IT budgets are expected to grow 4.5% this year, Morgan Stanley said in its report, “CIO Survey: 2017 IT Budgets Improve on US Strength.” The top spending priorities include cloud computing, security software, analytics tools, networking equipment and ERP and CRM applications.

How can you accurately forecast without overestimating? What percentage should go towards maintenance versus innovation? If you’re feeling overwhelmed as budget deadlines approach, you’re not alone.

Here are 10 IT budgeting tips to help simplify the process:

The 4 Major Misconceptions SoCal Businesses Have About Their Security in the Cloud

Do you worry about data security in the cloud? If so, you’re not alone.

Or maybe you don’t worry enough.

Sometimes, when you don’t have physical control over your data, you start to question exactly how secure it is and whether your privacy is protected. What business owners may not understand, though, is the cloud provides many security benefits.

There’s one serious caveat though: As long as your cloud service partner is best in class, consistent updates and new tools continue to make the cloud one of the safest places to house your data. Otherwise, the cloud can be riddled with risk.

The 2017 Gartner Security Predictions Study states, “the 60% of enterprises that implement appropriate cloud visibility and control tools will experience one-third fewer security failures.” The key word being “appropriate.”

 

Legacy Telephony Technologies Get Swept Aside as VoIP Continues to Reap High Adoption Levels

 

Landlines for both businesses and consumers are becoming more and more a “thing of the past.” Industry and government reports show that VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) technology services are becoming the preferred standard for businesses.  Likewise, on the consumer side, trends show that for the first time ever, in US households, landlines are now in the minority and mobile phones are the primary form of communication.

Upshot — lots of news in the telephony arena – let’s take a look:

DiamondIT Adds Account Manager

Telecom, Customer Service Highlight Carpenter’s career

Bakersfield, CA – (5/25/17) -– DiamondIT, a premier regional technology services organization in central and southern California, is enhancing its team of IT experts with the addition of Chad Carpenter, who will be filling the role of Account Manager for DiamondIT.

“Chad brings a wealth of knowledge to DiamondIT that will help us give our clients the competitive advantage they need in today’s technology-driven economy,” said Matt Mayo, DiamondIT CEO.

Carpenter’s 16-year technology career includes 13 years in telecommunications, sales at Ricoh Business Systems, and many years of dedicated customer service. He holds an associate’s degree in business administration from Bakersfield College.

With extensive knowledge of all facets of the telecom field, Carpenter will work with the DiamondIT team to deliver top-quality, personalized technology solutions for California businesses in the Bakersfield region.

Carpenter and his wife of 16 years have a son, 14, and a daughter, 11. Carpenter coaches local ice hockey and lacrosse teams and is a Ronald McDonald House volunteer.

For more information on DiamondIT, visit our website or call us at (877) 716–8324.

Check us out on social: Facebook LinkedIn YouTube Twitter

 

Matt Mayo

DiamondIT

(877) 716-8324

matt.mayo@diamondit.pro

 

About DiamondIT: #DiamondIT was originally established in 1997 as a hardware reseller and grew by capturing large computer hardware and software contracts throughout California. As the industry changed, Diamond Technologies rebooted itself in 2005. The new Diamond Technologies, Inc. emerged as an IT consulting, support and training organization specializing in all facets of business technology with an emphasis on solutions, not products. DiamondIT works with different and unique organizations to deliver technology solutions just as unique and customized to every specific need.

Alexander Claytor Joins DiamondIT as Sales Engineer

Claytor Brings Years of Enterprise-Level Expertise

Bakersfield, CA – (5/25/17) -– DiamondIT is proud to announce the latest addition to our team of sales engineers, Alexander Claytor. Mr. Claytor joins an already stellar team of sales engineers who provide DiamondIT clients with IT management, consulting, support and training.

Originally from Anguilla, British West Indies, Mr. Claytor attended The Master’s Institute of Technology with a focus on Computer Systems Administration. For almost 20 years, Mr. Claytor has been mastering enterprise-level IT infrastructure. For the past several years, he has been primarily focused on Industrial IT systems architecture and security (ICS/SCADA). Having previously owned multiple businesses, he consulted for some of the largest corporations in the world. He is most at home doing research and development and being out in the field supervising deployment and commissioning of infrastructure.

“Alexander Claytor is a seasoned and talented professional who has a vast knowledge of the technology industry. He is a valuable addition to the DiamondIT team, and I look forward to working with him on our unique and customized technology solutions for every specific need,” said Matt Mayo, DiamondIT CEO.

Continually improving his education and keeping in pace with the speed of technology, Mr. Claytor holds certifications in U.S. DoHS 100W & 210W for Control Systems, Wonderware App Server & InTouch for Sys. Platform 2014, MCSE and CCNA.

When not working, or improving his IT knowledge base, Mr. Claytor spends time with his family. His hobbies and passions include muscle cars and antique wooden sailing yachts.

For more information on DiamondIT, visit our website or call us at (877) 716–8324.

Check us out on social: Facebook LinkedIn YouTube Twitter

 

Matt Mayo

DiamondIT

(877) 716 – 8324

matt.mayo@diamondit.pro

 

About DiamondIT: #DiamondIT was originally established in 1997 as a hardware reseller and grew by capturing large computer hardware and software contracts throughout California. As the industry changed, Diamond Technologies rebooted itself in 2005. The new Diamond Technologies, Inc. emerged as an IT consulting, support and training organization specializing in all facets of business technology with an emphasis on solutions, not products. DiamondIT works with different and unique organizations to deliver technology solutions just as unique and customized to every specific need.

Tehachapi Police Department Installs New Call Center and Enters a New Phase of Technology

When Chief of Police, Kent Kroeger, first came on the job in 2014 at the Tehachapi Police Department, he was determined to make immediate changes and upgrades to station’s IT infrastructure.  At the time, Chief Kroeger said the Tehachapi Police Department or TPD, located in California, was operating without the modern conveniences that other law enforcement agencies were using such as a modern call center or outfitting police vehicles with the latest mobile computers.  In addition, the TPD was outsourcing its dispatch center to another nearby police department – a cost that was becoming prohibitive.

Developing an IT Infrastructure to Fit Your Business Needs  in 2017:  A Discussion with Matt Mayo, CEO, DiamondIT

Today there are many slick commercials and advertisements with smart-looking individuals holding tablets and working away using the newest technology to grow their businesses.  There are slogans suggesting that organizations who procure the latest applications and hardware are the ones that become more productive…more successful.  While these technical ads may be true to a point, there are many organizations in the real world that still struggle to determine the most practical, budget-friendly yet effective IT infrastructure.   Everyone wants to work smarter.  Everyone wants to have a safe and secure network.  But not everyone knows how.

We sat down with Matt Mayo, CEO of DiamondIT, and asked him how businesses and organizations can get the most out of their IT in 2017.  matt-mayo

As a solution provider with offices in Bakersfield and Los Angeles, California, DiamondIT works with a number of businesses and organizations in a multitude of industries from healthcare to education and has great insight into the needs of the business end-user.

Below is part one of Matt’s interview discussing the latest trends in IT for 2017.

The Most Popular Apps Being Downloaded by Professionals: IT Pros Need to Communicate to Ensure Safety and Productivity of Apps

There was a time when employees were told which software and applications to use (and not use) in the office – and regardless of the efficacy of the products, employees worked on software that may not have been updated in years.  Today, there is a growing trend of professionals in multiple industries who wish to download the applications of their choice onto their mobile devices.  Many of these applications can be for traveling, expense reporting, and other duties.

Experts in technology attribute this change in worker’s attitudes to the iPad which made its debut 7 years ago. The iPad “consumerized” technology and gave people a sense of IT-freedom.  HR executives, according to Forbes, say that letting employees have more control over their work tools can be a powerful motivation to work smarter.

smb

 

That said, while workers want to choose their apps, many organizations are asking their employees to partner with their IT departments to ensure that the company network and data remain secure.  This is especially important if employees download applications directly onto work-related smartphones, tablets, and laptops.  Companies need to manage their mobile devices and make sure their IT infrastructure can support the application.

All I Want for the Holidays: DiamondIT Engineers Discuss Their Favorite Business and “Fun” Technologies for 2017

Every holiday season, technology analysts and reporters write up seemingly hundreds of articles about their business technology picks for the New Year.  But what about the people who are on the front lines, working with customers on creating a seamless, working IT infrastructure?  These are the strategists – charged with deploying the servers, next-gen firewalls, security features – everything to help a business run smoothly.

We asked some of our DiamondIT engineers what business technologies would they recommend to their customers in 2017? But life is not just about work – so we also wanted to know, what “fun” cool, tech gadgets would DiamondIT engineers recommend as well (and by the way, some of these tech toys have serious business purposes as well!)

Steve Davis, Senior Systems Engineer

Steve Davis, Senior Systems Engineer

Let’s explore the business side first:

Windows Server 2012/2016:

Still using Windows Server 2003 or 2008?  Well, Steve Davis, senior systems engineer and Cody Cooper, senior support engineer would like to see organizations upgrade to Windows Server 2012/2016.  While Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 were solid products, Windows 2003 has been completely unsupported since July 2015 and Windows 2008 R2 left mainstream support in 2015 and is on extended support until 2020 (meaning no updates aside from security patches).

Many years later, Microsoft has made major changes that are more suited to the 2016/17 world.  For instance, Windows Server 2012/2016 has revamped its security options to become a more holistic product suited to today’s threat landscape.  In addition, Windows Server 2012/2016 offers more affordable options for storage.  One of the main benefits is the ability to deploy Microsoft’s Hyper-V for virtualization purposes.

More IT Security Training:

Security is one of the top IT concerns today, ranking up there with the top threats in the United States.  IT experts caution that data breaches are not a matter of “if” but when.  Since cybercriminals are out in force, Cody says, “All employees of an organization should receive annual security training.” Cody noted that often workers are responsible for many of the vulnerabilities that occur.  After all, it is not hard, even for a tech-savvy employee, to accidently click on rogue emails and links, exposing their business networks to data breaches and viruses.

Cody points out that while “bring your device” BYOD is a windfall for businesses – saving companies lots of money on hardware costs — it is also a policy that needs to be instituted with guidelines or policies.  These BYOD policies are intended to instruct employees on which websites and applications are appropriate for use on their personal devices when connected to the work VPN.

 

Cody Cooper, Senior Support Engineer

Cody Cooper, Senior Support Engineer

Most organizations that implement strict BYOD policies do very well in keeping their networks safe.

Cody says that annual IT training can be helpful in educating employees about how to identify strange emails or counterfeit websites.  “Today’s cybercriminals are savvy, and counterfeit websites can look a lot like the real thing,” says Cody.

The cool tech gadgets for 2017!

Here’s the deal – business technology is interesting and helpful, but sometimes a techy just needs to have some fun.  DiamondIT employees love creative and fun technology products from drones to smart watches.  Here is what they are hoping for this holiday season:

Virtual Reality (or VR):

vr

DiamondIT employees, including both Cody and Steve, need some VR time! There are a ton of virtual reality products out there ready at all price points, including Oculus, Samsung, PLAYSTATION 4 and many others. What is so amazing, is that simple lightweight hardware devices such as visors/goggles or even Cardboard  (Google Cardboard that is) and your phone, can transport you from your living room to a battle with a dinosaur; a gun fight in the old west; the feeling of being atop a sky scraper with scary views that look as if you are hundreds of feet high.

If you are wondering if VR has a place in businesses – the answer is YES! There are myriad of ways to incorporate VR into the workplace. For instance, meetings and conferences can be turned into virtual off-sights, whisking workers to an exotic location for a fraction of the cost and travel time, according to Successful Meetings Magazine.  Immersive sales videos are another way to use VR technology in the business world. Imagine walking a job site, reviewing the interior and exterior of a car, or doing a museum tour without leaving your office or home!

Smart Devices: 

internet-of-things-pros-cons

Cody does not want to get up from his couch this holiday season and apparently, millions are in synch with that.  The “Internet of Things” (IOT), is a term that refers to how everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data.  This IOT technology has created smart devices ranging from talking refrigerators to just pushing buttons to have your Hulu or NetFlix appear – without having to scroll on your television screen or even get up from the couch. And now we can talk to our devices through the likes of Siri, Alexa, and Cortana.

IOT is not just a hit in the consumer world creating fun gadgets that offer updates and information, but its business applications are endless.  In the health world, TechTarget says that devices such as heart and biochip monitors are improving the way doctors are receiving information from their patients (both humans and animals).  Connected traffic signals to “smart” production services in factories are changing and improving the ways people work and travel.

So, if you have a couch potato only willing to press a few buttons while taking off for the holidays, like Cody, then just know, the technology they are using to “rest” is also being used to make a better world.

Drones:

Today your child and “adult kid” can purchase fairly sophisticated drones from about $35 to $1,000 depending on capabilities, size, and design.  These flying machines can reach heights and distances that can wow even the most cynical.  Why a drone?  Well, most people think drones are about spying on people, which is right, but there are other applications as well.  For instance, the new camera options can take pictures from many different views – even from angles and distances you could never go.

drone-2

These flying machines can reach heights and distances that can wow even the most cynical.  Why a drone?  Well, most people think drones are about spying on people, which is right, but there are other applications as well.  For instance, the new camera options can take pictures from many different views – even from angles and distances you could never go.

The business applications for drones are endless.  Yes, government agencies can use them for spying purposes, but many industries such as engineering, construction, and others use the flying camera devices for photos and data collection that can be used for analytical and planning purposes. Drones will also help Virtual Reality designers incorporate real world visuals into the Virtual worlds users will experience – whether walking, running or jumping.

If a drone is on your holiday list, be sure to fully research local and federal laws concerning the operation of a drone in your area. Personal and commercial use of drones may require special licensing.

Wearable Tech: Smart Watches

David Rice, the COO for DiamondIT, has his own favorite “fun tech gadget:” smart watches. The most famous of the smart watches are from Apple.

apple-watch

The newer versions of the watch, the  Apple Watch Series 2 with built-in GPS, lets you leave your iPhone at home when you go for a run or ride — and still measure your workout accurately, for instance.  While the charging time is only a few hours, battery life is typically less than 24 hours. LG also came out with a “smart watch.”  According to Wired, “…the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition is LG’s sleeker, higher-end lineup of smartwatches…and it doesn’t need your phone to connect to the Internet. It does that through a built-in radio, which can connect to LTE and 3G.” David said he is sticking to his FitBit Surge activity tracker/watch until the “smarter” watches have a battery life of a week or more.

The business applications for smart watches are many, from looking fashion forward to using the watch’s applications for work.  You can check travel times and updates on the watch, as well as share work with colleagues by downloading such apps as Slack and even Microsoft’s One Drive.

Whatever your tech desires are for 2017, DiamondIT wishes you happy holidays and a wonderful 2017. Just remember to use good digital safety-sense like changing the default password on that new IoT device!