Managed Service Feedback and Why it’s Important

Managed Service Feedback and Why it’s Important

What is Managed Services Feedback? 

After your ticket is closed by a Managed Services Engineer, you will receive an email asking for your feedback.  The feedback asks one question “How did we do on this request?” It provides you with three faces to choose from and an ability to add comments if you want but is not required. (Need to look in to changing request to ticket)

Why is the feedback so important? 

We love hearing from you, the customer, on how your experience was on your ticket.  This feedback is used to better your experience with CIT and the Managed Services Team.

How are we utilizing your feedback? 

This is used to create and update policies and procedures. It is also used to reflect on how our engineers are doing.  All feedback is reviewed by the Managed Services Leadership Team and the engineer you worked with.

When is it important to provide feedback?  

All feedback is beneficial to our team and the improvement of Managed Services. We especially like to hear when you are satisfied with your support or when you feel there are improvements to be made.

Feedback is by far the most important thing you can do to help us best support you.  We strongly believe some of the best conversations with customers come from these feedback calls. A member of the Managed Service Leadership Team will call on all neutral and negative feedback. This gives us an opportunity to work together to understand what happened and how to make changes moving forward. We understand that everyone is busy, but we greatly value this form of communication and love to hear from you.

Thank You,

Manage Services Leadership Team

Born and Raised in Minnesota

Born and Raised in Minnesota

Driving along Interstate 90 in Southern Minnesota is probably one of the less scenic drives of your life. Yes, there’s corn, oh and soybeans, and maybe a windmill or two. It’s all different kinds of green. As you cruise west from Albert Lea (definitely not speeding) you’ll come across Sherburn, MN. It’s got the quintessential Minnesota small-town vibe. Yes, that includes the gas station that serves as the one-stop shop for the town. Where that bright and shiny station now stands once was a family restaurant. In the basement of that restaurant is where our CEO & President, Kyle Etter, got his start.

As we look forward to our new location in Rochester, MN we also look back to why southern Minnesota? Well, because southern Minnesota shaped Kyle’s values and passions. Before he was deep in the technology trenches, he washed dishes at his parent’s restaurant – starting at the age of 8.

While, yes, it means that he has a work ethic that puts most of us that are heavily caffeinated to shame (although you rarely see him without a source of caffeine…) the emphasis was on connecting with those who came in and being an integral part of the community. That feeling of being somewhere where everyone knows your name (bonus points if you just say that.) Feeling acknowledged and important, checking in, and staying after the food was gone to enjoy the company. Just spend an afternoon with Kyle’s dad, Bill – he can tell you to this day the details of who ran what business in town and what was going on in someone’s life or who was getting into trouble. Getting to know someone on that deep, personal level is something that we’ve seen Kyle bring to Computer Integration Technologies, Inc., (CIT). Ask him about any customer’s network – he can not only tell you every in and out, but he can also tell you about those business owners and what makes them great.

Being part of a small business was not new to the Etter family. Those stories about small towns where everyone knows everyone and all the businesses are run by those neighbors? That’s where Kyle’s beginnings come from. His grandparents owned the hotel, restaurant, and dress shop in Madelia, MN, and cybersecurity wasn’t even a thought in anyone’s brain. While technology has evolved, the core values of small businesses and the hardworking people behind them are much the same.

When Kyle became the CEO & President in 2020 (after starting in 1992 at CIT as a tech) the first initiative with leadership was to establish core values – People, Passion, Integrity, Culture, and Solutions.

In today’s business landscape IT companies can feel like Starbucks in Seattle – one on every street. So when Kyle set the plan in motion for CIT to expand he went with a community that reminded him of his upbringing. The cornfields, the small businesses where everyone knows your name, and yes, Interstate 90. Rochester is a community that is so unique and yet has retained its small-town values. You still get to feel connected and keep up with what is going on with the other local businesses. You still have the amazing locally owned and run business, and we are honored to have a new location in an incredible community.

Join Kyle on September 30th from 9 am-5 pm at our Rochester Open House.

Can’t make it? We’d love to connect with you 507.513.7810

Cybersecurity for the Small Business

Cybersecurity for the Small Business

Cybersecurity for the Small Business

Last year in the United States there were 65,000 ransomware attacks- over 7 per hour- and experts say it will most likely get worse before it gets better. In a study conducted in 2020 by Cloudwards, over 51% of businesses were hit by ransomware in 2020, and the estimate for 2021 is every 11 seconds a company will get hit.

The White House warned American businesses last week they should be taking urgent security measures to protect against these attacks, as most companies are ill-equipped to afford the disruption to their business or paying the ransom outright. 2019 saw a sharp increase in the cost of a ransomware attack, up from $6,000 in 2018 to $84,000 by the end of the year. These costs neglect to factor in things like lost opportunities, reduced production, rebuilding infrastructure after an attack, and loss of reputation.

With ransomware impacting large companies and government resources, what are smaller businesses to do to help protect themselves? All is not lost and there are several ways small to medium-sized businesses can help secure their networks.

Use a VPN and review firewall rules

Your firewall is the first line of defense to your network, make sure your company is using a VPN client for remote connections and review the access rules at minimum once a year to ensure only desired traffic is allowed in.

Apply multi-factor authentication whenever possible

Multifactor (MFA) or two-factor (2FA) authentication takes passwords to the next level. Instead of just relying on a username and password (something you know), now a token (something you have) is also applied to accounts to keep them safe from phishing or brute-force attacks. MFA or 2FA should be applied everywhere possible, including your VPN and email accounts.

Keep systems up to date

Apply vendor patches as soon as they are released and have been tested to prevent recent exploits from targeting your systems. Maintain a regular patch cycle and always apply emergent releases as soon as feasibly possible.

Backup systems off-site

One tactic ransomware threat actors will deploy is deleting backups before encrypting files. Having daily backups that are stored off-site and encrypted with a password not used anywhere else on the network can help reduce that possibility. Be sure to check backups regularly to ensure you could revert to them if needed.

Get additional visibility

You can’t protect what you can’t detect. Having a security toolset like a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solution provides additional visibility and can aggregate information from network devices such as firewalls, switches, endpoint detection, and cloud activity in a single pane of glass that is easy to review. A basic SIEM solution doesn’t have to break the bank but can offer valuable visibility into how all the parts and pieces of the network work together and highlight if and when a breakdown occurs.

Many companies have been increasingly turning to cyber insurance to help with incidents -but many industry experts are now discouraging payments as they only fuel further nefarious behavior. One insurance company in France, among Europe’s top five insurers, has stated they will no longer reimburse their customers for extortion payments made to ransomware criminals.

Make sure you secure your network to prevent your company from becoming a statistic, and please do not hesitate to reach out if you need any assistance. We offer a no-cost Gap Analysis to help you review your current state of business as well as offer suggestions as to what your company is doing right and what your company could improve on to increase your security posture and stance.

https://www.npr.org/2021/06/09/1004684788/u-s-suffers-over-7-ransomware-attacks-an-hour-its-now-a-national-security-risk

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/international/2021/05/09/613255.htm

What is Managed Services?

What is Managed Services?

In the past 5 years the Google search “What is Managed Services?” has steadily been on the rise. Is it something in healthcare? A technology concierge? Andrew, our Managed Services Sales Engineer, sat down to give us a little clarity on the subject.

Ever since computers were invented, people needed to support them. These IT professionals needed to be sitting in front of the computer to solve the issue. As technology has processed, so have the tools to support that technology. Thanks to a complete Managed Services toolset, IT professionals can work on different issues on devices in multiple locations from one spot.

Managed Services (MS) has been able to consolidate and automate many of the tasks IT professionals used to perform manually.

MS is usually provided through a program installed on computers called an agent. The agent performs many active tasks like Windows update patching, anti-virus (AV) installation, and updates, providing a security support tunnel, and scheduled reboots. The agent generates alerts for devices that information IT pros if there is an issue with the device.

The toolset is not only limited to workstations and servers. MS includes everything from security monitoring and prevention, backup monitoring and disaster recovery solutions, password management systems, network device monitoring, and more!

Managed services aren’t just for big businesses with thousands of devices. MS can be implemented in any size organization, and with a full staff of IT professionals, MS providers can provide a full outsourced IT solution.

Andrew is currently our Managed Services Sales Engineer. He has been working in the IT industry for over 10 years and joined the CIT t team in 2016. When not working on IT, Andrew spends time with his wife and son in beautiful River Falls, WI.

How Can I Recover Lost Data? Your Guide to Data Recovery

How Can I Recover Lost Data? Your Guide to Data Recovery

We’ve all been there – the moment you hit delete and the panic sets in. Data protection is a key component of IT and can be simple with the right solution. Many times the focus of the protection is to just have a backup but the real focus should be on the ability to recover. Having a copy of your data without the ability to restore it in the time required is often not discovered until it is too late. 

Your data recovery plan should start with a solution that includes:

  1. Your recovery time (how fast do I need to back up and running).
  2. Your recovery point (how far back in time can the business afford to lose data).
  3. The ability and is tested on an annual basis.  
  4. The solution should also take into account different types of recovery from a single file recovery, entire system recovery, or entire site recovery.  

Solutions are available that can provide reliable backups that also include offsite replication and resources that allow for recovery both locally and remotely. 

Remote Work is Here to Stay – Top 3 Technology Solutions

Remote Work is Here to Stay – Top 3 Technology Solutions

Remote work has never been more mainstream than today. The pandemic shifted many jobs to remote, and as this shift occurred many workers have found that they prefer the remote place so much more so than the traditional office that they are willing to quit their current job if forced to return to the traditional setting.

Many companies also have seen an increase in productivity and lower operational expenses. So it is safe to say that remote workers will continue to be a larger part of the workforce going forward. Technology solutions have adapted, expanded, and exploded over the last year to address this shift.

The Top 3 Solutions for Your Remote Workforce

Microsoft Teams / Zoom Video Conference and Voice Solutions

It is no surprise that over the last year the number of video calls and meeting has exploded. These solutions have transformed what it means to have a meeting and also provide faster collaboration and unification of allowing your phone calls and video calls to handle by one platform

Modern Desktop

A modern desktop means that a remote employee’s laptop or desktop can be authenticated, managed and secured over the internet without a direct connection back to a corporate office.     This means that compliance, remote support and device maintenance can be handled with nothing more than connectivity to the internet. This solution also allows for high level of self-service IT to allow users to stay productive even outside of normal business hours with self-recovery and deployment capabilities.

Cloud-Enabled applications

The shift to cloud enabled applications has been occurring for a number of years. For a remote work force to be highly productive business need to look at their core applications and consider moving to applications that are internet facing and provide the ability to access without the need to connect via VPN etc. back to a corporate environment. This allows for work anytime/anyplace capability to have a ultra-productive remote workforce.

Tips to Collaborate Remote and On-Site

A man and woman sitting at a small high-top table with their laptops and coffee mugs.

Collaborating While Working From Home Using Technology

It’s critical to get the most out of online meetings today given frequent distractions, meeting fatigue, and multi-tasking.

  • By treating meetings as a series of connections and considering what happens before, during, and after a meeting, the conversation becomes more effective.
  • Before the meeting, keep the preparation for content, context, and conversation in one place with persistent conversation and shared files.
  • During the meeting, help focus attention, drive engagement, and foster inclusion using background blur, Microsoft Whiteboard, digital hand raising, and live captions.
  • After the meeting, store and share relevant assets including the recording, chat, meeting notes, and transcript in a persistent conversation.

Want to know more about how to make technology work more effectively for your remote or hybrid workforce? Check out more about Training.

CIT is Blue Diamond Partner Status with Datto

Providing Business Computer Backup for Minnesota and Wisconsin

WHY DOES CIT PARTNER WITH DATTO?

Together with Datto, we provide Total Data Protection from IT disasters, human error, and malicious activity — making your business invincible, secure, and instantly restorable at any time.

Datto gives you complete backup, recovery, and business continuity solutions that are built for businesses of every size, regardless of infrastructure. Datto products are built specifically for the Channel with scalable storage options, predictable cloud pricing, and 24/7/365 support.

Datto products feature award-winning technology, includingDatto’s purpose-built cloud, Instant Virtualization, Inverse Chain Technology™, Screenshot Backup Verification™, and End-to-End Encryption.

Datto defines innovation, once again.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CIT BEING A DATTO BLUE DIAMOND PARTNER FOR YOUR BUSINESS?

You can expect:

  • Priority handling of support cases
  • Opportunity for more efficient ticket resolution
  • Advanced customer experience with CIT connected to a dedicated Datto Blue Diamond Support Team

Darktrace Partner of the Year 2020

darktrace and cit security solutions

Darktrace Partner of the Year 2020

Why Does CIT Partner with Darktrace as a Cybersecurity Solution?

“Darktrace provides us peace of mind, allowing us to better sleep at night because we know that our customers and our own internal systems are protected. With Darktrace Antigena constantly running in the background—on nights, weekends, and holidays—we are secured against even the nastiest zero day exploits.”

– Todd Sorg, CISO & vCIO, CIT

What is Darktrace?

World leaders in Autonomous Cyber AI

The Darktrace Immune System is the world’s leading autonomous cyber defense platform. Its award-winning Cyber AI protects your workforce and data from sophisticated attackers, by detecting, investigating, and responding to cyber-threats in real-time — wherever they strike

Click here to learn more about Cybersecurity Solutions!

2021 Password Tips

2021 Password Best Practices

Passwords – Is mine strong enough?  How do I know?  

Every time I write a password article I feel as if this subject has already been done to death by me and others.  But I always get more positive feedback on this subject than others I consider more interesting, so we offer the following suggestions:

  • Use different passwords for personal and work systems.  That way if you are cracked one place, the other is still secure.
  • If you write down and save your passwords, you are better off using paper or a notebook than recording them in an Excel spreadsheet.  If your computer is hacked, that spreadsheet is toast. Store your notebook were it is not easily accessed by someone else.
  • Change your passwords periodically.  That way if yours are stolen off a web server and sold on a list somewhere, they won’t be useful to the bad guys for very long.
  • Longer passwords are better because most passwords are solved using computers and software that makes millions of guesses per second.  At ten or more characters, it would take a machine over a hundred years to solve using current techniques.
  • Use a different password for every device or website
  • Use multi-factor authentication (MFA) whenever it is available.
  • Avoid creating or using shared accounts.  If you don’t share your toothbrush with this person, why would you share your login credentials?
  • Always change the default password when setting up new devices.  Default user names and passwords are easily found online, on the manufacturer’s support site as well as websites that aggregate this information in a single list.  (Check out www.defaultpassword.com)

While that may not be all of the best ideas, it is certainly enough of them.  If you were only going to pick one of them, choose the last one.