Is Your Security Plan Ignoring a Fundamental Threat?

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Physical security is one aspect of security that can often be overlooked in favor of other complex threats like data and cyber security. Physical and environmental security is often relegated to the realm of secondary concerns; however, this domain is essential to any comprehensive security plan, and is dangerous to overlook.

Physical thefts, environmental breaches and insider threat are often the result of a lack of surveillance or inadequate intruder detection. While these breaches often involve a breach of systems as well, they are enabled by physical security lapses.

The bottom line: You have to pay attention to logical security threats, but overlooking physical security will put your company at risk.


Did You Know?

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Physical Security Is Vital to Every Industry

  • Education: In schools across the country physical security has become essential. Video surveillance increases security in schools, preventing trespassing, theft, and break-ins. Through video surveillance schools are also able to monitor students, staff, parents, and visitors entering and exiting the building.

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  • Healthcare: For hospitals and other healthcare facilities physical security has become necessary to increase security and mitigate liability. Video surveillance provides earlier situational awareness to help officials plan a response to any incident, especially in prevention of crime and monitoring visitor and patient movements.

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  • In the last year, healthcare facility violent crime rate went up 25% while the rate of disorderly conduct increased 40%.
  • Retail: In a retail environment physical security solutions like video surveillance can help identify and deter assailants and reduce shoplifting. On the corporate level surveillance reduces criminal threats, discourages insider threats, protects liability, and can even lower insurance costs.

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  • Financial: Security is an integral part of every aspect of finance and banking, and mitigates many of the risks in the industry. Comprehensive solutions incorporating video surveillance prevent break-ins and robberies as well as internal fraud.

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  • Government: Government security surveillance ensures public safety, minimizes security threats, deters criminal activity, and reduces liability for government entities. Cameras establish a secure environment at government buildings and facilities and can be used to provide temporary security at special events as well.

Synetra understands that the threat of a physical security breach is a modern business reality for every industry.

Are you protected?

Consider physical security an investment in your organization’s future—schedule your security assessment with Synetra today.

Schedule Now

Synetra Supports Technology Literacy (and Tech Fun!) in Our Community

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In just a decade, today’s learners—from elementary to high school—will enter the workforce. Those who are given the opportunity to utilize technology in their learning environments today, will thrive tomorrow as digitally skilled professionals. As a modern society, we should do everything we can to prepare our young people with technology literacy so that they can thrive in the future economy. We should ensure that in our own community, all students have access to technology or IT education so that they are prepared to enter the next generation workplace. We also need to arm them with knowledge of technology and internet safety. Technology is now, more than ever, the way of the world, and we should prepare our inherently tech-savvy learners for a future of university and career possibilities, many of which will directly or indirectly involve IT.

As IT professionals, our team at Synetra has a real opportunity to be educators in our community and prepare this growing tech generation for fulfilling careers that are bound to be technology driven. Specifically, we believe in doing our part so that students who are interested in pursuing technology in their education are given opportunities to learn all of its foundations—IT, data, and security—and see it at work in their daily lives. We believe in giving students the opportunity to access the real world of IT and business so that they can visualize all the possibilities of a future career in a technology-driven world.

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Synetra is motivated to give back to the young learners in our community, and this July we held our second annual Technology Camp in Dallas for students from Presidio ISD. The camp is designed to give students who are passionate about technology the opportunity to learn about IT through experiences they otherwise may not have had. The week is meant to act as a mini-internship—to spark the curiosity of students who are interested in technology, but have yet to discover all the unique and exciting ways they can pursue it as a career. “We want to help students that are passionate about technology see that many career options exist,” said Carmen Rubner, Technology Director for Presidio ISD.

At Synetra Tech Camp students learn technology basics and get to see technology implemented throughout the city and businesses of Dallas. Synetra believes that students need to start out with a solid foundation in hardware, including all the components that make computers work, with hands-on views into the complicated aspects of computer configuration. As the week progresses, students also learn about software, networking, unified communications, security, and virtualization. The camp is designed to be a well-rounded program, with fun and unique attractions and experiences that teach hand-on skills with technology and business insights. The Synetra Tech Camp also provides the students with behind-the-scenes access to cutting-edge business and technology at work in Dallas.

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This year students were able to look at an enterprise grade data center at Synetra’s Southlake office, as well as discover how technology is utilized at the University of Northern Texas Engineering School – from electrical engineering to chemical engineering to software design for gaming. Later in the week the students took trips to Texas Stadium and Texas Motor Speedway to see innovative technology components in action. Finally, our partner Cisco hosted the students for an executive demo and technology tour at their Richardson location.

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Douglas Coco, Director of Support at Synetra, shared his thoughts about the experience, “We want to help kids who are passionate about possibly pursuing technology as a career option. If we can light a fire or start an idea in their head, that’s amazing.” Some of the students who participated last year have gone on to pursue additional technology classes or are planning a career in technology, showing that Synetra’s program has done just that.

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Synetra intends to expand this program to other Texas schools in the hopes of inspiring more students in our community to pursue careers in technology. “We are committed to Texas and our local communities. It is our goal to foster a love of technology and related careers from a young age,” said President, Chris Winter. “Our dedicated Synetra team and our world-class partners make this phenomenal experience possible.” We thank our partners that helped to make our Technology Camp a success:

 

Managed Services That Enable You to Focus on Your Business

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Today, managing your IT operation is more challenging than ever. With new technologies and platforms appearing almost daily, it takes many resources and continual education to support your IT infrastructure – particularly in the areas of security, maintenance and data protection. In addition, companies are consistently trying to manage loss or change over in staff, training and every day business operations. This is often an overwhelming task and ‘knowing what you don’t know’ is more crucial than ever.

As a result, organizations are increasingly turning to specialist managed services providers (MSPs) with deep talent pools to work collaboratively with internal IT resources and ensure peak performance, 100% of the time. Synetra defines managed services as efficient network and infrastructure assessment, design and proactive support to give your IT rock solid performance. We strive to become your IT partner, giving you the insight and freedom to focus on your business. Synetra’s support team can help you minimize risk, reduce costs, enhance communication and improve the reliability of your IT systems. Synetra offers complete solutions for optimal data security.

Discover all the benefits of Managed IT Services with Synetra:

  • Remote IT Monitoring & Alerting
  • Contract-based IT Maintenance Program
  • Managed Offset Backup and Storage
  • Designed Custom Services
  • SynetraCare Security

Contact Synetra today to learn more.

The Value of an IT Checkup

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There are many checkups we make sure to get – our health, our homes, even our cars. But when was the last time you checked your network – a cornerstone of your business?

Ask yourself:

  • Do you know everything there is to know about your network, including where your vulnerabilities lie?
  • How many active directory accounts does your network currently have?
  • How many accounts have access to privileged information?
  • What is your exposure to various security threats?

The list can go on and on. You don’t have to wait until the next breach or unpleasant event that leaves you scrambling to find answers. Think of checking in on your network health like getting the breaks on your car checked, your home inspected for termites, or an annual check up. Preventative care is key.

Preventative care for your network
Synetra helps you gain a comprehensive view of you network’s health today – and how it can be improved in the future through a customized assessment. A checkup is also a great way to be proactive with your network’s health so your business always runs smoothly, you don’t want any emergency room visits. Protect the proprietary data on your network by taking advantage of Synetra’s internal network vulnerability assessment, which identifies weaknesses in your environment and facilities remediation.

The health of your business starts with your network!
Your network is a critical driver of business performance and efficiency. Synetra’s IT assessments provide the knowledge necessary to identify issues and map strategic solutions. Our network checkup will unify your internal IT personnel around a foundation of shared knowledge that facilitates more efficient troubleshooting in the future. It will also uncover opportunities for cost and efficiency savings as well as ensure complete compliance with industry standards. Many finance and health care organizations are required to have security compliance. Synetra can also help you assess and ready your network for HIPAA audits.

Synetra IT Assessments proactively provide a new perspective on your network, uncovering network unknowns, identifying potential issues or risks, and providing value added insight for the best possible optimization. Find out more today.

Senate Bill 507

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School is out for the summer! The kids may go home but for school districts all over Texas, summer is when the IT work starts and recent requirements mandated by Texas Senate Bill 507 have the potential to add a little more to your IT departments’ summer workload.

According to Senate Bill 507, all Texas school districts must provide video and audio surveillance in self-contained special education classrooms where services are being offered to at least 50 percent of students in the room for at least 50 percent of the instructional day. This requirement is triggered by a request to the district made by a parent, school board member, or school staff.

Senate Bill 507 goes into effect for the 2016-2017 school year, so use Synetra this summer to get ahead of the curve. We can prep any classroom for camera and audio equipment by providing the necessary network data drop now. By preparing now, schools will be able to accommodate requests in the future much more efficiently. When a request is made, all the district will have to do is add the camera, reinforcing the stellar reputation your school district holds in your community.

Contact Synetra today to learn more.

 

Summer is the best time for schools to work on their IT projects. Read our blog post on summer cabling projects here.

Summer Cabling Projects

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Send your cabling monsters on a permanent vacation this summer! Now is the perfect time to assess your IT needs and implement cabling cleanups and upgrades. These slow summer months have more empty offices and more flexible schedules so call Synetra Structured Cabling Group for any cabling needs. From an IT closet clean-up, to trace and label mapping, to routine MAC work, Synetra’s Structured Cabling Group brings you a series of missions that can tame your cabling monsters this summer!


IT Closet Cleanup

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Have your communications closets become cluttered, dysfunctional and disorganized, making it hard for IT personnel to efficiently do their jobs? Synetra saves the day with comprehensive closet cleanups that will transform your communications closet from an unwieldy monster into organized peace of mind.

Cable Trace and Label

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Does navigating the way through your collection of cables feel like risky guesswork? Perhaps you have inherited an unfamiliar network, or your existing network simply lacks the labeling and order that you need. Synetra saves the day with tracing and labeling that will leave you with a simple and accurate roadmap to every cable in your system.

Cable Supercharge

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Has your structured cabling failed to keep pace with the growth or change in your business? Perhaps your business has scaled since your initial set-up, or your needs have simply changed. Synetra saves the day with quick, efficient moves, adds, and changes that can restore order to your operation.

 

Seize the Summer! Synetra SCG’s can often complete these jobs in one day!

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Contact Synetra today to learn how Synetra Structured Cabling Group can Save the Day.

 

Collaboration in Finance: Communication is Going Mobile!

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According to the Gartner Group, 50% of employee coordination and communication will occur via mobile group collaboration applications in the next 2 years. And ZK Research says that almost ½ of employees spend at least 30% of their time away from their primary workspace.

The workplace is changing. Financial institutions are striving to maintain a connected workforce and provide the best possible customer service independent of their employees’ locations or proximities to the “office”. The next generation of communications is collaboration.

Collaboration empowers employees to be accessible, to their peers and customers, and productive in and out of the office. Additionally, they are able to leverage multiple methods (instant messaging, screen sharing, video, interactive, file sharing, etc.) of communication from any device in order to provide faster and more accurate responses to customer questions and needs. Collaboration provides financial institutions with the tools they need to align their business communications and customer service values with the next generation workplace.

Benefits to increasing collaboration and customer service include:

  • Easily bring internal and external groups or decision makers together to make decisions faster.
  • Enable interactive collaboration with participants from anywhere.
  • Build relationships faster within and across the organization.
  • Improve productivity by streamlining communications.
  • Eliminate organizational and geographical boundaries.
  • Reduce travel costs.
  • Rely less on e-mail.
  • Save time….instantly know if someone is busy, on the phone and/or mobile.
  • Confirm information while the customer is on the line; avoiding the need for follow up call.

In closing, here are two quotes from the field:

“We’ve never had collaboration among the team like this before. It was super easy for us to use and allowed for streamlined communication that are simply amazing.”

“I used to tell my customers that the loan committee meets every Thursday. That can be frustrating for someone that calls me on a Friday. Now I say, let me pull the team into a WebEx after we hang up and see if I can get you an answer today.”

Are you interested in learning how collaboration technologies can enhance your customer service experience? Contact Synetra today.

What Does Downtime Cost Your Organization?

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Few would argue that regular, automated backups and effective recovery processes are a must-have for the modern enterprise. Yet many organizations continue without routinely backing up their data—often waiting until a harmful data loss has occurred to take action.

Perhaps organizations would more proactively adopt a backup and recovery solution if they were able to easily and accurately quantify the true cost of downtime—before it causes damage to their bottom line.

As a leader in backup and disaster recovery and one of Synetra’s leading technology partners, Datto Inc. has developed a helpful recovery time calculator that quantifies the cost of downtime for your business in dollars and cents.

Simply enter your recovery time and recovery point objectives, and some key information about your processes and costs, to learn the bottom-line impact of downtime on your organization. You’ll be surprised at what you find.

Launch Calculator >>

Protect Your Business with Synetra

Do you want to protect your business against the steep cost of a potential system failure? Synetra’s Business Protect service offering allows you to backup and store your data offsite on an as-needed basis to save you money on equipment, management and energy.

You can’t afford to wait until your next network failure to find out what downtime will cost you. Take the next step in protecting your business and schedule your free network assessment with Synetra today.

In the Event of Critical Data Loss, Could Your Organization Recover?

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A decade ago, business-critical data protection was a vertical phenomenon reserved for large enterprises in select sectors. Since that time, the use of data for strategic decision-making has continued to become more and more pervasive, spreading its reach to organizations of every sector and size.

Yet research indicates that data backup and recovery adoption has not yet caught up. A recent report released by Datos IO found that 89% of enterprise IT database professionals identified backup and recovery as application critical. A staggering 61% of those same professionals cited poor backup and recovery solutions as a barrier to next-generation technologies.1

Meanwhile, myriad online threats have quickly caught on, targeting vulnerable stores of business critical data for theft and exploitation. One needn’t look farther than the rapidly escalating threat of Ransomware—a phenomenon that restricts a business’s access to vital data in order to hold the business at ransom. Synetra recently shed light on this rising threat and provided some helpful tips to help you protect your data and your business. Check out the blog post here.

When it comes to Ransomware and its self-propagating cryptoworm cousin, routine backup and recovery saves the day.2 Data backup and recovery is no longer a ‘nice to have’, but a business imperative of the utmost importance. According to Enterprise Strategy Group, improvement of data backup and recovery continues to top the list of IT priorities.3 Unfortunately, a recent Ponemon Institute study showed that 62% of SMBs do not routinely back up their data, and many wait until after data loss has occurred to pursue a backup and recovery solution.4

The reality is, it’s a dog eat data world. And while companies shouldn’t fear, they should be proactive. In the unfortunate event of critical data loss, how would your organization recover? If you don’t have a solution today, a solution is closer than you think…

With Synetra’s Business Protect offering, you’ll never find your organization behind the 8 ball. Here are just a few of the things that make Synetra’s data backup and recovery approach unique:

  1. Your Data, Your Backup Solution: From finance, to education, healthcare and government, Synetra understands the unique data requirements of multiple industry sectors. Just as your organization’s data is unique, so must be your approach to backup and recovery. For example, in education, a daily backup may suffice. Meanwhile, a daily backup may be insufficient for the rapid pace of data collection in a sector like finance. No matter your pace of data collection, we’ll help you identify a cadence of backups that is perfectly suited to your business’s needs.
  2. Regularly Tested, Always Reliable: Too often, organizations take their backup and recovery solution for granted, only to find out after a data breach that it hasn’t been functioning for quite some time. We’ll ensure the regular and systematic testing of your backup mechanism so that in the event of data loss, the information you need can be quickly restored, and your organization won’t miss a beat.
  3. Looking Beyond Backup: While regular backup and recovery is essential, it is not sufficient. Synetra focuses on augmenting our backup and recovery services with strategic network security solutions. Realizing that your business is continually evolving, we are committed to re-evaluating and refining your solution at regular intervals.
  4. Helping You Build a Culture of Data Protection: Data protection goes beyond the security fundamentals of your network. Research indicates that the majority of data breaches are inadvertently caused by employees. We’ll help you to educate your employees on how they can prevent data breaches on an ongoing basis by watching for suspicious attachments, avoiding unsafe browsing habits, crafting strong passwords, and understanding the proper course of action if a breach does occur.

In summary, when it comes to data protection, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Where does your network stand? Find out by scheduling your free network assessment with Synetra today.

Collaboration in Education – An Evolved Perspective

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Old School StudentsBack in the day, working together on school assignments was sometimes considered cheating. Collaboration, sometimes referred to as cooperative learning, often meant that one student carried the weight of the rest of the team.

Let’s take a look at two definitions of the word ‘collaboration’, via Oxford Dictionaries:

  1. The action of working with someone to produce or create something.
  2. Traitorous cooperation with an enemy.

Which definition shall we embrace for educational purposes?

Technology Camp ThumbnailMost teachers, these days, would agree that collaboration is a great and effective means of instruction as students are working on academic content while they are engaged socially. In a properly selected and organized group, each student is actively participating and has an expected contribution to the assignment. This creates an environment in which each student is responsible for his own learning and contribution, and shares responsibility for the final product. The team doesn’t allow any slackers!

Technology enhances and expands the collaborative experience in education. The use of distance learning technology enables the group to span across geographical areas so we are no longer confined to just the classroom. Members can be anywhere and can interact, literally, face-to-face with video phones and Webex meetings. Instant messaging is used to pose a question or situation and receive immediate feedback from the group. Blogs provide the ability to share the message with a worldwide audience, and receive feedback, alternative viewpoints and suggestions.

Technology provides:

  • No excuses for downtime—we are always ‘reachable’;
  • Immediate feedback;
  • Instant publishing to a worldwide audience;
  • A bridge between students in different geographical areas;
  • Sharing of instructional resources to provide greater depth of curriculum.

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Synetra can help you as you build your infrastructure to support a collaborative environment. We, ourselves, use the tools to hold our team members accountable. We stay connected; we communicate; we ponder; we provide answers—all through the use of collaborative communication tools. Let us show you how it can work in your school!

Shall we embrace collaboration? To quote author and management expert Ken Blanchard, “none of us is as smart as all of us.”