Beware of Ransomware – An Informed Perspective from Synetra


The following post was co-authored by Robert Belk and Michael Mendoza.

Ransomware is one of the biggest and most dangerous threats in 2016, with infections hitting home computers, businesses, hospitals, and now mobile devices and even Macintosh computers. So what is this threat exactly?

Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts the files on your device as well as any files you have access to on the network. These files are then inaccessible until a ransom is paid to the attacker or the files are restored from an offline backup. The threat isn’t merely malicious code that may slow network functions. Rather, it is an active attack from a malicious individual or group who can significantly disrupt or bring your network operations to a halt.

Ransomware is on the rise and it is becoming easier for attackers to infect victims. Infections can occur through several different means and the means are evolving. It can be distributed via email attachments, through removable USB drives, or simply by visiting a compromised website.

Below are several tips to help protect against these threats:

  • Make sure all important files throughout the business network are backed up regularly and kept offline, i.e. in the cloud. In the event of a breach, this is the best and lowest cost method to restore access to the files.
  • Ensure a strong anti-spam solution is in place; and never open attachments from unknown senders or unexpected attachments or links from known senders. Cybercriminals will sometimes spoof emails to appear as if they are from someone you trust, or send them from other compromised accounts they have gained access into.
  • Be very cautious when opening files with extensions such as exe, vbs, and scr.
  • Keep operating systems, browsers, antivirus, and other third-party software up-to-date with vendor patches/updates.
  • Utilize robust business grade antivirus software on all endpoints. We recommend Kaspersky Endpoint Security.
  • Network monitoring and advanced tools are also available. These include Next Generation Firewalls (NGFW) and improved Privileged account (a leading instruction entry point) management tools.

What to Do If You Suspect an Infection

If you suspect an infection has occurred, disconnect the offending computer or device immediately from the network as quickly as possible and contact Synetra promptly to begin triage and remediation. We can also provide follow up for solutions that can help you manage future risk.

Protect Your Technology with Synetra

Synetra is a full service Information Technology provider, with offerings spanning security, networking, structured cabling, DR/back-up and managed services. We can help you secure your most business-critical files and ready your network to protect itself against the growing threat of Ransomware. We’re here to answer any questions you may have.

Synetra Managed Services – Manage Better

Can You Manage Blog Header

Today, managing your IT operation is more challenging than ever. Along with their exciting potential to increase productivity and efficiency, transformative forces like cloud, big data and mobile technologies have introduced new support requirements, particularly in the areas of security, maintenance and data protection.

For organizations across sectors, strategic use of IT and helping you manage “risk” has become the new way of managing your business. Managing IT operations amidst this rapid pace of tech innovation is a new business reality, and many businesses can no longer ‘go it alone.’ Loss of staff, training, management and knowing what you don’t know in areas like proactive monitoring/security is becoming more risky by the day. And it isn’t merely virus protection; it’s now a game of business protection. 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.

Following are some IT insights that have driven the need for outsourced managed services like Synetra’s.

 

mobile devices icon

Mobile

There will be 50 billion connected devices by 2020.1 For businesses this means an increase in unmanaged connected devices in the workplace, driven by the growing prominence of BYOD policies.

Can you manage?

With unmanaged devices come new threats and network variables. Synetra’s Business Support service offering provides proactive monitoring and alerting to quickly identify and resolve issues to prevent costly IT failures. Have you opted not to pursue a BYOD policy? Through our Business Assist service offering, Synetra will efficiently repair and service all of your owned devices.

 

cloud icon

Cloud

89% cite greater business agility as an important business benefit of cloud computing.2 The highly agile, always on, cloud-enabled model brings with it a more complex underlying architecture.

Can you manage?

Are your IT requirements in the cloud era unique? Synetra will design a custom managed services solution that is optimized to your business’s growing and evolving needs. We know that the rapid pace of IT innovation means that your requirements will change in the future, and we are committed to providing you the flexibility you need with an outstanding quality of service.

 

big data icon

Big Data

As of 2014, 70% of enterprises and 56% of SMBs had deployed or were planning to deploy a big data project.3 With big data projects come large stores of data.

Can you manage?

As small and medium businesses make strategic use of their accumulated data, protection and storage of that data becomes a top priority. Synetra’s Buisness Protect service allows you to backup and store your data offsite, saving you money on equipment, management and energy. With a flexible store-as-you-grow structure, Business Protect provides you exactly the storage and protection you need, with zero waste.

 

Manage Better. Contact Synetra.

Are you wondering how Synetra Managed Services can add value to your business? Contact Synetra today to speak with an expert or schedule your free IT assessment.

Synetra Structured Cabling – All In A Day’s Work

Synetra-StructuredCabling-Logotopimage

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but when it comes to structured cabling, a lot can be accomplished in a day’s time. 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—all in a single day.


IT Closet Cleanup

illustration1

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

illustration2

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

illustration3

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 Day! Synetra SCG’s one-day jobs are a great way to start the new year off right.

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

 

2016 IT Resolutions

synetra-blog-header
With the new year come new resolutions. Hitting the gym, making more time for family and friends, getting organized… these are among the most common. But beyond your personal resolutions, what does your organization resolve to do in 2016?

With the turn of the new year comes a new opportunity to take a fresh look at your approach to IT, outlining goals to advance your organization’s collaboration, security, efficiency and connectedness.

Synetra can help make your IT resolutions a reality.
Here’s how:

resolve-to-collaborate
Time and energy are among your organization’s most valuable resources. This year, resolve to make both go further by enhancing collaboration and communication through technology. Synetra Unified Communications and Collaboration Technologies unlock new levels of business productivity and flexibility by joining voice, video, data and mobile apps together, and enabling employees to collaborate from wherever they are.

resolve-to-secure
A secure network infrastructure is the critical foundation on which your differentiated business applications run. This year, resolve to sure up security for your network, and your data. Synetra Network Infrastructure and Security Services focus on optimizing your network infrastructure and protecting you from internal and external threats in order to achieve flexibility and peace of mind.

resolve-to-evolve
Your IT operations are a living and breathing asset. This year, resolve to evolve your IT infrastructure to meet the changing needs of your business. Synetra IT as a Service and Managed Services empower your organization to maintain state-of-the-art technology while tapping into the exceptional knowledge and IT service that are required for your evolving organization to thrive.

resolve-to-perform
The way of the world requires organizations like your own to achieve new levels of efficiency, agility, performance and connectivity — all at once. This year, resolve to rethink your approach to IT, and clear the path to the cloud. Synetra Cloud Solutions will help you implement the optimal cloud solution for your organization, unlocking transformative benefits like cost containment and productivity while upholding the outstanding security you require.

 

What are your 2016 IT resolutions?
Click here and tell us today, and see how we can help make 2016 your best year yet.

Synetra Named One of the Best Companies to Work for in Texas

Synetra_BestCompanyToWorkForInTexasSynetra has been named one of the 2016 Best Companies to Work for in Texas. This statewide survey and awards program was created in 2006 and is a project of Texas Monthly, the Texas Association of Business (TAB), Texas SHRM and Best Companies Group, designed to identify, recognize and honor the best places of employment in Texas, benefiting the state’s economy, workforce and businesses.

Companies are evaluated on their workplace policies, systems, philosophies, practices, and demographics, along with an employee survey to measure the employee experience. The combined scores determine the top companies and the final rankings, and Synetra was announced as part of this year’s top 100 list.

We are proud to be recognized as a top company to work for in Texas. We are committed to our employees and celebrate each employee’s professional and personal accomplishments. It is our outstanding team that sets us apart and helps us to deliver top notch service and value to our clients,” said Chris Winter, president of Synetra. “We recognize our employees as our most important asset, which enables us to continue to grow.”

Synetra fosters growth for its employees through career training, teamwork and cultivating leaders. In addition, the company places a strong emphasis on giving back to its community through service, and encourages a healthy lifestyle for all employees with work/life flexibility. The commitment of the team has helped Synetra become a leader in technical expertise and business applications, enabling customers across markets to utilize technology to enhance their own businesses.

The complete list of the 100 Best Companies to Work for in Texas and how they rank will be revealed for the first time at the Texas Association of Business (TAB) Best Companies to Work for in Texas Awards Dinner and Celebration on March 29, 2016 in Austin, Texas. For more information visit http://web.txbiz.org/events/Best-Companies-to-Work-for-in-Texas-2016-386/details. The winners will also be profiled by Texas Monthly in a special publication that will be released in conjunction with the event. For more information on the Best Companies to Work for in Texas program, visit www.BestCompaniesTX.com.

Technology: The Mark of Leading Schools

synetra-technology-infographics

Technology can transform learning for your students and put your school heads above the rest. You know technology is a must, but it is a challenge to keep ahead of changing innovations with a district’s constrained resources and budgets. As a committed champion of education and technology, Synetra makes it possible for you to adopt the latest technology at a price you can afford.

Below are some of education’s hottest tech priorities. With Synetra, you can address them all.

cost-iconCost: With the recent pullbacks in technology funding, Texas’s schools seek new and efficient models for meeting their technology needs. Synetra’s alternative funding framework makes next-generation technology affordable for your school, and will keep your school at the leading edge of adoption in the future.

virtualization-iconVirtualization: The new connected reality in education demands significant foundational infrastructure. With budgets constrained and timelines critical, today’s school must secure this infrastructure as efficiently as possible. Synetra will help your school to utilize existing computer assets to ready your infrastructure for the next generation of needs.

device-policies-iconDevice Policies: While schools recognize connected devices as a critical element in their technology mix, many have not yet decided on a district-provided or bring-your-own-device (BYOD) model. Synetra will help your school determine the optimal device strategy—and ensure a seamless and secure deployment.

security-iconSecurity: Internet connectivity in schools presents unique security challenges. From impenetrable network security to gated student browsing permissions, Synetra understands the delicate security needs of the academic environment and can achieve a flexible and secure network framework.

innovation-iconInnovation: Desktops, laptops and other devices can unlock new methods of learning, but IT innovation in schools goes even further. Synetra will help your school secure its network essentials to support next generation techniques including flipped learning, gamification and individualized learning.

How does your technology measure up?
Meet with one of Synetra’s Education Experts, and find out where you are on the technology curve. Together we’ll review your Technology Report Card, and learn how tech improvements can set your school apart.

facebook like

5 Easy Tips To Promote Your Business On Facebook

If you have not utilized Facebook to promote your business, you are falling behind. If you currently have a business page, it may need a little makeover. Facebook has made it easy and affordable to reach out to the millions of users who access its site every second of the day. Can you think of any other marketing strategy that puts you in front of potential consumers via tablets, computers, laptops and cell phones? One of the first places a consumer goes when he/she access the internet is Facebook. Will you be there? Promote your business on Facebook with 5 easy tips.

 

Tip 1: Get a page started

The first step to creating a successful Facebook campaign is actually creating the page for your business. When you are creating your page, make sure the page is reflective of your company’s brand and image. Verify you have a link to your FB page on your company’s website, email interactions, and other social media accounts. When you advertise and network, always mention your Facebook page. When you create your page, make sure you update the link so that your Facebook URL features your brand name.

 

Tip 2: Stay relevant and up-to-date

Get involved in the conversation. There is a fine line between promotion and spam. Do not overwhelm your users with useless and unnecessary content. No one wants to hear whining and sales pushes for more likes; users want to see witty posts, special deals, videos and interesting content. You can post quirky or informative videos from the office or an interesting tip for the holidays. Facebook has many admin tools that assist you with discovering what works and what does not. You can track ‘like’ activity, user interaction, and how may users your posts are reaching. Facebook recommends sharing posts that excite you so that they excite your users as well. You should also remain consistent when you are posting. Create a social media schedule that encourages you to share and post regularly.

 

Tip 3: Get your users involved

Some of the most successful business pages are ones that encourage user interaction. You want your users to like, share and comment on your posts. You need to be careful with hot topics in the media, but you can also use them to promote your page and encourage your interaction. Stop doing all of the talking. You should be posting on your page, but you should also be responding to what your users have to say. You can gracefully address concerns and provide consumers with the confidence that you are listening to what they have to say.

 

Tip 4: Hosts contests

Who doesn’t love a contest? Publish promotions, sales and giveaways on your page. When you do so, encourage your audience to share the posts and to get others involved. Users will like, comment and share promotions on your page and with their friends.

 

Tip 5: Utilize Facebook tools

Facebook takes most of the guesswork out of promoting your business. The company’s Page Insights feature empowers business owners with a wealth of critical marketing tools. Facebook allows business owners to track page activity, create ads and target the ideal consumer.

 

 

Do you have any other tips for staying relevant on Facebook? Let us know in the comments below!

cloud computing

5 Reasons Cloud Computing is Essential for Business Success

We could talk for hours about the benefits of a cloud computing solution, but you truly need to experience it firsthand to appreciate its genius design. The threat of software hiccups, user errors, productivity lags, and virus destruction disappear when you choose a cloud solution for your personal life and your business operations.

Cloud computing solutions give you more control, flexibility, and instant efficiency. There is no need to go through a major, week- or month-long overhaul to install a cloud solution; your business can get started in less than 5 minutes. Regardless of what types of devices you own and the software your company utilizes, a cloud-based solution is ideal for your company’s data and recovery needs.

Check out the following 5 reasons a cloud computing solution is essential for business success.

 

Efficiency is increased

Your business can operate at any time and from any location. Workers can collaborate on projects, work remotely, and access critical data and assignments easily. When employees can operate without having to worry about IT mishaps, document compatibility, and breaks in communication, they are able to get more work done in less time. Business does not have to cease because of vacations, holidays, or illnesses.

 

Experience is consistent

Employees, partners, clients, and potential consumers will all benefit from a fluid experience that your company will be able to offer. Cloud services allow businesses to accommodate clientele, instead of relying on the clients and consumers to accommodate the needs of the business. The 9-to-5 work model is disappearing, and it is allowing businesses to connect with more clients domestically and internationally. The people you interact with on a daily basis are not likely to have patience for your IT issues; they expect their needs to be met regardless of your computer concerns. If clients and consumers feel as if you are unable to handle their business, they will find a company that can.

 

Reduces costs

A cloud solution encourages your business to save money in start-up, operational, and long-term costs. Cloud services allow you to focus your cash more effectively than on IT training, an IT team, energy consumption, software and device overhauls, and lost productivity.

 

Causes less issues

Cloud services are essential for a business’s continuity plan. Whatever happens, a business does not have to lose time, money and data because it is unable to access essential business information after a natural disaster, employee error, software failure, or other crisis. Information can be saved in the office and accessed remotely because everything will be stored in a safe and secure internet location.

 

Access is automated

At any moment, a team member, client, contractor, partner or vendor can have access to whatever information you permit. Collaboration and efficiency thrive when everyone is on the same page. Downtime is eliminated for everyone who has access to cloud because updates and security protocols are updated automatically and without any interruption to cloud access. The system also does not require everyone to have the same type of software for users to communicate and collaborate.

 

Looking to learn more about the cloud or get cloud computing for your business? The experts at Synetra can help!

Contact us today for a free consultation.