IT Service Pros Project List for Q1 2017

Quick note on project availability now through the end of March…

We have two new networks in the mix, several smaller client projects and a huge amount of work in progress on the new Business Data Defender website (for Datto and Security Products), all running concurrently through to the beginning weeks of April. If you have any hint of any large-scale tasks coming up in this first Quarter timeframe, please, please, please let me know ASAP. Failure to plan on your part will surely end up as no reason to panic on our part if you don’t let me know far enough ahead… just sayin’…

Quick Updates on Datto

Of all the vendors we do business with, Datto remains the most innovative and from a tech support view, the absolute top of the line. While they are the fastest growing company in the backup industry (over 230 Petabytes of data storage), they constantly amaze me with their determination to improve their product line and backend support for their Partners.

So an update on products…

Datto is moving towards an All Flash model for their backup devices. This gets away from the old style platter drives we are so used to and upgrades the line to Solid State. It’s faster and far more reliable and even then, they manage to keep the cost of backup devices at a very reasonable level. The older Siris2 is being retired and replaced with the new Siris3 line. Backup capacities continue to expand to meet the growing needs of larger data storage but they aren’t forgetting the smaller operations that need smaller data storage.

  • Siris3 products now include the industry’s first ransomware detection capability. When ransomware is detected, SIRIS 3 notifies admins and allows them to roll back to a state before the ransomware hit, saving businesses from downtime and avoiding the ransom.
  • The new Siris 3 X1 is an All Flash 1 Terabyte unit with full Siris3 functionality and is perfect for sites who only need a single license for backups of smaller capacity.
  • The new Datto Network Attached Storage (NAS) device, Datto NAS 3, is a cloud protected network storage solution, now offering Infinite Cloud Retention (ICR). ICR allows customers to save all of their data to the Datto Cloud indefinitely, regardless of capacity used.
  • Backup Agents are now available for Windows, Linux and Mac systems. Mac users… don’t ever say we didn’t include you!
  • Datto Backupify, the cloud-to-cloud data protection solution, added several features, including new pricing tiers and new seat management capabilities. It supports applications like Office 365, Google Apps and Salesforce.
  • Datto Drive is the first cost effective file sync and share platform for business, privately deployed and protected by the secure Datto Cloud.  It’s available with unlimited users for a single flat fee in the Cloud. Alternatively, Datto Drive local can now be deployed on DNAS and SIRIS 3 for handling more sensitive data, providing the same user experience and accessibility from local hardware at no extra cost. Both deployment methods are fully backed up by the secure Datto Cloud

We’ll be attending the Datto Conference in Denver 5-9 June 2017 and look forward to even more product improvements and client support options.

New Quarterly Recurring Maintenance Reports

By now, everyone should have received and reviewed the new Quarterly Recurring Maintenance Report. This document covers a list of recurring items and associated costs with the intent of giving the owners a heads-up on “Coming Soon To A Network Near You” stuff. In short, this document tells you about number of Servers, Workstations, site locations, battery refresh schedules, SonicWall Services and Antivirus software renewal dates.

Additionally, we have a new support tool from Datto. This is the Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) Assessment program which does a very deep level exploration of all items within the business network. This task is pretty extensive so we’ll be scheduling this assessment between February and December of this year in order to cover everyone’s site assets. This will be critical information for decision makers as it tells us how long each unit can be supported, updated or rated as outmoded. The BDR gets really serious about how effective the current backup and recovery planning scenario is for each site. For example, we may be doing a good job with Servers but not backing certain business-critical Workstations. The BDR also collects information about licensing codes and other data needed to provide you with the most detailed report on exactly how effective your network is when it comes to long term reliability.

Ransomware – The Biggest and Fastest Growing Threat to Business Operations

Your business is composed of facilities, personnel, equipment and at the heart of all that; your data. You can replace a building or equipment in a somewhat reasonable time and hire new employees when needed and although this might slow you down, these are recoverable scenarios. Your data on the other hand… lose that and your business is crippled beyond repair.

Enter Ransomware…

Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts the hard drive of the Server and/or Workstation which it infects. You can’t get your data back unless you pay the hackers. Even if you do pay and do recover your data, there is absolutely no guarantee that there is no backdoor access left by the hacker or that your data hasn’t been copied and resold or used to create accounts for identity theft. Will you ever be able to trust your data once it’s been hacked?

We’ve talked about this before and will do so again and again. This stuff is expanding for one reason and one reason alone. It is highly profitable and payments are nearly untraceable as they are almost always paid in Bitcoin. Google that if you don’t know what Bitcoin is… Without getting into deep technical details and causing your eyes to glaze over, just know that Ransomware attacks in 2016 increased over 400% from the same time in 2015. That’s almost 4000 known attacks per day in the US alone.

The major targets are still vertical market industries such as Healthcare (up 28%), Accounting and Tax services (up 26%), Financial Services (up 38%), Municipal governments (up 26%) Educational Institutions (up 46%) and Retail industry businesses (up 53%) and the like. As of October 2016, 14 major hospitals were successfully attacked. Police departments and local governments in seven states were hacked…. It’s now being used against Transportation systems, Smart TVs, Smartphones and other connected things. In other words, it’s not just business networks as targets any longer.

This is why we insist on proper multi-level security at our supported networks. Your business cannot afford and doesn’t need this type of problem. Yet we still have sites with no Datto, old tape systems and even a few USB drives plus a high number of insecure and outdated routers. Users at a growing number of sites are spending large amounts of time AT WORK on Facebook, Pinterest and other wide open, overtly exposed web places which are just inviting a disaster. At the front end of things, that eats up bandwidth and causes problems with business productivity which costs you money. At the backend, they are exposing your business to near-certain intrusion at some point. Although we try to monitor and report this stuff, in the end it remains the business owners’ option to make the final decision on budgeting for the proper preventative components to secure their networks and curtailing this activity by their end users. If you need to put your foot down on some of this, we have Acceptable Internet Use Policies readily available at no cost. With the advent of the BDR Assessment reports, you’ll likely end up knowing more than you ever wanted to know about your networks. Still, all of this is critical information which improves awareness and helps make targeted decisions.

Windows 10- Microsoft is at it again…

Aahhh, Microsoft, the company you can rely on to complicate your technical life in every way possible, is at it again.

For Windows 10 users, change is always in the wind. Just when you thought you’d figured out how this constantly morphing OS works, the Wizards of Smart in Redmond change things up. They call it “improvements”… we call it something else not printable here…

So, Windows 10 is the turbulent wave of the future. It changes versions like fashion moguls change clothes. While that sounds all “on top of things” to some, from the tech support viewpoint, it’s anything but that.

Microsoft will only support two versions of Windows 10. The original version was 1507, followed by version 1511 with both being supported for security updates. The latest announcement has the “new and improved” release of version 1607 (code name Redstone… doesn’t’ that sound all Spy-Stuffy… ooohhhh!) scheduled for 17 April 2017. So what could possibly be bad about a free upgrade like that?

Remember the previous sentence about “only supporting two versions for security updates”? So that means anybody out there running the original version 1507 will have 60 days after the release of Redstone in April to upgrade to the latest version or lose any security support…. Security… Ransomware… hint, hint…

Thanks… a…. lot…

When you have a job like ours where we will eventually end up with more than 500 Windows 10 units under management, try to extrapolate the amount of time for us and cost for you when we have to upgrade every unit in the support fleet. So anyone who is running Windows 10 and wants to know what they might need to do to comply with the Microsoft Overlords on this topic, drop me an e-mail and I’ll check out your version number and advise you on appropriate actions.


Contact us with any questions you may have about the topics in this Post or anything else related to your business networking status or requirements. E-mail Lesa at for software queries, Bob at for hardware queries or Tony at for general support queries… Office phone is 816-800-9900 (remember to leave a message if we’re not in-house) and Lesa’s cell is 816-801-0605