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IoT Security in Your Business & Home

By Aaron Oliver

IoT, what is it? It is the "Internet of Things", and is basically all of the consumer and business appliances that people now days call smart. Your smart TV, your internet connected picture frame, your home or office security cameras, your Amazon echo, and Google home device. These devices have become the craze over the last few years as people rush to stay connected and try to make getting access to things and information quicker and more convenient. But is there a price to all this convenience, and what are the true costs?

Think for just a second about how many things are in your home and office that communicate over the internet in some form or fashion. A few years ago, the number of devices may have included just your computers and your phones and you could count the number of devices on one hand. If you think about it for a moment you may not even have realized that you now have 27 or even more devices in your home connected to the internet. 27 is the number of things I had in my home, and our small office has even more devices. So now I must ask you, who or what is making sure that these things are secure?

Well, the companies who sell you these devices, if they are reputable are probably thinking about security and even releasing patches and updates for the products you have in your home and office. But there are so many fly by night and small companies getting into the IoT space, and most of them are just worried about functionality and using watered down insecure methods of connectivity. This can lead to leaving your business and even your home network susceptible to attack and intrusion.

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Will Amazon Bring #HQTWO2STL?

Amazon has been in the news quite a bit over the course of recent months, most recently with its acquisition of Whole Foods. The company has shown a willingness to adapt to changing technology and innovate well beyond what is traditionally expected of an ecommerce company.

Poised for continued growth, Amazon needs more space, and has launched a continent-wide RFP process to find a home for a second North American corporate headquarters, which will equal the company’s original facility in Seattle.

HQ2 is expected to cost $5 billion to construct and operate, employing as many as 500,000. 

The RFP instructs cities to send “information “on behalf of your metropolitan statistical area (MSA), state/province, county, city and the relevant localities therein.” Because of this, it may be counterintuitive for the region to submit dueling proposals.

While bringing Amazon to St. Louis may be a pipe dream, we can dream, can’t we?

Every city that submits a bid to Amazon will have its strengths and weaknesses and St. Louis is no different. What are some of the reasons that Amazon could work in St. Louis?

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The Latest on the Equifax Breach: How to Find Out If You Were a Victim & What You Can Do to Protect Yourself


Credit Bureau Equifax was the latest victim of a massive cyber-attack, the company announced last week.

Between May and July, hackers exploited the Equifax website to gain access to personal information of 143 million US consumers, including names, social security numbers and driver’s license numbers.

To add perspective to that number, about 250 million people over the age of 18 likely have a credit file. This attack was massive, affecting roughly 57% of all American adults.

The “good news”, if there is any, is that it appears credit card numbers of “only” 209,000 individuals (0.14% of victims) were exposed in the attack.

The attack also has some Equifax execs in hot water, as they sold their company stock days after the hack which was yet to be disclosed to the public. But for you, customers, how do you find out if you were affected by the breach and what to do if you were?

 

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5 Disaster Recovery Planning Essentials for Your Business

With the Houston area still coming to grips with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and Irma making landfall in Florida, disaster recovery planning is a timely topic for companies across the country. This is also an important topic here in the Midwest, where tornados and catastrophic floods along our rivers are prone to happen. 

Natural disasters can be absolutely devastating to a business, and those lucky enough to survive often face a long road towards rebuilding physical and digital infrastructure. 

No matter where your business is located, there is always some level of environmental risk beyond your control that could impact operations. 

Because of this, every company should have a rock-solid disaster recovery plan in place to help your business whether the storm.

Learn more about five disaster recovery best practices every business should be mindful of in this article. 

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Would You Spend $1,000 on a Smartphone?

By George Rosenthal

Apple is ready to launch its highly anticipated iPhone 8.

The phone reportedly will have all types of new features and a new design. It will take the device to a new level in look and performance.

The price could also take an iPhone user to a new level. Apple’s 10th anniversary phone could cost you a grand or more.

Some reports indicate the phone will cost $999 with 64GB rising to $1,099 with 256 GB and topping out at $1,199 for a high powered 512 GB device.

Even at its lowest level the phone represents a whopping 40% to 50% increase over the $649 for a base model iPhone 7.

Paying a premium though for an iPhone is not new for many Apple fans. For example, those who purchased an iPhone 7 plus with all the bells and whistles may have already crossed the four figure threshold.

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Should I Use a Password Manager? What You Should Know About Tools Built for Protecting Passwords

http://www.istockphoto.com/photo/man-recalling-gm519189110-90409787 Using a password manager - ThrottleNetPassword managers like LastPass, Dashlane, Zoho and True Key provide an easy way to go about remembering and protecting passwords, but are they safe? Should you be using a password manager? 

A password manager is a very useful and effective tool in helping users generate and store confidential login information for all of the sites that you can’t keep track of. 

One of the most important best practices of password protection is to never use the same password twice – but sometimes it’s just easier to use the same password for your personal Facebook account as you do for your cloud access at work. 

The best password managers don’t just store your precious access keys, but they have functionality built in to randomly generate the perfect password – one with a combination of letters, cases, numbers and special characters that you would never remember on your own.

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Surviving Managed Services Automation

 Managed Services Automation - ThrottleNet
The machines are rising to take over the help desk. Should we be worried? 

According to a recent article citing statistics from Garter, by 2019, artificial intelligence is primed to take over 30% of IT support capacity, and within 10 years, they predict that virtually every application will incorporate some type of AI. 

As a managed services provider, is AI something destined to force us to wave a white flag? 

If IT automation continues to trend forward, it can provide managed service providers opportunities to grow business while reducing costs and providing a greater level of service to its customers. We feel it is important to continue offering the best product available and remain on the cutting edge of industry trends. So why can we, as a managed services provider, can embrace IT automation?


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5 Outsourced Help Desk Essentials Your MSP Must Provide

Outsourced help desk essentials - ThrottleNet

In any IT department, the help desk is critical to the success and profitability of your business.

When technical issues beyond your control snarl an end user’s ability to complete tasks, the business owner takes a hit. While the help desk is handled internally by many organizations, an outsourced help desk solution can provide the same fast service and cost your organization a whole lot less.

When outsourcing help desk support services, there are a few things a business owner needs to keep in mind to be certain they are receiving the most out of their services. There are 5 help desk essentials ThrottleNet provides clients to ensure their business is always running full-throttle.

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You may hate it, but update your Phone!

By Aaron Oliver

Alright, I know that the subject of updating your phone for some people may seem arbitrary but it is actually very important. I can’t tell you how many people I know who absolutely loathe updating their mobile phones and tablets, and downright refuse to do so until something they need requires a certain OS version to work. Many have been effected by a bad update or their phone did not install one properly, leaving them with an expensive paperweight until they took it in to have it looked at. These experiences are less and less common as the manufactures have went to great lengths to prevent this after several botched updates a few years back. Today, I want to discuss why refusing to update is not a great idea!

How much sensitive data is stored on your phone? You may say not much, but after thinking about it, I would bet you would be surprised. Do you do any of the following?

  • Keep notes with Passwords?
  • Log into your Bank?
  • Keep notes with your or your Children's Personal information? 
  • Store Insurance information? 
  • Shop online with Apps that save your passwords? 
  • Company or client sensitive information?

A lot could be gained if you phone was in the wrong hands. But right now it is not it is in your hands and you have a passcode, so even if stolen, your information is safe? Good for you! But what if an attacker did not have to steal your phone to take over it or access all of your data? 

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Samsung Goes Light with Notebook 9

By George Rosenthal

Samsung has released its 9 series of notebooks and tablets. One of note is the new 15 inch Notebook 9.

The 9 is an extreme “light weight” in its class, coming in at just 2.7 pounds. One of the lightest to date of any 15 inch tablet.

Android fans will find much to like about the device.

The chassis is sleek and thin. The design is simplistic in a silver case. The body is magnesium-alloy, which some may find a bit too bendable for a premium notebook.

Samsung has designed a built-in recliner to set the device down to 180 degrees to share your view. 

It does have a slim 0.61 inch edge. Coupled with the lighter frame it makes a nice companion for a business trip or vacation.

Speaking of business, the 9 may be lacking in bulk but still has the work ethic.

The left side includes a USB 2.0 port, a USB Type-C port, a headphone jack, and a power input. Flip to the right and find two USB 3.0 ports, a microSD card reader and an HDMI port. There is plenty of connectivity to help complete most any task.

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