Managed Services- Explained

You may have heard the term or asked the question, "what is a Managed Service Provider?". Well, I am here to hopefully answer any question of what an MSP is, when they began, how they have transformed, how All Mountain Technologies serves as our partner's Managed Service Provider, and why our service is of great value.

To begin, Managed Services are a way of outsourcing management for all IT systems of a company, taking over responsibilities and resources on behalf of the client in order to strategically improve their IT operations. Ultimately this cuts expenses, downtime, and allows the client to focus on their business. Managed Services are a direct alternative to the break/fix model that directly affects a business' ability to operate efficiently. The break/fix model was often extremely costly because it caused businesses to have excessive downtime, lost files, and the extra high expense of hiring IT help to bring the business back to an efficient working place. Managed Services is a subscription or partnership model where the client or company pays monthly for delivered managed services that provide on-going support of technological systems. Some of the systems that All Mountain Technologies supports as a Managed Service Provider are firewalls, the cloud, servers, Office365, domains & SSL's, file share, and VoIP.

The break/fix model was the first to rise as a service to IT systems in the early 1990's as businesses both small and large began to adopt more complicated computer and phone systems. By the late 90's to early 2000's, managed services began as a new model of service for business that gave rise to increased productivity and less downtime in the workplace.

Today, it is more important than ever to protect businesses with a team of IT professionals. As technology moves forward at an increasingly rapid rate, it is even more difficult to keep up without a team of experts providing support for a company's IT systems. Viruses, malware, and ransomware attacks increase in rate as technology moves forward making it imperative that environments are made secure. Reactive IT is much more painful and costly than remaining proactive in approach. 

Modern companies understand what it takes to keep their businesses running efficiently and it is becoming increasingly common and resourceful for even small companies to partner with Managed Service Providers. In fact, according to Garter, IT outsourcing is among the fastest growing security sectors. Companies are becoming unable to manage their IT systems in a cost-efficient and secure manner on their own. It is estimated that by 2020, that over 60% of organizations will have invested in managed services that focus on security such as data-loss prevention and encryption (Garter 2017). Currently, around 35% of companies are utilizing these tools to protect their environments. 

All Mountain Technologies is dedicated to empowering our partners to think differently about how they approach technology. This is a primary reason why we pride ourselves as a Managed Service Provider that partners with our client's companies to provide an optimized and secure IT environment. 

 

KZYR Rocktober Technology Playlist

Hi everyone! Allie here- Marketing Coordinator at AMT. We will be sponsoring one of KZYR’s Rocktober days on October 27th. I am putting together a playlist of songs that reference computers or technology in some way and I wanted to share it with you all!

Paranoid Android- Radiohead

Computer Age- Neil Young

Metal Gods- Judas Priest

Technologic- Daft Punk

Digital (Did You Tell)- Stone Sour

Mr. Roboto- Styx

Plug In Baby- Muse

Video Killed the Radio Star- Buggles

Virtuality- Rush

I Love my Computer- Bad Religion

Computer Love- Kraftwerk

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots- The Flaming Lips

Metal- Gary Numan

Spit Out the Bone- Metallica

Do the Evolution- Pearl Jam

(Nothing But) Flowers- Talking Heads

Enjoy :)

Forming an IT Budget for your Small Business

Here in the Vail Valley, All Mountain Technologies has found business owners do not typically see the value in budgeting for IT. Proper business technology increases agility, cut costs, and delivers peace of mind.

According to a recent study, professionals in the U.S. had planned to increase their organization’s IT budget for 2018 and will continue to for 2019. Global IT spending is predicted to reach roughly $3.7 trillion this year.

Technology is evolving and always changing. There are a few routes when it comes to choosing an IT solution as a business owner. You can hire internally (which can cost you anywhere from 60-100k/year), use a one man shop (which can be frustrating when they are out of town or super busy), or partner with a business like AMT.

All Mountain Technologies does not use the break-it-fix-it model when it comes to technology. We anticipate your needs proactively, plan for future changes, monitor, and ultimately take over the entire IT department with a staff of seasoned experts. We believe every successful business needs to allocate a portion of their budget to IT. With a proper infrastructure set-up, a business can run smoothly, efficiently, and make more money in the long run.

AMT has identified four areas as best uses for you IT budget along with some tips for your small business.

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1. Hiring

Hiring and training qualified IT professionals is the most important use of your tech funds in the year ahead. There has been a skill shortage in IT recently. Technology has become more specialized and less accessible to untrained workers. The Vail Valley is somewhat limited when it comes to IT talent. AMT has a staff with decades of years of experience behind them. From engineering to cybersecurity, our staff has each area of tech covered. We are also in the process of partnering with local universities for an internship program for budding technicians.


2. Training

Not only is it important to partner with a qualified IT expert, such as AMT, but also invest in end-user training opportunities. When partnering with AMT as an Always-On client, you have access to end-user training such as a complimentary phishing awareness lunch and learn.

With recent cybersecurity risks, educating end-users is detrimental to keeping data safe and secure. AMT takes end-user education very serious as human error will always exist.



3. The Cloud

Each business has their own needs and goals. We do not always suggest a solely Cloud based set-up, but Cloud apps can work for some. Cloud apps are scalable, and let you track and manage real-time data. This kind of flexibility and agility is a plus in today’s competitive arena.

At AMT we take a lot off your plate when it comes to the Cloud. Your system administrators manage scores of IT assets—including hardware and software—and track and manage licenses, warranties, maintenance schedules, and custodianship records.

4. Cybersecurity

Cyber-criminals are becoming savvier when it comes to retrieving sensitive data. At your small business, you don’t want to lose customer data or let malicious groups take over your systems. Cover all the basics, including safeguarding sensitive business data and minimizing the risk of malware attacks.

Having a holistic and expansive cybersecurity strategy expands your business’ capabilities, improves your reaction times to potential issues, and creates a system of accountability around your data security operations. If these lower priority issues aren’t addressed, risks associated with cyber-crime can drive up costs, open you up to liability, and fracture processes crucial to the survival of your business.


All Mountain Technologies has created a way to stay cost effective so you don;t have to hire in-house or deal with the unpredictability of a one-man show. With our team of trusted IT professionals, you’re in good hands. Looking towards 2019, begin planning a budget for IT. If you have any questions regarding IT needs for your business, give us a ring.

-Allie Yazel, Marketing Coordinator at AMT ayazel@allmtntech.com




Meet the Team -Allie Yazel-

Allie Yazel grew up in Crystal Lake, a Northwest suburb of Chicago. As a child, she had a natural attraction to art and music, winning several writing awards and participating in musical theater all throughout middle school. Allie also played travel soccer and life guarded at the local lake she grew up swimming in. (Yes Crystal Lake, no, not like Friday the 13th.)

It wasn’t until High School that she picked up a camera. Allie would spend her lunch period in the dark room developing film. After spending her senior year in the Photo Department, she decided to enroll in the Photojournalism Program at Columbia College Chicago. She spent the summer before college, interning in Graphic Design and Strategy at her Aunt’s Marketing Agency.

Allie spent two years in the Photo Program. Her favorite course was Documentary Photography because she loved interacting and interviewing people. As a junior she transitioned into Advertising with a concentration in Account Management and Copy-writing. She felt advertising would allow her to write and manage a team of creatives. It was her dream to travel and work for National Geographic. Her last year at Columbia included a semester abroad studying International Business in Barcelona and a two week travel writing course in the Marin Headlands, California before graduating.

Allie says her time in Barcelona forever changed her perspective and made her a better human. She visited historic cities like FIgueras where Salvador Dali grew up, the islands of Greece, the catacombs in the city of Paris, Chefchaouen the Blue City in Morocco, and met an array of eclectic people. Growing up in the Midwest and never leaving the country before this, she did not have a gauge on just how different other cultures were. She was now addicted to the unknown and exploring new places.

After graduating in May 2016 with her Bachelor’s in Advertising, she returned Europe, but this time Amsterdam. She spent three weeks assimilating in Dutch culture, traveled to Brussels, and Oktoberfest in Munich. She had every intention of finding a job in Amsterdam and staying abroad.

She returned back to Chicago at the end of 2016 and starting working for an ad agency called Havas. Allie worked as an Experiential Concept Creator for large brands like Cheerios and Almay. Her team curated unique experiences and event activation. After nearly a year back in the corporate ad world, Allie felt she could better use her talent for good in the non-profit world.

Allie spent 2017, juggling volunteering for a local non-profit, writing for a human culture magazine in Miami, and working at a technology company. In June of this year, she moved to the Vail Valley and became All Mountain Technologies’ Marketing Coordinator. Since then she has engaged with the Vail Valley Foundation on several events, boosted AMT’s online presence, and fostered important community relationships.

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“Don’t quit your daydream.”

-Allie Yazel, Marketing Coordinator

She claims to not be super tech savvy, but Allie knows how to market tech! She found her way into Information Technology this past year and fell in love with helping businesses increase productivity through tech. She believes IT is evolving into a standard business practice and is an essential part of success. Allie is part of Vail Valley Partnership’s NEXT Vail Valley leaders group #6 and is loving getting connected with fellow young professionals. Outside of the office, Allie enjoys all the amenities the Valley has to offer, including hiking and snowboarding. To this day, she continues to write non-fiction and photograph her travels. “Don’t quit your daydream,” she says.




Here Phishy Phishy... Tips to Prevent a Phishing Attack

In the past few months, All Mountain Technologies has seen a surge in email phishing attempts. Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails claiming to be from trustworthy companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers. Cities are not the only targets and our Valley is certainly not immune to phishing attacks. Industries like healthcare and hospitality are especially good targets because of their databases of sensitive data.  Educating your staff on what to look for when receiving a suspicious email is the #1 way to prevent an attack. We’ve put together tips on what to look for and how to verify an email’s legitimacy.

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Check the Sender Domain

Cyber-criminals often spoof the display name of an email to imitate a reputable site. You may see your bank’s name or Microsoft in the domain. Don’t trust the display name unless you recognize it. That means the entirety of the domain. Below, “My Bank” does not typically send emails from “secure.com”. Contact your bank to confirm legitimacy. Also check for spelling errors in the domain. If it appears different than usual in any way, don’t open the email.

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Think Before You Click

 When you are on a trusted site it is fine to click on links. Clicking on links that appear in random emails is not recommended. Hover over links that you are unsure of before clicking on them. Make sure the link leads to where it is supposed to. Phishing emails are designed to look like they are coming from a trusted company. Taking it a step further, cyber-criminals create websites to look real. You may land on a site that is set up to look legitimate, but it is an imitation website to gather your data.

 See the URL in blue? That is not a legitimate site.

See the URL in blue? That is not a legitimate site.

Beware of “Dear Customer”

Phisherman and spoofers are highly skilled when writing emails. They try to get as intimate as possible and may start an email with “Dear Customer” or call you by name “Dear Allie”. When in doubt, go directly to the source rather than clicking a potentially dangerous link. 

Verify a Site’s Security

Whether you’re buying concert tickets or making an online deposit, check that you are on a secure website. Check the site’s URL for “https” and there should be a closed lock icon near the address bar.

Also check for a site’s security certificate. If you get a message warning a website may contain malicious files, do not open the website. Never download files from suspicious emails or websites.

Change Your Password Frequently

This is a simple way to increase security.  We recommend you change your password(s) every 90 days. If your passwords were not changed on a regular basis, your familiarity with your password would eventually lead to its compromise. Once another person has acquired your password, they can use your computer account.

Never Give Out Personal Information

You should never share personal or financial information over the internet. This general rule has been in place since the beginning of the Internet due to the success of early phishing scams. Do not send credit card info, a social security number, or any other sensitive data to ANYONE (even a trusted friend or coworker) through ANY platform (email, Facebook messenger, etc.). When in doubt, call and give the information over the phone instead.

When partnering with All Mountain Technologies as your technology solution, you have full access to cybersecurity training including end-user awareness training. If you have any questions, comments, or would like additional information on our services, contact Allie Yazel, Marketing Coordinator at ayazel@allmtntech.com.

Preventing phishing attacks | The inn at riverwalk Case Study

 Hotel Gasthof Gramshammer nestled in the Vail Village.

Hotel Gasthof Gramshammer nestled in the Vail Village.

CHALLENGE

As a historic hotel, Hotel Gasthof Gramshammer relies on traditional European charm to attract guests. However, due to the ever-changing nature of technology, the hotel needed to reassess the way they used theirs. The hotel’s technology had aged out to the point that they needed to plan for upgrades.

 

SOLUTION

Up until 2015, Gasthof Gramshammer did not have wireless and guests could not access WiFi. All Mountain Technologies started their interaction with the hotel completing a wireless project that year to get them up to speed. Gasthof’s could then better accommodate their guests with access to WiFi. As a result they increased bookings and positive reviews.

AMT was officially brought on in 2017 as Gasthof Gramshammer’s technology partner. The AMT team did a full assessment on what upgrades needed to be done and what downtime would look like for the business. Taking a look at financials, AMT and Gasthof Gramshammer planned projects accordingly for 2017 and 2018. As a hotel, it was important to not disrupt guests or booking capabilities.

AMT found that some servers were almost out of warranty, including a very large Dynamics server used by the hotel’s accountant. At that time, AMT took the opportunity to isolate different departments in the hotel into their own respective networks. The hotel, restaurant, and retail shop now have their own networks. This means if one goes down, the other two can still operate. The hotel had been around so long it had different levels of technology floating around. Nate, System Administrator for Gasthof’s, coins it “a history of tech.” AMT retired all out-of-use machines as well.

 

RESULT

AMT transitioned the hotel into a modern infrastructure, making it more manageable and scale-able for future growth. Nate and other team members scheduled updates around the hotel’s peak times to avoid disruptions to the day-to-day. It also gave the AMT team a chance to get to know the hotel’s staff and the way they function, understanding better how to support their needs.

A special thanks to Sheika Jr., the Hotel Gasthof Gramshammer staff, and our incredibly talented AMT Team.

 Nate Parrish, System Administrator (left) and Sheika Jr., on behalf of Gasthof Gramshammer (right)

Nate Parrish, System Administrator (left) and Sheika Jr., on behalf of Gasthof Gramshammer (right)

Tech Tip Tuesday: Cybersecurity Terms

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Phishing
Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails claiming to be from reputable companies to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.

Spoofing
Like phishing, a spoofing attack is a situation in which one person or program successfully masquerades as another by falsifying data, thereby gaining an illegitimate advantage.

Ransomware
Ransomware is a type of malware that restricts access to the infected computer system in some way and demands that the user pay a ransom to the malware operators to remove the restriction.

Malware
Malware, short for malicious software, is an umbrella term used to refer to a variety of forms of hostile or intrusive software, including computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, adware, scareware, and other intentionally harmful programs.

 

Meet the Team -Rob Bruce-

Rob Bruce, CEO of All Mountain Technologies, spent his first ten years growing up in West Africa. His father worked for the US State Department so his family moved around a lot. The school he attended growing up had kindergarten to grad school aged students. It was an American school, but local gifted kids that tested high were able to attend. He recalls wandering into college level science experiments as a child. The Bruce family moved back to Northern Virginia when Rob was ten. The transition from a third world country to the United States was eye-opening. He observed the problems Americans created while having almost everything they need in juxtaposition with the African population barely making ends meet, but still encompassing kindness and happiness.

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“I've watched AMT grow from a couple of techs covering each other so they could go out of town to a company that offers real jobs and is great for the community."

Rob studied Art and Architecture at Virginia Tech. He transitioned from art courses to business and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Immediately after-graduation, Rob was managing a bookstore and working at a golf warehouse in Northern Virginia. After three months of juggling several jobs, Rob’s college roommate and he moved to Eagle, Colorado. Rob’s original plan was to snowboard one year and then look for jobs in California, but after one year of Valley life, he had fallen in love.

He spent the first few years snowboarding a lot. He also waited tables, bartended, and painted murals. His love for art never waned and he soon took a job as a designer for a local sign shop. There was a computer guy that came to service the shop computers as needed. The technician offered him a job working with computers and about a year later Rob transitioned into the computer world. Through the mid 90’s Rob worked for the company; gaining experience in IT and certifications.

In early 2000 at the beginning of the Dotcom crash, Rob and two others started an IT support company. Three years later, All Mountain Technologies was formed with five partners. AMT was born out of the need for partners to leave town and cover each other’s accounts. It truly was a company built around lifestyle. Over time, the other partners moved or changed career paths. In 2013, Rob Bruce became the sole owner of All Mountain Technologies.

I asked Rob what kept him in the IT business after nearly a decade. He paused and eloquently responded, “I watched AMT grow from a couple of techs covering each other so they could go out of town to a company that offers real jobs and is great for the community. I enjoy mentoring people, working with our clients, and seeing them both succeed.”

People are the reason Rob loves work. AMT is a locally owned place of employment, but still offers competitive salaries so staff can attain the life they came out here to live. “People don’t generally live here in the mountains for the money, but for the lifestyle they love.” He says.

As far as what the future holds, Rob is optimistic his professional and personal vision will come to life. He believes the company will grow steadily as it has for the past seven years, serving businesses from Telluride to Denver. The most successful partnerships with clients are more akin to a doctor-patient relationship rather than an emergency room visit. The biggest hurdle to overcome will be continually gaining the trust of clients and showing them what they need to be teed up for success.

Since mountain communities like ours are small and relatively isolated geographically there are many challenges for companies offering regional support services.

When it comes to required site work on behalf of clients, mother nature creates her own challenges unique to the mountains – especially during the Winter.  AMT focuses on solutions that consider anticipated logistics issues out of our control and allow us to work with clients remotely if needed. AMT has invested in placing key infrastructure in a local municipal data center that is less subject to changing conditions and outages. We also put an emphasis on working with vendors that have stock on hand or multiple distribution centers, ensuring client needs can be addressed as quickly as possible.

Rob, his wife Heather, and son Robbie, spend most of their time on their property on Cottonwood Pass between Gypsum and El Jebel.  Spending time on the ranch (away from technology), hitting the links, or playing tennis are some of Rob’s favorite pastimes. The family travels quite a bit and recently took a trip to the Outer Banks in North Carolina.

Rob truly is the heart of All Mountain Technologies. His genuine kindness and leadership have fostered great talent in our office and community. The best is yet to come for AMT!

 

Wellness Wednesday: Emotional Intelligence

We've all heard the phrase Emotional Intelligence before.It seems to be a buzz word in the business world. So what is it exactly? Emotional intelligence (EI) or emotional quotient (EQ) is the capacity of individuals to recognize their own, and other people's emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.

It is becoming increasingly more important as a leader to tap into EI and EQ. Emotional well-being in an office should be taken as seriously as health insurance or a 401k, especially in high stress jobs such as hospitality or healthcare. Here are the reasons why EQ will make you a better leader and create a healthy workplace environment. 

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EQ Helps You Better Understand Your Employees

You can’t be an effective leader if your employees are little more to you than cogs in a machine. Fortunately, by boosting your emotional intelligence, you can help get to know your employees on a personal level, better understanding how to motivate them in the process.

“Emotional intelligence improves your ability to see things from the other person’s perspective, including what other people may be thinking and feeling. Therefore, higher EQ enables you to better understand your employees actions and decisions, as well as their needs,” says Dr. Inna Khazan, PhD.

It Gives You More Confidence

Being a good leader means staying strong, even in the face of adversity. Luckily, when you’re emotionally intelligent, it’s easy to feel confident in your strengths and know how to effectively manage the strong emotions and opinions of those working below you—something that might otherwise throw you off your game.

It Increases Camaraderie

Being a good leader isn’t all about knowing how to boss people around. In fact, much of being a good, motivational leader comes from enjoying camaraderie with the people you work with, and making them feel comfortable and appreciated. And, naturally, being emotionally intelligent makes it far easier to make your appreciation of your employees’ individual skills known.

It Increases Your Productivity

Productivity and emotional intelligence go hand-in-hand for those in leadership positions. When you’re an emotionally intelligent leader, you understand the reasons why things need to get done and don’t let your ego get in the way, even if that means admitting your own errors.

“One of the most significant issues that reduce your productivity is avoidance of difficult or unpleasant emotions,” adds Dr. Khazan. “EQ helps you become more aware of such emotions, and enables you to cope with them in helpful ways, reducing avoidance and increasing productivity.”

It Makes You Kinder

A little kindness goes a surprisingly long way when you’re in a leadership role. “Because EQ helps you to better understand other people’s experience, it becomes easier to see and empathize with other people’s struggles and then to be kinder in your actions and responses,” says Dr. Khazan.

Fortunately, when you’re emotionally intelligent and respect the feelings of your employees, it’s easier to be kind to them. In turn, they’ll work harder for you—after all, when’s the last time you found yourself motivated by someone cruelly barking orders at you?

It Reduces Workplace Stress

Workplace stress can be significant for those in leadership roles, but a little emotional intelligence can help mitigate this often-detrimental side effect of a high-powered position. With a little work on your own emotional intelligence, things that would have otherwise stressed you out, like an employee who’s having a hard time or an ever-expanding to-do list, can be dealt with in a calm and collected manner.

It Opens Up Channels of Communication

A scary leader is rarely an effective one in the long term. The good news is that being emotionally intelligent can make you more understanding, and, as such, a leader your subordinates aren’t afraid to communicate with. This often creates a positive cycle in the workplace: with more communication, you become more effective, and have more feedback to give your employees.

It Helps You Retain Talent

If you’re eager to stop the endless turnover at your company, it wouldn’t hurt to brush up on your EQ skills. “People want to work with leaders who are more attuned to their needs, are able to communicate effectively, and respond to their employees with compassion and understanding,” explains Dr. Khazan.

In the long run, fostering these emotional connections with your employees will make them eager to stay in their positions instead of looking for a job that can nurture them both professionally and personally.

EQ Helps You Recognize Your Own Motivations

It’s no easy task to separate your personal feelings and the professional side of you that knows when things need to get done. Luckily, a little emotional intelligence can go a long way when it comes to recognizing why you’re doing things as a leader. Are you simply continuing what the boss before you did? Are you acting with anger? Are you bringing stress from outside the office into the workplace? Are you unclear about why something has to be done a certain way? Once you understand your own motivations, it’s easier to separate your feelings from the facts about what needs to be accomplished.

It Improves Your Problem-Solving Skills

Whether you’re dealing with a difficult employee, struggling to find ways to grow your new business, or just feeling emotionally exhausted, emotional intelligence can help. Emotional intelligence makes you more receptive to new ideas, helps you pick yourself up after a perceived failure, and helps keep your emotions in check when you’re frustrated, all of which can help you more effectively problem solve in the long run.

Some content recycled from msn.com

Meet the Team -Nathan Parrish-

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Nathan Parrish is quite the jack of all trades...

Valet, resort worker, DJ, electrician -you name it- Nathan has done it! After 15 years working as an electrician, Nathan switched careers to IT. With a natural love for science, technology was the perfect fit for him. Celebrating his 7th year with AMT this year, Nathan has gone from a Level 1 Help Desk Technician to a Systems Administrator. You might catch him on the slopes or hitting up Minturn's Thursday night concert with his family. 

 

Nathan Parrish grew up in Wheat Ridge, Colorado outside of Denver. He was always the kid that took stuff apart and tinkered with it. He took his first computer class the Summer after first grade on an Apple IIe. Nathan naturally gravitated towards science. As a child he enjoyed space and science fiction.

After high school, Nathan worked in several different industries. From a DJ to a casino valet, Nathan did it all. He worked at a resort and snowboarded 140-something days that year. His sister introduced him to her friend that was an electrician. He soon took a job with him as an electrical apprentice.

They worked on multi-million-dollar homes with complex audio video control and lighting systems. Nathan learned how to integrate the control systems. There was a need for this expertise when working on large, complex homes. Always a hobbyist, Nathan started to build computers mid to late 2000s. He remembers going to see the movie Hackers in the late 90s which renewed his interest.

In ’05 he started his own business as an electrician. After several successful years self-employed and the economic downturn of 2008, Nathan reevaluated the work he was doing. He was at a buddy’s house and heard All Mountain Technologies was looking for a Level 1 Help Desk Technician. In 2011 he switched careers, moved in with his girlfriend Kristi out of his beloved bachelor pad, and had a baby boy, Vaughn.

Nathan always knew he wanted to work in technology but did not want to be confined to the compartmentalized nature of corporate structure. He has found freedom and growth at AMT.

“No two days are the same,” he said, “it keeps me on my toes.” He organically transitioned from Help Desk to a Systems Administrator as the company grew. A Systems Administrator has oversight over different types of systems for several clients. Nathan manages and maintains the systems for a business’ overall health and functionality. He is constantly on the go, visiting clients, and keeping them up to date. Time management is essential.

When asked what he loves about IT, Nathan’s response was “Technology is constantly changing and evolving. There’s always more to learn. People don’t realize the level of backend work it takes to operate technology. Our goal is to upgrade systems, teach people how to use them, and make their work easier, more efficient, and profitable.”

Nathan celebrates his 7th anniversary with AMT this year. He currently lives in Minturn with his family. You may see him on the slopes or enjoying some free live music Thursday nights. Nathan truly embodies what AMT stands for and we are so blessed to have him on our team.

 

 

10 Ways to Improve Your Cybersecurity

There is a major misconception looming in the tech world: cyber-crime won’t happen to you. Large companies are not the only targets. Small businesses such as those in the Vail Valley are at risk. We are not in the business of fear mongering, but the statistics are frightening! In a national study published this July, researchers broke down loss in millions of dollars per state. In 2017, Colorado residents and businesses lost 39.94 million dollars to cyber-crime. Global cyber-crime damage costs are projected to hit $6 trillion annually by 2021.

Hackers do not have a specific target in mind when they phish or spoof. Every business, large or small, global or local, should take cybersecuirty seriously. At All Mountain Technologies, we believe educating our neighbors in the Valley is important. We plan on bringing you more education opportunities in the future. The following are ways to improve your cybersecurity and combat hackers!

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1. Update Security Tools 

Sticker shock aside, the proper hardware and software does wonders for security. We recommend updating the following:

  • Business firewall – purpose built UTM device
  • Content filtering
  • Sandbox email attachments
  • Open SSL content
  • Intrusion prevention
  • Operating system and software updates
  • Anti-virus and anti-malware
  • Spam filtering
  • Maintenance utilities (cleaner, etc.)
  • Email encryption and archiving

2. Implement Security Best Practices 

Strong passwords are one of the first lines of defense against breaches. Educating staff on changing passwords frequently is a great first step to building best practices. In addition we recommend:

  • Password complexity/change policy
  • Implement Two Factor Authentication (2FA)
  • Never save passwords in your browser
  • Create a separate guest wireless
  • Use central authentication for all systems
  • Review (or develop) permissions for all folders and data repositories
  • Encrypt hard drives for laptops
  • Ensure phones/tablets can be wiped remotely
  • Disable USB ports on all computers
  • Do nothing private on a public network
  • Maintain (and test) robust backups

3. Combat Human Error with Employee Education 

Create a security aware culture. Establishing a security best practice with your staff will set the stage for success. Continuign to educate your staff on what to look for as new tools become available will decrease chances of phising and spoofing. Here is Open DNS' Phising Quiz to test out!

4. Update Regularly

Any connection to the Internet is vulnerable. Keep every connection, operating system, and application up to date with patches and enhancements. Implementing software and system security updates quickly limits possible exposure to vulnerabilities.

5. Implement VPNs for ALL Connections

Networks that are protected only by generic security measures are more vulnerable to attack. Implement virtual private network (VPN) connections between office locations. VPNs are great for remote employees who may connect through public Wi-Fi service as well. 

6. Retire Unused Services

Contrary to popular belief, most old computers do not hold their value. We anticipate archaic machines will not be worth thousands of dollars on eBay in the future. When limited-duration products expire, decommission the applications, logins, and user credentials associated with them. In cases when you don’t use every available feature of a UC deployment, such as a video chat function, turn it off to further limit unauthorized access.

7. Back it Up

Backing up data is not only to keep information updated, but also secure. Multiple backups is always recommended. Archiving data that is not needed on a daily basis can help you stay organized and efficient. 

8. Don't Forget Mobile Devices 

For remote users mobile devices are crucial. As a business it is your job to make sure your staffs' mobile devices are equally secure if company information is being shared. Sensitive browsing, such as banking or shopping, should only be done on a device that belongs to you, on a network that you trust. Whether it’s a friend’s phone, a public computer, or a cafe’s free WiFi—your data could be copied or stolen.

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9 Monitor, monitor, monitor 

Would you set up security cameras and not monitor them? Cybersecurity works the same way. Be sure to monitor your accounts for any suspicious activity. If you see something unfamiliar, it could be a sign that you’ve been compromised.

10. Don't Leave Devices Unattended

Never leave your devices unattended. If you need to leave your computer, phone, or tablet for any length of time- lock it up so no one can use it while you’re gone. If you keep sensitive information on a flash drive or external hard drive, make sure to lock it up as well.

If you have any questions regarding cybersecurity reach out to Allie Yazel, Marketing Coordinator at ayazel@allmtntech.com. Stay safe out there!

References: 
https://www.csoonline.com/article/3153707/security/top-5-cybersecurity-facts-figures-and-statistics.html
https://www.business.att.com/learn/operational-effectiveness/5-easy-ways-to-improve-your-cybersecurity.html
https://umbrella.cisco.com/blog/2013/10/08/top-ten-important-cyber-security-tips-users/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it Comes to Cybersecurity, Your End-Users are the First Line of Defense

Phishing is one of the main cybersecurity risks that an organization can face. Regardless of size or location, every business is at risk because hackers do not have a specific target. Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails pretending to be from reputable companies to trick individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers. Although there have been widely publicized stories about company info being compromised, many businesses still don’t have a cybersecurity plan in place.  

Cybersecurity starts with educating your end users. Do your employees know not to click on links that people send to them unless they’re sure the links are coming from trusted sources? To help with the end-user education, Office 365 comes with a cool feature that allows you to send fake phishing emails to your employees/end-users to test whether they’d click on a malicious link or engage in other unsafe behavior. These emails can be fully customized. You can send a customized, fake phishing email and get a report on the end-users that failed the test.

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Here are steps you can take to make cybersecurity a top priority:

Implement a cybersecurity policy and procedure document.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a one-person organization or a 100,000 – you need to detail your action items long before a threat is identified. This document should contain a section that details action items, in case your end-users encounter perceived or real compromises.

Build your cybersecurity strategy around educating your end-users.
It is rare we see hackers jumping past a company's firewalls to compromise their network because it is too time consuming and expensive. In a hacker's mind, it is far easier to send a phishing email to employees and let them do all the hard work (like clicking on a malicious link). It's likely every one of your employees has an email address, access to the internet, and the ability to fall victim to a hack. Educating your employees is the easiest and cheapest way to prevent attacks. 

Have tools in place to help prevent the potential for compromise.
Cybersecurity protection doesn’t just come from making sure your end-users don’t click on the link or visit a site they shouldn’t. We’re human after all, and as humans, we make mistakes. In addition to preventive education, make sure you have additional tools in place such as Advanced Threat Protection. In the event your employees slip up, this keeps you protected. 

Use a tool that creates a fake phishing email and see how many of your end-users open it.
One tool we suggest is the Office 365 testing tool. This can really help in determining which end-users in your organization could fall victim to phishing attacks and other malicious activities. This type of reporting becomes critical to understanding how effective your cybersecurity program is. If you see a lot of your end-users failing the test, perhaps you need to put more into their training.

Long term, some businesses deploy a cybersecurity awareness certification program as a part of their continuing education process. Look at your business and employees, assess the cybersecurity needs, create an action plan, and continue to educate your staff. 

If you have any questions regarding cybersecurity or education tools, contact your AMT System Administrator today. Stay safe out there! 

 

 

 

 

Meet the Team! - Thomas Boyken -

Thomas Boyken goes by Thomas, not Tom (although he admittedly will respond to either) He is All Mountain Technologies’ Assistant General Manager focusing on business development.  You may see him toting around Penelope his French Bulldog or hitting the greens around the Valley.

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Thomas was born in Indiana but moved to Tyler, Texas when he was 8. After graduating from high school, Thomas enrolled in college at Texas State in San Marcos, Texas. He received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in Finance and a minor in Accounting.

After working for start-ups in Austin post-grad, Thomas relocated to Grand Junction for a job with Bucyrus International. Bucyrus, now owned by Caterpillar, is a surface and underground mining equipment company. His dad worked for Bucyrus and he admired the company for taking care of his family throughout his childhood. Every year, the Boykens would travel to Colorado for a convention his father attended. They would make it a point to visit a new ski resort each time they visited, passing through tiny mountain towns. Thomas’ love for Colorado grew. His mom reminds him he first expressed his dream to live there as a child.

While living in Grand Junction, Thomas visited a friend in Vail Valley. He was hooked. Ultimately, Vail was the version of Colorado that Thomas yearned for. Shortly after his realization he made the move permanent and found his place at All Mountain Technologies. He is the definition of Mountain Business and enjoys the variety of amenities the Valley has to offer. Thomas makes it a point to stay involved in the community he loves. Currently residing in Eagle, he sits as the Marketing Chairman on the Board of Directors for Eagle Chamber. He is passionate about creating career paths and keeping talent in the Valley.  

Thomas has always loved some level of technology. He views technology as a great tool for business when properly harnessed and used positively to help growth and communication. This is where his true love for technology comes in to play. Thomas conceptualizes technology as “the third leg of what you need; food, water, and technology”. He views IT as a vital part of a business’ health and longevity. He believes the need for IT is only going to increase stating, “if we are doing it right, it should help our clients and then extend out to our community here in the Valley.”

July 1st marked Thomas’ 3rd anniversary with All Mountain Technologies. He has grown with the company and is continuously motivated and inspired by AMT’s CEO, Rob Bruce. Thomas is currently working on his first level of community leadership training. He is constantly seeking to learn how and why things work to elevate the workplace, the community, and our client’s lives in the Valley.

Recycle Your Old Electronics at the Vail Spring Cleaning Blitz!

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The value and importance to properly dispose of electronics is high. Most electronics contain hazardous substances that often leak into the ground when thrown into the trash. Eagle County has seasonal recycling events for locals to dispose of their old goods and promote a sustainable environment.

We live in an incredibly beautiful, natural environment that we share with one another and wildlife. Here at AMT, we make it our mission and core value to properly dispose of the electronics and other recyclable materials. It is also the reason we look out for events like the Vail Spring Cleaning Blitz to share with all our partners and surrounding community. This specific event is reserved for Vail locals. For more information, follow the link or look-up your local recycling center.

When : Friday, May 11th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Ford Park Parking Lot

Specifics: "This event includes the collection of electronic waste (computers, TVs, phones, screens, printers, etc.), household hazardous waste (cleaners, paints, fuels, chemicals, etc.) and paper shredding (documents needing secure destruction). Ineligible items include smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, ammunition, explosives, biomedical waste, sharps, tires and bio-hazards. Participants must bring proof of Vail residency or employment within Vail to qualify for the service. Charges may apply for excessive amounts of materials. For questions, call the town’s environmental sustainability office at 970-479-2333".

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Meet the Team! - Pam Elliott -

This month’s Meet the Team features Pam Elliott, All Mountain Tech’s Service Director. Pam oversees our technical department and team to ensure a consistent and high-level delivery of service. As lead engineer, Pam is in-tune with all accounts to provide escalated technical support and training to the technical team.

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Growing up, living in many different places, Pam considers herself from the places that she's been. When asked where she was from, Pam responded “what do you mean? Where I was born? Where I grew up? I’ve lived everywhere”. Decidedly, she is mostly from Grand Haven, Michigan and Fort Wayne, Indiana. Pam has three degrees; a bachelor of the Arts in Telecommunications from the Indiana University that focused on film and TV production, Electrical Engineering Technology from Purdue, and a master’s degree from Regis University in Information Assurance. While studying at Purdue, Pam began working for an electrical engineer (before there were computers) and found that she was naturally technically minded.

Before finding her place at All Mountain Tech, Pam worked all over the world on off shore oil rigs for four years as a technical superintendent. Out of all the places she lived, Pam loved Norway for how they have perfected a way of life, but Venezuela she loved most. It had a landscape like none she has ever seen that inspired her passion for photography and capturing the natural beauty of a country. After working and traveling for several years, Pam found cities like Denver to be too big and moved to the Vail Valley. Two years ago on May 1st, Pam began working for All Mountain Technologies. Her knowledge, skills, and leadership are essential assets to All Mountain Technologies and we are grateful to have her!

Pam loves technology because, like most tech junkies, she loves solving problems. IT provides a fast-paced work environment that is always challenging and keeps her completely involved with what’s happening and changing in the world. If she could suggest any tech item? It would be a Plex, a software that runs on a NAS (Network Attached Storage) that allows her to pick and play movies straight to her TV. It provides a service to play any movie you’d like, for free.

Ski & Snowboard Day with All Mountain Tech!

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We are excited to announce our ski and snowboard day with all of us here at All Mountain Tech! Come snow or sunshine, we will be out on Saturday the 24th for a day of skiing and lunch with our partners and their families and friends. If you are one of our partners or interested in getting to know us a bit more, feel free to come out for a day on the hill and lunch.

Interested in coming? Please fill out the form below and we will make sure we have enough food for all! BYOB!

Name *
Name

Meet the Team! -Kevin Quiambao-

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Kevin Quiambao is one of amt’s prized assistant technical account managers. He is originally from Houston, Texas graduating from Alief Taylor high school in 2004. He is a self-taught technological guru, building and fixing computers since he was a kid. As a kid he loved computer games and from there learned to build and fix computers. He began with his own computers, then his friend’s and family’s computers, until it turned into a little hardware repair business. This is where is hobby turned into a passion, a natural passion that he fell into because of his love of always trying to figure out problems, puzzles, and essentially troubleshooting issues that arise in technology.

He moved to the Vail Valley simply because of his distaste for the 100% humidity and triple digit temperatures that are well known in Texas summers. At the time of his move, he had never been to Colorado or out of Texas. Colorado and the Vail Valley was the change Kevin needed when he made the move in 2006. He began taking technology courses at Colorado Mountain College and found a new love for snowboarding, which came naturally since he grew up skateboarding. Like many who stick around the Vail Valley, Kevin fell in love with life in the mountains and made the change permanent. Working for Vail Resorts and various jobs, Kevin enjoyed the snowboarding for 5 years before he found his place at All Mountain Technologies.

Now two years at All Mountain Technologies, Kevin is Webroot certified and is currently studying for his Network Plus and Cisco certifications. I asked Kevin why he loves technology and he jokingly responded, “it’s shiny”. All joking aside, his sincere love for technology is supported by how it enriches life and human connection stating, “I love how technology can enrich our lives and gives us the opportunity to do more with our work and relationships”. We both discussed the obstacles and distractions that arise from technological advances but also the necessity for individuals to know themselves and their limits. “At the end of the day”, Kevin states, “it makes things possible that we couldn’t even have imagined in the recent past”. A pretty amazing reason to be passionate about technology and what has become possible through computers. Of course, if there is one tech item Kevin would suggest, it would be a “badass” computer gaming system with fiber internet.

Managed Service Provider - Explained -

You may have asked yourself a few times the question, "what is a Managed Service Provider?". Well, I am here to hopefully answer any question of what an MSP is, when they began, how they have transformed, how All Mountain Technologies serves as our partner's Managed Service Provider, and why our service is of great value.

Managed Services Wheel all mountain tech technologies technology IT mountains vail manage service provider

To begin with, Managed Services are a way of outsourcing management for all IT systems of a company, taking over responsibilities and resources on behalf of the client in order to strategically improve their IT operations. Ultimately this cuts expenses, downtime, and allows the client to focus on their business. Managed Services are a direct alternative to the break/fix model that directly affects a business' ability to operate efficiently. The break/fix model was often extremely costly because it caused businesses to have excessive downtime, lost files, and the extra high expense of hiring IT help to bring the business back to an efficient working place. Managed Services is a subscription or partnership model where the client or company pays monthly for delivered managed services that provide on-going support of technological systems. Some of the systems that All Mountain Technologies supports as a Managed Service Provider are firewalls, the cloud, servers, Office365, domains & SSL's, file share, and VoIP.

The break/fix model was the first to rise as a service to IT systems in the early 1990's as businesses both small and large began to adopt more complicated computer and phone systems. By the late 90's to early 2000's, managed services began as a new model of service for business that gave rise to increased productivity and less downtime in the workplace.

Today, it is more important than ever to protect businesses with a team of IT professionals. As technology moves forward at an increasingly rapid rate, it is even more difficult to keep up without a team of experts providing support for a company's IT systems. Viruses, malware, and ransomware attacks increase in rate as technology moves forward making it imperative that environments are made secure. Reactive IT is much more painful and costly than remaining proactive in approach. 

Modern companies understand what it takes to keep their businesses running efficiently and it is becoming increasingly common and resourceful for even small companies to partner with Managed Service Providers. In fact, according to Garter, IT outsourcing is among the fastest growing security sectors. Companies are becoming unable to manage their IT systems in a cost-efficient and secure manner on their own. It is estimated that by 2020, that over 60% of organizations will have invested in managed services that focus on security such as data-loss prevention and encryption (Garter 2017). Currently, around 35% of companies are utilizing these tools to protect their environments. 

All Mountain Technologies is dedicated to empowering our partners to think differently about how they approach technology. This is a primary reason why we pride ourselves as a Managed Service Provider that partners with our client's companies to provide an optimized and secure IT environment. 

 

 

Meet the Team! -Kendra Nicholson-

Kendra Nicholson is the real gem of the amt team. All light gleams off her multifaceted ability to juggle the various duties of Office Manager. She hails from Topsfield, Massachusetts. Just a hop, skip, and a jump north of Boston. Also known as the North Shore area of Boston, Topsfield is named after Toppesfield, England. Go figure. Kendra's early days were spent near and around Boston as she attended university at UMass Amherst studying Hotel and Restaurant Administration. She initially found herself in the Vail Valley because her love for the powder, as she says, "I came for the powder days and stayed for the summers". All in all, Kendra loves life in the Colorado Rockies.

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After spending some time in the world of hospitality, she decided her skills were better suited elsewhere and landed at All Mountain Technologies, now three and a half years ago. Technology and the position of Office Manager allows her to use her analytical skills while being continuously challenged as the world of tech moves forward. It's always changing, so there's always something to learn.

 

Currently, Kendra is working on becoming a ConnectWise expert, an IT platform organization tool that is almost as dense as Adobe Photoshop. After some time in the world of IT, she remains because she is able to learn a lot, even if it is personal with her own phone and computer. Again, technology is always changing, so it's nice to keep up. This is why Kendra says she loves technology, "dynamic, always changing, even on the administration side". If she could suggest (or own for that matter) one tech item, it would be a virtual reality machine. She doesn't have one currently but a few of our Technical Account Managers, including last month's feature John Van Cleve, have built their own! We have all benefited from their knowledge and all of us here at amt are grateful for everything Kendra Nicholson brings to the team!

 

Cyber Security, On Repeat

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The topic of cyber security is a hot one and can often get muddled with the big stories that hit the headlines but lack a practical guidance on how to take precaution as an individual and business. Here at All Mountain Technologies, we provide outsourced IT for our partners with the hope that their business is safeguarded by backups, updates, and security systems that not only keep business running at an optimized rate but also provide barriers to an attack on sensitive data. It is no mystery that many businesses today are experiencing the grievances of attacks on their systems. Below is a brief but helpful review of the most common types of cyber attacks and why it's important to safeguard you and your business' systems.

Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts private data and holds it ransom at a cost to the data owner, lest it be published or lost. This is now the most common form of virus attack by encrypting all the data available before it lets you know that it's there. Once data and sensitive information it is encrypted is nearly impossible to retrieve it without paying the required ransom.

Phishing is the process of attack by searching for sensitive information making it vulnerable for malicious reasons. This often happens by the attacker posing as a known or reputable source with the intent of gaining personal information that can then be used or stolen. These attackers seek sensitive information such as login credentials, bank numbers, or any personal info that may convince others that they represent you or someone in relation to you.

Whaling, similar to phishing,  is the process of obtaining sensitive information from individuals with access to larger "fish" which could be an employee with access to private information to steal from the larger company, etc.

Attackers find ways to access this sensitive information through email in the form of spam or infected messages, unprotected internet connections, and overall unprotected and vulnerable environments.

Why is back-up important?

Back-up and Anti-Virus systems allow your sensitive information to be protected in the case that files are jeopardized by malware or unforeseen accidents.

How could a security issue affect my business?

Phishing attacks can lead directly to money or sensitive data being stolen. Ransomware may prevent you from ever seeing your data again.

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How can I better protect myself and my business? Protection requires more than anti-virus software. Employees need to be trained to spot phishing attempts as well as secure email, password, and document handling habits. Networks should be evaluated for security as well as resiliency in the case of an attack. Backup plans should be robust enough to survive data encryption.

How amt can help? All Mountain Technologies offers educational opportunities for our Always-On™ clients as it is important that companies train their employees to notice the warnings signs of a possible attack or breach on sensitive information. We help secure our partner's environment to prevent attacks from ever happening. 

In other news, Wired reported on how a new app will help individuals encrypt their photographs for increased privacy. It is no secret that as technology becomes more advance, so must our systems and technological framework to better suit our personal and professional lifestyle, efficiency, and overall safety.

co-written by Andy Parker and Kendra Smith of All Mountain Tech