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.

pam elliott all mountain tech technologies amt always on

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!

Spring Ski Day.jpg

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-

kevin all mountain tech technologies it mountains vail valley managed service services provider

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.

kendra meet the team all mountain tech technology technologies IT vail valley co colorado managed service provider

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

 

Meet the Team! -Jon Van Cleve-

Each month we will introduce one of All Mountain Tech's team memebers, their qualifications, when they joined, and any other interesting facts. Our hope is for our partners to trust and become familiar with amt. Stay tuned! This month we kick of the "Meet the Team" series with a Colorado native, Jon Van Cleve.

jon van cleve portrait all mountain tech technologies technology it co colorado mountains black white photography photo meet the team vail valley

Jon Van Cleve
Born and raised in Colorado, Jon grew up in a little town named Niwot near Boulder. He spent his high school days in military school where he repeatedly got his computer taken away from him. The IT department eventually called his mom and said that they didn't know if they should expel or hire him. I tall tale sign of a true techie. After military school Jon attended the School of Mines studying mathematics and computer science. He has always loved mountain life and bummed around various valley mountain towns until he landed at All Mountain Technologies in 2014. Here he feels settled in "mountain time" life style while he is able to focus his energies on providing the most efficient and accurate IT services to our partners. Before amt he worked as an IT manager at Snowmass and the Gant. So, if you were wondering, his technological skills runs as deep as military school and we couldn't be more grateful for his skills on the amt team.

Jon loves technology because it is always changing, there is always something to learn, and it's never boring. His first computer was an Apple iie and if he could have any tech item it would be a password replacement, which doesn't exist, maybe one day.

Digital Security for the Holidays

In an age where everything digital is smarter, faster, and smaller than humans there are a few precautions to take. This holiday season was filled with "smart" gifts that allow the globe to stay more connected and available but possibly more vulnerable than ever. Smart phones, pet surveillance systems, "Alexa's", "Home's", "Echo's", and all the other devices that make our lives maybe a little too convenient should also be supported by systems that protect us from vulnerabilities.

Wired has a solid grasp on these vulnerabilities and just so happens that they made a fun page to discover ways to challenge and protect ourselves from our own smart devices turning on us.  They even listed three separate profiles based on specific risks to the everyday "civilian", the "public figure" who may have journalistic influences etc, and the "spy" who is really just an overcautious individual. Whatever you do, make sure you are aware of the capabilities and therein, vulnerabilities to your all of your devices, and don't let them out "smart" you.

From all of us at All Mountain Tech, we wish you a very wonderful and safe New Year!!! See ya later 2017. Looking forward to what 2018 has to bring!

 

Happy Holidays!!

From all of us here at All Mountain Technologies, we wish you a very happy and safe holiday season! Below is a little snippet of what we've been up to this winter season.

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Our new website and the latest features offer helpful navigation for both prospective and current clients. We hope that our site provides a solid introduction to All Mountain Tech. Our new "client connect" tab allows our current clients to easily access links to useful tools that always-on™ provides as a service. This page will also be a good place for clients to keep up with new events previewed on our events calendar, see below. Looking into the new year, we have exciting plans for new technology educational classes and community events that will always be posted to our calendar on the client connect tab.

We are excited to begin our monthly All Mountain Tech Team Introductions! Starting with the new year, we will feature an amt team member with details of what they're all about, certifications, and educational background. Until then, here is a short introduction of three of our rotating office pups, Penelope, Bear, and BB.

 Bear

Bear

 Penelope "P"

Penelope "P"

 BB

BB

Holiday Party at Harvest

This year we had our holiday party at Harvest located in the Sonnenalp Club near Edwards, CO. The setting and food couldn't have been more perfect. A massive fireplace kept us all cozy as we all enjoyed cocktails, delicious food, and a beautiful setting. Thank you for hosting us, Harvest!! Would recommend Harvest for any occasion, breakfast, lunch, or dinner :)

The new and improved Firefox Browser, Quantum

Whether you know nothing, a little, or a ton about browsers and their capabilities to enhance your ability to utilize the web, here is a little info on the new Firefox Quantum. So far, Google Chrome has been the leading browser but Firefox has a new, shiny, and much improved browser out there for the competition.  I found these articles to be both helpful to understand the new browser and how or why you would want to understand how your browser operates. Great reads and listen for the browser newbies and oldies. 


 https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/

https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/

Techie Trivie: The web browser is actually named after the red panda of Southwestern China and Himalayas. The English word for red panda is "firefox". Their logo is in fact a red panda, not a fox.


Wired provides two great articles, one that leads to a podcast about web browsing and net neutrality, the other is a review of the new browser, "Ciao, Chrome", by David Pierce. He overviews his expectations for the browser, a comparison with chrome, and the realities of what Firefox Quantum has to offer. "It's better than Chrome, faster than Chrome, smarter than Chrome. It's my new go-to browser", a quick read that definitely gets you on the bandwagon. 

Of course, Mozilla has a proper introduction for their new advancements, "It’s by far the biggest update we’ve had since we launched Firefox 1.0 in 2004, it’s just flat out better in every way." The specs, "Fast for Good", and when a company doesn't have to over exaggerate their product you can trust that it's at lest worth a look.

We've done a little trial of our own here at amt and found the browser to live up to the hype. Well, that's why we chose to write about it after all. Firefox Quantum definitely has speed capabilities that have yet to be seen in a web browser. It's strange to notice a greater speed capability than Chrome, but Quantum is just that much quicker. Whether you're using the web to listen to music, research, upload, or listen to podcasts during a busy work week, Quantum can handle it with speed. Not only is Quantum quick, it also provides additional layers of security. If you decide to take the leap, I doubt you'll be disappointed. Plus, their icon is a red panda, who doesn't love pandas?

Techie Gift Guide

In honor of Thanksgiving week and the holiday season upon us, here is a little gift guide to some techie toys that are worth mentioning. 

 Lenovo Yoga Book 

Lenovo Yoga Book 

Whether you've been a PC user all your life or have strictly conformed to MACs, anyone would be impressed by the speed and mobility of Lenovo's Yoga book that has combined design with insane capabilities that "adapts to your everyday life with ease".  You can find other Lenovo gift ideas here

MIT's Technology Review has an excellent list for tech centered gifts for the cook to the kids and even for your pet. Petcube Bites launched a pet surveillance system that not only allows you to keep an eye on your furry friend from your mobile device but also the capability to award them with a treat for good behavior. 

 odditymall.com

odditymall.com

 Tech Crunch Provides a broken down and slightly exhaustive gift list, if you really want to get into the latest techie gift ideas. Our favorite are their 17 STEM inspired tech gifts for kids, including a game that teaches the kids five and under to code early-on. 

 techcrunch.com

techcrunch.com

If these ideas don't get your motor running then check out Forbes "Best Black Friday Tech Deals For Under $100" and if you want to go big and go home, make it $500 and under.

Happy Techie shopping!

 

 

 

 

Be Prepared. Be Aware. The "Krack" Edition.

KRACK IT all mountain tech technology technologies WPA2 vail Managed service provider

When approaching the issue of the latest news of the new found vulnerability in the industry's WPA2 standard, I knew we'd need to interview one of amt's experts, a Technical Account Manager (TAM). Jon Van Cleve was more than willing to clarify the issue in the most straight forward and to-the-point manner. Below is a quick review of what to know, do, and prepare for when approaching the possible vulnerabilities within your network.

What is “KRACK”? – KRACK stands for Key Replacement AttaCK and is a flaw in the WPA2 wireless security standard. WPA2 has been the main method of securing wireless networks since 2005 or so, and is very common.

How can it affect my network? - It can allow someone who is connected to your network to see all non-https traffic on your network. This includes sites visited, passwords typed in, and any other information between you and the non-https site.

What can I do to protect myself and my work environment? - You can update all your devices, phones, laptops, PCs. Unfortunately, many devices won't see updates such as older devices and hardware. Apple and Windows automatically updated IF you are in-line with current updates and newer systems. Double check all carriers and devices to be sure they are covered and updated.

How is the WPA2 standard vulnerable and what is the "4-way handshake"?  – Part of WPA2 is built-in encryption, which is supposed to keep your data private. However due to a flaw in WPA2, someone already connected to the wireless network can get the encryption key during authentication, more specifically in phase 3 of the 4-way handshake. Once they have this key, all internet data is potentially vulnerable across all devices on the network.

What does it mean to be patched and how can I make this process happen? - The best process would be to research your device model and KRACK attack procedures. To be patched means having the latest updates of your manufacturing device/network and maintaining suggested standards of security. Microsoft, Apple, and others have release patches.

For more information you can check out this Wired article that does a good job at approaching the issue. If you're one of our clients, please contact us if you have further questions and concerns. 


Jon Van Cleve, Technical Account Manager & Kendra Smith, Marketing and Sales 

 

America Recycles Day with the Town of Vail

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All Mountain Tech is joining the Town of Vail on November 15th to celebrate America Recycles Day, "one day to celebrate an entire year to act". This event will be free to the town of Vail residents, property owners, and employees. The day will be dedicated to collecting e-waste items such as old computers, phones, TV's, and stereos as well as educating the public on how to properly dispose of electronics in the future. If you have excessive quantities of electronics charges may apply. 

As of 2013, the state of Colorado prohibits the disposal of electronics to Colorado landfills. If you are living in Eagle Country you can take your e-waste to the Eagle County Household Hazardous Waste Facility that is located near the landfill. The cost to recycle these materials is .20 cents a pound.

Why should we properly recycle electronics you ask? Well, there is a long list of reasons, but I'll give you the short answer. 

Electronics contain numerous harmful substances including mercury, lead, and lithium. When these items are thrown into local landfills their harmful toxins can seep into the ground and eventually into our ground water. Besides already being toxic to our natural environment, e-waste is very harmful to the human body when found in local water. This is why it is important to properly dispose of our household and business e-waste.

Whether you are local or remote, we look forward to you participating in America Recycles Day!

Ooooh, that Surface Book 2

 Microsoft Surface Pro 2, 15" and 13"       lh3.googleusercontent.com

Microsoft Surface Pro 2, 15" and 13"       lh3.googleusercontent.com

Here at amt, we don't just manage your IT services and keep your systems running smoothly, we also like to provide products that enhance our users experience and workplace. So here it is; the slick Windows Surface Book 2. Saying we're a little excited about it would be an understatement.

What's the big deal? Oh, just...

4 times the power of the previous Surface Book

Battery life up to 17 hours

15'' or 13.5'' displays

1TB of super fast storage and 16GB of RAM

Graphic performance that out-measures the original by 5 times

4 modes of use: Laptop, Studio, View, and Tablet

Dynamic ports

Surface pen and on-screen  Surface Dial inputs

...and much, much more. The new Surface Book 2 can operate under multiple use of large design programs all while providing crystal clear graphics through their PixelSense™ Display.

Plus, you'll feel pretty cool flipping your laptop around into a tablet and, oh, into view mode while you show off what you've been working on with a projector. Overall, I'd say we're pretty pumped to be a partner with Microsoft.

 

 

 

Microsoft Announces the End of Support for Office & Outlook 2007 as well as Windows 10 November Update

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This news comes after a decade of the launch of Office & Outlook 2007 and an end of added support for Microsoft 10, November update. The end of the addendum for these products doesn't mean that they are unusable, but it does mean they are not protected by Microsoft and will no longer receive updates as the company and technology moves forward. It is extremely important to update with Microsoft as this will move you forward in the tech-savvy world, but most importantly protect you and your files. 

An easy way to check if you are working on the old Windows 10 system would be to type the word, winver, in the search box that is located on the task-bar and press Enter. The About windows dialog box will open and display which version is currently working on your computer.

If you have anything earlier than Windows 10 version 1511, its time to update!

You can find out more about the Windows Creator Update here an here