The BIG Question We Ask Every Client

What would it cost you if your business went down?

This is a question we like to start every new engagement with. The responses are varied, but eyes always grow wide with fear. It is a business owner’s worst nightmare; a server fails, important data is not backed up, whatever the case, business comes to a halt due to technology failing. For some companies, one day of a business down scenario could cost thousands of dollars. For others, one hour could be catastrophic.

Now let’s say the business above you has a pipe burst and water conveniently leaks down through your roof and into your tech room. This event was unpredictable, but your backups don’t have to be. At AMT, we encourage our customers to backup to two spots: locally and in our Glenwood Springs data center. Backing up to multiple spots, proactively secures you in the event of an emergency. Some businesses do not even have one backup solution! If the data you work with day to day is important, a backup is a must!

AMT often comes across struggling businesses with a “guy who knows IT".” This is typically a staff member who likes to tinker with computers, but does not have the bandwidth of knowledge or years of experience we do. The staff member is usually doing double duty, playing IT guy AND working a different position. These pseudo IT guys, create a tricky scenario for businesses. Let’s go worst case scenario- (something we do often to create proactive solutions), you are a business owner and enlist Todd, your front desk manager, as your IT guy. Todd loves to mountain bike. One Spring Day, he sends himself over his handlebars and breaks his leg. He is rushed to the hospital right around the same time the server fails back at the office. Todd did not backup data. You are running around the office like a chicken with its’ head cut off because Todd isn’t answering his phone. Todd is down. Business is down. What do you do?

Any one of these scenarios, create a very real problem for a business. Whether it is a fire, flood, or your IT savvy staff member not answering his/her phone, your business is in jeopardy. So ask yourself…what would it cost me if my business went down for an hour? Or a day? Or two days? Do I need a group of IT professionals to help me set up a backup solution? Do I need to tell Todd we will be moving to a partnership with AMT?

Please reach out to Marketing Director Allie Yazel, for a tech audit to assess your business! 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.

Hotel Gasthof-Gramshammer 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)

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/