Don’t Be Fooled When Scammers Threaten to Spill a Dirty Little Secret

Posted August 13, 2018 by

Online ScamsWhat would you do if a stranger claimed to have compromising webcam footage of you and threatened to share it with your contacts? A new, very convincing email scam is making some users very nervous.

The Sextortion Scam

It’s as disturbing as it sounds. A scammer emails you saying that they got access to your passwords, and then started to run amok to see how much trouble they could get you into. They even show you one of your passwords to prove it (the password will likely come from lists found on the dark web from online businesses and services that have been hacked and stolen over the years). Then the scammer admits they’ve been watching what you do on your computer and recording your webcam, and they happened to catch you at a very inopportune time… Well, let’s let the email explain it for us.

“You don’t know me and you’re thinking why you received this email, right?

Well, I actually placed a malware on the porn website and guess what, you visited this web site to have fun (you know what I mean). While you were watching the video, your web browser acted as a RDP (Remote Desktop) and a keylogger which provided me access to your display screen and webcam. Right after that, my software gathered all your contacts from your Messenger, Facebook account, and email account.

What exactly did I do?

I made a split-screen video. First part recorded the video you were viewing (you’ve got a fine taste haha), and next part recorded your webcam (Yep! It’s you doing nasty things!).

What should you do?

Well, I believe, $1400 is a fair price for our little secret. You’ll make the payment via Bitcoin to the below address (if you don’t know this, search “how to buy bitcoin” in Google).”

The reader is then given the address to a Bitcoin wallet, where they are to send the ransom.

The email continues:

“Important:

You have 24 hours in order to make the payment. (I have an unique pixel within this email message, and right now I know that you have read this email). If I don’t get the payment, I will send your video to all of your contacts including relatives, coworkers, and so forth. Nonetheless, if I do get paid, I will erase the video immidiately [sic]. If you want evidence, reply with “Yes!” and I will send your video recording to your 5 friends. This is a non-negotiable offer, so don’t waste my time and yours by replying to this email.”

This email comes in a few different versions in the wild, but all of them follow the same pattern and end with the same threat… fork over the cash, or everyone will see you in your most private moments.

Is This a Serious Threat?

This is a very real concern for many people, who will be relieved to hear that, no, there is no indication that these threats are for real. The first clue is the fact that the passwords that the email provides are usually a decade old, indicating that they came from some (relatively) ancient database from some long-forgotten hack.

However, in some ways, this is even worse news, because this threat has made a tidy sum of money: as of the 31st of July, the scam had brought in $250,000, as compared to just over $50,000 by the 19th. Clearly, this scam has been plenty effective for the perpetrators, and this won’t deter others from following its example.

Keeping Yourself Safe from an Actual Attack

Granted, this attack is just an unfair wager, but scams like this are more than possible for a criminal who actually means what they say/threaten. As a result, the security lessons we can take away from this particular attack still apply.

The first thing to remember is also the first rule of passwords – change them frequently. Again, this scam has made quite a bit of money based on a total bluff… a bluff that, paid in increments of $1,400, was worth $250,000 and counting. From this, we can infer that quite a few people who received this message had online activities that they wanted to hide, and more critically, that their passwords had remained the same for all those years.

This is an excellent example of why it is so crucial to regularly update your passwords, without repeating them – if an old database is hacked, as happened here, you won’t have to worry if your password is revealed – it won’t be any good anymore.

The second thing to remember? If you aren’t actively using your webcam, keep its lense covered up.

For more best practices to follow, including those that will improve your business’ security, make sure you keep checking back to this blog – and if you want to take more action, reach out to us at (877) NET – KING.


Reduce Your Costs By Outsourcing Your IT Management

Posted August 07, 2018 by

Person working on computerYour business deals with all types of troubles, but one trouble that can be extraordinarily costly is when your organization’s technology doesn’t work properly. That’s why many businesses hire an IT staff who work to mitigate technology-related problems. One issue you should be cognizant of is cost. Typically, IT professionals have training, certifications, and experience and demand an above average salary. If you have a small or medium-sized business that is working with tight margins as it is, it can be extremely difficult to take on new personnel costs; especially ones that don’t directly result in bringing revenue through the door.

A popular solution to this quandary is to outsource your organization’s IT management to a managed IT services provider (MSP), like Excalibur Technology. Our certified technicians will first assess your business’ information systems to get a good idea where your inefficiencies lie, then they’ll go to work devising a customized technology and management plan to fit your business’ needs. Starting a relationship with a baseline of knowledge we can deliver value through our cost-saving managed services that include:

  • Hardware & software support: We are the IT guys after all. We have relationships with some of the most notable vendors in the industry so our clients can get the hardware and software solutions they need to be the best version of their business. We’ll also ensure that any software you use will be up to date with the latest threat definitions.
  • Around the clock monitoring: In order to provide the ROI we intend to, our services have to reduce or eliminate your organization’s downtime. That’s why we monitor and proactively maintain your network and infrastructure with our state-of-the-art monitoring software. In doing so, if there is a threat to your network, or your hardware, we’ll know about it immediately, and we can take steps to remediate the issue. This allows you to get more from your hardware and avoid the operational problems that comes when you have to stop to deal with network and infrastructure issues.
  • Backup and disaster recovery: Your business’ data is an extremely valuable asset, and as such, it has to be protected against situations that arise where you may lose it. Anything as benign as a storm could wipe out a lot of hard work. Our backup and disaster recovery platform not only backs up your data periodically, it creates copies that are sent off-site into the cloud, so that no matter what is thrown at your business, your data will be safe.
  • Network security: Along with our monitoring and management program, we also ensure that your network is secured from the literally thousands of threats that face it every day. From malware to corruption to infiltration, our network security platform keeps your data available and your network working properly.
  • Vendor management: Along with having access to a myriad of top industry vendors, we also can help you manage your vendors, whether we use them or not.
  • Around the clock IT support: We offer a comprehensive help desk where technicians who have remote access to your end-points can solve situational computing problems for your staff 24/7.
  • Options: We also offer a whole cache of powerful IT solutions including cloud computing, communications, printing, conferencing, and physical security solutions that work for any-sized business.

If you are looking for a way to get the technology that can help you grow your business, you are just looking to reduce your IT management costs, or you are thinking of attempting to get your footing on a new IT initiative, call the IT professionals at Excalibur Technology today at (877) NET – KING.


Some Businesses Don’t Need Every Bell and Whistle

Posted August 05, 2018 by

When you decided to start your business, you had to be overwhelmed with everything that you had to do just to get it off the ground. If you are like many entrepreneurs, getting a product to market was the aim then, but as business continues and your organization grows, it’s likely that you’ve looked to technology as a benefit. So, when does the amount of technology you have become a hindrance to your bottom line? We will take a look at what happens when an organization takes their love of technology too far.

Some technology is a must, and as a technology provider we often see how organizations can look to technology to solve a lot of their operational problems. Technology can protect and disseminate data. Technology can fuel company-wide collaboration. Technology can ensure that deadlines are met, and work is assigned to the right people. But what happens when there is too much technology that has to be used in order for people to effectively do their jobs?

Unnecessary Technology

Small businesses don’t always need the latest and greatest solutions in order to maximize their ability to generate revenue. More often than not, the more technology an employee has to deal with, the more stress it will create for that worker, especially if the work that they are tasked with has nothing to do with technology. For example, a CRM is a great way to manage both your customers and interdepartmental communications, leaving expectations well-established, but if you have five employees, it may just be overkill (even if they each operate as their own department). You simply don’t need to track how long things take, how your customers relate with your company, and all the other things that a dedicated CRM can do for a company, because with five people on staff, you can get a pretty good idea how they are doing by just observing their work-related behaviors. That’s not to say that a CRM program isn’t useful–of course it is–but, until you have a large customer base filled with a multitude of relationships, and a staff that needs centralized software to be their most productive, it probably isn’t software you need if you are trying to get the most productivity out of a limited number of employees.

That’s just one example. Any technology that isn’t absolutely necessary can be a waste of both money and time for your business, so you need to be diligent about implementing the technology you need, and tabling implementations that may be too costly to run at this juncture. The best way to ascertain if a technology is right for your small business is to look at its potential ROI. We’ll use a CRM again. If you run a business with five employees, the time spent utilizing the CRM may actually cost your company sales, the direct opposite intention of the software. However, if you run a business with 40 people in four different departments, chances are that there is simply too much data, and too many relationships to manage without a solution dedicated to helping your staff oversee it all.

Old Technology

On the other hand, if you are an established business who has had their shingle out for several years, has a dedicated customer base, and is still growing, technology can be a major benefit, except when it’s really old. Old tech not only doesn’t have the operational effectiveness that it once did, it also opens your organization up to increased management and support costs, and risk of security breaches.

Some organizations hold on to their technology too long because they need legacy programs to effectively deliver their products and services, while others hit a financial wall and have to table their IT improvements for a time. Whichever the case, it can leave your organization’s IT a mess and can have unfortunate effects on your business that include:

  • Loss of productivity: Older technology is slower and often isn’t compatible with newer operating systems or productivity and management software, effectively slowing down your business.
  • Problems with security: Despite the numerous software patches that developers put out, there is a definite correlation between the use of older technology and the security issues that happen due to antiquated software.
  • Redundancy: Many times technology is the solution to the redundancy issue, but when an organization has a mix of new and old technology, it often requires work to be made compatible for older and newer software. This could take precious man-hours to navigate.
  • Loss of opportunity: Most consumers utilize the Internet to find the products and services they purchase. If your online presence is a single page with neon text, today’s consumer will likely judge that negatively. Having an active web and online presence goes a long way toward keeping your business top of mind for consumers. Moreover, by not using new online technology, you may be limiting your ability to connect with the audience your organization desperately needs to compete.

These are only a few examples of how old technology can be a detriment to your business. At Excalibur Technology, we are well positioned to help the burgeoning small business find, implement, and manage the technology that will be most effective for their particular circumstances. Our technicians have years of experience with getting the right tech into the hands of the people who can best use it, so if your company is looking to see if the technology you’re using is right for your business, contact us today at (877) NET – KING.


Access to Data Often Creates Opportunities for Workers

Posted August 04, 2018 by

Every business relies on some sort of productivity, whether it’s sales, manufacturing, distribution, management, or support. If you are looking for a way to get more from your staff, giving them direct access to all the data they need to do their job properly can go a long way toward putting them in a position to succeed.

One way that many organizations have helped their employees become more productive is by embracing cloud computing. With cloud applications and file sharing, people can get the access they need from anywhere that has an Internet connection, on any device that supports a web browser. Today, we’ll introduce you to the modern cloud-hosted productivity suite, and how it may just be what the doctor ordered for your business.

Cloud-Based Productivity Suites

The productivity suite has been around for decades. It typically offers users a note taking application, a word processor, a spreadsheet program, and a presentation software. Today these suites are available in the cloud, which provides users the newest version of the software, integration with the other software in the suite, and associated cloud storage for an affordable monthly fee billed per user. This eliminates the headaches attached to older productivity suites that demanded that IT administrators upgrade to new versions of the software when they are released, and also the need to manage the licensing of the software. By giving your employees access to productivity applications from anywhere, many organizations see increases in collaboration, cooperation, and productivity.

Pitfalls for Seamless Access

Access to applications, storage and more through the cloud can provide a big boost for a business, but there are some qualifications that need to be addressed. First of all, we all know that security is extremely important for any organization. The more devices allowed to access your business’ data, the more potential security issues can pop up. To mitigate the risk of providing your employees with this kind of seamless access, the IT professionals at Excalibur Technology suggest that you integrate a virtual private network (VPN) solution for your employees. This solution provides the necessary security by presenting workers an encrypted tunnel in which to send and receive data, mitigating the chances that data can be intercepted when sent or received through the VPN.

If you are looking to give your staff the tools they need to be productive in the office and on the go, reach out to our consultants today and they can present you with the right technology for your needs. Call us today at (877) NET – KING to learn more.


Why It’s Great that Managed Services are Managed

Posted August 03, 2018 by

Concept Art: managed servicesOne of the key benefits of managed IT services is right in the title. It’s managed, meaning that you don’t have to worry about maintaining or configuring your systems. Many small businesses see these kinds of advertisements out in the world but don’t necessarily understand what services are being marketed to them. We’ll take a deep dive into what you can expect from “managed” services for your organization.

Defining Managed Services

Managed services are any services your organization takes advantage of that aren’t managed directly by your company. Perhaps the best example is comparing it to the way the average consumer uses their email. Let’s say you use Gmail as your preferred email service for personal use. Do you manage the mail server running Gmail? Probably not, making the average Gmail user a patron of managed services. If you think about it in this sense, any service that your organization doesn’t manage on its own could be considered a managed service.

In the case of managed IT services, the term “managed” means anything that’s not hosted on your infrastructure or maintained by your on-site employees. This can be anything from cloud-based data storage and web applications to entirely hosted hardware infrastructures that are accessed virtually through the cloud. If you can think it, you can build it–the technology infrastructure of your dreams, without all of the frustration of managing and maintaining it on your own.

The rise of managed IT services has its roots in break-fix IT, where businesses would take their technology to a specialist in order to get issues resolved. This approach meant that they didn’t need employees to maintain the technology on-site, but it also came at a steep cost. Break-fix IT companies would take advantage of businesses that came to them in this fashion, taking care of immediate problems without taking measures for the long term. This meant that businesses would often experience even more issues without addressing the overarching problem, leading to wasted dollars and wasted time.

Now, back to the “managed” part. When a business isn’t managing its own IT, they don’t have to worry about these issues because they are being addressed by a company that A.) Knows how to take care of technology, B.) Takes proactive measures to ensure issues don’t reoccur, and most important of all, C.) Can save your business precious time and resources that can be better spent on other tasks. Imagine having enough time to invest in new outreach initiatives for potential clients, or finally having enough in your budget to not only invest in new technology solutions but implement great ways to increase your bottom line.

Excalibur Technology specializes in providing small businesses with the managed services they need to stay competitive with larger organizations. Managed services often come at a better price point than hiring an entire internal IT department, making it an attractive option for both businesses that don’t have resources to maintain an on-site infrastructure and those that have enough of a staff to manage one, but not enough to maintain it properly. We can either supplement your current help or function entirely as an outsourced IT provider. All you have to do is reach out and ask what we can do for your business.

To learn more about the managed IT business model, reach out to us at (877) NET – KING.


Is Blockchain the Future of Cybersecurity?

Posted August 02, 2018 by

A lot has been made of blockchain recently. Not just because it is the technology used to fuel the thousands of cryptocurrencies there are now, but because the distributed nature of the technology has become the model for many new technological strategies. There are plans to use blockchain technology to do a great many things, but one element where blockchain can help immediately is for cybersecurity. Today we’ll take a look at blockchain and why it may be the key to the future of network and cybersecurity.

The Genesis Block

When the Internet was finally taking off in the early 1990s, there were many detractors who said that it was a fad. There was an article written for Newsweek by astronomer Clifford Stoll that was titled, “Why the Web Won’t Be Nirvana“. You see, in 1995, the Internet wasn’t the tool you think of today. It was a brand-new technology without the breadth of website and application development that has made it into the virtual world that it is now. In the first paragraph he wrote:

Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries, and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electric town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. And the freedom of digital networks will make government more democratic.

Baloney…

Twenty-three years later, except for making government more democratic, it all happened, leaving a once-cynical Stoll to say, “Of my many mistakes, flubs, and howlers, few have been as public as my 1995 howler… Now, whenever I think I know what’s happening, I temper my thoughts: Might be wrong, Cliff…”

So when looking at the potential uses for blockchain, it should be understood that the technology is still very much nascent; and, has its detractors.

A contributing writer for Forbes, Frances Coppola, took down the technology in a 2016 article, starting the article with, “I’m fed up with the hype around blockchain. It’s not rocket science, it’s not revolutionary and it’s not even that smart. And it’s not going to change the world.” She goes on to talk about how it’s just a stripped-down payments system and that since it does not fundamentally change the way payments work, that it’s just slightly more convenient, but doesn’t eliminate the need to trust the vendor and/or customer.

There are hundreds of potential applications for blockchain, and if Coppola is right, the $1.3 billion in venture capital blockchain-related technologies have garnered so far in 2018 alone suggests that some of the most risk-averse investors in the world are investing money in a burgeoning technology that will produce faulty applications. More likely, however, as with Stoll, the one part of the equation she hasn’t taken into account is the human ingenuity necessary to make technology like this into viable applications.

Another Block In the Chain

With data increasingly becoming a premium asset, and cyberattacks more prevalent and targeted than ever, organizations of all types are attempting to find a solution that could stave off bad actors and create a secure environment for data. Blockchain is increasingly being considered as the technology that will produce the type of security tools needed by every organization.

Blockchain has the potential to do just that, and that’s why we are seeing the kind of VC investment that we are. Since the technology can already provide consensus, and is by nature immutable, cybersecurity developers are trying to ascertain how to use these properties to improve cyber defense. Industry leaders have identified how blockchain can provide users and systems with confidentiality, integrity, and availability, but haven’t completely figured out the particulars yet. Let’s take a look at what these cybersecurity professionals are doing.

Preventing Cyber Attacks

Hackers have long been a thorn in the side of IT administrators because once they are in, they can shut down networks, tamper and steal data, trick people into handing over sensitive data, assume other people’s identities, and become an overall nuisance to any organization unfortunate enough to be targeted by them. Blockchain presents some pretty stark benefits that cybersecurity professionals have stated could be leveraged to keep bad actors from infiltrating networks and stealing data. Here are a few of them:

  • Identity protection: A blockchain enhanced with the integrated Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) can allow IT administrators to remove the central management of the technology by using the inherent properties of blockchain (i.e. its distributed nature) to manage security certificates. By performing key and signature verification of users, it also improves secure network access.
  • Infrastructure protection: Remember that attack on the Dyn DNS that left Internet giants like Twitter, Netflix, and PayPal battling hours of downtime? That was caused by a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack that took down servers that provide Domain Name Services (DNS) for many major websites. With a blockchain-integrated strategy, DNS information would be distributed in their own nodes, eliminating the threat of a DDoS attack, as it would be impossible to target an entire chain of nodes.
  • Data protection: Nowadays, people are utilizing private key encryption to sign sensitive documents, allowing for party-to-party verification. With blockchain, the process goes the other way. By distributing data across blocks, data integrity is maintained. The technology, called Keyless Signature Structure (KSI), replaces key-based data authentication by distributing information making it general knowledge rather than a secret.

While blockchain may only turn out to be a flash-in-the-pan technology that allowed for cryptocurrency to exist, it may just be one of the most important technologies that has ever been invented. Only time will tell how human ingenuity will be able to innovate from the blockchain we have today. If you are looking for more information about blockchain and how it may just be the technology that will bring security to computing networks all over the world, visit our blog today!


Know Your Tech: Encryption Key

Posted August 02, 2018 by

Security is a necessity. Every technology professional will tell you this, but in an age where employees are taking information on the go, it’s trickier than it’s ever been before. Encryption is one of the ways that businesses are attempting to shore up their security, but this also requires having an encryption key. This week’s technology term is all about encryption, as well as how encryption keys protect your business’ data.

Defining Encryption and Encryption Keys

Encryption is the act of scrambling your organization’s data so that it can’t be seen by prying eyes. Anyone who doesn’t have the encryption key will see nothing but a bunch of nonsense. Through the use of algorithms, these keys are guaranteed to be unique, meaning that there are no two patterns that are alike. Of course, depending on the type of encryption being used, there could be one or two keys needed to decrypt information.

Symmetric algorithm: Symmetric algorithms are often called secret key encryption. This uses one key to encrypt and decrypt data. Since this makes for an efficient encryption method, it can be used to encrypt large amounts of data. The bad side of this encryption is that it only uses one single encryption key, so you need to make sure that it remains in your possession at all times.

Asymmetric algorithm: Asymmetric algorithms are commonly used in public/private encryption, in which there are two keys involved. The public key–the one used to encrypt data–can be shared, whereas the other–the private key–is private, and used to decrypt the data later. Asymmetric is considered the more secure of the two options, since the private key that decrypts the data isn’t actually shared.

What Are These Keys Used For?

Encryption keys are used for a variety of objectives, but the ultimate goal is still the same: security of both the data and the encryption keys themselves. The strength of the encryption key depends on several variables, including the length of the symmetric keys and the algorithm used to create it. These keys usually have short shelf lives called a crypto-period, meaning that you should understand details about how the encryption key will be used before committing to it and expecting it to work for you indefinitely.

  • Data encryption keys: These keys prevent data from being read by anyone who isn’t authorized to view it. These keys are also held onto for a bit past their crypto-period.
  • Authentication keys: An authentication key is used to determine that the data encrypted has not been altered at all while it’s in transit. This is ideal for sending and receiving data so that authenticity is guaranteed.
  • Digital signature keys: Digital signature keys are similar to authentication keys, but they take it a step further by applying a digital signature to the user. This means that someone who digitally signs a document can’t actually deny that they’ve done so.
  • Root keys: The public key infrastructure is used for authentication and digital signatures, and the root key is the highest level of key in this infrastructure. Due to the importance of this key, it’s generally protected by a hardware security module.
  • Master keys: A master key can be used to encrypt multiple other keys. This means that they need to be extremely secure with a hardware security module, and they should last for a long time, if not forever.
  • Key encryption keys: These keys can transport other encryption keys. They should be long-lasting and unchanging.

Does your organization want to take full advantage of encryption? To get started, reach out to us at (877) NET – KING.


Is Your Data Recovery Plan Going to Work?

Posted July 31, 2018 by

If you’re ever asked about your data backup solution, the last answer that you want to give is that you don’t know what measures you’re implementing to keep your organization safe from a worst-case scenario. There are different kinds of data backup and disaster recovery, but they almost always depend on two specific benchmarks: Recovery Point Objective and Recovery Time Objective.

We’ll walk you through the various differences between RPO and RTO, as well as discuss the major strengths and weaknesses of both in regard to the various types of data backup practices out there.

Recovery Point Objective

How much data is at risk in the event your organization suffers from a data loss incident? If you’re not taking advantage of data backup services, it’s likely that all of it is at risk. Either way, it doesn’t matter if it’s only a handful of files or your entire infrastructure; data loss is data loss, and your organization could lose precious productivity and efficiency because of it. You should never assume that any amount of data loss is acceptable. After all, you never know when you’ll find certain information useful. Your ultimate goal should be to minimize damage loss whenever possible.

In a sentence, you can consider your recovery point objective the amount of data that your organization should strive to reach following a data loss scenario. In almost every case, you shouldn’t settle for anything less than 100% of your data. Modern data backup solutions can help your organization accomplish this through the use of frequent snapshot backups which are designed to minimize data loss as a whole.

Recovery Time Objective

The other half of a data backup and disaster recovery solution is how long it takes your organization to recover. It goes without saying that if your organization can’t recover its data in a timely manner, you stand to lose out on a lot of productivity. Workers who no longer have access to important data or infrastructure services won’t be able to do their jobs, making their existence in the office a moot point. Any situation where your organization can’t function as intended can be classified as downtime, and by extension, an operational deficit.

Your goal should be to minimize recovery time so that you can get right back to work following a disaster. The ideal data backup solution should utilize the cloud to advance these efforts because of how intuitive and functional its options for data backup are. By utilizing the cloud to deploy a backup in the event of a loss incident, you can almost immediately recover as long as the data has somewhere to be deployed to.

Does your business need a cloud-based data backup and disaster recovery solution that can help your business optimize RPO and minimize RTO? Excalibur Technology can help. To learn more, reach out to us at (877) NET – KING.


Increased Network Complexity Necessitates Shifts in Monitoring Strategies

Posted July 30, 2018 by

Businesses of all sizes have come to depend on their IT for productivity. IT administrators that constantly monitor their network and infrastructure reduce downtime, leading to higher resource availability. With the increasingly complex makeup of an organization’s network this becomes quite the task.

What Makes a Network Complex?

First we should mention that computers are complex machines and if you’ve ever tried to fix one without the specific knowledge it takes to do so, you more than likely ended up like everyone else who has tried, and called a professional. The traditional computing network was made up of centralized servers, end points in the form of workstations, and some networking equipment that allowed these machines to communicate with one another. Adding the availability of the Internet to that equation makes the network much more complex, mostly due to the breadth of the Internet as it exponentially increases your business’ exposure to threats.

Expanding that even further with the growing number of endpoints on a network due to the deployment of wireless networks that connect all the smartphones, laptops, and tablets to the network; and, all the other connected devices that are out there today… there is a lot of ground to cover. That’s not even considering virtualized data, cloud platforms, a website, and other higher-bandwidth applications such as video streaming or communications systems.

Network Monitoring Best Practices

Before we start listing ways you can monitor your network and infrastructure more effectively, we should mention that as trained professionals, we recommend entrusting your network monitoring to people who are versed with the makeup of your business’ network and infrastructure. Our managed IT services platform is a perfect complement to a large complex network filled with potential problems.

5 Monitoring Practices to Consider

  1. Pay Attention – This goes without saying, but by keeping the health of your network at the top of your list of priorities and monitoring components in real-time, you can be more proactive in fixing issues before they become downtime-causing problems.
  2. Find an Overreaching Solution – By integrating an end-to-end monitoring strategy, it gives you the power to coordinate efforts and present technicians with one version that they can act upon. Find a solution that handles both wireless and wired networks, virtual and physical environments, databases, and applications and supports all necessary protocols and languages to be able to monitor any device or program.
  3. Optimize Bandwidth – Data flow bottlenecks can absolutely hinder your business’ ability to utilize all the tools effectively. Monitoring bandwidth levels can bring about favorable results.
  4. Prepare to Scale – For the modern business, scalability is key. To ensure that the staff of your business has access to the productivity systems they require, being able to scale up or back–depending on the situation–is essential.
  5. Ensure Your Solution Is Flexible– When you choose a monitoring platform, be sure to choose one that doesn’t have inflexible licensing models as you need it to be able to work across all types of devices and applications.

The IT professionals at Excalibur Technology are experts and monitoring and managing business networks. Call us today at (877) NET – KING to find out more about how we can help you run a more efficient business with technology.


How Technology is Transforming the Way Students Learn

Posted July 27, 2018 by

Concept Art: studentTo educate the leaders of tomorrow, using technology from the past isn’t going to cut it. While some schools are still using technology from the last century, others are moving forward. Today, we will take a look at classroom technology innovations, and how to get this exciting new technology in the hands of more students.

The Modern Classroom

Like the modern office, the modern classroom is beginning to run on technology; and as a result, it is changing the way teachers need to teach. Teaching strategies that have been the same for decades are being questioned and altered, making the children of today more-or-less guinea pigs in the new way of learning. They are well-equipped for this alteration, however, as they are the first generation of people that have lived in the age of social media and are likely well more advanced at using technology to solve problems than previous generations. So, while there are some inherent problems with kids growing up in the age of social media, for education, the concept is a major win.

One strategy modern teachers are using nowadays is called flipped learning. This is where children are asked to watch online lectures, videos, and other materials at home, then do what used to be called homework during class. The classwork isn’t just people sitting quietly at their desks with their five-pound textbook open any longer, it’s now a chance for the children to work collaboratively to solve problems and hone practical skills that can be used throughout their lives. Best yet, flipped learning allows for a more analytical approach to teaching, whereas in the past kids that had trouble with certain concepts would work on problems they didn’t understand at home, away from educators, leading to frustration and higher degrees of failure.

For the school that isn’t ready to flip education completely on its head, there is blended learning, which is a strategic combination of using traditional face-to-face teaching with technology-based assignments to get more out of each lesson plan. So, while there are still in-class lectures, and individual assignments, integrating the use of technology to find answers, present homework, and introduce concepts can go a long way toward getting the children using technology and gaining the skills they are going to need as a member of the future workforce.

What Are Some of the New Technologies?

There are several technologies that are being developed to help students (and people in general) learn more about the world around them. Let’s start in the classroom. One technology that is starting to become common in the classroom is the smartboard. If you haven’t seen one, it is in essence a whiteboard that is hooked up to a computer and has multi-touch capabilities. This provides a more immersive educational experience than the old overhead or slide projector. One feature that a smartboard has is that it can be mirrored to any Internet-connected computer, giving students (or whomever is viewing this content) the chance to follow along when they are out of the classroom or on their personal device within the classroom itself.

Another great tool is the smart table. Smart tables are computer-based, and Wi-Fi connected touchscreen tables that typically have many multi-touch points, some have as many as 80 unique touch points at the same time. Since the technology is more accessible, the smart table is great for younger students that need more hands-on learning.

Another technology that the classroom of tomorrow will almost certainly feature is virtual and augmented reality glasses. These technologies are just in their infancy, but the more applications they begin to create, the more they will be found in schools. AR specifically is a technology that many students can benefit from. Since it is a digital overlay over real life objects, it makes instructional learning more immersive and provides a student practical instruction rather than providing conceptual instruction. It won’t be surprising to see apps developed for tablets and smartphones that will provide step-by-step instructions to students in a wide variety of disciplines.

Securing the Technology

The process of getting students and teachers more connected and modernized isn’t just about acquiring new hardware and software. It’s also critical that teachers and administrators are taught how to use the technology and how to use it safely. Without proper security measures, sensitive information could be at stake, and putting a student’s identity or privacy at risk has deep ramifications. It’s critical that schools consult IT experts who understand IT security before deploying technology that connects to the Internet or the network in general.

How to Get Kids the Technology They Need

One big problem facing a lot of public schools is that they simply don’t have the funding to get enough of the technology into classrooms to make a difference for the students. Most school boards won’t propose major tax increases in order to fund classroom innovation, and it’s unreasonable to expect that educators foot the bill for this technology. For situations like this, teachers have turned to crowdsourcing and social media.

Another form of funding can come from social media. Some sites do a gift exchange for teachers. There are people from all around the world looking to help kids get a better education by providing them technology. There are other sites where teachers can purchase donated technology and software.

Of course, you can always go the traditional route: writing to your congressman/woman, but a lot of times you’d be better off turning to a foundation set up for teachers who, on average, spend nearly $600 a year on classroom supplies.

The world has seen its technology change quickly and education is going to have to represent where we are in society. Do you know of any technologies that students use nowadays that we didn’t touch on? Leave your thoughts with us in the comments section below and return to our blog for more great technology-based content.

 



Excalibur Technology
Excalibur Technology
Excalibur Technology
Excalibur Technology
Excalibur Technology
Excalibur Technology