Why We Don’t Outsource Our Technical Support

For years, as Triton Technologies grew we were approached by many third party IT support contractors. From telephone only, to individuals we were contacted sometimes almost daily. The offers were inviting. Learn why we’ve been vindicated by our decision that we don’t source our technical support.

How We Kept It In-House

Like all things, we did the research and eventually agreed NOT to do third-party outsourced support. The research showed us that the only benefit would be for the company who provided the services, not the MSP (Managed Service Provider) and certainly not the end client. Each call the technician would have to guess at the possible problem and hopefully resolve it within a 15-minute window or be transferred to an actual MSP technician. That sounds good in theory but it never really worked out like that with people already using them.

So years ago we decided to keep it in-house. All service, support, telephone systems, monitoring agents and more have been in control and owned by Triton Technologies.

Now, outsourced IT technicians have their place, especially when you’re just starting out and need to have the resources in order to provide the service, they are excellent. Triton Technologies grew at a managed pace and it never was a major consideration.

Dodging the Bullet

In July 2016, it proved to be an excellent choice. Continuum encountered a sustained hack on their network infrastructure. All clients, end users and more were hacked and local accounts were installed across the empire.

Yes, Continuum patched the hole, but the damage was done. Violations of HIPAA, Business Associate Agreements invalidated and hundreds of thousands of end user machines and network compromised

It’s been nearly 3 months and we are continually getting calls on people existing networks being infected by their previous MSP and wanting us to take over.

Sometimes the best course of action is to keep all your cards close to your chest. If you’re looking for a Managed Service Provider who avoiding outsource our support, contact us.

Amazon AWS: Amazon, Part Deux

We get a call on Monday morning, like you do, but this one was more panic. The owner went on a week long vacation and came back to a resignation letter sitting on his desk from what was then his previous IT person. In-house person, quit Wednesday the previous week.

The boss was in a panic. So he googled the first IT company he could, which luckily was us and called us. The server had always acted slowly but now it was to a screeching halt.

Troubleshooting the In-House Server

We came down and analyzed the situation. Basically the server was 2008 R2 but it had multiple hardware failures. From a critical raid array, to a failed secondary power supply, the UPS failed and more. It was a mess. That was just the main server, there was two more servers in similar shape.

But we needed to get him up and running in case of an event or even worse, failure.

Time to virtualize!

Transferring the Server Image

We currently have a custom made software which allows us to image any server and bring that image online on Amazon. So that’s what we did. Our team installed the imaging software, and began the upload to a newly created S3 instance on Amazon. The next morning when it finished uploading, we implemented the image on an EC3 instance. Boom! It worked. Adjusted the IP address, DNS, linked Amazon VPC to their new Sophos Firewall and their hardware issues vanished.

Within two days we got the client stable, their infrastructure operational and their security concerns gone. Amazon was a big part of it, and our certified team implemented it.

That is why we recommend to our clients at least a virtual Active Directory server for backup purposes in case of an event. Contact us to learn more about your options and pricing.

Amazon AWS: Amazon Saves The Day

A Client in Need of a Solution

Triton Technologies does a lot of different kinds of business. Some logistics, medical, hospitality, government, military and more. So we are quite diverse on the types of clients that we work with.

We were asked about 3 months ago to install software for an oil distribution company on a new server, tablets and so forth.

The owner gave us the specs and balked. It was significantly more expensive than the person was willing to spend. That is where we came in.

Finding a Cost-Effective Alternative

The software company asked for a very powerful server, over $6000 but it was for a single purpose, just to run a database.

So we came up with a plan. Since we are an Amazon partner, let us see if we can virtualize the SQL database and get the same performance or better.

We logged into our AWS, ramped up exactly what the software people wanted, and began the install. Total time: 3 hours.

Using AWS Instead of the Standalone

3 hours it all it took to start up the server, install it, adjust the RDP settings and voila! Done. The server has been operational for over 2 months, stabile, easy to access and the client has 100% uptime INCLUDING outages by their ISP. That is impressive.

The software company is so impressed that they are recommending Triton Technologies to clients who are apprehensive about the cost of their own server. The cost of an Amazon server: $125 per month. Cost of the stand alone AFTER install: $8500.

Saving Money with a Private Server and Managed IT

Amazon virtual private servers aren’t for everyone, but they are available for all tasks large and small. For this client, it saved LITERALLY thousands of dollars, gave them the reliability they needed and the performance which they could afford.

Want to learn more about AWS and how Managed IT can help you run your business smarter, not costlier? Contact us.

Data Breaches and Dropbox

Dropbox over 4 years ago had a data breach which exposed over 86 million users to hackers. The hackers could have access to the passwords for the accounts, encrypted and unencrypted. We look at data breaches and Dropbox, namely their failure on handling it.

It was 4 years ago. They are just making available the data now. That is a massive breach of trust. 4 years of your personal data exposed to the world and you not knowing about it. Only in August 2016 did Dropbox make users aware of the data breach, but what was even worse is how they handled it.

How They Handled the Data Breach

In most data breach situations, they make the users aware almost immediately upon learning about it, force users to change their passwords and almost always there is another layer of security added to prevent it from happening again.

This time around, no such luck.

At best, Dropbox advised users to change their passwords, but did not require it. This is terribly bad. Not only did they delay in the discovery of the breach, their remedy does nothing to prevent a back door from being implemented and all the data stolen before you’re even aware.

Triton’s Recommendation: Change Your File Sharer

Many businesses and personal users rely on file sharing services like Dropbox to transfer files and be able to access them on the go. The copy or deletion of these files in a data breach can not only be a setback, but can also become a real liability for companies transferring client data.

You have to be able to trust the service you use.

That is why Triton Technologies can no longer recommend Dropbox for your individual file sharing and mobile needs.

We recommend a product called Share Sync. Share Sync has proven to us how safe, secure and compliant it is with industry standards and laws.  If you do use Dropbox, uninstall it and switch away. Contact us to learn more about our recommendation, and other secure services available through managed IT providers.

The Advantages of Working With a VoIP Provider

When an emergency happens, it’s great to have an MSP (Managed Service Provider) with a VoIP Service.

Story Time: 2016 Texas Floods

About two months ago, we have a client out of Texas who does financial services for the local populous. Retirement packages, stock trades, trusts for entities etc, etc.

Well, if you have been paying attention to the weather down south, there are certain parts in drought and certain parts in flooding, unluckily for our client they were in a flood. The rain came, and came and came…

Office Flooded, But Everything On The Cloud But…

Their offices, which is a single story building, were flooded. Computers, networks, phones and copiers were all lost. Nothing that couldn’t be replaced, but their business still had to operate. Clients still had to make trades, still had to invest, and they still had to communicate. Luckily, years ago, we installed Office 365, Hosted Exchange and a virtual server on an Amazon S3 Instance, making their data safe….

…. but not their phone system.

Dead Phone Lines: VOIP to the Rescue

Calls were still coming in but it had nothing to go to, and AT&T couldn’t fix the infrastructure for months. The local coax provider was also out and the only thing functioning was cellular.

That’s where we came in.

Rapid VoIP Deployment

We overnighted a hosted PBX (Private Branch Exchange) system utilizing Polycom VVX500 handsets, Cisco 24 port POE switch, Sophos 105W (might remember that name from our Firewall blog) with Amazon VPC (which attaches directly to Amazon for their hosted server), and installed a Microtech eCell cellular adapter to give their network access without a traditional provider.

Within 24 hours, we forwarded the phones to the new system, stepped them through getting setup by remote and by the end of the day phones were ringing, email being sent and their business in full operation.

At Triton Technologies we go out of our way to get our clients up and running and since we could provision and deploy a PBX system near instantly, it saved our client from going out of business. Being able to bring the right technologies together from multiple to meet client needs, and being able to do it quickly, is the hallmark of a great MSP. Let us be yours.

Why We Recommend Ubiquiti Wireless Access

Wifi isn’t complicated. What is complicated is people.

For a long time, most small business would go out to their local office supply store, purchase a router, create wifi and give it no password so their patrons could access it without an issue. Those days are long gone. Businesses need to scale and the wireless network technology has arrived to allow it.

Good Wifi: A Product and a (Quick) Story

Ubiquiti Wireless Access with Triton Technologies logo.

We recommend a brand called Ubiquiti. Never heard of them? They are the secret for many MSPs and IT consultants. Their technology is simple to install, simple to manage, and easy to deploy.

A prime example is a hotel we did in Massachusetts. Over 90 access points, 6 switches, 2 gateways, 1 load balancer and we got the install done in a day. Literally. All the changes, tweaks and configurations were done within 7 hours with only 30 minutes downtime programming the switches. It was truly a great feat to see.

With their technology it is also cloud based, so any network changes, from their login portal, firmware updates and more are done entirely over a web browser. It is a joy to access and modify the settings.

Why is Wifi Important for a Business Owner?

Wifi brings customers. From hospitals, hotels, restaurants, and more, wifi is an integral part of their business. The longer a client can sit at a restaurant, the more they order, the greater the profit. For motels and hotels, to get the luxurious conference contracts, businesses need to get great wifi and services like Ubiquiti can provide that service quickly with a minimum of fuss.

What makes them so great?

  1. No licensing costs. You bought it, you own it and can operate it until you replace it.
  2. Easy to install. Industry standard design, compact design and easy to install hardware kits.
  3. Cloud manageable. Just log into a single website and access thousands of sites at the click of a mouse.
  4. Low cost. Their access points are easily under a $100 price point.
  5. Accessories. Literally hundreds of easy to access accessory devices such as external mounts, antennas and more.
  6. Simple technology. The interface is clean, no fluff, no ads: just easy to read and understand menus and interface.

With hundreds of deployments, from the single access point or thousands of units throughout Worcester, we recommend the Ubiquiti line of wireless technology.

Let’s help you get it installed at your business.

Acceptable Use Policies Can Save Your Business

Policy, procedure and process.

I was asked recently why do I need a computer policy?

The short answer? It’s the law.

Massachusetts 201 CMR 17.00 Compliance

In Massachusetts, the law 201.cmr.17 clearly states that a business must have a clear and defined polices when it comes to internet and data access for their employees. To quote the purpose section directly:

This regulation implements the provisions of M.G.L. c. 93H relative to the standards to be met by persons who own or license personal information about a resident of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This regulation establishes minimum standards to be met in connection with the safeguarding of personal information contained in both paper and electronic records. The objectives of this regulation are to insure the security and confidentiality of customer information in a manner fully consistent with industry standards; protect against anticipated threats or hazards to the security or integrity of such information; and protect against unauthorized access to or use of such information that may result in substantial harm or inconvenience to any consumer.

MA Privacy Law Compliance for Your Business

What does this mean for businesses? If an employee decides to copy client’s data to an external drive or an external network and their is no company policy in place, it could possibly cause a tremendous amount of fines and penalties when it comes to data loss and lack of accountability that comes from a data breach.

The other problem is failure to prevent the data loss can also mean something larger when it comes to their clients data. If they are so careless with your clients data, it shows that they could be careless with your companies intellectual property such as client list, client information and more. Nothing is worse for a business owner than their client and accounting information to fall into their competitors hands.

Reviewing Your Company Policies

What we recommend to our client is to review their client handbook and their company policies when it comes to networks, computers and mobile devices. Many times our clients and some new ones are surprised when we ask for a copy of their handbook so we can make modifications.

Many attorneys believes that they do a great job when creating an acceptable use policy when it comes to their clients networks, but from an IT perspective, it can always be tightened up. From social media, mobile devices, flash drive, and password policies, it is imperative that we advise clients to have us review it so they are not at risk to penalties and data loss. Too often there is the one-two punch of losing client data, and then losing clients. Let us help you be proactive.

Shared Hosting Dangers: Why It Needs to Go

Shared hosting needs to go.

What? Yes, we said it and we mean it. What is shared hosting to begin with?

Understanding Shared Hosting (And Its Drawbacks)

Shared hosting is a service in which on a single server usually at a hosting service that your company and many other companies share. So the resources, memory, CPU and more are literally shared at the hardware level from one company to potentially thousands of other companies. If you are trying to do something such as expand your website, a dedicated MySQL instance or more, the potential for other “tenants” taking your site down is absolutely huge.

What does this mean for the business owner? A LOT.

Shared Outages and Viruses

A down, unresponsive or slow to respond website can and will impact your business to be seen on the internet. From lack of traffic, reduction in potential clients and more, it can cripple a business especially if it is their primary means of getting new clients.

It’s worse than you think.

OK, you get the premium $5.99 shared hosting package, thinking you’ll save a bundle.

Well since you are sharing a server with potentially thousands, a single virus or WordPress infection on another client WILL impact you. It could compromise your server, compromise your database and make your site unrecoverable. This would be disastrous.

How Do You Fix This? Dedicated Hosting

We currently recommend a company called Liquid Web for dedicated web servers and hosting. Why? The plugins, systems monitoring and responsive servers are the best we have ever seen. Unparalleled service and response from their technical support staff is one to be envied by other providers.

It also gives you security where shared hosting cannot. When the server is yours, you can armor it up like none other. Port 80? No, excluded. SSH port with a single point of access? No problem. This is why we extremely recommend a dedicated server, it provides performance, security and customization like no shared package could ever do.

Learn more about our hosting management here, or contact us.

Why We’re Changing Firewall Vendors

Why is Triton Technologies changing firewall vendors?

Triton Technologies has been with SonicWALL since 2006 and have implemented thousands of installs throughout the world. The United States, France, Germany, India, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, and more we have sent and more deployed many hundreds of firewalls throughout those countries. But due to unresolved issues, we’re changing firewall vendors.

But Why the Change?

In September 2012, Dell acquired SonicWall to help bring security and network monitoring tool their portfolio. At the time it seemed like an excellent idea and multiple promises were made about expanding the SonicWALL line. Now we had been with SonicWALL for some time and have worked around the many issues in nuances of the technology. We were promised greater integration through our professional services automation tool, reporting from a remote management tool, and scheduling reports that would be native to the firewall and not requiring additional licensing.

But those promises never materialized.

The SonicWALL Sell-Off

In June 2016 to finalize the acquisition of EMC by Dell Corporation, Dell Corporation had to sell off some of its smaller assets. One of those assets was SonicWALL. So the announcement was made and SonicWALL was sold to intellectual capital partnership in San Francisco California. Seeing the writing on the wall, Triton Technologies reached out to multiple vendors of firewall technology and asked for demo units to be sent.

Trying New Vendors and Finding Sophos

Sophos firewall at Triton Technologies.

We tested out multiple sonic walls from watch guard, Fortinet, Cisco, Juniper, and more. We put them through their paces, implemented policies, and tested the firewalls to make sure that they would be spectacular.

We chose Sophos as our firewall provider. Through demos, not-for-resale firewall, and fully licensed 30 day software, we were able to choose them and their product line in order to integrate seamlessly with our software. Beginning July 18, we will be installing multiple firewalls replace the SonicWALL line and begin full integration with our software. With Sophos many other product offerings and integration with our software, we are proud to bring them on as a new vendor of hours!

This does not mean that Dell’s SonicWALL is a bad product. But as a managed IT services company we need to deliver more and give more to our clients, and Sophos has done just that. If this sounds like something you want from your IT services, contact us today.

The Importance of a Clean Background in IT

The importance of having an IT staff with impeccable backgrounds.

In our line of work we have many keys to many kingdoms. That also means that we need to be more secure than all of our clients. That includes not only complex passwords, multi-authentication techniques, tokens and everything is secure. Because of the risk of having breaches within the network not only from a technological standpoint but from a personnel standpoint we have to go above and beyond when doing background checks for our employees to make sure they have a clean background. This also includes asking more pointed questions, a more in depth background check, and checking military and government clearances.

Why a Clean Background so Important?

We have many different clients, from schools, businesses, non-profits, banks, to military and government, and we cannot risk giving our clients IT technicians that do not have a spectacular background. With those types of clients we interact with data and information of an extremely sensitive and personal nature. HR information, financial account information, medical data, and more are presented to us on a daily basis.

Nothing is worse than having to present to your clients that your IT person decided to steal your data and or abuse their authority within your network, and that is why we need to be extremely proactive and not reactive when it comes to personnel.

A Real Life Example

Why are we discussing this? As we grow, we submit proposals for clients. In some proposals we win and some proposals we lose, that’s the nature of the game. We had submitted a bid to a client and lost. It happens. About two weeks later we received an email from the company asking us to come in. We did.

What was explained to us was the company we lost against had failed its background checks for its technicians. Due to the nature of the client, the risk was too great and the contract could not continue. So we picked up where they had started and the businesses continues to be a client to this day. Due to the sensitive nature of the information all of our technicians and personnel had to be background check, which ours did with flying colors.

The Importance of Trusted Staff

Triton Technologies prides itself on the extreme background checks that we do for our people from level I technicians to even the CEO Trave Harmon. Most of our employees are ex-military, government, or have worked with the police in some capacity. We are background checked multiple times a year, and it is made very clear to our employees that any issues that should arise and must be brought to our attention immediately. This ensures that our clients get the absolute best, secure, and highly trained personnel that we can deliver.

As a business owner in the state of Massachusetts with 201.CMR.17, you need to take extreme due diligence when outside contractors access your data. With that regulation in mind clients who work with Triton technologies can be assured of compliance with that regulation. Let us help.