IT Services Blog

Behind the Logo: Count Dupras

Written by BlackPoint Team on . Posted in Behind the Logo, IT Services Blog, Managed IT Services, Uncategorized

John-liteEach time we do a Behind the Logo feature on a BlackPoint team member, it’s fun to learn new things about team members who may be familiar faces but have surprising interests/hobbies.  We found out our Portland Sales Lead used to compete in chili cook offs, one of our engineers is building a shark tank in his house this year, but no one caused as much surprise as one of our newer team members. 

John Dupras joined BlackPoint IT last year as our new VP of Managed Services.  In this role, he oversees our Help Desk and Network Operations team and has been instrumental in helping us improve our service and processes for our Managed Services clients. 

Normally, we interview our team members and condense their answers to a short paragraph, but this time around we found unearthed something so haunting, we had to provide the record as is. 

See for yourself:

What is your role at BlackPoint IT?  I am the VP of Managed Services – this includes the overall responsibility for remote support (Help Desk) and our Network Operations Team.

What does your day to day look like?  The great part about this job is that every day is different!  Particularly now as we are transitioning our teams into pods to better support our clients.  Getting to know the strengths of the team members and how we can best utilize them to support our clients and our engineering team has been a great experience and I am looking forward to the next steps in that process.

How many years have you been in the IT industry? I started in IT almost 333 years ago.  I did take an 8 year “break” in the mid 80’s working in the medical field, but ultimately came back to IT and IT management.

Wait what??  Hold the phone…..How long have you been in IT????  It was this response that prompted a serious question.  John Dupras-Are you a vampire?

Sadly, the answer was no (though we’ve all been watching him out of the corners of our eyes)….And we did capture this outtake from our photoshoot:

It makes you think a little bit more about the rest of his answers…..

vampjohn-smWhat excites you about technology?I think it’s primarily the rapid change of technology. Things that were only dreamed of when I first got into the industry, are already being outdated!  I’m not sure what the future will bring, but I am sure it will be rapid and exciting.

What do you like to do in your spare time?I started taking guitar lessons about a year ago, because I always wanted to learn. I also paint in watercolors and pastels and dabble in photography.  I love to fly fish, but finding the time is more challenging than the fishing ;)

What is your favorite movie, album, or book?Wow – I have such diversified interest, that’s hard to say.  I think I’d have to go with a book called “Falcon’s of France” – a story of Americas early involvement in WW1 that I first read years ago.  Long out of print, my wife found a copy on ebay and bought it for me recently.  One of the nicest presents I ever received.

Why is he so interested in WW1?  Was he there???  We may never know….

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Heartbleed Bug: Don’t Go Breaking My….

Written by BlackPoint Team on . Posted in IT Services Blog

There’s a lot of information flying around the internet these days about the Heartbleed Bug which potentially exposed millions of internet users to vulnerabilities when they thought they were accessing secure sites.  Some estimate that it has compromised at least 66% of active websites (techmadeeasy.co.uk estimates there are around 861,379,000 registered host names as of January 2014).

Most high profile sites have already responded to the threat (read: Which popular sites have been patched) and consumers have been instructed to change their passwords.

What Do I Need To Know As A Business Owner?

This bug predominantly affects firewalls and websites.  Most security & firewall companies (including the vendors we use like Cisco, WatchGuard, and others) issued patches immediately.   As a business owner, you should be vigilant and check with your technology providers to ensure the products they are using are safe and supported for updates, patches, and fixes-especially for hosted websites and cloud services.  If you host your own website, you may need to take the necessary steps to make sure your site is secure.  One popular tool you can use to check whether a site has been secured:

The Heartbleed Bug URL tester

McAfee also released their own URL tester.

If you or your employees use Android phones or tablets, you may want to keep an eye out for updates to the Android Operating System (OS).  PC Magazine reported that users of Android 4.1.1 may still be vulnerable to the Heartbleed Bug.  Other Google products (such as Gmail, YouTube, AdWords, Maps, etc.) should be safe as the company has applied the appropriate patches. 

Password InfographicCreate A Strong Password Policy

One of the best things you can do is create a password policy for all the applications you use.  It is best to change your passwords at least every 3 months.  We also have some tips for creating strong passwords.  Click on the infographic to the left for tips and examples. 

If you have any questions or need our assistance with reviewing your network for best security practices, please do not hesitate to call!

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R.I.P. XP

Written by BlackPoint Team on . Posted in IT Services Blog, Microsoft Office, Security, Windows

XP-Gravestone-bannerIt’s the end of an era. As of April 8th, Microsoft says it will no longer provide security updates, issue fixes to non-security related problems or offer online technical content updates. The company is discontinuing XP to focus on maintaining its newer operating systems, the core programs that run personal computers.

It’s estimated that nearly 30% of computers are still running XP and are now more vulnerable to attacks than ever.  Part of the problem is a lack of education.  Not every business person reads tech blogs and may not be entirely aware of the consequences of continuing to run this OS.  But the bigger problem is that for most, especially small business owners, there is a lack of time.  They may have applications that don’t work on other operating systems (OS) and don’t have the time to research or implement new processes.  They may not be aware of what new technologies are available or be able to afford to outfit their company with new hardware.  

It’s time to take action…

We cannot recommend enough making time to sit down with a technology professional to find out what can be done.  Get the information on what is available, what steps you can take in the meantime, and find a solution that will meet your needs.  Our Account Managers and Engineers work closely with Microsoft and have completed training to help businesses in any scenario.  They also work closely with many types of small businesses and can recommend a solution they’ve seen work for other businesses like yours.

In the meantime, we recommend disconnecting all XP machines from the internet to minimize threats.  New exploits for Windows XP will likely be added to cybersecurity exploit kits sold/leased to attackers which make it easy to build malicious websites that try to install malware on XP systems that visit those sites.

If you limit internet use & sites visited with XP systems, you can limit the risk.  Changing browsers will not mitigate these risks.

You can also:

  • Run a free virus checker like Microsoft Safety Scanner
  • Install antivirus (AV) and antispyware from a trusted source
  • Consider upgrading your OS.  Windows 7 has a “Run in XP mode” which may help you continue to run XP-reliant applications but still offer protection from the Windows 7 OS which is still supported.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  We are here to help.

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In Their Words….Portland Edition!

Written by lbezezekoff on . Posted in IT Services Blog, Real Business

Invite Photo

Our Portland staff just moved into their new office (just upstairs from their old one!) and are ready to grow!  One way they will do that is through word of mouth referalls from clients who are excited about the IT solutions we provide them.  Along those lines, we are happy to debut TWO new testimonials from Portland area clients in the special PDX edition of In Their Words….

 

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