Blog

June 11th, 2013

Security_May29_AThe protection of highly valuable data is of the utmost importance in this day and age of technology. Filing cabinets and systems are quickly being replaced by applications and computers. Hard-copies of customer information that was once kept behind a lock and key is now tucked neatly away into a folder titled ‘Account Numbers’ on the hard drive of your computer, protected not by lock and key but by a word, phrase, acronym and/or numbers that you create. This means, access to customer information, company budgets, bills and account numbers, and other highly valuable data is at the mercy of your choice in a password.

So the question is, is your password secure? Having a secure password can be both a blessing and a curse. For starters, a secure password is usually several characters (letters, numbers and symbols) long, usually in the eight (typical minimal) to fifteen or even twenty characters long. Having such a long password can be a burden to remember, especially when you’re busy, plus who really wants to type such a long password every time they log in? That is never fun. Is it necessary, though? Both yes and no.

The longer a password is, the more processing power (both of the brain and/or a computer) is needed to decipher and break apart the coding to reveal the password. However, just because a password is long, does not mean it is hard to figure out. This is where the requirements for numbers and special characters (@,!,#,$, etc.) come into play. To put it simply: a < A < 1 < ! in terms of how hard it is to decipher the coding on. By combining these characters together, you can create a difficult to break password that is still secure, yet not twenty characters long.

Let’s look at a few examples, we are comparing the difficulty it would take to force your way through someone’s password by using common words or phrases. This is known as a ‘brute force’ or ‘dictionary’ attack, and there are programs that do the job for those seeking entry into your data.

Susy Q has a password on her computer. That password is ‘sally’ the name of her dog. Sally is not only less than 8 characters, it is also a very common name and in all lower case. This password, with help of a program, could be bypassed in less than five seconds.

Johnny Begud has a password of ‘JohnnyBeGoodIsMyFavoriteSong’ . This is a very long password, and as such, will take a few seconds to break apart, especially with the capital letters thrown in. However, they are all common words, the name of a song is in there as well, and is easily correlated to our client’s name. Twenty seconds. Maybe.

So if even Johnny’s long password is a high risk password, then what can we do to make Susy’s and Johnny’s passwords better?

Let’s take what they have there, keep it simple, and crank up the security of these passwords by about one-hundred. Both passwords will still be only ten characters.

For this part of the example, let’s assign a points system to the passwords. Lower case is 1 point, capital is 2, number is 3, and special character is 4. Space is 5.

Susy’s password of ‘sally’ has a point value of 5. Let’s get this password above twenty, keep the password ‘simple’ yet make it very secure and not as long as Johnny’s.

!S@lly85!

Susy is very excited she has a dog, so to up her security, she uses a pair of exclamation points on either end. She also adds two numbers to the end, eight and five, because she got Sally on August 5th. She throws in a ‘@’ as well to throw off the simplicity of the name.

Her new total? 23. Only nine characters and is still relatively easy for Susy to remember.

Now let’s look at Johnny.

JohnnyBeGoodIsMyFavoriteSong = 35.That is good! Except for the facts mentioned before. So, can we simplify his password and still hit that nice rating of 35, or possibly more? Of course.

[J0B3G !MF5]

Johnny has taken his phrase and broken it down into an acronym. He has added letters with numbers that look similar to that particular letter (and even a symbol) plus a space to throw off programs a tad bit more. He also enclosed it all within brackets. So what is the point total now? And how can he easily remember this acronym?

Points = 36. One point better than the really long password. Now let’s break down how Johnny has chosen to remember his password in his head.

J0 = J0hnny B3= be G=good SPACE ! = is (! Looks like I) M=my F= Favorite 5 = 5ong (5 looks like S). This was the first record he ever owned, and he always kept it in its [sleeve].

Here are a few more password tips from Microsoft:

Help yourself remember your strong password by following these tips:

  • Create an acronym from an easy-to-remember piece of information. For example, pick a phrase that is meaningful to you, such as My son’s birthday is 12 December, 2004. Using that phrase as your guide, you might use Msbi12/Dec,4 for your password.
  • Substitute numbers, symbols, and misspellings for letters or words in an easy-to-remember phrase. For example, My son’s birthday is 12 December, 2004 could become Mi$un’s Brthd8iz 12124 (it’s OK to use spaces in your password).
  • Relate your password to a favorite hobby or sport. For example, I love to play badminton could becomeILuv2PlayB@dm1nt()n.

If you feel you must write down your password in order to remember it, make sure you don’t label it as your password, and keep it in a safe place.

That last line from Microsoft’s tips are important. If you write down your password, be discreet about it. Do not put note it in a simple to find spot and absolutely DO NOT label it ‘password.’

One other helpful tip. Do not use the same password for everything. Especially if you’re out on the internet. Do not use passwords you use for work for various web-sites that you choose to visit each day. There are ways for your password to be ‘phished’ (yes, it works exactly like fishing in a pond) and ‘phishermen’ will attempt to use that password on anything that they know you access.

Follow these simple tips and your data will be safe behind that virtual lock we call a password.

Topic Articles
May 13th, 2013

Use local phone number when calling the help desk!

Please note our local number to reach the help desk is 972-216-8800 extension 2. Our toll free number is no longer valid for calling into the help desk and is printed on some of our older mouse pads that users may be using. We have new mouse pads ordered with the updated information. Of course keep in mind that our preferred method of opening support issues is by submitting your request via email to us at support@cybernut.net which streamlines the process and auto creates the ticket and assigns a technician placing it in queue immediately. Calling in should be reserved for critical issues!

New Operations Manager named at Cybernut Solutions

JingerJinger Frances was recently promoted to the position of Operations Manager at Cybernut Solutions. Jinger is responsible for the management of daily operations relating to Tier 1 support provided by the Cybernut Solutions Service Desk. Jinger works closely with IT teams, other internal operating units, vendors, and our clients to ensure the IT support requirements are met in a timely fashion. Jinger is focused on the day to day tactical team management role however her role is also to assist with future departmental planning with regards to organizational structure, tool recommendation, staffing, trending, and analysis to ensure SLA’s are maintained on a daily basis as well as position the team for the future.

Topic Articles
April 9th, 2013

I am often asked by clients, “what is the easiest way to get in touch with you?” My answers is always “send me an email”. While I enjoy meeting face to face with many of our clients and end users on project discussions and planning meetings there is a clear and efficient means for communicating when you need assistance.

Our help desk at Cybernut has taken it one step further by implementing automated processes and a complete ticketing system which documents every action and communication we have with our end users. Our help supports over 2,000 users across 80 different offices located around the metroplex on a daily basis.

Our help desk and service teams actively work support requests both on the help desk and in the field between the hours of 0800 am and 5pm Monday through Friday. Our help desk system uses a queue that creates a support ticket for each individual request by an end user. These tickets are entered two ways, automatically from an end user emailing their issue to us, or manually by a technician when the end user calls into the help desk by phone.

Aside from critical issues such as “Servers offline, internet outages, and entire offices outages” each ticket is assigned to a queue and waits for the next available technician to begin working the issue.

This is the critical thing to remember, when an end user phones in to get help they actually delay our help to others as a technician has to stop working his current case and stop to answer the phone and manually enter a ticket for the user calling in. The technician will then either escalate the issue to tier 2 or enter the ticket manually into the queue and let the caller know that a technician will contact them as soon as the next available technician reaches their ticket in the queue. This is usually within the hour but can be up to four hours according to our normal business day support SLA (service level agreements) with most of our customers.

On the flip side, if you learn to compose a new email to support@cybernut.net and enter the subject of your support request in the subject line, then give us your name, company, best number to reach you at and then give us as much information about your support issue in the body of the email when you send this to us our system will immediately queue your request and open a brand new ticket automatically for us. These are the client we absolutely love! By ensuring your request goes immediately into our queue a user can typically expect a call back from one of our technicians in just a few short minutes and usually within the hour.

So the next time you need to engage the help desk for assistance and you or someone in your office are able to email support@cybernut.net you will complete the request quickly and ensure a quick response by us to you! Phoning in your request bogs down the tech, drags out the ticket entry process, and slows our response to you! So our tip this month is to utilize email to open support requests with us to support@cybernut.net keeping our phone lines clear for critical issues will ensure that when you and your company are facing the critical outage we are able to quickly investigate and begin working to restore your services and get you back into business! Remember if you have questions, need to place an order for software, hardware, or issue change add requests for your office we would appreciate you emailing those requests directly to us at support@cybernut.net to prevent any delay in getting to those changes and quotes for you. By emailing us directly our response may be delayed if we are in meetings or out of the office that day. Emailing support@cybernut.net guarantees a response by our team.

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Key Takeaway Points:

Please note that bypassing the email way to request help by emailing us at support@cybernut.net will delay our response in helping to address your issue. In the past we have had clients email their favorite technician not knowing that the technician was actually on vacation, off for the day, or previous assigned other work and emails requests are typically ahead in the queue as phone requests take more time to enter into our system.

We want to ensure that your request does not fall between the cracks so please be sure to email support@cybernut.net each and every time you create a support request. Your favorite tech may be off that day, or attending training, or may be on vacation.

Contacting your favorite technician after hours on a cell will be subject to after-hours billing rates, Please be sure your supervisor has authorized the after-hours support which is invoiced per incident separate from routine maintenance work performed during normal business hours 0800am to 5pm CST.

If your organization finds that they really need to be able to call for after hours support after 5pm or needs weekend support on Saturday or Sundays please email us to request a quote to upgrade your SLA service level agreement to cover these additional support upgrades.

Email support requests received after normal business hours are entered into our support queue and will be addressed on the next business day. If received on a weekend the next business day will be Monday.

Cybernut observes all Federal holidays, we typically have an engineer on call during Federal Holidays for critical issues. All other requests will be addressed on the next business day after the holiday.

Topic Articles
December 11th, 2012

An important consideration when buying a computer for work purposes is whether you should purchase a consumer model or a computer specifically designed for business. Many computer manufacturers offer what appear to be the same computer make and model in both their home and business divisions, but they are actually not the same computer. Here’s what you need to know about the differences between consumer and business grade PCs, and which kind you should get for your home or mobile office.

Percent of Business vs. Personal Use

First determine how often you will be using the computer for business use. If you telecommute infrequently (e.g., only during rare severe weather), then a consumer class PC should be just fine — provided the computer has the appropriate applications and resources for your job, of course. Likewise, if you’ll be using it 90% for personal entertainment and only 10% for work, a consumer computer may be more fitting.

Computers sold to consumers usually cost less than business PCs, and since they’re sold everywhere, including Best Buy and Walmart, you can pick up a consumer computer very quickly and easily.

Durability and Reliability

For more dedicated or serious work use, invest in a business class computer, which offers more value in the long run than the consumer counterpart. Business computers are built to last, with higher quality components that are tested more rigorously. Parts used for consumer computers may be more generic or even cheap, while computers designed for professional use more often include higher grade materials and name-brand parts. This emphasis on durability means that a business class laptop or desktop you buy now should last you several years.

Business-Appropriate Features

Business grade computers offer more features for professional work, such as fingerprint readers, remote desktop control software, and encryption tools. The professional operating system version that comes on business PCs is also more suited for workers than the home version; Windows 7 Professional, for example, has features — which Windows 7 Starter and Home editions do not have — for easily joining a corporate network and using Windows XP software. If you’re not convinced yet, consider this: business PCs typically don’t include the crapware that bogs down so many consumer PCs.

Service and Warranty

Finally, business computer systems come with better support options and may be more easily supported by your employer’s IT department as well. The default warranty on business computers is usually longer than those on consumer models. Business users also tend to get priority support, via a dedicated support line, and you can opt for on-site tech support available within hours rather than having to send in your computer for repair, which could take weeks.

 

Closing Thoughts

Business class computers are designed to reflect and support companies’ critical reliability and performance needs. If you’re buying a laptop or desktop PC to make money (i.e., for work), invest in one designed for business users and the investment should pay off in terms of better reliability, easier troubleshooting, and more professional features. If you find a consumer model that you’re interested in, check if the manufacturer offers a similar model in its business division. Either way you decide be sure to set your expectations from the start. A consumer pc is going to have home versions of windows and will not include Microsoft Office. Ask yourself how long you can afford to wait for the computer to be repaired? What will happen to the data on PC that you ship to the manufacture for service on your consumer machine? Cybernut Solutions recommends business lines of computers coupled with next business day onsite warranty service by the manufacturer so your drive data is protected and down time is kept to a minimum.

By Melanie Pinola

December 11th, 2012

You are sitting at your
computer working and suddenly it shuts off. You push the power button to turn it back on and nothing happens. You look at the back of the machine; it is still securely plugged in. Sitting there you realize that your computer just crashed. Everything is gone. All of your family photos, videos, all of your work; it is all gone. A scenario such as this is why it is vitally important to create a back up of all of your data.

Backing up data is something that most people do not give much thought to until something happens. Of course, by then it is too late. Cybernut Solutions has the answer to this problem; it is called Cybernut Online Backup. Cybernut Online Backup is an inexpensive option for ensuring the safety of your invaluable data, and it requires little to no work on your part. So how does this wonderful program work? It is easy; just bring your PC to Cybernut Solutions. We install the backup program and set it up to send all of your work, pictures, videos, etc… to our backup servers where it is encrypted and stored for future retrieval. This gives Cybernut the ability to access and restore your data in the event that it can no longer be accessed from your PC.

Now you may be thinking “My computer is brand new, it is not going to crash. I have nothing to worry about.” While it is true that the chances of a brand new PC crashing are minimal that is only one of the many ways to lose your data. Other ways to lose data include natural disasters, viruses that destroy it, or a virus so bad that the only way to remove it is to wipe out the hard drive and start over. These are only a few of the ways that people lose their data every day. If one of these events does occur and you have no back up your data is gone forever. This is why it is vitally important to back up all of your data. Cybernut Solutions provides an inexpensive, easy way to ensure the safety of your family photos, videos, and all of your hard work. Do not become another statistic of data loss; take action today and protect your data with our automated backup. Contact us at 972-216-8800 during normal business hours for more information on our Online Backup Service.

Summary: Every week 140,000 hard drives fail in the United States. 31% of computer users suffer a complete data loss due to hard drive failure. Statistics and real world data loss tracking can be found at this URL: http://datalossdb.org/

Article Contributed by Cybernut Technician: Jinger Francis

Jinger Francis
jinger@cybernut.net
972-216-8800 x5840

November 28th, 2012

23rd Annual Rowlett Stampede – Friday, December 7, 2012
6:00 PM at the Hella Temple, 2121 Rowlett Road , Garland, TX 75043

Fundraising event benefiting the Chamber’s economic development efforts, education initiatives, and many Rowlett Chamber of Commerce programs supporting our community.

Please join us for a fun filled evening. Ticket price includes dinner, dessert, dancing, and casino playing chips.

There will be an extraordinary array of donated items the for the nights raffle.
Come for a chance at some wonderful items, try your luck at the tables and have a great time while helping the Chamber at the same time.

Early Bird Offer!

Tickets are $50 per person if purchased before the event. Night of the event tickets will $55.00.

Table of 8 is $360.00.

Thank you to our Rowlett Stampede Sponsors

Major Underwriter:

High Roller:

Wild Card:

Cybernut Solutions
Elite Print Management, LLC
Massage Envy Spa Rowlett

October 29th, 2012

This month both the Garland & Rowlett Chamber of Commerce celebrated the opening of the new Cybernut office over lunch this month. For photos and more information look up our business page on FaceBook.




Topic Articles
June 6th, 2012

Major life changes often present challenges and provoke thought often leaving us to think about our own situation, daily trials and issues we all deal with. I recently read a newsletter by a colleague that was referencing a story about the five balls. It really got me thinking about live, work, and the struggle most of us face when balancing the time between these areas in our lives. I shared this in a recent employee meeting which lead to an interesting discussion in one of our weekly meetings. I asked my team to think about the question, “How many balls are you juggling? Are any of them hitting the ground?” I want to share this with you this month.

This was written by the CEO of Coca-Cola Brian G. Dyson.

Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air.

You name them – Work – Family – Health – Friends – Spirit, and you’re keeping all of these in the air.

You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls — family, health, friends and spirit are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.

How?

  1. Don’t undermine your worth by comparing yourself with others. It is because we are different that each of us is special.
  2. Don’t set your goals by what other people deem important. Only you know what is best for you.
  3. Don’t take for granted the things closest to your heart. Cling to them as you would your life, for without them, life is meaningless.
  4. Don’t let your life slip through your fingers by living in the past or for the future. By living your life one day at a time, you live ALL the days of your life.
  5. Don’t give up when you still have something to give. Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying.
  6. Don’t be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect. It is this fragile thread that binds us together.
  7. Don’t be afraid to encounter risks It is by taking chances that we learn how to be brave.
  8. Don’t shut love out of your life by saying it’s impossible to find. The quickest way to receive love is to give; the fastest way to lose love is to hold it too tightly; and the best way to keep love is to give it wings.
  9. Don’t run through life so fast that you forget not only where you’ve been, but also where you are going.
  10. Don’t forget that a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.
  11. Don’t be afraid to learn. Knowledge is weightless, a treasure you can always carry easily.
  12. Don’t use time or words carelessly. Neither can be retrieved.

I challenge you to take these words and apply them to yourself, challenge your team, your employees, your friends, each other.

This past month Cybernut Solutions had the pleasure of being inducted into the local Rockwall chapter of the NBI (Business Networking International) group. I have really enjoyed getting to meet and know the fellow members of the group. Rockwall has experienced so much growth so it has been a great resource in finding and getting to know other professionals in the area. I look forward to eventually getting to know each of the members.



Work continues on our new 1,700 square foot offices in Garland. We moved into the offices in late April however the final touches are still being made as we work to complete the renovations and planned upgrades. The new offices include an updated repair areas, conference room and digital projectors with LCD displays. We will be sending invitations to our Grand Opening to be planned at a later date.

I want to close this month’s newsletter by thanking our service manager Morgan, Mary in administration, and the following team members Stephanie, Ryan, and Trevor for taking care of business and stepping in for me over the past few weeks. We have a great team at Cybernut Solutions and look forward to a fantastic summer!

Have a great summer and make it a great month in June!

Stephen B Faulkner
Senior Engineer, Owner
Cybernut Solutions LLC

Topic Articles
June 6th, 2012


By now I am sure most of you know that my wife and I welcomed a baby girl to the world. Samantha Brianna was born May 30th at 9:15am. Samantha weighed 7lb 6oz and has kept mom and I busy ever since. We are adjusting to the sleep deprivation which started with 23 hours of labor on May 29th but looking into Samantha’s eyes makes it all but a passing thought. Thank you all for the kind words, notes, gifts, and well wishes!



Topic Articles
November 6th, 2011

I take this time of year and even this Q4 as a time to reflect over the past year and give pause. It is often easy to get caught up in the chaos of what is your normal work day, the days often blending into busy weeks and months. I often wonder what endeavor I would take up if I had more time. True we all work to earn a living, some of us are lucky enough to enjoy the people we work with and what we do for a living.

I have been thinking on what I would write on this month and I am reminded of a conversation I recently had with a colleague of mine. He was sharing his ideas and some of the processes he and his team had put in place for his staff and business. We each shared our experiences in dealing with some companies and how the level of customer service has really become a nonexistent way of life for most of the major companies you do business with nowadays. Pick any number of the companies you pay each month, the cell, power, auto and see how special you feel after that conversation. Why is it we can walk down to a local Starbucks and order a coffee from a complete stranger who takes the time to ask you what you want, and how you want it, and often how you are doing in general. The colleague went on to explain how he uses a negative customer service experience as a reminder and teaching tool for his own staff and employees. “This is what we do NOT want to become”, and “This is how we do NOT want a customer to feel when doing business with us”. He goes on to ask the question “How do we ensure that our company never treats or behaves in this manner?” Are we so focused on profit and growing our business that maybe we fail to safeguard what we have become? Shouldn’t you grow your business, shaped and modeled after your own ideas, ethics, and beliefs? You business owners ask yourself what kind of company you want to lead. I am of the opinion that while I am excited about growing our business and adding staff and services, new clients and contracts, I want to pause and carefully access where I am going and ask the question “Are we becoming what I want us to be in the business world”. Sometimes we can lose focus on the most important aspect of our business… others.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the vendors and companies that we work with each day and for their help in delivering world class service to our clients. I want to thank our clients for placing their trust in our care. We truly enjoy working with each of you throughout the year and especially want to wish all of you a safe and memorial time with your loved ones and the friends and colleagues you share your time with.

With Thanks,

Stephen B Faulkner
CEO & President
CYBERNUT SOLUTIONS LLC

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