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There’s something to be thankful for every day of the year, but that sentiment is never stronger than it is on Thanksgiving. As we get ready to gather with our families and friends tomorrow, we’ve got much more than turkey and pumpkin pie on our minds.

Get to know our MSx team with a new Thanksgiving-inspired Q&A below!

What are you thankful for this holiday season?

Erik Nordquist, Sr. Product Manager for MSx Firewalls: “Spending time with my dad. Life is precious.”
Lori Hannan, Product Manager, MSx Managed Networks: “A healthy family.”
Joe Royer, Product Manager, MSx Managed IT/Cloud: “I’m thankful that my kids are all still local and we can spend time together beyond just a few hours here or there on a holiday.”
Lucie Hys, Sr. Product Marketing Manager for MSx Services: “For every day I get to spend with the people I love, being healthy, and for having a job I truly enjoy doing.”

What are you thankful for at work?

Erik: “Being able to work with people that really care about and take pride in their work. Being in a position now that I can work to make positive changes for the company.”
Lori: “It keeps me busy and I am always learning.”
Joe: “I’m thankful for the opportunity to take on a new challenge in a new role and begin the next chapter in my career.”
Lucie: “Waking up every day being excited about my workday, the flexibility, and great co-workers and managers.”

Why do you appreciate your colleagues?

Erik: “Because I know if I need something they will be there to help and they don’t expect me to be perfect.”
Lori: “Because they have helped me tremendously since I started about a month ago.”
Joe: “We have a great team of professionals who are hard-working, understand the value of teamwork and the role that every person plays in our company’s success and are therefore willing to help out whenever it’s needed.”
Lucie: “They all work hard, have high integrity, and really care about TPx succeeding.”

How would you answer these questions? Let us know in the comments.

Best wishes for a very happy Thanksgiving from all of us at TPx!

 

MSx Managed Services from TPx

Considering a managed service provider? When it comes to the world of managed services, there’s a lot to like about implementing managed firewalls, endpoints, backups, LANs and more. The immediate benefits include only paying for what you need and a reduction in maintenance and overhead costs – not to mention gaining an entire team of trained, experienced, qualified and certified professionals to work on your behalf.

Managed solutions can also solve compliance issues, and, of course, allow you to focus the bulk of your time and effort on your core business. Add in the ability to quickly adopt new technology and a guaranteed ability to keep it up-to-date to maintain a competitive advantage, and making the shift to managed services becomes a no-brainer.

At TPx, our belief in the ability of managed services to transform and support businesses runs deep. We have steadily built out an industry-leading portfolio of world-class offerings that includes everything from SD-WAN to cybersecurity. One of our key elements is our Managed IT portfolio of services – MSx – which are designed to be flexible and simple for businesses of all sizes.

MSx is a suite of seven managed IT services that allows companies to mix and match the functionalities according to their business needs, all under one subscription umbrella – thus eliminating the need to add each function individually. Now, one monthly charge covers a wide range of tasks that go to the heart of today’s modern business environments.

Options within this forward-thinking subscription package include:

  1. Managed SD-WAN including hybrid WAN options, bring your own bandwidth with QoS, application-aware traffic routing and failover;
  2. Managed LAN Monitoring for troubleshooting of core network infrastructure and equipment;
  3. Managed Office 365 for technical support and escalations to Microsoft and unlimited cloud backups of Office 365’s Exchange, OneDrive and SharePoint data;
  4. Managed Datacenter including direct access to TPx’s IP network and multiple layers of redundancy in seven geo-diverse SSAE 18 facilities;
  5. Managed Network Security including firewall monitoring and management, network intrusion detection and prevention, antivirus, web content filtering and application control, plus remote VPN options;
  6. Managed Endpoints including 24×7 remote monitoring, automated patch management and integrated anti-malware and antivirus technology;
  7. And, Managed Backups for data backup and disaster recovery in the event of a natural event, ransomware attack, system crash, fiber cut or other emergency.

Behind all of these is a national TPx team with deep experience providing managed IT services, including ex-military, Department of Defense and cybersecurity specialists. They staff our Network Operations (NOC) and Security Operations Centers (SOCs) to give your company peace of mind and act as your support team on a 24/7 basis.

Contact your TPx representative today to find out how MSx managed services can help you make the most of your resources and tech spend.

About the Author

Jared Martin has been in the Information Technology world for more than 20 years. He co-founded a managed services voice and Internet service provider in 2001 and grew the business to significant revenue. In 2008, that company was sold to Tel West Communications, which in turn was acquired by TPx in 2012. Jared has been a technology leader in driving change and adoption of new technologies, such as Software-Defined Wide Area Networking. He is always looking for new ways to use technologies that are outside of the box and to influence TPx to innovate and to be on the cutting edge. In 2016, Jared took charge of TPx’s new MSx line of business, formed as a result of the merger of TelePacific and DSCI. This brought Jared back to his roots of providing managed services and a consultative sales approach to customers.

Rarely does a day pass without news of a cybersecurity breach that is wreaking havoc on an organization and its customers or constituents. Equifax is the latest high-profile newsmaker, reporting that a recent cyberattack may have affected 143 million American consumers.

Given the growing threat of cyberattacks on business of all sizes, and in the spirit of Cyber Security Awareness Month, we offer five of the most common misconceptions about cybersecurity.

Myth 1: Our organization is too small for cyber criminals to target.

Reality: For years the average American small business was an unlikely target for a sophisticated cyberattack. Fewer financial resources and a relatively unknown brand worked in their favor to deflect hackers. But today no business is too small to be hacked. In fact, smaller organizations are much easier to hack, which is why nowadays nearly three quarters of attacks target smaller companies. And the threat is growing fast, according to the 2017 SonicWall Annual Threat report.

Myth 2: We’re safe because our virus detection software is up to date.

Reality: Virus detection software only identifies known virus signatures. New or self-mutating viruses often escape detection. During its October 2017 patch alone, for example, Microsoft released security updates for multiple vulnerabilities and patched 62 security flaws that affected the Windows OS, the Office package, Skype for Business, Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge. Two security vulnerabilities were marked as “important” and with a high risk of affecting users’ online security.

Myth 3: Protecting your organization is good enough.

Reality: Many of the biggest cyberattacks in recent years involved third parties or entities subordinate to the organization that was breached. Everything in your ecosystem, from strategic partners, to subsidiaries, vendors and contractors, can be a threat route. Security is only as strong as the weakest link, and often times that weak link extends beyond your physical and digital walls. The point is, it’s important to be able to absorb an attack and keep on operating. In other words, have a strong business continuity plan in place.

Myth 4: Cybersecurity is an IT issue. It’s too complex for management to get involved.

Reality: The executive team should set the appropriate risk levels in physical and operational areas of the organization. This allows management and staff to implement and extend these policies to create a unified and robust security posture. Formal policies and procedures, such as a published cybersecurity plan, can be helpful in this regard. It’s also important that management visibly stress and support the cybersecurity program because workers generally follow the lead of their supervisors.

Myth 5: It’s too expensive to implement a Cybersecurity Program.

Reality: Mitigation or avoidance of risk via a cybersecurity program is actually surprisingly cost-effective with managed solutions like those provided by TPx. Our managed IT, managed firewall and business continuity services are all backed up by a state-of-the-art security operations center (SOC) and staffed by a team of security analysts with military and intelligence service backgrounds.  TPx also offers a compelling Unified Threat Management solution that consolidates network security – including firewalls with anti-virus and anti-spyware protection, intrusion detection, web filtering and more – as a comprehensive and dynamic threat prevention solution.

It’s an increasingly dangerous path to let common myths, a lack of internal expertise, or a lack of budgeting or planning to create vulnerabilities that are easily exploited by cybercriminals – especially with affordable, managed cybersecurity solutions within your grasp. Your TPx representative is happy to help you see how we can shore up your defenses against threats of all types.

About the Author

Matt Mair is a Senior Product Marketing Manager for ITx Managed Services. His role includes marketing and communications for TPx’s suite of managed IT offerings including Managed SD-WAN, LAN Monitoring, Office 365, Workstation and Servers Management, Colocation and Server Backup solutions. Matt holds an MBA from Michigan State University’s Broad School of Business and resides in Los Angeles.

 

A hacking organization called The Dark Overlord Solutions threatened schools and families in Flathead Valley, Montana, over the past few weeks, sending appalling electronic messages to school administrators and contacting families in the area with extortion demands and death threats.

The cybercriminals infiltrated the valley’s Columbia Falls school district server and stole personal information, as well as addresses and medical records of past and present students, staff and parents. This caused several schools in the district to close for three days before reopening under heightened security.

The Dark Overlord is a notorious hacker responsible for several high-profile breaches including one perpetrated on Netflix last year. The organization infiltrated a Netflix server, stole episodes of a popular show and threatened to release them early unless payments were made via electronic currency. A company associated with Netflix paid, but afterward the group released the episodes anyway.

That the group attacked a relatively small school district is a sign of the times: cybercriminals increasingly are targeting smaller organizations.

The Flathead Valley incident is unique in that the Dark Overlord group usually attacks larger targets with hundreds of thousands or millions of personal records. Security experts believe the organization is responsible for several prominent ransomware attacks in the healthcare sector, stealing millions of hospital records and social security numbers and trying to sell them back to institutions and individuals.

That the group attacked a relatively small school district is a sign of the times: cybercriminals increasingly are targeting smaller organizations. Today some 70 percent of attacks target small businesses, for example. And the threat is growing, particularly with ransomware attacks– a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money – literally, a ransom – is paid. To wit, the 2017 SonicWall Annual Threat Report claims that ransomware attacks exploded from 3.8 million in 2015 to 638 million in 2016.

Hackers increasingly are taking advantage of smaller enterprises without heavy in-house IT departments and sophisticated systems capable of keeping pace with evolving cyber threats including viruses, spyware, worms and service attacks. Quite simply, in small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and organizations, cybercriminals see soft targets and easy money.

SMBs have a remedy in managed security services like those provided by TPx, including managed IT and business continuity services, all backed up by a state-of-the-art security operations center (SOC) staffed by a team of security analysts with deep military and intelligence backgrounds.

TPx also offers a Unified Threat Management solution that consolidates network security –including firewalls with anti-virus and anti-spyware protection, intrusion detection, web filtering and more – as a comprehensive and dynamic threat prevention solution.

TPx’s Managed Firewall service in particular provides a first line of defense against intrusions and other network threats. By using a hardware-based architecture to filter inbound and outbound traffic, a network firewall from TPx blocks malicious traffic before it can consume a company’s network bandwidth or last-mile circuit. It also protects the company’s network against unauthorized users, dangerous protocols, and common network-layer attacks without degrading network or application performance.

We developed these solutions so customers can concentrate on their strategic plans for business success, knowing they are protected by the most powerful security options available. These kinds of TPx solutions are surprisingly affordable for SMBs, which can no longer ignore escalating cybercrime aimed squarely at them. Contact your TPx representative today for details on how we can help you rest easier at night and focus on your core business during the day.

About the Author

Matt Mair is a Senior Product Marketing Manager for ITx Managed Services. His role includes marketing and communications for TPx’s suite of managed IT offerings including Managed SD-WAN, LAN Monitoring, Office 365, Workstation and Servers Management, Colocation and Server Backup solutions. Matt holds an MBA from Michigan State University’s Broad School of Business and resides in Los Angeles.

 

Businesses are leaning on managed IT services more than ever to handle key elements of their IT functions, but they’re doing it for different reasons than in the past. A few years ago, cost savings were the primary driver of Managed IT service adoption. Today, cost savings are viewed as bare essentials and business operators are looking for additional benefits, such as enhancing efficiency and generating new revenue.

Demand for information is growing, and the ways businesses and their customers use it have exploded.  Cloud technologies, smart phones and social networks are all woven together in an intricate and complicated dance that has users accessing, harnessing and leveraging their communications in complicated and evolving ways to meet their individual needs. The result?  An IT landscape that’s growing rapidly beyond its traditional behind-the-scenes technical support role.  As new capabilities and more productive means of interacting with colleagues, partners and customers clamor for ever more rapid adoption, businesses are faced with an increasingly dizzying array of technologies and platforms that place a premium on their ability to integrate new systems and have the “smart hands” to support and maintain them.

Doing all of this in-house has become a costly time drain that strains IT personnel and distracts them from higher-value projects such as custom app development or cloud initiatives. To offset this strain, organizations are turning to managed services firms to handle many of the time-consuming and repetitive IT tasks related to email hosting, server management, firewalls, storage, network monitoring, and backup and recovery, among others.

Even security has evolved from being a roadblock to a driver of managed IT service adoption, according to the 5th Annual Trends in Managed Services report by CompTIA, a leading tech association for IT professionals. Nowadays, organizations rely upon managed IT providers to improve their security posture and compliance levels. This is especially important for organizations operating in the regulated education, healthcare and financial sectors, but it also affects a much broader world of small and medium-sized business (SMB) owners that offer e-commerce on their websites and are subject to PCI security standards. Falling short on the due diligence required to provide adequate security can have disastrous impacts.

SMBs are undergoing digital transformation just as surely as their larger competitors.  Data is a critical asset today that can’t be ignored because of its insights into key business metrics, marketing and customer interactions. Protecting that asset has become paramount, as a data loss can happen at any time and have a devastating impact. Working with a company like TPx to protect critical information from internal and external threats, and developing a strong business continuity plan can minimize downtime, safeguard computer systems and ensure that data remains accessible should the worst happen.

While the drivers for managed IT service adoption are changing, so is the conversation. In most scenarios, we’re talking less about the technology and more about how we can help customers advance business objectives. To that end, TPx has developed a suite of eight managed IT services that can be mixed and matched as needed by customers to support their unique business imperatives:

These innovative solutions are managed by a TPx team with more than 50 years of experience managing IT services.  A dedicated team of TPx experts composed of top ex-military, defense and cyber security experts supports them 24×7 from our state-of-the-art Security Operations Center (SOC) in St. Louis.

Looking beyond internal resources helps companies manage the unprecedented pace of IT evolution.  Managed IT service providers like TPx use the best technologies and equipment on the market and are continually upgrading it to unburden customers from constantly having to play catch-up. The right Managed Services Provider can enhance security and continuity, reduce the weight of compliance and ever-changing regulations, and drive down IT support costs.

The value proposition for using managed IT services is simple – it lets companies that wish to remain competitive focus on their core business objectives: generating leads, growing sales, keeping customers happy and tapping new sources of revenue instead of having to focus on growing their technical staffs. Today’s managed IT is a critical part of successful business strategies that give companies the resources and focus they need to compete effectively and grow.

About the Author

Matt Mair is a Senior Product Marketing Manager for ITx Managed Services. His role includes marketing and communications for TPx’s suite of managed IT offerings including Managed SD-WAN, LAN Monitoring, Office 365, Workstation and Servers Management, Colocation and Server Backup solutions. Matt holds an MBA from Michigan State University’s Broad School of Business and resides in Los Angeles.