*Special Alert*: Power Outage in the UniVista Area

UPDATE: We are back up and running and here to help!

A power outage has occurred in the UniVista area. Austin Energy is estimating we’ll be up and running by 1pm CST. Our phones are still up and running. Feel free to call us if you need assistance!

We’ll keep you updated!

One important subject matter we touched on last year was budgeting. Improper budgeting, or even a lack of, can delay and even halt important projects that you as a customer want to prioritize. And no one likes surprises. Budget development is an intricate task, but it is one of the many added features with UniVista Core and Comprehensive Agreements. General budget planning starts with the Q1 quarterly business review meeting, assuming your fiscal year starts in January. For government or other verticals, budgeting starts in the spring, it is pretty well developed by August, and it’s finalized by Oct 1st. An IT budget is most useful if it is a true representation of what is necessary for your maintenance, repair, replacement, and one time “project” expenditures. We work with you to put all of this on paper and allow for proper planning. Let’s touch on a few topics that are very important components of budgeting.

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Within the IT community the term Cybersecurity is often thrown around with little to no explanation. Cybersecurity can be defined as “the protection of computer systems from theft or damage to their hardware, software or electronic data, as well as from disruption or misdirection of the services they provide.” – Wikipedia. Cybersecurity attacks can affect both people and businesses alike. To get a better understanding, let’s discuss some different approaches to cyber threats. What you can do to help prevent yourself from falling victim to these types of attack?

 

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It’s a hard world online in 2014. There was a time when all you needed to be safe online was a good antivirus program. Those days are now gone because new viruses come out too fast for security vendors like Symantec to keep up with. The 100% best way to keep yourself virus-free is to have good habits: 
1. Stay away from the wrong websites. Many links to images, particularly the ones with nudity in them, will infect your PC. Some websites will automatically play code that will infect your machine as soon as you open the page in your browser so be careful.
2. Make sure that the Windows or Mac user account you do your day to day surfing in does NOT have admin rights. This will help limit the spread of a virus if you do happen to stumble across anything malicious.
3. Be wary of e-mails that contain web links or attachments that you weren’t expecting. If it’s from a friend call them and ask if they meant to send it to you. If it’s from a stranger then delete the message.
4. Keep your Operating System, Antivirus Program, and all your web plug-ins updated. If you have an agreement with Univista that includes Limited or Comprehensive Desktop Support then we do most of this for you already.
5. DO NOT CLICK ON OR IN ANY POPUP WINDOW THAT YOU ARE NOT EXPECTING! Clicking in or on the popup may give the virus permission to install on your PC and then you’re in for a potentially expensive recovery. Instead bring up your Task Manager (CTRL-ALT-DELETE keys and then select Task Manager) in Windows or your Task Manager (APPLE-OPTION-ESC) on your Mac and then end your web browser processes until you see the popup disappear.
Unfortunately, even with the best habits you will never be 100% safe because the bad guys are busy every day creating viruses like CRYPTOWARE.
CRYPTOWARE is the latest in ransom ware technology. It encrypts the files on your computer, asking you to pay a ransom to have the files decrypted. To learn more specifics please see: http://www.symantec.com/security_response/writeup.jsp?docid=2014-061923-2824-99.
Once infected, your files are held hostage until you pay a ransom. The only way to recover your files is to restore them from backup.
Rest assured that we are doing our best to keep you from getting infected. We are in the process of testing measures to prevent CRYPTOWARE and other viruses like it from infecting you. If you are our customer, we will be rolling it out to you very shortly. 
As always, please do not hesitate to call us at 866-832-6209. We’re here to help you with any questions or concerns you may have.

The concept of Network Security can be pretty daunting. There are lots of rules and regulations that talk about security, how to enforce security, and what you should or shouldn’t do. Well, my brain is pretty full of stuff that is important, like passwords and account numbers, and not so important, like the name of Pink Floyd’s keyboard player, so I have to simplify everything I have to remember. I’ve had to do this for network security too.

Here are the six simple rules I use when I’m thinking about security. I based my rules off every regulation I’ve ever read (and I’ve read too many!) and something I found online by Marcus Ranum and Fred Avolio called the Seven Tenants of Good Security.

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I know, this has nothing whatsoever to do with IT, networking, or security but if you live in Williamson County this is a big deal. Round Rock has officially become the epicenter of the burger world. The new in-n-out burger will be located within walking distance of Mighty Fine Burger, Five Guys, and a couple other really decent burger places. http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/blog/morning_call/2012/07/round-rock-approves-zoning-for.html?ana=e_aus_rdup&s=newsletter&ed=2012-07-26

Who will Dell buy next? Who is Dell trying to become? Should I, the owner of a small IT Var, be worried that Dell is trying to push me out of business? Do all their recent acquisitions make Dell the consumer’s new best friend? Check out this article on Channelnomics and let me know what you think? http://channelnomics.com/2012/04/06/what-will-dell-buy-next/

Please be aware that there is a new email phishing scam/threat. This one personally made me cringe because the email looks like it is from the BBB re: a customer complaint. After investigating the message I found that its source is in the Netherlands, obviously not the headquarters for the BBB.

This message will be from [email protected].
Here’s an example message:
SUBJECT LINE: BBB assistance Re: Case # 94494305
MESSAGE BODY:
Dear Sirs,
The Better Business Bureau has been filed the above mentioned complaint from one of your customers on the subject of their dealings with you.
The details of the consumer’s concern are presented in attached file.
Please examine this matter and advise us of your opinion.
Please CLICK HERE to respond this complaint.

We look forward to your urgent response.
Sincerely yours,
Stacie Nieves
Better Business Bureau

We have alerted the BBB about this threat.
Please immediately delete this message if you see it. Do not click on the CLICK HERE link. If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to call our help desk at 512-832-6209.

Did you know that if you use Microsoft Exchange 2010 you can check their own email delivery reports directly from Outlook Web Access.  Just log into your outlook web access interface, go to Sent Items, r-click the email and choose “Open Delivery Report”.  You might see a prompt asking you to allow pop-ups to see this window.
The server logs only go back a few days depending on email volume so all emails will not be listed but if you are looking for a recent messages delivery history then this is a great place to start looking.
Please give us a call at 512-832-6209 if you have any questions.