network security

Productivity Benefits of Network Security

Network security refers to any actions that have been designed to protect your online network. These actions especially safeguard the reliability, integrity, usability and safety of your data and network. Competent network security zeroes in on a range of threats and prevents them from entering or growing within your network. A secure network foundation can help your business stay competitive, adapt to changes quickly, add new users easily and grow into international markets. Below we discuss in further detail the productivity benefits of network security for your business.

Less Mental Stress

How can your business be productive when the boss’s mind is always on whether or not there will be a security breach due to negligent employees? Network security offers you peace of mind and less stress because it is a way of safeguarding your company from security threats. This is important because hackers are constantly developing new ways of stealing your data and compromising the operations of your business. Network security frees up your mind so that you can concentrate on business ideas.

Less Downtime With Network Security

When you have a secure network, you will not be spending time handling data breaches and other network security issues. This allows for more time to empower employees to be productive. Your software and hardware will also be saved from the harm that can come from these security breaches. There will no longer be the wasted downtime that comes from losing critical data. Instead, you and your staff can focus on job responsibilities and growing the business without unnecessary interruptions.

Go Wireless With Confidence

When your business starts to grow, it will most likely need to broaden its physical space. Using a wireless network allows your employees to remain connected to business applications without the expenses and limitations of wiring. A secure network gives you the extra confidence that your sensitive information, like customer data, will be safe when you go wireless.

Stay in Touch Securely With VoIP Phone

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems deliver communications over the Internet as opposed to the traditional wired phone or common cellular services. With network security, you can use VoIP phones that have a much greater signal range and provide more capabilities (advanced call forwarding, find me/follow me, visual voicemail, management portal and more). Wireless VoIP phones allow your team to meander about the sales floor, office, warehouse or campus while answering customer questions and accessing company data. This improves productivity by not keeping your staff chained to their desk phones.

Communicate Via Your Computer

A secure network means you’ll be able to confidently communicate from your computer in a number of ways. Speed up the process of your daily operations with tools such as instant messaging, voice and video tools, Web conferencing, and presence applications that regularly update user locations and availability. With a secure network you can even take part in a video conference with an easy-to-use phone interface housed on your computer. This saves lots of time and money on traveling to get to a meeting.

Contact us with all of your questions regarding network security. Our staff is always ready to assist you all your security needs.

football strategy

Patriots New Strategy

Last month, we heard about a new Patriots strategy that is said to be one of the best. One coach calls it a “genius” plan, but is it just an inflated plan for a much-needed distraction? We break down the Patriots new strategy to see if it really as grand as boasted by many.

Let’s face it: the Patriots are on fire already this season, and we are only a few games in. By the third game, the rivals had sacked Tom Brady only six times and the team scored a record 119 points. That is the most points ever in the first three games in the team’s history. So, what gives? Where is the vigor coming from? Does Brady have something to prove after a months-long circus surrounding the Super Bowl “Inflate Gate” Scandal.

While Brady is the one with the recognition for his impeccable performance, much of his success is due to his protective front line. The team took a new approach to the defensive rotation this season. Instead of putting in five players and hoping the relationship builds after a few games or so, the Pats rotate them out frequently. During the first five possessions, the same line combination was not used at all. The feverish swapping and reconfiguring of the line led to a victory over Pittsburgh. In fact, the innovative strategy is so impressive that Rick Trickett, the Florida State offensive line coach, called the strategy “genius.”

Will it last? Right now, it appears as if the Pats don’t have a choice. A handful of key players have been indisposed. The Patriots had no other choice, and it appears to be paying off in a big way. The question is whether or not the team will return to the original lineup once the players are all on the mend.

We hope to see more of the strategy in the upcoming games. Even though it looks like a lot of random shuffle to most, Dave DeGuglielmo promises there is a method behind his reasoning and rotating lineup. DeGuglielmo has a secret for why the players go where they do and at what times, but we will not likely discover why any time soon. As long as it works, he will likely continue to employ the new strategy.

To get a good look at the new Patriots strategy, don’t miss the upcoming games this fall.

  • At Cowboys on October 11th at 4:25 PM ET on CBS
  • At Colt on October 18th at 8:30 PM ET on NBC
  • Jets, October 25th at 1:00 PM ET on CBS
  • Dolphins, October 29th at 8:25 PM ET on CBS and NFL Network
  • Redskins, November 8th at 1:00 PM ET on FOX
  • At Giants on November 15th at 4:25 PM ET on CBS
  • Bills, November 23rd at 8:30 PM ET on ESPN
  • At Broncos, November 29th at 8:30 PM on NBC
disaster recovery plan

Tips for a Successful Disaster Recovery Plan

A disaster recovery plan should incorporate all the necessary components for continuing business operations following a major natural or man-made disaster and take into account these disruptions can range from a few hours to several days or weeks. Successful plans share many of the same characteristics, but should be tailored to the needs of your business.

Look at the Big Picture

A disaster recovery plan needs to consider all departments within your business and incorporate the unique requirements to get each department back in operation. IT needs may comprise a large portion of the plan as that may allow employees to access business operations remotely if they have capabilities at their home or an off-site location. Having a plan to get accounting operations functioning will allow you to continue to receive payables, compensate employees and have funds and capital available to pay for any repairs, equipment or consultants that may be needed.

Test, Test and Test Again

Creating a disaster recovery plan is futile if you don’t test it in advance of needing it. Employees need to be well versed with their responsibilities. Testing will allow you to see what areas need improvements and adjustments and will show if any areas were overlooked completely. Once approved, a recovery plan should be reviewed and tested annually at a minimum, or any time a major change is implemented in your business’s infrastructure.

Back It Up

There are a variety of ways to back up your data and just as many factors in determining the best option for your business. Tape back-ups are still common but should be updated at the end of each day and taken off-site every evening to be most effective. Remote back-up is becoming more popular and there are different options available with regards to frequency and availability, depending on your budget and business needs. Consider instituting a policy to back-up laptops and other mobile devices.

Don’t Forget the Basics

More than one person at your company should have a copy of the plan offsite, so it can be referenced in the event your office is completely inaccessible. Your plan needs to include a list of all employees and their contact information, including multiple methods of contact, as some events will impact the ability to use landlines, mobile phones and/or the Internet. Essential employees should all have a back-up contact who can aid in recovery in the event a member of the team is incapacitated or unavailable. The plan should implement a system for informing employees and clients as to the status of your office and business operations. You will also want to include a listing of bank accounts and insurance policies (along with related contacts) and a list of key vendors, account numbers and passwords. These lists should be reviewed and updated more frequently than the plan itself.

virtual reality

How the Patriots Will Use Virtual Reality

This football season, the New England Patriots will have another way of being tracked on the field. Instead of worrying about another “deflategate”, Tom Brady and his teammates will be using virtual reality to enhance their training. The Patriots are one of three pro teams working with a Silicon Valley company called STRIVR Labs, who create immersive sports experiences. The 49ers, Cowboys and several college teams have already gotten on board with the new virtual reality technology that is expected to help the players excel in their training.

About STRIVR

STRIVR Labs was founded earlier this year by Jeremy Bailenson, the director of Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, along with Derek Belch. Belch has used the insight he gained from his experience as a kicker and assistant football coach at Stanford, and was the first to test virtual football training at the University. The technology involves a 360-camera being positioned near the quarterback so that footage from his point of view is captured. Once off the field, the players strap on headsets that look like oversized ski goggles, which let them review the practice in a virtual reality world. Players can turn their heads and look around the field to see how the plays unfold from the point of view of the quarterback. Belch says that the goal is not to replace traditional film watching, but to compliment it with a tool that can effectively train and help players learn quicker.

Benefits of Virtual Reality in Football

Before the STRIVR technology, coaches had likened the virtual reality products on the market to glorified video games. Now, coaches are able to see action from the eyes of the quarterback and get a better handle on why they may be struggling with particular plays. Coaches can analyze what the players are looking at, so that on offensive plays where a quarterback always looks the wrong way, they can eliminate those plays from his repertoire.

Quarterbacks also get the opportunity to have a new perspective that goes beyond reviewing plays virtually. With this innovative technology, a quarterback may dissect his performance during practice more thoroughly, as well as turn left or right to analyze his throwing mechanics or downward to study his footwork.

The Future of STRIVR Virtual Reality

STRIVR technology has taken off, with many college teams taking advantage of its benefits. Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Clemson, Dartmouth, Auburn, Stanford and Clemson started working with the company this year. So far they are the only virtual reality firm to work with NFL clubs to make footage with real players instead of avatars. The company expects to add about 12 professional teams and 10 more colleges to the list in the upcoming months. Coaches are already toying with the idea of how other positions on the field can benefit from the system, as well as how it can familiarize players with their opponents’ tactics. No matter which team you play for, one thing can be agreed upon, the future of football technology is here and it is here to stay.

Managed Services

How Managed Services Improves Cash Flow

Businesses depend on technology to be up and running at all times. Critical data is stored electronically, such as customer payment information, sales data and inventory figures. The network is used for communicating, billing and more. If there is ever an issue with your technology, every minute of downtime costs you money and precious minutes you don’t need to be wasting. If you depend on calling an outside IT expert at the time of the crisis, it is going to take even longer to get up and running while they take the time to come to your business, diagnose the problem and then get it up and running again.

 

We all know that in the business community, time is money. That’s why you shouldn’t be wasting any time with IT support that is not on board 24/7. A better way to secure your technology is with IT managed services. With NCGIT as your IT managed service provider, your system will be constantly monitored, so it is always up and running and secure. When your network is always in optimum shape, your profits are sure to increase. Here are a few ways IT managed services will improve your company’s cash flow:

Predictable Costs with Managed Services

When you have to hire an IT expert last minute, there can be no telling how long the job will take and how severe the damage is. The costs for their services can start to skyrocket in no time. When you have a contract with an IT managed service provider, you have already established a set amount that will be paid monthly or however often you agreed upon in the contract. When you already have your IT costs figured out, the business can free up other monies to focus on the company’s growth.

Patching

The process of patching is repetitive and tedious and must be regularly focused on. The majority of businesses do not have the internal resources or extra time available to wade through the heaps of possible bug, kernel and security repairs that eventually turn into basic maintenance of a business’s infrastructure over its lifetime. Your managed service provider will take care of this task for you, allowing updates to seamlessly flow into the internal IT process. This equals less downtime for the company and less wasted money and resources.

Data Backup

With everything that is stored in the network, it can be the end of your business if you suddenly have a disaster that wipes out your stored critical data. If you aren’t forced to shut down, you will at the least be spending tons of money on recovery, and face your reputation being tarnished. With IT managed services, a data backup and recovery plan is put into place so in the event of a disaster or a security breach, you can continue working seamlessly and not have to spend thousands on recovery.

Contact NCGIT today and we will answer any questions you may have about hiring us as your managed service provider.

Sports Technology

Statcast is Changing Sports Technology

Statcast has changed the way we watch the game. In 2014, we got sneak peek at the new tracking system. The real-time data collection system gives viewers and teams an in-depth look at all aspects of the game. If you want to see how fast a pitch was, the distance a ball travels, Verlander’s spin rates, and the speed of your favorite player, Statcast breaks it all down for you, and it does so much more than that.

What is Statcast and Why Should You Care?

The MLB introduced us to the Statcast system at the St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Nationals game in April. Fox, ESPN and Turner all use the tracking system now to provide an in-depth look at the game. So what is Statcast?

Statcast is an advanced sports technology that tracks, gathers, and displays statistics about the game, which were immeasurable in the past. The system is in every Major League park. Statcast uses advanced sports technology and precise, high-resolution cameras to track every movement on the field. From the speed of the ball to the velocity of a bat, Statcast captures it in real-time and publishes the information for the viewers.

Why should we care about such numbers? Well, who is the best pitcher in the league, which catcher whips the ball to second base the most, or who has the most career catches as shortstop? Now Statcast can tell us. The impact Statcast has on the League extends beyond resolving baseball fan squabbles about the best grabs and most powerful hits. Statcast affects training, drafts, and recruiting as well.

What does Statcast Measure?

Statcast uses an advanced metrics system to collect data about pitching and batting velocities, pitcher release points, the pitch of a bat during a swing, the time a pitcher takes to deliver a pitch, and the speed of batters and defensive players.

Statcast gave us a glimpse into Jackie Bradley Jr.’s pitch and the pure power behind the missile. Statcast gives Red Sox fans a renewed sense of superiority over the Yankees as they witness first-hand just how impressive the boys in red are on the field.

Statcast will Change the Future of the Game

Training has improved greatly with the help from Statcast. Trainers and coaches know exactly what went wrong, why a pitch went awry, why a batter missed a ball, and how many steps short the baserunner was from making it home. Such data and insight into the game transforms the way players are coached and trained. While observing what went right and what went wrong, players can adjust accordingly to make it to base quicker, slide into home more, deliver more strikes, slam more balls past the outfielders, and to make moves that play on the other team’s weaknesses. By utilizing improved sports technology teams and officials will be able to compare past and current performance to diagnose concerns, improve the accuracy of the player, and to increase the number of wins.

Teams are already using the analytics technology to find the best draft picks for a well-rounded team and more successful season.

Professional Services

Professional Services Will Reduce Stress at Work

Utilizing professional services ensures that your company stays up-to-date with the latest in technology. By routinely updating computers, servers and other devices used for your business you increase productivity while guaranteeing your company is running efficiently. This decrease of work related stress is achieved by an increase in organization, an improvement in communication and customer service, an increase in overall mobility and accessibility and improved recoverability and continuity of business.

Increased Organization

Professional service consultants dedicate their time to producing and implementing custom infrastructure designs that will best benefit and help your company to do business. This design increases the network’s ability to function by improving server speed and uptime. Acquiring this higher level of organization means that your daily tasks will progress more smoothly while taking less time to be completed, which will minimize the amount of stress that generally comes when conducting said tasks in an unorganized network environment.

Improvement in Communication

Keeping your devices and network up-to-date means that the connections and applications will run at their greatest efficiency. This allows for faster and more reliable communication within the system and between users. The real-time communication will prove to increase output and overall business performance by making sure users receive notifications, messages and important emails without interruption. And without the lack of delay that is common among older or outdated cabling, your work will become less of a hassle and more of an enjoyable, tension free experience.

Increased Mobility and Accessibility

With the newer features that professional services will provide you with, come an added benefit, mobility. The use of professional services allows your employees to expand upon the places that they can work and how they work. Increasing and advancing the abilities of both the devices and the systems within your business, ultimately gives people liberty to access documents on the go and from places outside the office. This gives them the opportunity to improve and control where they work, which undoubtedly limits the amount of stress that an individual would be susceptible to while increasing the quality of work that they put out.

Recoverability and Continuity

One of the greatest stressors related to businesses is loss of progress or work that can be a consequence of poor system upkeep. Professional services provides you with a way to safeguard your important documents and projects by maintaining and building upon your network’s integrity and functionality. Keeping in mind that the company’s needs are what is most important in business, professional service consultants design the infrastructure with future goals in mind. This is prudent to business continuity and the reduction of stress in the work place, as the designed network will always be one that works for and with the company.

Boston Celtics Draftees

The 2015 NBA Draft: Who Did the Boston Celtics Get?

The NBA draft is the time of year when college players who showed potential are recruited by professional teams and given the opportunity to prove themselves to the world, or at least to the dedicated NBA fans around the globe. The Boston Celtics 2015 NBA Draft picks (16th, 28th, 33rd. and 45th) allowed them to add some of the most promising young players in the game to their team. So, who are these young men that the Boston Celtics signed?

16th Pick – Terry Rozier

The Celtics’ first pick was Terry Rozier, a point guard who played college ball for the Louisville Cardinals. This 6’2” basketball star attended Shaker Height High School in Ohio, and averaged 26 points his senior year, helping the team achieve their overall season record of 21-3. After moving to the college level, as a sophomore, he led his team in number of points scored (17 points per game) and made the AAC All-Rookie Team in 2014. March of 2015 is when he declared for the NBA Draft.

28th Pick – RJ Hunter

The Celtics’ second pick was RJ Hunter, a shooting guard who played for the Georgia State Panthers. His freshman year of college, Hunter was the leading scorer on 15 separate occasions which resulted in him being presented with numerous prestigious awards throughout the season. Hunter finished that year with 527 points, which was a school record, making him just one of three freshmen in the country to have an average of at least 17 points per game. His points per game only increased as the years passed, in his junior season he averaged his career high of 19.7 points per game, and a total of 688 points for the season. His 202 free throws last season placed him 7th for the entire NCAA.

33rd Pick – Jordan Mickey

The Celtics’ third pick was Jordan Mickey, a power forward from LSU. This 6’8” rebound king was considered a four-star recruit by ESPN.com and in 2013 he was considered the 12th top power forward in the nation. Mickey led the division 1 in blocks per game last season, throughout his career he has been one to watch where blocks where concerned. His freshman year he had a season total of 106 and his sophomore year he had a season total of 113. Mickey was only second to Shaquille O’Neal in LSU player history to block over 100 shots. Although he experienced some shoulder and ankle injuries during his last season, he is definitely a player to look out for.

45th Pick – Marcus Thornton

The Celtics’ fourth pick was Marcus Thornton, a high scoring guard from William & Mary. A player who wasn’t as known as the others and whose pick came as a bit of a surprise. Regardless of the uncertainty he felt in respect to the possibility of him being drafted prior to its occurrence, Thornton was a player who crushed William & Mary’s shooting records and averaged 20 points per game. His promise was seen by the Celtics as they made note that 40.2 percent of 3 pointers were made and he was named Colonial Athletic Association’s player of the year.

The Cloud

The Truth About the Cloud

The cloud can do wonders for your business, your personal life, and your education, right? Well, that is what the sales pitch is, but what is the cloud? Is it as whimsical and carefree as it sounds, or it is yet another technology that will come and go with time and take down a few identities and data along with it? Relax. We can help you better understand the cloud, its truth, its benefits, and the concerns that continue to plague its existence.

What is the Cloud?

The cloud may appear invisible to you, but is in fact a larger structure of networks at off-site locations that permit users to store data over the Internet instead of directly on a user’s hard drive. The storage of data remotely permits users to better protect themselves from IT disasters, insulate their personal and business data from security threats, it encourages portability, and it allows multiple authorized users to access shared information via an Internet connection without requiring each person to be in the same location.

What you Need to Know

First, before you decide on a cloud service, you must remember not all cloud services are created equally. It is important to know exactly where your information and data is stored. Is it domestic or international? Do not do business with a company that houses your date internationally. When your information is stored outside of the U.S., your privacy is at the mercy of the governing body of that particular country. However, the U.S. doesn’t exactly have a squeaky-clean record for valuing the privacy of its citizens when it comes to digital security. What you need to know as an informed consumer is how your cloud service controls and responds to requests for your personal or business information.

It is important to note that business clouds and personal clouds are not the same, and they do not provide the same levels of protection for users. Personal cloud services are simple, do not usually require as much maintenance and security, and they are rarely accompanied by a dedicated support team. Business cloud services, when supported by a trained team of experts, provide businesses and users with support, servicing, capacity and dedication simply not offered by personal cloud solutions. A professional managed services team assists business owners with developing an effective cloud strategy that accommodates the needs of the business, it provides businesses with 24/7 support and system monitoring, it responds immediately to failures, and performs updates to the cloud to ensure data protection.

Choosing a cloud provider is not an easy decision. Your company and its reputation are on the line, so the decision must be an informed one. Do your research and read the contract thoroughly. One you do establish a cloud solution, practice smart digital habits to protect yourself and your data. Educate your team, restrict access for some, remove access immediately for departed employees, and be smart when choosing a password.

Boston Red Sox

How Technology Boosts the Boston Red Sox’s Game

As technology continues to evolve and grow, sports teams are taking advantage of this to boost their team’s stats – especially the Boston Red Sox.

Steve Conley, director of IT for the Boston Red Sox, and his IT team provide sports technology tools that allow the baseball players to perform at their highest level, both on and off the field.

According to Conley, the Boston Red Sox IT department’s greatest thing they put together was the video system, which has expanded and evolved over time since it’s creation 10 years ago. The team carries the system with them on the road where they capture every at-bat situation, and after at-bat situation. The players can then review it on a computer directly after and will be able to learn from their mistakes. Not only can they watch themselves at-bat and after batting, but they also have every batter-pitcher breakdown statistic in the Major Leagues since 2004 to look at, so they can look up any pitcher on any count to see if they can get an edge on the competition. Many of the players use that tool extensively, Conley said.

So, what separates the technology of sports from other industry-specific IT jobs? There are certain job tasks that specialize when it comes to sports where you have to handle the needs that are stadium-specific. Although, there is a great amount of overlap when it comes to technology of sports and general IT needs. Conley said about 15% of what the Boston Red Sox IT department does is specific to sports, baseball in particular, and the remaining 85% are the IT needs that you would find regardless of industry.

Technology is changing the way the Boston Red Sox and many other teams play sports and is bettering their game. The video system created by Steve Conley and his IT team is one technology tool that has helped the Red Sox up its game and become an ever better baseball team.