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How to avoid dangerous websites

Use the built-in search engine filters

Many modern search engines provide a way to do a ‘safer’ search when using their search engine.  As an example, Google allows users to toggle on or off a ‘safe search filtering’ option at the Advanced Search page.

Not only do these built-in filters work well, but they are free!

Use an Internet security filter

If you want use something that is always active and watching over your (or your family members’) entire time browsing the web, there are many internet filters that you can purchase and download online.  These ‘always on’ filters work by providing warnings when a user attempts to access a site which has been deemed questionable by the filtering software.  This type of filter is great way for parents to help keep their web browsing children safe online.

Don’t guess a website’s address

This is probably the number one way people accidentally find themselves at a questionable, or even dangerous, website.  For example, have you ever guessed the White House’s website at whitehouse.com (DON’T!)?  It does not take you to the website of the United States President’s residence.  Many clever malicious people purposely purchase URL’s that are extremely similar to legitimate website URL’s in hopes of getting unsuspecting prey to their malware-ridden websites.   If you are not 100% sure of the URL for a site you wish to visit then do not type it in.  Instead, type your guessed URL into a search engine like google.com, using the safe search option if you want to be extra careful.  You can then click to the legitimate site from the search results.

Never click on sites that seem questionable

This one is pretty simple.  If something doesn’t look or ‘feel’ right about a website or link then just don’t go there or click the link.  Again, this is a great time to use a search engine to verify the website or link.

Make Web safety a priority

If you aren’t paying attention to what you are doing online, it only takes a few seconds to accidentally end up somewhere you really don’t want to, or worse – infected.  Simply staying alert and paying attention to what links you are clicking online is one of the easiest, most effective ways to say online.

Contact NCGIT today to learn about the business-class solutions we offer to keep your employees and business safe online!

Client Spotlight: CAP Systems

A modern, cloud based solution for both its internal needs and, most importantly, for providing its hosted solution in a highly secure, highly available, and scalable way to Community Action, Human Service and Head Start Agencies across the US – This is the challenge CAP Systems engaged NCGIT to solve.  The primary goal for CAP was transitioning its old solution from one that ran at client sites and on client provided servers, to a new, fully cloud hosted solution.  At the same time, they wanted to remove the need for an in-house IT infrastructure and provide improved accessibility for its increasingly distributed workforce.

NCGIT worked with CAP Systems to design and implement a solution for each of their requirements.  For email, file sharing, and collaboration, we migrated them to Microsoft’s hosted Office 365 solution.  Phones were also of critical importance for CAP so we helped them implement RingCentral’s hosted PBX solution which allows their distributed workforce to communicate with each other and with clients via desk phone, mobile phone app, or computer soft phone anywhere in the world as if they were all in the same office.  The final and most important piece of the project was implementing the new cloud infrastructure for their new hosted Enterprise Client Data Management Software solution.  This is being done using Microsoft’s Azure Infrastructure as a Service offering.  CAP is now able to rapidly add or remove servers and resources as needed in a highly secure, highly available environment to its customers.

Contact NCGIT today to learn about how we can help your business achieve its goals!

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About CAP Systems

CAP Systems, Inc. has been providing software for Community Action, Human Service, and Head Start Agencies for more than 40 years.  Originally in the consulting and custom systems development business, PMI/CAPS developed systems for many Fortune 500 companies and United Nations Agencies. We are dedicated to a continuing investment in new technology and a commitment to providing our customers with the most powerful tools available.

Our original Financial System, designed in 1972 for Community Action Agencies, was the first fund accounting system in the nation.  The system has expanded over the years to include modules that address every aspect of the fiscal and administrative functions of Community Action.  Today CAPS is involved in the development of software for:
·       Head Start
·       Child Care
·       Energy Assistance
·       Weatherization
·       Information and Referral
·       Individual and Family Needs Assessment
·       Outcomes and Results Measurement
·       Case Management
·       Benefits Administration
·       Client Tracking, CSBG Reporting
·       Analysis of Client Characteristics
·       Health and many more activities typically associated with Community Action

www.capsystems.com

Client Spotlight: LCB Senior Living

Scalable, repeatable, highly available, and centrally managed – Those are the characteristics of the IT infrastructure LCB Senior Living asked NCGIT to provide for its planned roll-out of senior housing communities throughout the eastern US.  At the time, LCB had a small management office and only a handful of residences it was managing.  An old school approach of managing each location individually with in-house servers was sufficient and manageable.  However, with the plan to begin building and managing new residences all over New England and the eastern US, it was clear that this old approach was not going to be a viable approach for providing the scalability, repeat-ability and central management LCB desired.

LCB now has successfully expanded its footprint to 22 senior residences from VT to CT and in 2017 is planning to open 4 more new residences in MA and NH.  To facilitate this aggressive growth from an IT perspective NCGIT designed and implemented a fully cloud hosted infrastructure shared across all facilities.  The solution combines cloud hosted desktops, servers, file sharing, email, website security filtering, and cloud based Wifi and firewall management.  This allows all users across all of the locations to access their same desktops, files, and emails from any location, and to do it reliably and securely.  Equally importantly, this cloud hosted infrastructure allows LCB to scale its infrastructure quickly and in a highly repeatable fashion.  NCGIT and LCB internal IT resources are also able to quickly, easily and centrally manage all aspects of the IT infrastructure.

Contact us today to see how NCGIT can help your business implement a secure, robust, and highly reliable cloud based IT infrastructure!

About LCB Senior Living, LLC

LCB Senior Living, LLC is a developer/operator and third-party manager of quality senior housing communities.  Since 1994, the LCB team has been pioneers in modern senior living, providing Independent Living, Assisted living and Memory Care services throughout New England and the eastern United States.  During that time, they built and sold the 16th-largest such company in the nation, and are currently one of the fastest-growing senior housing companies in the region.

Whether it be developing and managing beautiful new residences, or managing yours, LCB prides itself in creating communities where residents can enjoy continued comfort, security and dignity as their individual physical and cognitive needs change.

www.lcbseniorliving.com

Tackling Tech: The NFL – Taking Tech to the Bank

Sourced from Patriots.com

By Bob Wallace
Tackling Tech
bobmwallace@comcast.net

 

Before the NFL heads into the 2016 exhibition season, remember to keep your eyes wide open for the following, tech-driven works-in-progress across the league. Together they will define how we consume America’s game in the stands and at home for many years to come.

They will also go a long way to determining the financial health of the teams and league and elevating fan engagement for those at the game and watching from home.

1. Next-Gen Stadiums. These facilities, both under construction and hosting major improvements, promise to enhance the fan experience for those in the stands. Connected stadiums refers to facilities equipped with advanced Wi-Fi networks that both enable game day apps and collected voluminous data on fans that can be analyzed using analytics for a wide array of marketing and sales purposes.

Beyond robust wireless connectivity, next-gen stadiums such as the new home of the Atlanta Falcons is being equipped with super high-def big screens that can be viewed from any angle without glare. The Jacksonville Jaguars are amidst an installation with vendor NanoLumens and the New England Patriots already feature these viewing enhancements which benefit fans and sponsors. There was a time when leaving your seat for concessions meant disconnecting from the game as only tiny screens or radio were available on the concourse.

There’s also a growing focus on viewing for fans not in their seats. With that in mind, the new Falcon’s home will boast some 300-plus TVs throughout the facility – an approach followed in newer stadiums as the homes of the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers respectively.

2. Watching from Home. Expect the content super rich NFL to continue to parse out original series and live game casts to a longer list of delivery options be they on TV or online. It has been roughly a year since the league brought on its first ever chief content officer – an expert in youth programming and non- traditional viewing options (Microsoft Xbox).

The last year alone has seen Yahoo live-stream a regular season game free and internationally, deals with social media outlets (Google/SnapChat) for non-game footage, All or Nothing on Amazon, and Thursday Night Football (10 games) via Twitter. This share-the-wealth approach has/is providing the NFL with experience and data on different distribution channels used for varying types of content.

3. The Data Dilemma. Having completed a full NFL season of collecting player data through RFID chips in players’ shoulder pads with tech partner Zebra Technologies, the league has turned the voluminous data to its teams. So how will it be used? Initially the intent seemed to be to create next-gen stats, such as how fast (MPH) a receiver ran on a TD catch and run.

Now it seems the data could be used to measure player performance and much more beyond stats for fans. How the teams choose to use this needs-to-be-analyzed mountain of data is certainly worth watching as we enter the 2016-17 season. And what of those next-gen stats that seem to be spares if you’re watching from home on a big screen? They would help elevate the viewing experience and enrich the game casts beyond what the broadcasting talent has to offer.

4. Wireless Advances. You can’t talk about the fan experience and data collection without discussing the ongoing upgrades across the league to stadium Wi-Fi and Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS). Several teams are in the process of upgrading or exploring upgrades to current systems as per the league’s CIO while others – Packers, Bills etc. – just finished their first season with the benefits of wireless nets brought to older stadiums.

After all, wireless is the enabling technology for game-day apps that let fans get everything from the latest traffic and parking conditions to the ability to order concessions from their seats and pick up their purchases at the shortest lines. Add an analytics package to these networks and you can apply business brains to the tech brawn and determine new and better ways to monetize the fan.

5. Apps. This time last year, the NFL was amidst an overhaul/consolidation of its pay apps, resulting in the domestic version of GamePass. Given the ability to launch Super Bowl and draft-specific apps, expect new introductions before the regular season begins. Remember, even free apps generate revenue through sponsorships, gateways to Pro Shops and fan data.

6. Virtual Reality Check. Yes, virtual reality has been pitched as changing the way football – and other sports – function. It’s true that several QBs use VR to augment their training with more reps while avoiding the wear and tear of live action. And though the tech portends to advance the way virtual seats are sold and the game is watched from home, don’t expect these changes soon. VR will make inroads in the way video content clips are shot and used first, followed by the greater promise down the road.

7. The Widening World of Sports (TV). In many ways, 2016 will be a year of exploration for the content crew at the NFL with its recent forays into streaming of game cast or original series set up as a one-time or one-year arrangements, meaning they can be renewed or replaced next year. Changing the channels means maximum flexibility for the league in expanding its distribution strategy.

And what might we see from AT&T, which acquired DirecTV which has the exclusive rights to the popular NFL Sunday Ticket out-of-market game package (and the no-dish online only version)??

Note that of late, the league has been focusing on delivery deals for non-game content, a marked expansion of its approach has brought in streamers such as Amazon and social media giants such as Google (for YouTube) highlights. Also note that the NFL has eliminated its one-time ban of streamer smartphone Periscope which will now be used as part of the Twitter streaming of Thursday Night Football games this season.

8. Partner Programs. Last, but very far from least, are programs that team up NFL teams with knowledge of their fans with partners to boost sales via innovative promotion programs that reward members in discounts and freebies for select products of their sponsors. The Patriots program with Dunkin Donuts, which allows consumers to have purchases to be applied to their season ticket balance and more is a great example.

Those entities that know enough about their customers – through collected and analyzed data – are well posed to launch these next level partner programs. That’s likely one of the skills customers of the recently spun off Kraft Analytics Group (KAGR) can hear about as the end result of optimized data (analytics and strategic marketing). Read

THE BOTTOM LINE

Sure, the league is facing many more issues and exploring many more opportunities than those listed above. Forward-thinking teams are looking to harness tech to expand their brands and see challenges as part of a longer to-do list that benefits franchises and their fans.

The only constant here is change. And you can take that to the bank.

Stay tuned!

Bob Wallace is a technology journalist with over 30 years of experience explaining how new services, apps, consumer electronic devices and video sources are reshaping the world of communications as we know it. Wallace has specific expertise in explaining how and why advances in technology redefine the way sports fans interact with their league, teams, players and each other. He’s the Founder of Fast Forward Thinking LLC.

Group of Business People Discussing at Sunset Reflected Onto Table with Documents

The Perks of IT Consulting Services

By definition, IT consulting services aim toward advising a business with the best practices for their technology. This includes the advice of price estimations, management, implementation, deployment, and administration for the IT products serviced. Typically, businesses who are on the prowl for these services are those that are trying to take their company to the next competitive level. If there are problems that a business owner is unfamiliar with, they will seek out advice using an IT consultant’s expertise. The perks of IT consulting services include the opportunity to be more cost effective with technology, professionalism from IT experts, extensive IT knowledge, and IT security consultants.

Fixed Fee (recurring) IT Consulting

A recurring, fixed fee IT consulting contract applies only to projects that fall under IT managed services. These services typically include:

  • Infrastructure refreshment projects
  • Infrastructure capacity planning
  • Network design

IT Experts

IT consultants have required professional licenses and degrees that provide each specialist with enough knowledge to fully support a company in accounting, IT services or management advice. IT consultants generally have degrees in computer science, electronics, technology, or management information systems.

IT Knowledge

When you entrust in an IT consultant, you equip your business with true professionals. IT consultants have a few basic skills:

  • Advisory skills
  • Technical skills
  • Business Skills
  • Communication Skills
  • Management Skills
  • Advisory Language Skills
  • Technical Language Skills

IT Security Consultants

The safety of your businesses technology is of utmost importance. You want professionals who will defend your business data from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction.
If you want to learn more about the perks of IT consulting, please don’t hesitate to start here: NCGIT