Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

  • Your 2018 Checklist for Hardware Maintenance

    Posted on: January 9th, 2018 by Joel Nimar

    The beginning of the year is always busy as businesses put together new fiscal year plans and budgets. One item to keep in mind as you prepare for your new plans and budgets is hardware maintenance. It's an issue that isn't always top of mind until something goes wrong, but it's better to be prepared than to be caught blindsided when a problem rears its head.

    To make sure you cover all of your bases, consider drawing up a hardware maintenance checklist that details everything you'll need cover the course of 2018. That way, you can be rest assured you have what you need to protect your data center equipment against failure.

    Hardware maintenance should be a priority for your IT plans

    Determining where to allocate your IT funds is often a painstaking process, and inevitably certain items are going to get cut or devalued along the way. This becomes problematic when organizations have to work on tighter IT budgets or – even worse – don't prioritize the right investments. Your new budgets may promise higher IT spending overall, but there remains some doubt whether executives truly appreciate and understand where that money is going.

    "IT stakeholders need to vouch for the importance of hardware maintenance."

    What to include on your hardware maintenance checklist

    When reviewing your options for a hardware maintenance partner in the coming year, there are several key features to consider to ensure you receive the right coverage and services at the right price point:

    Single-vendor contracts

    One of the most common obstacles businesses run into with hardware maintenance is managing the various service contracts in effect for all of their data center and IT equipment. The time and labor required to parse through each one and determine precisely what is covered by different original equipment manufacturers is one of the more costly, unseen expenses related to IT operations. To remove such headaches, work with a hardware maintenance provider that offers single-vendor contracts across a wide range of vendor brands, including IBM, SUN/Oracle and EMC. The right partner will be able to support both legacy hardware and future equipment purchases down the road.

    Flexible SLAs

    No two businesses are the same, so why settle for a rigid, one-size-fits-all, service-level agreement? Hardware maintenance SLAs should spell out specific terms that make sense for each organization, taking into account both variations in price point and uptime guarantees. There's no reason to get locked into SLAs that package in unnecessary, expensive features and ultimately fail to meet your needs. If a hardware maintenance vendor is unwilling to budge on the terms of their pre-built SLA, consider going elsewhere for service.

    Responsive Support System

    In a perfect world, businesses would never need to call upon their hardware maintenance partners in a crisis. But equipment problems will spring up, and when they do, your service provider should be readily available to lend support. A fast and responsive help desk is the hallmark of a truly dependable hardware maintenance vendor, capable of offering expert advice and assistance at a moment's notice.

    Another aspect to consider is where that help desk team is located. Offshore support staff may not be able to meet the level of responsiveness needed to quickly address problems as they arise, especially if on-site assistance is required. Under these circumstances, a U.S.-based support system is ideal.

    Having a comprehensive checklist handy can help your organization ensure it gets everything it needs from a hardware maintenance provider in 2018. For more information on equipment maintenance and what to look for in an ideal maintenance contract, contact Pyramid today.

  • Why an OEM maintenance contract isn’t always the best option

    Posted on: November 20th, 2017 by Joel Nimar

    OEM maintenance contracts may lose their initial appeal rather quickly, leaving companies to pick up the tab on expensive hardware repairs.

    Sometimes going straight to the source isn't the best way to address a problem. While common sense may indicate that manufacturers are best equipped to deal with issues with their own equipment, that isn't always the case. This is especially true when working with expensive and complex data center hardware. Original equipment manufacturers can make hefty promises regarding hardware upkeep and repair, but if you dig a little deeper into your OEM maintenance contracts, you will likely come across more than a few red flags.

    Maintenance costs add up quickly

    Ongoing maintenance expenses can eat up a big chunk of an organization's IT budget. In fact, ZDNet's analysis of a recent Computer Economics survey revealed that operational budgets have steadily increased while other IT expenditures like hiring new employees have tapered off. Two-thirds of respondents reported that they would be ramping up their operational spending in 2018 to keep pace with their needs. Even with that increase, more than half of the study's participants felt that their 2018 operational budgets were insufficient to support business demands.

    How much does it cost to just keep the lights on? According to Forrester, as much as three-quarters of a company's IT budget may be devoted to maintaining baseline operational performance. That leaves very little room for more innovative and strategic IT projects. It can be very easy for organizations to become buried in operational expenditures, putting out fires and struggling to keep business going.

    "OEMs are notorious for ramping up maintenance costs."

    OEM savings may be misleading

    With so much money tied up in data center hardware, businesses often look to their OEMs to handle maintenance needs and keep their equipment running smoothly. Many are enticed by the seemingly low cost of entry offered by OEMs, with initial manufacturer warranties and competitive pricing. However, it's important to read the fine print in any maintenance contract and fully understand how those costs and service levels may fluctuate down the road.

    OEMs are notorious for ramping up maintenance costs from year to year. As Data Center Journal contributor Kayla Matthews explained, OEMs have a vested interest in rolling out new iterations of their products on a regular basis to address potential security issues and protect their brand's reputation. That sounds perfectly fine on paper, but in action, it means customers are pushed to adopt the latest updates and the increased costs that go with them. That early low price point can become a thing of the past very quickly.

    Those expenses may be even more eye-popping if the upgraded equipment is incompatible with some existing components, requiring further investments in an organization's IT infrastructure.

    Vanishing Act: When OEM support goes up in smoke

    Another issue to be aware of is how OEMs handle end-of-life equipment, especially in terms of support. In most cases, manufacturers are unlikely to continue supporting hardware that has been phased out of production. From a business standpoint, it's completely practical – why spend resources maintaining outdated equipment when your organization is focused on the next generation of hardware?

    Companies that aren't quite ready to move away from their existing network or data center setup may be caught in a bind, however. They may not have the budget to invest in new equipment, but the alternative is relying on a technological foundation that lacks any kind of safety net. If something breaks down and needs repair, your OEM won't be there to help. Fixing IT equipment on your own will be an expensive proposition, and many organizations simply won't have the budget to cover such unexpected costs.

    vanishing-act

    OEM support can vanish without warning.

    Third party vendors offer maintenance relief

    Instead of relying solely on OEMs for hardware upkeep and repair needs, consider working with a third-party maintenance partner. TPMs are more likely to offer support for equipment that has reached end of life, allowing companies to continue using their legacy hardware until the time is right to make an upgrade. Businesses can get more bang for their buck with their available IT budget because they're not on the hook for any repairs and they don't need to invest in shiny new equipment because an OEM dropped support for their legacy infrastructure.

    Another key benefit to working with a TPM is you get one point of contact for all of your maintenance needs. Organizations that rely solely on their OEMs for support have to wrestle with different maintenance contracts from various brands and products across a large swath of facilities. Managing all of those contracts can be an immensely time-consuming process. Working with a TPM simplifies contract oversight and makes it far easier to determine coverage and make repairs when necessary.

    At the end of the day, TPMs provide a headache-free way to manage your maintenance contracts and ensure business-critical machinery continues functioning with optimal uptime.

  • 6 Reasons to Incorporate Staff Augmentation

    Posted on: February 19th, 2015 by Stacy Gianakura

    Staff AugmentationStaff augmentation, or adding flexible workers to your team to meet fluctuating demands, is an excellent way to maximize your profits while helping your business to grow efficiently.  There are many reasons our clients augment their current team with Pyramid experts.  Here are 6 reasons that staff augmentation would work for your company as well:

     

    1. Stay On Time & Budget

    When you have technical projects that need to get done on time and on budget, staff augmentation can help you get there. You will have the ability to acquire the resources you need, when you need them. Plus, bringing in a consultant is much faster than recruiting a new team member. You can get started on your projects faster so you finish on time.

    2. Increased Flexibility

    Staff augmentation will give you the flexibility you need to expand and contract as the demand for technical services changes. Some businesses are seasonal or cyclical in nature and have periods of high demand. When your business cycles back to lower demand levels, you will not have to worry about layoffs or unemployment.

    3. Greater Expertise

    Rather than having to recruit the top performers for any given technical skill set, you will have access to the top talent when you need it. This means you can tap into these expertise reservoirs without having to hire an expensive, full-time employee to get access to the knowledge.

    4. Access to a Wide Network

    With staff augmentation, you will have immediate access to a deep network of experienced candidates. With so many different technical specialties, it is impossible to hire a staff that covers every base. Instead, when you need a particular specialty, utilizing staff augmentation services to cover the gap means expert help for all your needs.

    5. Fresh Ideas

    When highly specialized experts augment your team, they bring with them innovative technologies and fresh ideas. Your internal departments can be revitalized without lengthy training sessions or expensive development programs.

    6. Ease Growing Pains

    When it is time for you to expand your business, it often means expanding your technical network, too. Staff augmentation lets you bring in specialists who can help you scale up with ease without having to hire a permanent staff to make the move. Whether you are upgrading a single system or expanding to new offices, staff augmentation can make expansion simple.

    Get the Coverage You Need

    Whether you need help covering vacations, require expertise for a specific project, or are planning a large-scale project that is simply more than your current team can handle, staff augmentation can help you get the expertise you need without the overhead, commitment, and expense of a new employee. Contact us to help you with your IT augmentation needs.

  • Factors Fueling the Migration to 10GbE and 40GbE

    Posted on: October 29th, 2014 by Dave Whipple

    10gbeBig data, server virtualization and video are the top three challenges today for datacenters. These factors are fueling the migration to 10GbE and 40GbE with enterprises. According to the IDC, 10 GbE and 40 GbE datacenter shipments will reach 20 million ports. Ethernet switch spending will account for $7 billion in revenue, including Cisco switches and Cisco routers. At the same time, large enterprises are expected to jump on board with 10 GbE and 40 GbE faster than smaller ones. Scott Dennehy at Technology Business Research says that the high costs to upgrade are holding smaller companies with few IT resources back. The demand for 10GbE and 40GbE is still strong, which keeps the price tag up.

    Traffic on internal networks is growing at rapid speed due to technological advancements and unified communications applications, especially ones transmitting video. The use of video on networks for training, communications and entertainment has really increased in the past three years. According to Ignite Technologies and Ragan Communications, 58 percent of companies use video, and 72 percent of businesses say they will increase the use of video on networks this year.

    In addition, conventional computer applications and heavily trafficked Microsoft Exchange servers both put a heavy load on the network and create system bottlenecks. Today’s 10 GbE adapters and Cisco routers are designed to address system-wide bottlenecks. These devices add intelligence to perform important operations done by the CPU. In addition, 10 GbE devices spread operations among the cores in the system and maintain high performance with a simpler network infrastructure.

    Most companies are also likely to deploy a 10 GbE or 40 GbE upgrade for Wi-Fi needs and datacenter networks. Wi-Fi has increased the need for higher capacity networks. On the data side, 10 GbE and 40 GbE fit the needs of cloud services and applications.

    With the introduction of servers with 10 GbE network connections, many enterprises will have to adopt 40 GbE in datacenter networks in order to meet the overall bandwidth demands to servers with 10GbE server-facing ports. The new Cisco switches with 40 GbE provide an easy transition from 10GbE according to Cisco senior manager Omar Sultan. There are also Cisco switches for an upgrade from 40GbE to 100 GbE. While transitioning to 100 GbE is not expected to be in reach for most companies for another three years, it’s important that IT managers consider how today’s migration planning will impact the future migration to 100 GbE.

    Both 10 GbE and 40 GbE networks offer a complete, unified networking solution. Storage and converging data can be done on one fabric, which eliminates the need for multiple switches, cables and adapters. Enough bandwidth is provided to converge multiple fabrics onto a single wire. Traffic class separation is provided by virtual pipes for the different classes of traffic.

    Server virtualization technology in 10 GbE and 40 GbE networks delivers offloads for networking traffic while enabling scalability and ramping up performance. All around, 10 GbE and 40 GbE networks are the new wave for IT. Pyramid can help you determine where you can benefit most from upgrading your network. For questions or to request a quote on new or refurbished 10 GbE or 40 GbE networks contact Pyramid Technology Services directly at sales@pyramidcomputer.com or 978-823-0700.

    Networking Specials
    For questions or to order an item contact us directly at sales@pyramidcomputer.com or call 978-823-0700.

    Part Number Manufacturer Description Price
    ICX7750-48C Brocade 48 x 1000/10000 + 6 x 40
    Gigabit QSFP+
    NEW $16,988
    WS-X6904-40G-2T Cisco Cisco Catalyst 6900 Series 4-Port 40 Gigabit Ethernet Fiber Module with DFC4 – Expansion module – 10 GigE, 40 Gigabit LAN – 4 ports – for Catalyst 6503-E, 6504-E, 6506-E, 6506-E IDSM-2,
    6509-E, 6509-E 10Gig, 6513-E
    NEW $10,750
    N6K-C6001-64P Cisco Nexus
    6001, 1RU switch, fixed 48p of 10G SFP+ and 4p QSFP+
    NEW
    $24,129
    N3K-C3016Q-40GE Cisco Nexus
    3016Q-40GE 1RU 16p 40GE switch, no p/s, no fan-tray
    NEW
    $34,629
    17300 Extreme Summit X670-G2-72x-Base-Unit,72 10GBASE-X
    SFP+, ExtremeXOS Advanced Edge License,,unpopulated
    dual PSU power slot and 5 unpopulated fan airflow slots
    NEW
    $14,642
    17310 Extreme Summit X670-G2-48x-4q-Base-Unit,48
    10GBASE-X SFP+ and 4 40GBASE-X QSFP+, ExtremeXOS,Advanced
    Edge License, unpopulated dual PSU power slot , and 3 unpopulated fan airflow
    slots
    NEW
    $13,263
    S4810 Dell 48ports 10GB SFP+, 4 ports QSFP 40GB ports NEW $5,373
    REFURB $3850
    N4064 Dell 48x 10GBASE-T and 2x 40GbE QSFP+ Fixed Ports, 1x
    Modular Bay, 2x Power Supplies Included
    NEW
    $19098

     

  • How to Save Money on Hardware Maintenance

    Posted on: October 15th, 2014 by Joel Nimar

    Can you cut maintenance costs without sacrificing service or reliability?

    Hardware Maintenance

    Businesses reliance of technology is increasing every year. Hardware maintenance is one of the most important aspects of maintaining servers and networks that run a business. There is a way to cut these maintenance costs without sacrificing service or reliability.

    Follow these six tips of hardware maintenance and most businesses can expect to reduce costs of that maintenance by 20-60 percent, all without sacrificing service and reliability. These tips can also extend the life of older hardware systems and reduce the need for expensive upgrades.

    1.) Audit Your Hardware

    Many customers pay for maintenance on equipment that is no longer deployed. Pyramid can do a physical audit or use auto discovery tools to help find equipment that is no longer in service. Sometimes a piece of equipment is still paid for under a service contract but not being utilized. By removing the hardware, not only will you save maintenance costs but electric and cooling as well. If possible, schedule an audit of your hardware and your maintenance contract annually.

    2.) Evaluate Service Level Requirements

    A business can always save money by evaluating the service levels needed. Service providers will try to contract for as much service as possible, even if that service isn’t needed. Periodically check your bill for miscellaneous charges or services you didn’t order. Mix and match service levels depending on your needs, not the OEM or Service provider.

    Try dividing your hardware list into two categories, high priority and normal. Any equipment on the high priority list should get the best service coverage possible within your contract. This includes production servers that need to be up and running 100 percent of the time like an e-commerce or a server that monitors your plant. Reviewing your bill atleast annually can save you money

    Anything on the normal priority list can have a lower level of service in your maintenance contract. If you have multiple development servers, you don’t need to have 24/7 protection on them. Other equipment will fall into this category. Moving items off the high priority list still gives you coverage and still meets the business objective.

    3.) Stock Spares

    There are a number of small hardware items that most service contracts cover, but don’t need to. Monitors, disk drives and other small devices are very easily customer installable anyone on staff and can get you back to business faster and saves money. You don’t need an expensive service call just to swap a drive — as long as you have a spare. Plus, a handful of spares in storage, work as adequate backup against the potential failure of dozens of devices, which is a huge expense in a service contract. Plus, if none of the drives fail over the course of a year there is no cost to keeping them for the next replacement need.

    4.) Get a Quote from a Third Party Maintenance Provider

    Manufacturers may charge more for maintenance because they have more internal costs to cover. Third Party Maintenance companies are focused on one thing: providing maintenance at prices low enough to attract customers. Since they have lower costs, they can charge less. It is worth the effort to get a quote from a third party maintenance provider to keep your old hardware living long past the days the OEM would service it. Many TPM provide legacy hardware support long after the manufacturer has discontinued support.

    5.) Consolidate Maintenance Contracts

    Customers tend to have multiple service agreements from many manufacturers By consolidating those service and maintenance contracts it can make a supervisor’s job happy, accounting’s job easier, and it is likely that a volume discount reduce expenses.

    6. Preventative Maintenance

    Heat can destroy a computer. Manufacturers designed systems to dissipate heat, but sometimes the systems can get too hot because dust will clog the power supplies and airflow cannot occur as the computer was designed. Fans and power supplies die and either people don’t recognize that or forget to replace them, creating yet more heat problems. Items are placed behind computer equipment which blocks airflow. Carefully examining your datacenter to look for fans that don’t work, or paying attention to the smells that indicate electrical burning, noticing the discoloration of plastic or humming sounds that are not natural for computers can all save money and increase the longevity of your IT assets in the long run. Finding these mistakes before a CPU is completely burned out can save money.

    It isn’t always easy to find ways to save money in a business. You can improve your IT operations by streamlining service, finding parts that can be eliminated, and saving wasted manpower can be a great opportunity to boost the bottom line. Your are not alone. Pyramid Technology Services to here to help. Contact us with your questions or a no obligation quote today.

  • Fixing Network Hardware Disasters

    Posted on: August 21st, 2014 by Joel Nimar

    Disaster ReliefIf you’re a network administrator or IT expert, you’re used to walking into IT disasters in your datacenter more often than not. Your coworkers stand by, looking hopeful at you while you flex your fingers. As the go-to expert for managing your network hardware, you must be prepared for all kinds of unpredictable hardware disasters. Here’s a look at some common office calamities and how you can prepare to tackle them.

     

    Hardware Failure

    Like the common cold to doctors, hardware failures are a common foe to network administrators. Routers, switches and firewalls can malfunction without warning and bring office operations to a screeching halt. When it happens, what’s an IT soldier to do?

    Disaster Relief Tip: Preparation is key. Keep a generous stock of spare routers and other network components close by. If you’re short on space or IT funds, keep a reputable IT hardware reseller or maintenance company on speed dial. They can reinforce relief efforts and get your network back up to snuff.

    Tight Schedules

    You know a disaster is approaching. You reach out to the OEM, but they can’t meet your deadline. The product won’t be on site by the deadline. Your OEM partner apologizes, but you still won’t get your relief gear on time. Meetings are called, projects halt, panic ensues.

    Disaster Relief Tip: Anticipate the situation. OEM’s may not have the gear you need on hand, especially if it’s an older model. Build relationships with multiple suppliers when skies are clear so you can get the help you need when storms strike. Try to explore independent resellers, who often provide flexible service. They can provide you with emergency refurbished network hardware, including refurbished servers, refurbished datacenter equipment, and other provisions.

    Budget Restraints

    Your preferred network hardware provider or OEM is ready to help and awaiting payment. You’ve got the situation under control, or so you think. The boss has just diverted funds to deploying relief workers to the marketing front, and now the network scene isn’t looking too swell.

    Disaster Relief Tip: You’ve bought juice from Shop A for years, but it might be cheaper down the street at Shop B. Look for better deals with other hardware resellers. It might seem loyal to stick with one hardware supplier, but limiting your perspective can cost you and the office. Compare prices from multiple vendors and look at used and refurbished hardware choices. Smaller, independent resellers have a large inventory and access to new and refurbished IT hardware, including legacy equipment.

    Discontinued Equipment

    Server and network equipment can last for years and years, but eventually it comes time for them to retire. Without warning, OEM’s can drop support for your trusted hardware and leave your network out to dry. If you aren’t able to locate the hardware you need, you could be backed into a complete network upgrade which is expensive and time-consuming.

    Disaster Relief Tip: Partner with a trusted IT hardware reseller that specializes in refurbished network hardware and legacy equipment. The OEM might have better things to do than find you that piece of legacy equipment, but independent resellers can deliver the supplies you need easily. The cherry on top? Refurbished equipment is much cheaper than a full upgrade and works just as well.

    The key to relieving most network disasters is to have multiple relief teams on call, including a specialized independent network hardware reseller that offers refurbished gear and hardware maintenance services. Build these relationships now, so you’ll have the support you need during dark times.

    Pyramid Technology Services, Inc. sells a variety of new and refurbished networking equipment and offers reliable installation, maintenance and support services. Customized solutions means you’ll get the tailored attention you deserve. Call us for more information!


    Network MaintenanceWritten by Joel Nimar, President of Pyramid Technology Services. Pyramid Technology Services has 25 years of experience providing new and refurbished servers, storage, and networking equipment along with the services to set them up and maintain them at peak efficiency. Joel can be reached at sales@pyramidcomputer.com

  • Why business continuity is an underfunded goal

    Posted on: August 19th, 2014 by Joel Nimar

    Emergency DisasterBusinesses are putting a heavy emphasis on disaster recovery to improve business continuity (BC). Ninety-one percent of respondents in a 2013 Ponemon institute study reported that they experienced unplanned downtime in the last 2 years. A major concern is that 30% of those experience a server outage never recover. A good disaster recovery plan allows companies to improve their recovery time objectives (RTO) and keeps corporate data protected. IT Managers are being directed to devote more time and attention to developing disaster recovery plans for business continuity, and corporate executives expect these goals to be met. However, managers are not being provided with the resources they need to adequately accomplish this goal. This leaves managers to look for other ways to cut back in other areas in order to meet business continuity goals. The Gartner consulting firm says that by 2014 30 percent of midsized firms will adopt RaaS, Recovery as a service – up from just 1% in 2011.

    What Managers Want

    Disaster recovery (DR) solutions is something that needs to be built into the operations of the company. It is a task that is easier said than done. Creative managers find ways to meet DR requirements on a shoe string budget. Some IT managers report on using a barter system with other companies in town to assist them in the case of a disaster. Others make agreements to share resources with other divisions in the company, and others are even betting the business on using retired assets in storage. What IT managers really need is a total integrated solution.

    Problems Managers Face

    The most common problems managers face with new, more intensive disaster recovery orders include:

    • Upper management placing a high priority on disaster recover without increasing the company’s budget for it
    • A lack of funds being allocated to cover downtime if disaster recovery is necessary
    • Traditional recovery models being too expensive and time-consuming for managers to implement
    • Traditional recovery models being too out of date to cover more stringent recovery requirements

    What Managers Can Do

    It may seem as if managers who are faced with stringent disaster recovery objectives without additional funds to implement these objectives are stuck between a rock and a hard place. However, that is not the case. There are now service providers who are disaster recovery specialists, who promise faster recovery in the cloud at the same or lower price points and also providing more flexible contract terms compared to traditional recovery methods. This business model is known as “disaster recovery as a service” (DRaaS).

    DRaaS enables customers to failover their on-premises infrastructure to a multitenant cloud environment that they purchase on a pay-per-use basis. The provider must run customers’ production environments out of the cloud during disaster declarations or testing.

    The Final Word

    Companies far and wide are adopting DRaaS as their preferred disaster recovery model for a couple of reasons – 1.) The cost of such services can be more economical for most medium to large businesses with flexible contract terms, and 2.) It provides a full service disaster recovery plan, including regular testing to make sure it always works and a complete implementation. With many different platforms for data recovery available, there is a solution out there that is right for your business. When it’s time for you to evaluate your DRaaS options, then consult with Pyramid Technology Services to choose a solution that is perfect for your business.

    Draas quote


    joel nimarWritten by Joel Nimar, President of Pyramid Technology Services. Pyramid Technology Services has 25 years of experience providing new and refurbished servers, storage, and networking equipment along with the services to set them up and maintain them at peak efficiency. Joel can be reached at sales@pyramidcomputer.com

  • 4 Simple VoIP Tips

    Posted on: May 13th, 2014 by Dave Whipple

    Introduced in 1995, Voice over Internet Protocol has become tremendously popular for commercial use over the years. VoIP offers businesses many advantages over standard phone systems, including cost savings, flexibility, app integration, and more. However, proper set-up is the key to long-term reliability and efficiency. If you’re thinking about making the switch to VoIP or want to reconfigure your current set-up for enhanced functioning, here’s what you can do.

    1. Get a Stable and High-Quality Internet Connection

    An unstable Internet connection is usually the cause of unreliable VoIP. Start by selecting a reputable Internet service provider that services your area. Next, run diagnostic tests to ensure that everything is working correctly. Then, secure the connection with a password, and ensure that your computer security is up. If the connection is still inconsistent, try relocating and resetting the router. If problems persist, you might have defective hardware.

    2. Have Two Different Internet Providers

    Even with a great Internet connection, you can still lose VoIP service during a critical moment. That’s why it’s a good idea to invest in a back-up Internet service. If you want to prevent your business from experiencing downtime and losing profit, there’s really no better option.

    There are two common ways to set this up. Traditionally, a business’ Internet connection is divided between two separate networks, each with its own Internet service provider. The VoIP systems are hooked up to one, and the computers are hooked up to the other. In the case that a connection is lost, VoIP can be switched over to the ISP that the computers are running on. Alternately, both VoIP and computers can be hooked up to two ISPs at once via a router. When one service is lost, the router will automatically switch to the second service.

    3. Select a VoIP Provider with Good Technical Support

    VoIP will only perform as advertised with installation by a very competent provider. It’s essential that you research providers before settling on one. Always choose a business that is well known for its VoIP services. A great provider will be by your side at every step of the way.

    After having your VoIP system properly installed, you may still encounter issues from time to time. Your VoIP provider should be easy to reach and willing to assist with any problems that you might have. In most situations, support personnel should be able to offer sound advice in a timely manner. If technical problems can’t be resolved, you should be offered other solutions. A free reinstall, refund of some or all of the purchase price, or brand new equipment are just a few ways to make things right.

    4. Select a Vendor that can Assist You with Hardware Selection and Network Settings

    With all of the VoIP phone options on the market, you should never settle for default hardware when options are available. But narrowing them down can be tough, especially if you don’t know what to look for. Pyramid Technology Services has worked with and can offer advice to companies that deal directly with Internet companies as well as provide a network review and upgrade of your current system. We offer a wide selection of brand name phones and can help you pick out a model that you can test to make sure it includes all the convenient features and settings you desire.
    Many of our customers receive VoIP services from Cisco and need Cisco phones, licenses, or call manager servers. When Cisco is unable or refuses to provide the needed support, they turn to Pyramid because we offer everything Cisco does and more. We also have many customers moving to Lync and using SNOM and Polycom phones. Some of them have already outsourced VoIP to the cloud and simply need reliable phones and a reliable network.

    Speaking of networks, we recommend all our customers to save their settings locally from their routers and switches. More often than not, the Internet provider will only have the original settings saved, not the working settings that have been modified. If the power goes out, and the settings were not saved locally, troubleshooting and making repairs could take significantly longer.

    Voip Experts

     

    Dave Whipple Written by Dave Whipple, Account Manager at Pyramid Technology Services. Dave can be reached at sales@pyramidcomputer.com

    Written by Dave Whipple, Account Manager at Pyramid Technology Services. Dave can be reached at sales@pyramidcomputer.com
    Written by Dave Whipple, Account Manager at Pyramid Technology Services. Dave can be reached at sales@pyramidcomputer.com
  • Pyramid Technology Services Becomes Nimble Storage Authorized Solutions Provider

    Posted on: May 13th, 2014 by Stacy Gianakura

    Pyramid Technology Services to Expand the Reach of Nimble’s Flash-optimized Hybrid Storage Solutions

     

    Maynard, Massachusetts – May 13, 2013 – Pyramid Technology Services (pyramidcomputer.com), a hardware reseller and IT solutions provider celebrating 25 years of business, is excited to announce its partnership with Nimble Storage, a leading provider of flash-optimized hybrid storage solutions.   As a partner joining Nimble Storage in Massachusetts, Pyramid Technology Services rounds out its storage solution product set by offering Nimble Storage’s best in class flash storage solutions to its clients.

    “Pyramid Technology Services is excited to now offer our customers a hybrid storage architecture that’s engineered to be affordable and deliver better performance and capacity,” says Joel Nimar, President of Pyramid Technology Services. Pairing Nimble’s unique storage solution with our design, integration, installation, and maintenance services – our customers will be rest assured that their backup and storage needs are covered.”

    Authorized ResellerNimble Storage has developed flash storage solutions engineered to address the industry’s most pressing storage issues: delivering better performance and capacity at a reasonable price; providing integrated protection with rapid back-up and recovery; and, reining in storage complexity. The company’s products are based on its patented Cache Accelerated Sequential Layout (CASL™) hybrid storage architecture that leverages fast read performance of flash and the cost-effective capacity of hard disk drives. Nimble combines this flash-optimized architecture with Nimble InfoSight, a cloud based management service that delivers predictive support and operational simplicity through deep data analytics.

    “Nimble Storage channel partners are strategically vetted to ensure that they provide an excellent level of service and support for Nimble Storage solutions,” said Kristin Carnes, director of channel sales at Nimble Storage.  “We believes enterprises should not have to compromise on performance, capacity, ease of use, or price. Therefore, we’ve built a partner ecosystem with over 900 partners worldwide, to provide enterprises access to our innovative storage technology from their existing trusted partners.”

     

    About Pyramid Technology Services, Inc. (PTSI):
    Pyramid Technology Services has 25 years experience providing new and refurbished servers, storage, and networking equipment along with the services and maintenance programs to keep them up and running.  Pyramid Technology Services provides complete multivendor solutions with unbiased hardware and software recommendations to global and government organizations with access to personalized technical and sales support from its Maynard, Massachusetts headquarters. Pyramid sells leading hardware brands such as Cisco, DELL, HP, IBM and Oracle/Sun. More information is available at http://www.pyramidcomputer.com, or by phone at 978-823-0700.

  • Windows XP reaches end-of-life – are you ready?

    Posted on: April 8th, 2014 by Stacy Gianakura

    xp-end-of-life-windows-xpToday, after 12 years of support, the life of Windows XP is coming to an end.  Microsoft will cease to support this aging operating system, meaning that current users will be left vulnerable to security breaches, malware and viruses.   Security experts are saying that hackers might already know of new ways to break into XP-powered computers but be waiting until after Tuesday to attack because Microsoft will no longer step in to thwart them.

    Windows XP still powers 20 to 30 percent of Windows machines around the world.  By ending support, Microsoft means that it will no longer be providing technical assistance or releasing security updates for Windows XP.  No more security updates means that Microsoft will no longer address security holes in the operating system software, which will open it up to malicious attacks from malware or viruses.  Microsoft Security Essentials will also no longer be available for download after April 8th.  If you currently have Microsoft Security Essentials, you will receive anti-malware updates for a limited time but this doesn’t ensure that your PC is secure.

    Experts are saying that small businesses could be among the most effected by the end of support, because they don’t have the same kinds of firewalls and in-house IT departments that larger companies possess. And if they don’t upgrade and something bad happens, they could face lawsuits from customers, among other dangers.

    How to Stay Protected

    1) Upgrade Your PCs.

    Upgrading your PCs to a newer operating system helps you avoid the cost of purchasing newer devices.  The problem with this approach, however, is that many older computers running Windows XP will not be able to run Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.  To see if your computers can run Windows 8.1, you can download the Microsoft Upgrade Assistant here.

    If you aren’t ready to make the full jump to Windows 8.1, Windows 7 will be supported until 2020.  Windows 7 might be a better option if you are more accustomed to the Windows XP format, but upgrading to Windows 8.1 will ensure that you are implementing the most current operating system available – meaning increased support duration and greater software compatibility.

    2) Purchase New PCs.

    If Microsoft’s Upgrade Assistant (mentioned above) has notified you that your businesses computers are not compatible with Windows 8.1, you will most likely have to purchase new PCs preloaded with Windows 8.1 and then migrate the data from your old PC to the new one.

    Contact Pyramid for Support
    Pyramid Technology Services is a leading provider of managed IT services for small and medium sized businesses. We can help with your Windows XP operating system upgrades for one or many servers and computers.  Pyramid is a certified Microsoft Partner and can make your transition from Windows XP as seamless as possible.  Contact us today. 978-823-0700.

     

    Upgrade Windows xp

  • Do You Really Own Your Equipment?

    Posted on: April 6th, 2014 by Stacy Gianakura

    You may think that purchasing equipment automatically means you own it, allowing you to repair, update, and resell the hardware by any means you choose.  However, many manufacturers don’t always assume that the right to repair lies with the owner.

    Ask yourself these questions:

    1.) Can you maintain your equipment in any way you choose?

    2.) When the lease or usage of your equipment ends, does the hardware retain value?

    3.) According to the law, can you sell your used equipment?

    4.) Do you really know if you own the computer storage, network devices, or other equipment you employ?

     

    If you didn’t answer a confident “yes” to all of these questions, then you’re not alone: many original equipment manufacturers (OEM) place unfair restraints on their devices to force you to use their services, including repair and reselling. Not only does this monopolize the maintenance organization industry, but it also prevents small businesses from making efficient, economical choices for their enterprise.

     

    For years, Independent Maintenance Organizations (IMOs) and resellers have been fighting to protect the rights of the world’s largest online/remarketers of products. Companies such as eBay, Goodwill, and the American Library Association work to ensure that the owners of goods maintain all decision making responsibilities of the good, including repairs and reselling.

     

    In 2013, the Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, re-affirmed that the Copyright Act was not intended to halt the distribution of authentic goods. The decision maintains that consumers have the right to sell, lend, or give away physical goods, regardless of where these goods were made.

     

    What you need to know is that the years of fighting in courts ensures that you have the right to repair and resell your technological equipment in any way you choose. For the technology industry, the Digital Right to Repair Coalition (DRRC) works to protect digital rights of equipment. The Coalition has spearheaded the Owners’ Rights Initiative (ORI) whose motto is “You bought it, you own it, you have a right to resell it.” The ORI serves as a watchdog organization to ensure that small businesses are fairly treated by large technology manufacturers.

     

    The Coalition has power because of businesses like yours that join themwith the support of enterprises across the nation, the DRRC can petition and lobby large OEMs to prevent unfair repair and resell mandates.

     

    Sign the petition today to help ensure the future value of your enterprise.

     

    Pyramid Technology Services is one of many companies that offers hardware maintenance for IT equipment. Under the protection of the Digital Right to Repair Coalition, Pyramid can be your one-stop-shop for repairing, updating, and reselling the equipment that you, and only you, own.

     

    Hardware Maintenance Quote

  • 8 Reasons for DataCenter Virtualization

    Posted on: March 21st, 2014 by Joel Nimar

    8 reasons to virtualizeThe benefits of datacenter virtualization are as numerous as they are profound: virtualization reduces costs and hardware, ensures safer back-ups and smoother operations, and increases your green IT profile, to name a few.   Listed below are eight compelling reasons to finally make the leap to the productivity and savings of datacenter virtualization.   1.      REDUCED COST   Perhaps the most compelling reason, data center virtualization greatly reduces your overall costs. Less physical hardware means less money spent  – not only on the initial purchase of equipment, but on subsequent maintenance, electricity, system failures and upgrade expenses. Over time, datacenter virtualization offers significant savings, practically paying for itself.   2.      VENDOR FLEXIBILITY   With virtualization, you’re not tied down to one particular vendor. Due to the abstraction of software and hardware, you can choose whatever programs suit your needs, and the datacenter will take care of the rest. With flexible hardware and software compatibility, you can make the smartest, most economical choice for your enterprise.   3.      SIMPLE, QUICK BACKUPS   Not only are full backups of your virtual server fast, you can also do backups and snapshots of your virtual machines. You can set up snapshots to be taken constantly, ensuring up-to-date data records without worrying about drastically increasing data storage. Additionally, restarting from a snapshot is faster than booting a typical server, which dramatically cuts downtime. Virtual machines can be moved from one physical server to another very quickly.   4.      SPEEDY REDEPLOYMENT   When a physical server dies, redeployment depends on a multitude of factors that ultimately prevent you from getting your server back in action as soon as possible. With datacenter virtualization and the efficiency of backups and snapshots, redeployment can occur within minutes. You’re also more prepared for disaster recovery – not only is redeployment faster for all virtual machines, but they can be moved to other servers if disaster strikes the data center itself. This means your disaster recovery plan is as flexible as it is efficient.   5.      EFFICIENT HEAT MANAGEMENT   Managing the temperature of your datacenter can cost a lot of money. Reducing the heat increases the longevity of your sensitive electronics and reduces data center or server farm costs. Rather than invest money in managing excess heat, consider employing fewer servers through datacenter virtualization to reduce the initial heat output.   6.      GREEN IT PROFILE   Staying green is as important to your business as it is to your customers. Datacenter virtualization reduces your carbon footprint by using less servers and electricity. You can put your best foot forward by ensuring your employees and customers that you’re doing what it takes to preserve the planet for future generations.   7.        SAFE TESTING   Testing in real time can be a fatal mistake for your users if things go poorly. With virtualization, you’re able to isolate testing environments from end users while still allowing them to remain online. And if something does go wrong, there’s nothing to worry about: simply redeploy your previous system from a saved snapshot.   8.      IT’S HERE TO STAY gives you a choice Virtualization is becoming more and more popular for companies both large and small around the globe. Prepare yourself for a potential migration to a cloud server in the future by employing datacenter virtualization today.   Datacenter virtualization is a great way to more efficiently run your company and prevent the massive IT headaches that can occur with traditional server-software builds – it’s also an economical way to keep you on the cutting edge of data center technology. Additional benefits include shorter application roll outs.  Once you switch, even if only a small part of your server, you’ll see the benefits instantly.   Pyramid Technology Services has helped countless businesses experience the benefits of datacenter virtualization. Contact us today to help you make the right switch! Datacenter virutalization   Joel NimarWritten by Joel Nimar. Joel can be reached at sales@pyramidcomputer.com

  • New, Used or Refurbished Servers?

    Posted on: March 5th, 2014 by Joel Nimar

    A common question for IT departments looking to reduce their budget:

     

    Should I buy new, used or refurbished servers?

     

    Consider two men who walk into a car dealership: one is a 50 year old man with a $700 a month expense account, the other a student on a budget. The businessman walks straight to the newest Cadillac – he can afford a little luxury and speed. The student, however, goes to the used car department. He’s looking for basic and safe transportation. He knows the used cars have been properly inspected and cleaned – this car dealership wouldn’t sell an unreliable used vehicle. Both men walk away with good cars, each tailored to their needs.

     

    Servers are no different. New servers work best for those who need and can afford peak performance, while used and refurbished servers work well for those companies who need efficient and affordable solutions.

     

    Price is a consideration when choosing servers: used and refurbished equipment is often between 30-80% less expensive than new equipment. Servers only one or two generations old offer substantial discounts with little sacrifice. Work with your IT department or server experts at your vendor to determine the exact technical specification your company needs for their servers.

     

    Performance is also a consideration: new servers will deliver faster speeds than older ones. However, newer 4core/6core/8core processors are so much faster than older processors, you’ll unlikely notice the difference between servers with only one or two generation between them. Most users should be more concerned with disk input/output, which relates to data delivery speed.

     

    In some circumstances, you may only want to add a similar server to your existing rack instead of buying all new servers, which could mean ordering equipment no longer manufactured. Used or refurbished equipment is your best option. A good vendor will thoroughly test the equipment, update the microcode, and professionally package the server so it’s as good as new.

     

    What exactly is the difference between a used and refurbished, and where do they come from? That can be a difficult question to define – companies often use these words interchangeably. In general, used equipment is lightly cleaned and shipped to the customer. The better suppliers will burn in the equipment overnight and perform custom configurations to meet your requirements. Some vendors and manufacturers will completely refurbish the systems, making sure they meet the original specifications and meet “like new” quality. The outside is repainted and the boards are upgraded to the latest revision. Refurbished equipment includes a suffix –RF in the case of Cisco product and R at the end of an HP part number and include a warranty similar to new equipment. In the reseller community, used and refurbished equipment comes from leasing companies, end user take-outs, and trade-ins. The manufacturers also sell new surplus product through their factory-refurbished programs, as well as demo equipment and customer returns.

     

    In all of these cases, the most important thing is that you are purchasing your equipment from a trusted seller. Check with the seller to guarantee that their equipment is tested, cleaned, and fully functional. Make sure the seller resets the server to the original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) setting. They should also offer a limited warranty. A seller unwilling to address these guarantees may not be a trusted source.

     

    So which should you choose: new, used, or refurbished equipment?

     

    First, decide if you want to buy new or used equipment. If you choose used, compare options of used or refurbished equipment to determine what best fits your needs.  Often the most important decision is choosing a reliable seller to guarantee peak-functioning servers.

     

    Joel NimarWritten by Joel Nimar, President of Pyramid Technology Services, he can be reached at sales@pyramidcomputer.com.

     

     

    Pyramid Technology is happy to help you decide if high quality new, used, or refurbished server equipment is right for you. Please complete the form below for a free server consultation, and we’ll help you find what’s best for you!


    Server Consultation

    Get Expert Advice - Our server experts are trained with an emphasis on design and configuration for specific application requirements.
  • E-Waste On the Rise: What Should I Do?

    Posted on: February 27th, 2014 by Joel Nimar

    E WasteAccording to a recent article published in the Worcester Business Journal, the Recycling of Electronics is expected to hit an all-time high in 2014.  With an exponential growth of new technology, companies are scrambling for efficient and reliable methods of recycling old computers and hardware, or e-waste, as new machines arrive.  Pyramid Technology offers safe, secure, and affordable recycling of e-waste.

     

    The electronics recycling industry has grown nearly twenty-fold in the past ten years.  A new spike is expected this year due to customers upgrading equipment more often and many companies phasing out Windows XP before Microsoft cuts off all upgrades and security protection for the operating system.  According to Federal laws, recycling old electronics such as hard drives or other computer hardware requires careful monitoring:  you must ensure that your private data is completely erased and that potentially hazardous materials are disposed of in a responsible and sustainable process.

     

    Pyramid Technology makes recycling e-waste as simple and responsible as possible with our convenient ITAD Services (Information Technology Asset Disposition).

     

    The Federal Trade Commission and Department of Defense, along with many other international bodies, have created guidelines for the deletion of data from e-waste after numerous improper disposal exposures in the mid 2000s.  In some states, such as Massachusetts, a business is liable for the private data of its customers, especially in the instance of data disposal.

     

    Pyramid Technology guarantees data deletion in two ways: first, we ensure asset accountability, providing a chain of custody from packing, pick-up, transfer, and disposal of your e-waste.  Our secure chain-of-custody framework ensures that you are kept in the loop with a detailed bill of lading and photographed shipments.  Each asset is tracked by location through its end disposal.  You’ll know when your e-waste is securely disposed when we do.

     

    Second, our data erasure procedures are up-to-date and comply with most international standards, including the National Security Agency and the Department of Defense.  We make sure your data is irretrievable through a standard 3-pass U.S. DoD 5220.22 M-compliant overwrite.  Should the overwrite indicate even one bad sector, we will physically shred the drive.  Our standards mitigate the liabilities companies face with data privacy-legislation such as HIPAA, GLBA, FACTA, and FCRA.

     

    Once the data is securely erased, Pyramid Technology follows the most responsible disposal procedures available to ensure your electronics are safely recycled.  We use one of only ten companies in the Northeast with e-Stewards Certification, which strictly requires that any equipment not reused is recycled in the most environmentally responsible manner.  We guarantee that no e-waste or focus materials are exported, landfilled, or incinerated.  All materials are monitored throughout the recycling process in a smelter or refinery where they are re-processed for future manufacturing.  Every one of our disposal services meet or exceed the EPA’s guidelines and are backed by a Certificate of Recycling.

     

    If your IT Department is similar to others throughout the country, recycling computer hardware has become a more frequent occurrence than ever with the influx of new technologies and the retirement of old – and 2014 promises to be an all-time high.  Utilize Pyramid Technology’s IT Asset Disposition to ensure safe, easy, and affordable recycling of your e-waste.

     

     

    it asset disposition services

     

     

    Joel NimarWritten by: Joel Nimar, President of Pyramid Technology Services, he can be reached at sales@pyramidcomputer.com

  • Managed IT Services for Small Businesses

    Posted on: February 10th, 2014 by Joel Nimar

    Many small business (less than one hundred employees) may not find using Managed IT Services a top priority: with fewer employees than medium and large businesses, small businesses often elect to spend money on progress rather than prevention.

     

    Managed IT ServicesHowever, a recent independent study from security vendor GFI Software revealed that small businesses often suffer the most from a lack of Managed IT Services.  Without the right support and around-the-clock monitoring,  small businesses expose themselves to viruses and malware that can lead to crippling delays and security breaches.

     

    Consider that in order to protect their computers, half of all small business IT administrators report that they:

     

    • spend the equivalent of three weeks or more manually updating antivirus software or removing malware on users’ PCs.
    • do not have the capability to see which PCs or servers on their network are about to fail.

     

    The independent study also revealed that those with fewer than 25 employees showed higher percentages of lacking sufficient security and monitoring.

     

    Your small business is not alone – the latest U.S. Census Bureau reports that there are more than 2 million firms with 5 to 99 employees. Luckily, there’s an affordable and effortless solution for you and every other small business: Managed IT Services.

     

    Managed IT Services and Security provides Web-based interfacing that enables 24×7 remote monitoring and management of all your IT assets including systems, software devices, and virtual resources. We’ll also be informed with automated alerting of any event that may affect the normal operation of IT.  Resolution services will correct these issues before they become a problem for your company

     

    While the cost of a Managed IT Service may seem steep for smaller businesses, consider the potential price and loss of productivity of correcting a security breach, losing valuable data or rebuilding servers and desktops after a virus attack . Also, imagine what your IT department could do with the additional three weeks or more not spent on manually updating software or removing viruses.

     

    Additionally, delays caused by viruses at the wrong time can be more crippling for smaller enterprises than larger ones. A hiccup in productivity can bring a small business to a standstill, sometimes resulting in a complete collapse.

     

    If you’re feeling that you need Managed IT Services for your small business, you’re not alone: 78% of respondents in GFI Software’s independent study indicated they would be interested in a Web-based service that enables antivirus management protection on company PCs. It’s a no-brainer.

    Network Assessment

  • 10 Reasons Your Network Might Be Slow

    Posted on: February 3rd, 2014 by Dave Whipple

    In today’s fast-paced wireless age, every second counts. Review these ten reasons for potential solutions for speeding up a slow network.

     

    Network Fixes1.) A DNS server that is part of the FTP server can drastically slow down your network. If your DNS and FTP hit critical mass simultaneously and share the same server, your network performance falters. By separating the DNS into it’s own server, you allow for one server to control all traffic accessing the Domain Name System.

     

    2.) An incorrectly segmented network that doesn’t use VLAN to segregate voice, video, and other data can incorrectly prioritize wireless traffic. Without the correct VLAN infrastructure, packets might be routed through applications that aren’t as important for the corresponding allocated bandwidth. For example, you might want packets for a voice phone call to be given priority over those of a Facebook message. Troubleshooting your VLAN to identify incorrect segmentation can be more complicated than fixing a physical network: Pyramid offers consultation for restructuring your VLAN to correctly prioritize bandwidth.

     

    3.) Lack of bandwidth can greatly slow down your network. Beyond 100 Mbs connectivity, you begin to outrun available performance of the bus in many PCs and server NICs. Bandwidth issues traditionally occur where a high number of servers or users come together to share connection points, such as social networking sites or a network design with too much distance between the server and user. To increase bandwidth, consider SNMP tools that utilize hardware (such as switches or routers) to count packets for you; using that data, you can identify which points are using the most bandwidth and reallocate as necessary. Pyramid offers SNMP technology to identify bandwidth issues.

     

    4.) Too many unnoticed errors on the network can greatly slow it down. Troubleshooting your network can help detect these errors. A few common error messages and solutions are:

    • “A Network Cable is Unplugged” – check all Ethernet ports. Replace Ethernet cable.
    • “IP Address Conflict (or Address Already in Use)” – two computers are trying to use the same IP address. Assign a new IP address to one of the computers.

    “The Network Path Cannot Be Found” – Update your TCP/IP configuration.

    Click here for more information about common errors and how to troubleshoot them. Reducing the number of errors will increase speed.

     

    5.) A high degree of multicast traffic or frequent disruptions of multicast streaming can dramatically slow down your network. The easiest way to control multicasting is to use a Group Management Protocol that runs between the multicast router and the switch. Pyramid can help you find the Group Management Protocol that’s right for your enterprise.

     

    6.) Recently installed technology or applications, such as VoIP,without proper setup can dramatically slow down your network.  Check the settings of your computers to make sure all software is properly installed and your hardware meets the software requirements. Sometimes new hardware must be installed to accommodate new applications on an existing network.

     

    7.) An improperly installed Layer 3,which oversees the correct packaging and delivery of your data over a network, can affect the routing of your packets. In the worst cases, poor management from Layer 3 can lead to a complete shutdown of a network. Most often errors come from faulty interface connectivity. If your connectivity appears to be correct, then the error likely lies in the routing. Pyramid can help you identify the source of error, and solution, in your Layer 3.

     

    8.) Cabling not certified for the speed being used.  For instance using older cabling rated for 100Base-t and using it for gigabit can prevent your network from achieving optimum speeds. Old cabling has been a major factor of a slow network for many of our customers — many customers install new technology without first upgrading the cables in Layer 1 to accommodate the new speed. With improper cables, packets on phone calls can be dropped or networks run poorly. Make sure your cables meet the needs of your network, and if they don’t, new cables must be installed.

     

    9.) Latency is becoming more common for enterprises as more systems and servers move to the cloud, resulting in end users being further and further away from their data. Increase speeds by minimizing the number of round trips between your system and the cloud. Consider installing a dedicated network connection exclusively for your data and the cloud to increase connectivity. If you use a third-party data center, contact them to ensure you are using the most up-to-date cloud applications that handle latency’s challenges.

     

    10.) Slow wireless access can result from many different issues depending on your unique location. Objects made of metal or unplanned construction can affect your speed. A proper survey of your location will ensure your wireless design is optimized. For instance, in schools, rows of metal lockers, fish tanks, or new constructions can affect a wireless signal. Consult the professionals at Pyramid to ensure your wireless design is optimized for your location.

     

    When your network experiences a slowdown, make sure the problem is constant and not just a result of peaking or other intermittent issues. If the problem is ongoing, check for the basic causes covered in this article to try and detect the problem.  Pyramid offers a variety of automated tools, technical personnel, and expert advice to help you meet your network needs. We regularly work with customers to design, troubleshoot, and improve networks to deliver superior performance and solve your most difficult wireless problems. Please contact us today for support! Every second counts!

    network consultation button

     

    Dave WhippleWritten by Dave Whipple, Account Manager at Pyramid Technology Services. Dave can be reached at sales@pyramidcomputer.com

  • How Managed Security Can Help Stop Cryptolocker

    Posted on: January 28th, 2014 by Stacy Gianakura

    Managed securityEncryption can prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing sensitive data, but the authors of CryptoLocker, a relatively new form of ransomware, are using it to prevent users from being able to access their own files. Companies that find they have been infected with this malware are given a notice that they have 96 hours to pay two Bitcoins, currently valued at approximately $300, or the key that decrypts their files will be destroyed. If this happens, the files are essentially lost forever.

     

    There are a variety of reasons that CryptoLocker has been so successful, at least from the point of the individuals running it. CryptoLocker installs itself onto computers when someone opens a file that appears to contain shipping information. Disguised as a PDF, the file is an exe that installs the malware onto computers and begins encrypting files. It first debuted near the end of 2013 when large numbers of people were sending and receiving shipments, bypassing most people’s normal wariness about opening email files.

     

    Along with an incredible infection rate (it is estimated that more than a quarter million PCs have been infected) CryptoLocker takes advantage of Microsoft’s CryptoAPI, so decrypting the files without a key is almost impossible. It is also not likely that the perpetrators are going to be caught any time soon. Since they are demanding payment in the form of Bitcoins, they are effectively anonymous. This is not to say that a way to decrypt files will never be found or that the individuals responsible will never be found, but most experts consider these events unlikely, at least in the near future.

     

    Due to the fact that many in the IT field believe that CryptoLocker will begin showing up in emails that appear to be from major merchandisers such as Amazon, it is important that businesses are proactive about preventing infection. With Pyramid Technology Services, Managed IT, you can secure your company’s files through a two pronged approach: protecting your computers from infection and data backups.

     

    Pyramid Technology Services can provide virus and malware protection by ensuring that your firewalls and security protocols are up-to-date, and if you don’t have them already, we can provide them. Automated and regular scans help to ensure that even if an infected file does slip past active monitoring services, it will be detected by an in-depth scan. We also provide automated operating system updates which patch known holes that hackers exploit.

     

    In the event that your files do become compromised, either due to CryptoLocker or another unexpected event, our regular backups of your files will ensure that you don’t lose any data. A combination of off-site backups and regular testing by Pyramid Technology Services means that your files are safe, irrespective of how the initial data was lost.

     

    Written by:  John Cappello, Director of Technical Services, Pyramid Technology Services

  • Ahead of the Curve – Protect Yourself with BYOD Solutions Now!

    Posted on: January 20th, 2014 by Joel Nimar

    In 2013, nearly 58% of workers used their mobile devices to access business networks — half of this access occurred unmonitored and unmanaged. Rather than rely on policies that forbid the use of personal technologies, many companies have embraced Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD. Enterprise BYOD has led to innovative security and management software known as Mobile Device Management (MDM).

    Byod softwareIt’s no surprise that many employees prefer their own device: personal mobile devices allow for user customization, easy access, and around-the-clock use. IT departments face the new challenge of handling unmonitored exposure of private data to security breaches. Those who don’t tackle BYOD head-on risk having employees “end-gaming” IT policies and using personal devices anyway, accidentally exposing confidential information and IT systems. According to the Ponemon Institute, 6 out of 10 security breaches in 2013 were traced back to mobile devices.

     

    There’s simply no turning back.

     

    Pyramid Technology Services offers the latest, award-winning BYOD solutions for Mobile Device Management and remote monitoring. Our MDM software equips IT departments with the tools to address critical security issues, simplify administration, and improve performance for smartphones, tablets, and off-network Mac OS devices.

     

    With our MDM software, you can easily view a detailed list of BYOD mobile devices in your network through a customizable service center dashboard. You also receive alerts on device availability and security-related issues, such as:

     

    • prolonged device unavailability
    • “rooted” Android devices
    • new or foreign SIM cards
    • unusual data roaming which may result in raised costs

     

    Additionally, our MDM software rapidly protects sensitive personal and corporate information in unforeseen circumstances. For instance, if a device is lost or stolen, you can remotely lock out access, reset a passcode, or wipe a device. Your IT department can customize alerts to your security needs.

     

    It also ensures that all devices comply with current enterprise policies, as well as government regulations, with customizable compliance solutions.

     

    In order for employees to implement successful and secure data sharing, BYOD usage policies must be easy and efficient for both your IT department and users. Pyramid Technology Services BYOD solution allows you to automatically deploy customized security and usage settings for different groupings. When a user enrolls their device with MDM software under a specific grouping, appropriate settings are instantly activated. Your IT department can customize:

     

    • passcode requirements
    • network settings for proxy connections
    • data limitations for uploading and downloading,
    • access to your VPN

     

    Customizations are easily controlled from a user-friendly dashboard that allows for remote monitoring.

     

    Embracing BYOD has never been easier with Pyramid Technology Services Mobile Device Management security solutions. Companies that have incorporated BYOD with the help of MDM software have seen improvements, and not only in securing data: four out of five enterprises with BYOD in place have also experienced cost benefits. Let Pyramid Technology Services help you secure your company while allowing your employees and users the flexibility and access they need for their best productivity. BYOD is the future — let us help you embrace it!

     

    Joel NimarWritten by: Joel Nimar, President of Pyramid Technology Services, he can be reached at sales@pyramidcomputer.com

  • 10 Tips for Creating Effective Passwords

    Posted on: January 17th, 2014 by Stacy Gianakura

    Password SecurityPassword security is more important than ever. Some people don’t place much importance in creating strong, unbreakable passwords. If their bank account gets hacked, they’ll soon realize that the proverbial ounce of prevention is well worth it to safeguard their private information. Here are ten tips for creating robust, unbreakable passwords.

    10. Think about it.
    Don’t use the first thing that pops into your mind. Try using the first letters from each word in a phrase you won’t forget. For instance, use acronyms like ouamd from “once upon a midnight dreary.” Add a couple numbers, and you’ll have a strong password, such as 1OUa2MD3.

    9. Use one strong master password.
    An example would be taking your first name and adding special characters between each letter. A password like M!I$K=E9 is secure and easy to remember.

    8. Use plenty of special characters.
    Special characters make passwords very difficult to decipher. A string of special characters and numbers is extremely effective, like 9!21$3!4$.

    7. Be playful.
    Substitute numbers for letters. Turn words backwards. Use random capitalization.

    6. Complicate things.
    Don’t use passwords that are the minimum length. Add a few extra numbers just to make them harder to guess. Don’t use lazy passwords, like password.

    5. Don’t use your pet’s name.
    In fact, don’t use your spouse’s name, your child’s name or any name that is intimately associated with you.

    4. Don’t tell anyone.
    Nobody else needs to know your password. Keep your passwords private, even from lovers or close friends.

    3. Change your password regularly.

    Use a system that you won’t forget. You might change them on the fifteenth of every month or the first day of every other month.

    2. Spell out numbers.
    If you use a number to complicate your password, try spelling it out. For instance, instead of 9MiKe2, try nineMiKe2.

    1. Shun clichés or slang.
    Don’t use the latest catch phrase, like HeyYa or WhatsUp. Don’t use the name of your favorite band. Make it hard for hackers to guess your password.

    These simple tips will keep your passwords safe from anybody who would want to steal your private data or cause problems for you.

    Written by John Cappello, Director or Technical Services at Pyramid Technology Services