Category Archives: Managed IT Services Chicago

Myth in technology

10 Everyday Technology Myths That Could Cost You Your Job

1.) MYTH: The more bandwidth I add, the better my voice quality and cloud performance should be… I will just change my COMCAST cable modem from 50 to 100 without spending a lot of extra money. It’s a cost-savings win.

If only we had a dollar for every time we have been told that a business decision maker (even in the IT department) decided to save money by relying on public cable (like COMCAST) to power their Internet and cloud applications by making a simple modem change from 50 to 100 without spending a lot of extra money. The problem with this thinking is simply that the quality of Internet that powers your business is often dependent upon the regulation of traffic on the network. In many of the situations, the first inclination is to go out and purchase the next tier of Internet speeds available. There are two fallacies with this statement:

  • Increased Internet speeds will improve your cloud and voice performance.
  • You will save money by using a public Internet provider in the process.

First, whether you are using 1 or 100 Megs of bandwidth, the call performance will be exactly the same regardless of the amount of speed you purchase. Why? Think of your Internet pipe as a street. There can only be so many cars on the street at one time or else the street becomes congested, bottlenecks occur, and everything comes to a halt. If your network is oversold—more Internet won’t help.

Secondly, once you hit the public Internet, all bets are off. While the public Internet can guarantee a certain Internet speed, those of you who rely on COMCAST during busy periods know that the speed of your Internet may vary by time of day and that’s simply because there are many users trying to access the same source. Comcast will claim that the speed is high, but the quality of your Internet is something different.

That’s when you head on over to and run a speed test. Here’s another secret, if you are located near the source (data center) that Comcast uses to push out Internet, then your connection may be good. The farther you are from that source, or if there is other congestion on the Internet, your speed with vary.

You can solve this problem by implementing a traffic controller on the network that will monitor and maintain consistency for near and far locations and regulate the amount of bandwidth that your boss consumes while at work listening to Spotify. Let us know if you would like more information on how to do this. 

2.) MYTH: VoIP does not use a lot of bandwidth.

One of the first problems you will experience – out of the gates—if you choose to move your traditional PBX (on premises) phone system to the cloud is performance. Why? Because, contrary to widespread belief, VoIP does use bandwidth. One of the biggest challenges you will have to overcome is how to allocate the right amount of bandwidth to your Internet phone service.

But the real issue is not an abundance or deficiency in the quantity of bandwidth. The real issue is quality. When you are working with voice, it is important to prioritize quality over quantity. Adding more quantity will not change when what you are really looking for is a consistent, high-quality supply of Internet without interruption. Learn more.

Begin by asking any VoIP provider how they guarantee the quality of a call. Decide if you will have other services and applications running on the network that will require bandwidth and then work with a professional who can help you configure the right Quality of Service (QoS) settings so that you optimize your performance because VoIP uses a lot of bandwidth.”

3.) MYTH: I’m going to save money by ripping out my phone system and using a free version of Lync…

…My CFO and I both agree this is an effective way to save money.

While the individual price of products like Lync come in considerably lower than maybe a cloud-based phone system, performance of applications and voice calls over the Internet come at a price. To demonstrate, we recently worked with a client who had a solid network that was regularly monitored. The CIO wanted to reduce cost, so he/she decided to rip out the existing phone system and replace it with a less expensive version of Lync. What they did not account for was the Monday morning 1,000 employees who opened facebook right when the CEO was on an important call…long story short, the router could not save inferior quality voice performance; the network could not support and regulate the bandwidth to allocate the right amount to the CEO’s call. When the call is choppy or drops, the boss does not realize that its associated with the cloud performance because shortcuts and other inexpensive technologies cost you in performance when you least expect it.

4.) MYTH: Mac runs on a very secure operating system by Apple. For that reason, I don’t think I need any antivirus for my Mac.

The questions around whether Macs need antivirus software is not a new one, but the answer is changing. Long and short, while Macs are generally more secure than Windows, they are far from being immune to email and security hacks. Bottom line, there is no reason why a Mac cannot be targeted by cybercriminals.

The most obvious target is email. Cryptolocker and other cyber-attacks encrypt your system gaining access through (yep, you guessed it) email. Even more alarming is the fact that once access is gained, a cybercriminal can monitor your PC through your email and lock, steal or corrupt your data. At the end of the day, it seems smart to be safe rather than sorry.

5.) MYTH: I’m an Amazon Prime user, and I plan to save money by buying my computer from Amazon. I’ll just load my business applications on it when it arrives.

Unfortunately, it is not that easy. Daily we encounter smart technical people that purchase equipment like computers, routers, and firewalls at discounts shops like Best Buy and Amazon to earn points or save dollars. What those individuals don’t realize is that these items do not always come with the right version of Windows to work on your business network or lacks the ports and security software to ensure your system is secure. In fact, the money saved on equipment costs you down the road when you must hire an hourly IT professional to route VPN at home so that you can access QuickBooks on your server from the Internet. Technology must all work together.

6.) MYTH: Upper Management told us to migrate our servers and back-up to the cloud. That should be easy, right?

But here’s the rest of that statement: they don’t want to hear what infrastructure changes and cost are required to make this happen.

The cloud is cool, and it is a part of our future, but the cloud requires a retooling of existing infrastructure and systems to get top performance from high-quality Internet service, routers, and switches that can handle intelligent network management including things like bandwidth management, QoS, and proper security.

7.) MYTH: I work from home. I will just use my own WIFI router and provide visitors with the password only when needed…

…besides, it is such a pain to change the default passwords on routers, access points. It’s also worth remembering that the end user is always the weakest link. A hacked or compromised router (any device on the network) can be attacked in every known way. It can be used to spy, steal data, collect passwords and trick you into installing encrypted software. Now, image your companies network is being fed into your home WIFI router… just because something is working, doesn’t mean it is working right, or securely.

8.) MYTH: I got a great deal from COMCAST by adding security surveillance to the office.

In one innocent move, you have just made it more difficult for your IT guy to identify what not working when one of your many systems goes down.

For example, if you have Comcast managing the Internet, another resource managing your wireless, and yet another outside company managing your printers.

What happens when the printer stops working? Is it because…

  • …the printer is broken?
  • Maybe the Internet bandwidth is slow and that is impacting printing?
  • Maybe your Comcast service is allowing non-critical traffic that could be opening a security hole in your network?
  • Maybe you are experiencing DHCP conflicts on the network?

Whatever the case, this is no longer a quick fix. You have three different resources that must be called in and paid to troubleshoot the problem. We suggest you use one outsourced IT organization that can monitor, detect and prevent any and all the above from ever happening. Who wouldn’t want one call to make instead of three?  The best course of action is always to simplify with good products that are easy to use from a trusted provider.

9.) MYTH: I thought MPLS was included in the price.

Nope, you declined this offer when you changed your Internet providers and implemented your cloud network. This now means that once your Internet hits the public cloud, the performance of your cloud applications and all online systems are at the mercy of your local provider. If the network is overloaded, there is no quality assurance that the majority of your bandwidth will not be eaten up by employees using apps during working hours like Spotify, facebook, and Youtube. If you would have chosen the cloud Quality of Service overlay and added a cloud dashboard that monitors speeds and feeds, you would not be in this pickle. Going back to management and justifying costs because you declined an offer during implementation can be awkward.

10.) MYTH: I’m saving a lot of money by buying my printer and toner supplies at Office Depot.

Well… only at first. Consider this: If you buy a business printer at $1,200 with replacement toner at $300, you will not need to replace your toner until after 40,000 prints.

In option two, you buy the cheaper printer and toner at Office Depot, giving you 1,200 prints before you need to replace your toner at $99. Seems cheaper, right?

Wrong. After 120,000 prints, the Office Depot printer, while cheaper initially, would cost you a total of $7,899 over time ($99 printer; 100 toner replacements at $78 each). The business printer, for the same number of prints, will cost you $2,100 ($1,200 printer; 3 toner replacements at $300/each).

Do the math, the cheaper printer will eventually cost you $6,699 more. Your total cost of ownership should always be taken into consideration.

We hope you have found many of these myths useful in making your own future decision about technology. 2018 is right around the corner and if you would like to sit down with our team and plan your own 2018 Technology Roadmap, we are here to help. Many businesses find that the planning of resources and technology will save them thousands of dollars in unforeseen emergencies and unnecessary purchases.

Let us help you get the most out of your technology investment.

Security concept: Locks on digital background

Don’t fall prey to these security myths!

As a small business owner, you’re not necessarily worried about data breaches on a day-to-day basis – you’re focused on acquiring new business and keeping the company on its feet. Many small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are generally unaware of IT security prevention best practices and easily fall for the common misconception that they have nothing to worry about. However, there are certain myths that can lead these organizations to incorrectly assess the three tenets of cybersecurity:

  1. System Susceptibility – answers the question, “what is the potential risk?”

  2. Threat Accessibility – answers the question, “what is the likelihood that the risk can be exploited?”

  3. Threat Capability – answers the question, “what is the potential impact if the risk is exploited?”

By failing to account for each of these three concerns, you’re endangering the safety of their data and livelihood of your business. Fortunately, you have Prime Telecommunications to help them define and enhance your IT security strategy, as well as navigate the turbulent cybersecurity landscape.

As an MSP,  our mission is to protect our clients with our managed IT services support, education and expertise.

So what are these security myths exactly?

1. Only larger organizations are being targeted.

Why would any hacker want to focus on targeting a small business? This myth originates from the thinking that smaller companies have fewer resources and less money, so they’ll be pushed aside as attackers go after the larger businesses. In fact, as long as a business has a digital idenrally don’t have the resources to fight back. This is why it’s dangerous to assume that cybercriminals will ignore a company simply because of its size. Every business is a potential target, therefore every business needs the proper defenses.

2. I don’t have any important information worth stealing.

It may not always seem like it, but every business has data worth stealing. This could include information about clients, employee records, financial details or more – all of which are useful to cybercriminals in some way. Another Ponemon Institute study sponsored by IBM found that the average cost per lost or stolen rec

Also, it may not be the company’s data that a hacker wants – it could be the computer itself. Any device that can connect to the Internet is an opportunity for hackers, and because of that, automated bots are constantly scouring the Web for vulnerable computers and networks. This proves that it’s not just a matter of protecting a business’ information, but their endpoints as well.

3. Security technology alone will keep me protected.

I’m sure you’ve heard this one many times before: “But I’ve got antivirus, I’m protected!” When businesses rely entirely on a sole security program that’s supposedly bulletproof, they’re placing too much trust in a single line of defense. It’s been found that signature-based antivirus solutions detect on average less than 19 percent of malware threats. While implementing this software is a necessary first step, it clearly isn’t enough, and the best protection is delivered through a multi-layered solution.

Also, it’s important to remember that not all threats are external. Careless employees can fall victim to phishing scams or even bring unsecured devices into the workplace – causing them to pose as much of a threat as cybercriminals. This is why education is a critical component to IT security, and yet another point that illustrates why businesses can’t just rely on software to keep them protected.

Overall, suffering an IT security incident is not a question of if, but when. No matter how extensive a business’ network security is, attackers will get through at some point. The best thing a business can do is to make it as difficult as possible to infiltrate their systems and develop an effective incident plan for responding and recovering after an attack occurs.

Did you know that 79 percent of small businesses do not have an incident response plan? Without one, businesses may never be able to fully recover when a security incident becomes a reality. These types of plans are essential to a robust IT security strategy because they act as specific, step-by-step guides detailing how organizations should respond to a disaster situation or incident. SMBs don’t always have the proper personnel or bandwidth to set up and execute on these plans – but that’s where they can turn to Prime Telecommunications. We provide the complete toolkit of expertise, technology and experience to know exactly what is needed to limit the damage of an attack and reduce the time it takes to recover. We also have the ability to test these plans in a fictional disaster scenario to ensure that there are no hiccups.

Network Security

How to Combat Ransonware Viruses

Network Security

Sitting around the family table last night, our discussion turned to network security. Why? Because it affects everyone from my 83 year old father using his iMac to my 16 year old nephew gaming in his basement. My brother in law, who works as an M&A consultant is concerned as is my sister the HR executive. We seem to be surrounded by cyberthreats – that are more real than perceived. The Internet is a nasty neighborhood that we all pass through daily. It is a crime ridden and dangerous Gotham that we are all stuck in, you need to know how to act.

Just like evolution from viruses, to botnets and malware families that we’ve seen over the past decade, bad actors continue to find new ways of reinventing old threats. Today, the top trend in modern malware is the proliferation of ransomware. Ransomware has come a long way from the non-encrypting lockscreen FBI scare warnings like Reveton. In 2016, there has been a constant flow of new ransomware families popping up, like Locky, Cerber, Madeba and Maktub, and this is only expected to pick up steam over the summer. Ransomware is very damaging.


Install the latest patches for your software, especially Adobe, Microsoft and Oracle apps

A common way in for ransomware is via exploit kits, like Angler. These bundle many application vulnerabilities into one kit, and try drive-by exploits for each one in sequence. The more your apps are outdated, the more likely, some of these exploits might work and infect you with ransomware.

Use network protection

A very important part of a comprehensive security strategy is to use network traffic monitoring system that is based on machine learning and behavior analysis. As most of these attacks come in via internet channels, make sure your network protection can parse and analyze both email and web traffic.

Use a comprehensive endpoint security solution with behavioral detection

The endpoint (user’s computer) is whether the ransomware infection takes place. So it is important to use a modern security solution here as well, with a signature-less approach. Signature-less approach, aka behavior detection is the only way to catch zero-day threats, that are new and do not have signatures written for them yet.

Turn Windows User Access Control on

Windows has added this security feature to help you stay in control of your computer by informing you when a program makes a change that requires administrator-level permission. UAC works by adjusting the permission level of your user account. If you’re doing tasks that can be done as a standard user, such as reading e‑mail, listening to music, or creating documents, you have the permissions of a standard user—even if you’re logged on as an administrator. Take full advantage of it.

Be skeptical: Don’t click on anything suspicious

Don’t click on any emails or attachments you don’t recognize, and avoid suspicious websites altogether. As most of the infections come from user action – opening attachments or visiting websites, being vigilant is the most effective way to minimize damage.

Block popups

Popups are regularly used by criminals to spread malicious software. To avoid accidental clicks on or within popups, it’s best to prevent them from appearing in the first place.

Override your browser’s user-agent

As some exploit kits use your user-agent to tailor the write exploit for your operating system, it pays to trick them by setting the wrong user-agent  on purpose. For instance, when using Firefox on Windows, set your user-agent to say “Firefox on Linux” to confuse malware redirectors and exploits.

Use security content to detect ransomware

You’ll never entirely be able to stop people from opening a malicious email and being tricked into clicking on a phishing link. That act can open a single file that begins acting like a worm and starts propagating through your IT infrastructure or through that of your organization and wreak havoc. It’s critical to have great content so you can start detecting these bugs and squash them before it becomes a problem.

Solid threat intelligence is key

It’s critical that you know who your adversaries are – who these groups are, what ransomware they’re using and what versions, as well as what command and control infrastructure is being used by various groups that are making those calls. It’s also important to understand what the indicators of compromise are so you can set up security content to detect it as your system is being infected.

Don’t underestimate the value of continuous monitoring

Look at security vendors with a “products + services” approach. Market-leading security technologies are critical but combined with 24×7 monitoring by security experts is the best approach to securing your IT infrastructure and stopping threats like ransomware. If you have an 9-to-5 business and no one is watching your shop at night, that’s a lot of hours for a malicious bug to move through your IT infrastructure.

Have a robust, in-depth backup plan

Before your company is attacked by ransomware, it is important to have an existing backup plan in place so you can access your data. It’s imperative that an organization’s backup strategy include offline backup, this may require manual processes, but any online backups will be encrypted by attackers, making it useless to the victim. Know the pain points of restoring and recovering data, and make sure that your plan accounts for those pain points. It is important to classify your systems and data when creating your backup plan. Keep in mind which systems and data are most important to your organization and put extra care around the most critical systems in your infrastructure.



Chicago Managed IT Services

Eight Reasons Why Small and Mid-Sized Businesses Need Managed IT Services

Chicago Managed IT Services

Managed IT services is rapidly becoming one of the hottest solutions in business today because it dramatically improves an organization’s profitability, frees up internal resources, and offers a unique competitive advantage.   Simply put, managed IT services are designed to assist companies in maintaining and supporting their network and IT infrastructure with the assistance of an outsourced managed services provider (MSP).  Types of services may include remote network monitoring, programming and reporting (24/7), firewall monitoring, intrusion detection, preventative tasks, disaster recovery, data backup and help desk support.  There are eight critical reasons why small to midsized businesses (SMBs) need managed IT services now and throughout the life cycle of their business.

Dependence On IT

Almost all businesses have become more dependent on computer technologies in the past few years.  And, it’s a rapidly changing environment.  Every business has become dependent on its IT infrastructure to perform at a high level, while effectively delivering its products or services.  As a result, it has become more difficult to maintain the expertise to properly deploy, manage, and monitor this new technology, especially as a business evolves.


The fact that this new technology is new makes it more difficult for the average employee to understand and use effectively.  The level of demand and sophistication from today’s businesses are driving up complexity.  Distinct disciplines or specialties are emerging in a variety of technology related areas such as telephony, desktop, network, application and database support.  The breadth and depth of technology an organization requires immediately places the resources at a small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) at a distinct disadvantage.

Insufficient Solutions

Traditional support options such as a one man IT consultant, or a one or two person in-house IT department cannot effectively handle the occasional network breakdowns that are bound to occur. This is especially true when compared to a team of external resources that  proactively monitor the SMB’s installed technology at all times.

Lack of Process

An IDC study reinforces the notion of lack of process, showing that 78% of all IT downtime is caused by change.  If you could simply eliminate change from the computing environment, you would substantially decrease the risk. Unfortunately, most SMBs lack the procedures, documentation standards, and scope of work, which often results in major disruption and downtime.

Increased Use of Technology

Increasing use of computers, new software and procedures, often leads to increased complaints and loss of productivity. Typically, when network or desktop problems arise and escalate inside a company, the response time of the one man shop or internal staff is quite slow. This dramatically increases employee complaints and lowers productivity.  In many situations employees have to wait in line to receive help.  As a result the downtime and morale will impact the organization’s bottom line as well as their ability to meet their customers’ needs.  By implementing a managed IT services program, the demand on internal IT resources are lessened, and they can now be utilized for other purposes such as directly supporting strategic business objectives rather than becoming bogged down in frequent break/fix issues.

Controlling Costs

During these challenging times, the IT budget is frequently reduced.  In a recent survey of nearly 950 IT managers at companies in North America and Europe; nearly half of the U.S. respondents said they have already cut their IT spending budgets.  Unfortunately, a cut in IT spending doesn’t mean there is a cut in demand for services.  This adds tremendous stress and pressure on internal departments to support the same amount of work with fewer resources.

Technology Erosion

Computer systems must be maintained just like any other systems used within the business. Vehicle fleets, manufacturing equipment, and the physical plant, have all moved to a preventative approach. If a company does not implement this preventative maintenance strategy for its technology components, disaster might be the unpleasant and unprofitable result.


Finally, the technology utilized within an organization in most cases must meet specific compliance standards.  For example, a company’s business processes supported by technology may need to comply with Sarbanes-Oxely, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) and other requirements. Most companies don’t have the resources to fully understand and comply with all the detailed requirements of these regulations.

All of the above issues are driving the popularity of partnering with a managed IT services firm.  Companies that have made the transition already answered this question.  If deploying, managing and monitoring my IT infrastructure has absolutely nothing to do with the core competency of my business, why wouldn’t I outsource it to an expert?  This is a fairly easy question to answer and these organizations have reaped the rewards of increased profitability and a competitive advantage.

Obstacles for new office technology

Common Obstacles of Communication Technology in Business

A business’ success and its employees’ ability to communicate are directly correlated. Communication amongst one another as well as with other businesses and clients is crucial. That’s why newer and more powerful technologies for communicating are popping up every day.

Of course, with new technology comes the potential for speed bumps, and smoothing them out is essential for maximizing the efficiency of using communication technology. Technology issues that entrepreneurs will face in business run the gamut, and mastering them is something to consider spending time on.

Researching Communication Technology
Often, it’s not the technology itself but rather finding the right communication product to use that is problematic. Before investing in a new email platform or phones for the office, it’s important to read reviews, compare prices, and have a consultation with representatives from the company. You want to know what their support availability is like, whether the product will be useful for a business the size of yours, and whether it can help you to accomplish your goals.

Maintaining a Website
Making a website for your company seems simple, right? Many people don’t realize that a website isn’t just a basic source of information. It also acts as a sort of business card and a way to engage potential customers. Therefore, you need to streamline the communication aspect of it and make sure you stay with the times. Having a knowledgeable development and design staff can help with that aspect of it, but sometimes it’s a good idea to consider implementing an instant chat client to immediately answer customer questions.

Deciding on Communications Media
Technology has changed the way businesses reach out to their clients and work internally. While phones used to be the only necessary technology, you now have to decide if you want cell phones, a cloud phone system, conference call capabilities, video chat services, et cetera. On top of that, you need to select data plans, put together a customer service team, choose a reliable e-mail platform, and more. Gather a list of practical options and consider whether or not they will be useful within your industry and for your company in particular. Don’t underestimate the need for a customer service team that can respond to emails – as your company grows, you’ll find you can’t do this yourself in a timely manner. You don’t want inefficient communication, or an unnecessary overuse of budget, to become an issue down the road.

Social Media
Many companies don’t even consider social media to be a communications technology, but that’s a very dated way of thinking. Though it’s a recent phenomenon, it’s an important one. Do you have someone manning your social media profile, ensuring that the tone is consistent, customers are being responded to, and branding opportunities are being maximized upon? It’s worth considering having a consultation with Social Media Marketing experts if you’re not seasoned in this area yourself.

Managed IT as a Service

Making the Transformation to IT as a Service

The shift to the cloud over the past several years has been more a transformation of mindset than a simple adoption of new technology. With the widespread proliferation of cloud, IT teams needed to determine how to incorporate it globally throughout a company. IT as a service (ITaaS) was eventually born. This new model would revolutionize the way business IT operates.

Why ITaaS?

In the not-so-distant past, IT departments considered themselves entities that served up applications and performed tasks. The dictum of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) redirected this outdated approach to more of an end-to-end management strategy responsible for high quality solutions and process improvement.

With so many technical solutions now available, companies do not have to use internal resources that cannot fulfill business objectives. Therefore, it is in IT’s best interest to follow the as-a-service model. Flexibility, visibility into performance and organizational metrics, and efficient and practical results are expected on a consistent basis. The ITaaS strategy must incorporate all of these qualities to be successful.

Successful Shifting

One method that has been fruitful for companies making the shift to ITaaS is to employ a service catalog. This “product list” of obtainable services can help establish realistic expectations with the internal customer base. A ticket portal may be used to allow requestors to submit an order and follow it through to delivery. Resources can be effectively allocated to fulfill tickets by urgency and subject matter. The process grows to be more automated and repeatable over time, increasing productivity.


ITaaS ticket portals are also helpful in tracking statistics of frequently requested services and demand by department. IT performance becomes transparent, and leaders can see the length of time that tickets are open, identify gaps in processes and skill sets, or call out compliance issues.
Budgeting is simplified as historical metrics can be used to forecast future business needs. Departments can better understand the burden they place on IT and how it affects the financial performance of the enterprise. The result is more educated decision making.

Creating Transparency and Accountability

The shift to ITaaS places more responsibility on the IT team to be fiscally responsible and show added value to the organization. The team might help minimize spending, avoid it altogether, or shine a light on ineffective consumption within various departments. Greater culpability and visibility are natural results of the transition to ITaaS.

The days of IT simply filling orders for application development and system maintenance are over. This entity is now responsible for helping to decrease tech spending, exposing those who are using resources irresponsibly, and incorporating cloud into the organization in an organized and logical manner. ITaaS is the key to successful IT in the new world.