10 Everyday Technology Myths That Could Cost You Your Job

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 Speedtest.net 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.

Digital Transformation

IT Forecast Calls for Digital Disruption

Driving Transformation with Software-Defined Networking

IT personnel and network engineers have a palpable feeling of uncertainty as a new set of challenges confront them. Digital transformation is turning business models on their heads. While enterprises take measures to bolster IT departments and gear up to adapt to the latest technologies, they face fundamental resistance from within.  Hardware-centric enterprise networks are based on static deployments, which makes configuration changes too slow and too costly.  These legacy networks were never designed to evolve at the pace which business requirements are changing today.

Security, staffing and skills training continuously weigh on IT budgets for all organizations, big and small. Now overlapping layers of emerging technologies such as the cloud and IoT have further added to the woes. It’s clear that enterprise networks have evolved beyond the basic mandate of connecting the head office to branches networks and data centers. CIOs and IT leaders are seeking innovative solutions that will consolidate and resolve some of the biggest IT challenges without increasing their budgets. Enterprises must align technology innovation with cloud performance and network security to preserve customer trust and brand reputation while building shareholder equity through this era of digital disruption.

The quest for foundational innovation is leading CIOs on a Journey to an SD-WAN (free white paper series!) where software-defined networking provides agility, security and cloud integration that propels the entire business ecosystem to a higher level of efficiency and performance. SD-WAN builds dynamic, scalable networks that simplify branch complexity while accelerating cloud applications.  This creates a strategic advantage that boosts worker productivity and empowers enterprise innovation, all without increasing IT spend.

Here’s a quick look at some of the top issues faced by enterprises and how SD-WAN is helping IT leaders to address them:

Migrating to Public and Private Clouds

Cloud networking continues to fundamentally transform the enterprise. According to a recent CIO.com article based on a Forrester Research survey of enterprise decision makers, all enterprises report they are implementing some form of cloud technology this year. While the survey indicates that 38% report they are focused on private clouds, and 32% are focused on public clouds, the majority of respondents (59%) say they’re adopting the hybrid cloud model. Conceptually, hybrid clouds combine the security and control of private clouds with the cost efficiency and scalability of public clouds.

The good news is that your users are evolving with new tools that make your organization more competitive and productive. The challenge is that IT departments are dealing with tremendous amounts of data as a seemingly endless supply of new devices and cloud-based applications continuously appear on the network. Hardware-based enterprise networks are not well suited for connecting users to the public cloud, and moving workloads into private clouds requires careful planning and skilled IT time. To make matters worse, those costly MPLS circuits seem to create a giant sucking sound on your IT budget every time someone even mentions the cloud.  In order to deliver optimal cloud user Quality of Experience (QoE), CIO’s need a solution that cost-effectively scales cloud access while providing granular control of bandwidth resources and application policies.

Where hardware-based networks struggle to adapt, cloud-delivered SD-WAN architectures handle network changes and application performance issues with ease and control. SD-WAN brings your network to the cloud, empowering the enterprise with the agility to dynamically migrate applications and workloads to whichever cloud computing model is the best fit.

Cloud Security and Performance

VINO SD-WAN provides a virtual overlay for the enterprise network, where centralized orchestration is based on business policy intent.  This gives IT leaders the flexibility to implement changes across the entire ecosystem without those costly delays they would face with a traditional hardware approach.  SD-WAN also leverages multiple low-cost broadband connections in ways that drastically boost the speeds, reliability and performance of cloud applications.

As new applications join the network ecosystem, VINO SD-WAN identifies them on-the-fly and automatically applies user-defined policy templates.  Traffic shaping and security rules are instantly enforced throughout your ecosystem to ensure that users get an optimized cloud experience.  Branch network resources can even be orchestrated by VINO SD-WAN to ensure all users and applications get their fair share of bandwidth according to your business intent.

VINO SD-WAN consolidates security policies into a single pane of glass.  All SD-WAN end points are authenticated and SD-WAN traffic is automatically encrypted from end-to-end.  Branch office networks can be securely segmented into VLANs that isolate traffic as required for regulatory compliance. VINO offers branch firewalls which are managed as Virtual Network Functions (VNFs), creating a Software-Defined Perimeter where security policies are centrally updated and dynamically distributed across your entire estate in just a few clicks.

Whether your applications are hosted in public or private clouds, VINO SD-WAN helps you deliver more bandwidth with lower TCO and embedded tools to boost quality, policy control and security.

Branch Network Efficiency

Traditional MPLS networks are carrier-dependent, which usually leads to long wait times as circuits are provisioned. Once your MPLS circuits are finally deployed, several hours of skilled IT time is usually required to configure the routers, firewalls and any WAN optimization appliances. The result is that new sites are costly to set up and deployment cycles take weeks or even months.

SD-WAN can reduce deployment times to about one week or even less.  The flexibility to use any broadband access connections means you’re no longer held hostage to carrier MPLS deployments timetables.  Most sites can get local broadband circuits turned up within a week, and the SD-WAN CPE device can be shipped overnight.  From there, the SD-WAN provisioning is a matter of minutes with centralized and automated installation that requires minimal skilled IT time on-site.

Cloud orchestration also enhances branch network visibility and control.  SD-WAN brings consistency to monitoring and management across all your sites regardless of the local carrier or access connection type.  SD-WAN orchestration provides analytics and visualizations that show real-time network and application performance.  As discussed in a related blog, Cisco ISR customers have big TCO savings potential in the 80% to 90% range with SD-WAN, which is partly due to the operational efficiency gains.  While all SD-WAN solutions can help accelerate site deployments and network management efficiency, the best way to free up skilled IT resources is through Network-as-a-Service solutions like VINO SD-WAN which include professional design and ongoing 24/7/365 support.

Secure Access for Mobile Workers and IoT

Smartphones and tablets are blurring the line between work and play, and new workforce collaboration tools are enabling higher productivity from remote and mobile workers. While legacy networks can provide secure access for these workers, the manual VPN configurations tend to drain IT resources. Beyond the basic challenge of keeping up with the rapid turnover rate of employee devices, the VPN tunnels are back-hauled which creates bandwidth wastage while crushing productivity and performance.

Meanwhile, analyst are projecting several billion internet connected “things” will be deployed within the next few years, which means IT teams need a network strategy that provides secure connections and bandwidth capacity at IoT scale. Talk of IoT may sound futuristic, but enterprise networks are already struggling to connect all the things that are here today. The first generation of things were computers, printers, VoIP phones and IP cameras. More recently, a new generation of WiFi enabled things have appeared in the form of various BYOD smartphones and wearable electronics than any employee, consultant or customer brings within range of your network SSID.

As these workforce mobility and IoT trends continue to accelerate, IT teams will need the agility and security of SD-WAN to meet the connectivity challenge. Through a secure cloud-overlay network architecture, VINO SD-WAN provides more direct access for remote workers and mobile IoT devices. For on-prem IoT deployments where many things connect to a local IoT gateway hub, SD-WAN provides high scalable bandwidth to backhaul traffic to the cloud.

Next Steps

Digital transformation is driving changes in applications and user behavior, which is in turn placing strain on IT leaders to quickly adapt the enterprise network to meet rapidly shifting requirements. This cycle is accelerating and legacy networks do not provide the scalability or agility necessary to meet the challenges and keep your workforce competitive.

Whichever way your cloud, workforce and IoT requirements evolve, the bandwidth requirements and the number of connected endpoints will continue to increase. It’s time to create a game plan for SD-WAN. Ideal solutions will support mobile workers and IoT devices while optimizing application quality-of-experience for both public and private clouds.  While SD-WAN orchestration enhances operational efficiency, consider Network-as-a-Service solutions to free up skilled IT resources to pursue your strategic digital transformation initiatives.

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.