Prime Telecommunications Offers Innovative Cloud Disaster Recovery Solutions

Prime Telecommunications, Inc., a leader in unified communications, announced today that it has launched a program that focuses on cloud-based data safety. This program is aimed to help small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) to effectively store, manage, and transfer their critical business files seamlessly while simultaneously increasing the overall security of all of their business files. Whether employees are utilizing files on their servers, laptops, workstations or smartphones, this Cloud Disaster Recovery Program will change the way that business owners handle their sensitive corporate and financial information.

For those who aren’t yet familiar, disaster recovery, is a set of policies and procedures which enable the recovery or continuation of vital technology infrastructure and systems following a natural or human-induced disaster. The majority of enterprise-level organizations have recognized the blatant need for disaster recovery programs because they focus on strengthening the underlying IT or technology systems supporting critical business functions, especially in moments of need. For example, when an organization starts growing and adds on more staff, there are more possibilities for human-induced disasters or data theft. An accidental deleted or misplaced file can can cost companies dozens of hours in lost producitity. Futhermore, with more staff come more devices, which in an increasing BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) environment, means that there are more vulnerability points for hackers to enter the network. When businesses begin to scale, these productivity interruptions are no longer tolerable.

“When a business begins its growth trajectory, it’s easy to sit back and enjoy the success,” stated Vic Levinson, President at Prime Telecommunications. “We know that feeling. It’s so rewarding to see your business growth outpacing your operating expenses and all of the years of sacrifice make it completely worth it. It’s so easy to kick your feet up, relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor in that moment, however, this is precisely when businesses need to take the steps to protect themselves so they can continue to grow at that same rate. This is when they are most susceptible to virtual disasters and without a comprehensive disaster recovery plan and cloud technology that is engineered specifically to shrug off these types of disturbances, they are putting that stable growth at risk.”

In years prior, many businesses were hesitant to purchase cloud-based disaster recovery solutions because they required large, up-front capital expenditures. Prime Telecommunications’ cloud disaster recovery program breaks this pattern because its on a pay-as-you go model, so businesses only pay for what they use, enabling them to scale up and down their disaster recovery program in perfect sync with the pace of their businesses. It’s file syncing, syncing with business growth, syncing with a cost structure that makes this technology easy to implement into any growth-oriented SMB.

Prime Telecommunications Educates Customers on Password Protection Policies to Keep Their Businesses Safe

PasPassword Managementsword management has become increasingly important with daily attacks from hackers specifically targeting SMBs (Small and Medium sized businesses) . For example, 6 million LinkedIn account passwords were compromised just a couple of years ago and the list of breach has grown dramatically since. Anyone who has been using major social media sites, like LinkedIn, may have received a notification in the past couple months forcing them to reset their passwords. This is the result of the colossal breach in Internet security and Prime Telecommunications has taken the initiative to advise businesses on how to protect themselves.

As the Internet continues to expand in complexity, so do its vulnerabilities. In order for business owners to protect their organizations, they need to utilize best practices in password security. Here are some steps that business owners can take immediately.

Never Use the Same Password Twice: One of the most effective ways to prevent breaches is also the simplest; never use the same password for multiple accounts. Strong, unique passwords, with symbols, numbers and capital letters are usually far more effective than anything else.

Enable Two-Step Authentication/Verification: This is one of the other simple ways that a business can instantly upgrade the security of their entire network, by simply passing a company policy. Two-step password authentication essentially means that when a user logs into their account, they’ll be required to confirm that log-in attempt by replying to a text message or phone call. This best practice makes it much harder for hackers to impersonate the true account owner because it requires them to have access to multiple accounts before their hacking attempts can be effective.

Stay Vigilant Against Phishing: Hackers have long relied on phishing, a common strategy in which a hacker attempts to defraud an online account holder of financial information by posing as a legitimate company. For example, a hacker will gain access to your account information by purchasing your email and password on the black market and then they will log into your email and send a desperate email to one of your contacts, posing as you. “John! My transmission just blew and I’m stranded out here. My phone is about to die. Can you send me $2,000 to this account? I’ll pay you back as soon as I get into town.” Users need to constantly remain vigilant against attacks like this because they are prevalent and have proven effective over the years.

“While these are a few proactive steps a company can take in the right direction, they are only a mere shadow of what is possible if they work with a true managed IT services provider, like Prime Telecommunications, who is regularly monitoring, maintaining and optimizing the security of every device on a business’s network,” stated Vic Levinson, President of Prime Telecommunications. Prime Telecommunications partners with SMBs that need to secure a competitive advantage with advanced technology and want to remain focused on growing their business, instead of keeping up on the latest in online security. “That’s our job,” said Mr. Levinson.

 

Prime Telecommunications sponsors a hole at the Action Sertoma Golf Outing!

Prime sponsors a hole

 

The Action Sertoma Club would like to thank all of our supporters of our 2016 Golf Outing Fundraiser which was held on July 13th 2016, at the Odyssey Country Club in Tinley Park, IL.

 The event was a tremendous success, the weather was perfect, over 230 golfers and guests attended the event, and it would not have been such a great success without your support.

 We thank you for being a  Hole Sponsor.

 Each year our club attempts to raise more funds then the previous year. This year was no exception.

 All of the funds raised at this event will be donated to the Sertoma Centre, Inc. The Centre since 1971 has been assisting people with personal challenges, including mental health, developmental, mental and physical disabilities.

 This year over 1,200 people with disabilities are being served daily.

 Again we thank you for your support, without you we would not be able to assist in the donations we make to the Sertoma Centre, Inc.

 

Waazzzup? WaaS – Work Space as a Service!

Prime Telecommunications, Inc., an industry leader in unified communications, announced today the release of their newest technology deployment, which is their WaaS (Workspace-as-a-service) program that is being offered to the SMBs (small to mid-sized businesses). The program is designed to help businesses make the proverbial jump to the cloud. As the number of executives increase, so does the demand for more flexible and secure applications, hardware, software and virtualized components. WaaS takes this a step further, by taking office technology to new heights by running every component through a virtualized network, instead of requiring local device management. Prime Telecommunications is very excited to announce this program and to share the value-adds with their existing client base.

In layman’s terms, WaaS virtualizes every component on a desktop computer. So instead of having a physical component such as servers on-site, which can become obsolete, security-breached or malfunctioning, all components are run through the cloud. For end users, this means that every single component of an employee’s workstation will be available to them, regardless of where they’re located or which device they happen to have with them. Everything resides in the cloud including all software, data, file sharing capabilities, Microsoft programs, and line of business software.

“We’re so excited to offer our WaaS program to SMBs,” stated Vic Levinson, President at Prime Telecommunications. “The majority of businesses will be transitioning the bulk of their IT infrastructure to the cloud and our WaaS solution enables them to do it in a secure manner without compromising their need for flexible access to all of their software tools and programs. Most businesspeople don’t have access to all of their technology at any point in time and WaaS eliminates this problem forever. Furthermore, the complete virtualization of the IT network into the cloud bolsters security. For example, in a WaaS environment, employees can BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) onto the network without any hassle and if that employee leaves the company, their access to the cloud can simply be deactivated, drastically reducing the risk of data loss, systems-breach or malicious use. The case for WaaS is quite clear, because it increases employee flexibility and company security. Over time, these combine to drive productivity and boost the bottom line, which is the core reason for any technology to reach popularity in the business community.”

Prime Telecommunications Educates Customers on Ransomware

watchguard-1

Prime Telecommunications, Inc., a leader in unified communications, announced today that they have launched a ransomware awareness campaign. The purpose of the campaign is to quickly educate business owners in understanding one of the latest threats now facing small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs). Ransomware is a specific variation of malware, that is growing in popularity amongst hackers and Prime Telecommunications is doing its best to alert business owners of this new tactic. Prime Telecommunications’ existing customers are very well protected against this type of threat but many business owners may be unaware of the potential destruction this has on an organization.

While business owners have always understood the need to protect their businesses from malware, short for “malicious software”, ransomware is a new tactic that hackers are using to attack businesses in an especially wicked way. Essentially, an employee will receive an email with a deceptive link, labeled “See Resume Here” or “Download Report Now”, and then upon clicking the link, a ransomware application will be installed immediately on the computer. Then, the software can remain hidden for several days, until it is activated. At that moment, the ransomware application will hijack critical files, remove them from the network, encrypt them so no other computers can access them and then hackers will send an email demanding payment for the release of the missing files. The biggest problem with this type of cyber attack is that it leaves absolutely no leverage to the business owner. Even if they pay the “ransom”, hackers don’t necessarily unlock the files every time. “This is a huge problem that could have drastic impact on an organization and the craziest thing we notice is that there is such a simple solution,” stated Vic Levinson, President at Prime Telecommunications.

“These types of attacks happen far too often, and we take great pride in protecting our customers from threats like this,” added Levinson. “The first line of defense for these kinds of attacks is a technically educated staff. While the majority of these threats come in the form of suspicious email links, an educated staff can avoid these catastrophes simply through awareness. That’s one of the reasons why we issued this press release,” commented Levinson. “For business owners that see the value of peace of mind, we devise comprehensive solutions that thwart these types of attacks from every angle. We take a global approach that includes a combination of anti-virus software, anti-malware software, strong firewalls, employee education, data backup, and network redundancy. What we’ve noticed over the years is that every network has different exposure points and our job is to come in as a technology advisor and to proactively prevent not only ransomware attacks, but the myriad of others attacks that a business owner may face for years to come.”

Prime Telecommunications’ mission is to leave business owners in a more empowered position by serving as an educator of emergent technologies. “Our biggest aim with this campaign is to usher in a sense of urgency amongst business owners so they take action now, instead of waiting to be in a difficult, immutable situation later,” closed Levinson.

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

Managed Networks Chicago

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.

Complexity

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.

Compliance

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.

Want a honest assessment of your network? Give us a call at 847 329 8600!

Apple Ends Support of Quicktime for Windows

U.S. Department of Homeland Security US-CERT

National Cyber Awareness System:

04/14/2016 03:48 PM EDT
Original release date: April 14, 2016

Systems Affected

Microsoft Windows with Apple QuickTime installed

Overview

According to Trend Micro, Apple will no longer be providing security updates for QuickTime for Windows, leaving this software vulnerable to exploitation. [1]

Description

All software products have a lifecycle. Apple will no longer be providing security updates for QuickTime for Windows. [1]

The Zero Day Initiative has issued advisories for two vulnerabilities found in QuickTime for Windows. [2] [3]

Impact

Computer systems running unsupported software are exposed to elevated cybersecurity dangers, such as increased risks of malicious attacks or electronic data loss. Exploitation of QuickTime for Windows vulnerabilities could allow remote attackers to take control of affected systems.

Solution

Computers running QuickTime for Windows will continue to work after support ends. However, using unsupported software may increase the risks from viruses and other security threats. Potential negative consequences include loss of confidentiality, integrity, or availability of data, as well as damage to system resources or business assets. The only mitigation available is to uninstall QuickTime for Windows. Users can find instructions for uninstalling QuickTime for Windows on the Apple Uninstall QuickTime page. [4]

References

Revision History

  • April 14, 2016: Initial Release

Presence Management: The Greatest Form of Communication

digital_presence

Want to increase communications and productivity between employees and customers?  Then, presence management is the way to go.  This wonderful technology gives all individuals within a company the ability to know what everyone is else is doing in real-time.  Is someone in the building or even at their desk? Are they in a meeting? Are they on the phone? By having this information one can determine if and in what manner to connect with another person.  That’s essentially the purpose of presence management and it’s enhancing the way we communicate. Having this information presents one with an array of communication options that’s dramatically driving up productivity for those companies – both large and small deploying presence management.

Unified presence management is driven off of a company’s voice and data system and empowers people to control every facet of their communications.  It includes and functions off of all devices such as computers, cell phones, Voice over IP (VoIP), and personal communications services.  As soon as someone logs onto their computer a pop up window appears containing the names of fellow employees and their current activity as well as their location.  Essentially, the technology lets you see the presence status of others, send emails and voicemails, receive faxes, control all your phone calls via desktop phones or a softphone, send secure Instant Messages and voice messages, launch a collaborative web conference session – all with a single mouse click.  Users may also put notes into presence for everyone to see.  For example, a note may have the time when an employee will be back in the office from lunch or say an off-site meeting.  Another user may make everyone aware that they may be working from home that day.  Knowing everyone’s availability offers greater options to rapidly assist with everyday business issues.

The power of presence is absolutely incredible.  For instance, a customer may contact your facility with a question and the individual that answered the phone may not have the necessary information to respond appropriately.  Immediately, the employee can view presence and see who is available to assist the customer.  They may send a question via an instant message or put the caller on hold, contact their colleague to gather the information or directly transfer the call while giving the colleague a heads up.  The flexibility of presence is tremendous and one can assume that it is easily driving customer satisfaction levels through the roof.  A basic phone system cannot operate in this fashion and unfortunately those that utilize traditional telephony are missing the boat.

Included in presence are such features as find me follow me.  This unique technology gives people the ability to reach a specific individual anytime, anywhere based on the implementation of a few easy to set rules in the system.  A can call come in and the caller has the option of finding the person on their cell phone or at another predetermined location.  The user may also have all calls set to directly transfer to the cell as well.  Another relatively new feature is twinning – a setting that rings both the desk and mobile phone simultaneously.  Reaching the person you want to, has never been this easy.

Time is more important than ever in today’s business environment.  Presence management saves an incredible amount of time because of the technology’s innate ability to drive efficiency and productivity.  Every business owner realizes the positive impact that even a minimal amount of improvement in this area can have on an organization’s bottom line, not to mention the empowerment an employee has to make better-informed communication decisions that in the end drives satisfaction in the workplace.  Presence management is a true win for everybody!

5 Reasons Every Business Needs a Unified Communications (UC) Solution

No matter what type of business or size business you have, the one aspect that you cannot afford to neglect is the communications you have with your customers. Businesses today are reaping the benefits of adopting one reliable solution for all of their communication needs thanks to the evolution of cloud-based unified communications (UC) solutions.

Here are 5 reasons why every business today needs a quality unified communications solution in place.

1. Cost
If you think about all of the individual services, equipment and staffing your business requires to communicate with your customers, you will be shocked at your monthly expenses. Communications, no doubt should be an investment, but one that is affordable. Quality and affordability are often both difficult to achieve, but thanks to modern cloud-based unified communications solutions, both are now obtainable. Every business should be looking to adopt a full service, subscription-based UC solution, one where everything is included. When we say everything, we mean it. The best UC solutions will include your phones, advanced calling features like auto attendants, unlimited calling, online faxing, video conferencing, toll-free and the latest mobile apps and tools, all for no capital expense. When you think about the value of this and what you can eliminate, for example, your fax machine costs and maintenance, modernizing and unifying your communications into one cost-effective solution is a no-brainer.

2. Disaster avoidance
When you think of disasters in business, you immediately think of revenue lost and unanticipated costs. Disasters can range from man-made interruptions to natural disasters like hurricanes and blizzards that can affect your business for days on end. With a cloud-based unified communications solution, disasters are no longer a concern. Communications can remain intact because all of your features and services are managed and accessed through a secure, online portalfrom any device. This means, that you can forward your calls to any number and voicemails can be retrieved from anywhere you are. Features like auto attendants, can also be used to inform customers of office closures. So, while your physical place of business may need to close, your communications with your customers will never be down.

3. Mobility
One of the greatest benefits of a cloud-based unified communications solution is the mobility and flexibility they provide. The world has become forever mobilized and so should your business. You no longer need to be chained to your place of business waiting for calls, or be worried about giving out your personal cell phone number. Cloud-based UC solutions offer the mobility to get calls on any device, through features like mobile twinning, where your business phone and mobile phone will ring simultaneously, so you never miss a call or mobile softphones, where you can make and receive calls on your mobile device using your business number. The ability to make business happen wherever you are and on whatever device you choose, is a benefit that no business should overlook.

4. Scalability
No matter what type of business you have, your hope and plans are for growth and profitability. Since the speed of growth is unknown, it is often difficult to plan ahead when making important investments, such as your business technology. Fortunately, cloud-based UC solutions allow you to scale up and down as needed. Having the reassurance that you can add and remove new employees, services and equipment instantly, gives you peace of mind and more control over your bottom line.

5. Productivity
With a cloud-based UC solution, your employees productivity level gains an instant boost. Not only can employees from any of your locations communicate on one system through 3 or 4 digit extension dialing, but they can also chat live through a secure, online customer portal. New tools like video, audio and web conferencing allows your employees to meet, collaborate and share documents from any device, anytime.

Cloud UC solutions offer countless advantages to businesses and help to ensure it is business as usual, no matter what takes place or where you or your employees physically are.

Interested in learning more about the benefits of UC solutions? Prime offers an award-winning, 100 percent cloud-based unified communications solution, and has more than a decade of cloud experience. Click here for more information or a free quote for your business.

Who’s Stealing Your Bandwidth?

Prime Telecommunications, Inc., a leading provider in unified communications, announced today that the company is educating its customers on the recent expansion of bandwidth monitoring and management solutions. Essentially, bandwidth monitoring is the practice and policy of tracking the utilization of company bandwidth between all employees, software applications and desktops. The growth of bandwidth management solutions in recent years is due primarily to growth of company provided and personal devices (smart phones, tablets, etc.) connected to an organization’s network.

According to Vic Levinson, President of Prime Telecommunications, “Any company that provides cloud-devices, software or applications that run over a data network, need to ensure that bandwidth is being consumed properly.” This notion reflects the current state of most solutions, which are simply being strained to the point where many business owners notice that the devices, applications and software underperform. In essence, it’s like siphoning out all of the gas from a car, and then blaming the car for running on fumes. The problem lies with poor policy making and a lack of guidelines for employees on how to properly utilize the Internet at a place of business.

“On many occasions, we’ve found that up to 40% of a company’s employees are choking bandwidth and making it harder for other people to do their work,” Levinson added. “We conduct quarterly reviews with our customers where we assess the performance of all of the technology that we provide. It gives our clients a global perspective on their network and what its performance is and how it can be better. Our overarching goal is to make sure that our customers’ businesses are performing at more productive levels and this is how we quantify productivity. This is why we lead these meetings with device performance audits. With bandwidth being the central resource upon which nearly every technology relies, we have to make sure that this is being consumed in accordance with best practices before any other steps are taken.”

In addition, to the underperformance of the network and the drain on productivity this can cause, many business owners appreciate technology audits, like the one provided by Prime Telecommunications, because they uncover how much time employees are spending on various sites that have nothing to do with their job. This gives tremendous insight on the productivity, or lack thereof, with certain employees. One of the quickest ways to immediately boost customer profitability is to restrict the bandwidth of employees to sites to those that are exclusively productive in nature, as opposed to entertainment-based sites.

“In some cases, employees simply don’t know that their bandwidth consumption is slowing the rest of the team down. New parents can put their children in day care and want to stream the video from time to time to see how their child is doing throughout the day. Inherently there’s nothing wrong with this, if done on occasion. However, when a parent leaves one of these streaming videos up while they begin working on other things, the rest of the team will notice the lag time that slows down their own desktop. The network is simply a shared resource that needs some guidelines in place, especially in the new employee handbook. With a comprehensive bandwidth consumption policy in place, business owners can rest assured that their software, hardware and online tools will all function at optimal levels.”