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BrightWire Networks blog

BrightWire Networks has been serving the Olympia area since 2005, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

BrightWire is Hiring!

Earlier this month, BrightWire sponsored a table at the 31st annual South Puget Sound Community College Job Fair.  Each year, SPSCC hosts the event to connect local employers with recent graduates, and those students in need of finding an internship to complete their degree program.

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Four Methods to Manage IT

We often encounter a variety of approaches when it comes to handling IT Support in an organization. Each approach has its pros and cons, with its own set of risks and costs.

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Ransomware hits local non-profit agency

We got a call a few weeks ago from a local non-profit agency that was hit by ransomware. The small IT services company they called in to help was overwhelmed. They were looking for a change, but eventually decided to delay a decision and ponder their options. Maybe they can find someone cheaper? Maybe Ransomware isn't that much of a risk, because they got most of the data back, sort of, in about a week. To which I ask, "Where is the sense of stewardship to you community mission?" hashtagitservices hashtagransomware hashtagrisk hashtagdecision

The BrightWireMobile is here!

This month we officially launched the BrightWireMobile as part of our marketing and branding efforts, and to help our service team reduce the wear and tear on their personal vehicles when they make onsite service calls.

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BrightWire Adopts a New Logo!

After more than 14 years with our original logo, BrightWire recently updated the company logo with a more modern design. The new logo sports a new font style and bolder light rays off the BrightWire lightbulb, which is a reference to technology innovation.

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What Exactly Do We Mean by “Managed” Services?

Managed services - what are they? The short answer, other people managing the IT systems that you rely on every day to be productive and accomplish your tasks. In essence, they are a freedom from dealing with the troublesome and time-consuming parts of leveraging technology. You may have heard this much about managed services before, but have never been given a deeper understanding of what they entail. That is precisely what we aim to accomplish below.

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WannaCry Ransomware Attacks

Alert:  Massive Global Cyberattack Underway

A new ransomware called “WannaCry” spread rapidly around the world, with reports on Monday May 15, 2017, that over the previous four day period, people in 150 countries were infected on more than 230,000 computers.  The outbreak focused early in Russia and Europe, but spread rapidly to all parts of the globe.  The outbreak shut down hospitals, transportation, universities and factories.

Similar to most other ransomware, WannaCry infects a computer after a user opens an email attachment, and then encrypts all data files it can access, including word processing, video, audio, PDF and many other file types.  At last report, WannaCry was demanding ransoms of the equivalent of $300 to $600 in Bitcoin.

The attack is described as a cyber weapon of mass destruction because it is targeting a known exploit by scanning the internet for at-risk machines and targeting the email addresses associated with them.  Microsoft published the MS17-010 Security Update (https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/security/ms17-010.aspx) on March 14, 2017 which should protect computers against this threat, but not all machines across the internet have deployed this security update.

What should you do?

As always, do not click links in emails that seem suspicious or from people you don’t know and trust.  Watch out for attachments in ZIP file format that claim to be invoices or similar documents.

BrightWire Networks protects our clients through a combination of hardware (firewall), software (anti-malware and web browsing protection), and training for clients' staff people.  Contact BrightWire today to learn more.

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What's in The Box?

What is BrightWire Networks SECRET WEAPON for “Beating the Hackers and Phishers”?  What’s in the box??  Find out on Thursday December 8th at the EDC 2016 Regional Economic Forecast & Innovation Expo … any guesses you’d like to share?  Comment!  Share!

 

 

“Beating the Hackers and Phishers”

Presented by Todd Whitley, BrightWire Networks

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5 Tips to Prepare Your Business Computers for the “Pacific Northwest Storm Parade”

Windstorm1

Olympia, WA – October 14, 2016 - Along with the flashlights, batteries, drinking water and gasoline, don’t forget to take care of your business’ computers, servers and network equipment by Friday afternoon ahead of the worst of what The Weather Channel is calling the “Pacific Northwest Storm Parade.”  Two strong storms are expected onshore, with the second wave being the remnants of Typhoon Songda.  Heavy rains and strong winds are likely through the weekend.

 

 There are some simple things your business should do in the face of stormy weather to protect your data and your equipment:

 

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3 Things I Learned In My First 3 Weeks in the IT Services Biz

1) It’s not about the tech … it’s about the people and the business.

2) To be successful, focus on making clients successful.

3) Most people just want stuff to work.

I know none of these are terribly new or profound. But I think they are essential and important to understand for anyone that is either trying to sell managed IT services, or anyone that is considering buying some. Here’s what I mean.

It’s not about the tech … it’s about the people and the business

I joined BrightWire Networks in Olympia, WA about three weeks ago (as I write this). What first appealed to me ...

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Why Multi-Factor Authentication is Way Better Than Passwords

Time hasn’t been kind to the password. It’s continuously put down as one of the least secure methods of protecting systems. It’s not due to any fault of the password, though. People just have a hard time remembering long and complex passwords. To aid in security, it’s recommended that you use some sort of multi-factor authentication. While some users prefer easy SMS message two-factor authentication, there are actually many different types of multi-factor authentication available.

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BrightWire is Hiring a Business Development Manager!

 

BrightWire is in search of our first Business Development Manager! If you believe that you, or someone that you know, would be a great fit for our team, visit the job post here: https://www.ziprecruiter.com/job/fc89834d 

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Get To Know Your BrightWire Team: Colby Henderson

Name: Colby Rae Henderson (on left)

Hometown: Tacoma

Field Tech

What do you love about what you do (IT)? I love being able to fix something that seems frustrating and complex to the person I'm helping, especially when I can fix it quickly!

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The Center for Business Innovation opens September

The Thurston Chamber of Commerce sponsored a luncheon event this week to announce the opening of the Center for Business Innovation in Lacey. The CBI is a strategic collaboration between South Puget Sound Community College and The Economic Development Council of Thurston County. The vision of the CBI is to build a connection between the college and the local business community that creates a "hub of business innovation and entrepreneuship" for the South Puget Sound region. The CBI will also function as the new Lacey Campus for SPSCC and the new offices for the Thurston EDC. Dr. Timothy Stokes, President of SPSCC and Michael Cade, Executive Director of the Thurston EDC made a joint keynote address to outline the vision for the CBI and its potential to invigorate business growth and enhance the education experience for SPSCC students.

As the IT services provider for The Thurston EDC, BrightWire is responsible for building the new IT infrastructure for The EDC as it shares space with SPSCC. Additionally, BrightWire is actively involved with SPSCC with a technology internship program. Most recently, Todd Whitley, CEO of BrightWire will serve on the SPSCC Computer Networking Advisory Committee for the 2015-16 academic year. The advisory committee assists with program development and provides input to keep the program relevant and valuable to students and the business community. For more information visit the websites for SPSCC and The Thurston EDC.

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8-Ball Tournament

BrightWire had its first 8-ball tournament and we had lots of fun. The tournament took a couple of days to finish because we were all busy with work, but we kept our priorities in order and finished the event. Nate Sherman and Colby Henderson faced Todd Whitley and Shane Ronk in the Championship round. In the photo, we see Nate "Karate Kid" Sherman take what would have been the winning shot. Unfortunately, he missed the shot AND managed to scratch the cue ball, which handed the victory to Todd and Shane! If there's a lesson in there somewhere, please let us know!

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Meet the Team - Lorena & Jessica

Get to know some of the team here at BrightWire Networks! 

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BrightWire Security Alert

This is an important announcement to update all BrightWire clients about an especially dangerous and destructive virus known as Cryptowall. PLEASE read this email.

The Cryptowall virus is delivered by email attachment with a variety of subject lines similar to "Your Payment Was Processed", or "Your Package Was Delivered." This subject line will change day-to-day, so it's important to slow down and be cautious.


The latest version of the virus itself is hidden in a Word document, but can be hidden in ZIP files as well. These tactics will change frequently, so it is very important that you and everyone in your organization be extremely careful when opening emails.

BrightWire has a variety of active counter-measures in place, but these can be defeated by the attackers.

This is what happens when an attachment is opened that contains the Cryptowall virus:

1. The virus launches and starts to encrypt files on your business network. Once encrypted, it is impossible to open those files. This can happen silently without you being aware of a problem!

2. When the encryption process is complete, a ransom message appears on your screen that provides instructions on how to pay the $500 to $1000 ransom by an internet wire transfer. The setup of this ransom payment can take 3 or 4 days to complete. During that time, your data is locked and not available.

3. It is possible to recover lost data by means of a recent backup, but prevention is critically important. You will likely lose some data, even if you recover from a backup.
4. If the ransom is paid, a key to unlock the data is usually provided, but the repair process can take many hours, if not days to complete.

5. This is a serious problem and we've seen an increase in reported Cryptowall attacks in recent weeks.

Tips to keep you safe (and your business healthy):

1. STOP. DO NOT open email attachments from anyone, until you are absolutely positive the email came from a trusted source.

2. Especially do not open ZIP file attachments. These file-types are really good at defeating virus countermeasures.

2. DO NOT ignore warnings that an email may contain a virus.

3. DO NOT click links in email. Instead, go directly to the UPS website or your bank website and login there. Links in email can launch viruses and are a bad practice, even from legitimatesources.

4. BrightWire is here to help! If you are not sure what to do, please call the helpdesk at 360-528-6017 Option 1. We'll gladly make sure you are safe.

Sincerely,

The BrightWire Team 

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BrightWire Open House & Business After Hours

Thursday August 21st, 5:30 P.M. - 7:30 P.M.

2102 Carriage Drive SW, Suite J-102 Olympia

Thursday August 21st, 5:30 P.M – 7:30 P.M.

Please join the entire BrightWire Networks team and the Thurston County Chamber as we celebrate the recent move to our new location. Enjoy BBQ from Marv’s Marvlus BBQ along with lots of prizes and fun! Like us on Facebook to receive updates about this event.

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What Could Anti-Surveillance Technology Mean for National Security?

b2ap3_thumbnail_are_they_watching_you_400.jpgThe Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) conference which took place on Saturday, July 21st 2014, had an important panelist, that being Edward Snowden. Whether he's a whistleblower or a traitor is a hot topic on the web, but one thing is certain - he has called for assistance in creating and promoting anti-surveillance technology to mitigate government spying.

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Celebrate your Freedom from IT Burdens!

b2ap3_thumbnail_america_and_it_400.jpgEverybody loves their freedom, but for some, freedom is an illusion. Take for example the busy business owner. Often times, their work schedules are so packed with tasks that they don't feel free to take a break and enjoy themselves. Technically, they have the freedom to quit, but we think there's a better way to find freedom in the workplace!

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