This month, on May 20th, Network Management Group, Inc. (NMGI) is very excited to celebrate its 30 year anniversary. We would like to thank our clients, vendors, business associates and employees. NMGI also would like to recognize the 30th anniversary of our very first employee, Soni McClelland, she stewards the company today as the controller of NMGI seeing to our success. NMGI is thankful that we have been able to grow our company with national recognition while keeping Hutchinson, Ks our home. [Read more…]
World’s Largest Technology Distributor Recognizes NMGI in Annual
Ingram Micro SMB 500 List
HUTCHINSON, KANSAS — November 7, 2013 — Network Management Group, Inc. (NMGI) today announced it has been named to the Ingram Micro 2013 SMB 500. The list was revealed at Ingram Micro’s 2013 Fall SMB Invitational and celebrates the top 500 fastest-growing Ingram Micro U.S. channel partners focused on small and midsize businesses (SMBs). Ranked at number 481, NMGI grew its business with Ingram Micro Inc. (NYSE: IM), the world’s largest technology distributor, by more than 40 percent.
The Ingram Micro 2013 SMB 500 list was derived from the more than 20,000 U.S. solution providers and MSPs who work with Ingram Micro’s U.S. SMB Business Unit. This year’s top performers posted growth of nearly 250 percent. Developed in collaboration with Ingram Micro’s Business Intelligence Center and U.S. SMB Business Unit, as well as channel research services firm The 2112 Group, the list also takes into account select criteria such as company size, overall technology category revenue growth and innovation with SMB business engagements.
“Having the right technology solutions and services in play can bring significant advantages to small and midsize businesses, and can be the difference between good and great companies,” says Jamie Ferullo, director of SMB sales, Ingram Micro U.S. “Our SMB 500 list represents the ‘who’s who’ in SMB when it comes to top-performing VARs and MSPs. We’re thrilled to announce this year’s winners and congratulate NMGI on its growth and success.”
The complete 2013 Ingram Micro SMB 500 list can be seen athttp://www.im-smb.com/smb500.
Additional information, content and resources are available atwww.channelnomics.com/smb500.
More information about NMGI is available at http://www.nmgi.com.
About Ingram Micro Inc.
Ingram Micro is the world’s largest wholesale technology distributor and a global leader in IT supply-chain, mobile device lifecycle services and logistics solutions. As a vital link in the technology value chain, Ingram Micro creates sales and profitability opportunities for vendors and resellers through unique marketing programs, outsourced logistics and mobile solutions, technical support, financial services and product aggregation and distribution. The company is the only global broad-based IT distributor, serving approximately 160 countries on six continents with the world’s most comprehensive portfolio of IT products and services. Visit www.ingrammicro.com.
About Network Management Group, Inc. (NMGI)
NMGI is a national provider of consultative services with an emphasis on computer networking, business continuity, and technology services for small and midsize businesses and organizations located throughout the United States. NMGI designs, implements, and manages business technology solutions for their clients. Founded in 1984, NMGI is headquartered in Hutchinson, Kansas.
by Randy Johnston, Chairman – Network Management Group, Inc.
I have the pleasure of working with some really brilliant people, including technicians and accountants, in my NMGI and K2 businesses. Throughout this year, we have been warning people that virus attacks are more aggressive and invasive. These attacks are frequently delivered via email, social media such as Facebook and embedded in PDF files. The anti-virus companies are having more issues keeping their software ahead of the threats and the creators of viruses and malware are becoming smarter in their attacks. Even if your IT team or managed service provider is diligent in updating your firewalls and anti-virus signatures, your organization is still susceptible to attacks in the current environment.
Why are we so concerned about the attacks now? Haven’t viruses been around since the early 1980s? The first virus discovered in the wild was the Elk Cloner on the Apple II in 1981 and the first PC virus, Brain, was reported in 1986. Some key ideas about viruses are:
- Viruses exploit weaknesses in operating system controls and human patterns of system use/misuse.
- Destructive viruses are more likely to be eradicated.
- An innovative virus may have a larger initial window to propagate before it is discovered and the “average” anti-viral product is modified to detect or eradicate it.
More important, systems can be infected and unusable during the recovery period. Viruses make attempts to hide intelligently and re-infect the systems where they have made initial entry. It may take 24, 48 or 72 hours to completely eradicate the viruses from your systems and to restore all of your files to a usable state. What will you have your team do while their computers are not working? How do teach them to be careful in the first place?
We suggest that end users attend regularly scheduled and ongoing prevention training and this training be recorded in human resources records so that there is a permanent record of training, accountability and liability. Such training should include customized basic training for your firm, especially since firms have unique virus protection strategies. An employee should sign an acknowledgment that training has been received and understood. This training record should be added to the employee’s permanent record and should occur at the completion of training. All team members of the firm should be required to attend from the janitor to the CEO/Owners.
What to do?
One of the best strategies is to schedule security training at least annually for your organization. The importance of compliance with your firm’s policies, and using your best efforts to make sure everyone has been exposed to the issues and has a chance of understanding the threats is a good use of time.
As a starting point, we are recommending teaching the following topics:
- Name the product being used: It is important for team members to know if your firm has GFI Vipre Antivirus, Trend Micro, AVG, Sophos, etc. Next, train on the basics of that specific product to familiarize the end users with the protection they have been provided by their company such as:
- “Here is your Icon for VIPRE Antivirus” see it in the Windows tray (VIPRE is just an example – different products may be in use in your firm)
- Blue indicates that protection is on, active and up to date. Green indicates a scan in progress. Yellow means there is a problem with the program and to contact your IT support team immediately. Red means contact your IT support team immediately.
- If you do not have an icon, contact your IT support team immediately.
- Explain how your AV protection works: Examples of features to explain might be to explain what the firm has purchased and installed:
- Email gateway Antivirus
- Exchange Antivirus
- Firewall based Antivirus
- Desktop Antivirus products to help protect our computer network from email threats.
- However, this protection only works if it is enabled, up to date and employees follow these basic principles:
- Don’t click links in emails without determining where they go first
- Don’t open attachments unless you know the source of document AND were expecting to receive it
- When surfing websites and popup windows come up, (ALT-F4) is the proper way to close them
- Protect Outlook properly: Outlook has improved its virus protection and spam filtering with each version, but there are still fundamental features to consider and use:
- Turn off the reading pane for the Inbox
- Disable links for messages in the Junk Email Folder (Outlook). This should disable attachments too.
- Ensure AV is on and current on your desktop at all times: AV is only as good as the most current signature file. Vendors frequently release updates to protection for the known threats in the world and these change hourly worldwide. Often, it can be several days or even weeks before some vendors have definitions, (the file that allows identification of the viruses) to protect from the newest threats. Our team has submitted samples to Avert Labs, ThreatTrack and Symantec for items that we could easily recognize as being a virus. It is not unusual for it to be several days, and on a couple of occasions, several weeks before the vendor released new specific definition protection for the new variant.
- Do not open emails that are not recognized: or any file that may have questionable business content, especially if the email has hyperlinks or attachments if you are not expecting this type of email from other sources. We frequently see spoofed emails from Intuit, Bank of America and Citibank, which I have personally seen recently as examples.
- These emails are very clever nowadays and often include spoofed senders (senders pretending to be someone they are not), content that seems to come from valid business senders, and my personal favorite from current times are emails from “spoofed” Intuit that contains a QuickBooks update that needs to be installed NOW to correct a program problem or improve performance. These emails have hyperlinks to an external virus payload and ZIP attachments that contain executable files which are email worms or Trojans, that is programs that hide and attach themselves to your systems causing infections. These emails actually contain images from Intuit’s website and appear very legitimate. We need users to ask themselves, did I contact Intuit support and speak with someone about a specific problem that I needed an update for? Should I be receiving unsolicited email notices from Intuit about updates when that process is managed by my IT Support team? Staff need to regularly communicate with their IT Support team before opening questionable emails or files.
- Even more recent, we have seen emails sent from spoofed Citibank containing valid images from Citibank’s website that linked to external virus code and included ZIP attachments containing executable files that appeared as PDF (payroll) files, but were actually executable files with subject line “Payroll processing received” and the body contained instructions to open the attached PDF file to verify the amounts of each employee’s payroll amounts. Needless to say, these emails were not sent to the Controller nor were they actually requested by anyone. However, these worms were opened because staff thought they might actually get a peek at what others in the company are getting paid. If they would have paused before opening the attachment or links and asked themselves, did I contact Citibank for payroll information or am I actually running payroll thru Citibank, then they would recognize they received a new worm email variant that their Antivirus was not protecting them from and the worm would not have been unleashed.
- Explain your procedures for recovery: Hopefully, you never have to recover, but if you do:
- Outline your reporting and shutdown procedure
- Have everyone stay off of their systems until given the all clear
- Unplug infected machines from the network.
- Explain how you intend to estimate the recovery time
- Explain what systems are likely to be made available first
- Consider other topics related to security: You probably don’t get your team together frequently enough. Take this opportunity to discuss other important security related matters such as:
- Review the firm’s acceptable use and other computer policies
- Protection of portable computers and removable media
- Properly handling USB devices from home or clients
- Password strength and changes
- Social networking site safety
- Security of smartphones and tablets
- Instant Messengers – AOL, MSN, Google Chat, ICQ
- Weather Bug – should not be used
- Personal email access from Gmail, Yahoo or Outlook.com
- Transferring documents to and from clients via your portal or secure email
Training is the best prevention
In summary, the best training is customized for each firm. Your staff should know how they are being protected and what the limitations of that protection are. Human Resources and IT should work together to deliver ongoing, regular training that is recorded into employee records. In between regular training sessions, IT should inform staff of high risk known threats via alerts whether that is through email, intranets or bulletin boards. There should also be training required for new employee onboarding since the next regular training might be months away and the new employee might put the entire training program at risk unless we educate them. Please use these ideas to schedule and hold a training session with your team to minimize your risk of virus infection.
On September 12th, Steven Harper Chairman and CEO announced that Randy Johnston will become Chairman of NMGI and Doug Elliott will be President and COO effective immediately.
As part of the legacy planning at NMGI it’s important to realign the corporate responsibilities and prepare for succession planning as Mr. Harper prepares for retirement in a few years. Mr. Johnston one of the original founders of NMGI over 25 years ago has recently had his youngest son David join the business and establish the logical future of continued business that NMGI will remain locally owned.
Doug Elliott joined NMGI seven years ago to help spin off the software division and was promoted to General Manager once that task was complete. Managing a staff of 27 associates the President / COO title will allow Mr. Elliott the opportunity to direct all aspects of the NMGI nationwide operations as a C-Level executive. In addition Mr. Johnston can focus on NMGI’s involvement with K2 Enterprises and providing keynote speaking platforms for industry trade associations. Mr. Harper as CEO will continue to drive the strategic and financial focus of the operations.
NMGI’s seasoned management team is comprised of three additional executives with over 65 years combined industry experience. Soni McClelland serves as NMGI Controller; Sean Williams serves as VP of Services, and Ken McClelland as VP of Sales.
used with permission from HP Technology at Work
by Mike Jennett, Senior Program Manager, HP Enterprise Mobility
I was just listening to Jon Stewart interview NY Times writer Michael Moss about his new book Salt Sugar Fat and he said something that struck a chord with me. He was talking about the science of creating food and something called the “Bliss factor.” That perfect balance that will ensure that the products are a smash hit with consumers. That’s where I want to go with BYOD policy. I’ve been searching for that perfect mix of hardware, software and education that will protect my IP—yet give my consumers that rush they get when eating a Twinkie. OK, I know it’s a bit of flight-o-fancy to think that a BYOD policy can compare to a Twinkie (they are coming back!), but why not, why not venture out on that quest, at least for a little bit.
Heading out of town to visit relatives during the Holidays is as traditional as turkey dinners, electronic gifts, mistletoe, and snowmen. But what many people do not look forward to is the hustle, bustle, and time-consuming activity of actually heading into, through, and out of airports. This year, more than ever, millions of travelers will be using the public Wi-Fi systems available at municipal and International airports around the world. You may be one of them. With your handheld device, your laptop, or your tablet computer, you’ll be checking on your flights, sending out email, or maybe even working on that report that you promised your boss by January 3rd. But how safe is the airport’s wireless security? How do you protect yourself – and your private information – from identity theft, fraud, and other cybercrimes?
In the arms race between network administrators and hackers, battles are fought over the security holes in enterprise software. Your best defence is the patches that vendors release to plug those holes.
Vendors are working to make patching easier and more trustworthy – like Microsoft and its monthly Patch Tuesday release – but you shouldn’t necessarily deploy every patch to every system in your enterprise the day it’s released. To best protect your network, you should develop a plan for patching that is based on best practices and tailored to your unique enterprise.
We have the privilege of seeing a lot of new and exciting technology that can give strategic benefits. Our team also has the opportunity to help clients evaluate, select and implement those strategic technologies. There is much buzz and hype around cloud technologies. Like any technology, there are benefits and there are risks.
Network Management Group Inc. (NMGI), a leading IT consulting and services provider, today announced the unveiling of its recently upgraded website. Always with a client focus, enhancements were geared toward providing clients with the best possible online experience, including easy, intuitive access to information, updates, and live feeds; display of real-time support statistics, and remote access capability for immediate client support.
“We know better than anyone that a company’s website is more than just a place to find product and service information. It’s a place to do business and receive immediate support,” said Steve Harper, CEO and co-founder of NMGI. “Our website is the first stop for many customers, so we made sure it was updated to provide superior client service and ease of use. Easy remote access to support is a perfect example of this.”
Within the website, visitors can also link directly to the company’s social media sites, sign up for the NMGI newsletter, review the company’s highly informative blog, access helpful links, and more.
The enhanced NMGI website was launched in early June 2013.
A look at the issues small companies need to make sure they address before jumping into cloud computing. Small businesses, of course, can save a ton of money and gain a lot of efficiencies by going to the cloud. But getting there isn’t necessarily that simple. Fact is, one size does not fit all. “A startup marketing company, for example, may take a very different path from an established medical practice,” says Igal Rabinovich, CEO of IT Help Central, a White Plains, NY consulting firm. Here are some key considerations to take into account before making the move.
Used with the permission of http://thenetwork.cisco.com
Create a migration plan.
Best is not to make the change willy-nilly, particularly if you think you’ll be moving many applications to the cloud. That means having a roadmap for how you’ll proceed, introducing applications one at a time and testing each one before deciding to go ahead with it and then moving onto the next. You also need to include a training period for employees to learn how to use each application. The length and complexity of your plan, of course, depends on the number of applications you have, the size of your business and how distributed your workforce is, according to Ron Braatz, president of LiftOff Learning, an IT consulting firm. Introducing, say, an e-mail system to a highly distributed workforce would take longer than it would for a company where everyone works in the same office. A plan can do more than help your move to the cloud go smoothly, however. It can also provide a larger strategic boost. Jill Billhorn, vice president, small business at CDW, a Vernon Hills, Ill., IT consulting firm recalls a fast-growing client, an exercise business that was opening up locations at a rapid pace. At first, the approach was to launch new venues and bring IT staff in on the plan only shortly before opening. “It ended up that IT had to spend much of their time putting out fires as a result,” says Billhorn. Eventually, the IT group decided to start scrutinizing the expansion plan for the following year and form a blueprint for introducing appropriate applications. As a result, as the business grew, they were able to operate more judiciously and effectively, and that helped overall expansion, according to Billhorn. Using a plan also puts you ahead of the pack. Only 35% of small businesses have developed a written strategic roadmap for the adoption of cloud computing, according to a survey, recently conducted by CDW.
Think about reliability.
Whatever you’re using the cloud for, chances are it’s important to the functioning of your business. So you want to make sure you have access you can rely on. Take Roper DeGarmo, president of Signature Personal Insurance, an insurance brokerage in Mission, Mo., who started using cloud applications eight years ago and now employs everything from e-mail to client data storage systems. According to DeGarmo, who, until recently ran his business from home, his cable connection worked well until later on in the day when more people started using the Internet after returning from work. He ended up adding a DSL connection for Internet access at those times. “Having a fast connection is obviously great, but if the connection has stability problems it can wreak havoc with file uploads and online services,” says DeGarmo. You also need to make sure your service providers have adequate backup precautions. For example, if you’re using a phone system, make sure the service automatically will be rerouted to another telephone line if the servers are down. “Always ask the question, what happens if you go down, how will it impact me,” says Rabinovich. Rabinovich, in fact, suggests small businesses think twice before putting certain mission-critical functions in the cloud. ” I always ask clients, if the capability is down for a couple of hours or couple of days, what will that mean for your business,” he says. “If the answer is, you won’t be able to function, you might not move that application to the cloud.”
Look at the legal issues.
For starters, scrutinize the fine print. Example: A cloud provider may waive liability in case of lost data. Depending on your industry, you also may need to make sure you’re compliant with regulations governing data. If, say, you operate in Europe or have European customers, you’ll need to consider the EU’s Data Protection Directive, which regulates the processing of personal data, according to Keith Broyles, a partner and specialist in intellectual property at Alston & Bird, a law firm in Atlanta. You also need to be aware of where your data will be hosted. The reason: If it will be on a server outside of the U.S. and there’s a problem, depending on your contractual provisions, you could wind up ” not getting the benefit of U.S. laws,” says Broyles. Then there’s the matter of your exit strategy. “You want to be mindful that there’s going to become a point when the relationship between you and your cloud vendor ends,” says Todd McClelland, who also is a partner at Alston & Bird. For that reason, you negotiate your exit strategy upfront, rather than dealing with it when you’re about to pull the plug. The upshot: going to the cloud has many benefits. For best success, however, you need to arm yourself with as much information as possible before jumping in.