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SpiceWorld 2018’s Spice Buddies and Cool Vendors (video)

October 17, 2018 Leave a comment

SpiceWorld 2018Hey frugal networkers, I hope you’re having a great October. Yes, it’s been a while since I posted but that hiatus ends today. I went to SpiceWorld 2018 last week and spoke to a lot of cool people, saw Frank Abagnale speak, and met up with the planet’s coolest vendors. SpiceWorld is the annual tech conference hosted by Austin’s own Spiceworks. If you go to one tech conference per year, this needs to be that one. Check out Spiceworks and its array of free software and awesome community.

This year’s cool vendors are:

I hope you’ll check out my cool vendors list and try out their products and services. I selected from the long list of vendors that attended and thought that these had something special to offer. I love startups and this year, Automox, Backblaze, and Infocyte got my attention. Of course, my “Vendor to Watch” is Pulseway. Trusted Tech Team is an MSP that gets a lot of 5-star reviews. Let me know what you think of my selections.

Thanks to the Spiceworks marketing and executive teams for another great SpiceWorld!

*Disclaimer: I didn’t choose who did the spotlight interviews. The vendors self-selected.

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Internet of Things Survey: IT Professionals Say Wearables will be the Top Source of Security Breaches

April 29, 2016 Comments off

SpiceworksAUSTIN, Texas — April 26, 2016 — Spiceworks, the professional network for IT, today announced the results of a new survey exploring the prevalence and challenges of the “Internet of Things” (IoT) in the workplace and the steps IT professionals are taking to prepare for the impact. The study “2016 IoT Trends: The Devices have Landed” found that a majority of IT professionals (53 percent) believewearables are most likely to be the source of a security breach among IoT devices connected to their network, followed by video equipment at 50 percent, physical security at 46 percent, and appliances at 45 percent. The independent study was sponsored by Cox Business, a facilities-based provider of voice, video and data solutions.

The results show while nearly 90 percent of IT professionals believe the influx of connected “things” creates security and privacy issues in the workplace, only one in three organizations is actively preparing for the impact IoT could have on their business.

“The Internet of Things includes everything from smart appliances and wearables to industry-specific devices such as connected medical technologies and sensors in server rooms,” said Matt Olan, IT professional at Pharmacare Specialty Pharmacy. “The problem is that many of these devices have little to no security, and in many cases, they’re even more vulnerable to attacks and misuse than your typical PC. We allow certain IoT devices on our network, but security is always taken into account when planning an IoT deployment.”

Security concerns grow as more devices are connected

Since Spiceworks’ 2014 IoT report “The Devices are Coming,” organizations connecting wearables to their network have nearly doubled, increasing from 13 to 24 percent. IT professionals surveyed acknowledged the presence of connected video equipment, electronic peripherals, sensors, and appliances has also increased.

However, as more devices are connecting to corporate networks, the results shows IT professionals are facing a different mix of challenges. Two years ago, insufficient bandwidth was the number one barrier to keeping users connected to corporate networks and the data they need, but security concerns are now the top barrier at 65 percent, followed by equipment issues at 42 percent. The challenge of insufficient bandwidth was listed third, decreasing from 45 percent to 37 percent in the last two years.

IT professionals were also asked to reveal their biggest security concerns about IoT devices in the workplace. Eighty-four percent said more entry points into the network was most concerning while 70 percent said some IoT manufacturers are not implementing sufficient security measures. Additionally, 68 percent of IT professionals said default passwords and 66 percent said the lack of IoT standards was concerning.

Few organizations are preparing for the impact of IoT

Despite security concerns, a majority of organizations are not actively preparing for the impact of IoT in the workplace. In terms of the top reasons IT professionals are not preparing, 47 percent said the value of monitoring IoT devices is still unclear, 38 percent said they lack the time and staffing resources, and 37 percent said they lack budget.

However, among organizations that are preparing to support IoT, 68 percent are educating end users about risks, 47 percent are investing in security solutions, and 43 percent are investing in infrastructure. While only 12 percent of organizations are investing in new management tools for IoT devices today, nearly 50 percent plan to in the next 12 months.

CIOs and IT lead the IoT discussion in organizations 

When asked to reveal who decides whether or not to support IoT devices, 50 percent of respondents said the CIO and IT department lead the discussion and six percent said the CTO, senior tech leaders, and development. However, 31 percent of IT professionals said adding IoT devices isn’t led by one individual or group.

IT professionals were also asked to indicate how the IT department handles the connectivity requirements of internet-enabled “things.” Forty-one percent of organizations have a separate network for IoT devices, but 39 percent are putting them on their corporate network. Notably, 11 percent of organizations don’t allow any IoT devices on their network.

“As the demand to put more IoT devices on corporate networks increases, IT professionals’ security concerns are increasing in tandem,” said Sanjay Castelino, VP of Marketing at Spiceworks. “IT pros are well aware that more end points into the network puts their organization more at risk, but many businesses still aren’t equipped to manage IoT devices and identify potential threats.”

Methodology

The survey was conducted in March 2016 and included 440 respondents from North America and EMEA. Respondents are among the millions of IT professionals in Spiceworks and represent a variety of company sizes including small-to-medium-sized businesses and enterprises. Respondents come from a variety of industries including manufacturing, healthcare, non-profits, education, government, and finance. For more information and a complete list of survey results, visithttp://www.spiceworks.com/marketing/iot-trends/report/.

About Spiceworks Voice of IT

Spiceworks’ Voice of IT shares statistics, trends, and opinions collected from millions of IT professionals on the global technology issues that are important to them.

About Spiceworks

Spiceworks is the professional network millions of IT professionals use to connect with one another and thousands of technology brands. The company simplifies how IT professionals discover, buy and manage an estimated $600 billion in technology products and services each year. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Spiceworks is backed by Adams Street Partners, Austin Ventures, Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), Goldman Sachs, Shasta Ventures and Tenaya Capital. For more information visithttp://www.spiceworks.com.

Follow Spiceworks on Twitter: http://twitter.com/spiceworks and connect with Spiceworks on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Spiceworks.

Categories: Hot Topics, Press Releases

Spiceworks Cloud-Based Help Desk Application Goes Mobile

April 28, 2016 Comments off

SpiceworksAUSTIN, Texas — April 28, 2016 — Spiceworks, the professional network for IT, today announced IT professionals can deploy and manage its cloud-based help desk solution on smartphones and tablets via the Spiceworks Help Desk mobile app. Today’s announcement also includes new features to the cloud-based help desk, including service level agreement (SLA) ticket alerting, an IT Knowledge Base, and Spiceworks App Center integration. Collectively, Spiceworks provides a feature-rich help desk solution that can be deployed and managed in a way that works best for the IT professional.

 

“The IT professionals in my department are often running around the office supporting employees so it’s historically been difficult to address urgent user requests when we’re not at our desks,” said Brad Everts, IT supervisor at TW Garner Food Company. “The mobile app for Spiceworks’ cloud-based help desk gives us the flexibility to open, respond to, and close tickets from wherever we may be.”

 

Mobile support for Spiceworks’ cloud-based help desk builds on existing capabilities for the on-premises version and provides the same capabilities IT professionals need to support their growing businesses, including unlimited admin and end-user seats, no hosting or storage costs, ongoing updates, and free support. With the mobile app, IT professionals can also receive push notifications on their mobile devices to stay on top of help desk tickets while on the go.

 

In addition to the push notifications, new features for the cloud-based help desk solution include:

 

  • SLA ticket alerting allows IT professionals to create rules that will notify them when tickets are not responded to in a timely manner or closed in a pre-determined amount of time.
  • User portal updates include Active Directory integration to automatically add end users, authenticate users in the portal, and tag them to tickets.
  • IT Knowledge Base integration with the Spiceworks Community will be available soon for the cloud-based help desk, enabling IT professionals to easily access and share critical how-tos and tech tips with their colleagues.
  • Spiceworks App Center integration enables IT professionals to customize and extend their help desk with more than 150 third-party apps to add new features and functionality.

 

“We’re focused on helping IT professionals become more efficient by enabling them to run their help desk entirely from their phones or tablets,” said Sanjay Castelino, VP of Marketing at Spiceworks. “With a tool that’s easy to deploy and use on the go, IT professionals can now support their growing business in a way that works best for them.”

 

The Spiceworks Help Desk mobile app is available for download today on iOS- and Android-based smartphones and tablets.

 

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About Spiceworks

Spiceworks is the professional network millions of IT professionals use to connect with one another and thousands of technology brands. The company simplifies how IT professionals discover, buy, and manage an estimated $600 billion in technology products and services each year. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Spiceworks is backed by Adams Street Partners, Austin Ventures, Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), Goldman Sachs, Shasta Ventures and Tenaya Capital. For more information, visit http://www.spiceworks.com.

 

Follow Spiceworks on Twitter: http://twitter.com/spiceworks and connect with Spiceworks on Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/Spiceworks.

 

Spiceworks is a registered trademark of Spiceworks, Inc. All other names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

No Starch Press Teams Up with Humble Bundle to Present the Humble Book Bundle: Hacking

April 27, 2016 1 comment

No Starch PressSan Francisco, CA (April 27, 2016)—No Starch Press, arguably the most widely respected publisher of books for hackers, teams up with Humble Bundle to offer a pay-what-you-want collection of ebooks called the Humble Book Bundle: Hacking. The bundle includes a selection of the company’s finest—such as worldwide best seller Hacking: The Art of Exploitation; classics like Hacking the Xbox; and more recent best sellers like Automate the Boring Stuff with Python, Black Hat Python, and Practical Malware Analysis. This bundle is a true bargain—valued at over US $350—and with Humble Bundle’s pay-what-you-want model, customers can pay whatever price they think is fair.

“Many people call themselves hackers, but few have the strong technical foundation needed to really push the envelope,” says Bill Pollock, founder of No Starch Press. “True hackers never stop learning, never stop pushing boundaries. Our core mission is to produce the books that hackers really want and need, and we’re not pulling any punches here. We’ve included several of our best sellers to make this bundle right for just about anyone.”

Hacking Bundle 1Readers can pay any amount to receive:

Hacking Bundle 2Readers who pay more than the average also get:

Hacking Bundle 3And readers who pay more than $15 will get all of the above, plus:

The hacking bundle benefits the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an organization dedicated to defending civil liberties online. EFF defends free speech, fights illegal surveillance, advocates for users and innovators, and supports freedom-enhancing technologies.

As with all Humble Bundle promotions, customers choose how much of their money goes to the publisher, Humble Bundle, and the benefiting nonprofit. The Humble Book Bundle: Hackingruns for two weeks and ends May 11.

Got Security?

April 1, 2015 Comments off

SecuritySecurity is a topic that’s on everyone’s minds these days. And there’s a good reasons for it: Security is important. Now, that might sound like a tremendous understatement, but it’s the truth. In fact, the truth is that security is the top concern for most of the world’s businesses. It should be. Every day you read about another significant breach of a major retail chain, of a bank, or even of a government site. Prominent companies are under constant attack from so-called “black hat” or criminal hackers whose sole purpose is to compromise data, steal valuable data, and to expose vulnerabilities in your security.

If you think that you’re safe, for whatever reason that you’ve told yourself, you aren’t. If you’ve ever had a fraud alert from a credit card company or your bank, then you realize how vulnerable you really are.

Unfortunately, as a customer of a restaurant, of a clothing store, of an online vendor, or of your corner market, you’re vulnerable to credit card and, ultimately, identity theft. While the point of this post is to inform you, rather than to scare you, please note that the threats are real and that you should take more care and practice vigilance in the use of your identity, including your credit cards, debit cards, and online accounts.

If you own a business, you owe it to yourself and to your customers to make every effort to prevent breaches of your company information, your personal information, and your customer’s information. It’s not easy to do by yourself. There’s all kinds of advice, good and bad, on the Internet about how to protect yourself, how to recover from identity theft, and how to go on the security offensive for you, your business, and your family.

Bad information is worse than no information at all. You can put yourself at greater risk by listening to alleged experts than you can by playing it smart and hiring a security consultant who can find out exactly what the bad guys can find out about you and your business.

It works something like this: If you want to find out how vulnerable your house is to break-ins, who would you hire–a clean-shaven, upstanding, taxpaying citizen who’s never been arrested for breaking and entering or would you be smarter to hire a reformed bad guy to tell you how it’s really done? If you’re smart, you’ll hire the person with a criminal background who’s gone straight to figure out where you’re vulnerabilities are.

On the same hand, if you want to test your company’s or your personal security, you should hire someone who’s hacked for a living–in the criminal sense.

That’s the service I’m offering you. I have a select group of former black hat hackers as my associates who’ll put your security through its paces. Further, we’ll help you mitigate the flaws we find* and tell you how to fix the problems.

Here is a partial listing of our services:

  • Identity fraud checking/fixing
  • Employee Social Engineering checking/fixing
  • Website Penetration/Vulnerability analysis
  • Company penetration/information grabbing
  • Training and prevention

If you’re not 100 percent sure of how vulnerable you might be, here are some examples:

About four years ago, I bought a cake from a local bakery and used my debit card for the purchase. One of the workers there used my card to buy pizza and some other things that he’d had delivered to his girlfriend’s house. Once I found the fraudulent charges, I tracked him down, via his girlfriend and confronted him. I won’t go into detail, but I did make an impression. The bank investigated and made good on the losses to my account.
That scenario is common, except for the part where you get to confront the perpetrator. Typically, the guilty party is so far away that you’ll never find him. Bad for you, but great for him.

My wife paid my son’s technical school tuition with a credit card only to find later that we’d been charged an additional $1,800 for services that we’d never heard of, much less purchased. We contacted the vendor and explained the situation and they promptly removed the charges.

I receive calls from unknown numbers on a weekly basis, trying to have me answer so that my phone can be charged bogus fees or to verify my number for fraudulent charges. I Google the numbers to verify their legitimacy. So far, all of them have been sources of fraud.

Yes, these things actually happened to me/us. These are only three examples and we’re only one family in 750 million that’s had our accounts or cards compromised. Think about the repercussions of poor security on you, your family, and your business. Your integrity and reputation, not to mention your credit score, are at risk. It’s made us all a lot smarter about how we transact business these days.

So that you realize that we’re trying to help you, I’m going to offer you a free list of 10 things you can do to make yourself more secure today.

  • Google yourself – Contact all of the “public information” carriers/resellers and have them remove your information from their databases.
  • Do Not Call lists – Go to https://www.donotcall.gov/ and register to have your phone numbers removed.
  • Mall survey cards – Never fill out one of those mall survey cards or enter any contest at a mall or other retail establishment.
  • Unrecognized phone numbers – Never answer calls to your cell phone when you don’t recognize the phone number.
  • Use cash – Carry cash with you and avoid using credit/debit cards as much as possible.
  • Email attachments – Don’t open email attachments that don’t make sense and don’t respond to those emails.
  • Nigerian Princes – Never respond to any email from a Nigerian Prince who wants you to deposit money in a bank account for him.
  • Ignore “You’re a Winner!” emails – If you didn’t enter it, you didn’t win it.
  • Passwords/SSNs – Never give your passwords or Social Security Numbers to anyone over the phone.
  • Account-oriented emails – No online service will ever request your password or a login via email.

If you’d like to discuss your security or your security concerns, you may contact me via email at ken@kenhess.com. I’ll be glad to setup a time to call you and discuss your concerns and how we can help you get a handle on your personal or business security. Don’t be a victim. Don’t be a statistic. Learn to fight back by finding out what the bad guys know about you and how to fix it.

*Ask about our 50 percent rebate plan.

80 Percent of IT Administrators Fear Exposure Through Mobile Devices

June 5, 2014 Comments off

GFI SoftwareDURHAM, N.C., June 4, 2014 – GFI Software™ today announced the findings of an extensive independent research project examining the “Internet of Things” (IoT) and the impact IT administrators expect from the increased volume of internet-enabled and addressable devices on their network. Respondents overwhelmingly cited greater exposure to existing and undiscovered threats, particularly from mobile devices, as among their most pressing concerns about the onward march of the Internet of Things into their organization.

The survey of 202 IT decision makers in U.S. workplaces employing up to 250 people was conducted by Opinion Matters for GFI Software, and revealed that the growing relevance of IoT for small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) means growing security threats, greater device management challenges and increased costs for IT management.

Analysts expect the number of devices – or “things” – that will connect to the Internet to grow radically by 2020, with Gartner estimating that 26 billion addressable devices will find a home on a corporate network. This spike in connected devices will create billions of new unsecured endpoints that will in turn produce new vectors of attack designed to either compromise the device or gain access to the infrastructure.

Disruption is a significant concern, as 96.5 percent of IT decision makers surveyed said that IoT would produce at least some negative impacts for their organizations, with more than half (55 percent) saying it will impose new security threats while extending existing threats to a greater number of devices. Furthermore, 30 percent said IoT will result in an increased IT spend, while 26.7 percent expected device management to spiral out of control as a result of the rise of IoT. 14 percent expect that deploying patches across multiple platforms will present a particular challenge.

“The research findings reveal that the Internet of Things will transform business security, as even standard employee devices could present an opportunity for exploitation and pose a real danger to organizations if they are connected to the Internet without proper security protections,” said Sergio, Galindo, general manager, infrastructure business unit at GFI Software. “With billions of devices poised to connect to the Internet, organizations are exposed to billions of insecure new endpoints that can compromise the network. The key takeaway is clear: IT organizations must plan effectively to ensure adequate operating system, firmware and patch support within the new IoT age.”

A Sea-Change for IT Administration

Each new modern innovation requires adaption to new technologies – not only to take advantage of the new opportunities, but also to adjust to the new problems that inevitably arise from it. So it goes with the Internet of Things, as more than three-quarters (78.6 percent) of IT administrators expect their security practices to change as a result of IoT. Among these changes, nearly one-third (30  percent) expect to have to revise policies about connectivity in the workplace to manage this adaption.

Going Mobile: Danger Ahead

The increasingly prominent role wireless devices play in the daily lives of employees results in greater security risks in general for an organization. When it comes to IoT, the risks from mobile devices become particularly acute, according to survey respondents, 81.7 percent of whom indicated that mobile devices create the most potential as a point of exploitation in the IoT age.

Build That Wall

Existing anti-spam, anti-virus and anti-malware infrastructure may not do the job of protecting against the multitude of risks posed by the billions of insecure new endpoints. When asked to rank priority areas of security focus, 45 percent of IT decision makers surveyed pointed to firewalls as their very top priority, while 35.7 percent cited mobile device management. Anti-virus was cited as a top priority by less than a fifth (18.7 percent) of respondents.

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About GFI

GFI Software™ develops quality IT solutions for small to mid-sized businesses with generally up to 1,000 users. GFI® offers two main technology solutions: GFI MAX™, which enables managed service providers (MSPs) to deliver superior services to their customers; and GFI Cloud™, which empowers companies with their own internal IT teams to manage and maintain their networks via the cloud. Serving an expanding customer base of more than 200,000 companies, GFI’s product line also includes collaboration, network security, anti-spam, patch management, faxing, mail archiving and web monitoring. GFI is a channel-focused company with thousands of partners throughout the world. The company has received numerous awards and industry accolades, and is a longtime Microsoft® Gold ISV Partner.

 

Clearing the Air about Windows XP’s Life Extension with 2X Software

May 12, 2014 Comments off

2X SoftwareSome people thrive on controversy. I am not one of those people, although I’m no stranger to it. On May 2nd, I posted a story on my ZDNet Consumerization blog titled, “Here’s how to extend the life of Windows XP indefinitely.” Currently, there are 75 comments and not all of them are pro Windows XP life extension. In fact, I endured a few hours of a Twitter battle about some of the product features discussed in the article covering 2X Software’s 2xLifeCyclePlus.

One of the “controversial” points was whether the 2XLifeCyclePlus product is or is not a Windows XP replacement shell. It is a Windows XP replacement shell. The shell replacement is meant to mitigate the problems arising from the fact that Microsoft no longer supports Windows XP. No longer supports means that Microsoft will no longer provide security updates, patches, or service packs to the now outdated operating system.

Who knew there could be so much controversy and angst over helping people to save money and extend the life of a beloved product? I, for one, did not.

Who knew that a project that I believe is basically commercial philanthropy could cause problems for so many otherwise normal people? Again, not I.

Several of the virtual chalk wielders stated that XP users should just “let go” of XP and let it die. To prolong it is more cruel than just sending it into the annals of history. Those who have to spend profits to accommodate Windows 7 or Windows 8 in their environments is also very cruel, especially when they already have something stable, usable, and low maintenance to use.

In this podcast, Scott Sims, 2X Software’s Sales Director, and I discuss the 2XLifeCyclePlus product and its features plus its relationship to the 2X Application Server XG product, which is similar in function to the Citrix Presentation/Application Server but at approximately 25% of the cost.

Podcast Info:

Format: MP3. Length: 13:19 mins. Rated: G

Twitter: @2XSoftware

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