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Empowered by the Cloud | https://www.wespeakcloud.com/blogs/images/zr2.jpeg | Ryan McMillen

Last weekend I was busy enjoying time away from my desk as some friends and I decided to drive to a remote mountain and lake thus requiring us to test the capabilities of our trucks a bit. When we were sitting at one of the lakes, I got a notification and as anyone often does, checked to see what it was. I was surprised to see one of my workflow automations for a Power Bi report had an error.

Now… typically at RyanTech, we expect our staff to NOT spend time working on the weekends unless it’s actually necessary, however I can’t help myself from a good mystery.

As I was taking a look at the issue, I took a moment to realize what I was doing. I am standing next to a remote lake in the middle of nowhere, on my iPad through cellular connection, accessing AI managed workflow automation to change a couple lines of code. Before the Cloud this wasn’t something I could’ve said. Previously, I’d need to jump through hoops and remote into a server from a laptop that had a cellular network card I’d have to beg to have signal, plus I wouldn’t have AI watching the workflow and analyzing the data for me! Nowadays, I get a push notification to my phone which is synced to my tablet, that when clicked I can access my workflow automation directly and best of all SECURELY!

Sometimes I wonder what the future will be like and sometimes I think about how the future is now. Managing business operations from the Cloud has transformed how we do things at RyanTech and it’s the next step for any business looking to be more efficient and more successful.

Plus who doesn't want this view while working?

ipad on truck bed using the cloud
How Intruders are Using Your Email | https://www.wespeakcloud.com/blogs/images/manonPhone.jpg

I've written quite a lot about how email is either moving your business forward or causing a nuisance in your daily work life. The good news is that your email is available everywhere in the current age, the bad news is the same, it's available everywhere. And once your email address is out in the wild you only have a few ways to protect it. This is a short synopsis of the top ways intruders are lurking in your lifestyle by way of invading your inbox and some ways to mitigate the issue.

Here are a few facts about what is going on with your email. Take note of these 5 key areas of action:

    • The rise in gmail accounts correctly invading your inbox
      It's so easy to get a free gmail account and now to associate the gmail account to a domain name either hosted elsewhere or on the gmail platform that you as a startup business can have a valid and proper email account which will get through to other's inboxes without having to set up all of the systems able to send email.

    • Correct setup is the first step (SPF, DMARK, Hosting, Proper Use)
      Although many of these items get setup correctly by default they tend to get mixed up over time as folks change DNS records. Also, requirements for proper email sending are ever evolving and change over time. These must be administered correctly in order to ensure proper delivery.

    • Device optimization options
      Incredibly important and typically thrown to the side is the matter of setting up each device correctly as your lifestyle dictates. Improper setup on a device or device(s) will interrupt your daily workflow and/or stop you from getting proper notifications and delivery. It is my opinion that your mobile should have the ability to receive and send email only during optimum work hours. For me that means 6am to 6pm. On my mobile, my email moves to Do Not Disturb any time outside of these hours and I suggest the same to our workforce. If/when I open my email during the DND hours it will deliver all new email to me and allow me to interact as I choose however I do not receive notifications after hours. From my desktop I allow all hours and my tablet is setup the same as my mobile as I carry it with me just about everywhere for ease of use.

    • Integration with other systems (Beware the freeware)
      When integrating your email with other systems like a CRM, Reports, etc... you'll need to actually READ the license agreement because in many ways you give up your email and personal/professional information for use by other related partners when doing so. Who knew that signing up for a CRM to use for free just posted your professional information and that of all your potential leads to another?

  • No other systems allow the redundancy and delivery of our email platform
    I've watched so many successful folks use text messaging as a way to interact within their own organization as well as to others. It's a massive mistake. SMS/Text is NOT redundant no matter what your carrier tells you and it won't get better. It relies on an operating system for a device, the carrier you are on, the hardware you use, the reception at the time of sending/receiving as well as the length of the message being shortened which causes issues with clarity in reading and composing. It's literally the shorthand and smoke signals of professional communication.

In summary, your email address for work is the way the most critical information will be sent to you. It needs to be protected, secure, available everywhere but available when you set it to available.

Our team will show you how to make this happen and we'll keep you ahead of the reality of email.

The War Against Data Breaches | https://www.wespeakcloud.com/blogs/images/dataWar.jpg

There was a time when all it took to protect your business was an internet firewall, antivirus, and backup. Today, many small and medium size businesses think that security is too complex in the face of emerging threats and requires staff and expertise they don’t have.

Did you know smaller businesses are the most vulnerable to breaches? Making up 58% of data breaches...
Source: Verizon 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report

It doesn’t have to be complicated. With our solution based in Microsoft 365, you get all the capabilities of the best Cloud based email in Office 365, plus advanced cybersecurity, data protection, and device management:

  • Encrypt sensitive emails
  • Block sharing of sensitive information like credit card numbers
  • Restrict copying and saving of business information
  • Enable unlimited cloud archiving

In addition to software that keeps your business safe, we also implement best security practices from our team of experts.

  • Monthly reporting of email security statistics and the impact of security changes
  • Proprietary configuration of your email tenant to maximize safety with efficiency
  • Hands on review of your tenant every month from our team of experts

With a Cyber Security Assessment from RyanTech, we can help you evaluate your threat protection and ensure your business is safe from attacks. It's Free!

Make Your Mark - Women in Technology | https://www.wespeakcloud.com/blogs/images/empoweredwomen.jpg

It is well known that diversity in companies is important. The multiple perspectives of a diverse team are key to innovation. (For example, a women’s perspective is needed since products are not sold to men only.) Also, as in our case, bringing on a woman into a different culture and work atmosphere, boosted team morale.

Women need to take some responsibility for pushing for change. We don’t have to try to be more like men. We are not men. Men and women are inherently different. Women, and their employers and colleagues, should realize that being different adds value.

At RyanTech, almost half of our employees are women and many occupy senior leadership roles which we feel positively encourages other women to join a technology company, particularly if it is supportive of advancing women’s careers. However, it isn’t enough simply to recruit women for jobs in tech. Employers also have to keep them. That means providing support—mentors, sponsors, and a path to promotions. We are very fortunate to have a leader in Kevin McMillen, our CEO, who is a strong advocate for the advancement of women in technology. This is proven time and time again as Microsoft continues to call on him to tell his story on how he contributes to the advancement of women in the workplace. He just returned from the Microsoft Inspire Conference in Las Vegas where he spoke at the Women in Technology breakout session. Not only is he a mentor, he is somebody who is an active champion, who is always willing to give the women in our company that first chance. A lot of women don’t have that and there’s nothing like it.

So much has been done to bridge the gap of women in technology and there is so much more that can be done. Women should never be limited by what you “think” your job has to look like. The most exciting things happen when someone brings a new perspective to the table. And with so few women in technology, that gives us a huge opening to bring our own spin to things and craft new opportunities that build on what we are passionate about.

And that is how we not only make our mark but how we can help change the world!


Authored by: Carol Wall, Director of Operations
The Importance of Email Security | https://www.wespeakcloud.com/blogs/images/supportSecurity1.jpg

Since RyanTech started offering email services back in 1998 we’ve learned a thing or two about email security. In 1998 email was an after thought and the joke of the internet was that it was a “fad”. Well we’ve been with you the entire journey and we all know that email is the backbone of the communication of your business, it’s extremely important that those email accounts don’t end up in the wrong hands. Once more, with email services being tied into your main account across your business, it’s more important than ever.

Typically, hackers target these accounts so they can gain access to important information and hold it ransom in return for money. We’ve been seeing more intelligent attempts to hold data ransom in the last few years and made some changes to how we approach email security.

The solution doesn’t end with how do I keep my password safe? The solution needs to be developed around the idea that your password is already compromised. We ask ourselves this question every time we dive into a security assessment and solution, my password is compromised, now what? In situations where users have the same password for their personal accounts, business accounts, and access to important company data it becomes urgent. Personal accounts typically don’t have as many safeguards as business accounts and if your password was stolen for your personal account, it’s only a matter of time until your business account is too.

In developing a solution that keeps our clients safe we focus on daily management of our client's tenants. From reporting, to alerts, to physical people looking over anomalies that pop up to keep this data safe. Your business is only as reliable as it is secure. 60% of businesses close within 6 months after a cyber-attack.

Don’t be a statistic. If you’re interested in hearing more reach out to us by using our chat or giving us a call at 866-804-9040.

Why Azure | https://www.wespeakcloud.com/blogs/images/whyAzure.jpg

When it comes to being taken care of, we all want the best. The highest quality. A universally trusted service. That is just fact. When you go to the doctor, step into a classroom, or even go to the deli at the grocery store, you take solace in the sight of certification. Whether that be a doctorate degree hanging on the wall, or a bright blue “A” hanging laminated by the cash register. We want to know that we are being taken care of correctly, the first time. We want, or rather, we need to be able to trust the companies that we make exchanges with. That said, as humans, we are able to trust a company after it meets three precise, sometimes even unspoken, requirements: Efficiency, transparency, and longevity.

When you hear the name “Amazon”, it rings a bell in your head. Correct? That’s normal. It does for a majority of people. That is because Amazon has a brand that, through their marketing tactics, has quite literally “branded” the minds of people widespread. Amazon Web Services, a branch of Amazon that was launched in 2006, is a “pay-as-you-go” platform that provides a wide-range of individual cloud-computing services to consumers, including storage, gaming space, analytics etc. Amazon Web Services is a well-known platform because of its excellent ratings in efficiency/productivity over a long period of time. You can customize your usage to your business needs, and based on that, the cost will then be customized to your usage. It can be as useful and cost-effective as you make it.

So, now that you have heard a brief review of AWS, and it seems to be a well-performing service, you may be asking yourself, and we hope that you are, “Why Microsoft Azure?”. Azure, like AWS, is Microsoft’s individual cloud-computing service that was launched in 2010. If you compare and contrast the two platforms, you can see that they are both pay-as-you-go platforms. Both services are branches of reputable brands to certify that they are trustworthy platforms. Both services have also been publicly proven and labeled as efficient. What, though, makes Azure stand out, is its effective strategy of promoting transparency. If you were inquiring about these two platforms, you would find that with Amazon Web Services you must first create an account, search to find their pricing calculator, and then undergo a grueling technical, and to most, confusing, calculating process before you could get an estimate at what your personal spending would be. Azure, on the other hand, is the computing service for the person who does not speak “Tech”. The website is easy to navigate, requires no sign-up to get a cost estimate, and explains what you are getting and how you are getting it in specific, yet still, layman terms. Azure is actually 5 times more affordable with SQL than AWS. And there are more services/options available on Azure. Azure exceeds requirements in efficiency and effective communication/transparency. Although it was released four years after AWS, Azure still also exceeds the longevity requirement, with nine years of highly-rated service under its belt.

So, this begs the question: Is a service better just because it came out first? Azure proves otherwise.

Google Chrome's Hidden Background Tool | https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1485546246426-74dc88dec4d9?ixlib=rb-1.2.1&ixid=eyJhcHBfaWQiOjEyMDd9&auto=format&fit=crop&w=1350&q=80

Surprised to find your computer practically overheating when running just Google Chrome? Our CEO was as well. Check out the write up below that explains why.

If you run Google Chrome on a Windows PC and monitor processes that run on the machine, you may notice the Software Reporter Tool process eventually, especially if you’re sitting on the couch with your laptop doing holiday shopping and your laptop gets VERY HOT.

Software Reporter Tool, the executable file is software_reporter_tool.exe, is a tool that Google distributes with the Google Chrome web browser and I’ve done extensive research looking into WHY it’s running and consuming my CPU and SSD Hard Drive in my SUPER powerful Microsoft Surface i7 Laptop with 16 Gigs of RAM and 512G of SSD Hard Drive. There is zero reason why this laptop should be hot or slow surfing the internet. This program is part of the Google Cleanup Tool which in turn may remove software that causes issues with Chrome, and we’re pretty sure you didn’t even know it was installed. Google mentions crashes, modified startup or new tab pages, or unexpected advertisement specifically. Anything that interferes with a user's browsing experience may be removed by the tool.

Chrome Software Reporter Tool


The Software Reporter Tool scans the computer's drive and reports these scans to Google. Google Chrome uses the scan results to determine whether it should prompt the user to remove unwanted software from the computer as it impacts the browsing experience. Google Chrome users may have two main issues with the Software Reporter Tool: 1. It may cause a high system load when it scans the system. User reports range from using 30% and more CPU while running. Since it may run for as long as 20 minutes, that is something that may interfere with other activity on the computer. 2. The tool informs Google about the scan results which some users may dislike because of privacy concerns. A Google community specialist mentioned that the tool scans folders related to Chrome only, but its scope is not exposed to the user in any way so there is no way for us to substantiate that unofficial statement. You find the Software Reporter Tool under the following path on the most current versions of Windows: C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\SwReporter\VERSION\software_reporter_tool.exe The Version changes regularly, it was 36.184.200 at the time of writing.

Block the Software Reporter Tool


Note: Blocking access to the program may prevent Google from removing problematic software from the system or informing you about it. You may use other software, antivirus software for instance, to remove threats or potentially unwanted programs from the system which is what we suggest.

While you can delete the content of the entire folder or rename the executable file itself, doing so offers a temporary recourse only as Google will push the Software Reporter Tool to the system again when you update the web browser without you recognizing or even knowing it installed the tool and begin scanning your system again. A better option is to remove permissions so that no user may access the folder or run the Software Reporter Tool. Simply follow the steps below:

1. Right-click on the folder SwReporter and select Properties from the menu.
2. Switch to the Security tab.
3. Select Advanced on the page that opens.
4. Click on "Disable inheritance" and select "remove all inherited permissions from this object."
5. Select apply and in the Windows Security prompt "yes."
6. Select ok.
7. Select ok again.

No group or user should have access anymore to the Software Reporter Tool. The advantage of this method is that the tool cannot be run anymore and that updates cannot be applied to it anymore either.

Final Words
Unless you run into problematic third-party software regularly that interferes with Chrome, you may not need the Software Reporter Tool. Its disadvantages, high CPU load or privacy implications, may be reason enough to block it from running. If you have any questions, reach out to our team and we’ll be happy to provide you any support necessary.

If you’re looking to power your business or startup with email, any of Microsoft’s suite of Cloud offerings managed by us, network infrastructure, Azure architecture, or application development, then we’re here to help.

WiFi Off the Beaten Path | https://marketing-image-production.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/46b3680f4bd335f634888db343317a67a7c3be0f2c8dabb39c1d4feaf535e5448b926ae2f57ebf0c85faa89ecb1aba024930f767ca382ac9605ec2e0799ccb8e.png

When we build out network infrastructures, we use tools based in the Cloud allowing us to reliably manage your system, even when you're on a farm. Steadfast Farm is a two-acre bio-intensive market farm that we sent internet signal to, built an enterprise level WiFi infrastructure, and backed up with a redundant fail over connection.

We Call it Cloud Continuity.

We've designed a way to keep your landline internet connection online at all times and WHEN your internet service provider goes down, you'll automatically switch over to a wireless connection while we work together to get your primary connection back online. We've helped big companies, small companies, and as you just heard; businesses off the beaten path. And we can help you.

Find out more about Steadfast Farm here.

If you’re looking to power your business or startup with email, any of Microsoft’s suite of Cloud offerings managed by us, network infrastructure, Azure architecture, or application development, then we’re here to help.

Here's to YOUR Success | https://marketing-image-production.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/6526ee1a0f081a229c94e868b679d0b38126ce90f2ff88f3b030a080e8ae5b2b863a6b4c9bb53d63dd098aa250d42461dbfd56f205e6c9a3395eddaa10161826.jpg

Often when we are asked about the heritage of RyanTech we tell the story of our success. We go over examples like our hand in the development of the AAA car buying app, or the work we’ve done for the Kelly Blue Book website, but we don’t usually give an explanation of how we came to be or the foundation of what makes us different.

When our CEO Kevin was in high school, he would go surfing every morning before class started. He and his friends would banter about what surf board was best and he was always the odd man out with his Al Merrick board. If you’re not up to date on your surf board knowledge, don’t worry I’m not either, then you would notice some inspiration from Al Merrick in our logo. There are many similarities to RyanTech as a corporate culture to Kevin’s choice of Al Merrick even if it went against the grain. Our focus on what we believe in is what separates us in the technology sector. It’s often that I hear about staff having conversations that create lifelong partnerships with our clients. It’s not rare for us to have a discussion with someone about mobile app development and recommend they rework their idea in a specific area before we can continue forward with a cost structure. There’s a reason we don’t charge to hear out your idea, or to discuss if something is viable. We aren’t interested in projects, application developments, or customers just for the paycheck. We are interested solely in your success.

If you’re looking to power your business or startup with email, any of Microsoft’s suite of Cloud offerings managed by us, network infrastructure, Azure architecture, or application development, then we’re here to help.

The Real Question: Backup or Not to Backup | https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51pDnYHVvaL._SX408_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Over the past few weeks, I have been asked 4 times by customers if they need to do backups of their Office 365 (O365) applications, email and SharePoint documents. Being a belt AND suspenders kind of guy, and having grown up and gotten old, in the classic IT space, my gut answer was “HELL YES!”.

Hold on a minute.

Whoa doggies!

This is not your father’s IT department. We are in the cloud; does this make a difference?!

This is “Office 365”; does that make a difference?!

I needed to do some soul searching and really look at why we do backups and do we still need to do backups.

I wanted to be sure that my thinking was not “Two Dimensional” thinking. (Sorry, gratuitous Star-Trek reference)

Here are a few reasons that I can think of, that we do backups:

  • Disaster recovery (DR). Stuff breaks and we need to be capable of recovering.

  • Business Continuity (BC). The business needs to continue doing business no matter what happens.

  • Regulatory Compliance (RC). The government makes all kinds of data demands on businesses.

  • Legal eDiscovery (ED). Summary judgements occur, when a business can’t produce documents.

  • Point-in time restores (DUMB). Your user will delete stuff they should not have.

Ok, that is enough. I am sure I missed one or two reasons, the point being, there are lots of reasons to do backups.

I could go into each of these reasons in depth, but each has lots of subtleties and nuances that require an in-depth discussion about a business’s specific requirements. What I am going to do is describe several features/ capabilities of O365 that will protect your applications and data the way a backup would.

Ok, these features are great and you can see how you would be able to get by without a backup. You can go without a backup of your Office 365 with a little planning, it’s the future.

But as one of my customer stated, he was “a belt, suspenders, and duct tape kind of guy”. So, if you just can’t go without, here are some backup tools that you could use:

Commvault: https://www.scoutcontent.com/vendors/commvault

Micro Focus Retain: https://www.gwava.com/unified-archiving

NetApp: https://blog.netapp.com/guard-your-microsoft-office-365-data/

SkyKick: https://www.skykick.com/backup

Code2: https://www.codetwo.com/backup-for-office-365/pricing/

Cloud Finder: http://cloudfinder.com/cf-for-office-365-free-trial-landing-page/

We at RyanTech are your resource to help decide where you stand in the backup/no-backup question.

Additionally, here is a book that may help with all the other options above.

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