Bryley Basics: Troubleshooting

Gavin Livingstone, Bryley Systems Inc.

Whether smartphone, tablet, PC, or notebook, troubleshooting a problem should follow these basic steps:

  • Research
  • Change one
  • Document all

Research – Why reinvent the wheel? Break the problem down into a keyword-rich statement and take advantage of your favorite search engine. Sometimes, reordering the keywords can provide a better search.

If this yields poor, inconsistent, or inconclusive results, ask a colleague, contact the manufacturer, or call Bryley Systems.

Change one – I’m always tempted to change five or 10 things at the same time, convinced that this will yield a quick solution; I’m hoping that by clicking everything in sight, something positive happen: I am frequently disappointed.

A better approach is to pick the most likely/obvious/basic solution, make this one change, test it thoroughly, and then verify the results before moving on.  In this fashion, you eliminate each possibility –preferably from greatest to lowest probability – to avoid muddling the solution and possibly breaking something else.

Document all – It’s not much use to change anything if you don’t remember your sequence; you can end-up in a death spiral of repeating the same steps, over and over, with the same, undesired, result.

Documenting can take the form of written, typed or recorded notes; whatever is easy and quick, but include enough information to ensure a successful conclusion and to assist if you run into the same situation in the future.

Many thanks to Karl Palachuk of Small Biz Thoughts for his inspiring October 2016 article “Troubleshooting – The Rules”.

Wi-Fi® is not Wireless Fidelity

Garin Livingstone and Gavin Livingstone, Bryley Systems Inc.

Wi-Fi is not an abbreviation for wireless fidelity1; it is a trademarked phrase that refers to wireless communication between electronic devices and a Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) based on the IEEE 802.11x standards.

Wi-Fi is brought to us by the Wi-Fi Alliance®, a worldwide network of companies with the mission to drive the adoption and evolution of Wi-Fi globally.  The Wi-Fi Alliance tests and certifies that WLAN equipment meets its stated standards.

Current standards include:

  • 11g
  • 11n
  • 11ag

Speeds have grown substantially, now rocketing up to a potential 1,300Mbps using the latest WiGig™, 802.11ac, standard (although actual performance is typically significantly less than its potential).

wifi-standard

At their core; wireless networks are less secure than wired networks (since a potential intruders does not need a physical connection), although encryption technologies (Wi-Fi Protected Access or WPA and WPA2) exist to secure WLANs.

Large-scale Wi-Fi implementations include:

  • City-wide Wi-Fi – Free Wi-Fi provided in St. Cloud, FL, Sunnyvale, CA, etc.
  • Campus-wide Wi-Fi – Wi-Fi throughout a campus environment

1See ‘Wireless Fidelity’ Debunked by Naomi Graychase of WiFi Planet.

2See WikipediA IEEE 802.11.

What Does a Virtual CTO Do for Your Company?

By A. Baker, Inside Sales Specialist

Virtual CTO = Trusted Advisor = An Essential IT Service!

Technology advances are continually changing. Is your business leveraging these changes to deliver a true competitive advantage?

While the position of CTO (Chief Technology Officer) is a key role for any business, not every organization warrants a full-time person in this position. Many smaller businesses, from a cost perspective, may not employ a full-time CTO because the question they ask is “can our business afford this overhead?”

Small to midsized organizations compete with much larger , well financed companies. However, they may lack the internal resources, especially when it comes to technology management, required to be competitive.

At Bryley Systems, we believe that SMBs (Small and Midsized Businesses) are the backbone of our economy and our prosperity. And although it’s common for SMB employees to wear multiple hats, many wouldn’t be comfortable leading the technology operations. Bryley Systems has created a way for SMBs to adopt a CTO into their organization without the associated overhead cost and responsibilities normally associated with that role.

A Virtual CTO from Bryley will bridge the gap between the business vision and the more technical decisions needed to be made to support those goals. Bryley has a 30-year proven track record across many business sectors. We’re able to communicate in a language that is easily understandable to ensure that our clients can access the technology required for critical business initiatives.

Bryley’s services are at the forefront of technology and are backed by solid experience. Our tailored offerings are focused from client to client, depending upon their IT needs and business planning. Objectives are achieved, risks are managed appropriately, and the organization’s resources are used responsibly, particularly in the areas of computers, office networks, Cloud selections, software selection, and Wide Area Networks.

The cost effective solution to your CTO dilemma, one that addresses the importance of having a CTO without the overhead, is our virtual CTO . Our technology experts are available to you at all times, at an affordable cost, tailored to your specific environment.

Our Virtual CTO will:

  • Enable you to make informed technology decisions and efficiently manage technology within your organization.
  • Bring expert advice to bear on all your technology requirements and ensure proper documentation of all business processes.
  • Ensure a high return on investments (ROI) for all your technology investments.
  • Save on opportunity costs by managing all your technology issues and enabling you to focus on your business.
  • Audit all aspects of technology and ensure your peace of mind.
  • Manage all your IT vendor relationships and negotiate with vendors for all your technology purchases.
  • And much more.

Have the best of both worlds – strategic IT insight and tailored professional advice with an affordable financial commitment.

For more information about the Virtual CTO and Bryley’s full array of Managed IT Services, please contact us at 978-562-6077 or by email at ITExperts@Bryley.com. We’re here for you.

 

Worcester Chamber Ambassadors on the Move

The Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors Committee took an informative tour on October 5 of the Worcester Armory located on Plantation Street. Gavin Livingstone, President of Bryley Systems Inc. of Hudson and Co-Chair of the Ambassadors Committee, facilitated this event.

Twelve Members of the Ambassadors Committee were treated to an engaging account of the Massachusetts militia (known as the Powder Horns), from its origins in the mid-1630s – the oldest militia in the USA – to more recent efforts domestically (post-Katrina support, transporting medical personnel during the Ice Storm of 2008, etc.) and internationally (Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and others).

Ambassadors were also informed of the important work of the Massachusetts National Guard Family Program Office, which supports families of current military personnel and veterans.

A weapons and field-equipment display and discussion was followed by a tour of several Humvees equipped as ambulances.
Many thanks to Lieutenant Colonel Luis Rodriguez and Captain Langdon Mavrelis of the Powder Horns, along with Nick and Elaine of the National Guard Family Program Office, for hosting this program.

 

ambassadors-humvee

ambassadors-interior

 

Terry Tengler promoted to VP of Operations

Terry Tengler is now Vice President of Operations at Bryley Systems.

Terry joined Bryley in 2012.  He is a seasoned management professional with continuous experience in leadership roles and has been instrumental in leading, managing, and improving our technical-services and administrative teams.

Prior to Bryley, Mr. Tengler rose through the managerial ranks at DMX Music, Inc. in Northboro, helping that company grow to more than 50 employees before it was sold and moved to Texas in 2010.

Terry Tangler's Profile Picture

Are You Considering Outsourcing IT Services for Your Business?

If you’re not considering outsourced IT, you should be!

Here are 5 reasons to choose Bryley Systems as your Managed IT Service provider!

  1. Predictable cost

Managed IT Service providers offer “packaged” services for a fixed monthly fee. Budgeting your IT doesn’t get any easier than that!

  1. Improved operational efficiency

Your staff will experience minimal downtime if you have a Managed IT Service provider who performs proactive maintenance and remote remediation services.

  1. Enhanced security and compliance

Every Massachusetts company, by law, is required to have IT security policies in place. Qualified Managed IT Service providers will minimize security risks by implementing these policies for your business. Watch our video on how the law applies to your business.

  1. Trained and certified staff

Reputable Managed IT Service providers invest in training and industry standard certifications for their staff, while also providing an environment in which their team members gain experience. Founded in 1987, Bryley Systems has certifications with the following partners: Microsoft, VMWare, HP, Cisco, Untangle and much more!

  1. Stay focused on your core business

Time and resources are limited in every organization.  Let Bryley Systems focus on your IT so you can do what you do best!

To find out if Bryley Systems is the right Managed IT Service provider for your organization, call the Bryley team at 978-212-5806, email us at ITExperts@Bryley.com, or contact us online.

P.S.: Read more about the value of outsourced IT.

Roy Pacitto promoted to VP of Business Development

Roy Pacitto, a 21-year employee at Bryley Systems, is now Vice President of Business Development.

Roy joined Bryley Systems in 1995, initially filling the role of Service Manager, but soon moved to Business Development.  At management’s request, he returned to service management in 2009, guiding the team through a difficult transition.

Mr. Pacitto has been instrumental in the growth of Bryley Systems and in the development and professionalization of its Business Development team.

Roy Pactio's Profile Picture

Top 5 Common Support Questions – Asked and Answered

Why, Why, Why? These are the questions the Bryley support team hears every day. We know the answers!

1. Why did it fail?

Computers are extremely complex systems.  As complexity increases, so does the likelihood of failure.  A computer depends on many things to go right for it to work properly.  If the smallest thing goes wrong, it can cause failure of the entire system.  The FRU’s (Field Replaceable Units) within a computer system are becoming fewer and fewer such that if something does go wrong, replacing the entire system is often the best option.  Having done failure analysis in a previous life, I can attest to the fact that the process is difficult and the results are not guaranteed.  Sometimes, my best explanation for failures is “cosmic radiation”… or more likely, a defective hard drive.

2. Why didn’t you know this problem was happening?

Bryley Systems monitors feedback from systems covered under a CSP (Comprehensive Support Program) agreement.  There are a variety of alerts that create service tickets for us to investigate.  Results from Patching, AntiVirus and Malware logs are reviewed to insure issues are addressed before they become major problems.  We can’t possibly see everything that’s going on, but we do have a hand on the pulse of our clients’ systems and we monitor their systems on a regular basis.  If you encounter unanticipated or spurious problems, we respond promptly with the expertise and determination to get you back up and running as soon as possible.

3. Why can’t my AntiVirus and AntiMalware protect me from all the Internet Threats?

This is indeed a common question.  Why not one and done?  The reason is that the threat landscape is changing constantly.  There are hundreds of thousands of virus and malware signatures that are used to protect a single system… but that is not always enough.  Dozens if not hundreds of threats appear daily.  There are Cyber-Crime Syndicates in Russia and the Czech Republic that are selling Ransomware tools to anyone interested in cashing in on the encryptions  for money schemes rampant on the internet today.  Symantec estimated that their clients alone are paying more than $500,000 to these criminals each month.  We work on the principal of minimizing your surface of vulnerability.  Criminals are not lazy, but they will opt for the low hanging fruit every time.  We chose AVG and MalwareBytes as our AntiVirus and Anti-Malware software because they are leaders in the industry.  But unfortunately, there are Zero Day Threats that someone has to receive before the signature can be recognized and distributed to protect other unsuspecting folks.  There are vendors working on “Behavior Recognition” to detect suspected Virus or Ransomware behavior that is now being released.  MalwareBytes is working on a module that will likely be a part of their current offerings to conduct similar detections.  Here at Bryley Systems we are constantly watching how effective these new and yet to be proven products perform and will insure that our clients are provided the best protection we can offer.

4. Why don’t we contact the Police or FBI about this Ransomware infection?

Many people, businesses, and institutions have been affected by Ransomware in the past year.  The criminals usually trick you into running their specially crafted code, and then unbeknownst to the victim, this code encrypts every file it can find that could possibly be useful on the system and on the network.  Each new variant is more clever and devious that the previous.  The victim ends up with folders full of useless files they can no longer open or use and they are forced to pay a ransom to the perpetrator.  We at Bryley do not recommend that you pay.  Although you have suffered loss that is often significant, the dollar threshold for reporting this crime to the authorities, Local Police, State Police, and FBI, is $10,000.  You need to prove this loss before you can open the door.  Unfortunately the door has been left open and the impact is profound.   The best way to thwart this kind of attack is to have a good backup system.  That system should be independent of your working environment to maximize isolation from the attack.   We provide a BUDR (Back Up and Disaster Recovery) solution to minimize the impact of an attack such as this.  In addition to protecting important data from everyday disasters, it will allow our clients to restore their files and get them back up and running in a very short time without paying the ransom demand.  Always have backups.  Make sure they cannot be touched by a malicious attack on your systems.  Someday you may be thankful you did.

5. Why do I need a Password to access my system?

In the spirit of best practices and minimizing your surface of vulnerability, you want to close the door to accessing your system by unauthorized personnel.  Most security breaches occur from the inside.  It could be an employee who is in no way malicious, perhaps just walking by and noticing that your system is open while you’re out to lunch.  They didn’t plan to access your personnel records, but the opportunity presented itself.  The criminals have many ways to attack you.  It can sometimes be easy for them to breach your first line of defense and gain access to your network remotely.  Why make it easy?   Protect yourself and your data with Layers of Security, including passwords that are hard to crack.

Bryley Systems can be YOUR Trusted Advisor.