Bryley’s Prestigious Channel Partners 360° Award Celebrates Fall

After being honored as one of 25 recipients worldwide, our prestigious award is traveling the U.S. in celebration – being one of the most sought-after in the industry of technology solutions.  This month it stayed local to celebrate Fall in New England

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Bryley is getting into the Fall spirit.  Stop by on Halloween
as we join several other businesses in Hudson to hand out
treats to the youth in our community.

 

Cathy Livingstone hands out candy to local residents.

All Aboard!

The cutest mouse trap we’ve ever seen!

 

 

“Bryley Systems works toward continuous improvement; we strive to manage, optimize, and secure our client’s information technology, which brings substantial business benefit and value to their organizations. Our team-focused, best-practices-oriented approach, coupled with high-value/low-risk service options, enables us to provide our clients with Dependable IT at a Predictable Cost™.  We thank Channel Partners for this prestigious Channel Partners 360° award!”                      

      – Gavin and Cathy Livingstone, Co-Owners, Bryley Systems, Hudson, MA

Bryley attends Table Talk Facility Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

Gavin Livingstone, President and Co-Owner, along with Cathy Livingstone, Co-Owner, attended Table Talk’s ribbon-cutting ceremony last month as part of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The facility is 50,000sq ft. and has state-of-the-art machinery capable of producing 10,500 pies/hour, nearly doubling current production1.  The land it sits upon was former industrial wasteland, but Table Talk went to great lengths to clean up the site and provide more Worcester residents with employment opportunities.

Touring the facility

Gazing at the production line

Learning about the new facility

 

1 http://www.masslive.com/news/worcester/index.ssf/2017/09/a_year_in_review_table_talk_pi.html

Bryley Basics: What happens when a home is smarter than its owner?

Today, if we forget to turn off the coffee pot, or shut the garage door, we can simply hit a button on our phones, or other devices. According to a study by Intel Corporation, 71% of the population is expected to have at least one smart-home device in every home by 2025.1

This is great news for those of us that are forgetful, but one has to be wary of how much access is granted through these devices. Just like you wouldn’t leave your house keys out for anyone to take, you must also be cognizant of the security of your smart devices.   Last year, hackers were able to bring down several sites by using home devices connected to the internet such as baby monitors, cameras, and home routers without the user’s knowledge.1

There are several steps users can put in place in order to take advantage of these smart devices while remaining protected:

Do your research. Not all smart devices were made equal. It is best to do some research prior to purchasing a device to see what security measures the manufacturers have implemented. Will the device automatically perform patch updates? Does it require a passcode? Will it prompt you to change your password? Knowing this ahead of time, will give added peace of mind.

Secure your devices. By default, many of these devices have a simple security plan in place, since historically they haven’t needed to worry about cyber threats. Prior to a few years ago, no one would have thought you could have your refrigerator tell you what items you would need to purchase on your next grocery trip! Make sure your device requires a passcode that you can regularly update.

Regularly update your Passwords. Make sure to change your password every 60-90 days with a complex password using a mixture of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. A password does nothing if it remains at the default factory password.

Separate your Network. As an added layer of protection, put some separation between your devices and the rest of your data. Most of the time, these devices only need an internet connection, so putting them on a different network from the rest of your data protects both of them. “Newer WiFi routers have built-in guest network capabilities that can isolate untrusted devices from each other and from the rest of your network – a useful feature for most devices that only need internet access and don’t need to talk to other devices. Extra configuration may be required to properly secure devices that need to talk to each other (like automation controllers and security cameras), but it’s possible to limit that communication without laying bare the rest of your home’s network.”2

Perform Regular Updates. Some devices will automatically update while others you will have to check. Regardless, it is best to check every so often to ensure the updates are performed and you are protected.

Security of these smart devices is such a concern, Senators Mark Warner, Cory Gardner, Ron Wyden and Steve Daines introduced the “Internet of Things Cybersecurity Act” aimed at forcing tech companies “to ramp up security if they want to sell connected devices to the federal government.”3 This bill is the bare minimum and will block any “IoT devices with known security issues from government use and require device makers to patch any new flaws. Security researchers who hack IoT devices used by the federal government in order to find new flaws would be exempt from the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which has been used to charge hackers.”3 It is the hope that this bill will encourage companies to adopt these regulations as standard for commercial sectors as well.

At the end of the day, these devices will become more and more commonplace. As this occurs, security will also improve. There are sure to be growing pains, but like most evolutions, it will improve our lives.

 

  1. 1 Best Smart Home Devices and Hot IoT Is Changing The Way We Live. Forbes Technology Council. 6 Jun 2017
  2. How To Protect your Fancy New ‘Connected Home’ from Savvy Hackers. Best Buy
  3. 3 Congress to smart device makers: Your security sucks. Ng, Alfred. CNet. 2 August 2017.

Robin Powers Joins Bryley Systems!

Robin Powers is the newest member to join Bryley Systems’ Business Development team.  In her role as Sales Support, Robin will assist with proposals, presentations, and general business development functions.  She will work closely within the team to further enhance client support and relationships.

Prior to Bryley Systems, Robin was employed at Stratus Technologies for 25 years as an Administrative Professional in their IT Department.  Bryley Systems welcomes Robin as she brings years of expertise in the technology field.  Ms. Powers has a BS from UMass Amherst.

Bryley’s Prestigious Channel Partners 360° Award Travels the U.S.

After Being honored as one of 25 recipients worldwide, our prestigious award is traveling the U.S. in celebration – being one of the most sought-after in the industry of technology solutions.

About Red Canyon.  From the Native Americans who traveled the canyons, to people like J.W. Humphry who constructed the tunnels, Red Canyon on the Dixie National Forest has fascinated people for centuries. Unique vermilion-colored rock formation and stands of Ponderosa pines make the canyon exceptionally scenic.

 

 

“Bryley Systems works toward continuous improvement; we strive to manage, optimize, and secure our client’s information technology, which brings substantial business benefit and value to their organizations. Our team-focused, best-practices-oriented approach, coupled with high-value/low-risk service options, enables us to provide our clients with Dependable IT at a Predictable Cost™. We thank Channel Partners for this prestigious Channel Partners 360° award!”

– Gavin and Cathy Livingstone, Co-Owners, Bryley Systems, Hudson, MA

Case Study: WRTA Turns to Bryley to Help Coordinate Move to New Facility and Deploy New Computer Infrastructure

The Company: Worcester Regional Transit Authority

The Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA) services the City of Worcester and 36 surrounding towns with a bus fleet that includes all-electric buses and many diesel-electric hybrid buses. As the second-largest regional transit authority in Massachusetts, WRTA features a real-time bus arrival information system that includes the latest advancements in communication technologies—with automatic vehicle announcement, locator and monitoring systems as well as dynamic message signs. The organization is operated by Central Mass Transit Management.

The Challenge: Find an IT Partner Who Also Understands the Big Picture

As the buildings that house the buses, the garage, and the computer data center began to age and experience environmental issues, the WRTA planned a major move into a new facility. The servers and the network were also reaching end-of-life status, so the organization decided to upgrade the computer infrastructure at the same time.

Given the scope of the two projects, the WRTA had to coordinate planning across several third parties. When it came to the new server and network infrastructure, the organization thus needed an IT partner with high-level technology design skills who could also work well with the building construction crew as well as the telecommunications provider and the company that provides the technology to operate the buses.

“With all the moving parts and players, we needed an IT partner who would help us make sure the entire project kept moving forward,” says Donna Novelli, Director of Risk Management and Administration for Central Mass Transit Management, the private entity that manages operations for the WRTA. “It was important to work with someone who would focus on the big picture and not just be concerned with their role.”

The Solution: Bryley Systems—A Long-Time Trusted IT Partner

From the start of planning the project, which began several months before the move deadline, Novelli knew who the IT partner would be. She never considered anyone else.

“Bryley Systems has been our outsourced IT partner since 2011,” Novelli explains. “They have done a superb job keeping our computer network running at peak levels on a daily basis while also advising us when the time is right to deploy new technologies. Bryley has the technical and the logistical project management expertise as well as the resources to help organizations like ours successfully complete a major move and a technology upgrade at the same time.”

Knowing in advance that the move to the new facility would occur, Bryley advised WRTA to hold off on upgrading the computer network until the move and then helped the organization ensure the previous network infrastructure would continue to meet its IT needs. For the move to the new facility, Bryley designed a new computer infrastructure that includes 28 virtual server instances running on five physical Hewlett Packard servers, 16 Cisco network switches, and a Cisco Wi-Fi network.

The infrastructure is protected by four firewalls and system backups that replicate data and applications to an offsite data center managed by Bryley. Bryley also disconnected approximately 60 workstations in the old facility and then reconnected them in the new facility.

The Deployment: Changing Timeline Requires Nimble Flexibility

To help keep the project moving forward, Bryley Systems met with Novelli and the other partners on a weekly basis to synchronize their tasks. As Bryley configured and burned in the servers, switches and the Wi-Fi gear in advance of the implementation, the five-person team expected to have a six-week window in which all the devices could be deployed. But as the construction timeline changed, and as other partners needed more time to prepare their installations, the window shrunk to about two weeks.

“Bryley remained flexible the entire time, and they coordinated all their resources to make sure their portion of the project was still completed on schedule—despite the much shorter timeline,” Novelli says.

Bryley’s efforts included implementations during weekends and very early in the morning. With buses running until about midnight and starting up as early as 5:00 a.m. the next day, the downtime window was very small.

“We kept to our committed bus schedules even during the final cut-over weekend when we closed down the old building and made the final move into the new facility,” Novelli points out. “That was a big accomplishment, and Bryley played a major role in our success by adapting to the changing needs of the situation.”

Benefits: Improved Network Performance and Peace-of-Mind

With the new IT infrastructure, WRTA now has a complete virtual local-area-network along with a wireless network that both utilize the latest technologies. This includes advanced solid-state flash storage from Hewlett Packard that speeds up file save and access processes for end users such as vehicle tracking, location prediction and record keeping as well as real-time communication between drivers and dispatchers. The new network also ensures better application performance.

Looking back at the success of the project, Novelli says the major benefit that she and the organization receives from Bryley Systems is peace-of-mind knowing that IT systems will function as required: “Whether it’s handling a major move like this one, or making sure our computer network remains up-and-running, we trust Bryley to get the job done. They proactively make sure all the details are taken care of so that we can avoid surprises that hamper daily operations.”

The partnership with Bryley also continues to allow Novelli to maintain a minimal internal IT staff. “It’s just me and one other person—otherwise we rely on Bryley for everything from help desk support to long-term technology planning,” Novelli says. “We continue to partner with Bryley for their expertise and the value they bring to our organization. They provide a full range of staff that can assist at the consultant level for servers and design along with the technicians that help our end users. They are always responsive to anything new we need—even if we need it right away.”

Side Bar

Major Benefits—IT Infrastructure Deployed in New Data Center by Bryley Systems:

  • Implemented during off-hours to avoid network downtime during operational hours.
  • Coordinated the deployment to sync with construction activities and actions of other vendors.
  • Met timeline requirements even as the window for deployment shrunk from six to two weeks.
  • Provided peace-of-mind that computer network would continue to function after the cut-over.
  • Delivered new technologies that enhance application performance for end users.
  • Enabled internal IT team to maintain minimal-size staff.

Why old technology is scarier than SCI-FI thrillers

As we’ve seen from the latest cyberattacks, old technology can be far more scary (and harmful) than the scariest Sci-Fi movies.  “We have the sci-fi depictions of sentient networks that will turn against us, but the problem is, we’ve already built something way too complex for us to be able to manage as a society,” according to Wendy Nather, principal security strategist at Duo Security. “This is a very shaky foundation that we have to clean out and redo.”1

The majority of cyberattacks occur as the result of exploiting a weak spot in legacy software running on legacy machines. “The problem with these outdated systems is that they are (predominantly) no longer supported by the company that created them. You are on your own. If a new vulnerability is discovered by cyber criminals, there will be no security updates released to patch the issue. It’s also unlikely you will be informed of this vulnerability, meaning you are blindly running a system prone to constant attack.”2

These attacks aren’t just perpetrated against small companies. In 2015 and 2016, Russian hackers brought down Ukraine’s power grid, plunging 103 cities and towns into darkness.3

Hospitals are another high-value target for cybercriminals. Medical facilities focus primarily on patient care. Technology if often a secondary concern. The WannaCry attack, for example, struck UK hospitals, forcing many to turn patients away. Security expert, Janie Larson, recounted an incident in which malware had infected EEG machines that were connected to children – disconnecting them to update the software would have proved detrimental to the patients.1 How would you choose between paying the ransom demanded by the hackers and preventing harm to high-risk patients?

So, what can be done to prevent a cyberattack like this?

  • Regularly check for updates and patches on all software and devices in your environment.
  • Be mindful of end of life. Know when your technology will no longer be supported and have a plan in place for when that happens.

If you’re ready to protect your organization, it pays to work with a Managed IT Services/Managed Cloud Services company, like Bryley Systems, to ensure that you’re taking the right steps. Bryley will recommend solutions to eliminate weak links in your security chain, and help you develop an organization-wide policy to help prevent potentially catastrophic data loss and system downtime.

Please contact us at 978.562.6077 or by email at ITExperts@Bryley.com.

We’re here for you.

 

1 Larson, Selena. CNN Tech.Why old tech is scarier than Hollywood AI.” 30 June 2017.

2 Jones, Ed. CloudTech.The hidden dangers of legacy technology – and how to resolve them.” 10 October 2016.

3 Perez, Evan. CNN Politics. “U.S. official blames Russia for power grid attack in Ukraine.” 11 Feb 2016.

Bryley Basics: How to get the most life out of your computer

Have you noticed that you have been able to squeeze more life out of your technology devices than ever before? According to Intel’s CEO, Brian Krzanich, the cycle has expanded 20% from four years to five or six1. In our experience, upgrading an operating system on a Windows PC can often cost more than replacing the PC with a PC that has a newer OS. This is often because OS upgrades are not always reliable, particularly with legacy applications, or drivers that are no longer available for older hardware. For business users, we typically wipe the drive clean and then reinstall a new OS rather than upgrade.

Another way to extend the life of your device is to take care of the battery. Having the battery constantly plugged in actually does more harm than good and decreases the overall lifespan of the device. For long term battery life, it is recommended that you regularly allow your battery to drain.

You can further extend the life of your machine by completing incremental upgrades such as adding more memory, upgrading graphics cards, and replacing older hard drives with SSDs.

These tips are aimed at helping you extend the life of your devices and are not meant to keep them on “life support.” There will come a time when you have diminishing returns and will need to replace the devices.

Remember, we are here to help; please reach out to us at 978.562.6077 or email ITExperts@Bryley.com.

 

  1. Computer World. 1 June 2016. “The PC upgrade cycle slows to every five or six years, Intel’s CEO says.”