Bryley Systems Wins Channel Partners 360⁰ Award for 2nd Consecutive Year

LAS VEGAS – April 18, 2018 – Channel Partners, a resource for indirect sales channels offering IT and telecom systems and services, is pleased to announce that Bryley Systems Inc. has been selected as a winner of the 2018 Channel Partners 360⁰ Business Value Awards.

Michelle Denio, Technical Support Supervisor at Bryley Systems, accepting the Channel Partners 360 Award in Las Vegas

Michelle Denio, Service Manager at Bryley Systems, accepting the Channel Partners 360 Award in Las Vegas

Twenty-five winners were honored during an awards reception on April 18th at the Spring 2018 Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas.  Michelle Denio, Service Manager at Bryley Systems, accepted the award.

“Our 2018 Channel Partners 360° Business Value Awards winners illustrate the rapid emergence of the full-stack digital services provider,” said Lorna Garey, editor in chief of Channel Partners and Channel Futures. “Our editors were impressed by the range of services delivered, from desktops as a service to security to SD-WAN to an all-in automation strategy and more. We also saw the blurring of the lines between different types of channel entities become really apparent — for the first time, several winners were also named as providers. Seems the message ‘develop your own IP’ has resonated.”

Channel Partners 360° Business Value Awards winners are selected by a panel of editors based on real-world case studies that illustrate how the partner is using the convergence of IT and telecom services to create business value for its customers.

“It is a great honor to have won this award for two consecutive years in a row,” said Gavin Livingstone, President of Bryley Systems. “We are a growing Managed IT / Cloud / Security services provider and we take great pride from the recognition of our peers.”

About Bryley Systems

Bryley Systems Inc. – a Top 501 Managed IT Services Provider worldwide for five consecutive years – proactively manages, optimizes, and secures the IT infrastructure of organizations in manufacturing, business services, passenger transit, and local government. From cloud-based to on-premise solutions, they approach each client’s needs individually, with flexible service options and custom-fit agreements.  Since 1987, Bryley Systems has been providing Dependable IT at a Predictable Cost to clients throughout the continental United States.

About Channel Partners

For more than two decades, Channel Partners has been the leader in providing news and analysis to indirect sales channels serving the business technology industry. It is the unrivaled resource for resellers, aggregators, agents, brokers, VARs, systems integrators, interconnects and dealers that provide network-based communications and computing services, associated CPE and applications as well as managed and professional services. Channel Partners is the official media of the Channel Partners Conference & Expo and Cloud Partners.

The Value of a Business Continuity Plan

Depending on the region your organization is located in, disasters can take the form of hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, fires, power outages or severe snow storms.

“Roughly 40 to 60 percent of small organizations never reopen their doors following a disaster.  But you can.”   —   fema.gov

Imagine hard drives crashing, threats faced from computer viruses, malware, and hackers – yes, there is enough to be concerned about to require professional business continuity planning.

Organizations depend heavily on computerized information systems that run the day-to-day operations.  While this reduces the need for paper storage which can easily be lost or damaged, there can be serious consequences if the computerized information system is disrupted even for an hour.  Anything that could disrupt your organization can cause lost productivity, financial loss, or even take a company to its knees.

A properly planned business continuity plan ensures that an organization knows in advance what steps will be taken if a catastrophic situation occurs.  Resuming to normal operations as quickly as possible allows you to continue to ensure profit – even during a major disruption:

  • Have the ability to respond to an unplanned interruption
  • Implement a technology and communications recovery plan
  • Successfully restore an organization’s critical operational functions

Your organization should always be prepared to have employees be able to communicate among themselves and with your customers.  Operations should be remain resilient with very little downtime.

Too often organizations assume the likelihood of a disaster to be low, so they do not plan for it, resulting in a huge loss of revenue.

A good rule of thumb is that while disasters statistically happen to less than 1% of all organizations in any given year, events that lead to the need for business continuity happen to almost every business every year.

Here are a few examples.  Has this happened to your organization in the past year?

  • A file became corrupted and had to be recovered
  • Communications to the Internet were lost for more than a few minutes
  • Computer hardware failed
  • A licensing fee was not paid on a timely basis, whether this was for a web site, email, or a software product used on a daily basis, leading to the short-term loss of this key item until the licensing fee was paid.
  • There was a theft, loss or breakage of some piece of critical equipment

If one or more of these scenarios occurred, how did you continue to operate?  Did employees have to scramble to figure something out?  It’s much easier and more efficient to be proactive and have a well thought out plan in place.

Don’t let a disaster determine the success of your company.  Business continuity planning is easily one of the most important measures your business should take in order to prevent unnecessary downtime, data and profit loss. In the modern world you never know when, where, how, or in what form a disaster can strike.

When it comes to a preventative, and also predictive approach to IT, Bryley Systems is here to help.

Bryley Systems Continues to Hire for Growth

We are pleased to welcome Anthony Fierimonte on board as our new Business Development Associate. His primary role is to build sales by contacting and building relationships with new and existing clients. He will partner with marketing, sales and team leaders to create and implement business strategies to increase brand awareness and sales.

Mr. Fierimonte will be working directly under Roy Pacitto, Vice President of Business Development who has been with the company for over 20 years. “What excited me most about Tony is two-fold; his desire for a successful career in business development, and his past prospecting experience” said Mr. Pacitto. “He also has a friendly, outgoing personality that is well suited for starting and building relationships. I’m very pleased to have him on our team!”

Mr. Fierimonte is a 2015 graduate of Assumption College and was previously employed as a regional account executive. “What attracted me to Bryley was the opportunity to work for a reputable and growing organization” stated Anthony, “and to expand my expertise among seasoned professionals.”

During Anthony’s time at Assumption College he received the Freshman Athlete of the Year (2011), the Andrew Laska Male Athlete of the Year (2014), and the Steve “Merc” Morris Award for the “premier male senior student-athlete”. His passions are fitness, reading and meditation. “We have a diverse group of employees at Bryley” said Mr. Pacitto, “and Anthony will complement our growing team”.

Phishing Scams During Tax Season – Protect Your Personal Information

Phishing schemes, especially during tax season, have become very widespread.  A little extra caution can go a long way to avoid the threat of refund fraud or identity theft.

The Definition of Phishing. It is the attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and, indirectly, money), often for malicious reasons, by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

Phishing scams are easy to accomplish and can be done from home. A typical phishing email during tax season will bear similar (or sometimes identical) IRS letterhead or logos and will instruct you to follow a link that will lead you to, you guessed it, a site that requests your personal information. Some individuals are too quick to trust a logo or letterhead and forget to check the validity of an email/site before divulging their personal information.

In recent years, thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scams and fake IRS communication. Scammers use the regular mail, telephone, fax or email to set up their victims.

Knowledge is Power! Remember that the IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. In addition, the IRS does not threaten taxpayers with lawsuits, imprisonment or other enforcement action. Recognizing these telltale signs of a phishing or tax scam could save you from becoming a victim.

Last-Minute Email Scams. The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry urges taxpayers to be on guard against suspicious activity, especially email scams requesting last-minute deposit changes for refunds or account updates.

Learn to recognize phishing emails, calls or texts that pose as banks, credit card companies, tax software providers or even the IRS. They generally urge you to give up sensitive data such as passwords, Social Security numbers and bank or credit card accounts. Never provide your private information!  If you receive suspicious emails forward them to phishing@irs.gov. Never open an attachment or link from an unknown or suspicious source!

IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scams. “An aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers has been making the rounds throughout the country. Callers claim to be employees of the IRS, using fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling.

Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. Victims may be threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. Or, victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information. If the phone isn’t answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request.”1

The IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Remember: Scammers Change Tactics — Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain a major threat to taxpayers, but variations of the IRS impersonation scam continue year-round and they tend to peak when scammers find prime opportunities to strike.

Surge in Email, Phishing and Malware Schemes. “When identity theft takes place over the web (email), it is called phishing. The IRS saw an approximate 400 percent surge in phishing and malware incidents in the 2016 tax season. The IRS has issued several alerts about the fraudulent use of the IRS name or logo by scammers trying to gain access to consumers’ financial information to steal their identity and assets.

Scam emails are designed to trick taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies. These phishing schemes may seek information related to refunds, filing status, confirming personal information, ordering transcripts and verifying PIN information.

Variations of these scams can be seen via text messages. The IRS is aware of email phishing scams that include links to bogus web sites intended to mirror the official IRS web site. These emails contain the direction “you are to update your IRS e-file immediately.” The emails mention USA.gov and IRSgov (without a dot between “IRS” and “gov”), though not IRS.gov (with a dot). These emails are not from the IRS. The sites may ask for information used to file false tax returns or they may carry malware, which can infect computers and allow criminals to access your files or track your keystrokes to gain information.”

Unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS, or from a related component such as EFTPS, should be reported to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov.

Tax Refund Scam Artists Posing as Taxpayer Advocacy Panel. “Some taxpayers may receive emails that appear to be from the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP) about a tax refund. These emails are a phishing scam, where unsolicited emails try to trick victims into providing personal and financial information. Do not respond or click any link. If you receive this scam, please forward it to phishing@irs.gov and note that it seems to be a scam email phishing for your information.

 TAP is a volunteer board that advises the IRS on systemic issues affecting taxpayers. It never requests, and does not have access to, any taxpayer’s personal and financial information.

How to Report Tax-Related Schemes, Scams, Identity Theft and Fraud. To report tax-related illegal activities, you should report instances of IRS-related phishing attempts and fraud to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.”3

Additional Scam-Related Information:

Security Summit – Learn more about how the IRS, representatives of the software industry, tax preparation firms, payroll and tax financial product processors and state tax administrators are working together to combat identity theft and refund fraud.

IRS Security Awareness Tax Tips

Tax Scams — How to Report Them

State ID Theft Resources – State information on what to do if you or your employees are victims of identity theft.

IRS Dirty Dozen – The annually compiled list enumerates a variety of common scams that taxpayers may encounter

 If you suspect you are a victim, contact the IRS Identity Theft Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490. When reporting to the IRS, you will need to:

  • Send a copy of an IRS ID Theft Affidavit Form 14039 – download the form here: irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f14039.pdf.
  • Send a proof of your identity, such as a copy of your Social Security card, driver’s license or passport.

After doing that, make sure to:

  • Update your files with records of any calls you made or letters you sent to the IRS
  • Put a fraud alert on your credit reports and order copies of your credit reports to review any other possible damage
  • Create an Identity Theft Report by filing an identity theft complaint with the FTC and a police report

 

Sources and References:

1 http://www.vanderbloemengroup.com/articles/irs-impersonation-telephone-scam

2 http://www.irs.gov

3 http://www.irs.gov

http://usa.gov/business-taxes

http://www.aarp.org

https://taxadmin.org/

https://treasury.gov/tigta/

Spring Cleaning? 4 Options for Discarding Old Hardware

Whether replacing old equipment with something new or simply cleaning out the office and getting rid of some old devices, we all have the same question on our mind.  What do we do with all this old technology?

We live in a world where technology is considered obsolete after only a few years. And if you are like many people I know, you have a drawer, closet, or room full of old devices. Unless you want to make a guest appearance on “Hoarders,” it is best to discard them. But how? You can’t just bring it to a landfill. (Those toxic materials regulations will get you every time!)

Before considering what to do with the old devices, it is vital that all data is properly removed. Simply deleting them from your recycle bin won’t do the job. Even if you can’t see the files, they still exist on the hard drive. It is therefore important to have the hard drive wiped or destroyed. Here at Bryley, we perform data erasure crush the drives to ensure the data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

We have come up with 4 possible options when discarding old hardware:

  • Reuse/Repurpose – Since many devices use similar parts, you may consider keeping one or two spares. Accidents happen and you never want to be in a situation where you don’t have a backup device. I, personally, keep one prior phone and laptop, just in case. I would rather have it and not need it, than not have it and need it.
  • Donate – Why not help those that are less fortunate by donating a device you no longer need. There are many organizations that would love to have second-hand items. When it comes to donating mobile devices, I usually drop them off at my local police station for either Phones for Soldiers or for those in domestic violence situations. Phones for Soldiers will sell the phones to purchase phone cards so that members of our military can stay connected with their loved ones. The police will often give old phones to individuals living with domestic violence. These phones can be used to contact emergency personnel even if there is no SIM card. Here at Bryley, we take older PCs, wipe them and display them in our window with a request for $15 to be donated to the Hudson Food Pantry or the Hudson Boys and Girls Club.
  • Donating to an after-school program is another great option. Some children do not have a reliable computer at home. It can therefore be challenging for them to complete their coursework.
  • Recycle – Recycling your devices is another viable option. Here at Bryley, for a small fee, we will responsibly recycle your devices and ensure that it is properly taken care of. Most stores that sell computers, and towns that have a program for responsibly disposing of your devices, will help you recycle your devices. They follow specific EPA protocols for disposing of the toxic materials within computers, laptops, printers, and mobile phones. Most towns have set dates for these programs, so it’s best to contact your local DPW (Department of Public Works) to inquire when the drop-off program will next be available.
  • Sell – Another option when considering getting rid of old hardware is to sell it. Technology is a depreciating asset, so if someone is willing to pay you for a device that you were going to dispose of, why not do it? There are numerous outlets for selling your old devices – Craigslist, Gazzelle.com, and eBay, to name a few. You can always leverage your social network as well.

If you would like assistance in donating or recycling your older devices, call us at 844.449.8770 or email us at ITExperts@Bryley.com. We are here for you.

Bryley Basics: Password Protection

Passwords are typically stolen during what’s called a phishing attack.

Phishing emails are malicious emails sent by criminals attempting to compromise your personal information. They often appear to be legitimate, so beware!

Most phishing emails are disguised as messages from an authoritative entity asking you to visit a website and enter personal information. These websites are set up to gather personal details, which they can then use to hack into your accounts and commit fraud. Some links and attachments in these emails contain malicious software, known as malware, which will install itself on your computer. Malware then collects data such as usernames and passwords.

Another way passwords are stolen is simply due to the face that some people use weak passwords.  If it’s easy to guess your password, then you have put yourself at greater risk of suddenly becoming a victim.

So, how do you stop someone from stealing your password?

First you will need to be aware of what real websites look like so that you know what false ones look like. If you know what to look for, and are suspicious by default each time you enter your password online, it will go a long way in preventing successful phishing attempts.

Each time you get an email about resetting your password, read the email address it’s coming from to make sure the domain name is real.  It usually says “something@websitename.com.   For example, “ITsupport@YouBank.com” would indicate that you’re getting the email from YourBank.com.

However, hackers can spoof email addresses too. Therefore, when you open a link in an email, check that the web browser resolves the link properly.

If you open a link that appears as “YourBank.com” and the link changes to “SomethingOtherThanThat.com, then you need to exit the page immediately.

If you’re ever suspicious, just type the website URL directly into the navigation bar. Open your browser and type “YourBank.com” if that’s where you want to go. This way you can ensure that you are on the legitimate website, and not a fake one.

Another safeguard is to set up two-factor authentication (if the website supports it) so that each time you log in, you not only need your password but also a code. The code is often sent to the user’s phone or email, so the hacker would need not only your password, but also access to your email account or phone.

If you think someone might steal your password using the password reset trick mentioned above, either choose more complex questions or simply avoid answering them truthfully to make it nearly impossible for a hacker to guess.  Simple passwords need to be avoided, it’s that simple.  If you need help remembering your complex passwords, you can store your passwords in a free password manager.

It is always advisable to store sensitive information like your credit card or bank details, within online accounts that are hosted by companies you trust. For example, if an odd website that you’ve never purchased from before is asking for your bank details, you might think twice about it or use something secure like PayPal or a temporary or reloadable card, to fulfill the payment.

When in doubt, don’t click.  Legitimate organizations will not ask you to disclose personal data via email.