SouthTech News and Events

SouthTech Announces Date for Next Technology Recycling Event

Date and Time: October 12th, 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM and beyond...

Location: SouthTech Parking Lot

SouthTech will be once again partnering with Quicksilver Recycling Services, located in Tampa, to offer both our clients and the local Sarasota business community the opportunity to safely recycle their old technology. This includes mobile devices, desktops, laptops, monitors, printers, and more. An important thing to note, however, is that Quicksilver cannot and will not accept TVs. The good news is that TVs are just about the only piece of old tech that will not be accepted. Recycling services will begin at 9:00 AM on October 12th, and will go on until 1:00. Representatives from both Quicksilver Recycling and SouthTech will be present to assist with the handling of the technology brought in, and will be there to provide secure data destruction certificates to all attendees that bring in secure materials. This service is crucial for all attendees that are bringing in technology from workplaces, as the devices may contain critical data. With Quicksilver's Services however, all hard drives will be wiped and destroyed on-site, ensuring complete data destruction. Better safe than sorry!

To make the event fun, SouthTech will also be holding a raffle, with tickets handed out to participants. One piece of recyclable technology is good for one ticket, so bring in as much technology as you can! Prizes will be announced soon (the grand prize is a big one), so if you'd like to stay updated be sure to follow SouthTech on all three of the following social channels: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Let's make this another successful event and prove that, in Florida, it isn't just the trees that stay green all year round!

 

Windows Server 2008 and 2008R2 Coverage Will Be Ending in 2020

If you’re a SouthTech client and your desktop is still operating on Windows Server 2008 or 2008R2, this applies to you. If you’re not sure, you’re going to want to call your Client Account Manager (CAM) or our Client Services Team and find out. Why? Because starting in January 2020, Microsoft support for both of these products will be permanently ending. This means that your software will become unsupported, unsecured, and your company will be out of compliance, which is a big problem especially for our clients in the medical field. 

In a previous article we focused on WIndows 7 and it's End of Support life cycle, but now we’re going to focus on Windows Server 2008 and 2008R2. Server upgrades are more intensive than the work involved with updating a desktop, and even more crucial. An unsupported server is a critical danger to your business. Microsoft support for Windows Server 2008 and 2008R2 will be ending on January 14th, 2020. That might sound far off, but it is a lot closer than you think and you need to be upgraded before then. Once Microsoft cuts off support, your data is in danger.

If you’re still operating on Windows Server 2008 or 2008R2, then you’re already running on extended support. This means that you could be paying more for limited support on a product that you will have to upgrade anyway. This is key: this upgrade is mandatory and unavoidable. Beyond that fact, extended support offers only the bare minimum, covering security upgrades and little else. When Microsoft ends support, that means even the minimum provided by extended support will cease. They will no longer building security patches for the software which leaves you open to cyberattacks. In addition to being safer on upgraded software, today's latest systems are simply faster, more powerful.

Our team wants to make sure you’re covered, and they’re already working behind the scenes to create a timeline of manageable server upgrades that will ensure all our clients are upgraded before the dreaded End of Lifecycle deadline. Last minute server upgrades are risky, and January 2020 will come a lot faster than you might think. We will be reaching out to all of our clients that are still operating on these systems in the immediate future; expect to hear from your CAMs and see this come up in our monthly newsletters until all the desktops and servers we manage are fully upgraded. If you’d like to get a head start and find out what you’ll need to do to start preparing for these upgrades, please get in touch with your Client Account Manager.

Windows 7 Coverage Will Be Ending in 2020

If you’re a SouthTech client and your desktop is still operating on Windows 7 software, or you’re still utilizing Windows Server 2008, this applies to you. If you’re not sure, you’re going to want to call your Client Account Manager (CAM) or our Client Services Team and find out. Why? Because starting in January 2020, Microsoft support for both of these products will be permanently ending. This means that your software will become unsupported, unsecured, and your company will be out of compliance, which is a big problem especially for our clients in the medical field.  

Why does this happen? Why would Microsoft end support for their own products? (For the non-tech-person in the office this is a genuine question!)  The simple answer is: Microsoft is focused on the future, a Windows 10 future.  Windows 7 has served so many, so well, for close to a decade.  It makes sense, for any company, to always be improving and in doing so they must maintain focus on the path forward.  This coupled with the resources needed to maintain and develop patches, updates, security improvements the decision to set an end date for Windows 7 Support was needed. 

EOL for software has been and still is driven by improvements – but more and more it is being driven by security.  The bottom line is that the more “flavors” of an OS that Microsoft has to support, the more time is needed to issue continuous updates and security patches.  A prime example of what can go wrong when your system isn’t fully upgraded is WannaCry – a ransomware bug that tore through Europe because it took advantage of a vulnerability in unpatched Microsoft systems. 

In addition to being safer on upgraded software, today's latest systems are simply faster, more powerful. There are far more benefits to upgrading now than there would be to holding off until the last possible moment.

If you’re still operating on Windows 7 you’re already behind; you’re currently running on extended support, which means you could be paying more for limited support on a product you’re going to have to upgrade eventually. We recommend doing this sooner rather than later. Extended support offers only the bare minimum, covering security upgrades but not much else. Our team wants to make sure you’re covered, and they’re already working behind the scenes to create a timeline of manageable server upgrades that will ensure all our clients are upgraded before the dreaded End of Lifecycle deadline. Last minute server upgrades are risky, and January 2020 will come a lot faster than you might think. 

Our team will be reaching out to clients that are still operating on these systems in the immediate future; expect to hear from your CAMs and see this come up in our monthly newsletters until all the desktops and servers we manage are fully upgraded. If you’d like to get a head start and find out what you’ll need to do to start preparing for these upgrades, don’t hesitate to reach out. 

Mallory Torres Joins the SouthTech Team

SouthTech, a provider of managed technology solutions, recently hired Mallory Torres to work in the service department. In her position on the Client Care team, Mallory will provide technical support for the company’s PowerView Manage clients.

 

Mallory Torres 1

 

Mallory was born in Manatee County, and has spent her life living in Sarasota, Bradenton, and Ellenton.  Mallory’s professional background is largely in the internet service provider sector prior to joining SouthTech. 

“We are excited to announce the addition of Mallory to our Client Care team,” says Josh Haley, Client Services Manager for SouthTech. “Mallory would modestly tell you her personal interests are “boring,” but we think it’s pretty cool that she likes to write fiction and play variations of Dungeons and Dragons with her friends in her free time. Welcome to the team, Mallory!  We’re happy to have you on board.”

 

Free Electronics Recycling & Destruction Event

Free Electronics Recycling & Destruction Event

SouthTech is partnering with Quicksilver Recycling Services to offer our clients a Free Electronics Recycling & Destruction Event.

Getting rid of an old device can be stressful, especially if it contains sensitive information. We'd like to invite our clients to take advantage of this free event to ensure your business critical information is safe.

Friday, January 26 at 9am - 1pm
SouthTech (2801 Fruitville Road)

Please RSVP here by January 21

Full list of accepted items here

We are at an “End of Life for Support” for Microsoft Office 2007

Microsoft Office 2007

We are at an “End of Life for Support” for Microsoft Office 2007. This means there will be no new security updates, non-security updates, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates. Clients still using Office 2007 products and services should contact us to start moving to newer Microsoft solutions like Office 365. 

Doyin Adeoba Joins the SouthTech Team!

We are so excited to welcome Doyin to the Unified Communications Team!

Doyin Adeoba

Doyin is originally from Sarasota but moved to Palmetto when she was about five years old. Previously a Star2Star team member, Doyin is a Voice Implementation Specialist here at SouthTech.

Fun fact: Doyin is a licensed massage therapist with a degree in Computer Information Systems. Whether it's at the spa or in her line of IT work, Doyin enjoys helping people work out little aches and pains. She has a large list of interests, including yoga, working out, aromatherapy, basketball (Go Golden State Warriors!) and spending time with friends and family.

"Oh, and music is like air to me."

Welcome to the team, Doyin! Happy to have you on board.

Hurricane Preparedness & Disaster Recovery

hurricane 

SouthTech recommended solutions that have built in backup and disaster recovery functionality:

1.    Office 365 Email - Email is hosted by Microsoft in redundant data centers and is routinely backing up your email. In the event your office is not accessible, users should be able to access their email from any location where they have internet access (home or public Wi-Fi).

2.    PowerView Backup/Disaster/Recovery (BDR) Service – An onsite device that takes backups of your server, and then sends a copy offsite nightly. Should onsite equipment at your office become unusable (flood, etc.), the offsite copy can be utilized as a virtual server temporarily until we can restore an onsite server for normal use.

3.    PowerView Voice (Star2Star Phone System) – PowerView Voice has built in disaster recovery. Should your physical equipment at your office be offline, calls will still flow to your voicemails, then they can be retrieved from your cell phone or other internet capable device. We can also have your office phones forwarded to your cell phones automatically should the outage be for more than just a few hours. This would allow staff to take calls on their cell phones as they come into their office phone numbers.

Hurricane Prepared Checklist - to be used when storm is forecasted to impact your business area:

Equipment Preparation:

  • Disconnect power and cables to all technology equipment.  
    • In the event of flooding or rain entering your facility, having your equipment disconnected from power sources will help in preventing damage to the equipment. 
    • Please label/tag all equipment and cables and consider taking pictures to ease in re-setup after storm.
  • If possible, move any technology equipment to an elevated area that is secured (locked closet, vault, etc.), and consider covering the equipment with waterproof material.
    • If secured area is not available in the facility, please consider moving the equipment to a secure offsite facility.

Other important considerations:

  • Consider re-evaluating internal organization disaster recovery plan
  • Internal review of insurance prior to storm’s landfall
  • Take pictures and/or videos of technology equipment and facilities for insurance purposes in the event of damage
  • If equipment cannot be secured within your facility, below is a list of the most critical equipment containing data for your business that should be taken offsite:
    • Server unit – most data that is business critical will reside here. Consider taking offsite if unsure of facility’s security during storm
    • Computer towers and/or laptop computers (hard drives potentially containing important data)
    • Backup devices and their storage (external hard drives, etc.). If you’re not using a third-party backup device, then consider taking any externally attached hard drives from server

How to engage SouthTech Support:

  • Weather permitting, SouthTech will be open during normal business hours leading up to the storm and inclement weather.
    • Safety of our personnel will be our top priority and depending on the storm track, technician availability may be limited to emergency only situations. 
  • To engage SouthTech’s support teams, please call (941)- 953-7455, option 2. We will be prioritizing our work based on levels of business disruption and order of request.
  • If storm reaches critical status in the Sarasota area, a voicemail will need to be left asking for follow-up. 
    • Email will not be responded to until after the storm has passed and offices are operational again.

SouthTech Hires Brett King

Brett King

Intern extraordinaire Brett King has joined the SouthTech team as a Systems Support Specialist! Brett joined us for the third time as an intern this summer, and we were so blown away by his work, we knew we needed to have him as an official member of the SouthTech team.

Welcome, Brett!

Get to Know Brett

Place the Partner Testimonial: Paul Hoffman - SouthTech

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