The newest cyber threat is the appropriately-named “Heartbleed,” a serious bug attacking OpenSSL (the open-source encryption protocol). Luckily DCG Technical Solutions, Inc. doesn’t use OpenSSL for any of our sites, but some of our clients do. It’s important for all of our customers to know that our service has been unaffected by this security breach.
While DCG clients are using SSL and certificates similar to OpenSSL, server farms in the DCG PrivateCLOUD and web properties are NOT affected. Some firewall manufacturers use OpenSSL, but the Sonicwall firewalls also do NO use OpenSSL. So from the time the data enters the DCG PrivateCLOUD, that data is not exposed by the Heartbleed threat.
Again, this threat does NOT affect DCG services. However this is a great reminder to all our users to practice absolute vigilance with online security. We strongly advise all customers to keep internet browsers up to date and change their passwords frequently. In light of this threat, many services are encouraging their users to change their passwords, including Google (Gmail), Android, Tumblr, Facebook, Yahoo! Mail, Amazon, Intuit TurboTax, Dropbox, LastPass, and PayPal.
I certainly enjoyed meeting ExxonMobile CEO and Eagle Scout Rex Tillerson at the Boy Scouts Business Leader’s Breakfast this week, to raise money for a terrific cause! I understand $140,000 was raised. Some of us at DCG are former Boy Scouts, so we are proud of our association and glad to participate in their fund raising efforts.
I’ll bet you didn’t know that while only four out of 100 boys in the USA will become Scouts, of the leaders of this nation in business, religion and politics, three out of four were Scouts. Only four percent of our nation’s youth were Scouts, yet 65% of all college and university graduates were Scouts.
To get involved sponsoring at risk kids in the Los Angeles Area, visit supportLAscouting.org.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DCG Technical Solutions, Inc. Scores Place Among MSPmentor’s Global Best
Company ranks #322 worldwide on list of optimum managed services providers
Los Angeles, CA— March 24, 2014 — DCG Technical Solutions, Inc., an IT outsourcing company serving greater Los Angeles County, announced today that MSPmentor’s annual global ranking of the world’s top 501 managed services providers honored DCG as #322 on its best-of list for 2013.
MSPmentor’s yearly list of 501 leaders is based on their annual Q4 survey. The results rank managed service providers based on factors including annual recurring revenues, dollar growth, percentage growth, and devices managed.
“I am proud and honored to receive this ranking” said Brent Whitfield, CEO of DCG Technical Solutions, Inc. “Being recognized among this list of esteemed managed services providers highlights our dedication to providing only the highest quality IT support Los Angeles has to offer.”
MSPmentor, produced by Nine Lives Media, is a guide to managed services and the leading global destination for managed service providers. Nine Lives Media is a division of Penton, a professional information services company which helps professionals decide how to grow and solve business challenges. For more information on MSPMENTOR visit MSPmentor.net.
About DCG Technical Solutions, Inc.
DCG Technical Solutions, Inc. has been providing a generous range of network and Internet support services since 1993. With DCG PrivateCLOUD™, its enhanced co-location and PrivateCLOUD infrastructure, DCG Technical Solutions, Inc. gives its clients heightened scalability and ease of deployment in the cloud with the security and performance of local, dedicated server hardware.
For more on DCG Technical Solutions, Inc., visit www.dcgla.com.
Brent Whitfield, CEO
DCG Technical Solutions
DCG Technical Solutions
Calm.com is a free website and iPhone app that offers a break in the day of busy execs, gamers or social media addicts who rarely step away from their screens. Relaxation techniques are given in sessions ranging from two to 20 minutes in length and help you physically and mentally unwind to meditative sights and sounds. The guided tours offer a narrator who takes you on your journey to relaxation by calmly explaining which parts of your body and breathing to relax and focus on.
With the iPhone app, you’re taken through “The 7 Steps of Calm.” The app and first session are free, but to experience all the app has to offer, it’s a $4.99 download.
Ford has come full circle, falling back into popularity among drivers both old and young thanks to a slew of new models, particularly its 2013 plug-in hybrid Fusion Energi.
One of our own DCG engineers drives the mid size Fusion Energi and reports that he drives a little more than 30 miles (or 4.5 hours) on a single battery charge, which costs him only $1.70 per day for the charge. When the charge is depleted the car switches to hybrid mode, in which he doubles his gas mileage over a traditional mid size car, getting a whopping 59 mph, driving at an average of 900 miles on a single tank of gas.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Fusion Energi with 108 city/92 highway/100 combined MPGe (“miles per gallon gasoline equivalent,” a rating designed by the EPA to evaluate the cost of driving on battery vs. fuel). And when compared to the widely popular Toyota Prius, which is considered fairly unattractive and has been called a “slug” by various reviewers, the stylish Energi’s power is unrivaled.
Additional savings reaped by Fusion Energi drivers comes in the form of federal and state rebates, which further bring down the price of the car. Starting at roughly $34,000, it’s not what you’d call a cheap economy car to start. But the savings are realized daily once you’ve driven off the showroom floor.
Click here to get the full lowdown on Ford’s Fusion Energi.
DCG’s headquarters in La Canada, Calif. are under construction, and the new building will yield a state of the art, world class Network Operations Center (NOC). This upgraded NOC will allow DCG to better support its clients and more quickly handle their issues with a more technologically advanced space.
The newly designed NOC will allow DCG’s talented engineers work more collaboratively to better support their clients.
Check out the time-lapsed two-day demolition here:
One of the most annoying things about typing on a smartphone is inserting punctuation. Toggling back and forth between the alphabet and punctuation layouts is a time-waster that can easily be avoided. Here are three tricks that allow you to punctuate your messages without switching from one keyboard to another:
1. Spacebar double-tap. When you’re ready to insert a period, double-tap on the spacebar. A period is automatically inserted at the end of the sentence. And there’s an added bonus: The first letter of the next word you type is automatically capitalized. This works on both iOS and Android.
2. Drag-and-release. For commas, question marks, and other punctuation that’s not a period, all you have to do on the iPhone is press and hold the keyboard’s “123″ button and drag your finger to the punctuation you want to insert, then release. After iOS inserts that character, it then automatically switches back to the main alphabet layout. On Android, just tap the “123″ then the desired punctuation button; Android then inserts that punctuation and switches back to the main keyboard when you press the space button.
3. Don’t bother with apostrophes. Your smartphone actually knows when an apostrophe is needed, so don’t bother inserting it yourself. “Werent” will automatically be changed to “weren’t.”
The world is divided into two groups: those who have lost data and those who will. Lately we’ve been hearing more and more news reports of people losing data due to the Crypto virus, and we thought this is a good time to remind everyone of the utmost importance of backups. Here are five tips to protect your company’s digital life.
1. Backup! You must always keep a current copy of your data on another type of storage media like a hard drive or DVDs.
2. Show me my data! Make sure your backups work by doing a test restore on a regular basis. If backing up your company’s data is delegated, ask your IT guy to demonstrate for you that the backups are running EVERY DAY, and that he/she can do a test restore for you.
3. Upgrade NOT! Before performing a system upgrade, back up and then verify your data BEFORE proceeding.
4. Go beyond the backup with business D.R. For businesses with on-premises servers, insist on a D.R. (disaster recovery) solution that will bring back mission critical servers. DR Solutions like Dependable SafeSTOR is the best way to keep downtime to a minimum should an entire server fail or get stolen.
5. All drives that were manufactured in the last six years have SMART alerting but very few people know about it. Monitor all the PCs in your organization, both on premises and especially the notebook computers that are with your travelers. By using a service like St. Bernard Managed Care, you can be alerted a day or two BEFORE a drive crashes. This gives you time to get your recent data off the drive while the manufacturer changes out the drive. Using St Bernard, many DCG clients have gotten their replacement drives from Dell or HP based on our monitoring before their drive failed.
A note about external drives: USB style hard drives are very popular. People rely more and more on cheap external USB drives for document and picture storage. These devices can easily become corrupted, so follow these rules about external USB media:
1. ALWAYS use the operating system’s eject feature or you risk losing or corrupting the disk due to the way Windows and Mac perform delayed writes. Click on the Safely Remove Hardware icon from the system tray/notification area, and click on the “Eject Drive” option for the listed drive that you want to eject.
2. Do not remove USB style hard drives while they are operating. Physical damage and/or data loss could occur.
3. Since a fire is likely to damage your PC and any external drives that are attached to it, don’t count on locally stored USB drives for your priceless data. Send a copy of everything to an online cloud service like Drop Box for Business.
Every day I find myself stuck for new ideas when writing for my company blog. How do I continually generate new, compelling content to maintain an active blog presence?
Generating great content can seem a bit overwhelming, but if you follow a strategy and focus on “teaching” rather than “selling,” you will be on your way!
Refer to this list whenever you are “stuck” for ideas:
1. Make it personal.
First person accounts of how you overcame problems or challenges are tremendously valuable to your readers. Sharing missteps, false starts, pitfalls, etc. provides value that is hard to measure. Company stories, officer/salesmen biographies, public service experience, stories of giving back and charity participation, etc. generate a tremendous amount of readership. Interestingly, the most read, forwarded, and commented on article I ever wrote for the DCG blog was one about how I lost 30 pounds on the 4-Hour Body Slow Carb Diet.
2. Scan the news.
Find news related to your industry and cherry-pick the most relevant or timely info to pass on via your blog.
3. Use Top 10 or Top 5 lists.
These types of lists provide an easy form of communication in a way that is fun and quick to digest.
4. Answer commonly asked questions.
You, your salesmen, or customer service reps know that the same questions are asked over and over about many of your products. The same goes for your business practices. Brainstorm a list of these questions and write a short blog article about each one.
5. Steal ideas.
Well, not exactly. But do you ever notice that when a new idea is “trending,” you will see variations on the same article in the technology section of The Wall Street Journal, Wired, and Engadget? The trick is NOT to plagiarize or steal someone else’s work, but to find inspiration within B2B publications in your industry and present the general information to your clients using your unique perspective and experience.
6. Use Google.
It goes without saying that if you can write about the search terms your SEO campaign is focused on, your site will become more relevant, thus trusted with Google. So search on those keywords to see if any are trending in the news there is other more informational content. Google Alerts is a free service that lets you set alerts for industry keywords. Google sends you trending articles every day that you can use for story ideas. If you see three or four articles on the same topic, you can do a “round up” piece to distill the information for your readers.
7. Case Studies.
Interview a handful of clients and write about ways they are using your products to solve challenging problems in interesting ways.
8. Get Visual.
The blog is a great place to post iPhone-made videos of your facilities or products in action. If there is a training or informational aspect that fits one of your categories, those will work best. Use Fiverr.com to get someone to transcribe all of the video’s audio and post the video with the transcription on the blog. When using images from other sites, get permission or select royalty free images.
9. Focus on Pain.
What are the biggest problems your readers face? Focus on topics that provide “first-aid” to their wounds. Call clients or your sales force to learn what their biggest obstacles or problems are and write about them.
10. Scan industry conference speaker topics.
This is a great way to find out what the big thinkers in your industry are talking about and what your clients are willing to pay for and go see.
I know you have encouraged us to start a company blog, but I have noticed that whenever a company starts a blog, it doesn’t take long for them to give up and quit. Why is that?
Sadly, those companies are not following three simple steps when writing their blogs. “Teaching” instead of “selling” is the new normal in business and the best way to engage and convert prospects to long term clients. Unfortunately many company blogs are selling without teaching.
But blogs can be so tremendously powerful. I have learned that one of the best ways to reach prospects–when they are ready to engage you and are most receptive to your message–is with a corporate blog. DCG enccourages our search engine optimization (SEO) clients to create and maintain a corporate blog because doing so elevates your website in terms of trust and page rank with Google. Timely, relevant blog articles that educate your prospects about your industry, demonstrate creative use of your products, and give lots of value is not only the best way to attract clients, but also a great way support a successful SEO campaign.
Google likes to elevate sites that have logs of relevant content because their goal is to provide searchers with sites that are most likley to have answers the searchers are looking for. Blogs are a fantastic way to do that.
Here are the three basic steps bloggers should follow in order to avoid imminent failure:
1. Set a schedule.
The number one reason companies fail is that they don’t set a blogging schedule and stick with it. One or two articles a week should be a minimum goal.
2. Get help.
It is imperative that more than one person share the responsibility of meeting the schedule. If you are not a strong writer, get one. I collaborate with Dyan from Assistant Match to help me write the DCG newsletter and many of our blog articles. Share the blog project with at least one other employee who will help you with the content generation and timelines.
3. Stick to at least five general topics.
You must define general subject categories that you will write about every month. That is the easiest way to generate new content consistently, since it is easier to notice content in the news, around the office, or at home when you are focused on just a few topics. That’s how newspapers do it. They have a News, Sports, Society, Entertainment section, etc. By way of example, here are some categories and article titles we use on the DCG BLOG:
• It’s Free – Apple’s Splashy iOS7
• Cool Stuff – Fitbit Goes Flexible with Flex
• Tips and Tricks – Stay Current and Secure with Secunia PSI
• Ask the Answer Guy – Is Dropbox Still Safe to Use?
• Security Corner – NSA’s Recommendations for the Most Secure Networks
• IT Talk – Windows XP is Retiring. Get Ready to Upgrade.
So, don’t become one of those companies who have a blog that is as stale and old! Hang in there! Once you’re teaching instead of selling, and blogging about it becomes a part of your work life, the task will get easier and more rewarding as time goes on.
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