I Think I just might be Psychic

The power of the mind is a strong and sometimes dramatic force

Ever have that time where you absolutely know something is about to happen and it does? Ever walk into a room and feel like you’ve been there before? These are probably all great questions for the internet, but I wanted to touch on something that really hit home recently and is definitely where you should be thinking if you have more than 2 computers in your office.

Let’s use our IT crystal ball to find out

Actually its remote monitoring management (RMM) software. This tool monitors important features of a server (email server, database server, website server, file server, etc.) and workstations (system health, installed software health, etc.) actually thousands of monitors and remediation at a moments notice. If something is required an alert or email is issued to the administrator and work can be scheduled. Truly a crystal ball for IT administrators.

But, monthly maintenance costs a few hundred dollars a month, and I don’t spend that on monthly IT costs?

So, what does this mean for the rest of us without it?

Easy, more expensive IT costs. You might ask yourself “But, monthly maintenance costs a few hundred dollars a month, and I don’t spend that on monthly IT costs?”. Good question, it’s not easy to see the benefits when you think of it that way, but, what about what you’re not seeing? Not only does the RMM part help prevent and notify when a system breakdown will happen but, it also keeps your systems constantly and consistently virus protected, patched and your software updated. Some plans also keep your systems backed up, and protected not only against viruses but against ransomware. For instance, the typical ransomware attack asks for 3 bitcoins to decrypt your files, in today’s bitcoin price that’s about $30,000 and if you don’t pay in the first 24 hours the price goes to 5 bitcoins ($50,000). When you visit with your board of directors and don’t mention “Managed Service” because you think it’s too expensive, make sure you tell them when you get ransomware, you had an opportunity to not pay the $30,000 that it’s now going to cost. Think I’m kidding? Think I’m trying to sell you? Hell no, I’m trying to save you.

Oh yeah, think your backups are safe? Those get encrypted too. You need a backup plan with disaster recovery. Backing up alone isn’t a solution, it’s a disappointment.

Don’t let these bastards hold you up

What I used to think…

I work for a retired couple that manages several apartment buildings and a few years back they had their accounting computers drive crash, the husband told me that when he took a computer class to get up-to-speed with computers they told him “It’s not if it will happen, but when.” I remember that about computer drives, but now I’ve changed my opinion and use the same analogy with Ransomware, “It’s not if it will happen, but when.” Don’t let these bastards hold you up, get managed service today and get protected. 972-571-4808.

The Unspoken Hero or Silent Killer of your Business

In our busy internet influenced life we often don’t think too much about how being without our electronic stuff would be. Because of a recent electrical storm, I didn’t think too much about it. Until I thought about a nearby restaurant and wondered if they had a particular item on the menu, I immediately grabbed my tablet, turned it on, then it hit me, the power is out and there is no internet (duh!). Imagine this same scenario but this time we need to send an important document, a powerpoint presentation, or even a contract. But, instead of just the electricity being down we’re permanently down because our computers drive has just crashed.

The silent killer is definitely the outage, and not having access to our data. We depend on it, and it would destroy our business without it. Even for a short time I couldn’t last long without the internet.

Most of the time being a computer consultant I go about doing my regular tasks. These tasks are unseen by customers and occur on an ongoing basis, its just part of the job to spend so much time working with backups. Recently with my new “Managed Service” offering I changed my strategy because of the difference between a consultant that is called when things just break, and a true “Managed Service” provider.

There are several factors to consider when creating a good backup plan. What kind of business is involved? How long could this customer be without their files? How many days could they gap if they lost part of their information? If a ransomware attack occurred how are the backups stored? What if a tornado landed?

Computer Hardware

Certainly, the list can go on, but, taking the most important ones and developing the plan is what a good consultant and a “Managed Service” provider do. I just started implementing mock ransomware attacks on my managed service clients as an ongoing test to make 100% sure they are ready. Have concerns that when your network crashes you’re ready? Give me a call, I’ll be happy to offer a 68 point network review at no cost. In the Dallas / Ft. Worth area call 972-571-4808.

Time face
What was your time?

Should you want to see how long you could go without your network or internet connection, turn off or unplug your electronic devices and see how much time it takes you before you reach for one.

 

 

I can map the drive by IP but not name

The Other Options Didn’t Solve the Problem

When I had the problem of being able to see a shared drive on the file server only by using the IP address and not the name I began searching the internet for answers, some workstations would see it by name and some wouldn’t. There is a mixture of XP, Windows 7, and Windows 10 machines on the network and some of each different type would connect while others wouldn’t. When I searched the Internet I found solutions about going to ‘Credential Manager’ (Control Panel, Credential Manager, Windows Credentials) and removing the saved credentials and that seemed to solve the problem for a lot of people, but not for me.

Back Story / How I got in this Mess

The machine that the file server was on crashed. The drive was fine, but the system itself stopped working. After tracing it to the motherboard I knew there wasn’t going to be a quick fix. This is a small company and they only have one other machine that is used as the SQL server, there old machines, but were pretty good when they were purchased years ago. Anyway, I needed to get this drive up as soon as possible, so not having time to get a new machine and do a bare metal restore, I took down the SQL machine long enough to install the file server drive into it. Then installed Virtualbox, and having the virtual computer use the physical hard drive of the server computer. Whala (voila if your french), file server is back online inside the SQL server box. (They both had similar hardware that aided in making this possible).

As we move ahead in time a few weeks, I built a new machine and kept the old server drive as a virtual drive except converted the physical drive to an actual virtual drive. My thought here was that later I can virtualize both of them (file server and SQL server) and come up with a clustering solution spread over a couple physical machines. So, after putting it all together on a new machine and firing it up suddenly not all workstations see the shared folder on the file server. This is where the trauma begins…

The Solution

I used Windows 10 for the pictorial solution, but, if your familiar with things, just un-check IP version 6 from the list of protocols from the workstations that are having the problem and things should work for you too.

1. First, right click on you network taskbar icon

2. Then when the settings window opens select “Ethernet”

3. Next Select “Change Adapter Options”

4. On the next window “Right Click” on the “network adapter” and select “properties”

5. Next, Un-check the IP Version 6 protocol and select “OK”

Conclusion

You can’t make this stuff up. Anytime when you least expect it something will happen. I handled this with very little user disruption. Even when the server crashed, the time back up was under 3 hours and when the IPv6 problem happened it was intermittent and I could handle most of that over the weekend. Need expert help with your network? In the Dallas / Ft. Worth Area, call me. 972.571.4808.