Archives For apple

foxJust Returned From An Interview With Fox News…Apple Has Been Hit!

Apple has finally been hit by ransomware. Here’s what you need to know…

The reporter had heard things like, Apple can’t be attacked by malware! Wow, is that wrong. True, Microsoft gets hit more often, but there are instances of Apple Malware out there. This is reportedly the first fully-baked ransomware attack on Apple – discovered over the weekend.

The first thing you need to know is, “your prospects think they’re protected by firewalls and passwords”. They’re not.

This attack has nothing to do with either. The only defense, had one of your clients downloaded the BitTorrent Software (Transmission) that was infected, would have been a managed data collecting type security program.

Arctic Wolf, out of Sunnyvale is a great example.  Some UTM firewalls, like Check Point Software, with the appropriate detection functions turned on would also have detected it. And you would have had 3 days to respond, if the technology didn’t block it.

What Software Are We Talking About?

The software is Transmission 2.90.  It’s a peer to peer software client that uses the BitTorrent protocol to move data.

Nearly 50% of the traffic on the Internet today is BitTorrent in some form or another. A lot of it is used for illegal stuff like pirating movies.  But it’s also used by Facebook, Twitter, Government Agencies, Video Game Companies, and more.  It’s only the Transmission version 2.90 that’s a problem, and the Transmission company has already released 2.92.

What’s important here?

It’s the detection / response message. Ransomware has been around for about 10 years. The past three have seen tremendous growth.  Three years ago there were about 100,000 instances reported. Last year that went to 600,000. The biggest ransom paid so far, that I know of, was the $17,000 dollars paid last month by Hollywood Hospital. Lives were at stake, so they paid it.  Most of these attacks target smaller businesses.

Statistically only about 3% of those infected pay, but experts agree that the number is much higher. That’s all that are reported. The hospital, by law, had to report this attack. Many small businesses will pay it and move on.

Your Opportunity Is Now

Get out to your clients now!

They have a couple of days before encryption happens if they’re infected, but chances are they use Microsoft, not Apple, on the desktop.

But even if they don’t use Transmission Software and Apple, it makes sense to recommend an assessment – chances are they have something urgent. You just need a reason to show them.

Remember, scanning isn’t enough. You need some data collection. Move them to UTM Firewalls, add ongoing monitoring services, and remind them, this was Apple and Transmission. Tomorrow it will be Microsoft and something they use every day.  When it hits, no one will be able to save them. They’ll either lose data or pay the fine. The more they pay the fine, the more criminals are going to do this.

© 2016, David Stelzl

 

 

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Donald Trump Says – Break Into The Phone….

View my interview with FoxNews and Let us know what you think….

appleHow Quickly Are You Responding to Your Customer’s Needs…

Time is important. The way you view your customer’s time just might be the most important part of your offering. Three recent interactions over the past week underscore just how important this is.

Apple Has Great Support

I mentioned in a post the other day that my daughter had been contacted online by a fraudster offering support. She called me in before paying the fraudulent charge, but I still went to Apple to make sure we were doing the right thing.  Apple was easy to contact. My daughter’s system is not new. In fact, it’t time to upgrade. But contacting support was easy, fast, and free regardless of the date I made the purchase. Using the online chat software I had my answers in less than 5 minutes, and the instructions on what to do were easy to follow.

American Airlines Calls You Back

My airline travel was down last year due to more online programs – so I lost my chairman status (USAirways). As a chairman member I always got immediate service.  Now that I no longer have the privilege, I have to wait in line like everyone else when calling in with a problem or question.  Last week was my first call into the now merged AA and USAirways company.  While the wait time was over 15 minutes, the automated system did take my cell number and call me back.  This is a great service for support organizations that don’t have to give immediate assistance. Sure enough, about 30 minutes after I placed the call they called back. I was connected immediately without being tied to the phone listening to hold music and marketing announcements. MMS Blog Ad

Quickbooks Makes You Wait

On the other hand, I had a Quickbooks App issue this morning. My first contact was with a woman who didn’t really speak English. Make sure your people speak the language of the people you support. I’m okay with a slight accent – we get that between northern and southern US. Not a problem.  But this was “Broken Engrish”, and very hard to understand.

She must have asked me 3 or 4 times which version I was using. For some reason she didn’t understand me either. When we finally agreed that I was on a Mac using the App, she told me I needed to talk with the online support team. Before placing me on hold she informed me that Quickbooks does not allow the support team to call out.  So waiting was the only option.

18 minutes later I am on the phone with online support. When I told him I had a Mac with an App, he simply said, “You have to uninstall it and reinstall it. We don’t support the App.” When I complained that the first person should have told me that, he insisted that he had told her to tell me that on the phone. I’m sure he did, but for some reason she did not relay the message. He apologized for wasting half an hour of my day and we hung up.

Computer support is critical. Most of us spend the entire day doing something on a computer. If you’re in the managed services business your clients should be support contracts, not T&M, and the support should be nearly instantaneous.  If you support the security side of your client’s business (which is a must these days) your response time is even more important.  The good news is, fast, quality support is worth paying for when you make money using a computer.

© 2015, David Stelzl

windowsWindows 10 Is Here – So How Will This Affect Your Managed Services Business Over the Next 12 Months?

Resellers – I’m talking about the SMB VAR that has converted most of the business to managed services.

There are many; if you’re a VAR, it’s you and your competition. Since the late 1980’s, when Microsoft Windows first appeared as a viable business choice, beating out OS/2 for the majority market share, Window’s problems have dominated IT’s time.  This operating system has never really worked – not like other operating systems. If you don’t agree – you may not have experienced the amazing capabilities and stability of IBM Mainframe technology, the OS/400 and it’s System 36 predecessors, and of course many flavors of UNIX. These computers run circles around Windows. But that’s another subject for another day.

The point is, Managed Services has been sold as a way to even out the expense associated with the support nightmares small businesses face every day. And I have to believe that 90% of them, based on many VAR interactions, are Windows problems. What happens to your manage services business if this version actually works?

I Use Mac and Don’t Really Need An IT Group

I started with Apple back in 1984.  In 1987, taking a job with what is now Bank of America, I was forced to move to DOS (which was also extremely stable and easy to use,) and eventually Windows 3.0 (The First real Windows look and feel). Windows 3.0 was not an operating system – it was an overlay that ran on DOS.  Eventually Microsoft turned this thing into a complete operating system – NT.

Remember Vista? Many revisions after the original NT operating system…It was supposed to be the silver bullet. I bought my a new laptop from Dell around that time, with Vista installed. By the time Windows 7 came out I was ready to convert!  I did – I moved back to Apple.  I rarely need any support, and have no regrets. It’s been over seven years now.

Mac People Converting? It’s a Sign.

When Microsoft Windows 7 came out, many of the problems were said to be corrected. And they were. I had one Windows desktop remaining in my office, and immediately upgraded it to the new Windows OS.  Running 4 Macs and one Windows 7 computer was interesting. In case you haven’t guessed, the Windows box was the only system that required frequent rebooting, laborious updates, and periodic wiping and reloading. 

So I was surprised when I read last week in the Wall Street Journal about a Mac follower converting to Windows 10! Something about 10 must be really good!  I guess we’ll see – but what happens to your business if Window’s users suddenly don’t need much in the way of support?

Sure, there will always be a need for some support. The entire city of Charlotte, NC and surrounding 100 mile radius is supported by about 2 Apple Stores. There might be a third.  This is actually good. I mean, computers should be getting better, and software should be more stable over time. This technology is maturing. But what’s you’re next move.

The Point Is, VARs Must Change

I’ve written about this before, but it needs to be written again. I just got off the phone with a long time customer and friend. His business has been very successful over the years – he sells managed services. This year growth is flat. I know many resellers are making money – they’ve built substantial recurring revenue through managed programs. It was the smart thing to do. Those who didn’t do it are probably in trouble right now.

But there’s always a next move. The technology business won’t stand still. And it’s about that time. Regardless of when you made the transition, it was 2003 when the early adopters did it.

You have two choices, the way I see it.  Security or Software. Either help companies make the digital transformation with customer software (a competitive advantage sell) or move to security – intelligent, predictive security. The  technologies are new, but now’s the time to jump onboard.  If not, you might find your Windows 10 customers don’t really need you. After all, it’s moving to the cloud…like just about everything.

© 2015, David Stelzl

P.S. Not related to this post really, but there are some interesting and concerning security issues emerging with the release of Windows 10.  Your team might want to be up on these – might create some new business opportunities.

Apple Video

(Click the Picture to Play)

Apple – Bigger Than Microsoft? How Can That Be?

Apple, $683, Microsoft $338 Billion (Market Cap).  Wow! (Be Sure to watch the video above).

This morning as I read this I was thinking about my Mac 128 – the one I purchased as part of Drexel University’s computer science program – one of the first accredited computer science programs offered in the U.S.  It was a great computer and it was the first Mac.  Today I’m sitting in front of my Macbook Pro. This one actually has a hard drive in it…I’m connected to various cloud apps, made calls to Europe on it this morning, and am sharing documents around the world, monitoring the other Mac’s on my local network, and syncing with my iPhone – the other half of my IT infrastructure.

How did Apple get here?

If you’ve not read Steve Job’s life story, I highly recommend it – if you’re in the IT space. If you’ve read it, you know what I’m saying when I say, “I had no idea.” Back in 1984 I had no idea who Apple really was, who Steve Jobs was, or Bill Gates. But reading about Steve’s life has been eye opening at the least. Regardless of the baggage you’ll read about, he was a genius. It’s amazing story or rags to riches…Blog Subscribe Ad

Now, have you read Simon Sinek’s book, Start with WHY? Interesting, Simon wrote this book in 2009. Apple was growing – but Simon had no idea Apple would be where they are today. Looking back at what he wrote, his wisdom is validated. People buy your WHY before they buy your WHAT. If you haven’t read his book – you should read it now. Apple is the company he’s talking about.

Taking the Risk vs. Following the Trend

Today’s Business Times article explains how Apple got to where they are today.  Read it!  <<  CLICK.

The iPhone – Steve was right. People can do everything they did on iPods, with a phone. And by making the phone bigger, they not only cannibalized  their iPod business, they ate into their tablet business.  “The most successful companies need a vision, and both Apple and Microsoft have one. But Apple’s was more radical and, as it turns out, more farsighted. Microsoft foresaw a computer on every person’s desk,… But Apple went a big step further: Its vision was a computer in every pocket.” (BusinessTimes).

The article goes on the show that “Microsoft has repeatedly tried to diversify, and continues to do so … But “it’s been more of a follower whereas Apple has been more of a trendsetter.”

The Wake Up Call To Resellers

This business is changing. I don’t know how long Apple can hold this leadership position. No one stays in front forever. But the bigger thing on my mind as I read this is the technology reseller business. Years ago Novell led the charge in building a successful channel – many have followed, and  there are some great channel programs out there. But the technology sales business is changing. In the 90s, Unix systems made the firm I was working for very successful. In 2000 it was VoIP. in 2003 I was running my own consulting company, helping resellers convert to Managed Services.

Those who are still hanging onto these offerings are doing the opposite of what Apple is doing. There are two things to focus on right now – helping clients gain a competitive advantage (largely through software), and helping them build in greater levels of security as they transition to cloud, BYOD, and online collaborate tools.  Those who wait will be too late.

© 2015, David Stelzl

P.S. Do You Have Your Copy of The NEW House & The Cloud?  << Get it on Amazon…

Did you see this in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal?  “How Microsoft can become the next Apple. Struggling to regain momentum and capture the imagination of consumers and employees, Microsoft Corp. has pinned its hopes on the Windows 8 operating system, which powers tablets and smartphones in addition to notebooks and desktops. If Windows 8 doesn’t do the trick, its board may very well heed insistent investor calls for CEO Steve Ballmer’s head; if it does so, there may be only one person who can step in with the instant respect of Microsoft’s top lieutenants, and the clout to implement major changes in the company: Bill Gates. Just as Steve Jobs provided a fresh perspective and new singularity of purpose when he returned to lead the company he helped found, if Mr. Gates were to return to Microsoft’s helm, “people would get excited,”…

Simon Sinek provides a simple explanation, and even uses Apple as the example.  I’ve shared this video before, but in light of this quote, it’s worth repeating:

© 2013, David Stelzl

Photo taken by David Stelzl

A couple of attendees emailed questions regarding competitive advantage…following Wednesday’s Cisco sponsored webinar.  I thought it might be helpful to address this here:

(Q) Why is Operational Efficiency or Risk Mitigation easier to sell than Competitive advantage?

First, it’s important to note, I did not say you can’t sell using competitive advantage as your value proposition, but rather, operational efficiency and risk mitigation are preferable; at least to the average sales person.  Here’s why…

Companies can use technology to compete, however this type of advantage is often short lived unless the company deploys some type of unique patented technology; something their competition can’t go out and buy tomorrow.  More often than not, technology driven competitive advantage is really an operational efficiency gained by the perfection or automation of some process.  So in the end, it’s really an operational efficiency sale, that in-part, delivers competitive advantage, in addition to delivering cost efficiencies (which their competition will either adopt or find another way to accomplish).  The technology sales person’s ability to foresee such an advantage in a complex manufacturing situation (for instance) is not so likely.  (Again, speaking of the average rep calling across many verticals).

True competitive advantages are seen when a larger company has more buying power, putting others out of business by squeezing their margins such as is the case with the Home Depot stores competing with smaller hardware stores.  Wal*Mart does this by putting highly efficient distribution processes in place that are unaffordable by the average mom and pop store in your local area.  While Wal*Mart may have some unique applications in place, their infrastructure isn’t really unique, just unaffordable to smaller companies.  The process itself is key, and unique as it is cost prohibitive to the smaller company.

Operational efficiency in itself may offer competitive advantage as seen above, and the seller can use this to gain momentum on the purchase, but the efficiency is more easily articulated by the seller.  To go down the competitive advantage road with technology sales may require a deep understanding of the vertical’s market pressures.  Perhaps if the sales person has come out of that industry, they’ll have success with this.

Competitive advantages not tied to operational efficiency, which stand alone as a true advantage that cannot be duplicated, may come in the form of location such as the best corner owned by McDonalds, exclusive distribution of a product, or patented technology such as the iPad and Mac OS.  These advantages are not easily matched.  Will Dell come out with a better laptop than Mac?  Probably not (in my opinion), however they certainly have a less expensive one.   Note how first to market has earned Apple 90% of the market on tablet computers!  This won’t be easy to steal.  This is hard to match when selling commodity goods which are largely over distributed in the VAR/Reseller world.

© 2011, David Stelzl