Monday, November 16, 2009

Remote Monitoring and Management Tools

We just purchased 500 seats of Labtech and cannot be happier.

Many years ago, we purchased Level Platforms. After a year of frustration trying to deploy and integrate with our existing backend systems, we pulled the plug on it.

We then moved to a hosted Kaseya solution. While we love the capabilities of the product, the user interface is awful. It’s counterintuitive and we find it’s difficult to perform simple tasks.

We also deployed Hounddog\GFI Max to a number of clients. While we really like the interface, we found the capabilities did not even begin to compare to Kaseya.

As our costs associated with “renting” hosted solutions increased, we realized it was time to purchase something again and standardize on a single solution.

We ruled out itControl Suite because we wanted an agent based solution, not an appliance. GFI\Max, in our opinion just did not offer enough capabilities. The cost is great for those wanting to get into basic monitoring. I consider it an entry-level solution.

Kaseya, while the capabilities are great has a miserable interface. What’s even worse is their sales\pricing model. I talked to them last week and wanted a firm price for 500 seats, financed over 3 years including maintenance. Simple request? Think again. I felt like I was purchasing a car and was stuck in the back room with their finance guy. They would not send me a quote, but wanted me to attend a webinar session instead. Give me a break guys.

Now to Labtech. I was very hesitant to even explore their product since they were so new to the market. A contractor we use suggested we look into them. “Wow” is all I can say. Functionally, it is the only product I’ve seen that can even be compared to Kaseya. The user interface, while not perfect, runs circles around Kaseya. It is Windows-based and so much more intuitive than Kaseya. Their sales\pricing model? Prices are on their website (Kaseya – take note – people want to know the cost of something without all the smoke and mirrors). And no backroom sales pressure like Kaseya.

As for the Cons (there’s Cons to everything!). They are a very young company and are going through growing pains. They need to ramp up some on their support and come up with a better system for initiating support requests and tracking them.

Bottom line, if you are considering purchasing Kaseya (or any other remote monitoring and management tool), you should definitely check out Labtech. I think you will be very impressed.

We are very happy to be a customer of theirs.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

CisCom Introduces C-Now

We've been madly configuring our new monitoring software this month to prepare it for release. We've named it C-Now because it lets us see what your computer issue is right now. This product really is an awesome collection of tools, and we are all excited about it. Sure, we've been doing remote monitoring for some time. This is not new. What is new is the powerful breadth of services this new software provides. The product is based upon LabTech software and is much more comprehensive than our previous remote monitoring provider. In addition to remotely monitoring for common problems, this software has powerful network documentation abilities, configuration options and corrective action tasks. It is integrated with our ticketing and billing software and will make us more efficient in serving you. You can create a service ticket which is placed directly in our service queue to insure prompt response. It allows us real time access to machines via remote connection to evaluate and repair many problems. Comprehensive database elements are also present, so that relevant information regarding machine hardware configuration settings and software licenses can be stored as well.

We are confident that many of you will choose to join our monitored clients after learning more about C-Now. For more information call (502) 253-4525 ext. 200.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

AVG Promotion - Best Deal Around

We are selling lots of AVG this month. It is normally a very competitively priced product. Their current promotion, however, makes it the best deal around.
Special 4th Quarter Offer: Buy a 2 Year License of any AVG Business Product - and receive the 3rd year FREE!

To take advantage of this limited time offer, contact CisCom Solutions today at (502) 253-4525

Trusted Protection That Doesn't Get in the Way of Business

  • Easy to use and manage
  • Protection against viruses, spyware, adware, hackers and spam
  • Protection for workstations and file servers
  • Centralized installation and configuration
  • Free support and service around the clock aross the globe

Thursday, September 17, 2009 and Recycling of Mobile Phones and Other Electronics

I had accumulated a lot of old mobile phones over the years as we have updated to newer technologies. I decided to try and find the best method of disposing of them. I stumbled across a website called and decided to check it out. They have the ability for you to get an estimated value for all sorts of stuff. The process is very simple. You first identify what phone you have and then provide a few other details such as if you have a battery and the general condition. The site will then calculate the value of the phone and prompt you to indicate if you would like to cash it in. I went through the process with 3 phones and was shocked to find out how much they were worth. Once you accept, you can box it up and paste a prepaid shipping label and send it off. They will also send you a box if you request one.

So, for a few minutes of my time, I was able to get a $97 gift card and also get the peace of mind knowing I disposed of the phones where they will be either resold (reused) or recycled for the components. When I went to their site today, I realize you can also sell them other items. Their motto is "Get Cash for you Gadgets". I'll definitely will check out this site the next time I get the latest gadget and want to get rid of the replaced item.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Businesses Beware - Internet Security More Important Than Ever

Online business financial transactions are the target of a series of rapidly spreading trojan attacks. The trojans are reported to be spread through compromised websites or email links and are designed to capture login information to financial websites. Once the data is obtained, the logins are used to transfer funds to mule accounts using banks' automated clearinghouse systems. The trojans are described as being ubiquitous and easily able to slide through security programs.

You probably heard about the theft of over $400,000 from the Bullitt County government which was reported last month by Fox 41 news. We know also of Kentucky businesses which have been victimized. There are a two specific articles I want to draw your attention to. The first is the USAToday article over the weekend which discusses recent computer attacks. This article does a good job summarizing the general mode of attack and describing the severity of the rapidly spreading threat. The second is "The Growing Threat to Business Banking Online" by Washington Post blogger Brian Krebs. This article is full of specific examples and details about the lack of protection businesses have.

Of course, the threat of attack itself is ominous. What's worse, though, is the lack of protection most companies have if they are the target of an attack . If your company is unlucky enough to suffer a direct loss because of a virus or trojan, don't count on your bank or insurance company to save you. Your insurance may not cover internet theft. Such losses are generally not included in standard business insurance policies. Furthermore, the bank may also refuse to compensate your loss. Since the transfer requests were authenticated with valid logins, banks have denied responsibility in some cases. Brian Kreb's article indicates that the banks are not obligated to compensate businesses for losses because businesses are not granted the same consumer protection that private banking clients have. Sure, you can sue to try to recover the funds. That will surely be expensive and time consuming.

Obviously, following well known security recommendations now is a must. The strict recommendation is to conduct online banking on an isolated computer which is not used for browsing the internet or email. Many companies will find that recommendation hard or impossible to follow. At a minimum:

  • keep your security and other software up-to-date;
  • eliminate non-business related internet traffic on your billing computers/network;
  • check with your insurance agent regarding your internet theft coverage;
  • consider upgrading your software;
  • check your banking and charge account balances frequently and review charges carefully;
  • evaluate and mitigate security holes in your network.

The time has never been better for a security audit of your system.

If you need assistance implementing these recommendations, please contact CisCom's helpdesk at (502) 253-4525 x1.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Mobile Phone Platforms

I had a discussion recently with Susan Lennon (one of the many great people I get to visit in my work) about the pros and cons of various mobile phone platforms. Thanks to Susan, I realized this is a perfect topic for this forum.

There are so many choices and options is it hard to make a selection. So, here’s my two cents on Windows Mobile v. iPhones v. Blackberries.

Windows Mobile Phones
  • Pros: Tightly integrated with Microsoft Exchange so you can easily synchronize all of your Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, and Email straight out of the box with no additional software necessary.
  • Cons: The interface stinks. You need to use a stylus to use it which is a pain. Also, it seems to run a little slower than the other platforms. Installing other programs a little more trickier.


  • Pros: What can I say? Elegant in design. Incredible interface. Extremely easy to use. Uses Microsoft Activesync to so you can easily synchronize your Contacts, Calendar, and Email info with no additional server configuration or software. Easy to install other programs using iTunes.
  • Cons: You cannot sync your Tasks without purchasing a special program. You are tied to AT&T for your service which costs a lot more than other providers. Does not use a keyboard so if you are planning to use it for typing a lot of emails, you may want to reconsider not using an iPhone. One last note, an upgraded version should be coming out by the end of June so I would wait until then if this is what you want.


  • Pros: The best of all platforms for email. Interface does not require a stylus, but is not as intuitive as the 2 others.
  • Cons: Synchronization. BB devices offer a few different methods to sync your info. All with their own limitations and caveats. The most preferred method requires purchasing special software for you server which costs $$. You can sync without the special server software but it occasionally will have hiccups. A royal pain to setup because of this.

Others: There are a few other new platforms that have recently come out. Usually new platforms take a while before the Microsoft Exchange integration evolves as the phones are mostly geared for consumers. I would be hesitant to consider any of these without further research.

Personal recommendation? A couple of months ago I would have suggested getting a Windows Mobile. But I got an iPhone, and I fell in love with it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Expanded Payment Options

You may notice this week that invoices have a new look. Yes, they lost their color......They have, however, an enclosed envelope if you wish to mail your payment. Even cooler: They have a link for online payment via credit card. We are a small business and like other small businesses look for ways to increase efficiency in our operations. Intuit offers many great services for small businesses. We've used their payroll service for years and love it. Now we are also using their billing services. This will allow us to keep costs down and give you more options. Not only can you make a payment online. You can also access your account to view invoices and payments. Just visit the link to set up your access. Like always, we value your input. Please let us know what you think.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Roll with the changes

You will notice a few new faces traveling with us these days. We’ve been busy. Really busy. This is fantastic for us and WE THANK YOU for that. The project work is rolling and with that came some opportunities with new and old faces – no offense Ken. You will notice a young fellow named Joe at my side these days. We are excited to have Joe Conrad on board as a summer intern. Joe has a lot of knowledge with LINX platforms and a good knowledge base to help us serve you. He’s been working hard these last few weeks and we’re just sorry that he’ll have to leave us to finish his schooling this fall. You will also notice another new face amongst us. We are pleased to announce our new partnership with Ken Higdon. Ken has more than 20 years experience in the IT industry and is bringing that to our projects. We’ve worked together some in the past and are excited to have this opportunity with Ken. Once again, a big thank you to our customers. We appreciate your business, your referrals and your recommendations.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My New iPhone

A few disclaimers before I start. I generally hate working with Apple computers. I'm a PC Guy. Second, I really did not want to do this. I wanted Scott to get the iPhone but his contract is not up yet on his existing phone with a different carrier. So I took the plunge ...

The acquisition process could not have gone much smoother. Took a while, but went without a hitch. Thumbs up for Best Buy. I cannot believe that they can port your phone number from one carrier to another in just a couple of minutes. The lady waiting behind me was in the process of getting another iPhone. Her first one got destroyed some way by one of her 3 redheaded kids and she had to get another one, paying the very full price for it.

So Quinton, my Best Buy Concierge, gathered all the info from me, keyed it in, called AT&T to activate the phone and applied a nice screen saver he recommended to protect the phone. I was able to activate my Bluetooth while in the store, and then I was on my way, able to start returning all the calls that had been coming in during the transfer process.

The interface is extremely intuitive. I was concerned that with my big fingers, typing using the touch screen would be an issue for me. But after a few seconds, I was able to type fairly quickly with some degree of accuracy. I found moving around the interface is extremely fluid. I love the ability to scroll through the screens and zoom in on web pages.

As I mentioned, I was able to find the Bluetooth settings and pair it with my Jawbone quickly. Dialing phone numbers from the touchscreen works much better than the Windows T-mobile Wing I'd been using for a couple of years. Setting up voicemail was a snap. I just keyed in a new passcode twice then created a Greeting.

One missing phone feature that I have to find is a voice dialing app. My T-mobile Wing, running Windows Mobile 6 (WM6), had it going. I just had to click a button on my Jawbone, say, "Dial Scooter", "Yes", and the the call was placed. It would find Scooter from over 700 of my contacts. Amazing technology. I hope to find a similar app for the iPhone.

I also need to find app to simulate the WM6 Today screen. The Today screen displays a summary of emails, calendar, etc. so you can get a high level of what all you have going on. Apple makes it easy to find apps via their iTines service. We'll see what I can find.

I recall something the lady with 3 redheaded kids told me. "Once you use an iPhone, you'll never go back." With less than 4 hours using it, I think she may be right. Now I'm wondering if a MacBook Pro may be in my future. :)