Friday, September 10, 2010

Malware Attacks Hit Hard Yesterday

A slew of businesses and government agencies were hit hard yesterday by a new and rapidly spreading malware attack which is targeting unsuspecting email users. The malware message tempts the user to click on what appears to be an Adobe Acrobat .pdf file attachment. In reality, this .pdf file is a malicious program which takes control of your machine. We urge you to take extreme caution when clicking on any email attachments and confirm that you recognize the sender and attachment before opening it. More information on the latest virus is available from ABC News

Ciscom customers that subscribe to our SPAM filtering program, Reflexion, should be protected, but following basic security recommendations is a must! At a minimum, you should...
• keep your antivirus and security software up-to-date;
• eliminate non-business related internet traffic on your billing computers/network;
• consider upgrading all software to the newest version;
• check your banking and charge account balances frequently and review charges carefully;
• evaluate and mitigate any and all 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.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

IT Pro Conference in the "Big Easy"

Last month Scott Walters, Director of IT Support at CisCom Solutions, attended Jeff Middleton’s IT PRO Conference in the “Big Easy”, New Orleans. The conference focused heavily on addressing the current state of the “IT World”, as well as where it may be heading in the future. The topics included such things as server virtualization methods, “zero downtime” server Swing Migrations, “Cloud” services, remote monitoring tools, remote backup ideas, and a preview of Windows Home Server. Not only was this trip a lot of fun, it provides our team the latest and greatest methods for server optimization and management. If you have any questions about any of these subjects, feel free to track us down! Call (502) 253-4525

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Spring Clean your IT

When most people think of Spring Cleaning, they think of clearing rooms of their house, scrubbing the baseboards, touching up paint on the walls, and cleaning everything top to bottom. Like your home, it is also good to Spring Clean your computer network and data on some regular basis. The following things can be done to protect your IT infrastructure. We will start with the hardware and work our way up to your data.

Clean out dust from your computers and servers
It amazes me that even in the cleanest offices, dust will still accumulate inside of the computer case. This is because the fans that pull air in to cool the system also pull dust from the air. Over time, the dust accumulates inside, preventing proper air flow and increasing the temperature. Heat can cause all sorts of problems. It can cause the system to "hard lock" with no keyboard or mouse movement. In addition to total failures, it can also slow down systems. When hard drives are too hot they slow down and can make the computer seem sluggish. We highly recommend blowing out the dust with compressed air to keep you computers running smoothly.

Archive you data
I hoard all of my data. I probably have every spreadsheet I've ever created. Once a year, I will go through a process of reorganizing and archiving the data I no longer need on a day-to-day basis. This keeps the "My Documents" directory slimmed down, reducing the time it takes to synchronize it to my laptop and making it easier to find things. Everyone organizes their data differently, but it is a good idea to go through this process at least once a year.

Review your backup processes
Are your backups working? Do you have enough space on your tape or backup drive for all of your data? Are your backups stored offsite to protect your information from catastrophic events? Have you tested your backups to make sure they are working? This is an IT function that is often overlooked. Once a backup process is in place, a lot of folks just let it run without monitoring and testing it. Even those who are very good about changing the backup media are guilty assuming that all is well. I cannot tell you the number of times we have been called in to restore data for someone only to find that the information was not backed up or that the backup has not worked for some time.

Data Management
Our C-Now Advantage and Premium plan customers have their backups monitored and tested regularly. CisCom also offers offsite backup services over the internet for your most critical data. Data storage costs have gone down significantly over the past few years. This makes it more economically viable to have multiple backup strategies to protect your information. Data storage is cheap - your data is NOT. Protect it well.

If you need any assistance at all with cleaning dust out of your computers, organizing your data, or reviewing and testing your backup strategies, please contact CisCom at (502) 253-4525 x1 for assistance.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Virus Alert

This week we have had two clients get infections after visiting This is part of a rapidly spreading threat which presents itself to the user as an anti-virus program. Users report seeing pop-ups that warn them that they are infected. The popup screen, however, is not the real antivirus software, it is a fraud. The malicious software is apparently being installed via banner advertisements from infected websites. It seems that no user interaction other than visiting the site is required to become compromised.

If you notice a virus software popup which says your machine is infected, shutdown the computer and call our helpdesk at 502-253-4525 x1.

To limit your risk, use extreme caution when browsing. Additionally, make sure your operating sytem, applications, and security software have the latest updates installed.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

CisCom Hosts Office 2010 Sneak Peak Event March 26 in Louisville, KY

What's holding your team back from even greater success? People in multiple locations? Inaccessible information? Come and see how the Microsoft® Office 2010 Beta can help you break through the barriers that are slowing your people and data down. Join CisCom Solutions at an exciting preview event. Office 2010 lets you and your team stay productive, and helps you securely access files from just about any computer, smartphone, or browser. So you can meet customer needs, whenever and wherever they happen.

Office 2010 connects your people and information wherever they are, enabling individuals to work better on their own or as part of a team. You can respond with the right information to the right people, no matter what the situation.

Join us at the FREE CisCom Solutions Office 2010 Sneak Peek event for a hands-on demonstration of all the ways Office 2010 breaks down barriers in your organization. Space is limited, so register today.

Note: For online registration use and event code 146284.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

CisCom Presents Windows7 Workshop March 9th

Are you curious about Microsoft's Windows7? David Ely will present a workshop to answer all your questions about the new operating system on Tuesday, March 9. Time is 7:30 am, at Republic Bank's Community Room at 9600 Brownsboro Road (across from the Summit Shopping Center). This workshop is presented through the Prospect Area Chamber of Commerce. There will discounts offered that day courtesy of Microsoft and also some fantastic door prizes! Butcher's Best Meats & Deli will be catering the meal. Please RSVP and pay online today at or contact Patty Mason at 502-253-4525 x205 for more information.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Charity Bowl Results and Thanks

Here we are at the January 29, 2010 Charity Bowl! The event was held for the benefit of Kosair Charities and was hosted by the Prospect Area Chamber of Commerce and the Lyndon Area Business Association. We may have set the record for best team shirts and most gutter balls. It was a fun time, though. Again, we extend our sincere thanks to Liz Welsh, President of Executive Communications, who was the first one to respond to our charity donation request. Top row from left to right: Ken Higdon, Scott Walters, David Ely. Bottom row: Patty Mason and Dustin Riley

Monday, January 18, 2010


Congratulations to Liz Welsh, President of Executive Communications who was the first one to respond to our charity donation request. I am not surprised that she took us up on the offer as she is committed to a number of charitable causes and is very active in the community. Please check out their website at to see what they do.

Because of the great response we received with our request, we decided to extend an additional offer. If we receive a check for $100 made out to Kosair Charities received by January 29th, we’ll credit your account for one free hour of support OR we will waive our set up charges (typically between $250-500) if you sign up for one year with our C-Now Advantage Maintenance Plan. For more information regarding the C-Now Advantage Plan, please contact David Ely at 502-253-4525 x200.

Thank you again for such a great response.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


One Client will Save $100 and Earn a Tax Write-Off too! CisCom Solutions is currently offering 4 hours of service for just $400 to the first client who accepts this offer. (Sorry, we can only offer one of these.) That is a savings of $100 off of our Services! Additionally, the $400 is a charitable contribution to Kosair Charities (verify this with your tax professional). It's all part of our participation in the 2010 CHARITY BOWL between the Prospect Area Chamber of Commerce & Lyndon Area Business Association held for the benefit of Kosair Charities. We are not great bowlers, but are entering the event for good fun and to help children in need. WE NEED PLEDGES! Payment for the above offer will be accepted as a check payable to Kosair Charities which will be pledged by CisCom for the event. Others can help too. Send checks and make sure to note that it is for the 2010 Charity Bowl. We appreciate your support! Submit inquiries to Patty Mason at

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Should I upgrade my computer to Windows 7?

This is a question that a lot of folks who have been frustrated using Windows Vista have been asking since Microsoft announced the new operating system was shipping. While I had tested beta version on a couple of computers, I recently decided to upgrade my working laptop computer because we are planning some Windows 7 seminars in the near future and I wanted to have something to show off.

Prior to Windows 7, when folks would ask me “is it worth the time and money for me to upgrade my computer?” I would respond with “just wait until you need a new system and just get it preinstalled.” This advice has changed with my experience upgrading my laptop to Windows 7.

My laptop is a Dell Vostro 1400, purchased 2.5 years ago. It has an Intel Duo-core processor and 2GB of memory and a 60GB hard drive. It was shipped with and running Vista Business very s-l-o-w-l-y. To be honest, I had a 5-year old laptop running Windows XP that I preferred using because it was so much faster. My hopes were that after this revamping process, my Vostro laptop would be much faster and usable.

The first task was to research if the laptop was Windows 7 compatible. I researched Dell’s support site only to find it was not officially supported. For most folks, this should have been a deal breaker. For a tech geek such as myself, I considered this a challenge. I knew that if it did not work, I could just reload Vista Business and go on.

I never, ever recommend doing an upgrade to an operating system. Rather, I recommend a new install. This keeps the registry clean and can prevent incompatibilities with older drivers, etc. So I stuck in my Windows 7 Business 64-bit DVD and started the process of installing the operating system.

To my surprise, the installation recognized all of the hardware in the laptop and everything installed without a hitch. Even the Bluetooth capability which I use with my iPhone tethering was enabled and worked properly. I could not believe how much zippier the computer seemed to respond. When I did this same thing going from Windows XP to Vista, the computer was noticeably slower. This was the exact opposite. It was much faster. Maybe Microsoft got it right this time?

After installing Windows 7, I needed to install my applications. Instead of using Office 2007, I opted to install Office 2010 Beta instead. WOW!! I could not believe how fast Outlook ran. In fact, everything ran much faster except Internet Explorer 8.0 which seemed to run about the same speed.

Not content with having my Internet experience slow me down, I decided to try out Google Chrome as my browser to see if it made a difference. I had tried Google Chrome when it first came out and was disappointed. After installing it this time, I was pleasantly surprised. It was much faster than IE 8.0 and the only limitation is that it does not support ActiveX which is required for us to remote control servers we manage. Not a problem, as IE 8 is still available to use for that purpose.

The final step in my re-install process was to encrypt my laptop. I needed to test this for a client and thought this would be a good opportunity. Microsoft offers encryption out of the box with some of the Windows 7 versions but it requires that the computer have a special feature built in to the system board. After researching the other options, I settled with Trucrypt ( a free, open source on-the-fly disk encryption software. I installed it and configured it per the instructions and all worked perfectly.

Now, back to the question, “Should I upgrade my computer to Windows 7?” My answer is: if your hardware supports it and you have at least 2GB of RAM, I would definitely consider doing it. After going through this process, my laptop runs much faster and more reliably. I feel I have increased the usable life of my laptop (pending any hardware failures) by a couple of years. Of course, your mileage may vary (YMMV) as all computers are different.

If you are interested in finding out more, please try to attend one of our upcoming Windows 7 seminars. We are planning them in conjunction with Microsoft and local Chamber of Commerce organizations. To get on the seminar list, please send an email to and we will keep you posted to upcoming events.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Over the Holidays Home Network Makeover

Every year at this time I try to get my life organized so I can start the New Year off on a good foot. So, this year I decided to spend my holiday vacation revamping our home network.

As you can imagine, we have a lot of computers in our household, even after moving all of CisCom’s servers to a data center this past fall, I count no fewer than 7 desktops, laptops, and servers still in use at our home.

Our biggest organizational problem was that we had data files scattered all over the place and no catastrophic disaster recovery process in place. I had a Nephew whose camera was stolen with all the photos of his son’s first year of life. My policy before my re-org would be to periodically copy all our photos from one computer. Not very efficient way of maintain backups.

Knowing a little about Microsoft’s Windows Home Server (WHS), I decided it was perfect for the job and I decided to take the plunge. Because we are a Microsoft Partner, I had access to the software via a special plan with have with them. For normal folks, you need to purchase a dedicated box with WHS pre-installed on it. You can purchase one anywhere from $350 up depending on how much drive space you will need.

After several failed attempts of getting the software installed only to have it fail, I came to determine I had a bad 1TB hard drive that was causing all the problems. I reinstalled it onto a 750GB drive I had laying around and all was well.

After getting the server software loaded, it was all downhill. I had to use a connector CD to connect all of our computers to the server, setup users, create backup schedules. Then I moved and reorganized all of our data files to the new server. Once all of the data was on the WHS, I then installed our own CisCom remote backup software to back everything up to our remote data center.

Another addition to our home network is a media computer. While there are operating systems and devices out there dedicated for pushing media content to your television, I opted to use Windows XP Pro since it was already loaded on the computer I was planning to use. Our television has a lot of inputs for connecting devices including a standard VGA port.

All I had to do was connect the XP computer to the television using a standard VGA cable then hook a cable between the audio port output on the XP computer and an audio input on the television. I changed the TV input to use the VGA and voila, we had a home entertainment media pc. Of course, the computer had to be hooked up to the network in order for us to access Internet content and other media stored on the WHS. One last note, I had to hook up a wireless keyboard and mouse in order to use the PC from across the room. I found an iPhone app to allow a mouse to be used through my iPhone but it did not work reliably.

My favorite sites to use with the media computer?,, and also downloaded content and personal pictures, music, and videos. I guess we could use the DVD player on the computer if we did not already have a dedicated one. gets our highest praise as they have a large amount of content - TV shows and Movies, that can be streamed free of charge. They offset the cost of their site with limited advertising which is much less intrusive as typical TV advertising.

All in all, I am feeling very organized starting off the New Year. Not only is my data organized and is getting backed up offsite, we also have expanded our viewing options by adding the media pc.