Speros Expands Web Design and Technology Support with New Hires
(SAVANNAH, GA) Speros, a full-service technology company headquartered in Savannah, announces three new employees have joined the firm: Mary Elizabeth Sancomb, web and graphics designer; Dean Baynon, IT technician; and Michael Redmond, technology technician.
“Each of these new team members has a unique skill set to serve the increasing needs of our clients, and they will help us continue to provide the prompt personal attention customers expect from us,” said Susan Speros, chief executive officer of Speros. “We are excited to welcome them to the Speros team.”
Sancomb, as a web and graphics designer, will be responsible for overseeing social media accounts, designing logos and websites and developing the firm’s marketing projects. The Savannah native is a 2017 graduate of the University of Georgia.
“I am excited to develop my design skills and help our clients find their personal brand and voice while developing their websites,” Sancomb said. “I’m also looking forward to helping Speros better connect with our customers on social media as well as developing new skills working with the knowledgeable staff at Speros.”
Baynon, as Speros’ newest IT technician, will be responsible for managing backups and anti-virus software and will help clients with equipment installations. He grew up in Statesboro and graduated from Ogeechee Tech in 2018 with an associate’s degree in IT. He also has completed an internship at Digital Office Equipment in Statesboro.
“I am pleased to work at Sperosbecause the company has an efficient, yet relaxed atmosphere,” Banyon said. “My coworkers are very friendly and helpful to everyone, both customers, and other employees. When I came on board, no one hesitated to answer any questions I had. Everyone here truly loves what they do.”
Redmond, a technology technician, will be responsible for the installation of cabling, structured wiring and all hardware required for various services. The Savannah native graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design and has 15 years of experience as a low-voltage technician and high-voltage electrician.
“I am happy to be part of such an experienced team. I hope to contribute by bringing my various experiences in the low-voltage field,” Redmond said.
Established in 1984, Sperosprovides technology solutions for businesses, offering telephone systems, IT services, surveillance systems, web design and branding solutions and cloud computing. Sperosteam members continually stay updated on leading-edge, certified technologies to maximize solutions and ensure businesses succeed in this fast-paced, technology-driven world. For more information, visit speros.com, call 912-354-8900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Savannah’s Oelschig Nursery Installs Advanced Technology
(SAVANNAH, GA) The Southeast’s oldest floral and landscape nursery has gone high tech. Founded in 1882, Savannah’s family-owned and -operated Oelschig Nursery, Inc., was recently outfitted for the 21st century by Speros, a full-service technology company in Savannah. The upgrade allows the business to maintain better client data as well as track and control inventory.
Fourth generation CEO Kurt Oelschig realized that the business needed a fully integrated system to better serve customers and track inventory. “We went to Sperosbecause we needed new computers but they also provided new point-of-sale computers and a new server computer that archives client data as well as hosts email and bookkeeping software,” said Oelschig. “We added a high definition surveillance camera system to monitor inventory, provide security and ensure safety.”
The surveillance system ensures and monitors the safety of employees, inventory, trucks and other equipment on the grounds. The computer upgrade assures faster and more accurate vendor orders along with a speedier checkout process; the enhanced customer record technology also offers a history of past purchases plus recommendations for automatic reorders.
As a wholesale-only horticulture business, Oelschig Nurseryhas served the floriculture needs of the coastal Southeast for over a century. Specializing in bedding plants for seasonal color and holiday crops for Easter and Christmas including Poinsettias, lilies, and Dutch bulbs, Oelschigsalso has a family and employee honored tradition of supporting non-profit organizations in the Savannah, coastal Georgia, and South Carolina communities it serves.
Established in 1984, Sperosprovides technology solutions for businesses, offering telephone systems, IT services, surveillance systems, web design and branding solutions and cloud computing. Sperosteam members continually stay updated on leading-edge, certified technologies to maximize solutions and ensure businesses succeed in this fast-paced, technology-driven world. For more information, visit www.speros.com, call 912-354-8900 or email email@example.com.
Cecilia Russo Marketing
Everything You Need to Know about the GDPR
by Charles Bowen
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) recently went into effect across the European Union (EU). The GDPR is a data privacy law that gives citizens of the EU far more control over their personal data and requires businesses to keep all such data private, safe and protected.
This law was passed in response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal in which the private personal data of millions of people was sold to England’s “Leave the EU” campaign and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016.
Any company that collects data on people who live in the EU must follow the new regulations, no matter where the company is based. That means that if you own a company in Savannah but sell to a European customer, you are subject to the new GDPR privacy rules.
To better ensure privacy and protection, companies must now procure their customer’s actual consent in order to store their personal information. This request for consent must be clear and written in plain language (rather than buried in 50 pages of terms and conditions).
Any company that does not obtain this explicit consent may only store a customer’s personal data if they can prove they have a “lawful basis” for doing so such as a contract or other legal obligation.
What this means in practical terms is businesses will have to pay a lot more attention to the security of their customers’ personal data and they will not be allowed to hold onto it for any longer than necessary. Also, anyone can ask for their personal information to be deleted from a company’s servers at any time.
Any company found to be in violation of these new rules will face huge financial penalties. Large companies can be fined up to 4 percent of their annual global sales, which can run into billions of dollars. Even small companies can be fined up to $23.5 million.
The GDPR was designed to protect consumers due to the large number of cyber attacks and data leaks over the past few years. And despite the fact it is a European law, given the global reach of the internet, it has been estimated that 92 percent of American businesses will be affected.
There currently are no plans to expand the provisions of GDPR to the United States, but many experts believe that given the almost daily occurrence of large scale data hacks, it’s only a matter of time until such protections are extended worldwide. It will be interesting to see how effective the EU’s monitoring of the GDPR is over the next several months and how aggressively violators are prosecuted.
It seems clear, however, that data breaches and mishandling of personal customer information will be a lot costlier.
Despite the effort it will take to understand, implement and enforce the GDPR, it is hard to deny some type of action must be taken. Anyone who has ever shopped for a product on Amazon and then immediately seen an ad for the same product on Facebook knows how creepy and invasive the internet’s targeted advertising technology can be.
The National Security Agency can use that same system to seamlessly track almost anyone in the United States, and political firms such as Cambridge Analytica can use it to secretly single out political subgroups and sell that data.
Hopefully, the GDPR is a good start in restoring a bit of privacy to the worldwide web, but it’s just the first step of a long process.
Charles Bowenis a business attorney who focuses on commercial, banking and manufacturing law and also offers comprehensive mediation services. He may be contacted at 912.544.2050 or firstname.lastname@example.org
WannaCry Malware Protection
by Jason Ryals, Chief Technology Officer at Speros
Recently making global headlines, a new variant of ransomware referred to as WannaCry has been put part of a large-scale cyber attack that has infected over 200,000 computer systems and over a 150 countries. Ransomware acts by infecting a computer through opening a malicious email or website which then encrypts your data to the user, in exchange for a payment to unlock (Decrypt) these files usually in the form of digital currency called Bitcoins. Infection can also spread to other network connected resources and perform the same operation locking an entire business from accessing their own data.
At Speros we have multiple layers of defense from NOT being apart of this exploit.
1. SonicWALL firewalls are installed and up to date with latest Security definitions and at the Speros Data Center , scans all traffic incoming and outgoing blocking anything suspicious. This also performs website filtering that will help restrict access to sites known to host malware.
2. Barracuda Networks, our anti-spam email filtering solution, inspects all email messages, unusual content,infected attachments, malicious links etc. and quarantines those messages.
3. Speros Managed Services applies Windows Updates which are tested, approved and applied to each managed workstation and Managed servers.
4. Trend Micro Antivirus is installed on each workstation and server. In the event that a rogue piece of software does happen to come through the above layers of security, the antivirus software will quarantine the suspected files and alert Speros HelpDesk.
In addition to the above security measures , Speros recommends backing up your data, your servers end or workstations , to ensure critical files are safe. While backups are not a level of prevention they are a layer of protection against loss whether from accidental or malicious intent.
Jason Ryals is the Chief Technology Officer at Speros. Ryals’ certifications include VMware Data Center, ADTRAN Technical Support Professional, SonicWALL CSSA&CSSP, Microsoft Certified Enterprise Administrator, Linux & A-plus, Cisco, and IBM AIX Unix based server systems. He has in-depth knowledge on troubleshooting Local Area Networks and Wide Area Networks, routing, VMware and complex software designed data centers, and SD-WAN solutions. For more information, visit speros.com, call 912-354-8900 or email email@example.com.
Speros Vice President , Heather Radtke to Speak at Savannah Chamber’s May 2 SMART Luncheon on How to Prevent Hackers from Compromising Business Security
(SAVANNAH, GA) Heather Radtke, Vice President of Speros, Inc., on Tuesday, May 2, will discuss five steps small business owners can take to avoid having their data hacked.
Radtke will outline the suggested safeguards during the Savannah Chamber’s Small Business Council SMART Luncheon from 12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. in the Savannah Morning News auditorium, 1375 Chatham Parkway.
“If you are a small business owner, there is a 50-50 chance your company will be the victim of a cyber attack,” Radtke says. “But there are several things you can do to safeguard your online data and avoid being hacked, or minimize the impact.”
Radtke will outline five ways small business owners can lessen their chances of a data breach, including how often and where they should back up data. She will also discuss firewalls, antivirus software and anti-spam systems and will dispense tips on detecting hackers and minimizing damage if an attack should occur.
“Like any emergency plan, business owners need to have a plan in place in advance so they can respond quickly if their computer system is hacked,” Radtke says. “This includes everything from physically disconnecting computers from the network to breaking the news to business partners, vendors, customers and other stakeholders.”
The event is for Savannah Chamber of Commerce members only. Registration will begin at 11:30 a.m., and the cost is $12.
RSVP at SPainter@SavannahChamber.com or call 912-644-6458. Small Business Council SMART Luncheons are hosted each month with guest speakers presenting topics relevant to small business owners and employees.
MORE INFORMATION ON SPEROS
Established in 1984, Speros provides technology solutions for businesses, offering telephone systems, IT services, surveillance systems, web design, branding solutions and cloud computing. Speros team members continually stay updated on leading-edge, certified technologies to maximize solutions and ensure businesses succeed in this fast-paced, technology-driven world. For more information, visit speros.com, call 912-354-8900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeb Bush recently made headlines for allegedly forgetting to renew his domain name. It was discovered that JebBush.com was pointing to Donald Trump’s official campaign website. Since this news originally broke, we have learned that Bush never owned JebBush.com, and Trump never had control of that domain. A company in Australia owns it.
This brings to light the important, and often overlooked, point that maintaining your domain name is crucial for your business. While Bush didn’t actually lose his domain to Trump, well known businesses have let their domains expire in the past. Big name brands like Google, Microsoft, and the Dallas Cowboys have all let their domains expire, and a mistake like that can be very costly for any business.
What happens when your domain expires?
If you forget to renew your domain, and it expires, you will lose access to it. Domain registrars, like GoDaddy, will give you a certain period of time to buy it back, sometimes with a penalty attached. Once that grace period has ended, your domain will be auctioned off or awarded to someone who has it backordered. If no one has bid on or backordered your domain, it becomes available for anyone to register.
You may think that a temporary lapse in your website being available is no big deal, but letting your domain expire can cause a serious hardship for your business. For example:
You and your employees will have no access to your company email. Meaning any electronic communication between you, your staff, and customers is lost.
You can lose customers to your competitor if they are searching for your services online and can’t access your website.
Your competitor can purchase your domain and have it redirect to their own website.
An individual or business can purchase your domain and require you to pay a premium price, sometimes thousands of dollars, to get the rights to it back.
Protect your domain name by taking these precautions:
It’s easy to forget about renewing your domain. Logging into your registrar is not something anyone needs to do for the normal day-to-day operations of their business. However, ensuring that your domain doesn’t expire is essential for your brand image. Follow these steps to safeguard your good name:
Renew your domain name for multiple years in advance
Registrars will often allow you to pay in advance for more than one year; sometimes up to 10 years in advance for a .com. It is a good idea for you to renew your domain for as many years in advance as you can. Just be sure to make a note in your calendar of the expiration date, so you can renew again before your domain expires.
Set your domain registration to auto renew
Pay attention to emails and renewal notices from your domain registrar so you know when you should expect a charge. Also, login to your account periodically to make sure all of your information is up-to-date; especially your credit card information and email. All too often, business owners lose their domain because the credit card on file was expired and they never received a renewal notice.
Make sure you are in control
If you have someone else managing your website, make sure your domain name is registered under your name, and that you have all of the login credentials. An issue we run into when building a website, or setting up email for our clients, is finding out what the login information to their domain registrar is, who setup the domain and who has access to this information. A lot of business owners pass off the job of renewing their domain to someone else in their company, when they should be the one in control of it.
Remember, your domain name is an extension of your business. It plays a major role in your online reputation with your customers and search engines. If you follow the advice above, you can save yourself the frustration and expense of trying to recover a lost domain name.
Lauren Dingus is the web and graphics designer at Speros, responsible for the website development division, including: graphic design and branding, content writing, and consulting on digital marketing strategies. For information, contact Lauren at email@example.com or 912.354.8900
Windows Server 2003 support ended Tuesday, July 14. What does this mean for you? If you operate one or more of the estimated 61 percent of servers still running Windows Server 2003, your servers and connected PCs will be subject to harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. Technical support will no longer be available from Microsoft. Software and security updates will not be provided. New threats won’t be addressed and your Windows Server 2003 systems will become a security risk and a compliance nightmare.
Microsoft warns of these specific outcomes:
• NO UPDATES OR PATCHES- Microsoft will no longer develop or release any updates or patches after ending support. To put this in perspective, consider that 37 critical updates were released in 2013 for Windows Server 2003/R2 under extended support. Imagine what impact zero updates will have on your infrastructure after end of support.
• NO SAVINGS- The costs of maintaining your legacy servers can add up quickly, including: maintenance costs for aging hardware and added costs for intrusion detection systems, more advanced firewalls, and network segmentation. Staying put will likely cost more in the end.
• NO COMPLIANCE- After support ends, your organization will likely fail to meet most industry-wide compliance standards and regulations. This could result in lost business, or dramatically increase the cost of doing business in the form of high transaction fees and penalties.
• NO TECHNICAL SUPPORT- Without continued support from Microsoft, your virtualized and physical instances of Windows Server 2003/R2 will not pass a compliance audit. Microsoft Small Business Server 2003 will also be affected.
Rest assured that if you currently have an up-to-date antivirus product, a solid, working backup solution, and a server monitoring service, you will still be partially protected after the deadline. However, the operating system is now very old, and most software vendors are completely dropping support.
Such software, including Intuit QuickBooks, Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Great Plains, Sage Accounting, Oracle Java, and many others have already begun to drop support for Windows Server 2003. This means that the next time you need an upgrade for your line of business software, you will be forced to upgrade to a new operating system.
Antivirus vendors, after the typical one year window, will also drop support for Windows Server 2003. No antivirus signature updates will be performed during this time. Once the July deadline occurs, hackers will be honing in on Windows Server 2003 for vulnerabilities, which could leave your business network vulnerable to Cryptowall, Trojan Viruses, and full on hacking where your server is taken over by a malicious third party user, locking you out of your own systems.
Do bear in mind that the hardware the server is currently running on is beginning to age as well. Windows Server 2003 was released over 10 years ago, and server hardware has drastically changed since then. This is a huge concern for your business. With the operating system no longer being supported, the hardware will most likely fail. The age of most systems running Windows Server 2003 are 6 to 8 years old, and finding replacement parts is becoming increasingly difficult.
Fortunately, you still have time to take the steps to plan and execute a migration strategy to protect your infrastructure. This will include upgrading your server software and perhaps embracing Cloud technologies to achieve concrete benefits such as improved performance, reduced maintenance requirements, and increased speed. Continue to safeguard your business and your customers and plan a migration strategy.
Van Heath, the IT Operations Manager at Speros, manages virtual servers for an in-house cloud management solution, upgrades and maintains multiple end-user databases, serves as the primary disaster recovery engineer, and oversees all project deployments. Speros provides technology solutions for businesses, offering telephone systems, IT services, surveillance systems, web design and branding solutions, and cloud computing. For more information, visit speros.com, call 912-354-8900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.