Custom Technology Solutions, Inc

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Custom Technology Solutions, Inc - Corporate Blog

AVG to lead innovation sessions at The Pitch, London

This Thursday 4 th September in London, AVG will be attending the first of two small business boot-camps as part of The Pitch, UK. Now in its seventh year The Pitch is one of the UK’s longest running small business competitions and awards thousands of pounds worth of prizes to innovative startups. The boot camps will be attended by 100 small businesses that made it through the first stage of the competition. These are split into two regional groups, North and South, who will attend boot camps in Manchester (on 18 th September) and this week in London where after an intense day of mentoring their pitching prowess will be assessed. As a main sponsor for The Pitch, AVG is delighted to attend these boot camp sessions and will be working directly with the competitors in one of the hands-on sessions. The boot camps will focus on the four key pillars of pitching: Marketing Finance Business model innovation Pitching AVG’s Director of Partner Enablement Mike Byrne will be leading the Business Model Innovation session aimed to provide candidates with some useful ideas about how to optimise their business models and sharpen their sales techniques using technology. Whether it’s managing relationships, assessing the competition, reducing sales cycle time/costs or simply making life easier, technology has a lot offer business sales activities. AVG’s philosophy is all about empowering small businesses to manage their technology simply and reliably so they can stop worrying about their data and concentrate on growth in today’s fast changing, increasingly mobile workplace. After the boot camps, the competitors will be narrowed down from 100 to 30 applicants to proceed to the final where a winner will be chosen by a panel of judges including AVG’s own Judith Bitterli.   The overall winner of The Pitch will win a priceless prize package that includes expert mentoring from business leaders and free access to world leading products and services including free AVG CloudCare services for two years.

AVG forges partnership with MSP Alliance

Back in April I spoke about the importance of partnerships as a key part of our strategy this year. We also want to focus on increasing the number of networking opportunities for myself and other key members of the SMB global team with top industry influencers.  To meet this goal we are working on a busy program of appointments over the coming weeks including meetings with key partners, media, industry organisations and analysts. One new partnership that I have not mentioned before is with the MSP Alliance , one of the largest and most influential professional bodies for the managed services provider (MSP) community. The MSP Alliance has 25,000 member companies and regularly holds prestigious industry events for them including the MSP World Conference and an international series of networking dinners for senior level MSP executives. We are especially excited to be involved with the MSP Alliance executive networking dinners in the US, UK and Australia which dovetail neatly with our own MSP networking program. The dinners will enable us to meet senior professionals from the cloud and managed services industry in a relaxed social environment to find out ways we can collaborate to further the adoption of managed services and cloud. MSPs are at the cutting edge in safeguarding their customers’ data and security and will be attending these dinners to learn more about best security practices in today’s cloud environment. In summary the MSPAlliance networking dinners are free for MSPs to attend and will address: Public vs. private cloud strategies Helping customers understand the limitations of public cloud Ways in which MSPs can secure customer data Blended or hybrid cloud strategies that address 100% of customer needs Partnership possibilities and business development Networking and peer-to-peer collaboration   We will be holding two MSP Networking Dinner events in the UK: 11 September 2014 – London click here for venue and registration information 16 September 2014 – Birmingham click here for venue and registration information There will also be three similar events in Australia in late November/early December 2014. Registration links for these are not yet available but, in the meantime, you can obtain further information by emailing .   Finally, AVG is sponsoring this year’s MSPWorld™ Conference taking place at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Hotel from 15-17 th October, 2014. A key highlight for us there is on Thursday, 16 th October 2014 when there will be a special invitation-only Networking Dinner where senior level MSP executives in North America will gather to meet with us and share their ideas on how to further the adoption of cloud and managed services to the business consumer. The partnership with MSP Alliance and the other engagements will ensure senior SMB executives enjoy some top quality face time with partners and prospects in the run up to the Cloud Summit. They are also a tangible demonstration of our continued commitment to finding new ways to engage with senior MSP leaders. I am very much looking forward to all of our MSP events. Our MSP Alliance partnership in particular provides an excellent platform for us to meet with some of the most influential industry leaders from the managed services provider and cloud professional community. It is a chance to discuss topical industry issues with them as well as share our knowledge and expertise about ways to further reduce their costs, introduce greater efficiencies and fuel business growth. I do hope to see some of you there.

Synology devices hit with “Synolocker” ransomware

Small businesses using Synology™ NAS (network attached storage) devices are at risk of a new ransomware style attack, further demonstrating the risks of the Internet of Things trend and once again reinforcing the importance of having online backups. This particular attack calling itself “Synolocker” has taken advantage of vulnerable (and unpatched) Synology storage devices that are exposed to the Internet.  The perpetrators have scanned Internet address space to easily discover the devices (on Port 5000) and have injected code that encrypts files rendering them useless until a ransom is paid. Victims are asked to pay approx. USD$350 in Bitcoin to obtain a decryption key via a TOR Hidden service website – allowing the criminals to remain undetected by law enforcement agencies.  This is the same payment method we have previously witnessed with the PC Malware called Cryptolocker that appeared late in 2013. If your business is using a Synology™ NAS, you’re advised to follow the advice provided by the manufacturer here .  Please also consider the risks of exposing any device to an Internet connection unless it is absolutely needed – and at a minimum only expose devices that you’re committed to fully managing and keeping up to date. Until next time, stay safe out there.

How will you manage the Internet of Services?

When it comes to the Internet of Things many of our small business customers are struggling to understand what all the fuss is about.  And who can blame them.  After all what is so exciting about the ability to connect your vending machine or your refrigerator to the Internet, right?  Wrong. Take my word for it, everyday devices are getting smarter and businesses must follow suit. The exciting part for business owners is that this concept has started to be widely embraced by manufacturers and is present in everything from fleet vehicles to industrial equipment. According to Gartner , the Internet of Things market will top $309 billion in direct revenue by 2020, with most of that money stemming from services This ‘Internet of Services’ will go well beyond simple monitoring of objects.   Analytical software can also be used to extract data to provide critical information about the way devices are functioning and what they are doing.  For example, an IP connected thermostat may reveal ways of saving on energy bills or smart stock control systems to help track and manage stock movements within the business for maximum profitability. Internet connected devices will soon be routinely providing small businesses with information to help them cut costs, improve efficiency and reveal usage patterns leading to increased profitability, productivity and customer satisfaction.  Our own Internet of Things study revealed 38 percent of small businesses expect to adopt smart devices and the Internet of Things within the next two years rising to 60 percent in two to three years’ time. However, the majority will have neither the time nor the resources to mine through this mass of information to extract the most valuable data. Instead they are likely to turn to their IT partners who will use monitoring and management tools capable of interpreting the data to help with simple every day decisions. With the right tools IT providers can use this information to help unlock significant business value from everyday objects for their customers. It is possible, for instance, to monitor vital factory equipment remotely to detect patterns of behaviour associated with imminent failure. When this happens the device automatically sends an alert to someone. They can then carry out preventative maintenance thereby saving many thousands of dollars in lost production time. Spiceworks, an AVG partner, recently asked more than 400 IT professionals for their thoughts regarding the Internet of Things.  In it more than 25 percent of the respondents said they did not know how they will manage the influx of new connected things. In fact, the majority, (59 percent) said they had no plans to do anything about the Internet of Things.  This is a little surprising. Smart devices are spawning a whole set of new opportunities for the services industry. From boilers that tell heating companies when they need servicing to connected cars that continuously collect and transmit data these devices are providing fresh ways for a whole host of established organizations to boost their services income.  IT providers should be no exception. Service-enabling the Internet of Things is a market that can be measured in trillions of transactions.  Recurring services revenues makes the Internet of Services bigger than the sum of all the connected devices in the world – and potentially more financially rewarding for enterprises, developers, manufacturers and small businesses alike. For those more forward-thinking, entrepreneurial services providers the sooner you set up your business to manage the ‘Internet of Services’ the sooner you can capitalize on getting in ahead of the game.