It’s a Big Day! We Are Onepath!!

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Today, I’m excited to share news about my current company.  As most of my readers know, in December of 2015 I sold my original MSP Jenaly Technology Group to Internet & Telephone, LLC and joined I&T as their CTO.  Today, I’m excited to share that I&T has rebranded as Onepath, having been acquired by Onepath a few months ago.

I am now the Director, Client Engagement & vCIO working out of our New England offices.  Our Client Engagement team is dedicated to servicing our clients at the highest level in the industry.  I’m excited to be spending more time with our clients in this role, both leading our Client Engagement team and consulting with them as their virtual CIO.

We still have our New England office at our new North Andover Network Operations Center at 56 High Street along with our offices and datacenters in Portsmouth, NH and Boston, MA.

Onepath is the “easier way to get hard things done” and our New England team is proud to be part of the team.  We design, deploy and support technology from “cable to Cloud.”

Our corporate headquarters is now in the southeast, in the metro Atlanta area.  Onepath is a diverse national company and our business unit, IT Services, is based out of our beautiful Symrna, GA office.  Together, our 900 employees across North America bring more horsepower, more commitment and a more complete game plan.  That’s how you get hard things done.  And it’s the only way we do things at Onepath.

Today opens a bright new chapter in the legacy of Jenaly and I&T as we move forward as Onepath to help our clients reach their business goals through smart and innovative applications of technology.

The future is bright and I’m grateful and proud to be a part of it.  logo-onepath

Secure Your Internet Connected Printer

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Late last week, the FBI issued what is known as a Private Industry Notification, or PIN, regarding Internet connected printers.  These are printers that allow you to print to them remotely, when outside the network.

The FBI has confirmed that criminal actors have exploited vulnerabilities in these printers to either manipulate legitimate print jobs or to distribute threats and hate speech.  In one confirmed case, over 130 businesses across all sectors of the economy, received bomb threats via fax or forced print jobs.

The FBI has identified the following recommendations to prevent these types of cyber attacks:

  • Ensure ports 515, 631, and 9100 are not publicly accessible over the Internet. If keeping these ports open is necessary, consider whitelisting specific IP addresses or subnets to ensure only legitimate traffic can connect to the printer.
  • Consider the use of alternative ports for Internet-connected printers and other devices.
  • Ensure all Internet-connected printers and devices on the network have strong usernames and passwords. Default usernames and passwords should be changed.
  • Conduct daily reviews of printer logins to identify and flag unauthorized IP addresses.
  • Configure firewalls to block traffic from unauthorized IP addresses to printers and other network devices.
  • Restrict Internet-connected printer and device connectivity to non-sensitive business networks.

If you have an Internet enabled printer in your home or office, I strongly encourage you to take the above steps today.

The FBI encourages everyone to report potential cyber criminal activity to the FBI’s 24/7 Cyber Watch (CyWatch). CyWatch can be contacted by phone at (855) 292-3937 or by e-mail at CyWatch@ic.fbi.gov. When available, each report submitted should include the date, time, location, type of activity, number of people, and type of equipment used for the activity, the name of the submitting company or organization, and a designated point of contact.

Annual Event Gives Insight Into Tech’s Future

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The following was published in yesterday’s edition of Foster’s and Seacoast Sunday.

Every year around now, I attend the annual ChannelCon event, produced by CompTIA, The Computing Technology Industry Association, www.comptia.org.

This year’s event was held earlier this week in Austin, Texas and attracted a large representation of the IT industry. Representatives from just about any household technology name you can think of were in attendance as were representatives from IT service providers like the company I work for, from all over the world. What I find most valuable about this event, is that it is not a product focused event, meaning it isn’t built around the latest sales messaging for a particular company’s offerings. Rather, this is a truly educational gathering that helps to keep attendees ahead of the trends, while also providing an opportunity to hear from some of the companies that drive the technology industry forward.

The event also touches upon social issues. Several years ago, CompTIA launched the Advancing Women in IT member community. This community seeks to get more women interested in technology careers as women are underrepresented in technology as compared to the rest of the economy. This year marked the launch of the Advancing Diversity in IT member community. This community works to help companies create work environments inclusive of all people regardless of age, cultural background, physical abilities, race, religion, gender and sexual orientation. Further, this community seeks to be the leading advocate for the advancement of African-Americans, Hispanics and Latinos within the technology industry. Together with initiatives like the Tech Leaders Giving Circle, where technology company executives earmark donations from CompTIA to worthy local charities, CompTIA members have the opportunity to make a real difference in their local communities and for our country as a whole.

Butter HalfThe theme of this year’s event was “Be The Change.” The content was designed around industry training, peer-to-peer learning and networking so that attendees would walk away with new ideas and tools to put into immediate action to help grow their business and their career, while providing critical services to our local clients who increasingly rely on technology.

There were several engaging keynotes, that challenged us to develop better diversity cultures within our organizations. Others provided career advice from men and women in different parts of the industry who all had different experiences throughout their storied careers. There was a highly engaging keynote by Scott Belsky, who founded the company Behance, that challenged everyone to create “windows of non-stimulation.” The contention being that we are all bombarded by entirely too much information at every waking moment. I’m sure you can relate to this!

Educational tracks focused on emerging technologies like Smart Cities and the Internet of Things and how this will impact us, both as individuals and as workplaces within our communities. Cyber security was a hot topic, as you might expect. While many understand that their own business may have cyber security risks, most don’t think about it from the standpoint of understanding the cyber security posture of their business partners. For example, when you partner with an IT firm, do you take the time to understand how they protect themselves? This will often give you instant insight into how well they can protect you! Do you want to partner with a company that does not have appropriate safeguards in place to protect themselves? I sure hope not.

Business Intelligence, or BI, is another emerging hot topic. Driven in part by new tools that have come to market that make it easier and more cost effective, companies are embracing BI to help them understand how their business is performing, in real time. It’s no longer unrealistic to think that a business of any size, can develop dashboards to keep a real-time pulse on your business.

The IT industry remains vibrant and growing. The opportunities to work with partners to help you grow your business through smart technology investments are better than ever. Just don’t invest for the sake of implementing the latest new technology. Make sure you have clearly established goals for your business and then apply technology to help you reach those goals more efficiently and profitably.

ChannelCon 2017 is a Wrap!

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This weeks ChannelCon was a great success.  Congratulations to the entire CompTIA team on a very well produced event.  The buzz was consistent, loud and positive.  I heard many people say this was the best ChannelCon ever.  The number of people in the closing sessions and at the wine down reception was the best I’ve ever seen.

All this positivity speaks to the opportunities ahead for our industry our the clients we serve.

Microsoft Interview

Alyssa Fitzpatrick, Microsoft (L), Joe Panettieri, ChannelE2E (C), Todd Thibodeaux, CompTIA (R)

One of the better interviews this week, was when CompTIA CEO Todd Thibodeaux interviewed Alyssa Fitzpatrick, General Manager, Worldwide Channel Sales at Microsoft.  Microsoft is in the midst of a transition to what she referred to as a Partner First business model.  Partner First is a realignment of resources to ensure the success of Microsoft partners and customers.  It’s also about making sure that partners have access to the resources they need to have the right conversation with their clients and those conversations are about business needs, not technology.  I’m excited to have a broader team of experts within Microsoft to work with, to match our clients business needs with the right Microsoft technologies to meet those needs and exceed their goals.

There was a great morning session titled “The Best Career Advice Ever.”  The panel included some people I know and some I did not.  Each of them had a great nugget or two to share about their own experience and advice for others.  Here are just a few of those nuggets:

  • Don’t let what you can’t do get in the way of what you can do.
  • Being a success in your family life will ensure your success in your professional life.
  • Understand before being understood.
  • Put yourself in a position to be lucky.
  • Preparation will overcome any obstacle.

Artwork 4There were several sessions related to cyber security.  I sat on a panel for one of the sessions, which focused on helping small and mid-size businesses improve their cyber security posture.  CompTIA is helping to educate its members on what services they should be delivering and how best to deliver those services.  Many smaller IT firms are trying to determine whether they build these new services themselves or partner with others.

The only concerning moment of the week for me was when I polled the attendees in oneArtwork 5 session as to how many in the room were taking certain safeguards to protect their own internal system.  These are service providers who hold a treasure trove of sensitive information about their clients and our industry, MSP’s in particular, are known to be a target for this very reason.  I would estimate there were around 150 people in the room.  Less than 10% said they had taken steps to ensure the security of those systems other than the built in username and password capabilities.  We have a problem as an industry that needs to be addressed.  These firms can’t properly safeguard their clients if they are not first safeguarding themselves.  It was a wake up call.

CompTIA has a very active philanthropic arm as well.  In addition to the Creating IT Futures foundation, CompTIA has the Tech Leaders Giving Circle (TLGC).  CompTIA commits $200,000 annually to donate to charities each year through TLGC.  Each member designates a charity of their choice to receive a $1,000 donation.  For the first time this year, all of those who were in attendance at ChannelCon gathered for a group photo, below.

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Gina London

 

Finally, in the pure fun category, I had the pleasure to meet Gina London, former pioneering Headline News anchor at CNN.

Gina emcee’s ChannelCon Online, the live stream of the event for those who are unable to make it in person.  Gina worked with one of my cousins who was a pioneering producer for CNN back when it was first starting up.  We live in a small world!

 

ChannelCon Online

Joe Panettieri, ChannelE2E and Gina London on the ChannelCon Online Set

Fun Sights and Thought Provoking Keynotes from ChannelCon

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Following up on my earlier post, I want to share some of the fun sights from CompTIA ChannelCon as well as some thoughts on the excellent keynotes.  I will sprinkle some of the creative Austin inspired artwork that decorated the conference venue this week, throughout this post.

Todd Keynote

Todd Thibodeaux, CompTIA’s CEO gave a very thought provoking keynote on the state of diversity in the IT industry.  CompTIA has two diversity focused member communities.  Advancing Women in IT (AWIT) and Advancing Diversity in IT (ADIT).  Both communities focus on diversity issues and helping companies create work environments inclusive of all people regardless of age, cultural background, physical abilities, race, religion, gender and sexual orientation.  It’s a noble undertaking with extensive industry support.

Todd concluded his keynote with 5 key takeaways for attendees to consider to help make diversity a part of your company’s DNA:

  1. Focus on unconscious bias.Artwork 1
    • Make the unconscious, conscious.
    • Start with a diverse slate.
    • Standardizing hiring procedures.
  2. Prioritize diversity/inclusion.
    • Approach it as a market issue.
    • Set measurable goals.
    • Put money where your mouth is.
  3. Fill your pipeline.
    • Start searches earlier to be proactive.
    • Recruit non-traditional candidates.
    • Make diversity part of your brand.
    • Partner with diversity groups.
  4. Examine your work culture.Artwork 3
    • Offer diversity training.
    • Nurture and mentor diverse staff.
    • Aim for an inclusive culture.
    • Recognize some need more help.
  5. Be a mentor and connect.
    • Use Twitter to explore differences.
    • Diversify your LinkedIn connections.
    • Be a mentor and get a mentor.

The other great keynote from this years ChannelCon was delivered by investor and entrepreneur Scott Belsky, the former founder of Behance.

Belsky Keynote.jpgScott talked about the need to overcome the reactionary workflow of today’s hyper connected world.  It was eye opening to hear him talk about plethora of platforms that alert us throughout the day of new messages demanding our attention.  The interruption to workflow is tremendous and the ability to tone the noise down is difficult at best.

Artwork 4Scott talked about needing to create a window of non-stimulation.  The amount of incoming information we have to process on a daily basis is overwhelming.  Our ability to remain productive in the face of this onslaught, is a challenge.  These windows of non-stimulation allow you time to read, think and just generally exercise your brain in a different way.

There were so many golden nuggets in Scott’s talk, it’s a bit hard to capture them all here.  That said, here are some bullets describing some of the more impactful ideas he shared:Artwork 5

  • Spend energy on how you organize your work.
  • Have a culture of capturing action.
  • Measure the value of a meeting by the action steps that result.
  • Share ideas liberally.
  • Fight your way to breakthroughs.
  • Don’t become burdened by consensus.
  • A good leader talks last.  Don’t take away the opportunity for others to be engaged.
  • Nothing extraordinary happens through ordinary means.

Taken all together, so powerful theme’s to excel in today’s business climate.

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Hello From ChannelCon 2017

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ChannelCon2017This week, I am attending one of, if not the best technology industry event of the year, ChannelCon.  ChannelCon is the annual technology conference hosted by CompTIA, the Computing Technology Industry Association.  CompTIA is the global non-profit IT industry association whose mission is to advance the global IT industry.

I have had the pleasure to be a member of CompTIA for nearly 18 years and have served on the Board of Directors, currently as the Immediate Past Chair.  CompTIA brings together all elements of the industry, on a level playing field, to educate, certify, advocate, network and look toward the future of the industry.  It is a unique event that draws well over 1,000 attendees every year.

This years theme is “Be the change.”  From the ChannelCon web site: “Attend ChannelCon for intensive industry training, peer-to-peer learning and exceptional networking opportunities and walk away with new ideas and tools you can put into immediate action to grow your business and advance your career.”

As the week unfolds, I’ll post some of the key nuggets that emerge from this years event.  Stay tuned.

Will New TSA Rules Change Your Plans?

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TSAThe Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has announced that all electronics larger than a cell phone will need to be removed from carry-on baggage and placed in their own bin for x-ray screening.  Prior to this, only laptop computers were required to be removed for screening.  You may read the announcement here.

With most people carrying multiple electronic devices with them while traveling, will these new rules change what you bring onboard?  I know for myself, my bag has my computer and my iPad Mini.  Fortunately, I have TSA PreCheck and will not have to remove any of these from my bags, for the traveling public that does not have TSA PreCheck, you will have to.

The new rule is to allow screeners to be able to properly examine the devices.  Due to the airlines baggage fees, more users are carrying on and stuffing those carry-on bags more than ever.  This is making it harder for screeners to do a proper job reviewing the x-ray images, so this only makes sense.

I’m just wondering if it will change what people bring with them.  Will Kindle’s and tablets be packed in checked bags or simply left at home?  Will this have any impact on your business travel?