February News:

On The Calendar February has started with a special Fulcrum Group Anniversary - we're happy to announce that this month, we're fourteen years strong with a thriving team that is growing by the month! We'd like to officially welcome Tiana Curtis - with whom many of you have already had the pleasure of speaking, on occasion - on as Fulcrum's Administrative Assistant.  We'll feature Tiana in next month's SPOTlight, but with her organized and collected presence, she puts a personal touch on our office and keeps us all looking like we know what we're doing! To wrap up the month, we're offering Office 365:  More Than Just Hosted Email - a webinar for businesses that are considering upgrading to Microsoft's Office 365 - on Thursday, February 25th at 10 a.m.  Register today on our Events page to secure your spot!   Quick links to our social media pages are accessible right from our website and in every monthly newsletter email you receive from us!  If you're new to our newsletter and you'd like to subscribe, let us know.
Workstation Backups & Security: The Ransomware Threat Ransomware such as Cryptolocker is not a new threat. Cyber criminals have been targeting companies with successful attacks that have locked them out of their own systems and data, requiring them to pay a ransom to unlock their systems and data. Ransomware continues to be a problem, as new strains of the malware have been introduced, including those that can use Javascript across multiple Operating System platforms, possibly resulting in an even larger impact. The best defense to these Ransomware attacks are strong backups servers AND workstations, with regular off-site copies.  If you’re hit with Ransomware, instead of paying the ransom, you can simply restore from backup. Frequent and reliable backups offer your Network Administrator a quick and reliable way to recover from Ransomware attacks. Please contact your Fulcrum Group Account Manager today to schedule a free backup audit and to find out how to ensure your business is protected against such threats. Special thanks to Bruce West, Fulcrum Group Senior IT Security Specialist for his contribution to this article.
Here's What To Do With Your Old Office Equipment When implementing new technology for our clients, we are often asked about how to best recycle or rid the office of old computer and office equipment. Because it is actually better for the environment to donate your old computer to a place that might still be able to use it – like a school or retirement center – than it is to piece it out and recycle it part-by-part, (which is both energy- and labor-intensive), our first recommendation is to consider donation, even before recycling. Recycling can come with some caveats including "dirty recycling" issues - where parts end up in countries that employ low-wage workers to harvest components using unsafe methods, exposing them to toxic substances, as well as unprofitable plastic parts ending up in landfills despite good intentions. This article from Digital Trends includes some good advice on how to donate and recycle responsibly, including specifics on responsible organizations that provide these services. A couple of other things to consider when deciding how best to dispose of old equipment:
  • Does your organization need to meet certain procedural standards before disposing of special equipment - things to consider include sensitive information contained on hard drives, or batteries from assorted hardware...
  • Does your business need to meet certain compliance standards when disposing of equipment? Those in the healthcare, local government, financial services and legal industries often do.
The EPA provides a list of recycling resources here, segmented by type of device.  Or, if you'd rather look for a recycler by location, try this map from E-Stewards. The Fulcrum Group can offer further insight or assistance if you have questions.  Just let us know, we'll be happy to point you in the right direction!
SPOTlight On: Stephen DunfeeThe Fulcrum Group - Dallas Fort Worth IT Experts Coming to us with extensive knowledge of Windows Servers (and having been certified in Microsoft Server since the NT 4 days), and 15 years+ experience working exclusively with Microsoft Solution Providers like us, we'd like to officially welcome Stephen Dunfee as one of the newest Systems Engineers to The Fulcrum Group. From working with clients ranging from a couple of employees to thousands, Stephen has found no lack of opportunity and much satisfaction in learning to disprove the idea of "impossible". Stephen unplugs from technology occasionally by spending time on the golf course.  He says, "Unfortunately, my ROI is pretty low for the amount of hours I put in, but allows me to get away from the computer for a while, so that's good." Two fun facts about Stephen:
  1.  Not a big fan of condiments - with the strange exceptions of bbq and marinara sauces.
  2.  Nor is he necessarily a proponent of pants.  PJ's preferred whenever possible.
PJ's, sweats or business-casual khakis, we're just glad he shows up every day...Welcome, Stephen!
  More Than Tech Tips:  These Tiny Daily Habits Have Changed LivesTech Tips from The Fulcrum Group, Dallas Fort Worth IT Managed Services Provider This year, we've expanded on our "tech tips" area to offer even more helpful hints on building your self, your expertise and your business to be the very best they all can be. Check out these Quora daily habit tips that have helped changed peoples' lives! If you feel the need lately to turn your attention to your health, the way you manage time, tasks and stress, or better manage your time spent with technology, check some of these out - some of them are really good! As always feel free to share your best pointers on our Facebook page!
  Did You Know...Alarming New Malware StatsThe Fulcrum Group Dallas Fort Worth IT Experts New data continues to crank out unpleasant facts about malware and how this kind of data infiltration is affecting businesses.  Here are two articles for you on how much this is happening and how much damage businesses are accruing as a result. To ensure your business remains safe from this kind of trouble, always feel free to reach out to The Fulcrum Group. New today:  Be sure to check out the latest presentation on our blog: 7 Questions Every CIO Should Be Able to Answer About Cyber Security.