November News:

On The Calendar november_002We hope you got the chance to join us last month at one of our Fall 2016 Lunch & Learn events at Dallas and Fort Worth Ruth's Chris Steak House locations.  If not, no worries, get the scoop on what you missed right here! Urgent Reminder:  Here's your friendly "time is running out before the end of 2016" poke to consider your IT equipment purchases for the rest of the year, right now! IRS Section 179 allows equipment purchasers to write off the entire amount of equipment the same year they purchased it (up to $500,000.00). Reduce your total income tax before end of year. Remember, most tax brackets for small to mid-size business is 35%. Keep those funds working for you and inquire with any of our Fulcrum Group Account Managers to find out how you can reduce your tax burden and build up your business at the same time!  You can reach out to us anytime via email or at 817-337-0300. 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.
scam-alertTech Support Scam Alert Republished from our blog, 11/2016 Symantec warns that tech support scams are getting more sophisticated by the month: “These scams remain one of the major and evolving forces in the computer security landscape. Between January 1 and April 30 this year, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received 3,668 complaints related to tech support scams, which amounted to adjusted losses of almost US $2.27m.” Recently, Symantec has observed a new feature in the tech support scams it is detecting – the use of code obfuscators. Early tech support scams had their entire malicious code clearly visible. Now code obfuscation, which was mostly seen with Exploit Kits, has made its way to tech support scams. So, what is this new scam? A warning that a victim’s hard drive will be wiped of all data… unless, of course, they call the fake customer support number. This scam kicks off when a user visits a compromised website. Immediately, it tries to scare the victim with an unusual tactic, Symantec explains: “The web page displays a fake ‘hard drive delete timer’ that warns the user that their hard drive will be deleted within five minutes. A warning audio tone is also played in the background, which again warns the user that their system is infected.” The scam also displays a pop-up alert in the browser that the user’s computer has been infected by a virus and that they must call a support number to resolve the issue.” There are variations of this scam that claim they are your Internet Service Provider, or claim to be Microsoft and you need an urgent update you need to call in for, or they show you a blue screen that claims your computer needs to be repaired. There is always a number to call, and these scammers will try to put hundreds of dollars on your credit card. Don’t fall for it!  If you see error messages on your business computer screen, follow policy and contact the person in your organization responsible for IT problems. If you see this on a computer at the house, ignore these messages and do not call the fake tech support number. From January 1 2016 through October, Symantec’s IPS blocked more than 157 million tech support scams. Their figures also showed that the countries targeted the most by tech support scams were the US, UK and Canada. Symantec advises users to be extra careful when calling or receiving a call from a technical call center. Users should be cautious and always check the company’s identity. If you need IT security assistance for your organization, always feel free to contact us at The Fulcrum Group for guidance. More info on Tech Support Scams from Symantec’s blog can be found here.
Switchvox Cloud - This Ain't Your Father's PBX hosted-voice-cloud-switchvox Legacy PBXs Just Don’t Cut It Anymore. If you have a legacy PBX (or digital hybrid system), you’re missing out on all of the advantages of Unified Communications.  Your legacy PBX requires you to wrap your workflow around how the PBX works.  No voicemail to email, no ability to support remote users, no advanced features like call center or call recording.  Useful reporting?  Forget about it. Experience the Power of a Hosted PBX More than a hosted PBX, Switchvox Cloud is a full-featured Unified Communications (UC) solution designed for SMBs. Now you can take advantage of powerful UC features, including presence, instant messaging, conferencing and mobility all for a low monthly rate. Switchvox Cloud simplifies the way your business communicates, anywhere, anytime. All Features Included for Every User Choosing a cloud-based phone solution doesn't mean you have to sacrifice the features and flexibiity of a full-scale UC solution. With Digium's hosted PBX - Switchvox Cloud, you get a full contact center, mobility, call control, and collaboration tools included with every user - for the same price. Switchvox Cloud is the hosted phone system solution that delivers the customer experience your business demands at price point you can afford. Hosted PBX Eliminates Hardware Costs. You want your phone system in the cloud. You want a hosted solution that's easy and affordable. Now, you can have it all. Switchvox Cloud simplifies the transition to hosted VoIP. Sign up for a 3 year term and receive Digium phones for FREE! Switchvox Softphone for iPhone The power of Digium Cloud Services extends even further with a robust mobile softphone for Switchvox. Switchvox Softphone for iPhone offers the advanced UC features in Digum IP Phones on your mobile, allowing for a whole new level of freedom and productivity. It’s like taking your desk phone and Switchvox with you, wherever you go. Save Valuable Time and Resources Take the burden of phone system management off of your IT staff. Switchvox Cloud, a hosted PBX solution, handles all the updates and maintenance so your system is always up to date with the latest features and functionality. Switchvox Cloud is a GREAT fit for:
  • Single location businesses with 50 or fewer users
  • Multi-location businesses
  • Businesses with many remote users
  • Hybrid environments with Switchvox On-Premise for larger locations (50+ users) and Switchvox Cloud for smaller locations and remote users
Contact your Fulcrum Group Account Manager today if you'd like further guidance on Switchvox for your organization.
SPOTlight On: Mark BullockThe Fulcrum Group - Dallas Fort Worth IT Experts mark Inside Sales Representative, Mark Bullock, is Fulcrum Group's newest face! Familiar with the latest offerings from Digium, our Unified Communications (UC) Solution, a call in to Mark is a great place to start for customers curious to find out more about Digium's top of the line phones and Cloud phone system solutions. Into sports, playing video games and spending time with friends in his spare time, Mark's fun fact is that he was raised in Germany most of his life.  Because of that unique life experience, Mark feels he's had the opportunity to hone some great communication skills, which will help him thrive as one of Fulcrum Group's newest kids on the block. Welcome, Mark!
  More Than Tech Tips: Survival Tips For A Post-Election Thanksgiving  Tech Tips from The Fulcrum Group, Dallas Fort Worth IT Managed Services Provider Here's something to be thankful for - 3 expert advice columnists in a recent article from the Los Angeles Times have served up some helpful tips to allow you to survive conversation that seems to be headed in an uncomfortable political direction over Thanksgiving... The advice team is Cheryl Strayed, an advice columnist and the author of "Wild" and "Tiny Beautiful Things"; Jennifer Peepas, the blogger who runs the advice site Captain Awkward; and Daniel Post Senning, an author and spokesperson for the Emily Post Institute and Emily Post's great-great-grandson. Here's what they have to say: 1) Set aside political talk at the table. At the beginning of dinner, speak up. Acknowledge as a group that you won't discuss politics while the turkey is still being carved. By doing that, Strayed says, it becomes a decision you’ve all made together for the common good. Some people, unbelievably enough, are looking forward to talking politics with their relatives. Whether you're on the same side or diametrically opposed, a spirited debate can be fun. For some. Post Senning says if that's the case, don't subject a captive audience to it. When dinner is over, the politically minded can retreat to the den to debate, and everyone else can eat pie and watch football in another room. And when you do finally talk election results, remember: Don't be a sore loser, and don't be a gloating winner. Both are bad manners. 2) Have an escape plan. Thanksgiving is not obligatory. If you know there's absolutely no way to get around being bullied by your relatives over your political views, give yourself permission to take this holiday off. And if you do go despite serious apprehension, have an escape plan. Peepas advises arriving a little late so no one's blocking your car in -- "it's really hard to storm out of an argument if you have to get your uncle who's yelling at you to move their car." Part of having an escape plan, she said, is psychological: Even if you don't use it, knowing you have a way to leave can give you peace of mind. 3) Be ready to create a conversational diversion. The best way to keep people from talking about politics is to get them talking about something else. What’s the best thing they’ve watched on TV or book they’ve  read this year? What are they feeling particularly thankful for? Browse the news before dinner and come prepared with some interesting apolitical headlines to discuss. If the conversation starts to turn, be ready with what you'll say next. Post Senning advises a polite, "You know, I'm not comfortable talking about that yet." Strayed suggests, “We know we don’t agree on politics, so let’s not discuss it." Peepas said her grandmother's go-to shutdown for contentious conversations was, "We have a secret ballot in this country for a reason. You can keep your secret for one day." 4) Remember that you technically love these people. When you're talking with someone at Thanksgiving, "try not to confuse the importance of the topic you're discussing with the importance of the conversation you're having," Post Senning advises. In other words: Yes, you believe very strongly in securing our borders or protecting a woman's right to choose, and you care because those things are important. But deep down, you know a holiday conversation is unlikely to result in your relative being suddenly, completely converted to your side. "So many of us believe that surely we can convince others to see it our way because our way is the reasonable position, but usually we can’t and usually any attempt at this will end in sorrow and fury," Strayed said in an email. (Then she followed up: "Says the woman whose grandmother once repeatedly shouted at her: ‘FEMINISTS HAVE RUINED THE WORLD!’ ") When they talk, pay attention, even if steam is pouring out of your ears. “The greatest gift we can give each other is human attention,” Post Senning said. Really, truly listen to them and try to respect where they're coming from. The goal should be to have a civil conversation, not to win a contentious one. (If this is truly not possible, refer to the diversion tactics in No. 3.) Finally, Strayed points out: "No matter how sad, mad or disappointed we are about anything in our lives — be it politics or not — there is also joy in the world and it is always available to us." Try to keep that in mind, and find some joy in being with your loved ones this holiday season -- even if they do all vote the wrong way. We hope you can use some of these and enjoy a relaxing time with the fam!
  Did You Know...New Digium PhonesThe Fulcrum Group Dallas Fort Worth IT Experts digium-phonesDigium’s 2nd generation of IP Phones are specifically designed for Switchvox and Asterisk. The D62 is a 2 button Gigabit color screen phone, $189.  And the D65 is an executive-level phone with 6 buttons, Gigabit, color screen, and Bluetooth connectivity for headsets, only $239.  Contact your Fulcrum Group Account Manager to find out more!