What are the differences in all the wireless security types?

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Hello again! Today I am going to talk about wireless security and authentication types. You may have seen different security types in regards to wireless. The major types I am speaking of are WPA, WPA2, WEP, and 802.11X.  This all may seem overwhelming, but don’t worry. I will give an overview of these types to clear things up. Also, hopefully you have a administrator over your network that knows all about it. (If by chance you do not have a network admin on payroll, Everon’s services may suit you nicely.)

WPA and WPA2

These are fairly new security methods, so keep that in mind if you have older devices on your network. WPA (Wi-Fi Protected access) encrypts the information and utilizes verification checks to make sure that the security key has not been changed or modified. Also, WPA and WPA2 check to make sure that anyone accessing the network has authorization to do so. Being two different types, WPA2 is more secure than WPA, but WPA2 will not work on all devices — especially older ones. WPA can be used across a wider range of devices, however some OLDER devices might not be able to use this authentication method at all.

Diggin’ a little more in depth into WPA and WPA2, you have the ability to set up a pre-shared key (psk) so that ALL users utilize the same key. This is called WPA-Personal and WPA2-Personal. This is as opposed to WPA-Enterprise and WPA2-Enterprise, which hand out unique keys to each user. Utilizing the enterprise levels are obviously going to be more secure. These works alongside an 802.11X server and by handing out unique keys to each user, it makes it that much harder to crack.

WEP

Now moving on to WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy). When you use WEP, you setup a network security key that everyone uses to connect. That key that gets created encrypts the data that users send to another user on the same network or device to device. WEP has since been deemed “old” and “outdated” and is not recommended for use. It is very easy to crack and anyone with a cell phone and an app is able to crack it in a 20 minute time frame, therefore WPA and WPA2 protocols are recommended.

802.11X

To enhance the security on the wireless network, 802.11X can be used along side WPA, WPA2, and WEP keys. It is mainly used in workplace environments for users to connect to the company network. As I briefly mentioned above, 802.11X utilizes a server to authenticate the users.

This all may seem like a foreign language to some, but that’s why we are here. Everon techs have a plethora of networking knowledge and would be more than happy to help you in your networking needs. Reach out to us via Facebook, Twitter, www.everon.com, or give us a call at (888)244-1748.

Tech Tips for Techs: Checking license and provisioning status in Office 365

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In this TechTip, we’ll talk about the Powershell command you can use to check on license provisioning status for your users in Office 365. (Yes, I said Powershell. Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn’t expose a lot of information through the GUI, and this is one of those scenarios where we have to go to a CLI.)

Why is this important, you might ask? A common scenario that pops up where I leverage this command is when I have a user who is unable to access or use certain features in 365. Let’s say you have a user who is assigned an E3 seat and everything is working beautifully except for OneDrive (it’s grayed out in the bar across the top of the Microsoft portal). First thing I would personally check is to make sure that she has Sharepoint assigned and in good standing.

In order to do that, fire up Powershell, connect to 365 using a Global Administrator account, and run the following command:

(Get-MsolUser -UserPrincipalName user@domain.com).Licenses[0].ServiceStatus

 

An E3 license is going to give you output that looks like this:

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Using my OneDrive scenario, we can see why this particular user doesn’t have access. Because OneDrive leverages the Sharepoint platform, and the license is stuck in PendingInput status, there has been no provisioning and therefore, no access. At this point, unless this user is actively using their account or has litigation hold enabled, you could potentially remove the license, wait for it to disappear, and then reassign it. However, if this user has any data in the account at all or if lit hold is enabled, DO NOT unassign the license. In that case, you will want to open a ticket with your support provider, if it’s been stuck in PendingInput for over 24 hours.

 

Dude, Where’s My Phone? Finding and wiping your Android device through a web interface

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“!@#$%! I lost my phone AGAIN!”

Does this sound as familiar to any of you as it does to me? Well, unfortunately, this is far too common for me. In recent days, however, I have been turned on to a handy online tool to help find my Android phone when it gets misplaced.

If you are like me as well, you probably have work-related items on your phone. Or personal items that, if by chance your phone found it’s way into the wrong hands, could be devastating. This Google feature provides you the ability locate your phone, wipe it clean if needed, and set a new unlock code so it is not easily accessed.

This will work only if you have an Android device and know the Google address you set your phone up with. To start, open up a web browser and go out to www.google.com/android/devicemanager. It will prompt you to log in with your Google email address (being the same one you set your phone up with). As soon as it logs in, it will start contacting your phone.

Contacting

If your location services are on, it will provide you a GPS location of the whereabouts of your devices. If not, you have other options. You have the ability to “ring” the device. Whether your phone is set on vibrate or silent, it will loudly ring your phone for 5 minutes or until you hit the power button. Also, you have the ability to set a new lock code so no one but yourself can access it while it is not in your possession. And finally, you have the ability to wipe the phone back to factory settings, in case you are worried about sensitive data being compromised.

As I previously stated, this will work for Android devices, to include tablets, only and not any others such as windows phones or iPhones. There are other features on the market out there for the devices it does not cover, so if you are interested in hearing about those, please reach out to Everon at 888-244-1748 and we will be glad to discuss them with you!

What you can do to improve Outlook performance

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If you’re like me, you are in a constant battle with an ever-growing mailbox that seems to get slower and slower every week. I have used and loved Outlook for a long time. Its stability and ease keep me from moving to its competitors. However, one flaw I have found is that sometimes when I am cleaning up my mailbox, the actual size of the mailbox remains the same. This slows it down. There are a few built-in tools you can use to pep up your mail browsing.

“Compacting” your mailbox removes all the items in your mailbox that you have marked for deletion and lowers the size of your mailbox on your hard drive. Smaller file equals faster access. In Outlook 2010 and 2013 the process is exactly the same.

Select the File tab at the top and press Account Settings > Account Settings.

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Select the Data Files tab > Highlight your data file > Select Settings

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Select Advance and press the Outlook Data File Settings button. Press Compact Now and give it some time (especially if your mailbox is as big as mine!)

 

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Once that’s done there should be some improvement to your Outlook performance, depending on how unhealthy your mailbox is. If you have multiple mailboxes you should consider doing this process on all of them. Good Luck! And remember: if you need help, you can always call us at Everon (888-244-1748).

The Top 10 Things You Need to Know About Moving to a VoIP Solution

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Hello again! Being an engineer and being subjected to a lot of technology that is out there, it’s easy for us to see and understand the big picture. Recently, however, it has come to my attention that there are certain items that we (engineers) see as normal day-to-day things, that some people just do not have a full understanding of. One of these is Voice-over-Internet Protocol, or VoIP. So today I am going to give a run down of some Pros and Cons and a little background of what it is.

Pros

1) Consolidation of Services. VoIP uses your internal IP network (network connection) to pass and receive voice traffic instead of your copper PSTN (public switched telephone network) lines like so many people are used to. So instead of having a separate line that comes in specifically for your phones and internet, they both will share the same line to accomplish the tasks, allowing consolidation of services. This gets me into the pros of going with a VOIP solution.

2) Easier (and cheaper) bill-paying. Going with a VoIP solution not only lets you consolidate in the manner of less equipment and less wires, it also allows you to pay one company for both your voice and data services. This will leave less of a paper trail, carbon footprint, and one less check to write for the accounting team. While on the topic of cost effectiveness, making a phone call with a VoIP solution is cheaper — so cheap that it is the same cost to make a call as it is to send an email!

3) Voice mail. Sure, you have voice mail with your old phone system. And it is just as easy, if not easier, to set up and manage with VoIP as it is with your old phone line. But VoIP takes it a step further, allowing you to also setup voice mail to create emails. That way you can read your voice mails (and have the printed notes right in front of you), rather than trying to listen to them in a noisy place, or having to find a pen to jot down a recited phone number.

4) The ability to set up and use call forwarding. Another handy feature you’re already familiar with, call forwarding is standard with VoIP, whereas it was an extra charge with the older phone systems/providers. 

5) Calls are easily recorded and monitored. This is great for those conference calls that not everyone can make, but they still need the info. It’s also a good way to check up on your employees and give them additional training, if needed, or have proof to back them up in the case of customer disputes.

mobile VoIP phone6) Mobility. You can move your phone anywhere, including doing a complete reconfiguration of where everyone sits in your office, or you could even take your office phone home, or to Canada, and you would still have the ability to keep the same phone number and functionality with your base VoIP phone unit.

7) Connectivity. Many companies use their VoIP solution to hold and accommodate voice/video conferencing which is a more cost effective way to bring people from all over the world together.  Sounding pretty good, eh?

Cons

Just like everything else in this world, not all that glitters is gold. With positives, there will always be negatives, hence “pros and cons.” Even though the list of cons is much shorter, I still feel it is my duty to make you aware of them so you can make an educated decision when talking about phone systems.

8) Hackers and viruses. Like anything that uses the internet for functionality, there is always a threat of being hacked and/or malicious attacks such as viruses. Yes, even phone systems can obtain viruses and can be hacked, with the hackers intercepting phone calls and tracking outbound/inbound calls. It is unfortunate that we have to worry about even our phones being hacked, and there are protective measures you can take to prevent this from happening. But that’s another-day conversation.

9) Reliability of usage. Another thing to take into consideration is the reliability. There are 2 parts to this so stick with me here. The first part is the reliability of usage. Since VoIP uses the same line as your internet, if the power goes out, a piece of networking equipment fails, or the ISP has an outage, you will not be able to use your phones just as you cannot surf the web at this time.

10) Reliability of quality. Secondly, if you do not take the time or spend the extra bit of money to ensure that your network is up-to-date and in a good spot, the quality of service on the phones can diminish. If your internet runs slow on a normal basis, your phone quality will be poorer than that of a healthy and fast network. There can be “choppiness,” delays, drops, and even static.  Something to take into consideration if you have been prolonging the network overhaul that is needed.

With all these thoughts, I hope that you feel at least comfortable enough to start a conversation with a VoIP provider in order to get more information about them. Here at Everon we are not a VoIP provider, per se, but we can answer questions and can help facilitate a transition to the service. Feel free to reach out to us by phone, website, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Cheers!