HAPPY HALLOWEEN FROM US TO YOU! BE SAFE AND HAVE A SCARY GOOD TIME:)
Quote or Inspiration: The keys to life are running and reading! -Will Smith
Expertise: I cannot say that I am expert at anything. But I know more about computer stuff, workout and healthy diet than anything else.
Hometown: Hangzhou, China
First job: translator (English to Chinese and vice versa)
Education & training: Graduated from the colleges with majors in English while in China and computer networking in USA.
Number of computers at home: 2 laptops and 1 ipad
Hobbies: weightlifting (workout)
Brainfood: always learning
Favorite band or music: Bee Gees, Foreigner, Boyz II Men
Favorite thing about Verma Systems: very friendly working environment
Apps I can’t live without: wechat
Tech tip: Always make sure what you are doing before making any change!
Although it looks like Baton Rouge may be spared from the worst of Tropical Storm Gordon we want to remind our clients that safeguarding your business in the event of a tropical storm or hurricane is key. If you haven’t already, NOW is the time to review your IT Disaster Recovery Plan to make sure it’s in good working order.
Verma Systems’ network engineers are on standby if you have any questions or need IT services. Please contact us at 225-296-0399, Email Support@vermasystems.com, or by an emergency hotline with 24-hour service at 225-338-6848.
IT Tips and Safeguards:
- First, review your IT Disaster Recovery Plan and make sure it’s in good working order.
- Collect important paper documents and keep them in a safe, dry place. If you must return to your office in substandard conditions; having them in one location will make it easier, quicker and safer to retrieve.
- Sensitive documents should be treated as such. You or your team may not be the first people to enter the building. Shred what is supposed to be shredded and safeguard the rest.
- Have an emergency flashlight in a secure place in the event you return to your office and there is no power.
- Take a copy of your Disaster Recovery Plan and your emergency contact numbers with you before leaving your office.
- If you fear flooding, elevate IT equipment off the floor.
- And most important, be safe!
Quote or Inspiration: "People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world, are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them." George Bernard Shaw
Hometown: Mexico City
First job: M G M Mirage Corporation
Education & training: UNAM in Mexico City
Number of computers at home: 4
Hobbies: Playing guitar, Tennis, crochet.
Brainfood: SMILE or Bacon =)
Favorite band or music: Big Bands Swing (20’s)
Favorite thing about Verma Systems: We are a team.
Apps I can’t live without: Pandora, Spotify.
Tech tip: Slow down and process the information before applying the data
Virtual CTO / Network Engineer / Director of Technical Services
Quote or Inspiration: Energy and persistence conquer all things- Benjamin Franklin
Expertise: I can’t really say I’m an expert in any field. My interest are all over the place.
Hometown: Pierre Part, Louisiana
First job: Turtle Farm / 11 years old until 18 years old
Education & training: LSU (Bachelors-ISDS)
Number of computers at home: 2 computers and 4 tablets
Hobbies: Running, fishing, hunting, shooting, hiking and splitting firewood
Brainfood: Reading and keeping up with World News
Favorite band or music: Hank Williams Jr.
Favorite thing about Verma Systems: Comradery
Apps I can’t live without: Amazon and Google
Tech tip: Save your work often and always have a contingency plan!
Congratulations to Brad Watkins, Verma Systems' Sales Engineer, for celebrating 20 years at Verma Systems on July 27. We really appreciate your commitment and dedication to our customers and to the company. You rock:)
Verma Systems' Network Engineer & Help Desk Support
Quote or Inspiration: Douglas Adams, Isaac Asimov, H. Norman Schwarzkopf
Expertise: Incident Resolution, Application level troubleshooting, UNIX Systems
Hometown: Scott, Louisiana
First job: Grocery store in southern Louisiana
Education & training: UL Lafayette
Number of computers at home: 2
Hobbies: Counterintelligence, Open Source Intelligence, Lock Picking, Running, Malware analysis, Performance Driving, Rocket League, and Formula One racing
Favorite band or music: Tropical House
Favorite thing about Verma Systems: The inviting atmosphere
Apps I can’t live without: Signal
Tech tip: Watch what personally identifiable information you post on the open Internet. 2-Factor Authenticate as much as possible
Verma Systems' Network Engineer
Quote or Inspiration: Industry, thrift, and self-control are not sought because they create wealth, but because they create character. -Calvin Coolidge
Expertise: Networking, Maintain Legacy Systems, Computer Forensics
Hometown: Lafayette, LA
First job: EATEL
Education & training: College Degree in Computer Networking, and several certifications.
Number of computers at home: Nine, five of which are older than me!
Hobbies: Working on cars, old computers, working on anything I can fix or optimize!
Brainfood: Boneless Chicken Wings
Favorite band or music: Mostly Classical music. I really don't listen to a lot of music but I do enjoy singing!
Favorite thing about Verma Systems: I really enjoy the attitude of the workplace.
Apps I can't live without: WiFi Analyzer
Tech tip: Don't install software you don't need, keep your computer and your AntiVirus up to date, and don't open attachments from unsolicited e-mails!
Verma Systems' Project Manager
Quote or Inspiration: “It's all in your head -- you just have no idea how big your head is.” ―Lon Milo DuQuette
Expertise: Project Management, Computer Networking, and Troubleshooting
Hometown: I was born in Houston, TX, but have lived in Baton Rouge for over 20 years.
First job: Verma Systems, back in 2001! Back then, I worked as a “Bench Tech” repairing beige-box computers.
Education & training: Mostly self-taught, and I went to ITT Tech night-school and received my Associates of Science in Computer Network Technology in 2010. I was Valedictorian, along with my classmate and now coworker, Dustin Leaycraft! I received my Project Management Professional (PMP) training and certification in 2016.
Number of computers at home: Only 2: 1 desktop running Windows 10 Pro, 1 laptop running Linux Mint.
Hobbies: Reading and collecting books, watching anime and Godzilla movies, and playing video games (PS4 and PC).
Brainfood: N-acetyl Cysteine (look it up!) and Greek & Lebanese food. There is no such thing as ‘too much garlic’!
Favorite band or music: I like a variety of things, from Blind Guardian and Daft Punk to Jars of Clay and Jamiroquai.
Favorite thing about Verma Systems: Working with people who share my interests and passions, both professionally and personally.
Apps I can’t live without: Reddit, Instagram, Wikipanion and Audible
Tech tip: Try Googling “Alternative to…” when you’re researching a solution (this applies to anything from software to medical treatments). You’ll find information that you may not have previously considered!
Verma Systems' Network Engineer
Quote or Inspiration: Beer is proof that God loves man. “Benjamin Franklin”
Expertise: Technology and Business Solutions
Hometown: Brittany, Louisiana
First job: Summer job at Catholic High entering my freshman year
Education & training: Communications Studies at LSU, Networking & Cisco ICND2 training
Number of computers at home: 2; one for gaming and one for media
Hobbies: Catching fish, PC gaming- Paragon, guitar, and dominating my fantasy football leagues
Favorite band or music: Top 5 would be: Led Zeppelin, Hank Jr, 2Pac, Armin Van Burren, and Oscar winner Trent Reznor
Favorite thing about Verma Systems: The office culture and the people. I’d compare the group here to the 92’ US Olympic basketball squad.
Apps I can’t live without: ESPN Fantasy App
Tech tip: When searching in Google and you come upon an unknown or suspect site… click the down arrow next to the resulted web address and select “Cached.”
Verma Systems' Wiring Technician
Quote or Inspiration: Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your
energy to what you can create.
Expertise: wiring installation rack building troubleshooting and jack installation
Hometown: Baton Rouge, LA
First job: Data Tel of LA
Education & training: diploma and many certifications
Number of computers at home: 2
Hobbies: Playing football video games hunting fishing racing and riding motorcycles
Brainfood: Hot wings
Favorite band or music: Too many to count...I listen to some of everything
Favorite thing about Verma Systems: I really get the feel of being with family when I'm at work
Apps I can’t live without: Spotify and Clash of Clans
Tech tip: Never let your eyes be bigger than your stomach, you’ll regret it every time!
Verma Systems Project Manager
Quote or Inspiration: "The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance." -Alan Watts
Expertise: Production/Project Management & Customer Service
Hometown: New Orleans, but I’ve lived in Baton Rouge most of my life
First job: Raising Canes!
Education & training: Graduated from Parkview Baptist in Baton Rouge, studied Business at LSU, and I’ve trained in Customer Service and Production Management.
Number of computers at home: 4 laptops and lots of music gear that qualifies as a computer at my house...I’m an electronic music nerd.
Music- My guitar, the band my wife and I started called “Lucy and the Gamblers,” my Korg Electribe and my home recording studio.
Meditation- I’m a big fan of vipassana.
Health/Fitness- I’m a health nut who loves to eat salads; I race mountain bikes, run marathons, and like just talking about healthy food and exercise in general.
Outdoors-I am an eagle scout and love spending lots of time outdoors!
Brainfood: Salad main dish...morning smoothie close second.
Favorite band or music: Impossible to answer...I enjoy just about every note of music ever played. I’m a music nerd who just appreciates the art form in all its glory.
Favorite thing about Verma Systems: The intense after work team laser tag games!
Apps I can’t live without: Spotify, Soundcloud, Audible, the Apple “Podcasts” App, and Insight Timer, my meditation timer
Tech tip: Nobody, but nobody, is going to give you half of $80 million to help them liberate the funds of a deceased millionaire…from Nigeria or anywhere else.
Verma Systems Help Desk Support
"My best mentor is a mechanic - and he never left the sixth grade. By any competency measure, he doesn't have it; but the perspective he brings to me and my life is, bar none, the most helpful."
Expertise: Networking, computer repair and operating system repair
Hometown: Watson, LA
First job: Usher for Rave Motion Pictures
Education & training: A+ Training, Adobe Photoshop and Dreamweaver Certified.
Number of computers at home: 4— two gaming laptops and two high performance general use laptops.
Hobbies: 4-wheelers, dirt bikes and dune buggies. I’m currently trying to make my Mustang Cobra a show car and upgrade my motorcycle.
Brainfood: Green and red apples!
Favorite band or music: Future bass, electronic, progressive, house, trap, and some Metal
Favorite thing about Verma Systems: The atmosphere at Verma makes me want to be involved with anything. Everyone is welcoming to new faces no matter if you have been in the industry for years or just getting into the field.
Apps I can’t live without: SMITE, Spotify, and Discord!
Tech tip: The fastest way to smart is through stupid. There’s no way to get to smart quickly unless you’re comfortable looking stupid in the name of progress.
Verma Systems Help Desk Support
Favorite Quote: “Virtue Thrives Under Oppression” - Chapman Family Coat of Arms Motto
Why IT?: I’ve loved computers for as long as I can remember.
Hometown: Baton Rouge, LA
First job: Summer Day Camp Counselor
Education & training: Degree in Computer Science from Southeastern (2011), 6+ years Datacenter and desktop support
Number of computers at home: 5, I think. Do tablets and game consoles count?
Hobbies: Spending time with my wife, playing with my dogs, watching movies, going to concerts, and playing video games
Brainfood: Steak and Ribs
Favorite band or music: Starset and Nothing More
Favorite TV show: Westworld and House of Cards
Favorite thing about Verma Systems: Fellow co-workers and everything being orange
Apps I love: Wink Home Automation
Tech tip: Use an Adblocker in your browser, not only will it remove annoying ads but will also reduce your risk for virus infection.
Congratulations! April 30 marked David's fifth year with Verma Systems. We appreciate his contributions and leadership to the network engineering team... and we'd be remiss if we didn't recognize his smokin' BBQ skills:)) Thank you David for all you do!
Congratulations to Valerie Dauzat, Verma Systems' Customer Contract Administrator, for celebrating 20 years at Verma Systems on April 7. We appreciate your commitment to our customers and the company and sincerely thanks you for all you do!
In Cybersecurity Part I – The Threats, I discussed the rise in the number of cyberattacks being conducted and the types of threats organizations are facing. This article discusses a two-pronged approach that can be taken to mitigate the threat and develop resiliency to recover quickly from cyberattacks.
Step 1 – Conduct a Security Audit
To develop a plan to address your current IT security needs you’ll need to understand where you are. Having an experienced IT Services company perform a security audit is an essential first step. Security audits generally consist of vulnerability scans, password testing, penetration testing, and an examination of your strengths and weaknesses. The report should flag areas of concern and provide you with a plan to address any security problems that are found.
Step 2 – Protect the Gateway
Gateways are devices, like firewalls and routers, that stand between the internet and your network. All external network traffic passes through gateways making them the first line of defense against cyberattacks. Implementing a next generation firewall, like the Cisco ASA with FirePOWER Services, will add a security software suite that provides multiple layers of protection. IPS (Intrusion Prevention System), application-layer control software, malware protection, and URL filtering are all key components in a comprehensive gateway protection solution.
Step 3 – Protect Endpoints
Adding an anti-virus suite to endpoints, like PC’s and laptops, is no longer adequate to completely protect against today’s multi-vector cyberattacks. While still important, centrally managed anti-virus & malware software is only one piece of the puzzle.
Email security is another key component. Implementing cloud-based email security is vital whether you host your own mail servers or rely on a hosted email solution like Office 365. A comprehensive email security solution will offer anti-virus protection, phishing protection, spam filtering, zero- hour threat detection, and attachment defense. Hosted email solutions allow all of this to happen before emails enter your network.
Cloud-based breach protection software that works at the DNS layer, like Cisco Umbrella, will add an additional layer of endpoint protection. DNS protection works by preventing users from accessing web addresses that have been compromised to deliver malware or being used for phishing scams. Protecting email before it enters the network, scanning endpoints for anti-virus & malware, and implementing DNS layer protection create a formidable wall that will make it difficult for cyberattacks on your network endpoints to succeed.
Step 4 – Train Users
End users are the last line of defense in thwarting phishing scams, malware infections, and data leaks. Creating a training program in-house, or outsourcing training to an experienced IT consulting company, is vital to helping employees recognize and deal with cybersecurity social engineering threats. Knowing what kind of behaviors allow cyberattacks to succeed will go a long way toward protecting your network.
Step 5 – Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning
It’s important for your business operations to bounce back quickly in the event of a successful cyberattack, natural disaster, or catastrophic systems failure. Disaster recovery planning will help you determine what systems are the most vital and create a path to recover quickly. This is a multi-step process that will identify areas of improvement, create divisions of labor, and document the steps necessary to get your business back up and running.
Cyberattacks come from many directions and are constantly evolving. Experience has shown that these five steps -- conducting a security audit, protecting the gateway, protecting endpoints, training users and developing a disaster recovery plan -- will help thwart these attacks and allow a business to recover quickly and successfully.
February 1st marked Jose's fifth year with Verma Systems. As a Senior Network Engineer, Jose brings extensive IT knowledge and expertise to our clients and projects. Thank you Jose for everything you do day in and day out, and congratulations on making five!
Cybercrime is real and it is on the rise. According to Forbes, businesses lost an estimated $400 billion to cybercrime in 2015. That number is expected to rise to $2 trillion by 2019. It’s not only large corporations like Sony and Target that are affected. Small and medium-sized businesses are also at risk.
Hacking has evolved from being the domain of lone individuals to being a tool used by organized criminal organizations and nation states. Cybercriminals use tools like zero-day vulnerabilities, Trojan horses, and social engineering to steal data and extort money.
Zero-day exploits are unknown holes in software or device firmware. Hackers discover and take advantage of these holes to gain remote access to systems before vendors have a chance to patch the flaw. The Sony Pictures hack in 2014 was accomplished using a zero-day exploit. Hackers stole large amounts of corporate data and posted the information online.
Trojan horses are a form of malware that appears to be legitimate software. They are often delivered through email or surreptitiously installed while browsing infected websites. Users are typically tricked into installing Trojan horses through social engineering. Once installed, the software will act as intended providing backdoors to remotely access networks, copy and transmit sensitive data, or encrypt your data and hold it hostage.
Ransomware is one of the most prevalent, and insidious types of Trojan horses. The software encrypts data making it unusable. The criminals demand that a ransom is paid before they will decrypt the data. In 2016 ransomware increased 6,000 percent over 2015, according to a new study by IBM Security.
Last year 70 percent of businesses paid the ransom with most paying more than $10,000 and some paying substantially more. One high-profile ransomware infection occurred at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles. The internal computer system was unusable for a week, and they were forced to pay $17,000 in Bitcoin to retrieve their data.
In the next article, I’ll discuss the steps businesses can take to secure themselves from cybercriminals and recover from attacks.