Welcome John Foval!

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.

Hobbies:
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.

Posted on August 8, 2017 .

Welcome Brennen Baker!

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.

Posted on July 3, 2017 .

Welcome Gary Chapman!

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.

Posted on May 25, 2017 .

David Marmillion Makes 5!

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! 

Posted on May 1, 2017 .

We did IT! HeartWalk 2017

A BIG thank you to everyone who came out Saturday, April 8, for the HeartWalk.  We walked and talked for three miles across the beautiful LSU Campus. It was a gorgeous Spring morning. The weather was perfect.  And we walked for a great cause.  Thank you Verma Systems!

Posted on April 10, 2017 .

Valerie Dauzat Makes 20!

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! 

Posted on April 10, 2017 .

Cybersecurity Part II: 5 Steps to Protect Your Business

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. 

Posted on April 3, 2017 .

Jose Santiago Makes 5!

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! 

Posted on February 21, 2017 .

Cybersecurity Part I: The Threats

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.

Posted on February 17, 2017 .

Meet Ryan Kell!

Please welcome Baton Rouge native, Ryan Kell, to the Verma Systems team!  Ryan earned his Associates Degree in Information Technology from University of Phoenix and is the oldest of two siblings, a brother and a sister.  As one of our Network Engineers, Ryan became interested in IT because he likes connecting computers and creating a functioning network.  He enjoys espresso almost any time of the day, listening to music and likes trying different styles of beers and cigars in his down time.
 
FAVORITE BAND: Pink Floyd
FAVORITE TV SHOW: Stargate (or anything Marvel related)
FAVORITE PLACE TO HAVE AN ESPRESSO: Starbucks
FAVORITE CIGAR: Padron 7000 Maduro
 

Posted on January 3, 2017 .

Dustin Leaycraft Makes 5!

November 23rd marked Dustin's fifth year with Verma Systems.  As a Senior Network Engineer, Dustin continues to step up to the plate and go the extra mile for our clients and the Verma Systems team. Thank you Dustin and congratulations on making five! 

Posted on November 29, 2016 .

Meet Robert Pierce!

Please welcome Robert Pierce to our Network Engineer team, a devoted family man who bleeds purple and gold on Saturdays and black and gold on Sundays!

Robert comes to us with nearly 15 years experience in all facets of IT from industries including gaming/casino, healthcare and media.

By accident Robert chose the IT field. He was working as a video store clerk at the time while in high school. His manager asked if he’d like to help put the store’s inventory into this new thing called a database. “I was always the kid that took his toys apart to see what made them tick. I had to know how all of this worked; it was love at first byte,” Robert joked.

Personal info: Married to the love of his life, Sherri, for 13 years. Three children ages 13, 11, and 8. The four of us are inseparable.

Hobbies & interests:  Family and sports; even if we’re all plugged into our favorite games or devices, we have to be near.

Inspirational quote or saying:  “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” -Yoda

Posted on September 13, 2016 .

EMPLOYEE FLOOD RELIEF UPDATE!

We are excited to report the Verma Systems Employee Flood Relief campaign has raised $6,950 in 13 days! What an incredible display of kindness, generosity and heartwarming support from so many friends, family, co-workers and business colleagues. Please help us spread the word and share the link below. Let's do this!

gofundme.com/vermasystems

Posted on September 12, 2016 .

Welcome Jay Martin!

Please welcome Jay Martin to our Network Engineer team. Jay attended Baton Rouge Community College and always knew he would pursue the IT field because of his love of computers and the idea of working with them every day.  “I was never outside a whole lot, instead I spent most of my time on the family computer trying to figure out what “cool” things I could do. The IT field is challenging at times but that’s something I’ve grown to look forward to,” Jay said.

In his spare time, Jay can be usually be found on the BRCC campus continuing his education or spending time watching TV, reading a Marvel comic or catching Pokémon.

Jay’s favorite saying is one from his Dad: “You’re never at your best, so always do better.”

Posted on September 12, 2016 .

Verma Systems Flood Relief Fund

gofundme.com/vermasystems
Today we launched a flood relief campaign to help our employees rebuild their lives.  Please visit the link above to help us spread the word by sharing with your friends and family on Facebook.  Thank you for your support and generosity!

#VermaStrong

This is one of our employee's vehicles completely flooded and floating in the street.

This is one of our employee's vehicles completely flooded and floating in the street.

This is one of our employee's homes.  The photo was taken as they were being evacuated by boat.

This is one of our employee's homes.  The photo was taken as they were being evacuated by boat.

Posted on August 30, 2016 .

#VermaStrong

We at Verma Systems are heartbroken by the devastation and loss in our community. Many of our employees, like so many others, have lost everything. Our office is currently open and we’re working to assist our clients to get back up and running in any way we can. Communications, including phones and email, are spotty but we are working through it. The Verma Systems family is here to assist our clients, and each other, in the days and weeks ahead as the flood waters recede. #VermaStrong

Posted on August 16, 2016 .

Welcome Mike McCarty!

Please welcome Baton Rouge native, Mike McCarty, to our Network Engineer team.  Mike earned a B.S. in Software Engineering from the University of Phoenix.  Mike chose the IT field because of his interest in connecting equipment to create functioning automated systems.  When he’s not making sure our client’s networks are operating efficiently and effectively, you can probably find Mike watching a good action movie like Terminator 2, The Fifth Element or enjoying a long-term adventure game.

Posted on August 1, 2016 .

Welcome Leigh Martin!

Please welcome Leigh Martin to Verma Systems!  Leigh is the newest member of our Technology Account Executive team and is inspired by the constant evolution of IT.  She is originally from Haughton, LA outside of Shreveport and came to Baton Rouge by way of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where she was majored in Public Relations but was a Philosophy major at heart.

Leigh loves the outdoors, camping and going on nightly walkabouts with her daughter. Her goal in life is to travel, travel, travel.  On a special trip to Amsterdam she visited the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House.  Both experiences touched her personally and emotionally, but Anne Frank’s diary had the most impact.  Leigh said, “Her diary changed my outlook on the world and made me the optimist I am today!”

Favorite Music : From Bela Fleck and The Flecktones to Sage Francis – and so many artists in between! The Beastie Boys are a forever love of mine!

Favorite Movie(s):  Movie from childhood: Oliver (the Musical); Movie from teenage years: Rushmore; Movie from Adulthood: Any Documentary

Favorite Books: Catcher and the Rye: Born Standing Up by Steve Martin, and Wuthering Heights

Inspirational Quote or Saying:  How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. – Anne Frank

 

Posted on April 22, 2016 .

Verma Systems is 25!

On February 14th Verma Systems turned 25! A big shout out to our incredible clients and technology partners.  You continue to support, teach and help make us a better IT company; and for that I thank you. I would also like to recognize our amazing employees -- your ideas, determination and innovation continue to inspire and motivate. 

Technology is ever-changing; that’s a fact. But as we look to the future, one thing is certain –- Verma Systems will continue to provide IT with a smile, get IT right the first time and strive to be the best IT company in South Louisiana.

My sincere thanks, Mitch

Posted on February 15, 2016 .