Helping Customers Adapt to a Remote Workforce Environment

Working Remote

 

Applied Technologies is available and ready to help your organization support business continuity during these challenging and unprecedented times.

 

As many companies move to a remote workforce environment, in response to social distancing guidelines and requirements, it is important for employers to keep remote workers secure, connected and productive.

 

While Coronavirus (COVID-19) remains a threat, our top priorities remain the satisfaction and support of our customers, as well as the health and wellbeing of the people who work for, and partner with, Applied Technologies. We have taken several precautions for our employees to stay healthy, productive and available to support you and your organization by delivering technologies that address both your current and future business challenges. In fact, most of our employees are equipped with the same technologies we provide our customers – which allows our team members to work remotely and provide you with continuous service and support.

Applied Technologies experts are available to help you navigate these increased demands in networking, collaboration, storage (cloud and hybrid-cloud) and security.

We are prepared to support you and ensure we keep business strong for our communities and country. We remain confident in our ability to respond to these new technology challenges.

Please contact us at 314.736.0500 or sales@appliedtech.pro with any questions or to discuss any immediate technology needs.

Make Your Smart Manufacturing Initiatives Even Smarter

Assessments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selecting the right partner for your Network Services is a crucial choice.

 

Without one, your manufacturing network can become the sticking point for the rest of your business, leaving the IT and OT sides of your network poorly connected and your network open to threats. It’s not just a matter of finding an IT company, especially now that so much of the shop floor now have cloud-based technology.  It’s about finding a partner that can help you operate more efficiently and impact the bottom line.

 

A partner should be able to integrate your enterprise and plant floor networks seamlessly, provide the remote access users need, and protect your company against security breaches.  At Applied Technologies, we have a team of industry-certified professionals to find the best and most cost-effective solution for you.

 

Finding the Right Solution

Applied Technologies’ Network Services start with facility and security assessments. We offer several assessment options to identify areas that may expose your business or have an impact on your processes. These options include security, access (network), and structured cabling assessments.  After we review both IT and OT infrastructure, we provide our analysis with a high-level summary so you can effectively prioritize the most important first steps.

Security

Security assessments are particularly important. As the possibility of cybercrime continues to increase, security attacks are inevitable. However, with the right security services, a network breach doesn’t have to be. We partner with you to ensure we understand your policies, practices, and processes as we design solutions to keep your business secure. Our security options include:

  • Compliance: Includes Payment card industry (PCI), International Standards Organization (ISO), and more
  • Assessments: Includes IT risk assessment, penetration testing, social engineering, and threat analysis
  • Information Technology: Includes next-generation firewall (NGFW), advanced malware protection, and email
  • Incident Response: Includes detection, testing and training, digital forensics, and more

Visit the Applied Technologies website for a complete list of our security options.

Remote Access

Every network is different, as is the level of remote or mobile access your users may need. What remains consistent is the importance of keeping that remote access safe and reliable. We have extensive experience in both designing and implementing core and edge devices, as well as the cable plant design needed to support them.

Structured Cabling

Assessing the physical set up of your network is just as important as assessing how the network could be compromised and attacked. The Applied Technologies team works with manufacturers to plan, implement, and manage structured cabling solutions, including assisting with developing requests for RFPs. Whether it’s third-party testing, finding the right contractor resources, wireless network design, or power protect, Applied Technologies will be with you every step of the way.

Are you ready to get started with network services to make your manufacturing network safer and more efficient? Contact us today to get started and find the best solutions for your company.

End of Support for Windows 7 and Several Windows Server Versions

 

Microsoft End of Support

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything has a lifespan, and technology is no different.

 

Software companies constantly develop new and improved versions of their products to address the ever-changing needs of users and to combat security threats, building in features and functionality for ease-of use, collaboration and mobility. As new programs are released, older versions are set for sunsetting, which means that support and security patches are no longer available. When this happens, users have the option to do nothing – which means they’re operating without support and with security vulnerabilities – or upgrade to the new version of the software.

 

Such is the situation that users of Windows 7, Exchange Server 2010, Windows Server 2008, Hyper V Server 2008, and SQL Server 2008 will face starting January 14, 2020, when Microsoft support for all of these platforms will end. Applied Technologies answers questions users will need to consider as they prepare for this transition.

 

Question: Why do software companies sunset packages?

Answer: Software companies are always introducing something newer, better and faster, and because of these advancements, they encourage users to migrate to new versions. When they add versions to the mix of offerings, they have to make a decision and draw a line in the sand in terms of when they’ll stop supporting older versions. It’s simply not possible to support multiple companies on multiple versions dating back an unlimited number of years. Instead, they focus their attention on identifying vulnerabilities and areas for improvement in the most current package while looking forward to the next new development to best meet the needs of users.

Typically, the lifecycle for any program is a maximum of ten years, while anything less than five years old will receive mainstream support. That five to ten year mark is a bit of a gray zone in terms of the level of support and attention a program will receive. Today, Microsoft is encouraging the migration to Windows 10 and Microsoft/Office 365 which offers a great deal of enhanced security and mobility for users.

 

Question: What do users need to know?

Answer: The most important thing for users to know is that they will be at a greater security risk if they are still running Windows 7 and Server 2008 or SQL 2008 after January 14, 2020. I can only imagine that hackers everywhere have this date on their calendars, just waiting for the opportunity to see what vulnerabilities they can capitalize on. If a company doesn’t upgrade, they may have a hacker waltz in through a back door they’ll never know about – and one that Microsoft will never patch. Just one machine not properly upgraded can put a company’s entire system at risk. Putting people’s data at risk can also result in serious fines, a major PR crisis, and erode public trust. Companies should not put themselves in this situation and can avoid this by upgrading.

We work with many IT managers who went through what I call “the big change” that happened with the migration from Microsoft XP to Microsoft 7. There were many compatibility challenges that arose, but the great news is, the upgrade from 7 to 10 is much more seamless. Most of the challenges arose from third party software programs which simply were not compatible at the time of rollout. This is not the case with this migration, as Microsoft has worked hard to make 99% of applications compatible. In fact, Microsoft has a site which allows IT managers and users to check the compatibility of programs they’ll need to run on Windows 10.  Reference: https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/ready-for-windows/#/

 

Question: How does a client go about upgrading?

Answer: The first step in the process is to perform an assessment. Applied Technologies will review all applications and the network environment (including all hardware) to identify if an upgrade is possible with the current setup, and to help us develop the best plan of action to execute the upgrade and roll it out to all users.

There are many options available for this particular upgrade. For example, on the server side, you can move Windows and SQL servers to Azure and Microsoft will continue to provide security updates for 3 years.  Or we can upgrade the operating system and then leave it on premise or move it into the cloud. This provides the opportunity to get the data off of hardware in internal data centers and move towards virtualization of servers and combining SQL databases to reduce risk. There are many opportunities between virtualization and business processes in the cloud, especially if we’re dealing with older hardware that is due for replacement. In many cases, we find that it’s better and more cost efficient to move to the cloud.

 

Question: What are the key decisions to be made, and considerations to factor in?

Answer: We’ll typically look first at where the highest risk exists. What is the most risk that we need to mitigate before end of life? This could be at the server level or on various desktop machines throughout the organization. Once we mitigate this risk, we can tackle the other things.

Assessing hardware can also be a primary decision point for many companies. All desktop machines and devices must be compatible and have enough space and memory to house the new applications. In most cases, if a computer is running Windows 7 most of the time it can run Windows 10, but we must make sure the machines have enough capacity. A rule of thumb for the lifespan on hardware is three to five years, so if we’re dealing with a client whose hardware is nearing its own end of life, we must address what upgrades must be made to manage this migration.

We’ve also found that in the smart manufacturing world, hardware tends to have a longer lifespan because manufacturing applications don’t keep up with the leading edge of operating systems. In these cases, we’ll build firewalls around the systems or take them off the local networks so there is no risk of security breach. This secures the machine so that the overall environment is not at risk, and the facility can operate as usual.

 

Question: How long does the upgrade take?

Answer: This depends on the environment. A large number of PCs can be upgraded quickly if they have standard software. We typically begin with the assessment, and then create a clear schedule and process for the rollout. It typically can take six to eight weeks to plan, especially with desktop migrations where we’ll touch all machines. We tackle the easiest parts of the rollout process first and allow time for the more difficult applications that require additional planning and analysis.

Applied Technologies is currently working on a number of client upgrades, and we’re encouraging everyone to take this upgrade seriously to avoid the security vulnerabilities that will exist after the end of support date. It only takes one hacker and one vulnerability to compromise a company’s network. Doing nothing equates to the decision to leave the door open should a hacker come knocking.

As with all of Applied Technologies services, we focus our efforts on making our clients feel confident, knowledgeable and secure with their company’s IT. Our support for helping clients navigate this important migration is just one example of this commitment and we welcome any questions on this topic.

Please reach out to the team at sales@appliedtech.pro or 636.274.8000 with any questions.

Managed Services Help Solve IT and Business Challenges

Every day, IT professionals face a difficult balancing act. They must focus on planning and deploying technologies to optimize corporate growth and profitability, while at the same time manage the challenge of operating and optimizing highly-complex, integrated, multi- vendor, multi-platform environments.

 

Managed Services can be a viable tool to help you achieve the right balance between maintaining end-user support and helping senior management drive improved technology performance and increase business efficiency to facilitate revenue generation.

 

Selecting the right managed service tools for your business and getting them implemented can be a challenge for any company. We help make the complex simple.

 

Managed Services

Getting Started

When it comes to managed services, there really isn’t one cookie cutter solution that works for everyone. We’ll help you identify the right selection of programs and work with you to smoothly integrate them into your business. We offer a variety of service programs that keep you connected with information critical to maintaining uptime and profitability.

Applied Technologies offers a variety of standard and customizable managed service options through leading industry providers, that can be designed around your specific business requirements.  These include:

  • Carrier Services
  • Cloud Services
  • Collaboration Services
  • Cyber Security
  • Data Center Services
  • End-User Services
  • Network Services
  • Operations Management
  • Print Management

We help address your day-to-day IT management needs so your internal IT staff can focus on strategic initiatives. The depth of our knowledge and experience with traditional and advanced technologies as well as your specific IT infrastructure position us to successfully manage or host all key technology systems.

 

Managed Services Delivery Framework (MSDF)

Our delivery framework uses a robust combination of advanced IT management applications, state of the art IT Infrastructure and industry- recognized processes that gives our offering a unique, global presence with a local feel.

Our Service Desk team oversees all our services, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ensuring that when incidents arise, you have someone standing by to help. To ensure that all the technology and operational activities are effectively managed, regardless of the time of day, we staff our Service Desk with three tiers of expertise around the clock, allowing you to rest comfortably that experts are actively managing your critical assets.

We provide reliable, secure services using our world-class infrastructure, knowledge and processes. We also work closely with you to review key business needs, cost structures and processes. And through our ITIL/ISO 20000-based systems and processes, we closely monitor every system to ensure your IT infrastructure delivers service levels aligned with business requirements.

 

Managed Services – Key Benefits

Our goal is to help you monitor and manage data and communicate and report business issues in an efficient and timely manner saving you time, money and resources. With managed services, you’ll be better prepared to:

  • Control Costs
  • Focus on Core Business
  • Reduce Risks
  • Adhere to Compliance & Security
  • Quickly Implement Technology

To begin the conversation contact us at sales@appliedtech.pro or call 636.274.8000 to discuss your business requirements with one of our Account Mangers or Practice Leaders.