In the tech news, you may have heard of the trend of using AI to create images from text. Many different models do this, but the newest model, Stable Diffusion, has released its code and model weights publicly, unlike previous proprietary text-to-image models like DALL-E and Midjourney which are only accessible via the cloud. Developed by Stability AI, CompVis LMU, and Runway, Stable Diffusion can run on most consumer or commercial hardware equipped with at least 8GB VRAM.
Chief Technology Officer of Now Micro, Bernard Carter, has made a vlog series using Stable Diffusion on OpenVINO with various hardware. Watch the videos below to learn more about this emerging technology.
NUC11ATKPE Stable Diffusion on OpenVINO
Utilizing the CPU on a NUC11ATKPE (Atlas Canyon) NUC to run Stable Diffusion via OpenVINO.
NUC12DCMi9 Stable Diffusion on OpenVINO CPU Only
Utilizing Stable Diffusion on OpenVINO to run text-to-image prompts with only the Intel CPU in a Dragon Canyon NUC.
Now Micro DMP-4010X Stable Diffusion on OpenVINO
Running Stable Diffusion on an 18-core Intel Xeon processor via OpenVINO
Today, enterprise IT departments seek to accelerate innovation and time to market by driving unprecedented resilience, agility, and workload consolidation. As more workloads transition into a cloud environment, the server-storage-centric data center approach to enterprise computing will also shift. The graphic above illustrates the evolution of today’s data center to a modern, borderless data center. The borderless data center is a hybrid cloud concept that brings the basic tenants of cloud computing to the brick-and-mortar data center for seamless application operation and paves a path to a cloud future. Disaggregating the traditional physical infrastructure through a cloud-enabled Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) facilitates a software-defined, unified system combining all the elements of a conventional data center: storage, compute, networking, and management into a cloud infrastructure on-premises with lower costs, more control, and improved security.
HCI streamlines operations by consolidating the components of a traditional brick-and-mortar data center into a single system design. Through a comprehensive server and cloud assessment, we can determine how current applications can be ported to a borderless data center design and demonstrate the benefits of integrating your cloud experience with your data center experience. Hybrid cloud products like Azure Stack HCI facilitate a cloud tenancy at the data center level. With Azure, AWS, or Google Cloud running in your data center, applications are entirely borderless. You can run your applications locally, in the cloud, or move to an entirely different cloud provider and fail-over to another data center in your organization. True flexibility provides a single standard for programming, backup, application support, and management.
Now Micro facilitates digital transformation with a considerate approach to datacenter modernization. Armed with tier 1 certifications and industry partnerships, our solution architects are available for network assessments and consultation. Contact us today to learn more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the most innovating and challenging times in educational technology. According to a United States Census Bureau survey, 80% of households with school-age children used online resources for distance learning in 2020, so having the right equipment is essential for quality education. However, with fluctuating infection rates in 2022, schools and businesses still have to react quickly to procure, customize, and distribute technology to their users. For many districts and universities, this is an impossible feat without the support from Now Micro.
Over the last few months, Now Micro has procured HP Chromebooks to offer customized solutions for educational institutions. Flexibility in our warehouse and production processes, combined with highly trained technicians, allows us to produce roughly 1,000 units a day in our Mendota Heights, MN facility.
As a Certified Google White Glove service provider, Now Micro manages the enrollment and configuration of Chromebooks on behalf of the schools. This service saves K-12 schools and universities time, money, and organizational headaches and allows them to focus on education.
The Now Micro Certified White Glove Services for Chromebooks include:
Enrollment of the device to the customer domain
Enterprise enrollment and validation
Application of network configuration settings
Wireless Configuration (Wi-Fi SSID and Pre-shared key)
Management Console Training
Now Micro Imaging services:
Populate custom fields in the Google Chromebook Management Console with your required data
Assign devices to the correct organization unit
Utilize Now Micro’s DICE Portal to allow you to see all of your devices combined with purchasing and hardware data in an easy to use, exportable format
To learn how Now Micro can help your organization meet its technology needs, visit https://www.nowmicro.com/ or contact Marty Linden, Vice President of Sales at email@example.com.
There is already so much unpredictability when running a business, but IT issues don’t have to be a part of that. Managed service providers can remotely monitor your network 24/7, 365 days a year to ensure you experience as little downtime as possible.
Here are 5 reasons you should consider outsourcing your IT:
Many small to medium-sized businesses expect that outsourcing their IT is unnecessary and not worth the cost. However, most companies are surprised to learn that they usually save money by outsourcing their IT.
When switching to an MSP, your cost is a flat monthly rate. A good MSP will offer an a-la-carte solution rather than a one-size-fits-all model because each business is different and should be treated as such. This way, you can decide how much or how little support you will need.
When your IT is managed in-house, and something breaks, you likely will be faced with the “sticker shock” attached to the solution. If something breaks, that is worked into the monthly cost with an MSP, meaning no surprises.
2. 24/7/365 support
One of the most significant issues small to medium-sized businesses face is the lack of support when they need it most. If something goes wrong, it can take a lot of time and research to figure out how to troubleshoot the issue and get back up and running.
With a managed service provider, businesses have IT support at all hours of the day, including non-business hours.
3. Productivity & Time Saving
Many small to medium-sized businesses do not have a dedicated IT employee, and when they do, they are often faced with more challenges than they can handle on their own. Sometimes, an employee takes on IT work as a second job function, which takes away productivity.
If you have a single IT employee, and something goes wrong, maybe they can fix it, but what if more than one thing goes wrong at the same time? Or what if it takes hours or days to resolve the issue, and your company can’t perform its main objectives?
Working with an MSP is a sure-fire way to ensure your employees are focused on what is most important, their jobs. They can even prevent issues from occurring. Even when a problem does come up, your IT provider can get you back up and running in record time.
4. The Highest Level of Cybersecurity
There are many ways to improve your cybersecurity in-house. Some of the things you can do are educate your staff, require password changes, implement two-factor authentication, install a firewall, and ensure your anti-virus software is always on the latest update.
However, as cybersecurity practices get better, the threats get more robust by learning to work around these practices. An MSP can constantly monitor your network and systems for threats and vulnerability, sometimes preventing an attack before it even happens. Therefore, it is imperative to work with an MSP to ensure you have the highest level of security possible.
5. Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity
One of the biggest headaches for business owners is system and hardware failures that lead to data loss and put their data at risk. It can take hours to days to get back up and running, and even worse, data is at risk of being lost forever!
Working with an MSP gives you the best chance at recovering data and reducing downtime.
Running a business comes with a lot of responsibility and risks. Utilizing an MSP can benefit your organization in many ways by relieving you from the many headaches associated with IT. This way, you can focus on what is most important, operating your business.
If you’re looking for a managed services provider you can trust, look no further than Now Micro. Our goal is to provide services and solutions for every aspect of your technology needs. From end-users to enterprise data centers and up to the cloud, we’ve got you covered. Visit our website to learn more.
Now Micro’s Technical Services team has seen an uptick in hardware repairs involving rechargeable laptop batteries swelling. Swollen batteries are caused by an overflow of current inside the battery’s cell, generating heat and gas to build up and potentially burst into flames. You may have heard of cases like that involving cellphones on airplanes where the DOT banned specific models. Battery swelling is becoming a common issue because laptops and cellphones are getting slimmer, and therefore, batteries are getting smaller and have less room for current flow.
Here are ways you can prevent your laptop battery from swelling and exploding.
Don’t leave your device connected to a charger all day.
Leaving devices plugged in for extended periods cause the battery to overcharge. Most rechargeable batteries are supposed to discharge and recharge in a cycle, so constantly connected batteries can’t reach their capacity. If you’re working remotely, remember to unplug your laptop at the end of the day.
Replace your device battery if it’s broken or not performing efficiently.
If a battery becomes damaged, for example, by dropping your device or spilling liquid, the battery may have difficulty working correctly. If the battery is old, it may also start underperforming. You may try to find a solution by just charging the battery more, but as we said before, the battery can overheat when it’s overcharged. All batteries get old over time, so it’s a great idea to replace them.
Use the correct charger.
Finding a cheaper version of your laptop’s charger may seem like a savvy money saver but having the wrong charger can cost you in the long run. Make sure you find the right charger with the same power output for your device to run smoothly.
Upgrade your laptop when it’s out of warranty
Laptop manufacturers are constantly upgrading the battery functions of their devices. In 2021, we’re seeing a trend of “smart charging” features in new devices. These devices will maintain battery or stop charging once the battery is at or around 95% when plugged in. Now Micro can help you find the right laptop for your organization that fits all your charging needs.
Store the device in a cool, dry environment
Keeping your laptop safe and secure will help it last longer and prevent accidental damage. While working remotely, it can be tempting to laying on the couch or in bed with your laptop, but this can cause the laptop to overheat. Try using a lap desk with a built-in fan instead to prevent your computer from overheating.
It makes sense that Cybersecurity Awareness Month falls in October. One of the scariest things a business owner faces is the fear of falling victim to a cybercrime. So, what are the business implications of a cyber-attack? Loss of data/intellectual property, damage to reputation, loss of productivity, increased expenses, lawsuits, and more.
Here are some facts:
In just the last year, cybercrime has increased by 40%.
60 % of cyber-attacks are targeted at small – to medium-sized businesses.
But… only 30% of small- medium-sized business owners consider themselves “very concerned” about ransomware.
Hackers who once went after the Targets and Amazons of the world are now going after smaller businesses who likely don’t have the necessary tools or support needed to prevent & recover from cyber-attacks.
Unfortunately, it is no longer a question of if your company will fall victim to a cyber-attack, but when, so it is imperative that your business invests in quality cyber support.
Some of the things you can do internally:
Require regular password changes
Implement two-factor authentication
Make sure anti-virus software is up to date
Educate your employees on best practices
These are all great ways to add an extra barrier of protection to your network, but the best way to prevent a cyber-attack from occurring is to outsource your cybersecurity support to a managed services provider. Today, we have security threats coming at us from every direction. A good MSP can monitor your network 24/7, 365 days a year to prevent attacks before they happen. If a cyber-attack does still occur, they will have a team of experts in place to make sure you recover as quickly and painlessly as possible.
As Cybersecurity Awareness Month comes to an end, it is important to make sure cybersecurity remains a priority all year round. If you are curious about where your network stands in terms of security threats and/or other IT-related issues, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free network assessment. Visit https://www.nowmicro.com/managedservices to learn how Now Micro can become your managed service provider.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the work from home business model had been gaining popularity. Today, most businesses have adopted this mindset or at least a hybrid model of working from home a few days a week. As workers continue to work remotely, IT organizations face additional challenges including security threats, help desk overload, and increased costs.
A few things to think about to assess your IT support needs:
What does your current IT support look like?
There are typically three answers: You have a dedicated IT employee, an employee(s) takes on IT work as a second responsibility, or you outsource your IT support. Whatever the plan looks like, you want it to be reliable and efficient so there are no implications to productivity.
A managed service provider (MSP) would be able to take on IT management so your company can focus on its main objectives. An MSP is a company that offers IT support and tech support services on your behalf. The services they provide are customized to your organization’s IT support needs and can include 24/7 helpdesk services, network monitoring & management, cyber security protection, backup & recovery, and cloud management & migration. Managed service providers will work with different vendors to give their customers the best assistance.
What are your current response times?
Response times depend on how big your company is, the number of in-house IT employees, and how complex each IT issue is.
When outsourcing your IT management to a managed service provider, the company can proactively monitor your networks and systems to prevent IT issues from happening in the first place. Whereas without preventative remote monitoring, your IT person only knows there is a problem after it occurs.
In addition, your IT person goes home at the end of the day and takes sick days, vacations, and time off for holidays. A managed service provider can remotely monitor your networks 24/7, 365 days a year. With a larger team available, MSPs can track assets, hardware health, networks & servers, bandwidth & connectivity, and IT inventory management.
Can your IT support remotely monitor and perform maintenance?
With employees working from home, it is important to be able to monitor and perform maintenance virtually. No matter where your employees work, you can rely on a managed service provider helpdesk to resolve issues as quickly as possible so your team can focus on their jobs, not their IT issues.
It is more important than ever to partner with a managed service provider to ensure you have the highest level of security. MSPs can help your company prepare for cyber-attacks with backup & recovery planning, proactive monitoring of threats, 24/7 helpdesk, security awareness training, network security updates, and much more.
How are you backing up your systems?
All companies experience system failures and data loss. It is crucial to have a disaster recovery protocol. managed service providers can help ensure your data is safe and secure when failures occur by offering services such as end-to-end encryption, device & file-level backup, productivity cloud apps (like Microsoft 365), and local or virtual backup solutions.
Running a business comes with many risks and headaches. Working with a managed service provider can keep productivity up, prevent issues from occurring and get you back up and running ASAP.
As a trusted Minnesota managed service provider, Now Micro is here to help with your business’s IT support. For additional information visit our Managed Services page.
October is Cyber Security month! When you exclaim that this month’s focus is security to most admin and IT stakeholders, you’re likely to receive a chuckle or an eye roll. They know the truth of the matter. Our mindfulness of security can’t be limited to a singular month.
It’s an ongoing process that literally never ends.
Who then is Cyber Security month for? I’ll give you a hint. They interface with your organization’s data, devices and services daily and often don’t regard security as their first or even third priority. You got it; Cyber Security month is all about making your users more aware of the threats your organization faces.
We often spend a lot more time discussing our plans to harden servers, implement new identity security policies or protect our users’ credentials with MFA. Don’t get me wrong, those things are essential in today’s world, but it’s hard not to notice a gap in those strategies. That gap is the users.
Most experts estimate that 70% – 90% of malicious breaches start with or include some form of social engineering. Our users are every organization’s largest attack surface and softest target. Bad actors know this and are increasingly aggressive and cunning in their attempts. Every user holds something a bad actor would like to get their hands on.
Take a user who doesn’t need access to any data or systems but needs email to communicate. If that user leaks credentials, it can still be a treasure trove for a bad actor in the form of a global address list harvest or intel derived from exfiltrated emails that allows them to refine and target spear-phishing attempts. When we read about a large breach in the news, we often picture a group coordinating an attack to launch all at once when it’s far more likely that attack started very small and happened over time.
So how do we go about hardening our users? It would be nice if we could just apply a patch or update their firmware, but a more tactful approach is needed. We believe that process is three-pronged.
Your organization culture around communicating anything IT-related is very important and often overlooked.
Simply making your users aware of the current threats and where to report them can go a long way to thwarting social engineering. Be consistent with your communications. Set up a shared mailbox so multiple crafting IT-related messages can appear as one unified voice. Apply templates to your emails, so the appearance is consistent. Be concise; not enough or too much information can be harmful. Stick to the who, what, why, and how of the threat. Don’t forget to include where a user should go to report social engineering attempts.
This can mean different things depending on the size of your organization. In smaller organizations, it may mean taking 10 minutes during a company meeting to show examples of social engineering attempts. In larger organizations, it may mean contracting a professional trainer to speak to individual business units or even training leaders in those units to talk about threats to their teams.
The benefits of a simulated penetration test against our networks are obvious, but we can also apply this approach to our users. An attack simulation targeting your users with social engineering or a fake malware payload will not only give your organization an idea of its vulnerabilities but is also one of the best ways to raise your users’ awareness. The approach of an attack simulation with training and communication as a fast follow can grab your users’ attention far better than any of these components on their own.
How do I simulate attacks?
Just like network penetration testing, there are plenty of tools to help you launch attack simulations and parse the data you receive.
Microsoft 365 Defender P2 – If you happen to have Defender P2 or an M365/O365 A5/M5/E5 plan, you have a very robust set of tools for simulating attacks.
Choose from a wide variety of templated attacks that help target specific business units, just like a seasoned spear-phisherman.
Simulate malware payloads and malicious links with a variety of different delivery methods.
Automatically assign pre-built training modules to users that click malicious links or input their credentials.
Robust after-action reporting to help you know where to invest in training.
Now Micro Security Awareness Training – If you don’t have Microsoft Licensing, you’re not out of luck, Now Micro has the tools to simulate attacks against your Microsoft or Google environments.
Phishing Security Tests
Automated Security Awareness Program
Security Hints & Tips
Automated Training Campaigns
Phish Alert Button (Ability to report & delete phishing emails)
Phishing Reply Tracking (Track if a user replies to a simulated phishing email & what information)
Monthly Email Exposure Check: Monthly reports show which email addresses are exposed on the Internet and are a target for phishing attacks
Many things cause a business owner to have
nightmares — at the top of the list is a computer failure that stops operations
in its tracks. Unfortunately, no company is immune to the threat of data failure. Recently,
for retail giant Target, the fear became a reality as nearly every register in
all stores throughout the United States went down.
Fortunately, the system outage only lasted two hours. But, that two hours of downtime cost Target roughly $50 million in lost sales and caused their stock shares to drop by two percent. In reality, Target’s ability to go from a catastrophic outage to getting back online in such a short time is a huge accomplishment. With significant IT infrastructure in place to respond, the company could investigate the problem, determine that there had been no data breach, and reboot all systems to full operation quickly. For the company, assuring that no data had been compromised was vital. In 2013, a data breach affected 41 million customers and resulted in a legal settlement costing them millions.
How you protect your data is critical to the success of your business — no matter your size. For a health organization, your data includes detailed medical and insurance information. There are endless client files and records for law offices, financial planners have high-level access to sensitive financial portfolios, the list goes on. No matter the industry, data is critical. In many cases, data security methods are heightened by legally mandated regulations like HIPAA and PCI.
So, how do you protect your company from
cybersecurity threats and data failure? Target spends hundreds of millions of
dollars each year. The key is to find an affordable technology partner who you
can trust. As seen in the Target event, data issues and cyber attacks don’t
only happen during business hours. You have to be prepared to respond
Now Micro, we make it a priority to be available when the need for help arises.
Our service desk technicians answer the phone live 24 hours a day. But
that is only a tiny piece of your Cyber Security response plan. Most of our
work occurs before disaster strikes. We help ensure that you have up-to-date
systems needed to prevent an attack or data failure and back-ups in place when
an attack occurs.
Your Industry Needs
Although all industries need comprehensive data and cybersecurity infrastructure, the needs vary depending on the types of data stored and industry-specific regulatory requirements. Here is a shortlist of how Now Micro customizes our services to serve the cybersecurity needs of different industries:
We protect your intellectual property — the core of your ability to be profitable for the long term — and put in place processes to ensure the reliability of manufacturing operations.
HIPAA and other compliance requirements are critical in the healthcare industry. We address these needs and ensure brand protection, secure connectivity, and offer a unified security platform.
Small and Midsize Businesses
Each small and midsize business has its own unique needs, with expense management a key factor. Therefore, we provide affordable options, giving you access to the same level of expertise that large companies have at their disposal.
In a retail operation, the ability to continually process transactions without hiccups is critical. We help you ensure the reliability of your POS system while also assisting with compliance needs.
Law & Finance
Legal and financial institutions/advisors need to secure sensitive data and are subject to intense compliance regulations. We help ensure all needs are met and a backup system in place to allow recovery in the event of a data attack or failure.
Ready to Serve
Information technology and cybersecurity are
overwhelming topics, but they don’t have to be. Click here to learn more about our comprehensive IT and Cyber
Security services. Give Now Micro
a call today, and we can work together to define a plan that meets your needs
so that you can relax knowing that your business is well cared for.
Now Micro has recently launched a new vlog series called What’s in the Lab. This series features Bernard Carter, Chief Technology Officer, going over various players we have in our lab. Our innovative digital signage & IoT solutions and services help customers from a range of industries better procure, deploy, manage and secure their visual communication devices.
Our first video covers the Lenovo ThinkEdge SE30, a rugged media player built to face the most hostile environments. The SE30 also uses the latest 11th Generation Intel® processors that run Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning to deliver the insights you need. The unit is also fanless and can function in a thermal range of -20 – 60C.
Stay tuned to our YouTube channel every Thursday for the next 4 weeks to see how our solutions and services can take your IoT beyond the edge!