Blog

Ransomware in Point of Sale (POS) Systems

Many businesses are aware of the threat of ransomware, which is a type of malicious software that blocks access to a computer system until a specific amount of money is paid.

With the increase in credit card breaches, a strange phenomenon is happening. There’s too much stolen data out there and not enough demand for it, which is driving down the price of stolen credit card data. As a result, hackers may turn to a new venture: ransomware in POS systems.

While POS-based ransomware has been rare so far, it could turn into a major threat if retailers don’t protect themselves now.

If a cyber criminal deploys ransomware to shut down a POS system, it could potentially bring business operations and revenue to a halt. Such an attack would force retailers to pay to regain access of their POS system. This would likely prompt a store to pay the ransom quickly so they could get their operations running again. For the hacker, this results in a quick profit.

Businesses with a POS system should enact protections now against potential threats. Protection might include a firewall, or a type of threat detection which detects incoming or existing malware.

As technology changes, new and different threats arise, and your business needs to prepare. The Lifeline team stays appraised of these changes and will work with you to ensure your business is ready for the future.

 Published July 6, 2018

The Repeal of Net Neutrality

Technology has been in the news a lot recently, especially the ongoing talk about Net Neutrality. In December 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided to overturn net neutrality rules, which had required internet service providers to offer equal access to online content. On June 11, 2018, the repeal officially took effect.

With all the news surrounding Net Neutrality, some people may be wondering how, or if, this could affect their personal or business internet usage.

Some consumers are worried now that the rules are gone, broadband providers could sell the internet in packages similar to television bundles. Advocates of Net Neutrality are concerned that service providers now have the ability to censor online content, throttle services or block websites.

A “pay-to-play” scenario is another concern. Now that there are no rules stopping paid prioritization, a fast lane could be created for big internet and media companies, and leave everyone else with slower service.

However, several states, including Oregon, have taken steps to make sure Net Neutrality rules stay in place. Additionally, many internet providers have pledged not to block or throttle sites once the repeal went into effect.

It’s too soon to tell how, or if, the repeal of Net Neutrality might affect consumers and businesses. Whatever happens, Lifeline will remain vigilant in our mission to provide you the highest quality technology solutions.

 Published June 22, 2018

The Future of Artificial Intelligence

Cyber security and artificial intelligence (AI) were popular topics in 2017, and that has only continued this year. New hacking methods are cropping up every day, but conversely, new machine learning and AI techniques are allowing IT employees to fight these threats in real time.

While AI may seem like a far off technology for businesses, it’s gaining traction. It’s important for organizations to watch these trends and learn how you may be able to leverage this technology in the future.

Artificial intelligence has been part of the cyber landscape for a while, and unfortunately, hackers have been using it as a weapon for some time now. AI technology allows hackers to identify targets faster and more efficiently than a human could.

Fortunately, this technology is also being used for good. Machine learning algorithms can change cyber security networks in a few key ways:

Detection. AI lets a business track suspicious behavior in real time.

Protection. AI technology can identify and prioritize vulnerabilities for protection, and could address these problems directly. Additionally, expenses could be lowered by eliminating small threats, such as phishing scams.

Prediction. AI could anticipate and plan for unknown scenarios before they happen. This could keep your business one step ahead of hackers, and adds another level of security.

While artificial intelligence may seem like a silver bullet, the technology isn’t perfect. A team of experienced human beings is needed to maximize the benefits of AI.

At Lifeline, we believe in our people. We are rock stars at what we do, which is to provide you technology solutions which make your life easier. The conversation surrounding technology is always changing, but we are the experts who are here to help.

 Published June 14, 2018

Ransomware: A Potential Threat To The Cloud

The trend of large data breaches is set to continue, with organizations that hold personal data at the highest risk of an attack. With these types of businesses in the sights of cyber attackers, it’s likely that ransomware aimed at Cloud services will increase.

According to the MIT Technology Review, Cloud computing businesses are potential targets of ransomware attacks because they store large amounts of data for companies. While providers such as Google and Amazon have the capability to ward off attacks, smaller Cloud providers are at risk because they’re more vulnerable.

The Cloud is a cost-effective and simple way to store large amounts of data, but it’s not a magical solution to save you from ransomware.

To be able to withstand ransomware or other cyber attacks, Cloud services must implement solutions which allow for real-time visibility, control and data loss prevention. If you partner with a company that provides Cloud services, this is an important question to ask. As hackers get more creative, security needs to surpass their efforts.

Cyber attacks are becoming more sophisticated all the time. While the Cloud is not full proof protection from ransomware attacks, it’s still one of the most efficient ways to safeguard your information. If you’re considering using Cloud services, we encourage you to be choosy because not all providers are created equal.

 Published June 13, 2018

Data and Privacy in the Digital Age

Today, so much of our information is shared online. We post family photos on social media, make purchases on Amazon, bank online and have personal information on our Facebook profiles. As we do more things online, data security and privacy have become important matters not only for businesses, but individuals.

The recent news surrounding Facebook and the Cambridge Analytica data breach has brought the issue of privacy to the forefront. According to Facebook, 87 million people were believed to have been impacted by the improper sharing of data.

Cambridge Analytica — a political analysis company based in the U.K. — improperly accessed the data of Facebook users who downloaded the app “This Is Your Digital Life.” Then, Cambridge Analytica services were retained by other clients, including candidates in the 2016 election.

So what does this breach of privacy mean for the future?

For Facebook, they are creating new safeguards to keep users’ data private. You can follow the steps in their notifications to change your privacy settings.

At Lifeline, we take online security and privacy very seriously. Our team helps businesses not only protect their information, but your customers’ information. As seen with Facebook, trust could be lost in an instant, and a reputation easily marred. We don’t want this to happen to your business and your relationship with your customers.

Lifeline is serious about protecting your data. If you have questions about what you could do to strengthen your online security and privacy, talk to our team today.

We are Lifeline favicon Published April 17, 2018

Upcoming Trends in Cyber Security

Technology is constantly changing, with new innovations happening all the time. So how do you stay informed about all the changes?

Lifeline keeps track of the curves, straight-aways and lane changes on the information superhighway. We have compiled a list of a few of the most interesting upcoming trends to watch in 2018.

AI and machine learning are on the rise. These technologies are gaining traction and affecting more industries, and will surely have a major impact on cyber security. The possibility of machine learning models that could predict and identify cyber attacks would be a game-changer. However, AI and machine learning could be detrimental if the technology was accessed by hackers.

Be proactive about protection. Ransomware has been a growing threat and continues to claim high-profile victims. However, victims could drastically reduce the impact of ransomware by regularly backing up data and installing patches and updates.

A lack of professional help. Many organizations are seeking skilled cyber security professionals, and finding there’s a shortage of experienced workers. This may lead to many businesses contracting with outside firms to fill in the gap.

As complicated as technology can be, the good news is you don’t have to face it alone. Lifeline partners with you to provide solutions and protections for your business. If you have questions about how to make your tech work for you, reach out to Lifeline right away.

We are Lifeline favicon Published March 13, 2018

The Threat of Phishing Emails

Phishing threats have been around for years. You’re no tech geek, but you’re confident you could spot a phishing email. Or could you?

Phishing emails have adapted to target more individuals and businesses. While phishing seems like one of the older types of cyber attacks, it’s still a viable threat. It’s good to review the basics of what phishing is, so you know what you’re up against.

Mass-market emails

This is the most common type of phishing. A hacker sends an email pretending to be someone else and tries to trick you into doing something, such as downloading malware. Cyber attackers rely heavily on spoofing — where the email header looks legitimate — so it easily fools the person receiving it.

Business email compromise

Cyber criminals often target important business figures. By impersonating a CEO or other high-level executive, hackers try to trick victims into transferring money into unauthorized accounts.

First, attackers compromise the executive’s email account through a spear phishing attack. Then they lurk within the executive’s email, learning about the company’s operations. The actual attack takes the form of an email from the executive’s compromised account which is sent to another employee. It’s usually deemed urgent and requests money is sent via wire transfer or to an unauthorized account.

Vishing

Vishing is “voice phishing” and happens over the phone. A victim receives a phone call from an alleged financial institution, asking you to call another number and enter private information such as your account number or PIN. However, the number you dial goes straight to the attacker, along with any information you give.

Phishing emails shouldn’t be dismissed because they’ve been around for so long. Hackers are taking this basic cyber attack, reworking it, and creating more sophisticated versions in order to steal your private information or money. The Lifeline teams stays up-to-date on these threats. We’re experts at data protection, and ready to help keep your information safe.

We are Lifeline faviconPublished March 6, 2018

A Recap of 2017 Cyber Attacks

Cyber crimes have been rising and 2017 was no exception, with some of the world’s largest companies falling victim to cyber attacks. Now that 2018 is in full swing, it’s important to review these attacks, and remember that businesses must take steps to decrease their risk of a data breach.

1. Equifax

One of the country’s largest credit reporting companies, and a household name, Equifax was a victim of one of the biggest cyber security incidents in history. The personal information of potentially 143 million U.S. citizens was accessed by hackers. The data included names, social security numbers and birth dates. Credit card numbers for over 200,000 customers were also exposed.

2. WannaCry

In May, hackers seized control of several hospitals and practices, which affected 200,000 people in 150 countries. The malicious malware infected about 300,000 computers. Allegedly, the attack was designed to exploit a weakness in Microsoft systems.

3. Verizon

A Nice Systems employee accidentally exposed the names, phone numbers and PIN codes of 6 million Verizon customers. According to those who discovered the leak, the incident happened because an Amazon S3 server was set to “public.” While these servers do not usually show up in Google, they can be accessed by anyone who knows the web address.

These are just three of the cyber attacks which occurred last year. Hackers are becoming more proficient and sophisticated in how they breach data systems. In 2018, it is more important than ever for your business to secure its data and private information.

We are Lifeline favicon Published February 20, 2018

New Year, New IT Infrastructure: What Should Change Within Your Organization

As your company starts another new year, you may consider changes to your operations, including the IT infrastructure. But with so many rapid evolutions in technology, it may feel impossible to keep up. As a result, some businesses may choose to ignore their IT infrastructure. But in a world where data, privacy and security are becoming increasingly important and complex, it is more important than ever to have a solid structure in place.

First, what is IT infrastructure? In regards to your business, it refers to the combination of hardware, software and network resources that allow your organization to relay information to employees, customers and the community.

Now that you know what it is, when should you make changes to your IT infrastructure? To start, do any of these apply to your business?

  • Poor storage management
  • Ongoing network performance issues
  • Untested disaster recovery systems

If so, there are ways to combat an IT infrastructure which isn’t optimized or improving your business operations.

Hire the right number of people. Hiring too few IT personnel could leave your team struggling to complete tasks with a limited number of resources. Conversely, you don’t want to overhire, and have too many employees with nothing to do. To determine the right number of IT personnel for your business, there are several variables to consider: the number of servers, size of your customer base, projected growth and more. Bringing in a consultant to review your company, and its current and future needs, could help determine this number.

Mandatory training for all staff. Your new infrastructure will be more successful if everyone is on board and understands how it works. Provide training to all of your employees, and explain everything in easy-to-understand, non-technical jargon. While most employees will not work in the IT department, the infrastructure affects everyone in the business. Knowing how it works, and what it does, is useful to know.

A better IT infrastructure will not only improve business operations, it will ensure a safer environment for important data. Evaluate the systems you have now and see what improvements could be made.

We are Lifeline favicon Published February 12, 2018

Help Your Business Lose Weight Overnight — Store Data In The Cloud!

Cloud service and storage offers many solutions for businesses. For most companies, their first experience with the Cloud is related to data storage. Too much data feels like you’re packing on weight. If television adds 10 pounds, then excess data adds 20! Not really, of course. But when you’re struggling with data storage, it certainly feels that way. Fortunately, utilizing Cloud storage could help your business shed those pounds.

Save space by going virtual

Cloud storage is housed in a data center, which frees up physical space in your office. It will also eliminate the need for maintenance that was done by your employees. Now they can focus on their jobs and what they love to do, instead of spending precious time maintaining the server.

Better security

Cyber security has become a major issue for businesses. Hackers are attacking small businesses, not just major corporations, universities or hospitals. Whether you are a bank or the local corner cafe, data and privacy are important. With the Cloud, your data is backed up to multiple servers, meaning that if one server crashes, your data stays safe because it’s stored in other locations.

Save money

Who doesn’t love to use solutions which save you money? Generally, Cloud storage is more cost effective because it reduces expenses associated with hardware and maintenance.

These are just a few of the many benefits of the Cloud. With so many issues surrounding privacy, security and finances, dropping your data weight by moving to the Cloud is a smart move.

We are Lifeline favicon Published February 6, 2018

How to Practice Safe Shopping

Whether it’s during the holiday season, or you’re ordering a birthday gift, it’s important to protect your information when you shop online. You’ve done the preliminary work — made a budget, found the best deals and know what you’re going to purchase. But don’t forget the final step: keep your information safe as you shop.

A Better Password

Use long and unique passwords for each website you visit. We recommend a minimum of 8 characters using upper case, lower case, numbers and symbols. Also, you should change your passwords every 6-12 months. It may be time-consuming at first, but the benefits of having different passwords vastly outweighs any disadvantages.

What About the Lock?

If you have ever wondered why there’s a small padlock symbol in the address bar of a website, wonder no longer. If you see the padlock, then you know it is a secure website. This is important for any website where you input private information, including for mobile banking.

Don’t Save Payment Information

Every time you input your credit card number, it’s tempting to click the option to save your payment information for next time. Fight the temptation and don’t let websites save your credit card or banking information. If you save this information, and the website is breached by hackers, your online security could be compromised.

When people hear about cyber security issues, most of us think of the attacks where companies lose millions of dollars. But cyber security affects us on a personal level, even when you’re shopping in the comfort of your own home.

When you’re online, shop safely. With a few simple steps you can keep your information safe.

We are Lifeline favicon Published December 20, 2017

Lifeline Models for a Good Cause

Lifeline values giving back to the community. We always encourage our team to get involved in local causes and find ways to pay it forward.

Micah is a Family Nurturing Center board member, and was excited for Lifeline to participate in Fashion for a Future. All proceeds from the fashion show benefited community resource improvements for the Family Nurturing Center.

Along with Pete, Delmar, Brandon and Mike, Micah was happy to volunteer as a model during the show. The guys showcased the latest fashion trends as attendees enjoyed delicious food and wine. We think there’s some hidden modeling talent among the Lifeline team!

Fashion for a Future was produced by the Rouge Valley Round Table. The event was a great success, and the proceeds help Family Nurturing Center to support more children and families in crisis. Family Nurturing Center was founded in 2006 and now serves families by offering mental health services, family stabilization and care coordination, parent education, respite and more.

We believe giving back and helping our community is always a good use of our time, and we’ll gladly take to the runway any day! Family Nurturing Center aids families and children in times of crisis, and we are honored to support them in their ongoing mission.

We are Lifeline favicon Published December 6, 2017

Lifeline Joins the Table at a Business Panel Discussion

A common problem among business owners is they get so engrossed working in their companies, they neglect to work on their businesses. If you have ever wondered how other entrepreneurs find time to strategically plan for their future successes, you’re not alone.

Megan Davis, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Davis Consulting Group, moderated a discussion with other local business experts about how they achieved balance within their businesses, and important lessons they have learned.

Lifeline CEO Micah Shanks participated in a four-person panel, along with Allen Purdy, President of S+B James Construction Management; Mark Damon, Partner at KDP; and Christina Kruger, Regional Business Manager of Pacific Power.

Everyone on the panel shared insights from their own businesses and lives, noting that maintaining a work-life balance, and finding the time to implement strategic initiatives, was a key factor in their growth.

Founded in 2004, Lifeline has taken its own incredible journey the past 13 years. We have worked diligently to make solutions which benefit our customers, all while creating a positive culture and workplace for our employees. Similar to the other panel members, while some things have changed for Lifeline since our inception, our commitment to our customers never has.

It was an amazing opportunity to join the panel and have Micah share his insights, stories and business lessons on behalf of Lifeline. To see a room full of business owners with a desire to learn and grow was an inspirational sight.

As a business owner, whether you have been in business for a couple years or several decades, it’s important to take stock of where your business is, and what you wish to achieve in the future.

We are Lifeline favicon Published November 29, 2017

Giving Thanks Throughout the Year

The holiday season is in full swing, with Thanksgiving nearly here. It’s the time of year when we reflect on our blessings and everything in our lives for which we are thankful. We are grateful to gather with family and friends, share meals together, and appreciate that we’re able to work and provide for ourselves and our families.

At Lifeline, we have so much to be thankful for not only during Thanksgiving, but every day of the year. We are grateful for our growing team of rockstar co-workers, our friends and family, the opportunity to volunteer in the community, and being able to provide a quality service to people throughout Southern Oregon and beyond.

We are also thankful for our clients. Serving and helping you is what we love to do, and why we get up each morning and come to work. We are truly grateful and honored to work on our mission in order to help you and your business grow and thrive.

During the holidays, we reflect on the blessings in our lives. They are different for everyone, but it is important to be thankful for what we have. And our team is thankful for everyone we work with, and hope we have a positive impact on your lives.

From everyone here at Lifeline, we wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

We are Lifeline favicon Published November 21, 2017

Welcoming Mike Traina to the Team

Mike Traina joined Lifeline in 2017 as a System Analyst. Specializing in software and hardware support, marketing and organizational design and implementation, Mike has a passion for problem solving and finding solutions where questions reside. He is eager to work with the fantastic team at Lifeline.

Mike attended South Medford High School, and then joined the United States Army as a sniper in Alaska, where he learned many different skills. After the military, and a walk about the country, he worked for several film companies and ski resorts in Denver, all while being a student at the Denver Art Institute.

Mike moved back to Oregon in 2003 and joined Fire District #5. He was a firefighter for over 12 years, and also started his own small tech/design business. His business provided PC tech/network support and website design to local and home-based businesses.

Mike has a variety of experience, from tech support to 3D, web and graphic design. He has worked with several local companies, including the Rogue Regency Inn & Suites as their advertising director, and Rogue Valley Country Club as a designer and membership services director.

We are Lifeline favicon Published November 14, 2017

We Are Not an MSP. We Are a CSP. We Are Lifeline.

A typical business scenario is partnering with a traditional “Managed Service Provider” (MSP) company that is totally removed from your business processes and only deals with problems as they happen. This attitude breeds frustration. When tech doesn’t work you lose time, money and a little bit of sanity.

The good news? It doesn’t have to be this way! Lifeline makes technology work for you as an investment that strengthens your company.

There are major differences between Lifeline, a Complete Solutions Provider (CSP), and your typical MSP.

 

  1. Involvement

We’re involved in your business’ processes. We don’t just fix problems as a help-desk ticket comes in. We resolve problems before they ever reach that stage.

  1. The Master Plan

“Winging it” isn’t in our vocabulary. Our consultants treat your business as we do our own. We create an overall strategy for your business’ technology, and then work together to manage all the moving parts.

  1. Budget Management

There’s no one-size-fits-all technology budget. It varies between industries, and from business to business. Unlike a disconnected MSP, Lifeline helps you set an IT budget based on your immediate needs and future growth goals. Then we help you stay in budget.

Micah Shanks, founder of Lifeline, created the CSP concept because he saw the same patterns happening. Businesses treated technology as a necessary evil and begrudgingly accepted it as a part of the daily grind. Micah knew technology had much more to offer. With the proper strategic plan and management, technology could provide solutions and opportunities for companies of all sizes.

Following the CSP model, Lifeline helps businesses from Silicon Valley to Seattle. We partner with your business and help you take control of your technology expenses. Then we bring it to the next level by turning those expenses into profit-driving resources that move your company forward.

We Are Lifeline.

We are Lifeline favicon Published August 10, 2017

We Love Giving Back To Our Community

We love where we live. The Lifeline team is happy to have made our home in Southern Oregon. The only greater joy than watching our community grow, is actively participating in it by giving back and helping our region thrive.

Lifeline recently participated in the Southern Oregon Classic, held July 14-15 at Centennial Golf Club. The Classic started with a golf tournament and ended with a festival brimming with creative culinary masterpieces, live music and silent auction items. But the Classic is about much more than golf, food and fun. 100% of the net proceeds from the event benefited local Southern Oregon charities. This year, the Asante Foundation, CASA of Jackson County and Resolve Center for Dispute Resolution & Restorative Justice were the recipients.

We were honored to be a sponsor this year, and support an event which positively impacts the community and its residents. These nonprofits aid numerous people every day, and it is extremely rewarding to help these organizations thrive so they can continue to improve the local community.

We were happy to sponsor hole #6 during the golf tournament, and we had a special treat for the golfers. We handed out fidget spinners and had a game of corn hole. There’s nothing like taking a moment out from your golf game, to play another game!

Lifeline believes giving back is the single best thing any person, or business, can do. When we all work together to make our community a better place, everyone benefits.

We are Lifeline favicon Published July 26, 2017

Making Online Security a Priority

After the international cyber attack last month, cyber security is on everyone’s minds. Whether you own a business or want to protect your home computer, online security should be top of mind.

We believe you should be protected at home, in the office and on your business computers. We recently gave a presentation at the Insurance Lounge in Grants Pass and provided them a cyber security update. We enjoy opportunities to get out into the community, share our knowledge and teach people and businesses how to protect their online information.

We live in a digital age and are putting software everywhere and into everything. This is changing the way we behave and interact with the world around us.

The number of cyber attacks is increasing, but this is providing us with opportunities to learn, grow and prepare. Knowledge and awareness are the best tools you have in the fight against cyber attacks. It is better to have a plan in place if the worst case scenario happens, rather than have to scramble if or when there is an emergency.

Our knowledgeable and friendly team is here to help protect your business from cyber security issues. We are ready to work together to keep you, your business and information safe.

We are Lifeline favicon Published July 19, 2017

Jacob King Joins Our Centralized Services Department

Lifeline continues to grow! We are happy to announce Jacob King is a new employee in our Centralized Services area. Jacob grew up in Oregon and joined the U.S. Navy in 2014. He is a Petty Officer Third Class (CTN 3). While serving in the United States Naval Reserve, Jacob worked as a Network Security Engineer (Network Cryptography Technician). His duties included conducting security audits; reviewing patch notifications, risk assessments and product updates for possible security vulnerabilities; and performing vulnerability assessments on Unix, Linux, Windows and Network operating systems using scanning tools.

Prior to serving in the U.S. Navy, King worked as a Customer Service Representative and Networking and Facilities Technician. He conducted website troubleshooting, handled escalated customer calls and managed customer sales and refunding.

We are Lifeline favicon Published June 21, 2017

Welcome Nichole Metz as Project Engineer

We would like to welcome a new member to our growing team. Nichole Metz is our new Project Engineer.

Nichole moved to Medford from Virginia, where she spent most of her adult life. She studied at Pennsylvania State University and holds certifications in CompTIA A+, CompTIA Networks+ and CompTIA Security+.

She most recently worked for Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center as a Data Analyst, where she executed data reconciliations and carried out complex Excel functions including formulas, pivot tables and v-look ups. She also served as a resource on infection risk assessment, surveillance prevention and control strategies.

Previously, Nichole worked as a Technical Support Specialist for Providence Health & Services.

Nichole served in the U.S. Navy for eight years, where she was an Information Systems Technician Petty Officer Second Class (E-5). She was stationed onboard the USS Hopper DDG 70, and then later at a shore command where she managed more than 450 message-delivery accounts, tracked the status of Pacific-wide communication assets, trained staff and several other duties.

Nichole is the mother of two teenagers and she loves the outdoors. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, horseback riding, sports, yoga and camping.

We are Lifeline favicon Published June 16, 2017

Cyber Security Seminar Postponed

Lifeline’s Cyber Security Seminar that was originally scheduled for June 6, 2017 has been postponed. The FBI High-Tech Crimes Task Force has been placed on assignment and has asked to reschedule the seminar.

We know you are concerned about Cyber Security and so are we! If you have questions about how to keep your systems safe, or need some guidance, we are here to help. Please feel free to call us at 541-245-5527 or email events@wearelifeline.com to schedule a time to chat.

We are still committed to hosting this seminar. As soon as they FBI is able to reschedule we will be sure to invite you again. We apologize for any inconvenience and look forward to presenting in conjunction with the FBI soon

We are Lifeline favicon Published May 25, 2017

International Cyber Attack Demonstrates Importance of Cyber Security

Cyber security is an increasingly important issue for businesses of all sizes. Constant changes in technology make cyber security seem like a daunting task, but it is something you must tackle sooner rather than later.

A recent ransomware attack hit computer systems around the world. While the full impact is not yet known, it’s estimated the attack crippled 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries.

Ransomware attacks target network vulnerabilities in order to deny availability of important information. Cyber attackers use ransomware to hold your data hostage, requiring you to pay a “ransom” before regaining access. This is often done through spear or phishing emails.

In the international attack, experts believe a collective of hackers called Shadow Brokers used a variant of ransomware known as WannaCry. The hackers exploited a flaw in Microsoft’s Windows operating system to attack computers at companies across the globe. Since the attack, Microsoft issued a patch for its Windows software.

This ransomware attack infiltrated many types of companies. Even if you are a “mom and pop” business, it is imperative to take steps now to prevent cyber-attacks.

There are a few steps you can take to protect yourself.

  • Create a cyber-attack awareness and training program. Practice it regularly.
  • Patch operating systems, software, etc. consistently.
  • Ensure anti-virus and anti-malware is updated every day.
  • Practice the principle of least privilege. No user should have administrative access unless absolutely necessary.
  • Back up data often and secure your backups.
  • Implement mandatory password resets.

Constant vigilance, security measures and a response plan are necessary to keep your business safe. Don’t let the disaster happen and then seek help.

When you’re faced with protecting your company — its data, money and very existence — you need a collaborator you can trust. Lifeline is your partner in the cyber prevention fight. Our knowledgeable team can help protect your business.

We are Lifeline favicon Published May 18, 2017

We Are Hiring

Lifeline is looking for rock stars who want to join our team. We believe in working smart, having fun, and putting our clients first. At Lifeline, the team and our culture are of utmost importance. We’re more than just people who work together; We’re family, and at the end of the day, We Are Lifeline.

Lifeline is one of the leading IT managed service providers in the area. We are a small company with big aspirations. We have been in business for 13 years with steady and progressive growth. We offer a unique work environment, competitive salaries, and additional benefits (Health Care, 401K & matching, paid vacation, paid holidays, bonuses, profit sharing, paid education/certifications, paid health club membership, etc.) We are currently looking for more rock stars to join our family oriented team. We share the goal of building a company that challenges and rewards us while making a difference to our clients and community. We are looking to expand our team.

PROJECT ENGINEER
The Project Engineer is responsible for analysis, design, implementation and post documentation of custom cloud and on premise technology projects, as well as providing 3rd level technical assistance to the technology support team when required.

  • 2-year degree in a computer-related field, or equivalent experience.
  • Experience with backup and recovery packages such as Backup Exec, and Acronis.
  • MCDST, Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician certification preferred.
  • Strong working knowledge of current Microsoft based operating systems: Server 2008, Server 2012, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, Macintosh OS’s.
  • Advanced understanding of operating systems, and business applications.
  • Diagnosis skills of technical issues.
  • Ability to work on multiple projects, prioritize work, and meet deadlines.
  • Technical awareness: ability to match resources to technical issues appropriately.
  • Service awareness of all organization’s key IT services for which support is being provided.
  • Understanding of support tools, techniques, and how technology is used to provide IT services.
  • Ability to learn new technologies as environments change.
  • Typing skills: Minimum 40wpm with 90% accuracy. To ensure quick, accurate and detailed entry of service request and work records in a ticketing system.
  • Excellent verbal and written skills.
  • Strong work ethic and problem solving skills.
  • Self-motivated with the ability to work in a fast moving environment.
  • Advanced technical understanding at the network level: WAN and LAN connectivity, routers, firewalls, and security.
  • System documentation maintenance and review.
  • Design and implementation at the network level: WAN and LAN connectivity, routers, firewalls, switches, WLAN and security solutions.
  • Design and implement private and public cloud solutions as well as traditional on premise server and application solutions for customers using technologies including VM Ware, Windows Server, Exchange Server, SQL, RDS, Citrix and other technologies within our service catalog.
  • Design and implement storage, backup and disaster recovery solutions.
  • Design and implement end point technology solutions including VDI, desktop migrations, tablet and wireless technologies for Windows, Mac, Android, and others.
  • Perform system documentation on implemented technologies for support team to have efficient means of post implementation technical support documents.
  • Perform research and testing of new technologies to remain nimble with emerging technologies. Review and optimize current project implementation methods to support business growth.
  • Document internal processes and procedures related to duties and responsibilities.
  • Project management on assigned projects, including coordination, scheduling, time keeping, and documentation.
  • Manage client expectations.
  • Manage products and inventory relative to assigned projects.
  • Travel to client sites and provide onsite service and support as necessary. Provide on call support as assigned.
  • Attend and conduct internal and client meetings.

To Apply: http://lifeline.applicantstack.com/x/openings/

NETWORK ADMINISTRATOR

The Network Administrator is responsible for the delivery of proactive onsite network administration services.

  • Participate in onboarding new clients, including performing network assessments and creating technical documentation.
  • Travel to client sites to perform proactive and reactive network support services.
  • Manage client LAN/WAN, virtual environments, storage, backup and security technologies.
  • Analyze client LAN/WAN infrastructure to identify technology lifecycle anomalies, issues, faults, and inferior configurations.
  • Work with the VCIO to educate clients on best use and configuration of LAN and WAN infrastructure.
  • Help identify risks within clients’ IT environments.
  • Attend client technology steering meetings and support the VCIO in presenting business technology concepts, options, and solutions.
  • Create and maintain technical documentation library for client system configurations.
  • Work cross functionally with other support teams to deliver comprehensive IT solutions.
  • Troubleshoot and repair local and wide area network technology, including operating systems, hardware, and application software.
  • Used prescribed applications to deliver the Lifesupport program.
  • Track all time within Lifeline ticketing system.
  • Attend and participate in team meetings.
  • Provide project, time and materials services and on-call after-hours customer support as scheduled.

To Apply: http://lifeline.applicantstack.com/x/openings/

CENTRALIZED SERVICES

Centralized Services is responsible for the delivery of proactive services.

  • 2-year degree in a computer-related field, or equivalent experience.
  • Experience with backup and recovery packages such as Backup Exec, and Acronis.
  • MCDST, Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician certification preferred.
  • Strong working knowledge of current Microsoft based operating systems: Server 2008, Server 2012, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, Macintosh OS’s.
  • Advanced understanding of operating systems, and business applications.
  • Diagnosis skills of technical issues.
  • Ability to work on multiple projects, prioritize work, and meet deadlines.
  • Technical awareness: ability to match resources to technical issues appropriately.
  • Service awareness of all organization’s key IT services for which support is being provided.
  • Understanding of support tools, techniques, and how technology is used to provide IT services.
  • Ability to learn new technologies as environments change.
  • Typing skills: Minimum 40wpm with 90% accuracy. To ensure quick, accurate and detailed entry of service request and work records in a ticketing system.
  • Excellent verbal and written skills.
  • Strong work ethic and problem solving skills.
  • Self-motivated with the ability to work in a fast moving environment.
  • Basic technical understanding at the network level: WAN and LAN connectivity, routers, firewalls, and security.
  • Monitor the remote monitoring and management system alerts and notifications.
  • System documentation maintenance and review.
  • Configuration and patching via RMM based on Lifeline specifications.
  • Perform monthly patch approval and denial via RMM.
  • Remediation of patch failures.
  • Managing 3rd party application patching via RMM plug ins.
  • Installation and alignment of best practices for AV solution.
  • Remediation of AV issues.
  • Installation and alignment of best practices for Backup and Disaster Recovery.
  • Deployment and management of SPAM filter.
  • Deployment and management of WEB filter.

​ To Apply: http://lifeline.applicantstack.com/x/openings/

SYSTEMS SUPPORT TECHNICIAN

The Systems Support Technician is responsible for resolving dynamic support requests from end users across multiple platforms.

  • 2-year degree in a computer-related field, or equivalent experience.
  • Experience with backup and recovery packages such as Backup Exec, and Acronis.
  • MCDST, Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician certification preferred.
  • Strong working knowledge of current Microsoft based operating systems: Server 2008, Server 2003, Small Business Server 2008, Small Business Server 2003, XP, Windows.
  • Advanced understanding of operating systems, business applications, printing systems, and network systems.
  • Excellent telephone manner and communication skills. You must be able to work with the “End User” in a polite and efficient manner.
  • Diagnosis skills of technical issues.
  • Ability to work on multiple projects, prioritize work, and meet deadlines.
  • Technical awareness: ability to match resources to technical issues appropriately.
  • Service awareness of all organization’s key IT services for which support is being provided.
  • Understanding of support tools, techniques, and how technology is used to provide IT services.
  • Ability to learn new technologies as environments change.
  • Typing skills: Minimum 40wpm with 90% accuracy. To ensure quick, accurate and detailed entry of service request and work records in a ticketing system.
  • Excellent verbal and written skills.
  • Strong work ethic and problem solving skills.
  • Self-motivated with the ability to work in a fast moving environment.
  • Act as the single point of contact to the customer for all types of service requests.
  • Communication with customers as required: keeping them informed of incident progress, notifying them of impending changes or agreed outages.
  • Basic technical support at the network level: WAN and LAN connectivity, routers, firewalls, and security.
  • Basic remote access solution implementation and support: VPN, Terminal Services, and VNC.
  • Monitor the remote monitoring and management system alerts and notifications, and respond accordingly through service tickets.
  • System documentation maintenance and review.

​ To Apply: http://lifeline.applicantstack.com/x/openings/

We are Lifeline favicon Published April 13, 2017

5 Best Apps for Enhanced Business Productivity

Recent studies have shown that the average person spends 90 minutes a day on their phone, and it’s probably safe to assume that individuals who use their phones for work spend even more time on their mobile devices. While 90 minutes per day might not sound like a lot, it amounts to 23 days per year.

With so much time being spent on phones, now is the time to minimize distractions and maximize productivity.

Get off of email. Stop wasting time in meetings. Work smarter, not harder. We’ve heard it all. The advice and mantras all over the Internet about making yourself more productive could fill libraries. While there’s not a one-size-fits all solution to being more productive, these 5 apps are intended to assist in enhancing productivity.

With the right productivity apps, you can increase your efficiency and accomplish more in any given work day, ultimately helping you to achieve your goals, while making the most of your time so that you have energy left to do more!

So pull out your phones, and if you haven’t already done so, download the following apps:

EVERNOTE

If you only walk away with one app from this post, this should be the one. Evernote allows you to capture what’s on your mind, while syncing all your thoughts {notes} across mobile and desktop devises. The FREE version offers up 60MG of data per month, with plans start at $34.99 per month for additional storage space.

The best way to use Evernote is to take advantage of everything it has to offer, as the more notebooks you add, the more valuable the app becomes. The notebooks can be used for everything from keeping track of your expenses and managing your calendar, to creating presentations and planning your next big getaway. AND…you no longer have to worry about sorting through papers etc., just tag the notes you take for easy search access at a later date.

THINGS

If you’re to-do list is anything like mine, it goes something like this…check-off one task, add two. Is anyone else with me on that? In a world where to-do lists are ingrained into our daily lives, to-do list apps are in high demand. Things Cloud stores your to-dos and automatically syncs and updates them across devises, and created tasks can be labeled and repeated every week if necessary. Its user-friendly platform, quick task entry and even quicker Autofill, Daily Review, and customizable workflow are all features that earned Things a best in class award for task management apps.

RESCUETIME

With the average person spending over 90 minutes on their phone per day, time management is a common theme among these apps. With RescueTime, you can hold yourself accountable, ensuring you don’t waste too much time on digital distractions like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, online shopping and more. The app breaks down where you spend your time bases on application and website, and allows you to set your productivity goals. Rescue Time will help you fine-tune the perfect work-life balance.

TRIPIT

For all of you frequent travelers, Tripit is a must-have app, making it easy to organize and share travel itineraries. It’s simple, once you receive your travel confirmation email, just email it to plans@tripit.com and it does the rest…consolidating your travel plans into a single, maser itinerary that you can access at any time from anyplace. Tripit is capable of recognizing reservations from over 3,000 booking sites, including cruises, concerts and even restaurants. You no longer have to worry about missing a flight or forgetting a car rental service with Tripit.

DOCUSIGN

Get more done on the go with this eSignature app. Whether you are out-of-the-office and need to sign a document OR you need to send one to a customer for signing, Docusign allows you to close business at anytime from anywhere. It’s the fastest and easiest way to sign, send and manage documents on the go. Some of the key features include both in-person and remote signing, push notifications notifying you when a document has been completed, and sign & pay capabilities, allowing your customers to pay with a credit card, Android Pay, or Apply Pay right from their mobile device.

We want to hear from you, what is your favorite app for enhanced business productivity?

We are Lifeline favicon Published March 28, 2017 by Guest Blogger Holly Roberts.

Strategic Partners Beyond Technology

Technology may be the most misunderstood, and worrisome, aspect for businesses. With stories about cyber attacks, hackers and phishing scams, technology seems daunting and dangerous.

How do you prevent a cyber attack? What happens if you become a victim? Most important of all: who can you trust?

At Lifeline, our mission is to be your strategic partner in all your endeavors, including those beyond technology. We look at your business as a whole. Our process is to bring clear, reliable insight into all things related to your tech strategy — from helping you build an effective budget, to monitoring and reporting system efficiency.

Our team focuses on the long term goals for your business. We’re always by your side; monitoring your business and systems, forecasting future needs and keeping your company running seamlessly.

When it comes to the safety of your data and business, you need a partner you can trust. The Lifeline team prides itself on providing the best tech services and strategies in Southern Oregon. When you work with Lifeline you aren’t just getting a service provider, you’re embarking on a long lasting, trusting partnership.

We are Lifeline favicon Published March 17, 2017

Welcome Delmar Hussey as Virtual Chief Information Officer

Lifeline welcomes Delmar Hussey as our new Virtual Chief Information Officer. Delmar brings a wealth of business knowledge to Lifeline. He has experience from small companies to large, international corporate business management. He is adept at translating budgets to increase efficiency within departments and employees. He is skilled at aligning clients’ technology, identifying business risk and exposure, strategic planning, education and scaling technology to fit each business. At Lifeline, he will transfer these skills to strategically impact each of our clients’ business technology.

Most recently he worked as a regional sales manager in the hearing healthcare field where he was responsible for strategic planning, increasing sales, training staff and implementing new work programs. These changes drove sales and taught other managers how to help their businesses grow.

Delmar is a southern Oregon native. He is a graduate of North Medford High School and attended Rogue Community College. He has a master MECP and a Hearing Instrument specialist license.

When he’s not at Lifeline you can find him in the shop working on an antique car or engineering project. Delmar also enjoys spending time with his family. They love hiking, camping or playing around in one of their creations.

We are Lifeline favicon Published February 28, 2017

Our Mission Is Your Greatness

At Lifeline, our mission is your greatness. Our company adheres to four core values: strategic, visionary, professional and knowledgeable. But what exactly does that mean for you?

We are a Complete Solutions Provider specializing in managed IT services and tech support for small and medium-sized businesses. What sets us apart from other tech companies is our strategic, proactive approach to your business and its unique needs. A proactive approach provides faster response times, spectacular service and minimizes technical issues at a lower cost.

We listen to what you want and start a conversation about how we can help. Working with our clients is a two-way street: you talk, we listen and then we act. As we collaborate on your vision, your company has room to grow because we treat your business as professionally as our own.

Founder Micah Shanks began Lifeline in 2004. While our team has grown, our focus remains on making tech a measurable investment in your business rather than a waste of money. We are a group of real people, doing the real work it takes to help you achieve real business goals.

Why should you choose Lifeline? We don’t just offer tech, we offer solutions. A solid team of friendly, knowledgeable experts is the heartbeat of Lifeline. We aren’t a help desk. We use our processes and experience to enhance customer service and increase profitability. We Are Lifeline.

We are Lifeline favicon Published January 26, 2017

Why The Cloud Is Right For Your Business

The holiday season is in full swing, with Thanksgiving nearly here. It’s the time of year when we reflect on our blessings and everything in our lives for which we are thankful. We are grateful to gather with family and friends, share meals together, and appreciate that we’re able to work and provide for ourselves and our families.

At Lifeline, we have so much to be thankful for not only during Thanksgiving, but every day of the year. We are grateful for our growing team of rockstar co-workers, our friends and family, the opportunity to volunteer in the community, and being able to provide a quality service to people throughout Southern Oregon and beyond.

We are also thankful for our clients. Serving and helping you is what we love to do, and why we get up each morning and come to work. We are truly grateful and honored to work on our mission in order to help you and your business grow and thrive.

During the holidays, we reflect on the blessings in our lives. They are different for everyone, but it is important to be thankful for what we have. And our team is thankful for everyone we work with, and hope we have a positive impact on your lives.

From everyone here at Lifeline, we wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

We are Lifeline favicon Published November 21, 2017

Data isn’t only for big, national companies anymore. Small and medium-sized businesses employ data in their regular operations also. This data can be stored in various places and on different computers or systems. Some of it may contain sensitive or personal information. No matter what the nature of the information, you need a secure storage system. Losing your files is not an option.

You’ve heard others mention the Cloud. But what makes it so superior? To start with, your files will never be lost. You can access it on any device, which means no unnecessary trips to the office or emailing yourself a proposal to work on from home. Using the Cloud also eliminates the amount of physical hardware you’re using, which lowers costs. Storing your data in the Cloud can increase productivity. You’ll save time and money, and gain peace of mind.

The major problem is you don’t know how to move things over to the Cloud. You want to get there, but how? That’s where Lifeline steps in.

We’re a local company which can help move your files to the Cloud, and then use it effectively. The process is simpler when you have Lifeline by your side, providing local support to your business.

If you want to learn more about the Cloud, visit our website at www.wearelifeline.com.

We are Lifeline favicon Published January 5, 2017

We Are Filled With Joy

Welcome Andrew Frost as Business Development Representative

It’s the time of year when holiday cheer and joy surround us; tree lots on corners, Christmas concerts and holiday decorations lighting up every house. It’s a beautiful time when we are filled with peace and love for our neighbors. Families gather and the community rallies to help those in need.

The holidays also usher in the new year. 2017 is almost here, and with it comes the promise of new opportunities. We reflect on the past year: what we’ve accomplished, how far we’ve come and what lies ahead.

At Lifeline, we love the holidays. We celebrate our staff, our successes as a team and plan for the new year. We are grateful for all 2016 had to offer and are excited for what 2017 will bring.

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We are Lifeline favicon Published December 21, 2016

andrew-lifeline

Lifeline welcomes Andrew Frost to the team as the new Business Development Representative.

Andrew is responsible for client support and outreach, ensuring open and honest communication between Lifeline and our customers by being a liaison with business leaders and owners. Lifeline partners with businesses, helping them grow strategically. He also brings recommendations from the community back to the management team, which provides Lifeline better opportunities for growth.

Born and raised in Medford, Andrew is a Southern Oregon native. He graduated from South Medford High School, and studied microbiology and chemistry at Oregon State University.

Andrew came to Lifeline from Harry and David where he worked on the Leadership Team, specializing in E-Commerce and Social Networking. Previously, he worked in E-Commerce for Winemakers Depot.

Lifeline serves small-to-medium businesses, their employees, and their customers, by redefining what IT management looks like.

We are Lifeline favicon Published December 7, 2016

We Are Thankful

Thanksgiving is a day when we gather with friends and family, give thanks and share a meal together.

As Thanksgiving approaches, we’re assembling around the online dinner table with all of you to share and give thanks.

This is the time of year when we reflect on what’s truly important. There’s a lot of noise happening during the day-to-day. Work challenges, local, national and world news and all of life’s little surprises can act as distractions.

This year, take a moment to list the people, places and things you’re thankful for.

We have much to be thankful for at Lifeline. All of us are grateful for friends and family, as well as our employees and clients.

Our team is like a family. We see each other every day and like any other family, we know we can rely on one another for help, advice and support.

And of course our clients are extended family. We treat your business with as much care and compassion as our own. We’re thankful you’re a part of our lives and grateful we can share our time with you.

May you all have a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving.

We are Lifeline favicon Published November 23, 2016

We Are Raising Money for our Local No Shave November

Have you ever grown your hair for charity? Would you believe you can grow your hair all November while supporting local cancer patients?

It’s true! And it’s the concept behind No Shave November.

KDP Certified Accountants and the Asante Foundation are leading the local No Shave November campaign in Southern Oregon. They, along with a few other businesses (including us!) have created fundraising goals, are foregoing shaving and raising money and awareness for local cancer patients.

All the money raised goes to the Asante Cancer Compassion Fund, which helps cancer patients with extra items they need such as gas money to get to and from treatments, medical supplies and other things. The goal is to raise $100,000 by the end of the month.

Lifeline has joined the good fight and set aside our razors until December 1. By the end of November we’ll be a lot hairier and hopefully helped the local No Shave November campaign reach (or exceed) their fundraising goal.

Whether you grow your hair or want to sponsor someone, please check out our No Shave November fundraising page.

We encourage everyone to get involved in this fun and unique fundraiser. At Lifeline, we’re all about finding and providing solutions. Participating in No Shave November helps bring solutions to cancer patients who encounter challenges during their treatments.

We are Lifeline favicon Published November 8, 2016

You Don't Need To Worry About Online Security... Or Do You?

According to www.umuc.edu, “Cyber security…focuses on protecting computers, networks, programs and data from unintended or unauthorized access, change or destruction.”

What does this mean for your business? You’re not a hospital, financial institution or the military. You don’t need worry about cyber security. Or do you?

Every business (yours, too!) collects, processes and stores confidential information on its computers. Then you transmit that data to other computers or networks. An investigation revealed millions of Yahoo! accounts were hacked, putting user’s personal information at risk. Even large companies must constantly adapt and prepare for new and more sophisticated cyber-attacks.

Protecting sensitive personal and business information is imperative whether your company has 3,000 employees, or three. You deal in private data during everyday transactions, and need to know how to protect your business and your customer’s information. Fortunately, you don’t need to be a tech expert to do so.

But we do! And we are. Lifeline has a dedicated team who is serious about protecting your customer data. Let’s work together and secure your business’ private information before any hackers storm your cyber castle.

We are Lifeline favicon Published November 2, 2016

Ransomware: How Lifeline Can Keep Your Systems Safe

Did you know someone could hold your entire computer system for ransom? It’s possible, and it’s happened. It’s called ransomware.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a specific amount of money is paid by the user.

It’s terrifying to think a piece of software can hold so much power over you, your computer system and your business. It makes you vulnerable. All the sensitive information held within that system is at risk. Suddenly you picture the face of every customer who’s entered your store. The sweet newlyweds who bought their first couch last week — is their information safe? Will it be stolen?

You don’t want to put your customer’s valuable information in the hands of malevolent, faceless software. There are a few basic steps you can take to protect yourself.

  1. Do not open suspicious emails
  2. Keep your software current
  3. Backup your data
  4. Do not pay the ransom
  5. Know the best practices

Lifeline knows how to protect you and your business against ransomware and other security issues. Don’t let the disaster happen and then seek help. Together we can formulate a plan to protect your network so it’s never touched by the vindictive tendrils of ransomware.

We are Lifeline favicon Published October 25, 16

Welcome to our New Website and Blog

At Lifeline, we apply creative solutions, best practices and technical processes to help augment customer service and increase profitability for your business. Our relationships with our clients are just that — a relationship based on a foundation of honest communication.

We want to share our industry news, services and events with you. That is why we’re excited to announce two new things: our blog and new website.

Each blog we publish will be posted on our website, Facebook and Micah’s Linkedin account.

We also redesigned our website, which you can access at www.wearelifeline.com. The new sharp, clean design offers quick and easy access to important information. Our website gives a better understanding of our innovative technology products and services. We will update the website on a regular basis, so return frequently for new product offerings, business activity and corporate events.

Lifeline backs you up, and we’re not just referring to disaster recovery or data storage (although we do that). When we back you up, we support you in making your vision a reality.
Our first conversation with you isn’t about technology; it’s about your business, its goals and overall objective. Why? Because We Are Lifeline. And that’s how we do business.

We are Lifeline favicon Published October 13, 2016

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