Singlesource IT has been an integral partner in managing and implementing our technology needs. They not only provide exceptional service and responsiveness, they anticipate and prepare to help in guiding the direction of growth in our company. By assisting in making us more efficient and economical they ultimately help make us more profitable.”

Meyers + Associates Architecture, LLC.

Christopher Meyers, Principal Architect




Server Failure Frequency Vs. Age: The Stats Are In!

Failure rates. When it comes to what's happening behind the server closet door, usually "no news is good news". As long as there's a peaceful hum and a little heat coming out of there, we move on, feeling good for another day.

But as this graph shows, no server lasts forever.

During the first year, servers are shown to have a failure rate of 5%. While this might seem high, it's often the result of some out-of-the-box defect or initial configuration issue, easily diagnosed and fixed. Over the next two years, rates only rise at a level of 1%, showing a period of stability. Hard drive failures start to spike around year four, pushing our number up to 11%. After that, the curve increases until it becomes clear that a server replacement is not just of question of if, but when.

A similar graph shows Server Downtime by age. Reflecting the failure rates above, this graph shows that downtime is relatively flat for the first few years - downtime that might be attributed to planned re-boots and software updates. After that the curve shows a sharp and steady increase indicating unplanned incidents and additional resources spent on IT personnel to address emergency problems.

In other words, a planned investment in hardware now might save you money (and headaches) down the road.

Even if you're not running a server, the same sort of failure curve applies to Laptops, Workstations, Tablets, and other digital devices. Think ahead, backup, and have a life-cycle replacement plan in place. If you need a second opinion, give us a call. We're ready to review your network, make recommendations, and guarantee that you're ready for business.

(Graphs and more information can be found here.)


Facebook's Spying on Your Android - Fight Back!

Facebook has been feeling the squeeze these days. Stocks are down, scrutiny is up. Why? Because Facebook’s dark art of personal data gathering has been coming to light.

When you sign up for a social medial platform, or download any “free” app, you strike a bargain with the developers: I’ll let you spy on me if I can use your service. This can range from the boring stuff – using your location to serve up local advertisements – to the downright creepy. Facebook sees everything you click, everything you like.  That's how they get to know you so well... and have gotten so good at selling you to their advertisers.  

While much of this is expected, sometimes news comes out that takes everyone by surprise, like this: Facebook’s Android app has been logging your calls and text messages. They don’t know what you’ve said or why you said it, but they do know exactly who you’ve been calling and texting, how often, and for how long.

Do you really want them to know all of that? No! So let’s take a minute and get that turned off.

  • Start by opening your “Settings” app, and then tapping the option “Apps”.
  • Tap on “App Manager” and find the App that you’d like to investigate, such as Facebook. 
  • Scroll down to the option for “Permissions”, tap and review.
  • Turn off anything unnecessary! For Facebook, this would include the options for “Phone” and “SMS”

Some apps need access to certain things of course. Snapchat wouldn’t be much fun if it couldn’t find your camera. But it’s a good rule of thumb to double-check any new app and dial back anything that looks superfluous or suspicious. 

As it’s been said, “If you’re getting the service for free, you’re the product.”  Keep using social media, but think it through when you do. Take a minute to check your settings, read up on the terms of service. And before installing an app, ask yourself: Do I really need that? If you’re not sure, just say no, and enjoy a little extra privacy.



Meltdown & Spectre: What You Need To Know

You've seen the news. Two new computer vulnerabilities are on the loose: Meltdown and Spectre. We've been following this story closely, and we'd like to make sure that you have the facts that you need to avoid these new threats.

These exploits represent a new type of threat as they target the CPU - or the chip - itself, potentially reading information as it's passed through the processor. We say "potential" for a reason - so far there have been no known attacks using these methods.

Microsoft is working on, and has rolled out, updates for all of their current operating systems. However, as these threats are a brand new category of exploit, patching older versions of their software (specifically Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2012) presents Microsoft with significant challenges. Updates are not available at this time.

Again, these threats have yet to lead to any instances of data theft. However, the best way to protect yourself against the possibility of a breach is to install the latest updates, and if you're on an older verions of Windows Server, to migrate to the latest version. A move to Windows Server 2016 would provide you with a solution that has been securely hardened against Meltdown, Spectre and other similar exploits that may follow.

Let us know if you'd like to discuss your options. We're here to help, and keep you informed as this story continues to break.


Singlesource IT named #9 on Columbus Business First's Fast 50.

At Singlesource IT we usually let our work speak for itself, but this time we have to brag a little. Columbus Business First has awarded Singlesource IT the #9 slot in their annual ranking of the top 50 fastest growing companies in Central Ohio.

We've been keeping an eye on the Fast 50 for a few years, congratulating clients and partners who have made the list in the past. And we're honored to join them and be a part of it now.

A ranking like this goes to prove what our clients already know: if you're looking for a forward-focused, solutions-based IT partner, Singlesource IT is ready to take on the challenge.

New Spam Scam Targets Office 365 Customers - That means you!

Using Office 365 to run your mission-critical office operations?  If you're a Singlesource IT customer there's a good chance that you are. Microsoft's Office software has been the cornerstone of business productivity since the dawn of the PC era. And with the launch of Office 365, there are no signs of that slowing down.

That success makes Office a juicy target for spammers. We've been receiving reports of targeted spam messages sent to Office 365 users. (See graphic above.) They look legit, correctly listing your domain and email address, claiming that "Your Office 365 Business statement is ready."

But on inspection, you'll see that the important links don't point back to Microsoft. Most likely they will redirect you to a compromised 3rd party website - a website set up to install viruses, ransomware, or to steal financial details. If you get one of these emails, don't take the bait. Ignore it, delete it, but don't click those links!

If you have any questions, just give us a call. We can double-check any suspicious emails, and make sure that you've got a legitimate copy of any invoices or statements that you might need.