Effective Solutions Through Partnership

Category Archives: Systems Engineer

4 Questions to ask about Small Business Cybersecurity

Alpen Technology Group, Cyber Security, Information Security, Information Technology, IT Security, Managed IT Services, Ransomware, Sacramento, Systems Engineer, Technology

By David Baker, Microsoft MCSA & MCITP, CompTIA+ & Network+, CSM

According to the 2018 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report via a Forbes magazine report, more than half of all cyber attack victims were small businesses.

As a Managed IT Services provider, we’ve seen many instances of our small business clients experiencing email phishing, ransomware, or other breaches in security.

Even if your small business uses an out-of-the-box security system, you still need a professional IT organization to help make sure the technology works optimally and is layered with firewalls, encryption, and more.

A Managed IT Services firm can help.

Here are some questions to ask when interviewing a Managed IT Services firm:

  1. Do you perform infiltration testing? This involves breaking into your network to expose security holes. Sounds scary, but this is necessary to find the gaps in your system and put together mitigation processes.
  2. Do you perform phishing email reaction testing and instruction? Creating a fake phishing attempt to see how staff responds can help identify what should be included in an organization-wide security training plan. According to the 2018 State of Cybersecurity in Small & Medium Size Businesses report by Ponemon/Keeper Security:

Over 80% of small businesses report that malware has evaded their antivirus software.

  1. How frequently do you survey digital security readiness? Digital security readiness focuses on preventative measures, as well as the actions to be taken when an incident does occur. Creating a culture of cyber readiness means creating a resilient organization.
  2. How rapidly would you be able to recoup basic information? It’s critical that your Managed IT Services firm can quickly retrieve your information from a backup or other reinforcement.

These are just a few questions to ask an IT services firm to make sure they provide comprehensive services to keep your business secure.

Interested in asking us these questions and learning more about how KAI Partners’ IT experts can help? Call 916-465-8065!

About David: David Baker holds certifications in Microsoft MCSA, Microsoft MCITP, CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+ and has extensive experience in server, platform (HP/Dell). Mr. Baker has experience working with developers and supporting their development environment. In his current role, Mr. Baker monitors clients’ backups, active directory, DHCP and DNS, resolves helpdesk tier 1-3 support tickets, and has successfully completed AD migrations from server 2008 to server 2012 and 2016. Mr. Baker has successfully completed VOIP phone migrations, WAN ISP cutovers, network redesign and implementation, firewall replacements and security lockdown, AWS web server build out, AWS helpdesk call center engineering, and more. In his spare time, Mr. Baker enjoys BBQing, photography, and fitness.

How Managed IT Services and Cloud Computing can Save you Money

Alpen Technology Group, Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Cloud Computing, Information Security, Information Technology, Innovation, IT Modernization, IT Security, KAI Partners, Managed IT Services, Non-profit, Project Management, Ransomware, Sacramento, Small Business, Systems Engineer, Technology

By David Baker, Microsoft MCSA & MCITP, CompTIA+ & Network+, CSM

We’ve talked before about how your organization can benefit from our managed IT services. We can help you reduce downtime, improve productivity, and more.

Something else we do is help you reduce the money you spend on IT services.

An IT company that helps you reduce IT costs? Yes! Our IT team is always on the lookout for ways to save our clients money.

We recently completed a phone migration and network infrastructure upgrade for one of our clients. We found a way to decrease their monthly phone bill by half, ultimately saving them well into five figures annually.

Another way to save your organization money? We’re a big proponent of cloud computing—for example, using Microsoft 365 or Google Cloud for your files, emails, calendaring, and anything else you need to run your business.

We know a lot of people are still hesitant to move over to “the cloud,” but here are a few examples of how migrating from in-house servers to cloud computing can save you money and peace of mind:

  1. Reduce hardware and electricity bill cost.Cloud computing means you no longer need to use certain computer equipment—you can repurpose the equipment for another use or donate it as a tax write-off. And, migrating your servers to the cloud can save money your electricity bill because you’re no longer paying for cooling costs.
  2. You don’t need to pay an internal IT staff. Especially when you take into consideration the hidden costs of FTEs—health insurance, payroll taxes, workers’ compensation, the list goes on—it’s often more cost-efficient to have a team like ours manage your IT needs. Our team handles the security and maintenance, and many other updates are automatic within the cloud.
  3. Disaster recovery. In the event of a building disaster, your electronic files are safe in the cloud. You and your team can still perform work duties and access any electronic files you need to. While this is never a welcome occurrence, you have peace of mind knowing your most valuable files are safe in the cloud.

KAI Partners’ expert cloud computing engineers are ready to help you meet your business goals. If you’re ready to let us take care of your IT needs, call 916-465-8065!

About David: David Baker holds certifications in Microsoft MCSA, Microsoft MCITP, CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+ and has extensive experience in server, platform (HP/Dell). Mr. Baker has experience working with developers and supporting their development environment. In his current role, Mr. Baker monitors clients’ backups, active directory, DHCP and DNS, resolves helpdesk tier 1-3 support tickets, and has successfully completed AD migrations from server 2008 to server 2012 and 2016. Mr. Baker has successfully completed VOIP phone migrations, WAN ISP cutovers, network redesign and implementation, firewall replacements and security lockdown, AWS web server build out, AWS helpdesk call center engineering, and more. In his spare time, Mr. Baker enjoys BBQing, photography, and fitness.

What IF Conference Recap

Alpen Technology Group, Community Service, Conferences, Event Recap, Healthcare, Information Security, Information Technology, Sacramento, Sacramento Steps Forward, Systems Engineer, Technology, WEAVE, What IF Conference


Photo Credit: Impact Foundry/What IF Conference

By David Baker, CSM

I recently attended the What IF Conference along with a KAI Partners colleague. This event was sponsored by the Impact Foundry and took place at the McClellan Conference Center.

The sold-out event brought together non-profits and service providers from across the region to network and share best practices.

This year’s theme focused on creating sustainable community change, which demands increased collaboration across the non-profit community and increased investment by funders.

Dan Pallotta, a renowned public speaker whose TED Talk is the most viewed in the history of the series, served as Keynote. His presentation brought to light the hypocrisy of society’s expectations of non-profits’ effectiveness and impact while limiting their ability to fundraise, increase overhead costs in order to scale, and attract talent by offering competitive salaries not common in the corporate world (where salaries are inflated and impact is questionable).

As an IT Professional who provides Managed IT Services to small businesses and non-profit organizations, it was interesting to me to learn that IT is low on the priority list of non-profits and yet can yield the most value and ROI.

The What IF Conference provided an excellent opportunity to meet non-profit leaders and discuss the benefits of IT and how it can help them meet their goals. For example, a smooth-running IT infrastructure can help non-profits serve the community faster and more efficiently by:

  • Establishing network uptime, so clients can always reach you;
  • Keeping computers updated with the latest Microsoft patches so employees don’t lose productivity due to a slow computer; and
  • Increasing network security to prevent network breaches or virus attacks.

One panel that focused on the value of IT was Mini City, a start-up based in Atlanta, Georgia, that provides a platform dedicated to serving the homeless population in the area.

Mini City is technology-driven and is a great example of how technology can help non-profits and their customers. To date, Mini City has secured 500 Near Field Communication-enabled wristbands. Like Fitbit, this is wearable technology and serves as an identification tool for homeless residents and a connection to services at no charge to them. I thought it was awesome to see how technology is used to help the homeless.

In our local region, KAI Partners staff have participated in the Sacramento Steps Forward Homeless Point-In-Time (PIT) counts, which helped gain a better understanding of the structure and data recuperated during an event like the PIT count. We also support key healthcare services through our work with healthcare-focused state agencies, and support non-profits like WEAVE to be more productive and effectively serve their community through our managed IT and consulting services.

KAI Partners strives to support systems with our IT and consulting services so that we can assure our vulnerable communities are getting the most from the talented non-profit staff who work tirelessly to provide services to them.

About the Author: Mr. Baker has 11 years of experience in IT ranging from help desk to network/systems engineer and working with different technologies such as Cisco, SonicWALL, Dell, VMware, and Microsoft. Mr. Baker currently works for KAI Partners as a Systems Engineer, helping clients meet their IT needs. For fun, Mr. Baker enjoys enjoy BBQing, photography, and fitness.

KAI Partners Staff Profile: The Systems Engineer

Alpen Technology Group, Information Security, Information Technology, KAI Partners, KAI Partners Staff Profile, Managed IT Services, Sacramento, Small Business, Startup Company, Systems Engineer, Technology

There are many paths to success and while not everyone takes the same path, we often manage to arrive at the same destination. In our KAI Partners Staff Profile series, we share interviews and insight from some of our own employees here at KAI Partners. Our staff brings a diversity in education, professional, and life experience, all of which demonstrate that the traditional route is not necessarily the one that must be traveled in order to achieve success.

Today, we bring you the journey of David Baker, a Systems Engineer with our managed IT services division, Alpen Technology Group. Alpen Technology Group provides organizations the benefits of an internal IT department at a fraction of the cost of staffing one themselves.

The role of the Systems Engineer within IT services is critical. On any given day, Mr. Baker’s responsibilities include troubleshooting advanced security technologies such as Single sign-on and Multi-factor Authentication, managing IT initiatives, collaborating with clients, providing strategic advice on using technology to achieve goals and objectives, supporting new technology implementation, training users, and more.

Today we’re excited to share more about Mr. Baker’s Managed IT background and his current role.

KAI Partners, Inc.: How did you get into your line of work?

David Baker: My troubleshooting skills caught the attention of an instructor of mine who had just started a software training/consulting firm. He was impressed at my ability troubleshoot and reconstruct the computer. He was also looking for someone who loved computers and tech. I was able to work summer days and nights while going to school and increasing my technical knowledge. IT was fun, and I love playing video games, so it led down this road.

KAI: Are there any certifications or trainings you’ve gone through that have helped in your career?

DB: I have a certification through Microsoft—the Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP)—as well as CompTIA’s Network+ and A+. I am also currently working on a certification with Amazon Web Services.

KAI: What is your favorite part about your line of work and why?

DB: My favorite part about my line of work is creating new networks for clients. Completing a project gives me a sense of satisfaction. I take pride in knowing that I have created something that will help a client meet their goals.

KAI: What is one of the most common question you receive from clients and what counsel or advice do you give them?

DB: The most common question I get from clients is how we can save money on IT. I tell them let’s look at your environment and streamline it. For example, I once moved a client from physical servers to a virtual environment, which saved them money on cooling and electricity use.

Now that we’ve learned more about David’s Systems Engineer work, here’s a little more about him!

Quick Q&A with David:

Daily, must-visit website:  www.techcrunch.com

Preferred genre of music: Blues

Best professional advice received: Never give a firm time to resolve an issue in IT. You do not want to set an expectation that you cannot meet due to Murphy’s Law or other outside factors.

Book you can read repeatedly: “Who Moved My Cheese?”

Most-recent binge-watched show: Dear White People

About David: Mr. Baker has 11 years of experience in IT ranging from help desk to network/systems engineer and working with different technologies such as Cisco, SonicWALL, Dell, VMware, and Microsoft. Mr. Baker currently works for KAI Partners as a Systems Engineer, helping clients meet their IT needs. For fun, Mr. Baker enjoys enjoy BBQing, photography, and fitness.

Interested in learning more about how David and the Alpen Technology Group can help your organization? Call 916-465-8065!