Cyber Security Nebraska

Applied Connective Educates Customers on Ransomware

Leader in unified communications helps businesses fight malware

Cyber Security Nebraska

 

ALBION, NEBR. – January 2019 – Applied Connective Technologies, a leader in unified communications, announced today that they have launched a ransomware awareness campaign. The purpose of the campaign is to quickly educate business owners in understanding one of the latest threats now facing small- to mid-sized businesses (SMBs). Ransomware is a specific variation of malware that is running rampant amongst hackers, and Applied Connective is doing its best to alert business owners of this new tactic. Applied Connective’s existing customers are very well protected against this type of threat, but many business owners may be unaware of the potential destruction this has on an organization.

While business owners have always understood the need to protect their businesses from malware, short for “malicious software,” ransomware is a new tactic that hackers are using to attack businesses in an especially aggressive way. Essentially, an employee will receive an email with a deceptive link with a call to action, such as “Click Here to See Resume” or “Download Report Now.” Upon clicking the link, a ransomware application will be installed immediately on the computer. Then, the software can remain hidden for several days until it is activated. At that moment, the ransomware application will hijack critical files, remove them from the network, and encrypt them so no other computers can access them. Then, hackers will send an email demanding payment for the release of the missing files.

“This is a serious and increasingly common problem that can have a devastating impact on an organization,” says Ed Knott, president of Applied Connective Technologies. “And many business owners don’t know how to defend against these types of attacks.

“We take great pride in protecting our customers from threats like this,” adds Knott. “The first line of defense is a technically educated staff. While the majority of these threats come in the form of suspicious email links, an educated staff can avoid these catastrophes simply through awareness. That’s one of the reasons we issued this press release. For business owners that see the value of peace of mind, we devise comprehensive solutions that thwart these types of attacks from every angle. We take a global approach that includes a combination of antivirus software, anti-malware software, strong firewalls, employee education, data backup, and network redundancy paired with targeted cyber security awareness training, which we offer to our clients. This training has proven to be imperative. We’ve seen measurable improvements in all clients who have enrolled.”

Applied Connective Technologies’ mission is to leave business owners in a more empowered position by serving as an educator of emergent technologies. “Our biggest aim with this campaign is to educate businesses now, instead of fielding frantic phone calls from them after they’re already in a difficult, immutable situation later,” concludes Knott. “Understanding how to defend against these cyber threats has saved our clients a lot of downtime, heartache, and money.”

Cloud Computing’s Silver Lining for Small to Mid-Sized Companies

Applied Connective Technologies Explains Fast-Approaching Technology

ALBION, NEBR. – December 2018 – Gaining tremendous popularity among companies big and small, cloud computing is a data-processing infrastructure in which the software and the data are stored on remote servers. These servers are connected to the Internet rather than a PC or a company’s LAN. When one needs to use some form of software application or access data, the computer connects to the remote server through the Internet.

The explosive growth of the Internet has fostered the idea of shared data infrastructure.

“Cloud computing is more prevalent than many realize and most people don’t even realize they’re operating in this fashion,” explained Applied Connective President Ed Knott. “But if you’ve ever created a profile on LinkedIn or Facebook or sent an email from Yahoo, you have engaged in cloud computing. The data that was created resides on a remote server instead of on your PC or other form of conventional hosting.”

Simply put, cloud computing includes server processing, data storage, security and voice applications. As one might imagine, there are tremendous advantages to cloud computing. First and foremost, it enables small- to mid-sized businesses to leverage storage space and application solutions without having to make significant capital expenditures on hardware or infrastructure. As a company needs more storage space or software, they can pay as they go. In other words, providers offering cloud computing offer services based on utility, such as Amazon S3, subscription or a flat monthly fee. Software as a service (SaaS) is another advantage of cloud computing because companies can tap into solutions hosted on the Internet.

Easy collaboration is another great benefit of cloud computing services. With both the application and the data stored in the cloud, it’s easy for multiple users to work together on the same project—anytime, anywhere. This gives companies with virtual employees extreme flexibility as well as enhanced productivity. Furthermore, depending on the provider, the data and applications stored in the cloud in most situations have complete disaster recovery. The information is protected by multiple, geographically dispersed data centers with extensive backup, archive and failover capabilities. In addition to SaaS, cloud computing has given rise to platform as a service, meaning one can build their own applications to run on the cloud provider’s infrastructure. Again, it can be tapped into by multiple users regardless of their location.

Cloud computing is still in its infancy, but the value proposition is quite clear and should be on every IT department’s radar. Although, there are issues that still need to be worked out from a security standpoint because hackers do pose a threat. All in all, the technology provides both a reliable and scalable solution that can greatly impact an organization’s cost structure, can support for future growth and can enhance operating efficiency and employee productivity. More and more attention will be directed towards cloud computing, especially as organizations learn how to harness its power.

Applied Connective

Local MTSP’s Cyber Security Brings Peace of Mind to Business Owners and Their IT Networks

 

Local MTSP’s Cyber Security Brings Peace of Mind to Business Owners and Their IT Networks

Applied Connective Technologies educates customers on the evolution of malicious threats

 

ALBION, NEBR. — Nov. 2018 — Applied Connective Technologies, a leading managed technology services provider, has launched an awareness campaign on recent advancements in cyber security. As technology has become even more central to business operations, hackers have grown in proficiency and are posing several new threats to business owners. Applied Connective is actively engaged in alerting customers of these new methods by which hackers are attacking businesses.

Cyber attacks, such as malware, have become one of the biggest threats on an organization’s network because of the speed by which these attacks evolve. Cyber security has become one of the fastest changing technologies in response, and is constantly vying to remain a step ahead of the threats that face most organizations. While business owners were previously able to avoid most threats by purchasing a strong firewall, hackers have continued to evolve their methods and simply put, a firewall doesn’t offer any sufficient level of protection anymore. As technology continues to move forward, the threats facing organizations have become much more sophisticated, brazen and bold.

One such common tactic used by hackers is the coordination of simultaneous attacks to overwhelm any server, LAN (local area network), or other critical endpoint on the network. Essentially, this overwhelms the endpoint and creates openings for hackers to attack the network during the overload period. Every endpoint is vulnerable to these types of attacks, and hackers can circumvent firewalls through any mobile device or tablet, unless the organization has a Unified Threat Management System that automatically evolves with and is designed to thwart these types of attacks.

“Hackers have a malicious goal of accessing and misusing proprietary company data for financial gain,” stated Ed Knott, president of Applied Connective. “One of the best practices that we recommend is triple layered infrastructure protection,” he adds. “This means establishing a layer of security at the edge of the network, another security layer at the desktop and a final layer of security at the LAN.

“This exponentially reduces the risks facing any enterprise because of the redundant nature of multiple levels of protection. This simple step can save companies thousands of dollars and unnecessary downtime.”

Another challenge facing organizations, as it relates to cyber security, is when employees access unauthorized sites and are phished for login credentials, making the network instantly vulnerable. “Through our guidance and technology we help our customers control access to certain websites and automatically prevent employees from interacting with sites that pose security risks to the network. The technology is configured to automatically detect malicious sites and shutdown the threat before any interaction begins.”

Applied Connective has established a cyber security division and is helping companies understand and implement a unified threat management system. During the company’s initial stages of customer outreach, they’ve found that most customers are completely exposed to threats.

“The question business owners must ask themselves is if they truly believe that a static solution can combat a dynamic problem?” said Knott. “In other words, if your firewall hasn’t evolved in the past several years, how can you expect it to keep pace with the evolution of hackers? And more importantly, where do you think that leaves your company data and customers’ sensitive information?”

Team Jack

Applied Connective & Team Jack Make a Great Team

Team Jack

Photo courtesy of teamjackfoundation.org

OCTOBER 2018 – Some partnerships are a match made in heaven, and that certainly seems to be the case with the long-standing and mutually rewarding partnership between Applied Connective Technologies and the Team Jack Foundation.

Ed Knott and Andrew Hoffman were originally introduced in 2006 when Applied Connective Technologies became the managed technology service provider (MTSP) for a law firm at which Andrew practiced. Ed and his team established great relationships with the firm’s partners and staff, so it came as little surprise when Hoffman hired Applied Connective when he established his own practice, Hoffman Law, PC, LLO, in Atkinson in 2015.

Having done business together for several years, Ed and Andrew’s business relationship graduated from friendly professionals to professional friends, so when Hoffman’s son, Jack, was diagnosed with pediatric brain cancer in 2011, there was a strong desire to help in some way. Opportunities would soon find them.

Background

As Andrew and Brianna Hoffman watched their son continually suffer from tumor-related seizures, attend an endless series of appointments, and undergo countless treatments and surgeries, they became determined to find better treatments and, ultimately, an effective cure for this awful disease.

For reference, only 4% of the National Cancer Institute’s annual budget is allotted to pediatric brain cancer research. Identifying a huge need—and one that was obviously very close to their hearts—the Hoffmans went to work bridging the gap. Enter the Team Jack Foundation.

Andrew & Brianna began partnering with CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, a national non-profit foundation which funds children’s cancer research to raise money for their research fund, and in 2012, the Team Jack Foundation was born. Through dedicated fundraisers, hard work, and a blossoming friendship between Jack and then-Husker running back Rex Burkhead (who granted Jack’s wish of meeting ahead of one of his life-threatening brain surgeries), the Team Jack Foundation has gained national notoriety and raised millions of dollars to date to enable life-saving research.

 

Team Jack

Photo courtesy of teamjackfoundation.org

 

The year of its inception, Team Jack had its first of what would become an annual event to raise crucial dollars for the cause. This is where Applied Connective gets involved.

A Tough Opponent: Taking On Pediatric Brain Cancer

The big idea was to put on a telethon that would engage radio stations from throughout Nebraska to reach the broadest audience possible. The Hoffmans needed a unique technology system to support such an event. So Hoffman approached Knott and his business partner, Tom Krings, and without hesitation, Applied Connective offered to donate time, services, and equipment to the event.

During the annual Team Jack Radiothon, more than 15 radio stations across the state dedicate the day to supporting the cause by raising awareness; collecting donations; and broadcasting interviews, testimonies, and stories from families affected by pediatric brain cancer as well as prominent Nebraska public figures, from government officials and oncologists to local celebrities like former Huskers and comedians. A percentage of the foundation’s yearly contributions are collected through this radiothon.

It’s a wonderful event that unifies businesses, families, and media outlets throughout the state—it showcases Nebraska values and the decency of humanity.

“The first Team Jack Radiothon took place in the Hoffmans’ hometown of Atkinson, Nebraska,” says Knott. “The following years, we set up shop in Lincoln’s Haymarket, the next few years on UNL’s campus, and most recently, the 2018 radiothon took place at South Pointe Mall in Lincoln. It grows substantially from year to year, and it’s neat to be a part of something that brings so many together in charity and hope.”

Team Jack Foundation
Today

Applied Connective’s involvement, chiefly that of the company’s voice manager, Will Zoucha, is tantamount to this production. Their contributions (along with those of Tom Krings & Clearfly) include: supplying all necessary technologies, coordinating phone systems, establishing Internet connections, volunteering, and donating time and services throughout the day for the event each year. After setup is complete, Zoucha remains onsite throughout the day, accompanied by Tom and/or Ed, to lend a hand and oversee the day’s events.

“It requires a good amount of behind-the-scenes time, setup, and configuration to support an event of this caliber,” says Zoucha. “But this is a cause that Applied Connective is passionate about, that we believe in wholeheartedly, and that we are privileged to be able to contribute our skill set and services to.”

Knott adds, “We’re very proud to be involved in the Team Jack Foundation in this way. What started as a grass roots movement in Atkinson, Nebraska, by a loving family going through a parent’s worst nightmare has grown into something much bigger. We admire the Hoffmans’ resilience and ability to turn their trauma into triumph—channeling it into something that makes such an impact for so many.

“We’re very proud to stand beside the Hoffmans, the Team Jack Foundation, and all the brave children and their families in the valiant fight against pediatric brain cancer.”

The Team Jack Foundation has raised $65,000 for pediatric brain cancer research at this year’s radiothon (and more than $5 million and counting since its inception) and continues to lead the fight for improving treatment options for children with brain cancer—a wonderful testimony to the great things that can be accomplished through “team” work.  Click here to donate or learn more about this incredible organization.

Applied Connective receives Diamond Clear Choice Award

September 2018 – SUNRISE, OR. – Applied Connective Technologies was one of only 30 select partners throughout the nation who were invited to attend an exclusive Clearfly event in the Pacific Northwest on September 14th, 2018. President Ed Knott and Voice Manager Will Zoucha, along with their wives, traveled to Sunriver, Oregon, for the event, where they received the coveted Diamond Clear Choice Award for “Excellence in Customer Satisfaction & SIP Deployment!”

When we say we’re serious about providing exceptional customer service, we mean it! Thanks, Clearfly! And special congratulations to our Voice Crew to whom going above and beyond is standard procedure. Well done & well-deserved, guys!

Applied Connective

Applied Connective is the Columbus Chamber of Commerce’s Member of the Month

Applied Connective was featured as the Member of the Month for the Catalyst (Issue 404, June 2018). Company materials are being displayed in the lobby at the Columbus Chamber of Commerce throughout the month of June. Read the full article on page two of the issue here or see the content below.

 

Applied Connective Technologies (Columbus, Albion, Fullerton) has been working with customers throughout Nebraska for years and has recently been experiencing a renewed surge in business in the Columbus area.

As a one-touchpoint provider of managed technology services, Applied Connective offers virtually all the tech solutions a business needs under one roof, including managed IT, phone and voice, surveillance, access control, infrastructure, and high-speed wireless.

The unique appeal of this group is that they offer the wide range of skills, services, capabilities typically found in a bigger city while still maintaining the unrivaled customer care you’d only find in small town. They believe it’s this marriage of innovative solutions and Midwestern service that has attracted so many customers from Columbus.

“We love working with businesses here in Columbus. It’s a booming place to be with all the offerings of a bigger city, but the people still have that small-town friendliness, work ethic, and humility. That’s a formula that sounds very familiar to us. Applied Connective really appreciates that about Columbus natives, and we’re grateful to say it seems the feeling is mutual.”

Call 866-358-0109 or visit www.AppliedConnective.com to find out more.

Applied Connective

Applied Connective Technologies Receives Top Industry Award from Clearfly Communications

Applied Connective

ALBION, NE — May 24, 2018 — It was announced today that Applied Connective Technologies, a leading managed technology services provider, received Clearfly’s top award at the 18th Annual TAG Convention held in Rancho Bernardo, California, in April.  Technology Assurance Group (TAG) is an international organization of independently owned managed technology services providers in the United States and Canada.  Clearfly selected Applied Connective Technologies as the winner of the Clearfly Gold Clear Choice Award for Excellence in Customer Satisfaction and SIP Deployment.

After 2017, Clearfly analyzed a great deal of information, including overall customer satisfaction, their partners’ ability to coordinate timely ports, their ability to move, add or install a new system with minimal to zero down time and how frequently the partners were able to coordinate all of these tasks seamlessly.  The result was very high customer satisfaction and so they chose to award their top partners.

 

“The importance placed on one’s ability to communicate over today’s IT infrastructure couldn’t be more critical to a business, and we are proud to say these partners performed excellent,” said Sam Johnson, Channel Account Manager for Clearfly.  “Coincidentally, a majority of award winners were also members of TAG.”  The award was received by Ed Knott, President of Applied Connective Technologies. “We are honored to accept this award.  Applied Connective Technologies always strives to stay on the leading edge of technology, and the hallmark of our business has always been our commitment to exceptional customer service,” said Mr. Knott. “Clearfly provides industry-leading Session Initiated Protocol (SIP) trunking to our customers, and we’re proud to be their business partner.”

 

ABOUT APPLIED CONNECTIVE TECHNOLOGIES

Applied Connective Technologies is a locally owned and operated company that has been providing communication solutions to greater Nebraska since 2004. Applied Connective has offices based in Albion, Fullerton and Columbus, Nebraska. We make it our priority to provide the highest quality service to our clients throughout greater Nebraska as well as Iowa, South Dakota and Kansas.

 

Applied Connective serves a number of industries, including; agriculture, finance, healthcare, government, education, hospitality and small to medium sized businesses of any affiliation. Applied Connective is experienced in all facets of telecom, Datacom and other emerging technologies so we are able to give our customers a one-point contact for all of your technical needs. While our service area has no boundaries, the focus has always been toward the underserved markets outside the Lincoln/Omaha metros. The foundation of ACT has always been built upon great products coupled with unmatched customer service. For more information on Applied Connective, call (858) 358-0109 or visit www.appliedconnective.com.

ABOUT CLEARFLY

Clearfly Communications is a voice services and broadband provider serving a majority of the United States with a primary focus on solutions for small and medium-size businesses. At the core of Clearfly’s value proposition is a suite of services comprising scalable, wire-line broadband and a traditional business phone line replacement service.  Clearfly’s go to market strategy is founded upon the valuable relationships with Voice and Data Integrators such as TAG Members.  Clearfly recognizes and respects the reputation of the Integrator because it is the most important factor relative to the continued deployment and support of our SIP and data services.

 

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Columbus Telegram: IT company connecting with smaller markets

Ed Knott, founder and president of Albion-based Applied Connective Technologies, is looking to boost the business’ presence in Columbus in the next 18 months. Knott, left, is pictured reviewing IT security and networking equipment with Boone County Health Center staff.

COLUMBUS — Albion-based Applied Connective Technologies is looking to make more hookups from its Columbus office in the next 12 to 18 months.

“We want to expand our presence in Columbus,” said company President Ed Knott, who co-founded the fast-growing provider of information technology (IT), communications and security services targeting businesses, schools and municipalities in the Boone County community in 2004.

The company, which has satellite offices in Columbus and Fullerton, found its niche focusing on businesses in small towns and semi-urban cities that are too often ignored by larger service providers.

“I discovered early on that many of our clients felt undervalued and underserviced by their previous IT providers, whether because of their rural location or their company size,” said the 37-year-old Knott, a 2002 graduate of Doane College.

“We’re excited to get more involved with communities that are thriving, but underserved, and introduce them to technologies that will benefit their businesses and allow them to operate more efficiently,” he said.

Knott has the background to know what he’s talking about.

Knott, who grew up on a cattle operation in the Burwell and Ord area near Calamus Lake in central Nebraska, said Applied Connective’s aim is to expand its Columbus office staff to about a half-dozen full-time representatives, doubling staffing over the next 18 months.

He went to school in Taylor, a Loup County village of fewer than 200 people.

“I’ve always had entrepreneurial inclinations, and so I became very interested in working with local business owners that I felt I could relate to, with the goal of bringing the range of service and skill you’d typically find in a large city back to business owners in and around where I grew up.”

Applied Connective has experienced a surge of growth in recent years, and though it serves a range of clients in various industries throughout Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and South Dakota, the business remains devoted to focusing on smaller markets outside the Omaha and Lincoln areas.

“Larger service providers often disregard and overlook Nebraska businesses and establishments to zero in on more heavily populated areas,” said Knott, “but businesses striving to remain competitive in smaller cities have the same needs as businesses in larger cities.”

He said company officials are excited to get more involved with communities that are thriving, but underserved, and introduce them to technologies that will benefit their businesses and allow them to operate more efficiently.

Applied Connective began putting down its footprint in Columbus about two years ago.

“We’ve already got a lot of commercial customers in Columbus,” Knott said, adding that the company has technicians operating in the community on a daily basis to serve business customers.

Applied Connective initially came to town to provide services at Sidump’r Trailer Co., a manufacturer of side-dump trailers used for agriculture and construction companies.

“They’ve been a long-time client,” said Knott, noting that Applied Connective provided the trailer producer with an IT network and servicing along with a camera surveillance system for all its buildings.

Other local commercial customers have included Pillen Family Farms, Great Plains State Bank’s three locations, Big Iron Auction and Prairie Village.

Knott said Applied Connective’s products include managed IT, networking, voice, security and surveillance services, and also the physical infrastructure these systems require.

“We can also provide the laptop and desktop computers for company staffers,” he said.

Ed Knott at work.

Grand Island Independent: Albion entrepreneur brings cutting-edge technology to rural areas

Small-town Nebraska native Ed Knott co-founded Applied Connective in Albion in 2004 as a two-person operation offering commercial phone systems and IT services to local businesses. The company has flourished into a full-service technology group with 19 employees and additional locations in Fullerton and Columbus.

Applied Connective now provides virtually all of the technological necessities required for business function, including Internet, managed IT services, phone systems, access control, surveillance and professional audio/video.

The company has experienced a surge of growth in recent years, and though it serves a wide range of clients in various industries throughout Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and South Dakota, it remains devoted to focusing on smaller markets outside of the Omaha and Lincoln areas.

“Larger service providers often disregard and overlook Nebraska businesses and establishments to zero in on more heavily populated areas,” said Knott. “But businesses striving to remain competitive in smaller cities have the same needs as businesses in larger cities.

“We’re excited to get more involved with communities that are thriving but underserved and introduce them to technologies that will benefit their businesses and allow them to operate more efficiently. “

Ed Knott at work.

Albion News: Applied Connective Technologies marks 13 years of business growth

Ed Knott at work.

Ed Knott, owner of Applied Connective Technologies

As the use of technology has grown in rural Nebraska, the work of Applied Connective Technologies has evolved. State-of-the-art technology is now required by a variety of businesses in rural Nebraska, and Ed Knott and his team of technical experts at Applied Connective are providing it.

Knott, a native of Taylor, NE, established Applied Connective with Tom Krings in 2004 as a two-person operation offering commercial phone systems and IT services to local businesses. The business started in Cedar Rapids, and soon moved to an office space on Third Street in Albion in 2006. The first additional employee was hired in 2008.

Since that time, the company has steadily grown and evolved into a full-service technology group with 17 employees and additional offices in Fullerton and Columbus. Due to necessity and demand, Applied Connective has built upon its initial offerings and now provides a wide range of technology solutions, including Internet, managed IT, phone systems, access control, surveillance and professional audio/video.

The company will soon have 19 total employees with the addition of two new technicians in late March.