Is the Simplification of Networking Going to Make Network Engineering Obsolete?  

With network automation simplifying the networking process, fewer network engineers are needed to provide the same level of support as before.

If you are a network engineer, it’s time to start thinking about what your IT skills are and how you can better hone these skills for the future. New technology and the simplification of the networking process are giving network engineers something to think about in the future. With more and more businesses relying on the cloud for networking purposes, there is no longer much of a need for a complex network in house.

Networking Engineering

The Job Shifts in Larger Corporations

While engineers working for large enterprises will find that networking is still a bit complicated and necessary, the work isn’t going to be about creating new network designs. Instead, the job will be focused on figuring out ways to automate the network and scripting. While engineers are still going to need to know about routing protocols and how to create an optimal network design for traffic flow, automation will make for much fewer jobs available to a large pool of applicants.

Skills to Learn Next

To remain competitive in an ever-changing field, it’s important to keep your skills up to date. You’ll want to focus on learning network automation and scripting so that you are valuable as an employee in the IT field. Also, it is recommended that you start learning about security skills, enhancing your base of knowledge as much as possible, so you have the skills that employers are going to need in the future.

Network Engineering is Becoming Obsolete

The trend is already starting, and the simplification of networking is only going to increase over time. Network engineering is quickly becoming obsolete, and those that don’t continue their education are going to be left behind. Staying on top of technological advances is going to give employees the edge over those who refuse to learn new techniques.

With the simplification of networking continuing to move forward, it’s only a matter of time before businesses no longer need a team of IT professionals to manage their current network. Eventually, the work will become automated, with networking being done by cloud-based providers instead of in-house. Automation is the real key to a decrease in the number of jobs that will be available, as those working in the cloud industry still need to do the work required to ensure those networks are running smooth.

Getting an education is and keeping up your skills is vital when you are a network engineer. Continue to learn new strategies, and stay up to date with technological advances as they come forward.

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Managed Service Providers Make Your IT Department Better!

Learn the three ways that you can increase IT productivity by outsourcing while keeping your IT department intact.

Many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have at least one person dedicated to handling IT. The idea propelling the maintaining of at least one IT person is for him or her to work on innovative applications and projects that create more and new revenue. But, this position has morphed in many organizations into one where the IT person is more like an EMT responding to emergencies throughout the day. Also, a good part of the day is spent performing tasks that are routine just to keep the system up and in top condition.

Business managers faced with the threat of losing their IT person to overwork can easily identify with this issue. So, what can they do about it?

How to Expand Your Company’s IT Ability?

Adding a new staff member to IT support results in a hire that will go up in cost due to salary increases and increasing costs of benefits as well as possibly higher employer paid payroll taxes. Following is a three-part solution that keeps costs down, improves your overall IT capability, and uses cloud computing to automate some of these daily tasks. Let’s look at each part of the solution.

  1. Hire a managed service provider (MSP): companies that take this route find that it frees the IT person for more important tasks than system maintenance. This is not to say that computer system maintenance is unimportant, but it can be automated. Once it is automated, it does require monitoring. This is one job that makes sense to outsource to an MSP. As an end user, management may be removed from the daily increase in complexity in the server room and IT bailiwick that includes advanced infrastructure, cloud computing, virtualization, and protecting the system from cyber attacks.
  2. Have your IT person or department change the focus: the focus changes from emergency help to cost-cutting and revenue improvement projects. One suggestion is to list each potential process by the order of revenue improvement and then prioritize by ranking each project by revenue enhancement and tackling the highest contribution from a project first and then in descending order.

Also, the IT person should perform a self-audit to determine which of his or her daily tasks can be automated or given to a cloud service to manage.

3. Use the cloud: Many in IT have the idea that the cloud could render them unemployed – many in IT have a false reality. The cloud is a tool that when used correctly by IT ends the daily humdrum tasks from their daily workload so that they can devote more time to come up with worthwhile cost cutting and revenue-driving projects.

In most situations where SMBs outsource their IT services, they do so to reach a higher level of ability for IT support at an affordable price. Presently, “53% of organizations are currently outsourcing IT functions.”

To find out more about how an MSP can help your company contact {company} in {city}. {phone} or contact us by {email}.

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Josh’s February Musings..

These last few months as a U.S. Citizen under Trump have been alarming. I’m a Jew who has spent much time learning about the Holocaust and saying “Never Again”. I see the necessity to publicly speak out about the outrageous targeting of an invented “enemy” currently being carried out by the U.S. Government and offer my services to those fighting this injustice.

I’m proud that at L.A. Creative Technologies, two of our clients’ companies are owned my Minority LGBT couples, and that most the organizations we support are run by women. I’m proud that our employees were raised by parents from Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America, and that many of our collaborators are immigrants themselves.

I’m proud to be part of a community of men and women of every religion from all around the world — Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Puerto Rico, Israel, Palestine, Buenos Aires, Morocco, Spain, Venezuela, Bali, India, Bulgaria, Kenya, Iran, Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Italy, Canada, Cuba, Austria, Switzerland, Ethiopia, Jamaica, Belize, Brazil, Turkey, Perú, Japan, Vietnam, China, Haití, Pakistan, Russia… this is what America looks like.

I want to offer my time and I.T. & Organizational Development expertise to help organizations working against these causes — use my contact info so we can discuss further.

Fundamentalists of every kind are causing violence in this world – Christian, Jews, Muslims, the list goes on. Falsely accusing the citizens of entire nations and encroaching upon the dreams of millions is not done in the actual interest of protecting America’s citizens. This is done purely to incite hatred, create a more fearful and repressed citizenry and enable further humiliation and subjugation of immigrants.

I have no illusions that this country wasn’t built on racism and hatred, but to watch even the veil of human decency be stripped away is brutal and surprising to behold. And to hear the way these hateful words and decisions are affecting so many of my closest friends and colleagues is heartbreaking.

LA Creative Technologies President Josh Weiss attends Reframe Your Clients Event

From January 31st – February 5th, LA Creative Technologies President Josh Weiss was proud to join industry-leading IT professionals from around the globe for the Reframe Your Clients Bootcamp in Banff, Alberta.

Los Angeles Computer Consulting

Focusing on Service Productization, the event offered the chance to network with other forward-thinking members of the IT world, learn about new strategies in providing services to clients, and more.

This event brought IT professionals from the US, Canada, Hungary, Britain, Australia, Scotland, and Germany. In learning about Service Productization, attendees gained new insight into best practices for:

  • Presenting service offerings
  • Creating the most alignment between the MSP and their clients’ needs
  • Delivering service in the most efficient and consistent way possible

After having the first day to settle in and take in the wintery and beautiful mountains of Banff, attendees got down to business on February 1st, discussing how to create Product Strategy. Through a number of group workshops, attendees developed and finalized a product strategy to use at their MSP.

The next day turned to service development and design, experimenting and playing with the possibilities before moving on to develop marketing collateral to help promote these new services.

After service creation and marketing had been covered, February 3rd was devoted to selling those services, working in groups to pitch the new offerings to other attendees and see what works best to communicate their value.

The week wasn’t all business though. In the evenings, attendees went up the Banff gondola, visited the prestigious Fairmont Hotel for dinner, and hit the slopes at Sunshine Village and the picturesque Lake Louise. On the last day, attendees relaxed and took in the Super Bowl to close out their time in Banff.

To learn more about Reframe Your Client ideology, and the services LA Creative Technologies developed as a part of the event, get in touch with us right away at {phone} or {email}.

LA Creative Technologies’ Josh Weiss Featured on VoyageLA

Our very own President and Founder Josh Weiss has been featured on VoyageLA. In this in-depth interview, Josh talks about his roots, milestones over his career in the music and tech industries, and much more.IT companies in LA

“Running a business for 7+ years has been a pretty big challenge,” Josh told VoyageLA. “When I started doing freelance I.T. in 2008 I really didn’t imagine I’d be studying business process and automation and creating I.T. Strategies down the road”.

From his childhood in Los Angeles to his time at U.C. Santa Cruz, and his visits to Burning Man, the interview shows where Josh came from, and how he got to where he is today.

VoyageLA is an online magazine that looks at all things Los Angeles. From food to fashion to entertainment and lifestyle, VoyageLA finds the most interesting parts of the city and tells its stories. As described on their website, “VoyageLA wants to highlight the best of LA – from freelance makeup artists that will dazzle you to the best Meetup groups in town”.

Get the full scoop by reading the interview for yourself today.

For more information about Josh Weiss, LA Creative Technologies and what we do for members of the Los Angeles community, reach out to us today at {phone} or {email}.

Save Time and Money by Implementing Technology Into Your Business

Save your business money and time by working with new technology and allowing employees to work from home instead.

Save Time and Money

When you want to save money while running your business, there are numerous ways to utilize technology to do so. The more you can streamline processes, and cut down costs both big and small, you will be able to save your business both time and money. By making processes easier, you will cut down on the number of employee hours you pay for each week. Allowing employees to work from home because of technological advances can allow the flexibility for a smaller office space from which to run your business.

Spend Some Time on Social Media

When you take the time to use free social media platforms to market your business, you will save money on advertising costs. You can also implement automated tasks into your marketing efforts. All kinds of tasks, such as email responses and blog posting can all be done on an automated schedule. This allows you to stay more organized. You won’t have to log in and post on your blog every day but can instead set up automated posts once a week. Social media is an excellent way to reach a broad demographic of customers, build brand loyalty and get your company recognized.

Technology Makes it Easy for Employees to Work from Home

When you want to save money on your overhead costs, you can set up employees to work from home with some basic technology in place. Allowing employees to work from home also makes it easier to have employees on call, rather than have employees have to come into the office to get work done on an emergency basis. Some people are even willing to work for a little less of a salary if they are allowed the flexibility of working from their home.

Utilizing the Cloud Saves Time and Money

It is usually cheaper to use cloud-based services rather than systems set up for your business. Also, when employees are working from home, all they need to do to collaborate with peers is to log into the cloud to receive information. With the wide variety of cloud-based services out there, it’s possible to have a system that you need without paying for services that you aren’t ready to use.

Go to a Paperless System within the Office

Your business can benefit greatly from going paperless. It’s much easier to search through electronic records for the information that you need. You also won’t have to spend as much money on office supplies, filing systems, paper and ink. Also, this practice is more earth friendly and can give you the edge you are looking for when it comes to customer loyalty.

When you utilize technology for your business, you will be able to save time and money. Cloud-based services make it easier to work from home, and workers can collaborate more readily on projects when using the cloud for storage.

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W2 Phishing Scams Continue: How to Protect Your Company and Employees

Cybercriminals are stealing your employee W2 information and your money too!

Face it, cyber criminals are greedy and harvesting employee generated W2 information from employers is a license to steal from the United States Treasury and also gives an edge to a new twist that takes from you, the employer.

W2 Scam

Since 2015, the United States Treasury Department, through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been issuing warnings about the prevalence of W2 schemes and scams. Let’s take a look at the two scams related to employer targeted W2 scams.

Scam #1 Phishing for Employer Held W2 Form Information

In this scam, a cyber criminal who is savvy enough to spoof an email address sends an inquiry to a Human Resources or Payroll person. The sender impersonates a high-level company executive who requests “company-wide” information for all W2 information on all employees who have a W2 on file.

Forbes Magazine tells us the forged emails are practically indistinguishable from real emails from company executives, they may look like the examples below:

  • “Kindly send me the individual 2016 W-2 (PDF) and earnings summary of all W-2 of our company staff for a quick review.
  • Can you send me the updated list of employees with full details (Name, Social Security Number, Date of Birth, Home Address, Salary)?
  • I want you to send me the list of the W-2 copy of employee’s wage and tax statement for 2016, I need them in PDF file type, you can send it as an attachment. Kindly prepare the lists and email them to me asap.”

Armed with this information, the criminals file a bogus tax return in your employee’s name and request a refund. Often, it is only when an employee files a real tax return and asks for an actual refund does the IRS contact them and they become aware of their information being compromised. They may, or may not, report the incident to their employer.

Scam #2 How Cybercriminals Steal Money from Companies

This second scheme is not directly tied to using W2 information from your employees. The scheme is known as a Business Email Spoofing (BEF) or Business Email Compromise (BEC). Companies who fall prey to a W2 phishing scheme may offer cyber criminals targets for this second scam.

The scheme gets it start via email. An executive who is in a high position, orders a lower-level executive with banking authority to transfer a certain amount of money to a new bank account. The senior executive explains in his or her email that the new account was established to correct W2 “discrepancies,” and the IRS would have direct access to it. If the money is transferred, the thief gets a text message and transfers the money again into a nearly untraceable hidden bank account.

How to Protect Your Company from These Tax-Time Rip-offs

Information and education geared towards your employees are the most effective way to stop these scams from working. Warn employees to be on the alert for unusual information requests – requests for W2 information should be confirmed by internal phone calls to the requesting executive.

Executives with banking authority need to be aware of the threat of unusual IRS payments and confirm in person or by internal phone that the request is legitimate.

For more information about avoiding W2 related crimes call {company] in {city}. Contact {phone} or {email}.

5 Steps To Protect Your Business When You Fire Your IT Company

Learn the steps you need to take to protect your company when you change your IT provider.

Working with an IT provider is just like doing business with any other service provider – sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. But while you are free to fire your IT provider just as you would any company that is not meeting your standards, it is important to recognize the potential risk involved and to take steps to protect yourself. As the Cummings Chamber of Commerce in Georgia discovered recently, it only takes one angry IT person to cause severe damage to your business.

Firing Your IT Company

5 Steps To Take Before You Fire Your IT Company

We encourage our clients to take the following steps before they fire their IT company:

1. Make a plan to minimize your risk.

Every business is a little different, so it is important to develop your own plan before you fire your IT company. What risks does the firing pose to your business specifically? Is there anything you are particularly worried about? Make a list and develop a plan that includes your specific concerns as well as the ones below.

2. Ensure that you have admin access to all of your files.

An IT company needs admin access to do its job right – access you risk losing if you fire the company on the fly. Ideally, you should always have admin access to your files, but for many business owners, it is an easy thing to forget about when you have someone else handling day-to-day system management. Verify that you have access before you give any indication you are changing your IT provider.

3. Make sure you have a good backup.

Another important role of a reputable IT company is creating regular backups of your system and files, the things your business needs to operate. However, if you are having trouble with an IT company, then there is no guarantee that such backups have been created. Asking for a backup is perfectly normal and expected, so don’t hesitate to request one. Verify that the backup is adequate for your needs before you change IT providers.

4. Make sure your new IT company has access to everything.

Seek out a reputable IT provider and talk to the new business before you fire your current IT company. As your new IT company, we are always happy to discuss your situation, listen to your frustrations and explain how we will improve upon the current provider. We will also explain the things we need access to when we take over – things like admin access, backups, etc. Take note and ensure that you have access to this stuff before you terminate your arrangement with the current IT company.

5. Make your plan and execute it promptly.

When you decide it is time to get a new IT provider, move quickly. Make your plan, do what you need to do to protect your company, and fire the company promptly once you have verified you have what you need. The more time you take, the more damage the unwanted IT company can do if it chooses to.

If you are unhappy with your current {city} IT company, please contact us at {company}, either by phone at {phone}, or by {email}. We are standing by to help with all your IT needs.

Used by permission

Weekly Tech Tip: Create a mobile device action plan

Mobile devices can create significant security and management challenges, especially if they hold confidential information or can access the corporate network. Require users to password protect their devices, encrypt their data, and install security apps to prevent criminals from stealing information while the phone is on public networks. Be sure to set reporting procedures for lost or stolen equipment.

Mobile Device Security