NRC Newsletter - June 2017

FindTime—an awesome meeting scheduling tool

FindTime screen shot

Okay, scheduling more than one person for a meeting is hard. Millions of electrons give their lives for the countless numbers of emails saying stuff like "Hey can you do Monday at 10:00", "No howbout Tuesday at 3:00", "That doesn't work for me"; which led to tools, perhaps the most popular being Doodle that allowed for meeting polls.

Microsoft likes to keep up with the Joneses, or, in this case, the Doodles. One way they do keep up is by purchasing, like they did with MileIQ. The other way is that they do things in-house, which is the case with FindTime, written by the experimental folks at Microsoft Garage. FindTime is a meeting polling add-in for Outlook that helps suggest the best meeting times. The cool thing is, of course, it is integrated with Office 365 and will suggest the best meeting times for each recipient in your organization. Of course, it doesn't know the status of attendees outside your organization (but I bet they are working on it).

Here's a one-minute intro on YouTube.

It is worth a look. Protip: Avoid using the "calendar hold" feature, it can lead to clutter in the attendees' calendars. I really like this tool, and I think you will, too.


New Additions to NRC

New River Computing has recently added to its ranks. We have a new Admin Assistant, Sonya Loferski; an additional It Technician, Cory Webb; and an Administrative Services Manager, Celeste Parker.

Corey Webb

Corey Webb portrait

Corey has always been the "computer guy" in his family. His love of computers started when he was around 2 years old. He created a program on his aunt's computer that she couldn't delete. He has always known that he wanted to be working in some type of an IT based job.

He graduated from Glenvar High in Salem and then went to Virginia Western to pursue his Associates in Information Systems Technology with a concentration in Network Security. He graduated in May of 2016 and is currently pursuing his Bachelors in IT from Western Governors University Online.

When not working on computers, Corey is involved with Boy Scout Troop 352 in Salem which is where he obtained the rank of Eagle Scout and is currently an Assistant Scout Master. Corey also enjoys going to church and hanging out with friends.

Sonya Loferski

Sonya Loferski portrait

Sonya recently moved back to her hometown to be closer to friends and family after receiving her Master's degree in Art Education in Indiana. She loves to paint and draw, and teaches art at her other job when she is not at New River Computing.

Celeste Parker

Celeste Parker portrait

Celeste serves as the Administrative Services Manager for New River Computing, concentrating on administrative functions including marketing, sales assistance, and contract management. Celeste will also assist with social media coordination and the human resources function.

Celeste is a graduate of Averett University, with a Bachelor of Business Administration. She comes to New River Computing from an Executive Administrative Assistant position at a motor manufacturer in Radford.


Some thoughts on WannaCrypt

WannaCrypt screen shot

WannaCrypt (also known as WannaCry) was merely the latest salvo from the Russian criminals that brought us CryptoLocker, CryptoWall and so forth. What makes the most recent attack notable is that it was the biggest ransomware attack in history. Looking under the hood, it involves some of the generalities of the NSA cyberwarfare leaked by Edward Snowden, hosted by Wikileaks. NSA, Russians, Snowden, Wikileaks. Truly a story of our times.

To me, the most interesting thing is that WannaCrypt shut down operations at 15 hospitals in the UK. As far as I can discern, no deaths were caused by this attack, but it could easily have been otherwise. The sad fact of the matter is this attack was completely avoidable by keeping the vulnerable computers patched. Microsoft released a patch for the exploit used by WannaCrypt on March 14th. New River Computing began rolling out the patch to all managed clients on March 15th. We had no incidences of WannaCrypt amongst our managed computers.

Still, these outbreaks make us sweat: What about computers that are offline, maybe in a closet somewhere? Or maybe Windows Update Agent is broken and not properly reporting patch levels? Perhaps there is a window of vulnerability. If you are a managed client with spare computers sitting around, it'd be great if you called us and let us know you will be deploying a spare so we can make sure the machine receives patches and updated virus definitions as soon as possible. As to the Windows Update Agent, we recently invested in a tool that helps ensure that malfunctioning Windows Update Agents are repaired and patches are properly applied.

However, nothing is perfect in this world, so backups, backups, backups. We support versioned backups that help clients recover data should the worst occur. If you don't have something like that set up at home, it is worth investing in CrashPlan (our favorite) or Carbonite.