April Maintenance week 2019

Throughout the week of April 8th 2019, we will be performing maintenance on DataYard’s infrastructure and customer servers. This will include performing updates to all managed server infrastructure, including tasks that require reboots/shutdowns/service interruptions.  Maintenance will begin at 2:00AM EST and will be completed by 8:00AM EST throughout various days this week. Making IT Better!

Let us know if you have any questions, concerns, or just want to chat: 1.800.982.4539 or support@datayard.us. Remember to follow us on Twitter (@datayardtechops & @datayard)!

New Website Announcement

We’re sticking to our motto “make IT better” by launching this brand spanking new website. It’s a little different than before but we think you’ll like it. For some, this change may come as a surprise and you might not recognize that it’s really us and for others, it might be hard to navigate at first, but that’s what this blog is all about.

 

ACCESSING THE QUICK TOOLS

Our site previously had a top menu bar that featured links to My DataYard, My Webmail, Connect Exchange, and Remote Support. We’ve taken these links and condensed them down to one link ‘My DataYard’, just look to the top right hand of your screen, I’m sure you’ll find it. The My DataYard page will now be the home to all those same links you’re familiar with from the old website.

 

MY DATAYARD

The ‘My DataYard‘ page has been built to give you even more access to our tools, announcements, and system updates. While today it is host to all the same tools you recognize from our old site over the next few months we will be adding some new features that we’re really excited to share with you.

 

QUICK NOTES

The site is up to date on several services, specs, and information that was either out of date or inexistent on the previous site so check it all out and if you have any questions let us know. We’re particularly excited about the new IT support page for our AYS service, which has been one of our fasts growing service, but was previously unrepresented on the website.

Hope you love it and if you have any problems feel free to reach out!

Make IT better!

Google Chrome Updates – Is Your Site Secure?

The world’s most popular Internet browser, Google Chrome, is releasing an important update in the coming weeks.  Starting with the public and stable release of Chrome update 68, the browser will show a yellow “warning” icon next to the URL of web sites which are not protected by a SSL cert, and when this icon is hovered over a “Not Secure” warning will be displayed.  With over 53% of total browser market share, this update is sure to affect a wide swatch of users and websites.

Read the Google blog post here.

Not sure if your website will be affected by this change?  Visit your site in a browser, and then look at the URL in the address bar.  If your address begins with “HTTP” and not “HTTPS”, your visitors may start to see a warning when this update is released.

To get ahead of the curve on this, give us a call or send us an email – for $175 a year, we can purchase, coordinate, and install a fix for this issue for any DataYard hosting customers.  Just another way we are here to help you make IT better.

 

Securing Your Home Network

Earlier this month was Safer Internet Day, which is focused on educating and creating awareness for a safer internet. As Dayton’s only local ISP (Internet Service Provider), DataYard knows the importance of internet safety and security. While we do our part to keep the internet safe as a provider, the only one who can keep your home and your family safe on the internet is you. Don’t worry DataYard is here to help you make IT better.

These are all suggestions that we believe to be the best option within reasonable expectations, these are suggestions where economically and technically feasible.

Defining Home Network.

DataYard defines a home network as the primary private network that an individual uses to access the Internet when in their home. Home networks do not include public carrier networks (LTE, 4G, 3G, etc.), public hotspots or public Wi-Fi access points (hotels, coffee shops, airports, etc.) The definition of a home network is limited to private networks typically controlled by you at your residence.

Wireless Security

One of the major considerations of securing a private network is wireless (Wi-Fi) security. DataYard recommends periodically changing SSID names, changing Wi-Fi passwords, and utilizing the current wireless security standard WPA2. WPA2 uses an encryption that encrypts the network with a 256-bit key. As an additional layer of security, you could implement MAC address restrictions to restrict access and further security private network.

Stay Up To Date

On any device that is accessing the internet through your home network it is important to be using the latest Operating System (OS). Keeping the OS updated will ensure you have the most recent security features enabled by default and prevent common attacks. In addition, making sure that all software and applications are up to date will prevent outdated software breaches.

Network Security.

We highly recommend deploying a physical firewall between the internet access connection and the internal network/device(s). This could be accomplished by deploying a router with an integrated firewall (Best Routers in 2018). By default, these devices will filter incoming access to the private network, excluding normal operating protocols for accessing Internet resources. Many internet service providers supply a modem/router combination device, in which case you should ask for administrative privileges to make adjustments where necessary.

Remote Access for Home Networks

It is increasingly common for users to allow remote access into their home networks for various functions, applications, and systems (IOT, Home Security, Media Centers, etc.). In order to provide remote access to these various technologies, users may open various ports/protocols on both the filtering devices and the end devices. In these scenarios, we strongly encourage you to:

  1. Allow remote access to the system only when required
  2. Restrict access to IP address, ports and protocols as much as possible
  3. Perform IP filtering when technically feasible

Additional Security Measures

Additional best practices include regarding securing a private network include the following:

  • Keeping all internet capable devices up-to-date with security patches
  • Changing the default privileged edge password of all devices on the private network
  • Using strong and complex passwords for access to home equipment and devices
  • Maintaining active anti-virus and anti-malware on all applicable devices
  • Implement Full Disk Encryption (FDE) on Laptops

If you’d like to learn more about securing your home network or how to maximize the security of your online presence please feel free to reach out to us on social media or at hello@datayard.us.

How to update your DataYard Mail Filter Settings

DataYard’s new and updated mail filter features improvements to both spam and virus filtering performance and the user interface.  This article explains how to create an account on DataYard’s Mail filter, update your password, add and remove entries from your whitelist and blocklist and adjust your spam filtering levels from the defaults.

Creating an account

Access the Mail filter login page at https://filter.datayard.us.  Enter your email address in the username field and click  “Create New Password”

Spam_Walkthrough_1

It will tell you that an account has been created and will have sent an email to you with your password.

Spam_Walkthrough_2

Spam_Walkthrough_3

Now you can log in to the portal with your email address and password.

Spam_Walkthrough_4

Here is what you’ll see when you log in.  The page will default to the Quarantine Inbox that is disabled by default (you can enable it by following the instructions here).

Spam_Walkthrough_5

 

Changing Your password

Upon logging in, click on Preferences

Spam_Walkthrough_6

Then click Password

Spam_Walkthrough_7

Enter your old password and desired password as directed, then click Save Password.

 

Updating your whitelist/blocklist

Click Preferences, then Whitelist/Blocklist

Spam_Walkthrough_8

You will be presented with the following page.  To add an address to either list, click into the entry box in either list, then enter the address and click Add.  To remove an entry, click the trash can next to the entry you wish to remove.

Spam_Walkthrough_9

To remove an entry, click the trash can next to the entry you wish to remove.

Spam_Walkthrough_10

You can edit the list as a whole by clicking Bulk Edit on the list you wish to edit.

Spam_Walkthrough_11

Never edit the first line and put each entry on its own line, as shown below. Click Save once finished.

Spam_Walkthrough_12

 

Customizing your filter settings

Click on Preferences, then Spam Settings

Spam_Walkthrough_13

In order to change your settings from your Domain defaults, select No for Use Domain Defaults under the Spam Scoring section, then click Save.

Spam_Walkthrough_14

You’ll now be able to adjust the scoring levels for blocking, quarantine (see Enabling Your Spam Quarantine if you’d like to utilize the quarantine feature) and Tagging.  Adjust the sliders to your desired levels and click Save.  Higher numbers are less sensitive and lower numbers are more sensitive. For example, if you change the Block slider from the default level of 5 to 8, you will receive more messages.

Spam_Walkthrough_15

Getting Help

The new mail filter includes comprehensive help, if you need an explanation for a setting or section, simply click the “Help” link at the top right of every section header.

Spam_Help

You can also contact us any time at support@datayard.us or 937-226-6896 for assistance.

A Commitment to Radical Privacy

On April 3rd, President Trump signed legislation repealing the FCC’s privacy regulations. As a result, Internet Service Providers (like DataYard, AT&T, Spectrum, etc.) can now quietly gather, store, and sell the Internet histories, communications, and usage patterns of everyone they provide Internet access to. The legislation goes further, by placing restrictions on the types of privacy guidelines the FCC can attempt to institute in the future. If you’re reading this on a screen, this action covers you at this very moment.

I’ve worked at DataYard (and previously DONet) for 11 years, four of those as a Systems Administrator and Data Center Engineer. I know first-hand the level of access that ISPs have to customer data, and the gravity of that access. We have a mantra at DataYard, “with great power comes great responsibility”, attributed to either Voltaire or Ben Parker, depending on who you ask. It is incredibly true in this and many other industries and vocations, but as more and more of our daily lives are driven online…well, ours is a unique business. We at DataYard make it our practice to log only the data we need to maintain our systems and provide the best customer service to our clients. We’ve got a database with your address in it, but so does Trader Joe’s.

If you are a business owner, work with Intellectual Property (IP) or Personally Identifiable Information (PII), are a HIPAA covered entity, or simply don’t want your personal preferences and business browsing data tracked and categorized – this new reality is an uncomfortable one. When ISPs begin to track, store, and replicate this personal data, it exponentially increases the potential attack footprint for malicious access. We’ve all heard about the Target / Yahoo / Verizon / [insert name here] hacks. Can you imagine the fallout if those companies had the last four years of your Internet usage stored and indexed for the taking?

We at DataYard want to publicly voice our disapproval of these legislative actions, undertaken with the sole purpose of opening new profit centers in an exploding industry. We know better than most the implications this decision has. It’s our business to know. Every customer we work with can rest assured that DataYard is not, and will not be, interested in the collection or sale of your communications and activities.

In a time when every move is tracked, every bit is stored forever, and everything is for sale, promising to forgo those profits is a radical move. But it’s a promise we make proudly.

See more: Dayton Daily News story here.

DataYard’s Privacy Policy:

https://www.datayard.us/about/policies/open-internet-compliance-statement/

Client Spotlight – Mikesell’s Project Overview

DataYard is proud to announce our latest partnership with the Mikesell’s Snack Food Company – the oldest potato chip company in the United States! Since 1910, Mikesell’s has been manufacturing and shipping delicious treats from right here in Dayton to the surrounding tri-state. DataYard and Mikesell’s were introduced via mutual partners and Technology First relationships, and we began discussing a full-scale technology redesign and refresh in May of this year.

Mikesell’s had an interesting predicament, albeit not out of the ordinary – recent restructuring of the internal technical team had brought with it a change in long-term vision and strategy. Mikesell’s new CIO, Steve Hangen, wanted to shift the focus of the internal technical resources away from supporting local servers and towards supporting internal processes. However that didn’t remove the reality that there were multiple (and fairly critical) line of business applications running internally on antiquated hardware. Pair that with an Internet bandwidth bottleneck and an outdated DR strategy, and the risk to business continuity was enough to make anyone sweat.

After months of planning and fine-tuning, DataYard and Mikesell’s finalized our strategy and partnership at the end of August. In a few separate installments, I’ll be describing the individual goals of the overall redesign – the how, what, and why.

  • Network topology redesign – DataYard completely re-imagined the WAN design, and has deployed a new network to centralize ownership and management of network services. We had to get creative in a few spots, and a description of these challenges will be an interesting read!
  • Active Directory Upgrade and Virtualization – Once the WAN was centralized, we needed to upgrade and migrate internal Active Directory (AD) services up into the DataYard cloud. One less administrative headache for Mikesell’s internal personnel! We’ll discuss the process, benefits, and challenges here in a later post.
  • Exchange Upgrade and Virtualization – After the AD project was completed we’ve now set our sights on the upgrade from Exchange 2010 to Exchange 2016. This upgrade is happening simultaneously with the migration up to the DataYard cloud. The Exchange project will lighten the load on Mikesell’s staff, and the coming description of the objectives and execution should give valuable insight to anyone facing a similar challenge.
  • JDE Deployment – Mikesell’s is moving away from legacy line of business applications on an internal mainframe and towards the JD Edwards ERP solution in the DataYard cloud. This project will undoubtedly have its obstacles, but the resulting streamlining of operations will provide significant benefit and increased efficiency at Mikesell’s for years to come.
  • University of Dayton Project – DataYard is assisting seniors from UD and providing the needed infrastructure for the students’ MIS Capstone project. The development of this new application will result in the increased day-to-day effectiveness of Mikesell’s internal staff, as well as provide invaluable experience to future IT professionals.

I’m looking forward to sharing the details of these projects as DataYard knocks them out, one by one – starting with a description of the network topology redesign and deployment, coming soon.

Mikesell’s is a historic brand with deep roots in Dayton, and we are very excited to begin a long and successful partnership – stay tuned!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wishing you the gifts of the season — Peace, Joy, Hope

As we stop to celebrate the holidays, one of our real joys is the opportunity to thank you and wish you the very best in the year to come.

Warmest thoughts and best wishes for a wonderful holiday season and a very happy new year to come!

To honor the holidays, DataYard’s offices will be closed for normal business on December 24 and 25 for the Christmas holiday and on January 1 for New Year’s Day.

For non-urgent needs during this time, submit requests by web, email, or phone using the following:

Requests will be reviewed and handled as we return to regular business hours on December 28 and January 4, respectively.

Remember to follow us on Twitter, updated in real time as things happen!

  •  @DataYard – News, fun, tips and tidbits, etc.
  •  @DataYardTechOps – Behind the scenes on maintenance, outage info, etc.

Wishing you many happy celebrations,

David Mezera
President

*Note: Additional charges may apply. 24 x 7 service included in some plans.

 

We give thanks this Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from DataYard!

Our friends and customers make our jobs bright every day.

In this time of gratitude, we want to stop for a moment to give thanks for you. We appreciate the confidence you place in us each day. Counting you among our friends and customers is something for which we are especially grateful.

On behalf of all of us at DataYard, I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.

To honor the holiday, DataYard’s offices will be closed for normal business on November 26 and 27.

For non-urgent needs during this time, submit requests by web, email, or phone using the following:

Requests will be reviewed and handled as we return on Monday, November 30.

 

Remember to follow us on Twitter, updated in real time as things happen!

  •  @DataYard – News, fun, tips and tidbits, etc.
  •  @DataYardTechOps – Behind the scenes on maintenance, outage info, etc.

With many thanks,

David Mezera
President

In the Spotlight: Net Awards Nominees – Sparkbox and Wonderful Machine

In the Spotlight: Net Awards Nominees – Sparkbox and Wonderful Machine

DataYard’s friends vie for Agency of the Year and Redesign of the Year!

We love sharing good news about our friends, so when we heard that both Sparkbox and Wonderful Machine were nominated for net awards, we just had to tell you more!

Net awards

The net awards stand out because they’re not a pay to play recognition system. Nominations come from net magazine’s editorial team to recognize excellence in pushing the web forward—no entry fee and no application.

Nominated for Agency of the Year, Sparkbox stands out for us too! We spend a lot of time on the web and love to see different approaches to site design. The Sparkbox mission to make a more accessible and enjoyable web stands out in the sites they build and in their commitment to shared knowledge and education. Want to know how they rebuilt their own seesparkbox.com? No secrets, in fact, it’s a deep case study shared with everyone.

As site designers, though, Sparkbox knows that teamwork with the customer is key. Wonderful Machine was on a journey to rebrand, bringing a new logo to the game, and rebuilding their website from the ground up.

“We realized that the branding and website we were using to represent ourselves went against the advice we give to photographers every day, and it was time to take our own advice and start fresh,” blogged Creative Director Melissa Ginsiorsky.

Challenged with a need to be beautiful, device-independent, and database driven, Wonderful Machine joined with Sparkbox to build their vision. Working together, the collaboration is nothing short of impressive. We were honored at DataYard when these great teams selected us to host the platform that supports the new site.

Wonderful Machine’s net award nomination for Redesign of the Year is well-earned!

“Working with Wonderful Machine and Sparkbox through this re-design and deployment was a rewarding experience – even before I saw the beautiful site and learned of the nomination. I’m pumped for both of them, and pumped to be a part of their future,” says DataYard Account Manager Alek Mezera.

A rising tide lifts all boats.

There is more to these teams than just personal success. DataYard recognizes that making a better web helps everyone who builds sites and everyone who uses them too. It’s integral to our own mission, and key to the success of partnerships as we witnessed here.

“A very important part of my job here is working with photographers on their branding, giving them advice about how to present themselves (and their work) in the best light and letting them know when what they’re doing isn’t working,” shares Ginsiorsky. She was drawn not only to talent when she sought out Sparkbox to work on the new site, but also to the Sparkbox culture of giving back.

The Sparkbox crew’s Build Right initiative lets us all in on the game. Internal training, conference workshops, and the fabulous local Maker Series (with DataYard as a proud sponsor) have something for everyone collaborating on a site. This is the clincher that really binds these two business cultures into something truly special.

Vote for Success

We want you to help! Net awards voting remains open – through July 13, 2015. Use these links below to vote for:

SBCrestOne        wonderful machine logo
 Sparkbox!                       Wonderful Machine!