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Without getting into specifics about my “level of maturity,” let’s just say I’m wondering if others have ever experienced “Forgotmypassworditis?” It’s happening to me with alarming regularity, so the other day – after wracking my brain for my password to a retail site I had used just last month – I set about to find out what was going on and if I was alone in my situation. Turns out there’s a LOT going on, and no, I’m not.

For starters, I counted how many passwords and PINs I was supposed to be remembering, and it’s well over 25! For a long time, I devised my own scheme to remember my passwords: I’d use one password for financial sites, another for social sites, another one for sites I needed to access for work, and so on. This worked fine until websites started dictating different requirements for their sites. Now, one site wants a minimum of eight characters, another - in the same category! - requires a combination of letters and numbers, while another requires upper and lower case letters, special characters, your shoe size, and you must enter it while standing on one foot, eating salted cashews. Yes, they’re watching. So, my methodology is blown out of the water.

So what do I do now? Out of pure frustration, I researched password solutions and came across an interesting article about password fatigue.


Imagine a foosball table come to life, with human-sized players “attached” to crossbars - able to move only side to side and face only in one direction - with the sole mission of putting a ball in the opposing team’s goal - while feet kick wildly in all directions and everyone argues over perceived rule infractions.

Welcome to The Network Support Company’s annual employee appreciation picnic, where winning the team-building activity is not only encouraged, it’s unapologetically pursued with fervor usually reserved for a cage fight. But it’s all done in good fun, and everyone has a great time. In fact, regardless of which team emerges victorious – and claims the annual Winner’s Cup – we leave slapping each other on the backs, laughing, and having learned new things about each other. For instance, who knew that one of our account managers would sacrifice her shins, repeatedly, just to win possession of the ball? The picnic, and especially our foosball tournament, was just another fun way to build the great “culture of family” that we have at TNSC. Our motto is “work hard, have fun” and our managers walk the talk when it comes to making it happen.

A game of human foosball


Today’s cybercriminals are finding new ways to make your lives miserable, and one of the ways they’re doing it is by successfully guessing the passwords to your email, social media profiles, and online banking and retail sites, essentially providing them the keys to your kingdom. They’re employing sophisticated software that allows them to target online sites (Target, eBay, JPMorgan Chase, etc.), “guess” the most common passwords – even ones that may seem secure to you – and then sell them on the internet. And, don’t overlook the fact that security threats can also come from people you know… who might know just enough about you to steal or figure out your password (and, please, don’t put it on a sticky note on your computer!).

Therefore, the importance of creating the strongest passwords possible can’t be overemphasized. Simply put, easy-to-remember passwords are history. Your first dog’s name or your children’s birthdates are no longer going to keep cyber-thugs out of your business. It’s time to break out some new password-picking techniques.

First, what NOT to do when creating a password:


If you’ve read any of the blogs about The Network Support Company’s corporate culture, you know that our people are valued greatly. Our leaders genuinely care how everyone here is treated, that we’re given opportunities to grow as human beings, and that our office is an enjoyable place to spend at least eight hours every weekday.

Another pillar of our culture is the opportunity our employees have to become more knowledgeable in our industry; we operate within a true “Learning Culture.” And while that is true of many companies, TNSC is very intentional about allocating resources and energy to ensure it has taken root. Why? Not only because it is the right thing to do as a caring leadership team, but because our leaders believe that having the most expert and knowledgeable employees translates into a successful business.

The Network Support Company spends more than $100,000 a year on providing technical training and certifications for its technicians, because it’s imperative that they’re on top of the latest advances in the technology they are responsible to maintain, upgrade, repair and manage. It’s so important, in fact, that TNSC provides incentives for its techs to keep certifications current, as well as to seek out new ones that they can add to their resume and to their knowledge base. It might look like alphabet soup – but our techs have certifications in, for example, MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) or CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional).


That’s the alarm, isn’t it? But wasn’t it just five minutes ago when I put my head on the pillow? It’s still pitch dark … what is happening? Oh yes, it’s time to get ready for work. I get out of bed as quietly as possible, as not to wake the newborn, and tip-toe to the bathroom. As soon as I turn the water on to brush my teeth, I hear her: “Daddy, Daddy!” My 2-year-old daughter is screaming her ‘good morning.’ I shift gears from getting myself ready for work to getting my daughter ready for day care. A mere two hours later, my wife and I are dressed and we’ve somehow managed, between wrestling matches and snuggles, to feed and clothe both children. We can actually leave the house! Even though I was up two hours before I had to be at work, which is only 15 minutes away, I show up five minutes late and already a little exhausted.

Sound familiar? If you’re a parent of little ones, getting out of the house in the morning presents some challenges. Balancing personal and work life can be difficult, especially for those in a similar season of life. As dedicated as we are to our jobs and responsibilities, the demands of a young family can throw a morning routine – and any semblance of work-life balance -- out of whack. But, take heart, we’ve discovered a few tips for surviving the morning madness:

• Accept that not everything will get done each morning. Beds won’t get made. Dishes will get left in the sink. It’s ok.


When it comes to cybersecurity, one constant is that the “attack du jour” will always be changing. Right now, one of the greatest threats worldwide is an attack known as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), which is designed to cripple a company or organization by artificially crashing its website, and therefore denying service to its customers.

Though these attacks have been around for a while, causing disruptions and general headaches, there’s a disturbing trend underway: many DDoS attacks are now being used as a smokescreen for wider, more sinister attacks or intrusions on an organization. The intention is that these disruptions will distract the IT staff, so that a more malicious attack, launched after the DDoS, will go unnoticed. “They’re accompanying data breaches, the implementation of malware within an organization, theft of intellectual property, and stealing funds or customer information,” NeuStar Senior Security Manager Joe Loveless told TechNewsWorld. click here for article

We’re seeing DDoS attacks occur in significant numbers lately, due to the fact that, as the methodology behind these kinds of attacks evolve, they becomes cheaper and easier to deploy. In fact, software enabling these attacks is widely available for anyone to purchase, anonymously, through “the dark net,” the online underground marketplace. (More on that in an upcoming blog).


By now, we’re used to the seeing the techno-geek slumber party that breaks out on city streets whenever a company like Apple releases a new device. It’s attended by people who, evidently, would perish if they weren’t among the first to experience the newest bells and whistles. If that behavior typifies the only most fanatical technology addicts in our midst, then let’s instead consider the average person, because I suspect we’ll find characteristics that trigger a few dings on the tech addict-o-meter.

Exhibits A, B, C, D, E and F: our phones are usually not more than an arm’s length away; many of us will stop mid-sentence to at least glance at an incoming text; generally speaking, we are obsessed with taking selfies (that’s a whole other blog); given a moment with nothing to do, we’ll fix our eyes on a device’s screen instead of another human being; two-year-olds can manipulate an iPad (they even know how to skip ads while watching YouTube videos). The inescapable internet is now connected to our smart televisions, our watches, our Google eyeglasses. What, oh what, is next?

I’d be among the last to say that technology is bad. It’s not. I’m only saying there must be some balance when it comes to our connection to the internet. Some moderation. Perhaps a set time each day when we intentionally disconnect from technology. It’s good for our strained eyes, our overloaded minds, and, mostly, our often neglected relationships. So, when, then might be the best time to press the off button? Maybe we could take a cue from a restaurateur named Jawdat Ibrahim, who operates a well-known restaurant called Abu Ghost, just outside of Jerusalem. He offers a 50% discount if customers turn off their cell phones while dining there.


It’s been said that “the most successful companies are the ones that employees believe in.” Here at The Network Support Company, we have found this to be true. And now we have more actual proof that our employees believe in our company, having just been named – for the third year in a row - a “Top Workplace for 2015” by Hearst Newspapers, coming in at number 5 this year. The media group recognizes only 45 companies from across all of southern Connecticut, awarding the honor based solely on surveys about the workplace completed by their employees.

This award is one of the few corporate accolades that is a legitimate honor because TNSC didn’t have to pay a fee to be on this list – and that makes it even more special. It validates that we’ve got something awesome going on here in terms of our corporate culture, and, if I can speak for our 65 employees, it spurs us on to achieve even greater things - because we authentically enjoy where we work and are invested in its success. Our leaders, starting with CEO Jim Kennedy, genuinely believe that treating people well is not only the right thing to do, but it ultimately translates into a thriving, successful business. The proof of that is tangible, beginning with this award, and continuing with the fact that we’re growing, gaining new clients and receiving great feedback on how we’re doing from our existing clients.

Let’s dig a little deeper into the Hearst survey itself to see how they determine who gets on the list. The survey measures three critical elements in the workplace. The first is overall organizational health, and measures things such as employees’ confidence in leadership, whether the company is guided by strong values and ethics, and if it’s headed in a positive direction. It also addresses the company’s operational efficiency, whether senior managers have a solid understanding of company goals, if management communicates important decisions effectively, whether new ideas are encouraged, whether employees feel appreciated and are able to work to their potential and, finally, if employees feel they are part of something meaningful.


At some point in the life of every company or small business, someone has to ponder this question: Do we outsource our Information Technology support? Or should we just have someone from our team keep things running?

Well, it really isn’t a question of should a company have one or the other – only internal support or only external support. The fact is, no company should ever have just internal support in this day and age. So it’s really a question of whether to supplement the necessary external support with internal support.

Here’s why this is true: Technology has gotten so complex and so broad over the last few years that no one person, or even a small group of people, can possibly have all the skills required to maintain today’s complex networks, all operating in an environment that is ever-changing and practically oozing with cyber-threats. The requirement for a sophisticated level of knowledge grows every day. This is where a small army of professional technicians, pooling their knowledge for the good of all, is required.


For three years running, The Network Support Company has been selected by Hearst Connecticut Newspapers as a Top Place to Work in Connecticut. This is a pretty special award, because it’s based solely on survey responses from employees. There are many reasons the people who work here think it’s a great place, but one of them is certainly the trust that exists between management and employees, and between managers, and between employees; the second is the level of transparency that comes with trust.


Before we can go much further, we’ll need to define both “trust” and “transparency” in the context of the workplace… and understand how they intertwine.