World map of email traffic overview

Cisco Talos: Today's Most Sophisticated and Comprehensive Security Group

World map of email traffic overview

Cisco Talos is one of today’s most comprehensive and sophisticated security groups. Its combination of AI and human intelligence provides constant network, application, and user visibility and collective threat response to network attacks.

Talos’ mission is to provide verifiable and customizable defensive technologies that help protect your critical assets.

There are over 350 engineers in the Talos research center. Talos engineers often publish blogs to give you current data about trends, attacks, and defense strategies.

In a recent post, you’ll find detailed information about the threats observed between Feb. 19 and Feb. 26.

https://blog.talosintelligence.com/2021/02/threat-roundup-0219-0226.html#more

Talos is continuously learning and adapting to help you protect your assets. Here’s the best part: Talos comes free with any Cisco security product purchase!


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The iCONVERGENCE DNA

Typewriter and paper with

Why do we go to work each day?

We all have our reasons, many of which are shared. Our families, building for retirement, the ability to lead a decent life, and share with the less fortunate. Beyond that, most of us long for a chance to do something amazing, something that provides genuine value. To be involved in a company, a product or cause, that adds to the human experience and has a positive impact on people’s lives.

We’ve all been living under this COVID shadow, but the pandemic, like every disaster, gives us a rare opportunity. A chance for humans to demonstrate just how ingenious we really are, and how we can take something truly awful and rise above it. It’s an opportunity to show how the human spirit flourishes in even the darkest of times.

In our own field, I think about how we can use technology to help people. What are the tools that will enable people to do their jobs and protect their livelihoods? The question isn’t “how do we capitalize.” The question is, how do we use these tools or develop new ones that enable people to sustain themselves? June 1st is the start of hurricane season, and iConvergence has always taken a customer-centric approach during times of disaster. We want to provide genuine value, as people first.

Our executive management team discussed how to best protect our employees as the pandemic grew. We work in a mission-critical industry and understand how important it is to keep networks secure and operational during the crisis. But we also understand the importance of following guidelines and not placing our employees at risk.

We also thought about our clients. We recently had a Webex meeting that involved a broad cross-section of our employees. As we discussed a client of ours facing financial challenges, our CEO, Barry Meche, made a succinct statement but powerfully described who we are.

“As you’re speaking to our customers and come across clients that are in trouble and need help, please let us know. We need to be there for these people and help as much as we can.”

This is our DNA. iConvergence is a company that’s here to help, even if it’s not in our short-term financial interest. We understand that in the long term, it means everything, and what our customers think of us does mean everything.

We want to be generous, helpful, and sincere while also being mindful of fiscal responsibility.

How are things going? So far, not too bad. We’ve been quite busy in some areas of our business, namely with collaboration and helping clients secure remote workers. We’ve been able to work on creative projects and realign our go-to-market strategy. We’ve been able to spend more time with our pets. Talking to our neighbors over the fence. But most of all, we’ve been able to reflect on what’s really important in life, how to make a difference, and ways to be better humans and a better vendor.

We’ve embraced a mission. We’ve learned, adapted, and are doing everything possible to be a responsive, helpful company you can count on. And please know how grateful we are for you and for your continued support. We are honored to serve.

Beau Peyton

Director, Sales & Marketing


Dictionary definition of the word relentless

Work in the Time of COVID-19

Dictionary definition of the word relentless

iConvergence is not unlike other businesses during these challenging times. We’ve approached the crisis with caution, absorbing available, credible information to make informed decisions that put people first.

Certainly there is a lot of fear and uncertainty, but these emotions are secondary to our desire to respond. To protect our families, assist our clients and to being a responsible human being. If you’ve much time around our employees, this probably comes as no surprise. We’ve always been a company that cared. We care about treating our employees well. We care about doing things the right way and to doing work we’re proud of. We care about our clients, and do everything in our power to treat them as we would want to be treated.

What you think of us means everything.

Lately, we’ve been focused on the word “relentless,” and for good reason. It’s the one word that has described our behavior over the years, particularly in how we respond to client needs. And in the time of COVID-19, we’ll need to be relentless in ways we’d perhaps never considered. In how we approach personal safety and in how we respond to our clients in new and challenging ways.

Many of you are scrambling attempting to set up at home workers and keep the engine running. It’s hard, especially when so many things seem so uncertain. But the one thing we want you to know is that we are here for you. As a vendor, a friend or even just a shoulder to cry on.

Let us know how we can help, whether it’s technology related or not.

Beau Peyton,

Director of Sales and Marketing


iConvergence Achieves Cisco Advanced Security Architecture Specialization

[Lafayette, LA]—February, 2020 — iConvergence is pleased to announce it has achieved its Advanced Security Architecture Specialization with Cisco. The Advanced Security Architecture Specialization demonstrates that iConvergence is capable of providing sophisticated, enterprise class Cisco security solutions through their in-depth engineering capabilities, including system design, implementation and ongoing support. 

Cisco Advanced Security Architecture SpecializationAs a part of this elite group of Advanced Security Architecture Specialization partners, iConvergence enhances their competitive differentiation as a Cisco Partner.  

Kirk Guilbeau, CTO at iConvergence, says “Clients of all sizes are constantly faced with a seemingly endless number of cyber attacks. This achievement shows our unwavering commitment to developing the necessary engineering skills to protect clients and to utilizing best-in-class security solutions from Cisco. We want to be as well equipped as possible to help our clients successfully meet these challenges.”

iConvergence provides clients with access to highly skilled engineers with a vast degree of knowledge and experience in advanced solutions specific to Cisco’s portfolio of security products. In business since 2003, iConvergence continues to increase its portfolio of services and solutions. They are always adapting to technological changes and market advancements and provide a full suite of solutions aimed at businesses during digital transformation. 

You can learn more about solutions from iConvergence here.

About iConvergence:

iConvergence, based in Lafayette, Louisiana, serves customers throughout the Gulf Coast region, and the greater United States, providing organizations with a technology advisor and partner, as well as a consistent and dependable resource for highly-skilled network engineers and solutions. Our goal is to unburden clients from excessive operational downtime and time spent evaluating advanced network and security solutions. Clients rely on our engineers and account managers as trusted advisors to arm them with the most efficient and effective state-of-the-art solutions. 

Contact iConvergence Today


iConvergence Obtains Cisco Advanced Data Center Specialization in US

[Lafayette, LA]—July, 2019 — iConvergence is pleased to announce their recent achievement of obtaining the Cisco Advanced Data Center Architecture Specialization in the US. By achieving the Advanced Data Center Architecture Specialization, iConvergence has proven they have the ability to provide sophisticated, value-added Cisco solutions through their in-depth sales capabilities, technology skills and service offerings.

CISCO Advanced Data Center Architecture SpecializationAs part of this elite group of Advanced Data Center Architecture Specialization Partners, iConvergence increases their competitive differentiation as a Cisco partner.

Beau Peyton, Director of Sales and Marketing at iConvergence, says “This just adds to the overall momentum here at iConvergence. We believe we are separating ourselves from other resellers while directly aligning with Cisco’s company goals and market positioning. This is a direct reflection of the efforts of our talented and growing team.”

iConvergence provides client organizations with access to highly skilled engineers who have a vast degree of experience and knowledge in advanced solutions and Cisco’s portfolio. In business since 2003, they have continued to grow their portfolio of services and adapt to technological changes and market advances to provide a full suite of solutions for today’s digitally transformed customer.

You can learn more about iConvergence’s solutions here.

About iConvergence

iConvergence is based in Lafayette, Louisiana and serve customers throughout the Gulf Coast Region and greater United States, providing organizations with a technology advisor and partner, as well as a consistent and dependable resource for highly skilled network engineers and solutions. Our goal is to unburden our clients from excessive operational downtime and time spent in evaluation of advanced network solutions. Clients rely on our engineers and account managers as trusted advisors to ensure the most efficient, effective and state of art solutions to their needs.

Contact iConvergence Today


Wilson, Arkansas town center

Wilson, Arkansas: Preserving the History, People and Passion Through Agritech

Wilson, Arkansas town center

In the mid-eighteenth century, an enterprising man named Josiah Wilson began purchasing land covered with flooded timber in the Arkansas delta not far from Memphis. By 1850, Wilson had acquired nine hundred acres and cleared one hundred acres for cultivation, eventually growing his holdings to over 2000 acres. In doing so, he had sown the seed that would eventually make his family one of the largest cotton producers in the world.

Close up of cotton plantAfter Wilson’s death in 1916 and a protracted legal battle over his estate, Wilson’s holdings eventually passed to Robert E. “Lee” Wilson. Despite Lee’s limited education, he gradually transformed the original holdings into a Delta empire.

Overcoming floods and various legal battles during the first two decades of the twentieth century, as well as significant financial issues in the 1930’s, Lee grew his holdings to forty-seven thousand acres and developed the town of Wilson, a quintessential “one man” company town. Nearly every building was owned by the Wilson family. Ninety-four employees and its residents shopped at Wilson owned stores and even paid for goods with Wilson currency.

Lee died in 1933 and is buried in the center of town square, a constant monument to the man that truly put Wilson on the map. After Lee’s death in 1933, the business was shortly run by his son, who ceded control to a non-family member, Jim Crain, due to health issues. Jim served as a “placeholder” until the third generation of Wilsons came of age.   From that point forward, the family transformed the business into a portfolio agricultural business holding with twenty-three thousand acres devoted to three primary commodities: cotton, soybeans and rice.[1]

The latest chapter began in 2010 when Gaylon Lawrence purchased the family agricultural holdings, including the town. Gaylon is gradually transforming the town into a culturally significant destination via an investment in new buildings, the renovation and reopening of the Wilson Café, organic farming, art events and a new private school.  All in addition to his nation-wide portfolio of businesses, including Heitz Cellars in California.

Wilson, Arkansas signageOctober is cotton ginning season, and the ginning operation in Wilson is something to see. The outside of the gin looks like an ordinary metal building; however, inside you’ll find aa sophisticated computerized system capable of sorting, cleaning and processing tons of product. This season, the Lawrence Group will process approximately 175,000 bales of cotton and and 60,000 tons of seed for resale. Each bale is approximately 500 pounds and at a price of .80 cents per pound, that means The Lawrence Group will process approximately $70 million in cotton this season.

iConvergence is proud to be a part of the town’s renaissance and as an IT partner entrusted with making sure The Lawrence Group’s IT system functions correctly. In 2018, we sponsored the Town’s music series, which is well known for bringing national acts to Wilson. Despite having a population of fewer than nine-hundred people, Wilson is blessed with a state-of-the-art fiber optic network and public WiFi. As the primary IT and telecommunications provider for the Lawrence Group, iConvergence designs, implements and supports all of its voice, data and video services across seven locations. This includes Meraki switching, point-to-point WiFi, SD-WAN, managed security, Cisco WebEx collaboration, desktop support and remote datacenter services.

Wilson cafeiConvergence has become an integral part of the town. People come up and speak to us when we’re in the Café enjoying a piece of pie or attending town events. They wave to us and see us as “locals,” a sign that the relationship is personal and more than just business. At iConvergence, we try to never lose sight of that and always emphasize the “human” part of what we do.

Y’all come see us in Wilson.

Reach out today.

[1] Jeannie Whayne, Delta Empire, Louisiana State University Press, 2011


Artistic depiction of man using technology

IT and Data Security Should Be a Way of Life for Your Business

Artistic depiction of man using technology

You’re going to get hacked.  Just read the news any day of the week and you’ll quickly realize it’s impossible for any government, corporation, small business or resident to protect their data with 100% confidence.  IT security isn’t just something you install on a computer or connect to your network.  If you want to close the security gap as tight as possible you will have to change the way your business functions.  Security needs to be a way of life.  It has to be as important as the products or services you sell that keep you in business.  Security has to be a part of every business much like accounting. It’s something that every business, no matter the size, must be able to maintain.

Your Current IT Security May Be No Match for Today’s Hackers

Today’s hackers are entering organization’s in so many different ways it’s challenging just to keep the holes plugged.  Just check out this recent article on how “Hackers Could Read Your Hotmail, MSN, and Outlook Emails by Abusing Microsoft Support.” This is why a security stack is necessary.  It’s like layers of an onion.  Someone may get through a layer or two but there is another one waiting just under that one. Stacking your security solution provides your business with the best odds for protecting your data. Below is the stack I recommend every business implement.

  • Firewall
  • DNS Protection
  • Multi-Factor Authentication
  • OS Security Updates & Patching
  • Anti-Virus/Anti-Malware
  • Email Spam & ATP
  • Offsite Backups
  • Employee Security Training

You might be thinking this is overkill and will cost your business way too much.  How much will not having all of this cost you?  This is the world we live in now.  Data breaches leaking medical records, banking information, case files, copy right records, engineering drawings and client information.  Resulting in lawsuits, fines, revoked licenses, degraded brand recognition, loss of customers and business closure. Keep in mind, this example was only a data breach.  I won’t even go through the ransomware attacks or even worse, the guys that just want to delete all of your data because they find it amusing.

Fact is, if you don’t have all of the layers in place that I have recommended above, then you are not doing your best to protect your company’s data, your employees, your customers and frankly, the doors from closing on your company.

At iConvergence, we’re happy to chat about your current environment and see how our security experts and strategy can help ensure your company remains on a path to uninterrupted growth and success.

Let’s talk about protecting your business – contact us today!

Jeremy Roth

Director of Managed Services, iConvergence

 


2019 Managed Service Provider (MSP) 500 list in the Pioneer 250 category plaque

iConvergence Recognized for Excellence in Managed IT Services

2019 Managed Service Provider (MSP) 500 list in the Pioneer 250 category plaque

2019 Managed Service Provider (MSP) 500 list in the Pioneer 250 category plaqueiConvergence is proud to announce that CRN, a division of The Channel Company, has named us to its 2019 Managed Service Provider (MSP) 500 list in the Pioneer 250 category! This annual list recognizes North American Solution providers with innovative approaches to managed services. These services empower companies to implement and operate complex technologies while allowing them to keep their focus on their core business.

Why were we selected for the list? Because not all managed services providers are created equal! At iConvergence, our engineers work on your behalf to ensure critical systems and devices are fully optimized. We go beyond managed services, becoming a strategic partner in your business, anticipating and reacting to your developing needs as your business grows. As we at iConvergence like to say, “you focus on the core while we focus on the chores!”

Bob Skelley, CEO of the Channel Company, says, “capable MSPs enable companies to take their cloud computing to the next level, streamline spending, effectively allocate limited resources, and navigate the vast field of available technologies.”

We do all of that, and much more.

“The team at iConvergence is extremely grateful for the recognition, and thankful for the opportunity to continue to exceed the expectations of our partners. Managed Services continues to be a differentiator for iConvergence as well as a huge focus for us in 2019,” stated Jeremy Roth, Director of Managed Services at iConvergence.

If you’ve been exploring the idea of a Managed Service Provider, we’d love to hear more about your needs! Please get in touch with our Managed Services Team:

Managed Services Contact:
Jeremy Roth
Director of Managed Services
337-735-1300
jeremyr@iconvergence.com

PR & Blog Contact:
Doug Meaux
Director of Business Operations
dougm@iconvergence.com
www.iconvergence.com


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5 Ways Digital Technologies Have Transformed Disaster Recovery and Response

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Aerial view of hurricane aftermathIn the last few years, Americans have witnessed an escalating number of catastrophic events. Hurricanes, mass-shootings, wildfires, waves of flash floods, and tornados, have damaged or destroyed homes and caused hardship for scores of citizens.

In each disaster, technology has played an essential role in management and relief efforts—saving countless lives. Media often covers the role social media plays in connecting catastrophe victims with help and support services. Not as widely discussed, but just as significant, is the support provided by contemporary technologies.

The cloud has transformed disaster relief and management.
The cloud and cloud-native technologies have been instrumental in transforming the preparation and management of disaster response. Disasters often render local infrastructures ineffective, making data access and communication nearly impossible. Because data is stored and accessed far from the disaster area, cloud-based technologies help circumvent what was once a significant challenge. Additionally, the scalable properties of the cloud, and its ability to meet precise requirements surrounding network traffic and volume, help secure local agencies against issues related to network downtime.

Disaster recovery plan buttonCollaboration technologies have transformed communication in times of catastrophe.
Collaboration tools enable secure communication across physical and organizational boundaries, keeping emergency managers organized in times of disaster. With WebEx Teams from Cisco, for example, managers can enact team-specific rooms where documents can be shared, voice or video meetings can be held, and communication occurs in real-time. Collaboration keeps every member of the emergency operations team prepared and informed, radically improving the speed and efficiency of relief during disasters.  This free-flow of information across organizations and groups has had a significant impact in times of catastrophe, helping to connect loved ones, move people to safety and even get clean water, food, and supplies to where it is needed most.

With today’s technology, disaster prediction has taken an enormous leap forward.
Today’s technology has given us the tools to collect, analyze and study data in ways unheard of just a decade ago. With this information, researchers can address persistent problems, create enhanced solutions, predict future catastrophes, and save more lives. As more significant volumes of data are produced and collected during a disaster, researchers are given a more substantial opportunity to examine and learn from lessons and experiences. Findings gathered from big data analytics provide emergency response teams greater ability to move proactively before the next disaster.

Drones are essential for disaster recovery and emergency response.
Drones have become a significant component of the disaster response toolkit. Drones extend the reach of teams working to restore power and accelerate the fulfillment of insurance claims to areas impacted by catastrophe. Protection and speed of recovery are two of the most significant benefits to recovery teams—issues that would have taken days or weeks to address, with drones, can be solved in hours or minutes.

Person using handheld deviceSocial networks are playing an ever more critical role in times of disaster.
Social networking applications are playing an essential role during catastrophic events. During hurricane Harvey, Texans took to social networking applications to document issues and find help. Scores of people used platforms like Facebook and Snapchat to draw attention to areas desperate for assistance, letting loved ones know they were safe. The growth of cloud-based applications has allowed civilians and emergency teams to join together, getting people the resources and assistance they need faster than ever before, thereby saving thousands of lives.

Rapid technological innovations have transformed the velocity of emergency operations and recovery before, during and after the initial event. And, as we continue to study and improve disaster response through data, response times accelerate, communications are optimized, and emergency operations become more streamlined.

Find Out If You and Your Business Are Disaster-Ready:

Book An Appointment Now

Book an appointment now to schedule time with our Disaster Recovery Advisor so we can show you how iConvergence can help your business become ready with best-in-class cloud and collaboration solutions from Cisco.


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Modern Tech With A Rich History

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How IT Managed Services Have Evolved To Become The Comprehensive Industry We Know Today

Gears labeled with Past and FutureSitting at your desk right now, surrounded by the tools you need to do your job, it’s most likely pretty hard to remember a time when your day-to-day life wasn’t directly tied to the use of various technologies. Emails, texts, presentations, excel sheets, video calls etc. etc. the list goes on and on. Tech plays an integral part in how we communicate, interact, relax, learn, and most notably here, how the world does business.

The majority of companies would be unable to function without the use of such technologies. However, it really wasn’t too long ago that all this modernization of business became the norm. If you need evidence of that, just reference this classic. Even with the surge of technology in the workplace being relatively recent, the way we manage and maintain our IT has undergone multiple evolutions over the past couple decades.

In The Beginning….
As businesses began to embrace the use of new communication platforms and technology in the early 90’s, they quickly realized that someone would have to maintain these systems. Thus, IT as we know it was born.  The typical model for IT during this period was known as the practice of “break it, fix it.” As you probably guessed, this method involved addressing problems only as they occurred. If something broke, it was time to fix it. Companies would call their IT representative, usually someone from the manufacturer that made the broken system, and the manufacturer would then send someone to fix it. This method was sporadic, unpredictable and often times very costly.

IT Enters The Managed Services RealmMan leaping from old books into tech
Throughout the course of the 90’s, break it, fix it was the status quo of the IT industry. As the new millennium dawned on the horizon, technology in the office place was quickly becoming more complex and widespread. As a result, the break it, fix it model was not only unable to keep up, but also becoming financially irresponsible for businesses. Having a large, unexpected IT bill hit your budget without foresight is enough to make any accounting department scream. Not to mention the detriments of long periods of downtime and waiting to have someone come in and fix an issue in an economy that was becoming faster paced by the second. The reactive process of break it, fix it could no longer sustain itself with a proactive world.

Here is where we begin to see a shift towards the managed services model of IT. Companies that were previously running on the break it, fix it method began to see the benefits of having flat rate fees that guaranteed a certain amount of on-going service. Regularly scheduled service days became the norm, allowing for the identification of issues before they became critical. Think of this as a hybrid approach. IT was becoming more proactive, but if a problem arose outside of your scheduled visit or pre-arranged contract, it was back to the old ways of break it, fix it. Much of the early 2000’s used this approach, but with technological advances occurring at exponential rates, this hybrid method was never going to last for long.

With wireless and eventually cloud technology becoming more prominent in the early and mid-2010’s, full 24-hour IT managed services became the solution to the bottleneck slowdowns occurring with the old ways of managing networks.

Modern Day Solution
Nowadays, through Cloud technology, large and small companies alike benefit from the use of off-site managed IT services. Whether you’re a start-up that can’t afford a full-time IT staff, or a top player in your industry that wants your tech department to focus on larger picture business initiatives, you can leave the server management and operations to a third-party expert, knowing issues will be actively identified and resolved.

Utilizing managed services instead of the antiquated method of fixing problems as they arise allows your business to plan ahead, both financially and technologically. No more one-off solutions with unexpected fees. No more patching holes while the ship is still sinking. No more downtime while you wait for help. Managed services incentivize solving underlying problems by actively searching for issues and long-term strategies for your IT. Rates are fixed, response time is instantaneous, and plans are catered to your company’s individual tech needs.

Managed Services headeriConvergence Managed Services
Managed services through iConvergence gives your company 24/7 access to a complete and experienced IT team.  Infrastructure management, help desk support, cybersecurity prevention & monitoring ensure your network is protected, backed-up and operating at full efficiency. Our Virtual CIO enables your business to strategically plan, budget and carry out smart practices across your network, so you can quickly adapt and implement the latest technologies to keep your company at peak performance. iConvergence ensures that your business’s network is efficient, productive and able to advance with the ever-changing world of technology. Reach out to iConvergence today to learn more and give your company the competitive edge in IT.