Fake IRS Email Scam


E mail scammers are continuing to find new ways to torment us–this time it’s a fake IRS hoax.

Seasoned internet criminals are sending bogus emails with attachments, text messages and even snail mail claiming to be from the IRS and using a phony Form CP 2000. This form is normally mailed by the IRS when income reported by employers does not match the income reported on the taxpayer’s income tax return. To further confuse the potential victim, the letter accompanying the phony IRS form indicates that the form relates to the Affordable Care Act.

This scam is being investigated by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. The real CP 2000 form is a hefty six-pager with instructions about what steps to take whether you agree or disagree with the assessment.

Currently, the hackers are extorting straight cash out of victims, but this may just as well be used as a vehicle for instant malware infections. Please warn your employees, friends and family, and while you are at it, warn them against hurricane Matthew charity scams that are cropping up. If you want to donate try “The Salvation Army” or a reputable institution you are comfortable with.

Please copy/paste/edit: “There is an insidious new IRS scam doing the rounds. They send you a phony IRS CP 2000 form and claim the income reported on your tax return does not match the income reported by your employer. This is meant to get you worried. To confuse you further, the bad guys claim this has something to do with the Affordable Care Act. You might receive emails with attached phony forms, text messages and even live calls to your phone about this! You need to know that the IRS will never initiate contact with you to collect overdue taxes by an email, text message or phone call. If you get any emails, text messages, old-time snail mail or even live calls about this, do not respond and/or hang up the phone. If you receive a “CP 2000″ form in the mail and doubt this is legit, you can always call the IRS at 1-800-366-4484 to confirm it is a scam.”

As Cloud Expands Workloads Move Over


As Cloud services slowly expand their reach–enterprise customers are embracing a new way to do business and manage their workloads.

By 2018, 451 Research Group suggests that 60% of enterprise workloads will run in the cloud. The information was collected from over 1,200 IT buyers globally in the spring of 2016 and highlights the fact that 41% of all enterprise workloads are now running in some type of public or private cloud.

Among the various types of cloud deployment models, enterprises are most likely to use on-premises private cloud and software as a service (SaaS), each accounting for 14% of all applications.

The report suggests that use of on-premises private cloud will remain flat while SaaS is expected to grow sharply to nearly one-quarter (23%) of all enterprise workloads by mid-2018.

For all the media hoopla around “infrastructure as a service”  or IaaS, 451 Research says just 6% of enterprise workloads are currently running on IaaS, representing a small piece of applications run. But IaaS is likely to see the highest growth, with usage predicted to double to 12% of workloads over the next two years.

“The predicted doubling of IaaS usage is the highest growth expectation for any type of cloud and points to significant revenue potential for vendors in this space,” said Andrew Reichman, research director of 451 Research and lead author of the report.

“Because cloud delivers increasing agility and flexibility to better fit ever-changing business needs, IaaS and SaaS allow organizations to focus their efforts on their business, rather than on maintaining costly and complex data centers and infrastructure,” Reichman said. “If used properly, it has the potential to dramatically improve efficiency and results of business technology usage.”

The Carolina Panthers Adopt ShoreTel to Modernize their Communication System


If you are considering a new phone system–then let your favorite sport’s team steer you in the right direction. The Carolina Panthers and the Portland Trail Blazers have picked ShoreTel to upgrade and modernize their communication systems.

The Panthers decided to replace their 20-year-old phone system as part of the Bank of America stadium renovation and evaluated several providers. The team selected a ShoreTel solution for its ability to support both analog and VoIP telephones, ease of IT management, and the ability to reduce overall costs.

The Panthers purchased a ShoreTel onsite solution with Conferencing, Workgroups and Mobility. ShoreTel is being used throughout the stadium with more than 1,000 stations, as well as 35 Workgroup members in the group sales and ticket offices.

“We’re very happy with our decision to implement ShoreTel – it’s extremely easy to manage the system, requiring minimal time and minimal training,” said James Hammond, director of IT at the Panthers. “Our overall cost of operations has been reduced with ShoreTel as well, enabling us to use the extra funds for other projects. And users love the voice quality and Outlook integration to name just two features.”

The Portland Trail Blazers looked to ShoreTel to replace an aging telephony system that did not integrate with its contact center solution. With a small IT staff, the team needed an all-in-one, easy to manage telephony and contact center solution that integrated with its Microsoft Dynamics CRM system. ShoreTel met all of these needs along with providing conferencing, web collaboration, mobility and E911 capabilities. The ShoreTel system is up and running in three locations (Moda Center, Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum, and the training facility) serving 450 users.

“ShoreTel provides everything I need in one integrated solution,” said Lou Pallotta, telecommunications manager for the Portland Trail Blazers. “I’ve worked on many systems in my 30-year career, and ShoreTel is the easiest to set-up and maintain. Also importantly, our employees love it – they especially like the ease of web sharing, which sales people have been using in place of traveling to some client sites.”

“ShoreTel has been very successful with the professional sports segment because these customers all require the same key things: lowest total cost of operations, easy for IT to manage and staff to use, a robust architecture to handle multiple locations, and a mobility solution for dispersed scouts and personnel,” said Mike Healy, senior vice president and chief financial officer at ShoreTel. “Together with our hard-working channel partners, we’re committed to providing businesses of all types and sizes with reliable, flexible solutions delivered onsite, in the cloud or a combination of the two.”

The Panthers are the third professional football team to select ShoreTel, joining the Buffalo Bills and the Los Angeles Rams. The Trail Blazers are the latest professional basketball team to use ShoreTel, joining the Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns and the Washington Wizards. ShoreTel sports customers also include six professional baseball teams and four professional hockey teams.

HP Aids Global Refugee Crisis

<br As part of President Barack Obama’s Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, HP has committed to opening new HP Learning Studios in the Middle East. HP will work with Digital Promise Global, the Global Business Coalition for Education, Microsoft and Intel to establish centers equipped with computer systems and teacher training services to give refugee students access to the latest education technology and provide adults with the opportunity to learn essential business and IT skills.

This week, HP also promised to provide technology and HP LIFE training resources to the International Medical Corps Livelihoods Center pilot in Istanbul, Turkey.  As part of this initiative, HP will make online freelance opportunities available to refugees.  In addition, HP agreed to support the opening of two Lynke and Blue Rose Compass tech centers for refugees, also in the Middle East. These centers will provide training and support for refugees in app design and other technical work.  In total, HP is committing more than US$1 million in technology and training support to help refugees, alleviate poverty, and improve the lives of more than 100,000 people in the coming year.

“The refugee community is full of untapped potential, but is challenged with growing those talents and skills due to a lack of access to technology and the digital world,” explained Nate Hurst, HP Chief Sustainability and Social Impact Officer. “By opening these new HP Learning Studios and supporting a variety of initiatives, HP is empowering refugees to build a better, more prosperous life through access to quality education and employment opportunities.”

HP Learning Studios will be equipped with its latest technologies, including HP Sprout, a fully integrated desktop 3D scanning solution with 3D object capture, editing and multiple streamlined 3D print options, and x360 convertible PCs powered by Windows 10, along with a Dremel 3D Printer.  The core curriculum will be powered by HP LIFE e-Learning courses, which include 25 online modules on essential business and IT skills in seven languages. As part of this effort, HP will support the creation of additional free online courses and curated content specifically designed to help refugees develop the skills and expertise necessary for freelancing and ecommerce.

“We are looking forward to collaborating with HP on this important effort, sharing our expertise to bring innovative, high-quality learning experiences to refugee students,” said Karen Cator, CEO of Digital Promise Global.

This new commitment builds on HP’s ongoing effort to aid in the refugee crisis. In June 2016, HP was among the first 15 private sector companies to join the White House Call to Action. As part of this pledge, HP committed to working with the administration to drive new, measurable and significant commitments that will have a durable impact on refugees.

The Secret to an Easy Server Upgrade

hp-mediasmart-server-powered-by-windows-home-server-2Aren’t we all looking for the “Simple Sauce” and the easiest fix for our network issues? Jim Rapoza from HP identifies why architecting and maintaining a solid IT infrastructure is the true secret behind an easy server upgrade.

There are lots of ways to fix problems. The Internet and your local bookstore are full of five-step programs, self-help systems, and best strategies for fixing whatever your issue may be. But while most people will debate and argue about what the best strategies might be for a server upgrade, everyone can agree on what tactic is likely to fail. I’m talking about the easy fix, the half (you-know-what) job, the one simple secret.

Face it: if a problem has an easy fix or one simple secret, it probably isn’t much of a problem at all. And typically these fast solutions are designed to fail. To use more clichés, they’re all about leaping before you look or not having your eggs in order. There’s even a cliché unique to the world of IT infrastructure and server technology, namely “throw more hardware at the problem.” – See more at:

Veritas Suggests Data has “Personality”

big-dataAccording to Veritas, data is no longer ‘just’ data–they suggest it has a personality all its own.

To begin with, managing data is no longer solely the IT department’s headache. CEOs have a vested interest in understanding what data is today and how it affects their business. Even a non-techie like me comprehends the basic use and management of data because it affects the ‘apps’ on my smart phone and pushes my storage limits.

While most people will continue to remain blissfully unaware to the ins and outs of the 1s and 0s speeding around the center of their devices, a larger business audience is growing in appreciation for the existence of data and the information it provides to both their business goals and management.

Data takes on a Broader Importance

Because we now understand how crucial data is to the digitally connected world, we can start to classify data as more than just information. Plain old data is now targeted data:

  • mission-critical data,
  • geo-tagged location-specific data,
  • time series data specific to a point in time,
  • unstructured or semi-structured data,
  • log file data,
  • middleware data,
  • heavy input/output transactional data,
  • archived data not currently in use,
  • Other types of data in this ever-expanding list.

This list could go into much greater detail—it’s really just a snippet of a much longer conversation and I didn’t even touch on big data. Data takes on different purposes and missions these days. It’s why the information management company Veritas suggests that this diversity has created a world where we can think of different forms of data having different ‘personalities’ rather than just different values.


New Shared Storage Solutions Helps the SMB Market

hpe_storevirtual_3200Small and mid-size businesses often get overlooked when it comes to robust storage solutions. The newer and power intensive products are costly and out of reach and this mid-tier market has been left wanting with few options.

While Enterprise organizations have embraced the newest storage solutions: flash storage for mainstream application performance, software-defined storage for cost savings and hyper-convergence to accelerate time-to-value, smaller businesses have relied on older and less capable storage platforms. The frustrations of modernizing data storage on a limited budget have led to issues with spotty application performance, higher operational expenses in the long run, and unexpected downtime.

Fortunately, the paradigm has shifted with new shared storage solutions from HPE. Finally there is an affordable high-end solution that alleviates cost barriers and complexity concerns. Now smaller businesses can easily deploy flash storage solutions.

With flash storage, all of a sudden a process that often took eight hours overnight takes a half an hour, and the retailer can not only assure that stores are ready to open the next morning they can actually expand their business into new territories.

Enterprise customers who have already deployed flash report a dramatic impact on operational and administrative expenses and performance. Previously, business users would call systems administrator to complain that apps were running too slowly which in turn drove up maintenance and administrative costs. Now, those app performance problems have almost disappeared, and IT staffers can spend more time focusing on growth instead of moving data around.

While software-defined storage and hyper-converged solutions have not been around as long, IT is rapidly beginning to realize the potential for significant cost savings and accelerated processes.  With these technologies too, the costs have come down to the point where they are much more affordable.  The key with these new technologies though is for customers to be able to have a flexible path to get on (or off) of them without disruption. This requires designing for simplicity across different form factors which isn’t possible unless you are able to think strategically across servers, storage, software domains.

For SMBs, deploying flash and other modern storage solutions, can allow for monumental gains in application performance, the simplicity of storage management, resiliency and scalability as your company grows.