We like tech, it’s what we do. As the holiday shopping season kicks into overdrive, we are bringing you 12 of the most requested, most wanted tech gifts for 2017. Check back each business day between now and December 19th for another must-have tech item and why you should check it out.

Galaxy Smartphone

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 has an all-glass design with four speakers and a High Dynamic Range (HDR) ready display. HDR offers better contrast and a better color range than regular HD does, making this the tablet of choice for all your streaming needs. The speakers are positioned in the corners and the sound moves accordingly when the device is rotated.

The tablet also comes packaged with a revamped Samsung S-Pen stylus. If you are one who enjoys taking notes on your tablet or prefer doing a lot with a pen, this stylus writes smoothly and never has to be synced or charged. Besides writing, the S-Pen adds precision to coloring, drawing, and more. There’s also an add-on keyboard ($130) for those who want to use theirs as a word processor or for using the internet.

The Tab S3 uses a USB-C connection for fast charging, has a fingerprint sensor on the home button, and uses an all-glass design, rather than aluminum like most tablets do. Unlike your iPhone, this tablet is equipped with a standard headphone jack, so that you can use your current headphones with it.

The Tab S3 really shines when playing video. The screen is crisp and sharp, and the sound is loud and clear thanks to the four-speaker setup. It is the first and so far, the only, HDR-ready tablet on the market. If the sticker price doesn’t give you pause ($599), then the Galaxy Tab S3 is the tablet to get this Christmas.

Happy Holidays and good luck on the tech hunt from all of us here at Symtec!

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Personal safety is something we all take very seriously. No one likes to be in a situation where they feel threatened or unsafe, no matter how pertinent the fear may seem. This is something many of us deal with. Walking alone late at night, in a parking garage with just one or two other people, situations such as these can make you feel unsafe and hyper-aware of your surroundings. This is especially true for women of all ages, as more and more stories of kidnapping and missing girls are seen in the news. Apple has decided to address their users concerns about personal safety by adding a new emergency feature in the iOS 11 update.

iPhone Safety Feature

The update features emergency SOS activation that is simpler to use and provides a quicker response in the case of an emergency. To activate the feature there are two possible methods depending on which iPhone you have. For the iPhone 7, 7 Plus, and other older models the emergency feature is activated by rapidly pressing the lock button 5 times in a row. For those with the iPhone 8, 8 Plus or iPhone X this feature can be accessed by pressing and holding the side button along with one of the volume buttons at the same time. Performing either of these actions based on your iPhone model will bring you to the power down screen, where the option of Medical ID and Emergency SOS are displayed. This screen displays these options in a manner which allows the user to choose what they would like to do. This is in place so that you do not accidently call emergency services by leaving your phone in your pocket or by giving your phone to a small child. This iPhone update also has an Auto Call option which you can enable to call as soon as you do the required action.

To enable Auto Call you first must go into the setting application on your phone. From here you scroll down the list until you reach the “Emergency SOS” option. Select this option and then swipe the Auto Call toggle to be on. It should be all the way to the right. To turn the Auto Call off simple slide the switch back to the left. When Auto Call is enabled your phone will automatically dial 911 or other emergency services if you are in another country. This feature would be useful if you are in a situation that would stop you from sliding the appropriate option on your screen. Don’t worry though, if you enable and make an auto call accidentally, there is an option to set a three second timer that would allow you to stop the call before it is made.

The iOS 11 emergency setting also has a feature which allows users to list emergency contacts in the case that one is needed. Emergency contacts are set up in the health app. You must choose the medical ID option and then select edit which is located in the top right corner. Scroll down to the emergency contacts section and select the “+” button to add a contact. You can add multiple contacts and even choose what relation they are to you. It can be useful to add an emergency contact in case you find yourself in a situation where you are unconscious or incoherent and are unable to make decisions for yourself. The emergency contact feature further takes iPhone users safety into consideration, and can be a comfort to individuals.

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to help another person, you can use their iPhone to not only alert authorities and the correct personnel, but to also let their listed emergency contact know what has happened to them. This is useful so that you may gain any important information on the person such as health or medical concerns and risks. This makes the Medical ID tool useful in more ways than one.

One side effect from enabling the emergency SOS or Medical ID services is that your phone will be temporarily locked. This means that you will not be able to unlock your phone with your finger print or facial scanners, and instead you must input your passcode. This keeps the information you have on your phone safe, even if you may not be in a very safe situation or location.

Something that makes this feature notable is that it is compatible with emergency services you may not even know exist. This means that with the new iOS 11 software update iPhone users can remain safe while traveling at home or abroad. With the ability to place emergency calls so quickly, iPhone users can rest assured in knowing that they will be able to reach the right people in a timely fashion. This new development in personal safety shows people that they are cared for, and they can rely on Apple products even more.

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We like tech, it’s what we do. As the holiday shopping season kicks into overdrive, we are bringing you 12 of the most requested, most wanted tech gifts for 2017. Check back each business day between now and December 19th for another must-have tech item and why you should check it out.

Microsoft Surface Book 2

Microsoft’s thin laptop/tablet hybrid two-in-one PC arrived on the market a couple of years ago and became an instant must-have item. This year’s models are no different. The 13-inch model comes in several variations of hard drive space and RAM and starts at $1499. Joining the fray is a 15-inch version with just as many memory options, but starts out at a hefty $2500.

The biggest difference between the two (aside from screen size) is the video graphics card in each one. The 15-inch is equipped with a more powerful video memory card, allowing it to act as a mobile gaming machine. Whether you’re playing Gears of War 4 or Cup Head, the machine isn’t likely to lag or slow down.

Both models come with a detachable screen, USB-C port, 17 hours of battery life, SD card reader, and offer touch screen with surface pen support. The pen allows you to sketch, write, and compose easily with virtually no lag.

Part tablet, part PC, and part gaming machine, the Surface Book 2 stands atop the laptop landscape this holiday season.

Happy Holidays and good luck on the tech hunt from all of us here at Symtec!

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We absolutely can! If you’re a car dealership network administrator or department head interested in optimizing your CDK auto dealership software experience, we can help. SymTec can help you manage the complexity of your hardware and software solutions easily, allowing you to streamline and optimize all areas of your sales, CRM, and IT management needs.

Whether you want your employees and customers to be able to connect to your network or you want to protect your dealership’s information systems from unauthorized access, use, disclosure and disruption, we can help.

The potential risks of data sharing with third parties is an emergent concern for auto dealers.

Simply stated, auto dealers need to know what data is shared and with whom. Equally important is a complete view of the two-way exchange of data with third parties and OEMs.

Can You Eliminate Internet Service Interruptions or Outages?

You bet! SymTec’s CDK Auto Dealership Software support is carrier- and access-agnostic, which allows full use of all service types (Broadband, MPLS, LTE and more).

Maximize Investment in Carrier Diversity

Our CDK Auto Dealership Software IT support also intelligently load balances your circuits and uses all internet links as if they were one.

Can You Ensure our Applications Work, Even During Frequent Circuit Outages?

Absolutely! Our brownout detection and prevention service selects the best circuit to use in real time — this is ideal for voice and video.

What bandwidth do you need? Whatever bandwidth you need to do business, we’ll monitor those services and hold the carriers accountable.

Do You Offer the Fully Managed Always-On Service I Can Trust?

We sure do!

We have the comprehensive solution for auto dealers that use analytics, learning and consulting to address the critical needs of your business. Use it to achieve greater results in every department of your dealership.

Our CDK software consulting utilizes best-in-class tools and employs a large team of subject matter experts to grow your business. With our BDC offering, you’ll have the tools needed to effectively grow your business in sales, service, and parts.

CDK Auto Dealership Software Solutions Drive Efficiency and Growth

Whether you’re looking to grow your business, improve efficiency or achieve greater results in every department of your dealership, SymTec has you covered. Count on us to provide the services, solutions and support your dealership needs to succeed.

Voice Solutions for Ultimate Sales Lead Tracking

If your sales force relies mostly on phone leads, our CDK support employs voice solutions that work seamlessly with your DMS and CRM systems to bring you the best CDK Auto Dealership Software support around.

Full customer info capture on comprehensive screens that pop up when your customers interact with you and record all info comprehensively means you can trace every bit of data from phone leads.

When it comes to the success of your dealership, knowledge is power. The more you know about metrics, trends, benchmarks, and your competition, the better equipped you’ll be to succeed. Our reporting solutions provide the insight and transparency you need to analyze your performance and take action to succeed.

Another Fantastic Option: Text Connect

Text Connect lets you send and receive text messages from any internet-connected device, such as your laptop, desktop or tablet. All messages are stored in the cloud and new ones are pushed to all your devices in real time.

With Text Connect, you can:

  • Send and receive texts from regular landline and toll-free numbers; and
  • Send and receive texts from all platforms, including laptops, PCs, smartphones, and tablets.

When using your smartphone, communications arrive via a standalone app, which syncs with the web application, for easy organization.

Are your employees using their personal cell phones too often?

A recent survey conducted by staffing firm OfficeTeam found that car dealership employees use their own personal cell phones for business calls and texting 43% more of the time than figured by their employers. The bad news for you is that you have no way to measure or monitor these interactions.

This is where Text Connect can help.

  • CDK “text-enabled” landline and toll-free numbers phones, allowing users to send and receive texts from their PC, tablet or smartphone
  • Texts are synchronized across all devices
  • Dealer personnel use web or smartphone apps to interact with customers’ mobile devices
  • Groups of users, like a BDC, can use the same number to interact with customers to increase service continuity.

The old way of calling and leaving a voicemail is quickly dying out. According to Pew Center research, 31% of dealership employees rarely use voicemail or are using it less than a year ago, and 98% of texts are opened and read, usually immediately.

Text Connect helps you communicate with customers in the way they desire and gives you the insight into your staff’s productivity that you need.

Ready to Optimize Your CDK Auto Dealership Software Experience?

For the kind of CDK Auto Dealership software support you need to stay secure, productive, and on top of your game, contact us at 1-800-489-1706 or sales@symtec.com to learn more or get started right away.

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We like tech, it’s what we do. As the holiday shopping season kicks into overdrive, we are bringing you 12 of the most requested, most wanted tech gifts for 2017. Check back each business day between now and December 19th for another must-have tech item and why you should check it out.

Samsung Q7F 4K TV

You’ve purchased the new Xbox One X or a PS4 Pro, and now you can’t wait to get gaming. Or maybe the console purchase was for a spouse and/or child. Sure, your run-of-the-mill HDMI capable TV that adorns your living room will connect. But you didn’t get all that new and great 4K power just to force it onto a standard high definition television, did you?

Of course not. You have 4K now, so that demands a great 4K experience. The folks over at Samsung hear you and have just the screen in mind. The Samsung Q7F is the perfect TV for your 4K movies or games. It’s great for media consumption, with four HDMI ports and three USB ports. These can be used individually, or you can connect all your devices to the Samsung One Connect Box, which acts as a hub for HDMI connections and feeds into the TV via a single cable. Super convenient when you have multiple systems.

Recommended by the folks over at Xbox, this premium screen will run you minimum $2,800 for the 55” model and as high as $6,000 for the 75” version. Available at most retailers, the best deals are usually hiding on the store’s website.

Happy Holidays and good luck on the tech hunt from all of us here at Symtec!

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We like tech, it’s what we do. As the holiday shopping season kicks into overdrive, we are bringing you 12 of the most requested, most wanted tech gifts for 2017. Check back each business day between now and December 19th for another must-have tech item and why you should check it out.

Nintendo Switch

Nintendo knows how to get people excited, and excited they are to get the newest Nintendo console, the Nintendo Switch. The biggest draw might be the ability to play on your TV at home then remove it from its docking station and continue playing on the go as a handheld system. The console seamlessly transitions from one mode to the other, allowing you to take the game with you.

Attached to your TV, the Switch docking station connects via HDMI and gives you true HD gameplay. The controller, the Joy-Con, separates into two controllers for multiplayer or the two can be attached to the sides of the console for gaming on the go. The Switch comes with a tiny 32GB of internal storage, but that can be easily upgraded to 2TB with a micro SD card.

Unlike previous Nintendo consoles, or even the Xbox and PlayStation, the Switch doesn’t use discs. Instead, it uses small cartridges, like the games on the 3DS handheld system. At only $299.99 it’s an affordable piece of hardware with a unique array of software already available for it. It doesn’t play DVDs or Blu-rays, but it makes up for it with fun and exciting games such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey.

Nintendo has said that they are doubling their production on the Switch, so it should be in ample supply this holiday.

Happy Holidays and good luck on the tech hunt from all of us here at Symtec!

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If you are a network administrator or department head concerned about the performance of your financial organization’s current IT infrastructure, SymTec is here to help. We can answer the question of whether or not your credit union has the reliable information technology or not in a positive way. We have long-term IT solutions that will make sure you never have to ask the question again!

Speaking of questions you need to ask, we can definitely help if you find yourself asking ones like these:

  • Why are my systems going down?
  • Why are member interactions taking so long? Are my applications slow?
  • Are my IT systems compliant with NCUA guidelines and practices?
  • How do I enable all these new services and technologies my members want?
  • Why am I being told I need to buy more licenses, memory, storage, or servers?
  • Why am I spending so much on IT systems?
  • Do I have the right people, staffing, and skill-sets?
  • Am I prepared for my upcoming core conversion?
  • Are my backup, business continuity, and disaster recovery plans sufficient?
  • Is my members’ financial data truly secure?
  • Am I susceptible to Ransomware and Cryptolocker viruses?

How SymTec is Meeting Credit Union Technology Challenges

Here are some of the key areas in which we are meeting credit union information technology challenges for clients nationwide:

REGULATION

Credit Unions are heavily regulated businesses that require constant technology updates and maintenance for system security, compliance, performance, and technical advances. A Credit Union’s information technology systems must be holistically designed and expertly maintained to meet current and upcoming regulatory requirements.

SECURITY

Most Credit Unions recognize the significant need to keep up with security but are often lacking the staff required to maintain daily focus. Based on their recent audits, the NCUA has placed a heavy focus on Cyber Security thereby placing it at the forefront of many Credit Unions’ priority list.

In today’s risk-saturated environment the security team for a Credit Union deals not only with traditional perimeter security but they also must address security issues such as malware, viruses, phishing, and social engineering. Cyber attackers are well funded and cast a wide net, making attacks on Credit Unions both dangerous and likely. We help Credit Unions strengthen their defensive position to keep member data secure.

COMPLIANCE

Keeping up with IT compliance is daunting for most regulated environments, Credit Unions included. IT compliance requires constant focus in an effort to avoid the risk of non-compliance with NCUA guidelines. Any limitations in either the number or knowledge of staff members can make it challenging to meet these requirements. New technology such as cloud computing, virtualization, and managed environments provide Credit Unions a flexible and secure infrastructure to assist in meeting compliance requirements. Our infrastructure solutions include business logic, automated updates, alerting, and reporting to help Credit Unions meet compliance requirements.

NEW MEMBER SERVICES

In order to improve services for members, Credit Unions continue to invest in new services delivery channels such as mobile account access, mobile check deposit, automated teller machines, and advanced ATM kiosks. With an agile IT infrastructure from SymTec, new member services and mobile Credit Union staff enable and support the new ways Credit Unions interact with members.

TECHNOLOGY ADVANCEMENT

It’s easy to see how Credit Union IT staff can become overwhelmed with keeping the current environment running while trying to address new initiatives at the same time. SymTec can assist by providing strategic resources to help address new technology initiatives, the need to maximize Credit Union information technology investments, as well as provide value back to Credit Union members thru those technology investments. Newer technologies such as cloud computing, virtualization, and managed services create efficiencies, stabilize costs, and enable staff to concentrate their time and efforts on forward-thinking initiatives that help progress the Credit Union business.

What Our Professional IT Consulting & Support Services Can Do

Our IT consulting and managed support services can and will help you rein in all of these issues in ongoing, productive ways, that include:

ASSESSMENT

The SymTec team has become well-accustomed to solving information technology issues for Credit Unions. We help Credit Unions identify gaps in their infrastructure and then work together with our clients to resolve those gaps. Our staff of experienced architects provide clear documentation and have open and transparent conversations to help Credit Unions understand what is working well, what may need improvement, what may be a business or security priority, as well as how much those improvements may cost.

REMEDIATION 

Our team of IT engineers, technicians, and consultants help remediate any issues uncovered during an assessment. With a clear process, priority list, and agreed upon schedule we quickly work to improve a Credit Union’s information technology systems. This means that your Credit Union will be well-prepared to take the next step towards any larger infrastructure projects.

ARCHITECTURE 

After remediation, we design the future state architecture to support the Credit Union’s goals. We have experienced Enterprise Architects who listen for business goals, understand business processes, and help create an overall holistic IT architecture that meets the specialized needs of your Credit Union. The architecture and IT strategy go together to support and enable your Credit Union’s overall business strategy.

Get Your Credit Union Information Technology Squared Away Permanently

We encourage credit union managers to discuss and confirm the status of each of these items with their IT personnel and then obtain external assistance from SymTec wherever they are not absolutely sure.

Contact us at 1-800-489-1706 or sales@symtec.com or to get started right away with winning IT support for your credit union information technology that keeps you safe, compliant, secure, and productive.

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The case for abandoning break-fix, volunteer-based IT support

Education IT Support

Elementary schools are very busy places with a variety of moving parts and different departments. Administrators face a big task in making sure the needs of students, families, teachers and support staff are met. Considering this long list of responsibilities, IT support often takes a back seat to other critical tasks.

In fact, there is a growing trend in the education industry that is seeing elementary schools rely on casual, volunteer-based IT support. Instead of laying out a deliberate plan and partnering with a managed IT service provider, educational administrators are simply using break-fix, as-needed models of support, provided by volunteers or tech-savvy team members.

“Bill Can Probably Fix That” – Why Casual IT Support Doesn’t Make Sense

We get it. For busy elementary schools, IT simply isn’t the top priority – and it shouldn’t have to be. School administrators have more important things to be worrying about than making sure email is up-and-running and library computers are working. So, they get in a habit of only dealing with tech issues as they arise. Volunteers are called in on an SOS basis to address problems as they happen.

However, looking at the big picture, this approach can actually result in more work and stress for school administrators. Setting up a proactive plan with a team of strategic IT professionals can keep school networks secure and functional while making the lives of administrators easier.

It must be noted that tech volunteers can be extremely qualified professionals. It’s not at all to say that volunteers aren’t reliable or don’t know what they’re doing – it’s just that they can’t provide the same consistency and robust support that a managed service provider can. So, even though volunteers may be pretty good at answering your SOS calls, it just makes more sense to be proactive – especially in an increasingly digital world.

Let’s look at the leading ways schools can benefit from abandoning volunteer-based, break-fix IT support:

  • Security & Peace of Mind

The cyber climate is more dangerous than ever and it’s evolving by the day. As cybercriminals get more sophisticated, it’s critical that organizations get more vigilant. While your school may have anti-virus and firewall solutions in place, and volunteer support may be able to mitigate minor threats, there’s something to be said for a robust and layered security strategy.

Managed service providers rely on industry best practices to implement proactive cybersecurity strategies and strategic monitoring tools. This kind of security strategy takes pressure off administrators and avoids potentially disastrous situations when volunteers are unavailable. Having a constant eye on the school’s network provides unparalleled peace of mind for busy administrators.

  • Consistency & Predictability

Some of the concern around abandoning volunteer IT support is the potential impact on the budget. Education budgets are already stretched thin and there are rarely surplus funds to finance elaborate technical support. However, partnering with a fair and valuable IT service provider is actually cost-effective in the long run.

First, with managed IT services, schools avoid the downtime associated with tech failures or waiting on volunteer support. With a team of tech experts on standby, problems will be handled more quickly and employees in every department will remain productive.

Second, partnering with a managed service provider offers huge cost predictability potential. Administrators work with providers to determine what’s needed and then they have a predictable monthly cost, which ensures systems stay consistently secure and functional. No surprising tech costs or guesswork when pricing out equipment – an IT partner works to support organizational budgets.

  • Strategic Optimization

Partnering with an MSP provides more than security and support. Teams of IT professionals have extensive experience optimizing tech resources to meet the unique needs of any organization. By examining how a school operates and understanding department workflows, IT providers can help administrators streamline processes and increase efficiency.

For example, email platforms can be optimized to streamline communication between office and teaching staff. Calendar integration tools can help administrators and educators organize meetings and events and keep track of important deadlines and dates. Cloud platforms can help schools organize data, collaborate on projects and reach out to students and families. The possibilities for optimization are truly endless, and having a strategic IT partner to drive that optimization makes all the difference.

  • Continual Development

Finally, in a constantly evolving world of technology, it’s critical to acknowledge that things move fast. In order to keep up, schools need to embrace new resources for learning and educational administration. Partnering with a managed IT service provider is a way of keeping a finger on the pulse of tech development.

A strategic IT partner can continually consult with school administrators to re-evaluate tech strategies and ensure the latest tech capabilities are being utilized to support educational goals. From smart-boards to learning software, having a technology partner on standby helps schools stay consistently connected with technological development.

Making the Switch: How to Transition from Volunteer IT Support to Proactive Managed Services

Understanding the benefits is one thing, but making the transition is an entirely different beast. Many school administrators have understandable concerns about finding a reliable service provider who will meet their needs without overselling. However, there are a few simple strategies that can help administrative teams make informed decisions when it comes to more formal IT support.

Really, it’s is all about creating a ‘needs inventory.’ What does the current infrastructure look like and what does the school need in terms of technology resources? Is there already a reliable network infrastructure or is there a need to start from scratch? Are there dynamic software solutions in place for employees or is there a more casual and scattered approach? Once a school determines what they need from technology, choosing the right provider and resources will be much easier.

However, for administrators who are completely lost on where to start, it’s a great idea to reach out to local IT service providers to get their input on how to best optimize IT for the school setting. Consulting with experts is a great initial way to set a framework for what’s required and strategies for implementation.

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We like tech, it’s what we do. As the holiday shopping season kicks into overdrive, we are bringing you 12 of the most requested, most wanted tech gifts for 2017. Check back each business day between now and December 19th for another must-have tech item and why you should check it out.

Google Home Mini

Google has been hitting the market over the past year with their own devices to rival their competition in the tech market. One of these innovations is the Google Home Mini. The Mini is considerably smaller than their standard Google Home device ($129) and sports a smaller price tag accordingly. The Mini is built with families in mind and works in conjunction with Chromecast to control your TV, stream movies, and send music to your speakers. You can also have the Google Mini play from the device itself.

It recognizes your voice, so multiple users can access their own playlists, calendars, and more with just their voice. It also features hands-free calling for those times when too busy to hold a phone to your ear. The mini can control your lights, thermostat, and more with a voice command, but those require external devices and/or apps.

Overall, for only $49 it does a solid job of bringing your entertainment into the next generation without depleting your rainy-day fund.

Happy Holidays and good luck on the tech hunt from all of us here at Symtec!

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