The Role of VPNs in Your Security Arsenal

Virtual Private Networks or VPNs have been used for over 20 years to provide computer access to corporate networks for employees traveling or working remotely. Their adoption by both corporate and private users has boomed over the past 5 years as awareness has grown about privacy risks.

In fact, “doing it without protection” has taken on new meaning as public WiFi is broadly ubiquitous and heavily used. Personally, I either use Verizon cellular data or I use a VPN if I can’t access a trusted network. And I don’t trust business networks unless I know what they use for security. That means that I use VPNs often when I am working on my laptop.

For those interested in learning a bit more about VPNs, here is a link to a useful articale in PC Magazine – https://www.pcmag.com/roundup/296955/the-best-vpn-services

And feel free to contact me if you are interested in learning more about VPNs and their role in a comprehensive security strategy for your family or your business.


Connected HHI Partners with Verizon for One Talk Business Voice Solutions

Connected HHI is pleased to partner with Verizon Wireless to provide services for One Talk customers in the Lowcountry.  The One Talk voice-over-internet-protocol (VOIP) business phone solution is a natural fit for many businesses in our area.  And combining One Talk with our Always-On Network ensures that your phones and network continue to operate when you lose your primary network connection.  VOIP phones require a reliable and fast network to operate properly and Connected HHI is well positioned to ensure that voice, data, and applications perform optimally for our customers.

For more information on Verizon’s One Talk Solution –   Click Here


Protecting Business Phones From Downtime

Connected HHI is now offering Alway-On service for the new generation of Voice-Over Internet-Protocol (VOIP) phones that are being installed in more and more businesses.  Now your new VOIP phones can be protected from network downtime in the same way that we are protecting internet networks throughout the lowcountry.  One benefit of voice over internet is that we can offer a second internet pathway for your voice traffic if your primary connection fails, keeping your phones up and your business running.


Connected HHI Featured on WHHI Talk of the Town

Joe Chappell of Connected HHI was featured on WHHI’s Talk of the Town program that aired 10/10/17 through 10/17/17.  Joe provided an update on Smart Home Management and reasons that more and more homeowners are adding Smart Home Management capabilities to their homes and rental properties.  You can find a link to the program by clicking HERE.


Sophos XG-105 Security Appliance – Hands On

I researched network security companies for several months before selecting Sophos Ltd as my partner of choice.  The selection was based on a series of demos, analyst reviews, product pricing, and support for a managed service offering.  I installed the Sophos XG-105 security appliance in my lab in January after getting enrolled as a partner and going through basic education on the product line.  Continue reading


Netgear Orbi – Whole Home WiFi That Works

I have installed over 100 WiFi routers in homes and signal coverage is the biggest issue I encounter.  This is especially true in our area due to the sprawling layout of  our homes.  And now that we want fast WiFi connections for our streaming devices wherever we happen to be in or around the house, coverage has become even more important.  Multiple access points and WiFi extenders can work, but aren’t ideal when you and your devices move throughout the home and need to switch WiFi connections.

Netgear and other networking companies have introduced new products that provide 2 or more WiFi devices that operate as a single, coordinated system.  The base unit is connected by wire to your cable modem or router.  The second unit is placed in another area of the home and communicates with the base using a wireless connection.  Both units work together to provide a blanket of WiFi coverage throughout your home.  Homes larger than 5000 sqft  or with special signal challenges may require an additional satellite unit.

Orbi from Netgear has received some of the best reviews and I brought in a set to test. I replaced 2 separate WiFi access points with an Orbi base station and satellite and I am more than pleased with the results.  My WiFi coverage as measured by signal strength and throughput has improved markedly and I no longer need to manually switch WiFi networks when I move around the house.

Installation can be done using the Orbi app on iOS or Android if you have a very basic setup.  I prefer the control that I get from the web-based interface.  Setup took less than 10 minutes and performance has been fantastic.  The only drawback of Orbi over standard WiFi devices is the cost.  The 2 station AC3000 set retails for $379 on Amazon.

If you find yourself with WiFi coverage or throughput challenges, I recommend that you check out Orbi.  As always, please contact me with any questions or to schedule an installation.


Approaching Technology for Home – Incrementalism vs One Big Project

Home improvement projects can usually be divided into those that need to be tackled as one big project and those that can be tackled in pieces.  Remodeling a kitchen is best done as one big project while upgrading the landscaping can be done in smaller chunks over time.  In both cases a master plan is a really good idea – it saves time, minimizes rework, and makes sure that you address the structural issues up front.  Changes to plumbing, electrical, and irrigation are expensive and disruptive when done late in the project.

In most cases, home technology can be added and upgraded incrementally without a cost penalty — as long as you have a plan or road map.  Your technology plan should include the overall scope for your projects – security, control, remote management, lighting, entertainment, and more.  Your scope then helps determine infrastructure requirements and core technology ecosystem.  Infrastructure in most cases consists of a combination of wired and wireless networks that are needed to carry music, video, and instructions throughout your home.  The primary network requirements are capacity and coverage — enough speed everywhere you need it.

Unlike most other home infrastructure, technology has multiple standards and ecosystems.  If you purchase a new lamp, you know that you can take it home and plug it into any standard wall outlet and it will work.  With technology, you need to make choices.  Think PC vs Mac or iPhone vs Android.  Tech ecosystems is a topic for another day, but suffice it to say that you are better off making a choice up front to save time, money, and headaches later.

With your plan in hand and infrastructure choices made, you are in the best position to move forward with confidence and tackle projects as your priorities dictate and your budget allows.

We are here to help at every step of the way, from planning through delivery.


Comfortable In Her Own Home

As a recent widow, I worried about living alone.  Joe Chappell at Connected HHI made me comfortable staying in my home.  I chose SimpliSafe’s security system for ease of use and it performs well and is easy to use.  I travel a fair amount and chose Nest thermostats for convenience and energy savings.  I love that I can see and control everything from my iPhone. I have added lighting control, garage door control, and a keyless lock and everything works from my Apple iPhone.  My next project is cameras for my entry and driveway.

Working with Joe has been a pleasure.  He considers my needs and my budget when recommending options for me to consider.  I was comfortable with the process and I feel comfortable staying in the home I love.

M.A.M.


PCI Compliance – A Primer

If credit and debit cards are important to your business, you need to understand three things:

  • What is PCI Compliance
  • What is your potential cost for Non-Compliance
  • How to be sure that your business stays compliant

This paper will provide a brief overview of these three topics and provide a plan to move forward.Continue reading


Smart Irrigation Control From Rachio

How many times have you gone by a home or business in the rain and the sprinkler is running? Do you ever wonder if you should turn off the sprinkler because it has rained or it is forecast to rain? Do you need your landscaper in order to change your irrigation settings?

Continue reading