Cyber Security- The Ostrich Approach is hurting the world


Image result for ostrich with head in sand



How important is cyber security to you?  You folks in education, and healthcare how about you? IT professionals, I know you have your pretty little firewalls, but seriously does your software update every minute so it catches every threat out there? Perhaps its “good enough”  It’s 2018, in case anyone hasn’t noticed and Cyber Security continues to be a huge issue for every business that has a network. That means EVERY business out there is subject to these threats.

In 2017, hackers stole $172 BILLION dollars from people all over the world according to an article from MIT Technology Review. $19.4 Billion happened in the United States. I am willing to bet that in each of these threats, those pretty little firewalls were up and running and all the lights were flashing that all was good in the world.
The forecast for 2018 isn’t any better. According to Forbes, education and healthcare are going to be big targets this year. Educational institutions lack resources to defend their endpoints. school systems are a lightly secure network of endpoints that contain personally identifiable information on students, parents and staff.
The increased use of IoT in the healthcare industry will also create data security concerns in 2018. In the era of connected devices, the healthcare industry needs to make patient security a top priority by increasing security protocols. To combat this, businesses should look to third-party security providers to encrypt these devices and monitor with live ethical hackers that can actually see an intrusion and catch it BEFORE it infects  your network or brings it down.
So stopping it BEFORE devistation?? What a novel idea.
So why are we taking the Ostrich approach again? The pretty little firewalls we have so much faith in are obviously not getting the job done. Oh, oh wait it’s too expensive, right? Once a school is hacked and the child’s data is in the wrong hands, have you figure out what that childs value is? How much money does it cost you to be down?
Sometimes its expensive to be cheap.  For a few hundred, maybe a few thousand dollars,  you can stop adding to the billions lost. Get a pen test  or have your network monitored.
Anne Tarantino


Velocity Tech Solutions launches their Mugs for Giving Campaign!

Velocity Tech Solutions,  a supplier of Dell Servers is starting the holiday season by giving back to those in need with their Mugs for Giving campaign. Over 50% of the proceeds from the campaign will go to a local charity in Minnesota known as Sharing and Caring Hands.  Velocity Tech Solutions will match every dollar raised! Help us support the cause by purchasing a handcrafted mug made by Deneen Pottery.


How to Clear the Event Log For Dell PowerEdge Models: R710, R810, R910

Hi, I’m Nate with Velocity Tech Solutions in Roseville, MN. I’m here to teach you, how to clear the event log on your Dell R710, R810, and R910 servers, also if you need to get rid of that troubling Amber LCD screen on the front of your server.

When it comes to the 11th generation servers, there are 2 ways to clear the event log. 1 of them does NOT require a restart, which is nice if your server is up and running. If your server is not booting into the OS, or if the iDRAC web interface is not working, there is a 2nd way involving the hardware that requires a restart. Let’s go through each method one at a time.

1st Method: iDRAC web interface.

This method is great if you don’t want to restart your server, your iDRAC is configured with a known IP address, and your machine is up and running. You can do this method without internet access, as long as you can access your server via an IP address.

  1. To do this, the first step is to log into the IP address using your web browser. Mine is set to the default setting, which is
  2. Now you’ll be prompted with your user ID and password for your iDRAC. You should know this information, but if this is your first time accessing your iDRAC this way, the defaults are “root” for the username, and “calvin”, all lowercase, for the password. Make sure the drop-down box says “this iDRAC” and then click submit.
  3. At the next screen, if you have never been to this web interface before, it will most likely ask you to change the default username and password. If you see that screen, do this now and go through your typical company’s protocol for storing and remembering passwords.
  4. After the login, you will come to this screen (main page for iDRAC web interface). You need to navigate to….The Dashboard.
  1. a) On the right side of the dashboard, there are a few quick launch tags.

Click on View system event log.

  1. Here’s a chance to see what is in your event log. Just make sure that nothing in the log is unexpected.
  2. Click “clear log”. At this point, your event log should be cleared. You can log out of the iDRAC if you have nothing else to do here. Wait a few minutes, and the LCD screen on the front of your machine should go from Amber to the standard blue, indicating that there are no persistent errors at the moment. If after a few minutes, the screen is still amber, make sure to go through the errors using the buttons on the screen. If you are still getting an error, it could be that the problem is persistent and something in your machine is not ideal and needs to be fixed before clearing the event log will bring the screen back to standard blue. An example of this would be if your raid cables were missing or plugged into the wrong ports. In that instance, the LCD Amber error light will not go away until the machine has detected new Raid cables in the machine and then the machine is rebooted again.

One last thing to note here is that if you open the lid on your server, but have no other errors when your machine boots up, you will get an Amber LCD screen for only a minute while the machine boots and the error will say “intrusion”, but this will go away after about a minute and the LCD screen will go back to blue.

2nd Method: Hardware way, using Ctrl + E on bootup

  1. For this method, the first thing we need to do is restart the server. Make sure you have your company’s permission before you continue.
  2. Once you are rebooting, you will see a splash screen for either Dell or the maker of your machine.
  3. Then you will get to the next POST screen, which displays all the information of your machine and starts listing options. The option you are looking for will say “Press Ctrl + E to enter remote access setup within 5 seconds…” at the bottom of your screen. Press Ctrl + E immediately when you see that.
  4. If it worked, you will enter this screen. Simply use the down arrow key to navigate all the way to the bottom of the list where it says (THIS). Hit enter.
  5. After 10 seconds, you will be given two options, to either view or clear the event log. You can clear it if you want, but this is a GREAT opportunity to see what is in the event log. If you are having issues with your server hardware, this is a great place to start looking, but if you simply need to clear it, just use the clear option and hit enter. Clearing the log should be instantaneous.
  6. Once it’s cleared, hit escape until you exit the Remote Access screen. At this point, your machine will continue to boot up as normal. Your LCD screen should go back to the standard blue soon if there are no persistent errors. If it remains Amber after a minute, use the arrows on the LCD screen to see what errors are still coming up.

This finalizes the steps you should take to clear the event log on the Dell PowerEdge Models: R710, R810, R910

Stay tuned to see our video on these methods! Check out our website:     


I Always Feel Like, Sombody’s Watching Me

And in some cases, that’s a good thing.

This is not a case of paranoia, (it’s not a case of being stuck in 90’s music either) this is the 21st century and it’s scary out there.

Network security for corporations is growing to be the number one issue that often times companies can’t manage because it remains a low priority. THAT statement makes no sense.

As of 2015 $24- $120 BILLON corporate dollars have been lost on viruses (including ransom, heart bleed, black energy and many more) and thats only whats been reported. You too can be part of the billions should you continue to make network security something “you will get to”.

You say you have invested thousands of dollars on your firewall? Ok that’s a start, but will your firewall know enough to shut down a port at 3 am when 8gb of your customers data (including names addresses and social security numbers) is flying out of your network? Firewalls are smart, but not THAT smart.

80% of your company’s threat are the folks that work there. Have you ever seen someone charge their cell phone in their workstation? This was after they plugged it in to the kiosk at Wal-Mart to print of their pictures. This is after they posted a picture of their lunch on Facebook. EWWWW, there isn’t enough sanitizer in the world to remove all of those germs.

And if the wasted billions of dollars, the Wal-Mart thing and Facebook thing aren’t enough to scare you, then this should scare you; less than 1% of hacks and crimes are reported. No company wants you to think they are unsafe. If you knew there was even a remote possiblity they were unsecure, you would not do business with them.

Check out the Cyber- attacks from October of 2016. Courtesy of

The best way to keep your data safe, is by having it actively monitored. Yes it sounds a little 1990s, but there is still something to be said about humans actually doing some work. Remember that 8gb of data that is flying out of your network with your customers information? Someone watching your network would shut it down, that $10,000 firewall and AI, might let it go since those appliances can be compromised by a high schooler with a months hacking experience

Call or email us for help on this on this huge undertaking. It is easier than you think

(651)313-5220 or (651)313-5236

Continue reading

An additional External Pen Test is a no-brainer for every company, no matter the size, for 2017

Account Executive at Velocity Tech Solutions, Inc.

Let’s face it. You cannot turn on any major media outlet today without hearing about “hacking.”  Whether it’s alleged hacks to affect an election, to attempt to take over a power grid, to steal health care records and information, or simply for someone to fill up their gas tank on your dime through simple identity-theft level hacking – cyber security is an issue for everyone everywhere!

We read about biometrics and dual authentication for everything from a POS purchase to

logging into a mobile device for work.  This is being done for good reason. (Keep in mind, that some of the most embarrassing and comprehensive hacks tend to go unreported.)  Even the “alleged” hack of the Central Bank of Russia, which of course took place during an “unspecified date of 2016” paid an alleged bounty of approximately $31mm USD to the attackers.

We read about terms like a “mega breach” where accounts are hacked in the tens of millions of users for applications such as Dailymotion which is of course much more pertinent to my friends using Android Apps or Google Play for video sharing sites such as Dailymotion (82.5 million users compromised in 2016.)

We read about these breach events weekly, and yet many of us do nothing because we do not know where to begin.

Even if you are in a current contract with a firm that is monitoring your network, or you have created on site, providing 24 hour active monitoring [with real, living, breathing humans in a SOC in addition to AI and automation and scanning etc.] it would be well worth your time to, at a minimum, have another party perform an External Pen Test to ensure that you are getting the level of protection that you are purchasing.  This is also highly relevant to industries that are the most highly regulated (ie. HIPAA, NCUA, FDIC, GLBA, FFIEC, etc.) and must avoid any potential threat of impropriety or conflict of interest.

So, how does it work?  For those of you who already know, contact me for a quote.

For everyone else, begin by gathering a quote from a trusted expert/vendor. They should quickly and easily be able to provide you the cost and timeline for what type of expense would be involved in a quick external pen test.  Many of these firms should specialize in ethical website hacking and other cyber security issues such as documentation/policy writing, social engineering and employee awareness training.

In other words, you want to work a firm who specializes in Cyber Security. It must be their focus, and not something they offer “on the side” or “as a service.”  If they work with a third party, be sure that this is disclosed up front.  Any reputable company will proudly mention the name of their trusted partner.

You’ll need to provide the amount of Public IP addresses you have. They will then get you a quote.  Should you come to agreement on pricing and choose to
proceed with the test – this is where things get exciting!!!!!!


Image Source

Growing up, we watched Spy vs Spy, Get Smart, James Bond, Burn Notice, Alias, Hackers, Nikita, The Matrix, Mission Impossible, The Net, or any other series/movie where anything from espionage to hacking are the goal. Imagine you’re an ethical spy/hacker.  This generation has Elliott, a cyber-security engineer by day and vigilante hacker by night (“Mr. Robot”) to show us how the underbelly of our society and the dark net operates.  When you perform your pen test, you can assume your favorite persona to investigate your network.

What the penetration test will provide is a combination of the following:

Discovery – security analysts will gather and analyze information about your company.  They will thoroughly test and identify all internet entry points while they prep for enumeration.

Enumeration – here analysts identify targets which were identified during the discovery phase to determine what type of host connection (i.e. web server, firewall, router, etc.) and operating systems (version and patch level) are in use.

Automated Scanning – security analysts use a myriad of tools to determine which potential vulnerabilities to exploit.  Discovery and Enumeration phases allow the analysts to dial in the scanning tools to target their efforts, improve feedback, and rule out unnecessary scanning.

Intrusion Analysis – this is where the analysts provide the lion-share of their efforts.  All results are collected to help you design a network attack plan.  Scanning results are verified so false positives are ruled out and false negatives are explored.  Breaches of your network’s defense system are also analyzed and a mitigation process is developed.

Results – For many companies, something such as a simple patch download will suffice to repair a chain of vulnerabilities.  However, more often than not, the solution is more complex.  Based on what findings are presented in your report, you will now have the knowledge on HOW to protect your network against malicious hackers outside your network perimeter.

An External Pen Test gives you a starting point.  We all know we are vulnerable, but many of us lack the knowledge of where we are vulnerable.  Schedule your quote today to review actual steps you can take to better protect your network for 2017.

Request Quote

Next topic: Internal Testing and Vulnerability Assessments from within your network.


An Udderly Incredible Job!

I like to think about the service part of our company as “saving asses among the masses” as we provide IT equipment THAT fast. I can now say with pride that we save the “rumps of every roast”

Yesterday, we had a call from a large farm in Arizona: 1300 cows could not eat.  The server running their feeding machine was down. It’s pretty hard to find a nice green pasture in Arizona.


So we got on it, built a server put it on a plane for same day delivery. They received it about midnight plugged it in, moved their drives over and the state of Arizona had 1300 happy cows. It really MOOOVED me when we got the call, our rep said the customer said “you guys performed magic”.

Think this through, the STEAKS are high. We hate to MILK this example of how good we are, because I know it’s just GRAZY talk.

I hope you find my post AMOOOSING. Thanks to Stotz Dairy for being a great customer. Seriously, never forget to support your local farm.

Don’t let this go in one ear and out the udder. Redundancy is of most importance! I am NOT STEERING you in the wrong direction. In your organization don’t take for granted that your hardware won’t fail, your software won’t get corrupted and your firewall will take care of all of your network security.

However, if any or all of the above happens, call Velocity Tech Solutions, we’ll be there when you need us.  We are available 24×7.

I’m officially done with this post for heifer and heifer amen.


How critical is your companies data and what is it’s value to you?

This article was posted in a local Minneapolis paper last week. Sit back and think about your own company’s data and how much that is worth. Think about liability and what that might cost. What happened at Fairview Health Services isn’t uncommon.

There isn’t a one size fits all solution, but research what fits best for your company. Read this article and think about what a disaster like this could cost you.


Whistleblower: Fairview Health Services’ IT system keeps crashing



Fairview Health Services started small.

Founded in 1906 by a group of Minneapolis Lutherans, the hospital provided care to the city’s Norwegian immigrant community.

Over the past century, Fairview’s grown into a behemoth. Still headquartered in Minneapolis, the nonprofit healthcare organization today employs almost 25,000 staffers at various hospitals, dozens of clinics, 50-plus senior housing locations, and nearly 30 retail pharmacies.

That kind of expansion doesn’t come without growing pains. And not just when it comes to its clunky impending merger with University of Minnesota Physicians, or the game of musical chairs playing out at its president and CEO position.

The hospital system’s IT department is regularly straining to keep its systems online — and sometimes scrambling to get them working again at all.

For many years the nonprofit used global conglomerate Hitachi’s computer storage system. Hitachi served as an electronic warehouse for the volumes of medical records generated by 70,000 inpatients and 6.5 million outpatient visits each year.


The importance of a health care provider’s computer storage cannot be overstated.

It’s the foundation of the inverted IT triangle, with streams of data funneling downward through applications, to the server, to the network. The storage system is assigned with receiving, compressing, and saving all that information, like a patient’s medications history or the latest lab test results.

“Storage is critical,” says an IT professional familiar with Fairview’s system who spoke to City Pages on the condition of anonymity because he’s still employed in the field. “In compressing all that information up front, it’s working super hard and must be 100 percent active and performing functionally. Otherwise, you can have problems.”

In the fall of 2015 Fairview installed a new storage system. Hitachi’s successor, EMC, a company owned by the multinational corporation Dell, supposedly would be a state-of-the-art replacement. But the Dell EMC system is having stubborn problems that are affecting other crucial IT components.

According to internal Fairview documents, glitches related to the EMC storage system are limiting care givers’ access to Epic, a data system in use at Fairview and many other American hospitals. Epic’s applications are responsible for everything from registering a patient and scheduling blood work to fulfilling pharmacy orders.

In some instances, Fairview staff have intermittent access to the software. In others, chronic issues cause the entire system to be shut down.

And that, in turn, is creating issues for Fairview and its patient caretakers, according to documents obtained by City Pages, and interviews with current employees at the hospital system, who all agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity for fear of professional repercussions.

One employee has reached out to former Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch.


“I can confirm I have met with one of the employees, the whistleblower, if you will, who is pursuing the whistleblower matter,” Hatch says.

Hatch added that he was not personally handling the employee’s case, and said he had “forwarded on the [employee’s] message to people in the state government.”

That employee, a veteran Fairview IT worker, says under its old storage system with Hitachi, the hospital chain had one across-the-board IT system outage in 12 years. Since switching to EMC in fall of 2015, it’s had three crashes in one year.

The staffer gives an example of a random hospital patient who checks in at a Fairview hospital. The patient’s name is introduced to the system, where health care professionals can access or add to his or her medical records. If there’s a hiccup somewhere within the larger IT system, Epic can often take the brunt of it. If Epic’s not available, Fairview staff are back to pen and paper.

“So in other words,” the staffer says, “you can’t pull people’s information who are at the hospitals or clinics. So there’s the potential for an impact for whatever they’re going to have done.”

The story of Fairview’s IT problems begins almost two years ago. With its existing Hitachi system needing an upgrade, Fairview was in the market for a new deal. Tasked with finding it was the nonprofit’s newly hired vice president of infrastructure Don Tierney.

This was no small decision. Nor would it come cheap. The system, for instance, would have to fluently interface with Fairview’s more than 1,500 computer applications. The storage hardware and accompanying software had a total price tag of roughly $3 million.

Various companies courted Fairview and Tierney: Hitachi, IBM, Computex and Pure Storage, and a company called EMC. The nonprofit’s IT staff favored sticking with Hitachi and springing for an upgrade.

Tierney awarded the contract to EMC.

“[Tierney] basically said to us, ‘This is what we’re going to get, and you guys don’t have a choice,'” says a Fairview employee. “I have to think they now, at least somewhat, regret that decision. Because the product that they bought wasn’t ready, wasn’t fully baked to handle what it was purchased to do.”

Among the incidents seen since the storage switch was a mid-April ordeal lasting parts of two days, in which “several of our technology systems, including Epic… were behaving inconsistently and a major outage was declared,” according to an April 22 email from Fairview Chief Information Officer Jacques Alistair, Tierney, and another Fairview vice president, Julie Flaschenriem.

The group email, addressed to the Physician and Ambulatory Informatics committee and Nursing leadership, among others, says “intermittent access problems” began “around 2:30 p.m.” It goes on to say that “[a]t 4:50 p.m. access to Epic was disabled for all users; for patient care, it was riskier to have inconsistent access versus no access to Epic.”

The problems began to get reconciled “at 6:30 p.m. and the last hospital finished their reconciliation processes around 11 p.m.,” the email continues.

In this episode, the “major outage” resulted in “access to Epic to freeze” — meaning doctors and nurses couldn’t open the software program they use almost constantly — according to an internal email, which also cites problems with “users’ access, inability to log in and system slowness.”

Tierney would admit as much months later in a Fairview document, which begins, “When systems — Epic or otherwise — are down, taking care of patients becomes more difficult.”

He continues: “IT fully recognizes just how disruptive outages are for everyone, especially to those providing patient care.”

An unreliable IT system raises the potential of compromised care, according to a former Fairview nurse, who worked for the hospital system for eight years starting in the mid-2000’s.

“In the [Epic] system, it does everything for us,” she says. “For the office visit, we enter in all the patient’s vitals, the history, the lab orders are ordered that way, any types of scans are ordered. It’s all electronic surgery scheduling.”

She gives the example of waiting for blood readings for enzymes on a patient who might have experienced a “cardiac event.” In that situation, there’s not a moment to spare.

“If you can’t get that reported to you right away,” the nurse says, “that the patient had a cardiac event — and the Epic is down, and you can’t see it and the person in the lab can’t see it — it wastes time. And it puts the life of the patient in danger.”

Adds a current Fairview employee, “However many years ago, everything was put down on paper. When there’s outages, every clinic, every hospital has downtime procedures when everything is written down by hand. So basically after the computer systems come back up, [staff has] has to go back and key in all that information. But if something gets missed, something gets thrown away, a paper gets lost, it’s kind of a bad deal.”

Hatch, who has reviewed some of the same internal documents obtained by City Pages, agrees.

“You’ve got a major hospital with 20,000 people working there,” he says. “You want to make sure everything is operating in the patients’ best interests. These communications and failures should raise concern.”

In recent months Fairview’s IT issues haven’t improved.

On September 1, “a major outage was declared” just after 9 a.m., an email written later that same day by Tierney acknowledges.

“I’d like to begin by recognizing and apologizing for the difficulties this — and all — system outages cause,” it says. “We know outages cause tremendous complications related to patient care and satisfaction, and for many of you, they make your jobs more difficult.

“Today’s event was a result of too much activity occurring on recently implemented storage system.”

Internal documents show the “event” started “around 8:30 a.m.”

Just after 9:00 a.m. that morning, Fairview IT cardiology manager Patty Vondlerstine wrote, “Users can’t access Epic,” tagging her email “High” importance.

The email chain in the ensuing hours instructs staff to contact Fairview “Operations” for any closing of departments such as “Clinics, OR’s, etc.” It also instructs Fairview’s pharmacies, “for patient safety, [that they] do not update medication records for patients who have moved location” since the outage began.

The issues lasted for hours. All Epic users weren’t granted full access to the system until 7:05 p.m. — more than 10 hours after issues were first reported — according to one of Tierney’s September 1 emails.

“Having to write everything down then input it into the system once it’s back up, I think, really opens you up for human error,” says the former Fairview nurse, who’s worked in the field for three decades. “You can’t order labs electronically so you have to pull a paper lab order sheet, write it down, send somebody to the lab to get this done. Then they’re writing this down. And you just hope everything will get re-entered the way it should be when it goes back up.”

The nurse calls her former employer’s IT problems “a huge deal” for those tasked with on-the-floor patient care.

“I can’t come up with a specific life-threatening situation off the top of my head,” she says, “but if you can’t verify who somebody is, their vitals, what medications they need, what the labs say, if somebody doesn’t get something they were supposed to or if they get something they weren’t supposed to, it sets you up for a huge liability and the possibility of a lawsuit.”

Fairview declined to get into specifics about its IT system and its outages during the past year. Camie Melton Hanily, director of communications and public affairs for the hospital system, sent the following statement in response to City Pages’ questions:

“Patient safety is always our top priority. Like other health care organizations, we have well established plans and processes for care continuity in instances when a particular tool or system is unavailable. It is not our policy to comment on specific patient or employee circumstances.”