President Michael Stackhouse earns SVSU Best in Business Award

SAMSA President Mike Stackhouse was honored by the College of Business and Management at Saginaw Valley State University in March, with the Outstanding Graduate Student award for 2015.  After completing two years of study for a Master’s in Business Administration with a 4.0 GPA, Mike says “I am very blessed and grateful for the opportunity to have the time to focus on my studies.  My impression before entering the program was ‘I probably already know most of this,’ but I can truly state that I learned a significant amount in each and every course.  We have actually implemented several new management and marketing programs at SAMSA as a result of the MBA program at SVSU.”  With just a little more free time now, Mike plans to continue focusing on growing SAMSA and also spending more time with family, including a new granddaughter.

RS640639_CBM Awards 3-17 by Michael Randolph DSC_4851-lpr

Office 365 and Business Solutions

Tech Group Manager Ellen Mockridge and Customer Pleaser Jody Adams recently completed a Microsoft training event which focused on the needs of Small and Medium Businesses (SMB’s) related to email and office collaboration.  The primary Microsoft solutions that were discussed were Skype, Microsoft Azure, and Office/365, which is the new “cloud version” of Microsoft Office.

These SMB solutions help businesses with collaboration in real time and staying connected with employees as well as clients.  Ellen commented, “I feel the Azure backup solution would provide a more stable backup/DR (Disaster Recovery) environment for SAMSA’s customers.   Also for those SAMSA clients who currently have VMware, the migration to Azure is free.”

Jody said “One thing I thought was so cool is the collaborating ability. Office online allows multiple users to create, view and edit documents at the same time.”

Click here for more information about how SAMSA can help your office improve its collaborating capability and much more!

Office 365 Training

Keeping Our Edge

 

Conferences help SAMSA continue to offer the newest and most secure technologies to our clients.

phpworld2015Lead developers Josh and Steve recently attended a conference in Washington D.C. to learn about new programs and techniques for web development.. During the week long conference they had the opportunity to attend sessions on various topics, including

  • Object Orientated Programming Advanced Techniques: Magic Methods.
  • WordPress API
  • Zend Skeleton: Aapplication
  • Application Security Using Expose Intrusion Detection
  • PHP Standard Recommendations,  Tools & Application
  • Building Testable Extensions
  • Modernizing WordPress Development
  • Debugging Effectively
  • WordPress Hooks, Actions, and Filters

Midland Cancer Services Fundraiser

Representatives from SAMSA attended today’s 24th Annual Holiday Luncheon & Style Show, a fundraising event for Cancer Services of Midland. Over 300 attendees included survivors, volunteers, staff, friends and family at the Midland Country Club. Proceeds from ticket sales, raffle prizes and a silent auction will help local families dealing with cancer. What a great cause!

Pros and Cons of Upgrading to Windows 10

Check out this great article in WSJ, which identifies some pros and cons of upgrading to Windows 10.  Here is a summary of what we found:

  • The “Start Menu” is back!
  • There is no hurry to update.  Windows 10 is free for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users for one year (updating more than a year from now will cost you $120)
  • Upgrading won’t negatively impact your data
  • Gamers need not worry about upgrading, DirectX 12 is included in Windows 10
  • Performance improvements including faster start up time and better battery life for mobile devices
  •  Media Center is no longer supported, and will be removed
  • Microsoft may share some of your usage preference data
  • Microsoft is still working out bugs for some hardware drivers

For those computer users who can wait to upgrade, SAMSA’s advice is to let the dust settle a bit.  For those who are chomping at the bit and can’t wait, just be aware that there may be some bumps in the road initially, although we expect Windows 10 to smooth out in the next 90 days or so.

For our clients in Michigan’s Tri Cities region, SAMSA will be offering free Windows 10 training classes – dates to be announced shortly.

Welcome Our New Team Member

We have affectionately named her position “Customer Pleaser”, because that is Jody’s specialty.

Jody Adams, Customer Pleaser
Jody Adams, Customer Pleaser

SAMSA is proud to announce a new addition to the team, Jody Adams! Jody comes to us from the Mail Room Service Center in Saginaw, where she held various positions over the past 23 years including most recently, general manager. Filling a sales and marketing position at SAMSA, we have affectionately named her position “Customer Pleaser”, because that is Jody’s specialty.

“As a longtime customer of SAMSA, (over 13 years) – I am very excited to be part of the team that I witnessed provide excellent service and support over the years. I do believe the purpose of a support business such as SAMSA is to make businesses run more smoothly – and that is something that SAMSA is great at! I am passionate about customer service and excited for this amazing opportunity to help others be successful in their business.”

Like most Michiganders, Jody enjoys hunting, fishing and being outside with her husband of 28 years and her three (soon to be four) grandchildren. We are delighted to have her helping us provide the best possible service to our clients!

SAMSA Continues to Support CAN Council Annual Golf Outing

17th Annual Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) Golf Outing

SAMSA is proud to help sponsor the 17th Annual Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) Golf Outing for the second year running. Join us and the CAN Council on Monday, July 20th at the Saginaw Valley Public Golf Course (formerly Bay City Country Club) for golfing, food, prizes and more!

The event will contribute to the continued success of the Children’s Advocacy Centers in Bay & Saginaw counties where law enforcement, child protection, mental health, medical, victim advocacy and law professionals work together to investigate abuse, help children heal, and hold offenders accountable.

SAMSA is the dinner sponsor and volunteering at the event. We encourage our vendors and patrons to support the outing by golfing or sponsoring a hole, or both!

For more information or to register, call CAN Council Great Lakes Bay Region at (989) 752-7226, email Cindy Morley at CMORLEY@CANCOUNCIL.ORG or visit CANCOUNCIL.ORG.

For more information about SAMSA’s involvement, call (989) 790-0507 or email INFO@SAMSA.COM.

High-tech thieves target keyless entry cars

WNEM TV 5

Your new vehicle’s security may be truly high-tech, but thieves are exploiting a feature that might make you rethink where you’re putting your key fob. Car keys may one day become a thing of the past. More and more car manufacturers are equipping their new rides with keyless entry technology.

Juan Olivarez, who drives a 2014 Chevy Impala, never has to pull his key fob from his pocket.

“Push to start, you know, only way to go,” Olivarez said.

But as technology makes life easier, take note: Thieves are out there to mess life up.

All they need is some tech know-how and a radio amplifier to trick your car into believing they have the fob.

Keyless cars broadcast a low-frequency signal to recognize when the key is nearby, and when it is, the car will unlock and start. But power amplifier devices can amplify the distance the signal searches. So if your car’s outdoors and your key fob is in your home, crooks can break in and take what’s inside.

Saginaw County Undersheriff Phil Hart said it’s happened in Mid-Michigan.

“There was no sign of forced entry. They didn’t know how anybody got in. We checked with the owners. They still had possession of the key itself, the fob, so this is the only way it potentially could have happened,” Hart said.

Power amplifiers can be purchased for as little as $20. Eric Richards is a tech expert who works for SAMSA in Midland and said there’s not much you can do about it.

“The only way to stop that is to shut the device off. There’s no way to shut that off without removing the battery and taking your key fob apart,” Richards said.

So next time you push to start, remember high-tech thieves always have their engines running.

“It’s pretty crazy out there this time and age,” Olivarez said.

Experts add if you’d like an added layer of protection, you can store your key fob in your microwave or refrigerator, and the metal casing typically stops the signal.

But maybe in a more practical note, the undersheriff said just make sure not to leave any valuables in your car at night.

 

Tech Support Scams

Fake Warning

You’re browsing the web, maybe checking your email or updating Facebook when a message appears: Your computer may be infected. Please call the following number for Technical Support. The exact message can vary, but the end result is the same: scam artists are using scare tactics to convince you to pay for so-called “tech support” to fix your computer. These technicians are usually based in a foreign call center and will assure you that they can fix your computer for a “modest” ($199 and up, usually) fee. At best, these people may only take your money while convincing you that they’ve repaired your computer. At worst, they install background software to spy on your computer while they attempt to steal any and all financial information they can get their hands on.

These scammers make their profits by targeting the not so tech-savvy with tactics meant to confuse and scare. The best way to combat this is with knowledge, so please help spread awareness and you might just save a friend or family member from being scammed out of their hard earned money.

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Concern Grows Over Home Depot Security Breach

With Home Depot added to the growing list of major companies who’ve experienced data breaches, customers are becoming more uneasy about their security. Jeff Alles, Network Consultant at SAMSA, speaks with WNEM News about Home Depot’s security breach and what individuals can do to protect themselves.

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