January 2016
 In this issue. . .


2016 article on highest cyber risks

Texas Tech Summit invite:

How to take notes on your Surface device

Innovations you'll be using next year

Spotting the signs of a B2B scam

Business Continuity Tip

Encryption: How To and Why It's Important

iPhone and iPad App of the Month

Cartoon & Quote

  Business Continuity Tip

Prepare for Flu Season

Flu season can have a big impact on a business. Every year, 5-20% of the population becomes infected, resulting in nearly $16 billion in lost earnings, according to the Center for Disease Control.

Fortunately, employers can play an important role in preventing flu, helping to protect employees’ health and reducing losses in productivity and revenue.

Click here to download the Influenza Checklist for tips and suggestions on how to prepare employees for the season ahead and respond in the event of an outbreak.

Encryption: How To and Why It's Important
used with permission from Norton by Symantec
by Nadia Kovacs

Encryption is the process of protecting personal data, often with a form of "secret code," so that it cannot be read by anyone who doesn't have the code key. Today, huge amounts of personal information are managed online, via computer applications, and stored in the cloud, or servers with an ongoing connection to the Web.

It's nearly impossible to do business of any kind without personal data ending up in a networked computer system, whether you are a buyer, seller, private citizen, or major corporation. So why should you get serious about encryption?

Why Encryption Matters

Why encrypt? Here are five good reasons:

1. Internet privacy concerns are real. In one recent survey, 92 percent of respondents said they worried about their online privacy. Encryption helps protect privacy by turning personal information into "for your eyes only" messages intended only for the parties that need them — and no one else.

Read more

  iPhone and iPad
    Apps of the Month

Bandsintown - this app looks at your music collection and then matches up concerts that are coming to areas near you!

Just for Laughs

Quote of the Month

 "Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant filled with odd little waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don't always like." 

- Lemony Snicket


Hello and Thank you! MergerTree is coming off a record year and we owe it all to our customers! Our service team has been busy and committed to providing excellent service and our management team has been refining our own internal systems and procedures in order to bring even better customer service.

Our team has been training and keeping abreast of the latest in cybersecurity, from understanding the best practices in protecting data and networks to being aware of the current threats. In fact 90% of our staff has been accepted into the Houston InfraGard. http://www.infragardhouston.org/.

We are still seeing a significantly elevated level of cyber-attacks. We have seen evidence of LinkedIn accounts being compromised and more ransomware and continued email phishing attacks.

Both Fortinet and Juniper have released alarming information regarding potential remote access back doors!

All of this making it ever more clear that we must remain vigilant in our security stance and continued education of staff and family is critical.

MergerTree is now offering 24x7x365 Threat Response. Our goal is to keep our clients' networks secured and available!

Thanks again for your continued support.

We are looking forward to more success, for our clients and MergerTree, in 2016!


  2016 article on highest cyber risks

Take time to review my article Top Cyber Threats for 2016.

Many executives are concerned about confidential data being saved to free cloud storage. We have seen cases where employees used free online storage to share company confidential information. Free cloud services do not have your security in mind. This puts the confidential information at risk as well as potential vector for Ransomware or other mal-ware.

Do you have a WISP (Written Information Security Policy) that prohibits this type of activity? We can consult with you to help reduce risk and minimize these attack vectors through training and governance.

  Texas Tech Summit invite:

You're invited to the 7th Annual Texas Technology Summit on February 9, 2016 at the NRG Center in Houston, Texas.

On behalf of MergerTree, we'd like to offer you a complimentary ticket to attend this industry leading event.

Register NOW with the code mergertree to reserve your spot at this year's conference!
The theme for 2016 is "Conquering Your IT and Security Objectives."

Each New Year brings a new set of challenges to our businesses. Topics that will be discussed include: Risk Based Security, Breach, Shadow IT, Bandwidth, Cloud, Collaboration, Analytics...  the list goes on. At the Texas Technology Summit we will provide an array of educational seminars and personal access to premium exhibitors. Attend the conference to get the right tools and make vital connections to best prepare your company for the broad spectrum of ever-changing technology trends.

Conference Highlights:

  • Keynote Speaker:
    David LaPlante, CISO - City of Houston
  • Five Concurrent Educational sessions
  • Peer networking
  • Over 1300 registered attendees in 2015!
  • Specialty Theaters for IT Professionals including specific Security, Storage, and Executive Sessions
  • Exhibit hall with 65+ vendors
  • Cocktail reception & tons of prizes
  • Trip for 2 to a destination of your choice (Value up to $2,500)

Sponsors and Exhibitors
On the showroom floor, you will see demonstrations of the latest in IT. We attract the most progressive solutions providers and present attendees with the opportunity to interact with the IT elite throughout the conference.

We look forward to seeing you at the show!

  How to take notes on your Surface device
used with permission from the Microsoft Devices Blog

Writing a report, research paper or even a novel is easy on your Surface.

The Surface family of devices is known for its versatility, and nowhere is that more evident than in the many ways you can interact with your Surface. Whether it's through the keyboard, Surface Pen, or by voice, you can always connect with loved ones, friends, and colleagues.

Read more

  Innovations you'll be using next year
used with permission from HP Technology at Work

As 2015 draws to a close, it's time to take a look at some of the innovative tech primed to make a splash in the New Year. While some of these tech trends have already begun to garner attention, what will really launch them into the public consciousness is the way each seeks to rewrite the rules for its industry in order to do something new—from improving bad cell phone reception to reinventing 3D printing for a new generation of businesses.

Read more

  Spotting the signs of a B2B scam
used with permission from FTC Business Center Blog, by Lesley Fair

A small business or nonprofit gets what appears to be an invoice for a listing in an online yellow pages directory. On the face of it, it looks legit. It includes the name of an employee at the office, a copy of what the listing looks like, the "walking fingers" symbol associated with directories — and a demand for the $486.95 the business or nonprofit supposedly owes for the listing. What's really going on? As an FTC case against Canadian scammers suggests, chances are it's a fraud targeting small businesses, doctors' offices, retirement homes, churches, etc. And your company or community group could be at risk.

Read more


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