Digium adds new product line of budget-friendly IP phones for Asterisk

Digium A30

On February 14th, 2018, Digium announced their latest product, the A-Series IP phone, aimed at the budget-conscious business.

These phones were designed to work with your Asterisk IP PBX, including our personal favorite flavor, FreePBX. The line includes 4 models ranging from an entry level to an executive phone.

The combination of open source Asterisk and the Digium A-Series IP phones enables you to create a customized communications solution on a budget. Standard features, such as call waiting, call transfer, and auto-answer, make them an affordable option to complete to your Asterisk-based phone system. With four models to choose from, you can find the handset that is right for each of your users – from the receptionist to the CEO. Everyone in your organization will enjoy the simplicity of the A-Series IP phones for Asterisk.

Keep your project costs to a minimum without sacrificing quality. The A-Series IP phones are equipped with full-color LCD screens, HD Voice and multi-line functionality, giving you the most value for your budget. Each model supports Power over Ethernet (PoE) and features electronic hook switch (EHS) capabilities, and most models offer gigabit passthrough ports to support advanced network needs.

The D-Series will continue to fill out the Digium offerings and are supported with Switchvox.

Model features at a glance:

The Digium A-Series IP Phones for Asterisk include the following models:

  • A30 – An executive-level gigabit phone with 6 line registrations, full-color LCD display, a scroll key for accessing up to 45 contacts, and 2 switched 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet ports.
  • A25 – A mid-level gigabit phone with 4 line registrations, two full-color LCD displays, a scroll key for accessing up to 30 contacts, and 2 switched 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet ports.
  • A22 – An entry-level gigabit phone with 2 line registrations, a full-color LCD display, and 2 switched 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet ports.
  • A20 – An entry-level value phone with 2 line registrations, a full-color LCD display, and 2 switched 10/100 Mbps Ethernet ports.

Homeland Secure IT is a Digium and Switchvox partner. If your Upstate / Greenville South Carolina based business is considering a new IP based phone system, please reach out to us by calling 864-979-1224 or use our CONTACT FORM for more information.


Meltdown and Spectre CPU design flaws – massive security vulnerabilities for your business

What ever you do - don't panic!

Whatever you do – Don’t panic…

The IT big news in 2018 has been about Meltdown and Spectre, two CPU design flaws that affect virtually every modern Intel processor with the exception of the Intel Itanium and Intel Atom prior to 2013.

These flaws affect desktop computers, notebook & laptops, tablets, mobile phones, servers and even hosted servers “in the cloud”.

What do you have to lose if you have an unpatched OS and a vulnerable processor? Literally, everything.  Between the two, data can be leaked through various means.

So what do we do?

Right now, we are told it is NOT being exploited in the wild. But there’s no guarantee that it is not happening, or will not begin to be in the very near future by opportunistic hackers ready to make a dollar or two and create havoc. So, we must do everything we can to help protect ourselves.

As soon as patches are available from your OS provider, they must be installed.  And BIOS patches from your system manufacturer must be installed if required. Unfortunately, these patches are not available for the majority of users, though they are in rapid development by manufacturers. Continuing to check may be your best bet.
If you use a patch management system like AutoTask Endpoint Manager (AEM), this may be leveraged by your IT provider to expedite the updates.

The bad news (there’s worse news?) – There may be a downside to the patches – there is a good chance that the security enhancements will cause systems to slow. Probably not enough for higher end systems users to notice, but those using the older machines or who opted to employ under-powered or budget processors may see significant changes.

In the mean-time, keeping all updates on your firewalls, workstations, servers, and using trusted software with main-stream anti-virus is wise, as well as using caution with attachments.

In reality, this is business as usual, you should always be on guard.

If you would like to know more, visit https://meltdownattack.com/ or CONTACT US if you would prefer to talk with someone in person, on the phone or in email who cares about your small and medium business security here in the Upstate of South Carolina. We can provide you with a managed services solution that will keep your computers up to date and monitored 24/7.

Avast’s CCleaner distributing malware

What ever you do - don't panic!

Whatever you do – Don’t panic…

This is a shocking bit of news. The popular “CCleaner” application from Avast which is used by millions of people, may have been distributing malware via a backdoor.

Just as shocking is the fact that Avast didn’t notify users. (Avast is security software company and provider of anti-virus/anti-malware products).

An update has been released, however. You should install if it you have not.

Here’s information from another article on the subject:

Users of Avast-owned security application CCleaner for Windows have been advised to update their software immediately, after researchers discovered criminal hackers had installed a backdoor in the tool. The tainted application allows for download of further malware, be it ransomware or keyloggers, with fears millions are affected. According to Avast’s own figures, 2.27 million ran the affected software, though the company said users should not panic.Forbes Article

Many of Homeland Secure IT’s clients have used CCLeaner, and we have used it ourselves. Our customers who use our Managed Services platform should receive an automatic update and a notification that it was updated.

Should you have any questions or concerns about this, please call us at 864-990-4748 or use our CONTACT FORM.

Ask about AutoTask Endpoint Management / CentraStage – it can help us keep your computers and servers up to date – and Trend Micro’s Worry-Free Business Security products can keep your network safe from malware!

Trend Micro Worry Free Business Security 9.5 Released

Trend Micro Partner LogoWe are excited to announce the release of Worry-Free Business Security version 9.5.

Worry-Free Business Security now includes:

  • User notification for when new versions, service packs, and patches are available
  • Enhancements to the ransomware protection features
  • Support for Microsoft Exchange Server 2016 (WFBS Advanced)
  • Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Creators support

We have updated most of the customers we maintain already, and will get the rest up to date as soon as possible.

If you are not using Trend Micro Worry Free Business Security for your business network and would like to hear more about how it can help protect your servers and computers from viruses, trojans, worms, malware, data loss and more, just use our CONTACT FORM or call us at 864.990.4748


Thank you for the nomination for Best of the Upstate!

Best of the Upstate - Best Computer Services

Best of the Upstate – Best Computer Services from Grenville News

Back a couple years ago, we were nominated for, and won “Best of the Upstate” for Best Computer Services. This was almost unbelievable because we are a smaller company, in a sea of larger and more established business computer support providers.

Just goes to show, every vote does count!

Last year, 2016, we were nominated, again, no small feat, but again, up against some stiff competition, so unfortunately we didn’t make it.

Now, here we are in 2017 and you guys did it again this year, you got us the nomination!  Thank you for your love and support! We appreciate you!

Winning the Best of the Upstate will not be possible without every single vote we can get. You can vote only once this time, per valid email address. A huge improvement over the daily voting!

Here’s the link to us if you would be so kind as to cast a vote our way:

Best of the Upstate 2017 Voting – Services

We are listed under “Best Computer Services”.

While you are there, you could vote for a couple other things which are near and dear to us – our band, Hot As A Pepper and Pamela’s business, McAbee’s Custom Carpets!

Shops and Wares:
Best Carpet Store – McAbee’s Custom Carpet

Culture Arts and Entertainment:
Best Local Band – Hot As A Pepper
Best Male Vocalist – Chip McDonald – Hot As A Pepper

Best Computer Services – Homeland Secure IT, LLC
Best Musical Entertainment – Hot As A Pepper

We’re also supporting our clients and friends, so please, let us know who we can vote for!

Thank you so much from all of us at Homeland Secure IT, we appreciate you!


Important notice regarding ISP maintenance

Public Service AnnouncementToday is Annual International Internet Spring Cleaning Day!

ISPs (Internet Service Providers) around the world are increasing their efforts to keep our networks in tip-top shape so that they perform as fast as possible.

In case you have missed the segments on the news and the endless emails flying around for the last week or so, I will go over the details here.

In the past, Internet Cleaning Day has taken place during a 24hr period, but due to new techniques, ISPs have managed to compress the process down to only 1 hour which they have conveniently scheduled for 12pm to 1pm in each time zone.

So with that said, Today (2017-01-01), at noon, before you step away from your desk for lunch, you should take some precautions to protect your electronics and fine furnishings from the chemicals that are blown through the lines. We have found that simply unplugging the network cable from the back of your computer and placing it into a trashcan with a liner is best, but you can use an empty water bottle or even a coffee cup in a pinch. If using a coffee cup, or bottle though, you may want to put a layer of newspaper or other papers under it in case of any splashes or spills.

While normal analog phone systems are not going to be affected, VoIP systems WILL be… This is often overlooked! You should follow the same procedure if your business is using Voice over IP technology. If you are unsure, it is best to disconnect the cables and place in the same container as your network cables.

If you are using wireless devices, simply turning off the radio or disconnecting from all access points should work, but to be on the safe side, we recommend that you turn it off completely.
Should you require assistance with computer, server, network or even your internet spring cleaning in the Greenville, SC or Upstate, SC area, please call us at 864.990.4748

Purchase new business computers from us!

Nexlink Business Computer SystemIf you are planning to purchase new computers for your business, or even your home, there may be reasons to NOT buy the mainstream HP, Dell, or Lenovo, etc.

While we are authorized resellers for many great and well-established brands, one brand continues to stick out among the offerings for their reliability, and just as importantly, for the simple fact that their customer service has been unparalleled. I’m talking about Nexlink, from Seneca Data.

Homeland Secure IT has been offering Nexlink Business Computers since 2009 and our staff has an even long history with this fantastic American system builder.

When we sell you a computer, or even a hundred computers, we want it to be a pleasant experience from the start to the end of the lifecycle, so that when you go to replace that computer, you don’t have to make a decision based on replacing something you were unhappy with!

That’s exactly why you should consider our Nexlink line of computers, because with the number of systems we have deployed, we had more completely satisfied customers with this brand than any other!

You can tell Nexlink believes they have an amazing product as well, since they offer 1 year, 3 year or even 5 year warranties on their desktops, laptops and even servers.

Here’s the current specs on our number one seller (these are available in any configuration you might want as custom builds!):


Get the perfect combination of business performance and consumer value with the Nexlink® Ready to Ship Series (RTS) based on the 6th generation Intel® Core™ i3 processor. The system will handle the office and browsing tasks thrown at it without sacrificing speed. The results are quality graphics and increased security for the basic office user.

  • 6th generation Intel® Core™ i3 Processor
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • 8GB Memory; 1TB HDD
  • Micro Tower

Small Business Productivity
The Nexlink Ready to Ship Series is designed for business users who need to get more work out of their desktop PC. With upgraded memory capacity and the capability to deliver video to two independent displays, the intelligent choice for your small business needs is the Nexlink RTS.

Long Lifecycle
The Nexlink Ready to Ship Series is purpose built for Small-Medium Business clients who need a consistent, manageable and customizable system. Featuring a Corporate Stable Motherboard (CSM) which provides a lengthy 24 month product cycle allowing IT staff and business buyers peace of mind. Enhanced memory capacity enables the Nexlink RTS to perform more work and maintain its functionality throughout the product lifecycle. Delivering solid performance from the 6th generation Intel® Core™ i3 processor, this series is the right solution for the most demanding workplace tasks.

  • 5 Year Warranty Optional
    Buying on a budget does not have to mean forsaking a business cycle warranty. Maintain your business clients peace of mind with comprehensive warranty coverage for up to five years from the date of purchase.
  • Legacy Support
    Have older printers or serial connect devices that your business runs on? This series features headers for both parallel printers and serial connectivity. There is no need to upgrade your legacy peripherals when you replace your desktops.
  • Dual Display
    Increase business productivity up to 30% by adding a second or third screen. The RTS Series supports dual independent displays with DVI and VGA connections enabling business users to maintain legacy displays and integrate newer displays.
  • Performance and Value
    Providing good performance and flexibility for day to day business use or for everyday tasks—such as Microsoft Office or internet browsing—makes this series an ideal tool. The 6th generation Intel® Core™ i3 processor is a dual core and hyper threaded CPU set at fast internal speed to help performance without breaking the bank.

Give us a call at 864-990-4748 ext 0 or use our CONTACT FORM if you would like to request a quote or make a purchase. Whether it is for a single desktop computer for your home, a dozen for your church, or hundreds of systems for your corporation, we can provide the, and deploy them to your Greenville or Upstate location.


Your business should consider a network security audit

Business Network Security Audit Pen Testing © Can Stock Photo / olivier26Are you ready for 2017? How about your business network?

This is a prime time to schedule a network security audit that will find the potential issues which are laying dormant, waiting for a “bad guy” to take advantage of them and exploit your network.

Using a wide array of tools, Homeland Secure IT can perform a penetration test (PenTest) which will discover devices in your network, and reveal the exploitable vulnerabilities. A report is then generated and provided for your eyes only that will help our techs, your IT department or an IT professional of your choice to apply any necessary updates and patches to secure your network.

Our audits will find outdated operating systems, devices with no or weak credentials, services such as SSH and Telnet that are susceptible leverage and much much more.

The cost of a network audit is more affordable than you might expect and let’s face it – you cannot prepare for issues you are not aware of.

Give us a call at 864-990-4748 x201, or use our CONTACT FORM to get more information about how Homeland Secure IT can help make your Greenville / Upstate South Carolina business network more secure so you can sleep better at night!

Consider managed services to reduce downtime and frustration for your business!

Autotask Endpoint Manager Managed ServicesIf you run a small or medium business without a dedicated IT department, you are probably painfully aware of the costs associated with keeping your computers and servers up to date with security patches and updates.

Whether you are paying an IT company to perform preventive maintenance, or if you or another staff member are taking time out of your day to handle it, it can be frustrating and time-consuming. You can suffer from downtime during your workday, and if you do handle it yourself, it is possible you can run into issues where a professional has to be called, leading to even more downtime and expense.

What if I told you there was a better way?

Instead of having preventative maintenance performed by someone else, usually in the middle of your work day, or even after-hours at a premium cost, you could consider using a Managed Service Provider, or MSP.

The MSP handles things a little differently than just offering a hands-on approach. Instead, they rely upon a suite of software that is loaded on each computer and server, and that software does all the heavy lifting.

The MSP will then monitor all the computers using sensors and logging that will let them see system health at a glance:

  • Component failure – such as a hard drive, or fan.
  • Resource issues – high processor usage, high ram usage, hard drive filling up.
  • Updates – What updates need to be installed.
  • Security issues – Firewall and Anti-Virus up to date and working correctly?

The list of actual monitored factors is too vast to go into in this short blog post. Suffice it to say, an MSP will likely know about a problem before the end user does as alerts can be set to inform them of a developing issue.

The provider can also approve updates and patches during an agreed upon window. No more reboots during your lunch hour. They can be scheduled for 3AM or any time you wish. The provider can also disapprove updates if they are aware of conflicts that might occur within your environment, such as a patch that breaks your custom software application.

Many services and tasks can be rolled into one tidy package: Patch management, backup, anti-virus/anti-malware, system maintenance and more!

Another advantage of using managed services is the convenience of instant support! An MSP can connect to your desktop, laptop, tablet or server very quickly, and can share the screen if you wish so you can demonstrate a problem while communicating with them. Many problems can be fixed in real-time. Software can be loaded onto your computer, as if by magic, logs checked, resource usage monitored, all without even interrupting what you are doing!

And amazingly enough, the cost is generally more affordable than having a scheduled maintenance plan with an IT company, and far less expensive than downtime!

If you would like to discuss our managed services offerings here in the Upstate of South Carolina, and whether it is right for your business, please use our CONTACT FORM, or give us a call at 864-990-4748.

We can provide managed services anywhere in the United States, but would prefer to work with local clients so that we can form a more personal relationship.


Verizon dumps Premium Visual Voice Mail – Here’s my solution…

Verizon drops premium visual voicemail

Say goodbye to Verizon Premium Visual Voicemail

I was sad to learn that Verizon Wireless decided to drop their “Premium Visual Voice Mail” option. This was effective July 8th, 2016.

While I won’t miss the $2.99/month charge, which was a bit pricey, I will certainly miss the feature on my HTC One M8 Android based phone. (iPhone has Visual Voice Mail built-in and it isn’t going away).

Who the heck uses voicemail anymore anyway? Welllll, I do! I have a business which requires that people be able to reach me in a multitude of ways, and sometimes they call my cell phone. And having only 20 voice mail slots is absolutely limiting. I have been in a meeting, or driving, and received 20 calls in a short period of time. It’s not common, but it has happened.

Then there is the inconvenience of having to dial *82, and listen to X number of voice mail messages. Usually, someone calls in the middle of listening to them, and you have to start all over again.

I decided to utilize Google’s VoIP product called Google Voice. Which is free, and has the features I need most.

The setup was easy.  I already had the Google Voice account setup, with a phone number, so all I needed to do was to setup my greeting, and then determine what actions I wanted to take place.

I wanted voice mail to be sent in text message to my phone, transcribed from audio to text.    Check – done.

I wanted the voice mail to be sent in email to my business email account as an attachment AND as transcribed text.   Check – done.

Then, next, I wanted my cell phone to send any unanswered call to the Google Voice number.  That is accomplished by using conditional call forward / call transfer and on Verizon is simply activated by dialing *71 + Google Voice number.

Now, when you call my cell and get voice mail, your message is going to get to me, even if I leave my phone in the car, or if it is dead. I’ll get it in email. Bonus, I no longer have to dial Verizon’s voicemail service, and therefore you will not receive a “This mailbox is full” message.

There are a multitude of apps and offerings, some free, some not, but this seems like one of the most secure options, without a recurring monthly charge.

Happy voicemailing….