Onboarding Best Practice

By Mark Gronowski on Jun 5, 2018 2:40:58 PM

ONBOARDING-2When it comes to choosing a managed services provider, it’s often very difficult to know if the proposed solution is really going to meet your needs and make life better.  That’s a chance we all take when we work with a new service provider.  But we believe that the key is in the onboarding process.  In many instances, clients want to skip this critical step in order to get relief for their pain.  But this is usually a big mistake that can lead to even bigger problems down the line.  Misunderstandings, misaligned priorities, poor communications, undefined and agreed upon quality standards (among others) can create unnecessary bumps in the road and even lead to a premature breakup!

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TPV Has A New Home

By Earl Anema on May 24, 2018 10:09:00 AM

To better display all of our Third Party Verification capabilities, we have moved TPV to a new site to give it a home of its own. Within this new site, you will be able to explore all the capabilities of Istonish third part verification offering along with finding helpful blog content. Click on the logo below to be taken to the new site!

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Cyber Security Foundations: Social Engineering

By Earl Anema on May 21, 2018 12:44:46 PM

Istonish's very own Jason Bovee joins with the State Internet Portal Authority (SIPA) to bring the second webinar in the Cyber Security Foundations series.  With this second installment, Jason will cover one of the most effective types of cyber-attacks, Social Engineering. This discussion is intended to help organizations improve their overall knowledge about physical and virtual Social Engineering methodologies, and how to leverage practical methods to improve their security posture without spending thousands of dollars on tools or services. Topics such as phishing, fake links, physical attacks, telephone attacks, and how to combat all of them, check out the full webinar linked below!

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The State of Cloud Adoption

By Earl Anema on Apr 17, 2018 9:33:00 AM

Take a look at why businesses are switching to a cloud solution model in droves. With this infographic, we dive into some helpful insights into the cloud.

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[Podcast] New Cyber Frontier

By Earl Anema on Apr 3, 2018 8:29:00 AM

Looking for expert insight into the world of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)? Istonish’s program and account manager, Jason Bovee, can fill you in. During the Colorado Springs-based New Cyber Frontier Podcast, Jason discusses (with host Abe Thompson) the rising trend for company’s to rely on a managed security services provider (MSSP) to handle their cybersecurity needs.

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How Istonish Leverages ITIL for Our Service Desk Solutions (and how we don’t)

By Jason Bovee on Mar 27, 2018 8:30:00 AM

About how Istonish used ITIL:

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[Infographic] Cybersecurity Foundations

By Jason Bovee on Mar 21, 2018 9:06:00 AM

When it comes to Cybersecurity you can never know too much! Check out our Cybersecurity Foundations infographic below for fast facts (or a quick refresher!) on commonly used terminology, threat types, and statisitcs. 

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Cybersecurity Foundations

By Jason Bovee on Mar 14, 2018 10:09:45 AM

There has been a tendency in recent years to mistake a strong cyber-security posture with the use of information technology security tools and services available in the industry. In this webinar with the Colorado Statewide Internet Portal Authority (SIPA), we examine the foundational pillars of IT security, including an overview of the threat landscape, the establishment of useful policies, and the teams responsible for upholding them. From there, we identify the most successful strategies and their complementary services to ensure a balanced, value-centric approach to effective cyber-security. Check out the full webinar recording below!

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Fortinet's Accelerate Conference

By James Mathis on Mar 13, 2018 9:33:00 AM

Istonish is proud to partner closely with Fortinet to provide comprehensive security solutions for our clients. This includes next generation firewalls, cloud security, SIEM and much, much more. I attended Fortinet’s Accelerate Conference last week in Las Vegas and have outlined several key takeaways and highlights from the conference:

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Istonish is Colorado Proud!

By Ariel Johnson on Feb 13, 2018 11:30:00 AM

At Istonish we have more than 25 years of experience doing business in the beautiful state of Colorado! Not only do we enjoy working in the Centennial State, we belive it is our duty to give back to the communities in which we do business. Below, you can learn some fun facts about our Colorado roots. 

We’ve seen every kind of tech challenge, and we’ve crafted successful solutions around them that deliver value and excellence. When you partner with Istonish, you get leading-edge technology that supports your business needs. Period. Let us know how we can help!

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Your Data Is Your Business

By Matthew Frend on Feb 7, 2018 9:08:37 AM

Does your business rely on data? I can’t think of one that doesn’t, honestly. Whether it’s accounting, payroll, finance, sales, business data for performance management, customer lists or inventory, I’m sure every aspect of your business utilizes data. It's highly likely that the data you use is stored in a database. So what happens if you lose it? What happens if you can’t get to it fast enough? What happens if you can’t trust it to be accurate?

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5 Security Trends to Keep Top of Mind in 2018

By James Mathis on Feb 1, 2018 9:04:27 AM

1. Security Awareness

Security awareness may be the single most important thing you can do to protect your employees and your organization. In 2017, 90% of security attacks where phishing attacks. This points to the fact that your employees can become your biggest tool in preventing future cyber attacks. Security Awareness training should be mandatory at your organization, this not only helps keep your business safe, it will keep your employees safer at home. Come up with a way to make the Security Awareness training fun and steer clear of self-paced video or ”death by powerpoint” and cover topics that can be utilized outside of work as well:

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5 Reasons Why Hiring a Managed Service Provider is Good for a Growing Organization

By Matt Stephenson on Jan 10, 2018 9:15:41 AM

As your organization grows, your IT needs will too. A Managed Service Provider (MSP) is an excellent option for scaling your IT support to meet the needs of your growing business. Here are the top five ways that an MSP can help your business save money, elevate your level of IT service, and last but not least, keep your infrastructure secure.

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Insight on Vetting IT Talent from our IT Talent Acquisition Team

By Roxane Brock on Jan 2, 2018 9:11:19 AM

Have you ever gone through the interview and hiring process only to realize your new hire isn’t a fit? The IT talent pool is tight and finding qualified candidates is challenging but sourcing candidates is just the beginning of the process. How can you be sure that you are hiring the right person for the role? With considerations from cultural fit to technical skills, there are a lot of ways you can vet talent. The following are insights and recommendations from our IT Talent Acquisition team.

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Managed IT Service Providers Versus In-House IT Staff

By Ariel Johnson on Dec 11, 2017 9:23:07 AM

Are you considering hiring a Managed Service Provider (MSP) to either add to, or replace your internal IT team? Or maybe you're just curious how these two options compare? This simple infographic explains how Managed Service Providers compare to your in-house IT team when it comes to cost, service level, availability, and resources.

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Why Utilizing a Staffing Firm in a Tight Labor Market is a Good Option

By Roxane Brock on Nov 20, 2017 10:05:00 AM

It’s an understatement to say that information technology (IT) talent is in extremely high demand and as a result, the price for tech talent is escalating.  In addition, there just aren’t enough people with the right skills. According to Appendix I of the 2016 Colorado Talent Pipeline Report, “despite growth in postsecondary program completions in related disciplines, the number of emerging graduates still has not been adequate in meeting employer demand.” In addition, Colorado’s overall unemployment rate is the lowest in the nation, currently sitting at 2.3% (as of June 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). This translates to challenges for employers who need to source top technical talent (learn more about building Colorado’s tech talent pipeline here).

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Security Awareness: 5 Easy Ways to Detect Spam

By Greg Taylor on Nov 8, 2017 9:50:00 AM

Cybersecurity is an increasingly important business focus. One of the most important pieces of any security solution is making sure your employees have the knowledge and understanding to protect themselves against security threats.

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Annette Quintana inducted into the Colorado Latino Hall of Fame!

By Steven Brier on Nov 7, 2017 10:04:33 AM

Please join us in congratulating our own Annette Quintana for being the 2017 Business, Innovation, Science, And Technology Colorado Latino Hall of Fame inductee! Annette has demonstrated courageous leadership as a Latina in technology and an innovative entrepreneur while simultaneously making our community a better place to live. Every day, she inspires us at Istonish to be a company of technology leaders and to deliver a higher level of excellence and value to our customers, our fellow employees, and our community. For an in-depth profile, please check out this piece by 9News Denver.


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Making Disclosures Innovative

By Annette Quintana on Nov 1, 2017 1:27:59 PM

Let’s be honest. Not all organizations WANT disclosures to be understood. If you’re a part of an organization that wishes to continue to exploit consumer misunderstanding, you can save yourself some wasted time and stop reading now. But if you’re interested in improving understanding and customer trust, please read on.

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Building Colorado's Tech Talent Pipeline Today for Tomorrow

By Annette Quintana on Oct 23, 2017 10:14:00 AM

Giving back to the communities in which we do business has always been an important value at Istonish. And while this has taken many different forms over the years, supporting efforts to build a talent pipeline for the technology industry is an important focus area. With this in mind, we are proud to provide a cash award to the Colorado Technology Association (CTA) Apex Award winner for Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Educator of The Year.

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5 Ways Hiring a Managed IT Service Provider Cuts Costs for your Business

By Matt Stephenson on Oct 17, 2017 9:23:00 AM

Managed Service Providers (MSP) give you access to expert IT staff (without having to pay expert IT staff salaries!), act as an extension of your internal IT team, work directly with your vendors, and can even provide after-hours IT support. Make sure you consider the following ways a Managed Service Provider can cut your business costs when you make the decision outsource some or all of your IT team: 

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3 Important Ways That Third Party Verification is Good for Business!

By Gina Julien on Oct 5, 2017 9:14:00 AM

For more than 15 years, using advanced technology consisting of call handling equipment, Integrated Voice Response (IVR) technology, and proprietary software, Istonish has provided third party verification (TPV) services to the cable and telecommunications industry. 

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5 things to consider when choosing the right Firewall for your SMB

By Matt Stephenson on Oct 3, 2017 9:09:00 AM

It's an understatement to say that network and data security is now an essential part of every business. Not a day goes by without news of another data hack our cybersecurity breach. Even small to medium-sized organizations are at significant risk and are oftentimes without adequate defense. For some, it starts with choosing the right firewall and one of the most important decisions is determining the right sized device. Istonish can help! The following considerations are critical to choosing a firewall that will work for your business:

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5 Cybersecurity Recommendations for Government Entities and State Municipalities

By James Mathis on Sep 28, 2017 9:23:00 AM

A recent article by SecurityWeek confirms reports that the U.S. state and federal government's cybersecurity standing is ranked 16th out of 18 industry sectors. Commenting on the report, Sam Kassoumeh, COO and co-founder at SecurityScorecard, said, "On an almost daily basis, the institutions that underpin the nation's election system, military, finances, emergency response, transportation, and many more, are under constant attack from nation-states, criminal organizations, and hacktivists. Government agencies provide mission-critical services that, until they are compromised, most people take for granted." It is very concerning that these critical public sector organizations are some of the most vulnerable to cybersecurity attack.

Istonish is proud to work with the Colorado Statewide Internet Portal Authority (SIPA) to provide Managed IT Services and Security Assessments to Government Entities and State Municipalities. Based on 21 NIST industry standards (grading for impact and urgency), Istonish has created an assessment that not only yields a “point in time” appraisal of the current security profile of the organization, but also a detailed and prioritized list of remediation recommendations. 

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Public Safety IT Support (Emergency Response)

By Aaron Snell on Sep 26, 2017 9:29:00 AM

If you’re like majority of people, when you watch the Oscars, you place your attention on the winners in the acting categories and pay little attention to the awards given to set and costume designers, writers, animators, and other “behind the scenes” talent that create just as much magic as the actors and actresses who grace the screens. This too is the case with public safety and emergency response services in our communities. Most people are aware of the 911 dispatcher and the first responders who help people in need, but we often overlook the integral people working behind the scenes.

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Safe Browsing 101:  How to Protect Employees

By James Mathis on Sep 21, 2017 11:01:00 AM

On the ever-changing cyberthreat landscape, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for businesses to fight cybercrime when the enemies are so diverse—from nation-states to rogue hackers to organized criminal networks. 

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Job Seeker Advice from a Veteran Technical Recruiter

By Roxane Brock on Sep 19, 2017 9:39:56 AM

Resume tips, interview advice and more from our Senior Technical Recruiter, Roxane Brock. Roxane was Istonish’s first official employee in 1991. She has been recruiting in the technology space for 25+ years and currently leads our IT Staffing Services.

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What hurricanes and other natural disasters can teach us about the importance of having a structured data backup plan.

By Al Roesner on Sep 13, 2017 2:49:56 PM

Thankfully, though Hurricane Irma caused major devastation, it was not quite as destructive as it could have been had the weather predictions played out as forecasted.  However, the road to recovery for the entire region is still going to be a long one.  Not only will homes, schools, and physical infrastructure need to be rebuilt, people will also need to return to their jobs as soon as possible to begin to slowly move back to normalcy.  And the ability for companies and organizations to return to “business as usual” (or to return at all) will depend upon their ability to get their IT infrastructure up and running.  Provided they have functioning IT infrastructure, they will most likely need to depend on data that must be restored from recent, reliable data backups to pick up where they left off in the least amount of time.

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7 Email Best Practices to Keep Employees Safe from Phishing

By James Mathis on Sep 12, 2017 11:15:00 AM

Phishing scams continue to be a growing threat to enterprise security because hackers target the weakest link in any organization—its employees. More than 90 percent of breaches can be attributed to phishing attacks.

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5 Best-Kept Secrets of Managed Security Services

By James Mathis on Sep 5, 2017 3:31:00 PM

A well-kept business secret is a competitive advantage just waiting to be shared. Here’s one you might have missed; managed security service providers (MSSPs) can help you achieve cybersecuritycompliance with less risk, cost and IT impact. Here are the five secrets behind the growing appeal of MSSPs:

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By Annette Quintana on Aug 31, 2017 10:02:26 AM

Istonish is an established woman-owned, minority business enterprise with a Native American and Hispanic business ownership profile.

Istonish is proud to be a part of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), which has provided an incredible network and countless resources as we have grown and changed over the last 20+ years. The NMSDC has provided great introductions and excellent networking opportunities and, as a result, in addition to our other clients, we are pleased to have a mix of extraordinary corporate NMSDC members as Istonish customers. The advocates in the Mountain Plains (Denver), Dallas and North Central (Minneapolis) offices are conscientious, supportive and informative. We are excited to celebrate the NMSDCs 45th anniversary, the accomplishments of the NMSDC network, and showcase the economic impact of minority businesses, by participating in the #WeAreNMSDC campaign. For any diverse business looking to grow, the NMSDC is THE organization to belong to.

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What are the Benefits of Desktop as a Service?

By Ariel Johnson on Aug 29, 2017 9:28:00 AM

Have you ever wondered what the benefits of desktop as a service (DaaS) are? Similar to other managed services, DaaS makes it easier for companies to take advantage of the benefits of virtual desktops without the labor of building and maintaining your own solution. DaaS goes beyond simply making your solution less of a lift for your team, it also offers more security and flexibility.

Learn more from our VDI partners, Dizzion, by checking out the  education and evaluation resources on their blog !
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5 Data Backup Tips To Protect Your SMB from Failure

By Al Roesner on Aug 22, 2017 9:15:00 AM

For most small business owners, their enterprise is everything.

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Cybersecurity & Business: Insight for the C-Suite

By Ariel Johnson on Aug 17, 2017 11:15:09 AM

Our IT Security Engineer, James Mathis, sat down with the Cybersecurity Journal to talk lessons for the C-Suite on how Cybersecurity and hacking effect your business in 2017.

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Is UTM Technology Worth the Spend for Your SMB?

By James Mathis on Aug 8, 2017 10:00:00 AM

If you’re running a small to mid-sized business (SMB), you may have been too busy to keep up with all that’s going on in cyberspace, so let’s catch you up: Bad guys wreaking havoc on your network is a real risk.

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What Does Virtual Desktop as a Service Offer?

By Istonisher on Aug 1, 2017 10:56:00 AM

Virtual Desktops are gaining popularity, and it's with good reason. They bring the power of cloud computing to the desktop and offer flexibility, security and compliance for organizations who have:

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Password Safety Infographic - How to Create Secure and Protected Passwords

By James Mathis on Jul 24, 2017 10:36:00 AM

Need a quick, visual explaination of Password Safety: How to Create Secure and Protected Passwords? Look no further!

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5 Reasons Why We, At Istonish, Love Doing Business in Colorado!

By Steven Brier on Jul 14, 2017 9:31:31 AM

At Istonish, our singular goal is to help individuals, organizations, and our community be great. We just happen to use technology to do that.

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New Istonish Website and More!

By Steven Brier on Jun 26, 2017 3:28:00 PM

If this is your first time visiting our blog, welcome. If you’re returning, welcome back.  We’ve made some changes! 

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To Beat a Hacker, Think Like One: Using the Cyber Kill Chain to Fight Cyberattacks

By James Mathis on Jun 22, 2017 2:41:53 PM

As hackers become more inventive and sophisticated, organizations must up the ante with better cybersecurity. Unfortunately, most cybersecurity still focuses on preventing cyberattacks. 

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Nine Indicators of Compromise a Cyber Threat Assessment Will Help You Uncover

By James Mathis on Jun 13, 2017 11:09:18 AM

Your network has probably been breached. You just don’t know it yet. That is the nature of cyber attacks, many of which lie dormant and undiscovered for far too long. In 2016, Verizon published in its Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) that a whopping 83% of compromises took weeks or longer to discover.

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5 Cybersecurity Lessons Learned from WannaCry

By James Mathis on Jun 12, 2017 2:31:13 PM

The hype over the WannaCry ransomware attacks in mid-May that ultimately disrupted 300,000 systems in over 150 countries has died down. Nonetheless, it is thought to be the largest ransomware attack recorded to date; taking the British National Health Service as one of its first and most severely assaulted victims.

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From Disclosure to Comprehension: Mitigating Risk in a Fiduciary World

By Annette Quintana on May 25, 2017 11:43:37 AM

Since the Investment Company Act and Investment Advisers Act, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has required organizations engaged primarily in investing and trading stocks to provide full disclosure about theirinvestment objectives, while minimizing conflicts of interest. Since then, disclosure has been a prominent tool in the investor-protection arsenal of regulators around the world. Unfortunately, though, as many regulators have found, clear and proper disclosure doesn’t always produce the desired result of protecting retail investors as they navigate a world of increasingly complex financial products.

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Rise of the Cloud-First Enterprise

By James Mathis on May 23, 2017 8:30:00 AM

Businesses are moving to the cloud in droves, but few are monitoring and protecting data in the cloud with the same vigilance they apply to their physical network environments. To keep mission-critical data and applications safe, businesses must avoid four big risks as they make the move.

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3 Signs You're Ripe for a Ransomware Attack

By James Mathis on May 18, 2017 9:00:00 AM

2016 saw a surge in ransomware attacks. There were four times as many total attacks as in 2015. In 2017, the problem will get worse with experts estimating there will be a 25% increase in new ransomware families, providing more opportunities for hackers.

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Open Season: Tips for a Successful Threat Hunt

By James Mathis on May 16, 2017 11:15:00 AM

There’s a hunt where you don’t need a license, it is never out of season and permits the use of every weapon at your disposal to bag your prey. It’s the threat hunt.

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A growing business is like a growing vegetable garden?

By Steven Brier on May 10, 2017 8:00:00 AM

I started a small vegetable garden a couple years ago.  It was a pretty manageable size – probably only 8 feet by 10 feet in dimension.  And despite the epic battles waged with the local squirrels and birds, I’ve had what I would consider a respectable harvest each year.

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Password Safety: How to Create Secure and Protected Passwords

By James Mathis on May 3, 2017 1:42:34 PM

Arguably the most important piece in the security of private information puzzle is secure and protected passwords.  According to Intel Security: A Five-Year Look Ahead, IoT devices will grow from 15 billion in 2015 to a massive 200 billion by 2020.  With cybersecurity threats on the rise and more employees working from home on portable devices, keeping confidential data safe is crucial to the security of any organization.

What is a Password?

A password is described as ‘a secret word or phrase that must be used to gain admission to a resource.’ In the technology realm, a password is a ‘string of characters that allow access to a computer, interface, or system.’

Passwords are the equivalent of locking your doors at home. Would you feel safe leaving the front door to your home unlocked? The key or code grants you access to the valuables inside. The same can be said about password security. 

According to SplashData: 2015 Worst Passwords List, the top 10 most insecure passwords as of 2015 are as follows:

2015 Top 10 Most Insecure Passwords

1. 123456

2. password

3. 1345678

4. qwerty

5. 12345

6. 123456789

7. football

8. 1234

9. 1234567

10. baseball

It comes as no surprise that according to a poll of 2,000 consumers conducted by TeleSign, 8 in 10 people are worried about their online security.

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Evidence of Comprehension - How Do You Know When An Investor Understands? And How Much Does It Matter?

By Annette Quintana on May 1, 2017 12:34:00 PM


In an earlier blog, "The DoL Fiduciary Rule: How does investor comprehension fit in?", I explored both the written and implied requirements in ERISA and the DoL rules related to disclosures and the need to ensure that investors understand.
This blog explores the question of ‘how do you know’ that an investor understands?

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Help clients understand disclosures and reduce legal risk [video]

By Annette Quintana on Apr 25, 2017 10:04:50 AM

Build trust with clients and reduce the risk of lawsuits and regulatory challenges under the DoL Fiduciary Rule with Aprisi Assure.

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Why “Fiduciary” Isn't Going Away Any Time Soon

By Annette Quintana on Apr 25, 2017 8:43:00 AM

On April 4, the U.S. Labor Department announced it was extending the applicability date for its controversial Fiduciary Rule. The Rule would require advisors to retirement investors to place their clients’ interests ahead of their own, and to charge no more than reasonable compensation for their services. As of this writing, the 60-day extension means the Rule will now take effect on June 9, 2017, instead of April 10. This will allow time for the Labor Department to review whether it would limit access to retirement information and advice

In the meantime, a number of opponents are pursuing lawsuits to kill the Rule completely. While rulings to date have generally favored the Fiduciary Rule, legal maneuvers will no doubt continue. But for many firms, it won’t matter – they’ve either already left the market, or already spent millions preparing for the original April 10 implementation date.

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If you are a 401(k) trustee, you could be sued for less than expected returns!

By Annette Quintana on Apr 19, 2017 9:41:39 AM

It may sound inconceivable, but I recently realized that as an employer and the trustee of my company 401(k) plan, I’m at risk of being sued by plan participants who are unhappy with their returns.  I didn’t think this was even possible since I’m not the person responsible for managing the funds under management.

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The Cloud is Dead.  Long live the Cloud!

By Ken Smith on Apr 18, 2017 3:10:05 PM

Recently, I’ve seen articles that basically declare that cloud computing is such a normal part of our daily lives that everyone knows what it is, how it works, and the benefits it brings to individuals and organizations.  And while that may be true for many, some people still don’t really understand cloud computing.

In many people’s minds, it’s an intangible, nebulous place – somewhere in the world – where their very critical, valuable, and sensitive information is stored.  But is it secure?  Who can access the data?  If I want my data, can I download it?  If I store my data in the cloud, is it still mine? How do I use my applications if I’m offline?  Do I have a choice to place my data in the cloud?  Why would I do that if what I currently have works just fine?

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The DoL Fiduciary Rule: How does investor comprehension fit in?

By Annette Quintana on Apr 12, 2017 3:26:04 PM

The relationship between financial advisors and their customers can be complicated. And just like any relationship, trust must be built between the two parties for the whole thing to work.  Investors must trust that the advisor understands their situation and goals, has disclosed the rules of engagement, and is working in their best interest.  The advisor trusts that the investor not only received but understands the disclosures associated with risks, terms, expenses, fees, and how returns are calculated.  In general, consumers assume that the advisor is acting in a fiduciary manner – in their best interest – with a duty to disclose and a duty to ensure comprehension.

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11 Questions to ask your managed IT services provider BEFORE you hire them

By Brian Duran on Mar 14, 2017 9:26:51 AM

When you hire an outside partner to help you manage your critical IT infrastructure, you are trusting them with a lot.  Not only do you rely on them to keep your organization’s network functioning and safe from intruders, you also entrust your employees to the care of a company that you hope shares the same focus on customer service.  To find out if a partner is a good fit, you want to ask probing questions BEFORE you hire them.  That’s why we put together a list of 11 questions you should ask when evaluating managed IT services providers.  Download your copy today!

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Annette Quintana to be Honored as Philanthropist of the Year by Latino Community Foundation of Colorado

By Steven Brier on Feb 1, 2017 3:03:42 PM

On March 2, 2017, Annette Quintana, CEO of Istonish, Inc, and her daughter, Danielle Silverston, will be honored by the Latino Community Foundation of Colorado for their philanthropic work in the greater Denver Latino community.  The event to be held at the Governor's Residence at Boettcher Mansion, will showcase how the Latino Community Foundation of Colorado's investments and individuals are driving community change.  Please join us in congratulating these two awsome ladies!

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How Istonish Can Help You Focus on What Matters Most for Your Business

By Ken Smith on Jan 26, 2017 3:10:57 PM

In an earlier article, I outlined 5 reasons why you should outsource your IT service desk. While all five of the points outlined in that article are valid, one other benefit of using an external IT service desk solution is that it frees up your internal IT teams to focus on truly strategic, transformative work that can bring more value to your business. 

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Our Own Annette Quintana is the 2016 APEX CEO of the Year Award Winner!

By Steven Brier on Nov 28, 2016 2:30:22 PM

We had a feeling it was true ... and so it's really great to have a highly respected outside organization like the Colorado Technology Association (CTA) confirm what we believe - that Annette Quintana is one amazing CEO!  

Please join us in congratulating Annette for this recognition!

Topics: News
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Who wants to take calls in the middle of the night?  We Do!

By Matt Stephenson on Nov 22, 2016 4:27:43 PM

For many small- and medium-sized organizations, the need for expert technical help doesn’t end at closing time.  Many have mission-critical operations that extend into the wee hours of the night and some even go around the clock.  But staffing a 24-hour service desk operation that can make sure productivity doesn’t stop when a problem arises is a costly and difficult proposition.  Besides that, when you don’t have the volume to keep an on-staff technician busy, it seems like a waste of valuable resources.

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Straight Talk - 5 Reasons to Outsource IT Services

By Chris Keithley on Nov 16, 2016 3:46:34 PM

Now that we’ve officially entered the era of “straight talk,” I thought it would be appropriate to provide a bit of my own on the topic of outsourcing IT services.  I’ve boiled it down to five key points.  Why it's always five, I have no idea!

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5 Reasons to Outsource Your IT Service Desk

By Ken Smith on Oct 13, 2016 1:38:16 PM

An IT service desk is a vital resource for companies of all sizes.  While the smallest companies may get by with part-time IT staff or other limited support options, many companies with more than 100 employees often rely on an internal IT help desk to get the technical support they need.

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PART TWO: Istonish Celebrates 25 Years in Business

By Thelma Jernberg on Oct 27, 2015 9:11:07 AM

Topics: Uncategorized
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Annette and Victoria Quintana: The Road to Celebrating 25 Years in Business

By Debbie Josendale on Oct 21, 2015 11:10:37 AM

Annette and Victoria Quintana, co-founders of Istonish share their thoughts on what it takes to start and build a sustainable company. And what it’s like to work with your sister for twenty five years.

Topics: Uncategorized
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Third Party Verification (TPV) for Phone Service

By Gina Julien on Aug 26, 2015 3:53:26 PM

You just signed up for new cable or phone service and suddenly you’re being transferred to a third party verification service (TPV).  Have you ever wondered why? Although TPV is used to verify many other types of transactions, the most common use is to verify your phone service. Following are 7 things you need to know about TPV.

Topics: Uncategorized
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Data Security: 10 Lessons Learned from Real World FTC Cases

By Istonisher on Aug 26, 2015 12:02:27 PM

Stay ahead of the data security threat by learning real life lessons from the new “Start with Security” white paper published by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This guide draws on the lessons learned from over 50 data security cases handled by the FTC.  What’s interesting is that most of the issues that caused data breaches are the result of basic, fundamental security missteps.

Topics: Security
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Slack Gets Hacked, Adds Two-Factor Authentication

By Istonisher on Mar 30, 2015 2:49:46 PM

From WIRED-The buzzy collaboration platform, Slack, has blown up over the last year, with half a million daily users and a $2.8 billion valuation. Now it’s just hit a different milestone for budding startups: Getting humiliated by hackers who defeated its not-quite-ready-for-prime-time security protections.

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Top 2 Things To Implement In Your IVR System's Top Menu

By Ken Smith on Mar 11, 2015 8:41:28 AM

Our friends at Software Advice, a VoIP market research and reviews website, recently conducted their own survey by calling the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems of 50 customer service-oriented Fortune 500 companies. They collected metrics on how those companies implement their IVR technology. Software Advice then interviewed specialists in operations research and call center bench-marking (the scientific comparison of call center performance metrics) to get their thoughts on best practices for IVR design. Here is one component of their findings:

Depending on a company's business model, the number of options callers are offered in the top menu will change. The average number of menu options for Software Advice's survey was 4.16. But if your company needs numerous options on the top menu, there are two key elements on which to focus.

Eliminate Submenus By Using Open-Ended Questions and ‘Next’ Options

Two of the companies Software Advice called simply prompted the caller for an open-ended response instead of offering a menu. Eric Tober, principal speech solutions scientist for Interactive Intelligence (a leading supplier of contact center solutions), explains that this sort of structure, known as “natural language understanding (NLU),” uses “statistical language models and call routing [to] greatly expand the number of distinct selections (150-plus) a caller can make, while enabling a more natural, open dialog.”

Such structures are ideal for companies that offer numerous services through their IVRs, he adds, since they streamline IVR systems by effecting “greater flattening of the menu structure for many callers.” In other words, callers don’t have to go nearly as deep into IVR submenus to complete a task. Continue reading article...

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3 Colorado Cities In Top 20 For Women Owned Business

By Istonisher on Mar 2, 2015 3:35:01 PM

From Denver Business Journal: An estimated 1.9 million women-owned businesses contribute more than $1.4 trillion in revenues to the U.S. economy, according to American Express Open's 2014 State of Women-Owned Business report.

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The One Thing You Better Be Giving Your Customer In The IVR Process

By Tom Walje on Feb 27, 2015 12:34:00 PM

We all can agree that the purpose of the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) process is to assist callers in completing specific endeavors and help customers find answers via the phone by either voice response or dial pad input. 

If designed well, the IVR will help callers complete the task themselves, thus, reducing the involvement of a live agent. But don't be mistaken, the live agent component is vital. And the caller needs to have the option to connect to that agent by the third menu, giving us the number one goal: First Call Resolution.

A recent test by Software Advice was conducted by calling 50 Fortune 500 companies, to see how many menus it took on their respective IVRs to reach a live agent. Zero was pressed repeatedly for dial pads and an agent was requested for voice IVRs. Here are the results:


Almost 25% provided the opportunity to speak to an agent in the first menu. Thankfully, only 17% made callers wait until the fourth menu and no IVR system went past the eighth.

When creating and building your IVR technology, design with the caller in mind. Saving money by utilizing a well functioning IVR system is fantastic, to be sure. Making your customers happy is even better. 

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Lenovo hit with lawsuit. Superfish adware and security are issues

By Istonisher on Feb 23, 2015 11:48:13 AM

From Mashable: Lenovo and Superfish were slapped with a proposed class-action lawsuit, filed late last week in federal court, according to reports.

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Istonish CEO Annette Quintana To Walk The Runway At Goodwill En Vogue

By Istonisher on Feb 17, 2015 10:37:55 AM

You’re invited to Denver’s premier fashion event!

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LG Going Head To Head In A Battle With The Apple Watch.

By Istonisher on Feb 16, 2015 4:25:02 PM

From Techcrunch: LG was among the first wave of smartphone makers to venture into smartwatches. The G Watch and G Watch R are probably among the best in the market right now — not that this statement says much — but LG just announced its latest addition, the LG Watch Urbane, as Apple prepares to enter the space.

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Microsoft Cloud Takes On First International Cloud Privacy Standard

By Istonisher on Feb 16, 2015 10:33:25 AM

Microsoft is the first major cloud provider to adopt the world’s first international standard for cloud privacy.

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Microsoft throws down the gauntlet in business intelligence. 

By Thelma Jernberg on Jan 27, 2015 11:01:49 AM

That's the message the company sent on Tuesday when it announced that its PowerBI product is now free. According to a company executive, the move could expand Microsoft’s reach in the business intelligence space by 10 times. GIGAOM has more on Microsoft PowerBI.

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Istonish Launches New Website

By Debbie Josendale on Jan 26, 2015 11:53:56 AM

Istonish is proud to announce the launching of our new website!

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The Bleet Goes On: Top 2 Ways To Drive Sales & Lower Costs With These IVR Solutions

By Tom Walje on Jan 23, 2015 8:16:00 AM

In business, lowering your cost is like making money and increasing sales is most certainly making money. So in combining the two, when making your Interactive Voice Response (IVR and Hosted IVR) decision, make sure you know the top 2 ways to make your IVR platform work at maximum efficiency. 

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The Istonish Bleet: THE Reason To Use A Managed IT Services Company

By Tom Walje on Jan 12, 2015 11:14:37 AM

1. Keep your focus on your business, not technology.

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3 New Year's Resolutions For Information Technology And A Better 2015

By Tom Walje on Jan 2, 2015 11:13:14 AM

It's 2015 and that brings with it: New Year's Resolutions!

Okay, we're not that excited about resolutions either.

However, when we think about our resolutions regarding technology, information technology and technology solutions, and then how to make our lives more efficient by leveraging those...we get downright giddy. And we think you will too.

So here's our top 3 Tech New Year's Resolutions for 2015.   

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3 Things The Girl Scouts Reminded Us About Information Technology

By Tom Walje on Dec 18, 2014 12:03:00 PM

$800 million.  

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3 Huge Statistical Topics You Need To Know About IVR Systems

By Tom Walje on Nov 24, 2014 11:35:29 AM

No matter how tech-sophisticated we as a society get, human interaction is still desired and demanded.

And it's no different in the way your company should interact with your customers. This valuable infographic shows that when using an IVR, that a live agent path is still highly sought after.

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5 Things Business Failures And Bad IVR Systems Have In Common

By Tom Walje on Oct 30, 2014 7:50:12 AM

We've all heard the statistics that 50% of new businesses fail in the first year and around 90% of businesses fail in the first five years. 

While most of these failures end in anonymity, there are those companies that burst on the scene and then cone to a resounding halt with equal amounts of fanfare. 

So we looked at the "why" of some of history's famous business failures and we began to see common threads between what makes a company have to shutter it's doors and the components that make up a bad IVR and hosted IVR system.  

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7 Cool Keyboard Shortcuts (a little PC support you may not know about)

By Tom Walje on Oct 24, 2014 10:41:55 AM

Time is money, money is time, work smarter, not harder...

We've all heard these axioms, so we thought we would put together a video of some of our favorite keyboard shortcuts to help you work more efficiently. 

The CTRL+C and CTRL+V are widely know shortcuts (and if you didn't know them, then you just got two extra shortcuts for your money) for copy and paste but here are seven more very cool shortcuts you can use:

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3 Big Things Starbucks Taught Us About IT Managed Services

By Tom Walje on Oct 15, 2014 11:32:56 AM

How does Starbucks keep doing it? No really.

We all are (probably) familiar with Starbuck's story, from the Pike Place Market opening in Seattle in 1971 to getting it's name from the chief mate in the novel Moby Dick. But Starbucks has seemingly always been evolving, first as a coffee bean roaster, selling whole beans to what we know them as today. 

I don't remember my first time in a Starbucks, but every time I go in, I can't help but think: And all they do is sell coffee.

Even today, if you were asked for money so a friend could open up a coffee shop, I bet you would think twice. I know I would. So how has Starbucks sustained their appeal and grown for over 40 years? We at Istonish are about learning from the best, so here are the 'takeaways' and what Starbucks has taught us over the years and how we can incorporate these dynamics into our Managed Services division (as well as our IVR/TPV, Staffing and Consulting):  

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4 Ways A Custom IVR System Design Will Improve The Customer Experience

By Tom Walje on Oct 2, 2014 1:04:02 PM

The blueprint for the first modern interactive voice response (IVR) industry was created over 50 years ago...

And a lot of companies IVR systems still have customers feeling frustrated, rather than feeling they have achieved something. 

Customers, potential customers, individuals preforming agreements; people world-wide now expect to interact with an automated system at some point in their process. But oh, how those processes can vary.  

The common thread to all IVR and hosted IVR processes is in the way each system is designed. Here are four elements that are vital to ensure a pleasant customer experience: 

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5 Ways An Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System Irks Your Customers

By Tom Walje on Aug 15, 2014 4:01:38 PM

Let me relay to you a recent experience I had on an IVR call: 

IVR: Welcome to __________. Please listen because our menu options have changed. Please have your ten digit phone number ready. Please enter your ten digit phone number.


IVR: I'm sorry, I didn't get that. Please enter your ten digit phone number.


IVR: Thank you. Your call is very important to us. Did you know that you can have most of your questions answered by visiting our website at (the company's website url)?

So basically the company just said, "Your call is very important to us. Now let us give you information so we don't have to mess around with you." Besides, I had already visited their website. It didn't answer my question. 

IVR: Press one to continue to your account.


IVR: Hello. Please listen because our menu options have changed. Please have your twelve digit account number ready.  If your service is not working or you're experiencing an interruption in service, press one. If you have new service and are setting up an account press two. If you are calling to pay your bill press three.


IVR: Thank you. Did you know that you can pay your bill online by clicking on the "Pay My Bill Now" button on our website at (the company's url)? Please enter your twelve digit account number. 


IVR: We're sorry, the account number you entered does not match the phone number associated with this account. Please enter your ten digit phone number. 

I THEN REALIZE THAT I PUT IN MY PHONE NUMBER AND NOT MY GIRLFRIEND'S NUMBER (I was paying the bill for her.). So I input her phone number.

IVR: Thank you. Your call is very important to us. Did you know that you can have most of your questions answered by visiting our website at (the company's website url)?


IVR: Press one to continue to your account.


IVR: Hello. Please listen because our menu options have changed. Please have your twelve digit account number ready.  If your service is not working or you're experiencing an interruption in service, press one. If you have new service and are setting up an account press two. If you are calling to pay your bill press three.


IVR: Thank you. Did you know that you can pay your bill online by clicking on the "Pay My Bill Now" button on our website at (the company's url)? Please enter your twelve digit account number. 


IVR: Thank you. One moment please (a recording telling me about how to save money, time and energy begins. Then music. Then back to the recorded message about money time and energy then back to the music).

IVR: We're sorry. The phone number you entered does not match the account number in our system. We're sorry for the inconvenience. Goodbye.


This is how I felt.

Suffice to say, I did not have an exceptional customer experience. Memorable, yes. As a matter of fact we remembered to switch from that company. Yes, we did. We really did. So what reasons did I come to loathe this company's IVR system, thus, loathing the company? Here are five: 

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WTF? (What's Technology's Future?) It's Not Information Technology.

By Tom Walje on Aug 7, 2014 3:05:19 PM

Businesses have changed (and will continue to evolve) in the way they engage with their customers. The reason? The vanishing dynamic of "the certainty" of how we interact with our customers. 

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Winter Is Coming. And So Is The End Of Windows Support. 5 To-Do's

By Tom Walje on Jul 30, 2014 9:30:00 AM

Yes, winter is coming (we've been looking for a way to tie that line in) and on January 13th, Microsoft will be ending it's free mainstream support for some key products, including the very popular Windows 7 Operating System (OS).

First, let's define "mainstream support". That is the (typically) five-year period where good old Microsoft will provide free fixes-including (but not limited to) security updates. When mainstream support comes to an end for a specific product, Microsoft will continue to provide a period-usually 5 years-of extended support, where users get free security fixes but all other types of updates are paid and require very specific licensing deals. 

When Microsoft talks about "End of Support", they are basically saying that there will be no more IT support, fixes, or patches, regardless of it is paid or free. 

Mainstream support will also end on the same January 13 date for all versions of Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, along with all editions of Window Storage Server 2008. 

Just like the end of days of Windows support for XP in April 2013, users need to begin planning a "migration strategy" to a new operating system.

For those that are planning, looking for help in switching, or for those companies who are on the fence considering a change, here are steps to make your transition as seamless and painless as possible.

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5 Reasons Third Party Verification is Vital to Your Company's Future

By Tom Walje on Jul 24, 2014 4:49:53 PM

Sure, Third Party Verification (TPV) is required by the FCC for such transactions as telcom service changes and in many states, TPV is required for changes in electric and natural gas service.

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Where Is Istonish Providing IT Support Today?

By Tom Walje on Jul 17, 2014 7:02:00 AM

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My Computer Won't Turn On! I Need Computer Support Now!

By Tom Walje on Jul 3, 2014 10:10:55 AM

You've gotten your coffee, said good morning to your fellow employees and now you need to get to work. You press the power button on your computer and...                                                                                                                                                                                                   
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Demonstration Blog Post

By Anna Norregaard on Dec 16, 2013 7:10:25 AM

This is a quick little blog post to get you started. You can easily edit or delete it from the blog dashboard, accessed from the sprocket menu in the upper right corner of your screen. The power is totally in your hands. 

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