FRESNO, Calif. (The Business Journal ) – Frank Lopez – Staff Writer
Never before has there been such urgency from businesses to figure out how to allow their employees to work from home.
According to the 2018 American Community Survey from the US Census Bureau, 5 million employees worked at home half-time or more.
Though no figures are yet available on how many US workers are work-ing from home during the COVID-19 crisis, nearly 100 million Americans are living under shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders this week.
Local business owners are seeking services to set up remote working systems.
Eric Rawn, owner of BCT Consulting, Inc., a computer support and technology solutions firm in Fresno, said he saw the writing on the wall early and started planning with his management team on how to work remotely while China was in the ravages of the outbreak in January and February.
“We were lucky that we were able to plan ahead,” Rawn said. “We’ve been putting in place shelter in-place working remotely for our company for nearly two months now.”
Their plan was executed two weeks ago. Around the same time, clients began calling in droves seeking re-mote-work solutions.
The solution seeing the most interest almost to the point of not being able to keep them in stock are VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phones. Employees are able to take them home and continue to work off of the employer’s network as if they were in the office. Hundreds have been deployed, Rawn said.
Clients are also asking for virtual private network (VPN) connections, allowing companies to create secure, remote network connections over the Internet. This allows workers at home to connect to network servers so they can access corporate files, data and email.
Rawn said BCT is setting up its clients to be able to work remotely indefinitely potentially an entire year.
As more businesses transition to remote work, the risk of cyber security threats increase. Online hackers, scammers and spammers are already preying on people’s fear and Internet vulnerabilities.
Early this March, the Secret Service issued a COVID-19 alert regarding phishing the fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to entice individuals to reveal personal information including pass-words and credit card numbers.
Brian Horton, CEO of Breadcrumb Cybersecurity in Fresno, said he saw early on in March just how much of an effect the COVID-19 pandemic would have on a global scale, especially online where “threat groups” are eager to take advantage of global news headlines by propagating malware and sending out fraudulent email campaigns.
Breadcrumb offers its clients net-work evaluations and analytics to gauge their risk of a breach. If a security breach should occur, the company will inform the client what exactly happened, how it happened and if any information was stolen.
Horton said he had an influx of clients seeking more cyber security services about two weeks ago.
“A lot of our clients are starting to take a hit with these fraudulent email campaigns that were tied to some aspects of the Coronavirus,” Horton said, “leveraging people’s anxieties and fear and hoping that they will open up the email.”
With more companies requiring their work staff to work remotely within a distributed network, the risk of fraud increases significantly, Horton said.
Recently, during the pandemic scare, Horton said a client had a case where someone was impersonating a staff member working from home that called the company’s help-desk requesting login information.
With so many staff members working from home, it is difficult to al-ways verify who is an employee or a scammer, and it could be difficult for a company that has never had any protocols in place.
“Our advice to organizations is to really make sure that when you are implanting these remote, work-from-home solutions, to really make sure that they’re locked down, that multi-factor login requirements are turned on and that there is a really strict help desk protocol in place to validate the identity of employees,” Horton said.
Fresno’s MCubed Technologies offers IT support, cyber security and backup and disaster recovery. They have been gearing their clients to-wards cloud-based networks to allow staff to work from anywhere for the last five years. This has softened the blow for many of the company’s clients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jesse Gibson, vice president of M Cubed, said he saw an influx of clients in the Fresno area start requesting the company’s services immediately before and after the governor released guidelines on which businesses could stay open or not.
The entire staff at M Cubed has been working from home since last week.
Though M Cubed hasn’t seen an influx of new clients during the cur-rent health crisis, Gibson says cur-rent clients are looking to improve their cyber security and to easily transition the workload to online.
“The ability for people to work from home will become a standard,” Gibson said. “That capability allows businesses to be more dynamic. In cases like this, when there are a lot of unknowns floating around, it doesn’t really affect their bottom line or their business. They can continue to operate as normally.
Frank Lopez | Writer can be reached at: (559) 490-3465 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The Christmas spirit is alive and well at a Fresno technology company that is showing its employees an extra-special holiday.
BCT Consulting is giving all of their nearly 80 employees a $1,000 Christmas bonus this year, as well as giving each of their employees the opportunity to pick out a Christmas tree at a local tree farm with their family.
“I want to recognize all of your hard work, loyalty, and dedication that has helped make us the number one technology company in the Central Valley!” Owner Eric Rawn said to his employees earlier this week. “We deeply care about our clients and employees just like family, and making sure they are taken care of is our highest priority”.
Rawn, a Fresno State graduate, started BCT as a one-man, part-time technology support business in 1996. The company specializes in offering technology solutions to many different local businesses, including tech support services, website development and online marketing.
He said that 2018 has been one of BCT’s most successful years in a number of different areas, exceeding goals having to do with customer service levels.
BCT was also recently voted the top Technology Company as part of the Best of Central Valley Business Awards.
FRESNO, Calif. —
BCT Consulting, Inc.is a managed service provider of innovative and cost-effective technology solutions for businesses, non-profits, education, government entities, and other organizations throughout California. Since 1996 BCT has provided their clients with tech support, website design, search engine optimization, data forensics and cabling, Internet-based phone service, web-based application, and mobile application development.
BCT Consulting Inc. has received numerous awards throughout the years but is recently celebrating their number one in “Best Technology Company” awarded by The Business Journal’s “2018 Best of Central Valley Business”. For the past five years The Business Journal has allowed readers to vote in 35 categories for their favorite businesses in the Central Valley. Within six weeks 150,000 votes were cast and the winners were announced Monday night at Ruth’s Chris Steak House where more than 120 representatives gathered anxiously awaiting the results.
BCT Consulting Inc. is also celebrating their Inc. 5000 Honor for nine years in a row. Inc. 5000 annually ranks the fastest-growing private companies in America. The recent honors for BCT Consulting Inc. show how the once single person technology consulting firm has grown to over 50 employees and has successfully served the Central Valley’s technology needs.
See all of the winners at The Business Journal
FRESNO, Calif. (The Business Journal)
Inc. magazine released its annual list of the 5000 fastest growing private companies across the nation, and once again, businesses around the Valley made the cut.
For the second year in a row, Visalia-based solar company, CalCom Solar made the list, ranking No. 23 for 2017. The company also made top three in the energy sector list.
“We take a very strategic approach to developing some of the largest solar farms in the agricultural and water management industries,” said Dylan Dupre, CEO of CalCom Solar, in a statement. “Achieving this honor for the second year running demonstrates that sustainability and business can go hand-in-hand in a progressively brighter future.”
CalCom helps design and build solar energy projects for farms, dairies, and water districts, and has maintained consistent growth since its founding in 2012. It is enjoying a three-year growth rate of nearly 9,700 percent and reported $59.3 million in revenue in 2016.
Construction company Pacific Gold Marketing in Fresno ranked in the top half of the list for the second year in a row, marking a 3-year growth rate of 805 percent. Revenue for the company was $9.4 million in 2016. It ranked at No. 560.
Visalia’s Pro-PT, a physical therapy business operating since 2001, now has four consecutive years of making the list, with a rank of No. 3,015 in 2017. Last year’s revenue was $8 million, and the current growth rate is 110 percent.
Scoring an honor roll tag for making the list eight times now, Fresno IT company BCT Consulting returned to the list with 135 percent growth and $10 million in revenue, with a ranking of 2,602.
HVAC installation and repair company Comfort Now in Visalia also made the top half of the list with 161 percent growth and $2.8 million in revenue. It ranked No. 2,264.
Fresno food importer/exporter OAG Global made the list at No. 1,397 due to its 292 percent growth and $18.9 million in revenue.
Lee’s AC Heating and Building Performance in Fresno had a 228 percent three-year growth rate and revenue of $9.6 million for a No. 1,713 ranking.
At 206 percent growth, Body Del Sol Medical Spa in Fresno ranked in the top half of the list with 2016 revenue of $2.4 million, ranking at No. 1,866
Fresno First Bank reported $14.2 million in revenue and 55 percent growth, ranking at No. 4,502.
Even the small town of Kingsburg had a company on the list with Payality, a human resources company with three-year growth at 46 percent and $2.1 million in revenue, ranking at No. 4,816.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) —
A large-scale cyberattack paralyzed companies in almost every corner of the world Friday – demanding ransom from owners in exchange for locked files.
More than a dozen hospitals and companies, including FedEx, were hit. Monitors at BCT Consulting track the number of malicious attacks around the world. As of Friday evening, there were so many, the computer monitor froze.
“I think it would be safe to assume that World War III-style attacks were taking place throughout the web,” Brandon Griggs with the company said.
Griggs is the director of technical support and says this wave of cyber attacks is one of the largest, most organized he’s seen. The ransomware infects machines, locks them by encrypting data, and then extorts money to let users back in.
“What is typically the case, they will hold it ransom for a certain number of days, demand money for it, and if they don’t get it they delete your files,” he said.
At least 16 U.K. hospitals were hit and more than 75,000 computers were affected worldwide. BCT consulting hasn’t didn’t have any customers report problems Friday but says previous waves pushed California businesses to the verge of bankruptcy.
“Many companies have gone out of business,” Griggs warned. “We’ve seen police departments locked up, can’t process records that need to be done, doctors-patient information at hospitals.”
In most cases, the software infects computers through links or attachments in phishing emails. Experts say don’t click on those links, ensure security updates are installed and regularly back up your data.
“Businesses absolutely have to have offsite backups,” Griggs said. “It’s a daily occurrence that people called us and said, ‘We need backups, our data was infected.’”
The investigation into the malware is just starting, but experts say cyber attacks like this one will only grow worse and more sophisticated with time.