Local Boys & Girls Club Gifted with a Brand New Technology Room!
Toptech Systems recently partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida (BGCCF) to create a technology room at the local Altamonte Springs branch. In 2015, Toptech Systems gifted them with a complete remodel on their teen room, including a state-of-the-art technology corner. Unfortunately, the teens have often found themselves only able to use the computers on shifts as the younger kids are being assigned homework almost exclusively online.
As a technology company, Toptech Systems knows the importance of early access to computers for STEM careers and wanted to extend the access given to the teens to the younger kids. Toptech worked closely with BGCCF to determine their needs and ensure the kids would have the best room possible. About 10 employees partnered with the Club over the course of 5 months to combine a small, unusable room and a storage room into one, large technology and multi-purpose space. The grand opening of the room was held on June 13th.
Eric Gasvoda, Toptech Systems’ GM stated “This is about ensuring the kids at BGCCF have as much opportunity to choose a career in technology as anyone else. We’re really proud of the work we do with the kids and hope to continue a strong partnership.”
Join us in beautiful Orlando, FL for three days of learning, networking, and fun with many of Toptech’s employees and business professionals across the industry.
- Even more TMS6 Tips & Tricks; deep dive into key features of TMS6 and become a more efficient user
- Be amongst the first to get hands on experience with an exciting change to TMS6
- Learn about the improvements made to customer service
- Learn about new features in Toptech’s hosted solutions
…and much more.
Each day of the conference will feature interactive sessions that give you an opportunity to ask questions and share your feedback. Your feedback ultimately helps guide the focus for 2018. The conference will begin on Tuesday, October 10th at 12:00 pm and end on Thursday, October 12th at 1:00 pm. Please stay tuned for more agenda details.
Toptech is pleased to be hosting the User Conference at the Hard Rock Hotel. Located within CityWalk, the Hard Rock Hotel is just a short walk or ferry ride away from Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. A room block has been reserved under “Toptech Systems” until Monday, September 18th. To make your reservation, please dial 1-866-360-7395. Space is limited, so attendees are encouraged to make their reservations early.
An article was recently released in OilPro called Big Data and the Oilfield: Missing the Point by Steve Matthews. The premise was that so many companies are focused on collecting as much data as possible, that not enough focus is put on making the data actionable. We couldn’t agree more! Nearly every product at the terminal provides some form of raw data. Companies either collect the data and do nothing with it or spend hours trying to work it into a format that shows a clear picture.
The terminal industry is tired of feeling like they’re in the dark about their own businesses. They’re looking for ways to make decisions for the future. But in an industry that’s so risk averse, they need clear data to back up any high impact moves. In fact, many companies are so frustrated, they’ve implemented their own in-house programs in an attempt to solve this million dollar problem. However, they’re still only able to get a surface level of information, focusing more on transactional data than the behavioral and operational root.
Despite this obvious gap, Toptech Systems is still the only company that has built a real, industry-wide solution. Synetics goes way past simply giving raw data. Using TMS6, it actually collects the raw data from several different devices to provide analytics like average wait times, load times, gate-to-gate times, number of alarms, bay utilization and more in a format that’s truly actionable.
For example, rather than simply telling you that loading times have been much longer for a specific bay, you are able to drill down and view the bay’s performance for the past year. In doing that, you notice loading times are longer every Thursday for the last 4 months. What’s changed? You can drill down further and find that it performs efficiently until about 2 pm. You drill down more. That’s when the drivers from Reba’s Trucks arrive and you can see they tend to load only one compartment at a time. With Synetics, this discovery took you all of 5 minutes. Now you have the knowledge you need to make a decision about training their drivers to load more efficiently, thus offering better service to your customers by helping them receive their product faster.
Synetics allows companies to become detectives, quickly drilling down to the root of a problem. It also allows companies to be smart forecasters, viewing clear trends throughout their business so they can make major decisions for the future. It’s time for the industry to think beyond data dumps and focus on actionable intel.
Recently released SQL exploit kits remind us of how important it is to patch security vulnerabilities in software. Sadly, most successful attacks use exploits that are well known – but, the patch has not yet been applied. So, who is to blame for not patching the system?
Quite often your system administrator is mistakenly assumed guilty. However, you only need to dig a little deeper to realize that the issue is not negligence, but the huge volume of patches that are released every month by vendors. Security patches come in continuously from a variety of third party commercial products, open source libraries and operating systems.
In essence, security patch management becomes a triage tree which attempts to answer which patches need to be applied and when … balanced against the requirements for production stability. Generally speaking, a patch may be ignored if the product/library/service is not installed. Larger patches or software version upgrades are considered higher risk because of large number of software and system dependencies.
So what do you need to patch? The old security idiom hold true, ‘You need to patch everything to make your system secure and no more!‘ Today’s systems are very complex which implies they are also very fragile. Security patches which are deemed critical are usually remotely exploitable and should be patched as soon as possible. And security patches which are less than critical (i.e. – Important) can probably wait until your next maintenance patch. And when you can, schedule an upgrade to the latest available OS release which has all the security patches already applied.
In February 2016, Google announced that 77 percent of all web requests are encrypted. Today, almost all encrypted web traffic uses normal http traffic over a Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol encrypted framework. The TLS protocol allows users to safely exchange a secret that is used to encrypt data packets in both directions.
The history of TLS begins with Netscape Corporation and an encryption framework called Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) in 1994. The very first implementation called SSL 1.0 was so flawed that it was never released to the public. So, the first official http encryption standard was 2.0 released in February 1995. Five years later, the SSL protocol eventually gave way to the TLS protocol.
Over time, security researchers have discover flaws in each implementation of SSL and TLS. Like an old washing machine, the flaws and problems become unworkable and needs to be replaced. The current standard TLS protocol is 1.2 which was released in August 2008. It has been the target of many successful exploits including Poodle, Sloth, and Crime.
The latest draft version is TLS 1.3 – which is soon expected to be a standard. It removes many of the primitives and features that made TLS 1.2 vulnerable and represents a significant leap forward in security. In addition, the TLS 1.3 protocol has been modified to reduce the TLS handshake time which provides a significant performance increase for mobile devices. In summary, it’s time to say goodbye to TLS 1.2 and welcome TLS 1.3.
Toptech Systems is pleased to announce the release of an entirely new version of MultiMate, MultiMate Plus. MultiMate Plus is a ground-up rebuild focused on providing an intuitive user-interface and building a foundation for an expanded feature set in future releases.
MultiMate has been offered to customers since 2009 to help with the configuration and interaction of the MultiLoad II suite of products. MultiMate allows the user to create and manage configuration prompt files, meter ticket templates, and an access ID database. The application also supports the ability to upload new firmware, as well as download, view and print archived transaction data, event log data, and more.
After hearing from customers that there were various areas in the traditional MultiMate tool that could be improved, Toptech made it a priority to build a program that would RELIABLE and INTUITIVE. This first release of MultiMate Plus does nearly everything the traditional MultiMate product did but with a completely improved user experience.
A few of the new user-interface features:
- There are now change lists so you can easily view the modifications that were made from the last configuration to now.
- Every alarm includes a description so there is no confusion.
- You can now search and filter for factors such as BSW and more.
- Products can now be viewed and edited in one page so it’s faster and easier to navigate.
BOL Editor and Custom Logic are the two features this release will not include. The next release (scheduled for the end of October) will include those features. There are exciting future plans that expand this application beyond anything the traditional MultiMate or its competitors have managed to achieve. As always, this application is offered for free so that anyone with a MultiLoad II product can benefit.
Click this link and scroll down to Product Downloads for the new MultiMate Plus.
You are probably well aware that Hurricane Matthew is heading toward the east coast of the United States. This hurricane could have severe impacts in the US from rain and wind and may adversely affect some of your terminal locations.
As a precautionary measure, and in addition to your normal backup procedure, Toptech suggests that any site that could be affected by Hurricane Matthew perform a backup of servers and store them in a safe and accessible location.
Toptech would also like to extend its sincerest hopes that all of your employees and family members remain safe and sound.
MultiLoad II Slate is the newest offering in automation hardware for batch control. Slate is an evolution of the MultiLoad II system, taking it to the next level by using each company’s database to provide a solution that is specific to their needs.
“Now, in addition to adding flexibility for the oil industry, other markets such as paint, beverage, and mining can enjoy the same level of efficiency oil terminals have benefited from for years.” says Joe Porthouse, Director of Engineering for Toptech Systems.
MultiLoad II Slate is the result of Toptech’s commitment to continued innovation in addressing market needs. Many of the businesses that partner with Toptech Systems are experts in various industries and have expressed a need for a MultiLoad-like solution in those markets. After analyzing the requirements for these various markets, one thing became clear…flexibility is the key. The types of required data varied from industry to industry and market to market, with aviation tracking tail numbers, mining tracking odometers, locomotives tracking spur lines and so on and so on. MultiLoad II Slate allows for this diversity.
In short, Toptech Systems is offering the world something no other company has managed to offer, a blank slate. Application specific databases can be stored in the device, allowing it to speak the language of any industry. In addition, Slate supports custom prompting, allowing companies to choose the amount of security and information they want to receive before each load. As the user friendly interface for the driver or operator, Slate includes a full alphanumeric keypad and a color display. It is also available in a Division 1 or 2 enclosure.
Due to the varied nature of each industry, companies have traditionally been faced with only three options: The first option has been to endure the slow, manual process of tracking their transactions with pen, paper, and a spreadsheet. This leaves them with only a best estimate of how much product moved each month and includes hours of data entry for accounting. Another option has been to use a standard automation system. Since these systems weren’t designed with each industry in mind, this often leaves companies trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. With features they don’t need and language they don’t use, frustrations abound. The third option has been to build a custom automation system. This requires a significant investment of time and money. In addition, the company must pay for more customizations anytime they change a process.
There’s now a new player in town: the MultiLoad II Slate. Slate is designed to help companies with any fluid loading and offloading application. This new device stores any information the company needs before a transaction begins, tracks every transaction, and sends it to the software system for a fraction of the cost of PLC/PC based solutions. Companies will be able to view their data using their terms, the way they want to see it.
James Imhoff, Business Line Director for Toptech Systems states, “We are excited for this latest evolution of MultiLoad which opens it to interface with a virtually unlimited amount of systems and markets. We’ve always been focused on moving companies forward and Slate is yet another, strong component of that goal.”
Encrypting communication has been in the news a lot. Private citizens want to keep their personal lives private so they use encrypted communications to keep their information secret. Terrorists also use encrypted communication to hide their activities.
At the turn of the century, businesses realized that exposing sensitive company information or personally identifiable information (PII) could result in lost revenue, bad publicity and potentially millions of dollars in regulatory fines. As more business applications have gone publicly online, hackers have seen an opportunity to profit by identity theft, extortion and corporate espionage. Much of this pain could be avoided by encrypting communications.
When communications are not encrypted man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks are much more likely. This is where the attacker secretly relays and possibly alters communication between two parties who believe they are directly communicating with each other. For example, this could be as simple as ease-dropping or selectively modifying the account numbers of a financial wire transfer.
Toptech Systems has implemented secure encrypted communications in TMS6v , TDS, Load2Day and UAP. As new PIDEX standards are being defined, Toptech continues to rigorously support the encryption of exchange data. Contact Toptech Systems for more information.
Hackers are becoming increasingly adept at guessing usernames and capturing passwords. Hardly a week goes by without news of yet another online site that has been hacked and user credentials published to the Internet. Phishing emails have become so sophisticated that in some cases, you don’t even have to read your email to have your PC infected with malware.
So how do I prevent hackers from using my accounts and accessing my resources? In high security environments, multiple credentials are used to verify the identity of a user. This is called Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) and is considered a best practice.
For example, the basic user ID/password combination is considered one factor authentication. A second factor could be your fingerprint. A good example of this is Toptech’s verified II fingerprint scanner. A third factor could be an RFID card that has an associated 4 digit PIN number like the card reader in Toptech’s MultiLoad II.
The objective of MFA is to layer your defense. If one factor is compromised, the attacker still has to successfully overcome a second factor to get access. Many online systems have the option of enabling MFA for your accounts. Banking systems were one of the first to embrace the concept of MFA and often employ those secondary security questions (i.e. What is the name of your first pet?).
Toptech’s MultiLoad II has always been considered a leader in using MFA. The MultiLoad II has a keypad for PIN code entry and a RFID card slot. This can be combined with the verified II for 3 levels of authentication – what you have (RFID card), what you know (PIN code) and who you are (fingerprint). Contact Toptech Systems for more information.