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MTA Announces MTA Shield to Provide Device and WiFi Security for Members

The new suite of three apps provides device protection and puts members in charge of their information security

Palmer, Alaska – August 18, 2020 – MTA, Alaska’s best choice for technology and communications products, has announced the release of MTA Shield, a suite of three apps that puts members in charge of their WiFi and protects their devices.

MTA Shield provides unique privacy features to keep members’ data private both at home and on the go, a variety of user management tools, as well as identity protection features. When combined with MTA’s totalWiFi package, members will have greater peace of mind than ever before when it comes to their data security and privacy.

The three apps that create MTA Shield complement and strengthen each other:

Shield Home

MTA Home Shield works with MTA’s totalWiFi gateway and provides advanced transparency and protection for members’ entire WiFi network. In addition to preventing attacks on WiFi devices, it also offers content filtering, device and user management. It also provides the ability to set rules, such as screen time limits and pausing WiFi access during certain times for all or specific devices.

Mobile Shield

MTA Mobile Shield can be used at home and on the go. Downloaded directly to members’ mobile devices, it performs virus and malware scans and offers tools for safe browsing.

Identity Shield

MTA Identity Shield prevents members’ personal information from ending up in the wrong places by detecting when their identity information is at risk and helping them take action. It also helps members create and store stronger passwords.

Following cybersecurity classes MTA offered to members, the co-op created MTA Shield as an advanced cybersecurity tool that is easy and reliable for members to use.

“We’re constantly trying to better understand our members, their lifestyles and challenges, and create meaningful solutions to empower them to live more connected lives, and we know that the internet and our members’ connected devices can be vulnerable to forces outside of their control,” said Michael Burke, MTA’s CEO. “MTA prides itself on being a compassionate co-op, and believes it is our responsibility to talk about the real need for data security and privacy and provide our members a solution. As a leading technology provider in the fast-growing state of Alaska, we always strive to meet our customers changing needs, we are proud to offer these important privacy tools to ensure they can keep their data secure and WiFi manageable.”

In creating the MTA Shield suite, MTA teamed up with global cybersecurity leader F-Secure, which works with top channel partners and over 200 service providers to ensure the enterprise-level security of businesses throughout the world.

“The undeniable benefits that come from connecting more and more of our lives unfortunately can put our home networks, our devices, and even our identities at risk,” said Brian Murray, F-Secure’s Regional Head of Consumer Security for North America. “Securing against these risks needs to be as painless and practical as connecting a new device. The solutions in this suite combine to provide MTA members the power to easily secure their families at home, and anywhere they go.”

About MTA
Established in 1953 as a 100 percent locally-owned and operated Alaskan cooperative, MTA is Alaska’s best choice for technology and communications products. As a key player in the economy of Southcentral Alaska, MTA provides residential and business technology solutions to empower member-owners and patrons to live a connected life. Today, MTA remains as one of the largest technology co-ops in the U.S. Be sure to connect with us on Facebook.

About F-Secure
Nobody has better visibility into real-life cyber attacks than F-Secure. We’re closing the gap between detection and response, utilizing the unmatched threat intelligence of hundreds of our industry’s best technical consultants, millions of devices running our award-winning software, and ceaseless innovations in artificial intelligence. Top banks, airlines, and enterprises trust our commitment to beating the world’s most potent threats. Together with our network of the top channel partners and over 200 service providers, we’re on a mission to make sure everyone has the enterprise-grade cyber security we all need. For more information, visit www.f-secure.com.

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From Student to Specialist: An Alaskan Tech Journey Leads to MTA Shield

By: Zak Wolf, Product Specialist

As a young high school graduate in Alaska, I always foresaw myself in a career utilizing technology to develop and bring new products and services to life. Today, I am fortunate to work for one of the state’s technology leaders, leading a team through the development of innovative software that would help make life better and safer for thousands of local individuals, families and businesses.

But through MTA, that dream has become a reality not just for me but for its members.

My journey started at Mat-Su Career & Technical High School, which was made up of students who truly wanted to excel at a trade. I chose “Information Technology” as my pathway, and studied topics ranging from 3D modeling and engineering to AutoCAD drafting and electronics. The students all strived for the same thing – a focused career in their field of choosing following graduation.

Before long, I was beginning that career at MTA, working my way through roles in tech support and sales (where I honed skills in product and technical acumen as well as documentation) before eventually being offered a role in product development. I was thrilled to have this opportunity and take on more responsibility and creativity at MTA; starting with process design and improvement before slowly taking on MTA’s business voice solutions.

In this role is where I was given the most responsibility to date: taking on my first full-cycle development project: MTA Shield. For background as to why and how MTA Shield came to fruition, it’s worth taking a step back and looking at the context of MTA and the world more broadly.

It’s estimated that data breaches exposed over 4 million private records in the first half of 2019 alone, making it increasingly clear that the need for safe and secure access to internet is at an all-time high.

MTA doesn’t just provide access to internet and technology – we see it as one of our core priorities to keep the members of our co-op safe with solutions that they can trust, and also ones that are easy to manage.

As our members’ usage continued increasing year over year, MTA launched Unlimited Internet at the end of 2016, while the remaining issue of long-term capacity was solved by the recent completion of AlCan ONE, which connected Alaska to the lower 48. Between the roll-out of Unlimited Internet and the rise in connected devices (which were now more manageable through MTA’s totalWiFi™), it was clear that there was more that needed to be done to keep things secure on the micro level.

We started by hosting a series of cybersecurity classes, and we realized how great their interest – and concern – was. Thus, the idea for MTA Shield was born. This is a project that’s been many months in the making and one that’s required a great deal of communication and vigilance both internally between our development, security and executive teams and with members.

On a personal level, the MTA Shield development and roll-out put me in charge of a variety of vital tasks that I’d been preparing for throughout my education and career: vendor selection, packaging, pricing, branding, employee training, sales enablement and ultimately, market launch.

To make this project a reality, our team decided to partner with Finnish cyber security and privacy company F-Secure to help us create a detailed project plan to keep us on track and get the job done. Based on their credentials and reputation, we knew they would be the right ones to ensure our members were as secure as possible.

Now, we are excited to finally roll-out MTA Shield itself: a new suite of three apps that provide total device protection. These apps work in conjunction with each other and allow our members to take charge of their network security.

MTA Home Shield works with our totalWiFi gateway and provides advanced transparency and protection for your entire WiFi network. In addition to preventing attacks on WiFi devices, it also offers content filtering, device and user management; and provides the ability to set rules, such as screen time limits and pausing WiFi access during certain times for all or specific devices.

MTA Mobile Shield can be used at home and on the go. Downloaded directly to your mobile devices, it performs virus and malware scans and offers tools for safe browsing.

MTA Identity Shield prevents your personal information from ending up in the wrong places by detecting when your identity information is at risk and helping them take action. It also helps our members create and store stronger passwords.

Our product team has been proud to take an outside-in approach to this development and every other type of problem-solving by getting out of the office to better understand our members. By observing their lifestyles and challenges, we’re able to create meaningful solutions to empower them to live more connected lives.

Throughout this test of my skills, organization and leadership, I learned many things. Most notable was the importance of internal and external communication when there are so many moving parts (especially now, with much of the team working remotely); I can’t stress enough how vital keeping in touch with your team is throughout major projects. Additionally, having a detailed project plan with key milestones and deadlines is crucial.

  • There were so many firsts for me during the creation of MTA Shield, and it’s helped me bolster my understanding of not only starting a project like this from the ground up, but also the vigilance that is required to be successful in doing so. It’s been exhilarating to see MTA Shield come to fruition, and I’m so excited to continue working with the MTA team moving forward to create more innovative products that empower our members and build better realities for them.

Now that I’ve found myself in the role that I was so determined to achieve all the way back in high school, I’ve been proud to help empower future generations of tech leaders as well. I recently visited Mat-Su Career & Technical High School with fiber kit demos and other projects that I hope will inspire young students to follow their dreams and make them a reality.

(For more information about MTA Shield, visit https://www.mtasolutions.com/mta-announces-mta-shield/.)

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Why MTA Is Helping Our Members Cut The Cord

The way we watch TV is changing, and more and more people are ditching cable TV in favor of the increasing number of streaming services available at their fingertips.

This cord-cutting is nothing new, but the trends we’ve seen have been ticking up faster and faster, indicating a major shift:

• Over the last eight years, cord-cutting in the U.S. has increased by 48 percent.
• The number of cord-cutters in the U.S. is expected to reach 55.1 million by 2022
• Just because you’re cutting the cord doesn’t mean you’re watching less: streaming platform Roku found that 80 percent of cord-cutters say they watch the same, if not more, TV than they did before cord-cutting and moving to Roku.

MTA remains proactive in guiding our customers through this shift, helping members figure out the right time to move from cable TV to a streaming service. When that time comes, once we help you cut the cord, we then help you decide which streaming service is right for you (and your wallet).

While it may seem unusual for a telecommunications company to advise members to move on from cable TV, our priority is ensuring our members are as educated and up-to-speed as possible on their viewing options. To do this, we regularly invite MTA and community members to come check out these options themselves at a monthly product showcase.

This month we’re inviting our community to join us at the Menard Sports Center on May 22 for our monthly product showcase or on June 5 for one of two showcases during our 2019 Annual Meeting.

These are part of our monthly DTV Product Showcase series, in which we demonstrate all of the great premium streaming services we offer so that our members can find out exactly which product is right for them and clear up any questions they might have about the transition from cable to streaming television.

The choice of whether to cut the cord or not is up to you, but if you take the plunge, we at MTA are here to help you through every step.

MTA: Life. Technology. Together.
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