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Are You Protecting Your Clients’ Private Information on Your Network and Devices?

There’s a long list of improvements that technology has delivered, but a major downside is cybercrime. The theft of digital information has become the most commonly reported type of criminal fraud. Surprisingly, the theft of digital information has actually surpassed physical theft. When Sony was recently hacked they stole 100TB of data – everything they could find – emails, movies, passwords, & payroll information. Cybercrime: A Big Danger for Small Businesses While financial institutions and large companies have been strengthening their networks against attacks, cybercriminals have begun targeting less well-defended small businesses. Small businesses are attacked everyday, it just doesn’t make the news like a massive data breach at Sony or Target. If you aren’t convinced that it’s a major problem, the following information based on a 2013 survey conducted by the US National Small Business Association: 44% of small businesses have been victims of cyber attacks. The average cyber attack costs a small business $8,700. Business must often pay to notify customers of a data breach and also pay for credit monitoring for customers with compromised information. Companies are potentially liable for damages in lawsuits brought by customers with compromised information. Protect Your Clients and Your Business Computer Troubleshooters offers the following recommendations to increase the security of your network and to safeguard your clients’ valuable personal and financial information: Cybersecurity Awareness: Awareness, education and training is actually the first line of defense when it comes to protecting your business and clients from cybercrime. Establish a cybersecurity plan and policies for employees that requires the use of passwords; guidelines for handling Secure Your Wi-Fi Network: You must password... read more

Keeping it Clean!

It is easy to see the colossal mess that can quickly pile up in the office kitchen when you are busy. Just a few days of neglecting the rubbish and suddenly your office kitchen has become a health hazard. Seriously, how long has that leftover slice of Christmas cake been sitting there? Hey, there’s not a single clean coffee cup to be found on the shelf! Unfortunately, most of us who work in an office environment are familiar with that type of kitchen experience. In reality, a similar fate can befall your office computers. If you neglect a regular schedule of computer updates and maintenance, messy problems will soon start piling up. A disorganized office supply room or a dirty kitchen is bad enough, but never forget that your computers handle your business’ most important assets: accounting, financial records, communications and client information Keeping It Clean – Inside and Out! Remember that keeping the outside of your computers clean isn’t just about aesthetic appeal. Routine cleaning, especially the removal of dust, can keep your computer from overheating and damaging the hard drive and other components. It’s important. Perhaps even more important than a dust-free keyboard, is keeping your computer’s internal “nuts and bolts” in working order. To keep your computers in tip top shape, we strongly recommend the following guidelines: Step 1: Keep your computer up to date. Both Mac and Windows release regular security updates for your operating system. These updates are generally set to run automatically. If you aren’t sure if the updates are complete or if you have disabled the automated updates, follow these guidelines: Windows... read more

Why you need to protect against Thunder Storms?

It is the season for thunderstorm activity across Australia. Recent storms have caused havoc with IT equipment in office & homes for our clients. Last week’s storm in Sydney fried computers, printers, cable modems and backup external drives, let alone more expensive business equipment such as servers. No one who got equipment fried actually got struck by lightning, so why did they lose multiple pieces of equipment in one wild storm and most importantly how do you stop it happening to you or your business. Most technology depends on a clean, uninterrupted supply of electricity. Unfortunately, inconsistencies in your electrical supply or a sudden complete loss of power can cause major damage to computer systems and other sensitive equipment. Electrical supply is subjected to ‘brownouts’, surges and even complete outages. ‘Brownouts’ are momentary slumps in supply, to a level under 100 volts. They are frequently caused by electrical storms, creating a momentary drain on the power supply. Brownouts can affect a computer even if the voltage dip cannot be ‘seen’ (e.g. the lights in the room dimming). And if they don’t crash your PC, they can cause stresses that can shorten the life of its components. Surges of power often follow brownouts as the power rebounds back to normal, and can have similar effects caused by too much voltage. Surges are common in areas where lines are hung on poles that are exposed to lightening, while the lightening may not hit the line the storms electrical activity is enough to cause variations in the voltage. What devices will protect my systems from electrical issues: Surge/power filters or protectors are... read more

Is Your Business Losing Time and Money with the Wrong Technology?

You have invested a lot of time and money into the technology your office uses to operate every day. When your computers do not function as they should, productivity for you and your staff is immediately impacted. You may be losing potential productivity simply because you are not using your current technology to its fullest potential. Are Your Employees Using the Right Tool for the Right Job? Let’s face it, employees are not always productive and your business can suffer for it. However, office inefficiencies aren’t always due to lack of employee motivation. In fact, the use of the wrong tools or outdated technology is often the root of the problem. The 1907 advertising slogan, “The Right Tool for the Right Job,” is still entirely relevant in today’s digital workplace. Have you talked with your employees lately to understand where they feel they are losing productivity? They will likely be happy to tell you where they feel their computers are holding them up, or what type of solutions they need to be able to be better at their job. How to Put Your Technology to Work for You There are products and services available that with little to no investment could dramatically increase the power of your office network. For example: Productivity: Did you know that by simply adding a second monitor to a computer the productivity of the person using that computer can increase by as much as 50%?: Data Security: If you utilize an automated online backup solution for your business, your critical data (your most important asset) is more secure, more likely to be recoverable, and can... read more

Can Office 365 Transform Your Business?

Microsoft has invested heavily on Office 365 as the way of the future for software licencing and it clearly turned out to be a winner! Both the consumer and business markets are enthusiastic about Microsoft’s Office 365 based on its user-friendly flexibility, effective communications and online productivity solutions. Have you thought about transitioning to Office 365? Does Your Technology Support the “Time is Money” Viewpoint? Advances in technology have enabled small and local businesses to participate in the global marketplace by maximizing productivity; delivering enhanced communication capabilities; providing affordable e-marketing; and offering efficient customer service. It’s becoming increasingly common for small businesses to have user-friendly websites; online catalogs; call centers; customer relationship management tools (CRM); and streamlined inventory management systems. Technology is now primed to wring every ounce of efficiency and productivity out of a business to keep it one step ahead of the competition. How Can Office 365 Benefit Your Business? If you are an individual user or a business owner managing a team of employees, Office 365 offers many benefits including: Work Whenever and Wherever: Access your Office tools from anywhere on any device. Create and edit Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote files and share with your team using cloud-based file sharing. Even the Small Business edition can support up to 25 users. All editions provide great storage capacity for your data. You can also use Office 365 with your desktop version of Office. Email and Calendar: Sync your email and calendar with Office 365’s hosted business class email system. Stay in touch and on schedule with instant messaging. Secure and private communications are delivered across various... read more

Have you tried Remote IT Support for your Business?

Not that long ago the term “remote” generally referred to something far removed in space or time. The term was used to describe anything from distant cousins to someone living in a cabin in the middle of nowhere. Definitions certainly change over time. Currently, the term remote is most commonly used in the context of technology. Nearly all household gadgets ranging from our flat screen entertainment units to garage doors openers are operated via hand held remote control devices. In the realm of computers and smartphones there is remote access; remote support; remote desktop; remote iPhones; remote backups, remote monitoring and management; etc. Many of these services and features have enhanced the efficiency of daily life to the point that it’s hard to remember a time before remote technology. Let’s review what remote support is and how it can benefit your business What is Remote Support? Remote support enables a technical support representative to access an end-user’s computer via a secure internet connection. The technician who is working from a remote location could be sitting in front of a computer across town or on the other side of the country. The end-user permits access to their computer and this enables the technician to diagnose problems, perform repairs and handle updates. Using remote support, the computer never moves and no one even needs to get up from their chair. Another facet of remote support is screen sharing. Screen sharing enables both the technician and the end-user to have access to the desktop at the same time. On the shared computer screen, the technician types the next steps in the process... read more

Is Your Business Protected by a Remote Monitoring and Maintenance Solution?

Have you recently heard that techy acronym RMM tossed around and felt clueless? If you aren’t sure exactly what RMM is or what it does, here’s a brief explanation: Managed Service Providers (MSP) employ Remote Monitoring and Maintenance (RMM) tools to manage their clients’ IT systems and equipment. RMM can be described as a collection of IT tools that are loaded onto a client’s workstations and servers to gather information. These RMM tools collect information on a variety of issues such as functionality, maintenance schedules and the detection of problems, and then automatically reports the details back to the MSP at a remote location. How Does RMM Work? If that brief description of RMM still makes it a little difficult to envision, consider credit monitoring services as a comparable type of service. Credit monitoring services are based on the continuous monitoring of a customer’s credit status. Many of us use credit monitoring services to prevent identity theft, fraud and to stay informed about any changes in our credit reports. If there is any suspicious activity within a customer’s account, the credit protection service alerts the customer within 24 hours. The alert can come via an e-mail that states, “Hello Customer – please verify that you used your credit card last night to buy $3000 worth of shoes at a resort in the Bahamas.” Good to know, right? Additionally, the monitoring service keeps you informed about inquiries on your credit report, late payments and changes to your credit rating. These automated alerts enable consumers to take swift action as needed. Other widely used monitoring services include messages from your health... read more

Data Backup is More Important Than Ever

Do you think a data backup solution is simply too expensive for your business? That viewpoint is similar to thinking that insurance for your home is too expensive. Insurance might have seemed expensive until your home is wiped out in a fire and you have lost everything. After the fire is snuffed out, how do you plan to recover? Some things can probably be replaced, but regardless of the expense, certain things are simply irreplaceable. It’s similar to protecting another key asset – your business data. Even in business, certain data, documents, photographs, accounting files and client information might be nearly impossible to replace. When it comes to business data, are you safeguarding your most important company asset with a reliable backup solution? What Causes Data Loss? Any device that stores information is vulnerable to data loss. The causes of data loss are due to a wide range of human errors, technology failures and unpredictable natural disasters. Frequently floods, fires, tornados, earthquakes and lightning strikes destroy both the device and the data. Natural disasters are often followed by power failures that can also wreak havoc on technology. The theft of equipment and attacks by hackers are widespread problems. Laptop and mobile devices are small, valuable and easily re-sold, making them the target of choice for thieves all over the world. Each year in the United States, over 600,000 laptops are stolen with over 65% never recovered. Hackers, viruses, software bugs and cyber-attacks grab the most media attention, but it’s actually human error and hardware failures that account for nearly 75% of all data loss occurrences. Data Loss Can Cost... read more

Is your current Technology supporting the goals of your Business?

As a business owner, how often do you use the phrase “time is money?” It’s certainly an accurate description of how we live and work today, yet this phrase should actually be attributed to Benjamin Franklin’s 1748 essay titled “Advice to a Young Tradesman.” Centuries have passed and this maxim is still true, although the young tradesman is now a small business owner empowered by the efficiencies of technology. Does Your Technology Support the “Time is Money” Viewpoint? Advances in technology have enabled small and local businesses to participate in the global marketplace by maximizing productivity; delivering enhanced communication capabilities; providing affordable e-marketing; and offering efficient customer service. It’s becoming increasingly common for small businesses to have user-friendly websites; online catalogs; call centers; customer relationship management tools (CRM); and streamlined inventory management systems. Technology is now primed to wring every ounce of efficiency and productivity out of a business to keep it one step ahead of the competition. Do You Have an IT Strategy That Delivers Efficiency and Accountability? When it comes to efficiency, how does your business really operate on a day-to-day basis? Do you have employees manually performing the same tasks over and over again? Are you still using accounting procedures that aren’t entirely efficient? Is someone still manually sending “welcome” e-mails to new clients? Can your staff access a shared calendar and project files? If you answered with a “not exactly” response to any of the above questions, then it’s time for your business to catch-up with technology by implementing some of these new IT strategies: Remote access is one of the greatest enhancements to increased... read more

Is Your IT Professional Also a Trusted Business Advisor?

As a business owner, one of the best moves you can make is to outsource your IT services to a professional provider. When it comes to outsourcing your IT service needs, there are a wide range of service options that involve varying levels of management responsibilities and costs. An IT professional can provide service for a single specific task such as help desk support or managing network security. At the other end of the service spectrum, an IT professional can assume management responsibilities for a client’s entire IT infrastructure. The advantages of outsourced services are improved operational efficiencies, cost savings and predictable service for a nearly-fixed monthly fee. Increase Efficiency and Effectiveness with Mobility An increasing number of businesses have switched to the outsourced IT service model. If you are already working with a contracted IT professional, then you have given your business the advantage of a head-start on the competition. The next big question is whether your business is actually making the best use of your contracted IT professional? It is likely that your IT professional is responsible for repairs, fixes and upgrades for your business’ computers and network problems. Computer repairs might be a key part of the contracted job, but there are probably some value-added IT skills that your business might not be fully Do You Need a Trusted Business Advisor or a Computer Repair Service? Trusted advisor is an important role that an IT professional can fill by understanding the business owner’s goals and long range plans for the business. By understanding the “big picture,” an IT professional can share expert technical information while understanding... read more

The Final Countdown to Microsoft’s XP April 8th Deadline

In 2002, Microsoft presented its official Support Lifecycle Policy that was based on detailed customer feedback. The predictability of support services was cited as a very important issue for Microsoft’s customers. Microsoft responded accordingly by alerting customers years in advance that the XP operating system and Windows 2003 have an “end of life” date scheduled for April 8, 2014. Although XP and Windows 2003 have been very popular, Microsoft will no longer support these products after the April 8th deadline. This information has been well-publicized by Microsoft for many years. There are still over 600 million worldwide XP users and it seems that many have chosen to simply ignore these repeated notifications. We can assume that users who have not upgraded by now fall into one of two categories. The first group includes those who are willing to take their chances and plan to continue using Microsoft legacy products that are no longer supported. The second group is XP users who are truly unaware of the deadline. Do you fall into one of these two groups? The Final Countdown is Now! After years of these “end of life” warnings, XP and Windows 2003 are now in the final days of the deadline countdown. Surprisingly, one of Microsoft’s latest strategies has been to ask for help. Computer Troubleshooters recently posted a story on our Facebook page about how Microsoft had begun taking a grassroots approach to spreading the word. Microsoft resorted to asking for help by seeking volunteers to remind business owners, friends, family and colleagues about the upcoming XP deadline. Via their blog, Microsoft asked experienced and technically savvy... read more

Adapting Your Business to a Mobile on the Go World

Mobility has quickly transformed the way most of us are now working. According to recent research over 50% of mobile phone users use now regularly use their mobile phone to access the internet. This rate has nearly doubled over the past three years. Are you using mobile internet features to enhance your business? Increase Efficiency and Effectiveness with Mobility The increased need for productivity coupled with affordable technology has shifted employees away from being tied to a desktop PC. Workers equipped with mobile devices are now communicating with customers from their cars and accessing data from the Cloud while working at home. Employers and employees can keep projects up to date by easily sharing information via mobile devices at any hour of the day. Mobile flexibility is enabling businesses to quickly move forward with enhanced efficiency. Consider some of the following mobile efficiencies that can help your business: Continuously Connected employees have the flexibility to work from home, while on the go and during travel. Conducting business is now a 24/7 proposition. Accessing information from the office while you are at the airport creates greater efficiency for you and your business. Perhaps you don’t want to be at the airport? Virtual meetings can conveniently connect you with colleagues and customers while saving time and money. Productivity with flexibility has become our new reality. Protecting Company Data has become an increasingly important concern for business owners with the advent of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Flexibility has ushered in the trend of employees bringing their own mobile devices into the workplace. This means that company data is probably stored on... read more