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Are you trying to dodge shady tech thieves but falling short? In our latest roll out of Technology Today, we sift through the good, the bad and the techy tidbits!
Increasing employee productivity is a positive approach for companies, regardless of the industry; however, the concept can be rather vague. Productivity means more than just working to meet a given quality standard, therefore, it isn’t always immediately clear how to achieve optimum outcomes while maintaining standards and keeping your employees happy. Here are a few concrete methods that can help your staff be more productive:
We’ve all seen the stories about celebrities getting their mobile phones hacked and having their private photos splattered all over the web.
Although you may think there is nothing of real interest on your phone, you are still at risk of security invasion. Any number of people could have motives to harm you, from ex-es to a colleague who perceives you as a threat. Even innocuous content on your phone can be taken out of context to reflect negatively on you in general or be manipulated.
Use some of these simple tips to protect your mobile phone and reputation:
Passwords - Your passwords are your primary defense against would-be hackers – from your lock code to email account password. Don't share your passwords with others.
Also, make sure your passwords aren’t easily guessed, such as your pet’s name or child’s birthday. A secure password may not be as easily remembered, but it is far harder to hack. Finally, shield your phone’s screen with your hand or body when entering passwords in public lest onlookers take note of which buttons you push.
Clear Out the Cobwebs – In addition to creating more storage space on your mobile phone, it is just wise to remove old text conversations, photos, and other data periodically. Back up the things you want to keep onto other devices, so you can access them later. With all of the excess stuff you don’t use on a regular basis gone, you leave less for hackers to work with if the security of your mobile phone is breached. In the event of being hacked, you would also likely lose all of those things, so backing such info up protects you twofold.
Beef Up Security – Take advantage of the lesser-known security features of your mobile phone. For example, turn off the Discoverable mode on your Bluetooth. Look on your phone under Security to see if there are free, included options, such as an automatic lock screen that activates after a certain period of inactivity.
There are also applications you can download to increase the level of security on your phone, including apps that allow you to access and control your phone remotely in the case of loss or theft. Our company provides an option for businesses that not only allows mobile lock and/or wipe of a lost phone, but restrictions on what apps can be installed. For more advice on ways to boost your staff's productivity, check out our blog post.
Today, many business that are looking for ways to cut costs while managing their websites and other technological and resource related tasks have found Managed Service Providers to be the answer to their needs. Managed Service Providers (or MSPs) provide managing, monitoring and resolutions of problems for IT systems within a business. The problem is that there are many service providers billing themselves as Managed Service Providers when all they really offer is a flat rate service package, rather than all of the necessary components found in professional Managed Service Providers. Before actually taking the plunge and hiring an MSP, it’s a good idea to understand what a Managed Service Provider should offer and how to tell if they will be an asset to your business.
What does a managed service provider do?
A managed service provider will monitor your systems (through Managed Service Software) 24/7 for any problems or potential problems and alert you to them in a timely fashion. A managed service provider will also fix most problems such as security holes, software glitches, server problems, email service problems and so on. Basically, any foreseeable problem that may cause your company substantial productivity and/or financial loss will be caught and addressed by your managed service provider in order to keep your IT infrastructure running smoothly, with little to no downtime. A good MSP should also act as a strategic partner, providing advice and recommendations for structuring the IT portion of your business to give you the best advantage and cost-efficiencies. This service is often referred to as being a Virtual CIO, or VCIO.
What should I keep in mind when hiring a managed service provider?
A few things you might want to consider when hiring a Managed Service Provider are the following:
• Do they have a proven track record?
• Do they have a comprehensive package or portfolio to address all of your business needs?
• Do they offer 24/7 support with immediate answers to concerns or questions?
• Are they focused on security and do they make your IT security their top priority?
• Are they focused on customer service and providing the best service available?
• Do they offer a reasonably priced service compared to other MSPs?
How can I tell if they are legitimate?
One thing you should do before you hire a Managed Service Provider is check with other businesses to see whether they have a good track record. You can find reviews online of many different managed service providers, which will also help you to make an informed and educated decision on who to hire. You should look for whether they provide ALL necessary managed services to keep your IT infrastructure safe and secure as well as keeping your systems running at peak performance. Some Managed Service Providers only offer one or two services, such as connectivity and data backups, and some only offer after-the-fact assistance, such as help if your database goes down, or if your network goes offline; you can call them and they will fix it. A managed service provider should offer monitoring services that monitor all of the key components in your network infrastructure and should be alert to any possible problem so that it can be immediately addressed, often before it actually breaks.
A good managed service provider will also be able to offer advice to help maximize your IT efficiency, alerting you to better software solutions, integrated database functionality, tighter security measures and other things of this nature. You should also be able to contact your MSP to ask questions, get advice on running your IT infrastructure and be provided with helpful advice to maximize your overall security and proficiency. If they don’t offer this kind of service, the best advice I can offer you is to look elsewhere for an MSP who does. There are many competing service providers and if one doesn’t offer what you need, keep looking. Don’t settle for less than what your business deserves.
How much is it going to cost?
A good managed service provider will not be cheap, but it should be affordable cost-effective. Most MSPs charge a flat monthly fee for their service, based on the level of services, number of networked devices and other infrastructure factors. Managed service providers will be able to work with you to discover exactly what services you need and set up a plan that meets your budget, while providing a proactive monitoring solution to keep your systems running at peak performance. In order to find the best pricing, you will need to check out several recommended managed service providers and get price quotes from each. You will then be able to factor in what services are provided for what costs by which MSPs and make an informed decision on which one will be the best match for your particular IT needs.
To put it succinctly, the more research you do, the greater your success will be in finding the perfect Managed Service Provider for your needs. Keep in mind the basics outlined here, and you should have no problem finding the right managed service provider for your particular business and IT needs. Once you have found the right MSP, you’ll see a dramatic difference in your IT Infrastructure with reduced downtime, increased operating proficiency, reduced operating costs and a well-running and secure IT infrastructure.
Regardless of the size of your business, you can harness the power of the same high-tech tools used by Fortune 500 companies, thanks to cloud-based technology.
As a business owner, it is important to make the right decision when choosing a voice communications system. Maintaining contact with your vendors, clients and employees has never been more important than it is today. Before purchasing a new system, take into consideration these factors to ensure the lines of communication remain open.
Does your IT staff include personnel who are dedicated to compliance or cybersecurity? How confident are you that your team is prepared to take today’s security threats head on? How likely are you to be able to ward off a determined attack?
You may have heard about the newest ransomware virus (Petya) that hit companies worldwide in the past few days. This new threat will encrypt your entire system, not just the files. The threat can enter your system through email, and potentially infected websites. Here are our recommendations for protecting your company.
How long can your company afford to be without an internet connection? Think about it for a minute. No access to data. No phones. A day? An hour?
When we took a 100 person company, took an average salary, and multiplied times the amount of hours lost over a day and a week, the number was shockingly high. And that doesn't even take into account any opportunities lost, like a hot sales call.
So we would argue that investing in a backup internet pipe is well worth it. See if you agree.
An AOL developer named Ran Bar-Zik has unearthed a disturbing flaw in Chrome that may make you rethink using Google’s web browser.
Does your company use IBM Storewize?
If you’re not sure what that is, then you probably don’t. It’s the company’s Big Data storage system, and when you purchase it, you get USB flash drives with initialization tools and installation files.
Unfortunately, IBM has recently discovered that some of the flash drives they’ve been shipping out are infected with malware. Below, you’ll find the Storwize version numbers and flash drive model numbers that have been impacted:
Today’s hackers are getting increasingly sophisticated and, frustratingly, better and better at what they do. They have extended their methods beyond the use of phishing attacks to the direct installations of Trojans or ransomware on your operating network. More and more businesses are installing two factor authentication on individual apps or devices, to deter hackers at the point of vulnerability.
It's a fact that websites crash. No big deal, most of the time. Your web host should be backing it up for you on a regular basis, so that restoring is just a matter of contacting them.
Some businesses keep their office equipment around until it becomes out of date. Keen to avoid the cost of upgrading to more contemporary technology, they continue to operate peripherals, computers, and server rooms to the point of failure before investing in new technologies.
There are a few reasons why that's not a good idea. It's more expensive in some cases to run old equipment. And you may not realize the environmental impact of old equipment. Here are three areas of the office where you may wish to reconsider updating.
You want to protect what is yours. Will installing a security camera be enough? In a recent study done by a researcher at UNC Charlotte, they found that "nearly 60 percent of the burglars [surveyed] said they would consider the presence of cameras or other video equipment when selecting a target, and more than 40 percent said that would be a factor in prompting them to choose another target."
However, simply purchasing the latest surveillance equipment is not enough. You need to be savvy when positioning security cameras so that you get the most out of them.
No matter how good your digital security system is, and no matter how much you’ve spent on it, your weakest link is and always will be your employees themselves.
Answer: Google recently announced the launch of Chromecast Ultra, the next in line after Chromecast 2 in its range of media streaming dongles. But is it worth the price tag?
What is a firewall? A firewall is a physical device or software that allows content to go in or out of a network. Firewalls are configured or programmed with specific criteria to prevent unauthorized access. A firewall lets businesses take advantage of high-speed broadband, while keeping the protection needed to stop cyberattacks. In most cases, if you have a company network, you need and should have, a firewall, otherwise a virus can affect all the computers in your network.
Dealing with angry or upset users. It’s simply a part of life in IT management. As such, we've developed a number of techniques for dealing with frustrated clients without losing our cool ourselves. Here are a few of our methods you can use to help calm the situation so you can get to the business of getting the issues resolved for the users.
Keeping your kids safe while they are on devices just got easier. Now that Google has officially lifted the ban on children under the age of 13 opening accounts, they have introduced a new tool called Family Link, which allows parents to have full control over the information their children access via their Android tablets and phones.
We know that as an SMB, you have a budget – and you have to stretch that budget each and every month to ensure you can keep conducting business. Sometimes this means not upgrading something when you would otherwise do so. Sometimes it means foregoing that business trip you wanted to take and sometimes it means eliminating or severely shrinking the budget you have for security purposes. With limited funds and limited resources, it can feel impossible to get everything you need. So where do you start? How do you stretch those funds?
Looking to grab new leads? Forget the more traditional marketing approaches. The majority of them are no longer as effective as they once were. Instead, try something new.
Here are five extremely effective lead-generation strategies for 2017.
The cloud has changed the way we do business. It allows contemporary small enterprises to connect better with customers, innovate more rapidly, and access customers all over the world. Organizations are moving more and more of their business operations to cloud-based platforms in a bid to take advantage of the speed, flexibility, and engagement opportunities these applications offer.
But what exactly do you stand to gain from embracing the cloud? And what is the cloud anyway? To put it simply, cloud computing is where you access files, programs or data through the internet instead of a physical server or software loaded onto your computer.
How can you tell if you are receiving poor or substandard service? How do you know if your computer guy is doing everything possible to secure your network from downtime, viruses, data loss, or other frustrating and expensive disasters? Could your current technician actually be jeopardizing your network? Take this quiz and find out.
It’s really easy to find yourself with an out-of-control inbox that is full to the brim of unread messages. Here are some top tips for keeping your Gmail inbox seamlessly organized.
As you unpack your brand spanking new PC, spare a thought for the old faithful desktop that has served you well all those years. We applaud the folks who have upcycled their PCs so creatively (see more by searching #UpcyclePC on Pinterest). However, if your computer still works, there are plenty of alternatives to putting it into a landfill.
We all know the importance of ensuring we browse the Internet with a full suite of security measures in place, but far too many of us think that Internet-based hacking and virus attacks will never really affect us. The harsh reality is that you are only ever one click away from a major security catastrophe that could be costly. If you want to ensure your data and identity are protected online and that your computer remains free of viruses and malicious intent, you should start with your inbox.
When you look at the best use of your IT budget, you may find that outsourcing your office equipment management is a wise choice. Making the call to have your copiers, printers and other imaging hardware managed by an outside service can make sense for a number of different reasons.
Most marketing savvy businesses know that every single email they send needs to include a compelling call to action, regardless of whether it is a marketing email or a simple exchange with a potential client. Your email signature provides a major opportunity that shouldn't be overlooked. Here are five ways you can make the most of your email signature:
If you want to get 2017 off to the right start as far as your technology is concerned, do a little end-of-year cleaning with these five simple tasks.
While it may be beneficial to some companies to use in-house IT infrastructure, most business owners will find it is much more effective to outsource their IT needs. IT outsourcing includes hardware, software, database administration, cloud computing, inventory management software, website management, etc. In this article, we will discuss the five key benefits to outsourcing your IT needs instead of doing it in-house.
You may not realize this, but your browser can be just as much of a security threat as corrupt downloads and malicious software. Attackers are increasingly targeting weaknesses in web browsers to access PCs and laptops. Keep ahead of the game with these top tips for securing your browser against hackers.
Move aside eBay and Craig’s List, Facebook’s new Marketplace is here. In a bid to cash in on the number of Facebook groups that have evolved into buy-sell platforms, Facebook has now launched its own trade platform that they claim will allow users to buy and sell goods in a simple, hassle-free way.
If you’re in the market for a new scanner, there are some basic elements you should be on the lookout for:
Question: What should I look for when shopping for a battery pack?
Answer: If you’re on the lookout for a battery pack, here are some top tips on how you can find the right one for your needs.
Keep your eye on the capacity: When it comes to buying a battery pack, you should focus on capacity. Battery capacity is measured in milliampere-hour (mAh). You need a pack that has a higher or equal capacity to your device so that you can charge it at least once. You can get portable battery chargers that have high capacities, but bear in mind the fact that the higher the capacity, the heavier and more expensive it will be.
More and more people are leasing their smartphones instead of buying them. Instead of shelling out big bucks up front, you can simply sign a deal and pay a low monthly payment to use your device for as long as you need it. Some carriers even let you change your phone as many as three times a year.
Question: I use my iPhone's voice dictation and search quite frequently, should I be concerned about my privacy?
Answer: Apple’s newer products include voice recognition functionality. Once this functionality is activated, you can tap on the voice activation icon that appears next to the display keypad and speak your message instead of typing it.