Managing IT Equipment When Moving Offices

Planning an office move soon? Don’t leave your technology moving requirements until the last minute.  In fact, the sooner you let your IT staff know about the move, the better.

1. Start Planning ASAP – and don’t forget to notify your IT Professionals! 

The sooner you get started planning, the smoother your transition will be. Let your IT Pros know as soon as possible. They will think of things most people never consider, like:

  • Type and location of cabling
  • How to protect equipment during the move
  • How to setup and protect your new server room (if you have one)
  • Ways to make the transition seamless to your customers
  • Physical and cyber security measures

2. Decide whether to stay open or close your doors during the transition.

A seamless transition is the goal. If you are going to close your office for the move, make sure to notify your customers. Let them know when you’ll be back and how to reach you during the transition.  If you decide to stay open, set up an offsite or remote location in advance. Whichever way you decide to go, planning ahead is going to help the most in the long run!

3. Inventory your current IT equipment.

Now is the time to take a look at every piece of IT equipment that needs to move along with you. All the big devices need to be unplugged and tagged with where they need to go (room number, desk number, room name, etc.) to make for an easier move. The smaller items that can go into bags are pieces like:

  • Cables
  • Power cords
  • Keyboards
  • Surge suppressors
  • Pointing devices
  • Any other odds and ends

Don’t forget to tie up and tag all bags, if it’s not tagged it won’t be moved!

Create an inventory sheet to help you keep track of all your IT equipment.

4. Decide what equipment to discard or donate.

After you’ve inventoried all the equipment, it’s time for some spring cleaning. Anything outdated or not used often, like old fax machines – toss. Slow or outdated computers? Eclipse can help you properly dispose of those electronics! If you are getting rid of computers, make sure to properly erase your hard drive before disposing or donating.

Some IT equipment can be leased and might need to be returned or renewed when moving locations. This is a great time to upgrade your electronics and hardware, so it’s ready when you move into the new office.

Are you still running Windows 7? Time for an upgrade! Several popular Microsoft products are going out-of-support in January 2020.

5. Decide what to upgrade or replace.

Replacing or upgrading your equipment all at once can be hard on cash flow. Create a budget for new hardware purchases, those that you need immediately and those you can plan for over the next three to five years.

Moving is a great time to think about migrating to the Cloud. Not only can you eliminate servers, but there are many other pros:

  • More secure and reliable than on-site servers
  • Virtual environment can get up and running faster
  • Lower total cost- only pay for what you need
  • Accessible for remote work

6. Consider your phone system.

Will you get a new phone number? Put plans in place to minimize call downtime. If you have an on-premise PBX system that you want to keep, plans need to be made to move the hardware. You may also decide that this is a great time to evaluate a cloud phone system, also known as a VOIP phone. The cloud system can easily be set up in both locations, ensuring that the lines are active during the move.

7. Get the new internet set up.

Internet service needs to be set up and working before you move in. Even if you are able to keep the same service provider, your static IP addresses may change. In this case, your firewall will need to be reconfigured at your new location. You also may need to update your DNS records to point to the new public IP address, and/or notify people who connect to your network of this change.

8. Protect your data!

Everything is already backed up, right? You have offsite storage, right? Have you tried restoring your data recently? This is the time to double and triple check the restoration process. Count this under “anything that can go wrong will!” This is the time to call in the IT Pros to ensures you’ve done this correctly. Missing a step (like not having a password) can make your restore process fail.

9. Develop a site plan.

Get in contact with your IT professionals when you begin the office layout process. We can save you major headaches later by advising you of the best ways to setup your new office with:

  • Cabling
  • Server room
    • Security
    • Climate control
    • Amount of space
    • Power supply
  • Camera Security Systems

10. Develop a moving day plan.

On the day of the move, everyone should know their role. If you already have your electronics bagged and tagged, the setup on the other side will be much easier. Walk through the day with your:

  • Movers
    • What goes
    • Where it goes
    • Time of move/how long to move
  • IT Pros
    • When to set up
    • Where to set up
    • What needs to be set up
  • Employees
    • On site vs. off site
    • Phone and email coverage
    • Personal responsibilities

Eclipse Consulting for New Office Setups

We can help you from the planning stages through to providing ongoing IT Support for your new office. Please reach out to our team to find out pricing and availability by calling us at 586.263.1775 or emailing us at info@eclipse-online.com.

 

Business Firewalls: How to Protect Your Computer Network

With all the news about data security breaches and malware attacks, businesses are finally starting to take network security more seriously… as they should!

Downtime and data loss can have a devastating impact on a business. Small businesses are not immune from criminals with malicious intent. In fact, 43% of cyberattacks target small businesses because they know they’re more likely to be unprotected.

Protect Your Computer Network

Small business data security is becoming increasingly important. We’ve already covered the importance of tested backup and recovery procedures, two-factor authentication and good password protocols, so let’s turn our attention to business firewalls.

Business firewalls are a critical component of network security, but they don’t seem to be well understood. We get lots of questions from clients, like:

  • What is a firewall? How do they work?
  • Do we need one? Do we already have one?
  • Is firewall software, hardware or both?
  • What’s the best business firewall for our company size or industry?

The basics: What is a computer firewall?

A firewall is a filter between your internal computer / network and the Internet. A firewall stops unauthorized access by closely monitoring network traffic. Security rules define the activities and sources that are allowed and blocked.

A firewall can be hardware, software or both.

Business Firewalls vs. Personal Computer Firewalls

Windows 10 comes with an excellent built-in firewall. Microsoft system administrators can create group policies to manage individual computer firewall settings. However, when a business has an internal computer network and servers, they’ll also need a business firewall.

We’ve worked with various vendors, but when it’s up to us, we recommend WatchGuard Firewalls for a few reasons:

  1. WatchGuard is well-known, reliable and reasonably priced.
  2. Security rules and settings are all kept in one place.
  3. Their solutions scale to meet client needs and budgets
  4. Our team has expertise with WatchGuard solutions.

Firewall security rules

Your business users need to communicate easily and safely with the outside world. Firewalls can manage inbound traffic or outbound traffic, or both. We believe it is best practice to keep all security rules all in one place when possible.

Inbound firewall rules protect your business from external cyber security threats. It scans network traffic to protect against:

  • Malware (viruses, phishing, ransomware)
  • Denial of Service (DoS) attacks that attempt to overwhelm system resources
  • Disallowed connections

Security rules can be set to allow or block specific ports, services and IP addresses. Some companies geo-fence their network, disallowing all traffic from countries like Russia and China.

Outbound firewall rules are less common, but can be used to:

  • Lock down sensitive data
  • Protect from malicious activity by internal users
  • Bar employees from visiting inappropriate sites while at work

Certain applications like Microsoft Active Directory have their own version of filtering that can be used for specialized functions like content filtering of email.

NOTE: If you are unfamiliar with firewall security rules, this is NOT an area to become a do-it-yourself IT professional. Firewalls are not plug-and-play devices, and improper setup can either thwart employee productivity or worse, create leave the cybersecurity door wide open, while giving users a false sense of security.

Firewalls and Anti-Virus Software

Having a firewall in place does not remove the need for anti-virus software. Anti-virus software adds another level of protection, monitoring individual files. Think of the firewall as the walls of your office building, and anti-virus software as security guards roaming through the building.

Firewalls and VPN Access

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. VPNs are primarily used to allow remote employees and contractors to securely access the internal computer network. They can also be used to protect your privacy online.  The VPN acts like a tunnel that encrypts communications as they’re sent back and forth. Learn more about how to setup a small business VPN.

Firewalls and Cybersecurity

Business firewalls are part of an overall cybersecurity plan. We put together a self-assessment that will enable you to see areas of risk. If you are looking for new IT Services Provider, please reach out for a free IT consultation.

 

business technology quiz

Outsourced IT Services: 5 Reasons to Hire an External IT Team

Thinking of Using an Outsourced IT Services Provider?

Many small businesses can’t afford to hire dedicated internal IT staff. Other companies choose not to, deciding it’s more productive to hire an external IT provider. Because today, every business is a technology business

Here are the top 5 reasons to use Outsourced IT Services:

1. Strategic IT Decisions

When a small business owner or manager tells an employee to do something, they usually just do it. Part of the job of an external IT support team is to push back when the management team is moving the wrong direction. Setting an IT strategy will keep your software, hardware, processes and employees in alignment.

2. Wider Array of IT Skills

An outsourced IT services provider can bring in different consultants for your project. Software development. Microsoft. QuickBooks. Along the way, your needs may change. An external technical team can change along with you.

3. Better IT Support

Because an external IT support team works with multiple businesses and immerses themselves in the technology solutions they offer, they can often correctly diagnose and correct IT support issues much more quickly. Plus, they’ll often available after hours when needed.

4. No Payroll Hassles

Hiring and firing employees is both stressful and risky. With an IT services provider, you can grow and shrink your IT expenses more easily. 5.

5. Less Frustration

While there may be many hidden costs of working inefficiently, one of the biggest tolls is the emotional stress and frustration of having technology problems. “Why isn’t my email working?” “But we JUST bought that server…” “I thought we were backed up.” “How did we get hacked?”

Metro Detroit Outsourced IT Services Provider

Is it time to outsource IT? Are you looking for a new Metro Detroit IT services provider? Do you need someone to work with your website designer to connect the website to your backend systems? Here at Eclipse Consulting, we’re affordable, fair and professional. We’re a Southeast Michigan IT Services Provider that serves small-to-mid-sized businesses. Set up a meeting to see if we’re a fit for your needs.

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Michigan IT Outourced Services

Your Small Business IT Budget: 5 Ways to Stretch It in 2018-2019

Your Small Business IT Budget: Do More With Less

With year-end just around the corner, companies are thinking about their business strategy, marketing strategy and IT budget for the coming year.

Your IT budget should reflect your priorities, and align with your overarching business strategy – and that means you need to have an IT strategy! Not having an IT Strategy can create chaos – and cost you significantly more in the long run – often in hidden inefficiencies, like:

  • Manual workarounds and duplication of effort
  • Losing customers due to poor customer experience
  • Continually “putting out fires” and reacting to the latest crisis

How Do You Stretch Your Small Business IT Budget?

1. Review Your Current Situation

Where are you wasting time or working inefficiently? Are there areas of your business that are continually causing frustration?

Many of us are guilty of hitting the proverbial “snooze alarm,” promising ourselves we’ll find a long-term solution later. For example, we’ve had clients who spent years manually re-entering website sales orders into their accounting system for processing and shipping. By creating an integration between their eCommerce platform and accounting platform, they were able to save hundreds of hours each year and re-allocate those resources to work on more valuable projects. Use a project management software to keep on top of your priorities.

2. Develop a 2-5 Year Business Plan

Before you can develop your IT strategy, you must first develop your business strategy. It doesn’t have to be written in stone, but you should have a good idea of key decisions like:

  • Do you plan on adding employees or hiring contractors? Will they work remotely or in an office?
  • Do you plan on adding new locations or recruiting distributors?
  • Will you expand your product or service offerings?

Your business goals should drive your IT strategy. For example, if you are planning to add virtual staff who will work from their home offices, you’ll want to leverage SaaS solutions and perhaps have a virtual VOIP phone line and other communication tools to keep the team in sync.

3. Simplify Decisions with an IT Roadmap

Make your decisions once. Continue to execute. We continually advise our clients to “pick a lane.” If you go (almost) all Microsoft, your systems are virtually guaranteed to work well together. By contrast, if you have a smattering of Google, Apple, Linux and Microsoft solutions that each serve difference purposes, you have a higher risk that your integration points will fail.

An IT roadmap will save you money in the long run because you have clarity about what you need today – and in the future. If you plan to move to the cloud in a year, and your main business server fails, you may decide to accelerate your cloud migration rather than replace the server.

An IT roadmap will also help you mitigate cyber security and data security risks. Your IT team will ensure you have proper protections in place.

4. Ask Your Accountant About 2018 Capital Expenditure Spending

At the end of every year, your accountant should be able to tell you if it’s advantageous to your taxes to make big capital expenditures this year – or wait for 2019. Timing your capital expenditures correctly can sometimes save you big money.

5. Seek Expert IT Advice

Our favorite tip for stretching your small business IT budget is to seek expert IT advice. We don’t say this to be self-serving, but… our experience repeatedly shows us that many small business owners and managers don’t understand their options. Many of our clients didn’t grow up with computers. They started out old-school. Sometimes the CRM system is an Excel spreadsheet with notes.  The calendaring system is a whiteboard with the current jobs written on it.

There is often a faster, easier, more efficient way to accomplish your daily tasks. We would love to help you explore those possibilities! You can schedule a FREE session online or call us at 586.263.1775. We are an experienced Metro Detroit Michigan IT Services firm– with clients locally and across the country. We’re known for our dedication to small and growing businesses.

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Small Business IT Consulting Services: 5 Questions to Ask

Small business has increasingly become dependent on technology. In fact, we often say,

“Every business is a technology business.”

When it comes to small business technical support, you often can’t afford to hire full-time IT staff – and even if you do have one IT professional – that one individual doesn’t always have all the skills needed to keep business operations running efficiently.

Evaluating Small Business IT Consulting Services

When hiring an IT Services company, here are 5 questions that can help you get the best fit for your company’s needs.

1. How will you be billed?

IT service company consulting fees vary based on the billing model. Common models include:

Managed Services – You pay one set price per month, and in return, your computer network is kept running smoothly. This model provides predicable income for the service provider and a budget-able expense for an organization. The challenge is gaining clarity what’s within scope of the set fees.

Set Price Services – Some IT service providers offer set fees, similar to getting an oil change on your car. This pricing model works well for small, discrete jobs.

Time & Expense Services – This billing model allows you to fluctuate your IT expenditures based on cash flow and the intensity of your current IT initiatives

However, you are billed, a good IT services provider will help you find the resolution to the problem but can’t always resolve the problem.

  1. The problem may not be worth fixing. It may be easier and less expensive to buy a computer than repair one that’s 10 years old.
  2. The problem may not be fixable. The hardware and software may be incompatible, and your only choice is to replace one of the system components.
  3. The problem may reoccur. We can remove malware, install anti-malware software and provide recommendations for IT policies and procedures to stop the problem from recurring, but we can’t guarantee your systems won’t become re-infected.

2. Where will the work be performed?

Very few IT services need to be performed on-site any more. While some clients may hire us because we’re a Detroit IT services firm, we actually support clients across the country. Even when clients are right in our township, it’s often simpler and more cost effective to login remotely. That said, when you need software training or have multiple hardware and software issues that need to be diagnosed and resolved, it can be valuable to have local IT professionals come on site.

3. Are you a value-added reseller (VAR) or an independent IT advisor?

Value added resellers typically make a commission on top of the IT services revenue. An independent IT advisor may make an affiliate fee – or may not. The reason you want to know is because a VAR is not going to be as objective. They have a particular software solution to sell. They’re not looking for the BEST software solution for your organization. They’re looking for a good fit with the software they sell.

Now, if you’ve done a software evaluation and you know you want to implement QuickBooks Premier (for example), it makes sense to work with a QuickBooks Pro Advisor who knows the software inside and out. We partner with small business software VARS all the time.

As an independent IT consulting firm, we start with questions like “What’s possible?” “What’s the BEST way to achieve your business goals using technology?”
That may mean looking at several small business software solutions – or even custom software development. We begin with the end in mind and work backward toward the right software solution.

4. Do you do software configuration or software customization?

When an IT consulting firm says they do software configuration, what they mean is that they set it up for your organization. In the case of QuickBooks Premier, they’ll ask you a series of questions, like:

  • When’s your fiscal year end?
  • What states do you pay sales tax in?
  • Are you on a cash or accrual basis?
  • What financial reporting do you need?

The system already supports these options, so the main job of the small business IT consulting services firm is to ensure you understand the questions, and that the software is setup correctly.

When the term is used correctly, software customization can mean a multitude of things, but it ALWAYS involves software programming. Software customization includes:

  • Taking a base pre-packaged software solution, like QuickBooks, and adding features that are unique to your organization. For example, you may take orders in from the web and create an auto-look up of shipping weight and zip code to create a custom shipping cost.
  • Building custom integrations between two software programs.
  • Building an entirely new software program that’s customized to meet your needs. However, this is more commonly (and more accurately) called custom software development or custom software programming.

5. Do you outsource software development overseas or do you use US-based IT professionals?

In this global Internet-connected economy, it’s easier than ever to outsource software development overseas. While you may be able to lower the cost of your IT project, you also need to consider:

  • Business & industry expertise: With most offshore developers, you can’t just “hand off” a project. They don’t understand your business or industry. Can you develop a scope of work that is 100% clear on what you expect to have built? Will the offshore development team understand how to handle exceptions?
  • Communication: How will you communicate your needs? Working with an overseas developer means much more than overcoming a language barrier. Understanding how to translate ideas to software code is a challenge for all programmers.
  • Quality: What’s the quality of the software code? How will it be tested?
  • Support & Upgrades: Will anyone else be able to support the software? How will you upgrade and enhance the software in the future?
  • Privacy: Will your sensitive data and proprietary processes be protected?

Finding the Right IT Services Partner

Very few small businesses today can thrive without leveraging technology to boost efficiency and track metrics. Very small businesses may be able to get by with GeekSquad-type support. As your business grows in size and complexity, it pays to find a strategic technology advisor who has understands both your business goals – and your business challenges. If we can help, please let us know!

What other questions do you ask when you’re hiring an IT consulting firm? Leave us a note in the comments below.

technology business

Time to buy your first server?

buy your first small business server

Congratulations! Your business has grown and you’re starting to think about building out your IT environment to handle more employees, contractors and data.

When you only have a handful of employees, it’s easy enough to share folders and files on a few PCs. But as your business grows, file permissions, speed and reliability become more important. That’s usually the time where business owners start to consider buying a server.

Is it time to buy your first server?

Here are a few questions we ask our clients:

  1. Do you have 5 or more employees?
  2. Do you have central files, databases and software you want to share access to?
  3. Do you want to create an IT infrastructure that can grow and scale with your business?
  4. Are you concerned about data processing speed and network availability?
  5. Are you looking for better backup and recovery processes?
  6. Are you concerned about client confidentiality and sensitive data access?
  7. Do you have compliance / governance needs?

The more these answers are YES, the more benefit you’ll get from buying a server.

What are the benefits of buying a server?

Servers are built to be faster and more reliable than PCs. They can help you enforce IT policies to implement:

  • Better data security
  • Consistent backups
  • Company-wide patches and upgrades
  • Corporate-level access permissions

What should you consider?

  1. Price. We don’t know many companies with an unlimited budget. On-premise servers start at about $2000 and can go up significantly from there, depending on its configuration. We recommend you buy a server that will meet your needs for the next 3-5 years, without overspending on features you don’t really need.
  2. Features. Before you buy your first server, you’ll want to have some idea about how much memory and hard drive space you’ll need. You’ll also want to make sure you have an operating system that’s compatible with the software programs you intend to use. While we can’t make blanket recommendations in an article, we can recommend you request a Server Assessment.
  3. On premise vs. cloud. Cloud computing is a trend that’s not going to slow down anytime soon. Rather than having a server on-site in your office, many businesses are opting for servers hosted on Azure or Amazon. These servers work similarly to a physical on-premise server, but you rent the server instead of owning it, and the cloud hosting provider will guarantee the up-time of the environment.
  4. Plans for upkeep. Just like your computers, your server will need to be regularly updated, monitored and maintained. Even if you choose to go with a virtual server, you’re responsible for maintaining everything within the server walls – the software, databases, etc. Most companies choose to outsource this work to technology consulting companies (like ourselves) rather than hiring IT staff.
  5. Warranty / Service Level Agreement – If you buy an on-premise server, we recommend you get the 3-year extended warranty in case anything goes wrong. All cloud hosting providers will provide some sort of uptime guarantee. Ensure you understand what is covered under that service level agreement.

 Want help buying your first server?

Our staff of IT professionals are happy to help. A server evaluation usually takes about an hour of billable time, which (of course) varies bases on the complexity of your business. That’s not much – especially when you consider that there’s NO obligation to buy the server from us or to use our services.

We continually hear from companies how either they wish they would have asked us first because they “got sold” way more technology than they needed, or they bought a server that didn’t meet their needs at all and then couldn’t return it.

We prefer happy customer stories when the customer is delighted they called us, and how we saved them time, money and endless headaches down the road.

Request a Technology Check Detroit Michigan

Data Breach Protection Essentials

How to Prevent a Small Business Data Breach

How can you protect your company from a data breach?

Recent Data Breaches

Seems like every time you turn around, you’re hit with news of another major data breach. Just in the last few months:

Ransomware Attacks

We’ve also seen the rise of the threat of ransomware. Ransomware is malware that encrypts your files, making them unusable. You may see an image like the one below

Ransomware Example

data breach via ransomware

In a ransomware attack, the perpetrators promise to unlock your files if you pay the ransom. If you don’t have a reliable, recent backup, you may have no choice but to pay the ransom because everything in your system is unusable – including email, Word docs and databases.

The City of Atlanta recently experienced a ransomware attack where the than attacker demanded a $50,000 ransom. So far it’s cost the city $2.7 Million Dollars and major headaches to restore their system and tighten up their data security settings. Employees have resorted to paper-based applications and manual processes to keep operations running.

You may be thinking…

If these major companies can’t protect themselves from data breaches, how can small businesses expect to?

If you’re a small business, you have a few advantages over major corporations. First, small businesses are less of a target. Hackers go after big businesses because the payoff is big. Additionally, small businesses typically have more control over their IT environment. You actually have an advantage in protecting your data if you follow a few basic data security steps.

What is a data breach?

A data breach occurs when an unauthorized person gains access to your data.  The question is how they were able to access to the data.

The most common data breach causes are:

1.      Malware in email.

A user could click on a link in an email that causes malware to be installed on their computer.  This malware could then allow the attacker access to the computer, which then replicates itself to computers, servers and may even send emails to all the contacts in your contact list (including clients). This malware can slow down system performance, crash your system or display annoying popup ads. See 13 warning signs that your systems have been infected by malware.

Solution: Hover over any link and inspect where that link is going to. When in doubt, go to the company website and login there. For example, if you get an email from PayPal saying you need to update your password, instead of clicking the link in the email “PayPal” sent you, just go to the PayPal website and see if they’re prompting you for a password reset.

Also, be careful about opening any attachments. Computer viruses can be disguised as .PDFs, .XLS and other familiar formats. Have a reputable anti-virus software program installed on all machines at all times. Keep your anti-virus software up-to-date and regularly scan your computer.

2.      Email phishing tricks.

We recently had a user who was tricked into entering their email credentials into a fake web site.  The attacker was then able to login into this mail account.  They would have had access to any email in her mailbox (financials, emailed passwords, etc.).  In this case the attacker used the credentials to send spam from her account, probably trying to infect other systems.

Last year, even a White House officials were tricked into responding to a fake email that purported to be from Jared Kushner, but in reality was sent by an email prankster.

Solution: Adopt Office 365 or G Suite for your business. These solutions come with added security measures that consumer email systems don’t provide. Don’t EVER provide confidential information through email.

3.      Insecure websites.

Attackers can also gain access to servers through insecure web sites.  Once they have access to the website, they can then access any database on the server and the content in the databases.  This could be anything from e-commerce orders to financial or medical information. As an example, Drupal recently released a patch for a major security hole that allowed a virus to execute simply by browsing to a URL. Because WordPress runs about 25% of all websites today, it’s a big target for hackers.  The database, themes and plugins are continually being updated with added security measures. If you don’t apply the patches, you leave yourself vulnerable.

Solution: Companies who have had a web site developed, but don’t maintain it are putting themselves at risk. Website data security best practices create rigor around keeping your database, themes and plugins up-to-date. You’ll also want to ‘harden’ your website security settings and have a strong firewall in place.

4.       Password sharing / password weaknesses.

The easiest way to gain access to your small business software programs is to give someone your password. You may be sharing your password intentionally. Some companies share one password among employees to save money or for convenience. Other times password sharing may happen unintentionally. We’ve seen passwords written on post-it notes stuck to laptops. Now everyone who passes by while you’re working in the coffee shop can get into your systems.

Solution: Don’t share your password. Give each employee and contractor their own passwords. Have strong employee onboarding and offboarding procedures in place. Use a password software program like LastPass or Dashlane to create more sophisticated, and unique passwords for every site.

What about SaaS Software Solutions?

A question we commonly receive from clients is about online data security and the risks of SaaS (Software as a service) solutions. For example, with QuickBooks Online your financial data now resides on a server managed and maintained by QuickBooks. While that may feel risky, studies show that your data is usually significantly MORE secure when managed by a major online software company than when it resides on your own internal server.

Major software vendors like Microsoft and QuickBooks have invested in building sophisticated, multi-layer security systems.  They do all the backups and keep the system up to date. DIY IT Services can be a mistake, costing you more in the long run than you’re saving. If you are considering using a smaller, lesser-known company, you should investigate their data security measures. If you’re not sure what to buy, consult a reputable IT services provider for help in software selection.

What about Cloud Business Application Hosting?

A trend in small business IT strategy is to move your databases and applications from your physical location in your office to a cloud hosting platform like Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Azure. The security measures you need to take are the same, EXCEPT with AWS and Azure, you have the advantage of using their multi-layered security measures, and you’re at less risk for things like fires, flooding, hurricanes and other disasters.

Most data breaches are preventable.

Following these simple steps you can avoid most data security breaches.

Small Business Data Breach Security Steps

1.       Train employees to be wary of suspicious emails and websites.

2.       Don’t share passwords.

3.       Change your passwords frequently and make them hard to guess.

4.       Keep your software programs up to date.

5.       Keep your website up to date.

6.       Routinely use anti-virus software, firewalls and other data security measures.

7.       If you don’t have IT staff, hire an outsourced IT services company to keep your IT environment secure.

8.       Have backup and recovery procedures in place. If you need to restore your data, you can.

What if you get infected by a computer virus, ransomware or other malware?

Act IMMEDIATELY.

The quicker you can respond, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to thwart your attacker. Your employees should know who to go to in the event of a data breach. Seek the help of IT Support for malware removal, and just as importantly, close the security holes that caused the data breach in the first place.

If you need help, give us a call at 586-275-1775!

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Small business owners… know your logins!

Know your logins

Whether you outsource your technology needs to an IT services partner or you have internal IT support, as the small business owner, you are the one responsible for keeping the business running.

That means you need to know your logins, even if you never plan on using them. Read more

Common Mistakes When Buying Computers

5 Mistakes buying computers

Today, it’s easy enough to go pick up a computer from Best Buy, Costco, Amazon or other tech retailer. The question is whether you get the RIGHT computer for your business. There’s a reason these places are considered CONSUMER electronic stores – not BUSINESS electronic stories.

Read more

Every business is a technology business

small business technology

No matter what your business actually does – real estate, retail, manufacturing, services – you’re dependent on technology.

You are a technology business!  Read more