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 Your Business More Than You Ever Imagined
If you don’t have a backup strategy in place because you considered it too expensive, let’s redefine the term “expensive.” As a business owner, try to imagine what it would cost or if your company could even operate without your business data including QuickBooks files, client records and order information. Consider the time and expense of attempting to recreate the lost data and notifying your customers that their personal data has been compromised? If those scenarios sound terrible, then review these truly sobering data loss statistics and consider the impact this could have on your business if you don’t have a tested backup solution:
- 93% of companies that lost their data center for 10 days or more filed for bankruptcy within a year. (National Archives and Records Administration)
- 94% of companies suffering from catastrophic data loss do not survive. 43% never reopen and 51% close within 2 years. (University of Texas)
- 30% of all businesses that have a major fire go out of business within a year and 70% fail within 5 years. (Home Office Computing Magazine)
- 70% of small companies (fewer than 100 employees) that experience major data loss go out of business within a year. (DTI/Price Waterhouse Coopers)
- 96% of business workstations are not being backed up and are at serious risk. (Contingency Planning and Strategic Research Corporation)
- 140,000 hard drives crash each week in the United States. (Mozy Online Backup)
Be Prepared with a Backup Solution
Unfortunately, we are at the mercy of this mixed bag of data loss disasters. The only plan is be proactive in safeguarding your business’ data with a tested backup solution. To take action with a backup solution, start by analyzing the needs of your business.
For example, do you need to back up your business’ entire operating system or just certain, essential data? Do you want the automatic data backup performed on a daily or weekly basis? Would a desktop backup device be an option for your business or home office? Which cloud storage or online solutions provide a secure remote backup solution that can complement your local backup strategy? Have you considered a personal cloud as a backup solution?
The backup market is huge and is continuing to grow. For business owners, that means there are lots of backup options with many solutions. Plus a reliable backup solution is not really that expensive when you consider the alternatives. We understand that sifting through options and technical details can be a daunting task. You should rely on your local Computer Troubleshooters to develop a customized backup solution or confirm that your current solution is exceeding your needs.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is certainly true when it comes to a backup protection plan for 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 productivity and efficiency. No more briefcases filled with papers or going into the office on the weekend. Employees have the flexibility to access information from home, on the go or on business travel. Working with clients and co-workers has never been easier with information stored on the cloud and available via remote access.
- Flexibility is another cornerstone of efficiency. Free up your financial resources and stay flexible by accessing technology solutions via the cloud. You no longer have to buy expensive software licenses, because you can simply pay for these technology solutions on an “as needed” basis through hosted solutions.
- Automate repetitive tasks through technology solutions that will save time and keep critical business information up to date. A few clicks can locate information in a database that can also connect you to clients; enable you to check on the status of current projects; review inventory counts; and check schedules. By improving some core tasks with enhanced efficiency, your business can save time and resources while becoming more competitive in the marketplace.
- Streamline your accounting and billing system today and forget about spending time with spreadsheets, deciphering handwritten documents and using a calculator. Wouldn’t you prefer to handle payroll, expense tracking, financial
Let Us Help You Focus on Your Business So You Can Stay Ahead of the Competition
One of the many benefits of increasing your business’ efficiency and productivity is that you will regain control of lost time. By recapturing this lost time, you will be able to focus on the actual goals of your business, not just day-to-day survival. As a business owner, if you were able to remove the frustrations of accounting inaccuracies, scheduling issues and inventory problems, what would you focus on? You would have the opportunity to develop new products and services. You could devote more time to effectively marketing your business to a wider audience. Don’t let your business get bogged down with today’s paperwork when you could be planning for the future.
Computer Troubleshooters can recommend and implement technology solutions that will streamline your business practices, so give your local Computer Troubleshooters a call today. We want to help your business become more efficient, productive, and most importantly, more successful!
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 various solutions, costs and the latest technology trends. Functioning as a trusted advisor, an IT professional can make experienced recommendations that are in the best interests of the business’ long term goals as opposed to implementing quick fix, computer repairs.
- Decisions about new technologies might not be in the comfort zone of most business owners. How can a business owner be fully versed in technology and able to identify the difference between the latest hype and a proven strategy? Which technology is going to provide the best return on investment? Is it the best strategy to implement a new technology now or wait until next year? Is your business currently compliant with network security requirements? Is your data safe? If your business needs to update its operating system, is now the time to purchase new computers? If your IT professional is acting as a trusted advisor, these larger issues can be explored together with the shared goal being the long term sustainability and success of your business.
- Technology coach is another important element of the trusted advisor’s role. As a member of the client’s “inner circle,” the IT professional needs to bring a variety of skills to the table including the ability to carefully explain technology solutions. The ability to really listen to the business owner is also critical. One size does not fit all – especially when it comes to technology decisions. A knowledgeable IT professional must be able to not only recommend the best technology solutions, but also make the best recommendations for a business’s particular needs in the context of their industry, finances and long range goals. A proactive IT professional will be constantly evaluating new technology products, solutions and reliable vendors that will best serve the needs of the client’s business.
Thinking Beyond Computer Repair Services
As a business owner, you know that we all need to think “outside the box” more often. Computer Troubleshooters encourages you think outside of the “computer repair” box and see that your IT professional is a valuable asset that you might be able to utilize to even greater advantage. Computer Troubleshooters values your business and we want to be your trusted advisor when it comes to technology solutions! Give your local Computer Troubleshooters office a call today. We are ready to listen.
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 users to help others understand why it is important to make the switch to Windows 8 and to make the upgrade now!
Ignoring this Deadline is Not an Option
Some users claim a variety of reasons for resisting this XP upgrade, but don’t forget that there are a few key reasons you cannot ignore this deadline. The issues for residential users can be serious, but the consequences for businesses hold additional threats and even possible legal ramifications.
Here’s How You and Your Business Can Be Impacted by Not Upgrading
- Security Risks: Without the security provided by an updated operating system, all of your business data and personal information are vulnerable to harmful viruses and spyware. Malicious viruses will very likely be unleashed on XP’s “zero day.” Undefended computers can be completely immobilized with viruses quickly spreading over the net to PCs still operating on XP. No business owner wants to think about a virus spreading through all of their computers. All of the data that keeps your business functioning will be placed at risk.
- Compliance Issues: Businesses that continue to operate on XP can actually face compliance issues. Resulting compliance issues can lead to suspension of certifications, and/or public notification of the organization’s inability to securely maintain its systems and customer information. Compliance problems can place your business in legal peril and seriously damage your business’ reputation in the process.
- Upgrade Expenses: If you think a system upgrade is just too expensive, Computer Troubleshooters urges you to reconsider this viewpoint. Many technical experts consider using an unsupported product such XP, as an act of irresponsibility on the part of the business. Remember that the problems that are likely to arise can cost your business significantly more than the upgrade. Don’t be penny-wise and pound foolish when it comes to investing in an upgrade.
- Custom Support Available for a Price: In fact, there will still be some support available to XP users after the deadline, but at the annual cost of $200 per device. Depending on the number of computers your business is using, it’s not much of a bargain. In reality, this is only a temporary, contingency plan.
Playing “chicken” with this deadline is tempting fate and there can be serious consequences. You can find yourself in the cross-hairs of cybercriminals on April 8th and potentially face business compliance problems. If you are still using XP, take action today. Call Computer Troubleshooters and one of our experts can help you understand your XP migration options and work with you to develop an upgrade strategy. Call Computer Troubleshooters before it’s too late. The final countdown is now! Are you prepared?
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 employees’ mobile devices. What would happen if an employee’s laptop is stolen and it contains confidential business data? Many businesses are now protecting sensitive data by using remote wipes and encryption software on employees’ personal devices in addition to the use of mobile virtual workspaces. Businesses need to establish written BYOD policies and educate their employees about security practices. Many businesses now require employees to sign BYOD contracts. If your business doesn’t have BYOD guidelines in place, you are already falling behind in appropriate business practices.
- Online Resources can efficiently provide businesses with professional training, technical skill development and new product training with the agility of “as needed” availability. Employees can connect to e-learning opportunities through their iPhone or Android devices from home. Business owners can easily take advantage of online management guides and financial tools that can benefit their business.
- Mobile Apps are available to help you run your business more effectively and efficiently. Business owners previously needed a core foundation of various office programs, an e-mail system and some industry-specific software to keep their business functioning. Now there are a wide array of mobile Apps that can help business owners with time management, scheduling, travel expenses, cash flow, accounting and e-mail organization. There are Apps for nearly anything a business owner needs and they are easily available. Many of these Apps enable small businesses to compete with larger companies, plus you can run your business from anywhere.
Is Your Business Prepared for a Mobile World?
Computer Troubleshooters can work with you to assess your mobility needs and develop a plan to keep your business’ technology up to date. If your business needs to move to Cloud services, utilize mobile Apps or strengthen data protection – we can help. Computer Troubleshooters is here to help your business stay productive and efficient through mobile technology. Give your local Computer Troubleshooters office a call and one of our computer professionals will be happy to help you.
By the late 1980’s, computers were becoming increasingly popular and almost immediately computer viruses arrived on the scene like a plague of destructive locusts. No one is celebrating the fact that computer viruses have now been around for over 28 years. Especially considering that over this time there have been a number of viruses that have wreaked havoc worldwide. The key to combating the ongoing threat of malicious computer viruses is a combination of vigilance and protection. Since computer viruses aren’t going away anytime soon, Computer Troubleshooters wants to help you stay safe by providing information about how these viruses spread and how to protect your computer.
What is a Computer Virus?
The defining characteristic of a virus is that it’s a self-replicating program that has become installed on a computer without the user’s knowledge or consent. It’s a secret program that is typically hidden within the code of another known program. Once that program is activated, the virus begins infecting the computer by inserting its own replicating code within files. The bad news is that viruses spread quickly. The symptoms of a virus can range from a completely non-responsive computer to spontaneous crashing and corrupted data. A virus can also delete everything on the hard drive, use the email program to spread itself to other computers and display annoying messages on the screen.
How Does a Computer Become Infected with a Virus?
Computer viruses spread across the Internet through online downloads of infected audio and video files. Frequently, viruses are contained within illicit software that is downloaded from the Internet. Viruses also come disguised within e-mail attachments, via instant messaging messages, and are contained within images and digital greeting cards. This is why computer users should never open an email attachment unless it comes from a known source. Even then, be on guard. Recently, Computer Troubleshooters warned our clients to be aware of CryptoLocker, a virus that hijacks computers with a demand for $300 in ransom. This virus was delivered via e-mails that appeared to be from a reputable companies, versions include organizations such as UPS, FedEx, Australian Banks, the Australian Tax Office, & the Australian Federal Police. Even if you get a message that seems legitimate, proceed with caution.
What is the Cost of Computer Viruses?
Worldwide computer viruses cost billions of dollars’ worth of economic damage each year due to systems failure; wasted computer resources; identity theft; lost, stolen and corrupted data; increased labor and maintenance costs; in addition to untold amounts of anxiety, frustration and lost hours trying to remediate the damage. Internet usage continues to grow at a rapid rate, so a virus can start spreading globally within minutes. Plus with the advent of Smartphones, viruses now have more portals and can travel even further and faster.
What’s Your Protection Plan for Computer Viruses?
At home and at the office, continue to be vigilant about Internet downloads. Remember to be cautious about opening unknown e-mail attachments and always “Stop. Think. Connect.” Stay alert and be proactive by educating your employees and family members about appropriate security precautions. Additionally, keep your computer current with the latest updates and antivirus tools. Even with those safeguards, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security that you are totally protected because there is no existing software that is able to catch every new viruses that pops us.
Computer Troubleshooters Can Help with Anti-Virus Protection
If you believe that your computer is infected with a virus, contact Computer Troubleshooters for assistance. Additionally, we strongly recommend an annual anti-virus protection assessment for your business and home computers. Computer Troubleshooters is happy to offer security recommendations and help you develop an anti-virus protection plan.
We all make personal New Year’s resolutions on January 1st. This year, why not commit to a few professional resolutions for your business, too? Computer Troubleshooters strongly encourages you to put a new technology plan at the top of that list for 2014. We are offering some technology planning guidelines that can help you form a strategy as you think about your business resolutions and professional goals for 2014.
Technology Solutions That Can Benefit Your Business in the New Year
Backup Services: Cloud services include data storage and backup systems plus access to software programs. Information stored on the cloud can be shared with other users anywhere and at any time. Data shows that 61% of surveyed small businesses are currently using some form of cloud-based service with another 5% planning to add cloud services by 2014. If your business is not currently using the cloud for backup service, it’s time to make a plan for switching over. The cloud can provide data storage plus a variety of services and benefits. Put the cloud at the top of your list.
Security Measures: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) research shows that over two-thirds of surveyed companies already have employees using their own computers on the job. The advantage is that BYOD makes it easier for employees to stay in constant contact and also work from home more productively. The efficiency of BYOD comes with the responsibility on the part of the business for training employees on security policies and standards. Safeguarding your network and ensuring the confidentiality of your data is critical to the security of your business.
Disaster Recovery: Within the past year natural and weather related disasters have raised the business community’s concerns over data recovery solutions. As you consider your disaster recovery plan, try to consider the consequences of losing all of your business’ data. Think of the lost revenue if your business is off-line for several days. This will remind you of how important it is to have a solid disaster recovery plan in place. There are a variety of disaster recovery plans available. After the disaster occurs, it’s too late to wish you had kept that New Year’s resolution for a disaster recovery plan! Commit to a disaster recovery plan now.
Managed Services: Technology is a key component tied to the success of your business. It enables your business to stay efficient, productive and competitive in today’s marketplace. That is as long as your technology systems are up to date and functioning properly.
Have you considered a managed service plan? A managed service provider develops a customized IT service plan that will suit the budget and the needs of the client’s business. A service plan can help your business reduce IT operational costs while actually providing a higher level of IT service.
The need for a managed service provider has become increasingly important as business owners need to make informed and increasingly complex choices about technology solutions.
Prepare for 2014 – TODAY!
Computer Troubleshooters can work with you to assess your IT needs and develop a customized plan for your business. If your business needs to develop a backup system, move to cloud services or develop a Mobile App – we can help. Computer Troubleshooters is here to help your business stay productive, efficient and competitive in 2014. Give your local Computer Troubleshooters office a call and one of our computer professionals will be happy to help you.
Cloud Computing is the latest buzz word in IT, but what does it really mean for Small Business in Australia. What IT services will Small Business use? What IT support will they require to migrate and maintain their IT systems?
The reality is that cloud computing can come in a few different varieties and the chances are you are probably using one already.
- Software as a Service – this is where the software that you would use in your business are physically running in data centre and you are access via your internet connection. The advantage of this type of relationship is that the provider does all the system and application maintenance, you can generally access from anywhere on the internet and the systems are often designed for multiple users access. Most of the financial products such as MYOB, Quickbooks and Xero have this as an alternative.
- Infrastructure as a Service – With advances in virtualization technology it is now possible to have all of the business benefits of a server. With the physical server located in a data centre the provider is able to partition servers to multiple clients sharing the costs and allowing businesses to avoid the initial purchase & licencing costs, and share the running and upgrade costs such as electricity, and end of life replacement. If your current Hardware is more than 3 years old is may be worth checking this alternative.
- Platform as a Service – This is when a both the Software & Infrastructure can be provided in such a way that your business systems are located in the cloud. Increasingly software providers and integrators offer complete platform service that allows your business to outsource IT to a specialist who can run you business systems for you remotely. Microsoft Hosted Exchange email is a great example where an outsource provider can manage the administration & management of the system, while your business can enjoy enterprise grade IT delivery without the big business price!
- Hybrid Cloud – Hybrid is really a combination of your traditional on premise infrastructure with any of the 3 Cloud components mentioned above. It is not only regarded as migration strategy, but also a legitimate IT approach that allows you to cherry pick the suitable components for your business and integrate with your current infrastructure. Hybrid is a sensible alternative to gaining the benefits of cloud with the advantage of traditional on premise equipment.
Increasingly application development & Microsoft licencing is pushing all Small Business in Australia along the cloud path in one way or another. Our love of mobile and multiple devices also make the cloud approach more manageable. With soaring costs of electricity, & building of more of data centre capacity, the opportunity for Cloud services for Small Business is now a reality especially with additional benefits such as power redundancy, centralized backup, and core systems management.
Some of the downside of Cloud computing still exist, issues such as internet access speed, internet redundancy, data security, and data sovereignty (is it in Australia?) need to be understood and managed. An IT support provider such as Computer Troubleshooters have considerable experience in setting up a migration and system plans that maximises the benefits and minimises these risks.
Having an IT support expert like Computer Troubleshooters who interests are aligned with your business interests will ensure you get the best solutions at the right price. We would only suggest embarking on the Cloud journey with a guide who will help you along the way.
Talk to your local Computer Troubleshooters to see if your business would benefit from having more of it Business Systems in the cloud.
Cyber Crime continues to grow at an alarming rate worldwide and we are all potential victims unless we take a few precautions, here is a brief explanation of the risks & our prevention checklist.
What does “cyber environment” actually mean? We can interchange that term with others such as information technology, computer networks, Internet, digital, wired and virtual. It’s the non-physical terrain created by computer systems that is keeping us more interconnected than ever before. The average person now spends over five hours a day in online activities related to jobs, education, e-mail, mobile banking, health care, online shopping, travel, entertainment and social media communications. All of this digital convenience also presents a wide range of threats, dangers and responsibilities. Especially with more information shared via Smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, we need to be increasingly vigilant about the security of our personal data.
The Dangers of Cyber Crimes
For individuals, the ever-present danger of cyber crimes includes hacker theft of confidential information, money, credit, banking and even medical information. This type of crime often results in personal identity theft. Other facets of cyber crime include online bullying and stalking that can affect your children. Malicious business scams are probably the most common. The threats to businesses include the loss of intellectual property, stolen client data or harm to the business’ computer network. The statistics on cyber crime are sobering. In 2013, online scams had increased by 355%. Cyber attacks on small businesses had increased by 18% over the past two years, with over 60% of these targeted businesses closing their doors within six months.
How to Protect Yourself, Your Family and Your Business from Cyber Crime
In both our professional and private lives, each of us needs to assume responsibility for our online activities. These responsibilities involve a combination of equipment maintenance and software updates coupled with appropriate online behavior and a constant vigilance against criminal activities. We suggest that you start with this brief checklist:
- Maintain a Clean Machine by running the most recent operating system, security software, apps and web browser as a defense against online threats such as viruses and malware.
- Firewalls and Encryption should be in use by businesses to secure their internet connection. Educate employees about passwords and internet security guidelines.
- Spam and Phishing are hazards you can avoid. Don’t open e-mailed attachments from strangers and never click on unknown links contained within e-mails. Enable the filters on your e-mail programs to screen for spam. Beware of messages indicating upgrades, technical updates and special offers. These tactics are no longer limited to e-mail, so be vigilant when on social networking sites.
- Backup Your Computer and Mobile Device in the event that your equipment is physically stolen or lost. You might have lost the device, but the data is preserved by the backup system. The theft of smartphones has become a major crime. Be aware of where your smartphone is at all times. If your phone is missing, consider using locator apps and you can even use a remote wipe to clear information from your missing phone.
- Secure Your Device by activating the key-lock feature and using a password. A particularly complex password is suggested. Change your passwords periodically.
- Safeguard Your Personal Information when using unsecured, public connection by avoiding apps or websites that require your password. These are the types of connections accessed in airports, hotels, coffee shops and libraries. You might want to reconsider doing your online banking in an airport.
- Manage Your Social Network Privacy by reviewing the latest changes to privacy settings and be sure you are using these settings properly. Think twice about what you are posting on these sites – more people might see this than you think. Educate your children about social media behaviors. Hide your e-mail address from online profiles.
- Disposal of Older Computers is another source for the theft of data. Remember when you delete files, the information is not actually erased. The hard drive should be overwritten, degaussed or physically destroyed. Never dispose of a computer that hasn’t been secured. Your information could end up in the hands of a criminal.
Computer Troubleshooters Can Help Your Business with Cyber Security
Computer Troubleshooters can do an assessment of your business’ computer network. We can also provide recommendations for establishing a strategic approach to cyber security and assist you with a variety of solutions to reduce the risk of a security breach. We strongly encourage you to prepare your business for the threat of a cyber security crime, call your local Computer Troubleshooters office today for help and advice.
Who plans a funeral years and years in advance? Microsoft – that’s who!
Next year on April 8th, Microsoft officially ends Windows XP operating system’s life cycle. Even with over 600 million worldwide users, Microsoft will no longer sell or support Windows XP and Office 2003. There will be no automatic fixes, updates, free assisted online technical support and security updates. Unfortunately, many of the 600 million users either don’t know or have forgotten about the funeral. If you like it or not, it’s time to accept the death of XP and make a plan for the future.
“When XP goes out of support, it’ll be a lot like driving a car that you can’t buy parts for anymore,” said Jay Paulus, Microsoft’s Director of Windows Small Business Marketing.
If you are feeling like you missed the memo, apparently you are not alone. Microsoft’s customer surveys indicate that for enterprises with 5-250 employees, only 55% of them know about the end of XP and 70% have no idea what the change will entail or how it will impact their business!
Are you part of this group?
Upgrade or Your Business Might Face the Consequences of Security and Compliance Issues
You should take this situation seriously and find out immediately if any of your computers are still running XP. If the answer is yes, your business can be negatively impacted with some significant consequences. You should consider the following information as you make your Windows XP migration plan.
- Security Risks: The biggest problem is the security threat to your business. Without the security provided by an updated operating system, all of your business data and personal information are vulnerable to harmful viruses and spyware. There is a strong likelihood that malicious viruses will be unleashed on XP’s “zero day”, leaving undefended computers immobilized and viruses spreading quickly over the net to PCs still operating on XP. No business owner wants to think about a virus spreading through all of the computers that keep your business functioning.
- Compliance Issues: For many businesses, continuing to operate XP can result in compliance issues leading to the suspension of certifications, and/or public notification of the organization’s inability to securely maintain its systems and customer information. Compliance problems can place your business in legal peril and seriously damage your business’ reputation.
- Upgrade Expenses: As a business owner trying to control costs, do you think an upgrade will be too expensive? Think again. Some experts view a business that continues to run XP as a liability bordering on irresponsibility. The problems that are likely to arise can cost your business significantly more than the upgrade.
- Custom Support Available for a Price: For businesses in denial about the end of XP, support will actually remain available after April 8, 2014 but at the annual cost of $200 per device. Depending on the number of computers your business is using, it’s not much of a bargain. In reality, this is only a temporary, contingency plan.
Security and compliance are perhaps the two most critical issues facing the business community in regards to the end of the XP life cycle. Tim Rains, Microsoft’s Director of Trustworthy Computing, stated in Microsoft’s Security Blog, “After April 8, attackers will likely have more information about vulnerabilities in Windows XP than defenders.”
Do You Have an XP Migration Plan in Place?
Microsoft is fully invested in ending XP’s life cycle, so this is not a situation you can simply ignore. It’s happening on April 8, 2014, so mark your calendar. Most large organizations have been working on their migration plans for years. For small-medium sized business owners, the hour is getting late so we strongly encourage you to take action today!
Windows 7 and Windows 8 offer greater efficiency for enhanced productivity; more fully integrated WiFi and Bluetooth; improved user-interface; less down time and decreased labor costs for repairs. Again, Computer Troubleshooters encourages you to take this situation seriously and develop a migration plan immediately. Our experts can help you understand your XP migration options and work with you to develop an upgrade strategy for your business. Call your local Computer Troubleshooters office today before it’s too late.