Work remotely, stay secure

Work remotely, stay secure

As businesses have had to quickly pivot to new working environments, cyberattacks become an urgent concern. In this thought leadership article, you can learn some of best practices using Microsoft security that help ensure the best protection. Examples include secure access to cloud applications that protect sign-ins with security defaults, methods to manage and secure corporate data in approved apps on personal devices, and providing clear and basic information, including how to protect their devices, will help you and employees stay ahead of threats so they can remain productive.

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Why Managed Services Make Your Life Easier

Why Managed Services Make Your Life Easier

That smile of relief when we fix someone's technology is a gift of doing IT service. When we get a call out, we're happy to go out (or log in remotely) to fix what's broken. We enjoy getting our customers back up and running quickly. Who said saving the day is only for superheroes, right?

Still, as much as we get a boost out of being the hero, we'd rather our clients' systems didn't go down in the first place. How can we make that happen? By adding you to our managed services client roster. So, what does managed services mean?

Fixing things when they break is reactive, whereas managed services are more proactive. It involves:

  • ongoing monitoring;
  • handling system patches;
  • managing software updates, virus scans, and keeping malware current;
  • checking hard drive health to help catch issues in advance;
  • tuning up your technology;
  • setting up new devices, printers, networks, and systems.

As your managed service provider, we get to know not only what's gone wrong but also find out your goals and objectives. Understanding what your needs are, we can suggest the technology that best serves you. Plus, we might be able to help you find discounts on new software or cut costs for your home office. After all, we can identify where you are duplicating licenses or paying for more than you need.

Managed Services Make Budgeting Easier

All those services sound costly. The benefit is that you'll pay a single, consistent monthly fee (or annual fee) for all managed services. Instead of having to handle a big financial hit when something does break, you're already covered.

Plus, if the worst does happen, we already have a relationship. We know what's important to you, and we focus on your needs. You're a regular customer we want to keep satisfied rather than a one-off engagement (not that we don't appreciate those, too!).

Of course, no one can promise you'll never get hit by a cyberattack. There are new threats every single day. But, if malware does strike, we can get you back up and running more quickly. After all, we've been keeping your systems up to date. So, less work needs done to clean up.

Conclusion

Your home IT environment is getting more complicated. Even if you're not working from home, you probably have a desktop, laptops, tablets, gaming devices, and mobile devices. All these need secure internet access and might need data backup. Really, just connecting all your devices to a shared, secure network is a headache at this point, but it doesn't have to be your headache. Stabilize your IT expenses and enjoy having an expert on speed dial with managed services.

If you want a higher level of IT support, we should talk about managed services. We can help keep the problems at bay. You'll be happier. We just don't get to see it on your face (though you're welcome to send an appreciative email!). Call us now at 276-296-1155.

Buying Tech in Time for Christmas

Christmas time is back with us again.  The latest devices and gadgets are hitting store shelves just in time to keep up with the rush.  Magazines, television, and the web are brimming with advertisements and reviews of the latest tech your money can buy.

Before you rush out to buy the gadgets you've been waiting all year for, consider a few important questions before parting with your hard-earned cash.

Does This Technology Do What I need?

First, you must ask what problem you are trying to solve with a new piece of tech. The most important thing to consider is how adopting your new device will improve on what you had before.

In some cases, a sleek new gadget or device for fun is good too.

When you've answered this question, you should consider whether there is other tech or competing devices out there that can perform even better.

Should I Become an Early Adopter?

Early adopters are people that anticipate the release of new tech, wait in line on release day, and pride themselves on having the latest gadgets to hit the shelves.  If you recognize yourself in this description you are likely to snap up the latest devices the day they are released.  This eager anticipation, however, is not always the way to get the best deals or the best gadgets.

Companies often rely on new product hype to give sales an early boost.  Waiting for the marketing and hype to subside, even a little, can save you a lot of money.

After initial sales fall, companies often mark down their prices to keep their devices attractive and sales high.  When newer, faster, sleeker devices hit the market, companies cut prices to maintain strong sales figures.   For the budget smart consumer this is an opportunity for a bargain. A device good enough to buy on launch day is well worth waiting for.

Have I checked The Reviews?

We are fortunate enough to have access to seemingly unlimited amounts of information at our fingertips.  Often weeks before a product is released, reviews are available across the web.

One of the best things you can do when considering a new device, particularly a high-cost purchase, is to watch and read a wide variety of product reviews.  It pays to be cautious of reviews that are particularly glowing, or too downbeat.  Keep an eye out for middle of the road reviews that fairly weigh the pros and cons of each device.

Have I Found the Best Deal?

There are many ways to keep an eye out to make sure you get the best deal on your device.  If you can, monitor prices over time to see how they rise and fall to find the best time to purchase. 

When purchasing online, many sites include a box to add a coupon code when you are ready to buy.  It sometimes pays to jump over to Google and search the website name and 'coupon' or 'voucher' to find out if there are any good deals on.

A quick search can save you as much as 10, 15, or 20 per cent on some purchases. Sometimes companies send out offers to appeal to groups they want to market to.  A companies Facebook page may get different offers or vouchers than its Twitter followers or newsletter for example.

It can pay to search around for offers and vouchers to get money off before you checkout.  Five minutes work can save huge amounts of cash.

Purchase in Confidence

If you have asked yourself these questions, done all your research, and found the answers you're looking for then you may well be ready to buy.

You can do so with the confidence that you've done all your homework and you're getting the best deal and gadget for your money.  


Computer Cleaning for the New Year

The new year can mean resolutions and promises for a “new you.” One way to start this year feeling more in control is to clean up your computer. Follow these simple steps!

Tackle the inbox

We do a lot of shopping at the end of the year. Whether you shop online or in stores, you’re asked to provide your email address when you buy, which multiplies the number of mailing lists you’re on. Don’t start the new year deluged by unwanted newsletters and advertising emails.

The extra messages in your inbox distract you from the messages that matter. Instead of deleting every new unread message from “Let’s Make Cookies,” click on one and unsubscribe. Usually, there’s a link that lets you do this at the bottom of the email. If you’re a Gmail user, start your effort to cut down on unwanted mail in your Promotions tab. Google’s algorithm sends sales pitches here, so cut messages from this section first.

Clear bookmarks

The internet is built for browsing. We’ve all lost hours to clicking and linking in this vortex of information. “Wait. How did I end up here looking at kittens eating cupcakes?!” To make things easier, we’ll bookmark sites we visit often or put a page we want to return to on a reading list.

By the end of the year, we have marked many sites that we don’t even remember favoriting in the first place. “When was I interested in this?” Getting rid of any bookmarks for passing interests can help you navigate the Web better this year.

In Google Chrome, click on the three dots in the upper-right of your browser window (to the left of your profile icon). The drop-down menu will have a Bookmarks option. Click on this to see another drop-down menu with Bookmark Manager on it. On the next screen every one of your bookmarks will have three dots beside it. Click on this to select the delete option, and get rid of the ones you don’t need any longer.

Safari users can click on Bookmarks on the top menu or the sidebar icon on the tool bar (to the right of the arrows on the left). Then edit your bookmarks by clicking on sites you no longer want and hitting your delete button.

Sort through downloads

We also download a lot of stuff in a year. Sometimes, because we’re impatient or don’t realize we’ve already hit download, we get multiple copies of the same file! A full download folder takes up storage space on your computer and can slow your computer down.

On a Mac, go to the Finder and click on Downloads on the “Go” drop-down menu. You’ll find a folder filled with .pdfs, .docs, and .jpegs you long forgot about. Click on those you don’t need any more and drag them to your trash can.

On Windows, you can usually go to the “This PC” icon and then the “Downloads” Folder. Right-click on the files you don’t want, and choose “Delete.”

Empty trash/recycling bins

Items you put in the trash or recycling bins at home take up space until you take those bins to the curb or the dump, and the same is true of your computer trash or recycling. Empty these bins by selecting “empty trash” on your Mac Finder menu, or “empty recycle bin” after clicking on the bin icon in Windows 10.

Remove unused programs/apps – If you’re not using a program or app, don’t give it computer space. On a Mac, you can click on the icon for that program and drag it to the Trash. With Windows, you’ll open the Start menu, click on Settings, then System, then Apps and Features from the left pane to select what you want to uninstall. Click the uninstall button, and you’ve decluttered your computer that little bit more for the new year. If you need help with any of these streamlining measures, let us know. We can help! Call 276-296-1155.

 

 

 

 

6 Quick Security Tips to Keep Your Business Safe

6 Quick Security Tips to Keep Your Business Safe

 

Every employee shares one inescapable flaw that is putting your business at risk.

They’re human.

59% of data breaches can be traced back to something an employee did (or didn’t do), which invited a cyber-attack.

To lock hackers out, build security awareness and respect into your company culture, so that maintaining digital security becomes as routine as making coffee.

 

  1. Use complex passwords: Every employee, including management, needs to use an alphanumeric password that they haven’t used before. Password managers can assist with making sure they’re never forgotten.
  2. Verify unknown identities: Not familiar with ‘Jenny from Accounting’ who has called to ask for sensitive information? Double check caller identity and access permissions before releasing any information. Hackers love to play on our desire to be helpful.
  3. Encrypt by default: People regularly transfer data to a laptop or smartphone so they can work more efficiently. Unfortunately, this equipment can be easily stolen. Set operating systems to encrypt data by default, so that it becomes useless in the wrong hands.
  4. Protect portable devices: Laptops and mobile phones should always require a password and be set to auto-lock after a short period of time. Never leave them unattended in cars, buses, restrooms etc, and take them as carry-on luggage.
  5. Set personal usage rules: While you may have blocked productivity-vacuums such as Facebook, what are the rules regarding games, video streaming or shopping? Can they install their own software? When business computers are used for personal usage, security vigilance tends to slide, resulting in unintentional malware installation.
  6. Educate often: Digital security threats change regularly, and people become comfortable with a certain level of danger, thinking ‘it will never happen to me’. A 5-minute discussion  once a month may be the barrier that keeps hackers out.

 

Starter Topics:

 

Links in emails – Hackers often send emails that look like they are from your bank or similar. Be sure to check the link by hovering over it with your mouse. This is known as ‘phishing’.

Tech scam popups – Be on the lookout for popups advising that your computer is infected and you need to call a phone number or download software.

Email attachments – Never open an unknown attachment, and even from people you know and trust, always scan for malware before opening.

If you need help implementing better security practices in your business, give us a call 276.296.1155.

 

 

 

The leading South African law firm steps up digital innovation to build the legal practice of tomorrow

The leading South African law firm steps up digital innovation to build the legal practice of tomorrow

With over 150 years of history and experience in the legal market, Webber Wentzel has become one of South Africa’s most prominent law firms, operating at the forefront of legal services and home to the country’s longest-standing pro bono practices. The firm aims to act as a beacon of innovation for the industry. In this video, see how Webber Wentzel has taken advantage of the capabilities of Office 365 to create a more efficient and collaborative workplace for its teams, while facilitating and securing client interactions.

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