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October 2nd, 2014

Security_Sep29_AWith the ever growing number of security threats faced by businesses around the world, the vast majority of business owners have adopted some form of security measures in an effort to keep their organizations secure. But, how do you know the measures you've implemented are actually keeping your systems safe? Here are five ways you can tell if your security measures aren't sufficient.

1. Open wireless networks

Wireless networks are one of the most common ways businesses allow their employees to get online. With one main Internet line and a couple of wireless routers, you can theoretically have the whole office online. This method of connecting does save money, but there is an inherent security risk with this and that is an unsecure network.

Contrary to popular belief, simply plugging in a wireless router and creating a basic network won't mean you are secure. If you don't set a password on your routers, then anyone within range can connect. Hackers and criminal organizations are known to look for, and then target these networks. With fairly simple tools and a bit of know-how, they can start capturing data that goes in and out of the network, and even attacking the network and computers attached. In other words, unprotected networks are basically open invitations to hackers.

Therefore, you should take steps to ensure that all wireless networks in the office are secured with passwords that are not easy to guess. For example, many Internet Service Providers who install hardware when setting up networks will often just use the company's main phone number as the password to the router. This is too easy to work out, so changing to a password that is a lot more difficult to guess is makes sense.

2. Email is not secure

Admittedly, most companies who have implemented a new email system in the past couple of years will likely be fairly secure. This is especially true if they use cloud-based options, or well-known email systems like Exchange which offer enhanced security and scanning, while using modern email transition methods.

The businesses at risk are those using older systems like POP, or systems that don't encrypt passwords (what are known as 'clear passwords'). If your system doesn't encrypt information like this, anyone with the right tools and a bit of knowledge can capture login information and potentially compromise your systems and data.

If you are using older email systems, it is advisable to upgrade to newer ones, especially if they don't encrypt important information.

3. Mobile devices that aren't secure enough

Mobile devices, like tablets and smartphones, are being used more than ever before in business, and do offer a great way to stay connected and productive while out of the office. The issue with this however is that if you use your tablet or phone to connect to office systems, and don't have security measures in place, you could find networks compromised.

For example, if you have linked your work email to your tablet, but don't have a screen lock enabled and you lose your device anyone who picks it up will have access to your email and potentially sensitive information.

The same goes if you accidentally install a fake app with malware on it. You could find your systems infected. Therefore, you should take steps to ensure that your device is locked with at least a passcode, and you have anti-virus and malware scanners installed and running on a regular basis.

4. Anti-virus scanners that aren't maintained

These days, it is essential that you have anti-virus, malware, and spyware scanners installed on all machines and devices in your company and that you take the time to configure these properly. It could be that scans are scheduled during business hours, or they just aren't updated. If you install these solutions onto your systems, and they start to scan during work time, most employees will just turn the scanner off thus leaving systems wide-open.

The same goes for not properly ensuring that these systems are updated. Updates are important for scanners, because they implement new virus databases that contain newly discovered malware and viruses, and fixes for them.

Therefore, scanners need to be properly installed and maintained if they are going to even stand a chance of keeping systems secure.

5. Lack of firewalls

A firewall is a networking security tool that can be configured to block certain types of network access and data from leaving the network or being accessed from outside of the network. A properly configured firewall is necessary for network security, and while many modems include this, it's often not robust enough for business use.

What you need instead is a firewall that covers the whole network at the point where data enters and exits (usually before the routers). These are business-centric tools that should be installed by an IT partner like us, in order for them to be most effective.

How do I ensure proper business security?

The absolute best way a business can ensure that their systems and networks are secure is to work with an IT partner like us. Our managed services can help ensure that you have proper security measures in place and the systems are set up and managed properly. Tech peace of mind means the focus can be on creating a successful company instead. Contact us today to learn more.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security
October 1st, 2014

BCP_Sep29_AMany business owners and managers readily acknowledge the fact that they need to be prepared for a disaster, and most do have backup-plans in place should something actually go wrong. The thing is, it can be difficult to actually know if your plan will be enough to see your business through a disaster. What can help is knowing the common ways business continuity plans (BCP) fail.

There are many ways a business continuity or backup and recovery plan may fail, but if you know about the most common reasons then you can better plan to overcome these obstacles, which in turn will give you a better chance of surviving a disaster.

1. Not customizing a plan

Some companies take a plan that was developed for another organization and copy it word-for-word. While the general plan will often follow the same structure throughout most organizations, each business is different so what may work for one, won't necessarily work for another. When a disaster happens, you could find that elements of the plan are simply not working, resulting in recovery delays or worse. Therefore, you should take steps to ensure that the plan you adopt works for your organization.

It is also essential to customize a plan to respond to different departments or roles within an organization. While an overarching business continuity plan is great, you are going to need to tailor it for each department. For example, systems recovery order may be different for marketing when compared with finance. If you keep the plan the same for all roles, you could face ineffective recovery or confusion as to what is needed, ultimately leading to a loss of business.

2. Action plans that contain too much information

One common failing of business continuity plans is that they contain too much information in key parts of the plan. This is largely because many companies make the mistake of keeping the whole plan in one long document or binder. While this makes finding the plan easier, it makes actually enacting it far more difficult. During a disaster, you don't want your staff and key members flipping through pages and pages of useless information in order to figure out what they should be doing. This could actually end up exacerbating the problem.

Instead, try keeping action plans - what needs to be done during an emergency - separate from the overall plan. This could mean keeping individual plans in a separate document in the same folder, or a separate binder that is kept beside the total plan. Doing this will speed up action time, making it far easier for people to do their jobs when they need to.

3. Failing to properly define the scope

The scope of the plan, or who it pertains to, is important to define. Does the plan you are developing cover the whole organization, or just specific departments? If you fail to properly define who the plan is for, and what it covers there could be confusion when it comes to actually enacting it.

While you or some managers may have the scope defined in your heads, there is always a chance that you may not be there when disaster strikes, and therefore applying the plan effectively will likely not happen. What you need to do is properly define the scope within the plan, and ensure that all parties are aware of it.

4. Having an unclear or unfinished plan

Continuity plans need to be clear, easy to follow, and most of all cover as much as possible. If your plan is not laid out in a logical and clear manner, or written in simple and easy to understand language, there is an increased chance that it will fail. You should therefore ensure that all those who have access to the plan can follow it after the first read through, and find the information they need quickly and easily.

Beyond this, you should also make sure that all instructions and strategies are complete. For example, if you have an evacuation plan, make sure it states who evacuates to where and what should be done once people reach those points. The goal here is to establish as strong a plan as possible, which will further enhance the chances that your business will recover successfully from a disaster.

5. Failing to test, update, and test again

Even the most comprehensive and articulate plan needs to be tested on a regular basis. Failure to do so could result in once adequate plans not offering the coverage needed today. To avoid this, you should aim to test your plan on a regular basis - at least twice a year.

From these tests you should take note of potential bottlenecks and failures and take steps in order to patch these up. Beyond this, if you implement new systems, or change existing ones, revisit your plan and update it to cover these amendments and retest the plan again.

If you are worried about your continuity planning, or would like help implementing a plan and supporting systems, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

September 30th, 2014

Time is money and tech companies are designing new innovations to save both for small businesses. Whether it’s plugging in your Square to make an on-the-go sale, or managing your payroll from your tablet in a coffee shop, the tech-abilities are endless.

Breaking through the clutter of the new and shiny advancements, SurePayroll (@SurePayroll) surveyed small business owners across the country to find out what was working for them – and what their top picks are for 2014.

Overall, business leaders prized their company website above all else. Following right behind, the survey found email, social media, online advertising and online video presentation resources to be key. As businesses begin moving their data storage to the cloud, Dropbox continues to reign as the most preferred company. Google is hot on their tail followed by Apple’s iCloud, Microsoft’s OneDrive (which recently announced a merger of its personal and professional service suite) and then Box.

It was hardly a surprise to see Facebook leading the social media category, followed by LinkedIn. The big surprise is that Google+ came in third beating out Yelp (fourth place) and Twitter (tied for fifth with Quora).

CRM picks started with Salesforce and followed with Act and then NetSuite while email marketing was again dominated by Constant Contact. InfusionSoft and Marketo tied for second place with MailChimp pulling into third place with its quirky personality and free use up to 2,500 emails/month.

Google Drive dominates the organizational app category. Evernote comes in second, followed by Tripit and Trello. The interesting thing to see here is that Microsoft OneNote doesn’t even make it to the list. If this trend continues, Google could well push Microsoft out of the office suite market it has dominated for more than two decades. 

Looking at broader tech trends, the survey noted, “that 70 percent of small business owners are changing the way they do business to adjust for a more technology-based market. As many as 80 percent are leveraging mobile technology for their businesses.” A recent blog we wrote documented that while cloud use is currently only at 37 percent, that it will reach 80 percent by 2020. 

It is interesting to note that most of the favorite small business services listed in this survey are accessible through the cloud and have mobile-friendly versions. Companies are not just simply migrating to the cloud, they are embracing it.  

At Sinu, our goal is to help our clients harness the power of technology to support business productivity, freeing them up to better serve their customers and grow their businesses. We believe that people matter…objects don’t. Whether you are looking to adopt more cloud-based solutions, find a better data backup system, or need full-time tech support for your employees, we are here to offer CTO-level consultation and affordable all-inclusive technology for your business.

Topic Articles
September 30th, 2014

According to PCWorld, if Google has its way, New York City’s antiquated pay-phone system will soon be converted to provide range of technology services, including a network of free wireless networks throughout the city. But as our access to public Wi-Fi increases, so do the opportunities for mobile hackers to access your data. For example, hackers are setting up “free Wi-Fi” hubs designed to entice unsuspecting users onto their network where they can quickly hijack passwords and other personal data. However, there are several simple ways you can protect yourself while using public Wi-Fi networks.

1. Know Your WiFi: This sounds simple, but wherever  possible, use Wi-Fi networks you know and that are secured with a password. Ask your barista for the name of their network to be sure you’re accessing a legitimate one.

2. Turn Off ‘File Sharing’: Whether you’re on a PC or an Apple computer, you can turn off access to your files from outside parties very quickly by turning off file and printer sharing. CNET has a good video that walks you through the process.

3. Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network): This is a great option to help protect yourself on public Wi-Fi, while preventing people from knowing who you are or what you’re looking at on the Internet. A VPN essentially creates a secure data tunnel between the end user and the destination. PC News wrote a great blog suggesting their ten VPN picks and Sinu offers several VPN solutions for its clients.

4. Forget the Network: On the go, it’s often tempting to just shut off your laptop or device and then just go, but don’t forget to forget the network. On a device, just hold down on the network name until the option pops up. Or, on a computer, go into your network preferences and remove the network from your computer’s memory. This will prevent your computer or device from automatically connecting to that unsecured network in the future.

5. Use a HotSpot: Most cell phone carriers are now offering the option for a personal hotspot, turning your cell phone into a mobile Wi-Fi. Be sure to secure the network with a password – if it doesn’t automatically require one – in order to prevent poachers and would-be hackers. About Technology  provides several suggestions on how to boost the security of your HotSpot, ensuring that it’s not just a more convenient source of WiF, it is a significantly more secure source, as well.

At Sinu, our goal is to provide our clients with full-service technology services that increase productivity while mitigating risk. Should you have questions about device security, please contact your account manager for assistance.

Topic Articles
September 30th, 2014

By John Christie, co-founder and COO

In the days after the Heartbleed story broke earlier this year, Sinu, along with other technology experts, advised our customers to change the passwords of their online accounts to protect their data. Since then, a myriad of security breaches have been announced. 

In August it was the “nude celebrity hacking” incident where several celebrities fell prey to a having their passwords stolen and their nude photos posted to the Internet. According to Apple chief executive Tim Cook in an interview by the Wall Street Journal, “celebrities’ iCloud accounts were compromised when hackers correctly answered security questions to obtain their passwords, or when they were victimized by a phishing scam to obtain user IDs and passwords.”

An in a more recent incident, 5 million Google passwords were leaked. It turns out that in this recent Google “credential dump,” only a small percentage of the passwords were actually active. However, this news highlights, once again, how critical it is to generate secure passwords.

“The time it takes to crack a password is the only real way to determine its strength and value,” said Cameron Morris, a developer at defense contractor Partnet in an interview with ZDNet’s John Fontana. Morris developed an open-source tool called Passfault that predicts the time it takes to crack a specific password. So I randomly tested a password. I saw that my self-generated password would only take a day to figure out. Then I tried this free, secure password generation tool – xkpasswd – which creates easy-to-remember but hard-to-guess passwords. The password it generated based on my original password would take over one year to hack.

Whether you decide to use a password generator or not, there are a few basic best practices that experts agree on for generating and managing secure passwords:

  • Generate a different password for each online account
  • Change your passwords every 3-6 months and don’t reuse them
  • When generating your own password it should contain upper and lowercase letters, punctuation, a number and be 8-14 characters long
  • Do not store your password list in the cloud, such as on Google Docs or Dropbox
  • Consider a two-step verification on services that provide it

For most of us, it is difficult and time consuming to manage dozens, if not hundreds, of unique online passwords – not to mention changing them every time a new breach is announced! So we often just take a deep breath and hope it doesn’t happen to us. However, there are several password management solutions that can help you both generate and manage secure passwords for your online accounts.

Last year, the New York Times reviewed a number of different apps to help manage your passwords. We have summarized this report below:

Password security will continue to be increasingly important to protecting our online data. Fortunately, there are more and more options coming on the market that can help make secure passwords more convenient to generate and manage. As you find a balance between convenience and security with this issue, we suggest moving the balance point as far toward security as you can.

Topic Articles
September 30th, 2014

Pay Forward

Pay IT Forward! Whether you’re a valued client of Sinu, a partner, or employee, we invite you to participate in our new referral program. Let us know about a company that could improve its business performance by using Sinu and we’ll make sure to Pay IT Forward…to you, your business, or a charity of your choice.

Here’s how the Sinu referral program works.

Provide us with a name of a friend or colleague and have lunch on us! Well, actually, we’ll send you a $25 Visa gift card, so maybe it’s coffee for the office, or a drink after work. It’s a small ‘thank you’ from us, however you use it. If your referred company signs on with Sinu they receive 25% off the set-up fee and we will reward you with up to $2,500, depending on the size of the company. (See below for reward amounts.) You select the method of payment – a check to you, a credit on your Sinu bill (for existing clients), or a donation to a charity of your choice.

If your referral becomes a Sinu client, you’ll earn cash rewards. Everyone wins! That’s what we mean by Paying IT Forward.

It’s easy to Pay IT Forward!

Tell us about your referral: Submit your referral online at sinu.com/referrals and we’ll contact your referral directly. Provide the referral information to your Sinu Account Team and they will process the referral on your behalf.

Who should I introduce to Sinu?

Referrals should be made to Sinu if you know a company that would benefit from outsourcing their business technology. You should know the contact you are referring personally.

Stay updated on the status of your referrals.

Email referrals@sinu.com to get a status update on your referral.

Learn more at Sinu.com or call 877.692.7468.

Topic Articles
September 30th, 2014

bit coin

If you have followed the growth of Bitcoin and other virtual currencies over the years, the concept of e-money may have seemed more of an interesting experiment used by hitmen and malware developers – like the much-publicized Cryptolocker (see Sinu blog, 12/1/13).

Since reputable businesses have started using Bitcoin and other virtual currencies because of its convenience and its ability to facilitate international transactions, it’s important to understand what it is and how it might affect the way we do business in the near future.

Bitcoin debuted in 2009 as a way to make anonymous transactions across borders without third parties such as banks. (See Washington Post’s 90-second video on the history of Bitcoin.) Today, Bitcoin ATMs are popping up across the country, and can be found in several US cities, including Austin, Seattle, Las Vegas, and Boston. Robocoin, the Las Vegas company installing these virtual currency teller machines, ­says ATMs will soon be available in more cities, including New York City and Los Angeles.

However, several scandals and the fear of doing transactions using an unregulated currency have made businesses reluctant to adopt Bitcoin. For instance, earlier this year, Tokyo-based Mt. Gox, once the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange, filed for bankruptcy claiming hackers had stolen Bitcoin valued at $460 million, leaving users with little recourse and experts speculating about the crytocurreny’s demise. According to the Washington Post report, “Bloomberg conducted a poll of financial professionals in July that indicated people were still wary of the digital currency, with 55 percent surveyed agreeing that it trades at ‘unsustainable, bubble-like prices,’ and reported Bitcoin prices have catapulted to as little as $341 this year from highs of $900.”

In spite of the risks, the tide may be turning for Bitcoin and other virtual currencies. Paypal, the eBay-owned mobile payment system, recently announced that it would soon let customers pay using the virtual currency. According to a Forbes report, “PayPal announced that it was partnering with Bitcoin processors BitPay, Coinbase and GoCoin to allow its merchants to accept the cryptocurrency for digital goods like online games and downloadable songs. It’s a second baby step for the payments giant toward full Bitcoin adoption after the company’s Braintree unit, a mobile payments provider, said earlier this month that it was working on a feature that would let customers of businesses like Uber and Airbnb pay with Bitcoin.”

This comes on the heels of several other cryptocurrency announcements. Apple Pay debuted with the iPhone 6 to a flurry of media coverage and speculation about the demise of traditional billfold manufacturers (see AdAge, Could Apple Pay Kill Traditional Wallet Makers) and, more importantly, how it would affect Google Wallet, who entered the space over two years ago.  Alibaba ­– China’s largest e-commerce company (it just made headlines with the world’s largest initial public offering) recently restructured its deal with a version of Paypal called Alipay. The Wall Street Journal calls this online payment platform a “potential golden goose” for Alibaba.

Even countries are getting in on the e-money train. Ecuador recently announced it will develop a government-backed virtual currency by the end of this year. According to a report by TechSpot, “The idea is to give the 2.8 million people of Ecuador that cannot afford traditional banking a way to send and receive payments in a more affordable way.” It will continue to have the US dollar as a currency, but this will be another choice for Ecuadorians.

The popularity of virtual currencies with the tech crowd and millennials, coupled with its convenience and ability to facilitate transactions across borders, makes it particularly appealing to e-commerce companies. But as it becomes more available for online transactions, customers are likely to expect all businesses to accept it as a real form of payment in the coming years.

September 24th, 2014

SocialMedia_Sep22_AFor many small to medium businesses, social media has become an integral part of their overall business strategy. Most businesses have a presence on at least one platform, but one issue many business owners and managers struggle with is how they should be using social media effectively. To help, here is an overview of the three most common ways small to medium businesses use social media.

1. To be a resource for existing and potential clients

This approach is by far the most popular used by businesses of all sizes. The main idea here is that social media is used as essentially a two-way street where you can pass information about the company, products, and industry to your followers. In turn, they interact with the content and eventually start to turn to your profile and page when they are looking for information.

One of the best ways to be successful with this approach is to provide your followers with information about the company, facts, tips about your products and industry, and links to other relevant content.

By sharing content, users will generally interact with it more and begin to see your company as a reliable source of information. This often translates into enhanced brand awareness and potentially sales.

The downside with this approach however, is that it can be time consuming to constantly develop new content. Most companies eventually reach a point where what they produce and share is pretty much the same, and overall payoffs begin to decrease. One way around this is to work with professionals to come up with dynamic and different content.

2. To provide customer service/support

These days, when someone has a problem with a company's services or products, the first port of call for complaints is often social media, largely because it's the most convenient place to vent where you can get instant reactions.

It therefore makes sense to create support or customer service presence on these channels. Some companies have even taken to launching support-centric profiles, where customers can contact them about anything, from complaints to questions, and receive a personal answer. For many companies this is ideal because it eliminates the hassle of customers having to call a support line and dealing with automated machines.

This approach can prove useful for businesses because it often makes it easier to reach out to disgruntled customers and track overall brand satisfaction. The downside is that you will need someone monitoring services 24/7, and to respond in a timely manner which may be tough to do for many smaller businesses.

3. To sell something

There are an increasing number of businesses who have launched social media profiles with the intent of selling a product or service. The actual sales may not take place through social media but the information on these profiles and platforms channels potential customers to an online store or to contact a company directly. Social media's instantaneous nature makes for a tempting platform, especially when you tie in different advertising features and include content like coupons, and discounts.

While this hard sales line can be appealing to businesses, many users are seemingly put off of companies with profiles that only focus on selling via their platforms. The whole idea of social networking is that it is 'social'; this means real interactions with real people. Profiles dedicated only to trying to sell something will, more often than not, simply be ignored.

What's the ideal use?

One of the best approaches for small to medium businesses is to actually use a combined approach. Most people know that ultimately, businesses with a presence on social media are marketing something, but focusing solely on this could turn customers off.

A successful split that many experts have touted is the 70-20-10 rule. This rule states that you should make 70% of your content and profile focused on relevant information to your audience. 20% of content should be content from other people and 10% of content should be related to selling your products or services e.g., promotional.

If you want to use social media for support as well, it is a good idea to create a separate profile dedicated just to this end. If complaints are lodged or noticed using your main account, direct them towards the support account.

As always, if you are looking for help with your social media strategy, contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
September 19th, 2014

Security_Sep15_AData breaches are growing both in number and intensity. While many businesses have turned to cloud apps for better security measures, some experts and businesses worry about the cloud, mentioning that it could see an increased data breach risk. This leads to a collision course between data breaches and cloud usage. But it doesn’t have to end in a fiery crash, as there are steps you can take to prevent a cloud and data security breach.

The cloud opens up some great tech advancements for businesses and is here to stay. However, as with all tech developments, you need to also be aware of any vulnerabilities and security issues as they change and develop at the same time too. If you use the cloud and want to proactively prevent cloud-and-data security breaches then here are five tips to follow:

  1. Know your cloud apps: Get a comprehensive view of the business readiness of apps and which ones render you more or less prone to a breach. Ask yourself these questions: Does an app encrypt data stored on the service? Does it separate your data from that of others so that your data is not exposed when another tenant has a breach? The idea here is to know exactly what each cloud service employed offers and how your company uses them.
  2. Migrate users to high-quality apps: Cloud-switching costs are low, which means that you can always change and choose apps that best suit your needs. If you find ones that don’t fit your criteria, take the time to talk to your vendor or switch; now more than ever you have choices, and the discovery process in step one will help you find out what these are.
  3. Find out where your data is going: Take a look at your data in the cloud. Review uploads, downloads, and data at rest in apps to get a handle on whether you have potential personally-identifiable information (PII), or whether you simply have unencrypted confidential data in or moving to cloud apps. You wouldn’t want cloud-and-data breaches with this critical data.
  4. Look at user activities: It’s important to understand not only what apps you use but also your data in the context of user activity. Ask yourself: From which apps are people sharing content? According to tech news source, VentureBeat, one-fifth of the apps they tracked enable sharing, and these aren’t just cloud storage apps, but range from customer-relationship management to finance and business intelligence. Knowing who’s sharing what and with whom will help you to understand what policies to best employ.
  5. Mitigate risk through granular policy: Start with your business-critical apps and enforce policies that matter to your organization in the context of a breach. For example, block the upload of information covered by certain privacy acts, block the download of PII from HR apps, or temporarily block access to vulnerable apps.
The key to preventing a cloud-and-data security breach lies in careful attention to your cloud applications and user activity. Analyzing your apps and looking into user activities might be time consuming, but the minimization of cloud-and-data security breaches makes this task worthwhile. Looking to learn more about today’s security? Contact us and let us manage and minimize your risks.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security
September 18th, 2014

Productivity_Sep15_AAlmost every employee in every role relies on technology in order to do their job. When technology is working, everything hums along and productivity is solid. The second our technology stops working however, we can find ourselves struggling to even complete the most basic of tasks. The result can be a dramatic drop in overall productivity. The thing is, we know our systems will eventually breakdown. But, do you know what to do when this actually happens?

What to do when your systems stop working

Often, our first reaction when our technology or systems stop working is to either panic, or get angry. Once we are over this, we often feel desperate to get the problem fixed but may be at a loss as to what to do.

When technology does breakdown, here are some recommended steps you should take:

  • In the words of Douglas Adams, "Don't Panic!" - One of the more popular quotes from the immensely successful Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is "don't panic". This rings true for the vast majority of tech problems. While you may feel like you are facing a big issue at the time, most systems can be fully recovered. This is especially true if you have backup solutions in place.
  • Note what you were doing before the problem occurred - This is an important step, as when something does go wrong, one of the first things tech support will ask you is what you were doing before the problem occurred. The more information that you can give them, the more likely they will be able to solve the problem faster.
  • Ask your colleagues if they are having the same problems - Because so many business systems are networked together, many techs will want to see if problems are localized to your computer or are network wide. Armed with this information, it is far easier to work out the most effective solution.
  • Try turning it off and on again - When faced with many tech problems, you will be asked to turn the system - be it your computer, an app, server, etc. - off and on again. Sometimes the fault lies in the software or short-term memory (RAM) of systems, and turning the system off and on again is enough to fix this.
  • Google it - If an issue persists and it is related to the software on your computer, or a website, try searching the Internet for an answer. If the page doesn't load, you then know the problem is related to the Internet connection. Should the problem be with a cloud service, checking the provider's website or social media feeds is useful to check for post status updates of their systems.
  • Don't rush into a supposed fix - It can be tempting to try out the first supposed fix you come across or someone suggests. The problem is, some 'fixes' can actually end up harming a system even more. For example, you may find suggested fix for a phone that has been dropped into water that says to take the device apart and dry it with a blow dryer. This will damage components, and also void your warranty, which could make the issue even more expensive to deal with. Instead, you should seek the advice of an expert like us.
  • Don't overreact - Have you ever felt so frustrated you have wanted to reach out and smack your computer? While this may make you feel better on one level the reality is that you could make a bad situation worse. When faced with any tech troubles it is best to walk away for a short time so that you can deal with the situation in a calm and collected way.
  • Call your IT partner or IT helpdesk - If the system doesn't work after restarting we strongly recommend stopping there and reaching out to your IT helpdesk or an IT partner like us. We have the experience to investigate the problem, and we can usually come up with an answer and hopefully a fix in a short amount of time.

Preventative steps you should take

While it is inevitable that systems will eventually breakdown, it doesn't mean we are powerless to prevent this from happening, or at least minimizing the potential fallout. One of the easiest preventative measures you can take is to try and take care of your devices and systems. This includes being careful to not physically damage them, while also being sure to watch what you install on your systems, and implementing security standards.

We also strongly recommend working with an IT partner like us. We can help manage your systems and implement measures to keep them working long into the future. Beyond that, we can help monitor systems so that should something start to go wrong, we can begin to implement a fix even before you notice it. And, if something should break down, we can either fix it ourselves or recommend an expert who will be able to help.

Looking for help keeping your systems running and employees productive? Contact us today to learn more about our services and how they are designed to help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Productivity