Monthly Archives: January 2012

Proactive IT for Small and Medium Businesses

Let’s face it, most businesses rely on their IT Systems to run their daily operations. Whether it is email, eCommerce, accounting or other “line of business” applications, SMBs need the same up time and availability as a large business. Most of the time everything hums right along. When PC’s crash or the network crawls, business can come to a grinding halt. Being proactive with your IT Services can make all the difference in the world in getting up and running again.

Here are some tips to ensure you get back up and running quickly:

Start off by having all your ducks in a row. When things go wrong, make sure you know who to call. Don’t wait until things are broken to find an IT Service Provider or Computer Repair Company. Establish a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with a reputable IT Service Provider in advance. By having an agreed upon response time and rate schedule, you can ensure a rapid response to your problem that works by your schedule. In many cases you can pay by the hour or by the ticket. You may even be able to include unforeseen computer repairs as part of a fixed fee IT Managed Service Agreement. By having a service level agreement in place, you will save time and money when things go wrong.

Also consider having both local and off-site backups of your data. When we thing about backup we typically think about a disaster, theft or other systems failure. Any way you look at it, backup is all about recovery. A local backup can help you find lost files or recover corrupted data quickly, but sometimes your local backup may not be enough. In addition to your local backup consider having off-site data storage available as well. Remote backup may not restore as quickly due to bandwidth limitation. However, in case of a fire, earthquake, hurricane or other disaster, your remote backup will come in handy. Also, IT Managed Service Provider ITMSP may be able to restore or rebuild your files or device from a remote backup without having to go on-site. This can not only get you up and running quicker, but it also may save money by avoiding an on-site visit.

Keeping your systems in compliance is a good way to avoid problems before they happen. As they say, a once of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Establish solid IT policies and always proactively maintain your systems. Ensure that your machines always are up to date with the latest security patches, defragment your hard drives periodically and clear your temporary directories to keep systems running at optimal performance.

Make sure you are in control of your IT environment by having a trusted IT Service Advisor recommend what is right for your business

5 Tips for Protecting your Data

It seems not a week goes by when you hear about some company getting hacked. Not only is this embarrassing, but also it can be costly if you compromise customer’s data. According to banks may pass along fines ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 for each infraction. So what can you do to protect yourself and reduce your risks? Here are 5 quick tips for you to consider:

1. Windows O/S Patch – Everyday there are new patches, updates, and hotfixes available from Microsoft for your computers. Many of these patches are created to close security holes for your PC. If your PC is at risk your network is at risk. This means your data is at risk too. By making sure ALL your systems are up to date on a DAILY basis, you will help protect your data, and your systems will run better too.

2. Antivirus – Keeping your Antivirus definitions up to date is another way to protect yourself from data loss. These Antivirus updates are designed to avoid dangerous attacks and to prevent malicious programs from destroying your data. Verify your Antivirus definitions are always up to date.

3. Malware – Malware is short for malicious software. These programs not only slow your computer and disrupt your work, but they can also gather information from your machine resulting in a breach of privacy. Many malware programs are designed specifically for capturing credit card information. There are many new programs designed to detect and destroy malware. Make sure you are ahead of these types of attacks.

4. Network Scan and Audit – You can identify security risks by monitoring your network regularly. A network scan and audit can detect unauthorized devices attached to your network, open ports to the Internet, and find holes in your firewall’s security settings. Without your knowledge, your data may be exposed to a security breach from your network. Scan your network proactively, not just when “things seem to be running slow”.

5. Backup – We often think about backup in terms of a disaster recovery scenario. For example, “how quickly can I get that file or system back if I loose my data?”. In the event of a security breach your back up can also pinpoint how much data may have lost. By knowing how much data has been lost, you can assess what your overall exposure is. This is particularly important when you need to disclose lost customer data to comply with industry regulations.

In today’s world, companies large and small are targets of unintended attacks that may result in loss of critical data. Making sure your systems are in compliance is your first defense in protecting your data. If you’re not sure, ask your IT professional for an asset inventory and hardware software audit to see how you stack up.