Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category:

Make Sure to Stay Alert for Technical Support Scams

Posting Date: 10/21/2013  |   Filed Under: Internet, Security, Technology, Tips  |   No Comments
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A blog post in August featured one of the most lucrative cybercriminal scams of the past year. This con involves fraudulent phone calls from cybercriminals posing as representatives from Microsoft tech support. A fake tech support representative places a call to home owners to alert them that your computer has any virus, and has alerted Microsoft to the issue. The fake tech support representative then tries to convince the home owner to allow them remote access of the computer so they can “fix” the issue.  The combination of the phone call allegedly from Microsoft along with the request for remote access to the computer catches many people off-guard and they allow them to access their computer.

Our warning to all consumers should you receive a call like this; is to NOT provide them remote access to your computer.  This access could result in a range of crimes including theft of your personal information, bank account details and PIN numbers to installing a virus and selling you the services repair your computer. This may sound like any far-fetched scam, but countless individuals have fallen victim to these phone calls. Over several years, millions of dollars have been lost to cybercriminals who use this scam.

If you can’t believe that this is actually going on, please continue reading!

Last month one of our franchise owners was contacted at home by a fake Microsoft tech support representative. Here’s how the conversation went with the fake Microsoft tech support representative (Support):

Support, “Do you have a computer on?”

Franchisee, “Yes.”

Support, “Are you in front of it.”

Franchisee, “Yes.”

Support, “You see there is a <Ctrl> key at bottom left corner of your keyboard?”

Franchisee, “Yes.”

Support, “You see right next to it, there is a “Window” key?”

Franchisee, “Yes.”

Support, “Now press that “Window” key and “R” keys”

Franchisee, “Ok.”

Support, “Now enter this….”

Franchisee cuts in, “So how do you know my phone number?”

Support, “Your computer sent us error information. We are then contacted to fix it, because we are your Windows manufacturer provider.”

Franchisee, “But Windows is made my Microsoft. Are you working for Microsoft? Plus, I never knew error messages from my computer will send my phone number out!”

Support, “Microsoft doesn’t fix your computer.”

Franchisee, “Then what is your company?”

Support, “We are Windows Service Department.”

Franchisee, “I heard that, but what is the company that your department is under?”

Support, “We’re here to fix your computer.”

Franchisee, “I will not allow anyone to have remote access to my computer!”

Click. Hang up.

Our franchise owner added, “The caller was unbelievably rude, then he simply hung up the phone on me. I’m sure he was immediately making another phone call to someone else running that same scam.  After enough phone calls, he must eventually gain access to someone’s computer. Otherwise, why would they continue to operate this scam?”

We are sharing this story to shed light on how easy it is to be caught off-guard.  We encourage you to put your home phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry.  If you do receive one of these suspicious phone calls, contact Microsoft and report the call. If you believe that your computer is infected with a virus, contact your local Geeks On Call.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Stop. Think. Connect. It’s a good policy. We encourage you, your family and your business to be vigilant against cybercriminals throughout the year. Stay safe!

 

What Are Managed Services?

Posting Date: 05/29/2013  |   Filed Under: Data Back-up, Internet, Security, Technology  |   No Comments
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The term “managed services” is generally defined as the practice of outsourcing day-to-day management responsibilities with the strategic goal of reducing costs while improving operational efficiency. A managed services provider typically refers to an outsourced information technology company that assumes responsibility for one or more aspects of a client’s IT functions. These responsibilities can range from a single specific task, such as managing network security or offering help desk support, to the complex management of running a client’s entire IT infrastructure. Most managed service providers bill a flat or nearly-fixed monthly fee benefiting clients with predictable IT support costs.

How Managed Services Can Immediately Benefit Your Business

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Computer systems now form an integral part of most businesses’ ability to function. Can you remember the last time a computer crisis kept you from your “real job” – managing your business? It might be time to consider the immediate benefits of outsourced managed services for your business’ IT needs. Here’s a list of the top five benefits you can take advantage of by working with a managed service provider:

  • Control IT Costs by working with a managed service provider to create a customized IT service plan that suits your budget and the needs of your business. A service plan can help business owners reduce IT operational costs while actually providing a higher level of IT service for their business. Plans can be customized by the number of support hours required or the level of monitoring and maintenance that is needed each month. Capital expenditures for equipment will be reduced in addition to staffing costs.
  • Manage Labor Costs if you do not employ IT professionals in your business, you likely have a designated “go-to” person in the office that handles the technology issues for everyone. You can eliminate the time this person is spending on IT issues so they can get more of their actual work done.
  • Quickly Implement New Technologies with the help of a managed service provider. Skilled IT professionals can save you both time and money with the efficiency of on-demand services. Also, a managed services provider will have a strong understanding of your business and your technology, allowing them to understand your technology needs as well as your budget. This will save you time in trying to understand new technology, and money you may waste on buying products you do not need or that will not work for your specific network.
  • Increase Efficiency and Stay Competitive through economies of scale. Most managed service providers can provide small to medium sized businesses with access to technology and expertise usually only available to large companies. Your managed services professional can assist you with identifying the products and services that would benefit your business and are available in an option that will fit your needs.
  • Security can require constant vigilance. Is your firewall up to date; are you protected against malware; do you audit your servers; are you using the latest customer transaction systems for credit, debit, e-checks and wire transfers? Outsourced security monitoring leads to less down-time, enhanced efficiency and greater profits for your business.

Be Proactive and Consider Managed Services Today

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Are you ready to forget about those IT headaches? Whether you only have a few PCs, a network or more than one server, you are probably ready for a managed service provider. Geeks On Call’s managed service experts can work with you to assess your IT needs and develop a customized plan for your business. As a business owner, don’t you want to stay productive by focusing on the actual management of your business – not spending time fixing problems or worrying about what you will do if your systems stop working? Geeks On Call is here to help. Give your local Geeks On Call office a call and one of our computer professionals will be happy to help you.

How Cloud Computing Can Benefit Your Businesses

Posting Date: 02/21/2013  |   Filed Under: Data Back-up, Internet, Security, Technology  |   No Comments
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How Cloud Computing Can Benefit Your Businesses

More than ever, business owners need to squeeze even more productivity out of limited time, staffing and resources. Many small businesses see cloud computing as a way to access

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advanced technologies that were previously affordable only for larger companies. A recent survey conducted by CompTIA, a nonprofit IT industry trade association, stated that more than half of micro businesses (one to nine employees) and small businesses (ten to ninety-nine employees) use cloud-based business productivity applications. Analysts and industry leaders agree that global demand for hosted IT services will continue to expand rapidly as cloud-based solutions offer significant resolutions for organizations of all types and sizes. Can cloud computing services help your business succeed in the marketplace?

What can be Done to Avoid a Catastrophic Data Loss?

Finding the right business tools is an important task. Cloud computing can help your business edge out the competition with reduced costs and enhanced productivity in a number of ways:

• The latest innovations in cloud computing are making business applications even more mobile and collaborative in ways similar to Facebook and Twitter. Consumers expect information in real time and more business applications in the cloud are heading in that direction.

• Accessing specialized computer resources as they are needed enables businesses to quickly deliver quality results with greater affordability. Faster turn-around time can propel you ahead of your competition.

• You can bring your product to market faster and generate higher revenues as customers are able to access the service immediately.

• Cloud computing can enable innovative business initiatives that generate new value propositions and revenue streams. Some companies, such as Spotify, are building entirely new business models solely using cloud services.

• Cloud computing services can help you gain “business agility” with efficient projects that allow your employees to spend their time on work that has a greater potential value to your business.

• Cloud2Utilizing cloud computing services can enable your business to shift from a capital expense model to an operational expense model. By forgoing long term financial IT commitments, an organization can complete projects more quickly without losing any investment.

Cloud computing might sound over-hyped and tech-heavy, but in reality it’s a rising trend among small business owners. If you want to learn more about the advantages of cloud computing for your business, contact your local Geeks On Call office. One of our computer professionals will be happy to meet with you to explore the benefits of cloud computing for you and your business.

How To Use Social Media

Posting Date: 07/23/2012  |   Filed Under: Internet, Social Media, Tips  |   No Comments
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The words “social media” can be intimidating if you are new to the idea. We have a few simple tips to give you the confidence you need to make a splash in the social networks.

  1. Just Jump In. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never visited Twitter before. Create an account and start Tweeting! Find users who share interests or are already talking about your industry. Follow them. Respond to questions or comments about your niche.
  2. Be Honest. This is crucial. Social network users can smell a poser a mile away. Write like a human and you won’t end up sounding like a robot, or even worse, a sales pitch. Don’t pretend to be more knowledgeable than you are and do share your enthusiasm for the job you do. Throw in some personal posts or Tweets so others can feel that human connection that we all crave. (more…)