Technology Planning for 2014

Posting Date: 11/22/2013  |   Filed Under: Technology, Tips  |   No Comments
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Planning Your 2014 Technology Strategy

As 2013 is rapidly coming to a close, many of us are making resolutions and plans for 2014. As an business owner, are you making plans concerning the technology that keeps your business running?  Let’s take a moment and think about some questions regarding your technology:

  • If you lost of all your client data, how would that impact your business?
  • If you had several computers not working, how would that impact your business?
  • If you were able to find cost saving and efficiency solutions regard technology, how would that impact your business?

Now if the first two questions struck fear in your heart, as much as telling a child Santa is not coming this year and the last one made your eye glisten and twinkle you should definitely be thinking about your business’ 2014 Technology Plan.

Don’t worry it won’t be hard to plan and assess your options, we have outlined a few areas that may benefit your business and we have several others in our most recent newsletter (and you can always call our experts in when you are ready to get serious).

Technology and Equipment Upgrades: Making sure your technology is up to date is important for on-going productivity and efficiency, but there is an added sense of urgency with the demise of Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system on April 8, 2014.   Provided that you leave any of your computers to run XP after the April 8th deadline, you will be placing your business at risk for cyber security attacks.  Furthermore, choosing not to upgrade from XP will place your business at risk of being non-compliant with security and patch issues and depending on your industry these non-compliance fines could amount to big dollars! Many businesses are taking this forced opportunity to upgrade their operating systems and equipment.

The bottom-line: If you are still running Windows XP, you can no longer postpone your upgrade plans. Make and upgrade plan because April 8, 2014 is coming up quickly.

Mobile Accessibility: Mobile accessibility will mean different things to every business, but one common theme is increased efficiency and productivity!  Mobile accessibility will give your employees the ability to conduct business and be reached anytime and anywhere.  Mobile accessibility has some additional benefits, like being able to utilize apps for accounting, inventory management, and scheduling that will help you keep control of your business. Your clients will see benefits with streamlined communication and speedy turnaround time on requests and orders.  You could even take this one step further and create a Mobile App for your business.  A recent study suggests that 49% of mobile device owners are utilizing Mobile Apps to find business information. This could result in increased brand awareness and social media interaction, while providing useful information such as directions, coupons, events, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg

The bottom-line: If you aren’t fully utilizing mobility, you will be struggling to stay engaged and keep up with the competition in 2014.

Managing Your Technology Budget:  It can be exhausting for any business owner to try and juggle technology costs, additions, and upgrades while striving to stay one step ahead of the competition and run a business.  Staying up to date on the latest technology details and costs for cloud services, backup services, cyber security services is not something many business owners are capable of understand or what to understand!  There is a solution to help your business stay ahead of technology and make sure that you current technology is always working: Managed Services Plans.

Managed Services Plans can help you as a business owner to work with one source (a technology advisor) for all of your technology needs.  This technology advisor will create a customized plan for your business’ technology needs and budget!  Some of the services a traditional Managed Services Plan offers are outsourced network management and monitoring of computer and servers, cyber security services, and back up and disaster recovery services. These services are typically contracted for a fixed monthly amount, so you can avoid costly one-time service bills.

The bottom-line: As a business owner, you want to run your business not manage technology problems. A managed services plan can help you make informed choices about complex technology solutions and deliver a higher quality at a lower cost to your business. This can be a “Win-Win” situation for your business.

 

October Newsletter: Is Your Business Prepared to Fight Cyber Crime?

Posting Date: 10/24/2013  |   Filed Under: Security, Tips  |   No Comments
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October is Cyber Security Awareness Month. This annual event is sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security in cooperation with National Cyber Security Alliance and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center. The aim of Cyber Security Awareness Month is to inform and educate all levels of our government, the private business sector and the general public about issues of safety and security in our cyber environment. Their tag line says it all: Stop. Think. Connect.

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 American 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.

Upgrade or Your Business Might Face the Consequences of Security and Compliance Issues

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

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 passcode. 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.

 

Geeks On Call Can Help Your Business with Cyber Security

Geeks On Call Can Help Your Business with Cyber Security

Geeks On Call is proud to be a Champion of National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Our entire team supports their mission throughout the year. Geeks On Call 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 Geeks On Call office today.

Cyber Security Month Champion Partner!

It’s Official! Geeks On Call is a Champion Partner for National Cyber Safety Awareness Month. We are  proud to be a champion partner and demonstrated our commitment to Cyber Safety!

Our franchise owners are dedicated to cyber security and its impact on residential and commercial businesses year round. Throughout October, we will be sharing cyber security information through newsletters, social media posts, blog posts, and available promotions.

STOP. THINK. CONNECT. This is a simple message that the National Cyber Security Alliance believes everyone must adopt. Everyone has to take safety precautions and understand the outcomes of our related to our on-line activity.

The National Cyber Security Alliance concentrates on these guidelines to ensure safety on-line:

•Awareness –Increasing public knowledge and understanding surrounds cybercrimes that are taking place on the Internet every day.

•Education – Informing everyone about on-line safe practices and who to contact with if they are a victim of cybercrime or think they may be a victim. Encouraging business owners to teach their about online safety measures and making sure parents are communicating with their children about being safe online.

•Culprits – Knowing what contributes to cybercrime, and what cyber criminals focus on puts you in a powerful positions.  Malware – short for “malicious software package” is many times a cyber criminals go to maneuver.   Malware incorporates viruses and software which is installed on your computer or mobile system without your knowledge. These programs could potentially cause your computer to be to crash or be used to monitor and control your web activity.

•Prevention – The number one line of defense is to avoid Malware, keeping a “clean machine” will help! Install the latest security software, complete automatic updates and protect all of your devices that connect to the Internet.

Since it is National Cyber Safety Awareness Month, we have assembled this short quiz to help you test your very own online awareness. We encourage that you put your Cyber Security knowledge to the test (but don’t worry, the answers are at the bottomJ).

1. You are deciding on what personal information to post about yourself in an online profile.      You decide to:

A. Review the information carefully before you post it because you do not want to post too much information about yourself.
B. In order to prevent misuse of your information, don’t post too much information about yourself on Facebook, personal websites, your blog, or in chat rooms.
C. Go ahead and post information about yourself online, because you can always choose to edit it later if you don’t want people viewing certain information. 
D. BOTH A & B.
2. You should be aware of pop-ups and downloads.  (True or False)
3. Malware is a type of software designed to cause viruses.  (True or False)
4. When you create passwords, you should make them easy to guess.  (True or False)
5. When it comes to online shopping, you can safely shop from any site. (True or False)

 

  1. D.  Own your online presence. When available, take the time to understand and set privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level for information sharing. You should know who will see the content before you post it.
  2. TRUE.  Pop-ups and downloads can contain viruses that could infect your computer. You can avoid viruses by Keeping a Clean Machine and having the latest operating system, software, web browser, anti-virus protection and apps on your computer and mobile devices.
  3. TRUE. Malware, short for malicious software, is designed to cause damage or disruption to a computer system or to use a computer to send spam, distribute malware or launch an attack on other computers. You can avoid malware by Keeping a Clean Machine and having the latest operating system, software, web browser, anti-virus protection and apps on your computer and mobile devices. Remember, all devices that connect to the Internet need protection.
  4. FALSE.  You should create passwords or use passphrases (a group of words) that are easy to remember, BUT hard to guess.  Make your passwords long, strong and unique by using a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Don’t use the same password for different accounts. Write your passwords down and keep them in a safe place away from your computer.               
  5. FALSE.  When shopping online, you should always shop from trusted and well-known websites and always with a parent or other adult present. When banking and shopping, check to be sure the sites is security enabled. Look for web addresses with “https://,” which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. “Http://” is not secure.

 

If you have questions about National Cyber Security Awareness Month or would like to get involved you can go to the National Cyber Security Awareness Website: http://www.staysafeonline.org/ncsam/landing-page/.

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!

 

FOLLOW THESE SIMPLE RULES – STOP. THINK. CONNECT.

Are you aware that October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month? Cyber security begins with a simple message that every Internet user must remember:

STOP. THINK. CONNECT.

This annual awareness month was created as a combined effort between United States government and the business community to guarantee that every American has access to the information and resources they need to stay secure and safe on-line. Since its beginning ten years ago under the guidance of the U. S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance, this awareness month is growing by leaps and bounds annually.  It is focused on reaching everyday users, small and medium-size businesses, corporations, educational institutions, non-profits, and young people throughout the nation.

In 2013, on-line frauds and scams increased by 355% with this illegal activity disseminating through financial dealings, healthcare records, transportation systems and social media sites. Some scams even involve a phone call to gain remote computer access to computer in an effort to steal information.

Geeks On Call is invested in helping you, your company and your family, stay protected and informed on-line. During Nationwide Cyber Security Awareness Month, we have been sharing cyber security information on Facebook and Twitter.  Join our online communities because we will be sharing reports, information and tips regularly.

If you are interested in learning more about National Cyber Security Awareness Month, here is a list of helpful resources:

Homeland Security and National Cyber Security Awareness Month: http://www.dhs.gov/national-cyber-security-awareness-month

Keep Your Business Safe: http://www.staysafeonline.org/business-safe-online/

Keeping Your Machine Clean from Malware, Botnets and Viruses: http://www.staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/keep-a-clean-machine/malware-and-botnets

Cyber Security Awareness Resources and Tip Sheets: http://staysafeonline.org/ncsam/resources/

ID Theft and How to Report a Cyber Crime:  http://www.staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/protect-your-personal-information/id-theft-and-fraud

Cyber Bullying Tips for Parents: http://www.staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/for-parents/cyberbullying-and-harassment

FBI’s Alert on Cyber Crimes Against Children and Social Networking Sites: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/vc_majorthefts/cac/social-networking-sites

5 Things to do Before you Upgrade Your Computer!

Posting Date: 09/27/2013  |   Filed Under: Consoles, Security, Technology, Tips  |   No Comments
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Are you looking to upgrade your computer and equipment for your business or home, but don’t really know where to start.  There are a lot of options out there when upgrading your computer and equipment.

  • Desktop or Laptop?
  • How much RAM do I need?
  • What is RAM?
  • Should I go MAC or PC?
  • How much do I have to spend?

By the time you answer these questions (and more!), and you begin looking to purchase a   computer and associated equipment the options seem endless!

We feel your pain, we understand that no one wants to have to make all of those decisions (and no one really understands what they are actually deciding).

So we are coming to the rescue, our franchise owners are always available to help you choose the best computers and equipment for your office or home, but there are still things you need to consider.

Below are the 5 things you should do when beginning your search for a new computer and equipment.

  1.  Set a Budget a Stick to It! – There is nothing worse than buying something and getting it home and feeling like you have been bamboozled.  This is especially true for business owners. You do not want to over spend.  So decide how much money you will be spending per computer and do not let anyone lure you to the shiny, newest and fastest computer on the market.
  2. Make a list outlining things you will be utilizing – You should know in advance what programs you will be running (even if they are internet based), if you will be using the Microsoft Office Suite, are there any special programs or utilities that pertain to your industry that you or an employee may need.  It may even be helpful to have your office staff track all of the programs that they use over several weeks so you can get a clear picture of what they need and why.
  3. Understand Computer Jargon – Don’t let people confuse you, stay ahead of the curve and prepare.  Find out what words like RAM (memory), processor speed, Input Ports and Drivers, Wireless Capabilities, and software packages may be included mean. Not only should you understand what they each mean, but how it impacts you and your needs. Make sure that whoever is assisting you in the buying process knows what programs you need to run, and can confirm that the computers you are purchasing has those capabilities and they can tell if you any of the programs you are looking for are included or if you need to buy them separately.
  4. Read Product Reviews – There is not a better way to decide if a product is worth buying than reading a review from a person who using that product every day for the same purpose as you and your company.  All of the big box stores and online outlets will have products reviews on their website.  You should also utilize resources such a CNet (reviews.cnet.com/) and PC Magazine (www.pcmag.com/reviews).  These resources will have unbiased opinions and will many times compare several models against one another.
  5. Protect Your Investment – The last thing to do is make sure you are prepared with a virus and spy ware package. This is possibly the most important part of protecting your computer. It will get attacked at some point and you have to be prepared when it happens.  Many have auto-updates, auto-removal or viruses, clean up and renewal alerts.  You want to make sure your investment is protected so this is not a step you should skip.

Does Your Computer and Equipment Need a Make Over?

Posting Date: 09/25/2013  |   Filed Under: Consoles, Technology  |   No Comments
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When was the last time your business did a computer upgrade?  Let’s be serious, not just a new monitor or replacing something that broke.  But a true upgrade and refresh of all of the equipment in the office.  Was it a couple of years ago, or maybe so long ago you can’t even remember?

According to the experts, the functional lifespan for a computer and corresponding equipment is five years. Business owners are always looking for ways to control costs, and one strategy is to keep equipment running and functional for as long as possible. After five years though this method can begin to backfire on a business as downtime and the time it takes to complete a task becomes increasingly longer.  Employee efficiency decreases, while employee frustration increases – as a business owner this is never a place you want to be!

Reasons to Upgrade Sooner than Later

Here’s a look at some reasons why your business should begin planning for a computer upgrade:

Support Costs and Repair Expenses: Keeping an old computer running is usually a lot like keeping an old car running. It begins with good intentions, but sometimes the repair costs start to overshadow the actual value. It is the same with an old computer. When the costs to keep it up and running exceed the cost of a replacement you probably have a losing proposition on your hands.

Decreased Productivity: Slow, slower, slowest? So your computer can barely reboot anymore, and running a program makes having a root canal look more fun!  If the answer is yes, then you are not working smart, effectively or efficiently.  A large corporation recently estimated the expense of lost productivity for a four minute boot-up time in contrast to a two minute boot-up at $28 million. That’s a lot of money for people drinking coffee while staring at a blank screen.

Time for a New Operating System: If you are one of the 600 million remaining XP users you should have April 8, 2014 marked on your calendar. Why you may ask.  Well that is the day Microsoft formally ends XP’s lifecycle and it will no longer receive updates or support. After the April date if you continue to use this defunct operating-system you will be placing your organization in the path of security hazards. This can also put your small business in danger if you are non-compliant regarding many different regulations. Many businesses are making plans to coordinate the purchase of new computers with the latest operating system just before April 2014. In case you weren’t aware in this Microsoft deadline, be aware!

More Cost Effective to Buy a New Computer or Repair the Old One: If the combined cost of upgraded software and parts for the existing computer is 50% of the expense of a new laptop or computer, then conventional wisdom says purchase new. Given the latest prices on a new computer this thinking can be very practical and affordable. A new computer can be priced as low as $300, and for $800 you can get something near the top of the line. Consumers and companies are always hedging their bets on laptop or computer commitments. “What if something better comes along a couple months?” If your computer is impeding your current productivity, stop looking to second guess it – maybe you need that completely new computer today!

 

 

Microsoft Windows XP: End of Life Issues for an Operating System and How This Will Impact Your Business

Posting Date: 09/18/2013  |   Filed Under: Security, Technology, Tips  |   No Comments
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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
Windows XP

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?
Migration

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, Geeks On Call 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 Geeks On Call office today before it’s too late.

Do You Have a Reliable and Tested Backup System in Place?

Posting Date: 09/18/2013  |   Filed Under: Data Back-up, Security, Technology  |   No Comments
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Imagine that you are working on some critical financial data at the office or perhaps sorting through family photographs on your computer at home. What would you do if the computer containing all of your business and/or personal information crashed and your entire “digital life” suddenly vanished? What would you do if your computer was lost in a fire, destroyed in a flood or stolen at the airport? Do these scenarios put you into an automatic panic thinking about your data? At least the information can be recovered because you have a reliable and tested backup solution in place. Right?

Backing up is something we all know we are supposed to do. Yet, sometimes we feel that we are simply too busy to spend the time researching various secure backup solutions or we feel that money should be budgeted in other areas. Many of us are still relying on old tapes, stacks of disks and USB flash drives as our backup plan. Even if you have an external hard drive backing up your computer, this system isn’t entirely foolproof. External hard drives can also crash or be stolen and all of your information will be gone. Once disaster strikes and all of your business or personal information have been wiped away, it’s too late to think about what you should have done. Trying to recover this information is impossible in most situations and extremely costly.

We strongly encourage you to be proactive and establish a backup plan immediately. Even if you already have a backup plan in place, you should reevaluate the solution as technology is evolving rapidly!

Backup Solutions Move Online
Did You Know Utilizing Outsourced IT Support Can Benefit Your Business?

As ominous as the disaster scenarios above may sound, the good news is that backup options have become significantly more reliable and widely used. Technology and increased internet speeds have switched backup processes to on-line data storage. Here are a few informative pointers on how on-line backup systems work:

  • The on-line backup provider will download their software to your computer.
  • The application simply runs in the background backing up your data to the provider’s secure storage servers. It’s a simple automated system that backs up everything on your computer. Not just select files – everything.
  • Most on-line backup providers encrypt stored data in a class known as “Bank Grade Security.” With this high-level of data encryption, there is no need to worry that your business or personal information can be seen by others.
  • A user friendly interface enables you to set-up a backup schedule and to download and restore files once the files are backed up.
  • Think of on-line backup as insurance for your data. If you lose any files, you retrieve the information via the on-line backup system. You pay a monthly fee to keep your data insured.
  • On-line backup keeps your file structure intact. You can search for backup information just as you would find the information filed on your computer. It’s efficient and user friendly.
  • On-line backups provide easy recovery if disaster happens to strike.

 

Why On-Line Backup is Your Best Solution
Stay Ahead of the Competition with Outsourced IT Services

On-line backup is the best solution for ensuring the security of your business data and also personal information. On-line backup provides protection for your data in the event of a computer crash, theft or natural disaster while also delivering an elevated level of security. Within the realm of on-line backup solutions, there are a number of vendors and solutions to consider. Contact your local Geeks On Call to help you determine the best backup scenario for your business or home use. Be sure that your data is safe, secure and backed up.

Protect Yourself Against Business Technical Support Phone Scams

Posting Date: 08/13/2013  |   Filed Under: Security, Technology, Tips  |   No Comments
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Business_Technical_SupportAlmost all consumers are aware of the threat posed by cybercriminal scams that arrive by way of email.   Companies have felt the cybercriminals wrath significantly less, but should be on high alert because cybercriminals targeting companies is on the upswing.  When you see emails in your inbox announcing that you have received a monetary windfall or someone needs to verify your bank access codes, you delete the email knowing that it is a scam.  What if you received a phone call at your home or office from Microsoft’s tech support department informing you there is a virus on your computer.  Would you think the call was scam?

The most popular scam this year is just that, bogus phone calls from cybercriminals posing as a representative from Microsoft’s tech support department. The Federal Trade Commission is aware of the scam, and is heavily involved in trying to disband these operations.  They have pending charges against five individuals involved in the tech support phone scam, and have already settled with two operators one of which was ordered to repay $948,721 to victims.

Whether you are at home or at the office, you should be alert for this tech support phone scam and keeping the following top of mind:

• Microsoft’s Tech Support Department does not make unsolicited phone calls regarding viruses, software upgrades, or computer security.

• Be suspicious if the caller suggests they received a virus report from your internet service provider.  They can even spoof the Caller ID to appear as if they are calling from Microsoft – Don’t Be Fooled!

• Do not allow the caller remote access to your computer, allowing them to make setting changes that will leave your computer vulnerable especially to malware installations.  Malware can give them access to personal information, sensitive business data, passwords, user names, and pin numbers.

• Don’t be pressured or confused by complex or technical information that encourages you to  sign up for any computer security or computer services over the phone, provide a credit card or go to a website the caller has directed you to and enter a credit card number.

Use the suggestions outlined below to avoid being a target of one of these technical support phone scams:

• Add your phone number to the Do No Call Registry.

• Alert Microsoft if you receive a suspicious call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft’s tech support department.

• If you think your computer has a virus or other issues, contact a reputable IT support service company (like Geek’s On Call).