Security Patches – The Better Way to Update

Updates often come at the worst moment. You go to shut down your laptop to rush to a meeting, and you get a “Windows is updating. Do not power off” message. Argh!

Or you leave your desktop to go to a meeting and come back to find your computer has restarted in your absence. Those unexpected bug fixes and performance improvements lost you all your unsaved work.

You know updates are important. They help patch security flaws. These are the vulnerabilities that hackers love to exploit. Updating helps you keep business documents and data safe. Software updates can also add new, useful features and remove outdated ones. Plus, keeping software and systems up to date is good cyber citizenship. Security patches protect from attacks that could also impact employees, customers, and partners.

Updating is a pain, but oh so important!

The WannaCry ransomware attacked hundreds of thousands of computers in more than …

Making Technology Another Target for Continuous Improvement

Your business likely talks a lot about continuous improvement. It’s everyone’s goal, right? Yet “set it and forget it” is a common approach to handling business technology. Here’s why IT needs your ongoing attention too.

Your competition is increasing, and it can feel as if it is doing so exponentially. Why? There are lower barriers to entry in many businesses. The marketplace has gone global. Transaction costs are declining. Technological advances, automation, and AI are making processes more efficient and increasing productivity.

Your business can’t stand still. Don’t leave your IT sitting unattended either. Sure, the very term “continuous improvement” may have you twitching with discomfort. Not that buzzword again! Yet taking an “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” approach to IT could be hurting your business. Settling for “alright” or relying on “the way we’ve always done it” could leave you lagging behind competitors.

Your business may not have a …

5 Common Computer Myths Debunked

Common urban myths would have us believe alligators live in sewers or people put razor blades in kids’ candy. Common misconceptions about computers are just as persistent. Here are several IT myths debunked for your benefit.

#1 A slow-running computer has a virus

A virus can be to blame. Spyware or other malware can also cause a computer to slow down. However, there are also many other reasons your computer might run slower:

You may have a lot of programs that start up when you boot up the computer. You could remove or disable programs that start every time.
The computer has gone into power save mode every night, but you haven’t rebooted the computer in a long time.
There are many programs running in the background. On a Windows PC, you can go into task manager and see what is running and the computer resources in use.
A security …

Failure is Not an Option: Getting Rid of Single Points of Failure

You might think that your business is going to be OK even if a single device goes down. After all, there are other devices your employees can use. It’s not as if the entire system is going to fall like dominoes. Or is it? Get rid of single points of failure to make sure one vulnerability doesn’t take down your network.

A single point of failure (SPOF) can be a design, implementation, or configuration weakness. Without proper design considerations, unintentional SPOFs may be introduced into computing environments.

Yet, cybercriminals don’t need super powers to target IT fatal weaknesses. SPOFs for technology include:

Having only one server that runs an essential application. Without that server, your employees can’t use that particular business tool.

Solution: Plan for the worst with built-in server redundancy. Have multiples of any hardware that is business critical. Consider a standby backup server or migrate to the cloud so …

6 Target Areas to Reduce IT Costs

Your business is always looking to reduce costs. Looking at the information technology budget line items is headache inducing. So much money spent in one area, and there’s so little you can do about it! But is that really true? IT expenses may not be as fixed as you think. Take a look at these target areas where you might reduce costs.

#1 Software

Your business likely pays to license software such as Microsoft Office 365 or Adobe Photoshop. Reviewing these software agreements, you can often find cost savings:

You may be able to renegotiate a subscription if the provider wants to move you onto to a new offering.
You may find that you are paying for software that your employees are no longer using. Maybe you can reduce or remove it.
Perhaps the pricing has changed, and there are now better plan options available.
There may be an open-source …

Handle with Care: Sending Data Securely

In our digital economy, we send and receive information quickly online. The Internet offers immediate communication with colleagues, clients, vendors, and other strategic partners. Yet we shouldn’t prioritize convenience over data security.

What data do you send in a day’s worth of emails? Sensitive data you send might include:

personally identifiable information (PII);
credit card or payment card information;
attorney/client privileged information;
IT security information;
protected health information;
human subject research;
loan or job application data;
proprietary business knowledge.

The problem is people sending without thinking about the security of the transmission. One way to gauge the need for security is to consider how you might send that same information via the postal service. Would you put that data on a postcard that anyone could read? Or would you send a sealed, certified mailing and require the recipient’s signature?

Transmitting data on the Internet in plain text is like the postcard – …

Are You Sick of Ongoing IT Issues?

Like a persistent cough or muscle strain that won’t go away, many IT issues prove ongoing. Every time they come back you think about getting an expert’s opinion. Then, the cough fades, you can walk freely again, or your computers are back up and running. You keep on going. Until the next time. If you’re sick of ongoing issues with your IT, look to a Managed Service Provider (MSP), like Safe Network Solutions, for help.

There are many IT ailments that can negatively impact your ability to do work. Let’s consider some of the particularly common ones, and why an MSP is the right prescription.

#1 Network and Internet issues.

Business is done online these days. Not being able to connect to the network and slow connections are frustrating. Without the Internet, how can you do your job? You can’t even check and send emails! Let alone access team documents or enter …

Avoiding Growing Pains: Tech Tips for a Thriving Business

Maybe you started your business in a basement or home office. It was just you at the beginning. Then, your service or product gained traction. The number of staff grew, and you moved into an office. It’s amazing how far you’ve come. Better still, your business continues to grow. It may be time to consider some of these tech tips to help your thriving business.

#1 Upgrade to Business-Grade Cloud Services

Perhaps you’ve been relying on free software from Gmail, Outlook, or Dropbox. Who can argue with free email, calendars, collaboration and file storage right? Well, it may be time to upgrade to the business versions of the software your team relies upon.

Move from Gmail to Google Apps, or Outlook to Office 365, or Dropbox to Dropbox Business or Sharepoint. For a small monthly fee, you gain business-grade features, additional retention capabilities, and auditing options.

The basic Google Apps offers business …

Why Your Small Business Needs VoIP

Why would a small business need VoIP? Not just another acronym to learn, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) offers many advantages for small business. Especially SMBs that want to run with the enterprise-sized companies.

Basically, VoIP turns voice conversation into data packets sent between the two network points. Don’t worry, the person you’re calling doesn’t need to be on VoIP. The technology turns the data back into analog at the receiving end if needed.

If you’ve been on Skype, you’ve experienced VoIP. With VoIP you use your broadband Internet connection to make and receive calls. Bypassing traditional or mobile phones, VoIP users avoid long-distance or extra minute charges.

Beyond long distance savings, VoIP setups often include features such as voicemail and call forwarding, at no extra charge. Other useful features could include call forwarding, voicemail transcription, and call recording.

Plus, there’s cost savings from reducing and consolidating communications infrastructure. Streamlining voice, data, and …

Immediate Business Answers with Instant Messenger

You may have hated group projects in school, but collaboration is a lifeblood of business. Yet members of a team may not work in the same workspace. Even those who do, don’t want to spend their day crisscrossing the office to get quick questions answered. While they could send an email or pick up the phone, instant messaging is an even more efficient solution.

Don’t confuse this solution with the old AOL or MSN Instant messenger. Instant messaging (IM) for business takes group communication and collaboration up a notch.

First, IM is truly instant communication, faster even than email. When you type in your comment and hit Enter, your message appears on the screen instantly. You can see it, and everyone else in the chat can see it. While email is fast, it’s not instant. You must wait for the email to arrive and hope the recipient has their inbox up …