Author Archive

Staying Linked In — Why IT Professionals Are Needed More Than Ever

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

marketing techniquesIt can often seem like the world has gotten a lot more confusing when it comes to doing business. There are so many different types of technologies to keep the vast stream of information somewhat organized and ready for use. From email, to cloud computing, to different types of software for accounting, data tracking and storage, and organization, it can seem bewildering. And now, there’s the additional hazard of our information not being secure with the rise of cyberhacking and malware. IT services have never been more in demand to help with all our technological questions and to keep our systems up and running smoothly. Their help allows us to focus on what’s most important — improving our business, getting sales up, and focusing on refining marketing techniques and brand strategies.

The Importance of IT Support
Practically every business today has a form of IT support. For smaller businesses, they may outsource to a larger firm to help them manage their IT. Larger businesses may have an entire IT department at their disposal as part of the company. Not only do IT professionals troubleshoot what might be going wrong with current services and help employees adapt to new software or technology, they’re also on the lookout for new software or technology that can help the business they work for run better and more efficiently.

They may introduce stronger security systems to keep sensitive information protected, update a company’s database for bigger and better storage capacities, and ensure that everything is running smoothly. Most employees would agree that they would be lost without the assistance of their IT colleagues and often rely on them for support and troubleshooting.

How Are IT Services Keeping Our Businesses Safe?
The Internet has provided many advantages to businesses and individuals, but has also presented us with a unique set of problems. A recent survey showed that almost 90% of small businesses had some kind of security breach just in 2012. The government has issued new compliance mandates in recent years (PCI, HIPAA, and FISMA) that make it mandatory for businesses to protect, track, and control access to confidential information. Yet, the government itself has had a nearly 680% increase in cyber security breaches in the last six years and nine out of every 1,000 computers are affected by spam.

About 80% of all breaches are because administrators don’t have strong enough passwords — and around 60% of employees are actually guilty of stealing proprietary corporate data when they quit or get fired. Out of the 60 billion emails sent every day, the majority (97%) are spam. So how to get around this massive problem?

IT security is here to help. Hopefully, IT professions will encourage the use of stronger passwords, and frequent changes of those passwords or login techniques, to avoid previous employees from being able to gain entry to the system. Better firewalls and malware detectors can help employees from opening spam in the first place and detecting threats or breaches before they happen.

They may also brief employees on what to do if a breach should occur and the steps that should be immediately taken if an employee suspects that one has happened.

What are the Best IT Marketing Techniques?
If you’re running an IT company, there’s probably no shortage of clientele — but how do you make yourself known to them? Even an IT company needs good marketing techniques to get ahead. Your online presence is important and you need to stay on top of current business trends, such as the rise of C-suite opportunities and how social media is evolving.

Building a good website, increasing your search engine optimization, and generating useful and smart content on a regular basis can all help your IT business grow. Indeed, content marketing is one of the best marketing techniques out there today and can help boost the notoriety of your experts as well.

If you’re a business owner, stay on top of your game and make sure you’re investing in a high quality IT department that knows their stuff. As an IT professional, remember to keep expanding your online presence and focus on marketing techniques to success.

Network Abuse: Don’t Push Your ‘Luck’

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

Network Abuse: Don’t Push Your ‘Luck’

Look around your office. Isn’t it great to see your team hard at work on their computers? Yet if we take a closer look, let’s see what’s really happening…

 

Joe, your new sales rep, is poring over last weekend’s game stats…

 

Amy in marketing is looking for a new job, surfing your competitors’ websites, chatting with their HR people…

 

Wes, over in customer support, just bogged down your entire network by downloading a video file of Metallica in concert…

 

Guy, your new hire in shipping, is on hotdate.com, viewing questionable photos…

 

Bob in accounting is browsing stock-investing sites, in search of a hot tip…

 

Okay, so maybe it’s not that bad at your company. But this type of behavior will happen to some degree if you don’t proactively prevent it. The real problem is, unfiltered content often links to malware and other threats. Ignore it and you risk productivity losses, legal liabilities, extortion, blackmail and fraud. And not only that, the resulting data loss and corruption can cost your company big-time. Cyberthreats stemming from unfiltered content aren’t something you can count on your lucky leprechaun or four-leaf clover to protect you from.

 

In today’s mobile environment, content filtering has becoming a greater challenge than ever before. Your company may already be doing some filtering at the network level. However, when was the last time you checked the number of mobile devices linked to your network? As your workforce goes mobile, your network is exposed to a rapidly expanding “attack surface.” With BYOD (bring your own device) now the norm, the old rules of content filtering just don’t cut it anymore.

 

Are You Making Any Of These Mistakes?

Old content-filtering models presume your network has a safe “firewall.” But now, with BYOD, you need a different way to protect your data. And that’s where endpoint security comes into play. Endpoint filtering keeps devices on your network safe from infection, no matter where they hook into the Internet.

 

But make ANY of the following mistakes with endpoint security and your network could be a sitting duck:

 

  1. Missing even ONE endpoint. This applies to tablets and smartphones as well as home-based machines that VPN into your network.

 

  1. Skimping on security policies, protocols and training. Believing that tech tools alone will keep your network secure is a recipe for breaches. In fact, no technology can keep a network safe if users cut corners.

 

  1. Leaving endpoint filtering out of your overall security plan. Ad hoc security invites disaster. An improperly designed system exposes holes that hackers love to find.

So, What Exactly Should You Filter?

Forrester Research states that companies whose users access the cloud should:

  • Detect and intercept unusual or fraudulent activities related to data in the cloud.
  • Detect, neutralize and eliminate malware in cloud platforms.
  • Detect and monitor unsanctioned cloud applications and platforms usage.
  • Protect against leaks of confidential information.
  • Encrypt structured and unstructured data in cloud platforms.
  • Investigate suspicious users and incidents.

 

Between BYOD and ever more complex cyberthreats, you simply can’t afford to run around putting out fires. You absolutely MUST proactively defend your network in depth with endpoint content filtering.

 

If you’d like a snapshot of the content your employees are viewing, Setup an appointment for us to come by and run a special diagnostic program that will expose lurking threats due to leaks in your endpoint security system.  ITS provides IT support in the Charleston, SC area.   We are local and have been serving business since 2002. 

 

Call 843-419-6788 or email Service@ITScares.com right now, while you’re thinking of it. The five minutes you invest could save your company thousands of dollars in lost productivity and expensive repairs, not to mention legal liabilities.

Top Eight Signs It’s Time to Call An IT Expert For Your Computer

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

computer repairIn today’s technological world, it seems almost vital that our computers are running to their fullest efficiency. For business, we rely heavily on our computers being able to do their job. But sometimes, to our greatest frustration, that doesn’t happen and our device is plagued with any number of problems. Below are eight signs it’s time to call your IT provider.

  1. Can’t Connect to the Internet: Without being able to go online, your computer becomes little more than an over-sized block used for solitaire and MS Paint. If you’ve tried everything you can think of when it comes to connecting your device to the internet, you may need to contact an IT consultant to see about getting your computer fixed.
  2. Running Super Slow: Any number of things could be making your computer run slow, from viruses to a full memory card. If your computer consistently isn’t running as fast as it should be, it’s an indication you need computer repair.
  3. Monitor Won’t Come On: If your computer is running but your screen stays black, it may not mean you have a broken computer. It can just mean there is a connection problem between the monitor and computer. An IT expert can help fix that.
  4. Beeping Sounds: A beeping sound may mean your computer needs a new motherboard. Unless you have extensive IT training, this problem is best suited for an IT specialist.
  5. Crashes: If your computer keeps crashing on you for no apparent reason, it may be a sign your computer is infected with malware or a virus or that your graphics card is not up to snuff. This doesn’t mean you have a completely broken computer. An IT consultant firm can help you rid your computer of everything causing it to crash.
  6. Freezes: Another indication of some sort of infection, constant computer freezes are not only exceedingly annoying but can also point to signs that you probably need an IT person to come and check it out.
  7. Too Many Ads: Irritating pop-up ads are nothing to be taken lightly. Too many of them can mean your computer may be infected with a virus. Spam and other problems may result from this as well, with nine out of every 1,000 computers vulnerable to infection.
  8. No Sound: If your computer refuses to give any sound, even with the speakers on full blast, the problem may be internal. An IT specialist can help repair your computer’s sound card, giving you back your computer’s voice.

No one wants a broken computer, especially if your business relies on it. And sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t figure out the problem. It’s then that you need to find a good IT consulting company to fix your computer and quell your frustration. They can get your device up and running like new again.
For more information on IT repair, please visit itscares.com.

 

Expand Your Online Market Using These Techniques

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

marketing ideas

If you work for a small business, you know how important it is to have marketing ideas that revolve around digital media. Any reputable business these days has at least some level of online marketing presence. If you’re a small business employee looking to expand your company’s marketing techniques to the online realm, here are some marketing ideas to try.

First, make sure your business has a Facebook page. This is arguably more important than a website because it’s universally used. An estimated 47% of Americans say that Facebook has had a larger influence on their purchases than any other social media network, and you can use this to your company’s advantage by posting relevant information and consistent company updates. The more effort you put into creating a quality Facebook page, the more users will be drawn to it, and the more it will benefit your business.

Next, make sure to post positive feedback and testimonials to your web platforms. People enjoy reading positive feedback about a company because it’s useful for them in deciding if they want to buy the products or services offered by that company. If your company has no reviews, it’s a red flag that your business may not be fully developed yet.

Once you get a sizable clientele, consider starting a promotional email list. You can send coupons and deals to customers who may use them or at least tell a friend or family member about them. The trick with this is to carefully monitor the quality and quantity of the emails you’re sending out — if customers get annoyed by the frequency of the emails they’re receiving, they may want to unsubscribe or mark them as spam. You want to create the illusion that the marketing emails are more useful for customers than they are for your business.

Finally, it’s important to ensure that your company’s IT services are functioning properly. Maintaining your computer and other company computers can contribute to creating an atmosphere with clearer communication and expectations. Always stay up-to-date on both software and hardware, and know when it’s time to retire a computer rather than repair it. Saving money on technology services can allow you to redirect funds for marketing purposes.

Overall, online marketing may seem complicated, but it just takes a bit of time and effort. For more information about digital media presence, consult a digital marketing firm.

3 Common Tech Problems Small Businesses Face

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

it consultant firm

There’s no doubt that we live in a digital world. If you own a small business, you’re expected to adapt to an ever-changing technological landscape in order to keep your customers happy, your data safe, and your organization running smoothly. To accomplish this, you and your employees will have to use up-to-date software on a secure network. Managed IT services can also ensure that sensitive information is accessible only to those with certain permissions.

Still, data breaches are becoming more common; working with an IT consultant firm is the best step you can take to ensure your software system and data are secure and totally functional. If you don’t work with an IT consulting company, you’re putting your business at risk for these problems (and many more). To avoid making these tech mistakes, working with an IT consultant firm is a must.

  1. System Vulnerabilities
    A lot of small business owners are under the impression that their organization simply isn’t a big enough target for hackers or other malicious activity. Because of that misconception, it’s common for smaller organizations to be lax in their cyber security methods — and that’s exactly why they’re often targeted for tech attacks. It’s not just faceless hackers you have to worry about, either: your own former employees could be to blame for a breach. A startling 59% of employees steal proprietary corporate data when they leave a job. What’s more, if your organization fails to protect your customers in the event of a breach and your business is found to be non-compliant, you’ll have to deal with the substantial cost of the breach itself and additional fines. Make sure your system is cutting-edge and that your IT consultant firm works tirelessly to identify and fix vulnerabilities.
  2. Lack of Training
    Your employees might not look forward to software training sessions, but they’re not just busy work; they’re vital to the success of your business. When your employees don’t utilize features correctly (or at all), production costs and errors will increase and productivity will decrease. While this can be problematic for any size organization, small businesses will be impacted more significantly. By making software training a priority, you can reduce redundancy, improve employee understanding, and even increase company morale.
  3. Unreliable Support
    As a small business owner, you may think you can’t afford to hire an IT consultant firm specifically for your organization. While cost is an understandable concern, failure to make this investment can really backfire on your business. When you rely on a tech-savvy employee or family member to address tech issues that will undoubtedly come up, you’re not getting the support and knowledge you truly require. Always remember that you get what you pay for. Sure, free tech support would be nice, but when you don’t work with a professional, your business will likely pay the price. Instead of using a local IT student or an unknowledgeable phone support tech, your business will actually save money in the long run by using a tech support team or specialized consultant. You won’t lose data or deal with downtime, which means your business will operate as intended without revenue loss. Peace of mind and smooth operations are well worth the investment.

These days, you need to do everything you can to protect your business, data, and customers. For more information on our IT consultant firm and how we can help your organization, contact us today.