Business Security in the Cyber Age: 4 Steps To Keep Your Information Safe

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

it support specialist

Security breaches in the digital world have become an ever-increasing threat to both personal data and crucial company secrets. This is especially relevant after the recent Equifax hack, which saw 143 million Americans’ data exposed to the risk of identity theft. Once upon a time, storing your valuable information online was thought to be more secure than physical storage because of how common property theft had become. And online storage can be secure, but there are certain precautionary measures you and your business should take.

  1. Set strong passwords
    If your password is literally ‘password1234’, you almost definitely will be hacked. And it wouldn’t be a very difficult ‘hack’ either. Most people who want access to an account will try common passwords first. In fact, cyber security experts believe that up to 80% of security breaches are the result of a weak admin password. Any IT support specialist will tell you that if your password is easily guessable, it is not safe to use. Make sure that every administrator in your company knows how to choose strong passwords.
  2. Watch out for phishing scams
    Like fishing for bass on a calm lake, phishing involves a scammer sending out spam emails far and wide and then waiting for a bite. If you’ve ever gotten an unsolicited email that on first glance looks like it’s from a trusted service you use, and it gives you a link that takes you to a login page, that is likely a spear phishing scam. Often, employees of media companies, financial institutions, and healthcare companies are targeted with phishing emails, which contain links or email attachments with malware. Check the credentials of any URL or email address in your inbox, and teach your employees to do the same. If you’re unsure how, contact an IT consultant for further information
  3. Don’t tell anyone your passwords
    This should go without saying, but telling anybody, even a trusted friend, how to access your private company information is a recipe for disaster. Also, using one password for everything should be avoided like the plague no matter how convenient it is for employees in the moment. If you’ve told someone your password or you got phished, the person with information for this one account can now access all of your accounts.
  4. Use two factor authentication
    Known better by its shorthand, 2FA is an added layer of security that requires a second form of proof that you are who you say you are. This can be anything from a standard security question to a text sent to your verified phone number with a PIN that you use to complete your login. Most IT support specialists consider this essential for cyber security.

If you need assistance protecting your personal or company related information online but are unsure of how to proceed, an IT consulting company can help guide you through the process.

Simple Digital Marketing Strategies to Help Your Business Grow

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

digital marketing strategy

Digital marketing is one of the most important things any company should be focusing on. It’s an essential part of business in today’s world — with both customers and competitors online, digital marketing is a way to establish your online reputation. While digital marketing is made up of countless different strategies, here are a few simple things to add into your digital marketing repertoire that will be sure to help any company grow.

Like many other aspects of business, it’s important to have a goal for your digital marketing strategy. Whether you want to establish dominance in your field or simply bring in new customers, setting an initial goal will allow you to track your progress and continuously make efforts in achieving said goal. Attempting to jump into the world of digital marketing with no plan is going to make being successful immensely more difficult.

Once you have your plan and goal ready to go, creating a marketing funnel is a crucial next step. A marketing funnel is a mapped out journal of a customer’s journey, from their first click to their last. A marketing funnel can be thought of in four sections. These sections include:

  1. Awareness: A potential customer becomes aware of your product or service because they’re looking for something they want or need. Once a customer is aware of your business, you’ll want to attract them by showing that you have whatever they’re looking for.
  2. Interest: At this point, the potential customer is expressing interest in your products or services. It’s a good idea to now supply them with further information.
  3. Desire: Now that they’ve learned more information about what they’re looking for, they’re found a product or service that they think will fit their needs. You’ll now want to tell them more about the specific product the potential customer is interested in.

By using things like call-to-actions and lead magnets, potential customers should be guided through your market funnel, hopefully turning into a lead.

Driving traffic to your website is another important aspect of digital marketing, as this is what ultimately powers your marketing funnel. There are a variety of ways companies can drive traffic to their websites, including having quality content, earning links from high authority websites, using important keywords in content, ensuring your website is optimized for Google, and being actively engaged on social media. Seeing as how each month, over 100 billion search engine inquiries are conducted, it’s important that your online pages show up in search engines.

One last thing you can do to ensure your digital marketing tactics work well: hire an IT company well versed in all aspects of business technology. Hiring an IT company can be beneficial to not only your digital marketing, but your business as a whole. Having to spend time fixing computer issues, dealing with slow internet, fixing your business’s website, and other computer services can take away time that you could be spending on your core business.

For all these reasons and more, implementing a strong digital marketing strategy is key to significant business growth. Without an online presence, your business will be unknown to millions of potential customers. As a small business, it’s a good idea to start small and work your way up to a larger online presence as you begin to understand more digital marketing tools.

4 Questions to Ask When Hiring an IT Support Company

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

it support companyWith search engines being the top driver of online traffic to related websites, it’s crucial for businesses to have a strong IT support company by their side to help support their online presence. IT companies can help can help with almost any computer-related issues, from computer repair to online marketing issues. Finding the best IT support company to fit your needs can be a time-consuming and frustrating task. Fortunately, this article covers a few questions to ask potential IT companies to ensure you pick one that will help your company thrive.

  1. What types of support do you offer and what are your contract options?
    IT support companies usually offer a few choices of service levels to serve different needs and budgets. For instance, there are options that allow you to pay an hourly rate but there are also options that have the IT company actively manage your systems. No matter the level of support you choose, you should be aware of the contract options, including length and any penalties that may arise if you decide to get out of the contract early.
  2. What kind of customer service support do you offer?
    Knowing and understanding things like response times can be a key factor in choosing an IT company. When something goes wrong at your company, you want to know you have IT support you can rely on to fix the issue in a timely manner. In doing this, you’ll reduce the risk of down time and losing profit.
  3. How large is your company?
    As IT companies grow, their ability to offer more solutions and better products grows with them. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should go with the largest IT company you can find. Bigger companies sometimes can be faceless and lack the ability to build a strong relationship with your business. You should choose a company that you feel confident will be able to meet all of your needs with the staff they have.
  4. What is and isn’t covered in the contract?
    It’s important to know what your IT services will and will not cover. With that in mind, it’s also important to find out if the company charges extra for devices like printers and scanners. Knowing what is and isn’t covered will help you figure out how much the total cost will be and if you’ll need to pay extra for additional services you require.

Having an IT support company can make a huge difference in company growth. Without having to worry about handling IT issues yourself, you’ll be able to focus solely on managing your company, knowing you have an excellent IT company to help with any issues that arise along the way.

IT Spending Projected to Reach $3.7 Trillion in 2018

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

digital marketing

Market research firm Gartner reports that global spending on IT services is expected to hit an incredible $3.7 trillion in 2018. This is a 4.3% increase from 2017. While $3.7 trillion is a massive number, it’s actually relatively modest growth for such an all-encompassing industry.

There are 10 markets which will make up most of the IT spending forecast, according to Gartner. Three of these markets consist of Cloud segments — Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Communications-Platform-as-a-Service, and Integrated-Platform-as-a-Service.

John-David Lovelock, Research Vice President at Gartner, said in a statement, “Global IT spending is showing little overall growth, as are traditional markets. These top 10 markets will be the key to remaining relevant and achieving growth in the future.”

Why Your Company Needs IT Services
Investing in managed IT services allows companies to maximize current technology and stay ahead of competitors. Maintaining an in-house IT department can sometimes just be too expensive for small businesses, which is why managed IT services are increasingly the norm in the era of cloud computing.

Considering that, here are a few reasons to use a professional IT provider.

  1. Using an IT service allows employers and employees to focus more on business functions. Spending time on computer maintenance when you have better things to be doing can end up hurting the business. Having experts on call who can come fix your computer problems for you allows you to stop wasting company time on computer repairs.
  2. IT services can help improve your company’s digital marketing. Increasingly, the role of traditional IT companies are expanding towards a more integrated approach. In addition to general computer support and software installation, many IT services allow your business to execute and implement digital marketing campaigns. From web design to search engine optimization, many IT services now include online marketing services as well. With technology constantly evolving, it’s important to have IT support that will help your company keep up.
  3. An external IT service will give your company an extra sense of security. Between 75% and 80% of all vengeful cyber attacks are made internally, not from an external threat. Security auditing and penetration testing are necessary to thoroughly evaluate your IT infrastructure. Considering this, using an external IT provider will greatly reduce your risk of being hacked from within and will give your company peace of mind when it comes to protecting your software, customer information, and data.

Using an outside IT service will not only assist you with tasks like digital marketing and security management, but it will also enhance the overall productivity of your business. Without having to worry about computer maintenance and repairs, you and your employees are free to focus solely on your day-to-day tasks and on making your business as successful as possible.

The Simplest Thing You Can Do To Protect Your Computer Every Day

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

fix your computerChances are you rely on your computer for a lot of different things. In our digital world, everyone is accustomed to gaining information at the click of a button, and our computers are the perfect vessel for that. Not to mention the fact that they store our massive photo collections, music libraries, and important documents!

Unfortunately, our computers are highly sensitive units and require a lot of care to run properly. Having to fix your computer when you need it the most can be incredibly frustrating, but luckily any computer tragedy can be prevented with simple computer maintenance. And the best thing is, there’s only one thing you have to do every day in order to protect your computer — simply shut it off!

Here’s why it pays to shut off your computer at the end of every day.

  1. Many updates require your computer to restart
    No matter what operating system you use, any computer support update requires the machine to be completely shut off in order for it to work. Plus, you may even have updates that will auto-install every night without you knowing, so it’s best to power off just to be safe.
  2. RAM memory needs to be refreshed on a regular basis
    The memory in your computer, RAM, will degrade over time if it is not continuously refreshed. This means that you’ll potentially lose important data if it doesn’t have an opportunity to refresh itself.
  3. Malware and virus scans start everytime you reboot your computer
    The amount of information you have on your machine is incredibly vast. So, it is crucial to run malware and virus scans to ensure your data is safe and clean. This is especially important if you look up a lot of information on the Internet — considering that 93% of all Internet experiences start with the use of a search engine, you never know what you’ll pick up. So as a rule of thumb, you should have virus and malware scans running at all times on your computer to be as protected as possible.

Maintaining your computer couldn’t be easier than just turning it off every night. Think of it this way: your computer needs to sleep, too!

If you need to fix your computer or have any computer repair questions, don’t hesitate to stop by to talk to our professionals today.