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Five Ways to Prevent Phishing Attacks

5 Tips to Avoid Phishing Attacks

‘Tis the season, to STEAL YOUR INFO… fa-la, la-la-la, la, la-la-la!’

Not the happy holiday greeting you expected? We hate to break it to you, but the Grinch is at large! With retail sales at their highest, this is the time of year when identity theft is common, and you need to protect yourself, your clients, friends, colleagues, and everyone with whom you communicate. Nobody is going to do it for you, and in fact nobody can provide you 100% protection from the biggest danger to your private information: YOU!

Not familiar with the term “phishing attacks?” These types of attacks are any attempt by a scammer to get you to divulge private information like credit card details, account details, or passwords. You may have received emails with weird links and subject lines, odd popups on a PC, or even a phone call asking you for information. A lot of times these schemes look legitimate, but don’t be fooled.

All right, now that we’ve said it, and hopefully scared you out of your digital skin, here are five very important measures you can employ i-m-m-e-d-i-a-t-e-l-y to protect yourself, your business, and prevent phishing attacks.

5 Tips to Avoid Phishing Attacks - Use Complex Passwords

ALWAYS USE COMPLEX PASSWORDS

That means do not use your first name and your spouse’s birthdate. It does mean you should use something that looks (and preferably is) completely random. A password such as 8y6AvgxYKx&j is much better than Robert1220.  By the way, that mess I generated was done using Last Pass, which we highly recommend as a password management system. Another password management option is 1Password.

5 Tips to Avoid Phishing attacks - Use 2 Factor Authorization

USE 2-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION (WHEN AVAILABLE)

Yes, it’s a pain in the backside to provide that extra 6-digit key every time you log in, but it’s very secure. You literally need the key cipher (usually an app on your mobile phone) to unlock the account(s) in question.

5 Tips to Avoid Phishing Attacks - Don't Click on Pop-Ups

POP-UP PHISHING

Don’t click on pop-ups telling you that your PC is infected and asking you to call a number (claiming to be Microsoft or someone like that) or provide your login credentials TO ANYONE except a “trusted” IT provider or colleague.  Never do it without verifying, directly, that it was asked for by that specific person by another means.

For example, if a “low trust” person asks for your password via email, or otherwise, CALL THEM to verify it. Any big brand company (Microsoft, Google, et al) will never contact you to tell you that you are infected or need an update. They just don’t do that.  So if you get that call – HANG UP immediately!

5 Tips to Avoid Phishing Attacks - Email Phishing

EMAIL PHISHING

If you get an email asking you to click a link to verify something, sign a contract, transfer funds, etc. Check with the sender first via phone before doing it.

And if a link says it’s for signing you into your Google/Dropbox/Otherwise Account, and you click it and it goes SOMEWHERE THAT YOU DID NOT EXPECT it to go (isn’t the same domain name in the address bar), CLOSE IT IMMEDIATELY!

Or better yet, if you use Chrome web browser for checking your email, just hover your mouse pointer over the link; don’t click it to start with. These emails sometimes will even have a valid signature, but they are NOT from your colleague.

5 Tips to Avoid Phishing Attacks - When in Doubt, Give XPERTEK a Shout!

WHEN IN DOUBT – GIVE US A SHOUT!

IT people and managed service providers are used to these questions, and we’d much rather you ask us first. It’s worth the few minutes to pick up the phone or send us an email to avoid an infection, losing your sensitive data or spend the holidays recovering your data instead of enjoying the holidays!

Got a question about a phishing attack or scam? Send us an email at info@xpertekit.com!

Note: Support and scheduling requests should always be directed to Support@XPERTEKIT.com.

December App of the Month for Dallas Business Owners

XPERTEK's App pf the Month - Google Hangouts

At XPERTEK IT, our primary concern is helping Dallas – Fort Worth area businesses be as productive as possible. We offer managed services to ensure all your technology is running smoothly and you never experience downtime or interruptions.

While providing managed services to Dallas businesses is our core, we want to go one step further. The whole purpose of technology is to make your life easier, more streamlined, and more productive. There are countless programs and applications available that can save you time while enhancing every day tasks for you and your team.

Each month we’ll provide a review of a featured application we recommend for Dallas Fort Worth business owners. These apps that we review will help your business in one of the following areas:

  • App of the Month - Data Security
    Data Security
  • App of the Month - Productivity
    Productivity
  • App of the Month - Time Management
    Time Management
  • App of the Month - Data Storage
    Data Storage
  • App of the Month - Communication Needs
    Communication

FEATURED DECEMBER APP: GOOGLE HANGOUTS

How many times have you been away from your computer and suddenly realized you were supposed to be on a conference call? Then the panic begins to set in. Where’s the link? The call-in number? The PIN? Now you have to download extra software? What a nightmare!

There is a better way with Google Hangouts. This application has come a long way from being a desktop function inside your gmail account. Google Hangouts is a one-stop messaging platform. You can use it on any mobile device or computer. If you operate with a BYOD policy in place, no problem. Google Hangouts is both Android, iOS, and web compatible. All you need is a Google account to send texts, conduct voice calls, and video chat. This app streamlines all of your communication.

With Google Hangouts you can:

  • Send instant messages from your browser, from an Android device or your iPhone
  • Have a Project Fi or Google Voice account? Use Hangouts on your browser to send SMS.
  • You can also integrate Hangouts with your voicemail on Android phones.
  • Chat with up to 10 participants for free.
  • You can even use Google Hangouts outside of your browser by getting the Chrome extension.
  • Integrate with SMS on Android phones.

Need more convincing?

  • It’s Free.
  • Integrate your messaging.
  • Stable, high quality video chat.
  • Your employees will have no excuse to miss a meeting.
  • International calling may be cheaper for you.
  • No Third Party Apps or complicated call-in features.

Try it and let us know what you think! We welcome your feedback. Do you have a favorite application you use for your Dallas business? Tell us about it. Be sure to sign up for the XPERTEK IT newsletter to get more technology tips like these.

Did you know the Google Pixel Phone can Do That?

Google Pixel Phone - Photo Courtesy of https://madeby.google.com/phone/

Less than a month ago, Google released their first phone, Google Pixel. Completely and wholly owned, manufactured, and marketed by Google. No partnerships. No co-sponsors.

This is Google hardware. We’re entering a new era.

Google rarely disappoints so to say we had high expectations would be an understatement. There are so many features that we love about this phone, we thought we’d share them with you from a real user perspective. You can satisfy your craving for all of the specifications and details if you’re after that by heading over to the Android Central complete Google Pixel Review. Allow us to sum that up for you: the end of the review highly recommends the Google Pixel as the smartphone to buy in 2017.

At XPERTEK IT we advocate (and use ourselves) all kinds of Google products; it’s a smart and efficient way to run a business. So let’s get down to business and talk about features.

Google Pixel Phone Features - Speedy Charging- Photo Courtesy of https://madeby.google.com/phone/
OVERALL PERFORMANCE

Sick of charging your phone all the time? Tired of sloppy, slow performance and apps freezing up? Our first reaction was that the Pixel is seriously speedy. It makes any other phone on the market look like you’ve aged ten years. And have you ever heard of a phone that charges in 15 minutes? That’s now a reality, you can get seven hours of juice in just 15 minutes of charging.

Google Pixel Phone Features - Phone + Media Storage- Photo Courtesy of https://madeby.google.com/phone/
CAMERA + MEDIA

The fun stuff on here is worth switching alone. Sharper pictures and video – and STABLE video. Want to take a video while running? Sure. Low light? No problem. Vivid color, each and every shot. It’s impressive. Not to mention the live wallpapers are stunning. You can grab a live-updating screenshot from your favorite place in the world, or a famous monument, or hold Yosemite National Park in your hand every day. We like that escape from the office. Oh yeah, and did we mention that you have NO STORAGE LIMITS?

Google Pixel Phone Features - Artificial Intelligence - Photo Courtesy of https://madeby.google.com/phone/
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI)

It’s nearly 2017 and we’ve come a long way. Alexa, Siri, Cortana, and now Google Assistant are all viable options. You could say that Google Assistant is what really sold the Pixel. We found that the Google Assistant is much more conversational, carrying intelligence from one piece of conversation to the next. You get voice recognition when the phone isn’t active – no buttons. You have to try it to believe it; all we can say is that Google Assistant is far superior.

Google Pixel Phone Features - No Software Updates or Bloatware- Photo Courtesy of https://madeby.google.com/phone/
NO SOFTWARE UPDATES

Raise your hand if you’re sick of annoying software updates from your phone and/or carrier. None of that anymore. First, it’s the only Google phone, not just an Android. You get Google software updates as soon as they’re released. Also? No extra junk apps. You only get what is typical of Google – just what you need. And it works, just like it should.

Google Pixel Phone Features - 24/7 Customer Service- Photo Courtesy of https://madeby.google.com/phone/
CUSTOMER SERVICE

Last thing we love? No trips to the Genius Bar. You can get help whenever you need it with 24/7 customer service right on your phone, complete with screen sharing. Now, as a technology company that provides a lot of similar help-desk services, we can say this is huge. We all need assistance from time to time so why not make it easy?

If you’re switching from an iPhone to the Pixel, have no fear. This is the easiest phone swap you’ll ever do, because the Pixel actually comes with an adapter that allows you to plug in your iPhone and transfer all your data instantly. No fuss. It doesn’t get much more “plug and play” than that.

Use the Pixel for personal, use them for business. It’s not just another Android phone, this is the BEST Android phone. The staff at XPERTEK IT uses the Pixel exclusively!

5 Signs You have a Great Managed IT Services Provider

5 Signs you have a Great IT Service Provider

What makes a great Managed IT Services provider so good? How do you know if the service you’re receiving is poor, other than the obvious signs like downtime or incompetence? Let us focus on the positive today, instead of the negative.

Many small businesses cannot afford in-house IT departments that big businesses tend to require. Not only can they not afford it, they don’t need it!

But what so many small business CEOs don’t understand is that just because they don’t have a need for large scale systems, equipment, and service contracts doesn’t mean that they have to settle for subpar services when it comes to managed IT providers.

Whether you have two employees, ten, or eighty-five, you should be able to count on your IT provider for support and help whenever you need it.

Today let’s talk about five signs that you have a GREAT Managed IT Services provider, regardless of where your services come from: in house, your resident “IT guy” or a company you outsource your technology services to.

5 Signs you have a Great IT Service Provider - Passwords are yours
PASSWORD INFO IS YOURS

You should never be beholden to anyone. Your data belongs to your company, and the passwords that protect that data also belong to you. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is sorely mistaken. You should never have to wait for access.

When it comes to passwords and protection, the role of your managed services provider is to guide you; help you develop strong passwords and best practices in data management. Full ownership and disclosure should be yours. If not, it’s time to reevaluate your provider.

5 Signs you have a Great IT Service Provider - Proactively Preventative
QUICK RESPONSE TIME

Does your IT provider beat the industry standard for response times when you submit a trouble ticket? The industry standard for a first response is more than 20 hours.

What if you could find someone who responded in less than two hours? It’s possible! The bottom line here is quite simple.  If you’ve got a high priority issue that is impacting your productivity, your IT services provider should be communicating with you in real time and giving you the priority service you deserve.

5 Signs you have a Great IT Service Provider - Proactively Preventative
BACKUP & RECOVERY PLAN IN PLACE

This is a basic checkpoint for any managed services provider. If you don’t have a recovery plan in place in the event that something goes wrong (power outage, freak tornado or fire, theft, hacking, etc.) then all the effort you’re putting into efficient technology is all for naught. Your backup and recovery plan is the backbone of your business.

Did you know that 60% of small businesses who suffer a cyber attack will close their doors within six months. Why? Because they don’t have a backup plan. Don’t let that be you.

5 Signs you have a Great IT Service Provider - XPERTEK IT
THEY ARE CALLED XPERTEK IT

All these things we’ve discussed today? XPERTEK IT provides them all. You’ll never wonder what your passwords are. You’ll experience arguably the fastest response times for small to medium sized businesses in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and perhaps the nation. More than 70% of our customers get a response in less than one hour.

We told you it was possible and it is — with XPERTEK.

Not sure about how secure your data, devices, or systems are? No problem. We can help you develop a scalable solution that fits your needs today and can grow with you.

Don’t settle for subpar service when it comes to your managed IT service provider. Call us at 972-591-6019 or contact us today for a consultation for your technology needs.

How to Manage Technology when Onboarding New Hires

Onboarding New Hires - Re-evaluate Small Business IT Needs

If you’re a growing small business, you know all about hiring and onboarding new employees. You also know that onboarding new employees requires a significant time investment. First, it takes hours to search, locate and vet the right candidates, conduct interviews, and finally to acclimate and then train your new employee. Throughout this onboarding process your focus is almost entirely on the new employee, and rightly so.  However, small business owners often forget to consider onboarding from a technology perspective, aside from the urgent or haphazardly setting up of a new email address.

Onboarding new employees during a time of growth is an excellent time to evaluate your technology, especially your business computers, network, and phone system.

There are opportunities to maximize the success of your new hires, even before they start. We understand your life as a business owner; you’re just trying to keep up with the day-to-day. But if you fail to take a look at how your business growth impacts your technology and vice versa now, as your customer base keeps growing, down the road, you’ll wish you had.

Before you start hiring:

Consider how fast your business is growing. How many employees do you think you’ll need to hire? One? Ten? If you know that you’ll be adding more employees over the next few months or year, now is the time to consider what changes will need to be made.

Moving & Growth are the TOP Two Reasons to evaluate your Small Business IT Services Provider.

As you consider how many employees you need to add over the next several months, look at each facet of your technology infrastructure. You can refer to our house diagram and check out each level.

Can your day-to-day communications platforms handle added traffic?

Can your current phone system handle an addition? Will your employee be working from home or at the office at an extension? Do they need the ability to forward phone calls to a personal device? Along with your business phone system, what about email? This is one of the most basic requirements for a new employee; they need an email address. But can your email system handle a new account? What kind of volume do you expect for this employee? Does your email solution offer built-in shared calendar functions, synchronization between email devices, or other modern communication needs?

Is your Network up to the job?

Information travels. Where are you keeping it? In the cloud? Local servers? What’s your plan to get your new employee(s) hooked up to the network?

Devices & Hardware

Is your employee going to be using a desktop or a laptop? Who is setting that up for them? Don’t forget that device use is a part of data protection and security. Have a plan in place to discuss what can or cannot be done on personal devices like cell phones and laptops and ensure that all devices employees use to access your data are properly protected against malware threats.

Mobility

Part of that device discussion is mobility. If you expect your employee to do work like check email and access company information outside of the office, you’ll need to make a way for them to accomplish that work, securely and conveniently.

Backup

Make sure you have a data backup system in place from the very beginning of an employee’s time with you. So many business owners fail to consider this, and employees don’t know where to store information unless they’re told. Unless you want everything housed in an email platform or on a desktop where it can easily be lost or worse, stolen, take the time now to decide what your data storage plan is and communicate it to your employees.

If you’ve got questions about onboarding new employees and technology, we have answers. We meet with business owners in Dallas all the time whose only regret is that they didn’t find us sooner. Don’t waste your valuable time dealing with technology issues that hamper your productivity and stunt your growth. Let us help you build out a plan that allows your growing business and its corresponding technology to scale as you do. Technology should be adapted to fit your needs, not the other way around.

Get a Better Business Phone System

Small Business Phone Service

One of the first things you do when starting a small business is to source a legitimate phone system. You can’t answer customer phone calls from a personal cell phone forever! A business phone system is an important component in projecting a professional image. Having a business phone system gives your customers confidence and reinforces the idea that you are reliable and established.

Where should you start when looking for a business phone system, or when deciding if it is time to upgrade? Consider your business’ needs. How many offices, physical locations, and employees do you have? Is your business domestic or global? What kind of phone system features would be beneficial to you. Do employees work in the field? How virtual is your office? Do you need to be connected to employees who work remote?

As a small business owner, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice basic phone system capabilities because of a price barrier. You also shouldn’t have to purchase a bigger phone system than you need to get those capabilities.

A Real Life International Business Phone System Customer of XPERTEK IT

One of our current clients has an office in the USA and one in India. They have need for only two employees here in the USA, and ten more in India. When discussing phone system needs with them, they expressed concern about the cost of forwarding calls from the U.S. office to India, as their clients are all U.S.-based.

By employing a business-grade VoIP system, we were able to eliminate all international call charges.

Business grade VoIP products, such as the ones we use, transmit all voice data as ‘data’ over the open internet, in packets, just like email or streaming video.  This means that there is no transmission or ‘call charge’ for the calls.  It’s the same whether you’re calling a phone here in the USA or in India or anywhere else, as long as it has a U.S. phone number.  As this client only needed U.S. access, we proposed a system that leveraged that.

But it gets better. The employees in the United States can now dial India just as if it’s in the next room, or down the hall. Remember this is one company, with two locations. Both locations are on the same business phone system, so they can call among the phones using simple 3-digit extension numbers!

If you recall, they were worried about the cost, specifically for international charges. This is the best part! They estimate the new VoIP phone system will save them between $600-$700 per month in long distance charges.

Your business is unique. There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to business phone systems and services.

Free Business Phone Audit

Why not find out if you could get a better deal for less? It is completely FREE to find out if XPERTEK IT can save you money on your business phone system. Not only that, the process is quick, easy, and there’s no obligation.

If we don’t have a better solution for you, we’ll be happy to tell you that up front.

Our Favorite Google Chrome Extensions – Why You Should Use Them Too

Our Favorite Google Chrome Extensions - XPERTEK

Let us start by saying that if you haven’t taken advantage of your Google account and all that it has to offer, you could be spending a lot of extra, unnecessary time managing everything from your email to your documents and spreadsheets.

Want to unlock all of these services and more? Sign up for a Gmail or Google Apps account today and make sure you’ve downloaded the latest version of Google Chrome and set it as your preferred browser. Once you’ve got a Gmail or Google Apps account you can be logged in on Chrome and switch from function to function without having to sign in each time.

Using Google Chrome has all kinds of advantages from security to business management and organization. Today we’d like to highlight the Google Chrome extensions we recommend.

Google Chrome Extension - UBlock Origin
UBLOCK ORIGIN

Do ads constantly pop up in your browser and annoy you? Get rid of them and any other popup content that could distract you from your final destination or potentially bring you some unwanted malware.

Not sure you want to block every single ad? This extension is smart enough to allow you to set preferences on what you’d like to see. Choose from existing lists to filter content.

Google Chrome Extension - HTTPS Everywhere
HTTPS EVERYWHERE

HTTPS is the web protocol that signifies you’re visiting a secure website. This is especially important if you’re on a website where you’re giving away confidential data like payment information.

Protect yourself from Fraud. The function of HTTPS Everywhere is simply to convert any HTTP sites to the secure HTTPS format. Pretty cool.

Google Chrome Extension - Google Sheets & Google Docs
GOOGLE SHEETS & GOOGLE DOCS

Google has essentially developed their own word processing and spreadsheet applications through Google Sheets (similar to Excel) and Google Docs (think Microsoft Word). No compatibility issues here, you can export files to be opened in any of the Microsoft programs you need.

What makes these such great alternatives? The ability to collaborate and edit in real time. If you’ve got a small sales force or a marketing team that needs to provide input and feedback, all is possible with these applications. Leave comments or make edits without the hassle of tracking edits or changes. It’s all done automatically!

Google Chrome Extension - Google Keep
GOOGLE KEEP

This notekeeping app is so much more than that. Set reminders, transcribe text from images, and generally keep your entire life in order.

You can easily pull notes over into Google Docs for sharing and collaboration.

Google Chrome Extension - Google Drive
GOOGLE DRIVE

Struggling with version control on all your work documents? Use Google Drive. It’s a virtual file cabinet; a place to store your files and collaborate with employees and team members in real time. No more crazy filenames with extensions to remind you what revision that proposal is on.

Don’t worry about security (as long as you’ve got a strong Google password) because only files that you have designated as shared can be seen by anyone else.

WHY USE THESE CHROME EXTENSIONS FOR YOUR BUSINESS?

You don’t have to worry about purchasing expensive software that may or may not be compatible with your network and devices. The HTTPS Everywhere and uBlock Origin are excellent, easy-to-use tools that boost your security. Your office becomes virtual when using these applications because they can be accessed from everywhere and updated in real time. No waiting for a software update. No saving one thousand versions each time there is a revision. It’s all done for you.

Best of all? These are free programs. Stay secure and reap the benefits of these Chrome Extensions to get access quickly without ever having to leave your browser.

Looking for more tips like these? Wait until you see what we can do. Streamline your technology infrastructure and save money at the same time. It’s possible with XPERTEK IT. Our rapid response can’t be beat, and nobody knows small business better than us.

What Does Rapid IT Service Look Like?

Rapid IT service response

Your small business cannot run without technology. Your Internet connection, phone service, computers and network infrastructure are all vital to your revenue. We’ve discussed in a previous blog about the costs associated with downtime and the importance of ensured productivity. One thing that makes XPERTEK IT stand out as an IT solutions company is our rapid response. As you can see in the image above, the IT industry as a whole maintains a response time of nearly 25 hours! At XPERTEK, in the last month we responded within one hour to 71% of all trouble tickets. Today we wanted to offer you a real life example of what rapid response in action looks like.

Rapid IT Service in Action: Email Under Attack

Yesterday at 4:02 p.m. we pro-actively detected an email hacking/phishing attack on a client. This means the client was repeatedly being barraged by spam email. By 4:07 p.m. (five minutes after we first detected a problem!) a member of our team was on the phone with the client, changing the password, and working to rectify any issues caused. By 4:20pm the issue was completely solved and the client secured.

As a result of this event, we launched an audit of the email and cloud services security situation with that client, and helped them this morning to implement a new password policy. We also advised them on best practices for setting, storing, and using passwords, including use of LASTPASS password manager, use of complex passwords, and optional 2-factor authentication.

The most common cause of “hacking” attacks is actually phishing, where you get an email (possibly from a “reliable” source) which directs you to a link to log into something to view a “secure” document. This is actually a false page collecting your information which will then allow the hacker to get into your accounts, risking loss of data, identity theft, and spreading of malware, viruses, and mayhem.

Always be careful on emails that direct you to open an attachment or link. Look at the address it came from (not just the name). Look for the signature, and ensure it meets the formatting used by that person in previous emails, and is not missing or stripped in some way. Double check any links before clicking them by hovering over them and looking at the address at the bottom of your screen –if it says it’s a google document and the URL at the bottom of the page does not say GOOGLE when you roll over, then DO NOT CLICK IT!

Always reach out to your IT experts when in doubt. Don’t have a dedicated IT expert for your small business? Try XPERTEK IT. Contact us today for a consultation.

Back it Up! Small Business Data Backup Strategies

Data Backup Strategies for Small Businesses

Hardware Fails.  Storage is Cheap.  Back it up!

Nothing hurts more than having to tell someone, “yes, you lost everything.” This statement can be devastating for a small business. Even more painful is recognizing, as a small business owner, that you just lost some of your most valuable assets. You worked so hard to make things happen, yet your investment just went “up in smoke.”

How does Data Loss Impact your Business?

Just like losing Internet connectivity, a hardware failure or lack of proper data storage strategy carries a cost. A recent Paragon Software Group study on SMBs reveals that about 22% of companies (that’s more than one in five) have experienced data loss that caused significant impact to the business. PricewaterhouseCoopers Research indicates that 70% of businesses reporting this kind of loss go out of business within a year of the event. Even more survey respondents admitted that inadequate or non-existent backup measures affected their revenues, partner relations and brand reputation.

Today’s Small Businesses are using more data than ever before!

According to cloudtweaks.com’s article Surprising Facts and Stats about the Big Data Industrywe can get an idea how big our data volumes have grown:

What Percentage of data is in digital format?

Picture every book in every library, school, home, and company in the entire world – it’s a lot of books. Yet all those books combined make up a maximum of 6 percent of the sum total of all human data. In 2007 it was estimated that a mammoth 94 percent of all data was stored in a digital format. Furthermore, a phenomenal 90 percent of all data ever produced by humans has been made in the last two years.

What does the future hold?

Looking forward, experts now predict that 40 zettabytes of data will be in existence by 2020. Three years ago, the entire World Wide Web is estimated to contain approximately 500 exabytes – which is 5 billion gigabytes, but only half of one zettabyte! 40 zettabytes is, therefore, 400 billion gigabytes!

Be glad your small business data is not to this scale yet! Nonetheless it is growing and you are more reliant on it than ever. Our observation with customers is that data storage and backup strategies seem to be an afterthought. Our firsthand view shows they are most often put in place once they experience an emergency. More often than not this data loss turns catastrophic. We understand the logic behind the behavior. Something like: you get a new computer containing a new disk drive with more space. It works well as you create and load new files, and life goes on. What you don’t think about is that disk wearing out just like a pair of jeans that gradually fades. Suddenly, a tear occurs. Oh, who could have known there was a catch on the corner of that wall? 

Consider all the data you have and how important it is that you and your employees have access to the data you need at a moment’s notice.

  • Sales numbers and order information
  • Proprietary information on company strategies or processes
  • Customer data including contact information as well as payments/credit card data, etc. if you process payments
  • Email correspondence, history
  • Employee files and payroll information

Look at the volume and criticality contained just in this short list. What would be the cost of permanent loss? Along with basic hardware failures, you could be vulnerable to theft, hackers or otherwise. What about viruses or malware? Even simple employee mistakes like accidental deletion. If your business was in a tornado or a fire, would you have backup of your most vital information for day-to-day operation? How about the expense of recreating important missing documents like agreements, etc.? Is operational downtime generated? Read more about this in our previous blog on downtime.

Listen, we get it. Nobody ever really expects anything to go wrong.  Do you realize what you’re leaving yourself open to if your data isn’t secure and properly stored?

Perhaps the most common of these catastrophic events is hardware failure. We have had a number of clients come to us in the past 5 years who had bad hard drives or lost data due to hardware failure. A hard drive, regardless of the system it is in, circles at between 5,000 and 7,000 revolutions per minute.  That means in an hour it’s gone 300,000-350,000 revolutions. These are, for the most part, mechanical devices.  And even if they are solid state, they can fail.  The bottom line is: hardware fails, regardless of whose hardware it is or who made it.

Data Backup Strategies for Small Business

Since we know that hardware failures happen, and loss is a real possibility, it is better to be prepared than sorry. A proper backup strategy for small businesses has both a local and cloud component, but the latter is the most critical. This is your ultimate “everything is gone, how do I get it back” protection. Even if your building burns down or floods, your cloud backup is secure. You can be up and running quickly in a new location without panic or realizing any loss.

Data backup and storage is not an expensive endeavor. Even the most robust storage needs can be maintained for pennies per day. Bottom line: don’t lose your data.

Call XPERTEK today for your customized business data backup and storage plan.

Avoid Downtime in Small Business Operations

What would downtime cost me?

Taking time out of regular business operations to evaluate your technology may seem like a waste of time, but do you really know how much it would cost your business if you experienced a loss in connectivity, your phone system went down, or a computer crashed? Let us caution you: don’t wait for something horrible to happen. Know what the potential cost of downtime is, and take appropriate preventive measures before it’s too late.

Recently a client contacted XPERTEK because their business internet connection was down. Some quick triage determined this outage caused their phone service and computers/systems to be non-functional for the entire location. Thankfully the XPERTEK team was able to provide a “fast fix” which restored their service within 15 minutes. While we are glad this was the case, the situation could have been much worse when we consider the associated costs.

What is the real cost of downtime due to old equipment or system failures?

In this example our customer books nearly $400,000 in orders per day. Wow! Even more important, this customer is completely dependent upon two customer interfacing systems functioning to complete this order volume. Assuming this customer takes orders during an 8 hour span each workday, we can simply calculate that each hour of system uptime is worth an average of $50,000 to the business.

After completing the necessary work to salvage this customer situation XPERTEK launched into a comprehensive analysis and made several recommendations to the customer that would improve system redundancy.  Net cost: $18,000.

Based on the formula above, it takes only 0.36 hours of productivity loss prevention to justify the $18,000 investment. Obviously this was not a difficult decision to make. The customer immediately decided to build redundancy into the system, eliminating any future threats of downtime.

Consider the cost of downtime associated with outdated equipment. An unreliable phone system that goes down frequently could prevent you from receiving calls from customers or making outbound sales calls. How secure is your data and what would the impact be if you lost it? Would your business even be able to recover?

Don’t wait for a crisis to justify your actions! Calculate the cost of your downtime today and take action. In most cases the investment is quickly justified. “It is much smarter to know it on paper now and prevent downtime instead of “feeling the pain” of a crisis later,” Perry Brulotte, XPERTEK IT. 

Not sure where to start? Schedule your small business technology evaluation with XPERTEK today.

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