Companies that suffer security breaches nearly always have one of these IT security problems.
Is your company guilty of any of them?
A shocking number of businesses are not backing up their data properly. According to market research company Clutch, 60 percent of businesses who suffer a data loss shut down within six months. Not only should every business be fully backing up their data, but their backups should be regularly tested to work too. It's a step that businesses miss surprisingly often. Many businesses don't find out that their backup can't be used until it's already too late.
Reactive and not proactive
The world is constantly changing. The IT world doubly so. Attackers are always figuring out new ways to break into businesses, hardware evolves faster than most can keep up, and old systems fail due to wear and tear far quicker than we would like. A huge number of businesses wait until these issues impact them directly before they respond. The result is higher costs and longer downtime.
By responding to hardware warnings before it fails, fixing security holes before they're exploited, and upgrading systems before they are out of date: IT can be done the right way. Being proactive about your IT needs means systems don't have to break or be compromised before they are fixed. The result for your business is less downtime, fewer losses, and lower IT costs.
Insufficient Staff Training
Humans in the system are commonly the weakest point in IT security. Great IT security can be a bit like having state-of-the-art locks on a door propped open with a milk crate. If staff aren't trained to use the lock, it's worth nothing at all.
Often times businesses can justify spending big on security for the latest and greatest IT defenses. The very same firms may exceed their budget and spend almost zero on training staff to use them. In this instance, a little goes a long way. Security training can help staff to identify a threat where it takes place, avoiding and mitigating damage, often completely.
A surprising number of people will use the password "password" to secure some of their most important accounts. Even more still will write their own password on a post-it note next to their computer. In some cases, many will even use no password at all. Strong passwords act, not only as a barrier to prevent unwanted entry, but as a vital accountability tool too. When system changes are made it's often essential that the account that made changes is secured to the right person.
With an insecure password or worse; none at all, tracking the individual responsible for reports or accountability becomes impossible. This can result in both auditing disasters on top of technical ones.
Weak Data Controls
Some companies can take an ad-hoc, fast and loose approach to storing professional data. Often crucial parts can be spread across many devices, copied needlessly, and sometimes even left unsecured. Client data can be found regularly on employee laptops, mobile phones, and tablet devices. These are famously prone to being misplaced or stolen out in the field along with vital client and security data.
It can be easy for both employees and firms to focus on the costs of devices and hardware purchased for the business. The reality is that the data held on devices is almost always worth many times more than the device that holds it. For many firms, their approach to data hasn't been changed since the firm was first founded. Critical data is often held on single machines that haven't been updated precisely because they hold critical data. Such machines are clearly vulnerable, outdated, and prone to failure.
Common problems with simple solutions
Each of these common issues have simple solutions to secure against IT failure. With a professional eye and expertise in the field, every business should be defended against IT issues that risk the firm.
If you need help securing your IT to protect your business, give us a call at 614-233-1648.
Very few things in life are as intensely frustrating as slow network speeds. Whether accessing a shared database, sharing files between computers, or sending a file to print; waiting for transfers can seem to take an eternity. Worse still, these business breaks can keep both clients and staff waiting and get in the way of the productive business day.
Every time you save or retrieve files from another computer or network storage device, file transfers have to be made over the network. Depending on your IT setup, files can pour over the network with the ferocity of a fire hose, or trickle between machines as if dripping through a drinking straw. Poor network speeds are often a critical bottleneck that slows down the entire IT system. If a slow, frustrating, and unreliable network sounds like your office setup then there are many available solutions we can use to help. Often, offices maintain networking hardware that is as old as the premises they are in or the businesses themselves. Components can be left in place long after their suggested expiration date. If it isn't broken, don't fix it commonly rules as long as some working connection, however slow, still remains.
Yet, outdated hardware in key areas can often slow the entire system down. Even when the rest of the network is capable of ultra-high speeds, a single bad component can bring the entire network to a crawl. Sometimes if it isn't broke, it still might not be working to its full potential. Even peripheral devices throughout the network can cause traffic to slow. A badly installed device may become lost from the network or send out an overwhelming number of messages that spoils network traffic. Defense against errors and vulnerabilities is simpler than you may think. Often just one or two small upgrades is all that is needed to unlock the full speed potential of the network.
For some businesses adding a dedicated server is an ideal solution that can balance the IT workload. Access to centrally shared resources often benefits the entire organization by eliminating redundancy. A network server is built with efficiency and reliability in mind to keep your business running at full capacity. By pooling resources for everyone to use, work is evenly shared and centrally available to prevent bottlenecks in the system. Reduced network loads, improved efficiency, and faster transfer speeds mean that higher productivity becomes the new normal.
Moving resources outside of the office can work for many businesses too. Where high speed, low-cost internet services are available, moving your work into the cloud can be a highly cost-effective solution. Software packages such as Quickbooks offer finance and accounting packages for operating in the cloud. Similar Suites such as Microsoft Office offers services for creating and sharing documents with cloud resources. Both packages eliminate the need for many of the network operations that we use every day.
For many applications such as Quickbooks huge databases sometimes gigabytes in size are required. It is these types of applications where the advantage of the cloud becomes clear. To use this locally, huge database transfers keep the application up-to-date daily. These transfers across a local network are time-consuming and clog up vital resources for the firm. Yet, the same application in the cloud requires only a simple web page for each user. Instantly, looking up finances and editing documents becomes as simple as checking your email. With services moved to the cloud, purchase cost and maintenance of expensive network hardware are reduced too.
A complete network solution that works to make the most out of all the available resources is unique to every business. Only a tailored solution to address your network needs will increase your productivity.
If you think slow network speeds are getting in the way of your business, give us call at 614-233-1648 to give your business the network it deserves!
Hi! I’m Mary from Nice Guy Technology and Nice Guy Digital Media. I wanted to chat with you for a minute about a HUGE part of marketing that businesses often overlook. Local search directories. Sounds exciting right? It actually it is pretty interesting stuff. If it brings business through your doors it’s DEFINITELY interesting.
Last weekend we decided to go to see a movie. We had a general idea of what was on in theaters but we needed details. What’s playing where, at what time? Standard, 3D, IMAX? What kind of food does this theater have - concession stand, dine in? Is the theater clean? Do they have those cool reclining chairs?
A quick search on my phone lets me see nearby theaters and their reviews. In the span of a couple minutes we’d scanned several businesses locations, services offered AND what other people thought of the place through their reviews. Did any of that influence our decision? ABSOLUTELY! 100%
So what’s the point of my story? No matter what type of business you own, customers are looking for your services online. They’re checking out your listings on places like “Google My Business” and Yelp to see things like your hours of operation, your menu, your location, photos of your business and reviews left by previous customers!
If I’m in the car and searching for something like a store or restaurant, many times I’ll search right from my GPS app. I tend to use Apple Maps which pulls its search information directly from Yelp. I can find a general list of restaurants nearby or I can focus on something specific like Vegetarian.
Remember in the first Jurassic Park when they discover that the dinosaurs are somehow reproducing even though they’re all females? How did that happen anyway?It’s much the same with the internet. The local directories will find information to place on your business listing. Sometimes they get it right and sometimes not so much. The only way to ensure that your business info is correct, up to date and exactly what you want your customers to see is to claim your listings and manage them.
The good news is that you’re not in this alone! I’ve got a couple more videos coming your way to help walk you through claiming and updating your local search listings.
So here’s a mission, should you choose to accept it… hop on the internet and check some of your directory listings. You might be surprised what you find.
What does your business look like online? If you don't have time to check out all these local search listings individually (who does, right?), we would be happy to run a complimentary "local search audit" for your business and let you know which listings are in good shape and which ones could use some work.
Getting new computers for your business is exciting, but what happens to the old ones? Depending on the age, some people sell them, others throw them out. That’s the easy part. The problem is the sensitive data on them. There are passwords, account numbers, license keys, customer details, medical information, tax returns, browser history… the works! Each computer, whether laptop, tablet or desktop, contains a treasure trove of sensitive information that cybercriminals would love to get their hands on.
Unfortunately, hitting delete on your files doesn’t actually make them disappear, nor does waving a strong magnet over the drive. These mistakes have cost businesses millions of dollars over the years.
Most businesses are unaware that specialized data cleanup is necessary, others think calling someone to collect the computers will cover all the bases. A 2016 experiment proved just how dangerous the situation can be when they bought 200 used hard drives and found 67% held unwiped, unencrypted sensitive data, including sales projection spreadsheets, CRM records, and product inventories. Frighteningly, they didn’t need any special hacking skills to get this data, it was all right there and helpfully labelled. It’s also not surprising that with simple data recovery tools, people have also been able to access British NHS medical records and missile data, all waiting patiently on a discarded hard drive.
Why hitting delete doesn’t help
Data on a hard drive works like a book with an index page. Every time data is written, it pops a quick entry into the index so when you need it again, it knows where to look. The index is used for files you create as well as system files you can’t even see. Sensible, right? Except if you delete a file it’s more like changing the index to say nothing is on page 10 and you can write something else there when you’re ready. But if you manually flip to page 10, you’ll find the information is still there - the file still exists until it’s been written over - it’s the index reference that got deleted.
Wiping data before disposal
There are software tools you can get to do it yourself, as well as dedicated security firms, but your best option is to choose an IT business you know and trust. With that in mind, a methodical approach is required to ensure not a single drive is left untreated. You don’t want to leave data behind, or even clues that a motivated person could extrapolate any private information from. The approach might include using checklists to maintain security, or dedicated processes to guide each step in decommissioning. Careful records should also be kept, including who signs off on completion of the retirement, and where the computers are sent afterwards. A proper inventory and auditing process may slow the rollout of the new computers slightly, but it’s always better than having your old data come back to haunt you.
We can migrate any needed data, backup the information to your server or external drive, then wipe or destroy the hard drives for you. We can assess the age of your old computers and either dispose of them for you or point you in the right direction of computer recyclers. Plus, the quicker you dispose of your old computers, the easier the process will be. Recyclers will be able to send less of your equipment to landfill, and you’ll be less likely to forget how valuable the drive contents are.
Upgrading your business computers should be a happy time for you and your employees, so with a little forward planning, you’ll be able to keep everyone smiling and all your data secure.
Need help with your old business hardware? Call us today at 614-233-1648!
Every 40 seconds a company gets hit with ransomware and 58% of those ransomware attacks are on small businesses. Check out this video to learn three simple steps you can take to keep your business safe from cyber criminals.
Putting the pieces together after a cyber security breach is costly and time consuming for your business. We want to save you the hassle! We're currently offering a FREE Cyber Security Risk Assessment for your business. There is no cost to you or obligation at all.
Sign up here and we'll get your assessment started!
We are very excited to announce some upcoming changes at Nice Guy Technology! For the past six years we’ve been proudly serving the technology needs of both residential customers and small business clients throughout the Columbus area. As our business has grown, we’ve found it more difficult to keep repair times short and devote enough time to each of you.
We’ve discovered that we are at our best when taking care of our small business clients, and have decided to make this our singular focus moving forward. By dedicating ourselves to serving one group, we can better serve our small business clients through increased remote and onsite support availability and faster response times.
In fact, to better meet the technology needs of our small business clients with multiple computers, we are developing new remote monitoring and management plans with comprehensive support built right in. New options include unlimited remote support, and even unlimited onsite support, all for a predictable monthly cost. This will help us provide you with our true vision as "your tech support department", as well as reduce unpredictable monthly costs due to unexpected support needs.
We will be releasing more information about these plans shortly, but wanted to let you know now about our exciting, new small business focus.
We'll be in touch soon!
Mason & Mary
Decisions can be difficult. Finding your focus can be difficult. For the past three years Nice Guy Technology has been supporting individuals and small businesses with computer repair and technical support. We’ve loved every minute of it and tried to give 100% to all of our wonderful customers! My dad (Mary speaking here) used to affectionately call me a “jack of all trades, master of none”. He used that phrase to help me understand that while I love doing all sorts of things, sometimes it’s even better to hone in on one thing and be really amazing at it.
One thing Mason and I completely agree on (if you know us well at all, you know that’s rare) is that Nice Guy Technology would always do quality work and provide the best customer service. As our business has grown, we’ve found it more difficult to keep repair times short and devote enough time to each of our customers. So, it’s time for us to do the difficult things… make a decision and choose a focus.
As a company, we’ve discovered that we are at our best when taking care of our small business customers. Therefore, we have decided to make this our singular focus moving forward. Throughout this transition, we want to be sure that all of our amazing residential customers are well cared for. In fact, we’ve done the research and found some great, local tech professionals that we’d be happy to recommend for your future computer repair and tech support needs.
Also, please be assured that we’re not going anywhere. If you have questions about work we’ve done for you, or need help with manufacturer hardware warranties, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
Mason & Mary
I'm browsing the internet, minding my own business when a window pops up telling me that my computer is infected. A million thoughts run through my mind. Is this real? Am I truly infected? If I pay the fee will everything be fixed? What is ransomeware anyway?
When in doubt, check it out. If you ever see a strange or threatening pop-up message, give us a call. We're happy to help!
Check out this short video message from Mason (Mr. Nice Guy himself) explaining ransomware and how protect yourself.
Check out our Computer Protection Plans for easy ways to stay up to date, backed up and protected from malware.
Just when we thought spam could only be found in emails and on grocery store shelves, it hits us in the calendar! It's super annoying but harmless enough.
Apple is working on a fix but as of today it hasn't yet been pushed out. In the meantime, if you've gotten some suspiciously strange calendar notifications, we've got a quick video showing you how to get rid of them.
If you have the kind of Spam that you picked up at the grocery store, there's not much we can do to help. ;)