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Data Security. How do you look at it?

There are so many different ways to backup data, but is your data secure?  That is the real question here.  And beyond that, how fast can I get my data back in the event of a disaster?  It’s best to not just look at this from the data backup perspective, but from the recovery perspective.  Let’s start here.  In the event of a total catastrophe…say a hurricane knocks down your building, how fast would you need that data back to get your business up and running?  And do you just need that data, or do you need the programs that make all of your data work?  Your invoicing system?  Your parts management system?  Your accounting system?  Dispatching software?  It’s much deeper than just backing up those loose files.  Every minute that you are down is costing your a lot of money.  So always start by asking this question:  If my server goes down, how fast do i need that entire server back up and running?  How does 30 minutes sound?  We can do that!

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Disaster Recovery vs. Data Backup

My Data Is Backed Up, So I Can Recover It Fast, Right?
WRONG!

Here’s a big (and scary) misconception you might have about your data backups: backing up your data guarantees a fast recovery. It does NOT! In short, data backup is nothing more than copying files. There are a number of ways data can be backed up, both manually and automatically—and you don’t need to know all the technical ins and outs of them. But what you DO need to know is whether your current backup is set up in a way that would allow for the fastest possible recovery time in the event of a disaster or data-erasing event. You might be shocked to find out it’s not as fast and easy as you’d like to think.

Disaster Recovery Vs. Data Backup

Let’s start by defining what “disaster recovery” is. Disaster recovery is the process by which you will RECOVER the functionality of your data, software programs, devices and business operations in the event of a “disaster.” A disaster can be as simple as a server crashing or a more catastrophic event such as a tornado. But here’s the real kicker: MOST data loss is not due to a natural disaster such as a flood, hurricane, tornado, etc. Most data is lost because of simple human error, such as employees accidentally deleting files, faulty hardware or even a virus or hacker attack that brings down your entire network.

Because most businesses believe “that could never happen to me,” they are caught completely off guard when there’s a major outage or files get deleted or corrupted beyond recovery. They THINK because they have things “backed up” they can instantly get those files back and start working again. Not so.

Here’s a perfect analogy: Let’s suppose you could back up all the personal items you have in your house—your clothes, furniture, valuables, etc., and somehow maintain a copy of everything in a warehouse 1,000 miles away from your current residence. Now let’s suppose (and God forbid) your house burns down, destroying everything with it. You’d be relieved that you had a copy of everything somewhere else, so it’s not a total loss (which, by the way, is why your backups need to be OFF-SITE, not on devices in your office).

But here’s the problem: If your house burned down, you might have a copy of everything you own, but you no longer have a place to put it. So, for starters, you have to rebuild the house. Next you have the project of getting everything out of that storage unit into your NEW house. Then you have to rearrange everything. This is exactly how most backup systems work UNLESS you are running “image” backups. An image will allow you to restore your server, PC, device, etc., FAST because you’re not backing up single items but, instead, the ENTIRE HOUSE.

Posted in: Tech Tips for Business Owners, Tech Tips for Everyone

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Should You Let Your Employees Use Personal Devices For Work?

BYOD, or “bring your own device,” is one of the fastest-growing trends for all businesses. With almost all applications moving to the cloud, it’s no longer necessary to have a traditional network with laptops and PC connected. But is it a GOOD idea to give employees that freedom? Here are some pros and cons about employees using their own laptops, tablets, and smartphones for work.

The pros of BYOD:
• You save money because you no longer have to purchase new hardware when you hire someone.
• Your employees will be using devices they’re comfortable using, which often makes them more productive and less frustrated when working.
• If the equipment malfunctions, the employee bears the responsibility and cost of repair. However, some employees may expect you to pay for this since they are using it for work purposes as well.

The cons of BYOD:
• What if that employees leaves? Since they own the device, they may have confidential information stored on it. How can you extract and/or erase that if you won’t have ownership of the device?
• How do you ensure security? This is the biggest downside and needs to be carefully considered. What happens when your salesperson’s six-year-old downloads a virus? What if your accounts-payable person loses their device at Starbucks? What if they’re using their device to use file-sharing sites that are riddled with viruses? If you’re a publicly held USA corporation, you’re governed by the federal Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). The Act is designed to protect against fraud by creating verifiable security controls to protect against disclosure of confidential data, and tracking of personnel to detect data tampering. If your business accepts credit card payments, you need to be compliant with the 12 regulations of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). If you’re in or you support the health-care industry, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act demands that all HIPAA-covered businesses prevent unauthorized access to “Protected Health Information” or PHI (patients’ names, addresses, and all information pertaining to patients’ health and payment records).

In our opinion, we don’t recommend mixing personal and work devices because it invites too many security and privacy issues. With viruses and online threats at an all-time high, you need to lock down and protect your company “environment” as much as possible by issuing company-owned devices, laptops and computers that are monitored and properly secured, backed up and protected

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Moving To Office 365 Or Google Apps?

Thinking About Moving To Office 365 Or Google Apps To Save Money And Get Rid Of That Server In The Closet?
Don’t Until You Read This…

While we LOVE us some cloud computing, the reality is that SOME cloud solutions are NOT ideal for everyone. The lure of cheap computing and lower IT costs are a draw, but it’s not the bargain you think it to be if everything runs as slow as continental drift, you can’t recover your data or a hacker is able to access your network.

So before you make the leap to cloud-based computing, give us a call. We can assess your computer network and the way you work to determine if all your applications, processes and systems WILL work safely, securely and efficiently in the cloud. Further, if you handle “sensitive” data such as credit cards, medical records, social security numbers, etc., we can arm you with the facts you need to know about cloud computing and data privacy and security. Of course, our goal is to recommend the safest, most effective solutions that will work the way you want without crushing your budget. So call us today to see what’s possible for YOUR organization! (856)727-9363

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Imagine a Giant Vacuum Cleaner for Smog

A 23-foot-tall tower, built in Beijing last year, sucks in smog, filters out dangerous particles and purifies surrounding air at the rate of 1 million cubic feet per hour. Carbon particles filtered from the smog are then compressed and turned into jewelry. Air around the tower is now reported to be 55% cleaner. Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde, famous for design and architecture solutions to worldwide waste and pollution problems, came up with the idea after seeing kids in Beijing playing indoors due to the area’s notorious smog. The tower’s low-energy ionization technology is borrowed from indoor air filters. A similar tower in Rotterdam, Netherlands, runs on no more electricity than a water boiler.
-Mashable.com, 01.23.17

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Is it Legal for Employers to Monitor Computer Activity?

Courts have ruled that an employer’s monitoring of its employees’ e-mails and other computer related activities during work hours and/or on company-owned equipment, Internet, and e-mail accounts is not illegal.
Companies typically monitor employees’ online usage for the following reasons:
1. To avoid claims based on sexual, racial, ethnic, and other forms of harassment.
2. To protect against an employee sending or posting confidential information.
3. To reduce exposure to intellectual property infringement claims.
4. To decrease the likelihood that an embarrassing message attributed to the employer will be sent.
5. To guard against computer viruses.
6. To improve productivity.
It is recommended that employers create an AUP (acceptable use policy) that outlines what is and isn’t acceptable use of electronic media and communications.

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Uber Has Added a New Destination: People

Uber has added a new destination: people. Let’s say you just flew into Phoenix and you want to meet a friend there for drinks before heading to your hotel. It used to be that you’d ask them, “Where are you? … Where’s that again?” then try to quickly type in the address before you forgot any of the details, hoping you didn’t misspell anything. With Uber’s new “People” feature, instead of typing in your destination, you simply enter the person’s name, skipping all the back and forth. Uber then locks in their destination and directs the driver to take you there. It also sends your ETA to the person you’re going to see. Just sync your contacts with Uber before your next trip, and enjoy the ride. Mashable, 12.21.16

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Spring Clean Your Computer for Maximum Performance

With Spring in the air, now is a good time to do an annual clean up of the computers, servers and electronic equipment in your office, both inside and out.

Failure to thoroughly clean your computer at least once or twice a year will result in decreased performance and possibly even system failures. Here’s why:
• Dust clogs the computer’s cooling system causing it to heat up, damaging sensitive electronic equipment. Dust can also cause fan noise and (believe it or not) slow performance!
• Crumbs and dirt in your keyboard can cause keys to stick and crunchy sounds when typing. Plus, it’s just gross and unhealthy; do you know there are more germs on your computer keyboard than the average public toilet?
• Dust, fingerprints and dirt build-up will make your computer monitor dim and fuzzy.
But the physical “dirt” is only the beginning…
• Delete temporary files and unused programs taking up space and slowing things down.
• Defrag your hard drive (Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter).
• Get rid of clutter on your desktop by removing shortcuts and files you don’t need.
• Make sure you have the latest security patches and updates installed and configured properly.
• Check your backups and conduct an emergency “restore” of the data. Remember, the best time to check your backups is when you DON’T desperately need to recover your data!

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Outlook Email Signatures Protect You From Lawsuits

Do you hate typing your name and contact information at the end of each e-mail you create? Would you like to include legal disclaimers to help protect you and your company? Then use an Outlook “signature” to automate the insertion of this information.

Here’s how… On the Tools menu, click Options. Then click the Mail Format tab. Then click the Signatures button. Click the New… button and give your signature a name when prompted and click Next. Type the text you would like to have appear at the end of each email in the box and click Finished. That’s all there is to it. Be sure the name of the signature you just created appears in the box titled Signature For New Messages: and Signature For Replies and Forwards: and click the OK button. You can test the signature by creating a new email message. The signature you created should automatically appear at the end of your email message.

Once you have successfully created this basic e-mail signature, you can experiment with adding company logos, color and custom fonts to the signature. For more MS Office features, go to http://office.microsoft.com. For more on email disclaimers, go to http://www.emaildisclaimers.com.
Here is a template for a disclaimer message. Be sure to have your lawyer approve your disclaimer prior to use.

DISCLAIMER: This e-mail message and any attachments are intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed and may contain information which is proprietary, privileged, confidential or otherwise legally exempt from disclosure. If you are not the named addressee, you are not authorized to read, print, retain, copy or disseminate this message or any part of it. If you have received this message in error, please notify Your Name at Your Company immediately (by replying to this message or by sending an email to Your Email or by calling Your Phone Number) and permanently delete this message and any attachments. Thank you.

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