About Adam

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Adam has created 318 blog entries.

What to Do When You Get a Renewal Notice

What to Do When You Get a Renewal Noticerenewal notice

Your business relies on any number of service providers. You’re likely contracting for domain names, website hosting, data backup, software licenses, to name just a few. And that’s only your online presence! So, when a renewal notice comes in, you might just forward it on or file it away for future reference. Here’s what you should be doing instead.

First, when you get a renewal notice, you should confirm that it’s legitimate. This is especially true of domain names. Your business’s domain name and expiration date are publicly available. Anyone could look them up and send you an invoice. Scammers do. They monitor expiring domain names and then send out emails or convincing physical notices telling you it’s time to renew. They are not doing this as a civic service!

Instead, they will be trying to get you to switch your domain services to a competitor or, worse, hoping you’ll pay your renewal fee to their account, which has no connection to your domain.

  • Look out for the following indicators that the notice is a fraud:
  • The price is much more than you’d expect.
  • The deadline is within seven days.
  • You don’t know the business name.
  • This business has never contacted you before.
  • The notice requires you to send a check.

Handling Authentic Renewal Notices

Once you’ve determined the authenticity of the renewal notice, you’ll want to take stock. Putting your licenses or other online services on auto-renewal plans can be easier, but it may not be cost effective. Before re-upping your plan consider:

  • Are you still using this service?
  • Do you really still need it?
  • Do your current needs meet your current plan?
  • Should you upgrade or downsize?

You might also contact your provider directly and ask:

  • Is there a better product available now?
  • Are you eligible for a loyalty discount?

The company you’re dealing with wants to keep your business (hence, the renewal notice). That can give you some leverage in negotiating what you are paying or what service you are getting. You could treat an annual renewal notice as an opportunity to renegotiate terms. It’s not always going to work, but it can be worth a phone call as you try to keep business expenses under control.

Finally, you should pay attention to any deadlines on the renewal notification. Some are sent months in advance. That seems so helpful, but if you put it away to deal with later, before you know it you’ve missed an important date and the service is stopped.

You should always get a renewal notice for something like a domain name. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) requires companies to send reminders approximately one month and one week before your domain name expires.

Don’t leave your renewal to the last minute. With expired domain names, for instance, you can lose your website or email will stop working! Options and fees for renewing domain names, including expired ones, are going to vary, so be sure you know what your subscription involves.

Also, there are bad actors out there who monitor domain expirations to buy them up at bargain prices. Then, when you notice the subscription has lapsed, you have to pay a king’s ransom to get the Web address back. Yes, it can happen to you. In fact, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) handled a record 3,074 cyber-squatting disputes last year.

Avoid being overwhelmed by all the subscriptions and service plans your business relies upon. A managed service provider (MSP) monitors your license and domain expiration dates to ensure your business is current. At the same time, the MSP has the expertise needed to determine what plans best suit your business needs.

Give us a call at 319-227-7000 to enjoy the peace of mind a managed service provider brings!

2019-08-01T16:10:49-05:00August 13th, 2019|Managed Services|0 Comments

5 Common Computer Myths Debunked

5 Common Computer Myths Debunkedcomputer myths

Common urban myths would have us believe alligators live in sewers or people put razor blades in kids’ candy. Common misconceptions about computers are just as persistent. Here are several IT myths debunked for your benefit.

#1 A slow-running computer has a virus

A virus can be to blame. Spyware or other malware can also cause a computer to slow down. However, there are also many other reasons your computer might run slower:

  • You may have a lot of programs that start up when you boot up the computer. You could remove or disable programs that start every time.
  • The computer has gone into power save mode every night, but you haven’t rebooted the computer in a long time.
  • There are many programs running in the background. On a Windows PC, you can go into task manager and see what is running and the computer resources in use.
  • A security utility is running. If it’s an antivirus scanner, let the scan finish first, then see if your computer speed improves.
  • Temporary files or other junk are taking up too much hard drive space. Your computer needs at least 200 – 500MB of free space on the hard drive to be able to move and manage files.
  • Your computer doesn’t have enough RAM to run programs within memory. If your computer has to swap information on the hard drive to get enough memory to run programs, it’s going to work slower.
  • The computer is old. You may need to upgrade to a computer that can handle current software needs without slowing to a snail’s pace.

#2 Macs don’t get viruses

Many Apple owners believe their Macintosh computers are immune to viruses. If only. Macs do get viruses; they are simply targeted less than PCs. Why? There are many more computers running Windows, which means a bigger, easier target for cyber-criminals.

As Apple’s market share rises, the threat to Macs is growing. Apple works to protect its users from malware, but you still need to use caution with downloads and when clicking on links from unknown sources.

#3 My Windows registry needs cleaning up

Registry cleaning companies will say that scanning your Windows registry can speed up the computer and avoid error messages. The cleaner finds unused registry keys and any malware remnants for removal.

But let’s consider the fact that Microsoft has not released its own registry cleaner. Why not? Because it’s really not necessary. Worse still, going in to clean your registry (when you don’t know what you’re doing) can actually do serious damage.

#4 My laptop battery needs to be dead before I recharge if I want it to last longer

This was once true. Nickel-cadmium batteries suffered from what was called a “memory effect.” If discharged and recharged to the same point several times, they would remember that point in the future and not go further.

Now, however, laptops typically come with lithium-ion (or Li-ion) batteries. They don’t suffer from this memory effect. In fact, they function better with partial discharge instead of letting the battery run down to zero.

#5 I don’t have anything hackers would want

Cyber-security should be a priority for everyone, not only sprawling enterprises. Let’s put it this way:

  • Do you have any money?
  • Do you have an identity cyber-criminals could use to access money or sell for money?
  • Do you work anywhere?

Hackers have all kinds of ways to profit from your data or from hijacking your computer’s processing power. They can turn your computer into part of a bot network or use your information as a bridge into a business target’s system.

Keep all your computers at top speed with the best security measures in place with the help of our experts. Contact us today at 319-227-7000!

2019-07-25T10:21:32-05:00August 13th, 2019|Computer Repair|0 Comments

How to Destroy Data Properly

How to Destroy Data Properlydestroy data properly

When we accidentally delete something, it feels like the end of the world. If a client file or new presentation is deleted, you may have to start again. Oh no! Yet deleting files is not as permanent as you may think. When it comes to destroying data properly, you’ll want to take a more thorough approach.

Deleting items, or “trashing” them, doesn’t permanently remove them from computer memory. While the data is still stored on your device’s hard disk, it’s possible someone could restore that deleted data.

Data does reach a point at which it’s no longer useful, and you are no longer required to maintain it. Nevertheless, it may still be valuable to cyber-criminals. Bad actors can use names, addresses, credit card numbers, banking accounts, or health data. You need a policy to destroy paper records, magnetic media, hard drives, and any other storage media.

Your obligation to protect customer and staff information extends to properly destroying all identifying data. Installing a new operating system isn’t going to do it. Encryption doesn’t do the job if the cyber-criminal can figure out the password.

Some industries require you to prove you have correctly destroyed all data. Even if you have no compliance standards to meet, carefully dispose of any computer-related device. Whenever you are recycling, discarding, or donating an old computer, disk drive, USB stick, or mobile device, make sure the data is already properly deleted or destroyed. Otherwise, criminals could get their hands on confidential business information.

Fully, Safely Destroying Your Data

So, what do we mean by “properly” destroyed? You know about shredding paper documents. You can actually do the same with some devices. You might send the computer or device to a company with a mega-shredder. When compliance matters, keep a record of the chain of custody of the data throughout the process.

Overwriting the data, often called zeroing, is another solution. No data is properly deleted until it’s written over – that’s where the information is hidden under layers of nonsensical data and cannot be retrieved through disk or file recovery utilities. Think of this as writing three new books over the top of the pages of an erased book rather than just ripping the pages out.

With magnetic devices, you can neutralize the magnetism (degaussing) to break down the data. This scrambles up the data beyond recovery. A strong degausser will turn the device into a shiny metallic paper weight. An ultraviolet erase could be necessary for some erasable programmable memory. You might also need to perform a full chip erase.

If you’re really committed to destroying data, physically destroy the device. There’s the shredding solution, or you might actually pay to have the device smelted or pulverized.

Other Components to Destroy with Data

Don’t forget proper disposal of printers, too. Run several pages of unimportant information (maybe a font test) before destroying a laser printer. With an impact printer (if you still have one!), you’d want to destroy all ribbons, too.

One last element you might think about? Business monitors. You’ve probably seen a computer screen with information burned onto it. Before donating or recycling a monitor, inspect the screen surface and destroy the cathode ray tube.

Now, that’s what we call being thorough about properly destroying data. Need help with proper disposal of computer data or equipment?

We can help. Contact our experts today at 319-227-7000!

2019-07-25T10:04:35-05:00August 6th, 2019|Security|0 Comments

Why Computer Repair Is Best Left to Experts

Why Computer Repair Is Best Left to Experts

Many of us have one solution to try when something goes wrong with our computers: turn it off and back on again. When that doesn’t work, we panic: “How am I supposed to do anything?” People often turn to a friend or family member for help in the moment. But computer repair is better left to experts.

Calling tech support (if that’s an option) can be time-consuming and frustrating. So, people turn to the nearest teenager or that cousin with all the latest technological gadgets. Think of it this way, though: Driving a car doesn’t mean you can fix one. Having a lot of cars doesn’t show the owner knows what to do when one of those vehicles breaks down.

Consider the investment you’ve made in your computer. Now, ask yourself: when was the last time I backed up? Please, say recently! If not, think about the value of the content you might lose if the computer is not handled with care.

When a computer expert sets out to investigate the problem, they do so with utmost caution. Before doing anything, they’ll know to make a clone of your hard drive. Then, in identifying and solving the problem, they know what is safe to try. They also know what actions to avoid.

The Price of Amateur Fixes

Your family/friend tech support might turn to the internet for help. Sure, Google and YouTube will provide some answers, but context matters. Will your oh-so-helpful friend know which answers are relevant to your situation? Trying different things can be dangerous if the approach isn’t suited to the problem.

Ask any computer repair expert. They’ll have stories to tell about computers “fixed” by amateurs who made the problem worse. They may even have lost data along the way.

Just as you wouldn’t turn to the Web to diagnose cancer, don’t trust just anyone with the health of your computer. Computer repair may look simple, but expert decision-making determines the best solution.

As with most jobs, computer experts draw upon specialized training and hands-on experience. They’re also up on the latest threats, technologies, and solutions. This helps them to diagnose the problem more quickly. They can go in and fix the problem right away, because they’ve seen it before read about the problem. Or perhaps they have colleagues who have done something like this before, or they’ve researched the technology to identify different options. Can your Aunt Sue or friend Frank say the same thing?

Think also of your typical answer when someone asks you for help. You’re human. You want to help, even if you don’t actually know that much about the problem. So, when you ask a family member, they’re likely to say, “sure.” Even when they should be saying, “I don’t know how to fix that.”

When friends admit the repair is beyond them, you’ve already wasted time letting them take a crack at it. Worse, they may actually break your computer or lose important files. You have to go to the experts now for that new part or in the hope of retrieving the data. Meanwhile, you’re not feeling so friendly towards the person who created the new problem, are you? They may also feel annoyed that you didn’t pay them for their services.

Don’t jeopardize your relationships, and avoid doing more damage to your computer. Bypass the friend/family tech support solution and turn to the professionals first.

Fixing a computer isn’t always simple. Get expert help to preserve as much data as you can, and avoid expensive replacements as long as possible.

Have computer problems? We can help. We do computer repairs for a living! And our experts are friendly, too.

Call us at 319-227-7000.

2019-07-02T12:14:24-05:00July 30th, 2019|Computer Repair|0 Comments

Time for What Matters: Essential Windows Shortcuts

Time for What Matters: Essential Windows ShortcutsEssential Windows Shortcuts

The average person spends 90,000 hours at work. These hours can cost us sleep, affect our mood, and cause us to gain weight. Oh, and work can cause stress, too. We can’t give you a “get out of work free” card, but these essential Windows shortcuts will help you save time.

By gaining efficiency at your computer, you may find you have more time for what matters. At work, this may be devising new innovations or getting out in the field. At home, these shortcuts can free up time to play a board game with the kids or do some gardening with Grandma.

Ctrl + X to Cut

Think about X marking the spot in the text where you want to cut words, an image, or a URL. Drag your cursor over the selection to highlight the particular text/table/image/file (or a part of it). If you don’t want it at all, the cut function is another version of delete. If you want to move the selection, this is your first step.

Ctrl + V to Paste

With this simple shortcut you can place the information you just cut (or copied using Ctrl + C) anywhere you want. The important thing to remember is that the paste function only holds one selection in memory. So, if you cut a phrase from one place, don’t get distracted by an image you want to copy or other text to cut. You want to paste what you have first, then go back and copy or cut the next thing so as not to risk risking losing anything.

Ctrl + Z to Undo

If only this shortcut was available in real life. We could retract that thing we inadvertently said to Uncle Steve, or take out the salt we put in a recipe instead of sugar, or avoid leaving the house for the gym without our running shoes.

Still, Windows users are able to undo their most recent action with this key combination. Whichever Windows program you’re in, you can use Ctrl + Z to reverse your last action. To redo something, go with Ctrl + Y.

Alt then Tab to Switch Screens

There are many things you can do with Windows. Perhaps you’re multitasking: you have a PowerPoint open, as well as an Excel spreadsheet, and Internet Explorer, too. By pressing Alt and then the Tab key, you can switch between tabs or screens. If you hold down the Alt button while tapping Tab, you’ll scroll through all screens.

Ctrl + N to open a new window

Pressing Ctrl+N together opens up a new document file or browser window, depending on the program you’re in. It saves you a few drop-down menus and works in most Windows applications and Web browsers.

Ctrl + F to Find

This is another one we’d love to see in the real world. Using the find shortcut calls up a pop-up box where you can enter text or numbers. You can use this shortcut to find what you’re looking for on a Web page, in a PDF document, or in your rough draft of a speech. In fact, you’ll be able to see how many times your search text appears and toggle from one selection to the next.

Ctrl + Mouse to Zoom

Forget your reading glasses? Looking at a too-small info-graphic? Having a tough time locating the right tiny file on your desktop? You can zoom in with this shortcut. Using this shortcut on your desktop makes files and folders larger. In your browser, this function zooms in on the page.

Want to know more about Windows and technology to streamline processes? Our experts can help you find the right computer solutions for your home or office.

Contact us at 319-227-7000 today!

2019-07-02T12:05:20-05:00July 23rd, 2019|Windows 10|0 Comments

Handle with Care: Sending Data Securely

Handle with Care: Sending Data SecurelySending Data Securely

In our digital economy, we send and receive information quickly online. The Internet offers immediate communication with colleagues, clients, vendors, and other strategic partners. Yet we shouldn’t prioritize convenience over data security.

What data do you send in a day’s worth of emails? Sensitive data you send might include:

  • personally identifiable information (PII);
  • credit card or payment card information;
  • attorney-client privileged information;
  • IT security information;
  • protected health information;
  • human subject research;
  • loan or job application data;
  • proprietary business knowledge.

The problem is people sending without thinking about the security of the transmission. One way to gauge the need for security is to consider how you might send that same information via the postal service. Would you put that data on a postcard that anyone could read? Or would you send a sealed, certified mailing and require the recipient’s signature?

Transmitting data on the Internet in plain text is like the postcard – anyone can read the information. And before you think that no one can actually see your data in transit, think about where you are sending from. Your office network may be password protected and secure, but what if someone waiting for their coffee at Starbucks opens the message using the free Wi-Fi network?

Anyone can intercept communications on open networks with the right tools. This type of cyber-attack is common enough to merit its own name: a “man-in-the-middle” attack.

So, how can you stay safe when sending sensitive data?

Embrace encryption. Encrypting the data is like sending that sensitive information in a locked box. Encryption encodes the information to add a level of security. If encrypted data is intercepted, the scrambled data is unreadable by unauthorized users. Only a user with the correct decryption key can access the text.

Encryption also provides additional confirmation that the information is coming from a reliable source.

Your business should also require Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) for sending and receiving large or numerous digital files. You may have heard of FTP, but this file transfer protocol is not encrypted. SFTP is the secure version of FTP, as it encrypts the files in transit. If a nefarious entity does intercept the files, it won’t be able to read them without the decryption key.

Specifically, encourage your employees to:

  • use encrypted email only (common providers such as Gmail and Outlook support it; others require third-party apps or services);
  • encrypt files before sending to the cloud (in case accounts are breached or services hacked);
  • never open business communications on unsecured Wi-Fi networks;
  • keep good track of laptops and other portable devices and use drive encryption in case – with encryption, a lost laptop or stolen thumb drive is more secure, and criminals will have a difficult time stealing sensitive information, too;
  • control data access – grant permission to view, edit, or send files with sensitive information only to users who need that data for their jobs.

Managed service providers help your business decrypt how to send its sensitive information. Turn to experts in cloud services and IT security to learn how to securely send and receive data.

Contact us today at 319-227-7000!

2019-07-02T12:00:24-05:00July 16th, 2019|Security|0 Comments

Do Macs Get Viruses?

Do Macs Get Viruses?Do Macs Get Viruses

Many Apple owners believe their Macintosh computers are immune to viruses. Apple itself has run ad campaigns promising its computers “don’t get viruses”. And those who have owned a Mac for years, decades even, are particularly prone to believing. After all, nothing’s happened to them yet. Regrettably, Macs do get viruses, and the threat is growing.

For a long time the argument was that cyber-criminals didn’t bother to develop Mac viruses. There weren’t enough users to justify the effort. Instead, they’d focus on the lower hanging fruit – PCs running Windows.

Yet Apple’s market share is on the rise, and it’s increasingly common to see Macs in the workplace, especially in creative industries. Plus, there’s a widespread assumption that Mac users are a smart target as they are likely to be better off. So, while Macs remain harder to infect (installing most software requires a password), there’s often a greater payoff.

The research reflects the reality. In 2017, for instance, the iPhone OS and Mac OS X placed #3 and #6 in CVE Details’ top 50 ranked by total number of distinct vulnerabilities. Apple TV and Safari also made the list at #17 and #18, respectively. In 2017, Malwarebytes also reported it “saw more Mac malware in 2017 than in any previous year”. By the end of 2017, the cyber-security firm had counted 270% more unique threats on the Mac platform than in 2016.

Finding Apple’s Weak Spots

It’s obvious then that bad actors are no longer steering clear. They are actively looking for ways to exploit Macs.

A common approach is to use Trojans. Named after a gift wooden horse that hid an army, Trojans look like something you would want to install. So, Mac users happily enter their passwords to download that application and open the gates to the cyber-criminal.

In 2011, for instance, a Trojan called “Mac Defender” took advantage of people’s desire to protect their computers. The fake program appeared to be anti-virus software. Once the users installed it, they’d get an onslaught of pop-up ads encouraging them to buy more fake software.

Trojans get through the gates because you let your guard down. You are taken in by that supposed note from a long-lost friend. You think you want to see that pic of that famous celebrity. All it takes to stop this type of attack is suspicion of everything you might install or download.

A business would want to educate its employees about the importance of:

  • clicking on emails with care;
  • validating the source of any files they plan to open;
  • checking a website’s URL (being especially wary of those with less common endings such as .cc or .co);
  • questioning any promises of Ray-Ban sunglasses for 90% off or the latest iPhone for $29.99.

A new threat comes from within the Mac App Store, according to Thomas Reed, a Mac security researcher. When a user tries to install an app on a Mac, a Mac OS program called Gatekeeper checks the file’s code signature. The signature helps certify the app is valid. However, Reed found that cyber-criminals could buy a legitimate certificate from Apple, or steal one and trick users. Users would install masked malware that could infect legitimate programs and evade detection.

Key Takeaway

Apple is always working to protect its users from malware. It has measures in place, and user caution can make a big difference, too. Still, it’s not true that Macs are completely safe.

Find out what you can do to protect your Macs and guard against threats. Partner with a managed services provider to gauge your security levels.

Call us today at 319-227-7000!

2019-07-02T11:24:49-05:00July 2nd, 2019|Security|0 Comments

Tech Tips for a Thriving Business

Tech Tips for a Thriving BusinessTech Tips for a Thriving Business

Maybe you started your business in a basement or home office. It was just you at the beginning. Then, your service or product gained traction. The number of staff grew, and you moved into an office. It’s amazing how far you’ve come. Better still, your business continues to grow. It may be time to consider some of these tech tips to help your thriving business.

#1 Upgrade to Business-Grade Cloud Services

Perhaps you’ve been relying on free software from Gmail, Outlook, or Dropbox. Who can argue with free email, calendars, collaboration and file storage right? Well, it may be time to upgrade to the business versions of the software your team relies upon.

Move from Gmail to Google Apps, or Outlook to Office 365, or Dropbox to Dropbox Business, or OneDrive to SharePoint. For a small monthly fee, you gain business-grade features.

Office 365 offers business email, video and voice conferencing, secure team messaging, shared calendars, 50GB cloud storage and document, spreadsheet and presentation creation. Plus, you gain greater security and administration controls. Right now, a disgruntled employee could refuse to give up control of a business account.

You’d be out of luck. With Office 365, your business would control all accounts and could simply reset the password.

Or SharePoint Online provides added storage space and user activity and sharing auditing. File version history makes recovery easier. A remote wipe feature protects files on a stolen device.

#2 Revise your backup strategy

A consumer grade backup setup was enough when you were only dealing with one computer. Now that you have many computers, it’s worth enhancing your backup strategy.

With 3-2-1 backup, your business has a minimum of three backups. Two would be onsite (but separate from one another) and the other offsite. We recommend the cloud. Having your backups in a unified location helps efficient recovery if disaster strikes. With cloud backup, your data is encrypted for storage in the cloud. You can set parameters for how often data is backed up and confirm that it is backing up correctly. Then, if something does go wrong, you can access essential data from anywhere, anytime via the cloud.

It’s also important to know that you need to backup your email, calendar, contacts, cloud based files, etc. Microsoft, Google and other providers are not responsible for your data.

#3 Consider Cloud-based Accounting Services

Traditional small business accounting software requires a large database on the desktop computer. As more people need access to the database, the problems start. With multiple people accessing the accounting software:

  • The network can slow when people try to access it remotely
  • Changes can’t be made while someone else is in database
  • Data can get mismatched depending on who has the “newest” version

Cloud-based accounting packages address these challenges. With online accounting software, it’s easy for your business to scale. Business owners can connect to the data from any device with an Internet connection. Plus, in the event of a disaster, productivity won’t suffer as the information is safe and secure on the cloud.

#4 Outsource your IT

Your expanding technology allows you and your staff to do more than ever before. Great. But it also takes extra resources to monitor, manage, and secure it all. By outsourcing IT to a local company, your business gains IT expertise. Meanwhile, your in-house team can focus its efforts on driving growth.

Outsourcing IT also provides long-term cost savings by reducing downtime, cutting infrastructure and staff costs, and improving security to avoid costly cyber-attacks.

Keep your business growth in check with an eye out for value-adding initiatives.

Want to know more about the benefits of any of these tech tips? Give us a call at 319-227-7000.

2019-05-27T01:55:12-05:00June 25th, 2019|Cloud Services, Managed Services|0 Comments

Are You Sick of Ongoing IT Issues?

Are You Sick of Ongoing IT Issues?Ongoing IT Issues

Like a persistent cough or muscle strain that won’t go away, many IT issues prove ongoing. Every time they come back you think about getting an expert’s opinion. Then, the cough fades, you can walk freely again, or your computers are back up and running. You keep on going. Until the next time. If you’re sick of ongoing issues with your IT, look to a Managed Service Provider (MSP) for help.

There are many IT ailments that can negatively impact your ability to do work. Let’s consider some of the particularly common ones, and why an MSP is the right prescription.

#1 Network and Internet issues.

Business is done online these days. Not being able to connect to the network and slow connections are frustrating. Without the Internet, how can you do your job? You can’t even check and send emails! Let alone access team documents or enter data into cloud-based accounting software. A lagging network also slows down application and data loading time. It may only be a few moments of thumb twiddling. But add that up over several times a day and multiply by employees. You’re looking at a decrease in productivity that adds up.

An MSP has the know-how to survey the IT environment for what’s causing these frustrations. When there’s a problem, they’re at the ready to resolve it and help improve reliability.

#2 Repeated malware infections.

This can mean a couple of things. First, you don’t have effective system and application protections in place. These attacks shouldn’t be able to make it through the door in the first place. With the right firewalls, anti-spam, and protections, you should be able to keep your system on lock down. You don’t have to do this yourself. Gain expert knowledge with an MSP reviewing your security protocols to keep the bad guys at bay.

Secondly, educate employees about the dangers of social engineering. Don’t let them keep falling for the pretexts and downloading malicious files. Also, ensure passwords are strong enough to avoid adding another point of entry.

#3 Printing problems.

Many businesses are printing less today, but we’re not done with hard copies entirely. So, when a printer starts whirring, spinning endlessly, or can’t connect, efficiency halts. Know that printers sold at big box stores are consumer grade quality. Avoid printer frustrations with solid business-class printers (which your MSP can identify).

#4 Application overload.

Maybe some of your employees prefer Dropbox. Others rely on their free Gmail accounts. This hodgepodge of options can cause chaos. Staff have difficulty remembering the passwords to all of the accounts they need. So, they simplify, and that makes their accounts more hackable.

Upgrading to business-grade versions of important applications is easier with an MSP. They’ll help identify the software that best addresses your business needs.

#5 Aging technology.

You’ve had your current computers for ages. They are slower than you’d like (on average, computers that are 3+ years old are 50% slower than new), but you don’t have the time to look for something else. Plus, you can’t imagine having to learn something new. You’re too busy. But aging tech is more likely to fail, which could prove catastrophic if you don’t have the right backup in place.

MSPs know IT. Based on your individual business needs, they can suggest a plan of attack to update the IT and keep it secure. They can also provide backup strategies to prepare for the worst and recover quickly.

Basically, a managed service provider has your back when it comes to IT. Work with experts who focus on technology day in and day out. You’ll typically save money and gain time to spend innovating in your field.

Gain a competitive advantage with the support of an MSP. Give us a call at 319-227-7000 today!

2019-05-27T01:21:01-05:00June 25th, 2019|Managed Services|0 Comments

Why Your Small Business Needs VoIP

Why Your Small Business Needs VoIPWhy Your Small Business Needs VoIP

Why would a small business need VoIP? It’s not just another acronym to learn, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) offers many advantages for small business. Especially SMBs that want to run with the enterprise-sized companies.

Basically, VoIP turns voice conversation into data packets sent between the two network points. Don’t worry, the person you’re calling doesn’t need to be on VoIP. The technology turns the data back into analog at the receiving end if needed.

If you’ve been on Skype, you’ve experienced VoIP. With VoIP you use your broadband Internet connection to make and receive calls. Bypassing traditional or mobile phones, VoIP users avoid long-distance or extra minute charges.

Beyond long distance savings, VoIP setups often include features such as voicemail and call forwarding, at no extra charge. Other useful features could include call forwarding, voicemail transcription, and call recording.

Plus, there’s cost savings from reducing and consolidating communications infrastructure. Streamlining voice, data, and broadband services with one provider can cut costs. With VoIP, you can also reduce your investment in setting up and maintaining traditional communications.

VoIP Enables Flexibility

Mobility is another big reason to move to VoIP. Downloading the business VoIP application turns any Internet-connected device into a VoIP phone. Business users can take their business phone number anywhere – even if they are in another country.

Calls can be forwarded from office phones to the individual’s device of choice. Really, users don’t even need a phone as they can make and receive calls from laptops or desktop computers too. VoIP definitely supports “bring your own device” workplace flexibility, which employees appreciate.

Along with flexibility, a VoIP platform is scalable. VoIP is easy to install as there’s little to no physical hardware to set up. As your business grows, your business can quickly expand the number of users. No more waiting for the telephone company to come out and add additional lines.

Plus, seasonal businesses can add or subtract lines as needed with little to no added cost.

Doing away with telephone hardware frees up space and means fewer maintenance concerns. Working with a VoIP provider, you also gain expert support and confidence your communication tech is up to date.

What About Quality, Security?

A common concern when businesses hear about VoIP is call quality. VoIP needs a good Internet connection to work well, so making sure you have high bandwidth can help. Still, when you don’t have to worry about competing traffic, the quality of a VoIP call can surpass an analog one.

Security is another concern. A VoIP business communications solution can be on-premises or cloud-based. When running VoIP over your private network, the data is as secure as any other application running on your business system. Also, most VoIP service providers encrypt calls.

Analytics Benefit of VoIP

With a VoIP solution, you gain access to more reporting and business analytics. For instance, some VoIP systems integrate with customer relationship management software (CRM) for better data and caller insights.

VoIP call monitoring, recording, and reporting capabilities are also helpful. You can drive better employee training, help identify security threats, and ensure compliance.

VoIP provides cost savings, flexibility, and operations transparency. With this technology as your business backbone, you can focus on revenue and growth.

There are many reasons to implement VoIP. Give us a call at 319-227-7000 on your traditional land line or mobile phone.

Let’s talk about giving your small business an enterprise-level communications system with VoIP.

2019-05-27T00:49:59-05:00June 18th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments