Facebook is for Sharing, Not Storing

Facebook is for Sharing, Not StoringFacebook is for Sharing

When was the last time you held an actual photo album or actual prints of photographs in your hands? Maybe you look back at older photographs only when Facebook’s TimeHop app reminds you of a pic from five years ago. If so, you may be risking your visual history.

Facebook is a great way to share photos with friends and family around the world. You get to enjoy their comments and the affirmation of their likes. But using Facebook as storage for your photos is not a good plan. Here’s why.

Some people treat Facebook as their photo album archive. They delete the originals from their devices or digital camera when they need more space. But Facebook compresses images for faster download. It satisfies impatient social media users, which means photo quality suffers. If you wanted to print those photos in the future, they wouldn’t look as good as the originals.

That’s not the only drawback. When you trust Facebook with all your photos, you’re letting a company control your visual archive. It’s hard to imagine, given Facebook’s reach today, but what happens to your photos if the company goes defunct? We don’t know. The people who were keeping their photos on Myspace in 2006 might have an idea.

The younger crowd is already moving onto other social platforms. Plus, Facebook’s growth rate in North America and Europe is slowing. Those daily active users are the primary source of revenue. So, you know Mark Zuckerberg is in some meetings about that.

Even if Facebook continues as the business behemoth it is today, we don’t know what policy changes it might make. It could change its terms of service whenever it wanted (if you even read those in the first place). Users have no guarantee for how long Facebook will store their images or any type of content.

Keep in mind also that many of the photos showing up in your timeline are actually taken by friends. Facebook provides an entire album of other people’s photos when they’ve tagged you, but if they decided to untag you or remove it, that photo would be gone.

Finally, there’s also the risk of your account getting shut down or hacked. You’ve probably had friends warn you not to accept any new friend requests from them because they’ve been compromised. You wouldn’t want a thief to steal all your photo albums. Similarly, you don’t want a cyber-criminal to gain access to all your images.

Our Recommendation

Just as with data, we recommend you have a “3-2-1” backup system for your digital photographs. This means having three copies of the photos you care about. You don’t need to back up the blurry ones if you don’t want to.

You might keep one copy on the original device, but you’d have two other copies of the high-quality, uncompressed, original image as well. One might be kept on an external storage device such as a USB thumb drive, and the other you could upload to cloud storage.

The cloud backup gives you access to the photos from any device in any location. So, if a flood, hurricane, or fire devastates your home, and you lose your device and the USB thumb drive, you still have a backup. Your Facebook photos and videos are just there to be shared with friends and family.

Not sure where or how to safely store your photos and videos? We can help!  Give us a call at 319-227-7000

2019-09-03T12:53:00-05:00|Backup|0 Comments

Protecting Your Customers and Your Business Too

Protecting Your Customers and Your Business TooProtecting Your Customers

Security and privacy are at the very top of our priorities when considering business IT. Major data leaks are in mainstream news on a near-daily basis and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of customers are impacted every time they happen. Our number one goal is to make sure our businesses are kept out of danger.

Major institutions, such as multi-national banks and credit card companies, are expected to handle your data well. Unfortunately, less secured businesses require access to our data too.

Even just booking into a hotel often requires you to leave your name, address, date of birth, passport number, and credit card details. These few pieces of information are more than enough to steal your identity, start a line of credit, and access many of your vital services. You can often only hope your chosen hotel handles your information as well as your bank does.

Securing Your Business with Smarter Thinking

There is no way to change how your favorite hotel service operates, but you can affect your own business to improve its security for your customers.

You don’t need the manpower or funding of a major banking chain to handle data securely. With simple tweaks and powerful changes, you can minimize the chances of your business suffering a data breach big enough to close your doors for good.

By stepping up IT security to meet modern threats, you can help to limit your liability, put customer’s minds at ease and give your firm a competitive advantage. Should hackers attack, the work you do today will limit the damage and help you to weather the storm.

Limit Your Data Collection

The single most important thing to consider when securing your business is how much data do you really need to hold anyway? Carefully consider the value of every piece of personal information you collect in any given transaction. Do you have a use for everything you ask for?

Emails, addresses, and contact numbers are useful for receipts and marketing, but additional data many firms collect is often useless and wasteful. Each piece of unnecessary data you hold represents additional value to hackers and thieves. While you may be unable to use your own stored data, hackers will find great value in gathering more personal information. This increases your liability without adding any extra value.

Consider Your Access Requirements

Think carefully about who has access to information within your business and precisely why they need to access it. Often security problems begin when employees have blanket privileges to access everything within the firm.

Access restrictions should be specific to the company structure. Low-level employees should be limited to only what is strictly required for their role. Managers, for example, are likely to need systems that their junior staff cannot access.

Physical access restrictions are critical too. Unattended computers and mobile devices should require a password or identity verification to log on.

Treating Data with Care

The way you treat your data in day-to-day business reflects the impact hackers or IT disaster will have on your business when it is lost. Do you know where your backups are, and when they were last tested? Firms often first know they are in trouble when they realize all their data is stored on a business laptop or device that could be easily lost or stolen. Some firms shuttle a portable hard drive between home and work.

This solution should have no place in a professional business environment. Proper data care means regular, tested backups that are secure against fire, theft, or online hacks. Protecting your customers and your business is all about the smart application of IT knowledge in a cost-effective and efficient way.

We can help you to lock down your business to protect the most valuable assets your business owns, data. Call us at 319-227-7000

2019-03-25T10:44:14-05:00|Backup, Security|0 Comments

Time Machine Preparing Backup

Time Machine Preparing Backup

We recently had a client that was having problems with Time Machine backups failing. They were getting stuck at “Preparing Backup” In this case the backups were being stored on an Apple Airport Extreme. We could access the shared folder on the AirPort Extreme and could see the backup file. This tells us that most likely the storage location isn’t an issue and we have connectivity. We tried rebooting the AirPort Extreme, which didn’t help. We also tried forgetting the backup drive in Time Machine and re-adding it, but each time we were stuck at “preparing backup”. What ended up fixing the issue was renaming the computername.sparsebundle file in the backup location (in this case on the AirPort Extreme shared folder). I then setup a new backup profile in Time Machine and after a couple minutes of clicking Run Backup Now, the backup started to run correctly. At this point we deleted the old sparsebundle file and let the backup finish. Hopefully this helps you. If you need any help with this process call us at 319-227-7000 or fill out our contact form.

 

2018-11-29T11:21:34-06:00|Backup|0 Comments

Are You Backing Up the Right Way?

Are You Backing Up the Right Way?backup

The 31st of March is World Backup day and it’s a great time to put a backup in place. Businesses are losing huge amounts of data every day, purely because ‘backing up’ is stuck at the bottom of their to-do list. So this is your reminder, that even if you only do this once a year when the calendar tells you to, it’s time to flip that to-do list and make it happen! But how? What’s the easiest, most effective way for your business to backup?

You’ve probably heard of file backup by a number of names: Cloud Sync, Cloud Backup or Cloud Storage. They’re all similar enough to be confusing and meaningless enough to be anything. Here’s what they mean and which one you need today.

Cloud Sync

OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud, etc are services that sync up with a single folder on your computer. They mirror it. When a file changes in one, the sync service rushes to change it on your computer too, so they are always the same. Cloud Sync services are hugely flexible for remote employees, or even those squeezing in a few quick tasks while riding the train to work. They’re ridiculously easy to use, require no training, and the free tiers are enough for most individuals. This all sounds amazing, right? Except…when things go wrong, they go wrong big time. Accidentally deleting a file means it disappears from the Cloud Sync drive – almost immediately. Overwriting a file does the same thing, and if an employee makes edits to the wrong file, then those edits are there to stay. If disaster strikes and your local copy becomes corrupted (or ransomed), well you guessed it, the corruption is uploaded too. While some Cloud Sync services now offer a 30 day backup option, you may not notice the file was missing within this time.

Cloud Sync services are fantastic for productivity and accessing files on the go, but they simply can’t be relied on as your backup tech.

Cloud Storage

Amazon S3, Microsoft Azure, etc are massive buildings full of storage drives that work just like your local hard drive, except you access them securely via the internet. In fact, when you use a cloud sync app like Dropbox, they’re actually sending your data to one of these locations. While the sync services have a constant back and forth connection between the storage center and your folder, and as explained above aren’t good for backup, you have another option. You can access cloud storage on a per/GB basis yourself and upload your entire backup as desired. It won’t update with changes on your local network, but it will be safe from disaster. When you need to retrieve a file, you simply login and download it.

Your backed up data is secure, protected against disaster, and always available to you. However, because it relies on you/your employee to handle the backup plan and manually take care of the uploads, this is a high-risk solution. Unless your employee is scouring your network each day/week/month for changes to files and uploading them with fervent dedication, chances are this plan won’t work. We recommend an automated or outsourced solution so you can get on with business AND be protected.

Cloud Backup

Carbonite, Backblaze backup, Crashplan, etc might not be names you’ve heard before, but they work in the background to monitor changes to files on your computer or network and make sure you’re backed up. You can roll back individual files or whole drives, and even select from earlier backups, not just one. Like sync services, they use cloud storage centers with extra-high security and redundancy so that your data is always there when you need it. Even better, neither you nor your employees need to worry about when it was last done.

The One You Need

Let’s take a moment to talk planning. We recommend starting with the 3-2-1 strategy. This means having 3 copies in total, 2 of them locally such as on your computer and an external drive, and another offsite in the cloud. Using this strategy keeps your business operating when data disasters occur and is an investment in your uptime. We can help get you set up with the 3-2-1 method, including selecting the best cloud service for your needs. If you’re looking for a more scalable, cost-effective solution that gives the utmost peace of mind, ask about our managed backups service.

Need help with your backup? 3-2-1… Call us at 319-227-7000!

2018-12-03T23:58:15-06:00|Backup|0 Comments

Top 5 Cloud Advantages for Small Business

Top 5 Cloud Advantages for Small BusinessTop 5 Cloud Advantages for Small Business

Cloud technology has created a revolution for small business, changing the way you store, share and backup files. While ‘the cloud’ is often hard to understand because it’s neither in the sky or in a single location, there’s no arguing that it’s driving growth across the board. Storage concerns are a thing of the past as small businesses like yours embrace the flexibility, cost savings and protections of cloud solutions. We’ve done the research for you and identified 5 ways small business in particular benefits from making the move.

It’s Cheaper

Budget is always a limiting factor for businesses, many of which are further constrained by pressure from higher up. Some regard investing in cloud solutions as a large expense that can be put off indefinitely. In most cases though, making the switch to cloud storage costs a fraction of the price. Compared to maintaining and powering servers, scaling to keep up, and repairing in emergencies, cloud storage offers extraordinary savings. With one decision, you get access to high-end infrastructure and dedicated support, plus a healthier bottom line. Cloud solutions were specifically created to meet your needs, which means you only pay for what you use. Costs remain capped while the benefits continue to rise, a clear advantage for the budget-conscious business.

It’s Secure

A lot of people like having their data where they can see it. But that’s not always the safest option. Natural disasters seem more frequent than ever, break-ins are a worry, and employees are always losing laptops and phones, or have them stolen. More often though, someone simply makes a mistake and deletes important files, or accidentally infects the system with malware. Cloud storage mitigates every single one of these risks, with storage in ultra-secure locations, protected against disasters, and committed to robust backup systems. In recent times particularly, we’ve seen many small businesses survive ransomware attacks purely because their critical data was secure in the cloud with clean backups available.

It’s Compliant

We know medical businesses and services need to follow certain regulations when it comes to patient data. This includes security as well as data integrity, plus backups and auditing. Many cloud providers acknowledged this need early on and made sure to offer compliance guarantees. They therefore keep abreast of changing regulations, often implementing new requirements before you’ve even heard about them. With cloud storage systems, you essentially slash your compliance workload and let your provider do the worrying.

It’s Portable

One of the key benefits of cloud storage is your ability to collaborate remotely. In the past, this would have involved multiple file copies that need to be merged back together, often confusing employees as to which is the ‘right’ file. With cloud storage, your staff can work on the same file, using the same interface and real-time updates. Even having different versions of software is no longer an issue. Employees can work on a file in the office and then securely access the same file from their smartphone, laptop or other location, without needing to buy additional software or worry about version corruption. Sharing and collaborating becomes easier, more desirable and more secure, which helps puts your business firmly on track to reach goals in record time.

It’s Easy to Migrate

One of the biggest concerns we hear is that it will be too disruptive to migrate to cloud solutions all at once. That’s okay. We don’t have to do it all in one day, we can migrate it in parts. For example, you can move your email to the cloud, or just remote file storage. As your various servers and systems age out or need repair, we can help you move each to the cloud, which means your downtime is minimal to non-existent. You can also actively choose a hybrid approach to keep your legacy applications, with no pressure to move them to the cloud. Our technicians can help ensure smooth integration across your entire business, making sure all your systems work seamlessly together, whether in-house or in the cloud.

Talk to us about your cloud options by calling us at 319-227-7000

2018-10-07T11:19:06-05:00|Backup, Cloud Services|0 Comments

What to Do if Your Hard Drive Fails

What to Do if Your Hard Drive FailsWhat to Do if Your Hard Drive Fails

What to do if your hard drive fails, chances are strange things are happening and you’re a little panicked. It’s where you put your digital memories, your household files and maybe that thesis you’ve been working on for months. As far as you’re concerned, that hard drive IS the computer and failure is not an option. Perhaps it was overheated, knocked around or came from the factory with a flaw.

Sorry to say, but eventually all hard drives will fail. So how do you know if it’s definitely the drive and what should you do?

Start by watching for these signs:

Computer slowing down: Because most hard drives contain moving parts, the slower it gets, the slower your computer gets. It’s a bit like a record player, with spinning plates and a needle whipping from side to side. Your hard drive may eventually take longer to spin up and longer to retrieve files, which will have an impact on everything from booting up to playing games.

Blue screen of death: A classic Windows error, this is when your computer locks up to only show a blue screen with an error code, which while it does mean something specific has gone wrong, can always be translated loosely to ‘nope, not today’. The more often your computer does this, the more severe the problem is.

Not booting up: During the initial bootup stage, your computer is loading a program stored on the hard drive – it’s your operating system. If some of the files have a problem or can’t be found, Windows won’t boot. Errors vary, but the outcome is the same.

Corrupted files: Sometimes a file won’t open because the computer says it is corrupted. Some essential pieces of the file are missing, and unlike a book where a missing page is only inconvenient, it’s a deal breaker for computer files.

Noises: You’re familiar with the normal noises your computer makes, but as the hard drive fails the noises can change. You might hear clicking, grinding or even a sci-fi phaser noise. Noises will get louder or speed up during heavy file access.

Whenever something is clearly wrong, the key is to stop and turn your computer off. Continued use can result in more data loss. Even if you don’t have a backup yet, turn it off now because the large task of backing up can cause extra strain on an already delicate hard drive. It’s tempting to hurry and try to get a quick copy of your files, but in these cases, it’s not about time – it’s about the extra spinning, scratching, warping and electrical charge, all dissolving your precious data with each access.

Bring it to us and we’ll do all we can to retrieve your data. Call us at 319-227-7000

2018-10-07T13:48:20-05:00|Backup|0 Comments

Data Recovery in Cedar Rapids, IA

Data Recovery in Cedar Rapids, IA

If you are looking for data recovery in Cedar Rapids, IA and surrounding communities of Waterloo, Iowa City, Marion and Hiawatha consider IT Professionals of Iowa, LLC your best choice. Affordable Computer Repair Service. Networking, server and workstation support.

Data Recovery in Cedar Rapids, IA

Contact us Now 319-227-7000

2017-11-18T14:53:54-06:00|Backup|0 Comments