That smile of relief when we fix someone’s technology is a gift of doing IT service. When we get a call out, we’re happy to go out (or log in remotely) to fix what’s broken. We enjoy getting our customers back up and running quickly. Who said saving the day is only for superheroes, right?
Still, as much as we get a boost out of being the hero, we’d rather our clients’ systems didn’t go down in the first place.
How can we make that happen? By adding you to our managed services client roster. So, what does managed services mean?
Fixing things when they break is reactive, whereas managed services are more proactive. It involves:
As your managed service provider, we get to know not only what’s gone wrong but also find out your goals and objectives. Understanding what your needs are, we can suggest the technology that best serves you. Plus, we might be able to help you find discounts on new software or cut costs for your home office. After all, we can identify where you are duplicating licenses or paying for more than you need.
Managed Services Make Budgeting Easier
All those services sound costly. The benefit is that you’ll pay a single, consistent monthly fee (or annual fee) for all managed services. Instead of having to handle a big financial hit when something does break, you’re already covered.
Plus, if the worst does happen, we already have a relationship. We know what’s important to you, and we focus on your needs. You’re a regular customer we want to keep satisfied rather than a one-off engagement (not that we don't appreciate those, too!).
Of course, no one can promise you’ll never get hit by a cyberattack. There are new threats every single day. But, if malware does strike, we can get you back up and running more quickly. After all, we’ve been keeping your systems up to date. So, less work needs done to clean up.
Your home IT environment is getting more complicated. Even if you’re not working from home, you probably have a desktop, laptops, tablets, gaming devices, and mobile devices. All these need secure internet access and might need data backup. Really, just connecting all your devices to a shared, secure network is a headache at this point, but it doesn’t have to be your headache. Stabilize your IT expenses and enjoy having an expert on speed dial with managed services.
If you want a higher level of IT support, we should talk about managed services. We can help keep the problems at bay. You’ll be happier. We just don’t get to see it on your face (though you’re welcome to send an appreciative email!). Call us now at 262-515-9499.
For many of us, 2021 couldn’t come soon enough, and we're hoping this year will be a better one. One way to get the best start in the new year? Take the time now to review business technology. There are several areas that you might improve to support 2021 success.
First, look at your website. In this digital age, your business website is your calling card to the world. It is where your prospects and customers will go to learn more and buy your product or service. Yet many business websites are at least a few years old. That won’t do these days. Whether you’re a B2B or B2C, your buyers are making a decision about your brand based on your website. If your website looks a decade old, they’re going to doubt you’re on top of your game.
When reviewing your website, priorities should be:
Updates in the Office Environment
Of course, there are still people who will pick up a phone and call a business. Traditional phone systems are the reliable business workhorse. But settling for a plain old phone system could mean you’re missing out on a lot. Modern digital phone systems offer you access to a wide range of useful features. With a voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) phone system, businesses of any size can get enterprise-level features.
Also in the office, there may still be employees signing in to desktop workstations running Windows 7. This operating system reached “end of life” on January 14, 2020. That means Microsoft is no longer updating the software. Hackers know that, too, so sticking with the old system could make you vulnerable to cyberattack.
COVID-19 prompted businesses that might have been putting off cloud migration to move up their timetable, but some use virtual private networks or other remote access to enable work from home. It doesn’t look like we’ll be back in the office full-time, full-force at the outset of 2021, so this is also a good time to revisit the idea of cloud computing.
Making Your Business Secure in 2021
Start the new year off right with a resolution to make your business IT more secure. This could mean embracing two-factor authentication as an upgrade to password-only authentication.
Encourage employees to change their passwords. Most people have dozens of online accounts but only two or three unique passwords. So, it’s a good idea to require your people to update their passwords regularly. That way, if a site such as LinkedIn suffers a data breach, you aren’t vulnerable because of an employee’s duplicated password.
Downtime provides an opportunity to review any long-standing IT problems and evaluate how much time or productivity was lost in 2020 while troubleshooting IT. It’s also a good idea to proactively plan your backup strategy and set up for disaster recovery. That way, if the worst does happen in 2021, you’re ready.
Keep your business secure and up to date with the help of a managed service provider. We’ll make sure you’ve got the best technology for your needs. We manage and monitor your IT tools, too. You stick to what you do best, and our experts will focus on your IT. Contact us today at 262-515-9499!
Making New Year’s resolutions is a familiar habit in the Western world. Many people make resolutions relating to their physical or mental health. Fortunately, in our digital world, technology can help make resolutions more attainable.
First, a few fun facts about resolutions.
Did you know:
Twitter did a survey of the most common resolutions of 2017, and top ones included:
The good news? If you set any of these as your resolutions, technology you already have can help!
Tech Tips for Resolutions
Let’s start with trying to change fitness or eating habits. There are an abundance of apps available for that for your phone or your computer. You might try:
You could also set a recurring alarm on your work computer to remind you to get up and walk around for a minute each hour. Those with an Apple Watch already get a notification at 10 minutes to the hour if they haven’t moved enough.
Looking to get more sleep? You could use Night Shift on your iPhone or Night Light on Android devices to dim your screen. Windows also has a Night Light feature (under Settings > System > Display), plus, there’s a Blue Shade option if you have a Fire tablet. All these change screen display to warmer colors, which reduces eyestrain and helps you sleep better.
You might also be interested in Sleep Bug. This white noise app provides 300 different soft sounds to build a background to help you zonk out.
Those who want to read more or learn something new could benefit from limiting social media. Apple has Screen Time and Android has Digital Wellbeing. Both track your app usage, plus, you can set apps to lock if you use them for too long.
You can also use Windows 10 to limit app and game time on computers, tablets, Xbox, and Android devices. Under the Family tab of your Microsoft account page, you’ll find an Activity tab. You can turn on app monitoring, limit app and game usage, and set restrictions for the amount of time and time of day apps can be used.
Good Luck with Your Resolutions!
We’d argue that all this can help with that other resolution, the one where you’re going to be more patient and kind. If you’re feeling healthier, sleeping better, and spending less time in a social media trance, you can be more mindful. And hey! While you’re at it, make that a resolution, too.
If you need help finding the right technology to support your resolutions, we can help! Call us now at 262-515-9499
Are you still using Office 2010? It may have served you well over the past decade, but this software reached its end of life in 2020. It’s time to upgrade. Here’s why and what to consider.
Software has a typical life span, after which the manufacturer turns its resources to supporting a more recent release. Support for Office 2010 ended on October 13, 2020. Microsoft no longer provides tech support, or bug or security fixes. That means there’s no protection from harmful viruses, spyware, or other malicious software. The software won’t be updated, and there’s no more phone or chat support if you run into trouble.
Cybercriminals know that Office 2010 users are on their own. They’re on the lookout for businesses relying on this legacy software. Without updates, you risk opening a document designed to leverage an unpatched exploit.
What can you do?
Move your business computers to one of the more modern Microsoft software offerings. You can choose to upgrade to the latest version of Office as a one-time purchase, or buy a Microsoft 365 subscription to the latest features, security updates, and other improvements.
The currently available version of Office, Office 2019, is available for PC or Mac. You can install Office only on one device, and you’ll get support and fixes during its lifecycle period only. New features aren’t offered.
Tip: Know that Office 2019 came out in September 2018 and is due to be succeeded by Office 2022 in the second half of 2021.
Before deciding to wait until 2021 for the next release, consider Microsoft 365 (MS 365). MS 365 gives you access to Office’s cloud-connected features across devices, plus, 1 TB of OneDrive storage, Office mobile apps, Skype minutes, and access to support.
As new MS 365 features become available, all subscribers get access on a monthly basis. With a business account, the administrator can control when you are able to see them.
Is MS 365 for Us?
You may want to keep everything on-premises for compliance or regulatory reasons, or perhaps you feel better with everything where you can see it. You can upgrade to Microsoft 365 and use offline versions of their software.
Still, for many, MS 365 appeals because it’s on the cloud, or both on-premises and in the cloud. Employees can use familiar tools such as Word or Excel installed on desktops, then save files to the cloud. This makes work available anywhere, from mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and other devices.
Microsoft 365 also adds in Teams. Enjoy video conferencing, screen sharing, group chat, calling and Teams collaboration software.
Then, you always have the latest version of Office, Exchange, SharePoint, and Skype. Your subscription sets you up with the latest version without the need for a major migration.
MS 365 comes in several different business packages. The Basic version provides free Web and Mobile only, along with Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams. If you don’t need those four services, save money using the free, web-only Office 365 Online version.
Ignoring Office 2010's end date could be costly. Don’t risk a disaster. Upgrade your old-school Office software today.
If upgrading seems overwhelming, our IT experts can take it on. A managed service provider can suggest the best software for your business needs and set it up, too. Let us help! Call us now at 262-515-9499
There are many problems with isolation. We don’t want to get you started. We know it’s true, but one issue we can help with is computer repair. Yes, there are problems with your home devices that we can address remotely.
Perhaps before sheltering in place you were willing to make do, or you're only facing challenges now. You're working at home, kids are online learning, and you're sharing the same computer.
You need to remain connected to the world and continue working, but you don’t want someone to come into your house to check your computer, and you’re not keen on going out to wait in line at a computer repair shop. Fortunately, with technology today, it’s much easier for IT experts to resolve computer issues remotely.
Remote Repair of Home Computers
There are many common computer issues that we can help address remotely. We’ll start out by sending you a link to download a tool that gives us remote access and control of your computer. Please know that we value our customers’ privacy. Even with this tool, we’ll still be able to access the computer only when you allow us to.
Now, what can we do once we have eyes on your computer from our remote location? Many things.
If you’re troubled by a slow computer, we can run diagnostics. We’ll find ways to speed up and optimize your computer to get you back in business more efficiently.
Running into software errors? We can take a remote peek and troubleshoot the issues to get you back on track.
The problem might be due to a virus or malicious software. A remote computer expert can identify security risks and remove viruses or spyware.
Perhaps you have to install software for video conference calls or online learning. With remote access, IT experts can install and set up applications, and personalize them to your needs.
Working from home has many of us setting up separate email accounts, because we need to keep personal and professional communication separate. With authorized access, remote tech support can install email and handle problems.
Your home printer may have been up to the job when it was in use intermittently, but it’s struggling to manage the demands of everyone at home at once. Installing printer drivers and some maintenance tasks are doable through remote support.
Then there’s the big one: data recovery. This is the one that makes people panic. “I’ve lost everything!” Our comforting support team can help recover lost files and restore peace of mind.
Get the IT Support You Need
Another cool thing is that you can sit back and watch us do it if you want to! Our experts can provide this support via online chat or phone conversation. Hey, you’ve been dying to talk to another human lately, right?
If the problem with your computer can’t be fixed remotely, we can arrange to pick up and drop off your device. Our people will wear masks and gloves and limit contact if in-person IT help is necessary. Contact us at 262-515-9499 for a remote consultation today!
The holiday season is here again. TV advertisers have released their festive jingles and stores have dusted off their Christmas displays. Most importantly, shopping centers have moved their latest and greatest devices to the front of the store. It's almost time to eat warming treats in front of a roaring fire.
There may still be work to do, however, before we can invite round family to unbox their latest gadgets and watch the year’s Christmas movie. A little maintenance, updates, and set-up goes a long way to ensure the holiday season goes without a hitch.
Sadly, not every device is ready to run straight out the box. Not every device even comes ready to interact with others when it's first opened. Each new gadget comes with its own setup and new things to learn.
Often today, devices, toys and computers require extensive updates before they are ready to function. This commonly means large downloads and lengthy installation periods.
In previous years devices have been purchased for Christmas, only to be rendered useless waiting for updates while large numbers of requests crash the company servers. This can be highly frustrating and put a real dampener on the holiday spirit.
Here is how we can help this season:
Setup New Devices
In the modern day simply purchasing a gadget doesn't make it ready to use. Often they still need setup, updates, and extra steps to make it safe to access the internet too.
Bring your device to us and we can have it safe and ready to use the second you unbox it. We'll perform initial setup, get it ready for the network, and install mandatory updates. By the time we're done, your device will be the first one ready to use. For relevant devices, we can install additional features too. Parental protection, antivirus and security features ready to defend your machine against the latest threats.
Whatever the device we can configure it to the way you want to use it.
Transfer Data and Retire Old Devices
Getting a brand new device can be fun and exciting. Before getting carried away with the latest tech, we must consider what happens to our old data too. Depending on the device there are any number of dangers and pitfalls to think about.
Replacing an ageing laptop or desktop computer with a brand new model, for example, has inherent danger in data storage. These computers typically use hard drive disks to store all their data.
When disposed of improperly, hard drives are vulnerable to being removed and taken. These can often be read and copied by thieves looking to steal your data. Old devices containing data need just as much care and attention as new ones fresh out the box.
There are many cases where individuals have had important records stolen this way. In some cases the information has been used to access accounts, and in others, for blackmail.
Mobile devices typically have some form of data storage too. This may store applications or media that has been bought and paid for; but also data such as records and photographs that hold a great deal of value.
We can help transfer old files and data to your new device and safely dispose of your old one too.
We can ensure that every photograph, video, and bit of data is recovered from your mobile device or laptop so that you never lose a single file. We can securely wipe and even physically destroy old hard drives at your request. We strive to ensure you keep every bit of your old data and not a single byte falls into the wrong hands.
It sometimes happens that new technology has moved so fast and changed so much that it doesn't play well with older devices already installed on your network. Sometimes it seems impossible to even connect certain devices at all.
Often simple configuration changes are all that's required to introduce two pieces of technology successfully. With the right set of eyes and in knowledgeable hands the most complex of jobs can be turned into a quick fix.
If your goal is for a smooth, fun and relaxing holiday season, give us a call at 262-515-9499 and we'll get you up and running in time.
As cyber-attacks continue to make headlines, hackers are exposing or selling customer data files in record numbers. But just like with any threat, there are actions you can take to minimize risk and ensure your business retains a positive reputation among customers.
If you would like to make sure your business is secure from data breaches, give us a call at 262-515-9499.
Maybe you used to be able to troubleshoot your own technology, or had a tech-savvy family member or friend who could help out in a pinch. But now that home computing has become more essential, you may be feeling overwhelmed.
If you’re working from home, and others are doing virtual learning too, you can't wait for your IT geek buddy to visit. You need your desktop to do your job, and you can’t risk missing a deadline or losing hours of work. Your kids might welcome the excuse to miss a few assignments, but you don’t want them falling behind at school.
With all the technology you’re using today in a regular basis, your home is basically a small business. You want to be able to access the internet from any room and print from anywhere in the house, or to have a cloud backup of all your photos and videos.
So, partner with a managed service provider (MSP) for your residential computers. Many businesses use MSPs for IT help, 24/7 monitoring, improved security, and reporting. Home users can benefit, too.
Advantages of Residential Managed Services
A managed service provider helps organize and protect your technology. These IT experts can:
Valuing Your Time in Favor of MSPs
The idea of paying for IT assistance can put off home computer users. Before deciding an MSP isn’t for you, consider the value of your time. How many hours do you waste trying to figure out your tech solutions, or searching the Web for the answer to your problem?
With an MSP, if something does go wrong, you have to make only one call to get help. Don’t waste time on hold with your internet service provider only to find its a laptop problem, which means another helpline. An MSP is your one go-to for all your IT needs.
Also consider the value of your personal files, photos, and videos, and the importance of protecting and always being able to access any work you’re doing remotely.
Add a human IT expert focused on your needs to your team. You have a lot to think about already. Take technology concerns off your “to do” list by partnering with a local MSP today.
We’ll simplify technology for you, offering a budget-friendly, customized managed services plan.
Contact us today at 262-515-9499!
Managed Service Providers (MSPs) help businesses take a proactive approach to managing their technology without the expensive step of hiring an in-house team. Your MSP is essentially a collection of niche technology experts working behind the scenes to keep your data safe, generate solutions to IT problems and keep your software updated. Even larger businesses who already have an IT person will often call in an MSP when daily support becomes overwhelming or a specific certification is required.
Let’s explore 5 specific business breakthroughs an MSP can give you:
Depending on your level of contracted services, your MSP can actually become a catalyst for growth.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? With managed services, your business always has the maximum security against threats, downtime and productivity drops. But for the savvy business owner, it’s also a way you can afford to leverage cutting-edge technologies, with complete peace of mind and ongoing support.
Boost your business with managed services. Call us now at 262-515-9499
People happily share their private information online, building robust libraries that can easily become a one-stop goldmine for fraudsters.
It’s not exactly the intention everyone has when they sign up, as the whole point of Facebook is to share your life with your friends. It hooks us into a global community and the experience does depend on us making certain privacy sacrifices.
So how do you balance being social with staying safe?
On Facebook alone, the average person shares 13 pieces of personal information ranging from a fairly innocent name/email combo, all the way to mothers maiden name and home address.
It doesn’t sound like a lot, but those 13 pieces have the power to unravel your life within minutes.
Even checking in at home or a favorite location has become the norm, helping to create a multi-dimensional online identity. The details are available to anyone who cares to look, whether they’re a friend keeping in the loop, or someone with a much darker agenda.
The problem is, you just don’t know who’s looking at your profile or why.
For example, someone could try accessing your email account by clicking the ‘Forgot password’ link. The email service follows its security rules and asks identifying questions like ‘which high school did you go to? What is your pet’s name?’ Unfortunately, the most common identifying checks and answers are probably available on Facebook.
Once your email address is compromised, hackers can use that to break into other services and go through, clicking ‘Reset Password’ on site after site, account after account – they have full access to your email, so there’s nothing stopping them from emptying your bank accounts – or worse.
7 Ways To Secure Your Facebook Without Missing Out on the Fun
Tech Force Blog
We provide you with important, practical tips and insight for your technology and networks for both home and business.