How To Quickly Shift To A Work-From-Home Business Model

How To Quickly Shift To A Work-From-Home Business Model To Maximize Productivity In Today’s Coronavirus Environment

As a business owner today, you are now facing unprecedented challenges to help deal with the coronavirus pandemic. You are asked to self-isolate and practice social distancing to “flatten the curve.” You are asked to allow your employees to work from home to reduce possible exposure and slow the spread of COVID-19.

These are all reasonable requests. However, as a business owner you also need to maximize productivity, bring in revenue and try to grow your business in these demanding times. How can you accomplish these goals when your office is now a ghost town and productivity has fallen off a cliff?

The answer lies in setting up your office to function remotely. If you’ve never implemented a work-from-home policy before, it may seem like a whole different world. Managing an entirely remote workforce goes far beyond giving your employees a laptop and reminding them to check in every once in a while. After all, there are many factors most business owners haven’t ever had to consider, such as:

  • What technologies do I need?
  • How can my employees work from home without compromising the security of our network?
  • How can I make this new work environment as easy, comfortable and productive as possible?

We understand these are unique times. We know that “business as usual” is going to be quite different for an undetermined amount of time. But together we can help you adjust to today’s new normal by giving you the tools, technologies and insights to create a secure and productive work-from-home business environment. Here are three important considerations to getting you set up and running a successful work-from-home business:

1. Don’t allow employees to use home computers or devices. Their mindset may be, “Well, I’m working from home so I may as well use my home computer.” This is a dangerous mistake. Our team works hard to ensure your company computers and network are secure and protected from malware, viruses and cyber-attacks. Their home computers and devices could be littered with tons of downloaded music, videos, images and more. Because it’s more exposed, it can invite malware into your network. Rather, provide a company-approved and secured computer/laptop for employees to use at home.

2. Secure their WiFi access point. Without a secure WiFi access point, you’re essentially leaving a back door open to hackers. That’s because WiFi signals are often broadcast far beyond your employees’ homes and out into streets. Yes, drive-by hacking is popular among cybercriminals today. A few tips for securing your employees’ WiFi access points:

  • Use stronger encryption and a more complex password
  • Hide your network name
  • Use a firewall

These security measures are not difficult to set up. But if you have any questions or need assistance, we will be happy to help get your employees set up remotely.

3. Use a two-factor authentication VPN. VPN stands for virtual private network. It’s essentially a private, encrypted tunnel that goes direct to your IT network in your office. Ideally, you’ll want your VPN to support two-factor authentication. This means it’s doubly secure because your employees will need to call in to access the network. If you don’t have a VPN for your employees to use, you can consider other services, such as GoToMyPC or Zoho. While these products are not as secure, at least they keep your home network from being exposed.

As business owners ourselves, we too are having to pivot and work differently than we ever have before. However, because we have the technology and infrastructure in place, we are still surprisingly productive.

Our team wants to help your business survive and thrive during today’s unique environment. If you and your IT team need extra hands right now…or solutions to help your employees work SECURELY from home…we have software tools, expert staff and resources we’d like to offer you to keep your business as productive as possible.

Here’s a link to my personal calendar if you wish to book a quick 10- to 15-minute call to discuss: Schedule.

Please know that this is not a sales call but simply an outreach to help a fellow CEO stay afloat.

Free Emergency Work From Home Consultation

If you need to get your employees working remote FAST and your phones answered, we have easy inexpensive ways to get this done for you. Fill in the form below and we’ll set up a free, no-obligation consultation to create a plan for you.

 

Patching for Protection

Patching for Protection

“Software updates available”, do you hit “Update Now” or “Remind me Later”? 

Hit “Update now”!

We all get lazy when it comes to updating our device’s software for various reasons. We may be in the middle of working on a report, we are out on an errand, or we are simply just too impatient to wait for the update to finish. However, did you know that there are many risks when you choose not to update your computer’s software? You are leaving yourself vulnerable to hackers.

Hacking can be a full-time job for many. Each day, thousands of hackers wake up with ONE goal in mind: to find a new software vulnerability in a commonly installed software like Adobe, flash, or Quicktime. A software vulnerability is a weakness in the program or system’s security. Once found, hackers will figure out how to use the flaw and go after outdated software.

Equifax 2017

Equifax, Inc. is one of America’s largest consumer credit reporting agencies. The company is responsible for giving its clients credit reports and identity protection. However, the company fell victim to a data breach in 2017. Instead of protecting its client’s information, Equifax’s databases were hacked and exposed the personal information of millions of people. The main reason as to why Equifax’s databases were compromised was the lack of updated software. According to McAfee, a global security software provider, a solution to the security hole that was was responsible for the breach was made available two months prior to the incident. However, Equifax failed to update its software. 

TIP:

Make sure to stay on top of security updates for any software you have installed, both at work and at home.

Why is it important to stay updated?

For security reasons, a software update helps ensure that your devices are safe. Common programs from the likes of Adobe and flash are susceptible to errors that can be taken advantage of through plugin downloads. There are times when these downloads contain malicious code that compromises our device. Since we keep a lot of important documents and sensitive information in our devices, a data breach could possibly wipe us out of our data and identity. Remember, hackers do not care about your well-being and will do whatever it takes to steal information. At the same time, who knows what these cybercriminals would do once they have gained access to our accounts. To keep yourself safe, make sure always to update your software and operating systems.

Let us help you!

Cybercrime is at an all-time high, and hackers are setting their sights on small and medium businesses who are “low hanging fruit.” Don’t be their next victim! Click here to download this free report that reveals the most common ways that hackers get in and how to protect yourself. 

We work 24/7 year-round to ensure that your business does not fall prey to data breaches. For more information on how your business can best be protected, schedule a FREE 2-hour assessment with Captain IT by filling out the form linked. 

Fraudulent Websites

Fraudulent Websites

When was the last time you checked a website’s URL for spelling errors? For the most part, we don’t. The last thing we would think about when logging in or browsing through the web is spelling because we validate a site legitimacy through how it looks. For example, we type in “Facebook” and see the familiar blue and white layout and proceed to log in. Little do we know we have fallen victim to a hacker’s scheme. 

A Hacker’s Scheme

From phishing emails to copy-cat websites, hackers love to play sneaky tricks on us. How? These tricky cybercriminals often purchase fake websites and set it up to look exactly like the real one. They get away with this scheme by altering one small letter on the site’s URL that we usually would not notice. For example, hackers would include an extra “o” on Facebook or change the “.com” (top-level domain) of the site. Once you fall into a hacker’s trap and log into a fraudulent website, a keylogger malware will steal all your information. 

Test yourself. Can you spot the visible difference? 

  • Facebook.com → Faceboook.com
  • Dropbox.net → Dropbox.com
  • Gooogle.com → Google.com
  • Instgram.com → Instragam.com 

How did you do? Hopefully, this convinced you to always double-check your website’s URL. 

TWO TIPS:

One, bookmark key sites you frequently visit so you’ll never risk hitting the wrong key.

But even better, have a web gateway installed that BLOCKS sites that are suspicious and fraudulent. That way, even if you click on a link on a phishing site or type in the wrong URL, the site will be blocked, protecting you and your employees.

More ways you can protect yourself

  • Are there misspelled words? If the spelling is incorrect, the website is most likely a fake. As mentioned, cybercriminals often change one unnoticeable letter on a site’s URL to trick users into believing its legitimacy. Legit companies would not risk any spelling errors on their pages to keep their brand’s credibility. 
  • Is the website secured? Security is always a top concern for companies, so they ensure that their websites are secured. Look over the search bar next to the URL. Do you see a secured lock? If not, click away from the site as it may contain harmful viruses that could infect your device.
  • Do they ask for sensitive information? If a site you have entered asks you for unusual and private information, most of the time, a hacker is behind it all. DO NOT ENTER YOUR INFORMATION. Just think, a real company site would not ask you for sensitive information out of the blue. 
  • Are the images too blurry? Low-resolution images can raise red flags for users when they enter a site. Many times, cybercriminals do not pay too much attention to details on their fake websites.

Let us help you!

Cybercrime is at an all-time high, and hackers are setting their sights on small and medium businesses who are “low hanging fruit.” Don’t be their next victim! Click here to download this free report that reveals the most common ways that hackers get in and how to protect yourself. 

We work 24/7 year-round to ensure that your business does not fall prey to data breaches. For more information on how your business can best be protected, schedule a FREE 2-hour assessment with Captain IT by filling out the form linked. 

 

Discover the Deep Web

Discover the Deep Web

Think you know the World Wide Web? Think again. Besides our common knowledge about the Web, there are two other layers, the Deep Web and Dark Web, where most information is stored. These two areas of the Web are a part of the World Wide Web that requires special software that allows users access through anonymity. 

Intrigued?

Even though the idea of the Dark Web and Deep Web is fascinating, we should avoid access to it. Due to many untraced and illegal activities practiced there, it is known as a breeding ground for many hackers and cybercriminals. 

TIP

Be careful going to websites offering free Dark Web scans; many are scams designed to get your email and potentially verify that your password is correct and where it’s active.

More on hacking

Hacking has become a popular activity for many people and has also become a for-profit business! You can even browse the internet for hackers for hire. There are different types of hackers we should know about and identify which ones we need to be careful of. But let’s focus on who goes into the Deep Web to steal our information.

Black Hat Hackers

Different hackers have a comprehensive skill set about breaking into our devices. Black hat hackers are those individuals who have gained exceptional knowledge on how to gain access to our  personal information. Usually, these mischievous hackers use their skills for personal and financial matters and are the reason why ransomware and other types of malware have corrupted our society.

Accessing the Deep Web and Dark Web

The Deep and Dark Web is where you can find an array of private information such as passwords, bank accounts, and even social security numbers. Due to the amount of confidential data stored there, it’s no question why it has become a hacker’s playground. Users access these networks through unique browsers like Tor, which is also known as The Onion Browser. Tor allows users to access the Deep and Dark Web anonymously, making it harder to trace those who practice illegal activities. 

How Safe the Web?

The Deep Web and Dark Web have their own levels of safety. Accessing the Deep Web is relatively “safe” as compared to the Dark Web because of the variations of activities and information presented in each Web. At the same time, your information is kept hidden while browsing, thanks to Tor. However, the Dark Web exposes you to a high-level risk due to the criminal elements it holds. The Dark Web is a more profound category of the Deep Web where many people store stolen information and sell them, which we all know is illegal. Besides stolen data, the Dark Web is also a trading ground for illicit and disturbing substances. Do yourself a favor and stay away from the Deep and Dark Web. You will be held accountable for your activities on those networks and might end up in some serious legal trouble. 

How does this affect businesses?

Cybercrime is a very profitable and growing practice that affects many individuals and businesses each year. No matter how small or big you are, hackers will try to steal your information and sell it in the Dark Web. Your business needs someone familiar with the Dark Web to search for your information safely. You can call Captain IT for a free Dark Web scan for your organization.  

Let us help you!

Cybercrime is at an all-time high, and hackers are setting their sights on small and medium businesses who are “low hanging fruit.” Don’t be their next victim! Click here to download this free report that reveals the most common ways that hackers get in and how to protect yourself.  We work 24/7 year-round to ensure that your business does not fall prey to data breaches. For more information on how your business can best be protected, schedule a FREE 2-hour assessment with Captain IT by filling out the form linked.   

Don’t Get Hooked by a Phishing Scheme

Don’t Get Hooked by a Phishing Scheme

Impersonation is a crime when it lacks consent and used for unjust practices. Impersonation is not limited to only imitating individuals in real life, but on the Web as well. Hackers have mastered the act of impersonating other businesses or programs to trick us, and phishing is one of them. 

Phishing Schemes

Phishing activities have been observed from the 1980s and still continue to infect our devices. Phishing is an illegal act where cybercriminals pose as trustworthy internet entities. There are various ways in which hackers implement phishing activities to extract data from online users. A common phishing procedure is through email. A phishing email is a bogus email that is carefully designed to look like a legitimate request or attached file from a sender we usually trust. Hackers could impersonate our boss, co-worker, schools, and so much more! They look exactly like a certified email!

TIP

Phishing emails may look innocuous, but are far from innocent. Identify the signs and delete suspicious emails right away. Your best defense is to avoid ever clicking email links and visit sites directly if you have concerns.

Don’t take the bait! Look for signs.united states, florida, signs, bait, water, waterway, inlet, boating, sport, fishing, recreation, leisure, outdoors, intracoastal, boat, nautical vessel, mode of transportation, transportation, text, day, no people, communication, moored, nature, sea, focus on foreground, sign, western script, number, harbor, close-up, yellow, 1080P, CC0, public domain, royalty free

  • Check for misspelled words and incorrect grammar. In most cases, legitimately certified emails will not have improper spellings and grammatical errors. However, it is not uncommon to find mistakes in phishing emails because hackers need their emails to go through spam filters. These filters are specialized to hunt down common words that are found in fake emails. At the same time, why would credible companies and individuals send you an email with easy to spot errors? It will just ruin their image. 
  • Hover over the URL. Many emails will include a link that you can click to that will give hackers access to your data. You can hover over these links (BUT DO NOT CLICK) to see the actual website you will be directed to. Some links will show a preview of its URL. You can judge its legitimacy through that. 
  • Contact the company. If you are suspicious about the email, it never hurts to get in contact with a customer service representative. We need to be careful about giving out our information. If the email is requiring you to provide sensitive information and you find yourself wondering “why?”, get a hold of the company. Not only will this help you, but it will inform the company of the phishing scheme and put a stop to it.
  • It’s too good to be true. We have all come across a “Free Trip!” email once in our life and may have fallen for it by clicking on the link. This usually redirects us to a series of information requirements we need to provide. Hackers often use this tactic to excite users to click the trip offer only to trap them into giving out their information. Just exit out of the site and call a reputable IT company that can assess your device for any infections from the email. 

Why should I care?

Let’s be honest, at times, we find ourselves scrolling through our emails and accidentally opening one we did not intend to. Cybercrime is at an all-time high and is not slowing down anytime soon. Technology is rapidly growing and many people have not caught up to its advancements. We need to make sure we are safe by taking precautions or by reaching out to an IT company (US!) that has our protection in their best interest. 

How Can Captain IT Help?

Cybercrime is at an all-time high, and hackers are setting their sights on small and medium businesses who are “low hanging fruit.” Don’t be their next victim! Click here to download this free report that reveals the most common ways that hackers get in and how to protect yourself. 

We work 24/7 year-round to ensure that your business does not fall prey to data breaches. For more information on how your business can best be protected, schedule a FREE 2-hour assessment with Captain IT by filling out the form linked. 

 

Ransomware making you WannaCry

Ransomware Make You WannaCry

WannaCry Attack

Have you ever heard of the WannaCry attack that infected over 400,000 computers in 2017?  The WannaCry attack infected thousands of data worldwide, especially those in Russia, Ukraine, India, and Taiwan. Also, a large scale of organizations, big and small, such as Boeing Commercial Airplanes, National Health Services, and FedEx were hit by the virus. The cost from the cyber attack reached billions of dollars, coming from companies who actually paid in an attempt to recover their data. The WannaCry incident prompted businesses all over the world to scramble for insurance and cybersecurity. This strike is an example of crypto-ransomware used by many cyber-criminals to keep user data hostage.

Ransomware and Its Victimsperson, using, macbook, pro, Laptop, Keyboard, Cyber, Attack, cyber, attack, wannacry, extortion, encryption, null, one, binary, cyber attack, encode, virus, viruses, data, software, malware, media, hacker, hack, damage, programming, security, protection, anti virus, trojan, computer, technology, binary Code, internet, computer Hacker, coding, human body part, human hand, adult, people, indoors, adults only, number, hand, one person, finance, text, communication, business, body part, close-up, currency, day, wall - building feature, real people, paper currency, large group of objects, pattern, 4K, CC0, public domain, royalty free

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that comes in different forms with a common goal: to extort money from individuals like us. Like the WannaCry attack, this type of ransomware encrypts files to restrict users from using or accessing their accounts. Other types of ransomware can vary from lockers, where the user is locked out of their device; to scareware, where users are threatened by face virus attacks. A ransomware attack can cause YOU and many businesses to lose significant data and money. Hackers DO NOT single out anyone from their mischievous activities and will go after single individuals to large corporations.  How Can You Save Your Data? The simplest way to save your data is to have a reliable IT back up or top-notch knowledge in computers and cybersecurity. However, many individuals lack the skills and expertise; and even then, cyber-attacks are constantly evolving and there are no guarantees that your devices are safe. Even without high knowledge of cybersecurity and technology, there are ways for you to make sure your data is safe. You need to step up and make sure that you and everyone else who accesses your computer practices safe browsing procedures, avoiding any unsecured websites and ensuring good password protection. (You can learn about good passwords on Captain IT’s Tech Tip #3)  

Tip

It’s critical to maintain a full, daily backup for your data so you never have to pay the ransom AND your backup needs to be a professional grade and impervious to ransomware attacks. 

Let us help you!

Cybercrime is at an all-time high, and hackers are setting their sights on small and medium businesses who are “low hanging fruit.” Don’t be their next victim! Click here to download this free report that reveals the most common ways that hackers get in and how to protect yourself.  We work 24/7 year-round to ensure that your business does not fall prey to data breaches. For more information on how your business can best be protected, schedule a FREE 2-hour assessment with Captain IT by filling out the form linked. 

Sussing Out Scareware Schemes

Surprise! Pop-up Notifications

Many of us rely on our digital devices and the Internet to perform many of our daily tasks. Whether it be work or simply browsing through social media, opening up the web also makes us vulnerable to cyber attacks. As a standard safety precaution, it is common for many to install antivirus softwares on their devices.  But, even with your antivirus installed, have you ever encountered virus alerts on your devices? If so, you most likely also saw pop-up ads for a “Free Scan” or “Purchase Antivirus Now” wit it. In the past, pop-ups have been a popular way for hackers to spread viruses on your computer; and we have been told to ignore these. Hackers sneakily use the “antivirus pop-up method”, also known as scareware, as a scare tactic to spark fear from individuals. 

What is scareware?

Scareware is a malicious software that was created to deceive users into visiting or clicking into an infected site through pop-ups. These pop-ups are usually advertisements for fake antivirus software or programs that once downloaded, steal the user’s personal data. For those who fall these scams and actually buy the fake software, they are left with a virus and a stolen credit card information. 

Tip

If you get any suspicious pop-up saying you need to click them to fix a virus immediately close the browser or application you’re using and contact your IT department.

How to Suss Out Scareware Schemes

Do your part and take some precautions before clicking. 

  1. Think before you click. Regardless of how legitimate it looks, NEVER click on the site or the pop-up. Avoid hovering and accidentally clicking on the ads. If you are skeptical about the safety of your device, seek out help from a professional IT guy. questions and doubts, advice, answer, ask, assistance, business, businessman, choice, head, choose, confused, confusion, drawing, customer, doubt, doubts, expression, face, brain, math, man, mark, pensive, problem, question, search, searching, solution, solve, solving, think, thinking, thoughtful, wonder, worry, options, communication, colored background, creativity, no people, technology, number, sign, symbol, smiling, blue, connection, green background, studio shot, cartoon, indoors, fun, computer icon, global communications, 1080P, CC0, public domain, royalty free
  2. Force quit your browser. Do not click on the “X”, “Close”, or “Cancel”. This would do the opposite of what you want and instead of closing the browser, it will give open access for viruses to spread. Here is how you can open task manager:
    • On PC: hold Control + Alt + Delete and click “End Task”
    • On Mac: hold Command + Option + Esc and click “Force Quit”
  3.  Next, notify your IT department (us!) that this has happened so we can double-check with a legitimate scan if your computer was infected.

Let us help you!

Cybercrime is at an all-time high, and hackers are setting their sights on small and medium businesses who are “low hanging fruit.” Don’t be their next victim! Click here to download this free report that reveals the most common ways that hackers get in and how to protect yourself.  We work 24/7 year-round to ensure that your business does not fall prey to data breaches. For more information on how your business can best be protected, schedule a FREE 2-hour assessment with Captain IT by filling out the form linked.   

The Secret to Proper Password Protection

​Let’s talk about passwords

Have you ever created a new account and assigned it with a password “password123”? If you have, you might want to consider changing it. 

Your password is a unique combination of characters you create to protect your vital and confidential information. A password essentially serves as a barrier that secures your data from unauthorized users. However, hackers have acquired various skills that allow them to guess simple passwords with a few clicks on their computer. For that reason, it is important to know the difference between what makes a password unique and strong from a weak and common one. So for next time, you will be ready to create a password no one can easily figure out!

What you need to know

A hacker’s job is simple. They break into information systems and obtain data for whatever agenda they plan. As a part of their job description, hackers will try to break into your networks through the use of sophisticated brute-force-attack software that can guess millions of possible password combinations. The brute-force-attack software are built to unravel simple five-character password combinations within a three hour period.

Once an individual obtains access to your guarded files, who knows what they can do to it. Many often experience identity theft and or blackmail to get their data back. Oftentimes, trying to solve these cybercrime problems prove to be a challenge and can be costly. 

Brute-Force-Attack

Brute-Force-Attack is a traditional, yet effective method of cracking a password using the trial and error method. A hacker, with the help of technology, would use various combinations of characters over andperson, front, laptop computer, ransomware, cyber crime, malware, ransom ware, hacking, hacker, encrypt, ransom, attack, hack, threat, access, information, security, technology, wireless technology, indoors, communication, connection, computer, close-up, computer monitor, one man only, skill, internet, selective focus, portable information device, smart phone, computer network, screen, business, mobile phone, data, device screen, digital tablet, using computer, equipment, economy, 4K, CC0, public domain, royalty free over again until they have succeeded. Though time-consuming, it is especially easy for a hacker using this method to guess a password that is simple and short. 

Tip

Create passwords that are 8 characters or longer, use various types of characters, and avoid easily guessed combinations or dictionary words with proper capitalization.

Good V.S. Bad Password

Good Password

We often feel intimidated when we create long and difficult passwords in fear of forgetting them. Even if our memory fails us sometimes, it is still worthwhile to create a complex password. We just need to make sure that these keys we create are familiar to us but unrecognized by others. A good passcode should be long and have various combinations of characters. At the same time, these passwords should NOT be used across all your accounts and devices. Creating different passwords for your accounts will prevent a hacker from accessing all of your files.

Good password checklist:

  • At least 8 characters long (or longer!)
  • Combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols that are hard to guess
  • Avoid dictionary words with proper capitalization

Bad password

On the other hand, a bad password is short and plain that can be easily guessed. For example, they are lowercase letters that do not include any other variations of characters. Weak passwords may also be common information we easily remember such as birthdays, names, and sayings. These types of passwords can be easily guessed because of how obvious and public they are. 

Do yourself a favor and not the hackers. Stick to a longer and more complex set of words and characters. 

Let us help you!

Cybercrime is at an all-time high, and hackers are setting their sights on small and medium businesses who are “low hanging fruit.” Don’t be their next victim! Click here to download this free report that reveals the most common ways that hackers get in and how to protect yourself. 

We work 24/7 year-round to ensure that your business does not fall prey to data breaches. For more information on how your business can best be protected, schedule a FREE 2-hour assessment with Captain IT by filling out the form linked. 

 

IT Buyer’s Guide

Looking for Managed IT services? The Business Owners’ Guide to IT Support can help you!

Looking for an IT company can seem like a daunting task. However, this guide will help you navigate the difficult choices in choosing the right IT company for you! There are many factors when deciding what IT services to choose, from the type of support you need to the very important question of “How much will this cost?”. The Inland Empire Business Owners Guide to IT Support Services and Fees can help you navigate these difficult questions. The guide will help you decide what to look for in a managed IT services agreement and why being a “break-fix” client is NOT a cost-effective solution for your business. By downloading this free report, you will have access to research that addresses many of the questions one has when trying to decide on hiring an IT provider.

The fact of the matter is, computer networks absolutely, positively need ongoing maintenance and monitoring to stay secure. The ever-increasing dependency we have on IT systems and the data they hold — not to mention the type of data we’re now saving digitally — has given rise to very smart and sophisticated cyber-crime organizations and who work around the clock to do one thing: compromise your networks for illegal activities. For this reason, choosing the right IT company, is extremely important.

My purpose in providing this information is to help you make an informed decision and avoid getting burned by incompetent or unethical firms luring you in with cheap prices. There is no cost or obligation, and I guarantee you will find this consult to be extremely valuable and eye-opening.


Read This Guide and You’ll Discover:

The 3 most common ways IT services companies charge for their services, and the pros and cons of each approach.

A common billing model that puts ALL THE RISK on you, the customer, when buying IT services; you’ll learn what it is and why you need to avoid agreeing to it.

Exclusions, hidden fees and other “gotcha” clauses IT companies put in their contracts that you DON’T want to agree to.

How to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting to avoid disappointment, frustration and added costs later on that you didn’t anticipate.

21 revealing questions to ask your IT support firm BEFORE giving them access to your computer network, e-mail and data.

The Inland Empire Business Owners’ Guide To IT Support Services And Fees

What You Should Expect To Pay For IT Support For Your Small Business (And How To Get Exactly What You Need Without Unnecessary Extras, Hidden Fees And Bloated Contracts)

Instant Download of the IT Buyers Guide

The Tech Chronicle – January 2020

3 Places You Should NEVER Cut Corners With IT

We all know how easy it is to cut corners in business; we’ve all done it somewhere. But we also know we shouldn’t. You’ll eventually have to face the consequences, whether they’re small or large. The same applies to IT. When you cut corners, the consequences to your business can be major. Here are three places where you never want to cut costs.

Equipment

You want to set up a wireless network at the office, but you don’t want to spend more than $50. So, you spend that $50 and call it good. While this new router may deliver a wireless signal that reaches every employee, you could be making a huge mistake that may cost you dearly.

Routers are a good example of technology you want to put extra thought and money into. You want equipment that not only makes sense for your business’s network needs but will also perform reliably and securely. Cheap routers aren’t known for their security features. You want something that will complement the firewalls or security software you have in place (and you should have them).

This same idea applies to all other equipment, as well as software. When you cut corners, there’s a good chance you’ll be opening your wallet again to fix the problem in the near future. On top of that, it puts your data at risk if you’re buying cheap, potentially faulty equipment. Do research, ask questions and work with an experienced IT company to make sure your equipment is up to snuff.

Growth Of Your Business

Whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been in the business for a while now, you always want to invest in hardware and software that will scale with your business. It’s safe to say that most businesses want to grow, which means adding more customers and more employees. When that’s the plan, scalability becomes a big deal.

Part of it comes back to the first point: cheap equipment isn’t typically designed with scalability in mind. It’s a quick-fix investment. It’s not made for the long haul. Where do you plan on being in five years? What are your growth goals? You have to ask these kinds of questions to determine what kind of investment you need to make, whether it’s in billing software, customer service software, workstations or your network infrastructure.

“Whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been in the business for a while now, you always want to invest in hardware and software that will scale
with your business.”

If you don’t think about scalability, as soon as you start really growing, you’ll be hit by growing pains. You’ll have to reinvest in technology, and you’ll be spending far more than you needed to, once for the first investment (on non-scalable tech) and once for the second investment (to catch up with your growth). But because your business has grown since that initial investment, you’ll be left with a hefty bill – for much more than you paid the first time. Don’t make this mistake!

Data Security

Just because your data is locked away in the backroom doesn’t mean it’s safe. For one, small businesses are the biggest targets for cybercriminals because most small businesses skimp on data security, making it easy for cybercriminals to steal data and cause a lot of problems.

To make matters worse, if you get hit with a cyber-attack or data breach, it can be incredibly difficult to recover, and many small businesses don’t ever recover. They struggle for a few months before finally closing their doors.

You need to invest in firewalls, malware protection, data encryption, data backups, password managers and, as mentioned above, good equipment that is designed with reliability and security in mind. And no, you don’t have to figure it out by yourself. It can be a lot, and as you dive into the topic of data security, you’ll have questions.

This is exactly why you want to pair up with an experienced IT company that specializes in security. It is very hard to run a business and try to be a data security expert at the same time. Thankfully, you don’t have to do that. You can get the most out of your equipment, you can be prepared for future growth and you can be ready for the threats to your data! You just have to make that first investment.


Free Report Download:
7 Most Critical IT Security Protections Every Business Must Have

You’ll learn:

  • The #1 threat to your business that even the BEST firewalls and anti-virus software can’t protect against (and what you need to do now to remedy it).
  • The biggest security risks with cloud computing and what you need to do to stay safe if you’re going to store client data, confidential data and financial information in the cloud.
  • A common misconception about business bank fraud that will shock you – and 3 simple things you can do to protect your bank account from unauthorized access and theft.
  • How to keep your network secure with the proliferation of mobile devices, cloud applications, email, and social media sites connecting to your computer network.

Get your FREE report at: www.captainit.com/cybersecuritytips


Client Spotlight

Night Motor Sport

Nightmotorsport is an auto performance center located in Bloomington, CA. They began having IT issues and decided it was time to start addressing their IT needs. They contacted our team here at Captain IT and we quickly assessed their issues. With our guidance, we were able to help alert them of issues that they were currently facing. They signed on as our client and we began to tackle their problems as quickly as possible. We improved their network security by implementing Enterprise level network infrastructure. This allows them to stay at the top of their security and peace of mind that their sensitive information is in safe hands. At Captain IT, it is important for us to address all parts of a problem rather than just the symptom.


5 Keys For Building Effective Multilocation Teams

Technology has made it easier than ever to set up multiple offices around the country, but it also presents new challenges for business leaders: how to build and sustain a positive and productive company culture while managing geographically dispersed teams.

When managing offices in multiple locations, the difference between success and failure often can be traced to the commitment that leaders have in fostering a company culture that embraces open, honest communication, accountability and alignment. Here’s how you do it.

1. Hire right.

When hiring to manage remote office locations, make sure candidates have what it takes to work independently and in a less traditionally structured environment. They also need to have the knowledge and confidence to solve challenges on their own because they won’t be able to walk into your office for guidance.

2. Loosen the reins.
As a leader, you’re ultimately responsible for the success of your team. But once you’ve hired your team, you have to release control. Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to set goals, and identify steps required to accomplish those goals. Warren Buffett said it best: “Hire well. Manage little.” This will afford you time to focus on other projects. Not only that, they trust you show will breed loyalty in your team.

3. Conduct daily team meetings.
Daily huddles provide team members with the opportunity to quickly share their meeting schedules and news. Each person can also report on progress toward individual and company quarterly goals and note the top priority for the day. Morning meetings, even via videoconference, can build team spirit, share information, foster accountability and provide quick solutions.

  1. Don’t neglect one-on-one meetings.
    No matter the size of your organization, it’s essential for each team member to have one-on-one time with a manager or leader. Hold these meetings at least monthly. Implement a system that allows supervisors to track the progress of team members’ work, provide a listening ear for any concerns and help them set goals.
  2. Publicly recognize achievements.
    As leaders, it’s up to us to encourage team members to be the best they can be and to recognize excellent work. A Salesforce study found that team member who feels their voices are heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work. Create an online kudos board with an app like TINYpulse where you and fellow team members recognize peers for their accomplishments.

     Don’t Let This Destroy Your Business

Malware can be a confusing word. It covers a lot of different things, including viruses, worms, spyware, ransomware, Trojan horses and more. Malware in any form can destroy data, take control of your computer and cause major headaches.

Most small businesses aren’t equipped to handle a devastating malware attack. Even a simple virus corrupting your hard drive can set you back a few days, and that’s only if you act quickly to contain and eliminate it. Some

forms of malware, including those that scan and steal data from your systems, can end up destroying your business entirely.

Websites and networks are attacked every single day. By some estimates, there is a cyber-attack every 25 minutes – a number that increases in frequency every year. The best thing you can do is educate your employees about the dangers of malware and prepare your business for an attack. Small Business Trends, 10/12/2019

     3 Telltale Signs Your Company Culture Is Toxic

  1. There’s a high turnover. If your business is a revolving door of employees, you’ve got a big (and very costly) problem. A high churn rate is a clear sign your company culture is broken. It’s almost always a top-down issue: management needs to ask themselves what they are doing wrong. If it’s not fixed, it can destroy a company.
  1. Everyone’s confused. Communication is key, and when management can’t clearly communicate strategy or they manage behind closed doors, employees suffer. It can lead to serious mistrust between employees and management, and projects are prone to falling apart.
  1. Management is purely reactive. When an employee makes a mistake, punishment isn’t the answer. Ideally, it should be a learning opportunity. When managers swiftly react, and suddenly there’s a bunch of closed-door meetings, this equals stress for everyone else. If it gets to the point where employees don’t bring up problems with the management team, this means there is a complete lack of trust and employees fear the backlash. Inc., 10/20/2019

     4 Tips To Successfully Lead Your Team To New Heights

  1. Keep communication open (and honest). Whether you talk face-to-face, hold regular meetings or rely on chat software, always have a communication option open between everyone at the company in some capacity.
  1. Be willing to delegate. You can’t do it all yourself. You hire people with experience to help your business succeed, so let them shine!
  1. Anticipate conflict. Conflict can’t be avoided, but it can be addressed before it becomes an issue. Train your team on ways to deal with conflict among themselves, with customers and beyond.
  1. Embrace mentoring. The best leaders are also mentors to people around them. If someone leans on you for guidance, embrace it! Business Insider, 10/18/2019


 

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