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Blog posts tagged with 'Daniel A. FitzGerald'

3 Critical Cyber Security Protections EVERY Business Must Have In Place NOW To Avoid Being Hacked

Five years ago, you might have had state-of-the-art security protecting your business and network. You had the latest malware protection, highly rated firewalls and a great data backup plan. Maybe you even had a handbook on how to address cyberthreats. You were set. But then you forgot to do one crucial thing: you didn’t stay up-to-date with your IT security policy.

This is a trap countless businesses fall into. They invest in great cyber security once. Five years ago, this was fantastic. The problem is that cyberthreats are constantly evolving. Methods used by hackers and cybercriminals have come a long way in the past five years. Criminals stay on top of what’s going on in the IT security industry. They are always looking for new ways to steal your data and make a quick buck at your expense.

What can you do to stay up-to-date in an ever-changing digital world? Here are three things every business must do to protect itself.

Understand The Threats
It’s easy to assume that hackers are trying to get into your network the “old-fashioned” way. You might picture them hacking your network trying to get your passwords and usernames or breaking through your firewall protection. While some hackers will do this (it’s easy for them if you use simple passwords), many of today’s cybercriminals rely on social engineering.

The most common form of social engineering is the phishing scam. The criminal sends you or your employees an e-mail, hoping someone will click a link or open an attached file. Cybercriminals have gotten VERY sophisticated. These e-mails can mimic the look of a legitimate e-mail from a legitimate business, such as the local bank you work with or another company you buy from (or that buys from you). Social engineering is all about tricking people.

This is why you need a cyber security handbook – one that is regularly updated. It’s something you can reference. Your team needs to know how to identify a phishing e-mail, and you need to have procedures in place for what to do if a questionable e-mail shows up. This helps keep your employees from becoming the weak link in your security setup.

Update, Update And Update
From software to hardware, you must stay updated. There is no such thing as “one-and-done” when it comes to network security. Something as simple as a wireless router can DESTROY your security if it’s not regularly updated. Hackers are always looking for vulnerabilities in both hardware and software, and when they find them, they WILL exploit them.

What happens when a piece of hardware (like a router) is no longer supported by the manufacturer? This occurs all the time, particularly as hardware ages. Manufacturers and developers drop support for their older technology so they can focus on their newer products. When they drop support for a product you use, this is a good indicator that you need to replace that piece of hardware. The same applies to software.

You might balk at the cost of buying new technology, but in the long run, the cost is well worth it. Think of the cost of buying a new router versus the cost of cleaning up after a data breach. Some small businesses never recover after a hack – it’s just too expensive. Keep your malware software updated, keep your firewall updated, keep your cloud backups updated and keep all your devices and software UPDATED!

Invest In Proactive Network Monitoring
When it comes to the security of your network and overall business, being proactive can make a huge difference. Proactive monitoring means your network is being watched 24/7. Every little ping or access to your network is watched and assessed. If a threat is found, then it can be stopped.

The great thing about proactive network monitoring is that you can customize it. Want to know about every threat? You can request a real-time report. Only want updates once a day or once a week? That can be done too! This approach means you have one less thing to think about. Someone is always keeping an eye on your network, making sure the bad guys stay out.

You might think, “How am I going to do all this?” You don’t have to go it alone – and you shouldn’t. Work with an IT services firm. Work together to find the best solutions for your business. When you work with IT specialists, you can rest assured your team will be updated on today’s threats. You’ll know your network – and everything connected to it – is updated. And you’ll know someone is watching over you. That’s the ultimate peace of mind.

 

Daniel FitzGerald
President & Owner
StormsEdge Technology

Do These 4 Things To Grow Your Business

1. Don’t Let Yourself Become Complacent
Success often leads to complacency. Businesses hit their stride, but that success isn’t going to stick if you aren’t constantly searching for new opportunities and adapting to change.

 2. Have A Sense Of Urgency
In the early days of your business, you may have had a sense of urgency. You need customers to thrive, but as you grow, that urgency can fade. It ties right back into complacency. You need strict metrics and constant goals. Always be pushing toward something new.

3. Watch The Economy — And Your Industry
The world is always changing, especially now. Things change globally, regionally and locally. You need to be ready to adapt. Businesses that aren’t ready to adapt to changes in the market or economy will be left behind.

 4. Embrace Discomfort
New ideas can take some time to get used to, especially if they’re gamechangers. However, if you brush aside ideas because they make you uncomfortable or disrupt the status quo, then you may miss the greater benefit of those ideas.
Inc., March 11, 2020

 

Daniel FitzGerald
President & Owner
StormsEdge Technology

10 Ways To Eliminate E-mail Overload

E-mail driving you crazy? Every time you delete one, do five more show up? Are you finding it impossible to answer every e-mail you receive? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you’re not alone!

Some people are even declaring e-mail bankruptcy — they dump every e-mail in their inbox and start over. If that’s not an option for you, then here are 10 tips to reduce e-mail overload.

1. Get a good spam filter. Even if it saves you just 10 minutes a day, that adds up to over 59 hours a year.

2. Cancel subscriptions to unwanted mailing lists, and opt-out of LEGITIMATE e-zines. But be careful! Trying to opt-out of spam e-mails will only alert the sender that they have a LIVE address. Also, make sure you are careful to check the “unsubscribe” or “opt-out” box when purchasing items online.

3. Ask your friends to remove you from joke groups or chain messages. Simply explain your situation and, if they are good friends, they’ll take you out of their message group.

4. Don’t post or publish your e-mail on web sites. Spammers will steal it and put it on their lists.

5. Don’t respond to every e-mail you receive. Yes, it’s okay NOT to respond to some e-mails. If it’s a group e-mail, don’t respond with “okay” or “:)” — it’s not necessary unless the sender is specifically asking you a question or requesting a response.

6. Be succinct. Restrict your messages to a few sentences. If you can’t, pick up the phone or talk in person. This will avoid the back-and-forth of e-mail conversation.

7. Take advantage of subject lines. If possible, put your question in the subject line, or your message. If that’s not possible, make your subject line very descriptive so the recipient knows what your message is about. Here’s another tip; create a set of codes with your coworkers and place them in the subject line to help them process and prioritize messages. For example, use “FYI” for informational messages. Use “AR” for action required and “URG”  1. for urgent messages.

8. Block time to answer your e-mail and fight the temptation to check your e-mail every few minutes. You will save yourself a lot of time and be far more productive.

9. Respond to messages when you open them so you only read them once. If the e-mail requires an action step, schedule the action step and delete it from your inbox.

10. Set time aside in the morning and the evening to process your inbox. Shoot for a completely empty inbox. File messages you need to keep and set reminders for messages that require you to follow up.


Now, here are some tips to keep from adding to the e-mail overload of others…

1. Be courteous when forwarding an e-mail: summarize the thread and why you are sending it at the top of the e-mail.

2. Don’t copy someone on a message unless it is necessary. And explain why you’re copying them. Recipients won’t need to guess your intentions. This means less back and forth messages.

Daniel A. FitzGerald
Owner & President
StormsEdge Technology

Increase Employee Productivity, Simply

According to a University of Utah study, you can increase your efficiency (or your employees' efficiency) by 25% just by adding a second monitor. With multiple monitors, you can get more done since you aren't minimizing and maximizing all day long. Therefore, adding monitors can be a money maker for your company.

I have been using multiple monitor (4 to be specific) for a very long time and I just can imagine going back to a single monitor.  Furthermore, as a business owner, we implemented dual monitors for just about everyone in our office and have notices huge benefits just like the ones identified in the study.

With the cost of video cards and monitors as cheap as they are now, you could easily start reaping the benefits in just a few months on your investment. For as little as $250 let’s get down to the real numbers try filling out the table below to find good candidates for Multi-Monitors and what they would do for your bottom line.

We all know that your employees are your greatest asset in business and also the most expensive.  So, I don’t know about you, but I would gladly spend $250 to get $900 per year more work out of the same employees.

Our full article, "Increasing Employee Productivity," can be found HERE

Daniel A. Fitzgerald
Owner & President
StormsEdge Technolog

Managed Services: Part 4

Managed Service Limitations

Providing true Managed Services requires a substantial investment in both technology as well as expert staff to operate the service. Some companies offering “Managed Services” are merely “dialing-in” to fix problems on your network and are not providing any “preventative maintenance” at all. This service is merely a soup-up version of the “break-fix” mentality, by utilizing an internet connection to access your network to fix issues.

This type of “remote dial-in” service and the company offering it, doesn’t actually monitor your system, is not able to tell you where the system is vulnerable and is not able to fix problems before they negatively impact you system’s performance. Remotely “dialing-in” to a network is nothing more than “Break-fix” without a site visit.

Which type of maintenance do you currently have?

If you answer “no” to any of the following questions, you are utilizing a break-fix methodology to maintain your network, and may benefit from a managed service methodology without costing you more.

  1. Do you find out immediately if your data back-up fails to run?
  2. Do you know which equipment on your network is aging and might need replacing in the next 6 months?
  3. Do you know if your server and all of your desktops have the latest anti-virus updates installed and are functioning correctly?
  4. Do you know if the latest security patches have been installed on your network?
  5. Do you know who the heaviest internet users are, and whether they are downloading large files which can slow down the network, or accessing inappropriate web sites?
  6. Do you know which PCs are running out of memory, affecting user performance?
  7. Do you have one number to call for all of your technology service requirements?
  8. Do you only hear from your computer guys “after” things break?
  9. Does your network feel like it’s running slower than it should?

Slow network?

Would you like to know if you are ready for managed services, cloud computing, or virtualization? If so, StormsEdge Technology offers a FREE network evaluation!

Our expert technicians will review your network and determine whether your infrastructure will support these new technologies. They’ll also discover any bottlenecks preventing your network from running at peak performance. After the analysis, a written report will tell you what steps you can take to improve your network’s performance.

Daniel A. FitzGerald
Owner & President
StormsEdge Technology

Managed Services: Part 3

The Real Benefits Of Managed Services

Put in simple terms – one of the biggest benefits of Managed Services is discovering and fixing problems before they can negatively affect your business.

A well maintained, proactively serviced computer network will always run better than the alternative. With proactive network monitoring, patch management, and desktop optimization performed on a regular basis, you will notice a tremendous difference in operations… and you will reap the benefits of preventing fires, rather than fighting them.

Reduced costs: Businesses are also able to control and reduce their overall operating costs with the flat-fee billing model. Cost-effective access to enterprise-level support is a reality

24-hour monitoring: Because the Managed Services provider also manages all of your vendor relationships, issues with internet slowness/outages, printers, phones, cell phones, websites are dealt with directly with the vendor by the Managed Service provider. As a result of this “always-eyes-on” network monitoring 24 hours per day, businesses experience an additional level of comfort and security.

Additional Benefits Of Managed Services:

1.    Increased operational efficiency

2.    Reduced operating costs

3.    Cost-effective access to enterprise-level support

4.    Minimized downtime

5.    Allows the focus to be on running the business, and not the technology

6.    Peace of mind from knowing that the network is monitored 24/7/365

Small IT companies come and go quickly – and so do the Techs

If you’ve been in business for longer then 5 years, you’ve probably hired more then one IT support company — you’ve maybe hired many. You know the frustrations of having a new technician working with your network. The question becomes “Is your technician a trusted advisor” or just a guy trying to fix your computer problems? (Find out more about finding and hiring a TRUSTED ADVISOR)

So adding another monthly fee wasn’t exactly what you were looking for?

We can clearly understand and relate to that mode of thinking. In this day and age it feels like every company we deal with is trying to figure out a way to squeeze more money out of us — especially on a monthly basis. IT support services is not immune to this change in business climate.

But that being said, Managed Services is not just a short lived fad, or a way for IT companies to fatten their wallets. Managed Services is a way for businesses to eliminate problems before they ever occur, manage their IT budgets better, and create a solid long-term partnership with an IT firm that is protecting one of their most important assets… their data.

Daniel A. FitzGerald
Owner & President
StormsEdge Technology

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