network security health

3 Ways Your IT Network Infrastructure is Just like the Human Body

Your body requires maintenance and regular care to stay in shape and your IT network infrastructure is no different! It requires updated network security technology, close monitoring on a 24/7 basis – every day of the year. Here is how your IT Network Infrastructure is just like the human body, and what you can do to keep it healthy:

1)      Bullet-Proof Vests and Firewalls

Unless you’re in the military or on a SWAT team, chances are you don’t need to get dressed in a bullet-proof vest each morning to feel safe when you’re headed out for the day. You’re not likely a victim of a targeted attack that would require Kevlar in your daily life.  Your network should have a firewall and anti-virus software as their bullet-proof vest, but it’s not nearly enough to protect it. Your network needs more layers of protection because it is a likely victim of a targeted attack.

2)      Healthy People and Networks Take Preventative Measures

To keep a human body healthy, it must be cared for with preventative measures including proper nutrition, rest, and exercise. When people are maintaining their health with preventative measures, they can fight off illnesses and pain better than someone who isn’t living a healthy lifestyle. A business network is similar – you must take preventative measures to help it prevent illness from viruses and malware, but just like people – even a healthy network is not completely impenetrable! If you’ve taken preventative measures with your network by installing up-to-date anti-malware and anti-virus programs, you’re helping your system avoid illness, but there are still steps to take to ensure its protection.

3)      Routine Checkups and Monitoring

Humans should visit the doctor on a regular basis for checkups and monitor their health from their skin to their cognitive functioning, digestion, and ability to move. If there are changes or warning signs that cause people to adjust their behavior, it’s a reason to visit a doctor for a diagnosis and treatment. Your network requires this same level of close monitoring. If the network slows down or isn’t working as efficiently as it once was, it probably needs a checkup or tune up from a professional.  Continuous monitoring is the most effective way to maintain your network’s health.

Holistic Health Practices Start With Complete Network Security Solutions

For human beings, holistic health practices involving monitoring everything from the inside out is the key to a long and healthy life. You need to eat the right foods, get enough rest, manage stress, and exercise your body to remain in good health and operating at your best. Your network requires the same level of holistic care involving constant monitoring of the business from the core to the endpoints. This will protect your organization from intruders while also helping it operate at optimum efficiencies.

Talk to network security and monitoring experts at Just Call the IT Guy for a free consultation about how to keep your own network healthy.

office technology customer service

Use Office Technology for Better Customer Service

If you want customers who remain loyal to your business, return for additional products and services, and who will refer you to their family and friends – you need high quality customer service. You’ve probably experienced an overall decline in recent years yourself in the customer service standards when you go out shopping or hire a company, so you can understand how providing high-quality customer service will automatically set you apart from the competition. To improve your customer service, you should partner with a technology firm like Just Call the IT Guy that can help you create a more efficient office environment with your office technology.

Data Backup and a Disaster Recovery Plan

By now, you probably know your company data is one of your most important assets – but how frequently are you really backing up that data? When we think of data loss, most of us think of the major disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes or fires – but just as devastating and more common are equipment failures and human errors. You can’t provide a quality customer service experience if you can’t access your data or you go out of business because you don’t have a disaster recovery plan in place. Just Call the IT Guy provides both data backup solutions and disaster recovery plan office technology for Texas businesses.

VoIP

The advantages of VoIP office technology are available to every business of any size and will absolutely improve your ability to provide high quality customer service. We can help businesses all over the country install and use our Hosted PBX enterprise-grade phone system. Get started with a new phone system that offers cost savings, flexibility, portability and the ability to grow alongside your business.  Coordinate your phone and email, transfer calls easily among your team members, route calls when you’re out of the office, and improve your ability to provide a seamless customer service experience regardless of your physical location.

Office Networking Technology

Sharing equipment like copiers, printers, scanners, and the internet with everyone in your office environment makes sense – but trying to figure out how to connect it all with a combination of wireless signals and cables can be a nightmare. You want a working network so your customer support team can do whatever it takes to exceed the needs of your customers. Configuring an office network and providing network security are just two more technology solutions Just Call the IT Guy offers to help you improve your efficiency and performance.

Office Efficiency is the Key to Business Growth

When your office technology works the way it’s supposed to and everything is running efficiently, your employees can focus on providing exceptional customer service. When your customers are happy, they stick around to buy additional products and services and will help refer new customers to you. Let your office technology help you improve your customer service and watch your business grow as a result!

 

 

How to Choose a Laptop

When it comes to choosing a laptop, there are so many options to choose from you may not know where to start! Our Wylie IT Support team offers the following things to consider as you get started looking for a new laptop:

When Size Really Does Matter

If you stroll down the laptop aisle of any computer or technology store, you’ll notice that the size of laptops has gotten increasingly slimmer and lighter over the years. Ultrabooks combine a lightweight design with long-lasting batteries and energy-efficient hardware. Ultrabooks have a quick start up, so you can pull it out of your briefcase and resume your work within seconds even after the device has been idle or asleep for days.

If you’re looking for a laptop for a desktop replacement, you may want something a little bigger than the Ultrabook. These laptops typically have 14-15 inch screens and can handle all of your day-to-day computing needs.

Tablet/Laptop Hybrid

If you tend to carry both a laptop and a tablet with you wherever you go, you may want to take a look at the newer Tablet/Laptop Hybrid designs. You can transform a touchscreen laptop into a tablet and back again, using specialized folding hinges to remove the keyboard and body of the laptop or put it back on. Other hybrid models use Bluetooth keyboards to avoid the need for a docking hinge to convert the tablet into a laptop.

Processors and Battery Life

Buying a laptop is a little like buying a car – it’s important to know what’s “under the hood”! Intel makes the most dominate processor chips and have greatly improved energy efficiency and longer battery life with their 4th generation processors, compared to earlier models. These are ideal when you need a battery that can keep up with you throughout the day when you aren’t near an outlet to power up. They’ve also improved graphics processing.

AMD has a line of processors with enhanced performance, although they don’t quite meet the 4th generation Intel processors. Compare battery life hours among different laptops and think about how you will typically use the laptop to help you rule out which models will not meet your needs and find the laptops that will.

Features and Capabilities

In today’s age of “being connected”, connectivity is the key for choosing your laptop. All available laptops offer Bluetooth connectivity for wireless peripherals and internet connectivity with 802.11n Wi-Fi. Some provide mobile broadband options that you can pay for when there is no Wi-Fi available, but they are becoming harder to find as most users are using their smartphone personal mobile hotspots instead of paying for multiple mobile contracts.

USB ports are a necessity, and preferably USB 3.0 for greater bandwidth and faster data transfer than the USB 2.0. Some USB ports will also double as eSATA ports for connecting external hard drives or charging handheld devices when the laptop is powered off.

Most models no longer offer the optical drive because many software and game purchases are taking place online and the cloud is taking over for many local applications. This allows slimmer and lighter designs over all. If you still want to enjoy movies via DVD or Blu-ray, you’ll have to do a little more hunting to find a model offering the DVD drive, or get yourself an external USB DVD player.

Are You Protected Against Network Security Breaches?

Regardless of what industry your Texas business is in, you have to ensure your customer data is safe and that you adhere to privacy laws. With more businesses relying on their network to handle sales data, customer communications, billing and inventory data, it’s becoming increasingly important that you protect your network from costly attacks.

If a hacker or identity thief gets into your network, not only will you lose the confidence of your customers and good reputation – but the financial costs associated with a data breach have the potential to put you out of business completely.

Here is what you should know about network security breaches and what to do about them:

Identity Theft Is the #1 Crime in the Country

Each year, Identity theft costs U.S businesses and individuals over $56 billion, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. Securing your network against identity thieves should be a top priority for all businesses, considering a single lost or stolen laptop can result in:

  • $90,000 in fines
  • Public relations damage control
  • Credit monitoring services for the victims of the data breach
  • Class action litigation

Customers Will Go Somewhere Else

If your website or business experiences a security breach, 69% of people surveyed by Unisys (reported by Internet Retailer ) say they would stop using the site or making purchases from your company. Gaining trust from potential customers is hard enough – don’t throw it all away with an insecure network.

Financial Burden of Network Security Breaches

The cost of a data breach ranges from $90 to $305 per customer record for network security breaches, according to a Forrester Research Study. Every security breach also carries with it additional expenses, including legal fees, marketing and PR costs, and increased call center costs. If you have to hire contractors to help deal with the recovery after a network security breach, you will have even more expenses.

Making Your Network Secure

You need a network security plan. Just Call the IT Guy, Texas IT Consultants, can help you with your network security needs – give us a call if you’d like to find out how we can protect your network. In the meantime, here are some tips for securing your network:

  • No all network attacks come from outsiders. Employees can accidentally cause security vulnerabilities and unhappy employees may even create problems on purpose.
  • The more secure your network is, the harder it is for people to use. It’s important to create a secure network while still ensuring usability for authorized individuals.
  • It’s better to create a unified strategy for entire network protection rather than trying to piece together security for each area of your company.
  • Remember the more secure a network is, the more difficult it may be for people to use – so it is necessary to strike a balance between usability and security and provide training for employees.

 

Save Money with Flat Rate IT

As a business owner, you’re probably used to trying to “do it all” yourself. Sooner or later, you’re going to end up realizing you simply can’t keep up with every last detail required to run the daily operations of your business and still maintain focus on long term growth strategies. Technology problems and maintenance is one area of business management that many business owners find themselves wasting time on a regular basis. Our Managed Services solution makes it possible for business owners and managers to get back to the activities that generate revenue – because you can leave your technology problems to us.

 

Here is how our Managed Services solution can save your Texas business money and increase productivity:

 

You Gain a Fully-Staffed, Expert Level IT Department

 

You may have an IT department but if you ever tried to keep it fully staffed with educated individuals who are up to date with all the advancements in the constantly changing world of technology, you would go completely broke. It’s not possible for most businesses to keep up with the changes, and definitely not cost effective or productive to do so. When you work with us, you get a fully-staffed, virtual IT department for your business. Because technology IS our business, we make sure we stay up to date and continuously add to our skills as new technology is developed.

 

Predictable and Lower IT Expenses
Managed Services is a flat rate technology solution designed to make IT expenses predictable and help you stick to a budget. When a business waits until technology stops working or is completely outdated before you maintain or fix it – you end up spending a lot of money all at once to fix or replace equipment. This can cause serious problems to your bottom line. With Managed Services, you know exactly how much it will cost each and every month, so you can budget for it and reduce your overall expenses with a proactive maintenance schedule.

 

 

Increase Productivity and Efficiency

 

Our expert technicians will monitor your network 24/7 and fix problems before you experience downtime or issues. Instead of spending hours troubleshooting the printer or network downtime, you can put your focus back on your business because we’ll make sure your technology is working the way it should.

 

Stay Up to Date

 

If you are ready to see a return on your IT investments and allow your technology to increase efficiency while solving problems in the office (instead of the other way around!) give us a call for a free consultation. We’ll show you how our Managed Services solution can save your Texas business money and increase productivity.

 

 

 

Google Glass – What You Want to Know

You’ve probably heard about Google Glass by now – the glasses equipped with a tiny computer? Would you wear a pair of glasses that contain Wi-Fi, a tiny screen, Bluetooth connectivity, a touchpad, speakers, camera and microphone? Right now, the glasses are only available to people who are part of the Explorer program, but there is a very good chance you’ll start seeing this high-tech accessories in stores before you know it. You can sign up to get an invite to try Google Glass by clicking here; but in the meantime, here is what you want to know about these glasses from the future:

Take Photographs and Videos With a Blink of an Eye

Ok, so you can’t just blink and automatically take a photo or video, but you can instantly capture the moment by saying “take a photo” or “take a video”. You won’t have to dig around your purse for your phone or camera to take a photo, so you’ll never miss a photo or video worthy moment again.

Never Get Lost Again

Your Google Glass has built in GPS which is ideal for people who go hiking or bike riding. Instead of stopping to pull out your phone or GPS device, you can see the map right on the glass while you’re moving. It can come in handy when you’re driving to unknown places, too.

Make Phone Calls From Your Glasses

When you connect your smart phone to your Google Glass, you can make phone calls, dictate messages, and attach videos or photos all without ever taking your phone out of your purse or pocket.

Never Miss a Social Media Update

If you are addicted to social media or rely on the social networks for your business, you might end up loving the social network notifications feature of Google Glass. As long as you are using your phone’s internet feature or are in range of Wi-Fi, you will see your social media network updates right on the glass. You can up your game with multi-tasking, since you won’t check your phone or laptop for social media updates – they’ll just flash before your eyes.

 

Technology helps businesses overcome obstacles and reach goals – please call us if we can help you with your office technology. Technology also creates amazing opportunities for entertainment and convenience in our every-day lives. Will you sport a pair of Google Glasses when they become available?

Car Technology From the Future

While advancements in technology in the workplace is often surprising, technology is advancing in other aspects of our world, too. Some of today’s car technology can be considered so outrageous that it would look like it’s straight from the future!

Cars That Talk to Each Other and Look Around

Sure, cars aren’t out having regular conversations with each other but they do have sensors that allow them to communicate position with one another. Statistics show us that the majority of car accidents are a result of human error, so automobile makers are attempting to use technology to develop more advanced safety features to help prevent car accidents. The result is quite a few advances in car safety technology:

  • Back up cameras
  • Blind spot monitoring systems
  • Automatic brakes
  • Lane departure warning systems
  • Adaptive cruise control

Smarter Intersections

As cars are learning to communicate with one another and sense the edge of lanes and roads, cars and intersections are also learning to communicate with one another.  What would you say if the intersection could change the light from red to green if there were no cars coming in the other direction to avoid making you wait for no reason on a deserted road? This technology is just around the corner.  If a car is running a red light, cars in all other sections of the intersection will automatically stop to avoid accident through the use of the smart intersection technology currently in development.

Cars that Act as a Chauffeur

Can you imagine a car that can one day drive itself? We may not be as far away from that technology as you think! We already have cars that can park themselves with park assist. The next logical advancement will be a car that can drive itself.  Pretty soon, you could be getting in your car and tell it where you want to go, while relaxing on the way!

Love it or hate it, technology is here to stay and there is no sign of the use of technology slowing down.  If you want to see how you can use technology to overcome business challenges or reach new goals – give us a call or visit our website.

Top 5 Benefits of Using VoIP in Your Office

VoipIt is becoming increasingly uncommon for business owners and employees to remain glued to their desks for the business day. It’s also becoming rare for a business to conduct business activities within a set period of time each day. To accommodate these changes in how we do business, a VoIP (voice over internet protocol) phone system offers a number of benefits.

Here are the top 5 benefits of using VoIP for your Office:

1. Hosted Phone Solutions Do Not Require On-Site Equipment

Since we handle all of the equipment for your VoIP solution, you don’t need to free up space in your office or bring contractors in to set up the system and wire everything together so you can transfer calls between employees.

2. Fully Operational Solution Anywhere You Have an Internet Connection

Traveling to a business convention? Working from a hotel room or from home? Just redirect your phone numbers to wherever you are and your customers will never know the difference. You have full functionality of your phone system wherever you have an internet connection.

3. Business Expansion is a Breeze!

The phone system will work across multiple zip codes or can be transported or set up in multiple locations. Your employees can share a single office, or work individually from home offices regardless of their location. If you are ready to expand and open additional locations, your online telephone system shares the same communication system and it’s simple to add more phones.

4. Always Up to Date

Because your VoIP system has no physical hardware required, you will always be up to date with maintenance, repairs and upgrades. If something is released and available, you will automatically receive it without having to do anything or update anything manually.

5. Save Money

Not only can your VoIP set up eliminate the need for expensive physical equipment, set up costs for a phone system and unpredictable monthly phone bills – but VoIP can even eliminate the need for a receptionist. Your VoIP system can greet callers and route them where they need to go with a menu system, depending on your preferences and needs.

 

VoIP levels the playing field for small businesses who weren’t able to afford advanced phone communication systems for their offices in the past.  Now, even the smallest operation can switch to VoIP and enjoy communication tools that were previously only available to large companies with big budgets. Talk to us about your phone and communication needs and let us help you decide if VoIP is a good solution for your business.

Is Your Business Ready for the Cloud?

A great deal has been said and written about the subject of cloud computing over the past several years.  Many businesses are moving or already have moved to the cloud model, but what about your business?  Is it time to move to the cloud?  The appropriate answer to this difficult question rests firmly on the specific circumstances surrounding your business.

What Is Cloud Computing?

In a nutshell, cloud computing represents the delivery of data storage and computing as a service, rather than a product.  Instead of thinking of these things in terms of products that you purchase and install on your computer or network (software) or physically in your place of business (data storage devices such as hard or optical drives, for example), the cloud represents the concept of remote access to these things.  Applications and data are located on external servers and are accessed remotely over a network, via any network accessible device (from a traditional computer to phone), typically using a browser or some sort of app.

Pros and Cons of the Cloud for Businesses

As is the case with just about everything, the cloud model has both potential advantages and disadvantages.

Pros

  1. Savings:  Depending on your businesses specific computing and network needs, you may find the cloud model provides significant monthly savings over a more traditional hardware/software model, particularly in the areas of Web hosting, e-mail and virus protection and periodic hardware upgrades.
  2. Ease of Use, Maintenance and Collaboration:   Some businesses find it easier to deal with applications over the cloud compared to the need to install software on microcomputers, for instance, or to upgrade software.  In a cloud environment, these things are effectively taken care of externally.  Additionally, access to your data, applications and services is available anywhere at any time, using any compatible device.  And because of the ease of access, collaborating using the cloud is far easier than any traditional computing/data storage method.
  3. Natural, Remote Data Backup:  a cloud-based service removes the data from any local problems that might crop up and, in at least some cases, provides redundant backup capabilities as part of the service itself.  A cloud approach can also provide an iterative backup to data that you choose to keep in house.

Cons

  1. Security Concerns:  While data isn’t necessarily totally secure anywhere, problems with cloud security breaches have been well documented.
  2. Privacy:  Some people can’t help but wonder how much information cloud companies are gathering about their customers and what they plan to do with it.
  3. Service Availability:  When a cloud company service goes down, access to the tools and data you need may be unavailable to you.
  4. Service Robustness and Flexibility:  What happens if your cloud provider gets out of the business?  Will you be able to retrieve your data and will it be a simple matter to transfer it to another provider?

Seeking Advice

So is your business ready for the cloud?  It’s a tricky question to answer.  You may want to discuss this question with a qualified computer consultant for advice about whether to take the plunge and, if the cloud is in your immediate future, suggestions about the best way to go about making the transition.

 

Flat Rate IT Services

Virtually all businesses, regardless of size or industry, have significant information technology (IT) needs.  Unfortunately, many businesses don’t have the technical know-how, the personnel or the manpower to service these needs effectively.  This is where a managed service provider can help.

What Are Managed Services?

Just about any IT-related activity qualifies as a potential managed service.  These include, but are not limited to:

  • Data Backup and Recovery
  • Network management
  • Software Support and Maintenance
  • Hardware Maintenance and Support
  • IT Security

Many of these services can be handled outside of a contracting company’s internal network structure.

Managed Service Providers

A managed service provider is a company that assumes control of IT-related services for any contracting entity—typically a business—on either an ongoing or as-needed basis, depending on the specific requirements of the client.  Sometimes managed service providers take over all of a client’s IT responsibilities; occasionally only certain functions are taken up by the managed service provider.

In effect, contracting a managed service provider creates a fully staffed IT department for a small company, if that’s what the client wants or feels it needs.

IT Problems:  Endemic to Modern Business

Essentially all businesses rely on information technology to a greater or lesser extent, but that reliance grows with every passing month, as does its complexity.  That complexity naturally gives rise to greater and greater problems.  Many businesses, particularly small ones with limited personnel and little if anything in the way of IT expertise, find themselves spending ever growing hours troubleshooting problems rather than working on the substance of their business.

Problems related to, for instance, network down time, have a doubly crippling effect on many businesses.  Not only does the compromising of the network infrastructure make it difficult for workers to perform their jobs—dependent as they are on smooth network functioning—but personnel resources must be diverted to the onerous task of network repair and maintenance.  And that is a job for which most, if not all, workers are less than expert.

Many small and medium sized companies simply don’t have the necessary resources at hand to deal efficiently with the IT problems that seem to crop up on a daily basis.

How Managed Service Providers Can Help

Contracting for necessary services with a managed service provider can effectively produce an expert IT department where one didn’t exist.  By taking responsibility for such tasks as network stability and data backup and recovery, a managed service provider can ensure that needed IT systems—hardware and software—continue to function smoothly, solving complex problems before they spiral out of control.  When a problem does crop up, an IT expert can solve it much more quickly, with far fewer negative consequences, than an inexperienced team.  Meanwhile, the client’s workers can focus on their own areas of expertise—the substance of the business itself.

And, of course, the managed service provider will only take on those tasks that the client requests.  For those IT areas where the client wants to retain control, it does.  The client never surrenders its IT assets and the systems management process remains entirely transparent.

A Technical Solution for Small and Medium Sized Businesses

While most large businesses have the assets and economies of scale necessary to fund and maintain IT departments, filled with experts, that’s rarely the case for small and medium sized businesses.  For them, outsourcing some or all of their IT woes to a managed service provider may make good sense.