Here’s How Managed IT Can Help Save Money In Your Business

Managed Services

When it comes to running a modern business, technology is always a growing line item in the budget. Costs can creep up every quarter, along with a new learning curve for simply keeping everything running along smoothly. It is no wonder then that budget restrictions for IT were recently found to be a universal concern for small and medium business.

You are balancing the outlay of maintenance with replacement, plus securing against a steady stream of threats – all while making sure every dollar gives you maximum return on investment. It even sounds exhausting! What typically happens is the tech budget gets stripped to a bare minimum, hoping nothing unexpected pops up and everything keeps moving along nicely. After all, everything is working just fine and that money could make a real difference elsewhere… except as soon as an IT emergency strikes, that tiny budget is obliterated and you’re left to either limp along with insufficient technology or have to dip into another budget area.

Now imagine if budget wasn’t an issue. Imagine that all your tech expenses were predicted and capped, and you got everything you needed without resorting to financial magic tricks. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Put simply, that’s how a Managed IT Service works. It’s a service designed for businesses with a limited budget who don’t have time for tech issues. For a fixed price each month (which is no doubt less than you’re thinking), you get a team of IT technicians actively monitoring your systems in order to catch issues before they occur, repairing problems on the fly, and ensuring your business is always as secure as possible. Included as part of your Managed IT Service, you also get expert business consulting around the solutions you need now, which solutions will help you rapidly scale, and which technology you don’t need. All for one predictable, fixed price each month. It even gets better with the following benefits:

Reduced downtime and associated revenue loss.

Forget scrambling while systems are down, with Managed IT Services you’ll know which tech is failing and can proactively repair or replace before it impacts your business. Downtime is planned or minimized and your staff are working on what they are supposed to be doing instead of being interrupted by technical dramas.

Your efficiency will skyrocket.

Currently you have probably been responding to your IT events in a ‘firefighter mode’, essentially dealing with problems as they arise and switching to new, improved equipment only when forced by a system failure. With Managed IT Services, problems are automatically reported and optimal solutions designed in advance. Even the small issues that have been slowing your business down and limiting progress come to light, ready to be solved for greater efficiency.

You will be secure against data loss.

Whether you’ve been following the news and worrying about the next cyber-attack, or you are working with confidential customer or proprietary data, your Managed IT Service has you covered. Our technicians secure your business against attack using the latest technology, full backups, software updates and leverage every drop of their know-how to keep your valuable data safe.

Learn know how Managed IT Services can benefit your business – give us a call on 08 8326 4364 or at support@dpcomputing.com.au.

Six Tips to Protect Your Business Data

Protect Business Data

More and more hacking attacks and data leaks are being reported and the perpetrators are exposing or selling customer data files in record numbers. But just like with any business threat, there are actions you can take to minimize the risk and ensure your business retains a positive reputation with customers.

Here are some suggestions on how to protect your valuable data:

1. Stop using the same password everywhere. Set a policy for all staff that passwords must be unique for each user and for your workplace. That means it can’t be like the one on their home PC, tablet or online banking. Passwords are hacked more than ever, so consider using a pass phrase that isn’t as easily hacked. If remembering them is an issue consider using a password management tool.

2. Go on a shredding spree. How much sensitive data do you just throw out in the bin? People often easily take valuable customer data straight out of the bins of small businesses and quickly sell or publish it. It only take 5 seconds to run documents through the shredder or if you have a large amount of document consider using a secure shredding company.

3. Ditch the accounting spreadsheets. Still using an Excel doc for all your financial calculations? As well as making your accountant’s job harder (and more expensive for you), you are opening your business to a massive range of vulnerabilities. Even password protected spreadsheets aren’t designed to safeguard your financials or those of your clients. Contact your accountant to assist you to upgrade to a proper accounting solution with built-in customer data protections and security guarantees.

4. Train staff explicitly. Don’t just rely on common sense because what you think is a given is an unknown to someone else. It is recommended to hold special data-safety training sessions once or twice a year as a reminder and don’t forget to train new staff into the way things are done.

5. Limit access to data. Just like the guard at your local bank, you can limit who accesses your data. Revoke employee access as soon as they leave your business and set rules around who can access what – and when. Do they need access to sensitive information while working from home? Should they be able to edit files or only view them? Do they really need access to that folder?

6. Keep your software updated. Having out-dated software can be an open invitation for cyber-criminals. They look for known weaknesses in business software and walk right in. While the nagging pop-ups and reminders to update software can feel like a selling ploy, they’re actually helping your business to stay in safe. Updated software closes off those holes and gives you protection against new viruses, hacking techniques and known weaknesses.

If you would like to make sure your business is secure from data breaches, give us a call at 08 8326 4364 or at support@dpcomputing.com.au.

Should I Buy a New Computer or Upgrade?

Upgrade or New?The age old question as to whether you upgrade or purchase a new computer and the answer usually depends on who you are actually asking! A store salesman will always recommend a new one and that geeky friend will probably say upgrade. Your best bet though is to talk with an experienced consultant or technician who should provide a few different options.

Start by looking at what you currently have and seeing if an upgrade is technically possible. For example, if your car is 30 years old and always having problems it is time to replace the rust-bucket! However, if your car is reasonably modern and in good shape but just happens to stall occasionally a quick trip to the mechanics will probably save you a lot of money over buying a new car. It is the same with a computer.

If your computer does need to be replaced, chances are you already know this. But if you’re not sure and some days it could go either way, these tips will help you decide.

Laptop / Desktop: What type of computer do you have? Generally desktops are much easier to upgrade over a laptop. Some laptops due to their small size can’t be easily upgraded so you may not have a choice.

Hard drive upgrade: New SSD’s (Solid State Drives) are super quick when compared to the traditional HDD’s (hard disk drives) and I highly recommend them on all computers to give them a significant speed boost. The main issue with SSD’s drives are they generally hold less information that a HDD but that is becoming less and less of an issue as prices drop.

Memory / RAM upgrade: Some cheap computers are underpowered from day 1 with most of them needing a memory boost. But depending on your usage even a great machine bought a few years ago could benefit from extra memory. Generally adding extra memory is a fairly straight forward task so speak with your IT consultant to see if it is worth adding some extra memory in your machine.

Video card upgrade: As time rolls on games and high end graphics applications are getting more and more demanding. The days of stick-figure animations are gone and lifelike 3D is the new normal. With that improved experience comes a huge strain on your computer’s graphic resources. If you are a gamer or need high end applications for your business you can often super-power your computer with a single component – a new video card. Speak with your IT tech to see if a graphics card will give your current system a nice speed boost or whether a new system is required.

Data / Applications Transfer: A lot of people overlook this and purchase a new computer thinking it will be a cheaper way forward. What they forget is that their old applications may not run on a new computer, that they need all their old data transferred and things like email and printers need to be setup and installed. When upgrading your current system you don’t have to worry about this.

Computer Service: Sometimes your hardware may all be fine and your computer just needs a service and cleanout. As time goes by old files and settings get left behind which slowly start to slow the computer down. Dust and dirt also get clogged in vents and fans causing the computer to overheat and slowdown.

Where to draw the line: There are other upgrades such as the CPU (the brains of the computer) and the motherboard (where all the parts plug into) but once you’re in that territory, it is really time to go for a full replacement – you will save money by getting a computer that meets your needs and can grow with you.

Is your computer letting you down? Give us a call at 08 8326 4364 or on support@dpcomputing.com.au to help you with upgrading or selecting a new computer

Why Do People Create Viruses?

Why Do People Create Viruses?Writing a computer program is hard and writing a virus is even harder (BTW you don’t even need programming skills as viruses templates can be bought online), so why do people do it? In the majority of instances it comes down to 3 reasons:

  • Money
  • Bragging rights
  • Simply being a jerk.

While bragging or being a jerk is pretty self-explanatory, the money side is more interesting. Here are some of the ways people make money with viruses:

Bank account theft: As with real bank robbers virus creators are more than happy to help themselves to the money in your bank account. Once they have your login details (obtained via a key logger) they simply transfer your funds away or use your credit card details to go on a shopping spree. Sometimes they’ll leave the fun to another person by selling your details to the highest bidder.

Ransomware: Sometimes a virus will encrypt your files and demand money for a key to unlock you own data. Without a true backup procedure in place you are at their mercy.  Once you have paid the nightmare may not be over as they now know you are an easy target and request even more money.

Ad swappers: A very cheeky technique which you may never know is happening to you. This scam is when a virus puts annoying ads on websites you visit or places affiliate codes on pages. When you buy something legitimately – eg, from Amazon – the affiliate codes allow the hacker to get a percentage as a ‘referral fee’. Their kickback doesn’t make your purchase cost more and you may not even know you are infected.

Bitcoin mining: You have heard of digital currencies being used for payments but did you know you can also earn money via bitcoin mining? You can earn this money by running specialized software on your computer but sometimes this means paying more in running costs than you would actually make – unless you were very clever and sneaky, and used a virus to use the processing power on other people’s computers.

Botnets: If infected with a botnet, a computer can be remotely controlled to do whatever the virus creator wants. In most cases they’ll usually set the infected computers to overwhelm a target computer and blackmail the owners of that computer – the ‘Botmaster’ says “pay me thousands of dollars or I’ll crash your computer.”

Account stealing: Subscription accounts like Netflix and Hulu are often hijacked allowing other users a free ride by using your accounts. Gaming accounts open up another world of financial incentives with those digital items that people work hard for in the games worth a pretty penny on the black market.

These are just a few of the ways people make money through viruses and malware. If you know of any others please leave a comment below.

Give us a call at 08 8326 4364 to make sure your computer is secure and protected.