I Think I just might be Psychic

The power of the mind is a strong and sometimes dramatic force

Ever have that time where you absolutely know something is about to happen and it does? Ever walk into a room and feel like you’ve been there before? These are probably all great questions for the internet, but I wanted to touch on something that really hit home recently and is definitely where you should be thinking if you have more than 2 computers in your office.

Let’s use our IT crystal ball to find out

Actually its remote monitoring management (RMM) software. This tool monitors important features of a server (email server, database server, website server, file server, etc.) and workstations (system health, installed software health, etc.) actually thousands of monitors and remediation at a moments notice. If something is required an alert or email is issued to the administrator and work can be scheduled. Truly a crystal ball for IT administrators.

But, monthly maintenance costs a few hundred dollars a month, and I don’t spend that on monthly IT costs?

So, what does this mean for the rest of us without it?

Easy, more expensive IT costs. You might ask yourself “But, monthly maintenance costs a few hundred dollars a month, and I don’t spend that on monthly IT costs?”. Good question, it’s not easy to see the benefits when you think of it that way, but, what about what you’re not seeing? Not only does the RMM part help prevent and notify when a system breakdown will happen but, it also keeps your systems constantly and consistently virus protected, patched and your software updated. Some plans also keep your systems backed up, and protected not only against viruses but against ransomware. For instance, the typical ransomware attack asks for 3 bitcoins to decrypt your files, in today’s bitcoin price that’s about $30,000 and if you don’t pay in the first 24 hours the price goes to 5 bitcoins ($50,000). When you visit with your board of directors and don’t mention “Managed Service” because you think it’s too expensive, make sure you tell them when you get ransomware, you had an opportunity to not pay the $30,000 that it’s now going to cost. Think I’m kidding? Think I’m trying to sell you? Hell no, I’m trying to save you.

Oh yeah, think your backups are safe? Those get encrypted too. You need a backup plan with disaster recovery. Backing up alone isn’t a solution, it’s a disappointment.

Don’t let these bastards hold you up

What I used to think…

I work for a retired couple that manages several apartment buildings and a few years back they had their accounting computers drive crash, the husband told me that when he took a computer class to get up-to-speed with computers they told him “It’s not if it will happen, but when.” I remember that about computer drives, but now I’ve changed my opinion and use the same analogy with Ransomware, “It’s not if it will happen, but when.” Don’t let these bastards hold you up, get managed service today and get protected. 972-571-4808.

The Unspoken Hero or Silent Killer of your Business

In our busy internet influenced life we often don’t think too much about how being without our electronic stuff would be. Because of a recent electrical storm, I didn’t think too much about it. Until I thought about a nearby restaurant and wondered if they had a particular item on the menu, I immediately grabbed my tablet, turned it on, then it hit me, the power is out and there is no internet (duh!). Imagine this same scenario but this time we need to send an important document, a powerpoint presentation, or even a contract. But, instead of just the electricity being down we’re permanently down because our computers drive has just crashed.

The silent killer is definitely the outage, and not having access to our data. We depend on it, and it would destroy our business without it. Even for a short time I couldn’t last long without the internet.

Most of the time being a computer consultant I go about doing my regular tasks. These tasks are unseen by customers and occur on an ongoing basis, its just part of the job to spend so much time working with backups. Recently with my new “Managed Service” offering I changed my strategy because of the difference between a consultant that is called when things just break, and a true “Managed Service” provider.

There are several factors to consider when creating a good backup plan. What kind of business is involved? How long could this customer be without their files? How many days could they gap if they lost part of their information? If a ransomware attack occurred how are the backups stored? What if a tornado landed?

Computer Hardware

Certainly, the list can go on, but, taking the most important ones and developing the plan is what a good consultant and a “Managed Service” provider do. I just started implementing mock ransomware attacks on my managed service clients as an ongoing test to make 100% sure they are ready. Have concerns that when your network crashes you’re ready? Give me a call, I’ll be happy to offer a 68 point network review at no cost. In the Dallas / Ft. Worth area call 972-571-4808.

Time face
What was your time?

Should you want to see how long you could go without your network or internet connection, turn off or unplug your electronic devices and see how much time it takes you before you reach for one.

 

 

New Year means New Threats…

Remember the IRS hoaxes, and FBI emails

Keep in mind the government doesn’t send emails. Also, be on the lookout for banking emails, be very careful. Sometimes if I get something and I’m not completely sure I’ll hover over one of the links in the email, outlook will usually display the underlying link as a balloon showing the actual location. If I see a strange website location address, then I know for sure it’s a phony. When in doubt, don’t click.

We Add to our Email Filter Once a Month

Every few weeks I sit down and go though my junk email and add those suspicious items.

One thing that might surprise you is that nearly 2.5 million emails have been processed by the server in the last 30 days. In addition of that 1 million were SPAM.

It’s a never ending battle, and striking a balance between what to allow and what to block is daunting. The SPAMers typically change the words in a subject just a little to get through and you can’t use the email address to block, because that will be different next time.

The Biggest Fear is Ransom-ware

In recent time, ransom-ware is the biggest threat. Using Microsoft’s own technology against you, clicking on an email link, or clicking on a suspicious website can infect your computer. The ransom-ware executes an encryption algorithm that encrypts all your documents, images and backups. The encryption key that unlocks it is sent to the perpetrators and you’ll have to pay them to unencrypt your files. This is true for both Apple and PC’s, no one is safe.

Some folks over at Cyber-Reason have put together a free utility that can help prevent ransom-ware attacks, it’s available from this link. Do a google search and you can find free ransom-ware protection for your Mac.

What should you do?

Well, if you’re one of my clients, you’re taken care of on an ongoing basis.  I work hard to help protect and clean up your inbox before you get it. If your not, you should be. Give me a call at 972.571.4808 and ask me about offsite automatic data backups, low cost hosting, and email hosting.