Author Archives: aimee

IT Outsourcing Solutions for Every Business

If you call the local deli to bring in lunch, or a service tech to repair your photocopier, you’re engaging in the act of outsourcing: obtaining a product or service you need from outside of your business. As a business owner, the most effective and efficient answer to your computer system problems comes in the form of IT outsourcing solutions. By hiring the services of a reputable company for the computer support solutions you need, you’re ensuring that your files, servers and hard drives stay safe and secure.

So why outsource your IT services?

  • Increased productivity. When your computer goes down, you lose precious man hours waiting for someone with tech skills to fix it. If your server goes down, you could lose an entire day. With outsourced monitoring, service delays can be kept to a minimum. You’re choosing to have your system monitored constantly, applying patches and running virus scans on your hard drive and server. Companies offering professional computer solutions have already solved the problems you may have just learned about, and can fix them quickly – perhaps even help you avoid them completely.
  • Save money. Small and medium sized businesses often lack the financial resources for a full-time IT department. Outsourcing your IT needs is far less expensive than hiring an employee. More importantly, an outside company offers 24 hours of IT support, creating solutions for problems that arise before or after business hours.
  • Specialist access. Sometimes, even the most well-protected servers and systems have issues. When your computer system is compromised, you’ll need the help of an IT specialist – a costly expense if you don’t have one on staff. Access to specialists is one of many computer support solutions that an outside company can offer. In the event of a serious problem, you’ll be in contact with a trained specialist.

Computer Support Solutions Designed to Keep You Safe

If you’re still wondering why you should outsource your IT services, think about virus protection. Most virus protection packages are equipped to handle basic viruses and bugs – but when your data contain personal and sensitive information about payroll, personnel or intellectual property, an over the counter anti-virus and anti-malware program may not be enough. By outsourcing your IT needs, you’re ensuring that you have the most up-to-date and most secure virus protection available. Most outside companies offer round-the-clock system monitoring, adding an additional layer of protection.

Even if you already have an onsite IT department, hiring the services of an outside company is beneficial. They can offer IT outsourcing solutions as a second tier of protection for your business, providing additional support when necessary for a fraction of the cost.

The better computer support solutions come from reputable companies, not necessarily large ones. It’s important to choose a company that can handle the level of services or bandwidth you need. A reputable company will create professional computer solutions that fit your needs, not theirs. Depending on the size of your company, you may find that an outside service is all you need to keep your computers safe.

The Best Wifi Tablet May Not Be What You’re Expecting

Choosing the best wifi tablet isn’t as easy as it used to be. The Android system has given Apple a win for its money, and Google Play is finally starting to catch up to the App store in its offerings. (Perhaps: it depends on whom you ask.) And with the breakout success of the Kindle Fire, the Samsung Galaxy vs. Apple iPad debate has expanded into a much larger — and more thought provoking — discussion by tech geeks and tablet “noobs” about which product is best suited to our needs.

So which IS better: iPad or tablet? It’s not easy picking the best wifi tablet, but we’re going to give it a shot.

Samsung Galaxy vs. Apple iPad: The Definitive Pros and Cons List

Kindle fire vs. Acer Iconia vs. Samsung Galaxy vs. Apple iPad: so many to choose from, so little time. To help you make your decision about the best wifi tablet for you, we’ve delved into the list of attributes of each — everything from storage to pixels to the battery life of tablets. This way you can choose the product suited to your needs, without spending hours looking up lists on the Internet.

Operating system: The Apple iPad runs on iOS, the standard Apple system. Since Apple won’t license it out to competitors, only Apple products use it. The Galaxy runs off Google’s Android operating system, which is Linux-based. Android software is open-source software, meaning anyone can use it or modify it. So which system is better: the iPad or the tablet? It depends on whether you like to play with your software. The Galaxy uses a more adaptable operating system, so you can customize it to you.

Battery: The battery life of a tablet is not, on average, as long as that of an iPad. (Remember all that customizing you did? It eats at your battery.) Just like with your phone, if you play with the tablet for too long, the battery will drop dead on you. If long battery life is important to you, choose an iPad.

Digital display. The iPad has more pixels. More pixels mean a better retina display. If you value a crisp, clear screen, then the iPad is the best wifi tablet for you.

Applications, widgets and accessories. This used to be iPad, hands down – but the Galaxy has been catching up quickly. Google play is offering more and more app and widgets – including Netflix and Skype. The Samsung Galaxy Note comes with a cool, thin stylus, making it easier to write on the screen. Overall, it’s much easier to multi-task on a Samsung Galaxy vs. an Apple iPad… but of course, all that multi-tasking leads to a shorter battery life of the tablet you’re using. And the Apple store still offers more apps than Google Play. Additionally, it’s much, much easier synching your online music and movie purchases on an iPad than it is synching your iTunes to an Android tablet.

Overall happiness. When it comes to customer satisfaction, it’s easier to tell which is better, the iPad or a tablet that runs on Android. The answer is overwhelmingly the iPad. It makes sense: PC users can switch to any company and have the same functionality. A Dell isn’t much different from a Gateway, right? But Mac users love their Macs — period. And iPad users are consistently more satisfied with their choices than those who purchase Android tablets.

In the battle of the Samsung Galaxy vs. Apple iPad, Apple takes the lead — but maybe not for long. As Samsung continues to improve its functionality and app offerings, we may just see a day where the best wifi tablet isn’t an Apple at all. But for now? Apple reigns supreme.

Backing Up Files Isn’t Just About Saving Your Work Information

Every responsible business owner knows that backing up files related to your business is not just smart – it’s essential. You may use a thumb drive. You may use the Cloud. You may even have a backup hard drive attached to your computer for just that reason. But if you’re not also backing up photos, emails, music and personal files, you could lose more than you bargained for in the next power outage.

Most of the really terrible stories data storage companies hear happen after the computer crashed. That’s because so many small business owners are diligent about backing up files for their business, but they completely forget about their personal information.

We understand why, too. Many business owners use a specific computer for personal use, and one for their business. But we’re willing to bet that you use your home computer for work, too. So while you always remember to backup your hard drive at work, you probably forget to do so at home. That means you’re not backing up photos, e-cards or important documentation that you could lose through file corruption after a storm.

Another Backup Hard Drive Can Make All the Difference

Pretend for a moment that the computer crashed, and you’ve just turned it back on. Suddenly, you see the BSOD – or the Blue Screen of death, as it’s commonly called by college students and techies. You try entering through safe mode; you try working with the screen commands before Windows even opens. But try as you might, you can’t access the information on your computer – and you forgot to plug in your backup hard drive. Sure, it reminds you that backing up files at home is important – but are you fully aware of what you may have lost?

  • Pictures: Graduations, holidays, weddings, a honeymoon – all gone. If you’re not backing up your photos every time you upload them, you risk losing them for good.
  • Receipts: Do you shop online? Do you save all of your receipts in your email? If you don’t, now is a good time to start. Those receipts will stay in the Cloud even after your computer crashed, so you can access them for returns, exchanges or tax purposes later.
  • Bills: So many people pay their bills online now, and you may have that service run directly through your bank. But if you save questionable bills, utility cancellations or your credit information in a separate file on the computer, you could lose your records.
  • Homework: If you’re taking classes online or if you have kids who use the computer, chances are that you’re backing up files through your word processing software. But once the computer crashed, those files were at risk of corruption – or deletion. The same goes for backing up photos used for science projects, book reports or even Power Point presentations. And teachers don’t like “the computer ate my homework” any more than the old story about the dog. A backup hard drive is an excellent way to save documents from disappearing into the great beyond.

So don’t forget that backing up files goes beyond saving your work-related information. You should get into the habit of backing up photos, receipts and other personal documentation as well. It might save you a lot of heartache in the end.

What to Do if You’re the Victim of a Hacked Email, Facebook or Twitter Account

If you’ve been the victim of a hacked email, Facebook or Twitter account, you may be in for more than some simple annoyances and spam. Hacked emails could mean that the hackers have more personal information than you realize — including your online bills, shopping sites and banking information. (If you haven’t changed your Facebook, Twitter or email password in a while, let this article be the stimulus you need.)

Luckily there are a few steps you can take in order to put a stop to any further damage, and perhaps recover your information along the way.

Contact your account providers. Check your email and social media sites for their “help” or “Contact Us” pages: they all have them. Most providers like Google, Yahoo! and Hotmail have directions for how to change your email password.

Contact your bank. If you make any online purchases, contacting your bank should be the next step. You should also contact your credit card companies, even if you don’t use them online. It’s not difficult for hackers to find that information once they have your banking information.

Contact your friends, family and employer. If you use your personal email to keep in touch with your loved ones or your boss, sending a quick “my email was hacked” note may help you avoid problems later. You may also want to post a message on your Twitter or Facebook accounts.

Remember, too, that a hacked email isn’t the end all, be all. Any online community you belong to should be notified that your accounts are compromised. That includes online gaming communities, employment sites like and, and any site where you post pictures or share ideas. (Pinterest comes to mind.)

Changing Your Email Password — and Other Precautions

Writer Mat Honan is famous in the hacking world. That’s because when he was wiped out by hacker, he found out that the hacker had simply asked for the information – not stolen it. If you’re lucky enough not to have experienced being hacked, there are some steps you can take to avoid putting yourself in danger of losing all of your information like Honan did.

  • Change your email passwords — now. Learn how to change your email passwords in case you need to do it again.
  • Change your social networking passwords so that they’re not the same as your email password.
  • Make sure to enable secondary precautions, like adding a secondary email account or a mobile phone number to your accounts.
  • Purchase a virus protection system; it could catch potential viruses designed to grab your information off of your hard drive.
  • Don’t save your banking information on shopping sites: the last four digits of your credit card may be all a hacker needs.
  • Delete every account you’re no longer using. If you’re like most people, your online life goes back at least ten years. Get rid of anything you don’t use.
  • Save everything on backup storage. You can invest in a secondary hard drive or an offsite storage facility to keep your pictures, document and music safe.
  • Encrypt your data so that hackers can’t read it.

An ounce of prevention goes a long way. You don’t have to follow every step listed here (although you’ll be safer if you do), but taking steps now to avoid falling victim to identity theft is always a bright idea.

The Importance of Solid and Secure Computer Data Storage

Are you thinking about computer data storage yet? Because with the rainy season approaching, your backup computer files might be the only thing between secure records and utter chaos. And if you’re thinking that’s a well-placed bit of exaggeration, try asking the residents of Freehold, NJ how many of their personal emails, financial records and pictures they wish they still had.

But what happened in Freehold is an excellent reminder of why computer data storage is so vital. When you don’t backup your computer files, you run the risk of losing everything during power outages not just because the power is out and your computer won’t run but because the surges in power can corrupt your files and hard disk. There are ways of protecting your computer at home – a power strip is a good idea, and saving files to a thumb drive is smart – but they’re not comprehensive enough for people who use their computer for more than just creating documents or updating social media. Offsite backups are a far better idea for keeping your most important files safe and sound.

So: what can you do to keep your files safe in the wettest season of the year? We’ve compiled some ways of protecting your computer and its contents so that you don’t end up with a very expensive paper weight the next time a hurricane rolls through town.

Offsite Backups: There are a number of reputable companies out there who can help you protect your information. Outside computer data storage facilities will store your information (for a fee, which can be nominal – or not – depending on the company) at their facility. Be Things to watch out with this so be careful of where your data is and how secure it is. That will be another article.

The Cloud: It seems strange to recommend putting all of you stuff into space, but that’s essentially what the Cloud is. You can backup computer files online for free, which is great. Just be conscious that a computer hacker can wipe out those files a bit easier than s/he could if you use a company that specializes in computer data storage for your home or business.

UPS: That’s an Uninterruptible Power Supply, and it’s a pretty cool gadget. It sends a steady stream of power to your computer even if a storm causes a power surge, giving you time to shut it down correctly. Some of them will even initiate the shut down for you, if you can’t get to it yourself because you are away. It’s one of the better ways of protecting your computer because it keeps the machine and its contents safe. Just make sure to “comparison shop” first, because some of them are a little pricey. Be aware that they do need to be configured properly in order for them to work the way they are meant to work.

Electricians: How good are your wires? If you live in an older home or if your area is particularly susceptible to sever storms, then all of the computer data storage in the world might not be able to save you. May be time to invest on a home generator to help keep your lights on during and after a storm. You never know how long it may take the electric company to get your lights back on. No matter what, remember to backup those computer files ASAP before it is too late.

Don’t Wait to Backup Computer Files

The most important thing to remember is that sometimes – believe it or not – the weather reports are wrong. Some storms blow right over, while others cause levels of devastation that are almost unimaginable. (Just ask anyone from the Gulf Coast.) The best ways of protecting your computer mean nothing if you don’t implement them. That’s why it’s so incredibly important that you backup computer files often. Offsite backups at reputable companies can keep your files – necessary and precious – safe when the lights go out.

Do You Have Enough Power Surge Protection?

It’s officially hurricane season, and that means it’s time to face the inevitable power surge. Protection is important to keep your things from fizzling out, but the power strip you bought might not be enough. So if you have a computer, data backup should be the first thing on your mind this storm season.

We’ve compiled a list of ways of how to back up a computer so that you’re protected during the season. To avoid dealing with computer problems after a power outage, why not give one of these a chance?

Buy a DVD/CD Burner: Copy EVERYTHING. Really – everything. Power surge protection strips might help you in a small storm, but in a serious weather event, like a hurricane or a tornado, huge amounts of electricity can come coursing down those wires. It’s far less expensive to take care of your computer data backup at home than it is to replace a motherboard – or an entire computer.

External Hard Drives: The price of external hard drives has really come down over the last few years, making this an inexpensive way to create additional power surge protection. How, you ask? Because an external hard drive usually comes equipped with computer data backup software pre-packaged inside of it. That means it automatically backs up everything you do, as long as you remember to turn it on.

Get Online: If you want to know how to back up your computer for free, however, then it’s time get online. Many web-based companies offer free computer data backup through cloud computing or applications. What does that mean, exactly? It means that all of your “stuff” – your pictures, your spreadsheets, your music, your documents, etc – can be saved not just on your specific computer, but on a network that allows to you access them from anywhere in the world. It’s the ultimate in power surge protection, because the data isn’t only on your computer.

Reliable Computer Data Backup Solutions

All of these power surge protection ideas are great, but there are some other preventative methods you really should take first. They’ll help you minimize computer problems after a power outage by lowering the level of damage that a storm may cause in the first place.

  1. Keep your computer in a cool, dry place that’s relatively free of dust.
  2. Develop your computer data backup plan and stick to it every day.
  3. Buy a power surge protection strip, and keep only your computer on it.
  4. Protect your computer from static electricity, which can cause erasures.
  5. Update your virus protection – stat.

Even small storms can fry your computer, so knowing how to back up your computer is a must. But by taking preventative measures now, you can avoid long-term, serious computer problems after a power outage. If you’ve not yet begun using a computer data backup system, then it’s definitely time to start. A little bit of prevention can save you hours of aggravation – and hundreds of dollars in repairs.

If you’re not sure which kind of protection you need, it’s a good idea to call a professional. Local computer technicians will not only understand how surge protection works – they’ll also know what kinds of weather events are most common in your area. That means they’ll be more familiar with how computers react to certain types of storms, and can recommend methods of how to back up the computer that are more likely to work. They may even offer data storage, which will take care of two birds with one stone.

The Benefits of Cloud Computing

There’s an awful lot of discussion about the benefits of cloud computing – and not a whole lot about what it is, exactly. So how can you know if cloud computing technology is something that will actually be useful to you, if the very definition of cloud computing is as nebulous as its namesake?

If you’ve ever asked yourself “What is the cloud” or “How does cloud computing work,” then this is your lucky day. The following information was compiled to help readers understand the most basic elements of Microsoft cloud computing, and the advantages of taking to the Cloud.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing technology is one you’re already familiar with if you use Gmail, Yahoo or AOL for your email. The cloud is a term used to describe the online networks where you work and play. In other words, the cloud is the place that holds all of your stuff – things like calendars, pictures, music – so that you can access it at any time. If you use social networking sites, you’ve already discovered the benefits of cloud computing for personal pleasure.

How Does Cloud Computing Work?

Actually, it’s pretty simple. A computer user subscribes to a cloud-based storage company, and then “sends” the information to that company. So instead of saving anything on your own personal computer, you’d save it on the online network run by the storage company. (One the benefits of cloud computing is that your own computer stays uncluttered, because all of your information is stored somewhere else.) Then, when you wish to retrieve that information – as in, you wanted to listen to your music or look at pictures, or you needed a particular spreadsheet or document – you’d either A) have the information sent to you from the storage company, or B) access the information on the network yourself.

Are there Economic Benefits of Cloud Computing?

Absolutely. The economic benefits of cloud computing are especially clear for business owners, because it can almost completely eliminate the cost of software. Owners who use computers not only have to purchase the actual physical machines, but also the software programs that run on those computers. With cloud computing technology, an owner can use the network to run applications that normally have to be purchased. This can save an owner thousands of dollars, while allowing for additional choices in terms of providers.

What Can Cloud Computing Technology Do for Me?

In a word?EVERYTHING. The basic tenet of Microsoft cloud computing is that multiple networks are faster, stronger and better protected than the average computer. And one of the great benefits of cloud computing is automatic backup. Cloud computing technology ensures much larger areas for data storage, so anything you save on the cloud will be saved in multiple spaces, guaranteeing that you’ll always have it around.

So does that mean you should never save anything on your physical computer? No – important things should be saved whenever and wherever they can. But now you can keep them safe and access them wherever you are. It’s kind of like taking your computer with you wherever you go, without the hassle of actually lugging around the desk top.

Microsoft cloud computing has revolutionized the way we think about data storage, the way we treat our information – the way we work and play online. When people ask “How does cloud computing work for me,” they’re usually not thinking about the massive changes it’s caused in both the public and private sector. Some of the benefits of cloud computing are so subtle that we don’t even notice them – like improving the efficiency of IT responsiveness while lowering the cost. So whether you’re a business owner or a college student, there’s an application through Microsoft cloud computing that will save you time and money every time you use it.

Are your IT systems secure?

Email has changed the world of communication for businesses, but it’s also proven to be highly vulnerable to outside influences. Hackers, scammers and identity thieves are always out there putting your business at risk. All it takes is for one employee to open an email attachment for a virus to infect your whole network – or worse, give unauthorized access to your business’ confidential information. So how can you keep your business safe?

Tips for getting the best computer network security

Hire a computer security consultant

When it comes IT security services, professional protection can’t be overrated. With enterprise data issues, you can’t afford to wait for your computer network security to be compromised before taking action. A computer security consultant can customize professional computer security solutions to help you minimize enterprise data risks, avoid data breaches and personal information leaks, and address security risks and malware before you end up being a victim.

Build safe IT systems

A computer security consultant can help protect you from hackers by designing computer network security that’s built around limited access to your technology infrastructure. Don’t let the notion of convenience give you a false sense of security when it comes to who should have access. The number of people with access to all of your systems, equipment and software should be limited to you and your most trusted employees. And the best computer security solutions minimize risks with a unique set of email addresses, logins and servers for each user or department.

Protect yourself with passwords

A password is the first line of defense against unauthorized access to your computers and networks. But use a weak password, and you make it that much easier for an attacker to gain access. All sensitive data, equipment and wireless networks should be protected with unique usernames and passwords for specific individuals. Strong passwords are harder to crack, even with the latest password-cracking software. Your password should contain letters, numbers and symbols, and it shouldn’t be easy to guess. And if you happen to create a document listing all company passwords, it’s important to encrypt that with its own password as well.

Inoculate your systems with anti-virus software

Every computer is vulnerable to a variety of viruses, worms and trojans that lurk on the Internet. These malicious software programs can wreak havoc on your computer network security, damaging your computer and files, or even stealing passwords and stored data. Purchase a good anti-virus software program and make sure that it is always up to date. Some network providers even offer this for free. Also, check to see that your anti-virus software checks for spyware, adware and any other malware that could be hiding on your computer.

Keep confidential data on your own network

While Cloud computing helps businesses improve efficiency and cut costs, there are risks involved. The third parties who house your data on remote servers often have their own security issues. When it comes to IT security services, have your computer security consultant keep your confidential data on your own network. Keep it off the Cloud.

Thoroughly screen, monitor & train employees

You can’t predict when or if an employee will betray your trust, but you can put safeguards in place for computer network security to help minimize the damage should this be the case. First, thoroughly screen your employees before hiring them, especially if they’ll have access to financial or confidential business information. Limit the number of employees that can access this information, and password-protect those files. Change the passwords often to help prevent former employees from accessing your business networks. It’s amazing how many networks are hacked or crashed simply because employees don’t follow documented procedures. Solid training should be provided upfront and as needed to help this become second nature.

Ignore unknown email attachments

The easiest way to get a virus, trojans or worms is to download an infected file. Never click on unsolicited email attachments. If you want to download the file, confirm the attachment’s contents with the sender. If you don’t know the sender, it’s best to just delete the message. This goes a long way when it comes to computer security solutions.

Trying to scrimp when it comes to your small business computer network security can be a costly mistake. It’s important to know what your business is up against and take steps toward prevention. Hire a computer security consultant with customized computer security solutions to help you through the process. The investment will give your company the IT security services necessary to keep your information secure and your business successful.

Top 10 Tips on Protecting Your Computer

The one question asked most often by people these days may very well be “How to protect my computer?” People of all ages spend more time on the computer than not these days, which makes computer security—and, in particular, learning how to prevent computer viruses—an issue of paramount importance.

Following these 10 tips will dramatically improve your computer security and leave you less likely to ask “How to protect my computer?” after you’ve suffered a breach!

1.) Buy and install anti-virus software: This is the one computer security measure everyone can implement easily and quickly. Simply put, the first thing you should do upon buying a new computer is add the anti-virus software. It won’t completely secure the computer, but a computer without anti-virus software is unsafe.

2.) Buy and install anti-spyware software: Spyware is software that is installed on your computer, without your knowledge, that allows outsiders to get a glimpse at your computer activities. Spyware is usually more annoying than damaging—if you’ve been subjected to pop-up ads, you’re probably a victim of spyware—but still, buying and installing the anti-spyware software will cut out that aggravation and allow your computer to run in a smoother fashion.

3.) Password protect your home and/or office wireless router. If you fail to do so, hackers can worm their way on to your wireless and steal valuable personal information from your computers. This has the added benefit of improving the performance of your wireless Internet: Your signal will be stronger without people in nearby homes and offices stealing it.

4.) Shut off your computer when you’re not using it. Many people like leaving their computers on 24/7 so that they can easily resume work after waking up or returning home. But whenever a computer is on, it is vulnerable to attacks from hackers. A computer that is shut off cannot be infiltrated by the bad guys!

5.) Be careful downloading email attachments. This qualifies as an “old-fashioned” computer security recommendation, but it’s still relevant. Someone from work sent you a Word doc? You’re probably OK. A spammer sent you an attachment in a bizarrely worded email? Delete, delete, delete! Also be careful with an email attachment that has been forwarded to you by someone else. There’s always the chance that the attachment picked up some malicious code at some point.

6.) Change up your passwords. A simple Google search will reveal common passwords you should avoid using. Also make sure your passwords aren’t obvious and predictable to those who know you—in other words, don’t make your passwords the names of your children and don’t include the digits of your birthday or anniversary. Try, whenever possible, to have different passwords for every site, and keep a written document of your passwords in a safe spot.

7.) Regularly back up important data. This falls under the heading of “you can never be too safe.” If, despite all your efforts, something should go terribly wrong and a virus or a hacker renders your computer unusable, at least you won’t lose your vital files.

8.) Update all your software, from your Internet browser to essentials such as Word and Adobe Reader. These updates come with valuable patches that address any security issues that have cropped up since the software was released.

9.) When making purchases on the Internet, only buy from “secured” websites. Failing to do so leaves you vulnerable to identity theft. You can find information about a website’s security level at the bottom of the page.

10.) Be vigilant! The most pivotal part of computer security is asking yourself, every single day, “how to protect my computer?” Daily maintenance of your computer is the best way to keep it safe and operating at peak efficiency!