Saturday, September 16, 2017

Back To School - Browsing Safely At Home (And At Work)

It's back to school time, and you know what that means!  Web research, book reports, and online based homework assignments.  How safe is your computer?  Are you ready for a new school year?  Allow Piccone IT to help you keep your computer safe while your kiddos complete their assignments.

With quick access to anything and everything on the internet, it’s important to have the proper security measures in place to protect your kids and your computer.  Using a high-quality antivirus solution will not only protect your computer from viruses, malware, and ransomware, but you can also apply content filtering rules. 

Content filtering allows you to block websites based on their content such as alcohol, gambling, and pornography sites.  Setting up content filtering rules will help make sure your kids can’t access inappropriate sites and adds another layer of security to your computer because many inappropriate sites also contain malware and viruses.

Another way to protect your systems is to use a firewall on your network.  Firewalls are devices that help block attackers from accessing your computers but some also come with additional features that include content filtering and malware/virus protection.  There are also some options for controlling when you can access the internet which can come in handy when you want to limit access to the internet only during certain times of the day for certain people.

Contact us today for more tips and to ensure that your antivirus program is protecting your computer and your kids.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Let Freedom Ring!

Are you feeling cooped up in your office, wishing you could be enjoying the summer sun?  This month we celebrated the 4th of July: Independence Day.  We reminisced about life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and freedom!  Here are ways to free you from your office setting and still get work done!

Whether you want work outside at the local park or find a quiet corner in a coffee shop, here are some things to consider when working remotely.

  • Ensure that you have a good working laptop with a reliable power source.  You will want the same speed and capability that you get at your office while you’re out.  You may also want to invest in a good headset for hands free calling while you work.
  • Know your Wi-Fi safety.  It is great when you go to a public place that has free Wi-Fi, but is it secure?  Keep yourself safe with these tips:
    • Turn off sharing – you don’t want people accessing your data and files from the public Wi-Fi.  It may say it’s secure, but there are still ways for people to get into your network and hack your computer.
    • Make sure your firewall is turned on.  This is generally always enabled, but double check it before using free Wi-Fi.
    • When surfing the internet, use https and SSL websites as much as possible.   Sites with this type of address are more secure than a regular http site.
    • If possible, use a VPN (virtual private network) to login to your accounts.  This will let you route all your activity through a separate network that is private and secure.
    • If you’re not using Wi-Fi, turn it off on your device.  This will protect you from having other people access your information.
  • Be sure that you have a game plan.  It may seem great that you can work from your beach house in your pajamas, but that may also lead to distractions and loss of productivity.  Prioritize your day and stick to your agenda.  Have everything you need to do your job in one central, quiet, location (cell phone and charger, water bottle, note pad, your calendar, etc.) to minimize your need to leave the “remote office.”
Contact us today so we can help you create a secure remote connectivity/telecommuting solution that makes sense for your business. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Protecting Your Computer During a Thunderstorm

Lightning can damage your computer and the data on it.

Don’t let bad weather kill your plans and your computer!

Here are some tips you can follow to protect your computer hardware and the important data stored on your computer during a thunderstorm:

1.     Unplug everything: We mean everything including the power cord from the wall for your computer and monitor and any network cables.  Power surges can occur through cable lines, telephone lines, and network lines so it’s a good thing to unplug those as well.

2.    Use a surge protector: Get a good surge protector and make sure that it has coverage for lightning strikes.  We know it’s now always practical to unplug all your equipment so having a good surge protector is the next best thing.  Good surge protectors will be able to protect your computer equipment and can also have ports to protect your cable and network lines as well. (You need to use a surge protector for your laptop too!!!)

3.    Use a Battery Backup/UPS: Getting a good UPS (uninterruptible power supply) is a great way to protect your hardware and data.  The battery backups have built in surge protection and provide power to your hardware during an electrical outage.  These devices are relatively cheap and because they keep your computer running when the power goes out you have time to safely shut down your computer which will help prevent data loss.

4.    Backup your data: While having a good data backup system in place won’t protect your hardware from damage, it will protect your data from being lost forever.  Data backups are essential and offer protection from hardware failures, viruses, ransomware, and several other disasters that can strike.

Get your hardware and data protected today.  Give us a call should you have any questions and we’ll be happy to help. 

Friday, March 31, 2017

How good are your backups? Do you test and monitor your backups or just leave them up to luck?

If your server suddenly crashed and ALL your
data was erased, how long would it take before
your business was back up and running as usual?

If you aren’t sure, or if you think it would only be a short period of time, read on. Below are 3 common, costly misunderstandings most business owners have about their data backup that give them a false sense of security:

Misunderstanding #1: Believing That Tape Backups Are A Reliable Way To Secure Your Data...Wrong! Tape backups have an average failure rate of 100% (no, that’s not a typo). What makes this even worse is that tape backups will APPEAR to be working, giving you a false sense of security.

Misunderstanding #2: Relying On An Inexpensive, Automated Online Backup Provider To Backup Your Company Data. Tread carefully here and make sure that you’ve really done your homework on your chosen solution.

Here are a few questions to ask of any offsite backup provider before you trust your company data with them:

  1.  Ask if you have the option to have your initial backup performed through a hard copy. With the amount of data on most company’s servers, an initial backup performed over the web can take months to complete.
  2. Make sure that database files can be stored and recovered easily. Many cheap online backup services only hold simple office or media files, while ignoring your most important database files or making those incredibly difficult to recover.
  3. Demand daily status reports. Any reputable backup service will send you a daily e-mail to verify that everything is backed up. The more professional solutions will allow you to notify more than 1 person (like your IT guy) in addition to yourself.

Misunderstanding #3: Trusting Their Backup Is Automatically Working Without Doing Periodic Test Restores. I see this happening a LOT – a business owner thinks their backups are working because they don’t see any error messages or apparent problems. Then, when they need to restore a file (or their entire server), they discover the backups stopped working MONTHS ago and all that data is gone.

Luck Is For Leprechauns...It Is NOT A Good Strategy When It Comes To Backing Up Your Data!

Contact us today and we'll help make sure you have a good backup system in place that will not only protect your data but provide you with a high level of business continuity.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

How Automatic Updates Are Not So Automatic

Do you use automatic updates on your computer?  A lot of users will set their computer update settings to check and install updates automatically and then never give a second thought to updates again. 

Automatic updates are good except when they aren’t.  What the heck does that mean?  Well, as long as everything works the way it should, automatic updates can help ensure your computer is updated with the latest software and security patches.  However, if something goes wrong with an update to your computer, the whole system can fail.  That can mean that your computer can’t check for updates or install any new updates giving you the illusion that your computer is up-to-date with the latest patches. 

Update installation can fail for a variety of reasons and subsequently cause the update system to break.  Make sure you take some time each week to check on your updates and ensure everything is working properly.  

Here are a few ways you check your system to make sure the updates are working:
·         Check the status of windows updates:

·         Check your update history to see when updates were last installed:

If you notice that you haven’t had any updates in the last month or longer you will need to do some troubleshooting in order to get your Windows updates working again.  Check out the Windows Update Troubleshooter or Contact us and we’ll be happy to resolve any issues you are having with the update process and make sure your computer is safe and secure.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

5 Quick New Year’s Tech Resolutions You Can Keep!

  1. Maintenance Plan: Implement a maintenance plan for your computers to ensure they are updated regularly and receive security patches
  2. Backup/Disaster Recovery: Make sure you have a good backup system in place that makes sense for your business.  Whatever solution you choose should create off site backups as well as imaged based backups to provide you with faster restore times.
  3. Hardware Upgrade Plan: Create an upgrade plan for your older machines.  It’s much better to replace technology on your terms rather than when a disaster strikes due to hardware failure.  Planning your technology upgrades not only helps you reduce downtime and lost productivity, but you can also stagger the upgrades which makes it easier to budget.
  4. Antivirus Software: Get a good antivirus program and install it on all of the computers and servers on your network.  Protecting your client and corporate data is not something that you should skimp on.
  5. Enterprise Firewall:  Don’t have a good firewall? Get one.  Have an old firewall? Replace it. Just bought a firewall last year, make sure you have purchased any advanced security licenses for the firewall to ensure you are the best protection it can provide.