business computer support vero

The Advantages of A Virtual Help Desk

on October 3, 2019 No comments

What if you could have one employee who’s dedicated to receiving calls and answering tech support questions from the rest of your staff? Essentially, someone having this role would be like a help desk for your business. 

Virtual help desks are staffed by people who are truly experts in all things tech. This not only benefits your customers and clients (as things are resolved faster), but it benefits your employees, too. Instead of focusing on problems that are not in their area of expertise, they can focus on the tasks in which they excel (and for which they were hired).

But having an on-site staff of experts in every application you use, at every location, around the clock isn’t practical for most companies. Instead, an off-site, virtual help desk can provide access to expertise in your full suite of applications and technologies wherever your employees are, whenever they need assistance. Here are several benefits from having a virtual help desk as part of your team:

  1. 24×7 remote support

No one, it appears, at any company are just working 9-5 at the office any more. With tablets, smart phones and skype they now work from practically everywhere now trying to meet deadlines. So if your customers run into an issue your virtual help desks nver shut down, so you’ll always be able to get an answer and get your work done.

  1. Your team has more time for important work

Getting a phone call when users are having problems distracts your own technology team from working on new technical strategies that will help your business. When those calls go to a virtual help desk, you team stays focused on creating business value rather than addressing routine questions.

  1. Problems get resolved quicker

The team staffing a virtual help desk is comprised of experts in the technology. Armed with a knowledge base of solutions, they’re quickly able to resolve straightforward problems. Tougher problems are easily escalated for higher levels of service.

  1. Better tracking of issues

Virtual help desks track data that lets you see what kinds of issues your team is repeatedly facing, so you can take steps to address the root cause.

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Your IT GuyThe Advantages of A Virtual Help Desk

Keep A Handle On Your Inbox

on August 13, 2019 No comments

We hear a lot of you are complaining about managing your inbox, so we wanted to share some very simple strategies to help you manage the onslaught in your inbox.  Whether you get 5 or 1000 emails a day, they add up and they add up fast. What’s more, is that email management seems to take on a life of its own. We spend hours every day “checking email”.  It’s a huge time sucking hole from which there is no escape at times. What happens with email is that everyone else’s demands, requests and even simple “hello’s” become equally important and take precedence over the things that you really want or need to do.

So how can you manage it? Here are 5 strategies for you to try. By the way, these are the same strategies that I use and that I recommend to my clients.

  1. I realize that I am taking a risk by giving you this strategy because I’d rather you don’t unsubscribe from our emails, however, if you are looking at an inbox full of newsletters and other “self help” information that you have subscribed to over the years but never read, pick your favorite few and unsubscribe from the rest. Keeping hundreds of self help emails in your inbox is not going to make you read them or follow the advice. By keeping them the only thing that you are helping yourself to do is get further overwhelmed.
  2. Unclick the box. Almost all online vendors pre-fill a little checkbox which gives them permission to send you emails and offers. Unclick the box! I realize that this may mean that you won’t get information about the upcoming 10% off sale but let’s face it; if you needed something and went online to find it you’re likely to find the 10% off sale anyway. Oh, if for some reason the box isn’t filled in already…do not click on it!
  3. You might be able to guess this one but just in case…as you get offers from vendors that you’ve done business with already, unsubscribe from their list. You already know that vendor and when you need something from them you will go online to find it.
  4. Keep separate email accounts. One account that you will stay current with for friends, family, work and those topics which are most important to you and another for bulk mail, online shopping needs, and those sign up sheets that you end up filling out.
  5. Use the delete key. You do not need to act on or respond to every single email you receive. Choose to respond to the ones that are most important to you and let go of the rest. You can even delete those “older ones” that you haven’t gotten around to answering yet because the sender probably doesn’t remember they sent it or else they just assume that it’s been lost in your inbox. If it’s that important they will contact you again.
  6. If you want to receive less email, send less email. As ridiculously simple as it sounds for such a pervasive problem, I’ve found this to be the golden rule of email management: Send less of it.  I stopped sending emails and instead use Skype for fast questions.

Email not only clutters up your inbox, depending upon the way your system is set up, but it can also be affecting the performance of the entire company. Or it can be eating up cloud storage unnecessarily. So, just like with your closet, perhaps the Mari method of inbox cleaning will work. Keep only those emails which spark joy, or cover yourself, you choose.

What strategies are you using to improve your productivity?  Let us know in the comments.

Your Tech guys

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Your IT GuyKeep A Handle On Your Inbox

Supercomputers, Who Uses Them and Why?

on August 6, 2019 No comments

Back in the 1970s and 1980’s, computing was all about big, beefy computers and dumb terminals. Then a new wave hit, and everyone switched to de-centralized processing using networks of PC’s which then uploaded their data to a centralized system for processing.

Today, most small to medium sized companies simply use their own network of desktop computers, laptops, and tablets, and their own servers to run their operations. Most of them also use VoIP systems to handle incoming and outgoing phone calls. But there are large companies who still use large mainframe computers because of the sheer volume of data they need to process.

Then there are the supercomputers. Those are a whole different breed of computers. They actually consist of hundreds, or more probably, thousands of servers in clusters which are used for complex computations and simulations.

Some are put to use trying to forecast storms and other weather conditions. If you aren’t certain why we need a supercomputer to predict weather patterns, I can offer you some examples. Weather conditions will affect crop yields, they will affect the transportation of goods, they will affect whether military operations can be conducted and it can even affect the price of commodities offered on the stock market.

Many of the supercomputers in use today model the effects of nuclear disasters, down to subatomic levels. Though none of us wants to even entertain the threat of a nuclear war, it would be naive not to find ways to understand what would happen and how to prepare.

The big issues for supercomputers in mean time between failure. They run so fast and process such a huge amount of data, that they often fail. The issue now facing the supercomputer industry is the current technology can’t keep up with demands for processing speed. Which means companies are looking for more efficient ways to build servers that use something other than silicone for their memory needs.

What does that mean for the rest of us? Well, I think that in the next decade, much of what we see in the world of computers is going to have to change. That can be exciting for some of us nerds and probably downright mind-blowing for others.

Your Tech Guys

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Your IT GuySupercomputers, Who Uses Them and Why?

THE END, Windows Server 2008

on July 5, 2019 No comments

You reach the last page of a novel and it’s the end. There is no more. Yet, with Microsoft software, even though the end of new releases of all components of Windows 7 & * happened a few years ago, there are still those of you, you know who you are, who are stubbornly clinging to these outdated versions of Windows. If you got upset with the loss of new versions on Windows 7  & 8, wait until you hear this.

Support for Windows Server 2008 is over for good on January 14, 2020. When we first posted about this subject you were saying to yourself, I have a whole year to migrate over. But guess what? Half of that year is gone. Now you only have 6 short months. Why short months? Well, because we pretty soon we will be entering Holiday Season. There is 4th of July Holiday, summer vacations, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up. Oh, and being a Veteran, I can never forget Veterans Day in November.

Here in Florida, we also have the threat of hurricanes heading our way, which will inevitably cause a few days of downtime at some point. The point is, there really aren’t all that many days left. Mike and I are urging all of our business owners in the Indian River County Area and beyond to give us a call. We will come in, look over your operation, and assess your current situation. We will check and see which applications you are currently running and work with you to make certain they will not be disrupted when you upgrade to Windows Server 10.

We will install the latest version of Windows 10 software, and we will work with you to make certain everything is up to date and on the most current level of software. AT UTS we can also work with your other software vendors to install any updates you would need. Please don’t wait until Christmas Eve, 2019 to give us a call.

Your Tech Guys

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Your IT GuyTHE END, Windows Server 2008

Email Etiquette For The Workplace

on June 25, 2019 No comments

With the popularity of texting/Facebook Messaging/Slack…email is no longer regarded as an essential tool for online communication among millennials. Most of us probably use our personal inboxes more as a way to collect Uber receipts and track the status of our Amazon purchases than for keeping in touch with friends and family.

Even though it’s used less in our personal lives, whether we like it or not, emails are a part of business. The issue with email comes as you get more and more inundated with email messages. At some point, you want to do everything you can to ensure that your important emails get read. One method you can use on your own outgoing emails is to adopt some best practices for professional email etiquette. From a professional email greeting to professional email format, it can all make a big difference.I have listed below some best practices for business email etiquette tips that will increase the odds of your emails being read rather than trashed..

1. Use a professional email address
Most companies provide a professional email address for their employee’s correspondence. Proper email etiquette calls for sending emails from your business email address rather than from a personal email address. Using a personal email address for business purposes can be seen as unprofessional by some, especially if you’re discussing confidential matters.

2. Use clear and precise subject lines
To ensure your email gets opened, read, and thoroughly understood, start with a short and precise subject line addressing the issue at hand. Ex. “Wednesday Meeting Agenda”. You should title your email in such a way that the recipient immediately knows what the message is actually about.

3. Avoid “reply all.”
It’s usually a good idea to forego the temptation to hit the “reply all” option when sending professional emails. Proper email etiquette aside, it can be quite annoying for people to be included in a group email if the content of the message has nothing to do with them. So be considerate and hit “reply all” only if the message would be of interest to all of the recipients. Otherwise, your email might be considered spam.

4. Acknowledge emails.
With business email, even if you are too busy to reply with a full on answer, it’s always a good idea to at least send an acknowledgment and follow up later.  You should not only acknowledge all emails but also do so in a timely fashion. Since this is not always standard practice, you’ll be surprised at how much your professionalism can set you apart.

Remember to keep these tips in mind next time you open up your inbox at work and in no time you’ll be an email expert!

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Your IT GuyEmail Etiquette For The Workplace

Why Strong, Unique Passwords Matter.

on June 12, 2019 No comments

Strong password policies have come a long way. How many people remember the 1995 movie Hackers. It had a very young short haired Angelina Jolie in it but the point was the entire mess started with one of the hackers being able to access files that should have been secure. All because the executive with the company had his password as “god”.

Fact: Every extra character in your password increases the difficulty for hackers to crack it.
The most commonly used password is…123456.

And it’s closely followed by just as insecure passwords like “password”, “welcome”, and “12345″.

Think one extra letter or number doesn’t mean much? Consider this:

A 6-character password with only letters has 308,915,776 possible combinations.
An 8-character password with only letters has 208,827,064,576 possible combinations.
An 8-character password with letters (upper & lower case) and includes numbers and symbols has 6,095,689,385,410,816 possible combinations.

Creating a strong password policy is key to helping users safeguard these critical systems they rely on every day. While additional complexity can seem like an inconvenience to many users, it shouldn’t prevent a strong password policy being implemented in your organization.

Now that you’ve come up with the strongest password possible, it’s time to absorb some principles of good password security practice in daily life:

  • Never disclose usernames and passwords to third parties
  • Never store usernames and passwords on paper or in an unencrypted computer file
  • Update your account password at least every 6 months
  • Do not use passwords that have been used in the past
  • Never provide credentials when requested through email
  • Run regular virus scans on your computer
  • Use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). With 2FA, you will receive a text message for login and password reset requests. You may choose between SMS, OneTouch, and TOTP (Time-Based One-Time Password) 2FA authentication.

If you have to share a password, use a site like a one-time secret. This site creates a link to a page with your password info (or whatever info you choose), and once the page is viewed once, it is gone forever.
Don’t save passwords or use “remember me” on public computers

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Your IT GuyWhy Strong, Unique Passwords Matter.

Windows Support Ends for Windows 7 & 8

on June 3, 2019 No comments

Windows Support Ends for Windows 7 & 8, in fact, it actually ended a while ago.

What does that mean to you? If you simply can not bear to learn Windows 10, I am here to tell you, in the most gentle way possible, that it’s time to get over it.

Windows 10 can be made to look more like Windows 7 or 8, and if you are like most end users, the software is not a radical change from previous Windows versions.

What it has changed is the level of protection it offers from the slew of new viruses and malware that crop up out in the world. If you don’t update your software and your servers with the latest version of operating systems, you are asking for trouble, plain and simple. We understand that man of the features other than virus and malware protection, are not ones you might be using if you aren’t working on a tablet or a touch screen computer.  But all the same, you need to make the change.

If you think we are being alarmists, you have decided to take your chances and not upgrade to Windows 10, just  take a look at what the Microsoft support page has to say:

An unsupported version of Windows will no longer receive software updates from Windows Update. These updates include security updates that can help protect your PC from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software which can steal your personal information. Windows Update also installs the latest software updates to improve the reliability of Windows—such as new drivers for your hardware.

Will I still be able to use Windows after support ends?

Yes. If you continue to use an unsupported version of Windows, your PC will still work, but it will become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses. Your PC will continue to start and run, but you will no longer receive software updates, including security updates, from Microsoft.

For full details about the support policy, see the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ.”

We are happy to help you upgrade your software with you. Call us at Unified Technology Solutions for an appointment.

Your Tech Guys

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Your IT GuyWindows Support Ends for Windows 7 & 8

Windows 7 and 8 Support Are Going Away Soon But..

on May 16, 2019 No comments

Most of the companies we work with have now embraced the Windows 10 operating system, but there are some who, just like with Windows XP, are just not willing to upgrade to the new operating system.

There are some writers out there in the world who would say,” Why do users get so attached to a specific operating system and refuse to change”? 

I can only give you my opinion, and it’s a straight forward one. Business owners and employees, for the most part, aren’t all that interested in new, fancy features within an operating system. They just don’t care all that much.

What they want and need is a reliable operating system, upon which they can safely and securely operate the software programs they need in order to fun their business. Period. Learning how to navigate a new operating system just takes time away from the job they are being paid to do, which is to keep their employer happy, or keep their employees working, and to make a profit. Plain and simple.

 
 

Well, as of January 14, 2020, that decision to stick with the operating system they know and understand will be taken out of their hands. For users other than those in certain environments, support for Windows 7 is going away, for good. Why? I came across an explanation at PC Magazine, that explains the reasoning.

“Support for Windows 7 is set to end on Jan 14. 2020, but access to Windows updates may end in March if you don’t allow your Windows 7 machines to download and install Microsoft’s next patch.

As MSPoweruser reports, Microsoft needs to ensure that the operating system updates end users receive haven’t been tampered with. It does this using SHA-1and SHA-2 hash algorithms to authenticate the updates. The problem is, the SHA-1 algorithm has a weakness and can no longer be relied upon.

As Windows 7 SP1, Windows 2008 SP1, and SP2 all rely on SHA-1 encryption, they need updating with support for SHA-2 as future Windows updates will require it. So next month Microsoft is rolling out an update to add support for SHA-2 encryption for its oldest supported operating systems. If you’re a Windows 7 user and don’t install this critical update, wave goodbye to any future Windows patches.”

The update that is referred to went out in March, so if you didn’t get the memo, you are out of luck. It’s time to get on the bandwagon and prepare your systems and personnel for Windows 10.

Unified Technology Solutions is prepared to get things installed and up and running smoothly for you over the next six months. Please, don’t wait until the last minute to build your install schedule. That’s when things can go wrong. It’s best to build a plan and prepare now.

Your Tech Guys

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Your IT GuyWindows 7 and 8 Support Are Going Away Soon But..

I.T. Support and Your Company

on March 8, 2019 No comments

All too often, I.T. is treated like secondary concern by small business owners who’ve recently made it through the lean, DIY startup years. They might see IT support as an option rather than a necessity. But what happens when something goes wrong? What can you gain from technical support that you may not notice? Maybe the bigger question is, what can you expect to receive from your technical support service?


Issue Resolution – This goes without saying; after all, it is the bread and butter of technical support. More than likely, this is the main reason you use support. If you’re in a pinch, they are there to bail you out.  The peace of mind you get knowing that tech experts who already know your systems are available to get your systems back up and running quickly. Having someone knowledgeable to resolve tech issues to your people doing what you’re paying them to do. Instead of fiddling with a malfunctioning printer or some software issue for an hour or more “hoping” that something will start working as they stab in the dark trying to fix it.

Expertise – At UTS the support technicians you work with can be considered an expert in the software they are supporting due to hours and training involved. Most technical support service companies require their support techs to have technical certifications or extensive experience with the product they are supporting. They are in the field, working with hardware, software and technical issues all day every day. This expertise provides you more insightful tidbits of knowledge and quicker resolution times.

Peace of mind – One of the best values provided by a technical support service is the peace of mind. Should all your systems fail, or even just one computer, it’s no matter, You don’t need to worry because UTS can find and fix your issues. Peace of mind is a service we don’t list on our Website, and probably should because it’s one of the most important services we provide at Unified Technology Solutions.

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Your IT GuyI.T. Support and Your Company

How Important Is Cybersecurity?

on January 7, 2019 No comments

Who cares about my little business? No one would bother to hack my system. I don’t have anything important enough for them to bother.

These are some of the things I here from small business owners, and they are just plain wrong. Cyber thieves and stalkers don’t necessarily care about how valuable your data is. They love it when a site is easy to hack. The data itself might not even be what they are looking for. It could be they are looking to network systems from all over the world in order to give themselves free computing power.

Business News Daily cites cybersecurity as one of the hot buttons for small business in 2019

“Importance of cybersecurity

With several data breaches over the last few years, small businesses are still being targeted by cyberattacks. According to a poll from Insureon and Manta, only 16 percent of small business owners think they are susceptible to a cyberattack. Yet, 61 percent of attacks occur at smaller businesses.

2019 could see the beginning of a cybersecurity movement among SMBs. Jim Lippie, general manager of cloud computing for software company Kaseya, said small businesses will start viewing security through the lens of an enterprise business.

“They will finally take security measures to heart,” he said. “SMBs, like their large enterprise counterparts, will lock down on a comprehensive backup and disaster recovery solution to keep protected, and also form new standardized blocking and tackling game plans to keep the business even more safe.”

Many small businesses have been targeted in the past, so 2019 could be the first year where SMBs start fighting back.”

At UTS, we can make certain you are up to date on the software which can protect your data. Just give us a call and let us show you how we can help YOUR company fight back against cyber thieves.

Your Tech Guys

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Your IT GuyHow Important Is Cybersecurity?