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Network Connectivity Troubleshooting – Part One

network connectivity troubleshootingTo most computer support persons, having problems connecting to the Internet via a router and a high-speed connection is not a major issue. However, for those who do not understand some basic technology concepts, solving connectivity problems will be a struggle. The following will give you some tips of where to look for network connectivity problems and how to perform some basic network connectivity troubleshooting tasks.

Most of the initial steps of this process are common-sense and incredibly basic, but you would be surprised at the number of calls to help desks that are solved simply by having someone turn on a power switch or plug in a cable to a device!

1. Check the power. Make sure that the power is turned on to your router and that you can see some visible signs of that power on the front of the unit. Usually green or yellow lights flash or stay on constantly when the unit has power. If you do not have any of those, check the electrical outlet for power. Plug in a radio, clock, lamp or other device to see if the outlet is ‘live.’ If so, continue on to the next step. If not, check your electrical box to make sure that your circuit breakers have not tripped because of an overload or other electrical issue.

2. Check the router. If you still get no lights on the front of your router, then unplug it from the electrical outlet and wait for a while (15 minutes to half an hour) and plug it back into that same outlet. Most of these have what we call ‘wall-wart’ type power supplies that have the square-ish black block on the end which plugs into the wall outlet (or power surge suppressor). Sometimes these can go bad. If you cannot get any of the lights to come on at all on your router, even if you test it in a known “good” wall receptacle, it might mean that the power supply or router itself is defective.

3. Check the cables. Now, if you have confirmed that the electrical outlet is working properly and you are getting lights on the front of your router, then you need to check the network cable between your PC and your router. If you have a wireless router and are having trouble connecting by that method, then you need to troubleshoot first by trying to connect with a hard-wired connection, as it is easier to troubleshoot a hard-wired connection than a wireless one (once you have successfully established connectivity through a wired connection, you can resume troubleshooting wireless connectivity). Normally, your router should include at least one network cable for connecting devices directly to it. Use this cable to connect your PC to your router.. On the front of the router are a series of lights (these differ in color by manufacturer) which indicate the presence of a network connection over the network cable (or Ethernet cable) between your PC and router. Locate the network cable which runs from your router to your PC and unplug it from the back of the router. Does one of the lights go out? If so, that is a good sign. If not, then go to the PC end of the network cable and locate where it connects to your PC. Right around this connection there are usually a set of led lights indicating a network connection. By removing your network cable from the PC, you should see the lights go out. And, with your PC powered on, removing this cable will also usually cause a message to come up on your Windows-based PC indicating that your network connection has been lost. If this happens, then it appears that at least your router and PC are ‘talking’ to each other. This is usually noted by the ‘flashing’ activity of these lights.

4.Reboot both your router and your PC. Sometimes a simple reboot will clear up any anomalies between network connections, and this will always be a step any help desk, ISP or router manufacturer’s support personnel will ask you to try.

In part two of this series we will talk about checking functionality of your router and then determining whether your problem might lie solely with your PC.

Click here to learn how WJP Enterprises, Inc. can help with your network connectivity troubleshooting problems with our Reactive Response and PC Repair Services for your business in Brandon, Plant City, and the rest of Hillsborough and Polk counties.

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7 Password Tips to Protect Against Business and Identity Theft

strong passwords help prevent identity theftAh, those pesky passwords. If you work in the corporate world or in an office, you have one for your PC/Network and, unless there is a password synchronization application that combines them, you probably have more than one for other applications. Add those to the ones that you have for your home Internet, your banking and other websites that require passwords, and before you know it you have a nightmare on your hands in trying to manage them. How easy a target are you for business and identity theft?

Part of the frustration has to do with the different requirements for password formatting. Some systems only require four characters, some require eight. Some need a combination of alpha and numeric characters and others do the same with the addition of a few capital letters thrown in for extra security. It can be positively maddening.

The worst thing you can do with your passwords is to place them in a text document which can be accessed on the hard drive of your computer. Your files are vulnerable to business and identity theft- even if you think they are not. If someone is intent on finding them, they can. Even if you place them into a password protected document, those can be cracked, too.

Writing them down has its own vulnerabilities, too, and there are varying opinions on this practice. If you do write them down on a piece of paper, put the document in a locked location whether it is in your home or at work.

Here are 6 tips on how to handle your passwords to protect against business and identity theft:

1. Make your passwords complex. People who use easy to remember or short passwords are inviting disaster. Use a little imagination and pick a password that is very difficult to attach to your life. Stay away from birth dates, phone numbers, house numbers, or any other number that is associated with your life.

2. Keep passwords unique. When you change your passwords, make them unique from each other. Do not use the same password on all of your sites. If you do, then you are open to having every site that you have a password to being vulnerable to hackers to log on and steal your identity, money or destroy your reputation.

3. Be obscure. Use a combination of letters, numbers, capital letters and special characters if possible. The more you do this, the more secure your passwords will become. Create an alphanumeric version of a term you can remember. Using this technique the word “Spaceship” becomes “Sp@ce5h!p”. Another technique is to remember a phrase, and use just the first letters of the words. For instance, the Bible verse John 3:16 is easy to remember and “FGsltwtHgHobS.J3:16” is incredibly secure. (Unless of course, all of you use it! Come up with your own!)

4. Longer passwords are more secure.  Most systems allow passwords to be longer than the average person uses. A twelve character password, especially if it’s obscure as described above, will be exponentially more difficult to crack than just a six or eight character password.

5. Change regularly. This is the singular tip that can save you if you do not heed any of the other tips. How often should you change your password? How secure do you want to be? The frequency with which you change your password will determine how secure you are from becoming a victim. The more often you change it, the better you are. The longer you leave it the same, the more vulnerable you become. Three months is a good cycle for a password, but certainly if you fear for the security of your identity, then a monthly change is not out of the question.

6. Password-protect your PC. Be sure to give your PC a password on power-up. This will help protect your files unrestricted access to your PC.

7. Password-protect your wireless home network. If you have a wireless home network, be sure to password protect it as well. Use the same principles above in order to secure your wireless network. This will prevent others from accessing your connection and using it maliciously to hack the personal or business PCs and laptops you and your family use at home.

Finally, there are password programs that can help with this important task, but the best advice is to start with the tips above right away. Password software can be useful as an organizational tool, but it is no match for using sound methods to manage and make your passwords difficult to crack.

Click here to learn how WJP Enterprises, Inc. can help protect you against business and identity theft with our Network Security Services for your business in Brandon, Plant City, and the rest of Hillsborough and Polk counties.

Posted in: Security, Tech Tips for Business Owners, Tech Tips for Computer Users

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Benefits of Outsourcing Computer Services

computer serviceIt takes a lot of talent to run a successful business, and owners of successful small businesses are typically very talented and motivated people. The potential problem there is they usually have a penchant for wanting to do everything themselves, and they have a belief they can do it all themselves. This mindset can be detrimental to the overall success of their business. Trying to do it all can lead to hindered growth, lower profit margins and in some cases failure. Outsourcing things like computer services allows an the business owner to focus on what they do best. In order to create a business that is structurally sound, expandable and profitable, business owners should focus the majority of their time and energy on their personal talents and skills that are most important to the growth of their business and those skills that will most help in the generation of income.

 Reasons to Outsource Computer Service

1. Better control of expenses – Outsourcing your computer services eliminates all the costs associated with having an additional employee, or employees, on staff. Payroll, training, insurance, employment taxes, etc., and the management and administrative time to oversee all these, are eliminated for outsourced technologies.

2. Improve company and employee focus – No one can know everything about everything. Outsourcing computer services allows the business owner to focus on what his own business provides. A business owner with a law degree doesn’t start a law firm because of his computer expertise. Anything that takes a business owner’s focus away from the core purpose of the business, is detracting from, rather than supporting, the business.

Same thing with other employees; maybe someone is the sales department happens to be real knowledgeable about computer systems. Allowing that person to be the de facto tech support for the company takes them away from their real job (selling!). Plus, even if they are knowledgeable with computers, they still aren’t spending their days keeping up with the latest technology, and so the business will suffer. Outsourcing your computer services allows your employees to be used for their best and highest purpose, the reason you probably hired them.

3. Better access to expertise and new tech – IT companies provide better expertise with technology. Learning correct or better ways of using the technology tools they’ve been provided will make your employees much more efficient. IT companies are familiar with all the common tools in the modern office and can train your users better methods or shortcuts to improve their efficiency and results. A good computer service provider will also be up to date with new trends in computing, and can help guide a business in implementing new technologies at the best time and in the best way.

4. Risk mitigation – Technology has improved greatly, but there are still risks to your IT infrastructure. Hardware and software malfunction, including viruses, malware, and criminal behavior can lead to downtime, higher cost, and lost data. Computer service providers  can help mitigate these risks through monitoring, maintenance, implementing best practices, and expert consultation.

 Choosing a computer service provider

Not all computer service companies are the same. A managed service provider, or MSP, can provide comprehensive IT and computer service that covers virtually everything that touches your network, including servers, computers, printers, phones, tablets, software, etc. Outsourcing your computer service to a qualified MSP can make your business more successful and profitable than it is now, and it can give you more free time, too!

At WJP Enterprises, we are a managed service provider that helps small businesses in central Florida (Polk and East Hillsborough County) control their IT costs and risks. Contact us and let us prove to you that we should be your computer service provider.

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Google is changing. Your website ranking is at risk.

Website rankings are changing

Google posted the following message on February 26, 2015:

“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

For several years Google has considered the mobile-friendliness of a site when determining it’s position in search rankings; but now Google is getting serious about making sure websites that are mobile-friendly get better results in search ranking.

One way to think about this is that in the past Google ranked your site and then bonus points were available for sites that were more mobile-friendly, but now when Google ranks your site, not being mobile-friendly is going to result in negative points, and your ranking is going down.

Why is Google making this change? It’s fairly obvious and you’ve probably already thought about it before getting to this point, but more and more traffic on the Internet is moving to mobile devices, and users are relying on Google to find that content for them. As the following chart shows, searching on mobile devices is on the verge, or might have already, passed searching on desktop devices.

Mobile search for websites has overtaken desktop search.

 

With all these users coming to your website from mobile devices, it’s important that your website is usable and reasonably attractive for them, because otherwise, they’re going to another site. Since Google wants to deliver the best results for their users, if Google detects that your site isn’t mobile-friendly, they’re going to down grade it and put more mobile-friendly sites higher up in the search listings. Of course, that’s not what you want and that’s not good for any business or organization that relies on Internet marketing.

What is a mobile-friendly website?

So what does it take to be considered mobile-friendly? In the simplest possible terms, a website needs to be just as readable and functional on phones and tablets as it is on desktop computers. Fortunately, Google provides an easy way to check your website on their Google Developers page: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/ … just go there and enter the URL to your website and you’ll receive a simple message whether it’s mobile-friendly or not, and if it’s not, brief notes about why.

How important is it to have a mobile-friendly site? Very. Even if you don’t rely on Google for traffic, your website is many times the first place customers come in contact with you. Having an improperly working website would be tantamount to having a Yellow Page ad with the wrong address and wrong phone number thirty years years ago.

If your site is over three years old, it’s very likely not going to pass the mobile-friendly test. In order to get it up to date, or to start over with modern design and functionality, be sure to contact us so our web development team can get you back on track.

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Small Businesses Benefit From Managed IT Services

From start-ups to multi-billion dollar businesses, everyone is looking for ways to cut costs while turning a profit. In fact, many companies are just trying to keep things in the black, however that does not eliminate the need for practices that will improve and grow these businesses. Since few people have the expertise to manage much of today’s technology, a certain percentage of their budgets should be allocated to IT and software applications maintenance. Here are ways that Managed IT Services benefit small and medium businesses.

Benefits of Managed IT Services for Small Businesses

  • Increased productivity- Businesses are established to fill the need for a product or service while providing a livelihood for the business owners and their employees. In order to do this, businesses have to ensure they are working at full capacity at all times. Downtime or work performed at reduced levels is time and money wasted. Managed IT Services can help businesses not only quickly repair problems when they occur but also act as a proactive measure to spot and treat potential problems before they have an impact on productivity.
  • Supports in-house IT- Many businesses do not want to relinquish all IT maintenance control to an outside party, and small businesses do not always have the resources to support the type of IT department needed to keep their business running at full speed. A majority of businesses can benefit from adding the expertise, tools and availability of a Managed IT Services Provider to help support in-house IT departments.
  • Remote services- Managed IT Services Providers work from a remote location, providing desktop, email and back-up and recovery support services without adding to the actual number of “employees” on site. The services provided are unobtrusive and in the majority of cases, have no impact in the day-to-day activities of current in-house employees.
  • Affordable- Generally when you bring on a Managed IT Services Provider, a consultant will perform an onsite assessment of the company, its workflows and processes and the current state of its supporting technology to determine what services are needed to meet organizational goals. Business owners often have a choice between several different levels of service, making it possible for a company with a limited budget to choose a package that best suits their needs.

Security is a big concern for business owners and individuals alike. In the past, business owners have been reluctant to entrust secure or private information to a third party, offsite vendor. As Managed IT Services Providers continue to prove their value, more companies are realizing the benefits and value of their services. Managed IT Services Providers continue to improve technology to provide secure, quality services for businesses of all sizes. As a result, smaller businesses which operate with leaner budgets find themselves in a position to reap the benefits of these services. Business owners often have to make difficult decisions regarding how they will improve their business while sticking to the budget. As the market for Managed IT Services experiences continual growth in the next few years, this method of IT maintenance and service delivery will likely become the “norm” for small to mid size businesses looking to reduce costs and improve uptime and business continuity. Companies that recognize the benefits of Managed IT Services will have a jump on their competition.

Click here to learn how WJP Enterprises, Inc. can help you save reap these benefits and more with our Managed IT Services program for your business in Brandon, Plant City, and the rest of Hillsborough and Polk counties.

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Remaining Innovative Is a Key to Business Growth

Whether you are launching a start-up, or several years into operating your business, you need to continue to maintain an innovative mindset that will allow you to creatively fuel business growth. This means exercising your creative thinking skills in order to develop and explore new ideas, opening the doors to new and better opportunities. In order to foster a creative mindset, here are some tips to help you stay on the cutting edge of thought innovation:

Ask Yourself More Questions

When you first started your business, you were likely inclined to thoroughly consider your short and long-term goals, as well as create lists of what steps were needed to accomplish those business growth goals. These steps were an important part of your business plan, and they were important for a reason. Asking yourself tough questions that you were forced to answer honestly help you make the critical business decisions during your business’ start-up. As time goes on, it is just as important that you continue to ask yourself relevant questions about your goals and brainstorm new ideas daily about how to accomplish those goals.

Brainstorming ideas is not just limited to marketing or sales tactics. Consider how to handle physical growth as well as innovative ways to handle current issues that have arisen since the business opened, such as customer service and personnel issues.

Get Reviews

The one clear way to understand how your customers feel about you is to ask them. Getting customer feedback from the people who actually do business with you is invaluable in finding out what is working for them and what is not. For the most objective feedback, develop the ability to conduct regular customer surveys anonymously. Be innovative and use your creative mindset to identify what kind of questions to ask your clientele and customers to get the information you need to improve. And don’t use the same old survey time and again. Update your questions and craft them so that your customers perceive their feedback is important to your business. Not only are your customers’ responses important to your business growth and improvement; you should also continually research what your competition’s customers are saying online about their services and your industry as a whole. This kind of information can be found on blogs and online forums.

Compile and Add to your Network List

Sure, you may have a few business cards you’ve collected that can be helpful to promote your services through other complimentary businesses, but if you are only sticking with those few resources, you are certainly limiting your potential. You should always be networking and adding to your promotional resources to fuel business growth. Do not limit yourself to in-person events, either. Social networking sites are among the fastest growing ways to network these days, and other online resources such as blogs can be effective places to find out what people are looking for and what you might be lacking to provide in your business.

Be consistent in your promotions – don’t sign up for social networking sites and then fail to use them. Plan your messaging ahead of time and implement those services into your daily marketing routine. Creativity comes into play when you develop your keywords, write eye-catching posts that include interesting tidbits to help create a solid social network. Staying on the cutting edge of what’s new and leveraging these opportunities creatively can seriously change the direction of your business. This is also true about simply listening to your customers and taking proactive action based on the information you learn. Educating yourself about what can make your business better is only half the battle. You have to brainstorm ways to be innovative in the ways you make this information work for you to achieve your business growth goals.

Click here to learn how WJP Enterprises, Inc. can help you achieve your business growth goals through technology with our Technology Consulting Services for your business in Brandon, Plant City, and the rest of Hillsborough and Polk counties.

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Technology Increases Small Business Profitability

Dollar signs increasing in size, indicating growing profits.During times of economic struggle, most small businesses end up making cuts and changes to keep their businesses in the green. From laying off staff to decreasing business travel, reducing marketing efforts and ending bonuses and raises temporarily – there are a variety of ways small businesses look to cut their expenses. At the same time, they look for ways improve Small Business  Profitability – especially when operating with reduced staff. Technology becomes even more useful as small businesses strive to increase productivity and efficiency.

There are so many gadgets and technology solutions out there that it can be easy to buy more than you need, or to buy the wrong types of products that just don’t deliver the solutions your business needs. When deciding what types of technologies can help your business reach its goals, here are a few things to look for

Ways Technology Increases Small Business Profitability

Communications – technology is well known for its capability to improve the ability for people to communicate with one another. Whether you’ve got employees on the road or down the hall, virtual phone systems can route calls to cell phones and keep everyone in touch regardless of location. Instant messaging and email provide quick ways to communicate with the written word and keep documentation of these conversations for future reference. Social media and networking sites provide a way to keep in touch with co-workers, customers, and the competition at a glance.

Data Storage, Warehousing and Search – If you find employees are spending a lot of time looking for certain reports, forms or other data that they need to perform their job responsibilities, investing in network hardware and software to keep track of the whereabouts of your data can be useful.

Telecommuting – many small businesses also find that there isn’t a need for all employees to work in the same office building in order to get their work done. Having employees who telecommute requires the technology to make that happen (a secure network for employees to access data they require to do their job; improved communication systems to receive incoming phone calls at their homes or on their cell phones and the ability to keep in touch with co-workers in different locations). Having employees telecommute can save you from needing a larger office space, which keeps your overhead costs lower, too.

Customer Relationship Management – having some sort of CRM software to help you manage your database of clients and prospects is well worth the investment. Many businesses will tell you the “money is in the list”; meaning the amount of money a company earns is directly proportional to the number of people on their mailing list. Some companies use software like ACT, Goldmine or SalesForce to track their clients and leads. Others have custom-built software developed to handle unique needs that can’t be addressed with existing software.

Technology makes it possible for small business to increase productivity and compete with larger businesses on a smaller budget, thereby increasing profitability. Efficiency and organization is improved through the use of appropriate data storage, search and mining, customers are better managed through customer relationship management systems, and it is possible for money to be saved when employees telecommute from home. Before investing in any new technology, identify the unique needs of your business and determine which technology will best meet your needs.

Click here to learn how WJP Enterprises, Inc. can help you increase small business profitability with our Technology Consulting Services for central Florida businesses.

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Protect your Parents and Grandparents from computer scams.

Computer Scams often catch older individuals

A sad fact of this world is that there are some pathetic people who would rather cheat people out of money rather than work for their own. The computer industry is no different: there are some vile “computer technicians” out there who are trying to trick people into paying them to fix problems that don’t exist — or even worse, that the “computer technicians” create themselves. Unfortunately, many of the people who are tricked into paying money are older individuals who are often both a little nervous and/or intimidated by technology, and also more trusting of others than people of younger generations.

It’s time to have the “don’t talk to strangers” talk with your parents and grandparents. Let them know that if someone they don’t know calls them and tells them their computer is having problems on the Internet and has viruses and is spreading them, JUST HANG UP. (I actually like cursing them up one side and down the other first, but I digress….)

I’ve heard of several people– and had to give the bad news to a few– who have been swindled by these type of calls. It may be difficult to younger people who are comfortable with computers to understand how someone could fall for such a scam, but it is obviously occurring, because the criminals keep doing it… so they must be having success with it.

So how are they able to convince people their computer is corrupted and needs cleaning or remediation? There’s undoubtedly a lot of tricks they use, but a couple seem to be mainstays. Here’s how a typical scam conversation will go:

First, they’ll usually announce that they are from Microsoft, or “Windows Tech Support”, or “Tech Support Company for your computer” and they’ll ask for the person by name. This is public information, and easy to come by. And the “trust”  factor starts then… someone calling asking for a specific name gets further than asking for the “man of the house” or such.

Secondly, they immediately start talking about the user’s computer. This enforces some believability. Most households have computers nowadays, so the the chances there’s a computer are good; yet, some people accept this as a trust factor, since “they knew I had a computer.”

Another step here is convincing the user that they are definitely the person the caller is trying to reach. One method I’ve seen for this is talking the user through a series of steps to display  the “zfsendtotarget” like the below picture:

Screen capture of zfsendtotarget used in computer scams

The zfsendtotarget is sometimes in computer scams

The fake computer technician will explain the “zfsendtotarget” line is the unique license or code for your computer, and that it identifies exactly which computer they are dealing with, and then reads a code and asks the user to verify the code matches the code they see to make sure they are both talking about the same computer. When they match, it again enforces the idea in the user’s mind that this is a legitimate call. Unfortunately, it’s a complete lie. That’s the GUID of the “Send to compressed folder”, so by definition, it’s going to be the same on EVERY COMPUTER in the world running Windows. (At least, all the computers running the ENU, or US English, versions of Windows).
 
The next step is convincing the user there is a problem with the computer. One method is to talk the user through opening up Event Viewer and looking for red or yellow icons.

EventViewer usually shows warnings and errors and can be misconstrued in computer scams

When the user sees the red error and yellow warning icons, they are told these are reports of viruses on the computer. Again, a complete and total lie. Every computer will display errors and warnings in the Event Viewer, and many of them are completely harmless; even the error messages are often caused by Microsoft Windows just being over-sensitive and verbose about reporting issues. Most users can’t really decipher all the messages in Event Viewer and don’t need to ever go into it. It’s just there for advanced troubleshooting by IT professionals when a real issue arises.
 
Once the phoney computer techs have convinced the user there is a problem with the computer, and the tech can resolve it, they will talk the user through getting the technician remote access to the computer.
 
At that point, it’s all over. The user is scammed.
 
The technician will convince the user they have to pay so much money for the support call, so much money for antivirus and anti-malware programs, and so much money for “extended support”– supposedly a year of tech support or protection or whatever. After the technician has remote access, he’s in complete control. If the user doesn’t go along and pony up all the money being requested, the fraudulent tech will change the user’s password and lock the computer. Now the user won’t be able to access the computer at all until they pay up. Their only methods of getting access to their files again is either pay up to the devil, or contact an IT professional to come in and recover the files, which may cost as much as the first option anyway.
 
Summary: In the end, there’s just one thing to do… tell your parents, grandparents, everyone you know… if someone unknown calls you and says they are from Microsoft, or any other company, and saying they need to fix your computer, JUST HANG UP. Don’t worry about being rude, JUST HANG UP.

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Save Time and Money with Managed IT Services

Managed IT Services covers network support, network administration, computer service, and all a businesses other IT needs.

If there is one thing most small businesses can agree on is that time equals money. Small business owners are in a position where they have to be a jack-of-all-trades, often spending most of their day wearing different hats. This is the nature of the small business and while expected is not always the best use of time. In order for a small business to be successful and remain competitive in an industry, there must be designated time for the owner to focus on growing and building the business. In many cases small businesses fail as a result of being unable to handle emergencies or other situations that are simply beyond the control and expertise of the owner. Leveraging Managed IT Services can help.

Any business that relies on technology, which covers almost every business operating today, can benefit from managed services. Managed services providers understand that not every business has the ability to pay for an internal IT department which can be very expensive yet necessary to ensure all aspects of technology are supported. Without this backup, many small businesses find themselves in a position where they have to foot a very expensive bill to recover from a disaster or emergency. In other situations, using out-of-date or ineffective technology is simply a waste of both time and money on the part of the small business.

Here we look at how small businesses can make the most of their time and money by hiring a managed services provider.

  • Focus on running the business- One of the major benefits of outsourcing your technology needs is that the owner and employees of the company can focus 100% on their individual duties to keep the business moving in the right direction. This is the most valuable use of time for all parties involved, instead of hours or even days lost when trying to deal with technological issues that in house employees are not trained to handle.
  • Offer expert advise – There are many small businesses that simply do not know what they need to improve the functionality of their business. The old adage, “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” does not apply in all cases. By consulting with a managed services provider you may discover areas of your business which can be improved that you previously thought were working “just fine”. Expert advice may be able to help you improve the efficiency of your business while positioning you better within the industry.
  • Support when you need it – Managed IT Services Providers are not only there in the event of an emergency or recovery, but also provide monitoring which can invaluable in preventing problems before they can impact the business.

It is important for every small business to carefully examine their technical needs in order to see what services will be most beneficial to the company. Managed IT Services Providers can offer services that not only reduce technology costs over time but also improves functionality which in turn saves time. When this balance is achieved a small business is in the perfect position to thrive and grow.

Click here to learn how WJP Enterprises, Inc. can help you save time and money with our Managed IT Services for your business in Brandon, Plant City, and the rest of Hillsborough and Polk counties.

 

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Stop advertisers from violating your digital privacy

Advertisers are creating digital dossiers on you. Here’s how to stop them.

Your digital privacy is being violated by ad networks.digital privacy

Have you ever noticed an advertisement in your web browser or on your phone that seemed perfect for you? Or maybe you noticed an ad that wasn’t perhaps perfect for you, but it did relate to something you had recently searched the Internet for information about? When you browse the Internet, many sites are violating your digital privacy by collecting information about you. When you search for specific terms, or add certain items to a cart, or read some articles– really, just about anything you do– sites are tracking you and selling that information to advertisers, or selling advertisers space on their websites so that the advertisers can place “tracking cookies” on your computer for themselves. Even worse, many of these advertisers belong to ad networks, so that they all share information they learn about you with all the other members of the network. That allows them to create very detailed profiles about users.

A couple years ago, a father called Target angry that they had started sending his 16 year old daughter expectant-mother ads. He had to call back and apologize because it turned out his daughter was actually pregnant! The advertising network had figured it out before the girl’s father did. Such targeting (pardon the pun!) advertising is referred to as “online behavioral advertising.”

And guess what? Facebook is a member of one of these ad networks called the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA). Think about everything Facebook knows about you. Every time you Like something, post on a business’s wall, look at business’s wall, or entertainment page. Where you live, your favorite sports teams, where you went to school, who you spend time with. And they share that information will all the members, which includes Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Chrysler, GM, Harley Davidson, Allstate, American Express, citi, Bank of America, Amazon, Comcast, Disney, ESPN, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon…. how’s that for some powerhouse companies? Think if all of these combine their datastreams regarding your online activities they might be able create a pretty good profile about you?

Fortunately, there is a something you can do. The DAA provides an opt-out page that will search your computer for cookies left by participating companies, and allow you to opt out of any (or all) you choose. You can find the opt-out tool at http://www.aboutads.info/choices/. Any companies you opt out of will still collect information on you when you visit their site, but they won’t share it with anyone. Not a perfect solution, but it does prevent a large, detailed shared profile being created about you. Since this opt-out tool is based on cookies, you’ll need to run the tool for each browser you use, and for each computer you use. (Facebook is an exception, opt out just once for Facebook, and it will respect your request everywhere.)

Again, since the tool relies on cookies, there is an issue if those opt out cookies get deleted. If you occasionally clean all your cookies out, either using the browser or some 3rd party software, that will delete your opt out cookies. The DAA provides “Protect My Choices” extensions for various browsers so that your opt out cookies won’t get deleted.

 

Posted in: Privacy, Tech Tips for Business Owners

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