Posts made in March 2019

Storm Season Is Just Around the Corner…Are You Protected?

by Bill MacLennan, CEO of Your Computer Hero

Storm season is coming! If you are like most people, you are probably thinking “it will never happen to me.” But if it did, how long would it take your business to get back up and running?  One of the most valuable assets for any company is its data.  Hardware and software can easily be replaced, but a company’s data cannot. This is a great time make sure you are prepared for those powerful storms that roll through Minnesota in the spring and summer, often resulting in everything from lightning strikes to tornado damage.

During this time of year the threat of fire, flood, severe storms, water damage from office sprinklers and even theft is very real.  As a reminder to all of our clients and friends, here are some simple things you should do to make sure your company is ready for any natural disaster.

  1. Back Up Your Data Remotely! Everyone knows that data should be backed up on a daily basis, but many people still use in-house backup systems that will get damaged in a natural disaster or fire, and can easily be stolen. We recommend backing up all data to an off-site location, and we offer this as a service to our clients.
  2. Use A Quality Surge Protector With Uninterruptible Power Supply Battery. A high-quality surge protector combined with an uninterruptible power supply battery backup will go a long way in protecting sensitive electronic equipment from surges and other electronic irregularities that can destroy your computer’s circuitry.
  3. Make Sure Your Servers Are Off The Floor Or In The Cloud. If your office gets flooded, having your equipment off the floor will prevent it from being completely destroyed. Server racks can be purchased and installed very inexpensively.Or consider moving your critical server equipment to the cloud and be protected no matter the weather!
  4. Have A Disaster Recovery And Business Continuity Plan. Every business should have some type of plan in place for continued operation after a disaster. Would people know where to go? Who to call? How to log in and access data remotely? Hopefully you’ll never need it, but having a simple plan will make you sleep a lot easier at night knowing you have a way to continue to operate when disaster strikes.

If you have questions or concerns about the security of your company’s data in the event of a natural disaster or emergency, we have developed this special report to help small business owners think through 10 essential disaster planning steps.

10 Disaster Planning Essentials For Small Businesses

Don’t lose everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve in an instant! This report will reveal important planning strategies you should have in place now to protect yourself from common data-erasing disasters including natural hazards, human error, cyber criminals, hardware failure, software corruption and other IT failures.  Download your free report instantly here.

 

 

 

Don’t Panic! Identifying Social Engineering Scams Before It’s Too Late.

by Bill MacLennan, CEO of Your Computer Hero

Last week I got a call from “Verizon” stating that there was a problem with my account and my service would be disrupted if I did not take action right away.  The automated voice invited me to simply “Push 1” to be connected to a representative to take care of the issue.   I have seen more people then I care to count get taken advantage of in this type of situation and I know exactly what happens next.   A friendly, legitimate sounding, voice will ask for my Verizon account number and answer my questions about the problem, furthering trust and credibility then WHAMMO!-“I will need  is a credit card to secure this and make sure there is no interruption in your cell phone service.”-This is how easy it is to be swindled out of sensitive credit card information by a social engineering scam.

Social Engineering is the use of deception to manipulate individuals into divulging confidential or personal information that may be used for fraudulent purposes.

Simply planning ahead will go a long way in  helping you identify and respond appropriately to a social engineering scam.  Here are  a couple of  things to consider:

Don’t Panic! These types of scams are designed to push your panic button, so you aren’t thinking clearly.  Disruption in cell service (such as Verizon) or any other service related to running a business can easily throw many business owners over the top.  This is no secret to scammers!  If you are in panic mode-pause, stay calm and keep a logical head.

Hang Up the Phone and Verify!  If a call like this sounds legitimate enough that you are tempted to divulge sensitive information on the spot, it only takes a few minutes to hang up and verify the claim with a second source.  In the Verizon example above, I logged into my Verizon account with my own password and found that there was no problem at all.  There is always a way to verify the legitimacy of a call like this with your own information.  Furthermore, legitimate companies are aware that many scams develop around their brand name.  So, they steer clear of practices that make customers uneasy, like making automated  robocalls when there is a problem.

We have been providing computer repair and IT services to small businesses in the Twin Cities since 2004 and it seems like the variety and sophistication of scams increases by the day.  We field many calls each month from clients who wonder about different scams they have come across.  Don’t hesitate to call us if you need an opinion on a suspicious phone call or email-we will be happy to offer you logical steps to verify the legitimacy of any call or email that produces panic or requests sensitive information.

 

Guest Article: The WOW Factor

As a provider of IT services and computer repair for the Twin Cities business community we often run across interesting and helpful stories for our clients.  In this guest post, Ross Johnson, owner and founder of SnackBOX, teaches about the value of wowing our clients.

I want you to think back to that time when you bought your first house or moved in to your first apartment. That time in life can be filled with so much emotion! Joy, excitement, fear and worry all coming at you in waves. I will never forget my journey to purchasing our dream home. We had been living in our sisters home for two years and had saved up a proper down payment. We were all set and ready to go, all we needed was a realtor! I had a good friend that had done a great job on social media telling her story of how she was helping others find their dream homes and I knew she was the right person call. The day we made our offer she invited us over to her home to start the negotiation process and long story short we got the home! We out bid the other buyer by $100! No kidding! Here is where the wow factor comes in. After we had been in our home for a few days we received a card in the mail from our realtor with a handwritten message and a $50 gift card to Target to start off the decorating process. I was IMPRESSED! You just don’t see that anymore in business today! We also ended up referring her a month later to some friends. To our surprise she sent a warm cookie basket to our home to say thank you! No kidding they were warm and delicious! To this day 5 years later we still get Christmas cards and those constant customer touches that are vital for referrals.

 

As a business owner myself, sometimes I think we get so obsessed with trying to acquire new customers when our best sales teams are our happy customers. We also need to take the time to re-market to our current customer base. They are a very warm audience that has already spent money with you and they trust you!

 

At SnackBOX we work with companies that are serious about the wow factor and re-marketing to there faithful customers. We have a client that that buys cases of our snackbox’s and takes them on the road. She brings them to her client meetings as a way of saying thank you for doing business with us! We have a hotel client that places a snackbox on the bed pillow of every guest that spends a week or more at the hotel.

 

We also have large phone manufacture (the biggest in the world) that uses SnackBOX to send thousands of boxes to their home based employees as a way to say thank you! What a great way to create an amazing culture among their staff.

 

Take the time to thank your best customers!  They trust you! They have spent money with you and they do talk about you! You have worked so hard to bring them in to your business! Think about what it costs you to acquire a customer! If you want to take your business to the next level you gotta give em’ the “WOW” factor!

Ross is the owner and founder of SnackBOX! They work with some of the biggest brands in the snack industry and provide pre-packaged SnackBOX’s available on Amazon.com, walmart.com and their website www.snackboxusa.com.

April: Shiny New Gadget of the Month

Tech Gadgets that improve productivity, efficiency and security in the workplace.

AirBar

AirBar is a sleek, lightweight device that instantly turns your regular laptop into a touchscreen! Simply attach the bar to the bottom of your laptop display via magnets, plug in via USB, and use anything from a paintbrush to a gloved finger to interact with your screen.

It is compatible for both Windows 10 laptops and Macs.

Small businesses can invest in an AirBar to use on laptops to improve interactivity in video conferences, meetings, and client presentations.

Air Bar is available on Amazon for $59.99 + shipping.

It’s always fun to see what’s next in technology innovation!  Your Computer Hero is an IT consulting company that helps business increase profit by leveraging technology for increased productive, security and efficiency since 2004.  If you are looking for ways to shift your business in high performance gear call Your Computer Hero today at 763-229-4467.