Posts made in December 2019

9 Quick and Powerful Technology Lessons for Decision Makers

Executive Briefing by Bill MacLennan, CEO of Your Computer Hero

The IT industry is complicated. Unfortunately, money wasting pitfalls and surprise costs can often be part of the IT landscape. In 2019, I wrote nine executive briefings with practical and very powerful lessons for business owners. The executive briefings are designed help decision makers save money and headaches by arming them with relevant, critical IT knowledge. We will continue to offer executive briefings on a monthly basis in 2020. They are on the front page of our newsletter and blog each month. Watch for them! They are short. And, they are packed with tips and tricks on how to navigate the complicated IT landscape.

Our web site blog ( www.yourcomputerhero.com) displays these 9 quick and powerful technology lessons from 2019. Titles include the following:

  1. Purchasing Software: Don’t get burned
  2. Weighing the Risks of Using a Free Email Account for Business
  3. Storm Season…Are You Protected?
  4. VoIP Phone Systems: Cost, Dependability, Sound Quality and Features.
  5. Nerdy Talk: Communicating with your IT guy. Save money. Get it fixed fast.
  6. Ransomware Attack: Is Your business at Risk?
  7. Is There Ever a Good Reason to Click on a Link on an Email from an Unknown Sender?
  8. Deadlines, Costs & Risks with Windows 7
  9. Beware of the Dirtiest Trick in the IT Industry: Admin Password Piracy

 

If you did not catch these articles in our newsletter last year, check them out on website.  A little knowledge can save a lot on technology related headaches and expenses.

 

We are looking forward 2020, another year of serving the small business community by preventing and solving your IT problems!

Do You Know What Your Employees Are Doing Online?

If You Don’t, You’re At Risk!

A Two Pronged Approach

To reduce the risk and minimize non-productive activities, business owners are utilizing a two pronged approach: (1) Implementing an Internet Acceptable Use Policy (IAUP) and (2) installing a monitoring system to restrict and police employees’ online activities.

 

An IAUP is nothing more than a written agreement that sets out the permissible workplace uses of the Internet and e-mail.  In addition to describing permissible uses, an IAUP should specifically set out prohibited uses, rules of online behavior, and access privileges with penalties for violations of the policy spelled out, including security violations and vandalism of the system.

 

Not only does an IAUP reduce wasted hours on the net, it can reduce bandwidth and equipment needs, as well as shield you, the business owner, from possible sexual harassment and other lawsuits arising from your employee’s inappropriate use of the web.

 

An IAUP Is A Good First Step, But It’s Only Half The Battle Won

Unfortunately, not everyone follows policies, and some accidentally will violate your AUP. To ensure company policies are being followed, businesses are choosing to monitor all Internet activity initiated by their employees using a web content filtering software (or hardware).

Tools available today, that make monitoring of employee Internet usage simple and easy. Most companies choose to regularly monitor summary level activity like hours connected to the web, number of sites visited, and illegal or banned sites visited by the company while leaving detailed transaction reviews as necessary on a case-by-case basis.

And if someone complains that this is a violation of their privacy, rest assured that nothing could be further from the truth.  It’s not only legal but good business.  After all, they are using your company assets and if employees are focused on productive work and minimize personal use of the Internet, you’re likely to never need to address their Internet usage. Just be sure to include a clause about Internet monitoring in your IAUP and have your employees sign the agreement.

 

Beware of the Dirtiest Trick in the IT Industry: Admin Password Piracy

Executive Briefing for Small Business Owners by William MacLennan, CEO at Your Computer Hero

Who does your Admin Password Belong To?

I recently got a call from a panicked business owner who was losing money by the minute because his computer network was down.  His usual IT company told him no one would be able to respond for two days…TWO DAYS!

The IT company informed the business owner that he could have shortened the timeline if he had a maintenance contract. Really???? This IT company was their go-to company for several years! Additionally, over the years, the business owner lost track of his admin password. He expected to be able to be able to retrieve it from their trusted company in a pinch.  The IT company was not forthcoming with the password. However, they kindly offered to come out for a four-hour discovery session to recover the password. Give me a break! I scheduled a meeting with this business owner for later that day and he had his admin password within thirty minutes…no charge.

I know it’s a little grinchy for the Christmas season, but this kind of dirty business really hits a nerve with me. It gets to the core values that drive me and our business. There is a reason the word “hero” is in our name. It stands for: Honesty to a Fault, Every Client Matters-large and small, Response time matters, On Budget.  I constantly preach this to our staff.

Now lets turn our attention to a couple of points that are imperative for business owners to arm themselves with when dealing with any IT company:

First, keep control of your admin password!

You should know that the IT industry is unregulated.

Therefore, you must be an educated buyer of IT services.

In 15 years of business, I have seen a lot of clever scheming around control of the admin password. I have seen business owners surrender control of their admin passwords through contract. I have seen “helpful” volunteers withhold the admin password from it’s rightful owner.  And, everything in between.

In my opinion, the number one question any buyer of IT services should ask is, “How do you handle the admin password?”  If they aren’t straight forward or give some reason why you (as the owner of the data and network hardware) can’t know it or have it any time for any reason, run away!

At Your Computer Hero your admin password and other network documentation is always kept in a secure location. It is made available to you in a timely manner, upon request. Period.  Since the business, hardware and data all belong to the business owner, so should access to it.  It’s a pretty clear-cut issue.

Second, let’s talk about the maintenance contract.

In the above example, we can see that the IT company is using this unfortunate circumstance to strong arm the business owner into a maintenance contract. Again, I believe that this type of maneuvering can never lead to solid, long term business relationships.

Let me start by saying that there are a lot of benefits to having a maintenance service in place for your network. It assures that security patches and updates are always done in a timely manner. Additionally, it can catch and prevent costly downtime.  However, in my experience, business owners are all over the map on how involved they wish to be with their own networks.  For most, it is better to have a maintenance service for security purposes and avoid the costly downtime situation. But, it is not for everybody.  The critical downtime situation is certainly not the time to discuss the importance of maintenance.

If you, or someone you know has been in a situation where they have lost control of their admin password for any reason, please have them call our shop. We’d like to introduce ourselves, retrieve your admin password and start a long term relationship built on trust and integrity.