Posted today in the Sacramento Business Journal today. CMIT's team of computer support professionals use special monitoring tools to track down thieves that stole PC's from Folsom's Prowest Insurance Services (www.prowestins.com). Yeah! See the link here to the Business Journal. You only get part of the story unless you're a subscriber to the Biz Journal. We'll post the full story once we have it. http://sacramento.bizjournals.com/sacramento/stories/2009/11/23/story10.html.
Windows 7 is getting rave reviews from our staff. I anticipate that Vista will go by the wayside very quickly. Vista was full of issues & no one (including our staff @ CMIT Solutions) ever wanted to install it if we could avoid it (and we generally always could)!
As a primer for getting you ready for Windows 7 & start to build the reasons why you should upgrade, you are 4 cool things that Windows 7 does that Vista (and XP) does not:
1. XP Mode
This time, you do not have to slap your head that same way when Vista would not run an XP application. For those XP applications that do not work under Windows 7, you can download XP Mode free from the Microsoft website and run XP applications in an emulated XP environment in Windows 7. Imagine Parallels on Mac OS X without the need to fish out money on an extra OS.
2. Problem Steps Recorder
The 'Problem Steps Recorder' lets you record a particular problem you are having with your PC so you can send it to someone who may be able to help. Click 'Record', and a screenshot is taken with every mouse click, allowing comments to be added in between if required. These screenshots (and comments, if any) are placed in a well-formatted HTML document that is placed inside a zipped folder on your desktop - ideal to be attached to an email.
Jumplists are a new feature that give you the option to view a list of recently accessed files by application, even when the application isn't open, by right-clicking on the application's icon in the taskbar. It also allows you to quickly access a favourite playlist without opening your media player. Jumplists can also be found integrated into the Start Menu.
4. A Step Forward in Previewing
In Vista, hovering over a minimised window on the taskbar would provide a preview of the window. In Windows 7, a similar preview pops up which also gives the option to close a window (within the preview), along with a full-size 'peek'. You can also press Win + T to scroll along previews in the taskbar.
While any of these on their own isn't a reason for upgrading to Windows 7 for your new PC, it's starting to (finally) look like it's going to be time to get off of XP pretty soon & move into something actually developed within the last 8 years! :-)
We just recently held a seminar on August 27th entitled "7 Precautions and Critical Systems Every Sacramento Small Business Must Have In Place NOW to Guarantee a Fast, Easy, and Economical Recovery of Their Data in the Event of a Disaster"
We had a fantastic response & turnout to the teleseminar & wanted to post it online for others to gain the same information!
Download this 58 minute teleseminar free NOW at www.cmitsaccentral.com/telseminar (just click download file from www.filedropper.com on the next page or email us at SacCentral@cmitsolutions.com to request a free cd of the seminar).
This teleseminar, presented by nationally recognized technology experts Jeff Johnson and Robin Robins, will show you how to put a safe, inexpensive system in place NOW so you can have complete peace of mind that you are ready no matter what might happen!
In this 1 hour teleseminar, you'll learn...
* A simple explanation of the various options for backing up your data; you'll discover which ones are essential to get you back up & running fast and which ones are unnecessary (and expensive) bells and whistles.
* The only way to know for sure that you CAN quickly recover 100% of your data in the event of a disaster; ignore this critical step and you're playing Russian Roulette with your company's data.
* How to get your company up & running in the shortest time possible; Jeff will reveal what most backup providers don't want you to know about their backup system that could have you down for days -- possibly weeks -- trying to restore your data.
* What you should DEMAND from your off site backup company; if your current provider can't say "YES!" to these 5 key questions... DON'T trust them with your data!
* How to completely automate your backup system so that you can say goodbye to the hassle of tape rotation, tape or hard drive storage, and the liability of human error
The summer is almost over (at least for my purposes)! The kids are going back to school and none too soon. We were given lists by the respective (2nd grade and Kindergarten) teachers for the basics that are needed as well as what to expect for the year. We are working to organize those necessities to put our kids in the position to succeed with the least amount of stress as possible.
Organization of files (paper or electronic) is certainly a challenge for many of us and understanding how you want to find the documents is a task to be undertaken (ideally) before you start throwing the papers into the binder, filing cabinets or electronic folders. Earlier this summer I cleaned out an entire four drawer filing cabinet of papers, statements, receipts and such in my home office. I freed up floor space that now I can decide to fill or keep open. What a relief to have streamlined my document organization. And now, CMIT Solutions of Sacramento can work with businesses in this arena of electronic document management!
I am proud and excited to announce that CMIT Solutions of Sacramento now provides for our clients an eco-friendly paperless solution that helps to streamline paper processes, improve organization and last but not least, increase productivity.
Doing the Math - Ask yourself the following questions: • On an annual basis, how much is spent on office supplies that allow you to print documents, file documents and store documents? Hint: computer paper for printing, toner cartridges and maintenance of your printer(s), postage to mail documents, filing cabinets and so on. • If you were to measure the amount of square footage used for filing cabinets and storing of office supplies needed for documentation, how much square footage would that be and what is the dollar value of that office space? • Is your firm required - due to the nature of your business - to comply with such governmental regulations set by the SEC, FINRA or HIPAA?
Electronic document management (EDM) is becoming more and more important (and required in some instances) to our clients. Paper is the biggest obstacle businesses encounter in reducing costs, improving service and increasing productivity. Companies around the world have realized that manual and paper-based processes for managing mission critical documents are inefficient and expensive.
EDM is the medium of today for developing eco-friendly, cost effective and efficient workflow. EDM delivers a smart, flexible and easily integrated solution to proactively capture, manage and protect your valuable business data.
Look for more to come on how eFileCabinet works and for all different industries. Contact Thor at (916) 984-6243 or by emai @ SacCentral@cmitsolutions.com l if your interest has been piqued by this new solution that may be a solution for your company.
The Associated Press reports that Guatemalan Jean Anleu may spend five years in a Guatemalan jail for his anti-government Twitter rant. It makes him the first person in the world to be arrested for a tweet!
Using his Internet alias “jeanfer,” Anleu advised Guatemalan depositors to “take cash out of Banrural and bankrupt the bank of the corrupt.” According to prosecutors, these words “illegally undermined” the banking system, violating a 2008 law enacted by the fledgling democratic government.
Foreign governments aren’t the only ones concerned about the use of social networking sites. Many US businesses are revising their acceptable use policies regarding company-owned technology to include social networking. A recent survey estimated the annual cost to US businesses in lost wages due to personal use of technology on company time topped $1 billion.
FREE assistance with the creation or modification of acceptable use policies is one of the many benefits enjoyed by our CMIT Marathon clients.
The first time I read about the concept of the “paperless office” I thought it was a brilliant idea that would revolutionize the way we all do business. Yet despite the obvious logic of the idea, I don’t know of any office that is truly paperless; as a matter of fact, most are just the opposite, swimming in piles of paper documents. Maybe it’s because most people haven’t figured out how to go truly paperless. Or maybe we simply have some deep-rooted human need to touch the documents we use.
Whatever the reason, these enormous piles of paper that never get filed, get lost or waste hours of our time moving, sifting, sorting and searching through them adds up to a BIG cost that can be hard to measure.
If you are suffering from ‘paper overload,’ maybe it’s time you considered moving some portion of your paper contracts and files to a paperless document imaging solution. The costs of installing such a system have dropped dramatically over time, and often the hard costs can be easily recouped in a few short months. Here are just a few reasons why you should consider going paperless:
• Reduce clutter & office space taken up by filing cabinets Once you get the staff into the habit of scanning documents upon receiving them, you can avoid the endless piles of paper around the office and (eventually) get rid of big, bulky filing cabinets that take up space.
• Save time filing and searching for documents An entire universe of documents can be searched in seconds using simple search criteria, such as a word or number in a document. This means less time wasted in searching through paper files, your office is far more efficient and organized, and you’ll be able to respond to customer requests, orders, or questions much faster.
• Reduce or eliminate missing documents Scanning and filing of documents get them to the right place with few exceptions; that means critical contracts, order forms and files will have much less a chance of getting lost or misplaced.
• Faster, surefire recovery after physical disaster Electronic documents backed up electronically can be reprinted and saved; documents lost to fire, water damage, coffee spills, tears or other physical damage can’t ever be recovered.
You can also streamline business processes by adding process flow tags to new, inbound documents. For instance, you could add a “Current Review Status” field, electronic routing list, or even a “Document Expiration Date” field to a document – items that are often managed with yellow sticky notes or small routing slips.
A document management solution is something that every business should at least look into, especially if you’re still receiving a lot of paper. Call Jeff at (916) 984-6243, x5 if you’d like to discuss how you could benefit from a Virtual Filing System and learn the various options available for your business.
With the economy still struggling, many businesses are trying to save money and cut costs every which way they can. So what should you do when you have to upgrade your network or purchase additional software, servers and equipment? Try leasing or financing your upgrade, project or purchase.
Over the last year, the number of companies financing or leasing IT projects and equipment has quadrupled; and when you look at the benefits offered, it just makes sense regardless of the economic climate.
Many banks offer vendor-neutral financing solutions to help you get the IT and telecommunications upgrades you need while preserving cash flow. Microsoft, HP and Dell offer leasing and financing options for their software and equipment, and many offer 0% “same as cash” financing for 12 month periods and 90-day no payment periods. Some are even offering to throw in free disposal of old equipment, support, discounts and flexible terms.
If you want some help in determining who’s offering the best deals on leases or financing, give us a call! We’ll give you straighforward advice on who’s got the best option for your particular project.
One of the hardest habits we struggle to get our clients to break is writing down their passwords on sticky notes by their PC. Obviously this is a security risk. Another bad habit is choosing really easy-to-remember passwords such as “password.”
But admittedly, it CAN be hard remembering all of those darn passwords that are always changing. To solve this little dilemma, we’re suggesting to our clients to stop using passwords and use “pass-phrases.”
What is a “pass-phrase” you ask? They are letters and numbers put together in an easy-to- remember phrase such as “GoEagles09!” These are MUCH easier to remember than a random cluster of letters and numbers, which means you won’t have to write them down on a post-it note anymore!
Pass-phrases can be built from anything, such as favorite quotes, lines from movies, sports team names, a favorite athlete’s name and jersey number, kids’ names and birthdates, pets, and so on.
All you need to do is be a little creative to get numbers, letters and punctuation into the phrase. Since introducing this to our clients, we’ve found (believe it or not) they actually have fun doing this! Just don’t get so proud of your pass-phrase that you share it with others!
#1 Overconfidence User overconfidence in security products is the top threat to your network. Failure to “practice safe software” results in nuisance attacks like porn storms (unstoppable rapid fire pornographic pop-ups) and more subtle keyloggers that steal passwords. Surveys promising free stuff, result in theft of information like your mother’s maiden name, high school, etc. used to answer common security questions leading to theft of otherwise secure data. Think before you click!
#2 Social Networking Sites Social networking sites like Facebook are exploding in popularity. Threats range from malware (eg. viruses, worms, spyware) to scammers trying to steal your identity, information and money. Many businesses and government agencies are using these sites to communicate with clients and constituents, so simply blocking access is no longer reasonable. Defending your company while allowing employee access requires social network education for your employees and the enforcement of strong acceptable use policies. We can help you develop a policy, then monitor compliance using a Unified Threat Management device that controls and reports on network access.
#3 Attacks On Mobile Devices Everyone is going mobile these days not just the “road warriors.” Once limited to laptop computers, mobile network devices now include PDAs, handheld computers and smart phones, with new appliances appearing in the stores every month. Mobile devices often contain sensitive data yet they are easily lost or stolen. Be sure to password protect and encrypt data on all mobile devices whenever possible. Include mobile devices in your acceptable use policy.
#4 Cloud Computing “The Cloud,” in its most simple form, involves using the Internet to access and store your data. When you access email using a web browser, you are working in “the cloud.” Using the cloud for automated off site backup is rapidly gaining popularity and is just the beginning. Companies like Microsoft, IBM and Google envision the day when we will use inexpensive terminals instead of computers to run programs and access data located somewhere on the Internet. You need to be sure that any data you store and access across the Internet is secure not just where it is stored, but during the trip to and from the Internet.
If you really want to keep your data safe and ensure that it will not be lost, destroyed, or corrupted in the event of a disaster, most storage practitioners advise keeping it in at least three locations.
A single location gives you virtually no protection against disaster. Two locations might be enough, as long as one is offsite – but even then you risk data loss if both locations fail at the same time. For example, imagine a virus corrupts your server and wipes out your CRM database. You go to a tape backup to repopulate the database, only to discover that the backup is worn out or corrupted. Or, as we’ve read about numerous times in the news, your tape backup gets stolen out of your home, car, or wherever you’re storing it.
That’s why you really need three separate locations for your data, with at least one of them offsite. While all three locations or media could theoretically fail at the same time, the chances of that happening are minimal.
So why must one location be off site? To avoid a tragedy like the following one happening to your business. (We’re not naming names here because this isn’t a story about a client – but it did happen to somebody we know. We wish they had been clients, because we could have made certain this didn’t happen!)
A long-established company had years’ worth of data to store, including a CRM system and detailed records on past projects. They knew it was important to be well covered when it came to backups, and their technician assured them the data was stored in three places.
Then disaster struck – not through any fault of the company. A fire broke out in a neighboring office, and before long the whole building was engulfed in flames. Every server, every computer, and every other piece of electronic equipment in the building was trashed.
You might think the company would be fine – after all, they had redundant storage, and surely one of their storage devices was offsite, right? Wrong. The data was indeed in three places: on the server, on a drive next to the server, and on another drive in the next room.
This story illustrates precisely why it isn’t enough to keep multiple copies of your data. One or more of those copies must be stored offsite – preferably in a geographic location that’s not prone to flooding, hurricanes, or tornadoes. (That’s why many high-security data centers are located in the desert: they’re far from major metropolitan areas that are more vulnerable to terrorist attacks and power outages, and they also tend to suffer from fewer natural disasters.)
So the next time you talk to your IT provider, you might ask them two things:
1. How many copies of our data are we keeping? 2. Where are those copies being kept?
Once you have those answers, you’ll know a lot about how well equipped your business really is to weather disaster.
CMIT Guardian, our backup and disaster recovery service, automatically stores data in highly secured data centers with round-the-clock monitoring and security, advanced fire detection and suppression systems, seismic safeguards, and diesel generators for continuous and reliable protection. To find out more about CMIT Guardian, give Thor a call at 916-984-6243.
Moving is always a pain in the rump, but it doesn’t have to be a horrific, expensive experience. The number one lament from someone who’s experienced a “bad” move is, “I didn’t know I needed to…” followed closely by “I completely forgot that…” In other words, it’s what you don’t do that makes the move a disaster.
To make your move easy and effortless, here are the 5 most common mistakes you want to avoid:
Mistake #1 — Not Using A Checklist This may seem like a no-brainer to those who manage projects, but project management may not be a forte of someone placed in charge of your move (like an office admin). Even those who use a list typically fail to make the list detailed enough. See page 2 of this newsletter for a free starter guide.
Mistake #2 — Trying To Save Money By Using Your Employees To Move Your Computer Network Don’t ask your staff to disconnect, move and reconnect computers, phones and other devices just to save a few bucks. You’ll frustrate them and end up with phones ringing at the wrong extension, lost cables, and workstations that get dropped rendering them useless. You don’t want to let the movers do this job either; they may be great at moving furniture, but a network is a lot more sophisticated and sensitive. Be smart and hire an IT pro to pack and move your network. Doing so will help you avoid communication blackouts and extended downtime.
Mistake #3 — Not Hiring The RIGHT IT Firm To Move Your Network
While we’re on the topic, make sure you know what to look for when outsourcing the move. A few things to look for would include references from other clients, proof of insurance (get them to fax you a copy), a service level guarantee limiting the amount of time you are down, and a professional, organized approach to quoting the move. A real pro will insist on visiting your current location as well as your new location to conduct a detailed site survey. NEVER hire anyone who wants to quote moving your network over the phone. Additionally, look for an IT company that will apply the charges for conducting your site survey against the total cost of the move if you choose them.
Mistake #4 — Not Giving Your Phone, Internet And Cable Vendors Enough Advance Warning
Eighty percent (80%) of unexpected communications blackouts and cost overruns on network moves are caused by failure to properly plan voice, data and electrical installation in advance. Just because the prior tenant had computers and telephones is no guarantee that the cabling is suitable for your phones and your computer network. Advance planning will help you avoid emergency rush fees or band aid fixes to make things work.
Internet and telephone connections require as much as six weeks advance notice to be installed, tested and ready the day you move in.
And if you are building a new office, don’t leave it up to the builder to decide how many power outlets, network and phone connections you will need. Remember, changes and additions after the walls are up are at your expense. With printers, scanners, faxes, and other technologies connecting directly to the network these days, the rule of thumb of one electrical outlet, one phone and one network connection per employee is woefully outdated. Consult your IT provider in the early planning stages to ensure you have what you need before the drywall goes up.
Mistake #5 — Poor Communication With Vendors And Employees Prior To, And During The Move
Failure to communicate changes before and during the move results in confusion, downtime and increased expense. Remember, your computers and phones will be unavailable for a period of time before, during and immediately after the move. A little planning can minimize the impact on your business. Give your employees, customers, and vendors the anticipated downtime schedule. Make a cell phone list of important phone numbers (like tech support contacts, the phone company, cable company, etc.) and give it to your employees. You may also want to provide vendors and customers with a list of employee cell phone numbers to use during the communication blackout that will take place during the move. Confirm, confirm, confirm! Call your vendors several times to make sure they have the move on their schedule and planned; don’t assume anything! Ask your IT provider to temporarily reroute important e-mail and phones to another location during the move, or set up a web portal to enable you to access e-mail from a laptop or home computer so you’re not completely disconnected. Hire Us For Your Next Office Move And Get A $500 Office Move Toolkit...FREE!
If you (or someone you know) is planning on moving, contact us for a FREE Office Move Toolkit.
* FREE Report, “Office Moves Made Easier,” which is a step-by-step guide for relocating your office and updating your office systems.
* FREE Office Move Checklist to make sure you don’t overlook important action items.
* FREE Site Survey and Network Move Plan. At no charge we’ll map out your move to minimize costs and downtime.
We recently held a seminar titled "How To Protect Your Important Company Information, Have Peace of Mind About Your Backups, and Keep Your Company Up & Running, Even in the Face of a Disaster". Due to the large in-person demand that we had for the seminar AND the huge demand from many businesses that were simply unable to attend live at our office, we have re-produced the seminar as an online seminar, viewable at your convenience. Please note that CMIT has extended a special limited time offer at the end of this Online Seminar, so I'd encourage you to watch this sooner, rather than later.
Thanks to all of you that attended our Backup & Disaster Recovery Lunch 'n Learn on Wednesday. As promised, the slideshow presentation for the seminar is available for download now at www.cmitsaccentral.com/bdrseminar.
Happy MLK JR. Day! Here's a quick tip for you to use in everyday life...
What’s the most common password? You guessed it…”password.” Obviously this is not the best way to protect yourself against hackers and online thieves. But even if you don’t use the word “password,” you might be using an equally easy password to decipher.
We suggest you DON’T use the following passwords for really important web sites, such as your online banking web site or other financially related sites.
* Your name or your spouse’s name. * Your children’s names. * Your pet’s name. * Your birth date. * The last four digits of your Social Security number. * Your phone number. * Your address. * A series of consecutive numbers, such as “1, 2, 3, 4.” * A single word that would appear in a dictionary.
Your best bet for creating a strong password: Use combinations of letters, numbers and special characters.