When an outage at GoDaddy caused many websites to be unavailable for 6 hours on September 10th, small businesses across the U.S. felt the hurt. What many don’t realize is that where your website is hosted had nothing to do with whether or not it was unavailable. It was DNS that was down at GoDaddy, not hosting. DNS is the routing system that says “Google.com” can be found at 188.8.131.52. If the DNS server for “Google.com” isn’t working, the website living at 184.108.40.206 can’t be found. Maybe that’s a little too technical for you, but here’s the bottom line: There’s no reason for you to be the victim of this type of outage ever again. If a website and email service is important to your business, use a service like nettica.com or dyn.com as a secondary DNS server. Your domain registrar will allow you to specify a “secondary” nameserver to act as failover for protection against a DNS outage at your primary nameserver. If you need help, contact us.
Fortunately for small businesses, there is little need anymore to shell out large amounts of up-front cash to secure a phone system whose features will be outdated before it’s paid off. Hosted phone systems powered by VOIP technology have truly come of age. These systems offer small business a full complement of “big company” features including:
Dial By Name Directory
Voicemails as Email Attachments
Answering Rules Based on Caller, Time of Day, Department, Etc…
One of the best features of RingCentral is the ability to customize how inbound calls are processed. The options provided are very flexible. You can choose to have an automated attendant answer calls and present a menu of options. You can also choose to have calls ring a multiple telephones either in sequence our simultaneously. You can have a different set of rules for evenings and weekends, and each employee can configure their own answering rules. Geek Brigade has installed VOIP phone systems in several offices. If you’d like help or more information, contact us.
We’re seeing an increase of reports related to malicious software infecting a computer, then encrypting all pictures, music, movies and documents. It’s very important to note that there is NO WAY TO DECRYPT the infected user’s files. The cyber-criminal organization in charge of this virus demands money for the decryption key, but reports indicate that users attempting to pay the ransom were met with demands for more cash. The files that are not backed up are lost forever.
Please make a fair assessment now of your vulnerability:
1.) Are you running antivirus software that is up to date? Most AV software is sold on a year subscription. After that year, you don’t receive new virus definition updates.
2.) Are you using strong passwords? Hackers sometimes use automated dictionary based attacks to try to guess your password. If your password is in the dictionary, you’re very vulnerable.
3.) Do you have a backup? You could say yes to the first two questions but still be attacked. Your backup is your final, definitive line of defense.
Talking to people who’ve lost years worth of irreplaceable pictures and other data sickens us. We hope you take a few minutes to make sure you aren’t the next victim. If you need help, contact us.
Many business owners spend 100% of their time working “in” the business, rather than “on” the business. When you’re ready to take stock of some basic I.T. and E-Marketing principles, start with this checklist:
1. Claim your Google+ Local page. Google is reporting that an ever increasing number of searches have “local intent”. That means Google users are looking for what you’re selling. Start down the road of optimizing for search engines by claiming your page and filling out the profile.
2. Evaluate your online presence. If your website wasn’t developed in the last 3 years, it’s probably not utilizing the latest “Web 2.0″ technology and is not as effective as it could be. Also, are you still using an @aol.com, @sbcglobal.net, or similar email address? It’s too easy and cheap these days to convert that to @yourcompanyname.com without losing any of your old emails. You’ll look more professional
3. Make security a priority. Talk to your team about strong passwords. Passwords should be long, contain upper and lower case letters and symbols. Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts. If one account is compromised, hackers will add your password to their database and try it at other services.
4. Automate! Can appointment scheduling, invoicing, accounts receivable, or some other core function of your business be moved online or automated? Free your staff up to help you build your business and look for ways to remove some of the repetitive, non revenue generating tasks. (We can help).
5. Create a Disaster Recovery Plan. Hint: It starts with offsite backup. Whether by hardware failure, theft or natural disaster, you will likely lose some data at some point. If it’s important to you at all, it should be in 3 places. One of those places should be in another city.
Hopefully this helps get you started. If you need help executing any of these strategies in your business, contact us.
We have seen a considerable drop in the cost of solid state hard drives in recent weeks. That’s very exciting because SSD’s provide a HUGE increase in speed to almost anything you’re doing on your computer. SSD equipped computers boot in as little as 12 seconds and open even the heaviest programs open instantly. Check out this video. It doesn’t capture the excitement of this subject, in our opinion. It’s quite boring in fact, but if you watch it, you’ll be able to hold your own when the subject comes up at your next cocktail party.
Installing an SSD is a relatively painless task. Your data, settings, favorites, email, etc… can all be migrated over to your new drive. The only thing you’ll notice is that you’re spending a lot less time waiting. If you’d like to talk to us about how to make this happen, drop us a line.
Geek Brigade Summary
- DNS Changer was a Mac and PC virus that changed internet settings to redirect traffic to spammers’ servers.
- When the government busted the culprits, they replaced the spammers’ servers with good servers, so people had time to fix their settings.
- The government is now ready to shut that server down in July.
Association of Computer Repair Business Owners Scholarship
The Association of Computer Repair Business Owners is pleased to announce its scholarship opportunity. The Association of Computer Repair Business Owners will award at least one $250 scholarship to a deserving high school senior.
The idea behind this scholarship is that not every young man and woman is ready for college or knows exactly what their future plans hold for them. This scholarship is for that young man or woman who knows they are interested in the Information Technology field in one shape or form, have a desire, and the work ethic to accomplish it.
Scholarship candidates must mail completed applications and supporting materials to Geek Brigade on or before May 15th.
The applicant must be a high school senior graduating in the spring/summer semester, whose plans include the technology industry through college, business school, technical training or actual hands-on in the industry.
HOW TO APPLY
Complete and send application to:
Geek Brigade, Inc.
520 N SR 135, Suite E
Greenwood, IN 46142
The applicant should be of good character as described by two letters of recommendation. At least one of the letters must be provided by a teacher or guidance counselor. Nothing in your past will disqualify you for this scholarship.
Questions please contact Geek Brigade at 317-622-8602
How do 8.3 million Americans fall victim to identity theft each year? Emails like this one that arrived in my inbox this weekend. Three things gave this one away, and hopefully after reading this you’ll be able to spot clues like this in the future.
1.) It’s from paypal@Servce.com. What’s servce.com?
2.) Paypal knows my name, and uses it in email correspondence.
3.) Look closely. The link you’re about to click on lives at savethenationsight.org
Ultimately, if you’d like to make sure there’s not a problem with your paypal account, type w-w-w-dot-p-a-y-p-a-l-dot-c-o-m into your browser and log directly into your account. If there’s a problem, you’ll see it there!
1. Update Windows, your antivirus, Flash and Java. These programs regularly request you to update them when they close security holes.
2. Be careful what links you click on. Even if the link was sent to you by email or instant message from somone you know. Their account could be compromised. Where you expecting this link from them?
3. Be careful when suring. If you navigate to a new web page and popups and warnings appear, heed them!
4. Don’t fall vistim to phishing emails.The most recent round has the subject line “Banking Security Update”. This attack can take over your computer without your even clicking on an attachment.
After the fact:
If you think you’ve been the victim of a cyber attack, don’t delay acting. Unplug your computer. Cyber criminals might have access to it via the internet. Bring it to us and we’ll disinfect it being careful to protect your important files and setting.
Norton – 1 PC $34.99
McAfee – 3 PC $39.99
Amazon has announced a new wave of Kindles. Along with the classic Kindle, there will be two versions of a touch kindle and a kindle fire–Amazons entry into the tablet market. Look out Apple! The Kindle touch will be available with either Wifi only, or with WiFi and free 3g service. There is a $50 difference in the price, so you decide, is free 3g anywhere you go worth $50? The major difference between the classic Kindle and the new Kindle touch, is just what you’d expect–you touch the screen to do everything. There is no longer a keyboard. I’m most excited about the Kindle Fire. Despite, it’s smaller size, absence of a camera, and limited (8gb) storage space, I’m clamoring for this $199 tablet, and here’s why: I like the fact it is smaller than the Ipad. Have you ever tried to read a book on your Ipad in bed? The Ipad is a little hard to hold up to read while laying on your back. I’m certainly not concerned about the lack of a camera. How many people actually use the camera? I know I don’t. If you have an original Ipad, you don’t have a camera on that either. As for storage, while 8gb might seem pretty low, keep in mind that with the Kindle Fire, you have access to the Amazon Cloud, where you can store all of your digital media that you purchase from Amazon for free. Oh, and did I mention it’s only $199? That’s less than half the price of an Ipad. So give me a tablet that is more portable, runs on Android, has the Amazon market place AND is cheaper than an Ipad. I can do without a camera and an Apple logo.
UPDATE: We received our Kindle Fire today. It’s easy to hold, and the price is right, but it’s best suited for reading books and playing angry-birds, in our opinion. We’re going to keep it here at the shop for the next 2 weeks, so stop by and take a look if you’d like to try it before you buy it!