April 26, 2013
If the recent Twitter hoax at the Associated Press has taught us anything, it’s that social media security is a serious issue that every organization needs to address.
In response to the AP debacle, Twitter is working on a new two-step authentication process, which they are planning to rollout to users soon. But you don’t have to wait for Twitter to make your social media account more secure. Here are a few simple steps you and other employees can take to keep your Twitter stream clean.
Use a stronger password!
This advice is obvious but, nonetheless, is ignored by a lot of people who still use their building number or birthdate as a password. That’s not enough! Having a strong password is the number one thing you can do to protect your Twitter account from a hijacking. For help, check out this post about creating a strong password that you can remember.
Review your permissions regularly.
There are a ton of applications that can gain access to your Twitter account. We often download these apps to make social media sharing easier but then end up not using them more than few times. Review your apps and add-ons regularly and delete any you no longer use or that you don’t remember downloading.
Don’t click on weird links.
Have you ever received a direct message from one of your Twitter followers like this, “Did You See This Pic Of You lol: http://phishingscam.com/”? Do not click on that link! If you receive a weird message from a follower, check with them on another platform like email or text message. If they didn’t send it, they’ve been hacked and should change their password stat.
It takes months–even years–for a business to build a devout social media following, but a Twitter takeover can kill your credibility overnight. Use these tips to keep your account secure and your followers happy.
October 16, 2012
Small business owners often face tough decisions when attempting to balance a limited budget while ensuring they have the resources to grow their business. And nowhere is that more apparent than with technology.
Technology is continually evolving. In order to stay competitive, small businesses must keep up with current trends. But keeping up with current trends in an increasingly complex technological landscape can require a big investment. When handling a large investment like this, a business owner needs to make sure he or she has someone with expertise on their side.
Unfortunately, for many small businesses, supporting an in-house IT department is not in the budget. It’s just too expensive for a business with limited resources. But the classic alternative of paying an outside expert to fix a problem once it starts threatening business continuity is expensive too and can result in lost business.
For these reasons, managed services for small business is becoming an increasingly attractive approach to managing a business’s IT infrastructure without having to add more employees to the payroll.
When a small business hires a managed services provider (MSP), they agree to a contract which ensures the business will receive a specific range of services at a fixed monthly price. This type of pricing structure makes a lot of sense for a business owner who wants to know what they will pay for a service upfront and how it will work in the budget.
That transparency is one of the reasons why managed services are such a viable option for many small businesses. But the benefits extend beyond the pricing structure. Hiring a managed services provider also means a business will always have an expert in their corner. A MSP provides many necessary services, including remote network monitoring and alerting, Help Desk support, data backup and disaster recovery, network security and more. These services are designed to keep a business up and running at all times with as little interruptions as possible.
There are many reasons why managed services for small business is a realistic option, but it’s up to the business owner to decide if managed services is something they can afford. Regrettably, many small business owners don’t realize how much implementing a managed services model can save them in the long run until they find out how much it will cost to fix a big problem or recover from a disaster.
If you own a business in New Jersey or New York and would like to find out if a managed services model would work for your small business, please fill out our Free Network Audit request form. Our network audit service is completely free and has absolutely no strings attached. Let AMRCON become your trusted advisor.
October 8, 2012
Are you fed up with network problems? Is your business plagued by an endless procession of viruses, slow downs, and crashes? Let AMRCON identify the source of your IT problems for free.
Your computer network should be fast, agile and ready to take on any challenges you throw at it. After all, in today’s hightech world, your success depends on it.
A network audit is the first step toward fixing your computer problems and getting back to what matters most to you—running your business. AMRCON would like to offer businesses in New Jersey and New York a free, no-obligations network audit to:
- Identify and diagnose any of your ongoing network problems and concerns
- Analyze your current disaster recovery plan and make suggestions for improvements
- Find hidden viruses, spyware and security loopholes that are threatening the health of your network
- Review your server logs to identify any developing issues and conflicts before they become big problems
- Answer your questions about equipment, upgrades and services we offer
Get your free network audit by filling out our request form today. There are absolutely no strings attached. AMRCON wants to help you get your computer network back on track, and a free network audit is the first step.
If you’re still not sure a free network audit is what you need, feel free to contact us for a full explanation. Don’t let computer problems steal any more of your precious time. Call or click today.
July 26, 2012
Think it’s time to upgrade your server? You may be right. Here are few signs your aging server may need an upgrade.
Photo Credit: Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious (Creative Commons)
As your business grows and time passes along, your server will undoubtably start to show signs of age. Just as humans sprout grey hairs and lose that spring in their step over the years, your server will eventually lose its vitality as well.
The difference is, a server loses its pep a lot quicker than most humans. As a general rule, your server has about three years of life in it before it may need an upgrade.
But it’s up to you to decide when the signs of an aging server are becoming detrimental to your business’s success, and it’s critical you do something about it before it’s too late.
Be on the lookout for these six signs it may be time to upgrade your server.
It’s getting really slow.
When your server starts crawling, it’s probably time for an upgrade. Usually, if your Disc and Central Processing Unit (CPU) usage is at 80% or above, then you need an upgrade. A slow server equals less productivity. How much can you afford to lose?
It’s making a lot of racket.
As a server gets on in age, one telltale sign it needs upgrading is how much noise it’s producing. We’ll steer clear of any human analogies on this one. Just know that your fan drives and hard drives will start making a lot of noise as they get older which could indicate the server is nearing failure.
It’s no longer supported.
The warranty on a server will likely expire once it hits three years or older, which means the manufacturer no longer supports the hardware and software. This means you’ll have little support if something goes wrong, and the cost of hardware or software repairs will have to come out of your pocket.
It’s not big enough.
When your software requirements exceed the server’s specifications, you’ll definitely want to consider upgrading sooner rather than later. The success of your business is largely dependent on planning for future needs. If your server can’t handle the load now, will it be able to handle an even bigger load as your business grows?
It’s seizing up often.
When your system starts freezing on a regular basis this is another sign your server is reaching its limits. You’ll want to upgrade to a server with more capacity to support your growing business.
It’s stealing your time.
Finally, if your spending an inordinate amount of time dealing with server issues rather than focusing on your business’s core services or products, it may be time to upgrade. How much time are you willing to devote to an aging server when you could be improving your offerings?
These are just a few signs that it may be time to upgrade your server, but it may not always be so obvious. You may not notice any warning signs before it’s too late.
Ultimately, it’s better to hire an IT professional that will continually monitor and maintain the health of your server and let you know when an upgrade is essential.
If you think it may be time to upgrade your server, contact AMRCON for a Free Network Audit. Our IT professionals can work with you to monitor and maintain your server and help determine whether or not you’re in need of a new system before old age gets the best of it.
June 28, 2012
Transitioning from a staff augmentation model to a managed services model to monitor and maintain a business’s IT infrastructure provides a number of benefits. Here we explain a few of those benefits and how they contribute to a business’s overall success.
Photo credit: torkildr (Creative Commons)
Widely acknowledged as the most effective option for managing a business’s IT network, the managed services model has replaced the need for businesses to staff and manage in-house IT departments.
Below, we present of few arguments for why a managed services model versus staff augmentation is the best choice for many businesses:
- A managed services model takes a proactive rather than reactive approach to managing a business’s IT infrastructure. Therefore, many IT issues are prevented before they become problems that need to be fixed. This proactive approach effectively lowers a business’s total IT costs which makes the managed services model an ideal longterm strategy for many business owners.
- The pricing structure for a managed services model is based on a regular monthly fee rather than the hourly fees associated with staff augmentation. For that reason, a business’s IT costs remain low and stable as compared to staff augmentation, even when technical issues arise. This stability in cost also makes determining how much money to set aside for IT support each month predictable, removing guesswork from the equation.
- Taking a proactive approach to monitoring and maintaining a business’s IT infrastructure as in the managed services model ensures that staff productivity will be increased by a stable and secure network. With fewer interruptions and technical issues to deal with, a business’s staff will have more time to focus on performing their jobs.
These are just a few reasons why a managed services model is beneficial to many businesses in today’s marketplace. Contact us to discuss additional benefits of the managed services model and the levels of service we offer to businesses in New Jersey.
June 18, 2012
Have you ever wondered what the exact definition of a Managed Services Provider (MSP) is? Here’s a succinct definition that will put an end to your confusion.
Photo credit: downhilldom1984 (Creative Commons)
To define the term Managed Services Provider, we really must define “managed services.” After all, we already know what “provider” generally means. It’s the service a MSP provides that is harder to define.
Managed services is a general term for a service that involves outsourcing an organization’s IT management responsibilities to a third-party consultant.
The consultant’s job is to continually monitor and maintain the organization’s network, computers and software. In most cases, outsourcing the day-to-day IT management responsibilities of the organization eliminates the need for an in-house IT department.
Why would a business hire a Managed Services Provider?
For many businesses, outsourcing their IT management responsibilities to a Managed Services Provider is a far more cost-effective solution than staffing an in-house IT support staff.
By contracting a Managed Services Provider to handle a business’s IT needs, managers are left with more time to focus on the core services and/or products their business provides with limited interruptions due to IT issues.
Does your business need a Managed Services Provider?
The answer to this question will depend on several factors that cannot be covered in a general blog post like this.
However, we have a solution. AMRCON will gladly work with you to determine whether or not a Managed Services model is suitable for your business. Only by taking a closer look at your IT infrastructure and the demands of your industry can we identify an effective solution for you. Fill out our Free Network Audit request form today for a free consultation.
May 29, 2012
Not sure if hiring a Managed IT Services Provider is the right choice for your business? Here are 7 reasons why outsourcing your IT department to an MSP is only logical.
Photo credit: Creativity103 (Creative Commons)
#1 So You Can Keep Up with Technology
Technology is advancing at breakneck speeds. Your business needs an IT specialist at the wheel at all times to keep you heading in the right direction.
#2 So You Can Save Money
Maintaing an in-house IT department doesn’t make much sense for small- to mid-sized businesses. By outsourcing your IT department to a managed services provider, you’ll get the most cost-effective results for your business.
#3 So You Can Focus More on Your Service or Product
Once the burden of managing your IT infrastructure is removed from your shoulders by an experienced MSP, you’ll have more time to focus on improving the services and/or products your business offers.
#4 So You Have a Plan When Disaster Strikes
What would happen if disaster struck your business? Would you be able to recover in time to keep up with demand? If you don’t have an IT disaster and recovery plan in place, your business may not survive.
#5 So You Can Keep Your Email Clean
As a business owner, you probably receive over a hundred emails a day. Maybe more. A managed IT services provider can help you sort out the junk and potentially harmful emails before they even reach your network. Check out our ODS Spam Guard product for more info.
#6 So an IT Professional Is Always Looking Out for You
The best method for keeping IT costs low is to constantly monitor your network, so you can spot a small glitch before it become a big problem. AMRCON offers realtime, 24/7 network monitoring and alerting. We’re always looking out for you.
#7 So You Always Have a Real Person to Call
It’s past five o’clock and you have a tech question that needs to get answered ASAP. But your IT department has already left for the day. What are you going to do? Call support! We offer Help Desk support 24 hours a day so there’s always somebody available to help.
MSPs Make Sense
As you can see, hiring a Managed IT Services Provider makes a lot of sense for most businesses. The issue is, whom should you choose?
What you need is an MSP with experience and notoriety. AMRCON’s staff of knowledgeable IT professionals will work with you to optimize your business’s IT infrastructure and make technology work for you. Request a Free Network Audit today to learn more.
April 30, 2012
According to a new survey, US hedge funds are increasingly concerned over new regulations and plan to invest more in managed IT services to address their concerns.
In the survey sponsored by Omegeo, the post-trade company, 54 percent of the participants surveyed said the mandated SEC registration of hedge funds and new requirements for reporting topped their list of concerns about regulation.
Furthermore, the survey showed that 92 percent of the firms surveyed will make operational changes in the next year to 18 months, including:
- Improvements in reporting and transparency
- Execution and clearing of formerly bilateral over-the-counter (OTC) derivates
- Management of collateral and margins
- Processing of overall trade
These operational improvements will require an increase in the amount of time and money hedge funds will need to invest in IT.
Outsourcing IT to a managed services provider (MSP) who can ensure compliance with SEC requirements is a cost-efficient solution to this dilemma.
In another study commissioned by KPMG and AIMA, called “The Value of the Hedge Fund Industry to Investors, Markets and the Broader Economy,” hedge funds were shown to have significantly outperformed traditional asset classes like bonds, equities, and commodities over the last 17 years.
The report demonstrates a growing awareness of the value and performance of hedge funds over other traditional asset classes and is an indication that the market will see a significant amount of growth.
Therefore, not only will new hedge funds materialize, but the ones already on the market will swell. Investors will need a fast and efficient solution to keep up with SEC compliance.
AMRCON can provide the technology, policy, and protocol solutions hedge funds and OTC operations will need to comply with new regulations. In addition, we can provide ongoing support and maintenance to assure that, once these solutions are in place, they will remain up-to-date as regulatory needs change over time.
If you would like to talk with us further about your compliance needs and what we can do to help, contact AMRCON.
March 29, 2012
Are you in charge of setting up a new office for your business? Here’s a list of some of the items you will need to consider as you plan your new IT infrastructure.
Moving a business to a new location is a lot of work, especially when it comes to technology. Will you have the right equipement and infrastructure ready to go when you open your doors to clients?
To help you with your move, we have put together this IT checklist for your new office. It’s not an exhaustive list, but it should give you a better understanding of the kinds of technology you’ll need to consider as you plan your new office build-out.
Hardware to Consider
- Desktop computers and monitors
- Keyboards and mouses
- Surge protectors
Software to Consider
- Word processing software
- Presentation software
- Virus protection software
- Accounting software
- Payment processing software
- E-commerce software
- Inventory management software
- Telephone line
- Desktop phones
- Cellular phones
- Internet connection
- Toll-free line
- Fax machine
Should You Hire a Project Manager?
Every business is unique and will require careful consideration and planning when setting up an effective IT infrastructure. You may want to consider hiring an experienced Project Manager to handle your new office build-out.
Along with helping you choose the right equipment for your business, a great project manager will help your business coordinate the following:
- IT purchases and installations
- Electrical wiring, flooring, lighting and other construction needs
- Furnishings and office layout
- New or upgraded network server and equipement installation
- Installation and migration of workspaces
- Website development and design
- And more, depending on the individual needs of your business
For professional help planning your new office build-out, contact AMRCON. We offer Project Management and Office Build-out Services to businesses in New Jersey and New York. Or, if you would like us to examine your current equipment and IT infrastructure, request a Free Network Audit. We look forward to hearing from you!
March 27, 2012
Need help creating a secure password that you can actually remember? Here’s an easy method that generates some tough-to-crack combinations.
Passwords have become an unavoidable part of life. We use them at work, at home, to check our email, to sign on to social networks, to check our bank statements. Passwords are ubiquitous in modern life.
How are we supposed to keep track of all these combinations?
Luckily, there are methods for creating secure passwords that are easy to remember, and today we’d like to share one of those methods with you.
The “Make Up a Sentence” Method
We’ll call this method the “Make Up a Sentence” method. This is one of the best methods we have found for creating secure passwords that are easy to remember. All you’ll need to do is make up a sentence that you can easily remember.
- I eat two things: cheeseburgers and fries.
- My dog’s name is scooter.
- Stay off of my computer, John!
Now take the first letter of every word in the sentence as well as the punctuation to create your new password. Don’t forget to capitalize the appropriate letters. You can also change numbers into digits for variety.
Using the examples from above, we get:
As you can see from these examples, this method can generate some pretty secure passwords, as long as you don’t choose a sentence that’s too obvious.
Please don’t use any of the above sentences to create your password!
We hope you have found this method for creating a secure password helpful. Keeping our clients’ computers safe and secure is what we do. For more suggestions, fill out our Free Network Audit request form.
We provide managed IT services for businesses and organizations in New Jersey, and we’d be happy to lend your business a hand.