Is a smart watch right for you?

We all remember the original smart watches “back in the day”, a big black square on your wrist with a small LED screen. Since then a lot has changed. There are so many wearable watches available that to name them here would be impossible. A recent review done in April 2017 by BestReview.com (http://bestreviews.com/best-smart-watches) included reviews of a whopping 64 options! 

You’ll want to consider the different types of smartwatches and which type is best for you. Next you’ll want to carefully consider all the options and specifics of each model available. Be sure to check reviews and note reliability.

Finally, you want to do the necessary learning to make sure your new purchase is utilized to the max! After all, if you only need the time…you don’t need a smart watch. If you want more than that, do the necessary research upfront and get a device that serves your needs best. 

Cory Carson
WannaCry and the Importance of Computer Updates

On May 12, 2017, a massive ransomware cyberattack called WannaCry was released, effecting hundreds of thousands of computers across the world.  Based on an exploit known as EternalBlue, the goal was to encrypt all files on a computer and then demand a $200-300 BitCoin payment to retrieve your data.  (As of May 22, 2017, however, there have been no reports of someone paying to get their data unlocked successfully)

What is interesting about WannaCry is that two months earlier, Microsoft released a patch that fixed the vulnerability that this attack used.  (https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/security/ms17-010.aspx)

This causes us to ask the question: “How big of an impact will having properly maintained computers have on your business?”

We all know how frustrating it is to come in and see the “restart your computer to finish installing Windows Updates” button on our screen, trying to tear us away from our busy days for seemingly no reason (but are extremely important reminders that the things we do on our computers are vulnerable and need to have a careful eye watching over them.)

At iTology, we fully test and implement security patches within days of them being released to keep your systems as secure as possible.  We are proud to be able to say that none of our managed systems were affected by WannaCry!  Even though the attacks may change, iTology is always staying on top of what’s going on in the technology world to make sure that you are able to run your business with no problems!

Cory Carson
Why you shouldn’t buy your next computer from Walmart.

When considering your next computer purchase, the factors you will probably consider fall under three main categories, price (including value for your money against the quality of the computer), features (options), and support (when choosing your computer and after the sale).

Walmart and other discount retailers may have extremely attractive prices, however the adage “you get what you pay for comes to mind.” Walmart’s selection of name-brand computers (and electronics in general) is often VERY limited. By their focus on value-oriented products storewide, you will be missing out on computing “horsepower” and other options you may need and/or want. Will your computer run the software you need for your business? Will it be high enough quality to stand up to the daily rigors of use? There are too many regrets to name here that will come back to haunt you later if you choose a machine that isn’t robust enough to handle the job, not to mention of such poor quality it won’t last. Choosing the right computer up front will save you money in unnecessary replacement cost and your hidden cost of decreased productivity, including downtime. The bottom line to your bottom line, is you must consider price and quality up front and make the wise choice for long term.

Regarding support before and after your computer purchase, Walmart isn’t setup to assist you there either. Walmart staff will be virtually zero help in explaining the features and what components you will need for your specific business. There just isn’t the expectation that employees will be knowledgeable about the options and features. They will be unable to explain the variances between the limited options. Part of iTology services to our clients is understanding your business. We discuss the features that you have needed and wanted in the past and ultimately understand your future needs and wants so that you can get the greatest value from your computer purchase. We know where to purchase the most affordable and quality machines. You shouldn’t overpay or have a computer that has more than you need for your business either. Helping you make these informed decisions is just another example of the full-service experience we offer you and your business when you do business with iTology.

Cory Carson
Should I fix or replace my computer?

Everyone has seen the display model computers at the big box retail stores, promising next generation features for a price that won't break the bank.  But is it worth it to shell out the money to buy a new computer when the computer you had when you graduated college would work just fine if you fixed it up a bit?  Sometimes we must let our beloved electronics retire instead of forcing them to keep holding on for just one more year!  Today we'll explore a few questions we should ask ourselves when it comes time to upgrade or replace our computers.

1.  How old is the computer?

    Even though your computer might be "running just fine" for now, computers have a "best used by" date.  Typically, you can expect computers you buy from the local department store to last around two years, while computers that are more business class have between a three and five-year lifespan.  This doesn't mean that they will for sure break on these schedules, but at the rapid place technology moves you will need to consider replacing things at these times to make sure you're getting the most for your investment!

2.  What kind of problems are you having with your current computer?

    "I have a routine!  I hit the power button on my computer, then go out and get a cup of coffee, take a shower, and work on my theory for cold fusion.  By the time that's done, my computer should more or less be up."  Have you noticed your computer taking more and more time to get to a usable state?  Often just having an experienced eye look at your system can help get it running much better!  If not, cheap upgrades like extra memory or a solid-state disk can make a huge difference on a system that isn't extremely old.  For less than the investment of a brand-new computer, your 3-year-old desktop might be able to outperform one of those sleek new models you see on the showroom!

3.  What do you use your computer for?

    Those $150 laptops you see advertised all over the place can look enticing, but are they worth buying?  In some cases, yes!  However, if you are wanting to be able to do more than just basic web browsing and document editing, these machines can lure you into a trap of frustration.  For instance, if you want to be able to stream HD video to your TV or play games, these low powered devices will only give you a headache.  In these circumstances, bigger can be better!  While it might not be as small and shiny as the new display laptop, the trusty 15-inch behemoth you keep on your desk might just need to have an electronic spa weekend to get refreshed and ready for the new season!

At the end of the day, there are several variables that will let you know if you should upgrade your computer or let it take a well-deserved rest.  If you have questions about what you should do, please contact one of your friendly neighborhood iTologists, and we will work with you to come up with the best way to use your money in our ever-changing technology landscape!

 

Cory Carson
Storm Season VS. Your Data

As a fellow Okie, you no doubt know how varied and unpredictable our weather can be. It isn’t a good idea to procrastinate and avoid planning for storm season. Just as we know that tuning into the local weather can be a matter of life and death, an emergency plan for your business data can protect your business in much the same way.

It’s important to ask yourself if your company’s critical data is backed up in the event of power loss or damage to your business location.  Having three copies of your valuable data is our recommended best practice: two copies on-site, and at least one somewhere else. In the event your backed-up data is needed; we can get it on a repair disk and deliver it to you quickly!

Even if the worst doesn’t happen, implementing these relatively easy measures can give you peace of mind and make minor weather events less of a headache to you, your employees, and your customers:

  • Invest in a quality surge protector, easy and affordable.
  • Install battery backups, for thunder (and lightning!) storms.
  • Lift servers off the floor.  Inexpensive and easily installed, server racks prevent damage by flooding.
  • Test your backups and Disaster Recovery Plan at least quarterly.

If you would like the peace of mind that comes with knowing your backup and disaster recovery plans will keep your business running, call our friendly iTologists today!  We will be happy to check your environment and offer a second opinion on how to make sure you don’t lose your hard-earned money when Oklahoma weather strikes!

Cory Carson
Why Guest WiFi is a Bad Idea

WiFi is everywhere you go, it seems.  No matter if you’re grabbing a cup of coffee or checking into a hotel for the night, it’s hard to go anywhere where we can’t find easy access to the internet by looking for a WiFi network without a lock on the icon!  But despite the fact they’re easy, an unsecured WiFi network is bad for both you as a customer, as well as your business!  At iTology, we highly recommend using your (albeit expensive) mobile data over an unsecured WiFi network every time!  Today we will briefly cover a few scenarios.  You as a WiFi user, and your business as a WiFi provider.

 

Open WiFi and You

 

In our above example, you’re in line at the local coffee house that you go to every day.  Several months ago you were trying to watch a YouTube video and connected to the available WiFi and haven’t thought about it since.  Today, however, while you wait for your morning dose of caffeine, you decide to buy tickets to a movie that opens tonight!  As you stand in line, you pull out your Credit Card and punch in your card number and excitedly wait for your day to be over.  In the parking lot, however, something very different is happening.  While you were paying for your tickets, someone within range of the unsecured WiFi network was sitting there smiling at his laptop for a very different reason.  Since your device wasn’t using an encrypted connection, he now has your credit card number, and tonight he is planning on eating well!  While this scenario may seem unlikely at the coffee shop where the barista knows your order as soon as you walk in the door, it’s very much possible for this to happen.  And that one time you connected to the network at your favorite fast food chain while you waited for your order?  Now you’re using that network without thinking about it every time you pass by any of their locations!  Making sure all of the networks you connect to are secure means that your data is ONLY your data.

 

Open WiFi and Your Business

 

There’s little that is more frustrating through the course of a day than not having access to the Internet.  When your clients are in your office, you want their experience to be the best that it can be, so you tell your internet provider to add an open WiFi guest network so your clients can have access to what they need while they’re in your office.  But what may be more surprising is that when they have open access to your network, all of the information that you share with your team every day becomes available to anyone within WiFi range!  Those confidential employee files or the plans for your next big product are stored right on your company equipment, and now anyone that walks in has an opportunity to get in and leaf through your digital file cabinets!  Creating even a simple password and controlling who has access to your network means that the only eyes that are looking at your company data are ones you’ve allowed to be there!

 

If you need help making sure your business WiFi is working for you and not everyone, please give one of our iTologists a call today!

Cory Carson
Why ALL Computers Should Have a Battery Backup

Picture this scenario (Or relive the horror!)  It’s 11:54pm and you’re sweating bullets as you prepare the report that your boss asked you to have ready by the start of the day on Monday.  As you put the finishing touches on your document, you hear a loud crack and hurridly try to save the document you’ve been working on for four hours.  Unfortunately, you were too late.  The eight page document you spent hours getting just right is now gone, along with your chances of having a good night of sleep!

 

This is just one of the benefits of having a battery backup for your computer.  In the event of a power outage, you can take comfort in knowing that your computer is both protected from power surges (paying $80 for a new battery backup is a lot better than paying $500 for a new computer!) and from losing your hard work at a moments notice.  Next time the power is knocked out during storm season, you can calmly save your document and shut your computer down normally without the stress!  And if you’re not at home, you can program your computer to automatically do a safe shutdown when your power goes out, putting your mind (and your important email) at ease!

 

If you have any questions about battery backups and if your equipment needs one, please feel free to give one of our iTologists a call!  We’d love to help!

 

Cory Carson
Securing Mobile Devices:

As we live more of our lives through our smart devices, many of us don’t consider the implication of securing the information that we carry around on our small computing devices.  Bank account access, credit card numbers and pictures of our families are all information that someone can try to take while we’re not being vigilant.  But if you approach your mobile device with the same level of care as you do your home or work computer, there’s little need to be afraid for the safety of your information.  The few steps below are a good starting point to securing your digital life

 

1.        Phone Updates – Let’s face it, we’ve all mashed the “update later” button on our devices so many times that it’s practically a reflex.  But when we forget to come back later and apply these updates, we are only hurting ourselves!  Whether you’re running an iPhone or a Windows tablet, making sure you keep your device up to date is one of the simplest ways that you can be up-to-date with the most recent security and feature updates that you need to stay safe

2.       Not all apps are created equal – You’re standing in line at the DMV, waiting for the person ahead of you to fish out that last pocket full of change and considering learning Latin while you wait.  So you open your App Store and see “Latinmate - Learn Latin While You Wait!”  So you excitedly download the app and enter your password.  After downloading, it asks you for access to your contacts and phone storage.  Ready to begin impressing your friends you hastily hit “Allow” on the prompts for Contact, Storage, and Camera access.  As you get into the actual app you realize it’s nothing more than a few pictures and a Google translate box.  “Oh well” you think, and shuffle off to the corner.  Unfortunately, Latinmate has already gotten what it wants and will continue to sit there gathering information on you as you go about your day.  Spending a few minutes to think about why an app might need access to your info can save you some frustration later!

3.       Securing your device – Luckily, a lot of phones are starting to use fingerprints to allow you to safely and securely get into your device.  But many are still using four digit pin numbers or simple passwords.  Is your PIN “1234”?  That same easy to remember code means that the next time you leave your phone at a restaurant, someone could easily gain access to all of your information

4.       Find my device – “It’s late, do you know where your device is?”  No matter if you’re on Android or iOS, there’s a nifty feature that will let you remotely locate your device on a map, and factory reset it if needed.  If you’re not sure if your device is secured this way, you can click here (http://www.apple.com/icloud/find-my-iphone.html) for more information if you use an Apple device, or here (https://myaccount.google.com/intro/find-your-phone) if you are using Android.  Now is the time to make sure these features are on and working, not when you’re in a panic because you can’t find your phone or tablet!

 

These four steps will help set you on the path of making sure your device is secured.  While not comprehensive, if you can remember to stay security focused with your device, it will prevent you a lot of worry in the future!  If you have any additional questions, one of our friendly iTologists will be glad to discuss your mobile device security strategy with you!  Give us a call!

Cory Carson
Different Needs

We understand that as a business owner, you want your overhead costs to take you further. That's why we minimize technology costs through detailed planning. Call us today at 405-253-3833 to get started.

Cory Carson
Overhead Costs

We understand that as a business owner, you want your overhead costs to take you further. That's why we minimize technology costs through detailed planning. Call us today at 405-253-3833 to get started.

Cory Carson
Communication

Communication is the core of any well-functioning entity. Is your company's internal communication all that it can be? If you think it could use some improvements, we can make that happen. Call iTology today to discuss options.

Cory Carson
Full Service Business Technology

We offer full service business technology and computer services in Broken Arrow, Edmond, Enid, Lawton, Oklahoma City, Midwest City, Moore, Norman, Stillwater, Tulsa and everywhere in between. Call us at 405-253-3833.

Cory Carson
Embracing Technology

Your small business may be managing to stay afloat without moving into the digital world so far, but embracing technology will help it flourish in small and large ways. Give us a call to discuss digitizing your company. We'll simplify and walk you through each step. http://ow.ly/bERu307xAv2

Cory Carson
I.T. Emergency

An I.T. emergency doesn't have to derail your work week. iTology experts are available around the clock to provide immediate support and keep your company on track. Just give us a call!

Cory Carson
Building Solid Defenses

Data security is about preparation and having the strongest defenses. We'll make sure your business security is hardened and ready to fend off attackers.

Cory Carson
Relocating?

Relocating offices is a tedious task that generates an endless to-do list. Cross "cabling the new building" off your list by calling iTology today. We'll get your office wired so you don't have to lose productivity during the move.

Cory Carson
Competitive Edge

Is your New Year's goal to give your company a competitive edge? Call iTology today to see how upgrading and streamlining your technologies can add efficiency and freedom to your business.

Cory Carson