data backup hurricane season

It’s Hurricane Season: Is Your Data Backed Up?

If a hurricane was to hit your Florida business and wipe out your network and computers tomorrow, would you be prepared? The 2014 hurricane season is in full swing – don’t wait until disaster strikes before you start thinking about your data backup and business continuity plan or you could be among the 80% of businesses that are unable to recover after a disaster.

 

Examples of Data Loss During Hurricane Sandy

 

When Hurricane Sandy took the East Coast by surprise in 2012, many businesses found themselves at the mercy of their business continuity plans – or the lack of one. Companies with cloud-based backups remained fully operational while companies relying on their onsite backup or local data centers ended up closing at least temporarily as they struggled to mitigate data loss and infrastructure damage.

 

A woman working for New York-based cloud solutions company, Nimbo, discussed the importance of solid disaster recovery plans on the company blog before the storm hit. She compared Nimbo’s plan against her roommate’s company, which relied on a local server. Nimbo employees were able to access their email and applications via the cloud, while her roommate’s company had to shut down until the risk of damage and losses had passed with the hurricane.
Your business’s most important asset is your data and intellectual property. Let Nerds Support help you protect your assets with a data backup and business continuity plan that will prevent hurricane related data loss – as well as losses from other issues and events.

 

Data Backup and Disaster Recovery Plans

 

Data backups are an important part of your overall disaster recovery plan. It creates a copy of your files and information and stores it in the cloud, an offsite server, or some combination of both. Redundancy reduces risks to your business if you experience data loss in your office due to a hurricane or other event that affects your physical building and equipment.

 

Backups should be automatic and frequent for the best protection. You can never backup your data too often! We invite you to partner with Miami business continuity providers, Nerds Support, to ensure you have your data properly backed up and ready for access from the cloud if you should need it.

 

Prepare for Hurricane Season

 

For Florida business owners, the best peace of mind you can give yourself is to create a data backup and business continuity plan. Our Miami IT Consultants at Nerds Support will customize a solution for your organization. Give us a call or fill out our form for a free consultation.

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When Using the Cloud Goes (VERY) Wrong

Everyone talks about the “cloud”, but unless you’re an IT consultant or some other technology professional, there’s a good chance you don’t really know what it means or how to use it. An upcoming movie with Cameron Diaz shows you what happens when the cloud goes very, very wrong!

Can you imagine making a private sex tape or taking some photos to spice up your love life with your partner – only to discover the video or photos got synched into the cloud for your family and friends to see? “The Sex Tape Movie” by Sony Pictures Entertainment shows us exactly what happens when a couple makes this devastating mistake:

 (Warning: explicit language in video)

 “It went up, up to the cloud!”

“And you can’t get it down from the cloud?”

“Nobody understands the cloud! It’s a F@%king mystery!”

Use the Cloud the Right Way

Don’t attempt to use the cloud without the help of a professional! Call Miami Cloud provider, Nerds Support, to resolve the mystery surrounding the cloud and for a free consultation about how the cloud can benefit your organization (and how to avoid embarrassing situations like this one!)

 

Miami IT Support

Have an iPhone? Top 6 iPhone Apps

Are you taking advantage of all your iPhone has to offer? Some of the best apps are even free to download and use, while others are reasonably priced for the service they provide. You can do more than make or receive calls and texts and check your Facebook feed on your iphone, you know! Many of our Miami IT support technicians have an iPhone and make use of the various productivity and organizational apps available. Here are 8 awesome iPhone Apps that can save time, help you get organized, or automate things you do all the time:

Google Maps (free) – this used to come preinstalled on all iPhones but if you want Google Maps now, you have to download it. It’s free, so you should grab it. Google Maps is more accurate than the Apple-owned map app for providing turn-by-turn directions.

SignNow (free) – this is an app that lets you sign documents with your phone, which is great for business owners on the run! Open files from your email, a Dropbox folder, a photo, or other sources, place your signature, and send it off.

Any.Do (free) – keep track of lists and tasks for yourself or a team. You can share tasks and assign others. It allows you to sync across all devices, so you can access your tasks from your desktop, phone, or laptop – and even from a Chrome browser with the Chrome plug-in version. It includes audio reminders to make sure you don’t forget anything important.

Dropbox (free) – store all of your documents in Dropbox so you can access them from everywhere – your office, your home, on your laptop, from your phone, etc. You won’t have to worry about emailing yourself documents or remembering to put files on a USB flash drive if you keep them all in Dropbox.

EasilyDo (free) – this app is a lot like a personal assistant, but without the costly salary. You can connect the app with your email, Facebook, calendar, and other online services. The app will keep an “eye” on things it could take care of for you. If a friend has a birthday coming up on Facebook, it will let you create the Happy Birthday post for their Facebook timeline in advance (so you won’t forget when the time comes!) Or, another example of something the app might take care of for you is if someone emailed you and they aren’t in your address book, the app will ask if they should add the contact.

Evernote (requires membership, free to up to $45 annually) – keep track of notes and information with Evernote. It will synchronize your files and save them to a cloud service, so you can make changes or additions from your iPhone and then view them all later when you log into Evernote from your computer.

Miami IT Consultants

Data Backup is the Key to Business Continuity

Have you ever wondered where your data goes once it has been backed up? The use of cloud-based backup data services is providing consumers with a sense of relief that they won’t lose the most important items on their computer, but what about the security of the backed up information? It is important to maintain a backup schedule to ensure that you don’t lose everything if something goes wrong. It would be difficult to operate your Florida business if you were unable to access your business files and software programs.

The data on your business and personal computer is the most important feature and function on the devices. If you were to experience a mechanical or technical failure, your computer’s applications may be restored to the factory settings, but everything else that makes the computer critical for your daily business operations will be lost and it can rarely be recovered if it is not backed up. The majority of businesses (about 80%) experiencing loss of data will go out of business within a year. Our Miami IT Consultants can prevent this from happening to you!

What is a Backup?

You hear about data backup all the time, and read about it on every technical website or blog – but do you really understand what it is? A backup is a critical part of your recovery plan. Backing up, or making a copy of your important files and information, takes just seconds. The backup copy should be stored at an offsite location or in the cloud (or a combination of both) to reduce the risks of both your original data and the backup copy being destroyed in some sort of disaster that physically affects your building.

Frequent backups guarantee that all of the information and data you backup is up to date. A backup will only recover the information that you have copied up to a certain point in time. So, if you only backup your computer every 30 days and you experience a failure at day 25, you’re going to have 25 days’ worth of data that hasn’t been updated to your backup copy. This is better than most businesses, but it can still cause hardships for the business that can be avoided with more frequent and comprehensive data backup plans. The key to a successful and comprehensive recovery of data is redundancy. You can never backup your data too often! Businesses should consider making backups a required step in daily business operations, and partnering with Miami business continuity providers, Nerds Support, to ensure you are doing everything you need to do to operate your business after data loss or disaster.

Common Data Disasters

You are always at risk of losing the data on your work and personal computers. A data disaster isn’t limited to a computer crash; there are many events that can lead to a loss, including:

  • Natural disasters
  • Loss of power
  • Human error
  • IT hardware and software failure
  • Network failure
  • Malicious intent and terrorism

What Should You Backup?

Consider where you are the most vulnerable and determine what files and data you require to operate your business. These are the files and information you need access to immediately after experiencing a failure of some kind. Consider important files, but also media or software that you may have paid for as well. What do you need to resume your business?

  • Email
  • Browsers
  • Drivers
  • Social networking feeds
  • Business records and data

Tips for Choosing a Backup System

There are many options available to consumers who are considering a backup system. When selecting a backup method that meets the needs of the consumer, it is important to review the encryption requirements for each backup service and federal regulations regarding backup security. This is a lot for a business owner to take on, especially if you don’t consider yourself “high tech”. For Florida business owners, working with the Miami IT Consultants from Nerds Support for the creation of a backup system and business continuity plan is the solution. Give us a call or fill out our form for a free consultation to see how we can help you plan for business continuity with data backups.

 

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More Than a Phone System: 5 Reasons To Use VoIP

How often do you go to work and stay at your desk for the duration of the business day? Business owners rarely stick to their desk and most have a hard time keeping their business activities confined to a standard eight-hour work day. As the business world changes, businesses must adapt to keep up with their competitors and technology must accommodate the changes in how we do business.  VoIP (voice over internet protocol) is a phone system that helps you adapt to the changing business world and offer a wide range of benefits to the business:

1. No On-Site Equipment Needed With Hosted Phone Solutions

VoIP is a hosted phone solution, which means we handle the equipment for you.  You won’t need to find space in your office or hire contractors to run wires or make it possible to transfer calls from one employee to another.  We set it all up for you, including hosting of the system.

2. Designed for Business Growth

If you’re looking for a phone solution that will work in multiple locations or can be easily transported, VoIP is the answer.  VoIP will work for you whether your employees are all in one office or spread out across the country, working remotely from their home offices.  When you grow your business, your phone system will grow right alongside you and provide the same communication system simply by adding more phones.

3. Use Your Phone and Features Anywhere You Have An Internet Connection

One of the lesser known benefits of a VoIP solution is the ability to take your office phone and all of its features with you even when you’re traveling.  Redirect your phone numbers to wherever you are (your mobile phone, or your hotel room, for example) and your customers or employees will never know you are in a different location.  Access messages or transfer calls just as you would from your office.

4. Always Up to Date

Since the VoIP solution doesn’t require hardware, any updates that are required will be received automatically.  You won’t have to update anything manually or remember to check for updates.

5. Reduce Your Phone Bill and Administrative Costs

Your VoIP system will provide a predictable monthly bill for your phone service, which will save you 30-60% from your current phone bill.  Additionally, many business owners find they can reduce the number of receptionists they hire because of the VoIP system’s ability to greet callers and provide a menu system to direct calls where they need to go.

 

VoIP technology offers smaller businesses the opportunity to compete with larger businesses.  Communication tools that were previously only available to larger businesses with more money to spend are now available on a smaller business budget. Let’s talk about your phone and communication needs and see whether VoIP is a good solution for your business.

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Futuristic Car Technology

People are often surprised at how much technology helps us reach our business goals, but have you noticed how much technology is advancing in other aspects of our lives, too? Take a closer look at modern vehicles – the technology found in our cars seem like it’s coming from the future!

Communicating Cars That Are Aware of Their Surroundings

Cars don’t really “talk” to each other (yet!), but they are definitely increasing their communications ability. Sensors placed on the outside of vehicles can communicate with each other, allowing vehicles to help drivers avoid car accidents with advanced safety features including:

  • Automatic brakes to help you stop before a collision occurs
  • Back up cameras
  • Land departure alerts to keep you between the lines
  • Blind spot monitoring systems
  • Adaptive cruise control

 

Intersection Communications

Sensors on vehicles allow cars to warn drivers when the car is getting too close to another vehicle or approaching the edge of a lane or road.  New sensors at intersections will start changing the lights from red to green if there are no cars approaching the intersection (and helping drivers avoid waiting at a red light when there is no other traffic around).  The plan for intersection technology is also to automatically stop all cars approaching an intersection if a car is running a red light to avoid accidents.

Cars that Drive Themselves

A car that can drive itself may seem like a far-fetched dream, but believe it or not, we’re not that far away from technology that could handle the task.  We already have vehicles with “Park Assist” technology that basically park themselves.  Imagine getting into your car and telling it where you’re going, like a chauffeur!

Technology is constantly advancing in all areas of our world, like it or not. If you’re interested in the advantages technology can offer in your business – give us a call or visit our website to see how we can help you reach your goals.

 

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Free eBook: Find out if Cloud Computing is Right For Your Business

Pretty much everyone we have talked to has heard of cloud computing and are starting to wonder if they should put their business in the cloud.  Since the concept of cloud computing has been generating so much interest, we decided to put together an eBook to help you understand more about cloud computing and the financial impact it has on your business .

In this free eBook, you will learn about cloud computing, what it is, how it benefits your business and potential disadvantages to watch out for. We’ll help you decide if cloud computing is a good decision for your unique business and whether it will help you save money and reach your business goals.

Then, since people have heard many myths and rumors about the “insecurity of the cloud” we’ll give you five reasons why cloud computing is actually MORE SECURE than a traditional computing environment.

And finally, we’re going to show you why the cloud is actually the business network of the future so even if you aren’t fully on board with the cloud yet – you’re going to need to make the transition sooner rather than later.

Click here to download and read this free informational eBook: The Financial Impact of Cloud Computing on Your Business.

Nerds Support New Website

Hey Look! Nerds Support Launched New Website to Better Serve Customers

Now that we’ve been in business for over five years, we have started to realize that while all of our customers have unique businesses – everyone shares many of the same business goals. We wanted our website to show you exactly how our technology solutions can help you achieve those goals and so we launched a new website!

Our website now makes it easy to see how you can use technology in your business to:

  • Save Time and Get Peace of Mind
  • Increase Business Revenue
  • Expand Your Business to Additional Locations
  • Prepare your Business for Acquisition

We invite you to visit our new website and see how each of our technology solutions can help you reach your individual business goals. Some of the services we offer that you can learn more about on our website include:

  • PC and Laptop Repair
  • Business Continuity Planning
  • VoIP Phone Services
  • Colocation Services
  • Hardware as a Service
  • Cloud Services
  • IT Consulting
  • Email & Spam protection
  • Business Hosting Solutions

Don’t worry if you aren’t sure what each of those services can do or if they are right for your business – our website describes each and we are available to sit down with you to discuss the challenges your business faces, the goals you hope to achieve, and suggest the technology solutions you need to get there.

Check out our new website and let us know what you think!

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5 Tips to Help Boost Email Marketing

When it comes to marketing and PR, many companies have taken their campaigns online. These can vary from something as simple as a Google AdWords
campaign promoting a product to a presence on social media services. There is one form of digital marketing that stands above the others – email marketing. When this is done right, it is a powerful marketing vehicle, yet many companies struggle to make it successful.

If you have been struggling with your email marketing campaigns, here are five helpful tips.

1. Sort out your contact database
If you have had an email newsletter or marketing campaign for more than a couple of years you likely have a large or fair-sized contact database. A problem many businesses run int is that their contact databases are simply out of date. Emails are being sent to accounts that have been closed, or to recipients who have moved jobs. An out-of-date database
can really hurt the effectiveness of email marketing.

It would therefore be a good idea to conduct a periodical audit of your database. Take the time to update information like names,
positions, email addresses, etc. You should also look at how your database is organized.

Because of the varying nature of many email campaigns, it is highly likely that you will eventually develop email campaigns that target specific emails. If your database isn’t segmented, it could be a nightmare to create effective campaigns. At the very least you should
include information like the contact’s:

  • name
  • position
  • email address
  • industry
  • location
  • referral source

2. Ensure people opt-in
Because of its widespread use, email has become the medium of choice for spammers and even hackers trying to gain access to various systems. To counter this companies have adopted email scanning programs with strict filters that block any emails that could be spam. Beyond that, many states and countries have no spam laws which require that companies must
get recipients to opt-in so that they can receive email marketing.

There are a number of ways you can get people to opt-in including:

  1. placing links in a clear spot on your website
  2. having a link in an email footer
  3. Having an opt-in link below sign up or inquiry forms.

3. Determine the purpose
A common reason most everything fails in business is because it doesn’t have a clearly defined process. The same can be said for email campaigns, if they lack a clearly defined purpose e.g., increasing sales, promote a product or move traffic to a website, then the chances of success will be low.

When developing a campaign take time to define the purpose, what do you want the recipient to do. From there, develop the content and layout around that purpose. Be sure to also define the type of people you want the email to reach because this will make it easier to define a recipient list from your database.

4. KISS
Many email marketing initiatives fail because the company tries to include too much information or has an overly complex layout and sign up procedure. Try writing content that gets to the point and tells what the audience needs to know in a clear, concise and correct manner.

When developing the layout, aim for something that looks clean with ample white space and only essential information. Careful use of images and design should also drive attention to the most important content.

Beyond that, content should also be optimized for mobile devices. Because many recipients will deem your email marketing as non-essential, they may not look at it while at work. This means that they will likely look at it on their mobile device. If your content doesn’t scale to fit smaller screens, this could lead to the reader simply deleting the email.

5. Don’t be afraid to get some help
Email marketing can get overly complex so, why not get some help? Try working with different email marketing providers to see what works for you, your content and what provides the best results.

By working with an email service like MailChimp or Constant Contact, you could drastically improve the effectiveness of your campaigns.

If you are looking for an email marketing solution contact us to see how we can help.

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Is your mobile device secure?

Is your mobile device secure?

Security_Oct16_ADid you know that October is National Cyber Security month in the US? This means it’s the perfect time to stop for a minute and think about the
security of your digital systems, both in the office and at home. One of the increasingly important areas to focus on however exists in between these systems – your mobile devices. As the number of people carrying smartphones increases, these devices will be increasingly targeted by dubious people and you should take steps to ensure they are secure.

Here are five questions to ask if you want to properly protect your devices.

1. What do I know about Wi-Fi hotspots?
With a tablet or phone it can be easy and tempting to check in with the office, write a few emails or even do your finances on the go. This usually means connecting to the Internet, and because so many mobile plans limit the amount of data you can use, you will likely use Wi-Fi.

The thing is, many of these Wi-Fi hotspots found in airports, coffee shops and even in public transport zones are open. This means that anyone with the tools and knowledge could gain access to devices connected to this network. Simply put: Connecting to a public Wi-Fi network or hotspot could put your data and device at risk.

You should take steps to limit that amount of important business oriented tasks you do while connected to these networks. At the very least, you should not allow your device to connect automatically to open or unsecured Wi-Fi networks. By physically signing into networks or choosing what networks you connect to, you can somewhat control or limit security issues that stem from Wi-Fi connections.

2. Do I want a stranger to see what’s on my phone?
There seems to be this view that whatever you are looking at on your phone or tablet can’t be physically seen by other people. While your device is relatively small, many are large enough to allow strangers to see what you are looking at and even typing.

If you are sending or reading confidential info on your phone or tablet be sure to check that people aren’t looking over your shoulder or watching you type PINs or passwords. In fact, it would be best to read or type this type of information in private, where other people aren’t likely to be looking over your shoulder and privy to private data.

3. Is my phone secure?
Security is a big issue for many businesses. You want to ensure that your information, files and systems are secure from intrusions and threats, and likely implement measures to keep them so. However, few users pause to think about their mobile devices.

Take for example Android’s marketplace Google Play. While the vast majority of apps are legitimate, some are fake and contain malware that mobile devices by placing fake apps online or even malware on sites that will automatically be downloaded if users visit the page or click on a link. To combat this you can download a virus or malware scanner for
your device and run it on a regular basis. When downloading apps be sure to verify the publisher and source of the app.

Securing your device with a password or pin makes it harder for third parties to gain access should they pick up a lost device or try to get in when you aren’t looking.

4. What info is stored on my phone?
Stop for a minute and think about the information you have stored on your device. Many users keep records of their passwords, important documents and even private information. The thing is, many devices are easy to hack, and also lose. If you lose your device, your valuable information could also be lost and potentially stolen.

You should take a look through your information and ensure that nothing incredibly important is stored on your device and if there is, back it up or remove it.

5. Is it necessary for apps to know my location?
Geo-location has become a popular feature of many apps. The truth is, many of these apps probably don’t need this information, instead requesting it to provide a slightly better service or more personalized experience.

However, this information about you and your phone could be stolen so you might want to think about limiting how much a third party can see about you. Both Android and Apple’s iOS have apps that allow you to select what programs are allowed to gather and send your location-based information to developers, with iOS actually allowing you to shut down
location-based services from the Settings menu.

If you would like to learn more about mobile security, contact us today as we may have a solution that will work with your business.