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hurricane-harvey

Donating Responsibly With Data Protection in Miami

From Houston to Corpus Christi, the effects of Hurricane HarveyDonating Responsibly With Data Protection in Miami were felt over the weekend. Hurricane Harvey has become the first major hurricane to hit the United States since Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Houston recorded record levels of rain as a result of the storm. Homeless shelters are expecting an estimated 30,000 people. Needless to say, the pictures of the damage are heartbreaking. Like every disaster, people feel the need to unite and take action. It’s incredibly understandable if you would like to donate to the victims of the hurricane, or help in any sort of way. Many sources has said that the best way to help, for those outside of Texas, is to give cash. While giving money is an effective way of lending aid to those in need, there are always a group of people who are willing to take advantage of a person’s compassion.

At Nerds Support, we have recently learned that there are fraudulent emails going around from hackers looking to capitalize off hurricane Harvey. Because it is common knowledge that most cyberattacks happen through email, our IT support experts would like to remind you to keep data protection in mind as you read your inboxes in these next few weeks.

Signs of a Potential Cyberattack

Earlier this week, the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement regarding awareness of Hurricane Harvey cyberattacks. You are allowed to view the link here, but our Miami IT support experts have left a list of the most important ways to keep your data protected from email cyberattacks.

  •  Do not follow unsolicited web links in email messages.
    • You should do a web search to make sure the links in your email are real.
  • Use caution when opening email attachments.
  • Keep antivirus and other computer software up-to- date.
    • Refer to the Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks page for more information on social engineering attacks.
  • Review the Federal Trade Commission information on Charity Scams.
  • Verify the legitimacy of any email solicitation by contacting the organization directly through a trusted contact number. You can find trusted contact information for many charities on the BBB National Charity Report Index.

Finally, if you believe you may become the victim of a cyberattack, you are urged to seek out a data protection plan right away.

How to REALLY Help

Despite those out there looking to donate to their own “charities”, there are still a lot of great, verified organizations that will need your help in the next few weeks.

  • Catholic Charities USA, the official domestic relief agency of the US Catholic Church, is taking donations to provide support for Harvey victims. They are accepting donations through text and through a webpage they created. You can access the page and find more information here.
  • Feeding Texas, the Texas chapter for Feeding America, a network of the state’s food banks, is accepting donations here. Like its parent foundation, Feeding Texas uses their network of food banks to feed the hungry. You can also find a list of food bank locations that might need help here.
  • The Texas Diaper Bank is seeking donations to provide diapers to families that have been displaced due to Hurricane Harvey. The bank has set up an Amazon wishlist for donors who would like to buy diapers for the diaper bank. The bank has also set up an FAQ highlighting the many ways you can donate . You can find both of these on the organization’s facebook page.
  • The Houston Coalition for the Homeless, which helps coordinate shelters and outreach for the city’s vulnerable homeless population, has a paged dedicated to shelters in heavily affected areas. To find out how you can help, click here.
  • Portlight is a local organization that offers relief to the disabled and older adults, has released an announcement asking for support.
  • GlobalGiving, a crowdfunding site, has launched a hurricane relief fund aimed at gathering funds for local nonprofits in the storm-stricken region. You can visit the page, and donate, right here.
  • Heart To Heart International is currently giving out hygiene kits to displaced families and need more donations in order to get more kits. The organization is also giving out water and minor medical care. To donate, click here.
  • Austin Pets Alive! has many stray pets that have lost their owners, to find out how you can help click here.

Give Responsibly

There are many great verified charities out there that are motivated to give to victims of Hurricane Harvey. At Nerds Support, our Miami IT consulting team would like to remind you to do the following before you donate to any type of charity.

  • Verify the charity – Conduct an online research on the charity that is reaching out to you. Make sure they have a website and are active on social media.
  • Stay away from suspicious links –  before you click a link, run an online search on the link name. (i.e. A link like saveharveyvictims.com/donate would require an online search).
  • Make Sure Your Data is Safe – 37% of cyberattacks can be avoided if the computer user stays careful. Only open emails from people you know and immediately delete emails from strangers.
Data Backup

The Importance of a Miami Data Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan

Have you established a data backup and disaster recovery plan for your business yet? If not, remember this, the Miami area has officially entered hurricane season. When hurricane season hits, businesses frequently experience power outages, flooding, electrical fires and other destruction that leads to loss of data and the prevention of the company from operating at all. Hurricane season is technically June 1 through November 30, but occasionally severe storms will occur outside of these dates. While we prepare our homes and families, we must prepare our company’s crucial data. Putting a Business Disaster Recovery (BDR) plan in place can protect your business from an eminent shutdown.

 

What is a Business Disaster Recovery Plan?

A BDR is a solution to backup a company’s data so it can be recovered in case of a serious malfunction like a server going down, or a disaster such as a fire or flood. There are different methods of backup. Some companies use a hosted cloud server, while others backup to an external hard drive, USB drive, Network Attached Storage device mirror to another server and more.

 

Consequences of Not Having a BDR Plan

Without a BDR plan, your company is extremely vulnerable when a disaster strikes. Possible and likely consequences are:

  • Loss of confidential data
  • Cost of downtime, by losing days of work while trying to restore data
  • No way no recover data
  • Loss of clients
  • Loss of reputation

Many companies without a BDR plan never fully recover and the others completely go out of business.

Businesses in Miami and the surrounding Florida areas always have the threat of hurricanes on their minds, and we have seen the devastating destruction they leave behind. Even a tropical storm will significantly leave its mark on land. If you’re not too concerned about weather, there are other possibilities you should remember. Network problems and computer equipment failures can happen to any company. Let’s not forget data breaches by hackers looking to find financial and personal information belonging to clients and employees.

 

How a BDR Plan Protects Your Company’s Data

With a BDR plan, your business is protected against loss of data, equipment failure or theft. An IT Service like Nerds Support will work with your business to customize a solution that involves planning, prevention and protection in the event of a disaster. Our team works to routinely update the BDR plan if your company expands by adding another branch, new equipment is added or more employees are hired. We will ensure that you can access and fully recover all of your stored data. This will eliminate downtime that hinders your company’s ability to continue working and earn money. The BDR plan will work in conjunction with a Business Continuity plan and the virtualization of your network, so that your business will be up and running again in minutes, as if nothing ever happened.

 

Contact us if you have questions about establishing a Business Disaster Recovery plan for your company, large or small. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff will be happy to answer all of your inquiries in a timely fashion!

Top Seven Reasons You Need A Disaster Recovery Solution in Miami

When it comes to disaster preparedness, how prepared are you? Over 80% of South Florida companies, large and small, report that they have experienced a financial loss due to a technological crisis. Here are 7 reasons why you having a Miami backup and disaster recovery solution is absolutely necessary.

There are no Guarantees When it Comes to IT Hardware and Software

  1. Customers expectations are high! When systems go down it can be devastating to your reputation. Once your customers are made aware of internal IT issues, their trust will begin to decline and they may not hesitate to give their business elsewhere.
  2. IT hardware starts depreciating the minute you take it out of the box. Even when it’s top of the line, your IT infrastructure is never perfect. Don’t over estimate the quality of your hardware. False security can leave you in a bind when something goes wrong.
  3. Software is fickle and needs constant attention. Even when you stay on top of updates, software is constantly troublesome for business owners. Backup plans give peace of mind when it comes to software hiccups.

Disaster Recovery Protects Your Reputation

  1. When you throw human error in to the mix, it’s no surprise that the majority of companies will report that they have lost valuable data by being ill prepared. One small mistake could cost you dearly and fill you with regret.
  2. Even the best hardware and software available will not keep your documents safe in the event that there is a natural disaster. This is a prime example of why backup and disaster recovery is absolutely necessary. Natural disasters can’t be controlled, but the damage can be minimized.
  3. Viruses can plague an entire office at the drop of a dime. All it takes is one employee clicking a bad link and every computer on the network is effected. These are things that, try as you might, you can’t guarantee immunity against malicious computer infections.
  4. When staff is able to trust in their employer they are more likely to give 100%. On the other hand, when your office experiences continued IT problems morale can plummet. Employees appreciate the security they feel when they know that their employer is prepared for the worst case scenario.

Don’t trick yourself in to thinking that backup is optional. Miami Disaster recovery solutions are the only way to protect your data, your reputation and your livelihood. Having a great Miami IT support company behind you is the best way to combat this

 

 

disaster recovery

Local Disaster Shuts Down More Than 50 Businesses for Over 2 Weeks. See How Nerds Support Kept One Business Open

When we think about disasters today, we think of hurricanes, fires, theft, and sprinkler heads going off and breaking – no one in a million years would think about a disaster recovery plan for a lightning strike or long term power outage. No one really ever thinks about this type of disaster and how it might affect their business – but Nerds Support’s IT Support Miami team ensured our client, Klein Mendez & Rothbard LLC, was prepared for it!

 

When KMR met us, they had 2 servers in their office that were about 5 years old. They knew they had to think about replacing them, and they figured with all of the technology out there – there had to be a better way.

 

KMR is a CPA firm with 2 offices. One in Aventura, Florida and one in Cora Gables, Florida.  The Cora Gables office would connect remotely to the terminal server in the Aventura office. Over the last few years, there was several instances where the Cora Gables office couldn’t work because there was an internet issue, a power outage, or something in the remote office that prevented them from connecting. They knew they needed a better solution.

 

Nerds Support went in and evaluated their current situation and came up with a total solution. KMR, being a CPA firm,  understands the value of using an expense versus capital expenditure and depreciation. So, we built them a total solution that would allow them to budget their expenses for their cloud solution.  They like the fact that their fees are based on the number of users – so during tax season they can bring more employees on board and are just charged more during that time period, and when things slow down and they have less employees, they can pay less based on the fewer number of users.

 

After having the cloud solution and disaster recovery plan for about a year, they really saw the value when Marty Rothbarg working in the Aventura KMR office was working late and spilled a glass of wine on his laptop. He thought he was going to have to run out the next morning and get a new laptop for the office – but he remembered there was an older PC in the closet that he could use. He contacted Nerds Support for instructions, plugged in the old PC, set it up using a 10 minute installation, and that’s it! He was up and running.

 

On Monday, July 14th, at around 11:30 in the morning, a lightning strike hit a transformer outside the building and it blew up. The building went completely black. Marty Rothbarg figured he’d step away for lunch and when he got back he’d be able to continue working.  But when he returned, he found out the building was still black, so he informed the employees they could go and work from home. He was thinking about how great it was he didn’t have to lose a half a day’s work with his employees, and figured they’d come in on Tuesday and everyone would be able to work as usual.

 

Around 9:30 at night, the transformer was replaced. But when they went to power back up, they reversed the polarity. When they started it up, it started a small electrical fire in the building!

 

Tuesday morning, everyone comes into the office to discover it is still without power, and the expectation is they will likely be without power for about four days. Marty was thinking about how great it was that they had Nerds Support put a system in place that would allow them to continue working during this time period.

 

A week later, they have a meeting and they learn it’s going to be another 7 days before they can return to work in the office!  July 26th and they still don’t have power in the building and they won’t for another 5 to 7 days! Can you imagine what would have happened if KMR did not have the cloud solution from Nerds Support which allowed them to continue operating business as-usual?

 

Marty met with Scott from Nerds Support  for a quick lunch and to go into the building. Marty said the only reason he needed to go into the building is to pick up the mail. The only inconvenience this whole situation has really caused him is learning how to go digital because they didn’t have their big all-in-one scanner and printer. While KMR doesn’t really print all that much, they scan their mail directly into the cloud to start using right away. Marty has started providing Nerds with a few referrals because he’s so happy with how this all worked out.

 

When stopping into the office building to get mail, Marty told Nerds Support he would see people from other companies in the same building carrying out computers and servers, to set it up somewhere else to work. The KMR team has not had to do any of that since they can work from anywhere and any device.  Nerds Support also provides hardware as a service as part of the cloud solution for KMR – we bring them the computers, monitors, keyboards and mice – so they only thing the client has to provide is battery backups.

Overall, KMR has enjoyed working with Nerds Support and are about to renew their agreement with Nerds Support again for another three years.