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Managed IT Services Providers Help You With Network Monitoring

Many Tampa Bay Area small businesses, if not ALL, rely on the networks within their organization. Can you imagine your business without the network which connects you to each of your team? Network monitoring is necessary for ensuring your network remains operational and functioning as it should in order for your business to carry out its daily activities.

What is Network Monitoring?

Network monitoring is a process which alerts business owners and key people to any problems that might occur over the network. It can also be used to keep track of supplies for printers, how much hard drive space is remaining and notify you when you’re running out of space, as well as software installations or uninstalls.

Network monitoring solutions can alert you when changes to the network require action, and assist you with the actions to ensure the problem is resolved quickly. Most problems with networks can be handled pro-actively, which means there is no need for the network to go “down”, or become unusable when the network is being monitored effectively.

You can also use quality network monitoring services to know when your software licenses are going to expire or contracts need renewing, as well as when to update various software programs with bug fixes to ensure everything is up to date and running as it should. Your antivirus software depends on your network to operate effectively.

Additionally, since your network only allows a limited amount of internet bandwidth for your entire staff to use, if one employee is hogging too much of that bandwidth, a traffic jam will form. Everyone trying to use the same network will experience decreased speed and a decrease in productivity but a network monitoring service can help you find bottlenecks as they happen and help to distribute the resources evenly across all users of the network.

Network Monitoring Outsourcing

For the majority of small or medium sized businesses, outsourcing the monitoring of your computer networks makes the most financial sense. If the network is not working, your business loses revenue and can’t operate. Training in-house staff to handle the network isn’t the best use of our time or resources.

Using doyouIT’s Managed IT Services providers to handle network monitoring will save you time and money. Your network will have minimal to no down time, and no maintenance required on the part of yourself or staff members. This means you can focus your time on your daily business activities without worrying about the network that’s making it all possible.

Network Monitoring Services

Most small businesses require the following monitoring activities:

  • Monitoring Local Area Network data
  • Ping and trace route
  • Alerts to problems with the network

A Managed IT Services Provider will handle all aspects of monitoring your network, preventing most problems from occurring and providing solutions for any that do happen. For one monthly fee, a business can get all the information and alerts necessary, without having to train anyone in-house to know what to do in the event of every possible situation that can arise involving the network.

Click here to learn how doyouIT can help you reduce downtime with our 24x7x365 Network Monitoring Services for your business in Tampa, FL and surrounding cities.

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6 Password Tips to Protect Against Business and Identity Theft (AaaS; Authentication as a Service)

Ah, those pesky passwords. If you work in the corporate world or in an office, you have one for your PC/Network and, unless there is a password synchronization application that combines them, or you’re using some AaaS (Authentication as a Service), you probably have more than one for other applications both internal and in the cloud. Add those to the ones that you have for your home Internet, your banking and other websites that require passwords, and before you know it you have a nightmare on your hands in trying to manage them. How easy a target are you for business and identity theft?

Part of the frustration has to do with the different requirements for password formatting. Some systems only require four characters, some require eight. Some need a combination of alpha and numeric characters and others do the same with the addition of a few capital letters or symbols thrown in for extra security. It can be positively maddening.

The worst thing you can do with your passwords is to place them in a text document which can be accessed on the hard drive of your computer. Your files are vulnerable to business and identity theft- even if you think they are not. If someone is intent on finding them, they can. Even if you place them into a password protected document, those can be cracked, too.

Writing them down has its own vulnerabilities, too, and there are varying opinions on this practice. If you do write them down on a piece of paper, put the document in a locked location whether it is in your home or at work.

Here are 6 tips on how to handle your passwords to protect against business and identity theft:

1. Make them complex. People who use easy to remember or short passwords are inviting disaster. Use a little imagination and pick a password that is very difficult to attach to your life. Stay away from birth dates, phone numbers, house numbers, or any other number that is associated with your life.

2. Keep passwords unique. When you change your passwords, make them unique from each other. Do not use the same password on all of your sites. If you do, then you are open to having every site that you have a password to being vulnerable to hackers to log on and steal your identity, money or destroy your reputation.

3. Be obscure. Use a combination of letters, numbers, capital letters and special characters if possible. The more you do this, the more secure your passwords will become. Create an alphanumeric version of a term you can remember. Using this technique the word “Spaceship” becomes “Sp@ce5h!p”.

4. Change regularly. This is the singular tip that can save you if you do not heed any of the other tips. How often should you change your password? How secure do you want to be? The frequency with which you change your password will determine how secure you are from becoming a victim. The more often you change it, the better you are. The longer you leave it the same, the more vulnerable you become. Three months is a good cycle for a password, but certainly if you fear for the security of your identity, then a monthly change is not out of the question.

5. Password-protect your PC. Be sure to give your PC a password on power-up. This will help protect your files unrestricted access to your PC.

6. Password-protect your wireless home network. If you have a wireless home network, be sure to password protect it as well. Use the same principles above in order to secure your wireless network. This will prevent others from accessing your connection and using it maliciously to hack the personal or business PCs and laptops you and your family use at home.

Finally, there are password programs and a newish term/service that has started to gain notice in the industry called AaaS (Authentication as a Service) that can help with this important task.  Details are to follow as we are working on testing some of these products as of publishing this blog.

Click here to learn how doyouIT can help protect you against business and identity theft with our Network Security Services for your business in Tampa, FL and surrounding cities.

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Is the iPad Useful as a Mobile Computing Device for Businesses?

Some businesses have jumped on the iPad/Tablet wagon and are finding creative ways to use these tablets as a mobile computing device. For example, CABA (Carrollwood Area Business Member) member Carmel Kitchen & Wine Bar, uses the iPad as an interactive menu. A luxury sedan by Hyundai comes with an iPad instead of a user manual. Other than these extreme cases, how can an iPad be used to increase productivity or convenience by the average business owner?

Conventions and Workshops

Do you travel to conventions and workshops for your business? Many people bring their laptop to these events. While laptops are of course very convenient compared to a desktop pc for traveling, the iPad weighs less and could be even more convenient if you’re traveling from room to room at a convention or workshop. These events are also often designed for networking – so you’re not just sitting at the table all day, glued to your laptop. The smaller, 2 pound iPad could be slipped into your purse or a small bag while you walk around the room, or even carried in your hand for easy access as needed, but without being cumbersome.

Flights and Traveling

It’s true a laptop can go on a flight with you, but even the smaller netbooks and laptops add to the weight of your carry on bags and can be frustrating when in the small seats of the plane. If you’re sitting in coach, you know every time the person next to you has to get up to use the bathroom you’re trying to balance the laptop and whatever else you happened to have out in your hands with turbulence knocking you around the aisle. The iPad could be slid into the pocket of the seat in front of you if you have to get out of the way for the passenger next to you – it’s about the size of a magazine.

The same holds true on trains, in taxi cabs, or as a passenger in someone else’s car. Just don’t try to use your iPad while driving, yourself.

Presentations & Sales

Do you travel to client offices to give presentations? How sleek would it be to whip out your iPad and give a sales presentation or demonstration? Apple reports that iPads can connect to the majority of projectors, so you could even broadcast that presentation over a large screen for a larger audience if necessary.

Replace Your Briefcase

Sure, the iPad has a word processor and spreadsheet. Those are always useful for business people. It would be much more convenient to read and edit documents on an iPad over your iPhone while on the road.

But what about the stack of magazines and newspapers you lug around with you in your briefcase? You could have all of your reading materials ready for you on the iPad and skip the briefcase. One of our favorite Apps for this is Flipboard . Use it as an ebook reader, newspaper subscription, and file storage and you’ve literally got everything at your fingertips. With the use of third party Apps, there’s little you can’t do with the iPad for as a mobile computing device for your business.

Click here to learn how doyouIT can help you get the most out of your iPads, Smartphones and other mobile devices with our Mobile Computing Services for your business in Tampa, FL and surrounding cities.

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When Is Your Business Ready For Managed IT Services?

If you are a small business owner in the Tampa Bay Area considering whether or not Managed IT Services will benefit your company, the answer is almost always- yes. There is little doubt that most small businesses can benefit from Managed IT Services, yet that in itself does not always justify the cost of bringing on a third party provider. Accepting that Managed IT Services Providers can offer solutions to common problems found in small business operation, the real question is: when does it make sense to switch from in house IT solutions to the next level which includes Managed IT Services?

There is a good chance if you are already considering Managed IT Services the time might be near when you are ready to make the switch. Small business owners do not have the luxury of a never ending IT budget, therefore it is very important to recognize when your current IT management is no longer cost effective. For most small businesses this occurs when the business grows to the point of needing either a contract with a local service provider who is “on call” for IT needs or hiring a full time IT person to remain on staff. There is of course another option for small business owners to consider and that is hiring a Managed IT Services Provider to oversee their IT needs.

If you are still unsure that your business is ready for the switch, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you find IT costs are continually increasing?
  • Is it difficult to find and retain quality IT staff?
  • Is your network and workstation performance and speed decreasing?
  • Are your employees spending more time dealing with IT issues than focusing on job they have been hired to perform? (MOST COMMON ISSUE)
  • Do you have problems with viruses, spyware and other security issues that could threaten the confidentiality of proprietary information?
  • In the event of a natural or man-made disaster, would your network be at risk? Would recovery be a concern?
  • Do you find network downtime is increasing?

If you answered yes to one or more of the above questions, then your business is ready for Managed IT Services.

Now that you have determined Managed IT Services are right for your business, the next challenge is finding the right provider of these services. This is a decision that should not be made lightly or rushed as the wrong provider can end up costing your company more money than your current situation. Before you begin the search for a Managed IT Services Provider you should first consider your IT budget as well as issues or problems you want to be addressed. It is important to remember that Managed IT Services are not a one-size-fits-all type of solution to business problems. Each business and industry has their own issues to contend with and a qualified Managed IT Services Provider will work with you to find the solutions that will benefit your company the most. If a potential provider is more intent on selling you services and not listening to the needs of your business, move on to another provider who is willing to listen to your concerns and offer customized solutions that address these needs. The point of outsourcing your IT management is to save money while freeing up time to focus on other business operations. For this reason it pays to put forth the effort to find the best Managed IT Services Provider to oversee your technology needs.

Click here to learn how doyouIT can help you benefit from Managed IT Services for your business in Tampa, FL and surrounding cities.

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