Envision IT - Louisville Computer Support

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// IT services
AUG
08
2013
Envision IT - Louisville IT Support

What Does IT Support Offer Your Business?

Every business at some time or another will need IT support. When times are busy the last thing that staff members need is to stop what they are doing to deal with IT problems. These are best left to professionals, and IT support is available in various formats. Businesses can choose to hire a full-time IT professional, or outsource to another company to cover any issues that may arise.

What does IT support involve?

The chosen IT professionals will examine the existing network within the business to ensure that it meets specified requirements, is running efficiently, and has proper security in place to protect business and client data.

IT support can also extend to the company’s telecommunications. This could mean dealing with the installation of phone lines, the set up of smartphones per company policies, or installing an entire VoIP phone systems. More and more companies are relying on mobile devices in the field for their communications, and having a professional on hand to provide security advice is sensible. What happens when one of those devices turns up missing? How much company and client data could someone access? As more employees bring their own devices (BYOD), there’s more need for companies to make sure their data is protected from wherever it can be accessed.

Getting the right IT support

As there are plenty of options for IT support it can be hard to know where to start. Getting a good deal from an external organization is important, but given that services on offer can be very similar then prices will often be very similar too.

A business may need a specialized service such as data protection, HIPAA compliance, POS, etc. So with this in mind, a specialist professional should be sought. It is important to know that the appointed IT professional is local but will also be available to help in the event that the business decides to move or expand. Off-site monitoring is a bonus but it is worth noting that physical visits will be needed from time to time.

A large firm will offer a wide range of IT services while a smaller one-man band may be a little limited in how much help they can provide. A bigger firm can be an advantage for a company that has multiple sites but it may lack the personal touch that many people expect these days. Most companies will expect to have a long-term relationship with their IT professionals, so it is important to know that a good relationship can be built with them.

A dedicated account manager is often a bonus as it gives the company a single point of contact in the event of a problem. The account manager should be able to fully explain all details of the service agreement and both parties’ obligations at the start of the contract.

Look for a firm that can guarantee their response times. It is important to know that the business will not be left waiting for days on end for the IT firm to get around to fixing a problem. The Service Level Agreement should include a clear statement on how long the maximum waiting time is for a visit. The technicians may not be able to fix the problem immediately, but they should at least be out fairly quickly to inspect it and make an assessment.

If you think you might be in need of local, Louisville IT support, we’d like to talk to you.

JUL
31
2013
Louisville Firewall Support & Network Security

Why Your Business Needs A Firewall

What is a Firewall?

Firewalls provide protection against outside attackers by guarding your network from malicious or unnecessary Internet traffic. Firewalls can be configured to block data from certain locations while allowing the relevant and necessary data through. They are especially important for users who rely on continually accessible connections.

Firewalls, whether hardware of software (or a combination of the two), provide a security boost to any environment. For businesses, firewalls are such an important part of having a reliable computing environment and dramatically reduce threats that can lead to costly data loss, breaches, and down time.

Small to Medium Size Business and the Standard Router

Larger companies understand the risks of their large computing environment and with that understanding often employ multiple business-grade firewalls. However, for the small to medium size business, often run from a home office or other unconventional space, the threats are equally hazardous and require more than the basic ISP-provided router (intended for household use only).

These routers are the address of your connection to the internet. An ISP router is the go-between from your business to the internet and only directs the traffic flow. These routers just do not address the vulnerabilities of a business’s information transactions.

These ISP routers do not filter or inspect the traffic, nor do they detect intrusions. Basically, this leaves your business open to web risks at large, which is only multiplied when you are transferring any sensitive data in order to conduct work. The risk is not just the compromise of this data, which means losing clients in the event of a breach, but also opens you up to some hefty fines from any number of compliance commissions.

Firewalls Put You in Control of Your Network

A firewall allows you to control the gateway (your front door) of information and gain awareness to security problems that may be attempting to enter. There are a number of different kinds of attacks that are caught via this gateway, the top three are:

  • Network packet sniffers – a hacker intercepts unprotected network information packets and steals the data
  • IP spoofing – an outsider tricks your computers into recognizing them as a trusted source, by posing as a familiar IP address
  • Password attacks – hackers guess or crack passwords used by employees, allowing them to access the computer and entire network to steal further data

A business-grade firewall allows you to filter the incoming and outgoing traffic for suspicious activity, putting you in control and minimizing your risk of attacks.

What Does a Good Firewall Do for Your Business?

In a nutshell, it protects you from costly threats. With the correct settings and subscription renewals, it offers the following functions:

  • Block incoming traffic based on rules – ex. keep employees off of Social Networking sites
  • Block websites – ex. eliminate adult website access, which reduces the associated virus risks
  • Dedicate internet network resources – ex. prevent a group of workers from accessing the web for any reason
  • Firewalls also create logs of users and instances so you can track the events of a particular time period. This kind of log is critical to pin-pointing a breach to contain or fix problems.

Asses Your Security

At the end of the day, your business data needs more than just a router from your ISP. Ask your IT advisor to do a security assessment of your network and find out where your vulnerabilities are so you don’t have to learn the hard way…

JUL
26
2013
Louisville Computer Support

Are you your company’s Involuntary IT Manager?

Involuntary IT Manager

If you’re ready to get back to what you REALLY do, contact us to see how we can give your company the IT support it deserves.
JUL
23
2013
Louisville Windows XP Support End Of Life

Windows XP End Of Life

Everyone still using Windows XP and Office 2003 has less than nine months to upgrade to newer platforms before Microsoft pulls the plug on all support April 8, 2014. If you’re still a Windows XP user, you’re not alone, as it still runs on 39% of computers currently in use.

When Microsoft ends support April 8th of next year, there will be no more security patches, bug fixes, and free (or even paid) online assistance. Without support, businesses who still run Windows XP will run a great risk of having their systems, networks, and data exposed and compromised by cyber criminals who will look to immediately find fresh ways to exploit the 12-year old operating system. An operating system that was launched in 2001 when crimeware barely existed.

For businesses that have not yet begun to migrate their system to a modern operating system, Microsoft will put it bluntly – “you are late.” According to their research, the average enterprise deployment can take 18 to 32 months in enterprise organizations.

Those who continue to use Windows XP after Microsoft pulls the plug cannot hope to rely solely on firewalls and anti-virus software to protect their machines from malware. Such protection works only for known threats. If some new “zero-day” (ie, previously unknown and therefore unprepared for) flaw in the operating system is exploited, no amount of anti-virus software will save an XP computer from being seriously compromised.

If you haven’t made plans for migration, now is the time. Companies that run line of business applications designed for XP are sometimes having to make other accommodations for their software, and those discoveries are much easier to deal with during planned migrations rather than rushed decisions near the end of support deadline. If you don’t have a plan in place, I urge you to contact a partner who is certified in Microsoft software, and can help your business develop and implement  your migration. We can take you through the entire process, from planning to answering questions about the new operating system once in place.