All It Takes is an Instant to Lose Your Data

b2ap3_thumbnail_do_not_lose_your_data_400.jpgYou’re walking your dog when all of a sudden, you get this game-changing idea for how to manage your technology. You get excited to integrate it into your IT strategy, but by the time you get home, the thought is gone and you can’t remember it. This “Eureka” moment is just like data loss; it could occur at any time, and without warning, whether you’re ready for it or not.

Granted, data is a bit different from a fleeting memory. There’s a chance that the memory will come back and hit you harder than ever. It might even seem like a great idea to enroll in the Dickson Memory School, where “Stop Forgetting” is the “Key to Success.”

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However, with data loss, this point is moot. Unfortunately, once data is gone, it’s likely that the same data is gone forever. In today’s technological world, it’s easier than ever to lose valuable information to hackers, user error, or even hardware failures.

Think of it in terms of this: How would you react if your IT administrator told you that an entire database had to be replaced? You obviously wouldn’t be very happy with him, and he could probably lose his job over such a failure. We all know how irreplaceable data like this is, yet businesses continue to operate with no measures taken to protect their data in the event of data loss.

For those who work in IT like ourselves, this can almost seem maddening. We consider it our responsibility to show those who haven’t integrated a proper data backup solution how to do so.

One of the reasons some businesses might be avoiding the topic of backup is that they believe that only larger enterprises can afford the quality solutions necessary to guarantee business continuity. Total Networks is here to combat this misconception and provide a solution to this dilemma. Our Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) solution is designed specifically to prevent data loss and downtime associated with said data loss. The BDR takes automatic backups as frequently as every fifteen minutes, and moves these backups off-site to a secure data center for redundant storage. This way, when a disaster strikes, the backed-up data is available when you need it most.

As previously mentioned, the BDR also protects against extended downtime. The BDR device is capable of taking over for your faulty server in the event of a hardware failure, and can act in its place until you’ve made the necessary arrangements for technology maintenance or a replacement server. This helps you stay operational even under the worst conditions.

Just like a memory, data can be fleeting if you don’t take steps to capture it before it’s gone forever. Give Total Networks a call at (602)412-5025 to keep your data secured and ready for backup in a moment’s notice.

And like Professor Henry Dickson says, “Make your mind a file–not a pile.”

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Fare Thee Well RadioShack, Makers of Fine Electronics and Sweet Commercials

b2ap3_thumbnail_radio_shack_bankruptcy_400.jpgLast February RadioShack declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy and announced plans to sell between 1,500 and 2,400 of its stores. IT techie’s around the country are mourning the loss. It almost feels like losing a friend that’s always been there for you. We need closure, so let’s all gather around the store’s silicone grave and say fare thee well to RadioShack.

The story of RadioShack dates back almost a full one hundred years when it was founded in 1921 by two brothers, Theodore and Milton Deutschmann. The store dealt primarily with amateur and ham radio equipment, thus the “Radio” part of the company’s name. The “Shack” half of the name originated from the small, wooden structure that housed radio equipment for boats, which made sense because their primary customers were shipowners off the Boston port that needed radio equipment for communication.

The rest of RadioShack’s story is well documented as RadioShack expanded into selling virtually every piece of consumer technology under the sun, like cameras, televisions, computers, cell phones, sweet remote control cars, and oh so much more. RadioShack’s stock prices peaked in 1999 and its number of stores reached 4,297.

There are several factors that contributed to the demise of RadioShack, like the ease of consumers finding specialty items online and poor management, but let’s not focus on the negative right now. Instead, let’s remember the good times. We could ramble on and try to put into words how great RadioShack used to be, or, we could walk together down YouTube memory lane and post some sweet RadioShack commercials. We’ll never forget you, RadioShack!

1976: “The Hottest Thing on Wheels Today”

1978: 20%! 30%! 40%! 50%!

1980s: Joysticks Not Included

1984: “More Than 100 Programs for Fun and Learning”

1987: A Totally Portable Phone for Only $2,495

1989: “Go Where You Want to Go, Call When You Want to Call”

1990: The Affordable and Portable Cellular Telephone

1994: The Best in America, RadioShack

Early 2000s: Terri Hatcher and Howie Long Make a Cute Couple

2005: “You Know How Much I Love Cars!”

2014: Super Bowl Hail Mary Play–Featuring Every 80s Celebrity Ever

2014: Not even the Star Power of Weird Al Could Save RadioShack

Wow. No more RadioShack not only means no more last-minute trips to the mall for that hard-to-find connecter, but it also means that the television world will be missing out on some sweet advertisements. In the meantime, Total Networks is here to pick up the slack and provide your business with the technology you need to succeed.

What are some of your most treasured RadioShack memories? Which one of these featured commercials was your favorite? Do you have a favorite RadioShack commercial that we didn’t post? Let us know in the comments.

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The Advantage of Knowing Why a Client is Calling Before You Answer

b2ap3_thumbnail_voip_is_cost_effective_400.jpgAre your employees trained to answer the phones in a helpful and professional manner? If you’re not intentional about this, calls made to your company will be fumbled, notes will be scribbled on paper, and clients will lose confidence in your business. One way to really impress callers is to equip your staff with phone features allowing them to know pertinent information about a client before they answer the phone.

VoIP is one of the best communication tools that you can possibly equip your staff with due to the wide array of features it offers. In regards to improving customer service, one of the most effective features for this is customer calling, which pulls customer data from your customer relationship management (CRM) software and displays it on the screen while the phone is ringing. VoIP is uniquely set up to perform a task like this due to the fact that it uses your company’s Internet connection to make phone calls, instead of traditional phone lines.

When VoIP is combined with your company’s CRM, you’re armed with much more information than what’s displayed by a puny caller ID, which only shows the caller’s name and phone number. With customer calling from VoIP, you can display any desired customer data found in your CRM as the phone rings. This includes helpful information like recent orders, account information, past problems, recent returns, billing, and much more.

Armed with detailed customer information like this, your customers may mistake the employee they’re calling as some sort of genie because they’ll know so much about them before they even thank them for calling. As far as customer service goes, this VoIP feature is a game changer. If a customer calls to complain about a problem and they’re prepared to rage, you will be able to determine ahead of time what the problem is and answer the phone with an apologetic tone.

Or what about those “special” clients. You know who we mean. Talking to them takes special knowledge about their “unique” personality in order to avoid landmine-like topics. If this information is recorded in your CRM, then your staff will know from the get-go to avoid such hot-button topics.

Best-case scenario: A customer calls your company to complain about something stupid, and they’re so impressed at the quality of service that they’ll forget about the tirade they were prepared to unleash upon your poor operator. Situations like this are where excellent and knowledgeable communications with customers will keep them satisfied with your business, and every business owner knows that it’s much easier to make a new sale to a current client that’s satisfied than it is to prospect a new sales lead.

What’s your current system for answering phone calls? Are callback numbers scribbled on a notepad? Are answers to a client’s question found by thumbing through file cabinets? Also, are you tired of your long distance phone bill eating away at your communications budget? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then your business will benefit immensely from the money-saving and feature-rich VoIP phone system provided by Total Networks.

To learn more about the benefits of VoIP, give us a call at (602)412-5025, and don’t be alarmed if the operator already knows everything about you; they’re not physic–they’ve got VoIP!

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How to Remove the Harmful Superfish App Off Your PC

b2ap3_thumbnail_lenovo-superfish_400.jpgOne would assume that software preinstalled on a new PC is secure and has been properly vetted by the manufacturer. This is the case 99 percent of the time, but an exception has recently been discovered with the Superfish app, which came installed on new Lenovo computers sold between September and December of 2014. How can you protect your PC from this fishy security threat?

First off, if you have Superfish on any of your devices, whether it be a new Lenovo computer or other, you should cease using the app. The shopping-search app has been deemed to be a security threat by Errata Security, reporting that it’s capable of providing hackers with a user’s encrypted Web data, the likes of which include online passwords.

This risk applies to you whether you actually use the Superfish app or not. Just the app’s presence on your device is enough to warrant action for its removal. As soon as Lenovo learned of the threat, they disabled the app on systems that already had it installed. Although, you will still need to take action in the aiding of the removal process.

One way to remove Superfish from your PC is to go to Windows Control Panel > Programs > Uninstall a Program. Now, locate Superfish on the list of programs > select it > and click Uninstall.

However, going through the Windows Control Panel like this isn’t enough to remove all traces of Superfish from your computer. If you’ve ever tried before to remove preinstalled software on your PC (known as bloatware), you know from experience that it can be extra difficult to remove–we’re looking at you AOL.

To fully remove all traces of the Superfish app, Lenovo offers users a removal tool and instructions on their support page:

This removal tool is thorough enough to fully rid your device of the threat posed by Superfish, but don’t think that you’re totally in the clear just because you’ve removed the app. You will now want to go into damage control mode and clean up from this super smelly fish. As is the case when learning about any known threat on your computer, it’s a good idea to immediately perform a virus scan, making sure that your anti-virus software has its definitions up to date–better safe than sorry.

An additional security measure that we recommend is to change the passwords for any online account you’ve accessed on the device from before Superfish was installed. This may feel like a bit of an inconvenience, but it’s the best way to protect your sensitive information in the event that a hacker has stolen your password. It should be noted that regularly changing your online passwords is a security best practice, so it’s good to get in the habit of doing this every few months, especially in light of the growing number of unforeseen threats like Superfish which seem to be extra prevalent these days.

One benefit from doing business with a managed services provider like Total Networks is that we will remove all the bloatware and other unnecessary applications prior to installing the machine onto your company’s network.

For assistance removing Superfish from your company’s computers, and to take advantage of a free IT assessment to make sure that your network is safe from hidden threats such as this, contact the IT security professionals at Total Networks.

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