To be an IT engineer, you just need to know a bit about computers, right? Wrong. In fact, very wrong. Perfect IT engineers need to have much more about them than a bit of tech knowledge. While you do need to be knowledgeable about what you are doing, you also need to be able to explain yourself and your work to other people. In fact, the perfect IT engineer knows that people and IT often go hand-in-hand.
So, if it’s not just about being techy, what are the factors that go into making the perfect IT engineer?
#1 Handles IT Issues in the quickest time possible
When there’s a problem with your IT, you need to have it fixed as soon as possible. IT engineers who can manage their time efficiently and get to the route of the problem are invaluable. Not only will it mean that your IT issue gets solved as fast as possible, it also means that you can get back to work without delay.
#2 Able to explain solutions in plain English
Ever been left confused by people using industry jargon when explaining a solution? It’s frustrating and unnecessary. Having an IT engineer who is able to explain what they’re doing for you in plain English means you aren’t left in the dark.
#3 Flexible when tackling IT issues
If a solution isn’t working, then your IT engineer should be able to adapt and have a plan B. They should be flexible in the way that they work, so that you are not stuck with a solution that isn’t right for your business.
#4 Industry certifications
Certification is important. It proves your IT engineer has the knowledge and expertise to help support your IT. It also means that they are up-to-date on all of the latest industry thinking.
#5 Has experience working with multiple network types
Knowing how to work across multiple network types means that your IT engineer is able to get straight to work, without having to waste time familiarise themselves with your system.
#6 Comfortable working with Macs and PCs
Imagine this situation. You’ve got a problem with one of your Macs, so call out an engineer. Only problem is, when they arrive, they don’t actually know all that much about Macs. Not ideal. A perfect IT engineer should be comfortable with whatever device you are using, so they can start fixing the problem straightaway.
#7 Confident when working with any part of your IT system
IT engineers should be confident with servers, switches, routers, printers, telephone systems. In fact, they should be able to help you with any part of your IT. Modern IT support involves balancing a lot of different systems. If your IT engineer knows how to work with all of these, it means you only need a single point of contact for any IT issues.
#8 Friendly approach to solving your IT problems
Nobody likes to work with unfriendly people. So, you shouldn’t have to tolerate any unfriendly IT engineers. Being able to get straightforward, helpful advice is an essential part of good IT support.
#9 Has an analytical approach to problem solving
To get to the root of your IT problem, your IT engineer needs an analytical approach. It should be second nature to them to think of a solution when they see an IT problem.
#10 Knows the customer is king
Getting your IT problem fixed for you should be the absolute priority of any IT engineer. They should always look after your IT as if it was their own. Additionally, you should be able to call your engineer directly, without having the hassle of phoning through a call centre.
Find out how you can get access to a perfect IT engineer. Download our free guide to Switch you IT Support
Servers are one of the key components in any IT system. They sit in the corner of the office or in a cabinet, giving you access to all the information you need. And this is great. But, eventually, it will be time to get a new server. Your current one will get old or perhaps no longer meet your business needs. This can be an overwhelming process, as it isn’t always clear what you’ll need for you new server. So, to help, we’ve outlined all the different parts to consider when getting a new server.
For the most part you will need to understand exactly what the server will need to do. You then get a server specified in line with the minimum (if budget is very tight) or recommended (if budget is not that tight). Hardware specifications of all of the software you need combined.
Key components of your new server
Processors in servers are different to those found in laptops or tablets, as they are designed to do more things simultaneously. Our servers use Intel Xeon class processors. Bear in mind that if you are doing lots of tasks through your server, you’ll need to match this with faster processors.
It’s quite simple really. More RAM equals faster speed. Emailing, video and complex programmes require more RAM, so this should be part of your considerations. 16GB of RAM is normally the minimum for a 10-user company. Also, be sure to check the RAM maximum your server can take, so you can better prepare for your future needs.
You’ll need this for storing all your data. Some companies require more storage space than others. It really depends on what you do and the types of files that you use. Hard drive speed is also important for quick access to your data. Solid state drives (SSD) cost more but they are more reliable than normal hard drives.
Ideally, you should invest in new hardware monitoring software, to keep check of your hard drive’s health. You should expect to have to change them every 3-5 years. Some drives are hot swap ready, meaning they can be changed without having to shut down the server, which is very useful in cases of drive failure.
Functions of your new server
An email server needs to be more robust and have more resources. For most companies, a 4-core processor with at least 16GB of RAM is ideal. If you have large inboxes, then you’ll need more hard drive space. But, do bear in mind that a 25GB mailbox will typically take one person years to fill before archiving is required.
Having a proper backup in place is important, just in case something should happen to your IT system. Your server will be where your backup software is installed and configured, so that your files can be securely stored offsite.
Your network printers can be managed centrally by your server. It will accept your print jobs and then send these out to the right printer.
Internet access is managed by your server, with additional protection provided by a firewall.
Your server can manage your Antivirus programme and push updates to individual machines connected to it when necessary.
A Microsoft server will use MS SQL for its database requirements. Software needing a database, such as Sage or recruitment software, they usually link with MS SQL. Quantity of hardware space will depend on the size of your database. You’ll need to know how large your database is to specify how much hard drive space you’ll need.
Proper protection for you and your data is a must. Your server can be used to secure your files via Active Directory and folder permissions. This will make sure that only permitted people will be able to log onto your server and access data. It also means that you can restrict access to files and folders, so only the right employees can see them.
Are you looking at getting a new sever? Or want to find out more about getting the right IT support? Download our free eBook ‘Why changing IT support is easy’:
At some point, or another, we all have to get problems fixed. And, there is nothing more frustrating than unnecessary delays or obstacles getting in your way. When it comes to fixing computer problems, you want the right solution, so you can get back to business as usual. Sometimes, this can feel easier said than done. When you’re stuck on the phone to a call centre or trying to explain your problem to someone who just doesn’t understand, it’s frustrating.
That’s why we take a different approach, because IT support is really about getting the right answer to your problem, without any barriers getting in the way. Read below to find out more about the 6 pieces that go into solving the IT puzzle.
#1 Fast response to your IT problems
When problems happen, nobody wants to be kept waiting for the solution. Getting a fast resolution is a big part of the IT puzzle. It’s why we aim for a target resolution time of 4 hours, with most cases resolved within an hour. In fact, during the second quarter of 2012, 89% of calls reporting an IT problem to us were sorted within half an hour.
#2 Real, helpful people on the phone
The last thing you want, when you need a computer problem fixing, is to jump through hoops to get there. So, getting straight through to an engineer when you call or email is important. Nobody wants to pass through an auto-attendant or case logging system online before getting through to the real help.
Being able talk to a qualified engineer, who understands your frustration, means that the problem can be solved faster.
#3 Tailored solutions for your business
If your IT infrastructure isn’t right for your business, then it isn’t going to work. Instead of just fixing computer problems and IT issues, it’s an important part of the IT puzzle to match your IT to your business growth plans.
As part of this, all cases should be reviewed weekly, with reoccurring cases scrutinised, to find a solutions. On top of this, there should be an annual IT audit, to check the overall health of your system.
#4 Total protection against threats
To keep your IT system in top shape, it needs to be protected against threats. In fact, it needs complete security, from day 1, so it is not vulnerable to internal and external threats. This includes everything from secure online backup to support for remote working.
Plus, we advise on current threats that could affect your business, for example phone hacking or data leaks from cloud services. This way, you are less likely to be caught off guard.
#5 Pro-active IT support
Fixing computer problems is not just about reacting when something has happened. By having a pro-active approach to IT support, potential problems can be avoided. This approach also includes 24/7 monitoring as standard, with engineers doing further checks daily. It also means that repeated cases can be scrutinised, so a solution to the overall problem, and not just the symptom, can be found.
#6 Sharp workers who understand your problems
Knowing that you are able to access trained engineers, who all have industry recognised certifications, means you know your problem is being resolved by professionals. With helpdesk manager is 1st line trained, all other engineers 2nd line trained, and engineering manager and directors dealing with 3rd line cases and above, you can be confident that the right answer will be found.
Find out how you can complete all the pieces of the IT puzzle by downloading our free guide to switching your IT support
Regardless of size, businesses rely on fast, safe and reliable IT systems. But, one of the key challenges for small businesses is managing their IT infrastructure. While most businesses depend on technology, small businesses often lack the in-house skills and experience to properly optimise their system. They often cannot afford to have a full time IT team, so rely on stumbling through their problem and trying to make the best of the situation. This approach can create unnecessary costs and cause major disruption to business as normal.
But, there is another way. Small businesses can turn to an IT Support company. They are able to utilise a range of skills and knowledge to fully support small businesses; much more than one person by themselves.
Solving operational problems
Issues with your IT system can very quickly bring your whole business to a halt. While many London small business owners will rely on colleagues or even themselves to solve the problem, this is not ideal. Often it is only a temporary fix, which doesn’t address the reason behind the problem. Without experienced IT guidance, it can lead to reoccurring operational issues and lots of downtime. And, unless productivity is something that you can lose, small businesses cannot afford to live with these shortcomings.
Planning ahead with an IT business roadmap
Failing to plan ahead can seriously limit business growth. If you want to employ 7 new people this year, you’re going to need computers and phones for each of them. As well as this, you’ll need space on your switch for all these extra devices and licensing for all the software you use. For many small businesses, an IT business roadmap isn’t high on the list of priorities. But, not having one in place can increase your costs. Not ideal for your cash flow. A small business IT Support company can help you plan for growth with an IT business roadmap.
Securing your network
Increasingly, London small businesses are targets for hackers. As their systems are often easier to access than larger organisations, it is easy to see why. Limited experience and resources mean that network security is often below standard.
While small businesses might believe they are too small to be a target or that their firewall and anti-virus are sufficient protect, this is not always the case. A London IT Support company, with experience in IT security, will be able to conduct full security audits, to find potential weaknesses in your system.
Securing your backup
Having proper backup is important. It ensures you can still access you business critical data, even if you have problems with your system. But, how and where you store your backup is equally important.
Your IT Support company would be able to advise you have to protect your data, including offsite backup to protect you if something should happen to your office. Also, they’ll be able to support a testing programme, to prove your backup is actually good and working.
The real benefit of IT Support for small businesses
Having an IT Support contract in place will start to make a real difference, as it provides a company with the skills and experience to solve IT problems and plan for essential support to the system. It means peace of mind, knowing that should problems occur, they can access help from trained engineers who know your systems. So, while small companies cannot justify hiring a full IT team, they can still access all the knowledge and experience needed to support their IT infrastructure.
Want to find out how straightforward it is to switch to dedicated IT Support for London small businesses? Download our free guide
A new office is often a very exciting time for business, hopefully fuelled by business growth and expansion. But, moving office can also be a stressful time for businesses. Much like moving house, it can be time consuming and interrupt business as usual operations.
But, it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, with proper planning and due consideration to all parts of an office move, it can be a painless experience. So, find out below what you should consider when moving to a new office, to ensure a smooth move.
Establish who is in charge of the office move
To make sure your office move goes to plan, be clear who is responsible for each stage of the move. While there’s plenty to keep you occupied when choosing a new property and sourcing your office furniture, it’s important to get your IT infrastructure right from day one. When it comes to managing this, your IT Support company should be able to take charge of all aspects of IT in your new office.
Plan out your comms room
When organising your new office layout, take into consideration the space needed for your comms room. This is where your servers will be housed and your internet/telephone lines installed. When designing your comms room, be sure to include:
- The power requirements
- Server cabinets
- Cable patch panels
- Air conditioning
Remember, as well, many service providers, including BT, will only install cabling and equipment in completed comms rooms. Get this sorted early on, to avoid any delays.
Get the right connectivity
If you don’t have the right internet connection in place, then you’ll struggle to get working in your new office. In fact, without having your internet connection sorted, it will leave you without email, online backup and any other cloud systems that you use. Not ideal for keeping your business running.
As part of your office move plan, consider the internet services that are available in the new property and whether they are sufficient for your needs. It’s best not to assume that the connectivity in your new office will be suitable for your business. Ensuring this is right at an early stage can save you time and money at a later date.
Make sure your new office has the sufficient cabling
For your IT to work right, there needs to be the right data and power cabling in your new office. Start by thinking about the number of computers, scanners, and printers etc. that you’re going to need. Then decide how many power and data points you’ll need to operate all this hardware. Remember, as well, that your monitors will need power too.
This might all sound obvious, but it’s much easier to get additional cabling in place before your move to your new office.
Test everything before you move in
After everything had been installed, it’s time to get testing. Make sure all your power and data points, as well as you phone and internet lines are working properly. Do this before the move in date, so any problems can be fixed.
By ensuring everything is in place before your move day, it will help make the move as smooth as possible.
Download our complete moving office guide for everything you need to consider about your office move.
[image credit: www.boxgoround.com]
We are now used to the cloud. Many of the applications we use for business are cloud based- Dropbox, Salesforce, Google Apps to name a few. There are no longer the same uncertainties or questions surrounding cloud computing. But, while the business advantages of cloud computing are well documented, a move to the cloud is not without its risks. There are still important factors business owners need to consider about cloud computing. And, while an increasing number of businesses are migrating to the cloud, it still requires proper planning and preparation. Take a look below for our advice on how to plan for you cloud migration.
Decide which elements from your IT stable that you will be migrating
The initial consultative stage of planning your cloud migration is of the utmost importance. This enables you to decide based on business function what will work for your company and what will not. For example if you use a large number of PDF documents, videos or large images then moving your working files to the cloud may not be for you (depending on internet connectivity). This does not exclude you from gaining the cloud benefits; it simply changes the focus of what elements get migrated. A competent consultant will be able to view all of the elements, understand your requirements and propose a working solution. This may be a totally private cloud, where you have your servers hosted in full outside of your office but in a ring-fenced environment, or a hybrid cloud solution with some services onsite and others cloud based. Or finally you may choose a totally shared cloud solution (Office 365/Google Apps for example).
Identify the data you’re migrating to the cloud
Before you start transferring all of your business data to the cloud, you should consider what needs to move to the cloud and what should still be stored locally. Some things make sense in the cloud. But, there are other things, like large CAD files, that are best kept on your server. Knowing what you are migrating to the cloud means you can get the right storage option. Now is also the ideal time to get on top of your data archiving. That way, you won’t be paying for old data to be stored in the cloud.
Ensure you have a business continuity plan before your cloud migration
What are you going to do it you cannot access the cloud? Internet connections do fail and access to cloud services can be disrupted. Will you still be able to work through this downtime? Before you start your cloud migration, ensure you have a plan for what to do should this happen.
Choose the right vendor for your cloud migration
With the growth in cloud computing, it’s unsurprising that there’s been a growth in vendors offering cloud services. But, before you sign a deal, be sure that the vendor is trustworthy and is able to offer you all the services you require. You wouldn’t trust your business data to just anyone in the street, so the same should apply when your choosing your cloud vendor.
Train your staff effectively
An often overlooked element of migrating to the cloud is training. For any change in working practice or system, training is the key to getting the best from your staff. Understanding what is changing, how this is affecting their day to day activities and how to handle the new platform makes for content and productive staff.
Fully test your cloud platform
Before you migrate all of your data to the cloud, perform a small-scale test. This should help you identify any potential pain points before you complete the full migration. It also gives you the opportunity to test out the service and make sure that it works as you want it to work.
The success of your cloud migration will often depend on the planning that goes in beforehand. Your IT Support company should be able to help you through this transition, offering advice at all stages of the process, to make sure it goes to plan.
Are you considering moving to the cloud but not sure if it’s right for your business? Find out about the alternative- The Hybrid Cloud Solution
When it comes to IT planning, it seems like the same mistakes keep coming up. Time and time again, we see London businesses making sterling efforts to plan and structure their IT well, but still getting things wrong in the same few areas every time.
Not only does this lead to unnecessary disruption, it can lead to time and money being wasted trying to sort out the problem. But, it doesn’t need to be this way. In fact, many of these common mistakes are easy to fix with the right IT planning. So, what are the mistakes you should avoid in your IT planning?
1. Not having the right data size requirements
It’s not always easy to predict your data size requirements (especially if you don’t have a detailed IT plan). But, getting it wrong can be costly for your business. Either, you could have a vastly over specified system that cost the earth or, you’ll find yourself caught short and not have enough space to do the functions your business needs.
2. Not having the right internet connection
Are the internet and emails essential for your business? Chances are you rely on internet connectivity for much of your day-to-day work. So, if this is the case, why would you risk not having the right connection? Matching your internet package to your businesses needs should be an essential part of your IT planning. Getting it right will put an end to all those loss of connectivity problems.
3. Side-lining staff training can lose employee confidence and productivity
As part of your IT planning, it is a very good idea to make sure all your employees are full-trained on the IT systems they use. We often see that employers have an expectation of their staff understanding IT systems that is not realistic. For day to day tasks people can often “get by” with limited knowledge. However a small amount of training can significantly improve productivity and reduce staff turnover.
4. Not having offsite and/or tested backup systems
We all know backup is important. It’s the protection you need to make sure you can still access your business critical data even if the worst happens to your IT system.
Is all your data is backed-up in your office? If it’s not, this could leave you your company exposed to loss of data from fire, theft and disaster events. Often simple solutions can be employed to, at the very least, ensure there is always one copy of your data offsite. A little planning can go a long way. A second backup consideration is that a health testing regime is critical. Once or twice a year (more frequently if possible) restore some files from backups. While many backup systems report to you on a daily basis that the backup is successful, a restore is the only way in which you can be certain this is the backup is good.
5. Reacting to IT problems instead of solving business issues
An IT problem can very quickly affect your whole business. For instance, if you lose your internet connection, it will impact on your productivity. You could just fix the connectivity problem. But, chances are, it will happen again. Or, you could find a solution that will mean it doesn’t happen again. In this case, installing a second internet line means you can solve the potential business issue (loss of productivity) as well as the IT problem (no internet connection).
6. Relying on reactive, not proactive IT Support
Are you just fixing IT problems as and when they come along? Or are you proactively monitoring your system? By taking charge of your IT system, you can stop a small niggle becoming a much larger problem.
7. Not planning for the year after next
Do you know if your IT infrastructure will still meet all your business needs next year? By having a clear IT roadmap for the next year and beyond, you can plan out your IT costs and requirements more effectively. Otherwise, you run the risk of being caught out by a nasty surprise and a hefty bill to pay for additional hardware and upgrades.
Are you still making mistakes in your IT planning? Download our switch IT support guide to find out how you can simplify your IT planning.
[image credit: http://www.andersonqualityhomes.com]
There’s a lot to do in an IT department, including sorting out licensing, procuring hardware, planning and reviewing for the future, as well as day to day business IT support.
But, this doesn’t mean that It departments are always doing everything they could for you. Whether you have an internal IT department or an external IT partner, here are the 11 things that they should be doing for you (but probably aren’t):
#1 Planning your hardware roadmap
Your hardware might meet all your current needs. But, will it still be fine in the future? Having a hardware roadmap means you have a clear plan about when IT equipment needs changing and what you will need to upgrade. It means that changes can be properly planned, to minimise any disruption.
Having IT equipment that’s past it’s sell by date will mean staff work slower. Plus, if your hardware fails unexpectedly, it will cost more staff time and cause more disruption than any planned upgrade.
#2 Call charges and line costs annually
Reviewing your call charges and line costs should be part of ensuring your phone solution meets your business needs. Your IT department should be able to make recommendations on this, as well as advice you on VoIP, additional phone extensions, and integrations with mobile and email. Plus, they should ensure you have a reliable service.
#3 Checking your internet connectivity
A good internet connection is essential for almost every business. You should expect your IT department to proactively monitor your internet connectivity, to minimise any failures. This could also include exploring whether your business needs a second internet line. That way, if one of your lines goes down, then your business can still keep working. As with the phone line and call charges, the internet costs change in the market year on year, your IT team should be getting you the best deal with the providers you chose.
#4 Horizon scanning
Does your IT department know what new technology is on the horizon? They should be keeping one eye on what is coming down the line, so that know the best solutions to recommend to you. With technology constantly changing, you should be confident that they are aware of all the latest solutions.
#5 Backup test on files and systems
You have a backup? That’s great. But, do you know how to restore the files from you backup? Have they proved that the email server and database server can actually be recovered from the backups they are taking?
Your IT department should be testing this backup, to ensure that it is up to job, should you ever need it.
Also, they should ensure that you have an offsite backup. That way, if anything should happen to your office, you can still access your data. Do make sure the above tests are being carried out on the offsite backups.
#6 Disaster recovery plan
Disaster recovery plans are essential for any business. It should be a set of procedures that allow you to protect and recover your IT infrastructure in the event of a disaster. Should the worst happen, it means you are still able to access your data. Ideally, a disaster recovery plan should be structured around your specific business requirements.
#7 Updating software
Keeping your software up-to-date is very important, if you want your computer to be safe and run smoothly. Also, updating your software can help improve the performance of your computer. For instance, operating system updates can improve connectivity with other devices and generally speed up your machine.
#8 Clean Up
Cleaning up your system means you get a faster and more stable computing experience. It includes clearing programmes and files, when you are close to your physical memory limit, and also removing temporary and non-essential files from your hard drive.
#9 Cabling Review
Much like your hardware, your IT department should be reviewing your data cabling. This should include a review of all your switches, patch points, and data points, to make sure that they still meet your business needs.
#10 Archiving data
Archiving data is really about keeping everything in order. When projects are finished, emails are over a certain age, or staff information is redundant, then this can be archived.
You should have a schedule in place for when your archiving should take place and who is responsible for it- once a year is a good target. It is best practice to make a copy of all the data, so that you can access a copy if you need it in the future.
The more updated and manageable your data is the faster it can be recovered in an emergency. It also costs less for storage space and backup if archive is done correctly.
#11 A healthy set of documentation is the mark of a good team
A good set of documentation should be kept at all times. This should include diagrams, cabling details, software install processes and any other items that are used for day to day running of the team.
All of the passwords and critical information should be kept in an offsite secure repository. Basically, information that is only in your IT teams minds is information that is lost.
Are you IT department not doing everything they should be? Find out how you can switch you IT Support in 5 straightforward steps
Phone hacking is one very serious business, both to you and the hackers. They can get into phone systems, voicemails and PINs in seconds. Once they get access to your phone, they can then route expensive international calls though your phone line. You then are liable for this bill, which usually runs to the thousands, and generally isn’t covered by insurance. Small businesses in the UK are particularly at risk, and it is more common than you think. Britain is now in the top 5 countries that fall victim to this type of activity.
Why do criminals use phone hacking?
Criminals make immense profit through it. It is estimated to be worth $80 billion per year globally. This type of attack is usually done after working hours, over the weekend and during bank holidays to reduce the chance of detection. It is difficult for the police to track down the criminals, as the phone companies can charge police for the information under the RIPA act. BT charges £1,500 (the maximum charge allowed) to intercept the information, which most police forces would elect not to pay. It has also been reported that certain operators in Europe do not encrypt their GPRS networks, allowing hackers to access your mobile and your voicemail easily.
How can a small business protect itself from phone hacking?
Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to such an attack. If you hear the sound of water running when you pick up the phone, or perhaps someone on the other line asking to be put through to someone who doesn’t exist in the hopes of being put on hold, there is a possibility that you are being hacked. We would suggest you take all the steps below to safeguard your business against phone hacking (dial through fraud):
- Disable international dialling, either though your phone or your service provider, if you don't use it.
- Get a firewall for your telephone system (if it's part of your office network).
- Be vigilant about unusual call traffic (obscene calls, repeated calls, calls with weird sounds).
- Change all default passwords and PINs, and avoid obvious combinations. Keeping this information confidential and not share them.
- Consider strong authentication for your employees. Disable all access to employees who have left, do not set up new users until they are in your office.
- Restrict physical access to your communications equipment where ever possible.
- Consider doing a security audit once a year, to double check that your systems are adequately protected.
Good small business IT support does not stop at just fixing problems; it’s about being prepared for potential threats. At Prosyn, we make sure our clients have information on external threats, so that they can protect their business.
Unsure if your business is protect from phone hacking? Get our free system review and make sure your have adequate security in place.
You may have heard on the news recently about how people are being called up at their homes and being told that they have a serious problem with their PCs, which needs fixing. This home IT support scam normally goes something like this:
1) The person on the phone tells you that they're calling on behalf of Microsoft.
2) Then they say that they've detected some serious issues with your PC, which need to be fixed.
3) You are then informed that you have to download some software onto your PC so that they can investigate these issues further. But, this software is merely a remote desktop application that allows them access to your PC.
4) A "scan" will be run, and, of course, there will be a huge amount of security holes that need to be plugged.
5) The person on the phone will then ask you to pay for the removal of this "threats". Should you agree to do so, then the problem then becomes worse for two reasons. First of all, they now have your credit/debit card details and can use these. Second they also have software installed on your computer that may also have key-logging capabilities. In short this will allow criminals to get access to your personal details, such as usernames and passwords, and even online banking details.
What can you do to protect yourself from this home IT support scam?
You are not defenceless in this situation. If anyone calls your home, claiming to be from Microsoft, just hang up. Microsoft has confirmed that they would never ever contact the end user directly in this way. There are also some simple
#1 Have a reliable antivirus to help protect you from any home IT support scam
Just like you would protect your business IT security, ensure that you have a good, reliable, antivirus installed, which regularly runs scans on your home network. Brands such as Avast and AVG offer a free antivirus. Paid for versions are going to be updated for more frequently; Microsoft Essentials is very good. By having antivirus installed, then you can help to protect yourself from threats. You should also run regular malware checks. Spybot Search & Destroy and Malware Bytes are two good options for doing this sort of thing.
#2 Be cautious when installing new software
On top of this, you should also be cautious when installing software on your computer. Never install anything that you're not 100% sure is legitimate. Observe the web address from which the potential download is coming from to see if it looks dodgy. And, stay away from peer-to-peer (P2P) programs. They are usually riddled with viruses and malware, disguised as regular files. If you are not sure that it is trustworthy, then just walk away
#3 Keep your personal details protected
Do not save important personal information on your computer. Do not use the autofill option for anything important, such as online banking. Do not save banking details under contacts, or on a Word document in your MYDocuments folder. Also remember that many smartphones sync your contacts to your email account or PC, so don't store PIN numbers as a contact either. If you save your personal details on your computer, then anyone who can gain access to it will also have access to your details.
Any computer that is connected from the internet will be vulnerable to attack from cyber criminals. I'm sure that there will be a new scam around the corner, but play it safe and you should be safe.
Want to make sure that your business is not exposed to external IT threats? Get a free system review to make sure that you are properly protected