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Why Every Small Business Owner should be using an IT Support Provider

Do we really to spend hundreds on our IT when ‘we can try fix it ourselves’ if something breaks:

Every Small Business Owner or  Small Business Manager should have an IT Support Provider in 2019. This is probably the most important relationship or service you can have to secure the success your business into the future.

Obviously most  small businesses operate on a rigid budget that is not that of Microsoft or Facebook. So therefore, you’ll want to make sure you are getting good value for your expenditure.

The reality is that SMEs in Ireland today usually can’t fork out for a full-time experienced IT Consultant. This of course, is not surprising.

You hear a ‘but’ coming along. And there is one! Having a modest and limited budget does not mean you can’t and shouldn’t have a team of IT experts working for you. You just don’t hire them ‘in-house.’

You can outsource and get the best if you do your homework into the best IT Support Provider in your area.

Proactively looking after your business’ IT setup and putting in place an experienced IT Support Provider might seem like a luxury. However, it is really is a basic necessity in the year 2019 and beyond.

If you want your business to remain steady and to grow, you must invest in solid IT Support. An effective, experienced IT Support Provider should  be the backbone of your business surviving and being successful. Bluefox have wrote well on the merits of employing an IT Support Provider here as well.

 

1. Your Computer Network will not cause you any more problems

If  your network constantly crashes, runs slow and prevents you from getting work done, investing in a reputable IT Support Provider will end this nightmare forever.

You will no longer be  pumping money into your IT network only to have more problems and more expenses. You will also save your bsuiness money but not losing clients in the process. Efficiency drives better performance.

This means that your your staff is focused on completing client projects rather than trying to fix computer problems!

 

2. Your biggest Investment will be your best friend instead of your worst nightmare

 One of the biggest investments you will make as a business is into your computer network and the technology that runs your business. Yet research shows that most small business computer networks are unstable, costly to maintain, and unreliable at best. Plus, most are not giving the full return on investment they could, simply because they were not properly planned and implemented from the start.

The good news is that when properly applied, technology can give your business significant competitive advantages. It can greatly increase the efficiency and productivity of your employees, and it can help you keep more of your hard-earned Euros in your pocket.

In order for any technology to give you these kinds of results, it must be designed to support your specific business, your goals, and your challenges. That’s where a reliable, highly skilled and research driven IT Support Provider will specialise for you.

 

3. You will Cut Unnecessary Costs & Stay Up-to-date

Outsourcing your IT department will allow you to slash unnecessary costs and save your business money in the longer term, while you innovate and develop your business.

Like all companies, IT Support Providers are there to offer their services for a fee, so it is in their greater interest to get to know you and your business specifics, employees, and your business needs. You, as their client, deserve to have delivered precisely what you need at a tailored, affordable rate for your business.

While you are certainly an expert in your line of work, the chances are you know very little about technology and how IT should be best applied. Therefore, getting in the experts is necessary. You wouldn’t try and do the electrics for your own house if you didn’t know what you were doing now would you?

There are too many hardware & software programmes in the world today to choose wisely from, in the absence of solid technical knowledge.

The purpose of an IT Support Provider and IT sales expert, is to educate and advise all 0f those various options for you. And to direct you exclusively to the best fit solutions for your business.

One of just many benefits of an IT Support Provider is that many of them have partnerships with external vendors. This means that they will get the most cutting-edge technology. This will be at the best rates and your IT Provider will be able to pass these onto you, the client and small business owner.

 

4. You can concentrate on running your business without worrying about IT

You probably know that a day of IT problems can knock you off track for hours at a time, for example,  having no email access, no vital communciatons with your clients and a loss of important files or folders. All of which can be disastrous.

You could even have total operational collapse, if a server failed for example, or if a power outage occurred.

You know that as a business owner,  time lost is money lost, so every minute with a server that crashed means putting the relationship with your clients at risk. It can also mean reputational damage and financial loss- neither are good occurrences!

Having an IT team by your side means that you don’t have to worry about computer issues ever again. You hire professionals to deal with issues that shouldn’t be of your concern in the first place.

This means that you and your employees would be able to focus on what’s really important – your business and getting the job done.

With managed IT services, you won’t ever have to deal with unexpected costly repairs and last resort investments, because the IT guys are there to prevent IT disasters. In essence, they will have backup plans and handle difficult situations quickly and effectively.

 

5. Increased productivity and organisational effectiveness

This is where the best IT Support Providers rise to the top of the pool. The key to optimum productivity, effectiveness and efficiencies in your business will be linked to the pace and level of responsiveness.

As well as making sure your technology is working properly in your business, an outsourced IT Support Provider MUST be highly responsive.  The quicker the repose, the less lost time your business will experience.

If you will put your company’s budget to good use in investing in your IT , do ensure you get a Provider with IT Engineers available by email and telephone within a long time frame during business hours and emergency callout options.

The IT Engineers and Consultants within your chosen IT Support Provider need to be capable of taking care of your issues right away.

Avoid employing any IT Support Provider that have long wait-times before addressing issues. Hint- it should be an average of 2-4 hours, much less for more minor issues. They must also have IT Support Engineers and Consultants who are appropriately qualified, experienced and have the requisite knowledge levels to be looking after your IT systems.

You can check this by doing your own research and checking the company’s credentials and their employee’s backgrounds online.

 

If you would like one of our IT experts to call to your offices and carry out a free technology assessment, please click here and fill out this form and one of our team will revert within 1 business day!

Does Your IT Consultant benefit more from the ‘Break-Fix’ approach to IT? Why a Managed IT Support Plan is Best Practice for Protecting Your Business

 

Have you questioned why your IT Support Consultant only comes to ‘fix’ problems and when something is ‘broken’ in your IT setup? Do you ever wonder if these broken aspects of your IT system or IT network can be avoided by being part of a plan?

A question we often get here at Cinnte IT from small and medium business owners, is, “why do I need to be on a managed IT plan? Can’t I just pay you to come out and fix things when they’re broken?”

While that’s a legitimate question if we were talking about your washing machine or car, that’s definitely NOT the right approach to a critical and dynamic IT system that your company depends on.

 

Do I really need to be on an IT Support Plan:

 

The question of whether you should be on a proactive IT Support Plan depends on whether you are willing to risk failure of IT systems by only ‘fixing’ when things ‘break’ in your technology setup. You definitely don’t want to wait until something “breaks” before you try and fix a problem. If you are interested in learning more about our credentials, read about our recent Global certification in Cyber Essentials’ here.

One virus or hacker attack or one slip-up in your IT can cause permanent data loss. Having no strong disaster recovery mechanisms in place in an emergency situation is a massive red flag for your business.

This means that having an IT Consultant who only comes in the ‘breakdown’ scenario of IT is negative and why being on a proactive IT plan is progressive. Learn more about why IT Planning and disaster preparedness are important for your business.

In the event of disaster or IT crashes, it means extended downtime, a breach of GDPR, bad PR and damage to your company’s reputation. This is in addition to loss of customers and sales, and a host of other costly problems.

 

Why not being on an IT Plan can cost you in the long run:

 

If you are paying an IT Consultant on a casual basis when things break in your IT and need to be fixed, this creates a number of problems. That is because, under a “break-fix” model, there is a conflict of interest between you and your IT Support Consultant.

The IT Support Consultant or IT company has no incentive to stabilize your computer network or to resolve problems quickly because they are getting paid by the hour. This is dangerous because the risk of emergency circumstances is higher.

There is no proactive background monitoring done. Such as server checks, security updates, dark web scanning, data backup and monitoring or windows updates. This is basically a ticking time-bomb for your business’ IT.

So the more problems you have, the more a part-time, casual arrangement will profit an ad-hoc IT consultant without a plan in place.

Under this ‘break-fix’ model, the IT consultant can take the liberty of assigning a junior (lower-paid) technician to work on your problem. This person may may take two to three times longer to resolve an issue than a more senior technician may have taken to resolve it. So this means higher cost to you the small or medium business owner.

There is no incentive to properly manage the time of that technician or their efficiency, and there is every reason for them to prolong the project and to find MORE problems than solutions.

 

Why you need a proactive IT Support Plan in place:

 

IT systems for business need regular monitoring and maintenance to protect against a host of IT problems. This includes data hacking, malware attacks, glitches in  data backup, hardware failure, data theft & other security threats and for system efficiency. The list is long.

So if keeping your IT systems up and running is important to you – as is keeping your network secure from data loss and cyber crime, you must think hard about whether you should be on IT Support plan or not .

If you want to secure your business and your IT Infrastructure, the best option you should choose is an “IT Support managed services” plan.

This should be from a competent, trustworthy and reliable IT services firm. Forget about ad-hoc, casual IT Consultants who only call out when something has broken. This is not a good model for protecting your business in the long run.

 

 Fill Out the Form Below to Learn about IT Support & Get your Free IT Consultation:

 

If you are a business owner and have at least 12 or more PCs or laptops, and want to learn more about IT Support plans  contact us at Cinnte Technologies today for your FREE IT CONSULTATION. We are your IT Support Provider with almost 10 years’ experience in the business. Please fill out the form below and one of our team will contact you on the same business day!

 

Cinnte Technologies Achieves IT Security Cyber Essentials Award- Global Industry Standard in IT Security and data protection

We at Cinnte Technologies are pleased to announce our recent award in being a certified IT Security Cyber Essentials’ company. 

The reason we the went through this rigorous IT security and data protection process, is to reassure customers that we take cyber security seriously. We recently wrote about mobile IT security for mobile phones used for businss purposes here.

We want to help  small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) who can be assured that we are serious and ceritfied in providing  IT security.

We have numerous  IT security measures in place which we then help our clients implement. We are GDPR experts and help new and established small businesses to implement GDPR compliant policies to protect their data and their client’s data. We are serious about IT security and about data protection here at Cinnte Technologies.

 

The Crest Cyber Essentials’ includes five important control pillars which can shield organisations from data breaches, hacking and internal data leaks. These are; firewall and internet gateways, secure configuration, access control, malware protection and patch management and software updates.

You can learn more about the entire specifics of the Cyber Essentials here. Do you want the best IT security and data protection in your business here and what it means to protect your business from IT security threats?

If the answer is yes, then, we at Cinnte Technologies, recommend this certification for all businesses.

We can advise and help to implement many or all Cyber Essentials for IT security and data protection. Please get in touch if you would like help setting up stronger IT security, data protection and GDPR policies and mechanisms in your business. If you are based in Cavan, Monaghan, Meath or West Dublin, please get in touch with us today to book a FREE CONSULTATION. This is guaranteed to improve your IT security and get your business Cyber Essentials certified.

Email us at danny@cinnte.ie or call 0494360080. Alternatively, click the link below and sign up for your free IT Security consultation!

Fill out the Form below to Book Your Free IT Security Consultation today

5 Overlooked IT Security Measures All Small Businesses Must Have in Place When Using Mobile Devices

1. You must implement a mobile device policy –

If you as a small business owner want a safe network, we are of the view that you must have strong IT security for mobile phones.We at Cinnte think tahat this is particularly important if your employees are using their own personal devices to access company e-mail and data. If that employee leaves, are you allowed to erase company data from their phone?

If your phone is lost or stolen, are you permitted to remotely wipe the device – which would delete all of that employee’s photos, videos, texts, etc. This is to ensure YOUR clients’ information isn’t compromised? Cisco have written about mobile device security for business recently.

Further, if your data in your organization is highly sensitive, such as patient records, credit card information, financial information and the likes, you may not be legally permitted to allow employees to access it. Especially on devices that are not secured, but that doesn’t mean an employee might not innocently “take work home.” If it’s a company-owned device, you need to detail what an employee can and cannot do with that device. This is including “rooting” or “jail-breaking” the device to get around security procedures you put in place.

2. You require STRONG passwords and passcodes to lock mobile devices-

We recommend that passwords should be at least 8 characters and contain lowercase and uppercase letters, symbols and at least one number. On a cell phone, requiring a passcode to be entered will go a long way in preventing a stolen device from being compromised. IT security for mobile has never been more important of over 50% of businesses using mobile to access work related data.

3. Require all mobile devices be encrypted-

We believe that encryption is the most effective way to achieve data security. To read an encrypted file, you must have access to a secret key or password that unlocks. We recently wrote about how hackers can access and use your business data on thr dark web here.

 

 4. Implement a remote wipe software for lost or stolen devices-

If you find a laptop was taken or a cell phone lost, remote “kill” or wipe software will allow you to disable the device and erase any and all sensitive data remotely.

5. You must backup remote devices-

If you implement step 4, you’ll need to have a backup of everything you’re erasing. To that end, make sure you are backing up all MOBILE devices including laptops so you can quickly restore the data. IT security for mobile phones is critical in any small business in the current technological era.

While these 5 are a good start, many organizations that are heavily using mobile devices or are handling highly sensitive data such as credit card numbers, financial information, social security numbers or medical records need to be far more diligent about monitoring and securing all mobile devices. For those of you who fit into that category, we have a special report that details X more security measures and strategies that you need to implement and know about that most IT firms don’t know or won’t tell you.

For a free copy, simply call my office at 0494360080, or shoot us an e-mail to danny@cinnte.ie with “Mobile security report” in the subject line. We look forward to hearing from you before August 31st to get your free report!

Fill Out the Form Below to Get Your Free Mobile Report

How IT managed services can stop Hackers damaging your business

IT Security
Are you an easy target for hackers as a small business owner:

 

You, the owner or managaing director of a small business, are under attack. We as an IT Managed Services Provider, want to alert businesses to these real risks and help stop them. This can be done with adequate IT security measures and IT managed services.

Right now, dangerous, well-funded cybercrime rings in China, Russia and the Ukraine are using high-end software. They are using it to hack into thousands of small businesses like yours. We recently wrote about the dark web and the risks cyber criminals pose to small businesses here.

They do this to steal credit cards and client information, and swindle money directly out of your bank account. In fact, it was reported last year by Silicon Republic that cyber crime is growing faster in Ireland than anywhere else in the world- frigtening news!

Don’t think you’re in danger because you’re “small” and not a big target like a J.P. Morgan or Home Depot?

Think again. 82,000 NEW malware threats are being released every single day and HALF of the cyber-attacks occurring are aimed at small businesses.

You just don’t hear about it because it’s kept quiet for fear of attracting bad PR, lawsuits and data-breach fines.

 

What can your IT Managed Services Provider do for you to prevent being hacked:

We can do a number of key hacking and security preventative measures or advise you on how on best practice or implement measures for you.

 

1.  Strong Password Policies: So many people are still using easy-to-guess passwords like “password” or other words or phrases. Guess what: hackers have sophisticated software programs that can try to log in to your PC, account, web site, etc. This at the rate of 8 million login attempts per SECOND.

If your password is easy, they’re in. Your password should contain at least 8 characters, uppercase and lowercase letters, a number and a symbol (! or #, for example). We can also install two-factor authentication to make dual login necessary for users periodically. We can also put a system in place whereby we ensure passwords must be updated at least monthly.

2• Install a “unified threat management” (UTM) system. Firewalls and antivirus aren’t enough to stop the sophisticated tools hackers now have. A UTM allows an IT administrator to monitor and manage a wide variety of security-related applications and devices to make sure you’re protected on all fronts.

3. Cyber Awareness Training for  your employees- Educating employees is crucial for any small business in terms of their IT useage. An IT useage policy is highly advised by us at Cinnte Technologies.

Employees clicking on phishing e-mails or downloading virus-laden files is still the #1 way hackers gain access to and control of business networks.

Therefore, you need to outline an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) that details what employees can and cannot do with company-owned devices, files, software, etc. Plus, you need to make them aware of how to spot a phishing e-mail or attack so they can avoid it altogether.

 

Do you want to learn more about IT managed services, security and how to stop your IT systems being hacked?:

We want to help you to achieve ultimate security for your IT and your business. We have over 20 years’ Security and disaster recovery among our team here at Cinnte. You can sign up for a free Network security assessment here with one of our senior Engineers. All you need to do is fill out our Network Assessment form.

Please do this before June 30th to avail of this free service which takes 30 minutes to complete.

 

 

 

What is the dark web & is your small business at risk?

What is the dark web & is your small business at risk?

Do you know what the dark web is and how it could out your small business at risk? If the answer is no to either or both questions, please read on. You may be familiar with the ‘dark web’ as a place online somewhere where illegal or dangerous activities take place. This is correct but there is much more to the dark- or ‘deep web’ than you may think.

Especially if you are a small business owner. Part of the “Deep Web”, the Dark Web is, where illegal activity takes place (Drug deals, hacking, counterfeit money, etc.) The dark web term emerged with the advent of the internet search engine over 20 years ago.

The information contained on this ‘hidden’ part of the internet would shock most people. However, small business owners should be very aware of the pitfalls of not having correct security measures in their IT setup in place.

 

Characteristics of the Dark Web:

 

  • Information that is INTENTIONALLY hidden from search engines is qualified to be in the Dark Web
  • Most websites are on the .Onion domain and only accessible through a Tor browser
  • The information found on the Dark Web is technically public information…just not found by the general public (visiting the Dark Web is NOT Recommended!)
  • It is mostly community based…web sites go up/down/up again overnight and this is where financial details are sold- credit card info, identity information, child pornography and illegal drugs

 

How can hackers target small businesses and why they at risk:

 

They can do this by gaining access to sensitive data of a target’s IT network in a manner of ways. George Torsten has summarised it well in Secuity Week in 2018, see here for full article. ”The easiest way for a cyber-attacker to gain access to sensitive data is by compromising an end user’s identity and credentials.

 

Things get even worse if a stolen identity belongs to a privileged user, who has even broader access, and therefore provides the intruder with “the keys to the kingdom”. …it’s not surprising that most of today’s cyber-attacks are front-ended by credential harvesting campaigns. Common methods for harvesting credentials include the use of password sniffers, phishing campaigns, or malware attacks.”

Why should small business owners be concerned about hacking and dark web criminals:

 

We know that small businesses are at great risk from hackers. These criminals sell their information on the dark web. According to the Federal Trade Commission in the US. In 2017, the Federation found that, data stolen from businesses ends up on the dark web. Then these criminals buy and sell it to commit fraud, get fake identity documents, or fund their criminal organizations.”

 

We can say that this is not good news for small business. This is why we need to make sure we are careful in our security measures. We can help in this regard as IT Security experts.

 

Information available for sale on the dark web is up to 20 times more likely to come from an entity whose breach wasn’t reported in the media. Many of these are smaller retailers, restaurant chains, medical practices, school districts, etc. In fact, most of the breaches the U.S. Secret Service investigates involve small businesses.

This is also becoming more common in Ireland where we have seen high profile data breaches. Even in organisations such as the HSE, a Government Department and many small businesses. A very worrying trend overall for every small business and organization who have less resources than larger, richer ones.

 

What we can do at Cinnte to help you:

We have posted recently about the importance of cyber security for small businesses. We want to help educate businesses like ourselves, about how they can keep employees and clients’ information secure online. You can subscribe to our blog for updates on all areas of IT and keeping your business secure, productive and free of disaster.

 

You can start by signing up for our free dark web scan by emailing us at darkweb@cinnte.ie. We will perform this for free for small businesses and give you a detailed report afterwards. We can advise on measures to help protect and prevent your credentials being hacked or stolen by cyber criminals.