As technology advances, so do cybercriminals. Cyber attacks seem to be occurring more frequently than ever and hurting businesses throughout the world. Furthermore, for many small to enterprise-level businesses, a cybersecurity breach can quickly impact the business’s compliance with significant IT compliance regulations. Even companies with enterprise-level IT support can benefit from easy and necessary IT Security safeguards. Here are 3 easy ways to help safeguard yourself against a cybersecurity breach that takes only 5 minutes each week.

Change Your Password: IT Services TIp

1. Change Your Passwords

Every IT network support progressional will tell you – change your passwords often! This fast and easy fix could save you from a cybersecurity threat. Set time aside to update your passwords on all of your accounts. Experts recommend having different passwords across all your personal network. This ensures that if one is compromised the hacker has access to only one system, not all of them.

Forget the tough passwords; new guidelines recommend keeping it simple. According to the United States National Institution for Standards and Technology (NIST), new password guidelines help you stay protected. NIST suggests, keeping your passwords simple, long, and memorable. Phrases, lowercase letters, and typical English words and objects are suggested when creating passwords. This recommendation had changed from when the organization suggested using unique characters and a mix of lower and uppercase letters.

These new guidelines may seem surprisingly easy, Paul Grassi, senior standards and technology adviser at NIST, who led the new revision of guidelines, says that these new guidelines will help users create longer passwords, which are harder for hackers to break.

Once a cybercriminal has access to your personal credentials they can impersonate you to send personal emails directly to your friends, family, and co-workers. Soon, and IT security breach can lead to imposter postings on your social networks where cybercriminals seek to collect even more sensitive information. This a small business managed network services nightmare. It is also often a socially and professionally embarrassing experience.

Managed IT Services Expert Tip:

A bank will never ask for personal information via email or suspend your account if you do not immediately update your personal information. Most banks and financial institutions usually provide an account number or other personal details within the email. This information is how you can ensure that the email or phone call is coming from a reliable source.

 

Think Before You Click IT Services

2. Think Before You Click

Many IT network security threats happen by accident. You see an email from an old friend or a significant update from your bank, and you just go ahead and click on the email without thinking. Unfortunately, these emails are socially engineered to look like they came from a trustworthy source, not a cybercriminal. Here are some things to think about before clicking an email.

One of the fastest ways to verify an email is to check all the hyperlinks. Take your mouse and hover over the directed hyperlink in an email. Make sure that the hyperlinks match the URL you land after clicking. Check for spelling errors in the web address. Popular websites are often manipulated but contain spelling errors. For example, if the hyperlink says www.mybank.com, but when you hover over it says wwwmybank.com, do not click it. If you suspect the link may be suspicious, better to not click it.

Is this offer too good to be true?

Most of these cybercriminals will present you with an eye-catching deal to make you think you have won a contest; you have not entered or asking you to claim a prize that is too good to be true. In an instance like this, it is best to remember that if the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you ever have questions, contact the organization directly from a contact page on a trusted website, or your business’s managed IT services team, not the email in question.

Who is sending this email?

Whether you know the sender or not, does the email make sense for you to receive? If not, do not even open it. Simply, delete and move on. Accidentally opening the email can cause IT security issues and potentially make you vulnerable to a cybersecurity threat. If someone you know is asking for money, call or text to verify. When in doubt, always think critically before acting.

Install Updates IT Services

3. Install Updates

We all know how annoying it can be when your computer continually reminds you to update your software. That said, an enterprise-level managed network services expert will tell you these updates are essential in protecting you against a cybersecurity threat. Updates give you more than just the latest and greatest features; they make sure you also have the most updated security to protect your IT network. Thousands of new malware variants run every day. Having out of date security software is almost as bad as having none at all.

Is your software up-to-date?

Your un-updated software is vulnerable. According to Sophos, cybercriminals can exploit this vulnerability by writing code explicitly targeting your network’s system. This can infect your computer without you ever taking action. When your computer is compromised, cybercriminals steal data and gain control over your computer and personal information.

Managed IT Services

The 5 minutes each week you devote to strengthening your network will help protect you from any future threats. Small to enterprise-level business owners who are not comfortable with handling their network’s security are good candidates for Managed IT Services. Managed IT services allow business owners to rather than their system. RJ Young offers free network assessment for businesses. We ensure your organization is protected from IT security vulnerabilities.

Stacks of bills waiting to be paid no longer sit on your desk like they might have just a few years ago. Today there are emails letting you know when they have arrived as part of a document workflow. Now you can review each one, sign digitally, add electronic sticky notes when needed and approve to be paid. Once you’re finished, the images are gone and you’re off to your next project. All of this was done with digital images as part of a pre-defined workflow process that was paperless, yet started at the Multifunctional Printer (MFP).

 

The printing industry has changed over the last 10-15 years. More importantly, the role of the multifunctional printer (MFP) has changed, starting with its name from copier to MFP. In the early 2000s, the copier really was just that—a copier. It wasn’t until businesses started connecting them to their networks that they became MFPs with users relying on them for printing as well. It was then just a matter of time before people figured out that if you could push printing to the MFP, you could also send scanned documents from it back to the personal computer or network. Suddenly scanned PDF files were everywhere.

 

The evolution of the MFP is really what drove the business community towards document management. With scanning so readily available business owners saw that they could begin digitally filing their paper-based records without the added cost of a dedicated scanner. These early adopters typically tried to emulate their computer file systems by carefully structuring a file system and naming the scanned PDF files. This was great for getting rid of the paper, but as volumes increased, it became quickly apparent that finding these scanned records was not as easy as first thought.

 

A document management solution became the next logical step with many users simply looking for a way to scan, store and retrieve their documents. Nothing fancy, just helps to get rid of the paper while giving a way to put your hands on important information when the time comes. But like most things, technology changes and with it changed the expectations of the business market. More and more, the MFP became less about printing and more about the flow of business information.

 

Quickly document workflow became the driving force and the multifunctional printer not only became the place for documents to be captured, it became the catalyst for triggering a workflow process. In just a few years, paper documents were now being routed to their recipients with notifications of their arrival being sent and rules defining the paths they would take.

 

Most of us can admit that we still love our paper and there are many times we want to print images and flip through the pages as we digest the information. That’s OK—the cost of printing on a MFP is about 10% of what it used to be on a standard printer ten years ago. If the truth were told, we would probably print just as much as we always have since information is so readily available and printing is just plain cheap. The difference is that we just don’t file it any longer, we scan it.

 

It’s only been about 10-12 years since the MFP was just a copier. Today, MFPs are already designed to handle specialty media, like envelopes and labels, easily. Certain MFPs are taking it one step further by turning into a full-functioning mailing center, printing commercial discounted postage directly onto your project—saving you additional time and money. The landscape of a typical office has changed and has never been so smart, or so easy as it is today.

 

The possibilities surrounding a changing business world are exciting and it’s not clear to many exactly where they’ll lead us. What is sure is that where document information is being communicated, it will likely continue to flow through the MFP as an on-ramp to digital information management and productivity.

 

James Walker, Regional Director of Managed IT Services

James oversees the Chattanooga, Nashville and Huntsville markets of our managed IT Services department. In his role he manages service delivery and support of engineers in all regions, does security and compliance auditing, and works with businesses in network design, implementation and troubleshooting. He has been in the technology industry for over 24 years. James is originally from Boston, MA and works out of our Chattanooga office. He joined RJ Young in January 2013 through the acquisition of his previous company, Preferred Computers, Inc.

 

 

 

The end of the year is a time of reflection for many business owners, as they reflect on the year past and set new goals with excitement and vitality—all in the name of getting more accomplished in the year ahead to achieve greater success. However, frequently, technology hiccups are hurdles to getting more done, or improving productivity, in small businesses.

These are 6 technology tips to help small business owners improve productivity and achieve more considerable success in the New Year.

 

1. Plan for New Technology—Before You Need It

Often poor planning leads to outdated technology and lack of funds to invest in new hardware (laptops to copiers), software or services to make upgrades to keep pace with a growing small business. During annual planning, create a technology roadmap, outlining anticipated needs for the coming year (or longer) and accrue funds and secure partners accordingly.

2. Conduct Regular PC Check Ups—Run Updates in Timely Manner

Installing updates to central operating systems is key to ensuring your network and personal computing devices run smoothly and to minimizing downtime. Lack of updating these systems often requires a call to vendors or consultants for support. These calls lead to downtime and unplanned expenses that set you back on your goals.

3. Electronic Data is More Efficient—Shift Documents to Electronic Files

The cost of producing paper records and managing paper documents adds up. Consider that printing costs reportedly consume 1-3% of annual revenues for most organizations, and the popular four-drawer filing cabinet is estimated to cost $25,000 to fill and $2,100 annually to maintain. This output in manual form is not searchable, shareable or secure. As document scanning, capture and storage systems are increasingly adopted by businesses of all sizes, look to a system to assist in document information management. Most multi-functional copiers are compatible with basic document management systems.

4. Secure Your Data—Back Up Data Regularly

Electronic data capture is essential to businesses. Securing the electronic data with a reliable, multi-pronged, systematic backup system is critical to ensure business continuity. Nearly half (44%) of the companies that experience a disaster never recover business data and almost as many (47%) go out of business in two years.

5. Seek Expert Help—Inexperience Can Cost You

Experienced IT managers can ensure your network is set-up according to best practices. A network designed to specs outside the IT industry norm can be costly to repair when issues do arise. Should you be forced to switch to another provider, the cost could exponentially grow as that team learns your unique network set-up.

6. Get the Most from What You Have—Office 365 Tips

Leveraging the investments you have already made can help you with productivity. Explore the functionality of the software and technology in which you have already made investments. Microsoft Office 365 is a conventional software package, which packs a lot of functionality in its various programs. Watch tutorials, join online forums or search for blog postssuch as this oneon tips on using this software to help with productivity.

Follow these six tips to help your small business avoid IT hiccups in the coming year, allowing you to focus on jumping the significant hurdles to increased productivity and success. Should you need help ensuring your small business information technology network is set-up for your success, let me help.

Sources: NAPO, Gartner, Cooper & Lybrand, Ernest & Young, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Document Management Research

Read more about Managed IT Services.

————————–

Mike Noffsinger, Director of Sales East

Mike is RJ Young’s Regional Director of Sales, East. Mike is responsible for sales in the Nashville, Chattanooga, Rome-Georgia and Huntsville markets and Managed IT Services, Software Solutions, High Volume/Production Print and Managed Print Services divisions throughout the Southeast. In his spare time, Mike enjoys Kentucky Wildcats basketball and is an avid mountain biker. Mike works out of our Nashville, TN office and is married with two children.

 

As we look forward to 2016, and continue to celebrate RJ Young’s 60th birthday, I want to say how thankful I am to each of our customers, partners and future customers for the support you provide each day and for allowing us to be a part of your business success.

As we look to a new year, and another decade, we remain committed to the same strategy of growth and excellence for which the RJ Young brand has become known—focusing on your success, the customer. A few initiatives to continue to meet our customers’ needs and support continued growth, include:

  • Expanding Managed IT Services
  • Growth of Software & Document Management solutions
  • Adding new product lines, most recently Mimaki large-format printers
  • Adding key support team members in IT, Sales and Service
  • Investing in technology upgrades to offer the latest customer support

Because of your partnership and support, we’ve been able to continue our mission of taking care of our customers, taking care of our employees and giving back to our communities. Below are a few ways our team gave back this year:

  • More than $66,000 given back to local communities
  • Over $150,000 in scholarships through higher education partnerships
  • Granted $16,000 in John T. Crunk scholarships to children of RJ Young employees
  • Employee giving and matching initiatives resulted in:
    • 2 families sponsored through “Make-A-Wish”
    • 49 Salvation Army Angel Tree “Angels” for the holidays
    • Over $9,000 raised through the “13th Annual Pumpkin Run” benefiting the American Heart Association

It is with great excitement that I look to the next year and next decade of growth by supporting your success. Should I be of help to you, I ask that you contact me directly at (615) 620-4133 or chip.crunk@rjyoung.com.

Cheers!

Chip Crunk
President & CEO

At some point unplanned and unavoidable expenses have hit us all. Car trouble on a busy freeway. Leaky roof in a spring rainstorm. Air-conditioning break in the heat of summer? It’s an awful feeling, especially when you discover that you could have invested in preventative measures that would have been less expensive and less stressful all along. These avoidable emergencies happen in business just as they happen in your household and stress cash flow just the same. Often these emergencies begin with the company’s information technology network.

Many small to mid-size organizations are not able to support the investment of a full-time information technology team. In a consistently evolving and increasingly technology dependent business environment, this means that their companies do not receive the strategic technology planning, monitoring, training and help-desk support to prevent issues that lead can lead to network disasters.

Like when your air conditioning quits on a 100-degree day, when your network goes down on a busy workday, it gets your attention. It’s urgent, and you will pay whatever it costs to get your business up and running smoothly again. However, there are programs, called managed network services or managed IT services, that are tailored to provide IT support to small and mid-size businesses  – to prevent such disasters.

Most managed IT services providers charge one flat monthly fee to provide typical IT services to businesses including: strategic IT planning, monitoring, anti-virus protection and help desk support. As with your seasonal heating and air conditioning maintenance plans, most providers charge a set monthly fee to avoid the disasters and take care of smaller matters as they arise.

The chief benefits of managed IT services are:

  • Predictable IT Spending
  • Reduced Downtime
  • Owners Focus on Business Strategy
  • Operations Focus on Daily Tasks
  • Strategic Technology Planning

Just like you know that a cool Fall and cold winter will turn into a hot summer day eventually, you know that the IT needs to support your business will change. You know that you will encounter challenges. The question is, will your IT planning get your attention now, or will you sweat it out when it becomes a crisis for your business?

 

 

Most people look at the computer on their desk and think “it’s a computer” and “it does this stuff.” If you pin said person down and ask them what that “stuff” is, you would probably get an answer along the lines of, “well, you know email, and Internet Explorer and Microsoft Office.” If you asked CAD engineers they would say Pro-E or Solidworks, accountants would list QuickBooks, Excel or a tax package, medical workers would reference an EMR or practice management package such as eClinical Works, Allscripts or Athena.

The more you asked the worker about their day, the more you would wonder why you’ve been buying so many pens and pencils because you realized EVERYTHING your workers do is on their computer. The “stuff” your workers’ computers do for them, and for you are called “network services.” We keep those services running with a high-level of availability by managing them, thus the term Managed Network Services (MNS)– much like the janitorial department transitioned to the name of “Environmental Services,” the geeks have come up with a fancy name to say we keep your “stuff” working.

It’s not just Managed Service Providers (MSPs) that build MNS programs – every IT department and computer firm in the world provides MNS.  But just like any department in your company – you need a good manager.  You need a person to manage your services that can comprehend how important they are to your company’s existence, that can see the big picture of your company’s growth and that doesn’t try and run a budget like the US Government.  So whether or not they claim the title, if you hire an IT firm to help your company, you are hiring a MSP. 

So then, if you were hiring a Quarterback would you pick up a guy who loves to play wide receiver, or the guy who has spent his life preparing to be a franchise QB?  Just remember, when it comes to contracting an IT firm, you should hire a company who has been structured entirely to be an MSP.

 

James Walker

Regional Director of Managed IT Services.

James oversees the Chattanooga, Nashville and Huntsville markets of our managed IT Services department. In his role he manages service delivery and support of engineers in all regions, does security and compliance auditing, and works with businesses in network design, implementation and troubleshooting. He has been in the technology industry for over 24 years. James is originally from Boston, MA and works out of our Chattanooga office. He joined RJ Young in January 2013 through the acquisition of his previous company, Preferred Computers, Inc. 

The Importance of Strong Strategic Partners in Running A Highly Productive and Efficient Business

We cannot do it all by ourselves.  I hear this a lot as companies find they have to look to strong business partners to assist in many areas.  Outsourcing has become a common practice as companies focus on their core values and competencies. This is very true as we look at technology and new advances we see taking place almost daily.

Since a lot of time is spent on the network within any business environment, it is imperative for companies to align themselves not only with good business partners, but good strategic partners when it comes to IT. Most companies evolve through stages of IT support as they grow up.

The early stages of a small business will often find someone within their employees that has enough knowledge to support the company’s early network. The term for this type of structure and support is “Bob Down the Hall.”  If that person is not available within the company there is often a close friend, relative, or acquaintance that knows someone who works out of their home or garage that can help support the network. This structure is referred to as “Bob Down the Street.”  Both of these IT support structures will work for a brief period, but are not sustainable as the company grows.

What happens next to the small company as it begins to grow is that rapidly changing technology is required and both types of Bobs cannot supply the needed expertise, backup, and support. Staying up to date on technology requires third-party integrations and reliable partners.  Thus comes the time when the small business must completely alter their approach to the network.

Selecting that partner is very important since by now the network has become the backbone of the company and is the vital link between the customers and employees.  That partner needs to be able to provide the knowledge, support, technical expertise, security, and monitoring to not only maintain a safe network, but also plan for the future as the company continues to grow. There should be a clear road map and strategic plan developed that is reviewed and updated on a quarterly basis, which requires a strong partner.  Getting the right IT partner in place is just as important as hiring the right employee for a specific job function. The process of selecting that partner is vital to the future success of the company.

 

Hunter McCarty – Chief Operating Officer

Hunter McCarty, Chief Operating Officer of RJ Young, joined the company in 1978. After several years as a Sales Representative, he managed both sales teams and sales managers over the next twenty-four years. Hunter has held the positions of VP of Sales and VP of Marketing during his tenure with the company, playing a major role in the unprecedented growth that has led RJ Young to become the largest independent office equipment dealer in the Southeast and the second largest in the nation. Hunter is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and has served as both a member and president of the Board of Sales and Marketing Executives. Additionally, Hunter is a member of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and serves on the Economic Development Committee and the Chairman of the Community Services Committee for the Brentwood Rotary Club. Hunter is also a board member of the Copier Dealer Association, on the Canon Dealer Advisory Council and on the Lexmark Advisory Board. In his free time Hunter enjoys traveling, golf and Tennessee Titans football. He and his wife, Carol Lynn, reside in Franklin, TN, and have three grown children.

Managed Network Services – it’s a buzz-term in the information technology (IT) industry these days – many IT firms are adding a Managed Service Provider (MSP) shingle to the front of their shop.  So like many business owners, small business and large businesses alike, you might be asking, “what the heck is that?”

In short, Managed Network Services are systems built by IT Providers that enable you to have a network designed and maintained like an enterprise business.  For those of you in the manufacturing industry – ask yourself, if you were Ford Motor Company, a leading manufacturer, would you manage your IT infrastructure the way you do now?   What if your company was twice the size with twice the income?  For those of you running a medical practice, how would you manage your network if you were a larger clinic, or a hospital?   What would your network look like?   How would you support users and ensure compliance?

Many small-to-mid size business owners dismiss the idea of having a strategically structured and proactively managed network with “it costs too much.”  Before you dismiss this idea, ask yourself two more questions:

  1. Can your business operate effectively without your computer systems?
  2. Does downtime proportionately hurt your business any less than your larger counterparts?

If you answered those questions as most small-to-mid-size business owners, you said “no.” In fact, larger businesses are probably more capable of absorbing an interruption in network services.  Larger companies hire experts to design and proactively maintain their network in order to prevent and eliminate downtime, maintain a competitive edge, control IT related expenses and strategically plan for growth.

MSPs help small-to-midsize business owners achieve this same level of efficiency. MSPs design and maintain their networks with the same proven effective methods as their larger counterparts do at a budget scaled to their size, simply for many clients, most with no in-house IT department or small IT departments striving to control costs.

As you tackle business planning for 2015 for your small-to-midsize business, consider knocking on the door of a Managed Services Provider. It could be the answer to improving efficiency and productivity in running your business for the coming year.

 

James Walker – Regional Director of Managed IT Services

James oversees the Chattanooga, Nashville and Huntsville markets of our managed IT Services department. In his role he manages service delivery and support of engineers in all regions, does security and compliance auditing, and works with businesses in network design, implementation and troubleshooting. He has been in the technology industry for over 24 years. James is originally from Boston, MA and works out of our Chattanooga office. He joined RJ Young in January 2013 through the acquisition of his previous company, Preferred Computers, Inc.