cybersecurity training houston

Arm Your Employees with Cybersecurity Training in Houston

At Need Computer Help, we know cybersecurity training is an excellent way to teach your employees how to spot a scam. But that doesn’t quite capture the urgency of making sure your team knows how to defend your business.

Hackers attack every 39 seconds, according to the University of Maryland. With cybercrimes increasing in frequency and criminals growing increasingly sophisticated with their techniques, training your team is no longer an option; it’s a necessity.

With a data breach that is all but certain to cause expensive downtime, compliance fines and reputational damage, it’s time you armed your team with a comprehensive array of cybersecurity solutions. From identifying spam and malware to social engineering and phishing, it’s not as complicated as you might think to get each team member on board with protecting your data — and your company.

A Solid Way to Defend Your Business

Professional cybersecurity training teaches the basics, such as how multi-authentication passwords are the first line of defense to protect your sensitive data from hackers. Your employees can be trained to never use the same password for their accounts. They can be taught to use strong passwords that use a mix of symbols, letters and numbers, so no one will come close to guessing it.

Your employees can’t be expected to walk in the door on their first day and know how to identify cybersecurity threats. But one of the downfalls with security awareness is that some employers only employ training as an onboarding event. Unfortunately, your team will be faced with threats continually — not just on their first day or week on the job.

When confronted with cyberthreats, most people can’t tell the difference between a legitimate link and a malicious one. This is probably why 95% of cybersecurity breaches are caused by human error, according to IBM.

Cybersecurity training mimics the latest threats and teaches employees how to separate legitimate and questionable emails.

As a business owner, you can institute policies that ingrain bulletproof cyber hygiene habits, such as instructions for emails, the internet and social media platforms. But be sure to make the training consistent and a regular calendar event.

How We Help

The team at Need Computer Help gives you pertinent guidelines that keep your data safe with regularly scheduled training on how to avert the most up-to-date scams. It’s important that your employees stay fresh in their knowledge and on guard against cyberthreats. Once they’re in the throes of their roles, it might not be top of mind to safeguard your data. But frequent and continual training throughout the lifetime of their roles ensures that the skills they develop remain relevant and applicable to the most modern threats.

With more companies succumbing to cyberattacks, it’s crucial that 100% of your team is on deck to stave off lurking threats with cybersecurity solutions. If your long-term goal is to grow your business and succeed — we know it is! — training your employees to recognize malware and phishing or any of the other lurking dangers is a necessity.

If given a chance, your employees want to help you dodge cybersecurity threats. Give them the shared responsibility of acting as your defender, and they’ll gladly comply — they want your business to thrive, too. They just need the tools and knowledge on how to do it.

Cybercrimes are becoming more sophisticated, and data breaches are rapidly increasing. Arm your employees with the knowledge they need to improve their cybersecurity procedures, policies and best practices. Help them help you.


dark web protection texas

Dark Web Protection in Texas – Four Strategies to Shield Your Business

Need Computer Help has years of experience countering attacks in the Texas area that stem from the dark web, and it can create quite the mess for your business. Cybersecurity and dark web protection go hand in hand, with many forms of ransomware, malware and phishing originating from this anonymous online underground. And once you’ve been targeted, it can be hard to recover.

Data breaches result in downtime, which can cost a company on average $5,600 per minute. And if you don’t have a professional business continuity solution with 24/7 support, productivity can completely collapse during the recovery stage. In the worst-case scenario, your business could end up closing like sixty percent of small businesses that experience a data breach.

But cybersecurity and dark web risks don’t have to be inevitable for your business. Here are four ways you can reinforce your cybersecurity and dark web protection starting today.

1. Install Dark Web Scanning

Dark web protection and scanning can defend your data by continually monitoring your systems for suspicious activity, attempted breaches and security weaknesses. Automated software can then send alerts to let you know what data is potentially compromised, allowing you to act faster and stay secure.

2. Take a Proactive Approach

Don’t wait until you’re the victim of a cyberattack to react. The number one thing cybercriminals want you to do is not notice what happened until afterward. By then, they’ve likely already started sharing and selling your data on the dark web. With cybercrime on the rise, it’s smart to incorporate technology to monitor your network before — not after — you experience an attack on your business.

3. Employ Training and Security

Cybercriminals won’t discriminate. They want your personal and business data, educational information, medical records and everything in between. Once it hits the dark web, odds are, it will sell. Protect your assets from the frontlines by training your employees to spot a phishing attempt and teach them what to do in the event of a possible security breach. Simulations are another aspect of cybersecurity training that tests your staff’s security knowledge and can be incorporated into a fun and educational team bonding challenge.

4. Partner with a Professional

Managed service providers monitor your data for security breaches, install and patch software to defend against ongoing threats and train your employees to keep your business data safe and secure. Not only will you feel safer, but your team will regain the capacity to focus on your business objectives with ongoing IT support and consulting services available when you need them.

When you partner with Need Computer Help for any and all of your technology and cybersecurity needs, we outfit your business with affordable technology that leaves you feeling protected, supported and empowered. To find out if your business is at risk or to learn more about our services, contact us today for your custom assessment.


Four Phishing Prevention Strategies Any Business Can Employ

Have you ever ignored emails from potential leads because you were nervous that they could be fake or malicious? In today’s world, we are taught to be skeptical of what crosses our inbox. Cyberthreats come masked in the form of trusted brands and lure users into sharing otherwise secure data. And while being crucial for business operations, email provides attackers with an opportunity to infiltrate your system. So, what can a business do to conduct business efficiently and safely? Here are four phishing prevention tactics you can utilize to stop hackers in their tracks.

1. Install Security Software on Your Computer

Hackers attack every 39 seconds - University of Maryland

As long as your computers have an internet connection, they’re set up for an attack. In UMD’s study, they found computers were targeted for attack more than 2,000 times a day. In the IT world, Secure Email Gateway (SEG) is one common path to phishing prevention. SEG is a device or software that scans employee computers for malicious content. An SEG blocks the delivery of the bad emails while allowing the delivery of good ones. And an SEG stops an email before it ever reaches its intended recipient.

2. Computer Updates

74% of attacks targeting U.S. businesses are successful - Expert Insights

Phishing sites are found 75 times more often on the Internet than malware sites. And more than one in five data breaches involved phishing. Hackers are not only increasing their activities; they’ve got a good likelihood of success. But if you’ve kept your data backed up, you’ll increase your recovery time and decrease downtime in case of a data breach. By maintaining backups in several locations and testing often, you’ll mitigate your recovery time — and save the reputation of your brand — in case of a data breach.

3. Train Your Employees to Defend Your Business

Half of data breaches are caused by machine and human error - IBM

When employees complete security-awareness training, they’re more likely to report a suspicious email. Requiring mandatory security awareness training for your staff will go a long way toward identifying malware the second it hits their inbox. Instead of acting as cybercriminals’ main targets, your employees can become your biggest defenders of business data after completing phishing security training.

4. Hire an IT Partner

60% of companies fold within six months of a cyberattack - Inc.

By far, small to midsize organizations take the brunt from a larger share of cyberattacks. But you don’t have to fight this David and Goliath battle alone. Your MSP can prevent the effects of cyberattacks on your business by enabling your computers with SEG, installing PDP, and training your team. Services provided by an MSP means you've got a partner in protecting your important data from phishing attacks. Outsourcing your IT security needs with an IT partner means you can let your MSP determine the best strategy for phishing prevention and protection, now and onward.

These threats are only the tip of the iceberg. Your MSP is your best guard against the threats posed by cybercriminals. Quit worrying about what emails your employees are being bombarded with and let Need Computer Help be your 24/7 guard. Contact us for your security assessment today.


3 Ways Your Business Could Benefit from an IT Consulting Service

To be sure that your business is productive, efficient and capable of growth, it’s important to prioritize the health and functionality of your IT infrastructure. This will allow you to keep your critical data safe and your business operations up and running. Even in the event of disaster, IT consulting increases the productivity and value of your business. That being said, it’s not always easy to prioritize your technology obligations in addition to managing the other day-to-day demands of regular business operations.

That's why you need to invest in IT consulting services with Need Computer Help, which has a strong and reliable IT support team that can empower your business with the ability to thrive and sustain future growth. This blog highlights the three ways to benefit from professional IT support services.

1. Recognize Shortcomings

While your organization may be the best in your line of business, your in-house IT staff may be shortchanging your efforts. The IT staff may not have the professional expertise needed to advise you on how to implement the best IT solutions for your business. An IT consultant on the other hand will have the industry-specific knowledge plus years of experience to make sure your company is optimizing its usage of IT technologies. The goal is to continually streamline the procurement and integration of IT solutions to ensure any issues with your technology can be alleviated quickly and efficiently.

Recognizing bottlenecks is the first step to determine if you need expert IT consulting. An expert helps your business spot potential IT-related issues before they get the chance to greatly affect your workflow. This proves invaluable if your current IT department is only capable of patching up IT problems, instead of preventing or mitigating them. Recognizing bottlenecks is the first step to determine if you need expert IT consulting.

2. Avoid Wasted Money

While buying new software, hardware and equipment can save you money, purchasing unnecessary upgrades or updates can easily waste it. For example, some companies may choose to buy multiple moderately priced servers to run web services instead of incorporating one or two powerful machines with virtualization technologies. Other companies may make the mistake of purchasing expensive equipment for a project that requires intensive computing resources for a limited amount of time rather than using scalable, cloud-based services and paying only for the resources they actually use.

When you partner with Need Computer Help, we’ll set you up with an affordable technology solution that covers all your current support needs. This way, you can seamlessly scale up or down depending on the evolving needs of your business. This is often the best service model for businesses looking to accommodate periodic, seasonal or other unexpected fluctuations in their workload without paying for underutilized capability year-round.

3. Protect Your Business

If left unaddressed, technology issues can become more than a severe bottleneck in your business’s day-to-day operations. They can also lead to serious problems, such as cyberattacks and lost revenue. If you rely on backup drives to save your files, you may be exposing sensitive information to potential hackers and leaving your business open to serious losses in the event of a data breach. Do you have a plan in place to detect and halt an attempted breach before it occurs? How about a backend disaster recovery plan in the event your sensitive data does get leaked?

If not, it’s time to patch up the security vulnerabilities of your company and hire an IT consultant. Not only will they be able to identify any areas that put your business at risk, but also provide the best mixture of IT support solutions for your unique needs. A managed service partner can help prevent extended downtime that could result in your company losing thousands of dollars in potential revenue.

It’s Time to Make a Change

If your business is suffering from any of the problems described above or any other IT concerns, it’s time to partner with a professional in IT consulting that can provide your business with tools, resources and expertise your business needs to succeed. Don’t wait until the problems are overwhelming to bring in the support you need.


A Guide to Mitigating Cyberthreats

Moving forward, we can expect to see a wide variety of sophisticated and complex cyberattacks, including social engineering, ransomware, DDoS attacks, third-party exposures and exploitation of cloud computing vulnerabilities. As suspected, many of these attacks and their devastating impacts can be linked back to when there were unsecured gaps that developed when companies and their employees were thrust from their secure on-premise IT infrastructures to remote networking capabilities. 

The key here is that, at a time when organizations are at their most vulnerable and trying to take their first steps back to their office environment, malicious actors are continuing to ramp up their efforts. To combat an ever-evolving range of cybersecurity threats and compliance requirements, it’s time to invest in a plan of attack that combines new technology and integrations with tried-and-true best practices. In this article, the experts at Need Computer Help will cover several best security practices to protect your network today and into the future.   

Step 1: Determine Where Your Vulnerabilities Lie 

Do you ever wish you had a way of identifying potential threats and how they could impact your organization before they occur? With a comprehensive security risk assessment, not only can you identify and mitigate potential threats, but you can pinpoint the source of the threat, understand that the threat will likely materialize, and recognize ways you can remediate vulnerabilities in your organization. Common tasks performed in a risk assessment include the following:
 

  • Review the adequacy of your organization’s existing security policies and procedures 
  • Analyze threat and vulnerabilities, including likelihood and impact 
  • Review agreements involving products or services from vendors 
  • Review logical access and other methods of authentication  
  • Check the configuration, usage and maintenance of firewalls, servers, and remote access systems 
  • Create a report that documents the assets at risk, their corresponding threats, likelihood of occurrence and potential impact for future decision-making 
  • Develop an assessment policy that defines what your organization must do to address and mitigate the identified risks 

Step 2: Adopt Proactive Cybersecurity Solutions 

Once you’ve identified the current and emerging threats posed to your organization, it’s time to invest in a cybersecurity strategy that covers all of your bases, including cloud security, network security, VPNs, firewalls, data backup and mobile device protection. This typically involves gaining an in-depth understanding of the assets your organization is expected to protect. Then, you need to determine the appropriate level of risk exposure for your organization and get to know the threat landscape. Lastly, you will need to create a multi-layered strategy that addresses the vulnerabilities of your current security measures.  

Step 3: Turn to Your Employees 

When it comes to mitigating cybersecurity threats, your enterprise and all of its stakeholders need to be savvy. The basis for preventing a cyberattack of any kind starts with knowledge of cybersecurity best practices and the role you play in defending the organization from risks. When employers prioritize cybersecurity awareness training to address constantly evolving threats, it helps mitigate one of the most prevalent risk factors: human error. Some of the largest data breaches have occurred as a result of one employee falling prey to a phishing scheme that popped up in their inbox. Whether your method of prioritizing cybersecurity awareness involves creating a bulletin of cybersecurity news or routine sessions on secure browsing practices, it’s important to keep new and emerging cyberthreats in your line of vision at all times 

Step 4: Partner with a Dedicated Technology Partner 

Last but certainly not least, you’ll want to work with a dedicated technology partner that can help ensure you accomplish all of your IT and cybersecurity business goals with ease. No matter whether you’re looking to ramp up your cloud security or double down on ransomware prevention and response, Need Computer Help is here to provide you with a strategy customized specifically for the technology needs and compliance requirements of your business. No stress, no hassle, and no strings attached. Contact our team of security experts today. 


3 Ways Cloud Services & VoIP Technology Can Enhance Business Collaboration

Over a full year after a monumental shift to work-from-home, a number of companies are heading toward a hybrid workplace where employees have the flexibility to rotate in and out of the office and access what they need through cloud services. One potential roadblock to a successful hybrid workplace model is the upfront investment in tools and systems that can support a blended workforce. In this blog, we’ll discuss a few of these investments in greater detail and why it’s so important to implement them as soon as possible.

For more ways technology can change your workplace for the better, reach out to the experts at Need Computer Help.

1. Enable a Digital Workplace with Tools to Conduct Business Anywhere

If you want to harness the power of mobile collaboration, it’s important to make sure that your team has the right tools to sustain a successful mobile experience. Are your workers able to do the same work from their laptop or cellphone as they can from their desktop computers? If not, invest in technology that can make key applications accessible.

To boost collaboration, you’ll want to set your team up with a digital toolset that can bring your entire staff together through email, video calling, group chat and synchronized calendars.

2. Take Your Collaboration Tools to the Next Level with the Cloud

In past years, enabling your business with advanced collaboration technology required complex, time-consuming and expensive infrastructure. But now, with the rise of cloud technologies and cloud-hosted applications, advanced collaboration is well within reach. Whether you’re looking to collaborate in real-time through virtual meetings or asynchronously through shared workplaces and files, innovative cloud services are sure to take your collaboration tools to the next level.

Cloud-based business applications are easy to deploy, maintain and access. Even better, your critical data and files are automatically synced and accessible from any of your internet-ready devices. No more confusion over which file version is the most recent or frustration over who can’t access a file off site. Some common cloud-delivered collaboration services worth looking into include Dropbox, OneDrive and M-Files.

3. Integrate VoIP with Your Existing Tools and Applications

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a technology that converts voice into a digital signal, allowing you to make phone calls over a broadband internet connection as opposed to a traditional landline. And VoIP technology can integrate different multimedia so you can turn an instant messaging thread into an impromptu virtual meeting. Better yet, there’s no need to purchase extra hardware or software from yet another vendor. With VoIP, you have more options than ever for real-time collaboration, all with your existing equipment.

Are You Ready to Grow Your Business?

If you’re ready to deploy a forward-thinking technology plan that integrates tools essential to real-time collaboration, such as cloud services and VOIP, it’s time to partner with the technology experts at Need Computer Help. You’ll receive ongoing support, up-to-date insights and all the tools you need to set your business up for success.


Work From Home Security: 5 Types of Cyberattacks That Target Remote Workers and How to Defend Against Them

Remote work is a way of life for many businesses across the globe. The opportunity to see productivity and workforce satisfaction increase encouraged many employers to keep either partial or fully remote workforces. However, the drastic shift towards remote work left many companies with IT infrastructures that weren’t built to handle work from home security and business data privacy. According to the FBI, cybercrimes have increased by 300 percent since the beginning of the pandemic! This article will explore the most common cybercrimes businesses encounter due to remote workforces and how to properly implement data security protocols to ward of cyberattacks.

#1 Social Engineering:

A study by the Ponemon Institute concluded that cybersecurity prevention measures can save businesses up to $1.4 million per attack! But what exactly is social engineering and how does it affect your remote workforce?

Social engineering is tricky because it can be performed both in person and via digital strategies. This form of cyberthreat is the extraction of critical information or breach of security through psychological manipulation. This threat could appear as harmless as a conversation at a coffee shop or a hacker posing as a potential client.

The Defense:

Just like a conversation with an employee can compromise your data security, it can also protect it. By hosting workforce training, you can reduce the likelihood of human error and help your employees spot warning signs of potential social engineering attempts. As an extra layer of protection, you should also establish the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to act as a gateway extending your private network across a public one. This keeps malicious activity that could threaten private information security isolated at the source.

#2 Cloud-Based Vulnerabilities:

In Q2 2020 alone, McAfee reported seeing a steep 7.5 million external attacks on cloud accounts, a growth of over 250 percent from 2019. These attacks especially targeted cloud servers that weren’t password protected. While motivations once the cloud security was breached vary between ransomware, brute-force entry, DDoS attacks and more, the results are all ones to avoid! With businesses utilizing cloud-based systems more with remote workforces, this is an area of work from home security that oftentimes needs attention.

The Defense:

As the vulnerability above illustrated, simply adding a unique, random character password that changes regularly can be enough to halt many attacks on data security. Finding cloud-based systems that provide extra layers of data security can also protect your data privacy. An additional measure you can take with remote employees is requesting cloud collaboration tools only be accessed on secure, company-based devices and that all files are securely stored in the cloud system. You should also work with an IT expert to ensure regular updates are being maintained on all software and technology, as unpatched technology leaves a door open for hackers to enter otherwise secure systems. By taking these steps, your cloud system’s security will be far more reliable.

#3 Ransomware and Malware:

For 2021, Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that businesses will be attacked with ransomware every 11 seconds. Even worse, a study by the Ponemon Institute calculated out that the average cost for a business to clean up the aftermath of a cybersecurity breach to be approximate $690,000 per small business, and over $1 million for middle-market companies! With your private information security and ROI on the line, it’s critical to bolster work from home security to prevent these costly attacks to your profit, brand reputation and data privacy.

The Defense:

There are a few strategies you can implement in unison to provide your business with 360-degree protection from ransomware and malware threats. The first strategy is the provision of company-owned devices rather than allowing employees to use personal devices. This allows you to control the security measures in place and monitor access points from potential hackers. Another strategy is the use of Data Loss Prevention (DLP) plans. When an IT expert is consulted, a DLP is a robust defensive plan that can tighten preventative security measures, backup valuable data, isolate potential attacks from the main network and react swiftly to active threats and data breaches. These plans should be disseminated to all employees so that everyone is on the same page regarding appropriate digital behavior, potential risks and how to react if they see something suspicious occurs or arises.

#4 Password Attacks

This is a simple vulnerability that many businesses can potentially overlook. If you reflect on your own password usage, odds are you use a specific set of passwords that you’ll remember across many of your digital accounts. This could be your social media passwords, subscriptions, billing accounts and workplace device passwords. However, this is a worst-case scenario for businesses if an employee’s personal account information becomes compromised. This can create an entryway into your business’s secure network, servers and data that can wreak havoc before anyone realizes it’s happening.

The Defense:

Luckily, as easy as it is to overlook, it’s a quick fix. Establish security protocols surrounding passwords, like random character strings, the use of varied symbols, letters and numbers, a set timeframe that all passwords are required to be updated and the prevention of using old passwords for account access. If you want to take your security to the next level, you can also require things like multi-factor authentication and session locking mechanisms. These will aid in detecting suspicious traffic and activity within your network and deter hackers from infiltrating your system.

Coupled with a vigilant team, data loss prevention (DLP) strategies are measures that can be set in place to preserve your data in the event of a natural or manmade disaster striking. These plans work to prioritize data, learn risks, closely monitor data movement and ensure that backups are regularly implemented to swiftly restore order back to your business.

#5 Business Email Compromise:

Business Email Compromise (BEC) comes cloaked in various forms. BEC could be executed through phishing attempts, spoof domains, malware or many other hacker strategies, all with the intent to obtain entry into secure networks, money or private data. And with remote employees, they can be targeted in calculated ways that many aren’t expecting. In fact, IBM noted across their studies that human error is the leading cause of 95 percent of cybersecurity breaches and the average time businesses took to identify data breaches was 207 days! Once the hacker enters a secure network, they can do anything from establishing wire fraud, SQL injection, DDoS attacks, session hijacking and more! This information should be startling, considering Cisco predicts that DDoS attacks alone are estimated to reach 15.4 million by 2023!

The Defense:

External network security with remote access to secure, cloud-based tools and VPNs should be staples in a business’s work from home security strategy. Also, employees should be instructed on vigilance and precautionary measures when using public networks, such as coffee shops or co-workspaces. The ability to isolate a hacker’s breach to a single device allows your business to respond quicker to the threat! Another action step you can take to improve data security, especially if your employees are required to travel, is mobile device protection. This, again, can be done either by the provision of the device or by crafting a mobile device management solution that can take control of any lost or stolen devices.

Preventative Measure for Work From Home Security Success

While this information seems straightforward, it can be challenging to implement and maintain for businesses. Bringing on a team of technology experts whose sole focus is to provide exceptional managed IT services, 24/7/365 support and innovative thought leadership can remove the stress and worry from your digital security implementation. Many of our clients enjoy the luxury of being able to focus on the success and growth of their businesses, knowing that we are standing behind them as their partner against cyberthreats. If you’re interested in learning how your current cybersecurity measures stack up, potential vulnerabilities and ways you can effectively implement advanced technology solutions that won’t break your budget, give us a call or contact us for a free assessment today!


project management

3 Ways to Improve Project Management from Our PM Expert

Whether you use a project management (PM) software that doesn’t quite fit the needs of your company or you’re winging it without a solution, project management is a crucial piece to your business that can’t be overlooked. That’s why we’ve asked our project management expert to answer the most common PM questions, give us more insight into the importance of a reliable project management software, and teach us how we can improve our existing solutions.

What is project management software and how will it impact my business?

Project management software is a comprehensive solution designed to give your team more visibility, control and access to your business projects. You’re able to track time, organize tasks and projects, and identify gaps that are impacting your timeline and budget.

A study by Hive found that 77 percent of high-performing projects use PM software. By adopting a project management software or finding a solution that fits your business needs, you’ll make a stronger impact on the success of your projects. You’ll be able to quickly identify gaps and roadblocks in your processes, easily reassign tasks to alleviate hold-ups and – for some software solutions – track the time spent on a project within your task so that you can properly bill for the hours worked. This helps your business work seamlessly and effectively.

How do I find the right PM software solution for my business?

There are a lot of tools in the market for project management. From the free programs with limited features to the per-user options that give you unlimited access, finding the right project management software for your business requires more than throwing darts at a board.

First, you need to analyze your needs. If you’ve never implemented a PM software before, you’re starting with a blank slate. If you already have a solution that isn’t quite fitting your needs, where has your previous software failed? Identify what you need and what your goals for this solution are, then do extensive research finding a tool that accommodates those needs. A managed services partner can be your biggest asset when it comes to leveraging vendor relationships and identifying the most secure software option for your business.

How do I know if my project management software is working for my business?

Whether this is a question you’re asking before or after adopting a software program, the answer is still the same – is your PM solution helping you meet your goals? If your team struggles to stay on track and adhere to a strict budget, is your software doing that? No two software solutions are the same, and how you use your PM solution greatly impacts the answer to this question.

Some solutions don’t include time tracking. While there are other applications that you can use for this purpose, if your main goal is to have a solution that helps you send out appropriate billing, then you would be disappointed with a software solution that doesn’t offer time tracking capabilities.

Improving your existing software or finding a project management software on your own can feel overwhelming, but you don’t have to do it alone. To get help in finding the right solution for your business and for more advice on how you can improve your existing software, contact us today.


trending tech gifts

5 Trending Tech Gifts Rated from Practical to Ultra Cool

What’s more challenging to you, buying gifts for people who like to have all the cool stuff or shopping for those with more practical tastes? We all know people on either side of the spectrum, though most are somewhere in the middle. How do you get the right gift for each of them?

To make your shopping a little easier, we’ve rated five trending holiday tech gifts by how cool they are. We’ve even created a coolness scale for them, from one ice cube for the most practical gifts to five ice cubes for the ultra-cool. Regardless of their coolness rating, each of these gifts is hot right now, and that’s a good thing.

One Ice Cube

Nest Learning Thermostat

By programming your thermostat for you without any instructions, the Nest Learning Thermostat makes your life so much easier it’s actually a little bit cool – and that’s saying a lot for a thermostat. Nest pays attention to when you raise and lower the temperature, so it can take over the task of programming itself for you. For all the practical people you know, Nest is a very smart gift.

Two Ice Cubes

Linksys Velop Mesh WiFi

You know that moment when you make yourself nice and comfy with your laptop or tablet and then realize that you have no WiFi in that part of the house or yard? Give someone on your list the Linksys Velop Mesh WiFi and they will never have that experience again. Each node covers 2,000 square feet. Additional nodes can be daisy chained together to achieve 100 percent WiFi coverage.

Three Ice Cubes

Amazon Echo Show

The second-generation Echo Show raises the coolness factor with a 10.1-inch HD screen, premium speakers and video call capability. Alexa awaits every command, from turning lights on and off to playing your music to showing you recipes, photos, movies and much more. Eight microphones allow Alexa to hear you even when music is playing. Echo Show is a gift many people don’t realize how much they’ll love it until they have it, and that’s pretty cool.

Four Ice Cubes

Xbox or PS4

Sure, these gaming systems have been around for a long time, but so many people play games on other devices that when they finally get a chance to play on an Xbox or PS4, the first words out of their mouths are usually, “This is cool!” Playing Fortnite on a big screen Full HD or 4K TV is eminently cooler than playing on a phone or laptop. Plus, the gaming system doubles as a streaming device for the TV. Everyone wins.

Five Ice Cubes

iPhone XS

How do you make the coolest phone even cooler? Leave it to Apple. Upgrades to face recognition security and speaker sound quality top the list, along with new color choices. Those inclined to having phone accidents will appreciate that the iPhone XS can handle a deeper and longer fall into water. On screen, the dynamic range has been boosted 60 percent, which means the darks are darker and the lights are lighter. Still the ultra-coolest.

Our Gift to You

We also have one very cool and extremely practical gift, just for your business. We will come to your office to evaluate and report on how well your current technology is serving your business. No fee, no obligation – it’s on us. Contact us today.


tech investments blog

4 Investments to Make in the New Year

Gartner estimates that in the coming year, technology budgets will grow by 2.8 percent. It’s not shocking when you consider that budgets have been increasing each year for the past decade – and there’s no evidence of it stopping anytime soon.

As technology changes and adapts to growing needs, we’re finding new and better ways to strengthen our operations and secure customers’ confidential information. But, what trends will the coming year bring and how can you use them to your full advantage?

Here are four investments you can make to improve your business next year:

Enhance Your Setup

Most businesses think you need to completely revamp your infrastructure and processes to improve your productivity, but enhancing your workforce is sometimes as simple as adding a second, third or fourth monitor. A study by Fujitsu Siemens Computers found that additional monitors can increase productivity by 35 percent, making it one of the easiest – and most cost-efficient – ways to improve productivity and ROI.

Train Your Team

As cybercriminals become smarter at disguising viruses and scams, your team needs to be smarter too. Phishing scams are difficult to identify, but by training your employees on how to recognize threats and investing in a multi-layered security solution, you can keep your customers’ confidential information safe and eliminate the risk of downtime, data loss and interruptions.

Upgrade Outdated Tech

Microsoft is ending support for Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 and Exchange Server 2010 by January 2020. Outdated technology is not only detrimental to your productivity, but it creates gaps in your defenses and allows cybercriminals to exploit bugs in your systems. By upgrading your technology, you can ensure your operations are efficient and safe.

Migrate to the Cloud

Moving to the cloud isn’t just the popular thing to do, it’s normal and – most importantly – necessary for improving storage space, reducing operating costs and streamlining operations. From hosting files and applications like Office 365 to expanding storage with virtual and hosted servers, the cloud provides a variety of solutions that can be customized to fit your exact needs.

Don’t go into the new year unprepared. By investing in these trends and more, you can be ready for anything the new year has to throw at you. Contact us today for more information on how we can improve your existing IT solutions and keep your business safe from cyber threats like phishing scams and the dark web.