pOWER ouTAGE sMALL bUSINESS pROTECTION

Protect your Company’s Computers from Summer Storms: A Small Business Guide

Summer storms can cause power surges and outages, putting your IT systems at risk. Here’s how to protect your business:

  1. Use Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS)
    UPS devices give you backup power during outages, allowing you to save work and shut down systems safely. This prevents data loss and hardware damage.
  2. Install Surge Protectors
    Power surges can damage electronics. Connect all important IT equipment to surge protectors with high ratings for better protection.
  3. Regular Data Backups
    Regularly back up your data both on-site and off-site (or in the cloud). This ensures you can quickly recover your data after a power issue.
  4. Conduct a Risk Assessment
    Find out which systems are most vulnerable during a power outage or surge. Focus on protecting these systems first.
  5. Train Your Team
    Make sure your employees know how to shut down equipment properly during a power outage. Regular training reduces risks.

Protecting your IT infrastructure from summer storms is essential.

Prepare now to safeguard your technology and ensure your business keeps running smoothly. Feel free to contact us today to learn more about protecting your IT infrastructure from summer storms!

Team Copilot from Durham IT Services

Have you heard about Team Copilot yet? It’s the latest addition to Microsoft’s suite of AI tools, designed to enhance Copilot for small business productivity. Available later this year, Team Copilot is an advanced AI assistant that helps your team work better together.

How Team Copilot Can Help

  1. Meeting Facilitator During Teams video calls, Team Copilot can take and share notes, create follow-up tasks, and track time for each agenda item. This makes meetings more efficient and organized.
  2. Group Text Chat Assistant In Teams group chats, Copilot summarizes lengthy conversations to highlight key points and answers questions, helping your team stay informed without sifting through endless messages.
  3. Project Manager Team Copilot helps manage projects by creating tasks in Microsoft’s Planner app, assigning them to team members, and even completing some tasks itself. It ensures everyone stays on track and aware of their responsibilities.

Why It’s a Game-Changer

Team Copilot streamlines group interactions, boosting your team’s efficiency and collaboration. It handles note-taking, time tracking, and task management, so your team can focus on what really matters—driving your business forward. While it doesn’t replace a human facilitator, it significantly enhances productivity.

Get Ready for Enhanced Productivity

Team Copilot will be available in preview later this year for Microsoft 365 customers with a Copilot subscription. Its potential to transform team productivity is huge, making it an essential tool for small businesses looking to boost their efficiency.

Need Help Getting Started?

If you have any questions or need further assistance understanding how Copilot for small business productivity can benefit your business, contact us at Durham IT. We’re here to help you leverage the latest technology to enhance your team’s productivity and drive your business forward.

Protect your business from accidental popups in Teams meetings

Imagine you’re on an important video call with a client, confidently presenting your latest project updates. Suddenly, a notification pops up from your significant other or a reminder from your gym. Embarrassing, right? You can rely on the new Microsoft Teams hide apps feature to prevent any embarrassing notifications.

Microsoft is working on this feature to hide specific apps during Teams calls. No more worrying about intrusive notifications.

Protect Your Business and Employees

This feature not only protects your privacy but also shields your employees from similar embarrassments. By maintaining professionalism, you safeguard your business’s reputation.

Boost Performance

Beyond privacy, this feature can enhance your device’s performance by freeing up resources. Say goodbye to frantically closing apps to ensure a smooth video stream.

Stay Updated

We’re excited about this potential update and will monitor the Microsoft 365 roadmap for developments.

Need Help Now?

If you need immediate help to make your business’s video calls run smoothly, get in touch. Our team specializes in seamless IT experiences for small businesses.

Additional Tips for Using Teams for Web Calls

  1. Optimize Your Background: Ensure a professional background during calls. Use the built-in background blur or upload a custom background to minimize distractions.
  2. Use Headphones: Reduce background noise and improve audio quality by using headphones with a built-in microphone. This can make a significant difference in call clarity.
  3. Check Your Lighting: Good lighting is essential for video calls. Ensure your face is well-lit, preferably with natural light or a good quality desk lamp.
  4. Test Your Equipment: Before important calls, test your microphone, camera, and internet connection. This ensures you can address any technical issues beforehand.
  5. Schedule Breaks: Back-to-back meetings can be exhausting. Schedule short breaks between calls to rest and prepare for the next meeting.
  6. Use Teams Features: Take advantage of Teams’ features such as screen sharing, whiteboard, and meeting recording to enhance collaboration and productivity during calls.

By following these tips, you can ensure your Teams web calls are professional, efficient, and free from unnecessary distractions.

When you are running a small business everyday is a busy day!

Here are five straightforward ways a good IT service provider can significantly boost your office productivity to help alleviate some of the stress in managing your growing business!

Simplify Collaboration with Cloud Tools

Embrace platforms like Microsoft 365 for centralized communication and document sharing, enabling smoother collaboration.

Organize Tasks Easily with Management Software

Invest in user-friendly tools like Trello or Asana for effective task organization, ensuring deadlines are met and enhancing overall productivity.

Ensure Security for Peace of Mind

Prioritize cybersecurity with firewalls, antivirus software, and regular employee training to safeguard sensitive information and create a secure workspace.

Upgrade Communication with VoIP Solutions

Switch to cost-effective Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solutions like Cytracom for faster communication, reducing barriers and improving overall productivity.

Save Time with Task Automation

Automate repetitive tasks using tools like Microsoft Power Automate to redirect time and energy to strategic activities, streamlining workflows.

 

Conclusion

As a small business owner, these simple IT solutions can significantly boost your productivity, creating an efficient work environment for sustained success. If you have any or questions or would like to discuss implementing these strategic services we would love to have a conversation with you about moving forward!

If you run a small business, choosing the right money-tracking tool is crucial. Let’s break down QuickBooks Online (QBO) and QuickBooks Desktop in simple terms.

QuickBooks Online: Your Office Anywhere

Pros:

  1. Easy Access: QBO lets you handle money from any internet-connected gadget, making it convenient for office or remote work.
  2. No Fuss Updates: QBO updates automatically, ensuring you always have the latest features without manual efforts.
  3. Teamwork Made Easy: Multiple team members can work on finances simultaneously, promoting smoother collaboration.

Cons:

  1. Subscription Cost: QBO comes with a monthly cost, similar to a subscription service.

 

QuickBooks Desktop: Stable with Extra Features

Pros:

  1. Buy It Once: Desktop requires a one-time purchase, making it budget-friendly for businesses.
  2. Works Without Wi-Fi: Desktop doesn’t rely on constant internet, ensuring access even in areas with internet issues.
  3. Extra Cool Features: Desktop often includes advanced features, beneficial for businesses with unique needs.

Cons:

  1. Stuck on Your Device: Unlike QBO, Desktop is limited to the computer it’s installed on.
  2. Reminder for Updates: Desktop needs manual updates, requiring your attention.

 

Conclusion:

Consider your business needs when choosing between QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop. QBO is like a flexible buddy for your team, while Desktop is a stable helper with extra features. Each has its pros and cons, so pick the one that aligns with what your business requires.

Need help with QuickBooks? We’ve got you covered at Durham IT Services! Our experienced team is here to keep your QuickBooks running smoothly, so you can focus on your work hassle-free. Reach out if you have any issues – we’re just a call away!

In today’s connected world, data breaches threaten businesses of all sizes. This guide outlines essential steps for small business owners in responding to a breach, ensuring a proactive and effective approach.

 

Stay Calm and Assess: Remain composed and identify the breach’s extent, understanding compromised data like customer information or financial records.

Contain the Breach: Swiftly isolate affected systems, change passwords, and revoke unauthorized access to limit potential damage.

Notify Parties: Communicate promptly with customers and relevant parties, explaining the breach’s nature and steps taken for resolution.

Comply with Regulations: Understand and comply with data protection regulations like GDPR or HIPAA to avoid legal consequences.

Assist Individuals: Support affected individuals by offering resources for credit monitoring and aiding in password updates.

Post-Incident Review: Conduct a thorough review to identify vulnerabilities and implement measures preventing similar incidents.

Enhance Cybersecurity: Strengthen cybersecurity by investing in robust systems, encrypting data, and educating employees on best practices.

Update Policies: Revisit and update data handling policies, implementing strict access controls and fostering a culture of cybersecurity.

Facing a data breach is challenging, but a proactive response is crucial. Consider Durham IT for tailored services designed for small businesses, offering cutting-edge solutions to secure your digital assets. Explore Durham IT’s services today to create a secure digital environment for your small business.

Slow computers creating roadblocks? In this post, we’ll explore common slowdown issues and offer insights into optimizing performance. Stick around to learn how our company’s automated solutions can simplify these processes.

  1. Web Browsers – Tab Management: Too many tabs? Tools like “The Great Suspender” ease the strain, ensuring a smoother browsing experience for your team.
  2. Security Software – Balanced Protection: Secure systems without disruption. Scheduled scans during off-peak hours strike a balance, ensuring both security and productivity.
  3. Collaboration Tools – Efficient Teamwork: Optimize collaboration tools to minimize syncing delays, enabling seamless teamwork and enhancing overall efficiency.
  4. Document Management Systems – Smart Organization: Automated syncing intelligently organizes files, optimizing efficiency without compromising speed.
  5. Email Clients – Clutter-Free Communication: Maintain organized inboxes for effective communication. Our automated services ensure clutter-free email clients, promoting uninterrupted collaboration.
  6. Unnecessary Plugins/Add-ons – Clean Browsing: Browser extensions impacting performance? Regular audits to disable unnecessary plugins keep your team’s browsing experience clean and efficient.

Addressing common computer slowdowns is vital for a productive work environment. Explore these quick solutions and consider our company’s automated services for streamlined processes. Optimize your systems to empower your team, and if you’re intrigued, reach out to learn more about how our services can benefit your small business!

It feels like every day we’re being warned about a new threat to our cyber security, doesn’t it? That’s for good reason. Last year, ransomware attacks alone affected 81% of businesses. By 2025, the cost of cyber-crime is estimated to hit $10.5 trillion according to the ‘2022 Cybersecurity Almanac’.

But we’re still seeing far too many businesses that aren’t taking this threat seriously. It’s not only your data that you could lose if your company falls victim to a cyber-attack. The cost of remediation or mitigation can run into tens of thousands of $$$.

At the same time, you’ll suffer an average of 21 days of downtime after a cyber-attack. Imagine… 21 days without being able to use all your business technology as normal. That would be disastrous. That’s not to mention the loss of trust your clients have in you, which could lead to you losing their business.

It’s really important that your business is taking appropriate steps to keep your data safe and secure. That most likely means a layered approach to your security. This is where several solutions are used, which work together to give you a level of protection appropriate to your business. This reduces your risk of being attacked and makes recovery easier should you fall victim.

It’s worth pointing out that you will never be able to keep your business 100% protected from cyber-attacks. Not without totally locking down every system, to the point where it would be very difficult to do business (and your staff would constantly be looking for ways around the enhanced security).

The key to excellent cyber security is striking the right balance between protection and usability. There are three mistakes that are most commonly made by businesses – and they’re also some of the most dangerous mistakes to make.

Is your business making any of these?

 

Mistake 1) Not Restricting Access

Different employees will have different needs when accessing company files and applications. If you allow everyone access to everything, it risks your entire network.

You should also make sure to change access rights when someone changes roles, and revoke them when they leave.

 

Mistake 2) Allowing Lateral Movement

If cyber criminals gain access to a computer used by a member of your admin team, that in itself might not be a disaster, but what if they could move from your admin system to your invoicing system… and from there to your CRM… and then into someone’s email account?

This is known as lateral movement. The criminals gain access to one system and work their way into more sensitive systems. If they can get into the email of someone who has admin rights to other systems or even the company bank account, they can start resetting passwords and locking out other people. Scary stuff!

One strategy against this is called air gapping. It means that there’s no direct access from one part of your network to another.

 

Mistake 3) Not Planning & Protecting

Businesses that work closely with their IT partner to prepare and protect are less likely to be attacked in the first place and will be back on their feet faster if the worst does happen.

You should also have an up-to-date plan in place that details what to do, should an attack happen. This will significantly shorten the amount of time it takes to respond to an attack. That means you’ll limit your data loss and the cost of putting things right again.

 

If you know you’re making any of these mistakes in your business, you need to act quickly. We can help. Book a 15 minute, no obligation call with us at www.durham-it.ca/book-a-call/ and we can do a quick review of your current security set up.

 

Published with permission from Your Tech Updates.

Your data is pivotal to running a successful company. If you don’t have proper security measures in place, hackers can easily steal your data and take you out of business.

Cybercriminals might be the biggest threat facing your company. Besides gaining access to your money and accounts, they can also take over critical software, preventing you from collaborating with clients.

Any organization can fall victim to hacking. However, small and medium businesses are particularly at risk.

Why?

Too often, their owners don’t always address cybersecurity when launching their company. Sometimes, they even just hire the first IT service provider they see. They also don’t know how to shield themselves from online attackers, making them low-risk targets.

As a result, these organizations often go under due to the loss of sensitive data. It isn’t a risk you can take.

To help mitigate these risks, this article will introduce you to the various types of hackers to help you understand what exactly you are protecting your business against.

THE 5 TYPES OF HACKERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Here’s a quick list of potential hackers, depending on what they’re after:

#1. HACKERS WHO ARE AFTER PERSONAL INFORMATION

Many hackers are dying to get their hands on the personal information of your clients and employees. It includes birth dates, financial data, and social security numbers.

Social security numbers might be the most valuable asset they want to get a hold of since cybercriminals can use them for various purposes. For instance, they can perform tax fraud, open credit accounts, and make other significant identity breaches.

In addition, financial data can be utilized for fraudulent activities and purchases, especially if it lacks robust digital security systems.

#2. HACKERS WHO WANT TO GET INTO THE DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURE

Storage and data servers are expensive – and hackers know that.

In order for them to cut costs, hackers may aim to store their applications and data on your infrastructure instead. The better your infrastructure, the more likely cybercriminals are to target it. This can strain your network to the limits and have devastating effects on your business.

Unsurprisingly, tech companies are some of the most common victims of this type of hacking.

The common indicators that a hacker has tapped into your digital infrastructure include:

  • Running out of storage faster than usual
  • Your network suffers slowdowns
  • You may have unknown devices on your network
#3. HACKERS WHO ARE AFTER CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION

Few business aspects are as important as your intellectual property (IP). Your products and services enable you to stand out from the competition and strike a chord with the target audience.

A huge problem arises if hackers steal the design of your upcoming product before you launch it or submit your patent. A competitor may obtain the information, allowing them to hit the market first and undercut your sales.

#4. HACKERS WHO WANT TO GET ACCOUNT DATA

You and your IT service provider might have done enough so that hackers might not be able to obtain financial data, but are your employees’ accounts secure?

If hackers compromise them, they may let them run scams and gain information to disrupt your operations.

For example, losing CEO login credentials can be devastating. Besides granting hackers access to sensitive information, it also helps them impersonate the CEO. In return, they can solicit information from employees or clients and halt your operations.

This data breach can lead to widespread confusion, tarnishing your reputation.

#5. HACKERS WHO AIM TO HAVE NETWORK CONTROL

In some cases, hackers aren’t after data. Instead, they want to gain control of your entire network. To make this happen, they launch ransomware attacks.

These activities enable them to lock you out of the system and make data inaccessible until you pay a ransom. They’re typically initiated through spam, phishing emails, and online ads.

The average ransom amount stands at approximately $30,000, but the loss caused by business disruption is much more significant.

STAY ON THE SAFE SIDE

Battling hackers may not be the most exciting part of running a business. However, neglecting cybersecurity turns your company into a sitting duck for scammers. You may lose money and data, and your reputation might suffer irreparable damage.

While there isn’t a bulletproof solution, there are many ways that your business can mitigate these risks.

Contact us today if you want to discuss your cybersecurity and pinpoint potential risks. You can book a 15 minute, no obligation call with us at www.durham-it.ca/book-a-call/.

 

Article used with permission from The Technology Press.

Your business can benefit a lot from working with an IT provider. However, you need to avoid several key mistakes when choosing your team.

Time spent on trying to figure out the technology you use in your business can be costly. While doing that, you can’t focus on your business needs, which can then result in poor customer satisfaction.

This is where IT providers come into play.

They enable you to outsource hardware and computing-related services, such as managed IT security and cloud computing. IT providers can also provide a robust IT infrastructure so that you can direct your attention to revenue-generating activities.

While there are numerous IT providers to choose from, not all of them will accommodate your business’s specific needs. Integrating with the wrong team can raise your spending due to irrelevant services, recurring security issues, data backup problems, and downtime.

Therefore, you need to be extra careful when selecting your team. The only way to avoid disappointment is to avoid these eight common mistakes when looking for the right IT provider.

THE EIGHT MISTAKES

MISTAKE #1 – INSISTING ON THE NEWEST TECHNOLOGY

Many advertisers want to trick you into believing that the latest technology will resolve all your issues. While the newest virtualization or cloud offerings can boost operations in many enterprises, they might not suit your business.

Hence, don’t let the hype surrounding new products dazzle you.

Carefully consider the results your IT provider will help you achieve and determine if those results are worth the level of investment. Your provider shouldn’t confuse you with state-of-the-art features – they should guide you and allow for seamless integration.

MISTAKE #2 – FAILURE TO CONSIDER THE RESPONSE TIMES

Determining the response times of your prospective IT providers is essential. You need to ask them how long they usually take to reply to queries and resolve problems. Be sure to gauge their onsite support efficiency too.

Not inquiring about their availability is another grave error. Your IT team should provide round-the-clock services, including specialists that will monitor your system.

Constant monitoring and availability can help ensure you can detect IT issues early. With this, the provider can immediately administer patches and updates to safeguard against disasters.

Furthermore, your IT provider should offer simple access to their desk support. You should be able to contact them via email, phone, and chat for instant guidance.

MISTAKE #3 – NEGLECTING THE SECURITY ASPECT

Disregarding the security features of your IT provider might be the most severe mistake. Teams with improper defence mechanisms can’t shield your system from cyber attackers, increasing the risk of losing data and access to resources.

To avoid this, look for IT providers that can protect you from malware and other threats. They also need to prioritize protecting your business’s confidential data, like trade secrets and customer information.

When it comes to specific security measures, your IT provider should have features that prevent data intrusions instantly upon detection. The list includes phishing attacks simulations, web content filtering, DNS security, endpoint protection, mobile device management, and dark web protection.

In addition, responsible teams should eliminate point-of-sale and network intrusions before they compromise your system. Making sure they abide by security compliance and government regulations is also paramount.

MISTAKE #4 – FORGETTING THE BUDGET

Many IT companies operate under pay-as-you-go pricing schemes. Although this helps you minimize upfront investment, adopting a large number of technologies simultaneously without considering the recurring costs can cripple your finances.

Thus, think twice before signing on the dotted line.

Research your providers thoroughly and draft your budget with professional assistance. These steps can prevent considerable frustration down the line.

MISTAKE #5 – NOT DETERMINING SCALABILITY

One of the biggest impediments to growing your company is choosing an IT provider with poor scalability.

In contrast, scalable IT teams allow your business to evolve and grow. They can continually extend their services to accommodate your company’s goals, even if these goals change.

MISTAKE #6 – OPTING FOR A NON-RESPONSIVE SERVICE LEVEL AGREEMENT

Service level agreements (SLAs) hold IT providers accountable for their services. It establishes standards for responsibilities, quality, scope, and delivery time in writing. Without it, you’ll have no way of ensuring transparent collaboration.

When selecting your IT provider, find one with a responsive agreement. It can help guarantee the SLA scales with their services while rendering continual improvement.

MISTAKE #7 – LACK OF TEAM TRAINING AND FEEDBACK

The story doesn’t end once you’ve found and partnered with a trustworthy IT provider. New technologies won’t magically increase your bottom line and decrease outputs.

To accomplish your goal, your employees will still need to understand how to use your new tech solutions. Bear in mind though, not every team member may be able to grasp new tools easily. Some may prefer the existing platforms.

Fortunately, you can hire IT experts to train them. These professionals should simplify any complex steps and advise your staff on making the most of your new investment.

Also, some enterprises set up regular training but fail to monitor their team’s performance. This is a huge mistake, as it keeps you from assessing your employee’s response to new technologies.

So, conduct questionnaires and other forms of feedback collection to determine and address any weaknesses.

MISTAKE #8 – IGNORING EXPERIENCES WITH PREVIOUS CLIENTS

Choosing an IT provider is similar to buying standard products and services. Failure to check user reviews can lead to disappointment.

To get a clear picture of your IT team’s capabilities, analyze their current and previous clients from similar industries. Look for reviews, testimonials, and ask the provider for a list of projects and references.

After doing your due diligence, you should be able to tell whether an IT provider is an ideal match for your company.

However, keep in mind that every IT team is different. For instance, they might be well-versed in the healthcare industry but have no experience working with retailers. That’s why as mentioned, stick to IT providers servicing your industry to get the best results.

FIND THE RIGHT FIT

Nobody wants to end up with a poor IT provider that can’t deliver great results, leaves your company open to cyberattacks, and causes other vulnerabilities. Your investment goes down the drain, and your operations suffer.

Luckily, we can show you a way out.

Let’s arrange a 15 minute, no obligation call. We can discuss more ways on how to find the right IT provider for you and ensure you get your money’s worth. Visit www.durham-it.ca/book-a-call/.

 

Article used with permission from The Technology Press.