Top Mistakes Small Businesses Make With Their IT Solutions – Part One

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When a business is first starting out, is it rare that technology needs are assessed. In fact, most businesses are trying so hard to get going that many get by with whatever technology they have, or whatever technology is cost effective enough to get by on for the short term.

But if your business doesn’t think about its technology and IT needs from the beginning, you could be making a big mistake. That’s because implementing the wrong solutions can cost you more than just money, it can also cost you employee productivity, office morale, and more.

Here are some of the top mistakes companies make when setting up IT support (part one). We hope this list helps your business avoid some costly mistakes.

“We don’t need an IT company.”

Often, particularly in the beginning, many businesses believe that they can get by without using an IT company. After all, Joe in accounting seems to know a lot about computers, you can just use him when you need to, right? Wrong. While Joe may be a computer whiz, IT support is not his expertise, accounting is, and while he’s wracking his brain on how to fix your computers, he’s not performing his actual job functions, costing you productivity.

Since IT support is not Joe’s specialty, he may create solutions which appear to work, but which are not truly in your company’s best interest. Instead, a professional IT company can assess your company’s needs and provide solutions which not only work in the short term, but will also grow with you as your company grows. And, Joe can get back to balancing the books, which is what you actually hired him for anyway.

“Can’t we just use the kid next door?”

We know the kid next door has been good to you. He fixes all your home computers, and does so at an affordable rate. Unfortunately, he falls in the same category as Joe – IT and true business level (enterprise-level) solutions aren’t his expertise, home computers are. There’s a reason there’s a separation between home and business in the computer world – the needs are distinctly different, and the kid next door just isn’t keyed into those needs. And if that’s not reason enough, we have 5 more reasons your business should use a professional IT company, instead of the kid next door.

“I can just go to the store and buy a computer. They’re only $300 anyway.”

Sure, inexpensive equipment can be tempting. After all, the price matches your budget perfectly. But remember, you get what you pay for, and there’s a reason that a cheap computer is cheap – it only has basic features. A $300 computer typically has a lower quality, slower processor, less memory, and entry-level components (like the network card). Additionally, cheaper computers tend to have much shorter warranties and support contracts, meaning you could be left in the lurch when your computer finally does break.

A professional IT company can help you mitigate costs, and get the best bang for your buck when it comes to your hardware. Additionally, an IT professional has experience with what hardware works best for companies like yours, which can save your business time and money.

And these are just a few of the top mistakes companies make when implementing IT solutions. Stay tuned for part two of this article, which comes out on Monday, to see what other top mistakes companies make and how to avoid them.

How to Create a Strong Password That You’ll Remember

Password Examples

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When it comes to picking a password, what system do you use for creating one that will be difficult to guess, but easy for you to remember?

For many people, the trend is to pick a word they’ll remember, like the name of their child or pet, and then add some easy to remember numbers after it, like a birth date. Somewhere along the way, you may have even been taught to substitute common letters for numbers, such as using a 3 in place of an E or a 0 (zero) for O.

While this is good practice in theory, the reality is that adding special characters to your password doesn’t make it any stronger. In fact, passwords like this are still very easy to crack.

The reason for this has to do with entropy, and a complicated math formula used to determine how long it would take for a password like this to be figured out. A seemingly complicated password such as Tr0ub4dor&3 has approximately 28 bits of entropy, which would take approximately 3 days to guess, at 1,000 guesses per second. Click here to read more about the concept of entropy.

It is because of entropy that the way we have been taught to create passwords is all wrong. Using conventional methods we may think that we’re picking a complex password, when in reality we’re just creating something that is easy for computers to figure out, but difficult for humans to remember.

Does this mean we’re doomed to having easy to crack passwords? Not necessarily. There is a better way to create a password that is more difficult for a computer to crack, but easier for you to remember.

The better way to create a password is to string four words together which may seem random, but which have some meaning to you. For example, a password created using the words correct, horse, battery, and staple (which would look like correcthorsebatterystaple) could be easy for you to remember, but would difficult to crack because it contains 44 bits of entropy, which would take 550 years to guess, at 1,000 guesses per second.

So the next time you are creating a password, take a moment and see if there are four seemingly random words you can remember, and use those to create your password. You’ll not only create something you can easily remember later, but you’re creating a password that is much more difficult for computers to crack, making for a more secure password in the long run.

Do you have a good trick to creating a good password? Leave us a comment and let us know how you create passwords.


Julie Strier is a freelance writer who wants to help you be smarter than the machines. Email: julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website:www.mybusinesswriter.com.

The Benefits of Flat-Rate IT Services

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Image Credit: 401(K) 2012

One of the things that makes TechQuility different from other IT providers is our mission — to bring enterprise level technology solutions to small businesses so that they can increase their overall productivity and efficiency without having to incur

a huge expense.

That’s why we offer true Flat-Rate IT services, so that small businesses can utilize the solutions they need, at a price they can afford.

What is Flat-Rate IT?

Flat-Rate IT is a predictable, reliable, and budgetable way to provide monitoring, maintenance, and services to small businesses for an affordable monthly fee.

How is Flat-Rate IT Different?

The traditional IT model is called break-fix. That is, the IT company is only profitable when their client’s systems are broken and need fixing. This means there is no incentive to keep the client’s computers up and running properly.

With Flat-Rate IT, we are only profitable when you are up and running smoothly. It is in our best interest to ensure that your IT solutions are working properly, the way they should be, so that your business is always productive. In this way, our goals are aligned with your goals, instead of the other way around.

Predictable

Since it is in our best interest to keep your business up and running, we monitor your systems and network which allows us to be aware of any possible issues and predict major problems before they occur. This means we can often fix major problems before they grind your business to a halt, and we can do so after hours, so that it doesn’t impact your productivity.

Reliable

Aside from monitoring services, with Flat-Rate IT we also provide routine maintenance, so that your systems are always running at their best. We optimize your solutions for your business, so that you’ll always know what to expect from your computers.

Budgetable

Flat-Rate IT services allow you to reduce the stress and burden of worrying about your IT bill. With a set monthly fee, you’ll always know what to expect, making your IT expenses manageable and budgetable. You don’t have to worry about being nickled-and-dimed, or about how much extra your support calls will cost. It’s all covered with Flat-Rate IT.

If you are tired of being at the mercy of your technology, contact us today. We can show you how your business can take advantage of the many benefits of true Flat-Rate IT services.