Author: Tim Lawton

It’s Time For A Refresh! 4 Cyber Security Trainings To Do With All Employees

Students are returning to the classroom now that back-to-school season is officially underway. During the first few weeks, teachers will be reteaching their students the topics they learned in the previous school year to help them regain knowledge they may have forgotten during summer break. But students aren’t the only ones in need of a refresher every year. Your employees also need to be refreshed on company policies, values and, most importantly, cyber security practices.

Did you know that human error accounts for 95% of all successful cyber-attacks? When a cybercriminal is planning an attack, they look for weak points within a company’s cyber security plan. The easiest spot for hackers to exploit is a company’s employees. New cyberthreats are created on a consistent basis, and it’s important that your employees know what to do when they encounter a potential threat. If your employees are not routinely participating in cyber security trainings, your business could be at risk, regardless of size.

Every single one of your employees should be familiar with your cyber security practices. When they’re hired on, they should go through an initial training that lays out all of your practices, and they should also participate in refresher trainings throughout the year to ensure that the entire team is on the same page with cyber security. At the very least, you should host at least one security training annually. If you’ve never put together a cyber security training, you may be wondering what topics you need to cover with your team. Below, you will find four of the most important topics to cover.

Responsibility For Company Data

This is your opportunity to explain to your employees why cyber security is so important. They need to understand why cybercriminals are interested in your company’s data and what they could potentially do with it. Everyone on your team has a legal and regulatory obligation to protect the privacy of your company’s information. When discussing this topic with your team, it’s imperative that they know the ramifications of falling victim to a cyber security threat.

Internet Usage

Does your company have restrictions on what websites your employees can use while at work? If not, that’s something you should look into. Every device that’s used by your employees should have safe browsing software downloaded onto it to prevent them from stumbling upon dangerous sites that could put your company’s data at risk. Your employees should know what sites are acceptable to use and that they should not be accessing their personal accounts while connected to your company’s network. They should never click on links that are sent from an anonymous source or are found on an unapproved website.

E-mail

If your employees utilize e-mail while at work, it’s important that they know which e-mails are safe to open. Employees should not respond to e-mails that are from people they aren’t familiar with, as that could be a cybercriminal attempting to gain access to your company’s data. Employees should only accept and open e-mails that they are expecting or that come from a familiar e-mail address.

Protecting Their Computers

If your employees have their own personal computers, they should be doing everything in their power to keep them protected. Whenever they walk away from their computer, they should make sure it’s locked; they should also never leave their computer in an unsecure location. Also, ensure that your employees are backing up their data routinely and have downloaded necessary antivirus software.

It’s of the utmost importance that your team has been fully trained in your cyber security practices. If they haven’t, they could open your business up to all sorts of cyber-attacks that will damage your company’s reputation from a customer perspective. Your business will also no longer be compliant, and insurance companies may not cover your claims if your team is not participating in regular training.

Ensuring that your team is aware of your cyber security practices and actively taking steps to strengthen your cyber security is the best way to stay compliant and prevent cyber-attacks. If your team is not regularly going through cyber security training, you need to start. It will offer more protection to your business, which will make your customers more comfortable doing business with your company.

Cybersecurity Threats to Worry About in 2022

Cybersecurity for small to medium-sized companies is an evolving issue. Every year there are slight changes to the landscape of online security that means adjustments are required, but many threats—such as bad actors causing massive data breaches– are evergreen. It’s easy to get caught up in one type of threat, especially when risk for it increases in a short span. For example, there is a lot of focus on ransomware protection in the last few years due to its steady increase in volume and sophistication, but many other threats that don’t get as much attention are still very real.

It’s difficult for small business owners to keep up with every new cybersecurity concern. There’s attention focused on something new all the time, but here are a few threats that you can count on you and your managed IT services provider needing to pay attention for the foreseeable future.

Employee and User Error

Having updated, well implemented policies and practices regarding cybersecurity for your staff is essential. There is no way to guarantee employees will never make a mistake—they are human being and that’s okay. Having documented policy that employees are consistently trained on though will make a huge difference and greatly reduce the risk of incidents in the future. Employees leaving passwords out, plugging in unvetted hard drives, connecting to the wrong, insecure Wi-Fi network and more will always be a problem for cybersecurity. People will never be infallible, so it’s always best to plan for it.

Internet of Things Risks and Vulnerabilities

The Internet of Things refers to the many small household objects and devices with wireless connections that are popular these days. Light bulbs, refrigerators, microwaves, speakers, and more all have variations with enhanced wi-fi connected features. Unfortunately, many of these devices are weaker with regards to security and hackers can use them as a point of access to get into your systems. If your business has a physical location, keeping items like them to a minimum may be better than allowing them in your workspace. Furthermore, if employees work from home, you should ensure they have security practices they are using if they have these devices in the same place they are working. These devices continue to be a major target for hackers and bad actors, so this is a problem unlikely to go away anytime soon.

Phishing Attacks

The reality that phishing attacks are a low effort and low tech means to hacking, and yet it’s still pretty effective overall as a way for attackers to cause data breaches, means it’s unlikely to ever go away fully as a tactic. Keep up with the latest common phishing scams and attempts to swindle innocent folks. Emails, spammy websites, robocalls even…whatever new tactics they’re using—make sure your entire team is capable of spotting them and avoiding catastrophe.

These are some evergreen cybersecurity concerns you can bank on being relevant for a long time, regardless of what you see in the headlines on news sites.

Why We Put Off Business Continuity

“Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday”

― Don Marquis

Business Continuity may sound like a vague or ominous term. Considering the details, it may feel like a project you would just as soon put off or kick down the road. After all, you’ve made it through hard times before. Aren’t you already busy enough running a business? And you can get to it next quarter, right? Anyways, it’s somebody else’s problem. Shouldn’t IT be initiating that effort? You’ve never had a problem with cyberattacks so far, what are the chances anyone would be interested in attacking your business?

Do any of these rationales sound familiar? Of all the things to put off, Business Continuity isn’t the one to gamble on. Let’s talk about your excuses.

I’m already busy, I don’t have time

Truth! You ARE busy, no doubt. But your time really isn’t about time, it’s about priorities. You fill your day with the things you prefer doing, the jobs you feel competent tackling, and the tasks you believe you can start and finish. The answer isn’t about finding or making time, it’s about organization and ranking priorities. If Business Continuity feels too big to start and finish, it’s a clue you need to break the project into sub-tasks you CAN finish. You don’t have to conduct a crisis dress rehearsal today. Take a breath. All you have to do is commit to the first step: Begin assessing your risks.

I’ll do it tomorrow

Will you really though? This sounds similar to your excuses above. Putting something off till tomorrow is a whole different level of procrastination. It doesn’t even attempt to make an excuse. It’s just throwing your hands in the air and shrugging your shoulders. The truth is, tomorrow never comes. It will always be today and Business Continuity will always be something you plan to take care of tomorrow. Think of it like this: tomorrow is not a day of the week. Wednesday is. Open your calendar right now, and give the continuation of your business, the hour it deserves.

It’s somebody else’s problem

Dwight Eisenhower said, “The search for a scapegoat is the easiest of all hunting expeditions.”

The truth is, continuity belongs to everyone in the business. It’s not just an IT thing, It’s not just a marketing thing. It’s a customer thing. Isn’t it? Imagine turning the “blame argument” around. Your superpower may be clearing your inbox with rapid replies or fast forwards – whatever it takes to clear your day to get back on task. Am I right? How great would it feel to have your team bring solutions to you? Be that leader for Business Continuity. Take a step, roll your sleeves up. And watch how quickly crisis management becomes a priority to the entire business. 

It won’t happen to me

You wear a seatbelt and buy insurance – that’s continuity. Making it this far doesn’t guarantee immunity. Should you gamble with the continuation of your business? Consider the effects of cyberattacks. More than half of all hits are on small-to-midsized businesses like yours, and 60 percent of these companies go out of business within six months. It WILL happen to you but when it does, you will be ready, won’t you? Your time, talent, and business are an investment worth it.

5 Reasons Your Business Needs Managed IT

5 Reasons Your San Francisco Business Needs Managed IT Services

Are you the manager who gets the call when the systems go down? Are you tired of maintaining an in-house server? Are you ready for a change? PCC is here to help your San Francisco business grow and change by implementing technology solutions that matter to you and your team. As your managed IT services provider, we promise that our team will work to protect and maintain systems, security, and data on your behalf. Stop being the IT department and let us support you.

Benefits of Managed IT Services

We understand Managed IT Services is not a one size fits all solution. When you partner with PCC, we will assess current systems, speak to managers, and determine a solution that not only fits your technology needs, but also fits your budget. The benefits of managed IT services include:

  1. Outsourcing. If you’re tired of being the IT department on top of your other responsibilities, it’s time to consider PCC for your managed IT services needs. From setting up email for a new employee to ensuring compliance standards are met, while securing and maintaining data, and everything in between, we are your partner. 
  2. Cost Efficient. Our flat fee, full service predictable monthly billing means that you can literally bank on what our service costs. From month to month, from quarter to quarter, we grow and change with your business. Need more data storage for tax season? We can scale up. Need less storage for the summer slowdown? We can scale back. We’re here to find solutions that fit your San Francisco business. 
  3. Experts. While it’s great to have in-house IT staff, they can’t possibly know everything about everything. Our team is expansive and experienced which means we work together to solve problems and identify solutions that your IT person may not even realize are possible. We can be your managed IT services department or we can work alongside your team to be the experts they may not even realize they need. Together, we will make your business secure and efficient. 
  4. Easily implement new technology. Ready to move the server room to the cloud? Onboarding a new employee? Need to update software or hardware? As your managed IT services partner, we can take your business wherever you want it to go. Whether you’re onboarding a new employee, moving to the cloud, need updates, and more, our team is ready to assess and implement a plan that’s right for your business.
  5. Predictable. We’re here for you 24/7/365 at a predictable monthly rate. Stop worrying about whether systems are working when you’re away from the office. Partnering with PCC means you have our team working when you’re away. Our call center is available whenever you or your team need us. You can count on it. 

Partnering with PCC for your San Francisco business Managed IT Services makes sense. Whether you’re growing, moving, or simply need a change, we’re here for you 24.7.365. 

Contact us today to learn more. 

3 Advantages of a Local IT Services Provider

It’s well documented that a third-party managed IT services provider is something many small and mid-level businesses benefit from while growing their business. The services provided can save the companies significant time and money. However, the decision over what MSP to partner with can be a difficult one. Something that can be a major difference maker that many organizations overlook when searching for a provider is the location of the managed IT services provider they hire. Local providers have several important benefits over companies that are serving you from halfway across the country—or even the globe in some cases. Here are some distinct advantages to having an IT partner in the same local market as your business.

Easier Access to IT Service Technicians

When a managed IT services provider is local to you, it’s easier for them to send technicians in person to assist you with any IT support issues that require specific attention. Obviously, if you’re located in the Bay Area, an Oakland IT services provider will have an easier time sending a full time employee to help your organization than a company that has to hire a freelance technician in your area to visit you. You will typically get faster, better service for technical issues requiring in-person help when your provider is physically nearby.

Easier to Align Schedules

When you’re in the same time zone as the company you partner with for IT services, it makes scheduling meetings, consultations, and other events much easier. It seems like a small thing, but it can make you and your staff’s life much easier when there’s no difficulty scheduling time with your IT consultants any time there is a concern.

Awareness of Any IT Concerns Exacerbated by Your Local Area

Some local areas have small realities about their Internet services that others don’t have to contend with. The availability of fiber or other high speed Internet options, issues with local ISPs, and other logistical problems can all contribute to unique IT difficulties in your local area. Having an IT company that understands the specific context IT issues you may face due to your physical location can save time and make for a much easier working relationship. If they know your potential problems before you do, your company can also save time when certain issues arise.

Whether you need Oakland IT services or IT support anywhere else in the country, it will probably benefit you to look at the quality of your local IT service providers before searching elsewhere. If your local to the East Bay area, give Pacific Computer Consultants a call for help with your IT consulting and service.

Who to Call for IT Services in Oakland, CA

As a major West Coast port community and the eighth most populated city in all of California, Oakland has much to boast about. Notably, many types of business make their home here, thriving in this creative, dynamic, and entrepreneurial environment. That includes vendors of information technology services. In this one 56-square-mile region, there is no lack of qualified, professional IT service providers to choose from. But if you are a small to midsize company in search of high-quality yet affordable IT services, that is exactly the problem. From among such an abundance of IT resources in Oakland, how do you decide which one is right for your organization? 

We could cut to the chase and simply advise you to call us, Pacific Computer Consultants, for the best in Oakland IT services. But that would be rather self-serving, and it wouldn’t really guide you in any meaningful way to make the correct decision. After all, the key to a successful business relationship between IT service provider and client is mutual understanding and trust. To that end, we have provided you here with a set of tools to help you wisely pick an IT services vendor in the Oakland area that will serve your organization best. 

What to Look for When Choosing a provider of IT Services in Oakland 

Here are some of the key questions you should ask before committing to an IT service provider. Some of the answers you can get directly from the IT company, while others may be found in online reviews, the Better Business Bureau, and other third-party sources. 

1. Are they an actual IT consultancy, or just a computer repair service? 

Your organization’s IT needs probably extend far beyond merely fixing crashed computers or troubleshooting printer setups. You want an expert in all levels of information technology, including the legal, regulatory, and compliance aspects of that industry. For example, if you are a financial services company, the IT vendor must be familiar with FINRA regulations. If you run a medical practice, the IT vendor must be versed in HIPAA law, the correct handling of electronic health and medical records (EHRs and EMRs), and how to install and run healthcare practice software. Similarly, the legal profession has IT needs that are a far cry from what the construction industry demands. In short, can your IT service provider meet the exact demands of what you do? Don’t work with a n00b*! 

2. Do they know how to explain things? 

Speaking of n00bs, every industry has its private jargon, not well understood by laypeople outside that industry. For example, unless you’re an architect or urban planner, you’re not likely to know what a “charette” is. The same is true for the information technology industry: from GUI, TWAIN, and Tweet to Blob, Bug, and Crapplet, we use more acronyms and other obscure terminology than you can shake a stick at. It’s best if you are able to find an MSP (that stands for “Managed Service Provider”) that speaks in plain English and can clearly explain to you and your staff everything they’re doing to make your lives easier and how it will improve your business operations. 

3. Are they obsessed with security? 

Worrying about viruses, ransomware, and malware should be the job of the IT services provider, not yours! Right off the bat they should be inquiring about the state of security of your current IT environment, and thinking of ways to make it even more secure. The loss of data by natural causes or by the theft of hackers can be costly and possibly irreparable. They should present you with reliable, customized solutions for business continuity, disaster recovery, and preventing unauthorized intrusions into your networks. 

4. Are they responsive? 

In other words, if you have a question about your network or have a problem that needs quick attention, do they get right on it, or do they keep putting you off? Of course, no IT service provider has infinite resources—there are slow times and there are busy times. But at the very least, they should provide you with guaranteed response times, no matter what the issue. If the problem requires on-site support, they need to tell you exactly when that support will show up. 

5. Will they share customer testimonials? 

A capable, competent, and trustworthy IT service provider that has made a point of pride of getting to know their customers’ businesses and goals will naturally make many friends and allies. Because such an MSP makes its customers’ success their priority, the customer is equally invested in the success of the IT service provider. Any customer that has been served well by that MSP is bound to say good things about it; and the MSP should be glad to share their references and stories. 

It goes without saying that Pacific Computer Consultants can answer in the affirmative to all the aforementioned questions. If you are shopping for professional IT services in the Oakland area, we hope you’ll give us a call. 

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* A “n00b” is a newcomer or someone who lacks experience. 

How to Find the Best Bay Area IT Consultants

Is your business experiencing growth? Is your IT department in need of an expert for a particular challenge? Has there been downtime due to technology issues? It may be time to find the best Bay Area IT Consultants and we’ve got a few ideas.  

Hiring a consultant is like adding to your team, so interview us like we are prospective employees and be prepared for us to ask you questions too.  

Questions You Might Ask a Prospective IT Consultant: 

  • How long have you been an IT Consulting firm? 
  • Is your industry one of our specialties? 
  • Do we offer IT Services for industry-specific compliance? 
  • What is the cost? 

The idea is to get to know us and help us understand the tech issues facing your business. We want to be sure we are a good match for your organization as much as you are for ours. To that end, we will likely ask you questions as well.  

Questions We May Ask You: 

  • What are the biggest IT challenges your business currently faces? 
  • Are you hiring us for a specific project or long-term management? 
  • When was the last time data was backed up? 
  • How often are updates conducted? 
  • Where is data stored? 

It’s okay to say you aren’t sure or that a particular task isn’t happening or hasn’t happened in a while. That gives us an idea of the scope of the project, whether short or long term. In this way, we can put our best consultants on the job.  

Our goal is to get to know your business so that we create a plan that makes the most sense for you, your team, and your budget.  

Why is it beneficial to outsource IT? 

Whether you’re outsourcing as a complement to your existing IT team or hiring Pacific Computer Consultants to be your team, it is beneficial to your business. Our team delivers the latest technology and solutions to address real world business problems in real time.  

  • IT Consultants are certified experts.  
  • Less downtime means increased productivity. 
  • Proactive solutions before they impact your business.  
  • Maintenance on current software and hardware. 
  • Recommend upgrades that fit your business and your budget.  
  • On-site and remote support 

Best of all, we offer flat-rate monthly consulting with an average savings of 23-48% compared to what our clients paid before we started working with them.  

If you’re ready to start working with the best Bay Area IT Consultants, contact us today!  

Managed IT services for Concord Businesses

We understand that every moment counts for your business. Downtime isn’t an option. Not only does it matter to you and your employees, it matters to your customers. If you can efficiently serve them, they will run, not walk, to the competition. What does it take to retain customers and employees? It takes a team of IT experts who understand the benefits of managed IT Services for Concord, CA businesses.  

When you partner with us, you can count on PCC to support your organization. 

  • Stop internal IT issues 
  • Solutions-oriented approach  
  • Managed budget with our monthly flat fee managed IT services 
  • Teamwork approach to solving complicated tech issues 
  • Quick response to inquiries and problems 

Decrease downtime while increasing productivity when you have the right team and technology in place.  

What are Managed IT Services? 

Leave tech headaches behind and outsource IT tasks to us. Lighten the workload of the team, support an existing IT team with additional resources, or replace in-house teams when you partner with us for Managed IT Services including: 

  • Network security and risk mitigation 
  • Cloud storage 
  • Reliable connectivity and bandwidth 
  • Management of installations and upgrades 
  • Ongoing recommendations for software implementation 

Working with you, we develop a plan for taking care of your team, hardware, and software while finding ways to solve tech issues and mitigating future problems.  

What are the benefits of Managed IT services for Concord, CA businesses? 

When you partner with us for Managed IT Services for your Concord, CA business, you can count on having an experienced team of IT experts working as hard as you do to create efficiencies within your organization. No one wants to be stalled by software updates or worry about the server capacity.  

Benefits of Managed IT Services include: 

  • Increased productivity 
  • Decreased downtime 
  • Predictable monthly flat fee 
  • Scalability 
  • Expert level support 

Partnering with us means not having to worry about tech infrastructure and more time to focus on clients and customers. We’re ready to develop a customized plan for your business! 

Ready to get started? Contact us today!