Author name: Mary Ann Velasco

Frustrated With BAD Tech Support? You’re Not Alone

A recent stream of Reddit comments emerged detailing a series of poor customer service experiences with tech support. While I typically try to stay clear of Reddit and its gang of chronic whiny-pants commenters, I scrolled through a few, you know, for research purposes since I’m in the industry. A few of the complaints sounded so outlandish – like the lady who claimed the technician took a bathroom break in her attic – that it almost seemed impossible they could be true. However, other more common issues on the thread I’ve experienced myself, and to be candid with you, they sucked! When you are experiencing a tech emergency – be it a broken printer, hardware malfunctions, Internet connectivity issues, login troubles or something similar – poor tech support only worsens the irritation. It leaves you with frustrated employees who can’t efficiently get their jobs done because they’re troubleshooting their tech and on hold with an IT company that is “looking into it” and irritated customers who just want a smooth process when dealing with your organization. This can result in losing customers and A-player employees to your competitors that don’t have these same daily issues. At first, it might seem dramatic that a few unresolved “tech issues” could cause such a stir, but as these problems continue to repeat themselves, with no solution in sight, resentment grows and will eventually result in these people seeking organizations that don’t have to deal with such headaches. What can you do to get ahead of the problem? Start by polling your employees. Ask them questions that will help you “grade” your current IT company to see if they’re dealing with your team as fast and efficiently as they should. Here are a few questions to ask: These questions take only a few minutes to answer and can help you gain valuable insight into whether or not your current IT team is properly handling issues or if there is trouble brewing within your organization that you weren’t aware of. If you would like to see what good IT support actually looks like, we’ll do TWO FREE hours of support for your organization. Here are SOME of the ways you could use your time with us: To get started, give our team a call at 774-241-7600 or click here to book your call now.

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“Savings” That Could Cost You EVERYTHING

As a business leader, you’re always looking for ways to increase revenue, cut expenses and grow your bottom line. Implementing AI tools, shopping services and running a more efficient operation are great ways to do that. One place you do NOT want to cut corners is using free antivirus or firewall software. In today’s blog, we’ll share why these seemingly helpful software solutions are a detriment to your business and why a 10-minute call with our team might just be the best investment you’ll make this year. Free software often lacks necessary features and is limited in what it can detect. Free antivirus software and firewall solutions can protect your business against some known viruses but not all of them, and they likely won’t have the ability to protect you against other comprehensive threats, like malicious files, unknown or unidentified threats and more. Cybercriminals are constantly rolling out new and “improved” viruses to trick even the most robust security solutions, which makes it difficult to believe that free, infrequently updated antivirus solutions could offer the level of protection needed to keep you secure. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. While free cybersecurity solutions sound like a good way to save a few bucks, you have to stop and realize these programs will make their money somewhere. The most common ways they make money are through ads, sponsored recommendations and collecting and selling user data. They collect and sell your personal information, like age and gender, and installed apps, to third-party advertisers. Some free solutions are already infected with malware. Ironically, these free cybersecurity tools can come with malware already installed to infect your computer upon downloading them. It’s also difficult to determine the difference between real free software solutions and fake ones created by hackers looking to trick unsuspecting business owners who hope to save a buck into downloading an infected version that immediately opens up your network to them. Free antivirus software is mostly reactive, detecting infections after they’ve happened. The point of having cybersecurity solutions is to try to prevent a data breach from occurring in the first place. Most free solutions are reactive and won’t keep unwanted intruders out; they simply alert you when one has already breached your network. If you’re going with a free solution, make sure you have a robust recovery plan in place. You’ll likely need it. Cybersecurity solutions are not as expensive as most business owners think and are more cost-effective than dealing with a data breach. If you have been using free antivirus or firewall software in your organization, it’s time to level up. Our cybersecurity experts will provide you with a FREE Security Risk Assessment that will detail if and where you’re vulnerable and what to do about it. Schedule yours by clicking here or calling us at 774-241-8600.

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The Silent Danger: A Powerful Lesson For Every Business From This $1.6 Billion Ransomware Attack

In recent months, the alarming cybersecurity breach at Change Healthcare, the health care payment-processing company under the health care giant UnitedHealth Group, has thrown a spotlight on a chilling reality: cyberthreats can lurk undetected within our networks, ready to unleash chaos at a moment’s notice. The breach, executed by the notorious ALPHV/BlackCat hacker group, involved the group lying dormant within the company’s environment for nine days before activating a crippling ransomware attack. This incident, which severely impacted the US health care system, a network with a large budget for cybersecurity, underscores an urgent message for all business leaders: a robust cybersecurity system and recovery plan are not optional but a fundamental necessity for every business out there. The attack began with hackers using leaked credentials to access a key application that was shockingly left without the safeguard of multifactor authentication. Once inside, the hackers stole data, locked it down, and then demanded a hefty ransom. This action stalled nationwide health care payment-processing systems, for thousands of pharmacies and hospitals causing them to grind to a halt! Then things got even worse! The personal health information and personal information of potentially millions of Americans was also stolen. The hackers set up an exit scam, demanding a second ransom to not release this information. This breach required a temporary shutdown, disconnecting entire systems from the Internet, a massive overhaul of the IT infrastructure and significant financial losses estimated to potentially reach $1.6 billion by year’s end. Replacing laptops, rotating credentials and rebuilding the data center network were only a few of the actions the UnitedHealth Group had to take. More than financial, the cost was deeply human – impacting health care services and risking personal data. While devastating, it’s a powerful reminder that threats can dwell in silence within our networks, waiting for an opportune moment to strike. It is not enough to react; proactive measures are essential. Ensuring systems are secured, implementing multifactor authentication, regularly updating and patching software and having a recovery plan in place in the event of an attack are steps that can no longer be overlooked and are basic requirements for doing business in today’s world. Also, the idea that “We’re too small to be a target” is false. Just because you’re not big enough to make national news, doesn’t mean you’re too small to be attacked! Cybersecurity isn’t just an IT issue; it’s a cornerstone of modern business strategy. It requires investment, training and a culture of security awareness throughout the organization. The fallout from a breach reaches far beyond the immediately affected systems. It can erode customer trust, disrupt services and lead to severe financial and reputational damage, and your business, will be the one blamed. As we consider the lessons from the Change Healthcare incident, it’s your duty to make cybersecurity a top priority. Investing in comprehensive cybersecurity measures isn’t just a precaution – it’s a fundamental responsibility to our customers, our stakeholders and our future. Remember, in the realm of cyberthreats, what you can’t see can hurt you – and preparation is your most powerful defense. Is YOUR organization secure? If you’re not sure, or just want a second opinion, our cybersecurity experts will provide you with a FREE Security Risk Assessment that will detail if and where you’re vulnerable and what to do about it. Schedule yours by clicking here or calling us at 774-241-8600.

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How Poor Tech Support Is Slowing Down Your Business

If you’re serious about growing a successful, profitable business in 2024 and beyond, there’s no room for pass-the-buck tactics – especially when it comes to IT support. The efficiency of your IT team isn’t just a convenience – it’s a cornerstone of your operational capability. Yet many companies find themselves held back by subpar tech support, with unresolved IT issues lingering, impeding productivity and frustrating employees and customers alike. These recurring issues can significantly slow down your business growth and quickly cut into your profitability. The reality is that reliable IT support is the backbone of modern business. It ensures operations run smoothly, data remains secure and communication channels remain open. Without it, even the simplest tasks can become complicated, leaving employees to deal with the fallout of unresolved technical problems instead of focusing on their core responsibilities. This can lead to missed opportunities, strained customer relationships and, ultimately, stifling your business’s potential to expand and thrive. In this article, we will share the common tech issues that are likely happening in your business right under your nose, how they are impacting your business’s growth and what actions you need to take to eliminate them once and for all. Whether you’re dealing with frequent downtime, delayed issue resolution or lackluster service, recognizing and addressing these IT shortcomings is essential for enabling your business to flourish. Top Signs You Are Settling For Subpar IT Service Recognizing the signs of inadequate tech support is the first step to getting back on track. These symptoms often manifest slowly and subtly but can have profound implications for your operations and growth over time. Here are the most common indicators that your IT support may not be up to par: Frequent, Frustrating Downtime Downtime is not just an inconvenience; it costs your business money. If your systems are frequently offline or your network experiences regular interruptions, it’s a clear sign that your IT support is failing to maintain a stable infrastructure. This not only affects your team’s immediate productivity but also impacts your ability to generate revenue and your reputation with clients, who expect reliability and professionalism. Slow Response Times When tech issues arise, response time can be just as critical as the solution itself. Prolonged response times can lead to extended disruptions in your workflow. Effective tech support should offer timely responses and quick resolutions to minimize downtime and keep your business moving forward. Recurring Problems Are the same issues cropping up repeatedly? This is a telltale sign of tech support that treats symptoms rather than underlying causes. Quality IT support digs deeper to find permanent solutions, ensuring that once a problem is resolved, it doesn’t return to haunt your business operations. Lack Of Proactive Measures Preventive measures are the hallmark of excellent tech support. If your IT service is only reactive – responding to problems after they occur rather than anticipating and mitigating risks beforehand – your business is always operating a step behind. Proactive IT support includes regular updates, backups and security protocols that help prevent issues before they impact your business. Poor Or Nonexistent Communication Effective communication is vital in any relationship, including with your IT support provider. If explanations are unclear, tech jargon is used without clear explanations or calls and e-mails go unanswered, it indicates a lack of commitment to client service and can leave you feeling out of the loop and frustrated. How Bad IT Support Is Affecting Your Business Right Now Inadequate tech support does more than just create temporary disruptions; it can have lasting effects on your business’s growth trajectory. Here are a few ways poor IT support directly impacts key areas of your business: Downtime Leads To Lost Revenue Every minute your systems are down, you’re losing money. For small businesses especially, this can be devastating. Unplanned downtime not only results in lost sales but can also incur additional costs as you scramble to get systems back online. Over time, these losses can accumulate, significantly impacting the financial health of your organization. Inefficiency Reduces Productivity When employees are consistently facing IT issues, their ability to perform efficiently is compromised. Simple tasks become time-consuming, reducing overall productivity. This inefficiency not only slows down operations but also affects employee morale and job satisfaction, which are crucial for long-term business success. Customer Experiences Suffer Your technology directly impacts your customers, from how they interact with your services online to how you manage their data. Frequent tech issues can lead to poor customer experiences, such as slow service, transaction problems or security concerns. In today’s market, customers are quick to switch to competitors if they feel their needs aren’t being met effectively. Hindered Scalability As your business grows, your IT infrastructure needs to evolve to support increased demands. Poor tech support can hinder this scalability, making it difficult to expand operations or integrate new technologies. Without the ability to scale efficiently, your business could miss out on potential growth opportunities. Compromised Data Security One of the most severe impacts of inadequate tech support is compromised security. Small businesses are frequent targets for cyber-attacks, and without robust IT support to implement and maintain strong security measures, your business is at a higher risk of data breaches. These breaches can have catastrophic consequences, including loss of customer trust, legal repercussions and substantial financial losses. How To Choose The Right IT Support For Your Small Business Selecting the right IT provider is pivotal for ensuring your business’s long-term success. Here are key attributes to look for in a reliable IT support provider: ●       Responsiveness Choose a provider known for quick response times. Efficient problem-solving can drastically reduce downtime, helping maintain continuous business operations. ●       Expertise Ensure the IT support team has the necessary technical expertise to manage your infrastructure. Look for certifications and experience in the specific technologies your business uses. ●       Proactiveness Select a provider that offers proactive support, such as regular system audits, continuous monitoring and preventive maintenance, to avoid issues before they arise. ●       Communication Effective communication is

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Apple Might Never Have Released The Macintosh If This Happened

Steve Wozniak was asked in an interview what he would have done differently if he had been Apple’s CEO instead of Jobs. He said he would have been “a lot nicer to people,” but then quickly added that IF he had been CEO, they might never have released the Macintosh. Jobs was known for being ruthless and controlling, rude and ill-tempered, driven by a desire for perfection and pushing people to bring products out before they were ready, creating enormous strain within the organization. The OG “mean girl.” Many people couldn’t tolerate working for him, and I’m sure he missed out on a lot of talent for this reason. But in spite of that – or more possibly because of that – he was able to build one of the world’s most iconic brands and successful companies. I’m not sure that level of “disagreeableness” is necessary for us mere mortals running small businesses vs. the enterprise builders like Jobs, but I do know this: FAR too many business owners tolerate FAR too much from too many people: employees, vendors, clients or otherwise! One of the reasons so many people loved the character Tony in The Sopranos was because, deep down, they secretly wished they had his backbone and confidence, not taking anything from anyone AND bold enough to do something more than simply holding a grudge against someone who wrongs them. I’m not suggesting his level of corruption, anger or response is good or healthy. That’s not my point. What I’m saying is that many people would do far better in life if they were unafraid to stand up for themselves, not allowing themselves to be affected by critics and instead becoming a more imposing, respected alpha leader, unafraid of speaking their mind and standing their ground. This translates directly to the security of your business. If you cower and fear taking a stand for yourself, failing to draw a HARD LINE to protect yourself and your organization, you WILL be taken advantage of. It’s really that simple. There are a lot of people out there with their own agendas who aren’t going to give a rip about you. Many want to take you out, harm you and damage you for their own personal gain, particularly cybercriminals, whose job it is to capitalize on YOUR hard work. To steal YOUR profits. To sneak into your network and steal YOUR data, putting on the line your livelihood and everything you’ve spent years of blood, sweat and tears building. As a business leader, you must assume a Tony Soprano–level toughness about this. ZERO tolerance for it: be awake and alert, look for such enemies at the gate and get rid of them before the damage they do is irreversible. Further, you need to protect yourself by putting the necessary protections in place to prevent those who mean you harm from getting into your network in the first place. The cold, hard truth is that, at the end of the day, as a leader in your organization, if you’re the victim of a cybercrime, YOU will be the one they blame. Your tail is on the line, and reporters won’t be timid about blasting that headline all over the news. Business isn’t all about being tough on others – it’s also about innovation and driving your company forward, using the best strategies and best practices of those who lead the way, including protecting what you’ve built. It can all be taken away with one wrong mouse click if you don’t have the foresight to get ahead of the problem. To stay ahead of the cybercriminals and make sure you’re protected book a 10-Minute Discovery Call with our team of experts to get a free IT Risk Assessment. We’ll perform analysis of your network to identify any vulnerabilities and provide you with a plan of action to fix them. This assessment will give you the peace of mind to do what you do best and focus on growing your business. Click here to book your call now or give us a call at 774-241-8600.

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AT&T Attack Reveals 73 Million Customer Records Exposed On The Dark Web

In a statement released by the largest telecommunications company in the United States, AT&T, they shared that they recently discovered a dataset for sale on the “dark web” that contained information for about 7.6 million current AT&T account holders and 65.4 million former users, totaling approximately 73 million affected accounts. AT&T shared that the data released contained passcodes (PIN numbers) and Social Security numbers from 2019 or earlier and did not contain any other personal financial information or call history but could possibly include e-mail and mailing addresses, phone numbers and birthdates. AT&T has reached out to all customers via e-mail or mail to let them know of the breach and to reset their passcodes. If you’re an AT&T customer, it’s important to be highly critical of any e-mail asking you to change your password. Please make sure it is from AT&T, as it’s suspected other cybercriminals will attempt to capitalize on this issue and send out fake e-mails with malicious links, hoping someone will click on them. If you’re concerned it’s a fake e-mail, call AT&T support and ask them to send another reset link while you’re on the phone. As for the cause of the breach, it’s still unknown whether the data breach originated from AT&T or one of its vendors, but AT&T has launched an investigation and will likely hire computer forensics specialists to find the cause of the incident. The organization will also have to scrub any installed malware out of the software that runs its customer account system without disrupting unaffected customers’ service. Between the investigation, cleaning up the issues, lawsuits, legal fees and more, this will be an expensive issue to solve. That’s why at [Company Name], we talk about being proactive with cybersecurity so often. While no solution is 100% impenetrable, most are strong enough to keep the majority of hackers out. It is way more costly to deal with the effects of a cyber-attack than it is to prevent one in the first place. If you’re concerned about the safety of your organization, request a FREE Security Assessment from our team of cybersecurity experts. We’ll analyze your network so you can see if there are exposed entry points in your network that hackers could use to break in. We’ll also advise on how to work with third-party vendors to ensure your and your customers’ data is as secure as possible. Hackers will do whatever it takes to break into your network. Your job as the CEO is to do whatever it takes to keep them out. We are here to help! Click here to book your Security Risk Assessment with one of our cybersecurity experts, or call our office at 774-241-8600.

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The Safest Way To Shop For Mother’s Day Online

Are you planning on buying gifts for the special women in your life for Mother’s Day? If you shop online, there are a few ways to do it SAFELY. During the holidays, cybercriminals ramp up various scams to capitalize on innocent people looking for gifts online. These scams range from fake offers to sham giveaways, all with the goal of stealing your money and information. Times and technology have changed drastically in just the last year, meaning what kept you safe before is no longer enough. In today’s article, we’ll share the best way to pay for your online purchases, the common scams to look out for and the top online shopping best practices to keep you safe. How To Make Online Purchases Safely Should you use your debit card to buy online? No! Debit cards are linked directly to your bank account. If you make a bad purchase online, it can be very difficult to get your money back once you’ve alerted your bank. To avoid headaches, hours on the phone arguing with customer support, losing money and, if things escalate enough, legal fees, use your credit card or a third-party payment system instead. Credit cards have extensive fraud monitoring systems, which can often catch discrepancies as they occur. These companies use statistical analysis and machine learning to track and analyze your transactions to quickly identify suspicious activity, allowing you to dispute the purchases and avoid being charged. Some credit card companies, like Capital One, go a step further to keep you secure by offering virtual credit cards. These cards provide you with a random 16-digit number, a three-digit CVV and an expiration date that you can use for online or even in-store purchases. While these DO connect to your real accounts, retailers are unable to see your actual card details, keeping your information secure. Bonus: These can be “turned off” at any time, eliminating the hassle of canceling unneeded subscriptions without going through the merchant. Third-party tools like PayPal are also a great option because no personal information is exchanged with the seller. The company you’re purchasing from does not receive your financial or banking information, keeping your data secure. Online Shopping Best Practices Using a credit card, virtual card or third-party payment tool is a great start, but it isn’t the only proactive step you should be taking to stay safe online. If you’re making purchases online, make sure you’re also: Shopping from real websites – Cybercriminals will set up fake websites that look exactly like big-name websites. Go to the REAL website and search for the item you’re looking for. Avoid too-good-to-be-true offers – If it sounds like a scam, it’s probably a scam! If you’re interested, go to the website and look up the deal to see if it exists. Do NOT click on promo links in e-mails – Cybercriminals will set up spoof e-mails mirroring your favorite brands. When you click on the offer links, they can infect your network. Use a VPN – This hides your location and web browsing information from snoopers. Don’t save your information – Password tools are trying to make your life easier by saving your payment information, but they make you more vulnerable to having it swiped. Use unique logins for loyalty accounts – Using the same e-mail and password combo for all your loyalty accounts means that if one is compromised, a smart hacker could break into all of them, and some will have your payment information available. Set up alerts – Go into your banking system and enable notifications. You can request to be notified when any purchases or purchases over a certain amount are made, so you can quickly report any suspicious activity. Cybercriminals will use any method they can to steal your information and money. To stay safe, you must take a proactive approach to protecting your financial information. This is equally true for your business. If hackers are willing to put this much effort into stealing money for low-dollar purchases, imagine what they would do to access your company accounts. Your customer data, employee information, trade secrets and more can be worth millions to them. If you’re not sure if your company is as secure as it should be or you just want to get a second set of eyes on your system to make sure there aren’t any holes in your security, we’ll perform a FREE Network Security Assessment for you. We’ll go through our multi-step security checklist and let you know if and where cybercriminals can get into your network. Click here to book your FREE Network Security Assessment now or call our office at 774-241-8600.

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10 Things Great IT Providers Always Do

What sets high-quality, reliable IT support apart from mediocre or substandard support? Is it lower prices? Flat-fee service? At Centrend, we believe there are many deciding factors that separate even the good from the great providers, but when our clients switch from their old companies to us, we get the same feedback over and over. The problem isn’t that they didn’t know they had bad support; they just didn’t know what good support was. In today’s blog, we’re sharing 10 things top-level IT providers always do. It’s time to stop settling for tech headaches and subpar service that could be putting you and your company at risk. Great IT providers… If you have an emergency, you don’t have time to wait on hold or leave a message and hope for a call back; you need help NOW! Reliable IT providers know that time matters and will either answer their calls live or respond in 30 minutes or less. Are they readily available, even for small tech-support issues? One way to check is to ask around your office. Does your staff enjoy working with them, or are they tired of dealing with the same issues repeatedly, dealing with unhappy customer support or waiting forever for solutions? If the answer is no, that’s a red flag. At the bare minimum, any IT company worth their weight will answer their phones LIVE (not voice mail or phone trees) and respond from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every weekday. But many CEOs and executives work outside normal “9 to 5” hours and need IT support both nights and weekends. High-quality IT companies can be reached after-hours any time, any day, and will still provide a fast response time. You shouldn’t be alerting your IT company to an issue! Their team of technicians should be monitoring your systems for downtime, breaches, inefficiencies and more and coming to YOU with proposed solutions and updates. Can you easily “open a ticket” in their IT management portal so they can properly assign, track, prioritize, document and resolve your issues quickly? Their ticketing system should be set up to make it easy for customers to submit requests. If they don’t have a system in place, we can practically guarantee your requests will sometimes get overlooked, skipped or forgotten. If this is the case, it’s time to question whether their customers are their true focus. Cybersecurity is a huge issue! If your IT team hasn’t come to you with a plan on how to protect your business, they might not be qualified to provide you with the level of support and protection you need, which is undoubtedly putting you at risk. You want to work with an IT provider that takes cybersecurity seriously and is regularly proposing new solutions to keep you secure from hackers’ latest advances. Do you know exactly what you’re getting for your money? This problem shows up in one of a few ways. The most common thing we see is a client being charged a flat fee, but they have no idea what that service includes. Can they get help with their printer? How about sourcing new computers? What’s extra? You deserve to know. Another issue is overcharging for a level of support that doesn’t reflect the price tag. Important: expensive support does not necessarily mean the service is better! A common problem we hear about is when businesses hire an IT company because they offer a very low price and then end up ‘nickel and diming’ their clients for every small request to make up for the bottom-feeder price they’re charging. When choosing an IT provider, make sure they’re willing to be 100% transparent about costs, so you always know where your money is going. If your IT team creates a problem with your network that causes you to be down for hours or days, to lose data or to get hacked, who’s responsible? What if one of their technicians gets hurt at your office? Or damages your property while there? In this litigious society we live in, you better make darn sure whomever you hire is adequately insured with both errors and omissions insurance, workers’ compensation and cyber liability—and don’t be shy about asking them to send you the policy to review! If your IT provider isn’t regularly backing up your data and making sure it’s backed up, you could lose EVERYTHING if you need a restore. We have seen this happen. Make sure your IT company is treating your data as if it’s as valuable as their own. If your IT provider is constantly tacking on fees or delaying projects, it’s time to switch. Great IT providers accurately estimate project timelines and work hard to stick as closely to the schedule and budget as possible. Things can and will go wrong from time to time, but they should be quickly communicated with proposed solutions. It’s time to stop settling for flat-out poor IT service. Tech nightmares should be a thing of the past. If you want to know what trustworthy, reliable IT support is, we’ll perform a FREE, no-obligation Network Assessment so you can see how our team of experts will work together to handle your network stress-free. We’ll provide optimization ideas, share if and where you could be vulnerable to a cybersecurity issue and leave you with a list of ways to improve the technology in your business. To get started, click here to book your FREE Network Assessment now or call our office at 774-241-8600.

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Cyber-Attack Takes Omni Hotels & Resorts Offline; Here’s How To Travel Safely

Another day, another cyber-attack! In early April, Omni Hotels & Resorts was the victim of a cyber-attack that brought down the entire IT system and led to a company-wide outage. The organization took immediate action and brought the entire network offline to isolate the issue, protect its data and prevent further damage from occurring. Unfortunately, this process heavily impacted the hotel’s operations and day-to-day functions, such as managing reservations, unlocking hotel room doors manually and using point-of-sale (POS) systems in restaurants and shops within the hotel. Some estimates expect this attack to cost the Omni over a million dollars. While unconfirmed by the hotel, several sources speculate that the type of cyber-attack was a ransomware attack similar to what happened to MGM in Las Vegas several months ago. While most customers were aware of the inconveniences of the Omni outage, many weren’t aware of the dangers associated with cyber-attacks. When a network is compromised, unless you have high-grade tools to protect you, every device you connect to is put at risk. When you’re traveling, it’s important to treat everything like a risk to ensure your safety. In today’s article, we’re sharing a couple of tips to keep you safe when you’re on the road for work or even on vacation this summer. These tips will help protect you, but if you travel for work or have employees who travel for work, it’s important that all work devices have professional-grade cybersecurity tools installed on them. You don’t want to send your sales team to a hotel-hosted trade show, and instead of bringing back a list of leads, they bring back malware that could shut down your company altogether. There is one final lesson in this terrible incident that all business owners need to understand: No matter the size of the company, you can still be the victim of a cyber-attack. The Omni chain, which boasts over 50 properties nationwide, would likely have a large budget to defend itself from cyber-attacks and yet still fall victim to hackers. No system is 100% impenetrable, but small business owners who don’t have any security measures in place are putting a big red target on their backs. If you don’t have a cybersecurity system in place, or if you do and someone else is managing it but you’d like a second opinion, we offer a FREE Security Risk Assessment. This assessment will go over every area of your network to identify if and where you are vulnerable to an attack and propose solutions to fix it. Click here to book your Security Risk Assessment with one of our cybersecurity experts, or call our office at 774-241-8600.

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What Is Bad IT Support Costing Your Business?

In our technology-driven world, efficient IT support is the backbone of any successful business. From ensuring seamless operations to safeguarding sensitive data, reliable IT services are crucial for maintaining productivity and protecting your bottom line. However, not all IT support is created equal, and the cost of settling for subpar services can result in expensive consequences for your business. Bad IT service can negatively affect employee productivity, customer happiness and operational efficiency and quickly eat into your profits. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the hidden costs of bad IT support and how it could be impacting your business in ways you might not have considered. Unresolved Recurring Issues IT issues that aren’t properly resolved are like untreated wounds that fester over time. For example, one person’s poor password habits can become a company-wide issue that later results in an expensive ransomware attack when a hacker finds a weak link. Recurring IT issues also drain company resources. Without addressing the root cause of the issues, the problems will persist, leading to ongoing costs. Sloppy Systems And Processes Your IT team can take tasks off your plate, like getting new employees access to the files, software and programs they need to do their job and revoking access when an employee leaves the company. If the procedures are not followed or outlined properly, your company’s processes will not run as efficiently as they should, costing you time and money, and it could open up big security risks to your company. Unexpected Downtime Operational inefficiencies aside, what’s the cost if you CAN’T do business? Not just the loss of potential sales, but the cost of employees sitting stagnant, staring at the wall and scrolling on their phones while your IT guy is trying to get your network back up. If you have 20 employees at an average pay of $25 an hour and your system is down for three hours, you might as well light $1,500 on fire. Now, what if this is happening one, two, even three or more times a month? Add in the potential loss of sales and fees for emergency IT support, and the total for each outage will quickly add up to a sizable chunk of change you’re letting fall right through your pocket. Security Breaches If a negligent or inexperienced IT professional leaves gaps in your security system, you could be vulnerable to a cyber-attack. There is no limit to what this could cost your business if client data or financial data is leaked, stolen or exploited. Legal fees, fines and downtime from cyber-attacks have put thousands of companies out of business because the owners weren’t able to get out from under them. It is critical to the future of your business that you work with an IT professional who knows what you need to be compliant in your industry and secure from the latest threats. These issues are only the tip of the iceberg. If you’d like us to take a closer look at what you’re getting for what you’re paying, to make sure you’re not exposed to risks and are operating as efficiently as possible, we’re happy to do so. To schedule a free 10-minute discovery call to see how we can get rid of your tech issues once and for all, go to www.centrend.com/contactus or call us at 772-241-8600.

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