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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 Virtual IT Managers, 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…

  1. They answer the phone during emergencies.

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.

  1. They are consistently easy to reach and highly responsive when you need them for emergency.

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.

  1. Do they offer after-hours support?

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.

  1. They proactively monitor your network.

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.

  1. They have a customer-centric system that is easy for YOU to use.

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.

  1. Have they prepared, proposed and implemented a cybersecurity plan for your organization, including protection against ransomware and data loss?

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.

  1. Do they provide detailed invoices that clearly explain what you are paying for?

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.

  1. They carry cyber liability and errors and omissions insurance to protect you.

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 damage 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!

  1. They INSIST on doing periodic test restores of backups to make sure the data is not corrupt and can be restored in the event of a disaster.

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.

  1. They get projects done on time and on budget.

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, go to https://virtualitmanagers.com/ to book your FREE Network Assessment now or call our office at 305-574-2169.

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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 essential. Your IT support team should provide clear, jargon-free explanations and maintain open lines of communication.

●      Customization

Opt for a service offering tailored solutions that align with your specific business needs, ensuring more effective and relevant support.

●      Reviews And References

Check reviews and ask for references to gauge the provider’s reputation and reliability. Positive feedback from other businesses can be a strong indicator of quality service.

If you’re tired of dealing with recurring issues like downtime, slow response times, ineffective solutions or hearing your employees complain that something is “always broken,” it’s time to look for better IT support. Don’t let poor tech support be the bottleneck that stifles your business’s potential – take action today to ensure your technology propels your business forward.

Click here to schedule your FREE Network Analysis and Security Assessment or  calling us at (305) 574-2169.

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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.

Give us a call at (305) 574-2169.

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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 305-574-2169.

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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 Virtual IT Managers, 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…

  1. They answer the phone during emergencies.

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.

  1. They are consistently easy to reach and highly responsive when you need them for an emergency.

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.

  1. Do they offer after-hours support?

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.

  1. They proactively monitor your network.

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.

  1. They have a customer-centric system that is easy for YOU to use.

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.

  1. Have they prepared, proposed, and implemented a cybersecurity plan for your organization, including protection against ransomware and data loss?

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.

  1. Do they provide detailed invoices that clearly explain what you are paying for?

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.

  1. They carry cyber liability and errors and omissions insurance to protect you.

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 damage 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!

  1. They INSIST on doing periodic test restores of backups to make sure the data is not corrupt and can be restored in the event of a disaster.

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.

  1. They get projects done on time and on budget.

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 (305)-574-2169.

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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.

  1. Don’t connect to the public Wi-Fi in the hotel. Truthfully, this also applies to coffee shops, airport lounges, etc. If a network is compromised and you connect to it, you could be giving hackers access to your devices.
  2. Turn off the auto-connect feature. Even if you don’t actively connect to the hotel’s Wi-Fi, if a hacker has set up a fake Wi-Fi network and your device auto-connects to it, that could be a big problem. Shut the feature off and only manually connect to sources you trust.
  3. Use your phone’s hotspot. Instead of connecting to public Wi-Fi, most cell phones come equipped with a hotspot that allows your other devices to connect to your phone’s internet. If not, one call to your wireless provider can often add this feature.

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 Miami 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 305-574-2169.

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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 https://virtualitmanagers.com/free-network-analysis-and-security-assessment/ or call us at 305-574-2169.

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How Miami Industry Can Easily Eliminate Tech Problems In Their Business.

Now more than ever, we rely on technology to run our businesses and our lives. When the “Internet goes down,” most businesses come to a standstill until they are back online, costing thousands in lost productivity and sales. A perfect example would be the AT&T outage that happened a few weeks ago, when an estimated 1.7 million customers, including small business owners, lost service. No phones, no Internet. Could you afford your business being down for minutes, hours or even days? The answer is likely no.

Downtime is one-way bad IT support can disrupt your business, but it’s not the ONLY issue. Big problems like recovering deleted files, removing malware, and constantly monitoring and patching your network, and small irritations like getting file access, resetting forgotten passwords and repairing broken printers, can stack up over time and affect productivity.

That is why you must have a way to get back up and running quickly should something happen – or even a way to ELIMINATE tech problems before they start.

Unfortunately, paying through the nose for IT that can’t troubleshoot its way out of a paper bag is more common than you’d hope. These so-called “IT Wizards” who promised you top-notch support for bargain-basement prices are sitting around using their magic wands as backscratchers, waiting for YOU to let THEM know something has gone wrong. It must stop. That’s why we’ve put together a list of fundamental and necessary requirements that ANYONE who’s working on your network should meet.

Check off all that apply:

  • Does your IT company answer their phone LIVE and respond to emergencies promptly (within 10 minutes)?
     
  • Is your IT company easy to reach and highly responsive (responding within an hour) when you need them for non-emergencies?
     
  • Do you know if your IT company proactively monitors, patches, and updates your computer network’s critical security settings daily? Weekly? At all? How do you know for sure? Hint: Most don’t!
     
  • Does your IT company offer proof that they are backing up ALL your data, laptops, and devices?
     
  • Does your IT company meet with you regularly (at least once a quarter) to report on what they’ve been doing, review projects and offer new ways to improve your network’s performance instead of waiting until you have a problem to make recommendations?
     
  • Does your IT company provide detailed invoices that clearly explain what you are paying for?
     
  • Does your IT company explain what they are doing and answer your questions in terms you can understand, NOT in “geek-speak,” and routinely ask if there’s anything else they can help with, no matter how small?
     
  • Does your IT company proactively discuss cybersecurity with you, make recommendations for protecting your network from ransomware and offer training videos so your employees don’t fall victim to a scam?
     
  • Has your IT company provided you with complete network documentation or do they hold the “keys to the kingdom,” refusing to give you admin passwords, so you’re totally helpless if something goes wrong and you can’t get a hold of them?
     
  • Do techs arrive on time and dress professionally, and do you look forward to working with them, or do you cringe every time you have to make that call?

If your current IT company, technician or “IT guy” does NOT check the boxes on every point, you could be – and most likely are – paying for substandard support.

This oversight could not only jeopardize your data and your network’s security but also cost you thousands in lost productivity because you and your employees are spending time dealing with problems that shouldn’t exist, but if something goes awry, you’re going to be the one everyone blames.

If that’s the case, then it’s time you see what else is out there and make sure you’re getting what you pay for. Anything less is a liability to your business.

To schedule a free 10-minute discovery call to see how we can get rid of your tech issues, go to  https://virtualitmanagers.com/or call us at 305-574-2169

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Suspect Your Computer Has Been Hacked? Do These 5 Things Now!

The initial reaction when you suspect your computer or network has been compromised is to panic. However, if your network has been breached, what you do next can make the difference between the incident being a minor inconvenience and being a devastating disaster that brings legal trouble and huge fines and halts your ability to do business.

In today’s article, we’ve consulted our cybersecurity experts on the top signs of an affected computer and the five steps you need to take as soon as you notice your network has been compromised to prevent as much irreversible damage as possible.

Signs Of An Issue

According to IBM’s latest cybersecurity report, the average data breach goes 277 days before it’s noticed and reported. This time frame sounds crazy considering that attacks using malware, viruses, keylogging tools and more can cause a considerable amount of damage very quickly, but most users miss the warning signs and don’t realize they’re under attack until irreversible damage has occurred.

Several of the biggest indicators of an issue can be mistaken for a slow or outdated computer or operating system. If you experience any of these issues, it’s a good idea to contact your IT team. If it’s an attack, they’ll know the proper steps to take, and if it’s not, they’ll be able to update your system or replace your device to improve performance. Here are a few key signs your computer could be infected:

  • Slow computer or network performance
  • Frequent freezes or sudden crashes
  • Rapid pop-ups
  • Locked user accounts
  • Sudden and unexpected file changes
  • Abnormal system behavior, such as the device continuing to run after a shutdown.
  • Unusual account activity

What To Do Next

If you’re experiencing any of these issues, the next steps you take are important. Here is what our team of experts recommends:

1. Take the network offline to isolate the incident, but DO NOT turn off the device or reboot it.

When a device isn’t working the way, it should, the go-to move is to hit Restart. In many scenarios, that maneuver can work; however, if malware is involved, this simple act can make the situation worse. In some circumstances, rebooting your device can set in motion a crashed file-encryption process that can cause unrecoverable data loss. Disconnect your device from the network but allow it to remain on as you move through the next steps.

2. Call your IT team IMMEDIATELY.

It’s important to contain the breach before it infects the rest of your network or causes any more damage. Your IT team will be able to investigate the issue to determine what went wrong and what the impact was and mitigate the breach quickly. Do not try to fix this on your own. Attempting to run a “system cleanup” or your antivirus software will waste time and could cause more damage. Call in the experts.

3. Call your attorney.

There are several reasons to call your attorney. Depending on the size of the breach, your attorney may refer you to outside legal counsel with privacy and data security expertise who can advise you on the federal and state laws that may be implicated by the data breach.

4. Change passwords and secure all accounts.

As the IT team is working on containing the breach, you’ll want to change your passwords to protect any of your other accounts that may not have been affected yet. Hopefully you have multifactor authentication enabled and will be notified if someone tries to access your account, but if not, begin working through your accounts to secure them, starting with ones that contain financial information like credit card numbers, Social Security numbers and more.

5. Check your bank accounts.

Nearly all cyber-attacks are financially motivated, making bank accounts the primary target. As the breach is being mitigated, check your bank accounts and payment processing tools, including third-party merchant accounts and employee payroll systems, for any anomalies or sudden changes.

If you’re hit by a cyber-attack, there will be a list of other steps to take, like implementing a PR communications plan, notifying appropriate parties such as law enforcement and more. The most important thing you can do if a data breach occurs is to isolate the incident and hand it over to a qualified cybersecurity professional as soon as possible. Time matters in these situations.

If you need a reliable, trustworthy cybersecurity team monitoring your business, start with a FREE Cyber Security Risk Assessment. These assessments are designed to thoroughly examine your network to pinpoint any vulnerabilities and map out a plan to fix them. It is much more cost-effective to prevent a cyber-attack than to fix one, so book your assessment today by clicking here or go to https://virtualitmanagers.com/free-network-analysis-and-security-assessment/

Also calling our number (305)574-2169.

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Financial Advisor Loses $50K To A Scammer

Horror stories of people getting scammed out of hundreds or even thousands of dollars aren’t in short supply. As we scroll through the news app from the comfort of our couch, reading these accounts of how a stupid so-and-so opened an obviously suspicious attachment and a hacker drained their bank account, it’s easy to say things like “I’d never fall for that!” But would you?

The sobering truth is that, under the right conditions and with the right threat, anyone can fall victim to a financially devastating scam. This reality was recently demonstrated when a finance guru, someone armed with enough financial acumen to publicly advise others, lost $50,000 to a scammer pretending to be a CIA agent.

Charlotte Cowles, a seasoned financial advice columnist for New York Magazine’s digital fashion news site, The Cut, wrote a first-person account of how she boxed up $50,000 in cash in a shoebox, walked it out to the sidewalk in front of her house and willingly handed it over to an unknown person in a white Mercedes SUV. Looking back, she was humiliated that she couldn’t see the red flags, but the way these criminals intricately plotted every step would have convinced most people.

I suggest giving her detailed story a read, but to give you the nutshell version, this elaborate scam started early in the day when a woman from “Amazon’s customer service” called to inquire about unusual activity on Charlotte’s account. The woman told her this has been a frequent issue for the company, provided a case number ID and recommended Charlotte check her credit cards immediately. She shared that the issue was so prevalent that the company was working with a liaison at the Federal Trade Commission and offered to refer her to him for additional assistance.

Once connected, the FTC agent provided his badge number for reassurance and a direct number to reach him and confirmed personal details like her full name and Social Security number. Convincing, right? That’s when things took a turn. The agent shared that he had been following her case for some time, and to date, there were 22 bank accounts, nine vehicles and four properties registered under her name. The bank accounts had wired more than $3 million overseas, mostly to Jamaica and Iraq, and he wondered if she could tell him anything about this.

This crazy scheme escalated from there. The agent texted her a photo of her ID, claiming it had been found in a car rented under her name that was abandoned on the southern border of Texas with blood and drugs in the trunk and was linked to an even bigger drug raid. He told her there were warrants out for her arrest in multiple states and that she was facing heavy charges of cybercrime, money laundering and drug trafficking.

She frantically googled her name, looking for any warrants. Nothing. Sensing her rising discomfort, he asked if she had recently used public Wi-Fi. She had at the airport. “Ahh…” he said, “that’s how most of these things start.”

As she texted her husband that she was in serious trouble, the agent offered her a solution, but she could tell no one. Everyone was a suspect, and they were watching her every move. The agent said her laptop was hacked, her home was being watched and they could even see her two-year-old son playing in the living room right now. At the mention of her son, she was all in to resolve the problem. Sadly, you know the heartbreaking ending of the story. She drained her savings and hand-delivered it in a floral-printed shoebox to the scammer.

Here’s the real kicker: if Cowles, armed with financial acumen and a journalist’s skepticism, can be led astray, what chance do the rest of us stand? It’s a digital Wild West out there, folks, and the outlaws are on the prowl, looking for their next big score. This tale isn’t just a wake-up call – it’s a blaring siren for small business owners everywhere. If you think you’re too smart to get scammed, think again, because it’s happening all the time.

When Charlotte began to share her story, everyone seemed to know someone who had gone up against a scammer and lost. One friend’s criminal-defense-attorney father had been scammed out of $1.2 million. Another was a real estate developer duped into wiring $450,000 to someone posing as one of his contractors. Even a Wall Street executive, who had been conned into draining her 401(k) by a guy she met at a bar. These stories are everywhere.

Cybersecurity cannot be ignored. With the AI tools available, scams are becoming more and more difficult to identify. If you want to protect yourself, your family, and your business, you absolutely MUST take your security seriously. Every day, hackers are buying and selling personal information, like Charlotte’s Social Security number, on the dark web to hackers who will use it to run scams just like this one. You or your loved ones could be next.

This ISN’T meant to scare you, although it should; it’s meant to educate you and give you the upper hand to go up against these criminals. To protect what’s yours. The best way we can help is to offer a FREE Cyber Security Risk Assessment. We’ll do an in-depth evaluation of your network’s security system, including scanning the dark web for leaked information, and provide you with a comprehensive report of what you need to do to be secure.

You can book your Assessment with one of our experts for FREE by going to: [link] https://virtualitmanagers.com/free-network-analysis-and-security-assessment/ or calling (305)574-2169.

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