Company Health and Safety Update

We take health and safety very seriously. Not only the health and safety of our clients' technology systems, but also the medical health and safety of our staff, clients, and our community as a whole. Based on information from both state and federal health officials, and out of an abundance of caution, we have suspended in-person office visits at our office for the time being. During this time, we are conducting all business as normal by phone or email. A large amount of our day-to-day support is already handled by phone and remote desktop so we feel that while this decision may be inconvenient for a small amount of people, the health benefits to our staff, families and community could be significant. Thank you for your understanding. Click here to see what we are doing for our community for COVID-19 and how you can help!

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Many IT support scammers are professional organizations based around the world.

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With COVID-19, we've been handling requests for remote work left and right. We have put together a "COVID-19 Remote Working Checklist" PDF to help businesses and employees understand what they need to do to make working from home work for them. This is a hard time for everyone and we want to do whatever we can to help our community's businesses survive and thrive through this crisis so this PDF is provided free of charge. (You don't even have to give us your email address) We are also providing free 30 minute technical assessment/consultation call TO EDMONDS BUSINESS OWNERS ONLY. With ... Read More
  Are Your HIPAA Compliance Efforts Healthy? Let's address the (ahem …) hippo in the room. HIPAA compliance continues to be a real challenge for small and midsized businesses. HIPAA is an acronym for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which has very specific rules and regulations around a patient's health information. Larger healthcare organizations - hospitals and insurance companies - have in-house information technology teams, but smaller businesses don't have the same depth of IT help on hand. Yet they must abide by the same rules. Risking a ... Read More
The Advantages of Ad Blocking Unless you're in the advertising business, you probably try to avoid ads. You pay extra to stream ad-free content online. You leave the room if you are actually watching live TV shows with ads. You filter spam out of your inbox. You immediately click out of ads on the Web pages you visit. But are you actively blocking online ads? You should be. They are more than an annoyance. They could be a security risk. Cybercriminals are smart and savvy crooks. They don't advertise what they are doing, and it's not that easy to spot, but they do buy legitimate ad space to ... Read More
What's Causing Your Bandwidth Woes? Every time employees send or receive data online they need bandwidth. Like time and money, bandwidth is a scarce resource in many offices. After all, computers and digital devices rely on bandwidth to complete tasks online. Bandwidth is the amount of information that can be sent or received per second. This might be measured in Kbps (thousands of bits per second) or Mbps (millions of bits per second). Many people think having a higher bandwidth will mean a faster user experience. In fact, it's only one factor that affects response time. Bandwidth is ... Read More

7 Things You Need to Know About Ransomware
Posted on 2019-12-26 15:47:39

  <p>Ransomware is a well-named type of cyberattack. Cybercriminals taking this approach kidnap your data. After accessing your network, they encrypt files and demand payment for the passcode. Here are the top seven things you need to know about this business threat.</p> <p><strong>#1 It Can Happen to You</strong></p> <p>Cybercriminals rely on your false confidence. Don't think "it won't happen to me." Attacks on government, education, healthcare, or financial institutions get publicity. Yet organizations of all types and sizes are ... Read More

What Is a VPN and Why Do I Need One?
Posted on 2019-12-18 15:47:04

    Ever seen a thriller in which someone asks, "is this a secure line?" The good guys or villains want to be sure their conversations can't be overhead. When you get a VPN to connect to the Internet, you're signing up for the online equivalent of a secure line. VPN stands for virtual private network. Put simply, a VPN connects your computer, smartphone, or tablet to a shared or public network as if you're connecting to a private network. Banks, governments, and companies use VPNs to connect to their networks remotely. Now, it's becoming more common for the general public to use ... Read More

Do You Copy? What Can Go Wrong with BCC
Posted on 2019-12-11 15:47:12

Try to find someone who has not "replied all" when meaning to send to only one individual. It's embarrassing and can aggravate those people with more emails flooding their box. Another common email gaffe is misusing the CC and BCC fields in outgoing messages. This mistake can prove costly for business. You'll have noticed those extra fields below the "To" field in your email client. CC stands for carbon copy, and BCC for blind carbon copy. When you use CC, it's like you've imprinted your message on an old blue sheet of carbon paper. The email copy sends to your To recipients as well as ... Read More

Are You Banking Online Safely?
Posted on 2019-12-04 15:47:21

    Banks and credit card companies are making it easier for us to get money on the go. We can check account balances, pay bills, and transfer funds online. We no longer even have to go into a bank or visit an ATM to deposit checks. But are you banking online safely? In the past, all we had to do was protect our PIN number (and remember it). Now, we need a mobile account password, too. The first precaution you can take is to have a strong, unique password. Can you believe that "password," "123456," and "letmein" remain common access credentials? Don't do it! Also, avoid using ... Read More
  Locking your front door after a burglar has already ransacked your house doesn't do much, and the same is true of cybersecurity. With the help of a managed service provider, you can stay ahead of security threats with well-tested, leading-edge technologies. Ransomware, Trojans, crypto mining, and more make the news regularly these days. Businesses and consumers are both aware of the threats. Yet there is no single vaccine that can keep you safe. The volume of threats is growing. Cybercriminals are mixing up their tactics to outwit their targets, and the result is increasingly ... Read More
"Why is this computer running so slow?" It's a common complaint. The question is whether it's your computer or your internet connection. You may feel your computer is moving at a snail's pace, but it used to be cheetah-fast! You're going to want to identify and address the issue to get back up to speed. Yet it's hard to know whether to blame your computer or the internet, especially now that so many computer applications rely on internet connectivity. So, how do you determine whether it's your computer or connectivity that's the problem? If you are having the problem only on one device in ... Read More

The Trouble with Trusting Your Online Friends
Posted on 2019-11-06 17:40:33

  Trust is the foundation of a good relationship - you trust friends to be loyal, sincere, and honest. But when you blindly trust online friends, you could be opening yourself up to cyberattack. When you hear about a big data breach on the news, you may think you don't need to worry. You may think, "I don't do business with that company, so the crooks can't steal my identity." Or "my email address and password weren't involved, so it's not my problem." Yet it could be. One of your friends or family members' personally identifying information may be hacked. Then, cybercriminals could use ... Read More

Online Scheduling Solves Calendar Challenges
Posted on 2019-10-30 17:40:26

Online Scheduling Solves Calendar Challenges Setting up a meeting or training can be such a headache. You send an email or leave a voicemail with some suggested times, and the other participants respond with completely different times, often within the time window you identified as unavailable. Sigh! The possibilities go back and forth until finally at least a few of you agree. The more people you want to get to the table (or an online meeting) the more layers of complexity: "Does this work for you?" "No, how about Tuesday?" "Sorry, Jim can't meet then." "Same time Wednesday?" "Mel and Jo ... Read More
Buying technology for personal use can be exciting once you get past the price tag. Yet there are many factors to consider when investing in technology for employee use. There are many digital tools available to improve the day-to-day way people do their jobs. Providing the right tech can increase productivity, streamline processes, and improve employee engagement. Yet determining which solutions are smartest for your team takes work. Investing in a technology that doesn't suit the needs of your staff can hurt your business: Learning a new technology takes time away from other ... Read More
    Why can't we all just get along? You've probably thought that before. But the sentiment is also one that goes through our heads when we're trying to set up home networking. When cables and passwords abound, we can't help but wish it was easier to get all our devices to play nicely together. Here's help. Desktop computers. Laptops. Tablets. Network printers. Routers. Modems. Smartphones. Smart speakers. Media players. Gaming systems. Homes today have many, if not all of these. Each has all sorts of features, and they'd be even more useful if they connected to one another. If ... Read More

Are You Doing Your IT Due Diligence?
Posted on 2019-10-09 17:40:06

The words "due diligence" may make you think of a courtroom drama on television. Surely, that's something only lawyers have to worry about? Not so fast. Due diligence is something your business can be doing, too. Are you covering the basics? Due diligence is about taking care and being cautious in doing business. It extends to how you manage your technology, too. You may think you're immune to a data breach or cyberattack, but cybercriminals can target you regardless of business size or industry sector. Depending on your industry, you may even have compliance or regulatory laws to follow. ... Read More

LetMeIn101: How the Bad Guys Get Your Password
Posted on 2019-10-02 17:39:44

Passwords are essential to your cybersafety. You know it, but if you're like the rest of the digital society, you probably have dozens of passwords to remember. It's a lot. So, you might take shortcuts. Taking advantage of your laissez-faire attitude is one way bad guys access your passwords. Incredibly, there are still people out there using "password" or "123456" in their access credentials. Some people don't change the default passwords on their devices. So, anyone can pick up a router, look at the sticker identifying the password, and access that network. Tip: Avoid the obvious ... Read More

Security Patches — The Better Way to Update
Posted on 2019-09-11 17:39:15

Updates often come at the worst moment. You go to shut down your laptop to rush to a meeting, and you get a "Windows is updating. Do not power off" message. Argh! Or you leave your desktop to go to a meeting and come back to find your computer has restarted in your absence. Those unexpected bug fixes and performance improvements lost you all your unsaved work. You know updates are important. They help patch security flaws. These are the vulnerabilities that hackers love to exploit. Updating helps you keep business documents and data safe. Software updates can also add new, useful features ... Read More

The Dark Web and Its Impact on Your Business
Posted on 2019-09-25 11:59:00

The Dark Web and Its Impact on Your Business Business owners today know the internet is not only a force for good. Some people exploit the Web for ill intent. They congregate on the Dark Web, and small businesses need to understand the risks. What is the Dark Web? You and your employees spend time daily on the Web. They're researching clients, checking out competitors, and searching for information. They are not accessing the Dark Web. The Dark Web houses dangerous, often illegal activity. This includes black-market drug sales, illegal firearm sales, and illicit pornography. The Dark Web's ... Read More
Making Technology Another Target for Continuous Improvement Your business likely talks a lot about continuous improvement. It's everyone's goal, right? Yet "set it and forget it" is a common approach to handling business technology. Here's why IT needs your ongoing attention too. Your competition is increasing, and it can feel as if it is doing so exponentially. Why? There are lower barriers to entry in many businesses. The marketplace has gone global. Transaction costs are declining. Technological advances, automation, and AI are making processes more efficient and increasing ... Read More

To Backup or To Archive? 'Tis The Question
Posted on 2019-09-04 11:59:00

To Backup or To Archive? 'Tis The Question Hamlet worried about whether to be or not. You may be more preoccupied with whether backup or archiving is better for your business. You know you need to secure your data, but how? This article examines the different benefits of both options. Back in the day, businesses kept important information on paper. They stored their important records and notes in nearby filing cabinets for easy access. When there were too many files to close the cabinet drawers any longer, someone would do a big clean out. Older, important documents would get boxed for the ... Read More

Does Mesh Wi-Fi Make Sense in Your Home?
Posted on 2019-09-11 09:00:00

Does Mesh Wi-Fi Make Sense in Your Home? Wi-Fi is a top contender for a technology most of us rely upon; after all, Wi-Fi often provides our wireless high-speed internet and network connections. Without Wi-Fi we'd be stuck watching another reality TV show on a cable-connected device. We couldn't work from wherever we wanted in our homes. How horrifying! Well, just when you were becoming familiar with Wi-Fi, technology is adapting. Now, you might want to consider Mesh Wi-Fi for your home. If you live in a big house or an apartment with thick interior walls, or your living space is spread out ... Read More

5 Common Computer Myths Debunked
Posted on 2019-08-23 14:46:04

    Common urban myths would have us believe alligators live in sewers or people put razor blades in kids' candy. Common misconceptions about computers are just as persistent. Here are several IT myths debunked for your benefit. #1 A slow-running computer has a virus A virus can be to blame. Spyware or other malware can also cause a computer to slow down. However, there are also many other reasons your computer might run slower: You may have a lot of programs that start up when you boot up the computer. You could remove or disable programs that start every time. The computer has ... Read More